Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka in Bellevue

Tonight, we had a spontaneous, special treat for dinner.

This morning, Paula had sent me this article from a local Seattle magazine about a new (and very popular) Ramen restaurant opening up in Downtown Bellevue. It opened just last Thursday, April 24th.

I mentioned it to Dick tonight, and we thought we'd give it a try. I knew from the article that it may be very busy, but figured it would be worth checking out. We love soup - including almost all Japanese soup, and we haven't been to a really great Ramen restaurant here.

We arrived around 6:30. I estimate the line was approximately 25-30 people long. It took us about 30 minutes to reach the front of the line to be seated.

Oh, and by the way, for the most part, Dick was the only non-Asian in line. Always a good sign! :)

The line outside Santouka

A menu and a sign with directions for the wait line outside the restaurant's front door

the menu

As expected, the Ramen was outstanding. It did not disappoint, and was certainly worth the wait.

Now, I suspect this place will only get more popular and crowded. Not sure how often we'll have the chance to go, but we'll certainly be back!

My Ramen

Dick and his ramen

Another beautiful Seattle day with Tiff & Graham

Today was by far, the warmest, most beautiful day that we've had in Seattle since we moved here in December/January. The temps were in the mid-70s (such a difference from the rain and low 50s, when my parents were here last week), and it's only going to get warmer over the next couple of days.

My Sis and Graham are staying in Downtown Seattle all week. I hooked up with them again and spent the afternoon with them. This is Graham's first visit to Seattle, so they are hitting all the major sights.

We walked from their hotel down to Pike Place. Again, what a difference from the cold and wet weather I had here last week with my parents.

Tiff and Graham at Pike Place Market

Graham had done some research and found the best Chowder in Seattle. We had a delicious lunch at Pike Place Chowder. Yum!

Mmmmm... Chowder!

We walked around the market a bit...

The original Starbucks - the exact same spot where I took a photo of my parents last week

Photo from the market overlooking the Sound. See the ferris wheel? that's where we're going next...

We walked along the pier a bit, and found ourselves at the ferris wheel. It was such a clear, beautiful day - We decided to treat ourselves to a ride on the ferris wheel.

Seattle Skyline with the Space Needle

Look how clear and HUGE Mt Rainier is!

Graham and Tiff in the Ferris Wheel

One more peek at Mt. Rainier

Graham and Tiff hugging an enormous baby seal. ;)

Opening Day Mrs Field's Cookie & TCBY Yogurt

While our running errands and taking my morning walk today, I got a tip from Paula that a Mrs Field's Cookie store was opening today across the street from our building. I noticed the sign for it last week, and was wondering why I never noticed it before.

I dropped by the new store - a combination Mrs Field's Cookie and TCBY Yogurt - on my way home to check it out. Turns out they are giving away free cookies and yogurt (with all kinds of toppings) all day today to celebrate.

I couldn't resist but to take my photo with the TCBY Yogurt Girl. :)

Monday, April 28, 2014

It was a 2-cupcake Birthday!!

Today I turned 44-years old. Oh, my.

My sister and her fiance, Graham, are visiting Seattle this week, so I got to spend the day with them today. Yay!

We started our day at Voula's Offshore Cafe, a diner that they had found on the Food Network. It was a pretty awesome breakfast.

Graham and Tiff at Voula's Offshore Cafe

The best part of our meal was that Graham ordered the "Chinese Pancake", which really has nothing to do with anything Chinese. It's a larger than a plate pancake, with a friend egg in the middle, and bits of ham mixed in. It was HUGE. On top of that (because he didn't know how large it would be) he also ordered a side of hash browns, and an english muffin. Yep, he took a lot of it home with him. :)

Graham, showing off his Chinese Pancake

After breakfast, we strolled around the University area, including walking around the University of Washington campus. Beautiful campus!

Tiff and Graham had been on the go for the last two days that they were here, so we decided to come back to my place in Bellevue to kick back and relax for the afternoon. While we were here, we treated ourselves to cupcakes from the Trophy Cupcakes shop in my building. Yum!

Dick came home from work, and we all had dinner downstairs at Wild Ginger. The original location in Seattle used to be one of my sister's favorite restaurants (in the country) and she hadn't been in years. It was really fun to be able to take her and Graham to the one in Bellevue.

Nothing on Wild Ginger's dessert menu grabbed us, so Dick suggested that we go get cupcakes for dessert. We confessed that we'd already had one earlier that day, but he proclaimed that it was my birthday, and of course I should have another.

While Dick and Graham stayed at the restaurant, my sister and I ran back up to Trophy Cupcake right before they closed at 8:00. We arrived at 7:44. The door was open, but sadly, there were no more cupcakes in the display shelves. Oh, no! The same employee who helped us in the afternoon came out, and told us they were out of cupcakes. My sister said, "Don't you have any more? It's her birthday!" That did it - he said he had some day-old cupcakes that he couldn't sell, but he offered to give us a box. To be clear, these cupcakes were from today, and a box held one dozen!!

My sister offered him a huge tip as a thank you, and we walked out happy as clams with our box of 12 assorted cupcakes. :)

Thank you, Trophy Cupcakes!

Our assortment of cupcakes

My and my Sis - my horizontal shirt is not doing me any favors, and is now making me question my decision of eating two cupcakes today!

Sis, Graham and Dick enjoying Birthday Cupcakes!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Two Million Thank Yous

I just received a nice surprise in the mail: a t-shirt from glassybaby that reads: "two million thank yous".

As of March 31st, glassybaby has given back over $2 million dollars to organizations dedicated to healing (including our very own Immediate Impact Breast Cancer Walk).

Here's a photo of me sporting my new t-shirt, as well as the front and back of the card that was sent with it.

thank you, glassybaby, for all that you do.

Snowqualmie Falls

One last stop before bringing my parents to the airport. Thanks for another fun visit, Mom and Dad!!! xo

Thursday, April 24, 2014

My Techie Parents...

...are so adorable. :)

EMP Museum

Noe likes donuts, too!

It's no surprise that I love donuts. My parents love donuts, too.

Turns out that my little cat loves donuts! :)

Well, okay, maybe it's not an actual donut - it's a Minty Donut Cat (maple) from MarninSaylor.

a version of our Mini Donut Cats for your feline friend! Handmade in Seattle and stuffed with organic catnip and poly fill. They are the purrrfect size for tossing, snuggling, or trying to put on your cat's tail.

We found these while we were at Pike Place Market today. So cute. My Mom bought one for her kitty, Toby, and another for Noe.

We just brought it home and introduced Noe to her donut.
She seems to like donuts as much as her Mama! :)

Pike Place with Mom and Dad

$10 Flowers from Pike Place

By far, the prettiest bunch of flowers I've ever bought for only $10!!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

My Star Wars Toy Collection, circa 1977-1983

When I was a kid in the late 1970s, I collected two very different types of toys: Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls, and Star Wars! I know, it's hard to understand how a 7-10 year old little Chinese girl could have a fascination with these two things that seem so very different from the other. I can't explain it. I still love them both!

Most of my Raggedy Ann collection still lives in my old room at my parent's house in Milpitas. (I'm in big trouble when they decide to move!) My Star Wars collection has been boxed and stored in my Mom's closet for at least a couple of decades now. Every great once in a while, I take them out to look at and reminisce. I remember taking it all out in 1999 with my sister and Mykail, when Star Wars, Episode 1 was released. Before that, Terri and I took all my Star Wars toys out in the summer of 1986 and did a hilarious mini-movie with the action figures, using the Story of Star Wars album in the background.

This morning, I called my Mom to ask a favor. My parents are visiting me in Seattle later this week, and I was wondering if she could bring my old die-cast X-Wing fighter with her. My friend, Nicole, needs a small X-Wing model as reference for a piece of art she's working on, and I offered to lend it to her.

I just received these three photos from my Mom - I loved that she displayed them all like this, and sent me the photos. As far as I know, I never took any photos of my collection before. This is mostly all the pieces I have. I know my Droid Factory play set is missing, and assorted comic books and collectors cards live someone in my closet. Oh, and of course, I have two stuffed Ewoks.. :)

It's a good collection - not bad for a 7-year old girl who fell in love with the original Star Wars when it came out. I was obsessed, and saw it multiple times in the theater. I had all of the action figures for the first two films, and some from the third - I started to out-grow it by the time Return of the Jedi came out. (I didn't outgrow the movies - just wasn't into getting all the toys.) I had 3 play sets: The Hoth Play Set, and the Cantina Play Set. These were a big deal to me because of how large they were, and how much space they took up. Generally, my parents only let me buy the smaller-sized items like the action figures and miniature die-cast models of the ships. I did have a full-sized X-Wing Fighter, a sonic control Land Speeder, and a Imperial Transport Machine that had cool sound effects. :) You'll also notice the Dewback and the Tauntaun. Cool stuff.

Thanks for sending the photos, Mom! It's fun to see all these great pieces together again!

Oh, and thanks for letting me collect these in the first place. I still love them!!

The Vehicles - mostly from Episodes IV and V:
X-Wing, large and small, Sonic Contolled Landspeeder, Imperial Transport, and small die-cast versions of the Y-Wing Fighter, Darth Vader's Tie-Fighter, Imperial Star Destroyer, Millennium Falcon , and the regular Tie Fighter

the Playsets from Hoth and The Cantina
Also shows my Tauntaun, Dewback, and remote controlled R2-D2

The action figures - complete sets from Episode IV and IV, and a few from VI.
Note that the mail-in only Jabba Fett is in there. I also have the original Star Wars Figures Stand that I had to collect 12 proof of purchases and main them in for. It's not pictured here

...and now you know just how geeky my childhood was. :)

Record Store Day! Green Day's Demolicious.... On cassette

Today is Record Store Day! Who knew? I certainly didn't know anything about it until earlier this week.

What is Record Store Day?

(from wikipedia)

Record Store Day is an internationally celebrated day observed the third Saturday of April each year. Its purpose is to celebrate the culture of the independently owned record store.[1] The day brings together fans, artists, and thousands of independent record stores across the world.

... at stores across the world, with hundreds of recording and other artists participating in the day by making special appearances, performances, meet and greets with their fans, the holding of art exhibits, and the issuing of special vinyl and CD releases along with other promotional products to mark the occasion.

So, I only heard about it via Green Day's Facebook and Instagram posts. They released LP, CD and yes, even cassette tape versions of "Demolicious".

(from the Green Day Official News Site)

Green Day will release Demolicious - a collection of 18 demos recorded at Jingletown Studios in Oakland, CA, in 2012 during the sessions for the band's Green Day ¡Uno!, Green Day ¡Dos!, Green Day ¡TrĂ©! album trilogy - in conjunction with Record Store Day on April 19th, 2014. The two-disc set will be released on red or clear vinyl, and will also be available on CD and cassette.

In addition to the 18 demos, Demolicious includes a previously unreleased track, "State of Shock," and an acoustic version of "Stay The Night" from Green Day ¡Uno!.

As a good Green Day Groupie, I called my local record store (and was happy to find that we do have one!) around 10:00 this morning, asking if they carried Demolicious.

Good News: Yes, they have them.
Bad News: They only had one more CD left in stock

I really should have checked to see what time they opened this morning (9:00). Honestly, didn't know it would be a big deal, but obviously it is.

I flew over to the store within 10 minutes, but alas, no CDs or LPs were to be found.

BUT, I did manage to snag the last cassette tape

Yes, today, I bought my first cassette tape in well over 20 years. :)

I grabbed it, and was thinking, "Okay, I have it.... now, what do I do with it?"
I mean, I don't even own a cassette player anymore. :-/

It occurred to me that my Mom (Techie-Mom) probably had the necessary equipment to transfer from cassette to digital. I called her when I returned home, explained the situation, and found out that yes, she does! Yay, Mom!!

My parents will be visiting us in Seattle later this week, so I'll give her my cassette then. :)

I'm glad I was able to at least get the cassette - the LPs, CDs, and yes, even the cassette tapes are selling like hot cakes on ebay.