Sunday, May 30, 2010

Spring Cleaning

Although the weather was so nice and warm a couple weeks back, I'm pretty sure mother nature is trying to let us know that it is in fact still spring in Vancouver. Or maybe she decided to play a clever little trick on us with that spout of warmth. Either way, I still consider it spring time and all you have to do is walk outside to realize that I am right.

Anyways, along with spring comes blooming flowers, bright cherry blossoms, an unpredictable amount of precipitation (which we should all really be used to by now) aaaand the constantly postponed room cleaning. I completed that these past weeks, yes it took so much time and it still isn't even at 100% of what I'd like it to look like. Years and years hoarding academic literature, notes, random pieces of clothing have been dumped and discarded. While the arrangement of my room is different and the look of it still somewhat the same in terms of color and furniture, the decluteration (ha, i'm making new words left, right and centre) of the space makes it feel like I'm starting fresh. By starting fresh, I refer to my life and everything within it.

Being jobless is technically not a good way to start (except I'm not really jobless, just wanting more hours--money) but it's still a beginning to something new. A new phase of my life that I would like to call ... what should I call it? .. I'm not a fan of labelling but I am. I will call this the post post secondary pre-career phase. I'm tempted to draw out a nice little bar and shade in a section before the middle but this blogspot host does not allow for graphics (unfortunately for you).

Back to spring cleaning and new life phase (etc), I feel as if I have new or different emotions, goals, maybe even a new personality? Maybe not new, maybe just a bit more pronounced? All this blabbing certainly isn't new, however, my ability to overlook and leave behind the disappointment, failed expectations and drama is a different feeling. Not that I've ever been one to be dramatic but I guess I did have expectations and I was disappointed and honestly, yes I was and am slightly hurt. But like the spring cleaning I've been doing in my room I've been learning more and more to let go and focus more on the better things in life: real friends, random adventures and yummy food =) (photos are of a cute tiny apple from Planet Organic and a surprisingly yummy thai chicken salad from the Foggy Dew)

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Today I tried my FAVE Japanese dish of all time, Tuna Tataki, at Nagano behind Coquitlam Centre. And I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT. I would say this place comes right behind the Cats Social House in Granville Island and even managed to expand my tataki fan club to my younger cousin. Although it had the basic necessities such as being raw tuna seared on the outside the little details such as the thickness of the cut, the sauce sprinkled on it and the grade of the tuna, all of these minute details mattered and contributed the the overall AMAZINGNESS of this dish.
My sister is an incredibly talented and original musician/artist (myspace page). Today, she asked me what I thought her stage name should be. At first, I suggested something clever to her disapproval but then I realized and told her that her own name should be more than good enough! Why recreate an image and start from something unknown when everyone already knew her name?

This brings me to blog about originality, satisfaction and recognizing the beauty within yourself. I can understand why some people may want to change aspects of themselves (name/hair/ ...nose ...maybe). As a sociology major, I recognize that the context of each individuals' life, the cultures and norms they live within lead them or pressure them to make decisions in which they feel they MUST alter their own original authenticity. But as a regular individual, striving to exude positivity and awesomeness (on good days), I think it's all a matter of perspective.

Within our capitalistic consumeristic society, I can understand how easy it is to feel pressured to look a certain way (a pristine model, a goth, a punk etc) and how we tend to feel that anything and everything is purchaseable. A mere trip to a surgical shop can have us coming out with different shapped noses, wider eyes, bigger boobs and everything in between. But these looks, they fade over time and then we feel the constant tendency to fight, fight against the signs of aging to stay within the norm, the young norm.

This is by no means an attempt to lecture as I also participate within the global econmy through my constant (lately too much) consumption and investments. I guess this is just my own attempt to convince myself to stop shopping. More importantly, I wanted to highlight the importance of YOU. Every little thing about you (especially the fact that you are reading this) is what makes you unique and special! I know I have very many things I would possibly change about myself but when you get down to it, why waste time on or energy on focusing on what makes you feel crappy? ESPECIALLY, when you, most often than not, have sooo many things you should appreciate as being authentic thus beautiful.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Stress. It's funny to bring up that word since I've been feeling so amazing and relaxed. I couldn't fathom the idea of being stressed since I just finished post secondary. But here it is, the feeling you get where your brain seems to be gasping for air, when you feel like you have to keep thinking and moving or else you'll fall behind or miss something important, the feeling of panic that deprives you from sleeping ... Well you get it, it's a shitty feeling.

And so, while I'm aware of the alternative sources of stress aside from school or work that I feel merely rattles (this is a euphumistic understatement) your mental periphery and most often will rouse an alternate psycho ego, I have rarely experienced emotional stress. This stress I believe is derived from aspects of your personal lives such as family, friends, money, jobslessness, (sashimi deprivation) and other macroscopic factors that in turn shape your microscopic issues. I guess while I was in school I'd be able to mound all that stress into one pile and label it school/ time stress which I feel would vanish after getting a project/ assignment/exam done.

Now, there's almost a sense of helplessness, I guess depending on the magnitude of your problem, rather your own ability to perk up your optimistic (almost ignorant) perspective.

Yesterday, I had an illegal amount of caffeine via tea, coffee and a questionable juice that I later found to contain a crap load of sugar hence I will now label it equivalent to an energy drink. And while this magnanamous(not a word I know) amount of energy was circulating throughout my system I began thinking and hearing things that would make any person, or so I hope, lose sleep.

While I can't disclose much of this privileged information (since this pertains to 90% of you reading this or know who it would pertain to) I feel as if I need to do something!

Well that was a crap load of massive words that I needed to use as a means of self-gratification, confusion and just plain Maria/marbeeness. Basically I'm stressed and I feel like there's a hole I can't fill :(

...and no it's not cause I'm holding back on sashimi cause I had some today at Sango in Suter Brook along with a Cool Cumber Roll -THE BEST ROLL I've had by far!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Today I spent an entire four hours wandering inside and around the mall applying for retail jobs. I know you must think 'oh this girl has a degree, what's she doing getting retail jobs'? WELL, my plans to travel in the fall have led me to look for temporary/ contractual/seasonal jobs, most of which lie in the retail industry. I have, however, searched and applied (pitifully) for administrative or clerical or receptionist positions. And while I have been enjoying my time off by venturing and trying new foods (ie. went to Joey's last night LOVED their Ahi Tuna Salad!!), I am feeling the slight pinch in my pocket.

As the date to which my traveling will commence approaches, I'm almost starting to freak out and draw back from the random foodie excursions. Hence my limited blogging. I have, however, been a tad bit thrifty. By thrifty I mean, I smoked my own salmon at home and tagged along with my parents to dinner (hehe). Oh ... I sampled the chorizo breakie bowl from Ricki's and included a photo it was VERY yummy but VERY big. I'm pretty sure this can feed atleast two people.

This blog is unfortunately quite short again as I am enjoying the free time I have by hanging out with my awesome friends and doing everything non-productive! I have posted a variety of yummy pictures for your pleasure. Happy Eating =)

Monday, May 24, 2010


Beauty is such a crazy word. It encompasses and can refer to so much. Used as a form of measurement it evokes so much emotions. The other day at work, I began reading Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. The beauty of how the author can depict a life story is so profound. I found myself taking breaks every time it got too intense so as to avoid the streams of tears.

Today I woke up feeling amazing (no hangover!). Despite the gray clouds looming overhead, I saw and appreciated everything. I had the sudden appreciation for my beautiful, smart and individually talented friends who put up with my innocent blissful random strangeness.

Anyways, I went to a church choir (no I don't sing, my entire family does though!) party at a nice upscale hall in Suter Brooke. It had three flat screen TVs, a swimming pool, a billiards table, fooze ball, poker table, a dozen cozy arm chairs and a wall jack for your IPod to be streamed throughout the room! There, I had so much yummy ethnic food & dessert!

And then five hours later at Sui Sha Ya had some salmon sashimi!! I felt like it had been months since I've last had sashimi when really it's only been a couple days ... I know it's a problem. My mom ordered the motoyaki (?) I've never been a huge fan of oysters though.

I feel like this blog is just a blob of everything, not nicely cohered together unfortunately my writing skills are slowly deteriorating!

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Lately I've been going out and doing random activites or planning activities that I normally wouldn't do. Like going to Castle Fun Park or my random spurts to cook (quesadilla and strawberry cherry tomato almond green salad). Either way, there seems to be a thrill behind doing something for the first time or doing something out of the ordinary, for me anyways.

As I thought of the awesomeness that trying new things brings I also thought about inherent cheaters and how they, the bastards that they are, also derive thrill and pleasure from doing something (someone) out of the ordinary. It made me sick to even think that I had any similarity to these types of people. Yes, I understand the circumstances which may have lead to their initial act of cheating but good god get a grip! Sorry, I think I may just let this little rant make it to my awesome blog because it relates to my more-than-awesome friends.

I thought about all this as I ate my green papaya salad. I thought it tasted boring and ordinary. But as I ate I realized that it was missing the nuts! And thought maybe I felt bored with it cause I didn't fully appreciate how good it was but now that it was peanut less (picture has peanuts for yummy effects), it made such a difference! I'm not entirely sure what or how this comparison is being accomplished. I guess I'm just trying to rationalize because as much as I loathe cheaters, that is not entirely who they are. I do like to look on the brighter side of things, err lately I've been reminded to since strangely this brighter side is of mine is getting smaller.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Productivity & Awesomeness

The last couple of days have been pretty busy doing such productive activities with awesome people =)
Yesterday, after having my mouth thoroughly cleaned by the dentist (and then doing some celebratory shopping because of my cavity free-ness), I headed to Steveston to catch myself some fresh fish! Well, by headed I mean my friend drove and by catch I mean walk to the dock and purchase fish off a boat.

Anyways, we got there and it wasn't the best day to go sight seeing but I felt like a tourist nevertheless. It seemed like a quaint little town with about 80% of the buildings being seafood restaurants and the rest cafes but most dealing entirely with tourist consumption (this percentage rate is provided through a random counting technique). We immediately began our search for fresh fish. To our pleasant surprise, we found a lonely little boat selling *flash frozen* salmon!!!! The minute we read these words our eyes bulged as we envisioned the platter full of sashimi for our consumption.

After purchasing an extremely inexpensive and already gutted coho we made a beeline to the grocery store for ice and rushed home. I didn't realize how difficult it was to make sashimi. Despite the fact that it was already gutted, we still had to chop it into smaller pieces, skin it and de-bone it! After hours of chopping, filet-ing, skinning, debone-ing we made our very first salmon sashimi! It was the best that we've ever had ....and we did not get sick after (I waited a day to write this blog).

The next day, I plopped myself into a franchised neighborhood cafe with a friend where I ordered my usual, a yummy Smoked Turkey and Cranberry Panini, before we attacked the job banks. And after feeling so unaccomplished (due to the lack of replies--- actually my friend was getting a phone interview so it's really just MY lack of replies), we decided to do the Coquitlam Crunch. I felt like it was a bad idea at first since the most active I've been is biking and the beginning of this crunch was a freaking steeep hill AND my iphone was dying so I couldn't listen to music (I was whining ten times more than this at the time). After reaching the 2.4 (2.6? ---all I saw was my friend stopping and by then I didn't even care how many km's we walked) we turned around and headed down, which was SUUUCH a beautiful view, totally worth the all the effort.

After getting an amazing pedicure at Bello Nail in Sunwood Square, getting drenched from running to the atm cause I stupidly did not give the esthetician a tip (their card machine was confusing and I thought I had cash), I bought some fresh veggies from the produce market and cabbed it home. Soon after my friend came over and we began to filet more chunks of coho salmon to be barbecued with chopped eggplant and zuchini on a cedar plank. I unfortunately forgot to take photos of the finished product due to our eagerness to taste it.

I'm pretty sure this is my longest blog to date. I accomplished so much within such a little time frame I almost started to feel like this blog was some sort of writing exercise to see how much I can squish and summarize from the past two days. And in trying to be detailed in listing my activities I've probably lost or skimmed over the essence or depth of experience that entailed each one of them. If you don't already know, I'm quite an over thinker. While I know that is mostly a bad thing, I like to think that I can fully appreciate everything in life.

These activities, although quite productive, would not have been as fun without the people I did them with. It just goes to show how much a friend's impact can have on your life. The awesomeness that some friends can bring to your day is truly beautiful (this is a bit short ended but I'm sure you don't want to hear more of me blabbing).

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


It's so easy to hold a grudge, especially when you feel you've been wronged or that you deserve to be treated better.

Last Sunday I had the unfortunate experience of sampling some of my cousins amazing tarts and chocolate balls of heaven. I say unfortunate because I know the future destination of those baked goods will not form themselves nicely on my ass (ha). Mixed in these mounds of chocolate goodness was cakey substance with a shit load of chocolate made all my worries and stresses go away... momentarily. They were so freaking amazing that I had to try the tarts (all of which can be purchased and sampled for your own pleasure). And I knew that after I had tried all of them I had to make my return to the gym.

It was too nice out yesterday to seclude myself to a miserable elliptical where the aroma of freshly excreted liquid from man kind's epidermis lounged eagerly waiting for me. So a friend decided to randomly go biking instead. And despite nearly being killed by on coming traffic --- due to my own failure to master the 'shoulder checking' technique, I had my best first 10km bike ride through the heart of poco's suburbs!

Along with the beauty of nature, the people seemed genuinely friendly and the company was fun and awesome to converse with. Later on, I had lunch at one of my favourite Vietnamese Restaurants in the Tricities with one of my *real* good friends. Then we, err she, proceeded to memorizing Canadian history at her house in her back porch while it began to rain (I know long sentence). Despite the drabness of the idea of memorizing the dates to when this "village" formed itself or who "first" plundered through this vast land of resources, I had fun!

I went home later that night and realized that I have some AMAZING people around me. And it made me realize how I have been holding grudges , ones created due to broken expectations. While yummy bits of chocolate or green papaya salads may not erase the hurt or the disappointment, I realized that holding a grudge is actually easy to let go. Once you discover and focus on the beauty of everything that surrounds you which include people who spend time with you, it's easy to forget those who have wronged you.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Individual Agency

With all the going out and spending money I seemed to have over look my own ability to cook something awesome (not that my cooking is awesome but I hardly know how to make ahi tuna or sashimi-- which I heard is more than just catching fish, skining it and gutting it out).

Everyone has the ability to cook something yummy, whether you require several lessons or you're naturally gifted may be another issue.

Over the last couple of days I've eaten some pretty dayum (lol) good home cooked dishes. Spinach artichoke dip from scratch, a yummy spicy tofu prawn and veggie broth by my cousin (which usually anything she makes tastes amazing --- she's selling high end baked goods btw).

Today my brother made ridiculously good BBQ ribs & pork chops Filipino style that he marinated overnight in his 'secret recipe".

And as I was putting together a super easy cucumber grape tomato and orange with balsamic vinigarette dressing (to go with the bbq ...Mmmmm) I realized that cooking and making relationships work are the same. You have to make a conscious choice and work hard into making them work. You have to do things that don't come naturally, you have to say things that usually are not said and most of all you have to keep trying because you want to, not because it's easy. No matter what happens it's your own individual choice/ decision as to how it turns out similar to how the quality of your cooking depends on how much you work at cultivating your cooking ability.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Search

Lately, my new found obsession for pan seared sashimi/ tataki/ahi tuna has led me to spend a ridiculous amount of money trying to sate my appetite for the best. At Henderson there's a hidden Japanese / Asian fusion, I guess, restaurant called Robata. Their tuna tataki was lightly flavored with mild sauces and topped with what I can only describe as thin slivers of what tastes like salmon flakes.

At Cats Social House in Granville Island, I experienced the BEST ahi tuna I've ever had in my life. I can still remember it tasting awesome. Maybe it was a combination of the spinach feta walnut fig salad or the amazing weather or the fact that I felt like such a tourist, but when I placed that tiny (well not so tiny but I ate it in pieces) piece of pan seared tuna with their sauce into my mouth... I was in heaven. I would even dare to say that it could be as good as eating 65% dark chocolate (any more is a bit too bitter for my taste).

As if I couldn't have enough, I went home later that day and after dreaming about bbq tatakis I dragged my sister out to Sushi Shelter 101 to try their Salmon Tataki. It was good, however, I thought it was a bit strange since they had ice underneath the salmon. I guess that's too keep the sashimi cool? Still not entirely sure why that was necessary. But it couldn't compare to the one I'd had earlier. Specially with just soy sauce for dipping, the other sauce was without a doubt soooooooo yummy!

And then (you know when you're obsessed when ...) today I ate at the Keg in Coquitlam and tried their version of Ahi Tuna. It was a bit different from the rest since it was sliced in thicker but smaller cubes (the others were thinner and the meat tasted a bit more meaty lol). It felt like the smaller cubes made the meat a bit more lean? Is that even possible with fish? I feel like I'm not getting my point across... Basically it was a bit of a disappointment compared to the others I've tried. I'm not saying it wasn't good (or that my taste is superior ---probably far from it) but it did not taste as good as the others. It did, however, come with sides which were yummy although I didn't know those were mushrooms until my cousin told me.

As I was on the super comfy fancy keg patio sipping my mojito (my very first ...three, I had three), I realized that the search for good yummy food is almost as tough as finding good friends. And maybe 'good friends' is not a descriptive enough label for someone you consider to be more than friends. Being a "good" friend is so generic and abstract. But you know you have one when you're both crying and apologizing to each other after a fight that seemed so pointless and minute. Because at the end of the day all you can think about is how they're doing and if they're okay --- and you're willing to go out of your way to spend time with them. Those kind of friends are tough to find.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Is it salvegable?

A couple nights ago, after being supremely intoxicated, I randomly decided to make some pasta... and that is all I remembered thinking the morning after. To my unfortunate surprise, I found the stove with what seemed to be the worst pasta sauce I've ever made. After spending ten minutes trying to remember what I put into it, I left it on the stove hoping someone would find it redeemable. A couple days after I passed by my stove and looked at what seemed to be a sad pot of sauce, too salty, too peppered and still sitting on the stove =(. I felt guilty leaving it there and felt bad if it went to waste but I honestly did not know how to fix it or if it could be fixable. So I left yesterday morning ignored the pot and the sauce.

For lunch I randomly went to the Heritage Grill in New Westminster with my brother. It was cozy and really really close to being grungy. Their windows are pretty big and the space was fairly open, so I don't really want to place a grungy label on their establishment. I took a fancy to their original table tops and friendly service. It was also good sign that there was a fair amount of people eating there. I ordered their special of the day (cajun chicken on focaccia with a side of their house salad and carrot soup) which was savory enough. I thought it was decently priced at $10.99 being a pub/grill type. I liked their house dressing which seemed to taste citrusy and their carrot soup, which had a nice consistency to it, was yummy.

Much later on I decided to get my eyebrows threaded at this fancy new INEXPENSIVE place called Qua in Port Coquitlam (the lady who threaded me was suuuper nice). Anyways, I used this excuse to try out the new Mediterranean grill called Dinakis. I called my super awesome random dinner buddy and literally walked next door. It's so deceiving from the outside but the inside was preeeettty fancy. I mean, it is new, I guess I didn't have very much expectations. I was an immediate fan of their chicken souvlaki as it wasn't heavily seasoned and cooked until tender. And it was soo cute, they placed their greek salad in this cute cup like thing (see picture).

When I got home I saw the pot and started thinking. Like this pot of random mixed items, there are times when awesome friends are challenged and put on the burner. And at those times it's best to let things sit before pouring a crap load of other things into it.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Time ...

It's funny how the concept of time is so important. We use it to describe what has happened, is to happen or is happening. In terms of food, we mostly use it as a form of measurement when cooking. Tonight I baked, in the oven but not as a cake, a salmon for fifteen minutes. Any longer and it would have been dry and over done. I'm new to this salmon cooking business as I've only done it twice before. This time, I believe, was the BEST one I've cooked with nothing more than lemon, salt and pepper. (I was going to put some herbs in it but realized I had none handy --- note to self: start a herb garden)

Anyways, just as time is an important factor in cooking salmon (or any other type of meat) it is also an important measurement in terms of relationships. If friendships could be measured time would be a good unit of measure. After a certain amount of time a friendship may reach a boiling point, rather with food a point where the food loses any beneficial attributes it may have. And at some point it reaches the point of no return, in cooking this is when the food becomes burnt. And just like fish or poultry or any type of meat that gets left on the burner for too long, a friendship that is continually on the fryer for an extended period of time becomes like that unwanted black glob that used to be something good.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Random Adventures

Sushi and Sheesha

Today I stopped by a cute and nicely decorated little sushi restaurant several blocks from where I live with my sister. It was a surprisingly good restaurant which I noted was Japanese owned, or atleast what I concluded after seeing how creatively they presented a simple roll of sushi or the yummy sashimi salad. The interior decor was also quite quaint with memorabilia from the cold war, hence their name Sushi Shelter 101.

Generously priced at $8.97 the Sashimi Salad came with ornately placed yam tempura with a gyoza, a fried fish of some kind (tasted like salmon) and miso soup.

The Sashimi Salad came with salmon, tuna and red snapper sashimi with lettuce and special dressing on top of rice. It was fairly filling, probably due to the rice, so by the time I munched on the side dishes I was already pretty stuffed.

Later on, I decided to have some friends over for some casual drinks with our newly purchased fire pit. It was pretty chill and laid back which made it all the more enjoyable with a random soccer ball decorated sheesha pipe that a friend brought over. It was while I was sitting in front of the fire when I realized that friends are like food. LOL. No, I don't mean to say that you eat them. But, it's not necessary to have so much. It actually sometimes hurts to have so many 'friends' as much as its harmful to eat too much food. It's more important to have a small number of good quality friends, just as it is far better to eat a small portion of good quality food over a massive plate of food that tastes like shit.