I'm Bing. My friends often accuse me of taking more photos of food than I do of them.

(That is a fair assessment.)

For outfits, see what I wore today.
For food adventures, see: fine dining + gourmet.
Other tags of potential interest: replies | weekend recap | roundup | travel

Weekend recap:

  • A. talked me into an aerial fitness class, and I knew it’d be hard but the exercises were so much harder than even imagined; every part of my body feels like jelly (though dangling upside down using only the strength of your thighs = strangely cathartic)
  • Mussels in beer-coconut curry broth with tart mango and fried plantain chips + a peek of the crispy kale salad @ Owen & Engine
  • Impromptu photo-op for family friends thanks to the nicest Chicago Fire Dept at Chinatown

Other notes: worked through happy hour on Friday, tried Armenian food for the first time @ Sayat Nova (got the lamb & beef kebab though the rice was better than the meat), didn’t sleep nearly enough. Not even Monday yet, and I’m already borrowing time from next weekend :(

Finally, XOCO!

  • Pork belly, bacon, arugula, queso añejo torta
  • Shortribs, caramlized onion, pepperjack, black beans, jalapeños torta
  • Chocolate peanut churro (!!!)

I’ve wanted to try out XOCO ever since @pursuit first suggested it back in January 2011 (never doubt my robust memory for “places I want to eat”) and the churro alone was worth the 45 minute wait.

A night of molecularly-engineered cocktails for C’s birthday @ Aviary. We booked a table for their 3-course drink tasting menu; there were four options per course and four of us, so we… just ordered the entire menu.

APPETIZER
  • RMVW: vanilla (inside frozen bubbles), sloe gin, sumac, rum
  • Gallagher: brandy, tamarind, watermelon, aquavit
  • Micahlada: soy, yuzu, hot sauce, femme fatale
  • Zombie Panda: lemon, raspberry liquor, frozen lycee, pisco
MAIN
  • Infernal Imagery: barolo, maurin quina, rhum
  • Meloncholy: cilantro, curry, cantaloupe, rum
  • Turista: coconut, rhum, chinotto, china china
  • No Chocolate Here: truffle, bourbon, cynar
DESSERT
  • Chicago Fizz: lemon, port, blueberry, rum
  • A Moment of Silence: angostura, apry, averna, rye
  • Thai Iced Coffee: cardamom, anise, milk, black strap
  • Argentinian Soda Jerk: lime, port, fernet, coke

As always, presentation was half the experience, whether that was setting a drink on fire to burn off excess fumes or smoking a glass to keep the liquid warm. Aviary also has a dedicated ice chef (of course it does), though the food we ordered (deconstructed crab taco and poached egg soup) was weirdly over-salted. Disappointing, since NEXT shares the adjacent space. :(

Celebrating moutheyes' birthday with girl gang @ Yuzu in Ukrainian Village!

  • Tuna poke (Hawaiian tuna, avocado, scallions)
  • Fried shishito peppers
  • Monster Spider (soft shell crab, kanikama, cucumber, avocado)
  • Pot River (tuna, salmon, avocado, cucumber, jalapeño)
  • Salmon sashimi and salmon roe
  • Sorry I Am Drunk (unagi, shrimp, tobiko)
  • Hundred Years of Solitude (tuna, mango, sesame oil)
  • Strawberry and mango mochi ice-cream

Definitely not a traditional menu, but the fish was fresh and flavors were great. And the walls had replica manga panels!

Overlooking: Old Town, North Avenue beach, Lincoln Park

I’m coming up on my 1-year anniversary of leaving Boston, and I had to flip back through my archive just to remember what I was doing a year ago. Based on snapshots, my life is still pretty similar (dinners and brunches, active weekends, social multitasking) but it feels way different…? Or maybe it’s me that’s changed.

Weekend recap:

  • Thai delivery + champagne after work on the deck of C’s new apartment
  • Cocktails @ Theory (notable only for having a drink called “Don’t Tazer Me, Bro” - hockey reference!) and then bottle service @ Studio Paris, a night that ended in me inexplicably getting delivered home in a limo
  • I don’t like daydrinking but I absolutely will daydrink by a rooftop pool
  • Prix fixe drink tasting menu @ Aviary, followed by champagne and dancing @ Untitled (a cavernous speakeasy that has a room dedicated solely to whiskey), followed by private karaoke @ Pop KTV in Chinatown, followed by beef brisket noodle soup @ Chi Cafe at 3 AM

Over-extended myself way too much (I’m an introvert who doesn’t like the taste of hard liquor…) and the Friday-Saturday combo felt like a marathon, but I can’t even regret anything because the weekend was filled with people I adore and activities I can’t refuse (basically: champagne, dancing, rooftops, Chinatown). On Sunday I went out to brunch, napped, and then baked a chicken casserole. Sunday was nice.

Superheroes night at the Adler Planetarium! A “kryptonite” cocktail (gin, st. germain, prosecco), galactic costumes, the Chicago skyline after dark.

oldfilmsflicker:

Happy Birthday Wong Kar-wai (17 July 1956)

(via cmao)

Work dinner @ Joe’s Seafood: pounds of cracked king crab, Copper River salmon (hype verdict: deserved), crab-stuffed shrimp, poached lobster tail and filet mignon, baked mac ‘n cheese, and Havana dream pie. Somehow the six of us finished five bottles of wine in two hours, though I’ll just consider it a warm-up for the weekend (ง •̀︿•́)ง

Maturing is realizing how many things don’t require your comment.

Rachel Wolchin

(Source: fellinlovewithmelancholy, via thatkindofwoman)

(Source: kyuhye0n, via mojojojoing)

Weekend recap, home edition:

  • Windmills in Northern Indiana
  • Chive, egg, and vermicelli pocket
  • A belated birthday cake
  • Mashi / 麻食 — 10 years ago, you couldn’t even find this in restaurants in Xi’an; it was strictly a countryside recipe (but mainland yuppies now are the same as anywhere else, always searching for the next food trend)
  • Liangpi / 凉皮 (cold skin noodles, perfect for summer) with julienned cucumbers in soy peanut sauce
  • Shrimp + yangrouchuan / 羊肉串 (lamb kebabs heavily seasoned with cumin and chili flakes), grilled eggplant and zucchini, grilled chicken

Found out the main reason my dad bribed me to stay an extra day was to work on baby brother’s college applications; the treachery!! But I guess barbecue lamb was still worth it. (◡︿◡✿) Took an early morning bus back to Chicago on Sunday to catch the World Cup final in South Loop, where I must’ve consumed a pound of guacamole in anxiety (and then sadness)…

Anonymous said: Hi Bing, I'm about to ask you some serious life questions! I'm a 21 year old, almost 22 year old and I feel like I'm in a huge rut in my life. I don't know what I want to do, and I feel like I'm wasting my youth. How did you know that what you're doing right now was meant for you?

Hi anon, sorry for the delay in replying! I’m not sure if I’m the best person to answer these questions — my academic and career path has been repeated process of elimination. I don’t really romanticize profession; at the end of a day, a job is (hopefully suitable) mental exercise and a salary. I prefer to focus on lifestyle and making sure any decisions I make feed into one ~coherent vision. I don’t want a vapid existence, but I also don’t want to work too hard or be emotionally drained every day; I want to feel challenged and productive but also properly rewarded (I’ve learned from my stints in nonprofit work that internal validation isn’t enough for me to feel satisfied); and I want the time and resources to see friends, enjoy the benefits of a city, and travel often. So when I consider jobs/careers, I narrow my search to options that I’m qualified to do and that fit my lifestyle criteria. I know this isn’t conventional wisdom, but it’s as close as I get to knowing whether anything is “right” for me.

Another note! If there’s one regret I have from my early 20s, it’s that I wish I’d relaxed more. I was so obsessed with padding my resume. In college and grad school, I had part-time jobs plus internships plus research plus volunteering; I worked through vacations and rarely took breaks. I look back on that now, and so much of it was pointless… no one would’ve cared if I only worked 2 months in the summer instead of all 3, just like how no one would’ve cared if I’d taken a month break after graduation instead of jumping immediately into a full-time job. I totally understand your fear of “wasting your youth” but remember that there’s more than one way to waste your life!

definitelydope:

青山 Colors of Mountains (by samyaoo)