Sunday, 20 May 2012

Pizziera Prima Strada

Finally!  A food post!

I went to Pizziera Prima Strada in Cook Street Village for the very first time tonight with my dad.

My mind is blown.

BLOWN.  It was frickin' outstanding.

The restaurant is very cute and tucked away between a Subway and Serious Coffee (or some other little place, I dunno, because OMG PIZZA).  It's not flashy and doesn't assault your eyeballs, which is lovely.  It only seats about 60 people and is super popular (for good reason), so we waited about fifteen minutes for a table, no biggie.  The hostess was very nice and made things roll along quickly.  People watching outside the restaurant passed the time quite well.

Our waitress was friendly and efficient, which I like.  I want you to be nice, get my order right, and bring me yum yums promptly.  A+ there.

I also like a menu that is short.  If I have to turn more than one page I'm disgruntled, so this one pleased me greatly.  Everything sounded amazing too.  I think I could have ordered anything and everything and enjoyed it.

A glass of the house white to begin.  Perfectly cold and very crisp.  Delish!

The salad special sounded incredible and so we ordered one to share as a starter.  Prosciutto, a bit of romaine, basil (MMMMM), watermelon, and cucumber with a honey lemon vinaigrette.  A stunning combination of flavours!  The snap of the lemon with the sweetness of the watermelon was incredibly good and so summery.

And then, the pizza.  Simple and bright with an amazing crust that was crisp on the outside and oh so soft on the inside.  I was in heaven.

For me, Quattro Formaggi: fresh mozzarella, parmigiano, fontina, gorgonzola, garlic, and oregano.  And we're talking SLICES of garlic, none of that wussy smashed up stuff.  So good.

And for papa, Filetti: cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, garlic, basil, and olive oil.  We swapped slices near the end and his was fantastic too.  I'm a huge fan of anything involving mozza, basil, and tomato.

We finished dinner with two Americanos (also excellent) and were on our way.  I've been floating on a cloud of pizza heaven all night.

Bottom line?  GO THERE.  GO THERE NOW.  YOUR FACE WILL THANK YOU.  I know this is a lame and short review but it's because I was so impressed.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Those who cannot sleep, blog

I've been dealing with a rather intense bout of PMS related insomnia this week so here I am, at 1:24am on a Sunday night, unable to sleep and so blogging.  You lucky devils!  I've got a lot to say so I'm going to try to divvy this up as best I can.

Food!  Mostly homemade because I'm poor as balls.  Well, not THAT poor, but trying to save money.  So I gotta make it fancy at home!  And if not fancy, super tasty.

Bacon and eggs with gouda, whole grain toast with butter.  And apple juice in a tacky plastic wine goblet, which you cannot see.

Cheddar and jalapeno wraps with rice, cheddar, peppers, and chicken breast.

The best way EVER to do scrambled eggs - sautee garlic and onions, add eggs and cook SLOWLY and add smoked edam.  You will never go back.

A masterpiece, if I do say so myself - fusilli tossed with olive oil, garlic, cherry tomatoes, spinach, asiago cheese and parmesan.  To. Die. For.  You can also add ground turkey, which I did here.

Wicked sangria - I didn't make it but it was home made and delicious so why not add a here.  White wine, white sugar, ginger ale, plenty of citrus fruit.  Stir and guzzle.  I know I did.

I've also gone out to eat a few times, thanks to my mother's crazy need to spoil her kids rotten.  Last week Stephen, my brother, came down to Victoria to shop for a Mother's Day gift for her and take me up island and she gave him her credit card. 

Stephen, bewildered at my constant Instagram-ing, pre dinner.

We opted for a quick meal at Boston Pizza and I was rather pleasantly surprised.  I had a seven cheese ravioli because, SEVEN KINDS OF CHEESE? and it was really, really good.

Freakin' dreamy.

Service was fantastic, too.  The waitress even had the good grace to laugh at my stupid jokes, so ten more points there.  If you want something quick and tasty, Boston Pizza on Hillside at Blanshard in Victoria is pretty damn great.

I spent my weekend in Duncan last week after the above delish dinner.  It's so nice to go home and just unwind.  I took a lot of baths (my parents' main tub isn't anything flashy but it's deep and wide and I love it), did some work for my dad in his clinic, and hung out with mama.  Bliss.

Knee in the tub.  This was the bath where I mistook a bubble bar for a bath bomb.  A rather decadent bit of bathing, and it turned the water blood red.  Creepy!

My mother, as I said above, likes to spoil Stephen and I like crazy.  She doesn't think she does, but oh lord it's true.  Every time I go up there she's giving me money and buying my groceries and buying me things I say in passing that I like.  Add that to the fact that she's the best mother in the world and the best WOMAN in the world and that makes for a very lucky Kolina.

We were just browsing at Winners and I said these pants were cute.  Next thing I know they're on my spoiled little heiny.  Very Dr Seuss, non?

Mama walks with my aunt three times a week, and on Tuesday I went with her and hung out with my uncle while the ladies traversed outside.  He bought this old beat up chest set, intending to give it to the neighbour kids at Christmas because they're wild about the game, but it was really busted so I helped him glue it all back together.  I'm really good with some super glue and a Q-Tip, in case you were wondering.

I also picked up a copy of Stephen's UBC grad photo while I was there - little charmer kept his Movember 'stache for the pics.  
Over the last week the weather has gotten increasingly gorgeous in Victoria (THANK CHRIST).  I was very, very tired of rain so it's been a welcome change.  And what does sunshine and warm weather mean?

Why, outside guitar playing with Joshua, of course!  Such fun :)

Sunny courtyard at work.

Last week I also went to the graduation recital of one of my favourite VCM students.  This picture is crap but you get the idea.

Here, have another slightly crap picture - this time of the SUPER MOON we had last week.  Beyond cool.

Today was Mother's Day.  Mum, dad, and Stephen came down to Victoria this evening and we went out for dinner at the Flying Otter Grill.  Afterward we went to Fisherman's Wharf for ice cream and wandering in the sunshine.

Ladies and gentlemen, behold the World's Greatest Mum.  She inspires me every day with her intelligence, optimism, and capacity to love.  I adore you, mama.

 Late afternoon sunshine on the pier after dinner.

Oh, brother of mine.

 Bill, the seagull.  I promised Stephen $100 if he could grab him and hold on for five seconds, but alas, Bill flew away.

I tried to make friends with this kitty at Fisherman's Wharf.  Clearly she was having none of it.

I saw a harbour seal for a few minutes but as soon as I tried to take his picture, bloop! he was gone.

And because I'm nothing if not vain...

Always with the headphones.

 I was so excited to be in a windowless office on a sunny, 25 degree day, oh yes.

I actually wore some semblance of noticeable makeup on Friday.

Just one more day of work and then it's weekend time again!  And hmmmm, that work day starts in just six hours.  I should probably go to sleep, huh?  

Up next - a review of Red Fish, Blue Fish (if I get there this week like I want to...).  Stay tuned!

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Short picture post of awesome

I've been a total slacker on this thing.  First of all, HELLO FOLLOWERS!  Especially hello to people who have commented on my wee blog.  You guys rule :) Thank you!

Here are some photos to tide you over until I have something actually good to say.

I went and yoga-ed with my good friend Alex the other night and afterward we had delicious Pho for dinner.  Mmmm.  Pho.  I would do a review but honestly I don't remember the name of the place. I was starving and tired.

I am in love with this dog.  She belongs to a student's family and I die a thousand deaths every time they come to the desk.  LOOK AT HER FAAAAACE.

Hello, I'm Kolina's newly rented guitar. :)

I was a cranky pants today so I soothed myself with cheese steak when I got home.  Nom.

This saran wrap lasted five years.  FIVE YEARS.  My old roommate bought it in 2007.  Unreal.

I'm goin' out, yo.  Blang blang!

Sunday, 29 April 2012

On exercise

Let me begin this post by saying that I rarely, if ever, exercise.  I enjoy a brisk walk often, but it's really not enough to get the blood going.

The Victoria Conservatory of Music takes part in the Times Colonist 10k run/walk nearly every year and has a team.  I participated last year in the walk portion and had a riot, and this year I ended up helping organize our team.  Last year I had been living in James Bay, which is about 3km from my work, and walking to the Conservatory every day.  I at least had a wee bit of training and could make good time.  This year I've been busing because I moved too far out to walk every day and had NO training whatsoever before this race.

My mum did the walk with me again this year, which is a nice little mama/daughter event for us to look forward too.  She was worried about busing from my place to the start, which is right by the water, so she got us a super nice hotel room at the Chateau Victoria, five minutes from the start line!

I indulged in a little popcorn before bed :D

It was an early start, but not too bad.  We were at the finish line right as the race started at 8am.  Because the walkers get put at the back of the line we didn't actually cross the start line until about 8:15.

And off we went!  The route goes through downtown and then beside the water and around back to the start.  I'd explain it further but it's a bit boring if you're not actually on the route.  There were TONS of people and it took about the first two kilometers for everything to spread out so we weren't just maneuvering around the really slow folk.  Mum and I walked with my coworker, Susan, and at about 4km we decided to jam headphones into our respective ears and just motor.  I really wanted to beat my time last year of 1:38.  Mum and I decided that if we split up, that was ok - I thought for sure she would beat me because she walks like freaking lightening.  But out of nowhere I was just overcome with the desire to run, so I did!  I would jog 250m or so, then walk, then jog, then walk.  I think I probably jogged nearly 2km all together!

This guy had the right idea.

I beat last year's time by about five minutes.  Last year my pace was way more consistent and we motored the whole way.  Still, I'm pretty proud of myself!


Now excuse me while I go nap for the rest of eternity.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

On sleep deprivation and wine tastings


This is what happens when I attempt to function on very little sleep.

I work at the Victoria Conservatory of Music as a receptionist.  My job is the bomb diggity.  Just under 50% of our revenue comes from donations, so we have oodles of fundraisers every year to stay in business.  This year, one of the events was Uncork Your Palate - a wine tasting at the Victoria Conservatory of Music.  The past four months have been completely taken over by planning and making sure that we were going to have a ton of people there and get lots and lots of money.  I didn't have much to do with it besides the odd task here and there but I was corralled into working the event itself, which I was excited about because I like to be involved in big events.  So exciting!

It was my birthday on Wednesday, too, so with all of the excitement and stress I really didn't get much sleep.  I even worked about eight combined hours on my days off because my coworker/friend Erin was freaking and I wanted to help her.  On Wednesday night, the night before the event, I think I slept about five hours.  

April 26th was a 14 hour day on five hours of sleep when I'd also been getting an average of six hours a night for the past week.  NO FREAKIN' BUENO.

Regardless, it was a pretty fun adventure.  My feet are swollen, I hurt all over, and I'm absolutely exhausted, but it was a riot.  I got to taste some pretty wicked wines and we raised a ton of money for the Conservatory!

 I was pretty much a "do whatever is needed" girl.  This involved setting up a table with 150 wine glasses in a perfect grid.  Thanks, OCD!

Blaine said that if I got him a chocolate chip cookie he'd do a happy dance.  I needed photographic evidence of the follow through.

Bid sheets.  I made 35 of these stupid things and they were the bane of my existence for thirty six hours.  BUT DON'T THEY LOOK GRAND?

VCM signage, just before we opened the doors for the trade event.

From 1:30pm-3:30pm, people in the wine industry were invited to come to a special tasting just for them.  We had 15 wineries, all from the Naramata Bench.  It was pretty cool to observe.  Only thing was, fancy wine tasty people don't always swallow their wine.  They swish it around in their mouths so it covers the palate and then spit it out into these spit buckets that were set up at each winery table.  We were busing during the trade tasting which mean emptying the buckets so they didn't get too full.  Yurg.

Philomena, one of my coworkers and the main organizer from the VCM, invited us to taste as much as we could during the trade event because the public tasting in the evening was bound to be busy.  I got to try four different wines before I had to get back to work.  My favourite was a sparkling wine from Elephant Island Winery.  So delicious and fruity and the most bubbly sparkling wine I have ever had!  Apparently it's sold locally in Victoria :)

Erin and Philomena at the trade tasting.  Pretty ladies!

Brian, Blaine, Erin, Bethany, and Philomena.  I have the best coworkers in the world!

After the trades event we were all absolutely exhausted but only halfway through our day.  We bused the rest of the tables and got rid of the leftover food and then Philomena sent us off to relax for a bit.  It was a gorgeous day so we headed to the patio at Browns.  Delicious sunshine!

 "I stole a bottle of wine!  It's THIS big!"

After about an hour we shuffled back to the venue and set up the dessert trades.  Then it was time to don our best evening finery and get ready for the onslaught!  The event went so well.  Lots of happy people and the live and silent auctions raised a good amount of money for the Conservatory.  When both auctions were over we raced to get everything organized so people could come upstairs and start paying for their prizes.  I was in charge of writing the winners names on this huge board with the corresponding lot numbers.  When that was done I was a runner, fetching prizes and bringing them to the bankers.  By that time, my feet were so sore that I wanted to cry but the night was almost over.  Thank god.

Banking!  I am in LOVE with Bethany's dress.

My pretty lady date and me.

In the mean time, the wineries started to pack up and get the hell out of there.  Erin and I were very disappointed that we hadn't tasted more wine, so we went around to some of the tables and just yoinked half finished bottles.  HATERS GONNA HATE.  I think I guzzled a quarter bottle of that Elephant Island goodness before moving onto some white wine.

We thought that all of the winners would come up pretty quick and pay for their prizes, but in the end we had about five to ten left.  We waited around until 10pm and then had to leave, as per licensing rules.  I was SO HAPPY to be going home.  Erin offered to drive me because she is amazing, but first we had to take the long walk up to the Conservatory where her car was parked.  We limped.  And ranted.  I half cried.  It wasn't cute.

Hoodies and dress.  Booyeah.

Erin stopped at the liquor store for herself and bought me a bottle of wine too because she's an angel sent from heaven.  Then the first photo in this post happened.

I have no regrets.

I'm still tired.

Events are tough, yo.