Saturday, March 22, 2014

As you guys read in my last update, I've been working and working out a lot. I decided to reward myself and go out to a highly rated Chinese food restaurant with Oli last Wednesday. I don't know if it was the heightened expectation I had from the glowing reviews on Yelp, but in short, it was quite an average experience.

Green White Pool

Toca Rouge is a trendy Asian fusion restaurant on Torstrasse in Mitte. We happened upon it on a weekday evening and boy, was it packed. We're talking elbow to elbow, I-know-every-detail-of-your-date-last-night-neighbor packed. We grabbed a seat right under a suspended bicycle and commenced ordering.

Yasming Dynasty

Service is aight. As a waitress in a centrally located restaurant, I get it. Busy days mean busting your ass and not a lot of time for anything else. There was slight confusion at one point where the beer Oli ordered went to the table next to us, but I wouldn't consider that a biggie. I do wish they smiled just a bit more but now I'm just nitpicking.

Mao's Darling

Sticky Orange Love Pudding

Let's get down to what really matters: the food. This is where the whole experience just lay flat on the ground. The menu itself sounded amazing. The name of every dish was like the title of an Asian parody movie and the descriptions made my mouth water. However, the food itself did not deliver.

Appetizer/Soup: Bland and salty.
Entrees: My pork was too chewy and unnecessarily fatty. The goji berries didn't really enhance the flavor either. The best part of it was the mango salsa. Oli's dish was also average. His fish almost had no flavor while the sauce was too salty. It could've been more balanced.
Dessert: It tasted really good but was gone in seconds due to the fact that they put two small rice cakes in a little puddle of sauce. The upside is that I know where to get these dumplings to recreate at home.

I'm not saying this is a bad place. It's just not the place of my dreams. I also take into consideration that maybe the dishes we chose were not their better ones. If I do go back someday, I'll definitely try something else.

And use the bathroom again because this:

Disco lights and a hip hop playlist should become a mandatory thing while taking care of business.

Toca Rouge
Torstra├če 195, 10115 Berlin

Toca Rouge Restaurant Review

Monday, March 10, 2014

Hello guys, it's Aya, back with an update!

I know I've been kind of MIA for the past month, so I thought I would explain. I've been working at a restaurant for the past 5 weeks or so and although the hours are not long, it definitely takes out a portion of my day to travel there, prepare lunch, etc. I've also been carving out time to go to the gym. I definitely admit there's been time to blog in between but I haven't done much to blog about so that may be why. I've been meeting a lot of new people and very often I find that whipping out my camera to take 20 pictures of a dish while we're still getting to know each other may be distracting to some.

I've also been trying better to understand myself. I had a really rocky January into February where I was dealing with some anxiety. I had a lot of doubt about where I was going and who I was and I even had a panic attack, which honestly never happened before the end of last year. What really turned things around for me was a conversation I had with someone. This person seemed so sure of himself and what he was doing, despite much progress or success. I always have a tendency to put myself down for not being the best at something, and he put it in a really simple way. "Why would you want to already be good at something? If you're good, you're good and that's it. If you're bad, you will get better." I'm always embarrassed of looking like I don't have it together. I put pressure on myself, regardless of whether anybody actually cares. I think that's why I was so scared last year when all my friends kept telling me I'd be fine because I felt like they didn't know I was trying so hard to put on a brave face. But they were right, I'm doing well.

The second thing that saved me and literally continues to keep me positive, is exercising. Even before I found a job, the gym was the one place I knew I could be with something to do. And I had shitty days where I started a class crying, but once you get going, nothing matters. During that time you're working out, all you have to be aware of is how much you can challenge yourself. It's also so instantly gratifying. I realize that some changes in life take a very long time and you barely notice it, but going to the gym, you can see these small changes. If I can do one more push up, add an extra weight to my dumbbell, or feel less winded after a class, I know I'm getting stronger. And then when I'm done, I literally think to myself, "Damn girl, you are amazing."

I'm now trying just to focus on things I enjoy doing. I don't need to put this pressure on myself that every move I make has to somehow be connected to a greater goal, but I want to go at my pace and do all the small things that make me happy in the case that I do stumble upon something grand.

Anyway, I'll be away brainstorming what to post next so stay tuned and happy Monday!

Updates: Where I've Been