PRE-DATING

Hold up.

Let’s take more than a few steps backward first.

The first guy I went out with after signing up for online dating was actually not someone who had winked, poked, nudged, or otherwise digitally harassed me. He was one of several friends of several friends who I had never even heard of before but who seemed to have materialized out of nowhere as soon as I went online. Where were these guys before I went and spent three months’ salary on a subscription that would hopefully end up in a ring, huh? Now all these guys suddenly decide to show up? Wait your turn, buddy. Get in line. Behind the throngs of guys who, um, you know, haven’t actually hit me up online yet.

Anyway.

I agreed to meet him even though he was, of all things… [click to continue…]

"I found you when I searched for 'Gjelina'..."

SEARCH

It’s the kind of opening to emails that I used to receive, not necessarily often, but enough times that it was wasn’t unusual. Someone would google a restaurant, then end up on my stupid little blog… [click to continue…]

While we’re on the subject of waiting in excruciatingly long waits on opening day (or week) of a new restaurant, let’s talk about Dunkin Donuts, which opened its first West Coast location in Santa Monica last summer.

Less specifically, let’s just talk about “Friday doughnuts in the office break room.”

In the corporate world, companies have this things called “building morale.” When numbers are low, expenses high, the future looking grim because “in the red” is not the same as “rosy,” the boardroom makes a call. The phone rings in the HR office. Judging by faint background static and the hollow echoes of pens tapping and blackberries buzzing, it’s speakerphone. The entire board in some plush penthouse boardroom that isn’t really a room at all but a NetMeeting of CXOs from around the globe, seated in their respective wing chairs made from the hides of people they stepped on, gathered in cyberspace.

“Do something to build morale,” the command will come flying down the org chart.

“Give them a bonus. Half days every other Friday. Take them out to a company-sponsored Happy Hour. Have a Hawaiian Shirt Day. Do something to increase productivity. Something. Anything.”

Have doughnuts on Fridays.

Perhaps Friday morning doughnuts wasn’t a tradition started as some overpaid HR manager’s grand scheme to build morale, but I wouldn’t be surprised, would you? Regardless, the Friday morning doughnut tradition is a hallmark of a corporate office and makes me want to write a Memorandum and post it all over the “public areas” of the office asking, “Why do we have doughnuts on Friday? Why not Monday? Why not any other day? My morale is just as low on Tuesday as it is on Friday! In fact, my morale on Friday is the weekly highest because it’s fucking Friday!” And why the hell does it have to be doughnuts, of all things? I’d prefer a burrito. Why can’t we have breakfast burritos on Fridays?”

Doughnut-driven emotion is the unfortunate byproduct of business.

FMD (Friday Morning Doughnuts) is bad, but there is, in fact, something worse. You may not believe that there is something worse than the hot pink, flimsy cardboard box full of doughnuts from the grocery store because Krispy Kreme is too expensive to build morale, but there is, and it isn’t the vending machine that is often my lunch cafeteria. What is worse than the FMD?

The HDB, aka the Half Doughnut Bandit.

Someone in the office inevitably takes half a doughnut. Half. Who eats half a doughnut?!?! Apparently, the Half Doughnut Bandit does, but you will never unearth his or her real identity (thus the name “Bandit”) because he or she halves when no one else is in the breakroom. Especially if the Half Doughnut Bandit halves without a knife, leaving a crusty thumbprint dent in the half of the doughnut s/he leaves behind.

Why? Why does the Half Doughnut Bandit exist to eat half a doughnut? Has the Half Doughnut Bandit been dipping too frequently into the front lobby’s candy bowl that she should only take half a doughnut? To save fat and calories and half an hour on the treadmill, does she take half a doughnut? No. Because if she thinks that, she should walk right past the doughnuts and go for a couple of walking laps around the office suite. Besides, half a doughnut lasts a moment on the lips, but I believe 420 calories jiggles 90 minutes on the hips.

Perhaps the Half Doughnut Bandit is trying to be thoughtful by leaving half of a doughnut for the next person who happens to prey upon the pink box. First of all, thoughtfulness doesn’t work when there are whole doughnuts still in the box. Second of all, no one wants to eat the squashed half of a doughnut because again, who the F eats HALF a doughnut?!

I went to Dunkin Donuts during its Grand opening week and waited for over an hour starting at 7:45 AM and bought a box of a dozen doughnuts “for the office.”

I work from home.

Alone.

I ate half a doughnut.
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dunkin-donuts-box-coffee
I would not go out of my way in any capacity (distance traveled, drive-time, wait-time) for Dunkin Donuts, doughnuts, coffee or otherwise. However, if Dunkin Donuts are in front of me, I will still eat them with enthusiasm because my god, they’re still doughnuts.

Dunkin Donuts
1132 Wilshire Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90401
310.576.9200
www.dunkindonuts.com

pink strawberry glaze doughnuts with sprinkles - fashion blog

Hope your weekend is full of juicy little dumplings. Xiao long bao, or otherwise.

Spicy Wontons | Din Tai Fung, South Coast Plaza

Favorite. Of all time. Ok, until…see below.
Din Tai Fung, South Coast Plaza - spicy wontons

Stir Fried Sticky Rice Cakes | Din Tai Fung, South Coast Plaza

Never had Stir Fried Sticky Rice Cakes at Din Tai Fung before. Taste like a non-spicy Korean Dduk Bok-ki. Didn’t even know they were on the menu. The more you know…
Din Tai Fung, South Coast Plaza - stir fried rice cakes

BLACK TRUFFLE Xiao Long Bao | Din Tai Fung, South Coast Plaza

NEW FAVORITE, though it does seem a little extravagant to pay MORE than $20 (?) for only five (5) dumplings. Worth it at least once.
Din Tai Fung, South Coast Plaza - xiao long bao black truffle

Fresh Ginger and Black Vinegar | Din Tai Fung, South Coast Plaza

Din Tai Fung, South Coast Plaza - fresh ginger and black vinegar

Chili Oil, Soy Sauce, Black Vinegar Condiments | Din TaiFung, South Coast Plaza

Din Tai Fung, South Coast Plaza - condiments

Spicy Cucumber Salad | Din TaiFung, South Coast Plaza

Din Tai Fung, South Coast Plaza - spicy cucumber salad

Garlic Sauteed Broccoli | Din TaiFung, South Coast Plaza

Din Tai Fung, South Coast Plaza - broccoli

Chicken Fried Rice | Din TaiFung, South Coast Plaza

What is this? Panda Express? I know. Don’t ask. (Ok, if you must know, we had kids with us)
Din Tai Fung, South Coast Plaza - chicken fried rice

Dumpling Cooks in the Kitchen | Din Tai Fung, South Coast Paza

Din Tai Fung, South Coast Plaza - cooks

Boba Milk Tea | Din Tai Fung, South Coast Paza

Din Tai Fung, South Coast Plaza - boba tea

Din Tai Fung, South Coast Paza

Din Tai Fung, South Coast Plaza
Went Din Tai Fung Dumpling House in South Coast Plaza within a week of its opening.

We got into the line outside along the driveway, not knowing that we were in line to get into another line, to put our names on a list. The wait was a little more than two (2) hours. The opening hype has died down, but the wait can still be that long, if not longer. If you plan ahead though, you can arrive early enough to put your name down then shop around South Coast Plaza until you receive a text message alerting you that the restaurant is ready to seat you.

Airy, clean interior, with outdoor seating as well. Efficient service (once you actually get to sit down!) Food at any location has never disappointed.

Din Tai Fung Dumpling House
South Coast Plaza – Sears Wing, 2nd Floor
3333 Bristol Street
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
714.549.3388
www.dintaifungusa.com

dintaifung-southcoast-tabletopspread

More Din Tai Fung and Xiao Long Bao
~ Din Tai Fung, San Gabriel Valley, LA – Putting the “FUN” in Fung
~ Dean Sin World, San Gabriel Valley – Dim Sum Dumplings, and Dating
~ ROC Kitchen, Sawtelle – ROC Star

buckeyes, chocolate peanut butter balls
Okay. Sooooo.

Iwasn’tahotcheerleaderinhighschool.

*thud*

That was my forehead hitting the keyboard because this little masquerade of hotness is over.

Old high school yearbook photos revealing pre-cosmetically-enhanced eyes framed in embarrassingly oversized, UglyBetty-ized mauve plastic spectacles, hair ultra-tightly permed into an Asian gheri curl, and the physique of an 11-year-old boy, can very confidently attest to that.

(On a side note, how many people can say that, at the age of thirty -*coughcough,* they still have the body they had in high school? Huh? How many women you know have the body shape of an 11-year-old boy?!?! Wait, uh, never mind.)

No, I wasn’t hot in high school.

I was, however, a cheerleader.

I was. No, really, I was. I can prove it. I still have my old blue and white varsity letters with little gold megaphone pins that I pull out every once in a while to relive my glory days, which I now regret blogging out loud because it reveals a little bit more about me than anyone needed to know. At least I didn’t admit to doing all the cheer routines in front of the mirror with Friday Night Lights playing on my laptop.

Gawkward appearance in high school as mentioned above notwithstanding (because everyone, no matter to what clique they claim to have belonged, was weird-looking in high school), is it that shocking? Is it that much of a surprise that the sweet sparkling smile, perfectly perky personality and everpositively fucking cheerful outlook that manifests itself now as The Delicious Life was a goddamned cheerleader back in high school? Why do you think I am awash with nostalgia every time I watch Bring It On?

Oh, the bubble-headed blondeness of it all!

As unlikely as it may seem, I am, by nature, a cheerleader type. On the inside. It’s less about the happyhappy clap!clap! cheer-y personality, less about an interest in the sport, and more about the activities associated with being a team’s biggest fan. That’s why I was a cheerleader in high school. I loved planning pep rallies and parties for the entire student body. I loved coming up with ideas for signs and banners that were perfectly themed with the opponent. I loved putting Good Luck signs on the players’ lockers. I loved getting up early on Game Days, preparing for “showtime,” cheering for the boys, and of course, watching them win.

It explains why I love things now that, when I think about it, are basically adult equivalents of being a cheerleader in high school. I love throwing dinner parties, coming up with themed ideas for stories and blog posts, making and wrapping up pretty little gifts. I love getting up on weekend mornings in the fall and having the game on in the background while I blog about tailgating. Most of all, I love being someone’s biggest fan.

I also loved parading up and down the halls in a tiny little skirt and crushing on hot quarterbacks, but that has nothing to do with anything right now except that sometimes I wear an apron even when I’m not cooking, and I often refer to myself as Mrs. Manning.
buckeyes_cornerplate

But Peyton, that’s the NBA! This is college football and though technically, I am a Golden Bear first (Cal undergrad) and a Bruin second (UCLA grad), this past fall, I rekindled a keen interest in the Buckeyes. Oh, the inter-conference horror! I didn’t actually attend “The” Ohio State University, but I did spend the latter half of my pre-college life in Cincinnati. Naturally, I associate high school, cheerleading, and football with Ohio – funny how this whole story seems to work out so well – so it’s enough to say that historical association (and personal, but I’ll get into that another day) made me a very enthusiastic Buckeyes fan this fall.

buckeyes_dough

In fact, my inner high school cheerleader (from Ohio) was so enthusiastic that in advance of The Big Game — Ohio State vs. Michigan, not Cal vs Stanford nor UCLA vs USC — I did what any good food blogging football fan worth her weight in pizza and Buffalo wings would do.

buckeyes_nakedballs
I made buckeyes (the peanut butter kind) that look like buckeyes (the inedible horse chestnut kind) in support of the Buckeyes (the Big Ten kind (also inedible, for the most part, but again, I’ll get to that another day when I’m not putting parentheses inside parentheses)).

Ohio beat Michigan, but that’s not the real problem.

Somehow my perfect little balls cheered forward and now Ohio State is playing in the G*d***ed national f**king championship game, so LOOK INTO WHAT MY CHEERY F**CKING CHEERLEADERY SUPPORT HAS GOTTEN ME!

I am going to New Orleans in January.

buckeyes_nakedbaby
As a recently renewed Ohio fan, going to the Superdome is awesome. As a food blogger, eating my way through muffulettas, oyster po’ boys, bananas Foster and beignets is again, awesome. As an aviophobe, getting to the Crescent City IS NOT A BIG EASY because last I heard, even if John Madden’s bus were heading down to the Crescent City, it wouldn’t make a detour through LA to pick up one Delicious, terrified of flying.

Hopefully buckeyes have the same effect as Xanax.

buckeyes_plate

Buckeyes | Chocolate-dipped Peanut Butter Balls {recipe}

Put Bring it On in the DVD player. You will need to watch something while you spend nine thousand hours rolling 2 bazillion 1″ balls by hand.

Beat 1½ c. peanut butter, ½ c. softened butter (that’s 1 stick or 8 Tbsp for the people who don’t do conversions), and 1 tsp vanilla until smooth. Stir in a 1 pound box of confectioner’s sugar. You can dump the sugar as is, but I sifted it because I’m a freak and sifting something makes me feel like I’m actually baking.

The “dough” is supposed to be crumbly. Take about 1 tsp of the crumbs and roll into a 1″ diameter ball. Place balls on sheet or tray lined with waxed paper. Chill peanut butter balls in refrigerator for at least an hour. I got lazy and put off the next step until the next day.

Melt 1 12 oz. bag of semisweet chocolate chips with 1 Tbsp vegetable shortening in a double boiler. Using a toothpick, dip each peanut butter ball in the melted chocolate, letting a small circle of the peanut butter show through the top. Place dipped peanut butter ball back on waxed paper to cool and set.

{originally published December 2007, in advance of the 2008 BCS National Championship Game at the SuperDome in New Orleans LA, the game in which The Ohio State Buckeyes lost to LSU}

If ever there were a time that you could legitimately pull off looking like the Mistress of the Dark with all-black talons with nail tips long enough for red polish on the underside to show at all, it’s now. Halloween. Autumn. (Though it’s over 80 degrees in LA this week.)

black-zoya-mani-louboutin-red-shoes-7

Glossy black and bright red polishes are easy to find from any brand — I used Zoya and OPI, see below for details — though Christian Louboutin launched his own line of polishes, leading with that iconic red named ‘Rouge Louboutin,’ saying that the red sole on his shoes was originally inspired by nail polish. More recently, Christian Louboutin released ‘Loubi Under Red,” which is specifically aimed at painting a red underside of the nail — the polish is equipped with an ultra fine tipped brush to make the polish application easier and cleaner. At $45 – $50 a bottle, the polishes are just as ridiculously priced as his shoes.

louboutin-nail-polish-underloubi

louboutin_manicure-fingertips-700

louboutin-nails-700

Fourrier Gevrey-Chambertin ‘Les Cherbaudes’

Mani with a matching pair of shoes? Obviously. Mani paired with a matching wine? Next level. Wine details here: Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin Les Cherbaudes
fourrier-gevrey-chambertin-cherbaudes-wine-7

Zoya ‘Raven’ and Sephora by OPI ‘And a Cherry on Top’

Paint the underside of your nails first: one coat of white polish as a base on the underside of your nails before adding two coats of red so the color stands out (especially with this particular shade of red, which is slightly sheer).

Use a base coat before painting nails with black polish (otherwise they will stain). Paint with two coats black polish, then top coat.
zoya-raven-opi-cherry-nail-polish-7

zoya-raven-opi-cherry-nail-polishes-7

Resources

~ Christian Louboutin ‘Very Prive’ peep-toe platform pumps at Neiman Marcus
~ Domaine Fourrier Gevrey-Chambertin 1er (“premier”) Cru ‘Les Cherbaudes’ from Rosenthal Wine Merchant
~ Zoya ‘raven’ at zoya.com and Ulta
~ Sephora by OPI ‘And a Cherry on Top’ at Sephora

Manicure Inspired by:

~ dinosquarerobot
~ Adele rocking the Louboutin mani on DropDeadGorgeousDaily
~ Birchbox
~ AllLacqueredUp (back in 2007!)

green goddess grilled cheese (avocado + spinach + kale pesto + mozzarella and goat cheese)

  1. But first, grilled cheese. Specifically, the Green Goddess Grilled Cheese that I made for the first time a few years ago for TasteSpotting, and continues to make the “ooh aah” rounds on social media. It is strange how posts can re-emerge again and again. And again. {tastespotting}
  2. The bacon boom was not an accidental food fad; it was a carefully calculated, long strategic play {businessweek}
  3. Brunch is for Jerks. I have so much emotion about this that I am saving for a full post {new york times}
  4. And fine dining is for 2nd graders: very cute video of kids at New York’s Daniel {new york times video}
  5. New York is a HUNDRED TIMES BETTER than LA for everything, except this one thing. I agree with the one thing, but believe LA is the BEST for everything. {new york magazine}
  6. LA is the best, including its “tech scene” {techcrunch}
  7. Always love a non-resident’s take on favorite places in LA (very eastside-centric) {SF girl by the bay}
  8. The final, numbers-crunched word on whether it’s better to RENT vs BUY (and for the most part, unless you can get a place equally as good as a place to buy, but for impossibly cheaper, it is better to BUY) {new york times}
  9. Fun map of who the wealthiest woman is in each of the Unites States {movoto}
  10. In the Bay Area, these are the youngest billionaires, which includes 30-year-old Elizabeth Holmes, who founded a healthcare technology company {7×7}
  11. Speaking of Bay Area, 37 Things You Should Definitely Eat {flavorverse}
  12. And How to Spend 36 Hours in Berkeley, a “revisit and reminisce” road trip that has been on my list for years. {new york times}