A Spoonful of Octopus: MIKU Review!

The best thing about winter in Toronto is probably definitely Winterlicious.

A little bit about Miku:

  • They are involved with the Ocean Wise conservation program, launched by the Vancouver Aquarium
  • They are famous for their addictive Aburi sushi, which means “flame-seared”
  • Miku makes their aburi sushi with European-style sauces, Japanese bamboo charcoal, and seasoned rice (shari)
  • Miku’s regular dessert menu also features a green tea wafer cake, a mochi dome with black sesame ice cream, and toffee pudding with herbed apples and togarashi meringue

I was given this free amuse-bouche of octopus tartare with wasabi gremolata and a white wine vinegar dressing.

Lovely ambiance with a sleek and modern decor.

Miku Zen

  • Aburi Albacore Tuna
  • Ebi fritter
  • Beef tenderloin skewers
  • Miso Marinated Tofu Salad

My appetizer was the Miku Zen, which had four plates with a variety of flavours. I really enjoyed the crispy ebi fritter, which came with a smokey and sweet chili aioli. It tasted like a freshly-prepared app from Cactus Club or another trendy Canadian restaurant. I’m not normally one to devour anything meaty, but these beef tenderloin skewers were quite impressive. I finished all of the pieces! The miso marinated tofu, however, was my favourite part. Flavourful, with excellent texture and the right amount of dressing, I definitely wanted more of this dish and would order it again.

Signature Aburi Sushi Plate

Salmon oshi, saba oshi, coal harbour roll, Aburi nigiri, queens quay roll

Without a doubt, the salmon oshi was my favourite part. I loved having so many parts to this entree to savour.

Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding with miso salted caramel sauce, tahitian vanilla bean ice cream, candied sesame pecans

Massive internal debate before ordering this guy. It was incredibly hard to decide between this and the famous green tea opera, but so glad I selected the chocolate croissant bread pudding. Really was as good as it sounds and looks 🙂

That’s it for today, friends! I just had a massive breakfast that involved one-too-many handfuls of granola. Time to get the day started. Hope the long weekend was fantastic for everyone!

Bhima’s Warung

On Friday night, I met up with a new friend! We met in the coolest way:

Hi Cindy – you don’t know me at all but I promise I’m not too weird! I follow a lot of food bloggers, and I saw you commented on Kath Eats’ blog, and after checking out your page I found out that you go to UW! I’m a student at Laurier so I just thought that was kinda cool.. pretty small world haha! Just wanted to let you know that I love your blog and will be continuing to follow it 🙂

We chatted about housing, sublets, Toronto, food, sushi, and blogs – then realized we were both free Friday evening for an exciting food outing!

Before I show you those pics, check out this pear oatmeal. I grated most of the pear inside with a cheese grater, then topped it with pear slices and a big glob of peanut butter. Cocoa powder was also involved, making this breakfast deliciously dessert-like.

Also, check out this horrific lighting. iPhone camera + 8AM sunrise/5PM sunset = this.

On the bright side, I made muffins? These delicious, tender, not-too-sweet vegan applesauce carrot muffins were fantastic. I’ll share the recipe in my next post!

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We decided to meet at Bhima’s Warung. They had so many reservations booked throughout the evening, that, even though I called three days beforehand, we were left with a 5:45 reservation. Which, now that I think about it, was probably a blessing because I got super full.

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Our appetizer involved delicious chicken and scallop dumplings, fried and topped with spicy mango sauce and shoots. I really liked this! The dumplings were crisp, the fillings flavourful, and the sauce a great companion.

Indonesian-style noodles were also ordered. We shared this sweet, savoury, and tomato-y bowl of noodles. It doesn’t look big, but it was! The perfectly-cooked egg noodles filled me up so quickly. This bowl was also loaded with mushrooms, carrots, cilantro, and crunchy peanuts. The sauce was excellent!

Our main dish featured a piece of monkeyfish and a lobster tail, along with spicy coconut broth mixed with egg noodles. I absolutely loved this and could not get enough of the spicy, creamy sauce, tender noodles, and flavourful fish. The monkfish was cooked just right, and tasted quite fresh.

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Both of us were about to explode, but there were still noodles and some of our entree left over. Nonetheless, dessert was ordered.

Guys, this dessert blew my socks off (do people even still say that?). I absolutely loved this. It looks strange from the picture, but I’ll try to describe it. On the menu, this was called a black sticky-rice creme brûlée, so I was expecting a traditional creme brûlée studded with black rice. Instead, there was a cup of phyllo pastry filled with creamy black rice in a sweet sauce. That was topped with a custard-like vanilla pudding creme and a big shard of creme brûlée sugar topping. There were also grapefruit shreds on top. On the side, there was a slab of chewy toffee nuts. Everything tasted so fresh. The sweet vanilla custard and the tender black rice were my favourite parts.

Denise enjoyed a chocolate marquise, which involved spicy chocolate and orange (mango?) sorbet. I tried some of her chocolate marquise, which was absolutely delicious. It tasted like a dark, chocolatey, rich truffle crossed with the best gelato. I ate all of my dessert – and some of Denise’s too. YUM.

Yesterday and Sunday were yoga teacher training days! I have just three more days before I’m certified. WOO! Yesterday, I taught around 8 minutes of yoga to a group of 40+ people in this studio. I thought I would be nervous and shaky, but it didn’t turn out too bad at all. In fact, EVERYONE did amazing when they taught their parts. I felt so proud of my fellow yoga classmates! It felt a lot more natural once I was at the front, demonstrating. Guess my standards were a bit too low for myself 😉

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And, I believe that’s it for today! Happy Monday, my friends 🙂

From Thanksgiving to Healthy Blueberry “Buttermilk” Pancakes

Happy belated Thanksgiving, my Canadian friends!

I hope you all had an incredible day full of great food, laughter, and special moments with family and friends. I’m writing this as I enjoy my breakfast – whole wheat pita bread with a ton of melted butter, scrambled eggs with cheddar and spinach, and yogurt with peanut butter, raspberries, granola, and some chocolate banana bread. I always tend to go a little overboard with breakfast on days that I don’t have school. Since yesterday was Thanksgiving, students at the University of Waterloo also get Tuesday and Wednesday off to make a full “reading week”. I’m planning to spend the next couple of days just relaxing!

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Mom made a pseudo-Thanksgiving dinner that involved bone broth, pumpkin pie from Superstore, two pizzas and Church’s chicken, and a big, beautiful salad. Those crackers look kind of interesting, too.

At my friend Mary’s house, the table was set beautifully. I loved the cornucopia centrepiece and fall-accented tablecloth.

This was my first plate! I definitely had seconds. Moving clockwise from 12:00 – mashed acorn “pepper” squash, roasted turkey breast, steamed broccoli and cauliflower, apple and butternut squash hash, roasted sweet potatoes, raw carrot and green beans, the best celery-bacon-bread stuffing I’ve ever tasted, and strawberry jello with pineapple. The stuffing and squash mashes were incredible. What did you enjoy for Thanksgiving dinner?

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We’re kind of moving back in time here, but a couple days ago I enjoyed chocolate oatmeal with peanut butter and a serving of yogurt with fruit for breakfast.

I had my first Skype interview! It was done in a big room with six cubicles. All the interviewees got to wear headsets with microphones to speak to the hiring managers. My interview was around 30 minutes long, and I loved getting to meet my potential boss and some of her colleagues. It was a cool experience, but I didn’t like how the camera was much higher than the screen. It made “eye contact” a little awkward! Have you ever done a Skype interview?

For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to snap photos of my oatmeal on my bed? Pumpkin oats are finally IN now!

Another day I had whole wheat bread with smashed avocado, a delicious filet of spicy salmon, and some roasted brown sugar squash. An amazing lunch!

LASAGNA! ❤ This vegetarian lasagna was made with heaps of zucchini, mushrooms, and peppers, along with a whole box of spinach and fresh ricotta cheese and a ball of mozzarella. I had this two days in a row and froze the rest. YUM.

And pumpkin baked oatmeal was made and enjoyed for a couple days! This recipe serves 2, and you can use either rolled oats or quick oats. I found a vegan recipe since I was out of eggs and was pleased by how tasty this was.

Simple Vegan Pumpin Baked Oatmeal
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease baking dish.
  2. Whisk together all ingredients and mix well. Fold in raisins or nuts, if desired.
  3. Bake for 35 minutes, or until golden brown.

My sister’s best friend, Brianna, delivered a tray full of banana bread and pumpkin sugar cookies to Seline. They loved these, and it inspired me to bake something with the rest of my ripe bananas!

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I made my go-to recipe for chocolate banana squares. I still have a hard time believing this amazing vegan recipe is low-sugar, oil/butter-free, and made with whole wheat flour. Granola was also made, this time using quick oats, maple syrup and coconut oil, and walnuts. I love, love, love this granola recipe.

Some of it was jarred and given to the Zach family (Mary’s family). I told you, we’re going in a weird order today… reverse chronological?!

Needless to say, I had a ton of dishes to wash afterwards, so I enjoyed washing them while watching Mockingjay Part II on my laptop. Have you guys seen that movie? Thoughts? PS: watching something while doing dishes makes it much less of a chore 🙂

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Another day, I thought I would take a nap at 6:00 PM, wake up in an hour, and then cook a delicious salmon filet. I must have been incredibly tired because I didn’t wake up until 9:00 PM, and it was so dark outside! Oops. Instead, I rolled groggily out of bed and felt instantly refreshed once I smelled this simple red curry with eggplant, mushrooms, spinach, and red pepper cooking… in the microwave. I also thanked past Cindy for making this!

A couple days ago, I tried a new recipe for pancakes. I made the following changes:
– halved the recipe
– replaced banana with a whole egg (instead of half an egg)
– greased pan with butter
– added a pinch of salt
– used frozen blueberries
– used oat flour instead of whole oats, since I don’t have a blender
– used just a sprinkle of cinnamon
– enjoyed with maple syrup

Next time, I will add more blueberries since it was easy to flip. I will also add more cinnamon next time.

It tasted like a buttermilk pancake in flavour, but the texture was a bit creamier, gummier, and was fragrant like oats. I loved it and will be making this recipe again. I highly recommend it if you’re a pancake lover like me! Next time, I might also experiment with other fruit like raspberries or even chocolate chips.

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Next time, I will add more blueberries since it was easy to flip. I will also add more cinnamon next time. It tasted like a buttermilk pancake in flavour, but the texture was a bit creamier, gummier, and was fragrant like oats. I loved it and will be making this recipe again. I highly recommend it if you’re a pancake lover like me! Next time, I might also experiment with other fruit like raspberries or even chocolate chips.

Still, absolutely 100% deliciousness.

A different recipe this time, but still using oat flour. I think I may have cooked these too long or over-mixed the batter, because it was quite firm and hard to chew. The flavour was excellent though, so I think the recipe just needs a bit of tweaking.

Last Friday, I went to downtown Toronto for my interview at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. The best part of the day was going to Rahier in the morning for an earl grey tea latte and an almond croissant.

I was walking down the street to the hospital when I noticed another bakery – Patisserie LaCigogne, so I HAD to indulge in another croissant. Yup, I had two decadent chocolate almond croissants in less than an hour. It was a sweet day, literally and figuratively.

Mom Meals! Does anything catch your eye here? For me, it’s the MUFFINS and that kabocha soup! It’s crazy how much you can do with kabocha. Here in Waterloo, it’s called “buttercup squash”. I’ve made curries and pancakes out of kabocha, but there are a million other uses that you can read about here. Yes, kabocha pudding is a thing – and leave it to Miss SuperFitBabe to invent that!

I don’t know why I love these photos so much. It’s crazy what good-ish lighting can do for a food shot! I made a red eggplant curry with spinach and served it on quinoa, with lots of peanuts. Yummy.

Dessert was arguably yummier, with raspberries, peanut butter yogurt, granola, and a square of chocolate banana bread.

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More squash and more salmon – I ended up standing over the sink, stuffing squash into my mouth before I had to head out the door! These were ADDICTIVE.

Skies are cool.

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On a different note, I wrote an article a while back about my time in Nepal, and how doing yoga there was different from yoga here in North America. This was for a Yoga Teacher Training assignment, and I was lucky to have my article actually published by both Yoga Today, Yoga Anonymous, and Gaiam! For some reason, I’m super proud of that 🙂

This infographic was neat!

And something punny that I found on Facebook 🙂

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That’s it for today! Hope everyone has a great rest of the week. Can’t believe the weekend is already here!

PS: check out the world’s most random tags that I used for this post 😛

Serendipitous Snippets of Summer

Confession: I had to Google how to spell ‘Serendipitous’ and how to use it properly in a sentence. Hopefully I used it correctly?

On a different note, check out this chocolate cake! I made this heavenly recipe. It’s my family’s favourite. My dad loves how sweet, moist, and decadent it tastes, as well as the creamy and super-chocolatey buttercream frosting. Definitely a once-in-a-while treat, but lots of fun to bake… and eat.

PS: decoration done with a ziploc bag (tiny hole cut out of one corner) and a toothpick used to drag the white chocolate through the buttercream frosting.

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One dinner we enjoyed recently involved salmon steaks, corn, and boiled broccoli + carrots. Seline had mashed potatoes and gravy with hers. This was my first time having a salmon steak – normally we buy the filets from Costco. I made these with butter, lemon, garlic, S+P, and cayenne. Simple and so flavourful!

Yummy flourless almond meal cake that I topped with sliced peach. This cake was devoured (98% by me) in two days. :O

Do you like red bean soup? My mom makes the absolute BEST out of coconut milk and brown sugar. It’s my favourite Chinese dessert.

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A couple days ago, we stopped at Whole Foods after visiting Grandma in Burnaby. There is a new Whole Foods near Brentwood Town Centre. Seline and I each grabbed a takeout box and filled them up with pasta, salad toppings, vegetables, mac and cheese (probably the best thing in the WF hot bar!), potatoes, and more. The tikka masala chickpeas were my favourite part, as was the smoked mozzarella pasta salad and the creamy mashed potatoes. Delicious field greens underneath mixed with house dressing!

Beta5 Chocolates is a place in Vancouver that sells some pretty incredible pastries. I loved every single one of these. Up top, we have an earl grey raspberry cream puff. Going clockwise, there is a dulce de leech cream puff, a chocolate peanut butter eclair with white chocolate garnish, and a creamy vanilla-chocolate-strawberry eclair. Mmmmm.

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This spinach egg bake with smoked cheddar turned out like more of a savoury bread than a frittata, which was what I was going for. It was a bit too dense and flour-y for my liking, so next time I’ll add some more spinach and extra eggs. Roasted delicata squash on the side!

Portuguese kale and white bean soup from Superstore, served with sprouted whole wheat toast topped with grated honey gouda. I bought the packaged soup a couple weeks ago, in preparation for meals sans a wisdom tooth.

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Delicious dessert: the creamiest Greek yogurt with coconut chips (10 points for Costco), crunchy chia nut butter, and fresh strawberries.

Mom made some tasty noodles one day…

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Here they are!

More Mom Meals – tomato scrambled eggs with shrimp is my favourite simple Chinese dish. Mom’s tofu and winter melon stew is also amazing. I’ll miss these tasty Asian meals!

Creamy banana oatmeal topped with my new favourite nut butter and served in the cutest bowl that was handmade in Nepal.

Colourful and tasty lunch comprised of strawberries, kiwi, white peach, peanut butter dip, a spinach egg bread square bake thing, and a slice of sprouted whole wheat bread topped with blue brie cheese, pepper, and honey. The peanut butter dip was made of PB2 (powdered peanut butter), plain yogurt, maple syrup, and cinnamon.

This perfect dinner involved quinoa, maple-soy salmon, and fresh zucchini + summer squash sautéed with garlic. I had seconds thirds on the quinoa!

One evening, we invited some of Seline’s friends over and had a BBQ with another family. Mom cooked up some delicious sesame cold noodles, roasted garlic cauliflower, and we brought out the tiny broccoli egg bites that I made the day before. We also enjoyed some creamy quinoa casserole with sweet potato, corn, and vegetables made with smoked cheddar. I used my favourite mac and cheese “sauce” to mix with the quinoa and veggies.

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Vanilla cake made with real vanilla bean! New obsession. Five vanilla beans for $10 – pretty good deal at our local bakery.

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Stuffed tofu is one of my favourite dinner treats! My sister has a new addiction to bean sprouts. I think they taste really… earthy. Grassy? How do you feel about them?

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B-R-I-O-C-H-E!

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After my dad revealed his deep, true love for toasted brioche bread while we were on a weeklong vacation on Vancouver Island, I decided to tackle the challenge. This buttery, doughy challenge.

After mixing, waiting, rolling, waiting, rising, waiting, brushing, waiting, re-brushing, waiting, and finally baking – there was more waiting to do before we could finally slice in. I made two batches in a week, using two different recipes.

The first batch had an intense buttery flavour and great texture. It also looked better, but took a total of THREE days to complete. The second batch took just a couple hours and made two loaves, but lacked in flavour, had fewer air pockets, and was a bit denser.

Last but not least, here is a sneak peek at a poster that I made out of a sheet of handmade paper (actually, wrapping paper!) from Nepal. It’s a project for my Yoga Teacher Training, called a freedom manifesto. I covered it with cutouts of things that are special to me, like Disney movies, bakeries, my family, places that I grew up in and places I’ve travelled to, and, of course, places that I’m dying to visit.

I also used a metallic gold Sharpie to doodle words and phrases onto foam board to decorate the poster. This will go on my wall in Waterloo! It isn’t 100% done yet 🙂

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Good night, friends!

Do You Get Seasick?

On our last full day in the Sunshine Coast, we had breakfast at Zoe’s Bakery and Cafe. I loved my egg bake and this quiche with chanterelles! The poppyseed berry coffee cake was also unbelievable.

I loved the view outside our hotel!

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For lunch, we went grocery shopping and bought things to cook in our kitchenette at home. Seline made red peppers with ranch, corn with salt and butter, and scrambled eggs. Mom and I made fried salmon, roasted broccoli, avocado, and noodles. We had a feast!

This is our hotel – the Black Rock Oceanfront Resort. It is so modern, and is was very clean.

Next, we made a reservation for a ride to go whale watching! The ride was three hours and included a fast ride on the zodiac and an hour of seasickness-inducing whale watching. We also saw bald eagles, seals, and sea lions. Unfortunately, all seven of us felt a little ill.

Post-ride photo of everyone! Check out these thick long-sleeved, long-panted (?) life vests.

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Dinner at the Matterson House involved lots of steak, meat, and potatoes.

Seline loved her seafood chowder and tomato-cheese pasta.

Mom and I shared the spinach fettuccine with smoked salmon, parmesan, and pine nuts. I loved it!

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I also loved my dessert – a creamy Skor pie, and apple crumble à la mode.

Vacation for me = adventures + food coma + extra sleep

A [literal] Hole in the Wall, then Fish & Chips

Good Friday morning, everyone! Hope you’re all having a great week. Although I’m back in the Lower Mainland (AKA home, and off the islands now), I’ve been having a pretty good time scrolling through pages and pages of photos, trying to select the best ones for the blog.

This is one of them! On our way from Parksville to Ucluelet, we drove past Port Alberni and visited the famous Cathedral Grove. It is part of the MacMillan Provincial Park, and is known for having some of the largest and oldest trees in the country. Some of the trees were up to 800 years old.

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Seline and I climbed a lot of the trees – sounds cool, but we only dared to step on the sturdy, low, and large trunks!

After that, we drove down to the Coombs Country Candy Shop, a place that makes their own caramel corn, their own hand-churned ice cream, fresh gelato, and all kinds of candy. I wanted a big piece of tiger butter (white chocolate peanut butter chocolate), but ended up ordering two scoops of ice cream: one English toffee and one peanut butter chocolate. It hit the spot on this hot, hot day.

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Next, we crossed the street (actually, highway) to a secret location called Hole in the Wall. It was, quite literally, a hole in the wall with a lovely waterfall gushing out.

Seline and I loved exploring this private little area! There was no one else in this rocky grotto.

Lunch was our next stop! Bare Bones Fish & Chips was a busy restaurant that served fresh seafood, salads, and fries. My mom and I shared grilled halibut with Caesar salad, while my dad and sister devoured calamari and fried cod. Dad loved his chicken strips! I loved the dips – there was wasabi aioli, sweet Thai chili, tangy seafood, lemon-dill, and traditional tartar.

Mom and I took a walk to the Victoria Quay. She looks SO cute here! Big thanks to my mom for taking about 390,435 (probably more) photos of my sister and I.

We waved at ships and admired the clear blue water. Hey, how do you pronounce the word ‘quay’?

Next stop – the Naesgaard Farmer’s Market! This place was a foodie’s dream. I walked past rows and rows of baby kale and arugula (planted!) and saw dozens of different squash. My mom and I ended up picking up a delicata squash, which is one of my favourites. I’ve only ever seen it in Waterloo!

Unfortunately, we didn’t take many photos at our next destination, the MacLean Sawmill from the 1920s. It was quite mesmerizing to see refrigerators, cars, beds, briefcases, and kitchenware from nearly a century ago. The best part was playing with this typewriter and old dial phone. Typewriters are heavy!

PS: did you know that T-Y-P-E-W-R-I-T-E-R is the longest word in English that you can type using only one line of the keyboard?

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Another long drive was endured before we arrived in Ucluelet, ready for some barbecue! At Hank’s Untraditional BBQ, my mom and I demolished a bowl of beans, cornbread, cabbage stew, potatoes, and tender BBQ pulled pork. Seline liked her pulled pork mac and cheese, too.

Then it was time to unpack, play cards, and sleep. 🙂 Family vacations are the best – especially when you go with a close family friend family. Did that make sense?

Stay tuned for a couple more days of vacationing in the Sunshine Coast!