My cousin sent me a picture of Chicago about a week ago and they have snow already!  Aren’t they so lucky?  🙁  I really liked the weekend we had cold weather.  Now it’s back to the muggy humidity.  Bleh!

Cloud Gate – Chicago, IL

Just wanted to share some pictures of the Bean from Chicago aka Cloud Gate.  Can you guess why it’s called Cloud Gate?  It was a really hot day so I didn’t stick around to take too many pictures.  I’m also including a picture of the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower), we were going to go up but were told it was a 2 hour wait to get up there!  I’ve been up once before so I am good…lol.




Chinatown – Chicago, IL

Anytime I’m traveling, I like to check out the Chinatown if possible.  San Francisco has a huge Chinatown but I must have fluked out because the dim sum I tried was nothing special.  In fact, the dim sum I tried at SF and New York were nothing to write home about – they just made me miss the dim sum at home!  The dim sum I have tried in Chicago has been the best I’ve had in the mainland.  I actually dined at this same restaurant (Ming Hin) during my last trip and wanted to try a new restaurant so we headed to Chinese restaurant that specialized in main dishes/noodles.  Well we got seated right away but was ignored after that.  We watched as they seated more and more people and no one even came to see us with a menu.  I looked around and caught the eye of the girl behind the counter.  She caught my glance and proceeded to do nothing.  So…we left and went to Ming Hin.  Ming Hin is a huge Chinese restaurant and they’ve got everything down to a science!  The wait staff know Mandarin/Cantonese/English and their ordering system is so easy!  The menu is all pictures and you just put the number of orders you want with each picture.  We need this in Hawaii!  Also…the wait staff is incredibly friendly, something Hawaii is also lacking…hehe.


This is kind of like deja vu.  I had a pork hash post not too long ago…it’s my favorite dim sum dish.  This version was pretty good.

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Slurping Turtle – Chicago, IL

Being the Asian that I am, I made it a point to scope out as many Asian restaurants as I could.  As if I don’t get enough Asian food in Hawaii right?  The Slurping Turtle was located very close to our hotel so we decided to give them a try one night for dinner.  The restaurant was very busy but we were able to score a seat almost immediately!  As we were greeted by the waitress, we were informed that a future Top Chef contestant was the chef of this restaurant!  How exciting!  He even had a special tasting menu but since I was dining with others, I decided to order just noodles.  I guess this gives me an excuse to go back to the restaurant next time I return!  Let’s take a look at the food shall we?

130908-01Cute ah?  Sorry for the shiny spot on the menu…

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Shaw’s Crab House – Chicago, IL

After my cousin’s white coat ceremony at her school, we decided to celebrate at a nice restaurant.  After searching through the many restaurants to choose from, we made a reservation at Shaw’s Crab House.  Busy busy place so I assume it’s great.  I think the food was good but the service was lacking.  The waiter seemed disinterested right after we declined drinks.  Sorry guys, we don’t all enjoy alcohol.  He all but disappeared for the rest of the meal which by the way lasted like half an hour (seriously!).  I can say that the food was delivered quickly and it wasn’t too bad to eat.  I do think you’re paying for the atmosphere, it’s really too bad the service was poor.  We did enjoy the food otherwise.


King crab legs!! 

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Wow Bao – Chicago, IL

Okay, so I’ve been to Chicago three times now.  The first time I went, I went with Kristian and we saw Wow Bao in downtown.  We both giggled like school kids at the name and the tagline.  Take a look at the cup, can you see it?  Yes, there it is.  Hot Asian Buns.  How can you not laugh at something so silly?  My second trip, I couldn’t help but go in and see what the big deal was.  Yes, they do specialize in hot buns.  This place is awesome, they make the food fast and as far as I can tell…pretty fresh.  They also make salads and dumplings.  So in my second trip, I totally got hooked on the spicy peanut noodles.  HOOKED.  I think I went there two or three times in the second trip.

This last trip I was a bit more disciplined.  Only once!  Spicy Peanut Noodle Salad.  It is SO good, I wish we had a Wow Bao here or that I could duplicate that recipe.  I was also able to try a seasonal ginger tea which was very refreshing.  Here are the pictures!



Noodles, cilantro, cucumber and peanut dressing – there’s nowhere to go wrong with this!!


I am alive, indeed!  I’ve been back from Chicago for about a week now and it’s taken me about that long to get back to Hawaii time.  I spent last week waking up at 4 am almost everyday.  I had a very nice trip to Chicago.  It was incredibly hot the first two days but cooled down a bit for the rest of the trip.  The trip was definitely spent moving my cousin into her apartment for school.  It’s quite all right because we definitely got in some good eats and some sight seeing!  I wasn’t holding my camera too much this trip but did get some pictures through my phone that I will be sure to upload.

I’ve gotta admit, I’ve been in a bit of a slump for the past few weeks.  I don’t know what it has been and I don’t know how to get out of it. I also think the word slump is underselling what I’m feeling but what can I say?  It’s on me to get through this.  I hope everyone is doing well.  I leave you with my first meal of Chicago.  A Chicago dog from Portillos…along with cheese fries that I did not capture!

130902-01I’m not a fan of the hot peppers but everything else is winners.  


Snow in Chicago

Wow, trying to blog everyday is challenging.  I will try my best though!  Not sure who is reading this out there…but I hope you will say hi sometime!  🙂

As promised, I wanted to share my snow pictures from Chicago.  It is definitely my favorite trip to the mainland of all time!  Not only did the snowy winter trip make me ecstatic but I just felt so stress free during this trip.  It was nice to have a nice and leisurely trip.  Well, on to the pictures!

Snow dusted pine tree - one of my first pictures of the trip!

Snow dusted pine tree – one of my first pictures of the trip!

The famous Crown Fountain in Millennium Park.

The famous Crown Fountain in Millennium Park.

Snowman - Hawaiian Style!

Snowman – Hawaiian Style!

I love trees in the winter...

I love trees in the winter…

Ice Skating at the Park!

Ice Skating at the Park! 

Snow falling from the sky!  I was elated!

Snow falling from the sky! I was elated!

Another picture of the falling snow.  Boy do I miss it.

Another picture of the falling snow. Boy do I miss it.





Hot Woks Cool Sushi in Chicago

I have been to Chicago twice in the past 2 years and may be going again near the end of the summer.  The first trip?  Strictly vacation.  I had a great time, the weather was brisk and I really got a feel for Chicago.  The second time was this past February to accompany my cousin to her Pharmacy School interview.  While this trip was unplanned, it could not have been more perfect!  One thing I have wanted to see in all my life was snow and this trip provided that.  Not only did I get to see and touch snow, on one of my last days, I actually got to see snow fall from the sky.  It really was a dream come true.  I’m sure I’ll post the snow pictures soon after this post.  It was pretty funny because when we checked into the hotel, I was told that it was a weird winter for Chicago and that this was the first snow they had all year!  Absolutely magical for this Hawaii girl.

Anyhow, I wanted to share some pictures from this restaurant with you.  I went to this restaurant on both trips and plan to go back if I go again!  When I look up the reviews for Hot Woks Cool Sushi, they are pretty mediocre.  This restaurant is also located right across the street from Cloud Gate so it is probably considered a tourist trap.  I don’t mind though – I’ve enjoyed both meals I had.

Tuna Avocado Salad - amazing dressing!

Tuna Avocado Salad – amazing dressing!

Caterpillar - Signature Sushi Roll

Harajuku – Signature Sushi Roll

These rolls include yellow tail, seared albacore, jalapeño, avocado, cilantro with orange and black tobikko outer covering.

These rolls include yellow tail, seared albacore, jalapeño, avocado, cilantro with orange and black tobikko outer covering.

HOT WOKS Noodles

HOT WOKS Noodles

House specialty. Stir-fry with chicken, shrimp, spinach noodles & mixed vegetables in sweet/tangy sauce. Includes jalapeno peppers.

House specialty. Stir-fry with chicken, shrimp, spinach noodles & mixed vegetables in sweet/tangy sauce. Includes jalapeno peppers.

I also appreciate this restaurant for their clean bathrooms!  After exploring Cloud Gate and the park, it’s nice to settle into a warm and cozy restaurant for some good food and a restroom break.  I think I’ve had good food for both visits, nothing to complain about.  Check them out if you are out in Chicago!