I’m sure this wasn’t entirely unexpected, but bar prep has proved more than a match for my blog. Accordingly, I’m taking a temporary hiatus from authoring UMAMI LIFE in order to dedicate all my attention to preparing for this exam, which I am terrified I will not pass.

But, enough with the grim mood! There is still plenty of UMAMI about these parts since I have been and will continue to update my Insta feed @umamilife with all my culinary ventures! I update nearly every day, as play time in the kitchen constitutes the chief joy in my life under this study regimen.

People, the insta food will not suck. I plan out all my meals a week in advance and do designated recipe research and prep time; believe me when I say I have some cool dishes in store and they’re all clean eats that will serve your body and mind.

Lastly, I might be plotting a cheat day for next week or maybe even this weekend, if I’m feeling good! I’ve been absolutely monk-like in my dedication to clean eating, working out, and studying, so I’m thinking something extra naughty, like a fancy fancy burger from Thomas Hill or Artisan, or perhaps a big pork sammy from Fundaro’s Foodstream! Suggestions are welcome! 

I’ll still be following other blogs and trying to participate in the community. My return date will likely be in early August, as I will be anxious to get back and I have some awesome pre-work travel plans set for later in the year. I’ll be in Greece and Italy with the fam bam from August 1-7, and in Seoul visiting a dear friend from September 1-10. There will be pics; there will be extreme noms. I can’t wait.

Take care everyone! See you on Insta!



This is a very special bento because it was made for my little cousin Shelby, who is actually not so little anymore and is in fact an ass-kicking, name-taking SDSU student with a bossy PAID INTERNSHIP this summer at a maj company. I’m so proud. We decided to have a picnic to catch up and I said I’d make her a bento tailored to her tastes.

Top shelf (Left) – Peanut butter and banana sammy with honey and cinnamon on Ezekiel Sesame bread + dried apricots.

Bottom shelf (Right) – Spinach salad with feta, sliced apple, carrot, and balsamic glaze. 
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This bento has a bit of a funny story behind it. When Shelby and I were making plans, I asked her to specify food she really liked or disliked, just so I didn’t make anything too out of her range. She said bananas, peanut butter, and feta. Of course, I construed this to be her list of favs. It was actually her list of “that’s gross, don’t put that in my bento” items. I ended up whipping her up another sammy and some scrambled eggs (#savingtheday) and my mom ended up eating the bento for dinner, but does this lack of specificity on my end and confusion bode well for a certain EXAM COMING UP IN JULY?! FORBIDDEN THOUGHTS!

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I packed it up in this awesome Kapibarasan bento that I dug out of the pantry. It was definitely a long lost import from my time spent in Tokyo!

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Last thing: has anyone else been watching that kickass new World Wars series on the History Channel?! Yeah. I am totally addicted. They did a great job, even though they are giving Japan, Tojo, and the Asian side of the conflict way too little coverage. I’d definitely recommend it if you need some late-night, non-literary brain food.

That’s all for today. Hope your weekend is chalk full of brunch plans and exciting eats!



It’s getting real around here, folks. I officially have a serial-killer-style wall in my room pasted up with hearsay exceptions, the Constitution, etc. But, all this stress has to go somewhere: I am working out and eating like a total champ. Here’s everything I ate on Monday.

Breakfast: Matcha smoothie and big cup of earl grey tea. That’s right, I need two sources of caffeine after 5:45am spin. I was inspired by this awesome recipe from Just One Cookbook, but my smoothie is a little more burly since I drink it as a full post-workout breakfast:

1 banana

3/4 cup almond milk

1/2 cup water

1 tbsp matcha (I like a ton of it, but you might want to cut back for more subtle flavor!)

2 big handfuls of spinach

1/4 cup oats

avocado honey drizzle

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 Lunch: Vietnamese-style salad with my own nuoc cham. Kate Blanchett is apparently unmoved. I posted about this salad the other day; you’ll probably see it even more often since I literally cannot get enough. It has snap peas and squash steamed then water-fried with soy sauce, garlic, and smoked herring. Other toppings = shredded heirloom carrot, green cabbage, sliced pickled ginger, mint, cilantro, with a lot of chili garlic sauce. Served over glass noodles.

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Afternoon snack: one Mt. Olive Persimmon & Walnut Nougat. Had to splurge. These are amazing and contain three ingredients. Forgive my unseemly unpainted nails.

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Dinner: Uni, Ikura, and Tamago Brown Rice Bowl at Crazy Sushi Fever. That’s right, I ordered something of my own devising off-menu. The chef seemed happy to comply, even offering to dress it up with some veggies. If you’ve ever been to Crazy Sushi Fever in Atascadero, you’ll know why I had to go this route. They’re a “fusion” restaurant with tons of deep-fried, overly-sauced rolls. I actually heard the server say “we can deep fry any roll on the menu.” Um, NO. Instead of drowning in flavorless grease, I decided to take this opportunity to eat hard-to-access ingredients, namely the ikura and uni. It was a big treat!

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We all went to see the new X-Men movie after, which I thought was a solid 7. I mean, there’s only so wrong you can go with MICHAEL FASSBENDER at the helm, AMIRITE?! I’m so steeped in X-Men lore and fandom that there’s no way I wouldn’t be on board, not to mention it was another opportunity to hang with my awesome cousins and Aunt! I’d spent the day studying for the bar so I was more than willing to fawn over anything remotely science-fiction related.

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That’s all for today! Please tell me about all the good eats in your life. I’d also love to get some suggestions for morning smoothies that have a Japanese edge! Would something with sweet red bean paste not be totally epic?!



Although it may have been peppered with bar study, this weekend was undeniably lovely. Quality time was spent with friends, family, farmer’s markets and a farm, Thomas Hill Organics, as well as an alpaca with a truly appalling underbite.

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But first thing’s first.

Maj life announcement: Last week, I officially accepted an offer from a San Luis Obispo law firm. I’m staying in California and will be starting work in the Fall.  

I can’t wait to join the Central Coast legal community and fully immerse myself in everything this area has to offer. I admit that moving back to a smaller legal market–not to mention the county where I grew up–was not my original plan after law school, but SLO is growing quickly; it’s an exciting time to be a young professional here with so much economic movement and growth. And, these last few weeks especially have given me a real taste of everything I have to look forward to. It’s an amazing opportunity, I’m incredibly lucky to have received this offer, and I’m going to give it my all.

But that’s not the whole story. How could it be, in this historically dismal legal market? This offer did not just fall into my lap. There’s a wider context that desperately needs to be discussed by new law graduates, and that current and prospective law students alike need to hear. The old path of getting hired–get into a great school, work hard, make it through OCI without being too much of a derp–has been bulldozed for many students, as in given the full Fern Gully treatment. There are so few jobs available and so many smart, qualified graduates; to be frank, my top ten law school’s career planning office was not equipped to meet this challenge. I don’t think many  law students are, either. I believe it took a great deal of tenacity and creativity for me to secure my offer, certainly worlds above submitting my resume and sending a few follow-up emails. If anyone out there would like a separate post on my closing thoughts on law school and the current hiring market, please let me know. If you’re a law student and you’re struggling to find a job, please feel free to reach out to me directly at umamilife1@gmail.com I’d be happy to share a few thoughts or answer any questions you might have.


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Salted duck eggs and jiajangmyun, my most flagrant cross-culture combo that happens to TASTE LIKE THE THIGH OF AN ANGEL. I’ve been kicking it Korean style pretty frequently these days and the payoff has been high. I also didn’t mean for this bento to look like some kind of Frankenstein/Gumby hybrid. Not kawaii…

(1) Brown rice steamed with hijiki and asparagus

(2) Jiajangmyun, veggie style: purple potatoes, green squash, carrot, with some garlic and ginger.

(3) Salted duck egg, unadorned.

(4) Kimchi with sesame seeds, and a little green cabbage to fill space

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Check out this ultra nutritious veggie-strong bento. We’re working with:

(1) Brown rice steamed with hijiki and asparagus, topped with some serious roe.

(2) Kimchi, in all its unadorned glory.

(3) Sliced cucumber with some furikake and a little bit of sesame oil.

(4) Rough-chopped carrot. Look at the colors!!!

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Chop, chop…

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There was some deliciousness about this weekend. I was just happy to have this last weekend to play in the kitchen with impunity! You’re looking at (1) an apple, soy, and gochujang-based sauce I made from scratch, (2) a glass noodle bowl with fresh crab and a salted duck egg, (3) honey made from avocado blossoms! Scored this buttery, delicious rarity at the Templeton farmer’s market. (4) preview of the brown rice/hijiki/asparagus batch cooking for the week. 

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As you can tell, it was a killer weekend at the Farmer’s Market. I also went to see a Chorus Line at the SLO Little Theatre, attended Yoga in the Vines at Castoro Cellars, tried to make natto, and received a crash course in hydroponic gardening. More umami adventures after the jump…

Also, I apologize for the odd editing/spacing throughout posts lately. I’m not sure what’s going on and it certainly doesn’t appear as discombobulated in my editing window. I’m working on it…

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