What’s a girl from Smeaton, Saskatchewan doing eating Modern Chinese?
Blonde, gorgeous, fearless and a great friend are just some of the words people use when describing my latest 30 Days Of Ethnic Eats dinner partner Norma Reid. The first two, while true, are the least impressive traits Norma has. After spending an entire weekend with her earlier this summer on the Sunshine Coast I can say without a doubt that Norma is an all in kind of person. If it’s suggested she’ll try it, why not after all you only live once! Growing up in small town Saskatchewan (pop over only 800 people), Norma is as easy to talk to as a childhood friend . But don’t let that lull you into thinking she’s a push over. In her career at various CTV stations across the country she’s done it all from covering City Hall to the Weekend News anchor desk. She’s co-hosted CTV Morning Live here in Vancouver and she’s covered an RCMP manhunt in Spiritwood, Sask. Currently Norma co hosts the CTV Weekend News and is loving every minute of it.
When I invited Norma to join me for dinner there was no pause or thought needed for her answer “Yes and let’s go to Bao Bei, it’s my favourite restaurant!” Bao Bei it is and I’m thrilled because it is my first time trying it out. My expectations are high let’s eat.
Located 163 Keefer St just west of Main St. Bao Bei is part traditional Chinese and part ultra modern, old meets new, east meets west. Don’t be surprised if you see some of you favourite celebrities hanging out eating and drinking with their friends. Aside from Norma herself Bao Bei also hosted Trevor Linden and friends just 20 feet away from our table. Yup, just another night at Bao Bei.
Tonight I’m leaving myself in the comfortable hands of Norma and her husband Ryan who’s also joined us for dinner. Since this is their “go to” restaurant to entertain friends and family I’m in great hands. Everything on the menu is meant to be shared family style (my favourite) so Norma and Ryan just start ordering some dishes. Marinated Eggplant, Steamed Prawn and Chive Dumplings, King Pea Tips and just for me because I love it so much Beef Tartare.
Nomnomnom OMG why have I waited this long to come to Bao Bei. Don’t worry we were only getting started. The next round of small plates was all about the pig, well at least 2 of the 3 dishes were. Pork Belly that had a sauce so good Ryan actually spooned it up and drank it all when the pork was all eaten. Pork Jowls that were so tender and sweet thanks to the inclusion of Okanagan Peaches, Kick Ass House Frend Rice that was so good I forgot to take a picture of it and last but not least a sesame flatbread stuffed with cumin spiced lamb. Again I warn you these pictures will make you hungry, be warned.
It’s hard to believe but I think we actually might have room for dessert. Called a Coupe it’s Osmanthus Pastry Cream layered with Amaretti, Longan Chantilly, Raspberries, Miso Cream Cheese Tofu Jelly White Chocolate Puffs and Milk Foam. It’s a Chinese Trifle. Light and delicate it is delicious with a capital “D”.
Something that I didn’t take any shots of but was very worthy of a mention are the cocktails served at Bao Bei. I had too many to remember the names… I think I was drinking a something donkey… haha trust me when I say they were divine! I could go back just for the cocktails.
So there you have it, West meets East and the verdict is LOVE both for Norma (& husband Ryan) and for Bao Bei. I’m not done yet though. You still have the five questions to go and Norma was very open and honest in her answers. I hope you get to know a little bit more about her like I did.
#1 – If you could have any career you wanted other than what you are currently doing what would it be?
Without a doubt, something in real estate. I’m obsessed with looking at houses, condos, lofts, ranches, farms, vacation properties, you name it! I spend hours online searching different world cities and checking out the new up and coming markets. In my house there’s always the latest Architectural Digest and Vanity Fair on the coffee table. And Million Dollar Listing on the TV!
#2 – Who’s the first person you call when you have good or bad news?
It’s a toss up – my husband Ryan and my father. If it’s really bad news nobody is better than my mom. J
#3 – What advice would you give your 16 year old self?
Don’t worry so much about your looks. It’s what’s upstairs that counts. And, girls can do ANYTHING they put their mind to. But don’t kid yourself, there will be barriers. So be prepared to be strong. God I love being 30.
#4 – Have you had a light bulb moment in your life? What was it and what did it mean for you?
When I was a child, I was in a very terrible car crash. I was ejected from the vehicle and laid unconscious in a snowy ditch for a long time. I suffered some major setbacks as a result – including a severe brain injury. I lost my ability to read, write and for a while I forgot my own name. (I still have the scar on my forehead which I refuse to get surgically removed, even though it creates a line above my eye, which – if you look close – you can see when I anchor the news)
It wasn’t until over a decade later that suddenly out of the blue one day, with no warning, I instantly remembered the exact moments leading up to the crash. It rushed over me, stopped me in my tracks. It was terrifying. Funny how the brain works.
It taught me that in life, you never know what’s going to happen. You never know what setbacks you’re going to have and how hard you’re going to have to fight to pull through. But appreciate those tough times because it makes you tough and it builds character.
Since then, there have been other ‘scars’ in my life, which I’m not publicly ready to share. But what they all have in common is that they taught me that it’s easy to be in the victim trap and not easy to stand up and be strong. Once you allow yourself permission to believe that you can do anything, you can do whatever you put your mind to.
#5 – Chocolate, Vanilla or Strawberry Ice Cream?
Why not all 3 at once?
There you have it. Next up on my 30 Days Of Ethnic Eats adventure is definitely considered Vancouver Restaurant Royalty and the guest is pretty awesome as well. I hope you’ll check back
A big thanks to Patak’s for sponsoring the #30DaysOfEthnicEats series. One of my favourite Patak’s products is Butter Chicken and here’s a super easy and tasty recipe for Butter Chicken Pizza using it. Click here to find out just how easy it is to Mix in a Little India in your life!