One of my all time favorite finds is a little local boutique coffee shop in Pasadena called Lavender & Honey. When I first discovered this place, my love for coffee was just blossoming and I have always loved almost lavender anything. Knowing that there was a place close to me that blended it together was an automatic MUST-GO.
This place is cute. Like, Instagram-picture-perfect cute. The decor is sweet and the pretty chalkboard signs (which are pretty much a staple in coffee houses) were a nice touch. Unfortunately, I should have taken more pictures of the place in retrospect now that I realize I’m practically reviewing this place right now, but it’s ok… just go for yourself! Especially when you’re in the Pasadena area 🙂
Ok, so my absolute favorite drink to get here, hot or cold, is the French Lavender Breve. It’s a perfect blend of creamy with a lovely touch of lavender. It’s beautiful! On a regular basis, I usually drink cold brews or regular french-pressed or drip coffee (just black, FYI), but every time I come here… it’s really to get this drink. I can’t possibly order a cold brew while I step foot in this place. I’ve only tried one other drink and that’s the Honeybee Latte. Also, really good! Especially if you like honey anything.
One of the other things that really struck me about this place is their interesting offerings of food. Usually, a lot of the coffee places I go to do serve pastries and things, but Lavender & Honey serves more of a unique fare. I HAD to try their lavender & honey toast, since it’s a namesake food item. I’ve also had their HUGE veggie taco salad (I had to emphasize huge, because the portions were actually really quite huge!), that was busting with guacamole and cheese. Healthy choice? Maaaaaybeeee not, but I definitely didn’t complain.
I’m not sure if it’s just the Taiwanese in me (I lived there as a one-year-old baby, does that count?), but the sight of Taiwanese breakfast foods makes my heart flutter. It’s funny though, since I discovered many of these extremely late in my life. I only discovered the existence of fan tuans (savory rice rolls) just several years ago. I felt a slight betrayal at my parents not introducing these to me earlier in my life.
Now whenever a craving strikes, I have to hit up my local Taiwanese breakfast restaurant for a vegetarian rice roll (with added egg.. you MUST add an egg!) and a dan bing (egg crepe pancakes) for good measure. All my knowledge of the ingredients are so second nature to me that I forget most of the stuff they put in theses dishes are extremely foreign to… well… foreigners. I mean, pork floss, pickled mustard greens, and Chinese donuts? You can’t always explain these things… just eat it!
My usual vegetarian rice roll contains a vegetarian pork floss (or traditionally known as pork sung). To be honest, due to my lack of proper Mandarin, I never know how to order any of these things unless I bring the boyfriend with me. If you have to go “uhhh, that one” and point at menus, that’s when you know you’re somewhere legit.
Honestly, it’s not the healthiest breakfast. Not what I usually order anyway. There are a ton of different breakfast dishes that I have actually yet to try, but it’s so difficult to stray from my favorites. Another dish I absolutely love are the cong you bings (scallion pancakes). They’re so crispy and lovely. You’re allowed to add an egg on top, but it’s still super delicious as is.
My favorite go-to no-frills place is Four Sea Restaurant, but I’m aware of several others now popping up around my location. My goal is to hit them all up and compare :). But really, it’s an excuse to eat a lot of egg and rice.
*make sure to click on the arrows above to scroll through the pictures*
Egg yolk ravioli was a long obsession of mine ever since I discovered its existence during a Masterchef episode last summer. The boyfriend and I immediately looked up restaurants that served it, but results were slim and the few we found were priced at $10+ per ravioli. *cue sad groans*
The search was done, but that fire of desire burned ever so brightly.
Fast forward to this year! The boyfriend had an itchin’ to learn how to make homemade pasta. I made the decision to celebrate our Valentine’s/Anniversary with a homemade dinner and dessert night. So the gears turned and we were discussing how fancy we could possibly make it. It was around this time when I discovered Spoon Fork Bacon’s egg yolk ravioli recipe, and I knew that we HAD to try. Sure, we never made pasta before but this should be a piece of cake 😉
I am the worst. My last entry here was literally over a year ago. I’m not really sure what kind of excuses I can make up at this point. Life, I suppose? I told myself that this was going to be my baby project for the year to help flex my creativity juices, but I guess life decided to take me elsewhere.
Anywho, a quick recap of what happened during my year after my last post:
– Took classes again, while working part/full time.
– Passed all those classes with flying colors (aw yiss)
– Went to Japan! (now that was a good one)
– Made huge decisions and created a set path for myself..
– … which meant quitting my job of 4 years as a behavioral interventionist in order to pursue graduate school
– Took classes as a full time student (that felt strange)
– Got ADMITTED into my first choice graduate program (*throw confetti*)
– Celebrated many weddings and many babies (neither mine, but watching other people accomplish big adult things is always great too)
So, a lot has happened. I went through a bit of a rollercoaster at some point in there, but everything is extremely dandy now. This year is going to be absolutely amazing, so I figure it would be a great time to start this up again. Food has and will always be in my life, of course. So documentation will be KEY. Happy celebrations = good food.
I know the picture looks quite gloom for such a happy post. I took this picture while standing in a rain soaked balcony on one of the upper floors of a Tokyo apartment building. We just had an amazing sushi breakfast at Tsukiji fish market and came back to rest and relax. It began pouring. While everyone napped, I took advantage of the solitude and soaked in the absolute peace I felt standing there on that wet balcony in Tokyo. I was so happy then. So yes, this was a happy picture 🙂
I love San Francisco. I really do. The boyfriend and I make sure we head up there at LEAST once a year. Sometimes, through circumstances, I find myself chowing down on an Ike’s vegan Menage a Trois and slurpin’ lavender ice cream at Bi-Rite probably twice or three times a year. San Fran is our guilty pleasure and we love finding new places to fill our tummies every time we go.
During one of our trips last year, we took on the always long line at Tartine’s Bakery & Cafe. We heard many, many good things about their morning buns, so we wanted to try that out initially. However, as long as the line was, all the other pastries and baked goods sitting in the display cases were quite tempting. We decided to grab a lemon tart and banana cream tart, for good measure.
We actually didn’t end up eating any of those tarts until several hours later once we got back home to Los Angeles. After a couple hours in the car, a 1.5 hour plane ride, and a couple more hours after being hastily placed in my fridge… we finally got to try the lemon cream. And let me tell you… it tasted AMAZING! Smushed whipped cream and all. We instantly regretted not getting a half dozen of those babies. I was in love. I dreamt about the day I got my hands on it again.
Fast forward to December, when I received my precious Kitchen Aid mixer as a Christmas gift from the boyfriend. I was making a mental list of all the things I could make with my new toy and an idea struck — LEMON CREAM TARTS! I perused the internet and lo’ and behold, Tartine sold cookbooks which contained the recipe for their famous lemon tarts. My excitement could not be contained.
I finally tackled the recipe, thinking that the end results would be just something similar to the original. Oh man, I was wrong. The cream tasted just like the original and it took a bit of willpower to not eat spoonfuls of the stuff from my blender.
Now, this isn’t really a beginner recipe. I get really intimidated when a recipe calls for dough rolling and usually I don’t tackle such stuff. But this was an exception. So worth it!
This is a bit of throwback Thursday action. I’ve been having various cravings lately and I’m sure most of it is due to the fact that my schedule this week has been very thrown off. Spring break is in session for some of the kiddos that I work with, so I’ve been home a little more often in the mornings to spend time lounging and playing with the nephew. The boyfriend has been bit of a busy bee as of late, so instead of grocery shopping for the typical week for the two of us, I opted instead to make it a “eat-whatever-the-hell-we-have-around-the-pantry” week. So it’s been a boxed couscous and frozen dumplings sort of week.
So with all the extra time I have from not needing to cook anything, what else do I do? Browse the internet and stumble upon amazing things like the mac n’ cheetos (it’s an actual thing and it’s in Long Beach). It’s slightly disgusting, completely bad for you, and very intriguing. Anyone down to try?! Very serious.
I currently have a nightstand and a 60% filled bookshelf dedicated to unread books that haunt me on a daily basis.
Growing up, I was a sort of bookworm. I read books before I was even able to read (I would just make up my own plot). Unfortunately, that passion was lost somewhere in the depths of adolescence, college, and young adulthood. Nowadays, I would go through phases where I try and make up for it by buying a ton of used books at a thrift store or getting a new book on impulse purely based on a quick recommendation. I’d admire my new addition and add it to my ever growing collection of, “I’ll-read-this-after-I-finish-this-one”. It’s bad.
Anyway, my goal in the next month: finish 1Q84. This 1184 page monster has taken more than a year to read with my currently sparse reading schedule.
It will happen. It will happen.
So I’ve been pretty darn good about keeping almost everything I consume pretty healthy these past few months. I dedicate weekdays to reasonable and wholesome homemade meals while weekends are dedicated to whatever can reasonably fit into my stomach. This weekend felt like no exception.
If you’re reading this, then you’re reading the first post of my new blog. This has been a long time coming. The gears started finally turning once 2015 rung in and I began having one of those strange quarter-life crisis meltdowns. Amongst the many worries I had, I knew I was lacking a creative outlet in my life. I wanted to get back into my roots (I’ve blogged on/off since Kiwi Box. My goodness, does anyone remember that? Has anyone HEARD of Kiwi Box?). Hopefully, my blogging style will be much more developed than what 11-year-old me was writing about.
Anyway, look forward to many picture/food/life posts from me. Hopefully you all will enjoy 🙂