Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day 2012!

Why is there a day to celebrate love but not one to celebrate friendship? Lovers may come and go, but best friends will always be there for you. 

Last Friday, just as I was lamenting that my youth was quickly passing by and my social life was as inactive as ever, I found this waiting at home for me.

{Hello Kitty duct tape!}

No, it is not a Coach gift card but something even better. C, one of my dearest friends, always puts a lot of thought into her gifts and this lovely surprise sent by snail-mail was no exception. 

Inside the carefully taped package was a super sweet (though at times a bit intense, haha) Valentine's card and hand & body soap from Lush. The soap smells heavenly of jasmine and I predict that it will be a while before I can bear to use it. 

I have always believed that the value of a present is not in how much it costs but in how well it represents the receiver. I love the card because of the feelings expressed in it and I love the soap because it is so unexpected* but so totally appropriate for me. There is nothing better in this world than to have friends who know you so well and are willing to spend time letting you know they care.

Thank you so much C! Hope you and everyone else has a great Valentine's Day! Whether you are in love, out of love or just simply single, celebrate that you are alive today by doing something sweet for someone around you.

P.S. Check out the Kelowna stamp! Its their version of the Loch Ness Monster. 

*Any reference to Valentine's usually involves chocolate, candy and teddy bears.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Nom-nom: 2nd Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival

I meant to post this earlier but hopefully there is enough time left for you to go and check it out. Last month, I found out that the 2nd Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival was taking place from January 14 to February 14. The festival is exactly what you think it is. A group of Vancouver's top chocolate makers offer special versions of their hot chocolate to raise funds for the Downtown Eastside Women's Centre. The list of flavours are endless and come in dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate and even non-dairy. Some standout ones include orange blossom flower, Italian honey nougat with roasted hazelnut and match with yuzu marshmallow.

My first reaction was: There was a hot chocolate festival last year? How did I not know this?

My second reaction was: I have to go. Have. To. Go.

But I'm a lazy chocoholic and none of the participants were within a 10-minute drive radius. So I bided my time and waited for my opportunity to come. Finally, I received an invite to try out the Dine-out Vancouver 2012 menu at a restaurant across town (post to come later) and I quickly googled the area.

Success! Three options were close by but I went with Thomas Haas. It IS ranked number one on Urbanspoon and my birthday cake last year from them was just too fantastic.

I dropped by the store before dinner and found it tucked away in an inconspicuous little spot along Broadway. It was packed even though it was half an hour before closing and people were still coming in when I left.

Despite being tempted by the other flavours they offered, I went with one of my favourite flavours: Classic Hot Chocolate with Soft Caramel and Fleur de Sel. It was served with two warm Chocolate Sparkle Cookies which brought the right amount of sweetness to the saltiness of the hot chocolate.

Contrary to expectations, the soft caramel and fleur de del were not infused into the liquid but were used as toppings. This in no way negatively affected the flavour but actually enhances the experience by layering in different textures. The soft caramel cream was cool against the warmth of the liquid and the bits of sel were crunchy pops of flavour. The hot chocolate was so rich and creamy that it just slid down my throat like molten gold. You barely finish one sip before wanting to take the next again and again until the cup is empty.

At this point, if you are still not convinced, then there is nothing I can help you with. However, for all others, quickly go to City Food Magazine to find out where you can get a cup of heaven.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

QOTD: I "noodle" everyday

I've been told by my family that I am crazy so often that I am quite immune to them. In fact, the point that they aren't quite sane either makes me care even less. But when I heard similar comments recently coming from my friends, some new and some old, it gave me some food for thought. To me, Jennifer is a pretty old-school, normal name and I wondered if it was an appropriate name for me or if there was something better.

Me:      Mom, do you think Lulu is a more appropriate name for me?

Mom:   What? Noodle*? Yes, you "noodle" all day everyday anyways.

Me:      Noodle?!? You think Noodle is an appropriate name for me??!

*I LOVE to eat noodles, even more than rice. I could have noodles three meals a day and I would love it.
Dream. Come. True.
But it still makes no sense as a name in my opinion unless my last name is Soup or Combo.