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

Advertisements

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

An Eventful Two Weeks

Back to my blog! Since my last post, I had an eventful two weeks with something or a few things back-to-back almost every day that kept me busy out of the house and away from my usual blogging, cooking, and reading that I have been busy with in this new year. Even with this post, I feel rusty after not writing for two weeks. The first week was unusually busy in the evenings for a work week. The second week was Ski Break! I have been asked so many times what Ski Break is, but I grew up in Saratoga having this Presidents Day week in February off too. My coworker said they started giving this holiday because so many families would miss school to go up to the snow? Anyway, these two weeks were filled with LOTS OF HANGOUTS and getting my to do list done to catch up on life outside of work. Thankful for Ski Break, my friends, and the opportunities to have fun, catch up, and spend time with so many of them!! For being absent from my blog, here is a recap of my last two weeks with an overload of selfies and food photos…

Monday, 2/13: Purposeful run to the local library to borrow DVDs for a class rewardscreenshot_20170227-201229

Monday, 2/13: Discipleship with Deb at Men-Bei Ramenwp-image-1593941029jpg.jpg

Tuesday, 2/14: Feeling loved by my students on Valentine’s DayIMG_20170214_180528.jpg

Tuesday, 2/14: Valentine’s Day dinner with Pillar friends eating jajangmyeon at Tong Soon Garden

Wednesday, 2/15: Happy hour at Opa! and red velvet/chocolate mint cupcakes from Susie Cakes for a long overdue catch up and early birthday celebration, HBD Brittney!

Thursday, 2/16: Luzia by Cirque Du Soleil with my bestie Serena who won free tickets from work and the show was so good, most notable act was the most flexible guy on the planet

Saturday, 2/18: Mom and me’s Saturday morning tradition of coffee and bagel breakfastIMG_20170218_102218.jpg

Saturday, 2/18: Ed’s last-of-his-twenties birthday at Dave & Buster’swp-image-321886739jpg.jpg

Discipleship got us ordering the same food 😆

Why so serious, Jo? 😂

wp-1487729564654.jpg

My coworker Ursula spotted me in the crowd of people at D&B

Bumped into my coworkers Binh and Ursula on the first day of Ski Break!

Saturday, 2/18: Dinner with family friends at Koi Palace in Dublinwp-image-88107980jpg.jpg

Sunday, 2/19: Run with Anita – Same 3 miles around Quarry Lakes without breaks this weekscreenshot_20170227-201511

Sunday, 2/19: Book Club with Grace and Rebecca discussing Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering by Tim Keller and eating delicious breakfast croissant sandwiches

Sunday, 2/19: Dinner with relatives at Golden Palace

Monday, 2/20: Lunch at the Bae’s with Berean friends (Chois and Tsengs) and all 3 Pillar pastors and families, so nice having my two worlds together and HBD Tina and Silas!pixlr_20170220165829319.jpg

Monday, 2/20: Dinner and nails party with Pillar girlswp-image-1502831843jpg.jpgwp-image-372322069jpg.jpgwp-image-1224780976jpg.jpg

Tuesday, 2/21: Dentist appointment. Got my car maintenance and some parts fixed in the shop. Thankfully Sam saved me from the long wait and picked me up for ramen at Shalala and boba at Teaspoon in Mountain View. Finished a book at Starbucks

Thursday, 2/23: Back to the dentist for a cavity filling. Hangout and dinner with the Lo FamilyIMG_20170223_181415.jpg

Thursday, 2/23: Missing photo of Denny’s hangout with Pillar friends after midweek

Friday, 2/24: National Clam Chowder Day – Boudin BOGO clam chowder bowl with MomIMG_20170224_132807.jpg

Friday, 2/24: Small Group hangout over dinner at Krung Thai and my first escape room which was so much fun even though we almost escapedIMG_20170224_191738.jpgIMG_20170224_220632.jpgIMG_20170224_220708 (1).jpg

Friday, 2/24: Missing photo of game night with Pillar friends

Saturday, 2/25: Homemade brunch with Pillar friends and rewatched La La LandIMG_20170225_114809.jpg

Saturday, 2/25: Dinner with family friends, seeing them two Saturdays in a rowIMG_20170225_191428.jpg

Sunday: Run and lunch with Joy at Demiyascreenshot_20170226-112029-1img_20170226_110536img_20170226_124612img_20170226_124630

Sunday, 2/26: Dinner with Pillar friends at QQ Noodleimg_20170226_182158

Now back to reality and work, but looking forward to Tahoe this weekend! Work hard, play hard!

Chinese New Year with My Students

Happy Chinese New Year! Maybe for my fifth year since teaching Kindergarten at my previous school and now first grade, I have presented Chinese New Year to my students. Being Chinese-American, I have fun bringing in a little of my culture into the classroom. Here’s what I do!

– Read Celebrating Chinese New Year: Nick’s New Year by Rosa Drew and Heather Phillips (Lakeshore Learning Store, $3.49)wp-image-815104056jpg.jpg

– This is a good excuse to get students to clean up their desks to “get rid of all the bad luck”

– Students make red lanterns to bring homewp-image-1168573130jpg.jpg

– Show some red lanterns made with red envelopes by my mom and decorations from homewp-image-1551644774jpg.jpg

– Present the candy box, and students get to pick out one treat (Students picked all the lucky candy because they wanted to try something new so only Hershey kisses are left in this photo)

– Show students how to crack a black watermelon seed from the candy box, and save time by cracking the seeds at home so students can each try one. They actually like it and want more!

– Show my collection of my favorite red envelopes over the years 

– Give students red envelopes with chocolate gold coinswp-image-1735619106jpg.jpg

– Teach students how to say “Gung Hat Fat Choy” to wish others a Happy Chinese New Year

Wishing you good health and happiness in the year of the rooster! 恭喜發財! 新年快樂! 身體健康!

Hiking and Exploring Oakland on MLK Day

It was so nice to enjoy a productive MLK Day off, hiking and eating in Oakland and Berkeley while having good conversations with old and new friends – Grace, Michelle, Praise, Christine, Rebecca, Charissa, Amelia, Patty, and Jon! I hardly make the drive up to the East Bay which is an hour away (but my friends are so nice to visit me in the South Bay all the time), so I make it a big deal and turn it into a whole day trip. I am thankful for my East Bay friends in Oakland, Emeryville, Pleasanton, Alameda, Castro Valley, and Fremont who spend time with me and take me around to explore new places and eats that I have not been to even though I was born and raised in the Bay Area. Still have yet to ride the BART. (Edit: Oops!!! I thought I’ve never been on the BART my whole life, just search “BART” on my blog and you will find all the times I mention that I have not, but apparently I did once while taking a day trip to Berkeley and forgot!) 😳

{ Hike } Redwood Regional Park11500 Skyline Blvd, Oakland, CA 94619
www.yelp.com/biz/redwood-regional-park-oakland

First workout of the year! What was supposed to be a 2-hour hike with redwood trees and a view of the bay became a long and tiring 3-hour hike that left us beat and hungry. We trekked through muddy trails, made a few u-turns, enjoyed fresh air in the redwood trees, got lost long before some of us admitted it haha, walked along a paved road with cars whizzing by our sides, and finally made it back to our cars at 2:30 PM for a super late lunch. Through our adventure of being lost, we enjoyed God’s creation and the company of each other, which is what hiking is all about!

photo courtesy of Praise

photo courtesy of Grace

wp-image-1989531027jpg.jpg

{ Lunch } Seoul Gomtang: 3801 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609
www.yelp.com/biz/seoul-gomtang-oakland

ordered – beef soup with brisket, seafood pancakewp-image-1736658197jpg.jpg

{ Dessert } Curbside Creamery: 482 49th Street, Oakland, CA 94609
www.yelp.com/biz/curbside-creamery-oakland

ordered – single scoop sugar cone with Bicycle Co. Coffee and Thai Iced Tea ($4.50)

{ Hangout } Relaxed, enjoyed a cup of hot tea, showered, and chatted with Charissa and her housemates Catherine and Michelle at their cozy apartment in Oakland

{ Dinner } Angeline’s Louisiana Kitchen: 2261 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704
www.yelp.com/biz/angelines-louisiana-kitchen-berkeley

ordered –  Jambalaya, Crawfish Etouffee, Fried Catfish

Thank you for a fun-filled day in Oakland! I’ll be back, my East Bay friends, I promise! 😉