Archive for December, 2013

Peace Out, 2013

| December 31, 2013

Dig-This-Jive-NYE-2013

Figuring out how to acknowledge the past year in a way that’s easy to relate to, succinct and personal is tough. No matter how many articles I read about the importance of being vulnerable with one’s blog readers, I’m still a private person.

Joy is simple enough to remember and be specific about:

  • My husband and I bought a house! (Thanks, Seth!)
  • We inaugurated the first summer of Front Porch Fridays, a weekly event during which my husband and I hung out on our front porch with friends listening to music, drinking beer and eating snacks.
  • We hosted our first end-of-summer house party and ping-pong tournament.
  • A cousin in LA had a magazine-like LA wedding. Another cousin graduated from college.
  • We saw old friends and met new ones during camp trips in Joshua Tree (beware White Feather), Catalina Island (Damnit, Chris!) and Holcomb Valley (pantuflas!)
  • A new, chubby-cheeked nephew was born. I found out my 2-year-old godson loves to organize toys and shoes.
  • Our trip to Montreal proved that no amount of rain can keep us from enjoying a vacation.
  • There was the annual reunion of my Texas Hold ‘Em buddies.
  • Birthdays. Anniversaries. Engagements. Seeing many friends’ families grow by one more. Thanksgiving. Christmas.

So is success:

  • I added Exquisite Weddings, Graffiti Beach Magazine, the Journal of Emergency Medical Services and the “San Diego Official Visitor Guide 2013″ to my list of publications.
  • WonderCon. Comic-Con.
  • The basics of Photoshop are no longer a mystery. As a result, I’ve been able to boost the quality of my blog posts over these last few months.
  • Hiking has become a habit.
  • We eat more fresh, organic vegetables and fruit. In fact, we eat more organic everything.
  • I fit in to skinny jeans.

But when it comes to the moments that made me sad, times when I felt broken, I’d rather be vague. I prefer to think of those events as circumstances I’ve been able to move past. Besides, listing the things that have brought me happiness this year gives me context, reminding me that 2013 was actually brighter than it was dark.

And so it’s time to throw up a peace sign to 2013: There were times when you were a bummer, but you were mostly a blast. Best of all, you bettered your predecessor and, for that, I’m very happy.

Onward to 2014!

For those of you who are curious, here’s a key to the memories shared in the intro image.

Dig-This-Jive-NYE-2013-key-v2

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Ten-Minute Trivia: How Well Do You Remember 2013?

| December 30, 2013

Dig-This-Jive-A-Look-Back-at-2013

On the eve of the eve of the New Year, test your knowledge on events that went down in 2013. Some of the events referenced in this quiz are serious, most are trivial, all are random.

This time around, don’t check your answer right away! Instead, write down all of your questions. Once you’ve answered question 13, go back and check if your answers are correct.

Ready?

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  1. A video meme introduced this year went so viral that even Jon Stewart and his Daily Show crew filmed a version of it called The Daily Show ditch remix. What was the original viral video meme called/known as? | CLICK FOR ANSWER
  2. What is the last name of the candidate that beat out Nathan Fletcher this year to run against Kevin Faulconer in next year’s run-off for San Diego Mayor? | CLICK FOR ANSWER
  3. Which tabloid celeb released the dance single “Good Time” featuring Lil Wayne? | CLICK FOR ANSWER
  4. In “Star Trek Into Darkness,” Capt. Kirk violates Starfleet General Order number 1 in order to save Spock at the beginning of the film. What is General Order number 1 also known as? | CLICK FOR ANSWER
  5. A world-renown artist whose musician husband was assassinated in 1980 celebrated her 80th birthday this year. What’s the artist’s name? | CLICK FOR ANSWER
  6. Which city hosted the Super Bowl this year (i.e., the culminating event of the 2012 NFL season)? | CLICK FOR ANSWER
  7. What’s the name of the sci-fi film released this past August that co-stars Matt Damon and Jodie Foster? | CLICK FOR ANSWER
  8. This year marked the 20th anniversary of the siege of a heavily armed religious compound in 1993. In what Texas town did this infamous event take place 20 years ago? | CLICK FOR ANSWER
  9. What’s the name of the Norwegian comedy duo that gave the world the song, “The Fox (What Does the Fox Say)?” | CLICK FOR ANSWER
  10. What’s the name of the experimental regenerative treatment Pepper Potts is injected with in “Iron Man 3″? | CLICK FOR ANSWER
  11. A former “30 Rock” cast member signed on to host a late-night talk show on MSNBC in October. Unfortunately, the show was cancelled after 5 episodes after the host allegedly used an anti-gay slur while interacting with reporters. Who was the host of this MSNBC late-night talk show? | CLICK FOR ANSWER
  12. A famous American film critic died in April after a long battle with cancer of the thyroid and salivary glands. What is the critic’s first name? | CLICK FOR ANSWER
  13. If you combine the first letter of each correct answer of the quiz, you’ll spell a phrase. What is the phrase? | CLICK FOR ANSWER
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RECIPE // Homemade Popcorn 3 Ways

| December 27, 2013

My husband and I are throwing a small family house party for New Year’s Eve this year. In attendance will be my cousin, his wife, and their adorable little boys. So as part of this year’s New Year’s Eve snack gorge, I think I’ll cook up some homemade popcorn. Three kinds to be exact.

Dig-This-Jive-Homemade-Popcorn-2c

What makes the popcorn homemade? I’m using good ol’ organic popping corn kernels (from Trader Joe’s), cooking them in a heavy nonstick 3-quart pot on my stovetop, and flavoring each batch with natural ingredients and spices.

The recipe for each batch builds off of three basic components: the kernels, canola oil and salt.

Dig-This-Jive-Homemade-Popcorn-IMG3484

For the Kettle corn, I dissolve powdered sugar in the hot oil just before I add the kernels. For the Parmesan and Indian Spice batches, I toss in the flavorings once the corn has been popped.

In the end, we’ll have a semisweet popcorn, a nutty cheese-dusted popcorn, and an earthy popcorn to dive into as we chat, play a board game of some kind, coo at my cousin’s 5-month-old baby, laugh with my 2-year-old godson, channel surf from network to network to watch the music performances we’re most interested in, and enjoy a champagne toast at midnight. Easy and low key: It’s how we roll in our 30s.

Dig-This-Jive-Homemade-Popcorn-IMG3553

***
Homemade Popcorn 3 Ways: Indian Spice Popcorn, Kettle Corn, Parmesan Popcorn
Each recipe serves 2 people / Less than 5 minutes to prep, 5 minutes to cook

Indian Spice Popcorn. ¼ cup popping corn, 1 ½ tbsp. canola oil, ¼ tsp. salt, ⅛ tsp. curry, ⅛ tsp. red chili powder, ¼ tsp. garam masala, and 1 tbsp. unsalted butter

  1. Heat the oil in a heavy nonstick pot over medium heat for one minute. Make sure the bottom of the pot is covered with the oil.
  2. Add 3 kernels and cover the pot. Once the 3 kernels have popped, add the rest of the popping corn, cover the pot and shake the pot over medium heat until the intervals between popping is 2-3 seconds. Turn off the heat and set the covered pot over an unused burner.
  3. Melt the unsalted butter in the microwave (two 15-second sets ought to do it). Mix the curry, red chili powder and garam masala into the melted butter.
  4. Add the butter mixture and the salt to the popcorn in the pot. Cover and shake the pot to coat the popcorn with the seasonings. Transfer to bowls and serve immediately.

Kettle Corn. ¼ cup popping corn, 1 ½ tbsp. canola oil, ¼ tsp. salt, and 1 tbsp. powdered sugar

  1. Heat the oil in a heavy nonstick pot over medium heat for one minute. Make sure the bottom of the pot is covered with the oil.
  2. Add 3 kernels and cover the pot. Once the 3 kernels have popped, add the powdered sugar and stir it into the oil so that it dissolves. Then, immediately add the rest of the popping corn, cover the pot and shake the pot over medium heat until the intervals between popping is 2-3 seconds. Turn off the heat and set the covered pot over an unused burner.
  3. Add the salt to the popcorn in the pot. Cover and shake the pot to distribute the salt throughout the batch. Transfer to bowls and serve immediately.

Parmesan Popcorn. ¼ cup popping corn, 1 ½ tbsp. canola oil, ¼ tsp. salt, 1 tbsp. grated parmesan, and 1 tbsp. unsalted butter

  1. Heat the oil in a heavy nonstick pot over medium heat for one minute. Make sure the bottom of the pot is covered with the oil.
  2. Add 3 kernels and cover the pot. Once the 3 kernels have popped, add the rest of the popping corn, cover the pot and shake the pot over medium heat until the intervals between popping is 2-3 seconds. Turn off the heat and set the covered pot over an unused burner.
  3. Melt the unsalted butter in the microwave (two 15-second sets should do it).
  4. Pour the butter mixture over the popcorn in the pot, then add the parmesan cheese. Cover and shake the pot to coat the popcorn with the butter and cheese. Transfer to bowls and serve immediately.
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Ten-Minute Trivia: Name That Christmas Movie

| December 23, 2013

Dig-This-Jive-Christmas-Movie-Trivia

This Christmas-themed quiz was written by my co-worker, Elle (not her actual name but how I’ll refer to her here). As an alternative to the standard Q&A quiz format, Elle read out 10 movie quotes to the TMT crew and we had to guess which Christmas movie each quote came from. It was a hit!

Think you can name each of the 10 films quoted below?

Banner-Xmas-Movie

  1. “What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?” | CLICK FOR ANSWER
  2. “There’s children throwing snowballs instead of throwing heads…. They’re busy building toys and absolutely no one’s dead!” | CLICK FOR ANSWER
  3. “It’s a one year membership to the Jelly of the Month Club.” | CLICK FOR ANSWER
  4. “I never thought it was such a bad little tree. It’s not bad at all really. Maybe it just needs a little love.” | CLICK FOR ANSWER
  5. “Is this toothbrush approved by the American Dental Association?” | CLICK FOR ANSWER
  6. “Only one thing in the world could’ve dragged me away from the soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window.” | CLICK FOR ANSWER
  7. “This place reminds me of Santa’s Workshop! Except it smells like mushrooms and everyone looks like they want to hurt me.” | CLICK FOR ANSWER
  8. “Hiya kids. Here is an important message from your Uncle Bill. Don’t buy drugs. Become a pop star, and they give you them for free!” | CLICK FOR ANSWER
  9. “I’m Mister Green Christmas. I’m Mister Sun. I’m Mister Heat Blister. I’m Mister Hundred and One. They call me Heat Miser, whatever I touch starts to melt in my clutch. I’m too much!” | CLICK FOR ANSWER
  10. “You see, before he came down here, it never snowed. And afterwards, it did. If he weren’t up there now… I don’t think it would be snowing. Sometimes you can still catch me dancing in it.” | CLICK FOR ANSWER

***
What’s Ten-Minute Trivia? Read my post from November 26, 2013 to find out.

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5 Soup Spots on Convoy Street, San Diego

| December 20, 2013

Dig-This-Jive-Soup-Convoy-Collage-1

I enjoy going out for soup as much as I like making it from scratch. Pair that with the fact that my husband and I live near Convoy Street, a wondrous boulevard in San Diego lined with a diverse array of Asian restaurants, and the common response to an admission of “I don’t feel like cooking” is to head out for a broth-fueled meal. Here’s my short list of the Asian soups I go out for and the spots on Convoy Street I go to get them.

Dig-This-Jive-Soup-Convoy-Congee-Jasmines

Served up during Jasmine Seafood Restaurant’s daily dim sum hours, the rice porridge known as congee (pronounced con-JEE) is a delicious gloopy soup that sticks to your fingers and ribs. Hidden amidst its tasty opacity are chunks of chicken and dark grey slices of creamy century egg. It’s topped with crunchy fried wonton strips and chopped scallions to offset the soup’s viscous texture, and it’s excellent eaten as is or with a drop or two of soy sauce mixed in. Dim sum served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. 4609 Convoy St., Suite A. jasmineseafood.com

Dig-This-Jive-Soup-Convoy-Collage-Ramen-Yakyudori-Yakitori

Of the six different ramens at Yakyudori Yakitori, my favorite is the karamiso, aka the spicy miso. Soaking in the murky reddish-brown broth is a tangled mix of fresh ramen noodles, ground pork, plump kernels of yellow corn, crisp bean sprouts, bamboo shoots and dark green leeks. It’s salty, slightly nutty, and spicy enough to make your lips tingle with warmth but not so spicy as to require gulps of water after every bite. Adding a seasoned soft-boiled egg like the one pictured above costs extra but it’s worth it. 4898 Convoy St. yakyudori.hinotez.com

Dig-This-Jive-Soup-Convoy-Collage-Tofu-Soup-Grandma-Tofu-BBQ

When I first noticed this restaurant, my proofreader half winced at the fact that its name lacked a possessive.

“Why isn’t it ‘Grandma’s’?” I said to no one in particular. The sign over the entrance even looks like there’s space to include an apostrophe and an “s.”

Then I ate there and I got over it. Aside from serving the most robust mixed tofu soup I’ve tried on Convoy to date, I appreciate that I can order a small cauldron of the soup in a combo with my choice of Korean barbecue served up on a sizzling plate. And by “cauldron,” I literally mean an it-will-burn-you cast iron bowl that the still-boiling soup is served in for you to eat from. The mixed tofu soup includes silky tofu, squid, clams, shrimp, beef, enoki mushroom and scallions, and is served with an equally hot stone bowl of rice and eight different Korean side dishes (banchan) including kimchi, spiced pickled cucumber, fish cake and pickled daikon. 4425 Convoy St., (858) 277-2220

Dig-This-Jive-Soup-Convoy-Pho-Phuong-Trang

Let’s set the record straight: pho is pronounced “fuh,” as in it rhymes with “uh-huh.” It’s incorrect to pronounce it as “foe,” as in “d’oh!” Also, according to my cousin-in-law, it’s the soup that can set your health straight when you feel a cold coming on. It’s because of her sound wives-tale logic that I tend to eat pho when I feel like I need to regain strength. Each slurp is like a hug and a reassurance that everything will be better again soon.

Phuong Trang’s pho broth is brewed from beef and there are eight versions of pho to order. Consistent among the pho options is the plate of fresh ingredients brought out with your bowl and left at your table, allowing you to decide how much or how little bean sprouts, Thai basil, cilantro, lime, and jalapeno peppers to add to the rice noodle soup. 4170 Convoy St. phuongtrangrestaurant.com

Dig-This-Jive-Soup-Convoy-Tom-Ca-Thai-House

A cream-colored coconut milk soup laced with lemongrass and Kaffir lime leaves, I crave tom kha (pronounced tom KA) on nights when I want something hot and sour. It’s also chock-full of vegetables like green beans, cabbage, broccoli, green bell peppers, baby corn, mushrooms, and tomatoes. All that’s left to have added is your choice of protein–tofu, chicken, pork, beef, shrimp, squid or a seafood combo of shrimp, squid and scallops. Beyond its cuisine, I dig Thai House for its neon Miami-Vice-colored sign, the castle spires on the roof outside, and its URL which is descriptive without being “Thai House” specific. 4225 Convoy St. sandiegothairestaurant.com

(All photos by Christine Pasalo)
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