17 April 2007


For all Catholics, Easter is a HUGE DEAL!! First, one must endure the forty days (not counting Sundays) of fasting and self-sacrifice and prayer, starting with Ash Wednesday. The end of it is a GLORIOUS Celebration, which includes a three hour + mass on Saturday night (which my sister and I endured in Vietnamese) and Sunday mass (one is required, but attending both is optional). That is, after Holy Week, which really is Holy Thursday and Good Friday, a lot of prayer and reflection and fasting. In any case, Easter is a big TO-DO for all Christians, considering that there'd be no point in Christ-based faiths without Easter (you can disagree, but I'll never give up my stance on this point), so, as you would expect, lots of food is involved.

After mass in Saturday (a three hour ordeal that we spent standing at the back of the church because we were nice enough to let a few old ladies take our seats), we all went to eat at Cali - which just so happens to be the only Vietnamese restaurant worth eating at that is open at that time of night. Family style dinner is something that I miss now that I live away from home, so it's always nice to sit down to it: canh dau hu (tofu soup), can chua ca (fish soup with tomato and pineapple), mam heo (I guess it's pork, but I'm not sure how it's made), thit tom kho (slow-cooked pork and shrimp), ca chien (deep fried fish), bo luc lac (sauteed beef on watercress), ca kho (slow-cooked fish), and some other stuff that I didn't eat.

Next we have Easter Brunch. Opting out of cooking two big meals on Easter Sunday, we all went to Mimi's Cafe after Mass. Of course they don't take reservations, and it was as crowded as all-get-out (a term I know the meaning to, but never really understood the origins). We were seated an hour after calling in, and sat down to a nice meal with the family. I had pan-seared scallops over fettuccine. I couldn't get pictures of everyone else's food, just because everyone was pretty famished once we got the food, and dug right in. Everyone else got various breakfast items (like the crabcake eggs Benedict my sister ordered) or spaghetti.

Easter Dinner was a bit more work for me than just ordering food. I had decided to make an Easter dinner I read in the latest Food&Wine. It was a Chilean dinner with herb-crusted leg of lamb, fried mashed potato balls, tomato and onion salad, green and white beans salad, and some other things that are Nguyen family staples at all dinner (canned corn, garlic bread). It turned out really well, and mom, Anni and I were able to finish leftovers for lunch the next day.

And that was Easter. Much of the rest of the week went unphotographed, much to my dismay. I never seem to remember to take the camera when I really want it. Random meals include: Bengal BBQ at Disneyland (skewered meat and veggies including bacon-wrapped asparagus), Gyros from Daphne's (because In-n-Out was flooded), drinks at Dave and Buster's (cosmos and lemondrops), wonton soup from Mr. Fong's (thanks to Angie), dim sum at Mr. Fong's, dinner and drinks at Nectar Wine Lounge (delicious, but small, portions of pancetta-wrapped prawns, kobe beef, and affogato), beef tenderloin (a la Mrs. Woo via pre-marinated Costco), and afternoon tea at the Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay (which I DO have pictures or and will post in a later entry).

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