Buns, Dumplin’s & Blooms

Hey hey!! How’s it shakin’? I am a touch behind on these updates (what is new?)… but I have a pretty chill weekend where I hope to sit on our balcony with lots of coffee and catch up! Currently I am eating a yogurt with matcha powder, granola, & chocolate chips — mmmm. I can’t wait to share this in a few posts.

This post includes highlights (mostly foodie highlights) from in between studying, work, house chores and watching Ozark in the evening, of course! We only have a couple episodes left in the second season- then I think we are going to start the OA!

Okay, jumping right in- I am trying to use up as many of our “dried goods” items so that we don’t have to take them with us on our move. So, on March 28th, I made fresh spring rolls with rice paper, tofu, sautéed veggies, and fresh cabbage mix.

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I made some homemade peanut sauce with PB2, a touch of soy, and topped with a sprinkle of ginger.

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On March 29th, right before dinner I went on a walk enjoying all Spring has to offer.

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In the evening I made pasta for DJ with different cheeses and pizza sauce we had leftover, topped with parm. Pizza sauce is not quite as good as different marinaras we usually use, but still worked!

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I was craving my rice/fish/roasted veggie combo. This kick is definitely still going strong. Since we are out of Arizona’s Heat sauce I’ve just been using brown mustard- still a great fixin’ for the dish.

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DJ has been making himself overnight oats for breakfast most days, but whenever he runs out make him a standard breakfast of eggs/bacon/toast.

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Below are some pics from my morning walk on March 30th. Usually I use walks as a study break to clear my head, but on Saturdays I like to start my day with them.

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I was notified on Instagram that I won a giveaway for vouchers to Hotel Valencia’s restaurant on Santana Row. I have never been into the actual hotel although I’ve passed it countless times.

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When I went to pick up the vouchers I was blown away by the beauty of the hotel’s interior/restaurant! It overlooks San Jose, and the way it is decorated is just stunning. I am saving these vouchers for when my sister visits, so I’ll be sure to snap pictures then.

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In the evening I was in the mood to cook & try something new. I looked at what we had and decided on Caprese chicken. This was chicken stuffed with buffalo mozzarella & marinated sundried tomatoes from TJ’s.

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I then topped with breadcrumbs and put in the oven. Easy Peasy!

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I decided to roast up some multicolored potatoes and garlic green beans to accompany the dish.

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Oh, and a slice of garlic toast too!

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For myself I made rice, green beans, and tilapia. I also had a bowl of the potatoes. Mmmm mm!

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Sunday March 31st, we woke up early pearly for Church. It was a radiant morning.

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At church they had a build your own yogurt bar & donuts galore!

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After church I worked on school assignments all day then met up with Amy in the City for dinner at Dumpling Time. I love going to the City on Sundays- the traffic is so light & parking is FREE!

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I loved the feel of the restaurant. When going back through my photos I couldn’t help but giggle that this girl was doing the same thing as the people on the screen without even knowing it.

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The whole restaurant had a modern twist on traditional asian cuisine. We decided diet coke sounded so good for some reason. I rarely ever have on anymore, but gosh- it was a refreshing treat and served with the most adorable paper straw.

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As you can tell from these pics, the lighting was subpar. Below are the pork bao buns- one of Amy’s favorites.

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I was peering envyingly at the other side of the restaurant where natural lighting was pouring in. I’m not even kidding- we were sitting in the darkest corner possible.

So what did I do? Did I let social faux pas and normal etiquette stop me from literally walking to the front of the restaurant to get a picture of each dish? Heck to the no! Bring on the questioning stares, the raised eyebrows, and the confused waitress who tried to stop me from taking the dishes out the door (I promised her I was only going to the front to snap a photo of the gems, not to kidnap them- she then smiled and acquiesced- clearly, I’m not the first “food blogger” to have stepped in here). PS. Amy was an absolute trooper, and cheered me on through my whole shameless display.

So, on with the pics, ya?! First up we have their giant soup dumpling called King-Dum. This dumpling is so large it is served with a straw. Truly, exstrawordinary.

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Although I didn’t eat the pork inside, I tried the soup part (so good) and the actual dumpling. It was a treat! If you like pork soup dumplings, I definitely recommend this.

Next up were the Tom Yum Goong dumplings with pork belly, shrimp, and coconut milk, wrapped in a beet skin. Once again, I avoided the pork inside, but the actual dumpling itself was one of my favorites I have ever had! The beet skin was perfectly chewy and incredibly flavorful. The coconut milk was subtle, but added a smoothness to each bite. I would say I liked this even more than the King-Dum.

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Now on to the things I ate in full 😉 The shrimp toast!!! This is one of their famous dishes- people rave about it. There ain’t no way I was about to pass it up. It is made of chinese donut, minced shrimp, and spicy aioli. My first bite I didn’t know what to expect, but felt slightly…. underwhelmed. Then I dipped it in their chili & soy sauce- and HELLO, FLAVOR FIREWORKS. It accompanied the rest of the dishes beautifully. It added a nice crunch among otherwise softer foods.

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Now, for one of the stars of the show: The main lobster siu mai with chives, butter, and white truffle oil. You know if there is truffle it is a MUST try for me. It lived up to all my wildest dreams of what it may taste like. So. much. yumminess.

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Featured below are the vegetarian dumplings with local greens, carrot, mushroom, cilantro, and egg. I didn’t expect much, but man, these were superb. I was blown away by the mix of freshness/flavor/texture. This is the type of dish I could easily eat every single day. Nutritious & delicious!

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I’m struggling to find the words to best describe how scrumptious these little guys below were. The Trio of Buns (green tea and milk, beet and taro, and egg yolk bun) stole my heart. This is the type of dish I would drive the over-an-hour into SF for alone. They were fluffy, warm, creamy- utter perfection. I would put this on my list of “must try” desserts in SF. Our favorite flavor was the egg yolk bun followed in second by the green tea and milk bun.

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Not pictured because I lost my shameless steam- the seafood gyoza with spinach skin, crab, scallops and spice chili butter. I regret not getting a picture of these gems because WOAH—-They were a show stopper. Truly, I would have a hard time deciding between those & the main lobster siu mai.

Overall, Amy and I both preferred Dumpling Time over City View. It was easier to get in (aka no need to chase anyone down and sternly demand your name be put on the list), the food was more flavorful, and the presentation was visually a treat! Plus the service was wonderful. Our waitress was very kind- not something you always encounter in restaurants around here because patrons are often treated like an assembly line with the mass amount of people. But if you want the real deal experience with the carts and all- I still recommend City View at least once.

April 1st nothing exciting happened besides us eating dim sum leftovers all day & studying. On April 2nd I went on a beautiful walk while the sky held back the rain.

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It occasionally sprinkled, but it made for gorgeous dew drop photos.

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I even saw this cute little guy!

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In the evening I made a dinner of almond mozzarella cheese, boca crumbles, dolmas, hummus, and a cabbage mix.

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For DJ, I made stuffed jalapeños with Mexican blend cheese, ground beef crumbles, taco seasoning, and salsa con queso. He really enjoyed them, but somehow a super hot chili pepper snuck its way into the bunch which added a not-so-pleasant surprise mid-meal! We suddenly had flash backs of Pepper Gate 2017!

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April 3rd I parked it at Nosh out of convenience with a yogurt with berries, honey pecan granola, and stevia. I worked on school assignments and spent a couple hours planning my sister’s bridal shower and bachelorette party. Her bachelorette party is in Miami, so if you have any suggestions for games or places to go please share! (Although, I did take notes from Taylor’s recent posts!).

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I made DJ some charcuterie in the evening with roasted chickpeas and mini saltines.

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I had a repeat of the night before, but added some mashed cauliflower this time.

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This is getting far too long, so I’ll say farewell, adieu, to you for now- but I’ll try to get another update published over the weekend.

Questions for you:

  • Any suggestions for bridal shower/bachelorette party games?
  • Have you watched the OA? What’s your current show binge?

xo <3

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We’re in Trouble!

Semi-sorta-whenever-I-get-around-to-publishing it weekly recap comin’ in hot!! Last Sunday, the 24th, I headed down to SF in the afternoon after church. Something I adore about SF are the murals on every corner. Every time I’m there I notice a new one!

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DJ had to work all afternoon, but I met up with Amy and we decided to hike a few different spots. First up: Corona Heights!

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It’s a park that overlooks the city elevated upon a little hill that you can climb up to see the best views.

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It only took about 15 minutes total to hike up and down- super short hike, but a great way to see the city!

Next stop: Buena Vista Park.

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We actually were on our way to Sutro Heights, but stumbled across this park on the way. We saw a free parking spot & snatched it. It’s located near Haight/Ashbury and is a beautiful walk. We loved the greenery mixed with lovely flowers & glimmers of the Golden Gate were a fun surprise too.

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Right before pulling away, we had a lady with very broken English tap on my car window. I wasn’t sure if I should roll it down (you can never be too careful), but I have a hard time just ignoring someone. I cracked the window, and she held up a blurry black and white picture of a house and asked if I knew where it was located… uh no sorry, lady. I don’t have every house front of SF memorized. And even if I did no way I’d recognize it by that pic! Hah- such a strange experience.

Next stop: Mount Sutro. This one was a bit off the beaten bath. It starts in what feels like an apartment complex and is surrounded by USCF buildings.

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Once we started walking through the woods it had the same effect of hiking The Presidio– The bustle of The City faded away, and it became serenely quiet. There are so many hidden gems in this city – it never ceases to amaze me.

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Before heading home I desperately wanted to try TROUBLE Coffee… a place that has been yelling to be crossed off the bucket list for months.

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This place is so edgy; I love it.

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I ordered a cafe au lait with almond milk & Amy had their mocha. I had to save half of it for the next day because it was too late in the day to have it all- aka hellllur, insomnia. I was so excited when I woke up the next morning with it in the fridge though!

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They have a small menu, but they are known for their toasts– in particular, their cinnamon toast.

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I actually have no words to describe how amazing these toasts are….

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On the heels of that statement I will proceed to try to use words to describe how amazing they are..

I took a bite of the PB & Honey and thought, “There is no way the cinnamon could beat this”…. then I took a bite of the cinnamon… and it did… all the hype around this toast was entirely warranted. To. die. for. It made me nostalgic, because buttered cinnamon toast was something I grew up on. But this was next level. 

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In the evening I came home and tried to get creative with a meal since I was in the mood to cook. I made DJ a “caprese” chicken with buffalo mozzarella, marinated tomatoes from TJs, artichoke hearts and bread crumbs. On the side I made some toasted baguettes with asparagus seasoned with za’atar.

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On Monday the 25th I took a nice little morning walk before getting started on school work for the day.

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Tea has become nearly part of my nightly routine lately. I went through a stage in high school where I loved tea, then didn’t enjoy it for years, but I’m back on that tea train now!

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I spent some time spring cleaning the apartment a bit too!

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On Tuesday the 26th, I finished up some big assignments and then had a delicious lunch I’m excited to share! It had quinoa, sautéed tofu, hummus, artichoke hearts, cabbage slaw, and green goddess dressing from TJs. MMmmmm!

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My mom-in-law and my sister-in-laws (Renee and Amy) were coming to stay with us for the evening. I had been looking forward to this for weeks!! It was sooo much fun having them here even though it was a short time. They were flying to Phoenix the next day for a little getaway. I wish I could have gone so badly, but the school load just wasn’t permitting it. I saw Amy this past Sunday and had her relay every single detail of the trip so I could live vicariously through her!

We went to Lazy Dog on Main Street Cupertino. DJ and I have been a couple times, but not in a while. They changed their menu & it’s so darn eye-catching and pretty now!

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We ordered a couple drinks to start. Stars of the show were the Huckleberry Mule & Rose Elderflower Punch.

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A started app we tried were their deviled eggs- lightly fried, topped with smoked paprika and bacon candy. The “fried” egg was a bit confusing on the palate. We all agreed traditional deviled eggs just can’t be beat! Don’t mess with a good thing, ya know?

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DJ and my MIL both ordered their PB & J burger with a grilled 1/2 lb beef patty, candied bacon, havarti, peanut butter, grape jelly, lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickle. They were absolutely raving about it! Based on their reactions I would dare say it may be one of the best things on the menu!

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Renee ordered the pot pie- yes, a real pot pie from a restaurant! This had roasted chicken and slow cooked veggies. I love how creative their menu is. It’s a predominantly  American food menu, but with a twist!

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I had their seared ahi tuna salad. My go-to is their ahi tuna over mashed cauliflower, but I was craving something cold. This hit. the. spot. I savored every bite.

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Of course, after dinner we had to get some Somi Somi! This time I tried the ube and matcha mixed with custard in the cone. Gosh, I don’t know if I like nutella or custard better in the cone– they are both insanely good. I think Oreo is still my favorite flavor though! Matcha is a close second.

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Here is all of us together!!! It was the highlight of my month having them here, even if briefly. It was SO much fun & really helped infuse some fun into the week!

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In the evening we watched the documentary Free Solo. If you haven’t watched it yet, you have to. It’s an extremely well done, gripping, amazing, inspiring documentary.

On Wednesday the 27th, I after dropping off everyone at the airport I came home greeted to this gorgeous rainbow <3

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The rest of the day was same ol’, same ol’. BUT It was my beautiful Momma’s bday which made the day extra special. I wish I could have celebrated with her, but we did from afar <3 Here is the little Facebook excerpt I wrote:

Happiest of all birthdays to you, Mom—truly one of the most incredible women to bless this earth 💕 You demonstrate what it means to live with a zest for life, selflessly love everyone around you, have the most genuine heart, and live out an unshakable faith. I’m constantly amazed by your wisdom, grace, strength, pursuit of adventure and perseverance in any situation. I’m so thankful for you, as are countless others, and today we celebrate beautiful YOU. Happy happy birthday ! I love you! ❤️

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Oh, and she just got a massive promotion at work and destroyed her Dri Tri Championship with Orange Theory! #superwoman

Thursday the 28th I headed to Boys & Girls Club in the afternoon (gosh, guys– I love those kids– I don’t know how I’m gonna leave them 🙁 ). Working with those third graders is one of the highlights of my week every week. The thought of the school year ending makes me want to cry…I am soooo attached..ALSO, I have some hard core baby fever like I’ve never experienced before. We know the timing isn’t right, but I can’t wait for that day!

Anywho-For dinner I made some tilapia with roasted veggies & quinoa topped with mustard. I used a bit too much mustard, but it was still so yummy.

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Let’s wrap it on up here. Hope you all are having a great week! It’s FRIYAY.

Questions for you:

  • Would you be team PB toast or team Cinnamon Toast?
  • Have you seen Free Solo?

xo <3

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