Special Occasion

Chef Yun

Thursday night is usually the only time my whole family and I are together under one roof. We all have different schedules because of work, school, or other obligations so it’s hard sometimes to have dinner together. I thought it’d be nice to cook for my family on Thursday since we were all home.

I went on Pinterest for some inspiration on what to cook. I found this recipe to make pesto pasta with sausage and brussels sprouts. I knew this was a winner immediately because one, I love pesto. Two, it was simple and easy to make.

All you need is:
1 lb brussells sprouts
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 lb (16 oz.) pasta
4 sausage links
1/3 cup pesto
5 cloves garlic
Parmesan cheese, for serving

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Cut your brussells sprouts in half and gently mix them in with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then pop them into the oven for about 20-30 minutes until they are crispy or slightly golden on the outside.

As the brussells sprouts are in the oven, start cooking the pasta according to the instructions. Meanwhile, slice the sausage links into 1/4″ thick coins and cook them on a skillet with olive oil. For more flavor, you can throw in some thinly sliced garlic. Once the pasta and the sausage are cooked, the brussells sprouts should be done around the same time. In a large bowl, mix all of them together with pesto.

Then wah-lah, your masterpiece for the night should look like this:

I ended up making a little more than I should have but it worked out perfectly since I was able to take some to work for lunch! It’s great to eat them when they’re fresh or even when they’re cold!

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Valentine’s Celebration

On Valentine’s Day, I went to LA with Linda to meet up with Sarah and her husband. Don’t worry, Linda and I didn’t crash their Valentine’s night! We met up at School Food Blooming Roll in Koreatown. They’re known for traditional Korean comfort food with some modernized twist to it.

We first ordered their kimchi fried rice. Don’t let the spicy look of this fried rice deceive you! It was actually nowhere close to being spicy. Even if you don’t like spicy food, this will not burn your tongue. The kimchi fried rice hit the spot really well because it had that homey taste to it just like how all kimchi fried rice should be. It reminded me of my mom’s cooking.

Now what was actually spicy was the labokki (lah-boh-kee). It’s ramen, rice cake, and fish cake with egg all mixed in some awesome spicy Korean sauce. The labokki was good but could’ve have been a lot better for a few reasons. One. The consistency of the spicy soup seemed a little off. It may have been a little too liquid-y but not bad enough to lose its taste. Two. There weren’t enough noodles in my labokki! Next time, I’m bringing my own pack of ramen to throw into the bowl. Three. The texture of the noodles were too soft for my liking. I think a lot of us who eat ramen like the noodles right before they’re fully cooked.

We ordered three different kinds of kim-bop which is Korean’s version of sushi. We got the spam roll. It’s a simple roll of spam wrapped around with egg. Nothing too special but having spam in anything always makes thing better!

We also ordered one of the Special Rolls and it wasn’t too special. For the most part, it was just like eating your ordinary kim-bop.

Lastly, the most unique one of all was the Squid Ink Roll. Though the color of the roll is pretty black, you can barely taste the ink itself. You can definitely taste and feel the squid as there are some pieces of it wrapped up in the roll. Eating the Squid Ink Roll wasn’t as exciting as the name sounded.

Out of the three rolls, my favorite would have to be the Spam Roll. I’m telling you, spam always brings justice to whatever you eat. Thank you, spam.

Overall, everything I tried was good. There wasn’t anything too exciting that made me want more. In general, it was pretty overpriced especially since they were all simple meals that you can easily make at home for a cheaper deal. Would I come back here again? Eh, most likely not. I’m just thankful that Linda and I were able to meet up with Sarah and Howard for dinner!

For dessert, we went over to Loft Cafe that was about 10 minutes away from School Food. As I entered into Loft Cafe, I really felt like I was in a Korean drama. I’ve never seen so many young and hip Korean couples in one setting before. I know it was Valentine’s Day, but still. The ambiance of the cafe and the people in there just brought the K-drama feel to it.

We sat outside in the patio where it was decorated with Christmas lights. They gave us blankets to stay warm since it was a tad bit chilly even with the heat lamps.

We ordered a waffle with scoops of vanilla and chocolate ice cream that were surrounded by strawberries and banana. It was all drizzled in chocolate and covered in sugar powder. That waffle was something. It was fresh and sweet! It wasn’t your ordinary Eggo Waffles where it’s bland but there was a light buttery sweetness to it.

Sweet potato is one valuable vegetable in the Korean culture. Actually, I’m not sure how valuable it is, but it is to me and my belly. We eat it with pizza, as dessert, and in lattes! Yup, lattes. So I got myself a $6 sweet potato latte. This latte is a little thicker than your normal latte from Starbucks. It’s a pretty heavy latte that can fill you up easily which it did for me. But I loved it! It’s best to drink it when it’s warm because once it gets cold, it almost seems like you’re drinking a sweet potato soup instead. When my latte got cold and I was down to the last several sips of it, it just didn’t taste as good as when I first got it warm.

After feasting for hours in good company, it was time to head back home. Thank you Sarah and Howard for treating us out to dinner on Valentine’s Day. It was a lot of fun just laughing at some old stories! Also, thank you Linda for dessert and spending some quality time with me! Can’t believe other people were in the way of our friendship! It was such a blessing to have hung out with you all!

#Twinsters

I’m not sure what it is but I always have a heart for those who are adopted. Maybe it’s because I have a niece and nephew who were adopted from Korea and a cousin. Perhaps it is because I have been adopted into God’s family. Not sure of the real reason why I get choked up so easily when I hear adoption stories but I just do.

Recently, there’s been a Twinster story that has been going viral through social media. Two identical twin sisters were separated at birth. One grew up here in America and the other in Europe. Long story short, the European twin, Anais, noticed that there was someone who looked a lot like her on YouTube. Next thing you know, she Facebooks her potential sister and they find out they are actually twins!

The twin sisters are not only physically alike but also in their personality and interests! Check out how they interact in this interview on Good Morning America!

They’re in the process of putting a documentary together on their experience of finding each other. Watch the #Twinsters trailer:

Ok, I’m not going to lie, I teared up watching the interview and the trailer! I’m so happy for them even though I don’t know them at all! I can’t wait to watch their documentary when it’s out. I’m definitely a supporter of documentaries like these.

I’m still a fan of the film, Somewhere Between. It’s a documentary that I watched awhile back on American families adopting babies from China. I cried like a baby watching that documentary. I felt like I was adopted after watching that. Documentaries, they know how to get me.

Support the #Twinsters through their Kickstarter! Click here to learn more about them!

Saturday, It’s A Date!

Going on a date this Saturday but you have no idea what to do? Ok, maybe there’s no date but do you have any plans in general for this weekend? If not, then I can help you plan a few ideas of what you can do with your special someone, friends, or family! No need to pay me for this free event planning.

This Saturday, January 25th, more than 10 museums in LA will be offering free admissions! Check out the link here to see the list of museums that are free. I would suggest going to Los Angeles County Museum of Art since it’s a popular one and there’s a lot of exhibitions to check out. Click here to see what’s featured currently.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

After walking around the museum pensively for hours, I’m sure you’ll be hungry. So where should you go for food? Only 3 miles away from LACMA is Larchmont Bungalow. It’s a quaint little cafe known for their brunch menu. They have some unique items on the menu like their popular red velvet pancake or their lobster crab benedict. Yelp gives this place a 4 out of 5 stars with more than 1300 reviews! Even if it’s way past brunch time, I would still check it out. You just can’t say no to this place especially with those good ratings.

Red and Blue Velvet Pancake

Red and Blue Velvet Pancake

Maybe you can eat first and then head to the museum. Wherever you go first, please end it with dessert.

Because I have a sweet tooth, I would still get some kind of dessert even after the red velvet pancakes. Close to LACMA is Milk Jar Cookies. (Check out their website because it is darn cute! Too darn cute to believe that this shop exists!) You can tell that these cookies are made with lots of love. They are definitely pricey compared to your ordinary cookies but worth it because these cookies are the chewy ones that melt in your mouth. Yelp suggests that you try everything! Their popular ones are the chocolate chip cookies and the banana split.

Banana Split Cookie

Banana Split Cookie

At this point after dessert, you should be tired and head back home. Or! You can be spontaneous and do whatever your heart desires in LA. (YOLO!)

You’re welcome for planning this date out! Just kidding! Unfortunately, I won’t be going to the museum or eating at cute places this weekend. I’m going to stay home because I’ve been sick for awhile. I need some good rest! If you end up using this plan or hitting up any of the places mentioned above, I’d love to hear how it all works out! Tweet or Instagram me with the hashtag #TinaTalksToday.

Once I’m feeling better, I’m definitely going to use this plan with my friends!

Hannah & Andrew Wedding

I really didn’t think I was going to cry at Hannah and Andrew’s wedding. I told myself, “It’s just another day with Hannah…” It obviously wasn’t! Right when I saw Hannah walk down the aisle, I had tears running down both sides of my cheek! I was definitely the first one and maybe the only one to cry…I was just really happy for them!

Here are some highlights from the wedding:

Briana and I had to get our nails done since we were ushers. Rings brought to you by Tiffany & Co.

Briana and I had to get our nails done since we were ushers. Rings brought to you by Tiffany & Co.

Briana and I as ushers at the wedding!

Briana and I as ushers at the wedding!

Father & Bride.

Father & Bride.

This picture is for adults only! There is kissing involved!

First kiss as a married couple.

First kiss as a married couple.

L to R: Linda, Sarah, Me, Yesie, Briana, & Esther

L to R: Linda, Sarah, Me, Yesie, Briana, & Esther

Briana caught the bouquet!

Briana caught the bouquet!

L to R: Briana, Hannah the bride, & Me

L to R: Briana, Hannah the bride, & Me

I have to say that this one picture right below is pretty special because the four of us grew close in college. We haven’t been together in one setting since we graduated from college. There’s always one or two of us missing when we hang out but it was nice to finally be with these girls for a special occasion like this!

Group selfie with the bride!

Group selfie with the bride!

I don't think I took enough photo booth pictures...

I don’t think I took enough photo booth pictures…

I think my favorite part of the wedding would have to be after the wedding where a bunch of us got to sit down and talk to the bride and groom. Hannah’s twin brother, Phil, was able to share some juicy stories with all of us! There was definitely a lot of humorous and memorable moments throughout the whole night. The whole wedding was such a beautiful history to remember. I am so happy for both of them and can’t wait to see them grow together!

Happy Birthday Chelsea! (Part 2)

Amy and I spent a night in Temecula at Chelsea’s parents’ place. Houses in Temecula are gorgeous and so spacious! The neighborhoods there remind me a lot of Irvine just the way the houses are structured. We hung out in the backyard where we enjoyed the view of the mountains and hiking trails while having breakfast. It was nice to relax there with some good company.

After much relaxing, we headed out to Old Town Temecula where there’s a farmers market and a lot of mom and pop shops.
Amy at a random mom & pop shop

Temecula is known for its vineyard and wine tasting but instead of wine tasting, we went olive oil tasting at Temecula Olive Oil Company! I was surprised at how flavorful olive oil can be. I was expecting them to taste all the same but they all have different kicks to it. Got myself a bottle of olive oil to take home to make some pasta, pasta salad, or even a panini. I ended up using it to make chicken pasta with the olive oil and it was amazing! I’m getting myself more of it next time or even buy it online at temeculaoliveoil.com
Temecula Olive Oil Company

We were in Old Town Temecula for a few hours. There was some live music which brought the Old Town feel to our experience.
Live Music

Everything is walking distance so we went through the town pretty quickly. We did a lot of window shopping there since there wasn’t much to buy.Literal window shopping
We headed back home after Old Town and that’s when I hung out with Chelsea’s kitties. They’re such cat models, it’s not even funny. They know how to use their cat eyes for a good picture. It’s all in the eyes like Tyra Banks would say.
Cat models

It was a nice day to just hang out with my friends and them kitties. I hope to come back for another relaxing adventure in Temecula! Thanks Chelsea and your mom especially for being so hospitable during my time there!
Mother & daughter!

Celebration at BLD

Apoorva, my friend since we were 13 years old, is moving to San Francisco! She is my C-Bean friend aka Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf friend. In other words, because we used to live so close to each other, we would meet up at the closest Coffee Bean to study or to just catch up on life at least every other week. Now, I will no longer have a C-Bean friend as she will find a new Coffee Bean friend who is a real hipster in San Fran!

To say farewell/congratulations on the new job, we went to LA for brunch with a few other old friends. We hit up BLD which is a restaurant filled with cool hipsters in there. Different kind of scenery but I liked it! Food was uber good. I mean, it got 4/5 stars on Yelp with 1400+ reviews! The Yelpers were definitely right about everything. You can’t go wrong with Yelp.

I got the Spanish Scramble that had chorizo, fingerling potatoes, roasted piquillo peppers, paprika, and manchego cheese. This huge plate that I was not able to finish was kind of pricey but almost worth the $15. I was pretty upset that I wasn’t able to finish it because it was so good. That chorizo though…I don’t know how to describe it. It was a tad bit salty the more you had it, but it was flavorful because of the seasoning.
Spanish Scramble

I’m glad I was able to eat this good food at a hipster place with my hipster friend who’s moving to a hipster town!

Me and Apoorva

aka Harold and Kumar

Apoorva, I’m glad we got the chance to hang out before your last day! I’m so happy and excited for this new chapter in your life! You definitely deserve this after all the hard work and many hours spent at Coffee Bean! I can’t wait to hear your stories! See you soon!

L to R: Derek, Jerry, Me, Apoorva, Apoorva’s Cousin, Aaron.

I must say thank you, Aaron, for taking us to BLD! Great pick! I definitely want to come back here! Thanks also for letting me post this picture up! #nofilter