Friday, May 22, 2015

The Stages of Behgorage

The behgorage kicks in on a regular basis on work days. I try to make an effort to not let it happen, but sometimes, it just seems unavoidable. Over the weekend, I went through the usual stages of behgorage and figured I would get a kick out of jotting it down. I can laugh at it now as I type all this. But boy, when I am actually going through the suffering, it ain't as funny.

3:00 – I arrive at work right after eating. I ate leftover soon tofu. I am full, happy, energized, and ready to rock.  The bartender, Bob, whom I usually see rolling in around 5ish greets me. “Oh you are in a good mood today,” he notices.

“ummm I am?” I wonder…and then I suddenly realize, “’s because I am not hungry yet,” and we both chuckle.

4:00  - The behgopa-ness slowly builds up. I munch things from the stations here and there, -baby carrots, apples, whatever is readily munchable. But the fully content feeling is slowly has worn off by this point.

4:10 – My energy starts to wear off. I start to weaken. The grumpiness starts to emerge.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Baking Healthy (or healthier) Low Calorie Desserts

Well, it’s happened…something that I never thought would happen to me. I started delving into baking healthy desserts. As I have mentioned, I don’t crave dessert items frequently ever since I’ve been working in the industry, especially because they are always right in front of me, easy accessible any time. Just inhaling it all night does the trick to suppress the sweet tooth. But every once in a while, I get a random craving for something sweet, chocolaty, buttery, and sinful. To me, desserts have always been about indulgence, a guilty pleasure to treat myself with here and there when I get the urge. As long as I didn’t over-indulge, the calorie filled-diabetes-causing sin won’t become a problem, practiced in moderation.  And whenever I do indulge, I want to indulge fully…it’s all about the butter and sugar that makes many of the dessert items so good. But here I am now, experimenting with healthy, or healthier, low-calorie desserts….which I must say is pretty foreign to me.

I have only tried a couple of these low calorie sweets. It was back in culinary school when we were learning to bake special dietary items. I believe one of them was a cake…and I don’t remember what else. I do remember thinking why anyone would even want to eat a dessert that doesn’t even taste like dessert. I mean, why bother eating it at all when it totally defeats the whole purpose of even having dessert. I remember using Splenda and some other stuff, I forget. They totally didn’t have that “oohhh…ahh…I’ve died and gone to heaven” effect that a dessert is supposed to have. That was my only experience with making and tasting low calorie desserts. I wasn’t curious at all to even try anything else.
But…here we are now. I am going through moments of wanting to pull out my hair with these gosh darn low calorie desserts. Oh…and did I mention that they are no way in Hell for me? If Miss Kim is going to have desserts, she is having the REAL THING, none of the stuff made with all that SUBSTITUTION crap. This is all geared towards fitness clients that are trying to watch their shape and calorie intake but don’t want to give up sweets.

So during this experimental process, I have made a few things so far. And umm….I haven’t been thrilled with anything. Why is it so freaking hard to make healthy, low-calorie desserts that makes a person moan and groan in foodgasmic pleasure? I am starting to think that one must have some special skills and a vast knowledge in food science to accomplish this. Maybe one needs to have an in-depth understanding of the molecular chemistry in foods and know what ingredients will work magically with what without ruining it. Like, how did someone discover that flax seeds can be used as an egg substitute? That’s like the last thing I could have imagined would work for that. I can only imagine that a food scientist made that discovery while experimenting away in the lab. I could be wrong (haven’t Googled that info). But do you understand what I mean? Ingenious discoveries like that take things to another level that ordinary chefs (extraordinary ones, yes..ordinary average Joe ones, perhaps not) most likely wouldn’t even fathom. How the heck am I going to do this? Should I buy some books on food science or something?

So anyways, I stocked up on all these freaking SUBSTITUTES.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Shabu Shabu at Anaheim Packing District and Tea Time at Elise's Tea Room

So I was meeting my sister in law (of just a little over a month) for lunch last week. When we were planning on where to eat, dear Lord…the Kakao text conversation seemed to drag forever. We made plans days prior and still couldn’t decide. You have no idea how indecisive I can be when it comes to making up my mind, especially when it comes to wtf to eat. I can literally spend hours on an empty stomach trying to decide wtf to eat....and then get even hungrier because I can't make up my mind. And then of course, there are other times when I know exactly wtf I want to eat when I have very specific cravings and want to eat that and only that. Well, it wasn't one of those kind of was one of my "wtf to eat?" kind of moments.

I asked sis in law what she wanted to eat. She said she liked Shabu Shabu. Had we just went with what she decided right then and there, it would have been quick and easy. But then, she said those five words that I am sure she wished she could have taken back,  “I eat anything. You pick,” lol. Oh boy! *I* pick?? She had no idea what she started by telling me to pick. The plan was to meet the following Monday. And this was only around Wednesday or so when we started trying to decide.
So I was like hmmmm….what am I going to want to eat that day?

My first suggestion was Sugarfish. But the Sugarfish locations are quite a distance away and wasn’t really the best time to go out of the way just to eat. Sis in law suggested a couple of sushi places in the OC area. Naturally, I had to check out the reviews and they seemed meh….so next??
Sis in law still insisted that I pick, but “somewhere close.”

There wasn’t really anything I was in the mood for that was “somewhere close.”
So continued the tug of war game of who picks and where.

“OMG I don’t know. You pick,” I insisted.
She suggested Kentro Greek Kitchen. I’ve already eaten there and wasn’t too crazy about the dishes I tried. So I said “pass.” I mean, I still want to try this place again some day. I have heard rave reviews about a couple of dishes that I still haven’t got to try. But I just wasn’t in the mood to for this place at the time.

I really have a thing for tea rooms. I love them! I’ve only been to barely a handful of them, but there is just something about tea rooms that are so ….what’s the word….soothing?? I don’t know…I just love them.
So I searched for tea rooms. I found a few not too far, but darn my luck….all of them are closed on Mondays. So…next??

“You want to go to the Anaheim Packing District?” sis in law asked.
We went back and forth, considering a few other places. Running out of options and tiring from trying to decide, I agreed, Anaheim Packing District it is. Finally, after days of running around in circles, we decided on a place!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Meaning Behind the Food Items in Korean Post-Wedding Traditions

The first time I saw dates and chestnuts being thrown into the Hanbok (traditional Korean dress) skirt, was when my older cousin got married (like twenty something years ago). He and his then new bride just came back from their honeymoon and stopped by our house to do their formal bow greetings to my parents. The newlyweds usually go around doing this to all of the adults in the family. After they bowed, I saw my mom throwing a handful of stuff at them, more specifically directed at her. I remember thinking…wtf? Is my mom pissed off about something? Does she not like this new addition to the family? And right after the throw session, the words that followed indicated what it was really about. She said something in the likes of telling them to have a wonderful life and bear beautiful sons and daughters.

This is when I learned of what the dates and the chestnuts symbolized, -fertility/ fruitfulness/continuing the circle of life! The dates represent daughters and the chestnuts, sons. The new bride is supposed to catch as many as she can. And each one she catches is what is believed to be what she will conceive. Customarily, the bride and groom are supposed to eat their catching that night. Interesting shit, right? Oh and that cousin ended up having one son and one daughter, both teenagers now. It just seems like only yesterday when their only existence was in the hope and future that the dates and chestnuts represented. But I think my parents alone threw at least several at the time, and who knows how many the other elders threw. According to their catch, they should have had several kids at least. And who has that many kids nowadays anyway?
Fast forward a couple of decades later and my parents are throwing dates and chestnuts at their own children, my brother and new sister in law. Maybe our generation is a little more Americanized than they were. The new bride and groom did not visit the grown ups wearing Hanboks. Instead, my mom gave my sister in law a towel to catch them in lol. Well, I wasn’t able to be there to watch. But that is what I heard.

And then, there is the ebaji eumsik (eumsik means “food” in Korean). It is the gift of food that the bride’s family presents to the new in laws, a gesture of asking them to take good care of their daughter.

There were several boxes of items that were included in the ebaji eumsik. Dduk (rice cakes) is a common item that is presented. My parents received a couple of boxes of colorful assorted dduks.


Monday, March 16, 2015

Yei San Jip -serving alcohol 24/7

Korean joints seem to be notorious for serving alcohol after hours. Ktown seems to be the place to go if searching for places to drink after 2a.m. I haven’t been to any of these illegally operating establishments since I was way younger. I don’t even stay out late these days. Even midnight is considered late for this old lady. But recently, I had a night of drinking until the sun came up.

Arrived at bar #1 around 9pm, had a few cocktails, stayed there until midnight or so; moved onto bar #2 for some Korean food and soju. Naturally, we were kicked out by 2am. It was either head over to Ktown or Rowland Heights for more drinking, after hours. RH was picked mainly because of the distance.
I have been to Yei San Jip a couple of times to eat at odd hours of the night when I was younger. It seems to be one of those places you just end up at because of the operating hours and of course the alcohol availability around the clock. I doubt I would ever actually come to this place at regular hours, when are so many other available options.

It DID feel a bit weird even being there at 3-4 in the morning. I mean, I am a grown up, not some 20 year old college kid running the streets ‘til the crack of dawn. What kind of responsible grown up goes to a bar after operating hours to drink illegally? It felt…naughty. It made me feel young and old at the same time. And of course, it wasn’t surprising to find the crowd to be made of mostly young kids. And there was this one table of a drunken man and a seemingly sober woman in their 50’s. The man got so pissed and yelled at the woman because she paid the bill.
“How dare you? I am not having that! You can’t do that!” is what he yelled at her in Korean. The guy was furious. Drunken people are amusing to watch sometimes.