Chicken or Cheeseburger // Story Time

I’m trying out something new where I just… share stories here? Let me know if you like or dislike this new post style, because I have a few drafted but previously didn’t really think they really fit here.


When I was a freshman in high school, our class went to see Phantom of the Opera on Broadway as a field trip to supplement us having read PotO in English class. Before the show, we got dinner at a nearby restaurant (I want to say… it may have been Playwright Tavern but I’m not 100% sure now, several years later). There were almost 40 students there, so we were given a very simple choice for dinner to expedite the process for our chaperones and for the restaurant: chicken or cheeseburger.

Now, I don’t like cheese (you did not misread that, I really dislike cheese), so I naturally opted for the chicken. As our server went around collecting orders — “Chicken” “Cheeseburger, please” “Cheeseburger” “Chicken” — I let him know my order: chicken.

What ensued remains, to this day, one of the most confusing exchanges I have had with any restaurant staff or human person in my life.

Me: Chicken, please.
Him: Okay, cheeseburger.
Me: Sorry, no, chicken.
Him: … right. Cheeseburger.
Me: No, can I please have chicken.
Him: Sure, cheeseburger.

Sherlock Frustrated
(BTW I’m finally caught up on Sherlock please let me know if you want to discuss!!)

I was getting really exasperated and turned to my friends. “Am I saying chicken or cheeseburger?!” They confirmed that I was saying “chicken”, so I tried again.

Me: Can I please have the CHICKEN?
Him: Um, yes, sure.
Me: Okay great, thanks.
Him: Yeah, that’s fine, one cheeseburger.
Friend: WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT MAN?

The relief I felt with my friends (and eventually, my teachers) sticking up for me was immense. There was so much doubt in my head like… Am I saying “cheeseburger” every time when I mean to say “chicken”? Is my English somehow so atrocious that he keeps hearing “cheeseburger” instead? Meanwhile, my fellow 14-year-old friends are making clucking noises to indicate to our server that I want chicken, and when a teacher intervened to say “She wants chicken” we were finally able to get my order in. Chicken for Starr. Hooray.

chicken

I wish the story ended here.

The food starts to come out, chicken and cheeseburgers all around, and I am waiting… and waiting… and waiting…

… my food never comes out. After all the trouble we went through to put in my order, all that clucking and flapping did not yield me any chicken. I wasn’t the last person to order, but my order was the only one not filled yet. Our teacher called over the server and asks where my order is.

“Oh, the cheeseburger right?”

What the hell?

NO PLEASE SIR WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME.

We clarify, pretty freaking firmly, that I ordered the chicken and not the cheeseburger. Our server repeats “chicken” to us, apologizes for the delay, and hurries off to  make sure my order gets filled.

Guess who they bring a cheeseburger out to?

At this point, I’m almost resigned to eat the cheeseburger, I really am, but I just can’t stand cheese. And the weirdest thing was the cheeseburger did not look good at all? Like it had been sitting for a long time, even though my friends’ cheeseburgers did not look like mine did.

………..

Eventually, I got my chicken. I have no idea how it tasted, because I remember almost nothing about my time at this restaurant except for the infuriating process of trying to NOT get the cheeseburger. I do remember having a great time with my friends and absolutely loving my first-ever Broadway show.

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Sometimes, when I struggle with ordering food at restaurants, I remember this situation and just consider myself lucky!

Have you ever had a weird experience ordering food somewhere before? I still wonder why they were so hell-bent on giving me a cheeseburger. Maybe it was a weird assassination attempt, I had seen something I shouldn’t have, and they needed to take me out…. via cheeseburger? That’s the only explanation I’ve got so far. Do you have any better explanations?

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Another Busy Week

Hello and happy Friday! I have been a little bit low mood this past week, maybe from just being so busy and maybe from the transition from hot and humid to gloomy and rainy. (I haven’t seen the sun in almost a week, now…) But I’ve been doing a lot of fun stuff so I thought I’d share a bit of that here today!

2017 DCFemTech Awards

This year, several of my friends and colleagues were recipients at the DCFemTech Awards, celebrating women in technology in the DC area and their work. It’s really inspiring to see so many women getting recognized and encouraged, and I am proud to work alongside them.

Great turnout from my coworkers to support Hareem!

I was also able to see some friends from college that I hadn’t seen in a while, as well as get an ~exclusive~ after-hours look at the Washington Post headquarters and newsroom!

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Congrats again to Angela and thanks (again) for the tour!

Daybreaker: Music on the Brain

My first time attending a Daybreaker event was on my birthday back in December. I really loved the concept when I first read about it: early morning dance parties fueled by coffee, juice, and a love of dance rather than by sex, drugs, and alcohol, which aren’t my motivations for dancing.

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This month, Daybreaker partnered with the Kennedy Center, one of my favorite institutions in DC and of all time, to put on a great dance party on the terrace. It was crazy hot and humid but I had an awesome time dancing with my friend Megan at her first Daybreaker. Both of us saw friends we knew and had an amazing time sweating and dancing before a Friday work day.

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Megan and artist Yoko Shen, who performed a haunting piece to end the pre-work evening

InnoMAYtion Hackathon

On Saturday, I mentored a hackathon for the first time! I worked with Think of UsThink of Us to help think of ways to make their website for parenting teens in the foster system easier and more appealing for people to use. It was strange being one of the more experienced developers on a team, considering I’m still not very confident in my skills yet, but it was fun to work with that team and I learned a lot about the resources that are available to parenting teens and their caregivers.

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Cat Yoga

My friend Jen’s birthday was yesterday and I wanted to do something with her before she went out of town for her birthday weekend. We had talked about DC’s cat cafe, Crumbs & Whiskers, before but I hadn’t gone. I figured that even if Jen had gone a bunch of times, as an avid cat lover, it would still be a treat for me to take her to enjoy cats and pastries.

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Little did I know that Crumbs & Whiskers has recently been offering Sunday yoga sessions. WITH THE CATS. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life, even though I was frequently startled by how often I would find a cat where I was going to put my hand or foot. Those precious kitties were worth all the allergic sniffles I experienced, and I got a great yoga session out of it, too!

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I also enjoyed a delicious brunch with Jen afterwards, and just remain so grateful to still be friends with this great girl I met at college orientation.

EdibleDC Eat/Drink Local

I recently won tickets (thanks BrightestYoungThings!) to EdibleDC magazine’s Eat/Drink Local, where I was able to sample so many delicious foods from local vendors all over DC. From local oysters to truffled gnocchi to blue (!!) cashew milk and an entire pizza, my belly was delighted to sample so many delicious foods and drinks from the area. I have been known to give the DC food scene a really hard time, but it’s because I know there’s so much potential and I want it to be better! It’s gotten so much better over the past 2 years and I can’t wait to see how much more it grows.

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You know I’m a sucker for a photobooth, especially if one of my favorite companies – UrbanStems – is helping run it!

Foodelicious Night

Did you know that the DC mayor’s office has a special division dedicated to Asian Pacific-Island affairs? It’s true! MOAPIA (Mayor’s Office for Asian Pacific-Island Affairs) has been putting on events all month for AAPI Heritage Month and I was able to attend Foodelicious Night, where 3 of DC’s most famous Asian and Asian-American chefs performed cooking demonstrations for us and let us taste it after! We had:

  • Chef Erik Bruner-Yang, the phenom chef who runs Maketto, one of the trendiest and most critically-accalimed restaurants in all of DC, period, and cooked for us a delicious Cambodian curry
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  • Chef Nobu Yamazaki, of the best sushi restaurant in DC, Sushi Taro, which recently won a Michelin star in DC’s first Michelin guide, and prepared for us 2 different sushi rolls
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  • Chef Xiaolong Hu, from Panda Gourmet, the best Chinese restaurant in DC that is famous for being the go-to authentic spot for Chinese embassy employees who are craving real Northwestern Chinese food, prepared for us pork belly buns

This was a really fun event because the chefs all had a lot of personality and prepared really amazing foods for all of us. It was such an incredible way to celebrate Asian cuisine in DC and how easily you can recreate it at home!

Megan’s Birthday Dinner

Last night, I met up with Don, Megan, and several of their friends for a birthday dinner to celebrate Megan! (Fun fact: She actually has the same birthday as Jen!) It was a lot of fun seeing some of Megan’s friends that I haven’t seen in years, or since her wedding last year, or just since the last time we all hung out. (Please tell me it’s normal to have trouble hanging out with friends at a higher frequency as an adult, it is very frustrating to me…)

It was a lot of fun to see everyone and to see Megan twice in one 7-day period!


It’s Memorial Day weekend in the United States, and I’ll be spending it resting, cleaning, and maybe checking out some online sales!

How will you be spending the (long) weekend?
How was your week??

3-Ingredient Protein Pancakes

After many, many years on the internet, I have become the kind of person who regards “life hacks” and Pinterest/Instagram foods with suspicion. Sometimes, I just outright dismiss a lot of them. Make ice cream by blending frozen banana? That’s not ice cream, it’s just frozen banana? And yet there I was, very happily enjoying the soft-serve-esque texture of a blitzed-up frozen banana, begrudgingly admitting that the curated photos on social media didn’t lie this one time.

A similar recipe that I had many doubts about were the paleo-friendly 2-or-3 ingredient pancakes. In its simplest iteration, you mash up a banana with a beaten egg and fry up pancakes with the mixture — without it tasting like scrambled eggs with banana. I believe I attempted this once several years ago by beating an egg with a fork in a bowl and then mashing a banana into the egg with that fork. It was… meh.

But I kept seeing this recipe get touted over and over again, and other people’s photos of these pancakes looked a lot more like pancakes than my initial attempt.  Maybe I did something wrong? This recipe came back into my life as I started to remember why I am not the kind of person who is able to skip breakfast. These days, I am trying to be better about making sure I have a protein-filled breakfast so that I have fuel for when I do actually go work out in the mornings, since I have been feeling myself struggle a lot physically when I try to exercise on an empty stomach. I also feel myself thinking about lunch at about 10:30, which is pretty early to have your mind on lunch, if we’re all being honest here! While these pancakes are not allowed on Whole30, they are paleo, and I’ve found 2 added components have improved the entire process enough to make this a new breakfast staple for me:

  1. A blender (I use this super cheap personal blender)
  2. Protein powder 

The blender makes mixing it a much easier and smoother process, so I’m not left with a scrambly-egg + mushy-banana consistency. The protein powder makes it more like a pancake and less like banana-y eggs. I’ve also been adding spinach to the whole thing for a bit more nutrition. Occasionally I also add a bit of cinnamon to see if I can get any of its purported health benefits. I fry them up in some coconut oil (who am I…) and I have some healthy green protein-packed pancakes for breakfast so that I have some fuel in the morning!

Here’s the recipe, adapted from PaleOMG:

  • 1 ripe banana – the browner and riper, the sweeter!
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-2 scoops of vanilla/chocolate protein powder
  • Coconut oil (or oil/fat of your choosing)
  • Optional: handful of spinach
  • Optional: pinch of cinnamon
  • Optional: pinch of baking soda

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  1. In a blender, pulse your eggs and banana until you have a smooth, consistent mixture.
  2. Add in your protein powder, starting with 1 scoop and adding 2 if the consistency is too liquid, depending on the size of your banana and eggs. (You want the batter to be a bit viscous.)
  3. If the mixture is still fairly runny with the added protein powder, add a bit of baking soda to help add fluffiness and rise to your pancakes.
  4. Add spinach and/or cinnamon if you’d like green pancakes or a teeny bit of warmth.
  5. In a non-stick pan, heat a small amount of coconut oil.
  6. When the oil is hot, pour small dollops of the pancake into the pan to form 3- or 4-inch wide pancakes. Since they will be runnier than your traditional pancake batter, keeping them small helps them cook through a bit faster and makes them easier to flip.
  7. After about a minute, flip the pancake to the other side; you’ll know it’s ready to flip when the edges are browning and the batter on top is becoming a bit less funny.
  8. Cook on the other side for 30-45 seconds, remove from the pan, and place on some paper towel to get rid of any excess oil.
  9. Serve plain or with syrup, jam, whatever pancake accoutrements your heart desires.

Enjoy

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Clean eating green pancakes, a similar recipe from Emily at LouisianaBrideBlog

Have you ever tried a recipe you saw online and didn’t think would work only to be pleasantly surprised?
Are there any super popular internet recipes you think I should try? I haven’t tried very many of them but after some recent successes, I’m trying to have an open mind! Trying to get back into cooking more for myself, and prepping breakfasts and lunches in advance, so any recipe suggestions would be so appreciated!

A lot of things have been happening in the news that are difficult to ignore. I try to keep the tone on this blog positive and upbeat, not only for you, my handful of readers, but so that I have something positive to reflect on myself. Please know that I am staying informed, staying vigilant, and staying active in supporting a world that is good for more people than it was before. 

My Youtube Habit

When I started browsing Youtube, it was for the sole purpose of watching subtitled anime episodes. (Naruto S3E6 part 2/11 ENG SUB!) It wasn’t until a friend of mine sent me this classic KevJumba video that I even realized there was a world outside of anime on Youtube.

You know how you can find yourself tumbling down a strange rabbit-hole on Youtube where you somehow end up watching pimple popping or ASMR or old anime music videos (shout out to all of you OG folks who made AMVs) or animals falling down, etc. etc. etc.? Well that’s how my first foray into Youtube felt. I was chatting with a young Kevjumba when I discovered in the “Suggested” sidebar, back in the oooolden days, charlieissocoollike and his classic video about the new defunct “featured” Youtube video.

That was how I found myself deep in the 2007 UK Youtube scene. Next thing I knew, I was on Stickam, a video chatroom site, with UK Youtubers and fans. The time difference was weird but their accents were great and I loved learning their different perspectives. (I’m still friends with a handful of the people I met during this time on Facebook now and they’re doing really great.)

Late 2007 was a magical time on Youtube and very dangerous for me to get knee-deep in the Youtube scene. The vlogbrothers were finishing up Brotherhood 2.0. With the election coming, we had Obama Girl, Hott4Hill, LisaNova’s Sarah Palin and Alphacat’s Barack, the Phillip DeFranco Show was starting to find its stride. Smosh was at a then unthinkable million subscribers and Youtube still showed ranking by number of subscribers. I’m not going to keep namedropping Youtubers here but it was such an exciting time because it was so new. Youtube personalities were brand new and online personalities were new to me.

The Youtube landscape has changed. A lot. I don’t watch a lot of the Youtubers I used to watch, and some of them don’t make content on Youtube anymore. Many of their channels have changed significantly over the past 10 years, for better or worse.

As with My TV Habit, I’ll leave off with the Youtubers that I regularly watch. I used to watch hours and hours and hours a week when I didn’t have TV, but with my full-time job still not firing me, I don’t that much time and have to go for quality more than quantity, now more than ever. The channels that

  • Vlogbrothers – I was actually unsubscribed from them for a short while because I started feeling like I was outgrowing them, but I’ve come back for John and Hank and I’m glad for it.
  • Nerdwriter – Evan was honored as a 30 Under 30 this year and his video essays are beautiful, insightful, and so well-done. With every video of his that I watch, I am just a little bit of a better person. With enough of his videos under my belt, I may even become a great person.
  • Casey Neistat – I’ve known about Casey’s videos for a really long time, but I only recently started watching more regularly. (Basically when the old daily vlog ended and it was less of a commitment to watch.) He is so hardworking and his hard work shows (or intentionally doesn’t) in so many of the shots that we take for granted as viewers.
  • MKBHD – Marques Brownlee is my favorite tech reviewer right now, with his clear and fairly objective insights and subtle sense of humor. He’s done so much for himself in the tech space and I can’t wait to see what more is to come from him.
  • NerdyAndQuirky – Sabrina got the spotlight on her when she was 15 years old and now she’s in university cranking out such high-quality video content that I’m almost scared to know what progress will look like for her. She’s funny and witty and keenly empathetic and I’m so glad the vlogbrothers helped introduce me to her.

What Youtube channels do you like watching?
What channels did you watch when you first started watching Youtube?
When did you start getting into it?
2007 was it for me and I never looked back. It is strange watching the annual Rewind video and recognizing a smaller percentage of the creators featured, but it’s such an exciting time to be alive, when people can make a living on Youtube.

My TV Habit

For Lent in 2014, I gave up television.  (With a few exceptions.) Television has been a habit of mine since I was very young. Even without cable, I would spend hours watching PBS in the mornings, napping after lunch, and then watching hours of UPN and the WB. (Looking back on it, it is a little strange that I watched so much Barney & Friends and Martin! I guess.) My entire day was structured by my shows, and maybe that is where my intense need to stick to a schedule comes from.

At the back of my mind, I knew I watched too much television. (My parents would tell me so. Often.) In college, my TV consumption was reduced because I didn’t have a TV to mindlessly watch in my dorm room. My TV habit changed. I found myself furiously “catching up” on my shows on the weekends. Given that I spent a lot of time with campus organizations, this meant late nights and stolen nights to myself spent with my headphones on and streaming shows.

So. Many. Shows.

It was overwhelming and got to the point where I was begging for shows to end. (I’m so grateful that How I Met Your Mother finally ended, even though I was infuriated by the ending.) (But can Big Bang Theory stop already??) Catching up on shows started feeling like a chore, but I am so bad at quitting things that I kept watching. “I hate this stupid show!” I would shout while angrily tuning in to ABC every Sunday at 7PM EST.

Today… I don’t watch too many shows. I watch three HBO shows, which is definitely very different from how I used to watch television, given that I used to watch exclusively network television shows and thought paying for a premium channel was bonkers. I occasionally watch a Netflix show. (Have you watched season 2 of Master of None yet I really want to talk to people about the achievements in film that Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang have accomplished with it!) (But I haven’t finished yet…)

I feel so free. And a bit unfamiliar to myself. Who is this person who isn’t watching shows every day, or a week’s worth of shows in a day or two? I’m not sure, but I think I like her better than who I was before, watching hours and hours of television every day. I know that I don’t watch as much TV now because I just have other things to do with that time, and I’m really glad for it. I have never been one for idle time, but that is how my parents often saw my TV time – valuable minutes and hours that I was wasting away with my eyes glued to a screen.

In any case, if you want to talk to me about any shows, the ones I am keeping up with at the moment are:

  • Master of None season 2 (still working through this one, as its nice to savor and easy to not-binge)
  • Silicon Valley
  • Westworld
  • Game of Thrones

There are shows I want to revisit and catch up on, but honestly, since Ash Wednesday 2014, I am really behind on most of my shows. I never finished The Legend of Korra! But I get so overwhelmed even thinking about going back and trying to pick up where I left off, and even more overwhelmed thinking about starting from the beginning. And that’s just one of the unfinished shows I have.

Maybe part of why I see everything through rather than cut my losses is partially because how I watched TV. But I’m different now, and if I can watch less TV and be happier for it… I am hopeful about the other positive changes I can make in my life. Like exercising more. And eating fewer potato chips.


What shows are you keeping up with right now? Anything I should start getting into?

Are there any shows you actively quit watching? There is a show that I complained about all the time but kept watching, week after week. Ben had to tell me to just stop watching, but I still feel myself getting pulled in… It’s been hard to resist!