octopus garden header

Archive for the 'review' Category

Mindy’s birthday was last weekend, and we celebrated by dressing up and going to an Edwardian faire!  It was my first time going to one of these sorts of things.  Everyone was so fancy and polite!  I love that in San Francisco, everyone takes costuming so seriously. There was a circus and acrobats and can can dancers and a puppet show.  My favorite part of the night was the self-powered bicycle carousel ride!

Happy Birthday Mindy!

Posted by Amy on Sat 26 Jan n 2013 | 2 Comments »

Labels: fashion, photos, review

I went to watch The Hobbit on opening night with a 12 friends!  I made little scones and little pork pies for us to have a Hobbit tea party while in line, and also brought 2 thermoses full of rose tea, and a bunch of teacups for us to drink it out of.  Partying and eating movie themed foods while waiting is one of my favorite parts of opening night!

The other favorite thing of course is seeing everyone’s amazing costumes.  I saw the most amazing Elrond and Thranduil, they were two gorgeous best friends (how cute is that?) and they had high cheekbones and did such a good job of acting royal.  When they broke character it was equally cute– they gushed when their respective characters came out, looking badass.  There was also a really amazing Thorin, and a few hipster hobbits (which happily reminded me of this).  Jade dressed up in a super awesome elf cape that she lined with EL wire.  It is my habit to dress up as old men so I dressed up as Bilbo.  When dressing as an old man, I’ve learned that details are super important– which is why I went so far as to make my feet hairy.  I don’t know if I’ve ever felt more out of my element  than when I bought a pipe at a tabacco store, and I don’t know if I’ve done a google search more traumatic than for tutorials on how to make your feet hairy (some suggested saving your hair from when you shower, complete with photos, ewwwwww).  In the end, I had the idea of using super thin tufts of unprocessed sheeps wool dyed brown (from a wool felting kit), glued to my feet with eyelash glue.  I’m sure the last thing you want to see is a picture of my hairy feet, but, too bad!  Hobbits are proud of their feet!

My whole family is obsessed (my mom has even read all the books multiple times, and last year we stopped by a few LoTR filming sites while in New Zealand) so we’re going to see it again while I’m home!  Merry Christmas and I wish you all the hobbit comforts and joys (food, family, fireworks, and a comfortable resting place for your feet) during your holidays!

Posted by Amy on Tue 25 Dec n 2012 | 3 Comments »

Labels: daily life, photos, review

Where can you find NYC’s most delicious cupcakes?  And what is the only term of endearment I can stand, simply because it’s so over the top that it couldn’t possibly be serious?  Babycakes, that’s where (what).  And what is better than a box of red velvet, banana chocolate chip, and pumpkin cinnamon pancakes?  Sneaking that box into the Paris movie theater to see a movie about robots.

Posted by Amy on Wed 22 Aug n 2012 | 3 Comments »

Labels: food, review, travels

“You’ve never had taiyaki before???” my polite, shy Japanese friend asked me, as we walked through his neighborhood.  We stopped by a taiyaki stand and he bought one pastry fish stuffed with red bean for us to share.  ”It’s my treat then!  You take the first bite!”  he said, handing it to me.  We spent that summer afternoon window shopping along the streets of Kichijoji, passing back and forth the delicious stuffed fishwaffle until it was gone and it was time for me to go to orchestra practice.  That’s my memory of my first taiyaki.

Sweet Breams in San Mateo serves not just taiyaki, but mini taiyaki. They come stuffed with nutella, vanilla custard, chocolate custard, red bean, and a special flavor of the week, this time apple cinnamon oatmeal.  They even come on soft-serve icecream, the flavor of this week being chai (oh my gosh).  I went this afternoon with Yun and Marj, and we tried it in every flavor and every form.  The lovely afternoon outing with them reminded me how just how delicious taiyaki is.  And also, how I will always think of taiyaki as a food best shared with friends.

Posted by Amy on Sun 16 Oct n 2011 | 1 Comment »

Labels: food, review

As someone who, we have established, loves food, loves reading about food, and has made butterbeer from scratch 5 times, one of the things I was most excited about when visiting Harry Potter world was seeing what official butterbeer tastes like. It was a super hot day, so the lines for butterbeer were super long, but it was worth it.  The butterbeer kind of might have been one of the best things about Harry Potter world.  By the way the butterbeer in the park is J. K. Rowling approved– many concoctions were made and given to her to test, and she picked the one that matched the version in her mind.

Some other facts about butterbeer!  From Wikipedia:

- J.K. Rowling said in her interview to Bon Appétit magazine that she imagines it “to taste a little bit like less-sickly butterscotch.”

- Butterbeer was a real drink, the earliest reference to Buttered Beere is from, ‘The Good Huswifes Handmaide for the Kitchin’ published in London in AD 1588, made from beer, sugar, eggs, nutmeg, cloves and butter back in Tudor times. Another old recipe for Buttered Beer, published by Robert May in AD 1664, from his recipe book, ‘The Accomplisht Cook’ calls for liquorish root and anniseeds to be added.

So, for my review in two words: magnficently delicious.  My brother said it was the most delicious beverage he had ever tasted.

The more detailed review: The park serves 2 types of butterbeer: the soda form, and the frozen slushie form, and we drank both (yes that us in 2 different lines).  You have to ask for the frozen form if you want it– if you just say “butterbeer” they don’t even ask which type you want and just give you the soda type.  They’re both very sweet, at the edge of being to sweet but not yet crossing too sweet.  The frozen kind is slightly sweeter than the soda kind.  I preferred the soda: the soda felt more authentic, for one– it has creamy foam and it’s bubbly like you’d expect of something called beer, and also it isn’t as cloyingly sweet.  They were both butterscotch-y and also reminiscent of a shortbread cookie.  The flavors were relatively simple.

By comparison, the recipe I’ve used for butterbeer in the past was more complex, since it had cinnamon, nutmeg, and all-spice.  A bit more grown up and sophisticated maybe, and more similar to the medieval recipe.  A friend who watched Harry Potter 6 with me to prep for DH2 and was my first taste tester even described it as “Chai Tea: The Soda”.  The additional solid ingredients made the soda a bit thicker, though, so I enjoyed the texture of the official Hogsmeade butterbeer.  I also liked the foaminess of official Hogsmead foam (just slightly foamy), so I would whip my foam less when making my own in the future.  But overall, it was nice knowing that I had made something so close to (and maybe even slightly better than) the original!

I kept my mug of course.  It is waiting in my kitchen cabinet for me to make some more butterbeer (soon!)

Posted by Amy on Fri 23 Sep n 2011 | No Comments »

Labels: food, review

The Tim Burton exhibit at the TIFF was great– the same one that was at the NYC MoMA a year and a half ago. I loved seeing the original sketches for all the movies he’s made.  And watching some of his rare videos.  The museum cafe also served Tim Burton themed food: Big Fish, a Willy Wonka dessert, a “Drink Me” potion, and a bloody, pulpy “Sweetie Todd”.

Posted by Amy on Mon 25 Apr n 2011 | 2 Comments »

Labels: art, review