Tuesday, December 31, 2013

in the mood for love...and noodles.


oddFellows and non-resolutions


1. The adorable ice cream girl at OddFellows. She was patient with us. I liked her. 
2. Roasted apple and Tahitian Vanilla/Brown Butter. 
3. There were two girls in an SUV watching me when I walked out of OddFellows to take this photo from the street. Whatever, haters, I got my photo AND a self-portrait out of standing in the cold for a few minutes. 

I harbored the silly notion that I would post all of the photos I've wanted to upload for the past few months before the new year. Yeah, that's not going to happen. 

Christmas just flew by, didn't it? I never posted my family's holiday photos and this year's Christmas song playlist. Oh well, no one said Lemonade Lists was chronological. You'll still listen to Christmas music during the first week of January, oui? That being said, even though I dislike the connotation of short-lived New Year's resolutions, I've a few for the year to come. One of them, perhaps the main one, is to redo my book. I was only about 60%, maybe less, happy with the finished project. A good amount of the chapters were written hastily and I'd like to go back and tighten up the writing. I have also decided to break my book into a non-linear trilogy. Food, thoughts, photos. It's an exciting project and I hope very much that I accomplish it. Others include art collaborations with my friends, de-cluttering my closet (cough-my life-cough), and running again. I used to be active, now I just sit between bakery and butchery at Society Fair. It's a win/lose situation. 

Tomorrow, technically now, is New Year's Eve. I'm not going to get all mushy on you (maybe later) but 2013 was a damn good year. 

Here's to 2014. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Geek moment of the day: when I discovered that you can set your closed captions to any font on your computer on the CBS website. Merry Christmas to me! 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Serifs and dashes, but definitely not squirts.


This description, “To fully give the authentic feel of worn pages of dusty of books, Appareo has 5 character variations assigned through Contextual Alternatives using Opentype features. This allows no two same letters to ever be found near each other.” gave me design shivers. The banners and borders alone are going to halve my Society Fair design time. Bah-ring it. 

Shout out to the one who taught me that a squirt is an improper term of measurement for a dash. I dislike the word “squirt” as much as I dislike “squat.”

No. Squat is worse, but not as much as...(whisper) moist. Try describing cakes when you hate the word moist.

It ain't easy, folks.

Appareo/Tom Collins recipe via Swash and Fold

Sunday, December 15, 2013


Brooklyn today.
More ice cream, maybe some lengua tacos, and a very long drive home to Virginia.
I hope it won't be icy.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Welcome to Jersey.



There's always an impending snow storm whenever I come to Jersey. Last time we got in two car accidents and saw Christo & Jean-Claude's The Gates in Central Park. This time I'm eating ice cream (ice cream portrait in a snowstorm in Chinatown? CAN'T WAIT), seeing the Rockefeller Christmas Tree, and reconnecting, albeit briefly, with the Chelsea art scene. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

heart it races



Snow Day, Work at Home Day Playlist
Architecture in Helsinki | Heart It Races
The Clash | Brand New Cadillac
The Mannish Boys | As the Years Go Passing By
Nico Vega | Beast
Spirit Animal | Radio Brain
The Black Keys feat. Mos Def and Jim Jones | Ain't Nothing Like You (Hootchie Coo)

Though working from home has its advantages (all-day pajamas and not having to white-knuckle through heavy snowfall), I don't particularly enjoy it. I feel disconnected from the restaurants. No cakes and kitchen antics to show the world. I don't get imperative answers as quickly as I like. No one around to feed me, that's a big one. I do, however, like listening to what I want to listen to, not poppy Christmas music, which is what I've been subjected to since Black Friday. Above are the highlights of today's playlist, meaning the songs that I stopped to notice and replay, not background “whistle while we work” music. (Haha, that's a lie. I can't whistle.) 

Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas music. It took me a full week into December to realize I didn't have to turn down Christmas songs out of embarrassment when they came on during my commute. I don't always forward to the next song when Mele Kalikimaka comes on, gnomesayin'. Neighboring drivers don't need to know this. 

I might venture out for bagels, lox, and Despicable Me 2. Oh, and toothpaste. Need toothpaste. 

To my NoVa comrades, please drive safely out there. Being low to the ground, Boris tends to swerve at the tiniest hint of slush and ice. You know those drivers about whom everyone else complains during East Coast winters? I'm one of them. Sorry not sorry I'm driving slowly in a snowstorm. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

snowy day of rest


All of today's appointments were canceled due to the ice/snow storm so I:

- made a chowder in less than fifteen minutes. I work faster when I'm hungry.

- spent more hours in bed than I did out of it.

- planned where & what I want to eat for next week's New York trip. Thought about writing a list of photos I want to take, but J told me to live in the moment. Shoot, live in the moment with a mental plan so I don't forget anything, else you'll hear “Nooooooo, I forgot to take a photo of that place on Mott that I like!!”

- folded tshirts and ironed my pillowcases to the delightfully bad Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia. Um, why you gon' call it Haunting in Connecticut 2 if it takes place entirely in Georgia? Hey, hey, have you seen that movie - Gangs of New York 2? I hear it takes place in Los Angeles.

- read Yeats. Going from Yeats to horror b-movies is...interesting.

It was a good day.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Jules Winnfield, Robbie Ordell, and Dr. King Schultz.


Fantastic infographic short by Timor Barshtman depicting some of Tarantino's favorite and familiar actors through his different films. 

Orange you glad we ate noodles?


1. Chef Dan making Pigs in a Blanket at Society Fair. 
2. Burnt oranges for Burnt Orange Bitters, probably for PX. 
3. Noodles, I like them. 
4. Piggie blankets and the irresistible urge to write my name in flour. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Jamaican me crazy!


Craig: Will you have dinner with us at Los Tios?

then

Craig: Will you come to Jamaica and shoot our wedding?

Eeeeeeee, I'm going to Jamaica in April!! 


then

me: I'm going to Jamaica!
Justin: I'm really happy for you and imma let you finish, but...I kinda hate you. In the most loving way, of course.

me: I guess I should renew my passport.
Collins: Haha, lasagna...Lasagna = maaaybe.

me: Chef, may I have two days off in April so I can attend Craig's wedding?
Chef Armstrong: No, because you have to expedite at Eve for me.

Mark: I wanted to send you a video of Oprah giving away trips like a madwoman, but I found this. It is way better.


Miemo: I love jakprints.com. They are great printers and all their techs sound cute.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Tonight's delayed Thanksgiving menu

- Roast Turkey
- Sautéed shaved Brussels sprouts with dried cranberries, whole grain mustard, and bacon
- Mashed Potatoes (Yukon golds, potato ricer, duck fat)
- Roast French green beans with shiitake sage cream sauce
- Stuffing (cubed ciabatta rolls, celery, spicy pork sausage, and apple)
- Gravy. Duh.
- Baked apple dumplings with bourbon caramel sauce.

Prepping vegetables and watching some horror b-movie on Netflix. This is a good Sunday.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Feel my fury! You really light me up!


Apologies to fellow drivers on 495 who have to watch me rage out to this song. Power driving song, you understand. I once sang so loud that I lost my voice for ten minutes. It was glorious. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Why don't you come along, Linus? We can hold hands under the table.



I don't have to cook a damn thing today. In fact, I may or may not still be in bed. S'wonderful. Thanksgiving dinner this year is in Centreville and my appetizer requires no cooking, just assembling. My parents won't even be there. They're in the ATL this Thanksgiving for their own Friendsgiving—I don't party hearty as much as my parents— so I'll be cooking Latesgiving for my immediate family on Sunday. It's better that way, I get to keep the leftovers AND turkeys will be on sale after today. WIN. 

When I return tonight, drowsy and satiated from copious amounts of pie and trytophan, I will write my annual Thanksgiving post and touch upon all the things for which I am grateful. I thought about not thanking Boris, my car, this year but come on, that dude gets me from A to B and has to listen to my constant caterwauling. I have to thank him. 

Until tonight, paisans. I have crispy turkey skin to pinch. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

vina kent


1. I took my glasses off for a short while today. All of the baristas walked by me twice before exclaiming, “oh! vina! It's you! I didn't recognize you!” I mean, I don't think I look THAT different without my glasses, but apparently I am quite the Superman. 

2. I found out that people constantly ask, “So who IS that Asian girl with glasses?” Hah! I'm the one that lured you into the Fair with my photos of sweet treats and overly punny captions, that's who I am. 

Side note, aside from a short stint of watching Lois & Clark in the mid-90s (Oh, Teri Hatcher), I never really got into the whole Superman thing. I did like Christopher Reeve's Superman II, mainly because of General Zod's deep-v bodysuit and when Superman put out the fire by blowing on it. Gotta love those 80s movie effects. I'm mentioning my Superman ignorance because I definitely didn't recognize most of the actors tagged as Superman on Tumblr during the search for a Clark Kent photo. The was a recent Superman movie, si? I didn't see it. Smallville? Never watched. Was that it? Superman and Spider-Man. Not my thing. Was it the Spider-Man comic in the Saturday funnies that was always whining in the rain and Mary-what's-her-name never knew it was him? 

Are You Afraid of the Dark? and Tales from The Crypt, now that's another story. 

Did I have a point to this tirade? There definitely comes a point in the day when my posts are less eloquent and more stream of consciousness-straight to typing. Goodnight, all. 

Sitting on a cornflake, waiting for the van to come


Do we even want to know why Steven Drozd is wearing a foil blanket? 

Starting with Thanksgiving & ending with a rant about mall crowds.

Me vs. five gallons of mashed potatoes

Tomorrow is going to be wildly hectic with most of Old Town stopping by the Fair to pick up their Thanksgiving provisions. Monica will be dealing with guests, taking their names and checking them off the lists. Meshe will be in the kitchen making Thanksgiving To-Go bags. I'll be running in and out of the kitchen. Gird your loins, it's going to be mayhem. Speaking of, it took me a little over an hour to get home. Effing holiday and storm traffic. I was literally yelling in my car things such as, 

“I'M NOT LEAVING TOWN FOR THANKSGIVING! SHOULDN'T I BE EXEMPT FROM HOLIDAY TRAFFIC?!”

and

“WHY ISN'T THERE A NON-HOLIDAY HOT LANE?! I'LL PAY!”

I'm lucky enough that my schedule is always after and against traffic, ergo I possess a very short fuse when it comes to being stuck in the constant stop & go of rush hour. It's like going to the mall. When I have to drag myself to a mall, I'd much rather go on a Tuesday evening when it's dead. Why anyone would want to brave a shopping mall on a Saturday afternoon is completely lost on me. 

I don't know if you knew this, but I can be quite the curmudgeon.

If I owned a lawn, I would yell at people to get off of it.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

How to inspire young girls to be engineers. Incredible ad by GoldieBlox, set to the Beastie Boys. 

Dear future daughter, nieces, or cousins:

I'm going to buy this for you and encourage you to become engineers, but only if you don't want to pursue art. You know what? You can do both. 

Love,
me

Oh, I'll stuff you. Stuff you real good.

Stine: What are you making on Saturday? (Thanksgiving Taboo, essentially Friendsgiving)
me: I don't know yet. Maybe stuffing. I'm usually assigned stuffing.
Stine: nomnom...I enjoy a good stuffing. That sounded gross.
I really love The League of Moveable Type, mainly because they have baller typefaces and it reminds me of David Hyde Pierce as Abe. Oh wait, that was Hellboy, not League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Whatever, David Hyde Pierce is the man. Niles for life.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

zombie samurai


My cousin Oura made these for Richmond's Bizarre Market. So awesome.

me: Zombie samurai. I want in.
Oura: Yup! You're in! In what capacity?
me: Oh, I want to buy one, but I'm also happy to photograph them if you want photos. Let's be real, I was going to photograph it anyway.

This reminds me, I should probably talk to him about commissioning him to draw my big tattoo. Don't worry, there will be no zombie samurai bunnies on my person.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

vinstagram: fire trucks, slaughterama, and dundee.

I had a stomach virus for a few days. Congee helped. Congee and Netflix. Y'all know I love my Statham movies. 

Fire truck at Station #201 on Prince Street. I must say, I miss walking down to that place we shall not name. Some of my favorite things in Old Town are along that stretch of Prince Street that I no longer traverse. 

A portion of the charcoal/ink drawing I did a while back based on a Michael Otley photograph of RVA's Slaughterama. Took me about three weeks to complete. You're looking at roughly three or four feet of the ten foot drawing. My fingers were stained with charcoal for weeks. 

Bottom Dollar Dog, a great local hot dog stand mere blocks from Society Fair, closed their doors not too long ago. Their building is being razed for townhouses. Sad. Their french toast and Cheerwine floats were bangin'. Here's hoping they find a new space soon. This was the morning I bought breakfast from Bottom Dollar for all the chefs. Cheeseburger for breakfast, like a (glutton) boss. 

Haha...that's not a knife. THAT'S a knife.
(Please say you got that. Please.)

Some people might get some pleasure out of hate. Me, I've enough already on my plate.



design hero.


Monday, November 18, 2013

Do not go gentle into that good night.


Lovely short film about Seb Lester, type designer and artist from East Sussex. Watch how he does the M and the W. Gorgeous. I've always been very attracted to the way people flare out their descenders. I know, I know, neither the M or the W has a descender, but still. Descenders and middle names are two things that interest me greatly, probably because I don't have either one. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Ghost and the Seal Darkness

me: I've been watching a lot of Netflix because I'm sick. Olympus Has Fallen is ok.
Meekus: Watch The Ghost and the Darkness. I looooooooove that movie.
me: Ok. What's it about?
Meekus: Val Kilmer being sexy. And lions.

(I haven't seen this movie in years. I vaguely remember someone having a fever dream about lions and campfires. That's this movie, right?)

The only Val Kilmer movies I like are The Saint, Tombstone, and Batman Forever. No shame. Tommy Lee Jones is my imaginary cool uncle. Don't even try to front like you won't start power singing Seal's 'Kiss From A Rose'. We've all been there. You know what, now I'm going to link my favorite Kiss From a Rose videos.

You bought this upon yourself.




Moonshine because I ball so hard.


Just kidding, it's Pedialyte, I'm dehydrated from the flu. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

fitting room fun



in the swirling, curling storm of desire unuttered words hold fast


Last-minute menu planning, you know how it is. Tonight I'm cooking a surprise anniversary dinner for Lenna, my former boss at Mason's Office of Sustainability, and her husband Pete. This dinner came about mid-July when Justin was campaigning to get to Venice via Indigogo. If you donated $200 (in Virginia, it was more if we'd have to travel), I'd come over and cook dinner. They've come to collect. Well, technically, I do believe their anniversary was a month or so ago, but the timing was never right with my schedule, Lenna's schedule, and Justin being able to come down from Jersey. 

Dinner is at seven. I'm still not entirely set on what I'm cooking, though this is what I've been thinking about for the past few days: 

- Warm baguette with butter, radishes, and salt 
- Whipped hazelnut dip with green fall crudités
- Cauliflower or parsnip soup with fried sage and toasted walnuts
- Wild herb ravioli 
- Roasted multicolor carrots with carrot top pesto. (who knew you could make pesto from carrot tops? Blew my mind when I found out.)

As for dessert, I can't decide between: 

- Plum cobbler with vanilla ice cream and fresh thyme. Simplest. 
- Southern baked apple dumpling with a bourbon honey sauce. Sexiest. 
- Pumpkin pie in a jar. Cutest. 
- Apple or pear galettes with salted caramel sauce. Most French. (Frenchiest, if we're following a theme.)
- Apple rose tart with maple custard and walnut crust. Most complicated, but will be beautiful. May reserve that one for a Sunday afternoon baking project. 

To imbibe, Lenna requested red wine, but I might sneak in a pear Haymaker in there, just because I love me some ginger beer and the pears will be lovely. Sprig of rosemary. Maybe fresh cider. Too bad I don't have time to make celery bitters.

All of this may change by the afternoon. I won't know until I see what's good at the farmers market. I'd like to include mushrooms somewhere into the menu, but that's probably because I love mushrooms. 

I listened to Peter Gabriel and Justin Vernon discuss Peter Gabriel's interpretation of Justin Vernon's 'Flume' and Peter Gabriel's 'Come Talk To Me' while I flipped through cookbooks and old food magazines. At least, I think that's what they're discussing. It became white noise after awhile, which is what I really wanted. 

If you happen to follow me on the Instagram or the Twitter, sorry not sorry for the influx of farmers market, vina cooking, and “oh look what I made!” photos today. 

Happy Saturday, mes amies. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Rach and Trav





Doing the initial run-through of last Sunday's shoot with Rachel and Travis. I love that they asked me to take their photos, that I got to spend a few hours hiking at Great Falls, and that we stopped to have a picnic. Can't wait until their wedding next summer. I get to wear a pretty dress and watch my friends get married, what's not to like?

Russian Rachel: I'm thinking of packing some snacks for the afternoon. Would you nom while taking photos? Or should we just wait until dinner?
me: Hi. I'm vina. Have we met? 

Thursday evening


sounds like: the greatness that is Peter Stormare and Djimon Hounsou in Constantine. There was a period of time when I watched Constantine every night before bed. I think I liked it because it was dark (visually) and the light didn't bother me from sleeping. CCR putting a spell on me. Going good together like treble and reverb with Aaradhana. Sending a heartbeat to The Smashing Pumpkins

tastes like: Flu meds. A ramekin of butternut squash soup and a few hunks of cheese while I was still at the Fair. I think J felt sorry for me. I'm not one of those, “oh I got this, work through the illness” kind of people. I'm like that for about twenty minutes and then, “Leave alone to die, I just want to take a bath and nap” kind of people. (It's a lot less pathetic then it sounds, I promise.) I woke up from a four hour nap and had a small bowl of pho. Maybe I'll make rice soup for breakfast. Asian soups are wholly comforting to me. 

feels like: I've got a lot to do so might as well do it. I'm cooking a vegan/vegetarian dinner on Saturday. I've yet to write the menu. I'm thinking whipped hazelnut dip with fall crudités and purple potato gnocchi. I could go Southern, I love Southern. What's the vegetarian equivalent of shrimp & grits? Vegetable hash and grits? I could probably make vegan mac & cheese and collards. Wait, no ham bone for my broth? Shit. Ok, I'll think about this while I fold laundry and catch up on episodes of Elementary. 

smells like: I have a pot of lemon thyme on my nightstand. It's as wonderful as it sounds. 

photo via Instagram

in the still of the night



Maybe I should hunt down Acapella Soul when I'm in the 917 next month. Give them all my money. Ask them to move to Old Town and preform in front of Society Fair all the time.

I should start an acapella group and call it Acapella Soup. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Justin O.: Oh! #8 on my list of favorite Asians is coming in for chicken!
me: Hol'up. You have a list of favorite Asians? I thought I was the list.
Justin O.: Well, you're number one, obviously. Stephanie is second. Your mom. Probably your sister.

(He hasn't met Mom OR Pa but das cool.)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Vintage Sananikone




My aunt is new to Facebook so she's been posting all these photos of my grandmother back in the homeland. I love it, especially that last photo of Gramma, Dad, and all the aunts and uncles. Dad still loves plaid shirts. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Post my first photo? Get your shit together, Instagram.


Damn, I've taken 1,600 photos? I really am that person. I should come with a disclaimer that says, “hope you like food and vanity license plates.”

Take a step to the left and right. The left and right.

I know I've said this before, but damn, DC9 has great food. Just look at the Dakota avocado Fanning on the South By Burger. The pickled shrimp are a must. Their chef went to culinary school with one of mine, the Russell P. Jones II. 
You know things are getting real when Paul takes off his glasses. 


I should watch this video at the gym, maybe pour bright orange Gatorade onto someone. 

Oh, a typewriter too? #GetOutOfMyFace

Automatic judgement to anyone using a retro receiver for their iPhone.
You look ridiculous. Put that shit down.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Oh let the sun beat down upon my face, stars to fill my dream.


This song is going to get me through my day. Heaven save me from the disorganization. On the upside, I get to taste scotch with one of the Balvenie ambassadors. That should be fun. Downside, I think I'm running this show tonight. How many single malt glasses do you need for a twenty-two person scotch tasting of three separate scotches? Now ask me how many we have. Hah! This is going to be great.

Side note, I might have to wear a coat today. Blech. Hate the cold.

Meet you where now?


Oh right, I never posted about St. Louis. When's my next free day? Until then, here's my trip summarized by vinstagram photos. Well, except for that top left one.

And that's how the story goes, the story of the beast with those four dirty paws.


la la laaaaaaaa
la la laaaa laaaaa! 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Way to call me out, Mint.


Apparently my life is so sedentary that Mint considered my bicycle tuneup as unusual spending.

S sent this to me and I snort-laughed in the middle of the market. Happy Monday, everyone!