Posts Tagged 'PERSONAL'


I made these for the kids and their moms before we all trooped off to see Cirque du Soleil Michael Jackson, the Immortal Tour. We scored good prices and tickets from TravelZoo, which took us all the way to the FRONT ROW! If you haven’t seen the show, you must. They were amazing and the music of course took us back to our elementary school and teenage days of watching Michael Jackson marathons on MTV. We were out of our seats for half the show, dancing along to Thriller, Bad, Beat It, They Don’t Care About Us and many more favorites.


Spring rolls are one of my favorite foods of all time. They are so easy to make, tastes so fresh, and incredibly healthy to eat all the time! My mom use to pick herbs from the garden, just throw them all in a basket and put them on the dinner table. Julienne some veggies like fresh lettuce, cucumbers, jicama, carrots, add whatever meat or fish you’re making that day,  and voila…a spring roll. She usually makes a fish sauce for dipping, but I tend to prefer peanut sauces with spring rolls.

I’ve been wrapping spring rolls my whole life, and I have a few ways of doing it. My old favorite was just having my wet rice paper on a small dish, throwing everything into the middle lined with good fresh lettuce leaf without the rib, and fold in the sides to not have any open ends until you bite into them. This is my dad’s way of rolling them because he makes the BIGGEST spring rolls filled to the rim with everything and everything. He also says that he gets lazy and doesn’t want to roll a lot so just do a few enormous ones to save time. I learned to love that way of rolling from him, but for photography and aesthetic reasons, this open ended way by Steamy Kitchen is much prettier!

I usually make a peanut sauce with hoison on the stovetop learned from Ravenous Couple because I LOVE Bo Bia and they haven’t let me down on a recipe yet… but Jaden of Steamy Kitchen caught my attention on my Feedly blog roll with her recent post on Vegetable Spring Rolls and in particular, her feature of The Blender Girl’s Orange Almond Sauce for Vietnamese Spring Rolls [her cookbook is a bestseller on Amazon]. Sorry, that was a lot of links, but I’m a firm believer in citation due to law school. The sauce is easier to make because you don’t have to heat anything up. Instead, you can use a blender or food processor to mix all your ingredients. I made some adjustments to the sauce to cater to my taste: I used regular JIF peanut butter instead of almond butter [because I just love the pure peanut taste], and I almost doubled the amount of peanut butter from the suggested amount, and I used less lime juice. The sauce is quite thick with just 1/4 cup of water, so I added little bits of water as I blended until I was happy with the consistency. 




November 03

We took a sunset hike at Peters Canyon. It was a wonderful day.





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July 21

Yelp Elite organized an event at the OC Fairgrounds today. They let us all in to have bites from some of the places inside the OC Fair. Afterwards, we got free admission into the fairgrounds for the day. I wandered through the fair early in the morning and got this much softer and quieter view of the normally insane fairgrounds.



fried oreos










This nice man joined me at the table I was sitting across from this hamburger stand. He asked about my camera, and then told me that this stand belonged to him. He and his wife were so sweet and he even showed me the behind-the-scenes of all these food stands at the fair. They work so hard year around, travelling from fairground to fairground, setting up each time to make this business work.


August 27

some fun images of our night out at the goat hill tavern in costa mesa




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February 13

Some random images I took this month on my phone. My new favorite app is Mytubo, an Android version of Instagram for iphone. I think it’s actually better than Instagram in the toycamera effects, and coupled with my awesome phone camera, it’s pretty much some really random images from snippets of my life.

breakfast of champions: two eggs with soy sauce, toast drizzled with honey, and G7 viet coffee

he thinks he’s 8 years old

egg drop – it was a late night

drunken art – can’t keep my EYE off of you

girls just wanna have fun

she can pick up ice with chopsticks!

new haircut

no bleaching, my hair is still black!

bruxie waffles

bun bo hue, a weakness of mine

gel nails last

ingredients for thai food

new vsx line

ranchito market

fruit juices

February 01

My friend Jaime is from Equador. He has an amazing real estate business in Long Beach. He is an incredibly picky eater…until he met me. I introduced him to Vietnamese food and we have a special bond with seafood. His wonderful girlfriend Adi threw him a great party. We ate the most amazing flan cake, drank tequila til i could barely salsa anymore, and partied til the wee hours of the night.

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December 25

I made plans to go visit one of my favorite girls in San Francisco and it turned out to be the biggest eating frenzy with friends from all over meeting up! Lillian is in SF, but I called Tien, my cousin to see if she would be down for a fun trip and join us. She of course said yes, which is already enough to make me so happy.  First things first: dim sum. I never go to SF without eating dim sum. It’s what we do. In Orange County, you can’t visit without eating Vietnamese food because that’s what we do well. In SF, you eat Chinese food because that’s what they do well. Shanghai Dumpling House is now my absolute favorite place for dim sum right now, mostly for the egg puff pastry. I can eat about 10 of those in one sitting, it’s so good. I also love love the spicy wontons, lionshead meatballs, green onion pancake, and of course, xiaolongbao.




Delicious egg puff and spicy wonton with peanut sauce


The biggest boba cup I have ever had. Oh, and there’s milk pudding inside as well. Yummers. We need one of these in Orange County…and one is probably popping up as I speak.

On top of that, right before the trip, I found out my girl Tam from law school is visiting family in SF as well!! She flew in from DC the same day as me, and got our other friend Erica to come out as well. We met up at Kokkari Mediterranean Restaurant and basically tore the place up by being at least 5 octaves louder than all other tables around us. Oh, and 3 free desserts is the cherry on top.
















December 12

I never talk to anyone at the gym although I do Group X classes and never wear headphones. I keep to myself, finish my workout in an hour and go on my way. One day, I attended a zumba class with T that nearly made me pass out. It was so intense and fun, I looked up where else he teaches. Little did I know that I would make so many fun friends that also love T’s class, zumba, dancing, and eating! Natali hosted an international holiday party for all the zumba peeps, and we all brought dishes from our ethnic backgrounds. We had Vietnamese egg rolls and fried rice, Filipino pork/chicken adobe,  Brazilian chicken salad with potato chips, Japanese sushi, Mediterranean fried balls, Mexican tamales with rice and beans, and of course, tons of desserts.  After the meal, I felt like going to zumba just to work off what I ate. Here are some of the peeps I work out/dance/party with on a daily basis…

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