Sunday, July 27, 2014

Garry Winogrand Convinced Me That Summer is Better in Black and White

In need of some culture, I forced myself to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art last weekend to see the Charles James costume exhibit and the Garry Winogrand retrospective. Both were equally inspiring, exceeded my expectations and definitely worth leaving Brooklyn for. I was particularly inspired by photographer Garry Winogrand and his black and white portraits of America, so much that I ended up shelling out money for the 463-page exhibition catalog. I took a black and white photography course back in high school and his photographs made me nostalgic for the full process of shooting black and white film with an SLR (notice the missing "D"!), developing the film, creating proofs and enlarging the photos in a dark room. I now take photos recreationally with my DSLR and seeing the beautiful grain and soft lighting in Winogrand's photographs inspired me to take another look at my photos from this summer--this time in black and white:
Locations, top to bottom: Children's Museum in London, Donau Kanal in Vienna, Jalpa's birthday surprise, Alfresco dinner in Williamsburg, Ai Wei Wei exhibit at Brooklyn Museum, Streets of Bushwick, Rockaway Beach, Streets of Portland, Portland, View of Manhattan from my roof, Charles James at the MET, and Terrace on the Park in Queens.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Our First Time in PDX

A glimpse of what we ate, drank, saw and smelt in our brief two days in Portland: 

Ate brunch at Tasty & Sons
Waited in line at Voo Doo Doughnuts
Devoured a 6-course dinner at BEAST
Frolicked in the International Rose Test Garden
Drank at Hair of the Dog Brewery
Sampled every brew at Hopworks Brewery
Hung out with family at Woodsman Tavern
Felt real classy at Multnomah Whiskey Library

Homemade Pok Pok Dinner, Take 1

I remember my first and only experience eating at Pok Pok in Brooklyn. It was a pleasant departure from the modern, house music-playing Thai restaurants in NYC. Portland Chef Andy Ricker of Pok Pok cooks really flavorful and extremely spicy dishes not typically found on Thai menus, so when he published his Pok Pok cookbook last year, I couldn't wait to try some of the recipes at home.

I documented our Pok Pok NY dinner destruction on November 23, 2012

My friend Katie, who writes an awesome food blog, also bought the Pok Pok cookbook so we decided to cook our first recipes from the book together. We selected three of the simpler recipes that didn't require too much advance preparation:

  • Isaan-Style Forest Mushroom Salad (Het Paa Naam Tok)
  • Stir-fried Chicken with Hot Basil (Kai Kaphrao Khai Dao)
  • Sticky Rice with Mango and Salty-Sweet Coconut Cream (Khao Niaw Mamuang)

The only ingredient I had to prepare the day before was the toasted sticky rice powder (Khao Khua) for the salad, which took four hours to toast. We were able to purchase majority of the ingredients from Bangkok Center Grocery in Chinatown and a regular supermarket; however, we had major issues finding hot or holy Thai basil, to the point, we ended up buying Thai basil off a Thai restaurant in Williamsburg.

Chopping the fresh vegetables and chilies was most of the work, as the cooking time was very quick.
Upon Katie's discretion, we cut the amount of fresh and dried thai chilies in the stir fry by half, and it was still really, really mouth numbingly spicy.
My roommate and resident bartender Ben made a Malaysian-inspired cocktail, Teh C Pang, which has layered palm sugar, tea and rum.
WE GOT BASIL! Sean and Peter skated to the only Thai restaurant (of the three in our neighborhood) that agreed to sell us basil.
With the exception of my undercooked sticky rice in the dessert, I think our first Pok Pok attempt was a success. Next time, I'm trying the Vietnamese Fish-Sauce Wings!