Birthday Week at WDW

It’s been a crazy week!

We (encouraged by my sweet bf) decided to catch the next flight out of Guatemala to…

4444

DISNEYWORLD!

Yes!! I had never been to any Disney theme parks before… and didn’t actually think I would be going to one anytime soon as we are currently embarked on a RTW trip. Did not foresee coming back into the United States anytime soon, but it was such a lovely thought!

Kenny got us a taxi ASAP, it was almost 9 pm and our taxi left Antigua for La Aurora Airport at 10 pm. Our flight was at 2 — AM! Wow, I’ve had flown a red-eye but this is the latest one for sure. Either way we were both so excited, a short flight later we’d be in Houston with all the American amenities we’d been missing the past month (clean tap water, hot water, water pressure, bathrooms with operational plumbing, real toilet paper provided, etc)! Another short flight from there we’d be in Orlando relaxing at a Disney resort.

Once we got to our hotel we set off to explore although I was already in awe from the moment we got to Pop Century. Massive figures decorated each set of hotel rooms based on decade. We were located in the 1990s– Pretty perfect. I was also enamored by all the different fireworks shows at each park that went on nightly! I read that Disney spends $50,000 on one night of fireworks for the Wishes show at Magic Kingdom but that one park makes about $3.5 million a day so I see how it’s afforded!

I ate a lot of great food, tried many different things and will be doing reviews on the Flower and Garden Festival and Epcot in general! For now I’ve uploaded the majority of my favorite pictures, and you can check them out below!

https://www.flickr.com/photos/nabtravel/albums/72157665183020741

Continue Reading

Happy Pocky Day

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee it’s 11/11 !!

I was a silly silly girl, saw my friends post on Tuesday about this (forgetting she was a day ahead as she is actually living in Japan) and announced Pocky day yesterday. Whoops, it’s happening right now!

We decided to make ramen for lunch so we stopped at a few small Asian markets to pick up some ingredients.
Bf(f) got a Melon Ramune *yum*, I couldn’t help but pick up some pocky as well– matcha green tea flavor.

1. I don’t like tea
2. I forgot that I’ve already tried this one
3. It tastes pretty gross

Overall probably my least favorite Pocky but I gained another box cover for the collection… At least the ramen turned out beautifully 😛 Recently I’ve been researching Japan, watching tons of YouTube videos of vloggers living there, trying crazy snacks and showing their day to day lives over there. I’ve noticed so many radical flavors for everything from peach potato chips to Hawaiian and Pokemon Ramune! No different for pocky, there are some things I am just going to have to be in Japan for. I hear there’s even a Pocky vending machine!! <3_<3

that-food-cray-fricote-pocky-20

Apparently Pocky was first sold in 1966! And what a great day indeed.
While I don’t eat these on a regular basis it does hold a lot of nostalgia for me,
growing up my grandparents gave me Japanese snacks all the time (Yan Yan, manju, mochi, Koalas, Sanrio gum). That and I noticed some new flavors while I was in Hawaii that still haven’t made it here in Oregon—
Demitase, adzuki bean… Mmmmmmmm!

Some other flavors I’ve heard of from Japan:

Hokkaido Melon
Cornflakes and Almond
Pineapple
Honey
Coconut Milk
Creme Brulee
Brazilian Pudding
Purple Sweet Potato *Murasaki Imo
Kiwifruit
Mango
Blueberry
Black Sesame
Kinako <------------- need to try!
Pumpkin
Lychee

There’s also a Pocky decorating kit which obviously appeals to the artist kid in me.
Can’t wait to try more once I get abroad 🙂

maxresdefault

Happy ポッキー Day!!!!!

Continue Reading

Monster Drawing Rally

Portland Art Museum held this event tonight, free to the public–
75 artists total, at 6 – 7 – 8 pm would draw for an hour.
Finished pieces sold for just $35 to support the PAM!
As soon as the art was put up anyone could buy it,
if two people wanted the same painting they would have to draw straws.

unnamed-1

Family friendly! Art, drinks, and DJs — nice that it wasn’t 90º today—

unnamed-4

Excited to see Tripper Dungan as I walked around the first corner!
I love his 3d paintings, and had always wanted to commission him for something…
big piece… probably a dancing block of tofu eating a double decker ice cream with googly eyes
drenched in hot sauce playing the piano… I don’t know. The start of his drawing looked epic—

unnamed

Pretty sure I’ve ogled her illustrations online, so great in person.
I like that she seemed to be using her hour to work on one bigger piece!

unnamed-3

I’m not sure what it is, but I always see these fluffy guys.
Or maybe their owners only buy them in pairs,
so far I’ve gotten pics of them in San Francisco,
our state capital, and now Portland… Same red leash as well!

unnamed-5

APAK … his kiddos next to him doing some art as well 🙂
Would have LOVEDDDDDDDDDDDD to stay longer to watch the magic, and even try for it!
There were too many pieces I would’ve loved to acquire, ahhhh restraint!

Check out their work: http://apakstudio.com/apak/

unnamed-6

AHHHHHH Bwana Spoons (aka @bananapoons on IG) and Kinoko Evans to his left!
Could hardly contain my excitement I felt like I was seeing Bob Ross in the flesh!
It was probably 5 years ago that I almost bought a Bwana piece,
being the starving artist that I was, despite already collecting art
I had to make the toughie decision to pass. Again, mesmerizing to watch
these guys free paint and see exactly what mediums and brand products they use.
This specific piece that Bwana was working on was gone before I even saw it posted,
thankfully it wasn’t over for me yet.

unnamed-7

This little piece Alex was working on looked so rad!
I say this because the monster was holding pizza…
Took one of his mini comic books so I could look up his artwork later!

unnamed-8

Some completed works waiting for good homes!

unnamed

Waited patiently for some of the artists to finish.
The pieces were quickly whisked away and put up on one of two sides.
With some good timing I made my way through the crowd and scored exactly what I wanted!
Still can’t believe it! Check out @tripperd and #MonsterDrawingRally on IG to see more great stuff!

Continue Reading

Kung Fu Hustle

As I already mentioned in my previous post, I feel like this year has been a whirlwind! It doesn’t help that there are so many things to plan and look forward to that make time seem to scurry along.

Exciting things:

1. Didn’t realize I was going to see Anthony Bourdain next Tuesday!
— He came to town a few years ago and I wasn’t able to attend… this time I will get to see the man, myth and legend in the flesh!

2. Going home to Hawaii this October
— Usually visit home once a year, take a break, catch up with the fam and eat too much local grinds. Also receive at least one good sunburn. I just hope we don’t bring the rain with us this time around 😛

3. Planning to travel the world for an extended amount of time starting early next year
— Lots to do here, but my favorite part is figuring out how to pack efficiently and as minimally as possible. Considering this will be international travel across multiple climates and across different seasons this will be a real treat to research. I will be posting my findings here of course!

Continue Reading

A Cook’s Tour

image

image

image

While getting to know my bf he asked what I thought about Anthony Bourdain. I don’t think he was prepared for my rant…

AHHHHHHHHRGH that guy! What don’t I like about him. I want to travel with him. I wish I could go everywhere he goes (minus Ethiopia) and eat what he eats (minus Ethiopia). I like him so much I wanted to see him on his tour a few years ago and throw my homemade spam musubi on stage because I know he loves the fatty meat goods. Alas, it was in the month of July (notoriously hard to get time off at work), back then I lived an hour away from the city and already knew it was going to be too complicated to go.

My bf replied that he too enjoyed watching the vice laden chef and read that he was coming back to Portland in 5 months! He bought a couple tickets the next day, (although completely unbeknownst to me I assumed he had only bought one ticket for himself… Haha.)

[ . . . ]

Fast forward: Well dreams really do come true. The entire room welcomed the celebrity chef with a standing ovation. No, I did not throw anything on stage— maybe next time. It was fun to listen to Tony go off about the industry and hurl his rehearsed insults at a bunch of the food network stars. The most interesting part was the last bit of Q&A where you felt a more genuine sense of the man behind Parts Unknown / No Reservations.

Someone asked where he had eaten in Portland so far and it was as I figured. Probably pretty common with his busy tour schedule, he admitted that he hadn’t even eaten anything that day due to his late flight in and early jiu jitsu work out. Kind of sad except Bourdain had no problem bragging that he has the best job in the world and it happens to be very lucrative. Still you can’t hate the guy for being honest, I look forward to his new season where he visits Cuba again (10 years later) and wonder if he will ever make it to the middle eastern counties few people ever get to see.

Below are some pictures from Grassa, where we ate some fresh pasta right before going to the show.

image

image

Continue Reading

Grassa

Fresh. Pasta. Fast.

IMG_0049

Desert Cruiser x4
Green chartreuse, Limonata

IMG_0058

Mezza Rigatoni
Sunday pork ragu
Simple. Home-y. Delicious. Fun to eat the large rigatoni noodles! Probably #1 favorite. Maybe I’m sentimental, it was the first dish I tried–

Squid Ink Bucatini
Calamari, green chorizo smoked tomato, oregano
One of my favorites. Black pasta, some marinara, tender baby squids–

o-1

Gigli
Merguez sausage, roasted cauliflower, tzatziki percorino, cornbread crumbs
Yum. Cauliflower, my favorite veggie. Sausage… cornbread! Yes.

l-2

Radiatore
Salt roasted beets, blue ricotta, toasted pinenuts, grilled endive
Another [seasonal] favorite. {Notice at this point I’m calling everything a “fave” Uh oh.} Shockingly vibrant red pasta, creamy ricotta melting around, reminded me of an elavated mac & cheese! Endive, pretty bitter– even for me.

raddd

Spaghetti Aglio e olio
Breadcrumbs, parsley, garlic butter, parmesan
Simple. Satisfying. Crunchy/salty/cheesy. Always a winning combination.

unnamed-27

Panna Cotta
Rich caramel flavor, smooth and topped with some whip cream and nuts
Passed by many a time, and only half glanced at. Sitting in the refrigerated section to your right, just before your order is taken: it looked as though maybe dessert was an afterthought. Not true– surprisingly more complex that I thought it could be. It’s rough when everything tastes so good…

l-4

EVENT
Chef Jenn Louis (of Lincoln/Top Chef) tookover Grassa [Handcrafted Pasta] to promote her new cookbook Pasta By Hand. It was a delicious collaboration and I am considering this pasta making a new “kitchen adventures/nightmares” challenge. To be determined…

IMG_0844

IMG_0847

Spinach spatzel, topped with the thinnest, crispiest, MOST delicate piece of bacon, and pea shoots. Using a fork just didn’t seem convenient, needed a spoon [shovel] to get all of these roly-poly bits without losing any!

IMG_0849

Best thing I put in my mouth. Ricotta Gnochetti, ramp pesto and morel mushrooms. I’ve always been a fan of gnocchi but they’ve never been this soft, melted in the mouth, or been SO creamy– These were luscious pillows of pasta perfection. Paired with the bright pesto, each bite had me wanting to lick my utensils… and maybe I did… then moved onto scraping the bowl when all the little pillows were gone. The morels were more than enough to leave me satisfied without actually having to add any meat to the dish. My only wish was that this could be a permanent addition to the Grassa menu! One can dream (or just buy the book), although I’m 100% expecting a “NAILED IT” post in the near future.

http://grassapdx.com/menu

1205 SW Washington Street
Portland, OR 97205
503 241 1133

Continue Reading

OTANJOUBI

IMG_0452

IMG_0476

Drove to a part of Portland that really felt as if I had crossed over into SF somehow. I kept forgetting where I was, and I definitely don’t remember ever being there before. That’s a great feeling, going down a road never traveled. It was a beautiful, sun-shiny day but being near the Willamette made the air extra fresh and crisp… also reminiscent of SF. Wind whipping my hair into tangles. Chill in my lungs. Weather like this makes me feel like I can run for miles without stopping. Silly but true. Thankfully I only had to jog a little bit after the spontaneous exploration, up to the Dragon Tree Holistic Spa where I had my spa day planned out.

unnamed-3

10432141_707848020332_2115858221916081612_n

I’ve only had a “professional” massage once, and I will not even name where that was because from what I was told some of the things performed on me there were illegal.

Yes, that’s right.

Against the law!

Haha. This is just my luck. Anyways– walking in, the spa was half lit, the sound of a fountain running and light background mood music playing. I was led to the sauna area where I was given a locker, (appropriately labeled: Bliss) — Wasn’t really told what to do with the things in the locker. Do I shower first? After? Do you wear anything under the robe? Sauna? Oh well! I changed into the nude colored robe 10 sizes too big for me and sandals also many sizes too big for my feet. Stumbled around sipping my infused water and waiting on some plush pillows near the water fountain. I noticed some kind of steampunk looking cereal dispensing contraption but I decided not to indulge. Imagine that.

unnamed-1

From there was led into another interesting room, this one containing 70s-ish purple couches on raised platforms all around the walls. The ceilings were very high and strung across the faux ceiling were hanging planters with vines outstretched from corner to corner. After jumping up and struggling in all the oversized things I was wearing I saw some kind of hot pack waiting there for me; so I draped that around my neck.

unnamed-5

Whew.

SO hot.

Put it on my lap. Then back onto the couch. A girl appeared to explain what would be happening next. She was preparing my honey bath. Awhile later she wheeled in a huge copper bowl with steamy water and black rocks sitting at the bottom. Foot soak for awhile. Then she would dump ice cold water on my tootsies. After that, back into the hot water. Good for circulation. After the cold dunk I couldn’t even feel my feet. That was interesting. She toweled and sprayed my feet with some kind of lemongrass moisturizing spray. I might’ve made that up. I had no idea what was going on. Not used to that kind of pampering!

unnamed-7

Next up: Hand and back/neck/head massage! Performed by two people at the same time.
… Just amazing. Probably the best idea. Ever. Then a paraffin wax treatment on the hands, while concurrently getting a foot massage. After the wax had set for 20 minutes the bags were slid off in one quick motion, leaving them babies bottom silky smooth.

After that: 1 hour Full body Swedish massage. Laying on the massage table itself nearly put me to sleep. The working of my muscles… blissful. She asked me some questions mid way through, I think it was simply “I need you to turn over now” and I was really confused. That’s how asleep I was! She told me to take my time getting up. Of course after she left the room I jumped up quickly and regretted it instantly.

Went back to the sauna area to enjoy the heat a bit and then shower off all the oils. The place was stocked with everything you could possibly need or want. Shampoo. Conditioner. Body soaps. Deodorant. Hair spray. Moroccan oils. Lotions. Body sprays. Perfumes. Straighteners. Hair Dryers. I wanted to live there for the cool ceiling shower alone! Alas, I had to walk out of the doors and get blinded by the sunlight but this was just the first stop on my birthday ride.

Continue Reading

Oregon Bridal Expo

A weekend spent further south, helping out Vien in her VOUTURE booth at the wedding expo [Jan 24/25th]!
I’ve gone to a few of these events, some pretending to be engaged, grabbing fistfulls of cake samples and dinner entrees while critiquing all the dresses I did not like in the fashion show. I’ve never wanted a typical wedding, white satin dress, or cake feeding if I ever do tie the knot. It simply doesn’t feel like me. If I could describe what I would imagine as the “perfect day” it revolves more around the feel, relaxed mingling, groups of people all getting along, eating good food, lots of lights everywhere when sun goes down, an epic food fight // I thoroughly enjoy the experience of attending weddings — whether they be in a church or grassy field. Seeing how the individuals choose to express themselves on their big day, always a good time. Working the expo sales floor I found the atmosphere completely awesome as well. The excitement and (dare I say– love?!) was fun to watch and be a part of. Most brides came with mom and a friend, a few with just the groom, and others with the whole family. This time I was selling the services of my friends’ ability to create anything you dream up for your big day.

10314468_10204132109968857_4610913535001019269_n

Check out more of her amazing custom designs ~

Website: VoutureDesignerStudio.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/voutureboutique
Instagram: VienVouture
Email: t o v i e n i d @yahoo.com

After the first day, we headed home for a real nice Saturday night! Home cooked meal– Vietnamese soaps– and magic tricks!

IMG_0030

IMG_0034

IMG_0038

This above is called Bánh bò — (aka cow/crawl cake) although Vien wasn’t sure how it got this name. A little research tells that the origin refers to a cow because the cakes shape originally resembled a cow’s udder. The crawling refers to when the steamed cake rises and in completion “crawls” up the bowl— I am always mezmerized by food that is bright white… as was this. I assumed from looking at it that the warm coconut dipping sauce would be sweet, and the rice “cake” savory. Surprisingly it was the exact opposite. Delicious and hard to stop eating. The cake is airy, chewy and slightly sweet with its own light coconut flavor (also sprinkled with some toasted sesame seeds).

The Vietnamese yogurt {top pic} was great as well. Couldn’t figure out what made this version better than anything in the American supermarkets, but I noticed it has condensed milk in it. B-i-n-g-o! (Usually the answer to everything: WHY IS THIS OATMEAL SO GOOD? Condensed milk. WHAT’S THE SECRET IN THIS FROSTING? Condensed milk. WHY IS THIS MILK SPECIAL? Condensed.) We happened to be snacking on a sesame Chinese pretzel and the combination of crunchy with the creamy… Vien thought I was crazy for mixing the two, but you really have to try it!


Picture 2

IMG_0040

IMG_0046

This vietnamese spicy noodle dish is called Bún bò Huế!

Bun = Noodle
Bo = Beef
Hue = Hue City

Chock full of things: beef broth/lemongrass/fish sauce/chili oil/ squash chunks, noodles/banana flowers, green onion/cilantro, basil/mint, pork cake, slices of beef, (I also added some huge dollops of the “super hot” fresh chili and squeezed lime over it all. This chili made all the difference for me, although it wasn’t too spicy. I did notice a few times that my throat got dry and had that itch of something stuck in it, probably a chili pepper seed, and then I thought I was going to die because I had forgotten to grab my water at the table. I pulled through like a champ and quietly blew my nose, wiped away some tears and dove in for more.

After dinner we watched some Indian/Vietnamese soap operas (Vien translated), looked through all the photos/videos I’d taken at the Expo while I had my legs in a massage machine for a couple hours [all day in heels!] Andrew provided some awesome magic entertainment — and finally, although still stuffed from dinner, had some fried banana, slice of fruit tart, and coconut rice paper for dessert. The decibel levels were high, at least 4 groups of people in separate and excited conversations. Vietnamese flying around, I had no idea what was being said or discussed but it was the perfect family picture and I was thankful to be a part of it.

Continue Reading