caulilini with bagna cauda fig bread pudding elk chorizo chile rellenos pork chops with chanterelle wine and cream sauce


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another good day with grandma

Yesterday we made the requisite stop for dim sum in which all three of us declared we weren’t that hungry after the previous day’s gorging on sushi and then proceeded to gorge some more once the hot and juicy morsels were paraded past our table. Thank goodness I had sense to run and bike in the gym that morning. We did more Asian market shopping (Ranch 99) and then had some boba (bubble) tea. Grandma wanted to order it at the small eatery attached to the store in Cupertino, but Elena knew of a specific tea shop that sold boba tea around the corner. Grandma’s instinct is to save money – to order the $1.99 tea. Elena’s instinct is to go for the treat, the good stuff. I have stated before that Elena has impeccable taste, and that extends to pretty much everything – especially food! The difference in price is less than a buck per tea, but it represents the constant battle between Elena wanting to treat her mother to something good, and Grandma’s frugality that got her through her 85 years of life. I sided with Elena, of course, because as a granddaughter I can only push so much before it becomes disrespectful. Elena is the hard-headed youngest daughter whose mind, once made up, cannot be changed without much effort and grumbling.


dim sum: grandma digs into the goods

piles of beautiful lychee



We rounded the corner of the outdoor mall to the tea shop and our eyes widened at the sight of the expansive list of options. Passionfruit milk tea, taro milk tea, lychee green tea, strawberry milk tea, and so many more. Grandma ordered the passionfruit milk tea which was by far, the best of the three. I asked her if she was glad we came here instead and she gave me a look as if to laugh, agree, and scold me for our collective impertinence. Grandma may be set in her ways, but she is perhaps the most open-minded person in the family – always trying new things and allowing herself to enjoy life with more ease.

smiles and slurps at the tea shop



Elena took us to a Japanese market next. Oh… how I love Japanese decor. It’s so simple and beautiful. In contrast, much of the Chinese art style is busy to the point of being tacky, gaudy. There was a small shop in front of the market that sold dishes, tea sets, noren, lamps, cards. Elena and I are both Japanese design sluts, so we ooohed and aaaahed our way through every inch of that tiny store and I came away only $70 poorer for it. However, I did manage to pick up a fantastic assortment of beautiful tea blossoms for MIL’s bday in November. I like to surprise her with interesting stuff and Jeremy isn’t all that creative when it comes to gifts for his folks. Before we knew it, it was time for coffee. Elena likes her caffeine like clockwork – in the morning and in the afternoon. Grandma rather likes it too. Elena’s discerning palate seeks out some pretty posh places for a cuppa and the afternoon stop was no exception.

in addition to fine joe, they tempt you with pastries



I don’t dig on the caffeine, but I couldn’t resist trying some macarons. I figured it was high time to see what all of the fuss was about.

pistachio and chocolate, pretty pretty macarons

melt in your mouth delicious

grandma thought so too



The rest of the day/evening was spent eating and talking and taking our time until we were all feeling a little drowsy and we said goodbye. I was leaving in the morning, but Elena would be around until afternoon. I hugged Grandma goodbye and commented how just ten years ago, everytime I said goodbye, she would cry (and so would I). Now, she doesn’t cry. Maybe she’s used to having me visit regularly, or maybe she’s not afraid of dying, and maybe she’s just chill with the world and taking it all as it comes. I hope I can find that kind of peace in my life some day. But it means more to me that she has found it and that she seems to me to be truly happy. Rock on, Grandma.

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