Food in Toronto: 1

Confession time: I'm one of those people who takes photos of their food (sometimes). But I don't have Instagram, so people have asked me a number of times what I end up doing with these food photos. (A lot of the time, nothing - they just sit there on my phone or laptop.) Since I'm stranded/procrastinating right now anyway, I ended up going through some old photo archives in search of food pictures, and figured I'd put in a shout-out for some Toronto restaurants that are student-budget-friendly, so here we go:
Salad King. Classic. This particular photo was from when I went with L, a family friend whom I've known since I was like five years old. She was in town on co-op, and it was really nice to catch up, especially since it had been a couple years since we'd last met up.
Harbord House (150 Harbord St.) - Chicken Pot Pie. Delicious. A had his sister come visit, so a bunch of us joined them for a late dinner.
Jimmy the Greek at the Eaton Centre.
Ramen Raijin (3 Gerrard St. East) - pretty sure this is the first time I tried ramen. S's birthday, also with M and A.
Just Desserts (578 Yonge St.) - they have an excellent selection of desserts.
Don Don Izakaya (130 Dundas St. West) - mackerel, maybe? There was a ton of food ordered, but I took a photo of this because they literally came out with a blow torch and smoked it right in front of us, which was pretty cool.
Dessert Trends Bistro (154 Harbord St.) - chicken pie: scrumptious. We went for brunch for J's birthday, and they had an excellent selection of both food and desserts. The atmosphere is super cute as well. Additional desert photo can be found on this old post.
Pickle Barrel.
Sushi Shop.
BnB Toronto - Bistro and Bar (123 Queen St. West, inside the Sheraton Centre) - Bison Burger and some sort of brussel sprouts side. This was part of Burger Week.
Black Skirt (974 College St.) - can't recall exactly what this is, but it may have been the veal panini. Went with J, M, S and S on J's suggestion; the place has a very unique atmosphere (very homey/rustic), and pretty good food too. The cannoli I got for desert was yummy as well.
Fairly sure that this is Santouka Ramen (91 Dundas St. East), although I'm not entirely certain.
Yakitori Bar (1 Baldwin St.) - Baldwin Village has a bunch of really cute places to eat. Went with J and M on a weeknight during the summer. Portions tend to be on the "healthier" side, in that they fill you up just the right amount at the time when you finish eating, but you'll probably get hungry again later during the night. Food is good though.
Ryoji [Ramen & Izakay] (690 College St.) - Taco Rice. Located in Little Italy, they specialize in food from Okinawa. Went during the summer with M, A and S. (Was literally looking at the menu just now and noticed that they have fried cream cheese wontons. Wow, will have to get some next time.)
To-ne Sushi (414 Queen St. West). Usually a pretty safe bet for sushi. Some interesting music choices. The staff are quite nice as well.
And as a bonus, a photo from the first time I went to Dark Horse (with J and M). The quest to find the best hot chocolate in the city is still ongoing. 
So... are you hungry now? ;)

we'll make it through

In my fourth year/graduate seminar on Thursday, the professor ruminated on an interesting human behavioral psychology phenomenon. With the Olympics having taken place recently, it's obviously something that's been on everyone's mind. But in any case, as we were speaking about [social science research] methodologies and how some decisions and constraints are, at the core of it, arbitrarily chosen, she brought up the point that it's a human construct that we have three medal places. Way back, it used to be only gold and silver. Later on, bronze was added in. And stemming from that, to place in the top three is to medal - to come fourth suddenly seems like a significant difference.

And even more interestingly - as a result of this - people who win bronze tend to be happier than people who win silver. Because those who come second almost came first, so it's a bittersweet mix of being proud of the accomplishment, and disappointed at being so close. But for those who get bronze, it's yay, placed!

Some interesting thoughts. Anyway. Not that this is entirely align-able, but February is the second month of the year, and this one has been very rough, to say the least. But there's no point in letting what can't be controlled create a pervasive negative influence, and focus instead on making that which can be controlled as positive as possible.

As always, tomorrow's a new day.

*Photo of a sticky note found in a bathroom stall on campus. Cute.

Bannock: Winterlicious 2014

So Toronto has annual themed food festivals: Winterlicious and Summerlicious, wherein participating restaurants offer prix fixe menus for lunch and/or dinner. One of my exec teams and I hit up Bannock today, and the food was very good, especially considering the price. Bannock is known for "Canadian comfort food" - I've actually been once before, albeit for their regular menu. On the note of Oliver & Bonacini restaurants, I've also been to Biff's Bistro previously.

The kale caesar salad, with dulse, horseradish and Bannock croutons
The pig + chips, with Ontario pork shoulder, roasted garlic fries and mustard greens kimchi
The cheesy chocolate cannoli, with chocolate peanut sauce, brittle, and Ontario cream cheese


So there were seven of us (H, R, L, N, F, M and I), and there was a bit of a wait (although honestly, it really wasn't that bad, and we managed to keep ourselves occupied so we didn't really mind), and they gave us two of these complimentary s'mores cakes to make up for it, which was a super pleasant surprise. And super delicious! The marshmallows were the perfect degree of melted.

The staff were friendly, the food was good, and the atmosphere was nice. Plus the Winterlicious lunch menu is only $15 to boot! Definitely worth checking out, especially if you're a fan of locally sourced ingredients.

not much, just meh

First post of 2014. Feels like it should be something deep, or thoughtful, or aspirational. But I got nothing. I didn't even come up with a list of New Year's Resolutions this time around. Which is okay. It's going to be a phenomenal year regardless of whether or not I scribble down a series of random thoughts now that I probably won't even remember by December. But that's enough cliché ruminating on start-of-the-year stuff.
Twenty-first of January, three weeks in, a little over three months of undergrad left. A lot of things are beyond my control at the moment, a lot of waiting left to do.

The top photo is of my sister's hamster Coco, whom she spent months saving up for, and then purchased on her birthday. Sadly, Coco passed away last week.  

2013 in Review

As a follow-up to 2012 in review, it's time to recap 2013:

JANUARY

  • There was no reprieve to be found in January; right from the beginning, the year started off as go-go-go
  • Made some foolish mistakes, but at the end of the day, it was still a good learning experience
  • Ended the month feeling optimistic and resolving to do better

FEBRUARY

MARCH

  • Received an award that mattered a lot on a personal level
  • Saw Zedd perform a live set @ Sound Academy

APRIL

  • Had an existential crisis
  • Met Beth Revis (author of the Across the Universe trilogy)
  • Explored Kensington for the first time
  • Finished third year

MAY

  • Turned 21
  • Started an internship at a tech startup
  • Started a Research Assistant position with a professor
  • Started summer school classes

JUNE

  • Decided to resume a project; in the chaos of other commitments, said project was soon abandoned again
  • Mused on random things
  • Work, research, class, friends, chilling - June zoomed by

JULY

  • July zoomed by as well, in much the same fashion as June

AUGUST

  • Finished the internship, the research position, & summer school classes
  • Went home for a week and got caught up on sleep and home-cooked food

SEPTEMBER

  • Started fourth/final year
  • The semester got off to a crazy start right from Frosh Week
  • Saw TOKiMONSTA & Flume perform live @ The Opera House, then hit up TOKiMONSTA's after-party @ The Hoxton

OCTOBER

NOVEMBER

  • Also an insanely busy month, lots of thinking
  • Resolved to go all in 
  • Aced the GREs
  • Received some excellent news (as well as some not-so-excellent news); but on balance, the positive news outweighed the negative

DECEMBER

  • Had a similar unfortunate scenario as last year, where everything was crammed into the span of one week (except worse, because there was even more to do this time around)
  • Finished the semester, chillaxed 
I didn't do the greatest job at keeping up with blogging this year, so there's probably a ton of stuff that I've missed in this summary, but oh well, it is what it is.

Here's to 2014!

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