Saturday, July 30, 2011

More Vacation Foods and Misc.

So, first thing when I got to Utah, I went to Cafe Rio, a Mexican restaurant in Provo that locals love. Their taco salad is out of this world, so good that many have tried to emulate it with their own recipes. I got the sweet pork kind, and it had lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, tortilla strips, beans, rice, and a nice cilantro dressing to go along with it. It was so big I couldn't finish all of it in one sitting, but most of it. I'm going to have to find a Cafe Rio closer to me and go there again as soon as I get the chance, or maybe try to make a taco salad of my own.

In Sunnyvale, we all went to Outback Steakhouse for my boyfriend's birthday. I got the parmesan pasta with scallops, which was very good, and shared his birthday treat with him-- a scoop of vanilla ice cream with lots of fudge. I think there was a brownie in there too.

Later on, the two of us went to this nice little Chinese restaurant near his house called Ginger Cafe. From the outside, it looks like it could be just a little health food restaurant, but once you go inside it's this beautiful Chinese restaurant with big red curtains drawn back by the windows, a majestically high ceiling, and ornate Chinese decor on the walls. We got the Dim Sum Sampler: two of each- Bok Choy Shrimp Dumplings, Blue Crab Dumplings, Curry Scallop Puffs, Crab Puffs, and Steamed Pork Buns- with some fried rice on the side. My favorites were the bok choy shrimp dumplings, the pork buns, and the curry scallop puffs. Dim sum is one of my favorite things ever, so I was very happy. The website has lots of pictures and an incredibly extensive menu, so check it out. :)

After I got back home, I baked a loaf of chocolate chip banana bread. It is so good, I could eat it for breakfast every day. It was so easy to make, and it turned out perfectly. The chocolate chips didn't even sink to the bottom of the bread during baking or anything. I think I'll go have some right now.

Until next time... have a nice weekend!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Utah and Cupcakes

I'm back from my 10 day group of vacations out of town, and I had a great time. I visited lots of fantastic restaurants everywhere I went, and in Utah I got to visit three lovely cupcake shops, which I will share in this first post.

One of the shops I visited, which I learned about through some other blogs I read, is The Sweet Tooth Fairy. I visited their Provo location, which was quaint and lovely.

I knew I would have to get at least one of their macarons, as macarons are wildly popular in the blog world and I had yet to actually try a macaron.

The kind I got was raspberry lemon, and I loved it. Sweet, tart, with a delicately crisp outside and a delightfully chewy inside. Also pictured to the side: some cake bites, which were pretty good.

My friend and I shared a strawberry cupcake, which was also very good, with a perfectly moist texture.

It was quite a big cupcake, so I'm glad I had someone to help me eat it!

Next, we visited The Cocoa Bean Cupcake Cafe, also in Provo.

-Photo from their blog.

There, I got the raspberry mango cupcake, which was also quite good, but with a texture that was not quite as smooth and moist as at The Sweet Tooth Fairy's. Still, it was a treat to get to the raspberry bits at the bottom of the cupcake. 

I also got the Pink Lady Italian soda, which I loved. It had such a fun, bright color to it, and it was the perfect way to quench my thirst in Utah's hot 90s weather.

Last, in Orem, I went to Cupcake Chic.

There, I got a strawberry lemonade mini-cupcake, which was perfect in every way: perfect size for me, perfect moistness of texture, and adorably decorated.

I loved their table decor, too: this gerber daisy in its little vase was very cute.

So, that's it for the sweets... next post I'll share about the restaurants I went to, in Utah and in the bay area. :)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

San Jose Area Fun Times

My blog is long overdue for an update, which is easy to do without pictures, which may be added at a later time. I just got back from a lovely week in Sunnyvale, and that means I had some memorable experiences with food. Picnics. Excellent home cooked dinners/ breakfasts. Fun Japanese snacks. Organic produce. I was a very lucky lady, and not just because I scored a huge head of Kohlrabi, but because of everything I had the good fortune to experience.

My boyfriend's parents are fantastic cooks. Our dinners included meals such as Greek steak with potatoes and corn on the cob, shrimp scampi, and customizable hot dogs. We also went on some picnics, once with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches using my mom's home made plum jam, and the other time with cheese, crackers and apple. Sunnyvale has some lovely parks, of which we had time to visit four. Next time I go over there, I hope to visit some of the others.

One day we went to Japantown in San Jose and visited Nijiya Market where I bought some soda flavored hard candies, chocolate filled Koala cookies, and a funny looking cartoony rice seasoning to send to my penpal in England along with some green tea. I also found some cute strawberry flavored Hello Kitty cookies. Let me loose in an Asian market with candies/cookies with cute, brightly colored packaging, and I can't resist buying at least $10-$15 worth of goodies. I guess it's one of my weaknesses. :)

Anyway, while we were in San Jose we went to Kazoo Japanese Restaurant for a late lunch. We both got "lunch box" meals which included miso soup, rice, some California roll, salad, and (for me) some sashimi and fried seafood and (for him) some sashimi and teriyaki chicken. Truly a satisfying feast, and we managed to still be hungry for the home cooked dinner awaiting us a few hours later. That's why I love Japanese food!

This other day in Sunnyvale we went to this Chinese place called Wok's On that one of my friends recommended I check out, and to be honest, it wasn't as amazing as my friend made it seem, but I think it's hard to find truly "amazing" Chinese fast food. I got sweet and sour chicken and some chicken chow mein, which were fine, but my hot and sour soup was a bit too peppery for my taste. Should have went with the egg flower soup. Chinese food is all kind of the same to me, but I enjoy it more if it's at a nicer sit-down restaurant.

One day we went to Full Circle Farm and took a tour. We learned about the planting and tending process, what kinds of fruits and vegetables they grow, and how the community comes together to help. Along the way we got to sample some herbs and berries, and we were given some kale and kohlrabi to take with us. At the farm stand we bought some basil and some honey they also make at the farm with their own bees. They have about 20 chickens on the farm too, and it was so cute watching them gather around to eat some of the kale we gave them.

So, that's about it for now... can't wait to go back to Sunnyvale in about a week and a half!