Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Family Day Long Weekend - Pt 5: Last Day

Great long weekends always feel short.  They just have to end.  Boo.

I started my "last day" staring at this around 10 am in the morning.

Sleepy boys
Can we say, lookalikes?!   Poor Roshi though.  He probably didn't have that much fun this weekend.  I barely mentioned him in any of the earlier parts because we were mostly out and he was trapped in his crate.  However, I know his tummy enjoyed his weekend in Calgary.  The grandparents kept feeding him treats.

B dropped me off to see Joni and  Hannah later in the morning.  They made pizza for me, and they were good.  Massive too.  Really, I don't know why and how they think I can eat that much?!   Yeah, I get hungry, and I eat.  Normal.  However, I don't think that's how they see me.

After the pizza, we had a tabletop campfire (made by Ms. Handy Hannah) and roasted marshmallows and made smores.  As ridiculous as it looks, it's a pretty cool idea.  Most of all, it works!  I think I will need to make one myself!  Haha.

Tabletop campfire
It was great to catch up.  I miss travelling with these girls.  Such great times.  Gotta do it again sometime (catching up and travelling together).

Family Day Long Weekend - Pt 4: Family Dinner

On Sunday, I spent a good afternoon with my mom shopping at Chinook.  Surprisingly, I wasn't too into it, but I did enjoy walking around with my mom.  I did however found a sparkly sweater at Banana Republic for $6.28 after taxes.  It was originally $95.  If they're still profiting at $6, the mark up is nuts. Hence, DON'T BUY ANYTHING AT REGULAR PRICE.  I really don't think the majority of the population cares if one is wearing something a few years old.  I don't.  Plus, most of the stuff I get are 'classics'.  They never go out of style!

So to make up for the Chinese New Year dinner, we went out to eat.  Tired of the usual south end Asian restaurants, I looked up a new place:  Li Ao Sushi in Bridlewood.  Look at this massiveness!!!!

Look at those salmon and tuna pieces!!!
I ordered one for each of us, and luckily for me, B doesn't like large pieces of sushi like this.  More for me.  They also had some special rolls and they tasted very good as well.

Lobster Shrimp Roll
Salmon Mango Roll
Caterpillar Roll (I think)
We had two other rolls too, but these were the pretty ones.  A big sushi meal for just $90 bucks.  Not bad at all.  Again, the massive fish.  So good.  I will be back for sure!!!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Family Day Long Weekend - Pt 3: New Look

The one thing I didn't do when I was back in Calgary before Christmas was get a haircut.  I totally forgot about Xmas parties, and my hair was just a mess.  I only noticed it when I was in a mirror on a column in the mall when I was shopping for my 4" pumps.  I was like, OMG, I need to do something about this before the party tomorrow!  So thinking a well decorated salon inside the mall couldn't be too bad, I went for a try.  BAD idea.  I asked for a bob, and well, she cut it like a bob... for a person with straight hair!  Sigh.  Although it was bad, some of the hair did shed off and so it did get somewhat cleaned up.  Overall, it was a bad and expensive haircut.  Blah.

Because of this, I had to get another haircut again.  It's sad I have to drive 300+km, 3+hours, to get a decent haircut, but I only trust this guy with my hair.  He's slow and the wait is long, but well worth it.  While I was waiting, I was flipping through some magazines and noted some latest fashion trends.  All I have to say is ... what is wrong with this world?

"Lovely".  How can this be lovely?
I'm no fashion expert, but these layers are UGLY.  But apparently the trend is crop sweater on top of a tunic, and skinny pants.  I don't see pretty in this.

After a few more flips, I saw this picture:
Oh fashion, I just don't get you.  Or maybe it's my engineering mind.

Anyways, I got my hair cut.  It's short.  I love it (B doesn't).  I counted, it's been over 10 years since I had really short hair (2010 bob hair doesn't count, since the shortness didn't last too long because of the wedding).  I think I'll keep it short for a while.

After the haircut, I walked into a glasses store in Chinatown.  Ok, I haven't done that for 10 years too.  Most of the glasses in Chinatown are similar to Lenscrafter, Pearle Vision, etc.: boring.  Yeah, they carry the big brands: Gucci, Prada, Burberry, etc., but there is nothing different about them.  My last three pairs of glasses were different:

  1. Red metal frames with the lenses 'floating' within (held by clear wires) - love them and my favorite.  Too bad the paint has chipped off the frames.  Otherwise, I would still wear them... more often.
  2. Interchangeable half frames - the bottom half of the frames could be switched out with different coloured frames.  Great to match clothes in.  Still wear them.
  3. Black metal/plastic hybrid frames - I just fell in love with them when I first saw them.  They're so black too.  Too bad the lenses are so scratched up.  Reason why I was looking for new glasses.  
I first saw wood textured frames in Edmonton too at this 'trendy' glasses store.  Love them, but not the price.  I was surprised I found similar frames in Chinatown. The ones in Chinatown weren't bad in pricing, looked great, and were on sale.  Best of all, my lenses were available, and they could get it done within 24 hrs.  Sold.

So in one day, new hair and new glasses.
2013 Casie's new look

Family Day Long Weekend - Pt 2: Family Lunch

So I've been doing restaurant searches in Calgary too.  I like to try good food, especially holes in the wall.  So one of the popular ones I found was Olive Chicken, a little corner store that sold Korean fried chicken.

Half and Half (2 pieces of hot and sweet chicken,  and 3 pieces of crispy chicken)
Before it was just going to be B and I, but it became a family outing   My parents wanted to hang out with us more, so despite the fact they don't like fried food, they also gave it a try.  By the expression of my dad, I don't think they will come back again:
Dad: Mmm, it's ok. Not.
However, B's expression is always the same - good, bad, ugly, pretty.  However, he said he will definitely eat it again.  Who doesn't like fried chicken?
"I like."
I just had the crispy chicken, but had a bite of B's hot and sweet chicken.  I liked that more.  The crispy one just tasted too dry after the saucy one.  Besides it tasting less fatty and less salty than the 'franchise' fried chicken, it's still fried chicken.  And like my parents, I'm not a big fan of fried foods, so I won't volunteer to come back again.  However, if B wants to, I'll eat it with him, of course.

Family Day Long Weekend - Pt 1: Post Valentine's Day Dinner

Work on Friday was somewhat a drag.  Nothing turned out the way I wanted it to be.  I didn't even eat lunch.  However, it did end earlier than what I'd planned.  In that way, it's good.  No matter what, it wasn't going to ruin what was going to come after work.  A great way to start a long weekend: a dinner date with my hubby!

To celebrate our (late) Valentine's Day dinner, B took me out of the west end and onto Whyte Ave's Packrat Louie.  I dressed up a bit because this is somewhat a big deal since B doesn't like leaving the west end.  Traveling more than 15 minutes away from home is HUGE for him.  Sad, I know.

After parking a few blocks away and me teetering on ice with my 4" pumps, we finally got to the restaurant.  I'm so sure I've been here for an office lunch once, but I don't remember the inside or type of food.  Maybe it was just not a memorable lunch.  Anyways...

I was starving.  We ordered two appetizers, an entree, and a dessert.  First, the appetizers, an expensive pair of meatballs and a 8" pizza.  The meatball was a bit too salty for my liking, but the quality of the meat was good.  Overall, it was ok.

Black Truffle Meatballs
The second appetizer was the Spicy Hawaiian pizza.  I love Hawaiian pizza.  Maybe because I love pineapples!  The pizza was good.  For sure way better than a "franchise" pizza.

8" Spicy Hawaiian pizza
I ordered a beef tenderloin for my entree, while B ordered pork chops.  Oh sweet beef, it was great!  I don't know if it was good steak, or because the last steak I had was in Vancouver and it was bad steak.  However, B had a bite, and he thought it was good steak.  I had a bite of his pork chop and it was well marinated and very juicy.  I give both the meaty entrees - two thumbs up!

Sterling Silver Beef Tenderloin
To finish the meal off, we ordered a chocolate platter that consisted of chocolate mousse, chocolate brownie, and chocolate gelato/ice cream inside a cookie crust cup (sorry, no photo - like the Hardware Grill, I see chocolate I just dig in!).  It was a little disappointing to me, but I did enjoy the ice cream in the little cookie cup.  The mousse was too 'dark chocolate' for me, and I had better brownie (koodos to the caterers at my Vancouver office work conference.  SO good!).

Overall, it was a good dinner date, and for the final question: Will I come back?  No.  It's not a bad place, but I think I rather try something else.  However, if someone asks me for a place to take their date or to try a not-too-expensive fine dining place, I would recommend this place.

And now... off to Calgary!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

Our first V-day as hubby and wife.  Celebratory dinner scheduled for tomorrow.

Doesn't the frame look like Roshi?

Trip to Vancouver

Two weekends ago, I was in Vancouver for a conference that was held by the office.  Yes, you read right - WEEKEND.  The conference was two days long and was held on Friday and Saturday.

I arrived around mid afternoon on Thursday.  After settling my stuff at the hotel, my first trip was here:

It was approximately a 15 minute walk from the hotel.  Board games here were sold for approximately 15% cheaper than Alberta, and that's including BC's 12% HST!  Crazy!  I bought two games that I've been eying on: Flashpoint and Ora et Labora.

Weeks before, I emailed a Vancouverian friend to meet up.  Lucky for me, it was dining week.  He set up a dinner date, and I got to see both him and his fiancee again.  We went to Market by Jean-Georges, a restaurant located inside the Shangri La Hotel.

Being in a fancy hotel and all, the food must be good.  I had an ahi tuna fish cake for the appetizer, steelhead for the entree, and chocolate lava cake for dessert.  Sounds good, right?  Unfortunately not so much.  The ahi tuna fish cake was ok, the steelhead was good, and the lava cake was dry.   Maybe my standards just went sky high after eating at the Hardware Grill not too long ago. Therefore, the food at Market was not memorable, and appeared to be a mediocre fusion restaurant in a fine dining environment.  Typical.  The question B always ask "Will you come back?"  My answer is no.

Conference on Friday and Saturday.  8 am to 5 pm.  FML.  And of course, there were the socializing and mingling that followed.  So the days were more like 8 am to 12 am.  FMLx2.  The majority of the time, I just thought, I wish I could be in my room learning to play those new games I just bought.  The saddest part was the catered breakfast, lunch, and snacks were better than the planned dinner outings.  I'm not even going to describe it here.  It was disappointing.  Very disappointing.

Sunday, my day.  I purposely booked a later return flight (5:50 pm) so that I could eat some good Asian food and do some Asian mall shopping in Richmond.  My brunch stop was at:

It had good ratings on Urbanspoon.  Although it was classified as 'fast Japanese food', it beat out whatever I ate in the past three days BY FAR.  First time ever, I ordered a full course lunch meal:

Appetizer: salmon sashimi - delish
Entree: seafood bukkake udon in a hot stone bowl - a yummy surprise
Dessert: red bean pudding - oh sweet heaven 
Everything was so good.  My udon was a surprise.  I think it was a new item, and so the print out was all in Japanese except for "seafood udon in stone bowl".  Although it's soupless, the sauce you add into the noodles was glorious.

Finally, the shopping.  Oh Daiso, how much I love you, but what a disappointment this time.  Last time I saw a lot of cute embellishments for my scrapbooking hobby, but this time not so much.  There were some, but they were not great.  However, I did find this microfiber tower turban.  It says on the package that it will absorb more water than a normal towel, and therefore reduce air/blow drying time.  My engineering mind said "I doubt it" but my woman's mind said "Whatever, it's $2, let's give it a try."

Me with my microfiber turban
Conclusion: it acted like any other towel, but lighter since I don't have a huge towel wrapped on my head.

Oh what a wasted trip.  So much more to do and eat there and barely of those were accomplished.  I will be back.  Shortly!

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Burger Joint

I'm a little behind with everything.  Ok, I'm behind with everything!  Oh well, as long as I get it done one day...

So this post is about my burger adventure with B.  We went to the Burger Joint here in Edmonton on some Saturday last month.  Honestly, nothing can beat the taste of my favorite Banzai Burger at Red Robin.  Look at this beauty:

Anyways, back to the Burger Joint.  I tried to create my own version of the Banzai with a twist.  It was no Banzai, but it's pretty good.  However, my creation looked somewhat sad compared to the others shown on Urbanspoon.  Will I go there again?  Yep.  B would too!

7 oz all beef, BBQ sauce, mayo, lettuce, grilled tomato, grilled mushrooms, grilled pineapple, marble cheese

Happy Chinese New Year

It's time to say goodbye to the dragon, and welcome the snake.

Chinese New Year was actually yesterday, but I was too lazy to blog about it.  Typical, but I'm making the effort now.  So it's all good.  This year, B and I decided to spend it together instead with my family.  Mom was probably slightly disappointed, but this upcoming weekend is long weekend, and so it makes more sense for me to stay in Edmonton for Chinese New Year, and go to Calgary on a long weekend.  We'll make it up then.

Since it is somewhat a celebratory day.  I also decided to splurge a bit and had a somewhat celebratory dinner!

The Chou's Chinese New Year dinner: Sushi platter from T&T,
bulgogi sauce on rice sticks,  radish cake, and New Year cake
Ok, it's not your typical Chinese New Year dinner, but it was big.  B and I only finished one-third of it. Lucky me, I had the rest of the sushi for today's lunch.  It's fish, can't have it sit TOO long.