Monday, June 27, 2011

Dish of the Day

I started the lengthy process of making Julia Child's Beef Bourguignon on Saturday at 8pm. Big Mistake! It was after midnight and my stew was still cooking away in the oven. What was I thinking!

Well, I decided to modify the recipe and opted out of straining of the meat and reducing the sauce. I just cooled it down and stuck it in the fridge to be completed another day.

Today was the day. I woke up this morning and prepared the onions and mushrooms. Heated the beef and sauce, skimming as much fat off as possible. Added the onion and mushroom mix and it turned out the same as I've always made it. Phew!

Hoping to serve with some crusty bread tonight instead of my regular Gruyere Scalloped Potatoes. I don't feel like cooking any more today.

Night Market 2011

Enjoyed the Summer Night Market this past Saturday with my parents. With $50 in my pocket, we ventured out to the popular but remote asian street vendor fair prepared to do some serious eating!

Luckily we have been before so we knew exactly where to go, as it can be a bit tricky to find not being able to see the market itself from the street. It is tucked away behind Vulcan Way, which is tucked away behind Bridgeport Road. The best way to go is via No. 5 Road and follow the dirt path along the water. For a cheap $5, you can park right near the entrance of the foodie fest. Or, like many others we passed by, you can park in the outskirts of the areas and walk about 10-15 minutes to the entrance.

Inside was abuzz, but not as much as I've seen before. But then again, it was pretty early being only 8:30pm. I think the possible chance of rain turned a lot of people away. Not us, however, as we were in the mood for street eats that night and we came prepared with our rain coats on!

The following are photos of what we enjoyed that evening...mmm...I want to go back for more already...

Roasted Corn on the Cob - $3 each - deliciously crisp and sweet, with a choice of butter and various salts and spices to flavour your cob!

Takoyaki (shrimp) - $5 for 6 pieces, your choice of Octopus, Shrimp, Scallop or Veggie drizzled with mayo, teriyaki sauce and topped with bonito flakes - Super yum! But watch that first bite, these little pancake balls are fresh out of the pan and they are hot, hot, hot!

Takoyaki being made. For those who don't know what Takoyaki is, see Wikipedia's description here.

BBQ skewers - 5 for $10 (best value: 7 for $13) with choice of Spicy Pork, Bacon and Asparagus, Chicken, AAA Steak, or Pork sausage - The beef is my favourite! Tender and flavourful, I am so surprised they are so cheap! I always buy extra skewers to take home for the hubby and lunch the next day. They are so good!

Pancake tarts (don't remember the actual name) - $1 each or $5 for 6 - these lilttle guys were so good! the outside was a nice, soft pancake with a sweet filling. The nutella was my favourite, and the custard was a close second. Other flavours: peanut butter and red bean. The only drawback is the 20 minute wait as it takes a long time to make a batch and the crowd just kept coming!

As you can see, the molds make several at a time, and it was such an interesting process to watch. The girl making them was so quick and organized, it was like watching a robot! She had each movement down to a tee, she was quite efficient, despite the long wait we all endured. Guess it was just that busy!

And lastly, the famed Potato Hurricane! The most popular but biggest rip-off at the entire market at $3 each. If you think about it, it's just a potato that has been cut in a spiral and deep fried then you get to shake on a powdered flavour. This stand must make a fortune selling 10 cent potatoes for $3!! I guess that's why so many other vendors have decided to add the curly potato to their repetoire of food items. The taste? Well, I'm pretty sure you can guess. Nothing special. I prefer the Wiggle Chips from the PNE.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

House Feature on Designer's Blog

A few months back we asked our interior designer, Karla, to help us narrow down the designs for the exterior of our new house.  We received the drawings from the builder and liked the look right away, but something was not doing it for us.

So we sent them to Karla and she knew exactly what to do.  Here is the post she featured on her design blog.

Eating Crab Leftovers for Breakfast...a Really Bad Idea.

I am trying to get back on the South Beach diet but my laziness to go grocery shopping is really making it difficult.  Breakfasts are considerably challenging as most people eat some sort of carb in the mornings.  I was doing quite well with egg whites last week but then I ran out.

I rummaged through the fridge for some kind of protein and came across some leftover crab meat that I didn't finish from last week's salad.  There were quite a few pieces of chunky pincer meat left so I happily doused them with cider vinegar and a little garlic (there goes the Asian in me again) and gobbled them up.  Kinda weird, and maybe a little gross for breakfast, but I was starving!

The day carried on normally.  Well, sort of.  My parents and niece came over for a visit and my hubby was home sick, so a bit busier of a morning than normal.  I had to drive hubby over the the local medical clinic and was almost out the door when I felt a funny rumble in my tummy.  

No worries, a little morning tummy aches is normal.  Nope, not normal at all.  I quickly dropped him off at the clinic and rushed back home to the comfort of my own bathroom.  And that's when it all started....

Projectile vomitting with such fervor, I was heaving on my tip-toes to get it all out.  One right after the other, non-stop.  But it did finally stop and I cleaned myself up and picked-up the hubby, still feeling a bit off, but empty.  Thank goodness.

Oh, but I was so wrong.  Seconds after he got in the car I was racing past the traffic light as I knew I wasn't going to make it home.  I quickly pulled into a side street, flew out the car and hacked at the side of the road.  Again, and again and then some.  The taste of my omega-3 pills coming up was enough to keep the heaving going.  I begged hubby to find something in the car to take the revolting taste away.  Thank goodness for the lone granola bar in the console.  I happily munched away while I was shakily drove home. 

We were greeted by 2 rambunctious toddlers running about the house.  Oh man.

I am so thankful for my considerate parents for taking the girls away for the day so we could get our much needed R&R.  The heaving didn't stop for a while, but I was able to take my mind off the nausea and got some zzzz's.  

Not me, but that's sure how I felt. And I'm sure that's how I looked, too.

I'm still a bit icky feeling but nothing like it was earlier today.  Thank goodness it's over, but I think I'm off shellfish for a very long time now. 

Moral of the story:  Get your lazy butt to the grocery store when you run out of food!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Eat St

I've caught a few episodes of the Food Network's latest additions to their TV lineup which features food trucks as you've never experienced them before.  The food dedicated network has taken an interest in the world of food-on-the-go with emergence of shows like The Great Food Truck Race and Eat St. as they follow the most popular food trucks around North America.

Today's fast food rides are drawing attention with their culinary creations using fresh ingredients and an impressive menu with a twist on the ordinary, such as mobile wood-fired pizzas, wasabi-crusted ice cream and spicy, chocolate cookies.  These food trucks are worthy of a road trip to try their feast-worthy fare.

Three food trucks in particular caught my attention and I just might be able to check them all out this year:

1) Tacofino - Tofino, BC
As stated on their Facebook page their "menu consists of California-Baja style cooking with international influences" and everything that was featured in the Eat St. episode looked amazing!  The entire menu looks so appetizing!  Tofino is a ways out for me from Vancouver, but their Facebook page says "coming to Vancouver soon!" so I will definitely make a day of it, come their arrival!

Items I want to try:  Fish tacos, Tuna Ta-Taco (play on tuna tataki), tortilla soup and spicy, chocolate Diablo cookies

2) Big Gay Ice Cream Truck - New York, New York 

Though the name is enough to make me want to check them out, but if anyone knows me one would know that I love me some goooood soft-serve ice cream (hard to find in Vancouver).  So when I saw a food truck dedicated to serving up soft-serve ice cream in new and unique ways, my eyes drooled (or maybe they were tears of joy!).  And since I am going to be in New York in August, this is definitely on my list of places to visit!

Items I want to try:  Everything!

3) Veraci Pizza - Seattle, WA

Mobile wood-fired oven, Neopolitan pizzas, thin and crispy crusts!  Yes, please!  These pizzas looked amazing on the screen with few, but fresh ingredients, allowing the true flavours of ingredients to speak for themselves.  The crust looks perfectly crispy and chewy like my favourite New York pizzas.  And customers were lining up by the dozens, some claiming that this was the "best pizza in the world!".  Wow!  I need to try this pizza, stat!

Items I want to try: Traditional Margherita and the Tuscan

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Little Bit of a Splurge

I got a bit of a bonus this year when hubby surprised me with a gift earlier this year...a bag of my choice (within a reasonable budget, of course)! Wow, how would I choose? Which brand do I covet? Which style is more me?

Well, after many hours of bag hunting online and in store (well, I only know of Holt Renfrew to check out designer handbags and the staff there are such a snooty bunch, I made the decision to shop in the US for my new purse), I finally narrowed it down to 3 brands: Balenciaga, Chloe or Prada.

I want a bag that is not widely carried by the masses, such as the much seen Louis Vuitton, about town. Everywhere I look, I seem to see a flash of damier or monogram canvas on a woman's shoulder or clutched in her fancy little hands. But not for me, as classic and timeless as the LV bag is, I want my first splurge to be less noticeable and more practical.

I demand a lot in a handbag. I require it to be structured (so not to lose shape), roomy (for my big wallet and Benna's snacks), easy to carry (with a long top handle and shoulder strap), durable (a smooth wipeable leather), and a classic brand (not too trendy).

For Balenciaga, I liked the Giant Velo with the big, metal studs. Yes, more on the trendy side, but still a classic. Balenciaga has pioneered the strong, edgy look of a motorcycle bag and made it an icon.

For Chloe, I really liked the Paraty because of it's unique style. The handle is not structured and the strap is not cross-body, but the uniqueness of the bag made it a lustful want for me. And especially in the python version, I was in love! But the price did not love me back. There are less expensive versions in the Paraty collection, but the snakeskin is what really got me. It's such a beautiful bag. If it ever goes on sale or appear on Beyond the Rack or Gilt Groupe, I may have to do something evil to get it. Haha!

And lastly, Prada. Such a classic label and lots of classic styles to choose from. This brand is always stands out to me.  I was pretty bummed when I missed a Prada sale on Beyond the Rack a few months ago that featured a black satchel that was mostly vinyl with leather parts to it.  It was a great price (55% off, I think) but there was only one and it went fast!  I didn't even get a chance to put it in my "shopping bag".  So I was more than excited when I found Saks carried a similar bag in an all leather version!  They had both a camel color and the black that I wanted.  But again, the price was over my budget and so I bookmarked it and visited frequently to check for a sale.  Well, lo and behold, that day came!  Today, it actually went on sale!  I was hesitant at first because I've never actually held it or tried it on, but I was certain this was to be mine.  Well, it's a good thing I didn't hesitate very long and just bought it because within 30 minutes of purchasing it, it was sold out online already!  Crazy!

Here it is:

It meets all my handbag criteria and I can see myself using it everyday! I am looking forward to receiving this in the mail, though I had it shipped to my US address to save on duty and taxes. I will definitely have a new post once it arrives! Yay!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Union Food Market

I was intrigued by an article that ran in the Vancouver Sun last week (May 25th) about a little secret gem in the Strathcona area on Vancouver that serves up delicious, homemade Portuguese pastries. The article, titled "The Secret Treats of Metro Vancouver: Orange fritters" was alluring enough for me to stop what I was doing, read the article in full and actually put a note in my calendar to check it out next week. Union Food Market, I will visit you soon.

Well, that day came earlier than expected as I was near the area today with hubby and Benna so we stopped in for a little munchie.

This place is as cute as can be. The area is tucked away near the little park off Venables (where they train K-9 dogs for the police department, I forget the name) and close to La Casa Gelato (famous for their many exotic flavours). One would think that the address on their website is wrong because all around Union St. are residences upon residences. But there it stood, just like a favourite neighbourhood dwelling, a cute little market nestled in a tiny cul-de-sac between townhomes and small detached homes. I would never think to venture here for some of the best pastries I've ever had. But now that I know where they are, I will definitely be crossing the Second Narrows Bridge more frequently.

I came in hoping for some of the coveted orange fritters that the article raved about, but I knew they would be sold out. And they were. A fresh batch to be made not until Monday. Boo for me.

But I had the munchies and I needed something to tie me over. There were cod cakes, shrimp cakes, samosa and fried chicken in the heated home goods cabinet. In another were the pastries: cookies, egg tarts, scones and other baked goodies. I had eyed the egg tarts when I came in as I knew they were Portuguese egg tarts from their browned, caramelized top. So I ordered one of those and a chicken samosa for hubby. The nice lady behind the counter said I would love the egg tart. I was quite excited to check it out for myself.

We left the shop and I tore open my little paper bag enclosed tart and sunk my teeth into it's yummy goodness. Oh my gosh...HEAVEN! It was like creme brulee in a pie crust! The custard was not eggy at all (like it's chinese egg tart counterpart) but was creamy and slightly sweet. The caramelized sugar on top melded well with the pastry crust to create this chewy, slighlty crispy bite. Delicious!

I ran back in and ordered 4 more to go! I needed to have this taste again tonight and more later...if they lasted! The lady inside smirked when she saw me re-enter the store..."more tarts?", she asked? I smile and just said, "yes, please" and held up four fingers, excitedly.

As for the samosa, my hubby loved it too. It was less of an Indian style samosa, the flavours were different but all the main ingredients were there: ground chicken, peas and potatoes. I'm not sure what the spices were but they did work well together and made a delicious savoury treat.

I will be back for sure to check out the other homemade goodies that makes the neighbourhood come back for more. What a great find!

Union Food Market

810 Union Street, Vancouver

Phone: 604.255.5025