Saturday 29 July 2017

Edible Obsessions | Wild Rice Restaurant Summer Patio Menu

Wild Rice | Mini Poke Bowl and Chicken Adobo Steam Buns
I was so excited to try Wild Rice Market Bistro's new patio menu, not because I love food, but because it was my first ever media tasting as a blogger! I finally feel like I am part of the influencer food squad because I got to dine alongside fellow foodies. YAY - so this meal was not paid by me.

The media tasting started with a toast of Gin & Tonic, a rosemary infused Victoria premium gin and tonic water. I rarely drink so I was not expecting how strong it would be! One sip and that was it for me. 

Wild Rice | Vegan Kale Caesar Salad
Our dinner began with the Vegan Kale Caesar Salad which was dressed with cashew tofu dressing and balsamic reduction, topped with roasted garlic cloves, crispy chickpeas, red olives and red onion. I enjoyed this salad as it was fresh and I really appreciated the kitchen not being heavy handed with the dressing. I could honestly see myself having this for lunch, but I would pick around the garlic cloves. Far too much garlic and nobody likes garlic breath!

Wild Rice | Gluten-free Polenta Fries
We moved onto the Vegetable Potstickers and I loved these little guys.  Potstickers, dumplings, mandu, loompia or whatever name they go by, they are always delicious! These little pockets of goodness were filled with smoked tofu, napa cabbage, shitake mushrooms and carrots, served with a ponzu dressing. I often find potstickers to be meat filled, so it was great to see Wild Rice serving a vegetable potsticker. The Gluten Free Polenta Fries were not as familiar to me. Long strips of polenta were coated in cornmeal before being fried to a golden perfection. They were a little gritty and far too oily for my liking, but the chilli aioli, now that was bomb. We were also served their Berry Mojitos (mine was done 1/2 alcohol - thank you!) made with crushed bramble berries, mint, lime and rum. The colour was really pretty and I enjoyed the sweetness. 

As I tend to not eat seafood, I let my tablemates enjoy the Gluten Free Salt & Pepper Squid which was fried calamari served with a fied jalapeno, house tartar sauce and a grilled lime. Everyone LOVED this dish and was probably the favourite of the night. If you like squid, definitely order this because it was the crowd pleaser. 

The Chicken Adobo Steam Buns were a new addition to Wild Rice's menu, but unfortunately the execution was poor. Perhaps we all got a bad batch, but there was far too much dough to filling, almost 80% of the steam bun was dough making the filling non-existent. The Adobo Chicken was delicious, but I just need a little more in my bun!

Wild Rice | Mini Poke Bowl, Ocean-wise salmon substituted for tofu
The chef was kind enough to make me a "tofu" poke bowl in place of the salmon. I was so happy that they did that for me as I always feel incredibly left out on the poke food craze. Alongside the tofu, there was chipotle spiced fresh mango cubes, pickled cabbage, roasted tomatoes and scallion verde. Honestly, anything with fresh mango is going to make me happy, but honestly, it was really good. 

No dinner is complete without dessert! But before we got to the sweets, we were treated to Wild Rice's original cocktail, Twisted Fashions, bourbon, ginger reduction and orange bitters. It had some lovely citrus undertones, but I really have no clue what I am talking about when it comes to alcohol. 

Wild Rice | Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake with berry coulis and mint ice cream
What I am an expert at is dessert and my patience was finally awarded with their Gluten-free Chocolate cake served with  a lovely berry coulis and mint vanilla ice cream. The cake was a rich smooth chocolate piece of heaven and the coulis brought a nice tart flavour. I am not a gluten-free person and avoid pastries that are as they are often tend to be dry, but Wild Rice did a fantastic job. It was moist and I would re-order this dessert. The mint in the ice cream completely overpowered the dessert, but it was a last minute substitute as they had run out of their vanilla bean ice cream. 

My PIC (partner in crime) @itsjosheats was there and I finally got to meet other Vancouver foodies: @pork_ninjas, @pekopekolife, @jaquelinehychui, @everydayisfoodday, @panda.dlights, @pearlthefoodie, and @vancityduo

I am looking forward to trying more new restaurants and hopefully my crazy big personality does not deter @vancitytastes from inviting me to future food events. 

disclosure: media tasting

Saturday 22 July 2017

Gurly's Life | Khatsilano 2017

I had the most amazing time this past Saturday July 8, 2017 at the annual Khatsilano Block Party. Though this event has been occurring for years, this was my first time attending and I honestly wish I had gone the previous years. The event took place along 4th avenue in Vancouver, spanning between Burrard Street and McDonald Street. I got to the event around 10:30am and started at one end and made my way to the other, finishing back where I started. All in all, I ended up leaving around 6:30 PM! There were so many fun and exciting things at the festival, but I can only share a few of my highlights.

I am probably going to sound like a broken record in this post, but I have not had this much fun in months. I love how each and every storefront, restaurant or retail, took part in the festivities. Restaurants had created make-shift patios, setting up tables and chairs on the street and many of the chefs were out on the street cooking. I loved seeing Fable Kitchen's chef and owner, Trevor Bird, cooking a paella from scratch in the biggest frypan I have ever seen in person.

A huge proportion of retail stores were doing spin the wheels for discounts and prizes. The most popular ones were by Hills Dry Goods, Ray Rickburn, Clearly Contacts and Arc'teryx. The line for the Hills Dry Goods wheel was nearly 1 hour long! My friend and I did pretty well at the wheels, both of us winning $10 gift cards, apothecary and discounts. I have always loved shopping at the Hills Kerrisdale, so I could not resist the additional discounts and ended up splurging. Also, Stripped Wax Bar had a fun game set up where you had to get the beach ball in the bucket; however, despite everyone horrendously failing at the game, they still gave us $5 discount vouchers. The best game had to be the boot toss set up by Blundstone! If you got the boot in the can, you get to put in your name for a free pair of Blundstones! I too failed at that game.

The Latest Scoop and Kit & Ace had fun set-ups for pictures. Out on the street, The Latest Scoop set up a pink seamless with a big fern, pink Big Love Ball and a huge inflatable swan. Under Kit & Ace's tent, they had a cute "chill zone" complete with amazing leather lounge chairs, grass, and a copper coloured bike.

No festival is complete without food and there was lots of it. Lining the streets were 50 food trucks! So impressive and naturally the busiest block of Khatsilano. I am obsessed with the Cannoli King, so the moment I spotted this delicious Italian pastry truck, I bolted towards them to get the pistachio cannoli. I find when it is very hot out, I tend to be less hungry, so the only other thing I had was the frozen organic mango on a stick from Mexi Pops truck. That mango was AMAZING and I was stopped and asked where I got it from by at least 5 different people. Definitely a very popular AND healthy treat at the festival.

The best part of the festival had to be meeting one of my readers at the Latest Scoop tent. Huge shout-out to you Kathleen!! I am so happy you said HAI! I love meeting all of you, so if you ever see me around, please do stop me.

I cannot wait until next year and wish there was going to be a second Khatsilano this summer. I definitely suggest getting there early as it does get very crowded. By the time we ended up leaving, I was exhausted and really wishing I could have stayed longer.


Saturday 8 July 2017

Chic Finds | iMo Camera Straps

My Nikon D5500 DSLR camera is my baby and I take it everywhere with me. I actually often choose to carry my backpack versus a small purse, so it is easier for me to bring my camera with me. Since my camera is practically an accessory to me, I decided to swap out my kit Nikon strap with iMo camera straps

Owner Bo-bo is an avid photo enthusiast, but found there was a gap in the market for comfortable yet stylish camera straps. She decided to take matters into her own hands and developed a neoprene backed strap for ultimate comfort with fun patterned fabric on the top. I personally love the use of the brown leather ends and the addition of the quick release to the webbing. 

I got two straps, the bright orange and cream coloured "Ahh" camera strap. I am not too sure why it is called that, but regardless, the orange is vibrant and beautiful. It is really fun and I love how it adds to my outfits. 

The second strap is the "Navy Rainy Drops" camera strap which is a little more conservative, yet gives a professional look. The fabric is really high quality and the navy blue is stunning in person. To me, this strap is reminiscent of a men's silk tie and I really love that aspect the pattern. Definitely a great strap for professional wedding photographers because it really is a classy camera strap and would go perfectly with a suit! The brown leather ends are a beautiful rich brown and perfectly go with the fabric. 

As I have a Nikon DSLR which is considered a larger camera, I was able to get the neoprene straps which have a 1.7cm width webbing. The webbing is the portion of the strap that you thread through the metal D-rings on your camera. If you have a smaller mirrorless camera, the neoprene straps may be too wide for you. 

The quick release buckles are great as I do not have to go through the arduous process of removing and re-fastening the strap to your camera. I also happen to be a huge paranoid individual and always feel that I have threaded the webbing incorrectly to my camera, so the buckles give me a little more piece of mind. I like using my tripod with the horizontal position to take birds eye shots, but the camera strap can be really annoying and get in the way. With the buckles, I am now able to remove the straps quickly. Also, you can join the two buckle ends for a shorter wrist strap.


Product received as PR samples for review consideration; all opinions are my own.

Thursday 6 July 2017

Edible Obsessions | Ice Cream Sundaes in Vancouver

Seasonal Strawberry Sundae at Soft Peaks Gastown
On a hot summer day, there is no better treat than a delicious ice cream sundae. Over the Canada Day weekend, I got my fill of sundaes at two different Vancouver favourites, Earnest Ice Cream and Soft Peaks. It was a long weekend - I am allowed to indulge myself - and the evenings were perfect for strolling around town with a sundae in hand. I actually also went to Mosquito for dessert too.... - YOLO! As I eat so many sundaes, it was only fitting that I write an article for the Daily Hive Dished Vancouver on the best places to get an ice cream sundae from. 

Believe it or not, this was my first time visiting Soft Peaks in Gastown. I happen to not be the biggest fan of soft serve as it tends to be far too sweet for me. To my surprise, their iconic soft serve was not sweet what-so-ever. The soft serve is made with organic Avalon milk giving the soft serve a creamy rich milk flavour. I am glad that it was not masked by sweetners. Since I am a sucker for fresh local berries, I could not pass up on the seasonal flavour of diced organic strawberries, strawberry agave syrup and corn flakes. The milky soft serve was the perfect base for the tart and sweet strawberries. I also loved the addition of the corn flakes as it gave the sundae some texture. 

Seasonal Lemon Tart Sundae at Earnest Ice Cream Fraser St. 

My friends and I are pretty big Earnest fans and I often have a couple of pints in my freezer. Their toasted coconut regularly chills out in my freezer, but not for too long hehe. Many people have been raving about Earnest's current sundae, the Lemon Tart, so much so that Earnest decided to keep it around a little while longer. Since it is their seasonal sundae, I did not want to miss, so I made my way over to their Fraser Street location to finally try it. 

When it comes to citrus, I am pretty obsessed. I enjoy the tangy sweet and tart flavour of lemons, so I knew I was going to like it. From the lemon infused whip cream to their fresh lemon ice cream, everything was lemon in this sundae! The house-made lemon curd was a perfect balance of tart and sweet and brought a pop to the milder in flavour lemon ice cream. Also, lemon-infused whip cream was a first for me and it was glorious! The sundae was garnished with flaky crust pieces which brought some texture to the sundae. Seriously go try their Lemon Tart Sundae because I doubt you will find one better. 

I feel like I am almost an Ice Cream Sundae Connoisseur and should be given the title of most sundaes consumed over the course of one summer. I am really excited for the new flavours that Beta 5  is going to be scooping up for their weekly Ice Cream Socials. I would love to meet some of you in person, so if you see me, please give me a wave!


Sunday 2 July 2017

Latte Moment | Canada 150

I am so grateful and proud to call myself a Canadian and am so elated to be a part of the celebrations for my country's 150th year. Unknown to many, I am actually not Canadian by birth, but by naturalization. 23 years ago, my parents immigrated to Canada with me as a 9 month old baby. I am so happy to know that this country accepted my parents and me with open arms. There are so many opportunities both my parents and I have had in Canada which we would not have had from my native land, India. 

It does not matter if I am man or women in Canada because we all have equal rights and the freedom to pursue our dreams. You do not realize it, but the small things like being able to take public transit alone to and from school and work both morning and night in Vancouver is something I would not be able to do other places in the world. I have been able to work a part time job since I was 16 years old and held a position on the UBC variety men's rowing team. I have equal rights to education and am able to speak my mind freely. 

I love the multicultural community in Canada and that my friends are all from various cultures and ethnicities. For me, everyone is equal and I am grateful to live in a country that shares my values. 

This seems so corny when seeing it in writing, but I love being known as the country that is overtly polite (sorry!) and has the coolest prime minister ever! 

Thank you Canada and a big Happy 150th Birthday to you!