Foursquare + AmEx statement credits = I get to eat even more sushi

my favorite so far of the Izumi chef's custom creations: ankimo (monkfish liver pate), fried shrimp heads and amaebi sashimi

To say I take sushi seriously is an understatement. I’ll resist hyperbolizing, but I like my sushi fresh and preferably moving (unless a particular fish is better served lightly and watchfully aged) and I like it weird. Moving to Pennsylvania, I initially scorned all sushi restaurants in the entire state. My rationale was as follows: it is too far inland and there are too many idiots around here who order things like monster dragon crunchy Philadelphia rolls. These beliefs were unshakeable until I started going to Izumi (1601 E. Passyunk Ave), discovered they have live uni (served in its badass shell). After a rather beachy summer in Greece, during which I salivated whenever I saw people step on sea urchins, my uni craving by the time I got back to Philly was pretty hard to quell.

Now I go to Izumi regularly and I have a routine. I order some sashimi, but for the rest of the meal, I end up eating whatever the sushi chef plops in front of me. But this is not a restaurant review. This is a post that combines three of my current fixations: checking in on Foursquare, my Starwood Preferred AmEx and sea urchins.

I now regularly post check-ins on Foursquare for my boyfriend and I at hotel and airport locations to obtain free miles and hotel points. See explanations about hotel points here and here and explanation about United/Continental miles here.

I’ve also been checking into restaurants on Foursquare to keep track of where we go out to eat. I keep a food calendar, too, but I guess I’m more than a little obsessive about documenting such things.

Almost all my spending is now split up between my Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa and my Starwood Preferred Guest American Express, which I still haven’t made the minimum spending limit on in order to get another 15,000 super valuable and flexible Starpoints. It’s a great card — see an excellent review of it by Lucky, even if I don’t receive double points on travel and dining with it as I do with the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Last night, I synced my AmEx with my Foursquare account so that when I “check in” to a particular restaurant, in this case, Izumi, I activate a Foursquare special and get a $5 statement credit for supporting a small business. Details here. This special also applies to a good number of other small business establishments.

Therefore, sign up for an SPG AmEx, go to Izumi, post a check-in on Foursquare and order some urchin. If you ask nicely, the sushi chef might give you a raw quail egg to put on top.

live uni appetizer at Izumi


The Awesome Nerd at Yuchun Korean Restaurant (Honolulu, HI)

And as we’ve recently acquired a nerd correspondent permanently based in Hawaii…

Annyeonghaseyo! (Wassup!)

Lately, I’ve been watching a lot of K-Drama a.k.a. ‘the Young and Restless’ for Asians on television. It’s from these shows that I’ve learned many helpful Korean phrases such as “Sarang hae” (I love you); “Ige eolmayeyo?” (How much is this?); and “Nae hoebuhkeurapeuteuneun changuhro kadeuk cha isseyo” (My hovercraft is full of eels). You know, useful phrases that I can more or less incorporate into my everyday life.

Although I love being Japanese, lately I’ve asked myself, “Self, how else can you become more Korean? How can you make your pretend ancestors proud?” And then it hit me like a steaming bowl of bibimbap…to become Korean, I must eat as the Koreans do!

Which brings me to my review of Yuchun Korean Restaurant…

To be honest, I walked into the restaurant apprehensive of two things:

#1 Eating noodles that were black.
#2 Eating noodles that were black, in soup that was ice-cold.

Yobo (sweetheart) and I ordered “Set A” ($30) off the menu which included (2) bowls of Naengmyoen (which is a dish made up of black arrowroot noodles, topped with a boiled egg, thinly-sliced meat, daikon/veggies, in a savory ice-cold soup) and a sizzling plate of Kalbi (Korean BBQ shortribs). I ordered the spicy noodle bowl, while Yobo decided to try the regular bowl.


First they brought out some Korean side dishes to share and gave me a small bowl of cold soup. For a while, I could only stare at this bowl of frosty broth in wonder. But before I could ask what happened to the noodles, the waitress brought out the rest of our meal. Apparently, when you order the “spicy” Naengmyoen, they give you the soup on the side.


So we ate. And OM-Go Seok Bin (a character from my favorite show), everything was delicious!! Of course, my Japanese taste buds also made me order an obligatory bowl of bap (rice) to eat with the kalbi, but other than that my meal at Yuchun was pure perfection. The food tasted as though it was cooked from the heart, and I know this because Koreans got Seoul!! LOL, we will definitely be eating here again!

P.S. You’re welcome.


Yuchun Korean Restaurant

1159 Kapiolani Blvd

Honolulu, HI 96814

(808) 589-0022