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Alicia Lieu

by Alicia Lieu


My love affair with empanadas started a few years ago. I can remember the day we first met. I was at the Colombian bakery by my apartment (well one of the many Colombian bakeries) buying a Pan de bono (Colombian cheese bread) when the gleam of a sparkling, corn wrapped, beef and potato filled empanada fresh from the fryer, caught my eye. I wasn’t sure that it was actually an empanada, but I went for it and asked the lady behind the counter for one anyways. She asked me, “Beef or cheese?” “Ooh, beef,” I answered. And I haven’t looked back since.

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by Alicia Lieu


There is some notion out there that Labor Day is the cutoff date for wearing white and that it is supposed to usher in Fall. It is not unusual, however, to see people who are not fashion minded wearing white all year round and for Labor Day to be hot and muggy. As much as I like a good scoop of trendy gelato on the Lower East Side, ice cream from the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck, overpriced frozen novelty treats at Central Park, or good old fashioned shaved ice from a cart on the beach, the best thing to eat in hot weather is actually spicy food.

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by Alicia Lieu


You Have to Czech It Out!
This sentence was printed on the back of the Czech Airline seats. As it turns out, my friends and I are finding more and more uses for Czech puns. Let me Czech for you: Just Czech it in; We should ask for the Czech; You’d better Czech yourself before you wreck yourself…

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by Alicia Lieu


It had struck me that I hadn’t had soul food in a really long time, and by really long time, I’m estimating that it has probably been at least six years since I went for soul food in New York. Los Angeles however, is a different story. I spent a few summers teaching at a summer enrichment program in Northwest Pasadena with a team of college students in my undergraduate days. During this time I was introduced to the combination of chicken and waffles.

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by Alicia Lieu


I recently saw a headline that Nia Vardalos is getting ready to make the sequel to the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding. The very thought of this sequel instantly took me back to the numerous memorable lines from that movie. Each line was full of humor and wit, and eased the tensions of growing up as a child of immigrant parents in America. It easily tops my short list of favorite movies. I could relate so well to her cultural struggles but in the end, she came to realize what a treasure her family was to her.

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by Alicia Lieu


I will not get to see my mother for Mother’s Day this year because I’m in New York and she’s in California, but if I did, I would take her out for a Mother’s Day Tea. When I was packing my bags to return to New York from San Jose, I told her that I wanted to start drinking more tea instead of so much coffee. So she reached into her cupboard and brought out the best quality tea that she had and packed it in my bag. One was a “high mountain” tea from Taiwan and the other was a green tea that she ordered from Equator Coffees and Teas. She had me sample four different teas that night, just so that I could taste and appreciate the difference between good tea and really great tea.

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by Alicia Lieu


Living in New York City has advantages and disadvantages. But people who move to New York and choose to stay, even after the reality of the high cost of living sets in, can reap the benefits of living in a global city. Living in the city may mean that you can’t save enough money to travel the world, but it doesn’t hurt so badly once you realize that the world is only one subway ride away.

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by Alicia Lieu


“What’s the difference between a Macaroon and a Macaron?”
An “O,” I said, as my coworker raised his eyebrows at my less than satisfying answer. So I asked another coworker to Google Macaron vs. Macaroon and it turns out that a lot of people don’t know what the difference is. My favorite illustration was the one with the macaron dressed in a black beret and mustache juxtaposed with a coconut macaroon. In short, macaron (long O) is a delicate French cookie sandwich.

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by Alicia Lieu


I have to admit that when I was asked to write a piece around Valentine’s Day, I did roll my eyes a bit. Well, since I received this request over email, it was probably a rather large eye-roll. It was the same eye-roll that accompanied the moment when I got to the, “You complete me,” line in the movie Jerry Maguire.

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by Alicia Lieu


This year I will have the good fortune of being with my family around Chinese New Year, which is celebrated for up to two weeks after the lunar New Year. Naturally, a whole lot of food is involved with this. Traditionally, the big New Year’s dinner has to happen on the eve of the New Year. I will miss this part with my family, but my mother will send me pictures of the family dinner, I’m sure. There will be plentiful dishes of dumplings, rice, noodles, meats, seafood, tofu, and vegetables, making sure to have food left over to signify abundance in the coming year. With a small circle of friends that represent family to me in New York, I have come up with a way to maximize the food, friends, and family.

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How I Met My Dinner: Advent Calendars

IN THE December 14 ISSUE

FROM THE 2013 Articles,
andAlicia Lieu,
andHow I Met My Dinner
SECTIONS

by Alicia Lieu


Regardless of how commercial Christmas gets, I will always love Christmas. Even though I can do without the retail craziness that the holiday season has become, I have always loved spreading Christmas cheer. The religious significance remains important to me today but I have always enjoyed the activities that go along with it: decorating the Christmas tree, getting presents, giving presents, wrapping presents. I would always watch A Charlie Brown Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street, and It’s a Wonderful Life. I also consumed more baked goods around Christmas time than any other time of year.

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by Alicia Lieu



With the holidays coming, I became increasingly nostalgic for Thanksgiving with my family. It is just not feasible to fly cross country for a few days, even if I can get the days off of work. Because I happen to be holding down a retail job, holidays are the busiest time of year and difficult to request off. Not to mention that airfare the week of Thanksgiving is noticeably higher than the rest of the year. At least in New York, however, I’m still in my home country.

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by Alicia Lieu


Pumpkin has become synonymous with October. Besides being a term of endearment, pumpkin can morph into a pastry or a pie, sweet or savory entrees, a drink or a dessert. It seems like any eating establishment that wants to stay up to date is offering a pumpkin treat of some sort. Even my local Vietnamese sandwich shop is offering a seasonal Pumpkin Spice café au lait!

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by Alicia Lieu


Dominique Ansel’s creation of the Cronut has not just New York, but pretty much the whole world, buzzing about this croissant/donut hybrid. Since the Cronut is trademarked, copycats have sprung up all around including the Zonuts, Frissants, Dossants, Cro-Nots, Dough’Ssants. If you haven’t heard of the Cronut, here’s the condensed version of the hype.

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