Dec 29, 2009

New York, I Love You

I went down to NYC for 3 days this past weekend. It was a short stay because my friend had to go back to work on Tuesday. It also rained non-stop and I had to trek through the city with my socks completely soaked. I'm pretty sure my toes were pruned throughout the day. Regardless, I still had tons of fun.

Here are some pictures I took on my trip. There aren't many because 40% of them turned out blurry. Holding an umbrella and a camera AND having steady hands is harder for me than you think haha.

Time Warner Center.

St. Thomas Church.

Inside St. Thomas Church.

Times Square. What's with the ad with that Asian guy haha?

Times Square again.

New York Public Library.

Statue in front of New York Public Library.

Inside the New York Public Library. The opulent interior is gorgeous. I'm having trouble equating a library to something this nice.

I had the best cupcake ever here. I need to find good cupcakes in Toronto ASAP. Suggestions?

Chocolate Pecan Caramel Cupcake. I'm salivating in front of my computer just looking at this picture.

The view from the "Top of the Rock" observation deck.

The Joie Swarovski Chandelier inside the Rockefeller.

Rockefeller skating rink.

The Rockefeller gigantic Christmas tree.

NBC Studios.

I could eat pizza 7 days a week.


Wall Street Bull.

Back view of the Wall Street Bull. We had the balls to stop the car and take pictures. Apparently it's not permitted and you'll get a ticket if a cop catches you.

Pistachio Macarons from Bouchon Bakery.

David Letterman's Late Show.

Smurfs at FAO Schwartz.

3 days was definitely not enough time. I wish I was back in NYC right now eating a Crumbs cupcake and exploring the city.

Dec 20, 2009


Soma, nestled in the distillery district, is a factory, cafe, and boutique all in one. The moment you step into this store, your olfactory and visual senses are bound to go into overdrive. The aroma of chocolate and spices that permeate the air will compel you to buy everything in sight.

Soma creates hand made chocolates sourced from plantations around the world. They sell a wide variety of chocolate products such as truffles, chocolate bars, hot chocolate drinks, gelato, chocolate dipped nuts and much more.
They also have a viewing glass that allows customers to see every step of the process.

Dark Side of the Mug.

I've been told their hot chocolate is absolutely amazing. I ordered the "Dark Side of the Mug" (I'm guessing the owners are Pink Floyd fans) for about $3.35. It consists of grounded dark chocolate with three options: 1) as a potent shot of chocolate goodness 2) with steamed milk or 3) with hot water. I opted for the second option because a shot has a thicker consistency. So what's the verdict? It was one best hot chocolates I've ever had. Every sip was infused with rich and potent dark chocolate.

Soma Chocolates

One of the chocolate making contraptions seen through the viewing window.

Sorry for the semi-long hiatus. Work has kept me busy and incredibly tired every day. I'm starting to think I'm developing a case of chronic fatigue........or mono.

Dec 6, 2009

Bata Shoe Museum

The Bata Shoe Museum, located at the corner of Bloor & St. George, displays a wide array of shoes from different cultures and eras. I've passed by Bata tons of times and I've always wanted to go (out of curiosity). I've never exactly been a foot or shoe fetishist, and since I was a poor student back then, I couldn't justify paying money just to see shoes. And plus, I always weighed my options against food. Pasta loaded with carbs or paying to see a bunch of old shoes?

Last weekend, a brand new pair of socks could get you a free admission into the Bata Shoe Museum. My Chinese instincts kicked in and I immediately went to buy some socks. Who can resist the word "free"?

Poulaine or Crakows. In certain parts of Europe, these shoes were considered as "fashionable" among the elite in the 15th and 16th century. Imagine being kicked in the groin with these bad boys.

Lotus Shoes. No, you are not looking at cute little children shoes. These embroidered footwear are worn by women in China with binded feet. Foot binding was a custom performed on young girls (age 3-11) in China at the end of the 10th and early 20th century. It was practiced amongst the aristocrats in China and was often perceived as a status symbol. For some strange kinky reason abnormally small feet translated into sexual desirability. The process of foot binding includes breaking the bones of your toes and the arch of your feet, and then binding it with cotton bandages. After, it would be unbound periodically and a concoction was use to remove any dead flesh. It was common for their feet to get infected and these conditions could lead diseases or death. Talk about suffering for beauty.

Moccasins. The bead work on this shoe is gorgeous.

Lakota Footwear. You know those nice pretty little patterns on these shoes? Well, they symbolize buffalo intestines, their main food source.

Manolo Blahnik. I wouldn't mind wearing these.

Chestnut Cracking Clogs. The original nutcrackers. Why don't why use these anymore? They can crack way more nuts and can double as a weapon.

Chopines. These shoes were popular in the 15-17th century across Europe. The primary purpose of these Chopines were to increase their wearer's stature and represented their elite status. They were often concealed under a lavish and sumptuous dress. How on earth does one go about wearing such things? I don't even want to think about what would happen if someone were to fall in these shoes.

Venetian or Milanese 16th century Chopine. I think these opulent shoes could potentially be transformed into marginally nice flats if they severed the bottom part.

Paduka. These shoes were worn by wealthy Indian women for special occasions in the 18th century.

Maybe I have bad taste, but I think these shoes are nice.

The basement floor of Bata Shoes Museum.

Dec 1, 2009

Salad King

Salad King is a student favorite located near Ryerson and is always packed during lunch/dinner hours. This restaurant has communal styled seating that allows for lots and lots of eavesdropping. You’re literally sitting shoulder to shoulder with strangers, which can be quite uncomfortable at times. I think this is a great business model since Salad King is able to maximize the number customers served within that fixed premise. The inability to have private conversations and being constantly rushed by the waiters prevent customers from lingering after their meal. This ultimately maximizing the number of customers served.

Okay, back to the communal styled seating. I’ve never minded their seating arrangements until this one incident back in university when I went there for lunch. We sat next to two older men who were clean cut and wore dress shirts and ties. I think they probably forgot that the strangers sitting next to them were within VERY close proximity and hearing distance. One man nonchalantly said that he had “webcam sex” with a girl named Amber. He then proceeded to describe what she showed him…... in detail. He was very explicit. I think I threw up a bit in my mouth. I was completely disgusted by his vulgar language and perverse description of the female body. Why do I always have all these perverted encounters? Wait, I’m not sure that came out right. Well I'm sure you know what I mean.

Anyways, back to Salad King.

The Green Curry was delicious. I think the abundance of coconut is what makes this dish so tasty.

I decided on my usual Chicken Pad Thai since this dish is usually pretty consistent. Once, I had a bad experience with the Shrimp Pad Thai. It was too saucy and runny. I’m not sure if that was an anomaly (I usually have bad luck with food) or if it’s normally prepared that way, but I’m never ordering it again.

Overall, I love Salad King even though I’ve tried only three of their dishes. I realized that every time I try to be adventurous, it never ends well. I’m going to play it safe and stick with my favorites.

Nov 22, 2009

The Burger Showdown

Johnny's Hamburgers Vs. Johnny Rockets

Johnny's: Victoria Park & Sheppard

Johnny Rockets: Yonge & Dundas building

Johnny's: $2.95-3.50 a burger.

Johnny Rockets: $6.95-$9.00 a burger.

Johnny's: The patty on this burger was decently sized and had a good burger to bun ratio.

Johnny Rockets: Whoever told you size doesn't matter obviously lied to you. The beef patty was 1.3x thicker than Johnny's patty, and they're quite generous with the toppings. This is expected since you're paying a premium for this burger.

Johnny's: Their charcoal broiled burger was good, but it wasn't the best burger I've had. The patty was moist, but they could have let it sit on the grill for a bit longer.

Johnny Rockets: The patty was dry, crumbly, overcooked and drenched in BBQ sauce. The excessive amounts BBQ sauce made the burger overly salty and less enjoyable.

Seating Area
Johnny's: A weathered picnic bench outside with seagulls and pigeons circling the premise. There's a probable chance that a bird may defecate on your head, so I suggest you eat your burgers in your car or at home.

Johnny Rockets: '50's diner styled interior with jukeboxes, booths, Coca Cola emblems as decor, etc.

Johnny's: The staff is grouchy and the older man at the cash register is akin to the soup nazi in Seinfeld. He never smiles or laughs, not even when he's trying to make a joke (or maybe he wasn't trying to joke around with me). I guess I should cut them some slack. I know I'd be a bit temperamental too if i had to wear a pumpkin orange uniform with a silly white hat every day.

Johnny Rockets: The staff drawing a smiley face with ketchup on my plate doesn't make up for the bad burger. They probably did this because they saw the sadness in my eyes after I took my first bite!

Johnny's wins hands down in terms of taste and price. Johnny Rocket's burgers were very dry and an overall big disappointment. I've had better burgers at friend's BBQ than at Johnny Rockets.

Johnny's Hamburgers:

Johnny Rockets:

Nov 19, 2009

The xx

I can’t quite pinpoint what it is I like about this song (the intro, beat, or wispy vocals?), but I’m currently hooked. It’s a minimalistic song with male & female vocal interplay that exudes such sensuality. A lot of my friends think I have the worst taste in music, but I’d like to believe it’s quite the opposite haha. There's nothing wrong with having an obscure taste in music, right?

Nov 14, 2009


After going to Niji (refer to my last post) with my original “UTSC group”, I felt nostalgic. I realized I miss university. It was a great experience because I learned a lot (past exams are key, professors are lazy), suffered a lot (finishing things last minute is stressful), and last but not least, I met my UTSC friends. Remember those obnoxious kids who talked and laughed incessantly during class, well that was us! We never paid attention in class, yet somehow we still managed to do just fine. Here are a few things we like to reminisce about when we're together:

1. The Great Wall of Abs

Close your eyes and imagine a stereotypical male Asian nerd. Now, place that face onto an extremely ripped body. Not Georges St. Pierre ripped, but possibly 2/3 there. This buff nerd at our school use to post pictures of him flexing with captions saying “It’s Pummel Time!” and “Great Wall of China” (in reference to his rock hard abs haha). His profile also said “Gangsta Rapper, Womanizer….” He was every bit serious….I kid you not!

2. The Gold Digger

Now I ain't sayin' she a gold digger, but I ain't messin' wit no nose picker

During Tax class, it was boring and dreadful, so naturally we never paid attention. One day, we saw this girl picking her nose in class. After 30 seconds of going at it, she still was not satisfied nor was she close to finishing. She prepared to dig for more gold by wetting a tissue and placing it carefully over her finger. She then proceeded to jam it up her nose and seemed genuinely surprised that her finger went right through the wet tissue when she took it out. Surprise, surprise! Ever since that time, she became our entertainment for Tax class. This girl also exhibits other unhygienic behavior such as cutting her nails in class, and had hair that looks like it was drenched in Crisco.

3. The Flamboyant Professor

Marky Mark over here can show my Professor how a real man does a crotch grab! Actually, Michael Jackson wins by landslide with his added gyration and the intense passion in his face. I chose this instead because how can anyone say no to Mark Wahlbert in his prime?!

We had this slightly flamboyant Professor. It really didn’t matter what his sexual orientation was, but we had an ongoing theory that he had a massive crush on one of our guy friends. Before every class, the Prof would try to strike up a conversation with him about some random irrelevant topics (i.e. T&T supermarket). Once, my guy friend suggested he should make the exam easier. The Prof responded by gently placing his arm on my friend’s shoulder and saying “anything for you”. I told him to “take one for the team”. I was quite hopeful until he told me to “f*ck off” haha.

This professor also liked to adjust his package in class A LOT. He thought he was so slick by hiding behind the laptop when repositioning his manhood. For such an intelligent and educated man, you’d think he’d realize students sitting on the side had a perfect view of his genital readjustments. I use to tease the same friend by saying “I bet he has a hard on because of you” and of course he’d utter a string of hostile phrases while we all laughed at him. Good times! Also, we didn’t rule out other culprits (i.e. crabs).

Those are only a few of the many fond memories we had during our university years. I miss university. I miss waking up no earlier than 12pm. I miss being able to hide behind my “student” status. No more excuses or shirking my responsibilities. This new found independence and utter control of my life is scary.