Sunday, October 31, 2010

Elevated Tea

Once in awhile, I like to create my own cherished moments where I can sit, indulge and enjoy my own company. Every person is different—what they love to indulge in—is it a surprise that mine is food?

My parents received this fine China set for their wedding more than 30 years ago and I never knew of its existence till my sister discovered it in old boxes about a year before they were divorced (about six years ago). We took it to the new house but my father never used it.

I grew to love the fine gold trim and petite delicate pink flowers with soft ridges.

I've been drinking this wonderful loose leaf Moroccan green tea infused with peppermint that I received at my friend Chantal's engagement party a few weeks ago. Then tonight, my sister gave me a lemon tart from Southbrook Farms. So I decided a perfect cap to the weekend, and start to a new week, would be to have both with the fine China.

I thought about reading or watching TV while drinking and eating, but realized quickly, sitting in the quiet peace of my house, and tasting every sip and bite carefully would be the most pleasurable. The tart had a perfectly tender, slightly crumbly crust, and the lemon filling was smooth and silky. It was a timeless 10 minutes.

It's so refreshing and soothing when you take the time to treat yourself.

The Cleanest Chinatown I Ever Saw

On the first Sunday I was in Singapore, my Uncle Edward let me loose to explore Chinatown on my own. It was a great sight to see, as the city was gearing up for Chinese New Year 2010.

It doesn't look like much at first, but when you walk a little farther down, the streets are suddenly lined with lots of stalls and shops selling all sorts of Chinese-y things.

Like teapots...

And chili ornaments (yum!) ...

And chopsticks...

And elegant paper fans...

And high-end chopstick sets...

And wooden abacuses and chess sets.

Plus food!



Fake flowers...

And knick-knacks and toys galore! For some reason, these fat little buddhas and Chinamen reminded me of my cousins in Florida even though they're the fittest little Tae-kwon-do black belt masters ever.

I thought this was a rather beautiful building in Chinatown.

Singapore has all these positive signs for random things.

I randomly found some pretty yummy cream puffs at a Chinese pastry shop for less than a CDN$1. (Canadian dollar to Singapore dollar is about 1 to 1.30.)

I was craving an egg tart too but this one was so disappointing. It tasted gross actually. Maybe the worst egg tart in recent memory.

Dried Chinese sausages and chicken right on the street!! Kind of gross, actually... considering the heat and humidity.

Asian candy. (I didn't try any. I don't have fond memories of Asian candy as a child.)

I saw these little dresses and thought of the New Baby my sister was going to have in a few months. Turned out to be a girl. :)

I visited this Buddhist temple. And decided afterward, the story of Buddha means nothing to me. (Though I still have faith in Buddhist principles and concepts of compassion.)

I still prayed for strength. (To whom, I wasn't sure...) And I love the smell of incense.

Inside where the monks were chanting and praying.

Riding the elevator to the upstairs museums. I had to cover myself with a shawl and sarong (lent out at the temple entrances for free) because I was wearing shorts, a sleeveless top and sandals.

There was a rooftop orchid garden but I didn't see the orchids that I'm used to.

The most memorable Chinatown experience to date.
Love is not a thought, it is an action. And each loving action that we take infuses us with more energy for loving action in the future.
-Rolf Gates, Meditations from the Mat

Friday, October 29, 2010

A woman of great taste

It would be too easy if I were talking about myself.

I'm talking about my friend Yasmin (@yasminATlesauce) who runs an amazing food blog at She's a true lover of food -- someone who if feeling lazy about dinner would braise leeks as the easy way out. Her blog consists mostly of her vegetarian recipe creations, and she believes in eating well from tomato on toast for lunch to day-long cooking feast for friends and family.

This past summer, she recently resigned from over eight years at St. Joseph's Media working in various marketing roles in the consumer magazine industry to embark on a career that intersects her love for food, photography, writing and publishing. I love when people reach that point where they're ready to leap into the unknown. I strongly have faith in the idea that when you have nothing, everything is possible. (Not to say she has nothing but you get the idea, I hope!)

In any case, after a year of being one of her religious blog followers, I finally pushed my own lazy butt to cook one of her drool-over-the-computer-screen-worthy recipes.

I was poking around my fridge and noticed some parsley that I just knew was going to go bad any day now. Then it clicked in my head -- I remembered I read a post by Yasmin about how herbs never go bad in her house because she uses it in all sorts of creative ways. So a quick search and I found the fried almond and olive pasta with fresh cilantro and parsley recipe.

I was amazed at how simple it was to make yet so, so delicious. I shared the meal with a friend who came over last minute and doesn't even like olives but he was so impressed at how good it was. Below is the photo he took on his Blackberry but it doesn't really give the dish justice, so you have to check her photos out. (P.S. I just used rotini instead of linguine because it's all I had.)

If you're looking for food inspiration, I highly recommend you check out

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pause: Subway Love

I stepped on to a crowded subway train this morning. A man drew my attention to a Modern Family banner ad above the doors I came through. "Now that makes my day," he said to his friend.

At first I thought he was referring to the hilarious TV show that was airing a new episode tonight. Then I noticed two subway transfers folded into white paper hearts that were tucked into the ad.

I couldn't help smile at how our world is wonderfully connected -- that in the smallest ways, in places and times we would never expect, we find the light of love.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Zouk Dance Break

Before I continue my food adventures in southeast Asia, I have to pause to record the first night I went to Zouk, one of the biggest clubs in Singapore where all the major European DJs play.

 Outside the club...

 Inside the club with 2ManyDJs from Belgium loving the crowd...

 ...and the crowd loving them back.

Oh, those crazy Singaporeans... Or is it the Belgians?

One food/drink-related matter I discovered I like: a popular mixer with vodka in Singapore is room temperature green tea. I was skeptical at first but it tastes like tea! Easy to like.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Brockton General

Brockton General is a new low-key bar on Dundas Street West that opened in early to mid-August. The kitchen serves a simple menu Thursdays through Saturdays, while the bar is opened every day.

The walls are bare, and the tables and chairs look like they were plucked out of a grandmother's basement, but the wait staff and buzzing, laid back patrons makes this place easily attractive.

I came on a Friday night for a drink before a dinner reservation at Enoteca Sociale, which is right across the street. Then spontaneously returned the next night to sample its locally sourced, daily changing menu.

By the looks of the patterns, the China plates seem to have came from the same grandma's basement, but I absolutely love the repurposed old classic English porcelain China sets.

For starter, we shared pickled radishes with fried ricotta, dressed with parsley, a vinaigrette and sliced chilies (pictured above). I've never had pickled radishes before and I'm not a huge parsley fan, but I like the clean, simple, fresh tastes.

We split two mains: a poached egg on brioche toast. And a lovely, lovely lamb shoulder, done pulled-pork style, served atop a grilled eggplant, dotted with goat cheese cream. It was so dreamy and textured, I forgot to take a photo.

For dessert, we tried fried brioche dough, done in a kind of beignet style, with husk cherries (which are these tiny yellow tart balls that are nothing like the sweet bing cherries I love...oh crap, I completely missed cherry season this year!) and a lovage-mint sauce.

We each had a glass of Ontario wine, and it came out to just over $80 all together.

It will be really interesting to see how the place evolves as it's young cooks just doing what they love to eat and play with. It didn't blow me away but I loved the atmosphere and the people.