Category Archives: Olympics

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.

BLOGGING

From a blogging perspective, let’s just say I’m learning  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!

WORK

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!

VACATION/TRAVEL

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

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.

AS THE CLOCK STRIKES MIDNIGHT

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”

Advertisements

33 Comments

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

365 Days (roughly) in Photos

I just left Vancouver after having lived there for a year. While I was driving back east, I had a few kilometres worth of time to think about the last little while.

This was me just about a year ago. Moving to Vancouver, knowing  a grand total of 4 people. As you can see, I have my Magic Bullet, so I was confident about making friends:)

Everything...check!

I drove for five days to get to Vancouver and still wasn’t quite sure if I had made the right decision until I saw the sunset two blocks from my place. Warm, sand, water, doesn’t get much better than that.

Sun setting over Vancouver

I enjoyed the summer in Vancouver, but since I had never been to the West Coast before, rooooaaaaad trip!

Stepping out to check out the Pacific Ocean in Oregon on Highway 101.

Checking out the Pacific Ocean

You cannot go through California without checking out Napa County. Come to think of it, I still have one bottle left from one of the vineyards.

Napa County

Haven’t watched Karate Kid in a while, but I was inspired to work on my crane position during an early morning run along the ocean.

"Crane-ing" it with the Pacific Ocean

I did work when I was in Vancouver. I managed the arena that was used for training by all the men’s Olympic hockey teams. Welcome to Britannia, a great local community rink in Vancouver. It was not in the job description, but how often can you paint the red line of Olympic ice?

Check out my red line...

So going by the pictures, it may not look like it, but I did work . During the Olympics, it was easily 100+ a week, so once the Olympics were over, had to try something new, surf’s up anyone?

Surfin' in Maui

So that’s it in a nutshell, twelve months via photos. Vancouver gave me great weather, amazing friends, fun times and the opportunity to begin Tastes Better With Friends.  Thanks to all and i’ll be coming back for sure!

2 Comments

Filed under Highway 101, Maui, Napa County, Olympics, Vancouver

Please don’t judge me, but it’s breakfast like The King

When you have a few days off between working the Olympics and the Paralympics, you have time to sleep in, buy some groceries and cook breakfast at home rather than stopping at Tim Horton’s or Starbucks in your blue smurf uniform. I’m not sure why, maybe because I had some time and wanted to treat myself but I had this desire for an Elvis Presley type breakfast including eggs, meat, bananas and peanut butter. So with that said, I picked up the necessary components and went all out and even bought some pancetta.

Elvis Presley breakfast

Now please don’t judge me…for starters, I cut up the pancetta into strips and tossed them into the fry pan with a little bit of olive oil and maple syrup. Once they got nice and crispy, I removed them and placed them onto a paper towel to absorb some of the grease. With the smell of pancetta goodness filling the kitchen, I decided to do my eggs sunny-side up in my pancetta-greased pan. Even though the grease in the pan made the outer edges of the eggs dark, it just added more flavor to the eggs.

To finish it off, peanut butter and bananas were tossed on to the toast and since I was going all out, I drizzled some maple syrup over the entire plate…if you’re gonna do it, you might as well do it properly, right?

Pancetta goodness

7 Comments

Filed under bananas, breakfast, eggs, Elvis Presley, maple syrup, Olympics, Pancetta, Paralympics, Peanut butter

Walking The Drive and catching some sun (my attempt at a clever title)

When you have a day off between the Olympics and Paralympics, you enjoy the free time by going out for brunch, right? Well, I took a walk with a friend down the Drive (Commercial Drive) and stumbled upon a cute little place called Cafe du Soleil. Now, just a couple of warnings before continuing…if you like sitting while ordering your meal, this isn’t the place for you. If you like meat at a restaurant, this isn’t the place for you either.

Whoops, better get up and order our meals!

Now, with that out of the way, we walked in and grabbed a table by the window only to realize we had to order at the counter since the menu was up on the chalkboard near the kitchen. When we checked out the menu, there was definitely a non-meat theme. Meat isn’t needed in every meal, right?

When we asked what type of veggies were in the breakfast burrito, the answer from the chef was “whatever looked good at the market when I went shopping this morning.” Ummm, perfect answer!

It was paired well with a chunky homemade salsa and judging by its consistency, sour cream (none of that fat free stuff). The tortilla was perfectly grilled and the market veggies had been mixed together to give it a nice filling. My only comment would have been to see a couple pieces of fresh fruit as a garnish. We usually take the fruit garnish for granted, but when it wasn’t there, I felt something was missing.

Breakfast Burrito

Inside the breakfast burrito and some hot sauce on the top

My friend had the pancakes (1 banana and 1 blueberry) which she said were delicious and the chef was kind enough to bring over a complimentary order of the breakfast potatoes since we had asked about them as well and yes, he was right, they are pretty good with a nice crunch! (We dove into them so quickly, I forgot to take a picture of them)

All in all, solid resto for some breakfast/brunch and you get the flavor of the Drive at the same time.

Cafe du Soleil

1393 Commercial Drive, Vancouver

(604) 254-1145

Welcome to Cafe du Soleil

1 Comment

Filed under Breakfast Burrito, Cafe du Soleil, Commercial Drive, Olympics, Paralympics, The Drive, Vancouver, Vegetarian

2010 Vancouver Olympic recap

Sooooooooo for the month of February I was not blogging, I was thinking about it, but in the 5 hours that I had to myself each day I chose sleep. I know, weak!
Before I go any further, i’d like to give one more shout out to the (smurf) blue jacket team that put on the greatest show Canada had ever seen!

Now, when I wasn’t wasting all those hours sleeping, I was happily managing my Olympic Venue, Britannia Centre, the training venue where the men’s hockey teams practiced when they weren’t playing at Canada Hockey Place.

Since breakfast, lunch and dinner were taken care of everyday at Britannia, I wasn’t venturing out into the city to check out the Olympic menus and I certainly wasn’t making anything from home (unless hoisin sauce, oyster sauce and tobasco count as the basis for a nutritious homemade meal)

Before I go back into the food blogging world and as I let my stomach adjust to meals not consisting of soup and sandwiches for the last 30 days, I thought I could share with you some of my Olympic moments.

I had the honor of painting the centre ice red line where the world’s best hockey players skated over.

Painting Olympic Ice!

Look who is in the foreground of Team Canada’s Olympic photo?!

Team Canada

Catching a glimpse of the Cauldron at night

Olympic Cauldron

Since my feet are photographed in Italy, Whistler and everywhere of importance, why not situated at the stool belonging to Bob McKenzie on the CTV set overlooking Canada Hockey Place?

Bob McKenzie's stool

Check this out…puck in net, Sidney Crosby’s gloves and stick in the air, Men’s Olympic Gold medal for Team Canada

Golden Goal!

Golden Goal!

Neil Young serenading us at the Closing Ceremonies moments before the Cauldron is extinguished

Closing Ceremonies

Extinguished

The light is out...

1 Comment

Filed under Bob McKenzie, Olympics, Sidney Crosbey, Team Canada, Vancouver

Not gone, just living the Olympic Dream!

For the record, i’m not gone and I’m still thinking of everything I want to eat and write about! But right now, i’m working at the Olympics and doing 18 hour days and having barely enough time to sleep. I’ll be coming back soon and you’ll all be the first to know! See you soon…

keep eating and keep cheering for Canada!

2 Comments

Filed under Olympics