Beer and Governors Island

Location | New York, NY The New York Brewfest was on Governors Island. The website describes the event as:

NY Brewfest is a craft beer sampling event sanctioned by the New York State Brewers Association. A commemorative 4-ounce glass is given to all attendees at the Information Booth/Entrance. Admission allows samplings from over 300 styles of handcrafted beers from more than 100 breweries. Great local foods will be available for purchase, and New York bands will perform throughout the evening. The event is a venerable gumbo of the Empire State’s creativity.


Needless to say, I was sold. I actually had a “Connoisseurs’ Pass” which allowed an extra hour entrance to the event (well worth it). We had free reign over a lot of booths and A LOT of beer.

View from the Governors Island Ferry

Now, I am not a very large person. Drinking a lot of beer, even out of a 4oz cup, was probably not a good idea for someone with little to no tolerance. I became incredibly hyper during this event.

At least we ate some food...

So, Greg decided it’d be good to feed me. What’s good at a Brewfest? Well, spring rolls, burger, and homemade chips. We even had some ice cream after. Well, after an hour or 2, Greg decided it was time to go so I followed him out as I was feeling pretty tipsy from all the alcohol coursing through my veins.

View from the island

I actually let him go home, while I stayed on the island and laid out on a blanket… and took a nap. I woke up later and actually took a long walk from Wall Street to SoHo (after getting off the ferry, that is).


06 2010

Breakfast, Coffee and the California Academy of Sciences

Location | New York City

Well, back to New York on an awful red-eye flight. (Don’t fly red-eyes, it’s so not worth it). On my last day in San Francisco (Monday) I woke up at Anna & Eric’s place and put everything away for them. Then I headed out to have breakfast with my friend Albie at a Crossroads Cafe, which was near my friend’s apartment.

The weather was bad – torrential downpour – so Albie and I opted to take public transportation to the Ferry Building so that Albie could meet our other friend and I could meet up with my college friend, Justin (whom I refer to as Twurtleson, don’t ask).

After parting ways, I went to Blue Bottle and ordered coffees and more granola (so damn addicting) and was picked up by Justin. We drove to a Taiwanese restaurant called, Spices, located in the Inner Richmond area of San Fran. We had lunch and then headed to the California Academy of Sciences. Can I tell you, it was pretty sweet.

This fish is grumpy.

Justin was in control of my camera, so I don’t have full artistic integrity over these photos, but the boy wanted to play with a new toy. So the ones w/o him in them, are photos taken by him.

Justin explores the seas.

There was everything, a lot of fish, I touched a sea urchin (weird), jellyfish, alligator, stingrays (you’ll see one of the photos he took at the end, I highly suspect that was his favorite part since I found a million stingray photos), butterflies, fossils… and just a lot of cool things.

A butterfly lands on a boy's finger.

We also checked out the roof top, despite the rain.

On the "Living Roof"

There were about 50 more pictures that look exactly like this...

After all of this, we went to pick up my friend Eric, go pick up my baggage, then head to meet my (other) friend Angel for dinner. We just had some food and Justin and I parted ways while Angel drove me to the airport.

Overall, it was an amazing trip. I was so happy to be able to hang out with Ngoc and company, as well as see old friends and make new ones! If you’re interested, full set of photos here.


05 2010

Old Friends, Reunited.

Location | SoMa, San Francisco

The morning began in a slight frenzy. I found my friend, whom I call Panda, in his room practicing guitar. I got ready and we went to have brunch with our two friends, Angel and Andrew. They met us at a restaurant called “Bill’s Cafe” in San Jose. After polishing off our food (we are kind of beasts with food… we’ve known this since our time together in Taiwan), Angel, Andrew and I headed to Palo Alto to check out Santana Row, an outdoor shopping mall and Stanford‘s campus. Panda headed off to church.

Santana Row - Andrew, Angel and me.

Santana Row was ok (and unaffordable). We ended up going to Stanford’s campus pretty quickly and just walked around. The campus was eerily quiet, but they were in the midst of finals (plus it was the weekend). We hung out in the oval lawn in front of their main campus building.

The famous columns at Stanford's campus.

Panda met up with us again, but we had gone to downtown Palo Alto by that point (we were sitting at Starbucks eating a crepe I had bought across the street and drinking iced tea and coffee). Panda drove us to San Francisco where we met up with some of his friends (one was Jeremy Lin‘s older brother – random coincidence) and we had really good Vietnamese food at Turtle Tower in the area of Outer Richmond (not the one in the Tenderloin). I hadn’t had good Vietnamese in a very long time, so it was especially nice to have good spring rolls and a hot bowl of noodles.

My friends are really hungry...

We headed out to Humphry Slocombe, one of the most unique ice cream places I’ve been to. They only have a few special flavors a day, but flavors included things like Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee, Chocolate Sea Salt, and Strawberry Balsalmic. I chose the Chocolate Sea Salt and Strawberry Balsalmic (so good!). My friends were a little freaked out by the flavors, but I loved it.

Me, Panda, Angel and Andrew at Humphry Slocombe

After wards we hung outside for a bit, doing some awkward dances (thanks to one of Panda’s friends) and then I was dropped off at my friend’s apartment near the Embarcadero.


05 2010

Prison. Bread. Middle Eastern Food.

Location | South Bay, San Francisco

We went to Alcatraz, despite many of us being hungover (not I apparently). Ngoc’s sister and I actually woke up early and walked down to the Ferry Building (which is NOT a short walk) and got coffee and the absolute most wonderful yogurt and granola combination that I’ve ever had in my life. I’m absolutely addicted to those flavors. The yogurt was the lemon flavor from St. Benoit, a local French-style yogurt. The owner was selling the yogurts in these adorable ceramic containers in the farmer’s market. Combine the yogurt with the delicious granola of Blue Bottle and you have yourself the most winning combination. You would not believe the flavor. It is an absolute MUST If you’re in San Francisco to combine the 2 flavors.

Alcatraz was interesting. It seemed almost TOO CLEAN for a prison. I think it’s because I went to the State Penitentiary in Philly last year, so this one wasn’t as interesting because it wasn’t as dilapidated. Ngoc and James went completely though the whole audio tour. I think I got through about track 26 of 40 something before I couldn’t listen anymore.

First part you see of Alcatraz

After Alcatraz we went back to the Embarcadero where we said goodbye to Ngoc’s older brother who was flying back to Vegas. We then walked around all the piers and went to see the sea lions at Pier 39.

They were all floppy and noisy

We were picked up by Justin at Boudoin Bread at Fisherman’s Wharf. He was taking us to dinner, but the original place we wanted to go to was packed, so we had to settle for another option. Furthermore, Eric and Anna had a nightmare bus situation, so they were very late in meeting us. It was fine, we ordered some delicious Middle Eastern food before we ran back to Justin’s car because it was freezing. Justin dropped me off at the BART and I was on my way to the South Bay while he took Ngoc and James to the airport.

In the South Bay, I was picked up by my favorite Panda, Eric Chang! And he took me back to his house where we sat around chatting into the night until it was time to pass out.


05 2010

San Francisco, Fisherman’s Wharf, Australians and Hookah.

Location | Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco

The morning didn’t begin any more different than the morning before. We woke up and took the trolley to the Ferry Building where I met up with my friend, Albert. I had the best cup of latte that I’ve ever consumed at Blue Bottle. Just thinking about the wonderful smoothness of the espresso with a hint of honey and a beautiful whip of soy foam makes me so happy.

The barista made this one especially for us since we were raving about the latte.

We stood outside enjoying the coffee and looking toward Oakland. Then it was off to the Mission District. We walked down to the BART and rode it to 24th St-Mission St and went to El Farolito. Now, this may or may not be the one my friend recommended, but there was a line and it looked as if it was mainly locals. Always an excellent sign. We went in and ordered burritos, nachos, and various other goodies. It was heaven. I love Mission style burritos! The only problem was that we were so full afterwards it was hard to walk.

I <3 Burritos!

We went up to The Castro, which is a fun bustling area of SF. We walked back up to the streetcar and rode that back up to the Ferry Building. From there we walked up the Embarcadero to Pier 39 to meet up with Ngoc’s sister, Van. We then took a walk up to Coit Tower, which believe me, was not an easy walk/hike.

Coit Tower is supposed to resemble a fire hose nozzle.

After hanging out around the tower, we hopped a bus ride back down toward Lombard Street. It was a good day to take a hike apparently. I’ve driven down the street before, so it was interesting to see all the tourists taking photos and driving down the street. I wonder what the residents on the street must feel like?

We headed toward Ghiradelli Square where Ngoc and her sister indulged in some ice cream while I shopped around for stationary (I know, random). We ended up heading back to the hotel for a few minutes before walking down to meet Eric and Anna for dinner. We had a really wonderful Italian meal at Sotto Mare. Despite all of us still feeling slightly full, we completely ate our meals as if we were famished.

Eric took us to a nearby bar where we ended up playing drinking games and being obnoxiously loud. A table near us wondered what we were doing, and decided to join in on our drinking games. It was a bunch of Australians. Well 2 Australian guys, and 2 American girls they had met. Since I kept winning the drinking games… I obviously turned out fine,  but some of our other… friends, were not in such good shape.

Haha, the following conversation cracks me up:

Eric: Would you like to go with us to a Hookah bar?

Australian fellow w/ strong Australian accent: What!? A Hooker bar!?

That was amazing. They didn’t end up coming with us, but we got outside and tried to get cabs. Now, SF is nothing like NYC, so cabs are not easy to come by. The girls hopped into one and we were ALMOST to the Tenderloin district when… well let’s just say Ngoc’s sister’s stomach did not like the alcohol… and we got into a major fight with the cab driver who was screaming at us and demanding money…. it was not pretty.

The owner of the Hookah Bar saw the whole thing and told us that he’d take care of us and hook us up with some free flavors. We ended up there until around 3 or 4am when we got back to the hotel and fell into our beds exhausted.


05 2010

Welcome to San Francisco

Location | Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco, CA

It began on the BART. Finding my way to one of the last trains to the city, I made it to Powell Street. There I found the streetcar. I held $5 in my hand, but they did not ask for anything. I got off at the last stop 20 minutes later near Fisherman’s Wharf. I asked the man for some directions, and he pointed me in the right direction and I made my way to the hotel.

There I met up with Ngoc’s brother, Truc. I waited for Ngoc and James to get back. They came back and since we were all exhausted, we just slept.

In the morning we had to decide what we wanted to do. Ngoc and James’ friends, Audrey and Erik were picking us up to go eat $1 oysters. Despite this, we headed to Mama’s and had brunch. The place was interesting, you walk in and order from a counter before sitting down and being served. Between the 4 of us, we ordered 3 dishes.

Eggs Benedict at Mama's

Afterwards we walked back to the hotel to wait for Ngoc and James’ friends – Audrey and Erik. They planned on taking us to Hog Island Oyster Company and then to Berkeley.

We drove over the Golden Gate Bridge and stopped to take some photos before continuing on to the north bay.

Me and Ngoc at the Golden Gate Bridge

We drove for a long time along Highway 1. I fell asleep (of course), but we arrived at the Hog Island Oyster Company an hour later. It was such a beautiful place for an oyster farm. A huge bay, picnic area and oysters for $1.

View at Hog Island Oyster Company

We had 5 people, so we got 50 oysters. I wish I wasn’t so full from breakfast, so I could’ve eaten more! Audrey and Erik also brought guacamole, fruit and other snacks. It was such a fun day to sit out there eating.

Oyster Cheers!

After the oysters, we took a drive to Berkeley. The campus was really great. It really made me want to go to school there. I’m considering business school there in 2011. We’ll see where that takes me.

We had some tri-tip sandwiches before we headed into campus. We walked around, bought some things, but mainly, we headed to campus to check it out. The campus is really nice. Some parts are a little weird – ie: the architecture building was not pretty. The sciences building on campus was really nice.

We also chatting with some squirrels, looked at the protesters, watched students walk by… it was a nice college visit. After Berkeley, we went to get Cheese Board Pizza. We sat in the median in the street and ate the pizza. After that we headed to get some gelato. Overall it was an AMAZING food day.

Cheese Board pizza



05 2010

Grant’s Tomb Amongst Things

Location |  Flight from JFK to SFO

One of the coolest things in regards to NYC are how many historical sites there are on one tiny island. There’s so many random things to find and I love discovering something new.

After an amazing (and very filling) lunch at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que on 131 & the West Side Highway.

My plate from Dinosaur Bar-B-Que!

After that, Drew had told us Grant’s Tomb was only down the way, so we headed over there (in the cold) and walked up a hill. Greg’s poor friend Jake must’ve been wondering where we were taking him!

The area is a little obscure, but very nice (and quiet). The Tomb is HUGE! It’s just sitting there in the middle of the park.

Grant's Tomb

President Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States and a decorated and much celebrated Civil War General. Despite is general unpopularity when he left office in 1877, his tomb is considered the largest mausoleum in North America (crazy!).

Near/next to Grant’s Tomb is the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. It’s MASSIVE. That’s really all I have to say about it. I’d seen it before when I went up to the Cloisters, but this was the first time I actually stopped to take some shots.

Cathedral of St. John the Divine

After all of this, we walked through Columbia… which isn’t very large (nor exciting). I was kind of surprised about how small their campus felt. I guess that’s the problem with going to a large school, everything else feels small.

Hopefully I can get some more shots of the city this summer. So much more to explore!


05 2010

Philadelphia (For Amy’s Birthday!)

Location | New York City

Headed to Philly for a beautiful Sunday to see the lovely Amy because her birthday was last week and I didn’t get a chance to see her!. Took the Chinatown Bus with Jiye who was heading back home.

Here’s the big problem: I took one whole picture while there. Ok,  three. Two of which were on my cell phone.

Sign at Reading Terminal Market

So, here it is, the one grand photo I took. I’ll go back to Philly soon, so no worries, much better photos in the future!

Highlights from the trip:

  • Mussels & Duck Sandwich from Monk’s Cafe
  • Chocolate Banana & Mango Champagne Gelato from Capogiro
  • Sushi (unmemorable, so I don’t remember the name)

Of course I have no photos. Of course. Anyway, more postings soon and maybe an exciting update if I find the time to do it!


05 2010

New York Botanical Garden

Location | New York City

I went to the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx this past weekend. This was my first time there, but it’s 250 acres of land dedicated to one of the best plant collections in the world. (Yes, I was listening when they were giving a tour).

Inside the conservatory

The conservatory was amazing. It was a giant greenhouse filled with a ton of exotic plants/flowers. I loved how they tried to let you see every inch of their jungle of plants. In the rainforest section, you could climb up into the canopy and in the dessert, they tried to give plenty of examples of plants that look like rocks.

Multi-colored Tulips

Outside we went to the rock garden & the children’s garden. There were a lot of beautiful tulips (a lot of them were past-peak). We also walked through some marshy wetland then to take the trolley around the grounds. There’s a lot of forest, but I wouldn’t walk through it (unless I was maybe jogging?).

Anyway, it was a lovely day and hopefully I’ll return once the chrysanthemum festival occurs.


04 2010

A Brooklyn Adventure

Location | New York City

The weather was amazing this weekend. After a crazy night out with some good friends, I woke up early and headed to Brooklyn for brunch at Buttermilk Channel. I met up with Jiye and Christine and we were easily seated.

I actually didn’t know what Buttermilk Channel was known for, but their eggs looked amazing. I ended up order a spinach, goat cheese and mushroom scramble. It came with a biscuit and hash browns. I also ordered some bacon-encrusted almonds for the table (which turned out to be not so great).

Salmon & cream cheese scramble

Christine ordered the salmon & cream cheese scramble. Jiye ordered the salmon platter. There was also a (terrible) coffee cake.

After brunch, we went to Jiye’s neighborhood and hung out at Tazza and had something to drink.

Then I met up with Winnie at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. It’s currently cherry blossom season and we wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

Winnie & me in the cherry blossom promenade

They also had some beautiful tulips, especially the double tulips (which looked like a few tulips within each other).

Double Tulip

The gardens didn’t take too long to get through, about an hour and a half. After that we decided that we wanted to eat dessert – at Junior’s! So we took the subway and went to try out the famous Junior’s cheesecake.

I love cheesecake!

Winnie got the Devil’s Food Cheesecake and I got the Strawberry Cheesecake.

Overall, it was great weekend. May 1-2 is the Sakura Matsuri at Brooklyn Botanical, but I don’t suggest going (it will be PACKED). This weekend was packed… craaaazy. If you do go, enjoy!


04 2010