Monday, August 29, 2011

A Weekend in Route 66

It's been a good weekend. Friday, we went to a 90's cover band. Unfortunately, it was a very young crowd, but the music was good. How could it not be? We enjoyed ourselves. I tried strawberry beer at Coach's Brewhouse. It was like drinking lukewarm beer with a Trix aftertaste. 

Saturday, I headed to Pops in Arcadia. It's along the historic 66 route. Pops sells a crazy number of different types of soda pops, while also being a restaurant, gas station and convenience store. Try the cheeseburgers at Pop's. It's deliciously southern.

Aftwards, since it is along that route, we went to the Round Barn. It is a barn built in its unique shape and is filled with decor and gadgets that hasn't been changed nor moved in over one hundred years. Upstairs, it has a venue that is perfect for that country wedding a girl might want.

We drove home - tired, happy, hot and sticky from that strong Oklahoma sun. We spent the rest of the weekend with family, friends and idle conversations. If only all weekends were that lazy, happy-go-lucky blur...

Friday, August 26, 2011

Things I Love Friday

This is the most beautiful nursery I've ever seen. Most of the items in here are handmade, and I am wanting this room for myself instead of as a nursery! Read all about it here.

This study room can be found in Design Sponge's book as part of their Home Tours. I love the old, vintage feel while being so clean and organized.

Found this image on Buzz and can't get over the beautiful frames. I'm currently trying to replicate this look for my living once I go thrifting and scavenge some garage sales. 

And below, my old apartment. It was the most architecturally beautiful apartment I've ever lived in and oh, a place that I could paint my walls! What a different feel a warmer tone makes for the whole house.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Vietnamese French Coffee

Vietnamese French Coffee - whoa, right? That's a lot of culture into one cup. In the 18th and even 17th century, France missionaries came to Viet Nam to spread Catholicism. As time passed, spreading a religion eventually became creating a French colony which became the French occupying Viet Nam. However, during their stay, they created a lot of beautiful architecture which are still found and admired in Viet Nam. They also influenced a lot of Vietnamese food that are considered Vietnamese staples today - such as the baguettes, the pastries and oh my, Vietnamese coffee.

Dark, nutty and sweet, it is one of the most unique sweet coffees you will ever taste. You'll drink it and wonder why the Vietnamese people here are all skinny and not overweight and diagnosed as diabetes. In Viet Nam, the sweetness is almost unbearable for me. As you can see, the ratio of sweetened condense milk to coffee strongly favors the milk. My own favorite ratio is a much darker, bold taste:

Vietnamese Coffee

Grounded, dark roasted coffee beans
Sweetened condense milk

  1. Put 1 tablespoon of sweetened condense milk into your cup.
  2. Make your coffee in the Vietnamese single serve drip brewer (as pictured above) with the cup of condense milk. The brewers are sold for about $3 apiece.
  3. Put in one teaspoon of coffee and a teaspoon of boiled water and press. This will serve as a barrier so your coffee grinds don't end up in your cup. Then, uncover and add 2 tablespoons of coffee with half a cup of boiling water. With this strong of a brew, I usually don't need more than half a cup. Wait for about 7 minutes for the coffee to stop its dripping.
    Alternatively, you can make your coffee using a Bodum french coffee press or any other brand of your choice.
  4. Stir until it blends into a nice brown shade and then pour it into a cup of ice - although I prefer to drink it hot. 
Drink and enjoy the most decadent drink you'll have all day!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Viet Nam

My whole life, I've always wanted to visit Viet Nam. My parents are both Vietnamese, but I was born in Seattle. It felt like the final step to adulthood was to visit the country that both my parents were raised in.

After I graduated from college and before I got married, I thought it was the perfect time. This past May, my family, fiance and I flew that long 18 hour flight to Ho Chi Minh, Viet Nam. I could not recommend a more perfect time to visit Viet Nam. The weather was perfect, and there was not a lot of tourist (tourism season is June through August).

We booked a tour with Saigon Tourist to explore the main cities of Viet Nam. We traveled from Ho Chi Minh to Ha Noi and all the cities in between. I can't even begin to tell you everything that we loved about Viet Nam. We found ourselves in luxurious beach resorts, shady alleys, kayaking in Ha Long Bay, walking from busy street to busy street, haggling with the locals and exploring all the different districts of the town. However, one of the things I loved the most about Viet Nam was the food.

All of us have unanimously agreed that the Lunch Lady in Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) was hands down the highlight of our small culinary existence.

She has been featured on Anthony Bourdain's show but was first introduced to the world at Gastronomy. She is better than everybody has raved about. Although she charges 20 cents more for tourists than locals, I would've paid so much more for her bowl of soup. She makes a different soup every day, and we came every day that we could.

Tuesday is her Banh Canh soup (pictured on top). It is my personal favorite and probably the best thing I've ever eaten in the world. The noodles taste so different than any Vietnamese noodles I've ever had here in America. It's similar to Udon, but nothing beats the handmade texture that I have only found here at her store.

Friday seems to be the tourists' favorite. Her bun bo hue is definitely top notched. Bun bo hue is a flavorful, spicy beef broth enhanced with lemongrass and chiles. It definitely has a kick.

Wednesday is her Purple Chicken soup. Purple chicken is loosely translated, but it is chicken whose meat looks darker. The chicken is more expensive than other chickens and is said to have medicinal properties. It was a very good soup with Chinese noodles.

Each day brought a new soup with an entirely new flavor. I would've bet money that all dishes were made by a different chef had she not made her soup right there in the middle of the street.

Then, there was the night market in Phu Quoc:

The night market is not only local to Phu Quoc. Head to any touristy beach city in Viet Nam and you'll find dozens of vendors selling fresh seafood and fried food for under five dollars. My favorite was the dozen mussels for $3 and the fried bananas for $0.50. I kept coming back to eat those again and again and for the price, I could've sampled the whole menu for under what I would've paid for one entree in the United States.

I'll post pictures of the scenery we saw in Viet Nam next time, but wow, the food alone is worth a trip.