Colette’s Turning One

Wow I’ve been at Pillar long enough to watch Deb and Pastor Danny grow their family into four! Deb was my small group leader when I first came to Pillar, she initiated meeting up with me, and then she became pregnant with Cami. Then I became her small group leader a few years later and then she became pregnant with Coco. Pastor Danny has been with me in Women’s Group since the start and has supported and encouraged me a lot in this ministry over these 3 years. I’ve seen Cami born and turn one (see Camilla Turns One Today!) and Coco born and now turn one too, looking like mini Cami. So thankful for Deb and Pastor Danny, love your family!! Happy first birthday, Coco baby!!! You are so adorable, and Laurel eemo loves you! The team of ladies from Angela’s Twinkle Twinkle Baby Shower put on another fabulous party with an amazing canvas painting backdrop done by Sarah and Deb, gorgeous flowers by Jenn, and all the beautiful details by Deb! We had all-you-can-eat hot pot at Shabu House for my first time and cake from Susiecakes, and it was all delicious. Colette’s first birthday party was a fun celebration!

Mother’s Day 2017

Belated happy Mother’s Day! I am thankful for my mom and another opportunity to show my appreciation for her display of God’s love, selflessness, generosity, humility, and care towards me!

I had plans on Saturday to take my mom on a day trip to go hiking and explore and eat in SF, but it didn’t work out because my mom had some business to take care of. Instead, I stopped by the Sunnyvale Farmers Market after my doctor’s appointment and picked up some groceries, a bouquet of snapdragons and mums that I paired together, and Philz coffee to surprise my mom!

After running 5 miles on Sunday morning to finish week 1 of my 10 week training for my half marathon, I made breakfast with what we had at home – avocado egg toast and coffee!

About a month and a half ago, I made a dinner reservation for two at 6:00 PM at Black Sheep Brasserie in Downtown Willow Glen. When I bookmarked this place on Yelp a long time ago and even when I made the reservation, it was rated 4 stars, but recently dropped to 3.5 stars.

Decor and Ambience: A modern restaurant with light bulbs from the ceiling, succulents, a nice bar, and spacious seating indoor and outdoor. For Mother’s Day, the restaurant had a few tables occupied with early reservations, but some that weren’t filled until later reservations. The noise level was reasonable and ambience was casual. I liked the decor and ambience!

Service: Our server was so good! She was very nice, well-mannered, and gentle. She served our table, but had many other tables to serve and still did her job with calmness and politeness. The busboys were also attentive to our tables and cleared dishes off the table right away.

Food: While ambience and service was great, this meal was pretty good but the food was not good enough to want to come back. I would only order the mussels and fries again.

“Burnt” french onion soup with rich beef broth, gruyere crouton ($9) — I love cheese but this was too cheesy that it got really tiring to chew the gruyere so I didn’t eat all of the cheese in it

Mussels in saffron cream, pommes frites, aioli ($16) — best dish, mussels were big, generous amount of about 15 mussels, fries with aioli were so delicious

Pan roasted duck breast with peas and carrots, pearl onions, marcona almonds and mint ($29) – duck was good but a little fatty, we didn’t like the pairing with peas and carrots that weren’t cooked thoroughly. I mean who especially likes peas to have that be the side in an entree…

Despite what we thought about the food, Mom and I enjoyed our dinner! We checked off trying another restaurant in the South Bay, even though Nick’s Next Door will remain our favorite!

Black Sheep Brasserie: 1202 Lincoln Ave, Ste 30, San Jose, CA 95125
www.yelp.com/biz/black-sheep-brasserie-san-jose

Easter Dinner

Easter at the end of my Spring Break was already 3 weeks ago. Since I just posted about the pizza pasta I made a week ago, I’ll catch up on blogging about my Easter dinner too! March and April were so busy and stressful at work that I stopped cooking once I started working late and lost my voice for 3 weeks. For the past few years living at home, I have either not cooked or I go big and cook a fancy meal for others, such is the case with Easter dinner two years in a row. Last year I made my first Easter dinner for 11 people, my visiting relatives from HK, Australia, and NY! This year it was my mom and family friends, a small group of 4 of us! I was so sad that my steak was way overcooked because I didn’t have enough time to use the sous vide and get the perfect medium rare steak, but thankfully my guests eat steak cooked thoroughly. On the bright side, I successfully made roasted beets and brussels sprouts for my first time and they were yummy!

Ingredients: ribeye steak, mushrooms, beets, carrots, brussels sprouts, onions, dried thyme

Roasted brussels sprouts and onions and roasted beets and carrots with thyme

Appetizer: Cream of mushroom soup with mushrooms

White grape with elderflower sparking juice and fancy table setting

Entree: Ribeye steak with roasted brussels sprouts, onions, beets, and carrots

Dessert: Mom’s jello eggs and Trader Joe’s mini chocolate ice cream cones

Pizza Pasta From My Sister-In-Law

My sister-in-law cooked pizza pasta when we visited San Diego over Spring Break. It was so good that I asked her for the recipe. I invited friends over for dinner last week and decided to make this for my first time, so the pressure was on to feed 6 people. Moving from mom to friends as my guinea pigs! I’m glad it turned out okay, and everyone thought it was really good. I don’t like to follow recipes step-by-step if I already have an idea of the end result, but I look up the ingredients so I know what to include in it. One thing I learned to do differently next time is to put the oven on broil to brown the cheese for 5 minutes instead of on bake which didn’t even brown the cheese after 30+ minutes. I forgot that I used broil to brown the top of my shepherd’s pie, but I wasn’t really thinking when I had 45 minutes to get dinner ready. This is an easy meal to serve a group, especially for those who like pizza, pasta, and lasagna, a combination of the three!

1) Ingredients: Italian sausage, pepperoni, tomato sauce, dried oregano, fusilli pasta, mozzarella cheese (I picked up all the ingredients from Trader Joe’s and used the whole package for each except for the mozzarella cheese and oregano to make more than what the recipe called for.)

2) Cook Italian sausage. Slice up and add pepperoni. Add tomato sauce and oregano. (I added pasta sauce to make more sauce because the next step is to cook the pasta in the sauce.)

3) Add fusilli pasta into the sauce. (First time not cooking pasta in boiling water, so the pasta turns out more flavorful in the sauce, but it takes longer to cook the pasta.)

4) Put pasta in a glass container for the oven.

5) Add a layer of mozzarella cheese on top of the pasta and broil in oven until cheese is browned and crispy. Serve and enjoy!

One Pot Pizza Pasta Bake: http://damndelicious.net/2014/08/16/one-pot-pizza-pasta-bake

Day Trip to the City with My Bestie

On Saturday, I took a day trip to the city with my bestie! It was a FULL fun day, we were out from 9am-12am! We used to go up to SF more often a few years ago with our mommas and families. Our busy schedules with work, travels, church, and other friends are different from each other, so lately we have made it a point to schedule our next hangout a little farther in advance. This way we are purposeful about making sure we spend time together even when our lives are busy! We both just came home from traveling and having really good eats so even though we were in SF surrounded by what we thought would be good eats everywhere, we were indecisive and picky about what we wanted to eat, plus our day wasn’t really planned out so we ate at odd hours. Also, I took my DSLR with me, but the tungsten light was turned on by accident, which made all my photos have a weird blue filter on it, so these photos from my phone will have to do!

10:00 AM // Hike at Mori Point: Mori Point Rd, Pacifica, CA 94044

I couldn’t find a hike in SF that was longer than one mile or one hour, so I started looking a little south of the city. I found Mori Point on bahiker, and it was going to be a 2-hour hike with 4 miles of ocean view and wild flowers. We didn’t realize it was Earth Day, which made it a perfect day to opt outside and enjoy God’s creation! This place felt like a piece of Ireland or Lord of the Rings with all of the green fields and valleys. I’d come back to see other flowers in bloom!IMG_7530.jpgIMG_7546.jpgIMG_7547.jpg

2:30 PM // Lunch at Marufuku Ramen: 1581 Webster St #235, San Francisco, CA 94115

We were so hungry that I didn’t look around for free parking when we got to Japantown. We paid for street parking at $5.25/hour and wasted the first hour waiting in line at Marufuku Ramen, but I also checked out some shops in the Kinokuniyo Building. We were on both waiting lists for Marufuku Ramen and Udon Mugizo, but decided to go with Marufuku because it had 4-star reviews and it was “Hot and New” on Yelp. We ordered the Hakata Tonkotsu and Hakata DX and shared the corn in the Hakata DX and tried the simmered pork belly in the Hakata Tonkotsu versus braised pork belly in the Hakata DX. The ramen tasted like Shin Sen Gumi, and the broth was tasty, not too salty or oily like some other places. The egg was cooked just right.

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4:00 PM // Boba Guys Fillmore: 1522 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115

I hear mixed reviews about their milk tea, so we went with the Strawberry Matcha Latte, and it lived up to the hype. It cost $5 for 16 oz and $6 for 24 oz, which is more expensive but they use quality ingredients like Straus organic milk. We got the 16 oz to save room for whatever we were going to eat later. Next time I’d go back for the 24 oz to have more of that delicious strawberry puree with matcha! They also have some nice furniture, so we lounged on the sofa chairs and took turns asking and answering TableTopics questions. This turned out to be a fun “game”, getting to know my bestie of 27 years even better with random questions like what you would look for in a yard sale, what historical sporting event you would most like to go to, what concert you would like to watch, and 3 adjectives your family would use to describe you.

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6:00 PM // Shopping at Union Square: 865 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103

We found an amazing free parking spot right down the street from Union Square Macy’s and walked into some shops along our way to Westfield SF Centre. I bought an eyelet skirt from Madewell and knee-high boots from Francesca’s on sale!

10:00 PM // Dinner at El Farolito: 2779 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

By the time we were done shopping at about 9:30, every possible place we wanted to eat at from San Tung to La Taqueria to Hong Kong cafes in Chinatown were closing at 10 and we wouldn’t have made it in time. We were surprised to find places in SF close so early!! El Farolito was like our only option at this hour because it thankfully closes at 3:30 AM. We shared the highly reviewed carne asade super suiza burrito, but for being so hungry which makes all things taste better, it wasn’t anything special. I want to try La Taqueria just down the street next time!

10:45 PM // Ice Cream at Humphry Slocombe: 2790 Harrison St A, San Francisco, CA 94110

Lots of ice cream shops also close at 10, so I wonder where people in SF go for their late night dessert runs. I understand that places like Bi-Rite make so much business that they don’t need to have their workers work so late in order to make ice cream available past 10. Even though I have been to Humphry Slocombe before and didn’t think too much of it, I came back because it was open until 11. I also wanted to satisfy my ice cream craving after something spicy in my burrito. Some of their flavors were not to my liking when I taste tested them, but I went with the Matcha Doodle (Snickerdoodle overpowers matcha) and flavorful Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee.

Until the next adventure…