Friday, April 23, 2010

I'm Back!

April in Thailand is wet and wild during the annual Songkran (aka Water) Festival that marks the Thai New Year and the beginning of the rainy season.  I am not ashamed to say, I hate this holiday.  I lived through it once and found participants intrusive and aggressive and it was downright annoying to be drenched with water days on end, especially on the way to and from work.  (I sound like Scrooge, I know.)  So, I have vowed to myself to always leave the region during this time of the year.  (Yes, as I discovered three years ago, it's not only a Thai phenomenon; Burma celebrates drenching strangers, too.)

This year, T and I traveled to Nepal where we remained undrenched (except for copious sweating on our trek to and from Namche).  It was awesome.  The hiking was tough, but the views made it all worth it.  I loved being in nature and working hard during the day and then hunkering down with a book or a few games of Uno before an early bedtime.  The mountains breathed new life into me and I had a smile plastered on my face nearly the entire time.  I just couldn't contain my happiness.     
T on one of the many suspension bridges --not for those with fears of heights!
Namche Bazaar.  We made it!
From our hotel window at Snowland.  We moved to the much nicer and friendlier Namche Hotel the next night.
  Thar she blows!  Everest!  (T was pretty disappointed that all we could see was the tip.)
A mani stone with "om mani padme hum" painted in Tibetan on it.  The words are considered sacred, so one must always walk clockwise around these stones, as tradition dictates.
Ah, mountains!  LOVE them.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Birthday Cupcakes

I took on the task of baking cupcakes for a friend's daughter's 3rd birthday.  I opted for plain chocolate cupcakes using a Cook's Illustrated (maybe the smartest, usually-right-on cooking magazine out there) recipe with a surprise ingredient of sour cream (crazy! wild!) to make the cakes lighter and cut the sweetness a bit.  Much needed, since I topped the cupcakes with super-sugary buttercream.  This was my first attempt at buttercream and I don't know if I did something wrong or if I'm just not a fan of buttercream, but it was just ultrasweet, buttery, and otherwise pretty flavorless.  Blech.  I'm much more of a chocolate ganache girl.

All in all, I thought the project turned out well and all who partook in the results seemed happy.  Including the birthday girl.

Perhaps my greatest source of pride: a homemade cupcake transporter

Also, in case you didn't see this article,  or hadn't noticed during your blog travels, taking photos of food is a trend.  (Duh.) Thank you for pointing that out, New York Times.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Going Postal

In 1975, four Postal workers, tasked with canceling stamps, were recorded at the University of Ghana post office where they kept their boredom at bay by turning their rhythmic work into music.  So cool.

Aquatic Insects

Incredible photos of sleeping insects covered in dew.  These bugs look like jeweled broaches.

Tastes like Crap?

Modern Toilet, a restaurant chain in Taiwan and, now, Hong Kong is decorated like a bathroom, complete with porcelain pots to sit on while you eat your meal.  In 2004, it began by serving swirls of ice cream out of toilet-shaped bowls, but they have since expanded their menu to include savory dishes, as well.  I'm not sure if I think this gimmick is clever or kind of gross.  Regardless, I think it's funny that people dig it.
 unless noted, all images via

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