Saturday, May 30, 2009

One Ramen to Go, Dog

Mithra's dog, Aga, guarding the ramen.

It's amazing what tukbokki (Korean rice cakes), SPAM and a sprinkling of seasoning can do for your ramen. I just consumed Hong Ramyun a minute ago, so I find it funny that somewhere in the world Epik High's Mithra was also making ramen. We could've been chomping on ramen at the same time...Of course, his looks a lot more spiffier than my sparse bowl.

Something else Mithra once blogged about stood out in my mind: "Blogs need love too." Even though I'm working now - and I'm all for employment! - I must remember to keep the dream alive. Writing (or typing) in this blog is a way for me to communicate my food/music/green whimsies to the public. After deducting the monthly $--- for student loans, I'm most definitely setting aside some dough for my Travel Fund.

That's for when I can actually take a vacation...explore the unusual, offbeat, five senses-pleasing things I want to pursue, and share 'em with you via pictures and text.

True, everyday we strugglin'

But not without a reason.

ONE.

Unleashing the Animal In You

Photo by dorsia.

In-n-out, how I miss thee.

When I saw a close-up shot of your animal-style goodness...your fresh, hot potato fingers never soggy or deep fried battered...it brought back fond memories.

Ingredients: Hand-cut fries, grilled onions, American cheese, "special" sauce.

Please come back to me.

'Gal' Sone Eats 20 Pounds of Curry



Can this girl eat or what?? Weighing in at just 95 pounds, Natsuko 'Gal' Sone sure has a fast metabolism. You have to wonder, though...where does all that food go? Is her stomach a bottomless pit?

All this footage of Japanese curry's got me fiending for some myself. Go!Go!Curry, anyone?


Source: Americurry.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

High on Life, Low on Blood Sugar

It was all a blur.

This was before the Epik High show started and my arms were aching from pumping my fist in the air, raving that strobe light and clapping.



Rachel's Butterscotch Boba, my Lychee Nectar Nata De Coco, Dave's satisfied face.

It's 10 o'clock. Do you know where your children are?

I don't, but I do know where I was at 11:30. Saint's Alp. It was the closest place we could think of at the time for quick service and food in the stomach.

When the waiter served us our hot bowls of nourishment, a good five minutes passed before any of us said a word. Hunger = lack of conversation. That was one of the most satisfying dinners ever. Maybe because I was just that hungry.

On a side note, I noticed that the Romeo and Juliet specials had been taken off the menu. Noooo...

Farewell, young things. I guess this is goodbye.



Braised Chicken Chunks on Rice (mine).



Platter of wings, fried dumplings & tea eggs (Rachel's).



Minced pork on rice (Dave's).

Epik High "Map the Soul" New York show

Pandora and I.

AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

Now that I've gotten that out of my system, I'll proceed to rehash the night that I saw Epik High LIVE in NYC. For those of you who don't know, Epik High is a well-known hip-hop group from Korea. They're known for their thoughtful, poetic lyrics. After releasing their new book-album, Map the Soul (which, FYI, can only be found on their website, mapthesoul.com) they embarked on their first-ever U.S. tour, bringing along their good friends Kero One, Far East Movement and MYK, a new artist on their independent label.

I first got into Epik High after my friend Julia showed me the music video for "One" two months ago, featuring the skinny chick from "My Name is Kim Samsoon." I was impressed with the group's audacity in tackling mental illness and depression, taboo issues in Korea. The group, which consists of rappers Tablo and Jin Mithra, and DJ Tukutz, raps in both Korean and English. At the show, Tablo mentioned that they will be expanding collaborations on their next album, bringing a more diverse offering to their ever-growing following of multicultural listeners. The new album is due to be released sometime between August and October 2009.

Peep the English-version of the title track, "Map the Soul," featuring Tablo, MYK and Kero One.



Converse everywhere!



Waiting to get in.

Rachel, Dave and I got to Irving Plaza just before 5:30pm, an hour and a half before the show was set to start. However, when we peeped the line of Asians wrapped around the building two times, we knew we were in for a long wait. A much shorter V.I.P. line got fans access to the balcony. Die-hard fans from New York, New Jersey and all surrounding areas arrived three or four hours in advance just to stake out a spot on the sidewalk. That's true dedication, folks (or lunacy, depending on how you see it).



UGH.

Rachel was getting tired of waiting...as were the rest of us. After the two-hour mark, I seriously considered sucking up my pride and doing the Asian squat. But my black work pants would not accommodate this action (yes, I hot-footed it to the city right after work just to be here). I also hadn't anticipated it to be a sticky, humid, HOT 87 degrees. If I had, I would've bagged a change of clothes.



The Fillmore at Irving Plaza.

7:30 p.m.: After what seemed an eternity, we inched closer to the entrance and dashed inside, only to be crushed against a swarm of living, breathing (sweating...) bodies. We fought for a space to stand and a passable view of the stage, but settled for the former. Rushing thoughts of Vans Warped tour came to mind, but at least it didn't smell. And no one tried to crowd surf.

Bayhead Kero One opened up the night with eight or nine solid songs off his new album, "Early Believers." He worked the crowd with his groove-a-delic funk-soul vibe, urging us to move to his bossanova and samba-infused beats. Hits included "Welcome to the Bay," "In All the Wrong Places" and my personal favorite, "When the Sunshine Comes." A rasta-haired guy strummed the acoustic guitar in the background while female vocalist Delores chimed in on choruses, punctuating Kero One's smooth storytelling-rapping prowess.

So far so good. And sweaty. Like, hella hecka sweaty. I've never been so soaked in my own perspiration in my entire life, and folks - I've been to Hong Kong in the summer. I've been to Central Park Summerstage. This was by far the hottest room ever.

Enter Far East Movement. Clad in their intergalactic space costumes, the Far Easty boys told us they had arrived from the future and that where they were, in the year 3008, music had :gasp: died. Their mission? To bring music back. But to do that, they needed an energy refuel. Who could help them? (Wait for it...) US!!

Then FM proceeded to Boomshake the room with a remix of "Girls on the Dancefloor," "Fetish" and a bunch of other party-friendly songs. I still prefer their first two albums, but I guess they've chosen to go in a different musical direction.

Korea's No. 1 Beatboxer, Beatbox DG, went crazy on the mic. MYK spit some sick flows and played tunes on his guitar. He used to be in the American indie rock band Weekend Sesh, which explains his guitar love. He's definitely someone I'll be watching.

At long last, when Epik High burst onto the stage, the whole room suddenly thundered with hoots and squeals of approval.
I could go more in depth about their performance, but I'd be writing a book. All I have to say is, despite the 2+ hour wait, the lack of air and close contact with way too many people, it was SO worth my 40 bucks. They played both new and old hits and gave us their heart and soul with every song, even returning after the curtain to play three more after the crowd's insistent "Encore, Encore, Encore." The audience sang along and Tablo turned the mic toward us to join in. Just give 'em a listen!

No pics of the musicians. Sadly, I was too far away to get a decent shot, and with all the strobe lights and glow sticks swirling around the room, my pics would've turned out too blurry anyway. However, here's Tablo commenting on how heated it was in the room:



NOTE: This entry has little (or nothing) to do with food...except perhaps for the fact that all I had eaten that day was oatmeal and a breakfast sandwich. Suffice to say, by the time 11:30 p.m. rolled around and the show was over, we were FAMISHED.

Exeunt.

More Birthday

Law bot go (turnip cake).

...Cont'd

One of my favorite dim sum foods is law bot go, or turnip cake. These were a bit too soft and not fried enough around the edges. The texture could be best defined as a pulpy goo (I know - attractive). Definitely not Northern Manor's best dish.



Ga lei bao (curried beef bun).

The curried beef buns, however, were a lot better. They were fresh and hearty, with a chewy bite and just a hint of spice. (Sorry you can't see the front, as I accidentally turned them upside down. Egad.)



Stuffed peppers with shrimp.



Oy.

After emptying our plates, some of us had a massive attack of food coma. Must've been all that meat. Quick - drink that jasmine tea!



Under the arch.

Birthday Lady

It's Mom's birthday today.

To the woman who gave me life, kissed every boo-boo and always remembers to pack extra napkins - thank you.

Mama & Papa bear.

Finally! A normal shot.



Northern Manor...plus my dad.

When I was a young girl, I remember going to yum cha in Queens several times a year to spend time with all the relatives. Now that "the kids" have grown up, moved away and/or the economy has tightened people's wallets, we don't meet up for nine-course dinners nearly as much as we used to. Still, every now and then we like to eat dim sum. Northern Manor, in Little Neck, is close enough for us to get to.



Hot sauce, various siu mai (dumplings).



Ha cheung fun (shrimp noodles).

To be continued...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Welcome to Good Burger

Photo by FourteenSixty.

Haven't you heard? May is National Burger Month! And while I may be late on the post, I do believe a hearty, flavorful burger is hard to come by these days.

Witness The Burger of the Month Club's attempt to name their Top Ten NYC burger bites. Much wafting, noshing, and careful chewing ensued in the quest to eat and rate each restaurant's burger. The Club has already tackled 47 different restaurants. What a job! Oh, yeah, and Turkey Burgers Don't Count.

Then there's Serious Eat's Snapshots from Iceland, involving several candid close-ups of ketchup-infused, cheese-melting, juice-dripping Reykjavik burgers. ::small groan:: Thank you, Robyn Lee, for possibly putting Iceland back on the traveler's map again. Because of you, I just might consider trekking to that frigid island in search of that "Offer of the Century."


Above: Shake Shack's Shack Stack - double patties, double cheese, breaded cheese-stuffed mushroom (Madison Square Park; New York, NY).

World's Strangest Liquors

Photo by Travel + Leisure.

Travel + Leisure's roundup of the "World's Strangest Liquors" includes the not-so-usual suspects: Pizza Beer (Ill., U.S.), Snake Bile Wine (Vietnam) and Yogurito (Japan), among other eye-raising alcoholic beverages. Not sure I'd want to try chicha, a Peruvian corn beer made using human spit. Uhh...how earthy?

Bomboloni

Photo by LUNCH.

The ladies at Lunch tore into a raspberry-filled bomboloni today.

My bemused reaction after reading it was culled from my former place of employment: Priceless.

(By the way, if you're wondering what a bomboloni is - I didn't know either - it's an Italian pastry resembling a fritter, with granulated sugar sprinkled on the outside. Jacques Torres over at Food Network has a mouth-watering recipe.)


Location:
Dean & Deluca
560 Broadway
New York, NY 10012
212.226.6800
www.deandeluca.com

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Signs of Spring, Part II

Majestic.



Shades of pink and white.



Oh so pink.



Turquoise hot wheels.



Playing peek-a-boo around the tree (yes, he's holding binoculars).

Photo montage taken May 10. NHP, NY.

Signs of Spring, Part I

White tree. What contrast.



White trees are all the rage.



Tiny buds springing forth.



Maple leaf imprint on sidewalk.



New house (and new tree) down the block.

Photo montage taken May 9. NHP, NY.

Spicy Hot Book


Steamy. Sizzling. Scintillating. It's all that and more.

I'm talking about the Muji Spice Taste-leaf Book.

If you're always on the go, don't have space for an expensive spice rack, or are just too lazy to bother with intricate recipes, this mess-free alternative is just the thing for you. It's brought to you by Yanko Design, the masterminds behind unconventional umbrellas and fan blades made of chicken wings. The company's M.O. is "Form Beyond Function," and Yanko works hard to deliver.




Made with edible quality paper, the taste-book comes with an assortment of spice choices, from white pepper to red chili. Simply tear the perforated edges and plop into your dish! Perfecto.

I scanned the rest of the site, and, I have to admit, my inner green bookworm yearns for one of these.

50 Cent Gelati, Italian Slices & Cannolis @ Rizzo's, Astoria


This just in: Rizzo's Fine Pizza in Astoria is celebrating its 50th Anniversary with new 50 cent specials over the next few months. All Gelati, Italian slices and cannolis are just 50 cents until May 29. Choices vary by day, but daily selections include: lemon sorbet, coconut, cherry, piƱa colada, Dutch chocolate, pomegranate, Mandarin orange, apricot-mango. Promotion valid in-store only.


Location:
Rizzo's Pizza
3013 Steinway St
Astoria, NY 11103
718.721.9862
www.rizzosfinepizza.com

For Mom, With Love


Happy Mother's Day!



I made French toast.



And strawberry-mango-banana fruit salad.



We really like to play banana phone.



Going for the "experimental" look.

(This may or may not have been another one of my bad ideas.)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Fulfilled.

Fuji Sunrise.

Pleasure Palate posted an excellent write-up on the new Beverly Hills opening of Fulfilled, a bakery that sells Imagawa-yaki, or Japanese pastries. A traditional "ima" has a pancake-like exterior and is filled with sweet Azuki red bean (Azuki is also perfect in pat bing soo, or Korean shaved ice with fruit). I've never tried one, but they certainly look delicious.

Best of all, they come in all kinds of flavors, both sweet and savory. In that way, they're similar to crepes. Some of the savory options include Green Ninja (spinach, feta cheese, sun dried tomato), Sumo Italiano (prosciutto di Parma, smoked ham, aged Parmesan, fresh basil) and Spicy Samurai (chicken apple sausage, pepper jack cheese, diced chili, fresh cilantro).

Are you drooling already?
I know I am!

On the sweet side, there's the Fuji Sunrise (custard creme filling), Harajuku Monkey (banana and nutella) and Karaoke Kitty (strawberry, cream cheese Ghirardelli white chocolate). You'd probably enjoy the Fuji Sunrise if you like cream puffs a la Beard Papa's. Those are just a few of the Imagawa-yakis available. For the most diverse experience, I'd gather a bunch of friends and try them all!



Harajuku Girl - ergh, Monkey.

Location:
Fulfilled
9405 S. Santa Monica Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
310.860.0776
www.fulfilledpastries.com



All photos by Pleasure Palate.

Design It. Price It. Make It.

Photo by Ponoko.

Ponoko believes you can create what you envision. The company functions as a public marketplace for designers to buy and sell their goods. As such, Ponoko helps people produce their own intricate furniture, toys, electronics and "everything else."

No fees. No minimum orders. No gimmicks. Just follow a few simple steps to get started. Using design software, your own camera or a designer's expertise, you can have that very own customized monster lamp delivered to your door. Or how about a fortune cookie Christmas ornament? Luckily, Ponoko's products are as functional as they are fashionable. This swallow necklace caught my eye.

If I were a kid again, I'd totally want this psychedelic choo-choo train for my birthday. Just be careful with the Nintendo zapper...

Plus, Ponoko recycles and reuses materials, so it's good for the environment too! For customized swim caps, pillows and other design musings, check out their blog. Ponoko was recently featured in Treehugger's Green Gift Guide.

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things


1. Red Velvet Cupcakes, made by Emily for our coffeehouse in April. And it was her first time baking them! These were my far the best dessert of the night. Look at all that homemade love.




2. Ban-chan. Because a true Korean meal just isn't the same without it. You've got your choice of black beans, kimchi, dried squid, sausage & asparagus, silky tofu and the requisite leafy salad with ginger dressing. (I think I may be secretly Korean.)




3. Pork Gopdol (stone bowl) Bibimbap. Please excuse the blurriness, which was due to all the hot steam rising from the dish. This version was lacking in the sweet and spicy department (Chef - what happened to your taste buds tonight?) but it didn't fail to fill me up. Gotta love that grub! (Han-gang; 34 West 32nd St; New York, 212.736.0099).

Note: I ate this pre-Swine Flu, so I had no problems with the pork.




4. Tomato soup, made in my very own kitchen. You, too, can make it yourself. Adjust the black pepper to your liking. Also, I find this soup pares well with grilled cheese-bacon-mushroom sandwiches. A wonderful meal on a rainy day, just like the ones Mom used to make.




5. New York mushroom slices. Take a look at the middle slice - big love! Generous New York portions.