Made it, probably (and rambling on about Chinese eating)
Most probably un-screwed my sleeping hours... With the usual side effects of when I usually try: waking in the middle of the night. There was this time, a year or two ago when I'd constantly wake at 3-4AM no matter what, for like two weeks (my mother does wake up every night at 3-4AM-ish, I've noticed that during my past month or so!). It's 6:45-ish, and went to bed slightly after 1AM. Will read up on the stuff that drained my daytime energy (something on Wikipedia on Java Hibernate, ha-ha), and then wrap up this night of sleep for good. Today (Monday) is such another beautiful day: 26ºC, with the full sunshine. So expect me to be whizzing downtown as soon as possible!
Food-wise, I declare myself king of congee and bak choi (白菜) cooking in this household. Perfectly good congee should be smooth, and at least cooked overnight. Dip the rice in a oil, water and salt mixture (people say it shouldn't be water - but it has produced good things so far). Cook in the rice cooker for a few hours. (And have a parent add chicken for you to the soup ^^;). I called my grandmother up to ask about how she makes good congee (she lives nearby our house, so took the opportunity to have me over and dumped me some delicious beef backbone in a ginger and foo yu sauce, along with some of the fish meat - you know, whatever they use for stuffed Chinese/Cantonese peppers/foo gwa). So basically, for good chicken congee, prepare a chicken breast-based soup stock, and use it instead of water. And for good bak choi? Certainly use more garlic and don't cook it too much. Stir-fry it, don't boil it. (More to go below)
And my relation with Chinese cuisine sort of changed in the past few years, at least since 2002. It's a trend, with the rediscovery of teh Asian pop and snacks and such-and-such things. Chinese cuisine has typically been my parents' domain. I've come to usually dislike the Chinese stuff they made, while preferring the Western stuff they made (we usually eat rice at every meal, but cook Western 1/3 to 1/2 of all dinners). But Chinese cuisine is not that put-up-together-standing-on-one-hand-after-work sort of deal anymore just if you don't treat it that way. The reason why something like bak choi (or any choi, for that matter) didn't captivate my imagination (sure does, yeah :D) was probably the sogginess at which my parents liked making it. Until I tried making it myself, based on how much I liked the thing when served at the restaurant - green and crunchy (and garlickey, er). Same goes for congee.
Frequently having lunches at local Chinese BBQ places and Café de Coral this past summer also made me realize that Siu Yok, and Char Siu could be better than what they sold in Montreal (and to make matters worse, most of the times we'd put in the freezer instead of eating right away). Or that a Chinese restaurant needed not to be Sichuan or Cantonese-style (Northern-style restaurants, opened by Northerners, have been sprouting all over the Concordia area west of Guy Street, "all over" being an indecent hyperbole). There was that personal craze about bubble tea, just two years or three years ago, but bubble tea now gives me sugar attacks, and cafe-style snacks are not necessarily my cup-of-tea.
In other news, Montreal still has some of the bestest French cuisine, which you can find at very high quality in the 20$/person variety. For my birthday, my parents took me out on Saturday for my birthday to one (French, not necessarily 20$/person) called La Maison Verte, off in the middle of nowhere suburbia, with a youth party across at a bar for highschoolers I never knew existed in that area. I had the snails in phyllo in entree, then a "dos de saumon" with a variety of fresh fine herbs (including a bouquet of anise flowers) and sprinkled with something I suspect of being the Montreal-mix of steak seasonning they sell at Cosco. *g*
For birthday-proper, last Tuesday, it was pepperoni pizza from Calzone while watching Montreal-Bruins (a game they ended up winning 4-3 in overtime, but really should've lost due to quality of play).
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