Tag Archives: food blog

When Life Give You Lemons…

lemon

Get yourself some maple syrup and cayenne pepper and try the MASTER CLEANSE!

At least, that’s what I just did, or am doing… I’m on Day 5, but I am quitting early because a) I’m HUNGRY! and b) this shit is EXPENSIVE, like seriously lemons and maple syrup, together = way more expensive than eating real food. and c) this shit BURNS coming out of the other end. I’m not going to sugar coat it for ya. Laxative tea + lemons + cayenne pepper, you do the math. and d) I’m going to Vegas tomorrow, and besides the obvious fact that I’ll be flying on a plane!@#$% Vegas doesn’t seem like the place to deprive yourself of solid food. Of course, I’m sure the majority of what I will be consuming will be liquid, but it will NOT be lemonade if ya catch my drift!

But first things first, the cleanse: I’ve always wanted to try it. I remember when I was kid I heard of people doing it, my parents friends, who they thought were nuts for doing it. My sister, her friends. Friends of friends. Strangers. Weirdos on the internet.

And now, that’s probably what you think of me 🙂  But this thing has been around since the 40’s it’s kind of famous, or infamous, or both?

So I’ll tell you about my experience with the cleanse, at least the first half of it, because I’m quitting after day 5 and you’re supposed to do the full 10 days + easing in and easing out so really, if you do it properly at least a month all in. But these five days have been really exciting, explosive even. Surprisingly I feel like the positives definitely outweigh the negatives.

I feel a sense of accomplishment and pride that made it to day five. Especially working in the restaurant industry and being around delicious smelling food, serving steaming plates of rice, potato, souvlaki, moussaka, kalamari, pizza, lasagne, fettucini, spaghetti, ravioli, tortelini alfredo (AKA my favourite food of all time) and all the while watching patrons mow down, and hurting a little inside, as I continue to gulp down my spicy lemonade and make frequent trips to the washroom.

The first two days I realized just how much I think about food. I’m always planning my next meal, I’m always thinking about what I am going to eat, tonight, tomorrow, dinner, breakfast, lunch, brunch, snacks. I don’t just eat to live or to survive, I live to eat. I’m a fucking food fanatic, which is cool, I just didn’t realize it fully.

So first I felt looming disappointment without the pleasurable activity of eating, and not just eating, but planning what to eat, thinking about all the options and choosing the best one, ticking it off my mental list, grocery shopping, going out to dinner, cooking, being cooked for.

I didn’t even cheat once. I mean it helped that I pretty much forced my girlfriend to do it with me, so we could suffer together, but still… so proud right now. of both of us ❤

After the end of the second day, my mindset seemed to shift. I kept feeling waves of euphoria. My stomach ached a little, but everything else felt beautiful. My skin seemed softer. The air warmer. Just holding hands induced butterflies.

Yep, fasting can get you high, I’m not sure how or why, but my brain definitely released a bunch of serotonin and dopamine. But then my stomach would rumble like a freaking earthquake and I’d be right back to reality: HANGRY HEIDI.

I think for me, this cleanse did A LOT. Physically, I could feel the toxins being released from my body, through my nose, through my pores etc. etc. I feel lighter, literally because I haven’t eaten anything in five days, but I’m not just talking about actual weight loss here, I feel like a giant weight has been lifted from my spirit.

I feel energized, excited. I feel powerful. I feel capable of taking control of my life. And I feel appreciative. I can’t wait to sink my teeth into vegetables. Like seriously, plain vegetables, YUM. I feel appreciative of greens. I want spinach!

I also feel more appreciative of my life. Of my relationships, my work, my home, my community. Maybe I sound crazy, but I really think that depriving yourself of one thing you love so much can show you all the other things that fucking rock in your life too.

Sometimes its really difficult for me to say no (to a lot of things, but food in particular), but I feel that after achieving five days of total restraint, it’ll be a lot easier just to say no to one more piece of bread or dessert (I’ll tell you later if this rings true).

I think if I weren’t going to Vegas tomorrow, I might try to finish the full ten days. But maybe in a year from now, or two, or five, I’ll try the whole thing again and do it right. You never know what you might gain (or lose!) 😀

But at least for now, I tried it, and I can cross that one off my bucket list.

Ciao Ciao!

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My 1st all-inclusive Vacation

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Overindulgence!

is the name of the game.

Hundreds of beached whales filling up the blue and white patio chairs, waiting to be pampered. Some playful dolphins splash around in the pools, a game of water polo here, then shots, beach volleyball, more shots, BINGO, cocktails at the swim up bar. Snap snap. “Give me a drink.” Whistle. “Need more beer!” Catcall, “because they like it when you do that.” “Just look at ‘er [the bartender] doesn’t she look just like J-lo?”

Cringe.

Us vs. Them. Everywhere. The binary ablaze, so bright, I get a headache from its neon light, that, and too much sun.

Because first the sun caresses my entire body like a long lost lover, kissing every inch of skin that I expose, pleading with me to show just a little bit more, so I do, obviously. It’s so freaking nice out, and hot!! And it’s March. If I was allowed to be naked I totally would be, but this bikini will have to do. The UV rays suck the colour out, through the straw of each pore, and create streaks of  pink here, and red there, searing, crimson. Ahhh! Feel the burn!

Oh Sleepless Nights to Come!

I try to keep covered up, at least during the hottest part of the day, and I reapply sunscreen like an obsessed first time parent. Rightly so, my skin is as delicate as a newborn’s bottom. New freckles and moles pop up everyday. My body really is a map, little brown spots marking every tropical place I’ve ever visited, outlining my life’s journeys. Hawaii here, see, right on my thigh. Brisbane here, and here. Melbourne this reddish brown gem. A few spots from Wreck beach, definitely the one on my bum. This strange looking feller, I remember the day we met, on Savary Island in 2006, yep this mole was born from the worst sunburn I ever had.

You call them ‘beauty’ marks and I laugh.

Perhaps I belong where my skin will go unmarked by sunshine, unharmed, in the cold lands. I sometimes worry I am doomed for a future with skin cancer, but then again, I also worry I will get liver cancer, and heart disease, and catch every other sickness/condition/disease in the book or more accurately in the television shows I watch like Grey’s Anatomy and ER. I guess I am a bit of a hypochondriac, but who isn’t these days? Well, at least sometimes. The generous doses of vitamin D put me through the roof, and I just don’t care. Happiness, inspiration, freedom, I feel at ease here in Los Cabos, Mexico at the Riu Sante Fe. I have everything at my disposal, delicious food, delicious drinks, sunshine, beaches, people to entertain me, to feed me, to answer to my every need.

I overindulge.

But hey, everyone’s doing it.

Well, everyone here. 

The Tourists, here.

“Us”

***

I found myself thinking a lot about privilege on this vacation, and how it is used, and abused, and also completely ignored or dismissed by those who have it, were born with it.

I felt so extremely grateful and lucky and appreciative to be on this vacation. Especially given that I didn’t have to pay for any of it. This was a birthday present from my dearest. A magnificent birthday present indeed. My boo worked two full-time jobs just to save up for this present for me, for us. (And yes, I am a lucky little shit, I know this!)

I am sure many other guests at the resort were grateful and appreciative too, but much of what I saw was sickening. The disrespect from some of the tourists to the workers. The “I own you” attitude. Exoticism, sexism, racism, classism, and pure ignorant, rich, white, male-bodied privilege.

One guy threw his full beer on the ground, and spat angry words into the female bartenders face. Apparently, he needed a different beer because that one was gross.

Like, dude, seriously?!

One night as we were walking back to our hotel room some guys yelled at us (my girlfriend and I) from their balcony,

“Hey girls, you give good head?”

We were holding hands.

I swear, if I wasn’t so full from dinner I could barely walk I would have gone up there and kicked him in the balls. These were the kind of guys staying at the resort. Saying whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted. Sexualizing and objectifying us and every other woman they saw.

Blaaaah.

I think, the biggest mistake we made was going at the same time as the Americans “spring break.” The resort was flooded by college and university students just there to party. Hundreds of rich, white, twenty-somethings who never slept! SERIOUSLY! They never went to bed! They came to drink as much as they possibly could, hook up, puke, try Mexican cocaine, whatever. We heard fight after fight, domestic dispute, drunken arguments, drunken make up sex, drunken dares, everything loud and clear, at three, four, five, six o’ clock in the morning. People running up and down the corridors, thomp thomp, bang crash!

Oh Sleepless Nights of Cabo!

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It was easier to catch some zzz’s on a patio chair under the sun, then try to get but a wink at night, or if you went to bed really early like 8 or 9 you could get a few solid hours in before the ruckus really got underway. Which is what we started doing after the second night! Call us grannies, but we were in bed by 9 sharp for the rest of the week! Thanks to full days of sunshine, tennis, swimming, snorkelling, climbing rocks, and drinking and eating way too much, sleep started to come easier and easier even with all the noise.

During breakfast on our fifth morning we overheard the news that fifteen of the so called ‘Spring breakers’ had actually got kicked out of the resort that night!

I just wonder what was the last straw.

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On our last day we took a water taxi over to Lover’s beach, which I highly recommend if you are ever in Cabo. It’s beautiful! Here, we set out to build a record-breaking, giant sandcastle (to beat our previous records that is) we succeeded with the help of some locals and two bottles of premium Mexican tequila! This was the only time during the trip I felt like it wasn’t us and them anymore. We were just people meeting on a beach, united by a common cause: build an epic sand castle.

But as our new friend, Sam, gently pointed out, it looked more like an upturned cow, than a castle in the end, or possibly a birthday sandcake, but it was still pretty epic!

All in all, our trip to Cabo was pretty freaking awesome. The Riu Sante Fe in los Cabos is beautiful and luxurious, and I felt like a princess running around her castle. All the employees at the resort treated us like royalty, and we tried our best to treat them equally, with respect, and tip them as generously as we could afford. None of the obnoxious douchey jerks were locals, no, the jerks were the Americans and the Canadians, tourists, just like us.

Until next time,

HJL

Le Ciel de Fromage

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I feel the steam on my face

Like a lovers breath in winter

Thick with wine and stringy with Swiss

I dive in head first

Plunge deep into the depths of Cheddar and Gouda

I do the backstroke in a pool filled with cheese

I dolphin through the thick, creamy abyss

Making waves in melted Gruyere

Creating ripples in the pot

Swimming,

Stirring,

Dipping, Dunking,

Dribbling cheese down my chin

Le ciel de fromage.

I swish, swish, swish,

swirl,

and bite, into heavan.

My body is transformed

My mind, reborn

I emerge

Sopping wet, sticky, and warm

Smelling of Sauvignon Blanc and a Dairy farm

I remember that as a kid I used to say: I’d like to be baptized in milk

But that was before I decided to boycott religion

and before

I discovered cheese fondue.

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xx HJL

 

Dine Out Vancouver WEEK 2: Cin Cin’s

We had a reservation at CinCin’s  on Saturday evening for 5:30PM. We made the reservation two weeks in advance and it was the only time they could fit us in. It is the kind of restaurant that fills up fast, especially for dine out when the price of an appetizer, a main, and a dessert is the same price as one of their regular entrees!

20 minutes before we had to leave to go to the restaurant, we looked up the dine out menu online, and it really didn’t look that appetizing to either my girlfriend or I. In fact, we thought it looked pretty gross (compared to all the other amazing ones we’d been looking at)! We considered just cancelling the resso, but I would have felt really bad because they called to confirm the day before and I said yes. And honestly, I really wanted to see what all the hype was about. Why would people want to go spend 500 dollars on a dinner for two anyway?!

DINE OUT DINNER MENU

Cin Cin’s Ristorante + Bar

Neighborhood: Robson StreetCuisine ‘
Type: ItalianDinner
Menu Price: $38
Gluten-Free Menu Option: Yes

APPETIZER

* Yellow split pea soup simmered with smoked ham hockor
* Salad of Albacore tuna and la ratte potatoes / red and green chicory, curly endive, olive oil and lemonor
* Salad of salt baked heirloom beets with goat cheese, buckwheat, navel orange and watercress

ENTREE

* Pork loin cooked on the rotisserie – soft polenta, sweet and sour braised red cabbage – apple mustard
*Arctic Char in crazy water – chickpeas, chili, spinach and piquillo peppers, extra virgin olive oil and fresh herbsor
*Fresh rigatoni pasta with spicy chorizo sausage sauce, rosemary, chili and Parmesan

DESSERT

*Tiramisu with ladies fingers soaked in espresso and kahlua, mascarpone mousseor
*Milk chocolate mousse with dark chocolate crumble, blood orange sorbet and caramel sauceor
*Vanilla panna cotta with toasted coconut, lemon curd and almond cake

Beverages, tax and gratuity are extra.

Upon  arrival we were greeted promptly and asked if we would like our jackets put into coat check.

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We were then tucked away in a cozy corner table near the kitchen.

Our main server was lovely, a little plain Jane, but still letting some personality shine through. There were so many front end staff. They seemed to be everywhere, almost out numbering the guests.And the front staff were almost all dudes! From what I saw about 8:1 totally male-dominated! However, I was happy to see three women and three men in the kitchen cheffing it up!

We were given a plate of bread with two varieties served with green olive tapenade.

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CinCin’s Complimentary Bread…

I gobbled that up pretty quickly, and to my surprise a waiter came promptly and replaced it with ANOTHER full plate. Oh no, I thought, this could be dangerous, all you can eat bread?! I could eat A LOT of bread, but I held back, I needed room to try everything.

The portions were actually perfect, not too tiny, but always leaving you wanting a little bit more.

I’m not a big fan of soup, personally, I think I was given teeth for a reason, so I’d rather chew my food…(I’ll eat soup when I’m old). Beets, I don’t really like, so the first option was a no brainer- go for the tuna.

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Tuna Bruschetta

I was delighted to find out the dine out menu had been altered a little from the one that I had found online. Instead of a tuna salad it was tuna bruschetta, and the bread was wood fire smoked, with beans and deliciously seasoned Albacore tuna.  The smokeynss of the bread made for an exquisite dish. My girlfriend and I both agreed we would have been satisfied with a couple more plates of the tuna and nothing else. But, the mains proved to be equally flavourful and thoughtfully constructed.

Cincin’s wine list is GIGANTIC!! Although, most of the wines are ridiculously over priced: many of the bottles you can find at the BC liquor store for $10-20 have been marked up to $40 or $50 or more. But, they do have A LOT of options, pages and pages, almost like a little wine encyclopedia. The wines range from $30-$800 per bottle and they come from all over the world in all grape varieties. I found all of the options a little overwhelming, so we decided to stick to cocktails. The Westender, and a Singapore Sling. Both nicely presented, cool, tangy and refreshing.

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Singapore Sling
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The West Ender

However, I got so excited about the tuna appetizer that I kicked the bottom of the table and sloshed the dark blueberry West Ender all over the white table cloth, I’m just that classy 😛 the waiter gave me quite the look.

The restaurant itself is quite elegant, although in my taste, it definitely lacks colour, whoever made up that ‘fancy’ should be all white and black and boring shades of brown and grey should’ve had their eyes checked. Seriously! I think a fine dining restaurant with bright purple and yellow table cloths would be much more enticing. However, I did enjoy watching the chefs at work in CinCin’s big open kitchen. Like artists perfecting each dish painting their creations with personality and beauty.

I do appreciate good-looking food: well-presented, fun to look at, contrasting shapes, colours, and textures. But I tend to order the most bland looking dishes: a.k.a. Pasta! It just tastes so darn good.

Here’s the dish my girlfriend ordered:

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Pork Tenderloin

This is what I call art on a plate! How pretty does it look?! This was a perfectly balanced dish. The Polenta was soft and creamy, the pork juicy and bursting with flavour and the cabbage subtle, sweet, and acidic.

Here’s the dish I ordered:

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Chorizo Pasta

This one, definitely does not look as appetizing, but it tasted heavenly. The sauce was creamy and spicy, and the rigatoni perfectly al dante: chewy and tender with freshly grated parmesan on top. The chorizo meat sauce was bold with flavour and heat that crept from the lips to the tongue to the throat to simmer softly.

The dessert option was also an easy choice for us both. Because… Lady fingers, really? There so soggy! And who likes Pana Cotta, that stuff jiggles like cellulite, and it never tastes quite right! Chocolate mousse, on the other hand, is always a winner!

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CinCin’s Chocolate Mousse

And the caramel sauce and tangy blood orange sorbet balanced the dish wonderfully.

So…Would I do it all again?

Definitely.

Could I afford it?

Definitely Not.

The regular menu is like MONEY MONEY MONEY, give me all your money, and I’ll give you a few bites…

Dine Out was my chance to see what the hype was all about, and I get it. The food is really delicious and artistic. The restaurant is beautiful, and the staff are all well-trained and quite charming. But, do I think you’re missing out if you don’t go… No. You can find italian cuisine that tastes just as good for a lot less. Sure you pay for the atmosphere and the choices and the service, but I’d rather go somewhere a little funkier with a little more FLAVOUR for the eyeballs! If you know what I mean?!

Can someone please just create a fine -dining glittery rainbow restaurant already? Because that would be awesome, and also soooo GAY, in the best way!

Xx

HJL

Dine Out Vancouver WEEK 1

Looking for somewhere affordable to take your honey on a date? Or somewhere funky and delicious for a birthday dinner? The three restaurants I went to for dine out this week really rocked my tastebuds, and I recommend all of them.

Cardero’s, Banana Leaf, and the Reef on Main Street.

I tried Cardero’s restaurant for the first time for lunch last Monday. It really captured my heart. (Note, the way heart is not solely through my mouth, and/or my stomach). In my post last week I described all the things that make for my ideal dine out situation. I am not the pickiest person, but the vibe and the style of the restaurant and the service really matter to me. Not only is Cardero’s situated in a beautiful location right off of the seawall with a view of the ocean and mountains and all the boats in the harbour, the whole restaurant kind of feels like a giant ship inside! It is all dark wood with  little model ships, and funky art everywhere, and ship paraphernalia. It is fun to look around in! The servers, both men and women, have uniforms with ties (and, have I mentioned, I love it when women wear ties?!) and their ties have teeny weensy forks and knives on them! Okay, so I secretly want one for myself, but anyway… The service was fabulous, and the food fresh, and flavourful. The pasta dish I tried tasted like the fettucini had been hand rolled that morning and was not at all overpowered by the delicate truffle cream, mushrooms, spinach and parmesan.

IMG_9312 << okay so it may have looked a little more elegant before I started eating it, but it smelled so good, I couldn’t wait until AFTER taking a picture!

My salad with pear and goat cheese, dried cranberries, and walnuts was delightful, but you can’t really go wrong with that combination, can you?!?

My dining partner had squid for her appetizer which had a nice zing to it, very well-spiced. Then, braised short ribs with goat cheese polenta and steamed vegetables. I couldn’t stop stealing bites off her plate, simply scrumptious!

I’ll admit, I was disappointed that their dine out menu only came with one dessert option (their regular menu has a wide selection) but it was satisfactory. It’s not my first choice, but who doesn’t like a good slice of carrot cake with creamy icing? (or two!)

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Cardero’s Carrot Cake!

Next, we hit up Banana Leaf for a midweek Malaysian lunch, a restaurant that has been one of our Vancouver favourites for years. We decided to opt out of the dine out menu and go with the regular lunch taster menu instead. It still comes with an appetizer, main, and dessert, but is $18 per person instead of the dine out lunch price at $28. (the Dine out menu had a few more options, but was quite similar). Unfortunately, the food wasn’t up to its usual standards, normally we are blown away by the eloquent presentation and all the bold spices and never have any complaints! But this time, the Rendang beef, which I usually adore, was much  tougher than usual, and the papaya salad was so acidic it was like trying to eat pure vinegar, so we chose not to eat at all! The seafood curry, coconut rice, and stir fried green beans were all delicious, but still didn’t wow us like the Banana Leaf usually does, perhaps the quality at this location (Robson) is not as great as the others, or maybe it was just due to the high volume of customers during the first week of Dine Out. The desert of deep fried banana with vanilla ice-cream and caramel sauce was a little taste of heaven, and was the perfect size plate for two.

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Reef’s Cocktails

On Saturday night we went for dinner at the The Reef On Main which is truly the best Caribbean food in town!

But, be prepared for SPICE! Love it, crave it, seek it at the Reef! I have been to both of the Reef’s Vancouver locations multiple times and have had much better results at the Reef on Main. The food quality and service has been exponentially better at the Reef on Main street than on Commercial Drive, I have no idea why! Although the Main street location is a little smaller, it has BIG personality. The walls are bright orange and the art be poppin’ just like the DJ. It is a fun place for a dinner date or a party. The cocktails are a plenty, and they come with colourful little swords and umbrellas! SCORE!

From their dine out menu we tried both of the appetizer options: plantain chips with spicy mayo, and the macaroni and cheese sticks with spicy ketchup. Both were amazing!

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The Reef’s Mac n’ Cheese Sticks!
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The Reef’s Plantain Chips! Om nom nom!

For the mains we chose the carribean curry blend with chicken and potato and also the Jerk chicken.

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A GIANT plate of curry!
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mmm Jerk chicken, munch munch!

Both were HELLA spicy, but the tangy coleslaw helped cut the spice quite nicely as did the drinks (Kahlua and milk anyone?!).

We tried both of the dine out dessert options as well, but the one that appealed to us on paper the “Fried banana with mango ice cream & rum caramel” was actually kind of gross,

IMG_9382 < it looked like this

But it tasted like this > IMG_9381

The Banana Leaf’s fried banana was SO MUCH BETTER but it should be right since banana is in it’s title and all?! 😛 Well, the reef’s deep fried banana was alright but the mango ice-cream with it was weird (AND I LOVE MANGO) it just didn’t taste right. We ended up not even eating it, and I’ll eat just about anything sweet, so that says a lot… but the other option was one of the best coconut deserts I’ve EVER had. “The Pineapple coconut tart with caramelized sugar”

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The Reef’s EPIC Pineapple Coconut Tart

It may not look that amazing, or sound that amazing. But it is like a coconut creme brûlée with a pie crust- genius! Sweet, creamy, and wondrous. Mouthgasm worthy for sure.

So there you have it, all of my dine out adventures last week! I have to say, I really like the idea of dine out, but I had to cancel two of our reservations for this week because that much eating out is just TOO MUCH for me. Like, I was so full after the meal at the Reef I couldn’t move and had to opt of dancing to go lay on the couch and nurse my food coma. I have been working out extra hard at the gym every day just to make up for it, but still the three course dine out lunches and dinners are a little much. I prefer splitting one appetizer and one dessert between two, because this whole one appetizer, one entree, and one dessert per person is kind of outrageous, definitely the quickest way to increase my waist line, and unfortunately that is not really my goal. 😛

This week I will only be trying one more restaurant for Dine out Vancouver 2014, and that is because I’ve always wanted to try it but cannot usually afford it’s ridiculously STEEP prices: on Saturday night we will be trying Cin Cin’s on Robson. I shall report back!

Cheerio,

Heidi J. Loos

What I want when I DINE OUT anywhere

When I go out to dine at a restaurant there are five things that I want:

#1 A Good Vibe – no matter how fancy, white table-cloth whatever, I don’t want to eat somewhere yuppy, uptight, or bland to look around in- so give me some colour, some art, some music, and some entertainment! Entice all my senses.

#2 Yummy Drinks – show me some variety, I don’t just want beer, wine and cider (sure maybe that’s what I’ll decided to drink that night) but I want the options to be there, a list of intriguing liquor concoctions that’ll pop my cork- fizzle my whistle, and it’d be nice if the cocktail list came with virgin options too, pregnant women and non-drinkers should still get shaken, blended, dressed up drinks with awesome little swords and cherries, and tiny umbrellas too…

#3 EPIC FOOD – duh!

(And satisfactory portion sizes- not huge so I eat myself silly, but not less than a bite per appetizer. The first nibble just gets you started: you need at least three full bites for every tastebud in your mouth to fully awaken and engage…and then a few more to be satisfied) Make me squirm in my seat, make me moan, if I don’t get at least one mouthgasm tonight, it wasn’t worth it, and I probably won’t come back. AND there must be a dessert selection, with at least one thing chocolatey.

#4 Good *Personal* Service- I appreciate ‘good service’, but I appreciate personality, originality, humour, “weirdness” even more. Seriously, all the generic serving phrases and waitress cliches should be left in the dish pit with the dirty dishes- you just served that sentence to the people before me, whip up a clean one, I don’t want no sloppy seconds. But, I know as a server myself, half the time you’re trained on the boring script… but who’s going to pay for boring? (okay so maybe some lamos but not moi!) I will tip you for your creativity, trust me. I like the unscripted, the improvised, sure some of it can be a little rehearsed but when you’re describing that dessert and your passion and humour shine through, you’ll have won my heart!

#5 Awesome company – but for this one, you can’t really blame the establishment… >.<

The next couple of weeks I am dedicating my  weekly blogging to dine out Vancouver, I will be trying a bunch of new restaurants in the next two weeks and am going to report back on how awesome (or not) they are!

Om Nom Nom,

HJL

Best Meal of the Year- Hapa Izakaya

I know what you are thinking, it’s only mid January, so “best meal of the year” thus far doesn’t mean that much. But, honestly this meal was the best meal I’ve had in MONTHS, exceptional, food fit for Gods, the entire dining experience was beyond heavenly. In fact, there are no words to properly describe just how freaking good the food really was, only GO THERE, TRY THIS, AND THIS, AND THAT (I’ll elaborate on the specific dishes don’t you worry). Three days later I’m still daydreaming of the bold flavours, the decadence, the silky, smooth, creamy with a little crunch here and BING*** of flavour there. Explosions in  the mouth, fireworks of the tastebuds.

Multiple-mouthgasms.

On Sunday night my girlfriend treated me to dinner at Hapa Izakaya, which is truly one of the best restaurants in Vancouver.

It all started out with a couple of fish tacos and a “Harajuku Girl”

For $7.99 -the appetizer “Halibat Taco” only comes with one taco, but we knew this before we ordered it. We had one the last time we dined at Hapa and fell madly in love with it, so this time, we knew going in that it’s much too delicious to share without a fight. YOUR BITE WAS BIGGER THAN MINE! Seriously, it’s worth every penny just to get two.

My memory cannot even obtain its greatness.

Biting into juicy flakes of white tempura Halibat with bacon and tiny strips of fried potato, leafy greens, and home-made roast jalepeno tartar sauce is like losing yourself, and finding yourself in a palace made of spice. It’s that nice! It’s light, and moist, and crisp. It’s like swimming naked in the ocean under the moonlight or dancing with your lover on a rooftop at sunset: so delightful, so magical, soo… something everyone should try at least once!

The ‘Harijuku Girl’ is one of their many fabulous cocktails. The combination of Absolute vodka, butter ripple, Sourpuss, raspberry, Calpis and soda makes for a sweet, light pink, bubbly delight, the grown up version of cream soda = pure genius!

Next, we tried the ‘Ebi Mayo’ for $8.99: Crisp Tempura Prawn tossed in a rich and spicy mayo-based sauce sprinkled with green onion and/or possibly chives. These were by far the juiciest, tastiest prawns I’ve ever had, the sauce: the fountain at the palace of spice, just right for quenching desire. And it comes with 6 prawns, perfect for sharing… 🙂

Our main course: Chipotle Beef Curry Ishi-Yuki $9.99 Rice, slow-braised AAA beef, chipotle curry, and egg served in a hot stone bowl. This one really blew my mind. The description enticed my curiosity, but I had no idea what to expect with such diverse ingredients. The result: truly magnificent, layers upon layers of flavour and spice, not too hot, not nose-dripping spice, just tongue tingling, moan-inducing, full-bodied flavour. Rich, well-seasoned, and scrumptious, every bite…

We didn’t really have room for desert per say but the wonderfully sweet and sincere waitress sold us on the chocolate parfait, describing all it’s chocolately components: chocolate mousse with squares of chocolate cake, and a scoop of decedent chocolate ice-cream with a sliver of chocolate torte topped with whipped cream and a Maraschino cherry, sprinkled with cornflakes~~~ AHH! omg I just died, and woke up in heaven, and I’m not even religious!

If I didn’t eat anything before this, it still would have been the best meal of the year, and I would have ordered another one. If you are a chocoholic, you have to try this. If you like chocolate even just a little bit, occasionally, YOU HAVE TO TRY THIS. And, if you don’t like chocolate at all but know someone that does you should take them to Hapa Izakaya just so that they can try THIS and they will love you forever. And while they are eating it, you should try just one bite (if they let you) and you will no longer be able to say that you aren’t a desert person or you don’t like chocolate because after this desert you’ll feel differently, you’ll be a changed person.

For just $5.99 you can have the best desert of your life, it is, indeed, the epitome of the phrase ‘sex in my mouth’.

Hell, this meal I had three days ago, was the best meal I have had in years, maybe even in my life (and that is saying A LOT, because my favourite food is actually italian and Hapa Izakaya is ‘modern Japanese cuisine’ but the combination of everything, the appys and drinks and spice, the desert and the service was like ‘shit son’) THEY NAILED IT!

It will take A LOT to top this meal, but since DINE OUT VANCOUVER is happening in less than a week. Bring it on!

I am ready with my stretchy pants!! 😉

With love from a fellow foodie,

Heidi J. Loos

3 Days in Portland!

Have you ever been to the city of Roses?

That’s what they call it, apparently, because the climate is ideal for rose growing, and also possibly for doughnut making???

doughnuts

For, Portland, Oregon, is known by many, as the city of killer doughnuts!

vodoo

… And it is also famous for being the American city with the most strip clubs per capita, it even beats Vegas, crazy hey?!

However, I had no idea of these many ‘perks’ when I signed up for the trip.

I had never been, nor had I given the city much thought or even any at all. I’d never stumbled upon Portland in my readings of the world, so it was definitely not on my list of cities/places to visit before I die, but it should totally be on yours!!

portland

And not because of the roses, or the doughnuts, or the strippers, I mean those are totally legitimate attractions, but Portland has lots more to offer too! I don’t even like doughnuts! And since I went last week (in mid October), I missed all of the roses. The strippers (at least the girls at Sassy’s) were all tattooed, and VERY sexy, and totally ‘sassy’ in the best sense of the word, they actually seemed like they were having fun and were insanely talented both with their pole dancing skills and their entertaining and even comedic routines. 🙂

Across the street from Sassy’s there is a bowling alley, and from 9pm until 11:30 it is only 3 dollars per game!!!

bowling

And just up the street (Morrison st. ) we discovered the funkiest little cocktail bar called Light Bar which is a little more pricey than most bars in Portland, but their drinks are some of the best I’ve ever had. Each spirit is infused with something: fruit, flowers, camomile, oak. The bartender sat down with us and explained each drink and concoction in elaborate detail, his passion for his trade shone as brightly as the lights… epic!

And then there was the discovery of my favourite bar of all time on Mississippi Street, seriously, if it existed in Vancouver, I’d be there every weekend at least. It has hammocks in the back,

hammocks

picnic tables in the front,

bungalo

an upstairs attic with FREE pool and darts,

atticbungalo

another separate games room with arcade games, and even a swinging table with real swings for seats.

If you are EVER in portland, seriously, go to BUNGALO BAR

The owner of Bungalo Bar is the sweetest, most accommodating man! Bungalo bar is not a gay bar by any means, but it is super queer friendly, and he made my girlfriend and I feel totally welcome, he even did his best to tell us about all the gay bars and gay attractions around the city, including a bar called Casey’s where they could make you rainbow shots!

Which of course, we had to go get.

rainbowshots

At Casey’s: Bartender Brandon really wow’d us with these ones. Nobody believes us now, but he actually shook them up and poured them out of one shaker right in front of us! And he did it in under a minute, not like the slowpoke youtube demos. And hey, they tasted damn good too!

After another wild night of bar hopping, clubbing, and hitting up the many live music venues and shows in Portland, cure your morning hangover with the most delicious french brunch at la Petite Provence, like we did…

petite provenence

We tried two different gluten-free benny’s, one made atop the most succulent asparagus and bacon risotto cakes, and one made on yummy polenta stacks!

bennys

To drink, they give you a wide selection of specialty coffees including a White Russian Latte, which is really quite magical.

But if you’d rather something a little cheaper, and quicker, head down town for a scrumptious sandwich at Pork Belly’s, and one of their to-die-for $3 smoothies… My mouth is watering as I reminisce.

There are so many places to eat and drink and dance and watch live music all over this city. So make sure you pack your dancing shoes… and pants with a stretchy waist band 😉

And save your money by going going with McMenamins for accomodation! We stayed at the White Eagle, which was only 55 dollars per night!

white eagle

And they have live music every single night, and the most delicious, gooey, mac n’ cheese balls, perfect for late night, drunk munching, as well as a wide selection of traditional american food like burgers, fish n’ chips, etc.

I will warn you though, the White Eagle is haunted, like a lot of buildings in Portland, but the ghosts are Portlanders and Oregonians… VERY friendly.  Like the strangers on the street, no one  in Portland is shy to give you a wide smile and a enthusiastic hello, possibly even a hug if you let them get that close!

The city itself is beautiful to walk around, there are gorgeous old buildings, bridges, parks… I wish I had time to see more, but I was only there for THREE DAYS! a very epic three days, indeed.

I know I’ll be back sometime, so maybe I’ll see you there!

Xox

Heidi J. Loos

Autumn brings awesome things!

For all of you in the Northern Hemisphere, in case you are bummed about the weather turning colder, the days getting shorter, and your sunkissed skin fading into winter white, here are some things to look forward to this fall!

1. TURKEY DINNER

turkey-because even if you don’t celebrate thanksgiving, getting together with friends and family for a delicious HOT home-cooked meal is da BOMB. And you don’t have to have a the turkey, if you are vegetarian or vegan, some scrumptious veggie stuffing, tofurky and garlic mashed potatoes, maybe some yams too, that’ll definitely do. Oh and also…

2. PUMPKIN PIE ….

pumpkinpie& Pumpkin-spiced lattes and pumpkin muffins, and pumpkin cheesecake and other pumpkin-y treats! Because HELLO, it’s pumpkin season! (and if any of you aussies are reading this, a PUMPKIN is not a butternut squash, come try some real north american pumpkin and you’ll see what I’m talkin’ about 😛 )

3. BAKING

baking– because it’s just so much more satisfying to do when the weather is colder. Warm up your house and make smell like hot apples and cinnamon or melting chocolate or freshly baked banana bread- and if you don’t want to eat it because you watching your waist line, give it away! Lot’s of people have birthdays in the fall 🙂

4. HALLOWEEN

halloween1– the BEST holiday of the year! And all that comes with it, pumpkin carving, costume parties, adorable children knocking at your door in superhero outfits, and more TREATS…come on! Bikini season is miles away, JK

5. INDOOR FITNESS

indoorfit– don’t think its all about eating, there are tons of ways to stay active in the fall, why not go for a swim, join an indoor sports league? Indoor soccer, hockey, basketball, badminton, squash! Personally, I love going to the gym and then hitting up the sauna or steamroom afterwards, and in case you haven’t tried it, singing in a steamroom is way better then singing in the shower, the sound in these steamy spaces makes you sound like a rockstar!

6. CRAFTY THINGS

4972925879_ba84ab6856_o– didn’t you know that fall is craft season? All those art projects you’ve thought about starting but been to busy to get to all summer long or just couldn’t bother being cooped up while the weather was nice. Well, NOW is the time for: Drawing, painting, calendar making, scrapbooking, knitting, crocheting, beading, braiding, jewellery making, get what you need and MAKE something awesome.

7. BOARD GAME NIGHTS

balderdash– no excuses – it’s time to get your game face on. (Here are my top 5 game recommendations: Pictionary, Balderdash, Bonanza, Apples to Apples and Wizard!)

8. MOVIES & TV SHOWS!

vampdiaries -time to catch up on your favourite shows, re-watch your childhood classics, have a movie marathon- guilt-free- on a rainy day!

9. FALL READING,

books-get some book suggestions, read an old favourite, or a classic you’ve never had a chance to read. Curl up on the couch with a fuzzy blanket and some tea…

and last but not least…

10. SNUGGLING!

snugglers

TIS THE SEASON TO FIND SNUGGLERS – buddy up, throw a snuggle party, have a snuggle train,  during these crisp autumn nights you no longer need to rip the covers off you and push your partner to the other side of the bed, so say it with me:

“Snuggle closer, babe, be my little spoon.”

YAY FOR FALL!!!!

xoxo

HJL