Sukiyaki in Laos takes the form of a bowl of bean thread noodles, various vegetables, thinly-sliced beef and other meats or seafood, sukiyaki sauce, and a raw egg in beef broth. The sukiyaki sauce is made from coconut, fermented tofu, tahini, peanut butter, sugar, garlic, lime and spices.
That’s a general explanation of it. My mom made the sauce with red curry, pickled garlic, fermented red bean curd, peanut butter, dried shrimp and love. It was my most favorite dish growing up. After we used up all the broth, we would also eat it this way.
When we found out that my mom didn’t have much longer to live, I realized I might not ever have her cooking again. Nor will my children get to taste how great their grandmother cooked. That’s when I decided I wanted to make a cookbook of Maman’s recipes and stories of the times I spent in the kitchen with her. That project has been worked on and off in the past 3 years. Still working on it.
I remember in the last couple weeks before my mom’s passing, she wanted to make suki yaki with me one last time. I couldn’t have asked for a better thing to do with her. Since it takes all day, it took a lot of energy out of her, so she did it with naps in between. I did everything, with her guidance. Now when I make it, I can picture us in my aunts kitchen, barefoot. Me in jeans, her in her pajamas. She was so frail and seemed smaller since the cancer was sucking the life out of her. But here she was, spending this time with me, telling me how to do everything her way.
I will forever be transported to that day whenever I cook this.
I had no idea that the Philadelphia Zoo was the first zoo in America. According the plaque located at the entrance.
Also, this statue is at the beginning of the zoo. Its a mama lion with an arrow through her, and her babies on her and the daddy lion looking mad. If I was a kid, I would be scared and not want to go in.
The zoo was fun. I can’t wait to have kids and take them to things like this. Mostly so I don’t look like a weird adult who actually like doing things like this.
I thought this was super cute. The monkeys were sitting next to each other with their tails intertwine. Love in the wild. Well not wild, but wild animals. It makes me sigh from the love. They even look like a heart shape.
This zoo has wild peacocks roaming around. Like literally they were just walking around the zoo like they owned the joint.
Yes. They did run this joint. I was clearly scared.
Rhinos look like dinosaurs to me.
This gorilla was so human-like it was really scary to observe. Because I wonder what he thinks about when all these people come up to the glass and stare at him.
Elephants are cute…I don’t remember seeing them at the zoo though?!
Cool fish tank. This is John. He loves fish.
I thought these flowers were SOO pretty and cute and fun. Anyone know what they are called?
I had a great time at the zoo…and makes me want to do more things like this. What’s up next friends?!
Couldn’t go to Philly and not take a picture of the love sign! Little did I know, DC has one that says Amour.
Girls are excited..boys are.. indifferent.
China town for some baked goods.
We waited in line for this picture. This is the only pose I could think of.
These steps weren’t as daunting as it seemed. They were pretty low.
The water was ice cold. Reading Terminal market was definitely much better first thing in the morning. We went again in the afternoon and it was PACKED. But it all was delicioooooous, and right around the corner from our hotel.
I had an awesome time, we actually did everything on our list and finished pretty early! Zoo, Rocky Statue/Steps, Reading Terminal Market, Chinatown, noodle bar. Yep. A jam packed less than 24 hour trip.
Mmmm. Ramen noodles. Soups are definitely my comfort food. And I love that ramen is everywhere now. Thrillist featured this place as one of the top 25 ramen places in America, so while in Philly, I had to!
There was a little bit of a wait at like 9pm, but that’s a sign that its good right? The guy was super friendly, and we got a couple of the specials while we waited. I had the white tea/lychee, he had the watermelon ginger. Both were unique and delicious. I liked mine better because it was light, floral and only a tiny bit sweet.
We sat at the bar, so we got to see the magic happen.
It must be a requirement for ramen places to be so cool looking.
Sichuan beef dumplings. Nothing to write home about. Sorry.
WHERE’S OUR RAMEN. Anna and John. Hilarious couple to road trip with <3…and the main event. Miso Ramen, with pork shoulder and sea beans. I think they ran out of sea beans in mine because I only got mustard greens. Which is fine by me. It was delicious. I actually never got a miso broth before. I usually go vegetarian or the full bodied broths. It was delicious and reminded me of my mom’s suki yaki, oddly enough. Now I want to make that.
I have a new favorite event. Its the Best of Washington, by Washingtonian magazine. The price per ticket is pricey. But well worth it. All you can eat from the best restaurants in DC? All you can drink? SWAG, photobooths, entertainment? Can I go every year? I was there working the event, but we took turns exploring. There are no more words to say, it was just magical. So here are pictures.
This year’s theme was Alice in Wonderland. Drink the magic potion…and shrink. At least that is what they hope you will think when you get drunk enough. I was working with Chef Seng, promoting both her current restaurant and her upcoming restaurant. I had a wonderful evening with the girl power team of the newly nicknamed, BK GOLDEN GIRLS. Kinda like the Bond girls for her restaurant. HA! I can’t wait to go back next year, either with the restaurant or on my own will!
I love fried chicken. And chicken wings. And donuts. But more so chicken, since I don’t like TOO many sweets. The other day I stopped in at Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken. I never had the combination together, but I assumed it would be as delicious as chicken and waffles.
The place is super tiny. You basically just walk up. Order your doughnuts and chicken, they pull it out of this rack, hand it to you and you eat outside. Simple. Easy. Delicious.
The chicken came in this thick paper bag. And smelled wonderful. There were two options that day, the classic fried chicken and sriracha wings.
We got both. I really liked the fried chicken. It wasn’t very greasy, and it was crisp and full of flavor. I usually need something with my fried chicken, like ketchup or honey, but this was good on its own. The sriracha wings were yummy as well. It wasn’t saucy enough for the husband, who prefers my sriracha wings. But I thought it was still good. The wings aren’t cut, so the drummette and the flapper and still connected.
Creme brulee donut. I don’t like filled donuts. I’m not a fan of the surprise inside, but these were different. There was still a hole! The custard filling was still in the donut, and there was caramelized sugar on top. It really was like a creme brulee with the extra cushion of the donut. I did like it the best out of the donuts that we had that day, (Vanilla, and chocolate fudge was also on deck) but I could only have a couple of bites.
We went to the old Lorton prison to see a comedy show. When the husband checked in to “Lorton Prison” on facebook, it caused quite a stir to those not familiar with what happened to the prison…It’s no longer functioning as a prison. Its an arts center now. Crazy right?
It’s still got a prison feel to it. There are still some sections of windows with the glass all broken, yellowed and creepy. I kind of prefer it that way. Maybe because I am addicted to Orange is the New Black, and feel like I’m visiting them.
We went to see Ryan Conner. Who I didn’t realize until he actually came out and told a joke about his mixed race family…that I knew once upon a time… and actually helped me move once.
The interiors of the prison really has transformed to a nice art space. Not that I would know what the original interiors looked like…Oh look a bar in prison!
The show consisted of three comedians. The MC, who told a few jokes of his own. An awkward guy from Brooklyn. And the main event Ryan Conner. He was actually recording his CD there tonight, so there were microphones set up, and we were the laughs!
I thought this was a cool little event, and the production company that runs it, hosts a show every month, for a reasonable price. A nice little date night idea for the summer!
I never walked around Occoquan before. Perhaps the scary show about it being haunted is what kept me away. Is that why everything closes at like 5pm?
Any whooooo. We had dinner AND brunch at this place called The Secret Garden Cafe. I love the outdoor seating, and their dinner was pretty delicious.
For dinner we chose to eat inside, because it was hot and I’m trying to avoid getting anymore mosquito bites this year. The dining room is pretty intimate and the tables are small. It kind of looked like we were eating dinner at someone’s home (maybe that was the point?).
The staff is friendly and attentive. And they had a little bakery section if you wanted to take home a dessert! They had a big selection of wines, beers and ales to choose from. I rarely drink but I liked their hard apple cider.
For brunch, you can order off the menu or do the buffet. We sat outside for this one. Enjoyed their yummy MIEMOSas (had to do it), and went for the buffet.
It wasn’t a large selection, and if you are sitting outside you have to walk into the restaurant and back out again. The buffet included a made to order omelet station, and fresh belgian waffles. Plenty of bacon and sausages, home fries, fresh fruit, pastries, etc.
I definitely enjoyed the atmosphere. It kind of reminded me a little of France because of the quaint outdoor seating. Will be back!
I hope everyone had a great Independence day weekend! I sure did! We headed out west, as in West Virginia, and had a Pool Party/BBQ at my dad’s house. Lots of friends, sunshine and play. Even an unsuspected water balloon fight. Bawse was included in the festivities too! Even though he did NOT like being thrown into the pool. Aren’t people just bullies? It was so great to be surrounded by friends and family and enjoying the weekend. Thank you to everyone that made the drive out there to join us!
Green tea, red bean ice cream cake!
We ended the night at a fireworks show in Ashburn Village on the way home!