• LOBSTER SUMMER AT THE KEG

    Jul 22 • AMERICAN/CANADIAN, EDMONTON, GLUTEN FREE, SEAFOOD, STEAK, STEAKHOUSE, WINE • 170 Views

    Seafood. Steak. Wine. Few things give me greater pleasure, especially when I have access to all three at once. Which is why the Lobster Summer tasting event at The Keg was such a pleasant (and mouth-watering) experience.

    On July 16th, I attended an event at South Edmonton Common that showcased The Keg’s Lobster Summer promotion, a 15-year annual tradition that features dishes made from Canadian hard-shell, full-meat lobsters shipped over from the North Atlantic. Owen Abrams, The Keg South Common’s General Manager, informed us that the restaurant brings in Atlantic lobsters every summer and humanely kills them as they’re used.

    Alongside communications partner Kwittken, The Keg’s event brought together food bloggers and local foodies to taste this year’s selection of seafood dishes, including a number of new starter and casual plate options.

    “We’ve added a few dishes to adjust to the rising prices of seafood,” said Owen. “We’ve added some lighter seafood fare, which is more casual and at a lower price point so that everyone can enjoy it.”

    We started the evening with the Szechwan Lobster—golden fried lobster and shrimp with a mix of chilli peppers, red peppers, and asparagus, all tossed in a sweet and spicy sauce.

    Szechwan Lobster

    For the gluten intolerant (a.k.a. me), the starter was a Shrimp Cocktail with chilled black tiger shrimp and a martini cocktail sauce made with olives and gin—two of my favourite things. The tiger shrimp were gigantic: a perfect starter for one person or to share. These dishes were paired with a glass of Knotted Vines Chardonnay, Viognier and Riesling from British Columbia—the medium sweetness and light aftertaste of this wine went really well with the Shrimp Cocktail.

    Shrimp Cocktail

    Two of the Lobster Summer menu’s new casual plates, the Crispy Lobster Tacos and the Lobster Roll, were brought out. I was unable to taste either, but the consensus at the table was that the Lobster Tacos were a nice light dish, while the Lobster Roll had generous helpings of lobster and shrimp to match the heaviness of the brioche roll.

    Lobster Roll

    Instead, I was given a plate of the Scallops and Bacon, another favourite of mine. The scallops were cooked perfectly and I enjoyed them with a glass of Veramonte “Ritual” Pinot Noir from Chile–a lighter red wine that paired perfectly with the delicate scallops.

    Scallops and Bacon

    We were all fairly full to bursting by this point, so being presented with a huge plate covered in a 6oz sirloin steak, half a lobster, and grilled mushrooms was almost laughable. I gave it my best effort but, despite the tender medium-rare steak and buttery sautéed mushrooms, I was only able to eat the half lobster.

    Steak and Half Lobster (Image courtesy of The Keg Steakhouse + Bar)

    To be fair, our meals were also accompanied by a 1lb lobster tail (we had one per two people at the table), so I’m sure you can understand why I was in a food coma by this point. Finish that dining experience off with a glass of J. Lohr Estates “Riverstone” Chardonnay from California and I’d say that Lobster Summer was a complete success.

    In all honesty, I’ve always been much more a fan of crab than lobster, but this event and these dishes turned my opinion around completely. The half lobster was lovely, but the 1lb lobster tail was the centrepiece of the entire event. It was huge—as well it should be, at $40 per tail—and pieces dipped in the ramekin of butter would melt in your mouth. A superb example of lobster at its finest.

    I was very impressed by The Keg’s Lobster Summer menu and also very appreciative of their diligence in accommodating my gluten intolerance. Owen spoke to me before and during the meal to ensure that everything was suitable—and it was. More than suitable, in fact.

    I’ll definitely be returning to The Keg to enjoy items from the Lobster Summer menu before it ends on August 30th. If you’re having a special occasion dinner or simply want to treat yourself, I strongly recommend adding the 1lb lobster tail to your meal. You won’t regret it.

    The Keg Steakhouse + Bar (South Edmonton Common)
    1631 102 Street
    Edmonton, AB T6N 1M3
    (780) 485-6530
    @TheKeg

    Cover photo courtesy of The Keg Steakhouse + Bar

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  • BLISS BAKED GOODS

    Feb 6 • AMERICAN/CANADIAN, BAKING, EDMONTON, FIVE GLASSES, FOUR GLASSES, REVIEW • 118 Views

    As a British expat living in Canada, there are a number of things I miss about my birth country that I just can’t seem to find even in the busiest cities of the Great White North.

    Certain foods, for example, remind me of my childhood. A smell or a taste can bring me back to my life in our quiet British village—a life that saw me regularly making the trek to the local newsagents to pick up the latest Beano comic. I’d grab a Sherbet Fountain (a tube of sherbet that came with a black liquorice dipping stick) along with my comic before heading around the corner to the bakery, where I’d buy my favourite cheese straws (cheesy puff pastries).

    Flavours and textures bring back memories—sometimes I can seek them out, such as finding Lyle’s Golden Syrup at Save on Foods. Others come upon me when I least expect it, such as a taste of pizza in New York reminding me instantaneously of Cottingham’s sole pizza takeaway joint. Food has an uncanny ability to prompt involuntary memories, creating an instance of time travel with a mere taste.

    The same feeling came over me the second I bit into a cinnamon and sugar doughnut from Bliss Baked Goods, a family-owned bakery located in Edmonton’s Glenora district.

    Found next to Gini’s Restaurant, Bliss is a modest bakery that uses their space solely to make and display their products—there’s nothing superfluous in the setting. The bakery is owned by husband-and-wife team Lawrence and Shaindel Bliss, who have been running Bliss Baked Goods since they started the business on 118th Avenue more than 11 years ago. They moved into the new Glenora location in September 2014.

    Lawrence Bliss

    The bakery specializes in 100% kosher, dairy-free and nut-free baked goods, with a number of vegan options, including pastries and some specially made doughnuts.

    We visited on a Friday morning to pick up a dozen doughnuts for the office and ended up chatting with Lawrence and Shaindel, who explained their bakery’s philosophy and specialities. They gave us a taste of the cinnamon and sugar doughnut, which immediately brought me back to my favourite bakery in England—the soft, fluffy texture of the doughnut mixed with the gritty sweetness of the perfect blend of cinnamon and sugar. I haven’t had a doughnut like that in years.

    They insisted I take with me a vegan maple doughnut, which I devoured as soon as I returned to the office. I’ve never had a vegan doughnut before and, to my surprise, it wasn’t much different from a regular doughnut. It was delicious, creamy, soft—everything you’d assume a vegan doughnut could never be. (Then again, if they can make vegan bacon…)

    After tasting the delicious treats at Bliss Baked Goods, I’m not surprised to learn that they were recognized in Avenue Magazine’s 25 Best Things to Eat (2013) for their cinnamon and sugar doughnuts. If they can bring back my memories of childhood innocence, sweet cravings, and English cobblestones, then how will these sugary treats work their magic on you?

    Bliss Baked Goods
    10710 142 Street
    Edmonton, AB T5N 2P7
    (780) 453-0101

    4.5/5

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  • Lemon-inspired Recipes for Super Bowl Sunday

    Jan 29 • AMERICAN/CANADIAN, RECIPES • 97 Views

    It’s one of the biggest sporting events of the year and you’re having people over. You want to make something easy but delicious. Something that you can eat with your hands but that doesn’t get too messy. Whether you’re drinking beer, cider, or wine, these recipes all have a delightful lemon-inspired twist to help make this the most satisfying Super Bowl Sunday ever.

    All recipes were provided by the good folks at Savanna Dry, but I’ve put a little ‘Cheryl’ spin on each of them for those who are feeling exceptionally adventurous. Game on!

    Lemon Salsa

    Ingredients:

    • 2 medium lemons
    • 2 tbsp. minced onion
    • 1 tsp. sugar
    • ½ tsp. sea salt
    • 1 tbsp. olive oil
    • 2 tbsp. mint, minced
    • cilantro
    • basil

    Directions:

    1. Cut ends off the lemons, exposing the fruit. Stand it up on one end and use a knife to remove the peel and pith.
    2. Chop the lemon flesh into small pieces. Discard the seeds and large pieces of membrane.
    3. Transfer lemon and juices to a small bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients and serve with tortilla chips.
    4. Cheryl’s Twist: Add chopped cucumber to make this dish even more refreshingly satisfying.

    healthfitnessrevolution.com

    Lemon Pepper Wings

    Ingredients:

    • 1 lb. chicken wings
    • 1 tsp. lemon pepper
    • Oil

    Directions: 

    1. Heat oil in deep fryer. Place seasoning in a bowl or zip style bag and set aside.
    2. Deep fry wings for 8 to 10 minutes until lightly browned.
    3. Take cooked wings and place into seasoning and coat. Make sure the wings are still hot in order for seasoning to stick.
    4. Cheryl’s Twist: Coat the wings in two heaping tablespoons of corn starch before cooking to make the wings perfectly crispy.

    thefitnessfashionista.com

    Dill, Cucumber and Lemon Dip

    Ingredients:

    • 1 cup Greek yogurt (plain)
    • 1 cup diced and peeled cucumber
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1 tbsp. fresh dill, minced
    • 2 tsp. lemon juice
    • 1 pinch salt and pepper

    Directions: 

    1. Place yogurt into a small bowl and add cucumber, garlic, dill, and lemon juice.
    2. Stir ingredients and add salt and pepper to taste.
    3. Serve with chips or vegetables.
    4. Cheryl’s Twist: Toss in a tablespoon of paprika to make this the best tzatziki you’ll find this side of the Atlantic.

    And don’t forget to pair your Super Bowl appetizer creations with a few bottles of Savanna Dry!

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  • Dundee Hills Pinot Noir and Sautéed Pacific Salmon

    Jan 10 • AMERICAN/CANADIAN, EDMONTON, RECIPES • 82 Views

    When I first made the foray into drinking red wines, pinot noir was always a favourite. The pinot noir grape produces a softer, lighter wine with low tannins that acts as a perfect entrance into the wild and wonderful world of reds. For newbies, it’s a great starter wine. For those who have been in the game for quite some time, it’s a beautiful alternative to the full-bodied, heavier options. Pinot noir wines can have as much complexity as their bolder cousins and even more versatility–it’s a great wine to pair with any number of dishes: red or white meat, sweet or savoury.

    On a cold and quiet winter night, I sat down to taste the Dundee Hills Sokol Blosser Pinot Noir for the first time. The first few sips showed a delicate, dry red wine with minimal sweetness but an almost overwhelming hint of berry fruits. The best part about the wine is its ability to give off flavourful hints of raspberries and cherries without actually being sweet.

    I paired this wine with L’Extra’s Pure Goat Cheese, which has a light yet distinct taste. Similar in appearance to a round of brie or camembert, this goat cheese is delightfully creamy and delicious when eaten alone, atop a cracker, or paired with a nice red wine.

    I haven’t had a pinot noir I’ve enjoyed this much in quite some time and I highly recommend it for newer wine drinkers or established winos looking for an intriguing lighter option. And, if you’re someone who’s concerned with pesticides in wine, you’ll be happy to know that the Sokol Blosser Pinot Noir is made from 100% organic grapes. The wine itself retails for around $35-45 a bottle.

    Sokol Blosser recently partnered with several restaurants in Calgary and Edmonton to challenge local chefs to create a perfect salmon appetizer to go with the wine. In support of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, restaurants such as Edmonton’s Bothy Wine and Whisky Bar and Calgary’s Q Haute Cuisine and La Chaumière develop unique salmon recipes to pair with the Dundee Hills Pinot Noir at each of their locations. A portion of sales of the wine are donated directly to the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. The full list of participating restaurants can be seen on the Sokol Blosser website.

    Below is a recipe for Sautéed Pacific Salmon, courtesy of La Chaumière Restaurant. We hope you enjoy it alongside a bottle of the pinot noir!

    Sautéed Pacific Salmon with Lentils, Bacon and Red Wine Butter

    By La Chaumière Restaurant (Calgary)

    Main Dish

    • 4-120g Pacific salmon filts, skin on
    • 160g cooked red lentils
    • 50mL chicken stock
    • 25g finely diced bacon (approx. 3 strips)
    • 1 shallot finely chopped
    • 1 carrot finely chopped
    • 1 leek finely chopped

    Instructions:

    1. Sauté shallot, carrot, and leek with bacon, slowly rendering fat and cooking the vegetables.
    2. Add lentils and soften with chicken stock; reduce gently.
    3. Season and sear salmon (skin side down) slowly until top is warm to the touch. Finish with lemon juice.

    Sauce

    • 120mL Sokol Blosser Dundee Hills Pinot Noir wine
    • 1 shallot sliced
    • 30g unsalted butter
    • 1 lemon

    Instructions:

    1. Whisk wine and shallots until thick syrup is achieved.
    2. Add butter and whisk over low heat.
    3. Season with salt and white pepper.

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  • Ampersand 27

    Dec 30 • AMERICAN/CANADIAN, CHARCUTERIE, CHEESE, EDMONTON, FIVE GLASSES, FOUR GLASSES, LOCAL PRODUCE, REVIEW, SEAFOOD, TAPAS • 173 Views

    A short while ago, I was invited to the Ampersand 27 media night on November 13th, where a number of Edmonton’s magazine editors and restaurant critics came together for a tasting of the new restaurant’s sharing menu.

    As the new inhabitant of the space that was formerly Murrieta’s, Ampersand 27 is in a prime location on Whyte Avenue, occupying a portion of Varscona Hotel’s ground floor. The restaurant is the newest venture of Chef Nathin Bye, of Wildflower Grill and Lazia fame.

    As for the name–well, it’s an unusual one. There’s a story behind it that you can read on their website; a cute tale that involves the ampersand as the 27th letter of the alphabet (prior to the 19th century). Chef Bye stated during the media event that he was a big fan of fonts, which explains the quirky name. As a copywriter (and not a graphic designer), I personally hate ampersands; thus, despite the restaurant’s use of alternative typography within their name (&27), I will humbly defer to the 21st century letters of the alphabet for this post.

    I wasn’t sure what to expect before I visited. I’d heard that the charcuterie was the thing, but that portions were akin to many higher-end fine dining restaurants (i.e. teeny). I’d browsed the menu online and wasn’t sure whether to be amused or exasperated at some of the hipster-esque terminology (i.e. specials that were “evolving daily”; bread options that are referred to as “flour & water”; a menu item called “The Living Salad”). Was the restaurant aiming too high? It’s vision of uniqueness too grand?

    Charcuterie

    In a word: no. Chef Bye has crafted something incredible with Ampersand 27–a stylish and unique concept that feeds off a family dining experience, variations in texture, and edgy menu items that offer just the right amount of daring. I came, I ate, and I was charmed.

    There’s nothing quite like walking into a stunningly decorated restaurant and being presented with two plentiful charcuterie boards: wooden platters overflowing with an abundance of Ampersand 27’s specialties. Cheddars, bleus, chevres paired with mounds of your favourite salumi: chorizo, prosciutto, genoa–accompanied by pickles, mustards, grains, and the most decadently creamy duck and chicken liver pate you’ll ever taste.

    Charcuterie

    Their cocktail list is just as inspired as the menu. I tried the Flora cocktail, made from gin, elderberry liquor, hibiscus raspberry shrub, and tonic. I’m a huge fan of gin cocktails when done well; this one was a little sweeter than I usually drink, but it was delicious and the hibiscus shrub was a cute touch.

    Flora Cocktail

    After the charcuterie boards came a flurry of tastings from their menu, as per below.

    Beet Texture: A dainty salad of roasted, gelled, and crisp beets, served with sous vide and goat cheese ganache. Beautifully different for those who don’t usually eat beets, or who generally think all beets are served pickled. I thoroughly enjoyed the sweet and savoury flavours of this dish.

    Beet Texture

    Confit Parsnip: Sliced parsnip served with gremolata, pine nut, red pepper dust, and jam. A creamier take on the average parsnip and one that combined flavours together that were completely new to me. A nice dish, although I did prefer the Beet Texture.

    Confit Parsnip

    The Living Salad: Ah, The Living Salad. Order this and you’ll be presented with a mini tree trunk hosting a plant pot of local micro greens and a jar of cold pressed canola emulsion. And scissors, so that you can harvest your own salad. It’s a really cute concept, especially for those who think the novelty of cutting your own salad at dinner is exciting. For $15, though, it’s a fairly pricey novelty–especially for just a handful of micro greens.

    The Living Salad

    Maple Butter Pork Belly: It’s pretty difficult to screw up pork belly. Add some maple butter and Chef Bye’s inimitable talent, though, and you’ve got a winner of a dish. A true homage to the south, the pork belly was served with southwestern mesquite corn, baked beans, green peas, and fritters. Lovely and savoury.

    Maple Butter Pork Belly

    Pastrami Pork Cheeks: I feel like this dish is Chef Bye’s sharing menu’s understated pièce de résistance. Coming out under a glass dome (reminiscent of the one covering the rose in Beauty and the Beast), the pastrami pork cheeks are unveiled amidst a heady, charcoal-scented haze of smoke–the smell of which will incite memories of barbeques, smoked meats, and everything good and smoky and tender. Served with braised red cabbage, rye spaetzle, and sauerkraut creme, this dish is delicious and exciting. I strongly recommend giving it a try.

    Pastrami Pork Cheeks

    Seared Albacore Tuna: Almost every restaurant in Edmonton has a version of seared tuna or tuna tataki at the moment. It’s become a popular dish, particularly for those who aren’t quite ready for sashimi but want the flavour and texture of not-quite-cooked tuna. Ampersand 27’s version takes the seafood aspect a little more seriously than most, serving the tuna with pickled hearts of palm, citrus, seaweed, and cashew puree. The result is a seared tuna dish that’s a little more fishy than I’m used to, but that combines some interesting textures and flavours together that will surprise even the most veteran of seared tuna-goers.

    Seared Albacore Tuna

    The Seashore: I missed out on a photograph of this dish, which offered scallops, prawns, smoked trout brandade, and sea asparagus. A lovely option for seafood-lovers, The Seashore combined some of my favourite under-the-sea items and made them taste spectacular. Scallops. I’m always for the scallops.

    We were also given the Pressured Octopus, which I only nibbled at because I despise the thought of eating octopus or squid (they’re two of the few things I won’t eat). Nevertheless, I tried the dish’s sea salt crusted potato and slices of chorizo. The chorizo tasted as most chorizo is wont to taste and the potato was delightfully seasoned. There were some concerns from the table that the potato was too salty, but I thought the salt level was just fine.

    Rocky Road: For dessert, we were treated to a taste of Ampersand 27’s Rocky Road, a selection of “rocks” that have a hard shell and liquid interior and are served on edible “moss and sand.” In continuation of the restaurant’s attention to textures, this dessert is unique and delicious with a beautiful presentation. The “rocks” come in chocolate, mint, mango, and lychee flavours.

    Rocky Road

    Neaveau Misu: The restaurant’s most popular dessert is a modern take on tiramisu–a toffee pudding served with coffee caramel, amaretto, hazelnut, and brown butter, topped off with a side of macaron and ice cream. Bring me any kind of toffee pudding and I’m satisfied, but this one was exceptional. This was my favourite dessert of the evening.

    Neaveau Misu

    Citron Bleu

    Citron Bleu: The Citron Bleu is a light, delicate serving of lemon buttermilk mousse alongside a portion of blueberries, earl grey gel and milk crisps. Lovely and sweet, this dessert is a must-try for those who like fruity and tart flavours.

    There were so many things to taste and try that I’m certain I’ve missed out a few in this post, where I’ve simply tried to focus on the things that stood out during my experience. Regardless, I was very impressed by Chef Bye’s vision come-to-life at Ampersand 27. I look forward to returning to try a full-blown charcuterie, filled with my favourite things. And, in the future, I’d like to give some of their “Larger Provisions” a try–doesn’t a lacquered leg of duck and duck fat potatoes sound amazing?

    I strongly recommend this restaurant with one small word of warning: it isn’t cheap. Like most other high-end restaurants in the city, the price point can be higher than most. A single charcuterie with two meats, two cheeses, and a few accompaniments can easily shoot past the $20 price range into the $30s and $40s, depending on what you order. Sharing plates range from $11 to $19 and the full meals start at $23. It’s not overpriced, by any means, but be wary of those charcuterie boards if you’re on a budget.

    Ampersand 27
    10612 82 Ave
    Edmonton, AB T6E 2A6
    (780) 757-2727

    5/5

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  • Cookie Pairing at Baseline Wine

    Dec 3 • AMERICAN/CANADIAN, BAKING, EVENT, SHERWOOD PARK, WINE • 125 Views

    Wine and cheese: standard. Wine and steak: played out. Wine and cookies: wait…what?

    It might sound like an unnatural pairing, but Baseline Wine recently bit the bullet and put the two treats together in a Cookie Pairing event. In partnership with Kathy Leskow from Confetti Sweets, the two Sherwood Park businesses combined their wares to offer a selection of delectable cookies paired with wines and liquors chosen to enhance flavours, bring out subtleties, and shock those who thought it couldn’t be done.

    However, if you’re an avid wine drinker or someone who likes the challenge of a pairing, you’d know that anything is possible. Ryan Tycholas, manager of Baseline Wine, was our gracious host during the Cookie Pairing event on November 14th, which focused on a variety of six alcoholic drinks selected to pair with six of Kathy’s cookies.

    We started the evening with a glass of prosecco to cleanse our palates then dove right into a Hochheimer Königin Victoriaberg Riesling and coconut cookie pairing. These two tastes, when put together, brought out another depth of flavour in both the cookie and the wine. As we would learn throughout the night, a perfectly paired couple has so much more to offer as a pair than as individual tastes. In any case, I loved this pairing and bought myself a bottle of the riesling after the event–which is fairly significant, since I don’t usually drink white wine.


    We moved onto the next pairing: Smashberry White with Kathy’s sugar cookie. I’m not usually a fan of sugar cookies and I wasn’t a huge fan of the Smashberry on its own, but I well and truly liked these two together. The sweetness of the cookie amped up the sweetness of the wine, making them a great mix. The vanilla flavouring of the sugar cookie was an excellent counter to the acidity of the wine.

    Course three included a glass of Earthquake Zinfandel and a delectable chocolate chunk cookie with Skor pieces. This was one of my favourite pairings of the evening–rich, heady flavours with a beautiful hint of caramel decorated each bite and sip. Delicious.
    Next up was Molly Dooker’s The Boxer wine with Kathy’s peanut butter cookie–a good pairing, as all the others had been throughout the evening. I’m not much of a peanut butter cookie person, though, and shiraz is always touch-and-go for me, so this was probably the least memorable pairing for me. (Which isn’t to say that I still didn’t enjoy it!)

    My ultimate favourite came near the end with the Taylor Fladgate Port and breakfast cookie pairing. The breakfast cookie had a nutty flavour that went brilliantly with the heavy sweetness of the port. Together, they were a beautiful pairing with hints of cinnamon throughout.

    Finally, we paired a glass of RumChata with a ginger snap cookie and enjoyed the combination of milky sweetness with the gingery bite of the cookie. I thoroughly enjoyed this pairing and thought it was a brilliant end to a great tasting event–akin to a glass of milk and cookie before bed time.

    And with that, we were all stuffed to the brim with excellent sweets and drink. Ryan and Kathy provided a unique experience that takes a daring spin on the traditional wine pairing event. That risk paid off with a number of perfect pairings and a room full of convinced tasters. I’m looking forward to seeing what Baseline Wine and Confetti Sweets will come up with next!

    Baseline Wine
    11 Athabascan Avenue, Unit 172
    Sherwood Park, AB T8A 6H2
    (780) 449-4448

    Confetti Sweets
    41 Broadway Blvd
    Sherwood Park, AB T8H 2C1
    (780) 570-5080

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  • Volcano Restaurant

    Nov 18 • ASIAN, EDMONTON, JAPANESE, VIETNAMESE • 418 Views

    Volcano is in a great location for those living south of Whyte Avenue–easily accessible by Calgary Trail and Gateway Boulevard, the restaurant offers both Japanese and Vietnamese cuisine in a well-decorated, spacious building. The combination of Asian flavour offerings is unusual but not unheard-of in our city, where one can get Korean short ribs at many Japanese restaurants, or enjoy a Pad Thai served up alongside a Curry Laksa.

    When we arrived at the event, we were greeted with a glass of prosecco and given a chance to grab a seat at one of the many tables. The food samplings were laid out in platters: sushi, sashimi, and maki on one side of the table, short ribs, spring rolls, and pork chops on the other. The divide was interesting but not unwelcome–it’s nice to be able to pair cool raw fish with a cooked item or two.

    I took a little bit of everything, grabbed a sake caesar, and sat down with my plate of goodies. Everything was good, although the short ribs will always come up tops for me. The tuna sashimi was light and fluffy, as it should be, and the unagi maki was filled with flavour.

    We were lucky enough to witness the ribbon cutting ceremony, introduced by Ingrid Schifer de Dennis from Schif and the City and followed by a brief speech from the owner of Volcano. The event also had a photo booth set up by Mojo Photo, which was a great way to document the occasion (other than the usual flurry of tweets and food photos, of course).

    I haven’t had a chance to try the full menu yet, but I’d rate Volcano as a tasty, reliable Japanese/Vietnamese restaurant based on my experience at the grand opening. I don’t feel like I can give it a fair rating until I dine there on a regular night, so my apologies for not including the usual wine glass ratings at the end of this post.

    The prices are in the mid- to high-range for a sushi restaurant, so I’d estimate prices to be around $40-50 per person for sushi (depending on how much you can eat) and around $15-20 per person for Vietnamese. They also offer a variety of Western and Chinese dishes, including brunch omelettes and chicken stir fry. The menu on the website doesn’t appear to be working at the moment, but you can view their full offering on SkipTheDishes.ca.

    Volcano Edmonton
    4226 Gateway Blvd.
    Edmonton, AB T6K 7J1
    (780) 756-2218

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  • Get Cooking (MacEwan Edition) is up and running!

    Nov 6 • CHEFS, INTERVIEW • 83 Views

    If you haven’t already heard, Kathryn Joel’s Get Cooking Edmonton is now fully installed at the MacEwan University residence, inhabiting the former convenience store space. It’s a petite area, but beautifully outfitted with everything needed for a commercial kitchen and, of course, the guests who’ll be dining on that kitchen’s creations.

    Get Cooking is a wonderful approach to the traditional cooking class experience, combining in-depth expert instruction with a comfortable, friendly atmosphere and plenty of hands-on experience.

    Kathryn held the new location media launch party on October 17, where she and her team of skilled chefs served up an evening of instructional cooking and a variety of appetizer platters. Guests also got the chance to meet Arden Tse of Prairie Noodle Shop, which will be hosting frequent Ramen Pop-Up nights at Get Cooking until their location is ready. There’s a great post about them on Andrea’s blog.

    To cater to the growth of Get Cooking’s clientele, the team is continuing to expand and now includes the skills of Wendy Mah and Eric Hanson, alongside Israel Alvarez, Stephen Baidacoff, Brendan Brewster, Professional Sommelier William Bincoletto, and Kathryn herself.

    For more information on Get Cooking’s class schedule, visit getcookingedmonton.com. To download my interview with Kathryn in the July/August edition of Edmonton Woman magazine, just click on the image below.

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  • Luksusowa BBQ Caesar

    Aug 17 • Cocktail, RECIPES • 74 Views

    If you know me even a little, or if you’re an avid follower of wine + dine, you’ll know that I have an unequivocal and robust obsession with gin caesars. I rarely drink the vodka version.

    That being said, I’m not one to turn down a drink. When a representative of Luksusowa Polish Vodka contacted me to taste test their BBQ Caesar recipe, I was up for the challenge.

    I’m not going to lie–I was hesitant that vodka wouldn’t suit my tastes. It had been so long since I had tasted a vodka caesar that I wasn’t sure I would like them any longer. I started my caesar journey with vodka, as most people do, and had narrowed down my favourite liquor to gin after trying tequila, rum, and even sake. (Note: sake caesars are delicious. Not as good as gin, but still fantastic.)

    It turns out that I was wrong. A great caesar should be appreciated, no matter one’s preference for a particular liquor. I made the recipe, with a few substitutions/changes of my own, and discovered that I really and truly liked the BBQ Caesar. I suppose all of those Polish friends of mine were telling the truth when they lauded the greatness of their vodka. Who knew.

    Most restaurants and bars use “well” vodka in their caesars, unless you’re flush enough to order a Top Shelf (usually with Belvedere or Grey Goose), and well vodka can (quite frankly) be disgusting. While I’m not generally a vodka fan, I found that the Luksusowa was smooth and didn’t overpower the taste of the Clamato juice. I used two ounces, too, so it wasn’t exactly a weak drink.

    I’m a fan of garnishes, so the pepperoncini and garlic-stuffed olive were the perfect touch. It looks as if many BBQ Caesars are in my future, after all.

    Here’s the recipe, modified by yours truly, for all you caesar fans. I’m not in the habit of shaking my caesars (as they request in the original recipe), so I went with a stir and it turned out just fine. Cheers!

    Luksusowa BBQ Caesar

    Ingredients

    • 2 oz Luksusowa Vodka
    • Matt & Steve’s Caesar Rimmer
    • 5 tsp fresh lemon juice
    • 1 tsp BBQ sauce (the original recipe calls for two, but I used Bull’s Eye, which is fairly thick)
    • 4 dashes Worcestershire sauce (you can’t have a great caesar without it!)
    • 2 pinches garlic salt
    • 2 pinches freshly ground pepper
    • Clamato juice

    Instructions

    1. Put a small amount of lemon juice on a small cup plate. Place the rim of your cup in it and then dip the rim in the caesar rimmer to coat.
    2. Add 3-4 ice cubes to the glass.
    3. Add vodka, lemon juice, BBQ sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic salt, ground pepper, and Clamato juice.
    4. Stir.
    5. Top with choice of garnish, such as pepperoncini, garlic-stuffed olive, spicy pickled bean, pickled asparagus, or celery (if you aren’t too adventurous).
    6. Enjoy!

    Website: www.luksusowavodka.com

    Facebook: LuksusowaCA

    Twitter: @LuksusowaCA

    In the interest of full disclosure, I’d like to note that while Luksusowa and their marketing representatives did send me a complimentary bottle of Luksosowa vodka and Matt & Steve’s Caesar Rimmer (Canadian-made and totally delicious), all opinions of the drink in this post are my own and have not been sponsored by a third party.

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