Dining with Taylor Swift and Other New Experiences

A common question we get asked about Chez Lisgar is how we come up with a menu. Oftentimes, Nadya is capable of combining traditional dishes with her own personal cooking style to create something completely unique. In other cases, we turn to my folder filled with recipes. I barely ever cook for myself, but for some reason, having a folder filled with intricate recipes helps me sleep better at night. Just knowing the general theory of cooking is good enough for me.

As much as we both worship food, there are some strangely normal things we’ve never eaten. For Nadya, it’s corned beef.

It's been trying to score a date with her since 2006.

It’s been trying to score a date with her since 1898.

 

For me, it’s risotto.

What are you?

What are you?

While everyone enjoys it, Italian cuisine is something that my Chinese-Canadian family doesn’t automatically think of when we go out for a meal. I think in my parents’ minds, spaghetti and rice are pretty interchangeable.

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The mysteries of Italian cooking — especially risotto — piqued my interest. At first glance, risotto kind of looks like a popular Asian dish known as congee.

Risotto or congee?

Risotto or congee?

Risotto or congee?????

Risotto or congee?????

And thus, the idea for kale pesto risotto was born. Why kale, you may ask? Because that’s another food I don’t eat often and I’m not sure if I truly understand what all the hype is about. Why pesto, you may ask? Because it is one of Earth’s greatest treasures and should be considered the eighth wonder of the world.

"Senorita" - Justin Timberlake ft. Pharrell Williams.

“Senorita” – Justin Timberlake ft. Pharrell Williams.

 

 

Does this look like risotto?????

Does this look like risotto?????

 

risotto kale pesto

Despite my confusion over risotto and its many secrets, the final product both looked and tasted delicious. And we all know delicious food pairs best with good company. This week’s guests were Lindsay and her friend Mimi, two young Torontonians originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia. We also had the pleasure of having Alexandra, a lifestyle blogger, join us for dinner.  

chez lisgar dinner

Top row: Alexandra & Mimi / Bottom row: Nadya, Sarah & Lindsay

I know what you’re all thinking, because we thought the exact same thing when she stepped into our apartment: Lindsay looks a lot like Taylor Swift. Like a lot. Like long-haired, all-American country singing, guitar playing a lot. She even revealed that she spent a brief period of time working as an impersonator. I was tempted to ask her to dress up like Swift one day and just walk around the city with me and pretend like we’re best friends, but there was never a proper moment to ask. For now, this photo will have to suffice:

Such great friends!

Such great friends!

Mimi works at a dog hotel, which is arguably even cooler. This is what Nadya and I imagine an average day at work for her is like:

The best of friends!

The best of friends!

On top of being an excellent culinary experiment, Chez Lisgar has given me the chance to try new things again. I would never describe myself as a risk taker… in fact, there’s a home video my parents took of me at a park where I spend almost ten minutes debating whether or not to go down a slide. The uncertainty of my landing weighed heavily on my tiny toddler brain, and that same uncertainty still lingers in my present adult brain, except now the fear extends into work, school, my Photoshop skills, personal relationships, and everything else in between.

I prefer comfort over excitement. I like going into every situation as if I was slipping on my favourite pair of shoes — I know exactly what to expect, and I know I won’t get any blisters. But the soles are kind of worn out, the stink is getting to offensive levels, and that hole near my big toe is no good for Canadian winters.

Each dinner that Nadya and I host is like trying on a brand new pair of shoes. It’s a little strange at first since we know next to nothing about our guests, but as the night goes on, we find that there are always common interests, and the discomfort quickly disappears. And I am grateful for it.

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