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Jae-Ha Kim
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Columnist, Chicago Tribune. Blogger (travel, celebs, racism, K-pop, food). Followed by Olympians, rock stars, my husband & (hopefully) YOU!
Columnist, Chicago Tribune. Blogger (travel, celebs, racism, K-pop, food). Followed by Olympians, rock stars, my husband & (hopefully) YOU!

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When we talk about travel, we often think of recreational trips. But for many people, the first time they traveled was to move towards a better life. Author Anka Muhlstein -- "The Pen and the Brush: How Passion for Art Shaped Nineteenth-Century French Novels" (Other Press, $18.95) -- tells me about her first trip, which was "running away from France ahead of the German invasion. I don't remember much about the trip through Spain and Portugal and the long zigzag crossing of the Atlantic, but I do remember the feeling of safety when I landed in New York."

Read more of our interview in the +Los Angeles Times (sydicated by the Tribune Content Agency):

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It's not easy for any model to win a slot in the annual +Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. But Hunter McGrady is no ordinary fashionista. At nearly 6-foot tall, McGrady grew disheartened when agents told her she should trim a little fat from her already gaunt, size two body. Now 23, McGrady is one of the most popular "plus size" models, having recently appeared in SI's popular swimsuit issue. Read more of our interview in publications such as the +Chicago Tribune. (Column syndicated by the Tribune Content Agency.)

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I asked "Top Chef" winner Brooke Williamson, where she enjoyed her favorite meal. Her answer? "I would have to say I have had a lot of really nice, memorable meals," she says. "But, specifically, on my wedding day in Los Angeles, my husband, Nick, and I catered our own wedding and didn't have time to eat all day. But we had the In-N-Out truck stop by at midnight. Sharing animal fries together was one of the best memories ever."

Read more of our interview in the +Los Angeles Times.

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This is the story of a cake, a Pyrex bowl and a raccoon attack. Intrigued, aren’t you? 😛

OK, here we go: This is the cake I made for my son’s birthday. It was a special day, as almost all his favorites cousins, aunts, uncles and beloved Halmoni were able to help him celebrate.

This is my famous (in my own mind) chocolate ganache cake. It’s rich and decadent and a crowd pleaser. As always, I made the ganache frosting and wanted to set it in the fridge to thicken overnight. But this particular evening, our fridge was too full. So, I set it outside on our back deck in a sealed Pyrex bowl.

The next morning, I went to retrieve it and was surprised to see that it was gone. As in GONE!

I wondered if I had taken it inside and not remembered. I looked into our backyard to see if the winds had somehow blown it off our deck.

And then, we found the bowl. It was at the bottom of our long set of stairs. The glass bowl was still hermetically sealed shut, but there were paw prints on the orange lid.

A raccoon had smelled the ganache, tried to open the lid and — probably frustrated at its inability to get at the treat — moved it to the bottom of the stairs to try to pry it open again. It failed.

Note: the glass bowl wasn’t broken. The lid wasn’t ripped, either.

FWIW, this is the same Pyrex bowl that I earlier dropped onto our granite countertop.

Well done, Pyrex. Well done.

🎵 And, not for nothing, but I chanted, “Number 9, number 9, number 9…” when I decorated the cake. Beatles fans will get the reference.

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Comedy runs strong in the Rock family. Like his brother +Chris Rock, Tony Rock is a stand-up comedian and actor. He's also the host of the TV One show, "The Game of Dating." I asked him about his favorite destination: "We took a boat ride over to Anguilla for a day. We went to a beach that had the whitest sand I had ever seen before in my life. I was in the water up to the middle of my chest and could still see my feet. It was the clearest water. It was very relaxing -- beautiful weather, food was delicious, drinks were great and I just said to myself, 'This is probably one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen in my life and I've got to come back here.'"

Read more of my interview with him in my column, which is syndicated by the +Tribune Content Agency. Here's a link to the article in the +Chicago Tribune:

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This is the story of a cake, a Pyrex bowl and a raccoon attack. Intrigued, aren't you? 😛

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Rock stars of the classical world, the 2Cellos bring a rock and roll sensibility to their concerts. I talked with Luka Sulic about his Slovenian background, traveling around the world and his love of National Parks. Read more of my interview in publications around the country, including the +Los Angeles Times and +Chicago Tribune:

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I recently interviewed the songwriting duo Zina Goldrich and Marcy Heisler. We talked about their work (which includes projects with Julie Andrews and Junie B. Jones) and some of their travels. Read more about them in my syndicated column, which runs nationwide. Here it is in the +Los Angeles Times:

Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?

Goldrich: On the fancy side, I love a little town in Tuscany called Castellina in Chianti. I'd recommend visiting the neighboring villages. San Gimignano is an old city with towers, which seem not so tall by modern standards -- but great history; also, a quick trip to Palio di Siena to watch a horse race. Closer to home, I love Great Barrington in the Berkshires (Massachusetts).

Heisler: As a Midwestern transplant and as someone who doesn't get to travel recreationally that often, I always enjoy going back to my childhood home of Chicago. It's an absolutely wonderful city and the architecture is beautiful. As a writer, I love quiet places by the water. Martha's Vineyard is very special to me, as is Traverse City, Mich. I travel a lot to Los Angeles for work and my family has relocated there -- my sister in L.A. and my parents in Palm Springs. It's becoming like a second home to me.

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Q: What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?

Sophie Simmons: I research the language, the food and the political situation. I never want to arrive in a country without knowing where they stand politically. Not that it would deter me, but I just like to know what I'm walking into.

Read more of my syndicated interview with model, actress, singer and activist Sophie Simmons in outlets such as the +Chicago Tribune and +Los Angeles Times:
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