Sunday 16 August 2015

Lazy Saturdays

Saturdays are my lazy days. I usually have the whole day to myself, and often times I am running errands or making refunds from online purchases but I also like to set some time aside to do something creative. This week, I decided to make scones.

This is my second attempt at scones. The last time I made them, they were extremely undercooked. The one that I had cut in half to test was perfectly fine, so I had no reason to cut open the rest of the batch. Sadly, the next day, when I decided to eat another one, I discovered they were all still raw inside.

This recipe is from the boyfriend's mom. I decided to make it my own by adding tangerine zest and cranberries. I would recommend mixing the sour cream and egg in a separate bowl before folding it into the dry ingredients. I also made bite-size scones to make it easier to bake. In 20 minutes, they were baked perfectly. I loved the results this time around!

Wednesday 12 August 2015

For the Love of Dumplings

Over the weekend, I had a chance to attend the Golden Dumpling Cook Off and Derby. The Golden Dumpling support the Chinese Elders Community Kitchen, a program in the Downtown Eastside Women's Centre. It encourages Chinese elders to connect over a meal in a safe space.

The event took place at the Food Cart Festival in the Olympic Village. We arrived early but the crowds filled the grounds quickly. This year, seventeen of Vancouver's best chefs competed for the trophy. There was a bit of everything, classic dumplings and some unique, innovative dumplings as well. My personal favourite was Sai Woo's, which was a pork and garlic scape dumpling in laksa. Ultimately, La Mezcaleria took home the trophy with their deep fried pork dumpling topped with habanero-orange jelly and spicy pickled red onions.

The event finished off with the dumpling derby, one for the men and one for the women. The winner of the women's derby finished 21 dumplings under two minutes, while the winner of the men's ate a whopping 47 dumplings!

After trying all the delicious dumplings the chefs had to offered, we were all dumplinged out! My colleagues and I had a great time at the Golden Dumpling Cook Off and we hope to be back next year.

Saturday 8 August 2015

Food for Comfort

Vancouver's summer weather has been typical over the last few weeks, a few chilly, rainy days in between days of sweltering hot sunny days with absolutely no breeze. I'm not complaining about the sunshine. I love it. If I had it my way, I'd be living somewhere hot, humid, sunny and 40 degrees 365 days a year. Alas, Vancouver is home, and Vancity is known as Raincity. Today's just one of those days. I woke up to an overcast with an 80% chance of rain so I knew I wanted soup today.

My all-time favourite soup is the Straight Up Tomato from Burgoo Bistro. A year ago, I found the Burgoo recipe book at Costco in the states. This is ironic because Burgoo is a chain restaurant only found in metro Vancouver. I decided to buy it, but I forgot all about it until a few months ago when a friend asked me for the Calypso Chicken recipe. So, although a few months, or a year late, I finally decided to give it a go!

Straight Up Tomato is a red wine simmered tomato and garlic soup. After bringing the diced ingredients to a boil, and allowing it to simmer for an hour, I pureed the ingredients into a hearty, semi-chunky soup. I seasoned with salt and pepper and added a drizzle of olive oil, and it was ready to go!

Perfect for a rainy day! It tastes just like Burgoo's famous tomato soup.

Let's hope the sunshine will be back tomorrow. I've got a delicious work event coming up tomorrow and it just wouldn't be the same with the sun.

Saturday 1 August 2015

Operation Oasis: Phase I

I was finally able to make reservations for the entertainment on the Oasis last week. I decided to log in to check if we made it off My-Time Dining (MTD), and to my surprise, I was able to make reservations for all the shows! I'm not sure if it goes the same for everyone or for previous cruisers (or Crown & Anchor members).

There are six shows for the seven days on the Oasis, and guests can only make one reservations per show. Basically, you are only supposed to watch each show once. However, if the shows aren't full, Royal Caribbean will let guests in.

On embarkation day, we are watching Oasis of Dreams, the watershow, or aquatic acrobats, that takes place in the aft of the ship. I really enjoyed this show on the Allure, but I've heard rocky seas or bad weather conditions can put a damper on the show, or even cancel the show. I'm hoping we won't run into these problems as we would have just boarded the ship. On the second day, I made reservations for Cats. Although I have read horrible reviews regarding this show on forums, I am willing to give it a try. Have you seen Cats on the Oasis class ships? Please share your thoughts!

The following nights, we have the headliner show, the comedy club, and the ice show lined up. I know for a fact that the comedy club books up fast as it is in a smaller venue. In addition, the comedy club is a staple on regular cruise ships, you can see a show every night on some ships, so it will definitely book up faster on the Oasis as there are limited reservations. On the sixth day, I made reservations for Come Fly With Me. I've read that CFWM is a Cirque du Soleil-esque show. I'm so excited for this as I am a huge Cirque fan.

To set our cruise in stone, we also booked our flights to Fort Lauderdale. Since it is (still) a full day of travel for the folks out West - meaning we would arrive close to midnight on any given day - we decided it would be better if we flew in a day earlier instead of the night before. Since most flights coming home leave at 6 AM, we also had no choice but to leave a day later. This means we will have to book a couple extra hotel nights and find some activities to keep us busy in Fort Lauderdale. The outlet and a Panthers game are already on my list!

As for the actual cruise planning, I have decided that MTD may work best for us this time around, and we're willing to give it a try. Now the only predicament is actually making those dining reservations!

Stay tuned as I continue to plan our Oasis cruise... 105 days to go!