Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Well, not quite...but 2 days soon.  I love living so close to NYC! So excited to visit Van and his tiny East Village apartment- that he shares with 2 other dudes.  So far on the agenda, we are seeing Tom Stoppard's play, Arcadia, and eating at another David Chang restaurant, not Momofuko Noodle Bar or Ko this time though.  Not sure which one, because Van planned this- I will follow up.

Anyways, to start thinking about my mini vacation- I was looking through some photos of our last trip to NYC in Dec. 2010, for my birthday.  We went to a lot of museums, The Guggenheim, The Met, and also Times Square, Central Park- the classics. :)
The beautiful Guggenheim.

Central Park, (across the street from the Guggenheim.)

The Met!! My favorite!  I would LOVE to check out the Alexander McQueen, Savage Beauty, this time around too.

And finally- Times Square.  As you can probably see, a bit rainy and VERY Touristy over the holidays- but hey, we were tourists. :)

I know that it sounds a bit cliche- but that city does have a certain energy.  So looking forward to eating some delicious food, vintage shopping and sight-seeing. Woot!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pirates and Pierogies

Although I am definitely a Dodger girl at heart- V and I had the opportunity to go to a Pirates vs. Colorado Rockies game a couple of weeks ago and of course went, mainly to check out the amazing PNC Park! The park was opened in 2001 and is right on the river and faces the Roberto Clemente bridge.
Absolutely beautiful.

We went to the game with some friends and rode to the game in a hilariously 90's white limo.  Hey, it was cheaper than taking a taxi.  The entrance to the stadium is pretty impressive as well.

Notice all of the black and yellow?! During the 7th inning stretch, (halftime for you un-sports minded peeps) we decided to scope the grub situation.  I chose a traditional hot dog, have to admit- better than a Dodger dog.  Van however chose to go with this monstrosity- no joke.
Um...yeah.  I had never heard of or seen anything like it in my life.  This was a "house smoked pulled pork and Pittsburgh style pierogies on top of a homemade pretzel bun with onion jam."  I can't...I just can't.  He somehow managed to finish the entire "stacker" and although he was stuffed- he was in love with it.  Yeah...Pittsburghers definitely have an affinity for piergoies.
Anyways, the Pirates lost.  Surprise, surprise. The game was fun though, and I'm glad that V experienced the signature sandwich- and won.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Nail-licious- Japanese style.

I have been extremely fascinated by Japanese nail art for quite sometime, but couldn't find any salons in Pittsburgh that specialized in this art.  So, I was ecstatic when I visited home and my friend Monica took me to her Japanese nail art salon in Costa Mesa, CA.  The salon is called "Atlas Studio" and the website is available here.
This salon is insane, we were greeted by a friendly staff in a clean environment- two imperatives in my book.  Yoko Ono was my nail artist, and she let me look through several volumes of photo albums to choose what type of nail art I preferred.  I wanted crazy- but not too crazy...remember, I'm going on job interviews people.  So I chose a sparkly clear undercoat with a sparkly black overlay, with one white "Chanel" style flower on both of my ring fingers and loads of bling on my thumbs.  The entire process took about 2 hours, and they turned out UH-mazing- seriously, I kept watching in awe.  Yoko is a serious artist- building the entire nail from scratch with acrylic, no "white tips" at this salon- and then literally creating and building the flowers on my nails.  Nothing was just stuck on- the flowers are 3-D because she made them with acrylic.  Also, every single piece of bling was individually applied.
Check out my finished results:

Incredible, right?!? Seriously still so in love with them.  My friend, Monica, chose purple tips with little bows. SO cute!!
A bit pricy- my set cost around $80- but for one of a kind nail art, I am willing to splurge once in awhile.  I am obsessed with Japanese 3-D nail art right now- I wonder if I could rally someone in Pittsburgh to open a salon here?  Any takers?  Anyone?

Hometown Grub 2-Asian edition.

Ok- so I believe that I left off with the delicious Vietnamese restaurant that we went to in Fountain Valley, CA one night.
We basically ate shrimp, and more shrimp.  We began our meal with a salad and shrimp appetizers.  Look closely at the shrimp- doesn't it look like it is coated in rice crispies?

Then for our main course, we all shared: more shrimp, beef and fish.

Everything was prepared and made from scratch in the kitchen- I know this, because I could quite literally see into the kitchen.  Staff is very limited.  I believe the female owner/head chef's son was our waiter- because he looked pretty young.  After the meal, the female chef came out to talk with us and ask us how everything had tasted- very classy touch.  She also gave us our bill-definitely a family operated kind-of place.  I highly recommend this restaurant for the food of course, and the restaurant decor and ambiance was also very clean, bright and lovely.
Finally- I could not write a post about my favorite foods in Los Angeles/Orange County without including...dumplings! Chinese dumplings to be exact.  If you have been (un)fortunate enough to be hungover with either Van or myself on a Sunday morning- you know that we pretty much always head to the San Gabriel valley for a dumpling feast.  This visit was no exception.  Unfortunately our favorite dumpling location, "Luscious Dumplings Inc." was closed. Noooooooooooo.  They randomly close for "vacations" during certain times of the year- but they are that good, that they can.  I have never been to this place when there wasn't a line out the door and a packed restaurant. 
So we had to settle on another San Gabriel Valley dumpling house that was good- but not amazingly great.  *sigh.  Check out these beauties:
First we have the set-up- hot tea and a mixture of vinegar, soy sauce and chili paste.

Next we have pan-fried dumplings filled with pork.
And bok choy of course...
And a plethora of soup, (the dumplings are literally filled with a soupy-meaty mixture) and steamed dumplings...magnifico.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Hometown Grub.

Throughout this blog you may be noticing some themes- namely that I often write about food and fashion...What can I say?  Those are my passions- (didn't mean to suddenly embrace the poet inside of me.)
So, I recently returned back to Pittsburgh from an amazing vacation back home.  We went back to So Cal for a couple of reasons:
1) My brother's college recital/graduation
2) To see family and friends...duh
3) Wedding stuff!
The trip was absolutely amazing- and we even booked our location and I found my wedding dress.  We also obviously ate A LOT of delicious food.  I had two rules when it came to eating on this vacation- I either wanted Mexican or Asian.  Luckily, we were able to follow these rules...and only had to bend them a bit.  Here are some foodie pics from our travels:
Of course in Balboa Island we had to get a frozen banana- anyone get the A.D. reference? You can find these little gems at Dad' really, Dad's.
In Orange County, we also ventured to Santa Ana, for an extremely authentic Oaxacan Mexican lunch.  Van was able to get-by with his Spanish.  Yes!  We both ordered coffee, prepared with cinnamon and nutmeg, chicken tamales- huge and wrapped in banana leaves, and Van also ordered a second item.  I forget what it was called- but it is cornmeal with re-fried means and beef on top.  Uh-mazing, totally satisfying and delicious- thanks Chowhound.

The restaurant is called "El Moctezuma", in Santa Ana, CA.  Yelp it.
For dinner one night we were craving Vietnamese, so wound up at this insanely delicious Vietnamese restaurant, in Fountain Valley, in a strip mall no less, called "Xanh Bistro." I've found that strip malls are sometimes a great place to find authentic ethnic food, mainly because if the location isn't ideal- something is going to have to keep bringing the people back and 9 times out of 10, it's the food!
TO BE CONTINUED...cryptic enough? Sorry- Blogger isn't letting me upload my pics for some reason, I'll add more tomorrow.