Persian BBQ and Yogurt with Swords!

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I seriously had to ask Payam whether my readers (all 300 of you! Woot! Up from 200!) would rather hear about my bathroom redeaux (aka organizing the tweenagers crap with an Ikea hack) OR Persian Barbecue.  Of course he said barbecue because he thinks talking about house porn on the internet is boring. (Even though he’s just as addicted to HGtv as I am.) Maybe bathroom re-organizing is boring. I don’t think so. I think it’s the best thing EVER. I’m sure I’ll be back here with that another day.

Barbecue it is!

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I’ve been super spoiled two days in a row because we broke out the barbecue like it’s summer or something. Last night was Persian BBQ and the night before was frozen grocery store hamburgers. Don’t knock ’em. It meant NO cooking for me! I know, I should have made some kind of potato salad or maybe squeezed some balsamic-glazed bockchoy in on the barbecue… but phooey! I was not paying attention at all because I was off doing my own thing on my computer which is COMING UP WITH AN ART CAMP THIS SUMMER! (Yes, I totally am. Stay tuned.)

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The dogs were quite interested in this new development. “I CAN HAZ SOME, DAD?”

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Inconveniently, we ran out of dog food so I did actually do some cooking for the dogs. I threw some chicken in the instant pot and made a pot of sticky rice and they thought it was THANKSGIVING DINNER! Most spoiled dogs ever.

I do love our little patio. Everything is blooming right now and what used to look like a dilapidated abandoned puzzle of pots is now looking like a lush garden. Well, minus the grass and maybe a few hundred more plants. I can dream. Sometimes I miss having a real backyard but then I get my water bill and I think pavers are fine.

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After Payam had de-skewered the grilled chicken and steak he made a pot of Persian Tadique rice. If you know it, you love it. It has this crust on the top that is crunchy and buttery and pretty much as addictive as chips. Everyone loves it except Bug which is fine with everyone.

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Then we all sat down for dinner. (Note that we had paper plates. Mama was taking the night off! Oh yeah.) And this is what happened when I asked them to pose for me.

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Payam is pretty much thinking, Can we get on with this already? I’m starving. He’s a very good “instagram husband.”

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And then we dug in!

I love to put yogurt and Salad Shirazi on top of my rice which is sort of a faux pas to real Persians but they look the other way and let me do my gringo thing. Salad Shirazei is actually “Salad from the province of Shirazei” which is a place but it’s basically chopped up cucumbers, onions, cilantro, tomatoes with lemon and oil or vinegar. It’s delicious. Like salsa but not.

A funny story that we constantly remind Joon of: Yogurt is called mast. So if you have yogurt with cucumbers it’s called mast o khiyar but Joon, being a little girl with few words, once called it “mast o sham sheer” which translates to “yogurt with swords.” We all think that’s a way better name for it so that is what we call it to this day! MAST O SHAM SHEER FOREVER!

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Another Trip to LA: Minefaire and Chinatown

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It seems like ages ago we went to LA for Minefaire. It was snoresville but we did have a great time in Los Angeles afterwards. I always love a day in LA for adventure. Traffic not so much but adventure, yes. Everything there is charmingly different from Orange County and it always feels like an infusion of much needed variety.

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We don’t have graffiti where we live. If so much as the tiniest tag goes up on a wall or a fence it is gone the next day, no questions asked. I guess that is a good thing but I do love street art, especially really good street art. Sometimes I just want to paint my house purple in rebellion but I’m all hot air.

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Minefair and Minecon are not the same thing at all. Payam bought these tickets for the girls a long time ago before we even knew there was a difference. I’m sure to die-hard gamers it was pretty cool but to me it was just a giant conference room  filled with computers where kids were zoning out. We can do that at home. The store was pretty cool I guess. If you need another stuffed creeper, which we don’t. I did find a reason to have a pumpkin headed snowman of course. Gotta throw that in for seasonal decorations.

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The funny part was that we went to Minefair ON Payam’s birthday. Driving to LA in horrible traffic and then hanging out with gamers is not exactly his favorite thing to do but I guess he loves his girls. I add myself into that group because of how much I love adventure in LA, even if it does include a lame convention for a game that I’m not that into.

Bug is into Minecraft and she’s really good at creating these really cool houses and buildings. She’s thinking she might want to be an architect when she grows up and I am heartily encouraging that. I wanted to be an architect too way back in the day but I got discouraged by all the math.

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The best part of Minefair was going outside and eating street food. I love fresh tacos made on an industrial-sized cookie sheet over a propane tank. I am ever amazed at how ingenious street vendors are. And to think I wouldn’t rent an apartment because it had a hot plate and not a real stove! I should have taken some lessons from these guys.

I especially love the fresh fruit in cups. Coconut, mangos, cantaloupe, cucumbers…a squeeze of lime and some chili powder–yum! I always worry about getting food poisoning because surely things can’t be that clean but we never do. Street germs are good I guess.

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After our lunch in the street we decided we weren’t ready to go home yet so we took a quick trip to Chinatown. We love ducking into the little shops and discovering new things.

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I feel privileged that I get to follow Bug and Joon around and take pictures. They are getting prettier and prettier every day. I feel like I have my own models constantly walking around with me just asking me to take their picture. I need to take my real camera out more often. Whenever I do I always have such a good time with it.

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After Chinatown we rushed home to go to a violin concert that Bug’s new violin teacher was starring in. Her teacher is really really good. Like ripping up the violin in a floor-length red velvet dress good. The girls sat there mesmerized, not even bored at all.  Sadly I have no photos of that. I wish I could have but I was shy to take my camera into the theatre.

I didn’t even tell you that we hired a private tutor for violin lessons for Bug. She’s getting serious about violin and unfortunately her class at school is kinda stuck and not progressing so she’s forging on ahead with private lessons. I’m really proud of her. Of course getting her to practice regularly is a challenge but that’s really what this whole thing is about anyway. I’m really happy that she is not giving up on something that she is good at.

After the concert the girls and I stopped by a grocery store and bought Payam a cake. He didn’t go to the concert so it was our little surprise.

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Which he wholeheartedly deserved.