A Holeman & Finch Kind of Night

Apologies for a much delayed blog update- I suppose you can say that the past few months have been a whirlwind of events (and emotions). I went through a lot of personal things, but now I can say I’m much better! I’m still on that tedious job hunt, but in the meantime I’ve been spending a lot of me-time and checking things off my ever-long to do list.

To celebrate my little escape from the rough months, I decided to re-visit one of my absolute favorite places in Atlanta. Holeman & Finch Public House has the feel of a trendy New York City gastropub with delicious small plates and some of the best homemade drinks I’ve ever tried. May I mention that they’re also famous for their 10 p.m. burger? Each night they make exactly 24 burgers and you need to be a lucky seated guest to try and nab one of these gems. Honestly, I’m not sure if it’s the hype surrounding it or the genuine quality, taste and presentation of such a beautiful double cheeseburger, but I’ll have to say it’s been one of the best I’ve ever eaten.

My best friend Cici, who frequents the bar here, took me to grab drinks and dinner here. We ended up staying for four hours just talking and munching on a ton of small plates. Our lounge-server and fun little friend, Marshaun, took amazing care of us. We shared porchetta, deviled eggs, fresh Virginia oysters, and the 10 p.m. burger. Over the four hours, we had fun people-watching (it seems like the majority of their clientele are young, attractive Atlantan foodies) and of course, being best friends, we talked the night away. It’s been a hard few months for both of us, so it felt amazing to finally let loose and have some fun doing what we love most – talking and eating.

Image

The 10 p.m. H&F burgers

Rogue Runner

What did I just do to myself? I signed up for The Rogue Runner 10k obstacle course for November 3rd at 11:30 a.m.

Similar to the Tough Mudder and the Spartan Race, it’s a huge obstacle course with mud pits, natural & man-made water courses, and ropes. The reason why I chose this one was because it’s based more on teamwork and spirit rather than solely trying to murder you with dangerous courses. I’d like to walk out of this one unscarred and still breathing.

So the count down begins, I have about 3 months to get right back into shape. I took a hiatus from weight training and cardio because after graduation, I lost the world’s best gym membership to UGA’s Ramsey Student Center. Meaning I need to find a great nearby gym to begin training in. During my last big weight training binge, I gained about 6 lbs. of pure muscle. I didn’t go up any clothes sizes or drop weight. I consumed more protein and focused on gaining more strength. Unfortunately, I’ve lost all of that now so I need to make up for lost time. Back to more protein, running, weights, under armour outfits, and going through gym shoes like they were dirty socks!

Savages.

I went to see Savages a while ago because I won’t lie- the preview truly captivated me. It featured a talented ensemble of actors, including Benicio Del Toro who always plays an overly compelling villain and Blake Lively who has actually matured into a big female leads. I’ve seen a few Oliver Stone movies as well, and he’s probably one of the most unique directors. Obviously above the plot, I wanted to see this film for multiple reasons.

I freaking loved it. As twisted and violent as it was, it kept me on edge the whole time and just told the story with raw and merciless detail. Of course I can provide plot summary, but I’ll leave that job to Rotten Tomatoes or IMDB, or even Wiki. My whole experience with the movie was great. I wasn’t expecting nearly as much as it gave. The opening scene is what really caught me, it delves into the ritzy, tropical Laguna Beach where the two drug kingpens Ben and Chon live… the happy paradise is completely and abruptly interrupted when the Mexican Baja Cartel moves in. I could actually sense the danger and animosity invading the seemingly peaceful and relaxed Laguna Beach. That set the stage for the rest of the movie for me.

Now I just need to get my hands on Don Winslow’s novel that this film was adapted from. Novels are always better and more detailed than films, but I think this is one of the few movies that inspired me to READ the novel afterward! Only other movie I can think of was Ian McEwan’s Atonement.

With Savages crossed off my list of summer movies, looks like The Dark Knight Rises will be my next outing! Can’t wait- because Batman IS my childhood hero that I actually watched the cartoons and owned all the action figures for.

Truman Capote’s Journalistic Suspense Novel is a New Favorite of Mine

Starting in Mrs. Hoppenrath’s 10th grade class, I first laid eyes on this book when I helped a friend write a huge research paper on it. I somehow landed a 95 on a paper about Alice Walker’s The Color Purple (another great novel), so I was glossing over In Cold Blood by Truman Capote in order to help my friend out. Little did I know, the few pages I had read completely captured my attention, and I instantly listed it on my must-read bucket list. Flash forward to 2012, and I was finally granted the time to read it.

Who knew that the same author as Breakfast at Tiffany’s and The Grass Harp would also author one of the most compelling and empathetic suspense biographies about a brutal murder that took place in a quiet Kansas town in November 1957. Capote begins his novel at River Valley Farm retracing the last hours of the four Clutter family members – the parents Herb and Bonnie, the popular seventeen year old Nancy and the sixteen year old athlete Kenyon. By illustrating a typical day’s events of the family, Capote creates a sense of empathy and connection to the family since readers already know of their destined fate.

Paralleling the accounts of the Clutters is the separate story of Dick Hickock and Perry Smith, the two murderers who had premeditated the attack on River Valley Farm. Both Dick and Perry’s pasts unravel as the novel chronicles deep into the minds of the psychopathic killers. With a knife and a 12-gauge shotgun, the brutal murders of an innocent family resonates through the small town of Holcomb leaving a horrific unsolved mystery. As the town is left wondering who could have murdered the Clutters, little did they know the murderers went home after that night where Perry caught up on sleep and Dick ate a family supper at his parents’ home.

However, as I felt grief and sympathy for the citizens of Holcomb and the friends and family of the Clutters, I couldn’t help but feel a bit empathetic for Dick and Perry – and that’s where Capote works his magic. As much as you want to despise two aimless men who can commit such a terrible crime, Capote traces the childhoods and events of both their lives all the way up until they are murdered at Death Row. Not only does Capote capture and permeate the tragedy of the Clutter family, but he restores Dick and Perry as actual people and remains a neutral reporting source up until the very end of the novel when you discover the anonymous reporter that Dick and Perry confide in must be Capote himself.

In Cold Blood was filled with immense writing, reporting and intricate plots. I’ve read it twice already and each time I catch something new. It’s a mystery with never-ending clues and a horror that can’t exactly be squashed. Next on my list is to actually view the 1967 film adaptation based on the novel!

Lockers to Ginkgo

In modification to my post-graduate life, I’ve cleaned out my room and trashed most of the old middle school and high school memorabilia. Sometimes being back in my room at dad’s house reminds me of the old days so a little renovating and redecorating was in order. Starting with my dresser: I own a ton of jewelry (usually you can’t catch me without a necklace) and my collection was invading more than half of my dresser space.

Unfortunately, I stored everything in neon colored lockers that had stickers and obnoxious glitter words tattered on them. I bought them from Limited Too when I was ten years old. As cool as they were back then, it certainly was not fashionable or cool for a twenty-two year old to own.

My Ginkgo Tree from RedEnvelope

Ta-da! I ordered a beautiful ginkgo jewelry tree from RedEnvelope the other day. It fits all of my jewelry and even contains a small velvet-interior box at its base to hold my rings and earrings that can’t hang. I chose ginkgo because it reflects my Asian culture and the leaves were way too pretty! My dresser looks much better now and I’m a lot happier that my necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings, and brooches are all in one place!

Hankook Taqueria: The Best of Two Worlds

It’s the perfect marriage of two polar opposites: Korean and Mexican. Ever since the surge of food trucks hit Atlanta, Ga. in 2010, food fans have been chasing down Yumbii, a mobile Korean taco stand. Hankook Taqueria is the hole-in-the-wall headquarters of Yumbii, serving up affordable and delectable Asian-inspired tacos and snacks for crowds lining up outside its door.

Sitting on the west end of town near Georgia Tech, Hankook Taqueria is a short rectangular building housed in a tiny, but crowded, parking lot. The building is by no means glamorous. There are hard, mismatched wooden booths and wobbly tables with a staticky radio played in the background. Even though the tastes of two cultures collide, the room is absent of any color. It didn’t seem like a very welcoming place, but the winding line criss-crossing the front lobby and the spicy ginger aromas drew me in.

It may not seem like much since the menu is limited to one page and there’s no table service. However, the menu is simple yet deliciously creative, and the self-service helps keep prices low. Tacos are priced at $2.25 and range from spicy marinated pulled pork to crispy, sweet and tangy calamari. Burritos are available too, which consist of the same ingredients as the tacos but include a larger portion and homemade kimchee fried rice. Generously portioned “street snacks” satisfy the appetizer or side dish craving, but they’re meant to be shared since the baskets are overflowing with food.

Once my best friend and I opened the door to Hankook, we were immediately handed a small paper copy of the menu. A medley of guests crowded each of the wooden tables. Everyone from a group of Georgia Tech frat guys to a well-suited group of businessmen chowed down on baskets of tacos. After hearing so much about the famous Korean tacos, we decided to share one of each – chicken, pork, beef, fish, tofu, calamari and shrimp. We also shared some sesame fries since the $2 deal was too much of a bargain to pass up.

After finally scoping out an empty table, our fries arrived within minutes. Unlike most fries, these were cooked in sesame oil and seasoned with red pepper flakes and sea salt. The side of ketchup was mixed with sriracha, a popular Asian chili sauce, which gave it a savory kick. Our tacos were swiftly delivered by one of the cashiers about ten minutes after we started filling up on the sesame fries.

Famous Korean BBQ Tacos

The meat tacos were succulent and juicy– and the soy-sesame vinaigrette paired with green onions and pepper jack cheese was an oddly palatable combination. Where Hankook really shined was their seafood. The calamari and shrimp were both fried to light, crispy perfection and the panko-crusted tilapia was flavorful and fresh. Each taco was accompanied with lime slices, which adequately woke up each ingredient in the overstuffed tacos. We washed each taco down with water since the only other drink options available were sodas.

While Hankook Taqueria focuses mainly on the quality of their dishes, I enjoyed visiting a laidback environment filled with a wide spectrum of guests. It’s a departure from other Atlanta restaurants and remains one of the best secrets in town. The Korean tacos are a rarity in the South, so I was overjoyed I’ve found a place that sells this new food truck staple. Now instead of hunting down Yumbii, I can grab a quick and affordable lunch or dinner in the heart of Atlanta without worrying about what I’m wearing.

A Proper Introduction

Here’s a handshake, here’s a curtsy, here’s my smile, and most importantly, here’s me.

It’s always difficult to introduce yourself to someone. In that instant, they’re learning your name, reading your body language, tuning into your voice, and sampling your personality. First impressions mean a lot to me, if you haven’t been able to tell. Obviously you’ve made it here, and I suppose my warmest welcome is necessary to show you who I am. My name is Maggie, and here are snippets of what defines that.

Well the past two years of my life has been intertwined with the U.S. Navy. I have found the one that has shown me the power of the human emotion, love. Anchors represent the Navy, as well as the stability and structure in my life. I’m keen to metaphorical references to anchors. They’re mentioned in the bible, they’re nautical, they show different interpretations, and they’re a common metal object. I’m drawn to them, and if you know me well, I have clothes, jewelry, pictures, wallpapers, and basically anything you can think of with anchor decor. I feel like the Navy has honestly taught me a part of myself. With my relationship (which is a relationship with the Navy itself), I’ve learned how far I’m able to go for love. I learned how difficult things can get, what can break me, what can build me back up, and all the while I just think of how I am “anchored” down by my spirit. It holds me together.

Another major part of my life, well I’m participating in it as I speak. I am at my university’s student center typing this. I attend UGA, and as an exuberant college student– I will admit that I love it. Actually, it’s a love/hate relationship. Obviously the hatred can overcome the love very easily, but I’m hoping my two degrees will overturn that in the long run. I am a journalism and English student, minoring in Spanish. I like to write (hence why I’m doing it right now), and though reading and film-watching take a ton of concentration for me– I do like it and feel highly accomplished after writing a paper or analyzing something among those means. As for Spanish, I’m not exactly A+ material in there. I’ve studied it since 9th grade and I believe it will benefit me completely in the end. I find it interesting, but I believe my biggest fear is what keeps me from truly learning it. Yes, I’m human and I have a fear that challenges me every single day.

I play a ton of volleyball. It is the greatest sport, and I’ll challenge you to a game anyday. My favorite food is pizza because it is as chameleon as I can be. I love the color green, and when I was little I tried so hard not to like pink. I always blare my headphones.

All in all, I’m picking apart life as I live it. I’m doing the stereotypical “woman” thing by overanalyzing everything, but honestly this is the greatest part of my day. I get to relive the moments I want to, vent about ones I’d rather forget, reflect on the ones who have made my day, and strengthen the relationships I have.

So I’ll draw back my hand, stand tall from my curtsy, nod after my smile, and you will walk away knowing a part of me.