the day before nightingale opened

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i got the privilege of trying david hawksworth’s new restaurant, nightingale, the day before it officially opened to the public… for $10.  we literally ordered almost everything off the menu. 28 dishes between four people (and the fourth person showed up a little after dish 18).

my personal favourites: the san marzano pizza with buffalo mozzarella (apparently it took two years to perfect the crust, but this was hands-down the best pizza i’ve ever had in my life), the lamb chops (we got three orders for our table), the seared albacore tuna, the pork belly (that went so well with the apple slices on top of it, and all the flavours infused into it), the flank steak, the halibut ceviche, the rockfish, the burrata, the cauliflower, the gelato, and the salted caramel pot.

the ambience was amazing, the service was fantastic, the quality of food was on par with what you expect from a hawskworth restaurant, and i absolutely love the “family-style sharing” concept of the restaurant and how the dishes come out as they are prepared.

i think i have a new favourite restaurant in vancouver, and i can’t wait to go back to try the rest of the menu.

dinner party yvr #dpyvr

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last night, my friend lisa and i attended dinner party yvr, one of the best charity events that i’ve ever been to. the concept behind it: chefs volunteer to make a meal at their house for a group of strangers, everyone donates at least $50 (which goes to each chef’s charity of choice), and dinner is served. this happens all around the city at various homes, with each chef cooking a different style of dinner for a group of six people or so. the dinner that lisa and i went to had a “dining like at vij’s” theme, which consisted of homemade naan, amazing indian dishes straight out of vij’s cookbook, wine/beer pairings to go with all the dishes, and masala peas (think wasabi peas, but with indian spices) along with a yummy bourbon cocktail while we waited for dinner to be served.

every picture posted on instagram/twitter from the event with the hashtag #dpyvr got an additional $5 donated to charity by one of the sponsors, blueshore financial.

the burnt toast cafe, whitehorse

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i was flown out to white horse a couple of months ago to run this promo for pedigree, who partnered up with the animal shelter for this event – it was one of the best promos i’ve ever done, and so hard not to take a puppy home with me! it was my first (and potentially last) time in whitehorse – the people were really nice, but the town was extremely small and surprisingly expensive. the buildings were old and worn down – it was like the town was built in the 1950’s and was just never touched or updated again. my $170 a night “hotel” room was on the first floor, didn’t come with air-conditioning (it came with an electric-fan standing in the corner), had 20 channels on the tv (half of them were static), and had this sign sitting in the bathroom:

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i arrived late at night, realized i didn’t have cellphone service (apparently there are no rogers towers in whitehorse), checked-in, and was terrified that someone was hiding in the closet ready to murder me.

the sun came out the next morning though, and i’m pretty sure i discovered one of the best things about whitehorse – the burnt toast cafe. it was located right across the street from my hotel, and served a phenomenal breakfast. i sat right by the window, and the sun shined directly on me while i ate my delicious meal (here’s their brunch menu) and drank my coffee. the waitresses were so friendly (i found that everyone i met in whitehorse was generally quite nice) and the place itself was super cute.

would i ever come back to whitehorse? probably for this cafe, to see the northern lights (but i’d stay at this resort next time), and to see this face again:

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color me #rad

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the fish shack seems to be my go-to after short races (see: the sun run)… purely by coincidence, but it’s always worked out. luckily, they serve brunch until 3 pm, so i got to try their delicious chorizo and avocado eggs benny, paired with a big dog, which is their bull dog (sauza tequila, fresh lime juice, simple syrup, with inverted coronita), super-sized.

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the color me rad run was the most fun 5k i’ve ever done. firstly, i don’t even think it was actually 5k, and secondly, the only times we really ran was through the paint or to get to the paint. we spent most of our time throwing the powdered paint on each other or rolling around in it. after we finished, there was a huge dance party with music blasting, and an mc on stage, throwing out paint packets to everyone. he counted down like it was new years eve, but instead of the ball dropping, everyone threw their paint up in the air while dancing. it was such a great experience and i’m so glad olga brought her phone/camera with her to capture it!

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run if you can, walk when you have to, crawl if you must. – seawheeze 2013

taken from brooke_hutchison's instagram #seawheeze

taken from brooke_hutchison’s instagram #seawheeze – i was too hungry to take a picture of mine

waffles with blueberry sauce and a gluten-free blueberry muffin from the barefoot bistro at the seawheeze 2013 runners brunch. i would run a half-marathon again just for this exact post-run meal.

i completed my first half-marathon and lived to tell about it. i was able to run the first 10k without stopping (and it surprisingly felt pretty easy), walked for 1k to pace myself (a suggestion by pro-half-marathaon runner, ashly kissman, who ended up being the best pace bunny ever and awesome to run it with), and then my knee started causing problems, which led to quite a bit of limping. there were times i was in excruciating pain and was even offered ways out by the medical staff, but something inside of me was so determined to finish the race (part of it could be linked to the fact that i wanted to cross it off my bucket-list), even if that meant limping over the finish line.

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i used the “well, it could be worse” mentality (eg. at least it’s not scorching hot out, at least i don’t have shin splints, at least i don’t have a side stitch, etc.), enjoyed my surroundings, pushed through the pain, and ran as fast as my body would let me across that finish line. my first official half-marathon time: 2:41:07.

we did it!

we did it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

the race was such a fun one to run, with a ton of awesome cheer-stations that really helped pump you up! my personal favourites were the huge group of kids who were holding up the “run random adult” signs, all the “run now, wine later” and “a keg is waiting for you at the finish line” signs, that really illustrate vancouver’s community of alcoholics that like to exercise (i’m sure 90% of vancouverites running that race had a drink right after), and the text on the distance markers that were put up by lululemon. there was also a million random distractions along the way – i felt like i was in willy wonka’s chocolate factory.

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pictures taken from lululemon.

the event (from the actual race itself, to the sunset festival later on) was the most well-organized event i’ve been to in vancouver – i was thoroughly impressed. everything started on time (!!!!), amazing sponsors/partnerships were in place (i received free skull candy earphones as soon as i crossed that finish line!), and you could just tell all the details were really thought-out and perfected, from what was written on each marker sign, to ordering an abundance of school-busses so no one would have to wait more than two minutes (literally) for a shuttle to the festival. lounge chairs were set up everywhere at the festival, which was great and made it that much more comfortable – i lay down in the sun on a tanning chair and got to feel like i was a part of the huge outdoor yoga class that took place, even though i couldn’t participate because of my knee. servers were walking around the beer garden at the festival so you wouldn’t have to get up to stand in line… beer fairy magic! passenger and xavier rudd performed, and the sunset festival was the perfect way to end this amazing experience.

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related reading:
“sun” run? more like “hope it doesn’t rain” run
training tips for your first half-marathon, along with a post-run brunch

yelp elite event: food cart festival preview

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photos courtesy of yelp. more pictures found here.

in my opinion, this was definitely one of the best elite events to date!

the samples were awesome, the sizes of the samples were perfect, and it was just a great event overall. one of my goals is to try all the food-carts in vancouver, and this definitely brought me closer to that goal!

my personal favourites were the perogy from holy perogy and the mango chicken with naan bread from soho road… although, the latter might be my bias, because i thought the guy who served me that sample was pretty cute. the poutine from kaboom box was pretty good too, and i was completely baffled when i was asked “poutine or salad?” – umm what?! the dougie dog and soda served at the truck was also a collective favourite of the group i was with. even though the dougie dog we tried had jalapeños on it, we didn’t find it spicy at all… but that could also be because we had just tried the hottest wings at wings the day before.

it felt pretty good walking out of there full off delicious samples, and seeing the massive line that was forming (since it opened at 12 pm to the general public), that we didn’t have to wait in… that was at least a half hour wait we avoided!

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i’m also happy that we got more than a +1 at this event, so i could share this awesomeness with my friends, and with my cousin who was visiting from out of town… this was definitely a highlight of his trip and made him love vancouver that much more!

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the food cart fest is open to the public and happens every sunday (12 pm – 5 pm), until september 22, 2013. 215 west 1st avenue (entrance on the seawall). admission is $2 (free for anyone 15 and under). partial proceeds go to a loving spoonful.

an unsuccessful pad thai, but a successful isb reunion night anyway

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we either had the wrong noodles or recipe, but i’m convinced that pad thai is the hardest dish to make. the pad thai yukiko and i tried to make was definitely NOT pad thai (and i’m not posting the recipe for that reason). i’m actually surprised our “pad thai” was even edible by the end. thankfully, the best chef of the night, gary, brought over some delicious curry and made some other awesome dish from his legit chang mai cookbook (which i will have to steal recipes from to make in the future).

last night was such a fun night of board games and singhas, with a handful of isb alumni that now live in vancouver (and the addition of our “surprise” guest, dan baker). i love these reunions because even if we don’t see each other all the time or were even that close back in high-school, everyone can still get along, have awesome conversations, and just have a good time in general. it’s nice to reminisce about clubbing and going out to bars at the age of 14, buckets of kamakazes that make your tongue go blue, getting in trouble for uniform violations (aka wearing pants that actually fit you properly), driving around nichada on scooters, and just our strange, third culture kid upbringing and lifestyle. i remember when i first moved to vancouver, i absolutely dreaded the “where are you from?” question, but now, when i’m asked, my answer always is, “i live in vancouver” (and then if they push it, i follow up with a sigh, and say, “sit down…”). being brought up this way is like sharing a special and unique interest with someone, which connects you instantaneously; you immediately relate to the other person on a completely different level, regardless of what international school they went to, what class they graduated in, or if you even knew them from the past.

our next reunion should be planned ASAP (and we should only be allowed to make food from gary’s thai cookbook).

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dan baker (class of ’06), joel panas (class of ’06), yukiko adachi (class of ’04), gary yarbrough (class of ’07), gretchen cruz (class of ’05), alex yeo (class of ’02).

ps. i love how gary is wai-ing in the picture.