Sunday, February 27, 2011

Trader Joe's Freezer Bag

We found this freezer bag the other day at Trader Joe's.

It has a great design with bluish tropical imprint and great quality interior.

Trader Joe's New Freezer Bag
The price is a reasonable 6.99 plus tax.

I am sure this will be useful for buying groceries in the summer!

Trader Joe's Swordfish Sashimi

Now, it is common in North American markets to sell Tuna or Salmon Sashimi.

But how about swordfish sashimi (called Mekajiki in Japan)?

Japan is a nation of seafood.
It is normal to see hundreds kind of fish and seafood (squid, octopus, sea urchin) on sale in the market.
It is unusual, at least in my experience to see swordfish sashimi here at the west coast.

It has a distinctive taste.  Fish such as saba also has a kind of taste.
A person may like it or not depending on his experience and understanding of sashimi.

Me?  I love sashimi!

I kind of wish Trader Joe's and others can sell more of different kind of fish.
However, we don't have a fish culture in US or Canada, so it is not ideal for merchants.

Too bad.  I guess I will have to enjoy when I fly back.

Trader Joe's Lobster Sushi Rolls and Eclair

Trader Joe's always sells different products than other stores.
You can find things like saffron and hollandaise sauce for a good price.

This time, we saw these lobster sushi rolls, which looked interesting and enticing.
We did not have the chance to try it but will next time.
We also bought their Eclair for a try.  (some of their desserts are so good, eg. macaron.)
8 decent mini eclairs for a snack for 5 dollars.  Not bad I would say.

Tim Horton's New Caramel Crunch Donut and Apple Danish

This weekend, we went to Tim Horton's to try out their new caramel crunch donut and apple danish.

I definitely like the look and the taste of the new donut:
The caramel crunch donut is sweet with its caramel inside.
However, I do think the flavor is a good idea.

The apple danish is also good without cinnamon.
I do like the chocolate danish I little better but this one is refreshing, too.
Here is a cross-sectional picture of the caramel crunch donut:

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Valentine's Day 2011: Moules Marinières, Cheese Cake & Card

 We like occasions and celebrations.  (I know it is already late for this topic.)
My wife usually spends lots of effort cooking for these celebrations and occasions.

(of course, I enjoy eating them...haha)
She cooked for me this Valentine's Day and prepared a Valentine's cake.
moules marinières and sirloin steak
Menu:  Moules Marinières (French Mussels steamed in white wine and garlic), top sirloin steak, fries and broccoli cream soup.

The moules marinières is just magic, absolutely delicious without a doubt.
We had this dish in Paris, so it always brings out the good memories.

The sirloin steak also taste great with customed spices and sauce.
(She likes to experiment with different mix of spices and sauces, just like a magician.)

The Valentine cheese cake is very cute with "LOVE" and a smile, too.  It tasted great!

We also exchanged couple of cute cards with cute messages and thoughtful gifts.

With two kids, the day was busy, but I thought it was a good meaningful Valentine's Day for us.

Wendy's Canada's New 2 Dollar Menu

Wendy's has introduced its own 2 dollar menu to compete with Taco Bell and McDonald's.

I think it has to because even Burger King has introduced a similar cheaper menu to gain market share.

So, we gave it a try the other day.  It only has 9 choices overall for drinks, snacks, burgers and wraps.
Which means that you have around 2 choices for each categories...

We tried the burgers and wraps on the 2 dollar menu...and yuck....

They are so substandard.
The quality is so sub-par from Wendy's original menu and taste worse than McDonald's.

Conclusion: No thanks, I will go somewhere else!

Taco Bell Canada: New $5 Dollar Box Meal Deal

From 2011, Taco Bell has a new $5 dollar box meal that gives fair value and quality.

I find it is such a good deal compared to other fast food chains in Canada and ate it twice already.

New 5 dollar box for Taco Bell
The best thing is that customers can actually build their own boxes.
They get to choose 2 main entree, 1 side, 1 snack and 1 drink.
You get to choose between hard taco, soft taco, burrito, nacho, fries, empanada and cinnamon twists.

(Please note that the Taco Bell in BC, Canada is usually located in the same restaurant with KFC, so you will see KFC packaging for drinks and fries.)

I cannot tell you that it is super tasty or not because I am not Mexican but I do like the taste.

The caramel empanada tastes fantastic.
I usually don't like apple pies but this caramel apple empanada is delicious.  (without the cinnamon)

I would definitely recommend this box meal if you are in Canada.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Snow in February? It is colder than last year in BC, Canada

It snowed last week in Burnaby, BC and some cars were stuck on the road when the snow was sticking.

We spotted people pushing cars outside.
It is soooooo cold this February that we had to wear layers after layers when commuting.
It is minus 10 degrees with windchill factors today. (February 25, 2011)

I heard that it will get worse for a few days to even -17C and then rain comes back.

Tim Horton's Raspberry Lemon Donut

We went to Tim Horton's to try out their new limited edition "Raspberry Lemon Donut".

It is sweet in my standard but taste not bad.  I prefer the new caramel chocolate donut more though.

It is good that they are trying new menus from time to time. 
Otherwise, they cannot compete with the American companies if they were to set up shops here.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tim Horton's Roll Up The Rim to Win in February 2011

Tim Horton's is going to have its Roll Up The Rim to Win promotions again this February 21st, 2011.

I hope I get lucky!
I will probably try their new donut: Caramel Crunch Donut and blog about it.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Starbucks Japan: Sakura (Cherry Blossom) Cream Frappuccino, Latte

In the spring, Starbucks Japan releases Sakura Cream Frappuccino, Sakura Latte and all other products in Sakura style.
(cups, teddy bears, tumblers, cookies and cakes!)

I want to buy them!  I want to drink them!!
Too bad I am in Canada, and every time I go back, I miss the season.

You can check the official website for their products.  Very interesting!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

McDonald's Canada: Free Small Coffee from February 28th, 2011

McDonald's is going to give out free coffee again from Feb. 28th.

This time, I think they will avoid people ordering lots of large coffee.
So, they will only give out small cups of coffee.

I remembered that last time, we ordered some fries and desserts with free coffee to enjoy.

Well, anything will do for me!  It is free!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Fred Meyer: Pillsbury cake mix and cream & Chocolate Cupcake

US has many products that Canadians don't have access to.
They have more varieties for every kind of product, clothing, tools, electronics, you name it.

Even for vegetables, sauces and baking goods, they have more varieties.

We found a few Pillsbury products that we have never seen in BC, Canada:
We found cake mix and several flavors of creams and brought them back to make cupcakes!
They were delicious especially because my wife put Lindt Chocolate inside.  Yummy!

We found the silicone foot stands in TJ Maxx for a good deal.

Canada Valentine's Day Food Deals: Starbucks and New York Fries

Just a quick note about the Valentine's Day deals in Canada.

Starbucks has a Tea Latte promotion till February 20th, 2011.
You can order Tea Latte for half price between 2 to 5 pm in Canada.
(A good deal....just tried it today.)

New York Fries also has a special Facebook promotion:

Follow the above link and a couple can enjoy two regular fries, two drinks and two sauces for only 5.5 dollars!

New York Fries' regular price is very expensive, so this is a rare deal to enjoy their fries.

London Drugs Deal (Canada): LaCie External Hard Drive

London Drugs in BC, Canada had a deal for LaCie External Hard Drive.

LaCie has a headquarter in Paris, France and in Oregon, USA.
It manufactures premium hard drives as described online.

The one I bought is 100 dollars plus sales tax (regular 178 dollars).
They claimed that this one is the smallest in the world, which I am skeptical about it.

I have not used the harddrive yet to give a review of its quality yet.
Judging from the reviews online, it is supposed to have decent quality.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Bento Lunch Box: Shrimp Tempura & Seaweed Egg Wrap

This week, my wife has another creative arrangement for my lunch box:

Shrimp Tempura with Seaweed Egg Wrap.
As you can see, the egg rolls have seaweeds within them.
Seaweed is a very important part of the Japanese diet.
Not only it is an important part of the food culture (because it is an island nation),
It is very healthy.

There are all kinds of seaweed dishes that oriental cultures enjoy.
To enjoy seafood, you have to enjoy both the plants and the fish stocks.

Now, the oriental people usually enjoy eating all kinds of seaweed.
For people from other cultures, they don't enjoy it because they are not used to the taste.

Just like spice tea, I did not grow up to drink it, so I am not used to it at all.
I grow up drinking all kinds of oriental tea:  Pu-er, green tea, sencha, oolong, etc.
It was a part of life.  It is kind of funny to hear comments such as "it is bitter".
Well, the English tea is bitter, too, without sugar, but I enjoy it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

McDonald's Canada: Free New Buttermilk Biscuit Sandwiches (Feb 10th)

McDonald's Canada has a new menu item:  Buttermilk Biscuit Sandwich.

It is Free today in Canada before 11 AM!

The Biscuit tastes like scone, or kind of like the KFC biscuits they had before in Canada.
(not sure if they still have that in the States.) 
I would like it even without the sausage in the middle.

I wonder if people still remember the KFC biscuits 15 years ago before they abolished it.
It came with the standard 3 piece meals and because of inflation, they decided to cancel the item in the combo.

With the monthly local McDonald's coupons, the Buttermilk Biscuit Sandwich breakfast deal is only 3.00 Canadian dollars.
Give it a try!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cute Canadian Animals Stamps

I am a collector of things ever since I was little:
Stamps, pins, stickers, baseball cards, animation cards, Super Mario products, etc.
Anything I am interested of, I would collect.

Canada Post has been producing interesting cute stamps recently, started with colorful insects last month.
This month, they have another new set for Canada's animals:
 I used to collect all kinds of stamps from all over the world when I was little, and this one is pretty cute.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

McDonald's Canada's New Menu: Chocolate Banana Baked Pie

As promised in my previous post, I will write more about McDonald's new menus.
McDonald's Canada has a new menu that is tastier than the apple pie.
I am not entirely sure that it is Canada only or not, but it is not seen in some states.
It is sweet but amazingly, in McDonald's Canada's standard, it is pretty good.
Even more amazingly, it is 2 for 1.39 right now.
We never see this kind of price in Canada fast food chains.

We ordered it 5 times already over the past few weeks, and we love it.
The custard inside (with chocolate) is warm and the pie is quite solid, not soggy.

I would recommend it to people with kids because it is very affordable right now.

Note:  The Chocolate Banana Pie promotion seems to be over as of April.  They are having Peach Pie in Canada and Cherry Pie in the States.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

For Kids: WordWorld DVD

For those with kids, I recommend a program, called "Wordworld".

It teaches kids how to spell through interesting stories.
The characters and objects are cute and are "spelled out".

Here is a dvd box that I bought for my son:

He loves this show on TV, and he can't get enough of it.  haha.

TJ Maxx Deals: Melissa and Doug Kids USA Map Puzzle

We found a set of kids puzzle that my son would like for his age.
It is made by Melissa and Doug and was on sale in TJ Maxx for only 8 dollars.

Now, the artwork is kind of old style on this map puzzle but I personally like maps and geography, so I bought this for my son.

The United States is a big nation full of interesting people and cities, and it will educational for my kids to know some basic geography.
 I will be looking for more interesting, educational puzzles...

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Restaurant: Pho 99 Noodle House near Coquitlam, BC

We went to a Vietnamese noodle restaurant near my place around Lougheed Mall.
We are always interested in having good Vietnamese "Pho" and that is the only restaurant in our area.

"Pho", the word and the noodle is believed to have both Chinese and French influences.
See Wikipedia article:

I understand there are regional differences for the ingredients and the taste of Pho.
However, I also know if I tasted a really bad and lousy Pho.

Now, I have to say that the spring rolls are not bad.
However, the soup and noodle were tasteless, missing some kind of ingredient.

The service of this restaurant was horrendous. 
We went with two babies, and they behaved well.
My older son requires extra spoon and small bowls but none of the waiters even care to check or help.
We ended up using the tea cup as the bowl for my son.

I was like, "oh my....where is the service?"
I might as well ordered take out!

McDonald's New Menu: Spicy McChicken and Angus Wrap

One thing interesting about McDonald's is that they have different menus everywhere in the world.

This is true even for the United States and Canada.

Last weekend, we ate the new menu items (not availabe in BC, Canada): Spicy McChicken and Angus Wrap.
The cost is much cheaper than Canada about 9 dollars for two people.
The sandwich itself is spicy for me.  (I am not a pro spicy eater.)
However, it was great for its value.

With the Angus wrap, I was quite impressed...
The reason is that you get to pick the style you want.

If they have 4 styles of Angus beef burgers, then you have four choices to pick from plus the customizable ingredients.
There are lots of mushrooms in this "mushroom angus wrap" with delicious sauce and thick beef.
This one is one of my favorite and the cost is 2 dollars.
I will try to blog about the menu items not available in US but available in Canada.
I will also try to blog about the McDonald's in Asia when I travel around.

Fred Meyer Weekly Deal: Hot Wheels' Citroen and Lamborghini

I went to Fred Meyer last weekend to look for deals for me and my sons.
Of course, we boys like cool cars and model cars attract both adults and kids.

The Hot Wheels were on sale for only 1 dollar!!
I quickly picked two cars I don't have:  2010 Lamborghini and Citroen racing cars.

Citroen, is a popular French brand in Europe that is not seen much in North America.

The toy cars made for North American market don't have doors that can open anymore.

Tomica cars (Japanese domestic maker) on the other hand, has well made cars with suspensions and open doors.  (priced around 3 to 5 dollars US)
Of course, higher price, higher quality.

Saint Germain Bakery in BC, Canada and Macaron

Passion for macaron....Another macaron discussion.

As discussed in my other macaron posts, we went to visit Saint Germain Bakery in Burnaby, BC, Canada.

In this store, they sell macarons, which they called it, "French Macaroon", to make people understand what they mean.  People in Canada will ask, what is a macaron?
If you say, a "macaroon", then somehow people would understand.
They don't look the same!!

The head chef of this franchise is actually a member of Canada's Culinary Olympic Team as a pastry chef.
Now, I know why they taste good.

These are delicious!  They are 12 for 12 dollars Canadian.
The box also has descriptions of macaron's history.  (Yes, it did evolve from the old macaroon a long time ago.)

Friday, February 4, 2011

UFO Over Jerusalem

A few days ago, there was sightings of UFO in Jerusalem.
It was hovering over a temple, a tourist attraction and disappeared into the sky in an unimaginable speed.
Youtube link:

There is no doubt in my mind that many alien civilizations exist in the universe.
From the impossible speed their UFOs or machines can exert, we know many of them have superior technologies.

It is concerning because they have been looking at us like lab rats and we cannot do anything about it.
Here is another clip:

The UFO sightings these days are of "spherical" shapes, not the traditional saucer shapes.
I wondered...Maybe that is the fashion or the new trendy machines for them?
Just like the new Ipod Touch that everyone wants to get?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

TJ Maxx Deals: Girls' Puma Sneakers

We went to the States last weekend to look for more deals.
One of the stops was TJ Maxx, the big discount store chain.

Here, you can usually treasure hunt for brand name clothing, shoes or toys for good deals.
(very cheap if you don't mind things without a box!)

We bought a pair of Girl's Puma Sneakers for only 30 dollars!!
It usually retails for about 100 dollars in Canada plus taxes!
It is brand new in perfect condition but without a box (don't need it anyways).

Taiwanese Food: Zongzi or Badzan

I enjoy buying authentic "Zongzi" (Mandarin pronounciation) or "Badzan", sticky rice with filling wrapped in bamboo leaves.
It is hard to find authentic Taiwanese food shops, so I usually buy from certain places I know.

Zongzi has lots of regional and national variations in Asia and can be a sweet dessert or dinner dish depending on what is inside.

This is what it typically should look like originally.  The long square version is the Cantonese/Southeast Asian version.  They might come in different taste and shapes....

It is hard to take good picture of what is inside and hard to describe the deliciousness of it.
However, this one is of traditional Taiwanese taste and is delicious.

The Taiwanese version typically is filled with mushrooms, pork, (sometimes shrimps, chestnuts or peanuts) and dried egg.
I am not a dried egg fan, but I love the taste overall and can have this dish anytime!!