Thursday, March 25, 2010

Packing up the memories

I was away, away to a place I used to call home. A place which I made plans to stay on for many years to come and perhaps retire too. Where? California. :) My husband and I have so many memories there, mostly fine ones of course. We build our home, our lives and our family there. So when the decision came for us to choose, we were really sad, because we know we'll loose something close to our hearts. Ultimately we know family will always come first, so it all comes back to where we all started off, back home in Singapore. But we did not really bid farewell to California, since our house is still around, it acts like an anchor that pulls us back there...once in a while.

Although this trip was without my kids, we still did not find much time to walk down memory lane. Like visiting our favorite ice cream parlor or that favorite park with a lake where we used to cycle every weekend. I REALLY miss those places a lot. :( Perhaps the next trip...if time permits that is. This time, I wanna share with you all some of the pictures I took randomly while we were running our errands or dinning out during that week in CA. Some of these pictures are places are where I used to drive pass a distant memory. :P

First stop, Hong Kong International airport...the transit point for our long tedious flight. It was lunch time when we reached there, so we went around the food court looking for food.
My husband has been raving about this "食神叉烧饭“ from 皇府, after he first tasted it years back at Hong Kong International Airport. This dish was actually inspired by the movie "食神" by Stephen Chow or 周星馳. So it's no surprise I have to taste it myself.
Verdict: The roast pork are flavorful and tender and with the sunny side egg was real nice. But it's brought down by the plain & dry rice plus that big chunk of vegetable which is kind of hard to swallow. :P Think I would try their noodles next time. :P

After the long flight, we finally arrived at San Francisco Airport. We got our rental car and drove (on the left side) to the hotel to get ourselves checked in. :P

I was left to unpack in the hotel while my hubby went to grab us lunch at the nearby food complex. And he came back with 2 packs of the below lunch set. huge!

Well, I did tell him to get whatever he wants. Well, I could barely fi
nish even half of it! Guess I've been away too long, almost forgotten their usual "upsize" version. Basically it's from a Taiwanese eatery and so that explains that pearl milk tea that comes with this lunch set.

Just the day after we arrived, we happened to be driving past this junction. There I got a glimpse of the Milpitas City Hall, the community center and also where the library used to be behind it. My girls and I used to go there every week.

This is the main cross junction less than a quarter mile from my house. A place which we never fail to drive pass everyday.
California poppies! Yeah, those bright looking flowers are call California poppies...they "pop out" anywhere during Spring time. Such a delight to see them...always puts a smile on my face. ;) Good thing it's spring time over there now...nice weather and of course lovely flowers, what's not to like.

When driving down another major highway (237), I caught sight of something on the fields. See those tiny creatures on the field? Sheep! I am surprise they have a herd of sheep at the field opposite the building where my husband used to work at. When I took this shot, my husband went "You're taking that too?!" Lol!

That night, we managed to meet up an old & close friend of ours. They treat us to dinner! Thanks K & FF!. ;)
They brought us to this nice cosy Japanese Ramen restaurant call Orenchi. (We're BIG fan of Ramen btw) Oh boy it was sure worth the wait (super long queue)! The soup base was flavorful but not over powering. The noodles were "bouncy" and the pork slices were tender. I enjoyed every mouth of it. :P May I add this is one of the best Ramen I've tasted?
See the yolk is still runny? I wish i can achieve that at home. ;) Any tips anyone?
Not forgetting their crispy and flavorful chicken nuggets...really good on it's own. ;) Interested? Check it out when you're near here:
3540 Homestead Rd Santa Clara, CA 95051, USA

Another great snacking place near the place I stayed is this Vietnamese sandwich place call Huong Lan Sandwich IV. IV probably because they have other 3 stores elsewhere. They serve a mean grill pork sandwich.

The baguette was not tough at all, but crisp and a slight bite to it, very good. :) The grill pork plus the pickled vegetables was a really good combo. Would take this over any M's burger. :)

See the wide selection of sandwiches they offer....but I like the grill pork the best. :)

Another great place that I will miss dearly, sorry not shy, is Costco, lol! Costco is like a super huge warehouse that has it all! From fresh produce to electronic stuff, you name it. The difference, the food are normally sold in bulk; meaning 3 whole chickens in a pack, 20 packs of Oreos in box or 2 huge gallons of fresh milk. Call it time saving or cost efficient, my husband and I love to go there....because the things are all huge, lol! Although the prices are not always the best, but it's always fun to shop there. Guess Singapore can never accommodate Costco...such a small island ...probably takes up too much land by itself, lol!

Check out the rows and rows of goods on the racks...makes me all excited just looking at them, lol!

Okay, check out my latest purchase of bake wares and cookbooks. :) Want, need and must have! You said it! I actually pre-ordered these goodies online weeks ahead before I traveled there. Envy? worries I think you can buy them online too. ;)
Thanks to My Kitchen Snippets' help, I managed to snatch up a nice deal on the Nordicware baking pans. ;) Sweet! Love those cookie cutters...makes a nice gift for kids' parties.

I would be a fool if I miss out stuffing myself with a tub of Ben & Jerry's ice cream this trip. This ice cream brand is really pricey over here in Singapore / Malaysia....what? What diet?
Another interesting shot of a major highway (101). See how the fly-overs layers one over the other?! Confusing....nah, you'll get used to it once you get lost and find your way a couple times, lol!
Although we've been to several restaurants while we were there, I can only show you this much. Preferably the more interesting ones, and the ones with more American "flavor" in it. So I would like to show you this sandwich joint (again) call I.B.'s at Oakland downtown.
They sell a mean Philly Cheese stake sandwich. :) No, you don't have to go Philadelphia for a good cheese stake sandwich, this joint will curb your craving. ;)
This combo cost me USD$7.50 but it's worth every penny! The bun was soft and warm, encasing a stack of tender beef slices and mushrooms, layered with melting Swiss cheese and ranch dressing. Yum!
Don't you want a bite of this? We were in such a hurry at that time, we only devoured half of our sandwiches. An hour later, we got back to the 2nd half and it was still good!

Anyway, I was really glad we managed to finish up most of our relocation work and still got to meet up some of our good friends there. We had a really swell time catching up, and was glad everyone was doing well. Hopefully we will get to visit California again this year...with the kids this time. :) That would means Disneyland again! We'll see...I really hope the next time I go back, I will get to go to my favorite places and I can post it in my blog for remembrance. ;) Thanks for staying on and reading this super long post of are most patient and hope you have a good time reading it. I realize that I am at this for 6++ hours! *phew* ;) Have a good one my friends!


Sonia ~ Nasi Lemak Lover said...

friend, from this long post, I can understand you really will miss California. But I'm sure one day you will visit this place again. I so envy with all those baking pans, they are pretty!

ICook4Fun said...

It was really hard for us too to packed up and leave CA. I cried for day. We miss the people, the food, the environment, our house till today. We really hope to go back there one day. As for now it is just for a visit every year :( I see that you got the baking pan. In fact I have the other cute little cake pan too. Did you get it from the same lady? By the way, I bought 2 'shell' pan from Tuesday Morning yesterday. Go and check it out if you have the time. Maybe you can buy one home too :)

ann low said...

I remember I went to one of these big warehouse in California when I visit my niece there. Really BIG and most the things are super size.

Tricia said...

I miss Cali, too!!! Can't wait to till Aug!!! We will be there for 3 weeks!! Yay!!

When you go back to Cali with your kids, don't forget to visit Knott's Berry Farm, Universal Studios & Magic Mountain, too!!!

Honey Bee Sweets said...

Thanks Sonia. I hope to visit there every year too...but cost alot $$ and also the flight is sooo long. :P

Hi Gert,
Yes, thanks for your help! I got it from the same lady...and it's a good thing it arrived in time. ;) Will make sure I check out more of the cute pans the next time before I fly back. ;)

Hi Anncoo,
Heehee, don't you love those BIG warehouse stores? I go there every week without fail! Gonna miss that so much! But the funny thing is I actually renewed my membership again before I me silly, I won't even be there!

Hi Trica,
Actually we've been to Disney with the kids twice already (thrice for me)...and I foresee the 3rd one will be in June. Since our girls are still young, venturing to more then one theme park can be a little overwhelming...even for mummy! At the moment, they are only crazy about princesses. Sure, will go those other places perhaps in a few more yrs time. :)

Kitchen Corner said...

Hi Bee,
WOW.. you've been so many places and had many good food around the world! That's such a great memory.

Quinn said...

Bee Bee, that was a good nostalgic read. I don't get one thing though, what is the reason you're leaving California if you like it there???? Just my thought, I don't remember you mentioning it anywhere in the blog. If its personal reason, ignore me. Anyhow, do do please take good care and safe journey to you ad your hubby. I'll see you around.

Happy Homebaker said...

Thanks for sharing this post, it brings back fond memories for me too :) You know what, the first place we would visit after we drop off our bags was none other than COSTCO! My DH just came back with two tubs of biscotti and a giant pack of Kirkland trail-mix ;) Milpitas, Homestead, Highway 237 are as familiar to us as Toa Payoh, Tampines or CTE! I also love to shop at Whole Foods and Trader Joes too. Hopefully we get to try the ramen at Orenchi this year end, we usually go to the ones at Mountain View, the last time I was there I had Kuro ramen at Maru Ichi.

Tricia said...

I found and tried this soft boiled egg with soft yolk but solid white ... it really works ...

Honey Bee Sweets said...

Thanks Grace. Yeah, now I can only hope to return once in a while to refresh these great memories.

Hi Quinn,
You know me and my husband has been battling this decision to leave California for the past 2 years. Reasons, our parents are getting old and our kids needs a good education system and a place that is safe and free from guns. Believe me, after staying there for more then 8 years (my husband 14 yrs!), it will never be easy to just pack and go. My kids are American citizens, and our house is still there, so you never know, we might just be heading back after a few yrs. :)

Honey Bee Sweets said...

Wow, you know it all! Looks like you've been staying there as well. Feels good to know that someone knows what am I talking about, lol! You are right, I always go to Wholefoods and Trader Joe's too! This time I got some spices (e.g. whole nutmeg) from Wholefoods and dried cherries from Joe's. They have the quality stuff that can't be beat. ;) Yes, Maruichi, love the Ramen too..I actually posted that in my previous US trip post, lol.

So you have a property there too? Or is it your DH needs to work there? Let me know...wouldn't it be cool if HHB & HBS meet up in Milpitas for Ramen? Lol!
Do you mind giving me your email? I won't publish it. ;)

Honey Bee Sweets said...

Thanks so much Tricia!
Will try that out the next time I cook Ramen at home. ;)

ReeseKitchen said...

I can see why you miss CA. We too miss you here..;p
Wa..nice cake pans and cutter larr...ENVY larrrrr...!
Wish I can go visit one day..:)

Pei-Lin said...

Thanks for sharing your Cali. moments with us! Though I never make it to the West Coast, those huge, long and wide American highways have reminded me so much of my days in the States (specifically, Minnesota, the rest of the Midwest & the South.)

Like I said, I can perfectly empathize with you on the huge project of Trans-Pacific relocation, having to have gone thru the process myself last July/August. So much to miss and yet so much to let go of. I know it's gonna be hard ... I miss the people there and their friendliness, not the harsh Minnesotan winter ... (Not sure about Cali. as I've not been there.) Whenever those moments slip into my consciousness, I can't help but smile with nostalgia.

Whatever that has happened, here's to wish you all the best in every endeavor you & your loved ones have chosen to pursue. You'll always get full support from me! Hope to see you again ... in Singapore, eh?

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi HBS, I wish I have a property in Bay Area ;)

Honey Bee Sweets said...

Hi Reese,
I miss you all back in KL too! But no worries, we are coming up next weekend! Yippee! Yeah it's kind of a last minute decision again. ;) See you soon!

Property or not, at least you get to visit Bay area often enough to get familiarize with that place is really great! Anyway, hope to see you around, whether in Sg or CA. ;)

Honey Bee Sweets said...

Hi Pei-lin,
I totally understand how you feel about missing the warm nature of the people there. You can't really get it from Asia...that's their nature i guess. :P
California has really nice weather, it has the 4 seasons but without the harsh snow and drought. If you ever have a chance to go there, do not hesitate. ;)
Yes, really hope to you and the whole lot of other lady bloggers again soon. Do take care and hope you find peace with your work and family soon. You will always my support too Pei-Lin. ;)

Blessed Homemaker said...

I'm envious with your bakeware shopping. I used to buy them online but not anymore now as I've no more kitchen space.

Honey Bee Sweets said...

Hi Blessed Homemaker,
I think my new kitchen has quite limited space too! I have to control a bit else I'll be asking for trouble! :)

Airenchan said...

Hi Honey Bee,
The onsen egg that you wanted to know to how to, can be make at home. You have to boil the eggs for 6- 6 and a half minutes. Starting with egg in cold water and bring to a boil. Drain the water and add cold water. Leave the egg to cool in the water. Peel the eggs and soak the eggs in cool sugar soy sauce.