The Best Wanderlust of Them All: Peilin Corbanese- Coming Soon this Fall

I had an interesting text conversation with three friends this morning. I asked the question, “I think I want a new last name. What should it be?”

A quick background: I have got three distinct identities, two passports, and one divorce coming up shortly. I was born Taiwanese and 1/3 of time I feel like Taiwanese or more precisely I feel like Tsai Peilin, 蔡沛伶. I am also a Corbanese, a name I have used since the beginning of my career and has given me both the French and the Italian cultures and motherhood. I feel like a Corbanese 1/3 of the time. The last 1/3 is the person I am putting together that will integrate the first two and carry me forward.

One of my friends is a Taiwanese American married to a Taiwanese American, living in Jersey. She wants me to revert back to my maiden name, 蔡Tsai, which no one can properly pronounce in the US. Plus “Peilin Tsai” is really not who I am anymore and gives out the wrong impression.  I am only 蔡沛伶 Tsai Peilin when I return to Taiwan. But my friend insists that I am always 蔡沛伶Tsai Peilin, no matter what I think or feel.

The other friend is also a Taiwanese American married to a German-Indian, living in Dallas. She wants me to pick my favorite movie star’s last name (imaginary husband, she says) or a character I can identify with from a book. It’s a big no no on the imaginary husband – Oy! I have come too far to take someone else’s last name. Then I put Caulfield after Peilin and that did not sound right. She then suggested a heroine – yep, we are doing better. Then “Clinton” came up! OMG, that’s also a husband’s last name! What are we doing, girls?  Why do so many strong independent women take on their husband’s last name?

My third friend, another Taiwanese but not an American. She is married to a Swiss-German or German-Swiss (Sorry, Amay, I don’t remember.) living in Holland. She suggests that I create a new word using my Taiwanese last name. She also suggests that it does not have to be “English-Made.” All three of them feel that I need to merge my identities instead of keeping them separate.

Being a marketer, I can totally see myself blogging and advertising,

“You may think you know her but you don’t. Peilin Corbanese- Coming soon this Fall, Peilin ??????”

Just like a movie preview with a soundtrack of a racing car vroom vroom vrooming. This is the best wanderlust of them all. #WanderlustPeilin Corbanese

Wanderlust: Leaving for The Azores Islands Tonight- Do You Know Where That is?

At Boston Logan Airpot. I am leaving for the Azores Islands. Most of the time when I tell people about this destination, I am met with a question in their eyes. Azores are archipelago islands that are located in the North Atlantic Ocean and are about a 2-hour flight from Lisbon, Portugal.  I booked this trip in a matter of minutes when a friend forwarded this great deal to me. Azores has always been on my Wanderlust list.
image I fell in love with the Azores when I read this:

“Regional Gastronomy
Cozido das furnas (stew made in the hot springs)
Octopus stewed in wine
Barnacles and limpets
Wines: Vinho de cheiro, verdelho and liqueurs”

Follow me in the next week while I stay at the Terceira Island whose capital, Angra do Heroismo (port of heroes), is a World Heritage UNESCO site. Let’s go on glorious food adventures and possibly more together! Are you with me?

Happy Anniversary to Me and My 202nd Post!

It was my one year anniversary for my blog yesterday. In a year, I have written 202 posts and documented many delicious meals and worthy experiences. This blog has provided an outlet for creative energy and an aid for my thought process. Thanks to the newly purchased domain,, I am not the same person I was from last July.

My friend, Sandy, thought of me when she saw this image.

I feel like Dr. Who. 🙂

Month Long Wanderlust Trip Starts Tonight- Which Passport Should I Use? Bon Appétit! 好好吃喔!

Time to go. It’s always a question when I am about to leave for Taiwan. Do I enter with the US passport or the Taiwanese one? Who do I want to be? Entering with the US passport affords me the protection of the US and the ease of being an economic power. Entering with the Taiwanese passport affords me the number one universal healthcare in the world, being the majority in the country but with all the cultural expectations of who I should be. Hmm. #Taiwan #BestHealthCareSystem

Come with me while I traverse the streets of Taipei, tour Hong Kong and Singapore, and sample incredible food with the locals. I will make it as much wanderlust as possible while working full time remotely – thanks to my understanding and supportive manager, Dave. #Wanderlust #InternationalTravel

There will sure be some good eating! Bon appétit! 好好吃喔!

Water Moon in Rye, NY – Trading Authentic Asian Food for Pretty Bathrooms? Being Fusion Equals Being Indistinguishable. Where Are You From, Pretty Lady?

Water Moon in Rye, NY is a #FusionAsian restaurant or in #PeilinCorbanese speak – a bastardized Asian food restaurant. I rarely go to fusion Asian restaurants unless I am desperate or needing comfort. Today was neither. I was there because a new friend changed the reservation at the last minute and thought this would be a better restaurant to try out. Guess what? It was not too bad for a fusion Asian restaurant and for Americanized Asian food. It clearly has the syndrome of “wanting to be everything to everyone;” the restaurant has a menu that is a mile long covering many popular countries in Asia.

Since Asians from the various Asian countries are “hardly distinguishable” from one another, it makes perfect sense to serve dishes from Thailand, Vietnam, China, and Japan all in one fusion Asian restaurant.  It makes perfect sense that people would always ask me where I am from” simply because I look Asian.  People like to guess that I am Filipino, Thai, Chinese, or any other Asian countries they are familiar with. Better yet, many think that Thailand and Taiwan are the same country. I like to tell them that I am Italian – just look at my last name. They usually give me a puzzled look. Then, I take pity on them and succumbed to the stereotype of being a New Yorker to either educate the idiots and the bigots or flip them the bird.

Vietnamese Salad: Nappa with Tamarind peanut dressing. Refreshing but the Nappa could be julienned instead.

Crispy Red Snapper: with baby Shanghai green. The red snapper was crispy on the outside and soft and tender on the inside, exactly how it should be. This was the best of the night.

Roasted Peking Duck. I had high hopes for this dish because the chefs look like they are from northern China. It was just average. FYI – Peking or Beijing or 北京 is in Northern China.

Just in case you didn’t know, this is how you put the roasted duck and the veggies together in a bun. Sometimes, it’s not a bun but a thin rice sheet that you wrap. I tend to prefer the sheets.

The best part of dinner was the red snapper and running into a work friend. Would I return? Nah – even when Water Moon was voted the best Asian restaurant in the Westchester County from 2004-2010. It was fine as a bastardized Asian restaurant but this is where I draw the line. When it comes to Asian food, I am authentically Asian and not such a commoner.

Any hole in the wall restaurant in Chinatown or Flushing will be much better than this posh restaurant in Rye, NY. But then you wouldn’t have such a pretty bathroom!  Here is a toast to all the idiots and bigots out there.  Without you, none of these fusion Asian restaurants would survive.

This experience took place at

Water Moon Sushi Bar & Asian Bistro
66 Purchase St,
Rye, NY 10580

Wanderlust – When All Good Things Must Come to an End

This morning, on the last day of my #Wanderlust weekend, I went for a run in the Berlin’s town park.  As I lay down on the picnic table to stretch my legs, I looked up and saw the trees towering over me.  I rarely lie down on a picnic table and I rarely spend more than a few seconds looking at trees.  Today I did both.  
As I prepare to go back to my day job of creating content for profit vs. writing content for pleasure, I realized that there is so much upside to flooding the internet with words and pictures. I have received so much encouragement in the past few days from friends and bloggers, it is a great feeling. Thank you!

As I wrap this up, I know what my next Wanderlust destination will be and I also know where I am at in my head, my heart and my gut. Sometimes, an aimless trip or project may just be the thing one needs to answer most of the questions in life. Come outside the box and play with me! I highly recommend it.

Here are some parting thoughts from my trip. Interpret them however you wish.

Cheers to good mental health, a fit body and a happy life.  Live with your heart.

Wanderlust – Chuck’s on Spring Street in Princeton, NJ. A High School Favorite of Mine Where I Had My First Date.

#Wanderlust continues…  to where I went to high school in Princeton, NJ, to where I had my very first date, at Chuck’s Spring Street Cafe, with my first love, an Italian boy from Milano who sang O Sole Mio to me. I remember how he rolled his eyes when I suggested Chuck’s hot wings as the perfect meal for me. I was not so refined then. I would like to think that I am still the girl I was back then. But today I am here with my friend, Danny, the biker chef, who could not believe I wanted to go to this divey place.

Still looks the same, years later. The only difference is the counter is now run by an Asian boy!

This was the hot stuff back then. Wings plus a fountain soda completed my daily nutritional requirements. The only question was how many wings.  In my memory, they tasted like the finest cuisines. Today, they taste like badly made fast food. Interestingly, my first love ordered a rack of lamb on that first date. Today, no special items can be found. Maybe the quality of the wings were better back then and now Chuck’s is just riding on the legacy. Here is Chuck’s menu today.

This is another favorite spot of my high school days, Thomas Sweet, an ice cream shop. The borders from my school, The Hun School of Princeton, would walk to the town center to get wings and ice cream and catch a movie. It was all the rage.

Here are the two cups that Danny and I had today. I blended in mint paddies to my Swiss Chocolate Malt.

We sat at the steps to the Princeton University’s fountain and discussed life and future plans, much like I did with friends back in high school.

This stop was a lot more sentimental than #wanderlust. I think all our wanderlust has a lot to do with where we were, who we were and where we want to be and who we want to become.  It’s only fitting that I stopped at Princeton today. Ciao Bella!

This experience took place at

16 Spring Street
Princeton, NJ 08540
Phone: (609) 921-0027

Thomas Sweet
183 Nassau St
Princeton, NJ 08542

Wanderlust – @ Berlin, MD. What a Quaint Little Town. What an Old Hotel.

#Wanderlust continues…  When I was searching for a place that is mid-point between OBX, North Carolina and home, I found Berlin, Maryland.  There is only one hotel in town, the Atlantic Hotel.  When I drove up, I was pleasantly surprised at how well-run and Victorian it was. The hotel was built in 1895. I am usually more of a modern type of gal but this was elegant and taught me to appreciate the old. Much better than the chain hotels.

Highly recommend it.

This experience took place at

Atlantic Hotel
2 North Main Street
Berlin, Maryland 21811

Wanderlust – Atlantic Hotel Restaurant, Drummer’s Cafe, in Berlin, MD. Dinning for the Big Girls.

#Wanderlust continues and brings me to Berlin, Maryland.  I am at the Atlantic Hotel in Berlin, MD for the night.  What a quaint little town. What a traditional and well-decorated Victorian hotel and restaurant.  Drummer’s Cafe looks like a four-star establishment.  I am dinning at a white-table-cloth restaurant tonight.  A little excited after having the opposite in the past couple of days.

The sea salt on the bread was a wonderful touch. The hotel butter was the right temperature and went on easily on the warm bread center.My 7 Oz Filet Mignon.  Medium, perfectly done.  With buttery potato mash, crunchy elegant and thin onion rings, and asparagus. Rosé. Cinsault ‘Les Jamelles’ 2012 Vin de Pays, France.  Fresh, fruity, crisp and clean from Southern France.Crème brûlée.  This was acceptable.  Had better at Osteria Laguna Bar and Restaurant. Click here for my post on that crème brûlée.

I believe I ate my calories for the entire day in this one meal.  Oh, well.  I have got to run for it tomorrow morning. Highly recommend it. Made a big girl very happy on a Sunday night during her wanderlust weekend.

This experience took place at

Drummer’s Cafe
Atlantic Hotel
2 North Main Street
Berlin, Maryland 21811

Wanderlust – Driving Through Route 13 and the Eastern Shores of Virginia. A Different World All Together.

#Wanderlust continues onto the beautiful Route 13 between North Carolina and Virginia.  This is on the Lucius J. Kellam Jr. Bridge Tunnel.  The darkest blue water connected with the light blue sky, with sunshine on my dashboard and music in my ears, I was lost in my head.  This is honestly the best part of my wanderlust weekend. The drive and the solitude. #Solitude #RoadTrip    

Everyone should have quiet like this. Everyone should have the quiet headspace that comes naturally to a solo road trip. Love and clarity to all.