Blogmas Day 10: Brunching at The Garden Table

Hello readers and bloggers!

Now that interviews are over, I have been taking full advantage of the long overdue break. These last few days have been so lazy and uneventful, I have essentially melded into the bed. Most dangerously, after two years of sobriety, I started playing The Sims again! If allowed to succumb to my true tendencies, I could easily sim away an entire day. Once an addict, always an addict.

In the holiday spirit, I have been making goodie bags filled with cozy treats for my friends and teammates. These have pumpkin bread and double chocolate pumpkin muffins!

Pumpkin Bread HolidayPumpkin Bread Holiday2

Believe it or not, medical students have well-rounded lives outside of classes and clinical duties! Some of us are huge fans of Sunday brunches, especially at The Garden Table on Massachusetts Avenue. While I enjoy the occasional indulgence in cheesy carby breakfast skillets and stacks of pancakes soaking in butter and syrup, The Garden Table offers delicious West Coast style dishes that won’t leave me in a food coma. They also make their own fresh pressed juices, which come in all sorts of unique flavor profiles. The “Hoosier Heater” blends apple, orange, spinach, kale, cilantro, lime, and jalapeno!

After dining here for brunch and dinner, my recommendation is to stick with the brunch menu. It is much more affordable and, in my opinion, many times tastier. How about starting off your lazy Sunday with a matcha latte? Does anyone else see in the foam art a smiling man with a goatee and Salvador Dali whiskers, donning a big turban??

Garden Table Matcha Latte

Next, try the “Flying V Omelet,” where perfected cooked egg blankets a filling of duck confit, oaxaca cheese, and mixed herbs, all topped with fresh avocado and microgreens. On the side is a skhug sauce and baseball-sized hashbrown. Absolutafreaking delicious!

Garden Table Omelet

If you prefer sweet over savory (or delight in multicourse brunches — no judgment here!), they serve enormous acai bowls with fresh berries, shredded coconut, and house-made granola with cashews. This all is topped with a dollop of fresh almond butter and a sprinkling of chopped mint.

Garden Table Acai Bowl

In the event that you do find yourself returning for dinner, note that the menu approximately doubles in price. I also found the meal to be much greasier and blander compared to the morning options. These are the “Tres Mole Nachos” with a side of sweet potato and brussel sprouts hash. The enormous pile of extremely oily tortilla chips came in three colors (red, white, and green) and were smothered in a rather tasteless cheese sauce, queso fresco, mozzarella, guacamole, tomato, and cilantro. It made an Instagram-worthy picture, but tragically was not comparable in taste. The sweet potato and brussel hash was equally greasy. Perhaps further exploration of the evening menu is required before drawing a final conclusion on The Garden Table’s dinner. After all, what else should I expect from a plate of nachos?


I can, however, confidently recommend The Garden Table’s brunch to any Indianapolis visitors. Maybe you will even see me there, shamelessly photographing all food and drink within reach. 😉


Blogmas Day 9: Medical Food Analogies (Apple Edition, Part 2)

Hello all!

Today, I would like to share yet another apple-themed medical food analogy! Check out Part 1, the apple core sign in colon cancer.

Intestinal atresia is when a portion of the small or large intestine is abnormally narrowed or absent. Most frequently, this malformation is the result of poor blood flow to a segment of the intestine during fetal development. Without sufficient gas and nutrient exchange, the affected piece of bowel becomes narrowed. These findings are often diagnosed prenatally by ultrasound and may be associated with other congenital anomalies.

There are numerous types of intestinal atresia, named according to the portion of intestine affected and the “completeness” of the deficiency. Apple-peel intestinal atresia (aka Type IIIB intestinal atresia, aka Christmas tree intestinal atresia) is characterized by abrupt interruption of the duodenum or jejunum (early portions of the small bowel); this portion of the intestine ends in a little pouch. The remaining distal small intestine is poorly perfused, narrow in caliber, and wrapped around its blood vessel supply in a recognizable spiral, reminiscent of a long piece of continuous apple peel!

Apple Peel Intestinal Atresia.png

A couple word association questions for the medical students:

1. Most common type of intestinal atresia associated with Down Syndrome?

Duodenal atresia

2. Classic radiological sign for duodenal atresia?

Double bubble sign

(By the way, how much of a fail has Blogmas been so far? Day 9 posted on December 13th? *slinks away sheepishly*)

Blogmas Day 8: Pumpkin Oatmeal, Pumpkin Muffins, & more Cozy Recipes

Good morning everyone!

Given the onset of snowy weather, I highly recommend this cozy pumpkin-apple oatmeal topped with half a pumpkin spice pumpkin muffin. It’s all about balance, amiright?

Blogmas 6. Pumpkin Oatmeal & Mufin

For more cold weather treats, check out these recipes:

This post is very abbreviated as I have a lot of my own baking to do! Updates soon!

Blogmas Day 7: The Final Interview

Good afternoon!

Ack, I missed another day of Blogmas! After yesterday’s interview day, I frankly collapsed fully dressed onto the bed and did not emerge from slumber until morning. The good news is that I am finished with residency interviews (!!), allowing me more time to focus on writing better quality posts.

Yesterday’s interview day was looong. We boarded the shuttle to the medical center at 7am, finished interviewing in the afternoon, returned to the hotel to relax for a couple hours, then walked to the resident dinner. I was one of the earlier applicants to leave, escaping the post-interview festivities at 9pm. Three hours of schmoozing was more than enough for this introvert. It was a relief to return to the hotel, crank up the heat, don some bubble tea socks, and snuggle in bed with a book from the used and rare books shop down the street. I managed to read a full two paragraphs before zonking out.

The Graduate2I love returning to a freshly made bed!

Books & SocksThanks to my little sis for these cute socks from Austin, Texas! After browsing the used books for a good 45 minutes, I finally settled on this one. With my history of slow and interrupted reading habits, it might take me until the end of residency to finish this! 

It snowed quite a bit this weekend, which made a lovely view from the hotel, but also a treacherous trek when exploring the city. I was reminded of my undergraduate days, wading across campus through almost knee-deep snow and shuffling across icy wooden bridges, all before sunrise to make an 8am class. I did not mind the adventure, only the incessant rhinorrhea and frozen eyelashes.

12 Snow in Ann Arbor13 Snow in Ann Arbor

I am so grateful the program covered two nights at the hotel, allowing us to rest up after the interview dinner and wake up refreshed and ready to hit the road again. It was another beautiful drive back to Indiana. I had a merry time screeching Christmas songs, listening to podcasts, and watching the snow gradually melt away as I traveled south.

14 Ann Arbor Indy Drive

Interview season has been an unforgettable experience and provided much fodder to ruminate on for the next couple months prior to rank list submissions. At this point, I am relieved to finally have time to catch up on assignments (yes, I still have homework to do!), eat somewhat healthier, and sleep!



Blogmas Day 6: Slytherin Dorm & Pumpkin Carving

Greetings from the interview trail!

Yes, this post comes to you from yet another hotel room. Three interviews in three different states within one week…Why do I voluntarily subject myself to such torture? Despite the draining drive, I was excited to be in a new city, this one a major undergraduate campus. The hotel is styled like an old Ivy League library and dormitory. The dark furnishings, dim lighting, and green-colored accents are reminescent of one particular Hogwarts house. Which do you think?

The Graduate
Prior to gleefully hurling myself from one bed to the other.

Slytherin!!! *hyperventilates* I am finally living the dream of having my own Slytherin room, sipping hotel English tea, scoffing at the rowdy Gryffindors passing through the hallway. Can you tell I am hopelessly deluded? Just take a look at my pumpking carving this past Halloween. (Sharing Halloween photos in Blogmas? No shame here!)

Slytherin Pumpkin

Halloween Pumpkins 2017Belated Halloween cheer brought to you by (left to right) a future anesthesiologist, general surgeon, pediatric neurologist, and interventional radiologist!

Tomorrow’s interview day begins early in the morning and I need all the energy possible to reverse my RBF, so this post will remain brief. Good night!

Blogmas Day 5: First Snow & More Interviews

Good afternoon!

Keeping up with daily posts while traveling and interviewing is quite a task! Unfortunately, the inevitable happened and I missed yesterday’s post. Here is a brief catch up.

After a restless night’s sleep in the hotel bed, I awoke bright and early at 5:30am to prepare for interview day. After reviewing my preinterview notes on the program and faculty, I suited up and had a superb breakfast with a couple other applicants. There was a nice selection of freshly cut fruits, quinoa oatmeal (what hipster fanciness?!), eggs, breakfast potatoes, sausages, bruschetta, breads, and pastries. Sure beats the usual granola bar!

Hyatt Breakfast.png

At 7:00am, we boarded the hotel shuttle which drove us directly to the front entrance of the medical center. On the elevator ride to the Anesthesiology Department, we happened to meet the department chair (!), who kindly guided us to the conference room. Shortly after arrival, the interviews commenced! We each had a total of six meetings with various faculty and a chief resident. Although each session was only 15 minutes, it was still fairly exhausting to think of good responses to difficult questions and chatter away for almost two hours with little time to rest. Overall, I think I left a good impression and gained valuable perspective about the program.

After interviews, we had a couple presentations from the chair and program director. This was followed by a tour of the facilities, lead by the chief residents. They even brought us to the top floor of the tallest medical building and pointed out interesting landmarks.

OSU Medical Campus

We returned to the conference room for lunch with several residents. I had the “Green Goddess Cobb Salad with Chicken” with broccoli cheddar soup and continued to alienate everyone by photographing my food. Hey, they say to be yourself during interviews.


With completion of lunch, our interview day reached an end! We shuttled back to the hotel and bid each other final goodbyes and best wishes. Even if we do not end up at the same residency program, it is likely we will meet again at a future anesthesiology conference.

Prior to leaving the city and heading home, I stopped by an indoor market to purchase coffee from a micro-roaster. It was a magical space with butchers, fishmongers, bakers, and various food stalls serving authentic dishes from Poland, Germay, France, Nepal, just to name a few. If not for devouring lunch just an hour ago, I would have delighted in trying some momo (Nepalese dumplings) and pierogies. There was even an entire shop dedicated to selling all types of balsamic vinegars and olive oils! Have you ever heard of pomegranate olive oil or golden pineapple balsamic??

Green Olive Co.jpg

Although I could have spent hours gazing longingly at every macaron and pain au chocolat, there was a long drive ahead. With the sun just starting to set, I had a lovely view on the way home.

Drive to Indiana.jpgI stopped by a rental shop and swapped out the smelly Nissan Altima for a bright red Mitsubishi Mirage with a tragically outdated interior. Even the seats required manual adjustment! Well, at least it did not reek of cigarettes. 

After a fairly exhausting interview day and a long drive back to Indiana, I accidentally fell asleep on the floor while watching videos of Lilo the husky and Rosie the cat being best friends. And I proceeded to snooze peacefully on the carpet next to my bed until morning. If you were not aware already, I am a master sleeper…I once even dozed off for several minutes scrubbed in and standing at the operating table, all the while maintaining sterility of course. 😉

Refreshed and rejunivated, I awoke this morning to the tiniest sprinkling of first snow!


Tomorrow, I leave yet again for another interview in another state. Whew, talk about endurance! Safe travels, everyone!



Blogmas Day 4: Podcasts for the Road

Hello readers and bloggers!

Guess where I am…On the interview trail once again! I just returned to the hotel from an amazing preinterview dinner with the other applicants and several residents. The food was absolutely amazing, especially the lobster risotto and chocolate torte. I even snapped a couple foodie shots, which shows how comfortable I felt around the residents and students this evening (and my unrestrained commitment to Blogmas). 🙂

Martini Chocolate Torte.jpgChocolate torte of alternating layers of rich chocolate cake, praline mousse, and chocolate ganache, served with an adorable whipped cream tower and delightfully crunchy candied hazelnuts. The definition of decadence! (Apologies for the poor resolution — you know these fancy fine dining restaurants and their mood lighting.) 😉 

5 Columbus DriveHitting the road in a rental car infused with residual cigarette smoke. 😦 This smelly rental is the result of another driver lane changing into me just as I was leaving an interview dinner a couple weeks ago! 

This program is within driving distance from home, allowing me to enjoy a few hours of podcasts. Recently, I have been listening to The Undifferentiated Medical Student hosted by Ian Drummond, an MSIV who extensively interviews physicians in all specialties and career paths. Even though I have technically “differentiated” into a future anesthesiologist, I love learning about all the other fields, why the specialists chose their routes, how passionate they are about their jobs.

Another podcast I am enjoying immensely is My Favorite Murder by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. These two friends tell each other quite disturbing tales of serial killers and horrendous crimes, but their comedic delivery and whitty snide remarks bring levity to a normally unsettling topic. Plus, who can disagree with their motto, “Stay sexy. Don’t get murdered.”

Today’s post is brief since tomorrow’s interview day begins fairly early in the morning. I will be taking full advantage of the hotel room coffee maker!

Blogmas Day 3: Applesauce Apple Scones

Hello everybody!

This is the perfect time for fall pastries and steaming beverages. For some cozy treat ideas, check out these recipes for Pumpkin Pancakes and Apfelkuchen. As promised (albeit a little late), I bring you the recipe for these scrumptious Applesauce Apple Scones! The juice from the fresh cropped apples gives these a soft center within a crumbly shell. If you have not already, read about the accompanying medical food analogy here.

Applesauce Apple Scones1

Applesauce Apple Scones (based on the recipe by King Arthur Flour) — Makes 12 scones


  • 2 ¾ c. all purpose flour
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 3/4 t. salt
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 1 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1 t. nutmeg
  • 6 T. cold butter
  • 1 small apple, chopped (I used Honeycrisp apples)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c. applesauce


  1. In a large bowl, mix together all dry ingredients: flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  2. Cut in the butter. This takes some time and it is okay if some larger pieces can remain unincorporated.
  3. Mix in the chopped apple.
  4. In a medium bowl, add the eggs, vanilla, and applesauce. Mix well.
  5. Make a well in the dry ingredients and stir while gradually adding in the wet ingredients. A dough should form.
  6. Line a baking pan with parchment paper and sprinkle the surface generously with flour.
  7. Divide the dough in half and pat each portion into a circle approximately 3/4″ thick.
  8. Using a clean knife, cut each circle into six wedges. Pull each wedge slightly away from the center so there is space between each piece.
  9. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
  10. Place the entire pan of scones in the freezer for 30 minutes. (This is supposed to make scones more tender and flaky by relaxing the gluten and chilling the butter.)
  11. After freezing, directly transfer the pan of scones into the preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown.
  12. Allow to cool for a few minutes and serve warm, I suggest with some hot tea or coffee!

Applesauce Apple Scones2Ready to freeze

Applesauce Apple Scones4

Speaking of tasty pastries and cozy drinks, one of my patients and her husband insisted on treating me to a morning coffee and glazed lemon muffin! They are a Chinese couple who are still working on English fluency, so I was their unofficial interpreter for a few clinic appointments and imaging exams. It is a win for both sides as they receive help from an interpreter who understands their cultural background and I get to practice Chinese medical terminology. 🙂


Blogmas Day 2: Medical Food Analogies (Apple Edition)

Good evening, everyone!

Blogmas Day 2 features apple-themed medical food analogies with an accompanying recipe for applesauce apple scones to be posted Day 3. Medicine employs a plethora of analogies, particularly in relation to food. Looks like I am in the right career after all! For more medical food analogies, check out these coffee-themed and pathology posts.

I am finally back in Indiana after yesterday’s residency interview! The program certainly left a lasting impression, from its organized and efficient interview day schedule to the remarkably approachable faculty and department chair. Oh, and the food was great, too (always an important factor to consider, IMO). My fellow applicants were such interesting people, including several who completed at least a portion of their training in other countries.

Indianapolis Flight

With an evening flight, it was perfect for viewing the sunset on the way back to Indiana. I fell asleep even before take-off but promptly awoke when I heard snacks and drinks were coming down the isle. I love food in nearly all capacities, even a couple airplane Biscoff cookies or packets of almonds result in disproportionate glee. Yes, I am also one of those odd passengers who enjoys airplane meals. 🙂

IND AirportGood to be back! 

Medical Food Analogy: Apple Edition

As we trudged through MSI and MSII, the crushing volume of material was barely bearable. To make things worse for conceptual thinkers like myself, the majority of testable knowledge required rote memorization. Certainly there are logical explanations for why reactive arthritis presents as the classic triad of conjunctivitis, urethritis, and arthritis, but rather than delve into the immunological mechanisms, it is also certainly easier to remember “Can’t see, can’t pee, can’t bend the knee.

As an unfortunate result, medical school often feels like a big game of word association and who can recall the most from their flashcards. Despite how much I still detest rote memorization, I have come to appreciate the value of memory aids like mnemonics and analogies. If I were to care for a pregnant woman with deep vein thromboses, I know she should NOT be anticoagulated with warfarin because “Warfarin declares war on babies.” The reasons why warfarin crosses the placenta and heparin does not have long leaked from my brain, but a safe and effective clinical decision can still be made.

Apple Core Sign (aka napkin ring sign): While nonspecific (meaning multiple pathologies can show this anomaly), this is most commonly associated with colon cancer. As a malignant mass develops in the colonic wall, it can grow in an annular pattern within the lumen. The result is a constricting lesion with overhanging edges, reminescent of an apple core when visualized through radiological imaging.

Apple Core Lesion.pngPhoto credit: Radiopaedia (right), Apple core drawing created using the Drawing Desk app

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s accompanying apple-theme recipe: Applesauce Apple Scones!

Blogmas Day 1: Greetings from MSIV!

Hello, neglected readers!

It has been quite a while since the last post (*cringe*) but so much has happened in that time, where shall I begin?

Well, I am now in the final year of medical school, deep in the residency interview season (anesthesiology, to answer your burning question). For an introvert like myself, interviews have been simultaneously fun and exhausting. Surprisingly, despite being a major home body, I am loving the traveling aspect — Driving hours while passionating crooning to 1990s Britney Spears, staying at swanky hotels with amazing turndown service, checking out the city’s [free admission] museums, and sampling the local food scene.

Minneapolis FlightI worked on this blog post on the plane! Anyone else also love window seats? 

I particularly enjoy meeting applicants from other medical schools and hearing about their interview experiences (especially what they thought about my home program’s interview day, haha). Despite being part of a large pool of applicants due to anesthesiology’s popularity, I have seen several of the same students at various programs, which thankfully makes the preinterview dinners and interview days much less awkward.

Preinterview dinners with each program’s current residents are relaxed and usually with great food, but after a couple hours of small talk and a thorough dissection of the call schedule, moonlighting opportunities, and life in that city, my social meter is depleted. The same applies to interview day, where I often find myself struggling to maintain a peppy attitude (I frequently give up and expend any remaining energy reversing my RBF).

Most unexpected was how drastically my opinion changed about various residency programs after the interview. It was inspiring to speak with individuals so passionate about education, who encouraged residents to grow into well-rounded anesthesiologists with diverse clinical exposure, quality didactics, ample opportunities in leadership and research, international experiences, all without sacrificing resident happiness. With so many great residencies to choose from, I anticipate the final act of making the rank list will be a challenging one.

Universal TreeEnormous holiday tree at Universal Studios! 

Since I have been MIA for so long, hopefully these 25 days of Blogmas will provide sufficient catch-up time. If you did not already know, Blogmas is when bloggers post every single day in December up until Christmas. So look forward to many upcoming posts about food, med school, travel, and Harry Potter! 😉 Yes, this post is technically a day late, but only by 15 minutes considering the time zone change! No worries, Blogmas Day 2 will still be posted in accordance to the regular schedule.

Enough rambling, I am off to bed — another interview day begins in a few short hours!