"I suppose there are people who can pass up free guacamole, but they're either allergic to avocado or too joyless to live."— Frank Bruni

Saturday, March 31, 2012

more cherry blossom fun

I almost forgot! It's that time of the year again for...

...cherry blossom-inspired haikus!
I've written numerous ones over the years on random pieces of paper and napkin but alas, have lost them. Much like the rebirth of spring, I come up with new ones every spring that I spend in the DC area. Lucky for you, this is the first time I'm posting some. (I follow the  English convention of 17 syllables, not the traditional Japanese version of 17 on or morae.) Despite the blossoms' early arrival and departure, enjoy.

Cherry blossoms, yay!
We greet you with smiles and cheer.
Beautiful, you are.

It has been so warm.
Spring time is here oh so soon.
Sweat rolls down my face.

Ugh, tourists abound.
They descend on our city.
They dress so poorly.

 Metro, you're sucky.
What a big embarrassment.
You're a money-suck.

Pedal boaters, go!
Explore the Tidal Basin.
Springtime fun for all.

You bloomed too early.
You are a fleeting beauty. 
We'll see you next year.

(all photos by: Angela B. Pan Photography)

Friday, March 30, 2012


Here are a couple looks I can't seem to get out of my head...and for your further enjoyment, some (messy) rhymes I wrote about them.

This look is so tight
My mind is blown
The color so bright
I want it on loan.

She's sportin' Docs!
My head is spinning
This girl rocks...
I should start Pinning.

So simple, so clean
Check out that sweater
To the ASOS page I glean
For it, I can't find
Oh, that texture!
Want it, what a bind.

(photo creds: 1, 2)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

'one for the ages, Frank'

Hot WOW this was excellent. Just read it. NOW.

answer me this...

Today's List is one of some questions I've had on my mind lately. If you could answer any, that'd be great - thanks!
  1. Why is chocolate milk so bubbly?
  2. Who will win the season opener - the Mariners or my beloved A's? (Go A's!)
  3. Will the affordable health care law be upheld? (I hope so, for everyone's sake.)
  4. How much longer before Zimmerman gets arrested already??
  5. Why aren't more beers available in pony size?
  6. How will I do this coming Sunday?
  7. Why don't people face forward in my building's elevator?
  8. Whose dog keeps taking a shit in the hallway? 
  9. Why do people like to gather in doorways?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

PGH eats

We had some 'Meet the Fockers'-type action this weekend in the Pittsburgh area, which means new things to eat for everyone. The first 'first' was found in a rest stop gas station beverage case en route to the Steel City:

Frozen Run Black Bear Mountain Birch - that's all it says on the front label. This plain, nondescript bottle containing clear soda was found amongst Mountain Dew and various brands of root beer. Below is the back label. (Check out its Wiki page - yes, it has one! - it's even more sparse!)

In case you can't read it, that's a summary on Pennsylvania black bears on the back label! There is no description of the product or manufacturer at all, and it was pretty obvious that this was a product exclusive to PA, which was what enticed me to pick up a bottle and drink it at 10am. Tasted like root beer.

Later that evening, we all went to our very first Lenten fish fry (...for all of us! including the PGH natives)! Apparently, it's a thing in Pittsburgh, and you know that if it's a 'thing' to anywhere, and if it's so popular there's a Google map of locations, my family needs to be there. Sorry, no pictures, but take my word that it was a great deal. We went to the one at St. Mary of the Mount. The busy, well-oiled operation was in the aged parish school's auditorium and staffed by who looked like volunteers and high school students. Upon arriving, you order from a pretty extensive menu and pay. The menu offered 3 main platter or sandwich options: fried fish, baked fish, or fried shrimp with your choice of fries, macaroni and cheese, stewed tomatoes, vegetable, or haluski, and included coleslaw, a roll and dessert; all for $9. Most of us opted for the very Pittsburghy haluski, except for G who got the stewed tomatoes. There was also a long list of a la carte items; we got a few orders of pierogis and one order of onion rings. The seafood portions were generous and everything else tasted either homemade or from a can, but it was good given the company, environment, and bottom line: it's a church and school fundraiser and a Pittsburgh Lenten tradition.

The rest of our weekend included a visit to Pamela's in Shadyside. We had to introduce my parents to le crepe pancakes. Oh those crepe pancakes...I dream of them when I crave carbs and syrup. In addition to the tastiest pancakes I've ever had, I had the hash and eggs.

 (again, no pictures, but here's a representative one from Yelp, posted by a Hayley G)

To walk off our brunch, we headed to the Strip. At the Strip, we went to the unpretentious Public Market (where we picked up some honey, reading material, blueberry lemonade, and some local art) and walked the nearby .. um.. strip.. of shops and grocers, including the famous Wholey's market. It was a fantastic exploration of one of Pittsburgh's historic neighborhoods. Later that evening, we went to Valozzi's for an Italian dinner.

The next morning on our way out of Pittsburgh, we made our requisite visit to Primanti's for some cap 'n' cheese w/ fried egg, pastrami w/ fried egg and roast beef sandwiches. Here's a fun write-up of Primanti's to read if you want to stare at more pictures.

(photo cred: pulled from here, originally from MenuPages)

...and there's the perfect end to a Pittsburgh weekend. Although we didn't have enough time to visit the Big Mac Museum (more to read here) or this giant space acorn (which isn't even that close anyway), or go to Eat'n Park, I think a good time was had by all, and now my parents can see why I heart Pittsburgh so much. (Thanks for coming out, MaBa! ...and thank you to our gracious hosts :))

Friday, March 23, 2012

brilliantly functional

Check out this crazy cool 3-in-1 trench from Veronica Beard's new collection...

It can be worn as a trench coat, a trench vest, or a bolero! Brilliant, in both function and hue. It's currently available on Moda Operandi until 26 March for those who have tons of expendable income.

(all photos from MO, oddly cropped by me...sorry)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

football bits

So, Manning went to Denver, Hinesy retired, Jets get Tebow, Sean Payton gets a year suspension....but what's going on with the 9ers?? Sign the damn contract already, Alex!

Update: He signed it!


Time for another ACS Webinar write-up! This time, let's educate ourselves on beer!

(photo cred: Gina M, posted on Yelp)

Professor Charlie Bamforth, of UC Davis, gave an informative, and at times chemistry-centric, session on beer and brewing last week. In appreciation of my favorite cold beverage, here's this week's List of beer- and brewing-related fun facts:
  1. The key grist component of 90% of beers is barley malt. The remaining 10% is primarily composed of wheat malt (9%) and sorghum malt (1%).
  2. Barley is part of the grass family.
  3. Most of domestic barley is grown in Idaho. 
  4. Germany is the leading country in hop production.
  5. China is the biggest beer market in the world.
  6. In terms of the costs of producing beer, hops are the cheapest component of beer (cheap, but plays a huge role in the quality of the beer). The most expensive component is taxes (!), followed by sales and advertising.
  7. The amount of taxes paid by a brewery for a beer depends on the malt content of the beer.
  8. When brewing beer, you want a vigorous boil, not a simmer (which makes the beer smell bad).
  9. There are many environment factors associated with beer production (perhaps this is the most expensive factor):
    • water availability and usage
    • carbon emissions
    • energy usage
    • The most prominent factor in the carbon footprint of a single beer is the electricity used in its refrigeration in retail, followed by its production and the transportation of glass and malt. 
You can watch/listen to the webinar here.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


...am loving the Marimekko-designed Google doodle for today...

(from Google)

Happy Spring!

mindful eating

Last week, we went to the Japanese Embassy to see Eatrip, one of the films featured in the DC Environmental Film Festival. It's a documentary that travels through Japan, capturing what food means to people of differing backgrounds and lifestyles. Whether food is strictly a fuel source for nourishment, or life's greatest joy, it's something that everyone can connect through. The film touched on something with which we have become more familiar through our Lenten practice of ruminating on gathas (yes, merging aspects of different religions! It's great.) - mindful eating.

It sounds ridiculously duh but taking the time to think about every step the food has taken to reach your plate/bowl, all the people who worked to get it you and the sometimes treacherous conditions they tolerate, all the people who don't have food to eat, and the effort that went into preparing the food really enrich the eating experience. Also, doing this moments before eating, with your appetizing plate in front of you and your stomach growling, enriches the experience even more. Then, chewing slower and more times per bite really do help you experience more flavors than you thought were in your food. It's almost a rediscovery of the simple act of eating; and even more so with each different food or dish. This reminds me of Marilyn Hagerty who, although reaching the end of her 15 minutes, brings to mind appreciating food that many of us take for granted. In her case, it's the NYC dirty-water dog.

 (photo cred: NYTimes)

Watch the video of her eating her first one here.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


(photo cred: Garance)

...bless you. Bless all of us, fellow allergy sufferers...

Friday, March 16, 2012

friday lunch log: pepe edition

Yeah, it's been over a week since Pepe was launched, but today was our day.

We drove into the District only knowing the truck was headed toward L'Enfant Plaza... but then, we spotted it circling around...

...so we followed it...

...and parked right behind it. Wuhoo! First in line!

We ordered the Pollo Frito, Pepito de Ternera, a Pepe Tonic, and the ice cream flauta.

(photo cred: Eater)

Just had to take a picture of the pre-eaten goodies, what with their cute Pepe stickers.

You'll notice there's an additional beverage in the picture. That's because the nice guy at the window gave us a free sangria! Maybe it was because we were first in line, or because we waited longer than a few other people for our food, or maybe just because my outfit was supercute...but regardless, it surely was nice of him.

Sorry no close-up pics, but I'll tell you that everything was delicious. The beef was tender and almost gamey when paired with the blue cheese. The other accompaniments (peppers and onions) were spot on. The Pollo Frito was equally tasty, with its highlight being the piparra peppers. There was just the right amount of everything in both sandwiches. As for the flauta, the ice cream was delicious, but that chocolate cookie! The outside of it was sprinkled with crunchy choco bits, and that was what drove it home for me. I thoroughly enjoyed the Pepe Tonic - it was refreshing and light - and the sangria truly tasted like there was wine in it, despite it being virgin.

Although pricey, we really enjoyed our meal and were sad when it was over. It's interesting to note that unlike many trucks that go from truck to brick-n-mortar storefronts, Pepe was the opposite, and this was easy to see, as the truck operated with the efficiency and well-oiled manner as a well-run restaurant. I was impressed by their ordering and ticketing system (are all food trucks getting this tech-savvy? I haven't been to one in months, I admit.) Yeah, I may be swayed by the free drink, but it was also a testament to the business acumen, or astuteness, of the staff.  Aplausos, Pepe!


(photo cred: here)

No offense to the blogger who took this picture and posted it, as I do occasionally admire her own style, but I just don't think it's flattering for either person in a heterosexual couple to be wearing clothes of the same style and quite possibly the same size as the other person. That girl could probably fit into every single thing that guy is wearing, to a tee. Their legs look the same size! Males just shouldn't be wearing the same skinny jeans as their female counterparts.  ...unless, I suppose, if a couple has a Jenna Maroney-type relationship. (My bad if they're two girls - that would actually be cute, but I think that's a guy.)

I guess it works out for them though...she could just shop his wardrobe...and vice versa. yuck.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

new girl crush/career envy: emy tseng

I got my weekly Cultural Tourism DC email...

(photo cred: her site)

...and this week, there was a gem of a find in it! A diamond in the rough, if you will. On Thursday 15 March, a woman named Emy Tseng will be performing at Twins Jazz Club. She's a  jazz singer from the Bay Area who recently moved to the DC area who sings jazz standards and bossa nova - in Portuguese! Here's a bonus - the Twins' menu features Ethiopian food! Funny, despite walking by it everyday before I moved, I never felt compelled to check out the venue. Despite mixed Yelp reviews of the place, I'm willing to try it to enjoy some doro watt and jazz simultaneously. Yes please.

Emy is also performing for free at the Cherry Blossom Festival on Monday, 9 April and in Alexandria for a summer concert in Fort Hunt Park on Sunday, 17 June.

oink oink

Thanks to a Modern Marvels film on pigs shown at work, I learned the following...behold this week's List:

(photo cred: here) 

  1. Pigs produce four times the amount of waste as humans.
  2. Fumes from pigs' waste is highly toxic.
  3. Pigs' anatomy is very similar to that of humans.
  4. Conventional pigs (as opposed to organic, free-range pigs) are typically market-ready at about 6 months.
  5. Darker pork is usually of higher quality (and higher in fat content) than lighter-colored (and leaner) pork.
  6. Genes are selected by breeders to create a leaner, longer pig that yields less fat, but more ribs and bacon.
  7. Artificial insemination is often used for breeding.
  8. Pigs whose destiny is to become prosciutto are fed acorns.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Anyone try Pepe yet?

(photo cred: Eater)


This week's new fave...

...Trader Joe's sparkling sake! (...and meet our blender, rice cooker and knives) Although I'm not a fan of TJ's stereotypical brand names for their ethnic food items (Trader Joe-san, Trader Jose, Trader Ming, etc...), this bottle of imported Trader Joe-san Sparkling Sake was delightful - sparkly, light, sweet, smooth. At $5.99 though, it's a quick six dollars, because it's so easy to drink!

Saturday, March 10, 2012


...new fav snack/dessert...

...granny smith apples smeared with speculoos...

Friday, March 09, 2012

pattern mash-up

Mixing patterns isn't a new trend. There are plenty of examples of it in women's fashion...

...and apparently in men's too. Watching ESPN and newscasts, I am noticing it is almost the norm now amongst men at the desks to mix tie and shirt patterns, which inspired me to pull together a few examples in men's wear:

There are also guides for men on mixing patterns here and here.

(photo creds: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 78)

friday lunch log

Free breakfast sandwich! Doesn't look that great, but was on the run at lunch time today...brought it home, splashed some Tabasco on it and chowed down.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

where mah girls at

Today is International Women's Day. I wish I was more optimistic about the advancement of women, and I wish I was in a more celebratory mood, but thanks to backward-thinking individuals (mostly men), recent events have dampered my spirit a bit. Call me a soothsayer, but about three weeks ago, I began compiling a draft post temporarily titled "How men are ruining the world." Below is the text of that draft post:

How men are ruining the world. Let me count the ways.
- pic of all male panel
- war
- this link
- women's health

Of course, that draft was written hastily in the midst of frustration and was never posted, but with constant news coverage of the debate over women's health and reproductive rights, the interjections of the Catholic church on that subject, the Israel/Iran conflict, and the brutal and barbaric attack on the Syrian people by Assad, it's hard not to wonder how much different (dare I suggest better?) the world would be if all institutions (government, religious, etc.) were run by women.

I also think of stories of women like this one, who, if she were educated, or a man, would have a better life for herself and her children, but instead has little opportunity to improve her current situation. But, I also think of Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank, that not only helped many people out of poverty through microloans, but empowered many women to improve their lives through independence (since most of the impoverished who benefit from the program are women).

And I think of Nic Kristof and the Half the Sky Movement that spawned from his book of the same name. As it says on the movement website, and to echo the age-old yet under-recognized concept, empowering and educating women and girls is the most effective way to battle poverty (and apparently extremism).

Then I read this about our current president in today's Times...how apropos. ...I stand reminded that some men aren't that bad (yes, that's a tongue-in-cheek comment).

And then there are all the countless, fearless women who have fought and continue to fight on behalf of all women - too many to name... so although it's disconcerting when we seem to take a step back in debates that are about things that we thought were in the bag (i.e. birth control), I suppose we should all take this one day a year to remember all the advocates, what process we have made (and have kept), and all the hope we have in young girls to make the world a better place...if we set it up for them to even have a chance to do so.

(Though it's interesting to note how International Women's Day is an official holiday in some countries that are not the brightest stars when it comes to women's rights and equality (e.g. Afghanistan). Apparently, they celebrate by buying women gifts, when really what they need more are equal rights, empowerment and opportunities.)

winner winner!

(photo cred: Eater)

Thanks to Eater, we found out about this incredible giveaway, and you are looking at (or maybe just reading the words from) a winner of 1 free breakfast sandwich for every week for an entire year!!! G and I woke up early enough to score two of the first 100 spots in line and I am elated. Did I mention I also won (from a random drawing) a free Cooks Illustrated subscription, courtesy of ACS Webinars? I am on top of the world.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

voters' guide

List of people who shouldn't vote/be Republican:
  1. If you care about others, especially those who are less fortunate.
  2. If you are a woman.
  3. If you are working, unemployed, struggling, or know someone who is.
  4. If you are sensitive to the fact that the US is interconnected with a global community.
  5. If you rely on publicly-funded programs, have ever utilized a public library, if you went to public school or university, are going to public school or university, or know someone who has or currently is.
  6. If you think college or higher education is important.
  7. If you believe that there should be a separation of church and state.
  8. If you believe that everyone should have a fair chance at getting the health care that they need.
  9. If you work for the American auto industry, or own or cherish an American car (or did in the past).
  10. If you think innocent people dying from gunshot wounds is bad.
  11. If you've ever said "It's such a nice day" and/or have ever enjoyed being outside and/or if you like animals (I think you know where I'm going with this one...).
  12. If you have ever received government aid.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

food journal

:: Processed Foods :: 
Aside from this year's bounty of Girl Scout cookies, here is my current fave processed food:

 (photo cred: here)

Tastes great melted on top of a bowl of chili! There's surprisingly a strong presence of jalapeno bits and seeds imbedded into the cheese.

:: Whole Foods ::
In terms of non-processed food, the new fave in our household is asparagus, leeks, shallots and cremini mushrooms, all chao-ed/chowed together. Last night, I added a small pat of butter and although it was delicious, I'll have to stop adding it because we don't want to get too used to it.

:: Community Eats ::
As for new eats, we have tried a few places in the last week. Last Friday, we went to Burger Tap & Shake for breakfast burgers. One El Camino (chorizo patty, black bean chili, egg, and whatever 'XXX' is) and one Mont Tremblant (Canadian bacon, egg, and maple fromage blanc). 

Saturday we went to Eamonn's for some fish 'n' chips. G had the regular sized cod and I had the whiting, which apparently is not always on the menu. Although it wasn't either of our first times eating cod or whiting, we both agreed that the whiting was far superior than the cod in texture and flavor and fryability. The difference is easy to tell when having them side by side. Our sauces of choice were classic tartar and curry - both were great, though I thought the curry was a bit watery. Nonetheless, the place is pretty legit.

Sunday we went to Southern Hospitality for brunch. I deviated from my usual choice of chicken and waffles (whaa?? I know.) and went with the pastrami gravy and biscuits (the pastrami intrigued me).  It came with a unique version of home fries that included sweet potatoes. Although the helping looked small, I walked away feeling satiated but not nappy, unlike most brunches. I was happy with the biscuits and gravy, but found my bellini to be a little underwhelming and not as peachy as I had hoped.

Sorry for this uninspired post, but I'm pounding this out because Immabout to get myself some Yuengling Light and Oreos!!!! Happy 100th Birthday, Oreos!!!  Yes, a celebration is in order.

Monday, March 05, 2012

burberry f/w 2012

This is old news (yet again), but a couple weeks ago, Burberry showed off their fall/winter 2012 collection at London Fashion Week, and boy is it excellent. Below are some of my favorite looks (how great do Shu Pei [1], Jourdan Dunn [2] and Liu Wen [4] look ?):

(all photos from here)

I am especially fond of the rich fabrics and the accents of equally rich hues that are paired with more neutral colors. I also really like the ruffles, cropped jackets, bubble pockets, and accessories, and how one pair of shoes can be worn with every look. The collection offers looks that can easily be replicated, or at least inspires lots of similar looks. It's just so awesomely wearable.

stop distracted driving

 (photo creds: here, here)

If there can be rules requiring technology such as this, then there can certainly be rules requiring technology that disables a driver's phone from being functional in a moving vehicle (unless, perhaps, it's hooked up to a hands-free device, although some research has shown that hands-free phone use is just as distracting as handheld phone use).

Look at those dumb-dumbs.