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Unwinding with food

Last weekend was my birthday, and I decided to spend the day alone. 
I've recently hit a milestone in my life. A lot has shifted and a lot has been thrown my way. It's been overwhelming and I feel like my life is flying by. It was only last weekend that I finally got to unwind and think through things.
And this is why I enjoy meals alone. In a restaurant. Sitting by myself.

I choose that day to go shooting, but ended up stopping at a cafe and having an iced coffee and dessert by myself. I fully immersed myself at the cafe. I only paid attention to the food and told myself not to glance at my phone for notifications nor worry about work. 

For a good duration, I only concentrated on my meal: my iced coffee and fruit tart. It felt calming and meditative. There's something quiet and special about watching the cream slowly mix into your coffee and figuring out the best way to cut that fruit tart. I'm not distracted by anyone, I don't have to talk to anyone except when ordering, and I can take my sweet time. 
I also do some people watching. People watching is a good break from technology. Without knowing, I start reading their faces and imagine what's going on in their lives. 
Then I backtrack to myself. I do a mental assessment of where I am right now and how I should go from here. My biggest worries become smaller when I take time to step back, and I tell myself it's okay. 

Finally I come back to the cafe, sipping on melted ice cubes in my coffee. And my mind feels clearer and invigorated. 


My latest read that I am in love with.

Highly recommend this amazing Japanese and Italian fusion restaurant

Started to pick up swimming again: "…the best feeling of tired." - The Language of Swimming by Nikaela Marie Peters

And how weekend evenings should be defined: 


What's been going on?

I've been neglecting this blog, not sure how long I will be keeping it alive :(
Nevertheless, I've been busy being a foodie:
Trying to make banana pudding ever since I tasted heaven at Magnolia Bakery.

Korean night at Pocha32 - their Korean pancake and dukbokki (spicy rice cake) never disappoint. 
And you can't forget their watermelon soju.

Trying to be healthy & experimenting with my new juicer! 

And enjoying that Chinatown has a legit Japanese ramen shop called Bassanova Ramen! I love their rich tonkotsu ramen (pork base broth) and can totally imagine myself enjoying a bowl during the winter months. Check out Bassanova Ramen in the next week or so for their grand opening and extended menu! I'm wishing for some good appetizers and their...ramen burger?


Mother's day meal

Mother's day was my first time planning and making a full-course meal (and of course for Mom). Some dishes needed improvements and better timing but everything turned out edible and not bad! 

Chilled tofu with sweet soy sauce - has easily become one of my favorite dishes! 
Salmon tartare with lemon and ginger juice - much harder than I thought
Grilled eggplant with miso paste - tasted so much better than it looks
Cold udon noodles with kimchi and fish roe 


Creamy, buttery, and sweet

 Well, this is rare, I've been having a sweet tooth lately. Several delicious stops I made in the past few weeks:
City Bakery @ 3 W 18th Street 
Their chocolatey sweets are really well known and some say out of this world. I had a chocolate melt which I describe as a brownie disguised as a cookie. A little crisp on the outside, and soft, chewy chocolate inside.
 Never liked Dunkin or Krispy Kreme...but Doughnut Plant! It's a pricey for a doughnut but I think it's worth it. They have unique varieties of flavors that you really can't find anywhere else, successful branding design, and a cute sit-in on 23rd street. Favorite picks are peanut butter and jelly filled and creme brûlée. 

Dunwell Doughnuts @ 222 Montrose Avenue
A doughnut shop in my neighborhood! And it's dangerous that it's so close. At first glance seems to be another Doughnut Plant (& seriously hipster), but Dunwell Doughnuts specializes in only vegan doughnuts. I had their peanut butter and jelly and it's amazing how they made it without eggs or milk. I definitely will stop by again for a doughnut sundae!

East 7th Street
And taking advantage of Butter Lane's Google offer of buy one, get one free. I've heard great reviews about their cupcakes and it was my first time trying them. Despite the price even after discount, I was not disappointed. The winning element is in the frosting: (from left clockwise) salted caramel, cookie dough, maple pecan, and coconut. The cookie dough frosting was served on a cookie dough-filled chocolate cupcake! My favorite was the cookie dough and maple pecan.


Spring break has just started, and it will also be the last break I'll have for a long time. But I'm making it the best I can.
At Nish Nush,
Pretty great Middle Eastern food right in Tribeca. Nish Nush has a neat, rustic feel interior and exterior. The encased tables of chickpeas add an extra touch. I got the falafel trio platter that came with a side of pita bread. The falafels were solid good; they were crunchy on the outside and soft inside. Their menu didn't indicate what the three different flavors were, but we pointed out a spicy one. I also loved the assorted salads and hummus that gave it a fresh kick. It was a huge plate and was perfect for me and my friend. 

And I hope you New Yorkers got to celebrate free macaron day! Here's my oddly color coded Earl Grey from Macaron Cafe. (nothing beats Paris' macarons)


Out of topic: 3 things I'm grateful for

Stressful times are creeping up on me, I haven't had time to post much. But here's three things I'm grateful for, inspired by Cup of Jo:

That I still have a little more than a month before thesis is due.
Time spent chatting with my sister.
The warm weather this past weekend.

Now I'm off to make my own version of potato soup! And schoolwork of course...


Dream Kitchen

Glass Cruet with Stopper - ContainerStore
I haven't met anyone who doesn't like The Container Store (available in certain US states). It's heaven for the organized extremist because of the amazing stock of containers! I wish I had something this lovely to store my homemade dressing.
Mason Jar (various sizes) - Fishs Eddy
I've noticed these jars here and there. Traditionally used for pickling or storing any preserves, but I've also seen it used as cups and even as a cocktail shaker.
I've dreamed of a kitchen stocked with numerous applications, from an ice cream maker, to an awesome sky blue KitchenAid Mixer
But on some days, I prefer less tools to worry about cleaning. Having a minimalist kitchen with multipurpose tools always makes the kitchen look sleek and spacious.