Congrats…

HIS: Hi, it’s been awhile.  What have I been up to?  Well in short, I’ve been criss crossing the country attending weddings & charity functions.  While it was fun & certainly had wayyyy too many vodka tonics, it is good to be home and have absolutely nothing to do (other than food shopping of course) for awhile; and not eating dinners at a round table for a change.

To recap, I went to a couple of fun weddings.  One in particular was the nuptial of one of my best friends who I’ve known since 9th grade.  The wedding was in Williamsburg VA, on a championship golf course/resort.  The facility was fantastic.  It had two courses by the James River and 10 clay tennis courts (being a complete tennis geek, I loved it!)  From the check-in, everyone were so friendly and they give you one of these personal ID cards, of which you can charge everything around the resort on it, a very dangerous proposition.

And the wedding itself was asolutely great, perfect weather, perfect venue, complete with an awesome Photobooth that the GF and I definitely took way too much advantage of.

All in all, I’m so so happy for the Bride and Groom and for everything they and their families have endured this past year, it was truly a magnificent event and was an incredible honor to be a part of it.  On the “sappy” side, it’s great to to see someone who you’ve grown up with, who had gone thru some good and tough moments, to not only becoming a great friend but also a happy man with good morals and high ethical standards.  MS, just one advice buddy: “Happy Wife, Happy Life”.

Now onto the food.  One of the treats of being in the wedding party is the rehearsal dinner.  And this one certainly didn’t disappoint.  The restaurant, Blue Talon Bistro (http://bluetalonbistro.com) was in old-town Williamsburg with a French influenced American menu.  Everything had a simple presentation yet were very flavorful.  A classic Charcuterie Plate full of cured meats and foie gras pates kick started our night, then it was followed by an aged Prime Rib cooked to perfect medium rare (is there another temperature to eat Prime Rib?).  The dessert was – well, a classic favorite of mine, Creme Bulee with a cup of Illy coffee.  Simply Perfect.

As if that wasn’t enough, the Sunday brunch was just the icing on the cake.  I’ll let the pictures below do the talking…  MS and SS, you certainly threw a hell of a party and sent everyone home on VERY FULL STOMACHS.

An endless line of food...

Another weddings we went to was of the GF’s cousin down in Orange County, CA.  This one was a beautiful beach ceremony complete with raucous reception with a ton of alcohol.  I can’t even do a food review because honestly all we did were throwing back shots and margaritas… Like I said earlier, wayyy too much drinking.

In the end, I have to say that I loved all of the weddings.  In addition to the celebrations, they also provided great opportunities to catch up with friends and family which I so appreciate these days.  I am extremely happy for all of the happy couples and wish them nothing but the happiest futures.

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Sunday Funday

HER: As much as I love traveling & having a packed, busy schedule, sometimes the best feeling in the world is to wake up on a Saturday or Sunday and have absolutely no where to be at a certain time.  Usually when J & I find ourselves in this glorious situation, the next question we ask ourselves is ‘what do we want to eat today?’.  It’s the center of our lives, folks.

Two Sundays ago, we found ourselves in this situation.  I couldn’t get Jenna’s red thai curry with kabocha squash out of my head.  It required a trip to Koreatown to a local Asian market & shockingly it wasn’t hard to convince my Asian boyfriend to make this trip out to East LA.

Just look at him here…like a kid in a candy store.

At any rate, we soon discovered what a gem these markets were…beautiful, fresh produce was everywhere.  And get this – when I checked out with three bags packed to the brim, my total came to $8.88.  Say whaaaa?! Have we been living under a rock? Why is this our first time here?

We skipped around with the goofiest grins on our faces.  One would have thought we won the lottery or something.  It’s the little things.

Moving on…for lunch, we stopped by a place we were meaning to try – the ‘real Tofu Ya’ (the Korean BBQ place J & I frequent weekly).  There were a few surprises as we sat down and were served our appetizers first.

Not only did I stick out at this place as pretty much the only non-Asian, but I proceeded to pose with my food. Standard.

Poor Little Guy...

I ended up getting my standard veggie tofu bowl & J got a crab dish.  Wow oh wow! It was spicy but the flavors were delicious!  So many different tastes happening at one time.

Back at home, later that night, we got to work in the kitchen.

Roast kombucha squash for 30 minutes at 400 degrees

Heat red curry paste over canola oil & mix with Coconut milk

Add in torn kaffir leaves, thai basil, fish sauce, & brown sugar.  Bring to a simmer.  Add red bell peppers, green beans, and tofu.  Jenna’s version calls for medium firm tofu but I prefer soft.

Taste test with your arm at a really awkward angle.

Serve over brown rice.  Success!  J&I loved this meal…it made so much I ate it all week! Now that’s my kind of Sunday Funday.

“Hi, may I enter your apartment? No I’m not a creep.”

HIS: Like the GF mentioned, we’ve been on the road for quite some time.  First it was SF (hilarious story ensues), then it was Orange County (getting up @ 5AM to go to work after a night of wedding toasts and shots, not recommended), with the last being across the country to participate in one of my best friend’s wedding in Williamsburg VA (Congrats again Matt & Sarah).  All the while, we ate, we drank, and scaled a few buildings here and there in between.  WTF you ask?  Well let me explain.

In SF, we had the luxury of staying in my roommate’s GF’s place in the marina.  It was one of those beautiful 3 1/2 story row-homes/duplexes that you see all over the city.  The best feature of this place was that it had an amazing rooftop view of the city and the golden gate bridge.  And being the romantics that we are, we gladly took up the view with a few bruskis immediately upon our arrival.

the view...

Well, there was just this o-n-e little problem, (did you guess it yet?), the roof access door can only be opened from the inside, in other words, YEP, WE LOCKED OURSELVES OUT ON THE ROOF.

Yeah, it only opens from the inside...

As first, the situation didn’t seem so daunting to us, or me at least.  First thought, Jump.  Well, that was quickly eliminated.  2nd thought, call the fire department. That too was quickly crossed out as an option as I didn’t want the embarrassment (‘Tourists trapped on a Rooftop’… didn’t want the newspaper headline).  As our options become limited and all the while panic slowly takes the GF hostage, I realized I had the apartment keys and only if I can somehow get down to the streets, then we’ll be ok.  Thus after some surveying of the adjacent roofs, I saw our solution – a fire escape ladder a few adjacent buildings down in the distance.

wondering how to get down...

I quickly scaled over like Jackie Chan and went down the ladder, but only to find out that it led to a dead-end narrow alley and an enclosed 10 ft high fenced-in backyard.  Now I’m completely stuck – sandwiched between two buildings and in someone’s backyard with no where to go.  To make the matters worse, it was getting dark and who knows what people might think if they saw me poking around on their property.

I am surrounded. Let me out!

Finally I saw a light lit up the 2nd floor balcony.  It probably wasn’t the best or the smartest decision but I decided to climb up and knock on the window.  Creepy? Yes.  But here’s my thought process: 1.) SF is the most liberal city in US, odds are most people don’t own a gun here.  2.) They might call the police and I might get arrested for trespassing… but given the circumstances, it’s worth it.  So back to the balcony, right after I knocked, a guy pop opened the window immediately and was like “What the hell are you doing?  I saw you in my backyard! What are you doing here?!?”  Me: “um, ugh, I am stuck, I came down from the roof… I’m locked out.  Can I walk through your apartment?” Maybe it’s because I look fairly unassuming and non-threatening, after my gibberish description of my situation, he relented and allowed me to walk through his apartment out on to the street.  ALAS!  Freedom!

So what’s the lesson here?  ALWAYS check the lock before you go on to a roof.

oh em gee

HER:  well, well, well.  We’ve been quite the busy bees these days – don’t you worry, we have preparing and planning many of blog posts but have not had a second of spare time. We’re currently en route from a wonderful wedding – Jason’s best friend Matt & his beautiful wife Sarah – but we’ll get to that in a few posts.  It’s time to back track and I hate to do that but this is so worth it.

As you read from our last posts, J & I went to San Francisco two weekends ago for a little getaway.  I have to tell you – our meals were phenomenal.  SF – you win.

What were our eats?  Prepare yourself.  Make sure to read this on a full stomach because you will be hungry after reading this.  And jealous.  I’m jealous of my past self.

Meal One: Sunflower Restaurant in the Mission.  We didn’t hear of this place, we didn’t read a single review, but the smell that erupted from this place…it begged us to explore further.

Vietnamese coffee & fresh shrimp spring rolls

The main course

For him: the best pho we’ve ever had. ever.  For her: the lemongrass tofu special: came w/ hot & sour soup, vegetable roll, and the most delicious green beans I’ve ever had. ever.

All in all, the prices were great + the flavors were unique & delectable.  This is a must eat if you find yourself in the hipster district.  But don’t try on hipster jeans. Because they just may not fit and your dreams of being a true hipster will forever be crushed. (eh hem – sensitive subject to a certain someone).

Moving on, meal #2: SPQR, a  little Italian spot on Fillmore.  A friend recommended this & we did make reservations.  The mood lighting was dark & romantic…and the bottle of valpolicella was the perfect third wheel.

The appetizers stole the show:

carne cruda chopped wagyu beef, smoked egg, fingerling potato, fried oyster

I took a walk on the wild side and agreed to the next appetizer when J immediately started drooling the second he saw it on the menu.

fegato grasso duck liver terrine, almond milk, dried cherry, quince saba

Wow oh wow.  This blew us away – such a perfect & unique combination of flavors.

Main course didn’t photograph so well – as pasta isn’t the prettiest.

L: squid ink pasta w/calamari; R: pasta with sea urchin, pancetta and quail egg.

Both were great but I surprisingly loved the sea urchin one more.  Conclusion: highly recommend. Delicious! It was a typical SF restaurant in that it was pretty pricey but if you wanted a nice night out w/out going too crazy, I would recommend a glass of wine & an app or two – they were by far my favorite. We’re not really pasta people but I liked that they were small portions.

Meal Three: Delarosa on the adorable Chesnut street in the Marina.  The weather was beautiful, I had just bought a beautiful new pair of jeans, and we strolled into this little joint. We were walking on clouds…heaven on earth.

L: Swiss chard,chickpea puree,pecorino chips; R: beer steamed mussels

Ok, this swiss chard dish was INSANE.  I immediately bought pecorino cheese with hopes of recreating this at some point…don’t hold your breath.

Then, one of the prettiest salads was delivered.  It was so pretty I almost felt like I couldn’t eat it.  Almost.

Carpaccio of sliced gold and red beets, shaved ricotta salata, truffle

As if we weren’t on a big enough ‘food high’, we spent the weekend with this view:

All thanks to our dear friend Christa, who let us stay at her adorable apartment in the Marina district while she was out of town.  amazing. picture perfect. best. ever.

ok, ok – I’ll stop.  But do me a favor…the next time your in San Fran, try one of these places out and then attempt to not sound like a blabbering idiot that is just way too obsessed with food. I dare you.

A Birthday Surprise

HER: Here we are. Hanging out in the San Carlos Sky Kitchen awaiting our flight lesson over San Francisco. Yes, I am flying a plane.

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Don’t worry, I’ve done this once before. J surprised me for my last birthday. I was terrified. But it wasn’t scary at all. It was beautiful and amazing and such a unique way to view the city we live in.

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Just as I was starting to feel brave, our pilot asked us if we wanted to do a ‘zero G’ drop. ‘of course!’ Jason gleefully exclaimed. I was close to shoving him out of the airplane to experience this drop but I thought I would suck it up and live on the wild side. The pilot shut off the engine and we took a nose dive. It was one of the most surreal feelings I’ve ever had.

After that, I was feeling pretty proud of myself and laughed and took pictures as the pilot rocked us from side to side over Dodger stadium.

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And then, it hit me. This wasn’t going to end well. I quietly found the little white bag the pilot jokingly showed us before we took off. My motion sickness took over and I proceeded to puke my life away in that little bag. Happy birthday to me.

And now, we embark on round two. Cheers!

Hook’em Horns!

HIS: I love this time of the year. Weather is starting to cool, all of the holidays are inching closer and the ski season is right around the corner…but what I am most thrilled about is that football is back! (Side note: Carly is especially “thrilled”!)

In LA, USC dominates the football talk with UCLA running a distant second. I haven’t had many chances to go to a game since moving here, but when one of the big boys -Texas, came to play UCLA this past weekend – I just had to go. It was at the Rose Bowl and the burnt orange contingent showed up strong. It was so much fun to be back in that environment all over again. I just love college.

- wish we were still back in college

In any event, the game was awesome, and there was one thing worth noting. As we approached the stadium for early tailgating on Saturday, we were directed by traffic cops to pull our car onto a golf course. And I mean really driving on the fairway and greens. Since it was our first time there, we were a bit confused at first but then quickly realized that the stadium is surround by the course, and it becomes a parking lot on game days. How COOL is that? We literally parked right next to the 7th hole tee box. I guess this is just another one of those things that can only happen in LA. Needless to say, it was probably one of the most visually aesthetic pleasing tailgates that I’ve ever been to.

- Yes, they

As always some random FUNNIER thoughts:

– There’s nothing more amusing than watching a group of girls out at dinner ATTEMPTING to split the bill. For whatever reason, each feels the need to be exact right down to the penny and there’s absolutely no shame to even break out the calculator… “I only had the salad and water, and I flirted with the waiter so he gave me the extra low-cal dressing for free.  So with tip & taxes, I only owe $12 dollars and 46 cents”…

– I have a wonderful GF who just knows how to give a gift. Last year on Christmas, she gave me flying lessons in San Francisco, and for my birthday this year, she bought us a trip to go to SF. And this weekend, we are going up to SF for my flying lesson. I am so freaking excited!

– Women and fashion create such a fascinating combo. Just the other day, my facebook news feed was jammed with sorrow from women who missed out on the premier sale of Missoni at Target. I had no idea what it was at first, but upon investigation or rather I simply shouted “what’s Missoni?” in the office, I had an immediate education about the brand. To me, this whole craze is completely silly. If the Missoni originals are so expensive and exclusive normally, shouldn’t the Target version be considered a knock-off?

- knock offs now available at Target.

– A couple of congratulations to my buddy Matt S for almost tying the knot; Matt Z and Vinu on their engagements (no not to each other), and my boy Garrett having his first boy. Can’t wait to party with you all very soon.

- the old crew