Vancouver: Seawheeze Half Marathon Recap (August 2016)

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Race day! 6AM.

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A lot of entertainment along the way.

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After the finish line, everyone waited on a crowded line to get to the goodie bag and freebies… and of course, the free runner’s brunch!

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Even the brunch line was long.

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We saw the Japadog truck nearby and I realized I didn’t have any Canadian cash, but a stranger overheard us and gave us cash to buy this! She was a fellow Seawheezer from California and didn’t ask for anything in return. She just wanted us to be able to try it because it’s just so good! Thank you!

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After we went back to our Airbnb to rest up, we came back out to the Convention Center for the shuttles to Stanley Park for the Sunset Festival. But on the way, we got another Japadog…

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The croquette was SO good, crispy, tasty sauce, with a hot dog underneath. It was perfection.

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With the Seawheeze band that they put on us at the Expo, we can access the Sunset Festival too.

We got shuttled by old school yellow cheese buses to Stanley Park.

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Once we got in (after we showed them our IDs), there was a huge line forming… to the exclusive store! We had to line up immediately because we wanted to get our sizes. My friend stayed on the line while I explored the vicinity.

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There were lines to get food, but not nearly as crowded as the one for the store.

And beer…

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You’re allowed ONE beer per person. And you were not allowed to bring one back for your fellow runner. It was a safety precaution I guess, but silly.

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The Lululemon brand beer! They have one every year. This year, it’s called the “Courageous Blonde” — it’s very light and didn’t have much depth. Easy drink.

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More photobooths.

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Another yoga session!

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Stanley Park Summer Ale

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Stanley Park pilsner

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Poutine & corn dog!

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And the night ended with a concert.

Now…

Onto my goodies!

The freebies post-race:

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It was kinda annoying how they gave everything one by one. It took so long for everyone to grab everything along the way and people kept crowding around to get their stuff. They should just put everything into the bags ready to be handed out. I really like the runner’s cap, although it’s one size fits all and I feel like my head is on the larger side. It still fits nicely though! The water bottle is plastic, which I’ll probably never use but will sit nicely on my dresser. The sunglasses also. The Saje essential oils are cool, stress relief anyone? Nuun tabs and Kind bars.

What I purchased from the Expo store:

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  • Fast Lane Singlet: $58 CAD
  • Run with the sun tank: $58 CAD
  • Speed Short: $58 CAD
  • Hotty Hot Short: $64 CAD

What I purchased from the Sunset Festival:

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  • Scuba Hoodie III: $138 CAD

“Mission Accomplished”

 

Travelogue: Hong Kong Wedding (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

It’s my cousin’s wedding day! But first, dimsum. Hoi Yat Heen is located inside the Harbour Grand Hotel in Hung Hom, Kowloon — dimsum was excellent and we got window seats.

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Shark fin stuffed wing — SO GOOD

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Inside the shark fin stuffed wing.

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Birds nest egg tart – didn’t really have much taste, it was just ok.

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Lunch with a view!

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Shopping at 2% at The One. Miffy!

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Suzuki Cafe at The One.

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Purple Yam latte.

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Mango molten lava cake.

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Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Wedding time at the Sheraton!

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Cat & Rick

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Travelogue: Hong Kong Day 3: Eat & Yoga & Eat (Dec 2015)

I took the MTR to Causeway Bay on a Sunday morning and felt like I was the only one awake in this whole city. Only a few people (domestic workers) were on the train and the streets were empty! It certainly did not feel like HK. Nothing was open so I walked around…

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I walked around until it was time for the free yoga class at Lululemon in Hysan Place. I was the first one there, of course…

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I was surprised when the class started filling up. I had registered ahead of time (I always look up free Lululemon classes before traveling!) and asked to borrow a mat. They were accommodating.

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The yoga class was led by the lovely yogi-extraordinaire Héloïse Chong in English and I felt invigorated!

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They even had free apples.

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Héloïse Chong! She was really lovely to talk to.

There was a LINE store at Hysan Place for a limited time so of course I went.

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Got a drink to go.

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Star Wars at Times Square!

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Christmas decorations in HK are the best! This was at Elements.

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Pretty elaborate and detailed.

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Naked bear!

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More bears.

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Bears.

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A bear.

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

My cousin Eunice took me to Tai Cheong Bakery in Central for their AMAZING egg tarts. Really good when they’re fresh out of the oven!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Others may disagree, but I loved their egg tarts. I personally don’t care for the flakey crust and prefer this instead.

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

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Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

PMQ! The former Police Married Quarters located in Sheung Wan, in the middle of SoHo, has been converted to an arts and design center with shops, exhibits, food — a great place to show off to your friends and hang out.

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

I really enjoyed walking around this area.

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

We turned the corner and went to Little Bao for a snack.

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

LB fries – THEY WERE SOOOOO GOOD!!!!!!! Pretty much the best fries ever.

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Pork belly bao! Slow-braised pork belly, leek & shiso red onion salad, sesame dressing, hoisin ketchup.

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Fish tempura bao! Fresh market fish, tamarind palm sugar glaze, pickled lemongrass fennel salad.

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

DESSERT. Ice cream baos!

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Next time I’ll get the matcha with condensed milk! Can’t wait.

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Went to a store called “Homeless” and bought some trinkets as souvenirs. Loved browsing here!

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Cupping Room – another coffee place recommended by a friend.

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

They’re serious about coffee here.

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More random HK pictures.

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Walked out to the pier and it was time to meet up with my friend Melody from Primary school! Back to Causeway Bay…

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Via Tokyo!

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Down the block is “I see I see“, an ice cream pop place.

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Chunks of mango!

After dessert, it was dinner time.

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Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Blogging about this has made me very hungry.

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

 

 

Travelogue: Hong Kong Day 2: Eat & Run & Eat (Dec 2015)

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Day 2 in HK. Random pics from this day:

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Pandan ice cream and pandan eggettes from Modos.

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Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Knockbox Coffee Company — recommended by a friend.

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

My latte was pretty good.

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They featured coffee from Africa, Central & South America.

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I didn’t get to try their beer on tap!

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Old

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

New

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I love walking around the shopping malls for holiday decorations. This was at Olympian City.

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I got to run during this trip yay

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Time for seafood:

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Let’s pick them out…

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Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hehe

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Next, we go into the restaurant and feast!

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Seafood Thai

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Travelogue: 5 days in Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Last December, I made some last minute switches with coworkers and somehow got 6 days off in a row (wow!) for my cousin’s wedding… in Hong Kong. The flight was uber expensive since it was in between Christmas and New Years, but it was worth it. Also, I felt pretty badass hopping on the plane at Newark with just a backpack. The guy at the Cathay front desk noticed and asked if I was going home, and I answered “…yeah.”

Hong Kong is where I was born. I lived there for 10 years until I moved to New York. I don’t fly back often since it’s expensive, and every time I do go back, it’s completely different. Yet, some things still feel familiar. Listening to random dialogue around me in Cantonese, it feels natural. But at the same time, I’m sorta like a foreigner. There’s always so much to explore, so many places to eat and shop at.

My trip begins…

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From Manhattan, I took the NJ Transit to Newark Airport. It was only $13 and took less than half an hour.

The Cathay menu (we got 2 meals):

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In the back, the English version:

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In the morning, there’s congee.

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I love Cathay.

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I arrived at 6am. Welcome to Hong Kong. And Merry Christmas. There’s free wifi at the airport woohoo!

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I bought a one-way ticket from the airport to go to the city (Kowloon stop): $90HKD (~$12USD). You can also put money on an Octopus card if you have one already, or you can purchase it there.

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The seats were comfy and it took less than half an hour to get to Kowloon.

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I love seeing these buildings in HK. There’s so much character.

After I found my dad’s apartment and met up with my parents, dropped off my stuff, we went to eat because that’s what people in HK do. We eat continuously.

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HK diner food

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Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Second breakfast. Dim sum at City Chiu Chow.

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Quail egg siu mai

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

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Iron Buddha Oolong Ice Cream from TenRen’s Tea ($20HKD=$2.58USD)

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Stopped by Kam Wah Cafe 金華冰廳 for their pineapple bun with butter

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I got to spend Christmas with family.

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Ladies and gentlemen, my cousin at the grill.

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Polar wants steak too.

 

 

Lavender & Wine: North Fork, NY (June 2016)

went to North Fork almost 3 years ago and had been meaning to go back since then. I love it there! It’s quite a long drive from Queens (2.5-3 hours), but worth it.

I love road trips (when I don’t have to drive)!

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I’m responsible for feeding driver.

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We found a campground in Suffolk to camp out the night before. Wildwood State Park! No grill at the campsites though, only in the designated picnic area.

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No unicorns were harmed during the trip.

I liked this campground because it has clean & spacious bathrooms and is next to a beach. But mostly because of clean bathrooms.

The next morning:

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Lavender by the Bay opens at 9am — go to their website for hours and facebook for updates on blooming. Due to my busy work schedule, we only had this one weekend to spare. The lavender field just had its first bloom of the summer, so some parts you’ll see are still bare. It usually lasts for a month depending on the weather, so there’s still time to see them!

$5 admission.

North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

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North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

Obligatory frolicking pic.

North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

Some parts were not blooming yet.

North Fork 2016

They also sell them!

North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

You can find SOME of these products at the Union Square market in Manhattan, but they have more here!

North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

After that, we went to Wednesday’s Table for lunch. IT WAS AMAZING. Seriously, go there.

Wednesday’s Table
53345 Main Rd 
Southold, NY 11971

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Mushroom truffle grilled cheese – Truffle-scented mushrooms, caramelized onions, sharp gruyere and soft provolone cheese on sliced sourdough bread

North Fork 2016

Fried jumbo shrimp roll – Panko-crusted jumbo shrimp, pickled kale, daikon, & carrots drizzled with a wasabi-soy mayo nestled in a toasted long brioche roll

& Arnold Palmer (with green tea)!!!!!! So refreshing.

Next: wine time!

Mattebella Vineyards
46005 NY-25
Southold, NY 11971

North Fork 2016

Mattebella for their sangria:

North Fork 2016

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This sangria sure is unique — it’s made with triple sec. The mint and apples were so good.

North Fork 2016

They make amazing wine.

North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

I liked that it’s a small family vineyard with comfy chairs and sofas outside (don’t worry, there’s shade!). I also really appreciated the music in the background.

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North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

After one drink each, we drove to the nearby Sannino Vineyard for flight tasting (now one of my FAVORITES).

Sannino Vineyard
1375 Peconic Ln
Peconic, NY 11958

North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

The ladies there were so nice and friendly! Definitely felt the warmness from their staff.

North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

They give you a blank sheet of 6 wine spaces where you fill in the number and they’ll give you the corresponding wine in each spot. Love that there were lots to choose from.

North Fork 2016

His.

North Fork 2016

Took a stroll in the vineyard.

North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

We quickly stopped by Harbes Family Farm for some fresh strawberries…

Harbes Family Farm
715 Sound Ave
Mattituck, NY 11952

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SO SWEET.

Driving back to NYC, we had to eat again of course.

Lobster Roll Northside. Despite the mediocre Yelp reviews, I really liked it!!

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If you go to Lobster Roll Northside, of course get a lobster roll.

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Martha Clara white blend, $6 and SO GOOD.

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Soft shell crab sandwich was real good.

North Fork 2016

 

 

2015 Nike Women’s Half Marathon – San Francisco (Recap)

On October 18, 2015, I ran the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco, infamous for the Tiffany’s finisher pendant in the little blue box. The weather was perfect in the 60s and the hills were challenging but SO MUCH FUN! The route was picturesque; I visited SF two years prior and already knew the neighborhoods, which added the nostalgia factor to the run. (Check out the route here)

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Saturday morning at Union Square:

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People lined up for hours to take a picture in front of the “We Run” sign.

I was surprised that there was no *real* expo; there was a packet pickup in the Westin, and everything else was scattered around Union Square.

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At the wall that has all the names of the participating runners.

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Inside the Nike store, where huge lines formed for the free earring (Note: ONE earring per location — Nike store was only one of them, and you had to go to another store to line up for another 1-2 hours to get more)

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The earrings. The Nike store gave out (big surprise) the Nike swoosh. You must have the QR code that was emailed to you in order to validate that you are, in fact, a runner.

I purchased a half zip-up long sleeve and a tank top with the Golden Gate Bridge on it:

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We then went to the Finish Line store inside Macy’s to get the wing.

I bought the special edition Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 32 with the Golden Gate bridge on the lip and the insole. They were sold at Finish Line as well as the Nike store. But at Finish Line, you also get a shoe carrier bag for free.

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We had brunch at Nopa:

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Ice cream at Bi-Rite, which was next door.

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The flavors were so unique and creamy, but I had to choose…

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A scoop of creme brulee on top of honey lavender.

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Since we were in the neighborhood, why not visit the Painted Ladies? Hellooooo ladies.

Dinner at Koja Kitchen, a new Korean-Japanese (hence, Ko-Ja) casual spot in Inner Richmond.

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Their garlic fried rice buns (in place of the traditional wheat buns) distinguish them from other places. You can add an egg to any dishes, which of course must be done.

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Short rib koja is where it’s at. Fantastic flavor in the galbi, add an egg to kick it up a notch. Their braised pork is also very good, but galbi has my heart. Umami fries also have pork in them. The ahi tuna bowl is a nice addition to your meal if you want something lighter. The tuna is also very fresh.

The next morning, we woke up around 5AM.

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The corrals spanned entire blocks in Union Square. It was not too cold, but totally dark. So many people, as this is one of the most anticipated races in the country.

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I was hoping to run and enjoy the moment and NOT take any pictures during the race… until Mile 10, when everyone slowed down and stopped to take pictures. So I figured, I guess I will too.

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Mile 10 is the hill that everyone talks about. It’s the steepest elevation in the entire race. I loved the hills, because I can finally say I ran the hills in San Francisco.

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Looking back at people behind me. They’re taking pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge.

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People are walking now… Not a motivating sight.

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Another view of the bridge after “The Hill” — and that’s the last picture I take until after the finish line.

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There it is! I was expecting men in tuxedos with silver platters handing it to us like previous blogs have written about, but it turns out they had several lines where boxes were on top of boxes and a girl handed it to you after checking it off your bib. Not as magical, but I’ll still take it!

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At the marina, where everyone lined up for the finisher’s boutique inside a tent.

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I bought a finisher’s hoodie, which is extremely soft and comfortable.

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I also purchased the finisher’s t-shirt, and I LOVE that color.

 

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Inside the goodie bag every runner received.

And that’s it for the race recap! Now onto the rest of my trip (aka all the food pics)…

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We had lunch at Turtle Tower.

It was here that I learned about Northern style pho — no bean sprouts, basil, or hoisin sauce. The broth is also more bland but GOOD! The noodles were so different than what I’m used to; they’re wide and flat.

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BEST SPRING ROLLS EVER. EVER.

Around the corner was Brenda’s French Soul Food, where we got their beignets to go.

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We took them to China Beach… what’s in China Beach, you say?

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This was the crawfish beignet. The others were original, chocolate, and cinnamon apple.

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Bubble tea (or as they call it on the west coast, boba) at Purple Kow.

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Dinner at State Bird Provisions.

On my last day in SF, I woke up early to try to catch the sunrise at Twin Peaks. I ordered car service via Lyft Line, and they actually drove me up there. The other way is to hike up. Lyft and Uber are extremely cheap in SF because they’re in major competition with each other. During this weekend, I spent an average of $5-7 per ride using Lyft Line.

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It felt so peaceful being up there, a bit chilly but the sun warmed the whole place up.

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Before the fog set in, I made some new friends with strangers as we all took turns taking pictures for each other.

After that, I met up with my friends at Mr Holmes Bakehouse.

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The Cruffin, a croissant muffin.

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Inside the Cruffin — that day’s special was chocolate peanut butter.

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California croissant: a croissant with salmon and nori inside, and you dip it in soy sauce. As weird as it sounds, I actually liked it a lot.

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Boba Guys. Easily the best bubble tea (boba) I’ve ever had. I love that they don’t use powder, but REAL tea. I got a rose black milk tea and my friend got hojicha (I was jealous of hers, and very excited that they’re going to open a location in NYC soon!)

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Sushirrito. I had the Sumo Crunch: shrimp tempura & crab meat — like a giant tempura roll. So good. The fake imitation in NY can’t even compare.

 

Maxine & Eric (Port Washington, NY)

I first met Maxine & Eric in college back in 2006, when they were just freshmen and newly in love. Maxine and I crossed paths again and again after that. Fast forward to a girls’ get-together dinner in December 2014, I randomly predicted (or ruined the surprise, hoho) that Eric would propose to her the next day (he did, she was surprised). And on December 10, 2015, they were to get married and I was honored to be a part of it. To this day, they are still madly in love with each other and it’s something amazing to witness.

Maxine & Eric

Maxine & Eric

Maxine & Eric

Maxine & Eric

Maxine & Eric

Maxine & Eric

Maxine & Eric

After the “First Look”, we drove over to Port Washington to catch the sunset.

Maxine & Eric

Maxine & Eric

Maxine & Eric

Maxine & Eric

Maxine & Eric

Maxine & Eric

Maxine & Eric

Maxine & Eric

Maxine & Eric

Maxine & Eric

Maxine & Eric

Maxine & Eric

Maxine & Eric

Maxine & Eric

Maxine & Eric

Maxine & Eric

Maxine & Eric

Maxine & Eric

Maxine & Eric

Maxine & Eric

Maxine & Eric

They always make each other laugh.

Maxine & Eric

Maxine & Eric

Maxine & Eric

Maxine & Eric

Maxine & Eric

Maxine & Eric

Maxine & Eric

Maxine & Eric

Maxine & Eric

Maxine & Eric

Maxine & Eric

Maxine & Eric

 

Travelogue: Seattle & Other Places, Washington (May-June 2015) Part 1

Going north from Oregon, our next stop was Washington.

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We didn’t hike up Mount Rainier but we got to see it as a backdrop to most of our pictures.

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It was a strange thing, to have 70 degree weather and sunny but with snow on the ground. I wore a tank top but held a snowball in my hands.

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Went to Uwajimaya, a supermarket that sells lots of Asian products.

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When we got to Seattle downtown, it was already late but we found Taylor Shellfish Oyster Bar for seafood. It was decent, but subsequently we found Taylor’s farms outside of the city (that’s for another post in the future) which was wayyyyy cooler because you get to shuck your own oysters!

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We had some pretty good dim sum the next morning at Harbor City. Really enjoyed their special items like shark fin dumplings and scallop dumplings.

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It was a rainy day in Seattle. (What else is new?) We went to the Starbucks Reserve for some coffee tasting.

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Coffee flight.

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It was a pretty cool experience. All the baristas there are knowledgable and friendly. You can learn a thing or two.

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Next on my list: the Seattle Public Library

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It’s worth a visit if you’re into architecture, photography, art, people watching, etc.

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But of course.

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Lemon ricotta crumpet from the Crumpet Shop in Pike Place Market.

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Jack’s Fish Spot in Pike Place Market. Really enjoyed the fresh oysters here.

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Crab cocktail was not bad either.

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A trip to Pike Place is not completed until you’ve seen/smelled the GUM WALL!

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It’s actually an alley way beneath Pike Place Market – walk down the stairs and you should find it.

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Grabbed some ice cream from Molly Moon’s. It’s a MUST.

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View of the Space Needle from Kerry Park.

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Nearby, we stumbled upon a secret garden.

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Chihuly Garden and Glass – buy tickets online to save a couple of bucks.

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You can also buy tickets for Chihuly + Space Needle, but we decided to have dinner at the Space Needle (which gives you complementary access to the observatory) instead.

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Once you get up to the observatory, you can walk around until you get called to your table.

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The food at SkyCity at the Needle was amazing. I’ve seen many towers in my lifetime and they’re usually tourist traps and waste of money. But the food here was actually great!

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My ice cream…

Pictures from Olympic National Park — we stayed in Port Angeles in order to take the ferry to Victoria, Vancouver Island (to be continued…).

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La Push!

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Driving up to Hurricane Ridge was nauseating — it was very cold there too!

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Baby Photo Session at Coney Island

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