Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Toward The Future

It's been a hectic last week, lots of planning, cooking and some great news. I've been offline for a few months, but my news was inspiration to write a bit again.
I was accepted (again) as a part time student for the culinary management programme at TTHTI and I will be starting classes next February. My cousin recently started the culinary programme at George Brown in Ontario as well, so I've got someone doing the same thing as I am. We had spoken of plans for a bistro in the future, and now we are on our way to make big things happen. I'm a bit nervous to restart school and commit to this for quite a few years but I enjoy learning and this is definitely something that I am interested in, which should make the years fly by.
I also planned a surprise birthday tea party. Though quite a few people cancelled, those who were there had a good time. We ate well, chatted and laughed and watched a movie. It was a lot of fun shopping for and preparing all the little things. As I write this, I'm having the very last of the tea party: two mini scones with clotted cream, shortbread and a madeleine. My time management skills is getting better as well as my multi-tasking and I learned a lot generally.

The Menu
Currant Scones
Orange Cranberry Scones
Chocolate Chip Scones
Clotted Cream
Cheese Plate
Rice Paper Rolls with Vege-shrimp and Peanut Sauce
Mushroom & Caramelized Onion Bruschetta
Cucumber Cups with Tuna Tartare
Smoked Salmon Tea Sandwiches
Chicken Salad Vol-au-vents
Buffalo Wings
Bacon-Wrapped Cream Cheese-Stuffed Jalapenos
Vegan Lemon-Poppyseed Muffins
Key Lime Pie
Apple Pie
Panna Cotta

I'll be looking forward to sharing my adventures in school and out of school with you, very soon! I do wish I had taken a few pictures from some of the places I've eaten out at, good and bad, during my time offline, but it's okay, I've got lots more to share!

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Howdy, Austin!

Keep Austin Weird.
Yes, that's indeed their motto. It's cute, funny, brilliant and very realistic. Austin is one of the "weirdest" cities I've had the pleasure of visiting, which I did this past week. It's weirdness adds to its charm and it's an absolutely wonderful and incredibly hospitable city. The people are so friendly, there is art and music literally everywhere, and the food... well, I hadn't had a bad meal for the entire trip.
My friend had an extra ticket to Austin's biggest annual event, Austin City Limits music festival. It was an absolute blast. Despite the crazy heat, every performance was outstanding and it was all-round good vibes. I am so happy and grateful that I decided to go. It was a unique and wonderful experience.

The conveyor in the airport.
Our first proper meal was at Uchi, the number one restaurant in Austin, according to TripAdvisor. The sushi was indeed the best I have had. The quality of seafood used is top notch! The buttery fish just melt in your mouth. The salad and miso were fairly average but their shrimp tempura was also great!
Uchi, the number one restaurant in Austin, and it's wall of fame.

Seaweeds Salad at Uchi

Chef's Selection at Uchi

Dessert at Uchi

T-Rex lurking in the bushes.

Amazing graffiti.

Texas-shaped waffles!

Breakfast at the hotel, Ramada Inn.

Weird art everywhere!

Boba Milk Tea at Tea Haus

Brick Toast at Tea Haus

Basil Fried Chicken at Tea Haus

Little smoothie while we rested our feet.

Graffiti Park

The cutest little Boots Shop
Now for my favourite meal in Austin, the ramen at Ramen-Tatsuya. It was my first try at proper ramen and I was fairly skeptical. I do not usually like the dried pack ramen that you find at the stores that everyone likes. I knew it would be different of course, but I did not expect to enjoy it so thoroughly. It's the best ramen in Austin according to a lot of reviews and I am so glad we got the chance to go. The lines are usually long but it was definitely worth the wait. Good service, amazing food. 
Vegetable curry at Ramen Tatsuya

My Ramen!!! 

Our meal at Ramen Tatsuya

There's an entire museum dedicated to these little weird things.
Not worth the trip, though, for us anyway.
The weekend was spent at the festival and we ate primarily festival food. This festival had the best local vendors so the food was guaranteed to be good. It was. All of it.
Our kimchi fries and Korean tofu tacos from Chi'lantro, both fantastic.

Amy's Ice Cream. So good, especially on a hot day.

Lots of flags, balloons, signs and other random things at the festival.

Cooling off with Shade Tree and Snowie treats.

Pad Thai from Thai Fresh

Poor Qui Buns from East Side Kings

Incredible Fried Brussel Sprouts Salad from East Side King

A little dessert.

Brunch at The Steeping Room
Yes, we started with scones and clotted cream.

Brunch at The Steeping Room

Sunset at the festival.

Fabulous Torchy Tacos
Unfortunately, I did not get the time to visit Franklin's and sample their BBQ but Austin is a beautiful city that deserves more than just a few days. I may need to go back!

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Nouvelle Lunch at TTHTI

Finally I've made my way to TTHTI to try their Nouvelle Lunch. I'm so glad I did. The prices are incredible for the quality of ingredients used in the food, and it's great to support the students, the upcoming chefs and other staff members. I've been wanting to try their food for a while but never seemed to make the time. Now that I have, I have more confidence in the quality of education at the institute as the students seemed to put together quite the feast.

First course at lunch: pressed foie gras with sauternes, rose & hibiscus gelée
and walnut brioche.

Second course: shrimp sachet in saffron broth.

Third course: oven roasted red fish with "eggplant caviar".

Fourth course: smoked scallops, pickled grilled mushrooms, black bean salsa,
chili cumin oil and orange-carrot reduction.

Fifth course: ravioli of chicken and foie gras, sautéed onions with tarragon
and thyme meat jus.

Second option - Beef roulade stuffed with mushrooms and bell peppers,
red onion and zucchini chips with puree of provision medley.

Last course/dessert! White chocolate lace poached pears, amaretto jelly in
phyllo pastry and burnt orange grand marnier parfait with cardamom sugar
and dill sponge with fruit compote.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the palate cleanser, and by the time I remembered, I was almost done. Those ginger-brandy snaps were so good.

Watermelon sorbet and ginger-brandy snaps.

I have minor criticisms but nothing worth mentioning. What's worth mentioning is that the food, service and entire experience was wonderful and I definitely think any and everyone should give it a try. The kitchen is usually well prepared to meet special dietary needs as well. I'll definitely be visiting in the near future.