Sunday, September 9, 2018

2018-36 | THE GARDEN

The rain’s back, so here we are today, exploring the city instead. There’s a new coffee shop in Vancouver, called The Garden Strathcona:

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The interiors were beautiful, and there was actually a garden wall with lots of beauitul plants. Hopefully, those plants are still thriving in a year. Seating was limited though, so if you’re not too enthused about sitting bum to bum with a stranger, then I suggest getting your coffee and pastries go.

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I like the aesthetic, and it’s a nice beautiful place to visit. I wish they had more seating, and less retail (there’s a corner with shelves of skincare/beauty products and a table of hand made pottery). I also wish the latte was stronger.

The Garden Strathcona Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

This place reminds me of La Foret in Burnaby. Probably not revisiting this spot in the near future though, because it’s slightly out of the way, but it is exciting to see this beautiful addition to this strip of East Hastings. I’m sure the locals are stoked.

Next weekend, I will be in Banff! Gonna be winging this trip mostly, with car camping and not a lot of research.

Friday, September 7, 2018

I WAS IN BIG TROUBLE


Continuing on our Toronto foodventure, we ate bags of popcorn while watching home runs at the Blue Jay’s game. We then wanted real food, so ended up visiting Big Trouble in Chinatown:

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The food was greasy, great for soaking up all the cocktails and special drinks we tried:

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We had the dumplings, the kimchi brussel sprouts, and the fried shrimp. I can’t wait to start making my own kimchi brussel sprouts, what a brilliant combination.

Big Trouble Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

On the drinks menu, they had “Asian” beers and this cocktail made with baijiu, house made and bottled (bottle on left in image below):

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There were 2 flavors of the baijiu, one that was made with a Chinese herbal tea, jiaduobao, and another with mangosteen. We tried both, and I gotta say, both were very bitter and neither of them tasted very good. Alcohol content was very high though, and I’m sure some people would like this type of buzz. They have some sweeter cocktails too, which went down a bit easier.

It was a fun night of loud conversation in an even louder bar, and we got home way past bed time, with our ears ringing. I’m looking forward to more nights like this, in 1 week, at D’s wedding!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

2018-34 | KIIN

Visited D&T in Toronto a couple weeks ago (thanks for hosting!), with B, and I’m still recovering from all the food we ate. My favourite meal was at Kiin, which we stumbled upon while looking for a good dinner spot:

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To start, we had the shrimp and pomelo salad (on the right in the image below), and the chor lada (the beautiful purple flower shaped dumpling on the left):

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The pomelo was super fresh, not sour at all, and all the flavours of the shrimp were enhanced so well by the dressing (I’m sure there was fish sauce). The dumplings were an interesting texture – chewy exterior with bits of peanut inside. It wasn’t my favourite, because I don’t like that texture usually, but I didn’t hate it.

Next, we had the Khao Yum, which comes in a shiny brass bowl filled with the colours of the rainbow:
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The server helped us mix all the different ingredients together (jasmine rice, lemongrass, turmeric, edible flowers, sunflower shoots, and more) with a tamarind and soy bean sauce. Although, I wanted to inhale this whole giant bowl of freshness, the best way to taste all the flavours was to really savor each bite. I’m a big fan of lemongrass, and I could keep eating this forever.

Kiin Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The last of the main courses was the sea bream, called Mieng Pla, which came wrapped up in a leaf of sorts:

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I don’t have a photo of the little leaf wraps that we were supposed to eat the fish with, but the idea of this dish was to pick up a portion of fish, put it on top of a little piece of lettuce that was already topped off with herbs and vermicelli (at least that’s what I think it was), and eat it all in one bite.
We couldn’t say no to dessert. Our neighbors at the table behind us ordered it first, and who can resist ice cream? We chose the pandan ice cream (instead of the thai iced tea flavor), which was accompanied by 9 different toppings, including the green and red water chestnuts soaked in syrup, grass jelly, jack fruit, coconut shreds, toasted mung bean:

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Thai food brings to mind red, green, and yellow curries, and meat grilled on satay sticks, but this place opened my eyes to a different side of this cuisine. If anybody else knows of a good place for khao yum in Vancouver, please tell me about it so that I don’t have to take a plane across the country to eat it again!

I’m trying to find more time to post, but it’s the  end of summer soon. This means that I’m trying to spend as much time as possible outdoors to soak in more vitamin D. It's good for bone density. Be back soon with another post!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

2018-33 | WHEN POULTRY MEETS WINE…

Fraser Valley Specialty Poultry (FSVP) invited me to dinner at Edible Canada to find out what happens when poultry meets wine!

Fraser Valley Specialty Poultry x Edible Canada

FSVP coordinated this event at Edible Canada with Ripples Winery to share a 4 course meal, designed by Edible Canada’s own Director of Culinary, Tobias Grignon, and wine pairings chosen by Sommelier at Home’s, Ashley West.  Chef Tobias put on a great demo before the meal started, and taught us the best way to make a quick and delicious chicken (250°C for about 20 to 25 minutes in the toaster oven!):

Fraser Valley Specialty Poultry x Edible Canada

Prior to the demo and the introductory speeches about FSVP, they served a generous amount of crispy duck hearts…

Fraser Valley Specialty Poultry x Edible Canada

…and duck liver pate on a bit of sourdough…

Fraser Valley Specialty Poultry x Edible Canada

…which I was very grateful to for, having just rushed over from the office.  The Radiance Blueberry Sparkling Refresher paired extremely well with both of these, and warmed everybody up for the dinner party. H was sitting across from me at one of the long community tables, and we both sat between complete strangers, which made for interesting dinner conversation throughout the meal.

Fraser Valley Specialty Poultry x Edible Canada

Before the Fraser Valley Smoked Duck Salad, paired with the Cheam Gewurtztraminer Blend (photo above of the flavourful, juicy smoked duck breast slices on top of the endives), we learned a lot about the history of FSVP from their General Manager, Joe Falk himself. He talked about the history of the FSVP farm, which has been a local source of poultry since the 1970’s, and now provides duck, goose, specialty chicken, and squab to the Lower Mainland. They’ve been very resourceful with diversifying their products, and now, they even have their line of ready-to-eat products, including a duck sausage, and of course, the smoked Pekin duck breast, which was creatively paired in our salad with the huge duck egg.

Edible Canada Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


The next course was the squab, which I did not get a good photo of due to the fact that it had been a long day already and the wine was very good. I’ve had squab before at many Chinese restaurants, and usually it is fully roasted. This time, it was a medium rare meat, with honey on top, served with a croquette on the side. INTERESTING…

Fraser Valley Specialty Poultry x Edible Canada

The wonderful men and women around H and I all enjoyed the squab the most, because it had the most original flavour, and I cleared it off the plate too. However, for me, the best was the chicken breast dish after this one. Even though it looks like just a small piece of white meat, it wasn’t just boring old chicken! It was the juiciest, most perfectly poached free range chicken breast I had ever had the chance to taste.

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My knife slid through it like it was butter, there was no resistance from the meat at all. Check out how tender it looked:

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Wiped the plate clean, with only a small piece of greenery left behind as evidence that there used to be food here.

Fraser Valley Specialty Poultry x Edible Canada

The squab and the chicken both went well with Intemperance, the blueberry table wine from Ripples.
To close the meal, they served a butter cake, topped with fresh Okanagan peaches and cream, garnished with basil: 

Fraser Valley Specialty Poultry x Edible Canada

The sweetness of the dessert was matched by Cupere, a dark blueberry dessert wine:

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I know for sure I won’t be able to recreate the poached chicken breast without more work and practice on my end, but I was happy to find out that FSVP’s ready-to-eat smoked duck breast from the salad was available at Edible Canada’s market from Aug. 17th to Sept. 30th. Stocking up on these to throw in my salads for lunch (well probably not mine, because I get lunch from work, but H would love it):

Fraser Valley Specialty Poultry x Edible Canada

One of the reasons I really enjoyed this dinner was that the sources were all local. It always eases my conscience to be able to contribute to the buying local movement. If you’re interested in learning more about buying local meats from the Fraser Valley Specialty Poultry group, check out their website and social medias.

It was also pleasantly surprising to be able to meet interesting new people at an event like this, and spend just that brief moment of my life with them, learning about their families and hobbies and jobs. I would definitely recommend this type of event, as a way to learn more about your food and meet new people around the city.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

2018-28 | RURAL PENNSYLVANIA

Drove from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, not all in one go, but with a break in between at Harrisburg. What did I find in the middle of rural Pennsylvania? A really great place to eat – Rubicon:

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I am slightly obsessed with ginger beer, so I was ecstatic to see that their Four Season cocktail contained ginger beer, along with Oloroso sherry, Maker's Mark, fresh pineapple, Peychaud's… They pour strong drinks here, but I guess it is America and not the watered down drinks of Canada.
Couple of other easy choices from the menu, included their appetizer, which had truffles:

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The main course of the poulet colombo, with a very tenderly braised curried chicken, was a more difficult choice to make. There were so many other amazing options on the menu for the main course!

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I had a whole lot of rice leftover, but I did wipe the plate clean. D had the lobster roll, found in the back there. He said it was acceptable, and was quite satisfied with the meal overall. The combination of the service and the decor in the restaurant helped quite a lot to keep the homesickness away. They also played a mix of electronic and trance music in the background, so if you’re not into that, I’d say stay away. Otherwise, amazing food, and a great assortment of cocktails to try out.

Rubicon Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

It’s tough being on the road, but it’s even harder staying still at home. Gotta keep on moving… Next trip to Toronto in a 2 weeks!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

2018-27 | PALLET ON BROADWAY


Visited this new location of Pallet with M. I’ve already lost the sunglasses in this photo…

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Despite having beautiful latte art, this spot was a tad disappointing. It didn’t have the same cozy feeling as the Pallet on Kingsway. Come to think of it, I’ve only ever had coffee at the other location, and I’ve never made a point of trying the food… Anyways, the brisket sandwich was dry: 

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I might not come back here, just because I’m never in the Kitsilano area of Vancouver.

Pallet Coffee Roasters Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I think that my appetite was also quite challenged that day because of stress. Starting to really feel the pressure of living in one of the most expensive cities in the world! Mortgage rates keep going up lately, and mine is just about to kick in.

I think part of it is caused by the chaotic state of my room too – I haven’t bothered reorganizing things since last year, because I should be moving soon, and because everytime I try, everything gets messy again in a day. I should re-read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Sunday, August 5, 2018

2018-26 | P&V WEDDING PT 2

It’s taken me a while to write about the 2nd part of P&V’s wedding (Part 1 can be found here), because it was such a packed day, full of memorable moments that I want to blog about all of it, but which would take forever to actually write up. When in doubt, go back to the basics, so I’m going to start by writing about the feast that P&V treated us to. The dinner portion was at Fortune House, located in Metrotown. We had a typical Chinese-style menu, with multiple courses, including abalone (these were a good size, for larger fist sized image of abalone, see my post about B&S’s wedding)

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…and a whole slice of shark fin, versus the usual bits that are used for soup:

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Traditional Chinese weddings are not for animal lovers. Don’t hate me for eating this and enjoying it, it was already cooked, so might as well not waste it. I know for sure I won’t be having this at my wedding. The rest of the food was fine, I don’t remember too much else from the dinner because of too much red wine.

Fortune House Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The other very memorable part was the door games, which J, H, and I prepared for in great detail. P loves Winnie the Pooh (which I might have forgotten to mention in this post about her bachelorette at Disneyworld), so we planned around this theme. We made them dress up in Winnie the Pooh themed onesies, and sing Disney love songs before they were allowed into the house to see P (for those who want to see how this went down, leave a comment or email me and I can show you the video). Here’s a shot of the groom in the Winnie the Pooh onesie, and all the other groomsmen:
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Onesies were purchased online by J. They were a bit pricier, ranging from $30 to about $50CAD, but you pay for what you get, and I think P will be keeping these for a while. The Eeyore suit actually has a tail that attaches/detaches via a button. They were all very warm and cozy, and roomy enough to slip over all their suits. Links here, for those who want to purchse some:

Piglet: https://amzn.to/2KtUd0U
Pooh: https://amzn.to/2AKBP4p
Eeyore: https://amzn.to/2vot36Q
Tigger: https://amzn.to/2M4VOz3

Finally, here’s a photo of me and my lovely fiancé in the morning. We will be taking lots of photos in preparation for our upcoming wedding/engagement photoshoots, and this truly shows how I feel about that (scared and worried about having to smile all day, in case you’re wondering):

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Congratulations P&V.