Top Bread | Chinatown Boston, MA

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we were in chinatown today and saw this new top bread bakery (former Bao Bao Bakery location which moved across street). i was never a fan of bao bao bakery because it smelled like bathroom and their bakery/store just looked unappealing to me. unlike bao bao bakery, top bread looks a lot cleaner, bright, and inviting so we went in and checked it out.

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i assumed today was their opening day?
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i picked up a taro swiss roll and a melon pan for breakfast tmr morning. i havent tasted them yet but they feel nice and soft. will update later.
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77 Harrison Ave
Boston, MA 02111
b/t Knapp St & Beach St in Chinatown

Sony A7 + Canon FD 50mm SSC with Fotodiox adapter

Hi All Porkbelly here,

We got a Sony a7 not too long ago and love it. The portability and image quality of the camera is great. We still haven’t bought a native FE mount lens for the camera yet. Manual focusing with this camera has been extremely easy with focus magnification to make sure the pictures are super sharp and focus peaking to let us know when the image is in focus. Our current go to lens is an old Canon FD 50mm S.S.C that has been with my family for a while now.

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It’s awesome how the A7 gives new life to old lenses. Here are some shoots from the a7 with the Canon 50mm FD SSC 1.4 in Raw Format unedited….

50mmSSC (1 of 1)

Canon FD lenses offer great value, on the market a FD 50mm 1.4 SSC is around $100 used, compared to the 50mm EF 1.4 which is $250+

50mmSSC (1 of 1)-2

From the Beijing Cat cafe

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1.4 gives great Bokeh!

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Breakfast in Beijing

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At our Wedding planner’s place in Beijing

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From our wedding venue.

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I feel like the Sony with a manual lens is helping me slow down, focus on the basics of photography instead of my usual pray and spray. Kind of like a Leica at 1/8 the price? So what do you think?

Costa Rica 2014 Day 5 La Mansion Inn | Manuel Antonio National Park | Naranjo River – Whitewater Rafting | Mar Luna

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this is day 5 in manuel antonio costa rica and also the last post of costa rica series. we did stay for 1 more day in costa rica; however, i accidentally deleted all my day 6 pictures :'(

day 5 we went to check out manuel antonio national park in the morning and we did whitewater rafting in the afternoon with Iguana Tours. our schedule was pretty tight and our hotel la mansion inn was very helpful to squeeze two tours in one day for us.

la mansion inn dining room/lobby
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we had complimentary breakfast on the balcony
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good ocean view
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after breakfast, we waited outside to get picked up by the tour guide.
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our hotel la mansion inn
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after a short ride we arrived to Manuel Antonio National Park. you can come here without a tour or tour guide, but it was a very good idea that we came with one. it was ridiculously hard to spot animals. it took forever for me to find the animals even the tour guide pointed out for me. i probably wont be able to see any otherwise. the tour guide also carries a telescope with him and he can take pictures of the animals for you through the telescope.

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it’s a sloth
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there’s a beach inside manuel antonio national park and there are a lot white face monkeys on the beach.
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bats – so cute
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more sloth
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after Manuel Antonio National Park, we joined another whitewater rafting on Naranjo River tour with Iguana Tours

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after a full day of activities, we went to grab a few drink and relaxed in the hot tub in our hotel. our hotel pool area had a pretty good view of the ocean but too bad i lost all the pictures.
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for dinner, i was too lazy to do researches, so we went to Mar Luna which was recommended by a girl that worked in our hotel.
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mar luna sits on a hilltop overlooking the treetops and sea coast, but too bad it was pitch black outside.
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grilled seafood for two. they dont have this on the menu, so just ask for it. RIDICULOUSLY DELICIOUS!!!!! i was really mind blown by this grilled seafood platter. probably best grilled seafood ive ever had. they were freshly caught in the morning and grilled over volcanic ash (instead of charcoal). super flavorful and tasty. buttery, juicy, super fresh seafood with a bit of smokiness. this worth the trip to manuel antonio alone. simply amazing!
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it was so good we had to get second round of shrimps. was afraid i will never taste something like this ever again.
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some flan for desserts
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on our way back to our hotel, our cab driver saw a sloth climbing on the power lines and stopped for us to take pictures. it was an amazing night full of surprises.
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Costa Rica 2014 Day 4 Monteverde | Hotel Belmar | Don Juan Coffee and Chocolate Tour | La Mansion Inn | Manuel Antonio, Quepos

Costa Rica 2014 Day 3 Arenal – Monteverde | Sky Adventures | Hotel Belmar

Yank Sing | Financial District, San Francisco CA

(PorkBelly) This Summer I had the opportunity to go to San Francisco on a Business trip. I got the OK from my boss to take my co-worker to Yank Sing for Dimsum. It was a short walk from our office in the financial district.

Yank Sing (1 of 22)

There is inside seating and outside seating. We were seated outside.
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Shanghai Dumpling – A Yank Sing signature dish of minced Kurobuta Pork, scallion and ginger wrapped and steamed in its own aromatic broth.

We started off with some soup dumplings, they were decent. Not Shanghai levels of good (JiaJia)
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Heaven in a cart
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Yank Sing (7 of 22)

Pork Siu Mye – Hand-chopped shrimp with pork, shiitake mushrooms filling hand-wrapped in fresh pasta skin and hand-formed into a fluted ‘basket.’

Shu Mai 燒賣
Yank Sing (1 of 1)

Shrimp Dumpling (Ha Gau) – Hand-chopped shrimp embedded with crunchy bits of sweet winter bamboo shoot tips and fashioned into a bonnet.

Har gow 蝦餃
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Steamed Pork Buns – Warm fluffy bread buns stuffed with nuggets of honey-glazed BBQ pork.

Char Siu Bao 叉燒包
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For Dimsum I always order Chrysanthemum tea. I don’t know why I just like it. Tea wasn’t watered down like most dimsum places.

菊花茶
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My guilty dim sum pleasure, dim purist hate it, but I love it….It’s a bit Americanized

Stuffed Crab Claws – Light and fluffy crab and shrimp mousse croquette encasing a whole snow crab claw, deep-fried until golden brown.

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sweet and sour sauce for the crab claw
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Pork rib – pretty fancy for pork rib at a Dimsum joint. It was good, meat was tender

排骨
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Don’t know how to explain this one, tofu skin thing with chicken inside.
腐皮捲

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Turnip Cake
蘿蔔糕

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It was a cool San Francisco in May. They were heating lamps placed outside to keep us warm.
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Dessert time
Coconut Cream Roll – A soft sweet rice roll filled with a custard cream filling and topped with coconut flakes.

outside is a coconutty gluttonous wrapper, and the inside is delicious custard filling. I like coconut and I like custard filling, so this was a hit in my book.

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I also ordered a Nai huang Bao, It’s a bun filled with a custard filling

奶黄包
At this restaurant they look like boobs
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Always best when hot
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Overall the dim sum was good. The ingredients are very fresh and clean, everything came out hot and quick like dimsum is supposed to. I got a Americanized vibe from this place, they missed a few dimsum items I love to order i.e Chicken Feet, and 腸粉. It’s rare finding Chinese food like this in a middle of a financial district, so I’ll take it! One major down side is that it’s fucking expensive. I spent almost $100 including tip for all the items pictured. That’s pretty ridiculous for dimsum. Nonetheless I had a food coma went I went back to work…..

Yank Sing
101 Spear St
San Francisco, CA 94105
Yank Sing on Urbanspoon

Kokio Chicken | Koreatown, Los Angeles CA

(Porkbelly)KFC, Korean Fried Chicken in LA, what are the normal spots? Bonchon? Kyochon? OB Bear? Seoul Sausage?  My friend gave me a tip to check out Kokio (I was planning to go to Kyochon for their take out).  He’s adamant OB Bear is the king of KFC in LA and Kokio is the shit for take out.

Kokio Chicken is located on Western Ave in Koreatown, it would be easy to miss if it wasn’t for the Huge Chicken logo on a Red Awning.

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Kokio (2 of 21)

The store has two openings

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Walk through the door under the Red Awning and you end up in this room. They are a few tables and chairs
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A preview of their menu

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There is more seating further back
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A view from their main room

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My friend and I ordered some chicken and than we allegedly sped back to his place to eat this delicious goodness…..

Half and Half, up front is the Sweet and Spicy and in the rear are the Spicy wings…..The Chicken is hot, crispy, perfectly battered, perfectly sauced…. My mouth is watering thinking about it…..The spicy wings were pretty damn hot…

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Sweet and Spicy money shot
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Oh man……….
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We also ordered some garlic wings too…… These were also heaven
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Getting ready for the chow-down
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My friend really likes the pickled radish they give you so he got extra, at Kyochon they charge for this, but Kokio gives it out no charge. Our food came with these sauces

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I didn’t use it too much since the chicken is properly seasoned, it tastes like green sauce from a peruvian joint. Not bad.
I didn’t get a picture of the other sauce, it tasted like a mayonnaise based sauce.

Kokio (21 of 21)

Overall, This place is a damn good Korean Fried Chicken place! It’s a million times better than Bonchon or anything we have in the Boston area. We went on a Sunday Evening and there wasn’t a line. The food came out prompt and hot. I would definitely recommend this to anyone in the LA area.

Kokio Chicken
371 North Western Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90004

Kokio Chicken on Urbanspoon

Night Market | Harvard Square Cambridge, MA Boston

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went to check out night market’s soft opening tonight.

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as the name suggests, it’s an asian street food inspired restaurant.

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peanuts
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it bothers me a lot when i dont get a real wine glass with my wine
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pineapple sake slushy | menu – click to enlarge

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wellfleet oysters with fish sauce and chillies – these oysters were served lukewarm. not sure if was because of the fish sauce, the oysters were extra fishy.
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daikon fries – radish with garlic/black bean aioli and smoked tomato/ginger ketchup.
the garlic dipping sauce was nice and daikon fries tasted more like yucca fries.
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chinese fish fry – salted dace, mustard greens, thai chili
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mushroom gyoza – maitake, shitake, button, cashew
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dan dan mien – spicy pork ragout, sichuan broth, egg noodles
nothing tasted like the dan dan noodles i have had in asia. noodles had no textures. egg noodles are not used in real dan dan mian.
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food didn’t taste bad except for the oysters; however, it tasted nothing like authentic asian street food. the idea is nice, but the execution is off. one of the reasons why people enjoy night markets is that they enjoy specialized dishes by each food vendor while still having a great selection of food. dishes like dan dan mian seem simple but are very hard to execute well. usually one food stand at a night market in asia specializes in one dish or one type of food. they cook the same dish all their life and sometimes it’s even being passed on from one generation to another. although they have a selection of ‘asian street food’ dishes, none of the dishes we had at night market was very well made or memorable.

although the food was discounted at 50% off during the soft opening period, i found the full price to be ridiculously high for what it is. the daikon fries are priced at $10 and the chinese fish fry, canned fish + rice, are priced at $9.5. not sure what kinda people would wanna pay $10 for some canned fish over white rice. i rarely talk about prices on this blog, but i found this was pretty outrages. it would be all worth the money if they did taste amazing; however, it was not the case for night market.

grand opening is tomorrow 12/9/2014

things i liked: the pineapple sake slushy, ambience, friendly service.
will i return: very unlikely

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Night Market
below 48 jfk street
Cambridge, Ma

Night Market on Urbanspoon

http://www.nightmkt.com/

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