Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Bernie's Milkshakes

I still remember the first time I’ve ever had milkshakes. It was the summer after Kindergarten. My cousin came to stay with us for the summer. Growing up, I didn’t have any older brothers or sisters, so having an older kid around meant fun filled times of getting punked and bossed around, lots of tattle telling, and of course, making new discoveries and learning new things. And one of the discoveries that summer was milkshake.  

Much of my early childhood summer days were spent in the pool. And this was the summer I first learned how to swim. I started off with learning how to do the “hold and kick”. But I couldn’t, for the life of me, put my head under. I was terrified to do so. Knowing this, my cousin picked me up and dunked me upside down, head first into the water (into my three ft. pool). My little arms and legs writhed in terror to find my way up back to the surface. When I did, I found him cracking up like it was the funniest thing ever. And I’d scream and cry thinking that I had almost drowned and died. Then, he’d get yelled at by my grandma, and yada yada…the usual older kid/younger kid growing up battles.

After swimming, he’d often endeavor into creating frozen treats, milkshakes sticking out as the more memorable ones.

Back then, my mom would always buy a carton of Dryer’s ice cream in either vanilla or strawberry. I’d always get bummed when she bought the strawberry one, with the little frozen chunks of strawberries in it. Well, one day after swimming, my cousin got the blender (which only the adults were allowed to play with) and got to work. He scooped the strawberry ice cream into the blender, added some milk, and blended. The end result was a delicious mess. It was cold. It was sweet. It was sticky. It was everything a snot nosed, sticky fingered child in the 80's would love. Sure, he got drips of strawberry ice cream and milk all over the table and got yelled at by our grandma (as usual). But for my six year old-sweets-loving palate, I was in heaven. My mother was pretty strict about junk food and only allowed restricted amounts every now and then. So in the rare moments that I got to indulge, I indulged to the fullest (and often snuck around to do what I had to do to satiate my sweets cravings).

That was my first experience with milkshakes. And throughout the rest of my childhood, I’d get a shimmy at the mention of milkshakes. But as I got older, milkshakes didn't really have the same effect on me as it once did. These days, I might crave a milkshake every couple of years or so. But it is far from making me jump for joy as the six year old me once did. 


Well, fast forward some decades later and enter Bernie, a grown man who is hit with the same effect that milkshakes used to have on me as a kid.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Kitchen Life – the pigging out days, the people you want to slap, and trying new items –that’s all

It feels like it has been forever since I’ve blogged. Today, I suddenly got an urge to write up a post. I’ve missed the blogosphere. These days, most of my writing time seems to be devoted to edit #1 of my book. And blogging, sadly, has become secondary. But here I am, back again and ready to catch up.

I effing love the sweater-weather that we have been having lately. Why can’t it be like this all year round in socali? And this is around the time that many of us start putting on our “holiday weight”. And obviously, I am no exception. And then come January, I get determined to shed off all the fat that I have accumulated over what I like to call “the pigging out season”. This seems to have been kicked into gear lately.

On days that I start work at an earlier time, I seem to pig out more. I am burning more calories, and therefore, I only get hungrier and end up consuming more food. But at the same time, I found that eating breakfast really does suppress hunger throughout the day. I normally don’t ever really eat breakfast. But on the days that I work early, I make it a point to eat before I leave the house so that I don’t pass out from the behgo-rage. Doing so has actually been reducing the “starving” moments. So I am not "starving" as usual, but I still get hungry. 

Having eaten breakfast, I start to get hungry around 1pm-ish. On these early starting days, my belly gets happy because there is a guy from the day shift that loves to cook for me. Obviously, there is no question of who has become my favorite lol. Anyone that cooks, buys, or brings me food scores points with me. I guess this is both a blessing and a curse. Most of the time that he makes me something to eat, I don’t even want to estimate the calorie count. I immediately get the urge to go for a jog after devouring one of his dishes.
This is what he made for me today.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Food Writing

So it’s been about two years since I’ve started blogging about food. At the lame culinary school that I attended, students are asked to share their culinary goals. The typical answers are: “I want to become a head chef and run a kitchen” or “I want to open up a restaurant”.  But, for me, it was “I want to become a food writer”. Going to culinary school is probably not even necessary to go in that direction. But I wanted to study food and also become a better home cook. I could tell that my goals had the chef instructors and “guidance counselors” in a stump on how to direct me to reach my goals. When a guidance counselor tracked down a chef to ask on how a student would go about to become a food writer, she had no idea, but said maybe a chef so and so might know. So they tracked down the chef so and so. Chef so and so’s response was, “Start a blog and start Yelping. People will find out about the blog when they see the reviews you post on Yelp.” That was the best $50,000 advice they could give me. *sigh**

Around the time, magazines and newspapers were not hiring. It was more like… they were busy laying people off. The recession had hit pretty hard for journalists. Even the magazine that I was working for gave half of the staff a pay cut (myself included). The other half were laid off. So my goal of getting into food writing was put on hold.

Years passed by. I still didn’t have a job where I can visit restaurants all day, eat for free, have my own column, and write about what all the things I ate. I think by this point, I think I had already threw in the towel after the unsuccessful search during the recession. But I still wanted to write about food. The blog idea started to sound like a plan. I wouldn’t be making much money from it, but I’d be able to write with an “I”, which is not done in journalism. I could freely share my thoughts and opinions, my personal stories, and whatever the heck I wanted. It was my own little space. The appeal of starting a blog was growing. So in March of 2013, behgopa was born. Yay!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The 626 Night Market - Hellish Foodie Heaven

When my Sunday suddenly freed up this past Labor Day weekend, I knew that I wanted to go to The Taste. I tried getting tickets kind of at the last minute. That Sunday morning, I browsed through their site to find that tickets were still available. I didn’t want to make the purchase right away because I wanted to get some of the logistic things sorted out first. A couple hours later, I checked their Instagram page to see what they had going on earlier that day. And bam….I saw the “sold out” post. I was heartbroken. I’ve missed it every year since I was never off on Sundays.

The same weekend, the 626 Night Market was going on, which is another event I wanted to go to, but never could. So what the heck…..second choice it it’d be. I looked forward to munching all day and night. It was a cheat day.

It was a SCORCHING Sunday afternoon. I thought that it was crazy packed at 4-5ish, but that was just the beginning.

I have a bad habit of always forgetting where I parked, so I usually take a picture to track my way back when I forget lol. A-1 was facing me towards the way to the entrance.

It makes life much easier when the other person/people has a good eye for remembering where we parked. When I am alone or with others that are just as bad about remembering as I am, we can be lost for hours.

I came here with a friend, but decided to part ways at the entrance (and meet at the end of the night) since we both wanted to explore different things. Hardcore foodies will go with a big group, part ways and then get together after each stop, to get the most out of sampling by sharing. But honestly, I think for this event, it would have been brutal, especially after 7 pm. If you have been here, you'd understand why.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Lunch and boba with mom

My mother made a proposition that every other week, we grab lunch and then go have boba to catch up. We already kind of do the lunch thing already anyways. But the “catching up” over boba thing was a whole other gesture that I am far from getting used to. She now wants us to umm *gasp*….TALK. Sure, we talk about general things, like the weather, the yummy things we have eaten lately, her telling me get rid of my food belly, etc. But now she said she needs us to really talk. She wants me to share about the things that are going on in my life and vice versa. So far, this hasn’t really been flying with me because I am a pretty private person and my personal, private business is my own private business. She asked me to start opening up about the things in my life that stress me out, my plans for the future, what is new in my life, and so on. Like, she wants to know EVERYTHING.

Maybe one of the reasons I avoid having “real talks” is because of the mere fact that I just can’t handle reality sometimes. I am guilty of choosing to escape certain matters by not talking or even thinking about it. I fear the unknown discoveries that could be made by opening up too much. I know as I start to have these regular “real talks” with my mom, eventually, a day will come when something one of us shares is going to be about something dreadful. It’s an inevitable part of life. I am dreading the day that a parent is going to have something to say, and that something is something tragic like that one of them doesn’t have much to live or is starting to suffer from a dementia or something heartbreaking like that. Every child will go through it with an aging parent sooner or later. That’s life. My parents are not super old, but they are definitely past their prime. Each passing day nears the dreaded day.
I don’t want to open up too much about my private life to my mom either. I think I tell my mom just enough of what she needs to know. There is no need for her to know EVERYTHING. She’s not going to make me spill my guts, no matter how she tries lol. But I feel her trying.

This week, our lunch date was at La Travolata, a place I visit every few months or so. It is one of the few decent places in the area that is also nonpricy. I first came here a few years ago when I was in the mood for pasta. There are not too many options around town. I yelped to find many good reviews on this place. I was pleased with the first visit and kept coming back. The first item that I’ve ever tried here was Papardelle Vodka and a bite of some fish special that a friend had. That was the only time I came here for dinner. The other times were for lunch or pick up. This was pre-yelping and blogging.