Copenhagen, Denmark | Restaurant Noma

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

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14 course meal at restaurant noma from may 18, 2016
noma = nordisk (nordic) + mad (food)

Presenting a meal of a lifetime - thank you René and kitchen crew for a taste of euphoria. Thanks Ang for snagging reservations and sharing this experience with me. Thanks mom & dad for the means to enjoy this - that I will never take for granted.

Now that acknowledgments have been made (my inner culinary nerd takes it as a honor to document this ok), here's 2.5 hours of sensory delight distilled into static images that don't do it justice. Scroll through till the end for BTS shots!

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One of my favorites. One year later and I still remember the sweet taste of the pearl onions, complemented so well by the subtle lobster flavor and subtle floral notes.

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This perspective only shows it from the top, but the cherry blossoms you see sat atop a smear of mushroom puree atop the not-your-traditional-æbleskiver.

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My most memorable and other favorite - served with a steak knife because the chefs believe "it's just that meaty." (#gold) Our Nordic Culinary Culture class foraged for ransom together, so this dish was a delightful coming together of memory and taste.

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Yep, looka that viscosity. They don't play around here. And if you were to ask me the one vein that runs through and ties the meal all together? Complex simplicity.

But you see, the food is only as phenomenal as the people behind it. It's a labor of love, and what blows me away the most about New Nordic culinary culture (more specifically, at Noma) is their naturally ingrained, preemptively loving hospitality. The chefs were concurrently our waiters that would bring out the dishes and graciously explain the preparation methods in as much detail as you wished. They were from 40 nations all over the world, hailing from Brazil to Australia to Boston. And here we all are, in dear Copenhagen, Denmark.

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Cooking is creativity, so of course the office needs to be inspiring. It means so much that they give each diner a tour of the kitchens, outside grills, and upstairs office. Then again, I'm not surprised - true to their Nordic roots and beyond the food, the crew lives out the belief that sharing is wealth.

New Nordic, $$$$
Strandgade 93
1401 Copenhagen K

Tuna, Seaweed, Napa | Furikake, Ginger, Bonito

Friday, September 2, 2016

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You know how sometimes you want to do allll the things but then you end up doing none of the things but also some new things that you never even thought of?

That's been my year so far. Not an excuse for droppin' off the blogosphere, but when life takes you on a rollercoaster ride, might as well lean in to the loop-de-loops (arm flailing and stomach dropping notwithstanding). It's been two spontaneous seasons: spring in Copenhagen & summer in San Francisco, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Because wherever you go, it's all about the people. It's always about the people.

That said:
Tammy & James, I have no words and too many words for y'all so I'll just leave my love.
Jennifer, thanks for providing a home and your sweet company that very first weekend.
Justin & Ayan, y'all two of my favorite people ever. Thanks for changing my life JB.
Takiyah & Brian, thanks for the practices in listening and empathy.
Kevin, Cam, Eza, Jimmy, Anson, Nanette, Henry, y'all are so special. Keep crushin' it.
Ang & Cindy, #hoyagirlsforever.
Stefano, Fernando, & Daniel, thanks for being the warmest & chillest Brazilian roomies ever.
Henry, 谢谢你帮我找自己的道路.

And now to v hopefully smoothly connect it all with a recipe post, one of my last discoveries of SF happened at dinner with my dear friend Cindy. Somewhere in our soul searching conversations we deemed Mr. Gary D. Chapman's theory inconclusive. He forgot the 6th & 7th love languages: food & wine.

This was the first meal I made when I got back to DC and my beloved personal kitchen (joy! honor! privilege! wahh!). I'm a fan of the componentized dishes that mark New Nordic and/or creative cuisine menus. In fact, one of my favorite desserts of all time is christened pomegranate, pistachio, coconut, mint.

Deconstructed compositions encourage exploration. They treat you with a burst of delight and a linger of satisfaction. I hereby present pinterest-friendly:

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tuna, seaweed, napa
furikake, ginger, bonito
Note: Your local Asian supermarket should stock all of these. The seasonings and toppings go well with pretty much anything so don't worry about never using them again.
  • Cook the rice (preferably in a rice cooker but stovetop works too) at least 30 min before you're ready to eat. Unless you want to risk being hangry cause you forgot to cook your rice. Or use day old rice - room temp is fine since this dish is mostly raw.
  • Let the wakame soak and expand in water for ~10 min.
  • Chop the tuna into small cubes.
  • Stir fry up some napa. You can leave this out if you want to go all raw, but I love me my cooked veggies.
  • Assemble!

Rhubarb Cardamom Galette with Pistachio Crust

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

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When my mind keeps runnin', runnin', runnin', I listen to Queen Bey bake. No better way to keep my hands busy and my mind focused. And in this case, no tastier way to indulge in my newfound love of rhubarb and cardamom. This babe of a fruit galette was birthed out of my withdrawal of Scandinavia: a glorious land of seasonality and cardamom pastries aplenty (can they pls be a thing in the States??).

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Gonna keep this quick, but I'm suuuper stoked to share this recipe with y'all! I normally bake and cook from scratch, but this pistachio crusted rhubarb cardamom galette might be the first baked good recipe I've developed all by myself!! I love how the cardamom adds a little zing to the semi-sweet-tartness of the rhubarb and the pistachios infuse a little crunch to the crust.

Vanilla ice cream, friends. This is a tart tart (ha ha ha) complemented perfectly by the thick sweetness of ice cream.

Rhubarb Cardamom Galette with Pistachio Crust
Makes one large (for sharing) and one small (for not sharing) galette

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup pistachios, chopped
  • 2-3 stalks rhubarb
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom, ground (I used about 10-15 pods)
Egg Wash:
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Sugar, to sprinkle
Vanilla ice cream, to serve

Easy Peasy:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Use your fingers to mix together all the dough ingredients. Werk it. It should feel wet but not stick to your fingers (if still sticky, add in an extra tbsp of flour at a time).

3. Let dough refrigerate for an hour to firm up (or freeze if you're short on time).

4. Chop the rhubarb into diagonal cuts of 2-3 in. Combine all filling ingredients except cardamom in a medium bowl.

5. When dough is firm enough to work with, roll out into a circle atop parchment paper. Arrange rhubarb artfully (aka just kinda throw em on), leaving about an inch of dough along the outside. Scatter cardamom evenly across. Fold over dough and pinch into galette shape.

6. Brush crust with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.

7. Well, this is awkward. I forgot how long I baked them for, but I'd start checking at:
Little: 20-25 min  |  Medium: 25-30 min  |  Large: 30-35 min

8. Serve with vanilla ice cream. Exhale and remember life is good.

Be Back in a Few

Monday, April 18, 2016

Taking a brief hiatus from posting - my computer broke (+ in a foreign country) so my photo/design software situation is a bit complicated at the moment. Here is my latest creative project & something else worth checking out!

Transition Textures | Gold Accents

Monday, March 28, 2016

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American Eagle top | Uniqlo pants | BCBG boots | Charming Charlie necklace (hello high school) | Aldo bracelets | Michael Kors watch | Kate Spade purse

It's almost April and I still wouldn't be able to go sans-outerwear here in Copenhagen. December-in-Dallas, how dost thou exist? (These pictures were all taken back at home.)

I'll admit it. I fell solidly in the turtlenecksaredorky club when I was little, so I always put up an (usually unsuccessful) resistant front every time my mom tried to clothe me with one. Thus, I wasn't initially drawn to this sweater, but I fell in love after a sweet friend encouraged me to try it on. The olive tone, thinly weathered texture, and soft drape make it a perfect winter-to-spring transition piece.

Simple on black on black: one step closer to being Danish, let's go!

Depth | All the Deep Things We Secretly Want to Talk About

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

If there's one tool that has proved indispensable for life, it's relational skills. But to flourish in life? It's deepening those relationships.

Sometimes I find it easier being abroad and being exposed to people I otherwise would have never encountered. It's like we subconsciously know that we might only be in each other's lives for a season, and that somehow liberates us to be vulnerable. The frequency of soul-digging conversations I've had here is quite refreshing, whether with American or Austrian or Australian. Mental illness, cultural identity, racial justice, family hardships, faith (or lack of), life direction, poop cycles: everything's laid out on the table.

I've wondered why these interactions—the challenging and risky yet brave and hopeful ones—don't naturally arise as much back at home. I've admired the emphasis on relationships in Danish culture, in large part because they don't have pesky little things like monumental-socially-conditioned career + life ambitions getting in the way.
The irony is that we don't wish to consume ourselves as such, but these concerns somehow become ultimate life goals as opposed to natural parts of life. 
Yet concurrently, sharing those struggles allows us to further empathize with each other. So it's not that certain cultures or peoples pursue depth more than others; it's moreso an matter of wherever you call home or find comfort. I think we as Americans gotten comfortable in our ambition, our busyness. Perhaps the Danes have gotten comfortable in their own pace of life. Maybe Eastern cultures have gotten complacent in their tradition. There's more to everyone, but living life and building relationships the same and only way we've ever known doesn't always draw out that moreness.

So now what?

It’s hard to prioritize relationships. You can pursue breadth, but there is an unavoidable tradeoff in depth. We’re limited by time.

At the end of the day, I don’t know if there is anyone that would say that they feel more fulfilled by the small talk than the big. Not to say you’re meant to deep dive with everyone you ever meet, but there’s a reason why you especially jive with some people. This is where you need to stop doubting if it’s the “right” or “good” time or relationship. Life ain’t gonna stop, so why keep pushing back?
Could it be that our purpose for living is greater than death?
Interracial and crosscultural relationship are a great area of application. Our problem is that we don't consistently engage on deeper levels with those from different backgrounds as ourselves. We're lazy, fearful, and unsure of what the outcome could be (or also uninformed). I mean yeah, the greater the risk, the greater the potential for misunderstanding and hurt…but likewise the magnified potential for love and mutuality. I asked a Dane who studied in the States what he saw as a strength of American culture, and he replied with diversity. Considering the current drama over race in America: OHHH SNAP! We don't realize what a blessing that is—that being crosscultural is conducive to that depth we're searching for.
How is it so paradoxical that it isn't in our human nature to pursue depth—yet at the end it's what we seek to bring greater fulfillment in our life?
All in all, depth extends both beyond and within. Differing cultures or not, we reflect each other, so reevaluate who you're surrounding yourself with and what your relationships are built on. Is it comfort, convenience, just some instant connection? Or is it intentionality?
Take a relationship and take a risk. Then witness the depths to which that carries you.

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