The Best Dumplings in the San Gabriel Valley

OK, so I know that if enough people paid attention to this blog, that title would cause quite the uproar. It’s true – I have not tried every dumpling in the San Gabriel Valley. Not even close. In fact, for the purposes of this (delightful) taste test, we simply did a portion of Lucky Peach’s A Dumpling Crawl of LA’s San Gabriel Valley. So yes, there likely are better and brighter dumplings out there. But here are those we tried, ranked and rated for your dining knowledge.

Xiao Long Bao Continue reading

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Dogwood Photography Challenge: Weeks 19 and 20

Week 19 – Story: Back Yard [Shot with Canon EF 50mm/f1.8 II]
Tell the story of your immediate surroundings. Give us a glimpse into your daily life.

Was thrilled to hear that I didn’t have to leave my home for this one. Was less thrilled when I remembered the state of my backyard. Luckily, this deeply colored bloom proved a willing subject.

Dogwood Week 19

Week 20 – Technical: Sky Overlay [Shot with Canon EF 50mm/f1.8 II]
Sometimes the sky just doesn’t cooperate. This week replace the sky in your image.

This one was a bit more demanding, but also kind of fun – I’ve never seen a sunset quite this good, but now I can make one!

Dogwood Week 20

Dogwood Photography Challenge: Week 18

Week 18 – Artistic: Purple [Shot with Canon EF 50mm/f1.8 II]
 Your inspiration this week is purple. Purple is the color of royalty, magic, and mystery.

Finally, a challenge with a bit more leeway (and less requirement for technical prowess!). A simple walk around the neighborhood revealed that California (at least our immediate part) is home to many pretty purple flowers, including these ones with a hint of ombre about them.

Dogwood Week 18

(Almost) No Recipe Required: Cilantro Lime Burrito Bowls

You know when you know something is gonna be good? Like, tasty? Like, you’re excited to eat it before you’ve even started cooking it? That’s how I felt about these burrito bowls, courtesy of Fork Knife Swoon. I knew they were going to be hearty and savory and something I wanted to take big fat bites of. (Also, I love lime. And carbs. So, easy sell?)

Burrito Bowl with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

Plus, look at all that GREEN. They look so healthy! But enough mooning over them – here’s the basic situation. Continue reading

Dogwood Photography Challenge: Weeks 16 and 17

A few more from recent weeks of the Dogwood Photography Challenge…

Week 16 – Story: Leading Lines [Shot with Canon EF 50mm/f1.8 II]
Leading Lines are a very important compositional element that every photographer needs to master. Use leading lines to tell a story. No train tracks.

I experimented with some water feature shots and pathways before landing on this photo, which uses the leading lines of the fence to draw the eye into the distance.

Week 17 – Technical: Loop Lighting [Shot with Canon EF 50mm/f1.8 II]
Loop lighting is one of the most used portrait lighting techniques. Shoot a portrait using loop lighting. If you don’t have an off camera flash setup, get creative with how you light your subject.

My #1 model! I don’t have an external flash setup, so we “got creative” with our new porch lights – see the little “loop” shadow right under his nose? I think that means I at least partially got it right…

Eating Out: Wanderlust Creamery

The Boy and I had an hour to kill in the Silver Lake this weekend, and true to form we went straight to Yelp and tried to find something good to eat. We ended up at Wanderlust Creamery in Atwater Village and I’d consider it a rousing success.

Ice Cream

Wanderlust Creamery is, I’ll admit it, one of those chic and pricey ice cream shops. Great light, white and wood decor with some greenery, your typical “hipster” joint. But the hipsters bring the good food with them, and I’m cool with that. Continue reading

Dogwood Photography Challenge: Weeks 14 and 15

Whoops, got a bit behind on updates (I’ve stayed true to getting my photos each week, however)! Let me catch you up…

Week 14 – Technical: Panning [Shot with Canon EF 50mm/f1.8 II]
Use the technique of panning to capture a subject in movement. Panning is using a slower shutter speed while following the subject with the camera to create the sense of movement in an image.

This. Was. Difficult. I made the poor Boy run back and forth through the snow to capture this shot, but I’m not sure how the professionals manage it…

Dogwood Week 14

Week 15 – Artistic: Hard [Shot with Canon EF 50mm/f1.8 II]
Your artistic inspiration this week is hard. Hard is both an adjective and an adverb. Interpret this how you wish.

Barely made it in under the wire on this one late Sunday night, when I decided the hard texture of a metal lantern in my home would do the trick – shot in black and white, I’m actually rather pleased with it…

Dogwood Week 14

A Moment in the Mountains: Vail

As mentioned in my earlier food-specific post, the Boy went on a work trip to Vail a little bit ago and I was lucky enough to get to come along – my first trip to Colorado! Not my last this year, but we’ll get there when we get there.

Vail View

From what I can tell, Vail is a series of beautiful views punctuated by snow, skiing, and food & drink – so, a very chilly heaven? I’ll run you through a few of the highlights, mostly in photography form. Continue reading

Dogwood Photography Challenge: Week 13

Week 13 – Story: Golden Hour [Shot with Canon EF 50mm/f1.8 II]
The golden hour is the hour before sunset or after sunrise when the sun casts amazing golden tones. Find a way to use the golden hour to tell a story.

The golden hour turned out to be tricky purely because you have to catch it – miss it, and your moment is gone. I managed to catch a multi-metallic scene on a balcony in Vail (tough life, I know…).

Dogwood Week 13