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October 17, 2012

Heading South

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This may seem like deja vu, but a month from now, Tammi and I are going back to South America. This trip, like our trip last year, starts in Peru, then takes us to Argentina.

We start in Lima, continue to Argentinian wine country in Mendoza, then finish with a week in Buenos Aires. It may seem like a bit of a rerun, but last year was so great that waiting another five years for a return visit seemed foolish.

I'm in ful on obsessive mode planning and researching places to visit, eat and drink, so stay tuned for links and reminiscing from last year's trip.

February 16, 2011

Barcelona-Bound

Barcelona

Apologies for the lack of content lately. I have much to catch up on, but first a bit of news: I found a last minute fare deal from New York to Barcelona and Tammi and I are taking it. This weekend, we're off to spend 4 days on the Mediterranean.

I plan to spend a good deal of that time photographing and eating and hopefully practicing my Spanish. When I get back in a week, I hope to have many stories to tell.
Stay tuned...

November 19, 2010

Lunch: Banh Mi Saigon

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Even though I still have five days left before our trip to Asia starts, my mind has been 8,000 miles away for days. It's pretty much all I can think about.

Yesterday, my mental wandering took me on a trip far out of my usual bounds down to Chinatown to get a Vietnamese sandwich from Banh Mi Saigon, one of the old favorites in the banh mi craze. I'd never been there, but happened upon it a few nights ago and decided I had to return. Having rated first place in the Midtown Lunch Banh mi-palooza in the spring was definitely a good enough reference for me. Read on for the porky goodness.

Continue reading "Lunch: Banh Mi Saigon" »

September 8, 2010

Looking To The East

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Pretty much as soon as we got back from Hawai'i last year, Tammi and I were already thinking about where we would go for our annual trip this fall. We had been all over the place, but hadn't really centered on anything specific until we were invited to a wedding in The Philippines two weeks after Thanksgiving.

After a good deal of budget consideration and some awesome finagling with frequent flyer miles, we managed to get everything arranged. We will be spending a week each in Hong Kong and Vietnam this fall, plus a couple days in The Philippines for the wedding.

Right now we are in the information gathering part of planning, so if you've been to the area and have recommendations, please chime in.

In the meantime, I expect to do as much research on Cantonese, Vietnamese and Filipino food in New York as I can. More to come.

June 9, 2010

San Francisco by Bartender

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This is probably my 10th or 11th trip to San Francisco in the last eight years. I like it here, I feel like I have a good lay of the land and know a fair number of great places to eat and drink. The only problem is that since I'm almost always here for work geekery, my free time is limited and so I often end up returning to the same old favorite places and neighborhoods and don't get quite so much time to explore.

I usually ask around for recommendations, but this year I've got a theme. asked a few bartender friends for recommendations for both bars and restaurants to visit while in the area.

The list is extensive and if I get to a fraction of these places in the next four days, I'll be lucky. Similarly, if I added links and whatnot to every place listed, this post would never go up. Google's your friend folks, sorry.

After the jump, the bartenders and their recs. As a bonus, I also got a list of recommendations from the waiter at Incanto, where I had dinner Sunday night (more on that to come).

Continue reading "San Francisco by Bartender" »

January 27, 2010

Philly: The Bellevue

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We had the great luck to end up in The Hyatt at The Bellevue on this last trip to Philadelphia. It's an older hotel, right on Broad and Walnut, blocks away from City Hall and right in front of a SEPTA Station. This is the only photo I managed to take while we were there, but there were tons of of details and decorative items that I really wanted to shoot while we were there.

The best part was that I managed to get us in there at a rate of $75 per night on Priceline.

Upstairs, on the top floor we stopped in a couple of times at XIX, the hotel's bar and cafe.

Downstairs, there's a shopping space with a Williams-Sonoma, a Palms Steakhouse and a Nicole Miller boutique that Tammi was pretty excited about.

Being right at Walnut Street, it was also a great location for getting to the Rittenhouse Square area.

For swank factor and actual comfort, I'd definitely recommend staying at The Bellevue and hope to stay there again.

January 14, 2010

Philly: Dinner at Osteria

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Perhaps I just hope to keep Osteria as my personal Philadelphia secret. That's the only reason I can think of why I somehow have neglected to post about it for the last two years. It's been a must go place for me since before Tammi ran the Philadelphia Marathon in 2007. Yet, whenever it comes to writing a post about it, I always manage to put it off.

The meal is a multi-course fantasy of interesting Italian cooking ranging from porchetta with tuna sauce to octopus on pizza to rabbit sausage to pig's feet that even Tammi likes. It's all over the place in the best possible way and the courses are small enough that you can graze your way through the experience.

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Yesterday, I made our reservation for dinner at Osteria Friday night, shortly after we get into town. I've been looking back at some of my notes posted on Twitter over the summer when we were there last and it's got me all excited again.


Some highlights:

* polpo totally different than last night. Meat shreds in mouth. Milder fish flvr. Tender, not as firm as most. Char less strong.

* porchetta served cold sliced, like cold cuts. Topped with a mayo laced tuna sauce and greens.

* wow! Tammi's eating pig's feet "and liking it"

* tortellini stuffed with braised, ground, shredded pigs feet. Burrata stuffed delicate pasta pillows with sprinkled olives, pasley.

* we got the last plate of suckling pig. Moist, tender, transcendant.

* "course for course, perfection." says Tammi. I can't argue.

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Seriously, it's a wonderful experience made even better by sitting at the chef's counter and watching the team make their magic in the kitchen. I have my request in for the same spot this weekend. Here's hoping.

Osteria
640 North Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130
215.763.0920

December 21, 2009

Vancouver: Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

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First off, Vancouver's chinatown is sketchy. Like Bowery in the 80's sketchy, junkies crowded around bars, divey hotels and help centers.

So, it was a little jarring to walk a block away from a major thoroughfare of despair and end up in this gorgeous space. It's a recreation of traditional Chinese garden from the 15th Century.

I skipped the tour in favor of wandering on my own and shooting photos, so I don't have much more to add. My only advice would be to be aware of your surroundings on your want there.

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November 27, 2009

Hawai'i on Foot or "I Never Learned to Drive!"

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I'm an unapologetic pedestrian. I can't drive and I can't say I particularly care to learn. Honestly, I prefer places that driving isn't necessary. And the places I might want to get to by driving are places like Napa, Provence or the Italian countryside where I really want to go to sample wine and have 3 hour lunches wouldn't be especially conducive to responsible driving. Tammi can't drive either, although she actually wants to learn and has been taking classes in pursuit of that.

Regardless, neither of us currently have a license. That proved a bit of a limitation in getting around on Hawai'i's more rural islands. Neither The Big Island or Kauai are particularly accommodating for the non-drivers.

The Big Island, being more rural and, well, Big, was the most challenging of the two. Taxis cost about $5 per mile to get around and I ended up dropping $100 just getting to our hotel from the airport. Besides the tour we took of the island, we didn't get beyond the grounds of our resort and it's sister hotel.

Kauai was a bit easier, with towns only a couple miles apart and a bus system that could get us up to the north shore of the island. But it only runs until 6:15pm and doesn't run at all on Sundays, which led to some rearranging of plans. Even with that, we put in more than a mile or two walking while we were there.

Coming from New York, it's funny to see the reactions of locals and hospitality folks when asked about getting around without a car. They initially assume we're being cheap and try to convince us that it's worth it to get a car. When we explain that that's not an option, they just think we're weird.

I'm writing this back in Honolulu, which though touristy and laden with hi-rises and Waikiki Wackos, is more familiar terrain for a city boy like me.

November 24, 2009

Hawai'i: Around The Big Island in Ten Hours

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I'm generally pretty dubious of tour buses. In New York, they represent those visitors so clueless that they can't be bothered to take the subway uptown or downtown and actually see the city through their own eyes. It's Nebraskans and Octogenarians that are too scared of our reviled city to actually get to know it first hand. I'm probably too harsh.

That said, there's no way we could have seen so much of The Big Island if we hadn't gone on the Island Circle Tour from Roberts Hawaii that we did last week. It was a wonderful and interesting experience.

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The Big Island is amazingly diverse. I spent the last 20 minutes just trying to figure out which picture to lead with. We stayed in the desert land of Kona on the Southeast side of the island. It's the windward side and, though hot and sunny everyday, had winds strong enough to slam doors and blow cups and flatware off of tables.

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Over the course of the day, we passed through and stopped in volcanic wastelands covered in cooled lava rock across from lush green pasture lands, down the road from a black sand beach full of warming Sea Turtles, minutes away from an active caldera spouting steam and sulfur, which in turn is virtually around the corner from a tropical rain forest. We visited a coffee plant, a bakery in the southernmost town in the United States, and we walked through an empty lava tube underneath a jungle.

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It was all very impressive and pretty amazing to cover so much in such a relatively short time.

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November 12, 2009

The Annual Trip: Hawai'i

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With the wedding strategically placed just before Thanksgiving, we have now canonized our traditional holiday trip as the Anniversary Trip.

Friday morning, we take off for Hawaii for nearly two weeks of fun in the sun. We'll be island-hopping, hitting Oahu, The Big Island and Kauai while we're out there. No major plans yet, we'll just be playing it by ear. It's been an eventful 12 months and the both of us hope to take advantage of our first real downtime since the big day.

Given the lackadaisical flow of posts lately, it's not really necessary to warn that updates will be sporadic, but I am hoping to take some time to regroup and get more consistent all around the interwebs. Expect some news about the blog, the photo site (which I hadn't gotten around to mentioning), Twitter, and Examiner before the year is up. You've been warned.

August 14, 2009

Weekend in Philly

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This evening, Tammi and I are going to Philadelphia for a little downtime together. We haven't been there together since she ran the Philadelphia Marathon in '07.

It's just the weekend, but of course the food is pretty planned out. Tonight it's dinner at Amada, tomorrow, it's Osteria. We're staying right down the block from Reading Terminal Market, so I can't imagine we won't check out DiNic's.

Beyond that, we'll be wandering around, and enjoying the city. Tammi has a couple shops she wants to hit and I'll be photographing and such. It should be a lot of fun.

There will be Tweets, so if you want the bite-by-bite, follow away.

July 28, 2009

LA Recs: The Tower of Justice Returns

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Stephen, a.k.a. The Tower of Justice is a long-time friend of the blog. Last year he offered tips on where and what to eat in San Francisco and he has advised on LA Eats in the past as well. Below is an extended and updated list of recommendations. Note the liberal use of the term 'bomb-ass.' That's how you know it's real.

Here are a few options to consider:

Downtown

Near the Staples Center is Philippe's, which as you may recall is the birthplace of the au jus roast beef sandwich.  They don't serve it with au jus in a dipping bowl, but instead ask you how many dips you want--one, two, or three.  Get it with two, which provides you with enough juice to give the meat some flavor but not too much so that the french roll loses its integrity.  They also serve 10 cent coffee.  It isn't transcendent but it's novel.  At each table, you'll find spicy ass mustard or horseradish sauce (I can't remember), which is bomb-ass.

In Chinatown, which is about 10 minutes northeast of downtown, you'll find Empress Pavilion which has some great dim sum.

In Koreatown, which is about 10 minutes west of downtown, you'll find all sorts of good eats.  My favorite is Beverly Soon Tofu on the northwest corner of Olympic and Vermont.  It's a spicy tofu soup made with all sorts of good meat/seafood combinations.  The bowl is a mini-cauldron that is bubbling when it is brought to your table at which point the waitress drops a raw egg into the bowl so that it can add another layer of flavor.  If you go, order the pork/seafood combination broth and ask for it "regular" spicy.  ("Spicy" spicy is really too hot, to the point where it begins detracting from the meal.)

There is also a Kyo-Chon chicken joint in K-town.  I've been to Bon-Chon, which also recently opened a store in LA k-town, and I still prefer Kyo-Chon.

Two other places to think about.  One is Honey Pig, which is a korean bacon joint.  They have giant pans in the shape of an inverted cone placed over a gas grill.  The inverted shape allows the bacon grease to burn off and collect in a pool at the bottom.  They serve the bacon with all sorts of kim chee, all of which you can wrap either in some leafy green or a rice wrap slathered in sesame oil.  Be sure to save some of whatever meat you're eating because the wait staff will come and make fried rice at the table with the leftovers.

Another place to try is Park's BBQ, which is on Vermont, just north of Olympic (and around the corner from Beverly Soon Tofu).  I've never been to Park's but the word on the street is that this place has the best beef bbq in K-town.  I think they even offer kobe beef short ribs.  Yikes.

Mid-Wilshire

One place in the mid-wilshire area you may consider is Umami Burger.  I have a pic of my burger in my mobile uploads folder on FB.  It's more novel than profound.  My umami burger had a patty, shiitake mushrooms, and a parmesan crisp.  My sister had the green chile burger which was better, I thought.  I hear good things about the triple pork burger.  

Another place you might try is Loteria, which is at the Farmers market at the Grove shopping center.  Loteria serves up some bomb ass chilequiles.  The head chef there is often featured on KCRW's "Good Food" podcast.  

Westside
I noted Musha on your list.  Everything there is good, but here are a few things you MUST try:
Kakuni (slow-cooked pork belly)
Saba: this mackeral, which not everyone loves because of its extremely fishy taste.  I recommend this if for no other reason than to experience having the wait sear your fish at the table with a blow torch.
MFC: Musha-Fried Chicken.  Enough said.
Vongore Udon: this dish is a relatively dry udon dish with clams and mushrooms. Savory goodness.
Spicy Tuna-Dip: they mix up some sashimi grade tuna with some spicy sauce, and serve rice cakes on the side.  

Some other good items include the risotto, which they serve tableside in a big block of parmesan cheese; somen noodles, which are really clean-tasting; an omelette with octopus and soba noodles (I can't remember the Japanese name).

Another place in Santa Monica is Bay Cities Italian Deli.  Their "Godmother" sandwich with spicy peppers is legitimate.  

If you get a chance to swing through Westwood, I also recommend your swinging through Stan's Donuts.  They have peanut butter and chocolate and peanut butter and banana donuts, both of which are great.  I usually go with the banana donut because it has real bananas.

A day ago, ToJ added one more suggestion to this list of wonders,

"Check out Daikokuya in Little Tokyo. Bomb ass pork ramen. The broth is milky white from pork parts having been cooked in it for days."

Bomb. Ass. For real.

July 27, 2009

LA Recs 2: Laura's Finds

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This is Laura. She moved out to LA last year to go to grad school. From pretty much the minute she landed, I've been hitting her up to go eat at places I read about. As she was procrastinating during finals, she put together an extensive list of places she likes or has heard good things about. Here are the highlights:

La Brea Bakery La Brea and 7th St - Los Angeles REALLY delicious sweet breads, seating outside and a few tables only at that but great if you want to grab a cup of coffee and a scone or muffin or breadstick. $-$$ (for pastries...)

Campanile
La Brea and 7th St.
Same owners as La Brea Bakery
Good brunch on the weekends. Fancy place that is kid friendly. Website says brunch times during the week as well but when I went at 11:30 on a Friday they gave us lunch menu only. But that's ok because the mushroom and truffle omelet was still on there and it was YUM!
$$

Phillip's BBQ
Crenshaw just south of I-10
I haven't been here personally but I have seen the trough of meat (pork ribs, beef tip, chicken, you name it-they BBQ it) that my friends have ordered and it smelled good! You order in pounds of meat...and if they run out of corn bread then they just give you a whole loaf of Wonder Bread...mmm
$$

fraiche
9411 culver blvd
culver city ca 90232
310.839.6800
Really good specials and seafood! And wine. Kind of a fancy place, totally delicious!
$$$

Taco truck by the Ralph's parking lot
Glendale Blvd and Alvarado (just off the 101 N Alvarado exit)
Need I say more...great taco truck with like 5-6 salsas to lather on the yummy meat!
$

Chano's Tacos
Figueroa - North of Adams (East side of Fig)
Just a must eat when near USC...took me WAY too long to try this place out! Good carne asada burritos. Nachos are cheap kind w cheddar melted on top and bottom layers don't get any cheese but other than that they have great food!
$

http://www.wingstop.com/
Crenshaw north of The Cobbler Lady on the West side of the street
Just yummy wings in like 7 flavors with at least 3 dipping sauces at a cheap price, w seasoned fries and a drink you can't miss. 10pcs (2 flavors), w fries, and a drink for under $10. Eat in or take-out. One of the few places open after 10pm in my 'hood!
$

Mexican place down the block from Lyric Café
Great drinks and food is delicious! Pricing comparable to NY prices and gives a generous helping of food.
$$

July 25, 2009

LA: Food Recs, Part One

This year, I asked 'the network' (read: Facebook) for some recommendations as well as a couple well placed experts on the ground. The results could fill a month of eating even with an open schedule, so I don't know how much of it I'll be able to actually make, but I intend to try my best to put a dent in the list.

In addition, I plan to make visits to some old favorites, like Musha, Pizzeria Mozza and tonight, when my colleague with the car comes, it's Ford's Filling Station in Culver City.

I was going to collect all the recommendations in one post, but looking at them now, I'm realizing exactly how intense this list is. Let's start with some of the highlights:

First and foremost, the Kogi BBQ Truck, which has lit the blogotubes on fire with praise received forceful recs from no less than four of my friends. I was already hoping to make it out there, but a little dubious about all the hype. I still am, but really, Korean barbecue tacos are too brilliant to pass up.

Beyond that, recommendations varied from Ethiopian at Merkato on Fairfax to Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles.

I got a nice music recommendation from Joshu, who worked in the college radio station with me back in the day, "It's been a while, but last time I was there, Catalina Jazz Club was putting it down with the music and food. Goes without saying that you need to eat some of the divey Mexican that Californians on the East Coast bitch relentlessly about missing."

Along those lines, Harriet, who lives in LA chimed in about the "Great Mexican food ... at Loteria in the Farmers Market at the Grove (a stand) or at their new restaurant in Hollywood."

I've been to both in past years and would definitely go back. She continued, "For dinner, try Susan Feniger's The Street on Highland near Mozza. My favorite restaurant is Rustic Canyon in Santa Monica."

I like Santa Monica because it's the only area of LA I've seen that's remotely walkable, but with one or two exceptions, I haven't been blown away by the food. So, I definitely want to give this a try.

Over the next couple of days, I'll be posting more recommendations from a couple locals. Stay tuned.

June 22, 2009

Late Summer Trip '09

Once again, I have a week of vacation time this year that I haven't planned for.

I'm considering the same set of places that I discussed last year, but heavily leaning towards the Pacific Northwest option of Seattle, with a couple days in Vancouver.

Off the top of my head, going to Pike Place for seafood and sampling the charcuterie at Salumi jump out as 'must see' attractions. I've heard wonderful things about the food and the food culture of the pacific northwest.

The usual concern about this area is that one doesn't typically see the sun at all, given the propensity for constant overcast and rain. Given the way the weather here in New York has been to date this year, I don't think it's likely to be any worse there than it's already been here.

I'll be spending some time in the next couple weeks thinking about what I might do out there, so if you have any suggestions, don't keep them to yourself.

March 25, 2009

NC Trip: Food Recs

We're just a couple days away from heading to North Carolina, so I'm looking forward to warm weather, hopefully rain-free, and some nice downtime. Here's a note my Aunt forwarded to me from a friend with more recommendations on where to eat. . . .

Hey Heather,

I've been brainstorming dinner places (you'll probably want to make a reservation for a Saturday night).

DINNER
I love Piedmont. It's my default restaurant for a good meal, good cocktails in downtown Durham.


Revolution is the newest on the scene. I haven't been, but I've heard good things from those who have. My coworker Anna who is self-appointed restaurant critic likes it a lot.


Na Na's isn't cheap and isn't the newest or funkiest, but I think they have some of the best food and service around.


Rue Cler is a good standby, if you're feeling Frenchy. Their mussels w/fries is a winner. And again, a downtown Durham restaurant, which I like.
http://www.ruecler-durham.com/

LUNCH
If y'all decide to just do lunch, I would suggest Toast, on Main St. Paninis and a great, simple salad.


PIedmont also has a great lunch.

As does Watts Grocery. They annoy me for dinner, but damn they make a good hamburger.


And of course, the ubiquitous, basic taquerias are fabulous. I'm a big fan of the mole enchiladas at Taco Cow. Actually called Taqueria La Vaquita.


DESSERT
If you decided to skip the meal altogether and go straight to drinks and dessert, I'd suggest Magnolia Grill. It's the original Durham great restaurant and has been written up mazillions of times. I've had a fantastic dinner there and a so-so dinner there. But the desserts are otherwordly.

xo,
A

March 17, 2009

Butchery: Italy's Finest

Here's another example of the butcher in the spotlight: The new food blog by the Atlantic did a post last week on a man they call "Italy's Most Famous Butcher," Dario Cecchini of Chianti.

Tammi and I have both been wanting to go to Italy for years, and may go this fall. Now I have one more must-see to add to the list.

March 13, 2009

NC: Trip Planning


Tammi and I are heading down to Chapel Hill later this month to see my aunt for her birthday. Of course, I'm already looking into my food options. There are quite a few, Bon Appetit called the area "America's Foodiest Small Town" last year. My aunt, a vegetarian teetotaler has spent the last couple of weeks trying to think like me, scoping out local restaurants and wine bars. We've been discussing the options in Chapel Hill and in general Triangle area.

So far, here's the list of places we might try:

Lantern, a pan-Asian place that I read about in Gourmet a while back.

Provence, a French restaurant that my aunt has said we have to try.

Glass Half Full, a wine bar with small plates.

The Carborro farmers market, where I've read meat from Ossabaw breed Pigs are sold. I've been curious for a while about what other heritage breeds taste like, so I may need to get something to take home.

There's another nice little wine bar we went to on our last visit that I'd be happy to visit again and Elaine's on Franklin, which we visited last time I was there.

Of course, we'll have some southern food while we're there. Tammi is particularly fond of grits, and I'm sure I'll track down some fried chicken or pulled pork. We'll probably hit Mama Dip's for brunch.

I'm sure we'll do something else besides eating. We may even actually go to Durham, which I still haven't seen, but I'm not too worried about that right now. If anyone has suggestions for food or non-food related activities in the area, let me know.

February 28, 2009

The Travel Bug

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31 days. That's the number of days I can tolerate before absolutely
need to get out of town or at least start planning another trip.

Yesterday I booked a flight down to North Carolina to see my aunt. It's all
I can do not to also plan another trip while I'm at it.

I've been thinking of a return to Philly after seeing all the graffiti pieces last weekend at going postal. Seeing the interesting work on display from UWP, Maalic and Morg, I'm really interested in seeing what's gone up since I was there last. Not to mention the food, particularly, Marc Vetri's restaurants Vetri and Osteria, which I always meant to write up, but never did. And of course, a trip to Reading Terminal Market would be wonderful.

Along the topic of graffiti, there's Toronto which has a great Graf scene that I've been wanting to explore again since my first visit there in 2005.

On the other hand, I've hoped to try to explore new places this year and Quebec City has been high on my list of new cities to explore for some time.

That said, the weather in Canada this time of year is worse than it is here in New York, so neither is particularly attractive right now.

Last weekend's trip to DC left Tammi wanting for more, so she's been interested in a return visit pretty soon. And with Shepard Fairey's show in Boston, both of us have been thinking of going up there.

Our March is all booked up before it's even begun, but April is wide open.... Let's see how long will power can hold out.

February 20, 2009

DC Dispatch

What's a Half-Smoke?

This Weekend, Tammi is taking a Ladies' Weekend down to our nations capital to knit, hang out and generally swoon in Obama-Awe. On request, Guyvera chimed in with a number of recommendations on places to eat. I'm posting it here for my own future reference as much as yours.

For further recommendations, Serious Eats posted a DC Eating Guide for Inauguration week last month.

And now, Guyvera...

Typical DC-Fare:
Ben's Chili Bowl

Ben's is close to the U Street/Af-Am Civl War Memorial stop on the Green Line
Ben's is cheapish. Most things on the menu are decently sized, and run $6-7. You can be happy full (and greasy) for $10 or less. Things to get here are 1/2-smoke hot dogs (w or w/o chili); chili fries (quite quite good), scrapple (if you can handle it), greasy breakfasts (with grits!). Ben's is good, but in my personal opinion not earth-shattering. Still, it's a bit of a must-hit for a number of reasons (local celebs, famous place, mix of "real" DC people and assorted hosers). Ben's keeps late hours, and is the kind of place that tastes better the later it is.
(1213 U St NW (between N 12th St & N 13th St) (202) 667-0909)

In the U street Area, there's also a respectable soul food place called Oohs and Aahs (it's good, not transcendent, and tends to be heavy with the salt), a good (if salty and with unpredictable hours) VEGETARIAN SOUL FOOD place run by Black Israelites (no joke) across the street from Howard Univ. It's called Soul Vegetarian. Prices are about $10/plate, but I usually eat 1/2 for dinner and 1/2 the next day for lunch. Yep, the portions are really that big.

One of my favorite hangouts in the general area is a place called Busboys and Poets. It's a bookstore, cafe, and performance space. I find the cafe to be overpriced, though the food is good (not totally worth the price, but not a disaster either). Lots of good looking professional people here in their late 20s early 30s. Nice vibe. Internet, lots of poignancy and whatnot.
(2021 14th St NW (between N U St & N V St) - (202) 387-7638)

Walking distance (20 min walk) away, is Amsterdam Falafel
This place is in the heart of the Adam's Morgan area. Amsterdam's falafel by itself is ok. Where it shines is in your ability to add whatever topping you please from their self-serve bar: beets, yogurt, hot sauce spicy enough to give me the hiccoughs, peppers, cabbage, tahini, etc. The fries here are also particularly delicious, and I'm not much of a french fry-man. Falafel sandwiches here run about $6, but if you stuff the pita well, you won't really need anything else. There are not a lot of places to sit here. If you eat outside on a weekend night, you can watch drunken frat boys wander the streets.
(2425 18th Street NW - (202) 234-1969)

Ok. one or two more for now, and maybe a couple later on tonight...

Chinatown area:
Full Kee Restaurant
Chinatown in DC is a testament to displacement and gentrification. It's becoming Chinatown without Chinese people. Anyway, the food at Full Kee is good, reasonably priced, and there's stuff here both for people who like "General Tso's Chicken" and for people who like Congee, or more "typical" fare. My fave is something like "Stinky turnip greens with pig intestine." No joke. De-lish!
(509 H St NW (202) 371-2233)

Matchbox
Gourmet pizza, tasty sliders. This is a "scene" place. It's not crazy expensive, but you go here in part to see and be seen. It's a hangout, and is often ridiculously packed on weekend nights at prime dining hours. It's ok. You know I'm not exactly highbrow in my dining choices. This place is respectable. You already know where to find truly quality pizza. Food is fine.
(713 H Street NW (between N 7th St & N 8th St) (202) 289-4441)


Two places I haven't been, but am eager to go:

Lighthouse Tofu
This is supposed to be The Spot around here for soon dobu (spelling?), an often spicy Korean stew (rice served on the side) with tofu and your choice of meat. TOJ introduced me to this particular dish at a place in L.A. Very nice. The page on Yelp.com that describes this place is full of typical Yelp nincompoopery, but the reviews collectively do a good job of describing the stew.
(4121 Chatelain Road Suite 100 Annandale, VA 22003)

Honey Pig
Korean BBQ. I can only hope this is the DC area cousin of a place with the same name I've visited a few times in LA. This is pricier, though not fancier than any other place on the list. Maybe in the neighborhood of $20 per person? Korean BBQ. You know the drill. Tasty Pork meat bits. Mmmm.
(7220-C Columbia Pike Annandale, VA 22003 (703) 256-5229)

Also, I'd be remiss to not mention the local chain of burger joints called Five Guys. I've seen one or two in NYC, but the Washington Metro area (actually northern VA) is the birthplace. Think the East Coast version of In 'N Out, except not quite as fresh, but with a lot more toppings, better fries, and a total lack of creepy religious subliminal messages. In 'N Out is still my gold standard for fast food burgers, but when I get a hankering for a greazy cheeseburger, and I'm here, I go to Five Guys.

February 5, 2009

SF: 100 Things to Try Before You Die

IMG_2795

The TOJ, forwarded this link to Guy and me yesterday. It's 7x7 Magazine's list of 100 SF things to try before you die.

It's a pretty impressive list. I've got 11 down:

3. Carnitas taco at La Taqueria

14. Beef brisket at Memphis Minnie's

15. Oysters on the half shell at Swan Oyster Depot

21. Pizza margherita at Pizzeria Delfina

23. Beer sausage with sauerkraut and grilled onions at Rosamunde Sausage
Grill

24. Blue Bell Bitter from the cask at Magnolia Pub, above.

29. Spaetzle at Suppenküche

35. Salted-caramel ice cream at Bi-Rite Creamery (well a taste)

40. Cheeseburger at Taylor's Automatic Refresher

48. Angels on horseback at Anchor & Hope

51. Maccaronara with ricotta salata at A16


Additionally, I've been to, but not tried the recommended dishes at:
The Slanted Door
Out the Door
Hog Island Oyster Co.
Bob's Donuts
Little Star

January 4, 2009

San Francisco Bound Once More

IMG_2943 - Version 2

All of two weeks ago, I discovered that I was returning to San Francisco for work. I'm heading out today and as usual, looking forward to a week out west.

Of course, I've already started thinking about which restaurants I want to hit while I'm there. While I'll clearly be partaking in many tacos, the trend this time around skews heavily Italian.

I've already mentioned A16 in the Marina area.

Additionally, I've heard a lot about Chris Cosentino, who evangelizes for Offal on his blog, Offal Good. He's the chef at Incanto and runs Boccalone, a salumeria in the Ferry Building.

In the Mission, there's Delfina and Pizzeria Delfina on the 18th Street corridor and Bar Bambino, a wine bar on 16th with tasty meatballs and other antipasti.

There's also Little Star Pizza on Valencia, where I shared the deep dish pizza above.

July 25, 2008

Summer Vacation Decision: SF


IMG_0929, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Again, it's not so surprising, given all my pining for the Bay Area that I decided to head back there next month. Last night I booked my ticket.

I'm hoping to finally catch up with friends who live there that I never manage to see during my usual trips. Guyvera will also be joining me and we'll hang out with his people as well. So, we'll be with a bunch of locals who know where to go and what to do.

Next, I need to see if I can find a place to stay with a kitchen, so that I can do something with the goodies I hope to get at some of those farmers markets I love so much.

But first, LA. I fly out Sunday morning. More to come...

July 22, 2008

Return to LA LA Land


IMG_7713, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Work will take me out to the City of Angels again next weekend for a little over a week. Clearly, I'm already planning out my meals. Musha and Mozza are already in the plans. Hot dogs at Oki Dogs or maybe Pink's are a must as well.

I've been checking out Eater LA among other sites to hear about what's new and wonderful out there. Last week I discovered that Loteria Grill, whose Farmers Market location I visited in my first time in LA, has opened up a new location a few weeks ago. That's on the list.

Rummaging through my delicious bookmarks, I was reminded that there is apparently a branch of Santouka in Torrance. I'm so hoping they have the pork cheek ramen. I have to have that again.

Last summer I visited Santa Monica beer bar and restaurant Father's Office on my last day. It reminded me of the 'new' Blind Tiger with it's interesting and wide selection of beer and tasty bites.

It's also time to revisit the recommendations the TOJ gave me last year.

More to come...

July 20, 2008

The Honeymoon Decision


Paris, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

After a year of hoping and wishing and just about giving up, Tammi and I have decided to go to Paris for the Honeymoon.

You'd think that the travel portion of the wedding would be something I'd be all over. It's certainly the area I'm the most comfortable with and knowledgeable about, much more so than paper and printing styles or what kind of suit I should wear.

Yet, I've been putting this off for a while. Mostly because, given the economy and the weak dollar, Paris has been out of reach for us.

Instead, we were going to go to Brazil. The tickets were on hold, awaiting the final click. Then my Aunt - my wonderful, fantastic Aunt - called me to let me know that she would be entering a large donation to the honeymoon fund. We were elated.

Nothing against Brazil, but before I had even figured out how to propose, the idea of a honeymoon in Paris was nearly fully formed. It would be a change from our standard expeditions, something familiar and relaxed. I wanted to defy my habit of spending my vacations on my feet trying to see every single thing possible before leaving. Instead of exploring all the time, we'd live there if only for a couple weeks. We'd go to the markets, I'd cook, we'd wander the streets leisurely instead of intently seeking out the next place on the list.

There is a visible difference in our attitudes toward just about everything wedding-related since deciding on Paris. This morning I gathered up my Hemingway and Orwell along with various other books about or set in Paris and started looking at vacation rental sites.

We're so excited!

July 16, 2008

Summer Vacation Options Part 5: Pac NW


IMG_8458, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Seattle & Vancouver: This is the most vague, as I don't have as many specific recommendations as much as wild ravings about how wonderful the area is for food folks. Hell, I want to go to Seattle solely on the idea of visiting Salumi and going to the fish market. As far as I've heard, the whole region is awash with fantastic food, shellfish and microbrewed beer. What's not to love?

Summer Vacation Options Part 4: SF


IMG_7339.JPG, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

This is pretty self-evident, given all my complaining about how little I got to see San Francisco last month. Guy lived there for a few years and would be into going back for a couple days as well. I think I'd want to stay some place with a kitchen and really take advantage of the farmers market for once. Also, the tacos would be plentiful.

I'd have to make several expeditions into the various graffiti havens and explore some of the neighborhoods I haven't seen. There are also a bunch of college friends who live out there that I didn't have time to see at all last month.

While there, I'd also like to see more of Oakland, I got a few recommendations for places out there to visit last month, but there was no time to go.

Summer Vacation Options Part 3: Canadia


IMG_3536.JPG, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

For something completely different, we could always head north. This is the time of year to go, before the whole country is buried in snow.

Quebec City:
I've have read interesting things about the 'Europeaness' of the city and this year they are celebrating a huge anniversary, so there are events happening all summer.

Montreal:
I already have a trip to Montreal planned later this year, but another couple days just means more smoked meat for me. Also a ton of great local brewed, european-style beer that's never exported down here. I have been wanting to go back to Montreal for years, two trips would be fine by me.

Toronto:
TO as the locals call it, has a hip-hop scene that hosts graffiti festivals regularly, cool hang out spots, great local brews that I have never seen south of the border and a local food scene that was strong before I'd ever heard the term locavore. Additionally, it's got huge international communities, which means great West Indian and Asian food just about everywhere.

Summer Vacation Options Part 2: The South


Streetcars, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

This is clearly more of a Barbecue trip. I'd probably just fly down to DC to meet Guy and we'd head out from there.

North Carolina:
Again, we'd see my aunt and hunt down some pork.

South Carolina:
Guy mentioned a cool vibe in Charleston and perhaps a visit to some of the coastal islands. I'm less familiar with the region, but it sounds interesting to me. Particularly those island populated by the Gulla.

Memphis:
I've heard so much about Tennessee's barbecue that this is a must as far as I'm concerned. Barbecue and blues, no question.

New Orleans:
As I've mentioned, I've been wanting to return to New Orleans for a while now and this would be a good opportunity. Unfortunately, I wouldn't want to make plans to go there at the end of august until the exact last minute, so that would have to be decided on the fly.

Summer Vacation Options Part 1: Mid-Atlantic


Roll 3 - 96, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

This would be a relatively leisurely itinerary. We'd be able to meander down the seaboard to sampling some regional specialties along the way.

First stop, Philadelphia:
Obviously, I know more than a few places to go in Philly. I imagine I'd want to spend most of the time there in Northern Liberties. I keep hearing about more and more places popping up there. If we're driving, it would be the perfect opportunity for me to finally check out a few South Philly gems that I've only read about, including John's Roast Pork and the Italian Market. Osteria, which I never managed to post about last year, is a must.

Pit stop, Baltimore:
Crabs are key. I don't know where to go, but if we were heading towards DC, I'd want to sample some of the famous crustaceans.

Washington DC:
This is Guy's turf these days, so I'd leave it to him to figure out particulars. I'd probably want to check out the Smithsonian, while I'm there and probably Brickskellers a beer bar I visited many years ago.

North Carolina:
My Aunt is in Chapel Hill, so I'd stop in an visit her for a few days. There is also a huge amount of barbecued pork that needs to be eaten. My aunt is a vegetarian, so I rarely get to seek out the legendary pork shacks while down there. This would be the time.

July 15, 2008

UltraClay's Summer Vacation

The powers that be have unexpectedly blessed me with an extra week of vacation this year. Given that I've been hoarding my time for the honeymoon (more on that to come), I was a little shocked to find myself suddenly have more time than I know what to do with. It will definitely be the last week of August, but other than that I'm not so sure.

I just spoke to Guyvera, who has some time as well and we've come up with a few options. Clearly food is a priority, but I'm hoping to do a 'road trip' without spending 90% of the time on the road. Maybe that's antithetical to the concept, but as a non-driver, I really want to see more than the inside of a car.


Here's what we've got so far...

•Mid-Atlantic: Philly-Baltimore-DC-NC
•The South: DC-NC-SC-Memphis-New Orleans
•Canadia: Quebec City-Montreal-Toronto
•San Francisco
•Pac NW: Seattle-Vancouver

Keep reading for the run down on each option.

June 19, 2008

SF: The Tower has Spoken


IMG_1788, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

A couple of weeks before heading to San Francisco, I polled Guyvera and The Tower of Justice aka ToJ for some recommendations. As we have discussed foodblogging together in the past, I have no compunction against reposting his email. Enjoy!

SF: The Tower has Spoken

La Taqueria is the gold standard in SF. Be sure to get two carnitas tacos, with cheese and avocado, crispy style. This last request--crispy style--is key because what it means is they overfry the inside tortilla, providing a nice juxtaposition in textures with the softer, outer tortilla.

To be honest, I know less about Taqueria San Jose and Taqueria Cancun, although if memory serves, Taqueria Cancun has a decent burrito. For a GREAT burrito, go to Taqueria San Francisco, which is on 24th (or maybe 25th) about 5 blocks east of Mission St. They have great carnitas burritos.

Beyond tacos, there are a couple of other latin american joints you should try. If you like Pupusas, then Panchitas on 16th and Valencia is solid. This has been my good old reliable spot. More recently, I got hip to El Zocalo which is more towards the Outer Mission, I think on Mission and 30th. Conveniently enough, El Zocalo is within walking distance to Mitchell's Ice Cream, where the Ube (Filipino purple yam) ice cream is a must try. At both pupuserias, I order the pupusa plate with pupusa revueltas (filled with pork, cheese, and beans).

You might also consider Mi Lindo Yucatan, on Valencia and 15th (I think). Guy and I went there one time a long time ago, but they have delightful chicken and pork dishes. If memory serves, they have a black bean chicken and/or pork, and one wrapped and steamed in banana leaves. They also serve fresh tortillas in a little bin instead of tortilla chips which is novel.

Other places to eat in the Mission area (but which are not necessarily within the "Taco" genre or penumbra of foods) include Little Star Pizza. You're a New Yorker, and so you have the right to be skeptical of any claims to fame about pizza elsewhere, but this place is pretty tasty. It blends the Chicago deep dish style with California ingredient consciousness. They use a cornmeal crust which is interesting. I usually like to get sausage, mushroom, and ricotta cheese--they put dollops of ricotta cheese on the pie, which brown during the baking process.

If you have any questions or need recommendations on the fly, feel free and call me.

The Tower has spoken (Konichiwa bitches!)

June 6, 2008

ATL: The MARTA Breeze card


ATL: The MARTA Breeze card, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

What little I've heard about getting around in Atlanta I've mostly heard in discussions about urban sprawl gone amok. So, when planning this trip, I presumed we'd have to take a cab to get to our hotel. Apparently not.

We're on the MARTA train as I type this heading downtown to a station just down the block from our hotel. The $2.25 fare beats whatever the cab was going to charge, certainly.

The trains, the map and the card machines are all like the BART. The one thing that's really interesting to me is the fare card, which seems to have RFID.

Just as I was about to start fiddling with the turnstile to figure out how to swipe a card with no apparent magnetic strip, the gate opened.
::c::

June 5, 2008

Atlanta-Bound


View Larger Map

Tomorrow Morning Tammi and I are heading down to the 'durty durty' south for my cousin's wedding. We're only there for a couple days, but clearly I've scoped out the food. Everything I've seen tells me that I have to try the fried chicken. I can't wait.

I put together a quick Google Map of the places that have struck my interest.

After ATL, we're off to San Francisco for a week. We'll be in town for a conference, so our exploring will be limited, but given that this is my 7th time there in 5 years, I'm not going to have too much trouble getting my bearings. More on that later...

April 29, 2008

Next Trip: San Juan


IMG_7691, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Next week Tammi and I are taking some much needed downtime to spend a few days in Puerto Rico. As I'm digging through whatever notes I have from our last trip, I'll post about it. ::c::

November 17, 2007

Madrid Recommendations


IMG_3928, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

My world traveling friend, Eli is heading to Madrid soon and I offered the few recommendations based on what I remember from my trip there with my sister back in New Year's '03. I can't believe it was really 5 years ago.

Here's the list I sent, slightly extrapolated:

Restaurante La Paella Real (Calle de Arrieta 2) is apparently the only place to go for paella in Madrid.
Lhardy (Carrera de San Jeronimo 8) has been around since 1839 and has a gorgeous old decor to it. From whatI recall, it's just down the street from Puerta del Sol.
Restaurante Sobrino de Botin (Calle de Cuchilleros 17) has been in business since 1725, making it one of the oldest restaurants in Europe, if not the world. Even though it's listed in every guidebook, it wasn't particularly touristy. They're signature dish is the suckling pig. It's a block or two away from Plaza Mayor.

Sights:
The Prado houses the work of Spain's most famous historical artists. I believe it only has works through the 19th Century. This where you'll find a lot of Goya's work, including "Saturn devouring his son." It also has one of my favorite paintings, Velasquez' "Las Meninas." First of all, it's huge, wikipedia says it's about 10 feet tall and 9 feet across. And the piece itself has a lot going on, with 8 characters, including the painter - twice. Picasso did over 20 studies of this painting, apparently he always aspired to be like Velazquez.

The Museo Reina Sofia is where you'll find Guernica, which really you just have to see. It's intense.

November 13, 2007

Going to Mexico


IMG_9278, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Since Barcelona is too expensive there days, Tammi and I decided to go somewhere closer to home for our annual Thanksgiving trip. We head to Mexico City next Thursday for 5 days. It has the benefit of a lower currency, something that is harder to come by these days. I can also practice my rusty Spanish skills while we're out there.

More to come.
::c::

November 6, 2007

A Week in the Philly Area


Photos, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I'm in the Philly area this week for training. Sadly, I'm staying in the 'burbs and not actually downtown, but I've managed to get into Philadelphia a couple times so far. Last night I had dinner at Amada with Guyvera. Tonight my co-workers and I went to Standard Tap in Northern Liberties.

Hopefully, we'll spend some more time in town before the trip is over, but that's out of my control. Regardless, there will be more opportunities to hang out there soon. I may stay an extra night down here Friday night if I can find a good rate on a hotel and of course in less than two weeks we'll be back down here for to see Tammi run the Philadelphia Marathon. That's plenty of time for me to partake in the local cuisine.

::c::

October 25, 2007

LaGuardia


IMG_8732, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

My flight to Nashville this morning went out of LaGuardia. I've avoided flying out of there for years. The last time I flew from there it was a schlep and a half to get home. It's the least accessible airport in the area via public transportation. Imagine taking a bus down busy Steinway Street at rush hour just to get to the G Train. It was a nightmare.

My flight was so early this morning there wasn't even the remote consideration of using public transportation. So I cabbed it. Turns out that it's way easy to get to in those automobile contraptions. Seriously, I got in the cab at 6am and was checked in and at my gate by 7am. Even taking the airtrain to JFK, my preferred mode of transport, I'd still be waiting at security.

So, there you go, a life lesson. Going to the second worst airport in the entire country can actually be a bit more convenient than going to the worst. If you pay $30...

October 3, 2007

Heading Down to Country Town


IMG_6905, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Even though I'll be missing out on Barcelona, I do have a couple trips in the next month or so. In fact, I just heard that I'm going down to Nashville in a few weeks. I've heard that the bbq isn't nearly what it is in Memphis, but I'll see what I can find.

If anyone has suggestions, let me know.

September 20, 2007

Bye Bye Barcelona


Sagrada Familia 1.jpg, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

For the time being, Barcelona will have to remain a memory. Last week I canceled our thanksgiving trip.

While I like to say that this vacation was sacrificed to the Wedding Gods, in truth it was to the much more frightening Responsible Adulthood Gods. These Gods don't leave you alone after the big day. They stalk you for the rest of your life making demands.

For the first time in a while, I have no destination to plan for. There's no lonely planet I need to go out and buy, no place for me to research in the dozens of travel magazines or newspapers I hold onto for just such projects.

I've said for a long time that the only way I make it through the daily routine is by looking to my next destination. Planning my travel has been the counterweight to work and other such nonsense. I guess I'd better find something else to keep everything together before everything falls apart.

August 10, 2007

Deja Vu

Due to a glitch in the matrix that is the the corporate world, I'm going back to LA in a week and a half. This trip is much shorter, only a couple days, but I hope to use the time to catch some of the things I missed last week.

I'll be staying in Glendale, which I'm told is a bit more convenient to the places I might want to go.

If anyone has ideas for where I might want to go, let me know.

::c::

August 1, 2007

Tips from the TOJ

The Tower of Justice, an eating buddy much more familiar with this land of highways and movie stars than I sent me some recommendations. I'm not sure when I'll be able to go off the reservation and actually check out some of these places, but I have hopes:

It will be hard to find good food without a car if you're staying by the airport, unless you have in mind establishments with pole dancing as their primary attractions. If you can manage a car, here are a few suggestions. Alternatively, if you're on a tight schedule, I would recommend taking a cab up to Santa Monica and just walking around in that area. Lots of good places to eat there.

Musha Restaurant (Santa Monica): I took Guy to this little trendy dive of a restaurant in Santa Monica, and I resisted making bathroom runs for fear that Gallo would swipe any remaining morsels on my plate. This place serves Japanese pub food, and Sapporo beer on tap. Highlights include: braised pork belly, octopus omelette with noodles, musha fried chicken, udon noodles with shimeji mushrooms and clams.

Versailles (Palms/West L.A.): this place serves Cuban food. It's a fun place, and if I recall, they have a couple of killer pork dishes.

Zankou Chicken (West L.A.): this is an Armenian owned joint that serves the BEST rotisserie chicken. It also offers hummus and other middle eastern goodies.

Let me know if you have a more flexible schedule and will have access to a car. The list of great restaurants in LA is endless, so once I know where you're heading, I would be more than happy to give you a more targeted set of recommendations.

Eric suggested the Musha in Torrance last year when I stayed in that area, but I never made it. Maybe that'll be dinner tonight...

June 21, 2007

Settling Back into the Routine


IMG_0205, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Things are starting to get back to normal, more or less. We're both having some trouble sleeping through the night, but that's getting better.

Otherwise, it's back to the routine: commuting, working, yadda yadda.

As usual, I'm already thinking about my next trip. Well, trips. I'm off to LA in a month for work and I just booked a Thanksgiving trip to Barcelona. I'm pretty excited about that. It'll give me an excuse to try to keep my Spanish from getting too rusty.

Of course I'll have to do as much research as I can at various tapas bars around the city. . .

June 18, 2007

Kyoto: ATMs

All throughout Japan, we found that there weren't as many banks as we see at home. There certainly are not so many that accept American bank cards.

Well, Kyoto has even fewer. In fact, I only found one. After walking in the rain for nearly an hour. With a bar tab waiting to get paid.

Lesson learned: stock up on your yen.

May 14, 2007

The World According to Clay

the world according to.jpg

Google now offers personalized maps without the geekery previously necessary to put one together. I've wanted to do one since Eric put together a Paris map for his trip there last year.

I've started populating the map with bars I've been to in my travels. At some point, I'll figure out how I want to connect it to the site, in the meantime, click on the screenshot above and take a look.
::c::

May 3, 2007

Hawai'i Guide

IMG_8737

Tammi and I went to Hawai'i for Thanksgiving 2005. We went to Oahu and Maui for 2 weeks. Shortly after that a co-worker told me he was heading out there with his family and wondered if I had any favorites to share. I wrote something up, pointing out a few of the places we went. Paul and Miriam, friends who are getting hitched at the end of the month, are going to Hawai'i for their honeymoon. They'll be going to Honolulu and hope to hit one of the other islands while they're out there.

After the jump, an expanded version of what I wrote up...

Continue reading "Hawai'i Guide" »

March 9, 2007

Japan Trip's Booked

In order to provide Tammi and myself with a beacon of hope after the chaos of the move, I finally booked our trip to Japan.
We'll land on the afternoon of my 30th birthday and be there for 10 days.

The tentative plan is to spend most of that time in Tokyo, with 2-3 days in Kyoto.

So far I have a list of food I want to eat there. I haven't figured out what else I want to do while we're out there. I'm sort of intimidated by all the options.

More to come.

February 3, 2007

The Birthday Trip: Eating Japan

First and foremost, there's the food. So far, this is what I have my eye on...

Sushi. I used to east sushi a lot. Not so much these days. It's not that I don't like it anymore, it's just that it gets repetitive after a while. Whether it's Nobu or Terriyaki Boy, fish on rice, fish in a roll, or just plain fish starts to bore me. I will of course, be eating sushi while in Japan, but I expect to eat a lot more than that.

Izakaya: I love bar food. Wherever you go, you find some of the tastiest (and most economical) food in casual bar settings. In New York we have some great izakaya around St. Mark's place in the East Village. I'm what you might call an adventurous eater, so anyplace I can get skewers of grilled chicken hearts or raw wasabi octopus appeals to me. I'll be hitting up the local spots a lot in the next few months to start preparing my palate.

Natto: I've heard that in Kyoto I can find Natto, a dish made of fermented soy beans. I don't know why this intrigues me, but I want to try it at least once. Apparently it's very stinky.

I've heard that the Tsukiji Fish Market is a must see. I'm not sure if I can manage to get up quite so early, but we'll see.

Continue reading "The Birthday Trip: Eating Japan" »

The Birthday Trip: Turning 30 Abroad

I turned 26 on an airplane. I was going to Paris and changed planes in Amsterdam. I still haven't seen any more of Holland than the airport, but the experience of waking up in a new country at a new age was amazing. We had an hour or two between flights, I spent it wandering around Schipol, listening to the announcements. "Flight 123 to Tehran is boarding at Gate 23." and "Flight 987 to Dar Es Salaam, boarding at Gate 89."

It's one of those birthdays I still remember clearly to this day. This summer I turn 30 and would like to have a similarly new experience.

Here's the short-ish list of places I was considering:

•Thailand & Singapore
•Australia
•Brazil
•Japan
•BeNeLux (Belgium/Netherlands/Luxumbourg)
•Morocco & Spain
•Italy

I think I've settled on Japan, a country I've wanted to see since I went through my anime phase around when I got out of college, 7-8 years ago. Nothing is set in stone, but that's the plan, tentatively.
I have about a week set aside, so I'm hoping to spend most of the time in Tokyo with a couple days to see Kyoto.

I'll be posting regularly about what I want to see, where I want to go and what I want to eat while I'm out there.

Philly Guide

Philly


A co-worker of mine goes down to Philadelphia regularly to see his gf. He asked for a couple tips on where to take her when he's down there. Below is an edited version. I'm heading down there in a couple weeks, so I'm going through it as a refresher.

Follow the jump for some of my favorite places to eat and drink in the city of brotherly love...

Continue reading "Philly Guide" »


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