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Laundry On Sundaes

Every beginning is only a sequel, after all, and the book of events is always open halfway through.

Category Archives: Food

I left out one big part of my D2 year in the last post about dental school life, and that’s because it deserves its own post! As someone who conducted research over the summer between D1 and D2 year, I, along with a large group of classmates, went to the American Association for Dental Research/International Association for Dental Research conference in March. The event was held in Boston, and despite the cold, we had a ton of fun there.

Me and my good friend/clinic partner/ortho buddy Mychi at the UCSF reception the first night of the conference:

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Presenting my research poster next to my classmate Mona! This was such a cool experience not only because I was able to talk about my research to a bunch of new people, but presenting next to Mona was a bonus because we had first met in Boston when we interviewed for Harvard together! Funny how life works out sometimes.

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Me and my poster!

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D2 girls manning the UCSF booth at the exhibit hall!

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We had some free time to explore the city and I took full advantage of it! I really didn’t like Boston when I went there for my Harvard interview a couple of years ago, but this time I found the city quite charming! On my last morning there, I took a walk by myself to Boston Common. It was a cold but clear morning and it was just lovely.

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Then I met up with friends for some delicious seafood at Neptune Oyster! We had oysters, lobster roll, and clam chowder:

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For dinner we hit up Giacomo’s for some Italian food – with more seafood of course!

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I’m so glad that I was able to attend this conference during dental school. There are so many opportunities to get involved in dentistry on a bigger level, be in with research, organized dentistry, academia, and more, and having the chance to travel and meet students and professionals from other places in the world is so enriching. So advice for current/future dental students: take advantage of these opportunities!

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For Thanksgiving last year, we decided to take a quick trip to Los Cabos super last minute. We stayed at Secrets Puerto Los Cabos in San Jose del Cabo, which was absolutely wonderful. It was adults only, so it was definitely more relaxing and had a more sophisticated vibe. I’d say it was probably the best all-inclusive resort we’ve stayed at so far!

Watching the twilight from the pools:

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The weather was gorgeous every day.

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The beach was beautiful, but very large waves made it impossible to swim in unfortunately.

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But we’re not going to complain when we can lounge on a day bed by the ocean with a cold drink in our hands.

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Lounging by the pool.

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Food was great. Lots of different options with buffets and a la carte restaurants abound. And lots of pina coladas.

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We took a day trip to downtown Cabo San Lucas and rented a boat for a couple of hours.

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Our hilariously entertaining hibachi chef on our last night at the resort. Loved this guy!

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There was a professional photography around the resort taking photos of the guests and we agreed to have our pictures taken one day at the beach. It was fun pretending to be models for a bit! And we actually got some pretty good photos, so we ended up buying a couple of them. Hey, gotta keep some records of when we’re still young and beautiful, right?

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We had an amazing (albeit too short) stay at Secrets and I’d highly recommend it for anyone traveling to Cabo!

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Slowly but surely, I’m catching up on blogging! Here’s another restaurant review summary for this past winter.

We took a weekend trip to Healdsburg at the beginning of the year and ate at Spoonbar. Delicious way to start 2015! The chicken wing appetizer:

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Pork tenderloin and riblet:

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Next up we have Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant. We discovered this Muslim Chinese place a while ago and it has since become a favorite spot for us. Super authentic and amazing food! The beef pancake and cumin lamb are some of our favorites:

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The crack fish was on point too! Covered in a thick layer of chili oil:

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We also tried their hot pot recently and it was fantastic as well. If you’re looking for authentic northern Chinese cuisine this is the place to go!

For this year’s Restaurant Week, we hit up 2 places. First we had lunch at Spruce. I really liked the space that the restaurant is in! Reminded me of a lot of places back in New York. Food was great and service very attentive. Pork loins:

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Scallops with ham and broccoli Romanesco:

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For our Restaurant Week dinner we chose Isa, a French restaurant in the Marina. Salmon carpaccio appetizer:

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My duck breast entree was fabulous:

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the food was great but we were not too happy with the service. We waited forever for our food and had to ask about our orders multiple times. They also did not discount our glasses of wine on the initial cheque even though we ordered them before the cutoff time. All of this made us think that they simply forgot to put in our order until we checked with them much later. Kind of put a damper on a otherwise great meal.

Next we have the Fly Trap, a Persian restaurant recommended by a Persian classmate of mine. We had a mini Columbia reunion here back in February. The food was all wonderful but sadly the only thing I managed to take a photo of was the baklava:

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Another ramen joint! We had wanted to go to Ramen Dojo but it was closed that day so we decided to go Himawari instead. It was pretty good!

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Lastly, Statebird Provisions! Yufei had been here before but I hadn’t, but I had actually unknowingly walked past it countless times going to and from my dentist! There’s no sign or anything on the outside so the only way you’ll know it’s there is the line that starts forming 2 hours before the doors even open, since reservations are notoriously difficult to obtain. We arrived about an hour before they opened and were still seated in the first batch they let in. The definitely food lived up to expectations and the dimsum ordering/serving style was fun. One of my favorite dishes of the night was this pork belly citrus salad:

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The desserts were great also – ice cream sandwiched and white chocolate parfait:

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Their menu changes all the time so I definitely want to return someday! If only it wasn’t so hard to get a seat there!

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Alright, some of these restaurants deserve their own posts but since it’s been so long since I’ve posted restaurant reviews, I really need to catch up and I’ve unfortunately forgotten a lot of the details from some meals, so I’ll be doing a bunch of summary posts on all the restaurants I haven’t written about yet.

First up is the one Michelin star Japanese restaurant Maruya, which we went to for our 6-year anniversary last fall. We had the Omakase (first time doing omakase!) and it was amazing. All the seafood was incredibly fresh and perfectly seasoned, and they even gave us a complimentary dessert at the end of the meal.

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Next we have one of the many ramen restaurants we’ve been going to over the past few months, Santa Ramen in San Mateo. There’s usually a wait out the door for dinner, but we’ve never had to wait more than 30 minutes (though they do run out of certain broths sometimes). Yufei likes their spicy miso broth:

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While I prefer the black garlic and tonkotsu broth:

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It’s a pretty good ramen spot, the noodles and nice and chewy and the broths are always rich and flavorful. If only it wasn’t so far away!

Alright, back to another one Michelin star restaurant, Coi. We went there for my 25th birthday dinner last year.

Sturgeon caviar with smoked egg yolk and creme fraiche, one of my favorite courses of the meal:

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Fried oyster for me and cucumber for Yufei (he called it the best piece of cucumber he’s ever had) on cracked wheat, tabouleh, fermented chile, and rau ram:

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Coconut mochi bun with kiwi and shiso:

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It was a good meal overall, but for the price it was a bit underwhelming and not all too memorable. I think there are definitely better meals out there in SF for the same (or less) money. Such as the nest restaurant on the list – the one Michelin starred Aziza (it was a good fall). It’s an innovative Moroccan restaurant in the Richmond. We went there on a random Friday night and had the tasting menu and I was blown away. I can’t remember everything we ate but honestly every course tasted amazing. The food was creative and the flavors were incredible. The presentation was beautiful for every course and the service was great as well.

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This was one of the coolest things I ever ate – a soup (?) encased in a gelatinous membrane. It’s literally a burst of flavor when you put it in your mouth! So innovative.

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It turned out to be one of the best meals I’ve ever had and I would love to go back some day!

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Days 1&2 – Reykjavik
Days 3&4 – West Iceland

We spent most of the morning driving to Akureyri, a large-ish town in northern Iceland. It’s quite a charming place and we spent some time just walking around town.

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There was a nice little botanical garden and we took a walk through it. We were really surprised to see so much green plants and flowers in the garden in Iceland in September, but the climate is actually really mild in Akureyri for being so far up north.

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Around sunset, we drove out to the nearby Goðafoss, Waterfall of the Gods. It was one of the most majestic waterfalls I’ve ever seen. Add the golden glow of the setting sun to the mix and you get this amazing view:

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For dinner, we went to Rub23, a seafood/sushi restaurant in Akureyri. We ordered a salad, a sushi platter, and dessert. Who would have thought that one of the best sushi we would have would be in Iceland?

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The next morning, we got up early and drove to Husavik for a whale watching tour.

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I had never had to put on so many layers in my life! The huge overall they gave us on the boat were so thick that it was hard to even move around. Here we are all bundled up over the near-arctic waters:

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Unfortunately, we didn’t see any whales that day, one of the very few disappointments of this trip. (New goal in life: see a whale in the wild.) But we still got a nice boat ride out of it, and we visited the whale museum in town afterwards.

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We left Husavik and drove on to Hverfjall, a ring volcano.

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We hiked up to the rim of the crater! It was so windy up there.

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After that, we drove to Lake Mývatn and took a short hike around the area.

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Then we went to Grjótagjá, a lava cave near Mývatn with a thermal spring inside. It used to be a popular bathing site until a couple of eruptions made the water too hot. We still dipped our feet in the water for a bit though.

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We left the area and drove on eastward to Seyðisfjörður, a quaint little town on a fjord.

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It was starting to get dark by this point, so we left and drove to our resting point for the night, Fljótsdalshérað. We stayed at the coolest Airbnb ever – a tiny little cottage on a horse farm. It was super cute and cozy!

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We hadn’t come across anywhere to eat that night, but have no fear – we brought cup noodles! Our fancy dinner that night:

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Here’s a better picture of our cottage taken the next morning. Is it not the most charming thing?

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Days 7&8 – South Iceland

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So I’ve been putting off blogging about our epic Iceland trip for a while now. This is due to a couple of reasons. First, I just haven’t had the time, Second, I’ve been reluctant to do it because I feel like writing about the trip and sharing it with the world would somehow cheapen the amazing experience that it was. But I’ve since decided that that was a stupid idea and that I would love the chance to re-live this journey through blogging.

It was hands-down the best trip I’ve ever been on and I don’t know if anything will ever top it. We basically spent 8 days driving almost 1700 miles around the whole island. We saw waterfalls, glaciers, craters, geysers, hot springs, the northern lights. An abandoned ship, an abandoned plane, an abandoned natural hot water pool. Sand of black and ice of blue. And lots and lots of sheep. And miles and miles of desolate, unspoiled beauty. Some days we ate like kings, while others we had to resort to nothing but granola bars and cup noodles for meals. Everyday we had to stop ourselves from stopping the car every 5 minutes because there is such breathtaking views at every turn. Everything about the trip just felt so authentic, like this was what traveling should be about. It was truly the trip of a lifetime.

So let me start recapping it with our first 2 days, which we spent in the capital city of Reykjavik.

We took a redeye flight from SF, with a layover in Boston, and we arrived in the morning in Reykjavik. We had to wait in the airport for a couple of hours to take a bus to our first destination – Blue Lagoon. Our first photo in Iceland!

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I was so glad we decided to stop by Blue Lagoon right after our flight. It was on the way to the city and it was the perfect way to relax after a long flight. The color of the water was the most unreal opaque light blue.

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We were there when it just opened so it wasn’t too crowded yet.

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After relaxing for a couple of hours and grabbing a quick lunch at the cafe, we were on our way to Reykjavik! We stayed at an Airbnb and it was in a pretty accessible location. We bought 2 Reykjavik Welcome Cards at the visitor center, which gave us bus access for 2 days and some discounts at museums and restaurants. It was a really good deal and we actually ended up using the bus quite a lot for the 2 days. After settling down a bit at our Airbnb, we headed out to check out some art museums. Unfortunately the first one we went to didn’t have any exhibits at the time, so we went to the next one on our list, the Ásmundur Sveinsson Sculpture Museum. It was a small museum but had some really interesting stuff in it, and a nice sculpture garden outside.

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After that we took a bus to The Pearl, a mall with a dome and a 360-degree observation deck at the top.

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It offered some great views of the city and surrounding areas. We also sat in a cafe and enjoyed some hot chocolate. The glass dome looked pretty cool from the inside!

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Afterwards, we headed downtown for our dinner reservation at Grillmarket. We knew that we might not eat too well for the rest of the trip so we splurged on our 2 dinners in Reykjavik. We got bread with the fluffiest butter and smoked salt, a couple of appetizers, and for entrees Yufei got the Meat Gourmet, which was a trio of 3 different meats with sides, and I got the Fish Gourmet, with 3 different types of fish and sides.

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AND we had ice creams and sorbets for dessert. It was such a good meal. After a well-deserved good night sleep, we got up the next morning and went to Hallgrímskirkja, a really cool-looking church not too far from our Airbnb.

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We paid to go up to the tower, which had some nice views of the city. I love all these colorful houses!

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We then went to the National Museum of Iceland, which we got free admission to with our Welcome Cards. It had some really interesting exhibits on the history of Iceland. Then we grabbed a quick lunch at Bæjarins beztu pylsur, a famous hotdog stand. I love the crispy onions that’s in all the hotdogs in Iceland.

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Then we went to the Kolaportið Flea Market. There were lots of vendors selling food, vintage clothing, books, antiques, and other knickknacks.

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We also bought a slice of meringue cake that I was seeing everywhere. It was light and delicious and now I kind of regret not having more of it when we were in Iceland!

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Our next stop was the Reykjavik Art Museum – Hafnarhus. It was another small museum but I quite enjoyed the sculptures, paintings, and interactive art there.

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Next up, we took a bus to the unique Icelandic Phallological Museum.

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I’m a fan of all kinds of weird museums and being someone in the medical field, I was quite intrigued when I found out about this place. It was again pretty small (I think you’re starting to see the trend here…), but there were preserved specimens of phalluses from all different animals as well as humorous poems, newspaper clippings, and art throughout the museum. A pretty interesting place to spend half an hour.

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After that, we took another bus to Harpa, a concert hall and conference center with a cool design along the water. There were lots of couches and chairs around for us to relax and admire the honeycomb-like walls and ceilings of the building.

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Finally, it was time for dinner! This time we decided to eat at Fish Company, where we got a 10% discount with the Welcome Card. We both chose the 4-course Around Iceland menu, with each course featuring ingredients found in different regions of Iceland. This was the lamb course.

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Everything was delicious and beautifully presented. Thus ended our stay in Reykjavik. The next day we start our epic journey around the island!

Days 3&4 – West Iceland
Days 5&6 – North Iceland
Days 7&8 – South Iceland

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I fail at blogging. I thought about just giving up because there’s just TOO MANY THINGS I need to catch up on, but they’re all such good things that I just must share. So here’s to me trying my best to post the events from the past 4 months, starting with our LA trip over Labor Day weekend.

Started at Getty Villa on our first day. Due to the draught they drained all the fountains, so what you see in the background is just an empty fountain painted blue.

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Dinner at The Sunset Restaurant in Malibu. Delicious flatbread appetizer. There was a wedding happening at the beach/restaurant at the same time so we got some live entertainment out the window as we ate!

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Afterwards we walked on the beach and watched the sunset.

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Santa Monica Pier.

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LACMA the next morning! Holy crap this place was huge!

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Lunch at Bottega Louie. Their portobello fries are delicious!

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And of course I had to buy some macarons there as well.

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Another sunset on the beach.

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Dinner at Tsujita. Had tsukemen ramen for the first time ever and it was amazing. The broth was sooo rich and delectable.

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Part 2

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