New York: A Dash of Dashi

Friend J, N, and I went to the Japan Society to learn the secrets of making dashi.
N asked the presenter where to buy high quality bonito for making dashi. Turns out that the secret supplier is Amazon.
They gave us sample of three types of dashi: kelp, bonito, and mushroom. Only the bonito one tasted like anything to me. Some salt would have been nice.
The Japan Society seemed pretty nice. They offer Japanese classes there too!

HiroNori Craft Ramen

Went to HiroNori Craft Ramen in Santa Clara. It had 4.5 stars on Yelp so I was obligated to go.
Yelp reservation only. Worked out pretty well, and it was a better experience than waiting in line for 2 hours at Ramen Nagi. Although I do like waiting in lines…
The menu.
Tonkotsu ramen. It was pretty good! Would recommend. For first timers they give you the “garlic black oil” (you can see it in the picture below), a $1 value, for free. The garlic oil was quite good and I’ll probably order it next time, so I guess their advertising scheme worked.
Chicken karaage. Also quite good! It came with some sauce that was also very good. The aforementioned black garlic oil is in the upper left.

Overall I’d say it was solidly solid. I think I like the ramen and the customization options at Ramen Nagi a bit better, but HiroNori compares quite favorably (with no waiting in line). And the chicken karaage was really good, which Ramen Nagi doesn’t offer. I’ll be back.

Kung Fu Xiao Long Bao (Flushing)

Friend J (not pictured) took us to Kung Fu Xiao Long Bao in Flushing, it was pretty good!
The titular Xiao Long Bao.
Shanghai Pan Fried Noodles.
Mapo tofu.
Scallion pancake with sliced beef. This one was really amazing!
Sweet soy milk. I really liked it, although N and friend J didn’t seem to agree. I’d come back just for this.
Lotus leaf sticky rice. Unfortunately it seems like the restaurant forgot we ordered this one, and when we asked about it they rushed it out while it was still frozen. But we took it back and had it for breakfast later. Still pretty good.

NYC+Boston Trip

N and I had an exciting trip to New York and Boston just recently. I flew in from the Bay Area and N took the train from Pittsburgh. Friend J very generously let us stay at his place in New York (thanks Friend J!).

I’ll try to post pictures about the places we visited over the next few {insert unit of time here}.

To start, here’s some photos from SFO.

I flew JetBlue this time around and got to see the international terminal at SFO. Turns out there a newly opened (in 2019) food court area with a sampling of hot SF restaurant destinations.
Kamin is a spin off of Kin Khao, a popular Thai place in SF (1802 reviews, 4 stars, wow). I was going to eat here, but unfortunately they closed while I was being indecisive about ordering.
Instead I got a pork bowl from Tacos Cala (a spin-off of Cala), which was pretty good!
There’s also a Tartine here (I’m sure you spotted it in the first picture). And the line is a lot shorter than in the Mission District.
Wow, look at those affordable prices. Only $8.29 for a matcha latte! (but don’t forget the oat milk)


Went to Superhot this weekend with Friend A (pictured) and Friend B (not pictured).
It’s a new hotpot+kbbq+dimsum restaurant that just opened in Downtown Mountain View. The restaurant concept was carefully crafted for maximum popularity. The first time I tried to go, there was a really long (2+ hour) wait. This time we arrived at 11:30am to avoid the wait.
$30 all you can eat in 90 minutes. Max 10 items ordered at a time. The waiter only comes once every 30 minutes unless you flail around excessively. Strategize accordingly.
100 items to choose from. Friend A really liked the unlimited dumplings.
Chinese fried donut.
Xiao long bao. Unlimited xiao long bao.
Friend A got tripe and pork blood. I’m not such a fan but he liked it.
Premium steak. Looks pretty premium.

Building a computer

After a long period of internal deliberation and debate, I decided to build a desktop. I built one before in high school, but ever since I left for college I’ve been using a Lenovo W530 laptop as my main computer. I decided that I’d like to potentially try a bit of gaming, and also be able to run both Windows and Linux simultaneously (rebooting is too much effort…).

This is the parts list I ended up with. Apparently RGB is all the rage nowadays, but I was looking for something quiet and dark so that I can sleep with it on.

Here’s some advertising.

I’m planning on running Unraid to simultaneously run Windows and Ubuntu (and maybe OS X) in the future. Unraid seemed a bit simpler than the KVM/QEMU on Ubuntu setup I was initially planning to do. Continue reading “Building a computer”