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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: lunch

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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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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Yufei and I also shared their pupu platter, which came with a variety of appetizers. We especially liked the Korean baby back ribs.

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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.

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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!

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We took a walk through the Portland Saturday Market afterwards, where there were tons of booths of handcrafted items and food.

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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.

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Then we took a bus across the river to get lunch at Screen Door.

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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:

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And also an omelet, which we regretted ordering after seeing how humongous the chicken and waffles was.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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Portland – Part 2

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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.

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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.

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Even though it was a nice sunny day at the end of June, there was still a ton of snow up on the mountains.

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We took a hike down to the shore too.

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The water looked so clear. I wished it was warm enough to swim in it.

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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:

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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…

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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!

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The tour itself was informative and we learned so much about the brewing process!

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Next stop – Portland!

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Day 1
Day 2

We got up pretty early on day 3 and took the train to our alma mater – Columbia! We started the day by having breakfast at Tom’s Restaurant, which looked exactly the same as we remember it. Even our server lady was the same!

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Then we walked around the beautiful campus. It was a gorgeous day but very cold.

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For lunch, we went to Mill Korean Restaurant, one of our favorite spots from our college days. We got our usual orders: bento box for me and kimchi fried rice for Yufei.

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After lunch, we took an uptown train to the Cloisters. It was one of those places I had always wanted to visit during college but never got around to.

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Art Hum flash back! We totally studied this painting in that class.

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We spent most of the afternoon there, then took a bus back to campus. We sat on the Low steps for a while, watching the sun go down like we used to. Then we headed to Deluxe for dinner. This is another place we used to frequent back in the day. They used to have $5 burger Mondays, and the night before I was curious to see if they still had it. I went on their website and found out that they did!! We were so excited. But when we got there, there was a sign on their window saying that starting that day, $5 burger Mondays had become $7 burger Mondays. This was a little disappointing, but it didn’t stop Yufei from getting the burger anyway.

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We had tickets to see Avenue Q that night, so we headed there after a delicious dinner.

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It was such a fun show and the perfect way to end a lovely New York day!

Days 4 & 5

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Day 1

Day 2 in NYC was quite packed indeed. Two years ago, Yufei and I had lunch at Nougatine and for this trip, we decided to try Jeans-Georges.

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We both decided to get the 2-plate tasting of spring. Before our first course we got a trio of amuse bouche, the specifics of which are escaping my mind now a month later. But I do recall them being very delicious. In the background you can see my house made passionfruit soda.

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Yufei’s first course, butternut squash soup with black trumpet mushrooms. It was really good and I stole quite a few spoonfuls.

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My first course, Nishiki risotto with peekytoe crab, nori and key lime. It was really savory and delicious.

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For the main course, Yufei got the beef tenderloin with brussel sprouts and mashed/pureed something.

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I got the black bass crusted with nuts and seeds with sweet and sour jus. I really liked the flavor of the jus and the fact that it also came with a nice medly of veggies. The fish was also cooked to perfection, and the crust was a nice addition.

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We decided to get a dessert to share and chose the tasting of chocolate: white chocolate ice cream with yuzu sorbet; milk chocolate custard with piedmont hazelnuts, and candied orange; and their classic warm chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream.

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And of course there’s always more food after the last course – petits fours. House made vanilla bean marshmallows and a selection of candied fruits, chocolates, and macaroons.

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Everything was delicious at Jeans-Georges and the service was impeccable too. The only regret I have is that, now, looking back at my post about our meal at Nougatine, I realize that we ordered a lot of similar dishes. For instance, Yufei also had a butternut squash soup and I also got a bass at Nougatine, and we also had the warm chocolate cake. If I had reviewed that meal before we went to Jean-Georges, I probably would have ordered dishes that I hadn’t tried before. Oh well, I guess this means at least we’re consistent in what we like!

After lunch, Yufei went back to the hotel and I walked across Central Park (partly to walk off some of my big lunch, partly because it was tricky to get to via transit, and partly because I miss walking in Central Park) to meet some college friends at Alice’s Tea Cup. I got distracted by some street performers on my way:

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We went to Chapter III on 81st and had to wait a bit for a table of 4 at 2:30 in the afternoon. I decided to get a small pot of tea and 2 scones. The passionfruit black tea was really good. I got a sweet scone and a savory scone – blackberry and parmesan and capers. They were good too but really big; I thought they would be more dainty, but I guess I shouldn’t complain about getting more food for my money. My friend Jin was a big more hungry and got the Nibble, which was a pot of tea, a scone, a sandwich, and a platter of cookies. There was definitely more food than just a nibble.

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We had a really great time chatting and catching up on each other’s lives. You’re looking at 4 future health professionals right here!

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After we left Alice’s Tea Cup, we walked around a bit and checked out a grocery store, an H&M, and a Goodwill nearby. Everyone was pretty tired so we parted ways and I went back to the hotel. Yufei was having dinner with some of his friends so I just rested in our room for a couple of hours.

It was getting late when Yufei got back and I was getting hungry again, so we decided to go to the nearby Pony Bar for some food and beer. It was surprisingly empty for a Sunday night

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They had a pretty interesting beer selection (listed on the scoreboard-looking screens in the picture above).

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We got a couple of beers and also some small bites to eat and called it a night!

Day 3
Days 4 & 5

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