Photo Diary: Heat Wave Cravings

July 26, 2011 § 2 Comments

The heat wave was almost unbearable last weekend with its triple digit heat. It also ruined Wayne and my weekend plans to try something new and go hiking. Instead, we spent the entire weekend trying new-to-us places to eat. So instead of trying something new and being super active, we tried something new and were super gluttonous. Same thing, right?

To be honest, my goal last weekend was to drink sangria and lay out in the sun sprawled out like a starfish. It was too humid for me to lay outside, but at least I got my sangria.

We also tried out a pizza place, Pupatella, that was touted on yelp for creating authentic Neapolitan pizzas. Their simple margherita pizza was so delicious and way better in quality than what I was expecting for dinner that night since my only prerequisite for dinner was a place that I could eat the meal with my hands– apparently the heat wave causes me to be a sangria-drinking toddler. However, I retained enough of my sanity to want to go back and try their other pizzas. I think it’s our new favorite pizza place, especially when we arrive between the rush of traffic of hungry pizza-eaters.

After hearing our friends talk about Toki Underground, we really wanted to try it since we’ve been on a ramen kick and the place is the only place we know of in the DC area that sells Taiwan beer, a true novelty for my beer-lovin’ Taiwanese boyfriend. It was hard to find– and we ended up walking past it a couple times–, because the only sign signaling that it was Toki Underground was a blue symbol on the door. And it was on the second floor of the building, not underground.

The ramen broth and noodles were good. Though the pork was really tough and chewy and bothersome to eat. And I took out the red ginger slices. I didn’t compare it to Daikokuya; it was pointless to compare since they have different flavors and interpretations of the pork bone ramen, especially since this place is Taiwanese. I thought it was hilarious that the soup spoon was a ladle. I prefer the tonkotsu ramen at Satsuma but I think we’ll definitely return to Toki Underground because they sell Taiwan beer and the ramen was pretty good.

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Photo Diary: Weekend exploring at home

July 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

It hasn’t felt like Wayne and I have been home for the weekend in a long time so I was thrilled that this past weekend was completely dedicated to staying close to home and exploring the area– I think it is amusing that the “area” is comprised of two states, Virginia and Maryland, and the District.

Even though we stayed close to home, exploring ended up requiring a bit of driving to all the different places. Luckily, we had our little Shiba Inu key cap that we picked up at in LA to keep us on company in the car. I love his eye brows!

We spent some time in Bethesda on Friday night because Wynee told me about how she found a Japanese restaurant called Satsuma and they had some delicious tasting ramen that I had to try. I was really excited to visit because one of my favorite foods is tonkotsu ramen, which I’ve only had from Daikokuya in LA– I’m extremely loyal to foods I love. After four years of craving it, even skipping classes just to eat it during the non-rush hours, and having it readily available, it was  heart breaking to know that I wouldn’t be able to eat it on a weekly basis(…okay sometimes bi- and tri-weekly basis…and, since we’re being honest here, there were times when I ate it twice in one day for lunch and then late dinner) when I moved to the East coast. Using Daikokuya’s ramen as the standard of measurement, I thought the broth at Satsuma’s was rich with good flavor and also enjoyed the soft and chewy ramen noodles. The bamboo shoots were a little tough and should have been cooked for a longer period of time. I liked the egg a lot but I was confused that I was given only half an egg since I’m used to a full egg. I was extremely disappointed in the pork slices since they were very small, thin, lean and were not tender nor delicately about to fall apart since they lacked the fattiness that I loved. But that is just personal preference as I know that some people don’t like fatty meats. I want to point out that Satsuma charges double the price for a bowl of ramen that costs only around $6 at Daikokuya. And that the service was annoyingly slow…to the point that I walked up to our waitress to ask for the check and then walked up again to give her my credit card. However, while I appreciate good service and over-tip for it, slow service does not stop me from coming back if I want the food. Even though Satsuma’s ramen pales in comparison to Daikokuya’s ramen, I still want to return because I really enjoyed the broth and the noodles and it is relatively close to our home. It should hold me over until I go back to LA and I can get my Daikokuya fix.

After dinner, Wayne and I walked around downtown Bethseda and I was able to pick up a small box of macarons!

Wayne and I head up to Baltimore on Saturday for crabs at Obrycki’s. Wayne went there once with his friends and loved it. He’s always wanted to take me there, and once we found out that Obrycki’s was going to shut down after this season, we knew we had to go! The most unusual thing about Obrycki’s is that it is a Baltimore crab house that does not use Old Bay; instead they put salt and pepper on their crabs.

After Obrycki’s, we walked around Hampden and I found a vintage clothing and knick-knacks store after my own heart.

We finished off the weekend at the National Zoo. I think the highlight of the adventure was discovering the existence of this little creature: the elephant shrew. He looked so comical with his tiny, quivering elephant-like trunk and his long, long antelope-like legs that I instantly fell in love. He looked like he was constantly walking on his tip toes! I think he is so adorable!

* Things not pictured: yet another trip to Pitango (this was purposeful as I was starting to feel foolish about documenting every trip there since I know that my addiction is going to get ridiculous), Sunday morning matinée of Harry Potter 7 Part 2 (I didn’t want to be that person taking pictures of the screen in a dark theater, and apparently the idea of taking a picture of anything else relating to seeing the movie didn’t occur to me), post-zoo snack at Hot and Juicy Crawfish (I made mental note to take a picture but didn’t remember the note until we were completely done and paying the bill)

Photo Diary: 4th of July Weekend

July 4, 2011 § 1 Comment

Wayne and I went on a family roadtrip with his parents and his sister (Mika the kitty held down the fort and protected the house from groundhog invaders and any birdie air strikes) through New York. Originally we were going to do some national state park hopping and finish off the trip with some manic outlet shopping at Woodbury Commons. Things didn’t go quite as planned, but I think it was more fun. We ended up only visiting one park, Seven Lakes, because when we arrived in the random area of Poughkeepsie to check into our hotel, we discovered that there was a lot of great history and interesting sites that we wanted to see in the area. Wayne’s dad had picked a hotel in Poughkeepsie since it was only minutes away from one of the state parks we were planning on visiting, but, once we got to the hotel, we ended up skipping the state park and visiting Samuel F. B. Morse’s and FDR’s seasonal homes instead. Awe-SOME!

We also didn’t really have the manic Woodbury shopping experience, either. I was turned off by the huge crowds, the lines to get into stores, the bad selection, and the rain.  But it was all good for my credit cards. So…inadvertently awe-SOME!

Seven Lakes was actually quite crowded with people in bathing suits while having cookouts, but we managed to find a serene spot.

Our hotel was actually next door to Samuel F. B. Morse’s summer home. We checked in our hotel and walked over before dusk so we got a great view of of the sunset over the Hudson river from his backyard.

Visiting FDR’s home was actually the most exciting part, despite the fact that it rained nearly the entire we were there. Wayne’s mom took this picture of us with the statues of FDR and Eleanor during the few minutes that it was not raining.

Poughkeepsie

 Route 1 in New Jersey

I loved that we managed to accidentally catch TWO fireworks shows, one on each night. We had a great view of the Poughkeepsie fireworks show from the outside of our hotel, while the second fireworks show was in New Jersey on the way home on Route 1 where so many cars either slowed down or either parked alongside the bridge with their hazard lights on.

Wayne and I drove back Virginia on the 4th of July and stopped by Baltimore to drop off Christina. But before we dropped her off, we walked around Fells Point a little.

I finally got to eat at Bertha’s Mussels after seeing the bumper stickers on everyone’s sketchbooks during high school. I think it is worth its numerous bumper stickers’ commands to “EAT BERTHA’S MUSSELS”. I would love to go back!

We finished off lunch with a stop at Pitango for gelato. I got the hazelnut chocolate and raspberry. The flavors were so vibrant and tasted so real– Wayne’s lychee tasted as if I was eating a real lychee! I loved that the gelato was so so smooth and creamy. I could definitely taste the difference between this gelato and ice cream. I can honestly say that it’s the best gelato I’ve ever had, and I am SO HAPPY there are FOUR (!!!) locations in the DC area .

After we came home and took a nap, Wayne woke me up to ask if I wanted McDonald’s for dinner. I was confused because we rarely eat at McDonald’s until he told me that our friend, Albert, pointed out that McDonald’s is the most iconic American food. In pop culture, nothing quite says AMERICA like McDonald’s. Bravo McDonald’s marketing! Bravo!

Tidbits of LA, Iphon’d

June 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

Photo Diary: Memorial Day Weekend

May 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

Since everyone was home for the holiday weekend, Wayne’s parents decided to take us on an impromptu trip to the Poconos so that Wayne and his dad could go golfing while Wayne’s mom and sister and I went shopping at the outlets.

It is fun visiting Wayne’s parents because his parents love taking us to their favorite Asian restaurants. So much yummy food! His mom always makes a mental note to bring Wayne’s sister and us back if she finds a good restaurant.

Going back home always means that Wayne gets to spend some quality time with his first love.

I combined celebrating Memorial Day and being in New Jersey with a patriotic doughnut from Dunkin’ Donuts (I really don’t understand why my obsession with Dunkin’ Donuts pops up only when I’m in New Jersey.)

And the best part of any trip to New Jersey: I got to see my favorite little girl.

Photo Diary: My Weekend in Pittsburgh

April 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

The booth was designed and built by Wayne’s old student group, Taiwanese Student Association. The booth inspiration was the elementary school computer game, Oregon Trail.

Another student group took inspiration from Arrested Development and re-created the Frozen Banana Stand from the television show. And they actually sold frozen bananas dipped in chocolate and covered in rainbow sprinkles!

Crazy Mocha is a small coffeeshop chain in Pittsburgh that supposedly has the best tiramisu in the city, so I had to taste it myself. I had to call five Crazy Mocha’s before I found one that still had tiramisu available.

To celebrate the end of another Carnival and booth-building–and winning “Best Booth in the Independent Category” (!) — all the current members and returning alumni of TSA went to eat at a sushi buffet (followed by a crazy night of drinking, of course).

Two of my favorite people: Wynee and Jeff

Photo Diary: My Day Off

April 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

Whenever Wayne and I travel, it feels like we just hit the ground running as fast as we can into our trips. We don’t usually stop for breaks; we do as many activities as possible; and we’re almost constantly eating, eating, eating. Maybe it’s the food coma, but at the end of our vacations, even as short as some are, I feel utterly exhausted and wish for a day to actually relax. I end up wishing a little bit to have my regular Saturday back. This weekend, we’re traveling to Pittsburgh to visit Wayne’s alma mater, Carnegie Melon University, for the school’s spring festival. Before this trip, Wayne and I decided to use one of our vacation days to live out an ideal day if we didn’t have work. It turns out that our ideal day very closely resembles our Saturdays.

The day was gorgeous and so warm.

All the vibrantly colored flowers celebrated Spring’s arrival. They can’t create the fanfare, so they attempt to replicate the colorfulness of the confetti with their petals.

We ate a late breakfast in Georgetown.*

My ideal day involves a lot of eating, some shopping, and numerous photographs to document everything.

Wayne’s ideal day involves working on his swing at the driving range. I actually love when we go to the driving range because I get to sit out in the sun and read.**

* Like most normal people on their day off, Wayne slept in until 11 AM. My overenthusiastic body decided to wake up at 6:39 AM, a full hour and a half before I typically struggle to get out of bed and get ready for work.

**Wayne tried to teach me how to swing a club at the driving range early in our relationship. After listening to his tips and making his adjustments to my body so that I stood in the proper position, I swung as hard as I could and the ball stumbled off the green mat and lackadaisically rolled with a stubborn, exasperated attitude. The ball and I knew I was hopeless. The ball accepted that it wouldn’t be able to fly through the air with me but decided to humor me a little bit.

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