Heyyyyy girl heyyy. It’s been a minute, I’m very well aware. I wonder how many times I’m going to start my posts with some sort of apology & a haphazard explanation for my absence. Probably forever until the Zombie Apocalypse hits to be honest, but let’s hope it doesn’t get to that. But in case any of you need a safe haven for food, my house in California is stocked for the next 2 years for about 6 people. Shout out to my mom for being a hoarder. Why would anyone need 7 bottles of fish sauce? I don’t know, man, don’t question an Asian mother who finds a good sale. Not exactly down with the 2nd amendment though, so don’t come here thinking you’re going to find guns to defend yourselves. Plenty of great Global knives though. Should I invest in a katana? Maybe. Enough of my aside, let’s get to the point of this post. It’s Friday & I’m hanging out with my fam in California. Instead of working on things for my future, I’m editing pictures from months/years ago. When are you ever going to see my cousin’s wedding photos? I don’t know, check back in 3 years. For now, y’all can salivate over these photos of food my friends & I ate while we were in Montreal for my birthday this year! Pretty sure editing these photos just inspired me to plan another trip to Montreal next year when the Biodome is open.
This January, I dedicated a post to a fallen foodie friend in which I mentioned I still dream about her. Last weekend while I sat reclined in my bed against my fluffy pillows, I found satisfaction in knowing I finally finished posting a new recipe for Shrimp Wontons with Coconut Tom Yum Sauce. My former LA roommate, fellow Bruin, & friend Gabriela sat next to me in her pajamas, looking through New York’s live SnapChats. It was Gaby’s first time in Boston & we were planning our next foodie destinations. Without a story to write, I decided to put off writing a blog to accompany the recipe, hit the lights, & went to bed. I dreamt that Gaby & I were riding the MBTA throughout Boston except the T was an outdoors roller coaster. When we got off at our destination, we were greeted by Kim, my friend who passed away more than a year ago. It took me a moment to register that she’s no longer with us, which meant I was dreaming so I quickly hugged her & we were off on some adventures at what seemed like a strange amusement park. I awoke to a foggy recollection of the warmth of her embrace, the smoothness of her skin, & the echo of her laughter in my head.
These shrimp wontons are special because they were inspired by 7 Seas Restaurant, which hosted one of Kim’s memorials. I ate a lot of things that day I can’t remember, but those wontons were unforgettable & it made me wish Kim could still be around to taste it. Josh, Vy, & I inhaled this place of delicious shrimp wontons, but I was determined to remake the recipe. 7 Seas is now closed, but if I can revive one thing about that place, it’s those wontons. This recipe is also dedicated to Annie Kim Pham, who loved her shellfish, wontons, & cheese. It’s funny that even after her passing, we still find ourselves meeting at places with good food. Although she couldn’t be there physically with us, we were there because of her. I wish the circumstances of trying these wontons for the first time were different though.
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Gearing up your household for GameDay? This year’s Super Bowl XLIX featuring the New England Patriots vs. the Seattle Seahawks is just around the corner, taking place on February 1st. If you’re not holding a get together at your home, but attending a party, try bringing one of these appetizers to help those anxious snackers as they root for their team. Not into football or sports in general? No problem! My recipes are still great for any party. No matter what party you plan on hosting: pity, pajama, dinner, for funsies, just ’cause, graduation, baby shower, etc you can’t possibly go wrong with some homemade salsa, guacamole, or cheesy corn. If you’re just an anxious snacker & need new snack ideas, avoid drinking alcohol, caffeine, & hot dogs. Get your nerves relaxed with some chamomile tea & some whole grain chips dipped in any of my Game Day recipes. If you’re going to carelessly munch on food, it should at least benefit you right?
Additionally, I’d like to give a shout out to my brother. Today is a special day for Vinny because it’s his birthday! My father is terrible with remembering dates–which is why I made our WiFi’s password his wedding anniversary so he’ll never forget–but he is grateful that my mom coincidentally popped us out during holidays: Super Bowl Sunday (Vinny) & Memorial Day (me). Obviously these dates change every year, but he knows when those holidays come around, our birthdays probably will too. Vinny made some really excellent guacamole last time I bought an excessive amount of avocados, so my recipe of guacamole isn’t dedicated to him. Rather, I’m dedicating my Vegetarian Meatless Meatballs recipe to the guy whose favorite Subway sandwich was the meatball one. Vinny may be too lazy to make these meatballs, but I think he would enjoy them because they’re packed with umami. Ladle on some homemade marinara & hug them with some buns to get your own vegetarian meatball sub. These meatballs are perfect for Game Day for your vegetarian friends (meat lovers will enjoy them too)! Cook them in a pot with marinara (store bought is fine) & watch it get devoured!
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Today I’m dedicating this post to a beloved foodie, whom I met during the first week of my freshman year in the high school cafeteria. This was where a large group of friends from various junior highs gathered on plastic & wooden tables, eating terrible public school lunches. I was the only one in the group that came from a private school who knew absolutely no one in my grade, yet I was welcomed to sit with them. While the group was very large, we had pockets of mini cliques. One of those cliques was a group of four: Kim, Viviane, Vy, & me. We had similar schedules, so we walked over to Vy’s house after school, waiting to get picked up by our parents. While we waited, we often made instant noodles & gushed over our attractive schoolmates, The OC, & celebrity gossip. We formed our own little girls clubhouse on Clubhouse Lane, bonding, laughing, & slurping complex carbohydrates. We called ourselves The Fatty 4 & dubbed our after school dates Noodle Parties.
As we got older, one by one, we obtained licenses to drive, which meant branching out beyond the realm of instant noodles. We ate sushi, shabu, Thai, Mexican, seafood, everything – we just ate everything. We almost always gathered at a restaurant to catch up & feed our bellies. We had a lot in common, but were also vastly different. We shared an ethnic heritage, an understanding of Vietnamese immigrant culture, but above all, we shared voracious appetites. We were foils of one another: Vy & I were more adept at planning while Kim & Viviane were much more spontaneous. Vy & I knew we wanted marriage & kids way down the road, while Kim & Viviane debated whether they could handle the commitment. Kim & Viviane were more likely to be the life of the party, while Vy & I approached others with caution. While we had many differences, ups & downs, we always reveled over great food & company. We had an appetite for adventure & ate & tried new food all the time. While I couldn’t tell you what Kim’s ultimate favorite food was, I can tell you that she certainly loved noodles, seafood, meat, & her vegetables…so pretty much everything.
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About 3 years ago, my cousin Peter introduced me to this amazing cajun/creole restaurant that’s hidden inside a Vegas hotel frequented by locals & seniors called the Oyster Bar in Palace Station. When I adventured back to Vegas for the 4th of July weekend, I was determined to get everyone to try it. The bar behind the restaurant serves $3 Bloody Mary’s & $0.99 margaritas as Jimmy, Josh, Kelcie, & I learned as we waited 2 hours in line for the most delicious red bowl of seafood goodness that awaited us. It was my third time at the Oyster Bar & everyone else’s first, so I was there on a mission: to figure out all the ingredients they use to make this bowl of perfection.