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    Vancouver, BC
  1. I have recently found out that amazon.com has increased their fees on shipping items to Canada. This obviously closes the gap on the costs of books between amazon.com and amazon.ca, but I personally find it discriminatory against Canadian customers. It has been a well-known fact that in the last couple of years, prior to this shipping rate increase, and even prior to the dollars being at par, it cost appreciably less to buy books through amazon.com than amazon.ca. Of all the options available to Amazon in saving their Canadian business, I personally think they have chosen the worst. For sure, they have successfully deterred me from purchasing from their US site, but I'm not going to their Canadian site as a result. I'll just take my business elsewhere. I'd very much like to hear what other Canadians think about this.
  2. I have to be honest, I wonder if starting my own food blog was the least original thing I've ever done. How does one go about and be comfortable with (shamelessly) promoting one's own blog? I'd appreciate your thoughts.
  3. Where does one find wild blueberries in the lower mainland area?
  4. This information probably comes a bit too late now, but in case someone's looking for an interesting place to eat along the Coast in the future, well, here it is. We just got back from the Coast ourselves yesterday. Like everyone, we were looking for great seafood and chowder shacks. It was my 30th birthday, and I had this vision of myself slurping massive bowls of clam chowder to celebrate. On the first night, our Google Map directions sent us the wrong way and had us arrive at our campsite at Nehalem Bay after sunset. The first priority was to set up our tent while we still could, then we set out to look for a place to eat, any place, really. We first arrived at the Seafood Shack in Wheeler and were kindly informed that the restaurant was closed. The hostess did point us to a place in Rockaway Beach that stays open until midnight. Burgers and pizzas, she said. Better than nothing, we thought. So we arrived at a place called the Foghorn Sports Bar and Grill in Rockaway Beach. It was a smoking lounge + bar with lottery machines, pool tables and illicit couples. Better than nothing, we thought. We were handed what was essentially a bar menu, with burgers and beers, and something called a Broaster Chicken with Jo Jos. Jo Jos, as I was reminded soon afterwards, were large wedges of potato, dredged in flour, seasoned and fried. I had them once in high school. Our friendly server enthusiastically recommended the Broaster Chicken, claiming they're the best she's ever eaten and the best on the coast. Thinking that she was boasting about their roasted chicken, my partner and placed an order of it, along with a cheeseburger and two pints of beer. What showed up was a massive plate of fried chicken from half a chicken and Jo Jos cut from two whole Idaho potatoes. The quantity was impressive, if nothing else. When in Rome, I thought. We split the dish, took a bite each, and were pleasantly surprised by the flavour and texture. Crispy on the outside, juicy and tender on the inside. Nicely seasoned, and a whole lotta fried goodness. Our cheeseburger came next, and again, it was skillfully executed. Nothing fancy, mind you, just a plain, soft bun with mayo, lettuce and tomato, but the hamburger patty was perfectly cooked. We looked at the menu again, and it read "1/3 pound freshly ground beef chuck". It tasted exactly like that. Juicy and meaty. We stumbled out of the place at midnight, smelling like tobacco and booze, very well served and well fed.
  5. Hi everyone, Haven't got a chance to thank you for recommendations until now. It was a busy week leading up to the trip, and now we are back. The trip was wonderful, except for the fact that we didn't get to any of the wineries. It's been a habit of ours to plan too many things over too short a journey, and after a few days of feeling like we've been doing nothing but driving, we decided to forgo the wine tasting. A bit sad, as I spent a lot of time narrowing down our choices based on your recommendations. The finalists were, in no particular order, Scott Paul, Domaine Drouhin, Sokol Blosser, Tori Morr and the Winemaker's Studio. I even created a custom Google map to guide our visits. On the plus side, I did manage to pick up two bottles of Oregon Pinot Noirs in Portland – one from Patricia Green, and one from Brooks (based on a recommendation by the people at Park's Kitchen). I'm sure they will be wonderful.
  6. Hello, I posted a topic in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska forum looking for recommendations on wineries to visit in the Willamette Valley region of Oregon. The link to that topic is here. I'd very much appreciate it if you can offer some tips/advice as well. Thanks!
  7. Hi everyone, My partner and I will be touring the northern/central Oregon coast in a week, and we will be swinging by Portland for two days prior to heading home to Vancouver, Canada. Our route up north is from either Florence or Newport to Portland, through the Willamette Valley region, and with approximately 200 wineries and only one day, we're seeking recommendations on the best/most interesting wineries to visit. Oregon wines have a very limited exposure here in Canada, so we're only slightly familiar with (and thoroughly enjoy) their Pinot Noirs. Any suggestion/tip/advice is appreciated!
  8. I will be in Taipei in two weeks, and I am looking for information on where to find some unique/affordable tableware, dishware, pots/pans, utensils, etc. Is there a cluster of shops in some neighborhood that specializes in these thing? I appreciate all replies.
  9. A while back, I decided to make the Fig Cookies from Alfred Portale's "12 Seasons Cookbook" for Christmas. As it turns out, the cookies are really cuccidati; the two recipes are almost identical (although Portale's recipe could've used some testing). Like Portale, I decorated the cookies with chopped pistachios: I think they look great but taste a little dry. Next time, I'll be using Michael's recipe.
  10. hathor, I'd definitely PM you for the recipe if I have access to lungs and esophagus in Vancouver. But wait, there is always Chinatown... Even the 'clean' version of the dish was pretty heavy on the palate. The chef definitely wasn't skimping on the cheese and sauce. Thanks for everyone's feedback so far!
  11. Well, I did. This is one of the recipes I found online: 25g dried porcini 500g fresh lasagne sheets 150g unsalted butter 60g flour 1 litre milk 400g button mushrooms, sliced extra virgin olive oil 150g prosciutto slices, finely cut 200mls cream 3 tablespoons chopped parsley salt and freshly ground black pepper 150g freshly grated parmesan truffle oil Place the dried porcini in a bowl and cover with boiling water, leave for an hour. Preheat oven to 210 C Melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Meanwhile heat the milk until almost boiling and add a little at a time to the sauce whisking as you add. Heat a little oil in a pan and cook the mushrooms until tender, add to the sauce along with the sliced prosciutto and the porcini with a little of their liquid. Add the cream and the parsley and bring to the boil. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Butter a lasagne dish and cover the bottom with a layer of pasta. Spread over a layer of sauce, dot with butter and sprinkle with parmesan. Continue the process finishing with a layer of sauce and a sprinkling of parmesan. Bake for 20 minutes. Splash with truffle oil and then serve. Serves 6 Seems close. I'll have my bottle of truffle oil ready.
  12. Last week my partner and I went to a new Italian trattoria in Vancouver and ordered a dish called Vincigrassi. Here's how it was described on the menu: Layered pasta baked with fresh porcini, Parma ham, fontina cheese The hidden ingredient? Dried porcini powder sprinkled atop every layer of the sauce, as the chef explained to us later. The dish was absolutely sublime. I wouldn't mind having it every night of the week. A quick google search today yielded many results but also many variations of the dish. I'd like to give Vincigrassi a try at home. Does anyone have a recipe that they can share?
  13. I made the "olives marinated in orange and thyme-infused olive oil" two days ago. I quadrupled the recipe, packed them in jars, and am letting them sit for a while before giving them away as Christmas gifts to family and friends. The problems I've encountered so far are: 1. There wasn't enough liquid to cover all the olives, garlic, orange peel, etc. So, I topped each jar off with some more olive oil. 2. The orange juice and vinegar separate from the olive oil. I've been giving each jar a light shake twice a day for the last two days. The colour, which was never clear from the start, is turning quite muddy already. 3. The garlic are turning a blue-ish green colour (what the heck!?). Not quite looking like mold (not fuzzy, yet), more like a tint. What's going on?
  14. I was at my local supermarket yesterday and saw some great deals on fresh whole pork shoulders and frozen goat meat. I wanted to pick some up but wasn't sure what to do with them. Any ideas?
  15. Rugelahs, fig cookies (fig newtons), shortbreads and mini pecan pies. I am in search of a solid spiced nuts recipe. Can anyone help?
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