Sunday, January 18, 2009

Lunar New Year

Just to clarify before I go on, I'm Korean American. I was raised by a white family so my knowledge of Korean culture is limited at best. I do know that Korean's don't really get into the Lunar New Year Celebration. However that said, if I have to give offers to any sort of god, I'd rather have it go to a "Kitchen God" any day of the week!

At Lunar New Year, many Chinese families pay their respects to the Kitchen God known as either Zaowang or Tsao Wang. One of the most popular lesser gods and credited with the invention of fire, the KG is the one who oversees the virtues of a family. Why the kitchen? Well, the heart of any family tends to be here, in the kitchen.

So apparently, KG duties include going back to heaven to report on how good the family is. And the idea is to bribe him before his big trip up. So families will put offering for him by the stove. Food that symbolizes sweet life, prosperity, longity, etc. I think wine is also set up in hopes of getting KG boozed up so he'll be even happier to sing the praises of the family once he arrives in heaven.

There is something so adorable about this practice and yet so familiar. It sorta of reminds me of the wine that Jewish families leave out for the holy spirit. Offering to gods and spirits cross so many culture borders and I really love that. But I love the idea of the KG so much b/c I love the idea of a god living inside my stove!

Perhaps, I should give my KG an offering so he will not only sing my praises in heaven but also so he can figure out how to get that darn electric oven to bake cakes evenly.

Even though this really isn't a holiday that I celebrate, I do plan on going to Chinatown next Monday to feast on clams, dumplings, pork and noodles! Yum!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Dinner at 180 Brookline Ave, A Cultural Study

Elizabeth's Dinner:

a sandwich, edamame and wine

My Dinner:

kimchee, edamame, diet coke


A fire earlier this week destroyed the restaurant block of Peterborough St. In total seven businesses including six restaurants and one dry cleaning business were destroyed. If Fenway Park is the heart of my neighborhood, well this block was certainly the stomach. I have so many fond memories of meals with friends on this block in the smmertime. Plus, at least a few of my weekly meals came from either Rod Dee or El Pelon (both of which I've mentioned on this blog).

One of my employees worked at the Sorrentos located on this block and everytime she walks past it (she also lives in Fenway) it makes her want to cry. It's pretty sad to see the black charred remains of what was once a vibrant and thriving space. It was a block that everyone in the neighborhood knew and to say that it will be missed is an understatement. The owner of the property said that he will rebuild but I guess it's now a question as to what will go into the spaces. I hope El Pelon and Rod Dee come back!

El Pelon suffered from a fire about 13 months ago and that forced them to close and rebuild, but they were able to reopen in the summer. I'm not 100% certain how fire insurance works but to have a fire again 13 months later, well it might be a case of the insurance company not covering the entire cost to rebuild. But I don't know. In any event, a big black hole is now part of my 'hood. Sigh.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


Happy 2009 Everyone!

This time last year I made some resolutions that I was good about keeping for about a month. Yeah, so this year I decided not to make any except for maybe losing the 10 lbs I somehow gain between this time last year and now.

Weight has always been something that vexes me. Even when I was young, I was concerned I was "fat". In truth, I've never had to really truly worry too much about my weight. But I do have a comfortable range for myself and I'm a bit outside my range these days. Easy enough! It just means I need to curb on certain foods and step up some exercise.

And so it is with a heavy heart that I leave the Daring Bakers group. I learned a lot about baking from this blogger group and ate a lot of yummy things I made too. But with my new commitment to eating a little bit healthier I feel that my mission in life doesn't really align properly with this group.

Don't worry, I'm not closing down shop completely! I'm definitely going to try and keep up with this blog and tell you about some of the lovely things I get to eat.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Posted to Yelp: Review of Teavana

800 Bolyston
Shops at Prudential
Boston, MA 02199
(617) 262-1888
"If I could give this place negative stars I certainly would.

This afternoon I headed into Teavana with fiancée the purpose of buying my mom a gift. She's obsessed with the mint tea from Oleana and I've been on a search to find something as aromatic.

The store was busy and very chaotic. People tended to crowd around the free vats of tea. My fiancée and I scooted to the front to try and get help. It looked, at first, as though there were only two people working the counter and they were helping others already. So I went ahead and stood close to the counter and thought I'd wait for assistance.

My fiancée spotted an employee who was walking thru the crowd. His idea of "help" was to inform us that there were two lines in order to be served. I did get a chance to ask him if they had mint tea and if I'd be able to try a sample of either of them. No, he said but I could smell the tea. But I needed to wait here for help from the people behind the counter. "Okay," I thought, " No problem! I don't mind waiting for help".

But what happened next made me so angry that I actually just walked out the door and didn't make my purchase.

The same young man who informed me of the "line" for which I was next up took it upon himself to help a guy who wasn't even in line. He even had the gall to start putting together tea samples for him to try and pulling loose tea for this man. This was after I was tersely informed I couldn't sample the mint tea I wanted to buy and told to stand in line (even though I was first in line for help).

Now, I'm queer and I take a huge amount of offense at homophobia of any kind, but this Teavanna employee is the kind of person who gives queers every place a bad name. I basically was ignored because I didn't have a penis.

Another employee even asked, "Are you waiting to buy loose tea?" Yes, you motherf_cker! I'm trying to buy a gift for my Mom. And yet again I was informed that i needed to wait in one of the two lines forming. This was my cue to leave.

First of all, never have I been treated in such a rude manner at any store. If I could have avoided interacting with anyone there, I would have just grabbed the tea and left but the way the store is set up, you must interact with the employees. And that would be just fine if I had gotten some customer service instead of being informed over and over again about their made up bureaucracy of two lines, which I was standing in.

Secondly, being that I own stores, I'd think I would know a thing or two about about helping customers. And never would I ever skip someone tho the front of the line for being gay, a lesbian or proud owner of a penis. I was so completely ignored (except to be told about the stupid damn lines) that it made me feel that being nice and patient at Teavana doesn't work in one's favor.

Third, if you know I'm there buying a gift and I'm not a browser, it would be common sense that you'd want to help me make my purchase and be on my way. But it felt like not a single employee was interested in doing their job.

Lastly, this place sucks for hiring people who clearly discriminate based on sexual orientation. Trust me. And I'm usually the last person to use Yelp to write something bad about another place but my experience was so horrifying bad that I really had no choice."