Monday, October 31, 2011

Food Trucks Galore + House of Blues

Last Monday we met up with my good friend Lara’s family at a “food truck gathering” for dinner.  The food truck scene in San Diego has really exploded in the last year or so.  I had never been to a food truck gathering before!  We got there before all the seating got taken, and scoped out all the trucks.  The list of food trucks in attendance were:  Sweet Treats, Two For the Road, Tabe, Super-Q, Pierogi Truck, Asian Persuasion, and Devilicious.  I didn’t watch the Great Food Truck Race Season 2 (watched all of Season 1), but Devilicious was in it. 

Upon arrival, we scoped out all the different truck’s menus to see what we want. 
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I couldn’t resist the allure of the Lobster Grilled Cheese Sandwich at Devilicious, so that’s what I got.  Then I saw the Parmesan Truffle Fries and saw all the people in front of me in line order it, so I had to order it and make sure it was okay.
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I think their slogan says it all.  “Food so good, it’s bad!”
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My lobster grilled cheese
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and parmesan truffle fries
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Todd ended up with some kind of BBQ beef fries at Tabe.  He didn’t like it that well.
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I liked my lobster grilled cheese and fries, but it’s definitely not something I could eat often.  Unless I were training for the Ironman Triathlon or something.

The best part of the evening was that I got to spend time with my good friend Lara and her family, who are moving to Hawaii in a week!  Sniff.  I hate to see her go, but visiting her in Hawaii doesn’t sound so bad I guess.
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Todd thought Super-Q got it right.  What could be more fun than eating at a BBQ food truck and watching Monday Night Football?
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After the fun on Monday night, we got to have more fun on Tuesday night.  Keep in mind that I had just been with my cousin Bertha at movies and after-parties with celebs and showing her around town all weekend.  Then another two weeknights of fun in a row.  I was so pooped out that I had to veg on the couch the rest of the week.

But back to Tuesday night.  We went to see our friend Pete Thurston play and sing at the House of Blues downtown. Since we were going downtown, Todd wanted to have dinner at one of his favorite places, Ortegas Mexican Bistro.  They have an awesome happy hour where their tacos are half off.  And the guacamole is to-die for.
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After a happy tummy, we drove downtown to the House of Blues.  Pete was playing at the Voodoo Stage, along with Kyle Phelan, Saba, J Turtle, and Plane Without A Pilot.

Pete started off and played a few of our favorites, including 30 Down.
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Pete was followed by Kyle Phelan.  We’ve known Kyle since he was 17 years old just starting out playing in bars that he wasn’t allowed to be in otherwise! 
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We had to leave before all five acts played, because I was so tired from many nights of being out in a row.  But it was so fun to see Pete playing out again. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

New 52 | Week 43: First Time Bertha Came To Visit

I was wracking my brain today and panicking that I didn’t have anything NEW this week to share.  Then I looked at my photos and realized that I in fact have five new things to pick from.  I decided to choose the biggest and best one, which was that my cousin Bertha finally came to visit us in San Diego for the first time.  We have lived here since the end of 1999, but Bertha had never gotten a chance to come visit.  We’d seen her numerous times in San Francisco, and LA, but never in our turf of San Diego.  Well, it took her movie “Almost Perfect” being the 2011 San Diego Asian Film Festival’s Opening Night Film for her to finally get to San Diego, ha ha.  But once she got here, we aimed to show her our fine city!   

I already blogged about the Thursday night screening and after party.  On Friday, we picked Bertha and her friend Charles up at the hotel and took them to La Jolla Cove.  La Jolla Cove is one of the most scenic places in San Diego, and we seem to always take visitors there when we play tour guide. 
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This is where Todd does his open water swim training for his triathlons. 

We scaled the dangerous sandy cliffs so we could go down and see the waves hit the rocks.  All the while laughing our heads off.
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Charles, me, and Bertha.
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I wish that it wasn’t so cloudy on Bertha’s visit!  It’s so not the San Diego we know and love.  After the cove, we walked up the street to have lunch at Whisknladle.  This was my third time there and as usual, the food was yummy!
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We chatted for quite a bit, until suddenly it was time to drive Charles to the train station so he could head back up to LA.  We had an adventure getting Charles to the train station in time, weaving through traffic.  But he made it in time, thank goodness, so he could attend a work event in the evening.  After that, we drove back to Bertha’s hotel and hung out there until it was time to go to the pre-party and screening of Bertha’s friend, director Michael Kang’s movie “Knots”.  It was a lighthearted movie set in Hawaii.  Todd and I both enjoyed it.  Then we called it a night because all of us had a late night the night before (Thursday night).

On Saturday, Bertha checked out of the hotel and we picked her up for lunch.  We went to Tender Greens at Liberty Station, one of our favorites in San Diego again! 
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After a fantastic lunch, we drove over the Coronado Bridge to Coronado Island.  The beach there is vast and awesome, and we wanted to show Bertha the Hotel Del Coronado.
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When we got there it was still sunny.

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Isn’t the hotel gorgeous?
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One of my favorite shots to take… a feet in sand photo!
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We had ice cream at our favorite creamery, Moo Time.  By then, the clouds had rolled in and it suddenly turned cold, so we headed home.  It was Bertha’s first time seeing/staying at our house!  Todd made an awesome Thai Basil Chicken dish for dinner.  We had some wine, and there was lots of catching up and storytelling at the dinner table.  So many memories of us growing up, and yet so many things we hadn’t known about each other.  Bertha has a great testimony and I’m just so proud of her. 

We made a late-night stop down at the Sheraton Harbor Island so Bertha could say goodbye to her filmmaking friends.  It was the karaoke after-party after the awards gala.  We saw Kelly Hu and Ivan Shaw again.  Oh and we got to meet Bertha’s friend Archie Kao.  He was there at the awards gala, presenting an award.  Since 2001, he’s played Archie Johnson on the TV show CSI:  Crime Scene Investigation (the original Las Vegas one).  Before that… he was the Blue Power Ranger!  I would have gotten a photo with him, but it was late at night and we were all visiting his hotel room and he was in his pajamas, LOL.  So I didn’t.  Oh well.

Bertha got a short night’s sleep in our guest room.  We left around 8am on Sunday morning to drop her off at the train station so she could take the train up to LA to visit some friends.  I loved hanging out with her.  While it was fun to be in her “entourage” and get to meet celebs and go to parties, my favorite part was Saturday night when we got to chat and hang out at our house.  Bertha had been so busy the last couple of years with her movie that we haven’t had a chance to really talk.  I hope this is the start of something new and she can visit us more often!  Of course, I can always visit her in NYC or Taipei.  :)

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About This Project

New52 is a project started by Peppermint and I to encourage each other and others around us to try something new every week in 2011. The "new" each week doesn't have to be something big. It could be something as simple as ordering a new dish instead of old standbys at your favorite restaurant. It's simply opening your heart up to NEW possibilities.
Don't worry if you're late getting started on joining in. It's totally OK if you miss a week here or there. We encourage everyone to keep an open mind about trying something new. This is a life project, and a photography/blog and even scrap challenge if you wish. If you participate this week, please leave a link to your blog post in the comments of this post.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Almost Perfect at SDAFF

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It’s been a whirlwind few days with my cousin Bertha Bay-Sa Pan in town.  She wrote, directed, and produced a movie called “Almost Perfect”, which was the Opening Night Film at the 12th Annual San Diego Asian Film Festival. This was the third time we’d seen the movie.  We saw the premiere in San Francisco in March.  Then we saw it again a 2nd time at the Director’s Guild of America in LA in April.  When Bertha emailed and told me that the film was the opening night film at SDAFF and that she’s coming to San Diego, I was so excited to show her around town!  The question that I got the most often Thursday night at the after-party was “So, how are you related to Bertha?”  My mom and her dad are brother & sister.  There are 4 other brothers and sister in the same family, so total of 6 siblings.

Before the movie, LeeAnn Kim, former news anchor and Executive Director of the San Diego Asian Film Foundation, introduced Bertha and the cast.
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I had actually met LeeAnn a few years ago on the set of Veronica Mars.  She was playing a news anchor in the same episode which I was an extra. 

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From left to right:  Kelly Hu, Ivan Shaw, Christina Chang, Edison Chen, and Tina Chen.

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LeeAnn and Bertha presenting the cast.

This was the third time I saw the movie, but I still laughed and cried during different scenes, even though I knew exactly what was going to happen!

After the movie, there was a Q&A session with Bertha and the cast. 
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After that, we got to go to the after-party with Bertha and the cast at Maria Maria.  I felt very much like I was in the show “Entourage” as Bertha got us into the VIP part of the party by saying “these are my cousins, they’re with me”.  Heh!  Here is a blurry photo of me at the party, before Bertha and the cast arrived.
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At our table, everyone was taking photos of everyone.  (Well, nobody was taking photos of me or Todd, but that’s the exception, LOL.)
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From L to R:  Ivan Shaw, Tina Chen, LeeAnn Kim, Christina Chang, Edison Chen, Kelly Hu, and my cousin the director of the movie, Bertha Bay-Sa Pan

Christina Chang and Bertha went to high school together, so it was really fun to see them interact.  I told Christina that we saw her in the first episode of the new ABC drama Revenge.  Hopefully they’ll bring her character back later this season!

I got to eat lots of good food and drinks.  We hung out and chatted with everyone.  It was a really fun and memorable night!  

Me with Ivan and Kelly. 
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Todd with Ivan and Kelly.
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It was a late night.  When we finally got home it was after 1am already.  But the fun was worth the couple of hours of sleep that I gave up!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

So Much Good Stuff

Today I stopped by Target after work to pick up some things that had been on our Target list.  I was so surprised when I walked in and saw that all the shopping carts were completely new.  They’re bright red and bigger than the old carts.  But what really blew me away was that they’ve finished the grand remodel and now there’s groceries in my Target!  Yay!

I came home and found a package full of the fabrics I’d ordered for some of my “Handmade Holidays” projects.  Yay!
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I can’t share what all I’m doing with the fabric yet, but I’m very excited to see them!  And by the way, the line is called “Outside Oslo” and it’s designed by Jessica Jones of How About Orange.  I bought a fat quarter bundle from The Needle Shop on Etsy. 

Tonight we had one of my favorite salads for dinner:  Spicy Beef and Tofu Salad from Cooking Light! 
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SO so good and fairly healthy, that is, if you eat lean red meat.  I’m excited that I’ve been keeping up with my workout schedule for two weeks now.  And trying to eat healthier.  Of course, I need the exercise because our next door neighbor Annie makes cupcakes like this and her husband Fred hands them over to us from their side of the fence in the backyard.  The fence is like a magic cupcake portal! 
20111019-IMG_3594_600 So yea, tomorrow I run again, LOL.

So I found Noodle on the red ottoman tonight.  Not his usual hangout but yes on his usual cuteness…
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My last good stuff to share this evening is a SNEAK PEEK at something new I’m putting together…  very excited about this! 
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More to come about this soon!  :)

New 52 | Week 42: Pizza at Caffe Calabria

Wow, I can't believe it's week 42 already!  That means only 10 more weeks until the year ends.  This year FLEW by.  Given that I'm now middle-aged (according to some people), I don't like it when time flies by.  I guess the good thing is that I'm enjoying myself and doing new things.  :)

When we went to Caffe Calabria in July for some latte before the Bluegrass Brunch at Urban Solace, we were intrigued by the brick wood-fire pizza oven.  The oven was hand-built by Stefano Ferrara, the most famous wood burning pizza oven maker in the world.  He came from Naples, the ancient home of pizza, to build this brick oven!  The oven is 1,000 degrees and cooks the pizza in 75 seconds!


Sorry about the bad focus.  But that's the famous oven.

So Todd and I had been plotting to come back to Caffe Calabria to try their authentic Neopolitan pizza for the whole summer.  But time slipped by us while we were having other summery fun.  Finally Todd scheduled last Thursday for us to go and enjoy some authentic Neopolitian pizza at Caffe Calabria!  Just how authentic is it?  They even fly their tomatoes over from Naples, Italy

We started out our meal by sharing the Insalata Verde.


Then we asked how big the pizzas were.  Our waiter said it's like in Italy, where each pizza is made a personal size.  So we ordered two pizzas: the Salsiccia, which had organic San Marzano tomato, house-made fennel sausage, fior di latte, and grana.  And the Diavola, which had organic San Marzano tomato, salame piccante, fior di latte, chili flakes, and grana. 

Our pizza arrived shortly.  Here was the Salsiccia.


And the Diavola.


The lighting was really dark inside the restaurant, thus the flash photos.  Todd and I took one bite into our pizzas and were in love!  I had never had authentic Neopolitan pizza before, so I didn't know what to expect.  I love the thin crust and how much texture the dough had.  It was just chewy enough, without being too chewy.  And the tomatoes from Naples were delicious, as were the little balls of melted cheese.  Todd ate a whole pizza while I ate half, so we were left with half to bring home.  We walked out of Caffe Calabria in a pizza daze, forgetting our leftovers.  Todd had to run back and get it.  Ack!

This was definitely an experience that we want to repeat again.  If you're in the San Diego area, I'd highly recommend that you give Caffe Calabria's pizzas a try.  But keep in mind that they only open for pizza from Wednesday to Sunday, 5pm to 11pm.

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About This Project

New52 is a project started by Peppermint and I to encourage each other and others around us to try something new every week in 2011. The "new" each week doesn't have to be something big. It could be something as simple as ordering a new dish instead of old standbys at your favorite restaurant. It's simply opening your heart up to NEW possibilities.
Don't worry if you're late getting started on joining in. It's totally OK if you miss a week here or there. We encourage everyone to keep an open mind about trying something new. This is a life project, and a photography/blog and even scrap challenge if you wish. If you participate this week, please leave a link to your blog post in the comments of this post.

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