This evening I had to fend for myself, as the saying goes, since my wife and kids were all out. I thought it would a nice night for some pho, but then I decided to check out the local Yelp listings for noodles. I almost went to try a ramen restaurant that recently opened, but decided on Chinese noodles at Xian Sushi and Noodle. Despite the name listing on Yelp, the restaurant no longer serves sushi (and the menu just said Xian Noodles on the cover), which is fine since they can devote their efforts on the signature hand-pulled noodles. There were a couple items on the menu that I wanted to try but ultimately went with the Red Braised Beef Noodles, which was highly recommended by Chinese reviewers.
The broth was flavorful and the noodles were chewy and substantial. You can actually choose from perhaps six different types of noodles, but I asked the Chinese waitress what she recommends, and she said she likes the “thick spaghetti”. That sounds like a description that someone might use to describe the noodles to Western diners actually. They were really good, and I would choose them again. There was a good amount of beef in the soup as well, although the noodles were definitely the star of the show, at least for me.
Years ago I lived in Monterey Park, California, which has a sizable first-generation Chinese population and therefore a huge number of authentice Chinese restaurants to choose from. My roommate, who was from Hong Kong, and I used to go out to eat quite often, and the noodles that I had tonight at Xian were reminiscent of the beef noodle soup that I used to enjoy in Monterey Park. That’s definitely a good thing!
The other item on the menu at Xian is the Dan Dan Noodles, so I will need to go back in the future. Maybe next time I can convince my family to join. 😀
Today’s photo is of my newest watch, a Seiko SNDA27 Chronograph. If you read my previous post about the Casio MTP4500D-AV watch, you know that it wasn’t quite the right watch for me. However, this Seiko SNDA is a model that I’ve been looking at and fits my requirements nicely. In fact, it’s close to the perfect chronograph for me.
The model that I purchased has a dark green face, with orange seconds hands. The watch also came in the SNDA57 version with black face and red dials, which I think is cooler, but since my other two Seikos have black faces, I think the green face is a good complement to my other watches. Plus the orange hands are really sweet! In all honesty, I searched for the black version for a while, but since it was discontinued a few years ago, it’s difficult to find except at extremely inflated prices. It was originally sold for about US $100, but now it is commonly available on eBay for maybe $400 or more. That’s crazy!
Anyway, the green model is more commonly available for about US $125, and I actually found it new for US $116 at Walmart.com (from a reseller on their site). Interestingly, I got the last watch from that seller, and I now see that the same watch is selling from another seller at Walmart.com for US $190. What a crazy market!
The Seiko SNDA27 comes with a green nylon band, which is not bad if you like the color, but I immediately switched it out for a black silicone band (in the photos).
Next, I tried a black zulu strap on it and it looks even better. The lugs of the watch stick out kind of far, so the 43 mm diameter SNDA27 wears larger than my 43 mm SKX007, which has shorter lugs. The zulu strap sticks out a bit more than the super-flexible, wrist-hugging silicone strap, so it actually makes the 43 mm watch wear/look better on my 6 3/4 inch wrist. Also, the zulu strap has matte brushed metal buckles which match the matte steel case of the watch perfectly.
My complaints about the Casio’s difficult-to-read watch face do not apply to the Seiko, which has a smart and simple design. There’s nothing unnecessary on the watch face. It’s so easy to read, and even has a more precise time measurement of 1/20th of a second compared to the Casio’s 1-second measurement. In the photo below, I can quickly see the chronograph reading of 4 minutes, 41.1 seconds. What a difference between the Seiko and the Casio! The contrast between the hands and the face on the Seiko makes it easy to tell normal time at a glance, and the lume is typical Seiko – bright and long-lasting.
I really love my Seiko SKX007 dive watch and Seiko SNK809 field watch, and my new Seiko SNDA27 chronograph fits in nicely as my third Seiko. Now if I can only find someone to buy my Casio chronograph… Is anyone interested? 😀
For a while, I’ve wanted a chronograph watch, which is basically a watch with a stopwatch function used to measure elapsed time. I think using a smartphone for this is much easier, but to have the chronograph “complication” (a term for extra function) on a watch is pretty cool. After a bit of online shopping, I found the Casio MTP4500D-AV chronograph watch with slide rule bezel. It looked pretty cool in the photos and I like Casio as a brand. And the price was a bargain at US ~$35!
The watch is 42mm in size, with a 22mm lug width, a stainless steel case and a quartz movement. You can compare the watch size next to the Seiko SKX007 and SNK809 in the last photo. The stainless steel bracelet feels good, especially at this price. As far as value goes, the watch is a winner.
The main dial has the hours hand, the minutes hand, and the chronograph seconds hand. There are three smaller subdials, the one at the top is the chronograph minutes counter, the subdial at the left is the chronograph hours counter, and the subdial at the bottom is the watch seconds hand. FYI, on most chronograph watches, the large second hand is used for the chronograph function, not the normal watch seconds.
Operation of the chronograph is solid and simple. The top button starts and stops the chronograph with a nice solid click. The bottom button resets the hands. Then crown in the middle is used to adjust the time as you’d expect, and with it pulled out, you can use the chronograph button to set the chronograph’s start position in case it needs adjustment. All-in-all, it functions smoothly and the hands line up perfectly.
I had never used a slide-rule bezel before, so I thought it was kind of cool. I don’t really know how to use a slide rule, but I was able to convert miles to kilometers using it, so I know it’s at least functional. And the bi-directional bezel is smooth without any wiggle. Very nice! By the way, Long Island Watch has a great tutorial about how to use a slide rule bezel.
Now onto my subjective impressions and opinion of the Casio MTP4500D-1AV:
I was so excited when the watch arrived in the mail, but upon opening it, my first thought was that this might not be a keeper. The polished, mirror-like finish is not really my style. It’s really shiny, so if you like shiny finishes, you’ll love this watch. The metal band has rounded edges which I don’t particularly like the look of. I thought that maybe putting it on a nato or plain black band would make me like the watch more, so I decided to give it a chance. I have to say, that the plain black band (see the last photo) went a long way to improving the look of the Casio, but I just cannot get past the shininess.
One thing I didn’t really like was the subdial design. The minutes subdial has a large 60 at the top and 30 at the bottom, and because of this, it’s impossible to know what minute the hand is pointing at near these positions. Also, the hand (which is too wide) doesn’t point at the markers, but rather covers them so that makes it more difficult to see. Couple that with the fact that that hand has continuous (not stepped) movement, and you’ll never know with 100% accuracy if you are looking at the correct minute. In contrast, the stepped minutes hand on this Seiko below (click for larger view) points at the minute markers on the bottom subdial clearly:
One other flaw (in my eyes) of the Casio MTP4500D-1AV is that the main minutes hand and hours hand is very reflective. It might be a cool design (they look like polished swords), but if you want to quickly know the time, it’s a terrible choice. On the black watch face, the hands are extrememly difficult to see unless they are reflecting something light colored. In my experience wearing the watch for a month, the hands are usually almost invisible and I have to angle my wrist in order to get a good reflection off of the hands to see them. Not good.
The Casio MTP4500D-1AV is normally around US ~$50, but you can often find it on sale for US ~$35.
In conclusion, I think it’s a really nice chronograph watch for the price, but if you want an easier to read chronograph watch, I’d look elsewhere, such as at the Timex Expedition.
Tonight my family and I tried a new burger restaurant that opened near our house. It’s called BurgerIM, and the special thing about this chain is twofold. First, their burgers are sliders, which means they are smaller than normal, perhaps half the size of a normal burger. Secondly, you can choose from several different types of meats and topping combinations. This is really what I found interesting at BurgerIM. For instance, there’s Wagyu beef, Marguez beef, dry-aged beef, lamb, etc. The website also lists fish, but I don’t think they have added it to the local menu just yet because this location is so new.
I got the Wagyu beef and the Marguez beef, and both were tasty, but the Wagyu was definitely better. I also tried the dry-aged which was yummy as well. Next time, I’ll go for the lamb and something else since there are so many choices to try!
Besides the patty, you can choose from several topping combinations, including a traditional American style, a “California” style with avocado, of course, a spicy style, etc. I thought the variety was pretty good and varied. We also tried the fries and onion rings. The fries were the coin-shaped style and yummy, while the onion rings were nothing special, but not disappointing.
While the food is good, the prices are a bit on the high side for burgers, but probably typical for gourmet burgers. It was $6.99 for the two slider option and $9.99 for three slider option. Add another $3 for fries and a drink (or $3 for a side of fries), and the bill adds up quickly. Also, for the Wagyu beef and a couple of the topping combos, an additional $0.79 is added. When the cashier rang it all up and I saw the total, I was honestly a little shocked. I suppose it was because the restaurant looks like a fast-food place so I was expecting fast-food prices.
Once I got past the sticker shock, I enjoyed the food (and they have beer on tap!) and spending time trying a new restaurant with the family. I also have to add that although these were sliders, two of them left me with a surprisingly full stomach.
We have plenty of burger options near our house, ranging from the higher-end Hopdoddy to the wallet-friendly In N Out, and BurgerIM fits in right below Hopdoddy. It’s nice to have another option rather than a third McDonalds or Wendy’s.
I have to say, the installation for the iSpring RCC7AK was pretty easy. I always get nervous when working on plumbing, but this was really straightforward. The unit itself is designed smartly, with easily connected water tubes, and a brushed metal faucet that matches our main water faucet nicely. It is free-standing, but you can mount the system to a wall if necessary. The 2-gallon tank is the largest part of the unit, and I had to remove the bendy part of the PVC drain pipe in order to get it to the back corner, but that took only a few minutes. The only hiccup in the instructions was that part of it is outdated and referred to a couple of parts that had changed. After looking through the added documentation booklet I found the reference to the correct part, and I was back to the installation.
I won’t go deeply into what Reverse Osmosis filtered water is, except that it removes most of the contaminants that tap water contains. It tastes great too! We’re planning on using the RO water for drinking, making coffee, and cooking. As we get older, we’re spending more time/money focusing on our health, and since we drink plenty of water, having the best water possible seems like a great thing to do. 😄