High Tea, MOVING ACROSS CANADA, and More

I haven’t posted for a long time… I know. It’s because the past couple of weeks have been absolutely hectic, between meeting people, moving back to Ontario, and starting classes again.

TLDR of what I’ve been doing recently:

  1. Constructing Ikea furniture very slowly
  2. Reading
  3. Meeting up with friends, like the time I had high tea with my friend Adele in Kitsilano
  4. Other random stuff?

 

Here are more tidbits of the summer. These things happened after my sister and I came back from Charlottetown, PEI, and shortly after I got my wisdom teeth removed. Some bits of the summer include:

  • going for brunch with family at Café la Foret
  • baked a super creamy, rich New York cheesecake using an Allrecipes recipe
  • plenty of delicious Mom-cooked dinners, including tofu, veggies, and more
  • making iron-on bead magnets with my sister

 

  • delicious cooking from Mom – this time with Korean beef stew, pearl meatballs, and butter chicken with mushrooms
  • walking the dog with Mom
  • baking blueberry almond bread with mom
  • delicious brown sugar waffles with powdered sugar, butter, Nutella, maple syrup
  • stewed eggplant with ground pork on rice
  • lovely soft serve from Soft Peaks, which recently opened near my grandparents’ apartment in Burnaby
  • taro and chicken stew with fried egg and zucchini

 

My grandma found these! I wrote them when I was in the tenth grade, about five years ago. This is when I wrote down everything that I ate, separating them into pages by meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner). I think it’s funny because I also RANKED all of the things I ate out of 10, then calculated the weekly and monthly averages.

 

Heirloom Vegetarian is a lovely brunch spot in Vancouver. I went with my family, and I enjoyed a great platter of mushroom hash topped with poached egg and tofu. Mom and I shared two dishes – the other one was a grilled cheese with cauliflower soup. Afterwards, Mom, Dad, and I (sans Seline) shared a tray of four ice creams from Rain or Shine. They were Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Malted Chocolate Honeycomb, Peanut Butter.

 

Another afternoon, Seline and I had high tea with our good friend Adele. It was my first time having high tea, and it was such an enjoyable experience. The place was beautiful, the food was divine, and the company was great.

 

I had two large mugs of London Fog, which Seline drizzled with honey. I ate the vegetarian Grande Adventure, and my favourite savoury bite was the cheese sandwich with apple relish, followed by a tiny sandwich filled with curried egg salad.

 

That same evening, we packed up the car and drove to Aunt Mimi’s home. We went to Mimi’s house because she lives closer to the airport, and she was the one giving us a ride to the airport the next day. This time, Dad, Seline, Grandpa, and I ALL went to Waterloo together.

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Our first meal in Waterloo was Famoso Pizzeria. I had my favourite, which had arugula, gorgonzola, dates, honey, brussels sprouts, and proscuitto. On the side, a Caprese salad.

For the first few nights, we stayed at a lovely AirBnB in Kitchener. The highlight was playing a board game called Blokus.

 

Another day, we dined at Red House. Seline had lamb spaghetti, and I thoroughly enjoyed my summery salad and plantains with queso fresco. For dessert, I had the chocolate tart with whipped ricotta and berries. We did an escape room after this dinner – it was called the Vault. Unfortunately, we didn’t escape in time.

 

Around this time, we got to see the new house. The house was already furnished for one person.

 

We went to the MUSEUM in Kitchener one day, and Seline and I played with this interactive virtual dancing thing.

 

 

Fun moments – delicious dinner of baked cheesy tortellini with veggies from Ennio’s, followed by an incredible dark rum and mascarpone bread pudding with ice cream and Nutella sauce.

Plus cleaning and sleeping on the ground. Which are not fun.

More cleaning, more furniture to construct, and a random waffle topped with whipped peanut butter, honey-roasted granola, and peaches.

 

A couple wonderful meals from Dad and Grandpa’s LAST DAY in Waterloo:

  • L: Timeless London Fog, omelet with roasted cauliflower, black beans, smoked salmon, chipotle lime goat cheese, sweet potato pancake with black beans
  • D: Belmont vegetable crepe with ratatouille filling (eggplant, onion, mushrooms, zucchini, yellow squash), goat cheese, kale, buckwheat crepe // salted caramel brownie with vanilla creme anglaise, strawberry ice cream, strawberries, gluten-free carrot cake with blueberries, whipped cream, orange glaze

 

Seline and I had a bit more cleaning to do, and we were all done with the apartment. Here it is:

 

We finished cleaning, had an EXCELLENT first day of school (with yummy lunch eaten in the sun), and I celebrated with a giant chocolate chip cookie. I actually got this massive chewy cookie from Proof Kitchen for free as part of my lunch (how sweet is that deal?!), and it was delicious after popping it into the microwave for about 35 secs. Chewy, crisp around the edges, buttery, and exploding with chocolate. Served with a glass of milk.

 

That’s it for today!

A bunch of random things before we end of…

 

Bye!

A Week in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

Good morning everyone. I hope you are all having a lovely week so far. I am certainly having a great week.

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Mom’s homemade banana muffins, to which she added chocolate chips. I wish I could eat some of these muffins – they’re my favourite.

My friend’s mother is the dean of Applied Human Sciences at the University of Prince Edward Island (I told her that I was interested in trying a research job), and she recommended that I speak to a researcher who focuses on physical activity/sedentary behaviour (main focus), food intake, health, responses to exercise, and metabolic risk. That’s why I’m here!

I volunteer an average of seven hours per day. Normally, I start at 9:00 and finish at 4:00, but have a shorter day on Wednesday and a longer day on Thursday. There will be 24 or 25 work days in total, and I will end up with approximately 170-175 volunteer hours. I have been tracking my hours on an Excel document.

 

I’ve only done a few days here so far, but I have been helping to design banners, posters, and a new website for the Active Living Lab. I am also reorganizing the informational sheets for biosafety, standard operating procedures, and emergency response plans. I will be supervising a Breast Cancer Walking Group program every Thursday evening on campus. As you can see, I have been doing a variety of different tasks, and every day is exciting because there are plenty of new things to learn and do.

In our free time, Seline and I like going to the library (I recently read The Clearing by Heather Davis, which was a beautiful tale of two lives in different points in time), walking around downtown, and enjoying the sunshine.

We had lots of COWS ice cream – here, she had the Messie Bessie and the Wowie Cowie. I can’t quite recall what was in both, though I know there were chocolate flakes, toffee, and caramel swirls involved. I had the Peanut Butter Cup-Cup, and a scoop of Moo York Cheesecake. Both were divine! Maybe one of the best ice creams I’ve ever eaten?

Seline and I joke that we’ve been in Prince Edward Island for about a week, but we can already navigate downtown Charlottetown without Google Maps. The downtown area is not as large as the downtown areas of Montreal, Vancouver, or Toronto, but has a special charm that I can’t seem to explain.

The colours here are so vibrant (these pictures are unfiltered!), and I can’t stop snapping pictures of Seline.

We stopped by the Charlottetown Visitor Centre, to take a look at things to do nearby, and Seline picked up this escape room brochure. I booked the escape room for this Sunday, so I’m looking forward to giving it a shot with Seline.

Mmmm, seafood. You guys! I’ve always wanted to come to SIMS Corner Steakhouse and Oyster Bar, and YAY, we finally did.

  • spicy and creamy seafood pappardelle for Seline (she generously donated all of her mussels to me, and they were unbelievable)
  • lobster rigatoni with garlic-herb crust for me (the massive chunks of lobster in here were top-notch)

For dessert:

  • sticky date pudding topped with a massive scoop of caramel ice cream from COWS creamery, and plenty of luscious toffee sauce

On Saturday (or was this Sunday? I have no idea because I wore the exact same outfit), we went to the Charlottetown Art Museum. There was an exhibit called Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience. It was very powerful and thought-provoking.

One of my favourite exhibits was a video that showed various forms of snow, paired with a voiceover that discussed the role of these different types of snow in Indigenous culture. The museum, overall, was larger and more intriguing than we’d expected, and we liked it a lot. To enter, you can donate however much you want.

  • Me: What do you want to do for dinner today, Sal?
  • Seline: We’ve been planning to cook at home for a week already, so…
  • Me: You’re right. We should cook at home. We have some ingredients in the fridge to use up.
  • Seline: But I kind of want to eat at another restaurant.
  • Me: Me too. I know a place called RedWater Rustic Grille.
  • Seline: But shouldn’t we cook at home?
  • Me: We could, and we probably should…
  • Seline: Let’s just cook at home tomorrow.

Then we walked into RedWater Rustic Grille!

Here, Seline had a steak with garlic mashed potatoes and baked radishes, and I ate two apps instead of an entree. I had the lobster ravioli with beet pasta, and a platter of seared scallops with pancetta. Both appetizers were delicious! To follow, Seline and I shared a gorgeous chocolate torte with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream (we got two extra scoops after!), and a smear of cinnamon chocolate. We inhaled this dessert because it was truly so good – rare in my book, because most of my favourite desserts are a warm/cold combo, while this torte was served cold.

Another day, Sal and I went to Leonhard’s Cafe and Restaurant. I had a chai latte to start, and Seline ordered an iced tea. I debated between the salmon eggs benny and the guacamole eggs benny (seriously, how do you choose between smoked salmon and avocado?), but the kind waitress offered to give me one of each. Served with flavourful crispy potatoes and a fresh garden salad, I enjoyed this brunch so much. For dessert, we shared their famous vanilla roll.

Some random things:

  • UPEI fitness schedule
  • apparently now Seline likes macarons?! I’m very confused about that.
  • I made scrambled eggs with cheddar and spinach one day, cooked in plenty of salted butter, and they were lovely!
  • homemade chai latte, which I will drink more often. I like making chai lattes at home because I can control how much milk/tea leaves/honey go in.

Last night, Sal and I went to a place called Brickhouse Kitchen & Bar, also in downtown Charlottetown. Seline ate the steak frites, which came with beautifully-flavoured Grana Padano garlic fries and chimichurri (garlic and parsley) sauce.

I had a unique dish called the seafood pot pie, which was topped with the tastiest, most comforting biscuit crust. Buried underneath? Cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, haddock, and scallops, swimming in a creamy butter sauce. This was one of my favourite meals so far.

For dessert, we shared a pecan pie. The pecan pie was topped with homemade vanilla ice cream and served with a scoop of freshly-whipped cream. Another incredible dessert.

That’s it for now! We still have plenty of places that we want to go to, and hopefully will soon be able to check ’em off our list.

Have a wonderful rest of the week.

More Incredible Brunch Meals + Desserts

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Incredible sunset. This looks like a painting! I saw this sunset as I was heading home from class.

Good afternoon! I really haven’t blogged in a while; it’s because I have had a couple final exams, a final assignment, and just one more final exam before I am done. Today is June 17, and I am going back to Canada on the 26th. I can’t believe I only have NINE days left in Australia – we’re into the single digits now. Wow.

Anyways, hope you are all having a lovely day so far. Here are some snapshots of the wonderful week I’ve had, starting with a delicious almond croissant from Crust & Co., and a homemade chai latte. It was a great breakfast, and after a few classes, I had lunch with my friends from a social work class. I had the pumpkin soup, which came with a thick slab of bread (unpictured), and it really satisfied all my winter soup cravings.

I spend more time looking at lists of cafes, menus, and Zomato reviews than I do studying, and one cafe really stood out to me as a must-visit place. I knew I wanted to go to Nodo for a long time, but it wasn’t until I found out that their sweet potato waffle would soon leave the menu that I instantly booked it over there!

Here is that waffle that I so badly wanted to try. It was spectacular! The waffle itself was a sweet potato waffle, and it was topped with all kinds of mushrooms, crispy sage, brown butter, a zingy hollandaise, two poached eggs, and an excellent crumble (which I later found out was a toasted pecan crumble).

All of my favourite flavours – sweet potato, eggs, BROWN BUTTER, pecans, SAGE! – all in one excellent, excellent dish. I wish this could be on the menu forever, but I am looking forward to seeing what they will have on the winter menu. How awesome does this look?

For dessert, I couldn’t decide between the chocolate caramel donut and the pumpkin cheesecake, so of course I ordered both. I took the donut to-go, since the server told me it’d keep better, and I ate the pumpkin cheesecake on the spot. It was everything I look for in a cheesecake: creamy (not stiff, ew, I hate stiff or crumbly cheesecakes), dense, flavourful, spiced beautifully with cinnamon and nutmeg, with an excellent white chocolate frosting. I’m a crust connoisseur (who apparently can’t spell connoisseur without Googling it) and this one was a solid 10/10. And, I think it was gluten-free!

I will be really sad to say goodbye to all of my friends, classmates, and coaches here. The yoga studio that I work at is now looking for someone to take over my cleaning job!

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Next cafe on the bucket list is called Goodness Gracious. I am really excited to try these:

  • turmeric latte
  • treat from dessert cabinet
  • PB choc banana smoothie/blueberry vanilla coconut smoothie/strawberry cream cheese vanilla shortcake smoothie
  • tofu moussaka with scrambled turmeric tofu, eggplant, lentils, pumpkin hummus, cashew cream, sumac OR veggie toast with kale, broccolini, heirloom tomato, artichoke, kalenaise, sunflower seeds, poached eggs, charcoal sourdough
  • Side dishes: (can add avocado, salmon, tofu scramble, pulled ham, sweet potato quinoa hash)

I also found out about this new place called Hello Mister Frankie, which is famous for puffles. They are puffy waffles, like Taiwanese/Hong Kong style bubble waffles. I haven’t had the opportunity to go yet, but when I do, it’s going to be the honey and truffle puffle with vanilla and fig soft serve… and a lot of toppings. What would you order?

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I need to clear out some time to go to this place, called Bitter Suite, for their hot chocolate. They make peanut butter hot chocolate, and it is apparently out of this world.

One afternoon when I had planned to study, I went to the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art. A fine way to procrastinate. All of the artwork was unique, thought-provoking, and admirable. When I look at modern/contemporary artwork, I almost instantly need to read the description because I get a little bit confused, and need an explanation. These artists are so skilled, and it really opened my eyes to the world of contemporary art.

Oooh this was amazing! I had avocado toast from Anouk, which was topped with sesame seeds (this made a massive flavour difference), rocket and quinoa with red onions, whipped feta, and romesco sauce. Next time, I’ll add a fried egg to this. The whipped feta had great flavour, and the texture was so cool. This was a great, simple, light, fresh dish that I’d order again in a heartbeat.

For dessert – freshly-baked almond pear loaf with vanilla ice cream. Served warm, this dessert was near perfection. I love the richness that almond meal brings to any dessert.

As you can see, I’ve been having a lot of brunch and not a lot of… study time. 😉

This awesome plate was from PawPaw Cafe: potato hash cakes, fried halloumi, smoked salmon, beetroot relish, turmeric hummus, poached eggs, mashed avocado, lime, and plenty of dukkah. Normally, this isn’t a dish I would order because I don’t like potatoes that much, but this was so flavourful and really delicious. They gave me SO much smoked salmon, and all of the flavours meshed together beautifully. I particularly loved the light sweetness of the beetroot relish with the zing of the turmeric hummus.

For dessert, I had my eye on the caramelized banana with sticky date pudding and vanilla ice cream, but sadly, they only make that at dinner time. Instead, I had the coconut chocolate ice cream with a Ferrero Rocher raw bar and crushed hazelnuts and a raw chocolate sauce. This was raw and vegan! I would have never guessed, and actually enjoyed the coconut flavour.

Riverside walks. I’m really going to miss this, when I go back to Canada.

Pearl Cafe is one of my Brisbane favourites. I savoured their avocado toast one morning, which was topped with whipped goat cheese, sliced avocado, blobs of pureed beet, sprouts, and a poached egg on sourdough. I wish the bread was toasted, though!

Mmmmm – ricotta cake with so many chocolate chips and vanilla ice cream. The buttery, crumbly, light texture of this cake, paired with the richness of the chocolate, was absolutely divine. This is probably what angels eat in heaven.

This great lunch was from Abode Cafe. It’s called the Dulcie, and consists of two thick slices of sourdough bread, ham, Gruyere cheese, and mango chutney. It’s been a while since I’ve had a grilled cheese, and it was calling my name! I loved every bite of this buttery, cheese-filled delight.

For dessert, I had their freshly-baked chocolate brownie, vanilla ice cream, and a beautiful piece of art – their hot chocolate. All served with a side of studying, but let’s be honest, I didn’t really study. How can you focus on disease pathways and clinical spectrums when there is fresh hot chocolate, a warm brownie, and ice cream in front of you?

It totally looks like I’ve been eating at cafes every day, and that’s because… I have. Kind of. I still cook a lot at home, like this plate which had an omelet with truffled gouda (my new favourite cheese), Italian herb smoked salmon, and a mix of grain salads.

Lovely little chai from Morning After Cafe…

preceded this broccoli breakfast bowl, which included farro, red onions, two awesome poached eggs, pita bread, green beans, and hummus.

I couldn’t leave without trying their legendary gluten-free cookie sandwich. The inside was peanut butter buttercream, and it was served with vanilla ice cream. The sweetness of the ice cream, and slight saltiness of the nut butter, paired beautifully with the chewy, crispy, crackly chocolate cookie. I want this every day.

Finally, a quote I found online. Any thoughts?

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One more thing! I had this phenomenal brunch on Friday – potato hash cakes, smoked salmon, yogurt lemon-herb sauce, two poached eggs. I ate this at Baker’s Arms Cafe, after a lovely pot of my favourite chai in Brisbane.

Dessert at Pearl Cafe (just across the street from Baker’s Arms) again – almond frangipane tart with caramelized rhubarb and vanilla ice cream. You can never get enough vanilla ice cream.

The river that I’m gonna miss a lot.

And a little bucket list for places to go before I peace out of Brisbane!

Have a lovely rest of the weekend!

BUCKET LIST

  • CITY
    • Bonsai Botanika mini quiche or sourdough with poached eggs, smoked salmon, sour cream, apple, ricotta, honey mustard, fresh herbs, hot chocolate
    • The Cheese Pleaser 4 cheese toastie
    • Dello Mano chili hot chocolate (7-5 M-Th, 7-7:30 Fri, 9-5 weekends)
  • WEST END
    • Gunshop Cafe gnocchi
  • PADDINGTON
    • Anouk homemade chai, corn beignets, ice cream with brownie
  • NEW FARM/VALLEY/TENERIFE
    • Bitter Suite peanut butter hot chocolate (if unavailable, get wet honey chai tea plunger), poached eggs on toast and add spinach, smoked salmon, crushed avocado + La Macelleria gelato
    • Hello Mister Frankie Puffle: honey + truffle puffle, vanilla and fig soft serve, red bean, peanut and sesame crunch, sachima, tim tam (12.7 total) —> closed Sunday
    • Ginger and Rose (open soon)
  • OTHER
    • The Menagerie hot chocolate + Scout Cafe brekkie bagel with fried egg, smoked salmon/halloumi/avocado, cheddar, rocket, housemate relish, fresh tomato, aioli + Sisco BCL to get muffins or hot chocolate
    • chai from Lewin Street Store
    • Lady Marmalade chai tea infused with milk OR hot chocolate on coconut milk, LM Gringo Waffle (chilli cheese cornbread waffle topped with savoury mince, minced chorizo, black beans, fontina, sour cream, fried egg)
    • chai from Wray Organic + Flour and Chocolate (vanilla slice)
    • RESTAURANT 1 hour + 4 min walk or 26 min train: Goodness Gracious (near Sherwood Arboretum and Corinda library): turmeric latte, treat from dessert cabinet, PB choc banana smoothie/blueberry vanilla coconut smoothie/strawberry cream cheese vanilla shortcake smoothie, tofu moussaka with scrambled turmeric tofu, eggplant, lentils, pumpkin hummus, cashew cream, sumac OR veggie toast with kale, broccolini, heirloom tomato, artichoke, kalenaise, sunflower seeds, poached eggs, charcoal sourdough (can add avocado, salmon, tofu scramble, pulled ham, sweet potato quinoa hash)
  • GABBA
    • RESTAURANT PawPaw Cafe roti canai dinner, sticky date pudding with salted caramel ice cream and grilled banana

Three Unbelievable Brunch Dishes 👌

Good afternoon! Hope your weekend has been wonderful so far. My week has been absolutely amazing, much better than I could’ve imagined – and I’ll show you why!

First, one of my favourite authors, Victoria Aveyard, came to Canada for her book tour! She visited Chapters Metrotown in Burnaby. Of course, I’m in Australia until the end of June, but my sister Seline had the opportunity to meet the lovely Victoria, get her books signed, and listen to Victoria’s Q&A. Victoria Aveyard is the author of the Red Queen quartet, and her newest book – series finale! – War Storm was released recently.

Also: another massive bowl of chai from Three Monkeys Cafe. I’m addicted.

In case you haven’t noticed, I am on a MISSION to try as many chai lattes as I can. This morning, I hit up Northey Street Farmers Market, an organic market, which is known for a cozy shack called Chai Cafe. There, I had a very enjoyable mug of chai, one of the spicier ones in Brisbane. The owner told me that she adds fresh vanilla beans, turmeric, and a plethora of other spices, to create a recipe she learned in India. This chai was one of the top two I’ve had so far… and by that I mean it’s the second-best. 🙂

The Northey Street Markets are lovely! Quite a bit busier than the other markets, perhaps due to its size, with lots of friendly dogs and children. It’s a very family-friendly place and I wish I came with the intention of grabbing a sandwich and doing some people-watching.

After my walk at the Northey Street Markets, I went to the Green Edge Vegan Market and Grocery Store. I’m on the lookout for some enchilada sauce (without too many additives or preservatives), and after visiting two or three different specialty grocery stores – I still haven’t found any.

From there, I tried to take the 450 to go home, caught the 150 bus instead, and ended up in South Bank! It was a wonderful accident, because I’ve had Pourboy Espresso on my bucket list for the longest time. It was destiny – I had to eat here!

Mainly, Pourboy Espresso has been on my must-visit list because of their famous Belgian hot chocolate, made with Callebaut dark Belgian chocolate and organic milk. I love how it was served in this little kettle with extra chocolate chips. It was flavourful and sweet, but the chocolate and milk were not mixed together very well. The first 1.5 cups were milky, but near the bottom of the kettle, the chocolate was much more concentrated and un-melted.

For my brunch dish, I ordered the cheesy jalapeño waffles, which were topped with mashed avocado, grilled cherry tomatoes, and two poached eggs. I was worried the waffles would be too spicy, since the waitress said they were quite spicy, but it turned out to be okay. I loved the generous scoop of avocado, since I haven’t had avo for a while, and the eggs were poached very nicely. The entire dish was fresh and flavourful, and it was sprinkled with some coarse salt that boosted the taste of everything. Overall, a solid brunch dish that I would recommend!

The table to my right savoured a slice of lemon sour cream pound cake with lemon curd, and it looked delicious. On top of that, my server talked about how much she loved this dessert. For those of you who have read my blog for a while now – you know that I’ve never been a fan of citrus desserts. In fact, I hate lemon. I think orange ruins chocolate. Grapefruit desserts should be called breakfast. I’m all about the nutty desserts. The chocolatey desserts. The richer, the more decadent, the creamier – the better. So, ordering this fresh and fruity LEMON dessert was out of character!

But it was good. Really good. Paired with that lemon curd, this slightly-warm, crumbly, buttery cake with blasts of flavour from the toasted walnuts, this was a fantastic way to end my meal.

“We noticed the lady to our right, munching on this cake and gushing about it,” the man beside me had mentioned, “so we had to order it, too. It’s just a ricochet of lemon pound cake.”

A couple days ago, I spent my morning at Corner Store Cafe. I’ve been to Corner Store Cafe a couple times before. Literally, a couple. The first time, I had a lamb flatbread and a smoothie. The second time, I enjoyed the polenta waffles with smoked salmon and a mug of chai. This time, the chai was calling my name again.

For my main dish, I knew I wanted the mushroom quesadillas. These quesadillas were filled with gorgonzola and stracciatella (Italian buffalo milk) cheese, sauteed mushrooms, and spinach. It was set on a bed of pumpkin puree, and topped with two fried eggs and pebre salsa. According to Wikipedia, pebre salsa is a Chilean condiment made of coriander, chopped onion, olive oil, garlic and ground or pureed spicy aji peppers. The dish was a blast of flavours and textures, incredibly filling, and I was in love with the cheesy centres and doughy tortilla.

For dessert, I wanted to try their daily special – a middle eastern fruit bread pudding topped with sliced fruit, and two scoops of orange marmalade ice cream. This was much bigger than I’d expected, and the giant slabs (yes, there were three slices) of bread were layered with figs, dates, raisins, and bananas.

Every bite was fruity and paired well with the zing of the ice cream. I liked how some parts of the fruit bread were crispy and caramelized, while the middles were creamy and pudding-like.

You can probably imagine, that after a mug of milk tea, a veggie-filled quesadilla with two eggs, and then a massive loaf of bread pudding with two scoops of ice cream – that I was very full. 🙂

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Photos of South Bank, Brisbane! Gotta do the touristy stuff here, too.

  • L: a dessert restaurant in South Bank that I want to try!
  • R: photo from the bathroom of Banneton Bakery that took me right back to my summer in Paris, France. I remember all of these stops, and miss Paris so much. Thinking about my time there always makes me happy – and simultaneously leaves me in disbelief. I can’t believe that the 16 year-old me took my younger sister to live in Paris for a month.

Another amazing brunch happened at Pearl Cafe. I’ve wanted to visit Pearl Cafe for ages, and it’s been at the top of my food bucket list for months. For some reason, I thought it would be far away, but it was only a 30-minute bus ride from home.

Here, I didn’t think twice before ordering the crepe, which was filled with fried egg and spinach. It was such an easy choice because the server told me that the crepe was her favourite item on the menu, and she eats it every single day after her shift. Can’t argue with that! The topping is saffron and radish, with fresh prawns and a zingy marinade. Honestly, a spectacular dish, and it was exceptionally tasty with freshly-cracked black pepper and a squeeze of lemon. I can see why Pearl Cafe is so popular!

For dessert… you guys. You guys.

“Tea cake”, to me, sounds boring. I just think of some plain old yeast bread, maybe studded with a couple raisins. Pearl Cafe’s tea cake, however, is on another level. This massive slice was buttery, had incredible crumb, and was loaded with caramelized rhubarb. Yes, caramelized rhubarb! Even better, there was a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. I devoured every crumb, as usual, and would eat this a million times. I’m already planning my next trip back to Pearl Cafe.

Back to the chai! I stole this paragraph from a popular Brisbane food and travel website called The Urban List:

There’s a lot of chat being thrown around by a bunch of heathens trying to tell me that flavoured sugar powder is a worthy substitute. Where’s the LOVE? Where’s the AUTHENTICITY? Nothing compares to the spicy aroma of a freshly brewed pot of proper chai; you feel that shit in your soul, and Brisbane’s got it on lock.

Couldn’t’ve (had to google how to spell that!) said it better.

Anyways, the award for the #1 chai I’ve had in Brisbane so far goes to… the Baker’s Arms! Their chai is a homemade blend, steeped in organic milk and honey. It was rich, had excellent tea flavour, and had subtle sweetness from the honey. I enjoyed this tea with a side of sunshine, before grabbing a tasty meal next door. My only complaint about this chai is that there wasn’t enough. I can’t wait to go back for this!

No, you aren’t having deja-vu; I posted about this incredible peanut butter hot chocolate on my last blog post. It was so good that I had to go back for another mug. Look at those chocolate shavings! That foamy milk! Those granules of sea salt!

Another place I’m dying to visit, and a quote that hit me yesterday. I haven’t been performing very well on a couple recent exams and essays, and surprisingly, don’t feel too discouraged. It’s a weird feeling because I feel like I should be angry or upset about the grades, but I’m not. Interestingly, I’m not in denial about it either… I’ve just accepted it and feel okay with it. I know I didn’t study as much as I normally do, and my grades reflected that, but I’m trying my best. I don’t know – it’s so strange!

Plus, most of my time has been going to – you guessed it – aerials. 😉 I revamped the page, by the way, so y’all should go check it out.

Couple other things – my friends and I are having lunch at Wordsmiths, a cafe on campus, tomorrow. I’ve starred all the items that I think would be delicious, but I haven’t decided which one I’m going to order. I’m leaning towards the soup of the day, depending what it is, but the baked ricotta (it has pumpkin in it!) and vegetable lasagna also sound delicious. Wish I could find photos for all of them, though.

And… I’m back to studying!

By that, I mean I am going to start now, though I should’ve started days ago.

Bye!

Giant Chai Bowls, Deconstructed Desserts, and PB Hot Chocolate!

Hello! I was really tempted to start this post with ‘Chai there’, but… I resisted. Well, without further ado (this is such a weird word), I visited Three Monkeys Cafe yesterday. It’s described as the most atmospheric cafe in the city, and boasts the biggest mug bowl of chai.

According to The Urban List: “Where else can you get a tureen of chai at 9.30pm on a Wednesday night? When it comes to serving sizes, Three Monkeys knows what’s up. Their yawning bowls of chai have garnered such a rep that a recent stigma has developed towards anyone hoping to ‘nip in for a small one’. To be fair, Three Monkeys’ largest vessel is probably more than most people can handle, but chai addiction is as real as it is harmless and I’ve never known a fiend to hold back when that flagrant spice display hits the table.”

It was delicious, and a perfect serving size for me because I can never get enough chai. It came with a single packet of honey, which was perfect, but I think two packets would’ve made my sweet tooth even happier. Next time, I’ll come back for some of the cakes – I was bewildered by the number of cheesecakes, tiramisus (is this how you pluralize it?), mud cakes, and more. It was amazing. I’m actually very tempted to stand up, get dressed, and leave my house right now to go back to Three Monkeys.

After I spiced up my life with the chai (pun stolen from the Urban List), I went to Botanica! I talked about this place in my last blog post, so you all know already how much I love this place. Gluten-free treats, a massive variety of vegan salads, incredible quiche – everything made with fresh ingredients. If this place was any closer to my home, I’d be bankrupt.

I went for a walk yesterday to Brisbane’s awesome West End! When I leave Australia, I will really miss the beautiful river walks and early sunsets.

The river walk and the Go Between Bridge took me to the Boundary Street Markets! The markets run every Friday and Saturday evening, from 4:00 to 10:00 pm. There were about eight to ten stalls, all selling unique ethnic eats. Ones that stood out to me include a Malaysian satay vendor, an Italian waffle ice cream vendor, Dutch miniature pancakes, Korean barbecue, and Nepalese momos (steamed dumplings). I had dinner plans, so unfortunately I didn’t get to grab any of the treats.

Some funny things – a tweet I saw and a street sign that someone improved. 😉

On Monday morning, I felt like going for a nice walk. Since it’s getting cooler in Brisbane, to a much more comfortable weather, I love going for refreshing, sunny morning walks. One morning, I headed straight ti John Mills Himself, a trip I’d been looking forward to for so long. Finally, finally, I got my hot chocolate! They offered hot chocolate in every flavour imaginable, and you can choose between two levels of chocolatey-ness: milk chocolate or dark chocolate (70%). The lady behind the counter informed me that while the milk chocolate is sweeter, the dark chocolate is richer. Then, you add a shot of flavour! These are some of the flavours I remember:

  • lemongrass
  • bergamot (the citrus from earl grey tea)
  • chai
  • peanut butter
  • peppermint
  • lavender
  • rose petals
  • and about four or five more… that I can’t remember! But don’t worry, I’ll be back to double check 😉

I originally came for the lavender, but was so tempted by the peppermint – and ended up choosing peanut butter. If I see peanut butter, anywhere on a menu, I need it! Next time, I want to try the peppermint or the lavender, though I’m sure the chai would taste wonderful with hot chocolate as well. In the end, my 70% chocolate peanut butter hot chocolate was topped with a heap of chocolate shavings, freshly-cracked sea salt, and… it was divine. Honestly. From heaven.

Also, love the double-walled (is that what you call it?) cup.

Today, I felt… celebratory? For no reason. Why not? I celebrated my Tuesday morning by visiting the Gunshop Cafe, where I had a spectacular and memorable brunch. I’ve always loved the West End, an area of Brisbane which is known for hundreds of trendy and hip cafes and restaurants, but I hardly ever go there. Don’t ask me why because I don’t know why.

Well, I went! I finally went!

Thanks to this incredible picture on Instagram posted by the Gunshop Cafe, showing their famous gnocchi with blue cheese sauce and mushrooms. Doesn’t that look amazing?

I went for brunch, so the gnocchi wasn’t an option, but I was exhilarated to order the raisin and walnut toast, which was topped with – get this! – grilled camembert cheese, sautéed mushrooms, crispy sage, and red onion jam. Is this real life?

For dessert, the deconstructed carrot cake was calling my name. This came with a parsnip puree and a scoop of nutmeg gelato, garnished with carrot-coconut chips and walnut crumble. Even better, the carrot cake itself was warm! One of the dreamiest desserts I’ve enjoyed in a long time. It was also such a photogenic dish that I took a million photographs, and had a hard time narrowing it down to three images.

Some other little bits and pieces:

  • I had a chai latte from Merlo’s Coffee (on campus) this morning. Merlo’s, to me, is the Aussie version of Starbucks – they sell breakfast goods, plenty of drinks, and have snacks to-go. Their chai latte was mediocre: not hot enough, overly sweet, overpoweringly milky. I’m 99% sure that it was made with chai syrup rather than real spices (in other words, the chai latte didn’t even have tea in it). Thankfully, I got it for free because everyone who signs up for a Merlo’s card gets two free drinks!
  • I have the most serious internal debates when I’m trying to figure out which restaurant or cafe I want to go to!
  • In the suburb that I live, it’s so easy to go to the “busy part” of Brisbane, or the “downtown” area, by walking! It’s not a long walk, and there are plenty of water fountains, benches, flowers, and areas to rest along the way.

On Saturday evening, I had tickets to see a spectacular one-woman show called Invisible Things. Before the show, I chatted with some friends from aerials, and they recommended a different show to me. Kelsey and I share a lot of mutual friends, though I haven’t met her in person before, and I’ll probably pick up tickets for her one-woman show as well.

Invisible Things was created by Alex, who coached my old aerial straps instructor, Ben, and his partner, Maddy. Alex’s show was described by reviewers as an “emotionally-charged performance [that] journeys to an intimate inner world. In the show, Alex fuses dance, theatre, and circus arts.

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According to the site, Alex designed the show to reflect on nearly two decades of her personal journals, where she battles with her identity, and the dark voices in her head. I’ve never met Alex personally, but I have heard incredible things about her athleticism and creativity. All my friends who saw the show before me told me about how the powerful storytelling and gorgeous hand balancing made up an amazing show. They were right! This was super cool. I was amazed by how one woman, without even using words, could captivate an audience for 45 minutes.

That’s all! I’m not sure if I have anything else to share with you guys today, so I suppose I will leave it at that. Wishing you all a wonderful last week of May!

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Seline’s first ice cream of 2018!

Bites of Life and Things I’ve Been Loving!

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Good morning!

I really wish I had something interesting and thought-provoking to share with you this lovely Monday morning, but I really don’t.

It’s almost winter here in Australia, and the weather is getting noticeably cooler. Fortunately, I can still wear shorts and a t-shirt since we are around the mid-twenties for most of the day. This is my favourite kind of weather – warm and sunny, but not overwhelmingly hot. It’s such a comfortable temperature that I wish it could stay like this year-round.

On Mother’s Day, I had a lovely brunch with my landlords (husband and wife) and her daughter (my housemate). We savoured brunch at a cafe called Café 63 in New Farm. Their menu was very extensive, they had quick service, and it was great to sit out in the patio. I ordered the mashed avocado, multigrain toast, two poached eggs, and smoked salmon. I haven’t had avocado toast in quite a while, so this was incredible. The black pepper and lime juice took the flavours to the next level.

I’ve been neglecting my blog a little bit with only two posts in the last three weeks. It’s because my schoolwork is getting busier. Final exams begin at the start of June, so many of my exams are less than a month away. When I have a lot to do, I genuinely enjoy making to-do lists – the longer the better! – and feel so much satisfaction checking off the tasks.

I haven’t been taking many pictures of my food, mostly because I feel like I eat the same thing every day. It’s always a combination of store-bought salad from Botanica Real Food (check out their Instagram, seriously), alongside some homemade quiche or omelet, and sometimes fried halloumi or bread from the farmer’s market.

Broke my record for steps! In contrast to… sitting on my butt for hours at a time to study.

I love Brisbane! At night it becomes such a colourful, vibrant place when all the bridges light up and illuminate the water. I learned yesterday that swimming and rowing in the Brisbane River is highly advised against, because there are bull sharks in here!

After my term in Australia, then July and August, I will be moving back to Waterloo, this time with my sister! Seline was accepted into the University of Waterloo, so we are very excited about being able to live together. I’ve been choosing my courses, and we have been working together to find a nice and affordable place at a convenient location in Waterloo.

Now, for something completely unrelated to school and housing:

Here’s a list of my favourite side dish salad combinations, inspired by Botanica!

  • potato, peas, dill ⭐FAV
  • brown rice, squash
  • pumpkin with seeds and cumin hummus dressing
  • Israeli couscous with spinach, red onion, sweet potato, pesto dressing ⭐FAV
  • roasted cauliflower with dates and parsley ⭐FAV
  • shredded beet with orange and goat cheese, mint
  • purple cabbage with mayo
  • chickpea, spinach, carrot with creamy curry dressing
  • broccoli slaw with dried cranberries
  • carrot and quinoa
  • currant, quinoa, green/brown lentil, red onion, parsley, sliced almonds, pumpkin seeds, cabbage
  • roasted potato with capers, dill

My sister asked me for a list of foods rich in B12. Here you go, S!

Food sources of vitamin B12

Meat-based Vitamin B12-Rich Foods

  • fish
  • milk
  • red meat
  • eggs
  • fish (trout, salmon)
  • crab
  • cheese
  • chicken
  • oysters and clams
  • yogurt

Vegan Vitamin B12-Rich Foods

  • almonds
  • soy milk
  • carrots
  • papayas
  • squash
  • sweet potato
  • peppers
  • mangoes
  • avocado
  • melon
  • peaches
  • apricots

Now, for a little note on things that I’ve been loving recently:

  1. Cirque Physio, a website by physiotherapist and circus artist Dr. Jen Crane. She provides all kinds of excellent tips and tricks (that I get on FB!) about recovery, injury prevention, and healthy habits – all targeting aerialists and acrobats.
  2. Along those lines, I downloaded The Artist Athlete Podcast by Shannon McKenna. I’ve never been a big fan of podcasts, but her podcast has featured interviews and conversations with high-level performers, occupational therapists, riggers, and a variety of artists. Her voice is so easy to listen to, and she brings up some excellent points. One of my favourite episodes was one from May 7, where she spoke with Anton Belyakov, a professional hand balancer born into a circus family.

That’s pretty much all I have for today, but I’m going to some great cafes today and tomorrow, and an awesome show that I’m very excited about. Have a great day!