Friday, October 31, 2008

happy halloween

Happy Halloween to all our readers! Hope you have a fun & safe halloween!

Remember not to eat TOO much candy - hoard it like i do!

Pictured on the left is a pumpkin I carved back in my university days. The image on it is a fireball - McMaster University's Engineering logo.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

dry spell

I've hit a dry spell in my blogging. But don't worry - I'm still eating lots! Things have been really crazy at work, so I've had no energy to blog.

A fast recap of my recent going-on's:

I have fallen in love with Starbucks' Vivanno drinks though. Even though they don't taste super great, they fill me up and I feel like I'm being healthy. They're definitely good for when I'm rushing around and don't have time to stop for food. At least I can last a couple of hours longer!

And, I'm completely addicted to fresh Vietnamese spring rolls. I make a super fast version that is perfect for snacking on when I get hungry & they're oh-so-healthy!

I'm making hot-dogs-wrapped-in-bacon for Halloween! I can't wait!

Posts to look forward to: Ottawa's 23rd Wine & Food Show

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

holistic nutrition

This week we had a lunch-and-learn at our work about eating healthy. It was really interesting and I'm glad that our workplace organized it. The woman running the 1-hour seminar is a holistic nutrition professional and I found the following items to stand out:

- drink lots of water (8 cups worth per day)
- be wary of juices as they're very high in sugars and very concentrated
- try to stay away from making protein the main focus of your meal
- choose whole wheat
- never drink water (especially cold water) while eating meals
- drinking milk or snacking on a bit of yogurt after supper is good for you AND a good night's sleep
- the fresher vegetables and fruit are the more of their nutrients they retain (so dried fruit has very little)
- Centrum vitamins are believed to be hard to break-down
- peanut oil is best for frying as it can stand high temperatures
- olive oil is okay for pan/light frying stuff

1-hour is really too short to really get any substance out of a seminar related to healthy eating and I'm always weary of any advice people give on health stuff because I hear something different depending on who I'm hearing it from. I also find it suspicious that the health professional will always say that the multi-vitamin that they sell in their office is the best.

I generally think that moderation is the key to good everything.

If you want to check out her website:

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

starbucks vivanno

So I think I blogged about Starbucks' new drink Vivanno previously and also about how I tried their Orange Mango Banana Blend. Well today I finally got to try their Banada Chocolate Blend. I was in a rush to get to the doctor's office yesterday afternoon, but needed nourishment, so I decided to swing by Stabucks and pay my lots of money for a drink.

According to Starbucks' website: The simple ingredient list for both beverages includes:
• one whole banana
• a proprietary whey protein and fiber powder
• choice of milk
• and ice

I wish I had known to ask for low-fat milk, or that they had asked me! Or that you could add a shot of espresso (not that I would have, but it would have been nice to have known that was an option).

Anywho, it wasn't bad. Not as chocolatey as I had hoped, but I guess it has to be healthy still. It did make me feel good that there was at least 1 serving of fruit in there. Amazingly enough it did fill me up pretty good and I wasn't hungry until late last night.

Here's the nutritional information of the Banana Chocolate Vivanno (from their website):
Serving Size 16 fl. oz. -->

Amt Per Serving
Calories - 270
Fat Calories - 45
Total Fat (g) - 5
Saturated Fat (g) - 2.5
Trans Fat (g) - 0
Cholesterol (mg) - 15
Sodium (mg) - 170
Total Carbohydrates (g) - 44
Fiber (g) - 6
Sugars (g) - 28
Protein (g) - 21
Vitamin A - 10%
Vitamin C - 15%
Calcium - 20%
Iron - 15%
Caffeine (mg) - 15

Monday, October 20, 2008

california sandwiches

Friday was my brother-in-law's birthday, so as an extra suprise I bought him a veal sandwich from California Sandwiches and an order of their olives. My sister tipped me off on what his usual sandwich order was and when I was ordering and looking at their massive bowl of olives I couldn't resist ordering him some. I'm lucky that their Winston Churchill location is uber close to my place.

Although you might think their prices are high for a sandwich at first glance - they're prety massive, so I think you're getting your monies worth. Not only are they massive, but messy too (they NEVER look like the pictures on their website). =) I'm personally not a huge fan of their sandwiches, but he absolutely LOVES them and insists they're even better the next day.

They have several locations across the GTA - check out their website for more details!

Image from:

Thursday, October 16, 2008

mcdonalds monopoly

I love eating at nice restaurants, but I still love fast food!

I caved and bought McDonalds for dinner tonight and was reminded that their Monopoly game is back! My only complaint (besides never winning anything) is that they no longer have the monopoly pieces you stick on the board - instead they give you a little folder thing to store them in. What's the fun in that?

I miss roll up the rim....

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

restaurant review: the olive press

Restaurant: The Olive Press
Location: 2322 Dundas Street West, Oakville, Ontario L6M 4J3
Telephone: 905-827-4241

Meal type: Dinner

Average price per person: $26-$60

What I ordered:
-Calamari Fritti
-Small Carbonara Pizza
-Limoncello & mint ice cream


We tried out a new restaurant in Burlington the other night. It sits all by itself nestled in with some houses, but from the busy parking lot I could tell immediately it was a popular place to eat. The restaurant looked brand new & much like another box restaurant, but inside it looked like a chic Italian eatery. It wasn't the coziest eatery, but very nice indeed - perfect for Burlington.

The food was good and the portions were quite huge. I think my favorite part of the dinner (besides the company of course) was the ice cream! My friend mentioned the wine infused ice cream and though it sounded very tempting, I'm not the hugest fan of wine so I chose the limoncello & mint flavour. It was delicious and refreshing! I'd go back JUST for the ice cream! I wish I could buy a quart of the wine infused ice cream for my brother-in-law (the wine conisseur) to try.
Sorry - I keep forgetting to take pictures of my food, but I'll try to remember next time!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

peanut butter

I love peanut butter. So much so that I have a small jar in my desk at work that I eat straight from with a spoon almost every morning.

The other day a co-worker came to ask me a question while I was eating peanut butter and was quite suprised and shocked. He asked me what I was doing....I thought it was rather obvious. haha.

Monday, October 13, 2008

happy thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all our Canadian readers!

I hope everyone had a great long weekend and lots of yummy goodies to eat!

I bought a mini-pumpkin and a couple of gourds yesterday while in Unionville to decorate my work desk with. I have no idea what I`ll do with them after halloween, but they were just so cute I couldn`t resist.

restaurant review: rock bottom

Restaurant: Rock Bottom Restaurant Brewery
Location: 401 G Street - Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego, CA 92101
Telephone: 619-231-7000

Meal type: Dinner

Average price per person: $11-$25

What I ordered: Tuna Wrap (comes with fries)


My coworker had read in one of those airplane magazines that there was an explosion of micro breweries in San Diego, so we set out to find one to dine at. We ran across Rock Bottom in the Gaslamp Quarter, and it looked so inviting we couldn't resist.

Rock Bottom is actually part of a chain of restaurant breweries. I guess I should have known that from the size of the place, but it really didn't have that chain feeling to it. The atmosphere was really warm and cozy, the service was good, and the food was a nice change to the usual pub food.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

restaurant review: green mango

Restaurant: Green Mango
Location: 730 Yonge Street, Toronto, Ontario

Meal type: Dinner

Average price per person: $0-$10


We were walking around the Yorkville area and needed dinner, so we thought we'd hit Green Mango which we hadn't been to in years. I really enjoyed it the last time I ate there about 2 years ago.

When we walked in we knew we were in for something different. It had been converted from a full restaurant to a take-out cafeteria style restaurant. The place was very modern and simple, so we figured we'd give it a shot.

When we walked up to the Manchu-Wok style counter we started to have our doubts. I ordered a 2 dish dinner plate (Pad Thai & Lemongrass Chicken). It was completely unappetizing and disgusting. The Pad Thai was so dissappointing - it was just noodles! Would it have killed them to add some bean sprouts or onions or cilantro or eggs? And the lemongrass chicken was not that much better. Dave's curry lamb was alright, but that really didn't make up for the crappy Pad Thai. Food court Spring Rolls or Thai Express is better.

We think that we had ordered a la carte we might have had better luck, but does that really give them an excuse to serve bad food if it's not a la carte? Our visit there was very dissappointing and I don't think we'll ever be going back - at least to that Green Mango.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

restaurant review: nobu

Restaurant: Nobu
Location: 207 Fifth Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101
Telephone: 619-814-4122

Meal type: Dinner


We ended up at Nobu for dinner. I was so excited to go there and was thrilled when one of my coworkers suggested it.

Nobu is a well known sushi restaurant in the US, and was right across from the San Diego convention centre at the entrance to the historic gas town district in the Hard Rock Cafe boutique hotel. We decided on doing a sort of tasting menu thrown together by the chef based the things we told our waiter (which included the price range we wanted to spend).

The bill ended up being pretty insane, but there were 16 of us and lots of wine was drank.

Friday, October 10, 2008

san diego chronicles: pinkberry

While looking for a place to eat in San Diego with my co-workers I saw uber excited to see a pinkberry. Pinkberry is a frozen yogurt store that Dave told me about while we were in New York city. I didn't get to try it while in NYC, so after lunch on the way back to the tradeshow I stopped by pinkberry and chose a small green tea frozen yogurt.

I absoulutely love green tea ice cream, so i figured green tea yogurt would be cool to try. I was not dissappointed. It was tart and fresh tasting, with that subtle green tea taste. The small was $3.50 USD, but you definitely got $3.50 worth!

Other offerings from pinkberry include:
- Original frozen yogurt
- Coffee froze yogurt
- Fresh fruit shaved ice (strawberries + banana + kiwi + pineapple)
- Green tea shaved ice (kiwi + green tea frozen yogurt)
- Pinkberry smoothie (frozen yogurt + strawberries + rasberries + blueberries + blackberries)
- Green tea smoothie (frozen yogurt + green tea)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

restaurant review: bondi

Restaurant: bondi the Australian bar and kitchen
Location: 333 Fifth Avenue, San Diego, CA
Telephone: (619) 342-0212

Meal type: Lunch

Average price per person: $11-$25

What I ordered: vegetable sandwich (served with fries)


Located in the historic gastown area of San Diego, me & my coworkers found bondi to be the perfect place to catch a quick lunch. We were able to sit outside in the beautiful weather and soak in the sun rays, scenery and passerbyers.

The menu description: “A satisfying filling of grilled mushrooms, sweet potato, baby greens, fresh tomato, avocado and mustard mayonnaise on crisp grilled ciabatta”.

I really enjoyed my vegetable sandwhich. Anyone who knows me well will probably be suprised by that last statement as I’m not a huge fan of vegetables at all. Everything about the sandwich was tasty together and seperately – the grilled mushrooms, the sweet potato, the ciabatta.

I really enjoyed bondi. For a bar type restaurant it was very chic looking, the staff was friendly, and they served great food.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

chicken and waffles

I was watching the food network while in New York city and the mentioned something that totally caught my attention - chicken and waffles. Dave was actually suprised I had never heard of it at all before. My interest was totally peaked, so I had to google it.

From fast facts from Wikipedia:
- combination of waffles with chicken (usually fried in this context)
- typically a breakfast food
- served in certain specialty restaurants in the United States
- typically covered with butter and/or syrup

The thought of it sort of grosses me out, but I guess I can't knock it until I've tried it.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

new york chronicles: my only regret

My only regret was not getting to eat at The Spotted Pig in Greenwich Village. I was so distraught to hear that my my co-workers ate there, but I didn't have the foresight to meet up with them before dinner so I could complete my whirlwind eating tour of New York City.

Next time, next time...

Monday, October 6, 2008

restaurant review: kyotofu

Restaurant: Kyotofu
Location: 705 Ninth Ave., New York, 10019
Telephone: 212-974-6012

Meal type: Dinner

Average price per person: $26-$60

What I ordered:
Tasting Menu (shared):
- chicken & tofu sliders
- barbequed unagi
- smoked salmon onigiri
- japanese karobuta sausage
- simmered lotus root
- housemade edamame artisanal tofu
- seaweed salad
- spicy tsukune
- mini green tea cupcakes
- warm miso chocolate cake


There wasn't any obvious signage outside Kyotofu, so we actually walked right past it. Good thing we were looking for it, else we would never had a chance to eat here.

Their setup is definitely interesting - they have a few spots to sit & enjoy desserts and people-watch, and then the kitchen and food preparation area flacks a small short hallway that leads to the rear of the restaurant which reveals a very small and intimate simply decorated dining area. I would have enjoyed if it the kitchen could be seen from the dining area as well. I felt so isolated from the outside world and sunlight sitting in the back.

After a quick look at the menu, we decided to order the cool tasting menu option. Each dish was only $4 and we ordered 8 dishes, which was all but 1 of the items offered. When our food came it looked so cute & pretty. My favorite was the Barbequed Unagi (barbequed eel in a phyllo pastry shell).

We were both still hungry afterwards, so we ordered dessert. My miso chocolate cake was a super decadent molten lava cake. Although it was very good, my favorite part of it was the green tea mouse garnish. It was so light and refreshing and reeked of green tea.

Since Kyotofu is known for their cupcakes we bought some to take home for an evening snack. I wasn't much of a fan of the green tea cupcakes, but I really enjoyed Dave's chocolate souffle cupcake. But it wasn't really a cupcake....more of a mini-souffle.

This would be an awesome hangout spot with their small dishes perfect for sampling and sharing. I wish we had a Kyotofu in Toronto. =P

Sunday, October 5, 2008

new york chronicles: balducci's

During our last couple of hours in NYC we finally got a chance to walk around Chelsea. It's unfortunate too because we discovered all these places we wanted to go, but didn't have time. One in particular was a gourmet grocery store called Balducci's. I was in love! So many different cheeses to choose from. So much gourmet chocolate. So much yummy looking prepared food! They even have buttermilk fried chicken! I only wish we had a few more hours to spare so we could sit in their cool dining area upstairs and eat some yummy goodies.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

things i'm looking forward to...

- Trying out the new earls restaurant in Mississauga
- The opening of Panera in Mississauga

Friday, October 3, 2008

restaurant review: maze

Restaurant: Maze
Location: 151 West 54th St., New York 10019
Telephone: 212-468-8889

Meal type: Dinner

Average price per person: $26-$60

What I ordered:
- spare rib ravioli
- smoked pork belly with roasted scottish langoustine, celeriac, apple gastrique


We were really excited to visit a restaurant by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay (from shows such as Hell's Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares).

The first thing that hit us when we arrived was the chic, but relaxed atmosphere of the restaurant.

The waitress informed us that the menu was comprised of dishes that were all tasting portions (meaning very small usually), and suggested that for a full meal we order 3-4 dishes per person. This came to a suprise to us as it didn't mention that anywhere on the website. I guess we should have been suspicious by the low prices.

We ended up ordering 2 dishes each only. I wasn't extremely hungry and didn't want to stuff myself again. Which is good, because even just the 2 dishes left me full. We noshed on the extremely fresh bread while we waited for our dishes to arrive.

The plating very pretty, and all the dishes were very, very nicely balanced. My spare rib ravioli was so cute and sat on a bed of sweet sauce that was so tasty. And the saltiness of the pork belly was well balanced by the sweet celeriac (celery root), the neutral langoustine (prawn) and the sweet apple gastrique.

I was able to steal some of Dave's ice cream(he ordered a cheesecake that came with pistachio ice cream) and really enjoyed it too.

We also really enjoyed the complimentary truffles that came at the end. They tasted like liquified Almond Rocca. I love how upsacle restaurants always give you suprise treats during your meal.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

the perfect workday lunch place

Restaurant: La Felicita
Location: 1834 Lakeshore Rd. W., Clarkson, Ontario L5J 1J7
Telephone: 905-822-9922

We always seem to end up going to La Felicita for lunch at work. It's the perfect workday lunch place! It's a cute little Italian bakery/restaurant and bakery that has a large selection of very fresh foods. It's also set up cafeteria style, so you can get your food quickly and get back to work in time.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

food as art

While touring New York City we had a chance to stop by MOMA (the Museum of Modern Art) and we saw a few exhibits that were food related. One was a giant slice of cake that was very large and looked to be made of painted cloth (pictured below). It is done by Claes Oldenburg, which I think also created the giant hamburger that I have seen that is in the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario).

Image from:

If you don't already know, I love fake food. I loved playing with fake food when I was younger, I always loved seeing fake food displayed outside of cafe-type restaurants in Hong Kong, and I am always tempted to buy things nowadays when it's of the fake food variety.

We also saw the iconic piece comprised of many cans of Cambell's soup by Andy Warhol (pictured below). I didn't realize each can was a seperate piece of work. Can you imagine trying to line up all those seperate pieces? Definitely need a laser leveller for that job.