Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Flying Pig

(photo from Our Food Adventure)

I recently met up with an old friend to have dinner at the Flying Pig in Gastown (which he constantly mis-calls the Flying Pork). It had been a place that both of us had on our "must-eat" lists. We arrived at around 6:30pm on a Friday night and were (surprisingly) promptly seated upstairs in a quaint corner. Tables for 2 were plentiful at this point in time, if you have a group of 3 or more, that's where the waiting begins. This "nouveau Canadian bistro" serves up delicious hearty dishes utilizing fresh local ingredients and takes it on their unique name to inspire for the impossibles to happen in their cozy dining room.

The restaurant was quite a bit larger than I had pictured in my mind. At the time of our arrival, it was already bustling with people inside with a short line-up outside (tip: they do not take reservations)! The first thought that popped into my mind about the Flying Pig was Kinfolk Magazine. The d├ęcor and ambiance of the place seemed like it came out of a page from Kinfolk. Our little table was situated between the ledge where we were able to overlook fellow diners downstairs and the windows that gave us a lovely view of the streets at night.

Their menu stumped us for a good 10-15 minutes. Being hungry and indecisive is one of the worst combinations for me (think: you want to order everything). After some thoughtful discussion, my friend ordered the roasted sirloin which came with fries, I ordered the signature pork rack which came with pulled pork poutine, and we added on a side of shortrib macaroni to share.

We were offered a complimentary breadbasket with an olive oil and balsamic dip - nothing too special, but it kept our tummies from wild grumbling. I'm not sure if our food came out quickly or if we were swallowed by conversation and didn't notice how much time had gone by, but we were pleasantly greeted by three scrumptious plates of comfort in no time.

Just before we began devouring our food, the restaurant suddenly dimmed its lights and then boom - strings of light on the trees out on the streets lit up! It was like Christmas morning! I can't recall exactly what time that occurred, but I am glad that we were there for it. It was enchanting and slightly magical (great for a first date as it adds a sprinkle of romance).

We ended up sharing all of our food and had to agree that the signature pork rack was out of this world! The tenderness of it and the way it was marinated was absolutely delicious (I'm drooling as I'm typing). If you've never visited The Flying Pig or if you have and have never tried the pork rack, GET IT! The pulled pork poutine complimented the pork rack like a cherry on top.

 (Signature Pork Rack with Pulled Pork Poutine)
 (Roasted Sirloin with Fries

My friend's sirloin was just ok (it's steak, what can you expect)! I did poke fun of him for ordering a sirloin at The Flying Pig (considering his myriad of choices). The fries that it came with were also mediocre. Our side of shortrib macaroni was hearty and tasty - though I have had better macaroni elsewhere. Service was efficient and pleasant. Our server was just the right amount of chatty. I did notice quite a number of tables ordering the beef short rib - something to consider for my next visit!

Overall, I would say this was a great experience and I definitely see myself coming back to The Flying Pig in the near future. I have colleagues who boast about their brunch menu and 'appy hour and am excited to try it out for myself soon!

Have you been to The Flying Pig?



The Flying Pig Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Rachel Comey Calder Heels

(photo from A Standard of Living)

Ah Rachel Comey

Words could not describe my love for her collection of shoes. From boots, to heels, to oxfords - they all have a special place in my heart. If you've never heard of Rachel Comey and have a soft spot for chic, simple, and timeless designs (think leather booties with chunky wooden heels) you need to do yourself a favor and check her out (love this interview with her from A Standard of Living). She also has a wealthy collection of menswear and womenswear that showcase unique textiles, graceful silhouettes, and are all made locally in Manhattan. An art major with a focus on sculpture and being a former gallery owner, all of her designs are created with an artist's eye.

(all photos from Totokaelo)

The Rachel Comey Calder heel is the latest of her designs to make a footprint in my closet. I was fortunate to snag a pair of white Calders before them going out of stock on Need Supply. They have been on heavy rotation for the past month (since I got them) and I can see them continuing to be so for quite the time to come.

These shoes feature:
  • 2-inch natural wooden heel with rubber cap (super easy to walk in)
  • leather uppers and leather sole
  • pointed, closed toes
  • slip-on wear with ruched elastic at mouth
  • made in Peru
  • retail price $345

I love the slip-on feature of this shoe and the ballerina-esque ruched elastic mouth. They remind of Celine's ballerina pumps - but because of the thicker pebbled leather on the Comeys, they look much less like actual ballerina flats.
(photos from Need Supply and Pinterest)

Now - beauty always comes with some sort of price (whether it be price tag, pain or some other unfavourable circumstance). These were my first pair of Rachel Comeys that I had to break in (with pain). My first wear with these shoes left the top mound of my big toe bruised (area where my big toe attaches to my foot/where you may have a bunion). I put the fault on the thick, quality leather and pretty ruched elastic mouth - because they had not stretched out yet, the elastic mouth sat very tightly against the top of my foot with the leather almost digging into my skin. I had to retire these shoes for a good week (while my ugly purple bruises healed). After a few more slightly painful wears, they finally loosened up and have now become one of the comfiest pairs of shoes I own.

I would say the Rachel Comey Calder heels fit true to size, albeit I did size up half a size for toe-wiggling room. Normally, with closed toe shoes (boots, pumps) I prefer to have just a bit of wiggle room for comfort and in case I wanted to add an extra insole for padding in later days.

If you're looking to add a new pair of heels to your wardrobe and want something classic, chic and easy for every day, I would highly recommend giving these beauties a look. For those with wider feet or if you have bunions (or simply don't fancy very snuggly-fit shoes), I would strongly suggest trying these on in stores prior to purchasing. I have pretty average feet - not wide, not long, no bunions - and these caused me quite the agony the first few wears (but at the end of the day, it was worth it). Choosing the white was a no brainer for me as I had been on the lookout for a pair of white heels for quite some time now. But in case you weren't a fan, these heels also come in basic black, a funky metallic silver, and I have also seen a yummy taupe on Anthropologie (though they were sold out the last time I checked).

Do you have any Rachel Comeys in your closet?


Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Vietnamese Tonight!

One of my family's staple dinner restaurants would have to be Thai Hang Vietnamese Restaurant at the corner of Kingsway and Victoria Drive. This casual restaurant has a menu armed with Vietnamese dishes that will surely make your mouth drool! 

Fish sauce (aka "nuoc man") is one of the main ingredients in pretty much all of their food - from their soups to their dipping sauces, there is no escape from this Vietnamese staple.

Like any casual Asian restaurant, service is mediocre. What you're really in for is the good food and value. This place accepts cash only so make sure you've got some bills tucked in your wallet. It's comparable to a very casual diner, great for group or family dinners, late night bites, morning after meal, or just when you want a taste of Vietnam.

My family visits this place probably once a month (sometimes more). Our favorite dish is the "bo ba mon" - 3 course beef dish. You get a large plate of chunks of beef made 3 different ways to wrap up in "banh trang" (rice paper) with "bun" (vermicelli) and veggies. It is then dipped in a special fish sauce "nuoc mam nem."

(bo ba mon)

This dish could easily feed 3-4 people depending on your appetite. Make sure you don't spill or wipe any of the sauce on your clothes! It can be a bit of a stinker!

Another favorite of ours is the "banh beo" - a small steamed rice cake sprinkled with minced shrimp and bread crumbs. Each banh beo comes in its own little plate, scoop in a couple spoons of fish sauce and it's ready to be eaten!

(banh beo)

If you're feeling adventurous and want to try a soup that's not Pho or a noodle soup dish, "canh chua" is a traditional Vietnamese sweet and sour soup loaded with fish, okra, tomatoes, beansprouts, pineapple, and "bac ha" you can add to your dinner. We like to order it with one or two Vietnamese dishes to eat with rice. 

(canh chua with a side dish of "tom rim" - shrimp)

And there you have it! A Vietnamese dinner for 4 (with left overs to pack for home). Our bill came to just under $90 (we also ordered a couple "sinh to bo" avocado smoothies). A super satisfying dinner with fast service and great value. Thai Hang gets busy for dinner, but we have never had to wait in line before. It's not an overly large restaurant, but it is spacious enough to seat quite the crowd.

Try it out next time you're in the area - don't forget to bring some cash!


Thai Hang Vietnamese Restaurant 2 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, September 07, 2015

Brunch at Acme Cafe


Who doesn't love a good brunch date? One of our favorite spots to hit up for a delicious meal is Acme Cafe.

This hip little eatery in Gastown serves up scrumptious comfort food, yummy breakfast and lunch, and has a showcase of drool-worthy house made pies and baked goodies.

Seating is cozy but limited and this place definitely gets busy for brunch so plan to go a tad early or else anticipate a wait. 

We arrived at around 11:30am for brunch and were greeted with a short lineup out the door. Luckily, we only waited about 10 minutes before being seated at a large shared table that overlooked the cooking action. 

Zhuran had the smoked salmon sandwich with a side of bacon mac n' cheese and I had the baked eggs benny. All of their eggs are free range and baked - delicious and healthy! The side of mac n' cheese was one of the best we have ever had (sorry Burgoo)! The benny was different and interesting (it was like a pastry) but tasty. The smoked salmon sandwich was just okay for us.

Our goal was to try out their pies and sweets but our tummies were just stuffed! If you've never tried Acme Cafe we definitely recommend it! Get a side of bacon mac n' cheese - it's delicious! Til next time Acme Cafe 

Lori and Zhuran

Acme Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, September 06, 2015