Sunday, February 1, 2015

Ivan Ramen

Last week, Luke and I had the pleasure of visiting Ivan Ramen in Manhattan. It was our first date night in a VERY long time.

The idea of going to Ivan Ramen preceded our decision to have a date night. Meaning, we decided to have a date night because one of Luke's customers worked at Ivan Ramen and invited us to check out the place. When I heard we were going to Ivan Ramen I basically freaked out because I had been wanting to for a while. I had been hearing so many good things about it!

I basically wanted to try everything on the menu but I stopped myself from ordering everything! So, we ordered a two appetizers and two noodle dishes, but they brought out a few extras for us to enjoy!

1000 Year Old Deviled Egg (Hen Egg + Preserved Duck Egg, Tomato, Bonito)
A damn good deviled egg. Loved the bonito... love me some bonito on anything!

Warm Japanese Sweet Potatoes (Miso, Maple, Pecans)
I can't even explain to you how good this was. We were fighting over it. The miso/maple combo was just the perfect unity between Japan and America! If I were a food, I would be a miso maple paste.

Tofu Coney Island (Miso Mushroom Chili, Yellow Mustard, Scallions)
I gotta say, this was not one of the things we were going to order, but they brought it out. AND THANK GOD THEY DID. As a kid, I grew up loving "Age Dofu" which is fried tofu. My mom also used to make a thick, tangy mushroom sauce that she would pour over thick udon noodles. This is what the chili reminded me of. So this dish, a combination of those two things, was strangely nostalgic and I loved every bite. The mustard was a perfect addition too.

Lancaster Okonomiyaki (Scrapple Waffle, Charred Cabbage, Pickled Apple, Maple Kewpie)
I expected a regular Okonimiyaki because I had no idea was Scrapple was. I ate it all with some help from Luke, because it was delicious but I didn't think to ask what it was that I was eating until after I finished. And then it all made sense. The majority of the "Okonimiyaki" was made of a more fancy "Ivan" version of scrapple, which was explained to me as pork scraps. The pickled apple gave an interesting flavor, and the maple kewpie of course just made it perfect. Everyone knows I only use "Kewpie" (Japanese) mayo... no Hellman's for me!

Ivan's Dan Dan Noodle "Dry Style" (Aromatic Sesame Oil, Spiced Pork Sauté, Thick Whole Wheat Noodles, Egg Yolk)
I love that this came with a raw egg yolk. I love that Japanese people love raw eggs because raw eggs are delicious. When I was little, one of m favorite meals was "sara sara gohan" which was simply a hot bowl of rice, a raw egg, and a little bit of shoyu mixed together. This was nothing like "sara sara gohan" but the egg yolk did give a warm thick flavor to the noodles just like it did for my rice. The sesame flavor was so good, it was almost unbearable. The noodles were also thick and hearty. This was very FILLING! Or maybe, we had already just eaten a ton of stuff by then....

Triple Pork Triple Garlic Mazemen (Tonkotsu Broth, Pork Chashu, Whole Wheat Noodles)
OMG, and this one! So much porkage but it doesn't feel like too much. The three "porks" were tonkotsu broth, chashu (braised pork belly), and bacon. Just FYI, there is no "broth" like soup... it's more of a thick sauce. We also got an egg to accompany the noodles. It was so delicious. This was also a very filling dish!

I think what I loved most about Ivan Ramen, besides the food being delicious, was that it reminded me so much of my childhood and the delicious home-cooked meals that my mom made. The flavors, the textures, even the wallpaper of the restaurant (think Anpanman, Ultra Man, Kamen Rider, etc.) was so reminiscent of my childhood! But then again, it is definitely NOT traditional Japanese cooking. They incorporated tons of Western flavors and they blended perfectly together.

Ivan Ramen
25 Clinton Street
New York, NY 10002
Tel: 646-678-3859

Saturday, November 1, 2014

First Comes Love, Then Comes The Baby....

...then comes marriage in the case of Miki and Luke.

This morning at 11 AM, we were married by Luke's aunt Sara! We are finally married.

Honestly, it doesn't feel that different to be "married"... I think partly because we already had that understanding that we loved each other no matter what and that we were going to do the best we could to raise this amazing boy that we have together.

It was a very intimate wedding ceremony. It was held at Luke's parent's house and the only people in attendance were our immediate family members. What was most special to me was that my dad joined us via Skype from Japan! Following the official "marriage" stuff which only lasted about 5 minutes, we had this amazing spread of Polish food that Luke's mom had prepared for us! Pierogies, smoked pork chops, smoked ham, stuffed cabbage, etc.

It was such a perfect wedding. It literally took only like 10 minutes of planning and there was literally NO stress! No bridezilla for me!

Was it my "dream" wedding? No. But I just can't see any value (money, effort, stress) in planning an extravagant wedding (right now). So.... I am truly grateful for my wedding turning out the way it did :-) I love my family so much and today just made me realize how amazing my life is.

And P.S.- Luke made these awesome guitar string wedding bands!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Being A Baby Model's Mom

So Levon got into the modeling business back in March when he was about 6 months old. I knew what I was getting myself into because everyone told me it was going to be a lot of work; last minute calls, constant trips into the city, crying babies, etc.

It has been a lot of work on my part... it's almost like I have a third job trying to manage all of Levon's stuff. We have been lucky though because Levon has booked some cool jobs. At this point I feel like we haven't wasted money/time... We've just about broke even.

There are definitely a lot of perks of being in this business too. Obviously seeing gorgeous pictures of your child is amazing. For me however, the thing I look forward to the most when heading to the shoots is this... the catering. OMG... the food!

I'm THAT person. Whenever there's free food, I'm on it. And I'll even take pictures of it! The production people at the shoots probably think I'm like this poor girl who never eats!

The best shoot by far by catering standards was the Tom Tailor shoot. Fluffy scrambled eggs, a cheese board, gourmet funky flavored doughnuts, french toast... I died! I don't even want to know what they had for lunch!

Another good one was the Fisher Price commercial shoot. They had some kind of food truck doing the catering. I got the short ribs and quinoa. Wow, I don't even have to work and I'm getting fed a gourmet meal! Levon got unlimited puffs, juice, diapers and wipes... good for him :-) I was eating with Levon's spoon because I was too lazy to walk back over to the truck to get eating utensils!

And Old Navy... lots of fresh fruit and breads! My favorite was the dried mangoes because I'm just obsessed with dried mangoes. And cherries because I'm obsessed with cherries! They also had a delicious cheddar, tomato, and dill egg muffin!

So, parents, if you decide to get your child into modeling and get a casting for any of these companies, fight for you child to get the job! You will be rewarded with delicious, free food!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Levon Is 50% Off!

Babies can get expensive. Especially if you're like me, and you have compulsions to buy adorable clothes for your baby who will probably only wear that article of clothing two or three times. The clothes I buy are definitely NOT expensive, but they're also not from the Babies R Us clearance rack. I love good quality, cute clothes.... which basically means Baby Gap, Hannah Anderson, and my new favorite, Zara Baby.

Zara Baby

I want to make it clear that I do not spend TONS of money on clothes for Levon. We have been lucky enough to have a lot of people give us hand me downs. I am just saying that babies can get expensive in general with all the organic this and that, diapers, formula, etc. We are not wealthy by any means and we are also not poor by any means. However, I do work two jobs not because I want to, but because I like having that extra security. And sometimes there isn't even that "extra security" but I will go ahead and buy Levon some cute stuff... because in my mind he needs it. In reality he doesn't need it at all. I think in my head, I just like seeing him in new outfits.

I recently discovered that Levon looks really good in sleeveless shirts! He has amazing shoulder definition! (Is that ridiculous to say?) So I've been on a mission to find cute sleeveless shirts (not onesies), and I found myself being disappointed in the selection at a few different stores. I did end up buying some stuff but I felt guilty because the stuff I bought wasn't exactly what I was looking for.

Today, to make up for my guilt, I came up with a brilliant idea to "re-do" some of his old clothes. A few nights ago I was in a creative mood, so I upcycled a few of my old band t-shirts. The result: so cute! It felt like I had a new piece of clothing in my wardrobe! Which can only mean that I basically paid only 50% because I got two shirts for the price of one!

Same idea goes for Levon! Because I'm reusing his old clothes, I'm basically saving 50% on him!

I have a bag of clothes that either no longer fit Levon or are too winterish. I grabbed a few long sleeve onesies and a few footed pajamas. Tonight was the beginning of Project Sleeves...

 Before                                                After
 Before                                                After
  Before                                                After
  Before                                                After

So... yeah. It's nothing special but it's a fun project! I am going to make some shorts now because I love showing off Levon's thigh rolls :-D

And after that is Project Bandana Bib because they are just awesome on any baby!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Levon Is 3/4 Of A Year Old

Today, Levon is 9 months old. It also happens to be his 39 week birthday. Yes, I am neurotic like that. It started when people asked me how old Levon was in the first few months when it was still acceptable to answer with a "week" count. I don't know why, but I still keep track of the weeks. I think it's amazing to see how much he's grown and how many weeks I've been able to survive motherhood. I guess I'm just that kind of mother... I keep track of EVERYTHING with pictures, videos, and a memory book.

Today was a good day that symbolized how amazing motherhood is for me. I got up early to go to the gym to start my day off with a nice, sweaty workout. Then, Levon and I went to a casting call for Babies R Us in New Jersey. It was a quick casting (thank GOD!) so we were home by 11:15 AM!
This beautifully smooth morning was followed by a delicious lunch at Burrito Poblano in Tuckahoe which we basically didn't even pay for because I got a LivingSocial deal for $15.00 for $30.00 worth of food! And the food was amazing! The funnest part about eating out with Levon now is feeding him bits and pieces of our meal. I am not as nervous as I was a few weeks ago about wondering whether he was going to be allergic to certain foods, or my biggest fear yet, him choking on big chunks of food! It really is amazing to see how strong and resilient he is...

So now comes the time of day where I have to go to work, which typically is the most conflicting time of day! I am SO grateful that I have a job and that I can work. However, sometimes I anticipate missing Levon so much that I have a hard time leaving. Today was one of those days because Levon and Luke were cuddling so beautifully and I just wanted to join them! However, once I left, I was able to get into work mode and enjoy my role as a worker. I like the flexibility of being both a mom and a worker.

I got home at around 9 PM, and I was way too tired to cook so I had delicious leftovers of Spaghetti Squash and Kielbasa! I peeked into the bedroom to see that Levon was sound asleep. I closed the door happy to know that I have a partner who is MORE than capable of taking care of our son. He's an amazing father and an amazing partner.

Today was an exceptional day. However, even when I have a rough day, I am able to say that I did the best that I could. And when I feel really bad, I just tell myself I'm a hip mom. I mean c'mon, I have Burgundy hair and I see the Misfits with my son and my tattooed friends :-D

Monday, May 12, 2014

My First Mother's Day

My last post was in September of 2012, which was a post about my Disney World experience as an adult.

Wow, how things have changed.

About two months after my trip to Disney World, I became PREGNANT, and the majority of 2013 was spent frolicking around as the freakishly happy pregnant woman that I was. I loved being pregnant.

August 27th which was our due date passed by. Then our original due date of August 29th passed us by. Then on September 1st, I felt my first contraction.My soon to be husband, Luke, and I joked, "Wouldn't it be funny if you went into labor on Labor day?" Since labor day was on September 2nd.

Before this, I had never even felt a Toni Braxton contraction! I continued on with my day because I was told to call the doctor when contractions were about five minutes apart. After my morning workout, I went with my mom and brother to Outback Steakhouse for a healthy lunch of Salad with Grilled Salmon. People have told me that I was the most boring pregnant woman for having no food cravings. If anything I craved grapefruit which I had almost every day. I worked out every day and ate healthily 90% of the time. I gained 24 pounds by the end of my pregnancy.

So, back to my Salmon at Outback... by the end of my last bite, my contraction were anywhere between five and seven minutes. I called the doctor just to be safe and the doctor on call said, "Well, you don't sound like you're having g serious contractions, but since you're almost a week past your due date, why don't you come in to the hospital." My first thought was "Oh my fucking god this is really happening." My second thought was, "What did he mean that I didn't sound like I was having serious contractions? How much more painful is this gonna be?"

I called Luke. He was at work. At the time he didn't drive so my brother went to pick him up. I went with my mom with my hospital bag that I had packed and ready to go since like August 1st.

When I got to the maternity ward at White Plains Hospital, I got really nervous and excited. The nurses checked me out. They kind of laughed because I was still giddy and smiley. They were like, "Honey, these contraction are like tiny contractions. You need to come back when they're stronger. You will not be able to talk or smile when you have a real contraction." I thought to myself, "Oh these nurses don't know that I've been exercising my entire pregnancy so the labor won't be as bad." I was SO wrong.

Long story short, I went home, my water broke a little after midnight (I had to go to the hospital immediately if my water broke since I tested positive for some kind of bacteria, and they had to put me on IV antibiotics so that the baby wouldn't get it), I was able to go drug and epidural free for 8 hours of strong contractions, I caved and got the epidural at 10:30 AM, slept for two hours, woke up and pushed for 30 minutes, and Levon was born at 1:05 PM. Some women have told me I had an easy labor and delivery. Maybe it was free of complications but it was still pretty damn painful and draining!

It's been 36 weeks since Levon's birth and it's been the best 36 weeks of my life. Being a mom is a lot of hard work but it has also been the most rewarding.

I never thought Mother's Day would mean so much to me. Yesterday was a day that made me look back on these 36 weeks and be proud of the mother I've become. There are days when I want to rip my head off and there are days when I just want to cry and give up. Luckily for me there are even more days where I thank God for giving me the gift of such a beautiful, healthy, and happy baby.

Happy Mother's Day to all the women who are mothers or play the mother role to a child. It's the best job in the world. And yes it is a job!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Disney World Gets Better With Age

So guess where I got to go?

Disney World!

It was so much better at the age of 26! I felt so much more powerful than the 5 year olds. I had no problem bullying my way to get my picture taken with Alice in Wonderland.

There are so many pictures that I would love to post but I am going to keep it mostly on the food! I was just so excited because I got to take so many picture with my mom and we haven't been on vacation in such a long time that I am happy we have a lot of memories now!

Here's just one.... right as we stepped out of the Orlando airport:

And here's our view from our room at the Wyndham Grand Orlando Bonnet Creek. 10th floor. Holy schnitzel!

We ate as soon as we got to the hotel because our Jet Blue complimentary snacks of Pop Corners and Terra Blue Chips were not sufficient. We ate at the Poolside Bar/Restaurant called Back Bay Pool Bar. It was good. Nothing special but it was good.


The Floridian Salad

Then for dinner, we went to the Swan Hotel to check out where my mom's dance competition was being held. There we decided on Kimono's, a Japanese restaurant.

Octopus Kimchee Salad

Stuffed Eggplant with Crab and Chicken

Banzai Roll- Spicy Tuna, Avocado, and Eel

We followed up the next morning with a buffet breakfast in the hotel at Tesoro Cove. I'm typically not the biggest fan of buffets, unless it's Indian food, but this one was fabulous!

TONS of fresh fruit, an omelette station, a waffle station, oatmeal, sausage, french toast (which sucked), pastries. They had EVERYTHING! The only bizarre turn-off is that you have to pay extra for pancakes. WTF? Not that I really wanted pancakes but why do you have to pay extra only for pancakes? Weird.

After breakfast was my mom's dance competition where she did very well in the Nationals. Congratulations mama!

We celebrated at Deep Blu which is the more upscale restaurant inside the Wyndham Hotel. This place was top notch! Everything from the very nice waiter to the food was perfect!

They started us off with "Foccaccia" bread. I don't know what kind of Foccaccia Floridians are eating but it def was not what I'm used to! The bread was good nonetheless. It came with eggplant+garlic butter :-D

We got the Crab Cakes as a recommendation... the waiter was like "it's 88% crab and 12% breadcrumbs" I was totally like you had me at Crab!

Then we had the Mixed Green Salad which had pear, gorgonzola, and walnuts. Fab!

For entrées, I got the Parmesan and Herb Crusted Cod with Mushroom Risotto and Asparagus:

Mom got the Filet Mignon:

I was stuffed but definitely had room for dessert!

Creme Brulee with Fried Bananas!

And of course a cappuccino!

We started with the buffet again!

Then, we had a light lunch at the Magic Kingdom at a place called Tony's. I was very confused here. Why is everyone 106 years old? How did the food come out in under 3 minutes after we ordered it?

Anyways, I had a Salad with Grilled Chicken, and mom had the Eggplant Parm with Spaghetti.

Both were pretty bad, but I was surprised at how photogenic the food was.

At the last minute, we decided to go see my mom's favorite dancer Yulia Zagoruychenko at around 9:30. We weren't out of there until about 1:30AM!.

Because I was starving, I was ready to eat as soon as we left, so when we got home, we got the Room Service! The food was SO good!

Ceasar Salad

Turkey Club!


We skipped breakfast because we were running late to get to Epcot but no worries because all you really do in Epcot is eat foods from different counties.
They started us off with a Baguette

Then, we got the Fried Goat Cheese Salad

We also got the Crepes Florentine to share!

For dinner, we went to Tesoro Cove since we only had breakfast there.
The food here is really really good. We got the Surf and Turf since we couldn't make up our mind!

By this time, my camera had died so I don't have any pictures....

Then came day FIVE where we had to check out and come back to NY....