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April 30, 2006

A taste before the trip

tonkiang.jpg On such a gorgeous day, Viv and I decided to meet up with Ward at the city for brunch. After driving around the city to scoop out a few breakfast place, we ended up having dim sum-Ward's request. We went to Ton Kiang, where Viv and I haven't been to a long time. The food was alright, but sure wasn't like how I remember from...at least 3-5 years ago. Will I go back? Hmmm....probably no. There are too many good dim sum places in the city that offer better food for less or similar price range.

DSC03890.JPG After that I have to stop at my favorite Boulangerie on Pine to pick up my croissants for breakfast for the next few days! A trick for those of you who didn't know-wrap each of your croissants in plastic, put them in a ziploc bag. Then you can keep your croissants in the freezer for up to 2-3 weeks! (Well, if you can wait that long and not eating them!?) Just take it from the freezer the night before and toast it in the toaster oven before you eat. Croissants from Boulangerie will taste just like it's fresh out from the oven! BTW Ward, I actually had picked up the chocolate cake you were pointing at for you, but forgot to give it to you before we split...sorry, but hope you enjoy the SF style city book!

DSC03891.JPG We had a nice stroll on Filmore afterwards, checked out a few places like Bittersweets cafe, which I didn't know they have another one in the city where I had only been to the one at Rockridge in Oakland. And there's the Olive Oil and Specialities store.
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Then we were on the mission to check out a backpack that I've been longing to get. I have been seeing this new line of luggage of Samsonite on magazines and everywhere. I just love that orange! Only retail store that carry it is Flight 001 on Hayes, which will be perfect for me to also go pick up my monthly sake from True Sake! Sadly after I was holding the backpack in my hands, I didn't like it because it felt like I was carrying a box on my back. Too bad.

DSC03895.JPG Before we headed back to the restaurant, we thought it would be nice to sit out on a patio somewhere for a cocktail and enjoy the beautiful weather. We therefore went to Palomino on Spear Street. Weather was great, view was awesome and companies were superb, but the service and drinks weren't! Hmmm...time to head back to the restaurant for our own good service and food!

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Since I got the California Estate Osetra from the generous Tsar Nicoulai Carviar Cafe, I decided to have a munchies tasting night with my friends at the restaurant. While I was at the farmers' market yesterday, I had picked up some heirloom tomatoes and Italian basil. Also I bought the whole selection of the salami, prociutto and cheese stuffed pepper and fresh morzella cheese from Mastrelli's Delicatessen. Last but not least, a good variety of cheeses from the Pasta shop. To accompany all these food, of course we have to have our Henriot Champagne Rosé! Cheers-to another good day and good friends!

Best way to start off a weekend!

The whole gang(myself of course, Josephine, Lourdes & Elizabeth) and Jane went to the city sat morning to the farmers' market at the SF ferry building. This sure was the best way to start a weekend with:

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We started out having caviar and champagne at the Tsar Nicoulai Caviar Cafe. It was so nice to meet Ellen Peterson, the cafe manager. Thanks for the extra tasting and my favorite California Estate Osetra! Hopefully we'll see some of their caviar on our July menu to celebrate our 1st year anniversary!

Since Vivian didn't make it up to the city in time when all of us were done, I stayed behind to wait for her and we went shopping! It sort of felt like back in the good old days in Hong Kong with my parents - shopping and afternoon tea! Therefore after we had a blast shopping around union square, we had high tea at the Ritz, where I love their sunday brunch at the Half Moon Bay. It's time to try their high tea in SF.

First we had all the little sandwiches, Viv and I were looking at each other thinking the same: "we need more!" However after the generous portions of the pastries, we were stuffed! It was a beautiful day! How can you start a weekend better than having all your dear friends and good food around you? Looking forward to the gorgeous sunday!

April 27, 2006

Dining out for Life-April 26, 2006 (Thur)

We had a full house at lunch today for Dining out for Life, where we donated 100% of our proceeds. For more information or if you wish to make a donation, please visit their website at http://www.diningoutforlife.com

We thank all our customers who came in today to support the event! Thank you!!

April 25, 2006


An "old" friend dropped by the restaurant last night. While it wasn't busy at all, it's really nice to be able to sit down and catch up over dinner. The best part was the spontaneous sailing after we closed the restaurant. Love those no agenda moments!

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Since this wasn't planned, sure I wasn't dressed for it and it was quite chill in the bay that I had to wrap myself with two blankets. However it was so fun and so peaceful I can so do it again at any moment! When we left the restaurant, it was already past midnight. I remember I looked at my watch and it was 2AM as we "park" ourselves out there and just let float, then I think I was watching the CBS morning news as we docked.

I had a really nice time, but next time we'll have to remember to grab our paté and cheese! Thanks again Dave!

April 23, 2006

Dinner, but...

I was planning to have dinner at Bushi-tei tonight. Was really looking forward to that too! When I got there, I thought to myself, how lucky I was to be able to park right in front of the restaurant, and it's in the heart of Japantown! As we parked, I saw Andy Lau in the restaurant!
Honestly he's just another "star" from Hong Kong to me, never really got crazy about him, but he sure looks good! Of course immediately I had to "powder my nose" right away before I got out of the car and walked into the restaurant! ;)

We asked for a table for two, and we were just standing 5 feet from his table! Couple minutes later, the hostess told us they couldn't serve us because the restaurant was closed for private party! And she was kind of pointing at his table. Wait, shouldn't you know already as we walked in? For a minute I thought Andy was cute! Really, cuter than I thought he was! However when I couldn't get into a restaurant because of him!? He's not cute anymore! I wanted my food more!!

April 22, 2006

Brunch at Sara & Joe

Sara & Joe, another couple of dear customers and friends I met through the business; invited me over for brunch this morning to show me books that they have about Italy. They had also invited Jane and a friend of theirs, Marilyn; who also brought me couple books about Italy. It was just very kind of them! So the following were what we had:

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April 20, 2006

What a day!!

Stealing a day off from work again today! I'm so used to getting up in the morning at 5:30am these days, so even on my day off, couldn't help it but getting an early start also.

I started my day with paying my bills, uploading pictures to flickr, replying emails, setting up appointments...etc. Then I went down to San Mateo to meet up with Vivian for lunch. I just needed to be by the water! Water makes me feel good! It makes me feel like it can just flush everything out from me. I felt like I was floating in this restaurant(even though the food wasn't the best), but tossing everything out into the water and let the water washed out all my sorrows, I felt good and at peace!

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Then we went back to Viv's place to do some staging, because she's trying to sell her house! Watched one of my flavorite movies: Eat, Drink, Man, Woman! Fixed myself a drink with the limited ingredients that she had in her house... We decided to head out to Palo Alto for dinner afterwards. We went to Zibbibo. Now that's the funniest part...for us!!

We just wanted to hang out at the bar/lounge to have small bites and drinks, and people watching! This one guy came over and asked if he could join us!? "Sorry, we're trying to catch up ourselves." Viv said, sorta nicely. The next thing, we noticed he ordered his second sidecar, an order of mussels and an order of oysters. 10 mins later as his food arrived, he wasn't there anymore!?

We thought he went out for a smoke but he was GONE!! The bartender came and asked us if we knew where he went? The next thing was we had all his food and drinks!!
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What a treat for us, but I couldn't believe what had happened! It's Palo Alto, not Oakland! He seemed decent and nice, but I just couldn't believe what I saw!?

I had customers who dined and went out for a smoke and come back into the restaurant to finish his/her meal and of course paid! That really was some scene for me! Especially for what I had been through laterly...was this another wake up call for me to learn really not to trust people!? What's about all the good faith in human nature anymore!? Viv and I had a great time enjoying his food, but...how could someone do something like this!?

Anyway this off day isn't long enough for me, so I'm going to prolong it with a nice breakfast tomorrow morning! (Wondering what am I going to have...but I know for sure it's going to be something good!)

A few blogs ago I mentioned I needed to do something to bring my passion and motivation back. Therefore I decided to go to Italy, and once I decided; I met so many connections from Italy, like Diana and Umberto, got a nice phone call from their friend Paola, kept driving into streets named "Florence"...etc, listening to songs that has lyrics about Tuscany... I'm excited and so looking forward to my trip in May!

I'm hoping in my June menu, you're going to see some kind of marriage of Italian and Asian! I miss seeing my own smile and I miss hearing my own laugh. I know the vibrant Cynthis is coming back...slowly, but surely! I'm so excited to meet her again, so you better watch out!

April 16, 2006

A day of Laugh, Joy, Dance, Food, Chocolate, Champagne, Wine, FAMILY & Friends...ok & eggs

It's Easter! I decided to close the restaurant and have a day off for everybody. I'm glad the sun was out and turned out to be a nice day for the kids to hunt for their eggs! I think the pictures speak all!

Happy Easter! Enjoy and hope you all had a great & cheerful day!

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April 15, 2006

Happy Birthday again John!

Tomorrow is John Fricke's (our Emeryville city councel) birthday! However it was our honor to be able to host his birthday party for him last Sunday.

He had a party of 21 people. We did a 3-course dinner with champagne and Hor 'doeuvres. It should be an easy party for me especially they wanted to start at 5:30pm on a Sunday, while I didn't have lunch, and had the whole morning to prepare. However I was a little nervous.

I think it was because of everything that had happened to me recently and it was right after my computer got stolen. I was feeling a bit lost. On top of that, I twisted my ankle the night before and had to go to my doctor to get it looked at and wrapped up that morning. I just prayed to please have a smooth operation, and no more accidents!

Vivian and I got into the restaurant around 1pm after shopping for food. Lourdes and Josephine showed up at around 2:30pm, Elizabeth came at around 4:30pm. When we found out we were out of decaf coffee, they called dad(father of Lourdes, Josephine and Elizabeth's) and dad said, "don't worry, I'll bring in right away from home."

When they were all at the restaurant, I felt safe, and I felt things would be so fine! I always think, what have I done to deserve all these good people around me, who so dedicate themselves to me and who love me so dearly and unconditionally!? Anything happened to me, I can just so count on them and they're always the first one to show up to embrace me! I am so blessed to have them!

Lourdes as usual, did the flower arrangements, and set the tables. Josephine helped me in the kitchen, Elizabeth-the dessert, and Viv still held her title well-the CFO-Chief Floating Officer! I think we did really well with the party but wish I had taken better pictures.

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Unfortunately my camera was broken from when my computer got stolen. While the screen was broken, I couldn't set any functions and couldn't quite tell what I was taking. These are the best I could do, hope you like it John! Again Happy Birthday and thank you so much to let us host your party! Will see you soon at the restaurant and be sure to let me know before you come, so that I can get the squid ready for Lane! Watching your girls eat, sure bring smiles on my face! Thank you!

April 8, 2006


So far this hasn't been a very good month for me. Many things had happened and made me feel my trust, my faith and my space were so being violated/intruded.

On 4-5-2006, I was working on my computer at the reception desk. It was about 9:15-9:30pm, only one table left which was our regular, Peter and his friends. I walked into the kitchen to give some instructions to my staff. In that less than 5 minutes, someone stormed into the restaurant and yanked my Powerbook from my desk. Peter looked up, saw that and started screaming. I came out from the kitchen, the guy and with two other guys who were together already ran around the corner of 40th Street heading east. Peter and I jumped into my car right away hoping to follow them. No luck. They were long gone.

I always feel if someone needed to steal from me, because they needed that more than I. That's alright. Nothing can't be replaced. However this time! No one needed those data more than I! I'm offering $1500 cash reward for whoever bring the data back to me! No question ask! Take the computer afterwards if you want. Let me back up my data!

I was filled with energies and vibrant when I started the restaurant, and have been able to carry myself like that to this far, but now I'm really feeling a bit crashed. For those who needed to steal, are you really that desperate? For those who trashed someone's faith and trust, are you really that selfish and thoughtless?


Finally the sun was peeking through the next day. I dragged a friend of mine to have a drink at the Paragon at the Claremont hotel. I just needed to be out to have some sun and air. Looking at the clear city view, I started thinking: I need something to bring my energy back! Thank goodness for all my friends! And I thank my parents! They had raised me well. I had my desperate times, but if I have that kind of courage to violate someone's space, or trash someone's faith, why not take that courage to face the challenge and build something for yourself? They are really the best!

April 5, 2006


Something I surprised my mother before was when I told her I didn't really have to have kids of my own but was very open about adopting kids. I feel that if I have that much love to give to a kid, it really doesn't matter if it's my own! It would be the most wonderful thing to be able to provide and raise a kid (or kids if I could afford it), who really needs the loves and cares.

A customer, Robin; came in for lunch today. Through our conversation, she mentioned she has two 11 years old. I thought, "Oh! They were twins?" She said not, one was adopted about 4 years ago. She was one of the hosting families for the summer camp for these orphans. By accident, she was hosting again and found out this kid actually has a sister, whom she hosted that summer and they didn't even know about each other! The two girls have the same last name and pretty much look identical! They ran a DNA test and sure they are related. In couple of months, she will be officially become parent of this sister also. Bless her heart! What a wonderful story to know to start my day!

April 4, 2006

Peter Linde


Peter Linde is a dear customer who turned into another dear furenzu! He has been coming to the restaurant since pretty much we opened, and he's a very loyal customer who comes almost at least once a week. Very soon he joined our chef table and became a furenzu than just a customer.

He has brought in so many of his furenzu, introduced me to many great people, and sure brought me lots of business. He is the owner/partner of The Linde Group. It would be a blessing to work for him. If you're looking for a job, you may want to check this out or write to his company directly: Consulting Manager

We were having a conversion and he told me most people who watched the "Daily show" from comedy central are mostly people who aware of what's really going on with the nation/world? So we decided to do a poll about it. Therefore please feel free to comment on this and hopefully we'll have a final count in 10 days and find out if the statement is true!?

Hey Peter, thank you so much for coming in tonight, keeping me company and becoming such a dear furenzu for me!

Wine tasting


4.3.06 Martine's Wines had organized a wine tasting event at Fort Mason for all trades only to meet with all the wine makers of the wine that Martine carries.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to make it there until I closed after the lunch hours. Therefore I wasn't able to taste them all, but a good amount still. One of the highlights for me was to meet with Marie-Paule Marty from Chåteau Ferry-Lacombe and got invited to visit the winery. It would be really nice to be able to visit the Provence! (Wondering how soon will I be able to sneak away from the restaurant though...and travel far!?)

I had tasted Chåteau Ferry-Lacombe's Rosé, which has a beautiful and fraqrance nose! Delightful pink in color that sure cheered me up a bit and already I was screaming out for the halibut from my April menu. It actually accounts for over 60% of their production. For sure you'll be seeing that on our wine menu as soon as I'm able to get the order in.

Meeting Sebastien Gay and tasting his wine from Domaine Michel Gay et Fils was just delicious! Especially the 2003 Aloxe-Corton, full body and complex! As much as I love their wine, unfourtunately they are a bit too rich for my food. I wonder if I can create something just to have their wine on my menu!?

There are a few that I was very impressed by and think they will go very well with my food. Therefore all you French wine lovers, please come in soon and check out our new wine menu and tell me how do you like our new additions!

April 2, 2006

Ben Fong-Torres


About a month ago, I got a message on a weekend from someone who said to have worked in the old restaurant of my loacation. When I returned the message, then I found out it was Ben Fong-Torres!

He told me he used to work at Moon's Chinese Kitchen, the previous restaurant at my current location; when he was in high school. He had also written about it in his book "The Rice Room"

We finally met last night at the restaurant where he stopped by for dinner with his wife, Dianne; and generously brought me a copy of his autographed book! It was very nice to learn about stories of the old restaurant and when he was working there.

It sure was my pleasure to meet you and your wife Ben, please come back soon and tell more stories!