Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival!

My birthday weekend started at happy hour at Palomino’s on Friday and ended at Cioppino’s by the wharf Sunday night. In between, there was wine and cheese at Amelie’s (which by the way, was fantastic and now my new favorite place in SF), table service at the Mezzanine with SabastiAn, even a BBQ at our boss’s posh mansion tucked away in the Orinda hills. The best part? Walking from booth to booth sampling various chocolate concoctions at the Ghirardelli chocolate festival, before sitting down for more wine and cheese at Cellar360. Life is gastronomically fatastic… and the gym is in order — I promise. Continue reading

Labor Day weekend in Half Moon Bay

My dad was born on the night of an infamous flood in Taiwan, which is why I think he gravitates towards stormy beach weather. I remember beach trips in ski jackets and umbrellas… where we just stood there, facing the wind, rain, and waves — while my dad meditated and stared off into the blurred horizon. To be fair, it was really sunny in Fremont this past weekend (compared to San Francisco) and we didn’t predict Half Moon Bay to be so gloomy, but we still had an awesome time walking around the harbor, strolling along the beach, and warming up with the obligatory fish n’ chips, calamari, and chowder. Continue reading

Point Reyes Oysters and Cheese!

Cheese in a barn

Working next to the Embarcadero means that our team heads over to the Ferry Building quite often for lunch. With all the options available, we still end up waiting in front of Cowgirl Creamery for a simple grilled cheese and cup of tomato soup — it never gets old. Last weekend, a group of us decided to escape the fog and head north to Point Reyes and meet at — you guessed it — The original Cowgirl Creamery, located in a humble barn with cute outdoor seating and such gorgeous weather! Continue reading

15-30 sec. exposures of SF at night!

Shooting [photography] (not wild game, paintballs or basketballs) with someone more determined and patient than I am always inspires me to try harder. My friend, Chris, drove up the last two nights to shoot some night photography with me, since we promised our friend that we’d contribute to an art show she’s curating on the 30th. Despite the rain and wind (worst conditions for a tripod and camera), we headed to the Palace of Fine Arts at midnight… and I ended up with a bad headache, fogged up lens, and a batch of unusable photos (with crazy cool flairs and bokeh, I suppose) — still worth the experience: Continue reading

Tour my new SF digs!

I just moved into a 1200 sq ft. three-bedroom apartment in the heart of San Francisco’s Inner Sunset district the beginning of this month. As our landlord convinced us, “Your real kitchen is downstairs and your backyard is Golden Gate Park.” I am merely steps away from highly rated restaurants such as Park Chow, Marnee ThaiEbisu, and San Tung. There might not be Tartine Bakery but we’ve got Arizmendi’s, and when I wait for the muni around the corner every morning, I have the option of grabbing Jamba Juice for breakfast (at the same corner). I adore my roommates (whom I didn’t know previously… and already cook me pasta, offer to pick up items from Target for me, even bring my pants to their favorite tailors). Continue reading

Cheers to Napa!

Last week started off horribly with nightmarish apartment troubles and ended with such a bang as one of the best weekends of my life… in Napa Valley. The father of a friend of ours is a pretty big player in the food and beverage industry, so we got to stay in Silverado’s four-bedroom guesthouse, dine at the Franciscan (with our personal chef), and tour Opus One and taste their 2007 vintage — nobody could wipe the smiles off our faces all weekend. In addition, we also ate at Chandon’s restaurant Etoile, Top Chef Michael Chiarello’s Bottega, as well as Go Fish, which was present at Toast of the Town two weeks ago. We wrapped up our trip nicely by visiting my favorite sparkling wine maker, Mumm Napa. I acquired so many new corks (each one embodying a moment and memory) to add to my cork collection — Cheers! Continue reading

Myths: From the Rise of the “Model Minority” to the “American Decline”

In honor of Women’s History Month, I was invited to speak at the African American Museum and Library in Oakland last Friday about My Mom is a Fob. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan’s daughter, Lailan Huen, joined us as well as others from various backgrounds, so we had a great discussion about our cultural (and generational) similarities and differences growing up.As expected, Amy Chua’s name came up again, and a gentleman from the audience actually assigned me homework, namely to watch Charlie Rose’s interview with Amy Chua and read his lengthy commentary (written under the pseudonym “worldwatcher”). Here is my response organized into three overarching themes. Continue reading

Nisha & DV’s Vegas Wedding

I haven’t known DV and Nisha for long, but from the way my colleague, Steve (Best Man), and boyfriend, Ryan (groomsman), talk about them two, they seem perfect for each other. They both possess the playful presence to be the life of any party, and so they would have the American wedding in Vegas and they would have multiple weddings on two sides of the world. DV’s laughter can be heard across the room and his optimism exudes to all those around him, while Nisha’s cheerful good nature just bubbles up and overflows like sweet champagne. Despite the traditional hurdles they had to overcome, their persistence and love for one another prevailed, and so Vegas was quite the celebration. Cheers! Continue reading

Sarah & Lee’s Engagement

Sarah and I have been neighbors and best friends since sixth grade, and from all the heart-felt talks during walks home from school together, I’d say I know her type pretty well.All too soon, college separated us and communication simmered down to lengthy updates via email. The first few describing Lee surprised me. This guy races motorcycles, bangs on drums, and wants to fly jets for the Air Force? Then there were more stories about how Lee appointed his friends to set up a table for two with chocolates and wine at the beach on Valentine’s Day, how he managed to learn salsa just so Sarah wouldn’t dance with other partners, and eventually, the proposal atop the Eiffel Tower.When these two are together, they are full of joy and laughter, and despite the rainy weather in Santa Cruz, the smiles shone through and brightened up the atmosphere. Continue reading

A Weekend Getaway in Monterey!

Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa
400 Cannery Row
Monterey, CA, 93940

Despite the age of the building, this place truly values customer service. The first night, I made a passing comment about the extinguished lobby fireplace (“Aww…”), and a bell staff member overheard me and offered, “I can turn it back on for you if you’d like!” The second night, I ended up bringing a book downstairs to read next to the warm fireplace as a live performer serenaded us with hits from Stevie Wonder to John Mayer. Afterwards, I was craving some calamari (not listed on any of the resort menus) and room service offered to special order it for me late at night! Not the mention, the ocean view from this resort is drop-dead gorgeous. Easily 5 stars.

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