CHOWDER FRIES in C-Town

Good morning!

Food-filled post ahead, guys. First of all, my sister and I are going to Cavendish tomorrow! It’s a touristy beach town in northern Prince Edward Island. We’ll be catching a 10:30 AM bus tomorrow and arriving in just over an hour. Both of us are really looking forward to it. I’ll be sure to take lots of photos.

Yesterday, Seline and I went to the Pilot House, where she had a striploin with mushrooms and asparagus. I had the warm seafood salad, with seared Cajun-spiced haddock, salmon, trout, shrimp, and scallops on mixed greens with cucumber, tomato, and lemon. I ate this last week, and had to order the same thing again. It’s so good – especially the goat cheese. Before our entrees, Seline ate a plate of calamari, and I had a cup of seafood chowder with a buttermilk biscuit. THE. BEST.

 

For dessert, we shared a delicious cookie pie topped with two scoops of ice cream and plenty of whipped cream, chocolate sauce, and nuts. Seline is not a dessert person, but she did enjoy this.

 

Couple of other things:

  • Seline stopped coming with me to school. Now, she’s staying at home to do some other things.
  • I chose my courses, but because there’s a time conflict, two of the courses were not added. I’m keeping in touch with my advisor to figure things out.

 

Yesterday, Seline and I went to the Charlottetown Farmer’s Market. One of my favourite vendors makes incredible focaccia bread. I had the maple-pecan focaccia, and Seline enjoyed her caramelized onion focaccia. I also had a pretty good iced London Fog. We chatted in the booths and ate our focaccia. 🙂 It was a really enjoyable morning, because I only work afternoons on Wednesday.

 

This maple-pecan focaccia was unbelievably delicious. The creamy, slightly eggy (?) topping was my favourite part.

 

The next couple of photos are actually from last week, when we were ALSO at the Pilot House. Seline ate the BURGERNATOR, which was stuffed with a big beef patty, deep-fried harvarti, all the normal burger fillings, AND a generous scoop of barbecue pulled pork.

 

I had that incredible warm seafood Cajun salad. Guys… I’d marry this salad.

 

For dessert, we savoured a sticky date pudding with vanilla ice cream. Dare I say – one of the best sticky date puddings we’ve eaten so far?

 

A fun day downtown, including: playing chess at The Great George hotel, a historical building. Neither of us can play chess, so this was a disaster.

 

Confederation Landing is a couple blocks from the “main part” of downtown. Seline and I ate COWS Creamery ice cream, looked at the water, and even bought sunglasses. Mine broke, and she didn’t bring a pair.

 

Seline and I are obsessed with this bookstore in downtown Charlottetown. It’s called The Book Emporium. We go at least four nights a week, to read, chat, and look at some new books. Last week, Seline bought three books for the price of two – The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials by James Dashner, AND the first book of the Harry Potter series.

Also, we always go to a place called Receiver Coffee Company, where Seline gets iced tea.

 

It looks like we’ve been going downtown and having fun every single day (which is true, because we have), but a large part of my time in PEI is spent at the university, where I have been working on a number of tasks. When I’m not working on UPEI-related research, I’m helping other people with miscellaneous tasks here and there. Check out my office space!

By the way, yesterday, I ate an ENTIRE BAG of that chocolate bark with caramelized nuts. It was heavenly. I just couldn’t stop!

 

Row House Lobster Company was another place that both of us were really looking forward to, and it did NOT disappoint. I had a stunning lobster gnocchi, and Seline had a lovely striploin with sauteed vegetables. We shared a chowder, as usual, and had bread pudding for dessert.

 

On Saturday, I went to the farmer’s market. The Charlottetown Farmer’s Market is in a nice building, and some vendors sell their goods outdoors.

 

I returned from the market with an array of delicious food – croissants, banana walnut bread, blueberry-lemon crumb cake, and a tasty brownie.

 

Another day, Sal and I went to Terre Rouge. This was one of my favourite restaurant experiences in Charlottetown so far – perhaps one of my top three? I had the lobster cannelloni (a word that I can never spell), and Seline ordered the creamy mac and cheese for her entree. We were given a lovely amuse-bouche: strawberry with mint and creamed goat cheese. Then, we shared a seafood chowder with a cheddar biscuit before we ate our entrees.

 

For dessert, I absolutely LOVED this miso gelato with lemon-blueberry cake, cream cheese frosting, caramel sauce, and chocolate ganache.

 

On Sunday, Seline and I did an escape room (TOTALLY a post on its own, right there). Beforehand, we had lunch at Brakish, near the water.

 

We started with a big platter of CHOWDER FRIES! You guys! This is hands-down my favourite fries dish. Ever.

Then, Seline had a grilled chicken wrap, and I ate a barbecue salmon salad with feta, blueberries, dried cranberries, and pumpkin seeds.

For dessert, I ate up their chocolate mousse with coconut whip.

 

This lovely meal was from Merchantman, where Seline ate crispy chicken tacos and fries. I had the seafood pappardelle with perfectly-seared scallops and mussels. I wish there was more parmesan on this dish, but the scallops were 10/10 perfection. Our dessert was a sticky toffee pudding, and we ordered another scoop of ice cream after.

 

Walking around the waterfront…

 

And that’s it! I’m actually at work, so I will get back to work. Have the best day, and I can’t wait to post more on our Cavendish adventures.

Last Week in Scarborough | End of Term Things

Happy Friday!

This week, I had a beautiful dessert… x2 – both were from Delysèes.

  • pistachio eclair with pistachio cream
  • Nutella caramel pillow with chocolate shortbread base

I saw this while looking for more information about the MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test), and it was interesting to observe how students in the humanities and mathematics scored higher than those in programs such as life science and biology.

static1.squarespace

This week has been absolutely freezing. It was about -20 degrees yesterday, which isn’t terrible without the wind. I’m so glad that I purchased a good, warm, fuzzy scarf earlier in the term!

Screen Shot 2017-12-12 at 7.41.30 PM

The gym at Centennial College is lovely. It is not exceptionally big, but it’s quite homey and the people are so wonderful. I love the staff here!

I have been experimenting with different mat exercises and stretches, but have yet to find a routine.

Other things from lately (L to R):

  • doggie Arnold back home in BC is doing great! I get to see him TOMORROW 🙂
  • I haven’t had access to a blender for a while, so I can’t wait to make all kinds of creamy blended soups
  • this is the Kaplan MCAT study set that my parents purchased for me. It arrived so quickly and I’m looking forward to flipping through and creating a study schedule
  • McDonalds now offers parmesan and garlic fries!
  • excellent list of more powerful words to use in writing
  • kind comment from Mom on my previous post
  • love it when people make recipes that I’ve shared! I must say that her tomato scrambled eggs look much better than mine

It snowed on Monday, and I think it’s all here to stay.

Face masks and writing holiday cards? So therapeutic.

IMG_2486.jpg

Last few photos of my room because I peace out of Scarborough. One. More. Sleep. Until I’m back home in BC. My space isn’t normally this clean – it’s an illusion because some inspectors came to see the basement. 😉

I’m in the process of planning and enrolling myself in classes for the winter term, when I’ll be studying at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.

Yesterday, my coworker and I went out for Korean food with two of our wonderful massage therapy students. We had a delicious meal – it’s been a while since I’ve had Korean food, and I loved how flavourful it was.

  • radish
  • kimchi
  • spicy cabbage
  • vegetable sesame noodles
  • cucumber and seaweed salad
  • sweet and spicy rice cakes
  • marinated eggplant

For my own dish, I had the chicken teriyaki with rice. Purple rice is one of my favourites.

What a memorable, delicious meal to end the week.

I hope everyone has a fantastic Friday and the greatest weekend!

My Last Time in Downtown Toronto | Delicious Desserts and More!

Happy Monday!

Most people who know me know that I adore Mondays. I think they are an excellent time to reset, bounce back from the weekend, and set new goals and new plans to achieve them. I started my Monday with a great mug of tea and a wonderful bowl of creamy peanut butter oatmeal with banana slices and the richest yogurt. 🙂

Saturday was a bit of a dark and dreary day, so I had plenty of time to type up my work term report. The co-op program at the University of Waterloo requires co-op students to write a 6-8 page reflection every semester. This time, I discussed how my current job (tutoring at Centennial College) differs from my previous job (clinical assistant at the Toronto Health Centre).

I also designed this Studying 101 booklet cover page, which was inspired by blog layouts.

Yesterday, I did a major scraping of the dryer’s lint filter. Holy cow. 🐮 I’m surprised that there were no fires due to this big mountain of lint. Crazy!

  • On the left: my backyard, which, for some unknowing reason, has a picnic bench
  • On the left: the beautiful Trinity-Bellwoods park, which is such an active and fun place (I’d love to live near this neighbourhood in the future)

I’d love to live near Trinity-Bellwoods park because Nadège is nearby. I love this bakery wholeheartedly, and have been here several times. In fact, it was my first destination on my first visit to Toronto. Everything is a winner here.

My next stop was Delysèes, home to some of the most beautiful cakes and pastries I’ve ever seen. Their pistachio croissant is one of my favourite sweet, nutty breakfast baked goods, and their macarons and individual cakes are equally stunning and delicious. The rose one is beautiful, as is the blue gemstone!

And yes, I always spend a little too much money here, thanks to my indecisiveness. Should I get the vanilla-hazelnut or the pistachio? I love hazelnut cream, but pistachio is so good. What should I do… why not just try them both?

Lunch involved some great flatbread from Forno Cultura. This one was called the Rapini, and was topped with charred, smoky rapini, garlic chips, plenty of sauteed onions, and slightly acidic tomato sauce that paired nicely with creamy, rich parmesan. The star of the show, however, was the crispy spiced crust.

IMG_2383

I headed to Butter Avenue for dessert, where I ordered this adorable ube chestnut choux. I’ve seen pictures of this pastry on Butter Avenue’s Twitter and Instagram, and knew I had to try it.

  • the choux pastry was like a crispy cream puff crossed with a Chinese pineapple (bolo) bun, crackly on the outside but fresh, rich, and buttery inside
  • the mashed and sweetened ube (purple sweet potato) enveloped a mountain of delicate chestnut cream, which tasted amazing with the choux
  • deep inside, there was a hazelnut sable, which was hands-down one of the best nut-based cookies I have ever eaten – now, I really want to try baking hazelnut sable
  • the snowman was made of white chocolate, and completely edible

Goodnight, Toronto.

Then I was underground again, being whisked off to Scarborough. 😥 I was exhausted by the time I returned home…

… but not too exhausted to take photos of the goodies I’d purchased! Hazelnut-chocolate sandwich cookies and hot chocolate mix from SOMA Chocolatemaker.

Hazelnut hot chocolate and malted milk hot chocolate that I absolutely cannot wait to dive into. I’ve tried them both before, and they are absolutely scrumptious. Expensive, but it’s chocolate. Justified.

The cakes that I mentioned? The ones I bought from Delysèes? This is what they looked like after a day of prancing around Toronto. Completely deconstructed, but completely edible. I can’t wait to have this Russian chocolate mousse bomb and the salted caramel and Nutella pillow. I also have a tasty, unpictured pistachio éclair hiding in that white box.

That’s pretty much it for today, except one thing – I went to the library yesterday and now have a mini-list of books to check out.

New-to-me books that I want to read:

Have a beautiful week, everyone! I am going to enjoy mine more than usual, since it’s my last week in Scarborough (and Ontario) for a whole year. ❤

Dreamy December

Good morning, everyone!

A beautiful walk one Saturday afternoon led to some great photos by the creek. Scarborough is so hilly and dotted with lovely ponds, streams, and bridges. Everything looks different than it did in September, since the leaves are all gone. It’s so charming and I bet it’s just as beautiful when draped in snow. The biodiversity here in Ontario is subtly different from the plants and wildlife in BC, so I always find the scenery so dreamy and enchanted.

My friend introduced me to this blog, The Girly MD, written by a medical student at the University of Toronto. She is such a role model, and I look up to her hard work and dedication. Her fresh recipes, inspiring affirmations, and honest reflections are so wonderful. In fact, her recent post about self-love motivated me to put on a face mask. Face masks feel great, and I love this tea tree oil one from The Body Shop. It is truly refreshing and deep-cleansing, and my face feels smoother and cool/tingly after I wash it off.

(I haven’t seen my hair curly for years – if I leave it in a bun for a day, lo and behold: CURLS)

Seven more days before I’m done with the Basement Life! 😎 I need windows. At the same time, though, I’m going to miss my current place and all the quiet/privacy that I get with having my own bedroom, bathroom, and “kitchen” (i.e. a sink and a table with a burner). It will be nice, though, when I soon get a table and chair that are more ergonomic since this chair is too high for the table. Or perhaps the table is too low for the chair.

The doors are now decorated! My office is the door with the paper X-ray Santa, and my coworker, Rikki, decorated hers with the gingerbread man. The Math Drop-in centre was designed and created by Erin, who painstakingly cut and taped each triangle. We love our Christmas decorations, and the students think they are pretty cool, too.

This weekend is going to be a cold one. In fact, next week will be really chilly, with a chance of snow. I can’t believe I have seven more days in Scarborough before I go back home to BC. For some reason, I feel like I’m not ready to leave yet – my students aren’t finished their course, and the semester isn’t done until mid-January because of the Ontario college strike.

On a different note, I helped my sister make a flyer for her high school Christmas Spirit Week. I made the one with the red ornaments and gold WordArt, while she painted the real Spirit Week poster below. Seline is the Project Manager in her school’s Student Government team, and I have no idea how she does it all. Did I mention that Seline is also an avid painter, photographer, pianist, and poet?

Here’s a little snapshot of her newest poem, a haiku that she published on her blog (Purely Poetic) a few days ago.

The rivers are stagnant,

and the mountains stand up tall,

in the air of Fall.

And finally, I received my approved Visa for my trip to Brisbane! In mid-February (after my dad, grandfather, and I visit Cambodia in January), I will start a 5-month semester at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. Aside from the snakes, spiders, and the daunting endeavour of figuring out Australian currency, I am super excited. I started an Australia page on the blog for the trip, but so far, I only have a few lists.

I had some time to read this morning, and spent some time composing this list of links that I found and enjoyed. I liked putting this list together, and hopefully get the chance to do it more often in the future.

Things I Loved Reading Recently

Hope everyone has a beautiful, cozy weekend. I’m planning to go downtown on Sunday, which may potentially be my last time downtown for a while since I’m going back to BC in a week!

Until next time 💀🎄🍰

I Met R.L. Stine!

Hey! Hope everyone’s week has been wonderful so far.

My November simply flew by. I feel like Halloween wasn’t that long ago, and bam, here we are with snow sprinkling down our blog headers.

Anyways, on Wednesday I went to downtown Toronto to see R.L. Stine, my favourite author from childhood (who, to this day, has a big piece of my heart). Anyone else read Goosebumps, Fear Street, or Mostly Ghostly growing up?

That day, I also savoured an incredible meal at Light Cafe, where I devoured a truffle mushroom croissant, a salad with sesame dressing, lobster bisque, and this spectacular dessert of four heart-shaped Earl Grey waffles, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a scoop of chocolate ice cream, and plenty of whipped cream. Better than the stuff of my dreams.

Anyways, R.L. Stine, who goes by Bob Stine, delivered a hilarious, interactive, simple, anecdote-studded speech that engaged the entire audience. Afterwards, I was lucky to say some words to him before security whisked the crowd away. He even asked what my name was! :’) This guy’s a hero.

He also liked my perfectly-crafted tweet that used up every character. Part of the fun of Twitter, in my strange and pointless opinion, is that you get to spend time figuring out how to word things to max out the character count. 🤓

A completely different note – Moroccan tagine is so good. I’ve made it four times in the past two-ish months. I just love it. Something about the savoury tomato and cumin sauce, creamy sweet potatoes, and hearty chickpeas with flavourful couscous gets me every time.

Photos (the professionally-taken ones, not my amateur iPhone shots) from the MedX event from a couple weekends ago came out! Can you spot me?

I’m in love with tomato scrambled eggs. This was one of my earliest recipes on the blog (also back when I had a great camera 😭), since it’s so simple, classic, and ridiculously tasty. This time, I enjoyed couscous underneath.

Lots of side projects with the tutoring job – this is a study guide that I am creating. Almost done!

Screen Shot 2017-11-30 at 10.47.23 PM

Hope everyone has a spectacular rest of the day, and an excellent kickoff into the last month of 2017.

🎪 c i r c u s 🎪

“Cindy, what do you do in your free time?”

This question used to be easy to answer. Read. Sketch. Go shopping with friends. Cook and bake (fortunately, this one still holds true).

Throughout high school, I committed every conscious moment to competitive figure skating, whether it be daydreaming about ice dance test days, stretching at home, or scrutinizing the routines of my favourite athletes. When I wasn’t in the science lab, I was gliding, stumbling, and twirling at the ice rink next door, or working as a skating instructor. Starting university in a different province, and leaving my skates in the storage room back home, undoubtedly left a hole in my heart.

Revisiting the rink, my home away from home, for the first time after 2.5 years away

Without skating, my days felt free, yet empty. An alarm clock no longer woke me up at 6:00 AM for morning ice time, I didn’t need to discreetly create skating lesson plans during class, and I didn’t have to lug my skate bag, full of children’s report cards, to and from the rink. At the same time, I missed the commitment, the community, my coach, the thrill of competition, and most importantly, the sense of accomplishment that would surge through me after each successful landing.

My first year of university consisted of sporadic dabbling in various activities: Zumba, Pilates, yoga, even ballet. On a side note, shoutout to the University of Waterloo’s fitness and recreation program for the impressive variety of student budget-friendly activities! First of all, I probably astounded fitness instructors with my dancing skills (nonexistent) and spectacular ability to dance (three beats behind). Zumba took my breath away, literally, in three songs, and I didn’t feel challenged by Pilates or yoga.

I received a yoga teacher training certification that year, in a beautiful Waterloo studio, a 200-hour commitment over the course of ten months. I received my training in Ashtanga yoga, and have since led gentle seated yoga at the local retirement home, and explored yoga-inspired movement with children on the spectrum at KidsAbility. Thanks to my anatomy and physiology courses in Kinesiology, I became more and more confident in teaching scientifically-backed exercises and referring to anatomical terminology for advanced students. I also spent a year with the University of Waterloo’s Acro Yoga club, where people partnered up to perform circus/dance partner acrobatics.

At the same time that I was beginning to experience restlessness, I was saved by a pole dance studio. Last May, a Kitchener pole dancer and businesswoman opened a brand-new pole studio in Waterloo – and she installed aerial rigs. Complete with hoops, a few trapezes, and plenty of silks and hammocks, Brass Butterflies became a new home. The sense of community in the circus world was incredible, and I cannot even begin to name the talented, creative, kind, encouraging, and hilarious people I’ve met, both at Brass Butterflies and Cirque-ability, the Toronto studio where I trained during my co-op term.

While aerials have certainly given me the opportunity to develop strength, coordination, grace, and balance, the most important thing I’ve gleaned from joining the circus was confidence. Courage. I am no longer self-conscious about making mistakes that offer the possibility of looking silly in front of others. I’ve also developed a newfound sense of appreciation for the master circus artists, like the superhuman athletes at Cirque du Soleil.

Up until recently, you have to be born into a circus family, or attend professional circus school, to learn to fly. Now, to the delight of many normal people, recreational circus classes are popping up in most cities for adventurous workout seekers. Perhaps most people try recreational circus classes for a fun workout, but circus has truly become a home, a mentality, a way of life. Plus, it’s always fun to take a break from studying by dropping my schoolwork on the ground, literally. Note that aerials are not a workout that can be DIY-ed, even for former dancers or gymnasts, and safety should always be emphasized. A few weeks ago, paramedics were called to the studio when my classmate broke her wrist after a fall from the silks. Another time, one woman slipped out of the hoop, and later discovered at the Grand River Hospital that she had broken three bones in her neck.

Regardless, for a year, I have been completely infatuated by circus, experimenting with aerial silks, hoop, Spanish web, corde lisse, and even contortion. Understandably, starting aerials in my late teens, my chances of performing professionally are virtually next to zero. My goal, however, is to continue living my dream at dizzying new heights – by becoming a sports medicine physician for Cirque du Soleil, or perhaps Disney on Ice, another lifelong dream.


I’d love to end with this – if you have any questions about skating, yoga or yoga teacher training, or aerial arts, please don’t hesitate to shoot me a Facebook message, or an email at emailcindy@shaw.ca.

And, if you have any circus connections, sports medicine connections, or something that you think might give me a hand, well, you know what to do.