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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Anime Food Re-creation: K-ON! Nodoka's Sandwiches (+ LIFE UPDATE)

Hello Adventurers! First off, apologies for my radio silence! Basically, this entire summer, I have not had access to my laptop. First, the fan stopped spinning and then my adapter died and it's been a whole fiasco getting the parts replaced. (UGH, I seriously have the worst luck with technology. -.-)

With that being said, I have some good news and some bad news.

Let's start with the good news! I have another anime food re-creation! (And there's more where that came from, but please read by Life Update below.)
K-ON! - Nodoka's Sandwiches
Today, I present the sandwiches from K-ON! that Nodoka brought to Yui's study cram session.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Going on Hiatus!

Hey, Adventurers! Just wanted to let you know that I'll be going on hiatus for the next few weeks. The quarter is winding down, which means I have a ton of deadlines for papers, projects, presentations, and finals.
I hope you all understand! Don't worry though! More anime food re-creations, fictional foods, baking fun and other adventures are in the works! And don't forget that you can submit Requests too! I'm keeping a log of them and will be working on them once the quarter ends. I promise!

Wish me luck and I'll see you in the next adventure! :)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Percy Jackson's Favorite BLUE Chocolate Chip Cookies

Greetings, Adventurers! Today's fictional food comes from the world of Percy Jackson! One of Percy's all-time favorite foods is his mom's homemade blue chocolate chip cookies. When Percy tastes nectar (the drink of the gods) for the first time, he is shocked to find it tastes just like these cookies:
"It was chocolate-chip cookies. Liquid cookies. And not just any cookies - my mom's homemade blue chocolate-chip cookies, buttery and hot, with the chips still melting. Drinking it, my whole body felt warm and good, full of energy. My grief didn't go away, but I felt as if my mom had just brushed her hand against my cheek, given me a cookie the way she used to when I was small, and told me everything was going to be okay."
~The Lightning Thief
Percy Jackson - Blue Chocolate Chip Cookies

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Book of Mormon and Adventures in Hollywood

Hey, Adventurers! With The Book of Mormon leaving LA this weekend, I thought it'd be fitting to blog about my adventure watching this hilarious musical and exploring Hollywood.
Pantages Theater

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Snack Attack: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Chocolates

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Chocolates
Around the time The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie came out in theaters (I know, this was awhile ago! >.<), I stumbled across a display of chocolates inspired by the 12 districts of Panem at my campus bookstore.
Chocolate Display
It was a little strange that The Hunger Games collaborated with a luxury chocolatier brand because most of the characters live in starvation, but it wasn't the first time the franchise created a promo around food. (*cough* Subway *cough*) These chocolates were made by Wild Ophelia, a company known for making some unconventional chocolate flavors. The display only had chocolates from 6 of the districts, while the other 6 flavors were released around the time Catching Fire came out on DVD and Blu-ray. After looking over all the flavors, I decided to try the chocolates from District 7 and District 10.
Nutrition Information and Description
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Chocolate Bar
 DISTRICT 7 LUMBER: Smoked Chipotle Chili and Milk Chocolate
Flavor Profile (from the back of the package): "Ripe jalapenos become a chipotle chili through the process of smoking in an enclosed oven, infusing the peppers with the hearty, earthy flavor of the lumber. The wood-fired taste radiates from the chili pepper and each bite of this deep milk chocolate bar leaves a warm, zinging sensation on the tip of your tongue." 
District 7 Lumber: Smoked Chipotle Chili and Milk Chocolate
I really enjoyed this chocolate bar, but I'm partial to chili in my chocolate. When you first bite into it, you taste the sweet, creamy 41% Cacao Milk Chocolate, then get tiny bursts of saltiness accompanied with a very slight crunch (due to the alder smoked salt). I don't know about getting a "zinging sensation on the tip of your tongue" but I definitely felt the heat at the back of my throat. It slowly builds to a powerful kick. Out of the two bars, this one was my favorite by far.

DISTRICT 10 LIVESTOCK: Beef Jerky & Smoked Mesquite and Milk Chocolate
Flavor Profile (from the back of the package): "Our beef jerky comes from cattle treated humanely and raised in lush, green pastures. Natural, smoked fruit woods and peppered spices linger in each bite. The salty, smoky mesquite flavor of our jerky matches our rich milk chocolate perfectly - an idyllic combination."
District 10 Livestock: Beef Jerky & Smoked Mesquite and Milk Chocolate
Now I mainly bought this one out of curiosity. I mean - how many chocolate bars have you ever seen with beef jerky?? It sounded like such a weird combination and I can say for a fact that it is very weird. When you first open the package, you immediately smell something off - kind of like smoke. When you take a bite, you're hit with that smokiness along with a smell of - what else but - beef jerky. This chocolate bar was made with the same 41% Cacao Milk Chocolate as the District 7 bar so you get the same sweet, creamy flavor. There's also crunchy little bits of salt in this bar too, but this time, it's from sea salt. When the chocolate has fully melted away in your mouth, you're left with teeny tiny bits of jerky to chew on. Really odd! If you look really closely at the lower left corner of the picture above, you can see a tiny piece of the beef jerky. I can't say I enjoyed this bar and I definitely would not buy this again, but it was certainly an adventure for the taste buds - albeit an unpleasant one!

Did any of you, Adventurers, come across these chocolate bars? Let me know about your experience in the comments below.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

California Adventure: The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, CA

With Mother's Day just around the corner, why not do something unexpected and early this year? Usually, people take their moms out to eat and bring her some flowers. But this year, why not bring her to the flowers?
The Flower Fields
Located in Carlsbad, CA, The Flower Fields are 50 acres of blooming colors. My mom learned about the fields on TV and desperately wanted to see them so we stopped by The Flower Fields before our trip to Legoland.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Baking Adventure: 3D Hello Kitty Cookies

As I mentioned in last week's post, I had leftover shortbread crust dough after making Taiwanese Pineapple Cakes so I used it to bake... 3D Hello Kitty Cookies!
3D Hello Kitty Cookie

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Baking Adventure: Taiwanese Pineapple Cakes (鳳梨酥)

One of my favorite Asian sweets is Taiwanese Pineapple Cakes (鳳梨酥). For those of you who don't know, Taiwanese Pineapple Cakes are nothing like the traditional cakes we see in America. Instead, they're more like a thick, rectangular (or square) cookie with a shortbread crust enclosing a pineapple paste/jam filling.
Taiwanese Pineapple Cakes
For the longest time, I wanted to make them from scratch but could never track down the metal pineapple cake molds/rings in America. Fortunately for me, my former college roommate went to Taiwan to teach English right after graduation. Before she returned home, she asked if there was anything I wanted from Taiwan. I knew it was a long shot, but I asked if she could get me some pineapple cake molds and she totally pulled through! This adventure is dedicated to her because she made this possible! <3

Saturday, April 5, 2014

An Adventure to Legoland California

Legoland California
Hello, Adventurers! Today, I'm talking about the rest of my trip to Legoland California! (If you missed my post on "The Lego Movie Experience," be sure to check it out HERE!)

You see, the last time I went to Legoland was over a decade ago - around the time the park first opened! I remember there was only a handful of rides in the park and it seeming more like a museum of lego models. Fast forward to today and there are substantially more rides! However, I didn't end up going on any big rides because the lines were way too long! All the interesting rides had wait times of at least an hour, which I just wasn't really up for. (As a sidenote, Legoland really needs to make the signs for wait times a lot bigger. You basically have to walk up to the end of the queue before you can see what the little number says so it'd be nice if you can just see the wait time from a distance.) The only ride my brother and I did end up on was the BIONICLE Blaster, Legoland's version of the spinning teacups, and that was only because the ride had a 10-minute wait.

Legoland - Painted Ladies in San Francisco
Aside from missing out on most of the rides, I did enjoy Miniland USA, an area of lego models of major US landmarks. It was my favorite part of Legoland when I went as a kid and it still remains one of my favorite attractions.
Legoland - Golden Gate Bridge
They have a mini San Francisco with the Golden Gate Bridge.
Legoland - Las Vegas
There's a mini version of the Las Vegas strip.
Legoland - Capitol Building
And a model Washington, D.C. as well as other major cities like New York, Los Angeles, New Orleans during Mardi Gras, and the New England area.

Legoland - Star Wars Miniland
One of my brother's favorite areas was Star Wars Miniland, where the Master Builders recreated scenes and planets from the Star Wars movies.
Legoland - Millennium Falcon
My favorite had to be the fallen AT-AT.
Legoland - AT-ATs
Granny's Apple Fries in Castle Hill
My family and I ate lunch at Costco (right outside the park) to save money, but we did splurge on Legoland's famous Granny's Apple Fries located in Castle Hill.
Granny's Apple Fries Price ($5.45)
These apple fries are made with Granny Smith apples, dusted with cinnamon sugar, and served with vanilla whipped cream.
Granny's Apple Fries
The tartness from the apples mixed with the batter and cinnamon sugar made it seem like we were eating a deconstructed apple pie, but without the thicker pie crust. I've never had anything like them before.

Sea Life Aquarium
Our 1-Day Park Hopper tickets included admission to Legoland's Sea Life Aquarium - an attraction that wasn't there when Legoland opened years ago. (A quick Google search revealed that the Sea Life Aquarium opened in 2008.)
Lego Submarines
Inside, you see tanks of fish, sharks, jellyfish, stingrays, and other sea creatures with lego divers and submarines.
Lego Diver with Stingray
The entire aquarium takes about an hour to walk through and includes some interactive tide pools and trivia questions.
Lego Submarine with Shark and Stingray
I personally prefer the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, but it was interesting to see lego models in an aquarium.

Overall, Legoland California seems like a great place to bring kids. Most of the kids I saw were 12 and under and you could see they were having loads of fun! I wish Legoland would instigate some sort of Fast Pass program so the wait times don't seem as long for rides though. However, "The Lego Movie Experience" pretty much made the trip worthwhile for me so be sure to read about that part of my adventure!
The Pain of Stepping on Lego Bricks
For now, I leave you with this hilarious collage of a dad stepping on lego bricks - something most parents can relate to. Seriously, the Master Builders at Legoland have a great sense of humor.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Catch Pokemon on Google Maps on April Fools' Day!

One of my favorite things about April Fools' Day is seeing what fun pranks Google comes up with. Guess what, Adventurers! You can now catch Pokemon on Google Maps! No joke!
Google - Pokemon Challenge
There's 150 different Pokemon (both new and original) distributed around the world. After you update Google Maps on your Android or iPhone, click "Search" and then you can embark on your quest to be a Pokemon Master! How cool!
Pikachu was caught!
Now if only we could pokebattle too!

UPDATE: I finally caught all 150 Pokemon!
Complete Pokedex with 150/150
After you collect all 150, you unlock Mew! It appears that Mew is found in different locations for different people, but for me, he was at 0.23899, -50.411 (NE Brazil). It took me forever to find him!
A wild Mew appears! (Finally!)
Mew was caught!
Once you catch Mew, your Pokedex updates to show it is complete.

Pokedex complete with Mew!
Now that was a long quest... Did any of you complete it? Where was Mew for you?

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Lego Movie Experience @ Legoland California

CAUTION: This post is picture heavy! :)

Adventurers, who saw The Lego Movie and LOVED it!? Did you know that you could see the actual movie sets at Legoland California? It's all in "The Lego Movie Experience" and yes, EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!
The Lego Movie Experience
I was lucky enough to go to Legoland over spring break with my family and one of the first things we went to see was "The Lego Movie Experience."
Welcome to Finn's Basement!
The sets were so elaborate and truly amazing.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Request Your Favorite Fictional Food!

Hey, Adventurers! No new post today because it's the weekend before Finals week (*dun dun DUN*) but I wanted to let you know that I opened up a Requests page for you to request your favorite fictional food! You can also suggest recipes to try and other foods to make. I'm open to everything and would love some inspiration!

The link is located under "Requests" in the top toolbar. Leave a comment with the name of the food, where it's from, a brief description, and any links to images/screenshots. I'll try my best to fulfill your requests (time and money permitting).

Now back to studying for me...

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Restaurant Adventure: ShopHouse

If you guys haven't heard, ShopHouse is Chipotle's Southeast Asian sister restaurant where you order custom rice and salad bowls. They draw their inspiration from Indonesian, Singaporean, Malaysian, and Vietnamese cuisine. The setup is just like Chipotle where you choose your base (rice, noodles, or salad), protein, vegetable, sauce, garnish, and topping as you move down the line. There's only a handful of restaurants currently located in California, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., but fortunately for me, there's one located in Westwood, CA near UCLA so I got to check it out!
ShopHouse - Westwood, CA
ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen
1059 Broxton Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90024
ShopHouse - Meatball Bowl
If you're curious, you can check out the full menu on ShopHouse's website. On my first visit, I ordered the following for my bowl:
  • ½ cold rice noodle/ ½ brown rice: I thought the brown rice was a little hard. I slightly preferred the noodles.  
  • Pork & Chicken Meatballs: These seemed a little on the fatty side. They were mainly salty and you couldn’t really taste the herbs that were in them. 
  • Green Beans: I was originally going to choose the broccoli, but it looked yellowed like it had been sitting in the window too long so I chose the green beans tossed with caramelized shallots instead. The green beans were too “blistered” for me. There were several fully burnt pieces! I really didn’t like how they didn’t remove the stems and fibrous ends on all the green beans. 
  • Tamarind Vinaigrette: The sourness somehow brought out a bitter taste. Maybe the burnt taste of the green beans?  
  • Green Papaya Slaw: The flavor of this kind of got lost with the vinaigrette. It was more for textural contrast in my opinion. 
  • Herb Salad: The guy threw a little bit of cilantro and Thai basil on each bowl, even if you didn't pick it for your garnish. I like Thai basil so I thought it added a nice burst of flavor to the meatballs. 
  • Crushed Peanuts: Self explanatory. :)
Overall, this wasn't my favorite combination. The flavors just didn't mix well and I couldn't get over the fibrous green beans.
ShopHouse - Chicken Bowl
But I didn't want to completely rule out ShopHouse because they had so many other choices so on my second visit, I opted to try a different combination of food.

  • ½ cold rice noodle/ ½ jasmine rice: I liked this combo a lot better than the brown rice. The jasmine rice was soft but still firm and went really well with red curry sauce. 
  • Grilled Chicken Satay: The meat was really tender and cooked perfectly. It reminded me of the chicken from Chipotle but with different spices. I definitely liked this way more than the meatballs. 
  • Charred Corn: Again, the broccoli didn't look appetizing because it was yellowed so I went with the corn. It added slight pops of fragrant sweetness and was even perfume-y at times. 
  • Spicy Red Curry: I'm a fan of Thai red curry so I enjoyed this. It was spicy but creamy from the coconut milk. I wish they had given me a bigger scoop. 
  • Pickles: I opted to try this instead of the Green Papaya Slaw. This was made with carrots and cucumbers and tasted like the Vietnamese carrot and daikon (white radish) pickles you'd get in Vietnamese sandwiches. These are kind of sweet and not your typical sour pickles. 
  • Herb Salad: See above. 
  • Toasted Rice AND Crushed Peanuts: This time, the guy let me add multiple toppings.They both added crunch, but the Toasted Rice offered something completely new to me. It was like eating tiny hard bits and I can't say I enjoyed this texture. I'll probably skip the Toasted Rice in the future.
Overall, I liked this combination a lot more than the first one. The flavors just worked better together and, aside from the Toasted Rice, didn't have any major problems.
ShopHouse - Wall of Sriracha
I also wanted to mention that if you're a fan of Sriracha, ShopHouse has you covered. There's a whole wall of it free for the taking! No shame in dousing your bowl in sriracha if you so desire. There's plenty for everyone!

On the whole, ShopHouse offered a unique fast food experience with flavors not typically seen in fast food places. I can't see myself craving it like I would with Chipotle, but I wouldn't mind going back if a friend wanted to try it. I just know so many better Vietnamese, Malaysian, and other Southeast Asian places that ShopHouse would get lost in the mix.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Anime Food Re-creation: Bakuman's Takoyaki

Hey Adventurers! It's been awhile since I've done an Anime Food Re-creation so I have a simple one for you - takoyaki from Bakuman!  
Bakuman - Takoyaki

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Baking Adventure: Chocolate Truffle Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake

Prepare yourselves, Adventurers! Today, I present my ALL-TIME FAVORITE CHEESECAKE! Over Valentine's Day, I created a Chocolate Truffle Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake. Yup, that's right! Chocolate, strawberries, AND cheesecake! Talk about the ultimate Valentine's Day dessert for your loved ones!
Chocolate Truffle Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake
This cheesecake had chopped up chocolate truffles and a strawberry swirl heart pattern that was just perfect for the occasion!
Strawberry Swirl Heart Pattern on Cheesecake (Before Baking)
The pattern didn't hold up as well after baking, but it still tasted delicious! Just like chocolate-covered strawberries with cheesecake! Seriously... BEST. CHEESECAKE. EVER!
Strawberry Swirl Heart Pattern (After Baking)
I made the Strawberry Sauce a night before baking the cheesecake so I wouldn't have to worry about cooling the sauce. This cheesecake was also made with less sugar because my family doesn't like desserts that are overly sweet and I knew the chocolate truffles would add a lot for sweetness. Feel free to add more sugar if you want though! The tartness from the strawberry sauce balanced with the sweet chocolate and rich cheesecake was just perfection. Everyone in my family loved it!


2 pkg (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 ready-to-use graham cracker crumb crust (6 oz.)
~8 chocolate truffles, cut into 8ths
Strawberry Sauce (See Recipe Below)

  1.  Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Blend cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and eggs in a blender until smooth.
  3. Pour about 1/3 of the cheesecake batter into the crust and spread to evenly coat the bottom crust.
  4. Distribute chopped chocolate truffles evenly on batter.
  5. Cover the truffles with the remaining cheesecake batter.
  6. Level out the cheesecake batter and tap the cheesecake on the counter a few times to release any bubbles. (Use a toothpick to pop any stubborn bubbles.)
  7. Place small dots of strawberry sauce (about 1 cm in diameter) in circles around your cheesecake.
  8. Use a toothpick or knife to run through each dot to make a heart pattern.
  9. Place cheesecake into a larger roasting pan and fill the roasting pan with water until it reaches about halfway up the cheesecake.
  10. Carefully place roasting pan with the cheesecake into the oven and bake for 35 minutes, or until the center is almost set.
  11. Cool and refrigerate for 3 hours.
  12. Serve with additional strawberry sauce.

2 cups sliced strawberries
1½ Tablespoons lemon juice (or juice from ~1/3 of a lemon)
4 Tablespoons sugar (adjust depending on strawberries’ sweetness)
1 Tablespoon cornstarch

  1.  Blend the strawberries and sugar in a blender until smooth.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice and cornstarch.
  3. Add lemon juice mixture to the strawberry mixture and blend until combined.
  4. Strain the mixture into a medium saucepan to remove the seeds.
  5. Simmer over medium heat until the mixture starts to boil. Stir frequently and cook a few more minutes or until it thickens. 
  6. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate if not using immediately.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Candy Adventure: Chocolate-covered Domo-kun Marshmallows

Happy Valentine's Day, Adventurers!

In America, guys usually give candy, flowers, and/or other gifts to the leading ladies in their lives on Valentine's Day. However, in Japan, girls give chocolates to guys instead. Honmei-choco are chocolates given to guys that girls have romantic feelings for. This would typically include crushes, boyfriends, and husbands. Giri-choco, on the other hand, are "obligation chocolates" given to guys that girls have no romantic interest in. Think of your guy friends, male co-workers, and male bosses. Honmei-choco are usually higher quality than giri-choco and often homemade.

If you're interested in making your own easy chocolate gift this year, try making these Chocolate-covered Domo-kun Marshmallows!
Chocolate-covered Domo-kun Marshmallows

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Baking Misadventure: Pokeball Cake Pops

Alas, Adventurers! Not every quest ends in victory. We can't rescue the princess every time. We can't defeat every boss monster. We can't beat every gym leader. And we most certainly can't catch ALL the pokemon. At least not on our first try. (Especially when Pokemon's creators keep making new, ridiculous pokemon. *ahem* Garbodor, I'm look at you!)
Pokeball Cake Pops
Sometimes, things just don't work out the way you want them to and these Pokeball Cake Pops are Exhibit #1. It was my first time ever making cake balls and they ended up lumpy and uneven and just sad. A total fail in my book. BUT I wanted to share them with you anyway.
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