Speaking Jose…


Day 6 in the Bahamas: Last Chance to Catch Some Rays
March 6, 2009, 2:18 pm
Filed under: Family, Food, Travel

Our last full days at the Bahamas was actually a great one due to the change in the weather. It was actually sunny and warm! We spent most of the day out at the different pools working on our tans and catching up on our reading and audio books.  Overall it was a great way to wrap up the vacation!

At night we revisited Nobu for some more sushi goodness. Kriten had the Rock Shrimp Tempura and I tried the Chef’s Tasting menu, both were excellent!

We really enjoyed our trip to Atlantis and hope to come back again in the near future (hopefully when the sun is shining throughout the week and the temperatures come out of the 70’s).

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Third Day in LA – New Years Day Relaxation
January 6, 2009, 10:34 pm
Filed under: Family, Food, Travel | Tags: , , , , , ,

We started out 2009 the best way possible, by hitting the snooze button on the hotel alarm clock. After finally deciding it was probably a good thing to get up and moving, we met up with David and Amie to grab lunch at Poquito Mas, a great Mexican fast food restaurant when you want a good inexpensive Mexican meal. Afterwards we headed back to the Gibb’s apartment and spent most of the afternoon snoozing, playing Mario Kart and watching British mini-series (Amie and Kristen are big Jane Austen fans).  Though we didn’t go out and run around the city, it was very nice to relax and reenergize before our foray the next day into Anaheim and Disneyland.



Second Day in LA – Rodeo Drive and New Years
January 6, 2009, 4:44 am
Filed under: Events, Family, Food, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Second day in Los Angeles and after trying to sleep off as much of the jet lag as possible, we went out to Porto’s Bakery in Burbank for breakfast.  Porto’s is a Cuban bakery that offers great breakfast and lunch options, while the bakery puts out amazing pastries and cakes.  We had been there once before with David and Amie, so we had an idea of what we were doing (its a little overwhelming at first, especially if its crowded).  I had a great chorizo omelette on Cuban bread with a cortadito coffee (similar to a cafe au lait but with espresso) and fresh squeezed orange juice.  The absolute best item to get there are the potato balls, imagine a mashed potato ball the size of a tennis ball, but stuffed with some ground beefed and then deep fried! Very delicious, but not exactly breakfast fare. 

After the delicious breakfast we headed out to Rodeo Drive to take a look at the shops and mainly people watch (Kristen) and car watch (Jose). Actually saw a lot of Penn State fans who were in town for the Rose Bowl and Kristen saw Larry King walking along the street talking on his cell phone (“Caller, hello!”). We had lunch at Cheesecake Factory and then headed back to the hotel to rest up before New Years Eve at Amie and David’s apartment.

The party at David and Amie’s was a lot of fun, we got to meet some of Amie’s friends from Yahoo! (including the minds behind the Daemon’s TV blog) and eat some great Italian and Brazilian food. I learned to be very humble after Americ and David both schooled me in Wii Tennis, but I got my revenge when we played Buzz! It was a great party and its becoming a little bit of an annual tradition for us now. Got to see the ball drop in New York (again, we caught the original at 9 PM on the West Coast) and brought the New Years in with family and friends.



First Night in LA – Katsu-ya
December 31, 2008, 3:31 pm
Filed under: Family, Food, Travel | Tags: , , , , ,

For our first night in LA we went to dinner with Amie and David (sister in law and husband) at Katsu-ya in Studio City.  (Dont confuse it with the new place in Hollywood, the quality of the sushi is better at the Studio City location) This is one of the best sushi places I’ve ever been to and probably one of the best in the country.  You wouldn’t know this from looking at the exterior, it’s a little hole-in-the-wall place in a strip mall and looks completely nondescript, except for the line of people outside waiting to get in. You know its a good place once you sit down at your table and they bring in a white board with today’s specials (piece of advice: order off the white board, asking for a menu will instantly identify you as a newbie to Katsu-ya or sushi itself).  Pictures and details after the break.

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Santa was good to Jose this year
December 26, 2008, 3:54 am
Filed under: Events, Food, Pictures | Tags: , , ,

2008-christmas-tree

Santa brought a lot of good presents to me this year 🙂 Got a couple of great cooking books from Mom and a copy of The Starbucks Experience from my brother. Kristen rocked and got me a pair of nice flannel PJ bottoms and a universal remote (which I spent all day playing with and programming 🙂 )

My in-laws got me a new bottle of Sapphire Gin which we got to break out today at Christmas Dinner. We had a few people over and it was a little crazy getting everything ready, but we had a good time. Highlight of the evening was my mother in-law leaving us some of her home-baked cookies and buckeyes (pictured below)!

ruths buckeyes



What I’m Thankful For This Thanksgiving
November 27, 2008, 5:01 pm
Filed under: Events, Food | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

On this Thanksgiving these are some of the things I am thankful for…

Everyone enjoy your turkey and stuffing and drive safely!



Vampire Cupcakes!
November 20, 2008, 11:53 pm
Filed under: Books, Food, Movies | Tags: , , , ,

 

Update: Kristen originally found these delicious treats on the Baking Bites blog.

Kristen made some great cupcakes for last Halloween and I wanted to share the recipe with you for the next time you are looking for a scary treat (or you’re getting amped for the release of the movie based on your favorite vampire novel).

Kristen's vampire cupcakes

Kristens Cupcakes

Kristen’s Vampire Cupcakes

Step 1. Make cupcakes using your favorite yellow cake mix, brand doesn’s matter, but just make sure you use a regular size muffin or cupcake pan. Dont try to use white cake mix for the recipe, the filling later on will just turn the cupcake to a pinkish hue and the effect is lost.

Step 2. Make the “blood” by pureeing cherry pie filling until its relatively smooth and liquid with no lumps (like real blood).

Step 3. Once the cupcakes are made and cooled, cut a piece out of the top of the cup cake that is about half the height of the cupcake. The piece that comes out should almost look like circular muffin top with a cone attached at the bottom, think cartoonish diamond shape if it helps.

Step 4. Spoon a couple of spoonfuls of the pie filling into the cavity in the cupcake. You may have to experiment and have a couple of test pieces to determine the relation between how big a piece you cut out in Step 3 versus the amount of liquid added.  The goal should be that a person biting in should get a good taste of the filling but not be wiping away their chin from the excess.  After adding the filling, replace the top on the cupcake.

Step 5. Time to frost! White or light colored frosting works best to show off the blood in Step 7, but feel free to use any flavor you like (we used cream cheese frosting on the ones in the picture). To frost, first put a thin layer on the cupcake around where the cut line from Step 3 is, this will help cover up the edge when completing the frosting. After the thin layer evens out the edge you can finish frosting the cupcake by piping it on the cupcake or just using a flat knife. 

Step 6. To make the fang marks there are a couple of techniques, but again, feel free to experiment to find a method you like (plus it means you can eat the “test cupcakes” in the name of science!). For ours we tries using a straw to cut out the hole (insert the straw into the cupcake and pull out), but while it made a good size hole, the cake got stuck in the straw and was difficult to get out. In the end we used a clean mean thermometer to poke into the cupcake and then mode the hole bigger by moving it around in a circular motion to expand the hole. Make sure you make the fang marks about an inch apart to look realistic.

Step 7. The final and most fun step is to add the “dripping blood” to the fang holes and the top of the cupcake. We used a straw to help us fill the fang holes (an eye dropper works well here too) and then used a toothpick to make the little blood trail.

Step 8. Eat and Enjoy!

Variation on this theme: Make the cupcakes with chocolate cake mix and chocolate frosting to make a Blackula Cupcake. Another thought was to add a white chocolate chip in with the filling for a cupcake to act as lost vampire tooth.