It is that time of year again where the pressure is on me to find something to do for the celebration of my birthday.
I do not consider myself to one of those people who loathe to turn a year older, that being said (Curb reference), I must admit that time goes by really quickly and I dislike the fact that I’m one step closer to the end. Regardless, the last time I fully went out to celebrate my birthday was a few years back at some club where I drank copious amounts of alcohol and puked my guts out, so perhaps this year I bring civilized-back with some close friends.
In addition, this year I’m going to spoil myself with TWO parties!! WOOT! I do have a reason though and it revolves around the fact that I have to celebrate OTHER PEOPLES LIFE CHOICES again (Sex and the City reference – wow, I’m on an HBO roll…) on my awesome birthday, so I deserve it! One will be before my actual birthday with some close family and friends; and the other will be my traditional family only BBQ – one of the awesome perks of a summer birthday!
So I’m currently just at a loss as to where I should go for my birthday. I think I have about 10 guests that I want to invite, which isn’t small, but it’s not too big either. I keep thinking about that night in NYC a couple years back where I went to some random Indian restaurant with my friends somewhere in Soho and then off to a random patio afterwards. Probably one of the best nights of chilling. So I kinda want to re-create that feeling again this time and of course, nothing comes to mind. I’m pretty sure it’s because I live in Toronto and everything seems boring and old, while NYC is always new and exciting – or it could actually be the fact that Toronto is boring and old :P (I still love the Tdot! <3)
Anyway, one of the things that crossed my mind was a place where one could Bring Your Own Wine (BYOW). Now there are places that will let you do it – for a price. And naturally, some places are more “stuck up” than others. I don’t believe it costs $20 for some schmuck to open my wine bottle and the pour me a half-full glass, so I went onto the interest to research.
AND BOOM!!! – http://www.bringmywine.ca/toronto/
Awesome site so far!
- Provides a list of restaurants and their information
- Provides a map of restaurants (with infomration) on Google Maps
- And corkage fee!!!
Definitely lookin’ into it!!!!!
And if I can’t find anything, there is always my favourite neighbourhood bar…:)
I like drinking tea…a lot. I have at least 4 types of tea stashed in my desk drawer at work and around 7 different types of tea at home. So perhaps “liking” tea doesn’t even do my obsession with it justice.
Whilst surfing the net one day I stumbled upon this article asking the question: “Are tea shops taking over Toronto?” Admittedly, it’s not even an article. Actually, it’s a weak attempt to segue into a review of a tea shop. But what can you expect from blogTO? It can’t be quality all the time!
However, the article did get me thinking about tea. I have, on lonely weekend days, wandered around the city and into the David’s Tea shop on Queen West. I was quite impressed with the selection they have there, including the ever cool blossoming teas – which are cool and perhaps, if I am ever in a situation where I want to impress the Queen of England or someone of importance, I may consider purchasing a blossom along with the glass teapots which facilitate the full blossoming experience.
At home, my family uses a Chinese clay tea set similar to the one pictured below.
I remember coming home after school and my Dad will be brewing some tea for us before dinner. I loved that part of the day. It was nice, relaxing and great way to wind down.
What is particularly nice about these tea sets, called Yixing clay teapots, is that the clay absorbs some of the tea you brew in it and after time, enhances the flavour of the tea.
Anyway, Conan, who is a pretty nerdy guy, just so happens to work at a pretty nerdy company. One day he was making some Earl Grey in the kitchen and one of his really nerdy co-workers comes up to him and says, “Hm. Earl grey…hot.”
When he told me that part of the story, I thought to myself, “Is his co-worker hitting on him? How awkward…” But I was quite wrong.
It took a while for Conan to get the reference, but when he did, it was quite a good reference. Captain Jean-Luc Picard on the Starship Enterprise orders his Earl Grey from the replicators and says “Earl Grey…Hot.” After Conan got the reference, he and his co-worker started to discuss how the computer would know what “hot” meant to Picard versus other temperatures for “hot” according to different people. This is just how nerdy they are.
Since that day it’s been somewhat of a running joke between Conan and I and my cousin.
The other day I went out to buy a package of Creamy Earl Grey and while researching how to make the perfect cup of Earl Grey tea, I stumbled upon this article in which the last step states:
Now if we were on the Starship Enterprise, then we would have just gone to the replicators like Captain Picard does, and state, “Tea. Earl Grey… Hot”. Alas, since we do not have that option available to us, we shall prepare and enjoy a perfectly brewed cup of Earl Grey Tea, which shall tantalize our senses.
Touché, internet, touché.
Chinese New Year falls on Valentine’s day this year. This has been a constant issue with me because I keep forgetting about Valentine’s day and instead, constantly thinking about new years – also THE WINTER OLYMPICS IN VANCOUVER!!!!! Go Canada!!
Anyway, I’ve been halfly pre-occupied with what to cook and prepping my boyfriend about everything new years because he has no idea what’s happening :p And because I’m awesome I’ve dealt with Valentine’s day by getting him hockey tickets!
Moving on, as any good Asian would know, new years eve is THE most important night of the year. All the family get together and enjoy a feast dedicated to bringing in and retaining luck for the rest of the year. And like any other good quality family event, the food is the center of attention.
The dishes/food components served at NYE dinner all symbolize longevity, prosperity, good luck in every thing under the sun. Now I could go on and make a summary table of all the different foods and stuff, but I’ve already read something someone has already written, so I’ll just post it here. It’s a nice short article!!
The Chinese New Year Dinner
By RR Ritchey
The Chinese love to eat. Being full is the ultimate sign of wellness. Feeding and eating together is a sign of affection. Families eat when getting together. Moms like to think of what to cook or feed the family as a sign of love. Therefore, during the start of the year, to invite wellness and happiness it is but natural to spend time with the family eating.
The Chinese New Year’s eve dinner is believed to be the most important family ritual of the year. Food symbolizes abundance, and being together stands for family ties. Abundance, health and happiness of the family are the main focus of the New Year’s Eve dinner. It is said that if a family does not share this all-important meal of the year, the family’s love will grow cold. This is a special event in the year that sibling rivalries and family issues are set aside. Everybody is encouraged to eat well and be merry.
The Chinese New Year’s eve dinner honors both the past and current generations. Ancestors are remembered and honored. They too are included in the fast as food is offered at the family altar, especially for them. Letting the family elders eat first is a sign of respect and love. Before the family sits down to eat together, the family ancestral spirits are served the dinner first, including tea and wine, at the altar. This gesture not only pays respects to the forebears but is also a way of giving thanks. After all, it is believed that the wellness of the ancestors reflect on the family fortune.
The family dinner brings hope for the Chinese New Year. Food served also has many symbols of abundance, health and happiness.
Here are some of the courses offered for the family’s Chinese New Year eve dinner:
• Soup. Favorites are bird’s nest soupd and shark’s fin soup. The bird’s nest soup symbolizes long life and youthfulness. While shark’s fin symbolizes prosperity.
• Jai Choy is a special vegetarian dish that is most appropriate for Chinese New Year. All ingredients symbolize good fortune, long life and abundance. It has:
– dried oysters for good business
– sea moss called fat choy that mean prosperity
– Chinese black mushrooms is about getting wishes granted
– bean noodles called fun see symbolize long life
– lily buds mean 100 years of blissful union
– lotus seeds to have sons
– dried bean curd also symbolize abundance
– cloud ears are good luck
– and snow peas also bring in prosperity.
• Poultry like duck or chicken are served whole (with head and feet) to symbolize unity or wholeness. Missing body parts mean it is broken and are not good symbols, so best have it in 1 complete piece when possible.
• Long, leafy green vegetables such as Chinese broccoli and Chinese string beans are served whole, believed to bring longevity to parents.
• Fish is yu. “Yu” sounds like abundance. This dish is often served last. The head and tail should not be removed from the body to ensure good luck throughout the year. The family should also be careful to not flip the fish over. This superstition stems from the old fisherfolk belief that flipping fish over will also flip fishing boats.
• Rice or long-grain noodles are also eaten with this hearty feast.
Some of the food are deliberately left over to signify abundance through out the year. This is also convenient, as it is custom that animals cannot be killed, even for meals, on the first day of the new year.
Other Chinese New Year beliefs for the new year’s eve banquet are: All utensils and plates should be clean and unbroken. Even a small chip on a plate is not allowed, as this signifies that something will eat into the family fortune. Chopsticks should also be of equal length to represent harmony.