Category Archives: Classic American

Out Socializing

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

It’s been a busy few days as we have been out and about visiting others and having visitors come to see us.

Last Friday we took our first trip to the Chung grandparents’ house. We made a few stops along the way to pick up six orders of San Tung dried fried chicken wings and Zanze’s cheesecakeS!

After visiting at the house, we all had dinner at The Counter. It was too loud in the restaurant for Iris and had a hard time settling down after she woke up. Simon was also a little fussy because he did not nap during our drive to the peninsula. But we still had an enjoyable dinner.

I tried a bison burger on a ciabatta bun with Gruyere cheese, bacon, black bean and corn salsa, pickles, baby spinach, grilled onions, and garlic aioli. Yum yum! Their onion strings and Parmesan cheese fries were pretty delicious too.

We also had Zanze’s cheesecake with chocolate shavings for dessert back at the house to celebrate Auntie Betty’s birthday.
Happy Birthday Auntie Betty!

On Saturday, Caden and his mommy and daddy met up with us at The Original Pancake House for brunch. Seating time was reasonable, about 15 minutes, but service pretty slow. The kids got bored so they watched Disney Pixar Cars 2 on Ron’s iPhone. Look at that concentration…

But brunch was pretty amazing. I had the bacon pancakes and Ron ordered an omelette. The portions were huge so we had plenty to share with Simon and had leftovers for breakfast the next day. The bacon is a thick cut and with nice smoke flavor. The whipped butter and hot syrup complemented the pancakes well.
Thanks for coming to visit us and treating us to a yummy brunch!

Iris and I went out together ourselves in the late afternoon. It was a bit of a challenge since she does not enjoy the car seat and one of the wheels on the stroller locked up on me 🙁 But after working through a few times when Iris screamed in the car seat, we made it to two stores before heading home. She seems okay falling asleep in the carseat but the challenge is getting her to accept being buckled in then starting the car to get moving ASAP.

On Sunday we had my family over for dinner and had a delicious spread and enjoyable time. Ron cooked ribs, mackerel, hamachi kama, corn, mushrooms, and sweet peppers. My parents brought fried rice and chow mein. My brother brought a sashimi platter (SO good!) with edamame. Then we had another Zanze’s cheesecake for dessert which had their cherry topping. We were all stuffed!

“Happy Father’s Day” from Simon and Iris to Daddy Ron.

Iris slept through most of dinner but woke up a little after we finished to play with everyone. She seems to recognize faces and voices and will concentrate on the face of someone she doesn’t recognize. She has an inquisitive look when someone she is not too familiar with holds her. Thank you Auntie Kat, Uncle Jon, and Elyse for Iris’ cute outfit for the day.

After the busy weekend, I just wanted to stay home but Simon is always full if energy. He is signed up for day camp and it was his first day on Monday. It was a little hard for him to be dropped off and Daddy to leave but it seemed like he had fun after he settled down a little. I think the camp counselors helped by giving him a stuffed toy Triceratops to hold during the camp. I hope he will continue to enjoy it, socialize with other kids, and so help prepare him for school in the near future.


Simon received a special package in the mail all the way from Singapore. Thank you Nimisha and Nitin for sending Simon one of his new favorite characters, Qiao Hu!

Baby Iris was a bit of a sleepyhead. Probably recovering from all the weekend activities.
Simon is off at camp again this morning wearing his camp T-shirt.

Iris is sleeping again so finally found some time to post. This week we are going to try to get her to take the bottle. Right now, she only wants to drink from the breast and refuses the Dr. Brown’s bottles we have from when Simon was a baby. We borrowed some Born Free bottles and will see if she likes those instead. Crossing my fingers that she won’t be one if those babies that will starve themselves when I’m at work then breastfeed every hour when I get home… will update our progress as we go along.

Happy 10 Months

Day 306 = January 2, 2011

Simon is 10 months old today… WOW, how time flies!

Letting Simon explore his snack cup. He’s not sure what to make of it. He doesn’t seem to like the parts that keep the snacks inside the cup. He kind of pulls his hands away once it closes onto his hand. Maybe he just doesn’t like the particular snacks inside… we’ll have to put something more enticing inside.

Simon seems to like dim sum or any meat wrapped in noodle. Last week he had wontons and yesterday he had some siu mai. Today for breakfast I heated up some chicken cilantro wontons (from TJ’s) and he seemed to like them. When he really likes something, he will pick it up with his own hands rather than waiting for you to feed him.

Simon got a bit distracted by our cat Mochi. He’s been more interested in them now as they walk by the dining table and is curious about the sounds they make.

Misu enjoying being groomed by Mochi.

We went out to lunch to Koi Garden with my family in San Ramon. Our special dish of the afternoon, fresh lobster dumplings!

Simon Claus came out for one more encore.

ET phone home!

After lunch, we went to hang out at my parents’ house and check out their new 3D TV. We watched Despicable Me and it was pretty cool albeit a bit disorienting for the first few minutes. The glasses aren’t very comfortable though so I guess that’s why 3D movies aren’t generally very long plus the glasses use batteries which I wonder how long do they last. But a neat experience nonetheless.

Simon with grandma and grandpa Tam.

Simon needed a nap before going out to dinner and he fussed for quite a bit before finally falling asleep. Since we forgot to bring his Pooh or Zebra, he borrowed my mom’s pillow pet to keep him company during naptime.

We went to dinner at Izzy’s Steaks & Chops nearby. The restaurant lighting was dim and there was a low drone so Simon did not enjoy it inside at all. We probably woke him prematurely from his nap too so he probably was still tired. We basically had to take turns carrying Simon around the front of the restaurant since he wouldn’t let us sit down at the table and he didn’t want to sit down himself. He can be pretty fussy sometimes. But we tried to enjoy our dinner.

Wine selection for the evening.

Calamari appetizer. Nice and crisp and good dipping sauces, something was spicy (and good) and I couldn’t figure out if it was the calamari itself or the sauces.

Their entrees are served with 2 sides of your choice. This is my mom’s prime rib with sweet potato and their creamed spinach.

My entree of the special cut of the day: Cowboy cut with sweet potato and creamed spinach. It has a nice grill, very juicy, still tender, and seasoned well.

The place had the best rolls, served warm and super soft. They are baked in muffin tins so are soft inside and have that more toasty outside. It also comes apart in three pieces so perfect for buttering. Except for Simon not enjoying the atmosphere, the steaks were excellent and so was the bread. It was overall a pretty quite night as there weren’t many other diners but maybe it’s busier when they have live music.

Little Simon, Happy 10 Months!

Kauai Day Two

Day 230

After our long day of flying yesterday, we decided to take it easy today and stay around our hotel and check out the pool. Simon was up early this morning though since he still thinks we’re in California. He actually got up several times this morning and didn’t want to go back to sleep even though it was still dark. It will be hard the next few days while he readjusts (IF he readjusts).

Peacefully sleeping…

Then wide eyed and awake at 4:45am HST (7:45am PST)…

He eventually went back to sleep after 1.5 hours so I could go back to sleep then woke up wanting to eat so I fed him some breakfast of his favorite prunes and a bit of pureed banana. He will eat purees if you intermingle spoonfuls with his favorite puff snacks.

After breakfast, Simon had a change of clothes and had some quiet time to play in his crib. He seems to like this crib as he has discovered how to stand up!

Here he is in action going from sitting to standing by using the crib rails.

Kind of like in jail.

Ron and I needed to get breakfast ourselves so we walked around the back of the hotel then across the street to Market Street Diner. Along the way, we checked out the weather forecast.

I had spam with 2 eggs sunny side up, wheat toast, and hash. Standard fare.

Ron had the loco moco with 2 eggs over easy. The beef was a little over charred and the gravy lacked flavor.

On our walk back, Simon konked out and napped for a bit in his stroller. I had a nap too.

After he woke up, he and Ron had a conversation which Simon found really funny. Maybe he thought daddy was silly trying to speak baby language.

While Simon waited for us to decide what to do for lunch, he had a snack. He had his first cookie.

And made a big mess of himself so that he needed a change of clothes afterwards…

So instead, we decided we should just go to the pool and splash around. We started in the 0.5 ft pool to get him used to the water then Ron blew up his inflatable toy to let him float around in the big pool.

He didn’t like the inflatable toy much so instead we held him for a bit and let him splash around.

But then he got fussy and started to rub his eyes so we assumed he wanted to go back and take another nap. After a shower and change of clothes, he was wide awake again wanting to play. Ron put him “in jail” for a bit so that we could decide what we wanted to do.

We decided to go out to have lunch ourselves so walked to our car. There was a beautiful hibiscus plant right near our car.

As we drove to Pho Kauai, of course Simon decides to finally take a nap.

Ron had the pho.

I had an avocado shake with pearls. Although I’m pretty sure this is powder avocado flavoring, lots of ice and milky flavor instead of rich creamy avocado. Pearls weren’t bad though.

Plus the vermicelli with grilled pork and egg rolls. Best part were the egg rolls.

After lunch, we did a bit of driving which included driving through the famous Eucalyptus Tree Tunnel.

We just did a bit of walking around before heading back to our hotel. In the next few days, I hope we can hit a farmers’ market for some fresh fruits as we passed by a papaya tree that I wished had ripe fruits..

We didn’t really know what to do for dinner so asked a local and she recommended take-out from Garden Island Barbeque and Chinese Restaurant. We were intrigued by the name but the food ended up not being very good. We had the lemon chicken with teri beef combo and the crispy chicken.

It was “meh”, edible but probably not a place we would eat again. At least we still have another 5 day to find some better grub.

Mommy thinks I’m awesome

Day 226

Simon has some new bibs, this is my favorite and it’s so true!

I know this is blurry, but I love his wide eyed look.

Knocked out baby Simon sleeping on his tummy.

Ron had to get creative with meal time today as Simon is still refusing purees after a few bites. He was able to somehow convince Simon to feed himself by letting him hold onto the spoon himself.

For dinner we met up with our families for dinner to celebrate Ron and my birthday. We had steaks at Ruth Chris in SF.

We were too stuffed for dessert so the waiter packed us a dessert to go. Only a few more days until Hawaii!

Simon’s 1st vacation: Southern California – Day 1

Day 66

This is Simon’s first long distance trip by car.  Our friends Lynne and Joe are having a baby shower so we thought it a good time to see if we can travel with Simon.  It’ll be a four day experience.

We got on the road around 7am in hopes of meeting up with our friend Tiffany for lunch.  Simon is well fed, all dressed, and ready to go.  We didn’t realize how much more stuff we needed to bring with a baby (ie, his clothes, diapers, wipes, toys, blankets, bath soap, etc).


Although he looked wide awake, he soon fell asleep in the car and slept almost the entire way there.  We only needed to stop once to fuel the car and another time to change his diaper.  We had brought enough milk for the trip and I was pumping in the car so whenever he woke up, I just bottle fed him.



Unfortunately we did leave a little later than anticipated so didn’t make it in time to Los Angeles to meet up with Tiffany so we went to try something ourselves: Phillipe’s French Dip Sandwiches.  We had seen it on the Travel Channel as a place you must try in LA.  The lines weren’t as long as we anticipated so that was good but I was bad and didn’t order correctly.  Apparently you have to specify that you want your sandwich “dipped” and you can ask for “single” or “double”.  I assumed that they would at least give you the “au jus” on the meat itself or dip at least one piece of the bun into the sauce… but nope, just the meat on the bread and the hot mustard at the tables.  Oh well… we had one lamb, one beef, and a side of cole slaw.  The hot mustard was great, really spicy but the sandwiches were okay.  It might have tasted better with the sauce but not sure how much better.




After our lunch, we went to meet up with Tiffany at this store called Japan LA.  They have lots of Hello Kitty items and other cute things like Tokidoki and Crowded Teeth.


After shopping we went to a restaurant nearby to have some coffee and chat.  The place was kind of unprofessional.  First we told them we just wanted coffee and/or shakes, no food, and they said fine and to sit down.  When Ron wanted to order a shake then they told him the blender was broken.  When the waiter went back to check, apparently the blender was fixed but they were out of ice cream.  I wanted an amaretto latte but they were out of amaretto.  What the heck?!? I ended up ordering a hazelnut latte, Ron a raspberry iced tea, and Tiffany a soy latte.  The waiter brought Ron a regular iced tea then realized so brought the raspberry iced tea.  Tiffany was afraid they messed up her drink and used regular milk but we confirmed it was indeed soy.  So not such a good experience but we got a funny picture out of it.  Simon was being fussy and wanted to eat but for some reason would only start to eat while in this position:


For the evening, we headed to Torrance as we were staying at a Marriott Courtyard there using reward points.  The baby shower is tomorrow and is in Rancho Palos Verdes so this was the closest hotel in the area.  We also had to find a place for dinner and while searching Yelp, I came across this Taiwanese place called Ju Ju Shine.  It had rave reviews so we thought we’d check it out.

Here is their menu:



The lady owner suggested how we should order since Ron wanted this ground pork over rice dish, apparently the “rice” for the combination is that special ground pork over rice dish so it was a better deal to order the combination… not sure if that makes sense but if you go there, I’m sure she will help you.  They also have stinky tofu there even though it is not on the menu.

They also have some older Japanese comic books for you to peruse (if you can read Japanese) and when Tiffany first met Simon, she thought that he resembled this character.


This is some sort of soy sauce chicken served with three kinds of vegetables: lightly pickled cucumbers, stir fried cabbage/carrots, and preserved vegetables.  The soup is some sort of vegetable broth that was really good.  Then the special ground pork rice with boiled egg that Ron likes.


An order of their stinky tofu.  Smelled authentic and was really tasty.  The tofu kind of had air pockets in it so soaked up the sauce really well.  The outside was nice and crispy and the rest a bit chewy.


One of my favorite noodle dishes, Check-R noodles.  It’s very simple, just rice noodles in a broth with a boiled egg, some shredded pork, bean sprouts, cilantro, green onions, and fried onions.


We finished everything but were pretty stuffed.  All this was less than $20 and she even gave us two ba-wan to go.  It is a quaint little restaurant and I’m sure if we lived close by, we would frequent it often.

After dinner, we went back to our hotel and tucked Simon into bed.  Our hotel room had two Queen beds so Simon has a bed all to himself.


We had requested a portable crib and it ended up being a Graco Pack’n’Play with no sheets and no bassinet so we opted to have him be more comfortable on the bed.  It’s been a long day of traveling so we are all exhausted.