Monthly Archives: December 2011

This Little Piggy Went to Market

Vancouver Christmas Market

Last year, I had the pleasure of attending the Vancouver Christmas Market, which was a European Style open-air Christmas marketplace.  This year, one of those daily coupon deals for the market showed up in my inbox, and I didn’t pass up the opportunity of getting a ticket at half price.  The market ran for an entire month leading up to Christmas, but I didn’t find the time to get there until just one week before they closed.  However, in that one week, I made two separate visits to the Christmas Market. Continue reading


Hay in the Needle Stack

My sister will be hosting the family for Christmas this year, and we’re having a few guests who I think have high expectations from our foodie family.  I am contributing a fair number of dishes to the meal this year, one of them being fondue.  Since I haven’t made the fondue yet, I won’t be writing about that little adventure/misadventure today.  But, all these thoughts of fondue have prompted me to write about my experience at the only fondue restaurant in the Lower Mainland that I know of.

A sign worthy of my undivided attention

Au Petit Chavignol opened a few years ago, perhaps pioneering the landscape change in the Downtown East Side.  It’s a good thing that Au Petit Chauvignol is a few blocks away from Carnegie Library, where most of the addicted, homeless, and desperate congregate, otherwise I don’t know if I would’ve ever dared to venture to its doors.  But, since they are in a relatively secure location, I have little hesitation visiting the restaurant. Continue reading

The Gift of Summer

I have gotten into the habit of making Christmas gifts each year, and this year has been no exception.  During late Summer, I planned ahead and decided to make some jellies from Summer fresh blackberries.  The preserves were fairly straightforward to make, not to mention inexpensive too.  The blackberries I used to make the jelly were from the same bushes that I blogged about earlier in the year here and here.  While the berries didn’t cost any money, I did pay the price of getting pricked by thorns a few times.

Getting the clear jelly required time and extra fridge space in addition to the labour intensiveness.  To achieve the clear jelly, I had to allow the cooked berries to drain into a bowl while hanging from a cheesecloth sack.  A jam would have been much easier to do, but I personally would rather eat jam without seeds.

Almost free blackberries

Making the jelly also kept my kitchen counter cluttered, with jars and packages littered everywhere.  Amidst the calamity, I neglected to add lemon juice to the jelly, which is not a fatal mistake, but the lemon adds that extra zing that fruit preserves need to counter the sweetness.

'Tis the season

The jellies will make good gifts, and they will be reminiscent of Summer.  The jury still seems to be out on whether or not it will snow here this year.  This kid inside of me always wants it to snow, but I know what an inconvenience it will be.  Whether it snows or not, my oven will be keeping me warm, as I still have holiday baking to do.

Jasmine Tea Infused Birthday Cake

Since my grandmother celebrates her birthday according to the Chinese calendar, the day we celebrate her birthday changes dates from year to year.  This year, her birthday fell within a week of my sister’s, so they both celebrated their birthday together.  I wanted to make a cake that was a little more Asian inspired, so I infused jasmine tea into an ATK recipe.

Jasmine Tea Cake

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Bazaar Experience

Every year, the holidays seem to take me by surprise even as I count the days down till Christmas.  Christmas is only 15 days away, that’s just over two weeks.  Although I seem to be playing catch up with my blog, at least I’m not without material to write about.  Several weeks ago, a Russian Bazaar was organized by the Russian Community Centre in Vancouver, food being the main attraction.  The food festivals have been far and few in between now that it has become too cold for outdoor activities, so I was excited to attend the bazaar.

I didn’t plan the afternoon very well, because it was a mad dash from the festival back into Richmond.  I attended the festival with my cousins, one of which had scheduled a class to attend immediately after the festival.  We all went to South Arm Community Centre for the craft fair in the morning, then drove to Vancouver for the Bazaar. Continue reading

Portland Food Carts Part 2 – Shop ’til You Get Hungry

For our second day in Oregon, we had set shopping as our main priority.  Since there weren’t a lot of (enticing) choices close the hotel which we stayed at, we took advantage of the free continental breakfast  that Best Western offered.  Failing to bring my own breakfast ingredients to make a creation like I did with the instant noodles the night before, I hoped that Best Western would have a waffle maker as part of their continental breakfast. Generally, I didn’t have high expectations for breakfast, it was free after all.

Free Continental Breakfast at Best Western

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Portland Food Carts Part 1 – Cooking on the Fly

The day after Thanksgiving, four of us Canadians made our way down to Oregon State for some food and tax free shopping.  Black Friday midnight madness shopping gets me about excited as having to use a porta potty when I think about the pushing and shoving that goes on.  One year, we drove out to the big box stores at around midnight, just to giggle at the lineups that wrapped around stores waiting for them to open.  This year, I spent most of Black Friday making my way down to Woodburn, Oregon from my sisters’ eluding shopping until later in the evening.

One area we made sure to stop for was in downtown Portland for a late lunch (or as I’d like to call it, “Food Cart City”).  I had done a bit of research on which places I’d like to go to (, but once I was actually there, I was overwhelmed by the choices available to me, even though many of the carts were closed. Continue reading