Happy Labor Day everyone! I did this fun mani for the long weekend, which Yufei and I are spending in sunny LA.
I used 2 coats of e.l.f.’s Blush, a lovely rose gold color, then used strips of masking tape to make the pattern, then used 2 coats of Zoya’s Elodie on top.
It’s super simple to do, you can make all kinds of patterns, and it works with lots of different color combinations! Hope you’re all enjoying the long weekend!
Yufei and I had dinner at Firefly back in July. It’s in a neighborhood we don’t go to often, but I needed to pick up the ceramics Jenny and I painted from the studio, so we met up for dinner there.
Complimentary bread with bean spread, very unusual.
Yufei’s appetizer, a sweet a delicious corn chowder.
My appetizer of shrimp and scallop potstickers. They were pretty good, but I still find it strange that western restaurants have Asian dishes for appetizer (spring rolls, etc.).
Fried chicken entree for Yufei. It was a pretty big serving so he only ate half and saved the other half for my lunch the next day.
My entree of sea bass. It was just okay, a bit bland and under-seasoned. I wished it had a more flavorful sauce.
Cute little frosted jar on each table.
Desserts: chocolate crepes and peach tart. They were both really good, a nice note to end the meal.
Overall the food at Firefly was just average, with the soup and the desserts being the highlight. The service was nice though; they had forgotten Yufei’s beer order and comped it after we reminded them. Probably won’t go back unless we’re in the area again.
Towards the end of June, I went to have afternoon tea with some friends to celebrate the birthday of Rebecca, a friend from school. We went to the Rotunda, on the top floor of Neiman Marcus. I had no idea this place existed inside the store, especially with all the construction going on in the area. But it was so beautiful inside, with a gorgeous stained glass ceiling:
We all got the signature tea, which comes with a pot of Dammann Frères loose leaf paired with “delicate housemade sweets, petite cookies, exquisite tarts, a selection of finger sandwiches and flaky scones with preserves and cream.” After we placed our orders we got a tiny soup and crouton to start things off.
Then came their famous popovers, which was so fluffy and buttery and just heavenly.
I chose the Nuit à Versailles tea, a green tea (the name just sounds so pretty).
Our food! We each got 4 kinds of sweet pastries/dessert, a scone, and 6 different savory sandwiches. So even though they’re dainty, it’s still quite a lot of food, enough for lunch!
Butter, jams, and jellies for the scones. And lemons for the tea.
We had a lovely time at the Rotunda. The tea, food, service, and ambiance were all impeccable. I will definitely be back there again sometime soon!
After spirit tasting, we stopped by a little bar/cafe/grocery store to grab a beer and watch part of a World Cup game. Then we took a bus to the International Rose Test Garden, a huge garden filled with blooming roses of every kind and color. It was beautiful.
It was still much too early for our dinner reservation then, so we stopped by Powell’s City of Books for a while.
It was a huge bookstore that takes up a whole city block, and we just browsed the books and read on a bench to kill time. Then we headed to dinner at Le Pigeon. We decided to get the 5 course tasting for a pretty reasonable $75 per person. Some of the highlights of the meal include the first starter, the Hawaii-Foie-O, with smoked foie gras, shoyu chicken, pineapple, and macadamian nuts.
One of the entrees, a pork chop with endives, goat cheese, a delicious mustardy vinaigrette.
And the second part of dessert, their famous foie gras profiteroles with caramel sauce and sea salt. It seems strange to me at first to use foie gras in a dessert, but it was really good. Glad Gotta take advantage of foie gras whenever I leave California!
And I just had to share these cute little chocolates with a pigeon print we got at the end of the meal. How adorable!
We were totally stuffed at the end of the night. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so much in a day before (and not very healthy either, with doughnuts, fried chicken and waffles, and foie gras). We decided to work off some of the calories and walked back to our hotel across the river.
The next day was our last day in Portland, and we had a few hours in the morning before we left. We walked to see the statue Portlandia, the second largest bronze statue in the US after the Statue of Liberty.
Then we walked around a mall for a bit, bought some souvenirs for my parents, and got frozen yogurt. Then we packed up and went to Union Station because we were taking Amtrak back to SF! Yufei is kind of obsessed with trains and had been really looking forward to the journey back. We had a roomette, which had a bed on the bottom that converts to 2 seats, and bed that folds down on the top.
The train was pretty nice, with a lounge car with windows for views, a dining car, and even a small theatre. The food onboard was just ok (breakfast was probably the best meal I had) and I didn’t sleep very well on the top bunk (I felt like I was about to roll off the narrow bed whenever the train turned even though there were barriers preventing falls), but it was an interesting experience overall.
Our Oregon trip was a wonderful getaway and I was so sad when it was over. Thankfully it won’t be our last travel adventure this summer. Stay tuned!
After we left Bend, we drove to Portland and arrived in the afternoon. We returned the car (you’ll have to wait to see how we got back to SF!) and took a train to downtown. After settling down in our hotel, we went to explore the city a bit. We took a nice walk along the river and in the park along the shore.
And we had dinner at Saucebox, a pan-Asian restaurant. The restaurant was kind of divided into 2 halves, with one side with black walls and dim lighting, and the other side with white walls and a more airy atmosphere.
We got seated on the white side and got some delicious cocktails to start. I got their soft shell crab buns, which were really good.
Yufei and I also shared their pupu platter, which came with a variety of appetizers. We especially liked the Korean baby back ribs.
After dinner, we just went back to our hotel and rested for the next fully packed day in Portland. We went to Voodoo Doughnuts first to get some doughnuts for breakfast.
The line was pretty long when we got there but moved fairly fast. We got a Portland cream doughnut and a voodoo doll because it was just too cute. Both were delicious!
We took a walk through the Portland Saturday Market afterwards, where there were tons of booths of handcrafted items and food.
Then we made our way to the Lan Su Chinese Garden, a classical Suzhou-style garden. It was beautifully done and it was such a peaceful place to get away from the city.
Then we took a bus across the river to get lunch at Screen Door.
There was a wait, as expected, which was fine with us since we were still full from the doughnuts. So we took a little walk around the neighborhood and stopped by a park for a bit before heading back. Once we were seated, we decided to get Screen Door’s famous chicken and waffle:
And also an omelet, which we regretted ordering after seeing how humongous the chicken and waffles was.
We impressively ate most of the food (it was a LOT of food), all of which were delicious. We were super stuffed afterwards though!
Our next destination was Distillery Row, an area with a bunch of distilleries. We saw this cool sun halo on our way!
It was kind of hard to find the area at first, but once we found the first one, they were all in the same few blocks.
We visited and did tastings of all kinds of spirits at 3 different distilleries. It was a cool new experience for us since we’d never done spirit tasting before!
Portland – Part 2
I got a mani-pedi at Velvety Nails & Beauty Spa the week after my boards as a treat from Yufei. This salon only opened a few months ago and I walk past it every time I go to my ortho appointment each month. They had really good reviews on Yelp and I decided to finally make an appointment and go in. The salon is really nice and new, the chairs are comfy and the ladies who worked there are really friendly. They really take their time and are very meticulous too.
For my hands I got this gorgeous fuchsia color. It’s by OPI but I can’t remember the exact name of the polish. It reminds me of orchids!
For my feet I got Essie’s In the Cab-ana, a pretty aqua. Very beachy and perfect for the summer!
What are your favorite mani-pedi color combos? I want to hear!
Yufei and I took a short trip to Oregon in June at the beginning of my summer break. It was so nice to relax a bit after the first year of dental school! We rented a car and drove for the whole first day, spending the night at Klamath Falls. The next morning we drove to our first destination – Crater Lake National Park. As you can tell from its name, the lake used to be a volcano! And there’s a smaller volcano inside it too.
The color of the water was this amazing deep blue. We bought sandwiches at a cafe in Klamath Falls before we left, and we had lunch with the prettiest view of the lake.
Even though it was a nice sunny day at the end of June, there was still a ton of snow up on the mountains.
We took a hike down to the shore too.
The water looked so clear. I wished it was warm enough to swim in it.
We left the park in the afternoon and drove towards Bend, our next stop on the trip. We took the rest of the day easy since we were pretty tired from the hike. The next day, we had scheduled a tour at Deschutes Brewery. But before that, we had lunch at their Bend public house. Yufei got the elk burger:
And I had this wonderful steak salad with grilled romaine, grilled flank steak, and the most delicious cumin vinaigrette. I still dream about this salad from time to time…
We got to the brewery a bit early, so we started on the tasting samples. We each got a stamp card for 4 beer tastings. So many different yummy beers!
The tour itself was informative and we learned so much about the brewing process!
Next stop – Portland!