Hai Di Lao: The Disneyland of Hot Pot

Dancing Noodles at Hai Di Lao

In partnership with Westfield Santa Anita.

Memories of hot pot have always involved family and friends around one or two boiling pots of broth on hot plates, set upon the dining room table and enjoyed over conversation, often during the holidays such as Lunar New Year. Sometimes, it was simply the way my mom handled a meal when there were going to be a lot of people coming over for dinner. Raw cut meats, vegetables, bean thread noodles, and tofu were laid out on the table, waiting their turn to get dunked, cooked, then retrieved before being dipped into a personal bowl of XO sauce
beat with a raw egg, and eaten.

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Sponsored Giveaway: Buddy Valastro, The Learning Channel’s Cake Boss, at The Orpheum on November 17, 2010

Buddy Valastro, The Cake Boss (Courtesy of TLC)

New Jersey’s Buddy Valastro, whom you may know as The Cake Boss, just became a New York Times best selling author. He’ll also be appearing live at The Orpheum next Wednesday, November 17th, on the Los Angeles stop of his “Bakin’ With The Boss” tour. It’s going to be a family-friendly evening of stories and cake demonstrations inside one of the most beautiful venues LA has to offer.

So how, exactly, do you get to spend an evening with the Boss of The Learning Channel? You can see about tickets here – and/or enter my giveaway for two tickets (value ~$100). Make sure you do BOTH things below to enter. If I pick your name and you haven’t done both to qualify your entry, I’ll have pick another one:

  1. Leave a comment below (make sure you use an email that you check regularly so I can easily contact you) with your favorite cake flavor in the whole wide world and your Twitter account or Facebook URL (see #2).
  2. Either Tweet the below:

I just entered to win 2 tickets to The Cake Boss @LAOrpheum on 11/17 by @estarLA http://estar.la/e/93

or if you prefer Facebook, “like” my blog page on Facebook.

The contest ends Monday (11/15) afternoon at 4PM, when I’ll pick the winner at random. The winner wins two tickets to Bakin’ With The Boss next Wednesday!!

Good luck!!

Bakin’ With The Boss Tour

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

7 PM

Half-price tickets on Goldstar

Orpheum Theatre
842 S. Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90014

Buddy Valastro Store

On Brothers And Men

Growing up in a family with no sisters and three brothers ultimately had a big impact on my life. They are all significantly (9+ years) older and therefore had all left the nest by the time I was in junior high. Actual memories I have of them were from my limited, prepubescent personal interactions with them. Hiding in trashbags, a badminton (or flimsy volleyball) net in the backyard, complaining about mowing the lawn, houses made of couch cushions.

After they left, my parents – and I – would fill in the following blanks as to who they were; that is, with my being the audience. That is the thing about filling in the blanks. When you don’t really know anything about a person, others can make them out to be whomever you want them to be. You can also project on them any sort of role you feel they need to fill and they won’t be there to dispute that portraiture. So though I never knew them as well as even one of their high school acquaintances, there was an extremely high bar that their absence created – even bars that weren’t true to life. But they were created for me to overcome. When I did – I got the violin scholarship, played last in the piano recitals – it would prove that I was worthy of being loved. I even fulfilled their role as lawn-mower, as I probably mowed the quarter-acre lawn more often than my Dad did after the brothers left the nest.

The absence of my brothers created a need in me that went created yet unfulfilled. I have always had the love and approval of my Dad, so I wouldn’t say I had your stereotypical “Daddy Issues” you always hear about in women’s magazines regarding sexuality and equating the aforementioned with approval. Also, my mother is not the girliest of the girly so female sexuality for the most part went repressed – or, shall I say unexplored for the moment. Instead, I had “Brother Issues.” I have had, for most of my life, a need to be accepted by men as peers – whether I admitted it or not. It was something I had never had, but wanted. It was something I could see beyond my reach. Continue reading