Supper Club Saturday: Bad Saint

Bad Saint

3226 11th St NW,
Washington, DC 20010

Even though our visit to Washington D.C. was going to be short, I did not want to pass up the opportunity to enjoy one of the top restaurants in the area (the question was which one?)  Well, Bad Saint was literally steps from where we were staying, so it would be foolhardy to pass up this opportunity.

Bad Saint is a Filipino Restaurant with limited seating and they take no reservations.  It is usually advised to come an hour or more before opening.

The Line for Bad Saint Before Opening

Having been raised by my Filipino Mom and having grown up on Filipino cuisine, why would I wait in line for something so familiar?  Even though it may be the same recipe, the dish will vary in flavor/style from island to island, and even from family to family.

I just wanted to see how their “house” recipes compare and contrast to ours.

What is Filipino food exactly?  There isn’t a concrete answer to that, and opinions differ from person to person, depending on who you ask.  The best answer I have from what I know of Filipino food is that it is a mix of a lot of things: Spanish, a variety of Asian influences (Chinese, Japanese and Korean, for example) and Indonesian, to name a few.  There is not a lot of sweet, but sour and salty.  There are dishes that are light and others that are heavy and comforting.

Yeah, the food is pretty diverse.

When they had opened, there was already a big party at the head of the line.  I believe the largest table they had sits 4 or 6 people. The line moved quickly and we advanced a few feet.  Already they were at capacity.  They were taking names and phone numbers so they could text you when a table is ready.

I came prepared for this already. I wasn’t too hungry yet and already planned to head back to our place to wait my turn.  I expected at least an hour and a half wait.

Then the Hostess announced that they had one seat available and asked if anyone was dining solo.  Hey, that would be me!

I raised my hand so high and fast, that I was literally standing on my toes.  The Hostess gestured to me and I followed her in.
Yeah, maybe it looked sad that I was eating alone, but I was far from being sad – I was happy that I did not have to wait over an hour to eat here after all!

I was seated along the windows on a high seat.  The bar ledge was edged with Mahjong tiles, and I was immediately reminded of the late nights with my Uncles and Cousins with the sounds of tiles getting “shuffled” on the card table.

Proof of Life (I Loved the Bar Behind Me)

When I was handed the menu, I was advised that the chef changes the selections often.

I may not have been hungry outside, but I was now.  The kitchen was literally behind me and, whatever they were cooking was making my mouth water.

I also accepted the fact that I was going to smell like food after this.

I decided to go with 3 dishes (mostly because I couldn’t make up my mind!)

I started with Kinilaw Na Pugita, which was octopus with fingerling potatoes and sliced Queen Olives in a vinagrette.

The octopus was light and fresh with a citrusy finish

I want to say we had something similar to this but with squid once.  I did like the olives in this version.

Next was Bulalo, a bone marrow stew with corn, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, green chili and a side of a vinegary fish sauce for more seasoning.  I couldn’t resist getting this as I am a fan of this stew!

Even With The Stew, I Couldn’t Forget the Rice!

The stew was delicious and reminded me of how my Mom makes it. In fact, its hard to say, whose is better.

The last dish I tried was Pancit Na Hipon, made with glass noodles, pork belly (mmm pork belly 😍), shrimp and chili.

This Had Some Kick!

Pancit is one of those dishes that takes many forms, usually dependent on the type of noodle.  When my Mom makes pancit, its with a rice noodle.  My aunt makes her with a thicker, almost lo mein style type noodle. With the noodles, you can add any type of protein (ie chicken, pork or shellfish) and sliced vegetables (ie celery, carrots, green onions) and don’t forget the fish sauce!  Having the pancit with the glass noodle was an interesting take. It almost slid in my mouth from the sauce and the pork belly.  The peanuts added crunch and the chilis some heat (even though I asked for it to be mild).   I really did like it.

At the end I was given, what reminded me of Turon, Banana Lumpia with Caramel Sauce.  However, the Hostess called it something else (I think, because it didnt sound like Turon).  The outside was a crispy and flaky egg roll wrapper, coated in a sticky caramel with a ripe and sweet banana inside.  Anyway, it was still good, no matter what it was.

Overall it was a great meal.  I wished I had more room to try the rest.  I definitely would go back if I had another opportunity.

Have you also been to Bad Saint?  How did it go?  Leave your comments below!

–Maeven

Photowalk: Venice Beach at Night

IMG_7308

In my previous post, I shared a video montage of Venice Beach in the daytime. One of my favorite beaches, Venice Beach is home to a diversity of people and culture. The walls are filled with color, the people all beautiful in their own ways, the streets crowded with the hustle and bustle of vendors, tourists, and residents alike. Music is usually heard in the background, from the stalls that line the boardwalk or from street performers trying to get you attention.

But Venice Beach at night? It is a whole different world when the sun goes down.

IMG_7309

The streets that are usually filled by people are empty, with a few stragglers here and there. Shops and restaurants are closed, lacking in color and life. The boardwalk is illuminated only be street lamps that keep people from hiding in entire darkness. Occasionally, a cop car would drive past, keeping peace and quiet at bay for everyone.

IMG_7448IMG_7451IMG_7452

The exact night I went to Venice Beach with my friend MB, California had legalized weed. So you bet yourself supporters are low-key celebrating themselves that night. At one point, I had walked past a group of teenage kids with a cardboard sign that read “We need Weed.”

IMG_7315IMG_7311IMG_7326

If you’ve frequented Venice Beach as much as I had, being in that same place at night time is an eerily interesting concept. You know what you should expect, yet your senses are warning you that there is something lacking: the life, the vibe, the soul that keeps Venice Beach alive.

IMG_7333IMG_7366IMG_7380

MB and I walked up and down the street that separated the buildings from the beach. We found interesting alley ways and took a gander to see what we’d find. We walked past one restroom building and overheard a few men about to start a fight, one side provoking the other. When the cop rolled past, every one was forced to keep their cool. But other than that, everyone just minded their own business. A couple of late night musicians still played music into the night, a handful of couples walking hand in hand maybe trying to walk off the dinner and drinks they just had.

IMG_7425IMG_7434IMG_7436

While I am not going to suggest one explores Venice Beach at night by themselves, I do encourage seeing it at night, bring a few friends, make an adventure out of it. Even though you know it’s the same Venice Beach, the stark contract between night and day is very much noticeable.

IMG_7440IMG_7443IMG_7447

Happy Summer everyone!

 

xo,
Jaja, the forever tourist (IG: @theforevertourist, #theforevertourist)

Good morning from Newport Beach! [VIDEO at end of post]

There are a handful of things I cherish and hold so close to my heart. One of those things is my constant need for alone time. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family and friends (that includes my cat Max). I love going out and doing things with the people I hold dear. But I get so caught up in my head and my thoughts that I have this constant need to have some alone time.

IMG_6716

The best place for me to get that solitude is by going to the beach.. right before sunrise. I love both sunset and sunrise but they give me different kinds of peace of mind and calm.. if that even makes sense. My go-to sanctuary is Newport Beach. It’s a small strip of beach in the Balboa peninsula, and the area has a small community surrounding it, which makes it perfect because it doesn’t get as crowded as the more touristy destinations like Santa Monica, Venice, etc.

I love that beach so much, even though it’s quite a drive from home. But in the morning? It’s so quiet and homey. As soon as I get there, I go buy my donut and coffee at Seaside Donuts, a tradition I’ve set for myself. And then I go sit at “my bench” and set up my camera, my book, and then I get comfortable while I wait for the sun to rise.

There are times when it’s too cloudy that you won’t see the actual sun go up. But just being in that place, in that time, warms my heart.

IMG_6713IMG_6756

As I walk around the pier and then down to the shoe, you see people greeting each other – most likely neighbors who do the same routine every morning. Most weekends, you’ll find a long line coming out from Dory Fishing Fleet Market. People flock there even before dawn breaks to catch the freshest seafood for that weekend. You also get your community of surfers, starting their days by catching some waves.

IMG_6728IMG_6729IMG_6758IMG_6784

I stay for maybe 3 or 4 hours, depending on how fast it gets crowded or warm. You might think, “Well that’s quite some time to kill huh.” I only go there when I have no plans for the day. I’m not a big fan of rushing, that’s why I always plan my day accordingly.

On this particular day, I noticed a group of people doing some huge and beautiful sand art. The artists are called Low Tide Aliens (IG: @lowtidealiens), and it look like a fun activity they were having. They had kids and other family members and friends helping them out. Check out their Instagram account to have their beautiful sand art take your breath away!

IMG_6718IMG_6719IMG_6788

I’ve visited Newport Beach more times than I can remember, from every “season” California can offer. I love the sense of community in that place, I love the peace and quiet it brings. I love that it doesn’t get too crowded, and I especially love that it’s open so early in the morning. It doesn’t matter if I wanna go there and catch up with a friend, or I want to de-stress my mind and my soul. This piece of the world will always be my mind’s sanctuary.

I wanna share one this video I made in Newport Beach back in December of 2015. I remember I had an 11hr work day the night before ( I think I came home 2am) and I was restless and tired from all the emotional and mental stress from my old job. I knew I just had to go to the beach that morning. I shot a time lapse video of the sunrise, and while I was sitting there, Ed Sheeran’s Lego House popped into my mind. So as soon as I got home, I stitched together the videos I shot while listening to the song. Here it is, guys. It’s not much, but the visuals pretty much reflected how I was feeling that day.

 

 

 

 

Let’s talk about life.. and that Drake wall in LA

Hello, everyone! Jaja here, your resident #theforevertourist. I apologize profusely for not being active on the blog as much as I should have. Life happened, and uh, yeah. I’m just so happy that I have my fellow bloggers keeping everything active here. Thanks so much, ladies!

Let’s talk about what I’ve been up to lately.

I started a new job just a couple of months after starting this blog, and that new job basically took over my life! It was a different “career path”, something I never expected to be in, so I wanted to focus my energy into learning more about that. Aside for my new job (that I love so much), I have started a couple of projects here and there as well. Mainly, a vlogging channel on YouTube. As soon as everything’s more streamlined, I’d be more than proud to share that with everyone. Also, when the year 2017 came to be, I only had one resolution, to improve my skills as a photographer. So that’s another thing that took up a lot of my time: going on adventures, taking photos, scheduling portrait sessions, going on photo walks, editing, editing, and EDITING. I was editing photos up the wazoo, y’all.

Anyway, I feel like I’m kind of caught up with most of my projects, so I decided to jump back in the blog. Like I said, I appreciate Maeven and Justine for keeping things running.

So, let’s go back to “touristing” yeah?

When I got my new job, I found myself a photography buddy. You’ll see him occasionally on my photos, coz I make him pose for me too when I shoot random portraits. Since then, we’ve been going on tons of photo walks, mainly exploring Los Angeles. Now I know I consider myself a Chicago gal (not a fan of the absurd summer temperatures here), but walking up and down the streets of Los Angeles gave me a new sense of adoration for the city. Just like that, I started falling in love with the City of Angels. There’s just so many things to do here, and hey, places to eat as well. The best way to see the city is to walk of course.

When my friend GN asked if I wanted to check out “the Drake wall” I gave him a weird look. I have not heard of such a spot downtown.

And then he showed me some photos.

Basically, it’s the Weller Court hallway in Little Tokyo in DTLA. It’s obviously much cooler to see it at night. The hallway is lighted up in neon pink/white/purple. Oh and the lights move too. Of course, I found the place very interesting. It’s literally just a hallway. It takes you from the street to the inside of the court. But of course everybody can see the resemblance of the background from Drake’s Hotline Bling video, which begs the question “How many people actually tried to recreate the video after seeing this hallway?”

IMG_7832

Of course, we didn’t just drive through all that LA rush hour traffic just to take photos of this hallway. We walked a couple blocks down to where the food is! Well actually, we just stopped by Mikawaya, a dessert place in Little Tokyo that carries tons of mochi ice cream flavors. HEAVEN!!

IMG_7882IMG_7880IMG_7879

It was getting late so we headed back to the car. But not before trying some night photography on the street as well. We practiced with moving lights by taking photos of the cars speeding past and by writing using a pen light. I thought it was a fail on my part. I should already know how to do this. But NOPE. I mean, we tried. I felt like my photography skills regressed that night. Hence, the practice and practice and practice.

Well, that’s it for now. I have a few more photo walks to upload and talk about, and I can’t wait to share it with everybody. If you’ve been to any of the places I’ve visited, or you’re planning to go, let me know what you guys think! Have a nice rest of the week everyone!

xo,
Jaja, the forever tourist

Wanderlust Wednesday: Washington D.C. (Part 1)

Though I have lived here all my life and traveled to a number of places, I still haven’t been to D.C. (what?!!)  So my family and I decided to remedy that and take a road trip to America’s Capital this past April.  It would be for an extended weekend (four to five days), and I knew that I wouldn’t even begin to scratch the surface on visiting everything DC had to offer.  However, we will make an effort to make a dent!

Pro Tip:  The White House, the Capital Building, the Pentagon, and the Supreme Court offer tours by staff or volunteers.  Some of them are arranged through your local Congress Representative or through the website.  When I looked into getting tours four months before our trip, there were none available (already booked?).  We did manage to get a tour of the Capital Building weeks before our trip after placing our names on standby with Tammy Duckworth’s office.  That being said, if you know for certain that you will be wanting to tour any of these places, look into them ASAP!

The Family on Our Fantastic Journey

We decided to drive there, which is about 12 hours one way.  Our first day, we drove halfway and stopped in Toledo, OH.  BTW, I really like the rest stops on the Ohio Turnpike over Indiana and Pennsylvania (at least on the route we took).

The next day, we completed the journey.  We did this because we had an AirBnB reservation – our FIRST AirBnB reservation ever – and we had to get the key from them OR the lockbox.  I didn’t want to chance having to get the key from them at a late hour.

Usually I am able to get a decent price on hotel rooms, but in the DC area, the hotel rooms were running at least $200/night.  I decided to try AirBnB for our trip.  For five days, for a 1BR apartment with parking, with taxes and cleaning charges, it was $550.

Anyway, we arrived in the area through Virginia.  We were still early for check-in, so we decided to stop at Arlington Cemetery first.   Some of the oldest resting places there date back to before the Civil War.

 

20170408_160659

View of the Washington Memorial from Arlington

20170408_160943

United States Air Force Memorial

 

20170408_161009

The Grave of Robert Peary, who was a US Navy Officer that made several expeditions to the North Pole.

 

View of the Pentagon from Arlington Cemetary

 

McClellan Gate – for Major General George B. McClellan

We then headed to our AirBnB to rest for the night.  We were in an area called Columbia Heights.  I noticed a couple of Greek (ie Fraternity/Sorority) houses on our drive up 11th Street.  I then found out we were near Howard University.  I did a quick Wiki search on them and found out this:  Howard University originally opened shortly after the Civil War, originally to be a theological seminary for African-American Clergymen.  Now, it offers a diverse array of undergraduate programs and graduate programs (ie Business,  Education, Law, Medicine, Nursing, etc).  Also, they had produced Fulbright Scholars, Rhodes Scholars, Truman Scholars, Pickering Fellows and a Marshall Scholar.  In 2015 it ranked in the top 75 in the Bloomberg Businessweek college rankings.  It also produces the most black doctorate recipients of any university.

In other words, there are a lot of smart people at Howard University!  Kudos!

We have only been in the area for a few hours and I’m already learning a lot!

For dinner, we ate at a nearby restaurant called “The Coupe” and it was recommended to us by our AirBnB hosts.

 

Grilled Hangar Steak

 

 

Mac and Cheese

Cuban Sandwich with House Made Chips

 

Getting back to our AirBnB, our apartment was spotless (thanks to the professional cleaning service they hire) and the hosts were very thorough and accessible.  If you are ever in the D.C. area, and don’t mind a short commute, look up Host Alper under “Cozy 1BD apt steps away from metro with parking.”

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Peary

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_University

http://www.thecoupedc.com/

https://www.airbnb.com

 

 

 

 

Yakitori Boogytori

Yes, it’s really fun to say. And yes, sometimes I say it all exaggerated, as if I’m the announcer for Iron Chef (original series). And YES, I spell it wrong 99% of the time!

But hiding on the shadows of Schaumburg, in a place called Arlington Heights, you will find one of my favorite suburban restaurants. Part of the reason I love it so much is because it is the offspring of my favorite restaurants in the CITY – Wasabi *_*.. but more about that another time.

Continue reading