Sunday, December 22, 2013

Donburi in DC

I have a confession: I often complain about food in DC, particularly if it's Asian food. It's often too expensive compared to its relative quality (and compared to good food in Los Angeles, for example).  Case in point: after several disappointing Sichuan meals, Ethan and I decided we would only eat Chinese food in the suburbs, never again in the city - a decision I stand by.

But recently, I've witnessed a small wave of donburi (Japanese rice bowl) shops hit the city.  Japanese rice bowls are one of my comfort foods. When executed well, a rice bowl is satisfying and simple.  I think I've survived on some type of donburi since undergrad.  I even had a spot I frequented when I lived in Cambodia.  

I'm thinking donburi may be a worth exception to my ban on (most) Asian food in DC.

Exhibit #1:  The karaage (fried chicken marinated in mirin and soy) donburi from Donburi, a 14-seat bar in Adams Morgan, is topped with a hefty serving of pickled vegetables, sliced onions and a half-cooked egg that seeps into the warm rice.  

Exhibit #2:  Another favorite is Daikaya's Japanese twist on a traditional Filipino dish, the sisig donburi with citrus marinated pork belly. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A visit to Baltimore

On Friday night, Ethan and I took the train out to Baltimore to visit one of his friends. We spent the weekend with him out in the countryside. It snowed. When we weren't exploring Baltimore, we made Cuban panini sandwiches, laced wheat beer with orange slices and cinnamon, and assembled s'mores with dark chocolate squares sprinkled with sea salt. 

The snow foiled my plans to dine at Woodberry Kitchen.  Maybe next time.

It was my first visit to Baltimore -- I attribute my only exposure to the city to watching The Wire with Ethan on our uncomfortable Cambodian ratan couch, in the heat.

A year ago

The past few weeks have been a blur.  I forgot how crazy this season can be. There was a trip to Wisconsin for Thanksgiving, a trip to visit a friend in Baltimore this weekend, holiday parties, snow days, brunches, house hunting, and in a week from today, our trip to Los Angeles. 

This time last year, we still lived in Bangkok, Thailand.  We spent the last days of the year in Cambodia with friends, lounging in the riverside town of Kampot, then returned to Bangkok, where we toasted 2013 on the rooftop of our apartment.  It was great, but I remember aching for the holiday season and its trappings. 

I came across these pictures of Thailand.  I cannot believe it's been a year. 

Signage on the subway train.

Bangkok food courts - awesome.
At the vegetarian food festival in Chinatown with Ethan and friends.
Same as above.

Crispy, delectable, and totally addictive E-Sarn chicken and chili sauce. OH MY.

Monday, December 2, 2013

A new month.

I took this picture while taking a walk in NYC in late October.  I geeked out a little on that trip because it was my first time having a meeting at the UN headquarters - to date, I've only been in regional offices. I remember the October air being crisp, whipping my hair across my face.

While in NYC, I was able to catch up with one of my oldest friends, Jason, who lives in Williamsburg.  A southern California transplant (like myself), he is mesmerized by the city, its energy, the constant pace.  We ate dinner at his favorite Argentinian restaurant, during which he chided me (and Ethan) for not visiting him sooner and now only because work required it.  Afterwards, we had drinks while we admired the skyline. The city glittered.  I remembered how, as a child, I was always drawn to this place.

That was October.

Then, November came, knocking me off my feet.  There were a string of tragedies, in varying sizes, each one toppling me over, chipping away at me bit by bit.  The collective effect was not good.

But that's life, isn't it?  Horrible months like November make me realize how lucky I am to be able to dabble in all the frivolous crap I often enjoy - lately, my searches for Mayle dresses, Erin Considine necklaces, and Dieppa Restrepo boots, my constant daydreams about travel.  But I don't feel guilty for these silly thoughts and musings.  They're privileges, markers of lighter days.

It's a new month.
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