Sunsets in Ireland

a single photo from this past weekend, because that's all I have so far! I can't tell you how excited I am to finally be seeing this surreal scenic country we have been living in for about two years now.

This last weekend I travelled 4 hours to Connemara to visit the very special Dillisk Project.  I have been wanting to get out for way too long.

this is just the beginning...

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PART I: Hawaii Honeymoons, Hunnies & Hot eat-your-face-off-tips!

So recently, a friend of mine Flo messaged me and asked for our food recommendations in Maui, Hawaii.  It was Sean's role to plan the food-part of the Honeymoon - among other things.  Here is the down-low: we stayed in Wailea. PRE Tips - Get a car, you will need to drive

TIP 1: Eat at your resort ($$$ but hell, it's your honeymoon nice luxuries are made for this; so splurge)

Firstly, on your resort stay I would have n to say the first goal is to indulge & rightly so - we did on brunch.  We sampled a few brunches in the area, but resorted back to our own.  I apologize for the terrible photo, and half eaten food - but when you plate it yourself it just isn't the same.  There is a strong underlying japanese influence in Maui, which is reflected in the food offerings.  Our brunch had anything from sticky buns, eggs benedict to dim sum items & japanese miso soup with oshinko pickles on sushi rice!  Did i mention that there is a daily fresh squeezed fruit juice?

One of the mornings, we rode our bikes over to the next hotel to try their brunch.  Greedy, greedy… they had an equally abundant selection, but we just found we didn't feel at home. Hokey, but it was plenty fancy.  We did enjoy the fresh made smoothy of your choice, upon request.  The Fairmont staff were just so accommodating and we felt the quality of selection at the Kea Lani surpassed the next door - Four seasons.  There is so much fresh tropical fruit at the buffets, it was delightful!

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Tip 2: If your hotel does in-house cookies and made to order ice cream sandwiches - DO IT. So exhilarating you feel like a kid!

 

Tip 3: Experience Fish Trucks

We rode our bikes in search of the 'secret beach' & the reefs in the protected Ahihi state park to go snorkelling.  As we passed the Big beach, there were several fish trucks offering various types of fish tacos.  I have no objective view on how good these are, I just felt like it put us, generally in the hawaii-mood of spontaneity.  If you feel like fish tacos, you should have fish tacos... because this is YOUR Honeymoon.  I should also mention that I went flying off a speed bump and lost my water bottle on the landing. Glorious.

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Tip 4: Whatever you do, Do not miss the PINEAPPLE UPSIDE DOWN cake

At the Pineapple grill, they are known for their award winning Pineapple Upsidedown cake.  It is absolutely divine.  The other food pales in comparison; the almost perfectly-done egg on the Huevos Rancheros & Make your own soft tacos; seriously woman, can I bring attention back to the pineapple cake.  It had a candy crisp top with carmelized sugar and tasted like a sticky toffee pudding pumped up with cooked pineapple.  Ooey, sweet, sticky- goodness.  Let's just say I had a moment with this cake.

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One of the meals we had at the Fairmont included the Nick's Fishmarket, an independently owned restaurant in the hotel. I was learning here that Hawaii, originally a deserted island, had no indiginous foods until imported. Therefore, eating a 'local cuisine' meant trying foods imported from other cultures. They do cultivate pineapples and papaya but hawaiian cuisine is a true amalgamation of cultures. The flavours of my ponzu pineapple noodle dish were interesting, the savoury and acidic mash-up was tied together with a tangy sweet pineapple. Always end with dessert, I was on a lemon curd kick - so obvious choice, lemon curd tart. Collage 2

Now that you've reached the end of the 'more than helpful' first part, I promise the the second will hit some high traffic go-to's!. ALOHA!

Burger & Lobster - just that simple

IMG_6545 Just going to do a quick post today...

Last weekend we were in London enjoying the company of friends and family, visiting cafés, and eating our way through my favourite city.  As one of our local London Foodies was on the lookout for us, she recommended we try the Burger & Lobster Restaurant.

The restaurant now has four locations!  It is bustling with energy, relaxed pub-like atmosphere.  The server explains there are only two main options, as you expected; 1-Burger, 2- Lobster.  Burger can be prepared to your liking, topped with optional cheese and/or bacon.  Lobster was slightly more versatile; steamed whole lobster in-shell, steamed and then grilled in-shell, or lobster roll - taken out of the shell mixed with light japanese mayo, rolled in a soft brioche, and topped with chives.  All options come with fries(chips) and salad.  It seemed like a pretty straight forward menu.

S & I chose the lobster roll, for the obvious- less effort to get to the lobster and of course brioche was a pretty dead giveaway.  Burger is usually prepared to medium-rare. I was weary as I know the risks of eating raw burger... the origin of the meat is corn-fed American and grass-fed Irish beef.  A discussion for another time, but risk is still high for e.coli - anyhow, we requested medium.  (Don't squirm, all my inspection friends).

The burger was juicy and had that roasty grill to it.  I'm not a huge fan as I find the bitterness of the char takes away from the actual burger.  The LOBSTER, now that was fantastic! I wanted it to go on and on!  I hate cracking shells and digging for meat so this was amazing - every bite was creamy, sweet and buttery with the soft and tasty brioche.  Not much else to mention.  Beer and cocktails are offered.  Lobsters can be made LARGE by paying more. :)

Burgers £20

Lobster £20

Don't regret any of this meal, just when I hit the gym and the running's really difficult - then I am reminded.

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Service:  casual and relaxed

Likelihood to return: 4/5 lots to try in London, but I would be happy to try some more lobster.

Food/Coffee:  Food 3.5/5

Chillness: 3.5 chill chairs

Highlights: tender buttery brioche & sweet lobster!

 

UP NEXT: shout outs to Flo, who requested some Hawaii specials!

Burger & Lobster on Urbanspoon

Deli Bros. - Frankfurt Airport, Germany

For those of you who didn't know, I embarked on my new adventure on Thursday.  From #YYC to #DUB (that's DUBlin, Ireland).  Although it was a very emotional goodbye to my amazing friends and family, I was trying hard to stay focused on where I was going- To begin a new adventure with S, my husband.

Of course, count on me to find the most hipster eatery in the airport.  I scoured the land... of the four-hour layover at the Frankfurt airport.  This airport fine food deli/grocer, is very stylized and resembles an american deli.  The servers are dressed in jeans and 3/4 length plaid shirts with a round patch on the arm DELI BROS.  The deli makes its own Hot Chili Marinade, bottles pre-made dry ingredients of cookies, and made-to-order Breakfast all-day.  One side is retail the other is for restaurant service.  With several biers on tap, the server asked me if I was serious when I asked for a glass of tap water.  He said he doesn't recommend it, nor does he drink it himself.

For breakfast, they offer themed Euro breakfasts.  For example, the Swiss breakfast includes muesli, fruit, and yogurt.  The French, a croissant, and of course I was out for a 'cultural' experience, of which I can't tell if its authentic or not.  I chose the the German one that comes with two boiled breakfast sausages (Brühwurst) and a pretzel (Bretzel) with sweet mustard.  House made, might I add.   The boiled wurst was spiced nicely, but I'm not sure I fancy the texture of boiled sausage. The meat is so finely ground and homogenous that it has an almost processed texture.  It is crisp and bouncy if that can even describe it.  I think this calls for a return to Germany.
The store is filled with quaint food/eating/design books - Create, and Delicate.  They also sell in-house cured sausage.
Where: Terminal 1
Chill Chairs: 3.5/5 for creating ambiance in a busy airport terminal!

Service: helpful, friendly

Likelihood to return: hm, maybe next time I'm at Frankfurt Terminal 1

Food/Coffee: Black coffee was an americano, food decent - I especially liked the rustic feel, homemade appeal

Chillness: 3.5/5 for creating ambiance in a busy airport terminal!

 

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Pichet [Dublin, Ireland]

Service: laid back but busy, cozy, seemed like lots of returning regulars there, over the top nice - hospitality

Likelihood to return: 5/5 Can't wait to go back!

Food/Coffee: 4/5

Chillness: 4.5 chill chairs

Highlights: aside from the warm smiles, fresh cut bread, and triple desserts - two words, SCOTCH EGGS!

I spent Christmas in Dublin this year. Getting acquainted with the ol'Irish-livin', ok, that was bad, but I really enjoyed my time there. The people are friendly, there's lots of beer and pubs 'poobs', and it feels quaint and European.

S took me to one of their favourite restaurants in Dublin- Pichet. He boasted about how it is always a very solid meal, delicious to the last bite.

Nick Munier, the owner of Pichet is possibly the hardest working restauranteur I have seen. If you don't know him, he's kind of a big deal in Ireland - He is known for his maitre-d role on the Irish Hell's Kitchen. In the short time that we were there, he greeted guests, checked coats, bussed tables, plated meals, pretty much wore every had under the sun in this restaurant.

The meal was delightful.

After the mains, we took a peek at the desert menu; this of course, being my favourite course! I was stuck in a dilemma between my favourite of all time: Sticky Toffee Pudding and the intriguing Pavlova. Pavlovas are similar to 'Baked Alaska", but upside down, minus cake and, pretty much not at all alike except for the baked meringue.

Pavlovas originated in Australia and were named after a Russian ballet dancer believe it or not. It is essentially a meringue crust; with the outside baked to a perfect crisp and filled with dense marshmallowy insides; topped with either whipped cream/Chantilly cream; finished with fruit compote. The mouthfeel of this dessert varies from moment to moment. I love and respect a great pavlova because I have battled with getting the meringue OFF the pan or parchment- quite the art, I must say.

Back to my dilemma, Mr. Munier crouched down two see if we had any questions about the dessert and I asked what his favourite choice would be, I mentioned that I was torn between the usual favourite and my curiosity for the pavlova. He empathized with my dilemma and said he flip flops between the two- Great! that wasn't helpful at all right? I chose the sticky toffee pudding.

Dessert is served

My sticky toffee pudding came first. It was gooey, sweet buttery cake with sprinkles of toffee bits. I was very pleased with my decision. S ordered a Chocolate Fondant Cake, in North American terms I think it's a molten lava cake. Can't go wrong.

The server came by with s' dessert in one hand and another dessert in the other. I caught a glimpse of it, it was the beautiful Pavlova, I suddenly had dessert-envy. Can I question my decision now? To my surprise she gestures to put it on our table, I'm suddenly shocked and confused- oh no, I think he misunderstood me. I can't imagine the shock and confusion on our faces as she explained that he wanted to send both by so that we could try them. - I'm thinking.... this is too much, how am I going to do this and STILL fit in my dress?

Well, I am so glad that we had all three desserts. I'm pretty sure I finished about 90% of them and S had merely a bite of each. I am wowed by the relaxed and conversational atmosphere of the bistro. The Gin&Tonic was solid, thanks to Hendricks. - and there, another inspiring meal.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Happy St. Patrick's Day Dear friends in Ireland.

 

L'abattoire and Langlang

Sometimes, it takes very little to make me exceptionally happy. Life right now is filled with things that make me happy. A couple weeks ago in Vancouver, I was blessed to enjoy wonderful live symphonic music and the virtuosic talent of Lang lang, the internationally renowned pianist. I couldn’t ask for more; some wicked people to enjoy live music with, beautiful music to massage my ears, and tantalizing deliciousness for my tummy! The wicked people I mentioned, some very accommodating friends, allow me to drag them to all the restaurants I want to try.  So I heard about this restaurant, called L’abattoire in Gastown. When some of the best palates I know, people like melodie and j @palettetraining, tell you 'you have to try it', you set your mind to making it down to L’abattoire.

Let me start of by saying the place is bustling! It is challenging to get a reservation here so, call in advance or you’ll sit at the bar, which is more than fine. The cocktails are artfully crafted and delicious!

AT the BAR

After much deliberation and embarrassment, I ordered a Hanky Panky – Gin, sweet vermouth, Fernet Branca, Orange twist. (*doesn’t help that I’m out with one of my fiancé’s best friends) Just perfectly executed! The drink, I mean. It was just the right strength for my liking and the herbaceous citrus was a refreshing balance to the hardness of vermouth. “It’s going to be a wonderful meal”, I think to myself - I can tell!

Our MEAL

We decided to order double starters, instead of mains - always a great way to go if you like variety. That said, it is very challenging to eat out if you are vegetarian like our friend that night. No, really. No joke, not even pescetarian. You really have one choice. So here are our choices.

Dungeness crab and chickpea toast - 13

Toasted brioche, light garlic custard, carrot pickles

almost like a foam, the airy texture seemed to float on your tastebuds and carry all the tastiness – removes all need to aerate! I would eat this everyday.

Marinated North Arm Farm beetroot - 12

Tallegio custard, pears, pumpkin seeds

- apparently Tallegio is an Italian soft ripened cheese that is pungent and tasty
  • the whipped texture of custard tied this whole dish together

Poached Six Masters Farm egg and black truffle - 18

Potato gnocchi, leeks, pecorino

  • gnocchi is done to gooey perfection and so is the poched egg as it runs

  • you know the dishes that make you stop mid-sentence and close your eyes to enjoy this bite in all social awkwardness? This is it.

beatiful ENDINGS

After a spectacular dinner, we ran 15 blocks to the Orpheum, caught a cab for 3 of those blocks, and enjoyed the technical orchestration of Beethoven’s Emperor concerto – The end. Talk about slowing life down right?

Service: laid back, professional and genuine. Bartenders had great recommendations and some slick moves on the cocktails.

Likelihood to return: very certain!

Food/Coffee: food is pretty mind-blowing

Chillness: 4.5 chill chairs

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L'Abattoir on Urbanspoon