Austin, TX

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There was a weekend get away chance to Barton Creek Resort in Austin, TX and needless to say David and I took a full advantage of the opportunity. This beautiful city is located in the heart of Texas – about two hour drive from Dallas. Austin is very different from other cities in Texas like Dallas, Houston and San Antonio – if you’re looking to move to Texas for whatever the reason and have an option to move to Austin, take my word for it and move to Austin. You won’t regret it. We love taking a short road trip down to Austin for a weekend just to change the scenery and eat something awesome.

ImageWelcome to Austin, TX mural located South First and Annie

Michi Ramen was the first place we stopped by once we arrived in Austin. I have been searching for a good Japanese ramen place in Texas for awhile and could not spot any until I arrived in Austin. Their menu is very simple: you get to choose the thickness of the broth (light, regular and stout) and meat/veggie you would like in your ramen.

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Atmosphere: Cozy and welcoming
Service: 5/5 (Servers had Ipad for receipt and signature – paperfree!)
Quality: 4/5

When it comes to food, I prefer something light for my stomach so I naturally went for Michi ramen with light broth and David ordered Sapporo with Stout broth.

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The first time David had his Japanese ramen was in Japan, so his expectations are very high when it comes to the broth and consistency of the noodle. My first experience was in New York a restaurant called Ippudo, (after waiting for 2.5 hours) I enjoyed it a lot.

We both think that Michi Ramen is a must-try if you haven’t had Japanese ramen before. This place is by far the best ramen place I have tried in Texas. I love everything about the broth, consistency of the noodle, meat selection, fast service and even the paperless receipt by using the iPad. I hope you will enjoy the food as much as we did!

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Freedom Trailin’

2 posts in 1 week?! Pausing to give myself a pat on the back right now…

Let’s be honest though. I’m really just putting off writing all the Thank You cards from the past couple weeks of interviews. I love how I’m framing myself to be a serious procrastinator. According to this blog, it’s because I have a monkey in my brain…I guess there are worse things to have in your brain. Now onward to something less cerebral.

A couple months, I stopped by Boston during my interview trail where my lovely friend, Juhee, was kind enough to play hostess. I had been there once before a few years back, but my memory seems to be failing me in my old age. Since she’s a new transplant to the city, we spent some time roaming around like tourists.

IMG_1366Massachusetts State House

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          Benjamin Franklin                                   Site of the Boston Massacre

If you’ve never been to Boston before and like history, the Freedom Trail is a fun, albeit cold during the winter months, way of getting to know the city. The city offers tours led by a 18th century costumed guide. What’s even more adorable is that each guide has a backstory as a colonial character. For those who prefer to wander at their own pace, an audio tour ($15) is also available for download. Now if frugality is your middle name, Northeastern University and AudioViator offer audio tours free of charge. As a penniless medical student and a newly minted intern, we were magnetically drawn to the third option and chose AudioViator as it seemed to be a closer replica of the real deal. We found it to be concise, yet informative and entertaining.

Interesting tidbits in order of badass to nifty:

1. Ben Franklin wrote articles under the guise of an old woman and ran away from home. What a rebel. Now, I finally know who I’d want to have dinner with, dead or alive.

2. Boston Massacre aka The Bloody Massacre – 5 killed.

3. Massachusetts State House’s golden dome was painted black during World War II to protect the city from bombing attacks.

Make sure to swing by Quincy Market located next to Faneuil Hall. Perhaps the most popular stop for tourists, the place is bustling day and night. Open spaces on both ends act as concrete stages for the many street performances throughout the day. We were able to catch a bunch of elementary-aged children performing Disney and Christmas songs in brightly colored, but thin turtlenecks. Brrrr. The inside of the building is filled with innumerable food stalls which would have lured me in instantly, but navigating the crowds was a bit like wading through the wave pools in China during the summer.

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Quincy Market

Unfortunately, we didn’t quite make it to the end of the trail because we had to run, literally, to a dinner reservation. But hey, you have to leave something for the next visit right?

-L

“If everyone is thinking alike, then no one is thinking.” – Benjamin Franklin

Lazy Sundays. No, not like Bruno Mars.

I’d like to sit here and say that things have been crazy with residency apps and interviews, but really I’ve just been lazy and putting this off. Ironically, I’ve been saving entries onto Evernote Food during this period of time. Anyways, after months of nagging from Renee, I’ve finally made it to this site. Here’s the first of what I hope to be many more posts.

A couple months ago, Renee and I went to Nick and Sam’s Grill for their well-known Sunday brunch. The place was packed with Dallasites in their mid 20s-30s decked out in their Sunday best or perhaps just recycled clothing from the previous night. In any case, more attention was paid to appearance than I expected. Then again, I had assumed that everyone just rolls out of bed for brunch, which was essentially what I had done. We were seated out on their patio after a bit of wait which was fine for us as it was sunny with only a slight breeze. I would recommend getting there right when it opens if you’re particular about seating.

After scanning their selection, we decided to split the Captain Crunch French Toast that every Yelper raves about and an Egg Whites Omelet with smoked salmon, American cheese, spinach and sautéed mushrooms.

Captain Crunch French ToastThe infamous french toast did not disappoint. It was a delicious combination of crunchy crust with soft insides. Since I don’t really have a sweet tooth, I went a little easy on the syrup so it was only mildly sweet with a nice kick of cinnamon. It would have been nice to get the cinnamon whipped cream on the side since it melted from the heat of the underlying toast and essentially soaked the toast. But that’s simply poor forethought on my part. The only complaint I had was that the corners were slightly burnt. I’m not a fan of sweet with a touch of bitter, but apparently it’s a matter of preference

IMG_1186The omelet was rather bland…until you bit into a piece of smoked salmon that was so salty it will make you cringe. And the breakfast potatoes…Well let’s just say it’s darn hard to make good breakfast potatoes. At least all the pieces were thoroughly cooked.

Yikes, I almost feel bad for bashing a place that so many people like.

After brunch, we made a last minute decision to head to Rush Patisserie in Oak Cliff for macarons. MMM. As much as I don’t like overly sweet things, I fell in love with macarons after having a delightful rose flavored one at Pierre Hermé in Paris. Perhaps, I was also caught up in the general excitement of being in Paris with its history, culture, art, and of course romance. Ahh…

Alright, back on track. I had learned of this bakery from a French visiting medical student, but never ventured out that way. According to the website, Rush is owned by Samantha, a pâtissier who trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. Word of advice: She keeps odd hours so be sure to check hours of operation before making the trek there. Also, the shop sign is pretty small so drive slowly otherwise you’ll miss it.

The bakery has a decidedly rustic feel at best, but since I wasn’t there for the decor, I made a beeline for the display case of baked goods. It was a bit sparse in its offerings which we were told was because she only makes limited quantities and it was close to the end of her day (4pm). Well, that’s okay, we’re just here for the macarons. About that…apparently she only makes macarons on order in sets. Grrreeat. Yet another lesson on the importance of planning ahead (ugh what a spontaneity killer).

We decided to make the best of it and buy a couple of the treats left in the display case. I chose the coconut cream cake. Note to future self: Never get left over anything in a display case.

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It was a whole lot of sweet and not much else. Being a fan of fresh (young) coconut, I was hoping for a bit of the light, milky fragrance, but there was no semblance of that. The cake wasn’t exceptionally moist either.

Despite this, I’m still interested in checking out her macarons, but will have to wait for an occasion to order them. She also sells Un-Cupcakes, basically cupcakes in jars, which is great for transport. I think I’ll be taking that idea for future baking projects.

Until next time.

-L

Korean BBQ

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Name of the restaurant : Zigul Zigul Korean bbq restaurant
Atmosphere: Much smaller than other Korean bbq places, nicely decorated
Service: 4/5
Meat Quality: 4/5

Once David and I were seated at a table, we received two different menus – dinner menu (a book) and a laminated piece of paper with all you can eat choice A&B. David and I didn’t even open the dinner menu and went straight to examine the all you can eat option. This particular restaurant divided order options into A & B.

A includes basic pork belly (sam gyup sal), marinated pork belly, beef brisket, chicken teriyaki, marinated tender beef, marinated spicy pork, cow tongue, marinated pork neck meat. Under Chef’s choice list, there’s Rib finger, Kobe beef belly and cow cheek meat. Lastly, they offer squid and baby octopus. ($17.99/person)

B includes everything above plus Galbi, marinated Galbi and duck meat. ($24.99/person)

I personally love thinly sliced beef brisket and marinated galbi, since Galbi wasn’t offered under option A, but I settled for option A this time. (Will definitely try their galbi next time I go). If you’re not familiar with Korean bbq, always order non-marinated meat first and then move on to marinated meat because if the restaurant doesn’t change the grill as often as they should, the sauce from the meat will burn and cooking will eventually get more difficult. We asked them for beef brisket first and asked if we could keep the menu (the laminated paper menu) so we know what to order once we’re done with the beef brisket. Once we made the order, server brought the ‘ban chan’ (small side dishes) – included marinated vermicelli, chili paste (fermented bean paste called Sam Jang), kimchi along with 3-4 pretty good side dishes.

Beef brisket cooks real fast so it’s perfect to start the dinner. Once we were done cooking the meat, we moved all the meat from the grill on to our plates and ordered the second meat – sam gyup sal (pork belly). They changed the grill plate for us after every order, which was awesome. I don’t think a lot of restaurants change the grills that often for their customers since it requires a lot of grill plates and cleaning. Anyways, that was awesome. Then we moved on to marinated spicy pork, Rib finger and then Kobe beef belly.

My favorite meat was chef’s special meat: Rib finger and Kobe beef belly. Service was excellent and I love the smaller atmosphere with less noise. The place wasn’t filled with smoke, which was very nice as well. Overall, I give them 4.5/5 for Korean bbq.

Renee

Congratulations, Class of 2013!

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First off, I want to congratulate all the graduates for persevering through years of rigorous studying and managing busy schedule along with developing all the extra curricular activities. It is such an accomplishment to finish something you started – for that, you all deserve applause. To Michelle and many others who graduated this year, we wish you the best of luck in the future! Doing the happy dance – woohoo!

Some pictures of us at the graduation. Linda’s graduation is next!

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Hi!

Thanks for visiting our blog!  I had wanted to post an entry much earlier, but the other to-dos in life kept coming until I felt that this may be one of those ideas that you so so want to turn into reality, but the reality is that you can “never” find the time to accomplish it. Well, sometimes all you need is some “encouragement” from a good friend. Linda had mentioned to me daily the lack of entries in this blog… for the past month. So finally after finish “reading” a paper on the definition and staging of chronic kidney disease, I decided to give this a try.

I was born in Dalian, a coastal city east of Beijing. I lived next to the ocean and grew up eating seafood and rice. I had no interest in studying and when my parents told me that kids in America don’t have to study, I decided, at the age of twelve, that I NEED to go to America! I spent the next six years living in a suburb in Houston, Texas attending middle and high school. Somehow, my interest in school grew and I was accepted by Wellesley College in the spring of 2004. I am eternally grateful for what Wellesley had taught me (For those of you interested in the school, I will tell you more about it in a future post). After finishing college, I went to medical school at UTSW in Dallas, Texas. I am now one week away from graduating. In June, I will start my residency in Ob/Gyn.

During one of my medical school interviews, the interviewer asked me, “What is your strength?” I proudly answered, “I am a go getter. I set goals, stay focused, and reach my goals.” Then I went on listing all my academic achievements and future goals. Personally I don’t think there is anything wrong with setting goals, but over the years, I have noticed that sometimes I am so focused on achieving my goals that I forget to appreciate and enjoy other things in life. Now looking back, my most precious memories are not how I had made A’s in school and aced my USMLE exams. The memories that I treasure the most are times when my friends and I laughed so hard that we looked like we belonged to the psychiatric ED, when I jogged around Lake Waban while feeling the warm sunshine and smelling the crisp air, and when I saw a beautiful painting and wondered how much the artist must have loved life… Sometimes we just need to pause and take the time to embrace all the wonderful details of life!

I was in Beijing for a week at the beginning of May. I visited the Forbidden City and was touched by how beautiful it is.

I love the use of complementary colors and the intricate details on all the buildings.
I love the use of complementary colors and the intricate details on all the buildings.
First time I saw peonies in real life. They are considered the national flower of China. Their color is so vibrant and they have such a strong presence.
First time I saw peonies in real life. They are considered the national flower of China. Their color is so vibrant and they have such a strong presence.

With love, Michelle