Voodoo Doughnut

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“Go get some Voodoo Doughnut!”, this was what my friend said before I headed to Portland.

Honestly, I’ve been to Portland a few times but I’ve never visited Voodoo. This time, I wanted to go there for some world famous Voodoo Doughnut and check out what the hype was all about. On a Sunday morning, we arrived at Voodoo’s original location by Chinatown.

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There was a line up with an estimate of 50 people or so. Voodoo opens 24/7 and yet there is a line up, I hate lining up for food!!! Being a tourist, we had no choice but to wait in line.

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After an hour or so, we are almost there! The interior decoration of the shop is really colourful and funky, with chandeliers adding some complexity to the atmosphere.

voodoo3Voodoo offers a wide variety of donuts with funny names and weird food combinations. I am not the biggest fan of donuts so I was kind of scared off by the names like Bacon Maple Bar and Old Dirty Bastard. Anyways, we ordered some of their famous donuts and a couple of random ones.

I didn’t end up trying all the different flavours but I want to share a few that I liked.

 Bacon Maple Bar  

This is such a weird combo, I don’t know how to describe the taste of bacon on a maple donut. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t amazing… it was just okay to me. It is a very unique twist of sweet and savoury mix that somehow matches together without any weird taste.

 Dirt Doughnut 

I like the Dirt Doughnut over the other ones, with vanilla frosting and Oreos on top. I like how the vanilla cream wasn’t too sweet but the Oreos were kind of soggy… I don’t know if it has been left out for too long or something.

 Voodoo Doll 

The famous Voodoo is shaped like a doll stuffed with blood-like raspberry jelly topped with chocolate frosting. I didn’t really like the raspberry filling, it was too sweet for me.

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To me, it is about the experience although they don’t have the best quality donuts. I recommend coming here at least once if you have never been before but I will not line up for it next time.

Price: $
Nom-ness: ♥♥♥

Address: 22 SW 3rd Ave Portland, Oregon, 97204, United States
Hours: 24/7
Phone number:  503-241-4704
Website: http://voodoodoughnut.com/index.php

Voodoo Doughnut on Urbanspoon

Pok Pok

Down to Portland for the weekend! You guys should definitely visit Pok Pok for some delish Thai street food!

Pok Pok is a Thai restaurant located in the East side of Portland, Oregon. I highly recommend this place for some local Southeast Asian food if you will be visiting Portland in the near future. It was about 10-15 minutes away from Downtown Portland, you might need to use a GPS or Google Map to get there unless you are familiar with the roads. There are street parking everywhere but be careful not to park in the reserved spots in the residential area.

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There was no queue on a Saturday afternoon, lucky us! We waited 15 minutes to be seated. The restaurant has several seating sections, we were seated inside by the bar area. There was a jar of water prepared at our table when we sat down. It was a huge satisfaction for my thirst because it was really hot standing outside in the sun. Their water is flavoured with Pandanus leaf which gives it a rice/coconut taste. It was a bit confusing going through the specific Thai terms on the menu, I had to look at the descriptions listed below and asked our server for recommendations. Their menu overall was very meat-centric, but there were some vegetarian dishes as well.

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Our order:

 Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings
 Sii Khrong Muu Yaang

 Kai Yaang – Half Bird
 Sticky Rice

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Have you had chicken wings marinated in fish sauce? It was first time trying it and oh, it was so delicious! Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings is a must-try if you are a fan of chicken wings. The wings were sweet, savoury, and very flavourful.

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It sure is unique to prepare wings fish sauce and sugar, but it got a bit salty after the second piece. I find that it is better to eat the wings with their Sticky Rice ($2.50) which balances out the salty taste. Even though it was quite expensive for 6-pieces of wings ($14.50), but every bite was worth it.

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This dish is called the Sii Khrong Muu Yaang ($15), which is baby back ribs marinated in lao jiin, soy, honey, ginger and Thai spices. The ribs didn’t really impress me, the taste was very ordinary. Don’t get me wrong, it was still very good but it wasn’t a WOW kind of dish for me. 

pokpok4Finally, here comes the Kai Yaang ($9.50), the charcoal roasted chicken stuffed with lemon grass, garlic, pepper, and cilantro served with spicy and tamarind dipping sauces. This dish is served in “Half Bird” or “Whole Bird”, order according on your party size. I really like the lemon grass taste and the meat was moist and tender. It was pretty good but I’d choose the fish sauce wings over this.

Overall, the ambiance was casual and their service was satisfactory. If I ever make a trip down to Portland again, I would definitely go back for the wings!

Price: $$
Nom-ness: ♥♥♥

Address: 3226 SE Division Street, Portland, Oregon, 97202, United States
Hours: 7 days a week 11:30 a.m. to 10:oo p.m.
Phone number:  503-232-1387
Website: http://www.pokpokpdx.com/

Pok Pok on Urbanspoon

Every End is a New Beginning

While the term “publishing” originally revolves around books, magazines, and newspapers, the definition has changed significantly over the years. Print, known as the traditional form of publishing, has now been digitized and presented in an online environment. As Baym and Boyd stated, “people choose to share content in ‘‘spreadable’’ media” which indicates that people’s relationship to public life, through social media, has shifted in the digital era (Baym & Boyd, 2012, p.321). With that being said, I’d like share some of my thoughts and experience as a food blogger and an online publisher throughout this term.

In a podcast by Gardner Campbell, he encouraged us to build a “personal infrastructure”, one that we can modify and extend throughout our college career and beyond. The construction of a blog in this class has allowed us to “frame, curate, share, and direct our own “engagement streams” throughout the learning environment” (Campbell, 2009). At the beginning of the term, we have been asked to set up our own domain and create a blog using WordPress. One of the challenges I faced was coming up with a blog name.

One of the most important elements of a blog, having the right name that best reflect the content of the blog. I am a hungry girl and I always Instagram my food before I eat, so I thought it would be a good idea to create a food diary with reviews and recommendations. Well, everyone has to eat, right? So, I decided to write a food blog. I finally came up with the name “All the Right Bites”, which clearly reflects the main theme as food. With this blog, I aimed to discover the diversified culture around food and share valuable reviews with my reader.

So, how should I blog about food? I did some research on food blogs and I came across Irvin’s article Food Blogging 101: How to start a food blog. For restaurant reviews food blogs, he mentioned that “gorgeous photography and wonderful writing” are the basics of food blogging (Lin, 2011). Photography is recognized as the visual voice through the content that is produced, which highlights the relevance of incorporating appetizing images of food into a blog. More importantly, another essential aspect to earn a loyal readership is to identify and establish a unique voice in our writing because we want our readers to resonate with our content. To this date, I am still experiencing to develop an authentic voice for my public and hopefully as time goes by, I will naturally find the tone and identify a unique voice of my own.

While the theme of this blog is food, it addresses a specific niche and brings them together in an online environment. As Warner defined, “the public is a kind of social totality” (Warner, 2002, p. 413). In other words, it is of the people and the community that comes together to a public sphere. Here you may ask, who is my public then? I didn’t really have a specific niche in mind at first but since this is a food blog, I’d say my audience can be anyone who loves to eat and wants to share anything about food with me. As many of my posts are focused on Vancouver food scenes, my blog can also be handy for travellers who may be visiting Vancouver in the future.

In addition to blogging, we were introduced to Google Analytics, a useful tool that provides information on people who visited my site. With the installation of this service, I was able to gain valuable insights on my site performance. While the majority my visitors come from Canada, there were also a number of them from the U.S, Russia and Brazil. This information was quite shocking to me, I never thought my site would reach people who are so far away from where I am! I was also able to see that many users access my site through Chrome and Safari, and rather less through mobile and tablet devices. I have set up my site so that it is responsive to mobile devices so I am hoping to see an increase of this number in the near future. As of today, my site has generated 1,140 views with a bounce rate of 56.74%, which I think it is not too bad given the blogged has only started for three months.

Google Analytics have also helped me in identifying where my visitors are coming from. My posts are connected to my Twitter account, so when a post is published, it will automatically update a tweet with a link to my site. I was really surprised when I made a post reviewing Spaghetei, a fusion Japanese pasta restaurant; they retweeted my post on Twitter and featured it on their Facebook page. The post was very successful in reaching many viewers directed from both of the social media websites observed in Google Analytics. It was very encouraging to a newbie blogger like myself to post more regularly because people are interested in reading my content!

For my tracking assignment, I have used Track My Happiness to record on my happiness level. I was not a fan of this tracking application at first, because I thought it was silly to have to track my emotional state for a blog. However, as I’ve successfully completed a series of tracking cycles, I was able to identify some interesting relationships between my happiness and my daily activities. I have discovered that I am most happy when I am doing something productive as opposed to being  lazy and procrastinate. Although the amount of sleep I get does not influence my happiness level, I realized that I have a really messy sleeping schedule.

As we have looked into marketing potentials of a blog, I want to mention some of the changes I’ve made lately not for marketing purposes but to share my blog on food-related platforms to reach a large demographic of readership. By adding an html at the bottom of my posts, my blog posts has been featured on the restaurants that I’ve reviewed on the Urban Spoon website. Since then, it has generated some traffic to my site shown on referral links on Google Analytics. Furthermore, I’ve been posting my reviews on Yelp, again, hoping to gain exposure to this blog and put myself out there as a food blogger to generate trust and interest to my content.

Seth Godin mentioned in a TED talk, “we are living through and are right at the key moment of a change in the way ideas are created and spread and implemented” (Godin, 2009). The prevalent of social media has encouraged conversations and collaborations, as such; blogging is recognized as a platform for the creation of content. This blogging experience has given me a lot of motivation to EAT and inspiration to create meaningful content and share it with my audience. It has given me a chance to discover a new dimension of media distribution, and to establish myself in an online environment through my eating journey. Even though this semester is coming to an end, my interest and passion for blogging will not stop here. In the future, I will continue to blog and explore different ways to expand my online presence beyond this course.

References:

Campbell, G. 2009. “A Personal Cyberinfrastructure” podcast. From http://www.gardnercampbell.net/blog1/?p=934

Lin, I. (2011, 11 14). Food Blogging 101 – How to Start a Food Blog. Retrieved 4 8, 2014. From: http://www.eatthelove.com/2011/11/food-blogging-101-how-to-start/

Nancy K. Baym & Danah Boyd. (2012). Socially Mediated Publicness. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media , 56 (3), 320-329.

Warner, M. (2002). Publics and Counterpublics. Quarterly Journal of Speech. , 88 (4), 413-425.

Seth Godin. 2009. “The Tribes we Lead.” TEDTalks.
From: http://www.ted.com/talks/seth_godin_on_the_tribes_we_lead.html

 

Happiness Tracking #4

Another series of Happiness Tracking questionnaires have been completed. There are a couple of interesting findings when I looked over the report that I’d like to share with you today.

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This one is what really shocked me, the report shows that my happiness level is in correlation to the focus level I have reported. As I recall, I’ve been pretty busy with school work lately preparing for presentations and meeting deadlines. I didn’t have a lot of free time to wander off doing other things, thus, my focus has been higher than usual. I am more happy when I am focused, as I am getting work done according to my planned schedule.

h42I believe my focus level directly influences my productivity level as indicated in the table above. When I reported being “focused” in the survey, I was usually working (I defined it as doing school work when I answered the questions) and tend to be really focused on one thing. With higher focused level overall, I have gotten more work done and I was able to complete my assignments on time!

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In general, my happiness level lies between 60 – 80% on a daily basis. The report indicates a gradual increase in happiness from Thursdays to Saturdays. I guess I was totally looking forward to the weekend!h43

In terms of the amount of sleep, I’ve been getting 6 to 11 hours of sleep and the indication shown is pretty scattered on the report. The one odd 13 hours of sleep was a mis-click I made when replying to the questionnaire. The results continues to demonstrate that my happiness level does not increase in correlation with the amount of sleep I have. When it comes to sleeping quality, it is either good or bad, nothing really in between.

Through the happiness surveys, I have gained a better understanding of my happiness and how it correlates with my daily life. Although many of us don’t really enjoy doing school work, I find myself feeling better when I am being productive and completing assignments. The feeling of accomplishment made me more happy than being lazy and not getting things done.

Marketing Potential?!

We have been looking at marketing potentials for our own blogs lately. One of our guest speakers from the previous week, Trevor Battye, has introduced us to the idea of commodifying our website and monetizing on our own content. Everyone is selling same thing when it comes to blogging, an access to an audience in an editorial environment. There are different kinds of tribes (i.e. audience) when we consider our targeted readership. Moreover, a niche tribe is essential when it comes to developing a relationship with our reader.

I think my blog has its potential to survive beyond the scope of this course and I really hope I can keep up on blogging after next week.  The coherent there on this blog has been food and most likely will continue with the same theme because I can’t really think of anything else that associates with “All the Right bites” other than food. I’ve recently discovered a Spoonback system on Urban Spoon where they will link my review to the restaurant page under their website by adding a code under the posts I’ve written. Moreover, I can also post my reviews on Yelp where food is one of their popular category for business reviews. Hopefully it will drive more traffic to my site. In terms of marketing potentials, I think there is a possibility of monetization for this blog in which advertisers and sponsors may be interested investing into my food reviews. Although I have no intention of monetizing my blog, it is kind of cool thinking about it. I would definitely take the money and invest on the CSS and layout to enhance its aesthetic and optimize the ease of navigation for my readers.

Marketing Review: Life of Dwreck

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Life of Dwreck

We will be reviewing Anthony’s blog and and commenting on its marketing potential. “Life of Dwreck” is formed by play on words and his blog name is very clear about it being a personal blog which implies that the blog revolves around Anthony’s life. Anthony’s blog is space for him to express his love for music, particularly to audiences who are interested in alternative/indie music. His blog features a variety of music posts, including ‘song of the day’, album, and concert reviews.

In terms of appearance and layout, Anthony has adopted a clean and simple grey background with blog posts organized into categories. The header/logo “Life of Dwreck”, designed in bold, expresses a strong personality of Anthony which fits in very well to his music blog. With the categorization of the types of blog posts listed at the top menu bar, it is fairly easy to navigate through Anthony’s blog to find the type of content I am looking for, such as the SOTD and Daytum tracking posts. I also like how he has cleaned up the side bar and removed unnecessary tabs.

Anthony’s blog has the potential to be scalable, given a particular targeted readership of audiences who has an interest in a specific genre of alternative and indie music. A majority of the blog posts are based upon his music ideas and opinions, it can easily be an on-going theme to connect with readers who share the same interest and value beyond the class.

I can see the blog being promoted on platforms like ticketmaster.com and stubhub.com because he blogs about concert reviews which are useful and valuable for fans of the alternative rock scene. Record labels and concert promoters may be interested in investing into his blog to share and promote specific music genres and discover interesting new bands. I really like Anthony’s SOTD concept because it is very unique in a sense that he gives recommendations to his audience and invites his readers to join his adventure in the musical world.

Overall, “Life of Dwreck” has a very high potential of growing a strong core following or what we have discussed in class, ‘tribe’. With a well-developed theme, Anthony has refined his tone and voice of his content that can speak to a ‘tribe’ to further develop and enhance relationships with his targeted readership.

Great job! I look forward to seeing this blog grow beyond the scope of this course!

Nero Belgian Waffle Bar

Hands down for one of my favourite waffle places in Vancouver! Nero Belgian Waffle Bar is a dessert bar located on Robson St. well-known for their belgian waffles. There are two types of waffles offered: brussels and liege. While brussels are unsweetened,  light, and crispy, their liege waffles are soft, sweet, and chewy. They are made fresh when you order, and they offer a variety of waffles with different toppings. The place is small and cozy, seatings is very limited. With that being said, there is usually a line up during peak hours. It is not a place for large group gatherings and they do sell out of waffles usually an hour before they close.

Our order:

 Orange Mousse ($7.50)
 The Biscuit ($8.90)
 Mini-Liege Waffles ($10 for 5)

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The Orange Mousse is served with orange slices and belgian dark chocolate mousse. Brussels waffle is full of crisp and fluffiness and the dark chocolate mousse is absolute heaven for chocolate lovers. With the orange slices on top , it balances out the sweetness of the chocolate mousse which gives it a fresh fruity taste.

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The Biscuit is served with whipped cream, Oreo cookie crumble, and dark chocolate drizzled over the top. I always ask for the vanilla ice-cream to be served on the side because I don’t like my waffle getting soggy when the ice-cream melts. As you can see, their waffles are beautifully presented with lots of toppings. I love the whipped cream and vanilla ice-cream combination, it blends together very well with the airy and fluffy brussels waffle.

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Nero also offers mini-liege waffles for take-out. Flavours includes Original, Matcha, Cookies n’ Cream, and Vanilla Custard. I usually prefer brussels, but the liege is still pretty good if you are not eating it right away. All you have to do is heat it up and you can enjoy some Nero waffles at home!

Price: $
Nom-ness: ♥♥♥♥

Address: 1703 Robson St. Vancouver, B.C
Hours:
Monday: 3:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Tuesday – Thursday: 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Friday: 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m.
Saturday: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m.
Sunday: 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Phone number:  778-712-0694
Website: http://www.nerowaffles.ca/

Nero Belgian Waffle Bar on Urbanspoon

Happiness Tracking #3

I’ve completed the third cycle of the happiness tracking task and there are a couple of interesting findings of my own happiness which I’d like to share today.

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I really enjoy watching hockey so it makes sense that I am most happy when I am doing so. I find it interesting when ‘homework’ and ‘reading’ is ranked second and third in correlation to my happiness. I don’t usually stress out about doing my homework but I am never super happy about it. When I think about it, this semester is actually quite fun for me due to the nature of the courses I am taking: business and social media, visual communication design, globalization and media , and this publishing/blogging class! I really enjoyed doing my ‘homework’ which is probably why it falls under watching hockey. As shown on the chart, I am not happy when I am doing housework. Although laundry is pretty much the only housework I do at home, I don’t enjoy doing any housework at all.

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Generally, I am more happy when I am interacting with people who are usually my friends and sometimes my classmates in school. However, I must say I do enjoy the alone time that I have on my own.

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In terms of productivity, I am more happy when I am being productive. I’ve been trying to discipline myself on getting work done and spending less time on procrastination and I’ve been really successful in doing so.

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I’ve been living on a messed up sleeping schedule lately. I don’t really particularly less happy when I don’t get enough sleep because I try to find time to take a nap whenever I can. I guess the amount of sleep and sleep quality does not really correlate with my happiness.

Remix: Frissant (Swiss Bakery)

While Cronut® is exclusively sold in New York, which is the unique pastry creation by Chef Dominique Ansel known to be a croissant-doughnut hybrid, we have Frissant, a hybrid of the fritter and croissant in Vancouver.

Remix is the topic for this week and I thought a remixed food would be interesting to share with you all. It is something different from the ordinary kind of pastry we have and it is absolutely delicious!

Fritter X Croissant

Swiss Bakery is the place for the unique Frissant. There are several flavours: vanilla, chocolate, and coconut. According to their website, the flavours of the Frissant changes every month, with new flavours such as double chocolate and salted caramel. It is best to see which flavours are made if you are looking for specific-flavoured pastry.

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I had the vanilla one because it was the only flavour left when I arrived at 11 a.m. on a Saturday morning. Shaped like a donut and flaky on the inside like a croissant, it was filled with fluffy layers of of pastry, vanilla bean custard in the middle, and finished off with cinnamon-sugar coating. They are priced at $4 each.

The Chocolate Croissant was huge but it was very fluffy with chocolate fillings on the inside.

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About 200 Frissants are made daily, so it is advised to get your Frissant early in the morning because they tend to be sold out by early afternoon. Swiss Bakery has a Twitter where they would update on their stock if you want to make sure that they have it before you go. Don’t underestimate how fast these pastries sell out!

Price: $
Nom-ness: ♥♥♥♥♥

Address: 143 East 3rd Avenue (off Main Street) Vancouver, B.C
Hours:
Monday – Friday: 7 a.m. –  6 p.m.
Saturday: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Closed on Sundays and Holidays
Phone number:  604-736-8785
Website: http://swissbakery.ca/

Swiss Bakery on Urbanspoon

Chris Kluwe: Treat Others the Way You Want to be Treated

Chris Kluwe, a former NFL punter with the Minnesota Vikings came to our class and shared the experience of his outspoken support of the LGBT and how he lost his job for standing up for basic human rights. He also provided insights on how social media has contributed to his authoritative voice and became a “public” for him to share his words.

Here is the link to original open letter of Chris’ support to gay rights.

I don’t know much about the NFL but Chris reminded us of some of our universal responsibilities as human beings.

“Treat Other the Way You Want to be Treated”

Chris mentioned this phrase several times. This is something we learned in kindergarten yet people do not make an effort to practice it in real life. I believe there are two reasons to explain this situation: passivity and fear. We are being passive about our lives and blindly accept the social norms imposed on us. There is fear of criticisms which holds us back from stepping up and saying the right thing. Social media is all about the social element, it is valuable for allowing the freedom of speech and raising awareness about specific issues. The harder part is to take your words and put it into real world actions, and Chris is a powerful person who has done it.

In my opinion, speaking out about something you think is right requires a lot of courage because there are always criticisms and consequences to you what you do and what you say. Chris understands the matter very well and he is willing to speak up on behalf of the LGBT community knowing that the consequences could be losing his job as a NFL football player. As such, he has developed an exclusive yet authoritative voice for saying what he wants to say and reached a number of audiences by making logical and rational arguments on a topic that is sometimes hard for people to talk about.

Ash Beckham gave a TED talk last year on the idea of “coming out of your closet”, and Chris’ speech reminded me of the bravery and courage we all need to come out of our own closets. Beckham pointed out that we all have closets, and we all experience what it feels like to live in a closet.

“Your closet may be telling someone that you love her for the first time, or telling someone you’re pregnant, or telling someone you have cancer, or any of the other hard conversations we have throughout our lives. All a closet is, is a hard conversation.” 

There are three rules Beckham mentioned at the end to overcome the “hard” conversations, that is to be yourself, be direct, and be unapologetic about who you are.

Returning to Chris’ action for supporting others to speak the truth about themselves, I think we all need the determination to believe what we do today will have long-term impact to the future of our world. People often focus on the now and the short-term needs as opposed to the long-term consequences because it always comes around. Whether it is about the LGBT or other issues that we feel there’s a need to be addressed, we should not be ignorant citizens and hold biases towards others who are different from us. In the end, we are just human beings and we are all the same.