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my 2 cents

That’s a montage of my last Korea trip in 2012. I love to travel, but packing for a trip is one of its ugly necessities. When I was younger (and much less an avid traveler), packing for a trip was exciting. It meant I was about to go somewhere new or fun, and I enjoyed poring over which items to fold in to my suitcase or duffel bag. Unpacking, on the other hand, was less appealing—it was the mark that my vacation was over, and I’d soon be rejoining the

Because summer is nearing, I’ve decided to blog a travel series. I’ve always loved to travel, and I’ve been fortunate to do it a lot more now ever since MasterChef fame. I fly close to, if not more than, 100K miles a year, so I would say I’m a pretty experienced traveler. It never fails to amuse me when TSA employees or flight attendants ask me, “Have you ever flown before?” simply because I’m vision impaired. C’mon, people! Do blind people not get around on planes like the rest of

Dating back to 1913, Leo Burdock’s is the oldest fish ’n chips chain in Dublin. We stopped by one of the locations after our last night drinking in Dublin, because greasy fish ’n chips are what you crave after a night full of ”slainte! There was no line, the order and pickup were quick, the food was cheap, and we carried our goodies home wrapped up in butcher paper. Back at our airbnb, we spread open the paper on the dining table and went to town. The fish was fried

The Pig’s Ear is located at the top of a set of stairs. We stopped in for lunch because I’d wanted shepherd’s pie. The lunch menu is prix fixe, and you can choose between a two-course or a three-course option. I chose two, and I was satisfied afterwards, but I could have very well gone with the three-course selection. I was just excited to get my shepherd’s pie in Ireland. The lamb pie wasn’t gigantic, but its modest size still filled me up. Most importantly, it was pretty darn good.

Jameson is my favorite go-to whiskey. It’s smooth, sweet, and consistent. I like mine on a rock—that is, I like mine served with just one ice cube. It’s enough to mellow the whiskey out even more, but not enough to water it down. The hubs is a big Jameson fan, too. It was his call to stock the bar at our wedding with Jameson. My father gave him a bottle of 18-year-old Jameson for Christmas one year. We drank it lovingly. So of course, when in Dublin, we had to

I’ve already had Irish coffee first thing in the morning, the breakfast of champions, so why not continue the routine? When in Dublin… It’s a good idea to hit up the Guinness Storehouse early—we opted for mid-morning—as the place gets overrun by crowds after lunch. (Hours of operation are from 9:30 AM to 5 PM daily.) The Storehouse is built to resemble a pint glass, and after you pay an admission fee, you get a short tour (more like a brief introduction to Guinness and the founder, Arthur Guinness) and

On a recent flight, I watched—er, listened to—Amy, the Academy winning documentary about Amy Winehouse. For those who may not recall, Amy Winehouse was the contemporary jazz singer with that unique voice and signature cateye and beehive ‘do. She reigned the music scene in the 2000s but quickly succumbed to substance abuse. All I remember about Amy Winehouse was exactly that. And then I watched this documentary, and it opened up my eyes and heart, so to speak. You see, even though I was nowhere near the fame of Amy

Because we got straight-up REJECTED at Balvenie, we visited Glenfiddich instead. The Glenfiddich distillery was a much larger operation, offering tours on a walk-in basis. A tour guide, complete with a kilt, gave us a tour of the 130-year-old family operation. I learned that glenfiddich means “valley of the deer,” hence Glenfiddich’s label. At the endof the tour, of course there was a tasting. The visit to Glenfiddich was totally worth it, but they say once you tour one distillery, they’re all kind of the same, so unless you’re a

I wanted to try haggis, so we had to find a restaurant serving some traditional Scottish fare. That’s how we stumbled upon Howies. We had passed many restaurants after visiting Edinburgh Castle, but none of the menus looked enticing. There were a lot of fish ’n chips, meat pies, and fish chowders—not that there was anything wrong with these—but everything sounded like greasy bar food, so when we found a bistro type eatery up a hill serving lunch specials, we put our names on the list. Howies isn’t super cheap,

Even after Korean food the night before, we still couldn’t get enough. With perhaps the hardest name for a non-Korean to remember, Kang Hodong Baekjeong has been on my queue of places to try in KoreaTown, L.A., for a couple of years. It’s named for a Korean comedian, and with my knowledge of the language limited to “mom,” “dad,” and “thank you,” it’s no wonder I can’t pronounce nor remember this name. But I don’t discriminate. Three of us came on a Saturday night, and there was a two-hour wait.

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