Saturday, August 31, 2013


Teddy's heard my wish for "chili cheese fries"...

Actually they have a chili cheeseburger running for the month of August, and if you want, they'll put the chili cheese onto your fries instead...whoo!

Thanks for lunch BFF!

Friday, August 30, 2013


Tried these recently...

Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt KIND the sweet-salty.

Lindt's Hello my name is Caramel Brownie...loved the milk chocolate & caramel, but they could've put more brownie in there.

Lindt's Hello my name is Crunchy Nougat...this nougat was different from the fluffy nougat that I know, it was more like crunchy caramel bits, still a little piece really soothed my sweet tooth.

What have you been snacking on lately?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Saturday we headed out the Honolulu Zoo, as my cousin's son was turning 1.

I didn't know this but the zoo now has classrooms which you can have events/parties in...whoo!

I dropped off my Dad and brother near the entrance and went to park the car.

The parking lot is not free anymore, nope you need to pay up-front for the amount of time you plan to stay according to your license plate number.

I paid for 4 hours ($1 an hour and non-refundable).

As I was walking to the entrance of the zoo, I saw a fire truck zooming down Kapahulu Avenue with its siren and lights going.

Then I see my brother running towards me.

"Dad fell down...", he says...

He fell backwards and smacked his head on the pavement...AND because his skin is really thin, tore the skin on his right forearm.

Luckily 2 angels helped by applying pressure while we waited for the ambulance.

After taking down information, I went back to the car and gave my stall to another car, telling the driver that I had paid for 4 hours so she could use the stall until then. (I hope she didn't get towed or ticketed!)

When we arrived at the ER, we noticed that Dad didn't have one of his hearing aids...eep, we hoped he hadn't lost it.

After a negative CT scan, his head was stitched up, his arm was taped up, and since they cut his shirt when they brought him in, they gave him a donated t-shirt to wear home.

We then went back to the zoo parking lot to see if maybe we could find the other hearing aid...

whew! it was still there AND it was working.

To the 2 angels, "thank you!" and thank you to my aunty and uncle who stayed with us at the ER and then bought lunch for us afterwards...and to whomever is in charge "up there" I think we've had enough "drama" and "excitement" to last us until infinity, so if you have anything else in store for us, please save it for another year...Thank you! xoxo Kat

Monday, August 26, 2013

the alley

I've written about The Alley in the past, here and here.

On the day that Satoshi left to go back to Japan, I took him to have lunch here because he hadn't tried them.

He was amazed that there was a restaurant inside of the bowling alley.

I ordered the boneless kalbi sandwich. This was good with lots of meat, though I wish the meat had been a bit more tender.

These fries were crispy and at "no extra charge" (ahem!)

Satoshi ordered the suppa garlic shrimp.

He enjoyed it and ate everything on his plate, even the tails.

I was surprised at how much traffic they get during lunchtime and the food is always good.

We'll be back.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

monkey pod kitchen

Thank you for all of your kind comments and emails. I really appreciated them. We are taking things one day at a time.

I'm glad that Satoshi was able to come to send off Mom.

While he was here, one of the places we checked out was Monkeypod Kitchen.

I had seen this place when I visited Ko'Olina with my aunties in July and was interested in checking them out.

Also Genki Tummy had recommended this place too.

We shared the organic Kale salad...$10.95

I liked how the salad was lightly dressed with a miso sesame vinaigrette and there was mac nuts, golden raisins and mandarin oranges. I hope to re-create this one.

I ordered the reuben...$13.95

I wished they had added more sauerkraut and roasted brussel sprouts...this was kinda disappointing for me. Also by adding fries for $2 more was even more disappointing as the fries were limp, like they had been sitting out awhile.

Satoshi chose the Seared Ahi Tuna Melt...$19.95

He also added Garlic Truffle Fries for $3...again, the fries were!

Overall, kinda pricey for lunch.

I hear during Happy Hour the food is half-priced...THAT is probably worth checking out.

But as for lunch...meh! Still, I'm glad we were able to check them out.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

saying goodbye

"No one wants to hear that their hero has cancer" starts off a commercial here in true.

For nearly a year and a half, my mom fought her pancreatic cancer as hard as she could, living past the prognosis she was given.

She kept as positive as she could and took care of all of us for as long as she could too.

When I was about to leave a couple of weeks ago to go back to Osaka, she asked me to extend my stay.

In hindsight, I think she knew her time was coming.

Taking the advice of my brother and aunties and with the understanding of Satoshi, I made it back to Hawaii just in time to be with her and the rest of my family for her makura-gyo (pillow service a.k.a. last rites service).

And on the next morning when she passed, I was lucky to be holding her hand.

I believe she's now at peace and free of pain.

Aunty M found a quote that says what I think my Mom might have wanted to say to us.

The nice thing about this quote is that it is by my Mom's favorite cartoon character, Winnie the Pooh...

"If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together..
there is something you must always remember.
You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem,
and smarter than you think.
But the most important thing is, even if we're apart..
I'll always be with you.”

The day after she passed, this spider orchid bloomed in our patio. Her favorite color is purple, so I thought it was her sign to me that she was in a good place.

Thank you Mom for everything, I admire you for your courage, I'll miss you a lot and love you always.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013


I know I just came back to Osaka, but the "game plan" has changed.

If you've been reading this blog you'll kinda know why. By the time this post uploads, I'll be in Hawaii.

Just wanted to tell you that it will be quiet here for awhile.

With all the crazy transportation accidents, weather disasters, and all that is going on the world lately, be well everyone.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

on the lanai

Here's the soybean I's getting bigger.

The plant next to it, I think, is parsley...

I think this is kale.

Here is another look at it from above...

This is the chard/beets...

And here is the goya (bittermelon)...hope these produce bigger goya this time around. Most times we get teeny ones.

How are things in your garden?

Monday, August 05, 2013

dammann freres lumiere

There is a little tea room in the Umeda Hankyu department store called Dammann Freres Lumiere.

They serve Dammann Freres' teas as well as serve lunch and sweets.

Kazumi took me there the other day for lunch.

This is the one plate lunch that we both ordered...Sandwich de poulet confit au moutarde (warm chicken sandwich with mustard), soupe de mais carameliser (cold roasted corn soup with black sesame stick), saucisson de fruit de mer au crustaces ("sausage" of seafood), galette de pomme de terre et oignons (potato & onion pancake), chausson de fruit de mer sauce porvencale (seafood turnover with provencal sauce), meille-feuille de legumes d'ete (layered summer veggies).

We each also had a pot of tea. Kazumi had their 08. Darjeeling G.F.O.P. while I chose their 04. Quatre Fruits Rouges (4 red fruits--which had cherry, strawberry, raspberry & red currant flavorings)

I hope to bring Satoshi here soon.

Thank you Kazumi!

Dammann Freres Lumiere
Umeda Hankyu 6F
Phone: 06.6313.1579

Sunday, August 04, 2013

foodie wednesday in kobe

Wednesday I was supposed to meet up with a friend, but had to change plans because she had a bout of anemia.

So, instead I went to Kobe to pick up my sample of Mariage Frères' summer tea, Violetta.

It is a very floral tea and has a violet fragrance, (the guy at the counter let me smell it), I think as an iced tea, it is going to have a refreshing taste.

In order to get the sample, I had to buy something, so I'm trying their Yunnan.

I hope both are good.

I then walked up Tor Road to Kitano Groceries, which I found the last time I was in Kobe.

They sell all sorts of foods especially spices.

I picked up 200 grams of ground cumin, some whole cumin seeds and cardamom pods...870 yen. I don't think we get spices this cheap in Hawaii, do we?!

It was funny though, as I was paying for them, the owner, who is also a foreigner says to me in Japanese, "are you going to make curry?"

I told him, "how can you tell?"

"Because most people making curry buy these items", he said.

We then had a nice chat in Japanese about how he makes his curry.

I was pretty hungry after that conversation, and ate at a restaurant that my host-family took us to earlier this year called Kokaen.

They serve Vietnamese-Chinese food.

I had their sweet sour fried won ton set...700 yen.

Crispy won ton is covered with a sweet sour sauce and some veggies. On a humid hot day like it was, this really hit the spot.

There was also a nice daikon salad, some zasai (szechuan pickles) & egg drop soup.

On the way home, no one wanted to sit by me on the train...the cumin I bought made me smell like I had b.o. There were even guys, thinking that they smelled and sprayed themselves with cologne...funny yeah?!

It was crazy hot & humid, but it was still nice to get out and about.

What have you been doing lately?

Mariage Frères
BAL Kobe 2F
Kobe, Hyogo
Phone: 078.391.6969

Kitano Groceries
3-3-3 Yamamoto-dori (In front of the Mosque)
Kobe, Hyogo
Phone: 078.230.6860

2-21-12 Nakayamate-dori
Kobe, Hyogo
Phone: 078.231.7079
Closed Tuesdays : Lunch 11:30-13:30, Dinner 17:00-21:00 (Sundays: Lunch 11:30-13:30, Dinner 17:00-20:00)

Saturday, August 03, 2013

lei can ting

We've eaten at Lei Can Ting several times, but I guess I've never posted about them.

It's not that their food is bad, I think their food is pretty good.

The other day we had lunch there, it was one of the only restaurants that didn't have a line to get in.

I ordered their salad rei men (cold noodles)...980 yen. This came with two pieces of yum cha (dim sum).

Lots of fresh veggies and the sauce for the noodles reminded me of the sauce we use for somen salad.

Satoshi had their tan tan men...1500 yen, his tray had two pieces of yum cha plus some other "small tastes", which I didn't see because he ate so fast!

We'll definitely be back.

Lei Can Ting
Lucua 10F
Umeda, Osaka
Phone: 06.6347.0797
Hours: 11:00-23:00, open when Lucua is.

Friday, August 02, 2013


I liked how just a sip turned this cappuccino art at Caffera into a heart.

Made me smile, hope it made you smile too.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

trompe l'oeil

There is a huge trompe l'oeil (optical illusion or what the Japanese call trick art) display at the Osaka Station.

To get a nice view of it you need to go up to the 7th floor and look out over the "Toki no Hiroba".

They also have marked spots to take photos too.

Here's Satoshi "balancing" on a log...

Fun, yeah?! Not sure how long this display will be there, so if you get a chance, go soon!