For The Love Of Food: Restaurant Diaries

I am a foodie. I love food. I enjoy tasting different cuisines and visiting various restaurants around Toronto. Matter of fact, anywhere I go, whether in Toronto or not, I like to critique the food I eat. But I haven’t written about it on my blog, until now. 

A recent experience has sparked a rage in my mind to talk about it, to write about and give a proper review to fellow foodies and restaurant-goers. If you follow my Instagram account, you’ll know, I always photograph the foods I’m trying.

After much discussion with D and my friends, I’ve decided to begin a Restaurant Diaires section on my blog. It will be a review section of the various restaurants, food festivals and food trucks I try. I hope you enjoy my two cents and it helps you decide whether or not to visit a restaurant. Stay tuned for my two cents! 

Your Weekly Dose Of Funny

Happy Friday, my lovelies! I hope this week has treated you well, if not, I’ve got you covered to lighten and relax your mood and mind. Here’s this week’s dose of funny. I hope it makes you chuckle and let loose. Happy weekend!

   
    
    
    
    
 

Saying Goodbye Is The Hardest Part

heartbrokenThe last viewing I went to was for my grandfather. He was in his early 80s. He passed away peacefully, the same way my grandmother did; heart attack, followed by brain-hemorrhage and then coma. I know it doesn’t sound peaceful, but it was. Both of them were gone the second their hearts had stopped. I didn’t cry in the ICU when the plug was pulled. Out of the hundreds of attendees, I was probably the only one that didn’t cry during their service.

Yesterday, I could not help but cry. As hard as I tried to laugh at some of the memories and stories my colleagues were telling me, I couldn’t push back the tears fast enough for none of them to notice. It was one of the most difficult days I’ve had in the past few years. I had never been to a viewing for someone so young. Matter-of-fact, this viewing was the third I had been to in my entire life. I know she wasn’t there anymore, but her body was. She looked peaceful and pain-free. She had battled a long, nasty fight with cancer and sadly the cancer had won.

It was not something any of us had expected, here in the office. It took many of us by shock. For me specifically, I didn’t believe it when my other colleague had text me on Monday to give me the bad news. I didn’t believe it when I saw the email go out to our department from her boss. I didn’t believe it when I got back in the office yesterday morning and a colleague that sits directly in front of me walked in, turned towards me and with the saddest eyes gave me a nod and half-smile verifying that I know exactly what her words were unable to tell me. I didn’t believe it when 11am came and the pack of us got up to leave to go to the service. I didn’t believe it when we drove down to the funeral home and walked in.  I didn’t believe it when the photo at the entrance of the hall had her in it.

My mind, my body, my being was in complete denial until the moment I saw her laying there.

Then it was realization. Acceptance. Then, an overwhelming feeling of grief took over every single inch of my body, my eyes teared up quickly.  But how could I cry? No one had seen me cry before. I was a tough-cookie, that was the perception everyone had of me. And there I was, center of the hall, surrounded by colleagues and her family and friends, letting the grief of her passing flowing out of me with no self-control left. I felt numb, my knees wobbled and my heart sank.

When I got home last night, I kept myself exceptionally busy. I cleaned, I cooked, I picked up Ni, showered her, fed her, played with her, focused so closely at the TV as she watched Caillou. But after she fell asleep, I was alone for what felt like the longest two hours of my life before D got home. Although, I texted a friend and tried to keep myself occupied, it was no use. I was tracking the page views and visitors on my blog; the numbers sky-rocketed. I knew people were reading my tribute to her. And every time I opened my blog page, there was her photo, shining, smiling at me, telling me it was okay, telling me to be strong and I will get through this. Even in her death, her smile was comforting me.

I didn’t sleep much last night. I kept remembering her. My mind was disturbed and my heart, sore. The tears had stopped. All my thoughts had disappeared. I felt numb, as I do this morning.

I said my goodbye to her yesterday, but here I am writing about her again. Maybe I haven’t fully said my goodbye. The hardest part is saying goodbye, when all you want to do is joke and laugh a bit more.

The saying goes, “everyone grieves differently”. That’s true. But what happens when you can’t let go? I wasn’t over Patricia’s death yet. Her photo, her name, her Facebook profile creeps up time and time again. And now, Jo’s death has opened the wound that hadn’t healed in the first place…

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A Final Goodbye

Jo WallworkYesterday I learned of another friend and colleague losing her battle to cancer. She had fought so hard, for so long and passed away in her sleep on Saturday, July 25th.

The hardest part is knowing that barely anyone knew at work that things had taken such a drastic turn for the worst. I had just messaged her on Facebook last Tuesday after reading she had been in the hospital. I wanted to make sure she was doing okay and it wasn’t anything serious. I wish she had responded. I wish she had told me that things were getting bad and let me come visit her.

Dearest Jo,

My heart aches terribly to hear of your passing. I know how hard you fought and how strong you’ve been over the past couple of years, stronger than anyone else I’ve known. You always had a smile on your face and never let this cancer thing get the best of you. Even though you were fighting the toughest battle of your life, you always made sure the ones around you were doing okay. It always amazed me at how confident and put-together you always were.

I remember working on the holiday guide with you. We were constantly at each others throats when it came to that specific project. We even yelled at each other on the day of the launch. But you didn’t let that come between our friendship. You were that type of person; you kept work and friendships separate, although they were interconnected. I envied that about you.

My dear friend and colleague, Jo I will truly miss you and thank you for being a friend. I thank you for all the support and love you gave me over the few years we had known each other. I thank you for letting me get to know you and appreciate what a wonderful person you were.

I wish your family, your son, your spouse and everyone else that had the privilege of getting to know you, strength during this difficult time. I wish them patience and time to accept and handle the pain they are feeling. But most of all, I wish them memories and love for you, for which I know they will forever keep in their hearts.

Rest in Peace, Jo Wallwork. You will never be forgotten.

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“I Hate Love” – Neil Gaiman

  Sometimes when life is going insanely busy and my emotions are running high, I like to escape in to reading famous people’s quotes and poetry. As such, I came across a quote by Neil Gaiman a few years ago and I just absolutely love the honesty in his words. I thought I’d share it with you: 

“Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses, you build up a whole suit of armor, so that nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life…You give them a piece of you. They didn’t ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn’t your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so simple a phrase like ‘maybe we should be just friends’ turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It’s a soul-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. I hate love.” -Neil Gaiman

Recipe Of The Week: Coconut Shirmp Curry

D loves a good curry. But if I add a South Indian twist to it, he loves it a 100 times more. I’ve made shrimp curry a million times. However, over the past few months, I have had a lot of fun experimenting and perfecting my signature shrimp curry recipe. I think I’ve finally nailed down one that everyone in my circle truly enjoys and begs for more. Here’s the recipe, try it out and let me know what you think!

Here’s what you need:

  • 50-70 medium size pre-cooked, de-veined shrimp (tail shell off)
  • 2 large red onions (finely chopped)
  • 1 cup coriander (finely chopped)
  • 1 large tomato (chopped or puree)
  • 1/3 cup ginger (grated or finely chopped)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup shredded dry coconut
  • 5-7 dry curry leaves
  • 3-4 tbsp. oil
  • 1 tbsp. jeera
  • 3-5 cloves
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 2-3 large black cardamoms
  • 1 tbsp. whole black pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp. curry powder
  • 1/2 tbsp. turmeric
  • 1 tbsp. dry mango powder
  • 1 tbsp. garam masala
  • 1 tbsp. jeera powder
  • 1 tsp. red chilli powder
  • 1-2 dry whole red chillies
  • 1 tbsp. dry methhi leaves (shredded or rub between hands to turn powdery)
  • 1 cup water (for a thicker curry, use 1/2 cup)

Here’s what you do:

  • Wash shrimp with lemon juice, sprinkle with curry powder and set aside
  • Pre-heat pan, add oil and let sizzle.
  • Add cloves, cinnamon sticks, black cardamoms and whole black peppers and let sizzle
  • Add jeera and cook until slightly golden brown
  • Add onions, ginger, dry whole red chilli and salt and cook until onions become translucent
  • Add tomatoes and tomato paste, mix well and cook until oil begins separating from paste (or oil begins rising)
  • Add curry powder, turmeric, dry mango powder, chilli powder, garam masala and jeera powder, mix well and cook for 5-10 minutes on low heat
  • Add shrimp and coat with all the masala, cook for 3-5 minutes
  • Add dry coconut and coconut milk and let boil for 5-7 minutes  on low heat
  • Add water, mix well and reduce heat to minimum and let cook uncovered for 15-20 minutes
  • Sprinkle coriander leaves and let cook for 2-3 minutes

Enjoy with rice or roti!

Your Weekly Dose Of Funny

Happy Friday, lovelies! Here is your weekly dose of funny. I hope these get you through your Friday and lighten your mood for the weekend ahead. 

Disclaimer alert: these were taken from various Facebook fan pages and may be offensive to some viewers. For all the others, enjoy!   
    
    
    
    
 

a stubborn desire…

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