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Member Since 01 Aug 2004
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Topics I've Started

babani's (st. paul, mn)

25 January 2018 - 05:16 PM

babani's is the first kurdish restaurant in the u.s, and it's located in st. paul (now in new digs). wonderful hospitality, simple but tasty food at fair prices: what's not to love?


review on the blog (you should click on the link if only to read the wonderful origin story they print on their menus).



lens question for camera mavens

17 January 2018 - 01:25 AM

i purchased an entry-level, cropped sensor nikon dslr a couple of years ago (the dx 3300) and have been enjoying playing with it. soon after purchasing it i also purchased a 35 mm 1.8 prime lens and that's really been my primary lens (the other that i owned was the 18-55 mm zoom that came with the camera). i'm never going to be good enough of a photographer to justify (the price of) a full-frame camera and so when i recently decided to add on to my lens collection i decided to get a 10-20 mm ultra-wide and a 55-200 mm zoom from nikon's dx/crop format series. i figured that this covered the entire focal length i'd ever have interest in (the 55-300 mm zoom costs too much more than the 55-200 mm to justify the extra reach for someone who is not going to do sports/wildlife photography). 


i then decided to sell my 18-55 kit lens--this on the basis that i really don't use it very much/at all. right after i sold it i realized that nikon now makes a more advanced version of that lens (quieter auto-focus, maybe a bit sharper). i'm trying to decide whether it's worth using the money i got for the older kit lens to subsidize the price of the new version. i guess the answer to the question is in the fact that i didn't use the old one very much. but i don't know if there's value in having the 18-35 mm end of the focal length range covered as well that i'm not seeing now but might want later (actually 27-52 mm since this is a cropped sensor camera).


so what would you say:


1. kick myself for selling the old kit lens and bite the bullet and purchase the marginally better new version*?




2. save the money and just step back a few feet with the prime lens for anything that i might need the lower end of the 18-55's reach for?




*sigma makes a 17-50 mm 2.8 lens that i could see myself using a lot more than the kit lens 18-55 as it offers the 2.8 aperture across the entire zoom range. but it's both more expensive and apparently highly variable from lens to lens.

cheng heng: cambodian food in st. paul

16 January 2018 - 06:28 PM

minnesota has one of the larger cambodian populations in the u.s (though only a tenth of california's). it's not large enough to support very many restaurants, however. the most well-known of these is cheng heng on university avenue in st. paul. it's been around for 21 years but it took until our 11th year here for us to finally go there. and i wish we'd gone earlier. i really enjoyed the food. i don't know much/anything about cambodian food but this tasted as i would have expected from looking at a map: somewhere between vietnamese and thai.


full review on the blog.



shandong cuisine and more at 101 noodle express

11 January 2018 - 03:53 PM

despite its name 101 noodle express is known more for shandong dishes like the beef roll and dezhou chicken and for their excellent dumplings and soups. we had a very nice lunch at the (heavily renovated) alhambra flagship on christmas morning. full details on the blog.



chichen itza, los angeles

04 January 2018 - 03:43 PM

on our recent trip to los angeles we met old friends for lunch at chichen itza, a convenient hop, skip and jump from the exposition park museums we always go to with the brats. chichen itza is a very popular stand at mercado la paloma--a cooperative spacce that includes a large food hall. i don't know much about yucátan food but we really liked what we ate here. highlights included panuchos, salbutes, sikil-pak and their chicharron tacos.


full write-up on the blog (includes some reminiscing about the pre-gentrification usc neighbourhood).