baked oats green chile chicken enchiladas chow mein bakery-style butter cookies

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No matter how good a trip was, it is always a great feeling to come home. I have red welt marks on my right shoulder from the weight of my duffle bags which were packed to the hilt with goodies. One bag was full of Trader Joe’s goodies (having lived within 6 miles of 6 TJ stores in Pasadena, we can’t seem to do without very easily) and the other had my clothes and lots of Asian food stuffs. Despite all of the food items I carried home, the most precious things I brought back were good memories from the visit.

cupertino is apple country… apple, how i love thee

On Grandma’s birthday, we drove her to one of her favorite senior centers to sign up (it is re-opening soon). Elena and I walked around while the employees chattered away with Grandma, her friend, and my mom. It’s quite a nice set up for seniors, but what caught my eye the most was the Group Therapy Room.

yeah right, it’s the majong room!

Afterward we went to Milpitas’ E-Noodle for some terrific fare. I really do appreciate all of the suggestions from folks for great places to eat. Just that my Grandma is pretty independent and had ideas of her own. It seems that there is some intersection between her restaurant space and the restaurant space of my blog readers, so it’s all cool. I’ve made sure to maintain the recommendations for future reference. Their beef noodle soup was the shit (I mean in a good way) as were their pot stickers, dried tofu noodles, congee, and beef tendon.

sautéed beef tendon

I know what some of you are thinking… beef tendon? Yeah, it’s delicious here, so don’t be scared of it. In the evening, we took Grandma to Chef Chu’s in Palo Alto. We have had a lot a special meals there partly because my Grandma’s niece is the head of catering and partly because their food is incredible. I don’t think I have ever ordered off the menu though – we always get special ordered dishes. Chef Chu’s has a surprisingly high percentage of white clientele because they do serve a lot of the Americanized favorites. However, their Chinese specialties are really amazing. It’s not a typical authentic Chinese dive since their restaurant is clean, their waitstaff polite and professional, and their style is somewhat westernized.

happy bday, popo!

When we lived in New York, Grandma would cry every time we parted ways. It was unclear to me if she was sad to see me go, or worried that we wouldn’t see each other again or …? But these days she doesn’t cry and I don’t sense she is as sad. When I tell her I’ll see her again, I think she really believes me. I also get the impression that she’s not afraid of dying. I used to be terrified of death, but these days I’m not. It affects the way you live your life, or at least your perspective on life. Perhaps I see this in Grandma? She is so practical. While I was messing around taking photos one afternoon, she said matter-of-factly in Chinese, “I want you to take a nice picture of just me, to put up at my funeral. I don’t want some junky photo, okay?” Or if we suggest getting her a new piece of furniture she’ll say, “Why? I’m only going to use it for a few years, tops!” Of course, I want her to live to 100 and beyond, but I’ll gladly take any time I can get with her. I’d like to think that perhaps the realist in me may have come in part from her.

The best part of the trip was seeing my mom and my grandma so happy. That means a lot to me.

above the marine layer flying out of san jose

Only minutes after takeoff, I realized that I never retrieved my Patagucci jacket from the trunk of Elena’s rental car from the night before. Panic. I always panic when it comes to relying on the honesty of strangers. [Jeremy and I found $120 in cash in the parking lot of a grocery store once and turned it into the grocery store manager who looked at us like we were insane.] Two hours later in Denver, I texted Jeremy to contact Enterprise while I grabbed my bags and caught the bus to Boulder.

It was lovely to see Jeremy waiting for me at Boulder Station. He picked up my bags (a little surprised at how heavy they were) and walked me to the car. I hadn’t eaten anything, so we decided to head to Sushi Tora for a little reunion lunch. While there, we ran into a very nice woman at the sushi bar who remembered us from Community Night at The Kitchen back in July. It was the camera… I mean the fact that I take pictures of everything I eat – that is what made her think I might be the same crazy Chinese chick from Comm Night. Yes, crazy Chinese chick and I are one and the same. We exchanged emails.

a simple spicy tuna roll

tora no maki roll, smoooooooooth

Kaweah, who was reportedly mopey all weekend without me, came bounding down the stairs when I got home. She gave wiggles, waggles, and some butt scoots of joy. We took a happy nap together – her chin resting on my chest, snoring into my face. I also got a call… Good news! Enterprise found my jacket and shipped it to me today. When the world is so full of people who suck at their jobs, I have to sing the praises for this company because they have done right by me several times now. Thanks Amanda and Jenny.

Yay for being home.

20 nibbles at “loot”

  1. Kitt says:

    Welcome back! Whew on the jacket. Restores your faith, doesn’t it?

    Your grandma sounds delightful.

  2. Lisa says:

    OH! You call her Po-Po! That’s what I called mine…

    Chef Chu huh? Wow how I wish we had hookups into the special menu. Sounds fantastic. The western fare we’ve had before is expensive and sort of fancy Panda Express. But the restaurant is certainly a fixture here. Chef Chu’s has been on that same “tri-city intersection” (Los Altos, Palo Alto and Mountain View) since my parents were dating.

    And whodda thunk? I just got a restaurant recommendation in my favorite lunchtime plaza from a Coloradan! Second time I’ve heard of ENoodle! Guess I’ll have to head over for lunch one day.

    LUV the puppy wiggles. I live for that.

    Love the daily posts Jen. A lot of work I’m sure… but you have adoring fans. ;)

  3. barbara says:

    Jen your Grandma looks so happy. You can see she was having a great time and feeling very loved by you all. I play Mah Jong. Well I did in NZ. Haven’t found a group here but must.

  4. Rosa says:

    I always enjoy your posts as they make me travel and dream! I love that San Jose cloud picture!



  5. Mrs ErgΓΌl says:

    have a great rest! It’s gonna be much needed after such an active trip! You take care and we’ll be waiting for new recipes!

  6. peabody says:

    So sweet that your puppy was so happy to see you.

  7. Margie says:

    Welcome home, mi amiga! I rejoice that all is well, a lovely trip was had and a jacket will soon be reunited with its rightful owner. More joy at knowing that puppy dog and mommie are back together too! And of course, last but not least, Jeremy has his sweetie back at his side. :)

    Enjoy a bit of restful sleep and then hit the kitchen, the trail and don’t forget the camera!


  8. Happy Cook says:

    Welcome back.
    I know what you mean, when i go back home to my mom. And everytime we say goodbye, she starts crying, and each time she tell me i don’t know if i will be there next time you come, now i joke to her telling her that she has been telling me this from the time I got married and that is 18 yrs ago, then she give me this huge smile :-)

  9. Mollie says:

    Yay indeed!

    Is Grandma looking to adopt, because I would really like to go eat with her for the weekend a couple of times a year. Let me know what she thinks about my plan…

    Welcome home!

  10. Holly says:

    Butt scoots of joy ROCK! :o) My big fat white English Bulldog does those all the time. With his typical Bulldog tail (or lack of), he has to wiggle his entire hind end to show his joy! What a lovely description of your reunion with your best furry friend!

    I love what you shared about your Grandma. Grandmothers are full of wisdom that we have to extract every chance we get! I know you were so grateful for a special time with her and all your family girls! Glad you are home safe.

    I am headed to San Jose the end of October (I’ve never been to CA!) and have enjoyed everyone’s tips for you, especially Lisa’s. I have made notes! Perhaps Lisa would be willing to email me? I have a few other dining/winery questions and I’d love to “pick her brain”, if she’ll let me. Would you mind passing my email along to her? I tried commenting on her blog about it, but since I’m not a blogger and have no Google ID, it wouldn’t let me. Thanks!

  11. Nate says:

    Welcome back to Colorado!

    That peace of knowing your mom and grandma are happy – that’s a real comfort.

    @Holly – you can contact me via the Contact Us link on our blog if you have questions about dining / wineries around the South Bay.

  12. Andrea says:

    This is totally random and not about food, but next time you are in the bay area you should see if you can get a tour of the google campus in Mountain View. It is a total trip!

  13. ThistleDew Farm says:

    Sounds like a great time – I love memory maker trips – so awesome! I am also jealous of the food you consumed. I go for the westernized Chinese – but here in Eastern Tennessee it is hard to come by any type of good Chinese – I’m going to have to experiment with your dishes and do it myself. Cherish the good times!

  14. amylouwho says:

    Hooray for loving adorable grandmas.

  15. Lisa says:

    What a wonderful trip! Your grandmother sounds amazing.

  16. Debbie Green says:

    Your grandma is adorable….sounds like you had a very nice time….You know what is important in life.

  17. Lori says:

    Theres no place like home, theres no place like home.

    Your Grandmother looks so wise. I would love to sit down with her for a while and talk. I use to work in a nursing home. People say wasnt it sad? I say no, actually it was a joy in a lot of ways. Sure there was moments of sadness but there was so much to be learned there!

  18. Lisa says:

    Sorry to use Jen’s comments page as a bulletin board… Holly feel free to email me at my spam-mail address and I’ll email you my real email address: lisa @ mail 2 know . com (remove the spaces, of course)

    I’m happy to give you any info on dining/site-seeing all over the Bay Area and even other parts of California. I’ve lived here my whole life and even lived in many different parts of the Bay Area. I’m also a total foodie :D. I’ve tried to hit as many of the Michelin starred restaurants as I can (and as my wallet can support!)

    In my opinion, San Jose isn’t all that exciting unless you’re a huge techie like most of us who work down here. The beauty and excitement is farther north in San Francisco – and of course, wine country…

    I’ll check my spam email more often this week to try to spot your email!

  19. Rachel says:

    Wow, can you hook me up with your grandma’s niece? lol ;) The few times I’ve been to Chef Chu’s I remember the food being rather Americanized and not particularly memorable.

  20. jenyu says:

    Kitt – yeah, it sure does. Thanks :)

    Lisa – I can totally see how Chef Chu might disappoint. We’ve been there before wen we didn’t tell my mom’s cousin we were coming and it was like eating better than average Americanized Chinese food. However, the chefs really know their authentic stuff. We had a banquet there for Grandma’s 85th and the food rocked. E-noodle is deeeeelish. You’ll dig it.

    Barbara – Grandma is a very positive individual, which is one of the many reasons I love her so. I admire her spunk, much like I admire yours.

    Rosa – oh, you live in a lovely place yourself! There’s no shortage of beauty there :)

    Mrs. Ergul – ha ha, Grandma tires me out and she’s 50 years my senior!

    Peabody – yeah, I missed her too.

    Margie – thanks. There is still a lot going on this month!

    Happy Cook – ha ha, that’s so cute and sweet :)

    Mollie – Okay, you can get adopted, but then you have to put up with a lot of silly superstitions and such ;) I’ll ask…

    Holly – Grandmas rock, don’t they? Looks like Lisa answered your questions. She knows A LOT and I trust her taste in food. Good luck and enjoy your trip to SJ!

    Nate – thanks :)

    Andrea – oh, that sounds so cool Thanks!

    ThistleDew Farm – thanks and best of luck on making your own authentic Chinese food. I have had to do that since we don’t get the good stuff in Colorado :(

    Amylouwho – hee hee.

    Lisa – thanks!

    Debbie Green – Grandma is one cool chick. Everyone loves her :)

    Lori – I have to agree that the elderly will surprise you with much widsom. Even if they aren’t “wise” per se, if you listen to what they say, it reveals a lot about what they’ve lived through or seen.

    Rachel – the inside scoop helps a lot. I benefit only by the fact that I am related to my grandma – everyone treats her soooo well. It’s my dumb luck that I’m associated with her :)

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