Tag Archive | food

Phenomenal Philly

September 17-19

I’m continuing my tour of the U.S. for the Great City Search. Next stop Philadelphia. I went to meet with some friends and to run another Half Marathon. It was decided that a road trip was in order.. I was surprised to discover that it was only a 5.5 hour drive.

Veterans Memorial Bridge - Delaware

Philadelphia City Hall - Hipstamatic Pic iPhone 4

Reading Terminal Market is a food-lover’s dream. There are stalls and stalls of tantalizing food. Fresh fruits and veggies. Cuisine from around the world. Cheeses. Desserts. It was sensory overload.

Reading Terminal Market

Bassett’s Ice Cream is absolutely delicious. If I hadn’t been so full from the Pad Thai we ate, I would’ve probably gotten my cone… or fought D for the rest of ours.

Bassett's Ice Cream at Reading Terminal Market

D with the Ice Cream we shared.

Even though it was too early for Halloween, we went to Eastern Penitentiary’s Terror Behind the Walls. This was a big deal simply because I don’t like going to Haunted Houses. I’m jumpy and easily rattled. It makes for a nerve-wracking time for me and oodles of entertainment for anyone accompanying me. D can vouch that he was highly entertained by my level of hysteria. I’m not the best person to be the judge of scare level since I’m easily frightened, but D claims that this show is among the best he’s seen. Despite screaming the entire tour, it was definitely fun.

We met up with my dear friend Ben! (I feel compelled to always exclaim his name… Don’t ask).

Ben and I

We went to Monk’s Cafe which was highly recommended by a Philly Food Blog. After eating and drinking there, there is good reason. First, the beer selection is listed in a booklet! I love Belgian ales. I felt at home. They are renowned for their mussel pots, which was great for us, but poor thinking since we were dining with my Jewish friend. (slaps hand to forehead!). Thankfully, Ben had already eaten and didn’t mind that we gorged ourselves on shellfish.

My Thai Curry Mussels - Monk's Flemish Sour, fumè, Thai red curry, bais, garlic & coconut milk

D's Ghent Mussels - Ghent Saison Dupont, fumè, parsley, carmelized leeks, bacon, bleu cheese & garlic

We want to sample more of Philly’s nightlife and headed to Good Dog Bar. Of course, I was enthralled by the decor. They have a gallery of dog portraits on the wall.

Good Dog Bar - Philadelphia

Saturday was first full day of sightseeing. Perhaps, the phrase FULL DAY was taken too literally. We had breakfast at Bonte. They make Belgian street style waffles. They mix the fruit into the batter and cook it.  It was light and tasty.

Strawberry Waffle from Bonte

After our light breakfast, we walked to Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. I’m a history buff. I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting those sites. The last time I was in Philly was for a high school field trip.

Liberty Bell

Independence Hall - Hipstamatic Pic - iPhone 4

Room where Declaration of Independence was signed

Clock on Exterior of Independence Hall

We had lunch at City Tavern, which is a reconstructed replica of tavern where many of the signers of the Declaration of Independence socialized. It was über touristy, but we didn’t care. The food was good and in keeping with our historical theme for the day.

Bread made from recipes that date back to the 1700s

Fried Oysters appetizer

My Turkey Pot Pie

Next was the worst call on my part – the Philadelphia Zoo. The zoo wasn’t bad, but it was the worst choice the day before a Half Marathon. I really wanted to catch up with my childhood friend Michelle and her family. It didn’t dawn on me that there would be A LOT of walking. By the end of the zoo visit, we were beat. I feel horribly about it because it put D and I in a bad position for the next day’s Half Marathon.

Lucia, Me, Delia, & Michelle

Lucia with her favorite statue

Polar bear napping

We power-napped after the zoo and attempted to Carbo-load at Nodding Head Brewery.

Salmon from Nodding Head Brewery

Of course, Sunday was devoted to my 2nd Half Marathon. It’s hard to believe I chose to run my 2nd Half Marathon just 2 weeks after my first one. I have D to thank for that. He made it sound as though it wasn’t a big deal. To a certain extent, it wasn’t.


On our way to the start of the race

Bright and chipper before the start of the race

I cannot fully express how much I love race day. I’m nervous and jittery, but I enjoy every minute of it. The Rock N Roll Philadelphia course is scenic. It starts in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and goes through downtown Philadelphia. It continues along the Schuylkill River. While picturesque, that portion of the race felt endless.


sprinting the finish of the Philadelphia Half - iPhone 4 photo by D. Daniel

iPhone 4 photo by D. Daniel

I hit the wall at Mile 10 and started having problems with my asthma.  I struggled and still finished 8 minutes faster than the Virginia Beach Half. Woohoo!

With my finisher's medal

After the race, we paused from some tourist shots.

The infamous steps of the Philadelphia Musuem. No running up them

We had lunch at Q BBQ and Tequila. I love a good burger after a race.

A much-deseved post-race Burger and Fries

All in all, I really like Philadelphia. It has the big city feel without being quite as overwhelming as NYC. It’s definitely on my list of places to consider.

Where did summer go?

photo by Darius Daniel

I admit it. I’m a terrible blogger. I go through short phases where I write with exciting frequency which are then followed by droughts of silence. I can’t help it. Sometimes I disappear because I am so emotionally spent that I don’t have it in me to share my experiences. Other times I don’t write because frankly it’s a lot of work. I treat each blog post like a magazine editorial complete with perfectly retouched photos. Lastly, another reason why I don’t write is because I’m just too damn busy living my life. {Cue “Live Your Life” by T.I. & Rhianna… LOL} This has been the case as of late.

This summer has been the busiest summer I’ve experienced in years. There was no way that I could keep up with the blog posting. The best that I could do is post photos to Facebook and let me friends decipher my goings-on.

So what have I been up to?

There have been birthdays to celebrate.

Grandma’s 103rd Birthday

Auntie Fely, my sis Cathee, Me, Mom, and Grandma

The Birthday girl - can you believe she's 103?

Jacqui’s Birthday – Lady Gaga-themed Party

Jacqui The Birthday Girl and her main man Dan

the Birthday girl and me

I’ve seen A LOT of live music. Here are some of the shows I’ve seen.

Passion Pit at the NorVa

Rogue Wave at the NorVa

Interpol at the NorVa

Interpol at the NorVa

Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun at HK on the Bay - photo by Darius Daniel

Vinyl Headlights at Backstage

Public Enemy at the NorVa

There are more shows that I’ve seen, but didn’t get around to photographing.  A good portion of what I’ve seen are local bands. You gotta support your hometown music. After all, they gotta start somewhere.

It’s also be a summer filled with art.

Chalking of Ghent

My sis Cathee and my nephews Ethan & Franky

Art Everywhere Closing

National Gallery of Art – Washington, D.C.

My bro Nate hanging out at the National Gallery of Art


photo by Nate Kabaitan

Lollipops and 45s – Phoebus Gallery

Last Tuesdays at 45 degrees Lounge – photography by Neleh Sawsiengmongkol

Style.With.Pull – Phoebus Gallery

I entertained some houseguests.

My cousin Jovan

My best friend Cicely

I did A LOT of eating and running, but I’ll save that for their very own posts.

With all these activities, can you understand why I haven’t posted?

Lighter Moments

April 15-19, 2010

Warning: This post is not to be read on an empty stomach. Also, this post is heavily laden with images. It’ll take some patience, but it’s worth the wait.

It was emotional weekend, but it was also filled with moments of levity. It should be no surprise that these lighter moments involved food.

Our first full day in Canada was spent at Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Falls. My cousin GeeVee, his wife Rachel and their daughter Kammi frequently go on short jaunts in the areas surrounding Toronto. They were ready to take us all on a culinary expedition. No one was left hungry or disappointed.

Our first stop was Kurtz Orchards and Country Market.

Grilled Southwest Turkey Sandwich

World-renowned Maple Syrup

Maple Syrup that was $22 a bottle

Turkish Delight

Myles hangs out while we have lunch

Our next stop was Picard’s Peanuts.

Of course, we had to stop for dessert. We stopped by  Pie Plate Bakery and Cafe.

The desserts are as divine as they look. We ordered several slices of pie so that we could sample a bit of everything. I am glad we did. Every pie is tantalizing. Each had its own nuance. The crust was flaky without being too dry. The pie fillings were sweet without being overbearing. Their reputation of being the best dessert shop in Ontario is justified.

Cherry Pie

Lemon Meringue

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Apple Pie

After having dessert, we headed over to see Niagara Falls, which I had never seen before. It is definitely worth seeing.

Cousins GeeVee, Marnie, Rachel and niece Kammi

Myles and I at Niagara Falls

While I was Canada, I had to try Tim Horton’s coffee, the Canadian equivalent of Starbucks. Tim Horton’s is far superior to Starbucks.

Perfect duo for the damp cold weather - Tim Horton's Coffee & Timbits


Nate and Myles

For dinner, we stopped to get some Phở


Spring Rolls

Fried Spring Rolls

My absolute favorite - Vietnamese iced coffee

On Saturday night, we went out for burgers.  Per Khurram’s suggestion, we went to Harvey’s burger.

I had to try Poutine. It is a dish consisting of French fries topped with fresh cheese curd, covered with brown gravy and sometimes additional ingredients. The verdict? It’s a meal unto itself.

On the night after Melanie’s Memorial Mass, we decided to go to Hooter’s. Sounds like an odd choice, but it wasn’t. Melanie and Khurram had this tradition of going to Hooters in whichever city they were visiting. When I first heard about it, I thought it was quirky, but funny. Going to Hooter’s seemed like a perfect choice.

GeeVee and Rachel

Marnie and Me

Nate aka Mr. Personality

Because we were out so late and had such a good time reminiscing, I had to grab a few of these while on the road home.

Although we were only in Canada for 4 days, I’m fairly certain I left 5 lbs heavier 😉

NYC: Eat ‘Til You Drop

March 11-16, 2010

Warning: This post is not to be read on an empty stomach. Also, this post is heavily laden with images. It’ll take some patience, but it’s worth the wait.

A trip wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t sample as much of the local fair as I can. This trip was no exception. I was feeling particularly deprived since Virginia Beach doesn’t have quite the selection of eateries that Los Angeles does.  Our main focus was ethnic cuisine and CUPCAKES! Good Gawd! I’m thankful we did a lot of walking. Otherwise, I would have returned 15lbs. heavier. Here’s a pictorial of some, but not all of our epicurean exploits.

Magnolia Bakery
401 Bleecker Street
New York, NY 10014

Review: With cupcake afficionados, there is a bit of debate over who has the better cupcake – Sprinkles cupcakes (L.A.) or Magnolia Bakery (NYC). As someone who has sampled both, I can honestly say it boils down to personal preference. Both make superb cupcakes. With Magnolia, I enjoyed the moistness of the cake as well as the airiness of their frosting. Because of the nature of their frosting, I did find the cupcakes best consumed immediately lest the frosting turn into a gooey mess. Oddly enough with Magnolia, my favorite dessert is not their cupcakes. I am HUGE fan of their banana pudding. {I blame my cousin Rhed}. I won’t recount how many cups of Banana Pudding I consumed except to say the amount bordered on the obscene.

Yum Yum 3
658 9th Ave
New York, NY 10036

Don Giovanni
358 W 44th St
New York, NY 10036

Cupcake Cafe
545 9th Ave
New York, NY 10018

Review: While extraordinarily gorgeous, the cupcakes were dry and dense. The flavor was akin to cupcakes made from Betty Crocker box. We were very disappointed.

Cupcake Cafe cupcakes

New Wonton Garden
56 Mott St
New York, NY 10013

Babycakes NYC
248 Broome Street
New York City, NY 10002
Review: A visit to this cupcakery turned out to be a tad controversial and a bone of contention. Babycakes is a Vegan and Gluten-free bakery. The former Cali girl in me really wanted to try their confections. Babycakes bakes with all-natural, organic and delicious alternatives free from the common allergens: wheat, gluten, dairy, casein and eggs. The majority of their cupcakes are sweetened agave nectar. As someone who has had many Vegan desserts, I wanted to see how Babycakes stacked up. The problem came because I did not warn my dining companions Cicely and my cousin Rhed that it was a Vegan bakery. As a Southerner, Cicely was particularly disappointed. I captured the look on her face as she tasted the cupcakes, but I shan’t post the photo lest she kill me and never speak to me again.

The verdict? They cupcakes are pretty good considering how they are made. Do they compare to regular cupcakes? Absolutely not. As compared to other Vegan desserts, they are quite tasty.

The Hello Kittys with Babycakes Cupcakes

Magnolia Bakery
Rockefeller Center
1240 Avenue of the Americas,
New York, NY

Note: Our trip to Babycakes angered the Sugar Gods according to Cicely. The wrath of the Sugar Gods entailed several delayed trains and getting completely drench in the torrential downpour. To appease the Sugar Gods, we needed to make a stop at a cupcakery that served “REAL” cupcakes. There is some credence to her claim. Once we got cupcakes, our night improved, as did Cicely’s mood.

The Hello Kittys with Magnolia Cupcakes

The Hello Kittys with Little Cupcake Bakeshop Cupcakes

Little Cupcake Bakeshop
9102 3rd Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11209
Review: We scheduled a tweetup at this bakery. Because Cicely and I were not familiar with Brooklyn, we did not realize that this bakery was inconveniently located. With the inclement weather and several train delays, we arrived shamefully late to our own tweetup. I would like to say that the cupcakes made up for the delay, but I can’t. I found that the cupcakes were inconsistent. Either the cake was dry and seemed old or the frosting was gritty and too sweet. The company with whom we had the cupcakes with more than made up for the trek.

Gray’s Papaya
539 8th Avenue
New York, NY 10018

La Crepe
51 Spring St
New York, NY 10012

Oh Taisho
Frnt C, 9 Saint Marks Place
New York, NY 10003-7850

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria
19 Old Fulton Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Last Hurrahs

I know I’m supposed to be recapping my cross-country road trip, but I want to do a little backtracking.
February 8-16, 2010
The last week that I spent in Los Angeles was emotional. As one might it expect, I was simultaneously ecstatic and upset about closing this chapter of my life. The plan was to spend the week taking care of paperwork, packing up the last of my things, spending time with those nearest and dearest to me, and purchasing craft supplies. Despite my planning, I did not do nearly as much as I set out to do. The week went by so fast. I feel like I blinked and suddenly it was time to head out on the road.
Here are some of the things I was able to squeeze into my visit.

  • I had some quality time with Dottie.
  • I hung out with my Aunt, Uncle, Cousins and Nieces.
    I’m happy to report that little Brooklyn is doing well despite her very early arrival last summer. My cousin Jasmine and Brooklyn’s dad moved into a gorgeous apartment in Laguna Beach. They’re within walking distance of the beach. {So jealous!}

    Brooklyn with her momma/my cousin Jasmine

    • Since I’m so food-obsessed, the rest of my activities were centered around food. I wanted to go to some of my favorite culinary establishments.

    Rob and I went to Little Tokyo to grab a bite to eat. Yes, you’re reading that correctly. Despite the divorce, Rob and I are still on good terms. Besides, I’ve never known that man to pass up on a meal. We had Ramen at Daikokuya.

    We grabbed dessert at Fugetsu-do.

    I had meals with various other friends.

    Carne Asada tacos from a Taco Truck on Figueroa St. in Highland Park

    Chile Rellenos from La Llamarada in Lincoln Heights

    Beef Stew with Handmade Noodles at Mandarin Noodle House in Monterey Park

    Steamed Dumplings from Mandarin Noodle House in Monterey Park

    Shrimp Cakes from Sanamuluang Cafe in Hollywood

    A few of us headed out to the over hyped, terribly crowded L.A. Street Food Fest. For those that follow me on Twitter, you already know how terribly this went. All I got to do was take a few pics. We didn’t get a single morsel to eat.

Instead we headed to Hodori in Koreatown and had Korean BBQ.

Galbi - Short Ribs

Jap Chae

What I did not capture are all the fantastic people who work at my fave eateries. I’ve been frequenting many of these establishments since I moved to L.A. Many of the servers already know what I’m going to order. {I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing.} I will really miss those unspoken relationships.

There you have it. That was my week in L.A. Somehow, it feels like I didn’t do it any justice or that I didn’t give L.A. the proper “goodbye”.  Then again, maybe this just means that I’m not completely done with this city. I learned a long time ago, not to swear off any city.