Shen Yen Teppanyaki Restaurant (Luodong Township, Yilan County, Taiwan)

As we inch our way toward the end of 2014, I thought I”d take a moment to look back at some of the most-read blog posts here on Beyond the Rhetoric. Right from its original launch way back in 2006, this blog has featured quite the eclectic mix of material. I’ve written about the challenges and perks of working from home, I’ve shared numerous grammar tips, and I’ve taken you along on some of my trips around the world.

Like how I’ve done the last couple of years, the methodology for the 2014 retrospective is such that I’m looking at the most popular post for each calendar month. After all, simply looking at total page views would inherently skew this list toward posts from the early part of 2014. It should also be noted that I’m only listing posts from 2014 and not from previous years, as this is a look back at the year that was.

One of the more curious observations from this list: 8 out of the 12 posts are either restaurant reviews or otherwise food-related. I really do like to eat.

Dine Out Vancouver – Five Sails Restaurant in the Pan Pacific Hotel (January 23)

Five Sails is hardly a bad restaurant; service was attentive without being pushy and the view was great. At the same time, it’s not a stellar restaurant either. The food was perfectly fine, but that’s exactly the problem: it’s only just fine.

Hi Genki Japanese Restaurant, Burnaby (February 14)

While you may find some sushi in one of the bento boxes, raw fish is not the focus here. Instead, it’s more about homestyle “comfort” meals. A lot of it is deep fried, like the tempura, but nothing is overly greasy or heavy.

Why I Love and Hate Cosmos with Neil deGrasse Tyson (March 28)

Yes, the Spaceship of the Imagination is a holdover from the original, but it turns a little too much into the Magic School Bus at times. The animated sequences can also feel a little juvenile too.

On Taipei, Prepaid SIMs and Pocket WiFi Internet Access (April 17)

Of course, nothing in this world is truly free. Based on what I’ve heard from some other folks, the free city Wi-Fi can be spotty at best and, even when you do get connected, the speeds can be quite atrocious at about 512 kbps.

Angel Cake Cafe, Hong Kong Style Breakfast in Vancouver (May 5)

For us, though, the real star of the breakfast is always the Hong Kong style French toast. The key difference here is that the sandwich-esque French toast has kaya jam on the inside.

Shen Yen Teppanyaki Restaurant in Yilan, Taiwan (June 9)

One other major difference is that you don’t really get to order much at all, because Shen Yen operates with an omakase menu. You simply “trust the chef” and allow him to cook whatever happens to be in season and available.

Mr. Red Cafe, Vietnamese Restaurant in Vancouver (July 24)

As mentioned above, the pho at Mr. Red Cafe is more of the Hanoi style. The broth was more transparent in nature and while there were lots of green onions, I didn’t get the usual raw (white) onion.

Dinner at BT Cafe on Kingsway, Vancouver (August 19)

You see the usual “western” Chinese dishes, like baked pork chop on rice. You also get a little more of the Taiwanese influence with the “build your own noodle soup bowl” combination, a touch of Korean with the hot stone bowls, and more of the homestyle Chinese with the humble bowls of rice with modest toppings.

More Quick Bites Around Vancouver (September 8)

I ordered the spaghetti nero with octopus. The pasta had a great al dente toothiness to it and while the plate looks oily, this helped to dress the noodles and generous helping of chopped octopus in quite a beautiful way. The portion was just right for me.

My Vancouver Restaurant Bucket List (October 24)

Given the “foodie” scene in this city, it is completely unreasonable to think that I will ever get to eat at every Vancouver restaurant on my ever-expanding list. But impossible goals are almost the best kind.

The Real Stress of Being a New Dad (November 14)

She needs a diaper change with every feeding, sometimes before and after. Is that normal? She’s spitting up quite a bit every time that I try to burp her. Is that normal? She’s sleeping so much better during the day than she is at night. Is that normal?

Silly Easter Eggs in Google Hangouts (December 12)

Suddenly, a yellow figure emerged from the bottom of the chat window and it proceeded to laugh at us. We soon discovered there was much more to Google Hangouts than the emoticons that Google provides.

With the birth of baby Adalynn, 2014 has certainly been a life-changing year for me. How this will impact the nature of Beyond the Rhetoric moving forward will be interesting, as we certainly have not been eating out nearly as much. Maybe all the top posts for 2015 will be more about babies and parenting instead. I guess we’ll find out soon enough!

Did you have a favorite post from 2014?