Wednesday, December 26, 2012

PRK, second month, aka i can see clearly now the rain is gone

so its been nearly two months since i went through with PRK surgery on both my eyes.

long gone are the days of constantly putting medicated drops in my eyes. i do occasionally still use rewetting drops as my eyes do get dry. do they get dryer than before my surgery? perhaps, but nothing too noticeable.

pain? after the pain i was experiencing after the first week after the surgery, there is no real pain to speak of. i DID have some sensitivity to sunlight and other bright lights for a couple weeks, but that subsided real fast. i DO wear sunglasses whenever i can when outdoors to protect my newly healing eyes though.

i was, however, very concerned about a vacation i was going on. i spent the first weeks of december in jamaica. it would be the first time i would be outside the the normal safety of home and my office. i would have to be in situations i couldnt plan everything out.

its a bit sunny here in jamaica

what happened? snorkeling, walking up inside a giant waterfall, fishing, swimming... sunny weather... no problem mon.

my vision?  during my one month follow up visit, i tested out at 20/20 and 25/20 vision. my vision does fluctuate still, some days better than others, but it seems to stabilize more and more with each passing day. i also notice a DIRECT correlation between how tired i am, (how much i drink) with how bad my vision is the following day and how much better my vision is with how healthy i am eating and the level of exercise i have done that week. basically, my vision is as good as i feel.

the only things i can really report back about two months after the surgery is that i take 1000mg of vitamin c  (helps the healing process) daily, i have to use rewetting drops and i wear my sunglasses a lot more. thats it.

oh and also that i see perfectly fine without contacts or glasses.....

yes, this has been one of the best decisions i have ever made.

i have one last visit with the doctor at six months. this will be my final check up. they will do a vision test then. seeing that i already have almost 20/20 vision, i am not too concerned about this at all.

Friday, November 9, 2012

first week after PRK, aka dropping them drops

so perhaps i was way too excited after my surgery. i thought, meh, i must be tougher than i thought because this is a breeze. no pain....

day two

i walked into the day after follow up around noon feeling just fine.

a few hours later, im thinking holy crap, this shit does hurt.

that night, i realized that it wasnt going to be a breeze. my eyes started to hurt significantly more than before. i took a couple of advils, i took the nerve medication they gave me and honestly, only a couple glasses of wine seem to help. yeah, terrible i know, so shoot me.

i was very much on the dot with all the medication and antibiotic and anti inflammatory drops i was prescribed, but in hindsight, i did one thing very wrong.

i was told i could use one drop of rewetting drops per four hours to help after the surgery. i shouldve clarified this bit. i can use as many drops as i wanted to. i only used one drop every four hours the first two days and that was my mistake. i started to use the rewetting drops once every 30 minutes and the pain was reduced dramatically.

one note on the rewetting drops. i chose to buy these two small pocket size bottles of SUSTAIN ULTRA eye drops. these are just fine, but, with further research, i found out that the "single use" version of this is better. the bottles have some sort of preservative, even the "sensitive" version has preservatives. the "single use" ones dont. the "single use" ones obviously have more than two drops in them, more like 6...heres something that isnt so obvious, the part you break off, its also a cap. i uses all 6 drops, but dont use these longer than a day. remember, no preservatives. last thing you want is an eye infection because you used old eye drops. also remember, though you have a cap, its not waterproof. it will spill in pocket if not carried properly.

my eyes started to get the "third day PRK haze" one eye more than the other, than both eyes... at one point i couldnt make out thing right in front of me. now i understand when they suggest to do nothing for three days. you will need at least a couple days to recover from the hazy eyes.

i stayed on a strict regiment of all the different eye drops. i made sure to rest up when i could and i no time at all, my eye sight started to get normal again, well normal for being without my contacts or glasses.

a day or two later, my vision was better than before the surgery.

my second follow up, they removed the "bandage" a clear no prescription contact lens and i was right back to recovery mode.

a week later, im looking out my office window and i can see just as good as i could before with my glasses. except for the small hangup about the rewetting drops and the annoying factor when showering (remember you cant rub your eyes), this was easy.

i am very excited

(part three will be after my last follow up appoint, one month from now)

Friday, November 2, 2012

so i got PRK surgery for my eye, aka LASERS!!!

so this will be part one of a three part series.

part one

so ive been wanting to get lasik/laser eye correction for the longest time. of course, i didnt know there was a difference between PRK and the different LASIK surgeries, but for me, what mattered was i would never have to worry about contacts and glasses, i could swim and see, i could wake up in the middle of the night and see perfectly!!

(see PRK for technical information)
(see LASIK for technical information)
*there are videos of the procedures

but of course i had my concerns as well.

the first person i knew who got any type of laser eye correction surgery, i met in 2000. he had the procedure done in the mid 90s. he has trouble seeing at night, he sees halos around lights.

that was enough for me to stop considering this. for a long time.

2010, im getting interested again. i mean, its been long enough for them to tweak it our right? i went for a free consultation at scott hyver. i cant lie, i choose him because i alway heard the commercials on the radio. i also thought about it a slightly different way. he is the most well known doctor for these procedures in the area. he does more of these procedures than anyone else.... and most important for me, even though he might be more expensive than some other places, i know hes not going anywhere. if something goes wrong, he will be here.

so i got my consultation and i learned a lot. apparently, my corneal lens is not the optimal shape and thickness to do LASIK, but i did qualify for PRK. the main difference between to the two? of course you can look at all the technical information i linked above and of course you should contact your local surgeon for specific information, but for me, the main difference?

PRK has about three day down time.

LASIK has no real down time.

PRK they remove a certain layer of something or another and it heals.

LASIK they cut it and reshape it and it heals.

ok got it.  i qualify a PRK. thats what im going for.

two years later i finally got it done.

you go in for a preop, where they dialate your pupils. very familar. they make sure your eyes are healthy enough and you walk out with a prescription for some stuff you will need prior to your surgery.

for me, what i was told to do was

starting a week before, everyday, 1000ml of vitamin c a day and continue for six months.

24 hours before, one drop every four hours of this antibiotic eye drop.

dont wear contacts for 4 day prior.

i aslo picked up something called bromday and an anti imflamitory eye drop, to be used after the surgery.

day of, i walked in at 400pm. they give my some mouth soluable valium type medicine to calm my nerves.

15 minutes later, im walking to prep for surgery.

a few drops are put in my eyes. numbing agents i would assume. then 5 minutes later, im walking into the surgery room.

you lay down on the table.

more drops.

more drops.

more drops.

then the tape and device they use on clockwork orange. basically, its an adjust clamp that keeps your eyes open.

then the part that hurt the most. yes this is the painful part....

cold saline solution. HAHHAHAH yep, that was the most painful part....

the surgeon then uses a tool that remind me of the teeth polishers on your eye. it dulls it up a bit. then he swabs and scraps around a bit. then your aligned with the lasers.... ZAP.... they place a contact lens bandage on and youre all done!

there were times my nerves did get the better of me, but once you relax, theres nothing to it.

i walk out feeling just fine. my vision is a bit blurry, but nothing too bad. infact, i can see better already.

after? im putting in some drops. taking some meds, but all in all..... totally worth it. oh... and i cant rub my eyes for few months, along with being very careful, no contact sports, no trauma to the eyes at all.

with PRK, you are supposed to have three days where you shouldnt be doing much. the third day, your vision gets worse while that certain layer they removed is healing up. for a week, you dont wont be able to use your eye for periods of time, then for up to six months, your vision stablizes.

how do i feel right now? i typed this entire entry with no issues. im doing ok. and im on my way for my day after session with the doc.

OH YEAH and i got these awesome goggles i have to wear for ten nights while i sleep.

Friday, September 14, 2012

congratulations New England Lobster on their new location, restaurant/market, aka i love fresh seafood

so ive been a fan of new england lobster (nel) for a pretty long time now. I was introduced to nel by a friend back in 2006 and ive been picking up live lobsters and dungeness crab from them since. two of my favorite dishes i make are garlic crab and lobster sashimi. while you might be able to find decent live dungeness crab from other sources in the bay area, but i wouldnt trust anyone else to supply the lobster for lobster sashimi other then nel. when dealing with live seafood, turnover is key. they have shipments come in multiple times a week. they supply live lobster and dungeness crabs to many of the supermarkets you see throughout the bay area. they supply the live lobsters and dungeness crab to a whos who list of restaurants in the bay area. thats good enough for me. there old location in south san francisco was a no frills, warehouse/retail location. they opened up a lobster roll cart next to it recently and had great success with it. now, with this new location, they upped the ante. to a totally different game. like total awesomeness.

located at 824 cowan in burlingame, this location is a full on restaurant and a market. today, i was able to get a sneak peak. today was their first day the market was open at their new location. the restaurant, however, will not be open until mid october, but remember, you still can buy your fresh seafood here in the meantime.

street parking is a bit tough here.... no problem,

they got you covered with a nice sized parking lot in back.

on a nice, picturesque bay area day like today, these outdoor seats will be PACKED. think fresh lobster, a nice bottle of sauv blanc, a wonderful group of friends... i cant wait till the restaurant is open.

but of course they got you covered with indoor seating as well when weather doesnt allow for outdoor seating.

theres something really special about a new kitchen.

i think there should be a sign on this. we caught our first lobster on the boat. no really, we did. ok maybe not.

though im really excited to see what they do with their awesome restaurant venue, lets not forget why they made it so far. this is their cold counter.

might as well grab some live kicking dungeness while im here. i grabbed five dungeness from a local market yesterday to make some garlic crab, and while still good, these are obviously better. grabbed five more for more garlic crab tonight.... and its a dollar a pound cheaper than the local asian market?!?!. and you can ask these guys where they were caught and when they were brought in? thats just awesome to be able to do that.

i snuck a peak into the operations side while i was at it too. i mean how can you NOT sneak a peek into a warehouse labeled TANK HOUSE.

thats one big live tank....

happy little lobsters, sorted and ready to go.

 im really happy for the nel guys. i wish nothing but the best for them!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

new blog post series announcement.... aka ZAP

wow, its been a REAL long time since i posted anything on here. there has been a lot of post worthy subjects, like the autocross day at laguna seca... but for out of sheer laziness and being so tired all the time, ive totally lamed out on posting things. well, im all juiced again. will give this more effort! that being said, i will be starting a new series of posts on here, ZAP, Zombie Apocalypse Posts. about a decade ago, i started to bring up the idea of prepping because of a zombie apocalypse. people used to look at me like im crazy. well, they looked at me like i crazy most of the time anyways... anyways, now, its all the rage, whether you have shows on natgeo showing how people prep, or companies branding their goods as "zombie", its pretty normal to these days to prep, whether its for a real zombie apocalypse or not. (mind you i live in san francisco. south san francisco is the biotech capital of the world. colma has a dead population of about 2 million. we are just one bad video game plot line away from a full fledged umbrella corp end of the world scenario!) these post will be about the tools of the trade and what you can do to get ready... and a great excuse for me to buy some crap ive always wanted. first up, testing out a camping stove that recharges electronics via usb. coming this weekend!

Friday, April 27, 2012

survivor mud run? aka piece of cake, now to something more challenging

somehow, i convince myself i was in shape at one point in my life. i cant really remember when it was or if i am letting myself get tied up in a distorted sense of who i was, but yes, i was in some sort of shape before. i think.

over the past 5 years, after my 30th birthday, things have been getting bad. a big gut, tired all the time, barely run a mile... if even that.

ive been saying i need to get into shape for way too long. ive been putting this off for way too long. the longer i wait, the harder it will be.

the other sunday, the better half of bbb somehow convinced me, along with a couple other friends of ours, to do a mud run. i was thinking this was going to be hell and theres no way i could do it..... survivor mud run.


after the "race" i was reminded why i say this one thing all the time.


"youre life doesnt suck, you do"

dont complain. dont make excuse. do it. and do your best. if you fail? who gives a shit. do it again. or do something else.

the survivor mud run is something nearly anyone can do. its a simple 5k run, a FLAT run, with a few very simple, easy obstacles.

the event itself was a fun outing, something out of the ordinary, that made it a fun sunday, but what i took away from it was worth way more.

take that buffalo wing out of your mouth and get the hell off the couch and do something. anything. take the dogs for a run, ride your motorcycle, go make that planter box youve been wanting for months....

stop making excuses.

make your life worth it.

sooooooooo... now, yes, we are considering do this...

tough mudder

this WONT be a nice sunday walk.. this is serious stuff.

first thing on the to do list before this event, lets get some real running shoes and train so you can run 13 miles.

grabbed a pair of decent running shoes last night.

lets see how this goes.

Friday, March 23, 2012

a healthy, tasty alternative to a cream based soup, aka roasted cauliflower soup, kombu, silken tofu edition.

so i used to watch my mom make all sorts of tasty things in her vitamix. shes had one since i was back in the college years and (unfortunately for me) that was a long time ago.

kong bee ji (stewed pork ribs in ground soy beans with kimchee) is one of my favorite dishes. i can only imagine the difference my mother has seen in prepping this dish. its a pretty intensive dish to make right now with her vitamix, but i can only imagine what its like to make this with a stone grinder, manually spinning and grinding the soy beans into a nice puree.

growing up see this, it was only natural for me to evolve and intertwine what ive seen with flavors and techniques i learned along the way.

lets cook....

you know when you cook instant ramen, you boil water.

why use water?

because the instructions said to?

ive always had a problem with people telling me what to do. i will teach you to be as rebellious and anti establishment as i am. i fight the power by not listening to instructions on instant ramen packaging.

kombu broth

buy some dried kombu. rinse off a big chunk. simmer it in a pot of water with some onions, garlic and you have a low calorie flavor booster that will transform simple instant ramen into something thats actually presentable to beyond your 5 year old nephews palate.

for the most part, if water is going into a dish, a broth will make it better.

now that we have that down.... i have been experimenting with things and i came up with this recipe.

low calorie, flavor boosted roasted cauliflower soup.

i rinse off a large piece of kombu. i rinse it off to get the impurities off, the excess salt included. add a quarter of a chopped onion, a couple cloves of garlic and a few dried shiitakes mushrooms. add a couple pinches of salt just to get the flavors blending. i have no idea if this is true or not, but i like to salt throughout the cooking process because i believe it brings out the flavors of each individual ingredient, it highlights each step of the cooking process and you end up with a more balanced flavorful product.

simmer for 10-15 minutes.

take the broth off heat.

caulifower is awesome. i dont know why such amazing vegetables like cauliflower, brocilli and brussel sprouts have such a bad name. i remember growing up and being scared to try these because tv shows i used to watch then, made them out to be such terrible things.... theyre delicious!

i rinse and break up the cauliflower, small inch sized pieces will do. you want to break it up enough to get a nice char on a good portion of the surface area, but you dont want a crumbly burnt mess either. rough chop up some onions, add some peeled garlic cloves (please chop off the little stem area). remember, you want all the items to roast up consistently, so try to make everything about the same size. add all these in a large bowl. add some good olive oil, salt and pepper and coat things evenly.

(note, this time, i added in some leeks, more on this later)

place this all on a flat oven safe surface and roast up these bad boys in a preheated, 400 degree oven. keep an eye on these things. it should take about 8-10 minutes to get a good roast going, but be careful because it can go from a flavoring enhancing technique to an ashy mess real fast! i check once during this time and i move things around, flip over the larger pieces.

while you have the veggies roasting, you cant start to prep the next phase of the process. the kombu broth should have cooled down a bit by now. why is this important? well, depending on what kind of blender you have, adding very hot liquids might not be the best technique.

im using a vitamix, but i have done this with a normal counter top blender as well, and while it will require a bit more work with a regular blender, its nothing too difficult. with a regular blender you will have to stop the blender, mix things around, maybe add more liquid but you will get the idea when you give it a shot yourself.

besides the kombu broth the other secret to this low calorie, low fat, super flavorful recipe... silken tofu. yup. high in protien. low in fat and calories.... this adds a great texture to the party and you wont miss your heavy cream at all. no seriously. this isnt a "diet" recipe that tastes like a half assed crappy version of the original. this is a different technique/recipe for a dish that looks and tastes just as good if not better than its fatty counterpart.

this is half the normal container of silken tofu, about a cup or so. now you can play around with the ratios to your liking.

to give you an idea of how much you can adjust, after this attempt, i realized i didnt like those leeks in this recipe because they burned too fast when roasting and the end product had too much of a leek flavor to it. next time, no leeks.

take a look at the ratios.

its about 1/3 silken tofu to 2/3 roasted cauliflower. i think it should be more like 1/4 silken tofu to 3/4 roasted cauliflower, but whatever. it still ended up good, and playing around with these things is half the fun. besides, you usually learn the most this way.

add in the broth. i added a small amount of the simmered solids from the broth as well... why not!

now i like to add in only a little of the broth at a time.

my finger is at the broth level.

i do this for two reasons, one, i think its easier to blend and its cleaner with less liquid. more importantly, two, as long as it blends, you can always add more broth. i ended up with a way too "watered" down soup my first attempt. you can always add broth, you shouldnt try to take it out by overcooking something.

season with a couple heaping pinches of salt and pepper.

now just blend.

to this i add more broth until i get the consistency i want.

i basically ended up doubling the amount of liquid in the blender.

i poured this out into a pot

the soup has a nice consistency and ive seasoned it enough, but its still not quite there. its was a bit frothy from all the blending so i just grabbed the pot by the handles and shook it around. most of the foam will settle in the middle and you can scoop it right out.

warm/simmer for a tad bit and its done.

i purposely left out ANY kind of measurements in this post because i want you to figure things out on your own. you will see when you need more kombu broth..... take a spoonful and taste to see if you need more salt and pepper.

i dont really want to tell you to do something the exact same way i do it... learn this technique, figure out what you like and adjust it.

you can add a few drop of some good olive oil, some chives..... tada.

pic courtesy of s+s gastro pub

today, we added a small spoonful of truffle caviar.

a low calorie, low fat , highly nutrious soup that EVERYONE will love.

thank me later. buy me a beer.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

man, its a bit chilly today, aka why arent there pojang matchas in america?

dduk bok ki

i crave this stuff.

in the simplest form, its rice cake simmered/sauteed in spicy sauce.

on any random corner in seoul, whether its a warm humid summer evening, monsoon season rainy afternoons or bitter cold winter nights, you will find pojang matchas. pojang matchas are basically a tent, a truck bed, a couple of tables or anything you can serve food out of. they usually serve really basic street food, but they also tend to be some of the best food you can find. pojang matchas are the original mobile food, food truck concept.

over the 30 odd years ive been going back and forth from korea, pojang matchas have had varying degrees of popularity and legality. there was a time when you could find tents citys and hop from one style of food to another in a few steps, eating and drinking your way through all sorts of small bites. there was also a time when the government, in a misguided effort to modernize (and westernize) the country tried to ban them. these days, you will find pojang matchas on most every corner of every busy street of seoul.

the secret isnt finding one, its finding the ones that you really like. lucky for us, there are only about a couple thousands of these around seoul.

this morning, slightly cold, very hungry, i remembered this one dduk bok ki pojang matcha my sister took us to on our most recent visit in december 2011. i cant remember exactly where it was, but i can remember exactly the taste of their dduk bok ki.

having never visited the whole shin dang dong dduk bok ki town in seoul (and entire area of dduk bok ki restaurants), naturally, i wanted to visit...

my sister replied....

"ew, why would you want to go to there? its for the tourist."

she proceeded to take us to a small tent a few blocks from her place.

no fancy tourism board of korea stickers... no busloads of japanese tourists... no waiting for 20 minutes for a table...

nothing fancy.

just some nice rice cakes, some slowly simmered spicy sauce and some odeng. of course you have to have some soondae and a variety of fried items to add into the spicy sauce, but this is as simple as it gets.

and it was some of the best dduk bok ki you can find anywhere.

sometimes simple is what you need. you might not realize it because  youre too busy over complicating your lives with things you dont need, but want...

work a job we hate to buy things we dont need to impress people we dont like (totally borrowed).....

yeah. simple. life is better simple.

but of course, im still going to shin dang dong dduk bok ki town.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

happy valentines day

hoping your valentines day is filled with joy and happiness....

i think we should stop with the roses and chocolates and give strawberry waffles from now on.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

man, what a productive day, aka, wait, i didnt do shit...

so yesterday was a very productive day for me. i got a lot of paperwork done, knock several items off my to do lists..... financials for a property i hardly manage, helping someone start up a business, stupid taxes, just to name a few.

it was the first day in awhile where i accomplished most everything set out to do that morning.

and right before i was about to congratulate myself for a job well done... i got to thinking....

maybe its because im older, maybe its because im noticing things beyond myself....(finally)... but...

sure i got to work at 630am, but my work day is over at 4pm. i was home by 415pm. sure i got a crapton of work done, but i realized something really important. a real man would do all that then come home, help the kids with their homework, help make dinner, clean up after dinner, play with the kids..... all before he even had a moment to himself.

still not quite there.

Friday, February 3, 2012

intestines, stuffed with fat. aka, yes, five more orders please

this post does not need many words.

only needs a description. 

on the right, intestines, stuff with beef fat. on the left, marinated glands.

no wimps. shot of soju up. 

fresh, grilled...eel? aka ooooh i get it, its like korean bbq but with eels.

so one of the things i love the most about restaurants in korea is that there are so many places that specializes in things. a restaurant could have ONE single item on the menu like this place, and over years, sometimes decades, of repeating a successful formula, they put out an amazing product.

we found ourselves at a fresh grilled eel restaurant. think unagi, minus the sauce.

i really wish i couldve snapped more pictures of the place, but it was WAY too cold to be playing blogger/photog and besides, i was starving!

they have an area out in back of the restaurant where a guy preps the charcoal. i can imagine this guy, working away all day at his station, just getting the charcoal ready. its a quite often overlooked aspect of this restaurant im sure, but the successful formula requires this charcoal he produces. any backyard bbq grill master will tell you, the charcoal is very important.

they have a team of people prepping the eels. every filet a fish? yeah, imagine the skill it requires to filet an eel!

you grill the fresh eel table side, it really will remind of the korean bbq setup. a few leafy items, a few fermented items.... all used in numerous combinations of each other to compliment the grilled eel.

eel might sound like a strange thing to eat.... well if youre not adventurous, no problem, leave them to us... we will take it .

they will give you several dipping sauces, there the usual leafy greens with bean pastes, sliced garlic.... the fresh grilled eel is naturally a bit sweet, the flesh is soft and moist.... this is quickly becoming one of my favorite things to eat. 

do it

Saturday, January 28, 2012

same same.... but different, aka maggi and sriracha

so we are in the middle of the middle of vietnam. central vietnam actually, da nang.

what do we do? go grocery shopping of course!

we wanted to check out what its like, so with a good lead from a resort staff member we hopped in a cab and get dropped off to what i would describe as a smaller korean style department store. its basically everything from tvs to makeup to prepared foods to a full on grocery store.

although the norebang (karaoke) machines looked cool by the registers (with customers actually singing), we hop right over to the food area.

i hear sriracha green is the new black

interesting. no rooster on the label. maybe its too gimmicky for these markets.

man, could you imagine being the sriracha guy? making a hot sauce thats as common as ketchup in where your from, selling a crapton of it in america, so much so that hot sauce basically means sriracha... well i guess it would be like being mr heinz!

this ones for my pinoys out there

soy bean flavored maggi? thats basically, soy bean flavor soy sauce with msg? interesting

kimhee and kimbap!

they call it the korean wave. all things korean, everywhere over asia. 

ahh crap. travel half way around the globe, stay in city where if you have consistent electricity its golden.... and you still cant get away from the crap they pump out of hollywood. 

luckily, im not the only weirdo that like to do things like this when i travel. bbb cofounder/cio/cto/chairman of the board, she likes it too, grocery shopping in foreign countries that is. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

you never had potato chips like this before, aka myung dong fried potato on a stick

so the myung dong area in seoul is a huge tourist trap shopping dining area. but unlike our our equivalents in the united states, these places actually have things a local would want to visit for.

for me, i love the food there. myung dong has some really amazing places to eat, but some of the best things you will find are from the street vendors.

maybe ive been hiding under a ddukboki tent, but ive never seen this.

fried potato on a stick!

so its real simple. 

but simple things tend to be the best, right?

you take a potato, spiral cut in and insert a long wooden stick. 

fry baby fry
roll it in some mystery seasoning *savory with hints of saltiness and sweetness*

enjoy the simple things

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

fusion maia, da nang, vietnam, a picture perfect getaway

fusion maia is asias first luxury hotel with an all inclusive spa. yes, an all inclusive spa. 

when you hear the term "all inclusive", it usually brings up memories of long lines for mediocre food and watered down cocktails.

this is not that.

this is an all inclusive spa, where all the amazing treatments they have are included in the price of your private villa. (more on this later in the post) 

continental breakfast included, all other meals and drinks are additional.

this is luxury resort, where all your cares melt away and all your needs are a friendly, helpful staff member away. 

when you enter this resort, you definitely get the feeling that this is a modern resort. there is no real check in counter. they will escort you to a nice lounge area by the bar and dining area. this huge, open, multipurpose area invites you to sit and relax while they check you in. 

as with all resorts in vietnam, you will need to provide your passports. pretty standard stuff.

view from our seats during check in, looking at the bar. dining area beyond the bar. 

while we were checking in, we were introduced to a fixture during stay. their amazing teas. i love my teas. it started with a love of green tea that was spoiled by a monk picking young green tea leaves, roasting them and sending them stateside for us. ever since then, i have had a love affair with teas.

here, they have some amazing flavored teas. everyday it was something new. flowery, fruity, totally balanced, never too sweet, never too bitter, never too hot... just amazing tea. i asked them about this, but i just cant remember the name of their supplier. 

their amazing tea. check in lounge, at the spa.... get it

at this point, id be happy if theyd let me crash on this super comfy couch. im not fancy. im not frou frou. i could have totally crashed out on these couches... oh but wait, thats right, we got a room here.

well i guess i can go check that out. seeesh. so much work this is. 

all their rooms have private pools. all the rooms are villas. the standard room is a private villa with a private pool. now you know what kind of place youre at.

they do also have two upgrades if youre in the mood to drop some more cash, a spa villa and a beach villa. pimp. and super pimp. check their website for the most up to date info.

in our cozy little private villa, you open the door to your seating area.

you glance over to your sleeping area

i guess i COULD call this home for a few days.

as you would expect, the bed was very nice. i hate bad beds. too bouncy, too firm, sagging.... the bed here at fusion maia... perfect. i havent slept that well in a very long time. the beds here are great.

right in front of both the seating area and the sleeping area? your own private pool! now this is exciting. whens the last time you had a private pool with your room. 

thatll do pig, thatll do

yes, its pretty pimp to have your own private pool, but plan accordingly because you might not be able to take full advantage of it. if you come in the winter season, it might be too cold. the pool is not heated and as it was for our visit, it might be a bit too cold to swim. but of course that didnt stop us from jumping in every so often. i mean, how often will you be in a villa with a private pool!

i can only imagine how AMAZING this would be during the warmer months.

real talk. i dont know how they maintain all these areas. although i am not the most gung ho nature man, i do understand it. ive also had a pool to take care of when i use to live in my sisters mcmansion.

keeping the resort looking good, let alone maintain all these private pools, to be mostly pest free, vermin free... thats a big task and they do it very well. very well.

view of the pool area at night

view of the pool area from the sleeping area

next to the sleeping area is a massive bathroom, with a sunken tub, vanity, shower and wc (look at me being all european)

im thinking of remodeling my own bathroom... this would be a good start. 

the far wall of the bathroom is a floor to ceiling glass wall that looks into your pool. pretty damn cool stuff if you ask me. 

sunken tub

wait, did i mention theres a flat screen that you can move around so you can watch tv in bed or in the bathroom?

view of the shower, wc to the left behind frosted glass

errrr, i know this might sound weird to say about a 5 star resort, but there are no hot water issues. 

we stayed at other 5 star resorts in da nang during this same trip. although they were really great places to stay all around, we DID have hot water issues.

everything about this resort says modern and chic. our room was minimal, with clean lines, yet warm and welcoming. designers better have gotten a raise!

even our front door, frig, closet, drawer area looks like a work of art. 

da nang area is not quite developed as of our visit in december 2011, but the resort has a way of making you feel like youre in a different place altogether. bravo.

so whats there to do beside drink awesome tea and hang out in your dwell magazinesque private villa with private pool?

actually, plenty. 

first, one of the main reason why we chose this place is their unique all inclusive spa. 

ive been to most every high end spa in san francisco. ive also been a member of burke williams for years. though im not frou frou where i need facials and mani pedis, i do like my massages. its a little luxury i allow myself. its time to decompress, it helps detox all the crap in put in my body. its a bit of time for myself. 

here, at the fusion maia resort, their spa is top notch. im not talking about being in another country, on vacation top notch, im talking top notch, top notch. 

only hang up might be that there might be a bit of a language issue. although every staff member we encountered spoke fairly fluent english, some things are lost in translation and accents can get in the way. 

these are very minor issues that you can easily work around.besides, youre the guest in the country... you should learn to work around them.

the spa area, with its separate swimming pool with waterfall, relaxation areas is awesome to just sit and lounge. the actual rooms where your sessions are held, well, they were better appointed them some high end places i have been to in san francisco. 

fusion maia spa menu (12/2011)

closeup of treatments available (12/2011)

we averaged three sessions per day.

tip, pre book your appointments. you dont want to lose out do you?

we usually went something like this. a scrub/treatment followed by a massage after breakfast. another session between lunch and dinner. 

after the second day of this. i was a soft, pliable, relaxed, revived, new person. this is about as close as totally relaxed as you can get. 

yes. this was grand. this made all the effort getting to da nang worth it. this made everything right in the world. you end up just walking around relaxed and smiling all the time. 

everyone we encountered, from the receptionists to the attendants were on point, friendly, and very important to me, they seemed happy to be there. 

you definitely come here for the spa. 

however, thats not the only thing to do here.

the other part of the relaxation equation for us was eating. 

there are a few dining options here and a few twists on the usual continental breakfast. 

fresh pool bar 

they have western and local style foods. all good. and who doesnt like to dine poolside.... 

well if you dont (or if its raining) there is an indoor dining area. and for a place that centers around well being and all that, they make some damn good cocktails. you wont hear me complaining about alcohol. 

the bar you first see when you come into the main dining area, there are some tapas inspired dishes, cocktails, stuff

the main dining area, where the continental breakfast and dinners are served... well, lets just say i enjoy food. i live for food. i cook. i garden. i spend most my free time thinking about food or making food. 

this place, though its not cutting edge (and i wouldnt want it to be cutting edge dining, im on vacation at a resort spa!), it is modern and the food is a well executed modern affair. every meal i had in the main dining area was of a very high caliber. very nicely surprised. of course it may not be like the complete shock and awe treatment from tfl or the subtle refinement of manresa (the two last significant meals we had in the san francisco area before we left for this vacation) but i could not be upset with anything i had here. the dinners were just fine, good to great in fact. something you really dont expect from a resort/hotel restaurant too often. all the dishes were great. executed and presented well. the proteins were good. the infusion of local greens were are great touch. i would be happy to be presented any of these dishes in most every setting. its just good food. 

one thing to note however, is that the meals here are more expensive than other meals we had in da nang area resorts however, the quality and service represented why. it was by far, the highest caliber dining experiences we had in da nang.

*side note. a dinner with drinks will run you a respectable 50-60 USD per person. at other five star resorts in the area, perhaps 30-40 USD. we also had dinner at an expat hang out in town, 10-15 USD per person. some local restaurants, 2-8 USD per person*

the continental breakfast. man, i loved their continental breakfast. nicely done. good spread. unusual finds. fun and different a noodle bar. ok let me try the pho. of course you have to eat pho. 

i grew up on pho. its pretty much a staple here in the bay area.

ive tried bad pho. ive had good restaurant pho. ive had great homemade pho. some of our friends own pho restaurants. 

the stuff here was done with a nice refined touch. like taking moms recipe and applying some stuff you learn at culinary. 

the handmade pho noodles were an unexpected treat. ive never seen it before. i make pasta pretty often. ive made rice cakes, all sorts of doughs..... but ive never thought about nor seen handmade pho noodles. it was like a given. you buy the packaged stuff. 

the handmade pho noodles added a texture to the party that might be overlooked by many, but adds a nice subtle note to things. 


i DID make some rice paper while i was here.... i shouldve asked if i could find out where they made those noodles!!! 

*how funny, five star, badass resort... and im inquiring about the noodles in their pho*

and another thing about their breakfast, they have an unusual service for their breakfast. as you would imagine, continental breakfast is included with your room, but whats unusual is that you can have breakfast anywhere, anytime.

if you didnt make the continental breakfast, no problem. they can bring you something off their menu and that will count as your free breakfast of the day. 

thats a nice service, but it doesnt end there.

you want to have breakfast on the beach? ask them. they will set up a table on the beach. 

want breakfast on the pool... no, not by the pool... ON the pool, theres an area where they will set up a table on the pool over looking the beach..... 

yes, you can have breakfast at 10am, on a table, on the pool. 

im sure there are limits to this, but anything within reason seems to be there unspoken motto here. 

i wanted a pack of smokes. they dont put those on any menu because, this is in fact, a well being type place. they got me some cancer sticks when i ask for them.

they DO state though, if you want, you can even have your free breakfast at their restaurant in historic hoi an. if you trekked out there in the morning on their free shuttle, you can grab breakfast there.

one of the larger tables in their main dining area

exploring around the resort, we found a pool table and ps3 located under the main dining area. pretended to know how to shoot pool, then went along our merry way. 

apparently they do yoga on the resort too. different areas... and wait, did they say an offsite yoga session on the marble mountains nearby? 

most any excursions around the area can be booked by the concierge desk. take advantage of the free shuttles into historic hoi an and walk around town, the farmers market. check out 4th century cham temples at my son holy land..... easy as a phone call away

*we didnt book our excursion with fusion maia because we had done so prior, while staying at other resorts in the area, prior to staying at fusion maia*

oh... and there is the small matter of the beach. 

this is also a beach resort, on one of the hidden gem beaches of the world. each of the beach front resorts in this area has their own private beach. i can only imagine what it would be like in the summer months... 

i guess we just have to go back

theres also the pool area, no more than a few foot steps from the beach.

what did i do? what do you think i would do? 

order some vietnamese bahn mi inspired thin crust pizza

post up at a poolside/beach cabana

sip on cocktails.

man, researching for this blog is hard work.