Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Travel - Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)


The trip to Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) was an interesting one in many perspectives. First of all, during my 4 days stay in the month of May, I somehow took very few pictures, a total of less than 200 before filtering of course. What happened? Nothing to be honest but I would consider myself struggling on a point / issue raised by a friend shortly before my trip. I was asked whether I travel to experience my journeys with my eyes and mind or via the viewfinder of a camera. It did bother me for quite some time and I repeated ask myself that question hoping to find an answer or a justification against that. I take pictures to capture the moment, to construct each of my images within a fixed frame to tell a story, to express a massage via the image. I have to agree that at times I snap more than I should without really thinking what I want to express, that includes pictures of food and general snapshots. I think it is a habit I must grow out of in order to focus on what I really want, to bring some meaning to the pictures I take. It is not so much about the quality of the pictures, I am still an infant in the art and science of photography, but it is the attitude behind the act that matters more.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Travel - Guam (Part 5/5)

View from Two Lover's Point (Guam)

Two Lover's Point is one of the key attractions in Guam located on a cliff-side overlooking both the Tumon Bay and Philippine Sea. Stunning view and on a quiet afternoon, the sound of the  crushing waves somewhat created a sense of peacefulness, filled the air with joy and ... love? The story or the legend of Two Lovers Point (Puntan Dos Amantes) goes something like this according to its website: "The lovers tied their long black hair into a single knot. And acting as if they were entirely alone, they looked deeply into each other's eyes and kissed for the final time. Then they leaped over the long, deep cliff into the roaring waters below." Is it just me or I find the idea a bit ... daunting or perhaps not so romantic? The idea of the knot and jumping off a cliff is not really a modern definition of romance right? Then again, during a different period, the ways to express true love differ quite significantly across different cultures, what we considered a common practice may not apply to two lovers across the pacific, we must respect each of their ways of cultural expression and most importantly is the fact that what's common among cultures is the underlying concept of love and affection between two lovers, that's universal in my opinion. (I may be a bit off topic here but the same theory applies to food such as soup which many cultures have it as part of their culinary history even when there were no contact between them across continents. What about the concept of spirits, ghosts?) In any case, Two Lover's Point in Guam represent true love and is worth a visit not just for the view but for what it represents.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Tim Hortons (Ranting)

No matter how you like to call it, a donut house, coffee shop or a deli, Tim Hortons has become a household name for Canadians. I frequent it for its overly sweet double-double (double sugar, double CREAM) coffee more often then I should, not because of its ... humm at its very best mediocre coffee (in my opinion of course) or food, but for the sense of familiarity. The convenient locations, the familiar decor, the overly sweet flavors experienced when young are the few reasons for my return visits. Many memories, countless precious hours have been spent in their shops. I am pretty sure many loyal customers have the same sort of feelings and sense of familiarities on their return visits.

Tim Hortons has expanded quite rapidly over the last 5 - 8 years in terms of number of locations and food selections, offering more than just coffee and donuts but all sorts of sandwiches, soups and of course wraps. In terms of business potentials, one can clearly see from its constant queues almost in every single outlets across the nation. While one may judge by such observations as a positive sign, a simple act of actually queuing up for a cup of coffee would prove you otherwise, unfortunately!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Queen Margherita Pizza (Toronto)


Stepping into Queen Margherita Pizza (QMP) made me feel like stepping back in time for a moment with its name, its wooden door and the aged building exterior. However once I was greeted by a young, tall and stunning receptionist with such a welcoming smile, I know I am in for something ... different? The lower floor was quite cozy (aka small!) but a few steps up the tight and crackling staircase which can fit only one person and one way traffic, one will find a very large modern dining room filled with natural sunlight! Hello natural sunlight!!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Travel - Guam (Part 4/5)


The people in Guam seem to be enjoying themselves most of the time, enjoying the abundance of sunshine, the heat (some prefer the heat), the friendliness among neighbors, the frequent festivals, and of course the food. After a few days of staying here in Guam, I am quite used to the heat already, I embraced the heat and humidity because there was not point fighting against it, you will sweat anyhow. Arriving at the Agat Mango Festival with that mentality was proven wise! The American flag I saw flying around was a good reminder that I was actually in the land of the USA because with the humidity and large amount of Japanese tourists in town all the time, it was hard to think otherwise.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Life Is Meals: A Food Lover's Book of Days (Books)

I have just started reading this newly acquired book which I think is more than just another printed pile of paper on the topic of food or how unhealthy processed food can be over the last few decades, it is a book that tells stories, memories and experiences of the authors, in their kitchen or over meals on each day of the year.
... [the authors] put the book together not to be definitive but rather to appeal to those for who eating is something more than a mere necessity. It's not meant to replace favorite cookbooks but instead, in a way, to compliment them, to give them further context and, in the course of doing it, to give a year, perhaps more, of pleasure ... Life is many things, and among the best of them, it is meals. - Life Is Meals: A Food Lover's Book of Days,  James and Kay Salter
We eat on a daily basis because of necessity (and quite fortunate indeed), some have the luxury of having three or more meals a day, some live by a meal a day either by choice or not, some with great effort may be able to squeeze one or two meals during their busy schedules for a quick bites. No matter which category you fall under, I believe food is often best enjoyed by sharing them with others, your loved ones or whoever enjoy and appreciate the food as something beyond mere necessity. Like food, stories and memories are meant to be shared and treasured. Most meals, if not all, are often carried on with all sorts of conversations, start talking, start communicating over meals, it is time to tell your stories for others to enjoy!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Oatmeal and Raisins Cookies

Oatmeal & Raisins Cookies

Yes it has been a long while since I cooked or baked anything, please forgive my laziness at times. The important thing is that I am back! Cookies have to be one the easiest items for those who enjoy baking but I still post this up because it means more than just a tray of simple Oatmeal and Raisins cookies, it marked the re-beginning of my cooking habits. I am driven not just for the love for food, I am driven by my passion and will to cook, bake, create, serve, love and eat of course.  No matter it makes much sense to you or not, it makes perfect sense to me which is most important. I followed Bill Grander's Everyday recipe (thanks http://gastronomousanonymous.com/ for the recipe book! ), simple and ready to eat within an hour for sure! Oatmeal and Raisins Cookies, Enjoy! :)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Travel - Guam (Part 3/5)


The Maila Ta Fan Boka (Come, Let's Eat) started on a high note, as in the top floor of Hotel Nikko Guam. It was nothing overly formal, a brief introduction by the organizer and a breakfast session overlooking Guam's Tumon Bay. To my surprise, there were over 50 bloggers and representatives from various Asian countries attending this event, namely, Hong Kong, Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan and Philippines. For once, I feel very comfortable tweeting on the go because most people here are doing the same! We were encouraged to tweet, post or even blog on the go with the mobile devices provided. I think Hong Kong should try something like that both for the tourism and the promotion of digital media for what it is worth. I know it is kind of risky to bring out the topic of social / digital media but however you like to define it, it remains an area of growth and one that more people and businesses are trying to understand for its full potential. Anyhow, after breakfast, our first stop was a mango farm!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Travel - Guam (Part 2/5)


As mentioned, Guam is an unincorporated territory of the United States located in the western Pacific Ocean. It is part of the USA only differ by the fact that the "state / territory" has no voting rights. With almost 40K US troops stationed there, the Guam government received an annual compensation or so-called rent for that part of the land within the island accordingly to my sources. That is a fairly large sum of money for an island of this size and population, so in other words, I say Guam is quite rich! It does make one wonders why the USA want to keep this island under its control repeatedly over the past century or so. Time for some history? Like it or not, I am going to talk about it for a bit before going into details of my trip which include tons of food 24/7 and a few exciting activities such as flying a plane and other water sports. Of course it is a given to be able to see clear blue sky and fluffy clouds almost every single morning!

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