Something new!

I’ve finally decided on a name for my new food and recipe-based blog: Umami & Me. It will be a blog chronicling my new culinary adventures in cooking for two, reworking leftovers into new creative dishes, sharing my own recipes as well as adapted favourites, and on teaching others how to cook (aka my boyfriend). I’ll hopefully try to get atleast one post up before I leave on Thursday for Asia.

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Food blog…maybe?

Been thinking of starting up a food blog. NOT the idiotic kind where you review restaurants (if you know my stance on this, you will understand). I was perhaps thinking of starting a food blog that contained recipes, my recipes or adapted favourites. Just a thought that’s always been in the back of my mind but have never said it outloud. Until now.

Maybe. Won’t be this year. Or will it?


My two cents on diets, shakes, and weight loss.

First of all, I am not a fitness expert, nutritionist, or dietition. Second of all…there is no second of all. Read and please enjoy. Agree to disagree.

So, I’m sure you have all heard about this “Body by Vi” product. This is apparently the newest and hottest multilevel marketing (who remembers Monavie?) product. It promises weight loss on a 90-day challenge. And what is the challenge, you may ask? Two shakes (I believe it’s a soy-based protein powder) — one for breakfast, one for lunch — and a light dinner. The whole point of this new shake is to decrease the amount of calories your body is taking in and minimize what you consume; generally, it’s just lowering your overall caloric intake to lose weight. Uh, the last time I checked, this wasn’t rocket science. Isn’t this just pure common sense?

Another fad that I heard about (and also a New York Times Bestseller) was “The Four Hour Body” where the author, Tim Ferris, an award-winning novelist, strictly dictates what you are to eat, meal-by-meal. This diet completely cuts out carbohydrates and encourages consuming large amounts of calories and is very protein (read: meat)-focused. Sounds familiar? Atkins diet ringing a bell anyone?

I don’t know… Maybe I’m being a hater or maybe I’m just being overly self-conscious about my own body because of everybody’s statuses and updates on Facebook or maybe because I’m almost 10lbs heavier than my peak three years ago, but I really think all these diets are just very silly. I saw another update today on Instagram with a very sad looking piece of chicken and sliced tomatoes and thought, “Gosh, do these peoples’ diets have to suffer so much?”.  It just seems that these diets are “quick fixes” or just shortcuts to actually getting in shape, toning up, and losing weight. Because yes, that’s great and all to be relying on smoothies to shrink down a few inches, but how about I check on you in about six months and see if that weight is still being kept off. That is my real concern, that these “diets” are not adequate enough to keep the weight off.

I am an advocate for people who are losing weight and sculpting their bodies in a “traditional” sense. I’m talking about eating healthy, drinking lots of water, and getting enough sleep. My current philosophy on this topic would be to work out often, stay hydrated and satiated, rest, and most importantly, know what you are putting in your body. I am really focused into putting whole foods into my diet. Monday to Friday, on the most part, am vegetarian. I rely on whole grains, legumes, and vegetables and generally avoid gluten, red meat, and if I can, cow milk products. I think the most important part of weight loss and losing inches is largely dedicated to one’s diet aka what food you are consuming and digesting.

Despite my bitterness, I want to say good luck to everyone on their journey to “healthiness”. Who knows, maybe that Body by Vi crap does work for some people and perhaps I am just challenging you to prove me wrong. Either or, I still think it’s a hilarious load of junk. Please stop sending me invites.

Thoughts?


#poutinechallenge

If you keep up with me on my social media streams, you’ve probably noticed the hashtag, #poutinechallenge, popping up quite frequently in the past week. What the hell is poutine challenge, you ask?  Um… well it’s practically a gluttony contest created by the Vancouver Foodster for poutine-obsessed folk such as myself. Basically, he wants to know where the best poutine is in Vancouver and invited all of Vancouver to participate in the hunt during the past week at 29 different restaurants.

So what exactly makes a poutine? Traditionally, french fries, cheese curds, and gravy. Now, if you’ve looked at all the listed flavours on the website, it’s no joke that they strayed far off from the norm. Some didn’t even have cheese curds in it and, well, that just ain’t a poutine in my eyes. And the fries on some were just too thick, too starchy. Yuck. And the gravy? One of them tasted like it came out of a can. Not joking.

And besides finding out which restaurant has the best poutine, there was also a very tempting challenge part to the week-long poutine festivities: winning a prize. Not only was the an excellent opportunity to try as many different poutines as possible, it was now a competition. And you all know how competitive I am. Winning is everything. Here is a picture documentary of my #poutinechallenge — let’s see if you can try to keep up!

Preston’s – traditional poutine
Dine Preston's
The Charlatan – poutine grilled cheese
The Charlatan
Rogue Kitchen & Wetbar – poutine trio
Rogue Kitchen & Wetbar
Coast – dungeness crab poutine
Coast
Hidden Tasting Bar – butter poached lobster poutine
Hidden Tasting Bar
Dunn’s – quebecois poutine
Dunn's
Society – ultimate poutine supreme
Society
Between Two Buns – kennebec kahuna poutine
Between Two Buns
La Belle Patate – traditional poutine
La Belle Patate
Red Card – curry poutine
Red Card
The Five Point – carolina poutine
The Five Point
The Fray – duck poutine
The Fray
Bob Likes Thai Food – thai poutine
Bob Likes Thai Food
Calabash – jerk poutine
Calabash Bistro
The Flying Pig – pulled pork poutine
The Flying Pig

…which brings me to a whopping grand total of 15 out of 29 poutines tried!!! What up. More than halfway down the list! Yay. $100+ later. And possibly gained the 3lbs that I lost in the past 3-4 weeks all right back. And a gut. My favourite(s)? Coast, hands down. Can’t go wrong with hollandaise, crab, and a fried egg on top. The Fray was a close second and would’ve won if their potatoes weren’t cut so thickly. The Charlatan comes third because, um, hello? Poutined grilled cheese? Yes please. And The Flying Pig and The Five Point are tied for pulled pork. Both so damn good. And lastly, La Belle Patate for traditionality. Between Two Buns gets an honourable mention but no cheese curds!!! What a deliciously fattening week.

Hope some of you guys got to try some of the fabulous and creative poutines we have in this city. Can’t wait til the next food challenge!


3rd Annual Cupcake Throwdown.

The Cupcake Throwdown is back for its third year in Vancouver and yours truly will be competing once again!  It’s taking place on Thursday, February 16th at the Chapel Arts (304 Dunlevy Ave) from 7:00-9:00pm. Admission is only $10.00 which entitles you to 5 tasting tickets (additional tasting tickets available for purchase for $1.00 each) and goes to the social enterprise, H.A.V.E. CafeLast year, I competed for the first time and entered my sweet potato and carrot cupcake with cinnamon cream cheese frosting and got third place in the taste category. I have yet another innovative flavour that will be both accessible to vegans and celiacs so I do hope to see some of you familiar faces out there! Besides, who can say no to cupcakes?!


Victoria!

One of my very good friends, Cookie, goes to UViC and since I was craving for a mini getaway, I thought “Why not go visit her in Victoria?”. So I managed to persuade my friend Mimi (it wasn’t hard at all) to come with and, well, what do you know, it’s the old 2011 Harrison Hot Springs crew aka we knew were gonna wreck havoc. All in all, it was a quick but great trip spent with two of my favourite ladies. Double decker busses, mi goreng x 7, chocolate-covered polvoron, the only time we were happy to see Applebee’s, QUIDDITCH, 9one9, noodle time, pho times, Red Fish Blue Fish’s spot prawn mayo, KETCHUPY, carbicide, girl talk boy talk, “wever”, Mimi’s possessed face… Good times, girls! Until the next mi goreng party.
Double decker busses in Victoria
Me and Mimi
Damage
Me and Mimi
Me and Cookie
UVic
Quidditch

Pho
Red Fish Blue Fish
Victoria
The Empress
Victoria

1. Double decker busses! 2. Ferry boat ride. 3. Not even a fraction of the damage we did. 4. Me and Mimz. 5. Me and Cookie. 6. UVic. 7. Quiddtch. 8. Brisket and flank pho at Pho Vy. Mandatory, obviously. 9. Halibut fish ‘n chips with spot prawn mayo at Red Fish Blue Fish (as seen on the Food Network’s Eat Street) 10. Wharf. 11. The Empress. 12. Nighttime sky.


Big Screen Bake Sale!

Remember Bake for the Quake and the great amount of money we generated to help Japan? Well, it looks like I’ll be baking for charity again coming September!  This time, I will be featuring my Dolce Delights goodies at the Big Screen Bake Sale which is being put on by a couple of my friends who love giving back to the community. This bake sale will occur on Sunday, September 4th, 2011 from 1:00–4:00pm at Creekside Community Recreation Centre (1 Athletes Way, Vancouver) and all proceeds from this fundraiser will go directly to Easter Seals, an organization which helps fund summer camps for children with disabilities. This is going to be super fun event! It is also movie-themed and of course, y’all know which movie I chose for my theme: Harry Potter, duh!  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I will be making pumpkin pasties, cauldron cupcakes, and Harry Potter’s FAVOURITE dessert ever: treacle tarts! Um, yeah. Harry Potter dreams come true. My table will be DECKED OUT in Harry Potter gear and I will also be donning my Gryffindor swag, of course.

This is a great opportunity to help a worthwhile cause. And if you haven’t tried my cupcakes yet, this is probably the place to do so! So please come out and support and buy some goodies — your help is greatly appreciated! Or feel free to come out and take pictures with me in my Gryffindor costume!

Also, check out the super sweet post on me and my cupcake biz, Dolce Delights. Thanks Mandy!