Wheat Belly Weekend, Pt. 1


I drove up to Arlington last Thursday to pick up my sister for our Wheat Belly Weekend in New York City. There were alarming reports of tornadoes all the way there, but we would not, could not be deterred from our sisters’ weekend! Together, we drove on chatting and chortling for five hours straight. We cackled so hard we had to suck on cough drops to soothe our sore throats. (I’ll be writing about some of those funny stories soon)! Finally, we reached my second sister’s house in New Jersey, where we would spend the night.

I got to briefly hang out with my adorable niece and nephews:

It’s taken me many years, but I finally figured out how to get kids to pose for a picture…

Let them do this first:

I experimented a little with my brand new macro lens, a Canon EF 100 mm f/2.8L IS USM. I have no idea what I’m doing…

…but I’m having fun figuring it out!

We took the train to Penn Station from my sister’s house the next morning. As we made our way out of the station we were hit with the best smell of all:

Wheat Belly Weekend Begins!

“Mmmmmm….I smell carbs!”

We walked a couple blocks to Koreatown:


We stopped at Kangsuh for lunch, where I had my favorite Korean comfort food dduk gook:

Kang Suh

After lunch, we went to get our hair done at Hydy Hair Salon on the second floor of this building. It was like a Korean version of the “Barbershop”/”Beauty Shop” movies! I got tsk tsked for the gross mismanagement of my hair by Hydy herself. She valiantly tried to set me straight, but in the end kept lifting locks of my hair with an air of dissatisfaction and saying, “I tried my best!” Which is exactly what you want to hear after a hair appointment.

We stayed in Koreatown for dinner. I was lured over to a restaurant across the street by their poster advertising Dduk bokiDduk boki is typical Korean street vendor food that looks like this:



It’s got dense, chewy rice sticks that look like halved cheese sticks swimming in a red-hot and spicy sauce made out of fermented chili pepper paste. It’s hard to tell in the picture, but our “small portions” were actually enormous! By the time we left, there was a line out the door

Back at the hotel we collapsed in a carb-induced stupor…perfect for watching a movie in bed!

View from our window

View from our window

Tomorrow: Wheat Belly Weekend, Pt. 2

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NYC, Day 1

My friend and I began our weekend at West 32nd Street between 5th and 6th Avenues, otherwise known as “Korea Way” or K-Town.

We had bibimbap at Kang Suh:

We spent an hour at Koryo Books, where my friend scored her teenage daughter some K-pop CDs, and I got an anniversary present for my husband. (More on this in another post).

Even though we swore we would never want to eat again after consuming the gargantuan bowls of bibimbap, we were lured into Tous Les Jours for dessert. Despite its French name, this is actually a Korean bakery chain. We had this:

Patbingsu (Patbingsoo) is a Korean dessert made of shaved ice and a bunch of toppings. The “pat” is for the sweetened adzuki beans that are one of the traditional toppings. The powdery looking stuff is also made out of beans (misutgaru) – blech. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – beans should never be a dessert ingredient. The fresh fruit, rice cake bits, and dollop of green tea flavored ice cream were ok though. It’s hard to tell from the picture, but the enormous bowl must have weighed three pounds!

I’ve always wanted to visit Kinokuniya, the Japanese bookstore that is located right on Bryant Park.

Every time I’ve tried to go to this book store, it’s always been closed. This time, alas, it was open. My mother’s words, “Don’t buy junks!” rang hollowly in my ears as I helplessly wandered around the three floors filled with irresistible things.

As we admired the gorgeous books, the exquisite stationery, and kawaii tchochkes that grown women should be immune to, my friend and I kept murmuring things to each other like, “This is absolutely the worst place in the world. We must never, ever come back here ever again. Terrible things are happening right now…

We walked around that store as if in a trance for hours until we finally stumbled out of that place, blinking our eyes as if awakening from a dream, laden with bags so heavy they cut into our skin.

We met up with my friend’s cousin and fiancée at a spot I’d never been to before: The Bar Downstairs at the Andaz 5th Avenue Hotel. It’s right across from the New York Public Library:

…through these painted doors:

and down a flight of stairs…

We took a stroll back to our hotel through ever-bustling Times Square:

and turned in for the night: