December 01, 2006

Wii!

Sean got a Nintendo Wii last week and we played for a couple of hours. He has a large home theatre setup and it was SO much fun. We were just playing the Sports game that was included with the console. The graphics weren't amazing but the gameplay, assisted by the motion sensing controllers, was so fun that it didn't matter.

We played boxing (I won!), bowling (I won!), baseball (I sucked!) and tennis (heh, I won the last game! :P). Hee, excuse my bragging, but Sean loves to shit talk while playing, so it's hard to resist! The motion controllers were so intuitive to use, even navigating the interfaces was much easier and mouse-like. The controller would vibrate slightly when you pointed it at a button - a very nice tactile addition to the point-and-click interface (which was already miles ahead of the X/O/Triangle/Square).

And it WAS a bit of a workout - my arm was a bit sore by the end of it. Tennis (doubles) was my favorite - you control 2 players and swing the remote as you would a racquet. It would be even better with 4 people - you'd basically have 2 teams and each control one player. Bowling and boxing were a lot of fun. Baseball was sorta blah - all you did was pitch and hit.

Conclusion: I'm very tempted to get one for myself! I think I'm spoiled now, though. I'm used to playing and pointing at a huge projection wall. Also, Jackie likes to play the sports game with Sean (she beats him too... HA!) and she's not a typical gamer. This speaks well of the Wii's wider appeal to non-gamers.

Posted by JAY at 06:25 PM | Comments (2)

December 02, 2006

Pancake Breakfast


I had a HUGE breakfast this morning. The bacon was done in the oven under the broiler which is a nice, no fuss way of doing it. I poached some fresh pear slices in maple syrup for the sauce. I ate ALL of these. I don't think I've put the pancake recipe here. The pancakes that this recipe makes are kind of a cross between crepes and pancakes - they're flexible enough to roll. This it's kind of inaccurate but very quick and easy..

Pancakes (serves 2)

Whisk together in order:
1 egg
2 TBS sugar (adjust to taste... I like them a bit sweet so I tend to use more)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 TBS salted butter, melted, not hot
1 1/2 cup milk

Mix of:
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup flour (approximately)

Gently whisk the flour mixture into the wet mixture.
Add more flour until the batter leaves a soft ribbon when you drizzle it from your whisk back into the bowl.
You can add flour or milk to get the consistency you want, even while cooking.

Thicker batter will yield thicker, cakier pancakes.
Thinner batter can be spread into a circle by tilting the pan, making a thinner, more flexible pancake.

Heat a heavy seasoned cast iron or non-stick skillet. Wipe the skillet with some melted butter or oil, using the paper towel to absorb any excess. When the pan is quite hot, pour batter into the pan. Tilting the pan by lifting by the handle, let the batter spread into a round shape.

Cook until there are a lot of bubbles coming up. Then flip and cook until done.
There's no need to re-oil the pan between pancakes.
Stack the finished pancakes on a plate in a warm oven.

It's not uncommon for the first pancake to not turn out nicely browned.
This is usually because either there is too much grease in the pan (the first pancake will mop it up) or the pan is not yet hot enough.

Posted by JAY at 06:06 PM | Comments (0)

Fried Wings w. Blue Cheese Sauce


So I wanted to test out the deep fryer... well, actually, I used it last night too to make shrimp chips with peanut sauce. Anyway, these were really good. Basically, the wings were marinated in a mix of soy sauce, chili powder, thyme, garlic, black pepper, oregano and a bit of oyster sauce. Then, they were tossed with cornstarch and fried in 350 degree vegetable oil. Below is the simple recipe for blue cheese sauce.

Blue Cheese Sauce

Danish Blue Cheese (size of a deck of cards)
1/2 cup mayo
1/4 cup cream or milk
Black Pepper
Cottage cheese (optional)

Blend all of the above together with an immersion blender.

If you want a salad dressing, just add more cream to thin it out.

Posted by JAY at 06:51 PM | Comments (0)

December 04, 2006

Sushi Itto

I went to Sushi Itto, an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant, with an old high school friend on his recommendation. It was very good, and reasonably priced as well, at $23/person (tax, no tip). You mark what you wish to order, and the servers bring it to you as it is made.

The rice was not too acidic and any fried items incorporated into the rolls was crisp - never soggy. Most importantly, for all-you-can-eat sushi, the fish was amply proportioned to the amount of rice. There is, however, a $1 charge for uneaten rice rolls - I assume to discourage people from ordering sushi and just eating the fish, or ordering too much. (Perhaps the latter, as you can order fish without any rice at all.)

Fried items like shrimp and veggie tempura, spring rolls and gyoza were hot and crispy. Eel was tender and flavorful. Avocado was bright and fresh, and nicely ripe. Assembly and presentation was not perfect, but the tastes and textures were spot on. A highlight was the dragon roll - a large tempura shrimp wrapped with nori, rice, avocado and eel.

Recommended!

Sushi Itto
16775 Yonge Street (corner of Mulock and Yonge)
Newmarket ON
L3Y8J4
some more reviews

Posted by JAY at 09:17 PM | Comments (0)

Crumbling Resistance


Trev and Rucell gave me a bunch of apples that needed to be used fast. Dominion had a special on blueberries (still expensive, but they looked good). Mom dropped off some oatmeal she didn't want. Hence: apple-blueberry crumble. I don't know how this will taste... I didn't have a recipe and there are always so many variables - how sweet the fruit is, how juicy or dry it is, how much thickener (corn starch in this case) to use... It looks good, we'll see how it tastes.

Update: It tastes good! Yay! The fruit is perfect. The crumble could be a bit harder maybe - more butter next time.

Posted by JAY at 11:05 PM | Comments (0)

December 16, 2006

Win Some, Lose Some

Played poker with the guys again. Unlike last time, I got off to a disastrous start, just bleeding money really fast! I stabilized after a bit (heh, was able to return the $20 I borrowed off of Sean after running out of cash!) but couldn't really recover. All in all, lost about $80 or maybe a bit less. It was still a lot of fun.

We met at Rick's house after work and he made some awesome pizzas. I ate myself silly, but hey, they seemed to turn my luck around a bit (well, back to neutral, anyway). I think the big winner for the night was Dom - which was good, cuz apparently he lost a lot last time.

Posted by JAY at 10:13 AM | Comments (0)

Naomi's Walking! Fast!

Wow... this is apparently 2 days after she took her first steps on her own! Lookithergo! She kinda has this clap-reach-jab routing happening. Jen posted the vid to youtube, so I shamelessly embedded it here.

Posted by JAY at 05:18 PM | Comments (0)

December 23, 2006

Christmas Dining

Whew. Hardly ate at all today, because I ate tons last night.

Had a Christmas lunch with my co-workers at the Keg. I had calamari, a Keg-sized slice of prime rib and a creme brulee. All of it was very good - the prime rib was nicely medium rare and the custard was very wide and shallow, so it had a nice large crunchy top. So it was a fun time with Dom, Renato and Sean.

For dinner, I went out with friends (Catherine, Dave, Erich, Rucell and Trevor) and ordered MORE food. It was fun and tasted good too. More about the restaurant we went to in the next post.

So yeah. Lotsa eating.

Posted by JAY at 10:24 PM | Comments (0)

Restaurant: Oregano North

The best thing about Oregano North is easily the service. Wait staff are attentive and charming and the owner makes the rounds ensuring that everyone is comfortable and satisfied with the food. The decor was pleasant, if a bit dated. The food was flavorful and reasonably priced.

I started with Escargot Oregano ($11), which was escargot and small shrimp served in puff pastry. The whole thing is doused with a lot of cream sauce that was very tasty but made it a bit difficult to eat. On the other hand, crusty bread could be used to wipe up the sauce and so it was very enjoyable. The largish chunks of raw onion in the sauce were a bit harsh (I left them back) and their flavor just missed overpowering the sauce.

As a side note, they might want to consider leaving more than one basket of bread with a large table, as there were as many people as bread slices in the basket - and all of us had appetizers that went with bread, such as mussels and sauteed mushrooms. More bread was cheerfully provided when requested.

My main was risotto with shrimp and a lobster tail ($20). The risotto was creamy and very good and the shrimp were plump and delicious. The lobster, unfortunately, was very over-cooked, making it tough and dry. That said, the dish as a whole was very enjoyable. Portions were very substantial and I abstained from the desserts, which are made by one of the owners.

Overall, the food was enjoyable and the service was excellent. Prices were reasonable given the portion size and upscale-ish atmosphere. I wouldn't eat here often, but wouldn't object to returning occasionally either.

Oregano North Ristorante
13071 Yonge
Richmond Hill, ON L4E 1A5
905-773-2050

Posted by JAY at 11:30 PM | Comments (0)