Wednesday, December 31, 2008

December 2008 thru X'mas to New Year Eve

The word "師走" literally fit our December life. We had a quick trip to Japan at the beginning of December, and then Bob had to go up to SF area for a couple of days, while I was busy with the neighborhood's activities and work-related mess. Then Ko-chan arrived and helped us going into the holiday mode.

Right before X'mas, we were invited to my friend's B'day party, which was nice, but when we came back learned that our pot was burnt to unusable. Good that it was just a pot. And X'mas was here. Not sure if it is because of the economy or what, Christmas was rather quiet all around. But, we had very cozy and good Christmas holidays. In the morning on X'mas, we opened up each other's presents - just like every year. Then for dinner, we had Ko-chan's friend come over. We had the first attempt of a duck cooking, which came out very well. Yummy!

And the weekend after X'mas, we had a luxury of finally meeting Chris and Mag's lovely son Brandon. He reminded me of 一休さん character I used to watch on TV when I was a kid. He will be a great thinker and philosopher!

Then our long awaited friends came! Marc and Kyoko. It has been a while since I saw Marc the last time. I believe it was at the United lounge in Narita. I bumped into him accidentally on the way to Korea. It was certainly great to see Marc and lovely Kyoko again. A bit of too much partying on the first night (but with lots o great talks!), which affected the second day - yikes - can't do that at this age! But both Bob and I had lots of fun!

Somehow I was a day behind from the reality. When I realized it was the 30th, I got panicked. I realized I couldn't do 大掃除 :(. Instead, I spent the last day of 2008 just doing shopping for お正月 and cooking おせち料理! But we got to watch 紅白 on TV and spent very laid back 大晦日.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving! : Nov 27, 2008

This year, we had a luxuary of having both Ken-chan and Ko-chan here at our house for Thanksgiving. In addition to that, we invited our friends over for the traditional Thanksgiving dinner which every year my husband cooks using his family receipe :)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Anniversary - Nov 14, 2008

Anniversay started with a gorgeous meal at Providence restaurant followed by a long-wished purchase of "wii" and finalized with a surprising delivery of beautiful flowers form my hubby. Thanks for being a great husband, and most of all, my best friend!

Madagascar 2! - Nov 09, 2008

Went to The Grove and saw Madagascar 2. Kid's movie? No, adults can enjoy it very much. Alex and his buddies are now on their way home to NY city but end up being in Africa, which apparently was Alex's real home. He reencounters with his dad and mom and starts learning the societal harshness and politics. But, he sticks with his own belief and shtick and finally becomes a part of the society. No no, the story was not explicitly serious like that. It was full of witty humour and laughs. Highly recommend the movie.

Before the movie, we had a luxury to enjoy cajun food at the farmer's market.

We had our all time favorites, which we haven't had a chance to eat for a while. They are Blacken Catfish Po'boy and Gumbo Yaya! Mmmm mmm GOOD!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween trick-or-treat

We had our 2nd Halloween here on Hobart. The 1st one was rather shocking, as we underestimated the number of kids coming to trick-or-treat. We ended up making two additional trips to get more candy. This year, we wanted to be a bit more prepared. Instead of giving away three or four pieces of candy per kid, we were being conservative at the beginning and limited our offering to one or two pieces. Guess what? Around 8:30pm or so, kids stopped coming. Unlike last year, there were no 2nd or 3rd waves of kids. Why? Is it because of the ressession? We ended up haivng 200+ pieces of candy left over :( ... Sorry kids. We could have given you more candy...

But, there were some very cute costumes this year, too. Here are some of them.

More pics on Flickr:

Finding a sunny spot

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Yakitori Night!

"Yakitori" became a well-known cusine in the US. It is a grilled chicken speared on stick. "yaki" means grilled or baked or broiled, and "tori" means bird. How simple is that? Nowadays, most Yakitori places not only serves skewered chicken but also serve skewered veggies, quail eggs, and all kinds of meet. "Kushiyaki" is another word which people use to represent such style of cooking. "kushi" is skewer and "yaki" again is grilled, baked, or broiled. :)

"Yakitori" is almost a part of Japanese "salary man's" after-work life. Poeple would say "yakitori de ippai yarouka" meaning "let's have a drink over yakitori."

All of a sudden, I had an urge to make my own yakitori the other night. We skewered chickens, pearl onions, green peppers, quail eggs, and shrimps and BBQed in our backyard. They were just simple and soooooo good!

Oh btw, you can skewer chicken skin and grill it until it gets very crispy. Not my favorite, but my hubby loves it!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Tickle me!

Don't take this wrong. We wern't posing him. gG voluntarily posed this way and kept the pose for a while.

Helms Bakery - Oct 12,2008

As you know, we have been looking for furniture to put in our living room. We went to a party last Saturday and there we were having a precise discussion about where we can find good piece of furniture. People mentioned to me "Helms Bakery." ?? Why bakery? We are talking about furniture here. Apparently it used to be a huge and successful bakery from 1930s up to the late 1960s. Paul Helm is the guy who started it, and it became an official baker of the 1932 Summer Olympics! Find more details here.

Anyway, we finally went there! It was amazing--a huge compelx full of stores and cafe-style restaurants. We went into a rug store, spending a fair amount of time learning about different types of rugs from the owner-like lady. She was very helpful. We didn't buy anything, as we didn't take the measurements :( But, we will definitely go back there. Everything was on sale. We also went into H.D. Buttercup. HUGE! Very good looking furniture. We couldn't find the exact piece we wanted to get, but it is worth visiting.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Santa Monica Swap Meet - Oct 5, 2008

In an attempt to find something good for our living room, we went to this swap meet in Santa Monica. We have been in LA for almost 9 years now, but we only went to a swap meet once; that time it was the Melrose one.

Santa Monica one is famous for the antiques. Hmmm, there is a fine line between "antiques" and "old junks." I have to say most of the items belonged in the category of the latter :( But, we found a couple of items which reminded of our childhood like old tricycle and rollerskate! Rollerskate became pretty popular when I was in elementary school in Japan. I remember wanting a pair so much. And, it was that X'mas my parents bought me a pair as a X'mas present. I used to come home from school around 3pm and head immediately to the side street and practiced. Did I become a great skater? Nope, but I loved the concept of "trying to be a rollerskater."

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Tender Greens in Culver City

We had a party to go to in Culver City last night, so we said why not dine out in Culver City? We live only about 20 mins away from Culver City, but we never got around to going there. The area is filled with lots of good-looking restaurants and shops. A beautiful array of trees separates the wide pedestrian walkway from the traffic. Almost all the restaurants have outside seating. It was rainy last night for a change, and there weren't too many out, but it was still beautiful.

We went into this restaurant called Tender Greens. Not too fancy compared to other ones. You order food in advance and wait in line until you get your food. Semi-like fast food + carfeteria mixed together, but the big difference is what you get is much healthier and fancier. The menu choices are really simple. Either you get a "big salad" or "hot stuff from the grill" (four choices there - angus flank steak, "rocky junior" chicken, herb brushed local albacore, and oxnard vegetables). All dishes cost the same - just $10! We ordered angus beef, which came with mashed potatoes and a small salad on the side, and happy vegan salad, which had tabbouleh, green hummus, farro wheat, and some kind of eggplant stuff with lots of greens! Loved it.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Finally got around to do what I have been wanting to do - moving furniture around. We used to have a semi-sizy piece of furniture (my mon's old chest of drawers) at the entrance hallway, but I moved it to the TV room, and replaced it with a smaller one with mirror. I also reallocated all the little items which were clutered around the living room floor, which made the living room much more organized. Now all I need there is chairs!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Harvard Heights: 2008 Wine Tour

Our neighborhood has this event called "Wine Tour" every year. I missed the last year's, as I was in Japan at that time. So, I was very excited to be able to join for the first time! This is a neigborhood-only tour to visit 6 or 7 houses and enjoy the wine&food and conversation. Each is paired with a house and prepare food and drinks for the tour. This year, we were paired with a Pinot Noir house. We got three bottles of Pinot Noir, some smoked salmon, smoked sausages, two kinds of cheese, and crackers.

The tour started out from Jennifer's house, which has been recently remodeled completely. Gorgerously done. The color scheme reminded me of Tiffany. Very elegant and not in your face. The kicken had comtenporarly aspects to it functionality wise but kept the old look and feel to it.

Other houses were just so gorgeous as well. Every one of them had good square footage, but they maintained the historic aspects which we liked. As lovers of old era and houses, we exchanged information as to where you get the light fixures, rugs, etc.

BBQ - Buffalo Burger!

Yum! Baison/Buffalo meat is supposedly healthier than beef.



Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Little alien in my backyard

He looked like he was resting his head on his crossed arms behind it, just being relaxed, as if he was on a beach or something. He was certainly enjoying the early morning calmness.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

LA Zoo

I've been living in LA for almost 8 years, and I realized I never visited LA Zoo.

We had a late start but got around to see lots of animals. The highlight was the gorilla family! We first saw one gorilla sitting lonely facing backwards. Beautiful gorilla, but we were wondering what he was doing. Then, we saw mommy-looking gorilla and the baby coming from the left hand side. Yep, the gorilla we saw was a dad, and he was patiently waiting for his kid finishing up his play. Mommy and baby gorilla walked towards Daddy, and all three of them cudlingly head home.

We also saw an animal called Gerenuk that is typically from Ethiopia, Kenia, an Somalia area. Beautiful creature indeed.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Look what I found in front of the Shabu-Shabu slash Sushi restaurant near my house. Sato-chan!! Hmmm...Sato-chan usually goes with drug store, right?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Spicy HOT Wasabi Ice Cream!

Guess what I found in Japan. All kinds of different flavors of ice cream (soft cream) like Wasabi flavor, green tea flavor, and even combinations of them! We tried Wasabi. Wow, it still is ice cream but will give you a tingling sensation on your tongue and it was HOT!

Fish Market in Yaizu, Japan

I made a very quick trip back to Japan during the week of 9/1. Had a good talk with my dad, visited my mother's grave, saw some of my highschool classmates, and went to a nearby spa. Very hectic but had lots of fun!

On the way to the spa, we stopped at "Yaizu Sakana Center" (Yaizu Fish Center). It was something. All kinds of fish at very reasonable prices (at least for Japan). Yea, it is like COSTCO for fish :) They had a 10 pack of salmon for only $15 and 40 Amaebi for $10!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Madonna and Ed's Brunch Party

Our fern house is located on the street called Hobart, which has an array of old houses from the early 20st centry.

Our beloved neighbors Madonna and Ed invited us to a brunch party on their front porch. Madonna made great french toast stuffed with peaches and cream cheese... Mmm Mmm. Saturday brunch with a group of friendly neighbors was a real treat!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Heritage Square Museum

After a quick ride on 10 to 110, we visited Heritage Square Museum. The eight historic structures constructed during the Victorian Era were saved from demolition and moved to the museum.

Something about these old houses always intrigues me so much. It is not the structures themselves. Of course they are beautiful. Little details here and there make you appreciate the architecture of that past era. Yet, what really makes me feel special is the lives the houses embody. People talked, ate, laughed, cried, and lived in the houses. The people died but the houses lived. If you are interested in the Heritage Square Museum, here is their web site: