Posts tagged ‘family’

July 9th, 2011

The good, the bad and the ugly of Huntington Beach

The bike lanes along the pacific ocean are gorgeous.  Today, my husband and I visited his sister in Huntington Beach, and went for a nice bike ride.The only thing I ate today before leaving the house, was a couple of celery sticks with peanut butter, so, as you can imagine, I was starving after a 20 mile bike ride, and barely hung on as we waited for a table at a restaurant for over 30 minutes.  We went to Sandy’s Beach Grill, a new addition to the Duke’s restaurant group.  The atmosphere was nice with the 10 of us getting a table with an ocean view. The niceness stopped there though, and the storm clouds arrived.  First, no bread for the table.  I’m not usually a bread person, but like I said, after the bike ride, I was starved!  I was excited when the food came, as I was looking forward to the Crispy Skin Barramundi I ordered, which came with shrimp tempura and risotto, but sadly, the only thing to be found that was crispy, was in the title.  To make matters worse, the fish wasn’t seasoned.  That should have made me angry, but I was way too hungry to argue with anybody.  Besides, after a nice day at the beach with family why would I want to ruin an evening complaining about food?

If only that were the only problem…  My husband never got his steak!!  His sister ordered the same dish, and she got her food along with the other nine people in our party.  When I got my plate, I heard the waiter mention that his steak was overcooked, so he’d bring a new one in a few minutes.  25 minutes later, his food arrived.  Unfortunately, by that time, everybody was done eating.

I’m not a restaurant manager or waiter, but if I were entertaining friends’ at my house and there was a problem, I’d try to keep my guests from starving by feeding them chips or something light, and definitely update them on the ETA of their meal.  There was none of that courtesy from this restaurant.  Our waiter left us with the impression that his dish would come out soon, and he never came back until he finally brought my husband’s dish.

I felt helpless.  I wanted to share my meal, but we have a rule: “If the fish isn’t great, don’t share,”  Bottom-line, if I want my meat and potatoes husband to start liking fish, I better not give him anything that might turn him off.  I’m an optimist and a hopeless romantic and I truly believe that if I keep giving him a bite of fish here and there, he may start to enjoy it.  Actually, there have been a few successful experiments in the past.  He liked the fresh fish tacos we accidentally found in Maui– so much so, we went back to eat there 3 nights in a row!  So, the dilemma was clear: do I offer him a piece of bad fish and ruin my dream, or do I watch him starve in agony?  Although I hated to see the empty table space in front of him, I didn’t insist on him sharing my plate.  He starved in agony.

July 4th, 2011

Jeremy salad

While some people want a piece of tart, I actually made a ‘peace’ tart for the 4th of July.  Just wanted to show off share.

We have a very smart 11 year old nephew, Jeremy.  He already has a stock market account, teaches me about gadgets, and negotiates prices with ‘replica’ vendors in China. Yet with all that sophistication, he still enjoys laughing at bodily sound-effects played from an app on his iPad.  As far as kids go, he’s actually very cool to hang out with.  One night, we were enjoying dinner at his house, and while I don’t remember the main course (sorry, sister-in-law, I’m sure it was something delicious), I never forgot the salad Jeremy made as a side.  It was like an Israeli salad, chopped cucumber, tomato, carrot and radish with squeezed lemon and salt & pepper.  Very refreshing and delicious.  My husband still requests it under its new name, “The Jeremy Salad” from time to time.

You can probably guess that my husband is not just picky when it comes to Asian food.  So if I find a dish he likes, I want to include that in our rotation– And it’s not that simple.  It’s actually a bit tricky.  Let me explain.  Even if he likes one dish one time, it doesn’t guarantee he likes the exact same dish a second time.  Need an example?  Cold ramen (Hiyashi Chuka).  I took a risk making it because I knew he was not familiar with cold noodles, and doesn’t care for them much.  But on a hot 100 degree L.A. summer day, all I craved was cold noodles, as we, Japanese, live on cold noodles (soba, ramen, udon, anything) during the hot months.   Success; he liked it!  Before I could congratulate myself for bridging the gap of pickiness, I made it for a second time and the result– he doesn’t want it.  Annoying, I know!  It’s like dealing with a child with no reason.  You see, my husband eats with his brain.  He over analyzes food before, during and after he eats.  Instead of just accepting a new flavor or texture, his brain goes to work, trying to compute answers to questions like: what is this I’m looking at, what am I chewing, what is this strange flavor/texture in my mouth?  The second time he ate the cold ramen, instead of remembering that he liked it, he defaulted to his “I don’t like cold noodles” rule.  Annoying, right?  Especially when I spend time and effort preparing something that he later, refuses to eat– but there is a fun, entertaining quality to watching him eating completely foreign food and trying to figure out what it is.  I guess they call that ‘love’.  Awwww.

The now famous, “Jeremy Salad,” is in our rotation.  The ingredients change depending on what we have in the fridge, but as long as we have cucumbers and tomato, it earns its name. Here’s one version with tzatziki dressing.

2 servings

  • chopped vegetable(1 cucumber, 1 tomato,1 stalk of celery for today)
  • your favorite plain yogurt   2tbs
  • garlic paste (I love this)   1tbs
  • dill (fresh or dry)
  • lemon juice   1 tbs
  • salt to taste


  1. Mix yogurt and garlic paste, add lemon and dill
  2. add all vegetable but tomato and mix, very little salt to taste
  3. add tomato, mix, and chill in the fridge until serve
  4. great with grilled chicken on a hot day!