How to Grow a Chia Obama

Remember the commercial for Chia Pets with that ridiculously annoying “ch-ch-ch-chia” jingle? While it stayed in my head, it sure didn’t make me wanna rush to my computer and order one. But after the 2008 elections, they came out with a “limited edition” Obama Chia pet that J thought was too awesome to pass up. Soon, we were in possession of a Chia Obama, poring over the instructions and trying to figure out how to grow it.

Our first try was really dismal.

“The Chia people LIED!” J growled. “He looks like Julius Caesar, and the leaves aren’t growing like in the ad!”

Continue reading

Soul Food at Oohhs & Aahhs on U Street

The first time I heard of soul food in the seven years that I’ve lived in the States was on Disney channel, three years ago. (Yes, my inner kid occasionally enjoys Disney channel.) You know those “filler segments” that air in-between shows? This one I watched  had teen Disney stars talking about their favourite foods. When it was Raven Symone’s turn, she said, “I cook a lot of souul food!”

She made it sound so enchanting that I made it a mental note to try real soul food sometime. Today I had that chance. I’d bought a Trubates deal for $20 worth of food from Oohhs and Aahhs down on U Street in the D.C. months ago and it was set to expire today. On chilly day like this, it made sense to get some grub that would be good for my soul. 😉

Continue reading

Authentic Japanese Eats at Temari Cafe in Rockville

Temari Cafe at the Talbott Center in Rockville, Md., is a small, locally owned restaurant that serves a variety of home-style Japanese dishes, including: sushi and sashimi, ramen, rice bowls, Japanese curry and street snacks. I’m writing about it because it has become one of my favourite food places of late.

Ironically, I was less than impressed during my first visit here. Continue reading

A Closer Look at the Mormon Temple

Now that it’s pretty much a done deal that Mitt Romney’s the Republican presidential candidate, this is a good time to learn a little more about the guy’s faith. So off I went to pay a visit to the famous gold-turretted, white marbled Mormon Temple on Stoneybrook Drive in Kensington, Md. Upclose, the fortress-like building is rather formidable, but the grounds are well-pruned and pretty on a sunny day.

I’m honestly not that interested in the Mormon philosophy, but it’s been quite a source of controversy for Romney in his quest to be the GOP challenger to Obama. (The idea of having a Mormon president rubs some religious voters the wrong way, as they don’t consider Mormonism a part of mainstream Christianity.) I wandered closer and closer to the temple, looking for someone to talk to. Continue reading

Sights from the 2012 DC Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

This past Saturday, the Sakura Matsuri Street Festival took place along the intersection of 12th Street & Pennsylvania Avenue in Northwest D.C. Although it seemed slightly smaller this year and you had to pay $5 for admission (implemented in recent years,) the beautiful weather had Washingtonian families out in full force. I had a great time witnessing all the action and catching up with some friends. We saw:

Continue reading

Whimsical Ruins of the National Park Seminary

NPS

If you’re looking for something completely out of the ordinary to do, pay a visit to the National Park Seminary in Kensington, Md. Formerly designated as a summer vacation spot for Washingtonians, it was turned into a girls finishing school in 1894. After World War II, the army took over the area to use as medical and rehab facilities for returning soldiers, but limited funds caused them to eventually abandon the place. Most of the buildings in the Seminary are now in disrepair or falling to pieces, including the madcap collection of buildings inspired by global architecture. Continue reading

Where Have All the Cherry Blossoms Gone?

It’s that time of year again. That time when DC area residents notice that certain trees in their neighbourhood, the same ones which have blended into the background all year round, are beginning to look like large balls of pink cotton candy on a stick. That time when local media are keenly watching and reporting on the peak flowering period of the cherry blossom trees. That time, when tourists throng the Tidal Basin in droves, just to marvel at the natural springtime beauty that very briefly descends upon the city. Cherry blossom season in Washington DC is a sight behold, but the finicky nature of the flowers can make it hard to plan a weekend of pink blossom splendour.

Continue reading

Gourmet International Food at Rodman’s

One of the biggest complaints that expats often have is that they can’t find foodstuff that they’re used to having at home. Luckily for those of us in the Washington Metro Area, there are many international grocery stores peppered around the region. Some have large, fresh produce sections, whilst others are stocked mainly with packaged items. Rodman’s (Discount Gourmet) in Rockville, Md. is one such market.

From the outside, it’s not fancy in any way, and square footage of the premises is not big enough for a grocery store. But they make good use of the space – it’s so crammed with all kinds of foreign goodies, the aisles are just barely enough for a small trolley (or cart, as the Americans call it) to roll through. Continue reading