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Diner en Blanc Vancouver 2013

It was a night where we were able to shed our every day wear that is called the grind and put on our finest whites. Diner en Blanc once again lit up Vancouver and transported us to a place where the Bourgeoisie ball intermingled with The Great Gatsby soiree…and maybe a sprinkle of P Diddy’s white parties. Like these events, our Diner en Blanc was shrouded in secret and excitement.  And the secret-ness fuels the anticipation as no one knows the location until you arrive. Once again the dinner was brilliantly organized and executed by the talented passionate team of Jordan Kallman and Tyson Villeneuve from The Social Concierge.

The second dinner picnic flash mob took place at Science World. It was a fitting location to host such a large gathering while admiring the beautiful city.

As we dined and mingled, we saw the radiant colours of sunset fading into twilight behind the famous dome landmark and city skyline.

My original finest white had to be castaway because worries of a wardrobe malfunction and the disappointment over “it looked way better on the model”. I had to dive into the dark corners of my closet to find an old comfortable dress as my back up (‘read’ can eat, drink, and sit in this thing).

Guests brought their own culinary delights and drinks, dinnerware, and dinner and tables. I saw a couple of takeout bags but I won’t judge. This year’s feature caterer was the acclaimed Hawksworth who took care of the pre ordered picnic meal boxes and catering .

It’s always fun to see people in their ‘white hot’ outfits and let their imagination shine. The most important aspect of this event is that brings people together to dance, eat, share, relax, laugh, and enjoy life together in this beautiful city.

(Image courtesy of Rick Chung)

I Workout Hard to Eat Hard

I like to think of it as self-fulfilling prophecy or pressure. There is a key reason to my public proclamations, via social media, of working out until I tiredly lay in my own pool of pain and sweat. It all comes down to pressure: the pressure to fulfill a public promise, that I can easily ignore or lie about, but I won’t. I like to keep my promises to the best of my ability and the most important person I answer to is myself.

The promise to exercise so I can be fit, look good in a dress, achieve athlete level conditioning, be happy and eat to my heart’s content without feeling too guilty. Maintaining a good fitness level is important to me because I take joy in being limber and active. I want to be able to climb a church tower in the middle of Italy without heaving, bike across the French countryside without feeling tired, and walk around Tokyo for hours without feeling an ache.

I also have tunnel vision focus. When I’m ‘into’ something, I get obsessive and try to learn about the subject inside and out. My obsessions, which would kickstart my researchalcoholicness, have ranged from photography to self improvement to baking and cooking to jewelery making….this also includes health and fitness. This obsession is in the form of Pinning exercise routines and jotting down health tips in Evernote.

I can hear the excuses now…”I don’t have time to exercise because of A, B, C”. But you have time to look at Reddit for an hour or sit on your couch and surf through Netflix? It’s about making it a habit and integrating it as part of your life. Do you get that weird feeling when you don’t wear your favorite watch that day or miss that mid afternoon snack? That’s me when I don’t exercise. I feel out of sorts that my day isn’t complete without my shot of endorphins.

I won’t list the many benefits of exercise because the Internet is full of that stuff but I’ll at least share how I got into fitness and some tips.

It started with a major breakup. Yep, I started to workout more because I wanted to get over my heartache. I channeled all those emotions, stress and energy into exercise. Like those who are/were in relationships, you sometimes gain weight which happened to me.

I exercised sporadically during my teens and early twenties but when my relationship ended, I became a full time gym rat. It started with just going on the machines. I then tentatively ‘stepped’ into my first Step class and came out with a bruised ego and affirmation that I have 2 left feet. That first class didn’t deter me as I knew I just needed to keep trying. Once I got comfortable, I started to try different classes. The class schedule became my schedule because I had more time to do other stuff now….like exercising. I would purposely book off time in my calendar so I could attend those fitness classes, along with all those other slots filled with appointments, work, and hanging out with friends.  A couple of years later, I trained for the Sun Run. I never really ran but I wanted challenge myself so I trained with my fellow coworkers. For about 3-4 months, I woke up an extra hour to train whether it be the treadmill at work or running outside. Since then I’ve ran 4 Runs and a Warrior Dash.

That initial start was hard.  It was hard to build that motivation to get up, drag your butt off the bed and go. I’ve had my lazy moments and moments where my life got sucked into a black hole because of work. But like every goal you have in life, it’ll take time, determination, focus, and support.

As I get older, my recovery rate and metabolism have gotten slower. The once wonderful ability to have those extra pounds ‘melt right off’ wasn’t happening…it was more like trickling appealing as that sounds. I started to look at ways in changing up my routine to make my body and metabolism work harder. My eating habits have changed a bit but not to the point where I’m deprived. It became a pet project in finding that balance.

How do I continue to eat the way I do and still maintain my health and fitness? How to I solve this conundrum? Easy…
Sheer determination and making this my mantra
“I work hard to eat hard” (Signed sealed, TMed and Copyrighted)

More Posts to come!

Vancouver Winter Farmers’ Market

I’m in love with farmers’ markets. When I travel, that is one of the first things I would add to my itinerary. I just love walking from one stand to the next and discovering new foods to try. Raising my hand in guilt, I also sampled too but with each bite my environmentally friendly grocery bag gets heavier too.

This year I bought a bevy of healthy items such as vegan pates, root chips, lots of mixed greens, and cheeses. Also, I didn’t deny myself trying the many street food trucks that were at the market.

Of course I had to grab a bite from the famous pink La Boheme Creperie truck, the popular farmers’ market mainstay. It continuously gets the longest lineups and there’s a reason why. Their crepes are no regular crepes you get when you have hunger pangs while walking through downtown. Their buckwheat style crepes menu is innovative, fun, and experimental. The nuttiness from the buckwheat went well with the savoury crepe of greens, bechamel, cheese, tomato and vinaigrette.

La Boheme Creperie

I’ve been meaning to try Yolk’s Breakfast Truck…especially since it’s regular spot is only a block and a half away from work. It’s an excellent breakfast sandwich of poached free range egg with your choice of toppings and bread. I went for the somewhat classic of english muffin, poached egg, portobello mushroom and hollandaise sauce. It’s a deliciously messy sandwich as within one careful bite the yolk oozes all over your sandwich (and your hand). Of course I felt major fomo when I saw the plates of chicken waffles being handed out.

Another popular truck that was at the farmers’ market this year was Le Tigre which is run by the tag team of Chef Clement Chan & Chef Steve Kuan. You might recognize Chef Clement as he made a run for Top Chef Canada. They serve Modern Asian cuisine made with high quality sustainable seafood and organic meats. I’d say they are serving fusion food right….finally.

Their beet fries were addictive and they remained hot for awhile
The beet wedges were crispy and had a nice blend of umami with plum powder in the batter and the accompanying 7 spice mayo.

The finger licken popcorn chicken was pretty finger licking good.

The marinated chicken bites was tender, moist, and oh so very crunchy. It reminded me of pieces of karaage.

The very tongue in cheek named kick ass rice with pork belly was my favourite from what we ordered. It’s a bowl of complex and savoury.

Each bite was full of flavour as the rice is cooked in sake, butter, dashi and topped with a perfect poached egg,fresh herbs and thai chillies. I think we tried half of their menu that day.

As much as I like to indulge and get excited about trying the food trucks, it’s looking at the different produce that is inspiring. The type of inspiration where recipes whirl in your imagination, and you can’t wait to concoct a dish in your very own kitchen.

I look forward to rest of the summer and the many farmers’ markets that will liven up our city

La Boheme Creperie
La Bohème Crêperie on Urbanspoon

Yolk’s Breakfast
Yolk's Breakfast on Urbanspoon

Le Tigre Cuisine Mobile Food Truck
Le Tigre Cuisine Mobile Food Truck on Urbanspoon