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Friday, July 25, 2014

Street Food Yum - Mini Pancakes

It's been a while that I've had these mini pancakes as I've cried about them when living abroad in Korea, having the Korean version of the chesnut poppers. These cheap mini pancakes are of course, the childhood goodies that every ABC (American Born Chinese) child loves. Just for a measly dollar, who's price still stands, it is the perfect eat for anyone who is cruising around touring Chinatown or going food shopping. This perfect snack is cooked to a crisp within minutes, which makes it the perfect cheap snack, fun eat, everything you practically want in one! Be sure to ask them to make it a little more crispier so you get a perfect mini size cake. The best time to have it, of course, is right when it's removed from the pan on a Fall or Winter day! For anyone who is familiar with this childhood favorite, you'll know of the cart that is right in between Baxter and Mulberry, right at the break of Walker and Canal Street! 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Beauty Review - Black Paint Chamomile

This rare find was something that I picked up back when I was in Kyoto, strolling along one of the more cultural places in the area. Arashiyama is filled with a ton of good eats, temples in a large area as well as the recognizable Bamboo Forest. Arashiyama has a ton of great small eats that is the perfect to pick up and go as you stroll through the temples or on a Ninja wagon ride. 

Finishing up with a lot of the cultural explorations always include some kind of shopping. Located along the famous shopping district in Aarashiyama, one store that definitely stood out from the rest is the Black Paint store. With a ton of black paint on the outside to sample, being lured in with the great products was one thing that I could not hold back from.
Black paint is known to help the pores and promote clear skin for many. This organic black paint was originated in Kyoto made from a charcoal that works magic into the skin, whether it is the body or face. Made from different plants and essential oils, it is one of the well-recognized products in Japan, making it's way world-wide. 
For those with sensitive skin like myself, going for the true black paint from Kyoto may not be the best product. With my very minimal Japanese knowledge and the representative's little knowledge of English, we definitely were able to make it work by knowing that the product recommended was the Chamomile face wash for the skin. With a great fragrance and light touch to the skin, it is definitely one of the better face washes I've had. The product does not bubble as much as other face washes, so it might not feel like a complete clean. Nonetheless, it is something that is recommended to try, especially for anyone who can tolerate the true black paint face wash.

The Black Paint company also carries other products to promote good health, including water that is monitored for the minerals that is extremely refreshing. This is one store that everyone who looks for great, natural products should look into.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Cheap Eats - Otafuku

236 East 9 Street
New York, NY 10003

This little gem is something that many people were devastated about when they found out the initial location closed. Best thing is, it just moved a few doors down. Located on East 9th in St Marks, Otafuku brings to you the popular Japanese eats, takoyaki and okonomiyaki, along with a handful of other small eats. Freshly prepared as you order, each and every bite size serving that has your taste buds knocking!
Otafuku's menu is affordable in all aspects with their most expensive dishes being the combos that are priced under $10! This is definitely not a sit down restaurant, but a quick bite with a bench on the outside and a few standing areas to consume these Japanese goodies. Otafuku opens at noon and into the later hours of the night. It is definitely the perfect snack to fill you up as you enjoy the rest of St Marks whether that be waiting in line for a seat or after a few drinks!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Restaurant Review - Umami Burger

Umami Burger
432 Ave of the Americas

The signature stamp of the Umami Burger is well known to all around the world. This trademark burger has made its way into the bellies of many, including myself. The tender burger meat is cooked to perfection, topped with the perfect bun. Their "secret" ingredient brings teh burgers to life with the right touch. Juices flow from the burger right down with every bite. Each and every burger has something to rave about, but the fries are also a must-have addition to your meal. Sweet potato fries provide your meal with the right finish paired with a handful of different dipping condiments, including the well-known Umami ketchup. 

For those of you who are unaware of, there is definitely a secret menu from Umami that many rave about, but it could be a hit or a miss. Some of the popular ones are the Truffle Fries, Cheesy Tator Tots, and Spicy Bird. You'll also find the White Beer, Kalbi Burger, Truffle Poutine Burger, Umami Supreme, Brunch Burger, Duck Burger, and so much more! This is definitely one place that will have a line, no matter the hour of the day so be prepared for that!

Friday, June 13, 2014

A New Twist on Tradition - Ngam

99 Third Avenue
New York NY 10003

Ngam serves up a new touch on Thai goods with a slight infusion twist, labeling it as the "Modern Thai Comfort Food." Taking traditional Thai food to the next level, Ngam is a place that will have you on your feet as to what culinary twist to expect. The best sellers include the Old School Pad Thai, a more traditional style of Thai dishes, as well as the Dark Knight, a bed of black squid ink noodles topped with fried calamari to it's perfection. Every dish at Ngam is infused with an immense amount of flavor, giving the right balance for your palette. The one thing that did not work for me was the Thai Taco, a stir-fry bunch of meat and vegetables topped on a pan fried roti wrap; there definitely could have been more to this.

With the variety of Thai goods, expect nothing less than a packed madhouse when visiting Ngam. Be sure to make reservations well ahead of time to dodge the long lines. Although you may be waiting a while for your food, the customer service is at the top at Ngam, which may be hard to come across now-a-days. Staff is ready to tackle your every craving, minus the number of dishes that were ordered before you.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Story of My Life - Traveler's Perception

As I narrow down my choices and figure out where I what I want to do in life and where I want to live, the pros and cons isn't as easy to balance out as I thought. If only I could live life traveling from country to country every few months. Not saying that airplane would be my main source of transportation, especially because I have been tired of seeing so many different airports this month alone. Finding the right place to settle down isn't as easy as it seems. 

New York has still been the same. A division between money and happiness is what we have here. Why is it that we associate money with happiness? Do we all need money to be happy? This is something many of us fail to acknowledge and just continue to become submissive to the New York culture. I have, again, done such a thing and forgot what happiness was for just a second. Now that I take a step back, I should rethink where I would like to spend the rest of my life. 

With the perks come disadvantages in life which include every country I've previously visited: 

  • Korea   The things that I have learned has definitely changed me as a person, especially the dinners that I cook now, with a big portion being Korean food. There are so many cultural differences that are contrary to my beliefs in life that it makes it difficult to live in Korea for the rest of my life. Nonetheless, there are a ton of perks and advantages of living in Korea. A handful of which makes me want to stay and live in Korea forever. Unfortunately, raising children and having them learn under the stressful and competitive Korean tradition may not be the easiest thing. The things my strict parents hand me undergo as a child nearly doesn't compare to what my students go through daily. 
  • Taiwan   It is by far still my favorite tourist location for the street food that they offer. For cheap price and great food, this is difficult to top. The people are extremely friendly in Taiwan and always willing to help. I have met a handful of wonderful people from Taiwan and it is one of the places on my list that I want to move to, but there is a price to pay with the compensation and amount of work one puts in. Because the low costs of life, there is no need for a high salary compensation, but you are expected to work hard.
  • Hong Kong   The people are blunt and straight forward. They may not be the nicest people in the world but they do have quite the pride in who they are. I am proud to know the Cantonese language and take pride in my family background but never expected to see or hear some of the things I have experienced in Hong Kong. The food though, is another story. This is like taking Chinatown to the next level!
  • Australia   The simple fact that there are a large number of killer species that live with you, Australia is definitely not the safest place. I'm definitely not fond of insects and that is mostly what I've been seeing here in addition to a few frightening reptiles along the way. Although the minimum wage is at the top of the mark worldwide, living in Australia can add up as well. If only a working holiday can be worked out where I won't spend too much money and just work hard to save through the year! That's pretty much impossible with the amazing food culture Melbourne has to offer, LOVEEEEE it there.
  • Maldives    It is the best honeymoon spot honestly. The locals are amazing, but there are not a ton of foreigners living in the Maldives. I just can't wait to go back, especially for the fresh seafood and great friends. I honestly hope and pray that it can last through the decade and overcome global warming. This is an issue that has affected us all, but when will we act on it to save our own kind?
  • China   For a country that has been growing at such an incline, with a goal to be the best at everything, China is definitely one that is great for anyone who is looking to get rich. It is a bit unfortunate that the health regulations and air just isn't the best in China. There has been a lot of sacrifices in terms of health concerns, which makes me take a step back, but I wish that just wasn't the problem.
  • Vietnam   This is probably one of the most relaxing countries that I have been to, but it is unfortunate that I do not speak the language. The lifestyle is something new to get used to. A New Yorker just isn't made out for the slow pace, but the food is amazing. Having to justify between living in the North where my parents lived and the South where the cuisine is amazing is another story!

Moral of this: find happiness in some way, some sort. For me, I think it's by my stomach.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Sweet Tooth Satisfaction - Sweet Buttons Bakery

Sweet Buttons Bakery 
84 Rivington Street
New York, NY 10002

A wide selection of amazing mini desserts can be found at Sweet Buttons Bakery in the Lower East Side from their "Just-For-Me Cupcakes" to the tarts and dessert cups. These little desserts are the perfect bite size treats that doesn't make you feel that guilty for a simple enjoyment. Opened into late hours of the day, Sweet Buttons Bakery is a popular spot for guests of all ages. They are the perfect treats to fill a quick sweet tooth or even to indulge in. Although the desserts are mini in size, they are still full of flavor. Each cupcake is still moist to perfection with the right amount of icing and topping that makes your mouth just water. The popular dessert cups are made of layers of creme and cake, piping it to the top. Unfortunately for me, creme is not my thing so skipping out on that just seemed like best choice.

The popular desserts at Sweet Buttons Bakery include the Nutella cup cake, Tiramisu dessert cup, and their salted caramel cups. With so much to choose from, finding the right one just might be difficult to do. At the very minimum, you can grab a handful to sample. Cupcakes are just a measly $1.50 and the most expensive are the dessert cups, priced at a low cost of $3. Sweet Buttons Bakery also offers a handful of freshly brewed drinks. With a busy crowd though, be ready to wait a little for a cup of latte art.