Ai Weiwei’s “Fragments” on Display at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

The structure in the lobby of the Arthur M. Sackler gallery, is a piece known as “Fragments”. It’s the work of China’s dissident artist, Ai Weiwei, created in 2005. Old and dark pieces of wood — most of them elevated — are connected together to form a haphazard structure. In the middle is a tall pole that rises out and towers high above the structure. A pair of conjoined stools sit uncomfortably on one side of the structure.

In the eyes of the uninitiated, “Fragments” may not seem to have any rhyme or reason. Visually, it’s not terribly appealing. Overall, the structure looks rather grim.

“Fragments” isn’t meant to be pretty. To really appreciate Ai’s vision, you have to know the backstory. Continue reading

Coldplay at the Verizon Center in Chinatown

Coldplay was such a blast to watch live! They had a bit of a fancy light show going as the band performed. Confetti and colourful giant balloons also made appearances. It was like a big party with neon lights! My gal pal and I sang along to all the old favourites, and we screamed for the Coldplay guys like teenage fan girls so hard we must have both lost our voices the next day. I know I did. Continue reading

Derecho Chaos in the D.C. Region

Fallen trees like these were found all over the region

For a thunderstorm that lasted barely an hour and half, last Friday’s derecho sure caused a lot of havoc in the D.C. region. Most people were quite likely enjoying their Friday evenings like they always do. I was at home, getting ready for a trip the next day, when it hit. The sound of gushing winds prompted me to leave my packing and look out the window.

Wish I hadn’t, because I immediately felt like I was on a ship, riding angry waves and beating back relentless wind and torrential rain. Trees were swaying wildly, making disconcerting crackle sounds as they went. On Rockville Pike, cars were going slowly; a couple of drivers had stopped on the side of the road, unsure of how to navigate in the storm. I hadn’t paid attention to news about the weather lately and thought that we were being hit by a hurricane. I panicked. Continue reading

Hong Kong Noodles at Full Key in Wheaton

Lately, I seem to be posting a lot about food more than anything else. Take it as a good sign, because it tells you how diverse this area is, and you won’t be bored if you eat out often.

Full Key Hong Kong Restaurant in Wheaton, Md., is a gem of a find. A good bowl of wonton noodles in soup is hard to find, and this place quells the cravings. They also serve roast duck, roasted chicken in soy sauce, congee and stir-fried garlic greens. Lots of other good food choices can be found in this humble establishment.

I dare say most people would approve and agree that this is a good place, unless you’re picky about decor. Continue reading

Contemporary Brunch at Perry’s in Adams Morgan

Brunch on weekends is my favourite meal to share with friends, so I’m always on the lookout for good places. Perry’s in Adams Morgan had been on my list of places to try for years now. I texted my friend Claire, and we made plans to go there today. Since it’s Saturday, I didn’t get to experience their famous drag brunch (where entertainment is provided by a drag queen as you enjoy your buffet brunch.) that I’ll have to return for soon. I noticed a sushi bar as well. Sushi bar in a restaurant that serves contemporary American food? But Claire noted that she’d heard good things about their sushi. Fine. Save that for another time, because today I was craving American food.


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The Best Northern Dumplings are at China Bistro in Rockville

These are some of the best northern-style Chinese dumplings I’ve had around here. There’s a bounce to the wrap that other Chinese restaurants don’t have. The filling is meaty, juicy and flavorful. Dumplings are the specialty here at China Bistro in Rockville, Md. If this is your first time here, you can’t go wrong with the Mama Special Dumplings, which has a pork, shrimp, chives, and Napa cabbage filling. What a great name. It conjures up the image of a kindly looking lady, busy rolling out dumpling dough for her family’s dinner. In fact, this food find now has me wanting to experiment with some dumpling making of my own!

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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!”

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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. 😉

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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