Thursday, February 22, 2007


On a whim, my mom and I decided to visit Indochine restaurant in Tacoma, Washington yesterday It was a lovely experience. I strongly recommend the restaurant to anyone who enjoys asian fusion cuisine.

We started off with several "Blue Mermaid" cocktails, which we'd eyed enviously at other tables. A delicious combination of coconut vodka, curacoa, alize, limoncello and lime juice, they were topped with a fresh orchid. At $8.50 a piece for doubles, I felt they were fairly priced, at least by Canadian standards!

We weren't feeling quite hungry enough for dinner, so we shared several appetizers instead. First came the curry chicken satay skewers with peanut sauce and green papya salad on the side ($8). They were incredibly moist and lightly seasoned. The sauce was smoothly textured and had the perfect amount of spice without being overly hot. Next we tried the toasted seseme chicken wrap ($12). Although I wouldn't have called the dish a "wrap" (it came served with a pastry-like flat bread on which you could place the chicken--asian fusion tostada would be more accurate), it was deliciously seasoned and presented beautifully. The chicken was seasoned with peanuts, roasted cashew nuts, mango and basil in a tangy soy-based sauce.

What attracted us to the restaurant initially were the lovely orchids that lined the windows facing the street. The interior was positively breathtaking. The cherry wood, blown glass and brushed aluminum instantly give off a chic yet exotic vibe that marries perfectly with the aesthetic of the cuisine. While I am always wary of restaurants that appear to have invested all their energy in creating an urban chic dining environment at the expense of great food, this place seems to have struck a happy balance between the two without sacrificing comptetitive flavour to their dishes or creative flair in their architecture.

For a feast for both eyes and palate, be sure to visit Indochine while you're near Tacoma Washington.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Banana Bread

One of my favourite creations-I'm quite proud of it!

I've always felt that healthy food should be delicious. This banana bread is more flavourful than the original and far more nutritious. You can use all wheat if you would prefer, but as whole wheat absorbs a great deal of liquid when it cooks, your bread will be somewhat more dry (I would suggest adding another banana if you use all whole wheat).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift together:
1 3/4 cup flour (for additional texture, use a combination of whole wheat and unbleached)
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Add in:
1/3 cup olive oil (use extra virgin if you like the flavour)
2/3 cup pure maple syrup
dash of lemon juice
1 beaten egg
1 1/4 cups ripe banana pulp (2-3 ripe bananas)

Bake in a greased bread pan for 1 hour or till done.

By using olive oil in place of butter and maple syrup rather than sugar, you get an incredibly moist, delicious bread.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Charles Dickens

I remember being truly disappointed during my second year of University to hear one of my favourite professors dismiss Charles Dickens as a writer.

While Dickens might not have been one of the most accomplished writers in the english language, he has certainly been one of the most influential. This is particularly remarkable when one considers that he had just three years of formal education in his lifetime!

I ran across a great Dickens website the other day

Check it out! The author even has a great little "Dickens Glossary" where you can find the meanings of some of the more obscure words found within the pages of your favourite novels.

Not sure what to read first? A Christmas Carol is always a great option, as is Great Expectations .

Saturday, February 10, 2007

William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Home

"If I were asked to say what is at once the most important production of Art and the thing most to be longed for, I should answer, A beautiful House"--William Morris, "Some Thoughts on the Ornamented Manuscripts of the Middle Ages," 1894

With sumptuous illustrations and well-researched prose, this book is a thorough joy. The authors have done an excellent job of transmitting William Morris' philosophy of home decor through photographs and facsimiles of his work, while at the same time giving life to the work through numerous anecdotes about his life and work.
The book begins with the story of William Morris: his personal and professional life, with particular focus on William Morris and Co.--the company he founded along with several friends in order to create a space where artisans could create true works of Art for the decoration of houses. Morris hoped to offer an alternative to the gaudy, poor quality assembly-line goods that were so prevalent as a result of the industrial revolution, as well as to give artists an opportunity to make a living wage while preserving ancient crafts. Unfortunately, paying artisans good wages for their work meant pricing goods fairly, and the book also highlights Morris' disappointment at the fact that the goods he and his friends produced were generally much more expensive than commercialy produced products.
The last quarter of the book is devoted to case studies of contemporary homes that integrate William Morris' principles of decoration and design into a more modern design ethic. The results are very inspiring and help to give homeowners and useful ideas for how to incorporate William Morris' designs without turning their homes into museums devoted to displaying unadulterated Arts and Crafts design.