Restaurant Awesomeness: Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill

21 Apr

2014-04-06 14.33.47Food, oh, glorious food. I had quite a bit of it on my trip to Las Vegas and, by and large, it was all delicious. That said, one lunch in particular really stood out from the rest and I thought I’d blog about it here. I had heard very good things about Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill before (mainly from those foodie blogs I like to read so much) and knew that this was the one place I really had to visit. (It’s Southwestern food and I was in the Southwest, after all!) And since my last day in Las Vegas also happened coincide with my good friend and travel pal Amanda’s birthday, we decided to walk down to Caesar’s Palace for a fancy lunch. And boy, was it good. So good, in fact, that Mesa Grill officially made my unofficial list of top ten favourite restaurants of all time. 2014-04-06 14.33.30The words bread and basket seem so terribly inadequate to describe the big bowl of deliciousness that was first brought out to us before our lunch. Blueberry coffee cake, cornbread muffins, chocolate scones, and jalapeño and cheddar biscuits slathered with butter (those were particularly phenomenal)…. This was a pre-meal bread basket done very, very right. I would come back to the restaurant just for that, to be honest. 2014-04-06 14.33.40This cactus pear iced tea was the only thing that I found to be a bit disappointing. The presentation was impressive (it came with a little phial of syrup that you poured into your drink to sweeten it), but I was not a huge fan of the sickly-sweet aftertaste that followed each sip. That said, I’m probably just not much of a cactus gal. Should have just stuck with the classic margarita. 2014-04-06 14.42.04This was the Tiger Shrimp and Roasted Garlic Corn Tamale that I ordered as my entree. I would just like to take a moment to pull everybody’s attention to that sauce. HOLY MOLY (OR SHOULD I SAY MOLE?) THAT SAUCE. Velvety, rich and the hiding place for so many subtle flavours. While I could have probably eaten a bowl of this sauce with a spoon, it was also the perfect thing to complement the cornmeal of the tamale. Side Note: I have since found out that Bobby Flay shared this marvellous recipe on his site and I have made it my goal to try preparing it myself in the summer. That said, this is definitely not a beginner recipe and may be a bit of a challenge for someone who sees cooking more as the fine art of eyeballing ingredients. As in, someone like me. 2014-04-06 14.42.19My friend (and so, by extension me, who also shared some bites) tried the Rough Cut Tuna “Nachos”. The quotation marks indicate that these are definitely a stretch from what one would normally classify as nachos (spicy tuna tartare is paired with blue and yellow corn tortilla chips, avocado crema and mango-habanero sauce), but that is the kind of the point. These nachos are deconstructed and different (and yes, that means raw tuna), but they are also the perfect blend of spicy and sweet. Yum. 2014-04-06 15.01.07At this point in the meal, we were about as stuffed as two stuffed clams. But we were also celebrating a birthday and had to get dessert. In the end, we ended up sharing the Sticky Toffee Pudding with Salted Cajeta and Tres Leches Ice Cream (unfortunately, I only remembered to photograph it after one of us had already taken a bite) and it was kind of the best decision ever. The chocolate pudding was splendid.The caramel and cajeta topping was splendid. But when the scoop of Tres Leches ice cream started to melt into and moisten the warm chocolatey dough? That was what made me want to lick the plate.

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That Time I Abandoned My Blog and Went to the Grand Canyon

18 Apr

IMG_7970I’ve been away from this blog for almost two months. And that, of course, is entirely unacceptable for someone who puts the words avid blogger on a resume that she then proceeds to send out to potential employers.

Still, two months can go by very fast. In that time, I’ve accepted and began working at two new jobs (one of which is part time and one of which is slated to become full time in the future), wrote a very long essay about the damaging effects of Jansenist society to women in Québec in the 1930s and 1940s (which, despite my very limited knowledge of any of those things, still got a fairly good grade), wrote another very long essay about the role of family in the movie Goodfellas (which I am still waiting to hear back on), met up with a friend that I have not seen for almost two years in Las Vegas, came down to the Grand Canyon, finished three out of my four year-end exams, and caught a really odd strain of cold that had me sneezing like a madwoman for three days but then went away as suddenly as it had appeared.

Right. I’m guessing that words such as Las Vegas and Grand Canyon will interest you more than tha odd strain of cold that I caught. I did go on a quick trip to Vegas (which I will be blogging a lot about in the next few days, by the way) and ended up throwing a bit of the Grand Canyon in there as well. It was a grand, old time (ha, ha, ha, you see what I did there?) that I’ve documented in excess. Here are the pictures.

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Spring 2014 Jewelry Trends

9 Mar

1. Anthropologie Beaded Chevron Necklace 2. J.Crew Spiked Drop Earrings 3. Topshop Triple Bright Flower Necklace 4. Fossil Glass Necklace 5. Joomi Lim Double Row Spike Bracelet 6. Anthropologie Root-Needles Necklace 7. Kate Spade New York Knotical Bracelet 8. Club Monaco Double Pavé Bracelet 9. Kate Spade Thin Spade Turnlock Bangle 10. Sunahara Black Triangle Cuff 11. Tahari Capri Stretch Bangle 12. Kate Spade New York Polka Dot Bangle 13. Johnny Loves Rosie Baguette Surround Burst Necklace 14. Kate Spade New York New York Lemon Tart Pendant 15. Kate Spade New York Giverny Floral Mesh Bracelet 16. Kate Spade Giverny Floral Multi Strand Necklace

Spring is so great for a lot of reasons and the increased intake of Vitamin D is one of them. Being able to shed wool coats, wear more dresses and play outfits up with colourful jewelry is yet another. So let’s talk jewelry, shall we? It seems like new trends are popping up all over the place and just about every designer, at every price point, is coming out with something that you just have to have. Here are some of the current jewelry trends that have been coming up in my research (which mainly involves reading a lot of magazines and fashion blogs) and that I’m really looking forward to in the upcoming months. I am particularly fond of the Kate Spade Giverny Floral Mesh bracelet, which is about the the loveliest thing that I’ve ever seen. And yes, I know that I say that a lot.

Who Needs Journalism Anyway? Musings and Rants

5 Mar

Photo found through Pinterest.

About once a week, someone will post a Facebook article about the jobs that are needed, that are now, that will be attracting all the graduates in just a few short years. And every single week, I am not at all surprised to find that what I want to do ranks pretty low on that list. Actually, it rarely even makes the list.

Journalism. The one career choice that all of our mothers had warned us about.

And while I’ve gotten pretty used to justifying my career choices (Yes, I know that I will be making very little money for a very long timeYes, I know that cutbacks are happening in all the major newspapers and magazines across the country) to just about anyone who asks about what I’m doing with my life (except the parents, who have been supportive from day one), today was the day that I finally snapped.

Today was the day that somebody asked if I was aware that in order to make it in journalism you have to be really, really good? Which, followed the natural but unspoken conclusion, I wasn’t.

And that just unleashed a can of worms that I didn’t even know was in me. It made me realize that I’m angry. I’m angry because people always say that we should all go into chemical engineering or geology or Information Technology because that is where “the money lies.” I’m angry because conversations about what I’m studying in university always start with the “English, eh? So you want to teach?” and end with the inevitable “What else then?” as though there are no other options for anyone who was foolish enough to choose the humanities in the first place. I’m angry because there were times (thankfully very few!) when people replied with a pernicious “See! hat’s what the real world is like!” when I told them that I did not get the internship or received a polite rejection letter minutes after I sent in an article to a magazine.

I still can’t get over the sting that I felt when a high school teacher sniffed back the pejorative “Journalism? You really don’t look like that type…” when I told him that I was considering it as a career option. I still remember the family friend who said that “Journalism’s fun and all, but you’ll obviously forget all about it once you have a family to feed and real bills to pay.”

Because that, no matter how you view it, is a dig.

And maybe I’m just in a permanent state of denial about what is really awaiting me once I walk out of those (metaphorical) university doors with an Arts degree and an I’m-going-to-write-because-I-want-to-write mentality, but I’ve always felt that, no matter how needed the profession, going after jobs for the wrong reasons (hype, pressure, narrow assessment of what is most needed at the moment…) rarely ends well. I feel that if you know, deep within you, that something is right for you, then you should probably do it. If it doesn’t pay well, then you should probably do it on the side while you also do somewhere else.

But you should still go after it. Because if you don’t, somebody else most definitely will.

Oscars 2014: Or How I ‘Ooh’ and ‘Aah’ At Some Dresses and Totally Cringe At Others

3 Mar

Ah, the Oscars. This is the one night of the year when all the famous people get together for a night of great awards and (of course!) great fashion. And even though I did not watch this year’s show in its entirety (three and a half hours during midterm season is just not feasible!), I definitely went through all the pictures to see who was wearing what. As always, there were the styles that took my breath away and the styles that made me want to look away. Here are some of my favourite stand-outs.

The Dresses That Worked…:

Photo by Getty Images

Jenna Dewan-Tatum’s  taupe Reem Acra gown is perfect. I love both the feathery skirt and the way that the sparkly top blends into the neckline so seamlessly. Gorgeous.

Photo by Getty Images

Even though Penelope Cruz’s pink, billowing Giambattista Valli dress has been subject to a lot of criticism, I happen to think that it’s elegant in a way that transcends the more body-hugging styles of the day. To me, it just screams Old Hollywood and looks especially stylish with the contrasting black accessories.

Photo by Getty Images

Sandra Bullock looks fabulous in her dark blue Alexander McQueen gown. It is perhaps its simplicity (or, of course, the magnificent tailoring!) that makes it such a stunner.

Photo by Getty Images

Pharrell Williams and his wife Helen Lasichanh rocked complementary tuxes at the Oscars and looked absolutely fab doing it!

Photo by Getty Images

Bette Midler’s Reem Acra gown is ah-mazing. The red, the flowers, the train… Everything looks like it was made especially for her!

Photo by Getty Images

Lupita Nyong’o certainly stole the show in a powder blue Prada gown that, according to her stylist, was inspired by champagne bubbles. With the flowy princess skirt (don’t you just love the way the small sparkles are interspersed throughout the skirt?) and silver headband, Lupita looks just like Cinderella.

Photo by Getty Images

Even though Giuliana Rancic’s Paolo Sebastian dress ripped and caused a wardrobe malfunction right on the red carpet, I still happen to think that it was one of the prettiest gowns of the night. The colour complements her skin tone nicely and the top looks like it was painted on. Very princessy.

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I love mermaid dresses and I love Rachel Smith’s Sherri Hill gown. The colour keeps the dress elegant and subdued, while the ruffled skirt still gives it that little bit of pizzazz.

Photo by Getty Images

Even though Kelly Osbourne’s style is quite far removed from my own (in an other-end-of-the-spectrum kind of way), I happened to really like the way that she paired her cream Badgley Mischka gown with a small, sparkly capelet. Edgy yet elegant.

…And The Dresses That Didn’t!:

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I didn’t really care for actress Emma Watson’s dress, to be honest. To me, the skirt is a little too sheer and the cut of the top resembles a sleeveless t-shirt. Not a dazzler.

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Even though I just said that I love mermaid dresses, I was not quite wowed by Glenn Close’s tight-at-the-top-loose-at-the-bottom gown. To me, it just looks gloomy and  too much like something that you’d wear to church.

Photo by Getty Images

Awkward pleating, unfortunate spaghetti straps, boxy cut… Unfortunately for actress Veerle Baetens, this dress makes me think of high school prom. (And when we’re talking about high fashion, that is never a good thing!)

Save or Splurge?: The Wedge Sneaker

27 Feb

These Isabel Marant wedge sneakers have been gracing the pages of various fashion magazines for more than a year now. For good reason, too, because high heeled sneakers are so effortlessly hip in all the right ways. That said, they also come with a pretty hefty price tag and are, in my opinion, far too trendy (in other words, my mother thinks they’re ugly and future fashionistas will most likely scorn at pictures of us wearing them…) to spend that much money on. So what’s a girl to do? Fortunately, there is a solution out there and it’s called Aldo.

The Numata sneakers from Aldo look very similar to the originals and, with the most recent reduction, cost only 2% of the price (I’ve actually calculated it!). I bought them about a month ago, when they were just reduced to $40 (so you, my friends, are in an even better position than I was in!) and love wearing them with skinny jeans or t-shirt dresses. Once, while I was walking to class in my university, a girl asked me if they were the originals. And that’s what I call a deal.

Jobs I Would Really, Really Stink At: A Short Reflection

26 Feb

Oh, jobs. Have you ever given some thought about ones that you would never be able to do? And no, I’m not talking about a World’s Worst Job sort of scenario (although making up that list is a whole barrel of laughs), but rather the regular, well-esteemed professions that just do not suit you in any way. For me, three come up right off the bat.

Nurse:

Some of my friends and family like to keep up a running joke about how I would make the world’s worst nurse and even though it pains me to think that I could possibly stink at anything, I have to agree with them on that one. I have a paranoia of blood, needles, and blood-borne infections that used to drive me to tears and sanitizer for no reason. And while this phobia has somewhat mellowed out over the years, I would still be the nurse who’d catch the first plane to Timbuktu at the first sight of a syringe. And I figure that that’s not really what they’re looking for in a hospital.

Also: memorizing scientific terms has never been my strong suit. In fact, it is an activity that I will generally try to avoid.

Cab driver, bus driver, any kind of driver….

Driving and I have a bit of a strained relationship. One in which it took me three driving instructors (one of whom flat-out refused to work with me) and an undisclosed number of road tests to finally get my license. And while I eventually learned enough to be able to pass my test, get around and, you know, not crash into things, I’d never feel comfortable driving around a bus full of people. But the good news is that I don’t have to worry about that. I’d probably be banned from even applying for any kind of driving job once anyone who was foolish enough to call me back for an interview took a good, hard look at my road test record.

Accountant:

Sitting down to do my own taxes nearly drains the life out of me every time. Doing somebody else’s for a living would actually kill me.

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