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Simple Lunch

I had a lot of fun catching up with one of my friends back home today over the phone.  I was telling her about all my plans to cook and bake new dishes, and we made plans to cook together when I go home for a visit.  She has a wonderful kitchen with lots of fun tools and gadgets-except she doesn’t use half of them, because she doesn’t really cook.  I suspect she doesn’t know what half of her gadgets do.  I keep telling her one day I’ll just go shop in her kitchen and take what I need-she told me she wouldn’t even notice if stuff went missing.  Haha.  So, this post is for her, because she wanted something easy to make and requested that I send her something.

This is a simple bagel-wich and salad that I had for lunch.  My friend made it for me when I went to Montreal for a wedding; he’s an excellent host and  cook.

Salad

  • romaine lettuce
  • assorted berries
  • salad dressing of your choice

Mix all ingredients and you’ve got a tasty and healthy salad!

 

Bagel-wich

  • bagel, toasted
  • sliced tomato
  • lettuce
  • butter or mayo
  • smoked salmon

Assemble all ingredients as you would a sandwich!  Super easy!

 

It was a very tasty meal!

EM

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A fancy lunch in New York City!

Hello to anyone who still reads this!

I GRADUATED!  This means more time for fun things, including blogging!  I have tons of old food pics that I would love to post, but let’s start with something that happened recently.

As soon as I finished my bar exams, I took off to NYC with a few friends.  It was my first time in the city, and I fell in love with it.  There are so many things to do, and so many things to see.  I cannot wait to go back.  Highlights included Broadway shows, meeting Jim Parsons (my heart almost exploded with happiness,) and lunch at a restaurant called Jean Georges.

Jean Georges is a Michelin Star restaurant (3 stars,) and it’s located in the Trump Tower at Lincoln Square.  My sister recommended the place to me, and it was undoubtedly the best lunch (and most expensive) I’ve ever had.

First off, make a reservation if you intend to eat here.  I almost couldn’t get one, but you can  make a reservation online through their website.  There is a prix fixe menu for lunch, and you get two courses for $49, and this includes an appetizer platter and dessert.   I splurged and ordered a dessert off the menu and a cocktail.  It was well worth it, and I have never felt more spoiled.  The service is superb; I just had to look up and a waiter would be right at my table.  It is a fancier restaurant, so the dress code is business casual for lunch.  It’s also a good place to go to by yourself; I quite enjoyed reading my magazine while dining.  The only downside to eating alone is you can’t order more food to share!  I seriously contemplated doing the 6-course tasting menu ($128), but I think I’ll do that next time, and I’ll make sure to skip breakfast when I attempt that one.

My raspberry-lychee sparkling wine cocktail.  So delicious!

Appetizers: some sort of sashimi, housemade mozza with strawberry, and watercress sorbet.

First course: tuna ribbon salad with avocado and a spicy ginger dressing.

Roast suckling pig with a pea puree and an onion and bacon marmalade.  This was so tender and tasty!

Dessert platter: balsamic meringue and vanilla sponge cake, roasted strawberries, strawberry sorbet on an almond crumble, and cream.

More dessert: homemade marshmallows, strawberry coconut macaroons, and chocolates!

I cannot wait to return to NYC and eat another fancy meal here!

EM

Lunch with Gretchen (again)

I have had so many meals with Gretchen that I am very backlogged with posting, so here goes one out of about eight.

Gretchen’s parents redid their kitchen this summer, and it was GORGEOUS.  It looks like a show kitchen-I’ll have to take some pictures next time I’m there.  One day, CK and I went to visit and we had lunch.  On the menu: meatball subs and vichyssoise, a French potato and leek soup.  Gretchen was kind enough to share her recipe for the soup.

Vichyssoise (VI-shee-swaz)-makes about 5 cups

This is a French soup that is traditionally served chilled, but we had it warm.  I loved it, and I’m sure it would taste good chilled too.

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced leek (white part only)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 3 cups chopped and peeled potato (about 3 medium-sized potatoes)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and cayenne pepper to taste
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup half and half cream
  • chopped fresh chives for garnish

To prepare the leeks, trim off the root end and the tough green leaves.  Cut it in half lengthwise.  Hold under a stream of cold running water and separate the lawyers with your fingers to rinse out any grit trapped inside.

Melt butter and olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add potato and onion.  Crush or roll dried thyme between your fingers to release the herb’s flavours, and add to the pan.  Cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring often, until leek and onion are softened.  Add the next 6 ingredients and stir.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium.  Boil gently, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until potato is tender.  Discard bay leaf.  Let soup cool and process with hand blender or use standard blender.

Add cream.  Stir well.  If you choose to serve it cold, transfer soup to a large bowl, and cool at room temperature before covering, and chill for at least 2 hours.  Garnish with chives before serving.

Other notes: Gretchen has omitted the onions in the past and used 2 cups of leeks instead.  Shallots would also work.

 

Shot of soup and marinara sauce on the stovetop.

Meatball sub.

Vichyssoise.

 

Thanks for another delicious meal Gretchen!  I can’t wait for the next one!

EM

Ramen Lunch

I had lunch with my friend Jen the other day.  She took me to a place called Kenzo Ramen.  Ramen is a noodle dish that is served in a broth and can be topped with various things, such as seaweed, pork or beef, and eggs.  Kenzo Ramen makes their own noodles, and it was quite tasty!  I had a bowl of ramen with pork and Jen got yakisoba, stir-fried noodles, which was served on a hot iron plate.  I enjoyed the ramen, but the best ramen I’ve had comes from a little restaurant in Vancouver off Robson Street.  Kenzo was still pretty good though, and wasn’t too expensive, so it made for a great lunch.

Pork ramen.

Yakisoba.

 

EM

Vietnamese Lunch

Every time I visit my sister M, we have to go for Vietnamese food in Chinatown.  We are in love with the restaurant Anh Dao.  They have THE best pho, a traditional Vietnamese soup noodle dish served with beef.  We ordered a bowl of pho and also this AMAZING rice wrapper dish.  You make your own wraps with noodles, veggies, and grilled beef-covered shrimp.  It comes with a sweet peanut dipping sauce.

Tea.

Platter of noodles, veggies and beef-wrapped shrimp to make rice wraps.

Assembling the rice wrap.

Dipping sauce.

It was delicious and a lot of fun!

EM

Staycation with Abby, Part 3

Abby and I went for a lovely lunch at the Le Cordon Bleu Signature Bistro.  I can’t believe I’ve never gone before!  The lunch is a great deal.  It’s a prixe fix menu, and you choose an appetizer (from a choice of 2 dishes) and an entrée (from a choice of 2 dishes).  The dessert is set.  The menu changes weekly, so it’s a great way to try different dishes that the Bistro has to offer.  Because I went with Abby, we got to try everything on the menu.  Quite honestly, I don’t remember what we ate, except the dessert.  It was a baked apple with green apple sorbet and my favourite course (hence the feature of this post.)  Yummy!

  

  

EM

 

 

 

 

 

Staycation with Abby, Part 2

I took Abby to a couple of my favourite places when she came to visit.  We went to Ahora’s, a lovely little Mexican restaurant in the market.  It’s where I usually go for dinner when I don’t want to cook.  The food is great quality, portions are filling, and it’s pretty quick service.  Plus, they have this fun salsa bar where you can try a bunch of different salsas.

We also went to Benny’s Bistro for lunch one day.  It’s located in the back of The French Baker in the market.  While I’ve never actually bought anything from the bakery (just haven’t done it yet, but everything looks really good), I’ve eaten at the Bistro many times.  My mentor introduced me to the restaurant, and it’s where we usually go for lunch.  I love it because the menu changes every so often, and there’s always a special.  They get quite busy sometimes, so reservations are a good idea.   I ended up getting tuna, and Abby got some potato thing.  Both dishes were so delicious!

  

(All photos courtesy of Abby)

EM

Staycation with Abby, Part 1

I can’t believe we are already into fall.  Thankfully, we still have some nice weather.  A couple of weeks ago, my friend Abby came to visit me and we had a great few days enjoying museums, shopping, and some great eating (both at restaurants and cooking at home).  We had a fun time at Sunday Brunch at The National Arts Center, at Le Cafe.  I have to say, I’ve been to a bunch of different fancy brunch places, and Le Cafe is definitely one of the best places I’ve been to.  The selection is not as extensive as some other restaurants, but everything they make is done very well.  There wasn’t a mediocre dish.  I was most impressed with the desserts.  I find that a lot of the time that a wide variety of pretty desserts means that taste is sacrificed.   However, at Le Cafe, the desserts were AMAZING!  The mango pudding was Abby’s favourite, but I loved the chocolate mousse-it wasn’t too sweet and had a very light consistency (I ate three of them!)  It was a lot of fun and I highly recommend it.

  

 

 

(Le Cafe photo courtesy of Abby)

EM