I have not been posting for several months. Due to several life events, my life has gotten quite busy.  To be honest, I have not felt inspired to post as I’ve been in a bit of a food-blogger funk. I hope to get out of that eventually, but I do not want to put myself under any pressure.  However, I remain passionate about food and cook often.  Whenever I am ready to return, I will come back in full force!

Since last November, I’ve been pursuing quite a lot of new things in my personal life. For example, I’ve started volunteering at a local Cancer Hospice. Thanks to the training done at the hospice, I’ve become a certified Reiki practitioner and Aroma (Touch) Therapy specialist.  Not only do I hope to heal those who are ailing from illness during the most difficult time in their lives, this journey has been tremendously helpful for my own self healing.  (I think my dogs like it too!)


As my friends and family know, my most favorite things in life are anything food and beauty industry related. On top of this, I have been working towards professional development training for my “day-job” career path.

I’ve long been a fan of make up artistry and want to ease back into the profession.  I can’t believe it’s been almost ten years since I was in the industry! So much has changed and I cannot ignore my longing rediscover new trends and techniques that I’ve missed out on over the years. As a result, I further plan to pursue esthetics and nails in the years to come. It will take a lot of financial planning and time, but I feel very committed to these passions.

Further, I  want to build my own computer to add to my future “beauty office.”  I am a closet-nerd, ha! This will be a really fun project as I plan to get my  parents involved. We have absolutely have zero knowledge about “the inside” of computers, so it should be really fun and a great test for us all!

On top of that, I want to make travel plans for the next two years. It has been far too long since I last took a trip overseas, and I am dying to get out there.

In terms of progress, all of this has been slow going. Even so, I really want to challenge myself and do exactly what I want to do. I am counting my blessings, and will be working very hard to make these dreams come true.

And for the cherry on top?  I became a vegetarian, if you can believe it.

Thanks to all who has come to visit my very, very tiny corner of the Internet.  I look forward to interacting with you again soon!

Lots and lots and lots of love,






Eat Like an Annapolitan Series: The Potato Valley Café

Washingtonian Best

Let me cut to the chase here. I love The Potato Valley Café, or as many locals call it, “Potato Valley.” It is the definitive comfort-food eatery in downtown Annapolis that I’ve been frequenting ever since I started working nearby three years ago. Potato Valley is a food haven amongst the touristy hubbub that we have going on throughout the year, such as the summer tourist period, Boat Show season in the fall, and Christmas time. It’s worth every bite, and I hope you’ll venture out to go!

Potato Valley is located in State Circle, an area that I view to be the heart of downtown Annapolis. (Nope, not Main Street!) State Circle is quieter and much more relaxed than the Main Street and the City Dock areas. If you’re not into seeing any corporate giants like Chipotle or Starbucks in a historical travel destination, you won’t be seeing any of that in this part of downtown.

Given that the Maryland State House is State Circle’s biggest landmark, the area is full of history. The architecture of the historically preserved buildings and residential areas are absolutely stunning, and always worth a look. Not too far is the meticulously manicured Governor’s mansion. Then while walking around and shopping, you can go straight to Potato Valley for a wholesome, delicious, budget-friendly meal. Sounds awesome, right?

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Brooke & Ian’s Request: Caramelized Tomato Tarte Tatin



While chatting with my co-worker, Brooke one afternoon, she brought up her husband, Ian, who is a chef.  I got so excited about this, because not only does Ian automatically sound awesome– he has a massive cookbook collection.  Brooke and Ian were kind enough to let me borrow both volumes of Julia Child’s (also Simone Beck) The Art of French Cooking for a little while.  Like Ian, I am the type of person that will read cookbooks in bed as I would novels.

Then, I asked if they would be interested in having me recreate any recipe they’d like for me to try on this blog.  Brooke and Ian kindly obliged.

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Trevor’s Request: Lomo Saltado


This post is dedicated to Trevor.  Trevor was my former dentist and now, a fellow foodie.

A couple of months ago, Trevor was trying to numb the lower half of my mouth.  While we were waiting for my teeth to give in, I naturally started to talk Trevor’s ear off.  I told Trevor that I was a food blogger and he shared his love for cooking at home.  I, of course, asked Trevor to visit my blog.  Not too long after that, he kindly put in a request to develop a recipe for the traditional Peruvian, Lomo Saltado–one of his favorite dishes.

I’ve never made this dish before.  I’m not even Peruvian.  Challenge accepted!

Here is what happened. Oh, but wait.  Heads-up…

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Eat like an Annapolitan Series: Soul

Soul Board
Best of Annapolis Winner from What’s Up Magazine

2017 marks the 13th year that I’ve lived in Annapolis. Although I’m a transplant, I’ve become quite attached to this town. Over the years, so much has changed. More developments, condos, and retail spaces have sprung up in this city thanks to a population growth spurt.

Best of all, Annapolis’s food scene has been blossoming.  Personally, I feel as if we’re experiencing some sort of food renaissance making this town quite the foodie-haven these days.

We now have restaurants that put Annapolis on the map like Vin 909, Dry 85, Soul, and so much more. On top of these awesome restaurants, Annapolis has added more food and wine centered festivals like the Bar-Bay-Q, Kegs & Corks Fest, and the Annapolis Arts & Wine Festivals. Each time I go to these events, there is no doubt that Annapolis is attracting more and more locals and tourists alike every year.

As an “Annapolitan” food blogger, these changes inspired me to begin this series. In the future, I hope these little guides will help those living in and around the Annapolis area explore and enjoy what this gem of a town has to offer.

For my first post in the series, I’ll be talking about the restaurant, Soul. I’ve had the fortunate opportunity to meet Chef Dave Pow, his wife Misti, and their sommelier, Trevor for some intel.

First, here’s a summary of the restaurant:

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Coffee Jelly: A Japanese Classic

Coffee Jelly 2

When I  moved to the U.S. from Japan fifteen years ago, I was naturally homesick.  I missed the food more than anything!  Coffee Jelly, a ubiquitous dessert there, is one of my all-time favorite treats.  It is readily available in grocery stores, convenience stores, cafes and restaurants in Japan.

Perfect for the summer months, Coffee Jelly is incredibly refreshing, quick, and easy to make.  My favorite way to eat Coffee Jelly is to top it with a thin (okay, maybe a not so thin) layer of heavy cream.

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Oisobagi (Stuffed Cucumber) Kimchi

As promised in my last post, today’s recipe is centered on the Oisobagi Kimchi, a Korean dish.


I am major Kimchi enthusiast. Am I Korean? Nope. Do I love Korean food? YES! In fact, I’ve been making my own Kimchi for over 10 years now.

So, what got me into my obsession with Kimchi?

Growing up in Japan, Korean restaurants are everywhere and so many Japanese people love Korean cuisine. Kimchi is sold regularly in supermarkets. It is ubiquitous. As a result, I grew up eating Kimchi and can’t live without it.

When I was in college, I was on a tight budget and cooked most of the food that I ate. On top of that, I tried lots of different kinds of store-bought Kimchi that was either made in-house at the supermarket or pre-packaged from elsewhere. I was never happy with the quality of store-bought Kimchi. Because of that, I started researching how to make it to my own tastes.

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Justina’s Request: Jjolmyeon

Jjollmyun BirdsEye

Summer is here in the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S…And it is HOT. And steamy. Humid to the point where I experience what the Japanese call “Natsu-bate” or summer fatigue. My symptoms include tiredness, lack of sleep, and a loss of appetite. On top of that, I have been at war with a mockingbird who has taken residence in a tree near my bedroom window. It serenades my street at 3 AM every night, forlorn I suppose. Must buy ear plugs!

On that note, today’s recipe features something that will help you stay cool this summer. Not much I can do to help with any mockingbirds, unfortunately.

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Buttermilk Grilled Chicken and My Culinary Girl-Crush

Roast Chicken

A few of my friends and family know that my biggest culinary “man-crush” of all time is Aguste Escoffier and Gordon Ramsay (I love it when he yells at people!).  But my culinary “girl-crush?” It’s Nigella Lawson.  She’s not even a chef—in fact, she has never claimed to be one.  But regardless of that, her passion for food and her love for the kitchen deeply resonate with me.

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Day 5: Done!

Day 5.jpg

Here’s what I ate on my final day of the fat fast challenge.  I’ll eventually try this again when I can be a little more focused. But for the first time? I’d say it wasn’t a total bust.

Meal 1

  • Sausage Patties

Meal 2

  • 80/20 Hamburger Patty
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard

Meal 3

  • Kale salad with cherry tomatoes with a little dressing
  • Marinated carrots (I’ll do a recipe for this in the future, it is ridiculously delicious)
  • Steamed Brocolli
  • Polynesian pork chops from Omaha Steaks


  • Salami

So starting tomorrow, I’m going back to intermittent fasting for a full week.  Now, I have to ponder what recipe I’m going to post next.  So many things I want to cook!


Until then!


Lots and lots and lots of love,