YYC Hot Chocolate Fest!

>> Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Boy was it cold out earlier this month! I found it really hard to muster up the strength to want to leave the house everyday so am I ever glad that we’re getting a bit of a break with the chinook lately. Hopefully it keeps up for a bit but seeing that it’s Calgary I’m not going to be surprised when we get hit by our next big chill. Luckily for us, February is also YYC Hot Chocolate Fest!

Celebrating their 6th year, the YYC Hot Chocolate Fest is supporting Calgary Meals on Wheels with proceeds from each of the hot chocolates benefitting their Home Meal Delivery Program. Various cafes, restaurants and chocolatiers are supporting the cause by creating a signature hot chocolate (some even spirited) for the competition. Calgarians are encouraged to try as many hot chocolates as they can and then go online to review each. It is highly encouraged to review all the ones you’ve sampled because the winners will be selected based on the overall rating of the hot chocolate!

I’ve been lucky enough to try a couple and here are my thoughts on them…



Café Rosso – Marble Coconut

I really enjoyed this creation with both dark and white chocolate mixed together and topped with lots of whipped cream and toasted coconut that they made in house. I preferred it because it wasn’t too sweet and the toasted coconut on top added a nice textural crunch. I could probably have one of these everyday.


Analog – Corbeaux Hot Chocolate

Their version showcased basil and lemon infused in to white chocolate and topped with Corbeaux’s own marshmallows and a white chocolate chip cookie. The basil was definitely interesting, this one would be perfect for those looking for a blend of sweet and savoury. The cookie was a lovely bonus.



The Deane House – Bergamot Sea Salt

Hinted with flavours of sea salt and earl grey tea then topped with roasted marshmallows. This was a delicious combo! The subtle flavour of the tea really added an extra layer of flavour to this hot chocolate. I also enjoyed that it wasn’t cloyingly sweet. The roasted marshmallow on top also reminded me of nights out camping and smores. Amazing!

Even though it has warmed up, now is an even better time to get out there to sample all those delicious hot chocolates for a cause! Grab one and chill or grab one to go! I'm off to sample a couple more myself and will continue to update as I try more! Check back for new reviews. Yum!

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Restaurant Review: Jinya Ramen Bar

>> Friday, February 3, 2017


Vacation and food are almost synonymous in our family. It isn’t truly a vacation unless we’re in local areas trying specialize dishes and unique cuisines of that location. On our most recent trip as we were looking for a place to eat we ran in to a couple different Jinya restaurants! They reminded me of our visit to their newest location in Calgary. We were told that they had locations all over the world but who would have thought that we would run in to them on our trip! We were lucky enough to try out their ramen bowls amongst other goodies before we left and here’s some of our highlights.

Atmosphere: Contemporary interior and a hip vibe makes this place unique amongst current ramen restaurants in town.

Price Range: mid $10s+


Food & Drinks: We were advised that we could try two appetizers, two ramen bowls and a dessert. So after looking at the menu we decided on the Jinya Bun which is a steam bun stuffed with slow braised pork chashu, cucumber, baby greens, kewpie mayo and jinya sauce and the Brussels Sprouts Tempura, crispy tempura with truffle oil. I really liked the Jinya Bun. There are many different version of this, some with only the pork and a bit of sauce and some with all the fixings. I particularly enjoyed this because it was a good ratio of bun to pork to sauce along with some greens. It was a great start to the meal. The Brussels Sprouts Tempura were crunchy but they needed a sauce or a dip. A spicy mayo would have elevated the dish or even better, a truffle oil mayo since I couldn’t really taste the truffle oil on the brussels sprouts themselves.


I ordered the Jinya Tonkotsu Black made with pork broth and served with chashu, garlic oil and chips, thin noodles and topped with a spicy sauce and this amazing egg which is cooked to perfection. When I go back I am definitely going to order an extra egg. It’s cooked just so that the yolk inside is still gloriously runny! Overall I enjoyed the bowl, the noodles were well cooked and the broth wasn’t overly salty which I find happens with tonkotsu. I would order it again, but next time I have my eye on the Cha Cha Cha for Garlic Lover’s!

The hubby tried the Premium Tonkotsu White (funny how the name was exactly opposite of the “Black”). This bowl was made with pork and chicken broth served with chashu, a half egg, kikurage (mushrooms) and thin noodles. My husband prefers thin noodles and thought they were well cooked. The broth wasn’t as heavy since it was a nice combination of both chicken and pork. As part of his meal he also ordered the set, which comes with Gyozas. The dumplings had a nice char to them and the filling was quite flavourful. We both enjoyed them and would order them again.


For dessert we ordered the Mochi Ice Cream, one green tea and and one chocolate. For those who haven’t had mochis before, they are soft rice balls made from glutinous rice flour and these ones in particular are stuffed with ice cream where traditionally they would be stuffed with red bean or sesame paste. I liked the green tea one and my husband liked the chocolate so one of each was perfect for sharing. Although I probably could have eaten more of just green tea myself. =)

My Picks: Jinya Bun, Mochi Ice Cream


Overall: It is definitely nice to see more ramen options in Calgary. Especially global establishments such as Jinya recognizing that Calgary is a city that has a food scene that they would like to be a part of. After speaking to the manager, I was informed that Jinya has very specific requirements for their stores and I’m glad they were able to find something that suited them here in the city. Here’s looking forward to seeing new items being introduced on their menu and opening up our palates to new global cuisine!

Jinya Ramen Bar
Unit 180, 1800 4 St SW
Calgary, AB
(587) 356-0721
Website: http://jinya-ramenbar.com/locations/detail/calgary

Jinya Ramen Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Welcome the Year with Waffles

>> Monday, January 9, 2017



Happy 2017!!! What a chilly start it’s been! I know we live in Calgary and it’s meant to be cold but I feel like we haven’t really gotten many chinooks so far this winter. So there hasn’t been much of a break to this bitter cold. Maybe it’s because we were so spoiled last year. I remember I barely even had to take out my boots last year. I suppose that’s what we go on winter vacations to warm destinations. I can’t wait to leave on our trip for a bit of sand and sun but until then I wanted to share a recipe with everyone before I take a little break from blogging.

In the Chinese culture we like to start the new year with something a bit sweet to signify that it will be a year full of happiness. I know it’s not quite Chinese New Year yet, which is near the end of Jan but since I’m still out of town then I thought I might kill two birds with one stone. I figured it might be nice to start with a delicious waffle recipe that’s made to be a bit more healthy for those who are starting off the new year with a new eating plan.

I enjoy waffles at all times of the year, they’re great sweet or savory and with this recipe the waffles taste great even when made the day before and then reheated in the toaster oven for those days when we just can’t seem to find the time. Hope this recipe brings with it a happy and healthy 2017!


Whole Wheat Waffle Recipe

Ingredients:

1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup melted butter or vegetable oil
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp of soy milk or regular milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt

Preparation:

Preheat the waffle iron and set aside.

Separate the egg yolk and egg whites. Whip the egg whites until stiff peaks and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together the egg yolks, melted butter or oil, milk and vanilla extract.

Sift in the flour, baking soda and salt. Mix until combined.

Add in the whipped up egg whites and fold until incorporated.

Scoop out roughly 1 cup of batter in to the waffle iron and cook as per instructions of waffle iron.

Makes 3 large waffles.

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Restaurant Review: Frenchie Winebar and Una Takeaway

>> Monday, December 19, 2016

Brr!! It is cold outside lately! From what I hear it’s suppose to stay that way for the next little while. So what better time than to keep warm with a couple glasses of wine. Then again, when is it not ‘wine o’clock’ in my books. Recently I had the opportunity to check out this lovely new gem called Frenchie Winebar and it totally took my breath away. Not to mention that it is also hidden behind one of the best takeaway places – Una Takeaway!

Atmosphere: Like stepping in to a traditional bar in the heart of Paris, making it the perfect place to impress a date or get cozy with some wine. Be sure to get there early in order to get a place at one of their coveted tables (there’s only 15 seats!).

Price Range: Mid $10s - $30


Food & Wine: As I hinted earlier Frenchie Winebar is actually located at the back of Una Takeaway. Making it a neat little secret that I’m sharing with everyone. I was lucky enough to get the grand tour of the whole place including the lovely Una Takeaway up front and their amazing kitchen in the basement where all charcuterie is made fresh in house by Empire Provisions.

When I sat down at the bar I got to sample some of their delicious charcuterie along with some lovely wine paired by the sommelier. On our lovely charcuterie platter was the Beef Bresaola, Chicken Liver Mousse, Pate and for the cheese we had La Grand Crème and Wensleydale with amazing accompaniments such as a pepper chutney, pickled vegetables, dates and cashews.


The Beef Bresaola, made by air drying the beef in a humidity controlled environment. You could taste the flavour of the beef with was enhanced through being lightly dehydrated with a hint of salt. There was also the creamy Chicken Liver Mousse which I couldn’t stop spreading it over the crostinis! Salty, unctuous with a hint of sweetness made it perfect for the crispy crostinis. The Pate was meatier and had amazing texture. I enjoyed it on its own and didn’t need the accompaniments but they were tasty as well. We got the chance to try the Finocchiona as well, made with fennel and pepper and you can see them speckled throughout the meat and you can definitely taste it!

I tend to stick to lighter cheeses and both of the selections we had that night were quite mild, which was perfect because they paired very nicely with the meats and the wine that we had. The La Grand Crème is exactly that light and creamy made from cow’s milk. Whereas the Wensleydale also made from cow’s milk was firm providing the texture contrast between the two. The cheeses went very nicely with the olives as well, the brininess seem to balance the milky taste from the cheese.


We had to try the dessert offerings since seeing the display at Una Takeaway up front it was hard not to want to order everything! They bake all their pastries and desserts in house and the Churro Pie caught my attention right away. It tastes just like what you’d expect, churro in the form of a pie! Delicious graham cracker crust with a creamy filling and topped with cinnamon sugar and chocolate ganache, what a great way to end the evening!

Throughout the night we had lovely suggestions of different wines to try starting with the Sperling Vineyards Brut Rose from Kelowna Canada. Bubbles to start is always lovely, especially since this was a rose. Next was an interesting ‘Orange’ wine from Portugal, which is made similar to rose wine by keeping the skins of the grapes on. Unfortunately I didn’t get the name of this wine! I’m sure you can ask them though if you’re really intrigued! Lastly was a Grenache from McLaren Vale in South Australia with lots of cherry notes and light tannins. If you’re looking to try something outside your norm let them know and they’re take care of you!


My Picks: Chicken Liver Mousse, Finocchiona

Overall: What a great cozy spot to hide away from the cold outdoors with some delicious charcuterie and unique wines. Plus if you’re looking for a bit more there’s Una Takeaway just out front where you can order off the full Una menu plus delectable in house made desserts and pastries. A perfect location to start the evening or end a crazy day.


Frenchie Winebar
618 17 Ave SW
Calgary, AB
(403) 457-1432
Website: frenchieyyc.com

Una Takeaway
616 17 Ave SW
Calgary, AB
(403) 453-1183
Website: unatakeaway.com

Frenchie Wine Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Christmas Foodie Gift Guide and Giveaway!

>> Monday, December 5, 2016

With less than a month to go before Christmas, hunting for the perfect gift for the people on your list is officially on! I often struggle with what to buy others since it seems that everybody has everything. However this year I ran in to a couple items that I thought would be fun for the foodies out there and I was hoping to share them with you. Hopefully some of the items below will help make your Christmas shopping a bit easier this year!

Photo courtesy of Grey Goose Vodka

Gifts For The Cocktail Enthusiast

For those that love to try their hand at making cocktails – what’s more versatile than using vodka as the base to build upon? Grey Goose Vodka has created some amazing gift sets this year that would be perfect! The gift boxes vary from Grey Goose's VX, which is vodka with a hint of precious cognac to their cocktail sampler with 3 premium flavours: l'Orange, Cherry Noir and La Poir. Here’s a great recipe to get them started in their cocktail making adventures:

Grey Goose Fireside
2 parts Grey Goose Vodka
2 tsp organic maple syrup
1 pint of salt
1 rosemary sprig
Top with fresh pink grapefruit juice

Photo courtesy of iwoot.com

Gifts For The Oenophile

For those who enjoy their glasses of wine, what’s better than sipping it out of a breathable wine glass by Eisch where it makes decanting a thing of the past. Or if they’ve already gotten a lovely set of glasses, let them experiment with a wine subscription. Where every month a new set of wines will be delivered to them and allow them to try new exciting varietals or wineries that they may not have tasted before.

Photo courtesy of pickurgift.com

Gifts For The Chef

For that somebody on your list always trying to create new dishes and experimenting with different flavours the ‘Try the World’ subscription allows them to use their imagination every month when they receive a box filled with eight different goodies from a specific country. The country will change monthly and an expert chef will choose items unique to that location. Recipes and stories accompany the items so you can learn more about that regions cuisine.

Photo courtesy of Cindy La

Gifts For The Food Conoisseur

For those that are on team eat, a lovely night out at one of Calgary’s many fine restaurants is always a treat. But with so many what’s a good one to pick? Luckily I can help a bit with that. I have TWO Gift Cards to GIVEAWAY! One is for the newly opened Oliver & Bonacini’s The Guild Restaurant on Stephen Avenue. The second is for Starbelly in south Calgary, where they have recently welcomed their new executive Chef. Leave a comment to be entered! If you’re looking at other potential restaurants, maybe one of my restaurant reviews can help with your decision! There are so many great offerings in Calgary that you’ll be pleased no matter what the choice.

I wish all those good luck with trying to find that special someone their perfect gift! There's truly nothing more exciting that the holidays. Hope you guys all get to enjoy!

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