Chirimoya – Discovering a Memory


agriculture close up color custard

I occasionally watch YouTube videos of life in Taiwan that my boyfriend shows me. I am especially interested when foreigners living in Taiwan discuss the local delicacies and fruits of the region. One such fruit I have been most curious about is the Custard Apple, seemingly delicious and something unbeknown to me. It seems silly now, but I didn’t bother researching further into this fruit. I merely kept an eye out to see if I spotted one at 99 Ranch (an Asian supermarket chain). My assumption was that I would only be able to find it at a 99 Ranch.

This weekend we were at 99 Ranch shopping for fruits and vegetables–something you would have seldom seen me do just a year ago–and my boyfriend abruptly stopped in front of a pile of custard apples. It was labeled as Cherimoya, which I immediately recognized as a fruit I have heard my mother talking about ever since I can remember. My mother is from the state of Sinaloa in Mexico and the Spanish spelling for this fruit is Chirimoya–quite similar. Being as most children tend to be, I refused to even go near this Chirimoya. I was now heading to the checkout counter with my precious in hand (despite its almost nine dollar a pound price), eagerly awaiting to try it.

We brought just one home as my boyfriend doesn’t like it. I cut the cherimoya in half and smelt it. It was slightly like Papaya–a delicious fruit with a slightly off-putting smell. I grabbed a spoon and began to dig in, keeping the meaty fruit in its skin so each half would act as a bowl. The spoon sank into the fruit with only the slightest of efforts and when I brought this custard into my mouth, the texture was almost exactly like custard, smooth, creamy, and oh so sweet. Had I not cut the fruit open myself, and had it not been for the seeds; I would have suspected a confectioner carved out the fruit and using each hemispherical half of skin as a bowl on which they placed a rich and creamy dessert. I was having the most wonderful dessert without the guilt as I pondered on my discovery of a memory.

I offered my boyfriend an opportunity to share in my delight, which he fortunately declined. I would have this wonderful Chirimoya all to myself…loving Los Angeles, thinking of Mexico, and dreaming of Taiwan.


Daikokuya – Los Angeles

If you’ve walked along first street in Little Tokyo, your attention has undoubtedly been drawn to the yellow awning of this Ramen joint by either the delicious smell emanating from it or the cluster of people waiting for their turn to indulge in this restaurant.

img_5315I am admittedly addicted to tonkotsu ramen and I tend to like comparing ramen by their plain ramen with no added spice. At Daikokuya I usually have the Daikoku ramen and request the richer kotteri flavor. It is a broth rich in flavor and creamy in texture.

img_5316No self-respecting ramen restaurant should leave gyoza off the menu. I would advise you not to miss the gyoza here because they are among the best I’ve tasted. However, I would wait a minute or two before biting into them because they are served extremely hot. So take your time, find your favorite angle, and take your photograph!

My final comment will be to order yourself a sake or a refreshing can of Calpico to wash down all the deliciousness!

Le Petit Paris – Los Angeles

Step into a little bit France in Downtown Los Angeles and take in this beautiful multi-level space complete with a lovely grand staircase. This restaurant feels decidedly French without trying to hard…just ignore the Eiffel Tower motifs. Despite the huge dining space,  there is enough intimacy at each table appropriate for a date.   velvet chairs at these small round tables–reminiscent of a lounge or café in Paris–and adorned with a single long-stemmed rose lit by candle light. The music was refreshingly not Edith Piaf–I love her, but it would have been too cliché.  I wasn’t paying attention to the music at first, to be honest, but then I heard the wonderful piano melody from Yann Tiersen’s Comptine d`un autre ete – l`apres-midi. It pulled me away from the food and conversation and then I noticed the DJ responsible for the music selection. My mind was transported and just wanted to sit there and people watch.

If the music and space prove insufficient to transport you to France, I assure you the food will. Excited for the meal, I started with their Lanson Black Label N/V Champagne as they brought the amuse bouche. The next item were wild Burgundy escargots dressed in garlic, parsley, and butter. The texture of the escargot was great and the butter mixture was pure heaven. I couldn’t help but use the bread to soak up the remaining butter after all the escargots were gone. These were beautifully paired with a 2015 Domaine des Brousses Sancerre

With no more bread or buttery deliciousness left to soak up, it was time to order a a 2013 Jean Royer, Chateauneuf du Pape–a nice wine in expectation of what was to come. We ordered the roasted beef prime rib and bone marrow medium because my friend won’t indulge in my rare preferences; however, our prime rib was brought tableside to be sliced and it was delightfully undercooked (so French!). Our server took my friend’s portion back to the kitchen to cook it just a little longer, so it worked out for both of us. To accompany the meet, three sauces were brought out: pepper, bearnaise, and blue cheese. All were good, but I will always have a preference for anything pepper and this sauce was pure deliciousness. Potato gratin and green beans were served as sides.

Desserts were the molten chocolate lava cake with salted butter caramel sauce and the crepes Suzzette flambéd with Grand-Marnier. Both desserts were delicious, but if I had to pick one I would go for the flambéed crepes as they had the more unique and delicious flavor. The only drawback is that they were the least photogenic of the two.

After concluding our dinner we were invited to explore the upstairs areas. These areas are utilized for busier weekend nights and are also available for special occasions. All in all, this was a wonderful dinner experience and I hope to return soon to see what their menus and ambience are like during the earlier hours of the day. For now, I know were to find a little bit of Paris next time I suffer from a small case of wanderlust.

Sora – Los Angeles

A wonderful sushi-dining experience on the sixty-ninth floor of Los Angeles’ newest and tallest building offering spectacular views of the City of Angels. This restaurant is part of the Intercontinental Hotel portion of this LA tower that opened in late June 2017. Dining spaces include the Sushi bar; along the sushi conveyor belt with views of the city; and more intimate semi-private booths that also offer great views. Unless you’re on a romantic special occasion, I would recommend sitting at the conveyor belt since you are facing the windows: it offers the best views of the city.

The sushi was quite delicious and I don’t think anyone can come away disappointed–unless you’re trying to be a snob and compare this with authentic sushi bars in Japan or other highly reputable ones. If you compare it to other conveyor belt sushi places, I think you’ll find this to be among the best.  The prices are comparable to other sushi places in the area and you’ll find you won’t be breaking the bank. The staff was very friendly and went out of their way to make our night special as we were celebrating two birthdays: they brought us each a glass of champagne to celebrate.

For the best experience, I would recommend going about forty-five to thirty minutes before sunset to enjoy the view of the city as it transitions from day to shimmering night. To go to the restaurant you’ll have to go to the Intercontinental Hotel’s lobby on the seventieth floor and from there descend to the sixty-ninth floor. Reservations are available on OpenTable.

Of other note, there are lovely private dining rooms available in case you’re entertaining the idea of hosting larger groups (see photos below). I haven’t the occasion in mind yet, but I’m tempted to make one in order to wow a few people with a private dining experience framed by spectacular views.

Tim Ho Wan – Hong Kong

I’ve been told that there is no Dim Sum like that of Hong Kong, and that among the best here is the Michelin-starred Tim Ho Wan. It has now expanded to multiple locations within the city and is opening locations around the world. In 2009, chef Mak Kwai-pui (former chef at three-Michelin-starred Lung King Heen) opened its first location in Mongkok. This location in 2013 was moved to Olympian City which is where indulged in this wonderful meal. If you’re price-conscious, don’t let the Michelin-star scare you away as it is billed as the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant in the world.

My experience of dim sum prior to Hong Kong has been limited to Los Angeles, but given the great dim sum found in Los Angeles I consider myself qualified enough to weigh in on the quality of this type of food. Tim Ho Wan is undoubtedly the best I’ve had anywhere and I hope they open a location soon in my hometown. There was nothing we ordered that I wouldn’t have again, and my favorites were the Baked Bun with BBQ Pork (do not miss this one), vermicelli roll stuffed with BBQ pork, and the glutinous rice dumpling.

The ambiance of this restaurant is casual and relaxed. This is the place I would want to go to first after getting off a sixteen-hour flight from Los Angeles. However, no reservations are accepted here, so you will have to put your name down and wait for about 20-30 minutes to be seated (depending on party size). I had trouble knowing when I was being called due to the language barrier, but you’ll be happy to know the menus are available in English.  Check off the items you want to order and flag down a waiter: we spend about 10 minutes waiting for a waiter to approach us before we realized how the locals were doing it.

Day 101 – 214.5 pounds (reboot)

Hello again! So I am rebooting after a 10-day break. I’ve managed to be relatively good in spite of the 4th of July weekend and have remained in the ball park of where I was before.  I went on an impromptu break because I got a little bored with the daily posts and some other things in my life take priority. 🙂

I order to make things even simpler for myself I’m going to try and do some pseudo live posts.  I will start the day with my weigh-ins and publish the post and continue to add to it throughout the day.  This probably isn’t the best option for the few that wish to follow, but it works out better for me in terms of a journal.

So I just now finished having three over-easy eggs that I made myself and some coffee I made from Guatemalan beans that I’m almost out of.  Have a lot to do today, but I’m going to try and get at least a short run today.

The rest of day definitely did not go as planned.  Had some issues come up that threw me off and let me accomplish far less than I hoped to, but that’s now over with.  Had a late lunch of some reheated carne asada and some potato salad, and the later I picked up a spicy chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-A.

I was hoping to at least get a short run, but it was literally impossible with everything going on today.  On a positive note, I felt really good during a presentation I had to give today. 🙂

Day 85 – 214.2 pounds

Not much excitement yesterday.  Just woke up feeling a little guilty and not hungry so I skipped breakfast and instead I went to USC to study and work from my favorite courtyard.  There I had a cold-brew coffee and a coffee cake as my breakfast/lunch.  It was a beautiful day and the work kept me distracted from wanting to eat for the sake of eating.

I then headed over to my mom’s and ate some chop suey and this fried rice that she made. Semi-healthy, except for the part where I had an extra serving of the rice.  I later indulged in this milk-based jello she makes.  It was late enough in the afternoon where I felt I was done eating for the day and it actually worked out pretty well.

The morning weigh-in:

214.2 pounds

231.7 – 214.2 = 17.5 pounds lost

Day 84 – 214.6 pounds

I’ve been struggling with continuing my weight loss these lass few days and that has been entirely of my own doing.  Yesterday I started with my usual variation of eggs and had 3 scrambled.  I planned on having a larger lunch and then keep it light for the dinner, so I got a couple of Tacos out in Corona.  They were larger than I expected, but not too bad considering I would keep it light the rest of the day.

I jokingly told me fried I would take his girlfriend out on a date since he was out of town, and it ended up becoming true so we went along with another friend for dinner and I had a spicy Italian sandwich.  The sandwich itself wasn’t too bad, but I accompanied it with a cream soda, followed by a cocktail, and then a beer.  Beverages is where I’ve cut out a ton of calories recently, so this really threw me off. :-(.


The morning weigh-in:

214.6 pounds

231.7 – 214.6 = 17.1 pounds lost

Day 83 – 214.8 pounds

The day before:

Let’s change things up a bit.  Obviously I haven’t been keeping up with my food journal and I keep waiting to go back and finish all the previous entries.  Well, that is probably the surest way to get me to end the habit.  So I’m resuming it hear without worrying about the format because I need to keep posting since I feel this has helped me temendously.

For breakfast I went with 3 scrambled eggs cooked in 1 tablespoon of butter and I also had a small slice of a cake I baked.  I felt guilty about the cake so I ended up tossing the rest of it in the trash after I ate the slice.  I had a few errand to do mid-morning so I bought an iced white mocha from Starbucks to fuel me through my errands.

In the afternoon I went to the gym for my personal training session and I’m now up to 30lbs each arm on the rowing, squatting with 30lbs, I think the bench press is now at 60 lbs (sorry, not sure), pull bar at 80lbs, skull crushers are 12lbs each arm, and latter raises at 8 lbs each arm.  I’m feeling better now that I’m becoming more familiar with the weight-lifting equipment.  At the end of today’s session I unfortunately started feeling light-headed and ended up having to sit down and then went to lying flat on the ground while I recovered, haha.  I think this was due to not enough nutrition beforehand so I heated up one of those SteamFresh bags with a broccoli and cheese sauce food.  It was good and quite light on the calories.

It is now the early evening and time for school.  I bought a cold-brew iced coffee to have while I read some case studies. Felt pretty good so far, but then in class I started getting very hungry so during the break I, for the first time ever, had ChickFilA!  It was delicious, although the I’m not sure if was the healthiest choice.  Had a deluxe chicken sandwich with a large Diet Coke.

Got home after class and had an 8-ounce glass of almond milk to keep me from getting hungry before going to bed.

The morning weigh-in:

214.8 pounds

231.7 – 214.8 = 16.9 pounds lost

Day 77 – 214.6 pounds

D.77-214.6 – A somewhat expected small gain, but I was still hoping to get into the 213s. I had an exam yesterday, so that was my priority yesterday. I’ll start posting the WordPress journal entries as soon as I’m caught up. I am currently two behind. (Down 17.1 pounds)


No exercise yesterday as I was focused on doing some last-minute, but I will resume working out Thursday evening.


Egg and sausage breakfast sandwich from eggos



Some potato cream soup from a can that I modified a little to improve the taste. 🙂

Later I made myself a Strawberry-Banana shake that was delicious.


Had an early dinner before I went to school.  I warmed up at bag of “buffalo broccoli” which were marinated as if they were buffalo wings and were quite spicey.  It was healthy, but the taste wasn’t great and won’t be buying those anymore.  This is one of several frozen foods I bought because they’re from Birds Eye, which is a company I’ve been researching for a project I’m working on at school.

Later at school, I picked up an iced vanilla latte from Starbucks just to give me some extra caffeine to last through the test.