Monday, June 29

Middleway

Youngsters think the parents are driving their life, driving them nuts. Parents think the kids don't want to listen to them, driving them nuts. As the kid in my family, I have seen and noticed both views. The seniors in my family tend to steer my life to what they think is good, meanwhile I am seeing that is not where I plan to go and I would steer my life away to where I want it to be. It's really tiring sometimes. I would say to my family, it's like I'm living, but I don't live my life. 

Top - Zara, Skirt - DressLink.com, Necklace - MichaStore.com, Shoes - Forever XXI


Just like any problems out there, there ought to be a solution for this. I'm sure many of you are facing the same problem whether you are the parents or the kids. No one says parents are always right, most of the time parents learn from their personal experience and their personal experience is not necessarily same with ours, it just fit better in their time, situation, and goal. Kids' opinion isn't always right either, we tend to judge based on what we want and like, not necessarily thinking the future impact of our decisions. 



I say, it's all about understanding. Meet in the middleway. Kids need to understand parents and parents need to understand kids. Parent's are not life controller, parents are mentor and life guide. By that I mean, parent suggest and advise instead of dictating and controlling. 


Growing up and understanding Asian culture, I know many of us are steered to have a promising career like doctor, engineers, programmer. Many kids follow what their parents want them to be, mostly careers that make a lot of money. Not many kids think deep down in their hear and ask, what career makes them feel good and happy. I think the society has gotten better where parents ask grant freedom to their kids to pick what they want to learn and would like to be, this is how it should be guiding instead of dictating while kids should decide and consider the guidance from their parents. 


A couple of months ago, I had an argument with dad. Luckily we had family members that helped as reconcile. We said it was a problem where I don't understand why my parents are worried, and my dad doesn't understand millenials' life. We decided that we should be more considerate of others' needs and situation. Through the conflict, I as the kid learned that sometimes parents don't intend to control you, they want to guide you because they are worried - but maybe the way it gets communicated is not the way we perceive as a guide. Meanwhile, my dad learned that millenials these days want to have control over their life and dislike being 'told' to things. The relationship require understanding, and it's more a mentorship rather than dictatorship. I'm not saying any of the side is right or wrong, when there is an issue it really misunderstanding between both sides. 



So be a good kid, steer your life but listen and consider guidance from your life mentor, your parents. And be a good parent, be a mentor for your kids and guide them to the right way according to their situation and choice. Understand, and meet in the middleway. 


Love,

Catherine

Friday, June 26

Ultimate Foodies

You like to eat, I like to eat, we all like to eat. Based on my personal observation, eating out is becoming a culture in today's society. With many varieties of cuisines and artsy food out there, we appreciate food so much more today than before. We love and appreciate food so much that we created the term Foodie.

So what is Foodie? Google has it that a foodie is a person with a particular interest in food; a gourmet. Do you have a foodie friend? Well, I do and today I would like to share with you my foodie friends' thought about food and good food around the area where we live.

Welcoming my foodie friends: Connie Sundjojo and Mr. Anonymous (with initial of F.S.) !
Both of them really love eating out  eating 'good food' out. Occasionally I would see my Line chat and I would see them conversing and sharing information about food and restaurants. Ultimate Foodies seem to fit their title, isn't it? So, now let's hear what they know about food, appreciation towards good food, and how you can find good food!

Q: Connie and Mr. Anonymous, so first of all - what is your favorite cuisine? 

Connie - I am an eater. I love all sorts of kinds of food from all over the world, from Ethiopian, Indian, Mexican, Japanese, French, Spanish, to Italian. But from this year, I have had food that I crave more often than others. For example during my college years, I love love love sushi. Nothing can beat the simplicity and goodness of a good sushi. Before that it was Indonesian food (since I'm from Indonesia and I've lived all my life in Indonesia before college), this vary from region to region through out the year. A few months ago, when I just moved to Chicago, it was modern american. All the molecular gastronomy kept me in amazement of how such thing is made and how it gives you a whole new sensation of flavor and texture. Currently, I love love love good tacos, so is now Mexican.


F.S. - Honestly this is a tough one to answer. I have always loved every kind of food, different types of cuisine; and I like trying out new stuff, and food is certainly one of them.
But being an Asian (* now you know Mr. Anonymous is an Asian!), I think Asian food in general always has a special place in my heart—Korean, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Malaysian/Singaporean, Chinese food—you name it. Oh and I love SPICY food. And yes, I do have a very high spiciness tolerance level.



Q: Now we know what favorite cuisines are; what is your favorite dish/food?

Connie - I can never get bored of  Indonesian food, since I grew up with it. But I will never say no to a good nigiri sushi.

F.S. - I wish, again, I could name you one! I don't have one single favorite food; I mean, c'mon, there
are literally tons of great foods out there!
Though, I can name you a few which I really like in the Chicagoland area: Bak Kut Teh (this one is from Asian Noodle House), Japanese Ramen (this one is the one I recently tried and it's amazing! It's the Miso Bold & Spicy from Ramen Takeya), Korean BBQ - Cho Sun Ok is my favorite go-to Korean BBQ restaurant in Chicago. And again, these are just a few of them. My list can go on and on and on...



Q: So after you've experienced eating out in many restaurants around the area, what do you think is the best/most memorable food you have had?


Sweetbread
Connie - This month I went to 42 grams. I had the best sweetbread I have ever tasted throughout my whole life. The veal sweetbread is coated with ash eggplant, which gives it a hint of bitterness. It is then topped with frozen foi gras powder that slowly melts because of the heat from the sweetbread, and it all sits on top of a sweet and tangy golden berry puree. Nothing is better, one of the most memorable dish ever! Before that on March I went to Fat Rice, there I had the best pork belly I have ever tasted in my whole life. The pork belly is cooked like Indonesian pork sweet soy sauce but with a touch of tamarind. This dish blew my mind because it was done better than the ones I had in Indonesia. A touch of acidity from the tamarind is simply genius. It brightens up the fatty goodness of the pork belly just enough.

Battered Fried Shrimp in Sweet and Spicy Sauce

F.S. - In the past year, I think the Battered Fried Shrimp in Sweet & Spicy Sauce from Peking Mandarin Restaurant would make it into my list. I remember the taste still lingered in my mouth and mind even hours after eating it!






Q: What do you think is the best restaurant in the US? What about in Chicago? Why? Which dish? 


Connie -  In the US. Boston: Oya and Neptune Oyster. I will have to say that Oya is the best Japanese restaurant I have tried so far. The nigiri is not a traditional Japanese nigiri. They present it with molecular gastronomy. My most memorable dish there is the monk fish liver sashimi and kobe beef. The monk fish liver is the definition of umami. It's very creamy, and just umami. Kobe beef is good. hahaha.. In Austin, I had the best steak ever. Cote du beouf Qui. Franklin BBQ is also spot on. In Seattle, it will be Walrus and the Carpenter. In my opinion, they are the best seafood restaurant! In Chicago,  Fat Rice for their pork belly tamarindo, Girl and the Goat for their pigs face (I had this dish 6 times. 4 was great but 2 times wasn't that good, they need to work on their consistency), Avec with their bacon wrap medjool dates stuffed with chorizo, Publican for their porchetta with raisins and pine nuts (menu changes very often). Juno Sushi, the uni on top of mirugai with truffle oil and salt is above and beyond good. The list could go on hahaha..


F.S. - I think it depends on what you're looking for, and what factors you take into account in
defining "the best". Food isn't like math which most of the time has a clear-cut answer.
My personal favorite, you can never go wrong with Asian Noodle House. It has a great selection of dishes, and are all very affordable. Noodles in the Pot has an amazing Pad Woon Sen with Beef, the best Penang Crispy Noodles, and their Pad See Eiw is palatable. Rickshaw Republic has great Indonesian dishes (and they're the only Indonesian restaurant in Chicago!), and Carnivale offers a great ambiance and experience.

The most memorable steakhouse I've tried in the US is Peter Luger in New York. They have the juiciest, tastiest, fattest bacon I've ever had. Period.







Q: In your opinion, what makes food and eating experience enjoyable? 

Connie - I just read an article about mindful eating last week and tried to practice it since. The instruction is to think absolutely only about the food you're eating, while eating it. Think about the smell, flavor, and how it's made. I think it brought my appreciation towards food to a whole new level. Even a raw tomato taste very delicious when you eat it mindfully. Besides that, the company we have at the time has a big impact on the overall experience. When you're able to discuss how good the food is with your friends, the experience is just so awesome! But don't be afraid to eat in a restaurant alone! I often do this, and I enjoy it a lot. You can't just depend on others' availability to enjoy good food! Also, I think when you cook with love the food somehow taste better. Just like the home-cooked food prepared by your parents, it's very simple but yet you'll remember is for the rest of your life (at least to me).

F.S. - Taste, Service, Location, Hygiene, Ambiance — each plays an important role.


Q: What tips would you give to those who are looking for great food and dining experience around them?

Connie - Bizzare foods with Andrew Zimmern, The layover with Anthony Bourdain are two of my go to culinary travel advisor. Buzzfeed travel, sometimes have a very good suggestions on where to go.



F.S. - Do your homework — research, ask around, and sometimes, be adventurous. Places with bad ratings are not necessarily always bad. Sometimes these places have a few or very specific dishes that are really amazing, like the Briyani from Hyderabad House.



Life is short, so live it to the fullest. And yes, one of my mottoes: "Most people eat to live, but I live to eat."

Follow F.S. through his Twitter


Now do you feel hungry and feeling like hitting one of the restaurants mentioned? Me too! Hope you learned a lot from this post and learn to appreciate food more.

Love,

Catherine. Connie. F.S.

Wednesday, June 24

big envy small love

Grass at neighbor's house always looks greener. It doesn't matter whether you are on the top or the bottom of the chain, we are all human, we never feel satisfied. 

Top - Unbranded, Skort - Romwe.com, Necklace - MichaStore.com



When people see me initially people may think that I'm outgoing and happy, I love life and such. Reality is.. I always complain about everything to my closest friends and family members. I always tell them how my life never goes like the way I wanted, I always tell them that my friends can do this - why can't I? It's tiring and I really feel like I'm just bringing myself to the bottom more and more.



Most of the time when I hear something that makes me feel 'jelly', I am sure my face will just give it all out. I normally react pretty much right away with some negativity (can be in different forms), and at the end of the day, I feel bad to myself and the 'neighbor'. I feel horrible, why should I feel jealous?



Throughout the process, I learned to analyze my thoughts more after hearing or experiencing something that makes me jealous. I started thinking, "It's fine for one to have a good thing happening to them. It's alright!", "I'm sure they don't have everything in life, everyone has a good and bad side too".. but really it only solves little piece of the issue, I still feel bad for not being happy for what they have. Come on, can you imagine if you say something merry to your friends and they don't congratulate you? What the hail* pardon my English.



I'm not quite there yet, but I found that to live life is to love yourself, and give yourself a pat at the back, then you share your love with others. Everyone has areas where they are good at, areas they are bad at. Emphasize to yourself how and why you are good. Once you've learned how good you are, then you will feel more positive and accepting when you hear good things happening to others.





A few months ago, I feel jealous because people around me can spend money like there is no end to it. I feel small and sad, and I got really jealous to my 'neighbor'. But lately after knowing more people around me, I feel awakened that for some people what we have now is even a luxury: eating out, going to college, spending good times during the weekend. I am lucky enough to be able to go to college easily - my aunt told me that for her and her husband, they never knew if they could pay their next semester's tuition, so they restricted themselves from eating out, shopping, hanging out; they only worked and studied hard.



So, think about it.. first of all hear other people's stories from both sides the ups and the downs. Consider yourself lucky, and love your life. Think about how good and lucky you are living the day that you are living. Be glad and joyous to hear good things happening to others. Be their blessings.