Eating

Ici

I finally got to explore some of Berkeley for the first time last weekend.  I mainly wanted to try the famous Cheeseboard pizza, but happily got to taste this delicious ice-cream at Ici and do some shopping as well!

Yums

Pear quince sorbet

Such cute decorations

daily:

Breakfast. I cannot go through a day with breakfast. It can be anything. Cookies, noodles, … a white castle burger.

But most of my mornings, I start my day with a bowl of cereal and soy milk.

Peanut Butter Cheerios, sliced banana, Silk soymilk.

Weekend

I had a great weekend consisting of beautiful upper 60s weather, two days of yoga, walks to the Mission, and relaxing nights in.

Lunch at La Boulange on Hayes again.

Grantland’s bland but pretty fragrant truffle mac ‘n cheese from La Boulange.

The Paul Reubens from Ike’s Place. Pastrami, homemade poppy seed coleslaw, french dressing, swiss.

Great White & green tea at Mercury Cafe.

All taken with a Nikon D90.

New toy: 35mm

After waiting quite a while for a good deal on a 35mm lens, I finally caved in and purchased one.  I figured the price wasn’t going to go down any further, so might as well take advantage of Amazon.  I took it out on a test run last weekend and I love it so far!  I still need to get used to cropping the photos correctly, but I’m absolutely loving the bokeh and food photography. Theses photos were taken on a rainy Sunday morning in my neighborhood, Hayes Valley.

Pretty macarons at La Boulange.

Chicken and arugula baguette.

My boyfriend’s cheese danish.

Latte at Ritual Coffee.

My hot chocolate and his latte. T

True dat. Awesome travel shop.

On Octavia. Minimal editing. Look how bright the flowers turned out! Love the bokeh.

All taken with a Nikon D90

I can’t wait to take this baby out for more photos!

Fresh new year

Here’s to a fresh start to the new year.  My friend suggested I try this healthy juice recipe from bon appetite.  This “green machine” drink is actually very tasty and refreshing.  My goal is to try to make this a few times a week.  Delicious, easy, AND healthy?  No excuses!

Ingredients

  • 2 Granny Smith apples, halved, cored, finely chopped
  • 1 3″-piece-English hothouse cucumber, finely chopped
  • 1 cup (packed) fresh spinach
  • 3/4 cup brewed green tea, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves plus 2 sprigs mint
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Fresh lemon Juice

Preparation

  • Purée apples, cucumber, spinach, tea, 1/4 cup mint leaves, and honey in a blender until very smooth. Strain juice through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium pitcher. Season to taste with lemon juice.
  • Divide juice between glasses. Garnish each with a mint sprig.

Some of the veggies/fruits. Taken with a Nikon D90

Healthy! Taken with a Nikon D90

Mine came out part smoothie/part juice, but great nonetheless. Taken with a Nikon D90

Brunch at Foreign Cinema

Oh blog, I have abandoned you for so long!  Here are some photos of brunch I had at Foreign Cinema a while ago:

Poached eggs. Taken with Camera+ on the iPhone 4.

Delicious delicious bacon. Taken with Camera+ on the iPhone 4.

Pop Tart. Taken with Camera+ on the iPhone 4.

NYC. Part II (the food)

Of course I have to dedicate a whole blog post to just for the food I ate in NYC.  Although my trip was fairly short (3 days, 4 nights) I definitely wanted to try as many restaurants and foods as I could!  Pulling pictures from my Instagram feed, Camera+ (and one photo from my friend’s camera), here are some pictures as well as a list of what I ate in NYC.

Thursday

I arrived in NYC Thursday night and met up with two of my high school friends.  They took me to a Korean restaurant called Pocha 32, located in Midtown West.  Unfortunately, the only photo I have is from my Instagram, but this was a very interestingly decorated restaurant with soju bottle caps hung from nets on the ceiling.   We ate a spicy stew and savory pancakes, both which were delicious.  Everyone around us had watermelon soju served in watermelon shells– that’s something I’d definitely want to try try if I come back.

Pocha 32 interior. Taken with Instagram on iPhone 4.

Friday

Part of Friday was a solo adventure since my friend Linda had to go to school during the day.  My first stop was SOHO to of course, do a bit of shopping.  When I got hungry for a mid-morning snack, I ducked inside of Dean & Deluca, a specialty grocery store I only heard of from my friend who jet-setted to NYC all the time and came back with all sorts of scrumptious goodies.  I decided to try the lemon poppy muffin but before digging in, I thought, wow this is way too pretty to eat!  When I finally did take a bite of the muffin, I was surprised at how delicious a simple muffin could be! I love lemon pastries and the sour yet sweet frosting was perfect for me.

Dean & Deluca’s lemon poppy muffin. Taken with Camera+ on iPhone 4.

For lunch, I somehow ended up near NYU in Greenwich.  I stopped at a super casual middle eastern joint called Eva’s Restaurant and got myself the vegetarian platter.  The food tasted very authentic– and this restaurant made me like falafels!  (Sorry for the blurry picture.  It’s the only one I have and I really like the lighting)

Eva’s Restaurant’s vegetarian platter. Taken with Instagram on iPhone 4.

When Linda got out of class, we met up and decided to try cheesecake at Carnegie Deli, as recommended by our other friend.  This place was surely a tourist trap as we were charged all sorts of fees for wanting to share one slice of cheesecake.  We ordered the Truffle Torte Cheesecake which was so humongous and so bad for my lactose intolerant tummy– and I didn’t even like it.  But it did look pretty.

Carnegie Deli’s truffle torte cheesecake. Taken with Camera+ on iPhone 4.

Dinner on Friday was probably the most memorable meal of my trip.  Which is ironic because it’s the only dish I don’t have a picture of.  My iPhone died too early, but fortunately, I was was able to borrow my friend’s camera for a quick snapshot.  Ippudo‘s ramen.  We waited TWO HOURS for a seat but I think it was worth the wait.  I’ve tried a few ramen places in the Bay Area, but the broth somehow all tastes the same to me.  However, Ippudo definitely stood out. (I mean, for $15 a bowl, it better stand out!)   I ordered the Akamaru ModernThe original “Tonkotsu” noodle soup topped with Ippudo’s secret “Umami Dama” miso paste, pork chashu, cabage, kikurage, scallions, and fragrant garlic oil. And it was DELICIOUS.  I’m usually pickier about the noodles than the broth, so when I saw that I received thin noodles while my friend got thicker noodles, I thought I was going to be bummed out.  But nope, everything about this was perfect.

Ippudo ramen. Taken with my friend’s point and shoot camera, edited with Camera+ on the iPhone 4.

Saturday

On Saturday, I wanted to explore Chelsea Market, which closely reminds me of SF’s Ferry Building.  It’s a long stretch of restaurants, specialty foods, and all sorts of odd and ends.  On top of all of the food, the building itself was also very interesting.  According to wikipedia, the building used to be a biscuit factory where the Oreo cookie was invented and made.  Here, I purchased two of the famous Fat Witch Brownies, tried Amy’s Bread, sipped an americano at Ninth Street Espresso, and ate lunch at The Green Table.  Oh, and I almost forgot–we discovered The Filling Station which had all sorts of odd flavors of olive oil, vinegar, and salt.  The white truffle salt was extremely tasty.  Gosh, my taste buds were blown away with that salt!

Fat witch brownies. Taken with Instagram on iPhone 4.

Amy’s Bread. Taken with Camera+ on iPhone 4.

Amy’s Bread. Taken with Camera+ on iPhone 4.

Ninth Street Espresso. Taken with Camera+ on iPhone 4.

Ninth Street Espresso americano. Taken with Camera+ on iPhone 4.

Exterior of The Green Table. Taken with Camera+ on iPhone 4.

Burger and sausage at The Green Table. Taken with Camera+ on iPhone 4.

Salt from The Filling Station. Taken with Camera+ on iPhone 4.

Sunday

Before going to the the Natural History Museum we visited Levain Bakery in the Upper West Side as suggested by our friends.  This place was literally a hole in the wall that produced AMAZING and gigantic cookies.  I bought the chocolate walnut cookie that took me two days to eat, and it was soooo good.

From inside of Levain Bakery. Taken with Camera+ on iPhone 4.

Chocolate walnut cookie from Levain Bakery. Taken with Camera+ on iPhone 4.

All weekend, Linda had been telling me about the famous chicken & rice from the Halal carts found at every street corner.  I finally had the chance to try  it on Sunday.  All I remember is trying to eat this on the sidewalk while my hands were completely numb, and our food going instantly cold.  But nevertheless, it was still quite delicious.

Chicken and rice from the Halal cart. Taken with Instagram on iPhone 4 and edited with Camera+.

Next, we had Magnolia Bakery‘s banana bread pudding.  This was introduced to me during my previous trip to New York and during this trip, I knew that I HAD to come back for this.  I can’t further explain how much I love this pudding which unfortunately I don’t even have a picture of.

Magnolia Bakery’s banana bread pudding. Taken with Camera+ on iPhone 4.

And finally, my last meal was at Joe’s Shanghai in Chinatown, famous for their xiao long bao (soup dumplings).  Linda and I had to awkwardly share a large round table with six rowdy boys, but nevertheless, we had way too much good Chinese food.

Xiao long bao from Joe’s Shanghai. Taken with Camera+ on iPhone 4.

Overall, I think I had a pretty good taste of the local NYC food.  One thing I didn’t eat (but did have during my previous trip) was New York pizza.  I think the cheesecake and the pudding were more than enough lactose for my tummy to handle.  Even though I overly complained about the freezing cold weather, I do want to go back to NYC to explore again.  Good thing my friend’s optometry schooling lasts a few years (:

One thing that I have to do next time is to use my DSLR.  I should probably stop ditching the thing for my iPhone.  I keep using different apps and filters so all my photos aren’t uniform which bugs me.  But hey, that’s the trade off for not having to carry an extra three pounds with me everywhere!

For the complete set of my photos, click here.

Kale and Avocado Salad

I’ve been trying to maintain a healthier lifestyle lately by eating lighter and more nutritious foods as well as resuming my exercise routine.  I don’t really believe in diets–just slight food control along with making sure to exercise.  It feels great since I love fruits, vegetables, and grains anyway; it’s just the working out part that’s more of a challenge for me.

Yesterday I made a kale and avocado salad.  I’ve never even heard of kale before my co-worker kept raving on about it’s nutritional benefits so it was my first time eating the leaf.  This recipe is from Sauveur.  The tough kale leaves and soft avocado are a wonderful combination.  In addition, the citrus-soy dressing is so tasty when tossed in!  (I substituted sunflower seeds for hemp seeds because I couldn’t find it at my local grocery store.)

Taken with a Nikon D90

Kale and Avocado Salad Recipe

1⁄2 cup fresh orange juice
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. soy sauce
1 clove garlic, smashed and chopped into a paste
4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3 avocados, halved, pitted, and peeled
2 tbsp. raw hemp seeds (optional)
1 bunch kale (about 3⁄4 lb.), stemmed and finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Whisk together juices, soy sauce, and garlic in a bowl. Slowly whisk in oil; set dressing aside.

2. Cut 2 avocados into 1⁄2″ cubes and thinly slice the remaining avocado. Put cubed avocados, half of the hemp seeds, and kale into a serving bowl. Toss kale mixture with dressing and season generously with salt and pepper. Divide salad between plates and garnish with sliced avocado and remaining hemp seeds.

SERVES 4 – 6

Pasta Alla Norma

I’ve been in a cooking mood lately probably because I’ve been watching too much Food Network- especially the show Chopped.  I really wanted to cook for my family last night, so I decided to make pasta alla norma (pasta with tomato sauce and eggplant.) The recipe is from Saveur which can be found here.  I feel it’s been ages since I’ve cooked! I used to cook all the time and then I guess college happened and I downgraded to instant noodles and cereal.

Here are some photos of a way too small portion of the dish.  Overall, this was a pretty simple recipe. The eggplant and the red pepper flakes were the key ingredients to giving this dish a nice kick.


Taken with a Nikon D90

I really hate artificial lighting and really wish it could just be sunny every time I want to photograph my cooking and baking.  It’s too bad I have a 9-5 job with a three hour commute!

First post!

I’m very excited to finally have a new blog.  The last time I had (and regularly maintained) a photography blog was mostly during my high school days.  My xanga blog began in 2005 (mid-high school) and lasted until 2008 (mid-undergrad)–which was when college seemed to have taken over most of my life.  Now with the exams, group projects, and crazy late nights all pushed out of the way, I seem to have gotten my photography vibe back!

Since I don’t have my new photos with me at the moment, here’s an old photo I took during a short trip to Seattle in October.

Taken with iPhone 4 on Camera+