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Archive for 2011|Yearly archive page

Beach and Boardwalk

In Uncategorized on September 4, 2011 at 1:59 pm

A day trip to Santa Cruz to bask in some rays.

First thing we did was find a beach to snooze on.

After sleeping and mowing down some sandwiches on the beach, we went to the incredible Santa Cruz Boardwalk. For comparison, I’d say it’s like Vancouver’s Playland except with free entrance, more food, more stuff to do, and a way sicker view (it’s right along the beach!). It’s the oldest surviving amusement park in California.

It was a total throwback too, to see arcade and midway games JUST like they used to have back in the day! (Is it just me, or does 1990 still only feel like 10 years ago?) Of course, we didn’t try to win any stuffed animals. I used to work as a carnival games attendant, so I know better…

Jason shows off some moves on the DDR machine like it’s 1998.

This crazy woman scared the bejeezus out of us as we were walking by. Apparently, she was supposed to DRAW IN visitors to funhouses?! No wonder so many children were afraid of dolls and clowns!

Haha, look at him go, you’d think it was his birthday or something =) Amidst the offerings of deep fried Twinkies, Dippin’ Dots, corn dogs, onion rings, and other health hazards, we settled on soft serve ice cream – it seemed least unhealthy at the time.

That was one of the best afternoons I’ve had all summer. We even got to pop into one of those old school black/white photo booths that I’ve always wanted to try! Sadly though, the gondola was closed. Still, we had a blast just walking around, checking things out, and people watching.

Thinking that there might be more to see in Santa Cruz, we drove around looking for them. But the only exciting thing around was… water.

While living in San Francisco, Jason had become a fanatical Yelp user. Apparently, Yelp runs the city and everyone just loves referring to Yelp reviews before placing their faith in any restaurant or establishment (including the DMV!). We were both fiending for ramen for dinner, so he Yelped up the best ramen place around. It was called Santouka and was located in a Japanese supermarket in San Jose. No problem. Off we went.

Worth the drive? Definitely. It was no Kintaro, but it was still heaven in bowl when we finally sat down to eat.

All in all, a very relaxing day. Seeing these photos makes me want to soak in some more sum-shines on my balcony and go to Kintaro for dinner now that I’m home. It’s Sunday, so I think I will do both!

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If you’re gooinnggggg to San Francisco!

In Uncategorized on September 3, 2011 at 7:14 pm

I spent the good part of my summer studying for the MCAT while Jason was away at art school in San Francisco. So, on the morning after my exam, I flew down to meet him, and we spent 10 days cruising around in California.

The day of my arrival happened to fall on the day of the Mission Food Festival. The Mission, also where we were staying, is the best district (in the world?!) when it comes to good food, in our opinion. The neighbourhood is also teeming with hipsters due to the rapid gentrification of the area, so it’s a prime place to be if you like to hunt hipsters for dinner. (You think I’m joking, don’t you.)

The festival stretched about 6 blocks and a courtyard. You can bet we ate our way through the entire thing. Took about 4 hours.

There was also a spontaneous dance party on the streets. Got pretty wild. (I think the guy on the very left who got partially cut out was doing Elaine’s signature Seinfeld dance, with those very recognizable thumbs!)

I love walking around the Mission (not only for the food but also) to check out the endless street art, murals, and graffiti walls. It gives the place a lot of character and lovely pops of colour.

That was honestly enough good food for any given day, but it turns out Jason had already booked a dinner table for us at Benu in Soma for weeks (that’s how long you wait to get a table there in any case). Benu was recognized as one of the best restaurants in America by GQ, which is what caught Jason’s eye. Then after I read in Bon Appetit that it was a must-visit for any food fanatic, I too was really stoked to try it out. We decided that, despite the decadence, it was suitable for a reunion dinner after 2 months of separation and as a post-exam celebration.

Bring on starter dish #1. Wasn’t on the menu but it had green apple, cucumber, shaved ice, pistachio, walnut, and olive oil. Also, we got some super thin buckwheat lavash with nori & sesame seeds instead of the traditional bread basket, and it too was delightfully delicious. That was a brilliant start to the meal.

Next up was foie gras steamed in sake, peach, kohlrabi, perilla, brioche. This was one of my favourites. The flavour was incredible and of course the texture of foie gras is to die for. Was really happy with this.

Jason had a whole Japanese cucumber stuffed with shrimp, pork belly, cucumber, eggplant, and fermented pepper. The texture of the sea cucumber kind of freaked me out, but he enjoyed it a great deal.

I had some uhh-mazing risotto with sea urchin, corn, lovage, and black truffle. I don’t like mushrooms normally but truffle I can make an exception for. Always.

Next was my pork rib with celery, cherry, and pine nut. An atypical assortment of tastes for a pretty conventional hearty dish.

Jason then had “from the oak – acorn strozzapreti, Iberico ham, Himalayan truffle,” which I didn’t manage to get a good picture of. It smelled like heaven.

We shared dessert, almond brioche with buttercream, apricot, and osmanthus. A perfectly light way to end off the meal. Mmmmmmm.

Lastly, some complimentary chocolates – an assortment of unique flavours and really pleasantly presented in a cute wooden box.

Overall, a great dining experience. Kudos to head chef Corey Lee and all his helpful staff. The service was attentive and formal and yet friendly enough seeing as we were by far the youngest diners there. Ambiance was great (dim… see photos), and I really loved tasting a ton of things without that post-meal heavy weight in stomach feeling.

I couldn’t recommend Benu more to anyone who is in the area and on the prowl for a really cool setting for a really superb meal. When I’m 21 and Jason and I are more “baller” (as he put it), we’ll be back for the tasting menu with wine pairings for sure. (I just can’t imagine these servers even thinking of asking for ID! The place just seems too nice. But I’m sure they must…)

THE NEXT DAY. We continued our food adventure as we set out to brunch at Samovar Tea Lounge in the Mission-Castro with Jason’s friend, Jack. (His real name, I found out later, is John. I honestly am still confused about this.)

On a side note, I have to mention that eavesdropping on restaurant conversation in San Francisco is super entertaining. Especially at slightly nicer eateries, I always almost want to roll my eyes when I hear people talking about their mobile business proposals, their phones, and other people’s online entrepreneurial ventures. How Silicon Valley, right? Funny that Jack, and most of Jason’s other SF friends that I met, were all in the mobile marketing industry. It made for very-hard-to-decipher dinner conversations =P.

The raw honeycomb, blue cheese, and fruits platter from a dream:

And my squash dumplings with spicy sesame-soy sauce.

Jason and Jack both got egg bowls. (Boring!)

Anddd… that’s it for food on the trip.

JUST KIDDING! (Haha…)

There was pad thai for lunch at Thai King near Union Square. Even though pad thai is one of my all-time favourite dishes and I will always order (and finish) it  in a Thai restaurant, it always tastes the same to me.

Eye candy

In Uncategorized on May 22, 2011 at 5:50 pm

Kissney

Last week, when I was over at one of Jason’s friends’ home playing Mario Kart and GoldenEye 007, I was reintroduced to my complete ineptness at video games. Spatial navigation isn’t my forte; lack of bodily kinesthesia on top of that makes for a really dire situation for Grace in a maze trying to shoot find people. But also I was playing against three 24-year-old dudes, so… what chance did I have, really?

I haven’t watched many episodes of The Office, but this one I watched. Lol!

In the face of your fears, it never hurts to have…

May is detox month for me, and that means…

Speaking of tea, I’m faithfully drinking through my tin of Cream of Earl Grey (organic) from DAVIDsTEA, and am looking for my next tea. I’m thinking of working my way through their top sellers list. Have already also tried the Organic Japanese Sencha, but Buttered Rum sounds really tasty! (Especially for detox month.)

Summertime sole-searching

In Uncategorized on May 21, 2011 at 11:53 am

United Nude is a design company co-founded by a Dutch architect and an English shoemaker. Disillusioned with fashion, not wanting to be yet another shoe brand or an architecture firm, United Nude is set on releasing specific, iconic products. Each product is accompanied by its own storybook to give you further insights into the origins of the product concept. From the sharing of emotions, reflected in the uniqueness of its products, United Nude exists.

Architectural shoes. That’s different. I snatched me a pair on Ebay a while ago and am finally getting to enjoy them in full force now. Loving the matte leather and loud colour. Also they look like candy, no?

United Nude. Super impressed by their heel-less pumps and Mobius heels as well. Thoughtful design in a shoe, I like it.

Death Star

In Uncategorized on May 18, 2011 at 10:12 pm

I have watched the new Star Wars movies.

I haven’t watched the old ones… UNTIL YESTERDAY! (I was ill; hot rooibos tea and A New Hope sounded like a pretty good idea.)

That is the sound of my mind being blown.

Did anyone else notice that the climactic scene in which the rebel fleet was sent to destroy the Death Star (more than slightly) resembled the fertilization of a female egg? Any takers? Just me?? I mean, only one pilot needs to penetrate the station’s defences to ensure the survival of the rebel base – come on!

Interesting fact: “vader” is Dutch for “father” and “darth” is a variation of “dark.” He’s not very mean though, is he? Darthy really needs to channel some of his Lord Voldemort ghastliness.

I also got this seriously cool ring, to commemorate the least-mean villain ever.

Annddd… here is the Death Star canteen, one of my favourite clips from my favourite comedian, Eddie Izzard =)
(Video was loaded by “JadePugetAFI” – namesake of one of my favourite alternative guitarists!)
Enjoy!

The Universe

In Uncategorized on May 14, 2011 at 10:23 pm


TSO Photography

Puts things into perspective, no?

The things that keep me up at night now won’t one year from now.

And everyone is fighting a battle, but perhaps all our worries are small?

Spring 2011, Terry Richardson for Aldo

In Uncategorized on May 13, 2011 at 10:53 pm

From the looks of the date stamps, I have been MIA from the blog for over 3 months, an inexcusably epicfortfail of a long time.

But now I want to start again, and I’m going to write about Terry Richardson, the famed fashion photographer. His name is pretty big around town, but not without a reputation for notoriously nasty photo subjects and a bit of sexual exploitation controversy thrown in for kicks.

(As far as I’ve seen, he seems to ONLY rock flannel plaid like it ain’t nobody’s business, missus.)

So the accusations began around spring of last year, by a Danish model who publicly denounced Terry for sexually exploiting young women in search of their crack at fame by brandishing his camera, dropping some names, and seeing what comes of it. Which sounds terrible, even for the existing tarnished industry standards. And then some other models came out and shared similar boat-rocking stories about working with Terry. So now lots of people think he’s a pervert. One look at the kinds of photos he shoots would only edge you to believe it. And I bet that moustache doesn’t help. Well?

I can’t victim-blame, nor can I defend someone whose moral integrity is a matter that I’m just not fit to comment on. But one peek of his work (not the commercial stuff, but his studio shoots), and suffice to say, you’re probably not looking forward to a straight lace photo sesh. The man photographs himself having sex.

From an artistic standpoint, I’m not much of a fan of using graphic taboo to solicit emotional response. I find the construction of his photos a bit amateurish and totally predictable. His style of shooting is rampant on the Internet – but he has celebrity faces. He’s unarguably influential in the fashion industry. (Vogue, Gucci, Jimmy Choo.) In the art world? I’d bet not so much. Then again, navigating commercial photography is probably a bit of an art in itself.

And despite the controversy surrounding his M.O. (also blasted through Wall Street Journal, New York Post), ALDO recently signed him to shoot promos for their Spring 2011 line, Life’s A Beach. You’ve probably seen the ads at bus stops and such. I can’t decide what I think about this. I suppose it just is what it is.

Anyway, if you’d like to check out some of Terry Richardson’s tamer photos (I recommend, esp if you like famous people, and we all secretly do), check out Terry Richardson’s Diary. If you want to see the other stuff, just use Google.

Fleeting inspirations

In Uncategorized on February 5, 2011 at 8:14 pm

Nothing like the rush of midterms to give my post frequency a boost it deserves.

Currently obsessing over…

Have been wearing it for the past 2 weeks straight and IT. DOES. NOT. CHIP. Except when I’m in the pool. But I’ve yet to meet a lacquer that could withstand the bite of water and chlorine. Not even those overrated acrylic gels stay put. If you find a polish that does, yours truly would like to hear about it.

The lady at the counter said that an additional Chanel base vernis would keep the polish on for at least 3 weeks. Lady, it would be hazardous for you to enter a pool with that much makeup on, so I wonder how you would know such a thing.

I love this colour (slightly darker than shown in image) because it is so close to the colour of my natural lips and it is quite subtle.

Resolutions update: for the most part, I have been disappointing myself.

In my own defence (against myself), 2 of my resolutions are more like bucket list items and one is impossible with my current course load. The other 4 are going relatively well, except for the water painting one. And I blame resolution #1 for my current eBay obsession. I’ll be expecting a lot of goodies in the mail soon =D

New tags from old events

I just love when new photos emerge from old events. My friends are I were ring girls for a “Tennis Pros and Respectable Female Athletes” party.

Because ring girls are athletes, right?? That’s what we thought, too.

Inspiring Photos

I love these

This is the attitude with which my friend Rhea drives her car.

Finally

I hereby resolve…

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2011 at 12:17 am

At the end of December, WordPress sent me a recap email of my 2010 blog stats.

Verdict? It was encouraging. AND THE BLOG LIVES ON!

…and continued from the title:

1) To try to avoid buying new things, and buying secondhand instead, whenever possible

To reduce the tremendous strain put on our planet.

This is going to be a very hard goal to keep since most retail areas of the city are scientifically designed to get you to buy things you don’t need, then pay to store them, and then pay to get rid of them. Making a purchase is associated with a good feeling, but it is fleeting. Most of the time, the only people who ultimately benefit from you buying something are the people who spend a lot of time trying to get you to buy something. Not you.

I would much rather spend money on good times (like food and drinks and trips) and products that are produced locally and responsibly. And when I need things, I’m sure many can be found outside of stores. People have perfectly good things that they don’t want anymore, all the time. It takes more effort to find, but a little effort never hurt anyone. To me, being a smart consumer means consuming less. I think this goal will make a little difference to my lifestyle and a big difference to my consumer habits and pocketbook!

I think the wallet has surpassed the ballot as the most powerful vote you have, here and now. Your politician may never hear your woes, but a company will if you stop buying their products. Where you choose to put your money is going to have a profound impact.

Also: Before you decide to buy a new laptop or ipod or tv while your current one is still working, watch this video about where your used electronics go and what information people can retrieve from them. This video was made by UBC journalism students and it won an Emmy. Ghana: Digital Dumping Ground. Is it worth it just to have the newest tech toy?

2) To learn to paint with watercolours

Jason bought me a beautiful watercolour painting set for Christmas and I’m going to practice. It’s a medium I’ve never worked with in any seriousness before, so I want to learn!

3) To be on The Amazing Race

Currently, they only take American citizens and residents. Hopefully this will change. I want to be on the race SO BADLY.

4) To finish my Euroventure scrapbook

I finally went and selected my favourite and best photos from my trip and printed them. Now for the fun part – stickers, glue, brads, and ribbons!

5) To ride an elephant

I might not get to do it this year, but I want to remind myself that I want to do this. So that I can plan my life accordingly to make this possible down the road.

6) To finish and present my jewelry projects

Sometimes I suck at finishing projects that I start. This is one of those. I want to definitely get around to actually having something to show for the copious amounts of beading stuff I have collected over the years.

7) To stop doing homework on Sundays

Because after work, I don’t want to study. I just want to have a date night.

Festive

In Uncategorized on January 3, 2011 at 10:54 pm

‘Twas a busy winter break full of festive cheer and A LOT of food (which makes for the best kind of holiday).

The boys who ruined Christmas (tree). And a huge roasted pig (not shown; credit to Mama Lee).

Too much of a good thing.

The waitress and I both agreed that the ebi mayo accompanying the prawns at Flying Tiger are the most delicious things on earth. Of course their roti dip and pulled duck wraps are really just as good. I think Flying Tiger has to be my favourite restaurant in Vancouver. Their mussels too are also just to die for.

A scrumptious dinner with sisters (followed by some intense pictionary.)

Apparently I can’t upload photos from Facebook for security reasons so I can’t post photos from FIJI Xmas dinner, which was one hell of a good time…

As was the Christmas dinner that mine and Jason’s family had together. That was the fateful night that I became addicted to the Fruit Ninja app.

(Aside: I heard that Plants vs. Zombies was the game app of the year – BOOYAH IT BEAT ANGRY BIRDS! I swear PvZ is so much more fun, challenging, and rewarding, not to mention the awesomeness of the legendary Michael Jackson zombie which once was and now will never be again.)

New Years Eve was interesting.
Location: Club Sio
Theme: CEO’s and… esteemed female office assistants
Attendees: still not too sure
Photos: I have none

And I am happy to announce that Benkei ramen on Broadway has introduced a new “curry ramen” to their menu and I absolutely love it. It’s like Jolly’s (Indian bistro on 4th) meets Japan. Mmmmm I think it’s tied with their miso ramen as the reigning noodle champion of this girl’s heart and stomach.