Wednesday, March 27, 2013

In Loving Memory

Just six months after losing my Nana to terminal cancer, I am once again out in California mourning the loss of my grandfather, her husband of 60 years, who passed away last night.

Shortly after my Nana passed away last fall, doctors confirmed that my grandpa also had cancer, although a more treatable form. But several difficult surgeries and complications later, he too found himself fighting for his life, especially throughout the past week, which I thankfully had the chance to spend by his side.

My feelings at the moment transition between shock, denial, anger, heartbreak and mental exhaustion over having to immediately relive the experience of losing someone I have dearly loved my entire life. 

Rest in peace, Papa. I love you and will miss you always. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Going Vegetarian: Yes or No?

As I mentioned in last week’s post about the Laotian feast we recently enjoyed at DC’s Toki Underground, I’m once again considering becoming a vegetarian. Why? Both for health-related reasons, including reducing my cancer risk, and ethical ones. After all, if I wouldn't eat a dog, cat or horse, I ask myself, why would I decide to eat another type of animal? We tell ourselves it’s different to eat animals we Americans don’t view as pets, but is it really? Honestly, the more I hear and learn about the meat industry, the more it completely disgusts me. 

One of my favorite vegetarian stir fry dishes. 
I actually already eat very little meat, and last year, I even cut it out completely for two months. Where I ran into problems was that during this time, I also gained weight, possibly because I allowed myself to eat more cheese and junk food. (Even if I do become a vegetarian, I will still continue eating dairy and fish.)

Have you made the switch to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, or do you know anyone who has? Are there any tips you can share to help me make the best possible decision? 

Monday, March 18, 2013

High Heels & Flip-Flops Is Now on Bloglovin’

With the announcement that Google Reader will soon be shutting down (a huge bummer), I’ve now joined Bloglovin’. Feel free to follow me there from now on if you're switching over, too, and also let me know if there are any other reader programs you actually like better.

I’m very glad I was able to import my Google Reader subscriptions, but am also worried that I won’t as easily be able to add feeds from new websites/blogs unless they too are signed up via Bloglovin'. Does anyone know an easy way to get around this issue, or are there any other helpful suggestions you can share?  

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Taste of DC: Laotian Feast

I absolutely love trying new cuisines, and our recent visit to DC’s Toki Underground introduced me to a number of Laotian dishes I had never even heard about, let alone tasted. While I’ll admit I was a bit apprehensive about the seven-course menu going in, not knowing just how adventurous it would be, the meal ended up being by far one of the best – not to mention spiciest – I’ve ever had. And since I truly adore spicy food, that’s saying a lot!

So, what did we get a chance to try during this special tasting preview, featuring dishes by Chef Seng Luangrath of Bangkok Golden in Seven Corners?

No Laotian meal would be complete without sticky rice. 
Nam Khao:
A salad of fried crispy rice balls, coconut, peanuts and other ingredients

Sai Oua:
Laotian sausage seasoned with lemongrass and cilantro, among other flavors

Tum Marg Huong:
Papaya salad with tomato and lime

Laab Ped:
Spiced duck

Orm Pah:
Curried fish stew

Som Pah
Pickled fish

Bua Loy:
Sweetened rice balls in coconut milk

A delicious taste of Bua Loy!
Since I don’t usually eat much meat and am again revisiting the idea of becoming a vegetarian, I didn’t taste the sausage and only tried a small bite of the duck. Everything else, though, was completely delicious, especially the Nam Khao and Bua Loy.  

Have you ever tasted Laotian cuisine, including any of these dishes? 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Let It Snow?

Between starting a new work project and fighting off a head cold, it was already shaping up to be a hectic week even before the announcement about a winter storm heading for the DC area. As usual, though, it ultimately turned out to be the snowstorm that wasn't, as we saw nothing but wind and rain here in our own neighborhood.

Snowstorm? What snowstorm? 
As much as I generally dislike snow, I must say that even I was just the tiniest bit disappointed by the lack of flakes, especially since this could be our last winter here on the East Coast. Oh well, I’m sure I’ll get over it soon enough, though, because once the last of this icy weather moves on out, spring will be quickly coming along to take its place!

Are you still dealing with snowfalls and chilly weather, or is spring already in the air where you live?