Food Adventures #6

Got my Singaporean fix from QQ Kopitiam in Pasadena. The Laksa was super authentic and delicious, just like it would be at home! It was a really generous serving for a super reasonable price (two main dishes and one bubble tea was $21 with tax).

Website: https://www.yelp.com/biz/qq-kopitiam-pasadena

Pricing: $

I know I may be a little late to hop on the bandwagon, but I am beyond obsessed with Halo Top. For those of you who don’t know what it is, Halo Top is an extremely low calorie, high protein ice cream (not that you can tell, it’s amazing!). The calories range from 240-360 calories depending on the flavor, so one serving is never more than 90 calories. A few of my favorite flavors are Birthday Cake, Sea Salt Caramel and Mint Chip.

Website: https://www.halotop.com/

Pricing: $4-5

This beautiful spread is from the Granville at the Americana in Glendale. They have a menu full of modern yet homey dishes that are absolutely delicious! This was the bacon & blue burger with a side salad, the Santa Barbara chicken sandwich, a side of sweet potato fries and the uptown mac & cheese. I would also highly recommend the chicken and blue flatbread (not pictures). A perfect stop for lunch or dinner during a day of shopping!

Website: http://www.granvillecafe.com/glendale

Pricing: $$

*As seen on BuzzFeed* Sushi Stop is a super affordable (and yummy) location in Pasadena (they have other locations too). At $3.25 for most of their dishes, it’s hard to spend more than $16 a person (and that’s if you are eating A LOT). Ranging from sashimi sushi to baked rolls to udon and tempura, they have everything you would ever want. To be honest, after eating so mush sushi in Japan, I was a little skeptical of this, but it did not disappoint!

Website: https://sushistop.com/location/sushistop-pasadena/

BuzzFeed: https://www.buzzfeed.com/stevenlim/we-tried-3-sushi-and-250-sushi-to-see-if-its-worth-the-price?utm_term=.roOxJedpE#.wulLQNqV0

Pricing: $

Just throwing this in here because I miss Disneyland. A beautiful mickey mouse-shaped beignet (and some Mint Juleps) from New Orleans Square at Disney.

One of my favorite things about living in LA is finding all the small (what I like to call) hidden gems of the city. Gloria’s Cafe is a small Mexican-inspired breakfast/brunch restaurant tucked away in the back streets of Highland Park. Pictured above is the savory waffle (amazing!) and the breakfast taco. I would also highly recommend their breakfast sandwich which comes on a burger bun with pulled pork and scrambled eggs. For a main dish and (a big a**) iced coffee, I usually pay $14 (including tax and tip).

Website: http://glorias-cafe.com/

Pricing: $$

Where should I go next? Comment your favorite LA spots down below! And if you try one of these places, let me know what you think:)

My 4 Favorite Places in the World

To start off the week, I thought I’d do a post that I’ve been wanting to do for a while (but also DREADING!). I’m sure most of you already know that I love to travel and explore the beautiful world we live in. I’ve been blessed with a life that has allowed me to experience so many new cultures and wander through the beautiful landscapes of so many places. So, as you can probably already tell, today’s post is going to be my 4 favorite places in the world. I’m just going to preface this by saying that it was nearly impossible to come up with a list of only 5 places (also this is in no particular order); every place I’ve ever visited could have a place on this list, but I did it, so here it is!

1. Singapore

I’m just going to start out with an obvious one, my beautiful little tropical city/state/island/country of a home (I think I got everything, haha!). To be 100% honest, growing up in SG I don’t think I appreciated it as much as I should have. I went through so many stages where I was so bored and just couldn’t wait to get out of there. But as I got older and reality began to set in that my time was running out, I began to realize how much beauty there was all around. I’m not going to ramble on for too long (trust me, I could write pages), but I will link some of my past SG blog posts below. All I’m going to say is that SG is one of my most special, unique, and colorful countries in the world, and I have been beyond blessed to be raised and shaped by this place that will always be in my heart.

 

2. Lake Nojiri, Japan

Every summer, my family and I travel to Lake Nojiri in Northern Japan where we own a lake cabin/house. The cabin has been in my family for over 50 years (my dad also grew up going there in the summers), and is a very special place for us. There’s nothing fancy about it at all (we just got running water and a flushing toilet 2 years ago), but it’s the most magical place in the world. It’s one of those places where reality just takes a back seat and you spend your days swimming, boating, cooking and eating. On a typical day, we usually wake up fairly early, eat breakfast together, spend time by the lake either swimming, lifeguarding or tanning, and then spend our afternoons shopping and getting everything ready for dinner. Our cabin is on a hill looking down on the lake, so the sunrises and sunsets are absolutely stunning. One of my favorite days of the year is はなびたいかい (hanabi taikai- the firework festival); we drive down to sit on the docks, bundled up in sweatshirts and blankets while we watch the beautiful hour-long fireworks that reflect alluring fireworks on the calm waters of the lake. Just being able to sit there with my family with nothing else to worry about is such a special thing, making this place so near and dear to my heart.

 

3. Phuket, Thailand

Phuket has appeared a lot in my photos, but I don’t think I’ve ever explained why we go to Phuket so often or why I love it. The flight between Singapore and Phuket is only about an hour and 40 minutes (and super affordable!), making it the perfect destination for a quick beach getaway. Phuket is filled with gorgeous beaches, shimmery turquoise water and amazing food (most importantly, haha). We typically wake at around 8 (that’s late for us!) and have a leisurely breakfast before we head down to the beach for the day. Then in the late afternoon, we head back to the room to shower and get ready for happy hour and dinner. We almost never eat dinners at the hotel (since the prices are usually marked up), so we catch a tuk-tuk (a motorcycle-driven taxi) and head to some of our favorite local places for some really good Thai food. All we need is 3-4 days in Phuket to feel re-energized and ready to go. Once my family leaves South East Asia, quick little Phuket trips is one of the things I’ll miss the most!

Favorite restaurant: http://www.eatbargrill.com/welcome/

Favorite hotel: http://www.lemeridienphuketbeachresort.com/

4. Paris, France

When I was a freshman in high school, I had an amazing opportunity to go on a week-long trip of a lifetime to Paris for a language immersion program. We paired up and home-stayed with families who opened up their homes for this purpose. We were expected to get from the house to the school (or wherever else we were meeting) by ourselves on the metro (and again on the way home). The mornings were spent at a language school working on our French, and the afternoons were spent walking around the city and doing everything you would do in Paris. Some of my favorite things we did were going up the Eiffel Tower, taking a boat ride down the Seine, walking through Montmartre up to the Sacre Coeur, attending a Macaroon baking class, and shopping on the Champs Elysees (and of course the incredible amounts of cheese, pastries and bread that was consumed). What stuck with me the most about this trip was that the further away I got from being in Paris (afterwards), the more I appreciated it. While I did absolutely LOVE it while I was there, I was amazed with how much stuck with me. It’s been four years to the day since I was there, and cannot wait to get the chance to go back! (Disclaimer: this was before I took infinite amounts of photos everywhere I go, so enjoy this one of me by the Eiffel Tower eating some cotton candy:)

 

Singapore Blog Posts:

https://swimeatlove.com/2017/11/16/top-10-things-to-do-in-singapore/

https://swimeatlove.com/2017/07/07/life-through-a-lens-11-sg-summers/

https://swimeatlove.com/2015/09/22/life-in-the-65/

Top 10 Travel Tips post: https://swimeatlove.com/2017/03/18/top-10-travel-tips/

Life Through A Lens #21- Back to Reality

 

A Little Piece of Home- QQ Kopitiam

QQ Kopitiam is a small Singaporean cafe/restaurant located across from the Pasadena City College on Colorado Blvd. A Kopitiam (Kopi for short) is a traditional coffee shop found in many South East Asian countries, including Singapore. As most of you know, I’ve lived my whole life (up until now) in Singapore, and was in serious need of some comfort food.

The restaurant is located on fairly quiet street, but stands out from the big, red sign. Staying true to traditional Kopi style, before getting seated at your table, you order your food at the counter and pay right there. There was an older couple, the wife running the cashier and the husband running the kitchen,  who owned the place. As soon as we walked in, the lady quickly welcomed us and starting listing off suggestions. She suggested the Laksa (rice noodles in a coconut, curry soup) and Hainanese Chicken Rice (steamed rice with chicken boiled in a ginger broth), both of which are famous Singaporean dishes. Once we ordered (I ordered the Laksa), I started up a brief conversation with the couple and found out that they were both Singaporean and had only been in business for around four years. We chatted for a little bit about where in Singapore we lived and what our favorite Singaporean dishes were.

Laksa is a dish that Singaporeans feel very close to, as it’s served at every Kopi and Hawker stall (Singaporean style outdoor food courts). It is loaded with pungent ingredients including curry leaves, lemongrass, and sambal (a type of chili sauce), making it an acquired taste. Foreigners (or tourists) often have a hard time handling the aroma and flavor of laska, but for Singaporeans it’s a bowl of comfort.

I would 100% recommend QQ Kopitiam for anyone in the area, whether you’re Singaporean or not (the friend I went with wasn’t Singaporean and she loved it!). If you stop by QQ Kopitiam, let me know in the comments below and tell me what you think.

Website (Yelp): https://www.yelp.com/biz/qq-kopitiam-pasadena

Number: (626) 696-3179

Address: 1491 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91106

Hours: Mon-Fri: 11am to 7pm

Coconut Oil Waffles- Recipe

One of the reasons I love the morning (I am such a morning person, haha) is because breakfast is hands down my favorite meal of the day (with brunch coming in a very close second). I love waking up after a good nights sleep and walking into the kitchen to see what we have. One of my favorite breakfast foods are waffles (with eggs, yum!), but I always find that regular waffles always weigh me down throughout the morning and don’t make me feel as nourished. After getting our waffle maker about a year and a half ago, we’ve been experimenting with all sorts of recipes, trying to find one that worked the best. In the end, the recipe that I fell in love with was one that mixed a bunch of different recipes together, and used coconut oil instead of any other oils or butter. My favorite breakfast at home would consist of these waffles, an over easy egg, some fresh fruit and an iced coffee. If you try this recipe out, let me know how you like it in the comments below! Happy eating:)

Ingredients:

2 eggs

1 1/2 cup low-fat milk or unsweetened almond milk

3/4 cup coconut oil

2 cups whole-wheat flour

2 tsp. baking soda

pinch of salt

1 tsp. vanilla extract (optional; this depends on whether you want your waffles more sweet or savory)

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until light and fluffy. Add the milk, and coconut oil (and vanilla if you choose) to the eggs and continue to beat for another 2 minutes.
  2. Gradually add the flour, baking soda and salt to the wet mixture while continuously beating.
  3. Cook waffles in waffle maker according to instructions (each waffle maker works a little differently).
  4. Serve warm with a little bit of maple syrup and fruit or with an egg for a delicious breakfast!

Avocado Brownies- Recipe

Ingredients:

1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

1 tbsp. coconut oil

1 avocado

1 ripe banana

1/4 cup zero calorie sugar substitute

1 tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 cup flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

Directions:

  1. Melt the dark chocolate chips and coconut oil either in the microwave or over a double boiler. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, smash the avocado and banana. Add the sugar substitute, sugar and vanilla and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Add the melted chocolate and beat on medium for 1 more minute.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the baking powder, salt, flour and whole wheat flour.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture in three batches while continually beating until fully incorporated.
  5. Pour batter into a lined square tin and bake at 180 c for 22-25 minutes (brownies will be stickier than normal).
  6. Serve warm (maybe even add a little Halo Top ice cream if you’re feeling special:).
Avocado brownies on the bottom (the darker ones) and regular brownies on the top.

Dorm Room Food Staples

For today’s post, I thought I would just share the list of food items that I always have in my dorm room. One of the scariest things about coming to college (at least for me) was that I was going to get sucked in to the late night pizza orders and junk food eating habits of college life. To combat this, I always make sure I have these items on hand to grab whenever I want a healthy snack (at any time of the day). I hope you find this helpful, and if you have any other ideas/staples, share them in the comments below! I’ll try to find links to as many of these as I can.

Food Staples: