Day 56: Healthy Hump Day

Fettucine Cauliflower Alfredo

Fettucine Cauliflower Alfredo

As much as I loved last night’s abundance of pork-based Filipino dishes, tonight my wife and I got back to our healthier eating. She made her excellent cauliflower alfredo sauce with fettucine and baked green beens. It’s a simple meal and I’ve been surprised how much I enjoy the cauliflower dishes she’s made (my other favorite being her mashed cauliflower “potatoes”). As for the greens beans, I’m a big fan of garlic and slivered almonds, which certainly weren’t lacking in this dish.

The only problem with tonight’s dinner? No leftovers.

Day 55: Family Celebration

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Gaviola family favorite Salo-Salo Grill was the site of another celebration tonight. Whenever we get together here, we tend to order too much food. It’s consistently excellent Filipino food, served in abundant portions. I call it The Place Where Diets Go To Die.

Clarissa Wei, one of my favorite food bloggers, recently posted this guide to Filipino food in Los Angeles. There are  some great spots listed; I’ve been to a few of them and others were new to me. I would’ve loved to have seen Salo-Salo on there, but it’s still a solid list. Newbies to Filipino food should start with her article; better yet, I’d point them to one of the Filipino-American restaurant icons of L.A.: Bernie’s Teriyaki.

Bernie’s has been serving inexpensive plates of Filipino barbecue for decades in the same location. Yes, the name suggests Japanese food, but that taste is undeniably Filipino. In fact, I prefer Bernie’s over Grill City, which was one of the places in Wei’s article. Unlike Grill City, Bernie’s doesn’t overdo it with the barbecue sauce and glaze; it’s a more subtle taste and there’s less fat on their pork sticks, which sets them apart from most Filipino barbecue.

In my family, we’re on generation three of the Bernie’s fan club.  The menu isn’t as Filipino-heavy or authentic as Salo-Salo’s menu, but those barbecue plates are deeply satisfying and inexpensive to boot. The location is ideal during baseball season: you can pick up a plate to go before making the short trek to Dodger Stadium.

Day 54: Pug Life

Bruno the pug.

Bruno the pug.

It’s been raining the last two days and even though it’s good for us Southern California residents, I get antsy when I can’t go outside to exercise. I haven’t had a gym membership in years and I prefer it that way. I do miss lifting weights sometimes, but my modes of exercise these days consists of walking, running, or riding my bike. Does playing one of the Dance Central or Just Dance video games count as exercise?

My buddy Bruno (pictured above) is ready for the rain to stop, too. He’s not a video game fan, but he does miss going out to the park for his dose of exercise.

Day 53: World Record

World Record for Largest Beer Tasting.

World Record for Largest Beer Tasting.

One year ago today, my wife and I helped set the Guinness World Record for Largest Beer Tasting. Yelp hosted the event at Santa Anita Park, the historic racetrack in Arcadia, CA. To set the record, 490 people blind tasted three different beers. My wife isn’t much of a beer drinker and didn’t care for two of the beers, but she liked the Shock Top Wheat Chocolate Stout beer. I liked them all, of course.

Alas, fame is fleeting: our record was broken at the end of last year. It’d be great if we could get another crack at the title. Until that happens, we’ll have fun referring to ourselves as former world record holders … and we’ll always have the glassware to prove it (as seen above).

Day 52: Pleasant Evening

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Spent a pleasant evening in Old Town Pasadena. Angel City Brewery Social IPA was a good choice.

Day 51: 20 Feet From Stardom

20 Feet From Stardom: Claudia Lennear

20 Feet From Stardom: Claudia Lennear

My wife and I finally saw 20 Feet From Stardom, the Oscar-winning documentary about the back-up singers for some of popular music’s most famous acts. It was a wonderful film filled with amazing music and it’s easy to see why it is so highly regarded; it’s a real crowdpleaser.

Tonight we went to a Q&A with one of the singers, Claudia Lennear, as part of the Black History Month Celebration in Rancho Cucamonga. She was interviewed by a local DJ and talked about her life in and out of the music business. I got a kick out of hearing her talk about how Keith Richards scared her and how David Bowie was at her daughter’s birthday party.

After the Q&A, we got to meet her and take photos with her. She was a delight to chat with, even for just a moment, and it made me feel good that she’s finally getting the recognition that she deserves.

Day 50: The Quest Continues

$1.25 Scoops at Handel's

$1.25 Scoops at Handel’s

I wrote “yesterday” that I had ended my streak of blogging every day in 2015. Thankfully, in addition to the WordPress re-do, I’ve decided that I get a fresh start for the Lunar New Year. And what better way to celebrate than with ice cream, especially when it’s $1.25 Scoop Night? Tonight’s flavors of choice at Handel’s in Rancho Cucamonga: Coconut Caramel Delight with Girl Scout Samoas and Thin Mint.

Gong Xi Fat Cai!

Day 49: Time Travel

Back to the Future

Back to the Future

The Streak is over. After blogging for the first 48 days of 2015, I spaced out yesterday and forgot to post something. I usually blog around dinner time, but plans changed last night and by the time I was ready for bed I was wiped out, my quest completely forgotten.

Fortunately, thanks to the magic of WordPress I can change the date of this post to yesterday. Like Superman turning back the clock to save Lois Lane from death-by-earthquake*, I can travel back in time to post my 49th blog of the year. The Quest continues!

My earliest recollection of time travel, aside from childhood games, was the Twilight Zone episode “The Rip Van Winkle Caper.” Four criminals steal $1 million and hide in a cave, where their leader has them enter suspended animation chambers. Their plan is to lay low for 100 years and wake up when their crime is forgotten: outrunning the law through the use of science. Of course, this being the Twilight Zone, nothing goes according to plan and the bad guys get their comeuppance. I’ll never forget the criminal mastermind (played by the fantastic Oscar Beregi) at the end of episode, desperate and dying, trying to barter for his life.

Another time-travel favorite of my youth was Back to the Future. I won’t rehash the well-known plot here, but two things I remember from that movie are 1) vest that Marty McFly wears throughout was similar to one I wore throughout middle school, as my wife likes to tease/remind me and 2) the mall parking lot scenes that bookend the film were filmed at the still-standing Puente Hills Mall. Whenever I visit the mall, I’m tempted to tear through the parking lot at 88 MPH.

Finally, during my senior year at UCSB, I read Captain Blackman for my senior thesis. It’s a novel that moves back and forth in time, exploring the role of African-Americans in the U.S. military in different wars, as told by its African-American protagonist. Captain Blackman was one of a handful of books I kept from college and I’ve been meaning to re-read it for years. If only I could travel back in time to read it instead of wasting my time rooting for a bad football team.

*I always get a kick out of Superman geeks that get fired up about that ending, talking about the impossibility of Superman reversing time like that. People, we are talking about an alien that has x-ray vision, superhuman strength, and FLIES. 

Day 48: Two on Tuesday

Statement of Accomplishment from coursera.com

Statement of Accomplishment from coursera.com

Two things that made my Tuesday:

1. I received my Statement of Accomplishment (with Distinction) for completing the U.S Department of State and the University of Oregon’s online course Shaping the Way We Teach English 1: The Landscape of English Language Teaching. I enjoyed this class on coursera.com so much that I immediately enrolled in second part of the course that started last week.

2. I got another shout-out from two of my favorite social media personalities Phil Yu and Jenny Wang during their Fresh Off the Boat post-show chat. I could get used to these weekly 15 seconds of Internet fame. I’ll wait until at least next week before hiring an agent.

Day 47: Links

Links at Terranea. Pacific Ocean in the background.

 

Spent the morning at the Links at Terranea, a 9-hole par-3 golf course in beautiful Ranchos Palos Verdes. My quest to break 100 on a golf course is on hold right now as I shake off my latest injury, this time to my elbow. But I couldn’t resist the chance to play with a good friend of mine, especially after he scored a deal on Groupon: $25 for the round, including a push cart, which was half off the regular rate.

When I drove there today, I passed the nearby Trump National golf course, which is out of my price range ($300+ for a round). Terranea offers an affordable alternative and even though the views weren’t as spectacular as Trump’s, it was still a gorgeous place to play golf (despite today’s marine layer that refused to burn off until after we had played). I wouldn’t recommend paying more than the $25 discounted rate we scored, though; the greens weren’t as good as some of the $10-and-under courses I’ve played (Los Feliz and Glen Oaks, to name just two).

Overall, though, I’d suggest playing here at least once for the views and links-style golf. It was my first experience with this type of golf, which requires lower-trajectory shots that won’t be affected as dramatically by the ocean winds. There were a few slight breezes today, but on the final hole, my playing partners and I all looked on as each of our tee shots was hung up in the winds and dropped short of the green. Lesson learned for my next visit here: club up, practice those stingers, and make sure Groupon has a deal.