Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Side Trip: Shabu Shabu Party Recipe

The F1 Meals post was well received and I've had a few requests for recipes, so I'm going to publish a few of them, as we are able to track them down. In this Side Trip, I'm going to go over what you need to buy and prepare for an awesome Shabu Shabu party!

Mmm, Shabu Shabu!
But first, what the heck is "Shabu Shabu"? It's a Japanese hot pot dish where the idea is to dip ingredients in a savory broth, just long enough to cook to your liking, then dip it into some sauce of your choosing and then eat it! The name "shabu shabu" comes from the swishing noise you make as you dip your ingredients in the cooking broth. The meats are usually sliced very thinly and only requires a few dips before they are perfectly cooked.

Before we get into the details, I must warn you that some of the ingredients listed below may be hard, if not downright impossible, to source at your neighborhood grocery store. However, pretty much everything in the list of ingredients can be found at a Japanese specialty foods store, such as Mitsuwa Marketplace if you're in California (multiple stores), Chicago (Arlington Heights) or NJ (Edgewater). Some Chinese/Korean markets also have most/all of the ingredients but it can be hit and miss.

Nobu's TIP: Don't worry if you can't find absolutely everything. The most important components are the meat, dashi and dipping sauces. You can also do some substitutions for things like mushrooms, long onions and Shungiku with Western equivalents.

See corresponding numbers (#1, #2, etc.) in ingredient list below.

Ingredients (for 4 servings)
  • 1.5 lbs beef sirloin/tenderloin, sliced paper-thin (Wagyu if available) #1
  • 4 Hakusai/Chinese cabbage leaves #4
  • 4 oz Shun-giku (chrysanthemum leaves) #5
  • 4 oz Seri (watercress)
  • 2 Naga-negi (long onions/"Tokyo" onions) #8
  • 8 Shiitake Mushrooms (can be substituted with Matsutake mushrooms as well) #9/#10
  • 3.5 oz Enokidake (nettle mushroom) #6
  • 2 oz Harusame (cellophane noodles) #7
  • 1 Container "Yaki" Tofu (Tofu that has been pan fried to firm texture) #13
  • 1 6-inch section Daikon radish #11
  • 6 Cups Dashi (Make your own or purchase dashi powder from Asian specialty food store)
  • 2 Cups cooked Japanese white rice
Preparation of Ingredients:
  • Beef: Spread out on large serving dish.
  • Chinese cabbage and Shungiku: Boil lightly, then spread out each cabbage leaves onto a sushi rolling bamboo mat (if you don't have one, you can try your hand at hand rolling), arrange the shungiku in the middle, then roll the cabbage around the shungiku. The process is much like making a sushi roll, except the cabbage leaves are the seaweed and the shungiku is the rice in the middle. Once they're rolled and cut, they should look like the assembled cabbage rolls in the picture below.
  • Naga-negi/Long Onions: Slice into diagonal slices (see picture below).
  • Shiitake Mushrooms: Cut off stems and make criss-cross incisions on mushroom tops.
  •  Matstutake Mushrooms: Do not discard stems. slice into thin pieces.
  • Enokidake: Cut off the bottom part.
  • Harusame: Soak in lukewarm water, then cut into 4-inch lengths.
  • Daikon radish: Grate radish and set aside as an accompaniment to serve at the table.
  • Tofu: Cut into 1/2 - 1 inch cubes.
  • Rice: Set aside to eat with the Shabu Shabu.
Vegetables ready for Shabu Shabu.

Ponzu Dipping Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 5 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Inches Kombu #2
  • 5 Tbsp Dashi
  • 2 Thin lemon slices
Directions: Mix all ingredients except the sliced lemon and let stand for 10 minutes. Then remove the kombu and add the sliced lemon.

Goma (Miso and Sesame) Dipping Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup white sesame seeds
  • 3 1/3 Tbsp white miso
  • 2 Tbsp Mirin #12
  • 2 tsp Soy Sauce
  • 2 tsp Rice Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Grated garlic
  • Red Pepper Powder
  • 2 tsp Vegetable oil
  • 7 Tbsp Dashi
Directions: Roast white sesame seeds in a skillet over low heat until they give off an aroma. Grind in mortar and pestle until sticky. Add white miso, mirin, soy sauce, vinegar, grated garlic and powdered red pepper and grind further. Then slowly add vegetable oil and dashi while continuing to grind, until smooth.

Once all of your ingredients are prepped and dipping sauces ready, it's time to Shabu Shabu!

Due to the fact that this is a dish cooked table-side, you will need to figure out a way to heat the dipping broth at your dinner table. You can either use a portable burner, or better yet, you can invest in a Japanese hot plate/skillet like the one here. These electric skillets are great for hot pot dishes as well as a variety of other table-top cooking tasks, and they're a cinch to clean, due to the non-stick coating.

Nobu's TIP: Make sure you have some extra dashi on hand to replenish what you will lose during the course of the meal.

Each person should have their own set of dipping sauces and a shallow bowl to eat the cooked ingredients from. Bring the broth to a boil, then adjust the temperature to let it simmer. You basically grab your desired ingredient with your chop sticks, swish it around a few times in the simmering broth, then dip into your desired sauce and eat! The paper-thin slices of meat will take only a swish or two, whereas some of the vegetables may take a little longer. You shouldn't have to cook any given ingredient for much longer than 30 seconds to a minute. 

After you have swished your way through all of the meat, vegetables and side items, we usually like to dump some rice into the remaining broth and make some rice porridge. This is my favorite part of a hot pot meal, because the broth has retained all of the umami that the various ingredients have imparted in it. It is the ultimate in savory goodness.

I hope you enjoyed this Side Trip into Japanese cuisine, and as always, please use the comment box below if you have any questions or comments.



Monday, December 10, 2012

F1 Meals - or "How to make Race Watching Fun for Your Family and Friends"

What's F1 Meals? Read on to find out...

If you're a dedicated F1 fan in the United States, you undoubtedly set your alarm clock at ungodly hours to get up and watch Practice, Qualifying and the Race. You may even tune in to the live online feeds to watch free practice sessions. You may even go as far as to find foreign broadcasts for extended coverage and alternative commentary.

The thing is, this is all well and good until your family/social life begins to suffer. Your significant other is upset with you because you're constantly staying up all night watching the broadcasts ("Honey, are you coming to bed?"), you can't take your kids to the park because "Daddy didn't get enough sleep last night", or your friends stop inviting you out because all you want to do is talk about racing and F1.

Nobu's TIP: Solution for the last one. Get some new friends that love racing as much as you do!

Although I personally have none of the problems above, here's a great idea to make it more fun for everybody involved, and it will also buy you good will for those times when you just *have* to stay up and watch the race. Get your SO and/or friends involved to have F1 themed breakfast/lunch/brunch/dinners/parties.

Veal Schnitzel for the German GP, anyone?

Introducing... F1 Meals!

Needless to say, F1 races go to some great places where great cuisine can be had. Ideally, you want to taste the local food in person, but let's face it, most of us don't have many of those opportunities in our lifetime (although my aim is to convince you to change that!) The next best thing becomes trying to make some of that at home yourself, hopefully with the help of your S.O. and/or friends!

With up to 20 races on the calendar, you have no excuse not to turn each and every race into an opportunity to  have a date night, family fun brunch, or throw a themed party and hang out with your friends.

Here are the key ingredients for any given F1 Meal:
  • DVR (Digital Video Recorder)
  • Dishes featuring local cuisine of F1 race (take out optional)
  • Drinks from the local region of F1 race
  • Significant Other, kids and/or Friends

Must Have: DVR

The DVR is critical to the success of F1 Meals. Thus, if you don't have one, or if your local cable/satellite provider doesn't carry the channel that broadcasts F1 (don't we all choose our cable/satellite providers based on whether they have those channels??), then you may need to resort to downloading previously recorded feeds (legality will vary depending on where you are). Even if the race happens to be broadcast exactly at the time when you're having your F1 Meal, you want the DVR in operation. Here's why:

  • You may want to rewind and re-watch an overtake
  • Conversely, you may want to fast forward through some parts
  • If you're with family, then you will need to pause for potty breaks and other interruptions
  • You don't want to miss any action while you're helping your wife do the dishes *WINK*

Nobu's TIP: Make sure you set the DVR to record at least 90 minutes past the scheduled end time to accommodate for potential race delays due to weather, safety cars, etc.

Nobu's Expert Level TIP: If you do choose not to watch the race beforehand, do not check social media or talk to any friends who can't keep their mouth shut, or else spoil the race before you get to watch it during F1 Meals.

Paprikash for the Hungarian GP. Cooked with lots of Love!

Does your wife/girlfriend like to cook? Do you have a friend who likes to cook? Is there a great take out place that features ethnic cuisine that you've been curious about? Depending on the occasion, (date night, brunch, party, etc.) choose your options wisely. Don't forget that you can really score some brownie points with your S.O. if you help with the planning and execution, however little. *Nudge-nudge-wink-wink-say-no-more* If you're throwing a party, ask your friends to bring a dish/drinks from the country/region where the race is being held.

A meal isn't complete with beverages, and for something like date night, there are sparkling wines from many countries in Europe. For example, Champagne from France, Prosecco from Italy, Cava from Spain, etc.

Nobu's TIP: Many countries also have local flavors of beer that can usually be purchased at specialty food stores or even your neighborhood liquor store. Don't forget that there's sake and soju as well!

A really nice bottle of Japanese Jumai Dai-Ginjo sake.

In order to give you some inspiration and ideas, here are some scenarios that I talked about in this blog in a little more detail. If you need any suggestions or have any questions, please use the comment box below.

Milk-braised Pork Roast for the Italian GP.

F1 Date Night

Potential Race Dates: Monaco GP, Italian GP, Abu Dhabi GP, Singapore GP
Format: "Dinner and a Movie"

For F1 date night, I would suggest setting it up like a "dinner and a movie" night, where the actual F1 race viewing is reserved for dessert. I chose Monaco, Italy, Abu Dhabi and Singapore as potential race dates (pun intended!) due to the romance factor. Monaco is known for luxury and Italy is known for its food and wine. I also chose Abu Dhabi and Singapore because they are both races that go into the night and should put you in the same mood as those that are actually there. After dinner, shack up in front of your TV after dinner with a glass of locale dessert wine and a decadent dessert.

Nobu's TIP: You may want to pre-watch the race so that you can fast forward through some parts of the race. Don't bother with pre-race shows and post-race coverage, unless your date is a real dud.

Nobu's Expert Level TIP: Try to engage your date into some F1 talk to get him/her interested in the race itself. Don't focus on geek talk; focus on human interest stories, i.e. - Did you know Lewis Hamilton's girlfriend is a Pussycat Doll?

Ricotta Fritters for Breakfast for the Italian GP.

F1 Family Fun Brunch

Potential Race Dates: Canadian GP, Japanese GP, Belgian GP, US GP
Format: Brunch with the Family

F1 races are on Sundays, so why not have brunch with the family? The race dates that I chose should provide you with some possibilities as far as breakfast/lunch items go. For example, Canadian bacon (that was too easy, eh?), a traditional Japanese breakfast, Belgian Waffles, or a good ol' hearty American breakfast! Grab a plate, take a seat on the couch, and watch your favorite driver win! This would be a great opportunity to teach your kids that racing is fun, and that they can become the next F1 World Driver Champion.

Nobu's TIP: Both the U.S. and Canadian GP's are in the afternoon if you're in the U.S., so time your brunch to coincide with the beginning of the race.

Shabu Shabu Party for the Japanese GP!

F1 Parties

Potential Race Dates: Any race on the calendar
Format: Potluck Theme Party

Everybody loves throwing parties and what better than a special theme party to make it really fun? Prepare a few dishes yourselves and ask others to bring food and drinks representative of the local cuisine of the race. Bring out your F1 memorabilia to decorate and wear your fan gear with pride!

Nobu's TIP: Make some suggestions and point your friends to online resources for inspiration on what to bring.

Chili Lobster, Samosas and Tsing Tao beer for the Singapore GP.

The beauty of F1 Meals is that you get to share your love of F1 with others and maybe even get them hooked on the sport. (If you can't find new F1 friends, turn your existing friends into one!) It's also something new and different, especially in the United States (relatively speaking, of course). Even better, you might be able to plan your next vacation around an F1 race where you can actually sample the local cuisine with your loved ones.

Depending on the weekend, we even do "F1 Meal Weekend" where we prepare breakfast, brunch, lunch and/or dinner to coincide with watching Practice, Qualifying and the Race. It's always fun and delicious!

I have one final thought on this, and that is that your options aren't limited to Formula One races. It just happens to be a racing series that travels to some very interesting places around the world, and lends itself very well to F1 Meals. If you're a fan of any given flavor of motorsport, you can always find a way to get your friends and family involved by planning a meal around it. Get creative!

If you have any questions or need ideas for inspiration, drop me a note in the comments section and I'd be happy to assist you. Until then, buon appetito!


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

2012 Montreal F1 Grand Prix Trip Report

In the first installment of F1 racing vacations, we will cover the 49th Formula One Grand Prix du Canada that was held on June 10, 2012. But before we get into the race itself, let's talk about the beautiful city of Montreal.

To me, Montreal is a little piece of Europe in North America, due to its heavy French influence. The official language of Quebec is French, that means that wherever you go, you start with, "Bon Jour!" Of course, you can then proceed to carry on the rest of your conversation in English, but if you speak any French at all, you might as well take the opportunity to practice your French. Oui, c'est bon!

Nobu's TIP: Always start any interaction with any vendor with a cheerful, "Bon Jour!" even if you don't speak any French. This will go a long way towards getting good customer service.

The city has plenty on offer, ranging from interesting architecture, amazing food and restaurants and plenty of shopping for those inclined. Getting around is very easy, due to its well laid out and organized public transportation system.

Nobu's TIP: Buy the 3-day unlimited bus/metro fare card and use it exclusively to get around throughout your trip. It's also the best way to get to and from the circuit. You can also use it on the airport bus that runs between various points downtown and the airport.

When you combine a great city like Montreal with the excitement that Formula 1 brings, it is simply an amazing time to be there. You wake up early in the morning to get to the track, spend all day wandering around the circuit watching F1 cars go rushing by, then hit the town at night for some partying with 100,000 of your closest like-minded friends. What's not to like?

Welcome banner at the entrance of the circuit.

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is the venue of the F1 spectacle. It opened in 1978 and was originally named Île Notre-Dame Circuit, then was renamed to its current name in honor of the great racing driver. What's unique about the circuit is that it's built on a man-made island that is also part of a public park called Parc Jean-Drapeau. This means that if you visit anytime other than when a race is going on, you can actually drive the circuit in your own car! Just keep in mind that the speed limit is 30 km/h.

Nobu's TIP: The best way to reach the circuit is via public transport (STM). It is only one stop away from one of the major stations (Berri-UQAM), so another tip is to stay within walking distance to Berri-UQAM for the quickest way to/from the circuit.

Facilities map showing grandstands, etc.

As you can see in the map above, there are many grandstands available to watch the race from. Each have their pro's and con's and depending on what your priorities are, some may be better than others. Use the comment box for this blog entry if you have any specific questions, as we will be focusing on the section where we were seated (Grandstand/Tribune 21).

Nobu's TIP: Unless you're willing to get to the circuit as soon as the gates open and plan on camping out in one spot all weekend while fighting off crowds, avoid General Admission tickets. They are much cheaper than grandstand tickets, but good viewing areas are few and far in between, preventing you from doing anything other than holding your position.

Grandstand 21 (Grandstands are also known as "Tribunes") is one of 6 grandstands at the hairpin corner of the circuit, and provides for some great overtaking action to be witnessed. It is also one of the few places where there's a good General Admission spectating area, although you must be dedicated to secure a spot all weekend (see RV Tip above). We were in GS21 and here are some views from my seat in section 1, Row R, seat 23.

View from GS21. GS26 is right across the track.

View from GS21. GS22 (left) and GS34 (right) also pictured.

View from GS21. GS15 is also pictured.

Nobu's TIP: All grandstands at C.G.V. are uncovered, bleacher style seating. Thus, it would be a good idea to bring a bleacher cushion or foldable bleacher seat with you to be nice to your bum. They sell cushions at the track, but you will pay a premium.

One of the nice things about the Canadian GP (and many other F1 races) is that you can bring in your own refreshments and food/snacks. If you have General Admission tickets, you can even bring in a large cooler full of beer, which you will need if you plan on camping out in one spot all weekend. If you have grandstand tickets, your belongings must fit under your bleacher seat, so make sure you don't bring a large plastic cooler with you. I highly suggest the soft-sided variety intended for picnics.

Just because you have tickets to a certain grandstand doesn't mean that you need to sit in your designated seats all weekend. You will essentially be spending the entire day at the track, so make the best of your time by exploring the track and various viewpoints on the Friday practice day and Saturday practice/qualifying day. A typical F1 schedule at the Canadian Grand Prix looks like the following:

  • Thursday - Pit walk open to the public. (Was cancelled in 2012 unfortunately, due to student protests.)
  • Friday - Two F1 practice sessions (90 minutes each), plus other series practice/qualifying (Ferrari Challenge, Porsche GT3 Cup)
  • Saturday - One F1 practice (60 minutes), F1 Qualifying, plus other series races
  • Sunday - F1 Race, Other race series race(s)
Nobu's TIP: On Fridays you can usually check out the view from most grandstands even if you don't have grandstand tickets, so take this opportunity to scope out possible grandstand tickets for the next time you're there.

There are lots of vendors of food and fan gear.

Budweiser had a large stage and entertainment area complete with Bud girls.

These "streets" can get very crowded at certain times of the day.

One gadget that I highly recommend that you rent for the weekend, is Fanvision. It's basically a portable television that also provides alternative commentary (i.e. - BBC, Sky) and also a wealth of information at your fingertips. Even though there are jumbotrons spread throughout the facility, Fanvision allows you to keep track of the on-track action even when you're not in your seats watching the big screen. If you're a geek like me, you'll also appreciate the ability to track certain drivers and their sector times during Qualifying. Fanvision is available for purchase as well, and they also support other motorsports, so if you're a multifaceted motorsports fan, a purchase might prove more economical in the long run.

A must have for dedicated fans.

Come race day, you will want to get to your designated seats before the Drivers Parade begins. Basically, each driver is driven around in a convertible and fans have the opportunity to take photos and see the drivers outside of their cars. Once you're seated for the race itself, you will have an extremely tough time getting in and out of your seats as you will be sitting shoulder-to-shoulder, knees-to-backs. Thus, unless your seat is at the end of any given section, make sure you make a bathroom stop and procure any drinks/snacks prior to taking your seats for the race.

After your day at the track is over, it's time to take a breather, change into your party duds, and hit the streets of Montreal! Again, public transportation is the way to go, but keep in mind when the last trains are heading back to your hotel, unless you don't mind taking a taxi (never a bad idea). There are numerous restaurants in Montreal for the foodie in you (or the foodie *with* you), but it is strongly advised to make reservations ahead of time. If you're new to Montreal, I would highly suggest that you try some poutine. The purpose of this blog is not to be a Montreal restaurant guide, so I won't go into details about specific restaurants. However, feel free to ask in the comments section for our recommendations.

After your appetite has been satiated, it's time to party! There's no better place than Crescent Street to kick off the night. If you aren't fortunate enough to be a VIP and invited to one of the many exclusive parties hosted by various teams and event planners, this is where you want to go, where an entire two blocks' worth of streets are closed down for booths hosted by various vendors as well as stages for live concerts. More information about Crescent Street can be found here. Be warned, however, that the crowds can be quite dense and overwhelming if you're claustrophobic.

A Lotus F1 demo car on display on Crescent St.

Crescent St festivities in full swing.
Nobu's TIP: Just because Crescent Street is the best known and most crowded, doesn't mean that it's the only place to go do some people-watching and engage in activities. If you walk around the general area, you will run across other closed streets where certain car manufacturers and other corporate entities are sponsoring street festivals. Old Montreal is also a cool area of town to check out, with its cobbled streets and many restaurants/stores.

After your long day of waking up early, attending the races and then dining/partying, it's off to bed for a few hours before repeating it all over again. Talk about making the most of your vacation!

We've covered a lot here and there's certainly a lot more details that can be covered. However, I've hit the high points and hopefully this blog entry serves as a useful guide for a new visitor to the Canadian Grand Prix. As always, please feel free to leave comments or ask any questions that you may have and I'd be happy to answer them.

Bon Voyage!


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Side Trip: Kamui Support

I'm going to take occasional departures (don't you love the travel puns?) from this blog's main trajectory to bring you news of interesting happenings in the world of F1 and motorsports. Of course, an armchair pundit isn't going to be able to cover everything going on out there and besides, there are much more respectable people out there who do this for a living, so don't expect this to be your sole news source. That said, I figured I can contribute where I have unique skills.

Kamui Support is a web-site that was set up for F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi, who unfortunately found himself in a difficult situation after the 2012 F1 season; he was out of a drive. For those who haven't heard, or couldn't read Japanese, the site solicits fans to make contributions in order for him to secure a drive in 2013.

I've taken the liberty of translating the text on the site for those who could not read Japanese.

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Kamui-Support nor Dream Win Co. I'm a native Japanese speaker who also speaks English fluently.

Thank you for your continued support for Kamui Kobayashi. Also, Kobayashi and the staff would like to sincerely thank you for the many messages after the Japanese grand Prix podium.

Lately, news of Kobayashi's lack of a drive next season has been reported in the media, worrying our fans.

In the midst of all this, many fans have asked if they could make donations to help. We are truly appreciative and thank you for your warm gestures.

Kobayashi is currently putting all of his efforts into negotiations for next year. However, as our fans know, not having funds to bring to negotiations have greatly affected securing a seat.

Until now, Kobayashi has always been of the mind that, "a professional racing driver is paid for his skills". Formula 1 is the pinnacle of motorsports and as such, only those with pinnacle skills deserve a drive in the sport. This is the assumption under which he has been operating for the last three seasons. However, in recent times - due in part to the economics surrounding F1 - drivers have been demanded of not only their skill, but their ability to bring sponsorships.

In order to realize his childhood dream of becoming the first Japanese driver to win a race in Formula 1, let alone win the World Driver Championship, Kobayashi has launched "Kamui Support" and is asking for support from his fans for his bid in his 4th season in F1.

We struggled greatly to come to this decision and feel the utmost humility in asking for our fans' monetary support in this tough economy in Japan.

However, we have come to this decision with hopes that Kobayashi's drive to succeed will inspire courage and strength in those who follow him and support him.

Kobayashi will win in Formula 1.
We are asking for your support because we believe in this.

All proceeds of "Kamui Support" will be used towards Kamui Kobayashi's efforts in securing a seat.

However, securing a seat in 2013 is not guaranteed. Please keep this in mind.

Thank you for your continued support and warm wishes.

November, 2012
Dream Win Co.

Now I'm sure that some of you are wondering, "That's great, now how do I make donations?" The problem is that the donation instructions at the bottom of the page are pretty much limited to Japanese donations (bank transfer details).

I've taken the initiative to ask Kamui and his team on Twitter whether they are planning on accepting donations from outside of Japan. Please feel free to reply and add your support if you are outside of Japan and would like to contribute. I bet there are enough fans out there to make this happen!


Thursday, November 29, 2012

A taste of things to come...

Now that this has officially launched, it's time to whet your appetite with some upcoming features that will hopefully keep you riveted to this space and yearning for updates. The following are topics that I will be writing about during the drudgery that is off-season:

2012 Montreal F1 GP Trip Report
Start/Finish line at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
F1 Meals
How to make watching races at home more fun!


2012 Austin F1 GP Trip Report
COTA, Austin, TX

Things to do after spending the day at the track
Austin Fan Fest, 2012
Race spectating 101
Please don't use your iPad for taking videos
Finding the best seats at race venues 
Some seats are way better than others

 F1 Hotel Hunting 101
Location, location, location (and price)

Car themed vacations

Just because there isn't a race going on doesn't mean you can't see exotic cars

There's a lot more in store, but hopefully this will be enough to keep you coming back! Comments are always welcome, especially those that you'd like me to write more about.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The start of a new adventure...

Do you like cars? Do you like fast cars? Do you like watching fast cars go balls out racing?

Let's switch gears.

Do you like vacations? Do you like traveling to interesting places? Do you like to sample the local culture and cuisine?

If you said yes to all of the above, you need to keep reading...

So what "drove" me to start this blog? Easy... I love racing (both doing and watching), I love to travel to interesting places, I love to eat good food (who doesn't?) So I began thinking... "What if I can combine all of those things into one cohesive and fun thing?" I hope to show you how this will all come together in the coming weeks. But first, some background.

I recently got back into following Formula 1, after many years of being a casual fan. I like to attribute this phenomenon to three things:

1. We finally got a DVR after many years of going DVR-less. (I know what you're thinking, "What took you so long?!") This enabled us to record F1 races (among other shows that might make you question my taste) and watch them later. As it turns out, I ended up spending more than a few nights burning the midnight oil watching the races this season anyway.

2. The 2012 F1 season has been one of *the* most exciting in many years. An unheard-of seven different race winners in the first seven races, lots of ups and downs, and a final showdown in Brazil with a post-race controversy to top it all off!

3. We went to our first ever F1 race, to the Canadian F1 GP in Montreal. Wow, we were both hooked instantly! The city, the circuit, the race cars, the show!

Attending the Canadian GP while experiencing Montreal for the first time was a TON of fun. However, the planning around making that trip fun, wasn't an easy task. Whenever you plan a vacation, you usually only worry about logistics, and the rest falls into place. You might book tickets to a show or reserve a restaurant. Not so when a major part of your vacation revolves around attending a 3 day racing event. We've found that precious details on getting the most fun out of attending an F1 race is scarce and spread out all over the place. Combine that with the uncertainties of exploring a new city is a daunting task. I hope to help guide people through making a memorable vacation around attending a major motorsport event like Formula 1.

So there you have it! In future updates, I plan on addressing various aspects of trip planning as well as tips and tricks, actual trip reports, and other odds and ends as I see fit. I hope you're excited about embarking on this journey with me, and more importantly, hope that you find the information useful and interesting.

Bon Voyage!