Monthly Archives: July 2011

kelly & aida are up to no good

So I apologize – I haven’t written a post for a good two weeks. I will also admit that the next few posts are more a recollection of what has gone down this summer, and a blatant excuse for me to upload photos of my life. So deal with it.

Kelly and Aida’s To Do List:

1. Grab fresh Tartine Bread, delicious cheese, wine, and chill out at Dolores Park (and also discover that the safest people to buy edibles from appear to be black transexuals. Yes, people do walk around the park openly selling “treats”)

We got olive bread which had other spices like rosemary in it, and a country bread. Both were perfectly crisp on the outside and light, chewy, but also fluffy on the inside. We indulged in an interesting red wine called Zweigelt 2008 – a very fruity Austrian red wine with the most adorable bottle (image below for your pleasure) that had a bottle cap top. Who knew we would find ourselves asking people for a beer bottle opener for a wine bottle? Enjoyed the creamiest goat cheese (almost butter-like) and beet-infused cheddar cheese on the side. The beet cheddar would first hit your palette with a wave of beet, and then slowly subside into a creamy chedder taste. Seriously fun.

2. Eat Ethiopian Food

…just because.

The real reason is I just haven’t had it before, so there you go. Nothing much to it, other than delicious, delicious, messy hands, delicious. We ate at Axum Cafe.

We had the vegetarian platter with a center of Tibsie Lamb: tender lamb slices tossed with jalapeno peppers, onions, garlic, tomatoes, and Ethiopian spices.

3. Make no-butter lemon scones as offerings to the gods

No explanation needed (I will admit we’re in a slight debt to Mother Nature, so yes to slightly guilty feelings). They were lush and tasted even better with fresh boysenberry jam.

4. Walk in the Dyke March

Forget the gay parade. This is where it’s at.

Of course, must be performed with your friend in a Sriracha Chili outfit and your own boss dressed as a chocolate bar.

Chocolate Bar got jealous of Sriracha getting all the attention, so she ran around screaming: “YOU ONLY LIKE ME WHEN YOU’RE ON YOUR PERIOD!” The result: a giant hug from a sympathetic supporter.

5. Go to a Farmer’s Market…and consume an entirely inappropriate (but awesome) food item

…in the form of a fresh coconut. AMAZING coconut meat, AMAZING coconut juice. Canned coconut drinks? Hells no.

Castro farmer’s market.

The sick mushroom guy who had bought a few coconuts for himself. We caught him in the act and asked him if we could buy a coconut from him. He acquiesced. #tropicswin

6. Go to a Graffiti Arts Festival

A collection of free spray cans, boards, and aspiring artists. We let our emotional rage out onto a piece of board – by writing our names in girly font. Have no fear: the Ivy League was represented well.Kite making & graffiti.

7. Represent the foodie population at Critical Mass

Originally founded in San Francisco in 1992, Critical Mass is held on the last Friday of each month. Bikers gather together at a single location and then take over the streets of the city, aiming to block cars and spread the biking + environmental love. We would either take over at least one side of theroad, sometimes the entire thing. We biked for almost two hours and Most Memorable Moment goes to biking through two tunnels.

Key phrases in addition to general whooping and hollering:

“BIKES. BIKES. BIKES.”

“GET A BIKE.”

“TEN FOOT RULE, TEN FOOT RULE.”

“WE LOVE BIKES.”

“GO VEGAN.”

“DOWNSHIFT.” (only for those who have single gear bikes. NOT us.)

“EAT CEREAL FOR BREAKFAST.”

“CARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRS.”

“#*$)(@#*%&!!!(*@)#($*@)*#$&~!!” (when a car or a pedestrian stupidly tries to break through the bike mass)

GET NAKED AND GET A BIKE.”

Susan warned me.

Posing with bagels and bikes.

Naked bikers. Curiously only men. Had a pleasant conversation with one about my pink tights and green hat ensemble. Only one question remains unanswered: Does it hurt? 

The route that no one followed.Epic.

Groups would go into the middle of a large, busy intersection and then began swarming in circles, a la Animal Behavior 101.

8. Get up ridiculously early to celebrate/mourn the bittersweet ending of a phenomena

You know where it’s at.

Whistling the HP theme song while biking to the theater is true commitment.

Finito.

Leave a comment

Filed under chocolate, cooking, creativity, entertainment, food, food market, touring

nutella oreo walnut chocolate chip cookie. aka: the stud

“Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best — ” and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.
-A.A. Milne

This is an older recipe of mine that I came up with during the school year, and it’s funny to look back at it because this was the birth of my cooking interest. I was in denial – but look how things have changed.

So for memories sake, I’m posting the recipe on here. I will also be posting more recipes and photos on here.

I also got to reflect on what was so inspiring about cooking. It’s the value of creating: of fully living life through the ingredients and living the human being’s dream of transcending habits and limitations.

I remember wanting to make something like this, but couldn’t find a recipe for it. And then I remember the consistent question: Why not just do it yourself? Why not do what you want?

So hells yes, here is my first creative endeavor and my first real cooking experience: Nutella Oreo Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies (basically, everything I love)

2 1/8 cups of all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

2 eggs

1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup white sugar

1/2 cup nutella

10 oreos

3/4 cup walnuts

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Directions

1. Mix baking soda, salt, and flour in the medium sized bowl.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

3. Mix the brown sugar, white sugar, and the butter together until smooth in the large bowl.

4. Add in the vanilla extract, nutella, and eggs until smooth.

5. Add in the dry mix from the medium sized bowl into the large bowl and stir until just mixed. Add in the chocolate chips.

6. Then add in the oreos (break them up into small pieces) and walnuts. Do not mix in the oreos too much, they should still stay chunky.

7. Make dough globs of a reasonable size and place them on cookie sheet. Cook for around 15 minutes (you judge how long they should be there for, based on how crunchy/soft you want the cookie). Also, remember that cookies harden when they cool, so they should be slightly mushy when taken out of the oven.

The lone cookie that remains.

2 Comments

Filed under cooking, creativity, food, photography, recipe

doped up on down dog

14 July 2011

An important update I failed to mention a week ago: I successfully managed a headstand.

I was back into my daily yoga routine, Day Three, and was in a typical Vinyasa class. Towards the end, the teacher deemed it “play time” and asked us to do whatever headstand, shoulder stand, or handstand we felt would be fun.

Most of the time I would scuttle up to the wall, place my head between my interlocked hands, and lamely attempt a few kicks in order to bring my legs up into the air. I would fairly quickly resign myself to child’s pose.

But it spontaneously happened in this Vinyasa class. I just did it.

Without hesitation (which has never happened before), I tiptoed quickly up to a dolphin pose, elevating my hips into the air, and then controlled my legs up without effort. And I didn’t even need the velocity of a kick. It was so exhilerating. I seriously don’t need to accomplish anything else this summer – this is all I need to walk away with. This passage between fear and space – it’s crazy.

And I won’t even talk about the analogies it has with life. Although I will digress to tell a little story (SORRY).

During my last swim meet of my swim career, something shifted mentally for me. I had promised myself not to think about quitting until the end of the season. This last season was rough – I was still fairly fit, but something wasn’t clicking mentally for me. I’ve had a lot of mental blocks with swimming, and it plays out a lot on the “field” (swim is all mental: you, yourself, and hella cold water).

However for my last competition, I tried to take an approach that I learned from Srini Pillay’s book, Life Unlocked: 7 Revolutionary Lessons to Overcome Fear. I had just finished reading a chapter on relationships with people (completely unrelated, I know), and the main theme was trust. And then I thought: holy crap, just trust the water. Sure you’ve had an awful season, but trust your 12 years of swim practice. Trust your body to take over for you.

At the same time, I also gave myself permission: it doesn’t matter what you think or do before your race. Just let it happen. You can “accidentally” think negative thoughts. Just be right there on the blocks and in the water. You don’t even need to make an effort to “visualize” yourself winning. Just go.

I love my coach, he was and still is awesome, but I think he didn’t realize I thought way too much. He just needed me to tell my brain to shut up and go.

And it was one of the best swim meets of my life. I had a quasi-Michael Phelps moment on the 100m butterfly, where I out-touched another girl by .02 and won first place. I didn’t go my best time, but I did go my best time of the season, and it rocked.

It’s finding happiness in self-development, baby.

I now take another lovely tangent to this movie I watched last Saturday, re: suggestion of my bestie Brian. The movie is called “Happy”. Guess what it’s about (YES WHY OF COURSE!)

So I won’t go into all the details, but it’s a documentary that everyone (yes, including you) should go see. It’s simple, short, but has a message that we all know is true. Intrinsic happiness is what really matters in the end. You can have extrinsic happiness = status, wealth, appearance or intrinsic = self-development, serving a larger purpose, and truly connecting with people. My headstand? My last swim meet? Those fall under self-development. 

Also, fun fact from the movie. In Japan, there is an official word for death by work: Karoshi. It’s scary to think that in such a highly developed country, the level of happiness is at the bottom. In contrast, a developing country has decided to focus on GNH, not GDP. GNH = gross national happiness. This country is called Bhutan, and they’ve decided while moving economically forward is important, so is maintaining culture, education, and nature. Pretty sick.

One thing the movie did touch upon is flow, which I mentioned earlier as the brainset stream. A good book I’ve heard to read (I’ve yet to look at it) is called Flow by some Hungarian dude Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

That’s definitely a source of real happiness. I mean hey, it’s shows up in brain scans. Your reward center, living off of a source of delicious dopamine, is activated. So there’s no point in denying some strange feeling of happiness. Sure it’s not ecstasy, but it’s better. It’s a consistent contentment. Energies around you shift, your perceptions change, and you lose your sense of self.

So things that generate dopamine in my brain:

  • Yoga
  • Photography

  • Cooking

Pesto omelette with asparagus, zucchini, red onion, chili, and a dollop of sour cream.

  • New Experiences/Traveling

Yes, I am in a sriracha chili costume fighting off a boysenberry.

  • And oddly enough, swimming. I can’t deny that I’m a water baby.
  • Lastly, my research.

I’m starting to trip up when I read articles for my potential research on yoga/meditation programs and their effects on the creative pathways in the brain. I’m reading a book called “The Dao of Neuroscience” (C. Alexander Simpkins & Annellen M. Simpkins), and I think its the only one of its kind, as it was published in 2010. The book presents both a Western view of the brain and its individual parts, but also addresses the Eastern, holistic view of the nervous system.

Ramon y Cajal created the foundation of neuroscience: the neuron doctrine, which identifies a single neuron and its components. Critics stated that this view was too reductionist and atomistic.  Cajal battled it out with the other grandfather of neuroscience, Camillo Golgi. Golgi’s theory of “a diffuse nervous network”, which saw the brain as a continous reituclum of functions, was shunned for being too broad and holistic.

But these kids are bringing them back together.

It’s already crazy to think that neuroscience is the closest humans have ever been  to understanding the mind vs. body dilemma. We’re wrestling with philosophical questions that have dated back as far as Aristotle, Heraclitus, Laozi, Siddhartha… When does mind and energy cross over to the physical brain with its neurons, and vice versa? How do we understand and define God? What is the link between us and the universe? Does dualism still have a role in our lives? Observing the brain and mind intermingling seems to be similar to quantum physics: when measured it’s measurable, but when not measured it becomes immeasurable. 

To physically see the mind in action is complicated. There’s an eastern philosophy of the idea that an object viewed without its context is incomplete. You can look at the individual neuron, but without understanding the function – the moment to moment action it partakes in – you will never understand its true nature. There’s a theory called distributed cognition, which is a study on the brain and how it interacts with environment and people. So it’s important to see the brain on a ton of different levels: neuronal/cellular, fMRI’s, MRI’s, EEG’s, psychologically, physically, philosophically, artistically, and environmentally.

I realize this is me just throwing random things at you guys. But it’s blowing my mind. And the fact that I’ve also chosen to focus on creativity – this is it. Isn’t creativity essentially one of the main factors that separates us and that adorable homeless little puppy with a tie-dye forehead strip that I’m staring at right now? It’s what helped us progress as a human species.We create in every aspect of our lives: science, art, analyzing a text for your junior high school essay, business models, food…

And for me to read reviews and texts on the ancient philosophers’ views on creativity and its origin, but then to now be able to scientifically depict it – it’s crazy. It’s what those old dudes wanted to know for so long. And the human ability to be able to physically change the structures of our brain using just our willpower. It’s like centuries of philosphy, biology, religion, art, invention, and creative genius are building up to this peak. I get freaked out occasionally when I read this stuff. It’s hella trippy.

But I freaking love it. And that’s one of my wine panels.

[Wait, what? You alcoholic.]

I met this coach at the pool yesterday. His name is Greg, and I was so entertained and enthralled by his experiences, that I couldn’t stop chatting with him. We talked about a lot of things: energies, fate, swimming, teaching children, opening one’s heart, amazing Cabernets, his lack of time for painting, etc. He has epilepsy, and just like AJ, had his dreams of becoming a neurosurgeon crushed because his teacher told him: “Greg, you need to rest.” But his life transformed by being a coach, and he loves every second of it.

He told me about a fun little thing he did to really maximize his happiness in life (and btw, I LOVE this analogy because California is a shrine for wine lovers). Imagine your life as a flowing liquid wine (red or white, your pick. I’m obviously a red girl.)  It’s in a wine barrell, held up by curved wooden panels. On each panel are the words of some activity you love doing. And if one of those panels isn’t given enough attention, it becomes shorter, and some of the wine spills out.

Obviously don’t take it too literally, as you won’t always have time for everything. But it’s a really cute concept.

I know this was a really random post. So if anything, just remember to keep your wine panels nice and polished guys.

And go watch Harry Potter Seven. Now.

Daily Nutrition Facts

– I am so bummed that I don’t have photo evidence, but I had a beef brain taco at a legit, greasy Mexican bar in the Mission. Um, interesting texture – a little chewy, a little creamy, a little mushy. You know how lamb has a very distinct, strong flavor to it? (vs. beef, chicken, pork, etc.) Well, so does brain. But not in a good way. Interesting experience, but never again. Especially in my delicious crispy tacos.

– I made a grapefruit & olive oil bread this week

– I also SUCCESFULLY MADE SALMON by stovetop! And a beautiful paprika over-easy egg without breaking the yolk. I experimented with baking salmon with lemon & lavender sea salt as well. Derish!

– Aida and I roasted up some kale chips & rosemary potatoes, while having a maincourse of blueberry peach crumble. Luxurious.

Life Lesson of the Day

I like my pretty little wine barrel. Do you?

1 Comment

Filed under alcohol, cooking, creativity, food, neuroscience, spiritual, wines, yoga

intellectual intercourse

7 July 2011

Before I begin: read an interesting and absolutely pointless article, “Intelligent Intercourse”, in Psychology Today. Unfortunately the link for it isn’t online, but to summarize it’s main points:

  •  “Intelligence is negatively associated with sex frequency” & “a high concentration of teens virgins at the top of the intelligence scale” [oh hi Harvard]
  • “Why? ‘It’s hard to pick apart,’ Chandra says, but the sexual habits of teens might offer a clue…she thinks the smartest kids might hold off on sex because they’re thinking through its potential consequences.” [Yes, that is truly what they are thinking while they are alone in their bedroom with the interweb]
  • “But that doesn’t tell the whole story: The same bright teens are just as likely to postpone relatively innocuous activities like kissing. ‘It’s hard to imagine a 15-year-old wouldn’t kiss a boy because she’s worried about getting pregnant.” [Wait, I was and still am worried about that]
  • “You have to ask: are these questions of opportunity?” […]
  • And the winner is: “People with high executive functioning usually have what’s called a slow life history strategy…they tend to have fewer partners and less sex but more resources to invest in potential offspring.”

Really. Let’s use some fancy neuro vernacular to restate the phrase “Smart kids only want one really smart kid, while dumb kids are the baby pumpers as they are ‘evolutionarily programmed’ to not live long”.

I love that they are trying to explore the phenomenon of socially awkward kids who just need a while longer to “get action” (article’s wording). I do appreciate that someone is concerned, but it’s really, really simple. Ask the Harvard pre-freshman survey.

I would also like to note that I typed up about half of the article. So they really didn’t have a grand conclusion other than “Don’t be an academic!” (again, article wording), which was disappointing.

On a much more serious note:

Susan is gone.

That sounds like she went missing, sort of like when your pet tapir decides to go kite boarding and you start freaking out.

So I’m left to my own devices right now (that sounds sketchy). Susan assigned me a bunch of research projects to do in my own time. I know it sounds lovely to create your own schedule, and it is. But man, she is seriously testing my self-control abilities, which aren’t very good tbh (does not stand for Tribe of Ben Hur, Total Body Hug, or Tampon Béton Hydraulique, Susan.)

My task due for today: create potential models for “chocolate clubs”.

Godiva has one, so does Norman Love, Recchiutti, and our beloved L.A. Burdick’s (MA represent!)

Most have similar deals where you get a monthly package of chocolates for a set price. There can be other exclusive discounts and offerings. Godiva is a little different in that it’s more of a accumulative credit deal, so each purchase adds up points, and each month the customer gets one free truffle of their choice. Obviously, Godiva has the luxury to do this because almost every major city in the world is saturated with Godiva chocolates.

But they’re all pretty standard. That got me thinking on how to make Socola different. What makes Socola stand out from any other chocolate company and made me spontaneously send an email to Susan?

So on an actual serious note:

Socola is adaptable, a sassy stud, a down-to-earth sister, and choc full of heritage. Socola to me isn’t just another boutique chocolate company, nor is it just another “Fair Trade/Eco-Friendly” chocolate bar either. It has its own baller personality. Socola can be high end, but at the same time down-to-earth. There’s some unspoken level of communication that goes on with Susan’s chocolates and packaging that allows them to connect with anyone. They’re adaptable –Socola products fit in at a Midori Club Event but also at a Farmer’s markets.

It’s a company owned by two sisters who were just following a passion they had when they were teenagers. Socola chocolates were once bred in a microwave. After being in the kitchen for more than 70 hours total, I can confidently say there is a hell lot of love in the truffles you put in your mouth. The Socola sisterhood is here to take care of you.

Even more, Socola embodies heritage, a story, and identity. The flavors are inspired by Susan and Wendy’s experiences from growing up in the Bay Area with their Aunties who worked at a nail salon. As a girl with a very unamericanized Korean mother and a quasi-Asian American father, I definitely appreciate how much Socola chocolates embodies the fusion (and clash?) of East and West.

So there, I said it. I’m in love. With a confection.

Daily Nutrition Facts

  • Bfast: bacon baked in the oven: covered them with cinnamon (seriouswin), brown sugar (fail – burned), paprika (win), rosemary (win), sage (not really), flour (murr). Also in my experimentation with cooking eggs: 1) soft-boiled = success! [bring to boil, then boil lid off for 6 minutes] 2)fried eggs [massive fail] 3) scramble = easy, delish 4) omeletes = pretty good
  • Lunch: Salmon Making #2. I didn’t set the house on fire, but only half of it was cooked well, because the thickness was so uneven. Small steps.
  • Dinner: Aida and I made a delicious vegetable (onions, mushrooms, asparagus, peppers), chicken sausage, and cheese savory pie. Topped with basil and tomato. Lush.

Lesson of the Day: I now truly understand Harvard students. We have “long biological clocks”.

1 Comment

Filed under chocolate, food, marketing

swimming upstream

2 July 2011

Who knew July would get here so soon. It’s blowing my mind.

Update: the parental units (also known as mom & dad) are in town!

They’re visiting for a friend’s wedding slash seeing if I’m alive. I haven’t been home since December so their arrival is really grounding. After an afternoon of filming for Socola’s Sriracha Chili telenovela, I was grinning like crazy when I saw them chilling at a table at the Peruvian small plates restaurant called Limon (more on that later).

We had a great conversation for 3+ hours (aka when they kicked us out) – the flow just never stopped. I couldn’t say enough, nor could my Dad or Mom. Obviously expected, as I haven’t seen these guys since February.

I think conversation is an element of creativity. Sometimes it seems hella awkward when it’s impossible to get past “How are you”; sometimes it feels scripted; sometimes it’s very “catch-up”-esque: let me give you a play by play of my life but any more than an hour we’d regress into looking like lost alpacas. Then there are those moments where it just flows.

You could talk for hours, days even (hi caffeine, my bestie). It’s so intrinsically pleasing to be immersed in the conversation – you don’t care about the future result, or what the other person thinks about you, or what the next thing you’re going to talk about is. You’re lost in the moment and time is flying by.

Oh hey, you’ve gotten yourself into the stream brainset.

BRAINSET #3: STREAM

So I’m finally done reading Shelley Carson’s book (which really only should have taken me a day tops). In addition to absorb and connect, the third brainset that she mentions involving a relatively deactivated executive prefrontal cortex (the guy who likes to be all judgmental about your fat intake) is stream.

In my first weekly hour meditation with Susan at the Spiritual Learning Center, I met a guy who was an avid violinist. When I brought up how hard it was to define the creative pathways for my research, he told me he believed creativity develops in those moments when he loses himself in his music: when he doesn’t have to even think about what he’s doing and he improvises without hesitation. Awareness and action are one. Self-consciousness disappears and time distorts.

That’s stream for you.

Athletes find stream. Pilots find stream. Engineers find stream. Bookworms find stream. Someone doing the dishes can find stream. Videogamers find stream. When I am cooking, I find stream (which is where I can get my crazy ideas like making taro gnocchi [WIP] or dark chocolate lemon zucchini cookies brushed with cacao nibs). “Kelly get the basics down first before you go ape on us.” – Susan Lieu

My baby creation.

It’s all about doing something that a) is challenging enough b) have appropriate expertise (implicit memory) c) intrinsically motivates you.

What’s going on in the brain? Think of it as sister to the absorb brainset: both are interacting with the environment in the same relaxed manner, but absorb is an nonjudgemental intake of information, whereas stream is a nonjudgemental interaction with the environment.

Copyright Shelley Carson 2011 (Your Creative Brain)

Things to note: 1. The left prefrontal center is deactivated 2. The reward center is continuously, mildly activated (because the task you are doing is rewarding all along – whether someone else recognizes you are doing it right or you feel that you are doing it right) 3. The automatic premotor programs are activated

Carson brings up an interesting question: How come in moments when sophisticated and complex behavior is desired, we would want our executive center (the most recently evolved brain part) to be deactivated? Think Captain “Sulley” Sullenberger, who heroically landed the plane in the Hudson River a couple years ago. He technically didn’t have “time to think”. He had to improvise instinctually. Our explicit memory can only hold up to four chunks of information at once, and can really process one thing at a time. When using implicit memory systems, we are free to improvise and can process many ideas in parallel.

With any activity you do, you can use this information to make what you’re doing intrinsically motivating. The activity should be an end in itself. You should develop a passion for it. Try tricking your brain into activating its reward center. Break down your task into separate parts and reward yourself mentally for completing each part within a certain time frame. Or just enjoy what you’re doing. Get creative!

One thing that always surprises me is how quickly time flies when I’m doing production. There are many times when we’re speechless, dipping chocolates in time to my Ipod music. We’ll look up four hours later and all say: “Whoa, that was four hours?” I failed to mention that I totaled 30+ hours in the kitchen a couple weekends ago. Friday: five hours for the ganache (although we did reward ourselves with some Johnnie Walker Blue Label shots). We were making truffles for the Father’s Day B-Box: Stout Beer, Johnnie Walker Blue Label, BBQ, and Bacon.

What we took our shots in to celebrate.

干杯!

 Saturday: 9 am – 2 am pure standing.

Sunday: Six hours of cutting and cupping (that sounds slightly illegal)

Monday: I’ve lost track but we did packaging and shipping for some amount of time – HELLO DELIRIUM

I guess this is pretty relevant to my recent departure from my swim team. It’s all about doing what you’re passionate about, because that’s when your best work develops. I was a good, talented swimmer sure; but I had so much more potential and could have gone even further had I loved the sport. But with an attitude of “I want to finish this practice and get the hell out of here” – I wasn’t going to develop myself fully.

I’ve met many people who are involved in their work not because they love it or find meaning from it. They want the reputation, or the cha-ching and bling that comes in the end. But that’s not what stream is about. In stream, the activity is an end within itself. Hopefully you find value from this brainset, and can integrate it into your life. I feel like there was a reason Carson subtly sneaked it into the end of her book. Save the best for last, perhaps?

Daily Nutrition Report [for Thursday]

  • delicious Pho noodles from Pho King. May or may not have involved a scene from Lady & the Tramp, Vietnamese style.
  • Limon Restaurant: a lush restaurant serving fusion small plates. Good but not jaw-dropping, especially for its prices. Here is the line-up of the night:Ceviche mixto: fish, calamari, shrimp. I thought was pretty good, although I’ve never had ceviche before.
  • Ensalada rusa: traditional Peruvian salad with root veggies, chloco, peans & green beans tossed with a zesty creamy mustard dressing. The beets with the dressing were bomb.
  • Paella: I do not lie – nowhere near as spiceful, fresh, savory, & delicious as this kid.
  • Cicharron de Pollo: This was a WIN. Chicken marinated in soy sauce, garlic, aji amarillo. So, so good.
  • Delicious coconut, passionfruit, and raspberry sorbet.
  • Barrow 10 yr Tawny Port – fruity, rich, yet lighter on the palette than most ports.
  • THIS was also delicious: real cream puffs dusted with sugar powder and shaved almonds. Also known as Profiteroles.

Lesson of the Day

Find that stream in everything, baby.

ChocEDU

Inspired by alcoholEDU, I have decided to start a section address the more important needs of our nation’s college students: appreciation for good chocolate.

From Neococoa [with an infusion of bad humor]: “Have you ever wondered where chocolate comes from or how it’s grown? [All the time, sometimes when I sleep too. It’s scary.] Believe it or not, it actually does grow on trees. A small tropical tree called, Theobroma cacao, know as, “cacao.” (ka-KOW) Theobroma is Greek and means, “food of the gods.” [Can I get a hells yeah?] The Cacao tree is native to central and South America, but is grown commercially throughout the tropic region [Hong Kong, where you at?]. Africa is the largest producer of the world’s cacao at 70%.[next holiday = done]

Neococoa is another chocolatier in the Bay Area. Christine Doerr, Miss CEO, decided to start the company with the help of the brilliant La Cocina program in Frisco (a program that helps low income [minority, female] food entrepreneurs). She goes for the more European-style truffle (Socola is more American, because of the hard chocolate shell): only ganache, old-school style. Here are her main flavors:

My personal fav? Definitely the almond butter & smoked salt. Roasted almond butter, applewood smoked sea salt, bittersweet chocolate ganache, cocoa powder. The almond gives your bite a smooth, nutty aftertaste that melts in your mouth. Although I could have done with a tad bit more sea salt, overall a very satisfying dirty deed.

Leave a comment

Filed under alcohol, chocolate, cooking, creativity, food, neuroscience