Sunday, November 18, 2007


Dear friends and readers,

In case you wondered where I have disappeared to- place with too much to do and not enough time!

I've realized that moving to a new country, starting a new job and working on a Master's degree definitely hinders my shopping and socializing. But since I cannot avoid those things, I just need to not do certain things that I enjoy such as blogging.

However, do email me if you need restaurant recommendations!


Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Hong Kong, Finally!

So I have finally arrived in the motherland with my good friends Carm and Mal. Hong Kong is ultra hot and humid and even for this tropical lover, it is a bit of an adjustment. There are tons of people around, shops opening until midnight, and best of all rows upon rows of restaurants.

What would three girls possibly do in a place like this?? Well, shop and eat, eat and shop. It is truly my version of paradise. Restaurants line the streets like Starbucks line the streets of America. There is not one block where you cannot get food. So far, I've been stuffing myself at Hong Kong Style cafes and Noodle and Congee places. I mean, this is what Hong Kong is about, cheap and tasty eats. True, it is more eat to life style where you have to share a table with strangers while shamelessly slurping your noodles. But the noodle is just the right texture, and the broth is deliciously fragrant and the whole thing costs you $2 CDN. So what are you going to complain about?

The best thing is that I just met a new friend called Christina. She loves eating almost as much as I do. And she has been living and exploring all the eateries in HK all her life, so I cannot wait to hang out with her more and give you the insider info on the tastiest most econo way to eat through Hong Kong.

I love my life!!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Deep Dish Pizza

There are a couple things on this foodie's agenda when planning her trip to Chicago. One of this is.....tada......Deep Dish Pizza. Every one seems to know about Uno or Gino's. However, my good friends Peter and Vanessa recommended this place called Pequods. I was a bit skeptical at first because really, who has heard of Pequods? But I trust my friends and crammed an outing to Pequod's on our jammed packed restaurant itinerary.

Pequod's is the typical Chicagon pizza joint where it is dimly lit with booths and wait staff running around with deep dish pizzas they carry around with clamps. I checked out the other tables, and they all have gigantic pan pizzas that looked quite promising, with loads of cheese and meat on them. I don't think vegetarianism is big in a place like Chicago.

Anyways, we ordered Deep fried zucchini for appies and Peter convinced me to have some Cheese Garlic Bread as well. I normally don't want to get filled up with bread before devouring more carbs. But that garlic bread was just too delicious to have only two bites.

Next came the pizzas. Basically, you can pick any toppings you want for a deep dish pan pizza or a thin crust. Pequods are famous for their caramelized cheese crust on their pan pizzas, so we got one with sausage, spinach, and mushrooms. We also got a thin crust one with ground beef, and half with pineapple and half with anchovies. Oh man, they were great. Especially when washed down with a couple pints of cold beer.

So if you are ever in the Chicago area.....

Pequods Pizza
2207 N. Clybourn Ave.
(773) 327-1512

Monday, July 16, 2007

Taste of Chicago

It's true, everything is bigger in America. They even have one of the biggest food festivals around: Taste of Chicago. I first heard of this momentous event way back when I was studying abroad for a semester in Denmark. Back then, my interest in food only lay in cheap and tasty eats, so I didn't have to literally be a "starving student". Imagine my delight when I met a girl named Karen, who loves to cook for friends, and I was an eager recipient of her generosity.

Karen also au paired in Chicago, and told me that for once in my life, I have to go to this crazy food frenzy called the Taste of Chicago where there are aisles and aisles of food for you to sample. I listened, mesmorized, and imagined that is heaven must be like for foodies.

So I took advantage of my summer holiday and the fact that one of my best friends now lives there. It was really my duty to go see her before I took off to HK, so I decided to coincide my visit with this yearly event which takes place around the July 4th weekend. This year, 70 restaurants had a booth there and you can buy 11 tickets for $7. Most entrees cost around 9 tickets. There are also "Tastes", which are samples of a chosen dish for 3 tickets.

And I was not disappointed. We went on July 3rd, which is a big event at the Taste because there is also a firework show for all to enjoy after a nice big dinner. It seemed like every Chicagon and their dogs are here. The only downside is that the crazy crowds really make it difficult for you to enjoy your food without beer being spilt on you, or bbq sauce smeared by the people pushing through the crowd with their newly procured dinner.

Here's what we ate: Robinson's Ribs, Ellie's Cheesecake, BJ's Mustard Crusted Catfish, and Bacino's Stuffed Pizza. And if I had more room, I would also have gotten the bbq turkey legs from Helen's and also this freshly fried chips everyone seemed to have a plate of.

We went back on weekday around noon, and the crowds were much more manageable. So I would go then if I were you. And try the Robinson boneless rib sandwich. It was DELICIOUS.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

On Vacation

I know, I am not the most diligent blogger, especially when summer comes and I am consistently on vacation. However, hold your horses, as I am in one of the gastronomical capitals of U.S.A. ....Chicago. I am eating my way through restaurants, going to the Taste of Chicago, and cooking for my dear friends who I am visiting. And I cannot believe that I am on a computer at this moment, as I believe that vacations should be internet and mobile free. I will reminisce about my adventure with you when I get home in about a week.

Btw, I am enjoying a nice glass of riesling and eating a nice piece of Mung Bean Coconut cake that my friend's Mom made for us.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Thomas Haas

While you are stuck invigilating exams all day on a beautiful sunny day like today, it is your obligation to treat yourself to a glorious lunch. So, Cara and I headed over to our locally famous pastry chef, Thomas Haas', cafe for lunch and of course, a little chocolate delight.

I first heard of Thomas Haas when an ex boyfriend, who knew about my culinary obsession, impressed me with a birthday cake from Senses, Haas' famed bakery and restaurant. It was a chocolate champagne cake that was so sinful....When presented to a lover, I guarantee, you will be handsomely rewarded for your efforts.

Anyways, back to Thomas Haas. He is the kind of inspiration that we all need once in a while when we are stuck at our desks doing monotonous things like regurgitating comments for report cards. Born in Germany, Haas travelled around the world to learn and perfect his craft: pastry arts. He did various stints as culinary instructor and executive pastry chef for some famed establishments before settling down in Vancouver and realizing his dream of opening up a chocolate and pastry shop.

His shop is so well received that even though it is tucked inside an industrial area by the North Vancouver auto mall, it is still busy with patrons ordering sandwiches and desserts. Cara ordered the Turkey Brie on Cranberry Bread while I had the Thai Crab Salad Ciabatta. The sandwiches were both grilled and very tasty. As much as I would have loved to finish my meal off with a piece of their stilton cheesecake, I was so stuffed that I only got one of their signature Sparkle cookies, and accompanied it with an Americano and two beautiful little pieces of chocolates.

Now, those little chocolates are truly pieces of art. Not only are they delightfully tasty with flavours like banana ganache and french tea, they are also beautifully decorated and completely sensual. The Sparkle cookie was rich and chocolately, and delicious when washed down with one of their strong espresso drinks.

Life is good when chocolates are around.

Thoms Haas Patisserie and Cappucino Bar Unit 128- 998 Harbourside Drive North Vancouver 604-924-1847

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Father's Day Ribs

For Father's Day, I decided to make the most succulent, tasty ribs to honour the best father ever.

Here's my recipe:

4 lbs (2 kg) pork ribs (cut into individual pieces)
1 C brown sugar
2 tbsp hot sauce
1/2 C ketchup
1/4 C spicy bean sauce
1/2 c dark rum

Line a roasting pan with a double thickness of foil. Place ribs in pan and seal tightly in foil. Bake at 350 F for 45 mins. Unwrap ribs and pour off drippings.

Combine the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and dip the rib into sauce and place back into pan. Pour leftoever sauce over the ribs.

Bake for another hour. Serve with a nice salad and buns.


Monday, June 11, 2007


One of the more notable new places I have tried is: Azia. My friend Brian, who I tried this place with, enjoyed it so much that he has been back three times already.

Azia is an Asian fusion restaurant, which provides a modern setting for you to enjoy your fried rice in a pretty dish with a martini. Their menu include influences from Thailand, Malaysia, China and Japan. I have never been particularly fond of fusion food because a lot of the time, I think the true flavours of an ethnic cuisine is demoted rather than promoted. But I must admit, whatever the chef at Azia is thinking, he/she is thinking along my lines. The food pretty much stayed within its original form and are accentuated by just a twist of creativity.

We ordered the Mussels in Ginger and Cumin sauce, the Peking Duck Spring Rolls, Scallops in Spicy Fish Flavoured Sauce and the Mongolian Beef Strips. I thought everything tasted fairly good, of course, little improvements can go a long way. An example would be to use fresh instead of frozen mussels in that divine sauce.

Overall, the portions were good, and for a downtown restaurant, the prices are decent. It is a good restaurant to take a date to, especially if you are off to the movies and want to eat somewhere quieter than Earls.

Taste: 3 out of 5
Creativity: 4 out of 5
Atmosphere: 4 out of 5

990 Smithe Street (right beside Paramount Theatre)

Friday, May 25, 2007

EAT Vancouver

Every year, foodies from all over Vancouver gather at the most coveted event of the year: EAT Vancouver. This is a food and beverage expo that features 200 exhibitors and celebrity chefs from around the country. For $14 a person (you even get $2 off when you donate a canned good for the soup kitchen) it gets you tons of food samples and goodies to take home.

For events like this, you must choose wisely who to go with. You want to go with someone who shares your enthusiasm for all things edible and willingly wedge in with shovelling old ladies fighting for samples of chili whiskey chocolates. It is a madhouse, where foodies get herded like
cattle from one line to another.

After careful selection, I asked my friend Cara to accompany me. She is cool, funky and a foodie just like me. And most important of all, she is tall and can see over people's heads to see where all the best sample are!!

We milled around for 3 hours, watched Anna Olson make lemon squares and agreed that the best new find is Patisserie Lebeau's frozen waffles. They are delicious and just like how you get them at their bakery on Waffle Sundays.

They say the best part of eating is sharing. I mean, do I really care to taste the difference between chum and spring salmon, or see how good the truffled tapenade is? Yes, But who cares if you cannot compare notes on which salmon you prefer, or how to use the tapenade in a recipe?? There is a special bond between foodies. I find that we are the type of people who have a joie de vivre about us. We like to travel, try new things and can understand perfectly well why one would drive half an hour to buy the perfect baguette to go with the steamed mussels. And get completely excited to pay for the chance to stand in line for hours to receive food samples that you probably would pass by if it is being freely handed out on the street.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Emmy's Birthday Dinner

It was my dear friend Emmy's 30th birthday, and since she can afford to buy everything she wants, I decided to make her dinner instead. She is currently on the Abs Diet, and may I say, she looks amazing. God, if only I have half her will power.

Anyways, I needed to make a delicious, portion controlled meal that contains mainly proteins and unprocessed food for her and her boyfriend. After poring over cookbooks for ideas, and scouring the market for ingredients, I decided on: Prawns Puttanesca with Roasted Chickpeas, Asparagus with lemon and garlic and Wholewheat eggless brownies with Vanilla Yoghurt and Fresh Strawberries.

It is probably easier and cheaper to just take Emmy out for dinner, but there is not much that is more special than something homemade with love, I mean, come on, when was the last time you actually used your hands to create something?? And what's with ecards??!!( oh wait....I apologize for those tacky ones I sent during the craze when they were trendy)

Well it turns out that Emmy had some family drama, you know, the kind that accompanies all holidays and special events. And what made ALL my efforts worthwile is when she said....this is DELICIOUS, and it makes up for all the crap that I had to put up with at my birthday!!


And here is how to make the food:

Roasted Chick Peas

Soak 2 cups of dried chick peas in a large bowl with an additional 2 inches of water on top of the peas. Add to it a paste of 2 tbsp flour, 2 tsp baking soda and enough water to make a sticky paste. Soak for 24 hours.

Rinse the chickpeas in running water and throw it into a pot with 1 onion peeled and halved and 4-6 sprigs of fresh thyme. Add enough water to the pot of peas so that it covers everything including the onions.

Boil and simmer the peas for 1.5 hours.

When ready to roast, toss the chickpeas with 3 tbsps of olive oil, 1 tsp of chili pepper flakes and 2 tsps sea salt. Roast in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Prawns Puttanesca:

Fry one chopped onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add 2 tbsps of tomato paste and 1 tsp of chili pepper flakes and fry for one minute before adding 1 pound of tiger prawns. Flip over prawns when one side turns red and add 1/2 cup of white wine. To that add 1 tbsp of capers and 1 cup of pitted black olives. Stir around for a minute and serve.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Practicality of Eating and Drinking

The thing about being a teacher is that you always have something to talk about at cocktail parties. It is one of those professions where somebody always has something to say about it. I mean come on, we all had teachers and had either loved or hated at least one of them.

When I first became a teacher, I would entertain people with horror stories of little Jamie who probably has undiagnosed schizophrenia. Back then, parties with friends were more about chilling with a few beers and lamenting about our jobs. How times have changed. Nowadays, people I know are actually having children, and at cocktail parties, I get bombarded with questions like: should I put my kid ( who is 3 months old right now) in public or private school, what do you think of this school etc.. In exchange, I get real estate advice or investment tips while sipping a martini.

Needless to say, it was more fun back in the good old days when we would be embellishing tales in a drunken stupor. And these days, the last thing I want to do at a party is to talk for the 1867th time about work that I have been doing for the past 6 years. So to avoid boredom, I like to chat about food and wine instead. Knowledge about food is not only handy when you are stranded on a deserted island and you need to grill a possum and make it into a tasty treat, it is also particularly useful during the latest social engagement I was at: Speed dating.

This is the new singles phenonmenon besides internet dating (I will talk about that later- another time, another place). My friend, Emmy, asked me to go with her since we can get a $10 discount if we go together. What the heck, I would try almost anything once.

So we arrived late, as usual, and by this time people were already seated at little tables marked with numbers. Emmy and I got basic instructions on Speed Dating etiquette and sheets of notepaper to record our impressions of the contestants.

First things first, we headed to the bar to arm ourselves with drinks before we delved into an hour and a half of handshakes, chitchats and more martinis. You get four minutes with each "date" and since I can pretty much talk to anything other than a brick wall, I found something interesting about of each contestant.

All in all, it was a fun night and you get to meet a lot of people who would not normally tread into your social circle. But too bad, there were no foodies to compare notes on perfecting the creme brulee crust.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Cookbooks du Jour

A couple weeks ago, my school held a Spring Fair where they had "New To You" sales where rich people get rid of things that even their maids don't want. But sometimes, you find incredible deals that you thank your lucky stars for. Every year, I make the beeline for the books. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the book sale. I have gotten awesome bestsellers and cookbooks for something like a loonie or twoonie each. Since I am leaving for Hong Kong, I needed to totally restrain myself and took $10 to the sale and hoped for the best. Just to give you another insight into what kind of a person I am, this is what I did: piled all the books I wanted to buy, and lugged it to the checkout counter and decide there what is a keeper and what is not if the total exceeds the money I brought.

I think I had 8 books with me, and I told the sweet parent volunteer there about my $10 strategy. She counted up the books, and decided the total was $10, smiled and said, "its okay, you are a teacher, you deserve a discount."

One of my favourite purchase is "Nigella Bites". I love that frivolous way she throws sauces together and dips her fingers into bowls of trifle. One recipe in particular caught my eye:

Rainy day food: Spaghetti and meatballs "the Nigella Way" where everything bubbles away in one pot.

So here is my version of what to do:

While you cook enough spaghetti for 4-6 people, put all this in a bowl and mix them:

-500 g ground meat (I used turkey but mixtures of ground pork sausage with beef is good too)
-1 egg
-1 tbsp of chopped parsley
-1 chopped clove of garlic
-3 tbsp of bread crumb with 2 tbsp of parmesan cheese
( I used crushed gorgonzola biscuits from my last trip to Target)
- salt and pepper

Roll these into little teaspoon sized portions and put in fridge while:

On the stove, fry:
-one chopped onion and 2 cloves chopped garlic in 1 tbsp butter in a pot.
-Add 1 bottle (700 ml) of strained tomatoes into a pot. Fill 1/2 the bottle with water, close lid and shake around to get all the sauce that's is sticking to the bottle. Add to the pot. Cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.
-Add 1/4 C whole milk

Stir in 1/4 whole milk and add meatballs in one by one. Make sure they have enough room so they don't stick together.

Simmer everything for 20 minutes with lid partly on or put a splatter guard on.

Test to make sure the meatball is done and adjust seasoning of the sauce as needed.

Pour half the sauce into a bowl and throw in the spaghetti into the pot with the remaining sauce and meatballs. Serve the dish with the extra sauce, parmesan cheese and chili flakes for whoever wants it.


Tuesday, May 8, 2007


One of my favourite things to do on a weekend is to have a lazy brunch. Sure, there are many favourites in the city, but people appreciate nothing more than waking up to a delicious breakfast.
One of the most impressive things I like to make is Eggs Benedict. But that Hollandaise sauce is really a pain to whip up. So I make a Lazy Benedict:


-8 eggs
-8 slices of English muffin/crumpet/bread ( whatever you feel like)
-1 cup yoghurt or sour cream
-1 can of salmon
-1 tablespoon each of chopped parsley and green onion
-salt and pepper

Toast bread or muffin while you:

Fill a large deep sauce pan with water and bring to boil. Then turn the heat down to a bare simmer. Add 1/4 C of white vinegar. Crack an egg into a cup and carefully slide it into the water. Repeat with remaining eggs. Cook for 3-5 minutes until the yolks are to the desired doneness.

Drain eggs on paper towel.

Mix salmon, sour cream, parsley, salt and pepper in a bowl.

Assemble the toast by putting an egg and salmon mixture on top. Sprinkle with extra parsley to decorate your masterpiece.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Ah Food!

I have totally fallen off the bandwagon. Although I am still eating very healthily ( in my standards), I have eaten whole wheat bread, cheese and such. I was listening this morning to CBC, as I do every morning on my long commute to work, and they were talking about people with gambling problems. I am one of those people who would smirk and go "what the hell is the problem with these people. Your wife has left you, your house is being repossessed, just STOP going to the damn casino." It really is a no brainer.

Then I think about how hard it is for me to stop eating bread, and I am not even all that fond of bread. And how hard it is to resist the temptation to drive to a bakery and buy something totally yummy like a piece of cheesecake, or a delicious croissant. Everyone has their challenge in life.

Friday, April 27, 2007

My New Revelation

I have decided to continue my diet FOREVER!!!
I feel great, I think my clothes fit a bit better, and I lost maybe a pound or two.
The thing is, the basic principle behind any detox, or healthy weight loss is to eat less processed food, don't indulge in sweets and no white, refined, unnutritious fillers like white bread etc..

Last night I cheated and had an orange and 5 prawns.
Today I had 3 triskets with brie cheese from treat day.

Tonight, I am making: Turkey Meatloaf with Asparagus which is a little different than my usual cooking extravaganzas that involves cream and short ribs. The recipe is from a Light Cooking book that uses a lot of naturally fat free items like vegetables and herbs for flavor instead of using substitutes like fat-free sour cream etc.. That is why I am not fond of cookbooks like Looney Spoons. The recipes are low fat, but full of processed items like ketchup. I understand that may be good for people who like fast easy food and used to eating hamburgers for dinner.

But for me, I am on a mission to eat healthy unprocessed foods that are delicious. My next step is to try and eat more foods that are environmentally and ethically feasible.

I know, one step at a time....

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Day 7 (14 days to go)

Breakfast: banana and soy shake

Snack: Curried chicken salad with a brown rice cake

Lunch: Roasted chickpeas and almonds

Snack: Broccoli with hummus

Dinner: Steamed free range chicken with ginger oil (from T&T), carrot sticks with almond yoghurt sauce, self concocted chocolate yoghurt. (I ate this while my family feasted on steak and spaghetti with meatballs) Shows you how much support I get at home. My mother just shakes her head and laughs at me. I retaliate by telling her that she is putting refined, processed and fattening foods in her body. She laughs more.

I took out the 21-day Detox by Nish Joshi which is the book about the diet I am on. Dr. Joshi says that he was raised on a healthy vegetarian diet when he was a kid and never craved Fish and Chips like his British peers. He insists that if one is to follow the diet most of the time, the cravings will vanish eventually. I wonder when that will ever happen to me.

Curried Chicken Salad

-1 cup of cooked shredded chicken breast
-2 tablespoons of yoghurt
-1 teaspoon curry powder
-a bit of chopped cilantro
-salt and pepper

Mix yoghurt, curry powder, cilantro and salt and pepper together until its blended. Mix in shredded chicken. I would add a little raisins to it if I was off this diet.

Bon Appetit!

Day 6 (15 days to go)

Breakfast: banana and soy shake

Snack: celery stick with Cannellini Hummus

Lunch: Trout, spinach and 8-grain rice

Snack/Dinner: Falafel with almond yoghurt sauce, roasted chickpeas, yoghurt with unsweetened dutch cocoa (don't know if I am allowed this), walnuts and honey.

I made Cannellini Hummus which is a basic hummus recipe I have adapted to suit my dietary needs. I made it with Cannellini beans instead of chickpeas because that seems to be all I have been eating, don't you think?!

Cannellini Hummus:

-1 can of cannellini beans with half of the liquid dumped out
-juice of 1 lemon
-3 cloves of garlic
-2 handfuls of chopped cilantro
-1/3 cup olive oil
-2 heaping tablespoons of almond butter
- a bit of salt

Whirl everything in a blender for a few minutes until pureed.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sunday Lunch

Breakfast: scrambled eggs with cucumber salad

Lunch: all-u-can-eat sushi

Dinner: falafels and baked trout

Amazingly, I have been sticking to my diet with relative ease except for the no caffeine and no booze thing. I had a lunch date with my friend Tracy to catch up on girl talk and I told her I NEED to eat Japanese food, as that is a no brainer for dining out in my situation. We went to my all time favourite sushi joint, Sushi Garden, but it was closed. So we headed a couple blocks west to Fish-On-Rice for their all you can eat lunch.

I am a little ashamed to admit that I am actually a fan of buffets. I know the quality is usually somewhat lacking, but there is something about being surrounded by food that gives me joy.

Here are the things that I could eat:

-Edamame beans
-Green salad with lemon juice and salt
-Gomae with no dressing
-Salmon sashimi
-Chicken Karage without the skin
-Grilled salmon belly and cheek
-Grilled samma (fish)

I was trying not to break my diet by sprinkling lemon juice and salt on my sashimi and salad instead of using soy sauce and dressing. But then, I thought, what the heck, soy sauce is not going to kill me. I was anticipating the delectable combination of the sweetness of fresh salmon with the saltiness of soy sauce, but to my horror.....I didn't like it.

I thought the soy sauce tasted sweet and masked the taste of the fish. Note to self: the grass is always greener on the other side, until you get there.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Nando's Chicken

Breakfast: Banana and Soy shake

Snack: Roasted chickpeas and almonds

Lunch: Spinach Omelette

I was really worried about the weekend, as I do a lot of socializing around food. So tonight, instead of our usual cookoff, Chad and I went for a movie and dinner instead. I had not seen the guy for a while as we had both been quite busy, and he is getting ready to move homes next weekend.
I believe in making lemonade when life hands you lemons. So instead of giving him a sob story about dieting, I enthusiastically suggested we give Nando Chicken a try. Coincidentally, the only time we ever had Nando's chicken was when we went to the Eat Vancouver event where Nando had a booth. Chad was a little surprised at my choice of eatery, but since we are pressed for time to make it to our chosen show, there was no protest.
Nando is like an upscale Kentucky Fried chicken and their menu extends to Chicken kebabs. We are both the go big or go home kind of people, so we ordered a family pack that included 1/2 chicken, 8 wings, 2 kebabs, and 2 sides. I took the garden salad with no dressing, nuts and seeds on the side, and wedges of lemon while Chad had the peri fries.
To our surprise, the chicken was juicy and delicious. Actually, everything tasted quite good. Althought Chad advised me not to get the fries if I ever "get off this silly diet".

We went and watched Sharkwaters. A film I highly recommend, and I will try my very best NEVER to eat shark fin soup again. Seriously, I had no idea shark poaching was such a problem. Besides, shark fin doesn't even taste good. Now, if you asked me to give up something like abalone....

Oh, I may have been fond of Chad in the past, but let me tell you what he did at the movies. HE ATE A HUGE ICE-CREAM blizzard type dessert and asked me three times if I was sure I did not want any. %$*&^#!

Nando's Chicken (various locations)

Taste: 3.5 out of 5. The roast chicken was juicy, but the wings and kebabs were a little lacking.

Presentation: 2 out of 5. It's a chicken joint, what do you expect?!

Creativity: 2 out of 5. Comment same as above.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Day 3 (18 to go)

Breakfast: the usual (banana and soy shake), handful of almonds

Snack: banana and almonds.
And it is treat day today, which means that there is a mountain of delicious yet fattening foods in the staffroom for all to enjoy. I took a banana, which is a surprise, since there rarely is anything unadulterated and unrefined for treats.

Lunch: Leftover Roast Chicken with Spinach and Wild Rice and 1/2 banana.

Snack: Almonds and more almonds

Dinner: Cara's Chicken with brown rice, roasted asparagus and pea shoot salad.

After work today, My coworker Cara and I went to Bosa Foods. It was awesome. We love Bosa Foods, not for its many Italian Imports, but for its CHEAP prices. I got cans of Chickpeas for $0.99 instead of $1.39 at Save-Ons. I also stocked up on Almonds and Roasted Chickpeas for my snacks.

At night, Cara took pity on me and conjured up a recipe that only includes the pitiful set of ingredients I can eat. So we made a delicious meal of Spinach stuffed Chicken. Cara is a true genius. She has cupboards full of ingredients and made a recipe that includes only things I can eat. She kept on asking," Can you have this?"

So here is Cara's Chicken:

-2 chicken breasts (cut in the middle to form a pocket for stuffing)
-2 large handfuls of spinach leaves

-1 Lime
-2 anchovies
-1 teaspoon of capers
-4 tablespoons of olive oils
-salt and pepper

-Combine marinade ingredient in a food processor and reserve 1/2. Marinate the chicken breasts with the other half of the marinade for 15 minutes.
- Puree 1 large handful of Spinach leaves with the reserved marinade.
- Stuff each chicken breast with 3 spinach leaves that is coated with leftover marinade
-Close the pockets with toothpicks
-Spread the Spinach paste on top of the chicken breasts and bake at 350C for 25-30 minutes

It is too delicious for words. And it is not just because I have not had real food for days.
Try it for yourself.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Day 2 (19 to go)

Breakfast: banana and soy milk shake and a handful of almonds

Snack: tofu and veggie soup, banana, and handful of almonds
Tony brought in some sinful cinnamon buns from some nice West Van bakery for our snack. Bastard! 1st encounter with temptation and I resisted!!

Lunch: 1/2 chicken breast and tofu and veggie soup

Snack: a banana and handful of almonds

Dinner: spinach sauteed with anchovies and garlic and plain organic yoghurt with honey.
( I sauteed 3 cloves of garlic with 2 anchovy fillet in olive oil until the fillets dissolved. Added 1 whole box of baby organic spinach and sauteed untill the spinach wilted.) It was yummy!
I think anchovies are going to be one of my favorite ingredients from now on, as it adds flavor to dishes that require seasoning from sauces etc. (which I cannot eat during detox).

Exercise: Cardio Kick box class (hellish)

I have this constant headache because of caffeine withdrawal. I don't know if you noticed, but I keep on eating bananas and almonds because I associate them with things like banana cream pie, almond chocolate dacquoise etc.. Apparently, my liver is getting cleansed and my cravings for sugar and caffeine will stop. My question is: when??!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Day 1 ( 20 to go )

Breakfast: banana and soy milk shake
Snack: organic field greens with 1/2 can salmon
Lunch: Whole grain wild rice mixture with 1/2 can salmon
Snack: Handful of almonds and a red banana ( interesting indeed)
Dinner: A small piece of baked chicken with sage and black sesame salt and a tiny bit of fish and vegetables.

(I put some chicken breasts into a corningware container, and placed 1 sage leaf and sprinkled Black Sesame Salt on each chicken breast. Drizzle with a little olive oil and bake it covered for 20 mins. It is like a steamed chicken this way.)

I went to the grocery store after work. That used to be an activity that I loved. But instead of interesting cheeses and exotic olives, I got: bananas, almonds, canned salmon, spinach, cans of beans, sage, basil, chicken. Not too exciting, is it?!

After that, I went for a training session with Alicia at Fitness world. She is hard core and showed me these insane excercises that she expects me to do at least 3 sets of 12-15 each 2 times a week.

I'm scared.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

My New Diet

I know, I know, "diet" should not belong to a foodie's vocabulary. But imagine this: after months of eating and drinking with abandon, you step on the scale because finally you have to face the truth. The pants are getting tighter, and the appetite just gets bigger. AGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!!

So I decided to do something about it. I ate salads and tried to abstain from booze, which in itself is like giving up on happiness. Then, even God gave me a sign to smarten up and loose the tub when I won a free 6 month membership to Fitness World.

The final kicker was last night at yoga when my gym crazed friend pinched my arm and said, "What is you fat % anyways?" As I was lamely explaining to her that I am doing all I can to get the situation under control, a fellow yogi heard, and recommended the Joshi diet. Seriously, I was expecting her to run to my rescue and say the polite "you don't need to lose weight". But she didn't. So that was it, my new detox diet and exercise regime is beginning today.

I am following the Joshi diet, which is a very healthy regiminen of chicken or fish (except tuna), soy products, no dairy except buffalo mozzarella, cottage and ricotta cheese, almonds, no fruits except for bananas, no carbs except for brown rice, veggies except for tomatoes, peppers and avocados, olive oil, and lemon for flavor. Apparently, after dieting like this for 21 days, I would have flushed enough toxins and fat stores out of my body, that I can relax a bit and eat moderate amounts of other foods.

So I am going in with a positive attitude and see it as a challenge for my culinary abilities. I will try to produce yummy food with the limited amount of ingredients I can work with. This is like the ultimate iron chef challenge. Everyday, I will post what I ate during the day and do a weigh-in every week. This is truly an ultimate test of my self control.......

Sumptuous Salads

Since I splurged on a $700 cooking course, I decided to get my money's worth by teaching my friends how to cook. Almost every week, I give my buddy Chad a cooking lesson. We try to make a meal to remember by pairing it with wine and putting garnishes on the food. We chat, we cook, we drink. How great is that?!

We've roasted game hens, grilled halibut cheeks, poached figs etc.. But you know what Chad is most impressed by? My ability to throw things together into "amazing" salads.

I have to say, you take salad to a whole new level when you add in exotic ingredients like Yamaimo (Japanses Mountain Yams) or make dressing with fig jam etc.. Salads are a great way to showcase the ingredients and your talent because the unadulterated ingredients need ingenuity to combine and compliment their flavours.

Here's my latest creation:

Chicken Caper Pepper Salad

Toss together as much or as little of each ingredient to your liking:

- organic field greens
-red or orange pepper sauteed in a bit of olive oil with a tablespoon of capers
-Roasted chicken (leftovers, or store bought) I like to roast 3-4 chicken breasts seasoned with salt pepper and minced garlic and covered with foil at 350C for approximately 20 mins.
- fig viniagrette ( 1/3 balsamic, 2/3 olive oil, fig jam and salt & pepper to taste).

Particularly enjoyable with a light fruity wine.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


I've heard about Rare, I've read about Rare, so I thought it is about time I tried Rare.
Rare has been the talk of town since last year. Its intimate setting and tasting menus enhance the sophistication to the dining scene in Vancouver. They incorporate little details like amuse bouche and palate cleansers into to their menus. Now, some people may think that is just a bit too chichi, but I love being tickled by little bites of culinary delight.

There is also an a la carte menu, but my dear friend Carm and I both opted for the Seasonal Menu, which costs $45. I think it is a reasonable price since we got a total of 6 items out of that menu. I thought the wine pairing ($40) was too expensive, but the accommodating waitress agreed to do a pairing for $25 with less costly pours.

While you are perusing the menu, the wait staff will start you off with an amuse bouche. We got smoked sablefish on an anchovy laced potatoe salad. It was a good start and tempted my tastebuds. Then we got some warm, moist, crusty bread with herb butter. One thing I always judge a restaurant on is by its bread basket. Score if the bread is warm, double score if the bread is warm and the texture is right. When the basket is filled with cold bread, it usually dampens my appetite because if a restaurant does not pay attention to the first thing it serves the guests, what makes me think that they will put that much thought into my food.

Okay, back to business. We then had the Sweet Pea and Mint custard on a buttermilk cracker. The combination was excellent, although the cracker is a tad stale. Then we moved on to the Baja Scallop served with a caper viniagrette and cauliflower puree laced with truffle oil. It was good but not exceptional. Then we moved onto Rabbit Saddle with proscuitto. Carm and I were both not too fond of this dish as it was not that flavorful. We washed that down with a little shot of hibiscus seltzer and moved on to the main entree. We both opted for the duck instead of the halibut. It was delicious. I think the combination with orange rhubarb was used to convey duck l'orange but I prefer the duck by itself. It was tender and tasty. Between the pre-dessert of Earl Grey Tea Sabayon and Deconstructed Lemon Pie, I prefer the Sabayon. It was served with a Fennel Biscotti that is used to scoop up the delicious creamy Sabayon. The combination of the floral Earl Grey and the licorice undertones of fennel was perfect.

Was it a good dining experience? Yes.
Was it exceptionally remarkable? No.

Taste: 7 out of 10
Creativity: 8 out of 10
Apperance: 8.5 out of 10

Rare Restaurant
1355 Hornby Street, Vancouver

Saturday, April 7, 2007

A Foodie's Day in West Vancouver

With the warm weather coming, what better time to go travelling around our delectable country than the Spring and Summmer? I don't know about you, but when I plan a trip, it usually revolves around eating. Of course, it is even better when the designated restaurants are close to the places I want to visit. I thought it is therefore my obligation, as a Vancouver native, to welcome fellow foodies from around the world to my beautiful homeland with a food friendly itinerary.

Vancouver is well known for its beautiful mountains and ocean, so what better way to sightsee than to head over to West Vancouver and enjoy tourist traps such as the Capilano suspension bridge, Grouse Mountain and Horseshoe Bay?

I would start my morning off with a visit to the Bakehouse in Edgemont Village and have either one of their breakfasts or my favourite, the Pumpkin spice muffin. Then take a little stroll around Edgemont Village as it houses two other noteworthy places: Delaney Coffee and Cobs Bread. I only ever drink Mochas at Delaney because they are simply the best, with the chocolate whip on top.

I suppose you would then head off to Capilano suspension bridge enroute to Grouse Mountain. They are both highly renowned for scenery and walking tours. After all that excercise, I would definitely recommend a casual sushi lunch at Sushi Station. I mean what kind of visit to Vancouver would be complete without lunch at a sushi spot? We have almost as many sushi restaurants as we have Starbucks. If sushi is not your thing, West Vancouver is also known for its Persian and Iranian food. A good place to sample them is a cool little place called Arian, where the nice woman behind the counter would give you little samples of the sauces and patiently tell you what is in each dish.

After lunch, there are several places you may want to visit: Lonsdale Quay, Horseshoe Bay or Lighthouse Park. They are all beautiful spots where you can see the Ocean. In between, you may want to visit the Savary Island Pie Company or Yaas Bakery for a snack.

You have a multitude of choices for dinner. For casual food, you have Mythos (great Greek food). For something hip, you have the Ocean Club Restaurant and Lounge where they serve up cool appies like mini shortrib burgers. And for something special, there is The Salmon House, which serves our famous salmon in one of the most scenic restaurants in the city.

I hope you enjoy Vancouver as much as all the tourists I see milling around our beautiful city!

The Bakehouse 1050 Queens Road, West Vancouver 604-980-5554
Delaney Coffee House various locations
Cobs Bread various locations
Sushi Station Japanese Restaurant 1643 Lonsdale Ave., North Vancouver 604-990-8897
Arian Food and Bakery Corp 1412 Marine Drive, West Vancouver 604-922-9599
Savary Island Pie Company 1533 Marine Drive, West Vancouver 604-926-4021
Yaas Bakery 1860 Lonsdale Ave., North Vancouver 604-990-9006
Mythos Greek Taverna 1811 Lonsdale Ave., North Vancouver 604-984-7411
Ocean Club Restaurant and Lounge 105-100 Park Royal South, West Vancouver 604-926-2326
Salmon House On The Hill 2229 Folkstone Way, West Vancouver, 604-926-3212

Friday, April 6, 2007

Easter Feasting

I think Foodies love the holidays because our hours of seeking goodies, planning menus and practice in cooking finally comes to fruition. This Easter, I will be roasting home brined pork picnic shoulders, asparagus flan and lemon dill orzo. Okay, who am I kidding. I never know what I'll be making until I hit the grocery store and see what inspires me. But one thing I know for sure, we will be having Hot Cross Buns for dessert.

I grew up in Hong Kong in the eighties and attended an International School. We learned all about the Easter Bunny and sang that silly song about hot cross buns. However, I thought this Easter stuff only happened at school because the rest of Hong Kong did not decorate their windows with bunnies and eat chocolate eggs. Hence the fact that I had never came across a hot cross bun until I came to Canada.

Now, I have never been very fond of these cinnamony buns crammed with various dried fruits because I detest currents and raisins. But when the CBC radio was searching for the best hot cross buns in the city, I went on a mission. I realize that people were nominating their favorite bakeries and vouching for their buns. Places like Uprising Bakery, Terra Breads and Savoury Island Pie Company all got honorable mentions.

I looked and pondered, and finally found just the right buns for me. And the winner is......Chocolate Hot Cross Buns from Cobs Breads. The Aussies (a couple of them founded the bakery) are geniuses.

The Chocolate Hot Cross Buns are little delightful treats that are filled with miniature chocolate chips instead of currents. The buns have a bit of cocoa in them to bring out the cinnamon and clove flavours. And it was shown in Wikipedia that Australians came up with the idea probably from the popular association with chocolate at Easter.

Traditionally, hot cross buns are eaten on Good Friday because they are made without eggs or dairy products, so people can eat them during Lent. Though the best way to eat them is to slather them with butter and warmed up in the toaster oven.

So guess what I had for breakfast today?

Saturday, March 31, 2007

A Tribute To A Young Food Lover

Over the Spring Break, something that I never thought would ever happen, did. One of my students was killed in a car accident. He was seventeen years old and (I announce this with pride) a true budding foodie.

I taught Mark when he was in Grades 10 and 11, and basically saw him everyday for two years. I imagine the day he would walk across the stage during convocation and I would beam with pride. That's the thing about being a teacher, its not just a job. These kids get underneath your skin, and they become a part of your life. The students may never know this and their parents may never realize, but you think of them as your kids, your responsibilities, every minute they are in school.

I remember one time when I organized a potluck lunch for the class, and Mark volunteered to roast a turkey that had been sitting in his freezer. That was typical of Mark. Whereas other kids were bringing simple junk that young people love: chips, brownies, pizza etc., Mark would top them by bringing a gigantic bird that required hours to prepare. Oh, and another thing, Mark was not exactly the most organized child, and would forget to bring school supplies, school forms etc.. So it was not exactly a lack of faith when I made backup plans in case the turkey didn't show up.

Sure enough, on the morning of the potluck, Mark walked in.....with a wingless turkey on a platter wrapped in foil. And of course there was a story to go with it. The day before, Mark went to fetch the turkey from the freezer to defrost, and.... couldn't find the turkey!! He didn't realize that the turkey had already been cooked for a previous family dinner.

So it was seven o'clock at night when his mother got home from work, and Mark presented her with his dilemma. Mrs. H. is a real sport, and drove him to different stores looking for a turkey in June! They couldn't find any at various supermarkets, and ended up finding a utility turkey from Whole Foods. I don't want to know what ridiculous price they must have paid for the damaged bird.

By this time, it was probably ten o'clock at night and Mark stayed up until 1 a.m. roasting it. I must say, it was worth the effort as it made the meal totally memorable for all of us. Every time we have a party after that, someone would remember the time when Mark brought in a turkey!

I miss you, Mark H. I miss your laugh, your zaniness and most of all, our time together. I wanted to tell you during your graduation that I am going to age that wine you gave me until you turn 25, and we will get together and have a drink and catch up on each other's lives.

And I was going to share the most important lesson I have ever learned: you cannot wait for happiness to happen, you must actively seek it everyday. It's true, life is too short to drink bad wine, so live it up and Bon Appetit!!

Friday, March 30, 2007

La Regalade

I like food, and my friend Michelle likes good causes. So we combined forces and went for Dining out for Life on March 29, 2007. This worthy cause happens one day a year when participating restaurants donate 25% of their food revenue to charities supporting local people living with AIDS.

We went to La Regalade, which is a very popular French Bistro in West Vancouver. Upon arrival, we were met with waiters and waitresses with French accents and a daily specials board with many tempting items. Michelle and I took a while to decide, and finally settled on sharing a couple of items: La Frisee Salade with hard boiled eggs and Bacon, Home made Pate, and Beef Bourguignon.

The Frisee Salade was delicious and totally brought me back to the days when I travelled to France and enjoyed lunch on the sunny patios of sidewalk Bistros. However, I prefer a poached egg in the salad instead because the runny yoke brings out the flavor of the salad dressing.

I was not crazy about the pate, even though Michelle tried to convince me that the dry texture is a deliberate part of the "rustic" French peasant cuisine that the restaurant is known for. However, I think there is a difference between yummy rustic and yucky rustic. Besides, there were dark grey spots in the pate that did not look particularly appetizing.

The Beef Bourguignon is DELICIOUS. I have to admit that it may even taste better than the one I make from Julia Child's cookbook. It is served with a dish of bubbling scalloped potatoes. And when you mix in some of the sauce from the Beef Bourguignon into the potatoes, you get an explosion of heavenly flavor that comes from ingesting pure fat.

*I would have added a picture of the Beef Bourguignon, but by the time it came, I already had a glass of wine ..or two, and forgot to document it.

For Dessert, I took the suggestion from one of my students who frequents the restaurant with her French parents and ordered the Floating Island. This consists of a light fluffy merigue on top of Creme Anglaise and topped with hardened caramel. It was the perfect finish to the hearty meal we just had.

Taste: 3.5 out of 5
Creativity: 3.5 out of 5
Appearance: 4 out of 5. Main dishes were mostly presented in cute little pots and the pate was served tableside from the terraine dish.

The Verdict:

Although there were some hits and misses with this restaurant, I would definitely go back again. That is a good sign because I am notoriously fickle with restaurants and would only go back to the ones I think has the potential to impress me with other dishes they have. I would go back to try the Kidney Special, which smelled wonderful from a neighboring table, or the prime rib with marrow that my student recommends I ask to have served with their heavenly mash potatoes.

La Regalade: #103-2232 Marine Drive, 604-921-2228

I love Strudels!!

My new favorite ingredient is.....Puff pastry!!
Why? Because it is super easy to work with and gives an impressive presentation to anything you are going to make.

I use Tenderflake because it is easily available, but heard great things about using Butter Puff Pastry, and found one by PC brand from Superstore.

Here's an orginal Janet's Scallop Strudel which has become a family favorite.

You Need:
(serves 4)

-1-2 tablespoon olive oil
-2 cloves garlic
-1 cup bay scallops
-1 cup dry (traditional) ricotta cheese
-salt and pepper
-1/2 package of Tenderflake puff pastry
-beaten egg a.k.a eggwash (optional)

Ridiculously easy directions:

1.) Crush or finely chop garlic and fry it in olive oil for 30 seconds. Add scallop and stir fry until the scallops turn white on the outside (around 3 mins.). Transfer to a dish and let cool.
2.) Roll out puff pastry into a rectangle that is about 2-3 mm thick then cut lengthwise into two equal rectangles. Transfer to a Baking sheet and keep in fridge until ready to use.
3.) Once the scallops are at room temperature, chop it up finely and mix in the ricotta cheese to it. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4.) Divide the scallop filling in half and spread each half into a strip lengthwise in the middle of each puff pastry rectangle.
5.) Fold the puff pastry over and press a fork throughout the ends to seal it. Poke the top of the pastry a couple times on top lengthwise from one end of the strudel to the other. Brush a thin layer of eggwash on the strudels if you wish (it helps the pastry brown more evenly).
6.) Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until the pastry turns light golden brown.

I cut each strudel in half and serve it with salad. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Monday, March 5, 2007

Raincity Grill

After a grueling day of dealing with hormonal teenagers, my coworker Brandy and I decided to treat ourselves with a nice meal and glass of wine. Food and wine have long been comforts in life, but when you have them at the Raincity Grill, they truly become an experience.

There are many places in the world that have bigger and better restaurants, but Vancouver is second to none when it comes to scenery. It is even harder to beat having dinner facing the sunset at English Bay inside Raincity Grill, especially when the food is made with the best and freshest local produce.

We arrived too late to have their super deal of a 3-course Early Bird Special ($25) and not hungry enough for their scrumptuous Hundred Mile Tasting Menu ($60). Instead, Brandy had the Seared Pacific Sablefish with Bacon and Cabbage Saute and Squash Gnocchi ($28), and I had the Seared Scallops with a Brioche Bread Pudding and Fennel Salad ($29). Yum!!

The charming waiter started us with a perfectly chilled Sauvignon Blanc and some tasty grilled flatbread lightly brushed with butter and sprinkled with sea salt. The Sablefish pratically melts in your mouth, and the Scallops were seared to perfection. Although the accompaniments are delicious, they pale in comparison to the clean fresh taste of excellently cooked seafood.

Taste: 4 out of 5
Creativity: 4 out of 5 (The pairing of Scallops with hazelnut puree was beautiful)
Appearance: 3.5 out of 5

The Verdict:

As you can tell, I am quite fond of this restaurant and would highly recommend it for a night of R&R. The atmosphere is soft enough for romance, yet sophisticated enough not to make non lovers awkward. The food is lovely and compliments the setting wonderfully.

The Raincity Grill: 1193 Denman St., 604-685-7337

Friday, February 23, 2007

Ouisi Bistro

Every Thursday, I browse through the new edition of the Georgia Straight and scout out the dining section. It is almost embarassing the kind of excitement I get from finding out that Meinhardt, the gourmet goody store, is having their first sale, ever. Now, there are two things in life that make this girl very happy: food and sales.

Since I was in the South Granville neighborhood, I thought I would check out Ouisi Bistro. I heard mixed reviews about this place, mostly bad, but some good. Now there are those of us in life who take others' advice to heart, and there are those, like yours truly, who have to fall into the hole to see how deep it really is. So I made a dinner date with my friend Tracy for our night of Southern comfort.

It was a Thursday night, and the restaurant only had a few tables occupied. We ordered the crabcakes ($10) for appies and shared the Catfish Etoufee ($20)from the Cajun menu, and the Creole Beef Tenderlin Tips ($19)from the Creole menu.

The food:

The crabcakes were cheap, but they also looked and tasted cheap. It was two tiny morsels that settled on top of a bed of lettuce. At least the lettuce looked fresh, but the cakes were lukewarm
and you can taste the filler with a touch of crab. I would have to say that I enjoyed the cornbread basket more, not that it was anything special.

The Catfish Etouffee was niether good nor bad. It was exactly as described in the menu: catfish simmered in a holy trinity roasted tomato broth, served with a rice pilaf. But it was fairly bland for a Cajun dish. The fish is flaky as catfish always is, but tasted "fishy".

The Creole Tenderloin Tips were simmered in a dark roux that tasted mostly like a sweet dark barbeque sauce. The meat was tender, and I kept eating it only because it tasted better than the catfish. Seriously though, if they were going to serve beef braised in barbeque sauce, then they should just say it as it is and don't try to pull one over and call it a roux.

Presentation: 1 out of 5 = everything was just slopped on in true Southern style
Taste: 2 out of 5 = a little worse than mediocre
Creativity: 2 out of 5 = only because they thought of substituting bbq sauce for a roux

The Verdict:

Let's just say that it was a good thing that the main purpose of our meal was to catch up on love and life rather than indulge in culinary delight. For that, Ouisi Bistro served its purpose because it had a good atmosphere. The waitstaff was good in the sense that they did not interrupt us much, but bad because even though we were deep in conversation and hardly noticed, we still have to wave them over for water and wine refills. Let's just say that we were glad we had an Entertainment Book coupon so at least it was a discounted meal.

Ouisi Bistro 3014 Granville Street T: 604-732-7550

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


After a particularly trying year in life, I decided to go back to my second home, Toronto, to hang out with old friends for some much needed TLC. So why not drop by Montreal, my favorite city in Canada, and hang out with my buddy Deryk? I emailed my dear friend, and he replies by saying that no can do, he is going to learn Spanish in Peru for the Xmas holidays, and that he will be leaving in 10 days. Oh, and why don''t I come along too? It'll be fun.

Peru? What the hell do they eat there? That was the first thought that came to this self respecting foodie's mind. Ah, What the hell, I was desperate to get away. I mean, come on, I was going to fly to Ontario in the freezing winter for goodness sakes.

Two things I found particularly remarkable in Peru: Ceviche and Macchu Picchu- in that order.

Deryk and I stayed with a host family, and our generous host mother, Nellie, fed us traditional Peruvian fare that consisted of many tasty dishes that involved potatoes. She would also bring home interesting fruits for us to try. It is true, no matter where you are in the world, when people detect that irrepressable gluttony within you, they become your friends and feed you all sorts of strange and yummy things.

We also ate the very popular Peruvian dish: Guinea Pig (a.k.a. cuy). We had it whole roasted, and one that is chunked up and smothered in peanut sauce. You guessed it, it tasted like chicken, but with a tinge oil.

After two and a half weeks in Cuzco, we said goodbye to Nellie and her wonderful family and headed to Lima for a couple of days before flying back home. Now, you must bear in mind my intention for Lima. I've had high hopes for ceviche ever since I had an in depth conversation with a Peruvian man and a German missionary at the Miami airport en route to Peru. We chatted for three hours while waiting for our plane, and they told me all sorts of interesting things about Peru, but most importantly, we discussed various aspects of Peruvian cuisine.

They told me that I must eat three things in Peru: Rotisserie Chicken, Chicharrone (deep fried chunks of pork), and of course, Ceviche.

Ceviche is basically fish marinated in lime juice and whatever other condiments you want to throw in. The acid in the lime juice "cooks" the fish, but the texture of the fish remains in its raw state. Deryk and I went to a couple different "Cevicherias", restaurants that specializes in Ceviche. The best one in Lima, I have to say, is Cevicheria La Choza Nautica (Brena 204). They are so popular that there are actually two of them on opposite sides of the same street, facing each other. The options are endless. There are platters with sea urchin, sea snails etc..

Deryk and I opted for the deluxe assortment which consisted of clams, scallops and different kinds of fish. The dish was served with yams and some kind of roasted corn which was not a tasty treat. It was like chewing styrofoam. The yams though, were quite a nice accompaniment. Deryk and I washed the seafood down with some classic Peruvian beverages. Cuzquena Negro is my beer of choice, but Deryk is partial to Inca Cola which reminds me of cream soda. Ahhhh....Ceviche and beer under the hot Peruvian sun....bliss.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Wonderful World of Blogging

Dear Friends,

I have found my new obsession in life: Food Blogging. I swear to God, now I understand. This is how people get weird sociopathic issues like not knowing how to act in public because they never leave the house. Hey, why should they when you can just sit around all day in your PJs and read about people eating macaroons in France right there in your living room. The best thing: finally, I find other lunatics out there who are just like me. We think about food all day long. What we should have, where to get it, and how to make it.

Since I am leaving from Vancouver soon to go work in Hong Kong, I think I will start a series of reviews on my absolute favorite restaurants in the city. Oh, how I will miss them! As well, I will explore eateries that I have been meaning to visit but got sidetracked by other more pressing ones at the time. So no more visits to a restaurant just because its name sounded cool. Focus, J. Focus. So here is to all you people who call me for restaurant recommendations.