Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Monday, March 30th - Tofu Stirfry and BBQ Steak on the side

We had a FANTASTIC wine on the side from Australia. It retails for about 30$ but it's totally worth it. Normally, it need a couple of seconds with a red wine, particularly just after opening it to decide, but around the table, we all loved it instantaneously. Decent body, not too rich, good length. Very enjoyable.

Our guests baby, did not appreciate the Schezchuan peppercorns in the stirfry. He held his first mouthful for nearly half an hour. We quite purposey tried to keep the sauce as neutral as possible. We left the chili on the side. The sauce was hoisin and oyster with a 'wokwithyan' cornstarch slurry :0D.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Sunday, March 29th - Go Fish! and Quiche

Breakfast was cereal.

Lunch was Go Fish!....mmmmm The little fish shack on the Granville Pier run by the owner of the hugely successful Tapas Bar Bin941. We had out of town guests so we took them. J and his little boy D. They had a Qualicum Bay scallop sandwhich with fries and clam chowder. Fantastic. I and D shared 2 piece Salmon and 1 piece Halibut battered in their famous Beer batter and fried. Served with Fries and red cabbage slaw and tartar. Line up with significant and it was chilly, though sunny, but there was still a line!

Go Fish!

(converted rail container off the pier just west of Granville Island)
1505 1st Avenue West
Vancouver, BC
V6J 1E8
(604) 730-5040

Dinner was creative. I got some deep dish pie shells and we had some extra eggs and veg from J`s sailing trip. That`s why he`s staying over. Pretty random stuff, 1 dozen eggs and frozen green beans which we decided couldn`t be refrozen. So we made a quiche.

Green Bean Quiche

1.5 - 2 c frozen green beans chopped
1 c grated cheddar and mozzarella
6 eggs
2 T flour
1 c milk or cream
1t herbe de provence
1t fresh sage

Blind bake the crust for ten minutes.. poke with fork.

Whisk the eggs, milk and flour. Add the cheese. Spread the beans on the already blind baked crust. Pour over the eggs and top with sliced tomato. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes a little longer if jiggly. Since this was a deep dish, we left it in for 10 more minutes.

On the side, I made a small green salad from a mixed baby greens mix with simple dressing.

Simple Lemon Balsamic Dressing

1T grain mustard or dijon
1-1.5 T balasamic
keep whisking as you drizzle in 2-3T of lemon olive oil.

Add to greens, just enough of the dressing to toss with tongs until barely coated.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Saturday, March 28th - Scrambled Eggs and Pizza

Breakfast was lunch. We woke up late!!! I blame jetlag. D, bless him, ventured out to get us milk and fruit. I had cereal. Still trying to recover my fibre levels and reduce my cholesteral from all the eggs I ate on holiday. D on the other end is going the other way. He had a bagel with fried tomato with scrambled free range eggs. You can really tell high quality eggs from the rest right away. The yolks were a deep amber colour even after whisking. Also when you put into a pan, the yolk is very up right and the white is not as runny. His scrambled eggs, just a touch of milk in a buttered pan were very canary yellow. Photo to come.

Dinner we went to a friend's 10th 30th birthday party. He asked us all to bring a BC wine. He made homemade pizza and bruschetta. He turned off his lights and unplugged his fridge at Earth Hour!. Luckily his oven was gas. He used brucetta spread and artichoke dip for his pizza base. It was super yummy. I think he made one with italian ham too which I avoided.mmm

My favorite wines of the dozens there (a few surprises) ....

Meyers Family (which we brought :-D)
Lotusland Girlmeaner (no spelling mistake. It was like a gurwertraminer, sweet, from Abbottsford! WTF!!)
Blasted Church Chardonnay (no oak)
Blasted Church Merlot
And one in a decanter I did not see the bottle.
Avoided all the Jackson Triggs and the Mission Hill like a Republican!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday, March 27th - Whole Wheat Parparrette and Peas

Breakfast was cereal and D had a Montréal bagel from the freezer.

Lunch I had a lame attempt at Burbur. I tasted this for the first time on our last breakfast at the hotel in Bali. Of course! I said I would try everything in the buffet over the 10 days and I put off two things. At one area, they had Miso soup and Burbur with condiments. I skipped the miso soup. Burbur is similar to but thicker than congee or mulbap. It's the indonesian version and you can buy it on the street carts too. It is overboiled and overwatered rice. You cook it until the grains break down into a porridge consistency. Congee is a bit too watery for my taste and Mulbap is korean for water rice. It's what you do with leftover rice. The indonesian version is nice and thick and on the side they had, ginger, fish flakes, parsley, kimchee and chicken to dress it with. I wish I had been eating this the whole time. It was so comforting. Though hot for the weather.

So I used brown basmati. Well, apparently that's not the rice to use. Brown rice, does not break down and basmati is even worse. The grains themselves will 'explode' into random amorphous cloud shapes but they all maintain their individuality. No creamy starchiness bringing them together. I had it with some this Japanese rice flavouring I bought in Tokyo. They come in different flavours in shaker bottles. This one had bonito flakes, nori/kim flakes, sesame seeds, salt and sugar and chili. I dressed it with a bit of sesame oil and black pepper. It was fine. It wasn't Burbur. The sprinkle was good though.

Dinner, we had this whole week pasta, the colour of hotchocolate, with pesto sauce from a jar and frozen peas. We bought the pasta somewhere on Commercial. I'm pretty sure it's the bakery/deli next to the WorldMarket junk shop. I boiled the pasta in a big pot of water with a stock cube for more flavour. It was pretty good at 6 minutes. At 7, I threw in the drained and rince frozen peas. They were getting on in the freezer so I used the rest of the bag, probably3 cups. I put them right in with the pasta. Drained after 2 minutes. 1.5 T of pesto in the bottom of two bowls. Served the pasta and peas on top and tossed. Topped with freshly grated parmesan.

Yummo. We'll have to find that pasta again. It was very tasty!

Thursday, March 26th - Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

Breakfast was cereal and slightly sour soy milk. We just got back so there is very little in the fridge. D had a bagel with apple sauce. Who puts apple sauce on toast? I chuckled and he didn't see the joke. Apparently, he's been doing it all his life. I told him usually, it's apple jam.

Lunch, leftover pizza from yesterday.

Dinner, Tomato and Basil Wolfgang Puck's soup and grilled cheese with old aged cheddar. No big whoop. Still pretty jet lagged.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wednesday, March 25th - Takoyaki, Plane food and Panago Pizza

Breakfast was ... well actually it was lunch, was Takoyaki at the airport. Funny, I spent a few days hunting them down and they were a the airport the whole time. Maybe they're out of fashion there. I still love them. They're like little seafood pancakes but they're 'shoved' with chopsticks into a ball form. The pan is a cast iron griddle that looks like an egg carton but not as deep. The classic batter is with squid and other flavouring (tbd). You spread the batter out all over the griddle right to the sides so that you don't see the cups and it looks like you're spreading a giant square pancake. Then the dude starts moving the batter around with chopsticks and shoving them into the cups. Eventually you have all the batter that's not in the cups in a ball in all the cups and there is no batter on the sides. Then when you have them in pale colour in the balls, you move to a skewer as a tool so as not to mar the balls. You gently poke them to flip the balls to toast it all the way round. The classic is served with a spash of 'brown' sauce, presumbably hoisin or sweet soy and bonito flakes and mayo. I had a 'special' which was mayo and scallions. D had his plain served with greated marinated radish. Their plain had the brown sauce and bonito flakes and no mayo. But they had mayo on the table. Had I noticed that, I would have ordered the classic cuz I wanted the bonito flakes. Anyhoo, if you're ever in the Narita airport, I highly recommend this place. It's on the floor above in the departure checkin area.

D likes them for what they are, classic and hot and genuine but he thinks they mainly taste of the topping of mayo and sauce. I don't mind. The giant ones we saw in the street the other day used 'hotdog' instead of squid :-(.

Lunch lunch was bad and I do mean HORRIBLE plane food. The way out was okay but this was nasty. It was yellow rice with a cream sauce and a slice of bologna and eggplant. Their was a salad on the side that was okay. It had a slice of tuna, salmon and some edamame with mayo.

Dinner was Panago take away. There is a definite dearth of good delivery pizza in Vancouver. When I was working in Burnaby, there was one mom and pop place that was yum but they don't deliver out here and I cannot remember the name. It had 'John' in it had they had a great salmon pizza. Panago is okay and it's everwhere. I had the Shrimp Primo with a sweetish bbq sauce, pineapple and peppers. D had the genoa classic with green and black olives, goat cheese and ham. They have a thin muligrain crust but it's not really that thin. They also charge you 2 dollars delivery fee. Hello? Then you're expected to tip the guy as well. I'd tip the guy more if they didn't charge me that stupid fee.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Do not fly with JAL - Japan Airlines

I am currently an unfortunate ticket holder of a Japan Airlines plane ticket. I have never experiened such incompetence, such disregard for customer service and idiocy in an airline in my life. Trust me I have flow in rinky dink airlines in Africa to decaying eastern European airlines who will bend over backwards to keep you as a loyal and happy customer even if the likelihood of your being one, due to geography, is low.

NOT JAL. NOT Japan Airlines.

First, though they claim to be an international airline, most speak only a merest hint of English. I was given two numbers to call when our flight was cancelled, one Japanese language only and the other English. First the IVR starts with a 10s introduction in Japanese. I thought I had misdialled and hung up and tried again. I heard the same 10s introduction in Japanese. I pressed 0 as those stressed clients will often do. It resulted in a series of loud rapid beeps. So I dialled again and waded through the Japanese intro hoping, hoping, since not word was familiar, that an English message would follow, it did. It told me to press 6 for an English agent. I did. She could not.

I had to speak one syllable at a time and barely express my concern or dispair with the syntax I was forced to use. I could not tell her that according to the IATA rules and Warsaw pact that they had to accommodate me for the duration of my layover. I was only responded with a 'ooooooo' which I have come to know as a Japanese form of 'uh' or 'I have no idea what you said so I will just repeat what I said and perhaps you will grow frustrated and hang up'. I did not. I never will. I will campaign.

I am sitting in a second rate hotel at Narita Airport on my third day of layover. Marroad International clearly had it's day but that was probably a half century ago. This is where JAL sent us to with vouchers for one night only. One night of the 8 we were told we had to wait before we were booked on a flight home to Vancouver. One. The per night rate at this "International" hotel is nearly 200 dollars. Oddly enough when we arrived two days ago, we were quoted 140 and twice we were told 200 but when we told them 11000 Y, they quickly back tracked, agreeing with the lower rate. No one here speaks English despite the International in their name. They know yes and now and very simple questions where the result is my giving them money. I bought one night of internet to connect with work and find a flight home for 100oY in room only WITH with a bleeding cable. Can you believe that? This is the high tech capital of the world and I had to borrow a LAN cable and can only use it in my room. When it didn't work and all the error messages were in English, bad English, I called downstairs and the lady at reception spoke no English except internet not working, she came up. She tried to click a few buttons to no avail. She had to call external tech support to call me back. They spoke perfect English. VOD never came on. It is meant to come with the Internet. The code had a alpha prefix and the remote is numeric only and never the twain shall meet.

We call JAL yesterday to extend the voucher and they refused. I begged. Literally, I begged. She put me on hold a few times. I dont know why, the reply was always the same. No. I will campaign to get that bastard money back. It is their fault they cannot ...NO WILL NOT RE ROUTE ME home. Cannot, NO WILL NOT reroute me to another airport in Japan because they don't do that sort of thing!!!! So here i sit in one of the world's most expensive cities, paralysed and without help from JAL,

The first night at the airport was the worst as a thousand people stood in queue to beg their case. The thing is we shouldnt have had to. We should have stood in line to receive our new booking, hotel vouchers to cover the time and money to eat with. BUT no! each case was handled by how desperate the situation, how angry you were or upset or how young.



Tuesday, March 24 - Filet of Fish and Okonomiyaki

Breakfast was McD's at the Tokyo airport. We decided the Marroad International Hotel 'food' was HORRIBLE and obscenely expensive so we went to the airport to eat after hassling the JAL desk again. They had a filet of fish on the breakfast menu with a coffee and hashbrown. It was fine. The one in Kuta was better if that makes sense. D had the bacon McGriddle. It was DISGUSTING. The bacon was all fat. We pulled it to show you cuz it was inedible.

Lunch/Dinner was Okonomiyaki in the Shinjuki entertainment area. We had been hunting them all day. I mean really our day was about looking around not spending money and looking for good food. Tokyo has friggin let me down for food. All the lunch places had the EXACT same menu....

1. battered fried chicken breast served on rice
2. battered fried pork cutlet served on rice
3. pork ramen
4. chicen ramen
5. curry and rice (no veg in the yellow curry sauce like inKorea, just the sauce)
6. donburi bowls, ie. disassembled sushi in a bowl in rice
7. big pile of plain noodles.

It was weird. Every once in a hundred we'd stumble on an 'authentic' non chain looking ramen place and only a few sushi places. Okonomiyaki??? it was like looking for real boobs in Yaletown. It doesn't help that there rarely any english on the signs so you need to know the symbols. BUT what's weirder is that all the places had pictures of the food but what was the point, they all had the same stuff. What there to explain? Then when we found one in Shinjuki, they showed it to us in a bowl first. Then it dawned on us that maybe the where always doing that? The raw, unmixed batter in a bowl with the raw egg on top before mixing.

The place we found was full of tables of two with the griddle on the table. They bring you the batter in a large miso-type bowl and let you go at it. We obviously looked clueless so the lady explained what to do in Japanese. We were watching more than listening. We were told to mix. We mixed. We were told to oil the hot grill, we did. We spread it out with the small spoon and waited until golden on the bottom and dextrously flip and wait. Then they brought us the mayo. The sauces, chives and bonito flakes were on the table. We turned off the grill, dressed the okonomiyaki and ate it off the grill. mmmmmmm with a big ass jug of Kirin beer.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday, March 22nd - Bumbu Bali Curry and Curry

Breakfast Buffet

Lunch we ate breakfast late since we had to check out early.

Dinner was at our favourite Bumbi bali. I had my favourite from last week a Seafood Tumeric Coconut curry...sooooo Good. Hasil Laut Bumbu Kuning. D had a Chicken in Coconut. Siap Base Kalas Rp. Our last dinner had to be Balinese and HAD to be something we new would be good. Recipes to come. I have to find the book they sell back in Canada. The book was pretty pricey at the restaurant. They serve the food with a few side veg almost like Korean Banchan. There was spinach, green papaya salad, beans. Very tasty, unexpected and very welcome.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Saturday, March 21st - Seafood Grill

Breakfast was ...guess what? Hotel buffet.

Lunch, I was on my own since D when Diving at Shark Point off a smaller Gillie Island up the east coast. He had Nasi Goreng at a shack and picked up a Durian fruit along the way home. I got stuck at the Bali Collection mall trying to get to the Taiga centre which had gone bankrupt two years earlier. Stupid Lonely Planet! And it's a new edition too!!!! I had to walk 3 k in the noon sun with a shirt on not to get burnt. I thought I'd go insane.

Dinner was at the Bella Luna across the road. I had come across it will walking back from my 6 dollar massage and manicure. The guy said there'd be dancers and a free drink. The free drink was a shooter of an very dangerous Arak cocktail and the dancers were two teens. Though since the same dinner at the hotel would have been 10x, it was fine. The girls were okay actually. They were probably training at a school since they had very elaborate costumes and similar moves to a show we saw last week.

We got the mixed seafood grill meal. It came with a great crab and corn soup and dessert. The grill had lobster, crab, whole fish, king prawn, shrimp and squid skewers and salad. It was very good. Oh it came with the rice unlike at Chopsticks.

Photo coming when my USB thingy starts working.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday March 20th - Grilled Fish and bad Curry

Breakfast was the hotel buffet late-ish

Lunch we were out on an excursion up to the middle of the island near Baedugul, Lake area and Tanah Lot. We had a stop in a tourist buffet lunch like when we went to the volcano but this time we had to pay!!! The last place, our entrance was paid by the guide then our 'drink' order covered lunch. Not this place. Not only was it a rip off at 60k rupiah (relatively speaking) + drinks and 20% tax and tip on top and then the cheeky waiter when out of his way to tell us that service isn't included. Ha! It did not help that this buffet was not very good. Well, actually, maybe it was the army mess hall feeding trough feel to it. And no view of a volcano. Although the volcano had tuna satay and this place only had the minced fish type. Oh well. I did like that both did have the seafood satays. So many places if not all in Vancouver only offer Chicken satay. I only had some rice and a whole heap of the fish satay.

Dinner was a local by our hotel. We trolled up and down looking for something different but not 'international'. We did not want 'pizza'. We went back to the one from last week the Warung right across the road. It was empty now. I had the grilled snapper with balinese sauce and D had a chicken curry. It was gross. The fish was great. I wish it hadn't come with fries. I had thought we were both having grilled fish realising that it's one of th only guaranteed tasty bits at these places.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thursday, March 19th - Bumbu Bali Taster Menu

Dinner was Bumbu Bali. We both had their Taster Menu. It was FABULOUS, all of it. Though my tumeric seafood was better when ordered as a whole dish rather than just the taster size.
All restaurants in Bali charge 10% for tax and between 6-10% for service. Ridiculous considering it's a no tip culture apparently. Some cheeky servers will tell you service isn't included, incase you were blind and didn't see the service line on the bill!!

Rp. 290.000,-

Sambel be Tongkol
Tuna Salad
Sate Lilit
Minced Seafood Sate
Vegetable Salad
Gedang Mekuah
Green Papaya Soup with Seafood
Udang Mepanggang
Marinated Grilled Prawns
Cumi Cumi Mepanggang
Marinated Grilled Squid
Pesan be Pasih
Diced Fish Grilled in Banana Leaf
Ikan Bakar
Whole and Fillet of Fish
Marinated and Grilled
Hasil Laut Bumbu Kuning
Seafood in Yellow Coconut Sauce
Selection of Daily Vegetables
Nasi Kuning, Merah, Putih
Yellow, Red and Steamed Rice
Kue Bali
Selection of Balinese Cakes
Bubuh Injin
Black Rice Pudding
Jaja Batun Bedil
Glutinous Rice Flour Dumplings
in Palm Sugar Sauce
Seasonal Fruit
Balinese Coffee or Tea

Rp. 255.000,-
Sambel be Tongkol
Tuna Salad
Sate Babi, Ayam, Lilit
Pork, Chicken and Seafood Sate
Peanut Sauce
Vegetable Salad
Cram Cam
Clear Chicken Soup with Shallots
Ayam Betutu
Roast Chicken in Banana Leaf
Tum Bebek
Minced Duck in Banana Leaf
Be Celeng Base Manis
Pork in Sweet Soy Sauce
Be Sampi Mebase Bali
Braised Beef in Coconut Milk
Kambing Mekuah
Lamb Stew in Coconut Milk
Ikan Bakar
Grilled Fish Fillet
Pesan be Pasih
Diced Fish Grilled in Banana Leaf
Selection of Daily Vegetables
Nasi Kuning, Merah, Putih
Yellow, Red and Steamed Rice
Kue Bali
Selection of Balinese Cakes
Bubuh Injin
Black Rice Pudding
Jaja Batun Bedil
Glutinous Rice Flour Dumplings
in Palm Sugar Sauce
Seasonal Fruits
Balinese Coffee or Tea

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wednesday, March 18th - Wedding Day

Breakfast was hotel buffet.

Lunch was... snacks. We had a steady supply of chips, nuts and banana chips as well as a room bar of vodka, beer and rum going all week.

Dinner was the wedding reception. AMAZING. The Nusa Dua Beach Resort is Amazing. It was a full on taster of the balinesian cuisine with a few tidbits of international flare in the cocktail hour.

Canapes... sates, vege samosa, shrimp toast, spring rolls..
Starter ... tuna salad with chicken skewers and a soup course as well..... darn, I didn't keep the menu!! I'll look it up.
Postres...We had balinesian desserts as well as the wedding cake.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tuesday, March 17th - Volcanoes and Beaches

Breakfast buffet at hotel.

Lunch was at a lakeview retaurant by the (name tbc) two volcanoes in the middle/east of the island. Amazing view. Average indonesian fare. We had some balinesian coffee and hot cholate at a spice farm. The spices were over priced and a ripoff. Do not buy those things out side a open market.
We had a stop at a spice farm. We some funky orange fruit that looked like Barbapapas and had some balinese coffee and chocolate. Do no buy coffee or spices in these little tourist traps. You will pay 10x what you will in the market stalls.

Dinner was in Jimbaran on the beach with the wedding party. We ordered our fish or shellfish at the monger counter, they grill it the way we want and bring it to our table on the beach. Overpriced. Easily the most expensive meal we had. The food was very good but we had a better grill in Nusa Dua and Benoa for a fifth of the price. You are paying for the area... west coast.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Monday, March 16th - Vacation

It was holiday.....we took a day trip and I have vacation related amnesia as to what we ate this day :-(.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday, March 15th, Tulabem Wreck Dive

Breakfast, quick ass breakfast in the hotel buffet before catching our ride to the east coast for a dive. I had three tanks and D had two.

Lunch was on shore between dive 2 and 3. Mie Goreng with Tuna, fried noodle with tuna. So greasy you could have squeezed out enough oil to fry a filet of fish. I was burping for my whole third dive.

Dinner was ramen in our hotel room. We were so exhausted by the time we got back, it was impossible to think of going out.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Saturday, March 14th - Kuta and Chopsticks

Breakfast hotel buffet

Lunch was in Kuta. Noisy, congested, polluted and infested with tourists. I was suffocating. I had a filet of fish and Tamarillo Gelato (Dutch tomato). D had a Chap Chay (chap chai) with Ayam, stir fried vegetable with chicken, in this very small out of the way bnb on Poppies 2. It cost more for D's beer than his Chap Chay which was 3-4 dollars. Very tasty and quickly cooked in an insanely hot fire.
Dinner was Chopsticks at the Bali Mirage hotel. It's a chinese restaurant. You choose the size of the plate s/m/l. We were told that small was good enough for the two of us. Really the medium would probably have been better. Tea is charged and rice is a small bowl per serving. Overall, not worth it given in it's in a nice hotel and claims to be the best chinese in bali. It is not

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday, March 13th - Qualifying Scuba lesson and Nasi Goreng

Breakfast was hotel buffet... I'll try it all but here are examples of what is served on a regular basis:

1. Fruit bar
2. Salad bar
3. Egg station
4. Fry station (changes btw Banana fritters, Waffles, Pancakes, French Toast)
5. Burbur (congee) with condiments
6. Miso soup
7. Standard warm breakfast fare
8. Noodles and other indonesion food (since not all cultures differentiate breakfast food)
9. breads and pastries.
10. yogurt and cereals
11. coffee and juices

Lunch I skipped since we slepted in and had breakfast late

Dinner was across the street at a modest Warung. I had the Nasi Goreng vegetable (fried rice served with a fried egg on top). D had a whole grilled snapper with fries and balinesian sauce (chopped shallots, chilies and garlic). It's so disappointing when the place is called a Warung with authentic food and you get fries. My recommend is to seek out those that do not promote having western or russian food. Seriously, oddly enough, there is a proliferation of Russian script and dishes in Bali. I can only assume there is either some recipricol visa friendly relationship or massive marketing work up there. Our hotel was jam packed with Eli Lilly from Russia.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thursday, March 12th, First Day in Bali

Breakfast, hotel buffet.

Lunch, Frangipan indonesian restaurant at the Bali Collection mall in Nusa Dua.

No photos. I had a massive serving of two crabs for like 65k rupiah or 7 dollars. Very yummy. Oddly though the shell was very brittle so easy to crunch through. Tough it seemed like a lot of work in so much heat.

Dinner at the wonderful, though mosquito frought, BALINESE cuisine restaurant. (ask for a mosquito coil)
Very few places in Bali serve balinesian food. Nasi anything is indonesian. Goreng anything is likely indonesian as well. This swiss chef from the Grand Hyatt in Nusa Dua started a handful of restaurants to make Balinesian food more accessible to vistors.
Note the importance of rice to the bali.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wednesday, March 11th - Airplane Food

This was the first leg out of Vancouver. It's veggie meat patty cut in half and piled on itself. It was filling and nothing more. I also hate that I always get cheated on the dessert when I get a veggie meal. I highly recommend looking at the options for the veggie meals on your airlines. The vegan or asian veg are the best. You'll get tofu or something. But if you get ovo-lacto, you'll get some soggy, chefboyardee-esque pasta. What bugs me is that they'll randomly have a seafood dish, though largely have been removed for cost and allergies, and I can't have it. D was on his weird contra-jetlag thing where he doesn't eat for 17 hours before arrival. So I got his second leg meal. It was a spinach spagetti with some shrimp. It was pretty good.

Second Leg. Rice Pilaf with Eggplant and Mix Veg. It doesn't look like much but this was really good. Not good for Airline food but really tasty.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tuesday, March 10th - Korean Shrimp Yellow Curry and Rigoletto

Night before flight...empty fridges!

Made a yellow curry. Very similar to the Japanese variety but has vegetables. Traditionally, potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, ginger, chickpeas (mom) and a protein. The sauce is a yellow curry stock cube. Dead simple to use and available in all Asian Stores. Golden is the brand I grew up on. I've been using Glico and it's okay. None are spicy enough and I add chilis. You have to dilute the cube in hot water before to soften it up.

After frying all the veg in a large skillet or wok, add enough water to cover completely with the cube. Make sure the cubes are broken down. For a family sized curry, you're looking at using 3 of the cube demarcation. For 2, 1-2 cubes is fine depending on how thick you want it. If you don't use potato, you're going to have to add some starch to thicken. Actually, I think most of these cubes come with a thickening agent already. So be sure that it comes to a boil for it to be activated. I had a sweet potato, edamame and jumbo shrimp with the aromatics. We are about to go on holiday so I used what I had left.

It turned out GREAT!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Monday, March 9th - Shalin Leftovers

Sunday, March 8th - Bagels and Dhukboki and Sha Lin noodle

Breakfast was Bagel's and eggs at D's. O slept on the couch again.

Lunch.... O and I spent the day walking around the seawall. (can't remember lunch or if we skipped it cuz she was going to have korean later). We stopped for a coffee in the 49th Parallel on 4th. One of the best cap's in town, really.

Dinner, for O anyway was dukboki which we picked up at the hot to go spot at the H Mart. O loves Dhuk and it's not easy to find in SFO. The nearest kin is mochi dhuk which is the sweet, softer japanese cousin. Again, dhukboki is a hot mix of veg, fish cake and sliced plain dhuk in a chili sauce.

Dinner for us was when our guests got back from Whistler. We took them to Shalin noodle. They were from Montreal and confused why were taking them to what looked like a dump. We had to explain that appearances can be deceiving. It does look like a 'dump' and seedy but it is the towns top rated noodle house for taste, authenticity and price. We had a few noodle dishes and their dumplings which we never get as a twosome cuz it's just too big. G had a ramen bowl and her husband G had a pork dish since he though the other stuff looked dodgy (I think he might have been intimidated by the authenticity, they're from a small town outside montreal and they don't have many asian restaurants there) I had my regular number 2, cumin but I went with cutting noodle rather than shaved. I should have got the HELA. I wanted chunky. We both only finished half and kept some of the dumplings for the next day.

Saturday, March 7th - Whistler and Thai Takeout

Breakfast was EARLY because we're going to Whistler, woohoo.

D was in Montreal last week so the lovely man brought back bagels. The real stuff. Not the bread donuts in most places in Canada. I've got nearly into fisticuffs with some deluded vancouverites about 'real'bagels. One girl on my ultimate team is convinced that some of the 'pre-bagged' stuff you can get from Choices or Nester's markets are good bagels. Uh no. I don't thinkso. The real stuff is VERY DENSE and unmistakable if someone hands you but a small square. There are two varieties that qualify and those are Montreal style or New York style. Montreal style are thin, about the thickness of one of those giant pretzels and has a gaping hole (photo coming). A New York one is so fat that the hole is closed in. But BOTH are dense as George Bush is about diplomacy and wonderfully chewy. I had a friend from London who was living in New York and didn't believe me either until I found a great bakery in Brooklyn that made them fresh on site and gave her one. She was full after half (which is why it is 5 times the recommended daily allowance for carbs) and totally agreed that there is a distinct difference between real bagels and they're wannabes. There are two places in Vancouver that approximate decent bagels and those are Solly's (though way way too small) and this other place on Granville Island (though slightly too light and verging on bready).

Anyhoo, the best bagels in Montreal are from St. Viateurs, Fairmount and Fauxbourg. mmmmmm. D bought 2 dozen for me from St. Viatuers. 1 of sesame and 1 of poppy seed. If youbuy them fresh and hot from the oven, you can easily eat 2-3. When they've cooled down, you'd be filled up by one.

Lunch was at Whistler. I had my regular Salad combo. Very filling when you choose the pasta salad. O had a chili bowl.

Dinner was Thai takeout back in town at the 24/7 thai house up on Broadway and Oak next to the 7/11. It was pretty good. I always try to find a good Phad Kee Meow but they didn't have it. I knew I was in trouble. I'd probably gone to the wrong one. D said Broadway and Oak and he meant south west side. I went north east. We were going to have takeout chinese at Chilis on 6th and Ash but they were closed!!!!! On a Saturday. WTF? Their eggplant is good. Greasy but the scheuan eggplant is always but it's good and hot and fresh. But they were closed on a Saturday!!!! WTF. I had some seafood noodle thing, O had a phad thai bento box and D had a Phad See Ew. O's Phad Thai bento thing was the best deal. It had a salad, roll and Phad thai for ten bucks. I think I'll keep looking for the best Phad Kee Meow (must have wide noodles... remember that and THAI BASIL!!!)

24/7 Thai
986 W. Broadway
Vancouver, BC
V5Z 1K7
(604) 568-8680

Friday, March 6th - Granville Island Market and Cognac Cream Crevette

Breakfast was cereal at home with soy milk. O, my sister had cereal and toast.

Lunch was at the Granville Island Market. It's a great place, close to downtown across the False Creek, that has fresh produce and other market goods. They also have a decent food court. O had a perogy plate. (photo coming) I never go there because I find it a bit dodgy that it's run by an asian family and not a polish family. If I want to pay extra for perogy other than the frozen kind at the supermarket, I sort of want to know that they're somewhat more authentic than what I could do myself. Years ago when I first visited vancouver I went to the same stand and it was a eastern european woman running it but still the same mass produced, perfect looking perogy. Actually, right behind the counter you can see the freezer with the perogy in there. That first time I came, when I was still living in Montreal, there were far less sushi places and there was this GREAT perogy place on Denman near sunset beach around where the Vera's burger place is now. I think the shop that had the perogy place is now a sushi place. I tried to go back five years later and it was gone. But they had clearly handmade perogy with a dozen different flavours. I imagine that the white dough filled with cheese and potato fell out of favour during the Atkins craze of the late nineties. Oh well. Progress. Whacha gonna do.

O's perogies, steamed, came with a 'healthy' dollop of sour cream and fried onions and a side of boiled cabbage salad.

I had a salad at the Fresh Salada and Smoothie stand near the top end of the food court near the Coffee bar. I had a selection of three salads and a half pita pocket. I had the, couscous and fresh basil, mini cheese ravioli with broccoli and carrot in a vinagrette and a three bean salad.

Afterwards, O had a walnut and carrot muffin and I had a vegan brownie at the bakery next to the Soup place. They were just okay so I'm not going out of my way to remember the name. Though I have to say the muffin was a good size and looked chocked full of nutty and carrotty goodness. My brownie on the other hand, though chocolatey was very cakey and not fudgy AT ALL.

O and I also bought a bottle of craft Sake on Granville Island. It is handmade in small batches and sells out all the time. It is just amazing. You've had sake in sushi restaurants or at a bar, you don't realise the full extent of the potential of this rice wine. It is well and truly a WINE. But the good stuff in the stores are REALLY REALLY expensive and for the most part, people don't perceive the value but you would if you tried it. There are hints of fruit and body that is not found in the cheaper more 'methyl' varieties. But if you buy it on Granville it's a reasonable price for VERY VERY good sake. http://www.artisansakemaker.com/

O bought a half bottle of their most expensive one, for 22$ and 35$ for a full. The black label, the Jenmai Nama Gensu. It is the most subtle, dry and full bodied with hits of maple. It does not have as much sediment as the blue but really do not fear the sediment, it's part of the craft charm. We also bought a bottle of their NEW SPARKLING SAKE. It's made from their 'middle' line in the red label called Junmai Nama. It is sweeter and lighter and melony, strawberry elements. The small stoppered bottle cost 24$ and the effervescence added to the delightfully complex flavour. Since it is unpasteurised and not boiled beyond recognition, you are encouraged to finish the bottle in a month of opening and 3 months of purchase. We had the sparkling for dinner (photo to come)

For dinner, D had house guests staying from Montréal and they cooked us dinner. (photos to come) We had a few lovely wines, courtesy of D our host. The first was a great Cava, Pares Balta Brut. Spain makes alot of great sparkling white wines that I think rival very decent champagnes. There are some that I even prefer to champagne and prosecco. Under 30$ a bottle, this is a great alternative to the french selection. With dinner we had two reds, Southermost from Patagonia in Argentina. For around 20$, it is a FANTASTIC cabsav choice. Full bodied, decent length not too sharp, like I like to say, it has round corners. The other was a Matchbook Syrah 2006 from Bunnigan Hills. Lighter than the Southernmost but still has decent length. I can't stand reds that give up right after they hit your tongue.

G and G made dinner. To start was an avocado salad with chopped red onion and apple and simple vinagrette. Lovely. The main was a shrimp in a creamy cognac sauce with the classic frenchy mire poire, or aromatic staple in french cooking, carrots, celery and onion minced. Similar to a sofrito in spanish or holy trinity in cajun or ginger/garlic/scallion in korean, it forms the base to alot of the cooking. They served it on rice. Very rich. the shrimp they bought on Granville island were amazingly plump and fresh. Dessert was a lemon tart.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Thursday, March 5th - Indian buffet and Poutine

Breakfast was cereal with soymilk. I bought some Omega Flax bread, I think it's from Demptster's for O. She always has toast. She had it with my olive oil spread because she didn't find the Cashew-ola (or cashew chocolate spread).

Lunch was with O, my sister at Robson's All Indian Bar. It was an indian buffet that O had a craving for. I had a yen for sushi. I should know better about buffets. I always eat too much. Too bad it wasn't sushi but maybe it's better because there is way too much rice and I'd like to keep slim before holiday. I'm pretty bloated now and I had to skip dinner. But at least it was mainly veg and probably fat from the sauce but low carb Though I did have a decent amount of naan. The buffet itself is missable. If you're a veggie or a fishy, there is not enough choice. It had lentils, potato and a veggie jalfrezzi mix. The one up the block, India Gate I think only has two. My sister liked the butter chicken and the dessert was okay. The one that was 9.99 for buffet didn't have a salad or dessert. This place also brought out fresh naan when we sat and it was real. Some places have 'mass made' where it's like the 'in bag supermarket' type. This was the goods. This place was decorated nicer than others but it still attracts a steady stream of Indian teenagers coming for a belly full. Even the Owner who cashed us out commented that she was confused by the creditcard because most of the time it's teenagers with debit cards. The buffet was 11.90 and was worth the extra 2 bucks compared to what I saw at the other buffet on the block. The other dishes on the a la cart were about 8 bucks. I think I might have that next time instead.

Dinner was Fritz on Davie and Howe. THIS PLACE IS GREAT. It's often packed solid. It does belgian style fries in cones with a large selection flavoured dips. They also have a large selection of poutines including smoked meat! But really their classic fries or poutine is worth sitting on the little benches. O had most of it since she was already hungry again.

We shared some of the gigantic toblerone that a friend gave us for the Superbowl party. mmmm Toblerone.

Photo is some DHUK I bought for Lee to snack on.

Wednesday, March 4th - Muffin and Mandu

Humday and my sister is coming into town BUT my boss is also in town so I was super lazy today. That means I was working until 11 pm last night and was working at 7 this morning. Fuck.

Breakfast was Optimum Blueberry and Cinnamon with Soy Milk.

Lunch was a quick fruit and fibre muffin and coffee.

Dinner was duhk and fried seafood mandu with chili garlic dip with some mirin. I bought the dhuk at the HMart at Robson and Seymour. It's a smaller urban version of the Korean Supermarket. In the suburbs the HMarts are huge. They have fresh 'prepacked' kits for seafood stews and other korean dishes. The bigger ones also tend to have little stalls on along the walls that sell food and are run by families. They are reminiscent of old style Asian markets where it's a old country market.

Outside the one in North Toronto, they even have little shacks that sell hot street food. My dad's favorite is the little stuffed pastry that has a batter rougly like a pancake and stuffed with redbean paste and pressed into a fish shaped mold that looks like a coy. (photo coming) He told me this great story about when he was a kid just after the war and they had lost everything, and he had no pocket money, they used to hang around the stall that used to sell the fish (I'll have to get the name from dad). The stall owner used to shoo them away all the time. They always went back though hoping that the stall owner would feel bad for them and give them freebies. He never did. They cost like 2 bucks for 5 fish and they're about the size of a small girl's hand and pastry bit is thin so there is loads of filling. I'm guessing that around wartime, that they were probably more dough than bean which was more expensive and rare.

Anyhoo. I bought the 'party pack' (photo coming) of Dhuk. O loves dhuk and it's hard to get in SFO. It's more Chinese than Korean. So the 'party pack' isn't as crazy as it sounds it's about 350 g and has like a variety of types or shapes. This one had just plain, small balls with sesame sugar, larger balls with sweet eggyolk and yellow bean. My fave has the black beans but the party pack with it was too big. Actually my other favorite is this try coloured one that is slightly more 'crumbly' than glutinous. mmm A long time ago, it was a luxury and only for special occasions because rice was so scarce and saved for the rich and the military. But now I can buy a party pack for 4.99 :0D

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Tuesday, March 3rd - Steamed Bok Choy and fried fish cake

Breakfast was the same Natures Path Optimum berry cereal with Soy Milk. I wish I had a fruit to put in it. Though prefer when a cereal is slightly under sweet than too.

Lunch was a fruit and fibre muffin with peanut butter from the IGA up the block. 1.19 for a hug muffin. Not quite 'headsized' like I like to say about those massive muffins. Now that does not included those muffins you see at Costco or ski resorts where the base is the same diameter as the top and is basically a small cake. No. A headsized muffin is bestowed only upon those muffins whose base is pretty big, compared to the incredible shrinking muffin at Tim Hortons, and the top blooms into a massive top that is the size of a head of a child! I first coined it in Johanessburg, SA. The nescafe cafe had these cornmeal muffin that could have fed me for a full day! Plus, I was planning on skipping lunch but W was working in my office today. I find this a tad annoying but I'm supposed to be a mentor. Comeon! Gimme some space! So we went for food.

Dinner was another typical me comfort food. Brown jasmine rice, 4 steamed bok choy (between normal and baby) and fried korean fish cakes. You can get these in all sorts of shapes and flavours and I think I mentioned it in the Dhuk Bok Ki entry. It is a puree patty not unlike say the concept of a chicken nugget but fish. You can get sheets that you cut in to strips for stirfry, sushi or stews. Or balls, coloured often, you see in Chinese groceries in soups. These came in cubes with a fried coating. I tossed the cooked rice with a 1t of fish sauce, 1t of soy sauce, 1 big T of chili garlic sauce and sesame oil. I fried the fish cubes in vegetable oil and then patted them with a paper towel. mmmmmmm

Monday, March 2nd - Dahl and TVP

For lunch, I popped down to Kishu River near the office. It's a franchise all over Vancouver. It is run of the mill, fill your bell sushi. It's not great but it'll do for work lunch. I had a sushi combo for 7.95 with a BC Roll (it's a BBQ Salmon Skin and cucumber roll), California and Veggie. The veggie roll in this chain reminds me of Korean Kimbap. It has tobiko pickle, spinach, carrot and cucumber. You get a miso soup with a combo. My friend got the Tempura udon which looked like a fantastic deal. I think I'd go for that next time. It comes in crazy, un-enviro four parcels: 1 noodle, 1 broth, 1 veg and 1 with tempura. You build it when you sit down. It was only 5.95!

Kishu River Sushi
Robson (near Richards)

Dinner was more dahl. But I wanted to try to make it again with less broth. I did a one to 1 ratio and it was still too much. Darn it! I added some TVP (Texturised Vegetable Protein). It's like veggie meat chunks. I like to add it to stuff when I need a more substantial texture and can't be bothered with fish. It's interesting how easy it is to revert to being a lazy cook when you only have you to cook for. I mean I've always loved food and cooking but when I was in England, I got super lazy. The culture, the groceries and the lifestyle totally promotes this. They make it easy. So not that I've got more work and now go to the gym after work rather than the morning, I like to be efficient with dinner. But when it's the two of us, I'm more motivated to make a decent meal. I added the left over dahl from last night. It was perfect 'comfort' secret when I'm alone food. D would not be amused if I tried to serve this with nothing else. He'd say you meal is a side dish.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Sunday, March 1st - Thai Dahl and Bap

After last night, I slept in and so breakfast was not an issue. Of course, I did have two dinners so it wasn't really an issue.

Lunch was just snacking on popcorn and chocolate covered edamame as I did indoor chores. Not at all hungry.

Dinner was an experiment. I experiment alot less with D. D likes recipes. Anyhoo, I was out of curry powder or paste so I wanted dahl (stewed yellow lentils) but I only had thai green curry paste. I thought about stewing them in coconut milk but didn't want the added fat since I had to finish the brandade. As well, I made sure to not use salt.

Thai 'Dahl' and Bap

I soaked 3/4 lentils in warm water, rinsing and changing the water occasionally a few hours ahead. You don't have to but if you don't then you have to boil them for alot longer and I don't like the idea of having the stove on for hours.

Bring 2.5 times as much water as lentils to a boil.
Drain and add lentils.
2-3 cloves Garlic.
1T of green Thai curry paste.
1t ginger

low boil for at least half an hour but check and stir. you should play with the water level to your taste. some people like their dahl to be soupy. some people like it as thick as play dough. I like it on the thick side but tonight I think I added too much water.

BAP is african white cornmeal or grits. bring 1 - 1.5 cups water to a boil (normally you want to salt). measure out half a cup of white fine (medium) cornmeal. with a whisk or spoon in one hand, 'rain' the cornmeal into the water and stir briskly or it will lump and it is a terrible job getting those lumps out. virtually impossible actually. I let it lump because of my need to put stuff away as soon as possible. Darn it!

Serve the Dahl on top of the Bap and if you like have a protein like grilled shrimp or salmon. I did not. I had the never ending brandade. It was a very warm and comforting meal. I think I would do this dish again but use way less water. I think a thicker dahl would work better with the bap and I added too much water because the yellow curry cubes I use normally thicken the water and since I substituted I should have used less liquid.