Apr 22, 2010


The new video from The XX. This is my favorite song by them. I think I could listen to their album all day.

Apr 9, 2010

The XX Concert

The xx - Oliver Sim (vocals/guitar), Romy Madley Croft (vocals/guitar) and Jamie Smith (beats/producer).
Phoenix Concert Theater, April 4, 2010.
Opening Acts: Nosaj Things and JJ.

The first song that got me hooked to The xx last year was "Basic Space". Their minimalistic style paired with male & female vocal interplay causes their music to exude such sensuality. I absolutely adore The xx, especially Oliver Sim.

I got there half an hour early and felt like a total misfit. Here I was this tiny Asian girl amongst these slew of hipsters. I was able to squeeze my way into the second row. I had to make sure I was at the front or I'd be spending my whole night staring at people's heads.

First Opening Act - Nosaj Thing

After 30 minutes of waiting, an Asian guy came out without saying a word and started setting up his laptop. I didn't know Nosaj Thing was performing or any of his music prior to this concert. I initially thought he was one the sound check guys until he began to play music. He was slightly hunched over his equipment while twisting knobs, pressing buttons, and gliding his fingers across his Akai MPD32 controller.

Second Opening Act - JJ

I only knew and somewhat liked 2-3 songs (Let Go, My Way, and Ecstasy) prior to seeing this Swedish band live. It started out with the female vocalist coming out with an acoustic guitar and playing her songs on a stool. The music was accompanied with images flashed onto this white canvas behind them. The projection consisted of images of herself and her band mate, nature, and other languid images. During the first song, the guitarist was clearly high. I think he had a record high of strumming two consecutive chords. He spent the rest of the time looking confused, walking around aimlessly and giving death stares to the audience. He looked apeshit crazy. At one point, he was standing 2 inches from the edge of the stage and stared angrily into the audience. I was so sure he was either going to 1) jump down beat the crap out of these two obnoxious guys behind me heckling him 2) try to crowd surf. Luckily, he didn't do either and eventually left the stage. Of course he left only after playing the air guitar and forming a heart on his chest with his hands. Aww I guess he redeemed himself there, NOT!

I couldn't appreciate JJ's music because I was too distracted by how high out of his mind he was. That and those obnoxious guys behind me that talked loudly non-stop throughout the whole night. They kept yelling insults and dumb comments . Everyone around them was annoyed. Seriously, STFU!!!

The xx

Around 10:50, a big "X" was projected onto the white cloth that encompassed the whole stage. Moments later, alternating lights from behind the curtains shone behind each band mate. It created an outline of their silhouettes while they played "Intro". When the curtains dropped, I knew it was going to be a good night.

They played all of the songs on their album, plus a cover of Do You Mind by Kyla. The songs were more or less their album versions, but with slight variations that made it even more amazing. They weren't overly interactive with the crowd, but they're known to be shy and their music makes up for it.

When listening to their music live, the space or pacing they often incorporate into their music was more pronounced. It helps create this build up, as if it was done purposely to create this feeling of anticipation. There's something in the way the pauses and intermittent quietness makes their music so sultry. Forget the notion that having 5 octaves or guitar virtuosity is an indicator of what great music consists of. This works. What makes them so good (for me) is the simplicity of it all. Well, that and the way the synth beats, bass grooves and hushed vocals all coalesce together so well.

Romy and Oliver are basically the doppelgangers of Kelly Osbourne and Eminem. To be fair, they're the younger and way more attractive versions. By the end of the night I was completely enamored to Oliver Sims. I can't quite pinpoint what it is. Is it the intense yet passionate stalker stares he gives Romy (possibly bedroom eyes jk)? Or maybe there's magic in those skin tight jeans? Well whatever it is, I think his appeal mainly stems from the way he lightly swings his guitar back. Also, the way he synced his head and neck movements to the music was endearing...in an odd way.

They ended the night with Oliver
fervently pounding at the cymbals at the end of Infinity. They later came back for an encore performance of Stars. The lights were dimmed low while tiny lights outlining "x" illuminated the backdrop. The concert was incredible. I would definitely go again if they came back to Toronto.

Mar 11, 2010

The Cupcake Shoppe

2417 Yonge Street

Toronto, ON

Due to work and unwillingness to traverse across GTA just for a cupcake, my mission to find the best cupcake hasn't been too successful. Over the weekend, I forced myself to start my list by making a visit to The Cupcake Shoppe at Yonge and Eglinton. I started out quite optimistic, but that changed shortly after.

The cupcakes were $2.50 each, which is averagely priced for that size. I ended up getting only three because I wanted to be sure it was good before I committed myself to a dozen. I chose the following:

Opposites Attract- This was a vanilla cupcake with chocolate buttercream frosting and a Smartie on top. For some reason, the frosting was grainy and not smooth. I could feel the sugar particles on my tongue while I was eating it. Also, I'm not a fan of Smarties. M&Ms> Smarties.

Mint Chocolate- It's a chocolate cupcake with mint buttercream frosting. The mint frosting was too bland. I think their intent was to showcase the mintiness but ended up making a tasteless one. Also, the cake portion wasn't moist. Moistness is key!

James Brown.
This was a chocolate cupcake with chocolate buttercream frosting. This is the best tasting cupcake out of the three I tried from here. But don't get me wrong, it's still sub-par.

So what's the verdict?

The cake part was dry. The frosting fell short for 2 out of the 3 I tried. Simply put, their cupcakes are overrated.

On a positive note, their packaging is kind of cute. They do a good job on the decorative aspect, but the taste is lacking.

Mar 6, 2010

Yorkie, Not for Girls!

I went to the Old Firehall Confectionery on Main Street Unionville this weekend and found the Yorkie "Not for Girls" chocolate bar. Sexist ! How can a candy bar discriminate against females? I wanted to buy it just so I can say "Hah, I'm a girl and I bought it". I quickly realized if I did, I'm doing exactly what they want and succumbing to their marketing gimmick. That whole reverse psychology thing isn't going to work on me. I'm too smart for that, right?

I have three theories of how this whole grand idea materialized:

I'm almost 99% sure that a group of misogynistic neanderthals whose motto is "bros before hoes" came up with this whole concept.

2)That, or a support group consisting of extremely bitter, whipped and emasculated married men that cower at the sound of their wive's voice. "Take that wifey, this is the part of my life you CAN'T take away from me. OK dear, I'm sorry. I won't raise my voice at you again and you can have some."

3)A bunch of male die-hard chocolate lovers that are tired of chocolate being associated with women. They too, men, love to gorge in chocolate during moments of emotional eating. This derivative of the lovely cocoa bean also serves as an aphrodisiac for them. Simply put, this is basically their attempt to rightfully reclaim what's theirs. The chocolate bar.

Okay, so my theories are a bit far fetched, completely absurd and made up haha. Or are they?

This candy bar is quite chunky. Maybe the creators thought "we'll make this chocolate bar brimming with masculinity by making it extra chunky so it can't fit into a girl's dainty little mouth". Oh, the joke's on you Yorkie, we've had larger things in our mouths. For example, ice cream bars, bananas, sandwiches etc. Hmm what were YOU thinking pervs? Get your mind out of the gutter!

I read the label and it contains 21.5 grams of fat. Maybe it really isn't for girls because the fat content alone turned me off. For 21 grams of fat, I rather eat a McDonald's 9 piece chicken nuggets or a quarter pounder.

By the way, this weekend was so nice and sunny. Summer, come faster!

Mar 3, 2010

St. Lawrence Market

92 Front Street East

Toronto, ON

I recently made a trip out to St. Lawrence Market out of boredom and hunger. On Saturdays, they have a farmers market in the North building starting bright and early at 5am. Usually, by the time I get there, only the leftovers and rejects are left. I really should wake up earlier, but who doesn't like to sleep in on the weekends. I think it's important to support local farmers by purchasing their products. I know usually they charge a slight premium, but it's fresher and helps keep local growers in business. I can't say that I buy locally very often, but I'll try to more often in the future.

Here's are some pictures I've taken recently and over the summer:

Portuguese Tart I randomly bought in the lower level.

Whoever created this is a genius. How many of you have excitedly brought a banana to work only to find it's been battered up so badly that you thought Chris Brown was the culprit (Ok, not funny and I know I made a lame joke in poor taste)? Although I'm 99% sure most bananas aren't that long and big, I guess it never hurts to overcompensate. This phallic shaped contraption proves to be quite useful, but I'd be a bit embarrassed be seen holding this. It reminds me of something you would find in a shop called "Aren't We Naughty" (at Yonge & Sheppard, I've never been there I swear).

This place makes their own pasta. Freshly made pasta is considered better because the rougher texture (in comparison to ones that are mass produced) retains more sauce. Every time I come here they're giving out samples.

St. Urbain's bagels are fantastic. They're chewy, soft and baked in a wood burning oven.

Sausages. It looks so unappetizing when it's rolled up like that. It reminds me of intestines.

Tilapia Fish Sandwich from Buster's Sea Cove.

Apparently their peameal bacon sandwich is really popular. Maybe it's because I'm not a peameal fan, but I didn't find anything special about it.

Blowfish. I've always wondered what fugu tastes like.

Feb 27, 2010

Bieber Fever...NOT!

If you guys are puzzled and asking "Who's Justin Bieber?". Well, he's basically the second coming of Aaron Carter, minus the lame rapping. Young girls 15 and under go gaga over him. Even three year olds cry their hearts out over him (see
video). I don't know about you, but when I was three I was crying over things like falling flat on my face or being called a boy (I had a bowl cut and was mistaken for one up until I was 5).

While perusing through OhNoTheyDidn't (my guilty pleasure), it finally hit me why Justin Bieber irks me so much. It's because he reminds me of this lesbian ( I have nothing against lesbians) named Dani from A Shot of Love with Tila Tequila. Don't judge me, that show was entertaining. MTV is particularly adept at creating drama filled mind-numbing trash-tastic shows (i.e. Jersey Shore, an instant classic and made fist pumping acceptable). If it makes it any better, I didn't watch A Shot of Love with Tila Tequila 2.

Anyways back to every tween girl's favorite lesbian, Justin Bieber. Shave 10 years off of Dani and what you have left is Justin Bieber. Look at the face, hair, and feminine features. The similarities are uncanny. Okay fine, I think it's mainly the hair. But you see where I'm coming from right?

A risque photo of Beiber and some random girl. Justin Beiber has game! I can't decide whether Justin or
the girl is prettier.

Dani from A Shot of Love with Tila Tequila.

Sorry Bieber, no hard feelings. You're alright. I think you're really pretty. Your music is catchy. I even caught myself bobbing my head to "Baby", which I'm ashamed to admit. When puberty hits, I hope your voice doesn't deepen too much for the sake of your singing career.

Feb 15, 2010

Hollywood Gelato

1640 Bayview Avenue

Toronto, ON

Hollywood Gelato is located in Bayview/Leaside Village and during the summer times the long line ups are usually outside of the door. I went last Sunday afternoon around 3:50ish. They only had half of their usual gelato available, but luckily they still had the flavors I was craving for. It's $3.95 for a small (two scoops and flavors), and about $ 4.95 for a large (three scoops).

The difference between regular ice cream and gelato is that gelato is made with more milk, while ice cream is blended with cream. Gelato tends to be denser and has a smoother velvety texture. It usually has a lower fat content of around 5-7%, versus ice cream that has 10-15% fat.

Here are some of the flavors I've tried and my vague recollection of them:

Rocky Rocher- Tastes exactly like Ferrero Rocher, it even has large pieces of hazelnut in it.

Pistachio- Good, but there are better Pistachio gelato out there.
Burnt Marshmallow- It literally has burnt particles mixed in.
Raspberry- This is too sour for my liking.
Mango - Refreshing and tangy.
Twix- A little too sweet.
Tiramisu- I didn't like it at all, I considered throwing it out.
Key Lime Pie- It's very limey and has pieces of crust in it.
Pumpkin Pie- Why would someone think this is a good idea? I tried it out of curiosity.
Peanut Butter Chocolate - It has just the right amount of peanut butter.

I got the Pistachio (top) and Rocky Rocher (bottom) in a waffle cone.

I've been to Hollywood Gelato many times and I've tried around 10+ flavors, but Rocky Rocher is still my absolute favorite. It captures the tastes of Ferrero Rocher perfectly.