Costa Rica Trip Video and Updates

i just got back from costa rica 2 days ago. i absolutely loved it there. the scenery was beautiful, but most importantly i loved the people and the way they live their life.

i took thousands of pictures, but that will probably take me some time to edit them and write up in depth posts about my experience.

i thought id share a quick video that captured some of the places we went.

please enjoy.

pura vida!

i have been very slow on my posts recently because i havent been eating much. i have been trying so hard to lose weight for my wedding because pork belly and bunny are finally getting married next month. ive lost almost 40lbs so far.

it will be a very busy month ahead of us because we will be in canada to attend my friend’s wedding, then fly to beijing for my own wedding the week after. we are staying in beijing/shanghai for 3 weeks and touring porkbelly’s family around china.

my dad has been in charge of planning the wedding, but there’s still a lot shit i need to take care myself. my family and porkbelly’s family doesnt really speak the same language so i became the communication bridge for everything which can be very frustrating sometimes. my parents are divorced so they have to communicate through me as well.

the wedding that will take place in beijing will be our main wedding, but there’s still gonna be another small celebration for family/friends in DC around xmas time this year.

pork belly and i have been dating for more than 4 years and a lot of things have happened during these 4 years. good, bad, and terrible things all have happened. i am glad we are still together and i am marrying him. he has given me so much love, support, and patience that ive never received from anyone else, not even my parents. getting married does feel different than just dating. i subconsciously want to treat him better and care about him more since i will be stuck with him for the rest of my life. we are becoming one team. if he’s living a miserable life, mine probably cant be too much better.

all that being said, i hope everyone had a great summer. cant believe summer is almost over, we havent used AC not evem once yet in our house.

August 09, 2014-August-09,-2014-IMG_8782dd

About these ads

TASTE OF WGBH: Food & Wine Festival 2014

wgbhimage

i will be attending this year’s taste of WGBH Chef’s Gala Reception on Thursday, September 11, 2014. 25 of the best chefs from the far corners of New England will be cooking at the event. it will be an incredible gastronomic adventure in food, wine, and craft beer. guests have the opportunity to sample small plates prepared by 25 of the region’s best chefs, and sip more than 20 delicious wines from around the globe. For complete details on the Chef’s Gala and the whole roster of festival events, visit www.wgbh.org/festival.

my readers can get a 20% discount on tickets! you can purchase tickets online at http://www.wgbh.org/foodwine/festival_tickets.cfm and use the promotional code FOODBLOG.

the whole roster of festival events:

Chef’s Gala Reception

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Dress code: Cocktail attire, business attire

7-10pm open to general ticket purchasers

Tickets, general admission: $150

The event is held inside the WGBH Calderwood Studio, and Atrium

The Chef’s Gala Reception is an elegant evening with 25 unique stations showcasing cuisine of local chefs/restaurants paired perfectly with selected wine and a few select craft beers from 25 featured artisans. Meet and mingle with your favorite chefs, and discover new favorite restaurants. Learn about the magic of pairing various dishes with the perfect wine to enhance flavor, and your experience.

*Must be 21 to participate

The Artisan Taste

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Dress code: Business casual-casual

Two Sessions: 1pm-3:30pm and 5pm-7:30pm

Tickets for one 2 1/2 hour session: $50 for members and $60 for non-members

Located in back WGBH visitor parking lot

Experience a wide variety of artisanal foods featuring New England’s renowned restaurants, chefs, and local producers.

• Exhibitor tables featuring more than 100 wines from around the world, local food purveyors, and local fare.

• Clarke Sub-Zero Wolf Celebrity Cooking Stage to include two chef demonstrations during each two and a half hour session.

• Interactive displays and sponsor activations and entertainment will be included on the stage between each of the cooking demonstrations

*Must be 21 to participate

Farmer’s Market

Sat. 9/13 11am-5:30pm and Sun. 9/14 10am-3pm

FREE event, open to the general public

Will feature 15-20 farmers/vendors with a wide assortment of fresh produce, spices, herbs, and baked goods. Check the website for updates in the coming weeks ahead with a complete list of participating vendors

(will be located in front parking lot by Newbury Comics and our parking garage in same configuration that we had in the 2012 Wine Fest)

Brunch Bar

Sunday, September 14, 11am-1:30pm

Tickets: $40 for members and $45 for non-members

Dress code: Business casual-casual

We’ve taken the guessing out of where to have brunch with this exclusive event. Have Sunday Brunch at the Brunch Bar with more than 100 different restaurants, artisan food producers, craft breweries and wines serving up sumptuous tasting-sized portions of foods from the exotic to down-home. The event features live chef demos, live music and an unbeatable way to travel New England in the span of a couple hours.

Also on Sunday Sept. 14 are two

Food & Wine Festival Seminars

These will be located inside Cahners Conference Room, Reno and 3rd fl cafe

Pickled: Preserving the honored tradition

Sunday, Sept. 14, 2-3:30pm

Donation: $25

Capacity: Capped at 40 guests

Presented by Tia Pinney, Naturalist/Adult Program and Eco-management Coordinator from Mass Audubon’s Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary

Join us for a visually, aromatically, and gastronomically exciting event, as we explore a plethora of pickles with our friends from Mass Audubon’s Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary. The art of pickling has made a comeback in recent years with the popularity of the do-it-yourself movement. This class will provide you with the basic skills you need to pickle a wide variety of fruits and vegetables at home.

We’ll review the elements that go into crafting a good pickle, including acid, flavorings, spices, produce choices, preparation, and storage. You will have a chance to sample some delicious pickled fruits and vegetables during the seminar, and you’ll even be able to take home your own pickled creations at the end of class. Bring your appetite, and get ready for this adventure in pickling.

Shaken & Stirred
Sunday, September 14, 2:00-3:30pm

Donation:$25

Capacity: Capped at 40 guests

The dedicated staff from the James Beard Award-winning Kenmore Square cocktail lounge, The Hawthorne, is calling class into session to teach guests a little about the history of the cocktail, and the style and technique that go into mixing a drink. Katie Emerson, The Hawthorne’s bar manager, will cover ratios for a few original classic cocktails, while mixing up a classic Bee’s Knees. Katie will provide the details needed to assess your home bar, and the tools to customize cocktails using three basic formulas for a variety of delicious and time- honored variations. You’ll leave armed with the fundamentals to mix the perfect cocktail and a few goodies to take home to your own bar.

Go! Go! Curry!| Cambridge, MA Boston

Pork Belly here, Bunny is still away in Beautiful Costa Rica, so I’ve been roaming around and eating. Curry is awesome, especially Japanese curry, because it’s the ultimate JDM comfort food. It’s cheap, it’s easy to make, you can pretty much throw it on anything, rice, noodles, bread, and it’s Oishi!. Go! Go! Curry! is the only Japanese curry restaurant in the Boston area that only serve Japanese Curry. It is located in the relatively new H-Mart food court in Cambridge, along side Paris Baguette and Sapporo Ramen. Go! Go! Curry! is a Japanese chain with a few more stores in NYC in the States.

The Cambridge H-Mart is not as big as the Burlington store, some items are noticeably more expensive.

DSC09990

The Menu is pretty basic, you have a choice of Pork, Shrimp, Chicken, and Sausage Katsu, or get everyone on one plate. They even offer the “World Championship Curry”, which is the biggest curry plate in the US. All for only $30!!!!!

DSC00003

You order from the Sapporo Ramen Window

DSC09993

In true Japanese style, they have the plastic representations of their dishes in high-detail. In Japanese it’s called Sampuru サンプル, Deriving from the word “Sample”

DSC09994

A Sampuru of their Pork Katsu Curry

DSC09998

A Sampuru of their World Championship Curry, it’s huge!

DSC09999

I went for the Grand Slam. I recommend only eating this if you are extremely hungry! It comes with one Pork Katsu, one Chicken Katsu, 2 Sausages, 2 Eggs, and 1 Tempura Shrimp.

DSC00006

Look at that Fried goodness. They fry everything to order, so it is always hot and crispy.

DSC00008

I finished it all….. I skipped dinner that night because I was still full.

DSC00011

Don’t forget to return your tray!

DSC09987

DSC09985

Go! Go! Curry! Not much to say here, if you are craving Japanese curry, it hits the spot with huge portions and fried foods. I guess you can say it’s on the expensive side, but I think it’s decent priced for the portions. This H-mart seems more expensive than the other H-Marts. A Green tea O-Cha is like $1.50-2 in burlington, at this location it is $3. After your meal is over you can get a pastry from Paris Baguette.

Go! Go! Curry!
581 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02139

New Saigon Sandwich | Boston, MA Chinatown

Pork Belly once again, Bunny is currently away on Holiday in Costa Rica so if the pictures don’t look up to par, it’s because she is a better Photographer and Adobe Lightroom user than me. We just got rid of our Fuji X100s and picked up a Sony A7 with a MetaBones IV adapter to use our assortment of Canon EF lenses. So far the Sony A7 has completely exceeded all my expectations. If you’re looking for a small camera that really packs a bunch buy this camera! It’s amazing how this little camera takes pictures just as good as our Canon 5D Mark II.
microMsg.1408149374177
Since Bunny is away, I am left to find food on my own. Growing up in Northern Virginia, my parents would buy the family Banh Mi weekly, I have fond memories of getting it straight from the store, often the stores would make their own baguettes, it was best when it came straight from the store still warm. I believe the baguette makes at least 60% of a Banh Mi.

Today I wanted to test out my camera and get something quick to eat. I stopped by New Saigon Sandwich in Chinatown, down the street from empire garden. ***Warning Snob moment** Vietnamese food in the Boston area isn’t as good as the Vietnamese food back home in Northern Virgina, or the mecca of Vietnamese food in the US, Westminster, California. It just isn’t, even Dorcester, MA the supposedly Vietnamese town in MA, in my opinion is not as good…….When I say these places are good, I mean good for Boston……

What you see when you walk up
DSC09841

Typical assortment of Bun Dishes and such
DSC09844

No Vietnamese on the menu, a sign for me that makes me question their authenticity. In my travels I have eaten at many Vietnamese restaurants owned by non-Viets, such as Korean, Chinese, or Chinese-Vietnamese(but raised in Vietnam). The workers were speaking straight Cantonese and didn’t respond to me in Vietamese…..(Also not trying to say only Viet people can make Viet food…..) **Warning, that was snob moment number 2**
DSC09845

The place is pretty much a hole-in-the-wall

DSC09848

I walked over near the Chinatown gate to sit down. This lady was feeding the pigeons in front of me with a bag of garbage.
DSC09861

Literally her garbage, I saw scraps on fruits and veggies in there…
DSC09853

It’s Eco friendly
DSC09850

Back to the food….
I got the bbq Beef (I’m guessing Thit Nuong), always a solid choice at most Banh Mi places

DSC09855

DSC09864

The bread is nice, crispy, and flaky. The meat was okay, the bbq beef could of been more marinated or at least grilled more. Usually bbq Beef is supposed to have a nice and brown/blackish color, not gray. The sandwich was heavy on the Nuoc Mam, (fish suace), taste like squid brand (we Vietnamese know our fish sauce), the pickled veggies were on point (who can mess that up?). Overall, it was okay. I like the bread from this place, but I like the meats from the place down the street. At $4 a sandwich I can’t really complain much more. On the scale of things, it’s a Boston good, but a National okay.

New Saigon Sandwich
Chinatown
696 Washington St Boston, MA 02111

New Saigon Sandwich on Urbanspoon

Yuji Ramen | New York City, NY

Porkbelly again, another one of my food-business adventures. Last Month I went to Yuji Ramen in NYC, discretely located in a Whole Foods Market Food Court, next to big commercial chains such as Jamba Juice (Not Hating on you Jamba). I went with a friend and we were greeted by friendly staff. Yuji Ramen started as a pop-up and has since turned into this semi-permanent location, more on this later……

July 20, 2014-DSCF1615

Yuji Ramen is known for their Mazemen, they also offer full broth Ramen.

July 20, 2014-DSCF1620

Like many Ramen shops now, they offer mixed broth Ramen.

July 20, 2014-DSCF1624

I went with the Bacon and Egg Mazemen, Who can resist Bacon……. (As cliche as that sounds)

July 20, 2014-DSCF1642

All mixed up

July 20, 2014-DSCF1647

My friend went with the Spicy Tuna Mazemen

July 20, 2014-DSCF1634

I like how the noodles are thick and chewy. The server told us they use Sun noodles…..

July 20, 2014-DSCF1638

July 20, 2014-DSCF1649

Overall I thought Yuji Ramen was decent. The portions are a perfect size for a quick bite, I like how the noodles are thick and chewy. The Bacon and Egg Mazemen was a bit salty for my taste, however they use thick cuts of bacon instead of the typical supermarket stuff which is a plus. The Spicy Tuna Mazemen was on point, the flavor had lots of depth. Remember how I said this location is semi-permanent….. I went in July, the server informed me that they were closing down this location by the end of the month and moving shop to Okonomi in Brooklyn. The server also informed me that Okonomi is a “Japanese Breakfast” restaurant, Yuji ramen will still be there serving out Ramen. I was also informed that they are offering a Ramen Omakase at this location. Personally I think the idea of a Ramen Omakase is some hipster shit, but maybe I will give it a shot one day….

Okonomi

150 Ainslie St, Brooklyn, NY 11211

Yuji Ramen on Urbanspoon

Chilipa | 霸道麻辣香锅 | Boston Allston, MA

August 02, 2014-IMG_8370 August 02, 2014-IMG_8360

chilipa is a newly opened spicy pot joint in super 88 food court in allston, replacing one of the kind.

spicy pot, mala xiang guo, is a popular spicy sichuan dish in china. you get to choose the ingredients such as veggies, meat, and seafood, and then will stir fry them for you in special sauce/seasoning with a spicy level of your choice. ‘ma’ means the numbingness of the peppercorns and ‘la’ means spicy.

August 02, 2014-IMG_8335

the veggies are sold by baskets and meats are sold by lbs. the choice of ingredients are rather limited at chilipa

August 02, 2014-IMG_8293

August 02, 2014-IMG_8282

got boba from lollicup while waiting.
August 02, 2014-IMG_8377

here comes the food
August 02, 2014-IMG_8413

mala xiang guo should smell really fragrant because of various spices that go into the pot, but when pork belly brought this mala xiang guo to the table, all i smelled was old meat smell. the spices couldnt even cover the old smell of the meat, thats how strong it was.
August 02, 2014-IMG_8438

the food overall didnt taste bad. i asked for the most spicy, but it wasnt spicy and numbing enough. there’s a pool of oil on the bottom of pot. the meat def was NOT fresh. i had mild diarrhea afterwards. my friend reported the same thing after she went: the meat was really not fresh.
August 02, 2014-IMG_8462

despite of not fresh meat, i would still come back for the veggies when i crave mala xiang guo. it is still much better than what wow bbq has to offer.
August 02, 2014-IMG_8508

they offer a few other dishes such as dan dan noodles and spicy bean jelly. we got the spicy bean jelly, i thought it was decent.
August 02, 2014-IMG_8487

August 02, 2014-IMG_8496

on a side note: i was commenting on my friend’s instagram pic of the mala xiang guo that i agreed that the flavors were rather weak and the meat was really not fresh. one of the owners of chilipa happened to see my comment. instead of taking in my feedback, he rudely interrupted our conversation, got super defensive, and argued back with very mean and sarcastic comments which i didnt really appreciate. i am not sure how would a restaurant improve if they cant humbly take feedback from their customers.

chilipa
1095 Commonwealth Ave
Allston, MA 02134
Allston/Brighton

http://www.chilipa.com/

Chilipa on Urbanspoon

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 9,411 other followers