Judskii

Choose amazing.

Category: Moments (page 1 of 9)

My life experiences and events with friends and family.

“It’s my birthday month.”

Birthday FreebiesContrary to what others might say about me, I don’t really like being the centre of attention, and as such, I don’t really like throwing a birthday party for myself. If I do have a big party (which I have for the past couple of years), it’s because I want all my friends to have fun. That being said, I use my birthday as an excuse to get anything I want, and I celebrate all month long.

This year, I spent my birthday walking around downtown Toronto to collect all my birthday freebies that different companies offer! Starbucks gives you a big fancy birthday drink, Menchies gives you a free froyo cup (up to $5) and as most girls know, Sephora gives you different birthday gifts every year. Yes, all of these perks come with memberships, but they’re all free to sign up, so why not!

A couple other places that give you free things are Tuckers Marketplace and Wok of Fame (free buffet dinner), Booster Juice (free drink coupon), Pickle Barrel (app/dessert with purchase of entree), What-a-Bagel (free 6 bagels with purchase of 6 bagels), and Spoonful (1/2 price buffet dinner). There are a bunch on this list that I found online.

Lou Dawgs

Lou Dawg’s – 589 King St W., Toronto

So I woke up on the noon of my 24th birthday with a hankering for BBQ. I had been having flashbacks to our outing that had included the Lancaster Smokehouse in Kitchener, so I headed out to the closest place to the condo, Lou Dawg’s BBQ. I’ve seen a few Lou Dawgs around, and the Belly Monsters informed me that they weren’t bad. I had a breakfast birthday beer followed by their two meat platter — pulled pork and brisket — which came with two sides — coleslaw and baked beans, my weakness. I also ordered a cheesy jalapeno cornbread, because really, who can say no to that combination? The platter ($14.99) is a great value and it comes with a bun sliced in half for you to make sandwiches if that’s what your heart desires.

Now, I don’t know why I broke my rule of never ordering pulled pork at a restaurant. It is always disappointing and this one was no different. It tasted like what I can make in my slow cooker. I put it in the bread with my coleslaw, which made it marginally better.

The brisket was a little better. Soft, delicious, but sitting in a pool of grease and fat smothered in barbecue sauce. However, when you drain the fattiness at the bottom from the meat, it is actually quite delicious. They also serve the bbq with two different sauces on the side. The hot sauce is not so hot.

The cornbread was a muffin with pieces of japaleno in it. It was really yummy but disappointingly dry. The cheese on top was crispy and chewy and delicious. I did love the coleslaw and baked beans though. The beans were smokey and perfectly sweet. The coleslaw was the right about of tangy and crunchy. The sides were definitely the highlight of the whole lot, along with the funny and upbeat bartender/waiter.

boston pizza

Boston Pizza – 2915 Eglinton Ave W., Mississauga

Yes, I do not only eat at independent restaurants. We actually eat at chain restaurants quite often when we’re trying to please everyone and just need a quick bite. This night was just some wings and desserts. These Caesars were probably the worst Caesar I’ve ever had. The bacon was bleh. There was too much vodka, and not enough tomato flavour, or any other flavour really.

The big round thing in the middle is what they call a “Doughcano.” It’s their chocolate explosion cake wrapped in pizza dough, baked, then topped with whipped cream. It was chewy, with thick fudge in the middle, and oh man. It was perfect. Chewy, sugary, and a huge hit of chocolate if that’s what you’re craving. my only complaint is that the cheesecake tasted and felt more like marshmallows than cheesecake.

The panookie on the right is always a good bet. A giant chocolate chip cookie that’s pan-fried, then topped with ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate and caramel sauce. A nice dose of sugar. The edges are crispy and the inside is chewy.

d hot shoppe

D Hot Shoppe – 4155 Fairview St, Burlington

D Hot Shoppe is a Caribbean/West Indian restaurant that has been recommended to me over and over again by both Dave (@1goatroti) and Justin (@the_Jmoney). On the left is a goat roti drenched in medium gravy and on the right is a doubles, which is a deep fried dough traditionally stuffed with curried chickpeas. They put chutney in it and I asked them to put chicken in it too. They do not look appetizing to someone who’s never had them before but DANG. So good. I’d go eat here twice a week if I were nearby. If you can handle spice, I would still recommend getting the medium. I thought I was soo strong and ordered the hot level the first time I ate at D’s and I regretted it for a few days as it burned through my digestive tract. It was still delicious though.

French ToastPhoenix Chinese Restaurant – 4040 Creditview Rd, Mississauga

A pretty normal Chinese restaurant where you can get your noodles and rice and sweet and sour pork. That beast up there is what they called French toast with peanut butter. It is a pretty dense, sweet bread with peanut butter spread in the middle, deep fried, and then you smother it in more butter and maple syrup. It is deadly. It is delicious.

St Louis

St. Louis Bar & Grill – 6485 Mississauga Rd, Mississauga

My friend Audrey has been obsessed with Caesars lately, and rightly so. They’re delicious. I love it when my caesar comes with a pickled bean. Yum yum.

The burger was quite good, but I just needed a second to rave about these sweet potato fries. Ultra yummy with just the right about of crispiness and potatoeyness still in the middle. They even serve it with a spicy mayo — perfect.

MilestonesMilestones – 10 Dundas St. E. (Yonge & Dundas), Toronto

The Tuesday Peach Bellini special at Milestones is great! It’s like a slushie made of Tim Horton’s peach drink, but not as disgustingly sweet. Then it’s topped with a flavoured vodka, and apparently an animal of the deer variety. The boys were feeling too manly to order one for themselves even though they really really wanted one.

The white chocolate cheesecake is BEYOND. Just beyond beyond. Soft, sweet, decadent, light, with some coffee underneath, whipped cream at the top. Smooth. Take-me-home-to-yo-momma delicious. Tuck-me-into-a-bed-of-rose-pedals-and-make-love-to-me delicious.

Couple Photo

And lastly, the dude that made my birthday outings possible by spoiling me.

I hope all your birthday wishes come true around the world! If they don’t, make them happen.

 

 

 

 

Taco, ma cherie

Paris Party Table
Earlier this June, we were invited to a friend’s surprise engagement party. It was beautifully decorated and Paris themed, and it was a great night full of good food, good drink, and good people. They told the couple that it was a going away party for one of our friends who was supposedly moving away to San Francisco. The look of surprise on their face when they were trying to figure out why we were shouting “Surprise!!!”, why their family was there, and why everyone was staring at the nondescript couple waltzing in late to the supposed going away party was unforgettable.

Taco Dip

 

I had wanted to do a French-inspired tarte tatine, but everyone wanted taco dip instead, and who is to blame them? I love making taco dip because it’s super easy, and super delicious. We ended up eating leftover taco dip for almost three days straight; it was awesome.

Bottom layer to top:

  • Refried beans mixed with pickled green chilies
  • Taco meat (ground beef mixed with taco seasoning)
  • Shredded cheese
  • Sour cream mixed with taco seasoning
  • (This is where I would usually add guacamole but my avocados were too hard.)
  • Salsa – this one was from a jar to save time but I usually like to make it myself
  • More cheese
  • Pico de gallo – I use the Pioneer Women’s recipe
  • Lettuce
  • Top off with more pico de gallo, shredded cheese, and pickled jalapenos to make it look nice.

What happens when you’re shopping last minute is that you don’t can’t always account for the groceries not having what you need. In this case, there were no ripened avocados and only one jalapeno! I settled for pickled jalapenos on top and bought some other hot peppers to mix into it. Unfortunately, the peppers weren’t well labeled and I bought scotch bonnets instead of habaneros. I mixed the scotch bonnets into my pico de gallo in lieu of the jalapenos and it turned out great; it gave the dip a bit more of a kick than usual.  Serve with any corn chips you like. We tried the Tostitos lime chips and they were off the HOOK!

I found it surprising that within minutes of bringing the dip in, someone had eaten the “decorative” scotch bonnet on top, and I didn’t hear anything about it. These south Asians are terrifying with their spice tolerance.

Pickle Jalapeno Backs

Last year, I took almost the same group of people to Montreal for my birthday, where I introduced that to a drink I had found on my trip to New York — The Pickleback. It is a shot of house whiskey followed by a shot of pickle juice; you can watch me do the shot here. The shot lined up above was purely spur of the moment when I realised that we had a bunch of whiskey and a whole empty jar of pickled jalapeno juice. So we poured them, and drank them, and they were delicious! I like alcohol when I can’t taste it. 🙂

There was so much food leftover and as usual when there is alcohol involved, the pictures get blurrier and blurrier as the night wears on.

A big congratulations to Hamsa and Jehan, both on your future life together and also the most beautiful proposal story I’ve ever heard (hello, he took her to Paris to propose. Excuse me while I swoon.) With an engagement party like that, I can’t wait till the wedding.

St. Jacob’s Market, St. Jacob, Ontario

DSC_0067

It was a most beautiful day for my first trip to St. Jacob’s Market. It made for a nice break from our Belly Monster rampage, in which we hit up 9 different food destinations in 12 hours.

flowers

St. Jacob’s Market is Canada’s largest year round Farmer’s Market. In reality, it’s like a farmer’s market, food market, and flea market, all rolled into one beautiful package. interior

There was an outdoor farmer’s market AND an indoor one, where all of the butchers were.fritters

We came to walk around, and many were telling us that we MUST try the apple fritters, and try we did. We purchased half a dozen fritters, as well as this fritter special — two apple fritters, vanilla ice cream, and caramel sauce. Soft, sweet, creamy, hot, and cold, all rolled into one most magnificent package.

popcornSt. Jacob’s, Ontario is probably the cutest quaint little town you’ve ever seen. Its countrysides are farmed by a population of Old Order Mennonites, and on the way out of the market, we even saw a horse running full-speed on the side of the road, pulling a carriage. It was the greatest thing I’ve ever seen, straight out of a Lurlene McDaniel novel.

 

A-T-L baby!

Yes! We took a trip down to Atlanta, Georgia and it was ah~mazing. I was going to put everything into one huge long post, but that looked like it was going to become a post way too long for anyone’s attention span, so if you’re looking for food pictures, that will be up in a couple days. So make sure to refresh my page every hour on the hour.

In this post, I recap every tourist-y think we did. We bought a 69$ CityPass that allowed us entrance to 5 of 7 of Atlanta’s tourist attractions.

Numba 1! The entire reason I started planning a trip down to Georgia since last year. The world’s biggest aquarium (though Toronto is saying they are currently building the new world’s biggest aquarium) located downtown Atlanta. I love aquariums. For my 19th birthday, we roadtripped to Quebec City and l’Aquarium du Quebec and I fell in love with the tanks and the fish and the jelly fish and the entire atmosphere of aquarium life. As an aside, I also love zoos, safaris, biodomes, and pet stores. After my first aquarium experience, I just knew that I had to go big or go home, and thus was born this trip to the Georgia Aquarium. Our citypass even allowed us free tickets to the 30-minute dolphin show that showcased dolphin flips, skips, and divers surfing on dolphin noses.

This water tunnel was amazing. The tank itself is a 6.3 million gallon habitat exhibit, wholly earning the title of world’s biggest. This tunnel is 100 feet long and allows you to walk underneath the tank while the fish swim above you. There is this huge whale shark that passes by every so often and reminds me to not get lost in the ocean ever because, damn nature is scary SON. On the left side of the tunnel, there’s a moving sidewalk that moves quite slowly. We did want to go through the tunnel at our own pace so we stayed on the right. However, the place was fully crowded, we were there on a Saturday after all. As much as I would like to say that it was calm and peaceful, it was not the case. It was loud with lots of excited children (myself included) and lots of oohs and aahs, which I fully enjoyed! I could stay in this place forever. I’m going to turn my house into a giant fish tank save for one small tunnel in the basement where I’ll spend all my time eating, sleeping, and watching fish.

The quiet area for watching the same fish is at the picture above where you see all the people standing in front of the rectangular viewing area. There, it was calm and quiet, with places to sit and just watch the aquarium life swim by.

Here’s a video I took while walking through the tunnel, there’s the huge whale shark seen briefly at the beginning, and then a giant fish, and then a super cool sawface shark (which the internet tells me is called a Sawshark. Should have seen that coming.)!

The aquarium building itself was gigantic, with so many different tunnels and areas with different exhibits. We were there for probably about 3 hours (not including the dolphin show) and we didn’t even get to see all the exhibits, missing two of them. Piranhas are damn creepy. They don’t swim. They just kind of stay floating, very stationary in the water, kind of like how a hummingbird hovers in one place. The piranha tank looked like a bunch of plastic fish tied in place. Too eerie!

Sea dragons (top right) are an animal that I didn’t even know existed. They are like mutant sea horses. Or sea horses that made babies with fairies. They swam very majestically.

At the bottom left, there are some giant deep sea crabs (Japanese Spider Crabs) who’s leg span can reach up to 12 ft! That’s almost two Shaquille O’Neals. They’re the largest living anthropod, and can live to 100 years. I LOVE ANIMALS.

And on the bottom right is a penguin. There were a few that were very intent on trying to capture a girl’s shiny necklace and kept chasing her around. They were very difficult to capture with the camera. It is very fitting that they are boyfriend’s favourite animal because they’re both quite awkward on land and easily amused.

Continuing with the animal theme, we also trekked out to the Atlanta Zoo! It is like any other zoo I’ve been too, but I always love seeing the animals. This was the first time I’d ever seen a panda though and they were beyond adorable, just like how the media makes them out to be. Two of them were snoozing awkwardly in the tree branches, and then there was the one that was just sitting on the ground with a bunch of leaves in his face and was just munch-munch-munching away.

Another funny sight were the two bush dogs in their exhibit. There was this pit in the middle of it with some large logs and branches at the bottom, so these two take it upon themselves to open their jaws terrifyingly wide and using very impressive teamwork to get those longs out of the pit! And then throw them back in. And then dragging them back out again. They were too adorable.

The zoo has a train that takes you around the kid’s animals area that had a petting zoo AND kangaroos. What else could you ask for. There’s even a rock-climbing wall, but I didn’t do it because, girl, I had just gotten ma nails did.

The World of Coca Cola was so much fun! Although the whole thing felt a little propaganda-y, I had fun anyway, because I grew up preferring Coke over Pepsi and I fully accept our Coke overlords when they rise to power. They have a lot of Coke memorabilia a really fun 4D movie. They then played this really cool video that made me enjoy being brainwashed.

We even found our lovers from Coca Cola’s past!

In addition to these three places we also went to the “Inside CNN” tour which was pretty boring and I would have much preferred to go to the Fernbank Museum of Natural History, but perhaps that can happen next time we get down there because I would love to go back. I loved the city (aside from walking up and down the hills between our hotel and the main downtown area), I love the southern hospitality, everyone’s accents, hell, even the beggars were really nice. And the food. Oh my, stay tuned for the food.

Also, all the pictures above get bigger if you click on them. So click on them if you want a face full of POW WOAH WOAH WOAH.

What You Can Learn Walking Around

So I went on a bit of a quest for Toronto’s best baguette for a small dinner party that I was hosting. Crawling around the internet, I found 3 places that were recommended. Celestin, Jules, and Pain Perdu. Both Celestin and Jules were pretty close to each other, on Mount Pleasant between Eglinton and Davisville. So I headed up there. Walking a bit, I saw this cute little cheese shop, so I went in. Oh boy. I just wanted some balsamic vinegar, and yeah they had some. The worker knew what I was looking for and I had told him I just wanted a small bottle. So he tried to sell me a small bottle of balsamic vinegar… for $120. HA. Did he even look at me? Okay okay, I understand this face and exquisite style could throw you off, but seriously, I don’t think I would ever pay $120 for an 18 oz. bottle of balsamic vinegar, so I feigned interest in some pâté and then walked out when he wasn’t look.

The pâté wasn’t actually too bad. I’d had a craving for a little while and it was only $5. It would have gone very well with the french bread I was buying. But, I weighed it out and it was already 3pm and dinner was at 6pm. Already had huge steaks at home waiting to be cooked.

I walked further down Mount Pleasant to Celestin to find it was closed for renovations. A few doors down, Jules was closed on Mondays apparently. So I decided to go to Pain Perdu, which was all the way across town. After a few mishaps on public transit, and an hour later, I bought my baguette at Pain Perdu at Christie and St. Clair. Having forgotten to eat breakfast that day, I decided to buy a little raisin pastry that they had there.

Best decision I’ve ever made.

The pastry was, as I texted to the boyfriend, “soooooooooooooooo good. Slightly buttery, nice and flaky and crispy but like, not crumb-y. Light glaze and had raisins but not too raisin-y. Sooo good I wanted to go back and get another one. ”

Verbatim.

The baguette was alright, I’ve had better. The dinner went well. I did learn a few things while walking around Toronto, especially in areas that I’ve never really been to before.

  • The southbound Mount Pleasant bus turns on St. Clair. I should not have disembarked.
  • There is a ravine looking forest area on St. Clair between Yonge and Mount Pleasant.
  • There is also a large cemetery and a cool vintage store that sells antique Toronto maps and prints.
  • Yonge & Eglinton area is quite nice. I would still like to live on the Danforth. Greek food all day, e’eryday.
  • Jules is closed on Mondays.
  • Pain Perdu pastry is heavenly. This is my new “bring visitors to eat.”
  • With the new TTC price hike, for the monthly metropass to be worth the $104, I need to use it 41 times. I’ve begun to keep track of my usage because I’d like to know if I use it enough. Also, I love statistics. Statistics and Lyfe Jennings.
  • The black guy that sat next to me on the subway may or may not have been a hobo. He was quiet smelly.
  • There are streetcars that run on both Bathurst and St. Clair. I was unaware.
  • There are quite a number strange people that ride the Bathurst streetcar.
  • Honest Ed’s is amazing and wonderful and completely dangerous for me if I stay in there for too long.

 

One Week

One week. One week. One week.

There’s something terrifying, exciting, and anxiety-ridden about that last week of semester. Holy crap did I not see it creeping up on me, and like any old bird with its head on fire, I’m just thinking about all the stuff I have to do! I’ve got one big project that I’ve got to finish for Tuesday. Sure, I’ve got today, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Except that I go to school today, and work Friday-Sunday. Awesome. Let’s git ‘er done.

Except I feel like I haven’t accomplished much at all this semester except play catch up. I’m not taking a super full course load, and I’ve been spending so much time working that I look back and wonder, what have I really learned this semester? I bought a bunch of books that I haven’t had the time to read, work at a job that makes me want to read a bunch of other books, but again, no time. So what have I done this semester that I’m minutely proud of?

I’ve spent most of my time drawing these damn mushrooms.

As well as incorporating them into a poster series and pamphlet, both of which still need to be finalized before next week. Oh God. But aside from that, I’ve just got two exams in the first week of December and then it’s over. What’s that? The four most harrowing months of my life and it’s over just like that? For a few weeks anyway. For winter break, I’m planning on working a ton and improving both myself and my living space. Wow, I still haven’t written up about where I’ve been living for the last 7 months, have I? I’ll get that up once I finish putting up the final touches that’ll really make this place seem like mine. For right now, its just a place that I come home to sleep in.

But! I’ve got big plans for the 4 weeks or so that I’ll be off school.

I need a wall-mounted bookshelf because my proper bookshelf is full and I’ve been piling extra books on my desk, which is a monumental waste of space and makes my desk look cluttered all of the time. This bothers me.

With all of that space I’ll be clearing from my desk, I’ll have room for a tiny Christmas tree. 🙂 We’ll just have a couple of presents, but it’ll be nice to look at, make this place really feel like a home.

From the Pioneer Woman <3

I want to make some pesto at home. 🙂 I love basil. I love how pesto can be used on fucking anything. Plain pasta with pesto and chicken breast? AWESOME. Pesto pizza with some mozzerella, spinach, tomatoes, and balsamic? Double awesome. I haven’t cooked or baked in my kitchen for months now. It’s a right shame, really. Aside from the odd steak or bowl of cereal. 🙁

I want to read:

Graphic Design Books

  1. 100 Habits of Successful Graphic Designers – Sarah Dougher
  2. Graphic Design Manual – Armin Hoffman
  3. Sagmeister – Stefan Sagmeister
  4. Typographie – Emil Ruder
  5. Typography: Macro and Microaesthetics – Willi Kunz
  6. Typographie – Wolfgang Weingart
  7. Die Neue Typographie – Jan Tschichold (not pictured)

Other books:

Damn. It’s only after putting all of that together that I realise that’s a lot of fucking books that I want to read. I’m probably not going to get through all of them this winter. 🙁 But, left to right, top to bottom:

  • The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins This is being made into a movie soon (trailer’s out) and has been such a popular book this year that I’ll have to read it. And then I’ll be stuck and have to read the sequels Mockingjay and Catching Fire. It’s basically a futuristic Battle Royal type thing where in the future, there are a few city states that, each year, send out a candidate and they battle for whoever has control of the country-world thing. That’s what I’ve been told, but I haven’t actually read it myself. There’s a bit of romance interweaved as well as, from what I can see, a bit of political warfare.
  • 1Q84 – Haruki Murakami My coworker has been raving about this book since it came out a few weeks ago. He’s a big Murakami fan, so I figured I’d have at this 900 page beast. Murakami is HUGE in Japan and this book is the latest one to be translated to english. It’s Murakami’s take on 1984 by George Orwell mixed with some romance and parallel universes. Or so I’ve gathered from his ravings and other sources of knowledge.
  • Damned – Chuck Palahniuk From the back, about a fat little girl who ends up in hell and something about marijuana? I’ve read a few pages of this when I was supposed to be working but it looks hilarious.
  • The Birth House – Ami McKay I read the back and wanted to read this. It was apparently a really big book when it first came out and was one of the first books I picked up and read when I first came to work at the bookstore.
  • The Virgin Cure – Ami McKay So her newest book that came out a few weeks ago and it’s been selling like hotcakes, so I figured I should read this one too. The Virgin Cure meaning the belief that if you have sex with a virgin, it will cure you of your diseases.
  • Dollhouse – The Kardashians HA. Seriously. They wrote a book. We read the first 5 pages. Should a quick and easy read and mostly want to read it to make fun of it.
  • A Stolen Life – Jaycee Dugard  An autobiographical book by a woman who was kidnapped when she was a kid and was held away from her family for a number of years.
  • Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern I’ve been told it’s The Illusionist intertwined with a tale of star-crossed lovers. Interesting concept about a circus that only appears at night every once in a while and a girl who was being trained in the circus to kill a guy, but she doesn’t know it, and she ends up falling in love with him.
  • Half-Blood Blues – Esi Edugyan Just won the Giller Prize and was written by a Vancouverite.
  • The Sisters Brothers – Patrick DeWitt Just won the Man Booker prize and has been described to me as a modern Western.
  • The Cat’s Table – Michael Ondaatje Don’t know what it’s about, but been hearing such good things about it.
  • Snow Flower and the Secret Fan – Lisa See About a chinese girl who has a pen pal and they get really close and tell each other everything as they’re growing up but then something happens and their friendship falls apart. It sounds to me something along the lines and feel of Memoirs of a Geisha, maybe it’s because they’re both asian-y.
  • Tell it to the Trees – Anita Rau Badami A reporter goes to a house to reports of domestic abuse. I think this book is a suspense/thriller book. I’ve been told it’s pretty scary. Something about a body being found on the lawn.
  • Steve Jobs’ Biography – Walter Isaacson Self-explanatory.
  • The Art of Racing in the Rain – Garth Stein My coworker read this and said it’s really good. Also,  I’ve already been persuaded by the cover.

Well, I should probably get off my bum now. And do some things I’ve been meaning to do.

One. Week.

@_@

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