May 2017: Come What May……

The month of May….

With no expectations and no set plans for the time being…

I took each day as is…reflect, cherish and enjoy..

Come What May…

Playing Tourist in our own town: Vancouver Foodie Tours’ Granville Island Market Tour, Stave Falls and Sewell Marina’s Sea Safari 

Have you ever walked around in your own city as if you were a tourist?  My hubby and I love doing this in Metro Vancouver especially during the spring and summer season!  As our beloved city is growing rapidly, very often we are very surprised by how quickly it changes, how much there is to see, and how little we actually know about our hometown.

For the past 3 years we are very fortunate to be participants in the Destination BC’s Tourism Challenge program ; every year over 20,000 tourism industry participants are invited to experience Vancouver and BC region to enrich their knowledge in order to share their experience with visitors from around the world.

Since the end of April,  we had such a blast going around town and took part in some activities/tours which I think even locals would enjoy…

Vancouver Foodie Tours’ Granville Island Market Tour:

A fun, informative and tasty Sunday morning spent with 14 others and our wonderful tour guide Tracy at Granville Island Market, making stops and sampling tasty bites at Edible Canada, JJ Bean, Terra Breads, Oyama Sausage and Co (charcuterie 7 types), Benton Brothers Cheese, #1 Orchard (Apple) , Granville Island Tea Co (their famous chai tea) and Lee’s Donuts (freshly made!).

First Stop at Edible Canada – Roasted vegetables
Charcuterie from Oyama Sausage and Co. : 7 types for tasting!
Ever had a fresh made donut?

We were introduced to these wonderful local vendors and see the best they have to offer, at the same time we were learning a bit about the history and establishment of the Public Market.  I often attend cooking classes and this is my second food walking tour (first one back in September 2016 in Halifax)! Thank you Tracy and Vancouver Foodie Tours for the wonderful experience!

http://www.foodietours.ca

Sewell Marina’s Sea Safari:  Beautiful Howe Sound – sights and sound of the sea

Christie’s Islet – Bird sanctuary

Sewell Marina’s Sea Safari is very enthralling guided tour: Boarding the 30 feet rigid and sturdy inflatable boat at beautiful Horseshoe Bay,  we  took the 1630 tour (last one of the day the Circle Tour) and spent 2 hours soaring through the stunning Howe Sound waters, taking in the beautiful scenery (Anvil Island, Gambier Island, Lions Bay, Mystery Falls, Christie’s Islet, Bowen Island just to name a few), admired the mighty coastal mountains and enjoyed the sightings of wildlife (bald eagle, seals), all from a safe distance !

Our tour guide Casey was very friendly and knowledgeable, we were also blessed with beautiful weather and the seas were calm…overall a truly exceptional experience!

BC is truly stunning and I am proud to call it my home.

Entrance to the dock

http://www.sewellsmarina.com

Driving on our own: BC Hydro Stave Falls, Kilby Museum (at Harrison Mills, BC) and Bridal Falls 

Did you know Canada’s first free cooking school of its kind held a five-day electric cooking demonstration at the Vancouver Hotel from May 03 to 7 in 1926?  This is one of the cooking “trivia” I just learned from our trip to BC Hydro Powerhouse at Stave Falls.  This 100-year-old power generating facility is also a National Historic Site of Canada, where visitors can tour the generator facilities and browse through the museum where you can see old versions of home appliances.  I was so excited to see the old cooking elements (the fancy models have a “dish warmer” above the stove) and learning about the history of cookery, certainly a bit geekish…

The facility is in pristine condition, the dam is majestic, and down by the lake there is a beautiful camping site, so you may want to spend a little more time to explore the area.

Stave Falls Dam and Power House

 

From Stave Falls we drove another 45 minutes to visit Kilby Historic Site (another stop for the challenge).  Located at the junction of Harrison and Fraser Rivers, it is a historic site of a once thriving community.  It felt as if we were travelling back in time to the early 1900’s, the highlight was going through the General Store Museum, learning about the history and listening to fascinating stories told by their knowledgeable volunteers.  Did you know back in those days people can order groceries by mail?  That was the “primitive” version of internet!  There is also very  simple gift shop / restaurant on site where they offer pies, soups and sandwiches; the egg salad sandwich was very good and I had it with a hearty vegetable soup, it all felt very rustic and homey.

BLT for him and Egg Salad for me…plus a Hearty Delicious Healthy Vegetable Soup

 

Ramp leading up to the Historic General Store Museum

 

“original” goods in the General store…I wonder…

We drove another 30 minutes from Kilby to Bridal Veil Falls, Chilliwack BC; we figured we were already out there so why not drive further?  This is the first time seeing Bridal Veil Falls up close, last time four years ago on the train travelling to Jasper, Alberta. We took the 15 minute hike (a little longer for me and that moment I decided I must get back into shape!) through the beautiful woods; it was almost at the end of the day so it was not crowded at all. The fresh air within the woods and the sounds of the waterfall

Bridal Veils Falls – first time seeing the Falls up close !

http://www.kilby.ca

http://www.bchydro.com

Returning to the Pear Tree (4120 East Hastings, Burnaby, BC)

http://www.peartreerestaurant.net

Classic Flamed Gin Tomato Soup with Chive Whipped Cream….the refreshing taste of the tomato really came through

There are so many dining options available in Vancouver and sometimes we forget the older established favorites…we just returned to Pear Tree with our friends for birthday celebrations.  Although it is a bit out-of-the-way, the food is very fresh and unpretentious,  and the service is truly attentive and exceptional. Once again I ordered their vegetarian menu (you can ask for the menu) and asked the same old question from two years ago: is it really vegetarian?  For sure it will not take me another two years to dine at this fine establishment again.

Butternut Squash Risotto : packed with flavor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 2016: Heart..Passion..Patience and Gratitude

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From my heart to yours…..Thank you (OO)
Reflections in Deep Frosty December… Words to Live By: Heart, Passion, Patience and Gratitude….

Wish you all a wonderful, healthy and prosperous 2017!

Catch me on December 28th Wednesday morning 1030 am Sharp on Fairchild Radio 1470 Deborah Moore’s program; we will be chatting about food and much more!

It’s all about Heart…..

From Instagram to Kitslano : MaknMing (1629 Yew Street, Vancouver, BC )

This is perhaps one of the highly anticipated restaurant openings in 2016: Chefs Makoto Ono and Amanda Cheng (previously from Gastown’s Pidgin) has opened their new restaurant “MaknMing”, a Japanese French fusion restaurant earlier this month. I must admit I was a fan already (because of a creative kohlrabi dan dan noodle dish at Pidgin), and I had the pleasure to meet them earlier because of Instagram and Seafood City (that is another lovely story)!   We dined at their cosy eatery two weeks ago, enjoyed some delicious foods which they have cooked their hearts out and their crew provided us with impeccable service.  I simply love their tagline “#smallteambighearts!  Congratulations again Chefs for your opening, look forward to my next visit!

Check out their restaurant (open for dinner only, reservations accepted, check their website and follow their Instagram account (same name) for updates..

https://www.maknming.com/

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My favourite dish: Dungeness Crab Miso Noodle
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The Non-drinker enjoying this Gin & Tonic: this drink is easily my 2016 favourite cocktail
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First Bite teaser: Carrot “tartare” with house made rice cracker
 

And Passion…..

Last Saturday I literally had chocolate for breakfast when I visited Dominique and Cindy Duby’s Wild Sweets Atelier Store in Richmond (by Steveston Hwy)!  The chocolates were so delicious and Mr. Duby was providing us with information on their products, I was blown away by their professional knowledge and certainly can feel their passion…We bought their “tea cake’ (a modern version of a fruit cake) for Christmas Dinner Dessert and everyone enjoyed it so much!   I was thrilled to know they also have tastings and afternoon events available for booking online and I am already coordinating with my food pals to pay a visit in the New Year.    Great to meet you both Dominique and Cindy, look forward to learning much more about chocolates and cocoa!

Wild Sweets (#2145 – 12191 Hammersmith Way, Richmond, BC)

http://dcduby.com/

https://www.visitrichmondbc.com/listing/wild-sweets-by-dominique-%26-cindy-duby/628/

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Crispy Orange Cherry Tea Cake – taste like a traditional fruit cake with a crunchy texture
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a sneak peek…before we devoured this delicious dessert..

And a little Patience goes a long way in anything we do….and always cook with Love

Last month (See my November posting) I made a very traditional Japanese dish “Tai meshi (snapper rice); earlier this month I decided to tackle ramen and a different fish dish..Another challenge working on my focus and dedication to my craft, honing skills and building my patience..

A long time ago an old Japanese friend taught me how to make the Japanese braised chashu (pork) using pork shoulder butt (less fattening), ginger, leek, green onion, soy, mirin and sake.  I marinade (soy/ginger/leek/green onion/sake) the pork shoulder over night; next day sauteed more leeks and ginger, add marinade to katsuobushi dashi (bonito flakes/kombu) to create the braising liquid, seared the pork shoulder and slowly “braised” (lading braising liquid over meat and flipping sides)

 

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Homemade Shoyu Ramen: I made the Ramen Eggs, Japanese braised Chashu (pork), bone broth and shoyu tare (for seasoning); I used Chinese thin noodles (Shanghai style from T & T Supermarket)
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Clean bones in the pot with daikon, leek, carrot and pork shank ; cleaning, brushing, plus 3 hours of simmering and skimming: Patience is virtue
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Cooking up a storm through the snow storm – you can see the milky clean soup!
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Panko crusted sea bream fillet with spinach and cauliflower, asparagus and shiitake fried “rice” with ginger soy sauce (which I created also for my hubby’s lamb chop dish
And for Christmas…I made a sockeye salmon pate (steamed salmon in lemon and a little sake, flaked and mixed with combination of Greek yogurt and Ojai lemonaise (1:1), grated lemon zest, chopped dill (don’t over do it as it can be overpowering), lemon juice, season to taste with black pepper and orange and lime sea salt as seasoning (Vancouver Island Salt Co – non-flavoured sea salt works also, I just happened to have this in my pantry!).  I also made fresh cranberry sauce (fresh cranberries (1 bag) with blood orange juice and zest (1 big or 3 small blood orange), Cointreau (orange liquer) and brandy, lemon juice and zest, cinnamon stick, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar (a drizzle) and sea salt (I also used the orange and lime flavoured salt, regular works) –  remember to fold in the zest almost towards the end of cooking process, and always adjust the seasoning accordingly.

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Santa is Drooling!

And Gratitude Always ….Thank you to everyone… from my heart to yours..

That’s a wrap for 2016 – see you in the New Year (OO)

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Whether it’s sharing fun times and wonderful food….
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Or Keeping me in your thoughts – a date,  a phone call, message or thoughtful gifts (Picture: the fabulous macarons from Indulge With Mimi – thanks Deb M)…

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Or sharing a new experience together….(picture at Cirque Du Soleil’s Toruk )
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Or working together and give back to the community… (Thanks UGM and the other wonderful volunteers and my regular team mates)
 

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And Thank you to Ms. Deborah Moore for having me on your program …3 years and counting.. ..