Gear Review: ISLE Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

SUP on Green Lake (Photo: Rose Gear 2018)

“I can’t believe I waited so long to get a SUP board!”

Rose on the Lake last Sunday

I’ve lived within close walking distance of a lake for almost three years. Regrettably, I waited until last month to purchase a stand up paddle board. Thanks to the recommendation of my adventurous friend Yiling Wong, I purchased the ISLE 10’4 Airtech Inflatable Yoga Stand Up Paddle Board (6″ Thick) iSUP Package.

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Fishing with Ross Outdoor Adventures
A Review

Fishing in Potholes Reservoir, WA with Ross Outdoor Adventures (Photo: Yiling Wong, May 2018)

I Did My Part for Sustainable Fishing and It Was Delicious!

Consider this great experience gift for your next Father’s Day or other family event!

My parents live in Minnesota, and ever since I can remember, they loved to fish. After ten years in the Pacific Northwest, it finally occurred to me to take my Baba [1] fishing here, given the abundant fish and all. I hadn’t gone fishing on my own in about ten years, and didn’t own a boat or equipment, so we hired a guide.

K and I had heard through the grapevine that bass and walleye were “🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥” in Potholes Reservoir and Moses Lake this time of year! We booked with Shelby Ross of Ross Outdoor Adventures last minute. I was glad he made room for us in his schedule on a sunny Saturday, the morning after my father flew into town. He was very responsive by phone and email, so it was less intimidating calling a stranger for a short notice booking. In my Midwestern childhood, I learned that fishing was all about getting up at the crack of dawn to sit quietly on a boat or dock and wait, possibly never catching any fish. So I steeled myself to be happy even just for a day on the water in a boat, rocking gently to and fro…

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Ingredients / Steps / Experience Rating / Walleye Origins / Cook MethodsA Poll

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3 Pro-tips for Your Summer Road Trip
– Things We’ve Forgotten, NPS Edition

View of the Moab Desert, Utah around 5AM 4-17-2017.

As folks get rolling out to the U.S. National Parks and the rest of the great outdoors for Summer, here are three things to know plus one bonus idea.

1. Watch for the AM radio sign for the latest updates and tune in!

  • This is usually posted as a road sign as you’re driving in toward a national park
  • Sometimes the park’s official website will also note it
  • In one case, this was invaluable to listen to heading into Utah’s Zion National Parks last Spring, as droves of people were coming in and it informed us of scarce parking and the existence of a shuttle ahead of time. At Moab, it gave us early warning of all the internal campsite closures due to road construction so we knew to look outside the park perimeter.

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Friday is Bike Everywhere Day!
Plan your commute accordingly, Friends.

2013 Bike to Work Day celebration in Ballard, Seattle

Felt compelled to do this PSA:

Friday May 18th is Bike Everywhere Day!

I’m just going to leave this link for Bike Everywhere Month here …

Check it out for a map of the fun bike stations that will pop up around town on Friday. It’s a fun party atmosphere (er, starting at 6AM), and I’m hoping this year will be even more festive thanks to all those dockless bikes available for riding. By “fun” I mean free stuff like bike lights, chocolate samples (see: Fremont Bridge stop), music and free food. Check it out, Peddler’s Brewing is having a party 4-8 that day! The feature photo for this quick post is from a previous year’s bike celebration in Ballard.

How do YOU plan your commute?

Further Reading:

Shoutout to Tricia who, after a couple years’ convincing, finally talked me into bike commuting back in 2013, and the whole Bike to Work Team buddies I had downtown.* Miss you guys even more than that waffle breakfast we did, sniffle…

 

*Also: Shelley and Tricia who both biked with me on my first couple rides, and Tesia who helped calculate my [low] odds of accident per trip to allay my risk averse brain.

Stand-up Paddleboard:
Starter Kit Recommendations

Paddling in the shadow of Mt St Helens, OR

As the days yawn longer and air gets warmer, my snowboard powder dreams recede and give way to the echo of hypnotic rhythmic waves of a good lake paddle. Several friends asked me about my SUP (stand up paddle board) equipment, all in this last week, so I thought it was finally time I jot something down for you.

 

Q: Which paddle board do you have? Thinking of making an investment.
A: Woohoo, SUP! I have this one from Isle Surf & SUP:

ISLE 10’4 Airtech Inflatable Yoga Stand Up Paddle Board (6″ Thick) iSUP Package

This set includes the hand pump and storage bag, both are very handy. I love my SUP board, it has brought me so much joy and tranquility.

That said, here is a size chart you can compare to your height so you get the right fit: SUP 101: Paddle Board Weight & Size Chart (Isle Surf & SUP)

Q: You’re happy with it? Inflatable sounds awful, but look a lot cheaper than the non-inflatable..

A: Yes, very happy! I’ve brought it with me all over the Pacific Northwest since Fall 2016, a feat which would’ve been hard and much less likely with a rigid board since I have a Honda Civic so it would’ve been hard to carry and store. Once inflated to proper PSI, it’s quite rigid and stable. I suspect that a different rigid one would be extra maneuverable, but not nearly so grippy for those nice yoga stretches. To me, inflatable is worth the trade-off for portability. How portable? Well, I even took it on my back on an e-bike to get it from my AirBnB in Bend to paddle the Deschutes River the weekend of the eclipse. Yup.

Jökulsárlón Short Video

See more and subscribe at the Food The Wong Way YouTube Channel

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Podcasts Worth A Listen

I’ve been listening to podcasts since around 2001, when I’d board a shuttle on my college commute, threading my iPod earphones under a down jacket so the wire wouldn’t freeze in the Minnesota winter and crackle the sound. Here’s my latest list of regulars on my Stitcher app.

food-related . curious about the world . storytelling & creativity . news

Food-Related Podcasts

Stories on food and its origins and how it connects us, plus a strong thread of hearing the less-told stories of how minority groups or unexpected narratives contributed to mainstream food culture.

Food Without Borders: Food writer Sari Kamin speaks with guests on how food helps connect them to their past, ease potential conflict across cultures and strengthen the future. She also explores the immigrant experience in the U.S. today.

Gastropod: food with a side of science. Heard their oyster episode just as I was putting finishing touches on my post about going to Taylor Shellfish on a road trip. This is current go-to podcast each week, as of Spring 2018.

Gravy: the Southern Foodways Alliance has been putting out some really exciting stories over there, exploring stories and histories of food from different cultures living in the United States that traditionally haven’t had a loud voice in the mainstream.

Heritage Radio Network: the only online food station, and a powerhouse of food-related segments.

Racist Sandwich: lives in the intersection between food, race, gender and class, and shares some very frank perspectives.

The Sporkful: funny, down to earth. “The Sporkful isn’t for foodies, it’s for eaters.”

On the Radar

Podcasts not always in my regular rotation but worth considering.

The Dave Chang Show: multimedia mogul, foodways vanguard, and student of life David Chang hosts a series of guests to talk about their inspirations, failures, successes, fame, and identities. Between watching Ugly Delicious and restaurant news, a person only has so many hours in a day to spend hearing about all the great things caused by David Chang, which is the only reason this doesn’t always make my regular rotation in 2018. Bonus points: this show is part of The Ringer family from my favorite voice in the sports-related podcast realm. Full disclosure: K calls Dave Chang my cultural appropriation outrage soul mate, ha.

Food for Thought: stories related to food in Seattle, under the NPR umbrella.

Special Sauce: comes from the Serious Eats professionals, hosted by Ed Levine.

Do you have a favorite food-related podcast that’s not listed here?

Post in the comments and share, or tweet me @FoodtheWongWay.

Other Podcasts in Rotation

Curious about the world, looking for kindness, good stories, PNW news and inspiring life paths.

Curious About the World

99% Invisible: stories for those curious about the world!

Awesome Etiquette Podcast: I am a long-time fan of Lizzie Post and Dan Post Senning’s etiquette podcast, which offers thoughtful, friendly advice on how to be kinder to people. Yep, they are descendants of the etiquette authority, Emily Post. I heartily agree with the sentiments on the Emily Post Institute, “being considerate, respectful, and honest is more important than knowing which fork to use. Whether it’s a handshake or a fist bump, it’s the underlying sincerity and good intentions of the action that matter most.”

Freakonomics: Steve Levitt and Stephen Dubner, co-authors of the book of same name, “explore the riddles of everyday life and the weird wrinkles of human nature”. This podcast regularly scratches my curious behavioral economics itch in life.

Hidden Brain: a conversation about life’s unseen patterns.

Lexicon Valley (Slate): John McWhorter explores the history and roots of different language questions.

Planet Money: like the title of this blog, the name of this podcast may seem misleadingly narrow, it touches on so many more aspects of our lives, and features great in-depth stories.

Storytelling & Creativity

Binge Mode (from The Ringer): I actually don’t have this on my Stitcher list, but Mallory Rubin and Jason Concepcion’s voices make it into my daily life via my partner’s podcast list through their dialogue based on binge watching various TV show series of the day. Other stories from The Ringer that I would otherwise not expect to care about seem to have one extra level of quality and compelling storytelling when Bill Simmons is involved..

Levar Burton Reads: Levar Burton reads to us! OMG, Reading Rainbow Nostalgia meets Star Trek #NextGeneration fandom meets new re-introductions to fiction from a fellow sci-fi fan. A recent read offered up an amazing listen of a short story by Octavia Butler, an amazingly insightful author (and one of the few racial minorities widely published in the mainstream sci fi genre a few decades ago). We should count ourselves lucky Mr. Burton is gracing us with his continued voice in the pool of narrative storytelling in this day and age.

The Moth Radio Hour: personal storytelling told from Moth events around the world that pulls at your heartstrings. I have actually been a paying donor of this podcast when it fit in my budget.

The Unmistakeable Creative: interviews with entrepreneurial people sharing their successes, failures, and inspiring stories.

News

Marketplace Morning Report: this is my perfunctory morning commute listen.

The Record (KUOW): local conversations from Puget Sound stories (KUOW is also 94.9 FM).

Seattleland: an excellent podcast out in 2018 of local PNW stories, backed by Seattle Weekly. I love how this format allows you to spend a little more time and care for the people at the center of the stories, even while they touch on very current concerns of the day.

Upcoming Food-Related Events

Living Breath Symposium 2017 - Books for further learning!

Following on the review of the First Food Tank Summit in Seattle, some upcoming food-related events, a few with social justice bents.

Race, Economies, Workers & Borders

April 3, 6-8pm at Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship – Sanctuary, a Community to Community Development & Northwest Washington Central Labor Council event.

Slow Food Regional Conference

April 14 & 15 in Carnation, WA

The 2018 Living Breath Indigenous Foods and Ecological Knowledge Symposium

May 4 & 5 in Seattle, WA (on the UW campus, on the grounds of the Coast Salish Peoples)

Menus of Change Annual Leadership Summit

 June 19-21, in Hyde Park, New York

Got some intel on more?

Write me! Contact details after the ‘read more’ link.
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A Review: Food Tank’s First Summit
in the PNW

Food Tank Summit in Seattle, 2018

2018 Food Tank’s First Summit
in the Pacific Northwest: Growing Food Policy

Have you ever attended a conference and walked away super inspired, then wondered a week later if anything stuck?

I wasn’t sure what to expect of Food Tank’s first summit held in the Pacific Northwest. In the end, it was a net positive. Having taken time to mull things over, there are even some unexpected learnings which will stick with me and help me grow going forward. Writing this review actually helped me process some of it, so thanks, Dear Reader!* I’m hoping the food-interested folks reading this, and the others who participated will help keep this learning going.

To skip the narrative storytelling portion, skip to the actual review part.
 
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Gluten-Free Pot Sticker Wrappers

Gluten-free pot sticker wrappers: the cutting phase
What’s more Chinese than wheat-filled porky pot stickers?
Being a good host who makes all your guests feel welcome, that’s what.
In 1980s Minnesota, growing up a first generation American-born child of Chinese immigrants, Asian produce and processed goods were not readily available at the grocery stores on University Ave in Saint Paul. For special occasions, my parents would host parties and invite all our family friends over to help fold dumplings. They’d mix the pork filling and procure wrappers and get everyone –ethnic Chinese or not– involved in trying their hand at wrapping the dumplings.  I still remember one time our friend Javed found the filling so fragrant (it’s the toasted sesame oil in the pork) he asked if he could eat it raw. Was it that he grew up partly in Germany? Not sure, but sesame oil sure does make things smell good. Then my Mama would boil and/or fry round after round to fuel yet more dumpling wrapping. Some times my Baba would buy wrappers, other times I remember him mixing the flour and water and letting is rise, then rolling it out (by hand or by pasta roller), to be cut by the rim of an aluminum green bean can.
In light of this childhood memory, I was excited when K conceded to hosting a few friends over for a pot sticker* party for lunar new year with only a week’s notice.
New challenge: make gluten-free wrappers for my friend Jillian, so she could join in the fun!

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