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Entertaining: Hot Pot Party

26 Aug

In 2013, I went to a hot pot house party. The hosts told us not to bring anything except dessert and/or beverage of our choice. That was great! I did not know what to do bring anyways. The hot pot party was a hit and I totally love it.

My friends put this hot pot together at a friend's house

My friends put this hot pot together at a friend’s house

My friends put this hot pot together at a friend's house

My friends put this hot pot together at a friend’s house

My friends put this hot pot together at a friend's house

My friends put this hot pot together at a friend’s house

Even the kids are eating

Even the kids are eating


I entertained my 80 year old parents and see what they think about it. I bought four sets of dishes and the table-top gas burner. Then, I proceeded to an Asian grocery store and asked around what are the ingredients for a hot pot. There was a whole isle of hot pot ideas! The hot pot to was a hit for my parents.

My 80 year old parents loved the hot pot

My 80 year old parents loved the hot pot

Hosting my parents with hot pot

Hosting my parents with hot pot


After a year of not doing hot pot, I asked my girlfriends how they feel about doing hot pot and hang out. Wow! They were up to it.

I brought the four sets of dishes, table-top gas burner and a big divided pot and the following ingredients:

baby bok choi, long white radish, julienned carrots & bamboo shoots, enoki & beech mushrooms and condiments.

Baby bok choi

Baby bok choi

Long white radish

Long white radish

Julianned carrots and bamboo shoots

Julianned carrots and bamboo shoots

Enoki mushrooms

Enoki mushrooms

Beech mushrooms

Beech mushrooms


Condiments (Goma Shabu & Pon Shabu)


Everyone else brought the following ingredients:

Thinly sliced beef, shrimp, soup base (tom ka gai-coconut chicken soup, miso soup and a regular chicken stock), different kinds of fish balls, beef balls, tofu, cilantro, Chinese cabbage, Lemon grass for the soup and different kinds of cooked noodles







Whatever we made was enough for ten. It was super easy to make since you put whatever ingredient you want to put in the pot. After an hour of eating, we were full but we know what we ate was healthy. We actually decided not to clean up right away, thinking that we will have seconds an hour or two later ~ but being girls, we were stuffed.

I will definitely entertain with hot pot again. Will you join me?

My California Gold – Napa Valley

4 Aug

Since wineries started charging for wine tasting, I very seldom visit the Napa Valley. When I have out of town guests, I take them to wineries that offer free wine tasting and most of them are in Sonoma.

Luckily, I have a friend who is a member of two private wineries and he can have three friends whom he can invite to join him for an annual harvest festival or for a random free wine tasting. We ate and were wined. This year, I was the designated driver, so, no alcohol for me. I purely enjoyed the company of my friends, who were tipsy (wink). If you are not a member or not a member guest, the cost to come to this event is $75 per winery = $150 per person for the two wineries we went to.

In particular, I loved sitting under 100+ year old oak trees, the sound of water fountain, listening to jazz music and the sound of laughter. The service at the places we went to were superb. Although, I wasn’t drinking wine, they had plenty of water and lemonade. There was an abundance of mouthwatering cheese and hors d’oeuvres. People were friendly. I got to take home a nice empty bottle of dolce wine-with gold plate lettering and a nice wooden box that I can use. Here are some pictures at this annual event.










Chicken Curry Masala

29 Jul

With my recent visit around Berkeley, I had the most mouth-watering chicken masala at Kabana Restaurant ( I was inspired to make this dish at home.

I bought the ingredients (Except for chicken breast)  at Bombay Spice ( and followed the instructions at the back of the Chicken Curry Masala.

Curry Masala Recipe

Curry Masala Recipe

Ingredients for chicken curry masala

Ingredients for chicken curry masala



Got some nan bread to dip into the chicken curry masala and I am all set. Enough spiciness to make my nose run.

Taste: Hmmmmm … I need to go back to the restaurant and try to copy the taste. I think I’m missing something.

Sweet tooth craving – Cupcakes

28 Jul

As much I want to remove sugar in my diet, when I see beautifully made cupcakes, I throw all the desire to be sugar-free. It wouldn’t hurt if I have one or two cupcakes! Does it?

Casey's cupcakes! Yummy!

Casey’s cupcakes! Yummy!

Look at me, I’m ecstatic! Give me some cupcakes …..

Lunch possibilities: Yam leaves (Talbos ng Kamote) with fried Tilapia

25 Jun

I’m on a roll for Filipino inspired dishes that I used to eat when I was growing up in the Philippines. I noticed that these are easy to make dishes and not fussy at all. To make it even easier, I bought the fried Tilapia at a local Asian grocery store. We used to have talbos ng kamote in our backyard and I remember cooking it with my childhood best friend. When I visit relatives in L.A. this is the dish I always ask for. If you eat too much of these leaves, it may cause some uncomfortable tummy gas … Oops, please say excuse me to the person next to you ~ LOL

Steamed yam leaves with tomatoes and fried Tilapia

I picked the young yam leaves with stems and also picked the older green leaves without the stem.  I steamed it for about 3 minutes and I mixed in some tomatoes, fish sauce, vinegar and ground pepper. What a nice lunch! Instead of Tilapia, I also eat it with grilled Bangus (milk fish) or grilled pork loin.

Yam Yam1

Yam leaves are rich in vitamins A and C as well as riboflavin, fiber and iron. The leaves are also high in polyphenols, specifically anthocyanins and phenolic acids which are being studied for their ability to fight prostate cancer. To best preserve the nutritional content of yam leaves eat raw or just slightly sautéed or steamed. – See more at:

Lunch possibilities: Adobong Kangkong (Water spinach) with Quinoa

24 Jun

Ever since I started my Ayurvedic program, lunch is my heaviest meal of the day. My parents gave me some of the Adobong Kangkong dish they cooked and I very much enjoyed it with Quinoa instead of rice.

Cooked Adobong Kangkong with Quinoa

Cooked Adobong Kangkong with Quinoa

My parents taught me how to make Adobo ~ It is easy to make and has 3-6 main ingredients: Vinegar (Datu Puti brand), Soy Sauce, garlic, onions, pepper corns, bay leaf. Some people add sugar, ginger and siling labuyo (fresh chili pepper). Put all the ingredients together, when it starts to boil, add the Kangkong. Yes, that is it!

Before cooking, separate the stems from the leaves. cook the stems first and after 5 minutes put in the leaves

Before cooking, separate the stems from the leaves. Cook the stems first and after 5 minutes add in the leaves

Kangkong or water spinach leaves are very nutritious, being rich in vitamins and minerals. It is naturally rich in dietary fiber, protein, calcium, iron, vitamin A and vitamin C.

Lunch possibilities: Turkey wrap

12 Jun

A variety of healthy lunch choices is in everyone’s meal planning list. So, I re-visited this healthy lunch option after a friend reminded me of it ~ specially for those carb conscious people.

Start by laying the turkey cold cuts in a plate. You can use other meats too!

Start by laying the turkey cold cuts in a plate. You can use other meats too!

Add your favorite spread. I added hummus.

Add your favorite spread. I added hummus.

Then, add some veggies.

Then, add some veggies.

Roll it up ...

Roll it up …

Hold it firmly with your fingers and ....

Hold it firmly with your fingers and ….

Be ready to bite and enjoy!

Be ready to bite and enjoy! YUMMY!!!

It can get messy … have a napkin handy.




Margie’s Frittata

12 Mar

I love cooking my own food at home, so I’m always on a lookout for recipes that are easy to follow and I put my own spin in it.  I was inspired by the TORTA that we ate at a Filipino restaurant this weekend. Today, I made some Frittata. I love it! Anyone can put their own spin on this recipe.  There are a lot of Frittata recipe online and they are all very interesting! Makes me hungry!


Vegetable oil or Olive oil

Garlic and onions

Kosher salt and ground pepper (The Chef at the culinary school said that we should cook with kosher salt)

Ground beef or pork or chicken (In the picture below I used ground beef. You can also use cubed meat or substitute it with fish or shrimps

Green vegetables cut in smaller pieces (In the picture below I used cilantro, asparagus and celery. You can also use spinach, kale. etc.)

8 slices of Cheese (I used sliced jalapeno monterey jack)

8 Eggs

1 cup Milk (I used almond milk)

Fresh Rosemary


Pre heat oven to 450ºF

Sauté the meat and vegetables.

Beat the eggs and add the milk

Put oil around the pan (or spray with PAM)

Put the eggs and milk combo in the pan

Put 4 slices of cheese, then put the sautéed meat and veggies (try to evenly place around the pan), then put another 4 slices of cheese again, and lastly, put some fresh rosemary on top.

Cover the pan with foil and put the pan in the oven for 45 minute at 450ºF. My whole place smelled so good, even my neighbors were asking what I cooked that smelled so good.

After 45 minutes, remove the foil and continue baking for another 5-10 minutes until the top is golden brown

Let it cool down for about 10 minutes before serving. You can serve it with some toast or by itself. It’s great with wine too!

Golden Frittata

Golden Frittata

A perfect slice of my Frittata

A perfect slice of my Frittata


I usually buy my meat at Costco, so I sauté my meats ahead of time. I divide them in cooking portions in sandwich Ziplocs. When I am ready to make something, I just defrost it and add the veggies.

2014 Dine About Town-Enjoyed it!

26 Feb

Twice a year, the San Francisco tourist bureau (SF Travel) offers a discount for prix fixe menu at several participating restaurants. This started after 9/11 to entice diners to try new restaurants and to eat out during slow restaurant periods.

This year I went to eight restaurants that I would not normally go to because it is not within my daily lunch budget. A $25 lunch (With no drinks or alcohol. This includes taxes and tip) is still pricey, but it is better than the usual $40 or $45 usual price at these places. (1) Spruce (2) Girabaldi’s (3) Sociale (4) Campton Place (to celebrate friend birthdays) (5) Sutro’s at the Cliff House (with my parents) (6) Blowfish suhi to die for (7) Epic roast house (8) Chaya

Oakland has a restaurant week too. We got some warm sunshine on the other side of the bay.

Here are some of the pictures

photo_3 (1)photo_1 (1)photo_4 (1)  photo_2 (2)Blow fish sushi to die forBlow fish sushi to die forSutro's at the cliff House Sutro’s at the cliff HouseGaribaldi's on Presidio AvenueGaribaldi’s on Presidio Ave.

Kincaid's at Jack London SquareKinkaids at Jack London Square


Cultural Thanksgiving

6 Dec

In the last few days, everyone was exchanging experiences of how their family celebrated Thanksgiving. On TV, they portray some chaotic and stressful scene. I appreciate that my family’s celebration of Thanksgiving is quite mellow and the only challenge we had was finding parking around San Francisco. We spend time catching up and plan for Christmas.

Our space is limited and we have more than 30 attendees. A sit down dinner was never an option. We do a potluck buffet. Each family is asked to bring a dish, enough to share with 10-15 people, but everyone brings at least two dishes and enough to share with 30+ people. We usually start around lunch and say goodbye around 7:00pm. We all have a to-go box when we go home.

Here is a variety of dishes that my family conjured.


Pictures of my family ~ they are something to be thankful for.


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