Combo breaker

Sunday, 7 December 2014

For the past couple of weeks, I begrudgingly had an earworm called Blank Space by Taylor Swift.

But thankfully I got a new one. I appreciate it a lot Buzzfeed.

Quick Note... Prelude to Catching Up Pt 1

Monday, 1 December 2014

I suppose it's been awhile, hasn't it?

I've mostly been MIA for the past 2ish months because I had a couple of freelance projects lined up and I still have one that I'm currently in the process of working on.

Also, my soul was getting sucked away on app games and badminton, but I think the app games part is a mental reflex I tend to have in opposition to the amount of extra work I do sometimes. Maybe that's just me?

Regardless, I'll slowly come back onto here, filling you in what has been happening so far :P

Out of Hiding (Kinda)

Thursday, 30 October 2014

I've been pretty busy for this little while, so I'm sorry if I haven't been posting anything lately... I will make up for it sometime later on though.

I just need to get through with this week, that is all.

Hopefully next week I can start posting stuff, including my craziness that is my halloween costume :P

Under The Weather

Friday, 17 October 2014

It was only inevitable that one day during the fall, I too would become susceptible to the common cold... lol.


Millie Creperie

Friday, 10 October 2014

I recently went to Isshin again with my homeslice as a means for him to try a new ramen place and to cheer him up after three long weeks of hell. I felt pretty accomplished from seeing his delight in the deliciousness of his meal (he ordered the Spicy Black Tan Tan Ramen, which was pretty good also!) and the excitement he had for wanting to bring our other friends to this magical place as well. After dinner, I thought we'd be getting frozen yogurt because that's usually our tradition, but he had another awesome place in mind.

After meandering through Kensington Market, we finally arrived at Millie Creperie. The logo instantly caught my eye, as it was simple, playful and clean at the same time (oh, and the fact that the font was in Lobster? Instant eye catcher).

Millie was a small little shop with a mix of wooden decor and black tables that oddly reminded me of a combination of IKEA and MUJI (then again, it is a Japanese creperie). I think that impression greatly heightened from the fact that they use iPads instead of clunky cash register machines, making them seem even more sleek and tech-savvy.

I wasn't expecting crêpes that night, but that works just as fine too. The last time I had one was when I was in Las Vegas with my family, which funny enough, was also Nutella Banana flavoured.

What makes this crêpe experience different from most, as you can probably tell, is that it's folded into a cone instead of the conventional method of being laid out on a plate. It makes the experience more whimsical in a way, and it greatly changes the tasting experience too (at least, that's how I found my crêpe.... it may be different with other flavours?). As I started, I was met with an abundance of whipped cream and banana slices. It wasn't until the last third of the crêpe cone that I tasted the undeniable richness that is Nutella. This, along with a recent Bubble Tea flavor from Chatime, reminded me of my love for the heavenly combination of hazelnut and chocolate. I swear, you can't go wrong there!

Before I received my crêpe, I saw that Millie Creperie also served hot/main meal food. A friend of mine saw my instagram and told me that their blood orange sorbet was amazing as well. Looks like I'm going to have to venture back to Kensington Market sometime.... :)

Sometimes, I wish that...

Thursday, 9 October 2014

I could tell some people just how ridiculous they are. But I can't, because that would be unprofessional.

You know you need a haircut when...

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

You immediately feel relieved to have pinned up your bangs while you're driving from work back home...

but you could care less what you looked like for that moment.

Designer Quirk #3: Having internal (designer) heart attacks during a meeting

Monday, 6 October 2014

Okay, this gif isn't EXACTLY spot on with the situation, but it's close enough....

I get it. Not everyone is going to have a (design-oritented) mind like mine, so sometimes visual details can be seen as unnecessary. But at the same time, there was a template and a standard written/compiled for a reason :/

Some of the things going through my mind during the meeting:

"... Why are the titles centered??? I specifically put them as left-flushed for a reason."

" They threw my layout margins completely out of the window!"

" This is exactly the opposite of what I had intended for this file..."

" All those damn double spaces after sentences is starting to eat away at me..."

" Is that inconsistent leading I see on this slide?!?!"

" This is one of the driest things I've seen in awhile. Holy shit this is gonna need some major reworking. Goddamn, why didn't they consult me first? I would've helped them curate the content AND the visuals. I know I'm just a wee little graphic designer, but I'm not all just about pretty pictures you know"

For A Lack of Better Words

Sunday, 5 October 2014

So I lied. Somehow Friday zipped by under my nose, and sooner or later, I had to make way to go to badminton for my usual start of the weekend nights, with no double post, lol. It's funny, because I have the photos edited, online and all, I just need to get around to writing about it. Could this be a mini writing block?

And yet, here I am, writing a post that doesn't necessarily pertain to anything, just myself typing away as if I have verbal written diarrhea. I haven't been the most productive this weekend, but strangely, I'm okay with that. I think that those extra days of badminton and/or the extra added small sessions of working out here and there throughout the week has created a sudden craving to have just an idyllic time to myself. Or maybe I just need to sleep earlier. I don't know. *shrugs*.

I also found myself routinely checking up more on the news now. I have sporadic moments where I do and I don't, of which I sometimes fall victim of giving the impression of being unaware of what's going on around me. A lot of what has piqued my interest is the situation that has been happening in Hong Kong, something that I empathize for, and yet feel completely alien to (kind of) at the same time. The civilians there are technically what my friends and I would coin as "my peoples" and yet, being assimilated here where I reside for so long, I don't entirely relate to them either. What I can say however, is that I am thankful that I live in a place that gives you the liberty to live in a democratic lifestyle, something that seems hedonistic compared to the worries of what could be Hong Kong's future. And it's not until I come across events like these, that I am reminded of how I sometimes take my lifestyle for granted when I shouldn't.

It's not just the HK protests that reminded me not take things for granted; there were other things that I got reminded of too as of late — my work, my capabilities...


I had so much momentum starting this post and then I got sidetracked... *sigh* Anyway, I conclude this post hoping that you the reader will reflect on the things in your life that make it worthy as well, and, like me, am grateful for such things. That is what makes us human after all :)


Friday, 3 October 2014

Today shall be a double post because I absolutely cannot contain the glee and the excitement that is going on in my head right now...

The funny thing about my workplace is that people have been asking/contemplating on what to dress up as for Halloween a whole month and bit before the actual day. This in turn makes me pumped because well, it's nice to see other people in the vicinity dressed up and in spirit, unlike last year where only I dressed up as a ninja (it was a makeshift costume though, so I didn't feel too bad).

And usually I have an affinity to dress up as a badass character (at one point I was thinking of dressing up as either X23 from the Marvel comics or Tauriel from The Hobbit), but I think I'll make an exception this year. I just had an awesome/epic idea this morning, so even if the character is a little more on the cute side, the "optional" accessory (which is also quintessential to the identity of the character and the movie she is in, but I could forego this option if I was lazy) would make the costume worth it because my creative ovaries would explode. Forreals.


This must be how those top notch cosplayers feel when they're about to start on an epic costume...


Wednesday, 1 October 2014

This day cannot get any longer, especially with the anticipation of Go-Karting (after work hours) as a team event for my work.

It's not the soft kiddie kind that you would find at Playdium either — I'm talking 60km/h type of deal. AWWW YIS.

Okay, to be fair, I've actually been to this place we're about to go to, about 3 years ago with my boyfriend. But that felt like eons ago, which explains my excitement.

This ought to be interesting.

Doesn't help that a couple of days ago, I had to endure driving behind someone going 30 on a 50 residential road for a painstaking 3 minutes. I zipped past them when I had the chance. Is it my inner speed demon being summoned? LOLOL

When I'm reading blog posts on the internet and I see rudimentary spelling errors...

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Goddamn, makes me want to hack their account and fix their mistakes for them....


Monday, 29 September 2014

I don't know why, but I keep thinking I've made a post with this title before...

This past weekend was a more mellowed down one compared to before, which is to be expected, considering the turn of events that happened closer to the end of the previous week.

Thank You

Friday, 26 September 2014

Not sure if homeslice would ever come across this, but I can't thank him enough for listening to me and reminding me that sometimes, it's okay and you don't need to be so hard on yourself (the way you were being the day before)...

Just gotta get through with everything.


Wednesday, 24 September 2014

I was supposed to post this on Monday, but I got preoccupied by other things, so ya...

Usually I'm a quiet Friday night-in kind of girl (after badminton that is), but there are times I'd make an exception. This (past) weekend was one of them...

A childhood friend of mine recently had her birthday, so this past Friday was her "official" celebration with her closest friends. We dined at Hush to start the night off.

I've been to Hush before for another friend's birthday, so I had a slight sense of nostalgia when I arrived at their long "party" table consisting of a dark smoothed out wooden trunk on one end and regular high top tables on the other. Like other times I go to the same restaurant twice, I ordered a dish I hadn't tried, just to keep my eating experiences diverse.

This time, I ordered the Chicken Avocado Wrap. I don't eat avocados very often, so I savour each opportunity that I do. I love that shit. Seriously. This was a lovely meal for the night to say the least. I was generally happy with it, as the chicken wasn't too dry or too salty, and the portions weren't too huge. If I were to nitpick though, I would've preferred a slightly larger ratio of avocado slices to lettuce, just because of my bias towards the former. Oh, and I would've been absolutely okay without the side fries. The wrap portions were enough to satiate me for the night and it didn't help that I was dressed up for the occasion, so the possibility of a "food belly" plagued my mind here and there.

And it wasn't until now that I vaguely remembered that I got coaxed by Minh to have a little snack beforehand, so that may contribute to me having felt full as well...

Two times is too many times I've wanted to die of embarassment this week...


Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Just when you thought that you've tried 90% of the Ramen places in Toronto (and no, I'm not going to go to Momofuku if I went to the one in NYC), a new one pops up...

My boyfriend and I arrived at Isshin's doorstep earlier than expected, on a cold and rainy Saturday. I was standing around silently cursing to myself for my poor choice of attire (I thought the combination of my favourite plaid flannel from Aritzia + a hoodie + my favourite leather jacket would suffice); shivering ever so often waiting to go inside. 15 minutes felt like an eternity, and there weren't many shops around the area to occupy our time with. Fortunately, the Isshin staff had taped their menu on the window, which made the anticipation that much more exciting (or excruciating, since I still had to wait?)

**If you ever do plan on going, please note that their lunch special only occurs during the week!

I think I was on an adventurous streak, because I didn't want to go with the usual Shoyu or Shio Ramen. I saw that they designated their brand symbol to signify recommended choices, so I mentally chose one of the bowls they recommended as I finally headed inside.

The restaurant itself was pretty spacious with lush dark furniture and standard lighting. I would say that Raijin's amount of space is comparable to this, although I still have yet to venture into the back area of the latter. As we were the first ones to arrive, it was pretty quiet. They had only one waitress working that day (I'm not sure about the number of cooks, as the staff would be in the kitchen at the back) so the common Japanese greeting exchanges amongst workers weren't heard. But that's okay. I'm here more for the food if anything.

Even though it's a Saturday, my boyfriend and I still ordered essentially what is the Lunch Special because I was curious what their Takoyaki tasted like and my boyfriend, the Chicken Karaage (of course).

There were about 3 pieces of Chicken Karaage with dipping sauce for $4.80. I think it's a bit pricey for the amount of pieces offered, so at this point you're pretty much paying for the quality of them (which wasn't bad at all — crispy, juicy and not too greasy).

I don't normally order an appetizer for myself to go with my ramen, but I'll make an exception to this one. The last time I had legit Takoyaki was at Guu, about a year ago. I've had the misfortune of having an unintentionally salty version at Bubbletease this year, so that may have attributed to my decision to order here (or just my affinity to balls of fried octopus?).

These guys came out fresh and hot. I made the mistake of eating one right away, haha. So aside from practically burning my mouth with the first one, I did enjoy them. They were a good mixture of savoury, chewy and delightful with a slight crunchiness due to their shell. They were also kind of filling too, since there were five of them and it's fried food. Not bad for $4.20 though.

As for the main course, I ordered their Red Miso Ramen, with less salt and an additional marinated egg. 

This dish blew me out of the water, hands down. With other ramen bowls (except for Raijin's clear chicken broth based bowls), most are rich, creamy/fatty(?) and full of pork flavour. This one... it's wasn't super rich, and definitely not creamy. It was reminiscent of the way my mom cooks her tomato, beef and potato soup back at home but not exactly either. 

The Red Miso broth had a plethora of vegetables, from carrot bits, bean sprouts, green onion, black wood ear mushrooms and chives. This added to the broth flavour and subdued the pork essence, which I appreciated (not that I don't like pork broth, but I find it particularly appropriate for this bowl). 

As for the pork, it was very soft and easy to chew. Not an overwhelming pork taste, but with enough flavour. I approve.

*Has a Ratatouille moment*

What's interesting about the ramen noodles themselves is that they weren't just savoury; they had a slight tinge of sweetness to it unlike any other. My boyfriend picked up from his bowl first, but it's more apparent in mine. 

My boyfriend opted for the Tonkotsu Shoyu "Roasted Garlic" Ramen, with less salt and an additional topping of sesame seeds.

I didn't have the whole bowl of his ramen, but he chose a more traditional/run-of-the-mill flavour. I don't recall the Garlic Oil flavouring jumping out to me, though that could also be due to my own ramen bowl taking up most of my sensory attention :P

One distinctive quality about Isshin (aside from their special recommendations being is that for their sesame seed topping, you have the option of grinding them. Often times additional toppings just come in a bowl and that's it, no extra effort or interaction from the customer. This gesture also adds plus points in consideration, as grinding ingredients tends to bring out more of the flavour into whatever mixture they're added to. 

They're also quite generous with their extra noodles too. It was essentially another half a bowl, which made it worthwhile.

Both my boyfriend and I were quite satiated to say the least.

I immediately raved about this place to Jem, so I'm excited to go again, see his reaction(s) to my recommendations and possibly try their other bowls :)


Tuesday, 16 September 2014

At the time that I'm writing this, the day is nearly over; so I'll treat this as "yesterday".

Yesterday marked the end of my three month probation period at my workplace. Back in my old workplace, I would kind of shrug and go, "Okay, ya, so what?"

But here, it was different.

Being treated to lunch was a bonus I didn't (and still don't) expect (despite the General Manager seemingly always asking colleagues out to lunch every so often), though what affected me most that day were the words, "people like working with you". That's not to say that I'm some absolutely horrible person that would repel people with my very presence, I just... haven't been the most sociable in my workplace.

A Ramen² Weekend

Sunday, 14 September 2014

I didn't think this would happen, but I ended up having ramen on both days of the weekend. One of them was a new place, which I shall elaborate on in a future post, while the other, I've been to already (it's Raijin, if you're wondering).

Ramen for this past Saturday was an absolutely lovely idea, considering how bipolar the weather has been in Toronto this year. It's not even halfway through September and it already felt like late October or early November! I can only hope the rest of the month isn't as cold as it was that day — I don't want to jump into wearing winter coats already :(

But anyway...

After a nice meal of ramen, I had the biggest itis afterwards, so I took a much needed 2 hour nap. I felt so rejuvenated from that, that I was ready to go for bowling later on in the evening.

With three other individuals from the badminton posse I described in my last weekend, we ventured out to a bowling alley to play for two hours. I haven't gone bowling for what feels like an eternity. It was a lot of fun, pretty carefree and a lot of laughing that made Saturday one of the most enjoyable days thus far.

Two hours went by pretty quickly, as we found ourselves hustling to get through the final round in the remaining 15 minutes that we had. When that was done, we went for a late dinner at Kookoo Chicken (which I will also write about sometime) for some fried chicken. It was one of the most unhealthiest meals I had ever had, but that was clearly forgotten when I was with good company.

As for Sunday, the theme of that day was that things didn't go as planned, for almost everything that happened.

My usual badminton session in the morning wasn't even scheduled and many people came without knowing, so the community centre staff set up at a much later time anyway because of the huge demand. That then delayed my plans further on in the day, as I needed time to wash up and prepare for heading downtown to watch a movie at TIFF later.

I originally planned to go to a Mexican place for lunch with my boyfriend before the movie. I figured, I haven't had that kind of cuisine since my birthday, so why not? I know I'm not particularly fond of burritos, but that's mostly because I never seem to be able to finish a whole burrito. It's always that last 1/5 that I seem to concede to, and that's not reason enough to avoid eating a specific type of cuisine altogether.

Unfortunately, I didn't realize that the showing for The Equalizer was at Ryerson theatre, not the TIFF Lightbox, so I done screwed up in food plans. My boyfriend saw that Raijin was not even a block away, hence the last minute changes and having double ramen this weekend :P

As for the movie itself? Unexpectedly brutal. I ended up burying my face for most of the scenes that involved Denzel Washington being an unconventional badass (for some scenarios, he kills people in clever/creative ways) cause I can't deal with gore too well.

Other than that, the plot was a bit lacking/empty, and some of the scenes were really "action movie" cliché.

Oh and there was a fire alarm that interrupted the movie, which further delayed my day...


Thursday, 11 September 2014

As mentioned before, it's been awhile since I went on a food adventure. While I'm still waiting to go to Oddseoul because the eccentric mixture of Korean and pub food (especially in the downtown area) sounded much more enticing, K-Pocha is not too bad, and shall satiate me for now.

The place was smaller than expected (didn't help that my group and I passed by another Korean restaurant in the same plaza that was at least three times bigger), but it had a serene aura all on its own, partly due to the decor they had:

I don't think I ate that much that day, which didn't help with the waiting time. It wasn't so long that I wanted to flip the table, but it was long enough to cause me some discomfort.

I find that half the time I'm at a Korean restaurant, I order a Bulgogi dish, because that's my "safe" dish. It's not spicy, it's not fried, and it's not overly salty either (at least, not supposed to be). The other half... let's just say that I don't eat Korean food often enough, as I can probably count the times on two hands. Either way, I didn't want anything spicy that night, but I wanted something different also. I decided to try their Butter Chicken Gibble...

It's a sizzling dish of chicken pieces with various vegetables (green pepper, red pepper, onion and cucumbers) topped with sesame seeds, tossed in with butter. This was purely a viand dish, so I ordered a separate egg on rice to accompany it.

The rice also came with a salad, which was nice.

It's funny, what I liked best was actually the egg on rice. It was on point! It had a good amount of rice that didn't overwhelm the egg, which I appreciated a lot. Sometimes (with some food places), I find that they just give you a whole heap of rice and a significantly smaller amount of viands; it just makes you think, "how dafuq do you expect me to finish this?!" Then again, I could be a little biased...I love being able to crack an egg open onto rice and eat the combination together, even at home.

I thoroughly enjoyed the salad as well. Some of the contents were unfamiliar to me in terms of texture or taste, but it didn't matter when the mayonnaise sauce on top was delicious :P

As for the main dish itself, it was a little lacklustre. I loved the inviting aroma the butter gave off from the dish, and how the food wasn't over saturated with a butter taste or consistency. I liked how there was just a hint of butter to remind you why this was called a butter dish. That was about it though...

I'll admit that some of the less than pleasant impression was due to my own mistake — I didn't know what the side mixing sauce (?) was made of, and I suspect that was the culprit of making certain pieces taste wayyy saltier than it was supposed to be. However, that doesn't excuse the fact that the majority of the chicken pieces I tasted had a rubbery/chewy texture, something that felt unnatural. It also hindered the taste a little, because it felt like the buttery aroma was not fully absorbed in the meat. I found most of the aroma in the vegetables, and I was thankful I had the egg on rice to redeem the meal.

As this was a pub and restaurant fusion, my boyfriend perked up at the thought of fried chicken, so he shared a combo with our other friends.

He got me to try a piece. I liked it, but it wasn't the most amazing fried chicken I've ever had in my life. To be fair, I'm no fried chicken snob, though I do feel like I've encountered this taste before, just in a different form. Having gone to Hong Kong style restaurants with my parents multiple times, the taste of the fried chicken at K-Pocha reminded me of when I used to order fried chicken wings in my younger days. 

Overall, I wasn't wowed, but it wasn't entirely a cringeworthy experience either.

And I could've sworn I saw one of the waiters working at Seoul House before... lol.

Random Tidbits: The past week/weekend, 9/8 edition

Monday, 8 September 2014

Let me start off by saying that this past week at work, it was slloooowww. I know that some things can't be helped (i.e. waiting on other people to provide you with material to work on your task) but I guess that's something I still need to get used to, as opposed to depending solely on myself to get stuff done (like back in school).

As of Late

Friday, 5 September 2014

^ Exactly how I feel about reformatting the Annual Report for my old workplace.

I just need to keep reminding myself that I'm doing this to make it something I should be proud of, not something I do "just because".

I think as of late, I've forgotten the meaning or reasons why I do certain things.

"Why are you writing a blog?"

"Just because"

No, the correct answer should be because I enjoying going on food adventures and getting inspired by artistic masterpieces by other people. I mean yes, I haven't gone to a lot of new food places recently, and I'll admit, I'm kind of having a grammatical/writing block (oh and lack of time, because of my poor choices of how I spend my time during the week), but maybe this is just a phase. It should be just a phase right?

God I need to (make better use of my time) and do some internal reflection...

Designer Quirk #2: When Economic Restrictions Hamper the Potential of your design

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

"But you did ask for it to be vibrant..."

Today might as well be a Monday...

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Waiting for the caffeine from the tea to kick in...

Design inspiration: iamrader

Friday, 29 August 2014

Awhile ago, I was browsing through kinetic typography/motion graphic videos on vimeo and came across this little gem:

BBC KNOWLEDGE 60 from iamrader on Vimeo.
Even now, this video remains as one of my favorites. I loved how the animations flowed effortlessly from one concept/scenario to the next, how the aesthetic styling was minimal but quirky and whimsical with the extra texture detail here and there and the intricate detail in animation that added more dimension to the more simple look.

It's too bad I couldn't embed examples of his other work, but I found them visually riveting as well, especially his TV teasers for the BT TV platform. Iamrader (Mauro Rader) incorporated the brand colours throughout the teaser without being too blatantly obvious about it, and managed to convey the different facets of the platform (cool, serious, fun and playful) while staying consistent stylistically.

So I took a wrong turn

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

And somehow ended up almost in Georgetown LOL.

Thank goodness for Best Western and their WiFi :P

When an employment offer keeps getting pushed in my face, even though I just started my job

Chocolate Caramel/Double Chocolate Macarons

Monday, 18 August 2014

I would have to say the highlight of this past weekend was the lovely afternoon spent baking with Joyce (you can go check out her blog here!), another baking enthusiast and friend whom I met through playing badminton at the local community centre I go to. It was a nice contrast to the gloomy weather and mood/happenings earlier that day, so I greatly appreciated that time spent baking.

We followed this recipe, although in typical Melody fashion, I didn't completely follow it. I didn't want to stress myself on the urgency of having to spread super runny caramel as the filling, so I thought we were going to make the thicker caramel from this recipe. But in actuality, Joyce had magically presented me with a jar of leftover caramel that she made for a previous baking session.

So given the brown colour of the batter, we found it a bit humorous that our little soon-to-be macaron shells reminded us of piles of poop in a way. But as seen in the next couple of photos, they turned out pretty swell!

Just pictured above was our first caramel filling attempt. It was a bit much, so we learned to put less in the next ones. Nonetheless it still looked pretty awesome!

I loved how the 'feet' of the macarons turned out... and even though there is always room for improvements, I felt that at least this time around, my attempt at making macarons were less lumpy than my previous time :)

We eventually ran out of caramel filling, and because we were pressed for time (damn we spent so much time just sifting the dry ingredients... I think it's time I invested in a larger sifter *sigh*), we didn't really get a chance to drizzle melted chocolate on the top of the macarons like we thought we would. Instead, we used some of the chocolate, mixed it with some leftover whipped cream I had, microwaved it and...viola! Chocolate ganache (all thanks to Joyce's genius).

Some things to note from my experience making macarons the second time around:
• Sifting makes a sizeable difference. In fact, if I had the proper resource and efficiency (sifting was really time consuming that day...), I would've sifted maybe even twice or a third time just to get the powder to be reallllyyyyy fine.

• If getting a macaron mat is not your thing, the next best thing is parchment paper and a pre-drawn template. I just used my circle stencil that I used back in highschool/university for art projects as a guideline to how each dollop of batter should look on the sheet.

• When squeezing the batter out onto the parchment paper, it's best to have at least ¼ of a cm worth of thickness. Anything less would cause your batter to burn, even if it's just 10 minutes.

• Apparently I should have prepared my egg whites a day before. I got curious as to how people make that absolute perfect texture, and that's what the internet said (one of the tips anyway). I shall try that next time.

• Your macaron filling causing the cookie to shift a little? Refrigerate it and it should be good to go :)

My Work Pile...

Online Shipping for $25 At the Muji Online Store

Monday, 11 August 2014

And all I wanted were pen refills :(

When You still smell your perfume from last night after a shower

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Goddamn I must've sprayed too much...

When Someone sends a recommendation of a mediocre designer/piece of work at my workplace

Thursday, 7 August 2014

And I'm just sitting at my desk thinking,

Developing a Love/hate relationship with High Waisted Pants

TBP: Scaddabush

Friday, 1 August 2014

Maybe it's just me, but I feel like I've posted quite a few Italian places already, and this one kinda adds to the pile.


Actually maybe not really.

Then again, Scaddabush used to be Alice Fazooli's, which was an Italian Seafood restaurant before it didn't do so well.

Anyways, ever since the fall of Alice Fazooli's, I haven't tried the food at the renovated area until earlier this year, when a couple of friends decided to have lunch there.

It still had that rustic interior that I saw the last time they refurnished the area (when Alice Fazooli's was probably called something else and heavily reduced their menu), though I don't remember if they had the chalkboards placed around their brick columns by then. Nonetheless, I still appreciated them, as calligraphy has always been a soft spot for me.

Their menus reminded me of those from WVRST and HotB, using "hipster" font on textured/brown paper.

I ordered their Pesto Pollo in large, which was a dish of fettuccine, sauteed chicken accompanied with semi-sun dried tomatoes, baby spinach and basil pesto cream sauce.

The pasta didn't blow my mind, but it was still enjoyable. It was also a bit saltier than I expected, but it didn't leave me wanting to order something else. Would I come here again? Maybe, if I was at a loss of a really good place to eat, and was given recommendations of other more awesome dishes to try. Otherwise, I'd like to exercise my options...
Until next time!

When I find out someone in the office is sick

Tiramisu Cupcakes

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

So I was supposed to write this yesterday.... But I got so tired that I kind of just conceded to what my body needed and took a nap right after I got home from work...

Let me start off by saying that I haven't baked for a LONG time —especially cupcakes. I had a few bouts of making Tiramisu here and there but that's different. Anyway, I finally had reason to bake (ya I know, it's a bit pathetic that I need a reason to), as a few of my coworkers have been nagging me saying, "Melody, when are you ever going to bake something for us?!" So I did. The Vietnamese payroll lady at my work asked if I could make Tiramisu cupcakes and I granted her request, even though I haven't made anything but Tiramisu lately (she was so overjoyed when she saw them). Cupcakes are different though, that's for sure.

As an enthusiastic baker, I tend to modify the ingredients a little here and there to optimize the taste to my liking, or just be a little healthier. Or at least try to, haha. So below is a modification of the original recipe from my cupcake bible (*ahem* basically the cupcake recipe book from Martha Stewart).

Mind you, I ended up making enough batter for 24 cupcakes and not 18, so if you want to cross-reference onto the original recipe and add in some of my recommendations, feel free to do that also!


• 2½ cups all-purpose flour
• 1½ tsp baking powder
• ½ cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract*
• 3½ tbsp. unsalted butter
• 4 whole eggs + 4 egg yolks
• 2 cups sugar

For the next part of the recipe, I actually kind of read the recipe wrong and yielded WAYYYY too much syrup for my own liking. I ended up using only half of what I made, so I would definitely lessen what I have listed here.


• 1 cup of boiling water
• ½ cup of espresso powder
• 15 ml of marsala*
• ½ cup of sugar

• 1¼ cup whipped cream
• 300 mg mascarpone cheese*
• ¾ cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
• cocoa powder for sprinkling afterwards

As per my recommendations? That is what that asterisk is for :)

2 tsp. vanilla extract* — The original recipe called for vanilla beans to be used, but either the ones sold at Bulk Barn are not the kind I should be buying/they suck, or the beans essentially don't bring out much flavour, causing me to reconsider to opt for vanilla extract instead. I actually used only 1 teaspoon, and after test tasting my own cupcake while at work, I think two would've enhanced the flavour a bit more.

15 ml of marsala* — I don't know about you, but I favor coffee tasting Tiramisu over the alcoholic prominent kind. Yes, the alcoholic prominent kind is probably more "authentically Italian" but I've always kind of disliked the taste of alcohol anyway. I also added less marsala than was suggested in the original recipe because I was catering to work people, and I didn't want to feel like I was drugging them or anything >.<

300 mg mascarpone cheese* — Honestly, I added more cheese than suggested partially because it was kind of awkward to leave less than 100 mg sitting in the tub that I bought, waiting to be used next time (but requiring me to buy more cheese because 100 mg is not enough to satiate a sufficient batch of whatever I'd be making) and I thought, "Hey, more fancy cheese the better right?". Plus, it helps that a coworker really liked the icing!

My overall thoughts? It seems that the general consensus enjoyed my cupcakes (or maybe they were just being nice??) and after eating one myself, they didn't turn out half bad.

P.S. In the original recipe, they say to brush on the coffee-marsala syrup until you run out. I'd say that's about right, but if you want a better idea of a good amount, I'd say about 4-5 layers to really bring that coffee taste out :)

Design Inspiration: Neo Mam Studios (Infographic)

Friday, 25 July 2014

In light of my visual research looking into countless different infographics on the web, I came across this one that I thought was quite nifty.

Click here to see what I mean :)

I appreciate well done websites, so this interactive infographic already has extra brownie points from me. It shows that the people at Neo Mam Studios understand the trending features that happen in the virtual sphere of web design, as well as informing the audience in an engaging and informative manner about why infographics have become so prevalent in today's society.

How Ironic

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

... that when you're looking for (work) opportunities, it feels like forever till you actually land a decent one, but when you're not looking for (work/freelance) opportunities, you have multiple cases pouncing on you...

Or maybe I'm just one case of murphy's law (designer edition)? LOL designer edition... ugh I gotta stop laughing at lame jokes...

Mildred's Temple Kitchen

Good food and good company is the best way I could sum up my time at Mildred's Temple Kitchen.

I'll admit that during my search for a suitable brunch place downtown, I was secretly hoping to try either Rose & Sons or Easy Breakfast, but I heard from a coworker that the pancakes from MTK were pretty good, so I thought, "Why not?" Besides, a 73% rating on Urbanspoon isn't shabby either, and I knew my friend Jody was fiending for some pancakes.

I do not regret the choice I made.

I've never been to the little area known as West Elm/Liberty Village, so even upon arriving there, it was a refreshing sight to see:

It was a cute little plaza/street of shops in an aesthetic that somewhat resembled that of the Distillery District, though not exactly either. It had a slight upperclass feel (not as overwhelming as Yorkville though) due to the modern style of certain shops, and it just seemed like a really chic place to be at. 

MTK had a small patio section outside, and lovely branding throughout their window decals and collateral.

I loved that they managed to incorporate chartreuse without being too drab, and the place had a sleek, minimalistic, modern style accompanied by its industrial looking base. Light flooded throughout the restaurant, and you just get this fresh yet down-to-earth feeling when you first enter the premises. 

Now onto the food...

Jody obviously ordered Mrs. Biedorhof's Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes. And what a sight that was when her dish first arrived! It looked so enticing to try that I was more than happy to try some when Jody couldn't finish the rest.

What can I say? They do live up to the hype. Their pancakes, despite their thick and blubbery appearance, were actually quite soft, light and fluffy. Dipping it in the fallen whipped cream and blueberries made the taste that much better, and it almost had me wishing I had ordered this instead.

That's not to say that I wasn't happy with my personal choice either. I ordered Veda's Choice, which consisted of poached eggs, Béarnaise sauce and my choice of smoked salmon sandwiched by a flaky croissant and some fresh leafy greens on the side. I liked that the croissant wasn't so flaky that it came apart so easily (that's my primary reason for preferring just a baked soft dough croissant as opposed to a baked flaky one), and the combination of the ingredients together... I can't even. The smoked salmon added just the right amount of savouriness without being too salty, and anytime there's well done poached eggs, I am one happy camper.  

At first, I was a bit perplexed by the greens at the side; I focused so much on the deliciousness that was the croissant that I wasn't quite sure if the greens were just a decorative element or if I was actually supposed to consume them. I didn't want to waste it either, so I gave it a try — it was a bit branchy and kind of awkward to eat at times, yet that didn't bother me too much. I thought that maybe they just kind of placed it there without any garnishing or sauce. I was wrong. The greens had a little oompf to their taste with the help of some subtle sweet-and-sour vinegar like sauce, which was nice. Not too overpowering that it felt disgusting (like that feeling of having too much sauce on your salad), but not too little that you wouldn't notice it at all. 

Mafalda ordered The MTK Burger (tomato relish, crispy tobacco onions, burger patty, served with fresh fries on the side), seeing that she loves burgers and couldn't resist. To be fair, she had a hard time deciding that maybe she should go out of her comfort zone and try The Manhandler instead. I was going to offer to get the latter so that she could try some, but I wasn't quite feeling steak today. It felt a little heavy for a brunch meal, even if we had our brunch super late at 2 pm :P In the end, she was really happy with her burger choice, going so far as to proclaim her love for its taste and joking that she would come back every weekend just for this little number :P She really appreciated the fact that MTK makes their burger buns fresh, and she enjoyed the special white dipping sauce on the side.

She also ordered their watermelon lemonade that I had the pleasure of getting a sip of. Freshly made, not too sour and not too sickly sweet in a cute mason jar, I wouldn't have minded in ordering one myself. 

Here are all our meals combined in one lovely photo :)

While I was pretty late, my two friends endured a length 45 + minute wait since I stupidly did not make reservations. They told me that service while waiting wasn't the greatest, but our waitress who helped us seemed to have redeemed MTK's reputation and restored positive spirits in my two friends. Our waitress was really friendly, smiling and joking intermittently, even asking where I got my backpack at one point! She even made recommendations that weren't asked for, such as the extra hot sauce for Mafalda's meal, which I thought was pretty nice of her. 

And lastly, the washroom at MTK is an unique experience all its own. 

Like the rest of the decor, their washroom was well furnished, modern and mostly white. What's interesting to note is that there is only ONE washroom, shared by both genders. I have never been to a co-ed public washroom ever. The idea is a little bizarre, and the fact that it is so clean boggles my mind (no offence). Another bizarre thing about MTK's washroom is that instead of say, the usual elevator music that you would usually hear at a restaurant, they were playing audio that sounded like it belonged in an airline flight. Somewhere inbetween I heard something about Air France, which confused me a lot. I thought I was in a washroom, not in an airplane? Ya, that was a little odd. 

All in all, I had a splendid time at Mildred's Temple Kitchen, of which I was already really happy to see my previous coworkers, to share laughs and news between the three of us. It was almost as if I had never really left them in the first place, and I truly missed their humour, their expressions/reactions and their personalities in general. They give me faith that not all my female friendships have failed, and seeing them after what feels like a long time definitely brightens my mood regardless. Here's to more food adventures, chilling, whatever to come!

Il Mulino

Monday, 21 July 2014

From the get go, I was pretty excited by the idea of finally going to a place that had a Summerlicious menu. I heard about this event since last year, and I would see my friends post photos of their experience at Canoe, (or some other place) with fancy delicious food while I somehow never got around to it :( Plus, for some places, it was pretty expensive, even if it was a set menu.

I was kind of out of the loop when the decision was made amongst my group of friends (the same group that I went to Chit Chat Play with) to go to Il Mulino, so I kind of just went along with it. I didn't know where it was, I didn't know that it was apparently one of Drake's favourite restaurants, or anything about it really, until I actually had their food.

It was a rainy night when my friends and I had arrived, and Il Mulino was not the place to wear your tattered hoodie and sweatpants to. It has been a long while since I actually dressed up for a night out to eat, which added to my anticipation to their food even more (#tooshytotakeselfies, haha). 

This is one of those times that I again, didn't really take a picture of the decor (I got too engrossed in listening to the topic of superstition at our dinner table). It was rather simple and elegant, with somewhat dim lighting and a singular large archway to divide the spaces of the place (i.e. an archway between the reception area and the dining area). A bit of a waste of space, considering that the restaurant is not that big to begin. *shrugs* Oh well. At first glance, Il Mulino was deceivingly bigger than its' real size; this was especially so with the archway to the side of the reception area appearing to have a secondary dining area when it was really a large mirror. 

We started off with crunchy bread as appetizer. It was seasoned with rosemary and had a slightly sweet taste to it due to the seasoning they used (I have no idea what it is though). 

I was a little wary at first when I initially spotted the Steamed Mussels, Fresh Basil and Scallions option in the Summerlicious menu online. I loved the idea of mussels, it's just that the word spicy jumped out to me like a sore thumb. 

Me and spicy usually don't mix well. The only time I had deliberately decided to order something spicy on my own free will was when I had sinus congestion and I wanted the Spicy Chicken Bento box at Seoul House to alleviate that. My face was sweating like mad in the time that I was eating, but it worked.

Anyways, I kind of had a #yolo moment when I ordered this starter dish, and surprisingly, it wasn't bad at all, even with the sprinkle of additional black pepper. My face wasn't sweating and the spiciness never accumulated in my mouth or throat like I feared it would. In actuality, it was hardly spicy at all (did I just one up in spice tolerance?! ... Maybe that's just my wishful thinking, haha) so I was able to thoroughly enjoy it without having to retreat to my glass of water every few seconds. The mussels were a little small in size to my initial dismay, however the extra basil and scallions satiated my stomach enough that I was ready for my main dish. 

It's funny because out of the five of us, three of us ordered almost the exact same thing (with dessert being the only differentiating factor). 

I was really looking forward to my main dish. Lobster and Linguini? YES PLEASE! After my disappointment with Glow and more disappointment in the fact that I haven't had Lobster Poutine from Rock Lobster yet, I was excited to have a sufficient amount of lobster in a dish. I was not disappointed at all. Il Mulino's Linguini with Lobster & Sun Dried Tomatoes left me delighted and content. There was a good amount of lobster (just the fact that I was able to stick my fork into a scone-sized chunk of lobster got me grinning with glee inside!) and it wasn't too salty; the sauce clung to the linguini well and the pasta itself was a quality that I approve of. The flower on the top was a nice touch. Additionally, the portion size of the main course didn't leave me too hungry or too full, so I'd say it was a good size. 

Plus, this is a set menu, so I definitely need to leave room for dessert!

The sign of a happy camper, haha.

My boyfriend ordered their Grilled Stirloin Steak with a Sautéed Wild Mushroom Marsala Sauce in medium. I was so focused on my own dish that I forgot to ask him how he found his dish :/ It looked good though!

My friend who sat across from me (who ordered almost exactly the same things as I did) ordered Tiramisu as his dessert. After having made my own Tiramisu/tasting my mom's Tiramisu for a generous amount of times this year, I was curious. I've had cheap/okay Tiramisu from I don't even know where a long time ago, and I probably had decent tiramisu at some point in my life, so what about legit Tiramisu at an Italian restaurant? 

(I think I never actually ordered tiramisu from some of the Italian places I've been to because I'm partially lactose intolerant and I was afraid of retreating to the washroom afterwards...) 

I snagged a small bite out of his out of bold curiosity. It was soft to the taste as I expected, fluffy even. The only difference between the kind I made and this one was that the alcoholic taste/presence was much more prominent. It wasn't even the coffee taste that I immediately pointed out; that was the funny part. I personally prefer the tiramisu to have a stronger coffee taste rather than an alcoholic one (for lack of better words). To each of their own I guess?

Finally, this is the dessert I ordered — Gelato Fresco's Chocolate Lindt Ice Cream. As much as I enjoy Tiramisu, I cannot pass on Chocolate Lindt Ice Cream. As you've probably noticed by now, I am a sucker for chocolate, whether that be ice cream, the chocolate itself or whatever. Again, I was not disappointed. This has got to be one of the smoothest chocolate ice creams I have had the chance to consume, the other one a faint distant memory that seems to vaguely escape my mind. I kind of wish I could just get a whole tub of this and share at home, knowing that my father is a huge ice cream fan. Then again, he would probably just eat 90% of the tub without me knowing...

Either way, I am pleased with my first Summerlicious experience. It's a little pricey compared to the average meal, but you're essentially paying for quality, ambiance and the idea of a good food adventure.