Faith – An Opportunity to Grow

As a child and as a classically trained violinist, I learned early on that the best way to be successful is to rely on myself and only myself. If I put in dedication, with my smarts, I always succeeded. As I became an adult, I learned that the population norm has lower expectations than I do. Fiercely independent, I have faith in myself that I will always be “all right” under any circumstances. I don’t easily buckle; I am antifragile and can appear to be amorphous from a traditional perspective.

Yet, I did not know the opportunity cost of being fiercely independent is that I don’t faith in others- people, things or religion. I am a pragmatist with a heart that desires to be an idealist. Having faith – or having blind faith is what has eluded me.

As I closed out the year at work last Friday, inevitably I did an internal evaluation. I looked back at my professional life in 2016 and saw how much I did this year… CMS implementation, site redesign, media spend attribution model, team reorganization, big data migration, and setting up infrastructure for the digital emerging technology. I realized that I must have had some faith. I pushed hard on my team and my colleagues and raised the bar on everyone. I must have believed and they delivered. Isn’t that faith?

I also looked back at my personal life and realized that it is fuller than it had been in the past ten years. I now have a bigger circle of friends who care and love me. Through hardship in the past two years, I saw who were there for me when things were in the dumps and said goodbye to those who weren’t. Years of relationships with people often means nothing in the time of war. This journey to trusting people other than myself is buried in landmines. My glass was half empty.

As I depart tonight flying to my mecca to begin some soul searching and reconnecting to Taiwan, my heart is full, filling with emotions that I cannot describe. I toggle between two worlds; one with faith and one without. I recently remarked that my glass is now sometimes half full and got yelled back, “THE GLASS IS FULL!” Lovingly, I want to remember the lesson in 2016 and teach myself that I, too, can have faith.

Cheers to a new year and to having blind faith in life. LOVE To ALL.

Wanderlust Singapore- Fish Village in Central Mall, the Downside of Traveling with a Child

So traveling with a sick child means no restaurant eating for me.  It’s rather unfortunate since I have only a couple of days in Singapore.  To make the best of it, the Central Mall food court came to the rescue with cheap and fresh bento meals. Fish Village focuses only on fish! Crunchy, fresh and perfectly sautéed and seasoned with Bonita on top. A vegetarian delight.Yes, boring salmon with Teriyaki sauce, to be shared with the sick child. The egg yolk was really orange yellow and more flavorful than that in the U.S. The Bento box was perfect for the combination of a picky mom and a sick child.But look at my other options: Pomfret, Saba, Grouper, steamed fish and congee! Since this is only my second day in Singapore, I still have trouble with bill/coin recognition.  The proprietors were so kind to me and made me completely at ease in handing over money for them to choose from.Juices are a lot more popular in Singapore and Taiwan than in the U.S. due to the tropical weather and its abundance of fruits. Here is an example… Avocado as a drink!  I had A4 Avocado and Green Apple.  Funny… I tried to order watermelon smoothie and was discouraged because the watermelon today is not sweet.  I tried to order avocado with Yakult and was discouraged because the owner thinks it’s not a great combination. I tried to order avocado and mango and she told me the mixture does not blend well.  So I landed on her recommendation of avocado and green apple. It was delectable.

My experience at the juice stand and Fish Village is quintessential Asian.  This is one of the best parts of the Asian culture.

This experience took place at

The Central Mall
At Clakre Quay MRT Station
Level B1
6 Eu Tong Sen St,
Singapore 059817
+65 6532 9922

Jack & Nellie’s in Forest Hills, Queens, NY – What a Great Find. Upscale, Modern, and Fabulous Food

This is a great find! Jack & Nellie’s in Forest Hills, Queens, NY is a wine/beer bar that serves small and large plates of delicious new American cuisine. Although some site calls it mediterranean, I feel that the menu is new American. I was recently there having a quick dinner with a friend. I got there early and was burning with hunger. I immediately ordered: Pate Charcuterie, Chevre D’ Argental Fromage (France soft, creamy & pasteurized goat cheese) and the Lamb Meatballs Over Cauliflower Puree.

The lamb meatballs were so good that I forgot to photograph it. The cauliflower puree was masquerading as potato mash but was so much healthier and lighter in texture. The center of the meatballs were so juicy that I almost did not want to share.

Pate charcuterie, Chevre D’ Argental fromage, with chornichons, pickled pearl onions, Granny Smith’s apple slices, grapes, olives and spicy sauce. In addition to all these wonderful goodness that made my mouth water, the baguette was very decent for the French standards.

Chocolate Mousse Cake: So much better than anticipated. Very worthy of the calories. It had the perfect mouse density, chocolaty but not too sweet. It was still cake like and the whip cream’s sugar sweetness significantly enhanced the darkness of the chocolate. Every component worked well together. I later found out that this is one of their best desserts.

There is only one down side – they should have a better web site.  Their menu is not on their web site but on  Further, there is no content on their site.  Guys – it can be done very easily.  Do it today.

Will return again and again. The decor was new American bistro. Modern and upscale.  Happy that I went.

This experience took place at

Jack & Nellie’s

108-25 Ascan Ave
Forest Hills, NY 11375

Work Cafeteria in White Plains, NY – Super Pumped to Influence their Menus

I work in a corporate park in White Plains, NY and there is a small cafeteria for the entire building.  The food in general is horrible.  The cafeteria had received terrible comments in the past that is related to hygiene, freshness or the appearance of the dish.

This was breaded sole with Spanish rice and broccoli.  When I shared this picture with a friend, he called this the “jail food.”

Since lunch is essential for my well-being, I tend to make do with my own or buy very restricted items from the cafeteria from time to time. A toasted everything bagel with egg and ham is one option that is consistently acceptable.  Today, I had the salmon with tomato sauce, rice pilaf and vegetables.  See below.

The salmon was decent, close enough to what I could do.  The rice pilaf was worse than the kind from the box.

But this is not a post to slam my cafeteria.  I am super-pumped that I have finally become friendly enough with the chef (whose name rhymes with Brownie) in the cafeteria that he is going to make the kind of dish I like!  I love lamb and lamb is not a popular protein.  He will be making roasted lamb and possibly Israeli couscous in the next two weeks at my request!  Better yet, he will text me so I can get the lamb when it first comes out of the oven.

I start to imagine how I can slowly influence the menus of my cafeteria…  Bringing fresh ingredients, poaching the wild salmon, confining the duck, sous-viding the snapper, etc..  May sound pathetic but I live a big chunk of my life in the office.  I need quality food.  I need food that is more palatable. Otherwise, an English muffin with peanut butter plus black tea or cereal with chia seeds and soy milk make a rather boring midday chow.

This experience took place at

A large corporate complex in White Plains, NY

Fortina in Armonk, NY – Straight Forward Italian Food, Cooked in Wood-Fired Ovens

Fortina is an Italian food and pizza restaurant and a relative newcomer to the Armonk restaurant scene. It opened in May 2014. As an Armonk resident, I watched people flood to the restaurant and I heard my friends’ reviews after they went there. I did not go to Fortina until December last year and was very pleasantly surprised by how good the food is and how vibrant the bar scene is.

I was there during a weeknight after 8pm. The place was packed with couples, families, and friends. First thing I noticed when I entered the restaurant was how many good-looking men were at the bar. That is not typical of Armonk. 🙂 I also noticed many good-looking women with their friends at the tables; now, that’s Armonk!

The wait staff was friendly and quick to respond. The music played was the 80s with large screen TVs on the wall. The atmosphere was very lively and loud. It’s not so great if you want an intimate conversation but it is great for large party socialization.

Classic Margherita – tomato, basil, mozzarella. Since this was my first time, I wanted something simple and classic just in case they screw it up. I went for the margherita pizza. It was so much better than expected. Wood-fired oven is KING. The pizza was very yummy and was shared happily.

Tortelloni – sweet potato, brown butter, pecans, parmesan. This was lovely. The sweet potato inside the tortelloni was just sweet enough to satisfy and left a desire to eat a second mouth full. Well done, Fortina.

Fortina really lived up to their slogan – Straight Forward Italian Food, Cooked in Wood-Fired Ovens. It was good. I would recommend it for simple eating and for meeting new people at the bar. 🙂

This experience took place at

Fortina Pizza
17 Maple Ave
Armonk, NY 10504
914 273 0900