Food and Friendship

Chris, an old friend from Xanga, and his husband Tawn were in town this past week. They first flew to US to visit friends and family, then to Montreal, before spending a few days in Toronto.  I’ve known Chris for many years although we never met until 2016 when I was in Bangkok.  He and Tawn were gracious hosts even though they had just flown back from Europe and were recovering from jet lag.

There was a bit of a heatwave in Toronto although Montreal was even hotter.  They only had a few days here but they managed to squeeze in quite a bit.  I’m grateful to grab some meals with them. IMG_0017

It was nice to walk around Toronto with them and to have a few good meals too.

Souffle from Hanabusa Cafe.

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Dinner from R&D restaurant.

Waffles and Fried Chicken – chicken was very moist and well seasoned.

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Mac and Cheese (with smoked cheese, Indonesian breadcrumb and satay sauce) – this was quite good.

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Fried Rice with ground pork and chicharron, this was so nicely done.

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Slow cooked octopus (charred on the outside but tender on the inside)

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Pork belly with barley risotto.  This added about 2″ to my waistline.  IMG_7500

Friendship and food go together so well.

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Cherry Blossoms

I took these a few weeks ago when the cherry blossoms were blooming at a nearby park.  But I didn’t upload them to my laptop until yesterday.  All the pictures were under exposed.  I have no idea what I did.  I got so carried away I didn’t check my pictures after I took them.  I had to use my Apple Photo software to brighten it up.

Dear fictitious and non existent sugar grand daddy – please send a nice full frame camera to Matt.

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Hangman

I felt really tired today.  I didn’t start doing any work until 11:30ish.  I’m not sure why I felt like this.  I even had to lie down in the afternoon.  I was still feeling crappy when I went to my volunteer work.  My first student (7 years old) chose Sugar Sugar Rune – a manga story.  She likes looking at the pictures but doesn’t really want to read the words out loud.  But today I had a bit more luck convincing her to do that. I couldn’t understand any of the story.  She explained a bit to me.  I helped her with the big words and there were some French words too.

There was still some time left so she wanted to play hangman. The last time she played hangman, she kept looking at the bulletin board beside our table.  I saw her looking at a the board, counting the letters and then looking at the table, making sure she had the right slots for the letters.  It didn’t take me long to figure out which word she had picked.  I pretended to guess all the wrong letters and with one more leg to go, I “guessed” all the right ones.  I told her afterwards how I won.

Today she put out _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  , an eight letter word.  I ran through all the vowels but she said there wasn’t any.  Hmm…  By the end of the session, I managed to guess “s _ _ _  g g _ _ ” .   She drew a scowl on my face, several strands of hair, fingers, eyes, nose, mouth… she seemed so happy to get her revenge.  I was sure the word was squiggly but she just grinned and said no.  Next week, I’ll force her to read “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire“.  It’s one of my dad’s favorite books. She’ll probably be in her late teens if and when she finally finishes it.  I’m determined to have the last laugh.

Watermelons

 

Centuries ago, in ancient China, there was an emperor who had a young male lover.  This was forbidden and he was very discreet about it.  The empress was a bitter woman and while she loved the throne, she hated the emperor.  She was also very suspicious of him and wanted the be the only person to rule the empire. But the emperor always stayed one step ahead of her.

The emperor’s male lover was a young man whose innocent beauty and demure presence captured the emperor’s heart.  The emperor’s favorite game was to chase the young man around the bedroom and slap his bubble butt.  Sometimes he would catch the young man, trap him in his powerful legs and gently slap his butt while the young man laughed uncontrollably.

One night, the empress got even more suspicious when he saw the emperor’s eye wandering during a royal dinner.  She followed his eyes and saw the young man.  He was even more beautiful than her.  She glared at the young man and her evil mind started to work.

The next day, the empress consulted an evil sorcerer. The sorcerer feared the empress’s cruelty and did not want to disappoint her.  He took a magic potion to peer into the emperor’s mind to find out more about the young man.  After a few days, he told the empress of his plans.  The queen listened and gave her approval.  It would be a very devious plot.

The next day, the emperor looked all over the palace for his young lover.  As he went from room to room, he suddenly encountered the empress.

“Did you lose something?”  sneered the empress.

The emperor ignored her and kept on walking.

“I’ve turned your lover into a watermelon.  You should hurry down to the market before someone else takes it home and eat him.”

The emperor turned pale and ran to the market.  The market goers were shocked to see the emperor there by himself and everyone stood back.  The emperor saw the many stalls selling watermelons.   He went from stall to stall, looking at each, trying to find a clue, if there was one.  His hands rested on a watermelon and he started to caress it.  He moved to another one and then another one.  Each reminded him of his lover’s bottom.  Then he started to gently slap one and then the next one.  The sound of the watermelon being slapped reminded him of his sweet, young lover.

A stall owner finally mustered up the courage to ask “Your highness, may I ask why you are tapping the watermelons?”

The emperor looked up  and said “I’m trying to find my sweet one.”  And then he took one of the watermelons home.  Each day, the emperor returned, tapped the watermelons and took one home.  Eventually the villagers started to emulate him in the belief that they too would find a sweet watermelon.

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So boys and girls, that’s how this all started.  Remember this next time you’re at the market and tapping a watermelon.

 

A Pristine Home

I saw some pictures of a relative’s home and it looks incredible.  It’s sparkling clean and part of the reason is she’s getting ready to sell it.  I’m told with 3 kids they still keep everything neat and tidy.  It looks so pristine and could probably be on the cover of some home decor magazine.

Which brings me to my condo which is ahem… the opposite.  It’s not a slum but I won’t exactly call it guest ready.  If you want to stress me out, just tell me you’re in the neighbourhood and would love to drop in.  The other day I had a video call.  I cleaned up up my place the night before so it won’t look too bad.  I even checked to see what my laptop’s camera could see.  Whew…. close call.

I think if I won the lottery, I would buy a second home.  One for the sloppy me and one when I need to entertain.  I think I need counseling.  Or a maid.

Lunch with another ex Xangan

I had lunch with Gary and his friend Will when they were visiting Toronto this past week.  Gary used to blog on Xanga (CurryPuffy).  I don’t remember exactly when I subscribed to him on Xanga – likely late 2000s.  His blogs were usually a lot of travel and food posts.  He would usually start each paragraph with a small Snoopy GIF.   I always had the impression he was a classy, soft spoken kinda guy.  He was always helpful and polite when I emailed him looking for travel tips.

We met at the lobby of the hotel where he was staying.  He still looks the same as his Xanga profile pic from years ago.  We walked to a nearby restaurant.  I usually worry about what to talk about or if I talk too much or too little.  Chatting with both of them was easy even if I did blabber on a bit too much.  We chatted about the people we knew on Xanga, where they visited, who picks the places to eat (for this trip – Will picked the restaurants), what’s going on in our lives and traveling in general.  Both of them were very easy to talk to. It’s interesting when you “know” someone but haven’t met them in person.  After lunch we walked back to their hotel and got some pics of each other.  I hope to see them again.  Both Gary and Will are really nice gentlemen.

 

Here’s what I ate.

The lunch was pretty good.  The restaurant (Luma) was offering a fixed priced lunch menu as part of Summerlicious.

Strawberry feta salad (romaine, toasted almonds and champagne vinaigrette)IMG_5861

Peameal Bacon BLT (vine-ripened tomatoes, basil aïoli, arugula, kettle chips).  The bacon was nice and I was so stuffed I couldn’t finish all the chips.

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Coconut cream + pineapple tart – this was very nice.  IMG_5864