Monday, June 25, 2018

Fast food... not what you think at SOCO

Oh the attempts to go out with a baby... bravo to us, parents everywhere for trying to have some semblance of their past pre-baby lives!  While visiting my friend, H, and her 2 month old... we ventured outside for a small jaunt around downtown to SOCO kitchen and bar for a quick attempt at lunch while her sweet bundle was trying to nap.  Prominently standing across the street with straight, sleek lines promising contemporary cuisine, we walk into the baby-friendly restaurant that is nestled in the Delta downtown.  We walk past a celebration, complete with a little toddler and I'm impressed that the swanky vibe is so warm and accepting of our littles.  Our server comes by and as we peruse our menu, my lactose intolerant self eyes the macaroni and cheese which has won not one, but THREE awards in a row, friends! Naive as we are, the sweet babe started to fuss and we asked the server to speedily do take out as we swooped in and out of the resto and back up the condo to soothe the babe and settle into eating our fast food.  Over giggles and chats of dreams, loves, and hope for domestic chore equity, my afternoon flew by quickly and my hunger satisfied from the rich cream of the macaroni and the crunch of the panko breadcrumbs on top.  Conscious-stricken over a lack of greens, we shared the SOCO urban salad and guiltily left a few leaves untouched as H's husband gladly pointed out as he got home to spy on my whereabouts (our mutual husbands are good friends)... ha!  As I got home, I offered the mac 'n cheese to my hungry H and put an end to this failed espionage mission.  Food is H's achilles' heel!  Isn't it everyone's?

See menu here for lunch: SOCO lunch menu  Nyom, nyom, nyom! 
Looking forward to many more fast food missions to come!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Stop telling me I'm not enough, society! And how I combat that with food... (yes, that statement is loaded and will unpack that another day, chill y'all)

Mind blown.  A heart-felt chat tonight with my good friend S has led to a discussion about the insurmountable pressure that women and now, as mothers, we feel to be perfect.  So here's my work that I need to do in this lifetime, and I'm not talking, "Hey, this is what I do for a living" but work that I have to put in to undo bad lessons on how to attain, keep and let go of love.  Here's my story in a nutshell: first generation born here to hard-working immigrant parents.  Luck of the lot to be the eldest of an entire gaggle of first-gen born whose motivation to succeed was sparked by not feeling "enough".. i.e. not white enough, not rich enough, not smart enough, not travelled enough, not liked enough, not interesting enough, not knowledgeable enough, not pretty enough, not mothering enough, not....ugh.. ENOUGH ALREADY!  Due to not feeling enough ended up in a thoroughly abusive relationship, a perverse sense of self, shitloads of debt and the belief that I'm the victim and martyr in most things.  All good things are not of my own merit but have been bestowed upon me in some law of karma.

What. the. fuck.

Thankfully through on-going therapy, self-imposed leave and borrowed time, I'm reaffirming that we are enough, and human enough to be loved.  And who better to love ourselves than us?  So, a lot of my goals have been to figure out... what the fuck do I really like to do that is not used as a tool to impress others to show that.. well... I'm a deserving and whole human being.  Heavy shit, right?

The one consistent thing that has always helped me self-soothe and has always served as a homecoming of identity so to speak has been food: eating it, cooking it, talking about it, reading about it, arguing about it, creating it and using it as a means to gather.  So, even blogging about food, which I guess this post is kind of about... has truth been told.... healing.  With H nursing a sore throat on the eve of the summer solstice and Miss M basically just being a picky toddler, I will share my go-to chicken ginger soup recipe that I had to dole out yesterday impromptu to heal those around me and frankly to heal myself.

Je Suis Gutom's easy Chicken Ginger Soup (which is inspired by my mother-in-law's version, got to give credit where credit is due!)

-4 cups of water
-chicken backs or bones (I used the leftovers from the Chicken Afritada I made earlier this week and froze the rest in the freezer.  Any bone-in chicken pieces will do).
-2 inch knob of ginger, peeled and cut into medallions (I take the back of a spoon to scrape the peel off which I learned from another blog... works like a charm!)
-2 cloves of garlic, crushed
-any vegetables on hand, I threw in baby spinach and some leftover mushrooms but onions, carrots and celery work just as well
-a splash of fish sauce (salt works just fine)
-1/2 tsp of ground pepper (but adjust to taste)

1. Place chicken back, ginger, garlic and water in large saucepan and set to boil on medium.
2. Once boiled, set to simmer and leave for thirty minutes covered
3. Add vegetables and cook just until tender.
4. Serve hot and with a smile

That's it!  Mic drop.  Take that yucky feelings and bacteria! It's just enough to soothe your soul (or to make a quick dinner... really, ha!)

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Invisible work....including Monday's chicken afritada

I had the most delightfully deep conversation today with my good friend J who I met moons a go while taking the same course.  We caught up over a long absence and we came to chatting about the invisible work that women do in the domestic field.  Both J and I have full-time employment in a crazy profession that leaves you breathless at the end of the day.  At home, we deliver top-notch service in both the cleaning and cooking and basically Alpha-female stereotypical department of empathy, listening skills, patience and understanding in our surprisingly traditional gender roles in our marriages for two long-standing feminists. (As an aside, my fab sis sent me this hilarious podcast that you should all check out called, "The Guilty Feminist" episode 90 left me crying in laughter at certain moments).

As much as we complain and tried to wrap our heads around how our husbands are wired so differently than us, we came to the subject of cooking.  I have won the lottery with my husband's cooking skills... the only challenge is that it comes out like a Sasquatch sighting... there is spotted proof of it existing but it's too effusive to count on as ground-breaking evidence that it does exist.  As I spent most of Monday watching the hours dissipate as I laboured two weeks worth of laundry, organized Miss M's room, paid bills, was harangued by family to plan events (last-minute whims, of course) I came to the task of groceries and dinner.  I have to say, this dinner was accomplished a lot faster than I had anticipated... (yay!) and came out surprisingly good and tasted even better on Day 2 (ahem, today) and hopefully tomorrow (ahem, not cooking again until Thursday).  It checks off easy, is a tomato-based sauce for H, and can go well with easy rice to make.  Oh!  And it's Filipino, so you know it's tasty!  Invisibly made by the magic of the alpha-female in the house, here is the recipe for Chicken Afritada. P.S. I omitted the green peas, hot dogs, and sugar and truth be told didn't have tomato sauce so I used half a can of diced tomatoes and three huge squirts of ketchup (he he he).  I also unsafely left it on simmer as I literally browned the chicken pieces and then dumped the rest in the pot... and ran to pick up Miss M from daycare...hey man, no judgments... it's invisible work, but it's work!  Enjoy!

Saturday, June 16, 2018

A word on why I refuse to change my profile photo....

Because I want to look like that again.... ok? I admit it, there in cyberspace...

Here is M's birth story in a nutshell: I gave birth to little Miss M at home, and no, mad respect to the women who plan natural births and want their babies at home, I did not choose to be one of these women!  I had a fabulous birth plan that included drugs, DRUGS, my friend, NOT the ONE REGULAR TYLENOL that I ended up having as my labour went from zero to a hundred.  Needless to say, she was born on our already stripped mattress (because my water broke LIKE THE MOVIES on it at 7 am, she was born at 5:25 pm... motherfucker).  After listening to some bizarre hypno-birth chakra shit on H's phone, I went from 2 cm at 1:30 pm when my midwife came to FULLY TRANSITIONED AND EFFACED by 3:30 pm at which point we called the midwife back and at 4 was basically like... "You are going to have the baby in the car or in an ambulance" at which point I calmly said, "We are not fucking moving and we are having the baby here"... where I then learned after the fact that H went into our living room swearing like a mofo and perhaps crying as he was texting our good friend I in Ottawa who basically said, "Omg, of course she is having it at home.  What a hippie!"... thanks supportive partner and best friend... hmph, imagine pushing a watermelon out of your you know what.. oh you can't.. because you both have penises!

Anyway... there are other fun facts that went along with this that I will save for another day but as my husband has implored today for me to "go back to the gym, you'll feel better" after complaining about my mood swings being a mama to a toddler... I look fondly on that photo and want to lie to you all out there that I still look like that rather than the haggard, mom-cutted, a la naturelle face that is framed with black and white stringy hair sitting on the couch close to 1 am with a glass of water and something a little extra mixed in to help me sleep.... you know what I mean?!

By the way, I really wish I had a TWIX right now.... doesn't that count as an energy-filled health snack?  Refined cocoa is totally in....

Oh my God, I ate pasta at Il Fornello....

....and it was good.  Oh, and by the way... with a CRAZY, MOFO TODDLER!  I think this was the first time in MONTHS that we ate at a sit-down restaurant and had drinks, apps, and a main.  No dessert... are you crazy?  We have a toddler...  Equipped with this fantastic Rubbermaid high chair on wheels, we were able to contain crazy Miss M who decided to nap three hours later than usual... (FML!)

We had the fried calamari, a glass of red sangria and white sangria... H had the sausage pizza and I had the seafood linguine.  Little Miss M had tidbits of the kids menu penne and meatballs in pomodoro sauce which she gobbled because the only things she eats these days are penne pasta, and well, penne pasta.... (insert disgruntled sigh here).

Both H and I walked Little Miss M once each around the resto while we took turns enjoying our meal and this was after Little Miss M was dancing on the table, literally with one shoe on, before the bread and apps were served to the delight of our gracious server.

Food was good but not heart-stopping, but it was a fantastic first night out, which was capped off with Baskin Robbins World Class Chocolate (really? I dunno) and my fave Jamocha Almond Fudge indulgences as we took Little Miss M to Withrow Park for some squirrel chasing, swings and the slide.

We spent $89 with tax and tip... Baskin Robbins was extra as well as Little Miss M's requests for "more" every time we gave her a wee taste of our ice cream :)

Honourable mention goes out to our server who chased me down out of the restaurant and gave me M's rubber plate/table (which is amazing and has served us on multiple occasions, find it here: ez mini mat, we got ours at Baby on the Hip) that we forgot on the table! Yay! Because I have mom brain, dammit.

Check out Il Fornello here:

Lady Marmalade, you are the SHIT!

Miss M is now 16 months and wakes up at an ungodly 5:30 am most weekends.  What is a young family to do to fill in the void of no longer being able to go out to restaurants?  Why, stake out every single breakfast diner that is open the earlier the better, of course!

Lady Marmalade is that brunch spot that is on most T.O.'s top 10 blogs of places to brunch in our dear city and also where one can never get into because of the long queue.. the secret my friends, is to get there a wee bit earlier to wait in line for the opening rush at 8 am and then quickly grab a seat and a high chair!

We opt for our usual: Americano, Pulled Pork Benny for H - Latte, Huevas Migas for myself and Miss M gets a side order of scrambled eggs (which I try to emulate at home), half an order of toast and a fruit cup.  As she gets older, she is able to eat more and more of this breakfast as the months wear on.  It is equipped with high chairs, a booster chair, chalk for the chalkboard wall for the kiddos in line and a bin of toys, duplo, and colouring books for the littles at the table.  We don't bring a stroller but definitely if need be to haul it inside the restaurant, there is a little nook where you can fold and store your Uppababy (or in our case, our CityMini GT on a crazy boxing sale from Sungglebugz online... shit man, strollers are expensive... I digress).

Loads to choose from for the brunch set, the typical organic, local fare that is consistently yummy.  Trust us, we've been there at 7:55 am bleary-eyed almost every weekend since our little bubba was 10 months.

Truth be told, I did venture in with a wonderful mommy friend and her little on a Thursday morning and there was still a line at 8 am!  The staff are understanding of the messes babes and toddlers can make and its welcome vintage vibe is cozy and comfortable.

Brunch for two and toddler with tip: $55

See website here:

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Eating with the munchkin... adventures in Pho!

So, fast forward a year and a bit and... TA-DA! We have a BABY!  Needless to say that adventuring into the food world has now proven very challenging... (more posts on travel, postpartum depression/anxiety) to come...

After a challenging week post-stress with a baby (and basically being in your partner's face 24/7 due to paternity leave)... what better way to relax and lull your babe to sleep than a trip to Scarberia's land of diverse food!

We found ourselves at Pho Vietnam, you can yelp/google all you want with links below.  What is fantastic is this place is still cheap and cheerful after all these years.  With a sleeping baby in tow, the banquettes are a perfect place for her carseat while we slurped our two Pho no. 1's and spoiled ourselves with two orders of spring rolls: the fried and the fresh.  All for under $30, you can't go wrong!  On previous occasions pre-bebe, the chicken wings are an honourable mention.

The baby is STILL sleeping as I post this... SO worth the trip.  Calm and soothing, just like the Pho. Hopefully, I'll still be calm at her 2 am feeding!  Check it out here:

Pho Vietnam
1280 Kennedy Road (Kennedy and Lawrence Avenue East)

Google map direction to Pho Vietnam
Yelp Review of Pho Vietnam