healthy

The Bay

Eat Pray Love Journey – The Bay – Day 2

For my time in the Bay area, I actually did not plan anything. The only plan was to just go with the flow! I just wanted to hang out with the people there. It’s the people who make NorCal homey.

The first activity we did in the morning was to go hike! Michelle, Yesie, and I drove over to the Almaden Quicksilver Park in San Jose. Yelp gives this park 4.5 stars with 133 reviews!

We started the hike a little late in the morning since we slept in. The hike was tough with the heat creeping in but those uphills made the hike more of a challenge.

I thought those uphills were never going to end but the beautiful view on the way up was never ending!

The view of the fields, clear sky, and trees reminded me of Lion King. Specifically, the first 20 seconds from the clip below:

I should have played The Circle of Life song while I was hiking. I’ll have to do that next time! So after forty minutes of hiking uphill with the scenic view of mother nature, the hike started to get easier. We finished within an hour and fifteen minutes of hiking around this park! We made it alive!

For lunch we headed over to Ike’s, a popular sandwich shop in the Bay area. There, Yesie and I met up with Pastor Sam and his wife for a mini reunion!

Yelp reviews give all Ike’s locations a 4 star! That shows you how good this place is! For sunny SoCal residents, there is one that just opened up in LA!

They have all kinds of unique sandwiches on their menu and they all sound good! I got The 49er which had buffalo wings sauce, cheddar, halal chicken, and honey mustard! I would definitely not mind getting this again!

Isn’t that a beautiful sammich? I wish you could take a bite of this right now because the spread and the halal chicken went perfectly together! This was one thick halal chicken sandwich with a juicy spread! I was so full from one half of the sandwich that I had to save the other half for dinner.

Because we ate so much, the four of us walked around downtown San Jose for a little bit. Then Yesie and I headed over to Santana Row. This a fancy outdoorsy mall in San Jose. I would compare this place to The Grove or The Americana at Brand in LA or Fashion Island in Orange County. There are a bunch of stores and restaurants to check out, and spots to just sit down and relax!

Yesie and I had some real talk here as we waited for more of our friends to join us. I’m always encouraged when I talk to Yesie. She has an optimistic view in life that can easily bring anyone up!

Michelle and Grace joined us for dinner! We all went over to Pluto’s in Santana Row. It’s a make-your-own salad kind of restaurant that is only found in NorCal. For SoCal residents, I’d compare this place to Tender Greens. I didn’t get a plate of salad because I still had my other half from Ike’s but I just got a small plate of vegetables. It’s always good to have some greens in you!

Majority of the different Pluto’s location have 4 stars on Yelp. The one in particular we went to had 3.5 stars with more than 900 Yelp reviews. If you’re craving something clean, this is definitely the right restaurant to check out! Everything is made fresh right in front of you!

Connie joined us in the middle of dinner. It got merrier once she arrived!

The five us here have known each other since 2007! Seven years later, we are big kids who are still able to come together and pick up where we left off!

After a healthy dinner at Pluto’s, we went over to Peet’s for a warm drink on a cold night! Stacy was able to finally join us there! It was more time of fellowship with these girls where we encouraged each other, laughed, and helped Stacy use Instagram on her new iPhone 6!

We ended our night here with a prayer of gratitude and joyfulness! Many thanks to many friends who came out to eat and hang out with me! Thank you to Pastor Sam & Yehee SMN for providing lunch and challenging my faith at Ike’s! Thanks Grace for coming out after work! I’m glad that we were able to have a quick catch up session! Connie! It was good seeing you even for an hour! Thanks for making time for me even for a little bit! Michelle, I’m thankful that you were able to take time off and play with me! Again, thank you so much for picking me up from Millbrae! Stacy, I didn’t think I was going to see you because of your work situation but I’m so glad that we were able to spend the night together! And Yesie, my Yesie! I’m sorry you were stuck with me all day and night but I learned so much from you in such a short amount of time spent with you. Thank you again for opening up your house as always!

 

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Happy Birthday to Me!

Woah. I. Am. 25. Years. Old. Can you believe it? I never thought this day would come. I remember turning 18 and thought that would never happen. Same with turning 21. Turning 18 and 21 are pretty significant turning points in life. Some may think turning 25 isn’t anything too special but rather depressing. I remember reading someone’s Facebook status that said, “I turned 25. What am I supposed to do? Rent a car?” Somehow that status stuck with me until I turned 25 recently. I knew that I was going to rent a car once I turned 25. Not just any car but a convertible Mustang GT for the day!

I don’t know what it is about that Mustang but it’s just a fun car to look at and drive especially with the top down in SoCal! So on my birthday, I didn’t even sleep in. I actually lost some sleep the night before because I was FaceTiming with Briana for almost an hour and a half! She was the first one to wish me a happy birthday! Thanks girl!

The picture above looks like we were having a virtual sleepover! Sorry the picture is so big but I just don’t want you to forget how she looks like since she’s one of my close friends!

I wanted to take advantage of driving my Mustang all day so I picked it up at 8 AM. On my birthday, I like to treat my mom out. I started doing this since college when a friend suggested that I buy flowers for my mom on my birthday. It’s nice to always give back to someone who always gives like my mom.


In the morning, I took my mom to a hipster coffee shop hidden in Dana Point called JC Beans Coffee HouseYelp gives this coffee shop 4.5 stars with 191 reviews. What’s so popular about this place is how cozy and friendly it is with the service and ambiance. There can be a long wait in the drive thru lanee but I say it’s best to sit down inside and sip your coffee!

JC Beans Coffee House is small but I love the layout of it. There are books on the shelves that you can check out but also purchase!

You can also sit outside which my mom and I did as we were sipping on our drinks. I was working on my blog as she was browsing the web on her iPad. She got a cup of coffee and I got a Vanilla Chai Latte. We both shared a pastry and with those 3 items together, the total was around $10-$12. It’s a little more on the pricey end but worth the ambiance and the taste.


My mom was pretty impressed how I took a picture of my drink and the pastry. Looks hip, right?

After an hour or so, we decided to get back on the road and make use of my Mustang. We drove down on PCH with the top down and made a stop at Laguna Beach. We took some pictures and walked around. I really don’t know where we were exactly in Laguna Beach but we found a good spot to hang out!


It was such a beautiful day. The sun was shining, there was a breeze from the waves, and it was my birthday! Perfect day.

The view was so breathtaking that I really felt like I could just sit there and enjoy the beach as a living.

My mom took a candid picture of me that I thought looked pretty nice! Go mom!

By afternoon, my mom and I grabbed lunch with my sister at Panini Cafe in Corona Del Mar, right on PCH. Panini Cafe is a Greek, Italian, and Mediterranean kind of a restaurant.  They are located in eight different cities within Orange County and LA County. So you can’t miss one! The one we went to currently has 4 out of 5 stars with 289 reviews on Yelp.

We first ordered the Hummus Trio as an appetizer for $8.95. This large plate of hummus had the traditional garbanzo, black bean, and edmame hummus. The pita bread and the three different kinds of hummus easily filled us up!

After all that hummus, I got myself a healthy Mediterranean Greek Salad that was mixed with onions, Roma Tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, feta cheese in balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

This beautiful green mountain made me feel clean! Actually, there may have been a tad bit too much dressing but overall, I enjoyed the various fresh vegetables mixed together for $8.95.

Beware that if you go to Panini Cafe on PCH in the afternoon, get there a little early because parking might be a little tough to find and it can get packed in the restaurant. Due to the busyness of the restaurant, there was a lack of quality customer service. I wasn’t too upset about it because I didn’t want to let that ruin my birthday lunch! Luckily, there was dinner to make up for it.

We headed back home in my Mustang, of course. I relaxed for a little bit at home and started to get ready for dinner at Laguna Beach with some friends! I curled my hair, did my make up, and slipped on my pink floral dress from Zara. The best part about this dress was that I bought it for only $10! I’m pretty sure it was originally priced at least $80 or so. Pretty good stinkin’ deal, right? It was my first time ever wearing it since I bought a little more than a year ago and I just had to save it for a perfect occasion like this!

So Cindy and Elaine came over to carpool to K’ya Bistro that is located on PCH.

Huge thanks to them for letting me put the top down and have their hair-do get a little messy. I say it was worth the mess!

I decided to have dinner at K’ya Bistro because it was on PCH. Again, I just had to take advantage of my Mustang by driving up and down PCH since it’s a perfect road to have the top down. I also just wanted to have dinner somewhere new and different. So I found this restaurant just from Yelping around and read great reviews about it. Yelp shows a solid 4 out of 5 stars with almost 700 reviews!

Right when you enter the restaurant, there’s a bar where you can order some drinks while waiting to be seated.

They’re known for their tapas of American and Mediterranean food. We all shared a little bit of everything. We started out with some Truffle-Parmesian Fries and Spiced Sweet Potato Fries at $5.50 each. They were pretty addicting to eat, so be careful!

I ordered one of their popular items, Lobster Mac and Cheese. They really knew how to stuff that Mac and Cheese with lobster! It was everything that I imagined it to be like. The Mac and Cheese had the perfect homemade texture and cheesiness to it. The lobster was melted smoothly with the whole Mac and Cheese.

Unfortunately, I have no pictures of what I ate there because I was too distracted talking to my friends at dinner. I definitely have to come back here again and get that Lobster Mac and Cheese and take a picture of it! As for now, enjoy the pictures of my beautiful friends!

Whatever item you get on the menu, I’m sure that you’ll enjoy it a lot as my friends did. We all liked we got whether it was the salad, fries, empanadas, or any other tapas.

Thank you everyone for celebrating my 25th birthday with me! I’m excited to see what this new age has in stored!

Fiore Market Cafe

I thought I had explored all over Pasadena but I lied to myself. There are actually some hidden gems out in South Pasadena! When I found Fiore Market Cafe, I pretty much fell in love with it immediately. This place currently has 300+ reviews with 4.5 stars on Yelp.

Sarah, Hannah, Catherine and I gathered here for lunch. It’s a quaint little restaurant. You order inside where it has this homey feel to it and they bring the food over to your table. Make sure to get there early to reserve seats as they are very much limited.

I ordered their popular Short Rib Sandwich for $9.25 and it was beautiful!

Beautiful in so many ways. Presentation was beautiful. Of course, the taste was beautiful. The mixed vegetables that gave a refreshing taste perfectly complimented the tender and moist short ribs.

The sandwich was a little messy because of the juice from the dressing but it was worth the mess. It was a beautiful mess.

I definitely would like to come back here for the Short Rib Sandwich again.The ambiance of the restaurant was so relaxing and peaceful especially with the perfect sunny SoCal weather. Thank you to my beautiful friends, Sarah, Hannah and Catherine, for the endless encouraging conversations we had over some good food!

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!

The Lost Bean

I was looking for a cute coffee place to meet up with Amy. Somehow, last minute I was able to find one thanks to Yelp! We met up at The Lost Bean which the name itself is cute! It’s located very close to the border line of Tustin and Irvine.
The Lost Bean

It’s an area that I have yet to explore surprisingly. I don’t think people know about this place only because I don’t know how no one has ever brought up The Lost Bean before! So it is in this plaza where the stores are old fashioned with coned roof tops like castles. It stands out when you’re driving by the area.
Tustin

The Lost Bean has a mom and pop shop feel to it where there is a comforting feel to the place and even from the interaction of ordering drinks. The set up of the place is pretty creative. You go to the “LOST” area to order drinks. Then to pick up your drink, you go to the “FOUND” section.
Inside.

Amy and I both got the Peach Milk Tea and shared a spinach and egg bagel sandwich. The Peach Milk Tea tasted healthy and refreshing. The sweetness of the drink reminded me of those Korean peach drinks that kids usually drink. The breakfast sandwich definitely made me feel healthy especially because of the spinach that they packed in.
Drink and food.

The Lost Bean has two sections that are connected. The left side of the store is where you order and you can sit there too. It’s a tad bit cramped but I like the lay out of it. Then to the right of the shop is where there’s more seating arrangement like mini couch area, high bar stools and long tables.This area is where they do wine tasting and classes that take place throughout the week. Cool, huh? The Lost Bean definitely has a different concept of how they carry themselves compared to various coffee places. It makes them unique and stand out easily from coffee chains. I’m glad to see a coffee shop like this one nearby!
The other side of The Lost Bean

Thanks Amy for checking this place out with me! By the way, you need to check out the wedding dress store in that plaza!

True Food Kitchen

True Food Kitchen has been in Newport Beach for about 3 years. I heard a lot of mixed reviews about this place. Good and bad. I wasn’t that eager to try the place out but my sister is into fancy healthy food. So my family and I went there on a Saturday night. Saturday night es no bueno. Our wait was about an hour and fifteen minutes. I believe they do not take any reservations. First come first serve basis.
True Food Kitchen

As we waited, I just re-read through the Yelp reviews. It got 4 stars but comments were kind of all over the place. Even after the hour and fifteen wait, I couldn’t figure out what I wanted. Nothing seemed greatly appealing to me. I just had my sister order for the family.

Once we got seated we got drinks since they were pretty well known for their refreshing and healthy drinks. I first got what the waitor said was his favorite which was The Natural. Oh man, his favorite became my least favorite. Why did I order his favorite? I like to try other people’s favorite because it may become my favorite. But that in particular was a mistake. It was too natural for me. Way too natural. The Natural is basically ginger, agave, and soda. After sharing the drink, we all decided it was a no go.

So I switched to Green Arnie which is matcha green tea and honey lemonade. This was definitely a lot better but the powder of the green tea did not have a good consistency. Overall it was an ok drink. My sister got a popular drink according to Yelpers, the Medicine Man. It has a mix of sea buckthorn, pomegranate, cranberry, black tea, and soda. It was better than the Green Arnie.
Medicine Man & Green Arnie

In general, I don’t drink anything fancy with my meal because I like to keep it simple with water. But I decided to get a fruity drink since True Food Kitchen is known for their drinks. But. Never again will that happen. The Natural was too carbonated that it hurt the throat. Green Arnie tried too hard to be a healthy drink that it wasn’t flavorful. Medicine Man wasn’t the man I wanted him to be but he was definitely the best out of the three.

For appetizer we ordered a gluten free Albacore Escabeche. It’s a plate of citrus, avocado, cilantro, chili and scallion. Presentation was nice as it tasted. My family enjoyed it’s tender meat and it’s fresh taste to it. I tried a bite and couldn’t take it. I’m just not a fan of raw meat. It reminded me of sushi which I’m not too fond of. But hey, my family liked it. So that’s all that matters.
Albacore Escabeche

For the real meal, we got the Roasted Chicken which was enough to share with two people. Eating that definitely made me feel healthy.
Roasted Chicken

We also got the Chicken Sausage Pizza that made me feel even healthier. Nothing tasted greasy at all. It was probably more on the dryer end because of the flat breading of the pizza.
Chicken Sausage Pizza

Lastly, I got this soup of the day kind of thing. It was more of a tomato soup base with a slight smokey taste to it. As a choice of meat, I got jumbo shrimps.
Soup

Will I go out of my way to get True Food Kitchen, again? Nah. Was the food worth it? Eh, not really. I think I’ll stick with Veggie Grill. It’s cheaper, tastes better, fulfilling, and less wait.