Friday, January 31, 2014 / Toronto, ON, Canada


♫ I don't know about you, but I'm feelin' 22 ♫
It's finally my turn to sing those lyrics and mean it! To celebrate my birthday and passing my exam, I decided to head over to Muzik for a girls night out :)
My beautiful asians :*
Laurier girlies!
My Parisian lovers
My viet bbs <3
My Microsoft chicks, xo
My vpoon :)
- - -
So I got to play with sparklers,
And we popped some bottles.
And I had a photoshoot with my beloved balloons,
and then we danced the night away... :)
Thanks everyone for coming out :)

Monday, January 27, 2014 / Toronto, ON, Canada

Don Don Izakaya

Welcome to DonDon!
J and I decided to meet up after work for a serious overdue story time.
Food and stories - just what we needed.

At an izakaya, everything is tapa-styled so it's best if you go in a large group so you can try more dishes. Since it was just us two, we decided on the following 5 dishes.

1. Beef Bowl | beef, onion, sesame, rice
Starting off with a traditional dish that we knew. It was a little dry with too many ginger slices. I'm not a fan of ginger but those who are would definitely enjoy this mix!

2. Stir-Fried Seafood Noodle
This was so delicious!! I love pan-fried Japanese noodles. I don't think I've ever had a bad experience with them. What I liked most about this dish was the bonito flakes. It looked like the dish was alive! So awesome.

3. Spicy Grilled Squid | squid and ginger
I've recently starting enjoying squid, but only when it is grilled. It wasn't as spicy as I thought it would be but the sauce was still delicious. Needless to say, I didn't touch the ginger on the side :P

4. Smoky Hay Sashimi (Salmon)
The smokey hay sashimi dish is when they sear the fish over burning hay. They do it right at their bar and make it a mini show. While they sear it over that huge fire, someone is constantly banging on drums and yelling LOL I wish I got to take a video of it but this photo will do.
To pair the sashimi, you get garlic, onions and salt.
You're supposed to put it all together like this:
And dip it in soy sauce.
Verdict: super delicious but super salty. I don't like raw onions nor have I ever eaten slices of garlic, but I'd say it actually goes well with the salmon. The fish actually had a smokey flavour to it, which I enjoyed.
I would definitely order this dish again! I just wish they gave more pieces :(

5. DonDon Special Black Croquette | breadcrumbs, shrimp, and mayonnaise with a side of ketchup
This was definitely the most interesting dish that we got. J and I decided to be adventurous and try the weirdest looking one on the menu and... It was special indeed. It doesn't look appealing but it basically tasted like a mozzarella cheese stick, in my opinion.

Overall, it was a great meal. It was rather loud and hard to talk over all the banging of the drums and constant yelling, but it was all part of the experience that I enjoyed.
Until next time!
Don Don Izakaya on Urbanspoon

Friday, January 24, 2014

Is this real life?


This is the best birthday present I have ever given myself :)


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Kenzo Ramen

Kenzo Ramen opened up a new location in Waterloo about half a year ago. Located in such a prime location (in the Waterloo Plaza) and being the Asian I am, C and I went to check it out during exam time.
We forgot how disgusting the lines were.
We had to wait almost an hour in the cold until we got to go inside! (I'm sure the line would have died down by now)

I ordered the Tonkatsu Miso Ramen Hakata, which is pork bone soup ramen with a kick of miso flavour. C ordered Karashi Ramen, which is spicy ramen with Japanese Karashi hot sauce topped off with roasted pork slices.

Both were pretty good. I wanted a little kick of spice to mine (surprisingly) and asked for hot flakes which I underestimated. I was sweating by the time we finished eating haha.
And being the fatties we are, we ordered a side of dumplings to share!

Overall, the meal was good but I wouldn't line up an hour just for this (especially in the wintery cold).
Also, the waiters were ridiculously slow and didn't seem to care that there wasn't a line outside. When I was waiting for a table outside, they had 3 empty tables but the waitress was just too lazy to clean them and stood there.. But as for the food, I've got to say it beats any Asian noodles around here!
Kenzo Ramen on Urbanspoon

Monday, January 20, 2014

Manicure Mondays

Two of my favorite polishes: Bordeaux and Set in Stones

I like using Bordeaux as a base as it is a perfect crimson red for the winter weather.
The top coat adds some sparkle to your nails so it's not as boring!
And that's how my thumb looked like. It was more gradient as opposed to just a top coat.

Never be afraid of a little sparkle :)

Happy Monday xx

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Joey Markville

To celebrate finish writing our 4 hour long exam, we decided we had to go get some good food and drinks. First place we thought of? Joeys.

Joey Markville just opened recently and has instantly become a popular spot.
Since it was Monday aka Bellini day, we obviously ordered some peach bellinis to start. Our waiter thought we were insane because we were drinking at 2pm on a random Monday hahaha.
We also got some appetizers to share.
Calamari Fritto | tempura vegetables, spicy aioli
Ahi Tuna Tacos | seared rare, toasted sesame, ginger coleslaw, wasabi aioli
Lettuce Wraps | toasted peanuts, crispy noodles, fresh cilantro, + added chicken

This was the first time I've had any of these appetizers and I have to say.. Everything was pretty good!
The calamari was surprisingly one of the bests I've had. I swear it was because of the spicy aioli sauce though. It just makes everything taste so much better!
The tuna tacos were good, but that's no surprise as it is one of their signature dishes.
The lettuce wraps were better than I had expected. I added some spicy aioli to it too hehe

And of course we had to have a round 2 of drinks (and more weird looks).
JOEY Markville on Urbanspoon

Monday, January 13, 2014

Downsize, & Prioritize

Can't believe I'm saying this but.. I started full-time today in my dream job and could not be happier!

It seems surreal to tell people that I am no longer a student, but that I am working full-time and doing something that I enjoy. Graduating and then starting work right away made me feel like I was being forced into the next chapter of my life that I wasn't quite ready for. But now that I'm here, I couldn't be more ready. I can't believe I've gotten so far!

It also got me thinking - I don't think I would have made it through all these years without the constant support and love from my family and friends. So many people come and go, but so many people have also came and stayed.

I'm so thankful for everyone that came into my life to teach me a lesson,
but even more thankful for the ones that are still here.

It also reminded me of one of my favorite Thought Catalog articles:

"As we get older we tend to downsize, prioritize.
Trim the corners of our lives, keeping what’s important and discarding what isn't.
Sometimes we stop needing people in our lives and it isn't even conscious.
In life, it's a given that you will lose people. 
People will flow in and out like curtains through an open window, 
sometimes for no reason at all. 
But losing someone important to you will feel like a suckerpunch every single time, 
and you’ll never see it coming. 
Which makes the friendships that do hold out, 
the ones that make it through countless breakdowns 
and breakthroughs and changes and years, 


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Recipe: Sweet Potato Gnocchi, Mushrooms and Butter Sauce

So since I am unbelievably sore from snowboarding yesterday, let's ring in the new year with a little recipe I've been meaning to upload:
Sweet Potato Gnocchi
- - -
I was browsing Pinterest one late night while I was quite hungry (not a good idea)
and decided that I was capable of being a chef!
I had an abundance of mushrooms, onions, butter, and sweet potatoes in my fridge.
So naturally, I thought of making a difficult pasta LOL

I read a couple recipes here and there but I didn't follow one specifically since I was basically playing around with my food. I didn't know it would actually end up so delicious! :)
- - -
Ingredients for the gnocchi:
1 sweet potato (I used 2 and do not recommend it unless you're feeding like 6 people LOL I had a lot leftover)
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp of salt
2 cups of all-purpose flour (approximately*)

1. So FIRST, you need to boil, peel, and cut your sweet potatoes.
And no, it is not as easy as it seems in Cooking Mama, if you've played that game.
But keep in mind it was my first time ever peeling a potato so it was unnecessary difficult for me.
Don't forget to let the potato cool before peeling it or you'll burn your hands!

2. After that, you'll need mash it really well. And by really well, I mean it needs to be in puréed form. It might take a while but you can always steal a couple bites while you're at it (mmm, mashed sweet potatoes!)

3.  Once you have all your ingredients ready, mix everything together while slowly adding the flour 1/4 cup at a time. Sorry but you're going to have to use your hands for this one! At first, it's going to feel really gross as it gets in your nails and as flour is literally everywhere. It gets better, I promise! It'll going to become a soft sticky dough.
From this, to that :)

4. Now it's time to make the gnocchi! Flour your surface and your hands and grab a golf ball sized chunk from the large doughball and start rolling it out into a log. At first, it'll seem kind of difficult but just use your wrist to roll it and be gentle to make sure it's even (unlike my photo below lol).

5. Line a pan with parchment paper (if you are planning to eat it right away, you don't need to do this step) and dust it with a little flour. This will help you when you finish cutting your gnocchi if you are planning to freeze some for later.

6. With a sharp knife, cut each log diagonally into little bite-sized pieces of sweet potato goodness.
And there you have it :)
- - -
Now we're halfway there!!
Next step is the actual cooking of it :)

Ingredients you will need:
1/4 cup of butter
1 onion
half a box of mushrooms

1. In a pot, boil the salted water and only when it is bubbling like crazy, add your gnocchi. Keep stirring it so it doesn't sink and stick to the bottom until it starts floating to the top. I'd say around 4 minutes. When it floats, take it out of the water so it doesn't overcook!

2. In a pan, melt half of the butter and cook your onions first until they start caramelizing. Then add your mushrooms. Once that's all done, put the onions and mushrooms into a separate plate but leave the residue from the butter.

3. Now for the main dish. Melt the remaining butter in the same pan over medium heat. Keep swirling it around until the butter turns a little brown and you can smell the rich buttery aroma (mmmm). Make sure your butter doesn't burn!

4. Add your cooked gnocchi and keep tossing it in the buttery sauce until it turns a little dark in color. I'd say about 3 minutes or so.

5. When it's done, add everything into a plate and here you go!
I can't say I'm more proud of my finished product :)

This only took me like 4 hours LOL but that's only because I spent a good 2 hours prepping the potatoes... Other than that, everything was actually fun. Playing with flour and kneading the dough was my favorite part. And I did make enough gnocchi to last me 2 weeks hahah

Hope you enjoyed this recipe!

Happy Sunday, xx
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