Tuesday, December 08, 2009

postcard from Las Vegas.

[This is how you win 80 cents.]

Yes, it is that time of year again. For some reason, the bulk of my travels happens in the winter. This year is no exception as my first trip this season was to Las Vegas for work. Vegas doesn't register as a city to me. It's more like a giant adult theme park as nothing is real and all the buildings look like sets and props on a movie production. What I DO look forward to are the over sized tubs in the bathrooms of the Bellagio hotel rooms and the food. Mind you, I am not a foodie but I do appreciate good meals. So please excuse my inability to articulate the tantalizing tastes I experienced during this trip :P

[Tuna tuna salmon + chocolate mousse cake]

The co-workers and I headed to Japonais at the Mirage for dinner. My cube-buddy and I had the best pork buns there the previous year and were totally craving for some. I know there's a location in the city but I haven't been and am not sure if the food is just as good. They offer a variety of appetizer-like portions. The favorite for the night was their tuna tuna salmon drizzled with wasabi sauce. No soy sauce needed. Once you managed to stuff the tuna tuna salmon into your mouth, fish fell apart in and melted into deliciousness. Also had their tuna ceviche which had a great citrus flavor. Ended the meal with chocolate mousse cake with gold leaf. Not sure why gold leaf would make a meal seem more appealing or tasty. The chocolate mousse did that on its own. It was light and fluffy. It's great feeling full after dinner but not fat and heavy like, "Oh man, I REALLY shouldn't have done that..."

[Happiest fish Koi I ever did see + lovely lantern ambient lighting]

Dragon Noodle Co. is located at the Monte Carlo hotel. My co-workers were attracted to their sign for pork buns but much to our disappointment, they only served them for breakfast. They made up for it with their fantastic Chinese food. Food in the menu was mostly things you could find in any take out menu. However, it was a lot less greasy and heavy as regular Chinese take out. The meal, again, felt light yet very satisfying.

Vegas, I like you only a little bit because of your food. While you may try to attract people with your flashy lights and "GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS!" (btw, why not "BOYS! BOYS! BOYS!"?), it's substance I like. Maybe next year, you can try to charm me with one of your shows as I've yet to go see one. We shall see.

Friday, December 04, 2009

sock dove christmas ornaments.

Yesterday, I bought a taller Christmas tree from Target. I needed more branches for the new ornaments I'll be getting from this year's Holiday Ornament Swap hosted by freshly blended.
Last year, I made sock bunny ornaments. This year I'm making sock doves.

Peace, Dove & Happiness!

Friday, November 13, 2009

hat for henri.

I do not believe dogs should wear clothes. It seems impractical as they grow their own fur. However, the exception to this are little dogs. They are small and silly already. A little more ridiculousness wouldn't matter. Reading a Japanese knitting pattern is like looking at blueprints for a rocket ship. I managed to figure out the pattern for the red hat pictured above and used brown speckled yarn. This hat is for Henri, the maltese-shitzu.

[Henri is not happy.]

Sunday, October 04, 2009

apple pie.

Experimented in the kitchen with apples from apple picking at Soon's Orchard. I learned the key to a good apple pie is to use different kinds of apples. I think I'm using about 4 different kinds here. Unfortunately, I can't seem to remember the kinds of apples we picked.

Saved three apples for the filling and cut/cored the rest. Laid them out on a cookie sheet with some cinnamon. Roasted for 20 minutes.
Important note: When roasting, make sure apple juice doesn't drip, caramelize and burn onto the bottom of your oven. I learned the hard way this will make your oven very smokey and your kitchen unpleasant. Ended up spending an hour scrubbing my oven clean :(

Pureed them with their skins in the blender. Best roasted applesauce ever! Sweet with no added sugar! Got super excited after sampling and immediately made filling with remaining three chopped up apples.


Me + this pie + fork = happiness.

Monday, July 13, 2009

postcard from Venice.


Our tour guide informed us gondoliers can earn up to 300,000 Euro a year. WTF?! Where can I sign up? Who needs a GED when you can push a skinny boat through murky canals while singing "O Sole Mio"? Screw being a lawyer, a doctor, or a business tycoon. Mom, I wanna be a gondolier! :D

Saturday, July 11, 2009

postcard from Pisa.

[I hold the Pisa.]

Wallet lost in Pisa. 40 Euro gone. Driver's license now missing. Spent 45 minutes talking to five different English speaking accents over roaming mobile phone to get credit cards canceled. Helen impressed with my ability to stay calm.

Everyone says the same thing: Good thing it wasn't your passport.

Friday, July 10, 2009

postcard from San Gimignano.

In the first song of Disney's animated feature, "Beauty and the Beast", Belle walks through a sleepy town just waking up as she sings how "there must be more to this provincial life." While strolling through the medieval town of San Gimignano, I couldn't help but to expect wood panel windows to fling open and people breaking out in musical song and dance. It was hard to believe people actually lived here! This town was a breath of fresh air and I was able to relax a bit from the hustle and bustle of Rome and Florence. I was able to breathe.

Italian gelato is richer and creamier than ice cream. They come in skinny cones which kinda sucks because the gelato is simply piled on top with nothing left for you when you reach the cone. Sampled world champion gelato at Gelateria di Piazza. We've had enough gelato in Italy for a proper control. The consistency and flavor of the gelato in San Gimignano were no comparison. Their secret ingredient must've been crack because it was by far the best frozen treat I've ever had. I'm not much of a foodie but I'll tell you for sure, I will dream about this gelato. If I ever have a near death experience, this gelato will flash before my eyes. If I was on death row, I'd want this gelato as part of my final meal.

My only regret is not having a second... and maybe possibly a third. If only we had another hour or two in this little town tucked away in the Tuscan hills. I would've had one more for the road... and the plane ride back.


Thursday, July 09, 2009

postcard from Firenze.

"Aw crap, you gotta be kidding me," I said as I read the sign posted on the side of Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore.

Helen and I were at the head of a line worthy of any amusement park roller coaster ride to go up the duomo of the cathedral. The sign was a clear warning. Instead of "Guests who are elderly, pregnant, or with heart condition may not ride," it said, "Bitch, you best be in shape to haul your ass up these million steps to heaven."

"Okay, I can do this," I said, "Can't be any different from hiking Korean mountains."

Hiking in Korea isn't all that difficult when there are stairs neatly carved int
o the side of mountains. It's funny to see Koreans in full on hiking gear looking as if ready to climb Everest and watch them carry their backpacks and walking sticks up concrete steps. If I can take on stepping up to the summit of a mountain, a cathedral can't be that much harder.

I didn't need a walking stick. What I needed was a muscular descendant of Roman gods to carry me up those goddamn steps. How medieval monks managed to use them were beyond me. The only light emanating was from tiny circular windows that beamed through dark staircases. You were fucked if you suffered from claustrophobia as the stairs were only wide enough for people to pass through one at a time. If the space and number of steps finally cause an anxiety attack, it would take hours to locate and remove you from the spiraling stairs. Then you got that ever growing line of angry and impatient people waiting outside for you.

"Okay Helen, I gotta slow down," I said winded after step #346, "Just... gimme a sec... I'll take a picture."

We were almost there. I could feel it. The air felt fresher which gave us enough juice to power on. We climbed up a skinny ladder and finally stood at the top of the duomo. I'm not normally afraid of heights but couldn't help but to get that nervous butterfly sensation in your stomach that made you feel like you gotta crap your pants. I was quickly distracted by the red roofed view of the city spanning below. We sat and cooled our asses on the cold marble floor. It was a good feeling. If I can get a view like this after step climbing, who needs an elliptical machine at a sweaty gym?

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

postcard from roma.

Helen and I were dead tired. Lack of sleep on a red eye flight caused our hands to shake. Managed to get a little shut eye at our layover in Frankfurt. The harsh German barking over airport intercoms were no match for my exhaustion. Conked out until our shuttle plane arrived to take us to Rome.

Upon arriving, we were greeted not by "Welcome to Italy" signs but by sexy half naked David and Victoria Beckham modeling in Armani ads. First immediate lesson I learned was how extremely laid back Italians are. You will hardly ever get a solid answer from anyone. We were picked up by a tour group shuttle which promptly drove us to the wrong hotel.

"You want that light building," the man at the front desk pointed from the wrong hotel, "I show you. Ehhhhh, you walk, three, four, five blocks over there."
"Great," I sighed.

Helen and I gawked at our hotel room. Two beds neatly cut out like blocks
of tofu were waiting for us in what looked like my closet. Right. Space is limited in this city. Got it. Dropped our bags, got into some fresh clothes, and headed out for our first taste of Italy.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Have decided to adopt Maangchi as my virtual Korean mother. I tried out her 호박죽 recipe for tonight's cooking night at Michelle's. It turned out pretty well. In the future, I'd puree the squash after boiling it for a smoother consistency. Also, adding honey instead of sugar makes it pretty good too.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009


Tonight, I tried out a recipe I found while flipping through last month's issue of Family Fun magazine. Mulligatawny soup! When I first read the title, I thought it read, "Multi-getaway". Aigu.
It's not good to cook when you're hungry and you wanna eat.... like, NOW. This particular stew takes an hour to simmer alone.

My apartment now smells like curry.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

cat for etsy.

For me, a relaxing night consists of crafting in my underwear while watching "Weeds". I finished another cat. I kinda wanna keep him. He is gray. He wears a cotton scarf. He is a cotton/acrylic blend. I really like natural fibers and have been wanting to try cotton. If parents are buying these woolen dolls, I'm afraid their children will be horrified at the site of shrunken and felted animals in the washer/dryer.

Cotton would be easier to wash and keep clean. I found straight cotton doesn't really have a give and is tough to use. The acrylic blend makes it slightly more flexible and softer.