Sunday, July 31, 2011

I long to see you in the morning light, I long to reach for you in the night

An amazing saturday in Vancouver

Hope everyone is having a perfect august long weekend!  Mine started off with watching the meteor shower up at SFU with nacho.  So much fun!  We saw a lot of meteors which looked like big shooting stars that would change how bright they were along the sky.  However, apparently mosquitos up at SFU can bite through anything including my calvins, covered in a blanket.. No fun getting stung like over 20 times, including 3 on my fingers, 1 on my neck, 1 on my jaw.. and the worst - a clutter of at least 10 on my hip.

I just want to scratch!!!

Now onto my saturday!  The weather was perfect so I hit up the seawall with my mom, where we made use of one of the many beaches along the way for some tanning.  But.. I forgot my sunblock some how.  Maybe it's because I was too busy rubbing afterbite all over my body.  Sooo, too add on to my lovely clusters of mosquito bites, I now have awful sunburned arms and calves.  I can't really complain, because that's the only crappy part about my amazing weekend so far!

After realizing I was getting burned, my mom & I headed over to the Mill to chill out on their shaded patio.  Since I only had instant oatmeal all day, and it was going on 5.. I was super hungry and glad we stopped for food.

Aside from their fabulous patio, what excited me about the Mill was that there was no fried dishes on their menu!  It's so rare that you see that at a place that serves beer, nachos and burgers.  I'm glad to see a restaurant promoting a healthier lifestyle!

However, I was still famished and wanted a burger, so I went with their ocean friendly Salmon Burger for $15 with a wild sockeye salmon fillet, chipotle mayo, tomato and spinach with their house salad.  This dish was amazing.  The salmon was so good, and I'm glad they didn't put a heavy amount of mayo.  Even the salad was perfect and not overly seasoned.  Even though I was having a burger, I still felt like I was eating healthy.

My mom went with their Wild Salmon Fillet salad for $16 with organic greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, capers & a maple vinaigrette.

While sitting on the patio, we saw a parade go by that was part of the Illuminaires lantern festival.  There was a marching band and people on stiltz.  We followed them over to Coal Harbor after.

After a fun day spent in Stanley Park & Coal Harbor, I had an amazing night spent in Vanier Park.  Sadik & I watched the first show of the 2011 Celebration of Light, which China was showing.  It was so beautiful.  My heart always melts watching fireworks, and I was so glad I got to spend it with him.

Mighty Diamonds - Lay Lady Lay

Thursday, July 28, 2011

So we are history, your shadow covers me

Midweek dining dates

Hello Vancouver.  Today I came home so excited to go swimming and tanning by my pool - just to find out it was closed to replace the vent at the bottom (which apparently could be a hazzard to them).  As much as I wanted to flash them all my lifeguarding medals from a decade ago to insist I won't cause a scare, I resisted and decided to catch up on my blog.  Ugh the first day we have major sun since the weekend, and my tan will have to wait.

So here goes my week.. Amy Winehouse died.. so sad, which reminds me I should download some more Billie Holiday.  I read an article by Russel Brand that really hit home on monday.  I've known a few people in my life that have suffered from an alcohol and drug addiction that has ruined the relationship I had with them.  I think what really hit home was the first few lines Russel Brand described...

"When you love someone who suffers from the disease of addiction you await the phone call. There will be a phone call. The sincere hope is that the call will be from the addict themselves, telling you they've had enough, that they're ready to stop, ready to try something new. Of course though, you fear the other call, the sad nocturnal chime from a friend or relative telling you it's too late, she's gone.

Frustratingly it's not a call you can ever make it must be received. It is impossible to intervene."

And then I told people close to me how that article made me think of some people I have known.. and shockingly, quite a few people had also read that article and felt the exact same.  Amy had such a beautiful voice, and sadly she has been added to Club 27.. the same age as me.

I met up with my gf Lorraine on wednesday to catch up and dine at one of her local faves, Hawkers.  My coworker Jeff & Lorraine had been insisting I try this place for so long.  We were there for almost 3 hours, and the majority of the time it had a line out the door.  It's cheap eats for sure, and you get to try dishes pretty close to the street food trucks in Singapore.

To start off we ordered the veggie fritters for $.75 each (pictured at the top).  These were pretty moist in side, and I thought went even better with their signature hot sauce.

We also ordered a few dishes, starting with the Mee Rebus $5.25 -yellow noodle served with spicy sweet potato sauce, garnished with egg, tofu, bean sprout, fried shallot, celery and jalapeno.  This dish was my favorite, although I didn't notice any fresh jalaepnos.  I loved the sauce!

We also ordered the Laksa for $5.75 with thick rice noodles served in mild curry, rich coconut milk and dried shrimp, garnished with tofu puff, fish cake, egg, shredded chicken prawns and sprouts.  This was the dish I was most excited about coming here, and knew I wanted to try it, however it was probably my least favorite.  There were really good things in this dish, but I didn't care for a few of the key ingredients.

I enjoyed the broth, the chicken and the 1 prawn, but I wasn't feeling the super soggy tofu, or the fish cake.

Lastly we ordered the Nasi Goreng $5.25 with spicy fried rice with egg, onion, tomatoes, tofu, dices potatoes and yu choy.  This was a pretty good dish, although it wasn't really spicy.  We ended up adding a lot of the hot sauce too it.

Hawkers is definately a spot for cheap eats, as we each had major leftovers.  Thanks Lorraine for introducing me to Hawkers!

Thursday I ended up in North Van for a dinner date with my mom.  I really wanted to go for thai, and after reading that the North Van Thai House has a bigger menu than the other locations I normally visit, I really wanted to go!  The only thing that was a bummer, is that both dishes I was planning on getting (pretty much because I hadn't seen them on their other locations menu)  were not offered that day.  Those were the steamed oysters in spicy sauce, and the charcoal grilled cornish hen in thai spices.

Thankfully I wanted to try so many more dishes on their menu, so I was fine ordering something else.  We started with some drinks, and I had the Hi-Soo for $8.  There were a lot of yummy looking drinks, but this one had guava juice.

Since I couldn't order the Oyster dish I wanted as an appetizer, I went with a cup of the Tom Yum thai soup for $4 which had chicken, mushrooms, tomoato, lemon grass & thai spices.  This was amazing like always.  Nothing beats thai soup.

For my moms appetizer, she went with the thai salad roll for $5 and went with the chicken option which was pretty similar to the vietnamese salad roll we normally eat, although you could tell how fresh it was by its warmth.

For my main, I went with one of their house seafood combinations for $17 - tiger prawns, clams, mussels & squid served with a green curry sauce.  This was really tasty, and a good value.  I recieved 2 prawns, 5 squid, and about 5 or 6 clams and mussels each.  The first thing that stood out to me were that the mussels were so much bigger than my last mussel visit at the Sandbar.  All of the seafood tasted amazing, and even the squid was not overcooked.  I also had a side of brown rice for $3.

My mom went with her favorite Goong Sapparod for $15 with stir fried tiger prawns, red curry paste & coconut milk with fresh pineapple.

After a filling dinner, my mom and I walked around the Quay..

Amy Winehouse - Tears Dry On Their Own

Monday, July 18, 2011

The fence cant hold too much bull in the pen

Weekend Wrap Up!

I had an amazing weekend full of bday celebrations!  Well 2 celebrations of 2 important people in my life.  My man & my favorite grandma!!

After friday I hit up People Jewellers at metro to get my guy a watch for his bday.  I had never got anyone a watch before, but figured it would be perfect since he didn't wear one, and was always asking what time it was.  I never realized getting a watch required so much knowledge.  My coworkers were no help either, all with different ideas on what's the best.  I ended up meeting up with Ignacio so he could try it on and let me know how much to resize it since he is like a watch guru and owns a massive collection.  After all of that, we ended up going out to Ouisi with his ex gf for a super late dinner.

He was having a cornbread craving, and since I had a coupon for Ouisi on me, we decided to hit it up since all entrees come with cornbread.  I decided on trying something I hadn't ordered before.  I went with the oceanwise BBQ Gulf of Mexico shrimp with diablo bbq sauce for $17 which came with my choice of 2 sides.  I went with the beet chutney & the corn maquechoux.  I have ordered the beet chutney on all of my previous visits.  I think I'm just a sucker for beets, since it reminds me so much of my grandparents pickled beets.  The corn dish was also good, but a little runny.  It was more like a corn chowder.

The prawns were tasty, and the bbq sauce was spicy the way I like it.

Ignacio went with the Blackened Trout for $17 with braised fennel & preserved lemon aioli.  For his sides he had the market vegetables & beet chutney.  I tried the trout and it was so tasty, I think I will order this dish the next time I go to Ouisi.

Nachos ex ordered the dish I had on my last visit, the Chicken & Duck Sausage Gumbo for $18 and for her sides she had the market vegetables & red beans with green rice.  I was suprised at how large the red beans & green rice side dish was!  Good thing for leftovers!

It was an amazing night.  Last time I went with Sadik they had live music, but this time with Nacho and his ex, it was a cool chill vibe, very dim with candlelights & jazz playing softly in the background.  I hope it's like that on my next visit!

Come saturday I met up with Sadik for his first concert!  As much as I would of loved it to be at the Commodore or somewhere exciting, it was on the rainy grass at Stanley Park to see the last half hour of the free K'naan concert.  Neither one of us are really into K'naan, but it was free and I love concerts, & I'm glad he suggests activities I enjoy doing :)  I didn't have my camera on me, so I couldn't snap any concert pics or dinner pics at Sanafir.  Along with his watch, I made him a painting since I've been painting alot lately.  I always thought it would be so sweet to have the talent to give someone something homemade, and finally I was able to do that.  This is the first painting I have made aside from the one I made at Raw Canvas.

Sunday I was Gibsons bound to see my favorite grandma & family to celebrate her 79th bday!  Doesn't she look amazing for 79!  This is the first bday we celebrated without my grandpa, but I know he was smiling down on us!

It was a great day celebrating my grandma with loved ones, and 3 different yummy cakes!

Black Uhuru - Bull in the Pen

The flesh it is the temple and the temple is the church

Wednesday = Full Meal including Beer for $10!

I had heard from a few fellow bloggers about the amazing deal offered at the Sandbar lounge and decided it was about time I try it!  Every monday-friday, in the lounge from 3-6pm, the Sandbar offers a pint of beer, mussels & fries for only $10.  For someone looking for a good deal including beer, this has got to be one of the best values in the city.

Wednesday came along, and I got some amazing news at work.. I got promoted!!  It's so exciting, but I won't go into details just yet as it won't be announced officially until July 25th when my manager is back from the UK, and I don't want to ruin the surprise to all my coworkers that read this!

So to celebrate my excitement, Ignacio & I hit up the Sandbar for their amazing deal!  They have 3 amazing options to choose from, (thai, provencal & vindaloo); and also 3 types of beer to choose from for your pint, (Granville Island Lager, Honey Lager, & Hefeweizen).  I went with the thai, and nene went with the provencal.  It also came with complimentary bread to absorb the sauce.  Even though it's rare that I eat butter, I loved how the little squares said butter on it!

The fries were also pretty good.  They weren't as crispy as most places, but what I really loved was the fact that they were lightly salted with rock salt.  It made such a big difference than table salt!  The mussels were also really good for the deal.  All of mine were opened, and there was easilly 20.  The sauce sauce was also super tasty.

The provencal ones that Nacho got included alot of chorizo.  This would probably be the best dish for meat lovers.  Nacho loved this one, except for the tiny rock he bit on found in one of his mussels.  We both agreed we would totally come back for this deal again!

Damian Marley ft Stephen Marley - The Mission

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Goodness and mercy all my life shall surely follow me

Yup, I hung out with 2 reggae revolutionaries today.  A Marley and a Morgan!

I had an appointment downtown, and as soon as it was over I booked it to Ky-mani Marleys book signing, where I got his book and got it autographed.  We chatted it up, talked about how I was excited for his concert that night, his dad the late great Robert Nesta, and then took a picture.

Normally I would have dinner somewhere before a concert, but since I was battling a cold, I decided I'd head home and rest up before a crazy night.

What an amazing night it was.  I went with my gf Hannah since all my other friends that were coming either wanted to hang out in the back, or arrive super late... where as Hannah & I wanted to be front & center, which we scored obviously!

So since Mel was throwing the concert, and he also did the Toots & the Maytals one we went to on Tuesday, I decided to wear my concert shirt.  I thought so many other people would have theirs, especially since we don't get too many amazing reggae concerts in Vancouver, so the majority of the time it's the same crowd.  Surprisingly, I think I was the only one wearing one.. which I got so many compliments on.  Even one of the opening Rasta acts (below) interupted his singing to tell me how awesome my shirt was, and that he would like me to sell it.  Sorry Ras, no luck.. I'm not selling my tee!  Doesn't he have crazy long dreads!

Now onto the show!  I know Ky-mani was headlining, but the reason I came to this concert was for Gramps.  Gramps Morgan brings sexy to reggae.  I swear he could make babies with his voice.  I've seen him before with his family band, Morgan Heritage.  His brother Peter was the lead singer, but I swear Gramps should of been.  He has one of the best voices in Reggae, and he could sing to me anytime... which he did, asking me to bring him apple juice.. so random huh?

I love this man, and I was so glad he did a cover of Psalm 23 that he did with Buju. It was so beautiful, and it's nice to see that even though Buju is locked up, his songs still go on.

It was also his birthday on July 7th, so of course Mel & George had to come out and wish him a happy birthday!

After an amazing run from Gramps, Ky-mani Marley took the stage singing alot of his own songs, but also a lot of his fathers.  It was great to hear some Marley music being sung by his son.  I truly felt blessed being a part of the revolutionary tour, as 2 great families performed in front of me.

What was also amazing is that Ky-mani came back for not 1, but 2 encores.. He would of kept going, except it was after 2am, and we could see Mel from backstage ordering him to stop as it was past closing time for the Commodore.

After the concert was over I got to meet Gramps Morgan and get an autographed cd from him.  I told him how amazing he is and how I had seen his family perform live before, and how I was so glad that he was the first to go solo from his family as he has one of the most beautiful voices in reggae.  After chatting it up, we took a picture.  Vancouver, you had an amazing week for reggae in Vancouver.  We need to do this more often!

Buju Banton & Morgan Heritage - Psalm 23