Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Kilo Watch 2

As I expected, I was treated to a feast at my uncle's house. The lineup:

- Grilled whole fish stuffed with onions and tomatoes
- Pork barbecue on skewers
- Steamed whole crab
- Rice
- Turon (banana wrapped in a spring roll wrapper, dipped in brown sugar, then fried)
- Mango icebox cake (basically a pie with mangoes and whipped cream on a buttery, sugary graham cracker crust)
- Hello Panda (HELL YES!)

The weight: 74.6 kg (164.5 lbs). Not bad at all.

I'm off to the beach until Wednesday, so check out the food photo album until I return.

The Kilo Watch 1

I just completed a 15 hour flight from JFK and am currently in Hong Kong waiting for my connecting flight. I've only been on a plane and in the Hong Kong International Airport, and I already know I don't want to go back to the states. I'm going to be miserable in three weeks.

I'm flying Cathay Pacific for the first time, and I'm extremely impressed. I'll never be able to fly another airline and be satisfied. The space in coach is amazing, and the in-flight entertainment is fantastic. I watched Gran Torino (great/hilarious), The Wrestler (interesting/Marisa Tomei still got it), He's Just Not That Into You (enjoyable) and Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-li (horrendous movie/Chris Klein convinced me that he's the worst actor ever/Kristin Kreuk and Moon Bloodgood are hottt). I also made a playlist from the enormous selection of music. I included everyone from Billy Joel to Ne-yo. I love falling asleep to music, so it was a huge help.

Anyway, to the food. The eating already started on the plane, and Cathay Pacific actually provides sizeable meals. I obviously don't have access to a scale, but here's the damage through the first flight:

- Fresh fruit salad
- Fruit yogurt
- Frittata with creamed spinach, bacon and red skin potatoes (I wanted the braised pork with spicy sauce, steamed rice and mixed veggies, but obviously all the Asians snatched up every serving just before the food cart got to me.
- Banana muffin

- Nature Valley Chewy Trail Mix (Fruit & Nut flavor)
- Apple (even the Chinese know it keeps the doctor away)

- Smoked salmon with potato salad
- Tai Chin chicken with steamed rice and mixed vegetables (I got the rice this time, suckas!)
- Caramel cheesecake
- Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies

I'm landing in Manila in about 3 hours. I'll probably be served in-flight dinner, and I'll feast when I get to my uncle's house. There might be an update later.

NOTE: In case you're wondering, I'm 12 hours ahead of you.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Going Home

Tomorrow, I embark on an 18-hour journey to my native land. I'll be gone for three weeks. Half of my time will be spent with my relatives in the Metro Manila area. The other half also will be spent with my relatives, but in the following locations:

June 28-July 1: Palawan
July 3-5: Bohol
July 13-16: Hong Kong

Needless to say, I'm ecstatic for my return home -- even more ecstatic than Russell from Up. The plan is to lounge around, eat a lot of food, lie in the sun, get super dark, eat more food, shop...and eat again. I expect to have rice with pretty much every meal, eat tons of fried Filipino food, bankrupt my grandmother's restaurant, down all kinds of awesome desserts, and I probably will have very little exercise. I won't be surprised if I add ten pounds on this trip.

While I'm gone, you won't get any posts from me because my country doesn't have the Internets. Just kidding. I'm very interested in the amount of weight I could potentially gain during this trip, so The Dirty Burrito is going to run The Kilo Watch, an ongoing status of my weight and the food I consume.

For the next three weeks, I'll post my weight as often as possible, and I'll try to keep a log of everything I eat. I might even start a photo album of the food. My people use the metric system, but I'll also post the pounds for the people stateside. I don't have a scale at my apartment, so we'll have to go with my weight at the gym this morning. The starting point is 74 kg (164 lbs). This should be interesting.

Hopefully, I actually return in three weeks. I might try to find an excuse to stay there permanently. The most logical option would be to try to finagle another stint at The Agency from my uncle. If that doesn't work, I'm open to marriage. No matter what happens, I will miss you all.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Taste of the East Village

I spent Sunday afternoon with my friends exploring the eclectic cuisine of the East Village. We weren't attempting to recreate the gluttony of the Taste of Ann Arbor; we were more interested in sampling the unique flavors of the neighborhood.

We selected smaller, cheaper places and partnered up to ease the pain on our stomachs and wallets. Our parents taught us proper manners, so we shared everything. This is why I've listed so many items -- I didn't actually eat four entire sausages and six scoops of ice cream. Here is how the food tour went down:

236 East 9th Street
What I Tasted
- Takoyaki: deep-fried balls of dough filled with chopped octopus, ginger and scallions, and topped with okonomiyaki sauce, mayonnaise, seaweed flakes and fish flakes
- Okonomiyaki: fried savory pancake filled with cabbage, squid (you can also get pork, beef or shrimp) and a couple different types of shredded vegetables, and topped with okonomiyaki sauce, mayonnaise, seaweed flakes and fish flakes

The flavor was great, and the octopus and squid were cooked perfectly and were of excellent quality. The only thing I'd do differently is lessen the amount of the okonomiyaki sauce and mayonaisse. This easily was the most filling meal.

Wechsler's Currywurst & Bratwurst
120 First Avenue
What I Tasted
- Wild boar sausage
- Sauerkraut
- Currywurst & fries
- Chicken apricot sausage

The wild boar and chicken apricot were juicy and flavorful and didn't even need the spicy dijon served on the side. The sauerkraut, as is to be expected from an authentic German wurst haus, was fantastic. I'm only used to curry from Indian and Japanese food, but the homemade curry sauce smothering the bratwurst was a pleasant surprise. Also, this place has an excellent selection of beers for about $6 each.

Seoul Station
81 St. Mark's Place
What I Tasted
- Spicy pork Korean tacos

The taco was my favorite dish from the entire afternoon. The tortilla was somewhat crisp, but still foldable. The spicy pork was intense. It had just the right level of spice -- hot enough for a decent kick, but not so hot that my mouth was burning. And it was only $2.50 for a single taco. You could easily make a satisfying meal with two of them. Also, I saw Spicy Squid over Rice on the menu. The opportunity to try that dish is worth a return trip.

Crif Dogs
113 St. Mark's Place
What I Tasted
- Tsunami: a bacon-wrapped house dog with teriyaki, pineapple and green onions
- Cheese fries

Once again, Crif Dogs serves up a winning bacon-wrapped hot dog. I usually go for the Spicy Redneck but my eating partner, E-Dawg, was visiting from LA, so I let him choose our fare. My only stipulation was that he stay away from the Philly Tubesteak. Not to take anything away from the bacon, but the Tsunami further supported my belief that pineapple makes everything better.

Australian Homemade
115 St. Mark's Place
What I Tasted
- Peanutbutter
- Strawberry cheesecake
- Banana caramel chip
- Macadamia crunch
- Rum raisin
- Belgian chocolate

It was all awesome! I have a major sweet tooth, so your ice cream must suck immensely if it disappoints me. I listed the flavors above in order of what I liked best.

Ten Degrees
121 St. Mark's Place
What I Tasted
- Rose sangria
- Red sangria

Ten Degrees is a fun wine bar. They had a 2-for-1 happy hour special until 8pm, so nine of us shared four carafes of sangria for a very agreeable $99, which included tax and tip. I would stay away from the rose sangria and stick to the red. There is an excellent couch area situated right by the sidewalk, so it's also great for enjoying the weather and people-watching. With such a great atmosphere and an amazing drink deal, Ten Degrees is a nice alternative to any all-you-can-drink brunch spot. (I realize this was not technically a restaurant, but we ate the liquor-soaked fruit from the sangria. I think that counts as food.)

33 Avenue B
What I Tasted
- Lobster mac-n-cheese
- Crispy pork belly with navel orange slices & pickled ginger

At this point, the group had splintered and only four of us remained. The cheese in the lobster mac-n-cheese was a bit runny but took nothing away from the superb taste of the manchego & lobster. The pork belly was melt-in-your-mouth perfect. The combination of flavors was exceptional.

El Castillo de Jagua
113 Rivington Street
What I Tasted
- Pineapple tres leches
- Guava tres leches

Situated next door to the Hotel on Rivington, this hole-in-the-wall Dominican spot serves the best tres leches I've tasted in the city. The pineapple and guava provide mere hints of flavor, so they don't overpower the dessert. And at $3 for a fairly large slice, it's quite a deal. (I know this is no longer East Village, but we wanted tres leches dammit.)

The total damage for the afternoon was only $55, an outstanding price for six restaurants, an ice cream shop and a wine bar. Thanks to all of my friends who participated in this food crawl. We'll do it again later this summer with a Taste of Nolita.

Friday, June 19, 2009

I Want You Back

To be honest, I almost didn't post yesterday's entry. You may have noticed that I never write about dating or any dealings with the fairer sex. Telling the world about my preferences in females was a fairly large step for me.

In any case, yesterday's post was pretty popular and well-received...except with one person -- the Jewish love of my life, LF. We were introduced all because of the magic of Facebook. I was looking through The Homewrecker's Facebook pictures one afternoon and noticed a few that featured her very pretty friend. I immediately sent The Homewrecker a message asking, "Why the hell didn't we hang out with this girl?!"

Because she was in Chicago the weekend I was visiting LA. This just makes my hatred of Chicago that much greater.

Long story short, The Homewrecker discovered we had a lot in common and got the two of us communicating digitally and through mobile devices. When I visited LA again this past March, we finally met. There was an instant connection, and it was magical.

That kind of chemistry is extremely rare, but when you find it, amazing happens. I rank it with Brangelina, Jordan-Pippen, Zack & Kelly, DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, Ike & Tina (if they never met, we never would've gotten "What's Love Got To Do With It), Ross & Rachel, Chuck & Blair, Dan & Serena -- the list could go on forever.

Unfortunately, she lives in LA, and I live in NYC, and neither of us will ever leave our beloved cities. So, we may be destined to be star-crossed lovers...but without all the Shakespearean suicidal tendencies.

Anyway, LF read yesterday's post. And the outcome was not good. She threatened to dump me. This is not ideal. My pleas for forgiveness, even offering to serenade her with "On Bended Knee", fell on deaf ears.

So this is it. My last-ditch effort. Don't leave me. Don't be angry. Just know that when we're together, you're able to cure me of The Feva. You make me better. You even inspired me to post my fourth entry this week. I've never posted more than three times in a week. Ever. You're pushing me to new heights.

And to show you how much I care, this special song from my favorite band of all time is dedicated to you:

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Only Prescription

Last week, The Rainmaker wrote a post about dudes with The Feva, and it made me think about my own preferences. As I stated in parts 1 and 2 of my Dirty Facts posts, one of my life's mottos is "Asian, Latin and then everything else." So, I would consider myself one of the afflicted.

I know some of you are thinking that I'm Asian, and I can't have yellow fever if I like my own kind. I will respectfully disagree for two reasons:

1. I grew up around white people. I wasn't friends with any Asians until high school.
2. People think I'm Mexican -- The Dirty Burrito?!

Whether you agree with the nomenclature, the fact remains that I have a preference for Asian girls . I also want to be clear that it's not some weird fetish (me ruv you rong time). I'm open to everything, it's just that girls with roots in my home continent get special attention. Why is that? I think it's a combination of a number of factors.

Perhaps it's because I'm FOB, and it's just a preference with with which I was born -- kinda like if you're gay. If someone likes his/her own sex, no one will be able to change his/her mind. It's innate. No matter how hot Adriana Lima is, you're never going to convince me Brazilians are better.

I also place a lot of value in the cultural aspect. I want to be with someone who understands my constant need for rice with every meal -- meaning I don't even have to explain myself for her to have an understanding. She just gets it, probably/hopefully because she also has a constant need for rice. It's also refreshing when a girl isn't at all phased/surprised when my parents start speaking to me in Filipino (if she ever gets to meet my parents). It's just a normal thing -- another FOB family speaking in the native tongue. And she'll know why it's imperative that I eat noodles on my birthday. (If you're a single lady and understood that last sentence, call me at 1-800-BURRITO.)

Definitely, a part of it is physical. Everyone has a "type." More Asian girls just fit into the "type" to which I'm attracted. For example, I usually don't like blondes. I don't come across many Asians with blonde hair, but that's most likely because I don't hang with the rice rocket crowd.

Asian girls tend to like to eat the same things I like to eat -- Asian food (note my aforementioned need for rice). If a girl potentially grew up eating deep-fried octopus balls, chicken feet or tripe, then that's a fun person to take to dinner because she'll probably be open to most any dish in any cuisine.

Lastly, there's the psychological factor, which I'll let the Hottest Guy on Campus explain via our Gchat conversation. I mentioned that I was writing a post about why I like Asians, and this was his response:

HGOC: thats stupid, its because you're asian and your mother is asian
plus u weren't surrounded by them growing up, so not only are u naturally attracted to them, u were deprived of them
TDB: i know...but there's more to it than that
i'm naturally attracted to them
HGOC: yeah, because u are one and your mom was one and you have a good relationship with her
but sometimes people get sick of there own kind and want to venture out. but u didnt because u didnt have many asian chick options growing up, so its exponentially stronger

I'm not exactly sure what it all means, but it sounds like it has basis from something he learned in Psych101 at Northwestern, so I'll buy into it.

Basically, I have the fever. And the only prescription is...Jamie Chung from The Real World: San Diego!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Things I Learned from Saved by the Bell: Part 1

Editor's Note: About a month ago, I started watching Saved by the Bell as part of my morning routine. From 7-9am, TBS airs four consecutive episodes from all phases of the show -- Miss Bliss, the Tori episodes, Malibu Sands and The College Years. Watching Saved by the Bell as an adult is infinitely more interesting because I notice a lot of things I never caught when I watched it in my youth. I want to share these tidbits of information, so today is the first installment of Things I Learned from Saved by the Bell (TILFSBTB). I will post installments sporadically, and they could consist of anything, from a list of random facts to a more lengthy exposition.

She's All That
is one of the greatest teen movies of all time. It featured Freddie Prinze, Jr. at the height of his popularity and introduced us to a very cute Rachel Leigh Cook. Paul Walker and Dule Hill gave strong performances and showed us the acting chops that got them prominent gigs in The Fast and the Furious franchise and The West Wing, respectively. And let's not forget Matthew Lillard and Gabrielle Union, plus cameos by Lil' Kim & Usher. We even got a Culkin -- Kieran -- and Oscar-winner Anna Paquin. We were treated to an all-star cast -- a who's who of 90s teen pop culture. (Side Note: I find it completely ridiculous/amazing that I knew the cast of this movie without going to IMDb.)

One recent morning, I was pained to discover that the premise of the whole movie was stolen from the Miss Bayside episode from Saved by the Bell. Jesse bitches about what a "sexist waste of time" it is, and how women shouldn't be walking around in bathing suits because it sets women back blah blah blah...Showgirls! Because of this inspirational speech, Kelly decides she's not going to enter. Lisa, always the fashionista, decides she's entering anyway. With Kelly out of the competition, Zack throws his support behind Lisa and offers to help her in any way so she can win. He claims to be an expert because he has "video tapes (HA!) of every beauty pageant from Miss Universe to Miss U-haul." She politely declines, and the following conversation ensues:

Slater: C'mon preppy. You know as much about beauty pageants as I know about wearing pantyhose.
Zack: I bet you I could take anyone and make them the next Miss Bayside.
Slater: All right. It's a bet. 50 bucks. And since you said you could take anyone, I get to pick the contestant.
Zack: You got it.
Slater: Deal. Let me see here. Hmm. (Shaking head at girl walking past him) Too cute. (Shaking head at another girl walking past him) Too sweet.
Screech: (Walking in through the front door of The Max) Hey guys!
Slater: Too perfect
Screech: Hey Zack. Wanna see me drink a milkshake through my nose?
Slater: I bet no one will beat him in the talent contest.

This exact situation was the basis for She's All That, except Screech doesn't have glasses, a ponytail or even...(gasp!) paint-covered overalls.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

2 Girls, 1 Cup

For my fellow forlorn Red Wings fans, I read this fantastic Text From Last Night:

(248): Crosby and Malkin: Two girls, one cup.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Bye Bye, Tiger Stadium

I can't claim to be a huge baseball fan. Sure, I'll check the AL Central standings a few times a week to see how the Tigers are doing and watch SportsCenter for a few extra minutes if I see their highlights coming up, but I'm not the type who knows rosters for each game, who is on the DL or the pitching rotation. I don't know the Detroit general manager, and ever since Ernie Harwell retired, I don't even know who calls their games.

Though I'm clearly just a casual fan, I'm still a bit sad that they tore down Tiger Stadium. A Tigers baseball game was the first sporting event I ever attended in The Americas. I went with my family for an all-American day at the ol' ballpark. It was quite a learning experience.

My dad told my brother and I to bring our gloves, but we had no idea why. Apparently, we could attempt to catch a home run or foul ball if either was hit in our direction.

Why was everybody booing when that guy from our team went up to bat? I misheard. The crowd was actually shouting "Loooooooooooooouuuuuuu" for Lou Whitaker.

Mickey Tettleton was a little league coach's worst nightmare. He seemed to be doing well in the big leagues. Why couldn't we emulate his batting stance?

The hot dogs. Unforgettable.

So long Tiger Stadium. You will be missed.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Rock & Run Success

This year's Rock & Run on the River for Memorial Sloan-Kettering was a huge success. Compared to last year, I raised more money and finished the race faster.

Because of your generous donations, I was able to raise over $600. In terms of running, I didn't find another magnificent booty and legs to follow, but I did locate a balding guy in the grey t-shirt who paced me very well. He led me to a finishing time of 22:17.

Once again, I'm extremely grateful for all of the support for this amazing cause. You can rest assured that I'll send out another round of shameless donation solicitations in one year's time.