Coast To Coast

I’m so happy Pam made a short trip to NYC while she was on the East Coast! First off, I am super proud of her for conquering the LIRR to get to my place. I think everyone (including her) was afraid she wouldn’t make it.

She came in on Thursday night and after a little adventure in a van, where Pam and I gossiped with no regard to the complete silence of the other passengers, we made our way to Verlaine — for the $6  lychee martinis, obvi. I thought it’d be the perfect place for our “low key” night out.

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What I love is the fact that they have happy hour until 10pm. For someone who doesn’t work in Manhattan, catching the happy hours that end at 6-7pm are nearly impossible.

So we ordered our first round, and Pam downs nearly half her drink in one gulp.. And refuses to eat the calamari that I ordered to share. That’s when I realized the kind of night that was about to unfold.

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Pam was always one drink ahead of me, and kept ordering two more at a time. I guess the bartender thought we weren’t having enough, so he decided to give us shots as well.

We ventured over to Beauty and Essex, a speakeasy bar which we had been wanting to check out. When you walk in, it looks like a typical pawn shop. There’s an entrance in the wall that leads you to this classy, dimly lit restaurant and lounge. The decor is reminiscent of the 1920s — so Gatsby!

I kinda felt like this.

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I’m obsessed with this music video!

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Pam found the DJ (of course!)

We then made our way to Fat Buddha, one of my favorite places to go to. It’s just a fun place to go to when you feel like dancing.

After making friends on the streets, trying to climb into the DJ’s booth, losing coat check tickets, and burning our fingers on dollar pizzas, we caught a cab and were home and in bed by 1:30.

The next day we woke up and had some crazy laughs while recapping the night before. It’s crazy how much fun Pam and I have together, even when it’s just us two. I’m so grateful we can still make these memories together, even now while we are thousands of miles away from each other.

We are the ultimate #snookiandjwoww duo.

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Vegas, Baby

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This weekend, we celebrated Steven’s birthday and his dad’s retirement. They rented a couple slot machines and gambling tables to go with the Vegas theme. Who knew this was a thing? Each person started with $500 chips (fake money) , and at the end of the night, the top 5 people with the most chips won prizes ranging from a dinner for 2, to a bottle of wine. Someone spent a good chunk of his night at the Blackjack table!
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I spent a good chunk of time here.
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Check out their cute homemade cakes. Learning how to bake with fondant is on my list of things to do.

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On another note, I am trying to get back in the habit of cooking real meals again. I made Bò Lúc Lắc (Shaking Beef) one of B’s favorite Vietnamese dishes. Look Liz, haven’t I come a long way from the hotdogs & ramen noodles from college? IMG_0356.JPG

Weekends always go by so fast. Hope everyone is having a good start to the week!

Travel Blues

As I am sitting here catching up on the latest episode of The Affair, I can’t help but dread the thought of going back to work tomorrow. It tends to happen after spending a week soaking up the sun, eating (and drinking) to your heart’s content.

Coming back to wind, cold, and rain does not make things any easier.

At least we are left with fond memories and pictures.

We were very fortunate to experience gorgeous weather, considering we were vacationing to the Caribbean in the tail end of hurricane season.

 

One thing I will miss is the breakfasts. We never adjusted to the 2 hour time difference (1 hour + 1 for daylight savings). woke up around 7 every morning, which was good so we got to start the day early. At one of the breakfast stations, there was this super sweet lady who would make us eggs-in-a-basket . It was like mommy making breakfast for her kids. I already miss the crispy churros, hash browns, guacamole, and soft tacos.

Usually, we tend to avoid the historical tours, but considering we were 2 hours away from one of the Seven Wonders of the World, we figured we should check it out. We actually ended up enjoying it a lot more than we had expected. It is amazing how intelligent and purposeful ancient civilizations were when it came to building their structures and the meanings behind their rituals.

Temple of Kukulcan

Chichén Itzá is an ancient Mayan city that was home to various ruins, with the main attraction being El Castillo/The Temple of Kukulcan. The Mayans used this 365 step pyramid to determine how fruitful their harvests would be for the season, based on the shadows cast during the 2 equinoxes of the year. What is very impressive is that when you clap your hands when you are standing in a specific spot around the pyramid, your clap resembles the sound of a bird. This is due to the way the structure was built. It is truly a wonder, indeed!

The Great Ballcourt, where they played an difficult ball game where you volley an 8 pound ball and shoot it through a ring which was around 18 ft off the ground, using your hips, elbows, and shoulders. They believe the first person to score would be the sacrifice to the gods, as it was an honor to be amongst the gods.

Suytun Cenote

During our tour, we stopped by one of the cenotes, which is an underground sinkhole, consisting only of rain water dripping in from the top of the cave. At this particular cenote, the water collected here is used as a source of drinking water for the locals. When we got in, we were greeted by little fishes swimming around that nibbled at our toes at our dead skin. It was a strange and funny feeling.

 

On our way home, we made a 15 minute pit stop in this cute little city. Inside the beautiful park, B spotted a snack cart of what he thought was crepes. It turned out to be something called Marquesitas, which was a crunchy rolled up crepe, filled with nutella and cheese. I have to admit, it seemed like an odd combination, but since everyone was getting it, we had to too. It was a sweet and salty treat! For $2.50 each, with 300 tour buses dropping by this city daily, I imagine the guys running the cart definitely make out pretty well.

I always develop more appreciation for the people and places I encounter after my trips, and most importantly, appreciation for what I have. I am so lucky to be able to have the means to be able to go to these places and see the world in different lights.It is always sad to see the living conditions of the local people and how it tends to be completely opposite of the lifestyle at the resorts we stay at in that very same area. I feel guilty, and even gluttonous sometimes. I tend to have these moments of reflection. I look at the kids playing on the street, the man sitting on the bench staring off into the distance, the people shouting at us trying to sell souvenirs, and wonder if they are happy. I hope they are. I figure the least I can do is be a good guest and a pleasant person while I’m there. It’s definitely humbling.

2014 NYC Wine & Food Festival: BBQ & Blues Edition

 

I had the opportunity to attend one of the events hosted at the 2014 NYC Wine and Food Festival. B was too sick to go, so I was able to bring a +1 in his place. He was so bummed — we looove our BBQ food!

I always come hungry to these food events, and leave full. This day was no different.

This specific event was hosted by Thrillist, and featured guests were the cast of the Food Network show, The Kitchen. Yan is a huge Food Network fan, so I knew she would be the perfect buddy to bring along.

We were able to sample different BBQ dishes from local restaurants, and vote on the winning dish. To go along with the food, they were passing out cocktails made from Tito’s vodka in these cute plastic mason jars. Tito’s vodka is super popular around here these days, since it’s basically like a cheap vodka that goes down smooth. And they supposedly do not lead to hangovers. Where was this when we were in college?

This rice bowl dish from Mexicue was a fusion of Mexican & barbeque. One of our favorites. Yan & I could have eaten a couple more servings of this, but we figured we should save our appetites for the other food.

My favorite part of going to these kind of events, is seeing the stars of course. I’ll be honest — If it weren’t for Yan, I wouldn’t have recognized any of them! So we made sure that she got a photo op with each one of them. She was so happy 🙂

Marcela Valladolid, Geoffrey Zakarian, Sunny Anderson, and Katie Lee

From my interactions with them, my favorite two are Sunny Anderson and Jeff Mauro (aka the Sandwich King). They were the most down to earth ones mingling in the crowds. Sunny is so dope — she was double fisting and being her sassy self.

 

To show you how cool they are, they even took pictures and posted it to their social media. Can you spot us?

    

We left with our bellies full and mason jars filled. We took a little walk and sat by the Columbus Circle fountain to finish our drinks before we parted ways.


It’s rare that I get one on one time with this girl, but I’m so glad we have been speaking more often this past year. I can’t wait for her wedding next year!