Jul 31, 2011

Brunch at northern spy food co.

This place has been on my radar for a while and I'm really glad we finally went for brunch on Saturday. Brunch in NY is always kind of a shitshow. Maybe it's because most of us are late risers on the weekend, or because it's usually the chosen meal for a large reunion or get together because that's when everyone else is free. A long wait is almost always the case, so I was happy to be seated immediately at Northern Spy.

The space is very bright and airy with just the right amount of rustic feel. I overuse this word but it's definitely a charming place! We started with a jelly donut which was a bit lacking in jelly filling but perfect in the pillowy dough texture. I really enjoyed my kale salad with baked eggs (I had heard a lot about this salad so I couldn't not try it), and especially liked the almonds in it. J went with a much heavier southern comforty dish.

At the end of the meal, after J went to the bathroom, he said to me (knowing my affinity for pretty bathrooms), "Oh you should check out the bathroom." So of course I was like, "Yeah? Should I bring the camera?" Realizing how ridiculous that sounded (not to mention how creepy that would look), I made sure I at least took my phone with me.

And so it was quite quaint and pretty. :)

Jul 29, 2011

New york botanical garden

A stroll through the gardens and the Spanish Paradise exhibit on a hot day a few weekends ago...

I left the border with exposure information on a few of these for kicks. If you didn't know, I like to camp out at f2.0 and I always shoot in manual mode for personal things. With fast-paced shoots, I'm trying to use Aperture Priority more now.

Happy Friday! I've got a busy weekend ahead. I'm really looking forward to a weekend of NOTHING but looking at my calendar, it may be a while before that!

Jul 28, 2011


After we got back from Hawaii, we spent a day at my parents' to recover (i.e., we slept some 20 out of 24 hours). I had a handful of shots left on the Kodak Portra 160 roll (still undecided on how much I like this film) that was loaded, so I fired some off in the good old kitchen dining nook. I've already posted a bowl of tea eggs before, but they just really evoke "home" and comfort to me. And how very Asian to have this extra kinda ugly clear plastic covering over the nice linen tablecloth. :P

Eating from the garden during the summertime is one of my favorite parts about home in NJ. With all that my parents grow back there, they could set up a little farmer's stand of their own! I suppose that's one con for city life - I can't just be like "Oh lemme just go in the yard and cut these hydrangeas from the hydrangea tree!" or "Lemme go make an entire dinner from the backyard." You may think that'd just be a dinner of vegetables, but you'd be amazed at how many bunnies cross our yard...

Just kiddinggg. (Well, no, we DO have a bunny problem in the yard but we're not about to braise Thumper just yet.)

Jul 27, 2011

Oh, to be back there

If only this (Maui) weren't an excruciating 10-hour flight plus inter-island flight away... Below: scenes from the Wailea Beach Marriott Resort. Joyce in the pool there. :)

Yep, I think I'll settle on this nice patch of lush grass on a gentle hill overlooking the beach with my current read. Mmhmm.

Then I'll wander (OK, I mean take the stunning drive up to the Northwest tip of the island) over to Mokuleia Bay and take a dip in these crazy clear aqua waters.

Oh, then I'll wake up from this dream and realize it's all buildings and concrete and city smells around me. But, it's familiar and grand all the same and I can't imagine living anywhere else. Not yet, at least.

Apologies for this bizarre scatterbrained post. It's been a strange morning!

Jul 25, 2011

Behind the scenes at otakara supper club

On a blistering hot Friday evening, I headed over to Fort Greene to get some shots at a new supper club run by the talented Sawako Okochi. The outdoor space is quite charming and perfect for an intimate dinner party where strangers can get to know one another. For those of you in the NY area, you knew just how hot it was on Friday. Well, it was nothing compared to the heat of the kitchen! In fact, after shooting in the kitchen and then walking outside, I daresay that it felt downright COOL in comparison. Scary, eh? I have some serious respect for the others in the kitchen that night who had to wear chef coats.

Despite the heat, it was fun to work with Sawa and her crew (as you'll see, straight faces were hard to come by in the portraits :P). And getting to sample all the dishes served was a nice perk.

The rest of these pictures show some behind the scenes of each dish. Flash is always an ugly challenge, but I'm really hoping these shots don't scream "on-camera flash."

It'll be a long while before I conjure up the skill to have my own (even informal) dinner party, but I love the idea of these supper clubs. See my previous behind the scenes post on another dining club run by some awesome folk whose kitchen is more or less bigger than our apartment.

Thanks to Sawa for having me!

Jul 24, 2011

Brunch food in maui

I had some french toast today during brunch with girlfriends and I was reminded of this ridiculous platter of french toast from a cafe we visited in Maui. I did my best to finish the plate but even I have my limits when it comes to carbs/sugar. Even though I did steal a handful of Jimmy's fries...

I took almost zero pictures this weekend. It's really hard in this weather, plus although we had a divine dinner at Brooklyn Fare (some ~20 beautifully plated courses that would make my camera googly-eyed), they're very strict about no photography. Oh, well!

Jul 22, 2011

Splash of pattern and color

Although I featured these adorable cups in a polaroid already, I thought they deserved some digital spotlight as well. Usually with Anthropologie, there's so much great eye candy in their catalogs and store that I can't actually decide what to get. The more nice choices I have, the greater chance I'll leave a store empty handed. But these cups, I spotted online during a sale and knew I had to hunt them down immediately.

Of course it turns out they aren't sooo great in terms of practicality. The wide opening means I spill my drink that much more easily, and the handle feels very delicate. I'm thinking of retiring some of them to my bookshelves to hold miscellaneous tchotchke. Ah well, can't win 'em all.

I'll be on an outdoor shoot for most of the evening and night. In "feels like 112 degree" weather. Yeap. A photographer's gotta do what a photographer's gotta do. I'm pretty excited actually and hope I'll have something good to share. Anyway, happy Friday!

Jul 21, 2011

Scenes from kauai

Below: awesome driftwood, tree swing, one of many feral roosters we saw, flying a kite on the beach, the entrance to some awesome gardens we didn't get to go into because they closed at 3, a cowboy who was once an international modern dancer, an delicious smoothie truck near the beach, super cool looking ranch seen from the side of the road (that was taken from the car window!), multiple shots at the farmer's market, Lappert's ice cream (we had our fair share), Kilauea lighthouse, and Hanalei Valley overlook.

Below: all aboard on Captain Andy's sunset sailing trip! Such an entertaining crew and of course, beautiful scenes of inaccessible parts of the island.

Below: my own scans from some Fuji Astia I shot of the Na Pali Coast while on the boat. I almost didn't post these because of my scanner color frustrations. Here are a few that just made the cut. They don't really do the place justice - you'll really have to see the island for yourself!

To say it was a dramatic sunset would be an understatement.

Alllmost through Hawaii blog posts. Bear with me here!

Jul 20, 2011

Tea time

I had a lovely tea service at Bosie Tea Parlor in the West Village this afternoon. The menu of teas feels endless but I eventually decided on a simple Dorian Grey, which turned out to be glorious and came home with me in a small tin. The impeccable tea service also come with three finger sandwiches, two scones (um, best scones I have ever tasted), tea cakes, and two macarons (I went with peach saffron and rose, but there are at least a dozen or so flavors to choose from.).

Mr. B had a quiche and a tea called Chinese Beauty Rings. It was very nice as well, but we both agreed that the Dorian Grey was the better pick. At the end, we added another plate of macarons to our bellies, including a raspberry dark chocolate, maple bacon, earl grey, jasmine, and dark chocolate.

I will definitely return to try more teas (and for a plate of those scones...). Bosie is a perfect venue for a very civilized and charming lunch date.

On another note, I think I've become handicapped with my digital camera. I honestly feel a tad out of my element with it now especially when it comes to processing. Film is so safe and easy in comparison! Yikes!

Jul 19, 2011

Scenes from a hawaiian luau

Dinner + show + beautiful sunset. Enough said.

Jul 18, 2011

On the road to hana

I mentioned that while in Maui, we took the Road to Hana (backwards) and saw some amazing sights along the way. I wanted to share some highlights from the film I got back. [As a side note, I am now completely disheartened by my Epson scanner and its film software. I had a lab scan my negative film this time, and I was so much happier with the color. Meanwhile, I scanned the few rolls of slide film I shot in Hawaii and cannot for the life of me get the scan to match what I see in the slide, not to mention I am constantly dealing with damn Newton rings. I didn't realize how badly I was missing out! Now this kinda sucks because it's more than tripling my film developing costs. For personal work, it's quite a hefty cost.]

Forging onward, this first set of pictures shows the crazy winding roads that are part of the trip to Hana. Around each corner, you sit tight and pray there's no car zooming around at the same time. This road is not for the queasy. I was definitely not feeling so hot by the end despite Dom's careful driving.

We stopped by a quiet black sand beach to admire the view and take in the wind.

This very welcoming cafe we came across was one of my favorites from the whole trip. It had a total hippie-vibe to it and what's not to love about the freshest fruit you can possibly get, wooden crates, and a general rustic, at-home aesthetic?

Ah, to live in the middle of nowhere and be completely self-sustaining...

And finally, some miscellaneous scenes, tropical foliage and signs. Many thanks to Dom who graciously pulled over so I could scurry outside and get this row of mailboxes shot. It's a common scene in that area but I just had to have a shot of it. I keep thinking about how perfect it would look on polaroid film. Clearly this means I'll have to return to Maui. :)

Hope everyone is staying nice and cool today. Gosh do I miss Hawaii's weather!

Jul 17, 2011

An enchanting wedding at haiku mill

For those of you who've liked my facebook page (nudge nudge if you haven't ;)), you may have already seen these shots I posted from Jon & Claire's wedding in Maui. With a romantic name like Haiku Mill, one can already imagine how beautiful and fairytale-like the place is. The details, colors and textures around me were overwhelmingly eye-catching. I wish I had gotten a peak into the main dressing room area, because from what I saw in other pictures, it looked like an absolute DREAM.

Although I was a guest at this wedding, there was no way I could resist taking these shots. At one point when I went to use the bathroom, I peeked in, gasped, and ran out immediately to fetch my camera. Slightly insane, yes. But look at those perfect glass bottle vases just itching to be photographed!

The ceremony was short and sweet. I may or may not have shed a tear or two, but I'm such a sap at these things. The lighting was pretty god awful on that ledge so I'm not sure how the official photographer dealt with that.

For the technical details, these were all taken on Kodak Portra 400. For the whole set of pictures including others not shown here, see the facebook album.

Best wishes to a very lovely couple! I know they'll do some amazing things together.

Jul 15, 2011

Friday brights and sweets

Happy Friday with gratuitous self-portrait. I'm obsessed with coral colors this summer, from nails to lips. I'm a total fish out of water in playing with Adobe Illustrator but I am trying to get better at "design" for a pet project I want to get underway... :)

Hawaii film won't be ready for pick-up until 4:30 today so I'll probably be unloading some over the weekend (if all goes well).

And finally, recent good eats at Hotel Griffou included this seriously marvelous dessert -

It was the perfect combination of warm granola, gooey and tart plum, with a subtle bay leaf ice cream. MmmMm.

Jul 14, 2011

In a funk...

I'm having a bit of an off week, photography and creativity-wise. Instead of letting it get me down too much, I'm reminding myself that I should get out of it soon, with the right inspiration. Either way, I've still been glum about not taking the photos I want. Retail therapy at my favorite secondhand store, Buffalo Exchange, with store credit I still have helped a tad. And by helped, I mean gave me something to photograph. :P Below is my latest loot.

The Ali Ro silk watercolor-print dress was a steal. Where the hell was this when I was desperately hunting down an appropriate dress for the wedding in Hawaii? The other was a cheapy cheap silk mini-skirt with a tiered ruffle trim. I really shouldn't be adding more silk pieces to my wardrobe. For whatever reason (I guess my clumsiness), I'll stain my nice clothes in seconds.

In other news, I should be able to get most of my film from Hawaii back tomorrow! I let a lab do the scanning, so I'm anxious for the results. Also, I'm selling some original polaroids on Etsy. You'd be receiving the only version of that artwork ever made! This listing in particular is really special to me because it's the very first polaroid I shot. :)

Jul 12, 2011

Coffee for one with the hario woodneck

Sometimes, I DO use the kitchen. You know, to make coffee. For anyone who didn't believe me when I said our kitchen was like a four square foot box, here is proof! See that sliver of counter space? Uh huh. That's all there is.

I wanted to share this new-to-me method of brewing coffee at home. We picked up a Hario Woodneck from Dora over the weekend, and what you see below is my second ever attempt at it. That's my disclaimer if you find fault in the instructions. This pot could not be more adorable. I first saw it on Cindy's stream and then in person in her apartment, and knew I had to have one! I like having coffee in 8 oz servings or so, so this is really the perfect size for me. I shudder at the college days I often chugged 20 oz Wawa or Starbucks for those three-hour lectures or late nights.

Of course if you really want better visual instructions on using this method, you should check out one of the many videos on vimeo or youtube, but I thought this would be fun anyway. Lemme tell you, this isn't easy to shoot with a remote and a dark small kitchen. Plus I actually wanted to drink this coffee so I couldn't "pretend" or delay or redo anything. What you see is what I drank!

And enjoy I did. The resulting cup is unbelievably smooth and clean. Think opposite of french press. This Ethiopian Nano Challa (from Stumptown) is lovely and fruity in a great way.

Even if you're not a coffee drinker, I hope you can appreciate the process of making a good cup. :)

Jul 11, 2011

Hawaii part i of ???

I only took a few digital pictures in Hawaii but I left it to Jimmy to get a ton of behind the scenes and digital back-up (god forbid the film go awry!). You can click these images for a slightly larger version. I didn't want to size down some of these because there was some nice detail.

The first group of images was taken on Maui, the second on Kauai. Both islands were stunning in their own way. I wish I could have spent more time in the Mokuleia Bay area. Thanks to Jelaine's recommendations, we were able to find this little gem which is totally tucked away from the highway.

I think I took these first three shots (the third was taken from a moving car's window). The rest are all c/o Jimmy and processed by me. Thanks, J!

We took the Road to Hana backwards (we were told this was the better way to go) with our friends Fei and Dom. 28942343 some-odd windy roads and harrowing blind turns later, we finally made it out of there in one piece. We stumbled upon an adorable fruit shack in the mountains. The smoothie machine is powered by the bike! And it wasn't easy! The results were fantastic though. It doesn't get much fresher than what we had there.

Kauai had some striking beaches too. This one piece of driftwood was too photogenic to not go crazy over.

We got to experience the Na Pali coast on a catamaran. It was great fun once my body got used to the rockiness of the sea. The first half-hour was mostly spent wiling myself not to get sea sick and turning my head when others did. But aside from that minor blip, it was a great way to see parts of the island that are inaccessible by car. We saw mountain goats, hikers on the edge of a cliff (made my knees weak just watching them), dolphins flipping about next to our boat, and a magnificent sunset. Pretty magical if you ask me.

Jul 10, 2011

A proper homecoming

Hello from the center of the universe again. It feels great to be back on city pavement! I'm dying to share Hawaii pictures but I'll have to put that on hold for a tad as I decide where to get my film developed and scanned and wait for results. Although I usually do my own scanning, there is just a) way too much this time and b) I'm hating the adjustments my scanner is making and want to see if a lab will get me better results.

In the meantime, it was so nice to be reunited with Abra├žo. We also popped by Dora to get some freshly roasted beans and ended up getting way more than we planned. Whoops. The home brewing collection is really getting out of control. I hope to do a comprehensive post on that in the near future.

It was a fun bonus to see the pictures I took a while ago on display in a coffee tray. :) A friend of Dora's owner bought these prints from me a while ago to make this gift. I love how it came out!

It's safe to say we've been extremely spoiled by our city dining experiences. After a number of so-so meals in Hawaii, we were looking forward to going to our local favorites. Earlier tonight, we skipped over to Hearth because damn, do they do fish well.

I ordered the striped bass almost more for its accompanying ingredients than the fish itself. The cherry tomatoes were divine. I could have easily eaten a pot of those.

Did I mention it's good to be back?

Jul 6, 2011

Aloha from kauai!

Gosh it is pretty here. Just about everywhere you look, there is something pretty magnificent about the scenery. I'm super out of the Internet loop these days, as reception is poor in most areas and I guess I'm supposed to be on "vacation" mode. I'm actually using Jimmy's phone as a wireless access point so I can poke my head in on here.

The hard part to get used to in Kauai is that so many attractions close down by like 3 or 4pm, and if a restaurant opens until 9pm, that's considered late. Unthinkable for us city folk!

Below are some iPhone snapshots run through the CrossProcess app.

One thing's for sure - a return trip is in order! That 11-mile Kalalau hiking trail is definitely on my bucket-list. :)

Jul 2, 2011

Aloha from maui!

Just wanted to pop in to say it is beautiful here (no surprise there) and I definitely look forward to sharing tons more pictures. The major problem is that my cameras aren't weather proof. The Contax got a mouthful of sand in her yesterday so definitely no more cameras on the beach. :(

Last night we went to an entertaining luau where we got to experience that crazy fire throwing action. This one young teen boy with a dslr was awestruck by the Contax. He asked me if he could take pictures of her and proceeded to take her from every angle possible. Haha. He couldn't stop exclaiming how "sick" and "badass" she was.

The Infinity Pool at the hotel is gorgeous. The pool blends into the ocean which blends into the sky. Sunsets are early here but pretty damn breathtaking. AND I saw a sky full of stars for the first time in ages.

Wedding festivities tonight. I will have to be on my best behavior and stay out of the photographer's way... hmmm.