Sunday, June 13, 2010

Cooking and working make for a difficult combination... especially when travelling is added

Hello, stranger!

Or perhaps I'd consider myself the stranger, having been absent for more than two months. When we last left off, I was in the midst of embarking upon a whole new phase of life, that of a nine-to-fiver: a full-timer, a real-world worker, a career lady. Holy smokes, did I ever have not even the most remote idea of what I was getting into (that's a clunky sentence for someone who makes a living as a proofreader. Sheesh).

I'm not even saying that I was ill-prepared, nor am I saying that I regret taking on this new life of mine; on the contrary, I adore my job: I adore the people, the work, the mental stimulation, the central location of the offices, the trek there that allows me to devour novels, the novelty of adult life (yeah, I know, the novelty won't last). Deadlines are frightening and some projects are daunting, but I'd like to say that university prepared me pretty well, and for my Concordia professors and general experience, I am grateful--I might be lost without that.

So on March 29th I started a new job, and few days later, my (ex-)boyfriend and I ended our three-year relationship, so I really did embark on an extremely new phase of my life. I'm not sad, I'm not angry, and I'm not filled with regret; I'm going to exhaust all of the clichés, I know, but it's a new chapter in my life, and I am happily enjoying every second of what this life is giving me. I have my family, my friends, my health, and a zeal that I'm pretty sure I must have inherited from my jovial father. I am not fazed.

Am I getting too personal? Well, I am grateful to whomever reads this blog, too, and I figured I might as well update you on my prolonged absence, which had everything to do with getting home at 7 pm every night after work and too much to do over the weekend to sit down and write blogs. Oh, and I picked up and ran (err, flew) off to Europe with my cousin and his beautiful girlfriend for two weeks.

Despite my failed attempts at documenting cooking or eating expeditions, I have indeed been cooking, eating, and relishing all the meals cooked for me while exploring and rediscovering Paris, Milan, Rome, and Florence. Because of work during the week and an overwhelming sleepiness at the end of the day for the first few weeks of my new job, I'd go on cooking rampages on Saturdays, brunch-making sessions on Sundays, and gather all of the leftovers into individual, meal-sized containers for the coming week. It's a technique I've heard successful professionals use, and it really is a time-saver. My only complaint is that at times I have been known to grow tired of having the same lunch or dinner every day, so welcoming the usual, fresh sandwich into the mix is always a superb option.

But I'm surely boring you. Here are select pictures (not posting for two months results in a barrage of photos) of meals cooked and enjoyed in the Montreal area (EDIT: well, aren't I a bright soul! I somehow managed to have lost all of those pictures when I emptied my camera's memory card of photos in order to make room for Europe), followed by photos of tasty eats in Europe accompanied by quick captions.

Enjoy, and thank you again for reading and stopping by :-)

Vegan in Suburbia--and Abroad

This was my first meal in Paris: a ginormous salade niçoise minus any animal products, plus all of the flavour of one of the most delicious salads I've ever consumed. I mean, look at it--there are potatoes on it!
This salad was so big that it looked like I didn't even touch it. I couldn't finish it, try as I did.
It's not food but it's the freaking Eiffel Tower at twilight. <3
First espresso in Paris
Delicious pizza in Paris, but way overpriced and at the price of good service--we weren't treated well at the restaurant on the Champs Elysées. Oh well. At least we were in good company.
And it happened even in Europe that the only vegan item on the menu at this resto in Paris was fries.
First espresso of the day at the pâtisserie near our hotel

This needs no explanation.

Always delightful illy coffee at an illy store on the Champs Elysées
Naturally delighted to have illy coffee. It cost 3 euros, I think, which is expensive for coffee in Europe, but it was worth it.
Picnic goods for our afternoon in front of the Eiffel Tower
Pilgrimage to Saveurs Veget'Halles on rue Bourbonnais (I'll never forget because it was impossible to find). Finally a restaurant in Paris at which I didn't have to ask a million questions regarding the contents of each menu item.
Fried, battered veggies. It came with a chutney that resembled applesauce in taste. 
My meal: spinach quiche with black rice and white beans. I managed to finish it all and even have dessert--it was scrumptious.
My cousin's girlfriend's meal of the day: skewered seitan with vegan meat loaf, couscous, and wonderful veggies. I regretted my order when I saw hers, but mine was delicious as well.
Dessert: Apple crumble
Olive bread made, which I unfortunately didn't get to eat because it was put away before I could cut a piece. It was made by my Zia Angela in Milan.
Delicous cold pasta
Vegan calzone filled with grilled veggies, made by the famous Zia Angela
Something we don't ever see here in Montreal: oranges with leaves on them
Frittelle!!! These are fried balls of dough that you then dip or roll in sugar, as if they weren't bad enough for you already. Oh, melt-in-your-mouth heavenliness.
 See? Frittelle are causes for much smiling.
And then there was Zia Angela's pizza. She is an absolute goddess in the kitchen, and a kind, beautiful soul.
Cicoria! This is one of my most favourite side dishes: they're dandelion roots, essentially, bitter like rapini but somehow more delicious. I'm no good at explaining but... trust me. And if you can get your hands on them, stir-fry them in garlic and olive oil and you will not be disappointed; however, I'd stay away from them if you're not a fan of rapini.
Penne all'arrabbiata
Another photo needing no explanation (oooooh vegan ice cream in Italy, I love thee)
Breakfast at the hotel in Rome. All was provided free of charge, but I preferred to grab some boiled water and add it to the packets of oatmeal I brought from Montreal and add dates to it, with a side of hotel-provided pineapple.
Grilled veggies at a small restaurant in a student-dense area in Rome. They didn't have much taste but they gained new life with a bit of salt and vinegar added to them.
I ordered cicoria whenever I could, and here I had some with fried eggplant, my other love.
Climbing 551 steps helps in keeping extra calories from piling up unpleasantly. This was at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. And no, we didn't take the elevator.
The best ice cream in all of Italy, as far as I am concerned. At a gelateria called Gelarte, I had vegan soy chocolate ice cream and soy cappuccino ice cream on a "cono dietetico," topped with a dollop of soy panna. Oooooh how blessed I was.
Check out that vegan symbol! I was in awe at this product that I found in Florence, but I didn't buy them since they were freakishly high in calories. I bought vegan Nutella instead, the logical choice, right? :-)
Sadly, I was unlucky when it came to food in Florence: this pasta was served to me swimming in olive oil. I love olive oil, but not as the base for pasta soup.
This side of beans were delicious, though.
This pizza also was tasteless, served at a restaurant by a handsome, friendly waiter. I'm not a fiend for salty food but I feel there was a disturbing absence of it--of any flavour at all--in this pizza.
This is for the Twilight fans out there: read the city name at the bottom. Oh yes. I was near there, in Florence.
I visited a villa in the region of Chianti while on a full-day bike tour.
Barrels and barrels of wine at the Corti villa
Barrels and barrels of olive oil--without a doubt the best I've ever tasted in my life.
The meal we were provided on a break from our bike tour of Chianti. We were offered two wines made on the premises, the family's olive oil, pasta, bread with beans, mushroom pâté (thankfully vegan), and chopped tomatoes. It was all delicious, fresh, and refreshing.
Of course, if you're interested, check out for info on Chianti tours. They cater to vegans, as you can see.

Buon appetito, my friends, and I hope I've inspired you either to get cooking or to get travelling! Creativity is required at times when visiting other countries, but I promise that you must never fear when you go to Italy. If you ever need tips on eating in Italy or survival phrases, don't be shy.

Until next time, be well!

Vegan in Suburbia


Deleilan said...

It sounds like you had a grand ol' time! Most of your food looks scrumptious! (The rest... not so much - that pasta swimming in oil? ewww!)
It's wonderful to hear that you're enjoying your "adult" life. Isn't is amazing to realise that you have all these skills and abilities you never knew you had? :-)

Babette said...

Life must not be too boring for you these days, with all those things going on in your life! And all that travelling! Thank you for all these pictures. I must really try to eat a salade niçoise, it seems very interesting, especially if there are potatoes involved. And that pizza looked delicious with those broccoli and artichokes.

I’m so familiar with those restaurants where all you can eat is French fries with a green salad! And that’s when fries are not cooked in animal fat!

Those meals at the veggie restaurant in Paris looks fabulous.
Do you ever buy dandelion roots in Montreal? I don’t recall having seen any… it for sure looks tasty.

I can’t believe how much oil there was in your pasta in Florence. Were you able to eat it? It looks like the cook just dropped the bottle in your dish.

Hannah said...

Thanks for the thorough update- I'm just happy to know that you're still hanging in there and cooking up some tasty eats from time to time! I hear it does get easier, so there's a lot to look forward to. :)

PS, don't ever feel like you owe your readers anything- It's -your- blog, they just choose to read it! (No matter how lovely the comments can be ;) )

Kris said...

Deleilan, thank you for such kind words, and sympathy for a sad, sad meal. It warmed my heart to read your comment about adult life. I still feel like I'm seriously lacking in skills, but confidence builds with experience, right?

Babette, it was my pleasure to provide the photos. I'm glad you enjoyed them. Yes, there's a lot going on in my life, but since I got back, things have mellow out and now I'm just trying to keep up with summer outings. Going to work tired has become the norm. Oi. Salade niçoise is a glorious wonder I'm glad I discovered in Paris. Give it a shot! I think there are many different ways to make it, but as long as there are potatoes in it, who cares what else is in it? Regarding dandelion roots, I do believe you can buy them in well-stocked grocery stores (I saw them at Loblaws); however, my grandfather actually picks them with a friend of his, so they're always provided to us like that. And the pasta in Florence, well, you put it well: it was much like the bottle was dropped in my plate. I hadn't been eating much at that point, for budgetary reasons, so I kind of forced myself to get through about a third of the dish. Yuck. But overall, Italy was amazing :)

Hannah, thanks for the encouragement and kind words. I am slowly growing more accustomed to this working world thing, but it does take a lot more planning and time-expertise than what my student-life required of me (hard to believe...). And you're right :) Thanks for rocking ;)

Anonymous said...

This made me hungry.

The End.