2014 End of Year Review!

Wow, another year has flown by and I am starting to feel really old….Which, numerically isn’t true, but man does it seem like dramaland across all countries keeps churning out more and more dramas. This is my first time doing a year end review, so go easy on me! I was also really busy this year, and unfortunately ended up dropping a lot of dramas or putting them on hold! Continue reading “2014 End of Year Review!”

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Gift Ideas for the Drama Lover in Your Life

Christmas is only 3 days away, and you’re at a loss for what to get that person in your life who likes those newfangled “asian dramas”. Have no fear, I’m here to help you out! If you’re a drama lover yourself, feel free to casually slip these into conversation, just to give friends and family a headstart.

1. A TejiToki (pigrabbit doll) from Fabulous Boys/YAB

2. A boxed drama set off Amazon

I highly recommend both of these

3. Fabulous Boys OST

4. Prince of Lan Ling OST

5. Macaron baking sheet
because the ones in Amour et Patisserie looked too dang good

6. Pre-made Macarons
just incase the baking sheet doesn’t work out

7. Cute Stationary from Asia

8. Facemasks (I prefer Skinfood/My Beauty Diary)

So you can pamper your skin while drama watching… (note: that’s rita orr, not me!)

9. Stuff toy lion (wings optional) from Just You

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note – I wasn’t actually able to find it sold online, but I’m sure you could choose any stuffed lion and sew on wings 🙂

10. a subscription to dramafever!
this isn’t sponsored I swear (though DF, if you want, just shoot me an email 😛 ). DF offers a subscription that allows you to watch HD eps without commercials and subs. While there are other sites you can watch dramas on (sensentv is pretty good!), it’s a toss up waiting for subs/having to download (which I don’t like to do).

Amour et Patisserie [沒有名字的甜點店] Episode 7 Recap

Mommy issues, reporter issues, and unresolved feelings abound this episode!

Recap:

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Tian Tian is in a bad mood this morning, and all of the workers watch her carefully. A Lu brings up Yu Wen, and Allen grimaces before heading out to open the front gates. When he gets there however, he’s bombarded by people who exclaim that he’s just as cute as the photos, and that the pastry shop really has no name. They’re here because they saw the ballerina’s post about the green mango dessert, and clamor to get in.

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Xiang Ming and Allen share a bromance moment while hip thrusting dancing to music before Tian Tian chases Allen out of the kitchen. They’re overwhelmed, and Tian Tian tells Allen to send the customers still waiting in line away – she’s not going to be making more pastries today.

Yu Wen stops by again when the store is closed, and he and Allen share a particularly tense moment of staring. Just as Allen is about to push Yu Wen out the door however, Tian Tian comes back with Xiao Kai. Yu Wen drops to Xiao Kai’s level to greet him and asks if he [Xiao Kai] remembers him [Yu Wen], but Allen calls Xiao Kai away before they can interact any more.

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Yu Wen does manage to wrist grab Tian Tian (urgh) and pull her away to talk one on one however. He grabs her in a hug, and tells her that he misses her terribly and wants her to join him. Tian Tian pulls away furiously, and asks Yu Wen why he didn’t say this years before. Allen is still waiting for her by the time she walks home, and when he tries to asks her what the matter is she storms right back out of the house.

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They wind up at another pastry shop (we saw Tian Tian stop by it before in previous episodes), where Tian Tian buys some lemon tarts. She relocates to a parkbench to eat them, and after taking a bite, hands it to Allen to try. He comments that it’s not bad, but a bit dry and too tart. Tian Tian sadly laughs before saying that she’d go to the shop to buy their pastries, but no matter how many different ones she tried, she wasn’t able to taste a thing.

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The crowds are back the next day, but Tian Tian isn’t in the mood to make anything. Allen uses reverse-psychology to get her started, and they try to keep up with the high demand of customers. Unfortunately, the demand is still too much for them to serve, and Allen is forced to turn away customers again. Tian Tian’s mom stops by in an attempt to see Xiao Kai, and Tian Xi promises she can see him once he’s out of school.

A reporter also stops by, and he line hops by flashing his card, and starts taking photos of other people’s food. Rude. He keeps asking to talk to the chef, and Tian Tian finally comes out to snap at him to leave. He criticizes the decor and her attitude before snapping a photo as he leaves. Uhoh…

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Mommy issues abound, as Tian Tian goes out to greet her mother and Allen skypes his. Tian Tian’s mom bitterly complains that she’s just a useless old lady that no one needs, and that she hasn’t even set eyes on her five year old grandson once. Fair point. Allen’s mom demands to know where he is, and forbids him to dig up the past by going to Taiwan. She threatens to buy a plane ticket to bring him back, only for Allen to hang up in response.

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A gloomy Allen heads to the kitchen, where he sees Xiang Ming making tart crusts. Cue the bromance! 🙂 Tian Tian finds them asleep with their arms around each other the next morning.

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When Allen walks out to greet the crowd of customers however, he’s astonished to see that nobody has come. A newspaper is stuffed onto the doorframe, and he opens it up to find an article claiming that their store uses bad ingredients with BHG (?). Tian Tian immediately runs into the kitchen to check the wet ingredients (butter, eggs, creme, etc.), while Tian Xi has A Lu and Xiang Ming help her predict the future of the store.

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Xiang Ming invites A Lu to go with him to drop off baked goods, and he makes sure to rev the motorcycle at an intersection so that A Lu keeps leaning into him. HA. 😉

Back at the store, Yu Wen stops by to order dessert and once again request that Tian Tian work for him. Tian Xi accuses him of writing the article, and Tian Tian despondently tells him that the two of them working together is never going to happen.

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Xiang Ming launches his own internet retaliation against the article, and there’s another cute moment between himself and Allen.

XM: So you like Tian Tian, right?
Allen: *evasively* So you like A Lu right?
XM: That’s right! *leans in close* I’ll tell you a secret…we’re boyfriend and girlfriend!

Looks like our jerk reporter treats his underlings in a similar jerk manner, as he tells a girl that her article is awesomely….boring. She has to re-write it before he gets back from lunch, and if the Patisserie with no name calls, to tell them he’s out of the country. Ugh.

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Tian Tian takes a break to go visit Allen’s dad (not that she knows the connection yet), and a nurse stops in to give them both a special soup made with an ingredient only found in central Taiwan. This brings back a memory of her mother making the soup for her sisters and her, and Tian Tian smiles warmly.

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Jerk reporter meets with Yu Wen in a hotel lobby, and Yu Wen agrees to their “deal” if the reporter does him a favour. They relocate to the Patisserie with No Name where Tian Tian is making Madelines (featuring that special ingredient from the soup). The reporter mocks the Madelines, saying that people would assume they’re mouldy, and complains about not being given a fork to eat with. Yu Wen chastises him by telling the backstory of the Madelines, and that they’re meant to be eaten by hand. Jerk reporter looks down embarrassed, and then freezes in shock when he recognizes the special herb. Turns out he is from the same area, and the herb makes him nostalgic of home.

That’s why when he returns back to his office, he treats the young girl whose article he belittled earlier to a Madeline. He recalls a time when he too, was a new reporter and had the same line “awesome….ly bad” thrown at him as well. He encourages the girl to remember why she wanted to become a reporter in the first place. Aw, story of the week solved!

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Allen isn’t too happy though, as he meets up with his childhood friend/Xiao Kai’s teacher for drinks and dinner. They both get drunk as he complains that he’s lost before even confessing, and wake Tian Tian as they loudly stumble home (the friend wants to eat pastries). Tian Tian freezes when she sees Allen with the teacher, and stonily walks back inside.

End.

Amour et Patisserie [沒有名字的甜點店] Episode 6 Recap

Flashbacks galore! We deal with two issues in this episode – a bulimic ballet dancer and Tian Tian’s past.

Recap:

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We open to see Tian Tian enjoying her time in France, sight seeing and taking photos all around Paris. When she goes to register for her Cordon Bleu course, who should be there but Yu Wen. Tian Tian teasingly asks if he remembers her, and the two jibe back and forth for a bit. Cue opening sequence.

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We then meet our character of the episode, an unnamed ballet dancer. She twirls and gestures before smiling up at her boyfriend (who has been taking photos of her the entire time).

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Back at the pastry shop, two of the regular female customers have started a battle over who is better, Yu Wen or Allen. Uh, random? Tian Tian comes back from grocery shopping, and Allen hands her Yu Wen’s card. Tian Tian’s expression darkens immediately when she sees it, and she warns A Lu and Allen to tell “that person” he isn’t welcome at the patisserie before storming off.

Once in the kitchen, she’s distracted and aggressive. Cue flashback #2

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Yu Wen and Tian Tian had actually been a pretty cute couple – Tian Tian kept “accidentally” bumping into him (I love how she isn’t afraid to chase after him haha) and they hit it off right away. At one point they ran into each other while buying groceries, and Yu Wen had fed Tian Tian a certain kind of strawberry. After asking her how it tasted, Yu Wen asked if she wanted to try something else. Tian Tian had nodded smiling, and Yu Wen swooped in for a kiss. Gah show why do you make them some cute together, I feel like I’m betraying Allen. 😦

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Back in the present, the ballerina and her boyfriend are visiting the Patisserie With No Name. Allen gives a lengthy shpeel on how their desserts are particularly fresh/high quality, and so tasty that even a renowned chef keeps coming in to the store (he means Yu Wen). Boyfriend takes photos during the exchange, then asks Allen to repeat what he just said because he wasn’t paying attention. Lol.

Yu Wen is meeting with the CEO/director (I’m a little unclear as to his position), and tells him about the great talent he found in the small patisserie. The CEO speaks terrible, terrible Chinese, but manages to eke out that perhaps Yu Wen should look at the big name stores for talent, not the small crummy ones.

Tian Tian stares hard at the happy couple, and tears up a bit as she watches the boyfriend feed the ballerina.

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Unfortunately, not all is sunshine and rainbows. Tian Xi overhears the ballerina throwing up in the restroom, and the girl just shrugs it off as a way to stay thin. Except…this time she continues puking, and even pukes up some blood. A frantic Tian Xi calls A Lu to come help, only for A Lu to faint at the sight of blood (HA). Both A Lu and the ballerina are sent to the hospital, though A Lu is still a bit woozy when she walks out with the crew. She stumbles a bit, but is twirled around caught by Xiang Ming. Such a gentleman.

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When Allen and Tian Tian walk home, lo and behold who should be waiting but Yu Wen. He starts after Tian Tian, but she tells him to leave and runs inside. Allen stops Yu Wen from following, reminding him that Tian Tian said she didn’t want to talk. Yu Wen: 0 Allen:1

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Allen asks Xiang Ming for advice – what does he think about Tian Tian and Yu Wen? Xiang Ming isn’t really listening at first, but tells Allen that people come with baggage and you can’t always expect it to be light. Amen. From the way it looks however, Tian Tian is in no mood to get back with Yu Wen.

Hilariously, Allen then asks why Xiang Ming has curlers in his hair. Xiang Ming replies with a straight face that even though he [Xiang Ming] is more handsome than Allen (PFFFTTT no), all the girls want to talk to Allen, so it must be because of Allen’s curly hair. HAHAHAHA.

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Back in his hotel, Yu Wen stares at his phone at a photo from the past, lost in thought. Cue flashback #3…

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In this flashback, Yu Wen and Tian Tian bake tartlets together, then feed each other and smooch a ton. We also see them hang a lock together before trading more smooches. Sigh…

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Looks like the two regular customers from before made the battle official, as Xiang Ming stumbles upon a facebook page dedicated to which guy is better. Xiang Ming comments to Allen that Yu Wen has it all, money, fame, and is very filial. Allen just turns the lights off in reply. Yu Wen: 1 Allen: 1

The ballerina and her boyfriend are fighting now, largely because he’s trying to make her eat and she feels like he doesn’t love her anymore.

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Yu Wen is once again standing outside the doors to the patisserie, and Tian Xi invites him in (she knows he’s famous, but isn’t aware of his past with Tian Tian). Eerily enough though, she reads that he has a painful past love life, and offers to read the tarot cards for him. They’re interrupted by Xiang Ming, who rushes to the kitchen to announce that Yu Wen is outside. Uhoh. Tian Tian walks out and tells Yu Wen to get lost, but he tells her that she is squandering all her potential on this pastry shop. Sure, it’s cozy and cute, but it’s not a challenge and she won’t grow from it. He tries to grab her arm (ughh I hate that move), but Tian Tian shakes him off and Allen steps between them to make him leave. Yu Wen: 1 Allen: 2

Cue flashback #4…

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It looks like the Patisserie with No Name was one of Tian Tian’s old ideas from before, as she shared her ideas with Yu Wen about making different pastries for different days. He’d chosen the Sunday dessert, and Tian Tian had sighed that it’d be so great when they opened it. The use of “we” throws Yu Wen off, and though he hugs Tian Tian back, he seems troubled.

Sure enough, Tian Tian goes to bring Yu Wen a sample of the sunday dessert, only to find another one of her classmates is living in his old apartment. Where is Yu Wen? Apparently he moved in with a rich girlfriend (heiress of some bakery). 😦 Tian Tian is devastated, and tries to call him to no avail.

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In the present, Tian Xi swears to the crew that if they see one hair on Yun Wen’s head, they have to kill him bar him from the restaurant. She cutely prepares fondue and bananas for Tian Tian in the evening and tries to attempt girl talk, but Tian Tian just tells her to let it drop. Aw, sister bonding was sweet though 😦

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The ballerina overhears her coworkers talking crap about her, calling her a liar and a fake. Elsewhere, Tian Mi, Tian Xi, and Mom all meet up to discuss Xiao Kai. Mom wants to take Xiao Kai away to the house they used to live in, saying that the daughters were so unfilial that they didn’t even tell her of his existance. When Tian Xi informs Tian Tian at home, Tian Tian shouts that there is no way Xiao Kai is leaving.

The next day doesn’t start off much better, as the ballerina and her boyfriend are back at the patisserie. Tian Tian accidentally makes her cry, and then the boyfriend and ballerina get into an argument where he tries to convince her he truly cares for her and she (self-centeredly) whines/cries that she’s a faker. Thank goodness Xiang Ming also recognizes this, and he shouts at them both to shut up, and that the ballerina shouldn’t think so low of herself, since she’s ruining her own relationship. Tian Tian still feels bad, and heads to the kitchen to make a “special” dessert.

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drool….

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The crew crowds around, eager to see if the dessert will help or not. Tian Tian tells the ballerina that the dessert was made with unripe green mangoes, so it should be bitter enough for her to eat. It’s a success, and ballerina girl is able to finish the entire thing with a smile on her face.

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Tian Tian and Allen go to the batting cages again, and Tian Tian teases Allen for not being able to hit any of the balls. He just smiles and tells her he’s challenging himself to improve, a mirror to what Yu Wen said earlier. This causes Tian Tian to withdraw back in her shell, and she abruptly decides to leave the catting cages.

On the way home, Allen brings up Yu Wen, prompting Tian Tian’s ire. She demands to know why he feels the need to but in, and when  Allen replies that it’s because he’s concerned, Tian Tian bites back that her mother is trying to take Xiao Kai away because of “concern”. Ouch. Yu Wen is there to hear everything.

Comments:

Amour et Patisserie [沒有名字的甜點店] Episode 5 Recap

I’M BAAAAAAAAAAACK!

Recap:

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We open to see Yu Wen sitting forlornly on his bed. He opens up his wallet and pulls out a picture of Tian Tian, looking at it sadly before going deep in thought.

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The Patisserie With No Name is overwhelmed by orders, and Tian Tian scrambles in the kitchen to keep up. Tian Xi, Allen, and A Lu all stage an intervention, telling her that she needs should find a helper. Tian Tian barks that another assistant means that she has to not only train them but pay them as well, but A Lu reasons that a helper means more pastries made, and thus more money to pay him/her with. Tian Tian agrees to get them off her back, but warns them to stay out of her decision. The crew see her put up a sign outside of the store later that day: “Helper wanted, lots of work and little compensation. Boss is strict – one month only.” HA. A Lu mutters that no one is ever going to apply with those conditions.

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We meet a new character, Cai Xiang Ming, who is a total pushover. His boss comes along to request the deadline of a report, and she uses cutesy “adorable” tactics to wheedle him into pushing it to 4 pm the next day. Xiang Ming’s friend in the cubicle next door rolls over in his wheelie chair to mock the boss, imitating her “aegyo” voice before telling Xiang Ming that he shouldn’t agree to whatever the boss says. Xiang Ming just shrugs and offers his friend a macaroon (note that he uses a term meaning “soft like a lady’s bosom”…I’m not too sure why either).

It seems that Xiang Ming has a huge interest in desserts, as he tries to tell his friend to savor the macaroon and eat it “properly” rather that stuff it in his mouth. Xiang Ming also drops some information on the process of making macaroons – hmm….foreshadowing?

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Xiang Ming is forced to stay late that night working on the report, and eats pastry after pastry to stay awake. He’s understandably tired the next day, and passes out on his way to the restroom.

The paramedics examine him in the boss’s office as she talks to the president of the company, and Xiang Ming is given a month off so that the company doesn’t get any bad media coverage about overworking.

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Tian Xi meets with her mother, and the old lady tries to wheedle out any information about her grandson that she can. It’s clear that none of the sisters are on particularly good terms with their mother, and although Tian Xi lets slip that the child is called Xiao Jie (referred to in recaps as Xiao Kai), she declines to let Mom stay with them.

It seems that Mom expected this, and she tells Tian Xi to bring back some items for both Xiao Kai and Tian Tian. Tian Tian’s gift is a box of mung bean cakes that her mother’s store makes, and she immediately flashes back to the past.

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She’d always been the child by her mother’s side, as Tian Mi always went to concerts and Tian Xi was constantly going on dates. When Tian Xi got older however, she saw that Yu Wen had gone to study in France, and decided to follow him there. An argument had broken out between Tian Tian and Mom when Tian Tian brought up these plans, and the issue never truly resolved itself.

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Xiang Ming goes to bakery after bakery on his break, happily eating his heart out. He stops by the Patisserie With No Name, and notices their job posting. Once inside, he stares unabashedly at A Lu (who immediately covers up haha) while ordering all three desserts. Once he’s tried the cake, Xiang Ming has a revelation, and asks to be hired as the assistant.

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None of the crew is happy – A Lu says he’s a type A (ie, a creepy guy who watches porn at home), Allen things he’s weird, and Tian Xi says that he won’t stop looking at A Lu’s…boobs. Xiang Ming offers to show them his ID, and tells Tian Tian that he doesn’t need pay, learning to bake is enough. Despite the protests, Tian Tian agrees to hire him for a month, but tells him not to expect the job to be easy. Since he’s from out of town, she tells him to bunk with Allen.

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And so, Xiang Ming’s training begins. He’s unable to separate the eggs into large and small, and can’t cut the cheesecake properly either. He seems pretty happy though, even twerking a bit as he puts some desserts in the display case. A Lu and Allen start a bet to see how long Xiang Ming will last – if Xiang Ming stays the whole month Allen will kiss Tian Mi, if he doesn’t, A Lu has to kiss Xiang Ming. Allen seems pretty self assured that Xiang Ming won’t survive the month, but A Lu leans in to say that those type of stay at home guys have a high endurance – just take a look at the geeky regular. She’s been giving him fake drinks and he still comes in.

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We see a montage of Xiang Ming’s time at the bakery – he’s not very good at doing anything, and Tian Tian gets frustrated with him for taking too long. At night, Xiang Ming is unable to sleep because the room is so cramped. When he tries to sleep on the same bed as Allen, Allen grabs him in a back hug.

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Yu Wen’s co-workers invite him out for karaoke, but he declines and heads back to his hotel room to nurse a bottle of wine. He flashes back to a time when he and Tian Tian were kissing on a rooftop. Boy, why’d you cheat if you love her so much?

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Looks like Xiang Ming is determined to learn how to bake properly, as he’s shown crafting boxes and cutting out stencils to measure the eggs. Aw, he’s being resourceful. Turns out the boxes were to increase storage space and build a bed – Allen is amazed at the amount of space the room has now that it’s organized and clean.

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Looks like the rest of the crew is warming up as well, as A Lu wears two different cosplays to show Xiang Ming. He smiles and gives her a big thumbs up, astonished that she shares an interest with him.

The month draws to a close however, and Tian Tian asks Xiang Ming if there is any dessert he wants to learn how to make.

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Xiang Ming asks to learn how to make (what else) macaroons. Yum.

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The crew is sad to see him leave, and look grouchily at Tian Tian. She defends herself by saying that Xiang Ming is choosing to leave, she’s not making him go anywhere. They all apologize to Xiang Ming, telling him they are sorry for their first impressions. After he departs, A Lu reminds Allen that he needs to fulfill the bet. Allen looks adorably nervous as he declares that there’s something he forgot to do, and then quickly leans down to kiss Tian Tian before edging away. Tian Tian looks flustered, but not unhappy. 😀

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Back at work, Xiang Ming sits despondently in his cubicle. He pokes his nose with a pencil in a bored manner as his boss walks up, asking again when the new report will be finished. This time Xiang Ming tells her in the next 3, 4 days, and she shrieks that it’s not fast enough before putting on her cutesy act to request he hurry up and get it done by tomorrow. In the break room, Xiang Ming’s friend asks if he’s okay. Xiang Ming shrugs, and shows him the macaroons he [Xiang Ming] made. The friend eagerly stuffs one in his mouth as Xiang Ming asks if the friend knows how macaroons are made. The friend brushes him off saying that it’s just flour, water, and eggs, but Xiang Ming corrects him by saying that it’s just egg whites that are beaten and cooked.

Xiang Ming beings to wonder aloud that egg whites, which are such a plain and pushover food (they fill whatever form they’re put in), can be made into something completely different through beating and baking. He muses that maybe he’s too passive, just like the egg whites, and that he needs to change.

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At that moment the boss walks by again with her cutesy attitude. She piles on yet another report for him to do before the meeting, and tells him that she knows it’s “so inconvenient” but could he please please please just get it done. When Xiang Ming says no, she shrieks “do you want to quit??” Xiang Ming stands up and declares that yes, he wants to quit. He then imitates her to her face, and gives her a disgusted look as he leaves. Pahaha.

When Xiang Ming walks back to the Patisserie With No Name, he overhears the geeky regular customer asking A Lu if she’s cosplaying a certain character. He’s wrong, and Xiang Ming corrects him as he walks in. Allen and A Lu run up to greet Xiang Ming, and he bashfully asks Tian Tian if he can come back as her full-time assistant. She looks at him hard and doesn’t say a word, but calls out right as he picks up his bags that there really is a lot of work to do. Xiang Ming just smiles and quotes the rest of the original job posting back at her. Aw.

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Tian Tian is teaching Allen how to play baseball at the batting ranges, and she noticeably tenses up when he walks over to ask her why she decided to hire Xiang Ming when all of them [himself included] didn’t like him. Tian Tian responds that she needed help and Xiang Ming offered to work for free, so who was she to turn him down? When Allen brings his hand up to place it opposite hers, Tian Tian quickly withdraws her own. She does however, look him up and down after he turns to go back to bat.

Back in his room, Allen opens his computer to scroll through the photos he took. He pauses on one of Tian Tian, then leans forward to kiss the screen. HAHA. Allen shakes himself awake, asking himself why he kissed her (and made it awkward). Aw, poor puppy’s got a crush.

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Yu Wen practically runs into the shop the next morning, asking to speak to the chef. Unfortunately for him, Tian Tian left 5 minutes previously to get groceries. Yu Wen is in a hurry though, and impatiently gives A Lu his business card to pass on to Tian Tian. As he leaves, Allen watches him with a funny look on his face.

Comments:

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How cute is nervous Allen? Romance is in the air (I spy it for A Lu and Xiang Ming as well). I’m a bit confused as to why we didn’t flesh out more of the backlash from the news report from episode 4, but can’t really complain since I got my OTP’s first kiss 😀 Sorry Yu Wen, I’m firmly on Allen’s ship with this drama.