East Bay Bites – November 2020

With majority of California counties falling under the purple tier with many Covid case reports, indoor operations for non-essential businesses are closed. This means indoor dining. Here are some great spots in the East Bay that you can support by dining outside or ordering take out. Every dollar counts. Your support can help them stay in business during these uncertain times.

TIP: Order directly by calling the establishment to avoid extra fees for you and the restaurant for deliver services.

Hop DeVine
Livermore, California

A spontaneous meeting with friends on Halloween allowed us to enjoy the East Bay and sit outside in costume at metal tables and under a tent. I had the bacon and blue cheese burger with truffle fries. Everything was delicious.

Belching Beaver Brewery seems to be coming up quite a bit during this pandemic. The Peanut Butter Milk Stout was perfect with the burger and delicious. I even had it at the brewery in Vista, California a month before. By golly, I think I like it. I think it has also influenced my recent baking of two batches of peanut butter cookies.

Let’s be friends on UnTapped! Username: bappletree

Rodrigue Molyneaux Winery
Livermore, California

My good friend, Dylan, is a member here and we enjoyed a relaxing afternoon outdoors on Halloween drinking wine. Off the main wine roads in Livermore, you can find RM Winery with beautiful grounds, appropriately spaced seating and glasses of wine to order. Tastings are a thing of the past for now. Normally, a flight would be my preference to try a variety of wines they offer. For a sunny day, the Pinot Blanc sounded light and perfect. And it was. ($30/bottle)

Dylan eventually purchased a bottle of wine for us to share and we stayed thru the afternoon, full of burgers and fries and now coating it with the Petit Verdot. ($36/bottle)

RM Winery is open for purchases on the weekends and may be ordered via their website.

Jewelry by Stella & Dot

Top Thai
Castro Valley, California

This is by far my go to spot for Thai food. I have ordered a lot of take out and dined here quite a few times with friends thru the years. You can’t go wrong with the Tom Yum soup but recently I had their pad see ew with tofu – because Meatless Mondays – and the mango and sticky rice. So yummy! The lady on the phone taking the order is so sweet and is so grateful on the phone and shows her appreciation when you pick up your order. I was given a complimentary Thai iced tea once. How awesome!

If you can grab a spot on the street, do it. The parking lot is shared with the Mexican spot next door and some tight maneuvering may be needed.

Denica’s
Castra Valley, California

I often spend some time with my roommate on the weekends. She does her hikes on Saturday mornings and I ask her if she has lunch plans. This particular time, we went to Denica’s and went a little crazy with ordering the Cookie Dough Waffle. We typically split everything so we can both taste more menu items. I assure you, no morsel went uneaten for these two that were on a fitness challenge. This was definitely a treat.

For actual nutritional value, we also had the Pesto Florentine Omelette with pesto, spinach, white onions and tomatoes on the side. We went with fruit instead of potatoes and an English Muffin. Tasty.

Order at the counter, grab a number and they will bring you your order and utensils. If you can make it without ordering the ginormous cinnamon, you have more will power than I did.

See my last East Bay Bites post from November 2019.

Have you been to any of these spots? If so, what did you order?
Comment below with your favorite East Bay spot and what we should order.

Small Business Saturday 2020

Happy Small Business Saturday! As a Stella & Dot Ambassador and small business owner that is taking a hit during this pandemic (Travel Agent & Event Planner), every bit of support is appreciated. I want to take a moment to list businesses and reps I personally know. Please reach out to them and let them know you found them thru me!

BEAUTY

Beauty Counter – Susie Franco in San Francisco, California
L’Bri – Jill Cone in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Rodan & Fields – Tara Nason in Davis, California

FACE MASKS

Lea’s Ideas – Marissa Guzman in Tempe, Arizona

HEALTH

Arbonne – Christina Vera Hinjosa in Campbell, California
Arbonne – Lindsay August in the East Bay, California

HOME IMPROVEMENT

Value Builders Inc – Hayward, California
Patio Covers & Sunrooms
Contact me directly!

PLEASURE PARTIES

Pure Romance – Caroline Krauszer in Costa Mesa, California

Spread some small business love!

Thanksgiving 2020

First off, thank you for visiting my blog and allowing me to share my life of experiences with you. I hope you had a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving with those you love.

Thanksgiving is usually a day I make at least three stops. The tables are full of food and many hugs and replies to ‘How are you?’ are stated. This year was just as filling but light on the company.

The morning started with two FitOn workouts: Cardio Botty Burn Barre and Contour Core. Sweating was required for the full three meals I was going to have that day. I am thankful for the jobs I have to purchase the food, the nourishment it provides and being able to share it with loved ones. Thankfully, the app of workouts is free.

Breakfast with my Pandemic Partner consisted of over easy eggs, Tartine bread and a link of boudin blanc sausage from F R E N C H E R Y. They can be found at the Cal Ave Farmers Market. Perhaps it was a bit much for the first meal of the day with just hours away from having lunch.

Back at the house, my roommate was making my requested green bean casserole. She made sure there were extra crispy onions. I was expecting my good friend, Dylan, with a bottle of wine and potato gratin. I had picked up a rib eye from The Butcher Shop by Niku Steakhouse in San Francisco and three tarts from Tartine. It was the perfect spread for great company. I am thankful for the friendship, support and love I have received thru the years from these two. They didn’t have any plans for Thanksgiving and I couldn’t have them be alone.

For my wine lover readers, we enjoyed the 2016 Isosceles red wine by Justin Vineyards. Its berry flavor was robust. Next, we had a Roederer Estate bottle of sparkling to go with our desserts.

The red wine paired well with the steak. The bubbles were perfect for the Banana Cream tart, Coconut Cream tart and the Frangipane tart. The Frangipane tart was my favorite made with almond cream and brandy and season fruit. It was delicious. I am thankful my ulcer symptoms have subsided and I was able to enjoy my first couple of glasses of wine in over three weeks.

My next stop was to my Lola’s house in Martinez, California. I had purchased the Thanksgiving To Go from Zola in Palo Alto. It consisted of turkey and gravy, stuffing, Brussel sprouts, a sweet potato gratin and a cookie. I arrived at my Lola’s house and had to pre-heat the oven. As the food was re-heated, I attempted to FaceTime family. When I couldn’t get a hold of someone, I showed Lola our my cousins’ Facebook timelines so she could see her grandchildren and great grandchildren. Eventually my sister called and she was able to FaceTime with her and Brent, my nephew. I was excited to see him as well. I am thankful he still smiles when his auntie is a little ecstatic to see his face.

I don’t like turkey.

I prepared a plate for Lola and had to remove the turkey from her plate. She pushed the other items around but definitely ate the rice she made. I would say the thing she most enjoyed were the Brussel sprouts, then the sweet potato gratin. I knew I should have gotten Chinese food. Nonetheless, we had a good visit. She has been especially lonely during the pandemic. Not many people can come visit and she misses going to church. This was the first year my Papa Bear will not be here for the holidays. I will have to do what I can as the only immediate family in the area now. My poor Lola. I am thankful she is still physically strong and that she prays for everyone she loves.

Very full, I returned to the peninsula with majority of the $100 Thanksgiving dinner available for someone else to enjoy. Nothing went to waste.

Though the year has been a struggle, if you look around, there are things to be thankful for. The holidays can be the hardest part of the year for some. Should you need assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out to your community.

What are you thankful for?
What would improve the holiday season for you?


How Sweet It Is

With a large pumpkin pie sitting in the refrigerator from Tartine Bakery for tomorrow’s minor festivities, I thought I would share some recent sweet treats I have tried. Perhaps this would inspire you to try it for yourself! I would love to hear your thoughts.

TARTINE BAKERY

A special trip to San Francisco was our one outing every 10 or so days from sheltering in place. It was specifically for a country loaf. On a recent craving for cake, I purchased a slice of the chocolate souffle cake. It hit the spot.

Valrhona chocolate mousse on a thin layer of chocolate cake topped with chocolate ganache. Wheat free. – $8.75

ASHBY CONFECTIONS

I confess. I have a tin of strawberry sour belts in the house. When I saw a candy stand at the California Ave. Farmers Market, I had to stop by. It was Ashby Confections. She had a variety of flavors using only five ingredients and California grown fruit. I purchased the assortment pack at 8 ounces and at a price tag of $22.99. They are thicker than the usual sour belts I enjoy and the sourness was toned back. Different but still tasty.

SMALLCAKES

Located in a shopping center with Trader Joe’s, Smallcakes is a great spot for cupcakes. The first time I ordered an assortment of cupcakes was a year ago for my father’s 65th birthday. Recently, I spontaneously stopped in Danville and remembered Smallcakes. With a love for cookies n cream, I had to get that! Then I selected monthly specials: the Mississippi Mud Pie with graham cracker and chocolate cake with pecans filled with whipped cream topped with chocolate buttercream. The other one was more simple with a yellow cake and vanilla buttercream. Moist, delicious and creative.

DELORES OUTPOST

Delores Outpost is a local convenient store and a long line awaits at Tartine Bakery, I needed something in my belly. The menu offered a mochi muffin among other Asian goods, wines and beers. This Japanese rice cake is in the form of a muffin and covered in cinnamon and sugar. This was the first mochi muffin I have ever had and it was quite good.

Which of the above would be your first choice?
Follow on Instagram – @WereHungryToo

Traveling Back in Time

“I have a past but I don’t live there anymore.”

Still not ready to travel or catch a flight to anywhere, I traveled back in time recently. My mom, sister and I moved from Vallejo, California when I was eight. I had to go to the Vallejo Building Department for work and had time to kill before heading off to Fairfield for another appointment. For some reason, I decided to drive past my old schools and the houses we lived in. It is amazing how seeing things again and being in certain places trigger memories: good and bad.

On my way to Olson Court, I drove by Elsa Widenmann Elementary. I remember crying when either my Papa or Mama took me to class as a kindergartner. I remember being pants in front my class by a mean boy. I remember learning alliteration but also caught ‘cheating’ on a spelling test. I only looked at my classmate’s paper to read the word that I didn’t hear, not how to spell it. If I could read it, I knew how to spell it. But, my teacher called me out. My mother was in the Philippines for a month or whatever and my dear Lolo was watching my sister and I at our house. I had to wait in his gray Monte Carlo as he spoke to my teacher. I don’t think he told my mom as I didn’t get a talking to when she returned. Don’t cheat, Kids! Raise your hands to have a word repeated.

I also remember my sister sitting on the grassy hill of Elsa Widenmann as we finally pulled up to the school to pick her up. I remember being at a drugstore and getting pulled to a manager’s office with my mother. They were going thru her purse. I don’t recall the outcome of this meeting but I do remember a pair of pantyhose being pulled out of her purse for some reason. We eventually were free to pick up my sister.

I remember hiding under the slide during recess to avoid the ‘dookie birds’ aka the seagulls. I remember asking my sister to get me a jumbo pickle during lunch that was only offered to the older kids. I also remember my best friend, Farrah Tibay. She lived walking distance away and I would always hope her mom packed her two breakfast sandwiches. They were soo good. Farrah, if you’re out there, I would love to connect!

I remember playing in the halls with other kids, getting swung around and crashing into another kid. A tooth fell out. I saved it and showed it to my Auntie Mercy. I was staying with her as my mother chaperoned an overnight field trip for my sister. Auntie Mercy said to put the tooth in an envelope under my pillow and the Tooth Fairy would leave me something in the morning. I made some cash overnight! That was my first experience with the Tooth Fairy. My Auntie Mercy also taught me how to make rice in the rice cooker. That way to measure the water level works every single time!

The school looks pretty run down. It’s a darn shame.

Then it was off to one of the biggest houses we owned. It had a big yard that held our hot tub, a swing set and our half German Shepherd and Akita mix dog, Scorpio. My mother named him after her sign. We called him Scorpi. He never barked but howled instead. He was a sweet dog. Just very, very big.

Our front yard was filled with white rocks, no grass. I remember the layout perfectly. I had the room on the right in the front of the house, with a day bed, mirrors for closet doors and it was filled with Jem and Holograms and Rainbow Brite toys. I also remember listening to and singing along to Whitney Houston’s first album there. Sometimes as night, I would cry because I had growing pains. “If you don’t stop crying, I’ll cut your legs off!” Someone was sick of my pain. I eventually grew out of it, with my legs still attached.

The staircase was climbed several times bringing my mother her cigarettes, glasses of Coca Cola or even the whole 2-liter bottle. The staircase was also a spot where I was told to hold out my hands in punishment so a slipper could slap my palms.

Like my elementary school, the house now looks run down.

One of the hardest and most vivid memories was when we had to abandon our dog. We were moving to another house in Vallejo that didn’t allow pets. One night, my mother told my sister to take Scorpi to the park, let him off the leash and we drove off. I guess she couldn’t find him another home and didn’t want to take him to a shelter where she thought they would put him down. It was heartbreaking. I guess a few nights later, we returned to the house and Scorpi was sitting in our old driveway. He knew his way home and was waiting for us! My poor guy. We opened up the trunk and camper shell of our S10 and we took Scorpi to our new house, even though he wasn’t allowed. I don’t know if the landlord ordered us to get rid of him but on another sad night, we took Scorpi to a shelter in Fairfield. My mother took him in of course as my sister and I stayed in the truck. We were all crying but I remember seeing him for the last time. He was being transferred from one building to another. It was only just for a second but that was definitely my dog with his big bushy brown and black tail that was gone forever. I still have a picture of Scorpi that I took with my 110 camera. It is framed in my room.

My cousin shared this memory with me via Facebook after reflecting on why I came back here.

Here’s a good memory: Ron and I took a spring break or summer vacation, playing in your backyard on the swing set, me running to avoid Scorpio but he was fast and jumped on my back, making me fall —I was scared of Scorpio. Playing with the ability to write in actual checks. Sleeping in the cool looking daybed (I think)

Present day, on my way to that smaller house we rented, I stopped at Staffan Manor Elementary School. I eventually would change schools again so I didn’t get too comfortable there. It was definitely no manor but it was old. It was also in this class that a boy liked me, but I definitely did not like him!

This house on Georgia Street had a weird layout and small kitchen. I was sitting on the couch watching the TV show with Ricky Schroeder, Silver Spoons, when the 1989 earthquake hit. The room I shared with my sister was filled with New Kids on the Block posters. And we held garage sales often to get rid of stuff to downsize.

We eventually left Vallejo and headed to an apartment off of Clayton Road in Concord to be closer to another aunt and my cousins. Before I graduated high school, I would move three more times. I absolutely hate moving now.

Living in Vallejo is not what I would call a good time. No wonder I drive straight thru it to get to Napa every single time. There is no reason to go back and revisit these places, but it is part of my life. I just know that I do not need to re-live it.

I’m sorry, Scorpi. I did and do love you.

When writing the story of your life, don’t let anyone else hold the pen.

Are there any places that you avoid?
If applicable, how did you feel when you visited your childhood home?

FitOn Friday – My 3 Favorite Trainers

It has definitely been a journey since I started and finished my birthday challenge this year. Two months has passed, I am currently dealing with an ulcer and am almost back to working out every day again. Thanks to FitOn, I have been able to work out in the house. There are great bodyweight videos, videos categorized by muscle group and even Zumba. Majority of my members on my Status: Work in Progress Facebook group are also using FitOn. It’s free with a Pro option. So far I have done 219 workouts and burned 29,000 calories. It is highly recommended. My Pandemic Partner (PP) also joins me! It’s fun to workout with someone sometimes.

My 3 favorite trainers are Cassey Ho, Bree Koegel and Breann Mitchell.

Pilates with Cassey is great. You never need any equipment and you do moves you don’t normally do. I find it really challenging but happy to have made it through her videos. Our favorite is the Core Crusher. We have done it quite a few times. Almost weekly! And I am starting to recite what she says. When PP hasn’t worked out with me in a couple of days, he grabs his tummy with a concerned look on his face and says he needs to ‘crush the core.’ We are both filled with Tartine bread, ramen and yes, my homemade peanut butter cookies.

I also like her Stretches for Splits. I cannot do the splits but perhaps one day.

Breann Mitchell is awesome. She goes after it and provides a lot of HIIT videos, which I love. The video that recently kicked my ass was the “All HIIT, No Quit.” I was sweating profusely. I found her on Instagram and she even re-shared my story. Very sweaty. Very good! Thanks, Breann!

Then there’s Bree Koegel. I love her partly because she reminds me of my personal trainer friend, Christina. They have the same gentle way of encouraging you to keep going and a great smile. My favorite of her videos is the “Full Body Sweat.” It’s 30 minutes so give it a go! Or go for 10 mins of abs. It’s better than nothing!

FitOn just released new videos and there are challenges often to keep you motivated. I just signed up for the Pre-Holiday Challenge of completing 10 vides in 9 days. I usually do three videos per session so this will be no problem. Join us!

Happy workouts!

Nov. 2020. Thanks goodness for good lighting.

What are your fitness goals?
How do you stay motivated?


One of my favorite songs on my workout playlist is by Rihanna and Britney Spears. It also helped me keep going when I used to run. Enjoy!

5 Great Stands at the Cal Ave Farmers Market

For months now, it is tradition to go to the California Avenue Farmers Market in Palo Alto, California on Sunday mornings. With the availability of fruits and vegetables, flowers, candy and food carts, these are my five favorite stands.

1. Fenellas Berries Inc.

For three baskets for $20, or $10 during off-season, I made several delicious things to eat this pandemic with these berries. Smoothies were aplenty, they topped salads and they were delicious fresh. I love them in my overnight oats and parfaits.

2. Santa Cruz Pasta Factory

Get an assortment of gnocchi, ravioli, pasta and sauces. My favorite combo is the five cheese ravioli and the tomato basil sauce – a perfect dish for Meatless Monday. I have also enjoyed their lobster, butternut squash and gruyere and onion raviolis and vodka sauce.

3. Wise Goat Organics

The spicy sourkraut is a must. If you have an ulcer like me, the gut tonic is perfect for your journey to healing! I like the Green Garden gut tonic and I cleared them out of stock today. The Supergreen sourkraut has been a great addition to scrambled eggs, salads and to eat alone.

The owner, Mary, is the partner of a dear friend of mine. I am happy to support both his and her businesses.

4. Frog Hollow Farms

My Pandemic Partner has a love for pastries. Every Sunday, he usually has two to three pastries. One for me, one for him and one to share, if I like it. I enjoy the blueberry tart. He also likes the dried apricot. For his birthday weekend in San Francisco, we also dined at the location at the Ferry Building in San Francisco for lunch. Tasty!

5. Capay Organic

And you must get some veggies! We get carrots and other veggies from Capay. I have also enjoyed quite a few berries.

Carrots in the air fryer.

Do support your local farmers market and its vendors. Please comment below if you have enjoyed any of the products from the above stands.

A fun song for the farmers.

Veterans Day 2020

A bit late in posting here on my blog but I wanted to take a moment to transfer my Happy Veterans Day greetings to all via my blog. Thank you (and your families) for your service and sacrifice.

The day reminded me hearing Taps and fires shot at my Lolo’s funeral in 2013. My Lolo enlised as a Philippine Scout under the US Army. He was a tiny guy. It just goes to show, no matter how small you think you are, you can make a difference.

Martinez, California
Washington, D.C.

Here are some fun photos to keep his memory alive. I love and miss you, Lolo!

Christmas opening up presents
Danville, California
Christmas with all the cousins
Pleasant Hill, California
Luau time on Maui – 2016
He used to say, “Try you, you like it.”
He didn’t like it.

Do you have a close relationship with your grandparents?
If not, do you wish you did?
Mention one memory you have with one of your grandparents.

I envision this song playing as you read this post.

My First Walk to End Alzheimer’s: Completed

The weather the day before was very windy. I expected it to be the same in San Francisco. I was wrong.

The morning started out with being alerted of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ win while getting ready My First Walk to End Alzheimer’s. The day just got better!

Next, a stop at Tartine was needed. We were out of bread. We had a ham and cheese croissant as well. People were celebrating the victory by honking their cars, cyclists were woohoo-ing and residents were ringing bells and banging pots and pants together. Then we drove off to Golden Gate Park to meet our other team members. Parking was decent. If you go a bit away from the de Young Museum and the Botanical Garden entrances, you will find parking. There, we started our walk which ended up being a 6.4 mile trek.

Picking up other team members across from the SkyStar Wheel, we headed down the closed to cars street. We crossed the bridge where swing dancing would take place and got lost in conversation. Many people were running, jogging, cycling and rollerblading. I did not notice anyone decked out in purple for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s but I’m sure there were some. As the event was virtual, via Facebook, I saw that Bay Area residents did it in their own backyards, around lakes in their communities or even the Hayward Shoreline. Well done, Everyone!

We made it to the North (Dutch) Windmill. The garden was full of tulips. In the middle of the arrangement had the word ‘HOPE’ spelled out. We then stopped at the Beach Chalet for lunch. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect.

With dealing with an ulcer since Monday, I had the lobster roll, the cole slaw and spinach salad with light sherry vinaigrette dressing. It was tasty but the roll was a bit heavy. Perhaps if it only had more butter. Funny how you try to cure one ailment but potentially bring on another. I should also watch my cholesterol. I am not on a cross trainer on a daily basis for an hour anymore.

Then we headed back East and to our cars. It was great to get the team together. The team would like to have an office to go to to. Perhaps in Q3 of 2021 when things settle down.

But, here’s another memory and another blog post that I hope I will never forget due to Alzheimer’s. It is not too late to sponsor me. Please do so HERE. I look forward to participating again next year.

Fundraising Efforts:
I won 5 games in ScrabbleGo since I challenged folks four days before the walk.
During my 22 days of posting memories on my Instagram pages (OneBusyBeeEnt and WereHungryToo), these were the most popular posts.


Thanks for your support!

Which non-profits do you support?

I envision this song playing as you read this blog post.

#EndAlz Fundraising Via ScrabbleGo

The “risk of developing Alzheimer can be reduced by 47 percent by thought-provoking and mind-stimulating activities.” – Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center (article).

I will be playing Scrabble GO to fundraise for my first Walk to End Alzheimer’s THIS Saturday! I have won 182 games since started playing during this pandemic. Would you sponsor me ONE dollar for each game I win until I hit the pavement in Golden Gate Park this Saturday at 10:30 am? It’s tax-deductible!

I invite you to challenge me too! Keep that brain active! Username: bappletreeOr sponsor me now in any amount! http://www.tinyurl.com/BMEndAlz2020

This Travel Agent also changed her tile to little purple suitcases. 😉

My roommate was kicking my butt when I announced this, but lookie lookie! I won!!!

Thanks for your support!

Which games do you play on your phone?

I envision this song being played in the background as you read this post.