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Archive for October, 2011

My sister, Monica, and sister-in-law, Jeni, decided to run in the Chicago Marathon. They tried several times to persuade me to run it, but I could not get myself to do it. “I cannot imagine running 26.2 miles. That’s just crazy!”, I told my sister-in-law. “You’re the crazy one. You just biked 100 miles”, was her answer. HA! Somehow biking 100 miles is not such a big deal compared to running 26.2 miles. I guess it’s all about perspective. Since I decided not to participate in the event, I thought that cheering for them would be really nice.

Monica and Jeni running in the Chicago Marathon.

The marathon was very inspiring. I have never seen so many participants as well as spectators for an event. It was really nice to cheer for Monica and Jeni. I know that they greatly appreciated our support. Since all of us own iPhones, we were able to use Google Latitude to track both of them throughout the course. It was super helpful, since 45,000 runners subjected themselves to this race.

Since we knew exactly where they were on the course, I managed to snap a few photos of them, which was fun. We were even able to give them a few hugs, which I know helped them to keep going. I am very proud of both of them! It is definitely a huge accomplishment.

They did it!!

Chicago was great! We walked a fair amount, since that is what you do in a big city. We also went to the aquarium, a few playgrounds (my nephew Jack’s favorite spots), Chinatown (for bubble smoothies of course!), downtown (for shopping and architecture spotting), and to a few restaurants (also, of course!)

When it comes to eating, I must admit that the best dishes always come out of my brother’s kitchen. He made a really nice pasta dish and a delicious curry. I love eating at his house! We did, however, manage to check out a few restaurants. My absolute favorite was Big Star.

I have this thing for fish tacos. When my brother mentioned tacos, I was game. The place is really neat. It has a fairly large outdoor sitting area, which is where we sat. I decided to order a Taco al Pastor, which included pork, grilled pineapple and onions, and cilantro, as well as the Taco de Pescado, which included beer battered tilapia, chipotle mayo, cabbage, cilantro, and lime. It was definitely a plate of heaven! Especially the fish tacos. In fact, the fish tacos were so good, that I ordered another. I really wanted one more, but had to restrain myself. :) When we arrived in Chicago, my brother asked if there was something that I really wanted to do right away. Now I have an answer. :)

Fish tacos at Big Star.

Another place that we went to was Panozzo’s Italian Market. The market sells lots of different types of cured meats, in-house freshly made mozzarella and fresh pasta, side salads, Italian cookies, and gelato. They also offer sandwiches, which is what we ordered. Each sandwich is carefully made to order using the delicious meats as well as a number of other toppings such as pesto, arugula, and cheeses, just to name a few. It was definitely a nice place for lunch or dinner, since the sandwiches were pretty filling.

Jack playing in the leaves.

We also went to a nice bakery/café for pastries. The culinary experience was definitely a successful one.

The last thing that I would like to mention is my nephew Jack. He is the cutest child in the world! Ok… I might be partial, but others do agree with me. :) Spending time with him made the trip even more special, especially since he is now old enough to speak and play. We had some really fun times at a few playgrounds as well as just hanging out at home.

Jack and I hanging out.

Downward dog!

Spending time with both my siblings and their families at the same time is always a rare and amazing opportunity. I miss all of them already!

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My Bánh Mì obsession began over a year ago during a trip to Brooklyn. My brother took me to a place called Hanco’s. That was one delicious sandwich! I was hooked!

The Bánh Mì scene was non-existent in Rochester. Then one day, my friend Thuan mentioned that not one but two shops opened! My taste buds were bursting with anticipation.

The first opportunity we had, Thuan and I were at the first shop, Lee’s Vietnamese Sandwiches. The sandwiches were not bad, but they did not live up to Hanco’s. And then we went to Whatta-Bánh Mì Vietnamese Sandwich Café. One bite and I was sold! It was just delicious! The ingredients are fresh and the bread is perfect. Chicken, pâté, cucumbers, carrots, cilantro, and jalapenos nested between a perfectly baked roll… what more can you ask for?!? (Apparently, pâté on the chicken sandwich is forbidden, but they make it for me anyway. Ha!)

The café also has smoothies with bubbles. I have tried a few and my favorite is the mango smoothie. They even make it for me without milk. How great is that!!

I am a regular now. You can find me in the café weekly. In fact, I don’t even have to order anymore, since they know exactly what I want. I love it!!!

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