Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Busy Busy Busy! Eat! Eat! Eat! Drinks too of course

July was nuts!
Not like peanuts, almonds or pistachios, but more like bananas!
And I know today is August 31, but I don't remember the other 30 days that have apparently, according to that calendar thing, happened.

Work travel was crazy and a long awaited vacation to San Fransisco & Cannon Beach with dad.  And in the midst of all the action, this adorable face has come into my life and filled my heart!

I introduce to you Cody the Golden Retriever! 

Cody found me while I was searching for a canine companion on Dogwood Rescue. He comes from a loving family that came upon some hard times and needed to focus on some big life changes.  He has come into my life and given nothing but loving affection and appreciation.  He's my SweetFace, Handsome Pants good boy!

Not to leave out Dad:

San Franisco and Cannon Beach were great!  Dad enjoyed himself, as did I!  Perfect weather the whole week, and of course, yummy food!

July and August have been a drag in my kitchen.  I go through food funks.  I get bored of cooking, and I tire of the same 'ol dishes I 'create'.  So I really don't have inspiring recipes or insights to share all too much here today, but rest assured, I truly enjoy the fall and totally look forward to diving into some harvest meals.
I will share some vacation food fun though. Since my July travels involved work, I of course squeezed in some family time, sisterly:
 This was the most incredible salad! OMG, we all practically devoured it all in that dinner seating.  I couldn't tell you what was in it, but it was vegetarian and included a bag of crunchie goodies, like you would find in any grocery store, but wouldn't think to add to a salad!  I'll se if I can get the recipe in writing, but as with most chefs, most creations are free form.
 And really, who doesn't love roasted baby potatoes with balsamic?
 Look away if you're vegan or fully vegetarian.  I still do consume fish, although very rarely and will likely eliminate completely next year.  But this was some divine salmon; cedar plank with soy and maple with capers and candied olives. To die.
Chef Ian always puts on an amazing spread.  

Following the drop-in to the sisters, back home and then back on a flight to San Fran y'all!

 Necessary travel plan: land, check into hotel, park yourself on a patio in the sun = bring on the wine and food!  We found ourselves a great table at Market Bar
This was seriously fantastic guacamole and tasty champagne (the real stuff, Roederer!).

Ducca, at the Westin where we found our heavenly sleep, served up a delish grilled peach salad with crostini and goat cheese. YUM

 A reservation I had looked forward to was at The Stinking Rose in Little Italy.  A truly fun village to walk around....And boy did we do some serious walking in San Fran.   
 The interior of The Stinking Rose was oh so Italian:
 (and check out the white sign above)

 And you must have the dish of simmering garlic fleurs.
Followed by a kick ass pesto pasta!

And the next day we toured back to Little Italy and made our stake out on a patio we had seen the night before.  The perfect spot to while away the hours with red wine, and more pasta. And I cannot find the name of the restaurant anywhere! So if you go, you'll see the patio tables easily..

 And just down the street you can find every flavour of salt water taffy you can imagine! My bag of sweets cost $25!  I have a long way to go finish them off.

Off to Cannon Beach!
Here is where go on a culinary adventure.
Divine Dining.

EVOO is a gem in the heart of Cannon Beach.  Chef Bob and his wife Lenore are food enthusiasts with tremendous careers in the culinary industry.  They have set up shop in Cannon Beach to provide a dining experience like no other.  They host dinner shows and give many cooking classes. My dad and I went for the dinner show.  I had booked this months in advance and was so excited to go!  They do cater to food allergies and choices, and as such, I was lovingly accommodated with my request for vegetarian (fish ok).
My first course was halibut.  And 2 pieces were served!  One prepared oven baked and the other prepared pan fried.  Both were yummy.  And along side a saffron risotto cake and tapanade.

My second dish was 2 huge skewers of marinated root veggies with tofu, grilled.  Sadly, no picture because I was busy eating it and chatting with our table mates.


My third entree, yes THIRD entree, was the most amazing authentic tamales.  OMG.  Mine of course were without the meat, but instead a superb medley of mushrooms.  This was my favourite dish of all.  But I was SO stuffed already!  No matter though, I put back 95% of this dish.

And not to forget about desert......An incredible homemade almond brittle sprinkled with black tasting salt, alongside fresh berries and cream with homemade ice cream.  TO DIE.

Here we see Bob flaming the berry sauce.

I HIGHLY recommend you get to EVOO asap.  This is a night you'll won't soon forget, and you'll want to go back once a month for every new menu!

More time at the beach of course led to thirsty times.  Dad found Lush in a nook across the way from where we stayed:

 Fun spot to sit, chill, sip, draw, snack and relax.

Seriously cute rooms:

And of course we did some local shopping.....

Fine lookin' fella!

So be the summer I have had.  Luckily summer finally showed up here in Vancouver.  And tomorrow it's September!  Oi!  But I do see on my horizon a tasty dish that may be cooked up this weekend,

Cheerio, caio, adios, au revoir, arreviderci for now!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Back on Track ~ Foodie Bites & Bikram Yoga!

Sometimes you just don't feel like typing - other times, your adventures in culinary delights are less than note-worthy.  Combined with unexpected travel and exhaustion, and that's why I've been MIA from my own blog.

Back in the saddle I go!

Being off track, I've sort of forgotten the timeline of my food efforts, but I will go forth and try to get it right.  On nights when there's slim pickins' in the fridge, you can come up with some tasty concoctions, or create a new puke-dish.  I managed to do both in one dinner attempt.
**WIN > sauteed natural cashews with onions and mushrooms in olive oil. Simple but very yummy
**PUKE > using premade frozen pasta meal thing with the above winning sautee.

So I had to toss the puke-dish, and thankfully had just enough of the cashew sautee to start over and this time I went back to the stand by of easy basmati.
Not exactly riveting photography here, but I really like my mini wok, and everything cooks so darn fast in there!  Basmati takes less than 8 minutes!  But seriously, try sauteying cashews, or any nut really.

I've discovered a new vegan protein alternative.  Vega - Since I've had my bullet, I quite like to use it for shakes- I suggest buying the Europes Best frozen fruits.  That is what you see in the bullet above, the frozen blueberries.  At the bottom is the Vega protein powder, and of course I add vanilla yogurt, water and fresh strawberries.

Over the past few weeks, my most interesting food venture was in Toronto with my brother-in-law Ian.  I was called last minute for a meeting, and chose to stake out a weekend with my sister.  I am always greeted with wine and great snacks at their place:
 Foodies in TO have an seemingly endless fountain of interesting eats to find.  Case in point, Dulse.
This was the leaf variety, from the sea, naturally salty, VERY salty, and a distinct ocean flavour.  Highly nutritional, but worth watching consumption amounts, based on the salt factor.  Super interesting and I suggest you try it!

Of course, sister love will always include a veggie tray, and a cheese tray & fruit.  YUM!

 On my departure day, Ian and I squeezed in a lunch at Linda Restaurant at the shops at Don Mills.  An outdoor upscale mall area.  The photos above are of the appetizer Mieng Kum.  

Pictures are red because we were on the patio, under a red umbrella. 

Such a great appy!  Very unique dish, and very unique to this restaurant.  My kind of eating, slow, tasty, interactive and healthy.  The combination of flavours is phenomenal, with every bite the palette shifts.  The ingredients to choose from are : hot peppers, red onion, lemon/lime cubes, dried shrimp, shredded coconut and crumbled peanuts.  With of course, the special sauce.  Take your picks, place on the aromatic leaf, roll up like a mini wrap, and enjoy! Ridiculously flavourful.  
 I would like to try and recreate this at home, minus the shrimp and if I can't find the leaves, something else creative...Really, it's all about the combination of flavours.  Gotta love Thai food!

Can't say yum enough!  Without the shrimp, it's vegan too!  I followed up our appy with the Emerald Curry- vegan/vegetarian.  Another tasty dish, I love coconut milk, so rich and flavourful.
Wish I could have eaten it all, but I was full - and holy moly, just about super late for my flight.
Funny story - Ian and I had a few bevvies with lunch, naturally, and the sun was blazing, food was amazing, I could have wiled away the day on that patio.  Save for my dang flight.  Sooooo, after I think was 3 maybe 4 circles around the gates, in a hazy attempt to find the Westjet departure,

I had just about no time to spare; I thought for sure, I'd finally taken enough flights that it was my turn to be the one that gets paged!  Phew, not the case- in fact, managed to use the loo in the nic of time.  Because I know you were wondering.
And now since being back, it's been a hectic couple of weeks, and I've been exhausted.  And this week, I am SO happy to say, I am back at Bikram!  2 classes down, and already feeling better.  Stiff, but better.

If you like Dexter, and I think you should, if you don't you're crazy- here is my sisters' killer shirt and crazy Pepper:

Mmmmm, Dexter.....

And here's a funny restaurant, clearly lost in translation- question, would you eat here????

Caio all! Have a great weekend!  More food stuff next week...