Contemplating 2010 & Looking Ahead

It’s December 31st, so it must be time to recap the year that was. There is no Top 10 list, there is no best of this or best of that. I just wanted to share a few thoughts with you. They are subtle reminders that we need to keep life simple (and what’s more simple in life than skipping a rock), explore what’s out there and enjoy what life has to offer.

I hope you enjoy this, there will be food and recipes, but there will also be some pictures of some wonderful moments this year offered me and a little reflection throughout since I’ve been doing that a lot this year.


From a blogging perspective, let’s just say I’m learningย  each and every day. I used to take a picture without putting much thought into it, because I figured the story behind the post was the key, but in looking at other incredible blogs, I can see I was mistaken. All of the pieces are as important as one another. The parts really do make the whole in this case.

I’d like to highlight one specific moment of the blog as it will be one of my promises for 2011. Early in 2010, I responded to a simple little tweet from Joy The Baker (p.s. If you don’t know her, you should. Think the most awesome cookie ever and then it turns into human form and that’s her). She had asked if anyone out there had a new blog and if so, send over their URL to her. Without thinking much of it, I did and then boom! I woke up the next morning to see my stats climb and climb and climb because of this post of hers. Thankfully, my post at the time was this really fun 5 Minute Chocolate Cake using the microwave, which was a fun post for people to read, but could my pictures have been any worse!? I was refreshing the page every 30 minutes in shock as it climbed all the way to 1500 in that one magical day! Sadly, I haven’t seen that number again, but it sits there every day as a reminder of the power of the internet and one incredibly generous and talented baking blogger gal! By the way, you’ll be seeing her on the Food Network one day, I am as sure of that as the day is long.

And yes, my promise is that I will do the same as Joy and introduce great blogs throughout the year that could use another friend or two. And well, I can’t promise a spike of 1500 hits in a day, I do have big dreams for this blog, so you never know!


In a weird and ironic twist of fate, I began 2010 with a job that made me the envy of many, yet as of this writing, I don’t have a job. This once-in-a-lifetime job was with the Olympics, specifically a one year contract job in Vancouver being part of the Organizing Committee for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. That job, not surprisingly ended when the Paralympics ended in March and I have been without a job since, part my choice, part well, umm not my choice.

I’d like to say I was out every night on Robson Street partying in the balmy winter conditions, but unfortunately, I was not. I managed the staff and operations of the Men’s Ice Hockey Training Venue, which meant, I was there at 6am until 12am for about 21 straight days. Don’t worry, I’m not looking for pity or an “aww” moment. I ran on pure adrenaline and it was a wonderful experience, one that I’m glad I chose to do, even if that meant quitting a full-time job, leaving amazing friends behind and moving across Canada for the uncertainty of a job with a definitive end date.

I look back and think, had I not taken a leap, I would have missed out on meeting the amazing people that I had the opportunity to meet and work with and I never would have had the chance to…

Paint the red line of an Olympic hockey rink.

Or be the first person to skate on a brand new fresh sheet of ice. Not a single skate had ever touched the surface until I dug in and then posed for the customary photo.

Or umm, I don’t know, witness the Gold Medal Hockey game. While people went nuts after Sidney Crosby scored the Gold medal winning goal, I had only one shot at taking the “in the moment” picture. Possibly the best picture I’ve ever taken, note the puck in the net, yet the score still shows 2-2. The team is flooding the ice, while Crosby and his stick are in mid-air, he’s mid-air!


I love Seinfeld, I quote it ad nauseam since I always find it relevant. You may have heard the reference to “Summer of George”, well since the Olympics ended, it’s been the “Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter of Ethan” or let’s just call it the “Four Seasons of Ethan”. Through some good savings and foresight, I envisioned not working right away and thought I could indulge myself with some travelling.

I know not everyone has the chance to do what I did in a span of six months. I backpacked Europe, lounged in Hawaii and road-tripped west to east to check out places like Mount Rushmore, Custer’s Last Stand, Wrigley Field in Chicago, Miller Park in Milwaukee, all while eating like a champ. And for what it’s worth, it may not have the glamour of the south or the west, but the northern part of the United States is pretty impressive. Wyoming is absolutely right in calling themselves “Big Sky Country”.

It was only recently that I got “bit” with the travel bug and needless to say, I’m making up for lost time. But I wish you all the opportunity to explore a little bit more in 2011. There is magic in places we have never heard or been before and it’s incredible to witness it.

I had the opportunity to see a sunrise on the top of Haleakala in Maui. Standing at the summit of a 10,000 foot mountain, the sun peaks through the clouds to start its day of illumination. When you see the sun face-to-face like this, you have an altogether new appreciation for an occurrence that we take for granted on a daily basis. And yes, that’s the proof we’re above the clouds.

I spent three weeks in Europe and tackled Spain, France, Belgium, Netherlands and Germany. It would be unfair to try and pick one moment to share here, but one meal did stand out. I stopped in Lyon, France to eat at a “bouchon”, which is a type of restaurant that serves traditional Lyonaise cuisine. And although Lyon is known as the gastronomical capital of France, Lyonaise cuisine is more on the rustic side compared to the fancier, “haut cuisine” of Paris. Think French comfort food and you’ve got yourself a bouchon. Somehow, I managed to find a bouchon that I had read about in the New York Times and the “Poulet au vinaigre” (Chicken in Vinegar) called out to me, as you can see why. I love the checkered tablecloths, how much more French down-home-cooking can you get?

This meal was so memorable that I repeated it when I got back. Poulet en Vinaigre is Winter comfort food at its finest. It will have you saying “oooh-la-la”.


Life is funny with its twists and turns. I write this not knowing where I might be living in a week or a month. I never thought of myself in this position, let alone enjoying the feeling of uncertainty. And while, there are definitely restless nights about how much money I have in my account and how much longer I can make it last, I’ve tried to comfort myself with the mantra of “Embrace the Unknown”.

And since this is my blog, a little self-promotion is acceptable from time to time.

Highly qualified professional with marketing and project/event management experience is currently available. Fluently bilingual in English and French and if you’ve read everything thus far, has no qualms about moving to pretty much anywhere.


I’ve had a blast cooking, writing and sharing with you this year. I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have and I want to thank you all for reading what I’ve had to say this year. I promise the pictures will continue to get better and I will challenge myself with more recipes that are more challenging, yet easily replicable wherever I happen to find myself in the world.

All the best in 2011 and as my Bubbie used to say, “I wish you wealth, health and happiness”


Filed under 2010, 2011, 5 Minute Chocolate Cake, Chicken in vinegar, Mount Rushmore, Olympics, Poulet en vinaigre, Seinfeld, Sidney Crosbey

33 responses to “Contemplating 2010 & Looking Ahead

  1. Happy New Year!

    Are you skipping rocks in the 1st pic?

    • Tastes Better With Friends

      thanks Christine, Happy new year to you as well!
      Yes, i’m skipping rocks, I just added a comment about that!

  2. I’ve read several blogs today (12/30) with many of you doing a wonderful recap of your year and it has made me a tad jealous every time. My year pales in comparison to the adventures and travel so many of you got to enjoy. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had an incredible year (hello! I got married!), I just wish it included a few more adventures. But, here’s to 2011, right?

    Looks like you had an incredible year filled with fun, travel, and learning periods along with meeting some great friends along the way. It’s been a pleasure meeting you and look forward to seeing what you do in 2011. Thanks for sharing a great recap of what 2010 was like for you.

    And remember, we’ll always have snouffle on Twitter! =) Happy New Year my friend.

    • Tastes Better With Friends

      Whatever, 2010 is the year you got married! Now you have yourself a travel partner for all upcoming adventures!
      We will definitely always have snouffle and a happy new year to you as well!

  3. Very insightful and inspiring. There is a certain enjoyment in not knowing the future and looking forward to it anyway. I wish you all the happiness and excitement you can stand in 2011, and I hope you find another awesome job too. Happy New Year!

  4. Jennifer A (Bread and Putter)

    Happy New Year, Ethan! Here’s to new friends and an outstanding 2011.

  5. Wow! What a full, adventurous year…you forgot to mention the moment we met. Much love and wishes for continued happiness and success in all you do darling!

  6. Ethan, wishing you health and happiness in 2011. The rest will follow from there! I am sure 2011 has some great things in store for you. Hugs!

  7. What a lovely end of year post, Ethan. I can’t believe it took as long as it did for us to connect, but you have been one of my top bloggers of 2010. So grateful for your friendship, and so happy to have discovered your blog!

    Have a wonderful new year – looking forward to many more hijinks and plenty of snouffles for 2011 ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Jax x

  8. Happy New Year, Ethan! I’m glad I “met” you via Project Food Blog and Twitter! I hope your 2011 is just as exciting as 2010.

  9. Salut Ethan-I’m so happy a love of food brought our paths together. You are a super guy and any company would be lucky to hire you. I can’t wait to read your cooking adventures in 2011. Please do more Seinfeld quotes on Twitter…my only request!;)
    Buon Anno! I hope your new year is filled with good health and happiness. Much joy and delicious food.

  10. As a former figure skater, you just exponentially got cooler for your time in Vancouver. As a fellow blogger continually finding my way, I appreciate the honesty of this post.

    May 2011 take you to places you haven’t even dreamed of and connect you with people you’ll never forget. Happy New Year!

  11. Well Ethan, it’s been a great year. I’m so glad we “met”. 2010 was quite the fun and entertaining 12 months for you it seems, I’m jealous of all the travel! Kids have a way of pinning you down for a little while, you know?

    I hope 2011 brings you everything you ask for an more, cause you sure as heck deserve it. Oh and awesome pic of Sidney Crosby!

    • Tastes Better With Friends

      It was great “meeting” you too Liz! I see lots of fun family trips and adventures for you in the coming years!

  12. So nice to have met you Ethan! I’m a new blogger and am learning new things everyday! I feel inspired by so many wonderful blogs out there including yours! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Happy New Year!

  13. Love it! You redeemed the “Top 10” “Year in Reflection” posts for me with this. What a crazy, yet good year you’ve had! I look forward to 2011 including us meeting in person ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Happy new year- have loved reading your posts thus far- here’s to a prosperous 2011 for all…

  15. gingerbreadbagels

    I just love this post and how different it is from most end of the year posts. I feel so blessed to have met you. You truly are so sweet, interesting and talented. I haven’t read your blog for a super long time but you’re getting better with every post. I really mean it. This has to be my favorite post of yours, it’s so great leaning about other bloggers and seeing what goes on in their lives.

    And I like you even more for traveling to Spain! My family (mama’s side) is from Barcelona, Spain. What part of Spain did you visit?

    I hope you have an amazing 2011 and find an incredible job because you deserve it! ๐Ÿ™‚


    • Tastes Better With Friends

      thanks for all the kind words! I only spent a couple days in Barcelona, but I definitely need to go back and tackle the rest of the country!

  16. Amy

    You’re so adorable. Is it bad to say that to a grown man? Well, if so…shoot me. You are.

    Love that very first picture. Are you skipping stones? My Dad taught me how to do that one summer on a trip to Oregon. I must have been maybe 7. Good times.

    You really have had quite an amazing year. I used to travel a lot, but now in my 40’s (gasp!) and a mother of two, I quite enjoy being home. And on land. I’m deathly afraid to fly.

    I need to try that 5 minute chocolate cake! Genius.

    Happy New Year, Ethan. You were a great find for me.

    • Tastes Better With Friends

      Amy, this pretty much sums up why you were a great find for me! I will take “adorable” at any age. And yes, I am skipping stones, I love it and doing it in Maui made it that much cooler!

  17. It was a very exciting year and I am sure many more wonderful experiences are on the horizon. All the best in 2011, Ethan!

  18. Though I didn’t get to meet you in 2010, I loved reading this post and seeing what a cool year you had. I wish you all the best, including a great (high paying) job for 2011. Bring it on! ps looking forward to tweeting with you further real soon ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. here’s to new blog friendships – happy new year.

  20. Hi Ethan: It looks like you had a very eventful year and that you’re enjoying life. Traveling is priceless and I wish I could do more of it. Wouldn’t it be amazing to land a position where you’re paid to travel ๐Ÿ™‚ I look foward to following your blog. Happy New Year!

  21. I truly enjoyed reading this post, Ethan. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you write so gracefully, so kudos to you!

    I’m so happy to have met you in 2010. I can’t wait to review the posts you had throughout your incredible year! Since, as you know, I’m heading into a year of uncertainty myself, it’s so encouraging to see someone flourish and embrace the moment.

    And being the first person to skate on a new sheet of ice is pretty cool. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Happy 2011, Ethan. May it be full of blessings, wisdom, and lots of good food!

  22. My you have had quite a year…wishing you the best with the job situation, but how wonderful it must have been to do all of the traveling and exploring ๐Ÿ™‚
    Hope you have a fantastic 2011!

  23. Happy New Year!
    I love this post. It sounds like you had an incredible year. I’m a little jealous. Ok, I’m a lot jealous ๐Ÿ™‚ I have a hard time dealing with any kind of uncertainty, but I really admire people who have the guts to just do what they want to do, you know?
    I hope 2011 brings you even more happiness and adventure!

  24. Great write-up Ethan about your life’s experiences in 2010. I wish you all the best again in 2011. You have some great posts on your blog.

    As this economic downturn continues, the content of my blog becomes more relevant – so you and your readers are invited to review the posts at The UsuryFree Eye Opener. Simply do a search for it at any search engine. Enjoy this day! Tom

  25. i didn’t know you spent a year in Vancouver! (I’m a new reader, obviously). Very cool. All the best in 2011!

  26. What a year! I’m happy that 2010 brought you into Twitter and the blogosphere. I’ll never look at that Geico commercial or hear my dad give directions without thinking of you and smiling. xoxo

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