Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Reflection

The Thinking Man. This is how I have felt most of today. When you don't have any money to spend and you have a day off and you're feeling bummed out, you spend the day like I spent it: half-dressed until the evening, sleeping on the couch, checking your e-mail every two minutes, not really doing much of anything. At least I did do the dishes, vacuum, sweep the floors, go out for dinner (which I couldn't afford, but I did anyways), and watch some special features of Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula. For the most part though, not much was done and I was not in a happy space.

I've been thinking about what direction to take my blog. I think I will be posting only twice a week or weekly for now to keep the pressure off and allow for some creative headspace to develop and  blossom. It will certainly still be a collection of my daily experiences with food, whether that be simple recipes, cooking disasters, or restaurant reviews. One new thing is that I have started linking my restaurant reviews to

I am excited about my new venture in the foodie blogosphere. Also, looking back on my old posts, back in the blog's first few months, I've realized how far my blog has come and how dry it was before. I'm not saying I'm not proud of my blog's fledgling first few months, but my writing has become more diversified, it is more interactive, more visually appealing, and I have a wider (tiny, but wider) readership, which I am proud of. 

I will likely be slowly over time going to back to this old posts and re-vamping them a bit: more photos, more paragraph breaks, etc.. It is great to see that creative growth however and it motivates me to continue blogging away and enjoying this fantastic medium. 

So, a big thank you to my readers and those who have given me advice along the way. You know who you are and I thank you.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Portland Series: The Magic Is In The Hole

FBF is back. Forcibly brought back from exile. I realized that the fact that I keep saying I am back after a long absence, I have writer's block, I'm tired, I'm busy, I'm sick, etc., etc... and not actually posting regularly might start ringing loudly of LAZY. As such, I am listening to my dance tunes (Thank you Ke$ha, Gaga and B, RiRi) and returning to my blog officially. I have no excuses. Thus bringing me to the fact that the magic is in the hole.

The hole of a doughnut. The hole of a Voodoo Doughnut to be precise. I first came to know about the sugary, battery goodness of Voodoo Doughnut via one of my favourite Vancity food blogs, noshwell. Bacon and maple doughnut, anyone? I swear that was one of the main reasons why I went down to PDX earlier this month. Plus, that doughnut (well, perhaps not one from Voodoo, but inspired surely) was featured on Criminal Minds earlier this year. Say no more. (Oh, and Anthony Bourdain is a fan.)

Was it worth it you ask? Hell yeah. $2.50 was a totally reasonable price and the doughnut was perfect. The bacon was salty, which really hit it off with the smoky, caramelized perfection of the maple topping. It was filling and sat lightly in my stomach. Really good. I imagine it would have been especially good with a cup of joe from Stumptown down the street (whose washrooms I used). 

And if salty-sweet isn't your thing (don't tell me that chocolate-covered pretzels aren't the best thing Rold Gold ever made), there are tons of other kinds, including ones with cereal on top and apparently one that has a Nyquil topping and involves Pepto-Bismol as well (it is unsurprisingly "on hold" according to their website). I suppose the latter would be great if you had  nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, and diahrrea. Although, a crazy creation like that could end up giving you all the above anyways.

If I was a resident of PDX, I would definitely be a repeat customer. The space is absolutely tiny; I am absolutely amazed at the sheer number and kinds of donuts they produce in such a small baking space, crammed behind the counter and display case, which is alternatively crammed behind a tiny space where people line-up (down the street) to get their goodies. They do everything that is possible with the space they have however. Talk about space management. The walls are pink, the interior is bright and fun, dominated by a crazy spiralling gold chandelier that is at once decadent, Dali-esque, and alien. Not to mention some violent, strange donut art on the walls that I loved in the way I love Family Guy, cringing while laughing hysterically and fighting nausea.

Needless to say, I loved Voodoo Doughnut and if you ever make it down to Portland, you must go. I went to the original Old Town location and I recommend you do too. 

Voodoo Doughnut on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 22, 2010

Hello? Is it me you're looking for? I can see it in your eyes...

Mmm, that's right. That's me getting my Lionel on. "Oh Lionel, you have been hurt. You have been hurt. Who hurt? Who hurt you?" Thank you Family Guy.

Well perhaps over the last week and a bit you have been looking for me, wondering where that basement dweller has been, lurking in the shadows of her kitchen, scared to come out and tell the world what she really feels about food.

The frank truth is nothing as cinematically exciting as this, but that I have been tired and busy and a little sick the last few days. Plus, my creative juices have just been feeling a little weak of late, but I'm back and ready to bust out with more pop lyrics for you in the coming days.

This brings me to the results of my last poll: Tacos, Burritos, and the mysterious "Other" are left in a tie! 

I'm surprised that poor Chimichangas didn't get one single vote. All that deep-fried goodness? All that bang for your buck? Well, maybe you just haven't had the Chimichangas at La Ceranita in Portland. You must, you must.

And on to the next poll: what is your favourite hot beverage?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Portland Series: Todbott's Triangles

As promised, this is the first of a few posts on my recent trip to Portland, Oregon, all on the topic of food, of course. At least for the most part. You can rely on various tangents on the Portland transit system (pretty awful), Portland State University (Vagina Monologues!), and the like. But it will mostly be pointed towards food.

First off is Todbott's Triangles (2827 NE Alberta). A hidden gem in the very literal sense of the term, as it is back from the street down a path, at the back of a house close to a popular nouveau-Mexican restaurant La Bonita. It was on a Sunday morning when I went there (it is currently closed on Mondays) and I was feeling queasy and tired (no, not from a binge drink the night before; I don't drink really), and I wanted some sort of calming drink in a calming environment from a calming person. I was staying with a friend just a few blocks from TT's, so I thought it was the perfect moment to explore it.

I was already charmed by the place (and affirmed in my decision to go there) as I walked up the path, greeted by a nice, mild-mannered young man on his laptop amongst a comfy outdoors seating arrangement. While I was intrigued by the remarkably inexpensive and beautifully presented nigiri ($1-$2) a piece, considering the previously mentioned queasiness, I stuck with the green tea for its warmth more than anything, as his homemade kombucha (or 'boocha as it said on the sidewalk sign) was tempting.

The indoor space was small, but lovingly appointed and comfortable. As he made my green tea, we chatted about how he got started (as a vendor at local farmers markets), my position with the Vancouver Farmers Markets, and his connection to Vancity (apparently there is a convention in March in Hope of all places that he attends every year, by bike all the way from Portland!). The great thing I found about Todbott's Triangles was it easily allowed for a connection to be made between owner and customer, vendor and patron, which is one of the many wonderful things about farmers markets is that you get to know the person who is providing you with their product; a valuable connection that is rare in the Western world and its big cities.

The green tea was steeped from loose leaves and was brewed right in front of me, giving me time to decide I also wanted to buy a 50 cent crispy pastry that was made in a waffle pattern but in the shape of a flower, with hints of coconut and deep-fried goodness.

I would definitely recommend Todbott's Triangles, especially if you find yourself in the Alberta Arts District. A peaceful oasis focussed on Asian healthful food and drink, done in a laid-back and artistic Northwest way that is hard to resist and relax into with ease.

Todbott's Triangles on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Fledgling Basement Foodie is Back!

I can't believe it! It has been nearly two weeks since I have posted on my blog. I guess I wasn't feeling the creative foodie juices, plus I have been in Portland for the last five days.
As for the results of my FBF's second poll, looks like we are a divided people when it comes to where our preferences lie for favourite comfort food, but Grilled Cheese is ultimately the winner!

Bread, Butter, Cheese, Victory!

There is much more to come on Grilled Cheese on FBF, as I did make it to one of my chosen food hot spots while in PDX: The Grilled Cheese Grill food cart on NE Alberta. And my grilled goodness, it was worth it. A low-down of my foodie experience in Portland will also be on the blog, spread out over the next few days. 

This post is more to let people know that I am back and that I am still in love with food.

Also, there is a new poll going up today. The topic being...drum roll please...what is your favourite mexican food? Mine? Well, that'd have to be tacos. With mole, salsa, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese, and maybe some chipotle sauce for good spicy measure. Ground or shredded beef is best, but fish tacos are very refreshing. Crunch, drool, yum!