chrome hangs on certain tabs

I’ve been having a lot of problems with chrome for the last 5 months or so. It was to a point where I couldn’t even surf pages anymore the tab would hang on a regular basis. I’m running on a Lenovo W520.

What I recently found out is that some of the problems may be due to hardware acceleration or other options that have been enabled here:

To look at what features are enabled you can look here:

I resolved some of my problems by disabling some of the features on the flags page. If you decide to do so notice that some feature are to Disable functionality which means you have to enable the disable functionality. This is very confusing with the double negative but I guess that’s just how it works.

mushroom viewing on a dry start to fall

2012-10-07 13.06.37-1Ventured out to get some exercise mushrooming last weekend. It’s been a pretty dry fall so far so I was interested to see what type of mushrooms would be out there. I’ve been trying to learn more about boletus edulis it is also known as the king bolete or in italy they call them porcinis although they may be slightly different. Regardless this is a very meaty mushroom not unlike the matsutake. The flesh inside is very firm and it is very full in flavour. Another mushroom that is great for risottos or my favourite just butter, lemon, soya sauce and garlic.

Anyways so I had my mind set on seeing some of these mushrooms and maybe learning about some others that I could start doing some research about. Reaching the forest honestly I felt a little bit disappointed, all the moss was quite dry. The sun was blazing and it was well above 20 degrees Celsius. At this point I figured it would just be a walk in the forest to get some exercise.

Luckily we started seeing some life:

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Was not able to identify this mushroom but it looks like a cross between a portobello and a oyster mushroom. It looks entirely editable. However, I live by the rule to never eat anything that I can’t identify 100%.

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We also found a ton of these white mushrooms, which is often the case around these parts however with the dry weather I figured most of them would be severely deteriorated. It’s true we found many that had lots of bugs inside or were quite dried out but there were some nice plump ones as well. I think they may be editable but I’ve heard that they aren’t very tasty. I often call these mushrooms fake matsutake because they look so similar. And they always get me excited because they look so similar and can hide under the moss in a similar manner.

You can always tell they aren’t the same because they smell completely different and their flesh is very brittle and break apart quite easily.

With these mushrooms I figured I might get lucky and see a matsutake but without the rain there were no matsutake to be found. Then I found this:

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And another:

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These all were identified as lobster mushrooms by me and after getting home I did a bunch more research on the topic and I’m almost 100% sure these are lobsters. Lobster mushrooms are a peculiar type of fungus that envelops another mushroom and takes it over. They call this the host mushroom. There was some controversy in the mushroom world about if they could be poisonous if the host were poisonous. As far as my research has found the fungus can only live on hosts that are not poisonous. But you’ll have to do your own research to confirm. These lobster look very much like the fake matsutake mushroom we saw earlier. So I’m assuming that that white mushroom is the host.

Anyways, the take away here is that these types of lobsters don’t mind the dry weather.

We wandered around some more:

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Spotted some more unidentified mushys and called it a day and had some ramen to back in vancouver. Here are some of the other mushrooms we saw:


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These guys looked very poisonous.

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barcelona, a foodies mecca, part 5 last night


After completing our apperitivo we wanted to head to a restaurant for our meal. However, since we already spent quite a bit of time at Xampanyet we were relatively full. So there was no reason for us to hurry. We wandered around for a bit and slowly made our way to an area we’d been the night before not far from the area with the yachts. When we got there we could not find the place. When some locals saw us searching around aimlessly they asked us what we were looking for and after we told them they said it was closed.

So we decided to go to a place that we knew was known for good sardines. I was expecting a restaurant that served many dishes some of them being sardines. To my surprise this place pretty much served two dishes from what I could tell. Fried sardines or sardine salad and lots of beer and wine La Plata. People were crowded all around the bar ordering drinking, breaking glasses, trying on hats. We squished our way into the front to talk to the bartender and ordered some beer and wine and some fried sardines. The thing about a place that focus on only  a couple of items they were great sardines.


And I wasn’t joking about the guy trying on the hat. He was also the one that broke a glass.


We also tried their salad.


We had another round of beers and fried sardines before we made our escape to find our final dinner. At this point we weren’t sure where to go so we headed back to the street that Xampanyet was on because there were a bunch of nice looking restaurants there. After some deliberation we ended across the street from Xampanyet. It was a tapas place that had a fairly substantial line up all night. And people continued to line up as they approached closing time. Xampanyet was still teeming but they were slowly getting kicked out as it shut down for the night.


After a bit of a wait and a bit of walk. We got our table. We order a selection of dishes that we thought would be interesting. One of which was already sold out and the chef was nice enough to come out to talk to us about not having the dish. He seemed really organized and was always keeping an eye on the guests. He made sure his wait staff were doing all the right things. Most likely the owner. Anyways, first off, snails:




This was a beautiful looking dish. Furthermore the snails were cooked perfectly. They were very tender and succulent. However, unfortunately for me I was not able to appreciate the flavour. It had a floral note to the snails that I couldn’t get my head around and the gravy was light and doesn’t power through the flavours like this picture may suggest. Everything accentuated the flavour of the snails.  Probably a good thing if you enjoy that flavour.


We ended up ordering this potato omelet again by mistake but it was awesome. Maybe even better than the one at cal pep. The potatoes were perfectly seasoned and the pancetta penetrated everything and the egg envelope wrapped everything nicely. 20120904_232256

We finished off the night with a great beef rib. It tasted exactly like it looks. Very full flavoured and salty. Before finishing the night and ending our food fest in barcelona, we used there washrooms where we found these perfectly little signs for the men and women’s washroom.


It would be a long night for me because I think the jet lag finally caught up with me that night. Besides we had to wake up around 5 or something like that. I ended up listening to podcasts all night and probably had about 30 minutes of sleep. Maybe it was the beef rib that pushed me over the edge, hah, probably not. Now the opulence ends. We head to work as wwoofers. (World Wide Organization of Organic Farmers). If you want to continue hearing about our trip to italy stay tuned for the next post about cessole…

barcelona, a foodies mecca, part 4 Xampanyet!

After getting cleaned up we still had our bike so we decided to go and look at some attractions and try and make our way to garcia. Garcia is a district that is out of the touristy hub of barcelona and we heard really nice things from the bartender on the first night. 20120904_170104

First stop Sangrada Familia, we made our way to the Familia to find that it had a large lineup outside and we had to make a choice of either biking around garcia or waiting for the church. Being mostly just foodies and not much for museums and art galleries we decided to leave the Familia for a longer stay next time in barcelona. So we headed off to garcia, which turned up to be a large hill that we had to climb. The streets were much quieter with many little piazza in between where locals would sit and chat. Here you can see sandy struggling up the hill. It’s steeper than the picture makes it out to be.


This was  a fairly length bike ride and there were some restaurants we wanted to take a look at in garcia. However, we were either not able to find or they were closed. So being at the top of the hill we had some coke and a bottle of water and headed back to return the bikes. It was a fun ride down and then we ended up on the upper part of ramblas or the street that becomes ramblas and we shimmied between the crowd. Fun! Before we stopped off to return the bikes we had spotted a dried food store the day before that I needed to stop off at to buy some saffron. They only had one type which made the decision easy and the proprietor explained this is the main type of spanish saffron. I figured there would be different grades but hadn’t done the research. Regardless, it would be better than the one I had at home so I bit.



Dropped off the bikes and the night began! First stop Xampanyet. Please be finally open!! And it was, whew. The was already a crowd in there and when we entered all the standing spots were already taken at the bar. I was in a daze didn’t know what to do, so much action around me. People getting drinks, hollering to the people behind the bar, plates swishing over peoples heads as patrons grab dishes to head back to their tables.

Luckily for us the two right in front of the main bartender, who was probably the owner. I say this because he said that he would be willing to sell me the place for the right price. First things first their “champagne”. Not 100% sure what it was but it was a sparkling drink similar to a cava. As he poured it he would overfill just a touch and let the bubbles slide over the base of the glass. It was such a beautiful sight and a great way to start the evening. (fond memories)

Looking down the bar I could see a plethora of different dishes that we had to have. (although tonight I would stay clear of the iberian ham which I already had my fill). To start I pointed at the anchovies.


When we started fumbling with separating them the bartender stepped in and helped us extract the tails which held the two filets together. These were salty and briny and anchovielishes. At the same time I started ordering the canned seafood that they had. This was what I’d been waiting for for a long time.

Canned food is general to preserve or to try and keep food that otherwise would go bad. However, in this case they get the best, freshest seafood and can it. Where the canning process is intended to impart flavour and change the flavours to something different but also good. I used to love canned abalone as a kid for the flavours the can imparted on it and I was hoping for the same here.

to start we had canned clams and razor clams:


The both had the flavour of the sea but also another flavor that the canned imparted on it not unlike canned white asparagus. Furthermore, he had vinegars and olive oils he would add to the dishes before serving them. They were spectacular and worth the wait. Next we had to try their lard on asparagus? Nope ended up being a bread stick. And of course their sardines on crostini. Probably the best sardines I’ve ever had.



I ask him if they had octopus and they said no but then he pointed at this. I believe it is octopus that has been curl in on itself. I didn’t really like it because of the flavour but sandy devoured it. When I think of great octopus I think of a tender but elastic texture. This  was more firm, not in a bad way though. However, I was expecting something light in flavour that octopus is, more of a vehicle for other flavours. This octopus caught me off guard with a stronger fishy flavour.


Next came the rather phallic asparagus. When I was in frankfurt germany I found these great extra large asparagus at wagners restaurant, which I still dream about at night. As a side note I found some bigger ones in the whole food in west van. Anyways, this asparagus blew it out of the water.


Absolutely giant, furthermore it had been jarred or canned it had a nice mellow flavour that preserving adds to them. Next we wanted to continue to visit the canned seafood. Berberechos, which I initially mistook for something else but they are actually part of a clam.


He served it with a little bit of oil and a special vinegar that he added. I bought a can of these, razor clams and some mussels. I tried the razor clams with some friends and they taste great on their own but its not until we added the red wine vinegar that it popped in flavour. Whatever, sauces they were adding at this restaurant they were the perfect complement to the canned seafood. The star was the mussel, they put a “spicy” oil on the mussel. It was not very spicy but it really added a depth of flavour. I’m still toying with what I can make here to add to the mussels when I eventually open them.


To cap off our apperitivo perfection we had an assortment of olives and garlic. All canned to perfection. The big surprise here were the garlic, they were pickled and much more mellow than they look, with that said they had the same level of crunch as a fresh garlic. Sandy had her fair share as well so I don’t know how they affected our breath. For those of you with keen eyes you’ll notice that we snuck in another one of those wonderful sardine crostinis.


I hardly wanted to leave and we already had way too much there. But I’m praying to the food gods that one day I’ll be able to make it back to this place and have things just like this night. It was not only great food and service but the fact that it was what we had come to spain looking for in it’s purest form.


We left looking for our main course. We again hit some closed restaurants but the night is young. Stay tuned for part 5 still on day 3.

barcelona, a foodies mecca, part 3 day 3

Our third day in barcelona would be our more exciting because many of the restaurants we had wanted to go to would be open. We knew that we could only get to so many. With that said we had still not gone to the beach for a swim. So we decided to do what people have recommended and head to the beach first. So to kick off the morning we had some breakfast at our b&b taking advantage of their gorgeous balcony which overlook none other than cal pep. After a quick breakfast I rented some bikes from a place around the next building and Sandy and I head out to the beach early to beat the sun and crowds.


We arrived on a glorious day and found the beach to be clean and tidy with plenty of places to sip coffee get some nibbles and a variety of vendors talking the beach goers for everything from a drink to a massage. We found a place right next to the sea and we both proceeded to get our fill in swimming. Having been warned to leave our stuff unattended from multiple people we took our separate turns. The water was glorious and clean and very pleasant to take a long swim in.

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barcelona, a foodies mecca, part 2 day 2


After much discussion I convinced sandy to head to Viena with me. a Place known for their sandwiches and iberic ham sandwich. This is the wild boar sandwich I’ve been craving. Unfortunately, it has the dubious distinction of being a touristy place being on rambler street. And with New York Times articles plastered on the front door about how good they are doesn’t help. However, after seeing it on the show spain with love I was determined to give them a shot. Mainly because I thought they would be something like russels and daughters or  the sex in a city pastrami sandwich place in new york. Touristy but still good for the locals.

Lucky we went, indeed this was the case. If I lived in barcelona I would probably frequent this place and have some of their other sandwiches. Their hot dogs in baguette looked great and smelled really good and the had a bunch of other great things on the menu. As for the iberic ham sandwich the bread was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The tomato rub on the bread was done recently enough that it did not make the bread soggy. The iberic was left out long enough that it was glistening with oil when we opened up the sandwich. Refer to the picture above. It was everything I was hoping for in this sandwich. I also started to notice a certain feeling that I get right above the back of my tongue when I eat true iberic ham. Not sure it’s entirely pleasant but it definitely helps me identify iberic ham.


Even with all the food that was coming out to locals and tourists alike I was we were dead set on leaving room in our stomachs for the next place, which we were heading to right after. After another mini beer we headed out to La Boqueria Market. When we got there we meandered around checking out all the stalls. We checked out the guy that was hand slicing the iberic ham. There was a constant line of tourists taking pictures of the prosciutto. There were many restaurant stalls with good smells coming from them. Some of them came with high recommendations. Ultimately we settled on the seafood place, Sandy has been craving the razor clams for a while. Everything was simply cooked in olive oil, salt and pepper and good parsley, with a  very hot flat top.






This meal was pretty good. Even with the older seafood as you can probably tell from one of the pictures above because it was monday at this point it tasted fresh and the flavors from the simple ingredients really let the seafood stand out. Even the bread was great here. The only place they could have improved on were the clams which definitely had some sand in them. But this seemed to be case with all the clams we had on this trip to barcelona. Perhaps it’s not desirable for them to soak the clams in salted water, maybe this removes some flavors? … any bodies guess.

Since I saw the guy hand slicing the prosciutto I knew I needed some. So we headed straight back after. They had several versions at different prices. I decided on a while on the deeper, oilier piece. It was just above middle of the pack in pricing.




Looking at the ham you can clearly see that it is hand cut from the ridges that the knives make. Furthermore, as the prosciutto has a chance to sit it is oily on the outside, which intensifies as we eat through our meat. At some point it gets dry that is when they slice it and put it into little bags to sell. That is why the prepackaged bags are cheaper. We instinctively headed to a place selling cava to pair with the meat. This was really as good as any prosciutto I’ve had before including the one in munich (which by the way was also spanish prosciutto).

That evening we had a list of places that we would go to and check out and try. We headed first to El Xampanyet which was due to be open at 7 but to no avail. We realized it was not open that day. So we headed south to the Peninsula between the two beaches headed from restaurant to restaurant which were closed. We ended up talking about it next to a grocery store who’s owner was kind enough to let us know as we went through our restaurants that they were closed and when they may reopen. A lot of them were on summer holidays and wouldn’t be back for a while. We had to go with our last option on our list. Which was the paella place that I blogged about about here. Which ended up being a tourist trap that had some good service for us and also head great paella. (I would stick to the paella) 20120903_203938_HDR

After our paella adventure we were planning to have some more eats somewhere else but our tummies were already full so we went for a walk on the beach where we ended up catching a strange red object in the sky, could have been the sun but seems far to dark for that.


This gave us a chance to meander to the W hotel and get a glimpse of some of the opulence within. Sandy was particularly intrigued by the egg chairs that were in their lobby that are the same ones from her work.



Since arriving in spain I have wanted to try their hot chocolate with churros. I think this might be a bigger thing in madrid but we still wanted to try them in spain. I had scoped out a place earlier in the day but by the time we got back there it was already closed. So we meandered around looking for it. Half a block from our place we found an ice cream shop that had them. Knowing full well it would be a meager rendition I still had to try them. And they definitely hit the spot to cap off our night.


Headed to bed we knew that tomorrow would be the big day. Tuesday, when all the fresh ingredients from Mondays bounty would arrive in restaurants around barcelona. Furthermore, many of the ones we were seeking would finally be open! I had sweet dreams that night of barcelona delights … stay tuned for part 3 of barcelona.

barcelona, a foodies mecca


In general I don’t like big cities since I’m not much for going to museums or historic sights. I’m more and more of the feeling that since you can see it on the internet it’s enough for me. Naturally, this is a matter of personal preference. The cities that have excited me are the ones with a lively food scene. Barcelona, as it seems is one of these cities. El Xampanyet was probably the highlight of our stay but there were many that were right up there as well. (picture above) but lets get to that in a little bit.

After getting to Amsterdam and then transferring over and spain and another bus ride and a gong show of a taxi ride we finally made it to our b&b. Beautiful b&b that happens to be looking down on calpep which was closed for most of the our stay but open on the last day. This was definitely another highlight. Anyways our b&b, was rated highly on trip advisor for good reason, close to the beach in the middle of the restaurant scene, far enough from the tourist street of rambler.  (remember to take everythign I say with a grain of salt after all I’ve only been in barcelona for a total of 3 nights). El balcon del born, didn’t get a lot of great picts of this place but each room had it’s own balcony the it was very comfortable of a stay and the owner really went to the trouble of pointing you around. Highly recommended.



Sandy really wanted to see a soccer game with messier (spelling) so she had soccer tickets shipped to our b&b apparently this was not straightforward because they normally only do this for hotels. Regardless we got our tickets and we headed to the games. You could feel the excitement in the air as we approached the statement. Not unlike a canucks game as the crowd takes trains and walks to the stadium. What was different was the sheer amount of Pintxo’s places. Sandy picked one and ushered me in. I figured we’d get lots of food in the stadium. Good thing we went in there.


We quickly grabbed our pintxos and mini beers. We need more mini beers in vancouver. Really great for bar hoping and food hoping. It was packed inside with people coming having a quick beer and food and turning around to leave. We did the same but I remember the snacks being really great, the standout was probably the salmon with the caviar, or the sardine.

We got into the stadium and got some beers and sat down. We later found out that people didn’t seem to drink a lot there and when the game starts no more beer is served. The crowd was also proportionally quiet compared to your typical whitecaps game. Could have been that night. The hotdog I had had a great dog but really old bread.


After the game I really wanted to sit down and try some serious pintxos, we ended up in a relatively touristy place. Not sure if locals go here, but it was around midnight and it was still open and it had a good selection. I only say that it was a touristy place because the about 6 or 7 tables that were there weren’t local.


I’ve been craving the well crafted hand carved organic wild boar prosciutto spain is renouned for. They offered a plate of it and I bit. It was not up to my very high expectations after having it in munich but regardless it was good. (it was not hand cut and it hadn’t been out long enough to start oozing it’s oil, or love juice.

We ended our night there with several rounds of pintxos. They were all average and the bread seemed stale. We later found out that sundays and mondays are the worst days because the seafood among other things are from friday or saturday. So I’m not sure if I can fault the restaurant.

Walking back to the hotel we walked by a bunch of pubs that were hopping. One of them called café crepe. After walking around a bit further we decided to go back to have a night cap. The friendly doorman had professed that their crepes were awesome. Stepping in it felt much more like a bar/lounge. Lots of drinks flowing, loud and hopping. But after my mojito and sandy’s special sangria the size of her head which took her till the end to finish. We saw some crepes go out that looked quite presentable, and to settle my stomach a egg/ham crepe concoction with a great cheese hit the spot. Unfortunately no pics here, we were ready for bed. Strangely so, we walked by the place again the next day and really did not recognize it. It was a very well presented crepe place where the nights craziness seemed worlds away.

To be continued in part 2 (it gets much better after we have a night of rest)

Tourist trap or great paella?


Ended up at a place next to the ocean in Barcelona called salamanca which our b&b owner claims to be the best paella place.  All the warning sings are here. Soggy toast with tomato rubbed on it and some cured meats land on the table as a freebie. Neither is good. Table next door has some of the scariest steaks I’ve seen in a while. Waiters seem on the slimy side. Sneaking into thwie restaurant the kitchen looks busy and seems like the paella coming out is respectable.


All my alarm bells for an overpriced tourist place we’re ringing. However, as it turns out the paella was great! And the initially slimy feeling waiter gave us great service. And the staff was quite professional. We were trying to keep things pretty light so we could go to one more place before heading home. But with the large portion of paella, the free dessert and the crazy grappa/lemonchello like dessert I was done. 

Warning for hardcore foodies. The scamp and prawns were overcooked but the squid was perfection. There was also no burnt rice crust on the bottom….

Richmond’s new night market



Wow. Can’t believe how awesome the night market has become for foodies. I remember the last time I was there about 4 years ago when there was only a splattering of food stalls. Now the crowds go there for food. We felt like we were on vacation. But there was definitely a Vancouver flavour to it. Japanese takoyaki, dimsum, squid tentacles, German pork hock, rotatoes a play on potatoes that are cut like a slinky. Loved it, the best part is it only took a strain ride on the Canada line to get there.



Jules croque madame


Impressed with jules croque madame. Went to jules for lunch today in gastown. Our little French bistro after contemplating the possibility of not getting full and a long wait and was pleasantly surprised.

The french bread basket came out immediately. And this was great French bread, crunchy exterior and chew interior with that deep Frenchy flavour.

When we ordered our croques we had the choice of salad or French fries or both. I went for both. It ended up being an exceptionally large portion.

When it came out the egg was a deep Orange signalling a good organic egg. The cheese gruyere, was gooey and good. The bread was crunchy. With that said I wanted a bit more salt on the ham.  But all in all an excellent deal for a 12$ lunch plus tax and tip.


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