Oct 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone!
Sadly I didn't get a chance to join the massive parade at WeHo this year,
There's no way I can beat the California traffic driving all the way up north after work..
With the condition that all major streets will be closed near the event.
Oh well,
At least I got a treat from the office-

How does it taste like?
I think I'll just keep it in the wrap...

Oct 29, 2007

Ondal - Another Place for Korean Crab Dishes

My friend recommended me this place last week.
Ondal, another place to indulge yourself with yummy Korean crab dishes.

But I didn't agree with my friend's recommendation right away..
-Me: Crab? I don't wanna get my hands dirty...
-Friend: No worries, they'll do it for you.
-Me: Really?! Let's go!
See how lazy I was? Or always?

Where we sat-

I guess that little character on the door serves as Ondal's symbol.
Look for it if you decided to give this place a try,
Their sign on the street has giant Korean letters with small English name "Ondal,"
It'll be an easier task if you can just look for that little guy while searching for the place.


I have my goal set on that spicy crab stew.

But let's start with banchan first-

Round One-

All the goodies from a crab are all in the soup now.

They will also put together this dish for you-

Steamed rice and veggies dipped with spicy soup,
Served on top of the crab shell.
Round Two. Soo Jae Bi-

The waitress torn the dough apart with bare hands,
Made the dough into little pieces, just like a thicker dumpling skin,
Dumped in the soup and cooked for about 3 minutes.
It's really delicious,
How can you resist the dough with perfect chewy texture, especially after absoring all the flavors from the soup,

Round Three . Fried Rice-

So the cute Korean uncle scooped out the soup and made fried rice in the pot,
I'm telling you,
You have to come here and try it yourself,
Korean people really know how to make awesome fried rice!
Very satisfied.
Overall Rating: 7

3160 W. 8th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90005
(213) 382-8844

Oct 27, 2007

Almond Blossom Cookies

I've been surrounded by Hershey's Kisses for a one whole week due to my work,
Not only my office smells like chocolate,
My car smells like chocolate too!
I can see myself just tossing these little triangles one by one into my mouth for the next few weeks.
I should figure something different before I get tired of them,

Let's make them into Almond Blossom Cookies!

Ingredients (for 10 big ones)?

1 cup of all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

1 Egg
1/2 teaspoon of almond extract
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
1 stick of butter (room temperature)

1/2 cup of sliced almonds
10 Hershey's Kisses (milk chocolate and almond flavor)
Chocolate sauce


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a big bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
Prepare a separate bowl for the wet ingredients,
Blend the melted butter and sugar together till fluffy.
Add one egg and almond extract into the smaller bowl,
Keep blending it till well combined.

Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients,
Mix them well.

Use a spoon to scoop up the dough and transfer them on to the baking sheet,
One scoop is about half the size of a ping pong ball.
What a weird way to describe it,
But you got the idea.

Into the oven for 10 to 12 minutes,
Take out the baking sheet,
Form a circle with sliced almonds in the center of the cookie, then put one kiss chocolate in the middle.
Back to the oven for another 2 minutes or so,
Remove from the baking sheet and let it cool for about 5 minutes.
I like to eat it when it's still a little bit warm.

Served with chocolate sauce if desired.

Now I can see myself tossing these cookies one by one into my mouth for the next few days.

Cindy's Rating: 7

Oct 24, 2007

Halloween/Fall Suitcase

One new category for my blog - Let's Get Workin'.
It'll mainly be things I encountered during work.
Sounds boring?
Don't worry, I'll try to make it as food-related as possible!

So what I've been up to these days?
Snuggling next to the air filter,
Staying away from flying dust,
Hoping that the snow will still come with all the crazy fire going on in SoCal,
And working on my current project:

My boss and I came up with this little present for networking purpose.
After searching for the materials, designing greeting cards, and putting every little pieces together,
I gonna be driving around as a delivery girl,
Giving away 50 suitcases throughout Southern California.
(Laguna, Irvine, Orange, Hacienda Heights, San Gabriel, you name it!)
The freeway's gonna be even more dangerous with me on the road.

And here are the goodies inside the suitcase-

Hershey's kisses.
We've decided to use purple and gold color kisses,
Since our company color is purple, and gold matches the suitcase.

I have to admit that I did munch on some of the chocolates while putting them together,
The gold ones are actually pretty good,
It's milk chocolate with almonds.
Very creamy, very nutty.
It surely is my favorite kisses flavor now.

I'd better stop eating them, otherwise I'll only have empty boxes to deliver tomorrow.

Cindy's Rating: 7

Oct 22, 2007

Smokin' Hot!

Irvine's on FIRE!

That's the picture I took last night from my balcony,
See that fire? See that smoke?
It was so close to me but yes, I still fell asleep soundly.
Thanks to my poor friends,
I told them just give me a call if the fire's spreading out towards my direction.
I need rest.

After 7 hours....
I looked through the window,
The fire's still there.
And it smells like....the incense from the temple,
Plus brownish sky.
I need fresh air...

It's 8:10 p.m. now.
Where's the fire?
Oh yes it's not going away.

Cough* Cough*

Oct 21, 2007

Lust , Caution - 色 。戒

Wow, I can't even remember when's the last time I wrote a post for movie reviews,
I guess I just didn't watch anything worth writing for the past few months.

Lust . Caution 色 。戒-

Another masterpiece from Ang Lee,
I'm so proud of him! (saying that without any hesitation)
He can always bring the most subtle things to life,
The way he sets up the scenes, the tempo of the stories, and the cinematography just make me speechless.

Lust . Caution is based on a short novel written by Chang, Eileen,
A famous Chinese writer during 20th century.

During World War II, Japanese government tried to take over China,
Many Chinese spy groups have been formed.
Their purpose is clear,
Find out who are the Japanese collaborators and kill them all,
So that the Chinese can claim their country back.

The main storyline builds around the mission of assassinating Mr. Yee, a Japanese collaborator;
Along with the "lust and caution" between him and Wong Chia Chi, a college student that carries on the duty of reaching that goal.

It is important to understand the history background in order to better appreciate the movie,
Plus all the different dialects used throughout the film makes it an even harder task for a perfect translation.
I'm not surprised that the reviews for Lust . Caution in America are not quite as well,
But from my point of view,
It's truly a masterpiece.

Go watch it!

Cindy's Rating: 8

Oct 20, 2007

Baked Chicken with Rosemary and Tomatoes

One easy and light dish to start out my weekend-


3 boneless chicken thighs
6 Roman tomatoes
3 Rosemary stems
White wine
Extra virgin oil oil
Freshly ground black pepper


Let's put our chicken on a big plate first.
Sprinkle some salt and pepper on both sides of the chicken,
Pour about 3 tablespoons of wine,
Then put 3 stems of rosemary on top of each chicken fillets.
Transfer to the fridge overnight.

The next day,
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
And take out the chicken one hour before cooking.

Prepare two pots of water.
Bring one of them into a boil; and put ice cubes into another.
Toss in the tomatoes in the boiling pot for 1 or 2 minutes,
Drain the tomatoes and transfer them to the second pot.
Peel the skin in the cold water.

Take the tomatoes out, chop them in half.
Pour them over the marinated chicken,
Sprinkle more salt and pepper, along with some chopped parsley.
Don't forget to put about 1 tablespoon of butter on each chicken fillet.
This will keep the chicken nice and moist.

Into the oven for about 35 minutes,
Turn the oven to broil for browning the skin, so we'll have some crunchiness to munch on.
Few more minutes and it's done.

Remove the chicken from the oven.
Let it sit for at least 10 minutes,
Don't cut it right away otherwise all that work for getting a juicy and tender meat will be futile.

Sprinkle with more chopped parsley before serving.

Cindy's Rating: 6

Oct 18, 2007

French 75 Laguna Beach

Wow, it's been a while since I wrote an entry for restaurants,
Two possible reasons,
One: I've been cooking so there's no need to eat out.
Two: I haven't had a chance to try out new restaurants.

So what brought me to French 75?
I've been craving for duck for quite a long time,
Thank God that I finally got a chance to feast on it.

French 75 Laguna Beach-

It's along the Pacific Coast Highway,
The sign is actually pretty small so keep an eye for it,
Don't be a fool like me who just drove passed it.
*Despite the fact that I kind of have an idea of where it located at.

Pomegranate Champagne and Raspberry Champagne-

The following pictures gonna be very blurry,
I'll either have to get a better digital camera,
Or just bring my gigantic professional camera along while eating at a romantic restaurant like this.

On Our Right-

Me and my Friends sat at the outdoor seating that day, by the fire.
Good and bad,
Bad thing is that we missed the live band performance inside the restaurant,
Good thing is that at least we can hear each other's conversation.

Burgundy Escargots-

You can find Toulouse sausage, mushroom, and escargot with garlic butter sauce in each single hole.
Forget about the escargots, the sausage was really good,
Creamy and flavorful.

Cindy's Rating: 5 (Because the escargot was ok)

Three Way Duck Alsace-

Consist of confit, grilled breast, and a small tiny bite of foie gras.
I love foie gras,
This dish will be much better if the foie gras wasn't so small,
But I guess for the price I paid ($30ish), I can't ask for more.

Cindy's Rating: 7

Other pictures are just way to blurry to show you guys,
I'll work on my cameras (trying to find an excuse to get a new one!)

The waitress brought us a small complimentary plate,
I forgot its fancy French name,
But it was good,
They combined the duck meat together with figs, presented on a slice of toast.

Ahhh I love duck.

Overall Rating: 6

French 75 (Laguna Beach)
1464 South Coast Hwy
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(949) 494-8444

Oct 16, 2007

Blueberry and Honey Muffins

I think I'm in love with muffins, especially after I bought my first muffin pan.
Muffins don't require a lot of effort to make, and the result always tastes wonderful.
Oh! one more thing,
It's so easy to clean up.
Seriously, with the help of muffin cups, nothing sticks to the pan,
Cleaning is just easy as one two three!

Blueberry and Honey Muffins (For 6)-


1 cup of fresh blueberries
1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
1/2 cup of granular sugar
1/3 cup of half and half
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/3 cup of melted butter
1 egg


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Line up the muffin cups inside the muffin pan.

In a big bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together,
(flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar).
Combine the wet ingredients in a separate bowl,
(1 egg, 2 tablespoons of honey, butter, half and half)

Now we pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients,
Blend till the surface is smooth, then we fold the blueberries in.
You can also roll the berries in the flour first before folding,
This will prevent them from sinking to the bottom while baking.

Fill 3/4 of the muffin cups with the mixture,
Transfer to the oven for about 22 minutes,
Or like what I did usually,
Simply stick a toothpick inside the muffin when you're uncertain if it's ready or not,
If the toothpick comes out clean,
Get ready to toss the muffins into your stomach.

Drizzle some more honey before serving.
The aroma from blueberries and honey just fused together wonderfully,
They gonna be my best friend during breakfast time!

Cindy's Rating: 7

Oct 15, 2007

Blog Action Day - Let's Make Our Earth Happily Ever After

I was surfing online the other day then I came across a Chinese blog.
One of its articles was talking about the consumption of bottled water,
Which completely changed my drinking habit.

Let me use bullet points to send out the messages from the article:

1. 167 is the average number of bottled drinks that each person in America consumed last year.

2. The need for bottled water has been increased 20 times from the past 30 years.

3. 84 kg of CO2 is the result of transferring 1 ton of Evian water from Europe to Sydney.

4. In America, only 20% of the total plastic bottles are recycled.

I used to buy bottled water from the grocery store,
Not anymore.
I've decided to use the filter system and just drink the water from there,
If I'm still concern about the quality,
Just boil the filtered water again and store it in a container that I'll use over and over again.

Just a little more effort,
We make our Earth a better place to live.

Oct 14, 2007

Pan-Fried Shrimp Cake - My Snack of the Week

I've waited so long for my weekend to come,
So I can just relax at home, hang out with my friends, make more food and post them on my blog!

However, it didn't turn out quite as what I expected.
Saturday morning,
I got summoned by my boss to the office, at 9:30 a.m.
What a way to start out my weekend.
Sunday morning,
My cell phone's text message alart woke me up,
Guess what? My boss again,

At least I still got some "quite" "alone" time while enjoying this simple dish,

Pan-Fried Shrimp Cakes with Thai Chili Sauce-

Ingredients (For Three)?

6 medium size spring roll skin
20 medium size shrimps (deveined, shelled)
2 stalks of scallion (chopped)
1 tablespoon of roasted sesame seeds
1 teaspoon of grated ginger
White pepper
Olive oil
Thai chili sauce


We need to defrost the spring roll skins first,
So just take it out from the freezer and set aside for about an hour,
Take the skin out from the package,
Cover with wet kitchen towel to prevent from drying out.

As for the stuffing, you'll need:
Shrimps, chopped scallion, a pinch of salt and white pepper, grated ginger, and roasted sesame seeds.
You can simply toss the ingredients into the food processor,
Or just chop everything on your own.
I know it's a lot of work,
But instead of a smooth shrimp paste, you'll actually get shrimp chunks for this snack,
Better texture, greater taste.

Lay one spring roll skin on a working surface,
Spread the mixture on top of it,
Press it down a little bit to get the air out,
Lay another skin above the mixture.

Prepare a frying pan with about 3 tablespoons of olive oil,
Toss in the shrimp cakes carefully when the oil gets really hot.
Pan-fried it till golden brown then flip the shrimp cakes,
About 2 to 3 minutes on each side.

Remember to use the kitchen towel to absorb the excess oil,
Cut in half,
You can hear the sound of the skin breaking off while pressing the knife.

Serve with Thai chili sauce.

Perfect snack that throws all my text messages to a place far far away.

Cindy's Rating: 6

Oct 10, 2007

When I'm Craving for Something Sour and Spicy!

The weather's killing me,
It's been sizzling hot during the day,
And then all the sudden it's like Arctic at night.
I need to figure something to warm myself up,
Something yummy, something sour and spicy!

Here's my resolution, sour and spicy soup-


2 cans of chicken stock
3 garlic cloves (peeled)
3 ginger slices
2 pound of pork loin (sliced)
4 eggs (beated)
3 big wood ear (sliced)
7 shitake mushrooms (sliced)
1 bamboo shoot (peeled, sliced)
1 box of medium firm tofu (sliced)
4 cups of water
Chili sauce
Chinese black vinegar
Soy sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
Corn Starch
Olive Oil
Some chopped scallion before serving


First of all, don't be scared by that long list of ingredients,
It's really easy to make,
Trust me.

Let's marinate the pork slices first,
Just "massage" it with about 3 tablespoons of soy sauce,
Set it aside.

After washing and chopping the vegetables,
Prepare a deep soup pot and drizzle some olive oil in it.
Toss the garlic cloves and ginger slices in and pan fry it till golden brown,
Pick them out.

Pour in the marinated pork slices and fry it till semi-cooked.
Add all the sliced vegetables except tofu.
Stir fry for a little bit longer then it's time to pour in the chicken stock, 4 cups of water, and sliced tofu.

Let's spice up the soup with some freshly ground black pepper, salt, 1 big spoonful of chili sauce (don't use too much if you can't take the heat), and 3 spoonful of black vinegar.
Bring to a boil,
Turn to medium heat.

Have about 4 spoonful of corn starch and mix it with less than half cup of water.
Stir it well till everything's well blended.
Pour that into the soup, remember to stir the soup while pouring,
You don't wanna see chunks of gooey stuff in it.

Turn off the heat,
Pour in 4 beaten eggs,
Once again, remember to stir it because you're making sour and spicy soup, not egg drop soup!

Serve with chopped scallion.

What more can I ask for in this October weather?

Cindy's Rating: 7

Oct 9, 2007

Champagne. Not Your Normal Daily Drink.

I was in the mood for champagne, thought that it should a wonderful day to start my day.
Note* that I'm not an alcoholic here,
I'm talking about a cafe joint that actually called - Champagne -

They have stores throughout California,
The one I went to is located at South Coast Plaza (they actually have two stores there),
And yes, I went shopping again...

As for my lunch, I had garlic chicken panini with Caesar salad-

I'm a big fan of panini,
How can you resist it when you see that melted cheese flowing out of a hot, crunchy bread.
The salad was ok. Nothing special.

Cindy's Rating for Panini: 6
Cindy's Rating for Caesar Salad: 5

Bread Pudding-

I know the presentation doesn't look so good,
But it surely tastes creamy and delicious.
(Still can't beat my favorite bread pudding from Extraordinary Dessert!)
Cindy's Rating: 6

Champagne also carries other items such as crepes, quiches, and soups.
Wait a second, I'm not done yet,
There's a bakery side that carries fresh baked goods everyday.
Croissant, brioche, black forest, fruit tarts, creme brulee, napoleon, baguette,
You name it.

I can get more than what I expected for a small price.
You wanna join the faux alcoholic group and start out your day with Champagne too?

Overall Rating: 6

Champagne (South Coast Plaza)
3333 Bear Street #151
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 429-1502

Oct 6, 2007

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

I woke up early on this lazy breezy Saturday morning,
And instantly my stomach was rumbling, warning me that he is hungry.
So I dragged myself to the fridge hoping that I'll see a pile of food there.
Sadly, I didn't have time to cook at all for the past few days,
Nothing much in the fridge but bananas.
Ok, after 5 consecutive stressful working days, I should reward myself with something sweeeeet!
(But I still have to work for it though..)

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (for Six)-


1 riped banana (mashed)
1/3 cup of brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 tablespoons of butter (room temperature)
1 egg

1 cup of all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt

1/4 cup of chocolate chips (60% Cacao bittersweet chips)


First preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit,
Put the baking cups inside the muffin pan (6) and set it aside.

Sift the flour in a big bowl, and mix together all other ingredients from group (B).
In a separate container,
Combine all the wet ingredients from group (A) then pour that into the big bowl,
Stir in the chocolate chips.

Pour the mixture inside the baking cups until 3/4 full.
Into the oven for about 25 minutes,

You can test it by sticking a toothpick inside the muffin,
If it comes out clean, that means you're ready to dig in!

My house now smells like banana and melted chocolate when I opened the oven-

Not a bad way to start out my Saturday morning.

Cindy's Rating: 7

Oct 2, 2007

Little Treats from My Boss

The other day I was driving around with my boss around Orange County,
As we drove pass Newport,
Sprinkles came up into our minds.

So this is what I got from my boss-

Let's look what's inside that cute little box-

Four yummy cupcakes!
I got milk chocolate, dark chocolate, vanilla milk chocolate, and lemon coconut flavor.
The cupcake itself was pretty good,
The icing was thicker than the usual ones,
And the part I like the most is the chocolate cake on the bottom.
It was thick and creamy, tastes like brownie to me.

People think Sprinkles is over-rated,
Well, I don't know if you are willing to pay more than $3 for a cupcake,
But look at them,
The overall quality is good, and the whole package design looks sharp.
Not to mention that the people at the store were really nice.

Mmmm. I'm craving for them again.

Cindy's Rating: 7

Corona Del Mar Plaza
944 Avocado Ave
Newport Beach, CA

(949) 760-0003

PS. They also have stores in Beverly Hills, Dallas, and Phoenix-Scottsdale.