Little things


This has nothing to do with food, and everything to do with food. Food is the common ground. Food is for sharing. Food brings us together.

A Saturday morning walk to the boulangerie? Always better travelled hand in hand.

Bourbon on the rocks after a stressful day? Something is missing without another glass to clink.

A warm mug (or two) of chai when you just can’t seem to shake a chill? It’s that much worse when you know there’s a pair of arms that would willingly wrap you up, but they can’t because they’re on the other side of the world.

No one said long-distance relationships were easy. On the contrary they are pretty damn hard. Texting, phone calls, FaceTime – they all help. But there’s no substitute for the little things you miss out on every day. A hand caressing your hip. A good morning kiss. A shared meal of crusty baguette and blue cheese. Silence. Except perhaps for the crackling of crust. You can talk from afar but you can’t just be. Sometimes there aren’t words and you don’t want there to be. I want nothing more than to not talk.

No one said long-distance relationships were easy. What in life that is worth it ever is? They are devoid of instant gratification and tangible affirmations. Misconstrued words can deliver unintended messages with regretful consequences. It works though. You make it work because you know you wouldn’t be doing it otherwise. Otherwise meaning you’ve found someone who makes 16000 some odd kilometers apart seem easy and you won’t go down without a fight.

We fight because we love.

No one said long-distance relationships were easy. Life is not easy. Find the right person and loving can be, no matter what the distance in between.

La Tablette de Miss Choco

La Tablette 1

A mid-afternoon class cancellation on a Tuesday and a chocolate-less apartment can only result in a single outcome in my world, that is, going to hunt down chocolate. By this I don’t mean a quick jaunt to the grocery store to snatch up a couple of Lindt bars that are on special 2/$6. No, what I’m referring to is a trek across the city at all costs in search of the best selection of single origin, bean-to-bar chocolate Montreal has to offer; and I found it!

Enter La Tablette de Miss Choco, a specialty chocolate shop offering bean-to-bar varieties from all over the world. It’s the exact type of place a person like me should never be left alone in for any extended period of time, but with no one to stop me and a minimal desire to exercise control, I decided to risk it. I make it my mission to seek out chocolate wherever I am, home or abroad, and I have never seen this kind of selection in one place. It was, quite frankly, overwhelming (mainly because I knew I wasn’t going to be able to buy THE EVERYTHING, and didn’t want the pressure of having to narrow it down).

Thankfully they were beyond helpful in explaining the layout of the store and offering samples based on what I described that I liked in chocolate. At La Tablette, you can get bars made in Canada, the US, Europe, or ones that are made specifically where the beans were grown (Vietnam, Madagascar, etc.). I loved the fact that I had never seen 90% of the brands before anywhere else. After tasting Peruvian chocolate that was distinctly reminiscent of dried cherries, virgin chocolate that due to the non-roasted beans was mild and subtle, and a bar from Madagascar that melted luxuriously on your tongue and left the most pleasant, citrusy aftertaste, it was time for the arduous task of deciding which ones to buy and take home with me. I opted for the aforementioned bars from Peru and Madagascar, as well as a 70% bar from Vietnam, and some Willie’s Cacao milk chocolate for good measure (which I may or may not have devoured an entire bar of walking around Prague last summer when I was first introduced to it).

Whether you are as much of a chocolate fiend as I am, or want to begin exploring the world of bean-to-bar chocolate, La Tablette de Miss Choco is a phenomenal starting point. Don’t be afraid to tell them what you like – milk, dark, how dark? Straight up chocolate or other ingredients mixed in? Citrusy, bitter notes or robust berry and smoky tobacco notes? – and they can guide you in the direction of what bars you are most likely to enjoy. They also offer various classes on the chocolate making process, history of chocolate, fair-trade chocolate, and more, if you want to up your chocolate IQ even further. Or just go and taste, purchase, and enjoy, because like good wine, good chocolate is meant to be savoured.

La Tablette 2

La Tablette 3

La Tablette 4

La Tablette 5

La Tablette 6

La Tablette de Miss Choco

838 Avenue du Mont-Royal Est, Montreal, QC

Mal Takes on YUL

As you may know, or at least have deduced from my Twitter and Instagram lately, this born and raised Calgarian has moved east. For the next 5 years at a minimum (that being the expected completion time for my Ph.D.) I am officially a resident of Montreal – and absolutely loving it!


The city itself is a cultural mecca all around but can we take a sec to stop and talk about the food? Within a 2 block radius of where I live I have access to:


A) The best chocolate chip (chunk really) cookies I’ve ever had at Cafe Parvis.

IMG_0301 IMG_0304

B) Crazy good Japanese bites and cocktails at Biiru Izakaya.

IMG_0331 IMG_0339

C) Tacos that rival those from Tres Carnales (I’m sorry Edmonton, you have competition) at Escondite. Oh and cocktails too.


D) Olives and other salty deliciousness at Taverne F.

E) All the traditional French brasserie goodness at Brasserie T! (not pictured)


A little further out I’m happy to report that the veg scene is thriving. Great veggie burgers and crispy yet melt-in-your-mouth chickpea fries at Lola Rosa.

Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 7.58.05 PM

The only disappointment thus far (and I’m aware that I might get the boot for saying this) has been the bagels. Montreal bagels, I don’t get what the fuss is about you. Texturally, you’re fine. Portion-wise, (smaller and with a bigger hole than your NYC counterparts), I can also deal with you. But taste? Well frankly you don’t taste like anything. Whoever decided that Montreal bagels didn’t need salt was not a very wise person. All bread needs salt. Anyways, I can eat you but only slathered in liberal amounts of SALTY peanut butter.


Or if that doesn’t work, I also have about 15 different types of salt hiding in my cupboards to choose from. Yup, I have a salt collection. Don’t judge. (popcorn night at Chez Mallory will never be boring)

So pretty much over the next 5 years I plan on eating my way through Montreal. And going to grad school. The brain needs fuel though right? Well there’s lots to choose from here! Stay tuned for more of my adventures when I get around to documenting them!

A little of my lately

Hey guys! There are a lot of big transitions happening in my life right now and for the first time in a long time, I’m feeling compelled to actually update this tiny segment of the interwebs that I own. Crazy, I know.

With a little less than a month left in Calgary before I move to Montreal for grad school, I’ve been getting my fix of all the things I love about this part of the country. Having moved away from it before, I know first and foremost that I’m going to miss my mountains. Between research and various work food writing and otherwise, I’ve been spending as much time as I can hiking, kayaking, canoeing – pretty much doing anything that involves nature and activity!

Back in June J came to visit for my convocation and we spent the better part of the week enjoying each other’s company, cooking, critiquing, and exploring my favourite part of the world around Canmore and area. Having grown up here, it was amazing to take it all in through the eyes of a visitor. It gave me a different appreciation for peaks and vistas I’ve seen what feels like hundreds of times in my life.


As for the cooking aspect of his visit, what happens when a chef and wannabe chef/food writer get together in the kitchen? Lots apparently. I had forgotten what it was like to actually put effort into the meals I make for myself. The above homage to beets started with a base of beet puree comprised of roasted beets, coconut yogurt, salt and pepper, topped with chunks of more roasted beets, thinly sliced raw beets marinated in lime juice and zest, fiddleheads, goat cheese, and cashews. A classic example of what happens when you showcase vegetables for what they are and don’t make a big fuss. And how can you beet (ha) those colours?!


2 words; mushroom pasta. Kind of underwhelming to look at, but so, so good. Maybe I had just been deprived of creamy pasta for too long, who knows? Regardless, when you hard sear portabellos and add red wine, cream and tarragon to the mix, you’re in for some “how fast can I possibly shovel this into my face hole?” goodness.


Come Canada Day I was back in the mountains for another mini vacation. We took some patriotic photo ops with our flag at the top of Ha Ling and I practiced my yoga, balancing precariously on the edge of a cliff without falling over the edge to my death. Or without pulling my groin. Success on both fronts!


It has been one of the warmest summers I’ve experienced in a long time so we took advantage of it with a kayak up stream to Vermilion Lakes. Rundle I’m going to miss yoooouuuuuuuuu!


I’ve had a lot of time to prepare for this move, but I think I’m still comprehending the fact that for the next 5 years at a minimum I’m saying goodbye to the place that has been my home for pretty much my entire life. I’ve almost had too much time to prepare because I’ve still got things to wrap up here despite being totally ready to move. There’s not really enough time to start anything new, but it’s not time to go yet either, so I need to find some way to keep myself occupied.

The extra free time has promoted reflection and introspection, and has led to the realization that I would love to do more writing now that I can fit it in. For how long that will last, I can’t say, but I’m embracing the fact that I want to do it, rather than feeling obligated to. I know there’s a niche for combining food and psychology in some sort of comprehensible form and I’m looking forward to exploring food and eating from that perspective. I’ve done it before, somewhat half-heartedly, both here and for Eat North, but I want to find a way to make it a mainstay in my writing repertoire. Moving to Montreal, I’m also looking forward to getting involved in their food scene and immersing myself in that. There are a lot of random, tangential thoughts that are still in the incipient stages of formulation so we’ll see what happens! I’m back on the horse for now so there’s not much to say other than, stay tuned!

Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes and a birthday dedication


I’m a planner. If I could pencil in where I’m going to be this afternoon, tomorrow, the day after that, 5 years from now, I would probably do it. I live my life by setting goals and accomplishing them, sometimes at the expense of neglecting to see opportunities that are staring me right in the face, or realizing that the path I’ve set out on isn’t even what I want. Over time I’ve gotten better at adapting to the unknowns that life throws at you, but “going with the flow” is still something I will always have to work on. It’s an ongoing process but I’ve figured out how to balance my “J” qualities with a little bit of “P”, such that I can survive when things don’t work out quite as planned.

After all, sometimes the best things in life are the ones that happen to be the most unexpected. Like reconnecting with someone you haven’t seen in a long time who also happens to reside a world away. Someone who was the most important person in my life for the better part of a year and then gone. Having disappeared as quickly as it fell into my lap, I spent awhile trying to reconcile the fact that maybe fate put him there for a reason, in that place, at that time, but that was all it was ever going to be. It was a reality I tried to accept, and for the most part, succeeded in doing so. But every now and then I would have a random dream, thought, intuition that there was more. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that if your gut is telling you something, it’s probably right. And thankfully, it was.

I’m still as much of a planner as ever, but when life hands you beautiful brown eyes and a smile belonging to someone who is smart, witty, caring, and a continuation of adjectives that will never do the real person justice, you embrace the welcome detour that takes you from Point A, to B, to C, rather than the original journey from Point A to C, and never look back. And when cette individual’s favourite cake is carrot cake, and it just so happens to be his birthday, you dedicate your carrot cake recipe to him. Because what else would you do?

J, whatever serendipitous stroke of luck, fate, or kismet brought you back into the centre of my universe, I thank it every day. You challenge me and make me want to be a better person day in and day out, for you, for me, and for us. You’re right, there’s no earthly way of knowing which direction we are going, but there are 360 degrees of possibility from whatever angle I look at it. I couldn’t have planned it better even if I tried. Happy birthday.


5.0 from 1 reviews
Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Serves: 12
  • 2¼ cups flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tbsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg
  • ¾ cup shredded coconut
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 bar Green & Black's Organic Ginger Chocolate, chopped
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  1. Line 12 muffin cups with muffin liners and heat your oven to 325F.
  2. Mix together the dry ingredients, from the flour to the chocolate.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients, whisking or stirring to blend.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just incorporated.
  5. Portion the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Bake at 325F for 30-40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  6. Cool and top with the frosting of your choice (or just eat as-is).


DSC_0017 DSC_0027