Monthly Archives: July 2012

Goodbye DC, Till We Meet Again

Being away from Chicago, and back to the comfort of my college city. It felt like I was at home away from home. The familiar faces, familiar shops, familiar environment and culture. I absorbed it all like a sponge with pure joy. Enveloped in comfort, in familiarity. When I was in college at Georgetown University, I had a to-do list of things I wanted to do before I graduated. I didn’t get a chance to do a lot of it with school work, internships, and job searching. All on top of the anxiety of graduating and entering the real world. I finally got the chance to do the things on my to-do adventure, and I couldn’t have been happier. Check out what I’ve been up to.

Phillips Collection – Dupont Circle, Washington, DC 

Degas’s Dancers at the Barre: Point and Counterpoint

I always wanted to check out the Phillips Collection. It is known for being a lot smaller than your usual art museum, but small doesn’t always mean bad. The Phillips Collection was small in a very intimate way. The art was housed in three houses that were connected. As you walked through the Phillips Collection it seemed like you were walking through someone’s home. Chairs and benches everywhere, long hallways leading to other room, intricately detailed staircases that led to other galleries. The place was such a great escape from the urban life of the Dupont Circle neighborhood surrounding the Phillips collection.

Hank’s Oyster Bar – Dupont Circle, Washington, DC 

Tuna Dip

I met up with my college roommate here for happy hour. I am a huge fan of happy hour, because of the cheap foods and cheap drinks. Best hour of the day! We got a tuna dip to share.

happy hour oysters

As well as $1 raw oysters! YUM! They offered three different types of oysters from various areas on the east coast. They tasted quite fresh!

Washington National Cathedral – Washington, DC

National Cathedral

The National Cathedral was even bigger than I imagined it to be. A huge cathedral with lots of grassy surrounding areas including a mini garden. I wandered around the cathedral in what seemed like a never ending maze with secret tunnels leading to mysterious places. Felt a little bit like Hogwarts from Harry Potter! Or what I imagined it would be like.

I loved all of the stained glass windows in the National Cathedral. It was gorgeous to see the light penetrating the glass in an array of colors.

Kafe Leopold – Georgetown, Washington, DC

Fruit Tart

My favorite cafe in DC is Kafe Leopold. I have blogged about this cafe twice already. The thing I love about Kafe Leopold is the European atmosphere. Feels like I am transported away from America to a little city in Europe. Tucked away on M street, let’s hope this place stays in DC forever. I will be coming back to this place every time I visit Chicago. We got a fruit tart to share for dessert. The fruits were fresh, the custard was just the right amount of creaminess and richness, and the crust was flaky without being too hard. Another great dessert from Kafe Leopold.

Amnesty International Protest – Glover Park, Washington, DC

Amnesty International protesters outside of the Russian Embassy

I was walking around near Georgetown, and saw a group of Amnesty International protesters outside of the Russian Embassy. They are protesting the injustice experienced by three female members of a Russian band that publicly protested against President Vladimir Putin in Russia who are now jailed and put on trial. I found out after doing some research about this incident that the band is called Pussy Riot which makes for interesting posters.

Oya – Chinatown, Washington, DC 

We had a girls’ night at Oya, a Asian-fusion restaurant, complete with cocktails, wine, and small appetizer dishes. The inside of Oya was amazing. A dimly lit dining area with a fresh white color scheme. The back wall was adorned with white fake flowers and fountains. It felt so glamorous inside. Perfect for a girls’ night out. I got the ginger based cocktail. I love ginger based drinks, and this one was great. A cocktail with a strong ginger kick.

I got the shrimp and grits for my small dish. It was tasty! Shrimp and grits done asian-fusion style. It was interesting to taste the combination of a normally southern dish with Asian flavors. The shrimps were flavorful, and cooked perfectly.

The Reef – Adams Morgan, Washington, DC

in The Reef

We went to The Reef in Adams Morgan afterwards. A bar with large aquariums and tropical fishes. How cool is that?

Visiting DC was a great trip, but it’s good to be home. It’s good to be home in Chicago.

Advertisements

Hello DC, I’m just visiting

You never realize how much you miss a place till you leave and come back. The comfort of a familiar place that you spent so long living and learning in. When I left DC in May without plans to permanently return back, I felt excited about leaving DC. Free from what I thought was a suffocating atmosphere. During my visit to DC this week I felt so sentimental and a wave of nostalgia hit me from out of no where. Though I always expressed my dissatisfaction with DC noting how it doesn’t provide that urban feel that Chicago and NYC has, I realize now that DC will always have a special place in my heart. It’s cleanliness, quaintness, and all the memories that have been made in DC I will always remember. It’s good to back even though I’m just visiting.

Ingrid Michaelson Concert – Wolftrap, Vienna, Virginia

Ingrid Michaelson!

My roommate from college and I went to two previous Ingrid Michaelson concerts before, and this one is our third one. She was opening for Rufus Wainwright, so not exactly her concert but still worth going to. She sounds the same and maybe even better live! Love her.

Wolftrap music venue in Vienna, VA

Wolftrap is an outdoor music venue with a very wooden, camp-y feeling with typical seating and lawn seats. It was out in the middle of nowhere which added to the outdoorsy and natural feel of the place. Perfect summer night.

Here’s just one of her many great songs. She sang this song during the concert, and it gave us all goosebumps.

Georgetown University Georgetown, Washington, DC

Georgetown University

I never really appreciated the beauty of the Georgetown University campus as a student. I guess once you get use to something for so long you stop appreciating it as much as you should be. A gorgeous day roaming around the Georgetown campus.

The famous Healy Hall clock tower. During my last week as a senior at Georgetown University somebody climbed the tower and managed to steal the clock hands. I guess they are safely returned now.

Sweetgreen – Georgetown, Washington, DC

The thing that I love about Sweetgreen froyo is that tartness of their yogurt. There is only one flavor of yogurt which makes things simple. Plus that one flavor of yogurt is really good. Sometimes froyo could be too sweet, almost like soft serve. Sweetgreen’s froyo is known for being on the more tart side which I love. I got mine with fresh peaches and strawberries. Perfect treat for a hot summer day.

Pizzeria Paradisio – Georgetown, Washington, DC 

Bottarga – Paradiso Tomato, Minced Garlic, Parsley, Parmesan, Egg*, Bottarga

I’ve been here a couple of times, and they have really good brick oven made pizza. There is a slight burnt, crispy taste from being cooked in a brick oven. I especially love the Bottarga, because they put eggs on top of the pizza. Never can go wrong with putting eggs on anything!

More DC adventures to come.

NYC, big city of dreams

There’s something surreal about NYC that leaves you captivated, wanting more. During my most recent trip there, I finally realized how dirty, how crowded, how dark NYC really is. Yet even though I realized it I certainly didn’t mind. There seemed to be a whimsical quality of NYC that constantly draws me in, and leaves me wondering what new things NYC has for me. I was walking down the streets of NYC with my very good friend from NY, and she exclaimed to me “I think you are more in love with NYC than I am”. I think that is true. To a budding new romance with what seems to be the big city of dreams. Here is a tidbit of what I’ve been up to in NYC.

Ai Fiori – Midtown, Manhattan, New York

I came here for Restaurant Week Lunch. Sometimes Restaurant Week is a hit or miss, but this place was definitely worth it. The atmosphere of this place, and the dishes were really great. This is what I got.

Zuppa di Zucchine – chilled zucchini soup, basil, lemon

For my appetizer dish I got the chilled zucchini soup. I appreciated the portions of this restaurant. My friend and I were worried that we would be too full for exploring afterwards, but the portions were just right. I loved all the different flavors of the soup – the slight sourness from the lemon, the sweetness from the zucchini and basil, and the chilled quality of the soup.

Razza – pan roasted skate wing, baby romaine, white bean purée, preserved lemon jus

The highlight of my lunch was definitely the pan roasted skate wing. I was a little scared that the skate wing would taste really fishy, but it tasted great. It was extremely tender and flavorful. The lemon sauce that it came with really helped to add flavors.

Tartaletta – chocolate creameaux, salted caramel, hazelnut, fior di latte gelato

This was my least favorite part of the meal. Perhaps it is my fault. I didn’t realize that this dessert had so much caramel in it. It was like a Reese’s peanut butter cup, but completely filled on the inside with caramel. It would have been great if only I didn’t hate caramel so much. Caramel is too rich, too sweet for me. I picked at my dessert trying to eat the chocolate. The gelato was excellent. Really helped to tone down the bit of caramel that I did manage to eat.

8th Street Wine Cellar – Greenwich Village, Manhattan, New York

wine and tuna sliders

What an amazing happy hour. Entire bottles of wine for $18. My friend and I decided to split a bottle of Riesling. Sipping wine and eating the tuna sliders from 4PM-7PM. We were the first ones there, before anyone started rolling in after work. I loved the intimate atmosphere of this place. Casual, comfy, and cozy. Nothing like catching up with a friend at 8th Street Wine Cellar. Especially over a good bottle of wine which we almost managed to finish, but did not want to feel to inebriated on a Tuesday night when the sun was still out. In the big city of dreams anything goes. Sharing a bottle of wine on a Tuesday night at 4PM, why not?

Hudson River Pier – Manhattan, New York

sunrise

What a wonderful view from the pier! This place is the perfect spot to hang out and wander around. It definitely felt like an escape from the commotion of downtown Manhattan. Watching families enjoy a family outing, couples being in love, friends laughing and catching up, and people walking peacefully around on their own.

lady walking a kitten

Not expecting to see this happen at all. A lady was walking her very reluctant kitten at the pier. As a cat owner I know that my cat does not like to be walked. She would sprawl out on all four legs clutching to the ground as we try to tug and pull her along. Poor kitten… She must not be very happy.

NYC has been good. The freshness of the sounds, sights, people tickle my senses. Till we meet again my love.

Urban Cities Galore

Finally finished taking my nursing licensing exam. I can stop studying and begin my summer once again! Back to foodaging, blogging, and eating. Here is a little bit of some Chicago and NYC food outings I’ve been up to. Happy Summer everyone!

House of Sushi and Noodles – Lakeview, Chicago

Salmon Avocado Roll

We went here for my very good friend’s birthday dinner. Happy birthday Conny! The special thing about House of Sushi and Noodles is that they offer the option of getting sushi buffet. All you can eat sushi buffet for $18! Sounds like a pretty good deal, but to eat your money’s worth you should eat at least 4 rolls. It’s a great way to try out the many different types of rolls, but walking away with a massive food coma, food hangover, or food baby is no fun. I opted out of the buffet option and ordered off the menu. The salmon avocado roll tasted pretty normal. Like your average salmon, avocado roll which happens to be my favorite! My friends who did the buffet ate ate about 30 pieces of sushi each. That’s about 5-6 rolls! Oh dear…

Chicken Yakisoba

The Chicken Yakisoba was alright. The chicken was a little bit on the dry side, but I really enjoyed the noodles. The slight crunch, slipperiness, and saltiness of the noodles cannot be beat.

Flemings Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar – Near North Side, Chicago

Blood Orange Liquor Cocktail

My friends and I are big fans of happy hour! We came here to celebrate the end to my study madness for the nurse licensing exam. I got the blood orange liquor cocktail which was delicious. I loved the ruby red color of the drink. The slight tartness and sweetness of the drink was perfect for an extremely hot Chicago day.

I Love Paraguay – Sunnyside, Queens, New York 

From left to right- Chipa Guazu, Tortilla, Baked Chicken Empanada

I never had Paraguayan food before, and this place was really good. I got the opportunity to try many new things that really surprised my taste buds in a good way. The Chipa Guazu tasted like a moist, sweet version of corn bread. There was even actual corn inside. The Tortilla was not your usual tortilla. It was almost egg like similar to the texture of egg foo young but less moist. The Baked Chicken Empanada was great. I loved the crunchy exterior of the empanada.

Hide-Chan Ramen – Midtown East, Manhattan, New York

Hakata Tonkotsu Ramen

I was really excited to try this place since the food blog seriouseats said this was the best ramen in NYC. Unfortunately I was let down by all of the rave and excitement. The ramen here just did not taste like the best bowl of ramen. You can pick the level of richness of the broth either rich or normal. The rich broth had richer flavors and an overall increased oil and fat content compared with the normal broth. I thought the rich broth was filled with so much flavor, but at the same time the richness and oiliness was overwhelming towards the end. The main problem about this bowl of ramen for me was the noodles. You can select the firmness of the noodles ranging from soft to very firm. I got mine firm, and the firmness was great. That was not the problem. For me the problem was the size of the noodle itself. The noodle was a lot skinnier in comparison to other ramen noodles I have had. Perhaps it is just a personal preference, but I never thought the size of the noodle would be a problem for me. With skinnier noodles it did not catch as much of the broth flavor as a wider noodle. Overall the rest of the ramen was great, but without perfect noodles no ramen could be considered number one.

Bungalow Bar – Seaside, Queens, New York

stolen from google search

After a chilly day at Rockaway Beach, we were exhausted and in desperate need of food. We were in the mood for some American, and this place looked perfect. Rockaway in Queens is a completely different environment compared with the rest of New York. Being an actual island, Rockaway had a strong island atmosphere. The locals seemed to be a lot nicer and cheerier. The cars were friendlier to pedestrians. The roads are paved, but repatched so many times that it was no longer even. It seemed like I was on a tropical island far, far away from the States. Bungalow Bar was no exception. Located overlooking the water, the bar had a really great view of the water. We even got to see someone fail over and over again at water skiing. She just couldn’t stay up in the water.

Bungalow Burger

The burger was alright. Nothing exceptional. The star of the meal were the waffle fries. Seasoned well and with great crunch.

eating time

Something amusing happened today that I thought was funny. During my interview for a nursing position in Brooklyn, New York the nurse manager asked me what I do for fun. I told her that I like to eat, and that I had a food blog. She giggled at me and just smiled. I hope that’s a good sign about the interview. Guess she doesn’t get a lot of interviewees who manage food blogs. =)

Eating My Way Through Chicago

Last week a monstrous heat wave had descended upon the entire country including Chicago. With temperatures soaring into the 100s and breezes that only help to spread around the warm heat, one does not venture outside unless it is just for a brief moment. Indoor days for sure! Here is a collection of some of things I’ve been up to during the heat wave.

Opart Thai Restaurant – Near South Loop

This restaurant was listed as best Thai restaurant in Chicago by Chicago Reader. I am not convinced it is the best, but it is pretty good. The curry was full of flavor. The chicken was a little bland, but with the curry sauce was great.

with Thai iced tea

My friend Chris with his Thai iced tea. The decorations on the wall made it feel really modern with an authentic Thai atmosphere.

Alcoholic Ginger Beer – Binny’s

ginger beer

Ever since I had a cocktail with ginger beer in it I have been on the lookout for ginger beer. Some people told me that alcoholic ginger beer does not exist, but alas I found an alcoholic ginger beer when I went to Binny’s. It said to serve the beer chilled over ice and with a slice of lime. I made the drink this way, and it was delicious! The bitterness of the ginger paired with the slight sweetness of the beer, and the sourness of the lime went so well together! I am not a big fan of beer, but this one I am a huge fan of. If you are looking to try a new kind of beer give Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer a try.

 Shanghai Bistro – Chinatown

Shanghai Soup Dumpling

This restaurant recently opened up, so my family and I went to give it a try. We got the Shanghai Soup Dumplings which were definitely a disappointment. There was not enough soup inside the dumplings, and the skin was too thin. I’ve had the best soup dumplings in NYC Chinatown where the soup dumplings were exploding with soup and flavor. These soup dumplings do not even compare.

Lamb casserole

The lamb casserole was great. The lamb was tender and filled with flavor. My mom really enjoyed the dish noting the large portion of lamb they gave.

This was my favorite dish. The flavors of this dish were incredible. The saltiness and crunchiness all cooked in just the right amount of oil made for a really great dish.

Now that the heat wave is officially over time to head outside and have more outdoor adventures!

Soda, Pop, Coke, Sody Pop

generic names for soft drinks by geographical location

You call it soda in the east and west, pop in the midwest, coke in the south, and sody pop if you just want to be original. I’m not such a big fan of pop (yes, I am from the midwest, and that’s what we call it over here), but after watching this youtube video about a soda pop fanatic from LA there’s something exciting about drinking out of a cool glass bottle of the most exotic flavors of pop.

He is the owner of Galcos Soda Pop Stop in LA that carries soda from smaller soda companies. No Pepsi products. No Coca-Cola products. He carries coffee soda, Rose water soda, lemon-lime soda made from real lemon-lime, and so much more.

Take a look at the video and learn about the wonders of the everyday drink, pop. Or soda. Or Coke. Or Sody Pop.

As I was writing this I found myself reluctantly calling pop, soda after the Galcos Soda Pop Stop video called it soda. Pop all the way!