Friday, April 30, 2010

Montreal Food Journey - Day 1: Le P'tit Plateau

Before leaving Toronto, a friend highly recommended Au Pied du Cochon, supposedly one of Montreal's best restaurants. I looked on their website and fell in love - bison tongue, guinea hen liver mousse, head cheese croquette, and duck carpaccio are just a few of the appetizers they had, along with a full array of foie gras, pig, lamb, and other meats for their main courses. I was so excited to try this place! Unfortunately, when my boyfriend and I went around 6pm on Friday, they said nothing was available till 10:30pm, and they were also fully booked for the next night...and added in the extra info that some people make reservations one month in advance (kinda like "*hint hint* make reservations next time!" ). Bummerrrrrr. So it was back to the drawing board (a.k.a my Excel sheet). With the help of the GPS, we found out Le P'tit Plateau, a restaurant that I was planning to go to the following night,  was 10 minutes away from where we were (it's one of the BYOW restaurants too!). I remember seeing some good reviews for this restaurant, and knew I wanted to go for sure after reading this blog.

Le P'tit Plateau is a tiny little restaurant, no big signs or anything in front of it, tucked inside two small streets right at the corner. When I saw it, I thought this is the perfect place (I'm anti big, franchise restaurants). Inside, the restaurant was cozy with small tables and chairs, and because the place was surrounded by huge glass windows, it captured the sun setting and created a lovely ambiance with the light shining in. Better yet, they had an open kitchen! My favorite! I love this place already. 

Love the contrast between the wood and the aluminum looking ceiling.



Thursday, April 29, 2010

Montreal Food Journey - Day 1: yeh!

After my delicious lunch at Schwartz's, my boyfriend and I walked up and down Saint-Laurent Boulevard because we needed to do some serious digesting. But then I came across yeh! and I decided that our digesting can wait. I absolutely had to go in this place and try some of their frozen yogurt. So what's so special about yeh!? Well what makes yeh! different than your normal Yogen Fruz or other yogurt / ice cream place is that it is all "self-serve" - meaning that you get to fill your own cup with whatever flavor of yogurt you desire, and then you get to add in as many different kinds of toppings you want for your yogurt (more than 40 to choose from). The price of your creation would be based on the weight of your cup when you're all done.

I've had frozen yogurt at Yogurtland before in Las Vegas which has the exact same concept as yeh!, but I haven't come across anything like this in Toronto yet.  I remembered I really enjoyed the whole process because it was just plain fun! Also, I really liked the decor of this place; from the brown and pink (same colors as this blog!!!) to its simple lines, the neatness and the cleanliness, the white chairs and tables at the back and bean bag chairs at the front...I loved everything about this place =)

yeh! I'm ready for you!



Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Montreal Food Journey - Day 1: Schwartz's

My favourite word: CHARCUTERIE
A trip to Montreal is not complete without going to Schwartz's. It is a fact that Schwartz's is the best place for smoked meat in Montreal. According to its websiteSchwartz's has been around since 1928 (founded by Reuben Schwartz, a Jewish immigrant from Romania) - it's the oldest deli in Canada and has been at the same location ever since. Schwartz's has been visited by many famous people including Celine Dion, The Rolling Stones, Angelina Jolie, Halle Barry, and also by our ex prime minister Jean Chretien. 

I've been to Schwartz's once, but that was a few years back. I remember going with a few friends for dinner there, and we had to line up for more than an hour for a table. This time, I wanted to go for lunch, so a twitter friend of mine from Montreal (vinman15) suggested that I go either at 11:30am or 1:30pm to avoid noon hour rush. So taking full advantage of this tip, my boyfriend and I were there by 11:30am on the dot. We didn't have to line up at all, and found street parking too =)

This picture was taken after our meal. Lineup was out the door by then!


Monday, April 26, 2010

Montreal Food Journey - Day 0: Swiss Chalet

Founded in 1954 - in Toronto. I should be proud, no?
You read right. My boyfriend and I went to Swiss Chalet. I need to clarify first that Swiss Chalet was not a PLANNED destination, okay? This was really just a stop over for dinner somewhere between Kingston and Montreal - we passed Kingston and realized shortly after that we need to eat ASAP (my boyfriend was about to pass out since it was around 9:30pm already) so we got off the highway once we spotted signs for food, so that's why I had no idea where this Swiss Chalet was.

I know I didn't have to include this meal as part of my Montreal Food Journey, especially because there's tons of Swiss Chalets in Toronto, and also, we weren't even in Montreal yet at the time. But still, we technically began our road trip by then so it should be included. And most importantly, this post gives me a chance to rant about how much I hate Swiss Chalet.

Don't know if you've read my post about Pizzeria Libretto, and how I said that if you know me in person, you should know that I love that place and that it's one of my all-time favorite restaurant. Well, I guess if you know me really really well in person, you should also know that I hate Swiss Chalet. I think less people know this because more often, I talk more about the good restaurants that I've been to, and the food I like, not the food or places I hate. And let me tell you, I'm really not a picky eater. I can eat at McDonald's, oily food at food courts, five dollar Vietnamese pho, to other casual dining franchise chains like Milestones, Moxie's, Kelsey's. I just adjust my standards and expectations accordingly, I'm totally fine with that. But for some reason, I really, really, cannot stand Swiss Chalet - I simply cannot adjust to this place no matter how hard I try. And really, I've tried - it's not like I rejected it before even trying it, I've been there four times (none  of them my idea or my choice) and I hate it every time.

Thanks, but no thanks.






Thursday, April 22, 2010

Montreal Bound!!!

My boyfriend and I are heading to Montreal tonight for a mini weekend-getaway, and I'm uber excited!!! He asked me last week if I could do some planning for this trip. So here's my plan:


FYI:

  • I've looked at a few blogs and reviews online (I mainly used http://www.cim.mcgill.ca/~jer/visit/rest.html).
  • BYOW = "Bring Your Own Wine"
  • The letters [B] to [N] correspond to the locations that I've mapped out on Google Map, where [A] is the hotel we are staying at.
  • I figured that we would be too tired to wake up early for breakfast Friday morning after getting in late Thursday night.
  • Saturday breakfast is still iffy because my boyfriend hates waking up early.
  • Dessert is also really iffy because if yummy dessert is available at dinner, I don't think I can resist not ordering it.
  • We would need to rest up again Sunday for our drive back after lunch, so I figured doing a buffet brunch is a nice way to end our trip.
  • Poutine is only an "alternative" because I had it in Montreal the last time I was there - it's just not a priority for me this time. 
  • Schedule and places are definitely not set in stone. Who knows, we may not end up going to any of these places! Actually...no, I take that back...Schwartz is a must!

I know my boyfriend asked for a "plan", which usually pertains to activities and sight-seeing, and not a "meal plan". But hey, I still planned, didn't I?


So, as for what we are doing in between meals? I have no idea...just gonna wing it. =P









Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Memorable Experience At The Black Hoof

Fellow foodie Cindy and I visited The Black Hoof back in December. It was her birthday, and as foodies, there was no way that such celebration can take place at an ordinary restaurant.Cindy suggested The Black Hoof, and asked me if I was OK with food that is more out there...maybe like internals, bone marrow, fried brains, etc. I told her I was totally down for that. I read some reviews before going to The Black Hoof (they don't have a website, but the owner, Grant van Gameren, has his own blog). And wow was I impressed! Toronto Star gave it 4 out of 4 stars - its critic said that he was "in love with the restaurant", the Globe and Mail claims that the restaurants serves "the most exciting meat Toronto has ever tasted", and EnRoute Magazine placed The Black Hoof at #2 for "Canada's 10 Best New Restaurants for 2009". So after reading all that, not only was I "down", I was outright excited and counting down to the days till we go.

We went on a Saturday night around 6pm (it does not take reservations and the restaurant is tiny). We actually walked past it because the restaurant does not have a sign outside (and in December, its already pretty dark at 6pm). The only indication that a restaurant existed there was the word "charcuterie" on the front tent cover above the restaurant. The place was full already (not surprised given the rave reviews) and it was just our luck that there were two seats available at the bar. I ordered a martini right away to get things going.

I don't remember what this was. I just remember that
it was average


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Round Buns From The Bakery

I absolutely had to name my blog post the way I did. I mean, look at the picture on your left.... I placed this BBQ Pork Bun smack in the middle of a white round plate...and just look at it. It's picture perfect, like a perfectly cracked egg. Let me tell you,  when I first saw that bun I wanted to pet it. Yes, you read correctly. I WANTED TO PET IT. Why? Because it looks sooooo smooth! I wanted to run my finger across the top of it because it's so smooth,  round, and so perfect...so perfect that it doesn't even look real (actually, I have the tendency to want to do the same thing when I see a perfectly shaped Filet-o-Fish bun from McDonalds). Am I the weird? Am I the only person on earth that has this urge? If so, I apologize in advance. Please don't judge me.

I know most of you may not care for buns from Chinese bakeries, but I had to get these. Not only because they were round, big, and cost like 80 cents for one (and no tax when you buy six!), but  there were some new variations of old favorites that made me go "OMG!", and some completely new ones that made me go "Huh?"and "Really?".  So being Chinese, I bought six although I had no intention of eating all six (I only had one, and left the rest for my boyfriend). I actually just wanted to take pretty pictures of them (I threw out the plastic wrap for each just so I can take the pictures...bye bye freshness!)

See? All soooo round (except the middle one)


Monday, April 19, 2010

"Patisseries of Paris" at Petite Thuet

Petite Thuet is a small bakery/cafe located on 1 King Street West at the corner of Yonge and King (they have another location on 1162 Yonge Street). I have always wanted to try this place because 1) it is so close to my work, 2) I've been to the married couple's (Marc Thuet and Biana Zorich) Conviction restaurant a couple of times now, and Petite Thuet is another one of their creation, and 3) Marc Thuet is pretty well-known for his breads and pastries. I've actually walked by the Petite Thuet many times, and was always hesitant to go in - it's certainly not your average coffee stop - you know you can't get just get a regular coffee in there...you better order something fancy like a cafe au lait with a croissant or something (all adorned with the French accent of course). And also, there's hardly ever anybody in there whenever I look in! However, I did venture in on time and bought some macaroons for my colleagues =)  Those were pretty yummy (but I still like the ones from Nadage better - they had more unique flavors there like pistachio, rose, poppy, etc).  Anyway, my friend Julia and I decided to pay Petite Thuet a visit at lunch one Thursday afternoon.

I was waiting for Julia to arrive so I took a few pictures outside. It was a rainy day.

Across the street


Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Must-Read For All "Foodtographers"

My foodie friend Cindy sent me this great article last week from the New York Times:





As my blog post title says, this is a must-read for anybody who likes to take pictures of their food  (as well as other people's food). 


If you don't have time to read the whole article, here's a summary of it:




Friday, April 16, 2010

To Die For Blueberry Muffins

I made muffins again last weekend. It's not like I particularly love muffins or something; I'd rather switch it up once in awhile and make cookies, scones, cakes, or whatever it may be. It's just that without an electric mixer, there is really not much choice in terms of what to bake. One is very limited when you need to pass up on any recipe that indicates "beat eggs until light and fluffy" or "beat egg whites until peaks are high" because you simply can't achieve that with just using a whisk.


Good news though! My mom bought a newer, more powerful Kitchen Aid stand mixer last week, and she will be giving me her old one!


My Mom's new 475 Watt
stand mixer


She needed a new one because her old Kitchen Aid mixer can no longer keep up with her bread making needs - it did not have the capacity nor power to make two loaves of bread at the same time.  However, her old one (which is 250 Watts) is more than sufficient for my baking needs! SO EXCITED! I'm imagining all the things I can make with it already =)  It will be kept at my boyfriend's place hehe.




Thursday, April 15, 2010

My Love for Pizzeria Libretto

If you know me in real life, you should know the following: 1) One of my favorite restaurants in Toronto is Pizzeria Libretto, 2) I must order the Duck Confit pizza when I'm there, 3) I must also order a charcuterie plate when I'm there, and finally  4) This is the only restaurant where I have never ordered dessert or felt the urge to order dessert (I've been there 4 times), because I'm just that satisfied with my main meal - this is extremely rare. If you didn't know all that, that's okay, you've learned something new about me today =)

Pizzeria Libretto is located in a funky / hip Portuguese neighborhood at the intersection of Ossington and Dundas. The restaurant often gets rave reviews from magazines; it was placed 8th in enRoute's Top 10 Restaurants in Canada for 2009.  I'm pretty sure that Pizzeria Libretto is mentioned in many so-and-so's "top lists" but I just don't have time to find them all for you here.  

Before I go on posting pictures, I have to thank my foodie friend Cindy for introducing me to this place. Although she moved to Toronto from Calgary only a year ago, she has shown me so many cool places to go eat (including Black Hoof). Actually I think she's the one who turned me into the foodie that I am today! Before meeting her, I wouldv'e never imagined having my own food blog.

So what's so cool about Pizzeria Libretto? First of all, it has the distinction of having imported Toronto's first real Neapolitan pizza oven! It's a 2,000-kilogram stone behemoth that burns wood and can heat up to 900 degrees F, producing a thin, crispy, blistered crust, with bubbles of charred dough here and there. All pizzas are done within 90 seconds in the oven; it was specifically hand built for the restaurant by a 3rd generation pizza oven maker in Naples. Pretty impressive, huh?





Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Gladys Knight and Ron Winans' Chicken and Waffles

When I was sent to Atlanta, Georgia, for a business trip a few months ago, I was excited at the prospect of trying soul food for the first time there. Rian, a friend of mine, recommended Glady's Knight and Ron Winans' Chicken and Waffles. Cardin, my colleague in Atlanta, also agreed that it was the place for soul food. So he took me one night after work, and helped me order a few traditional soul food dishes. Well thanks to him, many of my U.S colleagues now know me as "The Girl Who Can Eat A Lot".  


Anyway, although I now know of several places in Toronto where chicken and waffles are served (i.e. The Waffle Works, The Harlem Underground, The Stockyards) I'm glad I tried the infamous chicken and waffles dish in Atlanta first, a city with the reputation of still offering renowned traditional soul food. If you Google "soul food Atlanta", the search will come up with more than 800,000 websites. This one particular website, www.atlantasoulfood.com, lists around 95 soul food restaurants in the state of Georgia, where most are located in Atlanta.


As for those who don't know who Gladys Knight is, she is an R&B / soul singer-songwriter, best known for her hits with Motown with her group "Gladys Knight and the Pips". 


Gladys Knight, also known as the "Empress of Soul"





Tuesday, April 13, 2010

World's Best Lasagna

I was craving something heavy, gooey, and cheesy on the weekend, and what else better satisfies all those things than lasagna? Other kinds of pasta just doesn't cut it, it had to be lasagna; the classic Italian casserole dish consisting of layers upon layers of pasta, melt-in-your-mouth cheesy goodness, heavy meat sauce, served hot, with a light side salad...YUMMY! This image (pretty close to the picture on the left) was already forming in my head and making me drool way before the weekend.


But my, oh my, making lasagna takes sooo long. I've made lasagna using this exact same recipe from allrecipes.com a few years ago, but I failed to remember just how extensive the preparation was. It also took me longer this time because of the picture taking - the wiping of hands, picking up my camera, and being an SLR newbie, I had to take many pictures to ensure that they were decent, then wash hands again, etc. But I gotta say, it was all worth it, the whole 2.5 hours of it! The lasagna turned out delicious! Of course not so great that I'm claiming it to be the World's Best Lasagna (I'm a humble person), that is merely the name of the recipe I used. 





Monday, April 12, 2010

Wedding Feast - First of Four for 2010

Last weekend, I had the good fortune of being invited to a friend's wedding, where the lovely couple are close friends of my boyfriend for many years. Families, loved ones, and friends of the bride and groom all gathered to show their congratulations and give best wishes to the couple. Unlike the ceremony earlier in the day, no one had to be quiet anymore at the reception. This was the time to eat (a 10-course meal), drink (open bar), and dance (live band) the night away, in honor of the couple's marriage. The weather was perfect, the venue was classy, the atmosphere was festive, and most importantly, it was the couple and the celebration of their love for each other that made the night so special. I'm so glad to have had the opportunity to celebrate with them on their special day.  The married couple is now on their honeymoon as I write this post =)


Having said all that, lets move on to the food, huh? One word to describe it: Exquisite. Would you just take a look at the 10-course menu? If all the wedding receptions serve such delicious food (which is not always the case), I would die happy hahaha. And yes, as my post title indicates, I have 4 weddings to go to this year, so expect to see 3 more blogs of about wedding food!


Note: please excuse the poor picture quality. I was too lazy to bring my SLR so I only had my point-and-shoot camera; far from ideal under dim lighting.


Notice the "Late Night Nyamming". How cool is
that??? This is the first time I've seen late night food
and snacks at a wedding reception! *thumbs up* 



Saturday, April 10, 2010

Toronto's Costliest Restaurant: Kaiseki Yu-zen Hashimoto East

WARNING: THIS IS NOT A REVIEW. I HAVE NOT BEEN TO THIS RESTAURANT, NOR CAN I AFFORD TO. 


THIS IS JUST A RANT FOR FUN =)


Toronto Star's food critic Amy Pataki wrote an article yesterday about Toronto's most expensive restaurant, Kaiseki Yu-zen Hashimoto East. Here are some of my random as I was reading it:

"
Price: Dinner for two with tea, tax and tip: $800

I take it that means tea is not free there. How sad to have to pay for tea given how expensive the whole meal is. Their mentality is probably this: "Since you suckers are willing to pay $300 per head for food, might as well charge you for tea too!" Ah well, makes sense I guess. Either that, or the tea leaves are gold plated (and imported from Japan, of course).

"Gold shavings gleam on dessert"
Oh, gold for real huh? I wonder how gold taste like.

"Tea is the only drink; a liquor license is pending"
Imagine how much the final bill will be with a few bottles of Sake.

"Everything, down to the salt, is imported from Japan, including such seasonal delicacies as feathery wasabi leaves and red Kyoto carrots."
OK, I can understand importing the wasabi leaves and red Kyoto carrots, but salt too? Does salt from one continent taste different than salt from another continent? Some scientific research should be done on this (if not already); someone needs to compare molecular structures or something. I think Hashimoto probably just had some extra room in the storage, so "might as well".

"Hashimoto East is the new restaurant of Masaki Hashimoto, ranked one of Japan’s top five chefs in a 2008 competition."
What happened in 2009?

"He’s been preparing painstaking and authentic kaiseki dinners at his original Mississauga location for nine years; it’s the only restaurant I’ve ever rated full stars."
I did NOT know this. I checked the address of the Mississauga location in Googlemaps and found out Kaiseki Yu-Zen Hashimoto's Mississauga location is literally 7.8 km (or 10 minutes away) from my house! *shock* I really had no idea that such GEM exists in good ol' Sauga. I should stop saying there's nothing good to eat in Mississauga.




Friday, April 9, 2010

The School Gets an A+

I like school (yes even the ones that involve studying), but I have another thing going with School and Bakery Cafe. I like their concept, I like their decor, and most importantly, I like their food!  I've been there 3 times now, and I would go again in a heart beat. It is one of my favorite spots for brunch.

I have read reviews where people claim that the food is mediocre, and the waiters are terrible. Well, obviously I can't say I agree since I just said School is one of my favorite brunch places. First of all, I like their food. If you check their menu, there is certainly a wide variety - fresh bakery goodies, fruit, crepes & waffles, french toast & pancakes, and savory plates. The portions are just right, and I don't think their prices are unreasonable at all. As for the bad service, maybe I need to go a 4th time to experience it? Not sure, because for the 3 times I went, I really didn't find a problem at all. It can get really packed and very busy during brunch there too, so I don't know about anybody else, but given those circumstances, I don't expect waiters to be standing around doing nothing, waiting to serve, or be able to appear right at your side when you need them - they are going to be roaming around trying to keep up with taking orders, bringing out food, bringing in plates, and other waiter duties. In my point of view, cut them some slack! This is not fine dining! Also, if you are in a hurry to go some place on a Sunday morning, have you considered that maybe brunch is not your thing? Weekend brunch is meant to be a relaxing meal, and not part of a hectic schedule where you only allot 30 minutes for it. You must enjoy brunch without a time constraint. Better yet, you should take a nap afterwards too. Ok, rant done. Moving on.

I have included pictures from all my 3 visits to School (some have no captions because I forgot what they are). Seeing these pictures again make me want to go back right now.



These yummy looking pastries were all on the counter to the right of the waiting area. I just want to grab and eat everything




Thursday, April 8, 2010

"The Cauldron" at Oddfellows

My foodie friend, Cindy, once sent me a link that had pictures of this stone pot filled with lots of bacon, eggs, sausage, and other oily goodness in it. She told me that this pot object can be found at Oddfellows, a brunch place owned by two designers. I didn't know designers can be restaurant owners too (not like there is a law against it or anything), it's just not what people expect, you know? But whatever, I told Cindy that we have to go there, and I demanded that she can't go with anyone else but me.  


We didn't get to go to Oddfellows until many weeks after that initial conversation because of our busy schedules. The whole time I couldn't get my mind off that pot... I was literally obsessed with it. We started calling it "The Cauldron". According to Wikipedia, "a cauldron or caldron (from Latin caldarium, hot bath) is a large metal pot (kettle) for cooking and/or boiling over an open fire, with a large mouth and frequently with an arc-shaped hanger". I thought the name fits perfectly for what you're about to see later.

So finally we go on a Sunday morning. I see this sign at the front. What a coincidence! I heart eggs too! :)


Oddfellows is definitely a quirky place. It is a very narrow space, with one long wooden communal table that sits around 20 people. The place is filled with unique decor like a hanging fireplace, a ceiling full of bubbly lights, and a wall with fridge magnets.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Maple Syrup Festival = Food Fest for Me

Two weeks ago I was at the Maple Syrup Festival in a small town called Elmira, which is around an hour drive from Toronto. I have never been, nor heard of, this festival before, but apparently it's an annual thing there, quite popular too. Nonetheless, I didn't expect much of it since I wasn't exactly crazy about maple syrup (I actually don't remember the last time I had it, unless it was included as an ingredient in a recipe), nor did I dislike it really - just no preference. Anyway, I was eager to go because I love mini day trips, and the weather was gorgeous that day. 
Getting into Elmira was a bit of a mission. We started heading out at 10am and by the time we got out of the main highway, there was traffic getting into the town. I guess 10am wasn't early enough, it also didn't help that there was only one lane getting into Elmira.

After being stuck in traffic for around half an hour, we finally parked our car. Several blocks were closed off for pedestrians, and we started walking to the festival.  Some took the high road and opted for a ride in the tractor




Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Braised Short Ribs with Ginger Soy Glaze and Fried Egg with Preserved Turnip

So with 3lbs of short ribs left in the freezer, I was determined *once again* to make the Short Ribs in Red Wine from Sass and Veracity (I bought 6lbs of it last weekend and made half of them as Bar-B-Q Short Ribs because I didn't have red wine). Heading to LCBO after lunch on a Sunday afternoon, there was no way it can be closed now right? Oooh sooo wrong, it is Easter Sunday. Two Sundays in a row now this has happened to me. Maybe it's a sign? A sign indirectly warning me that if I do make this dish, it will turn out disastrous. Sigh. Well whether or not this is a blessing in disguise or my lack of preparation, I knew I had to Google my way out of this again, but at least this time I didn't go grocery shopping yet.


Ingredients
  • 3 lb Beef short ribs
  • 5 Star anise -- whole
  • 1/4 c Shao xing
  • 1 oz Ginger, fresh -- sliced thin
  • 6 Garlic clove, med -- peeled
  • 3 tb Soy sauce
  • 1/2 oz Rock sugar
  • Salt
  • 2 Scallion, med -- sliced crosswise



    Monday, April 5, 2010

    My Mom, The Cooking Connoisseur

    Let me just start off by saying that I am not the one who made all these delicious dishes here, my wonderful Mom did. I'm merely the photographer. My mom is an amazing cook. Name something, and she can probably make it. She makes at least two loaves of bread every weekend (without using a breadmaker, since she claims it would take the challenge and fun out of making bread), she can probably make her cranberry and pistachio biscotti and blueberry scones in her sleep, and I have no doubt she can churn out 40 mooncakes for Mid Autumn Festival in a day all by herself. She can also cook up a storm if family friends are over, and if she "feels" like it, she would be able to make 8 to 10 Chinese dishes consisting of tasty stuff like homemade BBQ pork, fried oysters, lobster, crab, to even abalone and sharks fin soup. She is also a pro with the meats: lamb, steak, prime rib, duck, chicken, etc. And how can we forget dessert? She can whip up a soufflé in 15 minutes. My friends, all of this is just the tip of the iceberg, and anybody close to me who have been lucky enough to be invited over for dinner can definitely vouch for this LOL. Here are some examples of her "work".




    Sunday, April 4, 2010

    Earl Grey White Chocolate Chunk Muffins

    My foodie friend, Cindy, forwarded me this Earl Grey White Chocolate Chunk Muffins recipe from eat me, delicious about a month ago. She told me they were great and has already made them a few times. Convinced, I decided to try making these muffins as well, although I have to admit, I was weary about mixing chocolate and tea leaves together. What an awkward combo, right? Especially its chocolate chunks, not even chocolate chips. In hindsight, I think this worry of mine led to the downfall of my muffins.

    Ingredients
    • 2/3 cup sugar
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 tablespoon ground Earl Grey tea (or more if you dare)
    • 3/4 cup sour cream
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
    • 3/4 cup white chocolate chunks






      Bar-B-Q Short Ribs with Grilled Asparagus and Cherry Tomato Salad

      I had my mind set on making this Beef Short Ribs in Red Wine dish from Sass and Veracity. I picked up all the ingredients I needed on a late Sunday afternoon, and suddenly realized that the LCBO has already closed for the day! My boyfriend and I then went back to his parents place to see if they had any red wine lying around. This was the scene: his parents were out, nobody was home, we dashed right to the alcohol cabinet, and started pulling out each bottle frantically and checking the label. Thinking back, it was kind of funny...to think that we were doing all this for my short ribs, rather than sneaking out alcohol or something (we are about 10+ years too old for that). Anyhow, no luck - only ice wine, whiskey, brandy, and various kinds of hard liquor in pretty bottles or pretty boxes.

      I was sad and disappointed as we went back to my boyfriend's place. He asked if could skip the red wine or substitute it with something else. I told him there was no way I can omit the 2 cups of red wine in the recipe, I cannot imagine how tasteless the short ribs would turn out. And as for substitutes? Eh...the kind of liquor at my boyfriend's place consists of Pomtini, Strawberry Zinfindel, and Moosehead. Obviously, the Pomtini and Zinfindel are for my boyfriend, and the Moosehead for me (haha). But no, those definitely will not work. What should I do now with 6lbs of short ribs?




      Friday, April 2, 2010

      "Guud" Friday at Guu Izakaya

      My friend Julia and I had dinner yesterday night at Guu Izakaya. We have both been here before a couple of months ago, but we felt it was time to pay a visit there again and explore some new dishes. I arrived at 4:50pm and there was a line up outside already. Well, I guess it is no surprise since it is Guu Izakaya, and given that it is a day before the long weekend, and with such beautiful patio weather, I shouldn't expect any less. I would have to point out that lining up today was many, many times better than lining up back in January when it was like -25 degrees with the windchill.


      Once we got past the big wooden front door, the chefs and waiters all welcomed us by cheering and hollering greetings in Japanese, something that they are known for in terms of providing a fun and lively atmosphere. After sitting down, the waitress promptly gave us hot hand towels, and informed us that the time limit for dinner is until 7pm. This was definitely a new "rule" at Guu Izakayasince we weren't told this the last time we came, but then we figured 2 hours was more than enough time, so not a big deal.


      We knew what we wanted to order because we have thoroughly reviewed the online menu this morning and exchanged ideas through email already, so all we needed to do was to take a look at the specials (by the way, checking or viewing the availability of an online menu for a restaurant before going there is a must for any Food Junkie).


      Regular Menu