Saturday, January 31, 2015

What to do on a Snow Day?

Well, make snowballs and throw them at your father!

Snowball Fight
27 January 2015

Birthday girl 2015

Today I dedicate my 365-day challenge post to my bestfriend, tutor, sparring partner, chef, number one critique, my one and only. Happy birthday Bubbles! :)

26 January 2015

Morini @ The Yards

We made an accidental food stop in Morini Osteria in The Yards, SE Washington DC. We initially intended to eat Asian at Kruba for lunch. I always trusted Yelp to yelp me out in deciding a restaurant to try out, but this time, it failed to tell me the right hours for Kruba. Yelp says it is open from noon on Sundays, but then when we arrived it said that they open at 4pm. Even their suppliers of bean sprouts consulted yelp about their store hours as when we came by their door, there was a big bag of bean sprouts waiting at the step. :) So we tried looking for other open restaurants around. We then saw Morini Osteria along the harbor.

What seemed like a frustrating first trip at The Yards turned out to be a happy gastronomic adventure thanks to Morini. They were offering Restaurant Week that day, but we decided to try the regular menu. We tried the appetizer meats and cheeses (they offered 3 for $17 so we tried the Speck, smoked proschiutto, sopresatta and one cheese). The Speck was gee-double-o-dee good!

Appetizer platter

I got the Crab and Sea Urchin Bucatini in marinara sauce. Bubbles got the cheese ravioli. Both were satisfyingly good in taste. The only thing is that their pasta portions are relatively smaller than those of other Italian restaurants. In my amateurishly objective opinion, I would rate Morini a four out of five stars. :) 

25 January 2015

It was good that we ended up in Morini Osteria. :) 

Friday, January 30, 2015

Washington Auto Show 2015

I took Juancho (and mom of course) to the Washington Auto Show 2015. This experience just reinforced his love for cars! As we were entering the Washington Convention Center, There were signs and banners of exhibitors featuring different car brands. From then, he never stopped naming each logo. Then he quickly shouted: "Daming cars!" From that point on, I figured he'll have one hell of a great time.

And as expected, when we reached the second floor exhibit, he never stopped mentioning the car brands. He normally rides the stroller when we go out, but this time, despite the big venue, he didn't mind the long walks. He just cruised through the exhibits, naming each car logo along the way. He did test drive some of them too! And of course the photo ops. :)

To the little one, this could very well substitute for Disney World, at least for now.

The Driver

NASCAR Pacer from Toyota



Between two Audi's

Audi R8's behind

Audi - the first brand he loved


Nissan GT-R

Beetle Convertible


Washington Auto Show 2015
24 January 2015

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Rasika: Elegant Indian Fare

The restaurant week winter edition is back! This time Bubbles was lucky to have been able to get a seat in the hottest Indian Restaurant in the Metro DC area, Rasika. It was our first time to visit the place because reservation in this restaurant has been eternally difficult. Normally it takes 2 weeks, sometimes a month to wait for your ideal time of the day.

They only had restaurant week menu this week, but their choices were actually wide with at least 5 selections of each course. Bubbles and I both chose Lamb Dishes as our main course.

The most memorable dish was the appetizer Calamari Karawari. Deep fried squid rings in semolina batter, with a side of delicious sauce. That for me is the best calamari I've had in the DC Metro Area.

The interior of Rasika is very elegant but still cultural, a vibe that accentuates your dining experience. Upon entering the main dining area from the door, there is a hallway that boasts its collection of wines and spices.

In my not-hard-to-please and inexperienced taste buds, I am giving the overall experience in Rasika 5 out of 5 stars. :) *

Rasika Wines and Spices
23 January 2015

*Note: I have not been commissioned nor been paid by Rasika to make this review. The review is of my own and cannot be used as reference to your dining experience. Cheers!

Juancho's Collection

He simply loves Jake and the Neverland Pirates. :)

22 January 2015

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Rawlins Park

Images like this make the photographer look like a pro. But in reality, it is mother nature that has painted such a picturesque view. Well of course the monument was man-made. :) 

Rawlins Park at Dusk

Monday, January 26, 2015

Pray. It works.

This post is dedicated to prayers. :) In your up times, down times or anything in between, a simple act of prayer helps. :) 

While waiting for the little boy to wake up so we could catch up on mass, I just said a few prayers and took this photo of my dashboard's rosary. :) 

Pray. It Works. 

MLK @ 86

Today marks the 86th birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., which the government also declares as a national holiday to commemorate the civil rights leader's life and legacy.

I took this photo of Dr. King a few months back but then I though it would be a fitting day to post this here for the first time. :)

The Rock

Let's check 'em out

Little boy checks out the gifts day after his party. :)

Let's See
18 January 2015

Friday, January 23, 2015

Juancho Three

This post is dedicated to the little one's third natal anniversary.

Happy Birthday Juancho! Don't grow too fast please.


Juancho 3
17 January 2015

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Practicing Macro

A few months back, when I was compulsive in buying gear for my then-new DSLR, I decided to buy me a set of macro extension tubes from Xit. They worked fine, but I think they sometimes get to be a bit soft, especially when used handheld. Luckily I was able to purchase some prime lenses that somehow do some "macro" looking pictures because I am able to focus closer than regular lenses. This photo was taken using a 50mm prime lens (f1.8 D) Not bad for a first try! 

Subject is an Invicta quartz watch that I bought from Burlington Coat Factory last year for a whopping $29! :) Isn't this a steal or what?! 

Steal Steel

Bookworm (?!)

I just thought of taking his photo in with the messy pile of books he created when he unloaded them all from his red wagon.

Why oh why did he make this mess? Just to mimic a youtube music video of "Mary had a Little Lamb," of which the lamb was on a red wagon being pulled by Mary. And yes, be wanted to be the little lamb so he took his wagon, removed everything on it and rode it while I played Mary, who pulled the wagon to school...

14 January 2015

NBA 2015

Since moving to DC I have had the privilege to watch the Washington Wizards play against my favorite team the San Antonio Spurs. This year I have once again had that same privilege thanks to some "sponsors." This year was different. Not only were the Spurs not leading by double-digit, but they were also trailing the Wizards the entire game. This was also the first time since 2005 that the Wizards were able to defeat the Spurs at home. I'm a big Surs fan but this time I was sort of rooting for the home team so I didn't feel bad watching my Spurs losing to the Wizards.

Good job home team! hope you make it far into the Eastern conference playoffs. 

Big Fundamental
13 January 2015

Winter scenes in the National Mall

It's tough to shoot photos during winter. I have issues dealing with the cold temperature, fearing that my equipment might freeze up. By camera body is weather sealed, but my lens isn't. Oh well. Just have to keep up with the commitment. Thus, I am posting three photos taken on the same day but would represent three days of the 365-day challenge. : )

Cold stones

Cold way ahead

Reflecting Pool in Winter

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Just a random photo of the National Archives while I was out with the little boy.

9 January 2015


I am amazed by people who still do what they love doing despite hurdles or limitations. Runners like below in the District are a common sight to see during snow day. Some call it crazy or stupid, I call it passion. :) I just hope they won't get stranded or injured along the way.


Snow days are here

Snow days are here again...

Brrr Bikeshare

Friday, January 09, 2015

First Snow of the Season 2015

Mother nature gave me white for my birthday. It was the first snow of winter 2015.

As the District has a track record of overestimating snow forecasts, this time it was somewhat underprepared to face the storm. Or maybe mother nature somehow played a trick on Washingtonians because they always made fun of an overestimated forecast.

This time, it was stronger than forecasted. While expected snow was between 1-3 inches, more than 3 inches fell this morning. This caused roads to get slippery, causing delays left and right.

It was a lesson for them that it is always better to be prepared for something that will not come rather than underprepare for something worse. It's a valuable lesson I learned from my days in the insurance industry. You need not expect to get sick to get health insurance, nor you need to expect to die soon to get life insurance. It is always much better to be overprepared.

Then, as expected, people blamed the government for underestimating the storm... :)

Snow Storm 2015
Day 121
6 January 2015

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Capitol Christmas Tree

As my last post on Holidays, I present the Capitol Christmas Tree. Though the background may be framed with scaffoldings due to restoration, the tree in front of it is still a sight to see for tourists and locals alike.

This may be the last Holidays post for this season of the 365-day challenge. As I am writing this, I thought of two resolutions for the coming 2015. These are:

1. I will try to search for ways to learn and explore new things; and
2. I will try to always be a blessing to others.

Cheers to 2015! Looking forward to new adventures of the new year!

Capitol Christmas Tree
Day 120
5 January 2014

Chasin' Tails: Seafood and Crawfish delish

We tried out this highly rated (via Yelp) and recommended (by peers) New Orleans crawfish place in Southwest Arlington, VA called Chasin' Tails (along Westmoreland St, near I-66).

Overall experience was great. Food was greasily great, as expected from a southern creole Louisiana bayou food restaurant. We tried a pound of shrimp, crawfish, and snow crabs in what the called the "Oh Dang!" sauce, which is a combination of garlic, lemon, butter and cajun sauces. We also tried their fresh oysters, fried calamari, jambalaya, cajun fries and beignets (which were free after I checked into the restaurant using Yelp).

This is a highly recommended restaurant if you are in to get your hands wet and wild with the juicy goodness of the sauce-drenched pounds of seafood. Or if your appetite is not up for such an experience you could still try their deep fried goodies like the beignets or calamari, or the creole traditional greats like the jambalaya or gumbo. We only tried few but from the looks of the other dishes I can say that they are equally good.

I would compare this restaurant to Washington DC's Hot N' Juicy Crawfish. There is some flavor that makes Hot N' Juicy a better choice, however, considering overall experience, like convenience, parking, space of restaurant, and price, I think that is where Chasin' Tails edges Hot N' Juicy.

In my not so experienced point of view, I would give Chasin' Tails 4 1/2 out of 5 stars. :)

Day 119
4 January 2015


The past couple days after the beautiful New Year's Eve weather were cloudy, making it feel like the weather is also in lazy vacation mode...

I'm still not used to writing/typing 2015. As of this day I have corrected at least 3 typos and 1 check. :)

Day 118
3 January 2015

Last weekend of tree

Last weekend of tree
Day 117
2 January 2015

Friday, January 02, 2015

New Year's Day at the Basilica

We heard the last of the batch of New Year's Day masses in the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in NE Washington, DC. Although it was the day's last mass, the upper church was still a full house to hear the 4:30pm batch.

When mass started the sun was still shining but afterwards it was already dark. It was great to see the shrine's bell tower illuminated majestically.

Happy New Year!!! I welcome 2015 with faith and hope that everything will be better and brighter than the last.

Basilica Bell Tower
Day 116
1 January 2015

Buenas 2015

Last day of the year calls for a celebration... And lots of fruits!

It's an annual Filipino tradition to serve 13 kinds of round fruits for good luck.

Happy New Year!!!

Buenas for 2015
365-day challenge, Day 115
31 December 2014

Remembering Rizal

Here's to freedom and heroism. Thank you very much, Dr. Jose Protacio Mercado Rizal y Alonso Realonda for giving up your freedom to help us be free. 

Dr. Rizal by Amorsolo
365-day challenge, Day 114
30 December 2014

Mazagan: the Pike's Moroccan

For our Anniversary dinner, wife and I decided to try out a neighborhood newbie, Mazagan Restaurant along Columbia Pike. It serves Moroccan food, with specialties like Kabobs, Tagines and the Meditteranean dips. Not to mention they have a designated area for hookah/shisha (we'lle try that one out next time). 

The place did not disappoint. Being new in town we did not expect much in terms of service and taste. We also have not been to Morocco to say that it's authentic. With the little knowledge we have of the food, we found it quite tasty and appealing. The Tagine sauce was tasty and the meat (we tried lamb) was soft and tender. I've had better kabobs in the Metro before so the kabob was so-so for me (but it was still not bad). We went on a Monday, which was incidentally a wine bottle half-off day. You can't go wrong with a $14 Cabernet in a fancy restaurant! 

With my little knowledge in good food, my personal rating overall for Mazagan would be a 4 out of 5 stars. 

Thanks Mazagan for giving us a taste of Morocco just a few miles away from home! 

Mazagan: the Pike's Moroccan
365-day challenge, Day 113
29 December 2014

Lamb Tagine

NYC Skyline

We were back in DC this day but just wanted to share another photo I took of NYC skyline from the 86th floor view deck of the Empire State Building. I needed to push the ISO up a bit but to my surprise the noise is still fairly minimal. 

Can't wait to go back in the summer to shoot the Brooklyn side of the city skyline. 

NYC Skyline
365-day challenge, Day 112