Friday, November 25, 2011

Food Friday: Pok Pok (Portland, OR)

The other weekend, my girlfriend and I drove down to Portland for the weekend. Portland is a fun town, and this time we really started exploring some of the neighborhoods on the east side of the river, including the great restaurants in the area. Pok Pok was one of them and it's perhaps one of the most original Thai restaurants I've been to anywhere.

The biggest thing here is the menu. There was almost nothing on it that you would expect to find. Phad thai? Absent. The standard stoplight selection of curry? Replaced by regional curry varieties. How authentic it really is, I can't say (yet) but they go out of their way to provide a different view of Thai cuisine and the recipes were researched and developed in Thailand and then brought back to Portland. After looking over, we eventually settled on two great dishes (and one alright dish): The Pok Pok special and the Neua Naam Tok (and the Khao Muu Daeng).

The Pok Pok Special: Roasted Game Hen & Papaya Salad

Neua Naam Tok: Steak Salad

Monday, November 21, 2011

At the Top: Seattle (Columbia Tower Club)

This is the view from the top of Seattle at the Columbia Tower Club. Located on the 75th floor of the second tallest building on the west coast, this is as high up as you can get in Seattle and a fantastic view. I really wish I had had my other camera to be able to capture it better! I was here as part of a celebration organized by the French Chamber of Commerce for this year's beaujolais nouveau, which was a great night and a great deal (I'll be going back next year if they have it here).

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Gear: The Kindle Family

Gear: Kindle Fire

The Kindle Fire has been hyped as a true competitor for the iPad and a game changer with it's $199 price tag and bevy of features. I recently got my hands on one and in this post, we'll be exploring Amazon's first tablet and color Kindle. After the break, we'll take a look at what the Kindle Fire is great at and whether this deserves a place in your gadget line up.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gear: Kindle Touch 3G

As a frequent traveler, my Kindle Keyboard (as it's now known) has been a constant companion. It's been from Seattle to Stockholm, and Abu Dhabi to Athens. Everywhere I've gone, it's been my e-reader and my backup communicator so when Amazon announced their new Kindles, I had to get my hands on one for a review. After the break, we'll take an in-depth look at the Kindle Touch 3G (with Special Offers) and see if it lives up to it's older brother.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Donate your Orphan Miles for Veteran's Day

Veteran's Day is a day to thank the men and women who have served our country. While we wish everyone in uniform a safe return to their family, many soldiers return only after sustaining injuries in the line of duty. For these soldiers and their families, relocating temporarily to be with their loved ones as they receive treatment at a VA hospital can be complicated by having to worry about where to stay and how to pay for their accommodation. For these families, there is Fisher House, which provides a comfortable place to stay within easy reach of the VA.

Their program helps make a a difficult time a little easier, and you can help by donating any orphan miles you to their Hero Miles program. Your miles help cover travel to and from the hospital where the soldier is being treated. Many of us have a mileage program we don't use that much or will never earn enough miles to earn a reward. These orphan miles can be the difference between a wounded soldier having their family with them in a time of need or not. Donate your miles today.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Food Fridays: The Salmon Difference

Salmon is salmon, right? Not so! One thing that Seattle is known for is fresh fish and especially for our top notch salmon. If you think you don't like salmon, the fish here will convert you to a salmon lover.

This is what you usually find in the supermarket: Atlantic Salmon. It's farmed and that light pink color is actually from food coloring in the feed for the fish. It's perfectly fine fish, but...

...when it's sitting next to this, it's hard to thing about buying it. Here's what we get every year: Fresh Alaskan Sockeye Salmon. It's wild caught, usually fresh off the boat and that color is 100% natural. Doesn't it look delicious?

Thursday, November 03, 2011

12/1/2011: The End of Kindlefish?

Recently Google decided to change the way the API for Google Translate works and, more importantly, to change it from a free service to a paid service. On 12/1/2011, Kindlefish will no longer work unless I start paying Google to use their API. The fee isn't that much overall ($20 for 1 million characters), but I will need to rework the site to update it to the new API and I don't earn any money off of Kindlefish.

If you are a fan of Kindlefish or would like to support the website and service, please consider donating by using the link below! If I get enough donations ($40?) to keep Google happy and pay for the coffee needed to rework (and improve) the website, I'll keep it up and running. Using the new API, Kindlefish will end up being more reliable than ever and continue being there for you whenever you need it.

Update: So far, there haven't been any donations. I've been happy to provide Kindlefish as a free service so far because Google Translate has been free for me to use, but at the moment it looks like Kindlefish will go down temporarily in order to assess whether I want to start paying for access to the new API.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

5 Reasons I Don't Like DirecTV on Flights

About two months ago, I started receiving emails from PR companies for products and articles they are interested in promoting. I generally ignore these because this is just my personal blog and what I write about is what I'm interested in, not necessarily what is going to drive traffic. However, this e-mail caught my attention: "10 Reasons I Love DIRECTV on Flights".

Am I alone in thinking that DirecTV in flight is actually a bad thing? Here's my top 5 reasons that DirecTV on board isn't really all that great:

1. "Welcome aboard. That'll be $6". - Some airlines, like JetBlue and Virgin America offer a free selection of TV channels, but for others those screens are strictly for hire if you're in coach. Continental and Frontier both require a swipe of a card to watch your shows.

2. Commercials in the Air. - Even after you swipe your card, most of what you get is live TV and whatever happens to be on just then complete with commercials. There are some channels which are prerecorded with popular movies and series, but these are 10 out of 105 channels and I'm not sure if those are ad free. The last thing I want to see when I'm in the skies is a commercial for anything on TV.

No, thank you.

3. More Flicker in the Cabin. - If you're on a red eye or in need of sleep, DirecTV adds to the light flicker inside the cabin which makes it harder to get to sleep and stay asleep.

4. Is there anything even on? - Think about it: When you watch TV at home, odds are you're watching your DVR or streaming a video from Netflix. How much live TV do you watch? For me, it's virtually zero, and none of this looks remotely interesting to me:

From my IAH-SEA flight a few months back

5. It's OK to Unplug - A flight only lasts a few hours and it's one of the few times where we have all the excuses to turn everything off. Why not enjoy being 35,000 feet in the air? There's virtually nothing you can do on an airplane that can't wait until afterward.

This is what you should be looking at.

(PS: The original article is here, but once you get there there's not much except advertisement. No thanks!)