Superhero:  The Awesome Man

Superhero:  The Awesome Man

Have you seen him before?  He is quite cute and powerful.  He is a super hero who can make me cheerful instantly.  Just like snapping fingers.

I hadn’t eaten my lunch for a while at work only because I didn’t have enough time.  Everyone, I mean EVERYONE is moving 100 miles per hour because of the major re-org.  It feels quite unsettling.

Around noon yesterday, I got a call from reception saying that I have a guest.  I was not expecting any visitors yesterday so I wondered who it could be but I headed to reception area anyways.  Then there was Awesome Man!  With cape, masks and everything…no, not really.  Instead, he had a tiny bouquet of flowers in this cute glass vase, salad and canele from London Plane in Pioneer Square, Seattle (one of Emily Dann’s restaurant. http://www.thelondonplaneseattle.com/london-plane  As soon as I received those from him, he quickly kissed me (yes, he kisses) a good-bye and left.

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I barely had time to thank you, Awesome Man.  Your gift brightened my day and lunch satisfied my stomach and soul.

If you see him somewhere, please thank him for me.

Do You Have Your Marching Band in Manhattan?

Do You Have Your Marching Band in Manhattan?

Every time I hear this song, my throat tightens up as if I’m starting to cry but I always managed to stop right before that.  This is a song I want to listen to inside of my car when it is raining outside, while hearing raindrops continuously hit the roof of the car.  I sometimes actually stop my car to listen to the entire song then wait to see if my sorrow drips into my heart through a pinhole.

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I have countless number of songs that are dear to my heart, but this is a special song and a favorite for the last 10 years.  It is bitter sweet.  This is a song that you want to listen to when you are remembering someone who is out of your life but you still wish that person, whether  your grandma, your long lost friend, your English literature professor, a crush, whoever that may be, is still part of your life.  And you day-dream about the time when you and that person happen to see each other at your favorite coffee shop, but it feels really strange so you guys only exchange an awkward smile.  Then, you know that person is no longer a part of your life and you know that he/she knows that too.

You carry on your life but for one small moment, you think about that person.  Maybe while selecting an Etta James vinyl record at this vintage record shop.  Maybe when you are looking at this huge painting that you have no idea what this is all about.  Or maybe at red light.  Maybe when you are spreading almost expired cream cheese on a bagel.  Maybe when you are at the zoo with your 5-year old niece looking at penguins on one Sunday during winter.  Maybe when you can’t sleep and it is 2am and you are watching “Roman Holiday” by yourself but not hating the fact that you are alone.  Or during the time you found comfort in the sound of a faucet leaking slowly, and finally you can let your tears run down your face.

Mine is “Marching band in Manhattan” by Death Cab for Cutie.  How about yours?

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To Be or Not To Be: Red Cow Has an Answer

To Be or Not To Be: Red Cow Has an Answer

To be or not to be a meat eater, that is the question.  Right?  I was vegan for a while and was pescetarian until October 2014.  I was vegan when living in Atlanta, which I was eating vegetables, fruits and grains.  When I moved back to Seattle in 2008, I just added seafood to my vegan diet. But I was vegan and pescetarian not because of animal cruelty, wanting to reduce CO2 emissions or wanting to save the world eventually or anything like that.  My body got used to vegan diet for a while so every time I tried to eat meat products, I didn’t feel well afterwards so I just avoided for a long time.

In October 2014, I traveled to Paris with Archie, my best friend.  The trip turned my world upside down.  I wanted to taste EVERYTHING that Paris had to offer.  Beef bourguignon, beef tartar, pork rillettes, lamb, quail, baguette and butter (of course, French cuisine is not complete butter!)  My stomach felt a little funky at first but slowly I have gotten used to eating meat.

So, this is one of Seattle’s be-loved chefs, Ethan Stowell’s 9th restaurant called Red Cow.  It is located in this quaint Madrona area in Seattle near Lake Washington.  They change menu seasonally, which I respect and admire so much.

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http://www.ethanstowellrestaurants.com/locations/red-cow/

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We shared smoked duck breast, beef tongue, pork rillettes as charcuterie plate and the plate was more than excellent.  They had so much flavor and melted in my mouth.  Smoked meat can be tricky sometimes but this one was quite tender and had a very unique taste.  They offer 16oz Rib Eye.  Yes, 16oz.  I kind of wanted to try to be honest just to see how ridiculously big that was but I didn’t want my heart to stop next day either so I decide to have 8oz Filet Mignon.  It was superbly prepared (well, for my taste, medium rare) and inside was perfect reddish pink with crunchy fries and lots of homemade butter!  What a divine plate of Steak Frites.

When we were seated, we told our waiter “We are vegans.  What can you do for us?”  “We have tons of lettuce,” he replied.  I like witty and smartass people.  I consider Red Cow is doing something right by offering excellent healthy and well-taken care of animals and hiring experienced smartasses.

Just to mention, if you are vegans, vegetarians, or pescetarians, or whatever diet method you are using, Red Cow is not the place for you.  At all.  But if you are meat-eater, flexitarians (I can’t keep up these names anymore…have you heard kangatarian; vegetarian diet plus occasional kangaroo meat consumption?), you would appreciate this place very much.

To be or not to be…is not a question for me anymore.

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Right vs. Wrong: Who Decides What Freedom is for people?

Right vs. Wrong:  Who Decides What Freedom is for people?

My heart has been aching for months with regards to what’s happening in Syria.  3 days ago, I could barely stand what just happened.  I nearly lost all hope for humankind.  I felt hopeless, fearful, sad and heartbroken.

Then, I am conflicted.  I am confident they are doing wrong things but what if they believe they are doing a right thing for freedom?

Freedom does not mean that you are “FREE” from responsibilities.  To me, freedom is to let go of things not meant for me (I am still working toward my own freedom) and be kind to others.  But who gets to decide THEIR freedom?  What if they really believe that they are working toward to their own freedom?  Do I get to decide they are completely wrong?

When I saw this photo this morning I thought that freedom also meant not giving up and speaking up.  Freedom requires responsibilities.  Freedom requires focus and believing in humankind.  I have to decide now and today I will not give up until the day freedom for everyone comes.  Humankind.  We call us humankind because we are able to be kind to each other, right?

I will never give up my right to be kind to others.

Here is what Rosa Parks said.

I believe we are here on the planet Earth to live, grow up and do what we can to make this world a better place for all people to enjoy freedom.

We all struggle and this is remarkably hard to do but it is also nice to know there are people out there who don’t give up on humankind’s love and freedom.

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Dark Place to Happy Place: Just Like That – Outerlands, SF

Dark Place to Happy Place:  Just Like That – Outerlands, SF

I was crying for help inside for weeks. I had been experiencing some hardships that I was not really able to figure out and had been frustrated about not knowing what was going on. As a result, I was being so short with a couple of people, especially my poor best friend, he had to be my punching bag for a while. Even though he bought tickets to San Francisco Ballet (3rd row from the front) and traveled with me. What did I do for return? I snapped at him a couple of times during the trip, which he does not reserve whatsoever.

8 am Sunday morning, we got on to MUNI to headed over to Ocean Beach area to get a nice breakfast. On MUNI, it felt like my chest was being filled with dark emotion and I didn’t want to talk to him at all. We got out and walked toward to this restaurant called, Outerlands near the beach http://outerlandssf.com/ . I was already frustrated because there was a long line even if we got there 20 min before their opening time, 9am. When we sat down on the wooden bench outside while waiting, I started telling him about I need some time for me to be alone for a while. He was very supportive of that. As he asked me a couple of questions about work, all of a sudden, my thoughts are getting clearer, as if clouds are moving and I started to see sunlight. I found the core problem of what’s been eating me this last 2 to 3 weeks.

Of course Outerlands’ food did help me out. Beautiful looking corn bread with crumble of goat cheese, cheerful looking chicory open sandwich with eggs and salad, and fun looking rice porridge with pork belly, pickled veggies. They were all luscious and I could taste their dedication and passion.

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After this inspiring (for food and for my soul) breakfast, I felt revitalized and uplifting. I was getting out from that dark spot to a sunny and hopeful place.

Thank you, Outerlands and Archie for pulling me out of my cave. You guys are both beyond wonderful.

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Musician, Author or Rocky?: No, she is Emily Crawford Dann

Musician, Author or Rocky?:  No, she is Emily Crawford Dann

Have you ever been disappointed in a second album of a particular musician who released a phenomenal 1st record?  I have many times.  How about writers?  His/her 1st book was so damn good and you can’t stand the second book?  Or the movie “Rocky,” which I don’t think I need to explain.

Emily Crawford Dann is not a musician or author who produces a disappointing 2nd creation or Rocky.  She is a law school graduate, bright, very sincere, calm, fun, knowledgeable, thoughtful and beautiful.  This is a story about her and her restaurant, The Corson Building.  http://www.thecorsonbuilding.com/

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One night in February 2012, somewhere around 9:30pm, he and I were driving through Georgetown on Corson Avenue in Seattle after checking out a couple of venues that we considered having a party with a small group of close friends and family.  We were looking for something quaint, classy, vintagie and yet fun.  We were not quite excited about both places and were tired, and so headed home.  We stopped at red light.  I looked out to the window and I saw this quaint, classy and vintagie place tucked away on Corson Ave, and I let him know.  As soon as he saw that place, he flipped a U-turn and got out of the car.   We hesitantly opened the gate and looked inside the building.  We could see someone in the back of the building so we approached the back door and poked our heads in.  It was a gorgeous, organized and stunning kitchen.  Pots and pans hanged from the ceiling. Utensils and kitchen tools were on one side and plates on the other.  And unmatched silverwares!  I fell in love with that kitchen with just a glance.  Then this soft-spoken, elegant looking women, with a gorgeous smile and apron said, “Do you want to take a look inside?  Come on in”. As soon as I heard her voice and encountered her graceful manner, I decided this place was it.  It must have been the same for him because I remember him saying, “We don’t need to look further.”

the back of The Corson Building

Last night, we went to a “Seafood Chowder” dinner at this place.  I repeat, she is not a musician, author who produces disappointing 2nd creation or Rocky.  We’ve been to her restaurant countless times and she and her creations never disappoint.

When we had a dinner party in October 2012, the only request I had for Emily was no carrots (because I do not like carrot so much).  I had so much trust in her and I didn’t request anything else because I wanted to have HER food, not our modified version.  Of course, she delivered beautifully.

Emily is Seattle’s treasure.  She loves ingredients and has a strong emotional connection to food and those who enjoy food.  In fact, every time I taste what she makes, my heart starts aching.  She uses a mix of many kinds of spices but it never loses its original flavor of ingredients.  Her food makes you want to use all of your feelings, emotions and senses.

If you ever have a chance to visit Seattle, this is the place that should be first on your list.

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Korean or Hawaiian: it’s BOTH

Korean or Hawaiian: it’s BOTH

What came to my mind was “divine.”  I mean, conjoining of Korean best invention, kimchi and rice whoever invented (I am forever thankful).

I barely take a lunch break.  I usually power through the day without breaking.  Today, one of my great friends at work, Kathy, made me go outside to take 1 hour break with her.  What a splendid day.  Sunny and air crisp but not too cold.  We do have 2 or 3 food trucks for lunch hour every day, we are lucky that way.   When we were outside, I saw a long line for this particular truck, “Marination.”  They also have such a jubilant menu, such as Kimchi quesadilla, Kalua Pork or SPAM sliders, Hawaiian Mac Salad, SPAM musubi and so forth.  Just a mixture of…well, many regions.

http://www.marinationmobile.com/

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(you can see beautiful city of Seattle in back ground)

I was hesitant to be in that line but Kathy said “no, we don’t have to be in line because I made our order using Marination app.”  This food truck is so popular and the “order-ahead” app was in such high demand.  Now Marination has a restaurant by Puget Sound, called Alki Beach in my neighborhood, West Seattle.

I had Kimchi fried rice for lunch, which I have to say it was an excellent choice.

Now I have my Thursday go-to place .  Thank you Kathy for pulling me out of my chair AND ordering my food so I eat on time.

Also, thank you, Marination, you guys rock.

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What is Hama Hama?: PNW Treasure

What is Hama Hama?: PNW Treasure

2-year residency in Atlanta, Georgia was quite tough for me.  It was challenging to find fresh and organic produce (maybe I was not looking hard enough?) and seafood!  Oh seafood…you have no idea how much I missed the fish market in Seattle when I was in ATL.  They are available there of course, but there is no denying that northern ocean water produces finer seafood, especially shellfish.

This small vendor at the farmers market that I mentioned a couple times before in my blog offers seasonal shellfish.  This past Saturday, they had 2 kinds of clams (one of them is called Happy Clam!) and a variety of oysters.  The name of the vendor is “Hama Hama Oysters and they grow Hama Hama oysters at their farm.  Isn’t that such a fun sound, Hama Hama?  I just want to repeat saying that.

http://hamahamaoysters.com/

I purchased one jar packed with 7 x medium size Hama Hama from granddaughter of the founder of this oyster farm in Lilliwaup, Washington near Olympic National Forrest.  It was shucked and packed that morning and I was there 9:30 in the morning, which tells me the oysters are incredibly fresh.  I didn’t want to add too many condiments because I wanted to taste the intense sea water and umami-packed sweet flavors spreading through my mouth (I was already salivating when purchasing them).

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Straight up Hama Hama Oysters without lot of seasonings

1)      Rinse gently

2)      Place them in cast iron pot

3)      Drizzle olive oil and add a bit of sea salt and splash or dry white wine

4)      Put the lid on and cook about 5 min (no need to touch, just let your pot do its job)

5)      Add little bit of fresh lemon

6)      Yay!

Accompaniment was lightly steamed leek with butter and salt.

Is your mouth watering yet?

Hama Hama.  This is your magic word of winter (or all year around).  Hama Hama, Hama Hama….

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