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if i make it that far

I was pretty tired last night when we got into our hotel and then I spent quite some time fighting with the wireless connection. I had to email my photos to Jeremy in Colorado so he could load them to my server for me. Good thing that he 1) stays up late working and 2) is awesome in general. Reports are that we are due for snow in the mountains and Miss Kaweah is a little forlorn without me there.

Typically when I visit Grandma, it is with Jeremy. I spend a lot of time translating from Chinese to English and it gets tiring for my brain to work in two languages like that – especially when Jeremy drives and Grandma gives directions and I am the middle step. It’s even crazier because Grandma takes public transportation – she doesn’t drive anymore (hasn’t for many years, and it’s probably good for everyone’s safety!) – so we’ll be at a stoplight in the rightmost of 6 lanes when she suddenly pipes up in Chinese, “Oh, turn left here.” And I’m like, “Ummmm… Jeremy, I have news for you…” He’s used to it by now and he never complains.

There have only been a handful of times that I have visited Grandma without Jeremy. I’ve coordinated visits with my sister, mom, aunt. Several years ago after Grandma had her pacemaker put in, my mom and her sisters took turns to come out and stay with her. When Mom’s turn came, my sister and I flew out too – but it was a surprise for Grandma and there was much laughter and joking. Kris always made me laugh. She made everyone laugh. The last time I saw her before she died was over Chinese New Year – we were visiting Grandma together. Good memories.

testing a flash solution on elena

If you can’t tell already, Grandma is special to me. She is like my second mother. She helped raise me and Kris when we were little. This trip is happy and relaxing – just the girls: me, Mom, Elena (my aunt and my dear friend), and Grandma. I was sitting in Grandma’s apartment this evening when I realized that the three beautiful women around me didn’t look anything close to their ages. My mom’s family is blessed with the genetics of looking 20 years younger than they really are. Wow.

in milpitas, there are plenty of choices for chinese dining

This morning we opted for dim sum in Milpitas at Mayflower Seafood. Not too bad. The overall consensus was that Pan Tao’s chicken feet are better (hey, that’s the word, I don’t touch the stuff myself). We wandered around the markets and bakeries, took Grandma to shops so she could get various errands done, and I scored some goodies of my own to take home for future cooking projects.

mmmm, chili garlic sauce makes dim sum so very yum

Elena and I are always trying to coax recipes out of Grandma. All of that precious information is in her noggin! This morning we attempted to decifer her instructions for a Chinese pastry. So many women of her generation go by feel, not by measurement, when making food. Looks like I will have some experimentation to look forward to at home. But it not only feels like I’ve opened up a small treasure chest each time I learn about a new recipe from her – I also get to cherish one more part of my grandma in this way.

Tonight we went to Umi Sushi for dinner. Ermmm, it used to be pretty good, but tonight I think the quality and quantity of fish was rather disappointing. I expect good sushi in California. It’s frustrating that I would get anything less. Not sure that I will be returning here. If you south bay peeps have a favorite sushi joint, lay it on me!

spider roll and spicy tuna roll – meh

Well, Mom is sudoku-ing in bed, Elena is reading the NY Times, and I have managed not to screw up my commitment to NaBloWriMo for a fourth day. Yiha!

21 nibbles at “if i make it that far”

  1. Rosa says:

    A nice portrait and great food!

    Have a good time with your family,


  2. Maja says:

    I could totally get used to this! Daily posts rock. ;) You have some pretty awsome people around you all in all, it warms my heart reading your posts, from appreciating Jeremy to the amazing women in your life. I hope you find a great sushi place soon! :)

  3. Meeta says:

    a great post! it’s always great to have people you appreciate around you. the food looks good – but i agree you need to find another good sushi place! hugs to you!

  4. Jenny says:

    I would like to adopt your family…or more appropriately have your family adopt me as I am the orphan. Love your posts.

  5. Mrs Ergül says:

    Keep it coming! I love dim sum, I know I have said that before. When I were in Hong Kong like 4 years back, I can have it every morning for 5 days. There is so much variety you don’t get sick of it! Again, enjoy!

  6. Margie says:

    Jen, I have finally learned what the term, dim sum, means. I was ignorant and made the decision that I must, italics necessary: find the recipe! What joy to discover that it references a lovely, light dining experience. If I read my wiki right ;) .. a tea served in the a.m., up through noon, small samplings and Cantonese in nature?

    Alas, I digress. Your photo’s tell happiness shared between the sweetness of family. Enjoy your visit, for all sharing ends much too quickly amongst those we hold so dear. I celebrate your joy!

  7. susieshomemade says:

    I love the pictures of the sushi!! I am the only one in the house who eats it so, it is a special occassion thing for me:-) Yummo:-)

  8. Kitt says:

    Sounds like you’re having a lovely trip. Thanks to Jeremy for putting the pictures up!

  9. Jamie in Las Vegas says:

    Grandmothers (and elder relatives, in general!) are such special people, not a day goes by that I don’t think of mine. Enjoy your time, soak up their knowledge, and try to keep up with them!

  10. Grey Street Girl says:

    What a fun visit! Elena is beautiful. You can definitely tell you all have those great youthful genes. I just reconnected with my biological mother and my family genes scare me, quite frankly. But, I’m determined to live a bit differently and fight it the best I can!

  11. Lisa says:

    Hi Jen,

    You’re in my neck of the woods and you’re eating my favorite foods. How can I not??…

    Been going here for 8 years and while the prices have frustratingly gone up – the quality is still VERY good:
    Sushi O Sushi
    2789 El Camino Real
    Santa Clara
    Korean owned. Very fresh fish and some very interesting rolls.

    Again – not sure if you’ll make it far up the Peninsula but I’ve recently found an absolute hole in the wall gem for really high quality fish. Japanese business men wait patiently to eat here so you KNOW it’s good (tho I wasn’t as excited about the non-sushi food like the grilled items):
    Sakae Sushi
    240 Park Rd

    Another place with great fresh fish and good rolls and conveniently in the South Bay:
    Sushi Tomi
    635 W Dana St
    Mountain View

    Not sure if you’ve heard of or been to Nijiya Market – Japanese grocery store chain with a couple locations in the South Bay. They have a FABULOUS selection of Japanese grocery store items (tons more than Ranch 99 of course) and also sell prepackaged sushi that is quite good as well.
    143 E. El Camino Real, Mountain View
    240 Jackson St., San Jose

    I’ve only been here once and had a great experience with good rolls and great fresh fish, but it’s VERY small. It’s like a hidden restaurant which adds to its novelty. I often hear people talk about it, so I’ll jot it down for you:
    1335 N 1st St
    San Jose
    Note that there is no sign for it from the outside. It shares the same entrance as House of Genji (but DO NOT eat there) and you actually go through a curtain that looks like a side door for House of Genji. You may also accidentally enter Sushi Zen, but that’s not the place either.

    I can’t write to you about sushi/Japanese places without also dropping a note about excellent ramen. My personal fav:
    859 Villa St
    Mountain View
    Some of soup bases tend to be a little salty. Oddly enough the “salt” base seems to be the least so. Don’t forget the Butabara (stewed pork) – DELISH! Place is VERY small and there is almost always a wait unless you come really early or really late. But they do move through people quickly…

    A (half) Japanese friend loves this place so much, she named one of the tables at her wedding after it:
    Ringer Hut
    1072 Saratoga Ave
    San Jose
    I haven’t been but also hear about it a lot – for soup/ramen.

    All these places get pretty crowded at key times so I’d recommend preparing for a little wait or perhaps calling ahead!

    I’m not joking – feel free to email me if you want any other suggestions for anything else! I live and work right in the midst of all these places and have collectively for 20 years of my life!

    Have a fabulous time with your family. I too absolutely cherish time spent with family. And it saddens me to see them get older and older each year. All the more reason to reach out and grab them while you can.


  12. lisa says:

    Maybe you’ve seen this guy’s blog. He does a lot of review and such for restaurants in the Bay Area. Perhaps something in his blog will steer you to a good find.

    Your special ladies are lovely. :)

  13. Sharon says:

    Hey, I don’t know if you’re in the mood for Malaysian but my favorite place in Milpitas is Banana Leaf in the McCarthy Ranch area. They have great roti canai there (I could eat 5 orders single-handedly) and everything else is top-notch. Enjoy the bay area!


  14. peabody says:

    Yeah, I can’t eat anything with the name spider in it. :)

  15. Holly says:

    I’ve always regretted not grabbing my grandmother’s recipe box when we emptied my grandparent’s house for sale. Get as many recipes as you can from your grandmother and keep them safe!

  16. Kelly says:

    Good for you for trying to get some of grandma’s recipes! I wish my grandma(s) cooked well so that I could learn from them. I’ll leave that up to you! Enjoy your time with the fam.

  17. Chez us says:

    Wonderful post, Jen! We recently ate at the Mayflower for a wedding, it was not bad, as you say. I think we had some of those chicken feet, too!

    Enjoy spending time with your family. Do try to get some recipes, that would be fun!

  18. Nate says:

    Mayflower is pretty good.

    So is Banana Leaf for Malaysian, but we like Layang Layang in Cupertino better.

    If you can get over to Los Altos, go to Akane Sushi and sit at the bar for omakase. Cheaper than Sakae but just as good. It’s another one of our Top 10 favorites.

  19. Psychgrad says:

    That’s your grandmother? She looks like she’s 40. Too young to be my mother (and I’m younger than you).

  20. jenyu says:

    Rosa – thank you, dear.

    Maja – daily posts are easier when I’m not on travel :) Should become easier anyway… I hope! Thank you!

    Meeta – thanks, love.

    Jenny – awww, I’ll let them know. They’re great fun, but the whole SAT, GPA thing made me insane as a kid ;)

    Mrs. E – Oh, can’t you get good dim sum in Singapore?!

    Margie – the dining experience is lovely, but hardly light per se ;) People eat a lot at dim sum because there are so many amazing dishes to choose from (small plates). Good thing I don’t eat it often or I’d have died of coronary disease by now ;)

    Susiehomemade – you need a sushi fix, girlfriend!

    Kitt – great fun except for the part where I feel like I’m going to explode :)

    Jamie – you hit the nail on the head, babe. Thanks xxoo

    GSG – it’s fascinating what you get genetically and what you get through nurture. Glad that you will live your life by your standards. That’s the way to do it!

    Lisa – I think you are my long lost twin at birth. Do you cuss a lot too?! Thank you so much for this list. You are AWESOME.

    Lisa – thanks for the link! I’ll check it out (I’ve never seen it before).

    Sharon – Grandma doesn’t do Malaysian, but one day if I ever get a chance to sneak away, I might!! Thanks :)

    Peabody – ha ha. But you like crab, so I bet you’d dig on this roll!

    Holly – ohhhh :( There isn’t enough time in the world to capture all of the amazing knowledge in my grandma’s head. I’ll just do my best while enjoying her company too.

    Kelly – thanks!

    Chez Us – ha ha! Ugh, chicken feet. Thanks so much.

    Nate – awesome, thanks for the recs!

    Psychgrad – she looks good, doesn’t she? A beautiful woman inside and out. Thanks!

  21. Mrs Ergül says:

    Though the dim sum here are ok none here can beat the ones in Dim Sum Land!

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