Cabo Day 2: Riding Camels In the Desert by the Sea.

Camels are amazing creatures. They can carry up to a ton on their backs, walk through the desert with virtually no food or water for days, and have the most adorable 2 layers of eyelashes that adorn their eyes. Today, I had the honor of riding one.

Camel & I!

We boarded a van to the Cabo San Lucas Dolphin Aquarium, took another bus out to the heart of the Baja Californian desert. There, we hopped onto rugged terrain 4X4s and held on for dear life. Our guide, Chicas, was downright hilarious. He sure loves his tequila!

Hello.

Moi on the 4X4

Chicas took us on quite a tour of the flora and fauna of the desert. The desert was both scorching and dry – it had me burning and actually missing the humidity of Hong Kong. Chicas took good care of us, supplying us with plenty of water and educating us on all sorts of interesting things about the cactus and other flora fauna. I had absolutely no idea that the dragonfruit is from cactus, nor that the flower on the cactus only blooms for 24 hours a year.

Farrah & I in the desert!

 

Cabo’s desert is located right alongside the ocean, and the view is absolutely amazing. We hopped back onto the 4X4, which delivered us to our prime destination for the day: Camel Land! Well, the beautiful white sand beach alongside the ocean where the camels reside. We took pictures with a particular friendly camel who gave us kissies, donned Arabian style helmet/head drapes, and climbed onto the back of a camel. Our camel ride was amazing. The camel’s fur is so fuzzy, and when we went fast through the dessert I could sense its powerful muscles of steel pulsating under me. The ride alongside the ocean was such a blast!

Camel King and Farrah & I!

Camels!

We topped off our camel riding expedition with a traditional Mexican linner and tequila tasting! The latter did not end so well for both Farrah and I…

Oh lord, tequila!

I love Cabo!

M

From LA to Cabo

After a lovely night at Motel 6, we got into our trusty little Nissan Versa and headed to LAX. We sadly handed back our cute little rental, checked-in, and got ready to embark on the next segment of our journey: Cabo.

Warm, Beautiful, and Dreamy Cabo

🙂

Cabo is a heavenly escape. Everyone’s out to have a good time, and the vibe cannot possibly be more relaxed and mellow. We got settled in our lovely all-inclusive resort room, feasted on Mexican buffet, and took a lovely stroll down to the water. The waves took us by surprise, and both of us were soaked to the hip. We spent the rest of the evening stretched out in ocean blue hammocks by the beach, enjoying the gentle breeze that lapped at our faces.

Zen mode.

Farrah & I!

Night view from our balcony.

Beautiful start to a beautiful vacation.

M

SoCal Escapades Day 4: SD, Long Beach, to LA

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Time flies when you are having way too much fun. This morning, we packed up our stuff and headed to downtown La Jolla for a last big group dinner. We headed to Bernini’s Bistro, which was extremely delicious, not to mention extremely chic and artfully decorated. Elena, Alan, Farrah, Brian, Dun and I were joined by Brian, Grace, and Kevin for lunch. I haven’t seen Brian or Grace since high school, so it felt so nice to catch up. My lemon ricotta pancakes, a Bernini Bistro signature, were a tad sweet but still delectable.

Goodbyes are always bittersweet. After a lovely lunch, we hugged goodbye and hopped into our car (decorated with yet another parking warning…fail). I pulled out the parking lot, and started our 2 hour journey to Long Beach.

Or…a little shorter than that, thanks to my Asian style speeding. Oops. We arrived in Long Beach by 3, and decided to stroll by the Queen Mary.

Shortly after, we met up with Patrick, Kiwa, Nana, and Chloe at The Pike. We took a ferris wheel, which provided us with spectacular views of the city and the coast. Then, we headed toward a beach. Long Beach is the epitome of a Californian beach town, and I think everyone definitely had a great time. The highlight was definitely our team effort to build two busty sand boobies. Yes…real classy.

Dinner was a heart attack, literally in the number of calories consumed and the epic deliciousness that was Libra Brazilian Steak House in Culver City. Heavily reminiscent of my Fogo de Chao date with Andrea in Philadelphia, the all-you-can-eat Brazilian BBQ meat just kept coming. Their skirt steak, lamp chop, and sirloin were particularly tender and rich when paired with their signature onion vinaigrette. The salad bar was impressive, while the complementary cheese puff bottomless appetizers were to die for.

We followed up our dinner with Sprinkles Cupcakes and Ice Cream back in Beverly Hills. The coffee ice cream paired with the red velvet cone are a match made in heaven.

And of course. What do a good-sized group of Asians do in San Gabriel Valley on a Sunday night? Karaoke. Energy Karaoke of Alhambra was the chosen spot, and off we went.

Our SoCal road trip has been such a blast. Every day has been packed with adventure, and while I find myself constantly sleepy, I love the SoCal vibe, people and food.

Excited for Cabo tomorrow!

M

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SoCal Escapades Day 3: Sunny SD, Coronado Island, and Downtown La Jolla

I love San Diego – the weather, the people, the mellow vibe, the diversity….enough said. It is now 3:56am and I am exhausted beyond words. I’m sticking to my Project 365 regardless, so I will recap with pictures for now. They say a picture is worth a 1000 words. Well, here are 9 to chronicle my day. That’s 9000 words. Kind of 🙂

Group Lunch @ Tofu House

DunDun & I with our Mootime ice creams on Coronado Island!

Farrah & I @ the Coronado Beach!

Funny Picture

Group pic! Dun, Elena, Farrah, Moi, and Manish.

Humongous Sushi Boat.

Group DinDin @ Tadashi Sushi

@ Min Suk Chon 😀

Group Pic @ the end of the night 🙂

Will add in words later. Time to knock out.

M

SoCal Escapades Day 2: The Feast Continues

We woke up, gobbled up Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffle leftovers, were greeted by a parking ticket (damn you Friday morning street cleaning!), and headed out to commence our food journey.

First stop – Sprinkles cupcakes, after Waze led us on a wild goose chase around Rodeo Drive. I was so excited to try out their Sprinkles cupcake ATM machine, and despite Yelp complaints about cards getting declined I had no problem and received my cute Chai Latte Cupcake with one swipe. Very original and creative concept!

Sprinkles Cupcakes ATM!

We walked a bit around Beverly Hills, and then headed to The Milk Shop. Thai tea ice cream macaroons….enough said. Top that with a mint chocolate crunch shake and I was in sugar heaven. I will definitely be back.

MILK!

Delicious!!

Thai Tea Ice Cream Macaroon!

Farrah & I!

Craving some salty foods, we decided to make the 45 minute drive to the White Rabbit Fusion Cafe in Canoga Park. White Rabbit is one of my must-go food places in LA, and since we couldn’t find the White Rabbit Food Truck, Fusion Cafe it was. LA traffic was horrible as usual, but one bite into that delicious, hearty, fatty Pork Tocino (Chicken Adobo for Farrah) with garlic rice, egg cooked just a bit melty, cheese made it all worth it. I paired my burrito with Boba Truck’s Osmanthus Oolong Milk Tea. Soooooo good. Last summer when K & I had our epic SoCal road trip, we stopped by White Rabbit on our way up and ordered every single burrito off the menu. Holy cow they were so good.

White Rabbit. Heavenly Phillipino-Mexican Fusion.

The drive back through 101 and 405 to meet my dear friend George for dinner was not so good. There seemed to be major accidents every few miles, and we were often in a complete standstill. Wonderful. 25 minutes late, we finally arrived at the famous Father’s Office. They carded us at the door, and we were greeted by George . Dinner was tons of fun, with delicious burgers, shoestring fries with garlic ranch, and Magic Hat #9 – a fruity tasting beer from Burlington, Vermont. And of course, George being George. Its nice to see that after 2+ years of not seeing each other, some things never change. 🙂

Group pic @ Father’s Office with ‘Papa George”!

Old Man Wu & I!

After dinner, we made the relatively smooth (despite my horrible navigation skills and Waze going crazy multiple times) 2 hour drive down to San Diego. We met up with my high school friend Alan for drinks and some delicious sushi at Bluefin Sushi. The ex-boyfriend roll was some good stuff! Alan and I have not really hung out since high school, so it was pretty awesome catching up, reminiscing, and chatting about how everyone has evolved since high school. Time flew, and before we knew it was already midnight. We headed together toward UCSD to find my bestie Elena.

Alan & Elena being sweeties carrying our luggage.

Here we are now, camping out in Elena’s new living room. Its been a long, but happy and fatty day.

M

SoCal Escapades: Eating Our Way Through LA

Los Angeles, I have returned…in style.

At 8:30am this morning, Farrah and I boarded the unmarked Vietnamese ‘Low Fare Bus’ parked outside Lee’s Sandwiches, paid $40 cash, and got comfortable for our 5 hour (only!) bus ride down to LA. I came with low expectations, but was extremely impressed. The driver was skilled and weaved like a ninja through traffic. We got a free Lee’s sandwich with our ticket, seats were comfy, and we were able to sit back and watch The Last Samurai. At 2pm, we had already arrived at Chinatown. Impressive, and cheap!

30 minutes later, I was on the road with my cute little Nissan Versa, courtesy of Hertz. We headed towards San Gabriel Valley and embarked on our epic foodie expedition. First stop: Half & Half. Its been a year since we last met, and boy have I missed those adorable fat cups (as adopted by SF Purple Kow), honey boba, and ice milks. I went for #9: iced milk with caramel, pudding, and honey boba. Delicious, although a bit on the sweet side. The honey boba adds that extra oomph and mixes quite well with the pudding.

Farrah and her bobas!

10 minutes later, Henry showed up. It was so nice reuniting with him, and he offered himself up as our local guide and chauffeur for the afternoon. Boba in hand, we headed to Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles. This place is legendary in the foodie world, so I was ecstatic. I opted for the Carol Special and mac & cheese. Dee-licious.

Yum!

Henry & I! ❤

Stuffed to the brim, we decided to head to Rowland Heights for Class 302, named after one of Jay Chou’s most popular songs. There, we sampled their signature strawberry and mango shaved ice. The first spoonful in, I felt like I was back in Taiwan. Perfect, melt-in-your-mouth, authentic Taiwanese shaved ice = heaven. We decided to add some Taiwanese oyster pancakes to add to our developing food baby.

YUMMY!

On the way back, we stopped by 85C Bakery to stock up on delicious baked goods. By the time Henry dropped us back off at our car, we were food coma-ed to the max.  We decided to take a break from food for awhile and headed up to Griffiths Observatory for a breathtaking view of LA.

View from Griffiths Observatory

Farrah & I @ GO

My favorite Star!

We spent the rest of our night walking down Hollywood Blvd looking for our favorite stars, chilling with Batman & the Joker & Bane, and checking out the Grauman’s Chinese Theater.

Bane, Moi, the Joker, Farrah & Batman

First day of LA road trip has been an epic success. Time to pass out!

M

Eating Our Way Through South Bay

Today’s theme: Nonstop gluttony.

From the coveted seasonal salty caramel cupcake at the posh Sprinkles Cupcakes of Stanford Mall to a warm and cozy cup of red velvet latte at Bitter+Sweet, Cupertino’s up-and-coming go-to cafe, my taste buds were having a holiday while I could feel that evil double chin settling in. As I sit here feeling fat and lethargic with food coma…I look back at my day of ceaseless nomm-ing with incredible disbelief. How did I pig out that much?

I started off the day with a big oopsie for lunch. Since I am quite the regular around Castro Street, Mountain View, I’ve never bothered with addresses/directions. Therefore when I decided to dine at Fiesta Del Mar with Betty, I carelessly sent her the first address that popped up on Yelp. At lunch time I nabbed a great parking spot and texted her happily I was almost there. I breezed into the delightful little restaurant and was greeted by a friendly server. ‘I’m looking for my friends!” An awkward pause was followed by an awkward scan around the room. No sign of Betty nor K. The server looked perplexed and said solemnly: “You have no friends here.” What?!

Turns out…I gave them the wrong address. Big oopsie. I hung my head in shame and darted out of the restaurant to drive the 2.3 miles to the correct but incorrect restaurant. By the time I arrived, they were already closed for lunch so I tiptoed in awkwardly to join Betty & K. Thankfully, K already ordered some juicy enchiladas and a packed chicken quesadilla for me. Despite the rather dramatic entrance, lunch was fun and filling. Its always a blast to hang out with Betty, although she seems to bring out my clumsiness. Case in point, the tragic fate of my Sprinkles cupcake (read on for details!)

Next stop was Verde Cafe in Cupertino. Castro Street has a branch too, but I find that store to be subpar in service and milk tea quality, especially since they do not stock Verde’s signature QQ Ramen. Therefore, it was down 85 to my go-to spot in Cupertino. As expected, Betty was wowed by her pudding milk tea with QQ Ramen and Taiwanese style minced pork with rice.

Betty & K on our happy foodie adventure!

We walked off some calories at Santana Row trying out the new Tesla Model S, which was epic with its huge navigation screen and 2 trunks for maximum storage. It was Betty’s first time at Santana Row, so we walked around until we glanced at my watch and realized it was time to go visit our new apartment.

An hour later, we were on the road to Stanford Shopping Center in search of our beloved Sprinkles Cupcakes. K & I purchased 4 – the signature red velvet, seasonal special salty caramel, strawberry, and their special cherry. We devoured all of them on the spot. A mini tragedy occurred when the entire frosting segment of the red velvet cupcake became detached, and a rather large piece slipped from my fingers forever and taunted me from the floor. I was devastated.

Sprinkles, my love!

K in his tiny chair.

 

Gems in a box, clockwise: Strawberry, Cherry, Red Velvet, Salted Caramel.

Betty dropped us off back at Verde a little later. Of course, it was time to eat again. We decided to try out Kong Tofu & BBQ in the Verde Plaza to get our korean fix. I was pleasantly surprised by the delicious small dishes – very delicious kimchi and potatoes, intrigued by their signature purple rice, and downright in love with their short ribs. As my teeth sank into meaty bliss, it was like I was back in Jejudo again. Very authentic, and service was stellar. The owner is a sweet old man who personally goes from table to table to ensure everyone is enjoying their meal, and the check comes with cute little bottles of yakult (a popular Asian yogurt drink). I would say so far, this is the best Korean joint in Cupertino.

Nope. Thats not the end of it. Charlie met up with us at Verde, and we piled into his car to try out Cupertino’s chic new cafe Bitter+Sweet. I must say, I’m loving the vibe of this cafe – posh, modern, with metal chain curtains worked into the decor. They carry Humphry Slocombe ice cream, so no more need for us South Bay-ers to trek all the way up to the City to get our fix. Charlie and I both opted for the delicious red velvet latte which hit the spot with its not-too-sweet and creamy texture, but I hear the Vietnamese coffee ice cream is to die for. I shall be back!

Red Velvet Latte.

I spy with my little eye, Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream!

Mmmm mmm mmm. I feel fatter after recapping all the food that is currently sitting in my belly. And tomorrow, I will be embarking on my SoCal road trip to LA and SD with my massive list of delicious places to stuff my face. Uh oh.

M