Monday, December 27, 2004

Merry Christmas 2004

coming soon!

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Happy 28th Birthdays!

Thursday, December 16th, 2004

In the past, we would have a late dinner around 11pm and celebrate Brian's birthday at the turning of midnight. This year, to celebrate our birthdays, we had a VERY tasty dinner during a normal hour at a place called Daedelus located in Harvard Square, and we invited some friends to join us afterwards for drinks. So in keeping with tradition, we had to keep it going past midnight. Iva supplied several cans of Red Bull, which remained for the most part unopened due to Daedelus's drinking policy. But when, in Mazur-group style, we ended up at the Hong Kong, a couple cans were finally opened.

Thanks to all that came out to celebrate with us!

Found in the middle of Hong Kong, a dollar just laid there waiting to be picked Eric.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Thanksgiving weekend

We've been doing lots of traveling lately, and with Elmer and Hoong-San on vacation in Singapore and Bali ("...high will call you, 'Come to me, come to me...'"), we decided to stay put in our new abode and celebrate Thanksgiving up here. We invited my parents up to join us, and they happily said yes, even though they had an option to stay in the Jersey area. So aside from trying to make our place look respectable, there were many things we had to do, including finding a table for the kitchen. We left pretty much everything we had to do for Wednesday.

** Wednesday, November 24th **
What a gray and rainy day it turned out to be. I went in for a half-day's work before meeting up with Brian to have lunch with Charles and Pieter, who were in the area visiting Pieter's family for the holidays. Brian had to do a lot of running around even before we met up - wrapping our thank you present for Charles, going to school to clean up a mess in the lab, and walking all the way back since the buses were running slow.

We all met at a restaurant in Brookline called Zaftigs, which you never leave hungry since the servings are usually more than adequate. I tried a different style of eggs benedict, one with salmon and spinach, while Brian had his favorite banana stuffed french toast. Charles and Pieter went on lighter fare since they would be having a large dinner that night. It was really great seeing them since we hadn't seen them since the wedding. When we gave our thank you present, Charles was so sweet and gracious that he got teary-eyed. But Brian and I were the thankful ones, especially with all the hard and beautiful work he did with our wedding. (While on our honeymoon in Barcelona, we picked up a Lladro figurine of a young flamenco dancer for Charles. We got the same one for ourselves, too.) We had a fun time reminiscing about the wedding and talking about the honeymoon, the trip to India, and Thanksgiving chaos at the Devlin's.

After we said our goodbyes, there was a good drizzle coming down, and Brian and I went on our search for a kitchen table, since we sold our larger table that wouldn't have fit our new, smaller kitchen. Even though Dad said he would bring a table with him, we still needed a workspace for cooking. We found a cute, a bit expensive set on Harvard Avenue, not too far from where we lived. There was another possible choice at another store, but I thought that this one was built better. Just like our old one, but smaller and with drop leafs. We couldn't get the goods delivered since it was the day before Thanksgiving and the delivery guy had the day off, so Brian wheeled the table home with a cart, while I awkwardly carried the two unfoldable chairs in the drizzling weather. It felt so good when we got home... aah. One thing done.

I guess we really took our time resting from transporting the furniture, cleaning up the apartment, and having dinner, for when I started looking at recipes online, it was after 9pm. And we still had to go grocery shopping. We presumed that the grocery store would be open on Thanksgiving, like it was back home, but we found out that it wasn't, and it was already after 11pm! Eek! Luckily, my mom would be bringing up a cooked turkey, so we didn't have to worry about anything for that. But still, the grocery closed at midnight, so we had to get our butts there fast.

What a nightmare! Of course several of the ingredients would be sold's the night before Thanksgiving!! pretty much the biggest cooking holiday of the year. The shelves where flour, brown sugar, crisco(! - not that we were getting any), and baking powder once were, were completely cleaned out. Thyme, fresh basil...nothing.We weren't the only poor souls looking for some of those ingredients, as we past others who looked just as disappointed as we did. Well, we made due with what we could find, leaving the supermarket after midnight, and when we got back, I found out that an Asian supermarket near us would be open tomorrow, so thank goodness for that.

** Thursday, November 25th **
The folks would be arriving around noon, so I got up early to buy those extra ingredients. When they got here, they brought lots of goodies including the cooked turkey, stuffing, a Balthazar's apple pie and ingredients for a squash dish. They also brought frozen shrimp that never ended up being cooked that day.

So in light of the new additions, the menu would be as follows:
- Starters: tomato soup, spinach with pomegranates and mandarin oranges
- Main Course: turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, roasted acorn squash
- Dessert: apple pie, chocolate chip cookies, ice cream
- Drinks: grape sparkling cider, oj

Because our favorite sushi place had closed down earlier in the year (so sad, we knew the owner, and I even photographed him and the restaurant), we went to our new one just a couple blocks away from our new home. Of course, we opted for a light lunch, so not the usual plethora of sushi. I ordered a miso ramen soup that ended up being quite filling.

We relaxed a bit before starting the somewhat daunting task at hand. It didn't turn out so bad since the hardest/longest cooking process was taken cared of. We had planned to bake our own apple pie, but why bother when there was one already. Being co-host and acting as the "executive chef," I handled the starters and helped supervise the other dishes, while my mom provided support, an extra pair of hands, and cooked her acorn squash. The soup was a new recipe I found, and it being my first shot at it, it took painfully long to finish especially since the prep time took a while, with which my mom helped. I discovered that I had a strong aversion to the smell of fresh basil for long periods of time, which I would be using to make a pesto sauce. Good thing I enjoy how it tastes, so the "torture" was worth it.

As "sous chef," Brian took charge of making cookies and the mashed potatoes, the two dishes that were made following the recipe exactly. No skimming of fat here. A couple sticks of butter here, a couple there...thank goodness it's only for one night, uh, scratch doubt there will be leftovers galore. Never having used a silpat before, Brian was very skeptical of its ability but was soon amazed after the first batch of cookies slid off easily.

Aside from assembling the table, Dad was in charge of the turkey. Poor turkey (for more reasons than one). The skin had wrinkled and lost its golden color due to the condensation formed on the foil covering it from the drive up. After heating it again, some of the color returned, and although it wasn't the best looking turkey, the taste was what mattered most.

We ended up using many of our wedding gifts which we were proud to do since we had rarely used them up until then, including our lovely Martha green KitchenAid and fancy silverware. Not having a separate dining room, we arranged our living room to accomodate both our new dining table and food station. Finding Nemo provided us with background entertainment as well as some room decor since we hadn't spend much time decorating the apartment yet.

Everything was scrumptuous, and without fail, we had leftovers although not as much as usual since we didn't go totally overboard this time which was good.

** Friday, November 26th **

We didn't join the "day after Thanksgiving" shopping frenzy but instead just wandered casually in Coolidge Corner, stopping at the GAP to possibly find a new wool coat for Brian. I ended up buying a white down coat that turned out to be a good purchase at the time since it got bitterly cold and I conveniently put it on when we were in Downtown Crossing. After buying some excellent wool socks for both Brian and myself at Filene's (they're really quite warm and comfy) we made a quick stop at Wendy's before heading to the movies to watch Alexander, which had some really great sequences and showed the inability to age Angelina Jolie some thirty or so years - great character though.

** Saturday, November 27th **

Like we didn't have enough indulgence on Thanksgiving, all four of us went to Cafe Fleuri for their absolutely sinful Chocolate Bar...for lunch?

"It's a try-all-you-like buffet that includes a wondrous assortment of light and dark chocolate mousses, cakes, tortes, eclairs, crepes, ice cream, cookies, pies, and more."

Yes, we kinda overdid ourselves with this one.

First off, we get seated pretty darn far from the actual buffet tables, so I asked if we could get moved closer, and there was a table just waiting for us. It was amusing to see that there was a big party of kids at a table near us as well as kids in general at other tables. Boy, are these kids going to be bouncing around for a while. There were LOTS of choices, and it turned out that my favorite dish was the s'mores, with the chocolate croissant bread pudding coming in a very close second. All of the dishes were so rich, we had to pace ourselves so we had room to try all the dishes we wanted. They even had a low carb, sugar free chocolate desserts table. I tried just one of the small fingerfood desserts from that table and then never went back. By the end though, with still a couple additional servings of s'mores, I had to have desserts with chocolate as a secondary ingredient or with out it entirely, like a fruit tart, because it just just too much. Everyone else was already resting and feeling the chocolate seep throughout their bodies while I was still working on my last serving. Oh, I could still taste the s'mores...mmm mmm good.

We then worked off the food walking around Faneuil Hall and Haymarket, where we picked up several avocados. Ah, more fattiness, but at least it's considered "good" fat.

What a weekend...

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Our new home

What a week!

After deciding to move to a less expensive abode, we found a place in just a few days and the next thing we knew, we were moving...down the street. Yes, our new residence resides just a couple blocks from our old. And though still amidst the throngs of BU students, we enjoy living in a yellow 3-family house.

Thanks to Eric and Svacha (that's Jeff), we accomplished moving our big and heavy furniture in less than 5 hours (! - much longer than expected), including our atrociously heavy HDTV, which was carried first between Eric and Brian and then Brian and Svacha. We only had one small accident that occured with the very LAST box, with which the bottom gave out and spilling its insides onto the street.

We have many many things, so many that moving took the course of a week - a few preliminary van loads and lugging things by hand before moving most of the big things with a truck and the boys. We are inundated with white storage boxes! It's a good thing that our new place has lots of storage areas, so most of our junk could get tucked away. But we're going to get rid of the things we no longer want, hopefully with the help of ebay.

Since getting the new TV, we never got an acceptable stand for it. This past weekend with the help of, we found someone who bought and delivered our new stand from IKEA, instead of our having to rent a car and drive down to New Haven ourselves. We made quite a project of assembling it since Brian decided to reinforce the stand's strength and its ability to hold a heavy load.

You can see the back of the stand on the left, and on the right, the TV is lying on its glass on a bean bag, showing the top:

Brian giving his thumbs up on the process:

And ta da...the finished product:

Now for the rest of the apartment...

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Halloween at Svacha's

Well, to continue our movie theme, this year we portrayed Resident Evil: Apocalypse, which like last year, not many folks had seen (Kill Bill Vol. 1 came out October 10th, 2003, just 3 weeks before Halloween).

Okay, so instead of dying my hair, I went for the less permanent, but more outrageous fluorescent orange spray-on, which looks quite unlike Alice, but coordinates quite nicely with the orange tips of my weapons as well as my tank top. Brian is a KFC employee who got infected with the T-virus, which apparently turned him not only into a flesh-eating zombie, but also into an interesting shade of magenta. Notice the KFC box dangling from his waist.

Other party guests included Nemo, a Middle Eastern/South Asian, a mind-reader...

...Tarzan, a kissing booth...

...a lifeguard, a cowboy...

...a grandfather clock...

...a kissing booth kisser, a Nemo understudy...

...a severed hand, rainbow toes(courtesy of Brian and Iva, respectively)...

...a Chinese man...

...a knight and his lady... Egyptian...

...a jon ashcom...

(tastes like chicken!)

...a born-again Christian, and a housemate.