Leaving Las Vegas


i say this every time but…its been awhile.

nice seeing you around here though. glad you stopped by.

i’d say we should hang out more often however i think you know how that might go.

how are you? be honest. i hope you’ve been being nice to yourself. 

life has been much for a lot of people and i am not someone who was spared from immeasurable personal pain.

i’m still here. i’m still trying to find the happy in each day even when the day seems impossible. 

i forgot how much I missed putting my body in a space that was not my usual. sure, it might not have been my top choice on my first post-demic escape. if 2020 taught me anything, we are making lemonade out of some god damn lemons and adding vodka when necessary.

what i really want to know is, do you want to see what i ate when i spent 48 hrs in LA?

lets goooooo!

first up, little tokyo. 


this roll blew my mind. ahi tuna + avocado + cilantro (yes! FKN cilantro) + more tuna + crispy garlic pieces.


they just don’t make seafood udon like they do in CA. please if someone knows a legit spot in vegas drop. a. comment. 

also yes, i am one of those people that can eat a giant bowl of noodles and hot broth in summer and outside nonetheless. granted LA is like 20º - 30º cooler than vegas so it was a breeze and delight to consume this.

a stop into little tokyo isn’t complete without a japanese market shopping spree for snacks.


if you like takoyaki and cheetos these are that. i think i like takoyaki more than cheetos but these babies are addictive.


couldn’t not try the matcha ones.7C855453-26FF-4BB3-841E-3F6DA9FAD3FB

my sister’s favorite. these round sponge cakes will forever remind me of her.7C855453-26FF-4BB3-841E-3F6DA9FAD3FB

childhood throw back. 

crunchy. cheesy. yes.7C855453-26FF-4BB3-841E-3F6DA9FAD3FB

what the boba.

gummy bears but make ‘em lychee.


these babies looked magical..like the beginning of a movie.0ECFB260-C188-4B27-B8A8-BB7329B78AEB

egg tart lover for life. i’m a sucker for them.0ECFB260-C188-4B27-B8A8-BB7329B78AEB

but just pastries make me incredibly happy. ya know?


welcome, to the grand central market!

this place was a god damn delight. it was my brother’s choice and it couldn’t have been more fitting for our sibling reunion tour. an indoor (yet also out door at the same time?) cluster of different eateries and a handful of shops that have THE goods.

we ran around this concrete food bazar snatching up at least one dish from a few different countries. 

sharing is caring, plus you get to try way more tasty bites if you don’t have to commit to an entire meal.

we divided. we conquered.

the results:


a currywurst from berlin. (i miss adventuring around berlin)6E41A7A0-DB3A-4B20-ACD1-D249DD3A7914

jewish soul food. wexler’s deli macarthur park sandwich - pastrami, cole slaw, swiss cheese, russian dressing on rye.

this one reminded me of my dad.

khao soi from thailand

this was actually my first time trying this dish. i have seen khao soi a bunch in the foodtube videos i watch and have been dying to try. what interested me most about this northern thai curry dish is that it uses egg noodles (in 2 types of ways!) which is not a noodle i typically associate with their cuisine. when i think thai food, i think rice noodles. 

crunchy egg noodles + egg noodles + hard boiled egg +pickled mustard greens + green & red onion all in a slightly sweet chicken coconut curry soup (don’t forget a few good squeezes of lime) 

sissig fried rice from the philippines. (this one was the FAV!) 

i don’t know if our roots made us unknowingly biased but if lunch was a competition, this fried rice won. 

vinegary, spicy pieces of perfectly cooked pork fried with rice and topped with a beautiful fried egg + green onions + lime (if we were in the philippines it would come with kalamansi instead)

buko pie.

this, wow i am still dreaming of this insanely delicious filipino masterpiece of a pie.0884C3EB-59F0-404B-BE29-50487531CFB3

they were so friendly and gracious at this spot. me and my siblings are proud to be half filipino and sari sari felt like a hug. we also happened to be by when they were baking off pie shells for their buko goodness. i was lucky enough to be provided the low down on this sweet treat. i got a complete walk through and now the back of my brain hasn’t stopped itching. there is no way i could come close to duplicating the recipe but it does provide awesome inspiration for a future baking ideas. maybe the pies at thanksgiving this year will be a little less traditional. 

wouldn’t be a proper food outing without a doughnut for the road. 
tiger tail in hand! this guy was huge.


we don’t have H Marts in vegas, FOR SHAME because i fkn loved this grocery store. I actually ended up going to two different ones in the same day and it made for an excellent hotel dinner.

fresh lychees + spicy tuna onigiri + fried seaweed rolls + shrimp tempura + korean fried chicken wings + tuna sashimi + tteokbokki 

they had a million other items that i wish i could stock my pantry with but for now i will hope that my local korean grocer will start selling some nifty things they carry here. frozen korean corn dogs - uh, yes please.


last stop before heading back home, milk jar cookies

had to bring home something sweet for the mr (and tiny mr) and they are big fans of cookies.


salted butterscotch.

birthday cookie.

white chocolate macadamia nut.

chocolate pecan caramel.

oatmeal chocolate chip.

banana split.


lemon blueberry. (my fav!)

and last but not least, rocky road.

quick trip with an important purpose but eating delicious foods will always be the highlight. now that my siblings and i are adults we hardly ever have the opportunity to spend quality time together so this was a special couple of days. it felt like before when we would travel with the parentals to rando foreign countries but now its just us a three and i couldn’t be more grateful to have them by my side. 

happy eating!




A look back: September 2020

I'm constantly wondering how this space will evolve and maybe one day eventually end.
social medias have taken over because its faster, more to the point and honestly easier to engage with people on. 

who reads blogs still anyways? I'm not even a real blogger.

but still I always find myself wanting to capture, reflect and share parts of my little life. I'm a Virgo who likes words too. I enjoy instagram and do not use facebook but even that hasn't very enjoyable for me lately. . I usually over think these blog posts and would never even dream to use iPhone 11 photos. but 2020 has been rough for everyone so I am going with the casual approach because I can’t think of the last time I picked up my DSLR.

I have two recipes I want share but right now I thought I'd go with a September (mostly food) photo recap.. birth month wasn't the worst even though yes, we are still very much in the weirds (pandemic).



THE  cheesiest, smoothest mashed potatoes, one beautifully poached egg  + toasted baguette slices were out of this world. the crispy potatoes are a must, trust me.



Egg Sammie. 

my peanutella + PB n’ J cookies travelled (frozen) to a different state but of course I needed to do a taste test bake. delish, and peanut butter cookies aren’t even in the top five for me.


A LOT of avocado toast this month.

surprise doughnut delivery from my favorite person..


thai tea brûlée slush from Tea Maison



Chinatown adventures. what’s your favorite treat at 85°? I ADORE their egg tarts but I always pick up something new with each visit.


special birthday delivery from a special friend who understands my deep love for cookies + Christina Tosi. 

day/night lewks.


throughly obsessed with the short rib fried rice fried from Le Thai.

downtown (mild) shenanigans.

coffee + cake (buttermilk blueberry lemon breakfast cake. recipe coming!)

kale caesar salad with salmon + homemade sourdough croutons. SUPER yum and definitely would repeat this first time meal. I used Shutterbean’s recipes as a guideline for the Caesar salad dressing & croutons.


told you.



What a trip to the Korean grocery store looks like. I love Asian snacks everything.

homemade monggo with chicharron + shrimp. one of my Filipino favorites! I’m so happy to have an adaptable recipe that is so super easy to make. doesn’t even take long to cook and keeps extremely well in the fridge for leftovers.

work is easier with cookies.

mr mama’s breakfast outing. happy birthday Sam.

furry friend round up!

super cute lunch date at Sweet Honey Dessert + a quick pit stop to Tea Maison.


lobster balls (and other snack use) from Easy Life.


breakfast fried rice. the best way to use leftover rice! garlic, bacon, egg + green onion. staple in my house.


chicken salad for easy workday lunches. deboned a hatch green chile rotisserie chicken from Sprouts added mayo, salt n’ spice, diced red onion + lemon juice.


last September I had a wedge salad at Flemings, changed my life and never looked back. I think I ate like 6 wedge salads this past month.
iceberg lettuce + halved cherry tomatoes + crispy bacon + blue cheese crumbles + sliced red onion + blue cheese dressing. pro tip, salt and a splash of red wine vinegar on the sliced onions.

September 2020 was challenging, like how I said earlier this whole year has been. I guess I don’t need to really remind anyone of that. we’ve all been experiencing our own battles and a couple of shared ones. stress & anxiety might be running high but this is my reminder to stop and have some conscious gratitude for the positive moments in life. it can be alarmingly easy to lose yourself when things are harder but there is a ton love when you pay attention. 

maybe that’s what this space is going to be for, a reminder to pay attention. 

be kind to yourself, god knows I’m trying.

- rita 


recipe box : petite lemon cookies


i haven't always been a fan of lemony desserts.

lemon cookies, squares, tarts and cakes definitely did not make an appearance in my filipino mom's kitchen growing up. in fact the only real memories i have were seeing rows and rows of plated lemon meringue pie at the dessert bar in casino buffets. when you're a kid in vegas everything at a dessert bar is spectacular but i always ended up with something chocolaty or creating a very overloaded ice cream sundae making sure to use ALL available toppings, including the whipped cream! you can't forget the whipped cream.

in recent years though, i have come to truly enjoy lemon baked goods. i'm delightfully surprised that i grew into this newly acquired taste but it has a lot to do with how lucky i have been to have tasted properly prepared citrus desserts that were created with a lot of careful and deliberate thought. 


this recipe, however, does not require a whole lot of thought. it's a pretty reliable straight forward type of cookie. no games!

i realize i often gravitate towards creating (and eating) baked goods that are more on the sturdy side and even though they are petite these babies are no exception. a cookie that'd hold up well if you packed them to go along for a picnic or my personal favorite.. sneaking them into a movie.

a little secret trick i learned, now i do this as often as possible when working with any citrus fruit, is to combine the sugar in the recipe with the zest. in this case, its lemon zest but doing this small extra step is really beneficial to the overall finished product and allows for a more full bodied flavor. 


i can't wait to keep finding things that make me change my mind about a preconceived preference or way of thinking i have had. its refreshing to know you can always learn new things, you can always change your mind..you can always continue to grow. that's kind of some of the best parts about life. if you think something is permanent, it's not or at least it doesn't have to be if you allow yourself to keep an open mind. 

i love recipe sharing, if there are any links or personal favs of some lemony baked goods that make your heart feel good.. hmu

until then..

happy eating!




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Petite Lemon Cookies


  • 2 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 c butter, room temp
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 3/4 C sugar
  • 2 Tbsp lemon zest


  • in a medium bowl

    1. sift together the flour, salt, baking powder & baking soda
  • in a small bowl

    1. combine the lemon zest with the sugar. using a fork, press the lemon zest into the sugar until it becomes fragrant and changes color.
  • in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment

    1. mix butter and lemon sugar for 2-3 minutes on medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary.
    2. add eggs, lemon juice, and both extracts, mix for 4-5 minutes on medium to high speed until light and fluffy.
    3. slowly add the dry ingredients in 3 separate increments, mix on low speed until just incorporated.
  • using a small ice cream scoop

    1. (i use a 1.6" wide sized scoop)
    2. scoop cookie dough into small balls, place them onto a parchment lined cooking sheet and slightly press down on each dough ball. make sure to leave about an inch of space between each dough ball.
  • in preheated 350° oven

    1. bake for 12-14 minutes, the centers should still be soft when you remove the cookies from the oven.

the Foodcourt : Pambiche


pambiche! i love saying that word. pambiche, pambiche! over and over, on straight repeat.


i stumbled upon this adorable cuban restaurant on my last day in portland, it was a superb send off lunch, a warm friendly tummy goodbye. 


the most perfect cuban mocha, oh my. 


the house sauces, cuban ketchup and hot sauce. 


rabo encendido

“oxtail on fire”. a classic cuban favorite that will have you bone gnawing and finger licking! tender oxtail slowly braised in a spicy (not picante) creole wine sauce. served with white rice. it is also gluten free, pretty neat.


pan con lechón

the original cuban sandwich! adobo roasted pork braised with creole gravy and red onions and served on a toasted cuban roll. served with a side of tostones.


outside dining meant getting to enjoy your food while watching portland's quirkiness go by on the street next to you.


it was a beautiful meal! on a glorious overcast day, eating outside was a really great choice.


i'm not very familiar with cuban cuisine so this was some delicious homework.


i decided to go with the oxtails because it's one of my favorite cuts of meat (perhaps in a tie with beef shanks). it's usually slow-cooked in a stew, braised or featured in a soup and cooked well it is simply divine!   

this dish was prepared phenomenally, the meat was extremely tender and falling off the bone. the savory sauce was rich, flavorful, perfect with the white rice. highly recommend this dish and i'm highly excited to try more cuban food. 


don't mind me, i'm just going to be thinking about this mocha and dreaming about those oxtails.. 

i believe i have a few more yummy portland eats to share! however it is very difficult to peep the photos because i get SO hangry and a little nostalgic, that city is filled with an endless amount of delicious goodness.






winter is here.


both feet firmly planted into winter.

confession... i'm not a huge nature person. what can i say? i think being a city living introvert makes me a little jaded in regards towards the outdoors. i often tend to forget that not too far away from the sparkling vegas lights there are some very beautiful all-natural views. it can be quite magical spending time up in the mount charleston area, especially during winter when you're lucky enough to get to play in the snow.



burnt cold. 


the road so far.

i know there are a good amount of people that suffer from seasonal affective disorder and get a mean case of the winter blues. for some reason i really enjoy winter and am the total opposite. i feel calm and peaceful. everything seems paused and it some how gives me the sense of having extra time. 

i adore lighting a candle, enjoying a huge cup of coffee and editing photos while being all cozied up in my home. every once in awhile a needy cat will require some cuddles & warmth but in winter extra cuddles of all varieties are basically a necessity.



the bro to my ladybro.


i think the mountains look the most beautiful with a powdering of snow.


the higher up, the fatter the flakes and all of a sudden i was 5 years old again.


such peacefulness in the stillness. 




trees lose their leaves every year and still they stand tall and wait for better days to come.

highly anticipating what this new year will bring, cannot wait to find out what adventures and lessons are to come. 

i am going to keep trying to find the happy in every day and on the toughest ones i am going to remember to be kind to myself. we rarely have a choice over what kind of obstacles we are given in life or when people let us down but we do get to decide how we are going to handle ourselves when these situations occur. 

the best anyone can do is keep trying to try.