2017 in Review: Ricky’s Favourite Eats (Part 2)

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Part 2 of this somewhat narcissistic post about my culinary adventures this year, but you know what, this is my blog so whatevs.

I basically spent all of June in Europe, so the food here will be Euro-centric.

I already talked about all the things I ate in Ireland here. Loam still stands out to this day and changed my mind on how carrots should taste. And also flowers. They taste surprisingly good.


What can you say about Spain? The food there is magnificent. It’s a beautiful country with very kind people and I just love love Spain. I’ve been there five times in seven years, and I can’t even see myself not at least trying to visit Spain every year.

What do I eat in Spain?

Well, most of the time I’ve been in Spain, I’ve been in Santander where we have a work office. Luckily, northern Spain is famous for their pintxos, which are essentially bread with something on top. It looks like these:

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The pintxo on the top left is an egg on top of morcilla, which is blood sausage. Super flavorful. The one on the bottom right is sushito peppers (the best) on top of some sort of meat. Not sure I remember what it was, but anyways, when you go to a bar in Northern Spain, these are everywhere and they are super delicious.

You know what else is delicious? Pulpo aka octopus. It is sad that, you know, octopus are so intelligent, but so are pigs and both are delicious. Should we be eating more intelligent creatures? I don’t know. Anyways, octopus are very popular in Europe and they are super cheap there, unlike in North America. This dish cost me 3 euros!

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Also, as always in Spain, I eat a lot of anchovies and sardines. Super tasty.

I was in Portugal for a few days in July, so naturally I ate a few memorable things that I didn’t take pictures of, including

- cod (bacalau)
– more octopus
– squid ink rice

Lisbon has an amazing food market called Time Out Lisbon, I could honestly just live there it’s got so much good food.

On top of that, I had a pretty good burger in Toronto courtesy of Bar Buca

We had a very decadent mac & cheese at my bbq, from this recipe

Her Father’s Cider had a surprisingly good Fried Chicken

A somewhat disappointing meal at Skippa was rectified by an amazing sardine dish at 86’d.

Not much happened in October. Here are some of my favorite places to eat in Scarborough/Marham

Papa Changs – A great little shop that sells amazing Taiwanese food for a helluva price.

Gourmet Malaysia – Such good Malaysian food – Laksa, roti, noodles, it’s all there. There’s also a great food stall in First Markham Place

Oriental Gourmet (Highway 7 and McGowan) - Their pork stomach soup is maybe my favorite soup in the city. Also the smoked duck and sweet and sour pork are great.

Congee Queen – So good. I would eat there every week if it was downtown.

Shanghai Dim Sum – Great for shanghai style eats.

November was ballin month, as there was great eats to be had at two critically acclaimed Toronto restaurants – Alo and Doma

Both were fantastic. The pan au lait with the cultured butter was so good at Alo I actually started laughing. Doma’s seafood plate was delightfully large and filling which earned it bonus points. Alo was great, but the portions were..not that high. French people I guess.

I went to Costa Rica, so a lot of beans and rice. It’s not the most highly regarded culinary place, but I did enjoy the food I had there.

2017 in Review: Ricky’s Favourite Eats (Part 1)

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Here’s a list of things I ate that I enjoyed this year, from what I remember. My memory is not that good. It’s not all burgers, as much as you guys would like to think that’s the only thing I ate.

Maybe I’ll go month by month. I’ll break this into two parts.

I don’t remember anything from the month of January.

Skyline Burger, Skyline diner. The burger that started the journey of best burgers. I remember it was the month of February because it was also the same day I saw Lego Batman. It was a good burger, one good enough to make it a baseline burger.

We also had the Museum burger in February which did not reach the heights we imagined it would, but in retrospect, not a bad burger.

March aka SXSW
March = Austin for me, so there were many great things I ate this month. Here is a list

Casino El Camino’s Amarillo Burger – my favorite burger. Almost always one of the first things I eat in Austin. It’s 3/4 pound paddy of freshly ground beef with a delicious cilantro mayo and roasted serrano. It’s got heat but everything about it is pure America.

La Barbecue BBQ – Last year, me and Paul had to wait an hour to eat La Barbecue’s bbq. This year, I just had to go to the Canadian tech party where they had a foodie who decided to use his food budget to hire La Barbecue to cater the party. Why the hell not! The brisket was succulent, the beans were packed with flavor and their sausages have a nice jalapeno flavor to it. It’s not Franklins, but it’s damn close.

Home made BBQ – My friend Alison has relatives in Texas and her relatives have a home made bbq in their backyard. It’s the second time I’ve been there and my my, the food that Milan (the man in the picture below) makes is ridiculous. Makes me want to build my own bbq in my alleyway backyard.

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I ate rattlesnake for the first time in Sedona, not much special, sadly.

Frank’s wedding had an amazing black cod. Maybe one of the best things I’ve had at a wedding. I made a poor bet when I decided to trade one bite of my cod for one bite of Damien (my friend)’s beef thing. I’ll never get that bite back.

Actually here’s my favorite things I’ve had a wedding so far

1. My mom’s cousin’s son married a portuguese women and since both those families are rich, they had a rich man’s portugese-chinese wedding where there was a seafood buffet at midnight. I think I had two lobsters at midnight, after eating a steak for dinner, and about three bottles of wine. It was glorious. All the chinese people were lining up waiting for the buffet to open at about 11:30 while the portugese were too busy dancing and not keeping their eye on the prize.

2. Alison’s BBQ wedding (see below). It was unlimited bbq and unlimited bourbon with a bourbon expert walking you through each drink. You can’t go wrong.

3. Frank’s Miso cod – If only it was unlimited.

4. The three indian weddings I’ve been to. It’s an unlimited indian buffet, how great are those? I think the key is unlimited

Anyways back to it..

Somehow I got invited to a ramen tasting for Hot Docs featuring one of the best ramen chefs from Japan who cooked ramen for us in the Momofuku kitchen. Momofuku also up platters of their steamed buns, so yes, that was a very good lunch break.

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My friend Alison’s wedding in Columbus also had this amazing bbq where the cooks smoked the food at the farm we were on. The smoked chicken was out of this world, and for the first time ever I think I regretted eating all the non chicken meat first, leaving precious little room for the chicken (which I tasted later).

What were some great things you ate?

2017 in Review: Ricky’s Favourite Songs

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Here are my favourite songs. I listened to a lot of songs this year due to a decrease in managerial responsibilities at work (less meetings = more time to listen to music). Anyways, here they are.

Young Fathers – Only God Knows

A song that’s featured on the Trainspotting 2 soundtrack, this track from Young Fathers is so good I had to double check to make sure it wasn’t a famous cover. With it’s relentless beat and uplifting sound, “Only God Knows” is a pulsating track that’s further enhanced by the use of the Leith Congregational Choir. When Danny Boyle says this song is the heartbeat that drives his movie, you can totally understand it.

Paramore – Rose Colored Boy

Catchy as hell pop song. I can’t say I heard a Paramore song before this year, but I guess they went through some changes and now sound like an ’80s pop band. Good for them, good for me.

Carly Rae Jepsen – Cut to the Feeling

The only song Carly Rae Jepsen released this year (I think), but really with a track like this she only needs to do one a year. Another really catchy pop song – CRJ has a knack for writing these. It’s irresistible so why try?

Sundara Karma – She Said

Who said Brit pop is dead? Every few years some band comes along that clearly has listened to too much Brit pop. This year it’s Sundara Karma, who is doing their best to revive the sound that brought us so many big and memorable bands. “She Said” is one of the many single worthy songs on their album and it features all the things you expect – a big hook, guitars and attitude. Don’t sleep on this band.

The XX – On Hold

What a fuckin’ great song. By now everyone has probably heard this already, but it’s a magnificent song that highlights the three members of the band at their greatest powers. Simple melodies, amazing vocal work and Jamie XX’s on point production. You wouldn’t have figured this song could come out from the band when they delivered their Mercury winning debut record and that in itself bodes very well for this group as they get bigger and bigger in the future.

Alvvays – Dreams Tonite

A perfect lullaby that hits all the right nostalgic notes. The warm fuzzy feelings you get from listening to this song are a perfect way to counteract the harsh reality that is the world today. I was curious how Alvvays would top their debut record and this song was a great start.

The Horrors – Something To Remember Me By

My favorite song of the year, I wrote about it already here. It’s so good.

Little Cub – Too Much Love

One of those songs where you don’t think of much at first but then you find yourself listening to it over and over again. I really like the synthesizer in the chorus. It’s a low key jam.

Alex Cameron – Stranger’s Kiss
I love duets for some reason and this one with Angel Olsen is the best of the year. Read more about it here

Ratboy – Laid Back

Yes this sounds like a Jamie T song, but that’s not always a bad thing

What were your favourite songs?

For a full list of songs, look below!

Best Ways to Make New Friends in a New City

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So Celeste and I conveniently switched cities (still a sore subject – let’s not talk about it) and we’ve had to make new friends. Making new friends when you’re in kindergarden is fun. Making friends in your 20s and 30s? It’s terrible. So, we’ve put together a handy-dandy list of the best ways to make new friends in a new city for all y’all who are contemplating a city switch or just wanna ditch your homies. If you think of any others we’re missing, please let us know. We’re still struggling:

1) Loudly Announce your Costco Membership Everywhere You Go.
At a certain age, the allure of a trip to Costco starts to outweigh the allure of free shows and club entrances. We are at that age. Nothing can perk up interest in a bar/Metro car/sidewalk faster than a casual (but very loud and well articulated) mention of your Costco membership and ability/willingness to bring guests. Industrial-size goodies for everyone!

2) Offer Candy to Strangers.
Gum. Werthers. Lifesavers. Homemade cookies. Keep these in your (man)purse, pockets, and/or briefcase and offer them indiscriminately, early and often. Although we’ve all been taught as children not to take candy from strangers, apparently that rule becomes moot when you’re a bored millennial looking for a snack. You’ll find yourself surrounded by friends … or at least people looking for a way to freshen their breath.

3) Pull out a Flip Phone.
Whether it’s working or not, people LOVE to see a good ol’ flip phone. Offer to let them give it a flip, throw it on the ground, or pretend it’s a walkie-talkie. All amazing party tricks – and for $3 on ebay. A steal.

4) Be Nice.
All right, here comes our moralizing. As some of you may know, the world has had a rough year (or 5). It would be nice … if people could just be nice. So next time you find yourself wanting to hit an idiot over the head – don’t. Be nice.

That’s it. Happy 2018!