November was Girlsgiving, Thanksgiving, family and friends. Fall has finally arrived and stayed. Rain did not come until the last week of November which was Thanksgiving week. It was such a cozy month as the temperatures dropped as well to 40 degrees at the lowest. We lit our fireplace for the first time this season.
As I am writing this, it is already the first week of December. I am so eager to start writing about the “most wonderful time of the year”! I just cannot move on until I revisit November one more time as this month was truly packed with joys — big and small!
My girls and I are continuing a new tradition which is meeting up for lunch to celebrate Thanksgiving. We have done this on a couple of years but not every year. We had such a delightful one this November where we had lunch at Lao Table in San Francisco. The restaurant was so unexpected chic and the food was not just super-good but the presentation was impressive! I will definitely post photos and do a restaurant review at another time. It was just so nice to see my girlfriends before the crazy but fun Thanksgiving with our own families. I am so grateful to have these beautiful, intelligent, highly independent superwomen in my life as friends for life. BFF also asked us beforehand what is most important to us. I answered “faith” and she surprised us with a cool bracelet for each one of us that was engraved with our responses.
One word “vacation.” Thanksgiving weekend always feels like a four day vacation to me. Thanksgiving started with meeting up with BFF in the City where we exchanged Thankgiving treats during our lunch time. Salesforce conference took over downtown SF that we did not have a place to go to! We ended up sitting in front of the Contemporary Jewish Museum. It was a short but sweet meet up. After the frenzy of the Thanksgiving Day itself on Thursday, the rest of the weekend was very relaxing and cozy. It was freezing the entire four-day holiday weekend. Not so lucky for us, we found out that our house’s central heater was broken! I loved it but Mr Sweetie was suffering. Cozy times in front of the fireplace!
🧡 THANKSGIVING DAY…. Spent the entire day at Mr Sweetie’s family at his brother’s house. We brought Honey Baked Ham and I made my famous artichoke parmesan dip. As always it was such a feast! I got my fill of Thanksgiving holiday food that I have been craving such as roast turkey, stuffing, mashed potato and gravy, sweet potatoes and a little bit of ham. I amazed myself that I did not really stuff myself (pun intended). I ate just enough despite there were so many dishes on the table such a at least 4 kinds of salad, mac and cheese, pastas, appetizers and so many pies! I was able to practice some self-control though and saved some space for the pies over the weekend.
🧡 Friday …. We purposely spent the entire day at home for our own very own quiet and cozy Thanksgiving . I made waffle and omelet for brunch. For our dinner I roasted Cornish hens stuffed with rice and sausage, and roasted potatoes. I cooked cranberry sauce from scratch. (It is the easiest thing in the world to make that I would never buy store-brought cranberry sauce again!) We enjoyed our dinner with the fireplace lit. Mr Sweetie caught up on his sleep.
🧡 Saturday…. It was a rainy day spent in our couch doing a Batwoman marathon and eating pies. Mr Sweetie bought apple pie and pumpkin pie just for us! He recorded 4 episodes of Batwoman and we were hooked! In the late afternoon, we went to Safeway to buy more firewood then we had dinner at my favorite mom and pop Mexican restaurant. We went back home, lit the fireplace again and did a Garfield marathon on Netflix.
🧡 Sunday…. It was the usual day with the family. My sister and nephews were at church. She gave me a big box of tempura and cassava cake. I gave them my artichoke dip and they asked me to make them more.
We had quite an international array of date night dinners this month!
🧡 Vietnamese Food Date Night…. Read about our Vietnamese pho date night here.
🧡 Montreal Food Date Night… Mr Sweetie has been bugging me to take him back to Auggie’s Montreal Deli in Berkeley. It is not the healthiest food in the world but I relented. He practically drooled on L’Montroyal which was a 12oz Augie’s Montreal smoked meat sandwich. It was a massive sammie for $19.95. I had a matzo ball soup and we shared a humongous plate of vegetarian poutine. I reviewed Auggie’s Montreal here on our previous date night.
🧡 Japanese Food Date Night…. Read about our delicious dinner at Judoku Sushi here.
🧡 Mexican Food Date Night … We went to Los Cantaros, one of my favorite casual Mexican restaurants in the Bay Area on the Saturday during Thanksgiving week. The venue and food are always very comforting. Somehow whenever we come here, I cannot resist to get their margarita with my shrimp and fish tacos which I often get. Ha! Ha!
🧡 Ice Cream and Pizza Date Night
Well, not on the same night otherwise, I probably would have ended up incapacitated if I ate ice cream and pizza together! [Lactose-intolerant (L.I.) sufferings! *crying*] We had ice cream at Smitten Ice Cream. I could not resist getting a scoop of Spiced Apple Pie. Mr Sweetie drove us here after our dinner at Joduku. It was fun because first, I hardly ever eat ice cream because I cannot. Second — Smitten is such a hip place to hangout for a little bit.
Even on the freezing evening, Smitten is was packed with people who were taking selfies while being enveloped by the fog coming from the ice cream machines. Smitten churns the ice cream in house and is made to order. Smitten started out in San Francisco and now in my hood! Fun sushi and ice cream date night. And the ice cream was so worth getting a little sick over. Pizza was on another Saturday evening. We were just too lazy to go out so Mr Sweetie ordered pizza. Another rare eat for me because yeah, L.I.
🧡 A girls’ get-together (Kimi, Jacq, Sara, and Jannette) at Bier Haus in North Oakland. I was impressed with their happy hour where the girls and I enjoyed beer, fries and flatbreads. This was special because Sara and Kimi are my friends for years but hardly ever see each other. We decided to have girls’ day just like what we used to do when we were all mostly single. Next girls’ day is at my house.
🧡 It has been a while since I had lunch with my family. Even though we see each other every Sunday during church, and get to hangout a little bit afterwards, we have been so busy doing our own thing. I really treasure every moment that I spend time with them.
While my sister in law was cooking (she made Fish in Soy Sauce for the first time), my brother and I watched Niners game in the living room. It was just a such an intense game vs the Cardinals. I ended up staying late. Niners won! (Go Niners!) As always, I go home with all kinds of treats from my family. This time they sent me home with bags of persimmon from my sis-in-law’s family’s tree.
DELICIOUS FALL EATS
🧡 Treats are great year round but loveliest during the cold months, and when generously shared. I enjoyed the following :
- Chicken and Cranberry sandwich from Andersen Bakery in SF
- Mochi cupcakes with salted eggs baked by a church member. So delicious!
- Belgian Waffle from Waffle Mania Truck in SF. A sweet morning treat by our boss.
- Banana chocolate banana bread by a co-worker. Also so yummy!
- A lovely spread of tofu skewers, focaccia and salad from Bi-Rite SF generously provided by work for employee brunch.
- I switched my glass of red wine to drinking cups after cups of Harvest Tea Blend from TJ’s.
- More TJ’s (Trader Joe) fall finds — Cinnamon Bun Spread on bagels and coconut whipped cream.
SELF-CARE…. We reap what we sow. Taking care of our bodies translate to better health, peace and joy.
I thought that I caught the flu but thank the Lord it was short-lived. I stayed home one day in November when I felt very sick . I made myself a really nice soba noodle soup. I hope to post the recipe one of these days. Cooking is also what makes me happy and my form of self-care. I got to make Pumpkin Coconut Seafood Stew this month. Check out the recipe here.
WHAT I AM GRATEFUL FOR
I am grateful for the many delicious simple joys and blessings of this season. I am grateful for togetherness with the people that I love the most. I am very thankful for the abundant feast on Thanksgiving and the food that friends generously shared all throughout the month. One of my biggest joys was being able to have Sunday lunch again with my family. I am also glad that I got to reconnect with good friends who remain throughout the years. And for the best girls for life and our fabulous Girlsgiving!