Enjoy Newly Taste Best Gifts

And now,  something funny…

We use to see a lot more signs or items with odd or funny English translations when eating at ethnic restaurants — on the wall, bathrooms, or the chopstick wrapper, the paper place mats and so on.

I thought maybe we would not see any new ones, at least locally.

Well.I…so I am wrong.  Here is the calendar gift box — for 2012 — from the local Chinese restaurant.  You would think someone would catch this and fix prior to mass printing. Hmmm….maybe they do this on purpose…just so we smile and add it to our lost in translation items.

There is a funny website called Engrish.com dedicated to these translation topics  —- check out the site and their “brog” for some smiles, snickers and laughs (okay, maybe only if you share my sense of humor).

Most translations are from Japanese to English, but people submit items from all over the world.  I especially like the section called “almost Engrish”.

Sample submissions below.

On Vaclav Havel…and what is wrong with this newspaper front page?

I’ve been meaning to post something about the death of Vaclav Havel.  It so happens that he died the same weekend as North Korea’s Kim Jong-il.

It bothered me that the news focused so much on Kim Jong-il instead of the life and leadership of Vaclav Havel.  Our own local newspaper is proof…

It doesn’t seem right that a person who caused suffering for so many should take top billing over a person who led a life of integrity and contributed positive ideas to our world.

I’m afraid to ask…but what does this say about our culture, about us?

Kim Jong-il – Over the last 17 years, known for leading a country with a depressing human rights record, and one of the world’s most closed and repressive governments.

According to Human Rights Watch, he was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands, and perhaps millions, of North Koreans through widespread preventable starvation, horrendous prisons and forced labor camps, and public executions.

Further, “Kim Jong-Il will be remembered as the brutal overseer of massive and systematic oppression that included a willingness to let his people starve,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch.

Vaclav Havel was a playwright, political dissident and past president of the Czech Republic.  He was the leader of the peaceful anti-communist “Velvet Revolution” and supporter of human rights.

The Clintons, who attended Havel’s funeral, called him a “towering figure in the world of human rights and a force for progress in Eastern Europe.”

Havel inspired his people, and millions more across eastern Europe, to stand up for democracy and fundamental human rights in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director at Human Rights Watch.

More about Vaclav Havel on this article by Newsweek/Daily Beast columnist and CNN contributor Paul Begala.  Excerpt:

As the world struggles to make sense of the depressed and dark fiefdom that is North Korea in the wake of the death of its Dear Leader, let us pause to remember his polar opposite. If Kim Jong-il was dictatorial, sociopathic, and inhumane, Vaclav Havel was a freedom-loving, warm-hearted humanist…

…His life is testament to the power of politics at its best, a politics not of cynicism and power, but of truth and freedom. A politics that Havel described as “the art of the impossible.”

Click HERE to read Paul Begala’s article

Vaclav Havel – Photo from The Daily Beast – Petr David Josek

Tagalish McRib

I’m adding this McRib ad to my now, sort of blog collection of Tagalish – Tagalog and English advertising.  So far, most of what I see are from McDonald’s — and this by far is the silliest. It is also different from the ones I’ve posted in that the sentences are either in English or Tagalog, but the ad itself uses both languages.

What does this ad convey, and what does “winning or losing” have to do with a sandwich anyway?

Oh I see…it translates:

Nandito na ulit ang McRib (The McRib is here again)

Sobrang sarap ng sandwich, ipaglalaban ko ito (The sandwich is so good, I’ll fight for it).

Okay then….

Click here to see the rest of the Tagalish ads, in my new category pages.

What do you think of this one?

Whole Egg Leche Flan

Recent visitors to LolaKo.com found the blog through Google searches for leche flan recipes using whole eggs (instead of the more traditional, egg yolk only recipes).

Many Filipino families will have leche flan on their tables, as part of their Christmas feast or the Noche Buena tradition.

I have added these flan pictures to the original post “My New Flan”.  Click here to view the post and our simple and delicious coconut leche flan recipe, using whole eggs.

To learn more about Christmas traditions in the Philippines — a country known for celebrating the longest Christmas season in the world — click here or the photo of Philippine parols (Christmas lanterns) below.

Maligayang Pasko, Merry Christmas!

What Low Tide Reveals

I have walked on the beach behind the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) building in Moss Landing many times before.

Apparently, I have never walked there during low tide as I don’t remember, or haven’t noticed these items jutting out on the beach…

Or maybe the beach just looks different during this time of the day.  Upon closer look, they appear to be old wood pilings… from a long ago pier / dock?

They looked interesting as the sun was setting, and I took more pictures, using my phone camera.

The shot above captured a bird flying by…

From this angle, it had a sort of mysterious, Stonehenge feel about it…

And from this angle, with the dog passing by, it looks like what I thought they were, the remains of a place where once there was a pier or dock area.

If you stumble upon my blog and know what happened to the pier — if that is what it is — please comment.

UPDATE: Here are comments posted here as well as on the about page, on the lost pier.  Blogs are awesome!

From http://localnomad.wordpress.com/

Hi Jane:

Yes, there used to be a pier there — I remember it from before the MBARI buildings were built and Moss Landing consisted mainly of just the harbor and old cannery buildings.

I think people used to fish off it. I don’t remember ever walking on it, because it was gated for a long time, probably to prevent accidents. I have some film of low tide at Moss Landing too — I’ll post them on Local Nomad sometime soon.

FYI you can see photos and learn some Moss Landing history by simply walking into the Moss Landing post office — it’s a little mini museum!


from Melanie of the Captain’s Inn, http://www.captainsinn.com/history.html posted on the “About” page.

Hi Jane,

I am writing in response to your curiously about the lost Moss Landing Pier.

The pier was originally put in place by the town’s namesake, Captain Charles Moss in the Mid-1800s. It was used by him for loading shipping for many years in the mid1800s, there were first tall sailing ships and later steamships.

Moss sold to the Pacific Coast Steamship Co in the late 1880s. They shipped from the pier for about 50 years.

This was followed by whaling and landing whales at the pier and its beach.

Then it became a fishing pier 1960s (you paid for access to use it) and then used by the marine research station starting in about 1980s. The harbor originally used it to hold its dredging pipes.

The pier was damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake and then further ripped to sea in the ealy 90s storms.

Sometimes the ML Labs still talks about replacing the pier. All that is left is the bottom of the piers and the shore side bulkhead, bulkhead belongs to the property owned by San Jose State Univ..

Watch the waves during the next really big storm, the pier location will be the quietest portion of the waters. If you come by the Captain’s Inn bed and breakfast mid-day, I can show you a few photos of the old pier with tall sailing ships docked.

Great information learned here…all through posting this on my blog!


Update to post on February 2015:

Looking back at this post, I think the area’s history of being part of the whaling industry is why it felt haunting to me.  My reference to one of the photos having a “Stonehenge” feel seemed odd, but now makes sense since Stonehenge was a burial ground in its early history.

Thank goodness that part of our history is over, and we now have a different view of whales, especially since humans hunting whales so dramatically reduced the number of some species.

Whalefest LogoThese days, the Monterey Bay Area — a fantastic place to watch migrating whales — celebrates the whale through an annual festival, held during the month of January.

There are also marine conservation films and documentaries shown in conjunction with “Whalefest”.

The year that my grandsons and I visited, there were films shown from the Blue Ocean Film Festival.   My post Whalefest at Old Fisherman’s Wharf gives an idea of activities enjoyed by kids, if you want to take your family to the next one.  You can also visit the Whalefest Facebook page for more information.

Best Buttermilk Pancakes Ever

Since my earlier post was food related, and with the holiday season here, I thought it would be a good time to post my pancake recipe (and really, so I don’t lose the recipe).

It is simple and easy to make — a requirement for a busy Lola — and super delicious.  Here it is…

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk (more if needed to thin batter)
  • 1 cup flour (you can use 1/2 wheat and 1/2 white flour too or add a bit of cornmeal for more texture)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter

In a medium mixing bowl, beat egg.  Blend in buttermilk.  Add the remaining 4 ingredients and mix just until batter is smooth — do not over mix.  Blend in vanilla and melted butter.  Adjust if needed with more buttermilk for thinner pancakes.

I like to use a cast iron griddle — we have had this one since living in Germany, and pretty much use it just for making pancakes.

Serve with maple syrup or your favorite syrup — another favorite of ours is olallieberry syrup.

The pancakes are so good, they really don’t need extra butter, but by all means serve with butter if you like more butter with your pancakes.

Note: This recipe is just enough for my two grandsons, so if you have a big family, double the recipe (and as grandsons get bigger, I may have to make 2 batches anyway — boys can eat a LOT of pancakes!).

Taste tested more times than I can remember by grandsons — and expert pancake eaters — Jun-Jun and Gabriel.

And though technically this is not Filipino food, I’m also including it in my Filipino food category, since I have a feeling all lolas (grandmothers)  — no matter their background or nationality — love to make great pancakes for their grandchildren.

I hope you enjoy this pancake recipe as much as we do. Let me know…

Related: From Marion Cunningham’sThe Breakfast Book –  Special and uber delicious Lemon Pancakes

Best Stollen Ever (Monterey Bay…and beyond!)

Usually eaten during the Christmas season, Stollen is a German loaf shaped bread containing dried or candied fruit, nuts and spices.

If you want to eat the best Stollen in the Monterey Bay area (and beyond), check out Big Sur Bakery’s version.

Big Sur Bakery’s Stollen

Maybe it is the oak fired wood oven, or the magic that baker Michelle Rizzolo infuses along with the best ingredients available.

Even those who don’t think they like preserved fruits in their breads are converted.  It is truly one of the most delicious breads we have ever eaten!

Big Sur Bakery – 47540 California 1, Big Sur, CA  93920
Phone: 831.667.0520

Bakery opens daily at 8 am
Brunch: Sat & Sun 10:30 am to 2:30 pm
Lunch: Tue – Fri 11 am to 2:30 pm
Dinner: Tue – Sun 5:30 pm to close

You can also order on-line through the bakery’s website at www.bigsurbakery.com.  Their description below:

Stollen, the classic holiday bread dates back to the days of the Saxon Royal Court and is a German holiday tradition. At the Big Sur Bakery we bake our Stollen in our oak fired wood oven. Imagine the scent of the butter, nuts and rum combined with the distinct taste and unique flavor that only the Big Sur Bakery can offer.

Place your order online and we will do all the hard work to deliver your Stollen right to your front door. Order your Stollen and in a few short days you can enjoy the smell and taste of this classic holiday bread.

stollen big sur bakery

Best ever stollen! Photo via Big Sur Bakery Shop Pages (click on photo to link to their website)

If you want to make Big Sur Bakery’s stollen at home, here is a link to Michelle Rizzolo’s article about this German holiday treat on the Medium.com — A Baked Bundle of Joy.  Excerpt:

Some say my passion for improving my recipe borders on obsession; I continue to add new candied fruits, grind all my own spices, and relentlessly re-tweak the process. I extend my already overbooked days, always believing that these loaves deserve it. Every holiday season, stollen is my gift to my friends and the patrons of Big Sur Bakery.

Recipe is from The Big Sur Bakery Cookbook: A Year in the Life of a Restaurant, William Morrow An Imprint of Harper Collins Publishers, 2009)

Tsunami’s Behavior: Waves grew in Monterey Bay due to bathtub effect

I started this blog in March of 2011, right around the time of the earthquakes and tsunami in Northern Japan, and posted the photo below of how a tsunami — originating 5,000 miles away — affected our own local harbors.

Sailboats in the Santa Cruz Harbor crash against each other Friday morning as a tsunami surge sucks out muddy, backwater from the upper harbor. Photo by Dan Coyro/Sentinel

The damage to the Santa Cruz harbor reportedly approached $30 million, and damage to wave-battered boats totaled more than $5 million.

March 2011 tsunami surge decimated Leo Morelli's sport fishing fleet of boats and Sea-doos as the dock gradually splintered and gave way under the onslaught. Photo by Larissa Mueller, Santa Cruz Sentinel

Tim Obert, center, and other dockworkers strained to unload and lock down a vintage 1943 wooden boat as the dock gradually splintered and gave way under the March 11 tsunami surge. Photo by Larissa Mueller/Santa Cruz Sentinel

It turns out there is a reason why the Santa Cruz harbor suffered damages, and not the Moss Landing or Monterey harbors.   Read the recent article by Meghan D. Rosen of the Santa Cruz Sentinel titled Moss Landing marine researchers track tsunami wave heights inside Monterey Bay for more on the tsunami’s behavior.  Excerpt below:

After a nearly 5,000-mile journey across the Pacific Ocean, the waves from the March 2011 tsunami had shed most of their energy when they approached the Central Coast, but they grew three times in size as they rocked back and forth inside the bay.

“The bay acts like a bathtub,” said Laurence Breaker, an oceanographer at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. If you push down on one end of the tub, he said, the water sloshes from side to side, and the waves get larger. “That’s what happens when tsunami waves enter an enclosed or semi-enclosed body of water – they jostle around.”

Because the Santa Cruz Small Craft Harbor is more enclosed than the Moss Landing or Monterey harbors, tsunami damage in Santa Cruz was the most extensive.

“In Moss Landing and Monterey harbors, there are plenty of places for water to go – like Elkhorn Slough,” Breaker said. “But Santa Cruz was different because all the water came in and there was no outlet. So it did a lot of damage.”

“It’s our fond hope to get to the point where we could warn people exactly when a wave was going to arrive, how large it would be and who would be affected inside of the Bay,” Breaker said.

The article is based on research by Laurence Breaker, oceanographer at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, along with researchers at the University of Ottawa in Canada and the Naval Research Laboratory in Mississippi.   Visit www.tsunamisociety.org for more information.

Green Gift Guide: 10 Compostable, Biodegradable Gifts

Great to see TreeHugger.com’s recent Green Gift Guide and list of 10 Compostable, Biodegradable Gifts, which includes Native Leaf’s hand-woven romblon leaf placemats.

Here is an excerpt from Blythe Copeland’s article:

The world is full of things you didn’t know you could compost, and now your holiday shopping can mimic that trend, too: Organic, Fair Trade teas and coffees, woven place mats and bamboo plates, bioplastic baby toys and potato-based ponchos all have their place on this year’s list.

On Native Leaf’s place mats:

Giving organic, sustainably-harvested textiles for the kitchen and dining room to your favorite foodie is one option — or you can go the uber-chic-and-totally-biodegradable route with these Romblon place mats from Native Leaf.

Click here to view the Green Gift Guide article and slide show (hand-woven romblon leaf place mats on Page 8 of the list).

TreeHugger, a Discovery Communications Company, is the leading media outlet dedicated to driving sustainability mainstream. Partial to a modern aesthetic, they strive to be a one-stop shop for green news, solutions, and product information.

What do you think about the list?  Are you considering green products for your holiday gift giving this year?