Saturday, July 7, 2012

Lee Kum Kee Non-GMO Light Soy Sauce

Asians can't live without soysauce.  I've been using Lee Kum Kee's Premium Soy Sauce for a while now and I like it.  Not until recently that I learnt from a friend of mine that Lee Kum Kee has a line of soy sauce that is produced using non-GMO (genetic modified organism) soy beans.  I definitely was interested to find out.

When I was at the 99 Ranch the other day, two of the Lee Kum Kee's soy sauce bottles were on sale.  One of them is the same one as my friend showed me at her house.  She usually buy the light soy sauce and it is in the green bottle.  It is on sale for $2.38/bottle.  Regular price at 99 Ranch at Culver Plaza is $3.49.

I bought one bottle of this Lee Kum Kee non-GMO Less Sodium (Light) and will try it when my current bottle of soy sauce is out.  When I look at my current soy sauce bottle, only then I realized that I've been using the non-GMO all these while without knowing.  Well ... you can read the labels to find out.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Thermos Funtainer Food Jar

My son will be starting 1st grade in September.  I am getting a new food jar for him to bring his warm lunch to school.  This Thermos Funtainer Food Jar is so cute.  There are many designs including some superheroes - Avengers, Spiderman, Batman, Starwars, for boys and for girls they have Hello Kitty and Barbie. 

The food jar has a capacity of 10oz and can keep warm for 5 hours and cool for 7 hours.  It has a wide opening/mouth for easy filling, serving and cleaning.  Most importantly, it has stainless steel interior and exterior.  It is also BPA-free.

I chose the Ninja and Fire Truck designs in hope that not too many kids in his class will have the same as his. 

They are on sale at Toys R Us.  Regular price is at $12.99.  I bought it during their sale with the promotion "Buy 1 and get 2nd at 50%."  It means I paid $19.50 (tax not included) for two Thermos Funtainer Food Jars!  That's less than $10 each.  I don't think you can get that pricing at Amazon online.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Buy Backpack and Free Lunch Bag

The promo is back at Toys 'R' Us!!!  Buy any backpack and get any lunch bag $9.99 and under for free. 
The last time we got my son's backpack was 2 years ago and it was the same deal, also at Toys 'R' Us.  But now that Domo's lunch bag has interior damage and his Domo's backpack is slightly too small for 1st grade. So we got him new one this year.

The backpack is a bit too big, but this is the only one without any big cartoon such as Mario, Angry Bird, Avengers, Spiderman and so on.  I hope there is no one else in his class using the same back pack. 

We paid $14.99 plus sales tax for the backpack and the Ninja lunch bag $9.99 came free!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Circus Vargas Westminster

As a child, I love going to circus with my family.  Why?  Not because of the performances, but because of all the food I could enjoy at the circus - cotton candies, roasted corns, slushies and more.  I remember how the circus had animals performances but not anymore now.  At least not at Circus Vargas.

A friend had invited our family to join hers for an outing to Circus Vargas recently.  We bought our tickets online.  I surprised my family the next day that we'd be heading to Circus Vargas on Sunday.  My son was ecstatic.  He has heard about circus from a tv show but hasn't been to one.  He kept asking us everyday about the circus and on the day of the event, he asked us how long more before heading out to the circus. 

I didn't have any expectation going to the circus for this new generation.  However, Circus Vargas surprised me with its uplifting performers and shows.  It brings circus to a new level.  I really enjoyed when they invited kids and parents to sit around the ring and let the kids to have first hand being a performers in the center stage.  The kids played the hula hoops, balancing with a peacock feather and juggling with handkerchief.  What can be more fun than for the kids to have first hand experience than this.

The show was a little under 2 hours long with an approximately 10 minutes intermission.  Overall experience was magnificent.  Well worth the price we paid for the tickets ($25 for arena bleacher seating).

Entrance to the arena

The seating in the arena

The ring in the center

View from our seats

Circus Vargas
May 24th to June 4th - Westminster at Westminster Mall
June 7th to 11th - Santa Ana at Westfield Main Place
June 14th to 25th - Irvine at Irvine Spectrum

Circus Vargas FAQ

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Temecula Berry Company

Temecula Berry Company is the closest blueberry farm in the vicinity of Los Angeles and Orange County.  That's why we drove all the way from Irvine to Temecula this morning - to pick blueberries with our little boy.

It was suppose to be about an hour drive (one way) without traffic.  Unfortunately for us, we hit a little traffic at Corona before the 15 freeway, adding another 20 minutes to our trip.  The farm is very easy to find once you were on the 15 freeway.  We came from the the north, so we got off at Winchester exit and headed East. We made a right at Nicolas Road, and went straight forward.  The road's name changes to Girasol after Calle Medusa intersection.  We went forward and made a left at Cantrell.  A sign with an arrow is right at the junction.  The farm is what you will see when you descend a small hill after turning into Cantrell.

There is plenty of parking at the farm.  There is a big red barn house and a small little chicken coop right next to the parking area.  When we arrived, there was a long line at the red barn house.  The line was actually for people who were done picking and to make payment for their blueberries. 

We picked up 3 empty buckets and were told each full bucket would be 2 pints and they are charging $5/pint.  Our goal is to fill up 1 bucket!  We got a tip that the blueberries right behind the barn were the best so we headed to that direction.  And how do we know which blueberry to pick?  Well, pick the berry that is BLUE in color, not the partial red or the green. 

The blueberry bushes were planted neatly in rows.  The farm is very accesible and clean.  The blueberry bushes are low and well-trimmed.  No puddle on the path or wild bushes blocking the way.  Blueberry bush has no torns, unlike the wild blackberry bush.  They are very kids friendly. 

When we got to the aisle we decided for our blueberries picking, the first thing I did was to pick any BLUE color berry and put it in my mouth.  Kinda like taste testing.  WOW!  It was really good.  A tangy bit of sour but mostly sweet and plum.  We ate some, put some in our buckets.  My son was sure having lots of fun.  We taught him to choose the biggest and juiciest blueberries.  It was like a hunting game for him, hunting the biggest blueberries. 

It took us a little over 30 minutes to fill up 1 bucket.  We did it slowly and we only walked 3 short rows.  The farm wasn't that crowded so we usually didn't have to share the rows with any other visitors.  We saw people, but they were at other area of the farm.  We also only picked to walk in the vacant rows. 

The farm has a big red tractor for kids to play and take picture.  We did it on our way out to pay for our delicious blueberries.

Besides the blueberries, they also sell raw honey and farm fresh chicken eggs (on Mon and Thurs only).  I think sometimes if you are there at the right time, you may able to buy blueberry breads too.  Their new daily chicken show begins at 3pm. 

Blueberry season is short, so get out there to pick your own blueberries before the season ends.  It may get hot out there, so be prepare for your trip.  Bring lots of water, sunscreen and a hat.  It is definitely a fun experience for all ages! 
Temecula Berry Company
39700 Cantrell Road,
Temecula, CA 92591 

Farm hours: 8am to 6pm (7 days a week)
FAQ about the farm.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot - Irvine

The Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot has recently opened up a new outlet in Irvine.  My hubby has been getting me to try this chain but due to the hot weather we had, I had always steered him away from hot pot until today.  It is Thursday and we had a cooling trend coming in, just the right time to hit the hot pot!

We arrived at 5:45pm.  Parking was easy.  There was only another group of 8 customers in the shop.  We were seated on a table for 4 people with a hot plate in the center of the table.  We quickly browsed through the menu and decided what we were going to order within 2 minutes. 

We both ordered their combo box for $14.95/each (available M-F, Sat/Sun lunch only).  It comes with their house special thick noodles, your choice of meat (rib eye, lamb, chicken, prok belly), tofu, veggies (napa, bok choy, enoki, 2 slices potato, 2 slices daikon, 2 very thin slices kabocha), mixed meatballs, 2 slices of fish fillet and the soup base.  If you order separately, the soup base alone will cost you $3.95/person.  Kids 6-12 pay half the price for the soup base. 

The combo set came with enough for me and my son.  The thick noodles were really good.  I like it because they are chewy and it soaks up the soup so well giving it a good taste.  Oops, I forgot to mention the soup base we ordered.  It was the Yin Yang, original and the spicy soup base.

The soup base is basic chicken broth but with lots of extra spices added to it. There are gingers, goji berries, garlic, dates, and more. I like the spicy broth as it has an extra kick in it. Here are our combo boxes, one with pork belly and the other with beef rib eye. Can you see how much meat they gave us for this combo box? It is well worth the money. I like it much better than The Boiling Point which now cost over $10 a bowl with lesser meat than this.

The Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot (Culver Plaza, next to Marie Callender's)
15361 Culver Dr,
Irvine, CA 92604
(949) 651-0201

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Daiso Irvine Opening Hours

You have to love Daiso so much. They offers items as low as $1.50 and these items are so cute and adorable. Most of these items are imported from Japan. You can find household items, ceramic dishes, storage, bento kits, stationery, snacks and more. Daiso Irvine is located in Heritage Plaza, Walnut and Culver.
Opening hours:
Mon - Sat: 10am to 9pm
Sun: 10am to 8pm

On their opening day, they gave out raffle tickets for the first 250 customers. My number didn't come up as a winner, may be yours did. Check out the list here for the winning raffle tickets.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

626 Asian Night Market Pasadena

When I heard about the first ever Asian Night Market in Southern California, I was so excited. We talked about the type of food vendors that we might encounter - stinky tofu, fried squid balls, and all.

The drive from Irvine to Pasadena is not near but sixty miles one way. Consider the price of gas ($1 - 5 miles) now, we spent $24 for round trip gas. We didn't mind about that at all. We didn't even care that we paid $5 for parking and to walk 5 blocks to the event. Not until when we arrived at 1 North Oakland Avenue.

I'll let the pictures below continue the story:

The crowd was like a wave of ants. I didn't even know what vendors were there because couldn't see them. The street was narrow and short. We had to navigate through this crowd to get to the other end where the food area was. One thing came to my mind when I saw the crazy long lines for each food stalls - "Oh, Man! There goes the stinky tofu!" Well, first thing first, I couldn't even get into that area. That's the biggest disappointment I had.

There were probably some good food vendors, but we didn't get to try any. We walked away and left the place.

The event wasn't ready for such a big crowd. I've heard the turn out could be as many as 8000 people. The area probably can fit 500-800 comfortably. Street and parking were out of control. We saw several drivers running through red lights and stopping in the middle of an intersection because the traffic wasn't moving.

I personally think the organizers can do so much better than this. The event area was too small to handle this. Parking was not enough on top of the regular Saturday night crowd at downtown Pasadena. A note to the organizer - good idea to have an Asian Night Market but next time, have it in a bigger arena with more control on parking and traffic. Looking forward to the next one!

Grand Opening Daiso Irvine

Arrived at Heritage Plaza at 9:45am and there was a long line along the sidewalk up to the CVS Pharmacy. I joined the line at the end, but I wasn't the last because no longer than 1 minute later, more people came to join the que.

This was the line to enter Daiso Japan new store in Irvine. There were 200 giveaways available for the first 200 customers who bought something. And there was a raffle as well, prizes include a bit 40" TV, iPad2 and more. A couple of customers in front of me asked a security guard how long the line was. He replied that they were probably between the 240-250 customers. I think I will have a chance to grab a giveaway. My tactic would be going in, grab 1 item and go line up to pay.

By the time I got in to the store, it wasn't crowded at all. I couldn't imagine there was more than 200 people inside. There was a long line to pay. Quickly, I grabbed a two compartment container and went to the line to pay. After paying, I walked out the store and a girl passed me a bag filled with food goodies after she scribbled my receipt. It felt like Halloween in spring. Here are the stuff found in the bag.

Will have to return to the store tomorrow to find out the winner for the raffle.