West Coast Road Trip 2

…so after the aquarium, we went to Kokkari Estiatorio for first dinner. The appetizers and the dessert I got were pretty awesome. I’m pretty tempted to say the dessert I got (the galaktoboureko, which I pronounced “galactic burrito”), was the best I had the entire trip. The main dishes were good, but out-classed by what came before/after. Overall, highly recommended.

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Second dinner was at Commonwealth, which I feel was good, but we were already somewhat full from Kokkari, so probably couldn’t fully appreciate it.

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In the morning, we discovered the place we had planned to eat at, Red Door Cafe, was closed, so we went to Brenda’s French Soul Food. Their breakfast was alright. I liked the beignets, but the rest were okay. I hear their lunch/dinner is pretty good though.

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Off to Los Angeles we go, where we meet up with Beika to eat at Animal. Very recommended. We devoured many creatures.

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For a late night snack, we went to a ramen place, which was pretty good. It’s Sam Approved.

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The next morning, we did first lunch at a Korean place, Seongbukdong. Recommended. It was very solid.

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Next up for second lunch, a visit to Umami Burger. I enjoyed the Manly Burger pretty well!

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Finally, for third lunch, because we’re crazy, we get sushi at Sushi-Gen. It was a good deal, but nothing crazy.

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For dinner, we go to Angelini Osteria, which I enjoyed pretty well. I would go back. The desserts were tasty. Allegedly, Nancy and Grace saw Justin Timberlake here, but Nancy took an extremely poor photo of the sighting, so it’s impossible to verify their claims.

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Plus, TC really hit it up with Grace:

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More dessert at Diddy Riese Cookies. It was so-so.

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The next day, we went to Mole of the Gods. They were closed when we first rolled up and we were about to leave when they opened their doors. We were lucky of our timing! They were very good.

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Then, we take off to Phoenix where our first stop is the renowned Pizzeria Bianco. Highly recommended, especially the Rosa (we got two and added prosciutto to one).

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For dinner, we headed off to Binkley’s, which surprisingly was the best meal of the trip. It was freaking amazing and extremely competitively priced. I highly urge anyone in Phoenix that is prepared for a very long, awesome meal, to go to this place. The food wasn’t quite as unique and various as Alinea, but at a fraction of the cost and spectacular on pure “OMG-that-tasted-awesome.” Mark says that the chef was ex-French Laundry, but if our experience was any indication, he’s completely surpassed them. I’m serious. This place is so awesome, we’re going to watch for cheap Phoenix tickets so we can return on some random weekend. Plus, hotels in Phoenix are cheap!

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The next morning, we go to Vegas! On the way, a quick photo-op at the Hoover Dam:

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After getting to Vegas, we eat lunch at Comme Ça. It was not bad.

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For dinner, we went off the strip to Kabuto. Would definitely go again. I felt bad I couldn’t eat that much because we had a late lunch.

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Brunch the next day was at Bouchon. I liked it a lot.

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CRAP! I just realized I didn’t get a group shot in front of Bouchon. DARN IT!

Later, we met up with Olivia, where I gave in to being uncomfortable and had a shot. Woo?

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For dinner, we went to Cut. My steak was disappointing, unfortunately, as it wasn’t as marbled as I expected, but I tried some of the crazy stuff Andrew/TC/Mark got and it was pretty intense.

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That’s it! Mark and I finaled back in Austin with Greg at Uchi. I took it easy on myself and didn’t take any pictures there, so that’s it! Tata!

West Coast Road Trip 1

I probably won’t blog about the whole thing right now, but I’ll cover a few highlights and revisit. It took Sam and I roughly 14 hours to get to Seattle due to flights getting delayed/canceled, etc. The one nice thing about that is that I got upgraded to first class flying to Seattle from Houston. I’ve got a ton of pics here, but I’ll directly include a few…

One of our first stops as a complete group was to Nielsen’s Authentic Danish Pastries. The danish I got was, in fact, very tasty. Recommended.

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Prior to Sam, TC and I’s arrival, the group went to Serious Pie, but decided to go back again for first lunch. I had been there previously on a business trip and it did not disappoint the second time around. Recommended.

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We walked around Pike Place Market, met up with Victoria, and then walked a mile and some to Pike Street Fish Fry and had some tasty “fish and chips” for second lunch. Recommended.

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Off to Portland we go, and after checking in to our hotel, we hit up Aviary. It was really good. Highly recommended.

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For a late night snack, we hit up Biwa. For some reason we thought they closed really late, but we got there right as they were closing up but they sat us anyways. Though the food was good, can’t say it stood out any IMO. If I lived in the area, I could see myself going back, but I probably wouldn’t make a point of visiting again.

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In the morning, we waited a long time to eat at Tasty N Sons. It was worth the wait. Very recommended.

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For lunch, we hit up Pok Pok, which was great. Highly recommended. Get the chicken wings. They were amazing. Afterwards, we got more dessert at Scoop.

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After that, we make the long drive to San Francisco…

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…and make a quick stop at Voodoo. It was alright.

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We arrive in SF really early in the morning, but wake up in order to get some Chinese baked goods at Napoleon Super Bakery, accompanied by Tiff, Alex, and Kelsey who were wonderful guides. The dan tats (all I cared about) were good!

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Our planned lunch, Swan Oyster Depot, was unfortunately closed for Labor Day, so we hit up Shalimar instead where I got some brains to eat. It was tasty.

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A few of us then went to get ice cream at Smitten which also was tasty.

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Off to French Laundry we go, all dressed up!

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Unfortunately, I can’t say I’d recommend French Laundry. While I don’t regret going, I wouldn’t go again. The food was good, but not good enough to justify the price (I’d much prefer Alinea), and the service was so formal, it was awkward. I guess some people may like that type of service, but I found it a bit stifling. We had a good time regardless though, and there were definitely a few dishes that were pretty tasty, I just can’t say I’d highly recommend it to anyone.

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The next day, we go kind of crazy and book two lunches and two dinners. For first lunch, we go back to Swan Oyster Depot. I’m super glad we did. This place was awesome, especially the smoked salmon. Highly recommended.

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For second lunch, we went to a Burmese place, Burma Superstar. It was really good. Highly recommended. Nancy really liked the tofu.

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After that, we hit up the Golden Gate Bridge and the Steinhart Aquarium.

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I’ll stop here for now. I’ll continue with first dinner tomorrow!

Life and Death

Well December was certainly a rough one, but I’ll try to stick to the positives on the blog. Despite the plethora of suck, there was actually a lot of silver lining too. I just wanted to say thanks to all my friends and family for being awesome. I’ll also throw a shout out to Bazaarvoice too for being so incredibly understanding and making things as easy as possible for me.

Now, on to the positives!

I’m sure it was a combination of things, but I finally broke down and got a puppy. Nancy says it’s about time and I’m two years late. Well, better late than never? =p I feel a little ashamed at not rescuing a dog, but my little shiba inu pup, Mozilla, is so awesome, I honestly can’t say I have any regrets. Sorry? =p

On Christmas Eve, Andrew, Nancy, Sam, Viraj and I hit the road. Here’s a short video of our trip to Arkansas to get the little guy:

And now, some photos. I made sure to wear my Mozilla Firefox shirt given the planned name I had for him.

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On another topic, here’s a video of Oriana opening the Christmas gift I got her:

Bye for now!


We’re done and back in Austin. Whew.

Stop 13 - Pappy’s Smokehouse:
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Stop 13.5 - Ted Drewes (for custard):
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Stop 14 - Interstate Bar-B-Q:
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Stop 15 - Korea House:
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Stop 16 - Uchi:
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The rest of the photos are here.

It's really cold

Today was really cold but we made our stops.

Stop 11 - Primehouse:
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Millennium Park:
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Stop 12 - Wiener and Still Champion:
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I was obligated to get the country fried bacon, which was a bad decision in hind-sight:
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Day 5 Close

Last few days in photos, mostly:

Stop 5 - Rancho Alegre (Cuban food):
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Our next place was supposed to be a BBQ place called Allen and Son’s, but they were closed (not sure why) so we ended up at…

Stop 6 - The Barbecue Joint:
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This was the place that had the awesome chowder (smoked scallops + bacon):
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Gas stop:
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When we arrived in Newark, we slept in the parking lot for a few hours (before taking a train to NYC):
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Stop 7 - Tung Yi Fung (dim sum):
When we walked in, we knew it was a good place because everyone there was Chinese. I mean everyone. Mark says a white guy walked in as we were leaving, but he was a serviceman. They spoke Cantonese everywhere, so I just pointed at all the dishes we wanted.

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Mark approves.
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They sat us at a table with two older Chinese women who attempted to talk to me, but I just smiled and shook my head at them saying “sorry, I don’t speak Chinese.” After that, they discussed amongst themselves about how I did/didn’t look Chinese and stared at me a few times. Dim sum meal costed us $25 total for all of us including tax and tip. It was awesome.

Stop 7.5 - Baked:
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Stop 8: Maze:
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We slept that night under Penn Station in New Jersey then headed to Cleveland…

Stop 9 - Trattoria on the Hill:
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Mark had some wedding soup that was amazing:
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We are now in Chicago (or rather a ‘burb of) at Mark’s sister’s place after…

Stop 10 - Lou Malnati’s:
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After dinner, we had some frozen yogurt:
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Oh yeah, and it’s going to be freakin’ cold tomorrow.


We just crossed into Ohio. Lunch in Cleveland, then it is dinner in Chicago. At 3am I washed my hair in a rest stop sink. It was awesome. Pics from the last few days coming tonight.

NYC or bust

Today we went from Florida to North Carolina for some BBQ. I also had some sweet chowder that had smoked scallops and BACON. I could not resist and now I am really stuffed. We’re in Virginia now and making a mad dash to New York City. Eight more hours to go. :) iPhone blogging out.

Road Trip Day 2

Day 2 (and Day 1 as well) in photos:

Oliver’s iPod FTW!
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Locations bookmarked:
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More awesomeness:
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Stop 1 - Shiva:
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For Viraj:
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Stop 2: The Best Stop Supermarket
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Got there just in time and just with enough gas:
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Stop 3 - Nonna Maria Cucina Italiana:
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Stop 4 - Clark’s Fish Camp:
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Sleep, then day 3!