Tag Archives: mango

Marriage, macarons and mountain time

Lean in close, and I’ll tell you a secret.

I don’t really like people.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m no curmudgeon, and I’m social enough when I need to be, but let’s face it: I’m an introvert. And I’m a writer. And as much as I hate to stereotype, that really does mean that, given the option, I’d rather sit inside with a good book than go to a raging kegger.

(That said, had you asked me the same question five years ago, I probably would have picked the kegger. So maybe this is just a sign of getting old.)

Increasingly, getting old(er) has meant more moving around, and friends moving around. A few years ago, two of My Most Favouritest People Ever, G & M, moved to the mountain town of Rossland, B.C. And while I was sad to see them go, I recognize that this means that I have another place to visit and discover, and more opportunity to miss—and look forward to seeing—two of My Most Favouritest People Ever.

Bears are in Rossland

Things are different in the mountains.

G & M got married last weekend in their backyard, surrounded by a small group of friends and family. We sat on bales of hay and watched two people agree to continue having exquisite adventures with each other. And before I even had time to shed a tear, they were kissing. It was done. And it was lovely.

G & M are pretty simple people. In lieu of a gift, they asked me to bring something sweet for dessert. And though I know they benefited from it, I think they also understood that that was the gift I really wanted to give them. Food as love.

So I brought macarons. I know, they’re almost irritatingly trendy right now, but even I’ll admit that they’re awfully pretty. And when done right, they’re one of my favourite things. So, one of My Favourite Things for two of My Most Favouritest People Ever. And let’s be clear—I didn’t set out to bring macarons. But Rossland is a nine-hour drive from Vancouver. Between nine hours without refrigeration and my desire to not spend the morning of the wedding in a kitchen, macarons just made sense.

Wedding macarons, raspberry and nutella

Turning a hotel room into a macaron factory is easier than you might think.

I made the cookie portions in Vancouver and froze them in preparation for the drive there. The morning of the wedding, I transformed the hotel room desk into a staging ground for macaron assembly: pink ones full of raspberry jam, chocolate ones full of nutella. Of course, some of the macarons didn’t fare the car ride so well…good thing, too, as every good (pastry) chef tastes her wares before serving them to guests.

The reception, dinner and dancing passed by in a blur. I have vague memories of salmon with mango salsa, a caramelized nut bar on shortbread, kicking off my high heels and bouncing around the dance floor and generally revelling in the glow of being around Good People.

Whether it was the hangover (literal and figurative) of the wedding or the innate idyllic nature of Rossland, that feeling permeated the entire weekend. It wasn’t long before I was saying hi to everyone walking down the street. That simply doesn’t happen in the city. And watching kids run into their friends on the street and make impromptu plans to play with each other? It’s nice to know that still happens.

The more time I spent in Rossland, the longer time got. I stopped checking my watch to wonder what I was supposed to be doing. I hiked to the top of a mountain. I took a nap in a park. I stopped to chat with people. I poked around antique shops. I sat in the children’s section of a bookstore and looked at picture books.

And it was wonderful.

Now I’m back in the city and trying to hang onto that feeling of mountain time. Savouring the morning cup of coffee and staring out the window, thinking about what the day holds. Striking up a conversation with strangers. Because I can.

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Donut, doughnut: however you spell it, it’s delicious

It seems like all roads lead to New York, because several people have asked me for NYC food recommendations. I’m more than happy to oblige.

Doughnut Plant
(Lower East Side)

This place opens early, and that’s when you need to get there to beat the crowds. There are cake doughnuts and yeast doughnuts.  While I usually prefer cake doughnuts, the yeast doughnuts here kick some serious cake doughnut ass. They’re fluffy, warm pillows of yeasty goodness. And then they’re drenched in sugar glaze.

With his shop’s proximity to Chinatown, Chef Mark Israel goes for a walk each morning to buy the freshest produce to come up with his daily offerings. The tres leche cake doughnut is legendary (if a little bit sweet) but I was more impressed by two unusually flavoured yeast doughnuts: mango and lavender.

The mango doughnut was actually juicy, if you can believe it. Take the best qualities of a perfectly summer-ripe mango, transpose those qualities into a warm, yeasty doughnut, and you might begin to understand how delicious it was. The lavender doughnut was subtle, delicate and refined. A refined doughnut, how about that?

I tried my very best to try all the flavours while I was there, but I didn’t make it. There’s a peanut butter and jelly doughnut that sounds amazing. Someone needs to try it and let me know.

Doughnut Plant
379 Grand St
New York, NY
212-505-3700

Dine Out Vancouver: Parkside

I’ve been meaning to go to Parkside for a while, going so far as to make it one of my new year’s resolutions. Well, I took advantage of Dine Out Vancouver to cross this one off my list – and it was so good, I’m hoping to cross it off more than once.

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Luxury, how I have missed you

It’s been a while since I’ve had the pleasure of fine dining, and I realize now how spoiled I was to work in a high-end restaurant. Foie gras? Meh. Truffles? Well, sure. Valrhona chocolate everything? Sigh, if you must.

I know that it must seem like I live a semi-charmed life.  Fine dining, art auctions, and what I’m about to tell you – that yesterday, I attended a luncheon that cost $150-$500 a ticket – must make it seem like I’m living it up.  In reality, I’m one of the volunteers in the background who’s trading her time for food.  Actually, aside from the food, I really enjoy people-watching.  People-watching is always interesting, but people-watching the fabulous wealthy is such a treat. 

So.  Yesterday’s World AIDS Day luncheon at Cioppino’s was a lot of fun.  I’ve never been to Cioppino’s, but it’s well-known in Vancouver for having the best spaghetti a la vongole (that’s spaghetti with clams in white wine) in the city, and is perpetually voted “Best Formal Italian” in Vancouver.  Top it off with Pino Posteraro’s recent cookbook release, his winning the Gold Medal Plates in 2007, and his being voted Best Chef by Vancouver Magazine in 2008, and I hope you understand why I was so excited to attend this event.

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