Saturday, January 29, 2011

Why I Got a GF1

Picked up a Panasonic GF1 earlier this week. Theres almost no need for me to write a review about it since the internet is flooded with them. This will also be a short post.

For those that don't know, there is a new model named the GF2 (a successor to the GF1) just waiting to hit the market any day now, but I decided to grab what is (or soon to be) a discontinued model. While the newer model is said to be lighter and smaller, the lens it is coupled with is slower. It is a wider lens, yes, but it's something I won't be needing. The GF2 will also have better video quality. But again, something I won't be needing. If I could use something to shoot 1080 instead of 720 with, I would hardly use a casual style camera for the job. You can read about their specs and differences, on this page.

One last reason why I got the GF1 instead of waiting for the GF2 (and most likely end up paying more money for it): GF2 has a bloody touch screen. That one gets a "Don't pass GO, don't collect $200" treatment from me.

Sometimes, the newer models aren't necessarily better than the old ones and there have been plenty of examples of that in the past. Instead of mindlessly going with the flow of the social-consumer rule of "New = Better", I decided to get a camera with features that I like and will be using. It only seems like a logical choice.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Warmth You Can Eat

Remember my last post? Yeah, I went out and got some. It turns out these Taiyaki/Bungeoppang aren't that common in this city, but I managed to hunt some places down that did have them.

Taiyaki, a snack with origins of Japan made the leap to Korea in the 1930's while Korea was pretty much oppressed by Japan. Since then, it has never left (South) Korea. Taiyaki, that is (The Japanese people left by 1945). Only now it is called Bungeoppang in Korea. They're both sold in vendors outside usually famous in the winter time. I suppose you can rate it on the same level of hotdog vendors here. Except the food is less crappy and possibly safer to eat. Oh, who am I trying to kid? Anything is safer than to eat those damn hotdogs!

Anywho, back in Toronto, current time. My most convenient choice was a place called "BnC Bakery" on Bloor. St, in between Christie and Bathurst. Where I got to see the lady working there, make them from scratch. She was even kind enough to let me briefly photograph the process as long as it would leave her out of the photos since she isn't photo-genic at all.

The process itself is not rocket science. You just need the right equipment. Notably, the fish-shaped waffle maker.

First thing that goes in is the batter.

Followed by some red bean paste, which is the filling.

And then you simply close the fish shaped waffle maker into one and wait a few minutes. Then it should look something like this.

Okay, so I made it sound much easier than how it really is. However, believe me when I say the taste was spot on. I'm sure the ones in Korea or Japan do taste better or at least more authentic, but I can't exactly get a plane ticket every time I get a craving. Although, the ones at BnC Bakery are great and I have a feeling I'll be going back there many times before the spring pops up this year. And until then, I do have my hand warmer to keep me warm on every trip to BnC Bakery.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Gift of Warmth: Hand Warmer

I've been neglecting to write this for a while and it is way past the holiday season, but better late than never.

A friend of mine was in the country from Korea for a little while in the holiday season and managed to drop off a little gift. While it isn't anything that suits me in terms of style, it's (re)usefulness definitely gets a top score.

Its a re-useable hand warmer.

For those who aren't familiar with it, it does exactly what the name suggests: it keeps your hands warm. As the instructions say (in Korean), you simply microwave it-don't worry, it wont blow itself up and start a fire- for about 30 seconds. And keep it in your hands and just enjoy the warmth as the hand warmer itself gives off the heat it collected in the microwave. The hand warmer does stay warm for quite some time: Roughly 30 minutes. That's quite amazing.

This could just be my answer to the cold seasonal temperature of the Canadian Winter this season around. It is getting bloody cold in Toronto however, whether it is seasonal or not.

When it's not in use however, it simply looks and feels like a stuffed toy Taiyaki (たい焼き). Or to be more precise, regarding where this hand warmer came from, a Korean version, which is called, Bungeoppang (붕어빵). Both are quite tasty snacks, which are quite similar to one another and I will talk about them more in detail in the next post.

Oh, and one last thing, and my favorite feature I forgot to mention about the hand warmer: It actually smells like the actual Taiyaki/Bungeoppang. However, it tastes nothing like it =/

Saturday, January 15, 2011

So Long 1800 Tequila

In a blink of an eye, several months have passed by since my last post. Upon my return, I bring nothing- absolutely nothing but bad news.

My favorite tequila will no longer be sold in Ontario. Legally.

Luckily, I was able to find an-already-well-enjoyed-bottle from one of the parties among X-mas and new year parties for sentimental purposes.

While I was on a search for the "right" tequila, I came across the 1800: Select Silver Tequila. It wasn't the cheapest tequila in the selection, but it wasn't the most expensive either. What caught my attention was the 50% alcohol level instead of the regular 40% I've been seeing. This meant I could get drunker faster! I wasn't too wrong about that. Something about the 1800 made me come back for it again and again.

The downside of the 1800 was that, since it was a silver tequila, it really wasn't meant for mixing with other drinks, unlike a gold tequila. It over powered whatever it was being mixed with. It was like mixing 1800 with food colouring. That only meant it was best enjoyed by itself. Or at least with some salt and lime.

Another interesting feature about the 1800 that I liked, was the bottle design. If you hold the bottle upside down, the drink would go into the bottle cap. While this did pretty much nothing to the flavor, it added some entertaining value to the 1800 itself.

Now I'm on a journey to find another tequila again. Hopefully this time around, I'll find something that wont leave the province 5 months after we meet.