Looks As Good As It Tastes…

I love when food looks as yummy as it tastes, and ever since I came home from Italy five years ago, where food is exactly that, I’ve taken to shooting whatever edibles suit my fancy.

In Florence, we stayed in our own apartment for five days. It was complete with a kitchen equipped with all the necessary tools we needed to prepare our meals. On our first night in bella Firenze, we went to a nearby supermercato (grocery store), bought some pane (bread), verdura (vegetables), carne (meat) and of course, vino rosso and vino blanco (red and white wine). We helped Seong prepare a feast fit for royalty. Okay fine, not exactly royalty, but fit for six American tourists who were, as we always seemed to be in Italy, famished. (Does that roll of paper towels give this photo personality or what?)

Riding that Italian stream – a couple of months ago, my cousin graduated from nursing school and we had dinner at Cafe Sierra located in the Universal Hilton. For dessert we ordered tiramisu. Look at that!

Last month, my dear cousin, Aimee and her new hubby Darrin were married up north in Redwood City. After the ceremony and a few minutes of picture time, we headed back to their suite and found this sitting on a small table. It was a gift from Sofitel Hotel to the newly married couple. It’s macaroons or mooncakes or something. I actually didn’t get to eat it because, obviously, it’s not mine. But isn’t it plated so beautifully? Trust me, it took a lot for me not to pick one up.

Last Friday, we spent the evening at Beer Belly in Koreatown for Kay’s birthday. Funny…we were all there hanging out for almost four hours and I didn’t take one picture of the celebrant. Actually, I didn’t take pictures of any PEOPLE and by looking at these next few images, can’t you almost see why? haha! Here’s a beer sampler that Gwennie got. The glasses look gigantic but they’re only about 5-6 inches high.

The cheap date, I mean responsible person, that I am, I didn’t want to drink knowing that I had to drive back home so I ordered a Sprite. The waitress said they didn’t have Sprite but said she’d give me something just as yummy. She gave me pineapple soda which came in this pretty bottle. Great recommendation, waitress lady!

The menu at Beer Belly isn’t vast, and for the purposes of this place, it was just as well. With the Dodgers and Angels games playing on flatscreens on the wall, no fancy food with complicated ingredients and platings were necessary. Here we have some Tapatio hot wings which, according to those who ate them, were hot as all hell. Haha! I’m a big weenie when it comes to spicy food so I stayed away. But based on how people were fanning their mouths after just one bite, my guess is they got their money’s worth.

Probably the most popular dish there were the duckfat fries. Some of us thought that meant there would be bits and pieces of duck mixed in with the fries but actually, the fries were FRIED in DUCK FAT. Oh, it gets so much worse…

I ordered the Philly Crab Fries. Yup, it’s a plate of fries with a crab topping. Holy crap – LOOK AT THIS THING! No, I certainly DID NOT finish this on my own. I barely put a dent into this mound. Next time I go there, I’ll go much hungrier. And yet, it gets worse still…

Fernie ordered the grilled cheese sandwich. It wasn’t just any ol’ grilled cheese. Think McGriddle, but BETTER.

My baby sister turned 21 this past weekend and we had a small family party at the house. My aunt and uncle brought this – a meringue fruit tart from, where else, Porto’s Bakery. Inside are two layers of yellow cake, and in between are nestled slices of fruit and whip cream. Yeah…  

This afternoon, I left work early to avoid the anticipated traffic due to the 405 closing. There’s a bakery in Calabasas that has the yummiest cupcakes I’ve ever had! In my personal opinion, it’s better than Sprinkles, Dots and Crumbs. There’s a canyon in the middle of these cupcakes which receive a generous amount of icing which, let’s face it, is the best part.

All their icing is perfect, of course, but chocolate is my absolute favorite! If it wasn’t so bad for you, I swear I’d have one of these every…single…day.

GRRRRR YUMMY!!!!!!!!!

I first had these awesome cupcakes for Isa’s birthday. There’s one in Newport Beach and I’m so thankful we’ve got a Susie Cakes in Calabasas – it’s in the middle of my daily commute. How (un)lucky am I? =)

Funny, after the girl at Susie Cakes rang me up and handed me the box of cupcakes, she said, “Happy Carmageddon!” Yes ma’am, with these cupcakes, I am happy indeed.

Waiting Patiently: Christine & Jeff

July 18th – that’s the projected birthday of my future goddaughter or godson =) I’ve been calling Ate Tin every other day, checking to see if she’s still knocked up. haha! And everytime she answers the phone it’s been, “Yes, I’m still pregnant.” She must be so sick of people calling to ask her, all of us anticipating the arrival of Baby Llamas-Valles as eagerly as the parents themselves.

Ate and Jeff have chosen to keep the baby’s gender a mystery to not only their family and friends, but to themselves as well. We all have our predictions but if there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that this baby is going to be loved and taken care of by two of the most genuine, caring and loving people on this Earth.

Strawberry Shortwins: Rylie & Audrie’s 1st Birthday

Relentless pursuit of detail – In the short time that I’ve gotten to know her, no better words describe my friend, Jenn. She is more than a wife to John and more than a mommy to twin baby girls, Rylie and Audrie. She is a baking extraordinaire. With this passion for sweet (and very pretty, might I add) goodies, Jenn and hubby, John, made their daughters’ first birthday an event the girls will look back on and wish they were old enough to remember.

Good friends with the Lapaz gals, the Cortes twins celebrated their 1st birthday shortly after their buddies, Charlie and Alex =) In a sea of red, pink and green, Strawberry Shortcake and friends reigned supreme. 200+ cakepops, some of which resembled strawberries, a Strawberry Shortcake moonbounce, a Strawberry Shortcake background for pictures (which they made), a strawberry pinata and the creme de la creme, two sweet little girls surrounded by parents and grandparents who adore them, a family who loves them, and friends (adult and kids alike) who could spend hours at playtime with them. How much more blessed could two little girls be?

Thanks so much for asking me to be part of Rylie & Audrie’s happy day, Jenn and John! That was too much fun!