Saturday, November 26, 2011

Vegetarian...with a side of gratitude.

The bf and I are quite busy these days, and much like the most hectic times in law school, our "date nights" have recently seemed to take place during the morning hours on the weekends when we don't have bar admissions course readings and assignments that we are frantically trying to complete (read: not fail) and/or work assignments otherwise monopolizing brain space and more  importantly, our down time. Somehow, amongst the demands of life at present and all of the change as of late, we have managaed to resume our hunt for the "perfect breakfast." Some things haven't changed....thank goodness.

Today we visited a place called "The Coup" on 17th Ave.  For those of you who happen to be of the non-meat eating variety, it is a vegetarian/vegan establishment.  I must admit I will never understand vegetarianism or veganism, and make no apologies for that. I am Cree, afterall....The men in my family are hunters....We eat beast (cooked, of course)....It is encoded in my DNA.  Come to think of it...I am pretty sure that would be the one thing that my Dad would disown me over...being vegetarian.....or a Conservative.  Political affiliation aside...I am not one to shy away from good food regardless if some of it didn't moo, oink, cluck, or .....whatever sounds moose, deer and bison make, prior to being slashed up, cooked and chucked barbarically yet beautifully on my plate. Anyhoo.... Where was I? Oh right....vegetarian breakfast fare. Awesome.....

This joint offers a decent variety in their menu,  offering some tasty vegetarian options that will even satisfy the devout carnivore: ricotta stuffed crepes, medeterranean scrambles, huevos, and everything in between....minus meat.  What they lack in bacon or sausage they very much make up for in flavour.  The bf still, even after an otherwise positive review of our dining experience, feels that "meat makes a breakfast. It's the star of the show." And that it "disrupts the integrity of the breakfast."  Typical guy.  As for me, while I did miss a few strategically-placed bacon stips on my plate, this place may be worth a repeat visit. I say "may" because it seems that vegetarian meals at The Coup were about the same price or a little more than the same dish at another restaurant but with meat protein. ($10-$12).

Over breakfast we chatted about work and not work stuff...Just being us.  Sometimes I get so bummed and annoyed about talking about work and the monumental stresses that it brings, for which that type of dialogue seems to monopolize our dialogue at times.  Some days I wish one of us was in a different profession so at least we could talk about something other than law. Oh woe is me, right?  Well you would want to gouge your eyes too.  Why? Because lawyers are boring.  You heard it hear first.

Well friends...I am here to say that today wasn't one of those days.  For once it was some time to just enjoy the other's company without anger/fear/resentment/ feeling overwhelmed with whatever work was invoking in us at that particular moment in time.  I got to enjoy breakfast with my best friend today....Not breakfast with "that ridiculously complex memo that's due on Monday", or breakfast with "that partner I'm pretty sure thinks I'm a tool"....or breakfast with the "bar admission course is taking away my will to live"..... or breakfast with "I am pretty sure I'll get turfed this week." (My inner monologue, not his). Nope none of that today.  Today I listened and was present.  Shutting off the stories and worries in my brain are difficult, and take a lot of energy. Some days I am able to silence those  stories, which leaves time for days like today....which allow me to realize the good life that we are building together..... I often fail to realize the simple things that make this life worth living, especially as grown-up life continues to become more complicated.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Soooo….. It’s been a while. I've been fairly preoccopied the last.... 6 months. REALLY?!?!?!? Yes, my head has been anywhere but on self-expression. So much so that I just left my precious blog to be left unloved for so long. I've even had multiple requests for posts...but wouldn't you know it; making time for such activities has been extremely low on the old priority list.

Life has been full of transition this last half of 2011. Change is good, and change is not so good….but in the end, change is change.  From my perspective, it is the only one and true certainty in this life.   As I get older, I realize that how I respond to change, has even changed.  I am gradually becoming acclimated but it hasn’t been as slick a transition as I thought I was capable of.   
We have officially moved into our new home. (5 and a half months ago) Huzzah! I didn’t think that we would find somewhere to live, let alone love it and be in such a great location. We are blessed.  Although, nothing in this world seems to come easily to us which makes me appreciate our new life even more.
Taking all this into account....and as grateful as I am for what we do have (roof over our heads, dece jobs, and parents that are  ridiculously loving and supportive of us  both), I can’t say I really comprehended that we’d be encountering enough change to choke a horse; nor did I really prepare myself for what all this change meant. Heck, I was just happy to be leaving the west coast. Let’s see.....  I moved to a new city, I have a new ‘marital status’ (ok, we’re living to together, but not quite common law yet....stupid Alberta laws), I have a new job, a steep learning curve, and no close friends here. (Sorry, Cath – you rock, but we've seen each other ONCE in 5 months!!) We honestly moved one day and I started work the next. So much seemed to have happened all at once.  I was crazy overwhelmed, and didn’t fully understand what was happening to me at the time. I think I was in a perpetual state of misery for the first month we were here….Ok two.

All of this change reminded me of when I was 24: I had just graduated from university and moved to New Zealand for a year and didn’t know a soul there before I left.  From what I remember, I didn’t seem to care. I was pumped about learning a new culture, exploring a new city, doing a super cool internsthip and doing it all by myself.Of course, I was worried about the plane crashing and all sorts of other normal things I spazz out about, like the dogs finding a stash of drugs that some sketch-bag put in in my bag when I wasn't looking and I end up in a jail like Brokedown Palace.....  But for some reason, being alone in a new place  and having a craptacular paying internship didn't seem to register; nor would the adjustments that would accompany such a big transition. Fast-forward to 31-year old Racquel and WOW…..I am such a baby.

Suffice it to say, now that it's November I've become more accustomed to this new lifestyle...or at least gotten less bitter about how misery-filled the life of an articling student really is; and also being the girlfriend of an articling student has taken some adjusting and is difficult at times. (Oh that's right...we're both in the same boat....twice the misery, twice the fun).  I now...sort of... am seeing some glimpses of reprieve from the constant anxiety attacks, bouts of self-loathing, crying fits and massive cases of the grumpies.  The bf... honestly should be sainted after this year. I really am a B#&@h in heels sometimes and he just still shows me patience and compassion....and the odd laugh at my misery's expense.
spazzing out at firm photos

Before the beginning of this new chapter I know that I was super jazzed about blogging... Then my will to live was crushed somewhere around August, so expressing disturbing thoughts about contracting some horrific flesh-eating disease so I could call in sick for a few weeks/months probably wasn't healthy, nor was it something I was all that into admitting to the masses --- or the six of you that read my blog.  Time for meds, you think??   In any event, I've been keeping up with some of my friends' blogs as of late (read: as of today), which has slowly inspired this little brown girl to give it another go.  I loved reading about what was happening in their lives...both entertaining and moving...... and realized...hold the phone....I am also living a life!! (contray to what I might think some days). I am still me and I still love what I loved  to do before, so why not put it out there...the good, the bad, and the mildly deranged/ depressive/ inappropriate / whack-a-doo account of what the buzz in my life is.  So back by, (somewhat but not really) popular demand,  I'll give this another rip.  Stay tuned :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Ends

Well....It is has been a whirlwind three years in many ways, BUT the end is no longer nigh...the end is NOW. Law is school is over. I now have the passing grades to prove it. I am already driving my self nuts with all of the free time on my hands. And to be honest, I am still pretty busy...but there is a void where study stress and self-loathing used to be. At least I get to sleep in.

The one great thing about all of this end of the line business, is that our social calendars have been busier in the last 3 weeks than the whole year, it seems. We have been busy saying goodbyes to fellow colleagues and friends as we all make the mass exodus from law school into the next chapter of our lives.  What better way than to do so with drinks in hand and possibly a meal here and there? I may not be able to button my pants presently because of all this celebratory/good-bye nonsense, but that is the hit I will take for the cause. Because a giver. It's true.

We've been out and about quite a few times since we got out of school and bidding adieu to our friends and colleagues.  One such happening we were invited took place the day before exams finished,  where we had a gathering of people at the Bard & Banker, which is located in downtown Victoria on Government Street. A friend of ours is headed back to Alberta so many of our colleagues and their partners came out to bid her adieu, and we all wore cowboy hats in honor of the wild west that is Alberta.  Because that is what people in Alberta do...wear cowboy hats. I mean I do, even when I go to bed at night. FER SURE....

The Bard & Banker is sort of an upscale type place to be seen in Victoria, for the 20-30 year old types.  Let me be the first to tell is the BEST place in town to buy over-priced alcohol and sub-par food at insane prices.  Honestly, the last place such a party should be held, but I can't take control of everything around me. Regardless how much I think I should be able to.  If you enjoy cider, like me, Strongbow runs for over $9.00 a pint. Yep, you heard that right. 

I ordered a blue cheese salad with chicken, which sounded awesome. I expected a dinner sized portion, but was disappointed to see the 1/10 of an avocado, butter lettuce-a-plenty, and not even a full chicken breast for $11.00. I was less than impressed, to say the least. The bf ordered Ale Pie with a dumpling. For the two of us, with the food, and a  beer each gave us a bill of just over $60.00. I honestly don't mind paying for good food, but this was disappointing. Which is weird because we both really like Irish Times, which is owned by the same people...or so I've been told. Irish Times has a stellar menu and even better beer selection. (I'll save my endorsement of that place for another time.)

Although they did have some tasty looking dishes. Our friend Paul had some sort of delightful looking dish. He mentioned it was good times. So there is some positive feedback for the pub fare offered here. My only advice: if you're stretched for cash, this is totally not the place for you. Just saying.... The cynicism of the poor starving student strikes again!! One day I will pull a paycheque.... One day....

It was great that our friend got the send-off that she deserved. The theme was fun. But the night in and of itself, was wickedly awkward. I don't want this post to sound all Negative-Nancy, but it was just a bit weird how the energy and dynamic our group was lacking. Perhaps we were all a little weathered from the beat-down that is finals, but I think it was more than that. Here was a group of people, who are sort of friends, for the most part. We have spent many hours together in various settings, and by all accounts could have given each other a hip-hip-hooray, a high-five or something. The end of the night was met with awkward hand-shakes, and "yeah.... good look with everything and stuff" type send-off.

The bf and I talked about it, and how perhaps it was us who were perceiving the night's events a certain way, but I don't think it was. Maybe everyone was just all done with law everything, including law friends. I know that facets of the law school experience have involved a series of forced social interactions with people; to the point of surfeit. Perhaps the analogy of war-time bonds is a bit short of what happened to ties forged in law school; we are working toward independent goals not toward a common goal. We came here to achieve our own ends, so there is that innate sense of competition and envy of others' who have better opportunities available to them. Or perhaps there is a sense of the fact that we all know that our lives will no longer be as intertwined and unsure as to how those ties will survive over time. The future will only tell how this experience will shape our relationships past this time and place.

These people that I have come to know and to spend time with, have shaped me to an extent. I am fortunate having met them and am anxious to see how we all fare out there in the real world. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Mo:le smokes! The end is nigh! Not quite....

In a furthering my attempt at tempting the academic gods by not studying a course I have done ZERO on to date, and possibly compromising a career that has yet to begin, I thought this couldn't be a better time to pound out a few blog entries. I mean, I really have nothing better to do at the moment....I don't call studying Admin Law "the better" thing to do. C'mon now..... I mean you would think that being THREE DAYS away from completing a J.D degree would be motivation enough to just keep going and finish strong, right? RIGHT? Alas no.

I have pretty much reduced the experience of this last month of law school as being akin to ending a long bit in prison. You just need to get by, survive the rest of the experience without getting into a brawl or recruited into a gang - ok, so not that bad, but close. Constant stress at every turn tends to get old after a while. At this point, I am just hoping that good behaviour will get me through. Probably the toughest thing is knowing that life is on the "other side"; real life isn't meant for this particular place or time - it's not permanent. So you drag yourself through what needs to be done - and not one aota more. Yeah...that pretty much covers it. Oh yeah...and we're on an island so it's pretty much like Alcatraz...but with restaurants!

And for some reason during exam period all I want to do is scarf down everything in sight. Although this year is better than most, because I have given up the idea of the portable pantry. (Basically a big brown paper bag full of craptacular food - cookies...drool). And for some reason, unbeknownst to me, I have taken to Tim Horton's donuts all of a sudden. They're like biting into little pillows of sweet magic. The copious amounts of sitting and the endless rain on the island have led me down this path of less is more. Meaning the less exercise I get, the more I want to eat my weight in gummy bears....and donuts....and rootbeer floats. So with less than a week left of finals, I just might. Perhaps a challenge is in order: see how much weight I can possibly gain in the next 3.5 days.

We've also been doing massive breakfasts at this juncture of the semester, which probably is directly proportinal to the amount of blogging I've been wanting to bust out as of late. We normally set aside a "date-night(s)" most weeks throughout the year, but the end of the semester leaves us too bagged for a night out. Mornings seem to be the best bonding time at present. At least it's SOME time. Am I right? Finals is such crap, you guys. Partners of law students, who aren't in law as well, I don't know how you do it. At least I can totally commiserate with what is happening to my partner. The stress and the constant anxiety/guilt around taking a couple of hours off is almost rage-inducing, and leaves us scowling at each other; like trying to make each other dead with our minds or something....and for no good reason at all! Other than misery of finals in law school. My hat goes off to your partners, law people. They are champions for putting up with you.

So, yeah...since mornings are reasonably a decent time to hang out without the pangs of 100% exams and unreasonable test questions (thank you for breaking my bf's will to live, Prof. Gillen), we've been breakfasting, and hanging out before the library opens on the weekends....which is sometimes too early for this little brown girl. However, breakfast is the most important meal of the I've made it doubly so by spending time with my dude. However, as much as it's great for the relationship, the blog and all, such feasting has done nothing for my 12yr old boyish figure. HA! I slay me. No? Not funny anymore? Ugh....Alright, so moving right along....

On our jaunts out and about looking for all things egg and bacon, a couple of weekends ago the bf and I decided to break out of our comfort zone and try something new...Okay, not really new, but decided to change things up a bit. We thought we'd give our precious Blue Fox a rest and venture over to another local brunch hot-spot called Mo:le (prounounced Mo'lay). (And just quick as a btw...I call him the bf, b/c I want to respect his privacy. While I totally get that most of my readers are people that we know, I want to try to maintain his anonymity. I mean, I am the one that signed up to splay my life on the interwebs; he didn't. ) ..................So back to my Mo:le moment.............Ahem.

Location and things: Mo:le is on lower Pandora and Government in Victoria proper. It is next to a coffee shop owned/managed by the same people. It's called Habit, and apparently has great coffee, from what I hear. I don't drink coffee b/c I literally freak out from the caffeine-induced panic attacks that accompany consumption. Yes, I am a spazz. The great thing I know about Habit is the fact that you can wait for your table there if the restaurant is full. Mo:le is not super fancy or anything; your typical run of the mill restaurant. Which doesn't explain the following:
HOLY YUPPIES, Batman! There were so many little yuppy families, it was ridiculous. The whole 2.2 children, the dog outside, the fancy poofy vests and Puma shoes for the kids. It was insanity..... times 2.2. And while, those of you who know us you might think, "Um..kettle, this is the pot. You're black"......I'd like to invite you to bite me. We're not yuppies, and I hope never to be a power-jerkface, pretentious couple....despite my new love for micro-breweries and fancy cheese...and the fact we're both going to be lawyers. Notwithstanding the aforementioned, we were both raised humble peeps, and taught that very little is beneath us....aside from maybe Floyd's Diner. (Husky truckstops are better than Floyd's - and that is the only mention it will get from me in this blog). Grin!

Service: Hipsters, this is where you work...if you are mainstream enough to work, aside from the record store. I am unsure of why this is fact, but it seems to be true. I pretty much wanted to put our server through the window or trip him. For some reason this guy makes it a higher priority to look cool than to actually do his job. We've been here on more than one occasion and couldn't help ourselves but chuckle and shake our heads at the skinny jeans with crack sticking out, and the kids t-shirt he obviously bought at BabyGap ...and of course, the hipster moustache. Thank goodness he shaved it, b/c he looked like a complete tool. Anywho... this time around he was like "Hey dudes, what can I getcha getcha". And I'm pretty sure he gave the wink and double guns to people, all the while lip-psynching to Pink Floyd and bellowing at the kitchen staff - which was completely unnecessary. Perhaps I was just sleepy as it was 8:30 on a Sunday, and was hungry like a wolf (I smell like I sound - Any Duran Duran fans out there??), and the restaurant was two tables away from empty. I mean, I'm all for having fun on the job, but when you're forgetting orders while working double-time on looking cool....this does not bode well for the dining experience of customers. Just saying... However, I have to say that when the food did make its way to our table, I was happy to see they haven't lost their touch.

The Menu: The price-point is about $9- 13/plate(ish). The menu is, for the most part....Meh. There are some really interesting looking dishes, but not so much that I would actually try most of them. I can't say that dishes like the yam-omelette or the dragon bun (including sweet chinese sausage, julienne onions and peppers, avocado, spicy chili bean sauce with cream cheese scrambled eggs on a whole wheat bun) would blow my hair back.

However, they do have huevos rancheros, which the bf has a massive love-on for, as do most dudes. He tells me it is dece. Nothing massive to write home about; apparently somewhat bland. He enjoys the homemade hot sauce, though. (For you spice nuts).

Mo's Biscuit.
Every time I have been there I have had the Mo's biscuit. Egg, bacon, havarti cheese, aioli on a homemade biscuit. The savoury dishes are served with pesto hashbrowns which are fantastic. The coleslaw thing you get on the side might as well not be there as it does nothing for the dish. I'd rather fill that part up with more pesto potato love. The dish is pretty dense, but that doesn't stop me from ordering my other fave: banana bread on the fly. It's probably horrendous for you, but they serve it with a "generous" dolop of butter. Drool. By the time the meal is over, you will need a sleepy...the portion size is manageable, but the starter will put you ove the edge.

All in all , an enjoyable place to pull up a stool and get your feed-on. I am always biased about breakfast places, to be honest. This place is probably number 2 on my list. Give it a rip, but prepared for long wait-times on food!

Oh and wish me luck on my next final. It's the last one. WOOT! For celebration, we're going for....get this...BREAKFAST!! Drool.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

reflections on a tea party: grown up style

One of the things I've always wanted to try in Victoria is High Tea at the Fairmont Empress Hotel. They serve up a healthy dose of pretentious, with some serious pastries. Totally worth a try, methinks!

I am someone who loves to organize events and get people together. I invited some girls from law school to join me for a Sunday afternoon tea. I never really did tea parties as a child, as I was more of a tomboy than anything (and the lack of friends didn't help either), so I thought I would have a grown up tea party to fulfill a childhood dream of a fancy-schmancy gathering of friends and discussing important things: like, stuff. Stuff that's cool, all the while drinking air and pretending to eat plastic treats. But this time....this time, would be real food, and REAL tea. And BOOM! Fancy tea party for grown ups. Who would or could resist?

I thought we'd turn up the hifalutin a notch or two by encouraging everyone to have some fun with this one. Wear some sort of fancy hair pieces, hairbands, fascinators and the like, and take pretentious to the next level.  How could you not? I mean if you're gonna pay $50.00 for tea and pastries, you might as well milk the experience for all it's worth! And that, I believe we did....

I also have a bit of a habit of being a little miss perfect about certain things: big events seem to be the big one. I obsessed about my dress for our law grad banquet for about 3 months...I had "a vision" about what I should look like and do my damndest to make it happen. It's pretty tragic, actually. So my hairpiece for my tea party had to be just right. I searched for a good few weeks and made sure I bought mine early...Am also a bit of an immediate gratification tool, so had to be sure I got as soon as I set the date for the tea....I clearly don't socialize enough. That or it's possibly the result of being 30, not having children and therefore more time to dwell on such things. Either way... Check out my fancy headband!!

So yes, you heard right - high tea costs around $50.00. BUT, one of my classmates told me that you can become a "Friend of the Empress" which you can apply for online and you can get reduced rates on certain services and rates at the Empress if you're a local. I signed up and got 20% off Afternoon Tea - $10.00 off. Suddenly, this is starting to look like it'll be worth the while. Being a student and all, you know. But...that didn't stop me. I mean, how many times can you say you went for high tea?....Really, Racquel? Yes most of  the reasons for many of my expenditures seem to be equally problematic. Just ask the bf.

Anywho... I was worried that no one would show. How 10 years old of me. But I was happy when we were eight of us, and everyone got into the spirit of things. Our host was super kind and attentive. I felt like a princess! We started off with a fruit salad, which was lovely - served with figs, and blackberries and the like. It wasn't the cantaloupe/grape combo you normally get. Good start! We each got to pick a tea, and they served it in the fancy tea cups which I was fairly that I'd be the only one to break one and have to pay for it by washing dishes or something equivalent because they were too pricey for me to afford. But I made it through without smashing anything. SUCCESS!

We then were served with the tiered tray of mini-sandwiches and pastries. Each person got to have one of each item, which as it turned out, made for a food hangover for many of us afterward. But well worth it!! So yummy. For starters the sandwiches were pretty phenomenal. There was a salmon and cream cheese pinwheel sandwich, which was probably the favorite around the table. There was a curry pumpernickel sandwich that was interesting, and surprisingly tasty. There was also some sort of mini croissants sandwiches. Anything in a mini croissant sandwich is tasty, really.

The tea lobby was just as you would expect it to look like....Completely over the top. There was the fancy upholstered chairs, the fireplace, chandeliers, the works. It was hilarious and wonderful all at the same time. As we ate, there was a pianist playing some tunes, which much to my surprise, I knew! The guy couldn't have been very old, b/c he was rocking some 90's songs that are very near and dear to me. At one point he was playing Smells Like Teen Spirit, and an older lady at the next table remarked, "Oh what a beautiful song". I thought that was cute...and a further testament to how great Nirvana is and always will be. Vive la grunge.

Swiped from Megan. YOINK!
The pastries - Apparently the pastry kitchen at the Empress is the only pastry kitchen in Victoria. That is a CRIME, if you ask me. But I must say what this lone pastry kitchen turns out is nothing short of fantastic: fresh scones were served with cream.....Drool. And came with our own individual tiny jar of jam. How is that not awesome? There was a custard tart with strawberry. A chocolate and vanilla cake with marzipan...I think.  There was also a hazlenut truffle cup. And I'm ashamed to say that, after 3 hours of sipping and chatting, I just couldn't finish eating everything. I applaud the Empress for actually making me turn away a dessert.

Everyone say "Tea"!!! 
The afternoon with these ladies was a great opportunity to just be girly, even if for a couple of hours. It was nice to take a break from the seriousness of school.  While not much of a girly-girl, having a close group of friends is something that I definitely have been missing out on whilst living here. Since I moved, I have found it somewhat difficult to really connect with girls out here. I had some pretty solid bonds with friends back home. I miss them terribly. They get me, and I am me when I'm with them. I am fun, I am the social coordinator of my group; people, who aren't my boyfriend (whom I'm pretty sure is paid to date me) actually like being around me.  In law school, I sometimes feel like that 14 year old that I once was. That girl who was awkward, and just didn't fit in all. Law school, I have come to find, is very much like high school; but with bank accounts! And let me be the first to tell you, I really didn't do well in high school. I wasn't all.  So here, even though I consider myself pretty rad NOW....there is still something that just doesn't seem to fit with me; that brought out that shy, afraid of just about everything, awkward, and angsty teenager who struggled with being different and would rather shave her head than speak in front of a group of people. As a result I think that I haven't attracted very many people into my social sphere or that I've been invited into the same.

Perhaps the way we interact here is different, where interaction is dictated by this program, and not by people freely living their lives. (The bf thinks this may be some of the reason). I just think I repel most people because I'm a massive jerk. LOL. The other thing that I thought was that this program is so demanding and all-consuming that people just don't seem to have the time to really invest in cultivating friendships outside of superficial hi's in the hallway, or the lunch catch-up. I am really not one for superficial friendships, but perhaps that is my downfall. It's foreign to me, but perhaps a necessary skill of being a good lawyer. That is the way I will choose to frame it.

Whoa...did I just derail my own post tea party commentary? HA, nope! Like I said, my social experiences normally revolve around food - these experiences allow me to reflect on other things happening in my life.  Despite the aforementioned gap I have experienced in the realm of friends, I still try to see all of this in a positive light and make some adjustments where necessary. As such I have tried to be more sociable and to have more fun this year. Being too serious and focusing on things that are missing, make me not see the big picture of  all of the good and beautiful things that surround my life everyday...and to be thankful for those good things. Life is too short to be so serious. I feel that I should plan something else fun...I have always wanted to do a boudoir shoot. Wheels are turning....I will get back to you.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Best Part of Waking Up...Blue Fox In Muh Belly

I am fastly approaching the end of my program here in Vic...which means the bf and I will be leaving soon. In many ways I can't get the sam hell off this island fast enough, as there are many things about Vancouver Island that just don't seem to fit with my personality. I am a bull in a china shop, it feels sometimes.  And while I am super stoked about starting a new chapter of our life in a new city, I am going to miss some things about our life here. The one thing that definitely suits my fancy in this town is the restaurant selection. I am going to miss the MANY great restaurants  in this town. I have never before been to so many little independent places with such creative menus and good food.

napkin drawings adorn the tables at BF:
a true testament to the love
of the joint, methinks :)
So while I am struggling with stress of finals, the unknown of my career, money woes, being a hypochondriac and the myriad things that make me the spazz that I am, one thing always seems to boost my spirits: breakfast at Blue Fox with my Love :) He is such a morning person and I...well let's just say I am pretty sure I was a bear in my previous life. He is always making me laugh, and up for a good breakfast and morning chat. Even if I am a grump in the morning. How he loves me sometimes, I will never know.... Our mutual adoration of breakfast foods, have led us to the trying out of many of different places, but we keep coming back to Blue Fox because of the great service, the amazing food, and the fail-safe menu. I have yet to try something that sucks on this menu. And believe me, we've done the leg work on this one.

Location and such: Blue Fox is located on Fort and Vancouver St.(ish), and many more times than I care to say, I have waited in line for said restaurant. On the weekends you could find yourself waiting from anywhere from 10:00 minutes to an hour, depending on when you go. It is a small, hole the wall kind of place, with maybe 15 or so tables. I have gone numerous times on a variety of days, and it would seem that weekends before 9:00a.m. is the place to go without having to wait. We went this morning and the 8:00 rush had us waiting on our food longer than usual(at least there was no line). They close at 3:00 on the weekends, so the timing has to be just right. You would think I'm obsessive but I am pretty sure I am not the only one....And I take my breakfast very seriously.

Disgruntled without morning caffeine :)
But would I be telling you about this place if it wasn't worth the wait??? I think not. A lot of times if we're in line, I will go and look in the windows and totally creep on people....I tend to think of the "Blue Fox experience" as one that you enjoy while eating, but then leave so that others can get a chance. I tend to give dirty looks sometimes if they doddle. Yep, I'm THAT person.

Many people ask, "Why there? I wouldn't even think about waiting in line or get up early on my weekends just to have breakfast, what's so great about it?"  For those people, you are jerks. Jerks who have not had the true experience...or have really bad taste in food. (Not funny?) And... I will not name names, but others have said that places like John's Place, Floyd's Diner, or Avalon are at least equal to, if not better than Blue Fox. Like Mr. T says, "I pity the fools".

So to those sayers of nay, here is what makes Blue Fox rock my socks off....and should rock yours off too.

The service: the service has always been amazing. Every now and again they've forgotten a water or something, but the people there are attentive and super friendly.  The servers are totally team-oriented, which makes a huge difference on the efficiency of the joint, especially in a place that busy. And also...they are just super down to earth people. They talk to you like you're friends, and get this...they actually care about good customer service. You'd think this would standard in restaurants, but more than anything, service in Victoria is really weird out here: like some odd entitlement to gratuity just for showing up to work. (I will post an entry about how I almost got shooed out of restaurant for not tipping - the service was brutal, but she seemed to think she was entitled to auto-grat by charging twice on certain items.)

The Menu: (I may have to post a two-parter on this one, because they serve LUNCH too!!) They serve everything from fruit plates to Huevos Rancheros; from chorizo and eggs to cinamon buns. <-- which are pretty amazing, and probably smart to share...because eating the rest of your meal is impossible if you have one by yourself. There are 2...or one massive one cut in half. It's pretty heavenly.

Benny served on bagel :) 
I have tried MANY things on the list, and tend to have phases of favorites. The omelettes are wicked. They have a few different variations, plus you have the option of making your own. I am pretty partial to the herb cream cheese, ham and spinach. They serve their savoury breakfasts with homefried potato hash brown things, and toast. PLUS you get one of their jams that is made in-house. How is THAT for awesome. I am a huge fan of the raspberry lemon. They have others like rosemary and orange, or strawberry vanilla...there's a different one everyday.

The fix'ens. Steamed soy...drool.
 My earlier phase, for which I will always have a special place in my heart for, is their french toast. It comes in a few different concoctions: The Peasant Toast is pretty phenomenal, as it is served with sour velvet sauce, almonds and honey. It's tastiness personified. The Apples Charlotte kicks some serious ass too, as it's served with a make-shift apple pie filling.  However, I recently developed a penchant  for porridge. YES, porridge. If you are a part of my family and reading this you will most likely laugh. When I was a child I considered serving porridge to kids child abuse. I am not even kidding. I would spoon mine into my cousin Andrea's bowl when she wasn't looking. I hated it THAT much. We were kind of poor growing up, which didn't leave great I forced wall paper past consistency grewl down day after day.

The piece de resistance. BOOM!
 But oh how the times have changed!! Perhaps my palette is becoming more refined....or I'm just getting old and beginning to understand the benefit of soft foods.  In any event, there are two variations on this little plate of heaven. First is the hot-buttered banana porridge: served with sour cream, maple syrup and pecans. Dessert? Possibly. Tasty as hell? Definitely. The second, and rapidly becoming my fave is the cranberry and ambrosia apple porridge: served with steamed milk, almonds and brown sugar. How could that NOT taste good? There is no losing here, people.

Price Point and Serving Size: the average breakfast comes for a price of around $11.00. Their servings sizes are manageable, but not too much. I think they may have cut their portions a touch, or I just can pack it away more. For the sake of my fragile self-worth (due to final exams) I will say serving size is a little less. But the worth is definitely there. The food is quality, presentation is awesome, and the consistency is well worth it.

So that is my rant about Blue Fox, or one of. I love it, it loves me.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Where are you going with this?

So...a colleague and avid follower/critic of my blog asked me something that somewhat jarred me. He asked "Where are you going with your blog? It's about food, and it's personal. I just don't get where it's going". At first I was somewhat taken I was being judged. I at first turned into: "Racquel mad. Racquel smash". But then after I put down the baseball bat I was about to take after this guy (Just kidding, S), I decided to just take it as it was intended: constructive feedback... And thinking that I really should try to hang on to all of my two readers. (Yes, Randall, I'm talking about you too).  I mean I am new to this blog thing, and many people have a wildly different takes on what makes a good blog.  So after some further pontification, I came to two conclusions on the "direction" of where this little brown girl is headed, and why you may, or may not want to further follow me.

I think that I am unsure where I am headed in life, to be honest. I am at a distinct sort of bend in the road and unsure as to what lies ahead. I am transitioning soon into the "adult world" of career, life-establishing and finally building a home with the love of my life. Why am I the only one in fumbling my way through life? But then I realize that I am not alone in my flailing about.... I mean, does anyone ever really know where they're going in life? Like really?  I feel that I am in a constant state of flux, it seems, and am trying to figure out my place in this world. I think that is part of the "all over-ness" of my writings to date.

He's into the reds; I'm into the whites.
Fitting? Absolutely!
Secondly, while it may sound silly, my relationships with people really do revolve around food. My boyfriend and I love trying new places and we bond over preparing meals together, and frequenting our favorite eateries. (BLUE FOX - more to come on that soon).  The spooning, happens to be about the love in my life, about of emotional intimacy from a complete wreck like myself. And forking....well, as suggestive as that sounds, it is about dining about town and how my experiences shape my outlook on life, help me process through certain barriers I face, or if rave about a restaurant that I just FRICKING love.  It only makes sense that my journey through life at present be also punctuated with my experiences of culinary fare.  Sometimes my blogs will be more personal than about my trip to x-restaurant, and others the inverse will be true. Food for me is a huge memory cuing mechanism. Certain experiences at a restaurant or at family/friend's house for dinner, will sometimes trigger certain memories, of which I will further meander about past experiences that are triggered, whether good or bad.

We all have a story to tell...Mine just happens to be through the lens of consumption of food. Perhaps it is a cultural thing, as very few family functions are contemplated without a well-constructed menu. This may be the making or breaking point of this blog...that is all about one and not the other. But from my culture, breaking bread with people is about sharing of one's self, and a bond that is formed by sharing a meal.  In this sense I am sticking to what I know, and attempting to convey my thoughts through this. Unsure if it will be a success or not, but gotta give it a rip. That is just how I roll.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Forking at Dine Around

In the spirit of avoiding listening to yet another lecture, I sit here contemplating my last experience being a dine-arounder at Dine Around.  Every year around the middle of February, Tourism Victoria organizes an event known as "Dine Around and Stay In Town Victoria". (This also happens in other cities - check out local tourism websites). The Dine Around portion includes local restaurants that offer a 3-course menu at a fixed price point of $20, $30 or $40. The Stay In portion includes hotels, bed & breakfasts, etc that offer accommodations at reduced rates.

It just so happened that this year's Dine Around event coincided with mine and the bf's 2 year anniversary. (Can I get a woot?) So after sifting through numerous menus in order to find a place that suited our both our food-likings, we decided on AURA.  Really, the bf was probably too excited about the pork belly risotto, so I couldn't say no. It would be like telling him there is no Santa Claus...or that I'm actually a dude. But yeah, the risotto...upon asking him later if he loved it more than me, he replied , "Don't make it choose". Yes, he refers himself to an "it" sometimes...don't ask me why.

The restaurant is located at the Inn at Laurel Point, which has a stunning view of the harbour and the lights of downtown Victoria. Really quite beautiful, methinks!  The place was buzzing for a Thursday, because of the first day of Dine Around, but not too packed.  I chose the the breaded shrimp, ravioli, and pumpkin creme brulee. For starters, they gave us some amuse bouche.... And really, the very name made me giggle like a tool to no end. Afterall I am pretty much a 14-year-old girl trapped inside a 12-year-old boy's body...dressed in drag. (Ergo...the sense of humor of an adolescent teen to match sometimes). Anyhow...the amuse was less than amusing. (pronounced "amoozing").  They then dazzled me with brioche, which I'd never had before and let me tell you...If you're a bland carb-lover, you will see God if you eat this!!

The shrimp was heavy on the batter which left me with little room for the main course, unfortunately.  So damn tasty, though. The batter...stringy, and crunchy. They served them with edamame and nori psate..quite delightful! The ravioli was tasty enough, a wee bit on the bland side. I wasn't feeling it, though. However, the pumpkin creme brulee was definitely the redemption of the meal.  It was mind-blasting. The bf had some sort of hazlenut chocolate 3-ways or something. The presentation was fancy, but the taste of the chocolate was less than stellar.

I have to say, that we were really well taken care of at this place, as customer services is kind of a tipping point for me, if the food is less than stellar.  And, although the food was tasty, the price point was a bit over what we normally could afford without the fixed price menu for this event. The dishes are good portion, though. I would highly recommend this place, especially for a special event (p.s. they have large separate room for parties of more than 10), or extra-fancy date night. Despite our busy schedules, we really try hard to make it a priority to set quality time together, and NOT talk about law school. Our lives are so intertwined, it's hard to make that separation from our lives as students, versus our lives as a couple.

After dinner we went to Humboldt House B& B located just outside of downtown. ( ... And  let me tell you, if you have an itch for kitsch, this place is your scratching post. We stayed in the Mikado room....quite possibly decorated by a 70 year old dude who picked some shit up at  a garage sale/flea market. HOWEVER, the selling points are the fact that it has both a hot tub AND a fireplace. Booyah! AAaaand, there is little cubby where your breakfast appears. It was pretty rad  to eat some crepes in my robe, with the fire roaring. I am a romantic at heart. SUE ME.

In remembering this time of our anniversary last year, compared to this year, I do have to say that I am grateful that I am in a different head and heart-space. Last year was a difficult one, and am really grateful to the bf for staying by my side during the darkest times of my life to date. This year, I am much more comfortable in my own skin, am healing, and most importantly, no longer a spazztic heap of anxiety that is ready to run away from life at every turn. I was able to love and accept love and celebrate a relationship that deserves some serious props. I had a blast, and can't wait for future anniversary celebrations and exploring new places when we move to our new city...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Intro: I blog because I'm fly.

I am into class. It's my new thing. 
Many of my friends and colleagues have started blogs about their lives. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading their posts and following their journeys through this world.  Their experiences have helped me to see into their thoughts, fears, and joys.  It is wonderful to learn about their realities as parents, students, professionals, and most of all, PEOPLE. I am also someone who is finding their way through this world, albeit with little spatial awareness, anxiety issues, and an inappropriate sense of humor. I thought I would add my own voice to the plethora of voices out there, and share my own thoughts on life and transitioning into real, adult life....being 30 yrs old and all. Yikes, you say. Well...some of us take the scenic route.

Class. Case in point...
LIFE: As I have made a fairly challenging and wonderful journey through this world, the legal profession (almost) and now, two years into my first serious relationship ever, I have been on a fairly intensive path of self-discovery.  As such, I am learning about what makes me tick, and have learned that two things drive me: Love and Food.  I am learning that money, fear and obligation are things that no longer should be driving my every decision in life.  Although hard at times to get over this thinking of negative motivators, I am finding the simplest of things are what make MY life worth living. I have decided to leave the rest behind.

LOVE: I have a wonderful boyfriend, whom I love more than words can say .(Although, the word "boyfriend" at this juncture of my life sounds really silly, to be honest).  We have our ups and downs, and sometimes we probably want to set each other on fire....but we don't because well...that would be illegal. Kidding aside, regardless of how hard emotional intimacy has been for me, the reward has been repaid a thousand times over.  And regardless of bumps in the road we have a love that I never thought could ever exist, or that I thought I was worthy of.

FOOD: Both my boyfriend and I are currently students in a demanding program, but are fortunate to live in a city where good food is not out of reach,.  As budget conscious as we are, one thing is undeniable: WE LOVE FOOD.  While I am not much of a foodie, I love exploring new restaurants and trying new dishes. the past couple of years on Vancouver Island, traditional territory of the Coast Salish people, I have made it my business to dine.  I have been to some amazing places, and some seriously brutal eateries that could only be characterized as "war-crime bad". I have also visited places where it is clear that customer service attitude really means more attitude than customer service. From the epitome of "hole in the wall" establishments that blow my mind, to the well-lit, well-decorated and overly-priced, we tend to try what looks interesting to us. I fear very little fear in the world of food. Save for one thing: spice. I am a huge pansy when it comes to spice. I fully believe that full flavor does not need to mean "put hair on your chest" spicy - SUE ME.

So that is me in a nutshell. I decided I was just important enough to give my small account of life.  So stay tuned to my trials and tribulations of being a complete spazz and navigate my way through life, love, law and....... restaurants :) Enjoy!