Hooked on Asian Fusion

October 30, 2014
Asian fusion seems to be where its at these days. And I'm not complaining. Komex Express and Fat Choy were among the first that hooked me. Komex opened a second location at Flamingo/Buffalo which allows my brother and I to frequent it for lunch. We've tried a variety of menu items, but it's the nachos ($6) and cheesesteak ($9) that brings us back again and again. The half order of nachos are always plenty, I love the sweet heat from the Korean hot sauce. My choice of meat varies per my mood; Daeji bulgogi (pork) is usually my preference. The cheesesteak is my brother's favorite. Tender bulgogi and gooey cheese mingle with peppers and onions.

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Fat Choy has been killing it at Eureka Casino. Their bao is fantastic. I like the duck better than the pork belly, but try 'em both. The potstickers ($6) pack a lot of flavor into each bite. I only wish they weren't so sticky. It's a great challenge to wrestle them apart. The duck rice ($12) is tasty with a pile of fluffy rice served with a succulent duck leg. However, when I ordered it, despite it being clear on the menu, I assumed it would be more of a duck fried rice. So, my assumption caused a little disappointment. The Fat Choy burger ($10) never disappoints. It's sloppy, but oh so good. It will satisfy the heartiest of appetites.







Both are serving up good eats that are highly addicting.

Reruns

October 27, 2014
Frank was recently in Denver, he and a friend went out to explore and attend Thursday night football. While there, they also saw a hockey game. They had a great time! Frank insists we go very soon. We're looking to plan a trip during baseball season to catch a Rockies game. It sounds like a great city, he particularly enjoyed Boulder and also had some fun in Blackhawk. It would be nice for him to show me around.

Saturday, we were able to spend some quality time together before he went into work. Which was long overdue. We've felt like ships passing in the night; life has been so hectic. It was nice to think about nothing else for an afternoon. It's been ages since we caught a movie, and even longer since we saw a good one. So, imagine our surprise when we both thoroughly enjoyed St. Vincent. It's really good, you'll laugh and cry. The kid actor is really good. A shock, I know.

Last night, after he worked a long day, we settled in front of the TV to finish Boardwalk Empire. The show was great, well, the first few seasons, but I have not been a fan the final two. It made me reminisce, though, back to when we were living in Chicago - Lansing, specifically. I recall curling up on the couch (in our first apartment) between loads of folding laundry, watching Sunday night TV on HBO. TV was so good back then, Sopranos, Sex and the City, OZ, Six Feet Under, The Wire, and Curb Your Enthusiasm. What a powerhouse! They don't make TV like that anymore. I know people love True Blood and Game of Thrones, but I just can't invest time into dragons and vampires. It just doesn't hold my interest.

We've seen so many fantastic series end; favorites include Seinfield, The Shield, X-Files and Frasier. Others weren't as sharp, but they were entertaining nonetheless; Nip/Tuck, Rescue Me, Big Love, Entourage, Dexter and Californication. Even great sitcoms seem to be a thing of the past; Modern Family is the only great success (go ahead and argue Big Bang Theory, but it's lost on me), but it seems to fall a little flat compared to Married with Children, Roseanne, or even Everybody Loves Raymond. It's funny how friends are connecting with their families watching old reruns of Full House. I've heard again and again, it is one show everyone can agree on. We have too few of those today.

Breaking Bad remains my favorite show of all time. Easy choice, considering no other has sparked a vacation just to see filming locations. With more shows wrapping up, like Sons of Anarchy, and Mad Men; it makes me wonder what's next? House of Cards and Louie are my favorite shows in production. The rest are more or less filler: Walking Dead, Homeland, Downton Abbey, It's Always Sunny, Episodes.

There must be creative talent out there. Hopefully, their projects will be green lit. In the meantime, thank you, Netflix. They are at least putting out some interesting stuff, and the library of old & current shows is vast. I started Gilmore Girls while Frank was away. I never saw it during its original run, it's funny to see the trends and pop culture references some fourteen years later. Not to mention seeing cameos and debut roles from some of today's bigger actors/actresses. I guess, if there's nothing new - there will always be reruns.

Buddha Belly Deli

October 24, 2014
It's fun to say, isn't it? Go ahead, it just rolls off the tongue... Buddha Belly Deli. Anyway this deli is serving up Asian fusion in the best way. It's tucked away in a strip mall near Kohl's on Valle Verde in Henderson. This gem celebrates its grand opening this weekend. They've got a good thing going. I'm excited to return and try more of the menu.

Pho Dip, where have you been all my life?

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Tender sirloin is shaved thin and piled high on a fresh baguette, it is slathered with Chinese mustard and topped with pickled bean sprouts, onion, cilantro and jalapeno slices ($9). The sandwich is tasty on its own, but the magic really happens when you dip it into the pho au jus. Next time, I'll request extra jalapeno just to kick it up a notch. I like my pho spicy!

The housemade furikake chips and kimchee pickles were mighty tasty too. They are they extra special something to accompany every sandwich.

Their Green Tea ($2.50) is freshly brewed and very refreshing. They also surprised me with a yummy green tea brownie. It was moist and not overly sweet, which makes it the perfect treat. Well done, Buddha Belly Deli! Welcome to the neighborhood.

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And All Was Quiet

October 21, 2014
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We're gonna miss them so! The past month flew by at rapid pace. Addison came to us five weeks old. She was wee and cute as can be. She left us at nine weeks, she grew bunches, she was alert, always on the go and cuter than ever. I've never seen a two month old be so active and have so much personality. My sister is going to have her hands full with that one!

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Nicolas is a super big brother he adores his baby sister and tries to soothe her. He is so smart and kind. I don't know a sweeter boy. He's grown so fast. He is 7 going on 17. Video games, Youtube and making excuses to avoid homework are his priorities. Frank taught him blackjack (a sneaky way to practice math). If it wasn't for his age, he could start working on the strip. No joke, he's got dealing down. He knows when to split and double down. Frank gave him lessons on poker, but 21 was his preference. Still, I wouldn't be surprised if he started hustling kids for halloween candy (his mom and uncle did the same, when Frank taught them when they were kids).

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It's wild to think my baby sister has two kiddos - it doesn't seem like that long ago, Frank was throwing her around in our backyard pool (she was 8, when Frank and I started dating). She's such a great mom and she was such a big help while they were here. It's always the best catching up with her. Our time together is never long enough. She always makes me laugh until I'm in tears.

We'll miss them all more than they know.

Saturday, after taking them to the airport, Mike and I took mom home. She has completed 20 out of 30 radiation treatments. She's had a rough go of it, side effects started after seven sessions. They've worsened with each since. Her blood clot is no longer a concern, however, she remains on Cumadin to prevent others from forming. It was thought another had formed in her other leg, but an ultrasound revealed that it was a lymph node that was swelling instead of a clot. The reasoning is still unknown. Lupus and mixed connective tissue disease have been ruled out (after meeting with a new rheumatologist). She was misdiagnosed in May. Her tests were false positive because of her body fighting the cancer. It doesn't explain the Lupus-like symptoms, but it is relief to know she has two less things ailing her. The lymph node can be swelling due to hystiocytosis. However, a biopsy will need to be done to confirm. At this point, my mom's oncologist doesn't want to put her through more than necessary. Radiation has caused fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, burning of the esophagus, difficulty swallowing and a rash on her chest, arms and back. Her doctor has given her a week off. So, this week she is at home recuperating. Hopefully, the break will provide just what she needs to continue the fight.

This will be the longest stretch since June that I'll have no house guests. As much as I love my family. The quiet is nice too.

Cabin by the Sea

October 17, 2014
Last weekend, I surprised my mom with a trip to La Jolla, CA. It's not often that we're all together, and it's extremely rare that we can take a vacation together. So, I started planning about two months ago. I knew I wanted to rent a house, near the beach. I scoured VRBO and AirBnB, my first choices fell through. A few weren't available. One was in Oceanside, but it wasn't my desired location. I decided to spend a little more and get something that really suited our needs. La Jolla is my favorite place in California when I found a property that looked like a cabin by the sea, I knew it was meant to be. "Cabin by the Sea" is one of my all time favorites by the Dirty Heads.

Frank was unable to get away from work, so it was just me, Mike, mom, Amy and the kids. I had to rent a van to transport all of us. It was my first time using the rental car facility. It is pretty convenient despite my experience being a bit flawed. There was a long wait to be greeted at the counter, and it took an hour to get the van on the lower level because none were available. I never guessed it would've taken 1.5 hours to pick up a rental. Thankfully, drop off was breeze. Even with paying the added airport fees, it was cheaper than renting from an alternate location. One thing to note is that all rental companies at the rental facility charge a daily fee for an added driver. It was not worth the $11/day to me.

Our drive down took forever. I mistakenly followed directions and followed the 215. I should know better, Frank has learned to take the 15. But it was my first time driving to San Diego and I couldn't recall for certain... so I listened to google. We stopped for dinner at Habit Burger, and finally made it to La Jolla after 9 o'clock. Two hours later than I intended. Oh, well.

The cottage I rented was the lower unit of large house. The upper unit is a rental. The tenant had moved out the day before. The owner is 83 and lives in the back part of the house with access to the rooftop lanai. He built the house. The surfing on Windansea beach brought him down from LA. He still has lots of spunk, we saw him chasing waves on the beach. It was a pleasure chatting with him and I'm so grateful he opens his home to visitors seeking a taste of life in La Jolla.

The cottage looks like a cabin, it is rustic, dark and a bit damp, but that's part of its charm. The space was larger than I expected and the accomodations were comfortable. The patio is shaded which offers privacy and protection from the sun. The location cannot be beat. We were a stone's throw from the ocean. You can hear the waves crash as you lay in bed. It's awesome.

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The bench pictured above was my favorite place to watch the world go by. We'd sit out at night, the morning and afternoon. The ocean is a bit rough, and there is little sand at high tide, but Mike and Nick made the most of it. Saturday afternoon there was a pop up wedding in the cove directly across from the house. It was distracting and a bit of an annoyance. Mike and Nick were asked to move to the next cove over. The comings and goings caused a lot of noise and congestion, but we didn't let it impede on our fun. The weather was perfect and the water was warm (well, for the Pacific).

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Addison was a real trooper. Not even two months old, and she had already flown, took a road trip and seen the Pacific Ocean. She wasn't too fond of the bright sun, but she seemed to enjoy the ocean breeze.

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The next few photos were taken by Amy (and the one above of me).

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La Jolla has several great restaurants, but they are crowded and parking can be a chore. It wasn't really conducive to our needs. We ended up at Sammy's Woodfired Pizza. We have them in Vegas, but we've never been. The restaurant was fairly easy to access and there was only a five minute wait. Our dinner satisfied our hunger, but none of our pizzas were particularly tasty.

I will add driving a large vehicle in Southern California is no easy feat. Driving the mini-van was a nightmare at times, particularly in Von's parking lot, when it was at max capacity due to shoppers, diners and visitors of the farmer's market. I had an Austin Powers moment like when he was stuck in the tunnel.

The next morning the ocean was fierce. Only surfers were in the water. It was great entertainment watching them ride the waves and simply watching the waves crash on shore. The marine layer was thick so the sun didn't come out until noon, but that's the California coast for you.

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Our time was up much too soon, even Addy didn't want to go.

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As soon as we were all packed up and ready to hit the road for a quick tour of San Diego, the sun decided to shine. It was so hard to pull ourselves away.

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The last leg of our trip took us to Con Pane Bakery, Coronado Island, a cruise along PCH, and then to El Indio for a snack before hitting the road home to Vegas.

I'm happy that I could give my mom a beach getaway with all of her kids and grandkids. She didn't feel particularly well, but I had anticipated that. Which is why the Cabin by the Sea was so perfect for us. Even from bed, she could enjoy the ocean. Nick and Mike could come and go to the beach as they pleased. I'm thankful for the memories.

Mexico, We Miss You!

October 15, 2014
Our slice of Paradise - Al Cielo

In four months, you'll find us here.


Curry Zen

October 13, 2014
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I like Thai and Malaysian curry, but I never before had the opportunity to try Japanese Curry. Without having anything else to compare it to, I found Curry Zen to offer a tasty lunch. I had the Pork Katsu Curry ($9.45) spicy #4. The pork cutlet was fried crisp leaving it tender and juicy. The curry was rich, thick and smooth. It was bursting with flavor from the various spices used. It had just the right amount of heat. The dish was even better with a healthy dose of fukujinzuke and rakkyo. I enjoyed the bite and crunch from the pickled radish and shallot. Service was warm and friendly. I was in & out in no time.

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