Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fall Food

So apparently Fall is here.  It is amazing how one day the leaves are green and on the trees, and it seems like they turn colour and fall to the ground without me even noticing.  I just wake up one day, the air is chilly and the colourful leaves are strewn about.

I haven't had a lot of time to get out and enjoy the change of season, but I did manage to sneak two fun gatherings into my homework-filled days. 

On Saturday evening we had a sushi and karaoke night with a bunch of friends, most of whom the hubby met through his racing/training.  They are such a fun group!

We ordered all-you-can-eat sushi with our good buds Emma and Dalton. 

On Sunday afternoon I took a much needed break from my thesis work and went to a friend's bridal shower.  The food was insanely awesome because it was made by a bunch of Italians, and they know good food!

I am looking forward to the wedding next weekend, when all our out-of-town friends will be home for a "friend reunion." It is sure to make for a fun-filled wedding long-weekend.

Oh, and as a side note ...

Make this.


That is all.

Have you met any friends through racing, blogging, or another hobby of yours?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Whirlwind Vegas Weekend (Part 4)

Our weekend trip to Vegas about a week ago was definitely quick, yet relaxed.  We had limited time, but since it was our second trip to Vegas, we really enjoyed it and never felt rushed.  

We spent most of Sunday wandering around with our friends, enjoying a bevvie in an Irish pub and pondering where we should go for dinner.

We chose Sea Blue in the MGM Grand.  It was quite expensive, and pretty good.  The best part was the naan bread that they brought out to start.

The hubby and I ordered some exotic tempura mushrooms for an appetizer, and they were fabulous.

I ordered shrimp as my main dish, and we ordered a few sides to share at the table (the main dish is basically a protein, and the sides have to be purchased separately).

After dinner the hubby and I and a friend of ours went to my favourite place in Vegas - The Salute Lounge in The Palazzo Hotel to see the Dueling Pianos.  

We sat their for the entire evening, thoroughly entertained, wishing that it would never end.  
I even got one of the pianists to play/sing Lil Wayne's How to Love ;-)  

Our party of three definitely put the most requests up on the piano, and at the end of the night one of the performers thanked us for the awesome/wide variety of requests.

Most of our friends flew home Monday morning, but we were in Vegas until later in the afternoon.  We stopped at Emeril's Table 10 before heading to the airport.  The first time we ate at this restaurant (dinner on our 5 year wedding anniversary) the meal was one of the best I have ever eaten.  The lunch menu wasn't as fancy, and wasn't as good either.  

We shared some dumplings first, which were perfection ...

But the gumbo tasted (and looked) like it came from a can.  
It had absolutely no flavour.


I will definitely recommend Table 10 again, but only for dinner.  The lunch menu is very ... meh.

Have you ever eaten at a celebrity chef's restaurant? 
Are there any celebrity chef restaurants you are dying to try?

Thomas Keller's French Laundry is definitely on my bucket list.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Whirlwind Vegas Weekend (Part 3)

Last weekend the hubby and I (and our friends from California) ate at Thomas Keller's Bouchon in the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas.


We had a lovely outdoor seat with a great view.

There were plenty of carbs to go around, each one better than the last (which was hard to believe).  I only nibbled a bit because I was saving room for my main course:


I ordered something I have been wanting to try for about a year - a Croque Madame.  It is a hot ham and cheese sandwich topped with a fried egg and Bechamel sauce.  

It was HUGE, and came with a ridiculous pile of fries that I barely made a dent into.  Unfortunately the sandwich did not live up to my expectations.  
I think it would be better made at home, with less meat, and grilled bread.

Have you ever had a Croque Madame sandwich? 
Was there ever a food/dish that you were dying to try for a long time, and when you finally did, you were disappointed?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Things You Never Knew You Needed ...

Until Now.

Fourth from the left - Enchanted Mushroom Chocolate Bar.  I don't know about you, but I have a feeling that mushrooms and chocolate are probably a match made in culinary heaven.  Too bad I forgot to go back and buy one before leaving Vegas :-(

What are you up to this weekend?

I am daydreaming about that bacon toothpaste working on my thesis.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Whirlwind Vegas Weekend (Part 2)

In Vegas everything is over-the-top.  

Giant.  Large.  Over sized - All adjectives that apply to the crazy excess that is Las Vegas.

And it doesn't only apply to the hotels and shows ...

Gummy Worm!
Large Beer.  Real Cheap.

What is the craziest "large" product you have come across recently?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Whirlwind Vegas Weekend (Part 1)

Late last night we arrived home from a whirlwind, weekend trip to Las Vegas. 

On Saturday morning we woke up at 4:00 am to make it to the airport for our flight out.  

I ate sushi for breakfast:

We had a stop in Denver where I had a Pumpkin Smash Jamba Juice.  It tasted like a piece of pumpkin pie blended into smithereens.  It was good, but I could only drink about half of it before getting sick of it.

We landed in Vegas around noon and were in our beautiful hotel a short while later.  We stayed in the stunning Palazzo, and were extremely impressed with our room, the service and the hotel in general.  It is a AAA 5 diamond hotel and definitely lives up to the prestige.  No room in the hotel is smaller than 720 square feet!

Our bathroom had a private toilet room, double sinks, a vanity, separate shower and jet tub, a TV and lush robes.

The rest of the room was roomy and full of conveniences.

The view was pretty good too:

We went on this trip with about 18 friends.  Our two friends who arrived from California just happened to be staying across the hall from us.  We knew they were in the same hotel, but were shocked that out of 3068 rooms they ended up in the one across from us! 

Before heading out for separate bachelor and bachelorette parties, we went down to Bouchon Bakery for a bite to eat.  I opted for something savoury, enjoying the bruschetta.

I then got dressed and head out for a ladies night, complete with dinner at an Italian restaurant and dancing at Pure Nightclub.  My girlfriend Marian and I met up with our hubbies at the end of the night (early morning) and enjoyed a loooooong walk back to our hotel.

Have you ever had a whirlwind trip (flying somewhere for only a couple of nights)?
How was your weekend?  What was the highlight?

Friday, September 16, 2011

And I am Off ...

To VEGAS for the weekend!!!

I wrote a paper this evening, ate the delicious dinner below, and packed a small bag so I will be all ready to leave tomorrow for a weekend getaway to Vegas.  

I went to Vegas a couple of years ago for the first time, but this time will be different because I will be with a bunch of friends - about 20 people in total!

Have you been to Vegas?  

Tell me your favourite store/restaurant etc. there in case I get a chance to check out some new places.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Store-Bought Vegan Pancakes

I came across this vegan, organic, gluten-free pancake mix the other day, and thought I would give it a try.

I liked the short ingredient list (all organic):

Buckwheat flour
Mung bean flour
Brown rice flour
Sorghum flour
Evaporated cane juice
Gluten-free baking powder (GMO free)
Himalayan salt

I liked that these pancakes were "add water only", making them very convenient for mornings when I would rather sleep than cook every morning.

I liked how easy these pancakes were to cook, and the fluffy, pleasing texture.

What I didn't like was the distinct mung bean taste.  It was not unbearable, but definitely not desirable.  I can best describe it as a lentily taste.  I think I would like this flavour more if it wasn't in a pancake (and perhaps was covered in bacon and cheese).

I would not recommend this mix unless you have a special affinity for mung bean flavoured pancakes.

Next time I want vegan pancakes I will stick to these ones.

What was the last store-bought food item you bought that wasn't that great?
Do you ever buy and eat foods you don't really "love" just because they are healthy?

For me, if a food isn't great, I won't buy it again.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


There is a certain satisfaction you get from growing your own food. 

My tomato plants started out as wee little babies at the beginning of June, and they are now huge, with new tomatoes ripening by the day.

I had my first one this morning on a toasted tomato sandwich. 
Simple, yet perfect.

Do you grow any of your own food?