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Thursday, June 26, 2008

dwell in possibility

Every time I dig myself into a hole because I don't know what I'm meant to do with my life, I open my journal and find this quote:

"Be patient towards all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves liked locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given to you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer."

- Ranier Maria Rilke, Letters To A Young Poet

bus to work

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

my girl

I set down a heavy tray of wine glasses, slosh their fluids into a giant bin and then steal a piece of one of the untouched tarts set to the side. I moan over the creme brulee topping and buttery pastry surrounding it.

It's nearing 12:30 a.m. and I'm told the first bus going back to Toronto is leaving. But I'm still buzzing, and out in the crowd, The Temptations, with one original member have started to play. "You realize those are The Temptations right? The Temptations!" No one seems quite as excited as I am over one of the world's most popular Motown band singing and shimmying on stage.

I spent last night in a tent out in the fields in Niagara, Ontario's beautiful wine region, catering for an extravagant dinner and auction.

The tents were hot, the shift was long and we were understaffed, but the food was beautiful, the crowd was alive, everyone was donating to charity, and most importantly...The Temptations were there.

Well, maybe not most importantly. The donations to the Sick Kids charity were outstanding, and shivers ran down my spine when Jann Arden offered to donate 100 thousand dollars, and then watched as the rest of the room worked together to meet her offer. There was a lot of money, and a lot of love in the room that night.

I got home at 5 a.m. this morning, and as we prepare the apartment for a dinner party, I think of my father. My father, also a lover of Motown, good food, and someone who understands working long nights better than anyone.

As his only daughter, I have always felt like his girl. He has always shown me love in some way or another, and beams with pride with my every success. He doesn't spoil me or dote on me, but he loves me, and that's all I really want.

He has taught me to relax, enjoy life, but work hard for what I want.

Happy Father's Day Dad, I haven't forgot you, and I'll always be your girl.

my father
father and daughter

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

tag, i'm it

Thetiniest spark tagged me on this short, delicious food questionnaire.

Asking me to talk about food is like asking Gordon Ramsey to swear, or Anthony Bourdain to trash talk vegans. I'm more than pleased to do so.

So here are my answers, bonne appetit, and feel free to post your own in the comments section.

1. One thing I don't like: Potatoes. Did I mention I'm Irish? My relatives are practically ready to disown me on this one. But in general, I just don't like the texture of potatoes and they don't excite me as a food. It took Europe 210 years to appreciate potatoes after they arrived from South America, so maybe I'm not crazy on this one. I've had some good roasted potatoes and fries in my time, but at the end of the day, it's not a food I really love.

2. 3 of my favorite foods:
- Korean Bibimbap with fried tofu, rice, vegetables and spicy red pepper sauce
- Tuna shooters (Delicious nigri sushi topped with a special sauce and scallions from Honjin in Vancouver)
- Grilled salmon

3. My favorite recipe: A couscous recipe with mint, basil, cumin, rasins ans vegetables that I've perfected over the years. Only tastes better the next day.

4. My drink: Lychee martini made purely with lychee liqueur and vodka. I skip the juice because I like my martinis lethally strong.

5. The dish I wish I could cook: My mother's creme carmel. She says it's easy but it always looks severely complicated when she makes it. And she makes it perfectly, every time.

6. My best food memory: After a year of living in Northern Ireland and hating the food, I came to France for the summer. Suddenly my days were filled with delicious stinky cheeses and food that made me groan. One night my mother and I, both insomniacs, couldn't sleep and woke the same time in the middle of the night. We cracked open some pots of creme brulee from the grocery store, covered them in cane sugar and popped them under the broiler. It was the most heavenly midnight snack I've ever had. It was one of those great unexpected moments I could only share with my mother.

I tag Lacey, Eurobrat, and my mother on this one.

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Saturday, June 07, 2008

to paris and rome

It almost feels like Europe.

As the summer sun sets over the city, I take the dog for a walk down a busy street. Cars drive by with Portuguese flags, honking and screaming. Portugal must be winning some soccer games, and I haven't seen this kind of hype over soccer since I was living in Paris.

Lately I seem to be discovering more and more just how Portuguese my new little neighborhood is. From the BBQ chicken restaurants with no menus and long line ups, to the sweet bakeries and scummy bars, this area is packed with Portuguese flair.

This evening I decide to venture out of my neighborhood. It's hot, it's Saturday night, and to be honest, I'm a little lonely. My life has been so crammed with work, from the store, to the catering events to the new business, that when I have free time I don't know who to call. "Remember me? I know I always refuse to go out...but now I want to!"

And so I wander. Happily. At the end of the day, I really do love my alone time. And on a night like tonight, there's nothing better than a long walk and a good daydream.

I walk with the dog all the way to Little Italy, passing bustling restaurants, packed patios and gorgeous Gelato shops. I admire beautiful couples sipping wine, deeply inhale the scent of freshly baked pizzas, and dodge people on the sidewalk with my little pup.

I feel like I could be in Europe. I wish I was in Europe. Lately my heart aches for foreign cities, new flavors and faces. I miss my mother. I miss train rides. I am so happy here, but I am also so consumed with staying busy and making money that I miss the feeling of truly living.

But tonight, I am alive. And as I travel through the city on a beautiful summer evening, I feel like myself again.

walking afro

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Monday, June 02, 2008

starting off in style

It's exciting to see an idea come to life.

And Saturday night, after months of careful planning, preparation, bagel baking and guest list altering, it all came together.

The grand opening of our business filled our new apartment with people we love, food, music, and exotic martinis.

To be honest, I felt overwhelmed. There were so many people I wanted to speak to, and at the same time I wanted to make sure everything went smoothly at all times. In the end, I did my best to do both, all in some very high heels.

I feel good starting a business supported by so much love, started out of passion and creativity.

The last group of girls left our place around three in the morning. I was already in bed. First thing the next morning we started preparing more food for our next adventure: a tasting at my boyfriend's aunt's church that afternoon.

So we turned the grill back on, packed up our plates and sauces, and got back into the same groove as the night before.

At the church we explained our concept, invited people to our first dinner party- A Taste of Jamaica- and fed many hungry church goers. One young man went wide-eyed and crazy over our food. I overheard him several times "Oh my god! The mango, the mango really brings out the flavours in this one!" His other young friends rolled their eyes, and seemed a little less impressed with out combination of flavours.

My beau's joyful Jamaican aunt passed out flyers, blessed us all and wished us the best. The pastor had us hold hands and blessed us again. I'm not religious, but I took the blessings as a great sign of love and support, and felt reassured once more that we are starting off on the right foot.

Leaving the church under the summer sun, we laughed, "We can't go wrong now," I said, "we've got everyones support on this one."

me and natty
party food
party girl
gill and fareen