V-day lovin’

Whew! Glad that week is over but I had an amazing time and enjoyed singing with new people!

Since every day is like Valentine’s Day (cheesy, yes, but true!) and because I’m weird and don’t really want to do V-day any way… Last night was perfect.

It was pajama pants and slippers, cod, Mac n cheese, wine from the cellar (by cellar I mean the cardboard box in the closet under the stairs, lest you think I’m classy) great conversations, and Bones and New Girl. The perfect night!

My man got my favorite sweet, chocolate covered pretzels, and picked me up a muffin for breakfast 🙂 He’s the best.

And I used the faux holiday as an excuse to gift — I made a hardcover Shutterfly book of our trip to Japan! It came out gorgeous, and I love the way the pics on the cover and backcover look. Super happy about that! I think he liked it!

Tonight I return to the gym. My self esteem requires it.

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These are the biggest asparagus I’ve seen. Holy steroids, Batman!

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But I am already doing this!

In order to boost flagging tourism after the nuclear disaster, earthquakes and tsunami, the Japan Tourism Agency has proposed a bold plan. They’re going to give away 10,000 free round-trip tickets.

Good Morning America says that the catch is that would-be travelers will need to submit a detailed travel plan, and, more importantly, write a review of their time in Japan and post in online.

The post ( found here) states that the funds aren’t approved yet and this wouldn’t happen until April. Also, the bloggers would get a free plane ticket but pay for their own food and hotel.

Still… Vincent and I are here now, in this post-earthquake world, and are testimony to the fact that it’s safe. And the tuna is delicious.

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Not only that, but we have seen other tourists (read: awkward white people) out in the city. Mostly near the temple yesterday, but a few elsewhere. A nice Australian man pushing a stroller asked us what tacoyaki was right before we bit into the octopus-filled fried carb balls. He declined, moved on and we haven’t seen him since.

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Oh! And there was a group of tourists in line behind us to get into the maid cafe. German, maybe?

This probably is a fraction of the normal number of tourists, but the place is not completely bereft.

It is safe. The city is lovely, the temples are grand, and it’s kind of nice being two of fewer tourists around.

Dinner: French onion soup

Yes, it’s summer and yes, it’s hot outside.

But it cooled down to the 50s and soup seemed like a good plan. Plus, I love onions. And the burn of the onion afflicted everyone else in the room but me, which must mean…

I’ve developed a super power that allows me to chop onions without crying!

Life-long goal achieved!

Just kidding.

Boyfriend made cod, cooked in a pan with butter, lemon juice and a teeny bit of imitation white truffle sauce. Mmm.

And I bought green beans from Henry’s Farmers Market, boiled in a pot with garlic salt, pepper and Italian herbs.  It all came out incredible. Especially the fish. Flaky and soft, sweet and light. Great job.

The beans were tasty, too, but they cooled down very quickly once I took them off the stove. Not sure how to keep them warm on the table for longer.

Either way, the meal was a serious success.

Onions in a ridiculously large pot.

 

Washed and ready to cook.

 

Making crusty bread from tiny bread rolls and melting cheese in the oven.

 

Clearly that fish is not ready to eat yet.

Beef broth has been added.

 

Ding! The green beans are done!

 

French onion soup

 

A little blurry, but not bad. I should add that our recipe comes from AllRecipes.com. Just search “French onion soup” and pick the highest rated recipe.

Bon appetit!

I ate this: quail egg shot

At dinner last week at my very favorite sushi restaurant, a bunch of us decided to do quail egg shots.

Why, you ask?

Because we can!

And it really wasn’t bad! I didn’t taste it much because I took it like a shot, but I was told the shot glass contained a quail egg, some onions, soy sauce and hot sauce, masago (the tiny orange fish eggs) and some sort of squid? After I swallowed the egg I tasted some of the hot sauce on my tongue. Next time I’ll have to try keeping it in my mouth for a little bit to see if the experience is any different.

If you’re interested in making your own and you know where the heck to buy quail eggs, click on this link.

Cheers!

This is a quail egg shot. Bottoms up!

Farmer’s Markets are the best (or, my new addiction)

The other day I stopped at a Farmer’s Market, on something of a whim.
And, you know, to support local farmers, eat healthier, all the usual suspects.

But I think this is the beginning of a habit.

The Farmer’s Market where I ended up is small. It only took a few minutes to make my way around the booths and decide what I wanted.

I was surprised to see fish there. And oysters, clams and mussels! I asked, and the surly man in the tent said they come down from Washington and Oregon. I bought some clams, but I feel like if I’m buying from a local market, the food really should be local.

I also picked up a bunch of dandelion, lettuce and strawberries, and was given a bunch of tiny zucchinis to try in the salad. They were picked with the flower still attached. The very kind farmer-man said to eat them chopped up in salad, or to grill or pan fry.

And the strawberries! Can I tell you about the strawberries? They were AMAZING. So sweet, delicious, perfect and ripe. And big, organic and local. From just the next town over. I may have force-fed a my coworkers some of these strawberries.

I am already excited to go back next week!

If you’re interested, and you live in CA like me, you can find the farmer’s markets on this website.

Happy shopping!

Dinner: Oysters on the halfshell

Seafood Watch Program | A Consumer’s Guide to Sustainable Seafood | Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Download their app! Do it now!

This is a great thing to have with you when you go to a seafood restaurant. Unless, like in my case, your phone gets no service inside the seafood restaurant.

Either way, you can look up types of fish, the things that are in season and good to eat, and know you are not harming the environment or our lovely oceans with your choices.

My new love of oysters is made stronger by knowing they are highly sustainable, usually hand-picked and delicious.

I guess I’m something of an oyster purist. I like just a little lemon squirted on before I pour them into my mouth. And yes, I chew and savor the taste of salt water. Yum.

Let me say, too, I can’t figure out why the hell some of my photos come out normal size (such as the one below taken with my cell phone camera) and others (like the earlier ones taken with a real honest-to-god camera) come out teeny tiny. Any experts out there who can help??

This was so good.