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...