Stone Brewery 10th Anniversary


Gargoyle - A fearsome figure carved from stone that has powers to ward off evil spirits. The Stone Brewing Co. gargoyle wards off modern day evil spirit such as chemical preservatives, additives, & adjuncts. One taste, and you can tell he does his job very well.

Boy and I like Stone and beer. So off we headed to their 10th anniversary celebration which boasted 40 guest breweries. The proceeds were to be donated as charity to different groups including Boys and Girls Club of San Marcos and YMCA of Escondido. According to the current calculations, they already passed the $62K they raised last year. At $25 a person for 10 tasters, it was good money spent and good money raised.

Here are some of the ones I drank:
Alpine Brewing Co (Alpine, CA) - Duet, Pure Hoppiness
Brewery Ommegang (Cooperstown, NY) - Hennepin
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (Milton, DE) - Punkin Ale, Dogfish 90 Min
Russian River Brewing Co (Santa Rosa, CA) - Depravation, Blind Pig, Pliny the Elder
Avery Brewing Co (Boulder, CO) - Maharaja
Marin Brewing Co (Larkspur, CA) - Hopsicle
Port Brewing (Carlsbad & Solana Beach, CA) - Avalanche
Victory Brewing Co (Dowington, PA) - Prima Pils

The beer that stole the show for both Boy and I was the Russian River's Depuration, a just-bottled unreleased beer that the brewmaster (Viinie Cilurzo) poured for us on the side. It was one of the best drink I've ever tasted. Aged in white wine barrels, it had a fruity complexity and smoothness I never knew could exist in a beer.
Blonde Ale aged in French oak Chardonnay barrels with white wine grapes for one year with three strains of Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus, & Pediococcus
Depravation is truly amazing and I can't wait to get my hands on some.

My other favorites were Alpine's Duet and Pure Hoppiness. Boy and I had previously gotten a taste of Alpine at the Strong Ale Festival at the Carlsbad outlet of Pizza Port. It was our favorite brewery there so it's no surprise that they would please us again. Lots of delicious hops came from these two beer which are both categorized as San Diego Pale Ales on their site.

And the always delicious Prima Pils from Victoria Brewing. The best pils I've ever had. Light, refreshing with a good malt background, I always get happy when I see this one in Boy's fridge.

Wait, I love Avery's Maharaja too! So many good beers at this festival. I'm already looking forward to next year's celebration.

If I could fill up my fridge with the above beers, lambics and saisons I'd be a very happy girl. Of course, food is a whole 'nother list. Definitely some Korean bbq, babyback ribs and sausages up in there.


I didn't have this beer because it's wee heavy for me. But you gotta love the name.


After the celebration o' beer and a much needed nap we heaed out to Liar's Club for more beer. With a side of delicious jalapeno hush puppies I sipped on my Russian River Pliny the Elder for some more hops. Damn, why is Russian River so good! We ended the night by retreating back into our hotel room and chillin with a nightcap of Fat Tire to lull us into sleep. It was a beautiful weekend in San Diego filled with delicious beverages. What all weekends should be like, minus the slight sunburn.


Sometimes All You Need Is a...


a warm, soft, big chorizo egg burrito to dull the Monday working pangs.

Romero's Mexican Food
516 S Western Ave


Road Trip to Paso Robles & San Luis Obispo

Recently a group of us headed up to Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo for a short sweet weekend getaway. Well I stayed for one night due to impending duties for the wedding thing. Once the trip plans got into gear, there was only one other thing I had to think about, the eats. Afterall, isn't it important to be well sustained and healthy on such a long drive up?

My fridge is in deperate need of an Izze refill. It's such a great drink - cold, refreshing, lightly carbonated. And the only two ingredients are natural fruit juice and carbonated water. Izze filled mornings are definitely better ones. Truly addicting and hydrating without all that excess sugar (orange juice), fat (milk) or caffeine (coffee).

Before meeting up at the rendez-vouz point, I made a pit stop at Wien bakery in Koreatown. I could have been the first customer there but there were at least three huge Korean tour buses outside. Meaning, the bakery was rampant with Koreans all getting between me and my baked goods. I prevailed though and left with some freshly baked and fried goods.


All of the bakery edibles were delicious but having a freshly fried croquette filled with potato, vegetabled and minced meat is special. You're probably thinking, fried?! But perfectly fried, not greasy at all but crunchy from the panko covering over a thin dough. Truly a swoon-worthy piece of food. I wish there was a Korean bakery on the way to work for a delicious on-the-go brekkie.

This scary looking thing is their pizza bread. It's only scary 'cause Boy and I ravaged one side of them and the rising sun reflecting off the cheese is blinding you. And me. This too was way too delicious. Light crust, warm savory topping with melted cheese everywhere. Yumm.

But we can't forget one of our favorite items there, the Peanut Cream Soboro Bread. A flat, round light bread with crumble topping, sliced horizontally then stuffed with fresh peanut whipped cream. Fresh peanut cream! First time I tasted that I thought genius. Why didn't I think of that?

Then we were off on a beautiful drive up the 101...


We stopped by some weird villagey town and ate at a pizza shop. The scary dude in the pic described exactly what the inside of the restaurant was. Dark, full of very serious-faced people not talking to each other at all, and scary. The only good thing was CCR on their radio. But no fear, we sat outside where the sun warmed us up and kept the scaries inside.

I got this crazy looking hamburger with salsa and jalapeno. I believe its name was the Artic Grill?? Weird, yes. Messy, yes. A good lunch to fill my tummy before pouring wine in meself? Yes.

Then we finally got up to wine country with only 2 hours left to wine taste due to holiday traffic on the way up. Among the few wineries we visited which included Turley, Denner, Adelaide, and Tobin James. But the wine that stood the most for me was the Denner Vineyards 2005 Viognier. Oh my god it was amazing. I didn't even know viogniers could taste like that. The ones I've had before didn't have the same complexity or lush fruit as this one.

Here is their description of the Viognier: Exhibits aromas of candied leechee, pineapple and mango fruits, vanilla beans, and perfumey jasmine notes. These elements all tie together in the wines rich, fruity, buttery mouthfeel. The intense tropical fruit flavors persist in the finish with a subtle shadow of creme brulée peaking in during the lingering aftertaste.

After a short break back at our inn we headed out for dinner at Kolberl at Blue in downtown San Luis Obispo. We started with some fried calamari, fresh oysters and a half-bottle of Cristalino.


For the main course I ordered the duck breast with duck spring roll, snap peas, and pea shoots. The duck was delicious but the dish itself could have been composed better. The rice that came with the dish was prett bad first of all. Bland, dry, absolutely no flavor. The spring roll, although delicious, should have been on the appetizer menu or something. I love veges so the pea shoots and the snap peas were a treat but they didn't come together on the plate. The dish felt like 5 different things on a plate (spring roll, duck breast, dry rice, snap peas, pea shoots), not a dish composed of 5 different ingredients. You can see that the snap peas were cooked separately and placed on one side while the pea shoots were probably stuck in the middle after the rest of the food was plated. The duck was succulent though. I just wish it was complemented better. Perhaps a saffron risotto with the snap peas and sauted pea shoots placed on top and the sliced duck breast placed on one side. Then the delicious sauce drizzled over. Overall it was good.


But looking at Boy's UFO looking carpaccio dish... it's so unneccesarily complicated. What's up with the vertical baguette slices? It's like an elementary school project. The beef slices were way too thin and could not hold up to the strong horseradish sauce. Plus it kept ripping into shreds when picking it up off the plate. Not cool.

I had some pinot noir with my duck, I forget the name, but I do remember it being delicious.

Now breakfast the next morning at old-timey Apple Farm, that was great.


I find it hard to pass on a big plate of corned beef. Damn it was good. Corned beef hash is definitely on my list of favorite foods. And I've mostly just eaten those crazy canned ones. Hopefully eventually I'll corn my own beef.


Boy had the pancakes with eggs, sausage, and hash. It's his usual deal. I don't like pancakes nor waffles too much. That's because I haven't had one like this. This one was amazing. I've never been swooned by a pancake before but this was so fluffy, not doughy but kind of sweet. A pancake I never knew existed.

The trip was a nice relaxing and delicious time to hang out with great friends, delicious food and wine. I vote yes to more road trips!


Crab Cakes & Cucumbers with Gochujang

While testing recipes for the wedding menu, there were some crab casualties. My visions of crab and cucumber canape were not working out so well and I was left with a batch of crab tossed with creme fraiche, curry and lime. Well there is only one thing left to do in this case. Make crab cakes of course.


These beautiful green peppers are from the Japanese stand at the Santa Monica farmer's market. I chopped and sauteed the peppers with some onion then added it to the failed crab mixture along with some egg, panko, cilantro, and scallion. Formed them into little discs, dipped both sides into a plate of panko, then chilled them in the fridge for a lil bit.


Meanwhile, I had sliced up some korean cucumbers, lightly salted it then had it draining in the sink. I love cucumbers! Especially when it's paired up with some fiery gochujang (Korean red chili paste). For the seasoning I mixed the gochujang with some minced garlic, sesame oil, water to thin, sesame seed, and scallion. I rinsed the cucumbers, drained and blotted them dry, then tossed them in the gochujang sauce and let it soak up all the goodness.


The crab cakes cooked up beautifully with a crispy crust and a light fluffy texture. Topped with chives and a dab of sriracha and paired with the refreshing cucumbers and pillowy white rice, it made for an excellent dinner. And excellent lunch too!


Three Salads, a Cake and a Cheers for a Birthday Girl


A poolside self-serve bar, a table full of delicious munchies, a dessert table, a dj set up on the deck... what more can you ask for at a birthday party? The weather was still warm and going strong at the end of August. Perfect for Champagne sipping, toe wading, snack nibbling, celebrating A's birthday. She was having some delicious bbq catered and so I was commissioned for three salads to complement the meats.

Potato and Green Bean Salad with Blue Cheese, Walnuts & Mustard Dressing

What a mess this salad looks! :/ It was delicious however with its roasted potatoes, crisp-tender blached green beans, crumbled Danish blue cheese, toasted walnuts, and a dijon-herb dressing. Something nice and hearty to stand up to the bbq. I should have added the crumbled blue cheese after I got to A's house though. Doh!

Corn Salad with Green Pepper, Lime & Pea Shoots

I really wanted to make Grant's Corn and Snap Pea salad so much. I went to three different markets hoping to find some fresh snap peas. Even went to the Santa Monica farmer's market on Saturday for one last desperate search but the season had ended and snap peas had gone. Boo~ sadly I did not once buy any snap peas this whole summer. What's wrong with me?!

So I decided to just make a simple corn salad. I stopped by the Japanese farm stand and got some beautiful green bell peppers and the sprouts table for some refreshing pea shoots. I took off all the husk and silk from the corn, lightly rubbed on some olive, seasoned them with salt and pepper, and roasted them in the oven. Meanwhile I diced up the green bell peppers and some red onion. Once the corn had cooled a bit, I cut off all the kernels and combined it with the onion and pepper along with lime juice, pea shoots, a pinch of cayenne, and olive oil. Surprisingly, my makeshift corn salad was people's favorite.

Cherry Tomato & Arugula with Pickled Onion & Buttermilk Dressing

This was my favorite salad though. I had also picked up some Arugula at the Japanese farm stand. It was so tender and fresh. So much better than the bagged baby arugula at the markets which I do turn to often. The leaves were so beautiful and springy green. Paired with juicy cherry tomatoes, pickled red onion, herbs & a light buttermilk dressing, this salad was necessary item for my bbq plate. I had pickled the red onion the night before to add some zing to the salad but raw red onion would have worked nicely too.

Dessert Table

The desserts got their own table! Going clockwise from the top-right, cupcakes from Sprinkles, treats from Phoenix bakery in downtown, Ellen's fab chocolate cookies, "White Trash Hostess Plate", and the last one is from me! Yes this savory girl made some dessert. Hey, it's a special occasion. I can break out the dessert diva once in a while.

Chocolate Custard Cake with Ganache, Roasted Pistachios & Fleur de Sel

Upon reading Tokyoastrogirl's post on Boca Negra and seeing how easy the recipe was, I knew this had to immediately go on my shortlist of Desserts I Can (and Willing) Make. I added my own touch though by pouring some ganache over the top, sprinkling with roasted chopped pistachios and fleur de sel. The chocolate custard cake was so smooth and rich while the ganache added some extra richness, gleam and glam on top along with the crunchy pistachios and delicious salt crystals.


Asian Bits for a Polynesian Wedding

Labor Day weekend was the setting for a chic intimate wedding. One of little paper lanterns, polynesian music, Kahlua pork, and bride's maids dressed in Hawaiian gear.

The bride requested of me Asian inspired hor d'oeuvres. The exact suggestion was "Polynesian, Indonesian". Of course I freaked. Polynesian, Indonesian! The only Asian food I can cook with confidence is Korean. Well, being Korean and having had Korean food almost every single day for the last 25 years.

I was pulling my hair doing research for the menu and also from fear that I was going to completely ruin the wedding with my subpar hor d'oeuvres. Through taste tests, adaptation, editing, and lots of brain-hurty thinking I came up with this menu which also includes the bride's requested mini hamburgers.

Japanese Cucumber Salad with Soba & Crab

I cut out the base from a wonton skin with a fluted cutter then baked them off in a greased baking sheet for a few minutes. It's good to keep checking their toasting process since one side of the sheet may cook faster than the other, or worse, burn! Originally I planned to make the sweet and sour Indonesian cucumber salad but the recipe test deterred me. I think the type of cucumber (English) and the shape of the pieces (diced) put me off. But I moved on anyways and decided on the Japanese cucumber salad which uses vinegar, sugar and soy sauce.

To this I added some soba noodles with tamari dressing, for a 50-50 cucumber to noodle proportion. The crabmeat got a quick splash of seasoning from the leftover cucumber salad dressing along with cilantro and green onion. And for garnish, chives and black sesame seeds.

Ahi Poke with Mango Salsa

Marinated lightly with sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, scallion, sweet onion, sriracha, red chili oil, and Korean red pepper powder, the super fresh ahi tasted delicious. After filling little wonton flowers with the ahi poke, I topped it off with a simple mango salsa made with mango, lime, cilantro, red onion and jalapeno.

Maui Sliders with Sweet Onion-Scallion Soy Relish

I seasoned the ground beef simply with soy sauce, sugar and black pepper. Now the onion scallion relish is where I brought in a little bit of my Korean. The scallion soy relish condiment is one that my mom and I makes a lot and it is so simple and delicious. It is sliced scallion, soy sauce, Korean red pepper powder, garlic, sesame oil, and sesame seeds. This is good on practically EVERYTHING. Until now I never even thought about it, but yes, even on these sliders.

I added chopped sweet onions to the relish which added an extra crunch to the sliders, refreshing but not sharp like regular onions. The mini patties were custom fit for the soft sweet Hawaiian rolls [which were less than perfect shaped. :P], and topped with the sweet onion scallion relish and few sprigs of watercress, it was the most popular item at the wedding.

I did try to see if custom ordering the sweet rolls from King's Hawaiian was possible. Preferably ones that weren't cooked side by side but individually which would have made the presenation so much prettier. But they never got back to me and plus it would have probably put me out of my budget considering the cost of the ahi and crab. But flavor-wise these sliders won people over, including me.

A tiring day but a successful one thanks to Dylan who came out to help me work the event. Although we did almost die from breathing smoke from the grill in a very poorly ventilated kitchen. We survived though. Then we drank.