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 Modern- The 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.

My trip to NYC. Part I (The sights)

A few weeks ago, I visited my long time friend who is studying optometry in NYC.  I had a great time when I visited another friend three years ago, so I was pretty excited for this trip.  I’ve always been intrigued by the hustle and bustle of the urban city life with all of the tall skyscrapers, different types of people, and oh-so-many foods to try.

HOWEVER, despite all of the great activities I did while in the city and the fun times I had with my friend, I have now discovered that I would never be able to live in NYC!  I could barely stand the (sunny) late-March weather.  40 degrees + wind is not so cool.  My ears were frozen, my hands were numb, and my feet were freezing even with my super thick socks!  I’ve always had bad circulation so I thought I was prepared with my big coat and gloves, but my body doesn’t seem to like the cold no matter what.  Guess I’m a CA girl for life (:

So bringing my DSLR around to places is always a conflicting decision for me since I hate carrying around heavy items.  For this trip, I made up my mind to squeeze my camera into my carry-on and committed to taking nice photos to document my trip.  However, when it came time to bundle up to leave my friend’s house and to trek onto the subway and into the jungle, I did not whatsoever want to carry around an extra three pounds.  Thankfully, the iPhone 4′s camera was a perfect and convenient replacement.

Here is a photo journal of my favorite picks.

Part I- the sights.  Part II will be the foods I ate.  These were all taken with my iPhone and edited with Camera+.

Plane ride SFO->JFK

The lovely view from Roosevelt Island where my friend lives

Lomography store that I was really excited to find

NY MOMA

Warhol at NY MOMA

Beautiful Grand Central Station

Interesting architecture

I loved Chelsea Market

High Line

A nice walk on High Line

View from High Line

American Museum of Natural History

Display at the American Museum of Natural History

View looking towards Central Park

Flight back home

Wonderful SF (:

For the complete set of my photos, click here.

Joy The Baker’s Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread

This is a long overdue post due to travel and other conflicts, but here is yet another wonderful recipe I found from joythebaker‘s blog.  It’s probably time to diversify my recipe sources, but this one looked so great that I had to try it.

Eggs

Butter

Cutting up the dough into small rectangles

Lots of sugar, cinnamon and butter. Mmm

Before baking

Nice and golden brown after baking

Smelled amazing when it came out of the oven

Warm, soft, buttery, and sugary deliciousness!

Taken with a Nikon D90.

The recipe can be found here.

Chewy Molasses Chocolate Chip Cookies

Here’s another amazing recipe from joythebaker‘s blog.  My good friend sent me this cookie recipe and insisted that I MUST try it.  And it is definitely not your average chocolate chip cookie!  I made my own brown sugar using dark molasses which gave the cookie a very nice caramel taste.  Salty, chewy, caramel-y, and very chocolate-y all in one!

Ok, here goes.

New ingredients that I’ve never worked with before.

It’s pretty awesome to know I can make my own brown sugar. All it is is sugar+molasses! Extremely easy.

A lot of stirring.

And more stirring. But the brown sugar finally formed. (The whisk worked wonders)

Cookie dough balls.

I learned from Joy’s blog that salt helps to bring out the caramel flavor.

All done!

Next time, I’d try to make them thinner.

Taken with a Nikon D90.

You can find the recipe here.

Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls are one of my absolute favorite treats to both eat and bake. Patience, sunlight, and definitely a lot of time are all needed to make these scrumptious goodies.   This time, I decided to try a new recipe.  One that involved an unexpected ingredient–cream cheese (!).  I found the recipe while browsing a new baking blog that my friend had sent me, Joy the Baker.  I spent a few hours reading through her posts and found her writing extremely hilarious!  When I saw this cinnamon roll recipe, I knew I HAD to try it.  And they did turn out as addicting as how Joy described.   Best cinnamon roll recipe yet!

Ingredients for the filling

10×10 w/ cream cheese

Ready to roll up!

Before baking

Finally done at 7pm! (horrible kitchen lighting)

Breakfast

Taken with a Nikon D90

And lesson learned: make sure to start making these early as warm sunlight is crucial for the rising process.

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© 2014 Tiffany Dang

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