This post is about you, every single one who we met. Even if you think it's not about you... it is.
There are a few times in life where you are deeply moved by a shaping experience. Dublin has been that for me.Read More
This post is about you, every single one who we met. Even if you think it's not about you... it is.
There are a few times in life where you are deeply moved by a shaping experience. Dublin has been that for me.Read More
Now to be honest, AJ is someone I have been admiring on instagram for a while. She is honest and transparent in her posts; she goes deep when sharing her inner musings. Her personal style comes across in her photography and writing and it transcends faith, introspection, and authentic glee for life and community!
AJ is originally from Calgary, but moved to Toronto in the last year to pursue her dreams & study culinary, food styling and photography. This month’s Women’s day blog series has been mostly Q&A’s so to switch it up, I asked her to share a little insight about her journey since moving to Toronto.
We chose to feature AJ because of her incredible eye for photographs. Too often I read her creative projects, like #40conversations project, and they articulate thoughts that resonate so well, I can only imagine that they would be point of reflection for many of our readers.
"Okay, I'll show you what I mean. On one end is what we know and on another end is what we don't know. In the middle there's this grey area. That's where ideas come from and where you'll find the building blocks required for innovation." - Omar, MD/PhD, Day 17 Have you ever been in those situations where someone's explaining something and you're nodding your head in agreement but you actually don't get it because it's nowhere near your field? Next time that happens, don't be afraid to admit your ignorance and just ask. Omar is in the business of text mining and to help me understand better he grabs a sheet of napkin and draws on it while explaining his point. It was a nice gesture because as a creative, having that visual was all I needed to get it. People are willing to put an extra effort, sharing what they know, as long as you are willing to learn as well. So meet them halfway! There is that grey area after all.
"If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” Since I missed a conversation on Day 19, thought I’d share another one from a different day. I saw this quote scribbled on Aya's notebook and started our conversation by reading it out loud to her. It really resonated with me cause although I had just started my project (I was on Day 5) I knew already that it would be something that I would want to do for the rest of my life. Those life/inspirational quotes you post may get redundant to some but don't let that hold you back from sharing. The little things you do matter. Somewhere out there it might just be that push that someone needs in their day or that simple reminder that he/she is doing okay. #40conversationsproject #lessonsfrompeople To coincide with this post, I’ve left some prints with handwritten quotes at @650cafe. Just say hi to Stef (maybe start a conversation with him!) and mention my name/instagram and he’ll let you choose from the set.
"I think one of the biggest realizations I’ve had since moving to Toronto is that the world does not revolve around me. There are far greater things at work and if I want to make a difference especially in a city like Toronto then I have to stand on my own feet and make it happen. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that I should stand out—I only need to stand up. After all, I am just a [small] piece of the entire picture. We all have a part to play and who I am as an individual is made up of all the people around me. Whether we know each other or not, I’ve learned that each person that I encounter has a significant role and influence in my life: I am because you are." - ALEXA
Jo is a freelance food, travel, and lifestyle photographer. She takes us on journeys to exotic places and tells compelling stories through her photographs at 'CandidsbyJo'.
We met a year ago at the Food Bloggers Connect conference in London. I watched her stealthily capture moments throughout the weekend. One particular thing stood out; her ability to warm up to anyone and engage them. Jo has a bubbly, warm, and up-beat personality.
I grew up in Boston also I got my undergrad and post grad degrees in Communications & Business there.
I was in a three year long distance relationship with a Brit and realized one of us has to cross the pond. I made the leap and am really glad I did! if I weren't in London I'd love to work in New Zealand for a year.
I started a personal project in 2012 where I took a photo each day for a whole year. My end goal was improve my photography but the project also led me down an unexpected path towards specifically food & travel. I haven't looked back since!
Practice is definitely key, especially for people like me who learn through trial and error. Once I started shooting often enough I began to pay attention to light and how to work with it for a style specific to me. Networking in person and on social media has been helpful in raising awareness of my work too.
Once I started becoming comfortable with my style (which took a long time) it was really easy to expand from there. I gradually evolved from beautiful bright food photos to ones that incorporates a darker tone and shadows.
As women, we are often the ones who hold ourselves back. I think it's necessary to recognise that pattern when it happens and push through it. It's helpful to have a good support system both personally and professionally.
Muddle really well! :)
My list is continually changing since there are so many wonderful options in London! I'm a big fan of Restaurant Story, Duck & Waffle, Kanada-ya, Sushi Tetsu and Dishoom. They have all been consistently wonderful.
I'd love to hear what gets you excited about food in Dublin. Don't forget to comment below. Follow us on twitter, instagram, or subscribe!
“happy new year!” … are we still saying that? I heard somebody at the airport ask the same question when I was traveling. He asked the the guy on the other line, is it too late to still be saying this? - it’s only…. 13th of January. Well I think it's never too late since I haven't seen any of you yet this year but, I have been meaning to say lots and lots of things.
You know, New Years is a season of expectation and anticipation, sometimes almost too much anticipation. Like I get it, it's a reset where we can evaluate how we've done in the past year and set new goals, but it seems as though there's this looming expectation for us all to do everything that we haven’t done in the last year or years of our lives ALL at once and achieve it, ALL!
We decide to kick every bad habit that we have, lock the liquor cabinet (or have ‘dry January’), hit the gym, eat better, be better people, be more successful, hope for better things, start the things that we have always said we would but haven't, and pretty much everything else that we can think of - or maybe that's just me. If you're thinking what I'm thinking, that sounds hugely daunting!
No, forget all the S.M. a R.T. goals but even the smartest goals won't help me feel positive about that.
nobody talks about about (OH my goodness), what if you wake up on the other side of the new year, and it’s JANUARY. it's grim and grey. and it’s the coldest time of the year in most places (not Australia). You don't feel like setting any goals or tackling the mountain of things that you haven't done.
I was really encouraged after coffee with food-friend, Vincci. (cecinestpasunfoodblog.com). It made the new year seem more achievable!
It's more difficult to break bad habits, than it is to form new healthy ones. Recently, we've been talking about culture and society in food at school, and this involves knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours. What this means is just because we know something is good for us doesn't mean it changes how we think about it or behave. For instance we know that eating healthy & drinking less, and getting active is better for us, but so many other things in our environment or daily lives get in the way of that happening.
Before you know it, you’re at the till in tesco/superstore after work, and you’re crumbling to the temptation of one little bit of mars bar ;P Is it not easier to form new habits? You don’t have to go cold turkey and never touch a drink again! Just focus on moving towards a new little thing, like eating one more serving of veg a day, or maybe just ONE beer this week ;)
Get a buddy for motivation!
My point: new years resolutions are frustrating when we don't stick to them. December doesn't have to be the month to live it up and detox later. Maybe a constant dose of sanity and fun along the way and we don't have to put so much pressure on in January.
.... P.S. I should also show you how we (ATE) rang in the new year, right??
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...
Cooking is a moral process, transferring raw material from ‘nature’ to the state of ‘culture', and thereby taming and domesticating it… Food is therefore ‘civilised’ by cooking, not simply at the level of practice but at the level of imagination(Lupton 1996, 2)
In my masters studies they’re looking for analysis & synthesis.
One thing I can do is analyse, but synthesis seems somewhat of an intangible art form! I find it challenging to do so or maybe I 'm not totally comfortable sharing. How does one define ‘synthesise’ - it means to form new ideas and create.
After a bit of critical analysis, I realised, Hey! I do really like building things and creating projects. So as a result i think I might just start sharing more; more recipes, more ideas... I didn't feel equipped to share my cooking, because I’m not trained in culinary nor do I work in a professional kitchen. I just spend a lot of time in our home kitchen. Your tv time is like my hang-out time in the kitchen. We don’t even own a tv anymore.
One thing a friend, and life coach& psychologist told me has stuck with me, she said ‘you identify the moments when you’re creative by knowing when you’re working away and time just passes - without you noticing.' These are times when you are at your creative best, what’s your creative best? - I wasn't sure of the answer, but well I think it’s food. It’s cooking, discussing, reading about, photographing, and analysing food!
So this is a very lengthy introduction to the recipes that will start appearing on the site periodically.
well, go'wwan what’s yours?
A month or so ago, we had the pleasure of taking-in (by this I mean consuming) a project bringing so many of our creative & food community together in Dublin. Manatsu, meaning spring-summer, was a beautifully assembled 12-course dinner, or ramen-lunch.
Junko & Robyn, our new friends, worked tirelessly all night to serve up these local ingredients in Japanese flavours. So you'll see the charred broad bean with kelp salt, but tricky-tricky doesn't it remind of edamame?
The fabulous Orlaith Ross hosted the evening, gliding us from course to course and many of the courses were paired with a japanese tea or complementing beverage. My favourite being the cold-brew Hojicha & the second harvest Sencha. Japanese theme was woven throughout the evening from the calligraphy to the performance of Japanese instruments. Hunt & Gather gals, created an space that was absolutely stunning. Hanging garden included!
 mugi-cha roasted barley tea with wood sorrel syrup
 charred broad beans with kelp-salt
 chilled noodle with channel wrack seaweed
 simmered marrow with duck dumpling, strangely homey, reminding me of my mom's soup and very satisfying
 grilled erengi mushroom with shiso pesto
 kakuni slow cooked pork belly
 deep fried summer veggies
 pressed sushi with trout & egg kohlrabi pickle, this is Ireland for-ya!
 home-fermented miso with grilled aubergine and ginger
 tomato jelly with gooseberry, a refreshing & cool clean course to bring us to dessert
the meal culminated in a summer fruit salad & rose petal tea & matcha castella cake. so photogenic!
Another weekend. Saturday night, you’re getting set for another night on the town. Couple weeks back we went out for my friend’s bachelorette, or as they call it here in Ireland (and this side of the pond, in general) - a Hen party.
Planning a hen? 5 Tips to having a great one. no male strippers & no dangerous living, unless you count dancing dangerously awesome ;)
Involve the groom As you do, always have a quiz or game ready to see if the couple really are a match made in heaven. Make sure to have prizes! Pictured here, an extinguisher full of 'screwdriver'
Tip 3: Have fantastic food - and/or fantastic slop that takes the cake On this occasion we suggest the tastiest of burgers at *Rick's burgers* after a little drinks top-up at Exchequer.
Tip 4: Class it up with some burlesque No silly, I don’t mean to partake, I meant show up and get hot and bothered watching them talented ladies. We were at the Button Factory for a special occasion burlesque show, lucky us! hear that feline roar.
Tip 5: Dance like there’s no tomorrow, because there’s nothing like a little limbo to loosen you up We danced the night away with some nice shots & cozy dance floor at Ukiyo Bar; a sushi joint turned bar at night time.
That pretty much concludes our adventures in Dublin. We called it a night after all the early fun.
Two years, we're officially toddlers at marriage - obviously we can't actually be experienced enough to give you any advice on marriage ;) I can, however, say that marriage in my mind has been a completely different 'ball game' to dating. Long distance and dating for what seemed like forever (6yrs) was quite a journey but I'm thankful for the friends and family that constantly supported us. One of the things that I really appreciate about our relationship is that S always gives me the room to be my own person and encouragement to pursue my dreams, being the very assertive person that I am.
Now that I followed him to Dublin, he gets to be home - how does that work, you tell me?! Moving half-way around the world has been quite the adventure to take together but at least he does the dishes! Lucky for you, S, we both love Dublin and it has quickly become home for us.
Happy Anniversary! Glad that you inspire me to take 'some' risks and be... creative in all things food & photography. [2 years ago]: we blogged our photos, but when I moved the blog, not all of them came through so here are a few from the day that was a dream!
Another weekend packed with friends and new surprises - apologies for this being a little late after Taste of Dublin. I’ve recently joined a cycle group that meets on Saturday mornings and this weekend we cycled 60 km to look over Dublin. Gawd, if only you could see how scenic this place is from all the hilltops surrounding the coast! (That's coming!) Saturday mornings are dedicated to these rides until the Banff Gran Fondo in August. I’m liking the new challenge and fitness goals, but sacrificing Saturday plans like going to the market is a bit of, well, a sacrifice. We have no greens for the week, better suck it up!
Taste of Dublin was taking place at Iveagh Gardens around the corner from us and I wasn't really planning on going until I received a surprise mail with an invite to the event. (thanks S for checking the mail :|) Overjoyed! I was able to get in late, but made it to the fantastic event where Aldi was doing a kick-off of their 28-day aged steak.
On the Menu: [cod brandade with lemon aioli], [28-day dry aged choice of rib eye or striploin], [triple cooked chips, hollandaise & crispy bacon/onion] , [strawberry & basil panna cotta with yogurt granita]
I sipped away at my wine absently while catching up on chats with a friend, until the crisp citrus, stonefruit, and mineral finish shocked us into discussion. We were pleasantly surprised at the white wine Spanish Abariño - I know the supermarkets get a bit of a bad wrap for the commodity wines they buy and although we should support small producers - here is an example of a wine that is really [worth your while].
Sinead, from Food Presence PR headed-up an impressive garden terrace and intimate kitchen dining experience in the midst of the busyness of Taste, also thanks to special guest Chef Cormac Rowe and team.
A bit on ageing meats. There are two methods; dry-aged & wet-aged. Generally, meats are hung for about seven days before broken into their retail cuts and sold. The reason for this is to make the meat more palatable and tender. As meat ages the collagen & muscle fibres 'relax' through an enzymatic process that starts about 6-12 hours after slaughter. Wet-aging is done in cryovac bags whereas dry aged meat is hung refrigerated. The research on the consumer preference of wet vs. dry aged could be quite polarising as they have distinctly different flavour profiles. We were taught that the tenderness reaches a maximum after 14 days but then why does industry insist on aging for longer? (Other factors such as flavour, colour, and juiciness are considerations too. Dry-aging meat is seen as a premium for many reasons, the time and controlled environment required for the process is one consideration; but, there is a massive loss in water (70% weight loss) and guess what you pay for when you buy fresh meat - mostly water. Tricky, tricky ;) Now to take that one step further what about 'seasoned' meat or 'marinated' meat, does that not absorb more water? Yup. So if you want to pay for water haha. Last party tip: Predominant Microorganisms in dry aging is psueudomonads vs. Wet ageing which is lactobacilli I always associated pseudomonads with spoilage and giving that off- taste so maybe that's what gives dry aging the funk in the meat.
The last couple months has been exciting. unparalleled. insurmountable. I wrote in the Food Cloud post that I was overwhelmed with the positivity recently, and felt I had to take action. One of the reasons is this most-breathtaking & unreal experience - sshhhh….secret I haven't told you all yet. So I'm going to tell you now. One of, well ok, our favourite restaurant in Dublin, Forest Avenue afforded me a rare opportunity to hang out and capture some of what they do at the restaurant in hopes of getting some images for their website. Oh and we got to hang with their little one too, sweet as a button! Just to give you an idea; Irish times says it's 'ground-breaking without being swaggering or smug… giving us damn fine dining'. Lovin' dublin says, 'the food ... photos say way more than anything I ever could. Safe to say that it was all absolutely f[bleep]ing gorgeous'; French Foodie in Dublin, 'the most stylish restaurants. Absolutely magical!' and every blog post I see online has at least a dozen photos of the stunning food. The Irish Independent claims it's 'A Marriage made in heaven'; and Totally Dublin says ' I’m in love with the place, the food and the couple who are running the show at Forest Avenue.' Heck, Catherine Cleary said this would be her pick for birthday dinner, and honestly mine too. Forest Avenue has just won the Best Newcomer of the Year and John was awarded Best Chef in Dublin at the Restaurant Awards of Ireland. Hats off! So it seems fitting at this time, to share some of these pictures with you. If you don't know them yet, Sandy & John are the masterminds behind Forest Avenue. Sandy is super warm and guides the service team with a defined idea of what they envisage; while John leads the kitchen with his stoic unwavering focus. Together, their focus is on the flawless product . I am mesmerised by the work they do in and out of the kitchen, but also by their authenticity. Service is about creating an experience for customers - they consider this down to the plush of a pillow, the texture of (my favourite) potato bread, and the perfection of their quenelles.
It's hard to capture in words what the experience is like. It is undeniably the most passionate meal in Dublin in a subtle and understated way. There's just something about this place. I know it's about the flavours, the interaction, the atmosphere and staff, all these things are tangible but there is something completely not tangible that makes the dining experience at Forest Avenue. Something about their passion transcends through the food - it literally makes you want to be better at whatever it is you do because they work so hard from start to finish to be amazing. The one and only upsetting part of the story is that there is so much love for this place that booking must be done well in advance - so if you plan a visit call early! You've been forewarned.
See the [Dinner at Forest Avenue]
A year ago I arrived in Dublin and I was pleasantly surprised with the food scene. I have definitely observed quite an entrepreneurial spirit here, I thought my hometown Calgary was filled with start-ups and the like but as one Dubliner recently said, well if you don’t 'make it' yourself, nobody else is going to just give it to you.
I’m fortunate to have a husband that knows how much I love, love, LOVE food- he is probably the source of all my up and coming food knowledge.
Forest Avenue is a restaurant set up by husband and wife team Sandy & John. I didn’t have the opportunity to attend any of their previous pop-ups, 'The Supper Club', but this is the real thing so we make it count! We walked in just on Sussex Terrace, a block off the canal and we were completely caught off guard. Unsuspecting place. The space is minimal and white, but decorated tastefully, loft-like high ceiling in the entrance; then to the left there’s an espresso & brewed coffee set-up. I’m feeling quite at home now.
The photos will speak for themselves. I’m really trying to write more succinctly or not at all.
[insert snacks here] ;)
Can i just say that the bread is out of this world? I don't want to get your hopes up but ask for the potato bread, or the toasted walnut bread....
[i]House made ricotta, squash, chicory & truffled hazelnuts
[ii] Brisket, cannelloni of celeriac & ox tongue, onion, grilled leek & horseradish
[iii]Cod Broccoli, spiced miso butter almonds & mussels
[i]Venison,parsnip cooked in miso, beetroot, cavalo nero & pear FANTASTIC - I currently have a serious obsession with cavalo nero. Can NOT get enough of it.
[ii]Spiced bread crumbled, pear, chocolate cremeux, salt walnut ice cream
[iii] Petit fours - tasty as hell-beignets & marshmallows
The open kitchen made for an intimate meal where we were able to observe the chefs at work without even getting in their way. This kitchen is well on their way to wow-ing Dublin; their composure, and friendly, authentic staff were beyond 'grand' and made us feel so at home.
Now, I know that people were hesitant about our opinions. I think probably five people asked how our coffee was that night. Honestly, it was great. The detail, tasting notes, and information on the farm that Cloud Picker Coffee Roasters provided is just testament to the growth of coffee culture in Dublin. They say there is a Resident menu for Weds & Thursdays, an abridged taster of our meal - but I am so excited that our neighbourhood has this new resident to feed our gullets
Now that we've satisfied your dinner needs, look forward to brunch at Forest Ave.
This week has been significantly less productive than the last, but some milestone things happened so I am celebrating that. Did this week just fly by for anybody else? Now wrapping up Week 2 in Dublin, I now have a PPS# (SIN#) and all the administrative things sorted. I went to my first and only interview so far and have another one scheduled... so that is fantastic. Not to mention it is right up my alley!
I have explored a bit of the city, mostly the shopping districts surrounding my area and just north of the river. I found a few new coffee places and food markets. Yesterday we found a few vendors set up in a lane near Grafton St. and picked some olives and fresh Irish mozzarella - Fantastic! I think I am discovering that a major part of settling into a new city is finding all your food suppliers and standard go-to's.
Itching to bake this weekend, we'll see what we can conjure up. The only photojournaling we have this week is my 'goodwife' meals- basically me trying all the ideas I have in my book so we have food to eat. I honestly wonder when I'll run out of creativity- that's going to be a good day.
This week was not free of kitchen fails. Some of which include spilling hot water/coffee grounds out the bottom of an aeropress; turning the oven on too high and baking the naan into bread instead of proofing it... weird stirfries gone awry. It's all good, we are in good spirits :)
Not hearing ANY suggestions from the Dubliners as to where to go for more Food and Coffee adventures!!! Not going to lie, that's kind of disappointing. Send them my way. Also drop me a line and tell me how you're all doing!
STAY TUNED for: HOMETOWN HEROES & Cucina Bistro #yyc!
So we have been on a little hiatus for a while; because weddings, my dear, are a lot A LOT of planning! I am so glad that we were able to share the day with so many of our closest family and friends. The emotion of that day is truly overwhelming. We are reminded of our blessings – the love, sacrifice, servitude, and joy that our friends and family poured out to make that day unforgettable. Just to give you an idea of how crazy lucky we are; my friends cut down a 6' tree so they could make tree cookies and cart them all the way to Vancouver, they also lugged down a whole load of coffee equipment & musical instruments, they gathered musicians not to mention – some of them even put out mini-fires, figuratively. I am in awe.
Now, I say ‘live to love’ and you have to love to eat if you're going to read this blog! One of the things I love is photography, but honestly our photographers must just blow this love out of the water. The amount of emotion packed into some of their photos is to the brim. They are amazing, gripping, and they take my breath away.
The story the photos tell when strung together is in the intricacies of each moment of that day and can’t be captured just by a by-stander, but one who understands and anticipates the emotion before it even happens. (Or works like a ninja to capture it) DQ, Your ability to work so fast to compose the photos, to catch the split-second glimpses or gleen in one’s eye is unparalleled. I am so touched. There are no missed moments, you’ve captured them all!
When I see these pictures they bring me back to that day; the overwhelming love that I felt. I feel it will make the memories tangible forever- that I won’t forget even a moment of that day. I want to juice the emotion of each and every one of those photos and live each day remembering that life is about these moments. Recreate them.
Sounds Dramatic, I know. But that's the truth.
I have been back now for a week and a half, a little more eye-opened, excited, and recovered. Today I picked up my first roll of film. I haven't shot film since high school, but my friend G at 2litresofsoysauce lent me his camera over an autumn photo walk. In the age of instagram, the question one poses is why bother revisiting film. Today I can say the experience has been a different journey; much more thought provoking composition, shooting, developing, waiting... waiting.... WAITING. The patience sweetens the surprise finished product. It is more satisfying than instant gratification, a digital review of the last crappy picture that I took. Now, I get to wait 6 months to be reminded of what I was thinking.
In review of these photos, I caught some interesting double exposures. - whether the scans are messed up or not, I can't speak to that, but seeing how beautiful autumn is just made me reflect a bit.
Today was a thought-provoking day, my mind is full of many thoughts. I am learning and preparing for this marriage thing, trying to grow but it's challenging. It's difficult to relent in situations of passionate difference. I was humbled by the reminder that however you feel in the situation, it demands respect, love, and support for the other person. - humans are broken, sometimes we need more than just ourselves to live up to that expectation. In closing this song we're playing this week has a beautiful melody and speaks volumes.
I bought into it, the excitement, the craziness, and oh, don't forget the pain of waiting in the -15 degree weather. If you haven't heard about it already, I'm talking about the infamous alley burgers. If you care enough, which, I do... you will followCharcut restaurant on twitter or 'like' them on facebook. On some Fridays or Saturdays, not all, they release a notice earlier on in the day saying that they will be serving burgers that evening. So you follow the growl in your tummy and your curiosity to the crowd gathering at the back door in the evening.
This saturday, the burgers were being served at 10pm, so we arrived at 9:30. A little embarrassed, we approached the alley from the driveway of le Germain thinking we were too keen. Guess what, these keeners were all KEENER than me. It's ok, I'm enthusiastic and just excited to be part of it.
So around 10 to 10, the line is building up behind us. The manager comes out and counts the number of people in line to see if there's enough burgers for everyone. He gets to us, "19, 20, 21..." just as he passes us, "and 25" he says that's all they have. Breathed a sigh of relief. He comes down the line collecting the $5 cash for each burger and heads back inside.
Highlights: it is likely the juiciest burger alive. The bread is fresh and toasty. It is simple, but delicious - garnished with cheese, I think but nothing else. It has a light gameyness to it, like breakfast sausage. The bun is moistened with a garlic aioli or garlic butter. The only downside is that we aren't sure where to enjoy the delightful burger in comfort. Oh well, I'm gleaming with joy.
Service: We're outside!?
Likelihood to return: Have to try it, at least once. Worth the wait, but not all the time.
Food/Coffee: burger was delish!
Chillness: as chill as the friends you bring and the weather permits...
I wasn't sure what the burger could be... I don't know why I thought it could have been beef so I went back to the source that brought me here to begin with... Thanks Chracut.