Goodfood Recap #36

Goodfood (19)

Its been a month and time for another Goodfood box! This time had one repeat recipe and a few that I’ve seen but never found enough in the previous times to want to order the box. This time, we wanted to give it a go.

Let’s check it out!

Braised Cod
with Roasted Garlic Chickpeas & Blistered Cherry Tomatoes

braised cod

Kicking us off for any box is the fish recipe! This time we have braised cod. This meal was absolutely delicious. It would be paired perfectly with a baguette to just eat all the remaining sauce. I actually ending up making the closest thing I had: toast. The flavor is fantastic and the lentils give it such a nice bite. My husband cooked the fish perfectly. He actually took care of this one as he had a spontaneous day off. This is one that I’m definitely getting again if the opportunity presents itself.

Chipotle-Honey Chicken
with Pineapple, Cucumber & Tomato Salsa

Chipotle-Honey Chicken

This menu was pretty spicy. The chipotle completely covers any honey that was in there. To be honest, I think the meal works well because it has the whole rice and salsa so balance it out. Its still fairly intense (but that could be because I don’t eat spicy food a lot in the first place). My biggest issue of why I wouldn’t do this again was that I spent a good part of my time, extending the prep time a lot just taking out the seeds from the chipotle pepper and then chopping it up. That took a ton of time since it was my first time doing it.

Spicy Peanut Tofu Bao Buns
with Charred Miso Broccoli & Chili Mayonnaise

Tofu Bao Buns

Bring on the next fire-breathing dish. The chili mayonnaise was extremely spicy because of the sambal oelek which I only used half of the portion in the first part and then my husband also used half of the portion in the second part of when we had to use it. Props to the instructions for the broccoli being pretty accurate and it turned out to be pretty good. Plus they gave us much more than the recipe asked for. Bao buns are something that I don’t have frequently and a Taiwanese street food style and in this recipe, it is pretty decent. Its spicy but the different elements and the sauce and everything really pulls it together.

Fresh Udon Noodles
with Ground Pork & Napa Cabbage

Udon Ground Pork Napa

The last meal is the repeat meal that we’ve had before. I love udon noodle meals and this one is really easy to put together. Its almost like a one pan dish aside from the having to cook the noodles in advance and then it just basically turns into a stir fry. Plus, it tastes really great.

That’s it for this Goodfood recap!
Some new stuff and one repeat meal!
My favorite meal in box had to go to braised cod but then everything else worked well. 

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TV Binge: Ugly Delicious (Season 1, 2018)

Ugly Delicious (Season 1, 2018)

Ugly Delicious

Cast: David Chang, Peter Meehan, Aziz Ansari, David Choe, Jonathan  Gold

Chef David Chang travels around the world tasting food from different cultures. – IMDB

Ugly Delicious is an eight episode documentary series that follows David Chang and company as he explores a different type of food and hunts down for the best ones while at the same time, using the different views and approaches to make food to look at the narrow or open mindedness and the cultural prejudices and views that are linked with it. It pulls in a social commentary about how different societal themes like politics and such can also be pulled into the various discussions.

Ugly Delicious requires its audience to have an open mind because a lot of this refers to food brought over by immigrants and how its changed as its traversed the world into different cultures, challenging sometimes what you might think of certain things one way but how they may be viewed a completely different way. Its not only seeing great food that is a draw but also the depth that the series brings.  It manages to talk about the origins of that sort of food and the meaning behind it and then look at how different countries have their own interpretations.

Over the eight episodes, they take the audience through pizza, tacos, homecooking, shrimp & crawfish, BBQ, Fried Chicken, Fried Rice and finally a battle of the stuffed pasta vs. dumplings. There’s much to learn throughout the series while seeing some wonderful takes on food. That was the initial draw for me before I started it but to be honest, the whole history and origins and the extension of how food in America and how its viewed by the world actually became something that make it a very thought-provoking experience. Its not in whether you agree or not but sometimes to see a certain way of how food can bring together the world to understand each other better and see other cultures through a different way. For that, I love a lot of the episodes: BBQ had one of the most hilarious bits while the first and final episode made me think a lot about the similarities and seeing things in a different way while obviously, the dive into Fried Rice and Chinese cuisine as well as the homecooking one hit home a little more for myself and I connected with that a lot whereas some of the most creative episodes went to Fried Chicken but turned around to see the value of traditional cooking versus the more modern twists on Shrimp and Crawfish and BBQ.

Ugly Delicious is a thought-provoking docuseries that is done very well. A lot of it has to do with the food and culture that they dive into and the guests invited there. While David Chang might seem a little pretentious in some thoughts, I really liked how in his own ways, he managed to keep things very honest and still show his passion for different cuisines. Its going to be great to see what they do in Season 2, (which has been confirmed but no date announced yet).

 

 

 

Restaurant: ChuChai (Montreal, Canada)

A random Friday evening outing and a sudden change of plans due to the original spontaneous restaurant visit my friend and I chose had a huge line-up lead us to go check out ChuChai, or according to my friend who had gone a few times before a few years back, a more hip and lounge version of it. I didn’t take any pictures of the decor but you can check out their site HERE.

ChuChai is a Thai restaurant with vegetarian and vegan foods, although to me, I think the menu is pretty much vegan as a lot of stuff worked for me. I’ve never been to a vegan restaurant before and its a nice feeling to know that I can eat everything on the menu even with my lactose intolerance. Of course, with any benefit you get, there is always a premium to be paid for the atmosphere and the vegan angle so just something to think about, for myself, it was pretty much expected.

ChuChai

Appetizers/Tapas

Spring Rolls (1pc – $8)

I’m a huge fan of Spring Rolls. I actually had learned how to do them from my best friend before but then its been years since I’ve done these. However, I always prefer them over the deep fried versions. ChuChai does a good one. It has a nice bite and its wrapped really firmly. The peanut sauce has a little spicy kick to it that really compliments the roll well. The roll does seem to also be a bigger piece than other restaurants.

Main Meal

Chu Chai

Royal Pad Thai

Vegan shrimp and vegan duck makes its appearance in this dish. Its been a while since I’ve had any vegetarian or vegan versions of anything. I do think that the vegan duck is better than the vegan shrimp in terms of how genuine in texture. But then, it was a decent taste so seeing as I don’t really go to vegan restaurant to go eat meat and have the meat taste because in my mind, its not about that. The Royal Pad Thai was alright. The noodles were done well and it wasn’t too much sauce and just right. Its a Pad Thai and it tasted like one.

Vegan Duck with Spinach

My friend took the Vegan Duck with Spinach and ordered a bowl of steamed rice to go with it. I had a little taste of it. The vegan duck is really great. The texture and the taste was pretty good. The spinach is also decent. My only deal, also a preference issue, was that the dish itself was really salty. Of course, with a bowl of rice, this might just work really well.

A little something aside from my personal preference is that the presentation for all of the dishes (appetizers, main meals & desserts) were done really well and matched the atmosphere and class that the restaurant itself presented itself as.

Dessert

Fried Banana with Maple Syrup

The dessert menu has a lot of nice little things to it that I would consider trying out. Of course, the one with the most representation is Fried Bananas with Maple Syrup. It tastes the asian dessert and adds a little Canadian twist to it. To be honest, the fried bananas were fantastic. Probably the best part of this entire meal.

Overall…

ChuChai is a decent restaurant. It targets a certain audience that appreciates a nice atmosphere and ambiance and raises the level of how we’d normally view Asian cuisine in general, in this case, Thai food and then giving it a nice little twist of vegetarian and vegan specialty. I won’t say its a challenge to make vegetarian food tasty because its doable and I’ve been to other restaurants that have done it well but vegan food has the impression (from those that haven’t had it before or less frequently) of being a lot of healthy and not so good food so its nice to see restaurants such of these pop up where it not only benefits those with allergies (like myself) but also provide a place to enjoy some good food. In terms of food and creativity and ambiance, ChuChai is a good choice. For my own standards, I think the food is still fairly basic and for that, the premium paid for the vegan angle is a bit on the higher side. If you were to ask whether I’d go back. Maybe, mostly to try out some of the other desserts and some of the tapas/appetizers/soup (they have a lemongrass one which caught my eye).

Additional discussion: The question (which I’m not vegan so don’t know how to answer): would it matter so much to someone who is permanently converted to vegan or is vegan in their eating habits from the start whether there is vegan meat on the menu? Or is it more for the normal person going in for a vegan experience to have an easier point of entry into this type of eating lifestyle?

My Weekly Adventures: Birthday Post!

Welcome to the weekly adventures!

I’m 33 today! Just taking it easy like every other year. Some plans are postponed to next week and some keeping to this one. However, this post might seem a bit long although very suitable that its a food heavy post seeing as I love to try new things and hang out with friends over meals.

Festival G: Perles et Paddock

perles et paddock

Kicking off was the replacement for Battle of Ingredients in March and we went to check out Perles et Paddock and their menu for the Festival G, a new festival in Griffintown area of Montreal. I’ve already talked extensively about it in a post before so I’m not going to talk too much about it.

You can find the post HERE.

Casino de Montreal: L’Instant

L'Instant Casino de Montreal

My office move finally happened after much delay. Its a whole lot of adapting and such. I have no pictures as I don’t really want to share that part of my life. However, after that early start, things wrapped up a tad early as well and my friend who eats some expensive meals at the casino wanted to redeem some points so picked me up from work and we went to eat at the deli there called L’Instant. I hadn’t been there since it had been renovated. I got the pasta quattro which is a fairly good deal at $15.95 for pasta (where you can choose out of 4 types of pasta, 3 kinds of sauce and 4 groups of ingredients), soup, garlic bread and a drink. I like the whole having a choice to DIY your own pasta.

March Birthdays Group Celebration

Last Saturday, we had a big family party as the whole in-laws side (almost) has their birthdays in March, just like myself. We got together for a delivery chicken meal like previous years and spent time just catching up and chatting. Its always a nice time with family to just hang out. We’re all busy with our own lives so we take these moments when we can.

Plattsburgh US Grocery/Snack Haul

Market 32 by Pricechoppers

Walmart

Target

Last Sunday, I headed out with my friend to Plattsburgh to do a little grocery run. It was more for snacks and such and it was to pick up some goodies for the husband’s birthday. We had an early start so came back fairly early as well. We went to Target where I stocked up on some Spring & Easter Oreos, Easter Lindt bunnies, some L’arabar flavors that we don’t have in Montreal and some Pressed Coconut Coconut Water. The coconut water isn’t here either the last time I checked. Next stop was Walmart where I kept it fairly tight as I picked up unfrosted Pop Tarts (which I don’t get why isn’t in Montreal), Birthday Oreos (they are my husband’s favorite), and some Love Crunch granola which are super expensive and much smaller package. Last stop was Market 32 by Pricechoppers where I picked up some discounted Kind bars. They were $10 for 10 which is, even after exchange, a better deal. I’m stocked up for snacks for at least 2 to 3 months now.

Restaurant: Le Belle et La Boeuf

Le Belle et La Boeuf

For the husband’s birthday, I took him out for a long-awaited date together. We rarely go eat out together unless its for film festivals or something so we wanted to go try something new. I already posted about La Belle et La Boeuf HERE.

Birthday Breakfast & Marché Jean Talon

Le Cartet

Every year for my birthday, my friend takes me out for a big meal. Although I get to choose any breakfast place, I can’t seem to get past going to Le Cartet which is super delicious. My fave is their Brunch Canton which I absolutely love. The ham is so awesome and the sausages are good. Its really great. I probably talked about it in previous posts but still, if you are in Montreal, like breakfasts and want somewhere delicious in the Old Montreal area, this one is definitely one to consider and probably go to.

Marché Jean Talon

Westrose

Westrose

After that, we had some parking left so we headed to a new bakery that opened around the corner that I walk by to go to work called Westrose and picked up a loaf of bread for my husband. We took a quick run to Marché Jean Talon. I haven’t been there since at least 15 years ago. I remember going when I was really young so it was nice to head back. I didn’t buy a ton of food since we still had stuff at home but got so beautiful looking brussel sprouts and since I can’t eat most cakes and don’t want to bake a cake for myself, I decided to pick up a strawberry-rhubarb pie at Creations Madeleine. Its a really delicious pie.

Its my Birthday so shameless selfie time 😉

That’s it for this Adventures post!
It was a bit overloaded with stuff but hey, promise April will be much less adventurous!

TV Binge: The Big Family Cooking Showdown (Season 2, 2018)

You can find the TV Binge for previous season below:

Season 1

The Big Family Cooking Showdown (Season 2, 2018)

the big family cooking showdown s2

Judges: Tommy Banks & Angellica Bell

If you had been following The Big Family Cooking Showdown, you would already know that they had announced a lot of changes in Season 2 prior to its airing. I’m not quite sure if it aired before it became a Netflix Original or not, but I believe its a BBC 2 show. Either way, other than just having the judges change, the show took away its hosts and let the judges take over that job as well. The structure of the competition has also changed. It still has some of the same challenges. This season, it separates into two parts essentially. The first 5 episodes is for two group of 4 families, where they end up having 2 families going into the play-offs, then the next 5 episodes is the second two groups of 4 families to fight for the two spots to the play-offs. Then the remaining is playoffs for the 4 families with 1 family eliminated, 1 family getting fast-track to the finals and the next last two fighting for the last finals spot.

big family cooking showdown s2

In terms of challenge, the 10 pound challenge remains as the kick-off challenge but with the added surprise element of doing the shopping on the spot and having to do their calculations and then if over, to give up whichever items. The first day wraps up with a known challenge of national dishes with a twist. After that, one family is eliminated. Day 2 has the 3 families in their next challenge where they choose one member to bake a dessert that they can choose the difficulty level which leads to a second challenge pre-known to make a two course meal (main dish and dessert). The playoffs are also structured over 2 days with the first having one spontaneous challenge called the pick ‘n mix challenge where the judges have one set ingredient and one member of each family chooses an ingredient from what is provided and they have to incorporate all the  ingredients into their dish with a minimal selection of spices, etc and wraps up the day with an indulgent treat meal (known in advance). There are following challenges of zero-waste (or as close to it as possible) meals and then the finale is essentially the same challenges as season one with a cooking spontaneous challenge followed by a 3 course meal.

After a huge description, we can go and break it down a little. Let’s start with the host/judges. Tommy Banks and Angellica Bell are really fun to watch. They work together well to create a nice dynamic. They have some puns and in general are a warmer experience and share a good knowledge of food and cooking throughout. They add in little discussions between and it makes for a nice idea of where they stand. As for the candidates, this is where the colors are. Its in the families that join who bring in the playfulness and spontaneous elements. Each of the families of 3 bring a different style and cooking mentality and its because of this and it brings in a lot of fun little moments. What works better in Season 2 is making it more focused on 4 families each time instead of doing them 2 families at a time like in the first season.

big family cooking showdown s2

In any cooking competition, its all about the challenges and the food. Its a good idea to put each day of the challenge with two of them where one is spontaneous and one is known before. Its a good bit to see which family works well even without practice and shows off some true creativity and skill. The spontaneous challenges are the ones that bring a lot more interesting elements to the competition. Its the ones that truly have that surprise factor also and have more issues that come up and chaos. Let’s be honest that perfect shows aren’t fun to watch and instead the chaos and overcoming those obstacles in whatever way is usually an enjoyable bit to see. Nothing works like a little bit of drama, right? In that sense, I think that might be where I’ve pinpointed the bits that don’t work so well here as the show at times feels a little bland. It might have to be that some parts, go by too long and then some go too fast and then there is a balance that sometimes isn’t balanced properly to make the show completely bingeworthy. Why I say that is that some food competitions like Zumbo’s Just Desserts, I can go back and watch it over and over again knowing the results but for The Big Family Cooking Showdown, I was lukewarm with Season 1 and didn’t rewatch it and then this Season 2 although I have some families that I really liked and the elements technically all work together, something never made me want to watch more than an episode or two and stop, nor do I have that urge to go back and watch it again. There’s something missing and I can’t quite pinpoint what it is. Perhaps its the same home footages of the families that repeat itself over and over again as well. Its definitely heading in the right direction though. If Season 3 happens, I’m hoping that there are some additional changes to make it even better.

Have you seen The Big Family Cooking Showdown?

Goodfood Recap #34

goodfood

And we’re almost back to normal on the Goodfood meals. Its pretty much back to every other week for this next little while until we hit April where it just wouldn’t work out for our schedule most probably. Either way, this box had a lot of recipes that we were trying for the first time both just by ourselves or even as a meal.

Cod Cakes
with Potato Wedges, Roasted Garlic Aioli & Green Salad

cod cakes goodfood

If we talk about fish, we eat cod so very little. I can’t say that this meal turned out very close to what the meal looked like on the recipe card. I always have issues with their instructions on making those oven-baked potatoes. The cod cakes didn’t really cook to what it looked it. The taste however was alright. I just can’t say that it reached exactly what I’d normally like to eat frequently. Plus, I have to say that cod cakes are really my thing.

Brazilian Chicken Stew
with Toasted Coconut Rice, Fresh Tomatoes & Wilted Spinach

brazilian chicken stew

My husband loved this meal so much. I can see why because it is a very comforting meal especially when we made this during some colder days. We don’t normally make stews especially when its Brazilian, its close to zero chance. The spices here along with the whole recipe itself was easy to cook and also tasted wonderful.

Chicken Breasts
with Roasted Purple Brussel Sprouts, Crispy Shallots & Spiced Jasmine Rice

chicken breasts goodfood

Both of us loved this one equally a lot. Everything jived so well here plus the taste was delectable. We have those crispy shallots which gave it this lovely texture. We had purple brussel sprouts which suffered a little in the over due to those instructions they give.  I need to adjust it next time. I say that every time but I just keep forgetting.

Steaks with Charred Cipollini Onion Petals,
Sauteed Green Beans, Snap Peas & Pearl Couscous

steaks cipollini onions goodfood

This meal was pretty good also. I get the onions and they are quite unique but I personally don’t eat onions that are such huge pieces. Its the only thing I’m picky about so I don’t think its a bad thing. Everything else here is great. I got this because it uses pearl couscous which is the type of couscous that I like the most but is not in a lot of the recipes here. I should seriously go and get some at the supermarket. The beef is pretty tasty as well and it has to do with the spices being very nice.

That’s it for this recap!
Our faves were the two chicken meals. They just worked out in the whole balance.
Plus they are on the easier and more efficient side to put together which also gets extra points.

My Weekly Adventures: Hangouts, Gaming & Podcast Guest

Welcome to the next Adventures! Its been a bit quiet on my end to be honest. Well, kind of. To be fair, the weather’s been pretty weird and then work’s been in its crazy phase. Still, we managed to get some time to hang out with friends, check out an event and pretty much wrapped up some stuff over here while to try relatively calm about everything. At least my few days staycation is just around the corner so I’m ecstatic for it. Can’t wait!

Dinner: Korean BBQ at Mon Ami

As a replacement for the monthly Battle of Ingredients and to compromise for a busy schedule (and my incredibly messy house that I didn’t have time to deep clean for guests), we decided to head out for a dinner out. The final decision came down to Mon Ami Brossard for All You Can Eat. Its a pretty good deal as it includes a great deal more than just Korean BBQ. It was pretty good but as I was on the verge of getting sick again, I stayed a little further from BBQ food and loved that I could get Bibimbap and a ton of dumplings. Its pretty fun and we had nice chats. Time with friends is always such a great way to stay sane and get in a ton of laughs and good times in general.

Montreal Joue 2019

Montreal Joue 2019

The 7th annual Montreal Joue Festival is happening right now. It has a variety of game-themed events on its program. For myself, the one that interests me most is their video games festival which was held at Marche Bonsecours. Its been a go-to spot for gaming events lately. Overall, there was a lot of rinse and repeat games that I had seen in last year’s various events (but then, I go to almost 90% of gaming events in Montreal so its inevitable). However, it was nice to catch up with some games that have been on radar especially those in development for a while and finally see that they are all getting a release date. The game above is an upcoming mobile game called Feathers of Time which have had my attention for a while. I’ll be doing a recap on it in a few days over on the Game Warp blog (and That Moment In).

Valentine’s Marathon Officially Done

Valentine's Marathon

I know that technically there are like 4 movies that I need to post and they will go up soon by the end of the weekend (hopefully). I need to power through some more of the films to get them watched. However, after watching two great films, the remaining ones are looking a like lackluster. Haha! I’m just kidding…I’ll get to it. However, Valentine’s Marathon dragging further than February is not something I’d like to do. So I’m cutting it off. You will see this format again probably for next year. Its one that I’m enjoying and plan on doing on various months of the year just with more creative themes and maybe not a specific genre.

However, Valentine’s Marathon was pretty great. I achieved the goal of taking movies off My List on Netflix and also managed to discover some pretty fantastic movies. There was a lot of average movies but great films are made everyday so the idea that some showed up is already great. The entire Valentine’s Marathon reviews is updated HERE! Check it out if you think you may have missed any of the reviews.

Asian Cinema Film Club Podcast

I joined Elwood and Stephen over at Asian Cinema Film Club on their podcast to talk about 2012 Hong Kong film, The Bullet Vanishes. They were gracious enough to let me choose and it was a nice discussion we had about it. I never get enough chance to talk about Asian Cinema especially Hong Kong films that I always accept their invite. Plus, any chance to talk about my favorite celebrity Nicholas Tse is one that I won’t turn down. It was super fun as always. Give it a listen and hope you enjoy! Remember to follow them HERE if you haven’t already.

Cute Kitty Pic

That’s it for this Weekly Adventures!
I promise the next one will be a bit more colorful 😉
What adventures have you had?