Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor & Museum | Columbus, Indiana

The summer of last year, Markus and I went on a last minute road trip to Kentucky. We were both itching to get out of the city and explore somewhere new. After a little bit of research, we found out that Louisville wasn't too far and there were a few nice stops along the way. One of these places was Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor and Museum.  

Zaharakos opened October 20, 1900 and can be found in the small town of Columbus, Indiana. Originally, three Greek brothers opened a candy shop but over time it evolved into an ice cream parlor. There was a lot of thought and care put into the look and it's covered with carved oak, marble and tiffany glass. It was stunning and so beautiful. Also, there was more than just ice cream on the menu. They have salads, sandwiches and even different kinds of soda from their vintage soda fountain. I'm so glad that we made the effort to stop, because it's not every day you find something from the 1900s. Markus and I live for places like this and love old roadside attractions. We make it a point to find places just like Zaharakos. The atmospere was definitley 1900s and it really felt like stepping back in time. It was the perfect stop on the way to Louisville! 

Kakigori on a Hot Summer Day | Kyoto, Japan

While Markus and I were in Japan, it was ridiculously hot. We went in the beginning of August, so it was the height of the summer. The minute I stepped outside it was like stepping into a bright sauna. Everyday I would be covered in sweat. It was great. So as you can imagine, I would constantly search for shade or refreshment. In Korea, they have this amazing shaved ice dessert called patbingsu. We also have an equivalent in the Philippines called halo-halo. These shaved iced desserts are the perfect remedy for hot days.

Markus and I were exploring the Gion district. We were sort of aimlessly walking in direction of a temple, but would stop at anything that peaked our interest. We passed this really cool place and thought the outside looked interesting, but we didn't know what it was. When we saw a sign for kakigori, the Japanese version of shaved ice, I asked Markus if we could try it. He didn't really want to stop, so we kept going. We walked about 500 feet and he stopped.  He turned to me and said, "You really want to eat that patbingsu don't you?" I eagerly nodded my head and he smiled.

We ordered the green tea kakigori and it was freaking amazing. I ate a lot of green tea patbingsu in Korea in the two years I was there. This was probably, if not, the best green tea shaved ice I've ever had. I'm so glad that we didn't pass up on the opportunity and we were able to try real authentic kakigori.

Japan Cheap Eats #2 | Nagasaki

This is part of a series about eating on a budget and I've titled the series, "Japan Cheap Eats". Many people think Japan is expensive, but I'm here to prove them wrong! We found many budget options and I wanted to share them with you!

Previously, I posted about eating cheap in Japan. As most people know, Japan is one of the most expensive countries in the world. Everyone always talks about how expensive it is, but Markus and I were determined to enjoy Japan despite being on a budget. One of the best ways to control your budget is eating frugally. For most of our time in Japan, we ate really cheap, but there were times that we splurged. I mean, I couldn't travel all the way to Japan and eat at 7-11 the whole time!

Another really cheap place to eat is the grocery store. Japan, like Korea, has really great supermarkets. They are filled with ready to made meals at reasonable prices. There is so much variety and it always took us a long time to decide what to eat. The food is made fresh daily and really affordable. They have everything you could want, sushi, bento boxes, salads etc. It's a really great alternative to eating fast food, which is always the last resort for us. When Markus and I got sick of going to marts, we always trekked to the nearest grocery store. 

For our second cheap eats, we decided to go a bit healthier. We didn't want to overload on ramen and fried foods. Markus and I always split everything, so that we can have a nice variety of tastes and meals. For this meal, we chose a salad, grilled eel with rice and sashimi with udon. Everything was really good. I couldn't believe that our meal was only $10. It was also nice to eat something that felt fresher and a bit healthier. If we spent all our time eating instant ramen and fried chicken, I'm sure our bodies would've hated us!

Cost Breakdown:
Salad: 105 yen
Salad Dressing: 20 yen
Grilled Eel with Rice: 498 yen
Sashimi with Udon: 398 yen
TOTAL: 1021 yen or $10.06

Eats with Jeff #11: Grand Finale

It's been a long time coming, but I finally edited the photos from our final "Eats with Jeff". I can't believe that this was six months ago and that we've been in America for six months. Anyway, on this last eats we finally met Jeff's beautiful girlfriend Allison. I was bummed that we didn't get to hang out sooner. It would've been nice to have her along for all our eating adventures. She's really sweet and a perfect match for Jeff.

For our final meal, we decided to go to a crab restaurant. In the two years that we lived in Korea, we never ate crab and it's one of my favorite foods. We spied this fancy crab restaurant in Seomyeon during one of our other outings. Jeff researched the place a bit to make sure it was good and fitting for our final eats. I have to admit that I don't remember much about the food, but I do remember that I liked it. I mean we ate everything on the table, so it had to be good right?! Unfortunately, Jeff told me recently that the restaurant closed. It's the sad fact that in Korea the restaurant business is a competitive business. Restaurants are always opening and closing regardless if they're good or not.

After dinner, we went to our favorite coffee shop, Tokyoloose. It was great seeing Jeff and Allison interact. She's really funny and full of aegyo or cuteness, which I love. In the short time that we were spent together, I could tell she was bringing the best out in Jeff.

I really miss these outings with Jeff. It's been a bit hard being back home. We're starting over in a new city and it's easy to reminisce about the good times in Korea. I wish that we could've spent more time together. Jeff is a great friend and I'm thankful for the short time we had together. I'm looking forward to the next time we meet and we can have another "Eats with Jeff"!

PAO Truck | Tampa, Florida

When Markus and I were in Korea, my cousin Jonjie started running the PAO truck, a Filipino fusion food truck in the Tampa Bay area. Every time I saw pictures of his food, my mouth would water. Jonjie has always been a great chef and has been in the business since he was 14. He's put his experience to good use and is always coming up with his own recipes and different ways to play on different flavors and staple dishes. It's been his lifelong dream to cook his own food and I'm overjoyed that he's been able to start his own business.

Even though he's been able to get things started on his dream, there is still a lot that he has to overcome. In order for him to compete with the other food trucks in the area, he needs a new generator and a body wrap for the truck. He recently started a Kickstarter in order to try and fund these needs. Please check out his Kickstarter and help fund the lifelong dream of someone who truly deserves it. If you're in the Tampa Bay area, get your butt out to the PAO truck. It's seriously delicious and worth it.

Back in August, we were way too busy with packing up our lives and moving to Chicago and weren't able to go to the PAO truck. When we visited again for the Christmas holidays, nothing was going to keep from getting my hands on some delicious Filipino food. We even invited our dear friend Ryan to join us. He also generously contributed all photos of the PAO truck for this blog post. Ryan is a huge fan of Asian food and he never had Filipino food before, so what better way than the PAO truck?

Tosilog, Sisig Nachos, Lumpia, Boom Boom PAO burger and Filipino Nachos

I may have gone a bit overboard for three people, but I couldn't help myself. I saw that menu and I wanted to try everything. We ordered the Tosilog, Sisig Nachos, Lumpia, Boom Boom PAO Burger and the Filipino Nachos. If you aren't familiar with Filipino cuisine, it's like a mix of Asian and Spanish food. We like to cook a lot of pork and we're pretty great at it.

I really liked everything I ate, but my favorites were the Tosilog and Boom Boom PAO burger. Tosilog is a traditional Filipino breakfast dish that is comprised of tocino, sweet cured pork, fried rice and egg. It's one of my favorite meals and this was amazing. The garlic fried rice is addicting. For the burgers, he uses a PAO bun instead of a traditional bun. It's very similar to the bread that is used for steamed buns and we know how much I love steamed buns. The Boom Boom PAO is unlike any burger I've ever had. It begins with a 6 oz hamburger patty, topped with cheese, tocino, a fried egg and lettuce and tomato and sandwiched between the PAO bun. You would think it would be too much, but it's not. Everything goes together perfectly and it's something that everyone should at least try once. 

I'm not lying when I say that it was all freaking amazing. Jonjie really has a gift and it would be sad to see it go to waste. He makes everything from scratch, no pre-packaged stuff. He really pours his heart and soul into his food. If you want to support someone's lifelong dream and help spread Filipino cuisine, please support the PAO Truck!