Domain fight?

Okay so this is sort of interesting. Because it hasn’t happened to me before. Oct 24: I received an email from informing me that company T (let’s call them T for now) in China has just registered “FlavorBoulevard” as their domain name in China and Asia (,,, etc.) and that I needed to contact them if I want to object this and secure my trademark. Okay. Oct 25: Company T emailed me, saying “We hope your company will not object our application, because this name is very important for our products in Chinese and Asian market. We don’t want your company to use this name in China and Asia, we believe our company will become the legal owner of this name in China and Asia. Even though Mr. [ Manager] advises us to change another name, we will persist in this name and permanent registration of this name.” Now it’s not like my FlavorBoulevard has a huge Chinese market (for the time being? :-P), but: 1. I thought long and hard for this name too, and I’ve used it for 1 year 8 months and 25 days. 2. I don’t want my […]

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The unpredictable Myung Dong

Unpredictability #1: “Are you opened today?” Before you set your GPS to Myung Dong in Houston, make sure you call and ask that question in the clearest, simplest way possible. Aaron tried different versions, most were a bit too elaborately polite with a perfect American accent, and only succeeded in confusing the poor old man. I tried it once and got the answer “Yes, open.” We hopped en route. (If you don’t call, there’s a slim chance that your schedule will coincide with the owner couple’s schedule, which depends on the lady’s health, and she’s the only chef. That slim chance didn’t happen for me the first time I set out for Myung Dong.) The limited English conversation is nothing uncommon at Korean and Vietnamese mom-and-pop diners, but I have to mention it because it’s one of those things that make me classify Myung Dong as more “authentic” than the other Korean restaurants in Houston. The second thing is that its name doesn’t contain “Seoul” or “Korean”, they go more local: Myungdong (명동) is a part of Seoul (in Vietnam, its equivalent would be a phường). The third thing is that […]

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I had high expectation for Commis

The difference between a bowl of ramyeon at Gomnaru and a six-course dinner at Commis is the ratio of satisfaction to expectation. This is how I rank my foods, which allows me to enjoy a Cheetos just as much as any prime ribs done well, perhaps even more. There are certain extremes, like the cafeteria at Berkeley and LBL, no matter how low I set my bar, they manage to wow me with their ability to ruin everything, including fried rice. Anyhow, I figured that it’s only respectful to the chefs that I go to a well applauded, top ranking restaurant with high expectation. But for Commis, I think my expectation was a bit too high. The ingredients: fresh, interesting, nothing to complain about. The techniques: nothing I know enough to comment about. The combinations: hmm… An hour after dinner, Rob asked me: “How would you describe your dinner tonight in four sentences?” “Four?” “Three. Ask me again and I’ll say two.” The truth is I would rather sum it up in one: “I don’t remember”. I can remember vividly the banh mi a vendor sold […]

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La Boca – 80 Percent Good

Bob’s and Dang’s comments on my Kiraku post prompted me to wiki “octopus”. In a way, I needed to remind myself that computers are wonderful creatures that don’t always give me incomprehensible error messages. Then I got reminded of my most memorable experience with octopus on a plate. It was in Santa Fe this past summer. When there are good news and bad news, I prefer to hear the bad news first, so that’s how I’ll start describing La Boca. Their octopus was terrible. Octopuses are chewy things, and I have never had any octopus as opposite from chewy as this one. Pulpo, as called on the menu, sliced and dressed in pimenton, olive oil, lemon juice and seasalt, sounds like a wonderful refreshment after touring Santa Fe under the flamboyant sun. Well, if you give this octopus to a green octopus-looking alien who hasn’t the slightest preconception of what octopus tastes like, he would most likely go home defining octopus as beans. Yes, it was dense and grainy like bean. Blame no one but ourselves for ordering raw seafood in the middle of the desert. The rest of the meal, here […]

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