On Valentine’s Day.

I don’t like Valentine’s day. We have a bad history: many of my relationships have ended days before, and I can still recall the bitter memories of those lonely, single years. My way of coping with this occasion now is to insist on letting the day pass with little fanfare, even though Kurt is quite the romantic.

Having said all this, yesterday was a terrific Valentine’s day. I had asked Kurt to keep his Valentine spending to a minimum, and in return, I’d prepare a 3-course meal for us that night. Despite the constraints, he still managed to eke tears out of my eyes with his gift: a single peach-coloured rose and a beautiful card with utterly romantic sentiments written inside. I cannot imagine where he must have hid the rose, because there it lay first thing in the morning after I stepped out of my shower. Isn’t it beautiful?

The meal I elected to make was quite the challenge: mango and melon salad with romaine hearts, wine and rosemary drenched tenderloin roast with horseradish potato cakes, and a Cointreau chocolate mousse with whipped cream and fresh berries. The grocery list was huge! Thanks to the amazing folks at Nester’s Market who ran around for me at lunchtime to cross everything off the list. (That story deserves its own post…will get to it eventually…) It took over two hours to make with Kurt emprisoned in the computer room, but it was well worth the effort:

No pictures of the salad, sorry–forgot to be camera-happy for once. My pièce de résistance was the heart-shaped strawberries. The “awwwww” look on Kurt’s face when he saw those was all the reward I needed.

Anyhow, enough wishy-washiness. Hope you had a happy Valentine’s Day too!

Avocado and salsa.

Those are my two addictions this summer. Both sabroso, but only one being edible.

I’ve been addicted to avocado-anything since I tried this amazing turkey and avocado croissant at the cafe across the street from work. After stuffing myself with numerous home copies of this sandwich the past 2 weeks, I decided to reserve the last avocado for dessert. Unfortunately for my finger, I had trouble striking the knife into the avocado pit, resulting in a nasty cut on my right index finger.

Since I’m left-handed and a techie, it wasn’t too bad work-wise, but it sure is harder to dance with a deep gash on your turning hand! Tomorrow night is the free salsa concert at Robson Square and Sunday is the salsa night at the Rowing Club. Hope this Polysporin’s been doing it’s job and I can go without the bandages this weekend.

On the salsa addiction front comes a link to Batanga Radio (see sidebar) and a new blog. This is so people using RSS don’t have to get a flood of posts of salsa lyrics that you probably don’t care a fig for. It’ll also be a forum for trying out my very rusty Spanish. For you salsa fanatics that actually know Spanish, please check it out once in a while and correct what is horribly wrong.

Yes, I’m still alive…barely.

Hey everyone,

This month has been real busy with managing the MIS Showcase at SFU. I love managing events, despite the hustle n’ bustle of it all, but lately it’s been a AM email – go to work – rush home – PM Email – Friday SFU kind of schedule. Especially this week…instead of the email catch up I’ve actually had to skip my Monday shift and wrap things up on campus; on Wednesday afternoon I did 2 classroom presentations and plastered the Computing Science wing with posters; just this morning I got up to do an 8:30am classroom presentation and confirm a bunch of venue details with the folks in the Business faculty. Tomorrow — slated my full day to do more Showcase stuff at SFU. Talk about busy.

The event is next Thursday so if you’re reading this and going, “hey, I’m an IT student and this sounds interesting but I don’t know the details”–check it out! Visit the MISA website and register online. You don’t have to be an MIS student or even an SFU student to drop by. But please register online so I can expect your presence.

On another note: here are my quick ratings for the Dine Out Vancouver venues we’ve tried so far…

O Doul’s –> 10/10
Griffins –> 3/10

Last stop: Diva at the Met, January 31st with Jay & Erik.

Dine Out Vancouver 2005.

I’ve had some of the best meals in Vancouver than I’ve had all over the world. -Jamie Oliver

Oh yes…it’s that time of year again…food food food! (Thanks for reminding me, Jay)

Dine Out Vancouver 2005, which is happening between January 21st and February 3rd, is possibly my most treasured winter pasttime. My mouth is already watering! Here’s my wish list. I do believe there are some dinner rainchecks to cash in…

Wild Rice – $15 pp (per person)
Elixir & Opus Bar – $25 pp
Griffins – $25 pp with special $10 upgrade option
Diva at the Met – $35 pp
Le Gavroche – $35 pp

Unfortunately, as usual Lumiere ($25 pp), West, and Gotham ($35 pp) are already fully booked for the event. But who knows, maybe there are Dine Out Vancouver scalpers out there who would be willing to barter.

Last time, I went to the Hart House, Zin, Imperial Chinese Seafood Restaurant, and Fleuri: all very excellent. I absolutely loved the Hart House and Fleuri, and Imperial Restaurant was the best Chinese food I had ever tasted. Think this year’s menus at Imperial are similar to when I went. Too bad I can’t go to all those places again. Must sample; too many fancy restaurants to ignore!

For any of you looking for recommendations, these other restaurants are good eats when they’re this cheap:

Blue Water Cafe (sister to West)
Water Street Cafe (sister to West)
Aqua Riva
O’ Doul’s
Hon’s on Robson

I won’t link to these as there are very nice search and menu display features on the Dine Out Vancouver website. Here’s that link again: Dine Out Vancouver 2005. Make reservations soon because these dinners are so worth your money.

Bon appétit!

Another failed muffin attempt.

Quick post before watching Runaway Jury in the living room: I urge you all to bake muffins only when you’re not feeling dyslexic. I just baked a weird batch of blueberry bran muffins that are prairie-flat. I put them in the oven for 18-20 mins at 200 deg F. WRONG. On the instructions, the 200 and the F were next to each other … except for the deg C ( or 400 deg that happened to be in between them.

Off to drool at John Cusack! See ya.

Books: The Basic Kafka
Boys: Kurtis, John Cusack
Songs: “She Bang” by William Hung (see below)

Housesitting, steak, and climbing up the wall.

Last Saturday was one of the better Valentine’s days that I’ve had. Not that we did anything special, like we did on our first Valentine’s day together (romantic bed n’ breakfast getaway on Vancouver Island). We woke up in the morning and Kurt prepared some pancakes from scratch, as he usually does on the weekend. I on my Final Fantasy: The Crystal Chronicles streak was busy shooting up some monsters, so I didn’t come out of the bedroom until breakfast was pronounced ready.

What I saw was a nicely made up breakfast table with heart-shaped pancakes on my plate. Awwwwwwww. It took me a few more moments to notice the shiny purple envelope propped up in the middle of the table. We had said that we were just having dinner to celebrate Valentine’s, and here was a romantic breakfast and a card. Kurtis is so sweet.

Written in the card was one of the most romantic letters I have gotten in my life. And all the other top-ranking ones have been from Kurt, too. Anyway, within minutes I was bawling my eyes out about how great Kurt is and how lucky I am to have him with me. I even had to put the card away during the remainder of breakfast or else I started to tear up again.

After breakfast and some more Final Fantasy fun, we and our massive accumulation of laundry got picked up by Kurt’s dad (Bob) and trucked over to their place in Tuxedo. I stayed at the house while Kurt drove Jared and the ‘rents to the airport. As I blogged about before, I had some interesting, sudden naps between then and 8:30pm. Our dinner reservation was at 9:15pm at this place called Fude. We both got dolled up for our Valentine’s date and set off in the -30 degree weather.

We had been to Fude a few weeks before and had really amazing NY steak (him) and Manitoba-fusion nasi-goreng (me). If you ever visit Winnipeg (it’s nice, really!) this is a must-eat-at restaurant. I got the Wine Sampler, where you get 3 2oz. glasses of wine to slosh around with dinner. Kurt was driving so only had a couple glasses of Cabernet-Sauvignon…though I did have to discourage him from getting the half-litre serving that he wanted (cough, lush).

Ahh…gotta drive home before our rock-climbing tonight…will write later tonight.

Book in my bag: Enchantment (Orson Scott Card)
Song in my head: Nothing, for a change
Boy in my heart: Kurtis