Vacation: The China Recap

I’ve been MIA the past few days.  Sorry.  I got back from China a day late (flight canceled), meaning we got in the day before Thanksgiving.  Then of course my stomach decided to explode an hour after landing and I got horribly sick for 3 days.  I’ll spare you the details on that one.

Instead let’s concentrate on happier times: a nearly two week trip to China.  I’ll give you the lightning recap then get back to the recipes as soon as possible.

The trip started in Shanghai with the tastiest dumplings I’ve ever had in my life filled with soup and pork.

Delicious.  Then we headed to Guilin, where we saw tons of natural beauty

Climbed lots of hills and mountains

and ate delicious things, like meat on a stick and rice noodles.

After some days in Guilin, we headed to Xi’an (the old capital and end of the Silk Road).  We ate tasty crepe/egg things on the street (that they give you in a plastic bag to eat).

Rode bikes on the city wall (you have no idea how big a feat this is for me.  I hate bicycles.)

Saw Pagodas

And the Terracotta Warriors.  Pretty Amazing.

After Xi’an, we headed to Beijing.

Beijing was cold.

We’re smiling not just because we’re happy to be in Tian’an men Square, but it was freezing.  Then we saw the usual sites, like The Forbidden City

and The Great Wall of China (which was wayyyy bigger and longer and steeper than I expected)

After Beijing, we headed back to Shanghai to see some sites and catch a plane back to the Los Angeles.  Shanghai was a huge city.  I didn’t expect it to be so big and NYC-like, even though there were traditional Chinese things, like the Yuyuan Garden:

After a flight cancellation and an arrival a day late, we made it back.  I think we were both exhausted from the trip.  We packed a lot into 12 days.

Here are a few things we found

Weirdest things about China: People asking to take pictures with us.

Tastiest thing about China:  Dumplings (see first pic)

Skill Learned: maybe 2 words of Mandarin but we got really good at taking pics of ourselves

That’s it for the recap.  Obviously we saw tons of things in the 12 days were there, and I have more pictures but these are just some of the highlights.  You can see some on Instagram (check out my online page in case you don’t follow me on Instagram)… like Pies from McDonald’s!  Check it out!

Overall, we had a great trip.  My post-vacation-illness was totally worth it.

What was your last vacation?  Tell me about it!


Chocolate Pudding with Peanut Butter Mousse and Maple Candied Bacon

People have a weird obsession with bacon.  I’ll be honest.  I don’t fully understand it.  I mean sure bacon is tasty, but I would much rather eat a chocolate/pb combo over a piece of bacon pretty much any day.

But on top of my affinity for chocolate and peanut butter, I also have a crazy desire to recreate things I eat at restaurants.

So a few weekends ago, Jesse (boyfriend, in case you’re a new reader! Hi!) and I went to the Manhattan Beach Post for our anniversary.  We ate some pretty tasty things (some cheddar bacon biscuits I also attempted to recreate, recipe to come), but we were too full for dessert.

One of the things that looked amazing was the “Elvis,” which the menu describes as “a wonderful mess of chocolate pudding, peanut butter mousse, bacon brittle.”

A wonderful mess.

I like that.

And I bet I would have loved it there (because pretty much everything I ate was delicious. White Oak Grilled Sword Squid with marinated gigande beans and lemon curd.  Bomb.  Try it you’re around there).

So of course I had to recreate it, even though I didn’t really try it.

Here’s my rendition.

I say you should give it a try too.

Chocolate Pudding with Peanut Butter Mousse and Maple Candied Bacon

pudding adapted from Smitten Kitchen


1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
3 cup whole milk
6. 5 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Peanut Butter Mousse:

1/4 cup peanut butter, smooth
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup heavy cream

Maple Candied Bacon:

4-6 slices of bacon
2 tbsp maple syrup

Place milk, sugar and salt in a sauce pan over low heat, stirring constantly to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom until warm.  In a bowl, whisk together cornstarch and some of the warm milk.  Make sure there are no clumps, then add mixture to the rest of the milk.  Continue to stir until it starts to thicken and coats the back of the spoon (about 10 minutes).  Stir in chocolate chips.  Combine to stir until well combined and think (maybe another 5 mins).  Transfer to small bowls.  Refrigerate until cool.

In a bowl, beat heavy cream until firm.  Set aside.  In another bowl, beat together peanut butter and condensed milk until smooth.  Fold in whipped cream.  Refrigerate half an hour.

Next make bacon.  Place bacon in a bowl with maple syrup, toss to coat.  Heat a frying pan to medium heat.  Add bacon, cook until crisp.  Lay cooked bacon on paper towels.  Allow to cool completely and chop.

Next assemble.  Using a piping bag or a Ziploc back, pipe some peanut butter mousse over the chocolate pudding.  Sprinkle with pieces of bacon.  Serve immediately.  Makes 6 servings (or many more in tiny shot glasses).  If you’re not ready to serve it yet, pipe the peanut butter mousse over the pudding and refrigerate.  About 15 minutes before serving remove from the fridge then sprinkle with bacon when ready to serve.

It’s a bit of a process to make but definitely worth it.

Bonus: bacon makes it a man-pleaser.

Go ahead recreate this.  Then tell me how it is.  I’ll be in China while you do that.  No really, I’ll be in China.  I leave on Thursday.  I hope I get to eat ridiculously tasty things and see some awesome sites.  I’ll tell you all about it.

Any China trip tip or recommendations?

Anyone else want chocolate pudding with peanut butter mousse and maple bacon?

Yeah, we all do.  Go make it!