Happy 3rd Birthday Maleeya from a month ago

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April flew by (actually, May is flying by too…the whole year). I can’t believe it, but it was a really great month full of really fun and exciting happenings for our family. Maleeya turned 3 on April 8th and we had a really fun birthday party for her at the park. About 50 people attended and I made probably the closest amount of food for the size party, without there being a week’s worth of leftovers. We had a really sweet Minnie Mouse theme and Maleeya dressed the part in her Minnie Mouse dress and awesome party hat and crafts made by my sister. We are really getting into this birthday party hosting with all the crafts, food and fun. To my surprise—well, not really—I did some kids’ entertainment: yoga, freeze dance, three-legged races, jump rope hopping, parachute and giant balloons. The kids had a great time and so did everyone else.  We are so blessed and I couldn’t be more grateful for another amazing birthday celebration! Happy 3rd birthday Maleeya, Auntie loves you!
Menu
Kale Salad with Raisins, Cranberries and Walnuts

Macaroni Salad with Mixed Vegetables and Red Wine Vinaigrette

Potato Salad with Diced Egg, Celery, Green Onion and Pickles

Roasted Turkey or Ham and Cheese Sandwiches

Vegan Vegetable Sandwiches with Roasted Red Peppers, Zucchini, Cucumber, and Herb and Garlic Olive Oil

Italian Cold Cut Sandwiches: Capicola, Mortadella, Salami, Ham, Provolone Cheese, Red Peppers, and Pepperoncini

Minnie Mouse Mixed Fruit Platters

Veggie Platter and Dip

Meat and Cheese Platters

 

Cheers,

Unrivaledkitch

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Maleeya’s 2nd Birthday

My niece just recently turned two on Monday, April 8th. I can’t believe she’s already two! It really goes by fast and I know that’s a very cliché thing to say, but it does. It feels like just yesterday that my sister told me she was having a baby and now Maleeya is just so adventurous, ambitious and remarkable. She truly is an amazing little girl and I feel so fortunate to be able to see her every day and watch her little spirit grow.

Happy Birthday, Monkey! Auntie loves you very much.

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So for Maleeya’s birthday we had everyone over to Encino Park for some food, of course, and lots of other fun things for the kids and plenty of catching up for the adults. Some of my sister’s friends brought their little children and we were able to get a little kids yoga session to happen while the adults watched. I’m so grateful to the little ones who decided to participate, even with everyone watching. It’s amazing how fearless young children are. So we had yoga, party favors, a huge Minnie Mouse piñata, cake and lots of food.

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The menu this year was more manageable with my current work load and shortage of time, but still delicious and fun. I’m so glad I got to cook for over 50 of our closest family and friends. I’m so grateful for all the support everyone has shown me through my yoga and my cooking. I’m truly living a dream I could only have actualized with all of your help. Thank you!

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Menu

Homemade Balsamic Cumin Barbeque Sauce Chicken

Rainbow Pasta Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette, Italian Herbs, Black Olives, Broccoli, Tomatoes and Roasted Peppers

Cobb Salad with Hard boiled Egg, Crispy Bacon, Roasted Garlic Turkey, Tomatoes, Avocado and Blue Cheese over Baby Mixed Greens and Balsamic Vinaigrette

Roasted Vegetable Platter

Fruit Platters

My mom prepared our grandma’s special macaroni salad and potato salad, as well as Bachan’s triple-layered Jell-O, which are all family traditions at any event. My boyfriend made delicious pork sliders with jalapeno coleslaw—needless to say, everyone loved them.

We had such a great time celebrating my beautiful niece, Maleeya! I can’t wait for next year. :)

These gorgeous photos are courtesy of the wonderful and talented Lyz Cooper, Brandon’s mom is an amazing photographer! Thanks Lyz for capturing such special memories for out family.

cheers

-Unrivaledkitch

Maleeya’s First Birthday Celebration and Catering

My niece, Maleeya, just recently turned one on Easter, which was April 8th, so we decided that it would be a good idea to celebrate Easter with our family, including a small birthday celebration for her and then, the following Sunday, have her huge birthday celebration at the park. First birthdays, and birthdays in general, are a huge deal for the Fujitaki family, so we knew it was going to be a big production to get everything together; naturally, I was in charge of the food. As the number of guests grew and grew as we approached the party date, I knew that I was in for a good weekend full of catering and cooking, which felt nice because I haven’t done a large event in a while, but boy did my body feel it after cooking for 14 hours, not to mention the countless hours in preparation, shopping, organizing and sourcing. Needless to say, I slept a lot the next day and took a completely necessary yoga class to get my aching back and feet back to normal. 
I didn’t have time to make the cakes but these are pretty darn cute!
The final count for Sunday was about 65 people and I think there seemed to be even more people than that. I have no problem making a lot of food for a lot of people, but with space limitations, refrigeration limitations and my new time limitations (aka Yoga Teacher Training), I found myself planning a different sort of menu.  One person cooking for 65 people in a residential kitchen can be a tricky thing, but with a little patience, a lot of intuition, and a calm demeanor, anything can happen.  I want to thank my sister, my parents and our friend Valinda for helping me put the last minute touches on everything and hauling it over to the park. The whole party was such a success with everyone’s help and I’m so grateful to be a part of such an amazing family and extended family and friends. It’s such a beautiful feeling to see how much love is surrounding this amazing little girl and how it shapes and molds her lovely little soul. Happy Birthday Maleeya! Auntie loves you so much.
Menu

Roasted Chicken, Sundried Tomato, Mozzarella and Spinach Basil Pesto Sandwich on Rosemary Garlic Bread
Chinese Spiced Pork Tenderloin (Char Siu) Sandwich on Toasted French Roll with Spicy Asian Mayo, Cucumbers, Pea Shoots and Carrots
Roasted Salmon Lettuce Wraps with Cherry Tomatoes, Arugula, and Quinoa
Sliced Turkey Pinwheels with Hearts of Romaine and CheeseScallion, Black olive and Celery Potato Salad
Rainbow Pasta Salad with Roasted Peppers, Tomatoes, Red Onion and Colby Jack Tossed in Red Wine Vinaigrette
Orzo Salad with Stripped Beets, Broccoli, Cranberries and Fresh Spinach Tossed in Sherry Vinegar Dressing
Purple Cabbage Coleslaw with Honey, Peanuts, Carrots and Granny Smith Apples
Vegetable Platter And Fruit Platter










Cheers

-Unrivaledkitch

Adventures with Stephanie from The-loudmouth.com; Ventura Edition

Stephanie and I found our way out to Ventura County this time around. I used to work and live in Moorpark, CA so I’m very familiar with the surrounding areas, because honestly, there isn’t much going on in Moorpark. I loved it there, but being back in the valley is where I belong. Living somewhere else and then coming back really makes you realize how great you had it. I still miss V.C. every now and again, and my friends who live there, so I visit frequently.


It’s actually been a little while since I got out to Ventura, namely Main Street, which is its main drag of interesting happenings.  I always used to get my knives sharpened at American Flags and Cutlery, but sadly, their storefront is now out of business. They still offer sharpening services, so I’ve heard, but I can’t find any information on it. I was very glad to get my knives sharpened one last time. I don’t trust my babies to just anyone. I guess I’ll have to be on the hunt for a new knife sharpener soon. Stephanie saw firsthand, my Dexter-style kitchen utensils. If you haven’t read about them, please see your way to this post.

After we dropped off my knives, we decided to get some lunch. We stopped in at Natures Grill. This small café style eatery offers a natural selection of vegetarian, vegan and meat eating options alike. I chose to have the old town salad, which had a lovely tahini dressing and was filled with hearty brown rice, guacamole, carrots, tomatoes and feta cheese over romaine lettuce. I also had a wedge of squaw multigrain bread and a raspberry ginger beer. The combination of flavors is really wonderful. I love this salad. Stephanie had a very ample burrito filled with fresh veggies and a side salad. We had a completely affordable and healthy lunch by the beach.

Main Street has a surplus of fine eateries, pubs, bars and even night clubs after dark, but it’s also home to thrift stores as well as stylish boutiques. We walked down to window shop and peak in at the thrift stores as well as have a little photo shoot on the sand by the waterfront, just a couple blocks away. We followed that with a beer at Anacapa. I opted for the house brewed stout and Stephanie had the house amber ale.  We chatted over our local beer, having an epiphany about what was next on our list of adventures.



Suffering from a bit of a food coma, sun coma and an afternoon cocktail, we decided a coffee appealed to us. We stopped at this gorgeous little café called Savory. They had wonderful baked goods and a very nice espresso drink selection. The cafe has a very gardenesque feel to it. The décor is adorable and purposeful. The dining room has an almost outdoor feel with a very large open window for people watching. They are a full-service restaurant and bakery as well. I had a peanut butter cookie and double espresso black. Stephanie had a soy latte with amaretto.



After coffee we picked up my knives, just as sharp as can be, and headed back to the car. Another beautiful day full of adventure and interesting eats and treats.

Cheers

Unrivaledkitch

My favorite day in Seattle

I’d have to say the best day I had in Seattle was the last full day I was there. An honest save the best for last type feeling occurred to me and I was able to get in an amazing amount of fun. My morning started off with breakfast at Toulouse Petit  this lovely eatery is located in Queen Anne, its décor is chic and welcoming. The food is fantastic and southern inspired, I love breakfast when I’m in the mood for it and here I was very happy with the outcome of my meal. I ordered Fried Oyster and Bacon Eggs Benedict. The absolute luxury of this dish was something to recoil at because it was such an early hour but seeing this item on the menu was too tempting to pass up the offer. I had chosen correctly and was happily on my way through three quarters of the platter before second guessing its lavish appeal on my taste buds. The influence of the south was present on my plate, thick cut crispy bacon, perfectly fried corn meal battered oysters flowing with runny egg yolk and Creole hollandaise sauce over a lightly toasted muffin take the cup on one of the best breakfast plates I’ve had in a very long time. Breakfast Happy Hour is an affordable and awesome way to start the day.

After breakfast I took the bus down to the city and took a stroll over to the market and looked into some shops. Later on I made my way back to my hotel and decided to stop at the Experience Music Project I absolutely loved this place, it’s a combination of music and science fiction. They have amazing exhibits on Nirvana, so many guitars, Jimi Hendrix, and also they had a really amazing exhibit on Avatar which is one of my favorite movies. I could have spent an eternity in there looking at all the music pieces and reading about guitars as well as playing in the sound labs. It was really one of my favorite museums I’ve been to.


After that I met up with a new friend I made at Ashley and Bryan’s wedding Lia. We had drinks and happy hour at Toulouse Petit because she said it was one of the best happy hours in town which I’d have to say was correct. We had a plethora of different dishes ranging from amazing mouth watering modern southern flavor to the classic down home fried bar grub. We chatted and made it through the menu, I love meeting new people who love food.

Fried Okra with Remoulade

Wild Mushroom and garlic bruschetta with arugula

Ahi Tuna Tartar with Quail egg and horseradish cream

Golden Beet Salad with haricot vert, blue cheese, kalamata olives, citrus vinaigrette and candied walnuts

Katie Mae pearl vodka, st germain, grapefruit juice, prosecco

After some awesome conversation and lots of good eats, Lia offered to take me the other side of Lake Union to Gas Works Park which had an amazing view of Seattle from across the lake. Before getting to the park we stopped at an awesome Pie Shop in Fremont called Pie. They specialize in all things pie, sweet and savory. I ordered a Raspberry Peach Pie and Lia got Banana Cream we sat in the sunshine and ate pie by the lake, which was delicious light flaky and wonderful. It was such a beautiful afternoon. After that Lia let me off at my hotel. I hope one day we’ll see each other again soon.

After I got situated I decided to take a walk on the waterfront and watch the sun set over the sound. I walked by the water front and along Olympic Sculpture Park.  I sat alongside the sculptures and watched the sun fade into the distance, taking note of the beautiful Washington sunset. Something I knew I wouldn’t see again for at least a little while.

I finished walking by the countless bustling shops and eateries got money for the bus in the morning and turned in looking into the cloud ridden skies at the space needle for the last night.

Cheers
Unrivaledkitch

Bellevue on the way to Seattle

As I return from Washington I have so many beautiful memories to share, beautiful memories of nature, food, friendship, and travel. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

Taking this trip to the Bellevue and Seattle area of Washington was so beautiful. The weather was breath taking and as it’s been brought to my attention many times this is not very often the case, I’d like to think I brought the sunshine from California but I hope I haven’t taken it back with me.

The main objective of my travel to Seattle was to attend two amazing friend’s wedding. I’ve known Ashley and Bryan since we worked together at Starbucks about 8 years or longer ago now. They met at Starbucks and have been in a relationship ever since and on 8/6 they were married in beautiful Kirkland, Washington alongside the stunning Lake Washington. I was able to stay close to the wedding services for 4 days of my trip which was nice because it gave me a different perspective of what business/suburban style living in Washington is like.

Lake Washington was filled with people all along the shore line, site seeing and getting ready for Seafair http://www.seafair.com/ weekend. The Blue Angels http://www.blueangels.navy.mil/ were practicing in the sky for their over the weekend aerial shows which was an amazing site to see. While in Bellevue I took it upon myself to do as much as I could within reason which included a little stop at the Bellevue Art Museum, Museum of Doll Art, Bellevue Botanical Gardens, Bellevue Yacht Basin, Meydenbauer Beach Park, Clyde Beach Park, Downtown Park,  Main Street Bellevue, taking peeks and walks at Bellevue’s many malls and other shopping profligacy.

Seeing these places made me realize how much pride people have in their own towns all over Washington which is a beautiful thing. I loved the feeling of Bellevue, which was business driven and suburban with small bits of tasteful art, nature, and other brilliance.

I ate well and affordable in Bellevue. I had gastro pub style eating at 520 in downtown Bellevue, Indian cuisine for lunch at Chutneys, and Peruvian food at Amazon Grill.

I took a stroll into a local Asian Market called Uwajimaya that was amazing. They have small counters for prepared foods, large sections of Asian utensils and containers, beautiful sea food counters, sashimi and beautiful fruits and vegetables. I wish I could pluck that market from Bellevue and put it in my neighborhood. The selection of items was remarkable, along with an amazing array of gorgeous sea foods and produce items, two of my very favorite things.
Walked up a gigantic hill to the Bellevue botanical gardens, beautiful lengths of tall trees shaded my face and brought to my attention how much I adore nature. I walked for what seemed like forever but I didn’t mind the beauty of Washington was everywhere. Breathtaking.

520 bar and grill is situated in old town Bellevue. A little street lined with all different types of food and small cafes as well as some bars. The restaurant is a style of gastro pub catering to the masses with American style cuisine. I decided to have a local beer and a burger but changed it up by getting a lamb one instead. It was juicy and served with a nice taziki sauce as well as some steak fries. I sat outside and enjoyed the beautiful sunshine sipped pale ale and soaked in the Washington sunshine as most were.

The next day a friend and I started out for lunch we decided to take our chances on an Indian style lunch buffet at Chutneys and we weren’t let down. There was a large array of freshly made choices. I filled my plate with different curries of vegetable, tiki masala, and tandori chicken as well as some lovely saffron rice. We filled up and the service and atmosphere was wonderful. We had a lovely lunch for a very affordable price.

After that we made our way to the museum of doll art. This is one of the most interesting and strange places I’ve ever been in my life. Sorry to say if you’re in the area please check it out because the woman at the front told us that by March the Dolls would no longer be on display. They don’t allow pictures but it’s something to see with your own eyes. In the museum there are dolls from all over the world and their play things and accompanying houses and other crazy items of small delicate detail.

Inside this gorgeous shopping center called The Braven is this lovely little place called Vovito. Vovito is a genius idea of the melding of sweet icy treats such as the lush and delicious Italian style gelatos and sorberttos as well as the accompaniment of booze and a full service cafe. They have everything I love here. I enjoyed a nice glass of Burt Champagne and some blood orange sorbetto. Wonderful!

 

Downtown Park is beautifully situated in the heart of the city. It is dedicated to those who have outdoors in mind with fountains pouring water and paths of dirt for dogs and owners to roam around and stretchy their legs. There were plenty of children about enjoying the sunshine and jungle gyms.

Another day I found myself roaming Clyde Hill but I didn’t know I was on Clyde Hill till I turned up at Clyde Beach Park. I found myself sitting for a length of time on the dock staring deeply into the blue sky over lake Washington, mesmerized by the beauty of such amazing homes and gorgeous morning water front. Sitting on the dock thinking about the next steps of life, I could still feel at ease. I finished my trip by walking back down passing Meydenbauer Beach Park and dipping my toes in the lake, and then after that finished by walking past the large Yachts at Bellevue Yacht Basin.

I had a Peruvian style lunch at Amazon Grill, which was lavishly decorated for the masses. The menu was situated with lots of not only Peruvian style foods but also other Latin American favorites. The restaurant is known for Rodizio style dining which is the carving of various meats table side for your eating pleasure. I decided that Rodizio would be way too much food for my liking for lunch. I was given a appetizer of plantain and various other root chips as well as three dipping sauces of various heat from yellow, orange, and red peppers as well as small corn like dried nuts.

 

I decided to have just an appetizer for lunch which was a sampler platter of Peruvian specialties which included
Chicharron de Camaron- Crunchy Pacific black tiger prawns deep fried in a quinoa batter and served over a bed of glazed yams with creole sauce
Cebiche Clasico de Pescado-Fresh fish of the day, sliced red onions, aji amarillo and celery
Fresh fish marinated in “lech de tigre” (tiger’s milk) made from lemon juice, kion and other herbs prepared in the classical Peruvian style, served with a side of sweet potatoes and inca corn
Causas Tradicional Yellow and purple mash, chicken salad and avocado slices
Causas are classic, elegant and tasty “cakes” of mashed potatoes with a myriad of different toppings.

Everything was very flavorful and the textures were different and pleasing. I thought the shrimp was cooked very well and the cebiche had such nice acid contrast. The Causa was something I’ve never had before and I’d like to explore them more.

Over all it was a very nice lunch something very different and I enjoyed myself thoroughly.

So with all this my time in Bellevue came to and end, this place reminded me much of where close to where I used to live when i was in Ventura county. Still having its mystery and gems but being not far from the city and its adventures. Next the bridal shower and wedding.

Cheers
Unrivaledkitch