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 thebomb.com) 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...