June 08, 2008

Ottawa - Upgrades and Drunkards

Went to Ottawa again for a meeting. To chair a meeting, actually, even though my manager was there in the room and knows waaay more than I do about the process. Anyway... to the non-work details!

Sean and I flew in on Thursday evening and went out for dinner with Sylvie, Sandy and Lise. Um, I don't remember where we went exactly, other than the portions were huge. I tried a mojito (rum, lime, club soda and mint) and was a bit disappointed that I didn't like it, since the neighbor has an abundance of mint in the backyard. We also tried a variety of shooters, including Sean's favorite, the Florida Tracksuit (Red Bull, Red Sourpuss, orange vodka) and a Jager Bomb.

Anyway, Amy and Angela joined us later for a couple drinks - I tried a Smirnoff Ice - didn't like that either. It was WAY too sweet - it tasted like I was drinking sugar. Around midnight, we headed back to the hotel, but Sandy and Sean stayed out for more drinking.

My hotel room got a free upgrade - which wasn't really fair since Sean booked the room for me. I was all excited, except when we got to the room it was pretty much the same as all the other rooms. The only difference was that it had a Neptune whirlpool bath. I tried it when I got back to the hotel - there were many little jets and they were very powerful. It was kinda like sitting in a choppy ocean. They're adjustable, but I didn't find it very relaxing. It was fun to try, though.

Because of that, I was still up when Sean came mischievously banging on the door when he returned to the hotel, thinking that he'd wake me up! He was pretty sloshed, but at least he's a happy drunk! He didn't have a hangover in the morning, though.

Posted by JAY at 10:05 AM | Comments (0)

June 14, 2008

Dinner w. Jen and Naomi

Jen and Naomi came over for dinner today. Naomi was a bit shy at first - she probably needs to see me more often. I think I'm fixed in her mind as having long hair. Anyway, after she loosened up we had fun playing in my neighbour's jungle gym, on the piano and on the beanbag.

For dinner I bbq'ed a tiny 6 bone rack of ribs and made some simple pasta with garlic and shrimp and parmesan. Naomi, who kind of shares her father's vegetarian tendencies, surprised us by not only eating a fair portion of pasta but REALLY enjoying a couple of ribs and even trying a shrimp! She refused to actually handle the ribs, but actually started crying when Jen stopped holding it up for her to chomp on. Heh, it must help that Dan's not around oozing revulsion.

PS. Jen, here's the recipe.

Posted by JAY at 07:40 PM | Comments (1)

June 15, 2008

Father's Day Dinner

Mom and Dad came here for Father's Day. I cooked up some steaks on the neighbours' barbecue and made a herb pesto to dress some pasta with some herbs from the garden. I made a side salad with raspberry dressing that tasted remarkably like Swiss Chalet's raspberry vinaigrette.

Aside to Dom: A couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, a tablepoon of sugar, a small squirt of mustard (1/2 tsp), pinch of salt, black pepper, and seedless raspberry jam until it's the desired thickness/sweetness.

Dessert was bourbon caramel custards. Because I was using cream plus milk, I reduced the recipe by about 1/3 to make smaller custards... it's really rich when using a higher ratio of cream!

Posted by JAY at 06:35 PM | Comments (0)

June 16, 2008

Blowing the Budget

Sigh. It's not my FAULT! There were just too many good opportunities presenting themselves.

Victorinox Forschner chef knife: $30
These knives won America's Test Kitchen's approval, being both really sharp, ergonomic and inexpensive. It's a stamped knife, rather than forged - but it compares identically to my Henckles knife in terms of sharpness, and that cost around $90. Renato found it (new) on eBay and bought it for me - I haven't really seen them up here, and the Canadian webstores are a bit expensive.

Nintendo DS: $114
I played with Sean's and it was a lot of fun. Dell had them once for $99 and I waited for the Days of Deals, but they didn't go on sale. But THEN! I was in Superstore buying supplies for Father's Day dinner and they had a "Don't Pay the Tax" event. So... not $99, but $129 with all taxes included.

Dell 1320c Color Laser Printer: $150
Ok, those aforementioned Days of Deals? They had a color laser printer for sale for less than the cost of the toners inside it. The toner is a bit pricey, but I don't print a lot, it's cheaper than an ink just and toner doesn't dry out. Photo print quality is really good for a laser.

Oy. Individually, nothing too expensive... all together though, it adds up.

Posted by JAY at 05:55 PM | Comments (0)

June 27, 2008

Dom Visits for Breakfast

I took today off to make some birthday cakes for Trev and Rucell. Dom brought his car into town to get his windows tinted and the clear plastic car hood protector applied. So I picked him up and made a big pancake breakfast (any excuse to eat). We did a pretty good job at getting through the pancakes. I didn't have any maple syrup, so I substituted a simple sugar syrup with some strawberry jam to make a strawberry sauce

Here's an older pic and the recipe. I used 2 eggs and didn't measure anything. And I think I substituted veg oil for some of the melted butter. Really, it's hard to mess up this recipe! I cooked the eggs in a lot of melted butter this time, so they were beautifully easy-over with no hard bits.

We chatted and wandered around the mall until his car was ready around noon.

Posted by JAY at 10:51 PM | Comments (0)

June 28, 2008

Trev and Rucell's Birthday

This is the main cake that I made for Trev and Rucell's birthday. The chocolate writing is just a cup of chocolate chips melted with a couple tablespoons of canola oil. I also did a version of Sean's no-bake strawberry cheesecake - but i baked the crust in a decorative tart ring. Unfortunately, there wasn't a proper knife at the party, so people were having trouble cutting it.

Rucell and Trev's usual friends were there (Chris, Neil, Bambi, Glenchie, Dave, Erich, Catherine, Rona... and I'm sure others that I'm missing...) We had a good time chatting outside.

This party wasn't as crowded as Riley's, but it was still fun. And of course, there was a ton of food there. I got to take home some yummy filled canollis and pizza for snacking on later. (In fact, it lasted for a couple days!) I stayed a bit late until Riley went to sleep, chatting and watching movies.

Posted by JAY at 10:50 PM | Comments (0)

June 30, 2008

Restaurant: Myeng Ga

Scott and Heather took me to Myeng Ga, a new Korean restaurant in Richmond Hill (9712 Yonge Street, Richmond Hill, ON). We did the Korean BBQ - the food was tasty and portions were generous, but it wasn't much different from less authentic Korean restaurants that I've been to. Service was friendly, but inattentive - they looked under-staffed. Most of the conversation with the servers was in Korean, though, so who knows, really.

Anyway, the company was a lot of fun, and afterward we went across the street to browse in H-Mart, a Korean grocery. We went back to Scott's house and made ceasars... my first time trying one, but I didn't particularly like it. I'm not a fan of tomato juice in general, though, so that's to be expected. We played Wheel of Fortune on Scott's PS3 while we drank - we were not very skilled at it.

Most importantly, though, I'm going to get to help out at Scott's Mary Brown's on Canada Day!

Posted by JAY at 10:53 PM | Comments (0)