If I didn’t know the Impossible Burger was plant-based, I would have never guessed it was meatless! And this is coming from a girl who loves her meat. I’m not about to give up ribs or anything, but it’s nice to know there’s a worthy (albeit pricey) alternative out there. We usually go to the farmers market for lunch on Fridays, and I could get four mexican hot dogs (and a stomachache) for the price of one burger. Def worth it, though.
I thought most of the people flying on Valentine’s Day would be on their way to see loved ones, but the majority of the passengers on my flight were headed to see Bruno Mars. Or at least that’s what their hooligans jerseys led me to believe…
I managed to snap this without getting elbowed in the face by all the asians with selfie sticks. My mom was one of them. Just kidding (she forgot hers at home).
(@ The LINQ Promenade)
I’ll have to make my way back here, if only for Virgil’s Real BBQ. And maybe that cute guy covering Stone Temple Pilots inside.
Pammie, Dennis, Paul and I arrived at the Shake Shack pop-up 30 minutes before they opened, and the line wasn’t too bad. The longest I’ve ever waited in line for food was over 2 hours at Howlin’ Rays in Chinatown, so this 45-minute wait was no bigs. There was absolutely no shade though, so our burgers came with a side of UV! It was worth the tan lines…
Leo took Alicia, Ray and me to this beercade in La Mesa last night. It’s in a nice area with an industrial bar and gorgeous resto next door. Things have def changed since I lived there years ago!
I like their system so much better than other barcades I’ve been to. You exchange a credit card for a tapcard and use it to serve yourself beer and play video games. It beats having to wait in line at the bar for $15 drinks or having to use quarters for the games (ain’t nobody got change for that!). When I turned my tapcard in at the end of the night, it ended up being less than $20 to drink some beers and play a few rounds of Contra, Pac-Man, Super Mario Bros and more. The cashier said I was a cheap date! Boys, don’t all come running at once.
There are five Shake Shacks in LA, but we still ate here three times during our trip! We even schlepped across town with our luggage on our last day to get one last Shackburger and their limited edition Hot Chick’n when we found out we were flying out of the JFK terminal that doesn’t have a Shake Shack. We’re kind of obsessed.
This was our favorite meal of the trip (don’t let the fact that we ate at Shake Shack three times fool you). Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, the waitress came back midway through our meal to give us a second scrape!
Before we knew it, it was time to fly home. Anyone who knows me and my sister knows that we’re complete opposites. She’s a Potterhead, while I’m more Homicide for the Holidays! But we always have fun when we’re together. I can’t wait for our next trip!
Museum day with Pammie and this clown (@ The Broad)
I went shopping for pillows, because I literally only have two in my apartment. My mom was like, what do your overnight guests use? I’m not sure who what she thinks I’m doing in LA, but my life isn’t as exciting as she thinks it is! Pammie and Shi slept over last weekend, and I didn’t have enough pillows for all of us, so my sister had to improvise with the teddy bear I got on Valentine’s Day! 😂 I made it up to her by taking them to Shake Shack twice that weekend. You’re welcome!
Jessie and Abe bought a legit pizza oven for their backyard and hosted their first bumble workshop pizza party of the summer this past weekend.
I’m not sure if it’s because most of my friends are in relationships, or because Jessie’s husband calls me “baby boo” sometimes LOL, but my friends are intent on finding me a baby boo of my own! They set up my bumble profile while I scarfed down breakfast pizza, chamango paletas and hell or high watermelon. I obliged them and swiped right on a few “entrepreneurs” (srsly, what do you do for a living?), but only the girl can initiate the convo within 24 hours after you’ve been matched before the connection disappears forever. Seeing that I never approach guys first and wait till the eleventh hour to do anything, this may not be the best dating app for me haha. I may need a few more bumble workshops thinly disguised as pizza parties to convince me otherwise!
It took me 4 hours to drive down to San Diego for Christine’s baby shower, and I arrived with less than an hour left to partake in the taco cart. After stuffing myself with 5 tacos (the 5th one was a mistake!), I was told that the taco guy was staying an extra hour, and I didn’t need to eat all those tacos in record time.
At least the taco vendor didn’t mistake me and my food baby for the pregnant celebrant (sorry, Jessie! LOL).
I spent my holiday vacation back home in San Diego making memories with family and old friends.
Just after Christmas, my cousin and her family were involved in a devastating house fire that took the life of her daughter and everything they owned. It has been a difficult year for my family in general, and this tragedy solidified 2015 as the worst year ever! Hopefully 2016 is kinder to us all. A friend of the family set up a GoFundMe account if you would like to make a donation to help.
My dear friend, Jay, also lost his mom over the holidays, and I met up with him and friends I haven’t seen in forever at her memorial. I love seeing these guys, because no matter how much time has passed, we can all still pick up right where we left off. The highlight of my day was when Pammie and I walked into the chapel and Jay’s brother greeted us with arms wide open and a simple, “Bitches.” Classic Rome. Jay trying to give me dating advice was a very close second. The lowlight of my day had to be when my ex-boyfriend brought his fiancé and his parents to the memorial, and all I brought was my extra holiday weight. LOL. Just kidding. (I brought my sister, too.)
My resolution this year is to be better about staying in touch with family and friends. I have a tendency to close myself off, and I’m trying to work on that. You really never know when you’re going to lose your loved ones…
FOR THE COOKIES:
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries
FOR THE FROSTING:
1 (8 oz.) bar cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup white chocolate chips, melted in the microwave or double-boiler
2 tsp. orange extract
3 cups powdered sugar
FOR THE TOPPING:
1 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
1/4 cup white chocolate chips, melted in the microwave or double-boiler
TO MAKE THE COOKIES:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt until well-blended. Set aside.
Using an an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla and the eggs one at a time, beating in between to incorporate. Then reduce the speed to low, and slowly add in the dry ingredients. Increase the speed to medium, and continue beating until well-combined. Fold in the white chocolate chips and cranberries, and mix until just-combined. (Do not overmix.)
Cover and refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour. Then place dough by rounded tablespoon-fulls onto a baking sheet that has been prepared with parchment paper, at least 2.5-inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly golden around the edges. Remove pan, and transfer the cookies to a cooling rack until cool. Repeat with remaining dough until all cookies are baked. Wait until cookies reach room temperature before adding frosting and toppings.
TO MAKE THE FROSTING:
Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together the cream cheese and melted white chocolate until combined. (**Be sure that your cream cheese REALLY is at room temperature before adding the white chocolate. Otherwise the chocolate could seize up.) Add in the orange extract and mix until combined. Then reduce speed to low and add the powdered sugar. Mix until incorporated. Then use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl, and beat once more for 1 minute on medium speed until the frosting is smooth. You can add more powdered sugar for a thicker frosting.
Spread the frosting on the cooled cookies. Then immediately sprinkle the frosted cookies with the chopped dried cranberries. And use a fork to drizzle on the frosting, swishing it back and forth over the cookies.
For Friendsgiving this year, I made an oxtail ragu that would bring you to your knees. It took me five hours to cook, and I didn’t finish until three in the morning! It was worth it, but I’ll probably never make it again (just like the chocolate babka I made in 2012). I hope you enjoyed my tender meat, because that’s the last time you’re ever gonna eat it! Ha.
My trip was cut short due to my grandma’s passing, and Anthony had the time of his life those first few days without me. He hit up the Dirty Sixth with Austin locals he made friends with and ended up giving one of them my Friday wristband. They saw all the bands I wanted to see. I’m bummed I missed Tame Impala and Leon Bridges among others, but luckily I didn’t have to wake up at an ungodly hour on Saturday and wait with him in that 4-hour line for Franklin. Day-old brisket reheated in a hotel microwave and eaten in my chonies still tasted better than any BBQ I’ve ever had in California!
I flew in Saturday night and met up with Anthony at an Irish pub downtown. Fado is the official US soccer bar in Austin, and it’s surrounded by gay bars on 4th Street. My uber driver was convinced he was taking me to see my gay friend once I told him where I was headed LOL. I mean, it would explain so much… After US lost to Mexico, we hit up Firehouse (a cool little speakeasy inside a hostel) and Rainey Street. I loved, loved, loved it there. Rainey Street is a block of old houses converted into themed bars. We stayed till last call, and all I remember from that night is a lot of Ludacris and stanky legs. You don’t realize how drunk you are until you’re walking the hotel halls in nothing but your dress slip looking for a beverage machine so you could wash down some tylenol at three in the morning.
We didn’t wake up early enough to stand in line for BBQ before the festival on Sunday, but we stopped by Torchy’s Tacos before we made our trek to Zilker Park. There was a lot of walking. Like. A LOT. Before, during and after the festival. In nearly 100 degree heat. And in sandals that had 0% arch support (but were 100% cute, obvs). This was definitely not Portland where we had a local friend with a car, ample public transportation, and weather that was 50 degrees cooler. The highlight of my day happened just before BØRNS’ set when the sun disappeared behind the only cloud in the sky for half a minute and everyone cheered. BØRNS, Sylvan Esso and Hozier’s sets were very close seconds. So were those two snow cones we each had.
Before I knew it, it was Monday and time to check out. Anthony hit up the gym in the morning while I stayed my ass in bed. We ate lunch at Valentina’s Tex Mex where Anthony had brisket tacos and I had a beast of a beef rib with the most beautiful smoke ring. We strolled down South Congress afterwards and drank micheladas for three hours at a bar inside Hotel San Jose. We got to the airport early to watch the Chargers lose, and I asked the TSA guy if the Starbucks was before or after the security gate. He ruined my mom’s life and told me that there’s no Starbucks at all, because Austin is all about supporting local businesses. I get a Starbucks mug for my mom whenever I travel, and she’s just gonna have to be happy with the mug I got her during my layover in Phoenix!
All things considered, I’m glad I was able to take a break from life and escape for a couple of days. I’ll def be back to explore this weird little town again.
My mom and my sister visited me in LA this weekend, and we had Filipino, Chinese and Vietnamese food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And since that wasn’t Asian enough, we took pictures of our food and posted it on instagram.