Weekend Wheelin Roundup

I want to preface this post by making it known that for once, I am not typing this post on my PC. In fact, I am typing this in the dining room on my laptop.

Above me is a 30-something year old chandelier; quality unknown. The light is drab with about six bulbs in total, 4 watts each. And about three feet away from me is a beautiful white orchid which my brother bought on sale. And over to the left is a painting by my sister of a picturesque Chinese tea garden which I secretly mounted on a thermostat I decommissioned years ago.

I am outside of my usual comfort zone from when I type these posts onto this blog. I have done so, for many years, in the comfort of my own room, in front of my PC, and at one point in time, my PowerMac G4 until it slowly withered away into a slow, painful death.

I often reflect upon myself and where life will take me. I can wholeheartedly attest that doing this is taking this first step by moving into the dining room as the start of a new beginning despite this seemingly petty. On the flip side, it’s funny how life can also take you back. I came across a Twitter post of a few locals mentioning Tarquin’s use of durian in a cocktail. I dug further to find out Joann Pai had a hand behind the story on her blog/magazine – www.acornmag.com

I’ve somehow come across some of her works before, be it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or some social media platform. I find her work to be very inspirational with her use of beautiful photos which tell a story. That brought me back to my visual communications course I took back in college. It was, by far, my most favourite class. I enjoyed it a lot and no matter how much time and effort I put into those assignments, they were always fulfilling and meaningful, much like my blog posts I share with you.

I want to re-iterate how thankful I am of my readers – You. I appreciate the support and time you’ve invested into my blog, be it for the stories, the photos, the laughs, the disappointment, or the misery I’ve put you through. Without you, this blog wouldn’t be where it is today.

But without any further hesitation, below is a wrap-up of the May long Weekend – bcrdukes style.

Thursday – I went out on the Guru Flite and nearly crashed into a stupid lady who didn’t stop at the red light at Richards and Pacific. She rode an annoying cruiser and even had the audacity to tell me she’d beat me off the line.

Friday – I rode the Cinelli to/from work. I don’t remember much else after.

Saturday – A jaunt on the CAAD10 with a photo op at Blitzkrieg.
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Sunday – A light Sunday ride around town on the Cinelli Gazetta della Strada with “A” on her cruiser (ugh.) She’s a complete noob who bought her bike from a noob store, where a noob sold her a noob bike who made a lot of noob mistakes. I’ve used the word noob so many times, it just isn’t even funny anymore.

I think she mentioned this was the furthest she’s rode – to the Olympic Village. Perhaps distance and speed aren’t important to her as it is to me, but I certainly managed to finally use the Cinelli for its intended purpose – to take things easy and to enjoy life. I managed to do that simply because, well, her bike is slow, and she is slow, but that forced me to take things easy, something of which I am not used to.

We made a coffee stop at JJ Bean at Olympic Village. I’ve always wanted to stop here, but forever felt that it was a cop-out location. I would much rather do the hill climb up Ontario/Quebec to E. 15th before making a stop either at JJ Bean or Tiger’s. The location at Olympic Village feels like taking the easy way out but I suppose this ride warrant it. Regardless, it’s an awful location; an architectural mess. There’s a huge pillar in front of the counter where you order and so it’s a visual disaster.

I am not a hipster
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I had a shot of espresso and their cold brew knowing there would be dire consequences. Funny story is, I tried to pay, but their stupid machine didn’t accept my chip card so I had to swipe, which always results in it being declined for reasons unknown to me. Unfortunately, I had to pay the ultimate price – I was so jittery. I needed some food so we stopped at Bambudda for Happy Hour and tried a few new items today. (Win/win!)

This here is a 2-in-1 dish: “Ham Sui Gok” which is a fried gluttonous rice ball typically filled with shredded pork and such other goodies, but this was stuffed with a shredded pork ball, also known as a “Lions Head.” This 2-in-1 dim sum dish brought back a lot of memories, although I don’t recall having the Lions Head very much as opposed to “ham sui gok.” Yum.
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Next here are the daikon radish cakes. I understand Curtis Luk borrowed this recipe from his aunt and elevated it. Never have I had a daikon radish cake with such consistency. It’s usually a blob of goop that is too firm, too soft, too mushy, and drowning in soy sauce. This was awesome.
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And of course, all the action and friendly smiles happening at Bambudda. Strangers here were sharing dishes, talking about the food and whatnot. The sun in Vancouver really liven people up.
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Monday – I met up with Eddie after a hiatus. We’ve both been busy. We contemplated over life, expensive watches, life again, food, friends, family, and expensive cars over coffee. Other than that, I took it easy.

The Turning Point

Despite the fun-filled weekend I had, unfortunately, it also had its aches and pains. We’ve discovered our grandfather has some type of blood cancer – either leukemia or lymphoma. The results aren’t conclusive yet, but it certainly isn’t great. Given my grandfather’s physical condition, I don’t know how much longer he’ll make it. All I know is, it’s been tough for him, and it’s been tough for all of us.

I am often at odds with myself, my emotions, my morals, and my judgement. This ordeal is really tearing me apart and testing my limits to the point where I will crack under pressure. Being the eldest male in the family comes with a burden of responsibilities and unwritten expectations. My grandfather, being a stubborn and traditional man he is, wants to see me and only me. While he does wish to see my siblings, I am his priority. I’m not sure I can live up to his expectations, or anyone’s for that matter, but it’s driving me to the edge. It’s tough and I want out. But I know I can’t just give up on him and my family.

I’ll definitely be spending more time in LA to see him. My tentative plans to see WEC in Japan will be on hold until further notice. For now, if anything, it will most likely be WEC in Austin at Circuit of the Americas and the Rennsport Reunion V at Laguna Seca.

My Type

I’ve been asked lately what my type is. The honest answer is I don’t really know. I’m not sure that I even have a type. But I can confidently answer this question depending on how it is asked and that is, I dig women who have a penchant for creative pursuits. Not just as a hobby, but as a full blown passion. Their lives are always in the pursuit of endless possibilities, exploring worlds beyond imagination, telling stories through whatever medium it may be, creating and painting a beautiful world before us.

I’ll be frank here – I am not exactly the creative type, nor will I ever be. I know my limits and it is often burdened with logic. I often get frustrated with myself and others who are simply linear thinkers. There is so much more to the world than just logic and reason. I crave the unexplained, the unimaginable, the uncanny. You don’t need to tell me that the Oxford comma is cool – I knew this before it was cool. I learned it in elementary school. I don’t need to know that intelligence and creativity is the new sexy – I’ve always felt this way about it.

Despite my artistic pursuits, be it this blog, my camera phone photos, music, cars, food, and travel, I am, and will never be, a truly artistic and creative individual. My type is exactly that – a woman with an imagination beyond belief who will show me a new world, a new life, and a new hope. She is that unicorn I seek – the ideal I hope to achieve in life.

She is out there. I just need to find her. And nobody ever said it was going to be easy.

Don’t Argue With Hipsters

Kicking off the weekend with “A” at Bambudda. This was their fried gluttunous rice cake with pork (ham sui gok?) and not pictured, their mushroom crepe. Drinks were a Pain Killer and a Brown Derby. We both decided to stop for some McNuggets on the way home because they had new coupons.
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I went for a ride on the CAAD10 today and forgot to hit “resume” on Sports Tracker. I missed out on so much data, but it was great to be back on a bike and managed to stop for espresso at Tiger’s. I rode the Cinelli yesterday to the office. I love this weather.

Free parking and nice doge!
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Sausage and Kale pizza with egg at Don’t Argue! Pizza
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A rotary phone. Seriously?
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Gene Coffee Bar. My former stomping grounds until the original owner went wacko and the new owner(s) took over. Not interested.
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There is truth to this poster, but the girl on the bike is a lie. You never see that shit!
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My grandfather is back in the hospital. This is frustrating and becoming more complicated. My cousin tells me over Faceook and in Chinese. How the fuck am I supposed to understand what she’s saying? I don’t know what the expectation is, but this shit is tearing me apart. Damn it!

Lights, Cameras, Porsche

Settling back into a normal life, I went to see “While We’re Young” with Cissy. Prior to doing so, we grabbed a quick bite of the tuna yuba rolls and drinks at Bambudda.
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It’s been a while since I’ve seen a movie, or gone to the theatre for that matter, but it was a great experience overall. I miss the smell of fresh popcorn and a good movie. Cissy seems to have encouraged me throughout the years to get back to my old self – food, travel, coffee, movies and what not. She seems to always re-ignite the spark in my life. I could not have asked for a better person to see the movie with.

As for the movie itself, While We’re Young offers a multi-perspective view of life at different stages. Whether you’re young, old, middle-aged, a dirty scumbag hipster, or a documentarian-turned-hipster, the film explores the multitudes of life’s agonies, truths, rewards, despair, and lies. I would recommend you see it. Ben Stiller is normally known for his wacky, zany characters, but no, not in this movie. He gets down and serious.

I was invited to the grand opening of the Porsche Centre Langley along with Charlie and other 400 VIP guests. We were picked up by a fancy bus at the Fairmont Pacific Rim to the dealership in Langley (to which I thought was the Fairmont Waterfront – FAIL!) The place was packed full of ballin’ people like Jerry and it certainly was a mixed crowd. I’m not even sure if any of them own a Porsche, and very few did. Were they their target market? Probably not. But I think Mr. Chia wanted the place packed as I understand this was a big dream of his as he is passionate for Porsche cars and the brand itself.
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Me and Charlie expected food and booze, but really, it was just booze. I think we both got 2 oysters at most. We were starving. And to pay homage to the Porsche crest, they brought in two black stallions and ushered in “LIGHTS” to perform “Drive My Soul” among other hits. Neat event where hot shot rich people got drunk, engaged in bullshit small talk, blew up at valet service, and flashed their wealth in some way or form. That and old rich white people who don’t go out much getting drunk. It was quite the spectacle.

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Of course, my favourite Porsche of the evening (including an 85 Carrera in silver.)
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We took the bus back to Vancouver and didn’t get in until 10:45pm. The bus made its way down East Hastings Street to which reminded me of my humble days growing up in the projects. And to be seated among many wealthy, successful people, and my capability to own a Porsche – it was a reminder to stay humble.

And to our disappointment, most restaurants were closed, including Bambudda. We ended up at The Diamond where I had a Mufalleta sandwich and Charlie with a Cuban. They both sucked. The “Grass Skirt” cocktail tasted like bubble gum. What? How does Gastown close up at 10pm is beyond me.

Shoutout goes to Joe @ The Gastown Grooming Room for taking care of my messy hair prior to the Porsche event. He’s a lifesaver!

Victoria Day

Not really, but sort of. I hit up Victoria to get away for a bit and revisited one of my favourite Westin properties as well as dine at some new places. A lot of first times on this trip.

I hope to live on this little island one day.
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One the ferry, these Korean women busted out their metal gear and had a bibimbap party. Good lord.
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Westin Bear Mountain – Clubhouse building. Didn’t quite get the suite and the property was fully booked for weddings and corporate events. One thing I didn’t know – the frogs at night can really keep you up. Ugh.
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Dinner at Bodega Bar in Downtown Victoria. This was a bit of a disappointment. I should have gotten the $5.99 pizza special at Domino’s instead. Known for their wine and sherry selection, they decided to make a sherry-based negroni. Fuck, it sucked.
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Their pinchos. Okay, but not great.
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Mixed olives and stuffed piquillo peppers with tuna, capers, and anchovies. To the right is their scallop and prawn ceviche. I felt that it was far too acidic and salty.
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Octopus carpaccio. It was heavy on the salt. Pass.
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Braised short rib in guava sauce. I was more curious about the guava, but there was only a very fine hint of it. Fail.
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Do not recommend.

I hit up this place called Floyd’s in Lanford. It was a trashy diner that I saw on some stupid Food Network TV show with grungy clientele. The food reflected this. And it fucking sucks. Their chicken and waffles and rendition of an Egg McMuffin was awful. Not to mention their pancakes. Fucking hell. Don’t patronize this dumpster!
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Habit Coffee. I went to their new location on Yates Street. They pulled a shot of I think Bows & Arrows? The espresso was good. The cappuccino wasn’t (but their espresso isn’t good for milk.)
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I saw this in The Times Colonist. How appropriate.
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I hit up the Victoria Public Market. Man, did that place ever suck.

Fol Epi – They have a Victoria Arduino lever machine and man, did that espresso ever taste amazing! I love the shot profile and body of lever-pulled espresso. Last time I ever had a lever-pulled shot was in Salzburg, Austria in I think 2006/2007? So fucking good.
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I have wanted to try canales since watching “Your Lie In April.” I did, and it wasn’t that great, but at least I tried it.
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Standard Pizza – A low key pizza place. I’d say probably my favourite. Not too salty, not too poser, nice crust, and just good fucking pizza.
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Mixed olives
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Margherita and bacon pizza. That egg was so awesome.
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Look at that leopording. So good. Highly recommended.
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I joked about going to a stupid Chinese buffet called Fountain but saw another one in Downtown called Hope Key, which was probably nicer. To my dismay, it was fucking closed that day. There’s a story behind Fountain and that is my old co-worker went there regularly but the owners kicked him and his friends out for eating too much.

Oh well, I ended up at The Ruby for dinner before heading home. This restaurant is part of a “boutique motel” called the Hotel Zen. Neat little place known for their rotisserie chicken.
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Phoenix was playing. Nice playlist.
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Got there during happy hour so I got The Ruby Chicken Sandwich on a Portugese bun, chimichurri sauce, house aioli, greens, with fries. I liked the bun (of course, anything Portuguese is awesome – no bias here) and the chicken was pretty juicy. The server didn’t say it was happy hour so I should have just ordered the sandwich itself.
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Duck Confit Poutine – duck confit, fries, curds, house chicken gravy. I’m not sure how I feel about this.
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Took advantage of their happy hour menu and got a Rotisserie Chicken Taco for 2 dollars each. Magic powder rotisserie chicken, shredded lettuce, roasted red pepper aioli, pico de gallo. Not bad, but not authentic. (But nobody ever said it would be.)
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This place even has a ping pong room. The other side also has another ping pong table, but with a Nintendo Wii.
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So fucking hell, I got a speeding ticket. I went 100 over the speed limit. If you’ve ever been on the Patricia Bay Highway, it goes from 90, to 50, then all of a sudden, fucking 20 before you reach the fare kiosks. Fuck you, Saanich RCMP. Then again, it could have been worse – could have been impounded on the spot. S’all good.
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Twist soft serve ice cream on the ferry – one of the last places on Earth to get such a thing. I felt sick afterwards.
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Honourable mentions – microwaveable Kraft Dinner and dark ginger ale. The Bear’s Den cafe on Bear Mountain was a gong show and a hummingbird must have hurt itself and was just laying there. I’m pretty sure it died.

I’m starting to enjoy a slower pace of life on the island. And reading newspapers.

Saskawho Segment Run

One of the last few mileage runs for the year on company dime: YVR > YEG > YYC > YXE > YVR. The original segment was YXE > YYC > YVR but because of a project delay, I took the direct flight home. This means I’m 9 segments away from Altitude Prestige. I’ve got an upcoming LAX and YUL run, with a stopover in YYZ. I’ll need another 3 to hit Prestige. I’m pretty sure I can hit 35K Elite Altitude by the end of the year since I do intend on doing more LAX runs. Should be nice.
Edmonton – So ugly
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Saskatoon
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YXE – Twenty Five Shades of Grey
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Collective Coffee – Quinoa Salad and Beet and cucumber sandwich.
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A new juice company just opened up – Thrive Juice Co. The girls who own this place are pretty hot. Not sure why I didn’t take pictures of the juice. It wasn’t bad.
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Back to Ayden for dinner. The cocktail was weak and the food was awful.
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You can’t call this a beet salad when it was mostly an Asian slaw with a few pieces of beets. Warm beets at that. Did not like.
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This was the pasta special. I forgot what it was but the parsley was good.
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Grapefruit Cream, Segments, Spiced Crumble, Gin Scented Microcake. Grapefruit is supposed to be refreshing. This was warm. Did not like. Fail.
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Dinner at the Grazing Goat. The owner here was too friendly and spoiled me with a lot of snacks after dinner. The bartender was pretty good and humble. Food overall was alright. The guys in the kitchen need to learn how to execute their dishes better and I’m not sure why but some of my dishes came out warm/cold. Overall, not bad. I like their use of bold flavours.

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Black Buffalo – Buffalo Trace bourbon, Galliano, fresh squeezed lime juice, blackberries, basil, simple syrup. They ran out of Thai basil but used mint instead. I think the mint added a nicer touch and went well with the drink. Not bad!
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Chicken karaage – the chicken was weird, but I loved their ginger/onion mayo sauce. This was a step above the usual mayo you get in Vancouver. Good on them. (The owner’s wife is Japanese.)
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Scallops seared in olive oil seasoned with salt, pepper, and sumac. This was meh.
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Soft Corn Tacos – Three soft corn tortilla, stuffed with jerk lamb topped with corn salsa. This came out warm but was still pretty good.
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Lemon Curd Tart with berry compote
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Owner spoiled me with pickled Quail Eggs with oak smoked sea salt and spicy shichimi (not pictured) and shrimp with bread and a hummus eggplant boroni spread. The restaurant is still new so I think they need some time to figure things out, but overall, a genuine owner and staff who are slowly learning the ropes.
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Duck Duck Goose Tapas Bar – I expected this to be as good as Segovia in Winnipeg, but this failed the mark. Food was still good, however, but not good enough. Hah!
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I tried their Neargroni consisting gin, campari, sweet vermouth, fresh grapefruit. I love grapefruit, so this was a nice twist to the original Negroni.
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I was hoping to try their Pan con Tomate a Anchoas (grilled tomato bread with marinated anchovies) but they ran out of anchovies! Fuck!) So I settled for olives.
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Bacon wrapped dates. The dates were too rich and they literally used bacon. Man, this was serious disservice to the real deal.
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Meatballs – pasture-raised organic local lamb and pork with spicy tomato sauce. Flavours were too boring. Spanish tapas is bold! Make the sauce more tart and fuck the local palette!
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A group of four guys sat beside me at the bar, all of which had a beer. They reminded me of the guys in “King of the Hill.” Friendly Prairie folk who didn’t know “Alhambra beer” was Spanish.
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I forgot what this dessert was, but it was good, okay?
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Overall, Duck Duck Goose was not bad. The folks here need to learn how to be more hospitable and not to be afraid of flavouring. Can’t win big if you can’t take bold risks, right? To make matters worse, they didn’t accept AMEX. God damn.

Lunch at The Grazing Goat – Some kind of pasta soup. I don’t remember. It was hearty and a meal on its own.
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I had the bartender make a mocktail. It was similar to the Black Buffalo, but virgin and Thai basil this time (which I did not like. Prefer the mint.)
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I forget the pasta, but it was fucking spicy. Algerian/Middle Eastern influenced.
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A farewell coffee at Collective Coffee. The girl to the left was hot. She had this Tina Fey angry nerdy glasses look.
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Home time.
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In the May edition of enRoute Magazine, I saw this and it reminded me of Elisa. I’m thinking of #4 – that hipster.
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