A Date of Sorts

Forgive me as I have been distracted

And thus have been suffering from some creativity malabsorption; excuses, excuses, I’ve been preoccupied with the usual:

Working: punching out thousands of mundane e-mails, picking at and whining about my split ends, making excuses to walk around (espresso, green tea, other calorically void beverages), and of course using my breaks to dish and shop

Being an After Hours Socialite: spritzing Parisienne before handing the keys to the valet, leaving a trail of Catherine Malandrino patented sequins, staying out late picking at “flatbreads” just to drown them with Laphroaig, dishing about osetra caviar, real estate trends, and Michael Kors going public

-Down-to-Earth-ing it: Grocery runs for kefir, calling 3/4 of a cake doughnut lunch, playing with McQueen (Nora’s crazy new kitten), watching some NBA, and legitimate pyjama/silk robe skyping with my cousins in Saudi Arabia


Let’s move on; it’s 6:47 PM. As my partially-delusional socialite-ness tends to dwindle during the first half of the work week, I still have around an hour and half before I will go to bed so that I can in the words of Khushboo, make my 5am candied morning bubble bath prior to work (I now have a normal people work schedule fyi- 8:30am-5:00pm…rough)

This post is about my Saturday night, Christmas Eve if you will.

You see, I have this friend at work; her name is Madison and she is one of my top two distractions at work and is from North Dakota and sometimes does stuff like eat a cookie the size of my face and her face combined and then call it lunch. She also has a Louis Vuitton duffel bag which resembles the morbidly obese great aunt of my Eva Pochette Louis and we like to make jokes about Bagel Thins and Granola Thins and other foods with the words “Thin” in them.

Long description short, she is a fabulous person and we get along quite nicely in the sense that awkward silences are an impossibility, we can laugh together in such a state that will leave my heart palpitating long enough that I can guilt-lessly waive exercise for the day, and we can go out on the town and…you know, be socialites

So, that’s exactly what we did…

We put on our pumps, un peu de rouge on the lips, and some olfactory candy and drove down to Wildwood, a Portland-chic restaurant on NW 21st specializing in local Pacific Northwest Cuisine

Since it was Christmas Eve, and all the tables were reserved for families out on the town to enjoy some rustic and wholesome fare and cheer, we opted to sit at the bar where the vibe is more caj and there are little hooks for us to hang our Louis’ and Michaels.

The menu was delightful; populated with the typical Northwestern gourmand’s seasonal favourites

Since the rustic loaf of bread and butter brought out was not only heavy in quantity but too chewy and dreadfully satisfying to resist, we both decided to go with small plates as our entrees; plus as this was a date of sorts, the goal of the evening was not to gorge but to savour and enjoy- both company and the fare

Madison chose the russet potato gnocchi with sage, hazelnuts, pumpkin, brussels sprouts, and bacon

I, on the other hand was in great debate between two of the starters. You see, I have developed an intense magnetism toward salads primarily composed of hazelnuts, fromage bleu, roasted beets, and apples/pears. Being a combination of entirely Oregon-local ingredients, some sort of interpretation of this salad can be found on just about every ‘bougie cum artisan cum Pacific Northwestern’ restaurant in Portland. However, as this tends to be a vegetarian salad, I chose to go for the meatier option:

Red-Wine Braised Lamb Crepinette: Curried Collard Greens, Crispy Fried Chickpeas, Minted Yoghurt, and Preserved Lemon

I am well aware that the flash-less nature of this photo does this mouthwatering fusion-fest absolutely NO justice. It was impeccable, the lamb tender and succulent soaking up the Mughlai flavours of it’s accompaniments. It was also the ideal size for a small meal and with a satiating composition thanks to the virgin falafel texture of the fried chickpeas

We didn’t get dessert; well…unless Madison’s Negroni and my Chers Domain count. We did linger a while longer, soaking our mini-buzzes with bread, butter, hearty laughs, ideas, and secrets

Wildwood on Urbanspoon

Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert? How long does it typically take you to get close with people?

How do you prevent your creativity from waning?

What is your signature scent (this is a perfume question)?


“I’m Sure You’re Flying First Class”

Greetings from Stockholm, Sweden. Finally.

Yep, I’m in Stockholm! Marta and I arrived last night after an arduous 22 or so hours traveling with several bumps along the way including a severely delayed flight to Frankfurt, a missed flight connection, being the “random” check in San Francisco, being hassled at immigration in Germany (despite the fact that I am a citizen of the European Union), and best of all an encounter with a Real Housewives b****(which is relevant to the title of this post)

So of course the brain child which is becoming this post came late last night as I tossed in turned in minor fury over the events from this air travel experience pertaining to mistreatment, and the mistreatment I went through on a couple of occasions yesterday. However, I won’t bore you with the usual airport hassles I face for being a brown person with multiple Saudi and Indian visas in their passport; but I do have a bloody delightful story about an encounter I had with a self-absorbed “probably on the Real Housewives of Orange County” plastic.


Marta and I were at the gate in Frankfurt for our re-booked flight to Stockholm (since our earlier flight had been delayed and we had missed our original connection). We were the only people standing at the counter waiting in line to get our new boarding passes printed when this Victoria Beckham wannabe strutted over in her UGLY four inch wooden heels, red baseball cap, tacky ass oversize sunglasses, her Spanish-speaking maid, cart full of Louis Vuitton, and unfortunately plastic-in-the-making young daughter. Of course VBW (as I will refer to her from now on), completely ignored the fact that we were standing there to walk right in front of us to the counter, mobile phone in hand chatting away. Despite being terribly exhausted and jet-lagged, there was no way I was going to let this wench cut us in line just because she obviously thinks she’s some sort of a Footballer Wife…seriously human decency, I honestly don’t care even if you are some famous reality star, cutting in line is plain rude.

Me: Excuse me

**Her ignoring me as her maid and daughter just blankly look at me**

Me: Excuse me (a little more audibly)

She ignores me again, so I walk up and go stand at the counter next to her as the Lufthansa desk lady and man load up their computers. As soon as she hangs up, she mutters in her dry LA accent, “Baddd attitude.”

Me: There’s a line and as I’m sure you saw were standing here first

VBW: Haha, yeah and I’m sure you’re flying first class! (in the most condescending tone you can imagine)

Me: Flying first class isn’t mutually correlated to having class

VBW: And I say, like, WHATEVER

***No seriously. That’s what she had to say. “Whatever.” For the record the kind Lufthansa guy helped us first.

Several little things about this encounter:

1) The idea that this woman thinks she has the right to march up and cut anyone in line all because she has a first class ticket and is strutting around the terminal looking like a preposterous fashion victim straight out of Real Housewives of Orange County; that is absolutely NOT okay, and to have not said anything would have meant letting her get away with it and further bloating her sense of entitlement.There was a time where I would not have spoken up, but really I have far too much dignity NOT to, and if anyone ever does this to you I would be quite angry with you if you were to not speak up as well

2) She was assuming I was not in first class, which was a deduction which could only be made on the basis of my appearance. Yeah sorry but when I travel I don’t like to parade around covered in designer labels like a walking Neiman Marcus because a) that’s tacky, b) I don’t want to attract attention, and c) I’m not an insecure nouveau riche. And regardless, that is about the LAMEST passive aggressive comment one can make and shows that this woman’s identity and esteem comes from the fact that her husband is willing to pay 500 Euros for “First Class” for a 90 minute flight (worth noting: Lufthansa within Europe first class are the same size as the Economy seats and the only difference is that they give you warmed up bread and you get off the plane first)

3) If you’re flying First Class, why aren’t you sitting in the First Class Lounge and utilising the service desk there to be amongst us regular citizens of the world? Or do you not know that there is a Lufthansa Senator lounge down by gate A27?

Anyways, I’m more amused than aggravated this morning now that I have slept off the jet lag, I honestly didn’t think people like this actually existed. Ridiculous.

Moral of the story: Don’t EVER let someone think they are better than you. EVER.


On a more positive note, we arrived to Stockholm at the same time as my dear uncle arrived on a flight back from a business trip in Finland; we split a cab, headed into the city and somehow had enough energy to go out for dinner with my uncle and his AMAZINGLY lovely wife (a whole other post needs to be devoted to her)

We headed to Kim Chi, a Korean restaurant here in Vasastan, my uncle’s wife is Korean and knew exactly what we should order (and what not to since she can cook it for us); alors:

Korean savoury vegetarian pancake with dipping sauce; absolutely delicious!

Beautiful platter of fresh sashimi: Red Snapper, Yellowtail, and Salmon

Cabbage and radish kimchis

Chicken bibimbap: Spiced chicken, assorted vegetables, rice, and a fried egg all mixed together. You basically add this red sauce to it and mix the ingredients; balanced, delicious, and multifaceted in flavour

Bulgogi Royal: Grilled entrecote of beef with soy sauce/garlic/Korean spices; so succulent and splendid! I could eat this beef everrrrrry day

JiYeon’s soup: A spicy hotpot of tofu, veggies, and fish! Didn’t try it but the smell was quite heavenly

And…apres le diner, we crashed for the night!

Alright, well I’ve got to go- we’re off to meet AMALIA for lunch here in Stockholm!

Have you ever dealt with a stuck-up person?

What would you do if someone blatantly cut you in line?

Ever had Korean food? What’s your favourite?

Style Series: Do you love it enough to hit up the ATM?

Fashion is what most attracts me to shopping, but truth be said in order to go shopping I have to:

1) Be in the right mood- which usually is along the lines of feeling inspired, relaxed, yet not exhausted or plagued by any other mood-deprecating ailment (migraine, extreme hunger, etc)

2) Feel decently about the state of my hair and skin…I mean come on, fitting room mirrors are something retailer marketing teams SERIOUSLY need to remedy. How is it that I thought everything looked nice and tidy at home and all of a sudden I’m seeing hay-like split ends and gray half moons of sallowness under my eyes?


3) Not have recently had an epic splurge (which tends to happen 1-2x per year)


Contrary to how I portray myself, I never online shop (just gaze longingly at Louboutins), the exception is the occasional non-clothing Gilt Groupe purchase or if all nearby Nordstrom locations have sold out of my size in 7 for all Mankind “Gwenevere,” (this is the best skinny jean in the universe fyi- especially if you’re not as gifted in the height department).

In addition, I am preposterously picky in what I purchase which usually means it isn’t uncommon for me to go 2-3 months without buying a single garment. I am quite careful about how I spend my money and always pay in cash for every single fashion purchase I make regardless of price and have reservations about using the ATM too frequently, credit card debt just sounds terribly unappealing to me.

And if I do buy something high end and expensive I have to:

1. Love it. Like love love love it and can’t stop thinking about it and have dreams about it. This was how I felt about my Lanvin red patent swarovski-studded heels…when I saw them in an online lookbook- that is after all why I woke up at 5am to fetch them the moment they were released.

2. Do my research. Is it seasonal and thus will probably go on sale soon? Is it a timeless classic? If it’s a brand such as Louis Vuitton, I will check the American AND the French websites, do the exchange rate math, subtract the duty free refund (best part about having dual citizenship) and figure out which is a better deal. Example: I saved the equivalent of $250 between a Vuitton purse and a pair of Chanel sunglasses just by getting them in Sweden.

3. Quality. Just because it has the Gucci print and a Gucci COA (Certificate of Authenticity), it doesn’t mean it’s any better made than a Burberry at 2/3 of the price. If you’re spending big bucks you might a well do it on something that’s going to last a long time (and have impeccable customer service…on that note Burberry has some of the best customer service I’ve ever experienced).

Now, now let’s get to my most recent expenditures! And get this, the next four items I am about to show cost me a total of under $80…that’s like cheaper than a Prime Rib dinner at El Paseo!

Sheer floral chemise with lace detail; Nordstrom (Anniversary Sale): On sale for $24.90 from $38.00

My lone purchase from the Nordy’s sale so far…what can I say, nothing else impressed me and it’s far too hot to be thinking about coats and boots already

Zara, $19.99

 Zara was and still is having a ginormous sale and of course I lug half the store with me into the fitting room and end up buying the one garment I grabbed not on sale. Still not a bad price; I love the zippered back and the oversized fit. Perfect with a pop of neon or coral!

Salmon-coloured ruffle silk skirt, H&M $24.90

 Considering I wear skirts and dresses around 78% of the time, this caught my eye instantly. I love the colour, the material, and the fact that it hits just above the knee- only complaint is it’s too big in the waist (which is probably why it’s longer worn than on the hanger)

Yellow thin chemise with sheer back, H&M on sale for $10

Once again, this yellow chemise makes a reappearance- I mean I cannot get over that it was ONLY $10!

I’m trying to add a bit more colour into my wardrobe since I gravitate towards neutrals (I have over 30 LBDs)! And as you can see, I admit I do like a lot of high street fashion for regular wear; but mostly Zara, Mango, TopShop, and H&M (and only one section specifically).

What’s your favourite high street brand?

How much money do you tend to spend on clothes each season? Do you buy a lot of things or very few carefully selected articles?

What’s your greatest fashion splurge?


I’ll let the photos do the talking…

Sartaj India Cafe- Caledonia Street, Sausalito
Marta: Chicken tikka masala, basmati, raita, channa subji, chapati
Sara: Chili chicken, basmati, raita, chana subji, chapati
The capsicum were the only bits left on the plate
Best thing about Sartaj: Chapatis

Sartaj Indian Cafe on Urbanspoon

H&M top (on sale for $10), Mango denim shorts, A&F beaded leather flip flops, Louis Vuitton Mini Eva Pochette crossbody bag
Mid-Shopping Fuel at San Francisco Centre food hall- Nora: Panang Beef
Sara: super salty soggy papaya salad with Thai BBQ chicken

Coriander Gourmet Thai Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Backyard: Lemon tree
Backyard: Orange tree

Citric abundance
Backyard tomato
Cheeseburger fixings
Caprese cheeseburger?
Pre-oven: Massive sheet of chocolate chip oatmeal cookie bars
Oven fresh, may your house smell like cookies and espresso
Taste of the Himalayas: Samosa Chaat (crushed samosa, fuji apple, red onion, besan, tamarind sauce, mint yogurt chutney)
Taste of the Himalayas: Alu Bhanta (Potato Aubergine) with basmati
Taste of the Himalayas: Khurkura Saag (Chicken with spinach)
Taste of the Himalayas: Lamb Vindaloo
Everest: Garlic Cilantro Naan

Taste of the Himalayas  on Urbanspoon

And yes, I also saw Harry Potter, hit up the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, got rid of four large Whole Foods bags worth of old clothes (featuring six Juicy Couture velour sweatsuits and two pairs of Uggs), and applied for more jobs


Indian, Thai, or Nepali?

Shoes, purses, or garments?

Deserving Indulgence

On Wednesday, May 4th, 2011 I officially completed all the work required of me in undergraduate college

and to add on to that the Portland forecast was sunny with clear views of Mount Hood and a refreshing glow-inducing seventy-two degrees


Oh yes, and I did pick up this terribly unflattering outfit which I must wear in the presence of several thousand people:

…But at least I get some cool India and Finland ribbons and a pin to indicate I sacrificed the cash equivalent of an order of steak tartare to the “Senior Gift”


To celebrate the wondrous accomplishment of never technically NEEDING to step into the library again, Nazu and I decided to go all out on the ‘very much deserving indulgence scale’, starting with dinner at this Bon Appetit-featured, Best Restaurant in Portland runner-up, Laurelhurst Market.

So, you know how my last post was all about meatless meals n all?

Well…I suppose it’s worth noting that Laurelhurst Market is both a butchery and a restaurant, hence the glorious entree Nazu and I selected as our celebratory satiation (we each had our own):

Hanger steak with parsley pistou, extra virgin olive oil, black Oregon truffles, fleur de sel, and a fried egg. Cholesterolicious to the max and exactly what I needed- a truffled protein fest to conclude my undergraduate career


The staff at this place is incredible: Accommodating, friendly, savvy about the menu and cuts of meat, and very very East Portland at the same time.

Of course after such a delightful meal we were more than anticipating a tad of dessert to share:

Dulce de Leche cheesecake with cranberry compote:

Absolutely divine. Luscious and creamy, a textural-gasm if you will.

This restaurant truly deserves all its appraisal: the atmosphere is local and lively yet polished, full of “posh hipster” Portlandia types in ironed flannel and rimmed glasses, yet devouring beautiful hunks of Wagyu steak brisket or piles of dijon-ized Moules Frites. The food is impeccable and abundant with fresh flavours and ingredients. And the location- stupendously stunning. If you have never been to the Laurelhurst neighborhood of Portland, imagine cherry-blossom tree lined streets, idealistic perfectly manicured mini-estates, and this bustling place as your neighborhood butchery/place to grab an evening apertif.

Laurelhurst Market on Urbanspoon

En route back to the car I couldn’t help but fantasize about how wonderful it would be to live here fifteen years down the line…truly a perfect family neighbourhood yet still a short walk away from grungy coffee-shop hipster Portland. En amour.


Apres le diner, Nazu and I made a quick stop over at New Seasons to pick up some fresh organic strawberries so that we could go to my house and do this:


On that note, if anyone working for LVMH sees this, I very much believe I would be a very qualified job candidate as Nazu and I quickly realized the degree of inadvertent product placement our lives contain:

How do you indulge yourself?

Favourite cut of steak? Do tell!