Fresh baked “Fong Bao” from the oven – 方包出爐

Random musings & meditations straight from the oven. Hopefully some food for thought as well…

Archive for September, 2009

Working on “The Drive”

Welcome to Commercial DriveIs there an area in your city where you never/hardly venture into because it’s just “out of the way”? Commercial Drive was the place for me before I started working there in the fall of 2003. Previous to that, the furthest I’ve gone in the area was to the theatre and the legion hall around Commercial & 7th Ave.

I’ve grown to love “The Drive”.

Arr!vaI love its roots. It is Italian through and through.

I love its heart. Local merchants are proud of their trade and not afraid to stand up to the “evil” franchise store. The other day a man, Starbucks coffee in hand, sat down outside a local café & was given a verbal lashing by the owner.

I love its culture. One look at the sidewalk cafes you’ll wonder what these people do for a living. Sipping lattes and espresso on a week day?!

Joe's Cafe

I love its diversity. Young professionals, the homeless, vegetarians, seniors, low income earners, members of First Nations, all roam the Drive.

Mural

I love the smorgasbord of food choices. Italian, Greek, French/Tunisian, Japanese, Thai, Jamaican, Ethiopian, Mexican, to name a few, all within a few blocks. Colleagues from other areas are often envious of that.

Panini - La Grotta del Formaggio

I love its passion for the beautiful game. It is in full glory on any given match day during the World Cup and the European Championship. World Cup 2006 was especially memorable for obvious reasons.

The Beautiful Game

And I love its uniqueness. You’ll be hard pressed to find another neighborhood in town that has all the aforementioned attributes. 

Red Burrito at night - Corner of Commercial & 1st

Even though now I only spend 2.5 days working on “The Drive”, I still, and will always, consider it my home base until I move on to another role.

Item du jour

If you love footy, there’s no better place to watch a match than “The Drive”.

無辣不歡? – Spicy enough for you?

Chili 2童年時跟一般小孩子一樣都不喜歡吃辣,但偏偏己故的母親對吃辣樂此不疲,甚至乎到達狂熱的地步,那時的我很不明白。更令我想不通的,是為什麼炎炎夏日,很多人就算辣到滴汗也要吃?那豈不是「有自唔在,攞苦嚟辛。」(後來才明白吃辣而出汗是有助人體降温的作用。)

Chili Crab2人大了,開始接觸不同的美食,而對辣亦漸漸產生好奇。久不久也會作一些嘗試,但都是點到即止,談不上是真真正正的吃辣。近幾年來,Pie Pie Lo 越吃越辣。可能因為這緣故,開始主動選擇刺激自己的味蕾:泡菜,喇沙,紅油抄手,酸辣湯,冬蔭公,印度及泰式咖哩,吃麵加辣油,甚至 Subway 的三文治也要加兩種不同的辣椒,吃得+分之「過癮」!難道方包己踏上吃辣的不歸路?!

其實吃辣是一門高深的學問,而現在的我也只是接觸了冰山的一角,還有很多有待發掘。更高層次的麻辣更是遙不可及。

究竟方包可以吃得幾辣,有待分解。

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Kimchi 2Like many kids, I was not a fan of spicy food in my childhood. Yet my late mother was very fond of, perhaps obsessed about, spicy food. At the time, I didn’t understand why. And for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why some people, on a hot summer day/night, would consume spicy food despite sweating profusely afterwards. Don’t these people have better things to do?! (Later on I learned that when you sweat after eating spicy food, it actually cools your body down.)

Tom Yum GoongAs I got older and exposed myself to different types of cuisine, my curiosity for spicy food gradually grew. Every now then I would experiment but only to a point, as I was reluctant to go “all-in”. For the past few years, Pie Pie Lo has started to eat spicier foods. That maybe the reason why I’ve made a conscious effort to stimulate my taste buds: Kimchi, Laksa, Wontons in Chili oil, Hot & Sour soup, Tom Yum Goong, East Indian & Thai curry, adding chili oil to my noodles and ordering Subway with Jalapenos and banana peppers. I was hooked. Could it be that Fong Bao has reached the point of return when it comes to spicy food?!

Eating spicy food is actually a complex subject and my experience thus far is only the tip of the iceberg. There are still lots to be discovered, not to mention another realm of spiciness that’s way beyond me.

Just how spicy can Fong Bao tolerate? Only time will tell…….

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Little Miss Chatterbox & Mr. Mischief

I’ve always been an admirer of the Mr. Men and Little Miss series written by Roger Hargreaves. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to meet one, let alone two, of the characters in one day. This has truly been an eye-opening experience.

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Little Miss ChatterboxIt was another typical Sunday lunch hour at the Cattle café. It was packed with people who went to taste a bowl of their “famous” rice noodles in fish broth. Pie Pie Lo and I waited for about 10 minutes before being seated. Now, if you ever been to the Cattle café you’ll understand their seating arrangement is, shall we say, rather intimate. In our case, we were less than 5 inches away from two young Ching-lish speaking CBCs in their 20’s and we couldn’t help but noticed their animated conversation, especially Little Miss Chatterbox. She must have had a bad case of verbal diarrhea because words were just flying out of her mouth non-stop. At one point, after a lengthy phone conversation, Little Miss Chatterbox was able to regurgitate the entire dialogue AND offered up an opinion to her male companion in less than 5 minutes. Pie Pie Lo tried to figure out how many words were spoken per minute by Little Miss Chatterbox. It proved to be a fruitless exercise, but amusing nonetheless. Maybe I should have asked for her phone number in case I develop some sort of speech impediment down the road…….

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Mr. MischiefSave-on Foods was the last stop of today’s grocery shopping tour. As we waited in line to pay for our purchases, we noticed Mr. Mischief was just in front of us with his family. (Totally didn’t realize he was East Indian and judging from his height, appearance and demeanor, Mr. Mischief can infiltrate a kindergarten with ease.) Not sure if he was bored or simply being impatient, Mr. Mischief started playing with the magazine rack and grabbed a mag with a scantily clad bikini lady on the cover. Without missing a beat, Mr. Mischief, with rolling eyes and a grin that’s wider than the Grand Canyon, proudly presented the magazine to his dad and said something in Punjabi.

(My Punjabi is a bit rusty but I think this is what was said…)

“Hey Pops! Look what I found! It’s the missing issue you’re looking for….”

Looking sheepish and totally embarrassed by now, father mischief quickly stuffed the magazine back in the rack, shook his head and wagged his finger in front of Mr. Mischief, who started to giggle.

Then I started to giggle, as well as Pie Pie Lo.

The end.

Item du jour

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