Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Subscription Boxes!

If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you may have noticed that recently I've been posting less about what I make and more about new restaurants that I'm trying. I feel a tad guilty about this, but part of the reason is that I've had less time to cook now that I'm in 3rd year of my program and it's rather stressful. And when I do cook, I now enjoy simpler dishes and often don't put effort into making my food look as good as I did before...but hopefully I'll start having more time soon.

During Step 1 studying season, I pretty much ate only cafeteria food (since I studied on campus from morning to night), with the occasional restaurant date with Khoi. And the only food I would cook would be from subscription boxes, since I pretty much stopped grocery shopping altogether. I collected pictures from some of the dishes I experienced and overall, I would definitely utilize these services again and again whenever I anticipate a rough week.

Least favorite - Plated. My beef with this one is that everything tasted too...healthy. And I like healthy, but I don't want to compromise taste because I want to love what I eat. This one just didn't do it for me.

Miso ginger pollock - pollock is a type of fish

Pork with beets - I learned that beets is my least favorite vegetable

Ricotta corn empanadas - needed more flavor

Middle Ground -- HelloFresh. I thought this service was alright, as a lot of the dishes were hit or miss. I saved the recipes for the dishes that I liked.

Brioche shrimp rolls - this was top notch

Smokey adobo chicken tacos - also good, I liked how fresh everything was

Poached cod in chorizo fennel broth - this tasted awful and took forever to make, which defeats the whole purpose of subscription boxes :(

Favorite - Home ChefThis is a Chicago-based company and people there understand good food. I loved each dish. 

Blue cheese crusted sirloin steak - beautiful and flavorful

Shrimp and grits - simple and tasty

Cajun blackened chicken - my least favorite of the three but 'twas fine

I haven't ordered a subscription box in awhile, but when I do again in the future, it'll be Home Chef or another company I have yet to try (Blue Apron and PeachDish are at the top of my list :D)

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

October Recent Eats/Updates

Last weekend, I took a trip to Long Beach, CA for a vacation conference. It definitely was a much needed break from school life. Here's some photos from my trip, as well as a few other eats from earlier this month. 

Long Beach -- there's no such thing as fall in SoCal.

My poster/ my baby! It was a best poster finalist, so I got a spiffy blue ribbon and all :D

Ran into Ted on the Long Beach boardwalk, such a cool dude

My dad joined me on this trip, and took me out to sushi at Octopus. The food in LA is so tasty and affordable (if you know where to look), and they even had tempura green tea ice cream (!) for dessert.

We also went to eat lobster with my sister at Newport Seafood Restaurant, one of my favorite places in Socal

I made it back just in time for Halloween festivities ^^

Khoi took me to El Arepazo to celebrate me being back in town. Their food is amazing, and the tres leches cake especially is to die for. 

We also got ramen at Menya (the best ramen place in Columbus) on the morning after Halloween. Warm soups the morning after a late night out is one of the most amazing things ever.

And a couple photos from earlier this month...

A group of my friends hosted a sushi night at home,  after we bought a bunch of ingredients from Tensuke (they have some amazing sushi-grade fish). Presenting here -- the Sunshine Roll. It tastes as ridiculous as it looks.

Date night with Khoi at Vino Vino. Their pasta menu is wonderful and they have some of the best mussels that I've ever had, but what truly drew this place over the top is their creme brulee flight for dessert. Then again, I'm a creme brulee fiend and would eat it multiple times each day if possible.

I've been eating out a lot and spending quite a bit of money recently. With the holidays coming up, I'm planning to have a No Spend November and avoid eating out at nice places and buying clothes for myself (until after-Thanksgiving sales at least), in order to offset those holiday costs. Wish me luck...

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Apple Picking and Other Recent Updates

This post is going to be a mash of a couple of different things. A couple weeks ago, I visited Lynd's Fruit Farm and it was a blast. I've been there before, but the weather was cruddy and not especially conducive to enjoyable activities. This time it was much better, but unfortunately everyone else thought so too since the line to park was about a mile long.

I'm so proud of this jump shot #sobasic

Our posse

I guess they found an especially delicious looking apple...

We took home an overflowing bag of apples, and I considered hauling home a giant honking pumpkin too but finally decided against it :( sho shad

I baked up some apple roses, and they were actually much prettier than I had anticipated but not as tasty as they look unfortunately :( And I decorated a teeny pumpkin that I bought home with this kit, fox dood looks like hungry...

And I also baked up this apple pie streusal cake, which tasted much better. Now I'm all fall'd out.

I made soondubu again as promised, with sliced beef and shrimp. And some ddukbokki which I didn't bother making from scratch -- the prepackaged sauce and some rice cakes from your local supermarket is more than enough.

And finally a bit of restaurant food...

Khoi and I had happy hour at The Rossi on Labor Day since it was one of the few restaurants that we were sure was open that day. And man was the food fantastic. Their ceviche (top) is one of the most beautiful dishes I've seen in a long time, and tasted amazing to boot. This was also one of my first experiences with poutine and it got me thinking that I need to hit up Canada more often.

And lastly, brunch last weekend! Tasi, I finally visited you! I've wanted to try their food since my first year in Columbus but always chickened out because I feared the line...and it wasn't too awful. Their options are simple and are probably dishes I could make at home...but mine wouldn't be as good. And their huevos rancheros have my heart

Until next time :)

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Soondubu Chigae (Korean Tofu Soup)

So...I found my dream Soondubu Chigae recipe. If you haven't tasted this before, it's Korean tofu soup and it's amazing. I've tried making this dish a couple times in the past, and it never tasted quite right. But this time, I got it spot on and it brings me back to my high school days hanging out in KTown LA.

The key to this recipe is to make a chili-garlic sauce of sorts (gochu yangnyum). It looks an awful lot like gochujang, which is another Korean chili paste that is easily available premade and looks quite similar. However, gochu yangnyum tastes a lot lighter and will give you the flavor that you're looking for so do not take a shortcut and substitute with gochujang. The recipe for gochu yangnyum is enough for 3-4 batches of this soup so it's super easy once to make again once you get the first part down. I found the recipe here but made a few substitutions so I figured that I'd share my version.

You can get all of the ingredients at your local Korean grocer (Arirang has everything if you're in Columbus). I've listed the Korean names of all the items that aren't available at your average grocery store, so you can google image them so that you know what to look for in advance.

Adapted from Kimchimari

  • 2 Tbsp + 1 tsp of Korean red chili powder (gochugaru)
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic OR 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp sugar OR honey
  • 1 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • 1 Tbsp white cooking wine (mirin, sake, michi, or sherry)
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil

  1. In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients EXCEPT for the vegetable oil.
  2. Heat vegetable oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add mixture above to the pan and stir constantly while it cooks for 3-4 minutes (don't let it burn!). Remove from heat.
  3. Proceed to making soup, and store the remainder of the sauce in an airtight container in the fridge. This recipe makes about 3 Tbsp and it should keep well for several weeks.

  • 1 pack (11 oz) of extra soft silken tofu (soondubu) - regular soft tofu will not do! Need the extra soft...
  • 1/2 to 1 cup broth (chicken or fish broth, or water + boullion)
  • 1 Tbsp gochu yangnyum (prepared sauce above)
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp minced fermented shrimp (saewoojeot) - optional
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of veg/protein of choice, cut into small pieces (I used enoki mushrooms, bok choi, zucchini, and seafood mix)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 Tbsp chopped green onions - optional
  • 1 egg

* Note: use the smallest saucepan that you own. Ideally you should make this in a tiny clay pot, but it's not the end of the world if you don't have one.
  1. Open the extra soft tofu and add it to your pot. Add just enough broth to cover the tofu. 
  2. Turn the heat on medium to start cooking your soup, then switch to low heat so that's it's constantly simmering/bubbling but not at a rolling boil. While it's heating up, stir in gochu yangnyum, soy sauce, fish sauce, and optional fermented shrimp. 
  3. Add your veg/protein, and let simmer for 5-7 minutes or until just thoroughly cooked. Add salt to taste and optional green onions.
  4. Add egg and simmer for an additional minute, then remove from heat and serve. You can break up the egg so that it cooks completely, or leave it whole but you may need to cook it for a little longer unless you're using a clay pot or enameled cast iron that retains heat well.
This weekend I'm planning to make this again, except I'll be going all out with fancy shrimp and thinly sliced ribeye. I'll be serving it with ddukbokki (spicy rice cakes) and kimchijeon (kimchi pancakes), and I'm already giddy with excitement just thinking about the food :D

Friday, September 4, 2015

Summer Trip DC: Food Summary

I'm back :D But also back to school :( We finished the OBGYN/surgery block at school and then Khoi and I spent last week in DC to visit friends and family, and so that I could show him around a bit. We were there for the best weather week of the year -- it was so incredibly beautiful there and I'm already missing the place. Here's some notable food from that week.

Frolicking at the WWII memorial

Scarlet Oak

Reunited and it feels so good uh uh uh. One of my old friends has been working at a new restaurant that just opened near Navy Yard, so I stopped by to grab lunch where she worked and catch up a bit.

Angus burger with blue cheese and harissa aioli. Khoi was in the mood for a burger so a burger he got, and I snuck a bite and it was pretty good hehe.

Lamb ragu penne. If it says lamb ragu on the menu somewhere, I will order it because its my favorite pasta sauce. I think this dish could be improved is if they used pappardelle instead of penne.

909 New Jersey Ave SE
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 780-0140

Georgetown Cupcake

This place is crazy famous so I was weary to stop by since I was afraid of the line, but there was none (lucky us). Their seasonal raspberry peach cupcake was amazing and likely of the best cupcakes I've tasted, and the chocolate ganache cupcake was solid.

3301 M St NW
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 333-8448

Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant

The restaurant at George Washington's Mount Vernon is the best tourist trap because the food is actually amazing, the vibe is so fun, and the waiters are all dressed up in colonial gear.

Colonial hoecake - corn cake with country ham, sauteed crab, and hollandaise. Think a colonial rendition of crab cake. 

Bacon-wrapped meatloaf. So bad but so good...

Shrimp and grits, featuring George Washington's Gristmill grits! As in Georgie's estate has a mill that makes grits, and they use them for this lovely dish. I wanted to buy a bag of grits as a souvenir but the shop was closed when I tried, but at least I got to experience this.

Cherry pie, since good ol' Georgie didn't chop down the tree huehue

Churning whiskey as a workout after an amazing, filling lunch

3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy
Mt Vernon, VA 22121
(703) 780-0011

Le Diplomate

This restaurant has been on my list of places to visit for the longest time, from back when I lived in DC two years ago. They had just opened then and was crazy busy constantly (within a few months they had 1000+ Yelp reviews!), so I never got to stop by and we decided that we had to dine here before leaving DC this time around

Escargots with parsley, garlic butter, puff pastry, and champignon ('shrooms!). This was my first time trying escargots and these tasted...surprising is the only way I can describe it.

Pea soup with crab and creme fraiche. Now this soup was amazingly creamy and so bright and summery. I greatly enjoyed this.

Roasted duck breast with polenta, swiss chard, and cherry jus. So classic, so delicious, so perfectly cooked. This was the best dish of the night.

Bouillabaisse, it was tasty but I regretted my decision to get this because I order it quite frequently and I could've tried something else more special on the menu. But still tasty.

Strawberry charlotte with almond crumble and creme fraiche sorbet. This was amazing, I've never had a charlotte before and I would definitely order it all the time if it was on menus more often.

Very pleased after a great dinner

1601 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 332-3333

Saturday, August 8, 2015


Study break dinner date! We're one week out from finals week, so scurry :( I need to be consoled by tasty food...

"I can't choose." Everything on the menu sounded amazing, it was so hard to decide what to get >.<

Schofferhofer grapefruit beer and bellini. I don't generally like beer but I like this beer. And this was the first bellini I've experienced in my life, but man I've been missing out. 

Baby kale and arugula salad with dried apricots, heirloom tomatoes, crispy pancetta, queso fresco, bbq spiced pumpkin seeds, and peach & jalapeno vinaigrette. I think the key to how great this was was the dressing and the dried apricots. I gotta try to make something like this at home, I would eat so much more vegetables if all salads tasted this good. 

Shrimp and lobster risotto with garlic, grilled asparagus, lobster butter, and parmesan reggiano cheese. I said whoa out loud after the first bite because this stuff is bananas.

New zealand lamb with haricot verts, red wine lamb jus, and crispy leeks. This dish did not disappoint. Alternating bites of my risotto + Khoi's lamb = party in me mouth.

Lindey's post mortem: chocolate brownie, coffee ice cream, and kahlua hot fudge. In retrospect, we could've chosen something lighter since we were both so full already, but I couldn't say no to bites of hot fudge brownie and creamy ice crema. 

We had the best view for people watching (this restaurant was hopping)

Outdoor patio dining, umbrellas and torches and all. I'm summering like a boss.

169 E. Beck St.
Columbus, OH 43206
(614) 228-4343