Category Archives: Arlington

March Photo a Day – March 1 – March 9

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


On the bus from DC to NYC


At Gray’s Papaya in NYC.


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.


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


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.


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


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


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.


Ray’s Hell Burger

Finally catching up on old food adventures. I went here when Joyce visited a while ago. I’ve been here so many times before, and I am delighted to finally be able to blog about one of my favorite burger joints.

Ray’s Hell Burger

1725 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22209

Check out their Menu.

This place has really expanded having a Ray’s Hell Burger and Ray’s Hell Burger 2. Their menu has grew from having just burgers to “The Big Devil” and “The Little Devil”, two sizes of burgers to accommodate two appetites, sweet potato fries, cole slaw, mac and cheese, and shakes. Now on to the actual burger.

Blackened "Little" Devil

Ray’s Hell Burger offers the burgers done four different ways. Including Grilled, Blackened, Au Poivre, and Diablo.

Grilled — Seasoned with Our Secret Steak Blend
Au Poivre – Seared with a Black Peppercorn Crust
Blackened – With Spicy Cajun Spice Blend
Diablo – Grilled with Our Spicy Chipotle Sauce

Joyce and I decided to share a Blacked “Little” Devil, because we had a pretty late lunch and we went for an early dinner before heading to the Kennedy Center. The burgers always come out exactly how you want it. We got it medium rare, and it was perfectly medium rare. Before they had the “Little” Devil which is 5.33 ounces there was only “The Big Devil” which is a larger 10 ounce burger. That burger is just too big for me. Left me feeling bloated and stuffed to the max. I am glad they came out with a “Little” Devil. The sweet potato fries were delicious. Sometimes at places you get sweet potato fries that are either too oily or too dry. These were just great! Went really well with the burger.

The thing I love about Ray’s Hell Burger is that they let you add as many toppings as you want for free (it comes with the burger). The toppings list is endless.

Toppings – Lettuce, Tomato, Grilled Onions, Raw Red Onions, Pickle, Charred Jalapeños, Cognac & Sherry Sautéed Mushrooms, Roasted Garlic, RAY’S HECK SAUCE(Tangy, Zippy, But Not Spicy) or Fiery Pirañha Sauce, BBQ Sauce, Mayo

Piranha Sauce

My favorite is their Piranha Sauce. I have no idea what is in it, but it is so delicious. A green sauce with a mild spiciness and tangy flavor. Take a look!

There are these posters hanging on the wall. If you go up to the counter you can ask for a push pin and pin it at the location on the map where you are from. There were so many push pins from Chicago no need pinning another one on. Woo Chicago!

I love this place. I really don’t get what the craze is over Five Guys Burgers. Their burgers are dry, unseasoned, and disgusting. Go there for the fries, but not for their burgers. For a quality burger come to Ray’s Hell Burger.

Stars – 4.5/5


This Japanese restaurant is located right across the street from my apartment. Finally got a chance to check this place out.


1401 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22209

Take a look at their Lunch Menu

indoor dining area

We came in around 1:00PM, and the lunch crowd was slowly leaving. We were immediately seated. I was surprised by how quick the service was. I flipped through the menu and saw that they had a lunch menu.  Since I was going to get sushi a couple days later with my cousin who was in town I decided to try something besides sushi. The lunch offered a lot of non sushi choices. I decided on the Nikkudon.

complimentary salad and miso soup

The complimentary salad and miso soup was surprisingly good. I really enjoyed the salad. The dressing on the salad was excellent. I’m not exactly sure what is in the dressing, but the flavors were excellent.  A mix of sour, tangy, slightly sweet. The miso soup was your average miso soup. Nothing special about it.


Nikkudon – Sauted thin slice of beef with vegetable and egg

I was not expecting this dish to come out like this at all. I was expecting sauteed slices of beef over dry cooked rice. Surprisingly there was broth on the bottom of this dish. The rice were perfectly soaked in this fragrant broth. The mixture of the beef, cabbage, rice, and the broth was delicious. My favorite part was the broth. It really brought a nice touch to the dish. My only complaint is that the sauteed beef was not as flavorful as I would have liked it. It kind of lacked flavor which was made up with by the broth.

Lunch Box A

Kanpai Lunch Box A – 5 Pieces of Sashimi, Tempura, Japanese Pickle

My friend went with the Kanpai Lunch Box A. It was presented very beautifully in the bento box. He said that the sashimi tasted fresh. Everything looked quite colorful!

Overall the food in Kanpai was above average. If the place wasn’t located so close to where I live I don’t think I would go back. My only complaint was that the waitresses kept rushing me through my meal. When I go to a restaurant I like to really think about what I want to get especially if it is a new restaurant. The waitress came over to our table and asked us 3 times whether we were ready to order. Then later she brought the check over before I was even done eating! Perhaps they close after the lunch time crowd to get ready for the dinner crowd? I have never been so rushed through a meal before.

Other than that Kanpai is a cute, casual Japanese restaurant. They even have a really nice outdoor seating area. I will have to go back when the weather is warmer, and the outdoor seating area is open. Perhaps the next time they will let me dine at my own pace.

Stars – 3.5/5