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WHO: 99 Things That Bring Me Joy

WHAT: (19) Your all-time favorite meal, (20) Your go-to snacks


Finally I get to write again after going through a few days without power or mobile phone reception! Yes, I live in Northern California. Yes, I was affected by the mandatory rolling power outages, but, no, I do not live near any of the areas affected by the crazy wildfires. However, since I do live in the Bay Area, we are being affected by the wildfires with all of the smoke & haze blanketing our region from the major wildfire in the Sonoma-wine county area. This past weekend I had no cell signal, no power, but at least we had clean running water. In my city, we were supposed to experience a second rolling power outage this week, but thankfully the mandatory power outages are over. I can now get back to making lists about the foods I like to eat.

Thankfully these next two lists from the 99 Things That Bring Me Joy journal are the last food-related topics in the long line of lists. So, I have decided to squeeze them both into one blog post. Honestly, I don’t even know why I am even bothering to write about these next two food topics; they are so clichéd & redundant. However, because I like to do things in order, like not skipping pages of a book (in this case, a book of lists), I will not skip these two topics.


This next topic wants me to discuss my all-time favorite meal. How am I supposed to choose one favorite meal (of all-time)?! I know I can be real loosey-goosey on this topic & rattle off a small list of my top [Insert Numerical Quantity Here] favorite meals, but it’s difficult for me to even come up with a couple of favorites to throw into a randomized list. Now that I’ve learned to appreciate food flavors & have found a mild interest in cooking, I’ve grown to love many meals & dishes.

There is one meal that comes to mind that is the most memorable, but not exactly my all-time favorite. Whilst my dad was still around, I used to have a yearly birthday tradition of going to dinner with my parents at our favorite well known restaurant, & I would always order the same dish: Maine lobster tail with steamed vegetables & rice pilaf. I ordered this dish every single time we ate at this restaurant (birthday or not), & it became such a tradition for me that everyone in my family associated me & my love for eating lobster. The subject of eating this lobster dish pops up every year around my birthday, which makes it a very memorable & delicious meal.

Then again, I definitely have other non-bougie favorites as well. As for my basic all-time favorite meal, I would have to say it’s a sandwich. I grew up eating sandwiches for lunch when I was bringing brown bag, homemade lunches to school every day. So the sandwich has become a staple food on my overall favorites list. But what type of sandwich do I like best? A turkey, Swiss cheese & avocado sandwich is a tasty treat. I will also stuff a club sandwich into my pie hole (a.k.a. my mouth). I would partake in a warm & crispy reuben sandwich as well.

However, there are three sandwich types that are on my all-time top favorites list.

  1. Avocado & cream cheese on white bread sandwich: Yes, this sounds very fatty & creamy, but it’s also very simple & delicious AF! I can’t even begin to describe how delicious this basic 2 condiment sandwich is, but I just love the pairing of cream cheese & sliced avocados. I discovered this sandwich combo during my college days at a local delicatessen near my house. I once ate this exact sandwich combo every day for one whole week. It sounds disgusting, but it was a fantastic lunch week for me. This sandwich is both healthy (the avocado!) & unhealthy (the cream cheese!), & I don’t get to eat this that often, but when I do, I savor every single bite. I have made this sandwich at home a couple of times, but it’s just not the same as getting one from my local delicatessen.
  2. Roast beef on sourdough bread sandwich: This has to be my top sandwich combination. I will usually order this sandwich combo at whichever eating establishment sells sandwiches if it’s available. My favorite place to grab a roast beef sandwich is at the deli counter inside Whole Foods. When I’m there, I will load up my sandwich with lots of red onions, lots of mixed greens (sometimes I’ll add arugula too), a spread of garlic aioli (which is a fancy-schmancy term for garlic mayo), & extra Swiss cheese. It’s also gotta be on sliced sourdough bread. I’m from the San Francisco (adjacent) region of the Bay Area, so I have to give props to our world famous sourdough bread, & by the way, my go-to cheese in sandwiches is Swiss cheese. I prefer it over gruyere, jack, or cheddar. As you can see, I like to put things in my sandwiches that make my breath stink all day.
  3. French dip sandwich with au jus: This has got to be one of the more messier sandwiches I have ever eaten in my life, but it is totally worth it. I love the simplicity of this sandwich: lots of thinly sliced beef, a French roll, & a hearty bowl of au jus that tastes so good you’ll want to drink it like a soup. Dipping the savory sandwich in the au jus sauce is a must. For a meat lover such as myself, I thoroughly enjoy this meat extravaganza whenever I order this sandwich, but since I am also a “neat freak”, I simultaneously hate it when the dipping sauce drips all over my hands (especially when the roll gets soggy!). One of my favorite places to eat this French dip sandwich is at the world renowned Philippe The Original sandwich shop in Los Angeles, home of the original French dip sandwich recipe. I have only eaten at that shop once, but I am looking forward to eating at that shop again soon. Maybe I can try to convince Jian to take me there again when we visit Los Angeles again for the Thanksgiving holiday.

The next topic is about my go-to snacks. Recently, I have been trying to be more health conscious, so I am trying to not snack so much, especially between meals. However, I am very much like my mother in this category, & we both like to snack on little treats around the house. This is just one habit I cannot give up. It doesn’t help for the fact that my mom loves to buy tons of snack foods, & so we have a huge cupboard filled with crackers, chips/crisps, roasted nuts, a variety of Asian treats, chocolates, & lots of random cookies.

There was a time in recent years where my mom & I were addicted to snacking on roasted sunflower seeds. There was this Chinese brand of roasted sunflower seeds that we really liked & would practically stockpile during our grocery trips. Let me tell you, cracking the shells of sunflower seeds just to get to the teeny-tiny crunchy bit in the center is so mundane & repetitive, but it quickly becomes addictive, especially when you’re sitting in front of the telly with a piping hot cuppa tea or your favorite ice cold beverage.

When I was a kid, I didn’t like to eat candy or very many other junky foods. My favorite things to snack on were apple sauce & fruit strips. My favorite kind of fruit strips were called Fruit Roll-UpsFruit-by-the-Foot. My mom would buy these in bulk at the big box wholesale store, & I would pack one everyday in my lunch bag for school. Like I’ve said before, I was a very boring eater when I was a kid. Oh yeah, & I also loved eating pre-packaged fruit cups then drinking the very bad for you, nothing but high fructose corn syrup, juice in the fruit cup.

These days, with my more refined & matured pallet, I’ve outgrown these childish snacks & have upgraded to more sophisticated snacks like marcona almonds, sea salt & vinegar crisps/chips, & artisan cheeses. I will occasionally indulge in sweeter snacks like cookies (my two favorite brands at the moment are DounsemorBiscoff) & chocolate squares. However, I am trying to be more health conscious, & I am actively trying to not snack so much between meals. I used to snack on little things here & there all the time, & it just made me feel hungrier than if I were to restrict myself from filling my stomach with wasted junk calories.

I think I am doing a pretty good job at restricting myself from snacking in between meals. I am eating better & healthier during my main meals, & it has been curbing my cravings for nibbling on junk food. I have also stopped filling my kitchen pantry with random snacks & junk. It’s hard to transition to this healthier lifestyle, especially for a person like myself who has a major sweet tooth & a ravenous appetite for carb-filled foods, but once you build up a routine, then it just becomes like a natural habit to stay away from the junky snacks.

have gone back to eating fruit strips again, but I don’t buy the big box labels with the high sugar content anymore. I have learned to look at the labels & read the ingredients. I try to buy the brands that contain less sugar & more natural/organic ingredients, & even though I have gone back to buying one of my childhood favorite treats, I have noticed that I don’t reach for it as often as I used to. Those snacks are still there in my pantry cupboard, but I am not constantly reaching for it, which I take as a small sign of positive progress.

So, there you have it. I have concluded my blog posts about food. Even though I have talked so much about favorite foods & flavors & go-to snacks, I don’t feel that hungry. In fact, I am ready to move on to the next topic. Well, until next time, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

It seems the weather is becoming cooler, & Mother Nature is getting ready for the Autumn/Winter seasons.  So here I bring you a list of things that bring me joy in the Autumn/Winter time:

  • the feeling after taking a hot shower
  • hot chocolate with whipped cream (& marshmallows if you like them)
  • a big bowl of hearty beef stew
  • wearing thick socks
  • sitting next to a crackling fireplace
  • wearing slipper booties (WOoT for Isotoners!)
  • flannel pajamas (especially the ones w/ the feet)
  • a hot bubble bath with rich bubbles
  • a steaming bowl of Chinese soup noodles (or rice porridge)
  • a fresh, hot cup of coffee in a ceramic mug
  • watching the rain thru the window while you are warm & dry indoors
  • sitting under a warm kotatsu, eating snacks & drinking beer while watching sports on TV
  • having post-MLB / World Series / NFL tailgate parties at home
  • listening to the sound of the rain before falling asleep
  • a warm towel straight from the dryer
  • the toasty feeling of clean clothes straight from the dryer
  • movie marathons while sitting under a blanket & eating freshly popped popcorn

 

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