Things that make life more bearable #3: grocery carts


I caved and bought a grocery cart!

On Amazon it is known as the Trolley Dolly. I got the red version, which was surprisingly cute and affordable. I have only taken it on one trip to Safeway, but so far it has proven itself to be a trusty little helper.

I have given it a prime parking space in my apartment.


Catfish with peach salad

catfish with peach salad

One of my favorite new recipes, and a very simple one at that. The peach gives the fish a sweet, refreshing lift.


  • Catfish fillet(s)
  • Butter
  • White peach
  • Baby spinach
  • Sweet peppers
  • Grated parmesan
  • Rice vinegar
  • Lime


  1. Begin prepping the salad. Cut peach and sweet peppers into small chunks.
  2. Slice the lime into 4 wedges.
  3. Cut off a .75-inch knob of butter.
  4. Season the fish with salt and pepper on both sides.
  5. Heat oil in a large pan on medium-high until hot. Lay the fish flat inside. Place the butter next to the fish.
  6. Let cook for about 3 minutes. When time is almost up, squeeze 1 lime wedge above the fish so that juice is sprinkled generously.
  7. Flip the fish over and let cook for about 2 minutes. Squeeze a second lime wedge.
  8. Flip over a final time and cook for 1 minute.
  9. In a large bowl, mix the chunks of peach and sweet peppers with spinach. Season with kosher salt. Drizzle some rice vinegar and oil, squeeze a third lime wedge, sprinkle with grated parmesan, and mix.
  10. Serve!

Asian grocery haul and trip to the secondhand store

I made my quarterly trek to what I call the ‘Asian corner’ in Falls Church today: Great Wall Supermarket for Chinese groceries, then H-mart for a jar of kimchi. They’re about a mile from the closest metro station, but the walk makes for good exercise.

L to R: Shanghai and Canton zongzi, jar of ja cai (spicy pickled veggies), sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, kimchi, celeries, thin noodles, green pepper, white turnip, ‘milk’ bok choy

I also stopped by the secondhand store next to Great Wall to see if they had any useful junk on the shelves. And boy, did they! The vast majority of that massive store is clothing, but that’s where I draw the line in terms of buying secondhand. Instead, I picked up a $5 iron (which I have no idea whether it works or not, fingers crossed), a baking sheet, a towel for the purpose of scrubbing floors, and a set of 7 wooden bowls.


I carried all of this in a backpack and a giant tote. You can’t do this without feeling like a very overworked pack mule. So I am thinking about getting a folding grocery cart, even though they seem kind of lame and are only used by little old ladies.

Accidental racist moment

I stopped by a Thai restaurant tonight for dinner. It wasn’t one of those hip Asian fusion restaurants for white people; it was a no-frills, run-of-the-mill Thai restaurant with all Asian servers. I had been there once before, so I thought I knew what to expect.

As I was walking in, this old white lady in front of me held the door open, letting me go through first. I thanked her, walked in, and stopped to wait in front of the hostess station, which was vacant. Then something incredible happened: the old white lady followed me inside, perched herself behind the hostess station, and said, “Can I help you?”

At that moment my brain legitimately shut down. I couldn’t process what was happening. A white woman who looked like she could be somebody’s grandma, working at an Asian restaurant. I just gaped at her. She blinked at me, concerned. “Yes — what can I do for you?” she asked again, more slowly.

I quickly recovered — but I simmered in embarrassment for the next five minutes.


First time trying Blue Apron: a review

blue apron 1

I recently moved from a three-person house into a studio apartment, which means that for the first time in my life, I have complete and total control over when and how I get to use the kitchen, tiny as it may be.

To celebrate this milestone, I placed an order with Blue Apron for the first time. I’d been curious about it for a while, since it advertises on at least one podcast I regularly listen to. And there was a promotion–new customers could get 50% off their first week’s order, slashing the price from $60/week to $30. (That’s $30 for three meals for two, or six meals for one person.) I thought I’d give it a try, just for one week. Continue reading

Things that make life more bearable #2: tea soaks

Oleg Guijinsky

I can’t remember where I read this originally, but here’s a cure for aching legs and throbbing feet: tea soaks.


  • One large plastic wash basin
  • Cheap tea leaves (I use jasmine)

The steps are simple:

  1. Scoop a generous handful of tea leaves into the basin.
  2. Run tap water until it’s scalding hot and fill up the basin, or just fill it up with boiled water.
  3. Wait for the water to cool slightly — only slightly — while it soaks up the tea leaves.
  4. Place feet inside basin and sit there, occasionally flexing your toes, until you feel better. (This is most convenient when done inside a bathtub.)

Alternatively, you can also buy these ‘resting time neat foot’ patches¬†from Amazon, which I discovered on my trip to Japan last year. But the tea soak thing feels more therapeutic.