Monday, April 27, 2009

Carlos Xavier at Sazon | Music

Friday night was hoppin' at Club Sazon in Concord where Carlos Xavier debuted his band and performed songs off his new album. The drinks were flowin', the beats were hot, and the women were even hotter.

You can check Carlos out on MySpace Music or on his own site for the latest updates. The new album will drop Summer 2009.

Here are some shots from the evening:

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Taiwan Part 4

We spent our last night in Taipei walking the streets of Ximending District which is like a small scale version of New York's Time Square.

Per Wikipedia:

Ximending is now called the “Harajuku” of Taipei. The local bookstores sell Japanese magazines, books, CD albums, and clothing, making it a heaven for the “Harizu”, or Japanese culture adorers. Individual vendors gather in the streets as well as the large business buildings, such as Wannien Department Store and Shizilin Square in the early days, and Wanguo Department Store and Eslite 116 in the later period.

Due to the density of young people, Ximending is comparable to Shilin Market and the Eastern District to be areas with the highest crime rates. In addition, Ximending is well-known for Enjo kosai (Japanese for student prostitution).

Unfortunately the most scandalous thing we witnessed that evening was a bunch of street food vendors being chased away by police.

The MTR at Daan Station

I think Nat's ready to head home

Getting in some last minute souvenir shopping and sightseeing before our flight home

supersized mochi

have you ever seen an egg tart this big?

our last meal in Taiwan has made us delirious

these chefs ain't got nothin' on the makchef

tai mei fever!

Nat sleeps peacefully at airport check-in while we scramble to rearrange luggage to meet the weight restrictions

finally found a jade cabbage at the National Palace Museum store in the duty free area of the airport terminal

Farewell Taiwan - our first trip to Taiwan surely won't be our last. I would love to come back and perhaps see the more rural areas of the country. Now it's time to head home and shed the 14 lbs I gained in just 1 week!

Here's a link to the full album of photos taken on this trip. Enjoy!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Taiwan Part 3

In retrospect, we were spoiled having a van show us around our first full day in Taipei. We probably got to visit a number of locations in one day that would take asian tour groups a week to conclude. Over the following days we slowed our pace down a bit and actually walked through the city, used more public transit, did some shopping, and the ladies even got new coifs. While our pace slowed, our appetites surely didn't.

On Wednesday we made our way to what seemed like the outskirts of town to find a masseuse that could work out some soreness in Heather's knees. I'd like to say it was straight from a movie to seek out a blind masseuse that could work a miracle and Heather be instantly healed but it just made her more sore that day.

now that's pain!

Amy and I went to go find some breakfast while we waited

Nat was determined to empty the masseuse's container of cookies

Tatung High School (the same Tatung brand of my rice cooker)

this is the road to where we find a packed restaurant serving eel liver skewers and unagi rice boxes

the forbidden photo - they didn't let me take photos inside the restaurant so I decide to covertly shoot from the hip with the camera hanging from my neck

eel liver skewers is perhaps an acquired taste and I sure didn't have a taste for it that day

we finally arrive at Mini Salon on high praise for chief stylist David pictured here in the middle

he even cut Nat's hair for free!

Heather's new look

Amy looking nervous while David trims layer after layer

that was all Amy's hair that got lopped!

the ladies restyled

right around the corner we tried a 'frog eggs' place which really is giant tapioca pearls mixed with other ingredients like red bean, grass jelly, almond jello, etc- pretty refreshing

of course we finish our dessert with another meal- around another corner we find Din Tai Fung which could be the #1 tourist destination for visitors of Taipei. They are probably know for their xiao long bao dumplings and I was expecting heaven on a plate but ended up with something middle of the road.

a lot of work actually goes into each dumpling as they weigh the dough for each wrapper precisely

per Marty's rec, the pork chop fried rice was the hit at Din Tai Fung

that same evening we had a Hong Kong-style banquet meal with some family friends. This was probably the most memorable dish for me in Taiwan for some reason. It was a shrimp and water chestnut dumpling spun in rice noodles and deep fried. The texture was just amazing - plus how can you say no to fried food?

our decadent menu from that evening - no worries, I can't read it either

Ma showed us proper rainy weather attire for locals. However, I didn't see anyone else wearing a plastic baggy in the rain.

Nat with Auntie Jane and Uncle Lawrence at Taipei Fullerton Hotel's brunch buffet

Taipei Arena

dessert from Ice Monster

Che lives on

Pepper Beef with Fried Chinese Dough

Taiwan's White House

thank you Angel for showing us around!

poor dog at a street market