February 15, 2015

CHIHULY GARDEN AND GLASS

In the middle of this gray and unrelenting winter, we need all the color we can get. On our visit to Seattle's Chihuly Garden and Glass, we got a much needed boost of light and color that made us forget all about the dreary weather outside.


This exhibition showcases the breathtaking glass sculptures of Dale Chihuly, whose work you may have already encountered if you've been inside the Bellagio in Las Vegas, where the stunning 70 feet long Fiori di Como glass sculpture hangs above the lobby.

Visiting Chihuly Garden and Glass is like entering a glassblown wonderland full of fanciful forms and saturated hues. One of the most stunning pieces inside is the Sea Life Tower, all 20 feet of undulating blown glass in various shades of blue cradling intricately detailed starfish, sea urchins, coral and other underwater creatures.


Entering the Mille Fiori room feels like entering a beautiful alien landscape. Inspired by the garden tended by Chihuly's mother during his childhood, this installation manages to convey a feeling of familiarity and fantasy at the same time.


The Ikebana and Float Boats' visuals and backstory are equally delightful. When Chihuly was in Nuutajarvi, Finland in the 1990s, he had an idea to throw his sculptures from a bridge into the river below to treat the glass. Finnish teenagers would then take the glass sculptures, load them into their fishing boats, and bring them back to the shore. Chihuly took a liking to how the sculptures looked all piled up in the boat and immortalized the memory in this piece.


We also really enjoyed the Chandelier Room, filled with monumental pieces suspended from the ceiling. These luminous and organic chandeliers have such an otherworldly feel.


The centerpiece of the exhibition is the Glass House, which holds Chihuly's most tremendous piece yet: a 100-foot glass wreath of fiery-hued blossoms that manage to convey a feeling of light and playful movement, in spite of its enormity. This gorgeous piece can make even the gloomiest Seattle day bright, I tell you!


Outside, the garden is dotted with more of Chihuly's work. Despite being constructed out of glass, Chihuly's pieces have an organic feel to them that make them seem right at home in nature.


The exhibition closes with a row of chandeliers leading to a small theater where films of Chihuly's exhbitions and installations around the world are shown. We daydreamed of someday having one of these chandeliers in our future home—dreams that were promptly shattered under the harsh light of reality when we stepped into the gift shop, where small Chihuly vases were sold for $8,000 apiece!


I suppose Chihuly's work is meant to remain in my dreams ... but I'm quite content with such vibrant and glorious dreams. If you find yourself in Seattle looking for a jolt of color and light to brighten up a gloomy day, I highly recommend paying a visit to Chihuly Glass and Garden.

Chihuly Garden and Glass is located at 305 Harrison Street, Seattle, Washington 98109.

January 25, 2015

WE GOT PLATED


Let's be honest, January can be a bit of a depressing month. After a month of festivities with family and friends, we get to go back to real life, where the wine is much diminished and mom's cooking is just a distant memory. My January's been much improved, however, thanks to the following:

  1. Having J to enjoy the fine January New York climate with (i.e. Nor'easter cuddling)
  2. Winter break from grad school (i.e. having a 9-to-5 instead of a 9-to-9)
  3. Plated deliveries (i.e. a subscription service that allows us to successfully pretend that we're the fabulous, imaginative cooks we've always suspected we were deep inside)
Of the three improvements, #3 is actually replicable for those suffering through Winter so let me tell you more about that that.

Plated is basically a curated grocery delivery service that brings pre-measured ingredients for specific meals straight to your doorstep for $12 a plate. That may seem pricey but consider the advantages. Plated allows you to casually whip up Massaman chicken curry for dinner without having to hunt down ingredients in Chinatown and Whole Foods Gowanus (plus the inevitable emergency run to your local bodega when you realize you forgot to buy chicken base). Food subscription services like Plated are ideal for people who live in cities where groceries are really expensive anyway (check!); whose cooking repertoire is limited to a rotation of five dishes (check!); and who would rather not get stuck with a cupboard full of spices and ingredients last used in 2012 (I'm looking at you, ancient bottle of furikake). Oh, and even though it is a subscription service, you have the flexibility to skip weeks and only receive deliveries when you're in the mood to play chef.

After two weeks of deliveries, we've cooked dishes I never throught could come out of my kitchen: beef pho, braised massaman chicken, tilapia piccata with orzo, beef and butternut squash tagine, and chicken with miso soba. As I dug into my plate of fish with chermoula on a bed of wilted spinach, roasted fingerling potatoes and roasted oranges, I was filled with incredulous wonder that I had actually put together all these new flavors that were absolutely not part of my culinary subconscious. J, a true blue Dutch man, was equally stunned after cooking up bowls of delicious beef pho, and said, "Did I actually make that?"

For those looking to improve their Winter hibernation experience, I highly recommend trying this out! To sign up for Plated, click here

January 11, 2015

CHAMPORADO BRUNCHES AND LECHON DINNERS AT PIG AND KHAO

One of the greatest things about living in New York is that Filipino cuisine has become one of the hippest in the city. When I packed up my bags and moved here eight years ago, I couldn't have imagined that my Sex and the City-esque brunch choices would ever include champorado and sizzling sisig—with bottomless mimosas to boot! Yes, today I'm living the Pinay in America dream where I can have corned beef and garlic rice for brunch without having to be all defensive about it, thanks to Pig and Khao. The restaurant is helmed by Top Chef alum, Leah Cohen, who also happens to be half Filipina. Her menu takes inspiration from her travels through Southeast Asia, so I've now also developed an addiction to the spicy curry flavors of their Khao Soi noodle soup on top of my dependence on their crispy-bacon-champorado combo.


But wait! That's not all. Pig and Khao now also does ... *drumroll* ... suckling pig dinners! Thanks to my friend Julie, I found out that for $45 per person for a 6-10 person group, Pig and Khao will cook up a whole piggie for you and your buddies, with vegetable sides, unlimited rice (coconut and jasmine), plus a liver sauce that comes nice and close to that Pinoy favorite, Mang Tomas. Our little piggie was utter perfection: the skin was nice and crunchy while the meat was tender and packed with flavor. If you like pork and breaking pork skin with friends, I highly recommend hitting up Pig & Khao.


Pig and Khao is located at 68 Clinton Street, New York, NY. If you are looking to partake of lechon, make sure you call (212) 920-4485 at least a week in advance and be ready to put down a deposit.

January 1, 2015

HELLO 2015!


How is everyone recovering from the New Years Eve festivities? New Year's Eve celebrations can go either way, as John Oliver hilariously pointed out, but when things do go well, a fun night out on the town can be such an energizing start to the year. Ours thankfully turned out well with a good mixture of celebrating with friends, fun and adventure as a couple, delicious food, flowing libations, and disco dancing into the wee hours. Today, I woke up happy, optimistic and energized to take on 2015. Isn't it wonderful to get a fresh new start and 365 days filled with promise? Wishing you all a brilliant year ahead. I can't wait to see what 2015 will bring!

December 29, 2014

BOXING DAY ANTIQUING


In America, Boxing Day is better known as the After-Christmas Sale Day. Instead of duking it out at the mall, however, we ended up spending the afternoon sifting through Antiques at Pike Place, a veritable treasure trove of vintage finds in Seattle. One day after Christmas, we were daydreaming about next year's tree, which we'd love to fill with kitschy vintage baubles. This store had plenty of it—we're talking everything from little Beatles-emblazoned jukeboxes to Battlestar Gallactica-themed ornaments to slice-of-Americana cowboy boots. There were also plenty of things we would love to find sitting under the tree on Christmas morning: cool vintage hard shell luggage, trippy old school blenders fit for Megan Draper's pad, and a beautiful lit globe from the 1930s. Here's hoping that if we're very, very good in 2015, maybe Santa will fill our home with these gorgeous finds come next Christmas!


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