Snaps from the outside #2

A bunch of good things arrived for me today! Ordered my favourite of the non-limited edition Field Notes, the Cherry Graph 3-pack for the Valentines’ Day special, and it finally arrived! Also picked up a new Knox nib from The Birmingham Pen Company, which I highly recommend for their customer service. The last special thing (which didn’t arrive in the mail, but never mind that) is my box of Ada Lovelace Blackwings, because I’ve been working on drawing more lately, and these are too gorgeous to not use.

 

Checked out the Takashi Murakami exhibition as well, and it was insanely colourful and blissfully relatively empty today.

 

My attempt at an #evachenpose, but I realised that I don’t actually ride solo in the backseat of cars very often?

But I do enjoy the idea of tracking my shoes and pins and things everyday. Something to think about… Hmm

 

Finally checked out Caffe Di Beppe for dinner. Loved the paper ordering system, and the food was also very very good!

Y30 daily log.

After the calendar (all 10 pages and 365 lines of it) comes the daily log! It’s a bit of a visual journal in addition to sort of tracking the things I need to track.

I’ve been drawing a little something in each day, even if it’s just a small silly doodle.

Also making a point of rolling with the messes. I placed a leaky fountain pen bottle on here but 🤷🏻‍♀️ I’ll just work around it. I rather like it now, actually!

I’ve been experimenting a little with my new Lomo’Instant Automat Camera and tucking some of the more interesting failures in here. Also practicing my calligraphy! Also evidently some of my doodles worked out better than others, but. I guess that’s what practice is for!

Snaps from outside #1


The rare sight of sun in Vancouver always brings people outside.


The steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery is always a choice place to sit and have lunch, especially since there’s always a bunch of excellent food trucks parked nearby.


Early start for a quick trip down to Seattle. Too early to focus, evidently.


The best part of the Sears closing sales are all the dress forms standing in a cluster hoping for a good home.


Wandered briefly past the Pike Place Public Market, but. No time for exploring today!


Running errands all day, including one that took me past this indoor dragon maze.


And through an outdoor urban maze too.


Always look up! Today, I found the site at which Mary Poppins and her chimney sweep apparently got caught up in some overhead wires…


The pigeons around here are getting increasingly acrobatic and creative with their perches

 
Symmetrical road blockers, lookit that!


This raven pretty much let me get as close as I wanted…


My favourite kind of sky!


My favourite bag with my favourite charm.


The fabulous new spring windows in our office!

Y30 notebook.

Naturally, the best part of any project is starting a fresh notebook! I was seduced by this lovely A5 hardcover Emerald Green Leuchtturm1917 (I had to double check that spelling twice 😳) notebook because I’ve heard fantastic things about the paper, and so far I haven’t been disappointed! I’ve fountain pen’d in seven different inks aggressively all over the pages and messily applied watercolour by way of an aggressively sharp calligraphy flex nib, and there’s been only one little incident (and that was entirely my fault 😫) and it’s gorgeous!

The first chunk of pages are given over to my goals, one page each for notes and general thinking through what exactly it is I’m doing. And then! The calendar

One row for each day of the year, and columns for each of the dailies that I mean to complete each day, and then at the end of the row, room for extra completed goals for each day. Tracking is going to be a huge component of tracking the entire year… and evidently, I’ve already missed a couple dailies on a couple days 🤦🏻‍♀️ But that’s how it goes! 🤷🏻‍♀️ And I suppose it’s good to start on a realistic note? It’s not really going to get any better from here either, but. Some days points for effort just has to be good enough!

Y30 Project

I recently turned 29! 🎊🍰🎂🎉 And entered my 30th year of life, and all of a sudden I’m depressingly aware that, like every good millenial, I just can’t even adult. Adulting is hard, okay? 👶🏻 But I am getting on in years now and it’s time to learn to be grown, right?

So I’ve started a little project for year 30 of my life. Like New Years’ Resolutions, only on my birthday instead of the year’s birthday. Something like that. 🤪

I came up with 6 categories and a total of 29 goals (partly because 29th birthday, but mostly because I ran out of goals and also decided to at least pretend to be aiming for something realistic 🤷🏻‍♀️ ) and I’m going to post updates to attempt to keep on track. If nothing else it’d be nice to have worked consistently on this for a whole year? I can stick to things, sort of? 😳

Things I’ve eaten #2

Chicken Salad

march 11
Attempted some meal prep for the week, like a proper adult! Made my mum’s chicken spread, which is a weird-sounding mishmash of chicken, diced cucumber, diced dried fruit (fig, in this case), jam (I’m currently on a jar of strawberry), mayo, fish sauce (or salt, or soy sauce, but I’m south east asian, so FISH SAUCE), and today, for the figs, a splash of balsamic vinegar. I swear it’s delicious though!

Cherry tomato, balsamic onion, and cheddar omelette.

march 12
The first time I cooked this for someone else, he almost died laughing at my abysmal cooking skills. It’s been a while since then and it’s heaps better now, promise.

Marinated Mushroom and Giuseppe’s Choice pizzas

march 13
Had pizza from Ignite Pizzeria for lunch… My favourite Marinated Mushrooms, which consists of mozzarella, marinated oyster mushrooms, ricotta, parmesan, and a drizzle of truffle oil, and also the fantastic Giuseppe’s Choice, which has fior di latte, soppresata, chunks of crispy bacon, black olives, and lovely caramelized onions.

Shaker lemon pie

march 14
Pi(e) day! So of course I had pie. From Tartine Bread & Pies because I walked past and saw that every slice of pie was $3.14 for Pi Day and how is one to refuse that siren call?

House made Sobrasada

Mule Driver’s Cod

march 15
Went to Tempranillo for a belated birthday dinner! Went for the first time a little while ago, and I think it might be one of my new favourites now. Chef Bill is absolutely brilliant, and every single thing I’ve put in my mouth here has been absolutely brilliant. This time round, we had the Sobrasada, this fantastically spiced pork pate, and the Mule Driver’s Cod, which was this absolutely amazing bright, surprisingly light spread for something that’s essentially made of potato and salt cod. We spread it all over slices of grilled bread and it was so so good, absolutely the best thing I ate all week.

Poke(ish) bowl

march 16
Running errands over lunch and stopped in a hole in the wall Japanese place for a quick bite. Can’t remember where I went, and ordered up a poke bowl that turned out to be a vague attempt to hop onto the local bandwagon. At least the tuna sashimi was pretty fresh, even if it was a little… well. Not exactly what you’d call generously portioned…

Cartems Donuts

Okonomiyaki + Chicken Karaage

Pulled Pork Bao Benny

march 17
Gyoza Bar has a new brunch menu! Unfortunately we failed at reading basic information and rocked up to Gyoza Bar half an hour before they open. Just for future reference, while they might open at 11.30am on weekdays, weekend opening hours are at 12nn. So… we popped over to Cartems Donuts for a bit of pre-brunch breakfast, and then no one could decide so we wound up splitting a box of half dozen. Irish Coffee, Pistachio, Citrus Glaze, Earl Grey, Vanilla Bean, and London Fog. All delicious, although my personal favourites were the Earl Grey, Vanilla Bean, and the Citrus Glaze.
And then! Finally the main event, brunch! Amongst other things, we had the Okonomiyaki + Chicken Karaage, and the Pulled Pork Bao Benny. The baos at Gyoza Bar are some of the best things they make, although to be far I have to admit that I’ve somehow managed to never eat a single gyoza here? And by the way, the maple miso hollandaise is seriously excellent.

Things I’ve eaten #1

Kani Tsukemen

Maze Soba

Tiramisu Sundae

march 7
It’s my birthday! Went out to The Ramen Butcher for a birthday dinner with my family. The first things to arrive were the Kani Tsukemen and the Maze Soba, so by the time the ramen flights (black garlic and red hot chili) showed up, I was too busy stuffing my face to take photos 🤷🏻‍♀️ The Kani Tsukemen was mindblowing, with an intensely crabby broth that I couldn’t get enough of, so thank goodness for the soup-wari our server brought me when I finished the noodles, so I could chug that crabby goodness properly 🤤

After that, we went to my absolute favourite ice cream place in Vancouver… Earnest Ice Cream! They had a fantastic tiramisu sundae for their special sundae, and it was special indeed! 🍨💖

 

Mini Pulled Beef Rice Bowl

Chicken Skin Chicharrón

march 8
Today’s office lunch was at Gyoza Bar, so obviously I didn’t have any gyoza at all. 🤔 I’ve had the baos from here before, so today I had the Mini Pulled Beef Rice Bowl, which had a spicy soy glaze and was just the right size for my small lunch stomach. And then… I spotted the Chicken Skin Chicharrón and how could I possibly resist the siren song of fried chicken skin? Thank goodness for my lovely coworkers who helped me finish off that golden mountain of crispy chicken skin 🤪 Ooh and the nicely acidic tomato sweet chili sauce was great for cutting the greasiness too 👍🏻

 

Chef’s Choice Sashimi

Traditional Japanese Pickles

march 9
Sashimi cravings plus a lunchtime errand = Ryuu Japanese Kitchen, which I’ve passed a million times without stopping in. Glad I did today though, because the sashimi (the usual combo of salmon, tuna, hamachi, and mackerel) was fresh and satisfying, and the tsukemono that came with the sashimi, miso soup, and rice was great. I love pickles and now I really want to learn to make proper tsukemono at home, too.

 

Salted Caramel Cheesecake

march 10
Had to pop down to Seattle for reasons of family, so we stopped at The Cheesecake Factory for dinner, and for me the absolute best part of every Cheesecake Factory meal has to be the cheesecake! This time, I had the Salted Caramel Cheesecake, and it absolutely lived up to expectations 👌🏻

Bits of last week.

1. I’ve been obsessed with my tiny new 9oz Swell bottle, which is the perfect size to tuck into most of my bags. Also, palm leaves! I’ve been filling it with carbonated water most days, just because I can. Less exciting are the two bite brownies that came out more like chocolate muffins than brownies. It’s a work in progress…

2. That light! Shorter days means I’m more likely to be home and awake when the good light strikes. With bonus adorably tiny Lubitel TLR keychain

3. This little cloth bag of Midori robot paperclips from my favourite paper shop

4. Watching the rain from inside my warm cozy fishbowl

Hapa Izakaya • Taste of Yaletown 2017

It’s the Taste of Yaletown time of the year again! Popped into Hapa Izakaya for their $25 three course menu with a friend and between the two of us we had all the non-vegetarian items on the menu because we’re all about the meat around here.

ichi // first course

For the first course, we had the Beef Tataki and the Ahi Tuna Yukke. The Ahi Tuna Yukke arrived first, along with a vaguely apologetic warning that the dishes would be coming out “randomly” tonight, which turned out to mean that while our dishes did come out in order of the courses, they came out one at a time, which I suppose facilitated sharing the food family style…? It certainly made it easier to focus on one dish at a time!

Ahi Tuna Yukke | Ahi tuna tartare, quail egg, pine nuts, shiso, crispy seaweed for wrapping

The yukke was almost startlingly tiny when it appeared, but I guess that’s what you get for a $25 three course meal? The yukke was excellent, size aside, the ahi tuna sashimi was fresh and delicious, and you can’t go wrong with quail’s egg, really. Definitely something to order again, although perhaps at a more regular serving size.

Beef Tataki | Lightly seared AAA beef, soy barbecue sauce

The beef tataki had cute little slices of lightly marbled beef which was soft and tender but weirdly light on taste. The soy barbecue sauce wasn’t much help, either, unfortunately, but the garlic chips were delicious! (Deja vu… I’ve posted the exact same thing about Hapa Izakaya’s beef tataki before, on Instagram 🤔) The portion size was much much better than the tuna yukke though, so. There’s that going for it.

ni // second course

Chicken Nanban | Fried chicken thigh, daikon tartar sauce

The third thing to arrive was the Chicken Nanban. This was definitely the most sloppily plated dish we got tonight… there were enormous, slightly wilted lettuce leaves tucked in next to the unevenly sized chicken chunks, and messy (probably accidental) sauce smears beside the chicken and in the bowl of tartar sauce, and the whole thing just generally looked unappetizing and out of character for Hapa Izakaya, which normally has reasonably Instagrammable™ dishes. Thankfully, the chicken tasted much better than it looked. The chicken was nicely fried, light and tender, not too oily at all, the tartar sauce was refreshing, and it all went together nicely. Win!

Crispy Panko-Fried Scallops | Fried scallops, jalapeno mango mayo, lotus root chips

Next up were the Crispy Panko-Fried Scallops. The panko crust was excellent, perfectly fried and crispy and a little buttery, but unfortunately the scallops themselves were a touch overcooked and just on the rubbery side of chewy. The lotus root chips were excellent though, especially with the jalapeno mango mayo. That mayo was so good I wouldn’t have minded having the chance to dip the fried chicken in it too, but the mayo didn’t show up til we’d finished all the chicken, boo.

san // third course

Hambagu Steak | Ground AAA Angus beef, minced daikon, ponzu, shiso, garlic chips

This was the least exciting dish we ordered, personally, because my brother makes weirdly good tofu beef hambagu steaks, and I’m all about trying things I can’t get at home at restaurants… and sadly, when it came, I was absolutely not blown away. This Hambagu Steak was a super dense meat patty, so abnormally dense that we had difficulty trying to break it into bite-sized chunks with our chopsticks, and it showed up under a mountain of minced daikon that was at least half the size of the Hambagu Steak itself.

Aburi Saba Sushi | Torched pressed mackerel sushi with sansho pepper

Thankfully, my Aburi Saba Sushi arrived shortly after, because you absolutely can’t go wrong with Aburi Saba here. The other must order at Hapa Izakaya 😍 I guess because this was part of the Taste of Yaletown menu, they didn’t torch it tableside like they normally would. The nice thing about the tableside torching (besides the sheer dramatic awesomeness of FIRE) is that you get to pick how seared you want the saba. I prefer mine barely seared, for maximum raw saba power, but for people who aren’t overly friendly with the intense oily fish flavour that saba serves up, a little more cooked might be a better option.

Uninterrupted.

This was a LOT more fantastic than I was initially expecting based on the premise of a half hour long documentary about salmon runs, but the Uninterrupted experience had elements of an abstract art installation and made really excellent use of the bridge architecture. The False Creek lights as a backdrop certainly didn’t hurt!

The last performance is on September 24th, so if you’re in Vancouver definitely go check it out! I recommend the top of the playground as a prime viewing spot. The bottom of the slides are pretty nice too!

P.S. Gave myself permission to post crappy unedited media because I’m exhausted and mildly unwell, and I want to post daily more badly than I want to post well, so. That’s a thing.