幫助別人其實也是幫助自己學習

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當我上高中的時候,學校的老師都會鼓勵我們參與一些慈善的活動。原因純粹是對考大學會有幫助。當時的我會把握每一個可以讓我考進一所比較好的大學的機會。我決定了參加我們學校的仁人家園組織(Habitat for Humanity).

最初,我不覺得這個組織真的可以幫助到別人,所以我沒有放太多心思在裡面。過了兩個月後,我跟一團仁人家園組織裡的學生和老師去了中國的一個農村里幫那裡的居民蓋房子。大部分的居民以前患上過麻風病。雖然老師跟我們說明那些居民已經痊癒,我還是覺得他們有點可怕。

當我們走進農村的時候,他們排成兩行鼓掌,歡迎我們走進他們的村子裡。那對我來說是一件刻骨銘心的一幕。在那一刻,我對自己的想法感到非常羞愧。這些人是多麼的需要和期待我們的幫助,而我是為了自己的利益才去了那裡。因為感受到他們的歡迎,我努力幫忙蓋房子。

我深深地記得我在搬移一堆雜草的時候,有一位少了兩根手指的居民伸出手來幫我。他應該是從旁邊看到我跟那堆雜草在掙扎,於是就過來幫我了。那幾秒內,我明白到“堅持”的道理。其實不只是一名居民缺少了身體的一部分。有一位居民甚至兩條腿都失去了。

讓我最佩服他們的就是他們的精神。雖然村外的人都歧視他們,不願幫助他們,怕被他們傳染而不敢進村,但是他們卻比誰都還要有奮鬥心。我的老師已經領過很多隊去不同的地方幫別人蓋了房子。她說這是第一次被當地人用掌聲來歡迎她進村。

 

简体字:

当我上高中的时候,学校的老师都会鼓励我们参与一些慈善的活动。原因纯粹是对考大学会有帮助。当时的我会把握每一个可以让我考进一所比较好的大学的机会。我决定了参加我们学校的仁人家园组织 (Habitat for Humanity).

最初,我不觉得这个组织真的可以帮助到别人,所以我没有放太多心思在里面。过了两个月后,我跟一团仁人家园组织里的学生和老师去了中国的一个农村里帮那里的居民盖房子。大部分的居民以前患上过麻风病。虽然老师跟我们说明那些居民已经痊愈,我还是觉得他们有点可怕。

当我们走进农村的时候,他们排成两行鼓掌,欢迎我们走进他们的村子里。那对我来说是一件刻骨铭心的一幕。在那一刻,我对自己的想法感到非常羞愧。这些人是多么的需要和期待我们的帮助,而我是为了自己的利益才去了那里。 因为感受到他们的欢迎,我努力帮忙盖房子。

我深深地记得我在搬移一堆杂草的时候,有一位少了两根手指的居民伸出手来帮我。他应该是从旁边看到我跟那堆杂草在挣扎,于是就过来帮我了。那几秒内,我明白到“坚持”的道理。其实不只是一名居民缺少了身体的一部分。有一位居民甚至两条腿都失去了。

让我最佩服他们的就是他们的精神。虽然村外的人都歧视他们,不愿帮助他们,怕被他们传染而不敢进村,但是他们却比谁都还要有奋斗心。我的老师已经领过很多队去不同的地方帮别人盖了房子。她说这是第一次被当地人用掌声来欢迎她进村。

Beans | 荳子

Beans | 荳子
G/F, 99 Hoi Pa Street,
Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong
+852 2205-1911

https://www.facebook.com/bean234

Beans was a pretty nice surprise for me. I stumbled upon Beans when I was checking the new “Top Restaurants” on Open Rice’s chart. You might recall that I don’t trust Open Rice’s reviews much because of my previous post. However, they grabbed my attention when a restaurant in Tsuen Wan made it onto the chart.

I got here around 1 PM on a Saturday afternoon, right before my flight back to Los Angeles. I was very surprised to find a line outside of the small, cutesy cafe. I never would have thought people would line up for their food, especially since I thought the demographic in Tsuen Wan would prefer to go to local eateries.

The first thing that grabbed my attention besides from the cute, modern decor that reminds me of a small Japanese cafe was our waiter’s attitude. Even though he was serving the entire cafe full of hungry customers who lined up for more than 20 minutes to get seated, he was very patient when we asked for recommendations.

Happy Eating List:

Honey Glazed Chicken Wings Order a side of Honey Glazed Chicken Wings with a full-priced entree for a better deal. The wings are pretty tasty but if you prefer savory wings, you may be disappointed. This reminded me of Hong Kong-style BBQ wings where we brush a layer of honey onto almost all of the meats. The wings were sweet and I loved it.

Honey Glazed Chicken Wings
Order a side of Honey Glazed Chicken Wings with a full-priced entree for a better deal. The wings are pretty tasty but if you prefer savory wings, you may be disappointed. This reminded me of Hong Kong-style BBQ wings where we brush a layer of honey onto almost all of the meats. The wings were sweet and I loved it.

Rose Latte I ordered this originally because the waiter told me it would take too long for the barista to create the 3D art but the Rose Latte comes with rose petals, which makes it very "food-photogenic." However, he must have pulled some strings to rush my order because the Rose Latte came minutes later with a very cute cat face on it. I did taste hints of rose in the latte, which was a pretty nice change from my normal Green Tea Latte. It might sound weird but if you think about it, people drink floral teas all the time.

Rose Latte
I ordered this originally because the waiter told me it would take too long for the barista to create the 3D art but the Rose Latte comes with rose petals, which makes it very “food-photogenic.” However, he must have pulled some strings to rush my order because the Rose Latte came minutes later with a very cute cat face on it. I did taste hints of rose in the latte, which was a pretty nice change from my normal Green Tea Latte. It might sound weird but if you think about it, people drink floral teas all the time.

Strawberry Panna Cotta Panna cottas are my favorite dessert in the world and I have developed a pretty specific taste for it. The most important criteria I evaluate panna cottas are: 1. Smoothness 2. Softness/Solidness 3. Flavor. The panna cotta at Beans lived up to my expectations. It was very, very smooth and I loved the softness. It was just solid enough that the panna cotta held together but was very soft at the same time that it was pretty much "drinkable." Loved it.

Strawberry Panna Cotta
Panna cottas are my favorite dessert in the world and I have developed a pretty specific taste for it. The most important criteria I evaluate panna cottas are: 1. Smoothness 2. Softness/Solidness 3. Flavor. The panna cotta at Beans lived up to my expectations. It was very, very smooth and I loved the softness. It was just solid enough that the panna cotta held together but was very soft at the same time that it was pretty much “drinkable.” Loved it.

Not So Happy Eating List:

Iced Green Tea Latte I'm still not sure if they forgot to add sweetener to my Green Tea Latte or if they serve it unsweetened on purpose. It was actually pretty nice they served it unsweetened since I already had the Honey Glazed Wings and the Panna Cotta. However, the green tea taste was only barely there.

Iced Green Tea Latte
I’m still not sure if they forgot to add sweetener to my Green Tea Latte or if they serve it unsweetened on purpose. It was actually pretty nice they served it unsweetened since I already had the Honey Glazed Wings and the Panna Cotta. However, the green tea taste was only barely there.

Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict Eggs Benedicts have become such common brunch food now that restaurants have to make sure their benedicts are of great quality, especially if the restaurant (like Beans) serves all-day breakfast.  Most of the times, benedicts that get low ratings are because the eggs are overcooked and the egg yolk doesn't ooze out. Beans's benedict is pretty good, the yolk was oozy. The problem with the dish is the smoked salmon. The smoked salmon had a very strong, overwhelmingly unappetizing taste. It might help if they select their smoked salmon from a different source.

Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict
Eggs Benedicts have become such common brunch food now that restaurants have to make sure their benedicts are of great quality, especially if the restaurant (like Beans) serves all-day breakfast. Most of the times, benedicts that get low ratings are because the eggs are overcooked and the egg yolk doesn’t ooze out. Beans’s benedict is pretty good, the yolk was oozy. The problem with the dish is the smoked salmon. The smoked salmon had a very strong, overwhelmingly unappetizing taste. It might help if they select their smoked salmon from a different source.

Considering the cafe has only been opened for two months, comes with pretty exceptional service and serves decent, if not pretty good food, I would definitely revisit the cafe. I would probably try their clams pasta next since it looked pretty good when other parties ordered it.

Happy eating,
Joey Wong ♥

 

 

 

Red O

Red O
8155 Melrose Ave,
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 655-5009

http://www.redorestaurant.com

The moment we walked into this nicely decorated Mexican restaurant, I thought I was up for a good experience. However, almost everything went downhill from then on. We were greeted with bad service and mediocre dishes that were not worth the price we paid for. This might be from my lack of familiarity with the Mexican food culture but I really do think I’ve had better tacos from food trucks that costed much less than what we paid for at Red O.

It all started nicely when our waiter came to take our order, gave us some suggestions, brought us our wine. After that, he was never to be seen throughout the rest of our dinner until we constantly asked other waiters to help us find ours. Yes, it was very frustrating. There’s nothing I find more frustrating than having inattentive waiters where you waste time trying to find him.

Happy Eating List

Guac & Chips: But then again, you can't go wring with Guac & Chips.

Guac & Chips:
But then again, you can’t go wring with Guac & Chips.

Pork Belly Sope: This was an appetizer that I found more enjoyable than the other dishes. After all, it's pork belly! I was pretty disappointed because the waiter did tell me their Pork Belly Sopes were amazing and it's an absolute must-try dish at Red O. If this is the ultimate must-try dish, I have to say that sets a pretty low standard for the rest of the dishes on their menu.

Pork Belly Sope:
This was an appetizer that I found more enjoyable than the other dishes. After all, it’s pork belly on a pastry crust! I was pretty disappointed because the waiter did tell me their Pork Belly Sopes were amazing and it’s an absolute must-try dish at Red O. If this is the ultimate must-try dish, I have to say that sets a pretty low standard for the rest of the dishes on their menu.

Not So Happy List

Tuna Ceviche: Very disappointed. I don't recommend for anyone to order this dish.

Tuna Ceviche:
Very disappointed. I don’t recommend for anyone to order this dish.

Lamb in Mole Negro: This was supposed to be Rick Bayless's winning dish on the Top Chef. Perhaps he did not convey his secret to the chef at Red O cooking our dish the night we dined there because I have definitely had better lamb dishes at other restaurants. This was a dish that was not appealing at all in terms of sight and taste. Again, very, very disappointed.

Lamb in Mole Negro:
This was supposed to be Rick Bayless’s winning dish on the Top Chef. Perhaps he did not convey his secret to the chef at Red O cooking our dish the night we dined there because I have definitely had better lamb dishes at other restaurants. This was a dish that was not appealing at all in terms of sight and taste. Again, very, very disappointed.

I am generally not that harsh on restaurants but this was truly one of the worst dining experiences I have had in Los Angeles. The meal ended costing around $500 including wine and I have to say, I did not think it was worth the price at all. Not so surprisingly, my friend visited Red O this past weekend and had a bad dining experience as well.

I’m still on the hunt for good Mexican food in Los Angeles before I finish off with the school year and head back to Hong Kong for good. Please let me know if you have any suggestions!

Happy eating,
Joey Wong ♥

Juice Cleanse: Review


You might have already figured out if you follow my Instagram, I already started eating on the third day. I’ll be honest. It’s hard to resist when your friends call or text and want to meet up over dinner. So I walked into the restaurant thinking, “It’s okay. I’ll just watch them eat.” Of course, this never happened. The minute the chips and guacamole came, I started getting my fill of chips and guac. On that note, food post coming up next on Red O.

At the end of this “Juice Cleanse Week,” I came to realize that a full-on seven-day juice cleanse is not for me. I know a lot of people have done it and feel great afterward, that wasn’t the case for me. I felt much better after I started eating some regular meals while substituting one meal a day with a juice. This is something that I want to continue because I do feel better not eating lunch, for example, and just drinking a glass of juice. Since I was anemic and suffered from malnutrition in the past, drinking the juice will help me absorb the nutrients that I need.

For those who are interested, including my friend Eva, here are some juice recipes you can try at home:

1. Easy Citrus:
Orange
Lemon
Apple
Celery
Lime

2. The Vegetables:
Red pepper
Carrot
Celery

3. Detox:
Grapefruit
Apple
Ginger

4. Joey’s Favorite:
Orange
Apple
Lemon
Splash of ginger

It turns out that citrus fruits and ginger play an important part in rejuvenating the body. This is why I added a “Joey’s Special,” which is a recipe that is easier to start with since the juice will be on the sweeter side because of the apples and oranges. The lemon and ginger also helps with getting rid of the toxins in your body. I personally cannot tolerate spiciness so I add a minimal amount of ginger (just enough so it tastes a little spicy) juice just for health purposes.

Again, I’d like to reiterate that I did not do a juice-only cleanse. I do encourage people to think about substituting one meal a day with juice because I do believe in the health benefits. This is just something that I believe works (for me) in the long run!

Feel free to contact me if you have been on a juice cleanse and want to share your story!

Happy eating (finally),
Joey Wong ♥

Juice Cleanse Day 2

It’s only the second day of the juice cleanse and the cravings are already really hard to suppress. It was a mistake to not get all the ingredients before starting on this homemade juice cleanse because the moment I walk into the grocery store to get some ginger, I spot all sorts of food. My favorite Asian snacks, drinks, ice cream. Oh gosh. I really do wonder if I will be able to last the week.

The good thing about the second day is that after my morning glass of juice, I realized why I’ve been feeling sick since the first day. It wasn’t only because I have been eating unhealthy meals. It was because of all the acid from the citrus fruits that I’ve been drinking. All the citrus increases stomach acid, which causes excess gas. This is why I’ve been feeling as if something was up my throat the whole time and that I wanted to throw up. I don’t actually need to throw up. I just feel as if I want to throw up because of all the gas. After realizing this, I feel much better about the juice cleanse.

Morning: Orange, lemon and celery juice

Morning: Orange, lemon and celery juice

Happy drinking,
Joey Wong ♥

Juice Cleanse Day 1

It’s only the first day and I’ve only had two juices so far but I’m already feeling the effects. After my “lunch” juice, I felt like throwing up. I’m thinking there is no way I can get through this but then I have to focus on why I decided to go on this cleanse in the beginning. I was convinced that with the unhealthy meals I’ve been having, I need this to rejuvenate myself.

This morning was especially hard because I was working on USC’s food show, Delish. They made pumpkin everything and I have to say it was an amazing episode. They brought out a fryer to make pumpkin funnel cake. PUMPKIN FUNNEL CAKE. I eyed that funnel cake but nope, I did not touch it.

Some websites say that you can have one light meal while you’re on a juice cleanse. For my first light meal, I had tofu. It might look good in the picture but let me assure you, it is flavorless. I’m also cheating a little by munching on unsalted nuts to keep me going through the day.

DSC_1547

Before I started the cleanse, I stuffed myself with beef last night. I thought shabu shabu was the way to go right before the cleanse so I can satisfy all my cravings beforehand. Wrong. Take a look at this website that explains what you should do before and after a cleanse. Turns out, I have done everything wrong up to this point.

Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 2.27.54 PM

Please feel free to leave a comment on this post or email me at joeelovesfood@gmail.com if you have any additional tips or experiences you want to share with me regarding cleanses.

Happy cleansing,
Joey Wong ♥

Bigoli al Nero

Il Grano

Il Grano
11363 Santa Monica Blvd,
Los Angeles, CA 90025
(310) 477-7886

http://www.ilgrano.com

We decided to come to Il Grano after searching for the best uni pastas in Los Angeles. Since Il Grano popped up and it was located nearby, we decided to give it a try. Major mistake. I have rarely written any posts where I criticize almost everything about the restaurant but my experience at Il Grano was beyond bad. Let me plunge straight into the “Not So Happy List.”

Not So Happy List

Crudo:  Our crude of the day included one oyster and a few slices of sashimi. None of them were too fantastic and the plating wasn't too appealing.

Crudo:
Our crude of the day included one oyster and a few slices of sashimi. None of them were too fantastic and the plating wasn’t too appealing.

Caprese: It's slightly biased that I'm including the Caprese Salad on the Not So Happy List because of the bad experience I had at Il Grano. However, I have to point out that it's hard to make Caprese taste bad. This is why it all comes down to plating and the colors of the food. Though there were a variety of heirloom tomatoes on the plate, I have to say it looked more like a mess than a plate of carefully placed vegetable and mozzarella cheese.

Caprese:
It’s slightly biased that I’m including the Caprese Salad on the Not So Happy List because of the bad experience I had at Il Grano. However, I have to point out that it’s hard to make Caprese taste bad. This is why it all comes down to plating and the colors of the food. Though there were a variety of heirloom tomatoes on the plate, I have to say it looked more like a mess than a plate of carefully placed vegetable and mozzarella cheese.

Bigoli al Nero: This was by far the worst disappointment of the night. Since Il Grano ranked as one of the best restaurants with uni pasta, I had high hopes for the dish. The pasta could have used a few more seconds on the stove as well as a extra drizzle of sauce. I felt as if everything about this pasta could use a little more of everything. Il Grano could definitely add a little more uni to the dish as well.

Bigoli al Nero:
This was by far the worst disappointment of the night. Since Il Grano ranked as one of the best restaurants with uni pasta, I had high hopes for the dish. The pasta could have used a few more seconds on the stove as well as a extra drizzle of sauce. I felt as if everything about this pasta could use a little more of everything. Il Grano could definitely add a little more uni to the dish as well.

Caramelle: Again, this dish is slightly biased. It did not taste all that bad but then of course, I'm being harsh on this restaurant because of the bad impression and bad experience I have had so far. The "candy-wrap" style ravioli could use a few more seconds in the pot so the sides of the ravioli would not be as hard and dry. I'm personally a big fan of pasta al-dente so it means something it definitely says something if I think pasta is undercooked.

Caramelle:
Again, this dish is slightly biased. It did not taste all that bad but then of course, I’m being harsh on this restaurant because of the bad impression and bad experience I have had so far. The “candy-wrap” style ravioli could use a few more seconds in the pot so the sides of the ravioli would not be as hard and dry. I’m personally a big fan of pasta al-dente so it means something it means something if I think pasta is undercooked.

I would avoid revisiting Il Grano for the time being because of the disappointments I experienced while dining at the restaurant.

I definitely had better Italian food in Los Angeles. If you’re really craving for uni pasta, I’d say Osteria Mozza served better ones than Il Grano did.

Happy eating,
Joey Wong ♥