Guilty Pleasures on Fridays

ImagePizza. Neil and I loves pizza on a Friday night. Why? Because it has everything to palliate our appetite. It is hot, cheezy and crunchy. It has meat, fruits, vegetables and different kinds of cheese which makes it very savoury. Adding a little bit of Franks Red Hot Sauce makes it even better. The combination of flavours makes it taste amazing. We prefer a thin crust pizza rather then the thick one. It’s good in combination with wings and beer. Very satisfying.

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Wings. Buffalo wings in particular. Neil and I both love the hotness of the buffalo recipe. He makes the wings and he’s so good at it. For all those years we’ve been together and for all those Friday nights we decided to have wings for a treat, he has mastered how to make them perfectly. The best buffalo and barbeque wings I’ve ever tasted was made in The House of Byrne, by Master Chef Neil. Like pizza, wings are best with beer as well. Finger licking good!

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Ice Cold Beer. Not my favourite but Neil’s. He discovered Bud Light just recently. He loves the combination of beer, wings, pizza and boxing.

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Mc Donald’s French Fries and Caramel Sundae. My best loved. I do have a deep affection with this combination. It started when I was studying for Canadian boards. I tried to dip the fries into the Caramel Sundae and oh! La La I never thought it would taste so good. The saltiness and the sweetness of the two blended together in the taste buds, taste like heaven. Sometimes if I feel naughty, I pour my fries into the Sundae cup and mix it with the ice cream. Yummers! It might sound weird or look weird to others, I did not care. Mayonnaise and ketchup mixture is also good.

ImageSalted Caramel Squares. I love this new discovery. I can’t help but think about the goodness of this special brownie from Starbucks on a Friday night or even on Saturdays and Sundays. Tall Skinny Latte and this makes my day. Neil loves it too. The best brownie I’ve ever tasted. My second best guilty pleasure.

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Red Velvet Cupcakes. Whenever we go up to Calgary, I’ve always wanted to have a bite on a red velvet. Though the red velvet they have is not as good as the red velvets in Cupcakes located in English Bay, Vancouver. I am missing that divine icing they have. It’s never the same. Just recently, I discovered that Save-On-Foods makes red velvet cupcakes. We gave it a try one time and we liked it. It wasn’t too bad at all. There you go, red velvet 5 minutes away from our house.

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Marble Slab Ice Cream. When we were still in Vancouver, we used to ignore marble slab. “What? 6 dollars for just a scoop? I will never buy that ridiculously priced ice cream.” Though I was so curious why it so so expensive. One day while Neil is at work, I went to Marble Slab and bought a scoop in a cup. I was so ignorant, I did not know how to order. I just heard one customer ordering vanilla flavour and strawberries on top. I watched how they mold the ice cream into a tile folding the strawberries into it. “Oh, ok maybe that’s what make it so expensive, add-ons.” I ordered green tea flavor and added walnuts into it. I took my first bite and alright it’s not just an ordinary ice cream in the corner. It was very scrumptious, melt-in-the-mouth creamy, yummy special ice cream. Since then I got addicted into it. I was so thankful there’s Marble Slab here in southern prairie land. I love Pistacchio and Black Walnut flavour the best.

It’s always good to give yourselves a treat after a hard day’s at work. It doesn’t have to be Friday all the time. Whenever you feel stressed out or exhausted at anytime of the week, one of these treats would definitely make you feel better. These treats are not very healthy as you can see, that’s why their called guilty pleasures. So always follow the rule of thumb, “Everything in moderation and be responsible.”

How about you? What’s your guilty pleasure?

Photo Credits to the following:
http://www.dinehere.ca
http://www.pinchmysalt.com
http://www.f0o0od.tumblr.com
www.hlntv.com
www.seriouseats.com
http://barberha.com
www.delectablychic.com

http://www.arabnews.com

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Kara-age Chicken : The Japanese Fried Chicken

I remember when Neil and I went to Guu Garlic at Robson Street in Downtown Vancouver, it was my second time in the restaurant and it’s Neil’s first time. I went to the original location on Thurlow just off Robson with my friends before and I was impressed with the food, though not everyone in the group agreed with me, I still enjoyed the experience. Guu is an authentic Japanese Izakaya with a set of traditional social customs. The servers are all Japanese if i’m not mistaken and they greet or welcome the customers, thank them and wish them well as they leave. Well I must admit, the greetings can sometimes get a little too loud but it’s tolerable and I kinda like it. It sure beats going to most western restaurants in Vancouver and getting totally ignored the entire time. I like the setting where customers can sit on the bar and have an ice-cold Dry Asahi or Sapporo (Japanese Beer). They have low tables and cushions on the floor. Customers who prefer a nice and quieter atmosphere can choose the upper level where the low tables are situated. One of the Japanese table manners is removing shoes before dining and using the chopsticks properly as it is essential for Japanese dining etiquette. Neil and I are not quite sure if the customers practice all the dining etiquette but we are there to enjoy the food and the company of each other.

We ordered a variety of food in their menu (which is so hard to understand) and we enjoyed every bits of it. One of our favorite was the Chicken Kara-age.

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Unlike other types of fried chicken, the Kara-age never left me with the greasy feeling at all and slightly gross afterwards. It was served with a cut of lemon and you have to squeeze liberally before eating. That could be one factor that made it so special. The mayo dip was divine too, it was not like any other local mayonnaise, on the other thought, it could be the chicken which made everything special on the plate.

The Guu Garlic experience inspired me to make a simple version that a beginner like me can make.

Kara-age Chicken

Ingredients (Serves 4)

6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, about 3 1/2 oz/100g each

4 tbsp shoyu (Japanese soy sauce)

4 tbsp mirin

2 tbsp finely grated fresh gingerroot

2 garlic cloves, crushed

oil, for deep frying

2 1/2 oz or 70 g or 1/2 cup potato starch or cornstarch

pinch of salt

lemon wedges, to serve

Method

1 Cut the chicken into large cubes and put in a bowl. Add soy sauce, mirin, gingerroot, and garlic and turn chicken to coal well. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate in a cool place for 20 minutes.

2 Preheat a wok, then fill one-third full with oil, or use a deep fryer. Heat the oil to 350-375°F or 180-190°C, or until a cube of bread browns in 30 seconds.

3 Meanwhile, mix the potato starch with the salt in a bowl. Lift the chicken out of the marinade and shake off any excess. Drop it into the potato starch and coat well, then shake off any excess.

4 Add the chicken to the oil, in batches, and cook for 6 minutes, or until crisp and brown. remove, drain on paper towels, and keep hot while you cook the remaining chicken.

5 Serve with lemon wedges.

Some people like to add a sprinkling of grated yuzu peel and/or sansho pepper.