I've never one to be a last-minute packer, or a last-minute anything-er, as a matter of fact. Howbeit, I've found myself asking others time and time again whether certain tasks are "really all that urgent" - whether they deserve the "p" word (that I've learned to distinguish as "priority" and not "please").
Six hours of tossing and turning later, I was airport-bound. There, the lengthiest domestic security check was endured, and I soon came face to face with the new terminal's retail and gating developments. The restructured appearance came as an utter surprise; remaining consistent was my old friend, who greeted me with a smile, as if three-and-a-half years had not elapsed at all.
A banana, apple juice-ginger ale hybrid, and a foamy airline Breakfast Sandwich tied me over until arrival at YVR.
Whilst awaiting the buzzer of the baggage belt, I ventured up to the Departures floor, where a Vanilla Latte was secured with much glee. Ahhh, coffee.
I then proceeded with my surprise landing plans. Lugging four pieces of luggage across the pedestrian overpass, onto the SkyTrain, transferring, then rolling back onto the vehicle was no easy feat. Eventually, after far too hefty of a fare deduction, I made it to Aberdeen.
Previously falling victim to an unexpected shortage of bananas, I rapidly ripened two tender specimens before embarking on a mission for moist banana bread. The result far exceeded expectations, though I was curious to see whether bananas of uniform ripeness would elevate this outcome.
smitten kitchen's crackly banana bread recipe was revisited, millet now on hand. Heed orangecane's words I did not, for the guideline was tampered with. Scaling the ingredients to accommodate five bananas (instead of the original three) meant 1.67 eggs, yet I tossed in two, along with the remainder of my walnuts. And 20 g of molasses. And 75% less brown sugar. And omitted the maple syrup. Whoops.
The modifications yielded a fluffy loaf, textured only by bits of the pearly grain. Neither dry nor moist, nor dense as banana bread ought to be, I deemed the creation edible but warranting improvement.
Sober February has officially ended, which means craft beer is permitted once again. That said, my abstinence was, in fact, due to persevering sickness and not a resolutioner-esque challenge at all.
The work week that followed was brief: Succeeding a two-hour round trip to Georgetown, I returned to an incredulous office workload of back-to-back meetings and activity log verification. Incorporated into the daily downtown lunch runs were snacks - this time in the form of mini double chocolate muffins - and Easter previews
Also noted was Goodlife's limited-time promotion with UNIQLO, along with Izumi's rapidly expanding sake exclusives.
The schedules of a certain prehistoric creature's and my own unfortunately did not align at our shared occupational home base, yet both of our lifestyles demanded physical activity. Off to Movati we wended, for Mississauga's newest, all-inclusive facility was quick to offer trial passes in persuasion of membership transactions.
Beyond the automatic gates on the lower level - because turnstiles are an element of the past - was a child care area, the men's changeroom, the Small Group Training-focused FUEL studio, and a women-only area, which not only housed shower stalls and lockers, but a group class studio and separate training area.
The upper level featured weights and training equipment, for both genders, and two more studios: one for co-ed classes and the other seemingly exclusive for elite training. Office desks with computers were occasionally spotted throughout the space as well, likely positioned as such for the immediate conversion of potential members.
With intentions to enroll in the 20-20-20 and the limited-space Anti-Gravity class that followed suite, we arrived in time to enroll in the latter and obtain a wristband. Demand for the class was high, as visitors of their website would learn, thus the suggestion from one of the staff members was to arrive one hour prior.
20-20-20 was a compact yet solid series of aerobic step exercise, elevated if desired, then strength training employing weights, and lastly core conditioning.
Anti-Gravity, oftentimes referred to as Aerial Yoga, was conducted with flowy fabric hammocks. More of a recuperative healing activity than form of toning, the class consisted of gentle swings, "flying" and "nesting" positions, and the infamous inversion (which I was heavily unfond of). The session started late due to a trio of misinformed attendees, but finished promptly on time.
When posed with the question "Why do we have leap years?", I frankly wasn't sure how to respond.
"It's a part of the calendar." I had answered matter-of-factly. Though, in reality, I hadn't ever pondered this topic, but merely accepted it as a recurring event that would rear its head every four years.
The second month of 2020 had flown by amidst my seemingly endless duration of sickness. It concluded with a bang in the form of Eric Nam's second opening act-accompanied concert, and third ever visit to "Canadia".
Superseding the unexpectedly long evening was a gloomy work-from-home instance, that later unfolded into an unavoidable round of errands.
The opportunity for indulgence lay before my eyes, and a trip to Wonton Chai simply that could not be refused.
I opted to swap my regular order of egg noodles for flat, rice noodles instead this time. The short strands were plump and spongy - an indication of being overcooked. Other elements, such as tender cubes of beef brisket and springy fish dace balls, remained consistent.
Fried Fish Skin was then taken to go, along with the remnants of my midday meal and an order of Plain Wontons.
Heavy snowfall and plummeting temperatures welcomed me back to the South Core. Oh, and did I mention loathsome transit delays?
Lunch walks were contained within the warmth of the indoors, which, while comfortable at first, were ultimately deemed too toasty for maneuvering within at a speedy pace.
An abnormally hectic Monday had dismissed all thoughts of my post-work activities - namely the arrival of Eric Nam on Canadian grounds.
It was with considerable anticipation that my favourite fangirl (whose nickname ̶m̶a̶y̶ shall change hereinafter) and I had purchased tickets to the Korean American singer-songwriter again.
Since his last visit, I have been following his releases with technology as the greatest enabler. From the weekly drops of K-Pop Daebak to the monumental drop of Before We Begin, and then the release of I Think You're Dope, I can't help but marvel at the diversity of his content and, to an even greater degree, the sagacity of his character.
Alas, the entirety of the workday was to take place prior to any thoughts of leisure activities.
A certain prehistoric creature had returned from exile in Kingston at long last, thus a venture to Third Wave was undertaken.
Our exit from the building was met with more of Impact Kitchen's samples in the lobby - this time with additions of Chicken Bone Broth and cold strips of paleo-approved Chicken Tender.
A doughy French delicacy with a sticky, glazed surface and satisfying puff pastry crunch, the bichon was a new addition to the display case. Third Wave's rendition utilized a black cherry filling that was equal parts tangy and jammy, as opposed to the conventional lemon curd. The ever-exquisite three-bite Financier was also obtained by a certain prehistoric creature following my rivetting recap of the ganache-y goody.
Consistent with my initial visit, the cafe's bakery items were complemented perfectly with the shop's bitter-end, Yemen-derived beans, purposed into a Cortado and Flat White.
Near the coat rack pillar is also an accessible washroom stall - impeccably pristine and unlocked exclusively with a push of a button from the barista/counter staff, presumably to prevent infiltration by homeless individuals.
Some five hours later, once OT labours had been carried out (and eyes were twitching from exhaustion), I boarded my Lyft to The Danforth Music Hall. Under normal circumstances, transit, by the unfortunate means of TTC, would have been my default option. However, given the lack of stability in my digestion system and fear of missing the start of the show, I opted for the swifter, ride-hailing service instead.
We all aspire for long weekends to be just a teensy bit longer, but, of course, that's just wishful thinking.
Escorted with a heavy dusting of snowy precipitation and countless delays across the commuter train network, the return to work was of utmost wretchedness.
The day was made milder with steadily climbing mercury levels and cocoa-containing treats from Impact Kitchen. Claiming to be one's "daily source of nourishment" for the body, mind, and soul.
Work days without a certain prehistoric creature feel off, almost unrewarding at times, especially considering my natural tendency to obtain two-person portions.
A walk to St. Lawrence commenced on a day of moderate climate. The trip was not aimless, though I did leisurely pop into Metro and the market just prior to the destination of highlight.
Third Wave at King and Church was the designated point of interest. A new café in the neighbourhood with a name nodding to the BTS of coffee origins, the quaint space was small powerhouse on a mission to deliver substantial quality.
A high ceiling, tall glass panes, and two forms of illumination yielded the impression of spaciousness - a clean, minimal design to summon organic thoughts, and a place for creative juices to flow freely. No more than several small tables surrounded a concrete pillar. Delicate pastries and a row of beans adorned one shelf, while bakery items were positioned in a separate display case.
The group had departed Zakkushi amidst zero-visibility snowfall, just to witness the absurdity of it to diminish overnight. Blue skies and amiable walking conditions greeted me in the downtown core the next day.
With Valentine's Day around the corner, retailers were eager to take advantage of the situation, offering up quick, accessible solutions to fuel the occasion's flushing festivities.
With Valentine's Day around the corner, retailers were eager to take advantage of the situation, offering up quick, accessible solutions to fuel the occasion's flushing festivities. From Union Station's two-day exclusive Hershey's Kisses pop-up to Enchanted Rose-inspired compositions in our very own lobby, it was nearly impossible to forget the looming lovers' holiday.
My week was more or less unvaried, with the exceptions of Cinnamon Toast Crunch (not a fan, by the way) and Maple Syrup French Toast Crunch (this was scrumptious!) "samples" from a certain prehistoric creature.
A Vanilla Latte from Dineen's Commerce Court location provided a wonderfully fragrant boost to the Mon(dane)day. Additional features such as Ritual ordering, prompt, cordial service, and a password-secured Wi-Fi network further elevated the experience.
Read Part 1 HERE !
A quick round of messages were exchanged, and the dinner destination was secured along Queen West.
Driving by, it was learned that VDL, Sanko and Sukoi were no more.
Zakkushi on Queen was quiet on a Sunday evening, mysteriously so. The gathering spot wasn't particularly large, though managed to seat diners in a manner that emanated a sense of roominess.
A small waiting area by the entrance, series of four-party tables along the walls, and a communal squoval table at the back assumed the layout of the narrow izakaya. Stone walls - or perhaps concrete with opaque, stone-like finishing - along with wooden furnishings and a classic-meets-concurrent bamboo ceiling embellishment. Wooden plaques bearing the names of individual menu items also doubled as coat hangers, as we were so informed by staff.
We perused the tri-fold menu while in wait of the second half of the party. Some items had been blocked off, indicating unavailability, though the assortment that remained was still vast enough to keep us content.
Once the group assimilated, the first round of orders was submitted to a bubbly waitress - a Japanese lady whose kindness permeated through her speedy utterances.
Speaking from a personal perspective, oden is an dish more frequently associated with that of Taiwan than Japan, specifically in the regard of a convenience store staple. Zakkushi's 關東煮 was a welcome change from Korea's jalapeno-infused rendition: pierce-able segments of simmered daikon, sweet dashimaki, and chewy konnyaku submerged in a savoury, soothing broth was precisely what the weather had called for. In hindsight, the omelette square was darker and less eggy than anticipated, while the rigid slab of a "yam cake" was, more or less, flavourless. However, the daikon and basis of broth were more than sufficient in compensating these shortcomings.
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None of us had expected the Shishamo to be delivered as a single skewer serving. It was a delicious starter, with its surface grilled and even slightly charred. Internal components remained supple as well. Togarashi-dusted mayo was another noteworthy element on the plate. The only downside was the portion size.
Following a frenzy of holiday pop-ups, The Night Baker disappeared for a short vacation. Their recent return did not go unannounced - four new flavours were introduced to the roster, likely in preparation for the upcoming lovers' holiday.
View the full album HERE !
It remains a fact that the independent dessert shop upholds its reputation for churning out consistently heavenly handiworks.
Pilot was not far. Between a cold glass of milk for dunking freshly acquired cookies and the Beetroot Latte that had left such a strong impression, it was tough to waive an opportunity to re-experience the latter.
Having been mesmerized by the extensive crafting counter and bevelled wall decor last time, I hadn't craned my neck upwards to take in the triangular ceiling design: a ceaseless collection of white paper airplane-like fixtures, likely to emulate the roastery's own logo.
Feeling weak before the start of a new work week, I requested work-from-home privileges to recuperate. A certain prehistoric creature had assisted in stocking my hermitting hideout with Congee Queen, ginger, blanched choy sum, dried apricots, and countless other essential items, ensuring that sustenance would be present even in the face of an incessant pounding headache and staggering shifts in vision.
My weekend could be condensed to congee containers, kale chips - which, when crumbled, serve as stellar homemade furikake - and the occasional bite of sugar.
A portion of my Represent order arrived at my doorstep. In its footsteps followed Oyakodon (otherwise known as Chicken Donburi) and Chicken Katsu Don from Tomo Sushi, in addition to CoCo as the default pick-me-up. The evening wrapped up with the dismantling of my Christmas tree (at long last!!!) and my reluctant ingestion of a halved Extra Strength Tylenol.
I made a timid return to the real world the next morning, 排包 in hand. Sweet, eggy white bread rolls are an item I hadn't sunk my teeth into for quite an extended period of time. The immediate reaction was, dare I say, euphoric.
A mid-day Pilot run resulted in a Macchiato and Superfood Latte. The Union Station favourite offered up options of Turmeric and Beetroot, both bereft of caffeine in their original formula. My mind sought out a sense of perceptiveness, thus injecting a shot of espresso into the saffron-tinged creation.
I had high hopes for this concoction, for the coppery Beet edition from the Ossington standalone had attested to magnificence. Unfortunately, the mixture was more gritty than ideal and utterly lacking in ginger content. It suffices to say that Hestia still reigns in this department.
An ambitious undertaking after an extended weekend of ails, I managed to persuade a certain prehistoric creature to proceed with our long-awaited post-work plans as scheduled.
My condition had fluctuated over the course of the day, from tilting surfaces to general cloudiness in the head, though it sufficed to say that neither symptom convinced me from adhering to the itinerary at hand. We set out to the infamous Distillery District to catch the annual instalment of the Toronto Light Fest.
During daytime hours, natural illumination permits marvelling at the 19th century buildings and strips of individual shops in all their copper-toned cobblestone glory; come sundown, strings of bulb lights and flashing attractions are the thieves of attention.
With a common ground as photo junkies, we had initiated this proposal for the sake of experimentation and lens testing. Late afternoon times granted us with a comprehensive view of the gargantuan installations, while the diminishing appearance of our solar system's largest star enabled a surreal effect to befall our surroundings.
View the full album HERE !
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.