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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

.: Hot-Lanta Jamaican Food :.

my 26 hours in hot-lanta finally came to an end. i sat at the airport for four hours because i couldn't get waitlisted for the earlier flight home. ATL is massive and just the airtran terminal is obnoxiously busy.

however, when i arrived yesterday, compared to the cold and wet weather of baltimore, atlanta was sunny and pleasantly cool. after i checked in to the hotel and tried to figure out the tv remote (and accidentally ordered porn, only to call the front desk and tell them to ix-nay the order because i'm REALLY not watching strangers bump uglies! honest!), i headed out for dinner. at first, i was a little unnerved about eating alone but then i remembered all those times at cafes or even in college, i always had the best time when i was eating alone. it was ME time. plus, it gave me the opportunity to people watch or read. last night was no different, i found out. i chose a jamaican restaurant called
Tropical Cuisine. i did a quick search of restaurants near the hotel. unfortch, they don't have a website, which is a shame because they were great. the waitress was a joy to chat with (she and i share an unnatural love for our puma kicks), very friendly and so hospitable. for apps, i picked the fried conch. it was a simple presentation on a bed of lettuce and a wedge of lemon for garnish. i knew kinda sort what conch was but i'd never had it and i figured why not? it was chewy. and now that i know it's part of the snail family, and i've had snails (or escargot) before, i guess now the chewy texture makes sense to me. i maybe had four pieces? i didn't love it but i didn't hate it.

the waitress recommended that i try their chicken simmered in tomato sauce with brown rice. ok.
i'm pretty easy going so i went with that. it was really good. i enjoyed it immensely. it wasn't too spicey that my tongue was completely numb but it def had a kick to it. if i ever come to atlanta again, i would come to this restaurant again. they ran out of their beef pattie (actually, all patties) so i wasn't able to grab one to go. i think i'll try their jerk chicken next time. the decor was a bit unbalanced. one part of the place was similar to the way a chinese take out joint is: with pix of the dishes blown up with the prices and a small waiting area but the back area had a bar and a good number of tables. CNN was on, volume at full blast but one could still hear the sounds of the islands blaring from the stereo at the bar. i didn't mind tho, i thought it was cute. all in all, on a personal standpoint, the highlight of my trip.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

.: Down Home Cookin :.

i am so rarely in DC, even tho it's within driving distance, that when i do go, i like to hit a nice restaurant. so buu and i decided to grab some southern cooking at Georgia Brown's. Zeke, kim and jon joined in on the pham-ily affair too.

the restaurant was PACKED. even tho we had reservations for 8:15, we weren't seated till closer to quarter to nine. we grabbed drinks at the bar and word of warning, dreads-girl bartender? avoid her, pocketful of sunshine she is not. the waiter wasn't exactly warm and fuzzy either, and definitely was not much help with the menu. he probably had a lot of tables to tend to but still. the service could definitely improve. however, i'm happy to say that the food made up for what the service lacked. we ordered Ma Brown's Appetizer Sampler. the fried green tomatoes and cole slaw was divine. the chicken livers was a bit batter-y, the fried catfish fingers were nice and i was too scared to try the black eyed pea falafal, tho buu said they were good. the corn muffin bread was yum-o too.

i decided on the Low Country Shrimp & Grits, Buu opted for the Louisiana "Devil" Shrimp and Kim went with the Southern Fried Chicken. Both boys go for the Bone-In Cowboy Steak. Naturally, i had two bites of my delish entree and i was stuffed. i had room for dessert tho, Chocolate Pecan Pie. zeke wasn't a fan of his potatoes but he really dug the beef! there was a marriage proposal at the next table so the atmosphere was festive. we sat at the table for a good two hours and the place was still crowded. the music was soulful and conservation was flowing. it was a lovely evening.

i'm headed to atlanta tomorrow and i am hopeful that i'll be able to try something finger lickin good! if only i was going to savannah so i could rub elbows with Paula Dean!

Bachelorette/Lingerie Party

i swear it is not my intention to turn this blog into a foodie based one, but i have been quite anamoured with prepping food lately. don't fret, i still have a few crochet and sewing projects to complete.

so my friend from college Cory is getting married soon and she decided to have her bachelorette party in DC this weekend. basically, 10 girls from the Roanoke and Richmond areas trekked it up to our nation's capital Friday to live it up. i met up with them saturday afternoon for the lingerie party. naturally, i brought a few snacks to munch on while the bride-to-be opened presents and we basically just gabbed the afternoon away.

i wanted to make a simple crostini treat, to soak up the alcohol i was sure the girls would be consuming that night. the recipe called for sundried tomatoes and goat cheese. however, the grocery store i went to didn't have sundried tomatoes or goat cheese. i wasn't about to go searching for the ingrediants friday night so i made the executive decision to buy just herbed garlic cheese and roasted red peppers. the concoction turned out well so basically, i rock.
the original version of the recipe can be found here but like i said, i used jarred roasted red peppers instead, a simple herbed cheese dip. i also did not follow the exact measurements (do i ever?).

the second dish i made was more for the sweet tooth. i decided to make Almond and Chocolate Clusters. i'll be honest, simple ingrediants and directions but still a pain in the ass to make. i don't have mini-muffin tins, just regular size so they came out bigger in circumference but flatter. also, be sure to spray the pans heavily beforehand! they were chewy and not so much crunchy. giada probably had a special sound technician handy when she bit into hers to make it sound extra crunchy. i'm jealous.

my duty for the weekend was to shop for a ... ahem... exotic entertainer. i actually called up the place and said "i'd like to place an order for a ... stripper..." it turned out to be hilarious. Cory was surprised, there was so much laughter and squealing. i'm glad i chose Brad because he was a complete gentleman. included a few pix of some of the fun we had!

Friday, April 25, 2008

.: Dinner by the Water :.

jab and i went out to dinner last night to celebrate his new job. i wanted to take a walk in the park, it's been so pretty out and plus, i'm on a keeping in shape kick. what is it about the warm weather that makes one want to get in shape? it was a lovely walk thru the park. people were walking their dog, there was a couple having a picnic on a blanket; it was a picturesque scene.

in the distance i could see the Natty boh building.

i also enjoyed the dandelions. i know they're weeds or whatever but i've always liked them.

he was craving some oysters so he took me to bo brooks down by the water in Canton. i'd never even heard of the place but the walk was invigorating and rumor has it, oyster season is almost over. we were lucky to have a seat outside, we had a view of the boats and setting sun.

the hostess was a tad bit too tan so early in the season and i thought, slightly rigid. i noticed throughout the night that her demeanor did not improve. we ordered a dozen Hope Dale oysters, half pound of steamed shrimp and jerk chicken skewers. everything was delicious. over all, the oysters were plump and juicy, the shrimp were cooked just right and sprinkled with Old Bay and the jerk sauce really made all the difference for the chicken.

BUT. the dessert was by far the best item at the table. i ordered the Chocolate Marble Tiger Cake that was just so decadent... divine... luxurious. i'm going to have to take kelcy to this place so she can figure out the recipe for me. i think it was the icing that did it for me. normally i have a bite or two and i'm done. jab never rarely eats dessert and he isn't the biggest fan of chocolate but we definitely went to town on that cake!

the view from where i was sitting ....

Sunday, April 20, 2008

asian inspired ravioli

i decided to make ravioli tonight which is kinda weird because i am not the biggest fan of italian food. but since i'm on strike from asian food, i figured why not. it's funny tho, i used wonton wrappers to make them, which is very asian. go figure.

simple directions/recipe: put ricotta cheese, thawed frozen wilted spinach, prosciutto and shredded carrots in a mixing bowl.

add two egg yolks to bind together. salt and pepper to taste. using single wonton wrappers, put about a teaspoon worth of the mixture in the middle. you can either make them into triangles or fold over. i made the latter. use water to seal the edges together.

cook the wontons/ravioli in salted water till tender, about 4 minutes. transfer to plate. garnish with chopped green onions. for the sauce, i melted butter and added a dash of nutmeg and garlic. for about six raviolis, i poured maybe half a teaspoon of the sauce and it was just right.

i used up the entire wonton wrapper package and there was plenty of mixture leftover. i only cooked up a batch for dinner and for lunch tomorrow. the rest and the leftover mixture, i put in containers and put in the freezer. i'm pretty excited because i now have some crazy amounts of frozen raviolis i can heat up quickly for the evenings i don't feel like cooking.

Friday, April 18, 2008

baker baker, baking a cake ... make me a day, make me whole again ...

after a rocky start to my week, i decided to get off my ass yesterday and get my creative juices flowing again. i didn't hit the sack till much later than normal but i definitely felt like myself again.

i bought a bag of gala apples at Wegmans and they weren't as crisp as i like them to be so i decided to cook them. my first dish was Apple Creme Brulee. i didn't follow the recipe exactly but i think it came out ok. the custard is heavier, i think and i don't have a blow torch to make the crisp sugar top but whatevs. i think i'll try this again sometime in the fall.

the next dish was a bit more ambitious. ever since i came across this blog some time ago i knew that i wanted to give it a go. the recipe says to use Granny Smiths but i didn't. again, i didn't follow everything the recipe called for, like the flour and syrup, and i couldn't find any mini pie crusts so i used loose dough and just built them on muffin tins.

i liked how the recipe didn't get all spazzy with exact measurements so i just used my judgement. i made the first rose and it turned out really nice. however, the gala apples were on the smaller side and i was running out of the bigger slices to make the petals AND i was getting tired. World's Deadliest Catch was on. so for the rest, i just dumped them all in and they became just mini apple pies.

i brought my creations to work today, for the office and visiting developers to enjoy. i felt so bad that my Monday orientation was all store bought stuff and nothing Angry Asian.

a more decadent breakfast than usual but it was well worth it. btw, the title of this post is actually a lyric from Tori Amos' song Baker Baker from her album Under the Pink.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

.: the food that probably made me ill :.

took a few snaps of some grub. i've given up asian food for awhile.

.: Japan Pix :.

real quick. just pix from my time in Jiru and Tokyo. no pix of bio mom and siblings tho. those i'll keep to myself.

.: Chhh-ina Pix :.

yeah i'm finally getting around to posting the pix. i was going to do another rock you slideshow but i wanted to find a slide where you could actually control the pix that you see and at your own pace. you're welcome.

i still feel like shit. if it's not my stomach that hurts, it's my head and the fatigue is kicking my ass. next time i decide to travel, i'm carrying packets of this shit because being unprepared suuuuucks.

Friday, April 11, 2008

.: Land of Lan :.

being over theres, there was one thing that definitely made me feel warm and fuzzy: the socks. effing socks galore. Japan ought to change their name to Land of Lan. for reals.

.: Vacation Souvenirs = Asian Role Playing :.

i adopted kelcy back in college. her vietnamese name is Ngoc Hoa, which means Jade Flower. she's been dating Matt for about 4 years and i like to rub it in her face that he told me he loved me much sooner than when he finally busted it out to her. when i was visiting the motherland, i bought a few trinkets for them to enjoy. their pix are the reasons why i keep them around, they totally get me!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Key Lime Pie Bday

my friend Shawn joined the 30s club yesterday so i made him his favorite pie: Key Lime Pie. his birthday also coincided with our last volleyball game. so i made two pies to celebrate a fun season as well as Shawn turning old.

somehow they convinced Tasha to get a pie facial. the things college kids do for extra $$!

i heart my volleyball team, Unprotected Sets!

recipe as follows:
it's an easy no-baker ~
1 prepared graham cracker crust
1 can (14 oz) condensed sweetened milk
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 tsp lime zest
2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed
lime slices for garnish

Beat condensed milk and lime juice in bowl. stir in lime peel. pour into crust. spread whipped topping. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until set.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

.: Slowly Catching Up :.

i'm feeling pretty lazy about uploading my pix from China and Japan. i went a little ape with the picture taking. still haven't gotten a replacement cord for my camera. it'll happen. eventually.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

quick update

i'm still crafting but i've been lazy about uploading the pix. will do so sometime this week. in the meantime, i have an update. posted below is a pic of Jacob, Donna's son. i made a mama-son scarf set awhiles back and he's wearing his scarf! SO PRECIOUS.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Lacy Baby Hat

i am so effing excited to say that i completed my 2nd hat ever today. it took me a total of about 4 hours to complete AND i learned how to do a shell stitch. i:ll post pix when i:m back home in a few days but i got the pattern from Bizzy Crochet. TOO CUTE!

when i get my sewing machine and i figure out how to make baby booties and bibs, my baby gifts/package will be complete!

i cannot wait to be home!

.: Sweet Relief :.

just one more day.

however, i did complete a craft project today that is just too effing cute!

Baby Lace Hat!