. ..trip inside my head, spend a day here

hear the things i haven't said, see what i might see.. .

giz lau, toronto: a philosophy grad, guitar strummer and not-so-closet nerd

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tues, dec 20, 2011 | barbados

spent a long weekend in barbados on november for the barbados food & wine and rum show. hung out with some chefs and soaked in some sun - here are the highlights!

tues, dec 13, 2011 | montreal

went to montreal in mid-october with dave + tiffy for a nice weekend. here are the highlights!

tues, oct 4, 2011 | nyc (again)

because we can't seem to get enough - and let's face it - there's no end to our list of places to eat and drink in new york city, we hit up new york city over labour day weekend.

fri, july 15, 2011 | monumental dining

travelling and writing about travel/food leads to doing lots of pretty amazing things. during a recent visit to BC's Penticton region in the Okanagan, had a true epic mealtime at God's Mountain Estate during a vineyard alfresco dinner overlooking Skaha Lake, catered by Joy Road Catering.

as a food writer, i write often about "local" and chefs passionate about using produce grown close to home but few have been as believable or as captivating as Dana from Joy Road Catering, who embodies the passion for food and local in such a way that it's contagious and a deeply emotional experience.

here it is w excerpts from Alice Waters' "The Art of Simple Food."

Eat locally and sustainably. Learn where your food comes from and how it is produced. Seek out a diverse variety of vegetables and fruits from small, local producers who take care of the land. Buy eggs, meat, and fish from producers whose practices are organic, humane, and environmentally sound.

Eat seasonally. Choose food in season. Even where the growing season is short, organic gardening and farming can extend it: Greens can be grown in cold frames and greenhouses, and there are always local foods that can be stored, dried, and canned for the winter months. Eating seasonally inspires your menus, gives you a sense of time and place, and rewards you with the most flavorful food.

Shop at farmers' markets. Farmers' markets create communities that value diversity, honesty, seasonality, locality, sustainability, and beauty.. Get to know the people who grow your food. Think of yourself as a partner with the farmers, learning from them and working with them.

Plant a garden. It is deeply satisfying to eat food you have grown yourself, in your own backyard or in a community garden. Even a pot of herbs on your windowsill can transform your cooking and connect you to the changing seasons, as can foraging for wild foods and harvesting fruit from farms that allow you to pick your own. Learn what the edible landscape has to offer.

Conserve, compost, and recycle. Take your own basket to the market. Reuse whatever packaging you can. Keep a compost bucket nearby when you cook to recycle kitchen scraps. The more you conserve, the less you waste, the better you feel.

Cook simply, engaging all your senses. Plan uncomplicated meals. Let things taste of what they are. Enjoy cooking as a sensory pleasure: touch, listen, watch, smell, and, above all, taste. Taste as you go. Keep tasting and keep practicing and discovering.

Cook together. Include your family and friends, and especially children. When children grow, cook, and serve food, they want to eat it. The hands-on experience of gardening and cooking teaches children the value and pleasure of good food almost effortlessly.

Eat together. No matter how modest the meal, create a special place to sit down together, and set the table with care and respect. Savor the ritual of the table. Mealtime is a time for empathy and generosity, a time to nourish and communicate.

Remember food is precious. Good food can only come from good ingredients. Its proper price includes the cost of preserving the environment and paying fairly for the labor of the people who produce it.

Food should never be taken for granted.

thurs, june 30, 2011 | wedding season

spring turning into summer means wedding season. here are some of my fave shots from the latest!

here's jenn & ian (and monster):

and tony & iris:

thurs, may 20, 2011 | new york city

nyc! haven't been back since mm & i were engaged there in sept 2008 :)

alas, although a lot has happened since then and NYC seems to move on whether you're ready or not, whether you notice or not - it was nice to be back in the city to discover new spots, old spots, and some delicious bites!

here are some fave shots:

  • top of the rock's vintagey viewing binoculars, moody

  • more top of the rock's great view, moody clouds, tourists

  • momofuku ssam's pork buns. i love these pork buns as i love david chang and there's nothing wrong with being excited that he's coming to toronto
  • at the bar at momofuku milk bar - cake truffles, soft serve ice cream, the oh so popular crack pie, cookies, and more!

  • central park, just steps from where we got engaged :)

  • cherry blossoms on a peaceful greenwich village street

  • fave meal/food of the entire trip - eleven madison park! pictured here, goat cheese lollipops coated in beet dust. beautiful, colourful, and delicious!
  • at the base of rockefeller centre, looking up

  • fried chicken lunch at momofuku noodle bar .. a crazy amount of food, southern style and korean style fried chicken, complete with sauces, lettuce wraps and rice wraps. lesson learned: when they say "4-8 people recommended" under the reservation, they mean "you should get 8 people" because they don't adjust based on party size.

  • inside one of my fave bakeries in NYC - two little red hens - on the upper east side, home to the Brooklyn Blackout cupcake: chocolatey cake filled with pudding. awesome.
  • last but certainly not least, one of my faves on the trip were these cannoli from pasticceria rocco's in greenwich .. piped to order!

fri, mar 25, 2011 | ottawa & outaouais

went to ottawa for a weekend for the TMAC conference and spent a few days thereafter discovering Outaouais, the Quebec side. lots of really, really great local products like the Chelsea Smokehouse for really awesome smoked fish; Olivier Soapery for handmade soaps free of harsh chemicals/perfume; and maple syrup / fudge! here are some fave shots:

  • stayed a night at the Wakefield Mill, located - as many mills are - near a waterfall. cozy spot, great dining, nice spa. here's a shot of the river right by the outdoor jacuzzi.

  • we went for a sunset snowshoeing excursion in Gatineau Park that also included port and chocolate halfway through the hike (talk about incentive). here's a shot of the moon. thankfully, the new high-tech snowshoes are a lot friendlier than the traditional ones.

  • the artist that designed these glass-blown chandeliers for the hilton lac-leamy in outaouais is the same one who did the ones for the Bellagio in Las Vegas - gorgeous colours, incredible artwork

  • of course, a visit to ottawa during the winter (or summer, come to think of it) isn't complete without a beaver tail - and i'm happy to share with you that this was my very first beaver tail - and was delicious while strolling byward marketing at midnight .. next time, need to try the nutella-covered one

mon, feb 7, 2011 | mont tremblant

the first time i visited tremblant was three years ago in march 2008, the second winter i began snowboarding. i remember the distinct feeling i had when we approached the mountain - a healthy mix of fear and excitement - up until then, it was the biggest moutain i'd boarded on.

after banff/lake louise last year, tremblant didn't seem as big as it once did :( but the boarding was still fun (and a zillion times better than blue mountain) and great times were had by all. here are some fave shots.

  • dusk on the frozen lake / skating rink at saint-bernard chapel in the mont tremblant village, moody sky :)

  • the first time i saw this in 2008, i sat for a few minutes admiring the panoramic - it was just as beautiful this time around despite it being slightly cloudy over the river

  • cozying up at the fireplace at the lobby of fairmont mont tremblant - perfect picture of a cozy "ski lodge" experience

  • contrasty pines with snow. it was cold the first day we boarded (-20) and even colder the next day (-30) but worth the view, depsite it being less than 1000 ft.

mon, jan 31, 2011 | las vegas

decided at the last minute in december to head to las vegas for new year's eve - to visit a friend - and to do some dining. despite getting sick after the first meal (and running out after one act of cirque de soleil) and then getting a cold halfway through, it was still a great time. my fave shots:

  • where's waldo? :) spent an afternoon driving through red rock canyon - it's amazing that just 30 mins from vegas, this exists - and a lot of people never see it. way more stunning than any spanking new shiny casino (yes, even the cosmopolitan).

  • jon and matt! they're so tiny you could squish them!

  • went for afternoon tea at the mandarin oriental, las vegas - couldn't help getting the cupcake "bento box" add-on to our tea. red velvet cupcake goodness.

  • last but most definitely not least - and the real reason for our trip to vegas - the 16-course menu at joel robuchon. waited a good three years to come back to vegas to try this. very classic french, perfectly executed - but lacking in surprise/fun - except for this dish! bone marrow with vegetable ragout and popcorn :) see the rest of the meal's photos on flickr.com: joel robuchon.

fri, jan 7, 2011 | holidays and celebrations

the past month seems to have breezed by - the holiday season is often so busy but one of the nicest events that crazy december held was tony & iris' wedding - wishing lots of love, joy & happiness to two people who couldn't be more deserving of each other. it was also my first attempt at some portraits - here's one of my faves of the bride :)