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Birthday cupcakeThis past weekend was Hub’s birthday weekend.  To commemorate his 30th birthday, we headed off to the Santa Cruz boardwalk to celebrate.  There were tons of people there!  I don’t know if its partly because of people opting for “stay-cations” and the beach, but the Boardwalk was packed.  I had brought my camera intending to take some pictures, but as it was, there were too many people around for me to safely pull out my camera without a) getting bumped and b) not look like I was taking a picture of some random stranger.  Oh well.  We ended up just walking around the Boardwalk and having lunch there: chili cheese fries to share and a spicy corn dog each.  The way they made the chili cheese fries was a bit ghetto…they used a slice of processed cheese, you know, the single serving kind you have to unwrap from the plastic?  So they put some fries in a container, a slice of cheese on top and a serving of “chili” on top…it was good in an unhealthy way and the whole time I was thinking, they could have least used shredded cheese so that it’d melt easier.  The spicy corn dog was good though.

We had a few hours left before our spa appointment, so we headed over to the beach to read.  We both actually fell asleep under the warm sun.  I had made an appointment at the Tea House Spa in downtown Santa Cruz.  They do massages and things there, but as Hubs doesn’t like strangers touching him, we opt for the hot tubs each time we go.  This time, our room was further away from the receptionist’s desk, quieter and overlooked more of the bamboo garden and pond.  Soo relaxing.  We had fun going between the hot tub, the sauna and the cold shower, and before long, our hour was up.

From teahousespa.com

From teahousespa.com

Family dinner was at Hong Fu, where the food is typical Chinese and Hub’s favorite restaurant growing up.  As usual, my parents-in-law got there first and my mother-in-law ordered for all of us.  Which is good in some ways as she knows what’s good and what isn’t.  There was a long period of time where she thought my favorite seafood was shrimp and she’d order a bunch of shrimp dishes for me.  I could never bring myself to tell her, especially since it would generally be too late when I found out she ordered something for me (i.e. servers in the midst of placing entrees on the table).  Finally Hubs remembered to tell her and ever since then, I get a scallops dish.  🙂

We had maybe eight or nine dishes total at Hong Fu, but I only took pictures in the beginning.  I always feel bad taking pictures during dinner with the in-laws as my mother-in-law makes everyone wait for me and while I’m busy taking pictures of the food, everyone is staring at me.  Plus, it got pretty crowded around the table once all the food came.

Spicy peanuts

Spicy peanuts…they don’t look it but they were really spicy and hot.  There must have been a good amount of chili oil mixed in.

Bean curd

Bean curd fried with ground pork and veggies.  For some reason, this dish is always ordered.  Not sure why, as my mother-in-law can make it and make it well.

Walnut prawns

Honey walnut prawns.  This is my sister-in-law’s favorite dish and we always order it when we go out to eat.  Luckily my brother and I love this dish as well and grew up eating it, so I always enjoy eating it too.  I tried making it once and while the directions were straight-forward enough, there are a lot of steps.  Quite possibly the most important point is that it has to be eaten immediately, as the coating on the shrimp quickly gets soggy.  Unfortunately, family members arrived late and the dish wasn’t as tasty by the time everyone was ready to eat.  Oh well, next time.  The candied walnuts were delicious though.