Monthly Archives: March 2012

Tacocopter

the Tacocopter

Take a look at this Huffington Post article. It talks about an unmanned drone helicopter, a Tacocopter, delivering tacos to hungry lunch goers, snack munchers, the dinner crowd. You order the tacos on the smartphone, and this sends the order and the location of where the order is placed, so that the tacocopter can deliver the food directly to you. No hassle, quick delivery, decreased wait time. What is there not to like? This business plan combines what the article says are the four most “prominent touchstones of modern America: tacos, helicopters, robots and laziness”.

look at that Tacocopter go

Unfortunately the U.S. government prevented the production and usage of the Tacocopter perhaps for good reason too. Imagine this flying down from the sky. You stand there wondering what it is. Suddenly you get whacked in the face, because the Tacocopter doesn’t stop for anything or anyone, determined to deliver those tacos to a hungry customer. Or those helpless birds flying in the surrounding area getting mutilated by the wings of the Tacocopter.

But nevertheless “if it gets me my taco faster that way then it’s worth it. The taco justifies the means” – the words of one dedicated taco eater.

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Sweetness is Mandatory

Today is Monday, and what a struggle. My friend Rekha came to visit over the weekend, and we just stuffed our mouths with  cupcakes, cakes, macaroons, and all things sweet. No cuter place than Georgetown for dainty desserts.

Baked and Wired 

1052 Thomas Jefferson St NW
Washington, DC 20007

cupcakes galore at Baked and Wired!

The neighborhood of Georgetown should be renamed cupcake-topia. Within the span of a couple of blocks there are three different cupcake shops each with their own distinct taste from the renowned chain Sprinkles, the preppy Georgetown Cupcake, and the hipster Baked and Wired. Whenever I have guests come to Georgetown they always want to try Georgetown Cupcake, but I tell them Baked and Wired is better which is true.

strawberry cupcake

The cupcakes at Georgetown Cupcake are too rich for my taste. The batter is thick and heavy paired with matching dense frosting. Baked and Wired is where it’s at. As you can see in the picture the cupcakes are more cake like than your normal cupcake. The frosting is light and whipped making for a delicious cupcake. They are known for their strawberry cupcakes, so I got one for my friend and I to share.

Kafe Leopold

3315 Cady’s Alley, NW
Washington, DC 20007

I have written two previous posts on Kafe Leopold already, but I just love this place. This is my all time favorite place in Georgetown.  A perfect place to take a friend for some sweets.

Topfentorte - mango cheesecake

We got the Topfentorte to share. The Topfentorte is a creamy quark cheesecake marbled with mango and filled with passion fruit jelly in the center. I am normally not a fan of cheesecake, but this was unlike any other cheesecakes I have ever tasted. The cheesecake was so light, almost mousse-like. It was just so delicious! I was a big fan of the whipped cream. It tasted so fresh with just a hint of sweetness.

macaroons

I have had the plate of macaroons before, but they always change their flavors so it’s fun trying new flavors. This plate had pistachio, banana rum, spicy chocolate, basil, and an unknown flavor Rekha and I just couldn’t figure out. All of them were great! I loved the crispness of the top layer of the macaroons.

Georgetown Canal

While walking around Georgetown we noticed that the Georgetown Canal was open and flowing. In the dead of winter the canal is empty. Instead of free flowing water you see the dirt filled bottom. It was so beautiful watching the water flow on such a gorgeous day.

What a sweet day in Georgetown! No pun intended…

Being Irish for the Day

Yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day. Happy Belated St. Patrick’s Day. I picked up cabbage, carrot, potato, and corned beef to make the classic corned beef and vegetables. Corned beef gets its name from the treatment of the meat with “corns” of salt. Someone told me that corned beef gets its name, because the cows were fed with corn rather than other animal feeds. That’s what I’ve been telling my friends trying to impress them with my vast food knowledge. Boy was I wrong…

Here are the quick and dirty instructions on how I prepared my St. Patrick’s Day meal.

St. Patrick's Day Dinner

Instructions

The corned beef came in plastic package. I opened it, and poured its contents along with its seasoned juices into a pot. I poured in chicken stock till the corned beef slab was immersed in liquid. The instructions told me that for ever lbs of corned beef you were suppose to cook it for 50 minutes. My corned beef was 2 lbs, so thus 1 hr and 40 minutes for my corned beef goodness. I turned down the heat, so that it was simmering.

Once the corned beef was done I took it out, and added in my vegetables. I didn’t want my corned beef to overcook, so by taking it out and then cooking my vegetables it allowed for good control of the cooking times of each. I added in the potatoes first, then the carrots, and lastly the cabbage. Cabbage cooks fairly quickly, so it is important to add it in last so as to not to overcook it. I like my potatoes a little crispy, so I took them out before adding in the carrots and cabbage and pan fried them.

To make the sauce I reduced the chicken broth that has been cooking with the corned beef and the vegetables till it was about half the volume.  To reduce simply put the heat on medium or high with the lid off, and let the liquid evaporate to have a thicker and denser sauce. I added in some flour to make the liquid thicker. And ta-da instant sauce to pair with the corned beef and vegetables.

The vegetables came out perfectly, but unfortunately the corned beef was a little rough. I think if I had used a crock pot or cooked it over lower heat for a longer period of time it would have been more tender.

we take our food seriously

Hope all of you had a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day. Filled with green, with Guiness, with day glowing.

Do you eat this?

This afternoon I went to Safeway to get some groceries, and while perusing the produce aisles this lady came up to me holding a leek and asked me.

Leek Lady – “Do you eat this?”

Me – “What?”

Leek Lady – Waves the leek around in the air “Do you eat this?”

leeks exactly like these. kidding! no ginormous leeks at Safeway

A little surprised as to what she is asking me, but I realized she is basically asking me if Asian cuisines use leek. At first I thought it was a little offensive as I have gotten a lot of questions like. “Where are you from?” which I answer “Chicago“. But then they ask me “Where are you from?“. At this point I know what they are asking. They are really asking what my ethnicity is. Look I’m from Chicago. I’m Chinese, but I’m not from China. I think the Leek Lady was just curious about Asian cuisines. No harm there.

Normally in Chinese cooking leek isn’t used, but green onions are. They look very similar, but green onions are thinner and less flat than leeks. See how the leaves are lot smaller than the leek.

look at these green onions

Green onions are the immature form of an onion. Fun fact about green onions and leek: if you plant the ends of them that have roots you can grow green onions and leek in your own kitchen and harvest them in a few months.

Me – “Well normally in Chinese cuisine we use green onions”

I walk over to where the green onions, and wave the green onions in the air.

Leek lady – “Oh okay” Bags the leek and walks away. 

I am glad I helped her clear her confusion of leeks and green onions. Now you too are educated on the difference between green onions and leeks.

Raines Law Room

Speak easy styled bars round two. I wrote a blog post a while ago about my experience at Angel’s Share. Since then I have been a big fan of speak easy styled bars. There’s just something so attractive about a place that is exclusive, mysterious, a secret from the rest of the world. This time I went to check out Raines Law Room.

Raines Law Room 

48 W 17th St
New York, NY 10011
Neighborhood: Flatiron

the entrance

Unfortunately I did not take any pictures. All of the pictures featured here are taken from Yelp.com. The entrance to Raines Law Room looks like an entrance to a cozy house or apartment. If I didn’t know to look for Raines Law Room here I would have passed the entrance thinking it was a residential building.

You ring the buzzer, and someone answers the door. If there is a wait you give them your name and number, and they will call you back when they have a table open. I went with David, and he got there before I did. He gave them his name and number, and we went to a nearby diner to grab something to eat while we wait for our table. They said the wait would be about 1.5 hours, and sure enough 1.5 hours later we get a call from a private number. Unfortunately David accidentally declined the call. We decided that they would still let us in if we go there and explain what happened. We get to Raines Law Room, and luckily they let us in but we had to wait for a table. Not a problem, because we’ll just entertain ourselves at the bar.

the kitchen/bar area

The kitchen area in the back of Raines Law Room functioned as the bar area. It was just gorgeous. Equipped with a sink, a dish water, the whole shebang. The entire room had an authentic 1920s feel. My favorite part of the kitchen area was the ceiling lamp. It beautifully lit the room with a warm glow.

It was great watching the mixologists make the drinks. They really know their stuff! These were the drinks that we got.

Bramble

Bramble – mix of alcohol and berries with fresh berries on top

Jasmine

Jasmine – Beefeater Gin, Campari, Cointreau & Lemon Juice. Shaken and Served Down.

Self Starter – Plymouth Gin, Cocchi Americano, Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot, Pernod Absinthe Rinse. Stirred & Served Up.

pull to order another drink

We finally got seated after waiting for about an hour. I just finished my first drink, and I was saving my second drink till I got to our table. When you are seated you can pull the chain on the wall and the waitress will come over and ask if you want to order another drink. How cool is that?

the lounge

A speak easy is not a speak easy without that mysterious, moody atmosphere and Raines Law Room has it down just perfectly. From the couches and seat, to the decor and the lighting it all melted together for a 1920s feel. Everything about this place just came together so well. Sipping on delicious drinks in a gorgeous room is one of my favorite past times. I should make going to speak easy bars one of my hobbies, because the entire experience is just so fun.

It all starts with the hype about the exclusiveness of places like these all while knowing that tons of other New Yorkers probably know about this place. But let’s just pretend it’s just you and me who know about Raines Law Room. Half of the fun is trying to find where it is located since the entrance is not marked. Once you actually get inside it is just breath taking seeing the decor of the room. Then flipping through the cocktail menu to pick your tasty poison for the night.

Stars5/5

Life of a College Student

In two months I will no longer have the luxury of being a college student. Those attempted all nighters, stuffing my face with greasy, drunk foods, meeting up with friends recapping about what happened last night. A point in life when the most important thing is whether I will get an A on that paper. Something so important freshman year suddenly becomes so trivial as I approach the end to my undergraduate college career. When there are bigger things to worry about like what do I want to do with my life, what is my purpose, will I find a job. All of that suddenly makes college seem so unreal. But yet I will treasure my remaining college days.

Prime example of a college student moment. My roommate and I were studying in my apartment complex’s shared office room complaining how our very last  Spring Break has come to an end. She was ready to head upstairs to eat dinner, and I jokingly told her she should stay down here with me because studying alone is ever so lonely. She heads upstairs to our apartment, and next thing I know she comes down with a plate of food and brings it into the study room. Studying for a test the next day, catching up on readings, writing papers. Things we were suppose to be working on throughout Spring Break all saved for that last day. Nothing says college like procrastinating.

Here is my lovely roommate joining me for our study party with her dinner. What’s not to love about studying and eating at the same time. In college you learn the very useful skill of multi-tasking.

in my study mode

I will NOT miss this about college. Falling asleep, because studying is hard work.

Guest Post: Unofficial 2012

A first for foodifyme, a guest blog post by my very good friend Ray! It’s so very exciting to have a fellow foodie contribute to this blog. It’s always fun to see what my friends are up to. When he told me what he was going to make, keep reading to find out the surprise, my first reaction was to ask him if he would be a guest blogger, and he said YES. Foodify our lives Ray!

Ray – Here at the University of Illinois, we have a holiday called “Unofficial”. And like most large public universities, holidays only mean a few things: debauchery, lewdness and general drunkenness. Students from near and afar come on the first Friday of March to celebrate a full day of drinking from morning into evening. 

Image

The tradition began in the late 90s as bar owners looked to rake in money from students who wanted to celebrate St. Patricks’ day unofficially. All the bars offered open food buffets and all you can drink beer from 8AM to 2PM, all at a cost of roughly $20. Unfortunately, good things don’t last and as citations, arrests and even fatalities began to pile up over the years, the city of Champaign began restricting the bars’ activities. Thus, students have begun to take it upon themselves to try to continue the tradition.

While the tradition has shifted into one of general drunkenness, the idea of starting early with food and booze continues. And because it’s a replacement for St. Patrick’s day, there’s going to plenty of green. This year, we went with eggs benedict served on a bed of spinach and topped with a spinach pesto served with a side of country potatoes to soak up the oncoming alcohol consumption.Image

The meal is finished with a short stack of chocolate-chip pancakes served with some whipped cream.Image

A breakfast isn’t complete with a good breakfast shake. We blended orange juice, mangos and spiked it with half a bottle of banana-flavored rum. Serves 4 people.Image

So there you have it, the meal that’s supposed to keep us going for 14 hours of straight drinking.

March Photo a Day – March 1 – March 9

Click here to learn more about this little photography project I am doing.

MARCH 1 – UP 

On the bus from DC to NYC

MARCH 2 – FRUIT

At Gray’s Papaya in NYC.

MARCH 3 – YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD

Unfortunately I was not in Chicago or DC on March 3. This photo was snapped at the MoMA in NYC. An architectural display of my future neighborhood.

MARCH 4 – BEDSIDE

Saved this picture for when I got back to my apartment. My wallside besides by bedside.

MARCH 5 – SMILE

Got the chance to watch Avenue Q in NYC. Avenue Q puppet smiles are simply the best.

 MARCH 6 – 5PM 

Got back from NYC at 3PM, and off to meet my friend for coffee to gush about how amazing NYC is.

MARCH 7 – SOMETHING YOU WORE

I went to Dupont Circle in DC to study. A beautiful Spring-like day fitting for some popping pink action.

MARCH 8 – WINDOW

Goodbye Winter. Hello Spring. The view of office buildings from my balcony window.

MARCH 9 – RED

I got this red butterfly at the Phibbs Conservatory in PIttsburgh last year. It is currently clipped to my floor lamp.

Grocery Shopping with Carmen

Ever wonder what I eat when I’m not eating out? Back from my NYC trip, and my fridge is empty. Time to go grocery shopping! My roommate and I took our reusable bags to a Safeway that is located really close to our apartment. Unlike all of the exciting, fun local grocery stores in NYC I have my pick of a Safeway that is conveniently close, but quite boring or a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s that is fun, but not within walking distance. As a college student without access to a car carrying groceries back home is always a problem especially if I decide to go food crazy at the store.

post-grocery shopping smiles

Whew! It was quite heavy carrying everything back. I always wonder if people think I am crazy being a tiny Asian girl and carrying all of these bags filled with food from the grocery store.

grocery bags

All of this food plus whatever I have left in my kitchen should last me about two weeks without having to do a big grocery shopping trip.

my food!

This is what my normal grocery shopping trip looks like. This is the list of essentials I always get:

  1. bread
  2. lunch meat
  3. cheese
  4. milk
  5. bananas
  6. canned tomatoes
  7. eggs
  8. frozen vegetables

Nothing too fancy. Usually I do not eat and buy a lot of meat on my own though I would choose to eat it when I go out to eat. Cooking meat takes too much prep work and too much effort when you are busy college student. I usually get my dose of protein by eating eggs and tofu.

I eat a lot of sandwiches, because I am usually not in the apartment during lunchtime either at my internship or in class or at my nursing practicum clinical. Sandwiches are easy and quick. Dress up the sandwich with spreads like the Trader Joe’s Aioli Garlic Mustard Sauce which is heavenly. Makes even the most boring sandwich taste amazing.

Napa Cabbage

I was surprised to find Napa Cabbage at Safeway. Napa Cabbage is Chinese cabbage used in stir fries or as a wrap. What a pleasant surprise to see it sitting next to the other produce.

 

I <3 NY

Arriving into Manhattan I always get sense of excitement, of invigoration, of energy that life is full of surprises and endless opportunities. A city full of life, full of thrills that will make even the dead of winter come alive  If I were to make a list of all the things I love about NYC the list would go on forever, but here are my top favorites about NYC.

  1. Abundance of cheap, delicious foods.
  2. The urban fashion of New Yorkers on the go.
  3. Hustle and bustle of the city streets even at night.
  4. The idea and the sense that anything is possible.
On the train I overheard this conversation between two guys. In NYC…
you go from your tiny apartment, to the cramped train, to your small work cubicle, then back onto the cramped train returning back to your tiny apartment“.
Space is tight in NYC wherever you go, but perhaps I wouldn’t mind that.

Here are short blurbs of my most recent trip to NYC, and what I have been up to.

Gray’s Papaya 

Gray's Papaya

I love Gray’s Papaya. This hot dog place has the best hot dogs ever! The casing of the hot dogs have the perfect amount of crunch so that when you bite into them it snaps in your mouth releasing all of the juicy, meaty, hot doggy goodness inside. The hot dog is topped with onions and sauerkraut. This simple hot dog is definitely a must for anyone who is in or visiting NYC. The hot dog is so good, I’ve gotten it at 9AM before, because we were passing by a Gray’s Papaya, and I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to eat this delicious hot dog.

note the guy's face

The inside of Gray’s Papaya is really colorful with fruit hanging from their ceilings and fun signs everywhere. They are also known for their various smoothies, but I am not really a big fan of their smoothies. We asked to take a picture with the Gray’s Papaya worker, and he did. I think I caught him in mid sentence when he was asking whether this picture was going up on Facebook. Well Gray’s Papaya guy you made it to my blog!

Toys R Us 

This Toys R Us located in Time Square had its very own Ferris Wheel. How cool is that? I didn’t get a chance to ride it, but I would imagine this would fulfill any little kid’s dream. An entire store with four levels filled with toys of all sorts complete with a Ferris Wheel. As a twenty something walking through the store I was living in a world of whimsy.

The Urban Jungle of NYC

Joyce and I were walking to the train when we noticed this car with the coolest collection of bumper stickers. The car’s sun roof was almost completely covered with bumper stickers. Kind of defeats the purpose of having a sun roof no?

The subway system has a certain grunge factor about it. You can occasionally spot rats running on the tracks. A pool of water sitting on the tracks with a variety of trash floating around. Seriously do not know how long that water has been sitting there.

Take a look at the mysterious brown colored muck running down the wall. There is a continuous stream of liquid flowing from the top. Where is that liquid coming from? The subway may be dirty, it may be filled with rodents, but I think this is what gives NYC it’s character. An urban jungle both underground and above ground.

Avenue Q

Finally got to see a Broadway show in NYC, and Avenue Q was the best! Singing puppets talking about very adult, controversial subjects like being gay, being racist, porn on the internet, and making love. The singing, the acting, the dancing was absolutely amazing. The central theme to this musical is the journey of the characters to realize their purpose in life only to come to the conclusion that life is not as easy as we envision it to be. That being a real person, an adult is hard. Though life is filled with the messiness in growing up it is okay to mess up and live and learn. This troubling thought of who you aspire to be when you grow up is a topic that everyone could relate to. Especially a college senior with two months left of college…

The wall in the back says “CREATE”. If you have a permanent marker you can write your own words on the wall.

They sang this song in the beginning of the musical when all of the characters are complaining about their adult life. Unemployed, broke, getting old, single, being Gary Coleman.

Optical Illusion Sculptures by Rafael Barrios

From a distance the sculptures look three-dimensional. A couple of floating boxes.

But actually the sculptures are just two-dimensional sheets of metal painted to create the illusion of three-dimension. What fun!

NYC is simply amazing. What a city!