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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

restaurant review: da capo.

coffee-lovers (and haters) rejoice!

there is a place on edmonton’s south side that will make your taste buds soar with a single sip of their cappuccino. da capo caffe can safely boast to have some of the best coffee outside of italy, and will compel anyone to come back for another cup. this funky spot, located on 109 street next to the garneau theatre, has a fantastic ambience – think modern european coffee house, great service – food and bevies will be in hand quickly for you to dive into, and fantastic menu items! besides the cappuccino, you might want to try out their panini or pizzas, homemade biscotti, and you must, beyond a doubt, try their gelato. heaven! nothing outside of italy is this good. go overload on a taste of italy today. right now. go. why are you still here?

YAY:
· great food and beverages
· fairly fast service
· handy central location
· great ambience

MEH:
· parking is sometimes hard to come across

NAY:
· it can be expensive
· odd hours, so call ahead to make sure they’re open

phone: (780) 433.5382
address: 8738 - 109 Street

Monday, November 17, 2008

barry loves bruce.


…bruce, alberta that is.

yes, as a carnivore, i can’t help but love bruce, alberta. many would drive by this tiny community of three streets and two avenues without thinking to stop, take a deep breath and smell the beef, but friday nights at the bruce hotel is the place to be for one of the best steaks you’ll have in your life.

not to be forgotten are the unlimited salad bar, sweet treats and potatoes drowning in cream. even if steak isn’t your thing, there’s no excuse to not come by, check out the wood paneled walls, bingo hall chairs and luxurious paper plates. it’s a feast for the senses (and your belly) that should not be missed!

the bruce hotel: reservations are required: (780) 688.3922





YAY:
· really good, reasonably priced steak ($15.99 for a 8oz top sirloin and $21.99 for a 16oz steak the size of your face…prices include buffet sides, salads, coffee and sweets)
· terrific taco salad
· three words: dill cream potatoes. four more words: all. you. can. eat.
· at least 8 different freshly prepared salads
· dolly parton poster. as a youth. enough said.

MEH:
· a bit of a drive from edmonton (road trip!).

NAY:
· canned mushrooms have never been my thing.

Friday, November 14, 2008

organic bc cherries + kirch + callebaut chocolate = !

just once a year chocolatier Bernard Callebaut indulges his customers to a Christmas treat. he brings out his famous chocolate covered cherries (BC cherries that have been soaked in kirsh for five months and then dipped in semi-sweet chocolate) for people to elbow each other out of the way for.



there is something incredibly sexy about unwrapping a proper chocolate covered cherry. it seems so decadent and forbidden that you can’t help but swoon as you take your first bite of it. and then there’s the melted chocolate on your fingertips and the kirsch dripping down your chin – what’s not sexy about that?!

(well, except for the fact you look like a dribbling mess and you’re sobbing over the remains of the cherry that didn’t make it into your mouth and the fact that then there’s no more, and you’ll have to wait until next christmas to get more. but other than that, what’s not sexy about it?!)


ho.ho.ho.




its HAMmer time.


growing up i hated ham.

why would i consume such a boring meat when i could be savouring turkey or a roast, or best yet, some lamb? as an adult, living on my own, i have since seen the light. it’s a pinkish light, and for some reason has the most alluring aroma: spicy, yet slightly sweet, and rich as it wraps around you like a big, comfy blanket.

nothing could be more juicy, rich, or aromatic, and there is no better dish to present to guests: scoring designs in the fat, studding it with cloves and finishing it off with a glossy glaze – it’s not just a meal, it’s art! and if i happen to scald myself with the boiling water? please! i live to suffer for my art. most of all though, i’ve taken pleasure in converting fellow friends and family from their ham-hating ways, and introducing them to this most comforting of treats.

its hammer time people: join the herd.

I HEART HAM:

1. Start with a picnic-shoulder ham. Rinse and take of “netting”
2. Boil for 1 hour in gingerale and a little water.
(2.5. save stock for soup)
3. Place ham in roasting pan, skin-side up. Cover with tin foil and put it the oven at 300F. 30 minutes per pound (kg x 2.2 to figure out pounds)
4. In the meantime, make the glaze.
For the Glaze: combine brown sugar, a package of instant apple cider mix, a little cinnamon (optional) and enough apple juice to make a paste.
5. 30 minutes before you ham is done cooking, pull it out and remove skin with a sharp knife. (do not remove the fat!)
6. Score the fat in a diamond pattern - don’t cut all the way through!
7. sprinkle fat with about 3/4 tsp dry mustard.
8. Place a clove in the centre of each diamond.
9. drizzle the glaze all over the scored ham. Place uncovered in the oven at 425F for the last 30 minutes. Remove from oven. Rest. Cut. Serve.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

something to mull over.


FREE FOOD! that was the draw to a sobey’s holiday open house last night, but that was not what kept me there. as someone who works in the event industry, it did not seem that this was a spectacular success; the food stations were not clearly marked, the program was non-existent, and half the time i didn’t know what products i was eating (neither did the staff for that matter), but let me tell you about the vino!

ah.

the vino.

upon arriving at the store, i immediately discovered their mulled wine. oh! the heavenly, heavenly aroma of cloves, oranges, cinnamon, and above all, alcohol. it’s heady smell, and complex flavour sent me back for more four times, and was perfectly paired with the only two decent appetizers: the festive canapés with blue cheese, walnuts and maple syrup on toasted baguette, and their cheese crisps: simple, elegant baked cheese and flour. these were what made the evening palatable, regardless of the rest of the food, most of which was dry, dreary, and made me sad.

so raise a glass to the start of the holidays: the season of mulled wine has begun.

YAY:
· mulled wine
· blue cheese and maple canapés
· cheese crisps
· funky produce to take pictures of while we waited for more wine to be brought out

MEH:
· frozen shrimp cocktail (the shrimp was still frozen)
· food preparation demonstrations (they smelled okay, but were not set up well)
· my lobster friend in the tank. you made me sad.

NAY:
· any of the meats served
· the length of the event
· the lack of signage
· the menu delivered to us at the beginning of the night (3/4 of the items listed were not even served)
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