Food Pic of the Week

Cantina Taqueria and Tequila Bar

Yesterday, I accidentally fasted for 21 hours instead of my normal 16 hours, but I did not really notice until I left the office at 8:30 pm.

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After work, I dropped by Cantina. This is the first restaurant the BF and I visited after moving into our apt.

Although I had not eaten for 21 hrs, I was not super hungry, I only wanted an adult beverage, to be perfectly honest. I decided to go with the nacho appetizer with chorizo (for an extra 3 bucks) and a frozen beverage. Overall, the nachos were a delicious gooey mess, and the amount of guacamole was quite generous. I was expecting a little, struggling side container of guac. I was a little disappointed that the cheese was a velveeta esque cheese because I was expecting REAL cheese from a Mexicanish restaurant.

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How can you drink a frozen drink during a polar vortex? Ummmm, I’m not drinking it outside … duh.

At first, I was disappointed with the size of the beverage for the price of $14, but the Rum Punch definitely packed a punch (no pun).

Random:

I was bitching to the BF about the loudness of 90% of the restaurants/bars in this area of Harlem. He brought up a good point. The bars are super loud to keep talking to a minimum, making you drink more. That could be true. Yesterday’s visit to Cantina was an example of this logic. I really wanted to buy another drink but I was getting annoyed that the person sitting next to me couldn’t hear me. Oh well, I guess that I saved another $14.  Hey, that is almost the cost of a pack of cigarettes in NYC. Since I’m approaching 40, I typically leave after one drink in loud ass restaurant/bars. An exception – when I’m at a club/lounge-type of place because I’m expecting it to be loud as hell. (Not so) quiet as it’s kept, I’m usually the loudest motherfucker in a place.

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Food Pic of the Week – Ethiopian

This week the BF and I decided to explore Harlem even though we have been living here for a little more than a year. Normally, I like checking out many different new places in an area and line up a few regular spots. But for some reason, I found my local watering bar within two weeks of moving to the neighborhood, and that’s my main go to. Unfortunately, the restaurant/bar will be undergoing “renovations” for the next couple of month. Many times, “renovations” mean the owner is striping the place so he/she can sell it. But we’ll see. 

We decided on Ethiopian food and visited, Abyssinia Ethiopian Restaurant – 135th and Fredrick Douglas Blvd. I was very pleased with the food.

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A nice platter for two. 

Of course one cannot forget a nice (actually, I do not know if it was a nice bottle) of wine. 

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Yeah, we tore that shit up, and there was so much leftover food. This is the first time that my hunger was fully satisfied with Ethiopian food. 

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I’m a little mad with the server because I specifically asked her to pack the chicken bone in the doggie bag. I was going to make a stew. 😉

15 Things on the 15th . . . 15 Facts about Me

Ok, once this entry is posted it will be the 16th; but technically, I wrote the post on the 15th. I got this idea from Tractorsandglam’s blog. 

Here goes. 

  1. Legally, I do not have a middle name. In Ghana, many folks combine their middle names with their last names. When my father immigrated to the States in the early 70s, he did the same. Speaking of half-assed paperwork. On my birth certificate for the place of origin of my father, it has Africa. Really, Virginia?!!! I’m sure that on June 25th, 1980, it was well known that Africa is a continent – NOT a country
  2. My favorite alcoholic beverage is gin. Most of y’all probably already knew that. 
  3. I almost drowned in Ecuador’s portion of the Amazon Basin. It was scary, and I lost a really nice watch. 
  4. I break out in hives whenever I see people with various types of skin disorders. Thankfully, it does not happen that much nowadays. 
  5. I love all of the Friday movies. I can probably recite most of the scripts for Friday and Friday after Next. “ Yes, you did. Cause my sister-in-law’s baby cousin, Tracy. told me that she saw you at the show all hugged up with some tramp. Now, tell me who she was.”
  6. Thanksgiving is my favorite family-based holiday. 
  7. Although I have a Ph.D. in Molecular Oncology and Immunology, I no longer do scientific work. However, I do miss conducting biomedical research from time to time. This reminds me, I have to respond to the reviewers’ comments for my manuscript. Ugh, I’ll do it tomorrow. 
  8. I really wish that I would follow more events in the news. 
  9. I’m an extroverted introvert. Although I can be really social, I kind of hate meeting new people. 
  10. Sometimes, I really hate being the only person of color in groups. 
  11. I think that I sing (and dance) much better than I do. 
  12. I wish that I was about 6 inches taller. 
  13. I really loved Christina Aguilera’s Spanish language album, Mi Reflejo. I think it was released back in 2001. 
  14. I have never seen a single Star Wars or Indiana Jones movie in its entirety. Oh Well. 
  15. I have been in only two fist fights as an adult. Which is surprising, because I do talk quite a bit of shit. FYI: I won one and “tied” for the other one
  16. (Ok a bonus fact). Sia’s “Breathe Me” makes me a little misty-eyed. I think it’s because the song was featured as the last scene during the last episode of “6 Feet Under”, one of my favorite shows of all time. 

A Nonrunning post – The Amazing Race

I hope everyone had a great Christmas holiday (or a relaxing last week of December and first week of January). I pretty much did not do anything that I had planned to during my self-imposed staycation, besides watch old episodes of The Amazing Race. I think it is fitting that The Amazing Race should be the subject of this post. Again, I know that I’m about 17 years late talking about this show. But hey, during this staycation, I pretty much watched seasons 2 – 17. Well . . . I skipped the family edition season. 

Just as an aside: Come to think of it, this has been the first time for as long as I can remember that I was not expected to do anything over Christmas break. Yes, I know that this is a 1st world problem. Just looking back on my facebook memories, I realized that I have worked every Dec. 31st since 2003. So yes, I took a little time for myself although I’m a little disappointed that I have gained about 5-7 pounds during this “break” (far too many eggnog martinis, gin and gingers, and champagne-based beverages).

Most of these views may have already been shared by the millions of people who regularly watch The Amazing Race, but I’m going to list some things that I love/hate about this show

Hate: The general ignorance/borderline racism of many of the contestants. 

  • Don’t these folks understand that the entire world does not speak or does not have to speak English? The way how some of these contestants speak to many of the host countries’ inhabitants is downright disgusting. 
  • In one episode the following statements were made. “He [refering to Joan of Arc] was the one that put the animals on the ark?”; “How do they make champagne? Do they mix wine with club soda?” “Man, I did you know that there is a town called Champagne in France?” Where in the hell are these people found? More importantly, where did they attend high school or college?  
  • One of my favorite contestant/taxi dispatcher (Oakland, CA) exchange so far. 
    • [Contestant] Hurry up! We need a taxi, NOW. This is for a million dollars. 
    • [Dispatcher] I don’t care! I ain’t getting any of it. 

Love: The desire to acquire even more stamps on my passport. 

  • I’m looking at you, Seychelles. That place is BEAUTIFUL.seychelles_beach_bridge

Hate: The couples that go on this show to make or break their relationship. 

  • If you cannot stand your partner in everyday, normal life, then you probably will not like the motherfucker after being with him/her 24/7 for ~30 days. One exception: if the couple is kicked off early in the competition because they will not have as much time to get on each other’s nerves. 

Hate: Dumb folks who haven’t watch previous seasons. This sentiment is more for the later seasons. 

  • From seasons 1 – 5, you have seen people drive cars with manual transmissions, bungee jump, climb crazy heights, swim, use road maps, and travel to various African, Latin American and Asian countries. Wouldn’t one learn how to drive stick and how to swim, get over certain fears, and memorize common phrases in other languages (especially Spanish, French, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Hindi, Bengali, and/or Punjabi) BEFORE applying to the damn show?

Annoyance: Especially in later seasons, the show seemed to be more Asian-centric. I swear there was one season that had five episodes in Asia (that could have been due to editing). For a few seasons, the show did not even visit the continent of Africa. Perhaps, it is tough to produce an American show in many African nations. 

Hate: Some of the contestants with disabilities. Hear me out. 

  • Many of the disabled contestants go on and on about showing the world that people with disabilities can do everything that someone without any disabilities can do. However, many use their disability to get every possible advantage. I’m not saying that they shouldn’t, but just call a spade a spade and keep it moving. I understand that production may tell these contestants to talk about their disability throughout the season so the fault may not fall entirely on the contestants. From the grapevine, I have learned that many of these types of shows give you a label and want you to keep it throughout the entire season (e.g. token gay couple, bitchy pretty blondes, dumb jocks, old couple, country bumpkins, etc.).

Love: Watching the whinny contestants bitch, moan, and have potential meltdowns. 

  • Did they think that they were going on a glamorous vacation? 

Love: Phil’s low-key shade with the contestants. ar17-051

Love: TV foreshadowing magic (damn, this could have been a post all on to itself).  

  • Teams that say they have a foolproof plan of getting into the top three, only to be eliminated one or two episodes later. 
  • Teams saying that they are super organized and meticulous, only to lose their passports and all of their money or not read a clue in its entirety. 
  • When you can tell that the episode will have a non-elimination leg. 
  • The team with all of this travel experience will book a connecting flight with a 15-min layover and miss the flight. Since the show pretty much makes sure everyone is on the same flights in later seasons, this really is not an issue any more 😦

One of my friends floated the idea of auditioning for this show back in 2011. It probably would have been a hot ass mess if we were contestants. I can see it now.

Me to my friend: This is some bullshit, and I’m not doing it. It’s too DAMN HOT OUT HERE.

My friend to me: Yeah, this blows. Let’s use the rest of the money to find a bar because I want a martini. 

Me: Word! I hope this city has Tanqueray. 

Phil:  KOS and A, you are the only team in the entire history of The Amazing Race that actively chose to use your money to bar hop and not do any of the challenges on this leg.

Ok, on to Season 18: Unfinished Business. 

I hope your holiday season was a “productive” as mine. 😉

Vacation Recap: Madrid y Yo

A week before the NYC Marathon, I had this nutty idea to travel to Madrid with the BF so I just wanted to give a quick recap of my randomness in Espana.

Before I begin, I was Mario for Halloween.

Of course, we always have preflight drinks and we decided on Long Island Iced Teas because you get more bang for your buck.

I don’t understand why they were so light in color. Hell, we even got a couple for the road … the flight.

The trip was a little intense because the BF, who is Spanish was going to visit his familyimg_3867 for his Father’s 70th birthday at the end of the week. When his friends from the north of Spain learned about the trip, the BF and his friends decided to combine vacations for 5 days in Madrid. What did that mean? The seven of us shared an Airbnb in Madrid, which reminded me of MTV’s Real World. Actually, that part was not as bad as I thought it would have been. I will say that the six women got ready pretty fast and did not spend a lot of time in the bathroom. Yes, there was only one bathroom.

Since I was the only non-Spaniard in the group, I did not get to see as many tourist attractions as I would have liked. However, I did not make a huge fuss about it.

One thing that I loved about this experience was the constant amount of feedings. That’s one of the reasons why I did not make a big fuss about not seeing everything (or anything) that I wanted. As long as I was fed, I was a happy camper. Almost every bar gives you some small bites when you order a beverage so now I understand why those folks eat so damn late. 

Even on our first day, we accidentally found a bar that served 1€ mimosas ALL DAMN DAY.

I could have stayed there all day.

During our last trip to Spain, the BF and I were in Madrid for less than 24 hours. This time it was nice to explore the city for a few days. Unfortunately, the weather was kind of rainy for most of the trip. Because of the rain, we pretty much had to stay indoors, which meant more beer/booze and food.

Mahou beer pretty much “sponsored” our trip.

For me, Mahou beer is a little too light in flavor. After about two of them, I would have to upgrade to something stronger.

We went to an Asturian (a region in the Northern part of Spain) bar for some cider . . . and more food. This region is known for its cider and the specific way of pouring it. In order to get the full-bodied flavor of the cider, the cider must his the glass at a certain angle. The people from Asturias can pour it correctly without the fancy apparatus. When non-Asturians do it, you just end up with a whole bunch of cider on the ground. 

The bar’s decor was quite amazing and the food was even better.

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You can even eat inside of the cider barrels. Also, somehow we managed to get these funky hats free of charge. This actually worked out quite well for me, because I left my cap at the Airbnb.

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The food, because you know that I’m always ready to eat.

I could have pretty much eaten Spanish tortilla, Jamon Iberico, and octopus/squid every day that we were in Spain. 

Lol. One evening the BF’s friends threw us a “wedding reception.”

I guess that it’s hard to find same sex, interracial cake figurines in Madrid.

The city was pretty fun for sloring. We had an opportunity to partake in some Halloween festivities and other randomness. 

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One thing that I like about Spain (or maybe it’s a European thing in general) is that your drinks are served in huge ass goblets with the mixer on the side. Surprisingly, gin is quite popular in Madrid. Unfortunately, Spain really does not do seltzer water, but I guess 7-Up is fine. 

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Btw, everyone knows that Thalia is the better artist that Paulina Rubio. 😉

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Look, it’s the cancer that I studied during my postdoctoral fellowship. 

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This picture brings back memories of dissecting the tongues and esophagi of mice. 

Some other random sites. 

So that was Madrid. We also went to Placencia, Spain because the BF was going to surprise his parents for his father’s birthday. This is a region in the western part of Spain that many folks do not visit. There’s not much to do in this region, but it is perfect if you want a couple of quiet days in Spain. Lord knows that it was quiet. Oh, there are some medieval ruins but I did not have a chance to visit them. I think the BF went with his family after I left. They always do the fun stuff when I leave the country. 😉

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In terms of cuisine, this area is known for its wild boars. OMG. This was the BEST meal that I had in Spain. The meat pretty much melted in my mouth and the presentation was quite nice. Looking at this picture is making me hungry again. 

Ok, coming back to the States was a HOT mess. We had a lot of turbulence with a lot of folks screaming and crying. The sad thing is that many people were coming to NYC for the marathon; I saw a lot of NYC Marathon jackets and Spanish flags on the plane. The woman next to me grabbed my arm several times during the flight and vomited a couple of times too. At one point, I thought the plane was going to go down. After ~60 minutes of turbulence, there was some more BS. The weather in NYC was really bad, and we had to land in Boston and stay on the plane for about 3 hours. We were supposed to land in NYC at 6:30 pm. Basically, we got to NYC around midnight, and I did not get home til about 2:00. 

What a great way to begin NYC Marathon weekend. In addition to getting home super late, I had to run a race at 8:30 am on Saturday, then run the marathon on Sunday. Although I did not meet my goal during the marathon, I have to say that I’m proud of myself for completing the race with the minimal amount of sleep during the entire week before the marathon and a trans-Atlantic trip. 

All in all, the vacation was great and I cannot wait to visit again. Hopefully, I/we can include Barcelona on the next trip. 

I really would like to rebuild on my Spanish speaking skills. I found it really difficult to speak with the BF’s parents (outside of the general niceties)  because they don’t speak any English. It’s so sad that I let my Spanish speaking skills dwindle. In college, I minored in Spanish and did a study abroad program in Ecuador so I was semi-fluent at one point in my life. Actually, let me correct this statement. My issue is that I do not want to make any mistakes while speaking. Since I do not want to make any mistakes, I tend not to speak as much as I would like. Most of y’all know that I am a chatty MF’er. For the most part, my comprehension is OK (depending on the accent) so I know what going on. But, I can speak Spanish when I’m drunk because I do not care that much about screwing up or making up words as I go. As a matter of fact, give me a couple shots of anything and I’ll chat until the cows come home. That’s why I’m able to meet folks on vacation when I travel solo to Latin America . . . I’m tipsy/buzzed/drunk for most of the trip. 

Random Thursdays

For this installment of random Thursday, I’m going to show some random facebook updates and text messages.

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This is complete BS. There was a Verizon FIOS outage in my area for 2.5 days!!! I had to use my phone as a hotspot to work from home . . . and stream TV shows through my Apple TV. I guess for the latter, I could have read a book rather than watching hours of TV.

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Aw, my graduate school years. Actually, 2009 was my last year, so things were kind of intense.

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I have absolutely no shame eating at chain restaurants, like the Olive Garden, while living in NYC. Ok, I do not frequent Olive Garden too often, but I will destroy a platter during Crab/Lobster Fest at Red Lobster. As a matter of fact, a Lobsterita sounds pretty refreshing right about now.

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Everyone loves a beagle. RIP Simonsdale “Bacchus” Beagle

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Random Thursdays

-I really need to read more; I cannot remember the last time I read a book.

-On that note, I am going to renew my library card today.

-Running folks from NYC, remember when NYRR used to have the Empire State Building race where you would climb stairs to the 86th floor of the Empire State Building? Or did I make that up? 

-Ok, I know that I have been complaining about the weather. But, one comment about the heat in NYC. Is it me or is the heat making the local nuts even more nutty? You expect to see nut or two taking public transportation; but recently, the presence has been too freaking intense. 

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-Speaking of public transportation. Why must people groom themselves in public? This week a man seating in front of me was brushing his hair, I swear there was dandruff EVERYWHERE. He did not know that his scalp was THAT dry? When I arrived home, I IMMEDIATELY took a shower. Don’t EVEN get me started with people who clip their nails on the subway.

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-I think this is the first time that my personal marathon training schedule has aligned with NYRR’s marathon training series. This weekend’s 15-miler matches my plan to do a 15-mile run. Hopefully, the weather will be nice this weekend. 

-When people are a pack a day smokers, does that mean one pack within 24 hours? Or, one pack during the working day? Since there is quite a bit of downtime in my job, I noticed that I have been smoking more. Although I am addicted to nicotine, I usually smoke out of boredom. When I was a scientist, I was juggling multiple experiments throughout the day, so I did not have time to smoke that often. Now, I’ll send out a bunch of emails and have a smoke. Send out another group of emails or have a meeting, then smoke. Also, during my smoke breaks, I’m responding to work emails on my phone. What a vicious cycle.

I think that my first step is to stop smoking in my apartment since I’ll be too lazy (unless I’m desperate) to walk down and up 4 flights of stairs to smoke outside. 

-Only a couple of weeks until Laura Pausini’s concert. I case you haven’t noticed, I have been a huge fan of latin pop music.

-I want to channel all of my energy and visit the Bronx Zoo soon. I have to channel my energy because there will be 80 million kids there and I need to remain patient.

-Only a few more days until my beach day. 

-I have decided to run the Rock and Roll Philly Half-Marathon. I do not know if I can swing Montreal’s half-marathon this year. 😦