Bundles Of Joy

The start of a new week. Another month comes to an end. April showers bring May flowers.

Happy hour @ Bambudda. I am the first customer to try their Thai Iced Tea mixed with brandy. Absolutely delicious, yet deadly. Their bitters supplier dropped off a sample of the Thai iced tea bitters the moment I showed up. That and a plate of scallop and kale dumplings. Nom!
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On the way home, I decided to stop to smell the flowers. Sort of. Not really. They were pretty and a reminder of Spring. And that life is beautiful.
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I got a new boss, actually. I now report to the senior manager of our group. I’m excited yet nervous. Wish me luck.

Dinner @ Notturno with A, K, and B. I originally wanted a Negroni, remembering how much I enjoyed it but decided to start off with a Manhattan, which wasn’t as good as the first time I had it when Charlie ordered it. Hmmm. We had the beef carpaccio, burrata with prosciutto, and the pasta dish. K didn’t really enjoy the “Blue Nutter” and A’s “Chan Chan” was alright. B’s beer was..well, it’s just beer.
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B&K decided to call it an early night so me and A went to Bambudda for some drinks and dessert which Curtis made for us. A is allergic to almonds (nuts in general) and has never tried macrons before as almonds are a primary ingredient in making macrons. I was hoping she would puke from an allergic reaction, but alas, she survived unscathed.

Chef Curtis Luk’s made-to-order macrons. We shared one with our server, Teresa.
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These are pork rinds with an edemame dip. They normally come with taro chips.
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Steamed buns with pork belly
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I had Tarquin’s Sidecar (my first one ever – use the sugar on the rim) a Koi Pond (so good) and a South Side which was kick ass. A had a Pimm’s cup and a bees knees. She liked the South Side better.

I went to PMS to pick up some stuff from John and along Main, I bumped into Wilson, Amy, and Danny. To my surprise, I got to meet Jax for the first time! One hell of a cute, but tired puppy from doggy day care! So cute!
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It was also Amy’s birthday dinner so we all met up later on in the evening @ Kyo for all you can eat sushi and BBQ. Surprisingly, it was pretty good, service included. Not bad but I can’t seem to gorge into so much food on a regular basis. Good times were had and I’m glad she enjoyed the water bottle gift because she was looking to get one that same day! (Phew!)

I went to pick up Eddie to head over to Tiger’s Drink House for Kie’s baby shower/BBQ/social. He hops into my car and the bastard tells me to take off my watch, and shows me the Casio calculator watch he got for my birthday! Despite him drooling over the Carrera, I quite liked the Casio. It was a throwback to my days in elementary school back in the 90s. Way cool.
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The Trifecta – Casio calculator watch / TAG Heuer Carrera Twin Time / some JDM Citizen with a nice leather strap.
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After consulting with some friends who have had children or are expecting, they all suggested to give a gift for the child such as a toy and/or cash for the parents. Not clothes and all that because it could end up being re-gifted or returned. So I took their advice and both me and Eddie got them a piggy bank from West Coast Kids along with some cash. Going to that store has scared me off from ever having children. Some of those strollers cost more than my fucking bikes!
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We got to meet Kie and Maciej’s friends on a face-to-face basis. We also got to meet his elusive mother who was present at the beginning but left shortly after we arrived.

The friends are all amazing people who really love and care about Kie and Maciej. They’re both so lucky to have them all as friends and they seem to genuinely care about their up and coming addition to the family. The food and hospitality was amazing as always and I had a great time.
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I was chatting with Kie and I asked her about her Japanese name and we discussed our Asian names. I couldn’t really read the Japanese characters, but her name roughly translates to truth, or honesty. Such a beautiful name.

And of course, the lovely couple.
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Two awesome people from different parts of the world, differing personalities, cultures, backgrounds and a whole lot more. And on April 8, they welcome their son to the world. I am so happy for them and wish them all the best of luck, joy, happiness, success and good fortune. Their son is going to be the luckiest kid in the world to have such amazing parents. I cannot be happier for them to become a family.

A big thanks to A for the cards, name tags, and bunny towels (not pictured.) They were life savers and a real hit.

Mental Anguish

Paris of the Prairies. ToonTown. Whatever they call it.

My recent travels for work take me to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Never did I think in a day of my life I would ever come here for any reason, dreading it for days and weeks but time caught up to me and handed me my capital punishment. I hopped aboard an Embraer E90 to Calgary for a stopover then off to YXE on a Bombardier C400. To think of it, I sat in the wrong seat beside some lady but it worked about because she was friendly and the guy who I was supposed to sit beside wasn’t at all interested and wanted his own space.

But as Kevin said to me, “50 Shades of Beige.” He was right.
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Their airport is under renovations and it’s actually a pretty nice airport. Nice seats with electrical and USB charging stations underneath and swanky hamoock type chairs for you to relax on.
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Saskatoon even got me a blue Nissan Note. Great on gas. I drove 26KMs in total. The fuel bars didn’t even drop. My confession: I didn’t fill up on gas. In my defense, I didn’t see any gas stations. So hah!
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Dinner @ 612 lounge/Carver’s Steakhouse at the Sheraton Cavalier. Man, did this Old Fashioned and prime rib ever suck. What an awful place.
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Collective Coffee on 20th Ave. Part of a slow transformation giving life to Saskatoon and the Prairies in general. Nice shop. Great coffee. Cool people. serving up Intelligentsia and Phil & Sebastian.
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This was the smallest washroom I’ve ever been inside. And apparently, all that’s keeping the sliding door locked is a metal hook sort of doo-hickey.
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I went to the Park Diner to see what the hubbub was all about. It certainly was a neat 50s/60s diner, but the food wasn’t anything to write home about. Not sure how it even got featured in Air Canada’s enRoute magazine (as were Collective Coffee and Ayden below.)
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Apparently, biking is a huge thing in Saskatoon. Then again, there are no hills. I guess haters are gonna hate.
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I made it a point to hit up Ayden Kitchen & Bar, featuring Chef Dale Mackay and Christopher Cho behind the bar. I was hoping they were both there on a Monday night, but perhaps I was being too optimistic. Regardless, service and food were amazing. Nowhere near cosmopolitan city amazing, but I think given that it’s Saskatoon, it was pretty amazing (but I’m nit picking at every fucking detail so take it with a grain of salt.) I wish there were more restaurants like this in Saskatoon. Well, there are, but they don’t open for fucking business on Sunday/Monday and/or Tuesday. Fuck you.

A “Refashioned.” An excellent drink, but crafted by an amateur and you could tell. Nice guy but overall, practice makes perfect.
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Starter: Scallops – Arrabiata sauce, Basil, Fennel, Lobster Glaze
Main: 3 Ways – Grilled Loin, Cripsy Rillon, & Bacon, Spaetzle, Black Trumpet Mushrooms, Cabbage, & Creme Fraiche
Dessert: “Crumble” – Preserved Local Berries, Buckwheat Crisp, Coriander Seed, Bramblethorn Ice Cream
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The scallops were delicious; loved the arrabiata sauce. The pork main was amazing. Despite the Chef MacKay saying there was no German Mennonite influence, the dish itself reminded me of my travels in Germany and Austria. A lot of traditional German/Austrian flavours where local ingredients really bring out the special flavours of the food. The crumble just awesome – I loved the use of local berries and the sweet and tart flavours.

I won’t lie. I expected all the women here in Saskatoon to be red neck ugly, but to my pleasant surprise, they’re pretty damn hot and beautiful.
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These are the phone rates at the hotel. I saw them and felt that this was some third-world bullshit. Roaming on your mobile phone in Nigeria is cheaper than this bullshit.
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I saw this and it reminded me of Jake’s dad. He apparently delivered for The Star Phoenix as his first job. (Side note: When Jake told me this, I thought Star Phoenix was a Chinese restaurant, which are abundant in Saskatoon.)
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I went back to Ayden for lunch and got a cucumber lime soda. It reminded me of the lime drink you get at Viet restaurants and surely, the inspiration came from his travels in Southeast Asia. He knew of Hoi An, Hainan, Saigon and Ha Long Bay. Super cool guy. This was something like my parents used to make me!
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Wes, the guy behind the bar, recommended the Butcher’s Burger. Fresh ground prime rib burger with fried egg on top accompanied by kennebec fries and a pork belly Caesar salad. It was one hell of a mean burger and I loved the fries and salad, but it was such a hearty meal. I should have opted for just a sandwich in which I am confident I would have been more than satisfied. Oh, and that bun. Was it ever fucking awesome.
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Back to Collective Coffee to kill some time. Choose your vice.
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Back at the airport, after clearing security, I make it up to the gates and I see this cringe-worthy moment on television where an Asian girl is dressed up as a lady bug but wears Hello Kitty glasses to put on that “cute” look. I think it’s for a game show, “Let’s Make A Deal.” Truth: Despite it being cringe worthy, I grew to accept her cuteness. I am a sucker.
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And of all places, I win a coffee at Tim Horton’s in Saskatoon. Who’d a thunk?!
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Kicking it up after finding my flight is delayed. I didn’t think I’d make it back in time to catch my flight to Vancouver in Calgary. Turns out I had 30 mins to spare.
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Fun fact: YXE airport has the best 80s and 90s music playing at their airport. I don’t think anybody can top this. It’s almost my favourite airport. Yikes.

I managed to pummel through this book from over a year ago. I finally managed to finish it earlier. Awesome book. Coles Notes version: Jack goes crazy when he becomes famous. Wut do!? Life sucks when you’ve already reached the top because you have to ask yourself, “What next? What now?” Funny thing – in the story, he turns down sex from a woman who is desperately begging him to bang her. That is gangster.
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“It always makes me proud to love the world somehow – Hate’s so easy compared – But here I go flattering myself helling headbent to the silliest hate I ever had.” – Jack Kerouac

Carousel #6 @ YVR baggage claim. Is it a coincidence that I was sitting at gate 6 at YXE? I think not! But oh, right. This girl to the right had a nice shirt. She was cute. And I think she was half But it’s all about the shirt.
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And finally – I put an end to the mental anguish I’ve been putting myself through for the past 15 months. Much like Jack Kerouac in the Big Sur, he suffers from a mental breakdown after becoming the King of The Beat Generation, and an unwanted fame and attention. After a confession to Charlie, Eddie and Ray last Friday that I had been putting off the idea of picking up a watch for so long, they encouraged me to just get it. And I’m glad I did.

Behold. The 2014 TAG Heuer Carrera Twin Time Calibre 7 GMT – An evolution of the 2004’s Twin Time’s release. Something awesome about years ending in 4.

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1984
1994
2004
2014

I think time is on to something awesome here. Even my horoscope said so!
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10+ years of hard work and dedication in honing my craft in the industry is represented here in this watch. I chose specifically the Twin Time for several reasons. One of which is the time difference of my company and the different time zone challenges I face on a daily basis, be it locally or on the road. That, and my travels often take me outside of Pacific Standard Time. More so, because my mind, heart, and soul are often at different times and places.

But most importantly, the Twin Time is homage to the fact that I was brought into this world from another time zone. I have never forgotten that despite Vancouver being home to me. The struggles and pains in which me and my parents left my birthplace to start a new and better life. Time was not at their side back then. But it is now.

And also mine.
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Credit: A big thanks to Ray Loy @ Bambudda for the referral. His lead was a great sales guy and gave me a no-nonsense out the door price. Great service. Amazing price. No haggling required. Got me what I wanted and made sure I was happy with the watch.

Beauty

My favourite season of the year. When the cherry blossoms bloom. Because they remind me of her.
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Finally – all finished. I love it. She and Him Classics poster. I wish it were more like you and me.
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A perfect fit. No shuffling around or nonsense required. I honestly didn’t think it would be possible. Why I love this car.
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Interestingly enough, and to my surprise, Kie was pregnant the whole time and I had no clue! Congrats to Maciej and Kie on their up and coming son due April 8. I’m so happy for them! This is why Spring is awesome.

Spring Wind

The week blew by rather quickly. It was jam packed and full of adventure. Never a dull moment; not enough to even relax.

One of the headaches of this project is almost nearing an end. Thank goodness. But I hit the road again on Sunday.

To finish off the week, I hit up the night out on the town with Charlie and Eddie.

Friday Night – Part 1 @ Notturno Gastown
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– Cured white anchovies, eggs, salsa verde, garlic aioli
РBeef Carpaccio, salsa verde, garlic pur̩e, pecorino cheese, maldon salt, cracked pepper
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– Lamb Peposo stew: lamb shoulder, onions, garlic, veal stock, red wine and lots of cracked pepper served with grilled bread and mascarpone cheese
– Featured pasta – I don’t recall exactly but it was a durum wheat spaghetti with a fresh-made Italian tomato sauce along with chorizo, garlic, and spinach
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Not pictured
– Burrata with Serego Alighieri extra virgin olive oil, maldon salt, cracked pepper, and prosciutto

All of the dishes were served with bread, except for the beef carpaccio. You will get full very quickly.

Drinks:
– Maple Cubed – an in-house original cocktail by world-famous “H”
Tennessee whiskey, maple syrup, maple bitters, dry Fino Sherry, and Benedictine, all smoked with maple wood x 3
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– Old fashioned x 2 (awesome)
– Manhattan x 2 (incredible)
– Affinity x 1 (mediocre)
– Negroni x 1 (this stole the spotlight of the night in my opinion)
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Food, drinks, service – 10/10. We went earlier in the evening so it was a little quiet (expected for a Friday) and then the crowds came rushing in at 8:30pm. We would have loved to stay a little longer but there were other hungry patrons so we kindly left. The people who came in behind us were downright rude and inconsiderate while they seated themselves. Not even a “sorry” or “pardon me.” They were banging their chairs against ours and tried to squeeze past us. Assholes.

The drinks here – simply amazing. Come here for the classics. They will leave an amazing impression. The food – top notch ingredients and wonderful Italian flavours. So simple, yet, fantastic. This is why I love Italian cicchetti.

Don’t come here if you are looking for huge portions or the best bang for buck. The food is meant to be shared. This means you, Verdasco. Go away.

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Friday night – Part 2 @ Bambudda Gastown

Our entourage headed over to our Gastown favourite, Bambudda, to finish the evening off. Charlotte made her appearance here and I know that fucker Eddie loved it.

Food (late night menu)
– Pig trotters. Not what we expected but it delicious. Great to nibble on over some drinks and to share. (Sorry, no pictures but think nibbles of tonkatsu.)
– Steamed buns with pork belly. So good, we got two orders.
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Drinks:
– Whiskey Mac x 2. A cocktail consisting of whiskey with ginger and lemon. Good enough to cure a cold. A fantastic slow sipper. Not for the weak. You’ve been warned.
– Koi pond x 1 (Charlie’s favourite)
– Mother In Law – As the name states, it’ll kick your ass. One hell of a stiff drink.

Eddie wanted maraschino cherries. He instead ended up getting bourbon soaked cherries.
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Food, service, drinks – as always, a 10/10. This is why we keep going back.

Hit The Road

A mid-month post. And it’s been a while since the previous one for which I sincerely apologize for.

March left on a high note where I had learned I was the winner of the 48 Hours In A Porsche contest, which also coincided with the OpenRoad Porsche Centre Langley’s first annual Cars & Coffee meets and my one year anniversary of ownership of the 996.

The only cars worthy of my Nokia and attention. The wheels on this 2002 were awful but still a nice car…from 10 feet away.
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No matter how ugly of a colour you throw on a long-hood aircooled Porsche, it still looks hot, even vomit green.
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TAG Heuer 911 Carerra. An M491 factory wide body NA, gutted and modified to the tits, full of glory. This car was hot.
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slowguy – You need these socks for the 996TT.
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Victory – Cheers to the Triangle Cafe crew. We have overcome our most despised villain.
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The beginning of March marked the beginning of the grind – I was tossed a project that had no foreseeable results besides long days, followed by short nights, only to be be drowned by a few cocktails. This is when you know the past taps you on the shoulder to remind you of your jet-settin’ways, routine of chain hotels, massive airports, and rejections of your corporate AMEX. This is a project that would re-define the scope of my career, enabling a new era of communication to people around the world. Despite the simplicity on paper behind this concept, this new technology is the wolf wearing sheep’s clothing – it is an underestimated monster that consumes you to the point where it eats up your time and soul. This project pushed me to the brink of cracking; I often felt like throwing in the towel, but it is my drive and will to never crack under pressure.

But perhaps this is a sign to move on. The grass is not always greener on the other side, but sometimes, you have to take your chances. And I just might.

The Last Supper (before leaving Vancouver.)
Crispy Oysters, ramen, a bees knees, and a sloe gin fizz. Missing: Scallop & kale dumplings
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Buddy guy here was hand cuffed then thrown into the car while good cops/ bad cops were munching away.
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Move over, hipsters. There’s a new barista in town.
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Back to my jet-settin’ ways. YVR Terminal A Departures. Off to YYC.
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Dat luggage. FYI – This woman is your archetypal “WASP” aka White Anglo Saxon Protestant to be found in Alberta.
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These pretzels are making me thirsty! I never knew AC served them as I never got them on my flights to LAX.
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Ox & Angela – Spanish Tapas on 17th. Great food. Drinks were alright. Portions were huge for tapas. Not pictured – dates and salad.
Pan fried mushrooms on toast
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Pan seared scallops
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ZFC fried chicken
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My view from the hotel. The Shell Centre
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The Heavenly Bed
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Dinner @ Model Milk
Their famous Black Manhattan. Amazing cocktail.
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Tuna Crudo, Cheezy Poofs, and Elk Tartare
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Nice watch.
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Dinner @ Anju. This place is alright. It’s just modern Korean but let’s be serious – Korean food can never be elevated in any way. I was not impressed or disappointed (okay, maybe a little bit.) I couldn’t recommend anyone to try this place out, however. It’s just Korean food.

Brown & Bitter – Nikka from the barrel, bekseju, amaretto, bitters. Was alright.
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Wagyu beef tartare
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Lettuce wraps with tofu (Too much meat already.) That rice – fucking amazing!
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Pork and shrimp dumplings. The wrapper really maintains the traditional Korean style. The sauce was pretty good though.
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Red bean creme brulee. I think the red bean was good. This creme brule frilly shit wasn’t.
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I had lunch with my old manager that same day and although he looks like he’s doing well, his job search was disparaging. I hope he gets back on his feet soon. By far, the best manager I ever had.

Here’s a Parisian Negroni at Milk Tiger Lounge. This thing was fantastic. I could drink this all day. This place has some wild cocktails. Their food sucks, however. If you can even call it food.
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I was pretty busy on this day so I managed to sneak out for lunch @ Spolumbo’s (Try their meatloaf sandwich) and a quick stop at the DeDa Design lab for an espresso and cappuccino @ Monogram Coffee (located inside.) I wish more design studios and coffee shops were like this. And Vancouver – if you’re reading this: Learn how to make a cappuccino from the guys in Calgary. They got this shit pat down.
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Raw Bar by Duncan Ly
Imperial spring rolls & beef carpaccio
Not pictured: beef short rib steamed buns

I’d recommend this place, but service here was a fucking gong show. I think they were all newbs.
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@ Milk Tiger Lounge – I had a sazerac and Mike had a slow gin fizz along with their “spicy bar nuts” and pretzels. I got an Old Fashioned and he followed up with I think a Suffering Bastard.
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No visit is complete without a stop at Phil & Sebastian
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The Leafs were in town to duke it out with the Flames. What I thought was post game hooliganism, as I heard a bunch of “OOOOOOOOH!” screaming through the window, low and behold – it was actually a fucking rap battle on the street. Good grief.
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@Model Milk – Some girl (and presumably boyfriend) sitting at the end of the bar had told me straight up that I had reminded her of a scene in Lost In Translation, and that there was “something” about me, the way I sat on my stool, the way I held my glass, to the way I looked at the wall of alcohol and glasses. She said it was hot and she wanted to take a photo of me. Of course, it was hard because I was flattered and of course, stupefied. I am no Bill Murray, okay? But anyway, thanks for making my day, girl a the bar. I think her name was Berkeley.

The bartender chick was cool. Madeline. Nice girl.

Another Black Manhatten
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Pretty WASP girl
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Meat Hook
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Calgary’s food and bar scene. Who knew it was in a class of it’s own. Friendly people. Great drinks. Awesome food. Not bad.

And back at the hotel, even the hotel knows I should buy a watch!
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I’ve been collecting their Green Choise cards all week. Each card earns you 500 SPG points, or a $5 food voucher. I went with the SPG points.
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Breakfast with Mike, Lisa, and Theo @ Diner Deluxe. Pretty good, huge portions (if that’s your thing) good food, good people, good service, and once featured on the food network. A great alterantive to OED on the same spot.
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An HK cafe dinner with my siblings in Richmond. I missed good Asian food.
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We all missed the concert @ UBC on Friday the 13th. Darn.
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Chinese signs are the best. Explain this to me.
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RIP recycling box
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A sazerac @ Bambudda on Saint Patrick’s Day. Sorry.
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