love languages

So I’ve been talking to my friends about their relationships and it seems that many of their issues stem from differences in love languages. There is that difference between men and women…but the way we show and perceive love as different individuals also play a significant role in the strength and growth of our relationships (including friendships and familial relationships). According to Gary Chapman, there are 5 love languages:

1. Words of affirmation: You love and need to hear that your partner appreciates you and loves you. The “sticks and stones” anthem doesn’t apply to you…words build you up and scar you deeply. The words “I love you” are treasures that you bestow onto others and desire in return. Hearing “sorry” after an argument is the icing on the cake to patching things up and being happy again.

2. Quality time: There is a difference between being in the presence of one another and actually spending time together. You are upset and hurt when your significant other is partially paying attention to you and partially paying attention to the television. You desire undivided attention during your time together to know your partner is fully there for you and their mindset is in the moment. You don’t like wasting time doing things together that you can do alone and you expect set dates to be honored and on time.

3. Receiving gifts: This has nothing to do with being “high maintenance” or a “gold digger.” This refers to the action of love through thoughtful and meaningful gifts. It doesn’t matter if it’s your favorite candy hidden underneath your pillow or a Tiffany’s necklace for your anniversary. The sacrifice of money, energy spent thinking of the gift, and time spent getting the gift means so much to you as it is for you giving gifts to others.

4. Acts of service: You perceive and show love through acts of service. Thoughtful gestures such as doing chores before being asked is a way of showing how much they love you and think of you. You’re delighted to see the dishes put away when you get home, the carpet vacuumed, the bathroom sink wiped down. Forethought such as bringing an extra jacket for your significant other, opening doors, and planning fun outings also falls under loving acts of service.

5. Physical touch: This, of course, includes intimate touching but also includes simple but meaningful touching such as holding hands, hugging, touching the back/shoulder/arm, leaning on the shoulder, etc. The presence and acknowledgement through touching makes you feel loved.

It may seem obvious that guys usually fall under physical touch & words of affirmation while girls are more about acts of service, quality time, and gifts…but you may be surprised to see that everybody is different.

Going back to psychology…the way you were loved when you were little tends to mold and shape the way you love and perceive love when you’re older. Culture also significantly impacts the perception of love. For me…there wasn’t a lot of words of affirmation or physical touch while growing me. My parents and I usually never say “I love you” to each other because it’s not the way we show love. I know they love me and they know I love them through gifts, quality time, and acts of service. I would always find surprise gifts from my parents that were thoughtful and considerate and they would oblige to my begging for video games and girly accessories here and there :). My family loves going on vacation together, emphasizing quality time. There were a lot of acts of service in my family as well, doing the dishes if someone else was tired, washing the cars, and cooking.

Just remember…the same experience is perceived differently by different people. Don’t be stuck in your form of showing and perceiving love, but understand your partner may view love in a different way. The most successful relationships stem from understanding the needs and communications of the other and compromising. My boyfriend definitely has different ways of showing love and it posed a big issue for us in the beginning until we realized that we DID love each other but in different ways.

Here is the link to Gary Chapman’s 5 love languages assessment. See which one you are and then ask your partner to take it too. It’s a great way to open up dialogue and get even closer. Good luck :)

http://www.5lovelanguages.com/assessments/love/

summer solstice

Summer solstice was on 6/20 this year (for those of you in the northern hemisphere) and I am taking advantage of these long days!!

Fun Fact!: Summer solstice refers to the time when the earth’s axis is most tilted towards the sun. For the southern hemisphere, this occurs towards the end of December. For the northern hemisphere, this occurs towards the end of June.

Some things I associate summer with:
- BBQ’s
- swimming/beach
- family and friend parties
- ending of allergies (THANK YOU GOD)

Now, I have some family visiting from other states and countries. It’s so fun to see people you’re related to but you barely know them. Some might think this is a hassle but I enjoy meeting strangers I’m connected to. It also doesn’t hurt that family visiting means receiving money! I don’t know if it’s a cultural thing or just a family thing, but I ain’t complaining…:)

One thing my family is good at is hosting parties. I kind of think my parents got our current house because it’s such a great house for parties. High ceilings, ceramic tile flooring, big kitchen, hundreds of roses in the backyard, fig trees, cherry plum trees, cherry trees… So naturally, my parents hosted their infamous steak dinner for my visiting family members. Take a look!

Grilled steaks with my dad’s mouthwatering marinade, perfectly juicy and tender…characteristic of a lovely medium rare cut. Grill-roasted bellpeppers, mom’s delicious salad with homemade dressing, balsamic portobello mushrooms, fresh french bread, brie cheese with blueberries, expensive wine, and tea. Not pictured: coffee, multitude of desserts (burnt almond cake, guava cake, chocolate eclairs, blackberry tarte, cream puffs), and fruits.

Can you see where my passion for food comes from? I’ve been introduced starting from a very young age! I love playing “hostess” so I hope to end up in a nice home to host my own parties someday. By the way…the blackberry tarte and cream puffs were POSITIVELY addicting. The blackberries were juicy and not sour at all. The cream in the puffs were yum YUM YUMMY. Of course the burnt almond cake and guava cake and eclairs were good too, but I’m too used to them now :p If you have never tried them, YOU MUST. Of course you need to find a good bakery that can make them well in the first place…

Now onto the next mouthwatering topic…my most recent Michelin star restaurant conquest! I actually found a Bloomspot lunch coupon for this place…AMAZING. Three-course lunch at Campton Place in San Francisco.

“Purse pillow” HAHA so cute

Rose champagnes and Brut champagne…very good but very pricey :(

My appetizer: King Salmon Tartare, Salmon Roe, Early Tomatoes, Basil and Olive Crisp. Texture was perfectly slimey <3

Cousin’s app: Kampachi Crudo, Ponzu, Marble Potatoes and Seaweed Salad. Typical hamachi appetizer but still good.

Boyfriend’s app: English Pea Soup, Ham, Wild Mushrooms and Black Rice. Great flavor and had that gritty pea texture.

My main: Liberty Farm Duck Samosa, Spiced Tomato Butter, Chilled Vegetables. Loved the spices but it overpowered the duck confit. Tasted almost like a typical samosa at any Indian restaurant.

Cousin’s main: Angus Tenderloin, Soubise, Spring Onion and Maitake Mushroom. Definitely the best dish available. Perfectly cooked medium-rare with slightly brown outer lining and pink all throughout.

Boyfriend’s main: Halibut, Snap Peas, Ramps, Cuttlefish and Garlic. The outside was crunchy while the inside was warm with delicate sweet flavor. Cuttlefish was not too chewy and tasted wonderful.

Boyfriend ordered a wine and waiter decided to give the other two ladies best-in-house complimentary wine. HdV wine from Napa Valley, 80% Merlot and 20% Cab Sauv. I typically don’t like red wines but this did not have the typical sour, bitter, tongue-coating aftertaste. It was warm and full throughout and slightly sweet. We loved it so much, we bought a bottle to go! Waiter charged us open-bottle price for a new one. Who says women secretly wish to be men?? :)

My dessert: Nectarine and Berry Composition with Buttermilk Sorbet and Meringue Chips. Looks simple but actually takes a long time to make and was very refreshing.

Cousin’s dessert: Lemon Cheese Cake, Blood Orange Sorbet & Graham Cracker Crumble

Boyfriend’s dessert: Classic Chocolate Cake with Fresh Berries. Your typical chocolate cake…not too special. But then again, how good can you make chocolate cake? I’m not much of a fan.

HdV!!! New favorite red wineeeee!

Campton place was interesting especially since it had Indian and Mediterranean influences. I wouldn’t say it’s on the top of my Michelin list but I’d have to come for dinner to get the full experience.

During lunch, my boyfriend was being his usual didactic self and we started discussing the falling of the American dollar value while the Korean Won is rising in value. I then inquired if people made money off of the fluctuating foreign exchange market and I learned that there’s something called FOREX trading!

Fun Fact!: Trading foreign exchange is like trading stocks. The NYSE trades around 1 billion dollars a day while the FOREX market trades around 3 trillion dollars a day. People buy currency when it’s low in value and then sell when the value rises. So if you have some Korean Won lying around that you got awhile ago…you can make some profit!

Another conquest I’ve embarked on: Mitchell’s Ice Cream!! Mitchell’s is famous in San Francisco and of course had the typical 20 minute wait before getting served.

White pistachio, cantaloupe, and toasted almond. White pistachio was amazing, cantaloupe was icey, and toasted almond was pretty good. Overall, probably a 3.8/5 stars.

I tried about 5-6 flavors before deciding and I have to say…still wasn’t that impressed. Friend recommended the Grashopper’s Pie (Mint ice cream with Oreo cookies, chocolate, and fudge) but it was too chunky having to chew through large chunks of Oreos and too much fudge. The number of pistachios in the white pistachio was a bit much as you can see from the pic, but the ice cream itself was very delicious so it’s forgiven. Tried the purple yam but tasted like typical taro ice cream. Strawberry was boring. Halo halo was…unique but had too many chunks in it!!! I didn’t know what I was chewing on…some sort of gummy or jelly. Meh. I guess people like this place cause they’re into having lots of stuff in their ice cream.

So during this weekend, I got to meet my cousin’s absolutely adorable Maltipoo, Lani.

Dying from cuteness yet??

How about now?

She is a puppy so my cousin is still in the process of training her and establishing hierarchy. Anyways, I have two dogs of my own and I love them…but I don’t understand the obsession people have with their dogs as if they were children. Dogs are dogs to me, not human children. I think it’s pretty ridiculous when I see people dressing dogs in expensive clothing and blinged out collars, carrying them in Louis Vuitton totes or Chanel dog strollers. I’m pretty sure my dogs appreciate drinking out of their $5 water bowl just as much as another dog drinking out of their $200 bejeweled one. Spending thousands on their surgeries just to get them to live an extra two months, hundreds on euthanasia, and hundreds on cremation with a fancy urn that comes with a golden plaque.

Also, I think it’s pretty ridiculous the way people refuse to discipline their pooches. I’m sure I’m treading in dangerous waters here, but I’m also sure I’m watching these people getting walked by their dogs instead of the other way around. People out with their dogs in these fancy pants harnesses getting dragged and pulled at the whim of the dog. I’m not even sure if these people care that the dogs don’t consider them as “owners” and probably think of themselves as the Alpha member of the family. This also floods into the subject of parents raising unruly children because they refuse to discipline them and acquiesce at the slightest pout or squeal. Speaking as a social worker…neither your children nor your dogs will get taken away because of proper discipline!! It has become such taboo to discipline your child/dog, with others watching and judging you…some even butting in. There is huge debate and many psychological studies being done on this subject matter so I won’t go further than this. But just be aware of it and figure out how you want to deal with society’s judgment on you but at the same time not teaching your children/pets how to AVOID society’s judgment as grown adults. Ironic…

ridiculous.

Lesson is…please teach your dogs some manners before taking them to the park and having them run wild, causing havoc while the well-trained, tame dogs are trying to have some fun.

Thanks.

Red Flags

Red Flag definition from Urban Dictionary: a sign or warning of any impending danger, disaster or doom.

A disclaimer before I start: Don’t mistake quirks as red flags. Annoying habits generally are not dealbreakers.

It’s such a sad thing to see all these red flags running amuck in our society with cultural influences encouraging serial dating, treating people like objects, cheating without remorse, holding onto pride as a prized possession, and winning without loving. I watched “Gossip Girl” for a couple seasons and you realize that there’s no sense of loyalty — everyone hooks up with everyone and cheating is in every episode. Taylor Momsen is by far the most annoying character, playing this uncontrollable, incorrigible, unappreciative daughter who doesn’t even know why she’s acting the way she is. Same with “Desperate Housewives” with vindictive neighbors, murderers of murderers, malicious children…and every household has a cheater. Can’t they be a bit less melodramatic and a bit more creative??

Red flags turn into turn-ons when they’re changed quickly and permanently. Nothing says “I love you” more than changing yourself for the better and compromising. This is said from experience, with my boyfriend having his own few red flags when we first met. I resolved to end the relationship because his red flags were deal breakers for me but I saw him quickly changing and maturing. I’ve also had the chance to see my own red flags and grow with his support. Isn’t that what relationships are about? You constantly have to compromise, grow, but support each other through the process. The best way to see yourself at your worst is being in a relationship. That’s normal. But what happens when you see your inner demon? Do you cling onto your pride and place all blame on the other? Good luck finding a lasting relationship. Or do you humble yourself and admit you’re as broken as your partner? Relationships are live entities constantly needing attention, care, and growth. Stagnant relationships are dead. Even relationships that fall backwards a bit are healthy.

Much of this information is familiar and hackneyed, but it’s surprising how often we justify red flags to avoid tears and heartache. Now for some general red flags that I’ve identified over the years in my own relationships, from friends’ relationships, and through my clients.

1. Often breaking promises. It can be something as serious as cheating or as menial as forgetting to take out the trash. What is the point of promises if they’re so easily broken? Aren’t relationships a sort of promise…committing to each other and promising loyalty, dedication, and selflessness? Broken promises also maintain distrust, which is the bane of any connection.

2. Too many differences. I’m talking about the bigger issues like religion, how to raise children, culture, goals, politics. You could also apply this to little things if there are too many of them. “Opposites attract, but similarities last.” Multitudes of psychological studies have shown that relationships with similar partners fared a lot better than different. The explanation is that it is human nature to want to surround yourself with the familiar. It may be fun to disagree and debate with friends once in awhile, but don’t you realize how tired you are afterwards having to defend your position? Imagine having to do that constantly with your spouse. Lovers quarrel enough as it is and many times it cannot withstand the added pressure of being too different. Isn’t it nice to have your thoughts and opinions often validated by the love of your life? Of course I’m not saying you need to be with your twin, but similarities need to outweigh differences. There are complementary aspects that actually help relationships (like sibling order), but I’ll tackle that subject in another post :)

3. Parental treatment. How do your significant others treat their parents? Are they rude, vengeful children? Do they have a Freudian, too-close-for-comfort, co-dependent relationship? Remember, the person most people are closest to before marriage are their parents. The way they treat their parents is a good window into how they’ll treat you 10 years down the road. It’s easy to be accommodating, patient, and understanding with people we’re not entirely comfortable around to keep up that facade of being  good citizen of society. How many of us are short-tempered, unwilling, disrespectful, and even rude to those who raised us and invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into our well-being?

4. No passion. When people have no passion in their lives about anything, there’s a good chance they won’t be passionate about you. It’s a sign they don’t know what they want in life, so can you trust they really want you? Do you want to be with someone who is not motivated and haven’t identified something wonderful in life that they thoroughly enjoy?

5. Messy place and unkempt. Isn’t this obvious? If they don’t take care of themselves, can they take care of you? The opposite is true as well: TOO neat is an indication of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It’s neither fun living in a pig sty nor a spotless prison. As is the case with most things…moderation is best! Extremes of any kind are usually red flags themselves.

6. Leaving someone for you. When someone is invested in another relationship, how did they find themselves falling for someone else? Do you consider that person trustworthy? Does it sit well with you that they left a committed relationship for someone they considered “on the greener side”? What makes you think they won’t do the same to you? It’s easy to be swept off your feet thinking you’re special and s/he won’t do it to you but s/he most likely will. Also…what are YOU doing falling for someone who’s taken?!

All in all, it’s easy to make excuses for red flags but don’t invest your time, energy, money, and emotions only to end up MORE hurt later. Of course every situation is different and you would love to think yours is…but try to objectively assess and be careful. Open communication is always the best key even if it leads to arguments. Also, your red flags may differ from another’s, so feel free to share yours and/or disagree with mine!

Now onto the yummy conquests I have embarked on!

My boyfriend took me to San Mateo to eat amaaaazing pasta. Now I actually am not a big lover of pizza or marinara sauce. I think I’ve had too too much pizza in my life because it’s always the go-to food to get during meetings and parties. The idea of putting ingredients on top of bread isn’t very creative to me either. Marinara sauce is easy: it tastes and smells like throw up. I’ve thrown up a lot in my life cause my stomach is a weakling and I can’t handle my alcohol so I’m very aware of the taste of vomit, which is equatable to the taste of marinara sauce. Blech. BUT! Ristorante Capellini makes fresh pasta in-house daily and it was an added pleasure to have a $50 coupon we paid $25 for.

Homemade, fresh gnocchi. You can eat it with just your tongue! I’ll be eating this everyday when my teeth fall out.

The sauce was not overly sour but more meaty and spiced well so I did quite enjoy it.

Fun Fact!: Gnocchi is thick, soft dumplings usually made from potato. Gnocchi comes from the italian word “nocchio” meaning a knot in wood (because that’s what it looks like!) It was originally a food for peasants first developed in the Middle East and provided vast quantities that fed the quick and large expansion of the Roman empire into the European continent.

Boyfriend’s clam linguini. The linguini was SLIGHTLY undercooked and had that doughy texture. Very very good.

Baked oysters. Slightly too creamy but still satiating.

My champagne cocktail and the boyfriend with his Pilsner.

Fun Fact!: Pilsner was the first beer to implement the bottom-fermented beer. Top-fermented beer refers to the yeast being on top and creates ales, porters, stouts, and wheat beers. Pilsner was first discovered in the Czech Republic using a bottom-fermentation technique instead. This creates pilsners, bocks, and malt liquors. Back then, the top-fermented ales were often dumped into the streets because they became undrinkable from being spoiled by bacteria/yeast. The clarity and quality of ales were also inconsistent and usually consistently unpleasant. Bottom-fermented pilsners provided clear and crisp beer for the bohemians to enjoy.

I guess something good that came out of this recession was all the coupon and daily deal sites that popped up. Now I feel jipped when I have to pay full-price for things!

Lastly, the best pizza I’ve had was in LA called “Pizzeria Mozza.” For some reason, the texture, ingredients, temperature…everything was just perfect. If you’re in the Melrose area, you should definitely try it!

fennel sausage

my favorite: goat cheese and bacon

I’ll keep trying to post memorable eats. Goodnight!

Answer to the heat? ICE CREAM.

So before I delve into the joys of ice cream, I’d like to mention that my boyfriend pointed out we visited another Michelin starred restaurant: Craft Los Angeles headed by none other than Top Chef’s Tom Colicchio! But after much research, it looked like he lost his Michelin star :( Sad day…but we got to try this place during DineLA and it was good but not as fantastic as the other Michelin starred places I’ve had.

very nice ambience

http://gawker.com/308620/crafts-tom-colicchio-is-one-sad-de+starred-bear

Fun Fact!: DineLA is a part of the “Restaurant Week” held in many cities including San Francisco, San Jose, San Diego, etc. It’s held for one week couple times a year, where high-end restaurants lower their prices for prix fixe menus so people who wouldn’t normally splurge $$$ on a meal are able to try their food. You should look up your city to see if they have restaurant week! It’s a great date/friend/family outing opportunity.

Now for the fun part…ICE CREAM!!!! Another goal my boyfriend and I have decided to try and accomplish was find the BEST ice cream place in the bay area. Bay area is known for its collection of satiating frozen treats and we are determined to find the best ones!!

One place that we’ve really enjoyed was Powell’s Sweet Shoppe. Their gelato is FANTASTIC. Yelp is a good source to see their 4.5 star ratings with over hundreds of reviews.

I got the peanut butter crunch gelato. Friend got the pineapple. Boyfriend got the double espresso.

The alluring part of this place is its enormous amounts of sweets packed into 200 sq feet. Candy lines the walls, the floors, the cabinets, the tubes…it’s like a compact Willy Wonka Factory…which ironically they play on a tv screen in the back with movie theater seats!!

candy candy candy!

Classic Willy Wonka on repeat :) Watching with their delicious gelato is an amazing journey away from reality for a few minutes.

The texture is creamy but not intolerably sweet like other gelatos I’ve had. I love Love LOVE peanut butter flavored ice creams and this was out-of-this-world DELICIOUS. Strangely, I don’t like peanut butter itself that much…hm. Boyfriend’s coffee flavored gelato was okay but I liked my peanut butter one better :p

On the same day, we ventured over to Fenton’s creamery. Yes, the one you saw in the Pixar movie “Up”!!

My favorite movie <3

The real Fenton’s

I’ve gotta say…wasn’t that impressed. I’m a pretty big ice cream snob and I consider ice cream to be underqualified if they have an icy flavor to it. Do you know what I mean? Cheap, generic brand ice cream taste more like creamy iced water than ice cream. Ice cream needs to have that FULFILLING, FATTENING, MILKY flavor. Yes? YES? YES!!!!

My espresso crunch. Boyfriend’s Black and Tan.

Didn’t finish my espresso crunch. That’s saying a lot… However boyfriend’s Black and Tan was a better experience. I believe it’s toasted almond ice cream with homemade caramel with coffee ice cream topped off with more toasted almond ice cream. I wouldn’t detour out of my way for Fenton’s but it was a nice experience. I thought the lines out the door were due to its fame from “Up” but according to my mother, there’s always been a line since she’s graduated from UC Berkeley (which was quite a LONG time ago…HEHE). So I guess they’re a prized ice creamery in their area for the massive amounts of ice cream they give you. Hm…a bit confused why people want massive amounts of icey ice cream but maybe it wasn’t a good day when I went/the ice cream I chose was wrong for me. Will update you guys if I go again!

One place that REALLY displeased me was Lappert’s Ice Cream in Sausalito. Many people go to Sausalito on vacation so I’m not sure if they take advantage of the inherited spendthrift attitude of an out-of-towner, but their ice cream was ATROCIOUS. I coaxed my friends to go in after our brunch at Le Garage (which is a delightful French brunch place to check out if you’re ever in the area)…

Gotta show you at least ONE pic from the brunch…my duck confit!

But afterwards, we walked downtown and I wanted to try them! Talk about icey ice cream. UGH. I felt bad for trying multiple flavors because I was hoping it was the flavor and not the quality of their ice cream. Nope…every single one had that icey taste with the unpleasant after taste of a bitter milk coat blanketing your tongue. Funny thing though…all of my friends who didn’t want to go in all got an ice cream and I left empty handed. None of them finished their ice creams. (I warned them…should’ve trusted my taste buds! Muhehehe…)

This was taken off of the Yelp website. But can’t you see the ice crystals on the ice cream and how it’s SUSPICIOUSLY a little too sparkly/shiney??

Don’t let your retinas be fooled by shiney ice cream. It should NOT be sparkly/shiney. It should look ooey gooey and have a THICK texture that hang onto your spoon for dear life everytime you slurp a part of its delicious body. Now I want more of Powell’s gelato…..

Well talk about all of this ice cream gets me thinking of how I’m still trying to embrace young adulthood. Do you guys ever stop to think about aging…scary as it is for yourself but do you think of your parents? The biggest thing that scares me is that my parents are getting older. Take it from me, who’s provided mental health counseling to older adults, worked in a Skilled Nursing Facility, and currently works with many older adults at a dialysis facility…AGING IS NOT AS NICE AS PEOPLE PRETEND IT IS!!!! Why do they call it the “Golden Age”?? Is it because you get all golden from all your sun spots? The physical pain of aging, the mental pain of losing your mind, the emotional pain of increasing tragedies as you live longer…aging is NOT something I look forward to.

Sorry…am I scaring you? A bit too morbid? Sorry…but that’s what you get for reading a mental health therapist’s blog!! Let’s be practical and realistic here…soon our parents are going to reach that age where we need to decide how to care for them as the vicious cycle of life has reared its ugly head and forces us to become the parents to our parents. Who is going to help them administer their 33 different medications? Who will take them to their multitude of doctor appointments? Who is going to help them shower to prevent them from slipping? Who has the responsibility of changing their adult diaper when their bowels begin to fail them?

It’s hard to think about…but it’s best to prepare yourself instead of being caught, blindsided by the sirens of youth. A recent psychological article I read (http://www.psychologytoday.com/collections/201206/managing/the-difficult-mother) brought up the reoccuring thoughts that I try to keep in the deep recesses of my mind…who is going to take care of my parents when they reach that age? Will they go to a nursing home? After working in a Skilled Nursing Home and working with many different senior apartments and boarding cares…I refuse to let that be an option. If you care about quality care for your parents, don’t send them there. Let me give you an insider’s scoop: nursing homes are increasingly becoming for-profit and won’t take long-term patients because they lose money. They want the ones who just got hip replacements and have Medicare and/or private insurance who will stay for 100 days or less and then return back home. 44 patients per 1 nurse care? No thanks. I understand some people don’t have an option but if you remotely care about your parents and you had somewhat of a choice, I would press you to fight for better care.

Now it’s like vomiting money thinking about hiring a full-time nurse for my parents. It is also awkward thinking about having to care for them myself and as many studies show, caregivers have the highest rates of Major Depressive Disorder and suicide incidents. For good reason…could you stand your parent asking you the same question 3 times within 10 minutes? Could you deal with their constant mood swings from the multitude of medications they’re taking? Is it easy to think about having to watch them constantly and help them get to point A to point B? Will you be guilt free if they fall and fracture their ankle?

Honestly, I don’t have an answer for you. I don’t have one for myself yet either. A disturbing revelation was reading this article written by a highly esteemed geriatrician from my “Health Policy” class during grad school. It’s about how he couldn’t help his own father’s failing health and onset of dementia. It made me cry and left a searing, provoking thought in my heart. If you have time, you should read it…it’s really good! http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/24/4/1064.full.pdf+html

The sequel if you really liked the article:

http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/26/6/1728.full.pdf+html

Any thoughts or comments are welcome :) Have a good day!

Michelin starry eyed

As self-proclaimed foodies, one of the goals my boyfriend and I have decided to try and accomplish was to try all of the Michelin-starred restaurants we can.

Fun Fact!: The prestigious Michelin stars are awarded by the Michelin Guide Book, which ranks restaurants all over the world from 1 to 3 stars.  One star indicates a “very good cuisine in its category”, a two-star ranking represents “excellent cuisine, worth a detour,” and a rare three stars are awarded to restaurants offering “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey. In 2012, there are 10 three starred restaurants, 17 two starred restaurants, and 103 one starred restaurants in the USA.

Of course if a restaurant gets awarded a coveted Michelin star, this gives them the power to raise their prices so my boyfriend and I have slowly started our journey since last year.

Our very first Michelin-starred restaurant started with Gordon Ramsay at The London West Hollywood Hotel. As it being our first Michelin experience, the food was very very memorable. Unfortunately, I had not adapted the dexterity of taking pictures of every dish at that time so I don’t have pictures to share :( But this is the picture of the restaurant:

Isn’t this gorgeous? Gordon Ramsay is definitely a visionary chef.

Our second Michelin-starred restaurant experience was at Dio Deka — the only Greek restaurant with a Michelin star in all of the world other than one in Greece.

The “pikilia”, aka the appetizer medley: Ovenbaked spanakotiropita (Crispy phyllo pastries, baby spinach leeks, Greek sheep and goat milk cheeses), baby back pork riblets, short-rib dolmathes and pan seared lamb meatballs with yogurt. Surprisingly, the lamb meatballs were the BEST.

This is where I found my favorite white wine: Sancerre, Sauv Blanc, Pascal Jolivet. Light and crisp, not too sweet.

Moussakas … A traditional layered casserole with ground lamb, sliced eggplant and potato, béchamel crust, lamb jus. I’ve had many moussakas in my life and the textures in this dish were perfect.

Boyfriend had to get the bone-in filet mignon: “This extremely rare cut of 16 oz. USDA prime is slowly and naturally aged for 30 days. It offers the exquisite taste of a traditional filet, with the added sweetness that only comes from meat cooked on the bone.” Best filet mignon I’ve had in my life. I’m not kidding.

Here is a closeup so you can see the juicy, tender texture. Melt-in-your-mouth-goodness-gracious.

Drooling yet????? Pictures don’t do the food justice, of course.

Our third Michelin-starred restaurant was Farmhouse Inn. This was a very special place. Farmhouse Inn uses all locally grown produce and meat, minimally using sauce to focus more on the fresh ingredients and the skill in preparing the food. It’s located in Forestville in Sonoma county, surrounded by beautiful valleys and vineyards. They constantly change their menu so I would love to keep revisiting this place.

My alcohol-free pinot noir spritzer. The winery centrifuges the alcohol out of the pinot noir. Such a cool concept.

complimentary strawberry gazpacho with prosciutto crisp

Buffalo tartare with quail egg. Absolutely mouthwatering!!!

Boyfriend’s delta asparagus with dungeness crab and uni. I love love LOVE uni and theirs was so freshhhh

Foie gras is becoming “illegal” in California, so I had to get this. BEST foie gras I’ve had. Not overly fatty but supple and umami-provoking. The housemade brioche complimented it so well.

Boyfriend’s gnocchi. Remember, gnocchi used to be “peasant” food. This was definitely not for peasants. It was so soft, you could eat it without teeth!

Farmhouse Inn’s famous “rabbit rabbit rabbit.” AKA rabbit prepared in 3 ways: leg, ribs, and loins wrapped in bacon. I usually don’t like rabbit because it’s gamey, stringy, and flavorless. This was the opposite. My friend, who does not really like to venture outside of the comfortable beef/chicken/pork zone loved it too!

Boyfriend’s pork chops. Flavorful and tender. Not dry at ALL.

Chocolate souffle

Mascarpone cannoli with trio sorbets: mint, strawberry, and raspberry. Mint wasn’t your “mint chocolate chip” taste — it tasted like the fresh plant…the ones they put in your mojitos. Favoriteeee <3

So the reason why I said this was a very special place wasn’t just because of the food. It’s called Farmhouse Inn because you can also stay there. Well, my boyfriend told me this was the place he wanted to take me to propose before I told him I didn’t want him to spend $$$ on our engagement. I’m a practical girl … gotta save money for that house down payment! :) So now he has to come up with something else (oops…haha), but let me show you how lovely this place is because if you want to propose and don’t mind spending the money, this place is a shoe-in for an “I DO.”

This is the barn room suite, aka $800/night. Eep! But your rainfall shower is outside with the nature surrounding you. So lovely.

You can also take a bath indoors if you feel too naked outside with the birds watching you…haha.

So romantic…

There’s a path in the back where it leads to this wooden platform surrounded by trees and flowers for yoga and meditation. My bf wanted to use that as the proposal place…so so so sweet. BUT! I did still get to eat here, which was very very yummy.

Now the lastest Michelin-starred restaurant I went to was the Plumed Horse in Saratoga. Bar none, they have the biggest wine selection I’ve seen so far. Proof?

complimentary app: sturgeon mousse cannoli on top of green tapioca

kampachi with caviar and pickled japanese cucumber

oyster cream with pancetta

Probably the best course of the evening… maine lobster with mushroom pave, fava beans, and pea shoots. Lobster had a buttery texture…yum yum yum.

must. eat. as. much. foie. gras. as. possible. this was deliciousssss, of course! with a roasted pineapple on top and garlic tulle seasoning

Alaskan halibut with red wine braised pork cheeks. This had a little too much sauce, which was a little too salty. But the texture was great.

Colorado bison with chutney and daikon. Bison has a very bloody taste…YUM. I love blood. Not for the faint of heart!

Boyfriend got pork…again. Good but not as good as Farmhouse Inn.

complimentary dessert: blood orange sorbet on top of tapioca with honey foam

toasted coconut semifreddo on top of strawberry verjus

warm apple beignets with cinnamon ice cream

chocolate souffle with pistachio and golden raisins

complimentary chocolate ice cream bon bon

mom’s birthday dessert platter: chocolate macarons, fruit jelly, and madelines. mom had to eat one of the macarons before i could take a picture…hehe

My boyfriend keeps talking about this Michelin star restaurant on the peninsula that makes FABULOUS paella and other seafood dishes. That is a probable next restaurant to try.

Bon appetit!

Food, Psychology, Games, and Love

Hi all!

So at the behest of many of my friends and boyfriend, I’ve decided to try this thing called “blogging.” I’m thinking that the main content of my blogs will include food, psychology, games, and love. I would like to think of myself of an amateur food connoisseur, erudite of psychology, player of games, and student of love.

Starting with food…I just went to B’Zu Cafe in Mountain View, CA with my boyfriend. Great Groupon find!! $40 for 2 drinks, 1 appetizer, 2 entrees, and 1 dessert. I’ve been getting really into Mediterranean food and this place was pretty good — especially for a $40 dinner for two.

I got the princess martini (vodka, juice, and champagne) and my boyfriend got the trumer pilsner

Fun Fact!: What’s the difference between champagne and sparkling wine? Champagne comes exclusively from Champagne in France! “Come quickly, I am tasting stars,” Dom Perignon’s famous quote after his first taste of Champagne.

Lamb Kofte – Ground lamb with onions and green onion, Greek yogurt mixed with garlic and pickled onions, Tzatziki, and warm, fluffy pita bread — favorite part of the dish!

I got the Chicken Kebab – Herb Marinated Skewers, Tzatziki, Rice Pilaf & Vegetables. The chicken was tender and soft, NOT dry. Went really well with the yogurt. Boyfriend got the Hanger Steak with mashed potatoes and vegetables — juicy and flavorful.

Fun Fact!: Hanger steak is the diaphragm cut of the cow. It’s known for its soft texture and aromatic flavor. It’s called “hanger” because its the meat part that hangs from the cow.

Hanger steaks come from the “Butcher Steaks.”

Most fun facts are from my boyfriend, whose continual didactic conversations during every meal never cease to amaze me.

Organic Banana Baklava with gelato and whipped cream. Flaky, warm, and fruity!

And of course for added dessert, we walked across the street to Red Rock Coffee Co.
I got myself the Iced Chai Tea Latte, which was surprisingly spicy! (My masochistic tastebuds thoroughly enjoyed it). Doug got their latte and says, “It’s stronger than Starbucks and smoother at the end.” It’s the same price as Starbucks so I’d just go here if I was near. Apparently, they have an amazing single barrel barista who makes espresso and hand drip coffee during certain times of the day/week. Gotta come back to try it! If you’re a student, screenwriter, or blogger (hehe) this place is perfect. Their setup is comfortable and they have a 2nd floor to utilize too.

The date with my boyfriend got my psychological neurons firing about love. Is it possible that I love him more and more everyday even though it’s been over 3.5 years? When he blabbered on about the metabolic and cardiovascular model projects he is working on, I just stared at him thinking how life was definitely meant to be shared with other beings whether it be family, friends, and/or significant others. As gregarious mammals, we desire companionship. It’s nice to have someone to talk to about the menial details of your day and feel like someone cares.

While driving home, the radio station I was listening to asked a pretty invoking question: “At which point in a relationship do you have to ask for permission?” I’ve never done this before in my life and I probably shouldn’t have done it while driving, but I decided to call in and give my two cents. The girl who picked up told me to hold for the DJ to put me on air. I started SHAKING. Millions of people would hear my silly little answer…do I hang up? Do I pull over? I just prayed that I wouldn’t stutter or crash into the divider.

When the DJ put me on air, I explained that my boyfriend and I have always asked each other for permission since the beginning of our relationship. I actually believe this is an integral part that has made our relationship so successful. It’s not about being “whipped” or “submissive.” It’s about being considerate of the other person and how they feel. You’re in a relationship with another person, not just yourself, so it’s good to keep an open dialogue. I’m not talking about silly, unnecessary questions like “Can I scratch my butt?” “Do you mind if my back sweats from this heat?” I’m talking about things you know the other would care to know such as “What do you think of me going out with friends tomorrow night?” “Is it okay with you if I tell my parents the story of your flying booger?” You’re just showing your thoughtfulness for the other, which helps to build trust and solidify communication. Of course I gave the summarized version on the radio and my answer actually aired!! One step closer to having my own radio talk show about love… =P

Lastly…talking about games, I want to buy Diablo III but I have a few reservations:

1. I don’t want to get addicted.
2. I don’t want to stop playing DoTA and lose the familiarity, having to start over with a new game
3. It’s expensive…
4. I don’t know if I have the time as a full-time worker to invest in gaining experience, gold, and items

SHOULD I GET IT???

Thanks for reading :) Comments, suggestions and questions are welcome!