Reader. Writer. Romantic.

Archive for April, 2015

This Day in History: April 29

For Christmas last year I got a calendar for myself that detailed a historical event that happened on this day. Taking into consideration everything that has been happening for the last few months, I thought this calendar page really shows that some things never change.

On this day in 1992 (the year I was born, though I wasn’t born yet), the verdict in the Rodney King trial verdict was announced. “On this day, a jury of ten whites, one Hispanic, and one Filipina in the Los Angeles suburb of Simi Valley acquitted four police officers who had been charged with using excessive force in arresting black motorist Rodney King a year earlier. The announcement of the verdict, which enraged the black community, prompted widespread rioting throughout much of the sprawling city. Immediately after the verdict was announced that afternoon, protesters took to the streets, engaging in random acts of violence. At the corner of Florence and Normandie Streets, Reginald Denny, a white truck driver, was dragged from his truck and severely beaten by several angry rioters. A helicopter crew caught the incident on camera and broadcast [sic] it live on local television. It wasn’t until three days later that the arson and looting finally ended.”

Advertisements

Cafe Review: Corbeaux Bakehouse

Location: 730-17th Avenue SW (Beltline)
Website: http://www.corbeaux.com/#about

A few months back, when Corbeaux had only been open for a few months, I wanted to try it out. Firstly, because I love independent coffee shops and the uniqueness they bring and secondly, because the pictures of their food posted on their instagram and on Julie Van Rosendaal’s instagram accounts looked amazing. Typically, I’m a savory person who loves to bake, but coffee and bakehouses are an exception. The only time I can stand eating something sweet is if it paired with a rich, dark roast coffee or espresso. Going in at noon is probably one of the worst ideas in the world. Wait times at noon are roughly an hour. So, in other words, the first time we went, we did not get in because we were starving and didn’t want to wait an hour in the freezing Calgary cold. Today, at the suggestion of my cousin, we went later in the afternoon, which was a good idea. We got there around two and it was pretty empty. By pretty empty it meant about 20 or so patrons, but not packed so we were able to get a seat right away. The first thing I felt when I entered Corbeaux was a sense of intimidation and disorientation. I felt like it was a bit elitist, especially with the price; like it was a place I couldn’t afford to eat at, but also, the setup of the restaurant left me confused as to where I was supposed to go and order. We eventually figured out that some tables were reserved for patrons who wanted to order off their menu while other areas were for people who just wanted to get some pastries from the displays.

By this time in the day, it was so hot outside, like 26 degrees hot, so everyone with the exception of me, had an iced drink. My cousin had an iced chai, my sister had a iced latte, and I had a macchiato. The iced chai was the sweetest and the macchiato the bitterest. The chai was too sweet for my cousin and the latte too bitter for my sister so they switched. After drinking the macchiato, one tasted like water and spices and the other tasted like water and milk :/

The pastries we got to share were Charlotte something or another (sorry I can’t remember the name to save my life, it was French…I think), 2 macarons, a pistachio eclair, and a berry tart. Later I purchased a pistachio eclair and traditional eclair to take home with me to share with my family. The Charlotte something was like a raspberry cake with layers of cake and mousse, topped with 2 raspberries and a blueberry. It was slightly tart, but not exactly to my liking. The two macarons we got were raspberry and rose. The raspberry one suited me fine; the tartness of the filing helped to combat the sweetness of the “cookie” part. Of course, being a heavy handed bull, I crushed the thing by trying to take a bite (kinda squished and cracked it as I tried to bite into it). The rose macaron was good in the first bite, but quickly overwhelmed me with sweetness and the fragrance that is typical to flowers and the perfumes made from them. The pistachio eclair was actually ordered by my cousin and was quite delicious except for the fact that it made quite a mess due to the filling shooting out of the holes made in the eclair to pipe in the filing. The filing was phenomenal! At the time I found it a little too sweet, but again, that’s why it’s being paired with a macchiato, not an iced latte or chai. The final one, the berry tart was by far my favourite. In recent years, fruit tarts have become my favourite dessert because of their lightness. This tart consisted solely of blueberries glazed and accented with small balls of white chocolate on a bed of creamy custard (another favourite thing of mine). The berries were fresh and the glaze was really sticky. I touched it with my fork and the berries stuck, refusing to let go. The tart shell was so incredibly hard I had to stab it with the intent to kill in order to break it. Though I was annoyed that I required that much force to break it, I can understand why I would need to. If it had been softer, it would not have been able to support the weight of the berries and would have become a soggy mess under the custard filling. I have yet to try the traditional eclair, but having tasted the pistachio one, I’m pretty sure I won’t be disappointed. The traditional eclair is topped with gold leaf!

The service was okay. The waitresses/staff didn’t really try to help us out when we were bumbling around like confused idiots, but probably because that’s not their jobs anyway. I did feel bad for the lady who rang through our order the first time because we were so scattered and distracted by everything that was going on that I didn’t really pay too much attention to her when she asked me questions in regards to my order. Also, staying out of people’s way…that can be quite a challenge. Next time I’ll just flatten myself against the wall and stay there until my order is ready.

Though expensive, I would most certainly return to Corbeaux. Of course I could not afford to come back everyday, but  will return in the near future to try out their lemon tart at the suggestion of an acquaintance. Next time I’d also like to try some of the food off their breakfast, lunch, or dinner menu. But for now, I’ll give it a rating of 4.25/5.

Corbeaux Panorama

Corbeaux Panorama

Pastry display

Pastry display

Macchiato

Macchiato

Iced Latte

Iced Latte

Iced Chai

Iced Chai

Charlotte something or another

Charlotte something 

Berry Tart, Raspberry and Rose Macarons

Berry Tart, Raspberry and Rose Macarons

Pistachio Eclair and Raspberry Macaron

Pistachio Eclair and Raspberry Macaron

Pistachio and Tradition Eclair

Pistachio and Tradition Eclair

Restaurant Review: Red’s Diner

Location: 1415 – 4th St S.W. (Beltline)
Website: http://redsdiner.com/

I’ve passed by Red’s Diner on two occasions, always seeing it packed full. The fact that it was packed is always a good sign, even if I don’t particularly like having to wait, at least I know the food is going to be good. Okay, maybe I don’t, but at least a large majority of people do. It’s true that everyone has different tastes and what may be good to one person is absolutely disgusting to another, but that was not true in this case. In this case, the number of patrons waiting for tables was equivalent to the quality of their food.

It was my first weekday off in a while and I had been dying to get out and have some fun with friends (well my sister and cousin, but who says they can’t also be my friends). We quickly agreed on brunch at Red’s though by the time we reached the place it was nearly noon. Originally I was going to try a mimosa, but I don’t do alcohol well and with the weather warming up, I decided that a milkshake might be better. It was a good decision. I got the vanilla milkshake (not what I would normally have gone with, normally would have gone with chocolate, but I was going to share with my sister, so we compromised since she doesn’t like chocolate and I don’t particularly like strawberry milkshakes). It was a rich sort of vanilla, maybe French Vanilla? I’m not completely sure, but it was very smooth, but not too thick or cold that I had difficulty drinking it. Oftentimes, I find milkshakes really hard to drink because they are so thick. That’s not a bad thing, but if and when I’m thirsty, it’s not such a good idea. My cousin had a regular coffee and my sister the pink grapefruit juice. The coffee was nothing special, a little watered down, but nothing horrible, though it did come in a quaint mug. The grapefruit juice appeared to be freshly squeezed, but the thing with grapefruits are that they can be bitter if the “casing” of the fruit is not removed, which was what happened.

In terms of mains we ordered the Caprese Benedict, Grilled Cheese with the soup of the day, and the braised short rib sandwich with fries. As I’ve mentioned in a previous review, Caprese salads have become somewhat of a weakness for me since my trip to Italy. Initially, I didn’t know what to expect of a Caprese Benedict because hollandaise sauce is typically quite rich and creamy, while balsamic vinegar can be quite tart. I just hoped the flavours wouldn’t clash and they didn’t. The balsamic was well reduced, was slightly tart, but had more of a sweet note on the palate that was enhanced by and enhanced the basil pesto. Of course it would not be a Caprese without tomato and smoked mozzarella, both which were excellent; the tomato wasn’t too wet and the mozzarella stringy (though it was hard to discern a smoked tasted with everything going on in the dish). The only complaint I had was that the poached egg was so small that I ate it in two bites and there was not enough egg for the whole English muffin. However, this does not mean that the portion size was by any means too small. In fact, I was unable to finish, but maybe that was due to the fact I also had a “giant” milkshake (it really wasn’t that giant). My dish came with a side of Red’s potatoes and some fresh fruit. They potatoes were pretty ordinary, but it appeared that my friend and sister thoroughly enjoyed them as they ate the majority of them. My cousin ordered the grilled cheese, which, instead of regular white bread or even whole wheat, was served on cheddar sourdough. For me, sourdough is a weird bread. In my mind, bread just shouldn’t be sour, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy it for what it is. I liked that Red’s decided to use a different type of bread than the usual to make their grilled cheese stand out a little more. The soup of the day turned out to be beef wonton. Yes, you read that correctly. Beef. Wonton. The soup base and vegetables were great, but it was better suited as a chicken noodle (I believe it was chicken stock that was used) instead of a wonton soup. Having grown up in a Chinese family making wontons, it felt odd to eat it for brunch, in a soup that accompanied a grilled cheese; it just felt a little out of place. Besides that, wonton fillings are usually more than just the meat, so it was like a giant meatball wrapped in a a wonton wrapper. My sister, who isn’t much of a breakfast/brunch food type of person, ordered the braised short rib sandwich. I remember my first experience with short rib in a Western restaurant. I had thought they would be like Korean short ribs like the ones from Korean BBQ, nope, definitely wrong. I tried describing to her as she looked at the menu, but didn’t do a good job, so she decided to try it anyways. When it came out, her reaction was the same as mine had been. But that was not the only surprise. The menu stated that there’d be coleslaw…it just didn’t specify where and she was surprised to find the coleslaw inside the sandwich and not side. My sister said, the only problem with the coleslaw being inside the sandwich was that the flavours got lost in the grand scheme of things. Nothing really needs to be said about the fries because they are like any other fries. They were not too salty, that’s all I can say about it.

The waitresses in this place are really friendly and makes you feel welcome immediately. Even the patrons are funny and welcoming. As we went in, a few guys were leaving. One of them said “Welcome.” And his friend added, “I would recommend the stuffed French toast.” As we were about to be seated, one called out and said, “Enjoy.” I couldn’t help but laugh; it’s nice to see the better side, the friendlier side of humanity than the dark, shit I have to deal with on a daily basis (not everyone who comes into my workplace is an asshole, just most of them). Like a lot of small pockets of the city, this diner is quaint and has a homey feel to it. There are still a few menu items I’d like to try out so I will definitely be coming back and I definitely recommend this place for a spot of breakfast, brunch, or whatever floats your boat. I would give it a rating of 4/5 because while it is not as good as Vendome, it’s good enough to keep coming back to.

Red's Diner Interior

Red’s Diner Interior

Vanilla Milkshake

Vanilla Milkshake

Classic Grilled Cheese with Beef Wonton Soup

Classic Grilled Cheese with Beef Wonton Soup

Caprese Benedict

Caprese Benedict

Braised Short Rib Sandwich with Fries

Braised Short Rib Sandwich with Fries

Reasons for Singularity

I have oft wondered
Why I am not loved?
Coming back often
To the same old reasons

I am not attractive
Not intelligent
Just not worth it

But none of that is true
And you know as well as I
I’ve always been scared to commit

I’ve never been hurt
The way some have by love
But I let my head think things
Over my heart

Perhaps it’s not the commitment
Perhaps it’s opening up
Letting you see
Who I really am

Maybe I’m scared
That below this facade
Is nothing of substance
Nothing of interest

I would love the chance
To forgive and forget
To love your every flaw
To give you that second chance
But instead I’m clouded
By doubt and misery
My head questioning my heart
About all the “what ifs”

Or maybe what I’m scared of
Is letting go
Of a life where I have everything
Of the chance to be everything

Maybe it’s true
Maybe it’s not
Live your life your way
Let no one
Control who and how you love and live

Loosely based on this article: http://www.idealistrevolution.org/18-ways-you-destroy-your-chances-at-having-the-love-you-truly-deserve/

Breaking under the Pressure (Disclaimer: Don’t read if you’re easily offended because this may be about you and contains expletives a lot of them)

Lately the pressure has been building up and I haven’t really had an outlet for it. Mostly it’s frustration and anger and punching things doesn’t always work. It’s my first time actually working full time and I can honestly say that I prefer being a full time student; the stresses of schoolwork are nothing compared to the “real world.”

Sure people say that work is so much easier because you don’t have to bring your work home, but sometimes just going in to work, seeing the same people and dealing with the same shit or even having that shit pile up starts to take its toll.

When I first started working, I loved it. I still love that I have so much to learn and the few good customers make my job worthwhile. But the longer I stay at this job the less I feel like I want to stay. I know for certain that this job isn’t something that I want to be doing for the rest of my life, but that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t do a good job or devote all my attention to it. However, as time went on, I stopped caring. Now, I’m not the kind of person who does a half-ass job and calls it a day when my shift ends. I am the kind of person who will keep working and doing my job even after I’ve clocked out for the day and keep thinking about it long after my day ends. To make me stop caring means I’ve had to put up with a lot of bullshit and I’m just past my breaking point.

I started this job as an introvert. My manager even said when i first started I was like a mouse, but now I’ve grown and changed and am able to speak out a bit more. I’m proud of myself for doing that, but I can’t take all the credit. I’d have to say it takes the right kind of person to be able to bring that side out of you. Only with her am I as loud and obnoxious as I am at home. But we are all human and we all have our flaws. She is much more extroverted than I am which makes her more personable and easy to get along with. I envy that because, yes, I am a nice person, but it takes time for me to open up and sometimes my silence is mistaken for coldness or rudeness. I still have trouble with eye contact, not sure why, but it is intimidating for me to maintain eye contact with anyone for more than a few seconds. As a writer, I love to tell beautiful lies and one of my coworkers tells it like it is. Sure, being frank is a good thing, but there is a right and wrong way of saying it. Writing will always be the best way for me to express myself. As fun as she is to talk to, sometimes, some of the stuff that comes out of her mouth is kinda racist/stereotyping. And the other manager? Ugh, she is downright exhausting. She’s always asking me to do all kinds of things, but my plate is so full sometimes that I think I’m going to explode. And of course, there are people in our office who can’t do things right or are just downright lazy. But despite all that, I love them all. They are all good people. And that’s just it, they are people. They aren’t perfect, but neither am I. We all have our flaws and strengths, that’s what makes us all such a good team.

Recently, we’ve had a new addition to the team and I find her incredibly rude. I have never hated anyone in my life as much as I hate her. Do you remember the high school drama queen and what a bitch she was? How she went about making the lives of everyone super miserable? And how she had absolutely no regard for authority? Yeah, well this is our new hire. On her first day, she just kept talking and talking and talking and talking and talking and talking and talking and for fuck’s sake woman SHUT UP! Nothing of value comes out of that mouth and all she keeps saying is about how great of a person she is, how much experience she had doing stuff and essentially just bragging to anyone who will listen. Sure, self-promotion is important, but when people are talking to you and trying to genuinely get to know you, stop sounding so defensive and making everything sound as though you are going through an interview. She is just like a child. When a parent says, “No, don’t do that.” She goes and does it. Like, right now, you don’t know anything, so listen to what you’re told. When you have as much experience as the others in this office, then you can go do what the fuck you want, but until then just fucking do as you’re fucking told! Also, I don’t know about you, but when someone doesn’t want to talk to you, the grown up thing to do is to just do your own thing and just eat your lunch. Instead, this girl picks up her lunch, throws it into her bag and slams the door behind her, opting to sit in her car and eat merely because I didn’t want to talk since I use my lunch time to recover from all the talking I have to do and will have to do once my lunch is over. Next thing is that she is such a clingy little baby. I have never met anyone in the workforce who says “oh you can’t leave me” or “OMG, she left without saying bye to me.” Clearly, you have some insecurity issues that you need to work out. Also, telling me that you only have friends who are guys…like really? Are you saying that if you don’t get along with the other women in this office that it’s not your fault because you don’t know how to handle other human beings who don’t treat you like a princess? I also take issue with the fact that you think that you can tell me what to do. Before I address that, I’d like to repeat m earlier question. Have you worked here for almost four years? Do you have the same qualifications as I do? No, then your point is moot and you should just shut up! Also, telling the manager that she’s doesn’t think what the manager suggested was a good idea is a stupid thing to do. Again, no experience, so shut up.

Honestly, she is like a high school student. There’s no other way to put it but that she is childish. I mean only a high school student would think to interpret the fact that other girls say she dresses like a slut as them being jealous of her for being so pretty. On that note, also, once a coworker complimented her on her shirt. Know what she says? She doesn’t even say thanks, like normal people would. She says, “oh, I have so many shirts that it’s a struggle for me to pick out something to wear every morning.” Like what the actual fuck?

I’ve been able to put up with a lot, but I feel like I’ve reached my limit. I really want to quit, but I feel like I should just tough it out. I mean, how would it look? What would that say about me as a person if I just ran away from my problems? I will just keep working until I get into law school I guess. But for now, I’ll just see where life takes me….

The Pain of Pleasure and of Success

Do you know what it feels like to write the story of your soul? It’s as though a part of you has been cut out and placed on a pedestal for the whole world’s enjoyment, critiqued and judged under society’s limiting microscope. For all my life, I thought that I had written who I was onto the page, but I was wrong; they were mere fragments of who I was. This was the first time I had ever written the song in my heart on to the pages of a book, bound and on display for everyone to see. It’s exhausting. I never knew how exhausting it could and would be. But now, as I sit here, staring at my blinking cursor, waiting for the words to come as they often have, I find that I have nothing left inside. All my creativity. All that I was and am. Gone. They say, write the book you want to read. I have and it has left be drained, a dry husk of a person. I am but a shadow of my former self. But i’ve done it. I’ve written something I’m truly proud of, something I’m proud to say is my own. I have always hidden behind my writing and used it as a mask. I was always a stronger person through my words. Not anymore. Now the world truly knows who I am and I can never take it back. Read my unapologetic words and my defiance, etched and immortalized in my legacy.

One day, I’ll be able to write again, but until then I will practice and polish the skills that I have already acquired. I hope that through it I will heal and find myself again in ways that no one can take away. It will be then that I shall write again.

Restaurant Review: Edgemont City

Location: 45 Edenwold Dr NW

So like I said, it’s a bit harder to do reviews for Chinese restaurants, but I think it would be good to start doing them since we go so much. It’s usually cheaper than most of the other stuff I go out for and there’s always leftovers, like enough to have another complete meal for the whole family (but maybe that’s because my dad orders so much food all the time). Unfortunately, when I go out with my family, it’s a little harder to take photos, but I will try to snap at least one.

Edgemont City is one of the few Chinese restaurants in my family’s rotational repertoires. The other two being Shanghai Palace and Signature Palace. I like Snow Palace too, but some of the food there is overpriced for the portion size they give (look for reviews to come on all three of these places). Edgemont City is still one of the best places for Peking Duck, which is a favourite of mine, despite the mess that it makes. For those who don’t know what Peking Duck is, it’s essentially a whole duck, carved served with about 20 pancakes, green onions, cucumber, and hoisin sauce. The duck is quite fatty, so we often scrape off the fat before wrapping the duck meat and crispy skin with the onion, cucumber, hoisin sauce in the pancake. When wrapping, I always leave one end open, the end I’ll be eating from since there’s no point to wrap it closed if I’m just going to eat it right away. Depending on how much hoisin sauce, how runny it is (sometimes they add too much water and it’s too diluted and watery), and how well the end of the roll is closed off will determine how messy it will be. Most of the time I’m pretty good, getting just a bit of oiliness on my fingers from the pancakes, but last night was a serious mess. My plate was covered in sauce and my napkin was just short of being completely disintegrated. We only got the one course, which, I think is all they have available. Other places that offer Peking Duck have a choice of one, two or three courses. One course is always just the duck and pancakes, two courses adds a duck-soy milk soup and three courses adds either a fried rice or fried noodle. Even though I’m a noodle person, I prefer the duck fried rice because it doesn’t leave a greasy feeling in your mouth afterwards. I mean there are exceptions, of course, but in the majority of situations, I’ve found the rice much better than the noodles. Edgemont City is one of the last few places that have really good Peking Duck. We used to always go to Ginger Beef, but since that location that served it closed, we haven’t been able to get Peking Duck from there anymore.

Last night, we also ordered four additional dishes: pea shoots in soup, fried chicken with a red fermented tofu sauce, a fish (I don’t know what it’s called in English, but in Chinese it’s called wanyu 皖鱼?I think that’s a grass carp?), and an assorted hot pot. Normally, when we order pea shoots, it’s simply stir-fried with garlic, but we decided to try something different. The pea shoots were topped with carrots, pork strips, and these chewy vermicelli like coils that are made to kinda look like shrimps and often used in hot pot (I don’t know what they are called either, another reason I don’t really like doing reviews for Chinese restaurants is that I don’t know what anything is called in English). The soup was so sweet and flavourful and the pea shoots themselves weren’t too fibrous meaning they weren’t too “old.” I would have loved just to drink nothing but the soup, it was that good. However, at Chinese restaurants, I don’t find it worth it to order a soup because they always give a starter soup and that’s just too much soup for me, otherwise, this would be a good choice (and in my experience, only when it’s a bunch of Chinese speaking Asians dining together). The fried chicken is rather dry and flavourless on it’s own, hence the red fermented tofu sauce (or also called red fermented bean curd or 紅腐乳) which is different from the regular variety because it’s sweet. It’s often eaten with congee, and seeing as I don’t really like plain congee and fermented foods, I’ve never liked this stuff in my life. Life is about giving things a chance, so last night, I thought why not? I gave it another try and the fermented taste wasn’t too strong, so I was able to eat a little bit more than I normally did. I still don’t like it, but I don’t abhor it now. The grass carp was served with in light soy sauce and topped wood ear fungi and goji berries (or wolfberries as they are sometimes called). In the past, I couldn’t handle any seafood except for shrimp, scallops and lobster, but recently, I’ve been getting better. However, this grass carp is just scary. Not only are the bones like fans, there are so many of them that choking is a very real concern. That’s the other thing with Chinese restaurants, if you order a steamed fish (with the exception of basa fillets), they just chop the fish up into segments without removing the bones and steam it and serve it. I love wood ear fungi, but too many of them aren’t good for you as they act as a blood thinner and prevent blood from clotting. I also don’t like goji berries (I’m beginning to sound like a picky eater) because they are used in Chinese medicine and I’ve had so much of that stuff that I never want to go near it again. Goji berries are good for improving eyesight and aid in other eye related ailments. My favourite dish of the evening was the assorted hot pot. It literally has everything: fish, shrimp, bean curd, tofu, beef, pork, and shitake mushrooms (from what I can remember). There is so much variety that there’s no way that any two spoonfuls would yield you the same combination, that is if you can get more than one item per spoonful 😛

Since we eat four to eight dishes when we go for Chinese food, I hardly ever remember what I eat each and every time unless it is so good it leaves a lasting impression on me. The sweet short ribs are one of them. Yes, short ribs can be quite chewy and hard to eat, but it is so worth it. Besides, using regular or even plastic chopsticks to eat them is way easier than using weird flat metal ones like the ones in Korean BBQ. The only thing that was bad about this dish is the food colouring in it. When we had it in the restaurant, it was a nice reddish brown. When we brought it home and had it the next day, it turned a yucky poop brown. Still tasted fine, obviously, but it was then we knew it didn’t get the colouring from the flavouring agents. Although, bit weird for the colour to just fade like that.

Every Chinese restaurant I go to with my parents (probably because of my dad) consists of a hot pot and a chicken dish. There’s never been an occasion in my living memory that either of them have ever been omitted. I don’t mind either since they’ve become part of what I’ve come to expect when we have Chinese food. Usually we have crispy skinned chicken when we order chicken because that’s me and my sister’s favourite. Other times we order things like poached chicken with ginger and onion, soy sauce chicken, and drunken chicken.

The service here is a bit lacking. I do understand that they are really busy, but that doesn’t mean that you have to yell/flag down a waitress for every little thing because they don’t come by your table to see if anything is lacking (i.e. tea, napkins, empty dishes that need to be taken away). Also, due to an altercation elsewhere with one of the waitresses, it’s always awkward to go there now. I would rate this restaurant 2.5/5. The food is okay, but the service sucks.

Peking Duck (one course) with Pea shoot soup in the top left corner

Peking Duck (one course) with Pea shoot soup in the top left corner

Tag Cloud