Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

There's so much that I am thankful for.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

"I've loved something that really didn't exist."

Said by Scarlet in the movie Gone With the Wind.
"It doesn't matter. Our love began the day we met. Nothing that happened before even exists."

Said by the character Serena in the movie Serena.
The past few weeks or so.

"A white Chicago police officer was charged with first-degree murder on Tuesday in the death of a 17-year-old black man, just hours before city officials appealed for calm as they released a chilling video of the officer shooting the teenaged as he lay crumpled on the ground.

The grainy, nighttime dashboard camera video, which a judge ordered released last week, shows the young man running and then walking past officers in the middle of the street and spinning bullets suddenly striking him down. For a moment, lying on the ground, he moves but then is still after he appears to be shot several more times. An officer kicks an object away from his body. The video shows none of the officers on the scene offering assistance to the teenager, Laquan McDonald."

From the November, 24, 2015, New York Times story: Chicago Braces After Video of Police Shooting Is Released. Written by Monica Davey and Mitch Smith.

How can a group of professionals trained to handle situations like that value human life that way? The way Laquan MCdonald was killed is just heartbreaking and awful to watch.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Food Hangover [füd hang-oh-ver]: Waking up feeling bloated, groggy, and remorseful after an evening of uncontrollable eating. Often involves alcohol, boredom, or anxiety.
If you're looking for a great quality Korean album from the 90's with a wispy sound that perfectly captures and invokes emotions from the decade you never knew you had, I highly recommend this: TOY (토이) - 내 마음 속에.

This album seems to especially make sense on a crowded subway ride, where I can close my eyes and feel transported in a completely different way.

Thank you, Adele.

Your music makes the world a better place.

Monday, November 23, 2015

"Saying 'NO,' really is saying yes to yourself."

Said by Shonda Rhimes in the November 11, 2015, episode of Fresh Air.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Eating season is here!

But for some of us, it's a year round sort of thing.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

"Do you know what it feels like to dance alone?"

From the song Lights by Hurts.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Menus are magical booklets that let you know what deliciousness is to come.
"Hello from the other side.
At least I can say that I tried."

From the song Hello by Adele.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

"Half of New York City residents say they are struggling economically, making ends meet just barely, if at all, and most feel sharp uncertainty about the future of the city's next generation, a new poll shows.

The poll, conducted by The New York Times and Siena College, shows great disparities in quality of life among the city's five boroughs. The stresses weighing on New Yorkers vary widely, from the Bronx, where residents feel acute concern about access to jobs and educational opportunity, to Staten Island, where one in five report recently experiencing vandalism or theft.

But an atmosphere of economic anxiety pervades all areas of the city: 51 percent of New Yorkers said they were either just getting by or finding it difficult to do so."

From the November 18, 2015, New York Times story: Half of New Yorkers Say They Are Barely or Not Getting By, Poll Shows. Written by Alexander Burns and Giovanni Russonello.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

"But, applied as a universal device, the trick results in taste-bud strain."

From the November 23, 2015, issue of The New Yorker's Table for Two: Virginia's. Written by Silvia Killingsworth.

Monday, November 16, 2015

"If you give it a chance, you might actually like it."

Said by the character Jess in the show Married. Season 1, Episode 10.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

"It was too good to be true."

From the song Pin by Grimes.
"As the death toll rose to 129 victims---with 352 others injured, 99 of them critically---a basic timeline of the attacks came into view."

From the November 14, 2015, New York Times article: Three Teams of Coordinated Attackers Carried Out Assault on Paris, Officials Say; Hollande Blames ISIS. Written by Adam Nossiter, Aurelien Breeden and Katrin Benhold.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all of the victims and everyone in Paris.

It's scary how this is the reality of our world.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

My roommate is working the nightshift tonight, so it's nice to have the apartment to myself in the evening.

Lately, I've been trying to cook more when he's not home. Actually, I should rephrase that. It's been years since I've been cooking regularly, so I've just been trying to cook in general nowadays.

Being single and living in New York City, it's easy to go through extensively long periods without thinking twice about preparing my own food. The concept of grocery shopping turns really more into the question of, "where should I get food from?" And the daily matter of what to make for dinner turns more into, "what should I order?" Since most of my meals are eaten on my own, it alway feels more convenient to just get some take-out rather than going through the trouble of cooking and cleaning for myself. Plus, the places to order food from in New York City heavily outweigh places to go grocery shopping. And no matter what type of cuisine I'm craving on any given day, the freedom of not having to think about making it leaves for a lot more extra time in life. Which is always great because wondering about the recipes for a proper beef tartare or Vietnamese pho seems daunting. Besides being single, there's also a lot of other reasons why New Yorkers might not always cook. Perhaps for some, the magic of Seamless is just too amazing to not use. Then there's the fact that a lot of New York City apartments have unusable kitchens for whatever reasons, whether the equipment is super old or terrible ventilation makes the entire place stink afterwards. Or maybe there's the 3 crazy roommates who are always hogging up the stove and never clean up after themselves? And then there's the simple reality that many New Yorkers are straight up too busy.

But I've been trying to be more diligent about cooking for myself recently. Nothing super fancy, but accessible dishes that don't require a million ingredients and laborious prep. I don't like to cook if there are other people around, it's just a thing I have. That's why I take advantage of nights like tonight when my roommate isn't here. I prefer to cook alone with some music or a podcast on, that's it. And spending this time again in the kitchen has definitely been helpful in so many ways. I never realized this, but it's surprising how disconnected one can become from constantly eating food made by other people.

That's why I've come to enjoy this solo time for myself. And I forgot how when it comes to food, the most simplest things can be extremely cathartic. Cleaning and cutting your own vegetables. The feeling of ingredients in your hands. All of the vibrant colors and textures. The marvelous aromas wafting throughout. Pulling out a warm dish from the oven. Knowing exactly what's going into your body. All of it can be so wonderfully grounding.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

"You gotta show me the way."

From the song V.A.L.I.S. by Bloc Party.
Happy Veteran's Day, America!

And to all the veterans of this great nation, thank you.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

The Unispehere at Flushing Meadows Corona Park on a cloudy day.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

"On either side of you are little adobe houses, former fisherman's cottages, each painted the truer-than-true colors of a rainforest jungle---heliconia red, toucan-beak orange, tree frog green, bromeliad pink---their facades nearly obscured by stalks of banana trees and clumps of torch ginger."

From the story, Rhythm: Why We Keep Coming Back to Trancoso, in the November 2015 issue of Condé Nast Traveler. Written by Hanya Yanagihara.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

"The following day, mother and son walked to the temple, where they met a monk and asked about Schwader's father. 'I don't know that name,' he replied, 'but you're welcome to look through the cemetery.' At first, all they saw were rows of discouragingly pristine tombstones, most of them clearly newer. But just before giving up, they came upon a cluster of older stones, decrepit and obscured by foliage, their Lao inscriptions nearly faded away. Except for one, Schwader noticed, with a barely legible engraving: THONGSAVANH VILAYTHONG. His father's name.

At dawn the next morning, Schwader, with his shaggy mane and cargo shorts, and a monk with close-cropped hair and a long orange robe paired up to lift the top off the stone tower, revealing a hollow where the jar of bones and ashes were kept. Five monks had formed a line beside the grave and began chanting in unison. Per Lao tradition, Schwader cleaned his father's bones and placed them in a bucket, along with flowers, candles, and incense. Soon, he and his mother were in a boat on the Mekong, gathering handfuls of the bowl's contents and scattering them on the river."

From the story, Home Away, in the November 2015 issue of Condé Nast Traveler. Written by JJ Goode.

An absolutely wonderful and amazing story.
"Elbert Copeland spent eight of his formative years living in the Fulton Houses, a public-housing project in the Chelsea section of Manhattan, in the late 1980's and early '90s.

'Those years were pretty tough,' he said. 'There was drugs. There was prostitution.' He attended schools in the neighborhood, but he left in the 11th grade after seeing crime regularly spill from the street into his schools.

But at home, it was different.

'We always had love in our home,' said Mr. Copeland, 37, describing the affection his parents showed him, his sister and four brothers. 

From the November 3, 2015, New York Times story: The Neediest Cases - A Chance to Improve the Community, and Himself.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Things in New York City have been feeling a bit off this week. With Daylight Savings Time having started this past weekend, the city skies are pitch black by 5pm. But what's been a bit weird about that is it's also been unseasonably warm since Sunday, with temperatures easily going past 70° everyday. This early darkness in somewhat toasty weather feels a bit disorienting, with New Yorkers in shorts and a t-shirt and others wearing scarves and winter coats walking down the same sidewalk. And while we're on the topic of walking, I've always had big legs for as long I can remember. When I gain weight, it first usually goes to my calves and thighs. Finding pants that fit me well was hard until I discovered a certain style from J.Crew. For the past six years I haven't had to think twice about buying new pants because of these chinos. But when I recently ordered some new pairs, I couldn't even fit my legs through them. I contacted J.Crew and they told me that particular style recently went through a redesign to make the cut of the leg slimmer. I don't understand why they don't want us big-legged guys buying pants from them anymore. I hate shopping for clothes and now I have no idea where to get new pants. Speaking of pants, I also haven't worn a pair of jeans in more than two years. I just don't get anything out of wearing jeans anymore. Another thing I've recently stopped doing is going to so many negative or scandalmongering websites. It's amazing how my fingers would unconsciously type in the web address of all these sites I really shouldn't be reading, almost like a reflex. The fact that Chrome makes it easy to block websites now helps a lot, or otherwise the instinct of my fingers would have me absorbing all this tabloid-like content that really has nothing to do with my life, nor should it. I just want the news and facts, not someone's interpretation of it that is often grasping on to sensation. All of us already have enough bullshit in our lives, I can do without the clickbait.
"In my line if work, grimness of the mouth sets in after I've eaten too many things that are trying so hard to impress that they lose touch with anything that comes close to pleasure. And each time I see a roomful of people handing hundreds or thousands of dollars over to a chef who stopped caring a long time ago, my mood turns distinctly Novemberish."

From the November 3, 2015, New York Times Restaurant Review: Singapore Treats at Chomp Chomp in Greenwich Village.

Monday, November 02, 2015

The fantasies in my head will pale in comparison to what the future really holds.

Or most likely not. But it's nice to think about.
Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it. Work for it.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

To make it through the everyday minutiae of life in New York City, you have to fall into one of the following categories:
  • Crazy
  • Alcoholic
  • Druggie
  • Rich

Sunday, October 25, 2015

"You would've found out anyway, motherfucker!"

Said by Amy Schumer in her HBO special: Amy Schumer, Live at the Apollo.
No more pretending.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Dear friends,

Please check out my latest write-up for VICE's food channel, MUNCHIES: Secrets from the Guy Who Runs Your Cash Register.


Thursday, October 22, 2015

"Over the years, Gross has done some 13,000 interviews and the sheer range of people she has spoken to, coupled with her intelligence and empathy, has given her the status of national interviewer."

From the October 21, 2015, New York Times article: Terry Gross and the Are of Opening Up. Written by Susan Burton.

Love you, Terry.
"Taking action on a political issue that has long been stalled here, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is posed to announce executive action on Thursday intended to protect transgender people from discrimination in housing, employment and other areas."

From the October 22, 2015, New York Times article: Cuomo Planning Discrimination Protections for Transgender New Yorkers. Written by Jesse McKinley.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

It's a big world out there, with so many people and places to see.

Whenever you're feeling despondent or discouraged from your everyday routine, remember this.
"Officer Holder's body was driven from the hospital around 1:45 a.m. as dozens of colleagues saluted. Not a word was spoken."

From the October 21, 2015, New York Times article: Suspect in Fatal Shooting of New York Officer Was on the Run for Weeks, Officials Say. Written by Marc Santora, Al Baker and J. David Goodman.
Who says salad isn't delicious?

There's macaroni salad. Potato salad. Tuna salad. Egg salad. And my ultimate favorite, pasta salad.
"One added advantage: You can't text while you're walking and eating, or look at your email, or see what the weather is like on your phone. The walking-and-eating world is mercifully disconnected from the Internet."

From the October 21, 2015, Eater article: An Ode to the Pleasures of Walking and Eating. Written by Robert Sietsema.
"Padding the pavement while eating an impromptu meal is something New Yorkers are inordinately fond of."

From the October 21, 2015, Eater article: An Ode to the Pleasures of Walking and Eating. Written by Robert Sietsema.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Monday, October 19, 2015

"He had lain there for a while, nothing to announce his departure to the world, while the hyperkinetic city around him hurried on with its business."

From the October 17, 2015, New York Times article, The Lonely Death of George Bell. Written by N.R. Kleinfield.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

You know in the beginning of the movie, Rent, when everyone is standing on their New York fire escapes and burning their eviction notices because they refuse to pay rent?

Yeah, I like that scene.
Pass the oxtail, please.
"'As a culture we are much more interested in how and why things are happening,' Ms. Rothman said. 'People want a road map but they don't want you to drive them there.'"

From the October 13, 2015, New York Times article: Written Recipes Undergo a Makeover. Written by Kim Severson.

Monday, October 12, 2015

It's my earned right as an adult to have a beer while watching an episode of a tv show about high schoolers trying to score beer.
"For many New Yorkers, Queens---home to La Guardia and JFK airports---is a place of arrivals and departures, a place one passes through en route to somewhere else: the city's gateway to the world. But for those of us lucky enough to live and eat here, Queens is a world unto itself. An entirely delicious one.

How could it not be? The borough has one of the most ethnically diverse populations in the country. Name an immigrant group and I'll point you to where they've settled in Queens: Greeks and Egyptians in Astoria; Thais in Woodside and Elmhurst; Mexicans in Corona; Nepalese, Indians, Bangledeshis, and South Americans in Jackson Heights; Chinese, Taiwanese, and Koreans in Flushing... It's a patchwork, polygot landscape that, not coincidentally, offers up some of the city's finest momo, bao, tacos, moussake, pad kee mao, dosas, kebabs, kasha, soup dumplings, and almost any other far-flung speciality you can think of---often just an elevated train ride away.

Yes, Queens can seem baffling to outsiders. It's New York's largest borough by area, a sprawling, gritty streetscape where 30th Avenue intersects 30th Road and 30th Drive, street addresses involve numbers like 135-25, and a good many signs and menus are not in English. This might explain why visitors and residents from across the river generally stayed away, at least until recently---while a certain other borough next door grabbed all the attention. But while the brownstones of Brooklyn may have a corner on charm, Queens traffics in a different sort of energy: Its allure is authenticity, and its beauty is on the plate.

Lately, however, a palpable shift has occurred as more New Yorkers wise up to Queens's endlessly varied food scene. Among savvy and hungry locals and out-of-towners alike, it's become the borough to explore, and to eat your way across."

From the article, The World Across The River, in the October 2015 issue of Condé Nast Traveler. Written by Stephen Orr.
Visiting Berlin was great. It was nice to be in a major city abroad again. 

Living in New York, it's so easy to get bogged down by the grind of everyday life here. I had forgotten that not all major cities need to run at a constant and neurotic speed of 24/7. The change of scenery from being in Germany's capital was refreshing, and I really enjoyed my time there.

It would've been nice to just have had one extra day to myself. I would've loved to take the subway, checkout some restaurants on my own, or explore neighborhoods in general. But I guess that'll have to be on another trip to Berlin where I'm not there for work.

Here are just a few pictures I was able to take while there.