Monday, December 1, 2008

Senbazuru - Thousand origami crane

I haven't been giving my blog much love lately, partially due to laziness, but for the most part it was because I've been making not one, but TWO Senbazuru for two different customers. If you never heard of a Senbazuru, it is according to Wikipedia: "a group of one thousand origami paper cranes held together by strings. An ancient Japanese legend promises that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish by a crane, such as long life or recovery from illness or injury."

"The Thousand Origami Cranes has become a symbol of world peace through the story of Sadako Sasaki, a Japanese girl who contracted leukemia as a result of radiation from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima during World War II."

So the past two months I've pretty much been folding paper cranes like crazy, I ate, drank, breathe, and dreamt paper cranes. Whenever I had a spare moment of time I was folding cranes. It was A LOT of work, but the end result is simply amazing! It looked so pretty that I wished I could've kept it for myself.

It's amazing what beautiful things can be made from paper, isn't it? Well, that's pretty much it, just wanted to share some pictures with you all. And if you'll excuse me, I got to stop typing and give my two hands a nice warm relaxing soak before they decide to fall off. :P

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Oklahoma City - Leo's Bar-BQ

I got back from Oklahoma City last weekend and I think this was the last trip for the year. Our impression of Oklahoma City was really good, and the people are so nice there.

Since we're foodies, I had to look up some good places to eat while we were there, and my Google searches brought me to Leo's Bar-BQ. Apparently, this place has the best BBQ in town and it was even featured on Food Network's Diner's Drive-ins and Dives. You know, the show that's hosted by the guy whose name is Guy, bleached blond hair, and winner of the Food Network Star season two. With that kind of credentials, of course we had to check it out!

According to Google maps, the original store is located at 3631 N Kelley Ave, Oklahoma City, OK, but please do not go there cause when we pulled into the tiny empty parking lot, we saw an empty building and these paper posted on the side of the window:

We quickly made our way over to the other location, and fortunately for us, we got there before they ran out of food. There were a few people that came in after us got turned away cause it was near closing time and they don't have enough food left to feed new customers. We sat down at a table and we must have stared at the menu for 15 minutes before the lady came and took our order. This normally is not acceptable, however, she was the only person handling the dining room and she was quite busy running around everywhere. We decided that I will have the beef brisket dinner and my bf got the ribs dinner.

Less than 10 minutes after we put in our order, our dinners were in front of us! How fast was that!!! I guess the waiting earlier wasn't so bad after all.
My beef brisket was moist and tender; not too flavorful, but with some bbq sauce, it tasted just right! The ribs had a nice peppery rub on the skin with robust flavor! The skin was a little bit dry but the meat was quite juicy and a delight to eat. All of the side dishes were superb, and I even like the coleslaw here. I have to confess, my taste in coleslaw is probably not the best since I like the ones at KFC, and that's pretty much the only one I like. I had other coleslaw that's supposed to be really good, but they were always too bland, too dry, or not flavored to my taste. The ones at Leo's tasted kind of like the ones you get at KFC except it's really fresh and chunkier, we finished it so fast that I wish I would have ordered one just for myself.

After dinner, the lady served us each a slice of their world famous strawberry banana cake. She bakes all the cakes herself in the morning and they are REALLY good! My bf finished up his before I was halfway through my cake, and when the lady came back to check on us, he jokingly told her that the cake was really good and if he can have another one since his seem to have disappeared. Most of the time when we say things like that, the people at the restaurant understand that it's a joke, but she replied "oh yeah, honey! I'll get you another slice!" We told her that we were just joking, but she insisted on sending us home with two slices of cake. We've never been to a place that will just give us more cake without additional charges just because we asked for it, and were amazed at how friendly and sweet she was to us.

The decor of the restaurant is not the greatest and it feels like you're eating in a garage, but the show is not called Pricey, Pretty and Pretentious afterall. You get great tasting BBQ at a very affordable place with great company and a wonderful host. When we were paying our bill, she didn't even charge us the extra side dish that we got. If we ever go back to OKC, Leo's Bar-BQ will sure receive a visit from us.

If you are in the OKC area and would like to try out Leo's Bar-BQ for great ribs and have a slice of their strawberry banana cake, forget about the original store and head down to the one at Harrison Ave. (unless it was just a one night thing, if any of you know more, please feel free to comment)
7 Harrison Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Milbrae - Zen Pinensula Dim Sum Restaurant

Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! Ohmigosh! The search for our new dim sum place is officially over!!!!! Many thanks go out to my bf's co-worker who is all hooked up with the great Chinese places to eat around the area and gave him a few recommendations for us to try out. We went to the first one on the list and BAM! It just blew us away!

There are so many people dining at this restaurant that there were barely any spots left when we got there at around noon, we were lucky that we didn't have to wait for a spot or park on the street. And apparently the food is so good here that people are willing to park illegally, partially blocking the driveway and risking getting their car towed away just to eat at this establishment.

I will be consistent and use the three criterias that I judged the other dim sum places: service, taste, and value.


They definitely mean business here at Zen Pinensula, it almost feel like each of these ladies that are circuling around the restaurant have a radar to spot new customers. Before we even got our tea and warmed up our seat, three ladies with push carts filled with hot and yummy food came right to our table! I don't think they can be any faster than that, and with that said, they past my service/speed criteria with flying colors!

Taste: As our usual practice when visiting a new restaurant, we ordered a wide array of dishes so we can get a good sense of what is good and what is bad here; and I am happy to report that there was not a single dish that we did not like. Every dish was excellent, and it tasted even better than Lychee Garden.

There was a good variety of dishes. They have the standard ha gau (shrimp dumpling), siu mai (pork dumpling), and BBQ pork bun. The dumplings were light, juicy, and full of flavor!

My personal favorite is the scallop and mellon dish that you can see in the lower picture. I didn't think my bf would like this dish, cause he's a big meat eater, but after I took a bite and savored the dish, I knew my bf would love it, too.

To me this is one of those dishes that reminds me why I love food so much! The dish is so simple, but the flavors are so intricate, and the chef blended the savory scallop with the sweet taste of the mellon perfectly. It has been over a month since we visited the restaurant, and I am still thinking about that dish!

The sticky rice on the bottom is very tasty and although I did not have the sticky rice in lotus leaf on the right, my bf's dad said that it was better than the one that he used to have at Lychee Garden in San Francisco, and he enjoyed it a lot.

These last two photos I have are the fried tofu and fried pork dumpling which is the sticky mochi like thingy with groud pork in the middle. Although these dishes are deep fried, they do not taste oily at all.

Lastly, I'll talk a little about the value. We got more food than I photographed here, we were full, happy, and had leftovers to take home and for the 3 of us, I think it was a little bit over $40. All the dishes that we ordered were between $2.60 - $4.00, and in my opinion it is worth every penny.
If you would like to see their complete menu and some more photos of what the food look like, they got it on their website:

I am so happy to have found this dim sum restaurant, I just wish that I knew about it sooner, and one other plus is it's about 15 miles closer to home, so we'll be able to save on gas and order more food!

Zen Peninsula 采蝶軒
1180 El Camino Real, Millbrae, CA 94030

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