Good Morning, Vietnam [2017]

Guess who’s back, back again? After a day of recovery from a long 21 hour flight, I am ready to be back on the grind. I’ve already contacted ICC’s Career Services team about a posting that I’m super interested in, but I know that I will need to continue researching for other options as well. Any suggestions or leads that any of you have will be super appreciated! Please just comment below or private message me 🙂

Anyhow, the past week spent in Vietnam was wonderful. With the dollar being so strong in the country right now, I highly recommend making the trip if you have the opportunity to! Given our budget, for most of our meals, Phil and I aimed to eat as the locals do. And since we were fortunate enough to have our housing taken care of by a close friend, between the two of us, we spent about $450 total during the week – that’s about $30 per person per day! Please continue reading below for our day to day trip itinerary and food suggestions.

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back with a bowl-geance

Hello world! I’m baaacckkkk~ And finally able to spend some time in my own kitchen again! For those of you who may not know, the past few months I’ve been working first as a garde manger line cook for the main dining room at the one-Michelin starred NoMad restaurant before being selected to join their bar team (responsible for one of the best burgers in the WORLD according to Bloomberg). Not taking Chef up on his offer to join the team after my ICC Externship and making the conscious decision to leave the restaurant and not pursue a career as a professional chef is bittersweet. For me, although I loved working in the kitchens of a fine-dining restaurant (one that’s also internationally known for its chicken), I also love life. And unfortunately life and being a part of society AND having the time to put into the relationships that I deeply care about just wasn’t feasible for me with the hours I was working. Let’s be real, we’ve all heard that work-life balance as a cook is pretty much nonexistent, but that was something I didn’t truly understand until I was one. Even on the occasional Mondays or Tuesdays that I had off of work, I didn’t spend the day frolicking in the sun as I thought I would, but instead slept in before spending the rest of the day nursing cuts, burns, and sore muscles – symptoms that somehow miraculously disappear though as soon as I put on my kitchen clogs and chef’s whites.

There are many factors that went into this decision, but in the end, I just wasn’t willing to sacrifice enough to pursue what I had thought was my dream career. So although I am a little lost right now, at least I know that I am in the right field and hands-down want to continue working with food. Tomorrow I will be flying out on an adventure to Vietnam to spend some time with two of my loves, but when I’m back, you will find me sniffing the streets of NYC for good food and my next culinary journey! For now though, I’m finally back to functioning on normal daylight hours, and back with a bowl-geance.

Please continue reading for the recipe for this dinner bowl featuring brown rice, roasted carrots & broccoli, seared sausages, scrambled eggs, and semi-dehydrated plum tomatoes.

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Phil & Jess 2017 Resolutions

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Happy New Years everyone!!! I know I haven’t been posting much the past month, but my schedule has been super crazy since starting my externship at the Nomad! To recap and share with you guys, 2016 and 23 has been the roller coaster of my life so far. At the urgings of my parents, I left my old corporate job, took the LSAT, got into a major disagreement afterwards with my mother that culminated in me getting “disowned” – hopefully a temporary situation – moved apartments, spent a few days soul searching while cooking up a storm, realized the extent of my love for the culinary arts, applied to ICC, received scholarships, took out student loans for the rest, turned down a 3 Michelin star restaurant for a 1 Michelin star because I’ve matured enough to put experience and learning over prestige, and now here I am, working on my days off work but more content with and proud of myself than I’ve ever been before. I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this and be pursuing my dreams right now if not for the continual support of Phil! Here are our resolutions together for a hopefully calmer 2017: 

2017-resolutions

NEST luxury mini votive candles review

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These beautiful, mini NEST candles are much more powerful in scent than they appear and when lit, fills up your entire home with the fragrance being burned – not an exaggeration! But then again, I live in a one-bedroom apartment in NYC so my home is not very hard to fill up with any sort of smell… Anyway, after this experience, I would say that NEST candles are so far my absolute favorite candles! I love lighting them after dinner to get rid of the leftover food smell before settling in for the evening to study a bit for the LSAT, take a break from studying to watch Top Chef, and then read a bit before bedtime ❤

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Little Lions (NYC, US)

Cookies & kitties? Who can say “no” to that?! Little Lions is cat cafe located just south of SoHo where for $11, you can spend up to an hour petting adorable cats that are up for adoption while sipping a cup of coffee or tea from the jointly attached cafe.

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Phil & Jess 2016 Resolutions

On the first day of every year, Phil and I sit down together to write out our couples resolutions. These resolutions help to ensure that we set aside time to focus on each other and continue to develop our relationship – something that often gets neglected in long term relationships! This year, we brought back some of our favorites from the past:

2016

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