Sunday, May 31, 2009

to do: red rock canyon, nv

red rock canyon outside of las vegas, nv | may 25, 2009

my friend lan lives in north las vegas. And while drinking, gambling and making "friends" on the strip was fun, i was so excited to visit with a friend i only get to see twice or so a year. we had a good time just talking about her life in vegas. one place she was sure to show me was red rock canyon.

did you know that vegas was actually underwater? the water caused striations and when the water evaporated minerals were left in the rock causing the the red (or not-so-red) rock. on certain parts of rock, there are petroglyphs, supposedly put there by anasazi indians.

divit [w/ petroglyphs?] | red rock canyon, nv | may 25, 2009

big bird | red rock canyon, nv | may 25, 2009

red rock canyon is part of a public park. my friends are avid nature people. they go hiking, canyoneering, climbing, and repelling down parts of the rocks regularly. i can't wait to go back, not only to see my friends, but to get have my own adventures at the park.

where's waldo? [find the hiker]| red rock canyon, nv | may 25, 2009

thriving in the rocks | red rock | may 25, 2009

Saturday, May 30, 2009

vegas baby

this is caleb thomas. his mommy has been one of my oldest friends (like 1987 old - whoa). he was born and still lives in north las vegas. he's been to the strip way more many times than i have.

isn't he cute?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

vegas, baby

the fountain at the bellagio | elton john's "your song" playing

this is the only "vegas" picture i took this past weekend. the trip was a blur of this and that and really, what do you really need to know about vegas that you haven't already heard from someone else? in case you were wondering, i won $40 and didn't get married.

i did, however, get a kobe burger from hubert keller's burger bar. you should definitely try it.

more posting about the g-rated part of my vegas trip in a few days. work is just too nuts right now. nuts enough that i came to work yesterday after my red-eye flight. it was not pretty. later internet!

Friday, May 22, 2009

to do: movies in the park - 80's style

most cities have a "screen on the green" or movies in the park. we used to do this in college and it was always a great time seeing people carry couches onto the lawn in front of the national shrine. and predictably, the rugby boys would streak. and then campus security would run after them with their batons.

it was fun at the catholic university of america.

yeah, i went there.

anyway, the theme for rosslyn's series this summer is i love the 80's. yeah, i know, exciting right? i'll be on the way to vegas tonight but if i were in town, i'd definitely watch one of my favorites: sixteen candles. i can't promise streakers, but you'll get a good dose of long duck dong.

jake ryan, i <3 you!

(thompson twins, i <3 you too!)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

daydreaming of SBY

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all my posts on filipino food are not only making hungry but making me miss my mom's hometown island of mindoro. [ok, maybe there is some st. thomas beach withdrawal in there.]

i'm not slated to go to the philippines until next year as i have some domestic obligations here and there for the rest of 2009, so searching flickr will have to do. a girl can dream, right?

here are some pictures from flickr user kerolic. i love how his pictures are not touched up; they still capture the natural beauty of mindoro.

this is sablayan harbor. lots of fisherman = lots of boats

kerolic's boat ride to pandan island (across from sablayan)

my favorite place in the world: pandan island beach (sablayan is across the way)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

inspiration: kulinarya

a few months ago, my parents took their annual trip to the philippines. my cousin, kris, was nice enough to send me a filipino cook book, kulinarya.

unfortunately, i can't grab any screen shots, so you'll just have to go their site. the book is sponsored by the asian society and other philippine based food companies. their goal is to refine filipino cuisine while also keeping true to it's roots. [much like that restaurant in bloomfield i've been raving about!]

the book is amazing! it has cooking tips, explanations on various cooking techniques, and awesome photography of the food. filipino food never looked so pretty.

the best part is, i've finally figured out my mama's adobe recipe which i previously lamented about not knowing here. apparently, she was a purist and had a soy sauce-free adobo, called adobong puti.

according to the book--

white adobo gets its name from the "white" (i.e. clear) vinegar it uses - the appearance of the dish is actually brown - due to the frying. purists insist that "white adobo" is the classic version, because it highlights the trio of basic adobo flavors: vinegar, garlic and peppercorns, and eliminates soy sauce, which tends to drown out the other flavors.
here is the recipe:
  • 500g pork belly (liempo)
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup vinegar (cane, palm or white)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 500g chicken
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp salt
  1. in a mixing bowl, combine the crushed garlic and cracked peppercorns with the vinegar and bay leaves
  2. add pork and chicken pieces. let sit in the marinade for at least 1 hour.
  3. using a heated pan, pour in the cooking oil, fry the pork pieces until brown. add the chicken pieces and fry until brown (save the remaining marinade). remove some of the rendered fat.
  4. add the water and the marinade to the pan. simmer for 20 minutes over medium heat until the meat pieces are tender or liquid has almost evaporated. taste and correct seasoning.
  5. just before serving, reheat the adobo and serve hot.
i haven't tried it yet, but when i do get the chance, i'll be excited to see if it will draw up nostalgia of my grandmother's cooking. even if it doesn't, i don't doubt this would be a great meal to add to my ever growing filipino food repertoire!

oh, and let me not forget -- thanks kris. you're so great!

Monday, May 18, 2009

NJ: more than bagels and pizza

as i mentioned, i went to a wedding in new jersey this past weekend. we had family in from the west coast, the south, and with all the rushing, we were eating lots of pizza (at least it was ny style -- one of the many famous ray's). on sunday, the thought of another rest stop meal didn't sit well with the fam .

so after some quick google searching, we ended up at pandan asian cuisine on broad street in verona, nj.

the owners of this restaurant were pretty savvy in that they didn't pigeonhole themselves to be a strictly filipino restaurant, but deep down, it definitely is. the difference from any other filipino restaurant in dc, however, is this restaurant's ability to make the salty, sweet, sourness of filipino food to be pretty. the ambience was cozy - asian but not annoyingly stereotypical. and while that was impressive (i have never seen another filipino-am restaurant as nice) the kicker was that the food was absolutely delicious. i'm not going to into the nitty gritty details, but the food was fresh, simple, and presented in a way that was appetizing without trying to hard. they even impressed a critic at the new york times.

needless to say, i definitely recommend this place if ever you're in the bloomfield area of new jersey.

Friday, May 15, 2009

home, sweet, home

tulips | the botanical garden | april 22, 2009

i'm traveling again. last weekend was a catch-up from my trip to STT, which consisted of washing lots of sand out of my clothes and slathering vitamin e on my peeling skin.

i'm peeling. ew. [that's for you, stt]

today, i'm leaving for the lovely armpit of the country (NJ), where cousin #798,293 is getting married. then, next week, i'm off to vegas, baby.

while i'm not complaining (i always look forward to getaways!) the grass is always greener. the weather is finally warm here and i really want to have some relaxing weekends in my hometown - like people watching at the park, drinking at the waterfont etc.

a few weeks ago, i had the pleasure of touring a family friend from the philippines around dc. while taking her pictures at various sites, i took advantage and took some shots myself. these remind me how much i love DC.

flecks of gold | the ceiling at the basilica | april 22, 2009

[skewed] perspective | union station | april 22, 2009

the dome | u.s. capitol | april 22, 2009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

you've been tagged.

may 2002

spring cleaning has led me to find the old boxes that have been stored in my hall closet since i moved to my condo in april of 2007. and wow, seriously, some of you old friends should be glad that i'm not on facebook. really, really, glad.

i've been tweeting about my revolution for a while now, but for those that don't know, i've been finding addresses and mailing out old pictures to people with nothing but a post-it labeled "you've been tagged". it's backwards, but it's fun. i mean, who really gets fun mail anymore? the added bonus is sometimes i get a random text, email, or phone call (remember that thing) from someone i haven't talked to in forever. better than that stupid wall thing.

watch out people. even those of you who think i wouldn't have photos of you -- oh i do!

april 2009

Thursday, May 07, 2009

to do: vacation (or wed) in STT

solitaire (view from the hotel's sugar bay beach) | st. thomas | may 2, 2009

just got back from st. thomas and to describe me as exhausted is an understatement. i will say though that all the craziness and lack of sleep were well worth it. my cousins wedding was a hit!

not only was it a great because a bunch of us used it as an excuse to go on vacation, jean and jeff were so amazingly calm and relaxed. no fussing over details, no last minute runs to the store, no worrying. there was time for all of us to go to the beach, to the casino, to lay around the pool. the bride was so concerned with everyone enjoying themselves that the only (and very minor) snafu were the bridesmaids running behind schedule the day of the wedding. when i walked in the door after a spa appointment (more on that later) to just pick up my sisters makeup to use on myself, i was bombarded with "hey, can you do hair?! hey, can you do makeup?!" while i'm not a nearly as good with the makeup and hair as my fashionista sister who was busy preparing the bride, i was able to help with some bobby pins and makeup setting and generally helping with stress levels. jean just absorbed it all while an awesome smile on her face.

the wedding was held at oceana restaurant, a lovely semi-outdoor waterfront property in frenchtown. if ever you are in st. thomas, i highly recommend a visit to this place. while there is nothing much around it, the place specializes in local food but isn't a fish fry beach place. The wedding menu consisted of: pesto crusted mahi mahi, grilled herb marinated chicken, and skirt steak with a guava bbq sauce. Sides included: coconut rice and salad with a passionfruit viniagrette. the signature drink, the "o", is also worth checking out. it had fresh grated ginger, lime juice, creme de coconut, rum and a touch of sour mix. refreshing and savory at the same time. needless to say, the wedding reception was a great time!

coki beach | st. thomas | may 2, 2009

for the rest of the weekend, i spent most of it burning my skin off (i'm currently two-toned) to the point where it was necessary to go to the spa for a cooling treatment. there was plenty to do at the hotel with the spa, three pools, the hot tub, the private beach, game room, iguana pond and feeding center, and casino. however most of us opted to go to the nearby coki beach. i ended up going three days straight, with one evening, walking there over a rock formation on the beach, hiking through the woods, across another hotel property, and through a local neighborhood to get there and go night swimming. needless to say, that was an adventure. coki beach, although small, has everything you want in a caribbean beach: white sand, turquoise water, fruity drinks with umbrellas, and great snorkeling. there were tons of fish not only in the deeper areas, but within 5 feet of the shore. if you go, check out the mailman's food shack. he has an awesome banana daquiri (i think it was called the drunk monkey).

fish at coki beach (not taken underwater) | st. thomas | may 5, 2009

needless to say, fun was had by all. all in all 50 people is a great number to have for a destination wedding, we all had a great time and met a whole new group of friends!