Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Weekend Fun: New Things!

Hi friends! This is less of a food post and more of a life post!

I had a really productive and fun weekend. Spent time with some of the greatest people in my life and also got to try some new things and even got some new "things!"

Tried kayaking for the first time. I'm kind of afraid of water, but the experience wasn't bad at all. I actually had a lot of fun and got to work out the guns (bahaha.. what guns??). Arms were pretty sore the next day though!

We went kayaking at the Rowing Dock around 9am and the weather was great. Cloudy and not too hot. We left at the right time because the clouds started to disappear and the temperature started climbing.

The honey, me, Meg, and Laura
Meg cut half of herself out haha.. 
Much better! :)
Needed coffee after kayaking so Meg (coffee enthusiast) took us to one of her favorite places: Patika. I love trying new coffee places... You know... a REAL coffee place. Granted I love me an iced coffee from Starbucks, but I don't get that coffee house feel or that cute little coffee design from a drive thru.

Patika was adorable and I could find myself sitting there for hours studying and reading.... If it wasn't so darn far from our house! But definitely worth the drive.

Cookies & Cream Donut. YESSS!
Surprisingly not overly sweet.. Just the perfect amount of sweet.
Vanilla Sweet Latte
You can't beat that heart leaf (is that what coffee people call it?? haha)
We were tired and hungry after kayaking. By hungry I mean to say HANGRY. Meg told us she was getting tacos and we are always down to get some tacos! She took us to this cute little taco place called Papalote. 

I probably would have never noticed this place, but it was just down the street from Patika. Megan said the lengua is amazing. I'm not a big fan of lengua, but I honestly have to say that I don't even know that I'm eating beef tongue when eating Papalote's lengua tacos (don't forget the green sauce!!!!!)

OK guys don't hate me but I didn't get a photo of the food.
I was SOOOO hungry I scarfed down my tacos and forgot to snap a photo.
But this is a MUST try taco place!!

Car buying is not the funnest thing in the world. Endless paperwork, endless signatures. But I am proud to say that honey and I made the decision to trade in my red 2 door sports car for a more practical and spacious SUV (and family car once that adventure comes along. hah!)

Definitely hard getting used to driving a bigger car since I'm used to a little car, but really loving all of the space and being so high up!


I have been wanting to cut my hair for a longggggggg time and finally had the guts to make the appointment with my lovely friend/stylist. My hair is my security blanket and don't really know life without my long hair. It just got so unmanageable and I couldn't deal with it anymore. 

New car, new hair... Why not!
We cut off about 6 inches, he glossed my hair and put in some highlights around my face.
Thank you for my awesome hair :)

Rowing Dock
2418 Stratford Dr.
Austin, TX 78746

Patika Wine & Coffee
Physical Store
2159 South Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78704

West 4th & Congress

Papalote Taco House (2 Locations)
13219 N 183 Research Blvd. Ste. 100
Austin, TX 78750

2803 South Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78704

Orange Salon -- Ask for Ruben Rosales!
*Next to Magnolia Cafe 
2004 S. Congress Ave.
Austin, TX 78704

Monday, September 14, 2015

JBT Cooks: Pad Kee Mao

The honey and I love to eat Thai Food... But our favorite Thai place, Madam Mam's, is about 30 minutes away from us and sometimes we just don't wanna drive that far. Here's a post that talks about our Mam's faves: Date Night @ Mam's.

Last week I tried to be adventurous and make chicken and shrimp Pad Thai. It was nothing special and almost mediocre. I didn't put enough sauce and the noodles were too dry. The chicken and shrimp were good, but it needed more sawwwceeee. (Note to self: more sawwwceee next time.)

A few days later I wanted to give cooking another try and try to make Pad Kee Mao (PKM) "Thai Drunken Noodles"... One of our absolute favorite dishes and the honey orders it every single time we eat at Mam's. I was trying to remember the ingredients in the PKM at Mam's. The most dominant flavors are Thai basil and garlic... LOTS AND LOTS OF GARLIC. Can you tell that I love garlic? My last post was pretty much based on a garlic sauce!

I found this recipe for PKM while doing a simple Google search. I picked this one because it looked simple and I could add and subtract things to make it like Mam's PKM dish. I just really needed the sauce recipe because I wasn't sure which sauces went into this dish.

So here's my rendition of PKM....


  • 3-4 Tablespoons canola oil (or vegetable oil. Use an oil with a high smoking point)
  • 1 Pkg. (14 oz) rice noodles (I used the wide flat noodles... Any rice noodle will do)
  • 1 lb. (maybe more) of Chinese Broccoli (I used a big bundle that I bought)
  • Large packet of white button mushrooms cut into about 1/2 cm to 1 cm slices. (Use a lot... They get so small when you cook 'em!!)
  • 8 cloves of garlic (or more if you love garlic like me!)
  • As many Thai chili peppers you can handle (I had equal parts garlic and chilis)
  • 8 oz of chicken (that's all the meat that I had from the chicken I used for Pad Thai the other night)
  • Lots and LOTS of Thai basil (chop it up or leave it whole... The more the better!!!)
Sauce Ingredients (Note: I just used my best judgement/intuition when making the sauce since this was my first time)
  • 4 Tablespoons Fish sauce (Viet Huong brand is BEST.. but any will do)
  • 5 Tablespoons Oyster sauce
  • 5 Tablespoons Thai Sweet Black Soy sauce
  • 1-2 Teaspoons of sugar (this helps even out all the saltiness from the other sauces)
  • 1/2 to 1 Tablespoon of pepper (original recipe calls for 1/4 teaspoon, but I love pepper!)
  • Optional: 3 Tablespoons of Holy Basil Seasoning (I only used one tablespoon of the sauce and omitted the basil and chilis in the jar. I felt that the dish didn't need this component)
(Feel free to add or reduce the sauce depending on how saucy you want your noodles to be. Knowing my honey.... I had to add a lot of sauce!)

  1. Soak the noodles in luke warm water for 40 minutes to an hour... *Recommend doing this as soon as you get home or know that you want to make this dish. (This is the part that I HATE the most because I hate waiting! I have soaked the noodles in hot water for 25 minutes before and it was fine. You just have to leave the noodles in the pan a little longer when cooking)
  2. Fill a small pot of water and let the water boil (This boiling water is for the stems of the Chinese broccoli because the stems are too tough to cook thoroughly without boiling them) Cook the stems and place aside.
  3. Mix the sauces, sugar, and pepper in a bowl and set aside.
  4. Heat the oil in the pan until the oil is almost smoking. (You want HIGH heat for this! Use a wok if you have one!) 
  5. Add the garlic and Thai chilis and stir fry them quickly in the pan. After 30 seconds of stir frying the garlic and chilis, add the chicken (or whatever meat you choose). Stir fry the chicken until almost cooked. Push the chicken to one side of the pan/wok.
  6. Add the mushrooms into the pan to cook alongside the chicken.
  7. Once the mushrooms and chicken are done, add the Chinese broccoli leaves and stems.
  8. Once the leaves are wilted, drain your noodles and add them to the pan. Now is a good time to add the Thai basil leaves
  9. Add the sauce all over the noodles in the pan and incorporate all of the ingredients with the noodles. (I do it like I'm mixing a salad bowl hehe) Make sure that your noodles are saucy enough and covered in sauce. If not, mix some more sauce together and add it in the pan.
  10. Make sure everything is mixed together and the noodles are cooked enough (shouldn't be too chewy)  and VOILA... You are all done!!!
(OOPSIES for the lengthy instructions... Just want to set you up for success!)
This will be your marvelous final product!
Helpful photos of the some ingredients used:
Fish Sauce!
Oyster sauce

Sweet Soy sauce

Happy Eatings!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Mediterranean Faves

A few years ago when I was attending college in San Antonio, my friend Roger introduced me to this amazing Mediterranean restaurant called Pasha. When I lived there for a year, I ate there pretty much every week since my apartment was down the street from one and one meal could feed me two times (broke college student probs!) My favorite plate from Pasha was the Chicken Sheesh Tawook plate. The Shawarma is absolutely scrumptious as well.

For $10.99, you get two skewers of chicken, a Greek salad, hummus, a bunch of pita bread, and GARLIC SAUCE. Oh my gosh. That garlic sauce changed my life!!!!! It's definitely not something you wanna eat when you're gonna be in close proximity to others because no matter how many times you brush and rinse with mouth wash.... that garlic will stay! But it was one of the most delicious sauces I have ever eaten. I love garlic too so that's probably why. :)

I had to search through many Instagram photos to find these two gems.
Chicken Sheesh Tawook plate
When it was time to move back to Austin, I knew my life would never be the same again.... Because there is no Pasha in Austin!! I have been on the hunt for a Mediterranean restaurant in Austin. I've looked at many menus searching for "garlic sauce or garlic aioli" and was not able to find anything. 

But then all of my prayers were answered.... A Mediterranean restaurant opened not too long ago near my office (and by a bunch of other restaurants that I frequent.). Peace Bakery & Deli is family owned and operated. It's a huge space on the corner of Braker & N. Lamar in the same shopping center as Rice Bowl Cafe and Pho Dan. They have those awesome meat spinning grillers that cook their shawarma meat and chicken. I love how their restaurant is set up because you can see the meat cooking and the sides in a glass window so that you can see them all and pick. Peace Bakery also has Mediterranean desserts that look amazing, but I was there for one thing. Ok maybe a couple things.... But I was in search for that GARLIC SAUCE and to see if they made it like Pasha.

I ordered a Chicken Shawarma plate togo. It included juicy chicken shawarma, a HUGE side of hummus, GARLIC SAUCE, lettuce/tomatoes/onions, and two large pitas.The pitas were in a huge basket at the end of the "food line" and they were warm and fresh. I could eat pitas all day long. CARBS ON CARBS ON CARBS. The food was inexpensive, the family was so kind, and I really enjoyed my first experience. 

Look at all of that food! I still have leftovers for today's lunch! :)
Happy Eatings!!!

Pasha Mediterranean Grill
(3 Locations in San Antonio Area)
@ The Vineyard -- Where I frequented 
1207 N Loop 1604 West
San Antonio, TX 78258

Peace Bakery and Deli
11200 N. Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78753