Sunday, August 28, 2011

hong kong drinking

True Blood + Taylor Swift = Amazing

As if I needed another reason to love Taylor Swift, her song Haunted appeared in the final scenes of last week's episode of True Blood, one of my favorite shows (next to Game of Thrones).

It was always a bashful sort of admittance, but now I pretty much am unabashed about how much I like her and her music. The girl is just solid. Not to mention incredibly self-aware and a great role model (for girls young and not so young). She has a lot of class and humility for someone who's had so much success.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

she was gone a long time ago

The sum of all of her parts were held together by this carefully curated facade. I don't know what it was that initially drew her to me like a small child to a shiny object. Still don't. She had something real once when she still had her independence, when that independence was forced upon her. The girl got her nails dirty and had to work for what she wanted. Sometimes she couldn't get it at all. She suddenly understood what it means to give without hidden intent. She learned to be selfless for a moment. The self-entitlement that was rooted in her upbringing abated for a bit. There lit a small fire that burned brighter than it ever had. She developed an extreme hunger for all the things that she could no longer have.

And when this period of self imposed probation was over, she'd no sooner returned to her old life than a dreamer begs to continue dreaming.

When we met again I could hardly recognized her. My greeting was nervous and unsure. I was unable to exchange more than a couple substantial sentences between the alcohol, the smoke, and the general numbness of how easy things had become. The fire was out, but what took its place was an empty void that can only be filled with more emptiness, more instant gratification that fades as soon as the sun rises, shining on her haggard face. She no longer sees herself in the mirror but only the reflection in which she has recreated. She does not know that we all knew. Everyone knew, but they continue to amuse her.

She was a master at keeping the illusion going. She wanted everyone to see that she was 'living the life.' Even herself. I don't know where the lines blurred any more between reality and what she was working desperately to keep up. And I couldn't tell her because her very existence depended on us believing her illusions.

What's that old warning about how it's bad to wake a sleepwalker in the midst of their haunt? I was scared to wake her because I was scared to shatter her. Maybe I was scared that if she knew that I knew what she really was, we could no longer continue as friends because it was all a lie.

Deep down, we both knew that she was gone a long time ago.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Reading Terminal Market and South Street

I came up to Philly to surprise the hard studying lover of mines. We went to a few parties hosted by his cohort (mba school has its own jargon) and a 90's themed party. It was like putting a bunch of strangers together, who all seem to be socially phobic in one way or another, and making them test their small-talk skills. I'll be the first to admit, I hate people. And I hate my friends a little less than I hate people. It's part social anxiety, lots of awkwardness and part misanthropic. Anyways, applauds to all you grad students out there. It's a lot of mingling, bullshitting, and strain smiles (on my part), but for those of you who've master the skill of socializing, it's truly an enviable skill.

The next day we headed to Reading Terminal Market to see what we could fill our bellies with.

Soft Shell Crab above, and below the infamous Tommy Dinic's Roast Pork and Beef

The Verdict?  It lived up to the hype!

There was a used book shop in the market that was a little too overpriced. A used copy of 100 Years of Solitude cost $10. Amazon can beat that.

Then we headed to South Street:

This amazing hot dog shop was called Hot Diggity, which turned out to be an amazing find. The hot dogs were inventive.

My favorite had to be the Saigon Fusion. Which was dead on in capturing the flavors of a Vietnam's banh mi, but better. I'm craving one now just writing about it again.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


 I don't know if this happens to you, but it happens to me. Sometimes the darkness in my room feels consuming, almost like it is swallowing me whole. Sometimes I am overcome with doubt and apprehension about the future. Sometimes I feel so tiny and unimportant and invisible. (And to be frank, relative to everything else going on in the world, I am.) It's important to breathe in these moment. It's important to pay attention to your breath and count backwards from ten to one. From there count your blessings. Start with something small. Like how you're so lucky you have lungs so you can take in so much air. And then blessed you are to have arms to hug someone. To hug yourself. And enough emotions inside you to cry, letting each tear that fall represent your troubles, slowly sliding down your cheeks. Let them fall, and feel blessed that you're still human and there are still many things left unknown and even more things to be afraid of. Blessed to have an outlet to write. To even have energy to write. To be able to articulate. To be able to live, and fear, and hate. And hurt.

Adults are full of fear. More so because they know more than children. It's a great relief to be able to remove the armor and let yourself be human.

two more days till friday

Monday, August 15, 2011


Kobe beef that melted in our mouths.

Rock shrimp - a bit more on the salty than sweet side

Lobster stir fry. Great ingredients, mediocre pairings.

Kimchi rice with egg. I can make this. In fact, I do.

Roasted duck on a tamarind tortilla

Exotic flavored softserve

Sampan is a newly opened restaurant in Philly. We decided to give it a try and both order the tasting menu, which offers you 7 items for $40 per head. It was an economic choice considering you could easily go over $100 for two people here. As with all new restaurants, there were still some operating kinks that need to be ironed out. And if I can make my contribution to mankind, let me take this opportunity to point them out on my blog. 

First off, the place was packed to the brim. It wasn't overcapacity by any means; it's a very large venue with a lot of tables, and every single one of them were full. Now, assuming that they took all this into account, the server and kitchen did not seem like they were properly staffed to manage such a large volume of diners. We waited sometimes up to fifteen minutes in between dishes, and probably twenty minutes just for our dessert. Our dedicated server would disappear in the 'back' and sometimes someone else would bring us our dishes. A total of three different servers/staffers severed us (including our own server). It was a bit confusing, sometimes chaotic all around us, but the food came at a snail pace. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it was happening in between every dish. For a place that offers tapas style dishes, they probably need to streamline their serving time. 

124 South 13th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 732-3501

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars for a decent start for a new restaurant and earnest attempts at fusion dishes

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A New Start

This is the enviable view of the lover's new studio apartment in Philadelphia. I have never been a fan of Philly, only because, sadly, its reputation proceeds it. I always thought of Philly as a crime ridden place, with not much culture, just a lot of dark alleys. But go to Rittenhouse Square, and it will surprise you. It reminds me of the east village in New York. Every street is littered with small shops and amazing restaurants. It's quite quaint, but still has all the charms of living in the city. This is where the term 'townie' gets thrown around quite often.

Why Philly all the sudden? The lover is starting his MBA, and though it is only pre-term at the moment, it's really hectic. I tried my best to help him unpack and settle in this past weekend as I know how important it is to not feel displaced.

Hopefully, as the year progresses, I will have more chances to explore Philly. Which is quickly becoming a favorite on my list.

There's a Chinatown in Philly! Who knew?

the answer is Fatty Crab, my love

Pork buns that rival Ippudo's and Momofuku's. 

 I usually hate red wine, but this was pretty good. It was like a white wine, masquerading as a red. 

 The fatty duck. Commence drooling.

 The chilli crab.

The dessert that comes with the check-- That I always as for seconds of.

Malaysian inspired restaurant, but the most important thing about this place is the key word in it's name; Fatty. Oh yes, do I love anything Fat. That is a capital F there. I have never had duck done so right that it felt wrong to eat it so fast. The duck is crispy, but not dry. Sweet, salty, and juicy all at the same time. And the garnishes that top it only further drives the point home; this is one f*cking good duck. This is how I would want to go if I were a duck. To die an honorable death as a delectably impeccably flavored piece of meat. I may not be a foodie, but I am a snob who enjoys stuffing my face. And I would happily stuff my face some more with this dish.

Let's not get me started on the pork buns. There has been a sort of unspoken war in New York, and it all comes down to who has the best pork buns. Between Momofuku's Noodle Bar and Ippudo, I have to say Fatty Crab's comes in first. It's the most potent in flavor. It's a kick in the mouth, but it's just the perfect mate to the ever so flavorless flour bun that pillows it. Second would be Ippudo, which has a little bit of kick as well. Last, and if there were more choices, I probably wouldn't even place it, is Momofuku's bland version of it. Don't get try it. It's not worth your time.

My other favorite dish here is the Nasi Lamak. It comes out all separated  on your plate with an egg on top. You have to mix it. Get it all oozing and make all the ingredients fornicate. It's best this way. Take one bite, and watch yourself finish the whole thing faster than you can say 'food porn.'

The atmosphere here is lively and intimate. The wait is never long despite the small space and the wine selection, though not extensive like Del'Anima, is always good. Quality not quantity.

Fatty Crab
643 Hudson St
New York, NY 10014
(212) 352-3590

Rating: consistently 5 out of 5 stars