orange county

Birthday Extravaganza – Part 2

My coworkers threw me a fiesta! Huge thanks to my department for making this all colorful and having endless amounts of sweets on desk from Snickers bars to donuts to Nothing Bundt Cakes!

Oh and yes, that is a piñata hanging from the ceiling!

One of my coworkers highly encouraged me to take one of those hipster, Pinterest-y pictures with my birthday cake and balloons. It was one hilarious photoshoot taken at work that I could not contain myself. I’m surprised that I didn’t drop the cake!

By the way, the piñata is stuffed with candy! Thanks Eric!

Thanks friends for wearing the party hats and taking a picture with me! Again, many thanks to my department for making my birthday special!

Happy Monday!

Happy 2nd day of March!

Sunny SoCal hasn’t been so sunny for the past few days. It’s been nice to get a new change of weather for once. We got some grey clouds and lots of heavy rain to hopefully cure the drought. Hopefully. Probably not to be realistic.

Anyway, sometimes the gloomy weather can be a damper especially for the start of a new week. I thought I should lift up the mood with this awesome song that has been stuck in my head for the past 24 hours.

One. I love Tegan and Sara. Their music is awesome. Two. I love the cheesiness of this song. How can this song not bring a smile to you?

Note to readers: I have not seen the movie.

Well SoCal residents, I hope this song made you realize how everything awesome. I just wish I could be wearing a cape, put one hand on hip, other hand punched into the air, and fly away

The Last Bookstore

Yes! I can also finally check off The Last Bookstore from my Unofficial LA Bucket List! They are known as the largest bookstore in California with 20,000 square feet of space! They have more than 250,000 new and used books! Can you believe that? If not, you will have to check out the store to believe it!

I can be at this bookstore for hours! There were books literally everywhere. It’s not even a joke. You will not be bored of all the colorful books and artworks that cover this bookstore. Here’s the plan for your weekend in downtown LA. After checking out The Bradbury Building, I highly suggest you to take a 6 minute walk to The Last Bookstore on 453 South Spring Street in Los Angeles, California. As I mentioned in my previous post, at some point treat yourself to some food from Grand Central Market which is nearby.

The Bradbury Building

In my head, I have an unofficial bucket list of places to check out in the LA area. The Bradbury Building has been on my list for the longest time and I finally got to experience it! If this place looks familiar, it’s because it’s been in plenty of movies. In particular, it was in my favorite indie movie, 500 Days of Summer. This building was at the end of the movie where Tom had an interview with his dream job and met Autumn.

We were only allowed to go up one flight of stairs but we weren’t able to actually walk around the floors. It wasn’t necessary to explore upstairs because the architecture from ground zero was amazing enough. The geometry of the structure and the detailed iron work on the elevator and the railings made me speechless. Once you walk into this quiet yet powerful building, you will be taken aback by its beauty.

Lewis L. Bradbury, a gold mining millionaire, wanted an extravagant building to be constructed. He hired George Wyman to be the architect of creating this $500,000 (now worth more than $11 million) masterpiece that was built in 1893. Currently, the building is the headquarters for the Los Angeles Police Department’s Internal Affairs and other government agencies. For more information about The Bradbury Building check out Wikipedia.

Yes, I just gave you a link to Wikipedia. It was actually pretty resourceful.

To see the building in person, go to 304 S. Broadway in Los Angeles, California. After visiting the place, treat yourself out to all kinds of food at Grand Central Market which is across the street from The Bradbury Building. Literally, they have all kinds of food in there.

Thanks Linda for being a tourist with me at The Bradbury Building. I hope you were in awe of it as much as I was.

 

The Crookie

Someone on Facebook shared a link about making crookies. Like everyone else I said, “Say what? What’s a crookie?”. Crookie is half croissant and half cookie. What a crazy concept, huh? I know, I know.

It was not a good idea to have seen a crookie at midnight. Somehow so quickly, I was craving for one at night in the dark under my covers. It was one depressing night as I was hungry for a crookie. I had to sleep my hunger away.

I made time to bake some crookies the weekend after I discovered them. They were overall pretty easy yet a tad bit messy to make. I just bought a roll of Pillsbury chocolate chip cookie dough and croissant.

I rolled out the dough as flat as I could but it wasn’t that easy. The dough wasn’t soft enough so I couldn’t make it into the perfect triangular shape of the croissant dough. I basically patched the cookie dough onto the croissant.

Then, I rolled them doughs up!

I threw these crookies into the oven for a little more than 13 minutes in 350 degrees. I only say “a little more than” because after 13 minutes, the cookie inside the croissant wasn’t fully baked in my case. I love raw cookie dough (no shame) but it may have been a tad bit too raw. The reason being is probably because in general, these cookies are supposed to be baked in 375 degrees.

I would suggest try baking them for 13 minutes, take a bite and see what you think! If it’s too doughy for you, then stick them in the oven for a few more minutes.

It’s best to try them when they’re fresh because I personally love soft and crispy textures together for dessert. The croissant brought the light crumbly texture but the cookie added the soft and sweet experience out of the crookie. If you eat one when it’s not fresh, it will just taste like your regular chocolate croissant from Starbucks.

Would I make this again? I’m not sure exactly. I’m 50/50 about it. I probably would not because it was a little too messy for me. At the same time, I probably would bake it again so my friends can try. I wanted to share them but I was too scared that it wasn’t going to work out only because it was too good to be true.

Overall, my crookie experience was quite a sweet one. Who knew you could put a croissant and cookie together! Geez, croissants can go with anything like cronuts, croissant sandwiches, and now crookies. Ok, I know croissant sandwiches are desserts but they’re good as sandwiches.

Anyway, I love cookies.

Brodard’s Restaurant

I took my mom out on a date to Brodard Restaurant in Garden Grove. I had to take her here since she has never been! This Vietnamese restaurant is known for their spring rolls. It is mandatory that you order them as appetizer before chowing down on your pho. I repeat, mandatory!

For $7, they will give you 4 rolls or you can get 3 rolls for $5.25. They are called Nem Nöôùng Cuoán aka pork spring rolls. It has grilled pork sausage wrapped in rice paper with lettuce, cucumber, carrots, cilantro, chives, daikon and mint served with house special sauce. That sauce is amaze-sauce. It does not hurt to dunk and drench your spring rolls into it because it is sweet but light in flavor. It is not overwhelming on the palette at all!

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I wasn’t feeling pho that day and I just didn’t want to feel so greasy so I got myself vermicelli with a side of the fish sauce that you pour over. Somehow that fish sauce goes a long way!

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I feel like at all the Vietnamese restaurants I’ve been to, they tend to stuff the vermicelli bowl with a lot of noodles, vegetables, and meat! I even think that I have too much meat left and not enough noodles which is a great thing! With this one, I loved every slurp of the noodles.

I didn’t think I was going to be able to finish the bowl because I was pretty full even from the spring rolls! I couldn’t waste the food and it wasn’t a good idea to take it home because the noodles would get too soggy. So I just had to finish it!

I’ve been to Brodard’s Restaurant numerous times and I have never been disappointed of their food! My mom definitely loved her spring rolls experience. Yelpers love this place as they currently stand with 4 out of 5 stars and with 3500+ reviews! Wew!

Wow, thirty five hundred is a lot. Good for Brodard’s Restaurant!

Side note: Don’t go to Brodard’s Restaurant on Tuesdays because they are closed. My friends and I went there on a Tuesday and found the parking lot surprisingly empty because they were closed. It was one of the most upsetting food adventures ever. You can always go to the fancy one called Brodard Chateau but I would say it’s not worth it. Stick with the regular Brodard’s Restaurant.

After dinner, we walked over to 85 Degrees Bakery within the same plaza. I got myself some bread with chocolate. I don’t even know what kind of bread it was but I saw chocolate chips in them and had to get it instantly. I’ve been loving chocolate chips for some odd reason. Actually, I love sweets in general.

I enjoy taking my mom out to new places and I can’t wait to take her somewhere new again! Any suggestions? Please include dessert or coffee!

 

 

 

 

 

 

So You Think You Can Dance

I am a huge fan of So You Think You Can Dance on Fox. If you’re not too familiar with the show, it is a dance competition to find the best dancer who is competent to dance in all forms of dance ranging from contemporary to Bollywood. The dancers are paired up each week and challenged to a style of dance. The couple with the least amount of votes from the viewers who call in are put in the bottom three. Then they have to dance for their life and the judges eliminates one or two dancers depending on how many left. After rounds and rounds, one dancer is left and wins it all!

I love this show for many reasons because you see dancers go out of their comfort zone to dance in a different styles. Through their athleticism and mental capacity, they execute the dance like they were never new to it. I am always amazed at how well they perform so comfortably on stage.

I can talk about this show for days and watch the performances on YouTube for hours but I won’t do that just yet.

My friend, Cindy, called KIIS FM one night to win any free tickets they were offering. After several attempts, they miraculously picked up her call and she ended up winning two tickets to So You Think You Can Dance Season 11 Tour! Thankfully, she invited me knowing that I used to dance and would extremely appreciate this show.

The show was at the Nokia Theatre at LA Live. Right after security check, I recognized a well-known dancer in the dance community but also a former SYTYCD contestant. With a huge grin on my face yet feeling painfully shy, I approached him and asked hesitantly, “Are you Ch…” I was not even able to say his whole last name. He was able to read me like a book that I was having a fan girl moment. In the background, Cindy yelled sarcastically, “Have some confidence!” The dancer laughed and responded, “Sounds like a personal coach there! And yes, I’m Chbeeb.” I then asked like any other fan girl if we could take a picture together. Thanks to my “personal coach”  for taking the picture.

A crowd of young girls and their moms started to notice that I was taking a picture with someone special. One of the moms even asked me, “Who is he?” Exhilarated by this moment, I quickly said, “He was a former contestant on SYTYCD and he’s in Taylor Swift’s recent music video Shake It Off!”

If you are curious about his performance in T-Swift’s music video, check out the video below. He’s one of the hip-hoppers who is in a silver jumpsuit and does some tutting.

Cindy was not excited as much as I was since she was not aware of this show.

Side note: I fan girl when I see well-known dancers. I would probably get more nervous and excited to meet dancers compared to Hollywood actors.

We were seated in the orchestra section but on the far right of the stage. They were pretty decent seats especially for being free! Could not complain!

All of the performances that night were truly breath taking. There is something about watching people dance so elegantly with so much emotion that makes the viewers feel so vulnerable. Cindy and I definitely had moments where we were moved by the stories shared on stage. I even had quite a few moments where I got emotional and teary-eyed.  So many of the routines were so powerful that it just made me speechless.

During intermission, we explored the theater and found another former dancer on SYTYCD. We met Du-Shaunt “Fik-Shun” Stegall who was the first hip-hop dancer to win SYTYCD Season 10.

It was such an honor to meet him because he paved a new way to inspire other hip hop dancers that it is possible to accomplish as much as he did on the show. Usually, the contemporary dancers win the show but with his win, he turned the show around!

After intermission, the show continued to amaze me and Cindy. The Bollywood and hip-hop dances made us want to dance on stage with them! That obviously did not happen but maybe next time we will consider doing that.

The show ended around 10pm and I was ready to go home to YouTube everything! Here is something that was not on the tour but I really enjoyed this piece from Season 11:

Thank you, thank you Cindy for inviting me to this! I hope we can go again together for the next season! Let’s choreograph something and possibly audition for this show! Ok, see you at the auditions!