February 27, 2011 § Leave a comment
On destination wedding locations:
Jenny: I want food trucks to cater my future wedding.
Wynee: Ooh food trucks and cotton candy!
Jenny: Hmm, I should have the wedding at a fair! And get married on the ferris wheel. I can have the officiator use a megaphone so he can yell from a separate passenger car! All the guests can be in different cars on the ferris wheel.
February 26, 2011 § Leave a comment
He’s my best friend.
When I graduated from USC and moved to DC, Simon was ecstatic for my move because his seeing me would become a lot easier, and he hoped that he would see me more than the four times a year — during college, we averaged one time during winter breaks and three times during summer breaks. Instead of a $250 plane ticket and a five hour flight plus all the waiting — waiting through security, waiting to board the plane, waiting to pick up luggage from the baggage carousel — , I would be an hour and fifteen minute drive away, and he could enjoy the ride to see me in the comfort of his own car, not having to listen to his music through earphones. However, there’s still some waiting, because there is always traffic on the bridge between Maryland to Virginia, most of the time for no reason. Since his best guy friend lives around fifteen minutes away from me even before I moved here, Simon has been somewhat used to the drive. But even still, it says a lot when he will drive so far just to have lunch with me and be my shopping buddy even though we spend most of the time just walking around the mall and window shopping instead. Unfortunately, because of our schedules and our lack of planning, we still have ended up only seeing each other about four times a year– once a quarter, it seems.
He’s been my best friend since sophomore year of high school, and he’s still around even after putting up with being friends with me during a time when I was irresponsible, flakey, and mistreating him. Honestly, he shouldn’t be around. I was a horrible friend. But he stuck around, and, for that, I’m extremely grateful. He’s earned the title of “Best Friend”.
February 25, 2011 § Leave a comment
It was overcast today. And rainy. And then suddenly sunny. And suddenly overcast, again. And rainy, again. It was windy throughout so I’m glad there was some consistency. The weather couldn’t make up its mind as if it were preparing for a first date with a hot weatherman who the weather knows is way out of its league and is still in disbelief that hot weatherman took notice. Should the weather attempt to be sultry and seductive with a decent amount of pout (overcast with a little thunder perhaps?) or bright and cheery with the girl-next-door look (sunny and some gentle breezes). If the weather had a closet, it would be a mess with precipitation and lipstick strewn everywhere.
But, the reason why today was lovely:
Wayne and the boys tried a new location for lunch, and I found a pastry shop, Pastry Xpo, that also sold macarons (and good vanilla lattes)! Pastry Xpo seems to be more well known for its cupcakes and other pastries, which all looked drool-triggering delectable. I’m always delighted when I find a place that sells macarons. I loved the texture of their macarons; the macarons had a crisp shell that cracked and collapsed inward with each bite into a deliciously chewy and soft meringue interior. The flavors were a little lacking in vibrancy. While I could differentiate between the flavors of each cookie, the flavors tasted faint and subdued compared to Michel’s Patisserie. The pistachio didn’t really taste like pistachio; the vanilla didn’t really taste like vanilla. The cookies tasted very similar but the fillings tasted more like their designated flavors, but the flavor was not intense. Usually, when I eat a very good macaron, it feels as if my mouth is suddenly over-saturated with the flavor. It’s the equivalent of watching television in black and white and suddenly being switched to color on a high-definition television.
However, I would still love to return because I loved the texture of the macarons, and while the flavors weren’t very intense, I still enjoyed them. Plus, this place is the most easily accessible place for me to get my fresh macaron fix by far.
February 24, 2011 § Leave a comment
Wayne is a noodle soup fiend. That could possibly have been read as “noodle soup friend” but noodle soups tend to tremble with their broths creating tiny waves from the anxiety of knowing that when he’s around, they’re definitely getting slurp’d. He is always in the mood to eat noodle soup when he’s not craving anything in particular.
We went to Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles after my hair appointment because, while we did a good amount of planning about where we would shop, we seemed to have forgotten to do any planning about where we’d eat. There were cursory plans made on the bus ride up about getting chicken and rice— so nonchalantly planned that it is the visual equivalent of jotting down “chicken and rice” on a used napkin, and not with a sexy lipstick stain, more like greasy, juicy hamburger stain. It was so, so windy that I felt pushed forward when I walked back to the hotel after my hair appointment, and we were both tired. So our criteria for dinner was that it was close, which filtered out all options except those in Chinatown and Little Italy. The day before, we passed by Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles on our way to Excellent Pork Chop House — what is with these names? I’m glad they’re obvious, though– since Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles was located next door. Coincidence? Or laziness? Whichever– probably laziness–, the idea of hand-pulled noodles sounded really good. Wayne loves noodle soup, and I love soft and chewy textures. It sounds like a really simple way to phrase it, but it’s true. I also liked that Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles had the “They Love Us on Yelp!” sticker on the front door.
First thing we noticed was that the restaurant is tiny. The entire sitting area of the restaurant can be seen in the photograph below. There is a small alcove on the left side that isn’t shown but it only sits one person. The kitchen is off to the right where the door is left open so people can watch the noodles being pulled, tossed, and whacked against the table. There apparently were more tables located downstairs but we opted to share a table upstairs because the hostess was hesitant to offer us the downstairs option, and she wrinkled her nose when she mentioned it.
Like Excellent Pork Chop House, there was no pretense here; the hostess was nice and the service was efficient; and tea was served in styrofoam cups. The menu listed few different types of noodles such as hand-pulled, knife-cut, and wide noodles cooked in soup or pan-fried. The menu also offered several different proteins to pair with the noodle options. The ones that stuck out to me were the beef, duck, and dumpling options. Other options include fish balls, ox tail, eel, seafood. There were still more options on the menu that I don’t remember. Wayne and I didn’t get too creative with our noodle-protein pairings and picked hand-pulled noodles with beef and beef tendon and hand-pulled noodles with beef, respectively.
I love loved the noodles! They had a nice bite and were delightfully chewy. The broth tasted rich but lacked some flavor, but it could be that my tongue had been inundated with MSG the previous night at Excellent Pork Chop House. The beef was really thin and had very little fat marbling; it reminded me of the beef used in pho. It’s not necessarily a bad thing; I just personally prefer my beef a quarter of an inch thick and falling-apart tender with a 1:1 ratio of meat to fat.
I definitely want to return for another bowl just for the noodles alone; they were that delicious. But I also want to return to try the hand-pulled noodles with the other protein options, specifically the duck and eel. And, after skimming the Yelp reviews, I really want to try the dumplings.
Some times Wayne’s and my taste buds behave like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory*, but I’m glad it worked out nicely for us this time. And apparently this place was showcased on “Best Thing I Ever Ate” on the Food Network: video here. There are some great action shots of the noodles being thrown and whacked into the deliciously chewy noodles served.
* “Way to think outside but pressed right up against the box, Sheldon.” — Leonard Hofstadter
Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles
1 Doyers St
(between Bowery & Chatham Sq)
New York, NY 10013
February 23, 2011 § Leave a comment
In the days leading up to my trip to NYC, I was really excited to visit all the vintage and consignment shops I had found on Yelp. There aren’t very many vintage or consignment options in DC, and the options that are here have a small, uncreative collection of overpriced goods. I love shopping in vintage and consignment shops because the inventory of each store is completely unique and ever changing. It requires time to do a lot of digging, but I feel like that extra effort makes finding a great piece so much more satisfying. I love my black tweed skirt with metallic strands interlaced to give it a wonderful sparkle when I walk. I think of it as treasure hunting, and I’m making up the map as I go along. I had no clue what it was I was searching for, but I was looking for something feminine and pretty. Since being teased with sunny days and warm breezes the previous week, I was done with winter– I had mildly tolerated winter during December and January, but I was really starting believe that winter had overstayed its welcome and it was starting do its extra laundry in my dishwasher–and was craving nondescript lovely, super feminine pieces of clothing for spring. Maybe I’m just using spring as an excuse to treasure hunt since I have always loved overtly feminine pieces created with either lace, satin, silk and covered in bows, ruffles, polka dots. I especially love when there is sometimes a little shimmer, glitter, sparkle– obviously, I haven’t really grown out of my fashion tastes from when I was in kindergarten and obsessed with glitter. I think this time around, I just happened to be lucky that my fashion loves align what is in season.
I wasn’t able to find that many pieces in all the thrift, vintage, and consignment stops that I visited. In fact, I only found one silk top, but it is lovely with its ruffles and shiny buttons.
February 22, 2011 § Leave a comment
It kind of felt like Sunday was just all about the blessings in disguise, or maybe I’m just really good at looking on the bright side. When Wayne and I finally came home and I started putting away the spring pieces I bought, I realized that I had left the belt I purchased from Uniqlo at the hotel in NYC. It was actually my favorite purchase all weekend just because it reminded me of the belt one of my favorite bloggers, 9to5Chic, wears from time to time:
Her specific blog entry for this outfit can be found here: here
I especially loved the light brown color and the thick, contrasting color stitching of her Miu Miu belt, but I didn’t like the high price for a Miu Miu piece or the fact that since her belt is six years old, I wouldn’t have a chance to find it unless I happened upon it at a vintage or consignment store. I felt so lucky when I found the belt from Uniqlo because it was similar in the light brown color and the thick, detail stitching. However, the Uniqlo belt had a rounded, brass-colored buckle, which I preferred to her square buckle since I feel the rounded buckle adds some more femininity, in addition to the detail stitching. However, Uniqlo does offer this belt with a square buckle as well.
I was a little annoyed — Wayne will probably say otherwise since I ran around our apartment “rawr”-ing like a demented lioness with hand motions that would remind people of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” music video– that I forgot the Uniqlo belt in our hotel room and that I wouldn’t be going back to NYC for at least a month and Uniqlo doesn’t offer online shopping. BUT! But! A huge, grateful, baby got back and then some but! I found out that even though Uniqlo doesn’t offer online shopping, they do take phone orders! I gave the customer representative the product code, my size, and my credit card information, and, within 7-10 days, the belt will be delivered. Uniqlo offers UPS ground shipping for seven dollars and two-day shipping for seventeen dollars. I’m not sure if it’s a flat rate or not, but I’m assuming not.
I kind of feel like I paid an additional $24.90 (what can I say? It’s a beautiful, cheap belt, and I love it to death) just for the information that I can make phone orders to Uniqlo since I wouldn’t have done the digging to discover that Uniqlo offers phone ordering without losing my beautiful, cheap, Miu Miu-reminiscent belt that I will now name, “Daisy”. I can’t wait to use this information in the future when I find something on the website and I can’t make the trek to NYC.
Update: I placed my order on Sunday, but it didn’t process until the next business day, Monday. I received the belt today (Wednesday)! So, since I live in Washington DC, I got two day shipping but without having to pay the additional ten dollars! Yay!
February 21, 2011 § Leave a comment
“When’s the Bolt bus coming? 9:30AM? Okay, good, looks like we’ll be a little early again; maybe we’ll get good seats.”
No, we were wrong.
The Bolt bus was scheduled to leave at 9 AM. We got there just in time to see the bright orange Bolt bus pull away. And the sad thing is that if we knew it was our bus, we could have made a run for it and, arguably, caught it. We just stood there dumbfounded in disbelief as the New York City winds tried their best to literally push us to the ground even though our spirits were there already.
At least for a minute.
Through some quick research, we were all able to schedule bus rides home, but just not together because of a mix-up. Jeff took the next Bolt bus home but there was only one seat available so Wayne and I chose a different bus company that offered rides from New York City to Washington DC every hour, Eastern Travel, or better known as “the Chinatown bus”. There are several different companies that all answer to the name “Chinatown bus”, though Eastern Travel is the main one that I have heard– Wayne has heard of Lucky Star, but, based on all the other things he’s heard, no one would really consider themselves lucky to be traveling on it unless they were like us in our Sunday morning situation. It seems that whenever anyone hears the words, “the Chinatown bus”, they automatically scrunch up their noses and utter, “Yikes,” followed with, “I’m sorry” since people tend to associate “the Chinatown bus” with being extremely cheap, but grimey, smelly, and all around uncomfortable. It’s the reason why people tend to take the Bolt Bus or the Megabus, if for nothing else but a hope that the ride will be more pleasant than what they envision a ride on “the Chinatown bus” to be.
So…I feel weird saying this, but after riding on the Megabus, the Bolt Bus, and “the Chinatown bus”, I would prefer “the Chinatown bus.”
It’s all just personal preference, and I know people are more likely to disagree with me and say that Bolt Bus or Megabus are better in every way: service, cleanliness, ride-ability (am I just making up words again?), etc. The Eastern Travel bus was ghetto. There’s no doubt about that when you see the rear taillight secured to the bus with masking tape and duct tape, and, within the first five minutes, you hear the bus driver angrily yell, “What the fuck?! Move your ass!” with his Cantonese-American accent. But the reasons I liked Eastern Travel are the reasons that people only realize if it’s horrible weather in the middle of winter and you just drank a lot of coffee before realizing you have a weird fear of a shared bathroom on vehicles– two words: explosive diarrhea; another word: farts, the kind that would turn the faces of cartoon characters green with suffocating disgust.
I liked that Eastern Travel offered a waiting station for its riders since Bolt Bus and Megabus typically just pick up its riders at what looks like a regular bus stop sign. I really appreciated the waiting station since Wayne and I were very cold and the gusty winds of NYC weren’t letting up. The seats were more comfortable, at least according to Wayne, who hated his seat on the Bolt Bus even after I switched seats with him because he was convinced his original seat was slowly sliding down forward. Some people might dislike the fact that Eastern Travel makes a 15 minute pit stop at rest stop in Delaware because it makes the travel time longer and seems unnecessary since there is a bathroom on the bus. I, on the other hand, really liked that we had the 15 minute pit stop because I dislike bathrooms on vehicles– I usually will go out of my way to not drink anything just to make sure I won’t need to use the bathroom– and would much rather prefer the bathrooms at the rest stop. I also liked that Wayne and I had a chance to grab some food at the rest stop and stretch our legs. Bolt Bus and Megabus both offer free wifi, and apparently so does Eastern Travel, but Wayne wasn’t able to connect to the wifi on either Bolt Bus or Eastern Travel (he hasn’t ridden Megabus) so I guess there is no preference there. The last reason I would prefer Eastern Travel for our travels to NYC is because the waiting/drop-off station was only two streets away from the hotel where we stayed whereas the Bolt Bus bus stop was several streets away and took us around 20 minutes to walk there while lugging our bags with us. I really liked the hotel Wayne and I stayed; so much so that if we stay in the city again, I would want to stay at that hotel.
It’s kind of weird how it all worked out, especially since it made Wayne and I switch to “the Chinatown bus” as our preferred bus to NYC. And it’s cheaper than Bolt Bus and Megabus since we paid $20 each for our tickets the morning of travel. It was kind of a blessing in disguise since Wayne and I never would have considered Eastern Travel otherwise.