Archive for April, 2010

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Pho Restaurant Rivalries

April 23, 2010

image It’s exactly what you’re thinking, that’s a bowl of Pho Tai Chin (Pho w/Beef and Brisket) that I found on the internet. Why didn’t I take a picture of a steaming bowl of goodness I was about to devour? Because I’m sure you all know what Pho looks like and would probably hate me more if I rubbed in the fact that I was about to eat a bowl myself. Which I am. And you probably hate me now.

Me Against Them
Definitely not me, but everyone versus everyone. Pho is enjoyed by many more types of people than just the Vietnamese. Many of my friends practically squeal with joy whenever I suggest pho as a lunch option. The hard part is picking where to go. Kim Long, Hoa, Nam, 54, 909, and iPho are just a few that I can name off to the top of my head that are within a 20 minute drive from my house. That’s without even thinking hard! There’s a ton more.

Living next to Milpitas and subsequently San Jose, I’m blessed with a large concentration of Vietnamese people, culture and food. With pho being a mainstay food item, it’s only natural for it to become a leading idea in business for Vietnamese restaurants. Now we’re faced with the hard decision of not only picking the right place and going there, but having to forgo visiting the other option. In business, it would be called an opportunity cost. In food, it’s called missing out on a chance to try what may be a very tasty bowl of pho.

Inside the dragon’s lair
Earlier today, I saw to pho restaurants literally across the street from each other. One was packed and had a line at the door, the other was deserted. The former was clean, had nice seating and lighting, and was very professional. The latter was a dirty, dingy, and from what I’ve heard, rude. What now also comes into play is decor and service. With so many pho venues, besides having great pho, owners have learned that you need to provide a nice place for your patrons and good (moderate) service. It’s America, we expect things to be in the up and up.

Of course, we don’t expect the best in fine dining and service to die for, it’s just pho, after all. But when the person doesn’t take your drink order and just drops your bowl of pho off without even looking you in the eye, that’s just rude. Traditionally, pho places don’t expect much of a tip partly because the price of one bowl of pho will most likely earn them less than a dollar at best. But if done right, I’ve found myself tipping more than enough when I’m with a few friends because it send a message. Do things right, make the food taste good, serve it friendly and you’ve not only earned your due money and tips, you’ve earned a repeat customer with a strong word of mouth.

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Parents planning things without asking you

April 22, 2010

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Yeah, that’s what I probably look like whenever my parents plan something that involves me without asking me.

You know how it is. They say you’ll be somewhere, wear something, you can do that, or you know it. Then, they go to you later (sometimes hours later) and either tell you to do it or blatantly ask you if you’re going to be free “cause I promise you’d do something.” It would have made more sense if they included you earlier!

Why? WHYYYY?
The latest time this has happened to me was yesterday. I’d been in my room reading for a few hours while my parents were examining our new kitchen countertop. The installer only drilled one hole for the faucet but my Dad wants to use a base plate with it which requires two additions holes, one on each side. So, he calls up the installer and asks that they come back and drill the extra holes. The installer says “no problem, what time is best?” To which my Dad replies “Come any time, my son will be home.” Then, he hangs up and neglects to tell me for 2 freakin hours! I had to ask him what he thought of the countertop and I finally got him to lay the spiel down that I was stuck at home the next day.

The worst part, my Dad didn’t specify a time. The installer has been late the last two days he came to work and those were days where he was asked to arrive at a certain time. “ANY TIME” could be anywhere from 8AM to 6PM, their working hours. I have no class today, but I’d really like to go out. Instead, I’m stuck at home waiting for that inevitable ring from my doorbell. And I have no clue when it’ll come. I’m even afraid of using the bathroom because I’m scared they’ll arrive when I’m in there. Grrrr.

I’m going to be very angry if they show up when my parents are home from work. That’s a whole entire day of going out, wasted.

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Singing loud with headphones on, still no kitchen

April 20, 2010

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It’s funny that I’ve started to blog a little more frequently. I guess it’s because I’ve been aching to write my thoughts down somewhere. And no, I will not be using twitter. I understand micro-blogging, but I don’t even update my Facebook status everyday, much less blast away on twitter.

I can’t hear right now
I’ve got on my headphones on right now as I listen to music and videos from my computer. Of course, the natural thing to do it to blast it and sing along loudly. There’s only one bad part to that, not being able to hear much of your surroundings. I was listening to a pretty awesome song (read: totally bumpin’) and was totally grooving to it when my mom came into my room. Needless to say, I was probably going along to it for a good 30 seconds before she walked over and tapped me on the shoulder. I never knew I could jump that high off my chair without my legs having to push off of the ground. Very funny, very embarrassing, but well worth it. I went back to the song once my mom left the room.

Will you cook for me?
The kitchen is very close to finishing. There were some problems with the countertop install (my dad bought the wrong kind of sink) so the ‘dudes will be back tomorrow. In the meantime, we’re pretty close to done! basically all that’s left is the countertop install, getting the new faucet hooked up, and installing the new blower over the stove. I can’t wait! Pics when fully finished, I promise.

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Day 8 w/out a kitchen, disposable chopstick hate

April 19, 2010

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So, today marks day 8 without a fully functional kitchen at my house. My dad’s got a bunch of cabinets in now, but the sink, stove, oven, and dish water are still out of commission. The fridge is in it’s new location and it’s wonderful! Finally, I can open both doors fully. Looks like some measurements were off and a replacement cabinet needs to be acquired before my dad can finalize the work. In the meantime, he’ll be getting the sink going and hopefully the dishwater. I miss having the ability to clean dishware and utensils. Which leads me to my next thought.

I hate disposable chopsticks.
We mainly use wooden chopsticks at my house. Occasionally we bust out the lacquered plastic ones. I’m used to them being in a uniform shape, clean and able to deliver food into my mouth. I dread disposable chopsticks that come free when you order takeout. They irk me so much. The ones connected at the ends require you to snap them apart. They almost never break apart evenly, leaving you with one thin-ended and one fat-ended stick. Grrr. Then, you have to rub them together to get rid of splinters, the splinters! I hate the splinters. In some cultures, it’s rude to rub them together because you’re saying that the business supplied you with low quality chopsticks.

Well, they are cheap! And they have splinters. If they don’t have splinters, I won’t rub them together. I guess it’s because my hand moves around on the chopsticks too much , because I have a fear of getting stuck with splinters. And there’s no way I’m putting a splintery end anywhere near my mouth. For the last couple of days, I’ve had to use disposable chopsticks. I’ve literally thrown away nearly as many as I’ve used because they came out looking like they’ve got a bad hair day! Splinters everywhere. Eesh. I hope the kitchen sinks comes back quick, so I can use my regular chopsticks, soon.

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Day 3 without a kitchen, new header

April 14, 2010

Day 3 without a kitchen! It’s not too bad now. My dining table has become the counter-space seeing as how all the appliances are resting on it. We plugged in the microwave! Yeah, it’s such a small thing but it really does help when you need to reheat takeout leftovers.

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I redid the header up above since it’s been a while. The old one was something I whipped together using a random light bulb photo and some swooshing of the paintbrush inside Photoshop. This one is decidedly simpler and yet, took just slightly more effort to create. The circle above is actually a modified version of a logo Andrew and I designed quite a while back. It was just black and white and would often confuse people since it was kind of random. With a little tweaking, I gave it a bit of a 2.0 look with a fade from a dark to light color and a nice reflection. This also allows me to easily change the color of the logo itself, I have variations in red, orange, pink, purple, and green even! I haven’t been this excited about the logo since Andrew first sent me a mockup way back when.

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Day 1 without a kitchen (or dining room)

April 12, 2010

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Carnage

What you see above a one side of what used to be the kitchen at my house. The other side is just as bad, I tell you. My dad and one of his friends tore is apart yesterday, which I like to call Day 0. They’re slowly going to rebuild it with all new cabinets and some repositioning of the kitchen sink, dishwasher, stove/oven, and refrigerator.

Without cabinets, all of the “stuff” inside them has ended up on our dining table and into our spare room. So, we can’t cook and we can’t even eat at our own dining table. My mom and I went out to some Chinese fast food to bring back home. Bust out those plastic forks and knives to accentuate the paper plates, cause that’s how we had dinner that night huddled around the coffee table in the living room.

Don’t worry Cathy, I spread a few layers of newspaper over your Tigger Puzzle! There shouldn’t be any stains (at least not sweet and sour pork stains.)

Cleanup?

And not having a sink meant not being able to clean dishes, so luckily all those plastic utensils and paper plates also meant easy cleaning. Just dump them into the trash.

My dad says he’ll try to get some small bits of work done on the kitchen each day, but the real work won’t be done till the weekend. That means all week without a kitchen or dining table. Looks like eating out all week at this rate. It shouldn’t be too bad, I hope.

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