Thursday, July 24, 2014

My #TBT=#ThrowbackTravels #17: Niagara Falls, Canada

Since I grew up in Montreal, a trip to Niagara Falls was never too far. Maid of the Myst was always a fun boat tour to do especially on a hot summer day.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

In pictures: All I see is green...prepping for Iceland! [Hudson Valley hike]

We are planning a trip for our honeymoon anniversary and the destination is Iceland (Já!) Why honeymoon anniversary? When we set our dates for our trip and booked the plane tickets for the end of August, we realized that we are going to fly out on the same date we flew out for our honeymoon to Hawaii last year. Total coincidence. Anyway, we will be celebrating our one year wedding anniversary here in the city (July 26!) and Iceland is one of our dream destinations.

Dave recovered a Google chat conversation from back in 2009. He asked me if I would eat whale meat and out of nowhere he said: "Let's go to Iceland!" At the time, we were just friends and half way across the world. But now, 5 years later, we're together, married and going to Iceland! Will I eat whale? Will I ?!?

In Iceland, we are planning to do a few hikes and because we really haven't hiked since last year (on Kalalau trail), we really needed to step up our game and put our hiking shoes back on. So this past weekend, we decided to borrow the parent's car and drive to the Hudson Valley for a moderate 2.6 mile hike up North-Point. It was also a chance for us to test out our new fancy backpacks before our trip. It is so fancy we even drove by REI to have mine fitted to make sure it's the right size.

The hike was short and sweet. The view from North Point supposedly overlooked all 5 states surrounding New York state. We also saw the Hudson river and the North-South lakes. We were not even sore the next day so we think we can challenge ourselves a little more with a harder hike before our trip. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

nykeiko eats: Thai-Isan cuisine at Somtum Der [East Village, NYC]

Dave and I have been keeping up with episodes of Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown. If you are kind of a foodie or a world traveler that likes to immerse yourself in the culture (usually by consuming large amount of food) then you should definitely watch this show.

A couple of weeks ago, after watching this episode about Thailand and drooling a bucket by the end of it, it was coincidentally dinner time and I absolutely needed some thai food in my watering mouth. In this particular episode, Mr. Bourdain met up with chef Andy Ricker in Chiang Mai and they just kept eating non-stop and it was painful great to watch. My craving for thai food was palatable. I wanted thai food and I wanted it now!

I started Googling and found a few top thai restaurant lists for New York city. I crossed out the places we have been to before and researched the menus whenever they were available. I didn't want the run-of-the-mill pad thai or tom yum soup but the gritty, greasy, intensely spicy dishes that make you sweat. We have already tried Andy Ricker's Pok Pok (reviewed here) in Brooklyn which would have been the perfect place to go to to satisfy my craving but to be honest, Pok Pok was a bit inconvenient for us to get to now that we live in upper Manhattan. Queens has a bunch of thai restaurants where we have already tried a couple like SriPraPhai.  But insisting on staying on Manhattan, I finally found Somtum Der- which opened last year and got a few good positive reviews. The menu caught my attention (prawn sashimi with chili sauce, spicy papaya salad with salted eggs, larbs with chopped duck, meat skewers, hot chicken soups...yes,yes,yes,yes) and oh, the fact that Somtum Der can also be found in Bangkok sealed the deal.

I called and made reservations although it wasn't needed. When we got there, I even ordered a cold Singha beer to modestly replicate Bourdain's drinking habits on the show. The food was spicy and awesome. The only thing I thought we could have not ordered was the Pad Thai Mun Poo (ha,ha poo). I should have also maybe tuned down on the spice level so that I could enjoy the food without having to wipe my forehead of sweat every 5 minute or so. Also, I wish that we were a group of people so that we could have sampled more dishes but the 5 dishes we shared amongst the two of us is no easy feat. I really wanted to try that prawn sashimi dish...oh well, next time for sure!

Here is what we consumed...

Tum Thai Kai Kem : Thai Spicy Papaya Salad with salted egg

Friday, July 18, 2014

nykeiko shops: Calypso St-Barth sample sale [July 2014 NYC Sample Sale]

The Calypso St. Barth sample sale started early this week and ends this weekend. Here's my review on Racked! I snatched up a cashmere cardigan and linen printed shorts for $19.