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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.

Tag Archives: ice cream

One big change from last quarter: I got braces! Being in dental school, you become super conscious of you teeth feel the pressure to have a perfect smile. I’ve been thinking about braces for a while now and this is as good a time as any! There are now quite a few of us in my class who have braces now, so that makes it more bearable. I considered getting them done by an ortho resident at UCSF, but they don’t take my insurance and it ended up being too expensive. So I’m getting them done at my regular general dentist.

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I got my upper first premolars extracted in the same appointment I got my braces on the upper teeth, and I was so miserable for a few days. But after a week I was fine. Right now I only have braces on my upper teeth and I’ll get the lower ones once school is out for summer. I can’t wait to start seeing changes in my smile!

I really love this draped blouse from H&M this season. Here I am wearing it to get ice cream at Smitten. I got the floral one online and loved it so much that I wanted to get it in other colors too. It’s so flowy and light and perfect for spring. But they were all pretty much sold out online in my size and the colors I wanted, and I have not succeeded in finding them in stores…

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To celebrate the end of the quarter, some friends and I went to Biergarten after our last final.

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It was a beautiful afternoon to visit and there were lots of people already at 4:30. Lots of beer was had and Yufei and I decided to get dinner there too. I got the Frankfurter with curried potatoes and he got the pork belly sliders. Yum.

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I can’t believe spring break is already coming to an end… it felt SO short. Now I have to take a deep breath and brace myself for the last quarter of D1 year!

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Day 1
Day 2

Breakfast on day 3 was significantly better than the previous day’s. We went to this little cafe called Sunny Side Up not too far from our hotel. We both got the Oscar benedict, which had crab and asparagus (it reminded me of the La Mer benedict from Zazie in SF).

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Everything was scrumptious! After we ate, we hopped on a train and headed toward the Museum of Science and Industry, another attraction on our CityPass. We were going to stop by Chinatown since it was along the subway line, but somehow our train skipped over that stop (we later found out that they were doing construction on that part of the line). So we went straight toward the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. We realized that Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House was in the area as well so we got off the bus a few stops early to see it.

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It turns out that the museum is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays so we couldn’t get a tour inside. Still brought back memories of Art Hum though!

Afterwards, we walked to the Museum of Science and Industry. The building was huge; apparently it is the largest science museum in the western hemisphere!

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Since it was so big, of course we didn’t have time to see all of it. We did see a lot of interesting exhibits though, like this awesome German U-boat captured during WWII:

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When we were done with the museum, it was already mid-afternoon and we were starving, so we headed back downtown to get some food. We decided to try another one of the suggestions from our tour guide from the previous day and went to the Walnut Room inside the Macy’s on State Street.

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The room itself was beautiful, with high ceilings and a marble fountain in the center. For food, I ordered the chicken pot pie and Jin got the fish and chips (replacing the chips with a salad).

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My pot pie was really delicious, so creamy and rich. It would be the perfect meal for a cold winter day! After our meal (Late lunch? Early dinner?), we were on our way to the Willis Tower. We stopped by the Picasso sculpture along the way.

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We got to skip all the lines for the Skydeck at Willis Tower because we used our CityPass and it was awesome! After we took the elevator up, it was only a short line to get to the actual deck. It was pretty cool to stand on the clear glass so high up!

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After we got down from Willis Tower, we headed to another one of our food destinations – iCream Cafe. You get to pick your own combination of ice cream(s) and toppings and they make it in these cool machines with liquid nitrogen!

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I chose from their list of customer favorites, the strawberry cheesecake, which had strawberry ice cream, cream cheese, graham cracker crust, and fresh strawberries in it. It was delicious.

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We stuck around the area for a little while after we finished our ice cream. iCream was in a very hip and trendy neighborhood and we popped into a Crossroads to do some thrifting (one of our favorite things to do together!). I ended up getting a pretty floral dress that I wore the very next day!

We got back to our hotel around sunset and immediately headed towards Navy Pier for the fireworks that happen every Wednesday and Saturday during the summer. We walked along the lake and were treated to this view of the city in the twilight.

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We sat right on the waterfront waiting for the fireworks to start. Then we saw this big, bright, semicircular object in the distance. I thought it was the dome to the planetarium or something when we noticed it rise. It was the moon! It was so huge and round and yellow/orange! It was an unbelievable moonrise.

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The fireworks over the lake were pretty spectacular too.

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We then rode the ferris wheel at Navy Pier. We also wanted to go on the wave swing (my favorite thing ever) but they were near closing time and we could only do one ride.

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By this point we were getting hungry again (darn irregular eating schedules when traveling) so we decided to go get Italian beef (another one of the supposed must-haves in Chicago) from Portillo’s.

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We agreed that it tasted like a Philly cheesesteak without the cheese, which was still delicious. So we ended this very long day with full stomachs!

Days 4&5

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Days 1&2
Day 3

It’s our last full day! We decided to just take it easy and hang around the resort’s beach and pool. For lunch we walked on the beach for about 5 minutes to a different RIU resort.

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We stood in line for a really long time for freshly made tacos. They were delicious though! Anyway, we basically just spend the whole day lounging around in the sun (I got a lot of reading done!). For dinner we went to the third and last specialty restaurant at the resort. It was an Asian restaurant and although it was a buffet, we needed reservations. It was decent for an Asian restaurant at a Mexican resort. The food ranged from sushi and miso soup (that tasted nothing like miso soup) to roasted duck and stir-fry.

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They did offer a fried ice cream that is made to order though, and it was pretty awesome.

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After dinner we sat on beach chairs by the beach as the sun went down. It was cloudier that day so no spectacular sunset like on day 1, but we did get these beautiful pink cotton candy-like clouds.

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The next morning we checked out of our room, but we still had a few hours before our flight, so we stored our bags and stayed at the resort until we had to leave for the airport. And thus concluded our first out of the country trip since we moved to SF! We had a amazing time and it was so great to get away from real life for a few days. Got my tropical beach fix for the year!

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For the first time in more than 2 and a half years together, I was finally able to celebrate Yufei’s birthday with him! For the last 2 years, we were always half a globe from each other on the special day – first me in China and him in Canada, then me in Austria and him in New York. But this year we’re finally together in San Francisco! So of course we had to celebrate – with lots of delicious food!

After sleeping in until a luxuriously late hour, which is highly suggested for one’s birthday, we got ready and headed to Burma Superstar, one of an oddly large number of Burmese restaurants in the city. Neither of us had had Burmese food before, but I really wanted to try it out, so I took Yufei there for lunch. The place had great reviews online, and there was a line when we got there at past 1pm on a Monday morning – this place better be good! After about 20 minutes, we got seated in a corner of the restaurant.

We started with chicken samusas and a Burmese salad:

The sambusas were nice and hot and crispy and we both liked them. The salad had an interesting freshness to it, which I enjoyed more than Yufei. For our mains, Yufei got the nan gyi dok noodles, with flour noodles instead of rice noodles:

It had a nice coconut curry sauce and was really good! I stole a lot from Yufei’s plate. I got a Burnese chicken curry dish with tan poi rice:

The curry was delicious and the rice was very interesting – it had huge raisins in it! I’m always adamant about having dessert, so even though we were both quite full, we ordered a fried banana and ice cream dessert to share:

Which was a good call because it was so yummy! After lunch we decided to go to Golden Gate Park since we were nearby. We visited the California Academy of Sciences first (we are such nerds), where they had this really cool green roof:

The museum itself was pretty cool, but we ran out of time before they closed so we didn’t get to see everything. We walked around the park for a bit and then went to to Japanese tea garden.

It was quite a lovely place, but a little too crowded when we were there, which kind of takes away the serenity of the garden. But it was still a nice place to spend an afternoon. By then it was starting to get late and we hopped on a bus to go to dinner. I had made reservations at Frascati, a Mediterranean style bistro on Russian Hill. We were greeted warmly upon arrival, and they even wished Yufei a happy birthday (always a good sign when they actually pay attention to what you mention during the reservation). We were seated upstairs, which is smaller and more private than the first floor. We started with a couple of appetizers, the gnocchi and the duck confit salad:

Both were delicious! The salad had quite a lot of duck in it, which was great. And of course since we’re finally both legal, we each had a glass of chardonnay with our meal. Yufei ordered the duck breast for his main:

And I had the wild California salmon:

Both dishes were fantastic! And of course, we had to have dessert again at dinner, so Yufei got the affogato and I had the blueberry cobbler. Yufei’s dessert came with a birthday candle, which got blown out since it was a little drafty, but our server did his best trying to re-light it (and it was on the house!).

The meal was absolutely wonderful, the service was great, and we both had an excellent time. We were much too full and a little tired to go through with plans of hitting a bar, so we just walked home and watched a movie on the couch. It was a a day well spent – and I hope that I’ll be able to spend many more of Yufei’s birthdays like this!

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The California adventure continues! Yufei and I headed down to Monterey for the weekend (2 weeks ago), on the Greyhound, which we both agreed we’d never take again since it was awfully delayed (not the first time it’s happened). Anyway, I’m going to skip over the unpleasant business of getting there and say that we did eventually arrive at the bed and breakfast we were staying at late in the afternoon. It was the Martine Inn, which sits by the ocean in Pacific Grove, a beautiful Victorian abode. From the moment we stepped inside the house, we knew we were somewhere special. The place was impeccably decorated, gorgeously warm and welcoming in every way. Here’s the lovely living room:

And the beautiful garden:

They even had a little games room:

The whole place was just so quaint and charming – we had a clawfoot bathtub! – I just loved it! Props to my awesome boyfriend for picking such a perfect place!

After we got settled in, we were right on time for the daily afternoon hors d’heuvre and wine in the dining room (can I love this place any more?). Having satisfied our palates on the delectable treats, we set out for a trek along the beach on the seaside trail. It was a rather grey day, but not windy and therefore not as chilly as it was in San Francisco. Quite pleasant, actually. We passed by some harbour seals along the way:

Then we made our way down to Cannery Row and walked around the shops and attractions, and where I felt very compelled to read the Steinbeck novel for which the street was named after (in fact, I think I shall soon). As it was starting to get dark, we walked over to The Sardine Factory, where we had dinner reservations.

We had looked up the place on Yelp and made a reservation earlier that afternoon in a rush, and I was in no way expecting such a fancy place from a name like “The Sardine Factory”. But fancy it was indeed, and I felt under-dressed, but oh well. Though we were half an hour early for our reservation, we were seated right away in a nice little corner by the window. Warm bread (love that!) along with butter, seasoned olives, and a bean spread, was brought to us promptly:

The bread was so fluffy and warm and delicious that we had to force ourselves to stop eating them lest we stuff ourselves before the real meal even begins. We started out by sharing the Salinas Valley Salad, which was very good:

For our main courses, Yufei had a steak with a side of mashed potatoes:

And I knew I had to get some sort of seafood, and I opted for the seafood pasta:

We were both very impressed with the food so far, and even though we were pretty full by the time we finished (or in me case, attempted to finish) our mains, we wanted desert. After taking a look at the dessert menu, we decided to have the ice cream bonbons. We had no idea what that actually meant, but it was supposed to be “served dramatically with dry ice”. And indeed it was:

It was so dramatic that it elicited “oohs” and “ahs” and camera flashes from the table next to us! Turns out the bonbons were strawberry ice cream on a stick covered in chocolate, served with caramel sauce and crushed peanuts for dipping. Delicious! Overall we had a wonderful experience at the Sardine Factory and went home with happy stomachs.

The next morning we got up in time for breakfast served in the dining room overlooking the bay. French toast with berries and sausages, coffee, and apple juice – all served fresh (this place is seriously awesome!).

After breakfast we reluctantly left the lovely B&B (they gave us homemade banana bread upon departure!) and walked towards the Monterey Bay Aquarium, where we spent the better part of the day. We saw lots of colorful fish:

Sea turtles:

Strange sea horses and sea dragons:

Beautiful yet deadly jellies:

And lots of other fish, rays, coastal birds, penguins, sea otters, starfish, crabs, lobsters, and tons more. Here’s me sitting in a clam!

By the time we were finished with the aquarium, it was already afternoon, so we hopped on a free tourist bus and went to downtown Monterey to walk around a bit before catching another bus to Salinas. And having vowed to never take the Greyhound again, we went to the Amtrak station and bought train tickets back to SF. And thus ended our weekend in Monterey! Sigh… I want to go back already!

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Centennial Park,that is. Situated right next to Vanderbilt, I decided to pay the park a visit last Sunday. It turns out that I came on a good day, as the Annual American Artisan Festival was happening that weekend.

Rows and rows of white tents with artists and craftsmen selling their work, live music in the air, food stands clustered in a corner… this was just my type of thing! So I dove right in and saw some awesome (hey that rhymes!) work:

After I got my share of artsiness for the day, I headed towards the massive, columned structure not too far away. The only full-scale replica of the Parthenon in the world – right here in Nashville, Tennessee.

An art museum is inside, but I didn’t go in since I was planning to take Yufei there when he comes to visit next week. So just walked around the park some more. It’s quite a lovely place, actually, with a little lake, lots of porch swing type things around it, and plenty of trees and flowers.

Than after my little walk, on my way back, I decided to stop by a McDonald’s to get an ice cream cone. If you didn’t know already, McDonald’s has the creamiest, most delicious vanilla ice cream cones ever, and for cheap too, at little over a dollar, the price I was used to in New York and Canada. But I found out that it only cost 55 cents here. 55 cents!! Oh, Nashville, you are full of pleasant surprises.

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… is what I’ve been experiencing this whole Thanksgiving long weekend.

It all began Wednesday afternoon, after my morning class and finishing up an assignment due that day. Yufei and I headed downtown for lunch at Pommes Frites, a tiny little place in East Village that supposedly serves up excellent Belgian fries. Armed with a coupon from KGB deals, we arrived at the shop, where a line had already formed outside the entrance.

We waited for about 15 minutes before we were inside and had our orders taken. We got 2 regulars and 2 sauces, one sweet mango chutney mayo and one curry ketchup especial. The fries were nice and thick, freshly fried twice, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, served up in a paper coane. The regular size was pretty big, definitely enough for a meal. Their sauces, of which there were many (nearly 30), were also delicious and went perfectly with the fries.

We were lucky enough to get seats inside, and leisurely enjoyed our meal. I also liked the fact that we could see the entire process of how the fries and sauces are made, from the potatoes getting peeled, cut, and fried, to the sauces being processed in blenders. In addition to their regular fries with sauces, they also serve poutine. The Québécoise inside me has always loved poutine, and I’ve yet to find a good place for it in NYC. I think I might have to come back to try it here.

After lunch, we walked around a bit, found a Salvation Army thrift store, where we marveled at a fully functioning old school cash register and a early 90’s word processor, and from where I bought a Banana Republic skirt in great condition for only $5. After that, we found a Best Buy and played games on the iPad for about an hour. Then we finally got to where we were supposed to be – the Union Square Holiday Market. After looking around all the booths filled with all sorts of trinkets and treats, I finally decided to buy a lavender scented sea salt scrub for my mom. Of course, we also got more food at the market: a Belgian waffle from Wafels and Dinges! Soft, warm, with hot fudge on top – it was delicious. Who knew one could have so much Belgian food in a day?!

By the time we finished strolling in the market, it was still too early for dinner, so we found a Barnes and Noble nearby and went inside to read (you know, bookstores are excellent places to kill time). Then finally the time came for the dinner I’ve been anticipating all semester – authentic Sichuan cuisine at Szechuan Gourmet! We ordered eggplant with garlic sauce, Kung Pao chicken, and spicy dumplings. Everything was absolutely delicious. The eggplant was amazing, exactly how it’s supposed to taste, made with real doubanjian!

The chicken was also excellent. You know, Kung Pao chicken is such a simple dish, yet very few restaurants I’ve been to get it right, and this is one of them. It’s almost exactly the way we make it back home, except we put green peppers in it just to add some veggies.

It was such an awesome meal; I wish I could eat at that restaurant every single day. Sigh.

The next day, Thanksgiving day, we went to a brunch held on campus for those students who couldn’t make it home. A lovely meal consisting of turkey, stuffing, and all the traditional Thanksgiving fare shared with friends, it was a great meal. Once in a while, you get the feeling that Columbia may love you after all.

Then on Friday, a potluck dinner had been organized by the unofficial Canadians at Columbia group. I decided to try out a recipe I’ve been wanting to experiment with for a while now – Oreo truffles. It’s super simple to make, all that’s needed are a package of Oreo cookies, cream cheese, chocolate chips, and optional sprinkles. It’s basically powdered Oreos mixed with cream cheese, rolled into balls, then coated in melted chocolate. So easy to make, but they look totally gourmet and taste amazing.

It was a big hit at the dinner, but I found them just a tad too sweet for my taste, though still delicious. Will definitely make more over winter break (perhaps with dark chocolate to lessen the sweetness a bit?)!

Then came Saturday, and for dinner I decided to cook and made cola wings according to my own recipe. I think it was the best it’s ever turned out! So good. And now I just came back from lunch at my favourite Thai restaurant uptown, Wondee Siam V. Had my favourite thai dish, chicken pad kee mow, and fried coconut ice cream as dessert. They lit the ice cream on fire at our table! It was really cool and tasted great as well.

Ahh… just thinking about all the great food I’ve had this weekend makes me happy :) I hope everyone’s had as excellent a Thanksgiving weekend as I had – can’t wait until Christmas now!

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