Things I’ve accomplished in the past months (during which I’ve abandoned this blog)

1. I found a job
2. I bought myself insurance
3. I (sort of) learned how to drive
4. I did taxes (hooray!)
5. I baked bacon oatmeal raisin cookies (Yes, among all baked goods, this one I actually consider an accomplishment. Try this amazing recipe from Stumptown Coffee Roasters in Seattle, WA)

Now moving onto…

1. Figuring out (more or less) what I’m going to do in the next two years
2. Get good at driving
3. Find a roommate and an apartment for next year
4. Stop being lazy and write more for this blog & TNGG

Anyhow, I wanted to put up some photos I took at work and seduce you to come to my restaurant…

Vanilla & Dark Chocolate Cupcake w/ Cream Cheese Frosting

Housemade Giant Bucatini with Putanesca Sauce

Seedings! From our rooftop garden

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I apologize for not having written a post in ages! I have not forgotten about this blog – the past month, I’ve been running around like a crazy person, figuring out insurance (done, luckily), getting a permit (done!), networking (ongoing…) and continuing to look for a job. And before I realized, we are well into fall and I have not cooked enough with apples! Luckily I can still find high-quality apples in the local markets – I heard that enterprise, empire, cortland, Fuji and a bunch of other types of apples are harvested in the winter as well.

There really are few kinds of fruit as versatile as apples. Stuffed in grilled cheese, dipped in caramel, thrown in casseroles, they can bring a sense of warmth and sweetness to compliment almost any dish. And for those with a sweet tooth,  apples crisp, apple sauce, apple upside down cake, apple cider glazed doughnuts are just a few…Oh did I mention apple pies? A flaky, buttery pie with sweet and tart apple-y goodness oozing out of the shell…is as American as it gets (especially when baked by Mom).

 Is it fair to say that apples are the king of all fruit? Not only are they extremely affordable and have a taste that appeals to almost everyone, apples can be grown worldwide (although China produces more than 35% of the total). The apple tree was said to be the first tree to be cultivated, so it’s not surprising at all that the word “apple” has profoundly rooted in our language.

Now, count to 10 and think of as many phrases as you can with the word apple in it!

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Have you ever encountered a bad egg?

I was shocked when I learned the reason why many chefs crack eggs in a separate bowl is to make sure that the egg is fresh. What are the chances to stumble upon a bad egg? What does a bad egg even look like? I heard it smells awful. But I have never had a bad egg.

On the other hand, “bad egg” is also a colloquial phrase, perhaps an old colloquial phrase that would make you sound unfashionable if you used it nowadays: a person or a scheme that doesn’t live up to the expectations. Clearly, it came about when a person cracked open an egg, only to find that it had gone bad. But why egg? Why not a watermelon or a pistachio? When was the first usage of the phrase? I went digging for answers.

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Ah haven’t written a real post in three weeks. But here are the Wednesday photos, as promised.


A trip to Vermont, inevitably, led to a meal at the American Flatbread. A restaurant that sources local ingredients and bakes its flatbread to yummy crusty perfection in an earthen oven. (My mouth is watering as I type…seriously, you’ve got to try it if you haven’t. You should be able to find it in your local whole foods store.)
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Does a certain food remind you of a certain trip? I was eating fish and chips the other day, and without fail, the dish brought me back to my trip to London in November and my British colleagues at TimeOut Beijing, who couldn’t start the day without reminiscing their good ol’ fish and chips…

Seriously, the biggest paella I’ve ever seen. AFTER living in Spain for half a year.

An outrageously delicious hot dog Jamie and I wolfed down in Borough Market.
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What does the word “Chinese food” signify to you? Sesame chicken, crab rangoon, and that dirty and shabby corner restaurant where you order those late night hang-over munchies? Well…that’s not that kind of food I’m talking about.

Every Chinese takes great pride in our food and the Chinese food culture is as rich as our heritage. There are 8 major regional cuisines in China and hundreds and hundreds of dishes within each cuisine. (crab rangoon and fortune cookies are not included!) It’s not surprising to find a vast menu consisting of hundreds of dishes in a street fast food stand. Our culture revolves so much around food that there’s an old Chinese saying that goes: “民以食为天,” (roughly translates to “People see food as high as the heaven”). In fact, in the old Beijing, instead of asking “how are you?” neighbors will greet each other by asking “have you eaten?”

Chinese food is so diverse that it can overwhelm the first timers. But what seems to intimidate the diners even more (aside from the pig intestines, read bean ice cream and durian candy), is the names.

You ask: Why can’t “Yuxiang pork” just be called “thin pork slices, carrots, and pepper stir fried in a spicy, sweet and sour sauce?

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