January 2024 Update

It’s 2024 and my 25 (lolll) Days of Ramen series got completely derailed.

On the plus side, I learned how to use Tik Tok. I also have some extra noodle packs to try later.

While we were on vacation for the Christmas holiday week, our dog had a seizure in middle of the night.

We rushed him to Como Park Animal Hospital (who helped us quickly and provided compassionate care) and made the difficult decision to say goodbye. He lived 15+ years – he was a loyal friend and family member and patient with the kids.

We’ve felt so raw about losing our pet – it’s been difficult to talk about it until recently. A family pet is interwoven into every single part of the household’s life – it’s no wonder his death has feels so profound.

During the same 24 hours that we lost Trayse, I received a job offer by our home. The new role make sense for our family, but I’ve had a happy two years. Leaving feels bittersweet.

Our daughter is also starting preschool, so it’s a lot of transitions all at once.

Some few good meals

With the kids, we don’t go out to eat a lot. Babies go through a magical sweet spot where they’re easy to take to restaurants, and then they reach a tough period where they lose all patience and start screaming and throwing things after 15 minutes. We’ve mostly enjoyed meals with family during the holiday months. On weekend mornings where we have a childcare provider visit, I sneak out and wander local Asian markets.

  • Sun Foods Deli (University Ave, St. Paul) – In an era where grocery store inflation is maddening, Sun Foods’ dollar deli items are the hero. At least at the Saint Paul location on University, the deli offers dollar eggrolls, samosas and sesame balls. None of these are small – the eggrolls are fairly standard but tasty, the samosas are delightfully spicy, and the sesame balls are filled with egg yolk.

  • Little Saigon Marketplace Deli (University Ave, St. Paul): Another Asian deli that I love – The steamed buns are amazing and only about $3 each. They are filled with a juicy and flavorful meat filling with mushrooms and some hardboiled egg. I think they are the best steamed buns I have ever had so far. I also bought these little crepes one weekend (around $12). They tasted so delightful. To reheat, I crisped them in the air fryer.

One  Sunday morning when we had a child care provider, I took off to explore local markets. I was hoping to find an Asian or African market with an open deli. I found several markets that were open but the delis were either closed or opening later.

I drove past Waterside Market and saw all the cars, so I veered into their parking lot.

There is a restaurant to the right that was open around 9:30 am. I bought two meat pies ($2.50 each) and a pineapple/coconut soda. The meat pies had a crisp pastry with juicy meat inside. If your heat tolerance is “black pepper is spicy” you may think they are spicy, but I found them flavorful but mild. My ideal type of breakfast.

I’m obsessed with the Youtube channel DancingBacons. They go to different types of hot pot restaurants in Asia. A number of hot pot restaurants have opened in the Twin Cities and I became obsessed with going to one. Since my young adulthood, Jasmine 26 has undergone at least a few different ideations.

Currently, it’s a hot pot restaurant. The hot pots here are individual sized. They start around $20 and come with veggies, your choice of noodle, some basic dipping sauces, and some meat (depending on the hot pot). You can order extra things to cook in the hot pot.

I went with a couple of friends and we all seemed to enjoy the hot pot broths. I ordered the spicy Szechuan broth. As the broth cooks, it concentrates and absorbs the flavors from the meats and veggies you cook in it, resulting in a delicious broth at the end.

I loved the experience and am craving another hot pot dinner soon. The people who operate the restaurant are extremely hospitable and kind.

My friend suggested dinner at Sushi Train and I was excited to try it. I had actually wanted to suggest Sushi Train, but knew she occasionally goes. Good thing we learned that neither of us tires of sushi meals. I could literally eat sushi every day and be content.

Each plate is color coded to match a certain price. A huge variety of plates circle around the restaurant on the conveyer belt and you simply grab what you want – salads, sushi botj cooked and raw, sashimi, nigiri, desserts . . . The sushi tasted fresh and the experience was a lot of fun. Would go back anytime.

1 Comment

  1. Kirk

    Sorry to read about the poor pooch! We lost our Sammy back in 2017 and still talk about him everyday.

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