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Central Perk? No, Ground Central

My favorite show of ALL TIME is Friends. I’ve watched episodes of Friend countless of times and now that it made its way into Netflix, I have every episode at my disposal. And even if you’re just an occasional watcher you’d know that their hangout place is this coffee shop called Central Perk.

Ever since I could remember, my dream was to find a coffee shop with a couch and be surrounded by my friends talking about life, complaining about work, dealing with problems, etc in that coffee shop. But first I had to find that coffee shop. AND I FOUND IT.

A quaint cozy coffee shop in Midtown East, in the middle of the hustle and bustle I found Ground Central. It was perfect because the name was ALSO a pun for a famous place in New York like Central Perk was. It was everything I hoped it would be. Cozy seating, great baristas, yummy coffee and tea.

Ground Central was where I brought my best friend and found out that we should get sandwiches elsewhere. Ground Central is where my boyfriend and I have coffee and breakfast and play Psych before our real day started. Ground Central is where me, my best friend and her husband (from Florida), and my boyfriend met up for a couple of mornings during their visit to NYC and where I got the call that I was chosen for the Session Assitant position at Memorial Sloan Kettering.

I’m already making a great handful of memories at this spot and I plan to make many more. If you’re looking for your Friends spot, look elsewhere because this is mine, LOL.

SPOTLIGHT: Chiptole Shrimp Tacos from Takumi Taco

Where from?
Takumi Taco in Urbanspace Vanderbilt
230 Park Ave, New York, NY 10169

As a part of the Kate & Roselle go to lunch on Thursdays saga, we ended up at Urbanspace Vanderbilt.

I was only going to order tacos and I liked the sound of chipotle shrimp. At first I thought it was 2 tacos for $4.85 (or something like that). But apparently it was only for one so the cashier told me “do you just want the bento it comes with a side salad and a side of your choice?” I suckered in and said yes, the total with tax came out to $12.75. Which is an averge city price for a lunch meal around here.

I asked her what the best side is and she gave me the choice between Japanese rice & beans and this grilled corn salad. I chose the grilled corn salad. I should have went with the rice & beans because the corn salad was a little mediocre for my taste. I think it would have been fine without the corn. But the side salad with just the greens were good because I liked the dressing they’ve splashed on it.

Did I finish my meal? YES. The tacos were amazing! I loved the crunch shell and the chipotle sauce with the shrimp was an amazing combo. I fought hard to finish the corn salad but I did because I didn’t want to waste my $12.75, lol. I’ll try the rice & beans next time.

 I love the little baggies they put the food in! (spot my friend’s taco in the back lol)

Urbanspace Vanderbilt (NYC)

Urbanspace Vanderbilt
230 Park Ave, New York, NY 10169

I like to describe this place as the professional food market place. It’s an area where you can spend half an hour walking around just trying to decide what to get. It’s a place where food vendors that usually have their parent/bigger restaurant elsewhere get to share their food to a crowd of professionals around the area.

I was brought here by a friend whom also came to love this place because of its great variety of food! The prices are the average city prices you’ll find for lunch and even happy hour!

This place is right behind Grand Central Terminal and it’s across the Metlife building so it’s so easy for me to get to the train from here and to here!

Please go! I plan to bring all my friends and amaze them with the wonderful choices of food they have here! So if you live in NY or just visiting come by and bring your friends too! BUT make sure during the peak hours (lunch & happy hour/dinner) you SCAVENGE for seats. Hover if you need to.. just hover politely! Everyone I’ve encountered while hunting for a seat were nice enough to let us hover politely haha!


BONUS!
HOW TO HOVER POLITELY:
Step 1. Eye contact. Make sure they’re almost done eating and make eye contact.
Step 2. Smile. It’s always good to show you’re not a mean vulture.
Step 3. Look around with your eyes. Make sure you let them know they’re looking for a seat, maybe even tell your friend “nope, don’t see anything yet.”
Step 4. Move a little closer. With every bite they take move just a bit closer but not to where you’re all up in their space.
Step 5. At this point they’ll either probably say, “We’re leaving soon you can have this seat.” OR you have to step up and say, “Are you almost finished?” it’s better if you hold off on you saying anything but that’s the last resort.

VOILA. Now you know how to hover politely.

Chicken with Garlic Sauce

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Here’s a little recipe I made the other day that came out yummy!

CHICKEN WITH GARLIC SAUCE

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of cubed cut chicken breast (I bought the pre-cut packaged in the grocery store, you can buy chicken breast and cut it yourself)
  • 1 cup breading of your choice (I chose italian shake and bake)
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • oil
  • green onions (OPTIONAL)

Instructions:

  • Take out chicken (chop in cubes if you didn’t buy it pre-cut)
  • Mince the garlic
  • Combine breading and 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Bread the chicken in the breading+powder mix
  • Put fire into medium heat
  • Pour in oil until it covers the pan
  • Fry the chicken until cooked
  • Take out the chicken and set aside
  • Lower fire to low heat
  • Using the same pan, add 1 tsp more oil
  • Add the garlic and cook until light brown
  • Add the 2 tbsp oyster sauce, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp of garlic salt
  • Mix the sauce until all are mixed together
  • Add the chicken back in and mix until the chicken is soaked in garlic sauce
  • If you have green onions, chop em up and add them to the dish!

This recipe is very “tweak-able.” You can adjust it to your own liking!
I love this because it’s so easy yet so tasty! Enjoy cooking and eating this!

**VEGETARIAN HACK
are you vegetarian? then substitute the chicken with TOFU!

Japan for Free!

You must be thinking… WAIT FOR FREE?
YES FOR FREE!

Long story short, I was selected along with 22 other students out of 90+ applicants to go to Japan for free! This trip was sponsored by JICE (Japan International Corporation Center). This trip was mainly to strengthen ties between Japan and Hawaii. Hawaii Pacific University (my university during that time in November 2015) was selected to be one of the universities to join and experience Japan via their programs.

I HAD THE MOST AMAZING TIME! (I mean, free food too?! Of course I had an amazing time lol)

I’d love to share some photos with you!

Where we went:
– Akihabara
– Harajuku
– Shibuya
– Chiba
– Nagano (HOMESTAY)

These pictures are just a tiny glimpse of what we experienced! I really want to thank Ministry of Foreign Affairs and JICE for giving us this wonderful opportunity to experience Japan like this FOR FREE! I made wonderful connections with people and part of my heart is still there. So I’ll be going back soon~

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I swam with Hawaiian sea turtles!

Hawaii is a beautiful place to live. I’d like to share with you the videos I made of a few of my adventures around the island. When my boyfriend visited, we decided to make a youtube channel of our adventures! So hope you’d subscribe and take a glimpse of both Hawaii & New York~

This video is at Turtle Beach in the north shore of Oahu, recorded on June 2, 2014.

Hawaii Five-0 Red Carpet Premiere

 

Yesterday (Sept. 13, 2014) I was able to attend the Hawaii Five-0 Red Carpet Premier Sunset on the Beach. The national premiere, TV, is on Sept. 26. But they premiered the episode here in Hawaii on Kuhio Beach at the Sunset on the Beach for all the fans of where the TV show is based to enjoy before everyone else. I arrived in Waikiki around 3pm and it was already crowded, especially the spots that are in front of the big screen. We grabbed lunch from the shrimp truck and then I stood by the railing near the red carpet with my sister.

I just wanted to experience “the Red Carpet” and see the stars of the show I actually watch lol. It really did feel weird seeing them in person rather than a television screen. The one person I was excited to see was Grace Park, who plays Kono Kalakaua on the show, because she’s my favorite on the show. The BAMF female 5-0, plus she’s gorgeous. Sadly I wasn’t able to even get a picture of her (phone died WOMP). But I stole an image from @photolulutv because she’s too pretty not to be shown on my blog lol! I was squeezed in between a teen who brought a shirt for them to sign, a couple of Aussie tourists, tourists from Cali (one of them a fan of the show, she knew everything about them lol), and a big lady who bought a $10 printed (low quality) picture of the H50 cast, but don’t worry it came with a sharpie LOL. I don’t even think she got it signed. I stood there for 2 hours seeing the stars come in one by one. I saw all of them but didn’t get to take a picture of all of them. It was hot and it was even hotter and nastier because of all the people around me sweating. But it’s an experience.

After an hour ish my sister went back to where my mom was and my little cousin found where I was and stood with me. Then 2 Aussie women flocked behind us as Alex O’Loughlin came by. My little cousin was freaking out and wanted a picture with him. He actually took the time to sign and engage with his fans but since we were at the end near the entrance, the people in charge rushed Alex so he didn’t get to take pictures with some of the fans. Then Aussie the ladies behind us goes “You’re welcome for giving you Americans that Aussie right there!!” I laughed. I’m pretty sure he heard that. I thought it was nice because he’s the main character, he should take time for his fans. Good job, Alex. Actually the only person who kinda zoomed through was Scott, the guy who plays Danno. Anyway, enough of my babbles here are pictures!

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Rachel & I waiting at the rails!

 

 

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Waiting for the cast at the entrance to the check in/end of red carpet. (They were late btw lol)

 

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Telia Tuli–plays Kamekona, the shrimp truck guy with his family. He was great with his fans too.

 

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Dennis Chun–plays Sgt. Duke Lukela, the sgt. in the HPD. He walked through the red carpet like he was the governor, or a political figure. He too was great with fans, obviously. SHAKAA BRAAA!

 

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My little cousin, Cara and I waiting for more of them to arrive. You can tell by my reddish face that I’m flushed and hot.

 

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Teilor Grubbs–plays Grace Williams, Danno’s daughter. She looks so mature and older! As she passed by all you can hear is “she’s so adorable!”

 

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Mark Dacascos–plays Wo Fat, one of the villains in the show, he’s some Chinese operative for Communist China. He’s pretty mean in the show but so friendly and outgoing in person! I have a video of my little cousin shaking his hand haha. He was talking to the fans, laughing and joking with them. He’s clearly a people person. Oh and he’s the Iron Chef guy, “Today’s secret ingredient is….” LOL 

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Alex O’Laughlin–plays good ol Steve McGarret leader of the 5-0. He’s a great guy talking to his fans, signing stuff and spending time with them. But he took too long that when he got to the end, they rushed him inside. This picture, photo cred to Cara, is him signing the last autograph before he had to get rushed in. I was kind of surprised at his accent, he hides it really well in the show.

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Scott Caan–plays Daniel “Danno” Williams, co-leader or pretty much Steve’s right hand man. His chemistry with Alex on screen is great and he’s funny on screen. But he sort of zoomed through the fans but at least he took some pictures and signed some pictures/shirts. He was rockin a floral shirt and a fedora, awesome.
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Jorge Garcia–plays Jerry Ortega, pretty much an informant for the 5-0, he did great in the Season Five premiere. He’s a funny guy and a friendly guy in person (as I observed).

 

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Daniel Dae Kim–plays Chin Ho Kelly, one of the 5-0 team. He too took his time to get through the fans and have conversations, take pictures, sign stuff. And he even held the phone to take a selfie with us. 

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Grace Park–plays Kono Kalakaua, one of the 5-0 team actually the only lady on the team. She’s gorgeous, tall, and so nice. She also took her time with the fans and got rushed in again. My phone died at this point so this picture is from @photolulutv on instagram! She’s my favorite character! And look at that dress, what a stunnaaa.

 

Well, that’s all I have for ya. Overall, it was interesting experience. I was not too fond of standing for so long and dying in the heat, I’m not a hardcore fan but I do love me some Hawaii Five-0. I’ve watched it since the first episode and watched it every Monday (then they changed to Fridays). Stay tuned on Sept. 26 to watch the premiere of Season 5! It’s really good.

 

God bless yall xo,

R