Food | Sushi Moto

Tataki Attack at Sushi Moto. No doubt the best sushi roll in the world (or at least in Toronto!)

Tataki Attack at Sushi Moto. No doubt the best sushi roll in the world (i.e., Toronto’s sushi world).

I have frequented Sushi Moto many times and there is no occasion in which I’ve been left disappointed. The restaurant is comfortably situated by Sheppard-Yonge Station and there are several nearby parking spots, making it easily accessible whether you are driving or subwaying over.

Last night, myself and a few friends visited Sushi Moto for dinner. Our waitress was kind and came by often to check up on us. The sushi rolls were delicious. We ordered The Beautiful, Crazy Roll, and (my personal favourite), Tataki Attack! The quality of the sushi was impeccable. The rolls are about $10-15 for 8-10 pieces. The price is towards the medium range, but it is most definitely worth it. The tables and seating are very comfortable, with both regular tables and spacey booths available. There is a wide bar and the place is great to catch a basketball or hockey game with several flatscreen TVs broadcasting sport games live .

If you are looking for quality sushi in Toronto, this is the place to go.

PS: Happy Halloween! 🙂

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Traveling Home

Last Day in Maastricht

On the train ride to Schiphol.

It feels surreal that I’m already on my way back to Toronto.

Goodbye Dutch life, and European life for that matter. Goodbye Maastricht. I don’t know when I’ll see you again.

I want to travel with a silent mind. I may read a book but I will not do any work. Maybe I will watch a good movie on the plane. If it’s not worth it I will simply sit in peace.

Solitude is what I will miss most. Living alone gave me freedom and solitude. Cooking for myself, planning my days,making the most of a long morning routine. The rolled oats I cooked on the tiny stove, the roasted carrots I baked in the oven, reaching the outlet over the sink as if it is totally normal. Having a big bed all to myself with a huge window. I’d open the blinds in the morning and light would come flooding down. The bike rides to campus even when the gear broke and I had to bike like a hamster to get anywhere. The longest runs I’ve ever had to nearby villages, the ones up St. Pietersburg with a beautiful view of the city. Shopping for groceries, shopping at the farmers market for fresh veggies and fruit. Carefully browsing for interesting, feasible recipes I could make considering the kitchen’s limitations. Seeing the same wonderful classmates day after day and learning material that I’m interested in.

This all is what I will miss most.

Lemon-Baked Chicken with Mushrooms & Potatoes

Lemon-Baked Chicken with Mushrooms and Potatoes

It’s almost the end of October, yet the temperature is warm enough for a light jacket. The sun’s rays were blasting into Maastricht today, a sunny calm after the stormy weather last night. The orchids below were blooming beautifully on the windy terrace of a Japanese restaurant by the Maas River. The sunny weather had me thinking of something citrusy I could make for lunch & lemon chicken quickly came to mind.

This is a simple recipe that takes minimal time apart from waiting around while the chicken bakes in the oven. The outcome is delicious!

Serves 4.

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 a lemon (or more, depending on how lemony you like your chicken!)
  • 300 g mushrooms
  • 4 small red potatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Steps:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 205°C. Brush olive oil over chicken and spring with salt and pepper.
  2. Place chicken on a baking dish covered with tin foil.
  3. Squeeze lemon juice over chicken and cut 4 slices to place on each piece.
  4. Chicken should take approximately 30-40 minutes to bake.
  5. In the meantime, slice up mushrooms and potatoes. Leave the skin of the potatoes on, it provides a lot of nutrients!
  6. Let olive oil warm up on a large skillet. Place potatoes first and let cook for about 6 minutes.
  7. Add mushrooms and stir for another 6 minutes until mushrooms darken.
  8. Add salt & pepper to taste.
  9. Place potatoes & mushrooms next to lemony chicken and enjoy!
Orchids in the Fall

Orchids enjoying the warm fall weather

 

Maastricht Jazz Fest at Café de Belsj

Maastricht’s annual Jazz Fest took place two weeks ago, with bands and artists playing in cafés and bars throughout the city. In the centre, the sounds of guitar strums , saxophone jives, and beautiful voices were spilling out of corner alleys and pubs. The weather was a perfect high of 17 with a light breeze and a clear sky.

It was a pleasantly musical walk to Café de Belsj where I met a few friends to listen to the band Bernie and the Amazing 20 Fingers. The bar was full to the brim and we were very likely the youngest people there. The band played several of their own songs along with a set of oldies. The guitarist was incredible and I was completely in awe while watching his solos. They had great charisma & the audience loved them!

Bernie and the Amazing 20 Fingers

Bernie and the Amazing 20 Fingers

Café de Belsj is a unique mix of grungy, yet classy. An air of dark humour bestows the place with humorous and obscene illustrations placed next to conservative portraits from the 1800s. It’s a great place to have a drink and listen to good music.

Enjoy your evening with one of their songs!

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Eckhart Tolle | Repetitive Thoughts

Yesterday afternoon I stumbled across a documentary featuring Eckhart Tolle. I read his book ‘A New Earth‘ almost 4 years ago while completing my exchange in Maastricht. This book had a huge impact on me — more than any other book I’ve read. It changed the way I viewed both myself and my surroundings. It brought me a new sense of awareness and it is something I’ve carried through over the years in one form or another.

Sun-coloured leaves.

Sun-coloured leaves.

It was while watching this clip that I came to the realization that I have begun to neglect an appreciation for an empty mind. Eckhart Tolle explains that thoughts should be viewed as passing objects of our awareness. Thoughts are transient, they come and go, and all too often we focus in on them and let them repeat over and over. That was what struck me most — that our thoughts are undeniably repetitive. Tolle asks — that thought you just had, have you had it before? Very very often, the answer is yes. Why do we let our minds recycle the same thoughts and let them eat us up as we dwell on them over and over again?

After watching this clip I noticed the repetition of my thoughts. I let each recycled thought pass me by and this brought upon some new kind of clarity.

Clear skies in Maastricht.

Clear skies in Maastricht.

I highly recommend A New Earth and The Power of Now to anyone. There is also a film in the making featuring Eckhart Tolle called Milton’s Secret. They are obtaining funding for the production of their film here: indiegogo.

The photos above were taken yesterday during my run around the city. It was such a beautiful day!

Have a great Saturday. 🙂

Smart Snacking | Healthy Snack Ideas

Pumpkin seeds, dried fruit and dried figs.
[click for larger image]

Everyone gets hungry in between meals at one time or another. For some, the hunger pangs come shortly after breakfast. For others, it’s in the big gap between lunch and dinner. 2-6 pm is my usual snack time and I can even pinpoint it down to around 4. Although there is always something small to grab to feel satiated before dinner, the challenge is finding something healthy.

I discovered my snack go-tos when I visited a health food store here in Maastricht, called De Tuinen. They offer bags of different types of dried fruit, seeds, and nuts. These foods are not only satisfying – a little goes a long way! – but they are also very healthy and keep the hunger under wraps until dinner.

In the image, you can see the snacks I currently opt for: pumpkin seeds, dried figs, and a medley of dried fruit. I like to place them in old jam jars once I’ve opened the bag. It makes for easier storage and keeps them fresh longer.

What’s healthy about my snacks?

  • Dried figs: While some fruits can lose a portion of their nutrition when dried, figs lose none of their potency. They are high in iron, folic acid and potassium. [Source: Healthiest Dried Fruits ]
  • Pumpkin Seeds: They are loaded with healthy fats, fiber, zinc, iron, manganese, and magnesium, making them an incredibly nutritious snack.
  • Dried dates: They are rich in dietary fiber, contain flavonoid polyphenolic antioxidants known as tannins, and are an excellent source of iron.
  • Dried banana chips: These are the least healthy of the bunch and there is some controversy about how much nutrition they add. Make sure to look for banana chips that haven’t been fried! Their nutrition value plummets if they have not been baked. Apart from this, they are a source of fiber and potassium. You are better off eating these rather than a chocolate bar!

Other healthy snack ideas  (enjoy in moderation!):

Sweet

  • Peanuts, almonds, walnuts
  • Sliced banana with peanut butter
  • Goji berries, blueberries, strawberries (any type of berry!) in your favourite healthy yogurt
  • Dried mango, pineapple, cranberries
  • And regular fruits too of course: bananas, grapes, oranges, the list goes on.

Savoury

  • Sliced tomato with feta and olive oil
  • Edamame
  • Popcorn (without the butter overload)
  • Baby carrots with hummus

What are your daily snack go-tos?

Happy Friday!

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DIY | Arm Candy Organizer

Image

Frequent flights across the ocean in the past year have had me searching for easy ways to pack and store jewelry. I’ve looked online at jewelry organizers but their prices and large sizes have dissuaded me from purchasing any, especially because I’m leaving so soon. Instead, I resorted to hanging necklaces off the curves of my bed frame and storing bracelets in a silver cardboard box. Until today. As I slid off the last paper towel from the kitchen roll, I realized that it could serve as a perfect bracelet holder when placed into a suitably-sized box.

It’s so simple to make & it allows for an easily-viewed display of your arm candy (bonus: you’re even recycling!)

Tools:

  • Cardboard tube from a kitchen towel roll
  • Scissors
  • Rectangular cardboard box (I use one from sunglasses)
  • Bracelets!

Steps:

  1. Measure the cardboard box and cut the cardboard tube so it fits nicely inside.
  2. Add your bracelets to the tube and place inside box.
  3. Voila, you’re done! Enjoy a better display of your bracelets.
  4. PS: If you want to make it prettier, you can paint the tube any colour/design you’d like!