Friday, 8 November 2013

Grammar Rant - 'I' vs 'Me'

Those who know me well will tell you, "G is a serious grammar cop." With the rise of social media and useful tools such as spell check and autocorrect, proper use of grammar seems to be flying out the door. However, one grammar issue seems to have existed since I can remember ...

At one point or another in elementary school the and I rule is drilled into students' minds. Perhaps curriculum is reacting to some previous incorrect overuse of and me in certain situations. Well, now the reverse seems to have seriously taken hold. Late gen Xers and millenials alike are using and I in any and all situations. It's as though there aren't any other options. Oooh, but there is. And grown people getting this wrong really grinds my gears.

How do you know what to use? In which situations is I the correct choice, and in which other situations should me be chosen? It really isn't difficult to figure out. I honestly believe no one over the age of 15 should be getting this wrong.

Let's start with the one everyone actually seems to get right.

We are cooking dinner.

What replaces we in that sentence? In determining the I vs me problem, a method I always tell people is to eliminate the other person. What makes sense? Take the other noun/pronoun out of the equation. What's left?

Me am cooking dinner. (This clearly makes no sense.)
I am cooking dinner.

Ding ding ding ding ding! Now just add the other person back in, tack on the plural pronoun conjugation of the verb, and that's it!

So in this case:

We are cooking dinner. --> John and I are cooking dinner.

A good rule of thumb:

We always expands to be noun/pronoun + I.

Now let's tackle the one which actually seems to baffle the minds of otherwise intelligent people.

The incorrect tendency of so many nowadays is the following:

The drink spilled all over us. --> The drink spilled all over John and I.

No joke . . . hearing this actually makes me want to pull my hair out. This is wrong. Sooooo wrong! Employing the same method used above, let's eliminate the other person.

The drink spilled all over I. (Again, this does not make any sense.)
The drink spilled all over me.

As such ...

The drink spilled all over us. --> The drink spilled all over John and me.

Rule of thumb in this case:

Us always expands to be noun/pronoun + me.

Yes, and me does exist. And yes, you should use it.

If all else fails, think of the nursery rhyme that goes like this:

Patty cake, patty cake, baker's man;
Bake me a cake as fast as you can;
Roll it, pat it, mark it with a B;
Put it in the oven for baby and me.

If you think the final phrase is grammatically incorrect, you have poor grammar.

For a more technical explanation, go here.

"Lighten up, G. It's the internet. Who cares?" A couple other interesting reads:

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Dishcrawl Kitsilano 2013 - What We Ate!

Last Wednesday night, I attended my first-ever Dishcrawl event in Kitsilano. Having been told beforehand the venues we'd be visiting would be newer establishments, I had an idea or two of where the group might be dining. I didn't have to wait long to see if my hunches were correct as we were told to meet at 7pm at Tractor Everyday Healthy Foods [they have a gorgeous website]. The remaining venues though, would remain a mystery.

Having never visited Tractor before, I was a little nervous about what I might find. I understood it to be the very type of restaurant one should expect to find in Kits. I arrived to the bright and cozy, yet comfortable restaurant surprised to see my friend Ed Lau of was there. I should not have been surprised. After quickly taking a seat with Ed, our group of about 30 diners was greeted by Executive Chef Ryan Mah, who coincidentally, I went to high school with [though admittedly he probably doesn't remember me as he is a few classes older]. Chef Mah previously worked in the kitchens of well-known Vancouver eateries such as Chinois, Goldfish, Joe Fortes, and Wild Rice.

Chef Mah explained the concept behind Tractor - healthy food that does not compromise on flavour. My curiousity was piqued.

kale and granny smith apple with radicchio and white balsamic dressing @ Tractor Everyday Healthy Foods
We started with a salad of kale and granny smith apple with a delicious balsamic dressing. I have a love-hate relationship with kale but in this case, the kale was done so it retained its texture without tasting too . . . healthy? I sound crazy, huh? The granny smiths gave the salad an interesting kick, crunch, and worked well with the balsamic.

order up your meal choices from the cafeteria-style bar @ Tractor Everyday Healthy Foods
After the salad, Crawlers were instructed to line up along Tractor's cafeteria-style bar and order our mains. We had a choice between lean turkey chili or curried butternut squash soup [vegetarian].

lean turkey chili with coriander and sour cream @ Tractor Everyday Healthy Foods
I went with the turkey chili which was perfect on that particular cold autumn night. I generally love soups. Asian soups, chunky soups, stews, chilis . . . love it all! This chili was like a hug in a bowl. I enjoyed how the flavours from all the ingredients had come together without having been cooked to a mush. I did not try the butternut squash soup, though it also looked great and my fellow diners seemed to enjoy it. Here's a photo for good measure:

curried butternut squash soup with yogurt and green onion @ Tractor Everyday Healthy Foods
Tractor also provided us with dessert.

double chocolate and pistachio cookies @ Tractor Everyday Healthy Foods
Knowing I had more savoury dishes to munch on before the end of the night, I stashed the cookies in my purse and enjoyed them when I got home. The cookies were nice and chewy [my preferred texture for cookies]. I have a sweet tooth, but not a please-give-me-a-cavity type love for desserts. These cookies were just sweet enough with plenty of rich chocolate-y yumminess.

The second stop of the evening was a bit of a surprise, as we were led to Vibes Japanese BBQ & Sushi Restaurant, one of Vancouver's only sushi AND bbq all-you-can-eats. After being seated, we were told the food would be 10-15 minutes away as the meats had to be marinated. A bit of a surprise as they were expecting our group and knew we'd be on a schedule. However, when the food arrived, I was very pleasantly surprised.

bbq beef short ribs @ Vibes Japanese BBQ and Sushi Restaurant
I usually shy away from AYCE establishments for two reasons. The first . . . I get full really easily/quickly so it's usually a better deal for me to order a la carte anyway. The second [and more importantly] . . . the quality and consistency of most AYCE places scare me. Biting into a piece of this beef short rib, I was thrilled by how tender it was. [Short ribs are pretty hard to mess up, but it has happened before.] Vibes has a house dipping sauce for its bbq items, but these ribs didn't need it. Crawlers were also given marinated beef slices and chicken to throw on the grill.

beef slices  @ Vibes Japanese BBQ and Sushi Restaurant
Also on the menu was Vibes' king crab sushi roll which was topped with avocado and masago. It was good but lacked uniqueness. I could taste the crab and appreciated their use of real crab meat, though it was overwhelmed a bit by all of the avocado. From the tasting we had here, I'd say go to Vibes for the bbq, but not necessarily the sushi.

king crab sushi roll  @ Vibes Japanese BBQ and Sushi Restaurant
Stop number 3 on Kits Crawl was The August Jack, a tapas bar that specialises in food and craft beer pairings.

rosemary polenta fries with basil nasturtium aioli and balsamic reduction @ The August Jack
First up with a deep-fried polenta dish with a balsamic sauce. The polenta fry itself was not bad, though, had I not known it was polenta, might have wondered if it was a potato cake. I found the sauce to be a little bit overwhelming.

truffle popcorn with truffle-infused oil and shaved grana padano @ The August Jack
This popcorn, surprisingly, turned out to be my favourite dish from The August Jack. I did wish the truffle aspect of it would've hit me in the face a bit more, but it tasted delicious and the grana padano was divine. This was so good, I brought my leftovers home and polished it off before the end of night.

leek and barley risotto with smoked cheddar and caramelised leeks, truffle oil, and red amaranth garnishes @ The August Jack
Our third dish at The August Jack was their risotto with leeks, barley, and cheese. I tend to like my risotto on the creamier side, but did enjoy the texture of this risotto even though it was more . . . intact. What threw me off a bit was the sauce, which was very very heavy-handed with the balsamic. I found it to be a bit much and a strange combination with the risotto.

The last venue of Kits Crawl was O5 Rare Tea Bar, a beautiful tea house that reminded me of how an upscale tea specialty store would look in Omotesando, Asakusa, or Daikanyama.

O5 Rare Tea Bar
By this point, my fellow diners and I were felling pretty full and welcomed the light fare of a cup of O5's delicious hibiscus tea. We were told to help ourselves to the selection of sweet treats displayed gorgeously on ceramic spoons.

hibiscus tea and desserts served in ceramic spoons @ O5 Rare Tea Bar
From left to right:

  • candied organic ginger rolled in raw cane and dark chocolate
  • candied hibiscus flower with rich white chocolate flakes
  • pumpkin spice cheesecake with gingersnap crumble
The clear winner here was the pumpkin spice cheesecake, and I'm not usually even a fan of pumpkin desserts. I think what won me over was how subtle the flavour was. The candied hibiscus was also fantastic. The white chocolate helped keep it from being too tart. Unfortunately, I did not get to try the ginger.

In all, Kits Crawl was a fantastic experience and I would highly encourage everyone go give it a try the next time around. It's a great chance to try new restaurants while meeting new people. I really enjoyed the social aspect of the experience.

As I mentioned in a previous post, these Dishcrawls happen in different neighbourhoods around Vancouver [and in fact, many many other cities], so just keep your eyes and ears open for an area you're interested in. For more information, head over to Dishcrawl Vancouver's Facebook page.

Restaurant information:

Tractor Everyday Healthy Foods - 1903 West 4th Avenue - 604.222.2557

Vibes Japanese BBQ & Sushi Restaurant - 1947 West 4th Avenue - 604.559.8423

The August Jack - 2042 West 4th Avenue - 604.428.0075

O5 Rare Tea Bar - 2208 West 4th Avenue - 604.558.0500

Disclaimer: I was invited to join Kits Crawl as a media partner and as such, received a sponsored ticket. Opinions on restaurants/food however, are completely my own.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Kits Crawl

It's funny how timing works sometimes. I've been struggling to get this blog up and running again . . . really wanting to be able to get back into the swing of things and write about topics I'm truly passionate about. Then I heard about Dishcrawl's fast-approaching dining event that takes participants through one of my most beloved neighbourhoods in Vancouver.

The itinerary for Kits Crawl features 4 restaurants, with a total of 12 tasting dishes. The locations will remain a mystery until the event, though hints may be dropped over on Dishcrawl Vancouver's Facebook page. Personally, I think it may be more fun to be surprised!

Like its sister events which brought diners to some of the hottest eateries in YaletownMain Street, and Commercial Drive, Kits Crawl will not disappoint! I hope to see you all there!

Event: Kits Crawl

When: Wednesday, October 23rd @ 7pm [rain or shine!]

Where: meeting location will be revealed to participants 48hrs in advance of event

Cost: $60 + tax + processing fee [food only]

Promo code: Use 'kitsreturn' at checkout for 20% off the cost of tickets.

For more information and to buy tickets:
You can also find Dishcrawl on Twitter: @DishCrawlVan

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

張學友1/2世紀溫哥華演唱會 [Jacky Cheung 1/2 Century Tour Live In Vancouver]

If memory serves me right, I first saw Jacky Cheung live in a charity show he performed in during the 90s. But being probably my most favourite Asian singer, seeing Jacky headline a show has been on my bucket list for a very very long time. So when he announced his current tour would stop in Vancouver, I made every effort to be there in person.

Needless to say, he did not disappoint. In what he says was his 109th concert, he hit the stage shortly after 8pm and went on for three hours straight. Sure, I got a little restless when he sang several songs in a row in Mandarin. But I'm sure I would've loved it if I was a little more familiar with his Mandarin hits. And it was also too bad he messed around with the tempo and style of a few of his classic hits. But in all . . . the guy sang for three hours straight, dancing and even doing the splits! For a 50-year-old, what else could you ask for?

Below is his setlist, with some of my personal notes:

花花公子 - didn't expect this, one of his earliest hits
妳的名字, 我的姓氏 - first goosebumps of the night here
情願 - and here begins the string of Mandarin songs
如果·愛 - goosebumps again, my favourite Mandarin song of Jacky's
吻别[ROCK版] - wish he had performed the original version
肥姐 - this was unexpected, a tribute to Lydia Shum
我真的受傷了 - love love love
Life Is Like A Dream
Double Trouble
每天愛你多一些[粵語版] - this is when I started feeling like a kid again
這個冬天不太冷[粵語版] - this is what everyone had been waiting for, a series of the old songs
分手總要在雨天 - at this point, you could tell people were loving it, cell phone lights exploded in the round in lieu of lighters

Not a bad way to spend a Friday the 13th, eh?

Monday, 2 January 2012

#1: Project 366

January 1st by gloomybb
A new year's Steveston, a photo by gloomybb on Flickr.

One photo a day for all of 2012.