"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

Friday, April 27, 2012

eye candy, con't

Picking up where we left off last Friday, here's another item that's been open in my browser for two weeks:

Check out the racerback back:

Details, details...

(photos from Piperlime)

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Never mind the goofy slideshow format of this video but the sound is the best that I've found. This is just too good. Captain Kirk Douglas' accompaniment is perfect. I love the entire DMB but I hope this song sounds just like this on the album. Can't wait for it to drop!

Oo just found this. If it doesn't work, just go here, but do listen to it right now by watching the above.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

hula hooping

Among the various things I do to validate my existence is hula hooping.

(photo cred: here)

I reinstated my love of the pastime a couple months ago, and hooray!...I'm still loving it. My favorite time to do it is after I eat, to aid digestion and to engage my midsection at least for a little bit. Plus, it's just fun. I've also discovered that I could still do my Skip-It move using the hoop.

In celebration of my new favorite activity, this week's List is one of hula hoop fun facts!
  • Hula hooping has been around for thousands of years, but is often thought to have been invented in the 1950s, when they started making hula hoops out of plastic.
  • During the ancient years, hoops were made of stiff grasses, grapevines, rattan or dried up willow.
  • The term "hula" was attached to the hooping activity in the 19th century, after some British soldiers traveled to the Hawaiian Islands. 
  • The hula hoop was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 1999.
  • The record for the most hoops twirled simultaneously is 132, set by Paul "Dizzy Hips" Blair on 11 November, 1999.
  • The current (verified) record for longest hooping session is 74 hours, 54 minutes, held by Aaron Hibbs in 2009.
 (pic cred: here)

All facts from Wikipedia.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

skid row?

...no. Badder. Shad roe.

Last week, we added a new dish to our repetoire: shad roe.

That's a good picture of shad roe before it's cooked. Here's our picture of our raw roe marinating in soy sauce and ground black pepper:

We were going to do a coated, pan-fried recipe with capers (apparently this is a pretty popular way to cook it), but decided against it after my mom suggested a simpler Chinese way with which I am quite familiar (same way she prepares pan-fried fish!) and required less oil.  Per the suggestion of mah mama, you marinate the roe, pan fry it, then set it aside. Here's what the roe looked like when in the hot pan:

The roe shrank considerably pretty immediately. A note about our choice of pan: our flat pan has lost all its nonstick capabilities so we had to cook the roe in our nonstick wok-like pan instead. The roe shrank quickly and considerably once it hit the hot oiled pan and it loudly and scarily started popping while it was cooking (I imagined the individual eggs contained within the sac to be like corn kernels popping). I soon learned that separating the two lobes of roe made flipping it a lot easier. Was my pan too hot?

Here's a picture of the roe just about done:

After cooking the roe, set it aside. Then saute the green onion and ginger and splash in some light soy sauce and sweeten with a bit of sugar. Then combine all of this with the roe.

We had the roe with a side dish of kale, 5-spice tofu, mushrooms, leeks and shallots - a loaded version of a dish that we eat at least three times a week, of varying ingredients, and for this special occasion, we splurged on white rice!

The roe turned out delicious. I enjoyed the livery taste and the mix of textures on our plates made for a wonderfully interesting bite. I doubted there would be enough roe for the both of us after it shrank but one lobe each was perfect. This meal reminded me of how getting the eggs out of a whole fish was like a prize growing up...lucky me, I just ate only the eggs!

You can read more about shad roe here and here and here.

Our roe was cheaper at $9.99/lb from Wegmans.

(photo creds: first, last)        

Friday, April 20, 2012

blazin' amazin'

Whenever I see something online that I wish was mine but shouldn't purchase, I keep the item easily accessible for my eyes in an open tab in my browser until the item is sold out, I come to my senses, or until I blog about it. Here is one item that's been in my browser for far too long.

I'm talking about the blazer. Here's a view of the back:

Pretty amazing, right? And look at this funny overlapping button detailing:

I know...super cute.
Thanks for letting me get this out...I've officially closed the tab in my browser.

(photo creds: all from Shopbop)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

UPDATE: fried cx battle result

As a follow-up to my 'b vs. b' post, here's the result to the Chang vs. Questlove fried chicken battle!

(pic cred: Late Night via HuffPost)

Thanks for sharing, G!

...whoa this is super old news...

better late than never

I know this is old news (yet again), but feast your senses on this super mindblowing amazingness. Apparently Dre, Eminem, Snoop, Wiz, Fitty and Warren G (!) made appearances at Coachella this year. I know! WHAT!

Of course, there are some who need to look beyond the awesomeness and dig deeper into what it means for hip hop, for media, for whatever the hell else... I am referring to this article. Can we just appreciate the performance and visual effects and instead, perhaps talk about what the audience thought and felt? It is performing arts, after all, and isn't the audience's reaction the most important critique? If you have time, read the article and leave me your thoughts.

Arggggh I already dove deeper than I wanted to...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

'get off the bus then split'

OMG. This article explains one of my biggest pet peeves! I love it when my day-to-day rants are vindicated...I wish there was a comment section for this article - I'd be all over it. The problem of not deboarding a bus through the rear door isn't just endemic to New York, but perhaps the entire eastern seaboard. Riding Metrobus exposes me to this transit faux-pas everyday. Why are people so amazingly stupid that they don't realize exiting through the back saves everyone time, no matter when they have to get off the bus? And why the hell do people board and exit so   s    l    o   w   l   y?

(photo cred: Suzanne DeChillo/NYTimes)

MTA's solution to the problem was introducing an additional door. What a stupid idea. Unless the bus is on fire or there was some other cause for a mass evacuation, that middle door isn't going to alleviate much. The simple solution is to have drivers (oh, excuse me, bus operators) enforce the rule of board through the front, exit through the back. If they would just tell people to exit through the back, especially when there are  people waiting to board, the problem is solved. (Would it be too much to ask the drivers to use their discretion when it comes to the elderly or disabled?) I've experienced this type of enforcement, both while exiting and boarding, and appreciated it. It just makes common sense; riding the ever-crowded 30 Stockton taught me this early in life. The article puts a lot of emphasis on having to shout "back door!" which I've had to do on occasion - it's really not that big of a deal. I still exit through the back every single time (twice a day) because it makes sense.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

b vs. b

Lots from my Eater reading in the past week, but a recent interview with Bourdain was the highlight. I never thought I had to choose between he and Bruni, but reading this then this makes for a really interesting debate (and the convoluted discussion that follows).

In his column, Bruni mentions David Chang and his quarterly food and writing journal Lucky Peach which, as you all know by now, I enjoy receiving in the mail and slowly reading my way through. Like Bruni, I probably prefer it to the Food Network Magazine (I'm not sure because I've never read  FNM), and I prefer No Reservations to Paula Deen's shows. Sure, this is reflective, as Bruni states, of the gastronomically privileged life I have been so lucky to have, and he's correct in saying this gives us no right to judge the preferences of less fortunate food lovers.

Well I'm happy to report that I am not guilty of looking down on the food preferences of those without "resources or opportunity." I am, however, guilty of looking down on the lack of food knowledge and diverse receptivity of those who do have resources and opportunity. To not enjoy a colorful assortment of foods with abandon, to not have an ounce of xenophilic curiosity, when you have the opportunity and means to do so deserves my upturned nose (with the exception of a reasonable concern for foodborne pathogens).

So is this a matter of privilege or just personal preference? There are plenty of extremely privileged folks who can't appreciate simple food from humble origins such as menudo, or food from a dai pai dong, or even something as sweet as some ube halaya from a bakery ( ... that is, until it's the cool thing to eat). But what about people who do enjoy these things regularly but have never stepped into a Michelin star-awarded establishment? Does that make them 'less fortunate' with less opportunity or resources? No. What about people who are doing quite well who still love an occasional Filet 'o' Fish? Count me in.

Or does this get down to ingredients? If tripe was consumed in the form of menudo, it would be deemed humble food. If it was served on a fancy plate with some cod, or included in a nose-to-tail pop-up feast, humble may not be the first word that would come to the minds of the 'privileged' consumers.

Or is it a state of mind? Or a matter of how curious one is? Is it a lifestyle? The relatively recent "food revolution" can be credited for bringing age-old concepts like nose-to-tail back into the mainstream, and as stated in this piece, peeps like Bourdain can be credited for championing said concepts. (And yeah, he also gets credit for everything he mentioned in the Eater interview.) I suppose there are many more questions and viewpoints to bring into this discussion and who knows, I could be missing the point, but let's just agree that food is universal. (How's that for a lazy conclusion?)

...and speaking of Lucky Peach, I hope Questlove wins this battle!

(photo cred: Nick Solares via Serious Eats)

Monday, April 16, 2012

free DC parking!

Today, Monday, 16th of April 2012 is DC Emancipation Day, which means FREE PARKING in the District! You get a break!

(photo cred: here)

Friday, April 13, 2012


I like the quirky cuteness this ring...

...and the corky, quirky-yet-classiness of these shoes.

(photo creds: 1, 2)


...is National Scrabble Day!

Can you believe this is the best Scrabble picture I could find on Google? You'd be surprised to see how many pictures of a Scrabble board don't have actual words played on them.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

quit playin games...

...with my heart, that is.

You continue to break my heart, Oakland. And A's, why must you remain so unstable? Reading this made me so sad. There's nothing like reading about the possibility of your beloved home team leaving for another city, season after season. Some may argue that this isn't news, and that the A's haven't been getting the love they deserve from Oakland for a long time now. Well how are things supposed to get better when the public has no clue when the team is going to pack up and head south? There's no way a team can build a larger, stronger fan base if the fans aren't even sure if what they're rooting for will be theirs to root for come spring.

And what incentive does the team have to stay when their city can't deliver on desperately-needed new digs? ...especially when there were only about 2,500 in attendance at a game earlier this week, as mentioned on PTI (PTI!) and described by Kornheiser as "frightful." Fans, where are you?! I have no idea what my fan status would be if the A's moved, but talk of a possible move has lasted for years now, and a decision needs to be made already. Stop leading us on. (...and it would help if you had a winning season, guys...)

(photo cred: Oaklandish)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

is this kosher?

A couple months ago, I was lucky enough to have attended a super-informational seminar at work about kosher foods. As a post-Passover treat (I knew I should have posted this earlier), I'm sharing with you some of the fun facts I learned for this week's List. טשירז!

(figure cred: here)
  • Plants are kosher EXCEPT grapes and derivatives of grapes such as grape juice and wine. Also not kosher are produce grown in Israel.
  • Non-living and synthetic food materials are kosher.
  • Fish is kosher only if it's boney with fins and scales.
  • Shellfish, sea mammals and other non-fish sea life are not kosher.
  • Birds are only kosher if they are not predatory, kosher slaughtered, and were healthy when they were living. Unfertilized eggs from a kosher bird are also kosher.
  • In regard to other animals, they must have split hooves and be huminants to be kosher. Also, there are certain parts that just aren't eaten (e.g. the back half of an animal). Blood is not kosher.
  • You may see "natural colors" in the ingredients label sometimes. "Natural color" is not kosher because some natural colors can come from bugs and bugs are not kosher.
  • Gelatin is not kosher because of its pork-derived origins and glucosamine is not kosher because it's derived from shellfish.
  • You can't mix milk with meat. For example, a cheeseburger is not kosher (cheese=milk), unless either the cheese or the meat patty is synthetic.
  • "Parve" means neutral, and denotes a food that contains no meat or dairy.
  • Leavened bread is forbidden during Passover. Such bread contains wheat, oats, rye, spelt or barley. Since it's believed that dough containing any of these five grains starts to leaven about 18 minutes from the time it's moistened, permissible bread should be prepared within 18 minutes. Matzo seems to be the bread that fits this bill.
  • Here's a super fun fact: Ashkenazi Jews don't consume high fructose corn syrup during Passover, so Coca-Cola makes a special formula of Coke for Passover that contains cane sugar instead. So if you prefer cane sugar over corn syrup in your Coke, stock up right before Passover! (Special formula is denoted by a different colored cap) ...but too bad for Jews in California this Passover...
(Disclosure: Any false information that appears above is due to my poor note-taking, and I'm sorry if I got something wrong. I invite you to enlighten me by leaving a comment. Thanks.)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

the 'burgh & restaurant eve

After another weekend of Pittsburgh treats (e.g. Pamela's pancakes and hash, Mitchell's Fish Market, Primanti's sandwiches, a homecooked dinner, and Eat'n Park brunch buffet fried chicken), G treated me to an early birthday dinner at Restaurant Eve in the Tasting Room. We each went with the 7-course chef's menu, he adding on the supplementary lobster course. We had some of the best cocktails we've had in a long time (if not ever) and enjoyed our overall dining experience. The waitstaff was attentive and our food was for the most part, tasty. One course, however, was way too salty...unfortunately it was the skate. Although having it only prepared the traditional way - pan-fried with a butter caper sauce, I am usually a fan of skate; I find the stringy texture appealing to eat and when prepared as I just mentioned, it's almost a seafood version of pork piccata. This time, though, the skate was rolled and appeared to be pan-fried and was unadorned, but it was amazingly super salty.

Here's what we had:

We started with an amuse-bouche that was a lobster fritter, and a few canapes -a deviled quail egg topped with caviar, salmon mousse on toast and a meringue stuffed with a scallion cream that was supposed to be a take on a salt and vinegar chip.

Our main meal consisted of:
  • Sashimi of Steelhead Trout with Smithwick’s-Navel Orange Broth, Coriander Oil and Spring Blossoms
  • Tortelloni of Jerusalem Artichokes with Roasted Olive Purée, Fennel Bulb and Niçoise Crumble
  • Poached Maine Lobster with Smoked Bacon Broth, Pickled Crosnes and Celery Pearls (G's supplement)
  • Roulade of North Atlantic Skate Wing with Pork Head Cheese, Glazed Green Beans and Sauce “Béarnaise”
  • Pan Fried Veal Sweetbreads with Rye Purée, Sultanas and Saffron Pearl Onions
  • Ribeye with Grilled Oyster Root with Lemon Scented Cous Cous, Oyster Leaves and Char-grilled Oyster Sauce
  • Panna cotta of "Pipe Dreams Chevre" with Roasted Spring Onion Relish and Grain Mustard Cake
  • Polenta and Manni Olive Oil Cake with Lemon Curd Chiboust and Lemon-Thyme Ice Cream
With the check came an assortment of bite-sized treats that included orange jellies, Bailey's macarons, almond macaroons, and lemon cream tartlets.

Although we didn't get all of the things we were hoping for that were listed on the menu (I guess we should have just made our own menu), all of our other dishes were superbly prepared and presented. They sent us off with a copy of the menu rolled up and tied with a ribbon (did I mention the menu had "Happy Birthday, Ellen" printed on it?), and a gift bag containing their signature scone batter mix, a couple pats of Kerrygold butter, and a pouch of their signature coffee bean blend...a nice touch, indeed!

Monday, April 09, 2012

because it's monday...

Bohemian Rhapsody by California Guitar Trio

Bohemian Rhapsody by The Muppets

Friday, April 06, 2012

subway cuff

After I moved out of NYC, one of mah girlz gave me the coolest gift for my following birthday to commemorate my time spent there...

...and over a year later, I see it in The Atlantic as the 'fashion accessory of the day,' posted this week!

   (photo cred: The Atlantic

Thursday, April 05, 2012

those knowles sisters

I've been following Solange's blog for a while now; I love her style and all her travel photos...

...so when I saw Garance had a post on Solange's essentials this morning, I was super delighted...

...but then hours later, Beyonce launches her blog!

...and I officially can't get enough of the Knowles sisters.

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

eats reads

Lots of food mags to get through...

...why yes, that is the first issue of my free year's subscription to Cooks Illustrated! The recipes are so so but the kitchen tips, taste test and equipment testing sections are fun to read.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

wish List

A little lazy today, so for this week's List, here are some items on my current wish list:

  • I hate just about everything about J. Crew, except for maybe the Talitha blouse (but I do hate the price).
  • These chain link cuffs (especially the rose gold one) by Jennifer Fisher is just perfect for when I want to use metaphors of being tied down or suppressed.
  •   The color of this tunic is vibrant, just like me.
  •  I'd love to wear this dress with a sensible cardi to work...with my sparkly Converse.

  •  This sweater is just fun...and versatile.

  • I should have snatched these brogues up during the shoe sale (they were less than $40!), but alas I hesitated way too long. These would actually pair perfectly with the dress or eye test sweater above.
  • If I was still living in Brooklyn, I'd want this, but since I don't, I want this for anyone who has a radiator.
  • An all expenses paid trip to this year's CSTE conference would be great too (even if it is in Omaha).
  • While we're shooting high, I'll take one of these babies, too. 
(photo creds: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

his and hers cheeses

Here are some cheeses we picked up from Wegman's this past weekend.

Being a wasabi enthusiast who enjoys the pain of eating too much at one time, G was drawn to the wasabi cheddar...

...and being a cheese monster who never passes on free cheese samples, I caved in buying a pricey slim wedge of the La Jeune Autise cheese, after enjoying its delightfulness at the cheese counter. As the cheese counter lady pointed out, that's not mold (as you would find in blue cheese) - that's a vein of vegetable ash.

The wasabi cheddar is impressively wasabi-y, leaving only the texture as a reminder that you're eating cheese, as the cheddar flavor is very subtle (as you would expect when coupled with a strong flavor such as wasabi). Is the label redundant in saying "hot wasabi horseradish?" (I think it's redundant twice.)

As for the La Jeune Autise, the flavor is so mild and milky and the texture is so perfectly semi-soft, that it's pleasant all around. I admit I am partial to goats milk cheese, which is what this is. There's a better description and photo of this cheese here.

not again

Not too long ago, I posted about state gun laws, and implied in a post a day later that the more lax a state's gun laws are, the more likely something like a mass shooting would happen in that state. (My soothsaying abilities still scare me.)

Well, I stand humbled in my love for my home state and for my first city of residence, Oakland. Yesterday's shooting at a small college in Oakland that left 7 people dead invalidates my implication. It saddens me that once again, Oakland is thrust into the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Read this piece about how Oakland is not getting the help it needs.

What saddens me more, though, is our nation's inaction against the proliferation of gun usage. I ask again: what will it take for our elected officials to take a stand against guns? There needs to be constitutional change to protect us from ourselves. Last night's Nightly News started with the Oakland shooting story and was followed by more coverage of the Trayvon Martin shooting. Story after story about gun violence. It amazes me that for everything else that causes deaths - be it something that can be unpredictable or sometimes even unpreventable like disease, poison, natural disasters, or something as infrequent as abortions - is scrutinized for solutions to combat and prevent it. But for guns, no action is taken. Our lawmakers are deaf. Numb. In my opinion, it qualifies as a public health problem. If there were 2 new stories in a single newscast about a pathogenic outbreak in food, action is taken immediately. But not for guns. What will it take?

Monday, April 02, 2012

monday fun fact

There are only 3 countries in the world that don't have Coca Cola: Burma/Myanmar, North Korea, and Cuba.
Perhaps things will be a changin' in Burma/Myanmar, with the influence and victory of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi (!!). I'll cheers a Coke to that.

(photo cred: here)

because it's monday...