And just like that, the snow has come and gone. Overcast skies persist, however seasonal climate has seemingly returned.
Weekend activities involved the regular grocery runs, cold brew preparations, and zealous recipe testing for a coincidentally gluten-free prototype. The results were a tad damper than desired, but overall better than expected, given that the scale's battery had been zapped mid-weighing.
P.S. These Colorado beans were saved for a later point in the future, substituted by a full-bodied medium-dark roast for the time being.
A second round at innisfree earned me a three-piece Holiday Hand Cream set, a much-needed blusher, and some nonessentials that inexplicably made their way into my basket.
The visit confirms that, while the store is smaller in comparison to the Yorkdale flagship, product range was not compromised. Friendliness of the floor staff remained consistent, though the manager on duty was a positively disagreeable character - and a shameless one at that.
After a grueling four-month wait, one of two Kinka Group eateries has unveiled its interior to the avid diners of the waterfront food scene. While Kinton isn't slated to open until December ("The wallpaper is being put up."), the neighbouring Kinka Izakaya has supposedly been serving dinner for the past two weeks, and, more recently, lunch.
It brings me much sadness that the establishment can only be accessed at street level, and even further disgust that greasy fumes manage to permeate hair follicles and cotton apparel despite the two-door barrier. Such griefs are owed to an open kitchen, as well as peak lunch hour in full swing.
The humidity has officially hit.
Personal catch-up time has suffered a dramatic drop.
Weekly visuals shall proceed until further notice.
2) The Seunie Bingsu from Snowies
The GOT7-themed bingsoo series continues! Following BamBam's Thai Milk Tea was Jackson's Hong Kong Milk Tea, which, in comparison to the first item of the collection, exhibited more prominent flavour. The limited edition selection was served in a similar fashion: curated toppings and condensed milk on the side, and an absence of layering.
Tapioca pearls made another appearance, but instead of grass jelly was an oddly orange egg pudding. It had been set directly and served in a ramekin - a sharp contrast to the abstract shards of yellow utilized by most bubble tea vendors. Its consistency was also a tad more rigid, indicating either a higher percentage of stabilizer, whether it be egg yolk, gelatin, or some derivative of starch. A pizelle cookie - broken and inserted in the shape of wings? - was intended to add crunch, though I cannot produce any comments towards this addition. Admittedly, it is not my fondest type of cracker, so I did steer clear of it.
Sampling the bingsoo on its own, familiar notes of Hong Kong milk tea were made discernible. Frankly, it lacked the astringency and 金味 (an attribute I can only depict as a distinctly unique lingering aftertaste) associated with the tea blend, however its profile remained recognizable. I was informed that the first few batches of the dessert had proved "far too bitter", thus the formula was altered to fit the dessert niche.
Egg pudding, tapioca, and a condensed milk drizzle with the consistency of evaporated milk enabled greater enjoyment of the bowl's contents, albeit resulting in a somewhat messy eating experience. As mentioned previously (561), Snowies' ice flakes have been observed to contain the lowest moisture levels by far; a direct runoff of loosened condensed milk was owed to this precise property. On that note, it is worth mentioning that the taste of tea diminished with the subsequent addition of toppings.
We also took the opportunity to try the Honey Butter Toast, a seemingly new addition to their menu, along with the Black Sesame Bingsu. The item arrived looking near identical to the Injeolmi Toast, and it was only afterwards that I learned honey butter had been incorporated into the soybean-centric creation. It was not an entirely different entity after all. A poor pick on my part, it was far too sugary in the absence of java; the mochi bits were tasty as always, though the combination of sticky slickness and friable injeolmi powder made for a throat-clogging occurrence.
The striking gold knives are a wonderful touch, might I say.
Summer construction season is in full swing, yet it seems that neither Mother Nature - nor the spirits of employment - got the memo. The search for a position providing societal benefit ensues, as do sporadic periods of frigidity and heavy downpours.
As one jacket is returned to the closet, another must be summoned to accommodate the ever-indecisive climatic conditions.
1) Kung Fu Tea opened at Pacific Mall, and on the counter was a fake Brown.
2) The prominent sakura theme resurfaces every spring.
3) Dak Lak is a necessary (caffeinated) evil during P-Mall runs
It's been a "hot minute" since my last visit, for the post-paintball excursion in December is recalled with winter coats in tow.
Since then, the Brick Cheese Katsu - a fusion formula employing a thick, stringy slab of mozzarella - had been added to the roster of non-spicy katsu dishes. A Rosé Katsu is also anticipated in the upcoming months.
The restaurant's policies have seemingly also undergone some changes: unlimited rice refills no longer exist, and 5% discounts are now offered with cash payments.
View the full album HERE !
The first quarter is now behind us, in the most agitating form of part-time happenings and the endless job search. As for whoever said "April showers bring May flowers", they didn't quite take into consideration the duplexity of Mother Nature.
1) Sandwiched between consistent periods of gloomy, grey skies was an unforeseen sunny day, which meant taking to the tranquil - albeit terribly sodden - trails for the first cycle of the year.
2) The type of person to take present-plucking very earnestly, I decided to take matters into my own hands this year for my favourite fangirl's date of birth. A tri-layer Brûléed S'Mores Cheesecake endeavour assumed the majority of my Easter Sunday, though the results weren't optimal, in my eyes anyway.
The miniature dessert consisted of four layers: Chocolate Sponge Cake, Nutella Cheesecake, Marshmallow Cheesecake, and a thinly caramelized surface. Despite my intense research and meticulous scaling procedures, the sponge was a bit drier than desired. There was also an absence of marshmallow flavour in the topmost section.
Remnants of this cake were preserved and re-purposed for a different usage: CoCo's 22nd Anniversary Contest.
Coating the bottom two layers with a generous portion of Thai tea-infused whipped cream yielded a rectangular specimen - later deemed by the "(Knockoff) CoCo Cake" by an analytical taste-tester.
I shall not lie: the whipped cream was positively heavenly, and the perky, light orange hue was absolutely divine. Moreover, the fine specks of tea leaves contributed an additional degree of visual and gustatory texture. And amusingly, the chocolate sponge did not prove dry at all; the frosting had combatted this issue altogether.
Let me win the Switch please!!!
3) Tomo Sushi
A Chirashi bowl from Sushi Tei 2.0 was our ridiculously rushed pre-climbing dinner. Proper feedback shall be provided once a regular visit has been made.
We've somehow sprung past seventy-five percent of the first quarter already. The job hunt persists; life must go on.
My downtime has been characterized by a short round of visuals, primarily relating to the concept of feasting. Unpictured are the screenshots from He is Psychometric (사이코메트리 그녀석) , all of which have required peeling myself off a cozy, comfy mattress to tune in for the livestream. Spoilers aren't my cup of tea.
1) An uncompromising yearning for Chipotle was sadly met with dismay and plummeting protein quality.
2) Testing out new mainstream and craft brews
3) The climbing starter set has now been acquired! My Hub access has since been renewed for another four weeks.
4) K-Beauty essentials secured from ebay a month prior have finally arrived (with an expired eye mask in tow).
5) BNC's Garlic Rusk is as scrumptious as their Brownie Cookies - just be sure to munch in a manner that does not exceed three days.
6) The tragic fate of all my birdies is as demonstrated by my miniature, magenta carry-along.
7) Ralph Wrecks VR was a wholly immersive virtual reality experience complete with multi-dimensional, colourful graphics, vibrations, and scented sections. Though similar to the Ghostbusters module at The Void's downtown location, this version was a more lighthearted take with kid-friendly "villains".
My New Year's Eve had been spent working on an intense project, to the extent where determination to complete the backbreaking task far exceeded any desire to celebrate the arrival of 2019. Said project remains incomplete and undisclosed from the world due to technical limitations (otherwise known as an extremely faulty laptop with diminishing RAM).
I had granted myself a short breather from the venture, which permitted indulging in other interests - namely GOT7 fancams and food adventures.
1) Attempting the Inkigayo Sandwich
Never to be the quickest at picking up trends, news of the Inkigayo Sandwich hadn't quite made its way to my attention until orangecane uploaded her extremely overdue Korea post.
I was instantly intrigued, for how could I not be? Strawberry jam and egg salad sounded like a fabulous combination. The same cannot be said for cabbage slaw, on the other hand. Regardless, I became invested in the idea and promptly set out the next day in search of ingredients.
Many YouTubers had developed their own rendition on the broadcast station cafeteria special, which I scrutinized down to the very detail before formulating my own recipe.
Potatoes were neglected - for carbs on carbs is just excessive - and a dash of fresh dill was incorporated. Homemade strawberry jam was substituted for the sugary storebought nonsense. Imitation crab meat was wholly forgotten until the slaw filling had been completed and set to chill.
A large batch had been constructed in preparation for a potluck dinner. The remaining ends of the purchased loaf were then utilized to create a prototype featuring the three fillings. At this point, it was discovered that four slices of bread was absolutely ridiculous, even when pressed together firmly. Consequently, the final version consisted of three slices, with sides bearing strawberry jam and cabbage slaw meeting at one end of the sandwich.
To be quite frank, the resulting product was a tad odd-tasting. Coleslaw wasn't my cup of tea to begin with, though tried-and-true fillings such as strawberry jam and egg salad hadn't succeeded in raising its ranking either. Food fads have always been a hit or miss though.
2) A cozy east-meets-west potluck marked the farewell party of a certain foreign comrade. It was here that homemade 쌈 wraps, mushroom-laced 불고기, extra-mild kimchi fried rice, and not-so-mild Mapo tofu (麻婆豆腐) were served to us (in a rather interesting manner, I should add).
The room we dined in lacked a table, so the group resorted to eating off the floor. A candle was lit to set the mood and compensate for inadequate insulation.
(Side story: Amidst setup preparations, someone carelessly dropped my coleslaw on the ground, cracking the container in a manner I hadn't thought possible. Hence, there was no other choice than to wrap up leftovers in a flimsy plastic bag...reminiscent of scraps. Sigh.)
The occasion also marked my first attempt at SoMaek (소맥) - a popular Korean mix of beer and soju - as well as the first intake of soju in my entire lifetime. Both thrilling and terrifying, the experience was one I wouldn't mind repeating at a later point in the future, when I have a ride home secured.
We ended the evening off by dashing out into the streets with a confused, angry middle-aged man questioning our identities. Fun things do happen downtown.
Diana's Oyster Bar was a distant (and not particularly pleasant) memory for me. I hadn't bothered with the various varieties of oysters at the time, nor had the open bar piqued my interest. Besides the immensely delicious crabcakes, it was the sole instance where I had met someone adopting both the entities of a food enthusiast and makeup/style fiend
A few years (and two cases of plan fall-out) passed before we finally agreed on meeting up again.
Said social media user is based in Markham, and having put Pacific Mall errands on the back burner for some time now, it was essentially killing two birds with one stone.
I pulled into the parking lot a few minutes past noon, then swiftly met up with her to discuss the plan. The initial route consisted of restocking my K-Beauty inventory, next lunch, and lastly churros for dessert.
Alas, our appetites trounced the desire to shop; we retreated back to the car, then made the painstaking drive to Nichiban Sushi 4 U, our pre-determined (read: pre-researched) midday meal of choice.
Being the impatient one of the two, I committed the terrible mistake of U-turning into the adjacent gas station, nearly annihilating a cyclist in the process. Upon discovering that the asphalt lots did not connect, there was no other option than to turn back onto Kennedy and loop into the correct plaza.
One ought to note the narrowness of the Nichiban plaza, for it only capable of one-way traffic when the compact lot hit capacity. It was thankful that loading time has passed, and that no trucks were parked in the main passageway during our visit.
Nichiban was a sliver of a casual Japanese restaurant, and apparently geared more towards takeout orders than dine-in. Though, it also appeared to be popular amongst those that worked in the vicinity.
My friend - a seasoned feaster in the Milliken Heights area - did not hesitate to suggest the 888 Combo to share. The twenty-four-dollar platter had been named appropriately: it included eight slices of sashimi, eight specialty rolls, eight pieces of nigiri, along with the standard offerings of miso soup and side salad.
Both starters were mediocre. Adding to the fact that traffic volumes were on the low end, it seemed odd - and slightly stingy - to me that we were not offered a starter set each. Such small details go a long way in leaving a lasting impression.
The nigiri and sashimi specimens were determined by the chef, but we were given the option to choose our preferred style of specialty roll. Black Dragon was my pick, on the basis that marinated eel has been included on the list of constituents.
How could one possibly go wrong with tempura and unagi, right? WRONG.
In hindsight, it probably wouldn't have mattered which specialty roll was chosen. Quality was consistently terrible throughout.
When VYbE announced five-dollar classes, I was instantly inclined to make a Markham visit. With that, I figured I might as well make a P-Mall trip to stock up on items I hadn't purchased in the States.
Dak Lak was my suggestion: a necessary first stop to obtain Thai Milk Tea. orangecane added Pandan Jelly to hers, while I opted for a mix of Tapioca and Pandan Jelly to ensure that the purchase would sum up to five dollars. (Each individual topping was seventy-five cents instead of fifty cents.)
The staff were as pleasant as ever, though the Thai Milk Tea tasted on this visit was merely passable instead of delicious. Tapioca pearls were soggy and potentially amongst the worst I've tried from the Asian shopping centre; pandan jelly was fragrant, but overwhelmed the concoction entirely. The beverage lacked balance. Moreover, the long, green strips were impossible to pick up using the standard bubble tea straw. Both of us resorted to tossing the lid and tipping out the cup's contents after numerous futile attempts.
This visit to the Korean beauty aisle did not yield much of a haul (thank goodness). For once, I purchased the few items I had set my eyes on and didn't stray any further from the list.
I ought to note that VDL's Expert Color Liquid Eyeshadow is becoming less annoying to employ with acquired experience. The pigmentation is meek and the glitter still transfers, but lasting power is applaudable and its base notes are versatile enough to be paired with a variety of shadow shades. That said, there was minimal reluctance to test out the Expert Metal Cushion Foundation as a replacement Missha's Tension Pact. (Mine unfortunately melted in the 30-degree-plus insulated interior of a vehicle.)
2Seeing as our first class of interest was slated to commence at 5:05 PM, we ate an early dinner of Gyugyuya around 4 PM. The curry house's new location in the Pacific Mall food court was a godsend, for it meant being able to taste the flavours of Japanese curry without having to venture to Midland and Finch (or downtown).
Similar to Papa Chang's stall, a series of bar stools were allocated at the side of the booth to allocate exclusive seating for the eatery's customers.
< Pictured above and below: Gyu Curry, Gyu Cheese Curry >
We consumed a heartier portion than needed for a dance class, and spent the remaining one hour leading up to the session feeling groggy and utterly unmotivated. That said, I enjoyed the meal immensely; the curry sauce was a tad spicier than I would have been able to handle, so opting for a takeout setup enabled me to control the precise portion desired.
The completion of August is the end of an era.
Students return to school, while 9-to-5-ers recall the pain of travelling in regular volumes of traffic again. Summer is concluding, and daylight hours are diminishing.
Above all, GOT7 is making a comeback.
A fall comeback to be precise, wherein they will be releasing eight versions of their third full-length album, Present: YOU.
It goes without saying that yours truly has already taken to placing her preorder. Though it shall be some time before it is revealed whether my Turbulence mission will need to repeat itself for a Jinyoung edition...
Anyways, without further ado, here is a slew of this month's captures! For the most part, the camera was forgotten at home, so mobile snaps are aplenty.
1) VDL - Expert Color Liquid Eyeshadow (2018 Glim and Glow) in No. 101 On The Floor
A sign of true sales skills is being able to convince a customer to make a purchase, even when they wandered into the boutique with seemingly no desire to take out their wallet. The girl at The Face Shop succeeded in doing this.
Fairview Malls' The Face Shop was stocked with more VDL products than that of Square One, Markville, and Yorkdale combined. The utter pinkness of the collection drew me in, while the liquid glitter eyeshadow convinced me to stay and swatch.
To be frank, I probably didn't need a new addition to my accumulating pile of unused eyeshadows. But the incentive was there - in the form of a vivid purple massage stick with any VDL purchase.
Immediate regrets settled in with the first few uses of this product, however. The colour payoff was terrible - barely noticeable if you ask me - and specks of glitter transferred easily between the upper and bottom lids. The formula was difficult to layer with other eyeshadows as well, as it creased when set with powder types and smeared upon contact with gel eyeliner. (Liquid liner appeared fine though.)
Also to be noted is the applicator's inability to grab more than 1-2 ml of product at a time. The rose gold-toned flecks are an odd size and shape, which makes it difficult to determine whether they are more suitable for the eyelid and lower lashline. Moreover, the formula doesn't possess fabulous sparkle even when observed underneath direct sunlight.
This was a disappointing account of twenty-four dollars. The massage stick was nice though, in spite of the poorly-made plastic handle.
2) Fun on-site randoms
3) Brown Sugar Oolong Milk Tea w/ 2J (Tapioca and Coffee Jelly) from Gong Cha proved quite nice, as did the recently established array of eateries on York University grounds.
Be warned that drinks are extravagant at $7 after taxes, and that the interior finishes have yet to be completed. The washroom was not toured on this visit.
4) North York's Kung Fu Tea was a stop I wish I had skipped out on. Due to its proximity from Yonge and Sheppard, it seemed a good idea at the time. Yakult Green Tea definitely was not the best decision though.
5) Iced Tea Lemonade and Belgian Chocolate Chip Cookie from JJ Bean
6) Settling for a Double Chocolate Cookie from Timmy's
7) Thoroughly exploring North York's new openings
8) Thai Iced Tea from Holy Snack
At the time of my first visit, I already had Kung Fu in hand - a decision I regretted greatly. I took to purchasing a Thai Tea Milk Pudding to go, though that was honestly quite disastrous. The second time around, Holy Snack was closed without explanation. On my third attempt, a small Thai Iced Tea was obtained; alas, the result was disheartening. I shall not be returning, not even for $3.99.
Has the city appeared more attractive since my return from the States? Not exactly.
But one thing is certain: The environment is nowhere near as repulsive (in comparison). The stifling sensation has been swapped for a liberating ambience.
Returning to the daunting reality of a newly-emptied wallet (as well as pending GOT7 comeback and looming deadline for DAY6 world tour tickets), regularly social outings have been promptly severed until economic replenishment has been obtained. (Civic long weekend was my only exception.)
In the meantime, I've been keeping busy with occasional North York runs over lunch break and all-too-frequent bubble tea excursions.
1) CoCo has revamped the Bubble Gaga formula by adding crunchy, tangy passionfruit seeds. While I grimaced at all of One Zo's concoctions that contained this element, CoCo's sweeter, less obnoxious version was readily digested.
2) Sidewalk training sighting at Shops at Don Mills
3) Early mornings equate to pre-packed breakfasts and lunches. This can refer to the classic Costco granola bar or caramel/strawberry jam sandwiches.
4) I've officially persuaded orangecane into the Nature Melon Lemon clan! One Zo's Spring Tea series, though, is less worthy of a mention.
5) Bake Code's newest release of a Crème Caramel Japanese Cheesecake has proven itself an interesting hybrid.
The cake is comprised of two layers: a delicate vanilla flan with a bittersweet surface and a fluffy Japanese cheesecake.
I opted for two slices instead of the 50-dollar whole cake, and was quite dismayed to see that the layers had detached almost nearly by the time I had reached home. Storage wasn't the issue here - mind you - since the carrying case has been sandwiched between two sturdy objects and further placed in a rigid, plastic bin.
With sufficient time inside a cooling device - aka refrigerator - the layers somehow managed to re-solidify, though the components demanded fragile handling nonetheless.
The top layer was soothing and sweet with discernible notes of vanilla, while the bottom was cheesy, slightly savoury, and ever-so-porous. Together, the creation was an intriguing amalgamation of gentle textures and complementing flavours. Consuming the portions separately enabled customers to embrace the cheesiness of the soufflé cheesake layer, while adjusting the portion of crème caramel consumed along with it.
It was a decently-priced specimen for its size and degree of crafting expertise. That said, I do not believe that I will be purchasing this product as the price tag for an individual slice is quite high ($4.50 before tax); the return on gustatory satisfaction would also be greater.
6) EAT BKK
Seemingly a part of a series of Thai street eateries, Eat BKK adopts a similar menu to Jatujak on Victoria Park.
For a particularly long day out, I decided to replicate my order at Jatujak for takeout: Tom Kha with Chicken and a Thai Iced Tea. The pickup was scheduled for 12:40 PM, but my order had yet to prepared even when I pulled into the immensely narrow parking lot. Entering and exiting plaza is a nightmare, and the limit of one parking spot per business only worked to complicate this matter further.
The thought of ordering a side of coconut Rice had completely went over my head, so I ended up departing with a cup of too-sweet Thai Tea and small plastic container of mild coconut milk-based soup. Eat BKK's Thai Tea was, without a doubt, authentic; however, while the unique spice blend was evident, the beverage was excessively watery instead of milky and smooth. The Tom Kha exhibited similar problems with consistency, in spite of being loaded with the wonderful flavours of lemongrass, coconut milk, and gently simmered onion.
Who Am I?
I'm the one that talks fashion and K-Pop randoms behind Quirky Aesthetics, the one who contributes honest opinions about commercial beauty items on Review Junkie, the one that obsessively shares photos of food on Pinterest, the one that loves her DSLR more than her own being and the one that wants to work in the transportation sector for a living.