mood & groove

mood and groove installment 1 5 tunes kickin on my Spotify right now:

  1. Sleepless by Girlpool (Heads up they're on tour, in Seattle on Fri 5/26Girlpool knocks it out of the water with some strong and hella playful female vocals.
  2. Lose My Cool by Amber Mark* If the rhythm doesn't hit you then you're probably an impenetrable human. If you don't find yourself groovin by 1:20 then I have failed you as a tunes curator and I deeply apologize.
  3.  Want You Back by Haim The Rockenhaim trio does it again. The oh so familiar vibes of Days Are Gone.
  4. Poolside by Baynk Nice, chill, easy.
  5. Home by J.Lisk Also nice, chill, and easy.

*denotes this week's fave

Hip City Veg

If being vegan were as simple as frequenting this delicious restaurant 2-3x a day, anyone would be able to do it. Hip City Veg's 100% plant-based menu is far more appetizing than your typical vegan offerings of boring salads or meager pastas. Mouth-watering options like Philly Cheese Steak sandwiches and Udon Noodle Salads make eating vegan approachable for even the most carnivorous omnivores, and not for the price of an arm and a leg too. _DSC0108 _DSC0115 _DSC0127 _DSC0129

Dairy

There is nothing like a classic ice cream cone: especially one that is sourced and produced locally. While I bleed true to maize and blue, I always plan a trip to the MSU Dairy Store when I go home. With fun college themed flavors like Final Four Fudge Dribble and Badger Berry Cheesecake, the decision can be difficult to make. Once you find that special flavor though (my personal favorite is Sesquicentennial Swirl), it is often difficult to switch to anything else. DSC_0017DSC_0026

Breakfast Date

This weekend, Matthew and I enjoyed a nice change of pace and took the time to go out to breakfast. With the busy and sleep-deprived schedule that most students face, breakfast is often overlooked. Even as the most important meal of the day, many substitute what should be a nutritious meal with skimpy protein bars or shakes--if it's even consumed at all. I may be a little particular to breakfast (I'll eat pancakes, scrambled eggs, and heavy carbs ANY time of day), but I truly wish there were more opportunities to take my time and have a wholesome meal every morning. DSC_0042

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LWD

LittleWhiteDressMy friends and family all know that I am super particular with fit, color, style, etc., and generally avoid buying clothes come time for birthdays. But occasionally, my mom will take the gamble and buy something that becomes an all-time favorite. This white dress is a refreshing addition to my mostly black closet, and commands so much attention in itself that I didn't see a need to heavily accessorize. It fits quite snugly yet has a very modest neckline, and unlike most white dresses, is not sheer and see-through. I wore this comfortably for the day with some light pink lipstick and gold peep-toe flats.

Teen Chef

There were few things that I knew how to cook in high school, and as a college student, that repertoire has remained largely the same. Pasta salad has always been a persistent favorite, especially since I played a lot of sports and it was a welcomed tournament snack. While I hope I won't be eating pasta salad every day in my adult life ("adult" used rather loosely here), I am sure it will be on my dinner table at some point or another. DSC_0012   DSC_0016

Final Meal

A week ago, it was time to say goodbye as we embarked on our plane back home. With these long and sporadically occurring trips, our farewells are always a lot longer and far more difficult--tears are simply inevitable. But within a few hours of departure, any sort of sadness quickly evaporates. I find myself smiling as I reminisce about not just my past month in China, but my childhood memories with my grandparents as well. I'm happy that I can look back on such a great trip where I spent a vast amount of time with both my extended family and delicious food as well. Here are some pictures from our final meal together, at a nearby restaurant stocked with local favorites. DSC_0130 DSC_0134 DSC_0136 DSC_0139 DSC_0144

包子

I've hinted at my love for my grandpa's 包子(bao zi) many times before, both online and in front of my family. And as our departure day got closer, my grandpa decided to give in to my not-so-subtle hints and make them for us. 包子 are filled buns, a Chinese specialty that take far more time and labor than other dishes. The process starts with making and kneading the dough. As the dough rises, my grandparents make the filling: usually a pork and veggie combination, but for me, an egg and green bean scramble. When the dough is ready, it takes a few hours to make the actual 包子--and this is the hardest and most time consuming part. There is a certain craftsmanship to making 包子 both aesthetically pleasing and abundant with filling, and I have yet to master the skills. DSC_0457 DSC_0468 DSC_0471 DSC_0477

Homemade

DSC_0031 The most satisfying meal is one that is home-cooked. While I am an avid foodie that embraces any opportunity to go out and eat, my mouth waters at the though of eating at home--especially as a college student living on dorm food and easy mac.

My grandparents have accumulated some amazing recipes over the years, including some of my favorite dishes like dumplings, scallion pancakes, and spicy Sichuan eggplant. It's things like my family's delicious Asian food that make me feel so blessed to be immersed in two different cultures.

Pancakes made of grated squash, flour, and eggs.

 

Da Cha Zhou!

 

Tomatoes and sugar, a childhood favorite.

 

A Family Affair

Making dumplings is always a family activity, where we all come together to make the delicious meat filled (for me, egg and squash filled) yummies. It usually is an all-day affair, involving everyone above talking age. There always is someone kneading the dough, someone flattening the dough into dumpling shells, and then a handful actually making the dumplings. With no relatives in the states, it is no wonder why we rarely make dumplings at home. This assembly-line process that demands at least 5-6 hands is a beautiful multi-generational bonding experience, one that I have really grown to cherish. DSC_0109 DSC_0121 DSC_0128 DSC_0137 DSC_0156

The Continental

Ever since I fully embraced the pescatarian status (instead of clinging onto being a "vegetarian who occasionally had fish"), I have had an insatiable appetite for raw seafood. I eat sushi more frequently than ever before, and am breaking my bank account with my new habits. Outside of sushi though, appetizing raw seafood dishes are hard to come by. So when I saw an Ahi Tuna Salad on the menu at The Continental, I simply couldn't resist. Pictured is also a Rad Na, thick Thai noodles over salad greens (I am not sure about the authenticity of the dish with the added greens). DSC_1019 DSC_1029 DSC_1030

Saturday Sundae

Franklin Fountain: an old fashioned sundae bar featuring homemade ice cream, where a Ben Franklin mold perches above everyone and sprinkles are called "jimmies". It was probably a 30+ minute wait, but in the company of someone wonderful and a vibrant urban summer atmosphere, time flies. We enjoyed our mint-chocolate chip ice cream sundae outside in the breezy Philadelphia nightfall. DSC_1084 DSC_1086 DSC_1136 DSC_1137

Holy Cannoli

I can never say no to dessert. Especially when it's from a place like Potito's.DSC_0737DSC_0743 The counters were abundant with cupcakes, cookies, and any other baked sweet you could desire. The bounty of desserts made decision-making a very difficult affair.  DSC_0761

We ended up choosing strawberry shortcake and a chocolate covered cannoli. DSC_0768 DSC_0773

First Date

First Date It's Wednesday, which means...that special person you've been wanting to ask out? Better get on that ASAP, before they already make plans for Friday!

Might I suggest a dessert date? Casual yet thoughtful, you can get to know each other without the pressure of table manners--not to mention, at the fraction of the cost too.

Pictured: Cupcake Station's Strawberry Delight and Red Velvet.

Hipster Hub

While chains like Starbucks and Biggby are quite popular places for students, Ann Arbor offers a vast array of accessible shops and cafes to satisfy any locavore. One of my favorite places to study is Babo, an eclectic market that sells exquisite food and wine and also a casual hang out spot where you can grab a cup of coffee (or sangria) and a salad. In the daytime sunshine, Babo is a vibrant little store, abundant with colors and eye-catching window displays. By night, this sensation is heightened with their whimsical strung lights that light up the outside patio. Regardless of the time, I often can be found on the patio with my Macbook and a bottle of their fresh squeezed juices.

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I have yet to try any of their food, but be sure to watch for a Babo food post when I inevitably do.DSC_0118