manapua (barbecue pork buns!) + maui!

Babymoon success!!! Our trip to Maui was perfect in every way, from the dolphins we met to the donuts we ate to the fact that we wore the same clothes almost the entire time. Each morning we walked outside, did an arm stretch, and said out loud ahh, another day in paradise! And then we either picked up a spam musubi at the Foodland and went on an adventure or went to the breakfast buffet, read the newspaper, and then rolled outside for our daily dip. We swam in such wonderful settings, first snorkeling on Lanai where we saw the most beautiful florescent blue fish, then sunset beach floating near our hotel, then snorkeling near our other hotel where we saw two sea turtles (and they saw us! they waved!), and finally actual lap swimming at the infinity pool to burn off all of our musubis. My swimming skills still hover around Guppy, but boy do I love it. We read parenting books on the beach, ate hurricane popcorn and pineapple by the pound, and just generally got lost in daydreams of Poppy Seed. Eggboy took an interest in learning everything there was to learn about the tiny macaroni-shaped island that we could see from the beach in Wailea. And though we searched long and hard for the one legged chicken that I saw on my Maui trip three years ago, we did not find him. 

Hawaii cured me of the cold that I denied having before I left and it made me feel readier than ever to tackle these next two months, even if none of my pants fit and walking up a flight of stairs feels like climbing Mount Everest. We’ve got baby classes to go to, a crib to set up, hospital bags to pack, and every single fluffy baby teddy bear suit to buy (omg). 

Leaving Hawaii was so bittersweet because it really was the best week ever and I didn’t want to leave but as we left, Eggboy reminded me that the next time we’d be back, we’d have a little nugget in tow, armed with floaties and sand castle tools and everything! Oh I can barely imagine that without crying. I’m going to be a very weepy mum. 

Here are a list of my Maui recs from this trip! There aren’t too many this time since most of the places we went were places we’d been to and loved before. For those recs, see this post and this post.

Trilogy’s Lanai trip! The best thing to do on the first day when you’re still on mainland time and can wake up super duper early is to do this sunrise boat tour to Lanai where you eat great cinnamon rolls and watch whales as the sun comes up and then spend the day snorkeling, touring, and eating. 

Lineage: There were so many surprising delights at Lineage, like the salad covered in meat juice and pasta salad mayo meant to represent the bottom of a plate lunch, the fresh veggies from Oprah’s garden, and this thing called a Flying Saucer which was basically a meat and cheese Uncrustable.

Maui Cones at the Upcountry Farmers Market: This is Alana’s friend Kammy’s sushi and mochiko chicken cone stand and it is soo tasty. And the whole Upcountry Farmers Market is great! I got a super cute ube whale oreo. 

Paia Fish Market: I just wanted more stomach space here so that I could squeeze in another fish taco. 

Four Seasons and Ritz: We split our time between these two hotels and they were both great!!

In celebration of all things Hawaii (and in advance of the upcoming Chinese New Year), I’m sharing the barbecue pork bun recipe from Alana’s forthcoming cookbook, Aloha Kitchen!!! This is a book that you need, and that the world needs, because too many people (including myself until I became friends with Alana) have this impression that Hawaiian food is pineapple and ham. On a pizza. I mean, I love pineapple and ham on a pizza, but if there is one single most important thing that Alana has taught me (other than how to use a straightener to curl my hair haha), it’s the real definition of food in Hawaii. It’s vibrant and dynamic and it wears its history on its shoulders, with displays of Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, Western, and native Hawaiian influences. I was surprised to see how meat-centric the food of Hawaii is, but it makes sense when you consider the influences, and between the mochiko chicken and spam musubi recipes, I am so into it. I’m also extremely excited about the recipes for the kinds of fun snacks that make browsing in Hawaii grocery stores so fun, like li hing gummy bears and hurricane popcorn. 

But of course the first thing I had to make from Aloha Kitchen were these barbecue pork buns, or manapua, which is a Hawaiian word that literally means “delicious pork thing.” This is Hawaii’s version of the Chinese classic, and I love that in Hawaii, you can get gigantic versions. It’s like eating a burger. I tasted tested these when Alana was testing them for her book, and they brought me right back to eating dim sum with my family when I was little. I used to remove the filling and only eat the bready parts, but I loved the sweet meaty flavor that the filling left behind. I think I just didn’t like the texture. These days though I love all of the parts of the bun, the fluffy outters and the chewy innards. They are the best. Alana nailed it with this recipe and you really ought to make these. They freeze beautifully and reheat quickly in the microwave too, so these will no doubt be on my list of freezer foods to make before Poppy Seed’s arrival. 

Also pre-order Alana’s book right now please.  It’s beautiful and incredible!


manapua

makes 12

from alana’s aloha kitchen

ingredients

for the bun dough:

3/4 c (177g) water, warmed (100º to 110ºF)

1 1/4 c (295g) whole milk, warmed (100º to 110ºF)

two 0.25-ounce packages (14g) active dry yeast (4 1/2 tsp total)

1 tsp plus 3/4 c (150g) sugar

4 c (520g) all-purpose flour, plus more as needed

2 c (260g) cake flour

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 c (100g) neutral oil, plus more for the bowl

for the filling:

1/2 c (118g) water

2 tsp cornstarch

2 tsp all-purpose flour

1 tb sugar

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1 1/2 lb char siu pork (recipe follows), minced

clues

to make the dough for the buns, combine the water, milk, yeast, and 1 teaspoon of the sugar in a bowl and whisk together. let the mixture sit until the yeast is activated and foamy, about 10 minutes.

in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine both flours, the salt, and the remaining 3/4 cups sugar. mix the dry ingredients together on low speed. keep the mixer running and slowly pour in the yeast mixture followed by the oil. increase the speed to medium and knead the dough until it is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, 5 to 7 minutes. if it does not start to pull away from the sides, add more flour, a tablespoon or two at a time. turn the dough out onto a clean work surface quickly so that you can oil your stand mixer bowl. transfer the dough back into the oiled bowl, flipping once to coat both sides, and cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. let the dough rise until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.

While the dough is rising, cut twelve 4-inch squares of parchment paper for the bottom of the manapua.

To make the filling, in a small saucepan, whisk together the water, cornstarch, flour, sugar, and salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to low and simmer for 1 minute, whisking continuously. Meanwhile, put the char siu in a bowl. Remove from the heat and pour over the char siu. Stir with a wooden spoon or toss with your hands to evenly coat the meat with the sauce.

Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and divide it into twelve equal pieces. Transfer all but one piece back to the bowl, covering it with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Roll the piece of dough into a ball before flattening into a pancake with the palm of your hand. Use a rolling pin to roll the edges of the pancake out to a 5-inch round; you want the center of the dough to be a bit thicker—it should look like a little bump. This will help give the manapua a uniform thickness on the top and bottom. Add about 1⁄4 cup filling to the center of the round, then bring the edges up and around the filling, pinching them together to seal in the filling. With the seam side down and your hand in a cupping motion, gently roll the manapua into a ball with a few circular motions. Place the round ball, seam side down, on one of the precut parchment squares. Cover the ball with a clean kitchen towel and repeat until all the dough has been used. Let the dough rise for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil with the lid on. Set a steamer basket over it and lower the heat to low, keeping the water at a simmer. Place the manapua with the parchment squares in the basket, spacing them about an inch apart. If you are using a metal steamer or a glass lid, place a clean kitchen towel between the basket and the lid to capture the condensation. Steam until the buns are light and fluffy, 15 to 20 minutes; they should be touching or almost touching. Transfer to a wire rack, cover with a clean towel, and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Store leftovers in a ziploc bag in the refrigerator or freezer. To reheat, simply wrap in a damp paper towel and microwave for 30 seconds or resteam them in a steamer basket for 10 minutes until heated through.


char siu pork

serves 6 to 8; recipe can be halved

from alana’s aloha kitchen

ingredients

4 lbs pork butt, cut into 1 1/2” wide strips

1 tb hawaiian salt (‘alaea)

1 c (200g) packed brown sugar

1/2 c (170g) mild honey

1 1/2 tsp chinese five-spice powder

1/4 c (64g) hoisin sauce

3 tb whiskey

3/4 tsp red gel food coloring, or 1 1/2 tsp red liquid food coloring (optional)

clues

rub the pork butt strips with the salt and place in a wide rimmed pan or in a gallon-sized ziploc bag. in a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, honey, five-spice powder, hoisin, whiskey, and red food coloring for the marinade. whisk together until well combined. reserve one third in a bowl covered with plastic wrap for basting the next day. pour the remaining marinade over the pork strips and gently rub the strips with your hands to evenly coat them. cover the pan with plastic wrap or zip up the bag. transfer both the reserved marinade and the pork strips to the refrigerator overnight.

the next day, preheat the oven to 350ºF. fit a roasting pan with a rack that is at least 2 inches tall. fill the pan with a 1/4 inch of water. lay the strips over and baste with some of the reserved marinade. roast for another 20 minutes. flip all of the strips over and baste with some of the reserved marinade. roast for another 20 minutes. flip all of the strips one more time and baste again before roasting for another 20 minutes. transfer the strips to a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet to cool a bit. the pork can be served immediately or cooled completely before using for another recipe.


-yeh!

ginger scallion chicken and dumplings

Hello, hi!! How are you all January-ing and coping with the Monday of Months/post-holiday slump/dry weather? Warning, I’m about to be the overly cheery person in the room but once I re-arranged my open shelves with all of my pink and purple kitchenware to be Valentine’s Day themed and also splurged on a tube of Kiehl’s coriander hand cream, I remembered how I’ve actually become kind of obsessed with January. I used to dread it soo much but that was back in college when it’d still be dark when I emerged from the practice room and then have to schlep around the streets in the dirty slush if I wanted to do anything social. These days, however, winter means Eggboy’s version of summer, which means we can go on more trips and stuff! It’s the most fun time of the year. And I want to tell you about our most recent adventure, our Great Midwest road trip!!

We drove from Grand Forks to the cute town of Red Wing, MN, to Chicago, to Kalamazoo, MI, and then up around the Upper Peninsula, through Wisconsin, on to Duluth, and then back home, by way of Bemidji, for pizza. We stuck to smaller roads and searched out historic and one-of-a-kind places that bursted with personality. It was delightful and tasty and we saw so many adorable cute towns that all felt like they came right out of a snow globe.

Here were some of the best places we went:


Red Wing, MN

St. James Hotel- A beautiful historic hotel in the little cute town of Red Wing. It was so beautiful that I didn’t even care that it was exactly the type of place that would be a little bit haunted. We’d seen it a bunch of times from when we’d pass by on the train from Grand Forks to Chicago but this was our first time inside and we loved it.

Hanisch Bakery- The coziest homiest bakery, with a killer sprinkle donut and orange slices as a side to their breakfast sandwiches. The donut had like a sprinkle crust. It was perfect.

St. Ignace, MI

Bentley’s Cafe- Ok, I don’t know whose idea it was to take a pasty tour of the U.P. in the dead of winter (oops, it was my idea…) but basically the first four stops on our tour were closed for the season and Eggboy and I got soooo hangry, I don’t think we’d ever been that hangry before. Finally we found Bentley’s and they had pasties! OMG they were amazing. Their crust was extra buttery and flaky and the veggie one had lots of cheese in it. I would eat this pasty again and again. 

Marquette, MI

Landmark Inn- Another beautiful historic hotel! (We hit the beautiful historic hotel jackpot on this trip.)

Lawry’s Pasties- Amazing pasties!! The crust was way sturdier than the one at Bentley’s but in a really satisfying way.

Jean Kay’s Pasties- More amazing pasties!! Between Lawry’s and Jean Kay’s, these had a higher ratio of vegetables to meat, but I couldn’t choose a fave, they were both delicious. 

Pence, WI

Reinerio’s Sausage- Secret basement sausage!!! This was recommended to me by my instagram friend Britt and it was just a little bit out of our way, in the itsy bitsy unincorporated town of Pence, WI. The owner makes sausage in his basement and it’s so good! We came home with a cooler full of fresh salami, breakfast sausages, other sausages, and a giant chunk of Asiago. 

Duluth, MN

Duluth’s Best Bread- This is new since we were last in Duluth (on our mini moon four years ago!) and I’m so glad we went. We bought a giant soft pretzel for the road and crusty loaves of flax seed bread and wild rice bread to take home that I have been toasting up in the morning to have with the Asiago from the secret sausage man.

Northern Waters Smokehouse- We ate here on our anniversary and it was the tastiest most casual anniversary there ever was. I ate a pastrami sandwich that had the perfect amount of mayo (aka a gigantic load of mayo).

Uncle Loui’s Cafe- A perfect diner. In my storyboard for the Duluth curling team Olympic gold medal movie, at least two important scenes take place here.

Bemidji, MN

Dave’s Pizza- We finally went here after hearing about it for years! I’d been craving classic Midwest square cut cracker crust pizza (I know, I know, shame on me for talking smack on square cut pizza, I knowww, I’m terrible) and it was perfect. Finished it off with a spumoni.

Chicago, IL

We spent time at some of our old trusty favorites: Russian Tea Time, Christkindlmarket, and Furama!

Things I learned on this trip: 

-Using a real paper map is wayyyy more fun than a cell phone map.

-Sometimes places that are the cutest and have the most personality and history (and that I end up loving the most) have lower star ratings on the internet than newer hipper places. So I’m learning not to put so much weight on star ratings on Yelp and stuff.

-I will never take another road trip without my Birdling Weekender. It’s set up like a clothing bento box, with different compartments that you can access quickly and easily. We stayed in a different place each night on our trip and I was not *once* stressed out about packing/unpacking/locating my underpants. 

-I like my pasties with both gravy and spicy ketchup.

-Small cocoon-like bedrooms/hotel rooms rule. We stayed in two very large rooms and I barely slept those nights. The best sleep was in the smaller rooms.

-Ok, yes, I LOVE square cut cracker crust pizza.

-Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker is bananas!!

-Trips where you only bring sweatpants are the best trips.

In other news, I have to tell you about this miraculous recipe that I have been obsessing over since I first read it. It’s in Cynthia Chen McTernan’s book, A Common Table, which was a book that I was counting down the days to because I have been a fan of Cynthia and her delicious blog for years and years and years. She makes all of my favorite foods: mochi, steamed buns, potstickers, black sesame things, matcha things… and she makes them all look so darn beautiful! One time we shot a bacon and sweet corn ice cream sandwich blog post together and it was the best day ever. Cynthia is truly just as sweet and awesome IRL as she comes across on her blog and now in her book, I am definitely a good candidate for president of the Cynthia fan club. My copy of A Common Table is filled with bookmarks and dates scribbled into recipes that I’ve already made. We had her bulgogi on New Year’s Eve, mochi pancakes for the premiere of GMF season 2, and I’m planning to make like all of her sweets. I just love how her recipes tie in her heritage with her southern upbringing and beautiful stories, and they’re all so playful and fun too! I think it goes without saying that if you like good food and also fun, then you need her book. 

Here is my favorite recipe from her book. I like it because its ingredients produce the 1 + 1 = 3 magic. You’ve seen the magic in Melissa Clark’s salt and pepper chicken recipe, it’s the thing that happens when a stunningly short list of simple ingredients produces a thing that explodes with flavor and awesomeness. After making Cynthia’s chicken and dumplings once, I had the recipe memorized. It’s ginger, scallions, and chicken. Just memorize that! Then you make chewy rustic dumplings which are like thick potsticker wrappers and, holy smokes, I could eat them all day. It’s nourishing and strikes a perfect balance between comforting and not too heavy. Eating it makes you feel like you’re curing ailments you didn’t even have. I’m so in wuv.


ginger scallion chicken and dumplings

from cynthia chen mcternan’s a common table

serves 4

ingredients

2 lbs chicken drumsticks or thighs, skin-on and bone-in

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

3 or 4 scallions, sliced into 1” pieces (about 1/2 c)

3 inches ginger root, peeled and sliced into 1/8” pieces (about 1/3 c)

6 c water

1 c (130g) all-purpose flour, plus more as needed

soy sauce, for serving

chili garlic paste, for serving

clues

make the soup: season the chicken generously with 1 teaspoon salt. place it in a medium pot with the scallions, ginger, and water. (if desired, tie the ginger in cheesecloth to make it easier to remove later.) bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium-low, keeping the soup at a bare simmer.

make the dumpling dough: after the soup has been simmering for about 30 minutes, start the dumplings. in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. ladle about 6 tablespoons broth and trickle it into the bowl of flour while stirring the flour with chopsticks or a silicone spatula. a wet dish towel under the bowl may help keep it in place while you stir. after you’ve added all the broth, continue to stir until the flour mixture becomes pebbly and the water is evenly incorporated. make sure the dough is a comfortable temperature to touch, then use your hands to knead the dough until smooth and taut, 5 to 10 minutes. the dough should be fairly firm, not tacky, and should not stick to your hands or the bowl. if it does, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough is firm. place in an airtight container or a Ziploc bag and allow to rest while the broth simmers for another 25 to 30 minutes (for a total of 1 hour altogether).

skim any scum off the top of the broth and remove the ginger, if you’d like. transfer the chicken to a plate or cutting board and use a fork to pull the meat from the bones. return the meat to the pot and let the soup continue to simmer gently while you make the dumplings.

form the dumplings: by now, the dumpling dough should be nice and pliable after its rest. the traditional method of preparing flat dumplings is to roll the dough out to a large rectangle, 1/4” or less in thickness, and then slice the rectangle into 1” x 2” strips. alternatively, you can form them the way noodles are torn for kimchi sujebi: pinch off a tablespoon of dough and pull it in half so that it forms 2 flat pieces. flatten the pieces to about 1/4” or less, if needed, but otherwise the pieces need not be uniform. roughly torn edges create a nice texture. repeat until the dough is gone.

bring the soup back to a lively simmer over medium heat, then drop the dumpling pieces into the pot. simmer until the dumplings float to the surface, 1 to 2 more minutes, then serve, with soy sauce and chili garlic paste on the side, if desired.


-yeh!

photos by chantell and brett!

olympics trip recap!!!

Ok!! I am back from the Olympics, and holy buckets, this has been the craziest wildest ride. I am so excited to tell you all about it!!! First I’m going to reel in the exclamation points because I’ve officially used up my allotted amount for the year but just know that literally every sentence here is said with 12 imaginary exclamation points. 

Prologue, four days before we left Grand Forks: I had just found out from the Olympic Channel that they were looking to have me do a few arts and culture segments in Korea but I had also just found out that my passport was going to be missing the expiration deadline by two weeks! It needs to be valid for six months after traveling from the United States to Korea and mine would have been valid for five months and two weeks. Oy vey! So I immediately flew down to Minneapolis to go to their passport office, crossing my fingers and toes that I’d be able to get a new passport in time, and also carrying Passport shaped cookies to hand out to the office. Duh. That all went swimmingly! Everybody at the office was so gosh darn pleasant, especially in explaining to me that they weren’t actually allowed to accept my cookies, and I was in and out of there with a new passport in an hour. It made me love Minnesota even more.

So then! We quickly figured out all of our details with the Olympic Channel which was bonkers with the 15 hours time difference between Grand Forks and PyeongChang, but we got it done and by Tuesday night we had confirmed flights. Seven hours later, we were on our way to the airport! 

We saw our friend Ben on the plane and I gave him a passport cookie. 

It was a 14 hour flight and my dad advised me to absolutely, under no circumstances, sleep on that plane so that when we arrived at night in Korea, we could just have a good night sleep on their local time and then ideally avoid bad jet lag. It took one movie for me to pass out for half the flight. But we still had time to watch Three Billboards (dark), Ingrid Goes West (also dark), and When Harry Met Sally (classic!), and then also eat bibimbap and a little ice cream sundae and quiche. We arrived just as the sun was setting in Seoul and then drove east across the country, through the mountains, to PyeongChang. 

When we rolled into town, we saw the opening/closing ceremony stadium, the ski jump thing, and a bunch of ski slopes all lit up. Our hotel was in a cute Alps-inspired area at the bottom of a ski hill, right next to the big luge slide. 

Day 1: In the morning we drove the hour or so over to Gangneung, where all of the ice rinks are (figure skating, curling, speed skating, and hockey each have their own arena there). It was the men’s short program for the team figure skating event, AKA NATHAN CHEN LIVE. From the moment he walked into the arena, I couldn’t stop omg-ing, I couldn't believe I was seeing him irl. Even just watching him warm up and skate in circles around the ice was magical and beautiful. Like, imagine Yo-Yo Ma playing scales, even the simplest things were incredible. 

We spent the rest of our day seeing the huge broadcasting center where the TV stations have offices, having our first sit down meal (an amazing sweet beef stew at a little restaurant near our hotel), and then going to the Opening Ceremony. 

My favorite parts about the Opening Ceremony were: the food (spicy rice cakes! chicken skewers! sweet yeasted pancakes!), the drummers, and then screaming my head off when Team USA walked in. “Gangnam Style” was perfectly timed for their entrance. Ooh and then we all lost our minds when the shirtless oily Tongan flag bearer walked in.

Day 2: I interviewed Tara and Johnny!!!!!! We talked all about food and you can see that video here. They were so sweet and I just couldn’t stop smiling the biggest smile. After that, Eggboy and I explored the Gangneung Olympic Park. We ate lunch in the spectator’s cafeteria, where I was really hankering for some bibimbap but it was sold out so I got the lasagna which was fine because it’s the year of lasagna 🤷🏻‍♀️. And then we traded some of our Olympic Channel pins for some gems from the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics: funeral potatoes and bologna sandwiches. These pins were made for me. For dinner, we ventured outside of the Olympic park and found an adorable family owned BBQ restaurant where we communicated to the owner via a translation app that you speak into and the lady in the phone translates it and spits it back out. The owner’s mother grew all of the vegetables used in the side dishes and everything was delicious. 

That night we had our very first short track speed skating experience and it was mind blowing. Have you ever seen it?! I thought we were in the future. Or in space. Or in another galaxy. Starlight Express! Their speed and smooth movements were completely superhuman. And what made it even more exciting was that speed skating is huge in Korea, so the place was packed and loud and everyone was going nuts and the South Korean president was there. So were the North Korean cheerleaders. There was so much energy in that building.

Day 3: Sunday broke down into two parts, part 1: watch figure skating, part 2: eat everything at the food market. I can’t possibly imagine a better way to spend a day, can you?? The skating included seeing Bradie’s clean Olympic debut, the Shib Sibs in the sparkliest sparkle outfits I’ve ever seen, and the Knierims’ beautiful long program. I couldn’t stop bouncing up and down, being in shouting distance of these skaters and seeing a lot of the things that you can’t see on TV, like their talks with their coaches, the reactions of their team members as they’re skating, and all of the warmups were so cool. And I got to meet Ashley Wagner, who was so sweet, and explained to me that, yes, all of her super awesome Nike warmup outfits are available to the public.

Even though we were trying to save room for the food market, we got so hungry during the skating and needed a snack, which, at the ice arena concession stand, meant our options were Pringles or bunless hot dogs. Lol. We ate so many bunless hot dogs throughout the various skating events that I'll probably associate live figure skating with bunless hot dogs for a really long time.

After the skaters crushed it, we went to the Gangneung Central Food Market and ate a bunch of tasties!! Olympic Channel posted a facebook live of their editor Marc and me eating some of the most popular things there. Check it out here.

On Sunday night, my friend from college June visited!! It’s been at least like six years since we’ve seen each other, way way too long. June is the best! <3 <3 

Day 4: More skating!! And I really shouldn’t have worn mascara because between Mirai nailing her long program and Adam being his stunning self, I was so weepy. It was amazing. The Shib Sibs, of course, were totally great and clean, and then what happened at the end was that I was completely won over by Virtue and Moir, from Canada. I mean, I’ve always known they were good, but usually when they’ve been on TV in the past, I’d be busy tweeting about the Shib Sibs or, before that, Meryl and Charlie. But seeing them live, they had this globe of energy around them that radiated throughout the arena. They didn’t just compete, they performed, and I couldn’t not fall in love with them right then and there. (And like, they’re definitely in love irl, right?? right?!!!)

In the afternoon, we went to the Olympic Village to interview Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureaux who are on the Team USA hockey team and from Grand Forks!!! I’d heard their voices on the local radio station tons of times but never actually met them so I was soo excited to meet them. They were so nice and cool and they also love cheesy pickles :) Watch the full interview here

I tried so hard to sneak into the dining hall when I was in the Village, I desperately wanted to see what the athletes were eating and show all of you but only the athletes were allowed in and I’m really awful at trying to sneak into things. But I was able to see the Village snack shop where I found coleslaw flavored popcorn, chocolate bamba-y things, Emmental cookies, and things called “mayo shower potato sticks.” Obviously I bought them all and so far I’ve only tried the mayo shower potato sticks, which were light crunchy salty sticks that tasted like mayonnaise and onion, I loved them.

That night we ate BBQ with Ben and Josh in Gangneung. We talked about all of our hot takes on the ice skating and ate spicy crab and bulgogi.

Day 5: On Tuesday we explored Yongpyong, another area in the mountains, where the alpine skiing takes place. The Swiss hospitality house is there, which is set up like a little Alpine village where you can eat Rösti and Raclette and shop for Swatches. And the Swedish hospitality house has a Swedish meatball stand set up outside, it's so cute. The Team USA house is there too but we weren’t allowed in because we weren’t athletes and finally that was our cue to start brainstorming sports that we could try to qualify for in the next Olympics in. Do you think that Pita from Tonga would want to be on a Curling team with us?

I made a new friend, Rosie, who is competing in the cross country 30k on the last day!! She told us to go to the cross country sprint that night so we put on all of our layers of clothes (it was so windy!) and made our way to the other side of the mountain that was right outside of our hotel window, which required a whole lot of schlepping against the wind. We thought, “ok, we’ll cheer on the Americans for a few events and then we’ll go warm up and get bbq in town” but then when we arrived, it was like we had found the best party in PyeongChang and we never wanted to leave. The K-pop was blasting, the Norwegian fans were decked out in Viking outfits and being rowdy, everybody was drinking, and we found pork buns at the concession stand!! It was totally insane. And I suddenly felt really short because the place was packed with really tall Scandinavians. Eggboy, who is half Norwegian, blended right in and we cheered for the American and the Norwegian skiers. It was so fun, it made me want to go to Norway and also learn how to cross country ski.

We ate late night dumplings that night, it was the best Valentine’s day eve ever.

Day 6: We visited our new friend Brett, who is a nutritionist for the ski team and their chef, Adam. We learned about how the skiers eat (lots of good fat and protein!) and what they have on their birthdays (healthier cupcakes). And Adam told me about a corn dog casserole that he made a few Olympics ago for one of the athletes. I’m going to make it.

Then we ate bulgogi pizza and booked it to the airport! I slept almost the entire way back and now we’re home. We avoided norovirus, which I attribute to excessive usage of hand sanitizer and A+ hydration, and terrible jet lag, which I attribute to limiting my coffee intake (sounds counterintuitive, but my quality of sleep and ability to fall asleep when it was night time in Korea was suddenly remarkable).

And there it is! I truly didn’t think it’d be possible for my excitement for the Olympics to grow, and yet here we are. It’s so cool watching the broadcasts now from home and being able to spot the seats that we sat in, and of course our new bffs Tara and Johnny hehe. 

For more of my photos and vids, check out the Olympics highlights stories on my Instagram. And of course, I cannot thank the Olympic Channel enough for this insanely awesome opportunity!!! Check out their site for tons more Olympic vids and pics :) 

-Yeh!!

february adventures

luckily my effed up valentine’s day cake experience didn’t dictate the tone for the other parts of february because i squeezed in so many fun adventures for such a bite sized month! i got to hug old friends, eat schnitzel with cool new ones, play loud music, and jump a whole delta airline status!!!! i like you, february. come back again soon. 

let’s make a list:

photos 1 & 2: i spent a whole entire weekend at the grand forks ice arena watching the synchronized ice skating sectionals competition and i only left to get jimmy johns across the parking lot. i got to cheer on my old team!! it was sooo fun! it was sad when they didn’t win but the team that beat them was from north dakota so i still got to kvell. eggboy joined me for a few of the divisions but he got a lil bored so he left and did taxes.

photos 3-14 &16: i went to canada! which is a thing that you can do quite successfully in february if you live in the north pole already. my first stop was toronto where i stayed at the *coziest* bed and breakfast, ate at fat pasha, gave a couple of tahini covered #mollyontherange demos with hillel students and at their palatial jcc, and made ras al hanout hotdish on the marilyn denis show. i tried to make a ketchup joke because i thought that canada was the land ketchup, but either i’m incorrect about that or my delivery sucked? come on, ketchup chips, ketchup on mac and cheese, right??

in montreal i stayed with my bb and lead monkey bread inspiration, talia, in an apartment filled with hudson’s bay stripes and st. viateur bagels. we ate poutine and smoked meat and wore patagonia quarter zips for a majority of the time. my friends from the wandering chew put on the most magical #mollyontherange dessert party at the museum of jewish montreal. so many wonderful humans came out and we all ate so much sugar so naturally we needed to disco it off after. also in my two days there we managed to have one of those late-night perfectly boozy meals at maison publique, followed by some thick babka and schnitzel the next morning at hof kelsten

photos 15 & 17: kittsona, the town boutique, put on a cookie decorating #mollyontherange signing. i substituted the almond flour for hazelnut flour in these cookies and they were so tasty.

photos 18-22: conrad is a beast of a pianist and the last time we performed together, he was seven and soloing with our youth orchestra and i was 13 and putting on lip gloss and waiting for my triangle note. so it took a while, but we managed to perform together again in aspen this month with the aspen music festival! i decorated dobos torte and made cheesy spätzle while he played beethoven and jason eckardt music. from now on i only want to listen to beethoven while being covered in chocolate frosting. 

photos 23-28: proud of myself for not exploding from happiness during my 36 hours in new york, but somehow the stars aligned and i found myself in selfie distance from my all-time favorite podcast hosts, my all-time favorite ice dancers, three of my all-time favorite college homies, and i made my all-time favorite food on the today show. i also acquired a pair of comfy cool shoes called blog. i also got to eat hummus with rob and brian and they didn’t even fart when i was in the room. such mensches they are.

photos 29-36: then i went to florida! my friends george and sam have a new music group that was playing a david t little quartet (and u know how i love the loud music of david t little), so i dusted off my vibraphone mallets and brute forced some notes out. it was such great fun. i also got to see my tampa family and my old roomie and eat some fresh tomatoes which are in season down there, which felt so weird but so awesome! 

not pictured: eggboy and i went to see the town choir perform in a warehouse, it was so hip, it was like we were in brooklyn! i made suuuuuuuch a good chicken and dumplings (here is the recipe, next time i’m going to start with 2 tsp salt in the stock and work my way up and maybe not use the whole 4 tsp that it calls for). i acquired a love of matcha lattes and neck scarves. ooh and i watched this lucius, over and over and over.

tomorrow i leave for kentucky for the iacp conference! i'll be leading a cake workshop, talking on a panel, signing #mollyontherange, and seeking out the best kentucky dance clubs!! see you there??

-yeh!