food porn

Seattle, Washington

Eat Pray Love Journey – Day 3 – Seattle, Washington

I left Sacramento in the afternoon to fly over to Seattle, Washington! Whee! I checked the weather there before leaving and of course, it was raining. So I had to bundle up for the first time for the fall weather in my new water resistant peacoat!

Thanks Briana for dropping me off at a really nice and spacious international airport in Sacramento! I really can’t wait to hang out with you when you’re back in SoCal! Finish strong in pharm school!

The flight from Sacramento to Seattle on Alaska Air took about two hours.

I landed before my friend was able to pick me up. So while I was waiting, I decided to FaceTime my friend, Elaine, who was at the beach! She was chilling under the sun with a few friends. It looked like she was on a real vacation compared to me!

Can I just tell you how much I love technology? Elaine and I both laughed hysterically because we were FaceTiming. I don’t know why it was funny but I guess it just seemed out of the ordinary for us to be FaceTiming like that where I’m at the airport and she’s at the beach. Oh technology, you’re awesome!

When I got picked up by my friend Christian, he brought his friend Karl with him who is a Seattle native. The three of us went to downtown Seattle to hit all the fun spots that Karl knew of. We went over to the Public Market Center – Pike Place Market where fish is thrown in the air and fresh flowers are sold.

Did you know that Seattle natives don’t use umbrellas? So I basically looked like a native until I took this picture in front of the Public Market sign.

Check this video out where we saw a guy with a Starbucks cup balanced on his head and a fish thrown at him! Well, not directly to his face but thrown at the cup to knock it down!


This place was packed with high energy even though it was cold!

Karl said that whenever he’s at the Public Market, he always goes to Beecher’s Handmade Cheese for some homey mac and cheese! So we did just that!

My $5.75 Original Mac and Cheese was perfect for the rainy and gloomy weather in Seattle. Next time, I want to try their  Mariachi Mac and Cheese which has a slight spicy kick to it. I would highly suggest checking this place out as Yelp has given this cheesy restaurant 4 stars with more than 1,200 reviews!

The original Starbucks was located nearby so we went to check it out. The line was going out the door! I didn’t get anything but it was nice to see where America’s Starbucks addiction originated from!

I had to take a picture with lady Starbucks but I didn’t realize she was a little bit scandalous there.

We walked across the street to see the Pacific Ocean! Christian said, “This is the same ocean from California!” In disbelief, I just kept looking at the ocean to see if it was really the same ocean from California. (Sarcasm, my friends. Sarcasm.) It got super windy there but it felt really nice to experience a new change of weather for once as a SoCal native.

Karl shared how he also goes to Mee Sum Pastry for some BBQ Pork Buns so we had to check it out!

We started with something savory with the mac and cheese and ended with something sweet! The BBQ Pork Bun was also perfect for the cold weather. They served us fresh pork buns where the BBQ flavor was juicy and sweet stuffed in a warm bread! We just stood there on the sidewalk, enjoying every single bite of it. That reminds me, I want to go look for some good BBQ pork buns in Orange County or in LA. Who’s down to go with me? Ok, cool. Thanks.

Because I have a sweet tooth, I really liked this place! I was so tempted to get another one but I was so stuffed from the mac and cheese and this! Yelpers definitely liked this place. They currently have 4 out of stars with more than 323 reviews.

After exploring much around Pike Place, we went over to Space Needle! We didn’t go up the tower but walked around outside and inside. We couldn’t spend much time here as we had a long drive back home. It was definitely a defiant moment to see this historical architecture in person!

Thank you Christian and Karl for driving an hour and half to and from Seattle to pick me up! Thank you, thank you Karl for joining this spontaneous adventure and giving us a tour of your hometown!

 

Hache LA

I went to Mick’s Karma Bar for dinner and had a catch session with Christina. I was excited to take her there since it was her first time! I ordered my usual Habanero Burger which they made it a tad a bit spicier than normal. Apparently, they added another pepper to kick it up a notch. Because Christina didn’t want anything spicy, she got the Karma Burger.

The guy who served our food looked really familiar and I had a feeling I knew him. I had to ask him hesitantly, “Are you Mick?” He said, “Yeah!” I knew it was him because he liked my picture of the Habanero Burger on Instagram! I was excited that the owner of Mick’s Karma Bar was active on social media!

I read an article somewhere how there was going to be another opening of Mick’s Karma Bar in Orange County County or Los Angeles. So I asked him about it and he said that he was having a soft opening in two weeks in Silverlake! He invited me to join and I excitedly said I would definitely be there! I gave him my business card and next thing you know, he tweets me about it.


Two weeks later, I brought a bunch of my friends to go to the soft opening. Valet parking was free, food was free, and drinks were free! It was an outdoorsy setting where it was completely packed with a DJ playing some music. There was definitely an LA/Silverlake vibe to Hache LA. The layout of the restaurant was blended really well into the Silverlake community.

Servers were passing out food and drinks so freely. They were serving their classic Strawberry Basil Lemonade and the Karma Burger. They also had a few different kinds of beer to pick from. Though the options were few, it was still nice to know that everything was unlimited and free!

We got our drinks pretty quickly but it probably took an hour to actually get our burgers. There was probably around a hundred people at the soft opening. So they were serving the burgers to those who came first and working their way down to the last people who walked in.

While waiting for our food, we were lucky enough to bump into Mick! He remembered me!  He was so nice to take the time to meet my friends!

Once we got our burgers, we were one big happy family! The wait was all worth it!

After our bellies were filled, we just hung out and enjoyed each other’s company!

Thank you Aaron, Andrea, Derek, Davis, Elaine, Harold, John, Phil, and Sammie for joining me! Hope everyone enjoyed the food! Big thanks to Mick for the invite! I can’t wait for more burgers!


If you’re from Orange County or specifically from Irvine and you’ve never heard of Mick’s Karma Bar, then shame on you! You’re missing out! For more info on Mick’s Karma Bar, check out my post on them! But if you’re in the LA area, make sure to check out Hache LA! You won’t be disappointed with the food and the ambiance there! It’s definitely one hip burger joint in Silverlake.

Eat Chow & Sprinkles Ice Cream

Christian was in town for the summer so as usual for our hang out, we had to have a food adventure! We went to Eat Chow in Newport Beach for dinner. FYI. Parking is kind of a bust. You have to park in the neighborhood. Eat Chow is a small, hip, homie kind of a restaurant with great customer service.
Eat Chow

As we were waiting to get seated, other customers were waiting next to us and apparently they go to Eat Chow several times a month because it’s that good. They suggested that we try everything because you can’t go wrong with anything. And you know what? They were right! Everything at Eat Chow was honestly really good!

We started out with the Truffle Parmesan Fries. They were addicting!
Truffle Parmesan Fries

Then we split the Truffle Mac “N” Cheese that had pieces of bacon.
Truffle Mac N Cheese

And! We split the The Chow burger with a side salad. Visually, it didn’t seem like enough food since we were splitting everything but we ended up being stuffed! Everything was honestly good and I wouldn’t mind getting the same exact thing the next time I come here.
The Chow Burger

The total for the fries, Mac N Cheese, and the burger came out to be $25. So for all that good food to split in half, $25 isn’t too bad.

For dessert, we headed over to Sprinkles for some ice cream. I actually got some cupcakes to take home. Then rushed over to the ice cream line before the line got super long. We probably stood in line for about 30 minutes for ice cream. I got a waffle cone with vanilla ice cream and red velvet cupcake crumbs for $3.75.
Sprinkles Ice Cream

I think the ice cream was a little overrated. Nothing too special about it. I probably could have made it myself by getting some Dreyer’s vanilla ice cream and red velvet cupcake all from the grocery store. Done! Sprinkles Ice Cream, you were a little too expensive and not too exciting as I wanted you to be. Sorry, there probably won’t be a next time with you.

Thanks Christian for a full on carbs and sugar filled night!

Went Here & There in Massachusetts

On my third day in Boston, we checked out Harvard Medical School. So Harvard University is in Cambridge, but the medical school is in Boston. The medical school is as intimidating as the campus in Cambridge because of its over sized columns and its architecture as a whole.
Boston Day 3 001

The research lab there is kind of like any other research lab. Flasks, white coats, machines, etc.
Harvard Med School Research Lab

The hot and humid weather lead us to get a cold smoothies. So Anna and I went over to Emack & Bolio’s. It’s a popular ice cream/smoothies place. My smoothie was slightly carbonated which actually tasted really good and refreshing. It was as if I was drinking a fruity soda smoothie.
Smoothie Time

We hung out at the Faneuil Hall Market Place. There was a building called Quincy Market. It’s a building with endless food stands lined up. You just walk down this hall and you see food to your left, right, front, and back. Food is just everywhere. Outside of Quincy Market are your usual clothing stores like Gap and American Eagle.
Faneuil Hall Market Place

We walked over to Little Italy after Quincy Market. Little Italy is indeed little Italy. The buildings and the ambiance of the area says Italy all over it. When we got to Little Italy, we immediately went over to Neptune, a seafood restaurant. It’s a very well known restaurant. So well-known that the wait was 2 hours for us and they stopped taking names down after 7PM.
Neptunes

Instead of waiting at the restaurant for our name to be called, we went to Caffee Paradiso for another cup of cold drinks. I got an iced mocha and sat still because it was so darn hot! It was nice to just sit and relax for awhile because we walked so much. We walked so much that Anna got a blister!
Caffee Paradiso

After we finished our drinks, we headed back to Neptunes and ended up getting seated pretty quickly. We ordered about 6 oysters, salad, and a lobster roll sandwich with fries.

Oysters. I’m actually not a fan of seafood but I had to try some oysters since Boston is known for seafood. So the oysters were surprisingly really refreshing and good! There was some horse raddish sauce and it gave the oyster a kick in flavor.
Oysters

Salad. Now, the form we got our Caesar Salad was rather unique. It was like any other salad but I liked how they just threw the lettuce head right there on the plate. I’m sure it was really easy for them to put that salad together! What a efficient way to make salad for a busy place like Neptunes.
Caesar Salad

Lobster roll. Oh man…this was to die for. It was the sauce, the lobster, the bread, and everything and anything else that was in that sandwich that made it perfectly perfect. I think it was the buttery sauce and the thick juicy pieces of lobster slabbed into the sandwich that just made me want more! If you’r ever in Boston, YOU MUST try the Lobster Roll. You will not regret it.
Lobster Roll

I was so full from the sandwich we shared but because it was so good, I felt like I could eat more. That’s how good it was.  We spent about $60+ at Neptunes though we shared everything. But because it’s a popular restaurant with great customer service and high quality food, it was worth spending that much.

For dessert, we walked a block down to Mike’s Pastry. The place where people walk out with a blue and white box. It’s another popular place to check out that is known for cannolis.  They had all sorts of flavors for their filling like oreos, coffee, chocolate, etc. I got four hoping that Anna and I could share, but she said it’s too sweet for her. So I just had one and saved the rest to take home back in California.
Mike's Pastry

Like I mentioned before, the culture of parks is different in Boston compared to here in Orange County. As I was eating my cannoli, we sat at a park and just watched people hang out there. Saw little kids play in the fountain. It was a peaceful way to end our night!
Park at night.

SGV – Round 3

Ok, don’t judge! I know it seems like I go to San Gabriel Valley every other week. I think it’s actually just once a month for now. This time I went with a different crew again. This was especially for Briana since she’s been wanting to go since forever ago. She finally had the time for it, so we decided to explore.

For dinner we went to Newport Tan Cang Restaurant in SGV. It got 4.5 stars out of 1200 reviews. So it was a definite yet to check it out. When we got there, oh man. It was no bueno. Parking lot was tiny and the wait was 2 to 2.5 hours! We barely waited for five minutes. We had to leave immediately because we were starving.

This picture doesn’t show you justice of how crowded the place was. You just had to be there to see.

Newport Tan Cang Seafood Restaurant

Newport Tan Cang Seafood Restaurant

We Yelped another place and found Savoy Kitchen. This place got 4 stars out of 1700 reviews so we were hoping it wouldn’t too crazy like Newport Tan Cang. Luckily, it wasn’t! Well, that was only because our group had 4 people. If it was 5, I’m sure we would’ve waited longer. The seating arrangement is a little odd. The restaurant can probably only fit about 20 people for small groups of 4-5. Outside is for larger groups, but probably only a few large groups.
Savoy

We all shared an appetizer of shrimp egg rolls with a dip of orange sauce. I can’t tell you what the orange sauce is all about but all I can say is that it’s called orange sauce because it’s orange according a waiter there. They were simple and good. You can’t go wrong with them egg rolls much.
Shrimp Egg Rolls

So Savoy is known for their Hainan Chicken and rice. Briana, Josephine and I all got the Hainan Chicken just because all the Yelp reviewers were praising so much about it. Josephine and Briana didn’t seem too fond of the whole plate. I think it was just too plain for them. I on the other hand probably liked it a little more than them but I wasn’t in love with it. I could see why people could be addicted to the Hainan Chicken though. Perhaps the simplicity of the meal of chicken, rice, and sauce, and the affordable price of about $7 makes it all worth it.
Hainan Chicken

The chicken is pretty plain but dipping it in the sauce provided made it a tad better. The sauce gave the rice and chicken together a sweeter taste. I really felt like I could have made the whole meal myself at home. So I’m glad that the meal was about $7.

Would I go to Savoy again? Nah…It was unfortunately a little overrated.

I do want to go to Newport Tan Cang Restaurant again. For the wait to be 2 hours long means that it’s a definite place to check out. Note to future self: Get there late afternoon and grab a number, hang out in SGV, then go back to the restaurant just in time for number to be called for dinner.

To completely end the night at SGV, one must go to Factory Tea Bar where the fun boba life happens. I finally got the chance to sit in the couch area like a cool kid. It made the experience at Factory Tea Bar so much more fun! (Somewhat joking and being serious.) I ordered Honey Green Milk Tea which was good as always. We all shared the brick toast with ice cream and popcorn chicken.
Boba and popcorn chicken.

In the beginning of the night, I rated the the Honey Green Milk Tea as my most favorite, then brick toast, then the popcorn chicken. Everyone thought the popcorn chicken deserved to go before the brick toast. I couldn’t understand why they were thinking that because who honestly hates ice cream and awesome brick toast bread? No one. After some time, I realized the popcorn did deserve to go before the brick toast. The brick toast and ice cream are good but together, it can be too sweet. You might feel a cavity somewhere. Popcorn chicken and Honey Green Milk balance each other out really well.
Famous brick toast with ice cream.

While eating, we played Jenga. It’s such an intense game that I love and hate it.
Jenga

After a few games of Jenga, we called it a night. Thank you friends for the fun-food filled night at SGV.

SGV, we are coming back for you so just to try Newport Tan Cang Restaurant. See you soon, SGV. See you soon!

Urban Seoul

Urban Seoul is known as the “Korean food truck but at a restaurant”. Many are happy to know that there’s one in Irvine or even in Orange County aside from Hashigo in Costa Mesa. This place is still relatively new, probably a month or two old by now, located right in Diamond Jamboree plaza.
Urban Seoul

I went to Urban Seoul with Jennifer and Phil. They were purposely being awkward as mother and son. Sorry, that was an inside joke. But, can you see the awkwardness in that picture? Hope you can see and feel the awkwardness.
Mother and son.

The restaurant is pretty narrow and small, so beware of crowded space during dinner time.

There, I ordered a Kalbi Burger and it was good! The kalbi (the meat patty) made the burger taste sweet which made it different compared to my usual In-N-Out cheeseburger. I was sad that it came in slider form because I was expecting an actual burger. Two sliders were just not enough for me.
Kalbi Burger

So the three of us shared the Loaded Fries. They’re basically your chili cheese fries but fusion style. It had pork, cheese, jalapenos, and some onions.
Loaded Fries

Phil got the Kimchi Pancake Quesadillas. It obviously had kimchi (spicy cabbage dish), cheese, chicken, melted cheese, wrapped in crispy tortilla!
Kimchi Pancake Quesadilla

Jenn got the Bibibomp. It’s a bowl of rice with mixed vegetables. Rather than using typical Korean spicy sauce, they had a sauce that was a hint spicy and sweet. The sweetness of it made it fusion-y.
Bibibomp.

After eating all that madness, I asked myself like always when trying a new place, “Would I come here again?” The answer was probably not. No doubt was the Kalbi “Burger” good but it was just not filling. The portion and price of the meal ended up being the same as the food trucks. The only differences I found between the a Korean food truck and Urban Seoul were one, I could sit and two, I had to tip.

Before we left, we got a coupon for 15% off on our next meal there. I guess I’m actually going there again before the coupon expires!

Thanks other mother and son for trying Urban Seoul with me!

Downtown Pasadena

The last time I saw Sarah was at her wedding last summer. So we were long overdue to meet up. We randomly video chatted one afternoon when we were both feeling sick, then and there we decided a time, date, and place toreunite with some old friends. She said to meet in Pasadena because it’s a fun place to eat and walk around. I told her I was down! I’ve never really explored there so I was definitely opened to explore a new place.

Surprisingly my drive to Pasadena with Hannah and Elaine was not bad at all. The light traffic took us an hour or less. Because we were ahead of schedule, we got there before Sarah. While we waited for her, we decided to check out the City Hall of Pasadena which looked almost like a Cathedral. We walked around and saw some beautiful scenery in such a small little area.
City Hall

Across from City Hall was an actual cathedral which is opened almost 24/7 for people to pray. I really felt like I was in Europe when I saw the architecture.

Once Sarah arrived in Pasadena, we headed back to the downtown area. Parking is kind of a bust in Pasadena because of the meter situation or just having to pay in general. We somehow found this random hidden parking lot with no attendant. It was really suspicious but we decided to give it a shot since it was cheaper than most of the other parking lots. So basically, we paid $5 rather than $6-8 compared to other places. The weird thing was you deposit your money in this “drop off mailbox” looking thing. The box has slots for each parking space available. We parked in spot #2 so we deposited the $5 in the #2 slot. It was interesting. I took a bunch of pictures to show proof that we paid and that if it was scam, I had evidence of this matter. We deposited our $5 in and walked a block over to Slater’s 50/50 to meet up with Sarah.
Shady money deposit.

Everyone’s been talking about Slater’s 50/50 for awhile and I’ve been meaning to check it out but somehow I haven’t been able to go there. Luckily, Sarah chose this place to eat! She compared this place to The Counter where you can create your own order. Slater’s 50/50 is probably known for their patties to be stuffed with bacon and they’re eccentric creation of burgers such as the Peanut Butter & Jealousy burger.
Slater's 50/50

For appetizer we ordered some regular fries, sweet potato fries, and stuffed macaroni popcorn balls. They were all good! Especially the macaroni popcorn balls. I’ve never had them before nor did I ever know about them! Apparently The Cheesecake Factory makes them too.
Macaroni Popcorn Balls

Hannah, Elaine, and I knew that we were going to eat a lot that day so we had to portion control our meal. So we decided to split our burger into thirds. Yes, it’s possible to split a burger into thirds. Our burger had grilled onions, lettuce, tomato, American cheese, and patty with bacon pieces. I’m so glad that we we shared because our appetizer filled us and the patty was thick!

Sarah got a healthy veggie burger where she replaced the buns with lettuce! Too healthy for me.
Sarah and her too healthy burger.

I wouldn’t mind going back to Slater’s and trying one of their extreme burgers. I’m really curious about the PB & J burger.

We walked around afterwards and went window shopping. All the stores are walking distance. The high end and outdoors shopping experience reminded me of Fashion Island in Newport Beach and Gas Lamp in San Diego. I always like to compare my experience to somewhere else so that you can have a better understanding of what it was like to be there.

We stopped by Lette for some macarons.
Lette

Then headed to a hipster coffee place called Intellegentsia. This place is like Portola Coffee Lab with the hipster vibe but ultimately because of how they make coffee using siphons and those other fancy flasks you see in chemistry labs but for coffee.

I wanted a vanilla latte but they only make lattes which was too hardcore for me. So they said they could make me an iced sweetened latte and that ended up working out perfectly. My friends got some fancy coffee with latte art work done.
Coffee and fancy latte art.

We were at Intellegentsia for quite some time. Probably too long. But it was just so much fun sharing life stories and catching up.
Sarah, Hannah, Elaine at Intellegentsia

Afterwards, we walked around downtown. I’d like to check out 21 Choices next time I’m in Pasadena. That ice cream shop seemed like a popular one.
21 Choices

Sarah showed us how historical old town Pasadena was by taking us to the front door of J Crew. There was tiled work on the ground that said The Owl Drug Co. So back in the day, way before J Crew, that store was actually a drug store. Cool, huh?
The Owl Drug Co.

We went to this one hat store and found a band playing inside! That was definitely a fun experience trying on some old school hats while listening to some live music.

Live Band at the hat store.

Old Town Pasadena has some hidden spots for some good pictures.
Happy picture spot.

When we were done walking around, we took one last picture together and called it a night. The night scenery in Pasadena is as pretty as the day time. Too bad this picture doesn’t capture the beauty of Pasadena because of the random person we asked.

Last group picture.

That whole day and night hanging out with Sarah, Hannah, and Elaine was so much fun! Time flew by so quickly that day. Probably because were just having so much fun. Thanks Sarah for showing us around in Pasadena!