[New Youtube Video] BURNING MAN 2018 FILM

Finally finished and uploaded my Burning Man 2018 video! Since I get so many questions from friends and strangers about my experience, I decided to compile some of the videos I took during my week there. I tried my best but there is so much left unsaid that can only be felt if you were there or have experienced it.

Hope you enjoy the video! Don’t forget to like and subscribe too :)

xx

[Mark Nepo] For the noise of the mind never dies. It can only be put in perspective, quieted until we can hear the more ancient voices that give us life.

“Stopping the Noise” in Things That Join the Sea and the Sky: Field Notes on Living (Sounds True. October 31, 2017), Mark Nepo:

“Often we’re cast about by the noise of the world and the noise in our heads. Often we’re mesmerized by the stunning cacophony that masks itself as excitement. And though there’s much to be gained for being in the world, we can’t make sense of it till we stop the noise, till we go below the noise, till we go below the habit of our own thoughts. But it’s impossible to be still and quiet all the time. As a whale or dolphin must break surface, only to dive back down, only to break surface again, each of us must break surface into the noise of the world, only to rest our way back into the depth of stillness, where we can know ourselves and life more deeply, until we have to break surface again. No one is ever done with this crossover between noise and stillness. Not even those committed to a contemplative life. Not even those who are blind or mute. For the noise of the mind never dies. It can only be put in perspective, quieted until we can hear the more ancient voices that give us life. At every turn, we need to stop the noise, our own and everyone else’s, not to retreat from the world but to live more fully in it.”

[NYC] ABC Kitchen - Jean-Georges Restaurant - Autumn Dinner 2018

 Me casually trying to eat this massive piece of fried chicken.

Me casually trying to eat this massive piece of fried chicken.

Categories: New American
Date Visited: October 2018
Address: 35 E 18th St, New York, NY 10003
Price:  $$$ 
Reservations: Yes

Verdict: Yes! Been looking for something like this in NYC for a while now. Surprised a place like this has taken so long to pop up in NYC (given how its popularity on the West Coast, ie. Boiling Point Restaurant Chain). Newly opened and designed for the modern diner, Hot Box offers customized personal pots (everyone gets his/her own). Currently, Hot Box offers 6 basic base pots to pick from, and an extensive list of additional ingredients to personalize your hot from. Each base broth is equally packed with intensity and flavor.

Must Order: Kabocha Squash Toast

 Cozy interior of ABC Kitchen

Cozy interior of ABC Kitchen

  ROASTED KABOCHA SQUASH TOAST, FRENCH RICOTTA CHEESE, APPLE CIDER VINEGAR ($15)   This was a seasonal special and was my FAVORITE dish of the night! Savory and sweet, this was the perfect embodiment of Autumn. A must order!

ROASTED KABOCHA SQUASH TOAST, FRENCH RICOTTA CHEESE, APPLE CIDER VINEGAR ($15)

This was a seasonal special and was my FAVORITE dish of the night! Savory and sweet, this was the perfect embodiment of Autumn. A must order!

[NYC] Ruby's Cafe - Excellent Aussie-Inspired Eatery in Soho

Categories: Australian, Brunch/Breakfast, All-day
Date Visited: July 2018
Address: 219 Mulberry Street, New York, NY 10012
Price:  $$ 
Reservations: They don't take reservations! 

Verdict: A hundred times yes! A laid-back spot in Soho with excellent food. Summer vibes all-year-long, Ruby’s is where you want to go for a casual meal any time of the day. Reasonable prices too. 9/10. 

 Left:  Breakfast Bowl / $14  Right:  Lamb Ragu Pappardelle  with burrata & tomato sauce  /$15

Left: Breakfast Bowl / $14
Right: Lamb Ragu Pappardelle with burrata & tomato sauce /$15

  Breakfast Bowl / $14  soft egg, spaghetti squash, brown rice, fermented cabbage, wild mushrooms, house made chili sauce

Breakfast Bowl / $14
soft egg, spaghetti squash, brown rice, fermented cabbage, wild mushrooms, house made chili sauce

[NYC] Ikinari - Excellent Fast Casual Japanese Steakhouse

Categories: Steakhouse, Japanese, Fast-Casual
Date Visited: March 2018, April 2018
Address: Multiple locations throughout NYC
Price:  $$ 
Reservations: Nope, none needed. Just walk in! 

 Ikinari Japanese Steakhouse NYC


About: Ikinari is a famous chain from Japan, best known for its highly affordable but high-quality steaks. You can order, eat, and get out of here in 30 minutes. The menu is very limited as they only serve steaks and selected sides but they do offer a few different cuts priced by the ounce (Ribeyes, Sirloin, Filet). They weigh and cut the steaks in front of you.

There are no servers, no high-end decor, no dessert menu. After ordering, you sit and wait for your steak (takes ~5 minutes) and then pay before you head out the door. 

Clearly, this isn't meant to replace the time-honored, pedigreed steakhouses that run sacred in the New York dining institution. But frequenting old-fashioned dining rooms covered in mahogany and brass for is not exactly realistic for many people as well. Sometimes, you just want a good steak without the dress up and the fancy wines.

Ikinari is a great option for a decent steak without having to cook it yourself. 

  Middle Ribeye ~ 11oz Topped with a delicious garlic butter and fried crispy

Middle Ribeye ~11oz
Topped with a delicious garlic butter and fried crispy

All steaks are accompanied by grilled onions, a side of corn, and a garlic paste on top of the steak that's referred to as “magic paste."

 Ikinari Pepper Rice - fried rice mixed with corn,

Ikinari Pepper Rice - fried rice mixed with corn,

[NYC] 15 East - Disappointing Michelin Star Omakase Dinner

15 East

Categories: Japanese, Sushi, Omakase
Address: 15 E 15th St, New York, NY 10003
Date Visited: Jan 2018
Price: ~$320-400 for two ($65-140 for omakase sets)
Hours: Thurs-Sat 5:30pm-12:30am, Sun-Wed 5:30pm-11:30pm
Reservations Needed?: Yes

15-east-omakase-sushi

Thoughts: Disappointed. Given their price point and newly "Michelin" one star status, I expected quality on par with some of the other better omakase places around the city. Unfortunately, while ambiance was on point (slightly casual but nice), food was a letdown. Certainly not what you'd expect from one of Manhattan's "best sushi" spots.

We ordered a 15 piece sushi omakase set ($115) and a 15 piece sashimi omakase set ($115). While nothing was "bad," the omakase experience was very boring. There wasn't a single standout dish; nothing on either the sashimi omakase set or sushi omakase set that made me go, "wow, that was amazing. I want it again." Portion sizes were unreasonably TINY and we both left still hungry. For $115 per set, the omakase we got (especially the sashimi - refer to photos below) were underwhelming. 

The fish was not particularly fresh. Both the quality and creativity of here pales in comparison to the other high-end sushi restaurants I've been to in the city (Sushi of Gari, Nakazawa, Gaijin, Sushi Seki, etc.) Honestly, I would've gotten MUCH better sushi and double portions at Tomoe Sushi at 1/3 of the price. 

Just not worth it. Michelin, what were you thinking?

Recommended? No.

THE FOOD

[NYC] Amélie Wine Bar - Simple Brunch in West Village

Categories: French, Brunch, Wine Bar
Date Visited: April 2018
Address: 22 West 8th Street, New York, NY 10011
Price:  $/$$  (Very affordable for Manhattan!)
Reservations: Not necessary for brunch for a smaller party. At least I had no problem getting a table at walk-in. For dinner, however, reservations are strongly recommended!

Thoughts: The menu here consists of quintessential French brunch dishes: burgers, omelets, salads, eggs benedicts, croque-monsieur, etc. For a medium to larger sized party, I would recommend ordering one of their charcuterie/cheese combo platters, which is great (I tried it for dinner on another visit). Service is friendly, although it could be faster and coffee quality definitely needs some upgrading. 

Otherwise, this is your solid friendly neighborhood brunch spot when you're too lazy or tired to line up for 1+ hours for brunch! They swapped out my potatoes for avocado without extra costs. Also, all the dishes are very price-friendly for what it's worth! Very affordable considering they're located in a high rental cost area in Manhattan.

  Amélie Burger / $12  Pat Lafrieda brisket meat - tomato - red onion - lettuce - served with French fries

Amélie Burger / $12
Pat Lafrieda brisket meat - tomato - red onion - lettuce - served with French fries

  Eggs Meurette / $13  red wine poached eggs - pearl onions - mushrooms - bacon - toasted brioche  My friend swapped out the bacon for avocado instead!

Eggs Meurette / $13
red wine poached eggs - pearl onions - mushrooms - bacon - toasted brioche

My friend swapped out the bacon for avocado instead!

 On the right:  French Toast with fresh berries / $10

On the right: French Toast with fresh berries / $10

 Amelie's Brunch Menu as of Nov 2017, but the menu was the same when I went in April 2018

Amelie's Brunch Menu as of Nov 2017, but the menu was the same when I went in April 2018