manger seul


i’ve spent a lot of time putting together complex recipes & extravagant menus for others – from perfecting a chocolate chip cookie for a boy i fell in love with (down to number of granules of volcanic sea salt i sprinkle on top) to going to barcelona for one day to learn how to make paella for a family feast.

my mother calls me a word in vietnamese that i cannot actually spell, but all that’s relevant is that it effectively translates to “being v extra”. it’s just who i am – i’m an all-in kind of girl.

i truly love cooking for others. to feed the ones i love is an innate instinct for me – a demonstration of care & love that i undoubtedly inherited from the endless matriarchs who raised me. i was pretty much born to become an overbearing grandma

conversely, i rarely cook for myself. if i actually have dinner, it’s most often a glass of some red varietal paired with a handful of something produced by Haribo.

we’re going to change that.

my last lengthy personal challenge was to practice playing guitar until i had enough confidence to play in front of another human (shout-out to that housekeeper in mykonos for helping me succeed). this time i want to practice some over-effing-due #selflove. i can’t recall the last time anyone cooked for me (except my homegirl mckittrick who makes me easy mac at the office with so much love). so now, i’m going to take a day at least once a month to make myself a balls-out incredible meal, and no one else is invited. keeping accountable: one fancy meal at a time @mangerseul

what should I make next?


Easy & Delicious Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

After a long Sunday afternoon at Lake Temescal, I wanted to prepare something really comforting and tasty for our Sunday supper, but I didn’t want it to take too long or require too many ingredients. Drumroll… so since I had some chicken broth & thighs waiting already at home, I decided that I’d try a new recipe for Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup.  And if B’s jumping in for seconds counts as anything, I think it was a success for my first attempt!  Try this recipe and let me know what you think!

Huckleberry’s Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe


  • 3-4 teaspoons of vegetable oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger, minced
  • 6 oz. tomato paste (one of those small cans)
  • 14.5 oz diced tomatoes with liquid (one regular sized can)
  • 4 teaspoons of chili powder (I used this one from Frontier Co-Op – purchased at Berkeley Bowl.)
  • 32 oz. concentrated chicken broth (I used this one from Roli Roti – purchased at Berkeley Bowl.)
  • 1 lb. skinless chicken thighs
  • Sea salt & ground pepper to taste
  • Ghost pepper powder to taste (optional, I’m obsessed with this one from Trader Joe’s – thanks Korey!)
  • 3 corn tortillas, cut into thin strips
  • 1 cup of sweet corn (I used some frozen corn, you can use whatever works for you)
  • 1 cup of black beans
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup of cotija cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • Key lime wedges, for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  2. Slice tortillas into strips and toss with 2 teaspoons of oil. (I also added a few turns of the ghost pepper powder for some extra kick.) Bake them until crisp and golden (about 5 minutes – tossing them halfway through). *Note: the tortilla strips will crisp up quickly, so keep an eye on them!
  3. In a large pot, heat 1-2 teaspoon oil over medium-high. Add garlic & ginger and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. (To make my life easier and to save time, I threw the garlic & ginger into my mini food-processor to mince). Add tomato paste, diced tomatoes and liquid, corn, black beans, and chili powder and cook until most of liquid is evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes.

  4. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil; season with salt, pepper, and optional ghost peppers.

  5. Add chicken thighs and cook for at least 20 minutes.

  6. Remove chicken thighs and let cool.  Once cool, shred the chicken using two forks in a separate bowl. Return bones to the broth.
  7. To prepare: Scoop a generous helping of soup into a bowl, add chicken, avocado, cotija, and cilantro.  Top with some more broth and tortilla strips, and serve with key limes (cut in half).

Bon appétit!

Huckleberry Kim

…savor every moment slowly…

B’s first Huckleberry Haircut

Ever since I was a teenager,

I often gave my friends life-changing haircuts.

At University, most of them compensated me with a bottle of cheap wine that we’d share while I was cutting his/her hair (talk about trust…or more likely, we were just university students at Berkeley with little money & zero f*cks? lol) I haven’t done a short men’s cut in a while, so I was really excited when B suggest I give him a haircut for his first day of school (aka first day at his new job.) Though I’m a bit rusty, B said I did pretty well for my first time cutting hair in a while; and we’re both looking forward to me brushing up my fading skills next time he needs a trim 🙂

Best quote from our ~4-5 date:

“I’m pretty much, kind of good at everything I do.”


Love you, mean it.

Checkout the time-lapse of our haircut below for Before & After shots!





Donating Hair For a Good Cause

I have a big family, and we all love to get together to catch up, laugh, and eat —

Great memories are always made.

Today, we met up for a barbecue, where the kids could run around and play; and the adults could stroll around the beautiful lake and catch up on all the latests.  One of my aunties was telling everyone about how she’d been growing her (gorgeous) hair out with the intention of donating it to an organization that makes wigs for cancer patients who’ve lost their hair.  I’ve donated my hair to Locks of Love before (so has my older brother), so I was really excited about the idea.  Jokingly, I told her,

“I can cut your hair. I have scissors in my car!”

She was game, so I ended up giving her a great lob right in the park (haha – talk about a great memory!)

My aunt is a brilliant engineer with three sons ranging from ~8 to 17 years of age, and she doesn’t have much time for herself.  So she needed something that ideally would still be able to be pulled back into a ponytail.  I decided to go with a shoulder-length lob because I think it was the perfect balance of easy and stylish for an on-the-go working mother like her.  Check out the before and after photos below and let me know what you think!

Also, here are some resources for organizations that accept hair donations from 8 inches to 12 inches:

Pantene Beautiful Lengths (at least 8″)

Locks of Love (at least 10″)

Wigs for Kids (at least 12″)





Dream Denim: RE/DONE

If you’ve been following Huckleberry Kim (Hi, Mom!), you’ll know that I have this weird thing about pants.  And you know what,

I was right all along.

When the right pants come along y’all…

Last week, I stumbled into Curve on Fillmore with no intentions of meeting anyone, but there they were…these great patchwork RE/DONE jeans that happened to be in my size (FWIW, that so seldom happens for me).  I went right for them; it was nothing short of love at first sight.

We got together in the fitting room.  They fit like they were tailored for me – not too snug, just the perfect heavy drape of vintage denim and killer construction.  They were just unique and weird enough to accept my own unique weirdnesses while still nestling my bum in a way that actually made me walk with a little extra bounce, ha.  I didn’t take them home with me; I was “being good.”

Everyday for the next week,  I thought of them and how our life would be together.  And this last Saturday, after hiking and basketball, I just had to know if they still felt the same way about me.  Sure enough, they hadn’t left the shop with some other harlot, and here we are.

Meet my ride or dies, babes.

xx, Huck

“…you’re the one that I wanted to fiiiiiind…”

Other cool patchwork denim styles from other brands:

Blackberry Cheesecake Puffs

This Thanksgiving, I decided to be the pâtissier for our family gathering.  One of the quick and delicious dessert ideas I came up with was the following Blackberry Cheesecake Puffs.

You only need a few simple ingredients:

Puff pastry (I just used the packaged sheets available in the freezer section at most grocers), cream cheese, granulated sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, eggs, vanilla extract, and blackberries (or another fruit to top).

Check out the recipe below and let me know what you think!


  • 8oz package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon fresh finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1 package of blackberries (or equivalent fruit to top)
  • 1/2 package of puff pastry


  • Preheat oven to 375°F
  • Roll out puff pastry and place into greased pan
  • Bake for ~5 minutes or until slightly golden (you should put pie weights on the pastry while pre-baking without filling. Since I used a tray with mini’s, I used shot glasses to keep the center from puffing out.)
  • Start making filling
  • Start mixing the cream cheese, sugar, salt and vanilla until smooth.
  • Add the eggs, lemon juice, & zest, and beat until well combined.
  • Remove pie weights from pre-baked pastry.
  • Add cream cheese filling and bake for ~20 minutes or until golden brown.
  • In the last 5 minutes of baking, top with fruit.  Obviously we used blackberries here, but you could use any fruit you have on hand that your heart desires!

blackberry cheesecake puffs

I served mine with a cranberry compote and some fresh whipped cream, which were great pairings – but they’re great just on their own too.


Huckleberry Kim

johnny depp doppleganger – ‘fear and loathing in las vegas’



throwback song of the moment:


Huckleberry Kim

We Put On (Real) Pants Today

Once upon a time,

I was sixteen and wrote my college application essays about how I wanted to study economic development at UC Berkeley so I could start a minimalist apparel line with priorities of social consciousness and ecological consciousness in production.  Then, I could share my love for fashion & design with the world, while providing new jobs, under fair working conditions, to people around the world.


Let’s not get in to that right now.

In any case, after I graduated from university, I thought further schooling at a fashion design institution would be the next logically progressive step…until I really thought about the practicality, economics, and rationale behind it all.

So instead, I went to Vietnam for a few months, where I worked in a small garment shop making mens clothing.  I wanted to learn how to tailor the perfect suit – since it’s one of the most technically challenging endeavors as far as garment-making is concerned.  But I had a special fascination with the pants.

Pants are so weird.

  Pants all seem to be really similar, but pants aren’t much without the people who adorn them.  And they morph into completely different Somethings depending on the wearer. So in that sense, pants are as unique as the people who wear them.  They fit waists, and legs, and butts differently – especially if you’re a woman.

The pants pictured here were one of the first pairs I ever designed, pattern-made, constructed, and tailored to myself.


They’re just simple, plain black skinny trousers (which I often like to wear cuffed up to reveal a little more ankle, #hashtagScandalous), but they hold a special place in my heart …and my closet.



meticulously crafted,

perfectly tailored,

ride-or-die pants.

And sure, I’ve purchased trendy pants – sparkly culottes, drop-crotch-everything, fringed denim, boyfriend jeans, you name it – and they’ve had their places & uses in my life.

We’ve all been there: You see them, a million sparks fly, you have to take them home, you become immediately enamored, and then a few weeks later those sparks fade into obscurity… because honestly do you want sparkly culottes everyday long-term?  Or do you want the perfect pair of versatile, no-bullshit, ride-or-die trousers that go with everything.


Clearly we went really casual today to get through work; but I’m thinking we’ll go strappy high heels and a slinky silk blouse for our next night out. #everything

Life’s challenging, and complicated, and confusing a lot of the time – and it’s not going to stop being those things.  I’ve been trying to remind myself lately to be really grateful for the existence of these ride-or-die pants.

Sometimes you’ve just got to take a step back to see and appreciate what’s right there in front of you.


Huckleberry Kim

P.S. Sorry, no song today. I’ve been listening to Beyoncé for a few weeks straight.  Yep.

P.P.S. Love Queen Bey but this needs to stop.  Someone send a tempranillo & some new acoustic lullabies. I’ll make you a custom-tailored pair of ride-or-die pants as a trade. email:


Huckleberry Travel Guide: Magical Santorini

This is a very overdue post! But my darlin’ friend Carlina & I have decided to buckle down on our content posting schedules, so I’m making it a priority.

We took a very spontaneous trip to Greece

last month (August 2016) and one of the wildest things I learned was that Greece has over 6,000 islands – 227 of which are inhabited. Talk about a lot of choices!

Obviously there are some main islands that are very popular holiday destinations, but I’m the type of traveller that believes that you can find interesting things to explore anywhere!  We were traveling for about two weeks, and we decided to first dip our toes in gorgeous Greek waters by way of Mykonos and Santorini. Let’s get into Santorini first – because it was amazing – also, I can’t find any of my photos from Mykonos today!

1. Atlantis Books in Oia: 

Of course, I packed really last minute & forgot my books – silly Huckleberry; so after finishing Noah’s extra book while we were in Mykonos, I was in need of some new reading material to accompany all of the intense beach bumming and lounging around drinking cappuccinos that we were doing.  Luckily, we happened across Atlantis Books – just down the street from our hotel in Oia – that had a great little selection of novels in English, French, Spanish, Greek – you name it


2. Amoudi Bay

Take a stroll down to Amoudi Bay for dinner and enjoy the breathtaking sunset at Sunset Ammoudi Taverna.  It was impossible not to take countless photos here before we got settled in for a lovely dinner.  The friendly servers will take you over to select your fish (which was brought in by the fisherman earlier in the day) and it’s perfectly grilled, no frills, with some simple accoutrements.  We tried a fish that was new to the both of us – a white croaker – which was absolutely lovely (sort of similar to a sea bass). Go there. Enjoy.  Make reservations ahead of time if you want a better table next to the water.

3. Kamari Beach

For some very chill beach vibes, head over to Kamari Beach – on the eastern side of the island.  Since Santorini was formed from a volcano, the beaches aren’t as sandy as Mykonos, but Kamari’s coarse black sand beach was definitely still a lovely place to spend an afternoon laying out.  With a number of small beach clubs, restaurants, and hotels around, it’s easy to grab a bottle of wine to enjoy.  We rode there from our place in Oia by way of ATV and it only took about 30 minutes to get there.

4. Every Sunset From Everywhere
Sunset from literally everywhere and anywhere on the island is pure magic.  At first when we arrived, we’d enquired with our concierge what the best places were to go for sunset; they gave us some great dinner-with-a-view suggestions or go out on a boat suggestions, which all sounded great. Though to be honest, my favorite sunset was on our last evening there when we just picked up a great bottle of wine and climbed up to this cliffside to watch the no-bullshit-sun fall into the sea. 

5. Dinner at Andronis

Dinner at the Andronis boutique hotel’s Lycabettus was one of the most incredible gastronomic experiences I’ve ever had – which given my self-proclaimed foodie status is saying a lot.  We got a reservation for an evening during which they had a special fusion menu by Chef Alex Tsiotinis – a chef, native of Greece, with experiences at world-class restaurants all over the world.  The cuisine and wine were amazing, there were musicians playing live music, the view is indescribably gorgeous, and of course, the company even better.  

6. Make time for Fira

Though we stayed in Oia for most of our time on Santorini, a day trip to Fira was one of my favorites!  Because the island is so elevated and volcanic, seeing it from Fira was a lovely new perspective.  Also, there are some great restaurants and sites to see in Fira; I’m glad we didn’t miss it!

7. Hasapiko in Oia (aka Mary Kay)

“Mary Kay” is a local bar that was recommended to us by a server at Lycabettus.  TBQH, Santorini is full of honeymooners – which is lovely – but Noah and I were also just looking to have one night of super casual chill.  Glad we found Mary Kay.  Beware of all of the cigarette smoke inside the bar. 

8. Get Lost

The pristine white caves dwellings stacked along the slopes of Santorini, cut by the perfect sky and sea blues, makes it so easy to get lost in the picturesque streets and alleys – both in Oia and Fira.  You’ll notice a lot of dogs lounging around – enjoying the lovely island lifestyle.  Grab a gelato.  Stumble into a cute restaurant with a view – sit and enjoy.

  santorini summer


Huckleberry Kim

Song of the moment:

I found a new love and it is this song <3