Friday, September 30, 2011

Review: Madame Chou Chou

I walked down the crowded streets of Santa Monica, staring at the span of deep blue ocean to my right. Being a mere 13 miles away from Los Angeles, Santa Monica is a frequent destination for a one-day weekend getaway.

This past weekend also coincided with the start of Dine LA, a time when poor starving college students can indulge in extravagance. Don't have $60 to fork over for a meal at Fogo de Chao? That's okay - just go to Fogo de Chao at lunch during dineLA week and you can experience the all-you-can-eat Brazilian barbecue goodness for only $28!

Somehow, we wound up inside Madame Chou Chou.

"That sounds like the name of a fluffy pint-sized dog," I said, skeptically.

Skepticism aside, the restaurant exceeded my expectations. It's small, dark and cozy, much like the cafes that line the streets of Paris. Which really didn't matter because I opted to sit outside under patio, the rays of the sun showering me with warmth. Aside from a minor mix-up of orders, the waiters and waitresses were extremely attentive and friendly.

The Boy ordered the roasted beet napoleon for his appetizer, which was strange because he doesn't believe in vegetables. Or beets. Meanwhile, I was drooling over the display of color in his appetizer (it also tasted amazing).

I ordered the lentils Moroccan salad, which was decently good and very chewy. For me, the roasted beet napoleon still wins, hands down.

Our entree, the flank steak, was cooked to perfection. The steak was melt-in-your-mouth tender though the flavoring seemed a little bland to me, though I have no doubts that it was a perfectly cooked steak.

Our other entree was parpadelle carbonara. Let me say first that I'm not a carbonara connoisseur because in my mind, all carbonara tastes the same. The Boy loved this dish, but I'm guessing that it's because carbonara features bacon strips. This isn't a dish that I would normally order at a high end restaurant though it was visually appealing.

We ordered a spicy chocolate and mango pie, which was recommended by the owner of Madame Chou Chou. It was an eclectic combination that grew on us.

My favorite was the strawberry tarte with green tea custard (because I am a sucker for custard, green tea and strawberries). The only qualm I have with this dessert was that it was too small. Despite the I tried to eat the tarte slowly and savor the decadence within, my plate was empty in no time.

Aside from the fact that the prices at Madame Chou Chou are somewhat out of the "affordable dining" range for the poor, starving college students, its ambience, food, and hospitality makes it a restaurant worth another visit. Or maybe two.

2518 Main St
Santa Monica, CA 90405

Monday, September 26, 2011

Dental School Application Status

With the month of September quickly waning, at what point should I start panicking about the status of my dental school applications?

I have no interview offers yet. The University of Buffalo School of Dental Medicine has placed my application on "continuing review". It sounds ominous, treading a fine line between hope and rejection.

How do I convey my passion for dentistry to the adcoms? How do I make them understand that I'm much more than just numbers? Is a decent DAT enough to compensate for a dismal science GPA?

The dentist I shadow at the community health clinic summarized my situation bluntly, though in a friendly/joking manner. "So you're smart enough to do very well on the DAT with only 3 weeks of studying but you slack off in school."

Now, I wouldn't really call myself a "slacker"...

Maybe by Asian standards I am a slacker?

The thing is, if I don't get into dental school I don't have an alternative plan. My major provides me with virtually no marketable skills. I walked by the career fair last Thursday and not surprisingly, there was nobody hiring a graduate with a B.S. in Kinesiology. It's not like I can even approach Price Waterhouse Cooper with my volunteer-based health-related resume and ask for an entry level job. "What sets me apart from your other candidates," I should tell the recruiting manager, "is that despite my nonexistent accounting skills, I am a pre-health major. This means that I am more ethical than any business majors on this campus, a compassionate soul who believes in volunteerism, and truly cares about making a positive impact in the community".

Seriously kids, when you go to college and fork out $20,000 per year, make sure you choose a major (i.e. Business administration, accounting, computer science, chemical engineering, etc) where you can find a decent job with a bachelor's degree. It's a financially sound backup plan.

Song of the Day
How to Love - Lil Wayne

Monday, September 5, 2011

Senior Year Stress

Following a leisurely weekend free of any kind of labor, words will be sparse tonight as I declare war on all of the assignments and projects that I have put off in the past four days.

I resolved to do nothing this weekend. And I did just that.

I watched a full season of Bones, went to Raging Waters, hung out with my family, ate copious amounts of food, watched a three hour Bollywood movie and somewhere along the way, forgot about all of my responsibilities as a student.

Now its 11:49pm. I'm attempting to finish an excessively long biomechanics lab report, skim through tomorrow's lab handout, and dash off a few paragraphs about accountable care organizations. This is on top of a never-ending to-do list that includes academic projects, dental school secondaries, athletic medicine internship, my job at the library, and other extracurriculars.

Blog posts may be sparse during this hell-ish semester

Song of the Day
Let Me Down Easy - Billy Currington