Monday, May 29, 2017

Bye Bye Lumia 950

After the latest updates, I am throwing in the towel for the the Lumia 950.

I originally got this phone for its camera.  And I would still say that if when it works, it performs better than any other camera phone (and point and shoot in my opinion).  But that is ONLY if it is working.  With the latest updates, the camera app would sometimes crash and worse yet, sometimes even restart the phone.  This was super frustrating as some shots once gone, you can't get back.

The recent trip to Portland clearly shows that it is time to move off of the phone...
a) Phone was draining battery.  Within 2 hours of waking up, the phone would be down to 70% battery.  Maybe the battery is dying after 1.5 years, but this is not the first time the battery drains.  Usually when there are updates approaching or outstanding the phone would go crazy and seemingly do things in the background without you knowing or wanting, causing the battery to drain at times when you need it most (like during the day).

b) The camera (the one thing I really loved about the phone) started crashing whenever I took a photo.  Case and point - 360 shot with the panorama feature would cause the phone to crash and restart for every photo taken.  Imagine going: "ok everyone, say cheese on 3...  1, 2, ah crap.. the app froze... sorry" - That is just sad.

c) GPS/navigation would freeze half the time it is used - not to mention the 'dot' that indicates where you are isn't always correct anymore. What good is an offline map (or online map) with GPS if it can't locate where you are???  Super not cool when trying to navigate and the app just gets 'stuck' while you are driving.

RIP Lumia 950... onto Samsung S8!


Friday, May 26, 2017

First Sous Vide Steak... Success?

Today, got home and decided we would try out the new sous vide that we bought.

Pro: All the things people say are true - the steak does come out really juicy. it is much easier to 'time'.  Very convenient.

Con: The downside though is that usually, it would take < 10 minutes to fry a steak, but with a sous vide, had to put the meat in the pot of water for a little bit over an hour before searing quickly.


Verdict: Taste was good.  In general, was pretty happy with it - but still need to experiment a bit more.  The next test is to see how it performs for meat that has been in the freezer, and also how to really use the 'turn on' from phone feature and not get sick (it is still very non intuitive for me to picture leaving raw meat in a pot of water the whole day, and right before I get home from work, to turn it on...)

Aside: Currently, Serious Eats is my go to for reading about sous vide recipes and science.  For example, their post on how to cook steak: Serious Eats - Sous Vide Steak is a really well written article - talking about what temperature to set to get the desire doneness and basically doing what amounts to a scientific study of how to cook steak with a sous vide.

Other links I found that will prove to be useful in the near future:
Serious Eats - Sous Vide Salmon
Serious Eats - Sous Vide Egg

To Be Continued...

Monday, May 22, 2017

Portland Weekend: Gluttony...

On the way to Portland, went the wrong way 5 times... I guess the late nights watching TV is catching up on me.  But 4 hours later, we arrive!

First time really spending time in Portland, we joined our fellow ex-East Coast lites for a late dinner at Ox.  We overestimated ourselves and ordered wayyyy too much food.  They had a couple interesting dishes.  The octopus was my favorite!

The next day we ate at a pop up with a few transplanted locals and then toured the rose garden that had 3 roses...
...while the rose garden was nothing to call home about, it was a nice walk around the park, given this is the first weekend of good weather this year!

For dinner, we ate at Tusk.  All of us had the Magic Carpet, and we were able to basically try out every dish on the menu!  Needless to say I was super full.

On Sunday, after a late wake up.  We detoured for some chicken and rice before heading towards Cannon Beach.  That hit the spot!  The Ho Nam Chicken Rice from Nong's Khao Man Gai was exactly what we needed after a weekend of non Asian food :P.

Making a pit stop in Astoria, had a flight of Rogue IPAs (and some chicken wings)

Getting to Cannon Beach in the evening, we stayed at an Air BnB that had a stunning view of the famous rock (Haystack Rock).  The place was a couple minutes walk to the beach, and from the living room, because the house is above the beach, there was an unobstructed view to see the rock and the beach.  The only bad part here was that we were only staying here one night!

Some views from the house:

For dinner, we cooked at the Air BnB, making the salmon and the 3 crabs we bought in Astoria.

Gluttonous Mson out!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Culture Day: Wine in a cup!

Went to watch American in Paris today for a little doze of culture.  Booked by lil friend as a mother's day gift, the show was pretty good!  A classic triangle love story that was done really well.

The theater was really nice.  And I purchased a cup that allows for bringing in alcoholic drinks just like in a movie theater.  Have never been so cultured while drinking a full glass of red wine! :)

Saturday, April 29, 2017

King Crab!

Weekend up north... a little box of uni for appetizer and dessert, and Alaskan king crab!


Oh, and not to mention winter melon soup, and a special dessert treat!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Restaurant Weeks: 4 Restaurants, 1 Winner

This year, we decided to do restaurant week.  It's been years since I have tried restaurant week, opting to just go to a restaurant when they are serving their 'normal' food.

Ground rules: 
- order their 3 for $30 (or equivalent)
- at most can order one other dish that is not in the 3 for $30 set
- one glass of wine

04/02/2017: Heartwood Provisions
Not sure if this is the Laotian influence or what not, but in general, the food was very sour.  Had their beef tartar served on bone marrow for an appetizer - which was a) sour, and b) too not tartar (as the beef and marrow were mixed in, and sat in the stove for too long.

Overall, a bit disappointed - though it was really cool to be eating at the bar, where we saw the chefs cook.

(Switching phones made me loose a bunch of pictures as it turns out :()

04/06/2017: Lark
Menu looked very good.  Lots of dishes I would love to try.  Will come back again.

(Switching phones made me loose a bunch of pictures as it turns out :()

04/09/2017: mkt.
WINNER!  Small place with not a lot of seating, but the courses were delicious and tasty.  Probably not a place to visit in the summer as it likely will get hot, but in the fall/winter a definite place to eat at.

The appetizers were really good.  The fried quail was surprisingly delightful, and the chocolate dessert was delicious!


04/13/2017: Vandemmia
Nothing too out of the ordinary, the scallops were done well.  While better than Heartwood Provisions, very far from mkt. and Lark.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Date Night: Adana and B&B

Our date night started at Adana, the new Naka.  They had a lot more seats filled this time - though maybe this is because it was our first time here on a Saturday.  Given that the only thing we did not enjoy the last few times we came was the price, we had high hopes as with Akana, they had lowered the prices on their menu.

It was a 3 course meal (so each of us got a 3 course meal), with each course having 3 to choose from.  Some of the things we ate (shown below):
- Tofu (tasted very Chinese)
- Salmon (pretty nice and unique)
- Octopus in dashi (I still think they beat the octopus too much so it doesn't feel like tako anymore)
- Beef stew
- Smoked mackerel (the preparation sounded intense, though the smokiness wasn't really there)

The best dish of the night was their Cedar Smoked Gelato (not shown below).


Overall though, we thought the old Naka tasted better.  The food tonight was ok, but nothing spectacular.  The stew and the tofu tasted very very Chinese (except if this was an Chinese restaurant, the dishes would cost a fraction of the price).  Surprisingly though, I was not hungry even though it was only 3 courses (though I did have a bowl of rice and probably a quarter of lil friend's meal :) ).

The server did say they are planning to change the menu every month.  Hopefully their smoked black cod and sous-vide egg comes back soon!

With dinner ending early, we strolled around Cap Hill and went to a bookstore and a coffee shop.  Chilled around the area just enough to see the hot dog stands start opening up.  That was actually pretty fun!  As the time drew near, we then headed to the one and only Cinerama for our balcony seats!

Beauty and the Beast with chocolate popcorn in hand...  The movie was ok - felt like there were too many times where the breakout into a song didn't really make sense to.  Though it also may be because I was comparing it to La La Land, which is on a different level than this movie.

Date night complete!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Tier Sea: Lobster Day

...After a few months of working, time to reap in the rewards!

Mmmmm... Lobster Fest: Lobsterita, Lobster, Lobster, Lobster

Friday, March 03, 2017

Pulled my back....

This has been a good month.  1 month of ~3 times a week of soccer.

Been doing decent, no injuries...

Then last night, after a light practice, went home and took a shower.  Decided to do some laundry.  Lifted the laundry basket, and then... riiiip.

Pulling my back doing laundry... a new low... .. .

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Chinapie

Tried out a restaurant called Chinapie today.  Was pretty interesting, an Itailian + Asian fusion/inspired restaurant (this was apparently the sister restaurant of Pomerol).

Some dishes worth calling out...
#1) The Pomerol: A pizza that had Foie Gras, Hoshin sauce, and apple slices on it.  Anybody else reading that would probably run away from the dish - but not us!  We tried it, and was pleasantly surprised.

#2) Foraged Mushroom Potstickers: Rarely do I promote a vegetarian dish, but this one is high on my list.  The mushroom tasted really good, and putting it in a potsticker was a nice touch.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Soccer and Issian

We lost today's outdoor soccer game, but I was able to score a pretty nice goal.  Basically started from our side of the half, took on 2 defenders and the goalie, and walked the ball into the net!!!  Even players on the other team congratulated me on the goal :)

As a reward for myself, went to Issian.  Played some pokemon and the guy next to me was like - oh, you are still playing (turns out he had like 148 of the pokemons, including Farfetch!).  When I got the check, the server saw my phone on the table and said she was also playing. Hahaha.  She even knew there was the valentine's day special event thing going on.  Guess there are still people who play it from time to time.

Issian is a pretty good spot for Pokemon catching.  There were two Pokestops and in the hour or so I was there, caught at least 30 Pokemons.  But more importantly, caught 2 Lickitungs, and 1 Ditto!!!  What a good haul!

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Shiki - Uni Tempura

Finally had it.. Delicious!

Verdict: Different, but really tasty. The shiso leaf kept the uni moist, and not overcooked.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Wintermelon New Years!!

My personal wintermelon soup... I am spoiled :)

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Exercise Galore...

4 exercises in a week... Sat, Sun, Tues, Thurs!

Treading carefully - but it feels like with every step I take, the pain in my ankle that just hasn't been going away for 2 months... is slowly fading away!

I guess it's true what they say - what doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

First Outdoor Soccer win - Lobster Sashimi Criteria Met!

First outdoor soccer win in probably ever for this team since I've been on it.

To make it even better, we won convincingly (6-2).  My partner in crime scored a hat trick and I got one goal.

…Lobster sashimi criteria met!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

First Outdoor Soccer Practice

First practice/playing soccer for a while.

Overall: Leg doesn't feel too stable, guess will just take it easy for the upcoming game.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Auntie and Uncle 6 in S.town for a Week

After their trip in the east coast, Auntie and Uncle 6 first stop in the west coast was S. Town.

As the good nephew aka tour guide, picked them up from the airport, and then took them first for some dim sum, then some Chinese grocery shopping where we bought some dungenesss crab to be eaten for dinner.  This was followed by some lil dragon dumplings at Doughzone.  And to top if off, dinner was home made with the standard steamed fish, crab, bak choi and Chinese soup.  It was a complete Chinese food day!

The next day, we would go to Naka for some kaiseki.  The menu was the same exact one as the one we had the last time we went - however, the food was not prepared as well as the last time we came.  For one, the chawanmushi was warm, almost cold (not hot), so that took a lot out of it :(.  Not to mention the service was pretty poor, as the server took quite a while to do anything, and the plates came out really slow.  At some point, the other table next to us who sat after us got their food before us... even though we were a couple dishes ahead of them.  So the only thing that saved this outing was the ambiance of the restaurant - but for the price, it was quite disappointing :(.

Fast forward to Thursday, took them to Cinerama to watch Star Wars.  Thought the newly listed tourist attraction turned out pretty well - especially since there are not many cinemas like this one in the world.

To round out the trip, went to Old Village for Korean BBQ on Friday night - which was pretty good and filling, and then Palisades for brunch on Saturday.  The oysters at Palisades were below par (maybe the red tide up in Vanc affected it?), so I guess it remains to be seen whether Palisades can make it into the list of top tourist attractions that I would take our guests.

After Palisades, headed to Snolquamie Falls and the train museum - took some photos, but was pretty cold.  Finally went to U Village and walked around while waiting for a table at DTF.

For the last night, got some sashimi from Uwajimaya.  The Chutoro was a bust (again! :( ). Guess have to be super careful with the downtown Uwajimaya - pretty shady that they would sell bad Chutoro - seems like a lawsuit waiting to happen.

So all in all, while the various places we went to had slight blotches, it was still pretty fun overall!

Thank you for visiting!  Come visit us again soon!

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Revisiting Kashiba

The Omakase was the same as last time except for one dish.  Was hoping there would be more differences than that.

Somewhat mediocre (probably because there was nothing new so there is no 'wow' factor anymore) - though the geoduck was super fresh.

The dishes:
- Duck breast, Pear, Balsamic glaze, Dried fig
- Yoshi (tamago bean, dashi shrimp)
- Bluefin toro seaweed wrap
- Albacore, tuna , oached tuna, toro, sea bream, flounder sushi
- King salmon, sockeye, amaebi, smoked king mackerel seared, toro searted, scallop
- Mirugai, salmon roe, uni, eel