Dec 31, 2007

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus

So it is,
My last post in 2007,
Proudly present you this simple and delicious appetizer,
And wishing you a fabulous Happy New Year!

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus-


8 green asparagus
8 slices of cured bacon
Extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper


Turn the oven to broil.

Rinse the asparagus,
Remove the tough skin near the stem with a peeler,
I just carefully run my knife through it,
Too lazy to wash the peeler.
*Don't forget to trim the hard leaves too (the semi-red colored part)

For wrapping the asparagus,
Starting from the stem,
Use one slice of bacon and circles one asparagus all the way to the top.

Place the wrapped asparagus in a baking dish,
Remember to put the end of the bacon wrap side down.
Drizzle some olive oil, small pinch of salt, and some freshly ground pepper.

Transfer to the oven and cook till the bacon turned slightly brown on all sides,
Don't forget to turn the asparagus once every few minutes,
We want evenly cooked bacon, not a charcoal bacon on one side!

Cindy's Rating: 7

Dec 28, 2007

LuLu Restaurant & Bar

Mammoth Lakes is now on the top list of my favorite traveling spots,
Besides snowboard,
There are tons of things you can do,
Hiking, sightseeing, fishing, snowmobiling, dog sledding...on and on and on..
But don't forget this,
They also have great food at Mammoth Lakes,

On the first night of my trip,
Me and my friends decided to dine at LuLu Restaurant,
Isn't that the place in San Francisco?
Yes, I was surprised too,
Didn't expect to see a SF hot spot appear in a ski/snowboard resort.
After a wonderful experience dining in LuLu San Francisco,
There's no doubt in my mind that I should try out this one in Mammoth Lakes.

LuLu Restaurant (Can you see snow there!?)-

The outdoor fire place is a very cozy spot during winter time to enjoy your afternoon tea,
Or have a cup of hot chocolate after snowboard.
*LuLu Mammoth Lakes is right behind the Gondola in The Village,
Which transport you straight to the lifts from the base.

The place is packed every night, so we decided to sit at the bar table-

Someone just left,
Otherwise you shouldn't see that empty table on the left.

Wild Mushroom Pizza (with Fontina and Thyme)-

There's the magical wood-fired oven in the back that adds few extra points to our food.
About the pizza,
The dough itself is good enough even without any toppings,
The aroma of cooked flour just won't stop flowing to my nose.
Also the crust successfully brought chewiness and crunchiness into harmony.
After sitting the wood-fired oven for a period of time,
The chef finished the pizza with some fresh thyme and white truffle oil,
There's not a single fancy toppings, but yet it was very tasty.

I tried their spicy prawn pizza in San Francisco a long time ago,
The exact taste has been lost in my memory,
But I do remember that it's probably one of my favorite pizzas that I've ever had.

Cindy's Rating: 7

Roasted Duck (with Walnut Gastric, Frisee, and Roasted Quince)-

It comes with poached pear,
As long as you hear pear and duck,
You should know how good it's gonna be already.
The duck skin was roasted to perfection,
A little bit sweet, a little bit salty, and it was very crunchy.

Cindy's Rating: 7

Grilled Skirt Steak (with Fingerling Potatoes, Cippolini Onions, and Salsa Agresto)-

I am ok with this dish,
Nothing too outstanding.

Cindy's Rating: 5

Behind These Great Dishes-

I was watching them preparing every body's dishes the whole night,
The man on the right did a great job making sure that all the plates meet the standard before sending them to the diners.
If anything looks wrong or out of shape,
He'll send it back to the chefs and ask them to fix it.

The chefs were doing an awesome job too.
It's like a battlefield out there,
They have to prepare tons of dishes in such a short period of time,
No chance to rest, no room for mistakes,
Everything was very organized under this busy environment.
I'm glad that the restaurant was packed,
So I had the privilege to sit by the bar to peek into the world behind the dining tables.

Our waiter and waitress were very nice to us also,
Two of them?
We had a waiter originally, but our table got transferred to a waitress,
Usually the previous waiter won't care about you at all after the table's been transferred,
Not in our case,
Instead, we had two nice waiter/waitress that checked on us regularly.
They kept coming back and asking us if everything is alright,
Good service is always an important part for my rating.
And LuLu surely did a great job on this.
I was a very happy diner in LuLu Mammoth Lakes.

Overall Rating: 8

LuLu Restaurant & Bar (Mammoth)
1111 Forest Trail Road #201
Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546
(760) 924-8781

Dec 26, 2007

Stir Fry Noodles with Shacha Sauce - 沙茶炒麵

It's been a long long time since I last updated my blog,
Where have I been for the past few days?
(Yes, I do feel guilty that I didn't update my blog for only a few days)
I went to Mammoth Lakes for for Christmas break,
That means I can snowboard again after my tail bone injury?
I tried to snowboard for 2 hours and the pain in my butts started to creep into my whole body,
Then I spent the rest of the time in the hotel, mostly alone.
Oh well,
Let's talk about that later,
Come and see what I just cooked after this long, tiring trip,
Something fast and easy,
Something that will surely pump up my long lost energy.

Stir Fry Noodles with Shacha Sauce-

Ingredients (For about 5 portions)?

Stir fry noodles 乾油麵 (4 bundles)
2 boneless and skinless chicken thighs (sliced)
5 chicken meat balls 雞肉丸 (sliced)
1 small carrot (sliced)
5 shitake mushrooms (sliced)
1 cup of yellow bean sprouts 黃豆芽
2 cups of bak choy 青江菜 (stemmed)
1/2 onion (sliced)
Fresh chilies
Soy sauce
Shacha sauce (Chinese barbecue sauce)
Extra virgin olive oil


Let's marinate the chicken slices first,
Simply drizzle some soy sauce and about 1 tablespoon of mirin over the meat,
Give it a "massage," set aside.

Let's go ahead and cut all the vegetables and the meat balls into slices,
After this step,
We can start preparing the noodles.
You can find the yellow colored stir fry noodles in any Asian grocery stores,
Just prepare them according to the instruction on the package.
Usually what I'll do is simply cook them in boiling water for about 5 minutes, or al dente,
*Yeah, al dente works for Asian noodles too!
Drain them well and set aside.
It'll be wonderful if the sauce is ready right after the noodles are cooked,
A perfect timing can prevent your noodles from sticking together while waiting for the sauce.
We don't wanna see mushy noodles on the plate.

As for the sauce,
Drizzle some olive oil in a deep frying pan,
Toss in the onions and sliced scallion together with 1 tablespoon of salt,
Cook till the onions turned translucent or slightly browned on the edges.
Toss in the chilies and cook for a little bit longer, about 10 seconds.

Add the chicken along with about 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 4 tablespoons of Shacha sauce.
Cook for 2 minutes,
Toss in the sliced chicken balls, give it a quick stir.
Toss in the vegetables,
I always throw in the carrot early because I like it soft,
Personal preference.
Now lets add about 1 cup of hot water and keep cooking.

Before adding the drained noodles,
Taste the mixture first,
See if you need more soy sauce, water, Shacha sauce, even chilies,
I always add more shacha sauce in the end,
I am a true Shacha sauce lover, the more the merrier.

Blend the noodles with the sauce,
Served with chopped scallion.

With so many kinds of vegetables in this meal,
I can feel my energy is gradually coming back already.
Cindy's Rating: 7

Dec 18, 2007

Merry X'mas to You

Despite my tail bone injury few days ago,
I'm still trying to keep up with the holiday spirit,
Here're some of the places I came across for the past few days,

South Coast Plaza-

The Grove One-

The Grove Two-

The Grove Three-

My Christmas wish:
A healthy tail bone and none-swollen butts,
So I can reunite with my lovely snowboard as soon as possible.
Hopefully by mid January...

Merry X'mas to you all!

Dec 17, 2007

End of My Snowboarding Season

I'm not working today!

How much I wish I can hurray for a day off work..
But unfortunately,
I was hurt while attempting a jump yesterday in Mountain High,
Here's what happened to my butts-

I would love to post a real picture here,
But sorry, my blog should be open to all ages instead of a R-rated not so good porno site.
The pinkish parts are the swollen areas,
The brown lines are the medication wraps that my chiropractor put on me.
Please note that there're bruises behind the wraps.

So the story goes,
As I went up to the slope, flying in the air,
I fell on my butts, on the hard packed snow.
The first thing in my head was I should move out of the way as soon as I can,
You don't wanna see other snowboarders slashing me off from behind...
But....easier said than done,
I couldn't move at all, so I just laid there....speechless...
I can also felt a tear rolling down from the corner of my eye...

Who is it?
A tall young man showed up in front of me,
For a moment I thought he is God.
Trevor? His name is Trevor.
He blocked out everybody in front of the slope and called for help,
My savior.
Later on he told me that he snowboards full time now, trying to get a sponsorship.
I didn't tell him this,
But if one day he succeed, I'll be his number one fan.
Countless thanks to him.

There're also few other people that I'm thankful of,
The guy who dragged me down to the base with a sleigh,
(I got my sleigh ride for the X'mas already..),
3 young men who helped to block other snowboarders,
People on the lift asking if I need ski patrol,
And my friends who were there with me.

So what did the chiropractor said?
He looked at my X-ray...found out that the end of my tail bone went inward...
I'm very frustrated here...don't wanna write about it...
Frustrates me more..

After all,
Does snowboard makes me happy still?
Yeah of course!
But in a very painful way.
Until the next season..

Dec 12, 2007

Tiny X'mas Presents for Everyone

Last Saturday night I was at my company's X'mas potluck gathering.
And here's the story,
Few days prior to the event,
My boss was trying to give me a heads up by telling me what's going on during last year's party.

Here's what she said:
Last year everyone got a little present from the company,
Besides that,
Some other people will also prepare a little gift for everyone,
You don't have to do that,
I'm just telling you the situation.

What's on my mind:
Of course I'll have to get something for everyone after she mentioned it to me,
It's almost like a hint, telling me that I should do it,
It's like a cloud over my shoulder,
You're not required to, but you'd better be!

Since it's such a short notice, there's no way I can make something with my bare hands,
Another solution, let's go to the mall!
Glad that I found something people will like for sure-

Small box of Godiva (1 milk chocolate and 1 dark chocolate) with a cute little name tags.
(This is just 1/3 of the chocolates, there's more outside of the camera!)

So the potluck begins,
Everyone had a blast,
My coworkers like the chocolate boxes I prepared for them (what a relief).
I really don't mind buying presents for my coworkers,
They've been really nice to me since my first day of work.

What's even better?
This is what I got from my boss, my X'mas present, every girl in the company got one-

I just assigned a new duty for this little guy,
Guard my earrings with your life!

The whole potluck gathering was a success,
And I got to say bye bye to Tigger Clause on the way home-

Looking forward to the "real" company X'mas dinner this Saturday.
*Yes we have two X'mas dinner.

Dec 10, 2007

Crystal Jade Asian Fine Dining - 翡翠樓

I'm pretty happy that besides 弘城 (China Garden Restaurant),
There's finally another place that sells dim sum in Irvine.
I mean,
How can you stand waiting for at least an hour for mediocre food just because you can't find something similar in the same area?
Every time I drive pass by 弘城 (China Garden Restaurant) during lunch hours,
Not only I see people crowding inside the restaurant,
I also see people sitting on the nearby lawn waiting for their seats.
It's just impossible for me.

Glad we have Crystal Jade now-

User friendly menu-

Menu with lots of pictures is always good,
Especially for people who are not familiar with the food.

Inside the restaurant-

Very spacious, very clean,
(Which is hard to come around sometimes for Chinese restaurants).
Besides this dining area,
They also have a small bar on the side,
When the weather is nice, you even have the choice of sitting at the patio.

Baked Egg Custard Tart 酥皮焗蛋塔-

It's the first time that served to our table,
Was hoping to have savory dishes first,
But well,
I was hungry so I'll just eat everything that comes on my table.
The tart was good but nothing too outstanding.
*Nothing beats the ones from KFC in Taiwan.

Braised Bean Curd Roll 蠔皇鮮竹卷-

Have to love this dish,
The flavors from all sorts of vegetables were sealed inside that bean curd skin,
When you first bite into it,
The juice just flow right out of the skin,
So good.

Fried Shrimp Ball Stuffed with Cheese 芝士百花蝦球-

One fancy-looking dish.
Served with mayonnaise.

Rice Noodle Roll with Shrimp 鮮蝦蒸粉腸-

Probably one of my must-haves at a dim sum place.
I'm in love with the sauce,
It's basically a not-so-salty soy sauce with a hint of sweetness in it.

Shrimp and Chives Gow 鮮蝦韮菜餃-

Surprisingly good,
At first I thought that chives will over-powering the flavor of shrimps,
But it was actually a well-balanced dish.
*I like to eat most of the dim sum with chili sauce. Spicy!

Steamed Lotus Seed Bun 蛋皇蓮容飽-

Always end my dim sum meal with lotus seed bun,
First of all,
I'm always craving for something sweet in the end,
This dessert helps to wash away the left-over taste in your mouth,
And substitute it with fresh and sweet lotus charm.

Overall Rating: 6

Crystal Jade Asian Fine Dining
6511 Quail Hill Parkway
Irvine, CA 92603
(949) 725-3368

Dec 9, 2007

People Pouring into Ski/Snowboard Resort

Yes I went snowboard again,
Instead of Big Bear Lake, I was in Mountain High on Sunday-

I think I'm not the only one who's so crazy about snowboard,
Look at all these people lining up around the lift.
I'm so happy.

Bruises Report: 0

Pretty good eh?
0 bruise but My butt was freezing up there.
That means I need more gear to keep me warm!
*Fine, it's just my excuse to go shopping.

Dec 8, 2007

Tomato and Basil Crostini

Tonight is the night for my company's potluck event,
For those who don't know,
Potluck is like a gathering event that each person has to bring one dish to the party,
Preferably home-made food,
But some pre-made ones bought somewhere else is always welcome too.
*Not everyone has time to cook!

As far as I know,
My coworkers already listed out what they're going to bring:
Ham, prime ribs,
Cheese, pastrami,
Cakes, cookies, strawberries with chocolate,
Spring rolls, kabobs,
And holiday spirits?
What the heck is that? Do you know?
It's alcohol!
I was cracking up so bad, how creative!

So this is what I came up with-

Endless sliced baguette?
Of course no!

I gonna transform them into this-


1 baguette (cut into 30 to 32 slices)
8 Roman tomatoes (diced)
20 basil leaves (chopped)
*It's a really rough number, I got a big box of fresh basil from the supermarket, and I used about half of the leaves.
2/3 cup of Mozzarella (shredded)
Extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Lay all the sliced breads on a baking sheet,
Brush with some extra virgin olive oil,
In to the oven for about 5 minutes or till golden brown on the sides.

Now let's go ahead and prepare the topping.
Cut the tomatoes in cubes, remember to throw away the end parts first.
Sometimes I drain out the seeds before I start dicing them,
But it's not required, I just like to eat my tomato and basil crostini that way.

Pour the shredded cheese in a big bowl together with diced tomatoes and chopped basil.
Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of salt,
Don't forget to add some freshly ground black pepper.

Give it a quick stir,
Sprinkle more salt if desired,
Sometimes the amount used for salt is different depends on the cheese you chose.

Place the topping on the bread slices.

You'll be amazed when you have your first bite of this classic hors d'oeuvre,
The bread is so crunchy, not mentioning the natural sweetness coming from the tomatoes.

The result?
I was very happy that my dish was all gone at the potluck tonight.

Cindy's Rating: 7

Dec 6, 2007

Monland Hot Pot City - 蒙羊火鍋城

The weather's getting cold these days,
Which means......
It's time for SNOWBOARD!!!!!!!!
Ok ok,
Besides that,
It's also the time for some hot pots!!!!!!!
(I'm only that excited when it comes to snowboard and food...)

Monland Hot Pot City's Menu-

They have three different bases for hot pot:
Natural (white), hot (red), and wild mushroom.
There's also a charge of $3.50 per person for those bases.

$3.50 sounds reasonable,
So you've picked the bases you want,
Then the next thing is to pick which ever ingredients you like for the pot.

Some of the selections including (the normal stuff):
Pork, beef, lamb, cabbage, mushrooms, dumplings
Not so normal stuff for most of the ethnicity besides Asians:
Intestine, pork blood, periwinkle meat, and black fungus.

Sounds delicious to you?

Inside the restaurant-

My half red and half white hot pot bases-

Monland uses a lot of Chinese medicinal herbs for their bases,
You can see things like medlar, jujube, garlic, dried chilies, and ginseng in the soup.

The longer you have the soup on the stove, the spicier it gets.

What I ordered-

I did ordered some "not so normal" stuff to go along with my pot,
See if your eyes are good enough to spot them out,
Give you a hint,
There's one plate with orange colored stuff on the right next to the noodles and vegetables,
Can you tell what is that?

So overall,
The food is not bad, but it didn't really meet my expectation.
I remember I had something similar in Rowland Heights and it tastes better than Monland.
The service wasn't that great either,
My friend and I waited so long when we asked for bowls and napkins.
Plus I was kind of uneasy eating the food at my own paste,
How can you eat peacefully when there are like 10 people standing behind you with hungry stomach....

Overall Rating: 5

Monland Hot Pot City 蒙羊火鍋城
251 West Bencamp Street
San Gabriel, CA 91776
(626) 289-4889

Dec 4, 2007

Scrambled Eggs with Tomato - Every Taiwanese Should Know This Dish

This is probably the most common dish that you can see in every families in Taiwan,
Even here in California,
Every time I go to a Chinese restaurants (especially the ones owned by Taiwanese),
Where they have pre-made dishes laying out on the counter,
I can spot scrambled eggs with tomato 90% of the time.
It's a dish full of my childhood memories dining with my parents at home.

Scrambled Eggs with Tomato-


4 large eggs (beaten)
3 garlic cloves (minced)
3 Roman tomatoes (peeled, sliced)
Extra virgin olive oil


Let's prepare the tomatoes first,
People usually use the big round tomatoes instead of Roman tomatoes,
It's just me,
I think Roman tomatoes are sweeter than the big ones,
If you like it a little bit sourish,
Use the big ones.

So let's make a cross-shaped cut on the bottom of the tomatoes,
Prepare a pot of boiling water then toss in the tomatoes,
One or two minutes should be enough,
Take the tomatoes out and put them in a bowl with ice water.
This step is for peeling the tomato skin,
Some people like to have this dish with tomato skin, not me though, I like it "smooth."

Done with the preparation part, it's time to cook.
Drizzle some olive oil in the pan and wait till it gets hot.
Beat the eggs and toss them in,
Slightly scramble it till 70% cooked then transfer to a plate, set it aside.
*Don't leave the eggs in the pan till fully cooked. We want smooth eggs, not the hard ones)

Drizzle more olive oil in the pan, toss in the peeled tomatoes,
Be careful, the oil might splash out because of the liquid in the tomato.
Toss in the minced garlic along with 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 teaspoons of salt,
Cook for about 2 minutes, or till the tomatoes start to reduce its size for a little bit.
Put the eggs back into the pan,
Give it a quick stir and this all time Taiwanese favorite dish is done!

Garnish with parsley is desired.

Cindy's Rating: 7

Dec 2, 2007

Snowboarding Season Begins

If you read the previous post,
You'll know that I made a round trip to Big Bear Lake for nothing,
Very disappointed.
So me and my friend went again today,
Call me crazy.

Here I am, one very happy girl-

The view from the top-

Restless weekend,
Didn't get to sleep in at all, which is vital to me.
Especially the weather's getting cold these days,
It's so hard to leave that warm cozy blanket early in the morning.
Oh well...
As long as it's for snowboard, I think I can live with it.

My bruises report-

Only a big one this time on my left knee,
Also can't really walk straight, and my butts hurt like a mother.

Sometimes I wonder,
I've got so many injuries already, how come I'm still so bad at snowboard...

Dec 1, 2007

Snowboarding Trip in 4 Hours

I'm very disappointed today..

6:00 a.m.
I woke up so early to get ready for my first snowboarding trip of the season.

7:40 a.m.
Left the house.

8:30 a.m.
Eating Chinese style breakfast around Rowland Heights.

11:00 a.m.
2/3 of the way to Snow Summit in Big Bear Lake.
Stopped by the store talking to a few local residents.
Because the road was closed due to poor weather condition and mud slide.

11:15 a.m.
Driving down from the mountain.
It's very frustrating when I was surrounded by snow but couldn't snowboard at all..
Here's the visibility driving back-

11:20 a.m.
My face reflection on the passenger window-

The ski resort is still open despite the closing road,
From where I was, there's no turning back,
Unless I wanna drive blindly to the base then make a circle coming back up again,
Which is at least 3 more hours in a weather like that you can't see a thing.

There's only one solution,
Sacrifice my only chance to sleep in on Sunday morning,
And try to conquer the road once again.