March Gratitude Post

Monday, April 23, 2018

As April is almost over, I would like to take this time to take a little break from my Philadelphia travel posts. I just cannot believe how these calendar pages are so quickly being flipped over to almost the middle of 2018! I would like to write my March Gratitude before May arrives and dazzles us with summer's warm days. (One could only hope!) 

Since we are in the topic of weather, March in the Bay Area has been chilly and rainy, while it was still winter in Philadelphia with a full-on snowstorm! 

March has been a busy one with family and travel. And a sad one, too, as a dearest friend has been called Home. Here are the highlights of March 2018:


My brunch of veggie scramble and grits with biscuit while Mr Sweetie had biscuits and gravy

Mr Sweetie and I experimented this month by deciding to do brunch dates instead of our usual Saturday Date Nights. It really all started when we had to wake up early one Saturday to bring my car to the shop after getting rear-ended in February. It was just to have the bumper fixed but since my car is still a brand-new car, I still want it to be in the best condition. After bringing the car over to the body shop, we decided to go to brunch at Mama's Royal Cafe in the neighborhood. I have been wanting to check it out for years and we finally got a chance that morning. It was a fun morning despite the fact that we were not crazy about our brunch at Mama's. Their take on brown gravy instead of the traditional white one on biscuits was unexpected. The food was good but not the best.

My big American brunch of fried potatoes, veggie omelette and ginormous biscuits!

Inspired by last Saturday's brunch date, we went for it again on the following one. We just loved how we had the entire day to do as we please after being out and about so early (like going to Best Buys where we picked up a couple of gadgets -- Mr Sweetie's fitbit Ionic which was one of my belated holiday presents for him and a printer for the house-- then coming home to watch a movie and take a nap.)  Of course, we forgot about Bay Area's passionate love affair with brunch. Given that we were not as early as last Saturday, our attempt at Aunt Mary's Cafe was a bust. (Aunt Mary's was previously featured on Food Network's Diners, Drive Ins and Dives while on their old location just across the street from the new one.) The wait time was over an hour! We decided to go to the ever reliable chain Black Bear Diner in Emeryville, CA where parking is plentiful, the wait if just few minutes tops and the plates are humongous!




To continue on with topic which is brunch, I had a Friday brunch with my mom and dad. This was quite special because I usually do not get to see them until Sunday where we go to church together then spend the entire day shopping, running errands followed by a late lunch which is usually Japanese. The reason for this day was because I took my dad to to a minor eye surgery which was at 7 am  in the morning! I was up at 4 am that morning so I could avoid the morning traffic! And it was also the weekend before I flew to Philadelphia. A very hectic weekend indeed. Despite how tired I was, being with my mom and dad is always the best moment. 


Orange Blossom Sushi and Tempura at Cha Cha 

On Sundays after church, it is usually just me and my parents after church. My handsome 14 year old nephew, Matthew, joined us this time. Since it might not be often that a tween decides to hangout with the grownups, we were thrilled. He is really fun to be with and did not complain that Grandpa and Grandma wanted to go to Gardena Supermarket for groceries before having to wait for almost 2 hours for a late lunch at Cha Cha Sushi! (Dad and nephew fell asleep in the car while waiting. Never again, Cha Cha, for making us wait that long despite your decent sushi!) Then we bought pastries at 85 Degrees Bakery next door followed by  shopping at Trader Joe's  in Almaden afterwards. He was a trooper and I am happy that I got to spoil him as well.

Caterpillar Roll at Aniki's in Fremont

The following Sunday, my other 14 year old nephew Gabriel wanted to join grandpa, grandma and Tita (auntie) as well so he could hangout with his cousin Matthew. We had lunch at Aniki's Sushi in Fremont which is becoming a favorite after church lunch spot because of good sushi and plentiful parking. It was really a memorable lunch as we really do not get to hangout with my nephews now that they are older and have their own social life. 


My brother is really into healthy eating while my sister in law just loves to cook. Lucky me, I am the recipient of all these delicious meals. Every Sunday I go home with boxes of home cooked dishes cooked by my sister in law. I have lunch for days! This was the case after I dropped my parents and nephews off at my brother's house where they are staying. My brother decided to barbecue in their back yard that day. It was a beautiful spring afternoon where the cherry blossoms were already blooming. The entire family was there including my sister, brother in law and baby nephew so they could pick up their son Gabriel who hung out with us. I stayed for a bit but did not wait to have dinner as I was still very full from our Japanese lunch. (See above.) I went home though with lots of bbq Kefta and chicken kabob that my brother marinated from scratch, and aromatic basmati rice. They were Mr Sweetie's dinner that night and my lunch the next few days!


The only time I get to eat Filipino food is if my family cooks them. My sister in law packed this delicious sauteed mung bean with chicharon (pork rinds). Oh, so delicious that I want to post a picture of it here. Click here for the recipe of monggo guisado. 


My month is not complete if I did not get to spend time with my friends. Despite our very busy schedule I got to see my BFF and amiga mejor.


My birthday was in February but the celebration continued on. My friend amiga mejor took me to my birthday lunch. She wanted to take me to a tapas restaurant but it was storming that week. We both decided that tapas are for gorgeous sunny Spanish weather. I chose Raavi, a hole in a wall  Indian restaurant in San Francisco but so delicious! As always, she spoils me and gave me lovely presents. It was a beautiful lunch time with her -- short and not always enough time but always sweet. 


Celebrating each simple joys and seasons with BFF are some of the things that I feel truly grateful for. To find a friend who finds the joys in celebrations and little things just like I do is such a blessing in life. St Patrick's Day is not really as big of a celebration in the Bay Area. However, BFF and I look forward to it because it is a fun holiday and -- Irish Soda bread! We met up at the San Francisco Shopping Center at our favorite spot on the top floor, spent our lunch time catching up, having a heartfelt conversation and exchanging goodies. I gave her Easter treats while she was right on with the season -- she gave me Irish Soda bread and yummy chocolate "potato" from See's


Mr Sweetie's Fried Chicken & Mashed Potatoes
Date night was at Lazy Dog Restaurant and Brewery in Dublin, CA. Lazy Dog is a chain in the burbs.  We ended up in Dublin in search of winter coats for our upcoming trip to Philadelphia. Mr Sweetie needed a coat for the snow which we found at the Macy's. We decided to go to Lazy Dog where he had fried chicken and mashed potatoes. I had a chicken sandwich and fries which were meh! The restaurant was cozy though with a big fire blazing in the fireplace. It was St Patrick's Day but I was disappointed that they were not celebrating it! Not even a corned beef and cabbage on the menu!



The second half of this month was a trip to Philadelphia where I went for business mixed in with a lot of pleasure. There was a snowstorm, beers and  eats at Irish bars, lots of delicious Amish fare at the Reading Terminal Market, lots of Philly Cheesesteaks! and exploring this City of Brotherly Love and Birthplace of the American Republic.  Please visit my previous posts where I wrote about our adventures in Philly in great details along with nice photos.  And there will be a couple more Philly Postcards posts after this Gratitude Post. 

My March ended with Mr Sweetie and I returning at almost 1 am from Philadelphia on March 31st, Sunday. I did not go to church but I went to see my family after sleeping in for a little bit. I gave them the pastries that I got them from Reading Terminal Market. My mom fed me chicken noodle soup as I was hungry and have not had breakfast/lunch yet. I stayed for a couple of hours until 5 pm then went back home to catch up on my rest. It was very nice to see my entire family, though.


 Everything! I am grateful for the love of my mom and dad, and family. I am thankful for every precious moment that I get to spend with them, for every Sunday that I get to worship with my family and for the opportunity to spoil my mom and dad on Sundays by taking them to lunch and taking them shopping as they have spoiled me and continue to. 

I am grateful that I got to hangout with my handsome nephews who are growing up to be wonderful young men. I am thankful for every dish that my mom and sister in law pack for me every Sunday that become my lunch for the week while at work. 

I am grateful for the love of my best friends for life, for the company, support and being generous with lovely things. I am so glad that I have my BFF whom I can celebrate the changing of the seasons with.

I am so thankful for the Lord's blessings of a wonderful job that gives me opportunities to travel on the company's expense. I am so happy that I got the opportunity to travel to a historic US city with Mr Sweetie where we really had an  unforgettable time together.

And lastly, the blessing of a dear friend who has gone Home. I miss him every day -- his friendship, loyalty and all the great lessons that he taught me. He was one of the bravest and strongest human being that I knew. I can still his face brightly smiling at me telling me that everything is just fine. I do believe that he is happy now. Until we see each other in the Lord, dear friend.


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