Investing in Sound

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I’ve wanted a better record player for ages. I had one of those 3-in-one box things that were a CD player, radio and vinyl player at the same time. The problem was that it often didn’t work well for new records because the needle weight couldn’t be adjusted. I usually would mend the problem by putting dimes and nickels on the needle but I came to the realization that it would not be healthy for my records as my collection started to grow. I headed to Planet of Sound for some help.

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They were super helpful and was able to find a perfect player for my needs and price range. They’re super honest about quality (price doesn’t always mean it’s better etc). I ended up choosing the TEAC TN 300 which has a built in pre-amp and also the ability to connect to the computer via USB if I wish. Not to mention it’s beautiful.

Planet of Sound helped me set my needle weight, as well as put the belt on properly at no extra charge. I was afraid I’d break it if I did it myself.

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I also bought a Harmon Kardon Aura speaker. It has both Bluetooth and Airplay wireless capabilities. I can also plug it into my new record player. It is perfect for me because I don’t live in a big apartment so this is super simple and the sound fills the entire room.

I am now prepared for the best of both worlds, analog and digital. I can’t wait to annoy my neighbours blasting Carly Rae Jepsen or Arcade Fire. Investing in systems to play all my music is so worth it.

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I’m Tee Ramone

Dee Ramone coming back from the dead #halloween

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For Halloween at work I dressed up as Dee Dee Ramone. I got a sick leather jacket from Danier (my first real leather jacket) and a Ramones T-shirt from Forever 21. Don’t I look so badass??

Call me Tee Ramone

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Exposure is Poop

In the beginning when you start off a creative career of some sort you might take that opportunity that pays absolutely nothing to get your name out there. A few is fine, I mean I’ve done my fair share of free work. However, once you are established or been around the block a bit there should be no way people are still asking for favours in terms of exposure.

In fact, I’d say the second that you learn how to make money from doing what you love is when you stop accepting to do it for free. If you’re doing it for free, you might as well be doing it for yourself and retain all your rights. Post it on your own blogs, portfolios etc but don’t let people take advantage of you on something that they totally have the means to pay you for.

Anyways, exposure is poop, it doesn’t pay rent.

What is Your Least Favourite Halloween Candy?

Tootsie-Rolls

Now that Halloween is nearing I thought we’d talk about candy. As a kid (and as an adult), I loved all sorts of chips, candy, chocolates but the one thing I never liked was Tootsie Rolls. I always thought people who gave them out were the worst people. They were probably the people on the block who despised children.

What is your least favourite candy? Why?

Hanmoto

DSCF6055Hanmoto is a super cozy izakaya just off Dundas West on Lakeview Avenue in Toronto. You could walk past it’s slight red glow if you weren’t specifically looking for it. The place is small and seats about 30. I was lucky enough to walk in and get a table for a friend and I. As I waited for my friend, I sipped a North Town Nashi, a fruity drink with mizo shochu, lemon, asian pear and shingo pear bitters.

This is a sharing restaurant so we ordered a bunch of dishes.

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Hot Hot Tofu: Cold silken tofu, chili oil, pickled cucumber, onions, nori. I enjoyed the melt in mouth texture of the tofu very much. They added just the right amount of chili oil and it wasn’t too spicy or salty.

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Hamachi Tartare: Sweet chili ponzu, shiso, cilantro, avocado. The yellowtail was very fresh and paired well with the avocado and the texture of the other toppings.

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Uni-Bomb: sea urchin roe, chicken skin chips, sushi rice. I rarely ever have sea urchin (because finding it fresh is hard in the city) but I really enjoyed this bomb! The chicken skins were super crispy and looked so enticing that my Jewish friend (who doesn’t eat chicken) took a bite out of one. Oops.

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Enoki with Miso Butter arrived on a hot plate looking like a steak. The mushrooms were cooked together as one piece and flaked like meat. You can never go wrong with cooking anything in butter.

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My second drink of the night was an Arisaka Sour with green tea, cucumber infused gin, uzu, soda, lime bitter. I was surprised to actually taste the cucumber.

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For some reason even though I usually hate okra (when my mom cooks it), I decided to see if I would like it when it was done properly. This was cooked with parmesan and topped with bonito flakes. The flakes kind of felt like eating paper so I wasn’t relaly a fan. I also think I just hate okra in general and can’t get over the slithery texture (to no fault of Hanmoto).

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Lastly, we ordered the Salmon Aburi with torched salmon and sushi rice. It resembled a deconstructed version of the blowtorched sushi we loved at JaBistro.

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Who leaves without trying the Miso icecream? I haven’t eaten much savoury ice cream but this one was super refreshing and topped with nori powder and toasted rice balls. Picture miso soup except frozen and in block form. The miso soup of the future.

A visit to Hanmoto is definitely a must! But good luck getting a seat if you are more than two people.

Hanmoto Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cracked Apple Cider With Spiced Rum

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Continuing my quest to try all the ciders I could find, I stumbled on Cracked Apple Cider with Spiced Rum. I found it resembled more of a mixed rum drink than cider, any hint of apple was overshadowed by rum and spices. It’s not really sour, spicy or sweet. Not sure if I would get this one again.

New Cutting Board

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I never thought about getting a new cutting board until I saw this adorable one at Kitchen Stuff Plus.

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The board comes with four mats that can be used on top to keep the board itself clean and avoid cross-contamination. This one has a board for vegetables, poultry, fish and other meats.

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I love the simple colourful design.

Thank You Blue Jays

Found on Reddit
Found on Reddit

Last night, the Blue Jays lost Game 6 of the ALCS series against the Royals. I was upset, but I realized no other team had made me care about a sport so much in my lifetime. A lot of people were in the same boat. It wasn’t just about bandwagoning or a trend, many people followed the post-season series committing time and their emotions.

As a city we united. People would share scores on buses and trains with strangers. There was even one time where some guy read out loud a play by play when in places where reception was spotty. Restaurants, pubs and other local businesses brought people together who, for the first in a while, were genuinely proud and excited of their city team.

We were lucky to have a group of players that never gave up even when their last games seemed bleak. They worked together and appeared to be the best of friends. They played some of the most exciting baseball ever, which is weird to say because it is often not very exciting. We hung to the edge of our seats with our hearts on the line. In the end our hearts were broken, but that only happened because we had a team to love in the first place.

Thank you Jays for playing the best baseball I’ve ever seen.

Valdez

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To celebrate my sister’s graduation we recently went to Valdez, a Latino street food restaurant we discovered from the Toronto episode of Day of Gluttony.

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The inside of the restaurant was very modern and fit with the landscape of it’s King Street West location.


Since we were celebrating something, cocktails were totally mandatory! We happened to make happy hour so I ordered a Colombian Sour which had Aguardiente, blood orange, lemon, sugar, egg white and bitters. Nash had the Tormenta Oscura with Kraken, lime and Thomas Lavers ginger beer.  We also ordered a litre of Mo-Tio: Bacardi 8, raspberries, mint, ginger syrup, soda. Their cocktails alone warrant returning.

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To start things off we ordered a set of ceviche tasters. We had two sets for the table of four because a set is good enough for two people. There were 5 ceviches made from albacore tuna, scallop, ahi tuna, mahi mahi and confit tuna. My favourite was the scallop which had a sweet taste. They were all super fresh and we drank the juice (which we learned we were supposed to do from watching too much TV).

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The Pastels were a crunchy wonton with cream cheese and guava inside. It was delicious.

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Maduro was a delicious dish of baked ripe plantain, muzzarela, honey butter. We weren’t sure what it was at first. I thought it was eggplant so I ate the plantain skin which seemed to be edible but I’m not quite sure if we were supposed to eat it. Hahahaha, well, I’m still alive.

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Their tostadas had smoked chicken, guacamole, cilantro on a corn tortilla.

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Chuzos a la Plancha was 2 beef skewers paired with a delicious chimichurri and arepita (a kind of fried bread).

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One of our more adventurous choices was a Fried Branzino served with greens in a lemon chia dressing, pepitas (a nut) and rice.The fish was one of our favourite parts of the dinner. It was pleasantly salty and crunchy, fried to a point where most of the bones were edible.

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How could we go to a Latin restaurant without eating some chorizo? so we had a chorizo sausage with potato salad and a chimichurri!

The food was so good we couldn’t resist getting a bunch of desserts too!

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The first was a crepe stuffed with fried banana with cream.

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The second was a ginger cookie ice cream sandwich.

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Then there was a beautiful rice pudding with brûlée plantains.

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Lastly was a cool play on peaches and cream with warm ice cream.

We enjoyed all the food we had at Valdez! It is definitely recommended you go with a bunch of people so you can try everything (as with all tapas).

Valdez Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Black Creek Pumpkin Ale

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Fall is a popular time for pumpkin ale so I’ve been trying what I can found. Recently I tried Black Creek Brewery’s pumpkin ale. I found it very malty and the taste of pumpkin and spices were pretty faint. It definitely smelled stronger than it tasted.