catch up with me

We’re more than halfway through 2021! Wow, I haven’t updated since last December. I thought I’d take some time to catch up on what’s been going on.

But first, look at this beautiful rose garden I stumbled across earlier this year. This is Bon Air Park in Arlington, VA, which features a rose garden of over 120 different varieties.

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matcha nama chocolate

Have you ever tried ROYCE’ Chocolate? ROYCE’, a Japanese chocolate manufacturing company, was established in 1983. Their bestseller, the Nama chocolate, was born in 1995. Their Nama chocolates come in a variety of flavors, such as milk chocolate, matcha chocolate, champagne chocolate, whiskey chocolate, white chocolate, etc.

I’ve tried ROYCE’s matcha nama chocolate before, and it was delicious. However, it is a little on the pricey side at $18 for 20 pieces. Recently, I came across a recipe from Just One Cookbook for matcha nama chocolate. I decided to try it out and to my surprise, the recipe was incredibly easy!

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matcha soufflé

Another matcha recipe in the books! For a long time, I have been wanting to make a matcha green tea soufflé that I saw from Honeysuckle (aka Dzung Lewis). I obviously adore matcha, and I absolutely love soufflés (chocolate hazelnut is my preferred flavor). Naturally, a matcha soufflé is a must to try for someone like me!

Soufflés appear complicated, but I actually found this recipe to be fairly easy to follow. Dzung had some great tips that helped make the process effortless. I’ve also listed a couple below for your reference.

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matcha pound cake

If you couldn’t gather by now, I’m a matcha devourer. I love it with hot water or milk, in muffins and cakes, as a flavor in mochi and ice cream, everything. And I thought the next matcha recipe I wanted to attempt was matcha pound cake.

I find that matcha in baked goods is particularly wonderful because it’s got an earthy, somewhat bitter flavoring that balances the sweetness of most baking ingredients. Not to mention, the green coloring is aesthetically pleasing.

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matcha dalgona

By now, I’m sure everyone has seen the dalgona coffee craze. It’s a beverage of equal parts instant coffee, sugar, and water whipped into a creamy consistency that’s topped on milk. I’ve made this drink a couple of times and while I personally am not the biggest fan of it (a little too sugary for me), I can’t deny the caffeinated joy the process brings me. Because I love matcha, I decided my next recipe attempt was for matcha dalgona.

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greek yogurt banana chocolate chip muffins

Since everyone is making banana bread, I thought: “Let’s make banana muffins instead!” I had a few extra ripe bananas lying around and rather than making the quintessential baked good of quarantine life these days, I decided to bake some banana chocolate chip muffins. Who doesn’t like bananas and chocolate chips together? Absolutely perfect for breakfast or a snack!

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pourover coffee guide

Growing up, I never drank coffee. My parents were not coffee drinkers and the occasional coffee I did drink over the years was a very sugary Starbucks Frappuccino. This continued well into college and even after graduation. It wasn’t until maybe 2012/2013 that I started to explore various types of coffee brewing.

Coffee

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i’m in a new york state of mind

An overdue post, but I need to summarize my February trip to NYC. I love visiting New York, no matter how cold or hot it gets!

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Brooklyn Bridge

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if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere

Long overdue but I made a trip up to NYC for my birthday weekend, and I had a blast! As I mentioned in a previous post, it’s impossible to get bored of this gutsy and spunky city. The great Frank Sinatra boldly asserted, “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.” And if that Frank Sinatra sang it, it must be true.

Here is a list of all the places I visited this time around:

  • La Bergamote | 177 9th Ave
  • Intelligentsia Coffee | 180 10th Ave
  • The High Line | Chelsea
  • Chelsea Piers | 62 Chelsea Piers
  • Chelsea Market | 75 9th Ave
  • Jungsik | 2 Harrison St
  • Prince Street Pizza | 27 Prince St
  • McNally Jackson Books | 52 Prince St
  • Boba Guys | 265 Canal St
  • Dermalogica | 110 Grand St
  • La Colombe | 70 Lafayette St
  • MatchaBar | 70 Prince St
  • Angel’s Share | 8 Stuyvesant St
  • Torishin | 362 W 53rd St
  • Lady M Cake Boutique | 36 W 40th St
  • Bryant Park | Midtown
  • Kinokuniya New York | 1073 6th Ave
  • Muji | 475 5th Ave
  • New York Public Library | 476 5th Ave
  • Katz’s Deli | 205 E Houston St
  • Dr. Smood | 183 E Houston St
  • Setsugekka | 74 E 7th St

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monticello wine trail series: pippin hill farm & vineyards

Everyone knows about Thomas Jefferson – the third President of the United States, the primary author of the Declaration of Independence, the first Secretary of State, the governor of Virginia, the Minister to France, the founder of the University of Virginia, his list of accolades goes on and on. However, did you know that he was also an oenophile? He had a vision for wine and planted thousands of vines on his Monticello land, hoping to produce high-quality wines that would rival the best of the Old World ones.

The Monticello Wine Trail has 33 winery members all located within 25 miles of Charlottesville, Virginia. Each winery of the Monticello Wine Trail pays homage to Thomas Jefferson’s winemaking vision.

I hope to someday visit every one of these 33 wineries. So far, I have visited two. In this post, I want to document my visit to Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards. I’ve frequented Pippin Hill twice so far, and I’m sure there will be more visits in the future!

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Overlooking the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains

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a city so nice they named it twice

“Manhattan is the other name.”

New York City is never boring. The city is always changing, so fluid and dynamic. I’ve been to NYC over 20 times, and I have yet to explore everything. I doubt you can even explore the same street year after year without some alteration here and there.

I’m planning another trip to the Big Apple next month, but I wanted to share some of my favorite experiences and places from my last visit in March. I try to visit a new restaurant, cafe, or museum every time, so my list has been building over the years. Yelp is usually my go to for finding new and hip places to check out, as well as Eater NY, the Infatuation New York, Edible New York, and Thrillist. I also like to utilize some Instagram food accounts/guides, such as @bestfoodny, @new_fork_city, @nytfood, @eatingnyc, @nybucketlist, @nyceeeeeats, and @nycfoodgals. Do you follow any New York food Instagram accounts and have other recommendations?

Coffee Project
Coffee Project New York

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chi-town, fun town

What can you do in Chicago in 72 hours? Quite a lot, actually.

I’ve been to Chicago a handful of times, both for work and pleasure. It’s one of my favorite cities in the U.S. for its food, attractions, people, and culture. If you’ve never been before, I highly recommend booking a trip.

Without further ado, here’s Chicago in 72 hours:

The Allis at Soho House

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