Sunday, January 30, 2011

Creative Cooking: Onion Ring Port Patty

My wife tries all kinds of creative cooking mixing different ideas and cultures all the time.
This time, I don't know what I should call this dish.  :)
Onion Ring Pork Patty?  haha...
We also bought new Corelle dish.

The onion ring is prepared by cutting the center of the onion out.
Then, pork patty is put in with seasoning on the top.
The pork is prepared the same way as you prepare a hamburger patty.

Well, I assume most people would have bought their hamburgers from the frozen section of the supermarket.

Obviously, that will not work here.
 However, this is an easy dish to make with simple ingredients.

Trader Joe's Macaron Post 2 and T&T Macaron

Since many people read my last "macaron" post, I decided to write an additional short post.

Original post:

In Japan and Europe, "macaron" has been a popular delicacy for years, but in Canada, it is still unknown to most people.  At work, most people says, "What is macaron?  A macaroon?"
(No!  It is not a macaroon.)

Picture taken in France (2009) at Lafayette in Paris
I think it would take some time for the public and the bakeries in Canada to catch up.However, some Asian bakeries and supermarkets such as "T&T", a Asian supermarket chain in Canada, has released boxed macarons.  (Taste reasonable.)

A chain bakery called "Saint Germain" in BC, Canada also sells macaron.

Now, it cost 12 dollars for a dozen macaron usually in Canada, which is kind of reasonable because France will be 1 Euro per macaron and 100 to 200 yens in Japan.

For the people who have never tried or don't know what is a macaron, give it a try if you have a chance!

Japanese Day for Kids: 7, 5, 3 and Thomas Cake

In Japan, there is a festival, a day for celebration for kids that turns 7, 5 and 3 years old.

I bought a Thomas the Tank Engine Cake from a local Coquitlam bakery for my son.

I am always amazed at the cake nowdays and how lucky the kids now are.
My son, me and my family all enjoyed the cake (can choose whipped cream and all ingredients when I ordered).
The cake even come with a Real Thomas!!
The bakery, Inno Bakery, actually allows its customers to order cake to different theme and sizes.
(Cost is around 30 dollars Canadian, reasonable for its quality without too much sugar.)

I tried to avoid sugary cakes sold at chain supermarket!  They are just filled with sugar and icing.

For Kids: Animals of the World Puzzle (Infantino)

I found this puzzle made by Infantino, which I liked and bought it for my kids.

I was always interested in maps and geography as a kid, and I thought this puzzle can be a good education tool.

A world map with cute animals in that region for 3 year olds to play with:

The puzzle itself has 50 pieces with beautiful glossy print.

It is not large at all:  length is around more than 1 feet (30cm).

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Eurofoods (Polish Food) in Coquitlam, BC, Canada

I found a store near my neighborhood on North Road in Coquitlam, BC that sells mostly products from Poland and Russia. 

They have lots of tea, coffee, cookies, chocolate, local cheese, ham, pastries that caters to people from that region.  I supposed they are most welcome by people who feels nostalgic and wants the tastes back home. 

We enjoy food from all over the world, so we bought a bunch of chocolate and cookies.  (We don't actually know what they are but we tried them and liked them.)
The dark chocolate and the chocolate with a baby face (?) taste excellent.
There is also a kind of cooking spice we bought (left upper corner), and we used it for cooking french fries.
It fits the fried foods perfectly!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Hallmark Ornament

Last week, I was also surprised that some ornaments were still left on the shelves in Hallmark Metrotown.
I thought it would be all gone after boxing week.  It was two weeks into January, and most of the ornaments were gone.  I actually managed to dig some treasures out, so I was happy.

This time, I found Donald Duck, Amtrak train, Beauty and the Beast, Classic Barbie and Santa Claus train.
They will be added to my already too large collection for my small condominium.

Tim Horton's Swiss Cheese and Ham Sandwich

Last weekend, we went to try Tim Horton's Swiss Cheese and Ham Sandwich for lunch.
It was fresh (better than 7-Eleven cold frozen sandwiches) because it was made to order.
The taste is good in fast food standard, and how bad can you make a sandwich anyways....haha.

 The soup tastes decent but needs some thing else besides broccoli.  Well, it is broccoli soup.
The sandwich did come with lots of ham and couple of slices of cheese, which is not bad for the value.
For a large sandwich and a soup, I paid about 12 dollars including tax.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Bento Lunch Box: Creative Tempura Combo

My wife made a really creative tempura combo box today, which included several kinds of Japanese tempura.
There are 4 kinds of tempura in this picture:
Tempura Chicken, tempura asparagus, tempura cheese and tempura okra.
When it is warm, the tempura cheese melts in your mouth and is absolutely delicious.

The good thing with tempura is that as long as you have the tempura mix, you can experiment on what you want to wrap.  One can also put different kind of cheese in the middle for different tastes.

Now, depending on your taste and the culture background, you might find these more or less tasty and acceptable.

The picture above also includes salted sesame rice, scrambled egg with chive and broccoli.

Vancouver Restaurant: La Bretagne Creperie

Few months ago, I have heard about this French Creperie downtown that people like and we went try it early January.  They are always busy during meal time, so we made reservations in the afternoon for some crepe snacks.  It is located in downtown Vancouver near "Konbiniya", a Japanese convenience store on Robson Street.

It is a small French restaurant that sells all kinds of crepes with mostly French staff.
It seats about only 20 people, and most clients spoke French on the Saturday I went.

The crepe menu covers everything from seafood to desserts to Hawaiian crepe.
We have tried the Belgian Chocolate Crepe and Seafood Crepe:

People have the option to add fruits on the dessert crepes, which I did not.  The Belgian Chocolate tastes good but I would recommend adding bananas to it.

The seafood crepe tastes good.  The Sauce was excellent but was not enough.  Well, it says seafood but only with shrimps inside....

The price here is high and can run up to 7 to 13 dollars a crepe, including tax and tip.
I would love to try it again but the prices would make me think twice.
I know that is what they pay in Europe, but is it really worth 13 dollars for a seafood crepe?

Maybe I will try other crepes next time.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Tassimo: European Premium Coffee

As I mentioned before, we currently are enjoying the Tassimo machine and are trying out different available drink on its "T-Disc".

Wanting to taste its online European coffee line-up, I order 3 packages from the website.
(3 countries' brands, 3 different tastes which are only available in Europe or online.)

1)  Gevalia's Decaf Cappucino (Sweden).
Gevalia is a household Swedish brand for coffee in the local markets.  However, in the States, it is marketed as premium European coffee and offers all kinds of coffee beans and products different than Starbucks.  It is recognized as a Royal brand by the royal family of Sweden.  The special thing about it is that the coffee T-Discs are Decaf Expresso, which are not common in Canada.

2)  Mastro Lorenzo's Crema (Italy)

3) Jacobs' Kronung (Germany)
Jacob is a household brand in Europe but is not available in Canada.

I have tried the Gevalia coffee, and it tastes Excellent!!
For me, the decaf espresso is still a little strong but the taste if refined.
As a coffee drinker, my wife loves it as well.

For online ordering in Canada, we have to order at least 3 packs with shipping.
Each pack will work out to be around 13 dollars including shipping and taxes.
Amazingly, it is almost the same price is you buy the tassimo packs from Safeway or Save On Foods.
(and you only can get Starbucks or Nabob brands)

For people who want to try a variety of coffee for the Tassimo machines, I would recommend trying the online ordering.

Bento Lunch Box: Asparagus Pork Roll

I haven't been uploading my daily bento box that my wife made and I should do that more often.
Here is one themed bento with asparagus rolls.  The outer layer is made of "butabara", meaning pork belly in Japanese. 

The asparagus is steamed first, then it is wrapped in raw sliced pork.
Next, the roll is fried with salt and pepper for seasoned taste.
The picture does not look that good because it is from my cellphone.
However, the dish tastes excellent!! yum!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Bento Lunch Box: Spring Roll

Last week, my wife was trying out using some spring roll dole to make own spring rolls.
They turned out delicious and actually, you can use the spring roll wraps to wrap different kind of food.
Last time, when we went to a western restaurant, the chef there used it to wrap flavored mashed potatoes.
(and it taste great!)

Here, my wife included one of my favourite Taiwanese pickled lettuce.
Taiwanese people, like Japanese people, love all kinds of pickled or preserved (dried) food items.
Sometimes, the styles are different but they taste great. 
Things from bamboo, mushroom, lettuce, radish...all kinds of vegetables.
I would recommend people trying them out.  (made in Taiwan recommended for quality control)

Funny Flashback: My Old Dell Computer

I like Dell computers because they are cheap, practical and relatively reliable.
Well, I don't think the batteries are high quality but overall, the quality is reasonable.

My last laptop lasted over 4 years from 2004 to 2008 and was a Dell.  My new one is a Dell, too.
The computer must be happy that I used it till the laptop screen is almost completely detached.
(I had to used a box to hold the screen and tape them together.)

You can't really tell from the picture, but the screen could be detached from the keyboard. 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Boxing Week Sale: Babies R Us Clothing

Yesterday, using the gift card a friend has given me, we bought some nice cute clothes for my son.
The brand is Gagou Tagou and I think their design has improved gradually, so we found a few that we liked.
In North America, I think it is hard to find cute clothes for even toddlers because boys has to be "superheroes" or has to wear shark or alligator.  Who says that boys can't wear cute designs when they are young.  It is not that they have to wear pink strawberries and flowers...

Mega Bloks Thomas Train Set

I bought my son a complete set of Mega Bloks Thomas Train set on a good Christmas sale price.
(Reg. $140)
It looks impressive but takes a large amount of space in my little suite.
I hope he shows more interests and utilize this train set later on this year.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year 2011!

Happy New Year!!  Time passes so quickly especially when you have family, kids and dogs.
It was an extremely busy and eventful year but it was fun and interesting.
I am glad we are relatively healthy and are looking forward to a prosperous New Year.

My New Year's resolution?  Well, I made some in the past and some just cannot be achieved.
We did not travel in 2010, so I am looking forward to doing some travelling...
Also, I should just try to maintain my exercise regime while working.

If everyone is healthy and working, that is all that counts!
(trying to tell myself that while working)

Barbie Loves Joe Fresh

In Canada, we know there is a brand, "Joe Fresh", which provide affordable clothing for consumers.
This holiday season, they partnered up with Barbie to produce cute sets of pajamas.
The material quality is not bad for its price and the design is cute!
We managed to find a set near our town (lucky):

My Chihuahua's Christmas Present

My cute Chihuahua is enjoying his new Christmas present.
He likes to play with cute animal dolls and sometimes treats them like girlfriends.
(which is hilarious)
He is sleeping well in this picture with his new monkey girlfriend:

Lindt Chocolate: Gift Set

Lindt Chocolate finally opened up couple of specialty stores in BC and we checked it out last week.
They do sell a large varieties of products includes gifts sets, boxes and "pick your own" chocolate.
(many of them you cannot find in the usual grocery stores)
I got a nice set of plates and chocolates for my own house.