"Why can't you - ?"
"Why not try?"
Prevailing clear as day over the last three weeks, I can testify that doing your personal best doesn't necessarily yield the desired outcome. The feelings of inadequacy have returned, jointly with a flood of neck-tensing, headache-inducing tensions.
Instead of forcibly coercing the actions of another, I struggle to see why most don't seek to understand and change their own strategy(ies) for interpersonal interactions. Whether we are result- or process-oriented, or have entirely dissimilar objectives, there are ways of meeting such goals with extreme compromise of the other. For once that compromise exceeds a given threshold, it is no longer a compromise, but an endless sacrifice for superficial harmony.
Beer provides some degree of solace from the seemingly endless challenges of life, as do freshly brewed coffee (for the AM periods), ice cream (for the PM), and Sulley socks (for all times of the day). Waterloo Brewing's latest Juicy Hazy IPA and Guava Lime Radler are zesty and easy on the palate - ideal drinks for the spring-summer transition - which, realistically, may not come till mid-May.
The recipe calls for a baking time of forty minutes, but this is purely a minimum. The previous two attempts had seen baking times of 45-50 minutes for a clean toothpick, thus I set the timer for forty, and checked back between the forty-two to forty-five range.
Nonetheless, the cake was delicious, albeit imperfect.
A quick detour was made at Stock T.C., where individual madeleines were spotted at a measly loonie (a shocking variance from Isle of Coffee) and "Parisian Flan" at a reasonable $4.50.
Juicy Dumpling and DNDN were the respective last stops of my lunch run.
- Frozen variations of their menu items were not sold
- Sticky Rice Balls Stuffed with Black Sesame in Sweet Rice Wine Soup was the slowest item on the menu, totalling a prep time of ten minutes
Resolving to sampling the dessert on a future visit, I crossed the street to DNDN, a fumey "half unit" selling overpriced onigiri, strawberry milk, and Korean banchan by the container.
The Tasting Box was presented in a sleek black bag bearing fabric handles and a shimmery circular emblem - the restaurant's dual fish logo.
I was served my spinach, then, slowly but surely, the highly anticipated meal commenced. Tearing open the utensil pouches revealed wooden chopsticks and a black plastic spoon, which later proved helpful in transporting crumbly oshizushi and scooping sauce.
I took to a gold-specked Aburi nigiri first, but was dismayed to find the fish thin, rigid, and perforated at its folds. "It tastes like ham" came the comment across the table. The Salmon Aburi, in comparison, tasted much more like fish though was too sauce for my liking.
In general, most of the Tasting Box was too saucy. Despite boasting an incredible level of intricacy and variety, there are few elements that rendered it memorable. Maki rolls were compact, yet seasoning and toppings were excessive. The tempura- and tenkasu-containing summer roll was an innovative fusion of fresh rolls and shrimp tempura, for it paired romaine, spicy mayo, and tenkasu in an imaginative combination. That said, the summer rolls lacked dimension without its sweet mayo dipping sauce.
My biggest gripe was being unable to taste the quality of Toro Toro's offerings, for the condiments had utterly camouflauged the sashimi. We declared the Tasting Box a novelty item, worthy of a first try but undeserving of successful sampling. Fifty dollars would have been justifiable for me; the sleepy polar bear advocated sixty, as it would equate to thirty per person before tax.
Located at the southernmost part of the Golden Square plaza, just around the corner from Arirang, I was quite surprised to have never chanced across the establishment before. Parking spots were limited before the entrance, but could easily be secured within a 30 m radius.
As medical history and first-time client forms were to be filled on site, I arrived fifteen early to facilitate this process. Insurance details were also provided for direct billing. Having assumed the clinic to operate entirely on a physical basis, I was surprised to learn of an online account being created for me after my first visit. Moreover, email notifications were also received after form completion. Most clinics these days have shifted to online forms and registration (due to COVID and ease of automation), though I assume in-person processes are mandated to prevent mistakes over the phone. The staff are capable of speaking English, though Chinese (Mandarin or Cantonese) is the undeniable preference.
Reviews on the web had spoken of a clean environment, but the bathroom before me hardly fit that description. Hair by the sink and in clusters on the stall floors, I was appalled from the getgo. Instead of a proper dispenser was a minimalist hook for the toilet paper roll, and instead of sanitary napkin disposal bins was a small wastebin lined with plastic bags in each stall. The facilities were filthy, evoking the atmosphere associated with a casual Chinese diner, only slightly better than a cha chaan teng or yumcha spot. It was probably on par with the damp, eerie bathroom essence of Summit Garden (195), albeit less immaculate with wider stalls.
Of course, the omen came true. Without any introductions, she gestured for me to lie on the bed with a tatooed hand. As she was about to exit the room, I quickly voiced items of note: my own baby oil for the treatment, the open wound on my elbow, and areas requiring attention. She nodded, her facial expressions obscured by a blue mask bearing a single brown spot, then strode out once more.
She worked along the areas of extreme tightness with diligence, applying steady pressure while smoothing out the knots and maintaining in place where necessary. The primary focus was on the neck, shoulders, and back, with work on the arms and legs being limited but extremely effective.
Verbal exchange was minimal, with the exceptions of asking about pressure, preference for a hot towel post treatment, and temperature acceptability of said hot towel. Until I asked, she did not utter her name, nor did she ask for mine. Her English was a version laced with a heavy Mandarin accent, to the point where uncertainty arose, but were easily resolved with follow-up confirmations. That said, my masseuse was more than capable in tending to my fascial woes, and experience seemed to naturally guide her in the correct direction.
Upon checkout, complimentary ginseng tea was provided at the front desk.
BYT operates as a co-ed facility, meaning that it isn't uncommon for male staff to be present in the hallways or janitor closet in the corridor. The thundering clearing of phlegm was overheard not once, but twice, over the course of my treatment, presumably originating from the man traversing in and out of the janitor room.
150 g granulated sugar
113 g unsalted butter, softened
185 g ube jam, at room temperature *sweet potato soaked, softened, and pureed with sweetener + coconut milk
1-2 tsp ube extract *as desired
1 tsp vanilla extract
250 g all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
granulated sugar (as needed for coating)
icing sugar (as needed for coating)
1) Cream softened butter and sugar until fluffy.
2) Add in egg. Mix well. (Note: Separation is possible at this stage due to temperature differences between egg and butter, but are no longer visible once dry ingredients are incorporated.)
3) Add ube jam, ube extract, vanilla extract, and salt. Mix to combine.
4) Fold in flour and baking soda. Cover and refigerate for 1-2h.
5) Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare granulated sugar and icing sugar in separate bowls for rolling.
6) Using a medium (1.5 tbsp) cookie scoop, portion out the dough as evenly as possible. (In the absence of a cookie scoop, use a large soup spoon for scooping and a scale for checking mass uniformity.) Shape into spheres, then roll in granulated sugar loosely. Next, coat generously in icing sugar and place on baking tray. Cookies should be placed 1.5 to 2.0 inches apart for best results; avoid placing them close together as air circulation is pivotal for adequate rise.
7) Bake for 12-14 minutes, until the tops are soft but no longer foamy. Let cool completely for 10-15 mins, then transfer to a wire rack.
8) Let cool completely. Enjoy!