Obon Carnival!

Hosted by the Orange County Buddhist Church, the Obon Carnival is a tradition to celebrate ancestors –which is observed by the Japanese culture.  There was food (lots of food), booths that people could do a little shopping, games for the kids, and dancing!  Lots of dancing and it was beautiful!  This festival was very welcoming and the environment was fun.  Mostly, we just watched people dance and ate a lot.  🙂  Here’s what we got:


Grilled squid! Yum!


Grilling! He was awesome!


The grilled squid was legit! Very good!


Making red bean buns. Omg. So good!


Up close on the red bean bun. It was like a pancake with red beans. My favorite two things together. 🙂


One more bite of perfections! 🙂


Rice with grilled beef! Delish!

So thankful for this experience during our trip to California.  If I am ever in the area and the Obon Carnival is going on, I’m attending!  It’s a good time!  🙂


I heart Korean food.

Here are some more pictures of Korean food.  During the California trip, I definitely had my fair share of it.  Couldn’t stop.  I love banchan (Korean side dishes), kalbi (marinated beef), and kimchi cheegae (kimchi soup)!


I could look at this photo for days…


Spicy, delicious, and legit in one bowl. Perfect.

Food from the heart.

While there were restaurants we wanted to experience in California, I really enjoyed the home cooked meals made by my friend’s family.  To sit around a dinner table, laughing, talking, and eating a home cooked meal makes for a fantastic time.  Penny’s Mom started in the morning by marinating chicken for grilling, preparing the gyoza (Asian dumplings), and a fresh soba noodle salad.  There was also rice, black beans, pickled cucumbers, a less spicy Kimchi (a Japanese version), and fresh steamed broccoli (with a creamy dipping sauce).

Everything was so awesome!  There were so many wonderful flavors and I could tell that Penny’s Mom put her heart into preparing this meal for us.  I loved seeing her laugh and smile as she was making sure everyone had enough to eat.  So legit.


Teriyaki marinated chicken skewers. *drool*


Pan fried gyoza. Put a little chili oil in the soy sauce and you’ve got yourself an awesome dipping sauce.


Soba noodle salad with a light sesame dressing. Along with the noodles were crab and romaine lettuce. So light!


Japanese version of Kimchi and picked cucumbers. Love the salty and sour of this combo. 🙂


Rounding off the meal with this green!

Basil Leaf Cafe.

My friend Amea introduced me to Basil Leaf Cafe in Lawrence, Kansas.  It’s is awesome and one of my favorite spots for dinner.  I enjoy the cozy atmosphere and fresh flowers on the tables.  Every meal has been wonderful and the serving size always leaves you leftovers for lunch the following day!



House Salad. My dream salad.

The house salad is the way to go.  Fresh greens, tomatoes, and green peppers make for a great foundation, but the croutons, artichoke hearts, and banana peppers really make this salad a must-have when visiting.  I get this every time!


Risotto Balls.

Arancini is an appetizer that consists of sausage, vegetables, and a five-cheese risotto shaped into a ball, and covered in a parmesan and panko crust.  It is deep fried to perfection and served with a fire roasted tomato sauce.  These are absolutely fantastic!



This is a chicken, leek, and wild mushroom risotto.  This is by far the best risotto I’ve ever had -anywhere!  It’s full of flavor and cooked perfectly.  Some of you may know this: risotto is difficult to cook.  I feel that it needs to be watched over carefully and takes a while to cook.  I say this from experience.  🙂 And let’s just say it didn’t turn out well.  🙂  Basil Leaf does not have this dish any more (they change menus to keep things spicy), but usually feature a risotto.  I try to branch out each time I visit, but the risotto is always calling my name!


I make connections every day; it’s not hard for me.  However, for those connections to make it to the next level, well, that’s another story. 🙂  So when I met my friend, Sue, we connected instantly and I have enjoyed every conversation, meal, and just hanging out!  She and her family have welcomed me with open arms AND they enjoy food as much as I do.  I feel like we’ve known each other forever and I am so excited to meet such a great friend.  The first time I came over for dinner, Sue had made a huge Korean dinner.  There was Kalbi (marinated beef), kimchi, japchae, saam (lettuce wraps), and so much more.  We had a great time!


Kimchi. Legit.


Fried Mondu. Super legit.


Kalbi. Legit would be a understatement.


Japchae. The best.




Gloriousness on a plate.

My brother has a fantastic jambalaya recipe for a pressure cooker. With prep and cook time, it’s done in about a half hour! It’s spicy, meaty, and hearty. So much flavor in such little time. And sometimes, the bottom gets a little “too done,” and creates a little bit of crispiness of the rice -so legit!