Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Here's to 2009!

So far, touch wood, 2009 has been great. Here are the highlights:

- I held a small dinner party on New Year's Day. It is so important to me to start the year off with people I care deeply for and the people around my table fit in that category. I made steak pie which is the traditional New Year's meal in Scotland, and also made chicken for my sister-in-law and me [not to mention pasta for my oldest niece and congee for the little one]. However, I did not make enough veggies and poor D. didn't get any - neither did my brother but he doesn't eat veggies. I had a medley that included tons of Brussels sprouts and as D. doesn't like those [I didn't realize beforehand] I didn't put any on his plate. However, there were other veggies there so by the time he asked for some, the medley was gone. I should have picked out the Brussels sprouts to begin with. Normally I have WAY too much food. Bad hostess...

I got to spend time with my nieces, D., my bff and his charming partner, and my snowboarding buddy - not to mention getting to see my brother R. and my sister-in-law. That was a lovely start to 2009.

- I had my awesome friend B. and her partner Ian over for waffles on Saturday. Then we all went on a shopping excursion to outlets north of Toronto. We didn't stay long there, but drove to the other end of the city to check out J-Town - a Japanese shopping centre B. had heard about. Apparently it had a bakery, a butcher shop, and a fish monger. When we got there they were all closed. It turns out that the shopping complex shut for five days over new year's. B. was undeterred though and walked around until we found one store that was open. It had an aisle of cheaper looking goods (think of some type of Japanese Dollar Store), and a centre table covered in nice looking dishes.

I grabbed a box of two cute bowls from the centre table and went to the cash to pay. The guy at the cash immediately told me that I couldn't buy them. I was a bit confused as I hadn't grabbed the ones on display. But then the guy added that I couldn't buy any of the items from the centre table. He explained that we could only buy from the first aisle (ie. the Japanese Dollarama) and that the guy who sold the stuff on the centre table wasn't in that day. I felt like I was in an episode of Seinfeld, or perhaps Candid Camera.

I think B. was having an even harder time accepting the news. She started asking the guy, "What if we give you exact cash?"

I wandered over to a selection of bowls and asked, "So, I can buy these?"

That was approved, so I picked up a bowl and wandered with it for a while. But I didn't really like it. I only felt guilty that I didn't like the dude's goods and only wanted the stuff that wasn't for sale that day. The three of us kept wandering up and down the same freaking aisles. At one point Ian and I started giggling in front of one display of particularly lame looking goods. It's like we were all desperately trying to find something of interest to make our trip worthwhile. I ended up leaving with a pair of sandals with fake wooden soles. They are cute to wear around the house.

Ian I almost died laughing as soon as we got outside. We couldn't believe that everything was closed. What made it even more unbelievable was that the Chinese mega grocery store had been open on New Year's Day (from 9am to 10pm no less) so this started endless jokes about how the Japanese were lazy but the Chinese were hard workers (B. has Chinese heritage and my nieces are Chinese so we were just making lame jokes. None of us actually has anything against Japanese people). We all decided that sashimi meant "too lazy to cook" in English.

So then we ended up at Congee Queen which is a great Chinese restaurant. Lots of laughs and lots of good food with good friends. What could be better?

I rented a car on the 2nd and my snowboarding buddy and I (let's call her SG for Snowbird Girl) went off to a nearby hill. I fell. A lot. But they were controlled falls and over-all we both had a great day. Lessons start this Saturday so we wanted to get in a run or two at first. Even better, although I still have a good deal of lower back pain, it isn't affected in the least by snowboarding. In fact my back was a little bit better after snowboarding. Yay!

Who knows? I'm very grateful that so far the first days of the year have been kind to me.


mainja said...

J-town is a weird place. Because, it's all one store, but it's several stores. You have to pay at different places in the store for different goods.

All that said, possibly the best bakery I've ever been too. We decided it was a VERY good thing that it wasn't close to the house, or we'd want to eat from there everyday.

The rest of the stuff I'm pretty sure you could get most anywhere. Oh, but I've heard the fish is good, but I hate fish, so I wasn't leaping in...

eroswings said...

I try not to buy crap I don't need, esp. junk...unless it's a dollar store and it's something silly and fun I can give away...fun and easy laughs for all.

Sharing a meal with people you enjoy is great. I don't think I've ever had Brussels sprouts; but I've had delicious Belgian waffles.

You did have a great, fun first week of 2009!

Stewie said...

Steak pie recipe please! If it has brussel sprouts, disregard. They make me about want to puke.

Susan as herself said...

That sounds like a fun start to the year indeed. And I love Brussels sprouts---I know that probably makes me crazy...

Roxrocks said...

I love Brussel Sprouts too! Especially with butter and lots of sea salt and fresh ground pepper.

Freak Magnet said...

Sounds like you started off the year on the right foot. Hopefully, what's left is good, too.

Snooze said...

Mainja: Oooh - Now I want to go to the bakery

Eros: Brussels sprouts rock, but you have to cook them correctly (lots of butter!) and beware of people who will tell you they are horrible

Stewie: It's a stew (no veggies) with puff pastry on top! Simple but fun to make. I make great Brussels sprouts. You don't like them because you haven't had mine.

Susan: Yay! Another Brussels sprouts fan. I don't know why they get such a bad rap.

Rox: That is indeed the best way to eat them, but I love a new recipe I tried that glazes them with honey and white wine. Yum.

FM: That's what I'm hoping for!!!!

Batina said...

Big smiles, Ian says it was a funny day but even more hilarious reading it. You're such a good writer Sue!

And you know J-town is not all a lost the fish place is really good and there is an authentic Japanese take out place that is really good called "Taro Fish" at 800 Sheppard Avenue East. If you trust me one more time I'm sure it will break this supposed curse you think you have with me in going to places (tease)! And this time I'll do the driving and get us there as quick as can be.

Sigh I really want to love J-town perhaps I'll go again and oh..goodness it was not a Dollarama like store (humph I say in a joking manner)...sigh alas perhaps it was but just that one store.

P.S For all those that like brussel sprouts try breaking the leaves apart and cooking them in a pan with butter mmm mmm mmm good-ness.

Snooze said...

Batina! love the name... I do want to try J-Town again, it looks great - but you must admit that the selection that was open that day was a bit lacking. But Congee Queen made up for it all.