Spending the last of break with family

Getting tired of family dinner pictures?  No?  me neither, because the food is always so, so good ^^b  ... And I'm back in St. Louis and missing eating at home already!  This time it’s eggplant, blanched Chinese broccoli, tofu, and tea eggs.  The tea eggs were from the charity fair, and my parents cooked up the others.  I love soft eggplant and tofu! <3  Yayyy, so happy~

Tofu tofu tofu <3

Hrmmm?  What's this?  (The culprit is somewhere in this picture!)

After stuffing myself for dinner, I combed Balto with his special “fur-minator” brush.  It’s really good at getting his coat nice and shiny!  :D  I felt like I took 5 pounds of fur off his body, and I wonder if he feels relieved.   I combed him in the backyard, so when I was done it looked like a pillow had exploded.  Then Bacardi came to inspect the scene and the two ran around the backyard for a bit.  I’m glad that we have both Balto and Bacardi.  Before Bacardi joined the family, I bet Balto was lonely.  Seeing them play together makes me happy.  :)

Two doggies zip by!

And Balto stops to inspect his handiwork ;)

Stomping around in glee

Bacardi joins the scene

Evil snickering and laughing

"I am 10 lbs lighter and feel so freeeeee!  Wahahahaaa!"

And that's how I would think they're acting ;)  The two of them actually rolled around in the fur for a bit, which isn't as bad as my friend's dog (Brownie), who rolls on dead squirrels, tee hee~  @_@

I met up with Michael at the park to walk our dogs.  We haven’t seen each other in around two years!  I decided to take Balto, since Bacardi would have probably barked the jibbies out of Brownie (Michael’s toy poodle).  On the way there, I felt really embarrassed, because Balto was super excited and literally pulling me everywhere! >_<  I had to lean my body the other way to keep from being dragged around, and after he took a dump, it was like a battle while I was attempting to pick up his doo doo with a bag and he was running towards the other direction!

My workout for the day was the ten minutes we tug-of-war-ed to our meeting spot at the park.  Then Balto got tired and we sat on the grassy field together.  It was nice.  He’s taller than me when we sit down together, and I felt like he was my boyfriend. Hehehe!  What a handsome stud <3  .. but the drooling all over me is really a turn off ;)

I talked to Balto for a while, and he took in the scene of the playground, pool, and woody areas.  A few bunnies bounded away into the safety of the bushes when Brownie appeared.  Then I saw Michael following close behind.  Haha, such a silly sight—he’s so tall and Brownie’s this itty bitty little white fluffball.  :P
We tried introducing Balto and Brownie, and Balto was so excited that I had to sit on him to keep him from pouncing on her!  Brownie was set off the leash and she retreated a few feet before just sitting there and staring at Balto.  He was whining and I felt bad :(  But eventually, we set off on a walk with Balto and me walking in front and Michael and Brownie following cautiously behind. 

By the time we got to the big park, Balto was tired and I could walk him without flexing my biceps :P  That’s when I love walking Balto—when he’s tired and easy to walk!  The park had a water fountain with a spout for humans and a spout below for doggies, sooo cute!  Balto literally took 5 minutes to drink, and Michael was like, “Brownie, want some water?  *Balto goes back to the fountain when Brownie approaches*  Uhm.. maybe not….”  Hehe, sorry Brownie!  ^_^’’  We sat together on a small hill, and Michael let Brownie loose to chase squirrels for a bit.  She’s so cute :3  Like a bounding rabbit frolicking in the meadows. 

When it got dark, we walked back to our neighborhood and said bye-bye.  I'll definitely be calling him up for another dog walk :)  Balto gets to meet his new girlfriend friend! ^^  Hehe, don't tell Bacardi ;)  I ran back to our house with Balto beside me and it felt wonderful.  Night was upon us, so it was dark and I could barely see what was down the street, but with Balto by my side, I wasn't afraid at all.  Balto and I were exhaling with each step together, while the cars passed by and graced us with their headlights.  Maybe it was the fact that I hadn't run in so long and that Balto was jogging beside me, but I love that feeling :D

"Ahh, but really, thanks Wendy for combing me <3"


What break at home would be complete without a family meal?  Like... *whole* family, including my sister! Connie loves, loves, loves sushi, and I didn't really know what restaurant to pick, so I chose one that would please my whole family!  Connie loves sushi, Daddy loves restaurants where you pay at the counter instead of afterwards, Mommy loves red bean soup and trying things she doesn't usually eat, and I like... food.  YAY!  So Hokkaido Sushi it is!  (Actually, the restaurant's name is technically Hokkaido Japanese Restaurant, but their sign says otherwise!)

Hokkaido Sushi is a Japanese restaurant literally tucked into one of the corners of the Diho plaza in Chinatown.  The red Chinese letters on the right mean "Hokkaido!" :D  Inside, the restaurant is very simple and clean, and they have a self-serve area where patrons grab utensils, water or tea, and free miso soup while waiting for the food to come out and red bean soup as dessert.  I like self-serve water!  Usually I'd feel bad for waiters coming every 5 minutes to refill my cup or be annoyed when my cup has been empty for a while, but with self-serve, I can get water whenever I want (and walk around a bit :P)!  Hehe~

There's a TV, but no one really watches it.  I think its for people who come alone, which is likely quite common, as this part of Chinatown is right next door to two high schools :3  

My parents said business was slow that day, because the few times they had come before, the room was bustling with people.  They also commented that all of Chinatown was pretty empty.  Hmm, wonder why?  :O  *US economy explodes*


The miso soup is delicious-- not too salty or bland, with a generous amount of tofu and seaweed

Octopus salad

Eep!  Don't freak out!  That's octopus.  I think they blanched it before tossing with a pickled cucumber salad.  The octopus is really chewy. It was kind of funny, because I'm a slow eater (my excuse is that I was busy taking pictures and getting utensils for the table!!), and by the time I finished chewing my first piece of octopus and looked at the salad, my family had finished it all!  XD  And my jaw muscle got a big workout *sore*  But the taste is good...  Is octopus supposed to be this chewy?  I liked the cucumbers, it had a bit of sesame oil and vinegar, slightly crunchy :)

Seaweed salad

I managed to nab two chopstick-fulls of this!  Hokkaido's seaweed salad isn't overtly sweet, which is definitely a plus compared to the sugared seaweed salad I have at school (the liquid at the bottom of the containers are radioactive green and looks suspiciously like corn syrup!).  This is one of my sister's and my favorite Japanese foods ^^

Agedashi tofu

Deep fried silken tofu in tentsuyu broth and sprinkled with bonito flakes!  I like eating this right when it hits the table, because if you wait any longer, the broth makes the crispy/crunchy skin soggy.  It's the combination of crispy outer shell and hot, soft tofu inside that makes this dish delightful!  I wonder why they don't just serve the tofu and have the sauce on the side.. :o  The bonito (fish) flakes add a lot to the flavor as well as presentation.  They dance with the air currents / steam coming off of the freshly fried tofu!  Here's a clip where you can hear my sister talking, hehe:

Two types of fish!  Both grilled to juicy perfection :)

Okay, I'm going to confess that I never get my Japanese fish straight, so I don't know the Japanese names for them.  Soba something??  I know the bottom one is beltfish, and I think the above is mackerel.  They are grilled so that the outside skin is dry and crispy, while the interior is still juicy.  Love it!  There are parts of the beltfish that are naturally bitter, so I like the mackerel more.  Yummyyyy <3

4 Sushi rolls

My sister's the sushi expert, so she ordered a four rolls.  I recall a "Shaggy dog," but that's as far as my memory goes >_<  Three of them had either fried soft shell crab or tempura shrimp, which I'll eat, but secretly don't think belongs beside fresh fish :P  And CREAM CHEESE?  Why is that even inside sushi?!  But one piece with the cream cheese is good, after that, I'm poking it out onto my plate and giving my shrimp tempura pieces to my mom ;)

These rolls were so boldly flavored that I didn't even use soy sauce or wasabi while I ate.  I think I'm starting to acquire a taste for sashimi (although I could never go full out and order sashimi by itself!) :D  There was a lot of sauce and rice seasoning on top of the rolls that added to the flavor.  I was excited when there was avocado, eel, or shrimp laid out on top! ^^

Afterwards, we all got a bowl of red bean soup.  Mmm, nom nom~  I like the sweetness of the soup by itself, and the beans aren't too smushy or still uncooked... just right!  I think they probably add in a can (or homemade!) of red bean paste to give the soup a delightful texture.

Hokkaido sushi is definitely a place to go if you want to enjoy Japanese food for cheap!  They offer other dishes like lunch box bentos and tonkatsu, but sushi is pretty cheap :)  With the four appetizers and four sushi rolls (ANNNND the complimentary miso soup and red bean soup), our family of four paid $55, which includes the tax.  The outside of the restaurant may look small and insignificant, but the sushi and food here is bold, flavorful, and delicious!  <3

Hokkaido Japanese Restaurant
9108 Bellaire Blvd, Suite B
Houston, TX 77036

Before heading back home, Mommy and I visited Twinkle again for some drinks and sweets.  We had a card stamp for a free drink, so my mom paid for a mango flavored ice treat while I got my mung bean slush for free :D  It's still quite expensive though!  The ice was $4.50 including tax!

Mango ice!  The ice itself is already frozen with mango puree, so they just shave it...

... resulting in a sticky, creamy texture!

My mung bean slush was wayyyy too milky this time.  It was like drinking milk with bits of mung bean floating around :(  No slushie/icy texture.  This is one of Twinkle's downfalls-- no quality control.  My last drink was fantastic, but this time's was way different.  I guess that's what I get for a free drink ._.''  But still, milk is good, I'll just remember to fill half my cup with mung bean before they fill it up with the drink!  For those that don't know, Twinkle lets you add unlimited / whatever toppings available at their toppings bar to your drink before they add in the liquid.  There's a max limit recommended, otherwise you wouldn't be able to add in the actual drink.  I usually don't add anything... er, okay, well I add in one fruit-flavored boba just to try it or something, but I don't think that counts ^^

Haha, I just realized that whenever we get a drink for the ride home, it's like I'm a little kid.  They buy me a drink to keep me busy and quiet XD  I guess not totally true, since I finish the drink before we even hit the highway, but afterwards I just plop over and fall asleep on the seat!

Mmm, milk with mung bean bits green bean/ mung bean slushie <3

And there went my break at home!  I'm back in St. Louis (hot, hot St. Louis D:), but I plan to be exploring the area while I can... that means more restaurant adventures!  ;)

sworly said...

That mango thing looks really good. Must check out this Twinkle place.

Wendy said...

:D They have different flavors like taro and strawberry, but I'm guessing you only have eyes for mango!

Also! am I allowed to comment on your blog? I worry my smiley-infused comment will ruin the philosophical deepness of your words ^_^''

sworly said...

All comments are welcome =)