I've been so busy unpacking and getting back with my work schedule that I haven't had time to update my blog about my trip to California! First of all, it was absolutely beautiful there. I may be thinking about applying to graduate schools out there. (Hey, a girl can dream right?!) It was everything I remembered and more. The weather is absolutely perfect and the food is amazing. I could live without having to deal with California drivers however. Have your turn signal on? They definitely will not be letting you over!
I'm going to describe my trip in pictures because the text would be way too much to read at once! :) Click read more below to see them!
Let me just begin with telling you about my Grandmother. The first thing she usually asks when you walk into the door is, "Are you hungry?" While on the plane back to Tampa, my mom found a travel magazine in the back pocket of the seat in front of her that had a segment about China. The section about how important food is in the Chinese culture was absolutely spot on with what I had known my entire life growing up with a Chinese immigrant as a grandmother. Instead of greeting someone with "Hi, how are you?" the Chinese instead greet someone with "Have you eaten yet?" So, with that being said, our trip was entirely structured around food.
We got to California around midnight after flying all evening from Florida. My grandmother was up and waiting for us to get home, with potstickers and some bacchoy ready for our arrival. I was never so happy to see potstickers in my whole life!
Day 1 (First full day after arriving by plane):
Poa took my mom and I to get dim sum at her new favorite spot. She is constantly trying new restaurants to find the best deals and the most delicious food. I'm never really sure what it is that I am eating at dim sum restaurants. I just don't ask questions. Everything Poa orders is always delicious.
Dim Sum waitresses bring food around on carts.
The Chinese restaurants in California always give you hot tea immediately. Water was never offered to us but you are able to get some by asking.
(Cha Siu Bao)
After we finished our dim sum we went to a Chinese marketplace down the street to look around at the shops, market, and bakery. My personal favorite items from the Chinese bakeries are Cha Siu Bao (or Chinese Pork Buns) and Coconut Sweet Buns.
After we bought some buns from the store, we stumbled upon a Tapioca drink shop, Tapioca Express. I have never tried boba tea before... can't say I am much of a fan. The tea itself was delicious (Jasmine Milk Tea) but the tapioca balls at the bottom were chewy and a bit strange tasting.
Poa heard all about a new restaurant in San Gabriel, California on her Chinese cable channel, and wanted to try it really bad. She knew the address but could not think of the name off of the top of her head. Once we arrived at the restaurant my mom and I thought we had to be in the wrong place. The title on the door read "Michelle's Pancake House." We were confused to say the least. The restaurant was small and full of straight up Asians. Nothing wrong with that, I just had a feeling I was the only one in the place that didn't know an ounce of Chinese! After looking at the menu for a while we settled on ordering five dishes (we ALWAYS order way too much food). We got one order of their famous homemade noodles with beef in a broth with greens, beef and scallion "pancakes" (DELICIOUS; they are similar to dumplings; the dish in the back of the photo above), one order of wontons, a seaweed w/ garlic salad, and pig's feet (Poa wanted them... I wasn't adventurous enough to try them!) All in all it was a very yummy meal. Better yet? The tab came only to around $23.00!!!
Next we went to the San Anita Mall. I fell in love with H&M, a store named Foreign Exchange, and the yogurt company Dolci Mango.
That night was the Glee Concert :) It was beyond amazing. I have a ton of pictures and videos from it, but I will just post a link to the video already on Youtube of one of my favorite songs of the night: Glee Live Gaga Performance. Watch it and love it!
I was reunited with my cruise bff Rachel on this day! I met her on an Alaskan Cruise in 2007 & we have kept in touch ever since. She lives in the Valley in California and I am originally from Tampa, FL. About as far away as you can get! She picked me up around noon and we went on a sporadic trip to Venice Beach for a few hours.
We had to keep up the matching sweatshirt tradition (duh!) After, she drove me to her college to show me the campus & then we went to a local student favorite, Kc's Crepes, for a late afternoon snack.(Yum!)
Our day began with eating lunch at Sharky's, an organic Mexican food chain. I always have to get my fresh Mexican fix every time I'm in California & this definitely satisfied it! The lunch of Day 4 is NOTHING compared to the dinner however. We had a Chinese banquet dinner at New Capital Seafood. Mmm... I miss that restaurant already!
From Center L-R. Outer: Spicy Eggplant, Peking Duck, Chow Fuen, another Duck dish, Fried Tofu, Fresh King Crab. Inner: Green Beans and Bamboo Shoots.
We went back to the New Capital Seafood restaurant for Dim Sum at lunchtime. Once again, we ordered and ate too much, but it was worth it! For dinner we went to the healthiest joint around, In-N-Out! (haha, jk!)
These burgers are so worth the extra calories! My cousin James ordered the Double Double with everything, my cousin Lauren just a Grilled Cheese, my uncle chose the Original with no onions and my mom, aunt and I ordered the Original with Grilled Onions.
This famous ice-cream spot is located 5 minutes from my family's house in South Pas! It is tradition to go every time I am in California & I wasn't going to let this trip be the one to end my streak!
Needless to say, Lauren (my cousin) and I could not finish our ice-cream treats, but they were both really yummy. I ordered "The Raymond" (One scoop vanilla with hot fudge and one scoop chocolate with caramel sauce) and Lauren ordered the Chocolate Brownie with Vanilla Ice-Cream.
The next day my Mom and I sadly had to leave to go back to Florida at 6 AM! I loved every second of my trip & I hope you enjoyed my post about it. Clearly, I was on vacation mode when it came to food intake. I have been cooking healthy meals the past few nights since I have been home to make up for it! I will be posting the recipes soon :)