Taking Off (My Summer Adventure Begins!)

Hey guys! In about 4 hours, I'm going to be hauling a very heavy suitcase, small carry-on, and my colorful backpack to the airport because MY SUMMER TRIP IS ABOUT TO BEGIN!!!

1st stop: Vidcon (Thurs- Sat)
2nd Stop: DISNEYLAND (Sun)
3rd Stop: Taiwan for the month of July!!!
4th Stop: Nagoya, Japan for a 4 day tour in the middle of July

But don't worry! I'm not saying goodbye. If anything, I'll be posting MORE than usual. Maybe even two or three vlogs a week because there's just going to be so much to post about, especially for Vidcon and Disneyland (2 parks in one day. It can be done, people!). 

Keep your eyes on my YouTube channel and on this blog because I fully planned to keep you all updated on my travels. And of course, I'm not going to leave my sister hanging and have her vlog on her own on our sister channel. So you'll definitely be hearing from me a LOT even while I'm traveling. See ya on the flip side!

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The Coney Island Mermaid Parade

Summer is here and to celebrate New York finally being able to thaw out from the brutally long winter, I went to Coney Island! It was my first time at the iconic New York beach and I was like a kid in a candy store...Or a kid in a carnival because that's basically what it was. I was there for a purpose though. The first day of summer also marks the day of the Mermaid Parade!

The Mermaid Parade brings together artists and creatives from all 5 boroughs and showcases over 1,500 individuals participating in the parade. What better way to open the summer with incredible art, community pride, and an all out good time?

The Mermaid Parade started in 1983 with 3 specific goals: to bring mythology to life for local residents who live on streets named Mermaid and Neptune; create self-esteem in a district that is often disregarded as “entertainment”; and let artistic New Yorkers find self-expression in public. I mean, I feel like they nailed it. Don't you?

You say diorama of Coney Island, this guy says Hat!

"The way I see it, if you're gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?" - Dr. Emmett Brown
Tribute to one of the rides in Luna Park (the amusement park in Coney Island)

Of course, I couldn't go to Coney Island and not get on one of the rides! I'm usually terrified of rollercoasters but these I could handle because they're not that tall and not as fast as the ones I rode in Busch Gardens. I felt like I could handle it. I went on the Soarin' Eagle where you are strapped in lying down and with your arms out like Super Man.

And obviously, you can't expect me to go to Coney Island without grabbing a hot dog at Nathan's Famous, right?! I mean, it's like going to Rome and not eating pasta. This is what started it all. Before it was in college cafeterias, malls in America, and in your grocery store, it was here in Coney Island. How can you walk past and not stop by? You have to buck up and just face the crowds of people.

To it's credit, Nathan's did devise an efficient method of organizing the crowd. They split it to four different sections: hot dogs & fries, seafood, burgers/cheeseseteaks/sandwiches, and their clam bar. Whatever you want, you go to that specific section. Although, if you  want something from either sections you can just order it in one of the sections but you have to order at least something from that section or else why are you in line?!

I kept it classic with a plain hot dog with sauerkraut and mustard. It's my favorite way to eat a hot dog. Nathan's definitely did not disappoint. I think my summer is off to a great start, don't you? More on my summer plans later this week ;)

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Restaurant Review: Zona Rosa

This is a Hidden Gems post inspired by RelayRides. It's like airbnb but for your car, for those with licenses. Make some money by renting out your car or rent it from a friendly neighbor in your neighborhood! It's based off of a peer-to-peer sharing economy. You can review the cars you rent. Transactions are completely safe. All you have to do is return the car with the gas refilled and you are good to go! 

Hello friends! Sorry for the lack of posts recently. I've been really busy trying to get everything sorted out at work because I am soon to be leaving for a month long vacation!!!! I have big things planned, so stay tuned. I'll talk more about it in my next vlog. :)

For now, though,  I want to share with you one of my favorite eats around my neighborhood. This is Zona Rosa and it's a taqueria and margarita bar. I mean, need I say more?

I'd like to think of Zona Rosa as a hidden gem because when people think of "Williamsburg"...well, first they'll think "hipster" but next thing they'll think is usually Bedford as the happening area for eating, drinking, and general merriment. This place, though, is one stop away from Bedford off of the Lorimer Stop.

Right away, when you come to the entrance of Zona Rosa, the first thing you'll notice is the silver Spartan trailer lodged into the side of the building. That's actually been repurposed to be the kitchen! So as you walk past on the street, you can see the chef and cooks making magic happen. When you walk into the restaurant, you'll be able to see the "trunk" of the trailer.

My favorite thing about Zona Rosa, besides the food, is the roof top dining. They have a great upstairs area to dine in. Part of it is covered in glass panes, like a green house, so even on a rainy day, you'd still be able to enjoy the upstairs area, which also is where the bar is located. You'll get to have your margaritas rain or shine!

I usually go for a Jalapeño Margarita for a spicy kick but if you like the classics, the original margarita is just as delicious. For something a little fruitier, they also make a great watermelon margarita. The menu changes seasonally so it's more of a reason to keep coming back. If you notice, my pictures vary in sunlight and that's because these are photos from different times I've dined there. I've been there for dinner and brunch. It's always a good time and good eats!

Jalapeño-Infused Margarita
Chips & Guacamole
You can't go wrong with ordering Cazuela de Mariscos for your meal. It's my absolute favorite dish. It's shrimp, scallops, octopus, mussels and Mahi-Mahi fish stewed Mexican style in a Chipotle tomato creamy sauce. Warning: You'll need to keep asking for more bread in order to sop up all the delicious sauce when you're done eating all the fresh seafood.

If you want to sample the tacos (it is a taqueria after all), you won't be disappointed either. From braised berkshire pork to a vegetarian option with zucchini and swiss chard, they have a taco for everyone. It's served on this really cute platter with the sauces fitted on the top.

Puebla style Arab tacos (Pork marinated in Mexican spices, onion, salsa Poblana on the side)
For dessert, they  have three standard desserts that they serve daily. Sometimes they have a special dessert of the day. One time it was churros but it came with coconut so I said no thank you to that. The three desserts that they offer are a chocolate tres leches cake (shown below), a flan, and a Mexican-spin on banana foster. Instead of bananas, they use plaintains. They top it off with dulce de leche and then flambe it tableside.

If you are lucky enough to score a seat at the outer edge of the patio (which is the seat I usually try to snag), you'll be able to people watch while enjoying your meal. Zona Rosa is situated right off of the Lorimer stop on the L train so you'll see a lot of people coming in and out of the subway stop. Dinner and a show! 

It's open until midnight on most days (1am on Thurs, Fri, and Sat) and accepts credit cards. They also take reservations through Yelp or Open Table. I'm actually a little hesitant to tell you guys about this place because then you're gonna steal my spot on the balcony!

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Changlings Take Manhattan!

My siblings are in town again! They were here for the weekend because my brother was catching a flight to Taiwan from JFK Monday evening, which is sorta/kinda why I'm posting this video so late in Monday night.

On Saturday, we spent a whole day out in the city. We went to get brunch bright and early at Hundred Acres. I mean that literally as our reservations were right at their opening time at 10:30am. I mentioned Grace was a morning person, right?

Hundred Acres is located on Macdougal St and 6th ave just south of W. Houston. They specialize in farm to table fare so their menus change seasonally. They seated us in the back room that resembled a green house with their glass roof and plants along the wall. It was quite lovely.


We ordered the ricotta fritters to split amongst the table. It was dusted with powdered sugar and drizzled with honey. We tasted a bit of lemon in there so I think there was lemon zest in the batter. Really yummy.

For my brunch, I ordered their savory bread pudding with goat cheese, sage, poached eggs and wilted spinach seasoned with some lemon butter.

Brioche french toast with New Jersey strawberries, toasted hazelnuts, and vanilla bean sabayon

Finger Lakes grass fed beef burger, gruyere cheese, caramelized onion, fried egg on a brioche bun with spiced fries
Soft scrambled eggs, leeks, spring onion, gruyere cheese, crème fraîche, and chives with a side of cornbread
It was so nice and sunny out that we decided to walk around New York, partially to digest as well. We walked down and across Soho and ended up in Little Italy. We worked up a little sweat so we got a little italian ice and gelato from Ferrara to cool us down. They specialize in Italian desserts like cookies and cannoli's but we definitely set our sights on the cold treats.

One of the pit stops of the day was the Hester Street Fair. During the turn of the century, this was the spot that hosted the largest pushcart market in the city. Nowadays it hosts a seasonal marketplace every Saturday and Sunday (from April 26 to October 26) with local vendors selling everything from clothes, jewelry, to bubble tea!

These macarons from Dana's Bakery definitely caught my eye. They specialize in putting American flavors into these French delicacies. They also have seasonal flavors. The one pictured below is the watermelon flavor. Can you guess which macaron that is?

Their neon box. So colorful and tasty! Perfect gift for the summer.
By the way, if you like seeing my interaction with my sister, stay tuned on our collaboration channel, Changuages, for more videos of us together in the near future! We post videos every Monday and Thursday :)
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