Monthly Archives: December 2011

Near Embarassment & Ice Cream

Friday night I went out for dinner with Mike, after having watched The Muppets Movie (which was absolutely amazing!). We went to Beer Bistro after I mentioned that it was close by and that they have an amazing pulled pork sandwich (Mike’s eyes just lit up!). I had never been there for dinner so the menu was different. I was going to order whatever the cookbook was open to, which had worked out really well last time with the pulled pork. Alas, it was open to the Kobe beef tacos, which I had the first time I ate there. I was considering getting the rabbit pasta, but I was really intrigued by the steak tartare.

When it arrived it was so nicely arranged and fancy looking. Then I tore into it with my fork. I was mildly taken aback by the fact that the meat seemed, undercooked is not a strong enough word…. raw. It was raw. I continued eating it, trusting that the chef was not incompetent and that the waitress was in the back panicking and unsure of what to do. I wondered if it was supposed to be like that, so I just very slowly and cautiously ate it. As I later found out, that is indeed how it is supposed to be. So thankfully I did not totally embarrass myself.

I had mentioned in a text to Brent that I was at Beer Bistro and he replied “enjoy the fries” and I was a tad confused. Mike queried what was so good about the fries that he would say that. Somehow Mike and I ended up ordering and splitting a basket of fries. No complaints here. They were just as delicious as I remembered.

You would think after all that we would be stuffed. Almost. Mike kept talking about dessert an I just could not resist. I had to at the very least look over the dessert menu. And after having looked it over I would have been remiss had I not ordered something off of it. I was torn between the crème brûlée and the dragon stout & Skor bar ice cream. But I was strategic about it. I had the “beer scream” so that I could later gush about it to Brent. I was trying to secure another dinner date at a future point in time so that I could get the rabbit pasta and the crème brûlée next time. Genius. The ice cream itself was delicious. It still had a faint hint of fizziness from the beer and the Skor bar bits were more than plentiful.


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*drip drip drip*

Mruczka is an odd little cat. She is afraid of water and gets mad when you try to bathe her. And yet she is so intrigued by the water dripping slowly from the tap. As soon as she gets too wet though she runs away.

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Posted by on December 24, 2011 in Pets


Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em… Monopoly!

I love playing Monopoly, just love it to pieces. For years rumours circulated that the only reason I won most of the time was because I was the banker and was therefore cheating. This theory was disproven when the role of banker was handed over to someone else, and I still won. I have since regained that role… because no one else likes it. During Thanksgiving Brent & Alex came over for a nice, friendly game of Monopoly. All was going well until I got caught up in all the trading and made a horrible trade with Brent. This was a turning point in the game and there was no room for a comeback. I lost, we all lost. Brent won. Since then my sisters swore vengeance in the form a rematch, so it was scheduled for the Christmas break, when all 5 of us were free again.

The showdown was yesterday. For weeks my sisters had been planning an allegiance with me, saying that together we would take down Brent. I on the other hand, formed a secret allegiance with Brent (team Brinka as he called us). Unbeknownst to either team that I had other ties. That is, until I strategically told them I spun it was I would get in close with the enemy and get on their good side to my own ends.

And did it work? Of course it worked. Not before some insanity broke loose. Alex could never get past GO because every turn he would land on Go To Jail. When he finally did pass GO, he had to relinquish his $200 to Brent as per some earlier-made trade agreements. He was not helped by the fact that he then landed on Income Tax. Out of pity, Camilla only took $1 from him when he landed on her built up property, she called it his lucky dollar. And it did bring her some luck in the game… but not enough.

In the end it was a final showdown. Me vs. Brent. He had the oranges with hotels. I had two whole corners of the board, from Park Place to Virginia, all hotels. For about 20 minutes we were just handing money back and forth, back and forth. Every turn around the board he would land on B&O Railroad and pay me, then next turn he would land on Luxury Tax… right between the two most expensive monopolies on the board. I was busy sorting his money out and organizing it to speed up game play… and he landed on Park Place and I didn’t notice! It was awful. Then he landed there again… and I was on Free Parking. I repeatedly threatened to throw the game board. Brent had purchased Pennsylvania and I had purchased No. Carolina and he paid me $1300 for it… even though he did not have Pacific. Which I was on, but it was his turn so I could not buy it. The race was on. It was a competition to get Pacific. And it was hilarious. Brent would always roll one too many or one too little and miss it by an inch, and then proceed to land on Luxury Tax. When he finally did land on Boardwalk he easily handed me the $2000. We both had so much money that the bank was out of $100s and $500s.

At this point the game had been going for 2.5hrs and it was nearing 10:30pm, which apparently, according to Brent, is quitting time. I would’ve kept playing but he decided that as soon as someone landed on Pacific and bought it, the game was over. Namely, he would lose because he forfeited. He missed Pacific by a long-shot and on my next turn, flush with cash from having just landed on Free Parking…. I landed on and bought Pacific. And then the victory dance began. I had beaten him by so much. In the end he had just over $5K while I had $18K. Albeit the monetary worth of properties was not calculated, so I could’ve won by a much larger margin given he had one monopoly, two railroads, water works, a red and two greens while I had 4 monopolies, two railroads, electricity works,  a red, a green and a yellow

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Posted by on December 22, 2011 in Adventures of Pinka!


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♪It’s The Most Wonderful… *meow*…♪

This happens to be Mruczka’s first Christmas. I have been flooded with questions about how Mruczka is taking all this in. How is she dealing with their being a Christmas tree in the house? Is she attacking the presents? Is she excited for the arrival of Santa? Or jealous that there is someone else with a comparable beard in the spotlight right now? Is she done her Christmas shopping yet?!


The tree: at first she was cautious about approaching it. She would slowly, almost crawl towards it. Then the vacuum cleaner was brought out to clean up the post-set-up mess. She had been locked in my room to keep away from the tree being set-up, as in kept out from underfoot. As soon as she heard the vacuum cleaner she freaked. She ended up crawling under my covers and hiding.

After that scary incident she slowly approached the tree, circled it, and plotzed underneath. The tree is in one of her usual sitting spots. Now, she is not scared of it anymore. As evidenced by all the pine needles and twigs stuck to her butt and her really poofy tail.

This morning I also caught her red-handed… or should I say glitter-nosed? She had managed to bat a glittery snowflake ornament off the tree. When I went over to see what was the matter, for she had caused such a clatter… her nose and whiskers were covered in glitter.

Later on, Camilla and Lucy were wrapping presents (like Elves) and Mruczka sat on the desk looking down on them, making sure they were working hard (like Santa). I thought I would have some fun with the situation and loaded a wonderful playlist on Camilla’s phone… of the Jingle Cats medleys. Mruczka was immediately intrigued. Where was it coming from? She started sniffing and pawing the phone. And then she almost fell off the desk. Another song came on, she jumped back up onto the desk… and nearly fell off the other side. She was purring like crazy and so cuddly. Who knew that Jingle Cats was the way to chill out a cat?

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Posted by on December 20, 2011 in Adventures of Pinka!


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I Don’t Think That’s Enough Food…

Country Style Hungarian is a quaint little restaurant in Mirvish Village (Bloor & Bathurst). The restaurant is very cozy and has none of the pretension one would assume of a restaurant that was voted to have the best schnitzel in Toronto. Just to illustrate how low-key it is: the tables featured red & white checkered table clothes, as in like picnic blankets. The only other thing on the table? Paper place mats. We were expecting the place to be crowded with hipsters and foodies… and yet instead it was full of groups of friends and families and old people. It was a nice change to be honest. The service was really fast as well.

And the food? There is a reason this place was voted best schnitzel. Not only are the portions hefty (to say the least, just look at the hand in the photo for a sense of scale). There were also lots of options for schnitzel. You could get it as a sandwich or as an entree. The sandwich was the best kind of sandwich you could get. A giant piece of Parisian-style schnitzel between two pieces of unbuttered rye bread. Nothing else. No mayo, no veggies… just meat and bread. Notice the meat to bread to ratio. Two thumbs up. Brent had the weiner schnitzel. It was enormous. Not just in size, but also in taste.

I have eaten a lot of schnitzel over the years and this ranks up there as some of the best I have ever had. (There is no competing with homemade at home).


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What A Combo…

Today was a family day of sorts, everyone was free so we went to the Distillery District for the Christmas Market. For lunch we went settled for Mill St. Brewery Pub. I say settled because it was really busy and the service was slow. I was intrigued by the lobster grilled cheese but then Lucy mentioned having it and it not being that good, but I still could not get over it. I had been craving seafood for a few days now and it was a toss-up between it and an open-faced steak sandwich. The idea of eating a messy saucy open-faced sandwich in public weighed heavily in my decision… to get the lobster grilled cheese. Lucy’s complaint about it was that there was not enough lobster. That was not the case in my sandwich. The lobster to two types of cheese (cheddar and brie) ratio was equal. The lobster meat was sandwiched between the two cheeses. However the bread was too thick. There were parts where all I got was bread. I ended up leaving one last corner bite because it was just bread. The coleslaw between the sandwich and fries was gross. I really do think it was there solely as a decorative divider to keep the fries from touching the sandwich.

Full but still craving dessert, we went to Soma on my insistence. I was adamant about getting some hot chocolate, and I wouldn’t settle for anything less than the best. Did I mention it was freezing cold outside and I had not properly warmed up? Yep, could barely feel my toes. At Soma I had the Mayan hot chocolate. I barely looked at the ingredients list… which provided for a rather interesting surprise when I had my first sip and felt a burning at the back of my throat, a spicy burning not a hot burning. It was made with chili peppers and ginger and vanilla and cinnamon. A little too much of the chili peppers I’d say, kind of overpowered the drink as a whole. But definitely one of the best and most interesting hot chocolates I have ever had.

We stayed to watch some kids sing some Christmas songs. I stood there shivering, trying to drink my coffee in the rain. The coffee was from Balzac’s and it was really good, the right mix of nutty and strong flavour. Not enough to make it worthwhile to stand in the freezing cold and rain. My complaining won out and we left. Three hours later now… my toes are still icicles.


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Philanthropy Anyone?

I had an idea today for a charity. As always my idea is free for the taking because I have no idea where or how to start it, so have at it!

It would be called Cupcakes For Causes and every 2-3 weeks I would set up shop somewhere (say an office building or school lobby) and sell cupcakes and mini-cupcakes and all the money would go to a charity. The charity would be different each time, and I would ask local bakeries to donate a dozen or so cupcakes (being given full credit as benefactors of course). I would not reimburse myself for the cost of making the cupcakes either. That would be my donation. Eventually when it gets real big, I would have people running other outposts at other locations, same time same cause. And there would be information brochures and maybe even a representative from the charity being supported that day. Any leftover cupcakes would be taken to a nearby homeless shelter too.

I have noooo idea where to start.

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Posted by on December 14, 2011 in Ideas


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Hated Hat

I feel sorry for anyone who either works in a portrait studio this time of year or has undertaken pet photography for the Christmas season. I thought it would be a cute and fun activity to get our cat, Mruczka, all dolled up and ready for Christmas, this being her first one. Bad idea. From the get-go she hated it. Even when we bribed her with treats.

She now attacks the Santa hat whenever she sees it and is pensive about receiving treats or when we put her on the couch (where the first photo shoot took place). Eventually she fell asleep and we got the hat on her head. But then her eyes were closed! And I had to shoot on a high ISO with a small point & shoot (she also now does not like my D-SLR because of the first shoot).

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Posted by on December 13, 2011 in Adventures of Pinka!


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I finally managed to find my beloved gingerbread syrup… only to find that it doesn’t really work well in my coffee. I drink it too strong for the gingerbread flavour to stand out. Thankfully I also have a horrid hot chocolate addiction (1-2 a day) and it goes great in my hot chocolate! At the moment I am hooked on white hot chocolate, which Bulk Barn started carrying. Thank goodness they are opening that one on College & Yonge, by the time I run out it should be open, just in time for me to blow any money I have left after the Christmas season on white hot chocolate. There are ample cocaine jokes that can be made here. Go nuts.

And to top it off? More gingerkids cookies. They taste so good when dunked in white hot chocolate… and now I am craving it real bad.

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Posted by on December 10, 2011 in Adventures of Pinka!


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What Has Two Thumbs and Is Going to Vegas?

THIS GAL *points to self*! Aww yeah, everything is coming up Pinka. At the end of next spring Brent would’ve been two states up on me, because one of our trips would be taking us to Virginia and Tennessee, new states for him, repeats for me. Conveniently enough for me, an opportunity arose needing me to go to Las Vegas at the end of February, that is one state, two: a layover in Minneapolis. HA.

I am going partly because it is necessitated for my final before-I-graduate BIG photo project. I was initially going to source images from the internet, but it just bugs me, a lot. I want my own images. It is bad enough that I will have to source the archival images of people. At least the images I place them in will be my own. What I needed were images of famous landmarks and places. What better place to go to than Vegas? Whilst there I will have: the Strip, (fake) Eiffel Tower, (fake) Brooklyn Bridge, (fake) Statue of Liberty, (fake) Venetian Canals and I am even going to Photoshop the pyramid from a casino into a shot of the desert. All photos of course being taken by me, for the sake of my sanity. I can’t help it. I don’t like not having control of how the image looks. It just bugs me.

And of course getting to spend a week hanging out with Mike. So fun!! If living with him is any indication of what the trip will be like, then expect lots of hilarious stories. Probably stories that only we will find funny. Like that time he lost his watch and if all went quiet you could hear it *beep beep*, somewhere in the house.

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Posted by on December 10, 2011 in Adventures of Pinka!


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