The North Block Hotel

By grace.g.yang · January 19, 2016
Under: California,Napa Valley

After our successful holiday party, Ken and I flew to San Francisco for Christmas (and other festivities!). Since it was a cross country flight and the holidays, we decided to buy first class tickets so we could sleep on both the way there and the way back. We started off with some champagne:


And ate dinner soon after – the appetizer was a Mediterranean platter with hummus, a kale salad and some cold cuts:


The movie I ended up watching was Straight Outta Compton (a definite watch – Ken and I both loved it). For dinner, we ate chicken and mashed potatoes:


The flight was smooth and much shorter than I remembered and we landed in San Francisco around 11pm. Right after, we drove to In-N-Out on our way to Napa and we drove straight to Napa (and arrived around 12:30am!). We rented a room at the North Block Hotel (where our friend, Tuesday, was married last year!) The hotels look like townhouses:


There’s one room on the first floor and one on the second – we stayed in a really nice room with a very comfortable bed:


In front of the door, there was a little seating area for you to enjoy your wine:


And a luxurious bathroom with heated floors:


Their lobby/checkin area was decorated for the holidays with upside down Christmas trees and lots of cool coffee table books:


They also have a gym (next to their spa on the lower level) and a very cute black lab that walks around the lobby during the day with the manager. We had such a wonderful stay (and it’s so close to everything in Yountville so we were able to eat in town while we were there). We can’t wait to go back!

Holiday Party

By grace.g.yang · January 18, 2016
Under: American,Chinatown,My Life,Things to do in NYC

We had our post-Thanksgiving holiday party at our apartment and had such a fun time that we didn’t want the night to end! Here are some photos of the night!

We use our wedding china for daily use, but added the wedding crystal and used it for the first time (they were still all in their original boxes!):


We went to Trader Joe’s before the party to stock up on snacks (and we made the Christmas cookies together!):


We also added holiday lights to the windows in the room and snowflake stickers to get everyone excited about winter:


We had a potluck and everyone brought a ton of booze and food – check out the spread:


Ken made the turkey (and the gravy, which was sublime):


A mix of healthy and unhealthy on my plate:


We had a really fun dinner (and created a bourbon bar after dinner, but then needed to run because we went to Chinatown to play Escape the Room!). The room was really fun and totally different from our previous experience – and we got out with time to spare!:


And after our midnight game of Escape the Room, we all decided that it was too early to call it a night so we found a karaoke spot nearby and stayed there for another few hours:


It’s become an annual tradition so I can’t wait to see what we do this year with decorations and the menu!

Thanksgiving Dinner at David and Laura’s

By grace.g.yang · January 15, 2016
Under: My Life

In 2015, we spent Thanksgiving at David and Laura’s because my mom flew in and Laura’s mom also flew in instead of having us all fly to Chicago. The day was very fun – we got to their place in the early afternoon, played with Fab, and got ready for an early dinner. We took some photos and I thought I’d share my favorite – all of us by the turkey with the newest family addition, Fab!


Auntie Guan’s Kitchen

By grace.g.yang · January 14, 2016
Under: Asian,Chinese,Dinner,Gramercy

Always on the lookout for good Chinese food, I stumbled upon Auntie Guan’s Kitchen a few weeks ago while we were looking on seamless for a restaurant to order from for dinner. We decided to eat somewhere else, but I ended up going to Auntie Guan’s a few days later (in early December) to have a quick dinner on my own. There isn’t too much seating in the restaurant and it’s definitely more for take out, but since it was just me, I sat with another couple eating dinner.

I ordered two things – the beef noodle soup:

Wildair, extra virgin, hanging up menus

And the pan fried dumplings:

Wildair, extra virgin, hanging up menus

The pan fried dumplings had a really good filling – a good combination of pork and vegetables. I also really liked the beef noodle soup (although the broth was very salty, the noodles were cooked very well and the beef tasted almost as good as my mom’s).

Since I enjoyed the food at Auntie Guan’s, we decided to order takeout from the restaurant a few days later. We ordered some sesame chicken, the pan fried dumplings, and some scallion pancake with beef. The takeout was not as good as dining in (and the sesame chicken was actually sweet and sour chicken, not sesame). The scallion pancakes added a lot of sugar to the sauce that the beef was paired with and we had to eat leftovers from our fridge because we ended up throwing out the sesame chicken.

I saw a lot of items that looked good when I went to the restaurant so I think I’ll try going in again instead of ordering from seamless in the future.

The Ribbon

By grace.g.yang · January 13, 2016
Under: American,Brunch,Burgers,seafood,UWS

Last year, we went to The Ribbon with our friends Anna and Carlos. They’ve been to the restaurant in the past so invited us there to thank us for watching their pup, Harlie. The Ribbon has a bloody Mary menu where you can customize the type of alcohol to use as your base, the flavoring, and whether or not you want to add celery salt to the drink. Here’s mine (I ended up making a bloody Mary using the basic ingredients because why mess with something that’s already so good?):


Ken and Carlos both ordered bourbon on the rocks:


For an appetizer, we ordered the Buffalo style cauliflower:


And fried chicken wings with corn bread pudding and honey chipotle butter:


Both appetizers were really good – the cauliflower is separated and lightly battered and fried and mixed with Frank’s red hot sauce. The chicken wings were also good – lightly breaded and a good combination of sweet and savory.

For my entree, I ordered the black bean burger with a side salad:


Ken ordered a breakfast sandwich with potatoes:


Carlos ordered the Pig Club (I think):


And Anna, being the healthy eater that she is, ordered the seared salmon with a side salad:


The meal was really good – the black bean burgers reminded me of the burgers that I used to eat in North Carolina at a place named Ganache (I haven’t been back in over 10 years – I wonder if they’re the same!)

The restaurant also serves dinner and their desserts look amazing – can’t wait to go back.

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