Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Brewing up iCoffee

iCoffee Opus Single Server Brewer
These days, everyone’s at least heard of a single serve coffee brewer, and a lot of workplaces have them. The most commonly known single serve coffee brewer brands tend to be Keurig, Nespresso and Tassimo. I’ve tried all of these at one time or another, with varying opinions as to the success of making a cup of coffee that actually tastes like coffee, not to mention the convenience or lack thereof in some cases.

I had never heard of the iCoffee Opus single serve coffee brewer until they sent me one to try. It’s designed to work with Keurig K Cup pods, as well as reusable fill your own pods. Having used Keurig brewers frequently, the two machines are similar in a lot of ways.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Gastropub Style at Central Social Hall

Sparkling Wine
Central Social Hall opened in 2012 in downtown Edmonton, by friends Jesse Kupina and Jerry Rota. The duo with other restaurant and night club experience under their belts noticed that there was a lack of pubs in Edmonton that actually encouraged people to socialize with one another, and generate discussions, thus Central Social Hall was born. Although it’s been on the corner of 109 Street and Jasper Avenue for almost two years, only one and a half blocks away from where I live, I have to admit that I’ve never stopped in. The idea of pub food was not particularly appealing to me, and at the menu launch event, Jesse Kupina even admitted that they neglected to make food a focus when they initially opened. In order to make themselves stand apart from their competition however, they’ve realized that they need to put an emphasis on their food, making Central Social Hall more like a gastropub.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Beautiful Bites at Bar Bricco

The brainchild of Daniel Costa of Corso 32 fame, it seems that anything he dreams up will be moolicious! Touted as a casual place to grab a drink and quick bite to eat after work, Bar Bricco is most definitely a few steps above the local pub or bar. Located in a small space beside Corso 32, it’s only open evenings and is always packed. Although snagging a table can be a challenge and requires quite a lot of patience, there is also seating at the bar, as well as at a standing bar along the window facing out to the street.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

13th Annual Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival Giveaway

The 13th Annual Edmonton Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival will be here before you know it! Attending a food and wine festival is one of the best ways to try a variety of wines, scotches, and spirits without investing the money buying an entire bottle before you have had the chance to try it which can be a costly venture. As usual, the festival will be held Friday, October 24 through to Saturday, October 25, 2013 at the Shaw Conference Centre.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Seventh Heaven at Nineteen

Granville Island beer battered escargot
Nineteen is the brainchild of Chef Andrew Fung, formerly of Blackhawk Golf Course. After attending a patio opening party at Nineteen, we wanted to come by and try their regular menu. We have been to Nineteen a few times since it opened, and with the menu changing seasonally, we have always tried new things when there. In fact, sometimes the decisions were hard to make as they have too many appetizing possibilities! Although there are a few signature items they try to keep on the menu such as their Ahi Tuna Twist and Gorgonzola PEI mussels, everything else on the menu changes with the seasons.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Delecatably Skewed at The Slanted Door

Slanted Door Spring Rolls
We had walked by The Slanted Door on many other visits to San Francisco. Situated within The Ferry Building on the Embarcadero, we had never taken the chance to actually eat there. A modern Vietnamese restaurant, the space itself is massive! Despite the large number of seats available in their restaurant, they were constantly busy the evening we dined there.
Pan Seared Day Boat Scallops

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Panta Rei - Going Italian in San Francisco

Mozzarella con bruschetta
Staying in the Telegraph Hill/North Beach area of San Francisco, there most definitely was not a shortage of Italian restaurants to choose from. However, choosing a restaurant with an interesting menu and that wasn't trying their hardest to lure in the tourists was a bit harder, especially if looking at restaurants along Columbus Ave. After looking at all the menus up and down a three block stretch of Columbus Ave, we chose Panta Rei as their menu was actually dated for that day, was a simple one page menu, as opposed to an impossibly long book of items, and all the staff were speaking in Italian.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Rich Table - Rich in imagination and flavour

Sardine Chips
When I visited Rich Table last year, it was on a whim. No reservation, I just happened to be in the neighbourhood of Hayes Valley and thought I would check it out. I sat at the bar and ordered some items recommended to me by the bar tender, since I would never order something call sardine chips on my own. This year, I made a point of going back, this time I got to take both my humans, not just the female.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

First Impressions are deceiving at Masala Wok

Butter Chicken
I had originally heard about Masala Wok from my dental hygienist. She always raved about their buffet and when a Groupon went on sale, we decided to give it a try. I have to let you know that it’s not the easiest place to find. You basically have to know that it’s there. The restaurant itself doesn’t look like much from the outside, as it’s part of an older strip mall, and neither does the inside. We’ve been twice, once before the renovations and once after. I have to admit that it looks much better after the renovation, but the interior still looks rather sparse, although not nearly as dated as before. However, the look of the restaurant is deceiving as one wouldn't expect much given the efforts put into the appearance of the restaurant, but all their efforts go towards their food.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Rustic Aboriginal Dinner by Chef Shane Chartrand at Sage Restaurant

Enjoying the wine
Although I had met Chef Shane Chartrand at a few previous events around Edmonton and sampled a dish here and there, I’d never actually eaten at any of the restaurants he had cooked at prior to being invited to a media dinner at Sage Restaurant at the River Cree Casino. Admittedly, I’d wanted to try his food for a while now, but driving all the way out to the River Cree Casino, for a meal of unknown caliber wasn’t at the top of my list of things to do. However, the media dinner gave me an excuse to go there to experience a guided dinner while surrounded by others we knew.

Friday, June 20, 2014

A 3 Michelin Star Italian Restaurant in Hong Kong? That's 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana!

Moo, the male human and
Chef Umberto Bombana
After having practically nothing other than Chinese food or a bad facsimile of Western food for over two weeks, the humans and I were dying for some quality Italian food. We had found out about 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana through the Top 100 Restaurants in the World list, sitting at number 39 in 2013, and hoped that a dinner there would finally satiate us. Reservations turned out to be harder to get than we thought via our usual means, the Visa Concierge service. However, a quick in person trip to the restaurant proved fruitful, as we were told that dining after 9:30pm any night of the week would be possible. Given that it's the only 3 1/2 Michelin Star Italian restaurant located outside of Italy, it's no wonder it was so popular! Plus they were running their special alba white truffle menu, which the staff informed us was incredibly popular.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Mr. Moo's Whisky Explorations: Whisky Tasting

Similar to wine and coffee, there are steps to tasting scotch. Although some things are familiar, including smelling and tasting, the jargon tends to differ, as does how you perform each step (For example: You don’t slurp the whisky like you would slurp coffee during a tasting).

If you want a more eloquently written version of how to go about tasting scotch, try the Master of Malt’s How to Taste Whisky Guide. This is my very basic understanding of tasting scotch.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Five Star Lunch without Five Star Prices at Le Salon de The de Joel Robuchon

Best bread ever!
After having a lovely afternoon tea experience at Le Salon de The de Joel Robuchon, we decided to try out their location at The Landmark for lunch. Oddly enough on a weekend afternoon, it was fairly easy to get a table just by walking in. Unlike their location at the IFC Mall, The Landmark location was semi enclosed allowing them to serve liquor so I was able to order a glass of bubbly to enjoy with lunch. The restaurant itself also seems more like a restaurant with the majority of their tables inside a semi enclosed area, while they had a few tables down the hallway overlooking the atrium in the middle of The Landmark.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

North 53 - When Tasting Menus go Awry

Witch's Fizz
I had heard and read so many good things about North 53, a restaurant whose concept is to elevate Canadian cuisine using exclusively Canadian ingredients. They also happen to be one of the few restaurants that I have come across in Edmonton that actually has a tasting menu option on their regular menu, something that I rarely found here, but often found and enjoyed abroad such as in London, Paris, and even Hong Kong.

The space itself was long and narrow, with a very impressive looking bar that dominated one side of the restaurant. The furniture was modern, feature mostly metal bar stools and chairs, not the most comfortable furniture as we found out but thankfully I was seated on the soft, comfortable banquette.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Go Vietnamese with Lemongrass Grill

I love Vietnamese food, particularly spring rolls and Vietnamese Iced Coffee, so I knew that I had to check out Lemongrass Grill at some point. They have a fairly extensive menu ranging from smaller items such as spring rolls and skewers to heartier fare such as Vietnamese Grilled Subs, otherwise known as banh mi.

I wound up ordering the pork spring rolls, a bahn mi and a Vietnamese iced coffee. The pork spring rolls were a bit dry inside and could have used a bit more seasoning, but I quite enjoyed the banh mi. There was a nice amount of pate spread on the bun, lots of crisp vegetables, topped with well-seasoned and moist chicken. Their banh mi can be served with a variety of proteins including chicken, pork, feeb *eek!* and tofu.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Mr Moo's Adventures Third Anniversary

The Cowans with the Female Human in Hong Kong
May 13, 2014 has rolled around and Mr. Moo’s Adventures celebrates its’ third anniversary! This year I got to travel around Asia from Beijing to Shanghai, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Macau. During that trip, I got to eat at the cheapest Michelin Star restaurant we have ever found, Tim Ho Wan, and a plethora of other restaurants I will post about soon that are on the Top 100 Restaurants in the World list – some which were spectacular and some which were not. We even got to meet up with Chef Andrew Cowan and his wife, Mylea Cowan in Hong Kong and show them around Mong Kok, the neighbourhood we stayed in while in Hong Kong. The evening involved introducing them to eggies - a delicious waffle like snack food commonly found at Hong Kong street vendors. As well as watching Mylea Cowan use her keenly honed bargaining skills to obtain a myriad of things at Ladies Market. Other travels included going to San Francisco, and finally making it to Chris CosentinosIncanto, a few months before they closed their doors.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Mr. Moo’s Whisky Explorations: How to Pick your First Bottle of Scotch

My first bottle of scotch!
After attending the Scotch Malt Whisky Society tasting, my interest in scotch was peaked and I wanted to learn and try more! But where to start, what to buy, how do I know what’s good? Although there are a lot of places that serve scotch and whisky, there aren’t a lot of places in Edmonton that serve a wide variety, except for The Bothy Wine and Whisky Bar.

Well, there are a few ways to go about choosing your first bottle, depending on what you already know about your personal preferences. One option is of course to go to a place like The Bothy Wine and Whisky Bar and work your way through the menu, try out different scotches until you find one that you like enough to spend money to buy. A bottle of scotch whisky is not cheap, it does cost significantly more than beer, wine and liqueur. However, given its’ high alcohol content and long shelf life you likely won’t be drinking very much of it very often, so it will last you more than an evening, a week or even a month – unless you’re sharing it with a large group at least! Even then, there are a lot of different scotches from a variety of areas to choose from, particularly on a scotch menu as large as the one found at The Bothy Wine and Whisky Bar, which literally spans pages upon pages, at least one page per scotch producing region in Scotland.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Popular Perogy Princess has Potential

Perogy Princess
The Perogy Princess, the first perogy food truck to hit the roads of Edmonton started service on April 29th. Parked downtown on Jasper Avenue, just in front of Scotia Place, they have become popular very quickly as they’ve sold out every service their first week! I’ve already tried them twice, and although they have some service hiccups to work out, they have potential to remain popular if they can work through their service issues and can consistently maintain the quality of their food.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Bothy - More than just whisky

We had purchased a Groupon to The Bothy a while back, as I had always been curious as to what it was like. Although I knew several people who had worked there in the past as servers, I had never heard very much about the food, only that they had an extensive whisky menu, which was a good thing now that I was interested in exploring the world of whisky.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Mr. Moo’s Whisky Explorations: Scotch Malt Whisky Society Tasting

Although I have attended whisky tastings in the past, notably one at Jameson’s Whisky Distillery on a trip to Dublin, as well as Jura Distillery tasting at the Edmonton Petroleum Club last year, I never wrote about either as at the time, I honestly found whisky unappealing. Although Willie Tait, Brand Ambassador for Jura Distillery, is one heck of an interesting character, I found most of their offering far too smoky and peaty for my liking.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Go for a Twirl at La Ronde

Caught with my hoof in the bread basket!
After our previous food blogger meet up at The Common, Chateau Lacombe Hotel and La Ronde, Edmonton’s only revolving restaurant, offered to host our next get together. So the talented Linda Hoang managed to organize a night that we food bloggers and plus ones could attend. Although it seemed like a bit of a feat to figure out a date and sort out who was all coming, we finally received confirmation that the food bloggers get together would be going ahead and that we could indeed bring our plus ones! I have to admit, I wasn't sure what to expect, as our previous get together was a very casual come and go event at The Common. I hadn't even been sure I would show up to the previous get together as it happened to be on the same night as the Taste of Iceland event at Characters Fine Dining.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Devouring Deliciousness at Woodwork

Rye with Pork Butter
We had wanted to try Woodwork since they announced they were opening, however decided to save the visit for @andrealauder’s birthday celebration. The restaurant was packed that evening when @andrealauder, @thepolishviking, the humans and mooself arrived for dinner. Woodwork although new on the scene has made a huge impression on the local food scene. Although their menu is fairly fluid, you know that means not only will their food be fresh, but also that the chefs are constantly thinking of new and delicious ways to appease their diners.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Tim Ho Wan - Michelin Star Quality at Rock Bottom Prices

Cha Siu Bao/BBQ Pork Buns
Tim Ho Wan is the cheapest and quickest Michelin Star meal you can ever experience in your lifetime. Although they have the most limited menu of any dim sum restaurant I have seen anywhere in the world, they do cook those dishes very well.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Ideal Anniversary at Incanto

Boccalone Iberico de Bellota Lardo, Mission
Figs, Hazelnuts and Rose Thyme
I wanted to visit Incanto for a long time since we always found Chris Cosentino’s cooking interesting on television. After getting to meet him in Edmonton when he was appointed NAIT’s Culinary Arts program Chef in Residence for 2013, I wanted to go even more. Thankfully I got an opportunity to visit San Francisco in the fall and convinced the humans to have their belated wedding anniversary dinner there. Unfortunately Incanto will be closing their doors on March 24, 2014 after being part of the community for 12 years. Thankfully the team behind Incanto will be opening another restaurant in the same location. Porcellino will be a casual, neighbourhood restaurant, offering all day, and will also serve as a marketplace where visitors can Italian fare to take home such as pasta, meats, and specialty foods.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Characters Fine Dining Brings a Moolicious Taste of Iceland

Iceland Air recently announced that it would be flying out of the Edmonton International Airport, offering more choices to travellers looking to travel to European destinations. A big bonus that Iceland Air will be offering is a stop over in Reykjavik for no additional charges before heading onto your final destination. I’m pretty excited about this since I love travelling to Europe, and until now, those flying out of Edmonton didn’t have a lot of options, but hopefully with the arrival of Iceland Air, it will create more competition and better prices for travellers.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Something Amiss at The Glass Monkey Gastropub

Parsnip Puree
Gastropubs have become trendy in Edmonton, and everyone has begun to jump on the bandwagon opening them up in all shapes and form, from gastropubs to European-esque taverns to modernized cocktail bars. Not quite a restaurant, not quite a bar, gastropubs and the like are supposed to offer elevated food in a casual environment with equally impressive beer and other spirits.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Famous Doesn't Mean Fabulous - The Peninsula Hotel Afternoon Tea

Old World Elegance
When you look at guidebooks for Hong Kong, or ask anyone about where to go for afternoon tea in Hong Kong, inevitably, you will find The Peninsula Hotel mentioned as the place to go, due to their long history of upholding this English tradition. However, long history and quality do not always go hand in hand. One of the oldest and most revered hotels in Hong Kong, The Peninsula Hotel has always been the place for those with money. The female human remembered coming here once on her last visit to Hong Kong as a teenager, and awing at the splendour and opulence of the hotel lobby. At the time she was there with her mother, meeting a family friend for coffee, jaw agape that she was spending time with a Hong Kong movie star, Josephine Siao Fong-Fong, when a famous Hong Kong director, whose movies she had seen stopped by briefly to say hello to their family friend. With a history of being the place for movie stars, as well as the rich and otherwise famous to be seen, one would hope that they would settle for nothing lest than the highest quality.

Monday, February 17, 2014

World of Wines at Winefest Edmonton

Winefest Tickets
I was lucky enough to initially to win tickets to Winefest through a contest run by @Argenplath on her blog, What Would Argenplath Pay? A few days before Winefest, @michpetersjones also managed to get me on the attendee list for the media preview. The great thing about being able to attend both events was that I was able to experience Winefest from both the media and the public’s perspective, as I was betting both events would be very different.

The Wines

So you know why I enjoyed the wines that I enjoyed, I’ll be honest and tell you that I am a fan of white wines and champagne first and foremost, particularly Riesling and vintage champagnes. I have been trying to get into red wines more recently, but find that I tend to lean towards those that have a fruitier taste and are mildly sweet. I am not a fan of red wines that taste bold and oaky, nor do I enjoy white wines that are so dry I feel parched just drinking them. You won’t see any wines from the USA on this list as I have tried many in the past, and inevitably, they give me a migraine. I couldn’t tell you why, but I have tried whites, reds and sparkling wines from California and Washington to be sure, and it always ends up the same, me feeling like my poor head is going to explode, so I try to avoid them whenever possible.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Fantastic Filipino at Filistix

Filistix at ECHA
Filistix started life as a Filipino food cart that was so popular with students that they eventually spawned into multiple permanent kiosks on the University of Alberta and Grant MacEwan campuses. They have several items on their menu that are always available such as The Classic – Chicken Adobo, listed by Filistix as the national dish of the Philippines consisting of roasted chicken that is finished with a tangy soy, garlic and chilli sauce, and is served with jasmine rice and Filistix’s signature slaw. The chicken in The Classic was lightly seasoned, juicy and moist, while the tangy soy, garlic and chilli sauce work well together without any single of these flavours dominating and working in perfectly harmony.  Their signature slaw is surprisingly refreshing and slightly sweet with shredded cabbage dressed with sesame soy balsamic vinaigrette and topped with slivered almonds and dried cranberries.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Spectacular Tastes at Stages Kitchen & Bar

The Valley Affair
Although I had never been in the old Mayfield Inn, I was curious to see what the renovations to turn the hotel from the Mayfield Inn, into a Double Tree by Hilton would look like. As well, this was the first time I’d been invited to the restaurant opening of a restaurant located inside a hotel, so I was curious to see what it would be like. Generally when I think of hotel restaurants, I think of restaurants that serve fairly generic food in order to cater to the widest range of visitors as possible. In the past when I’ve travelled, with the exception of an included breakfast, I try to avoid eating at the hotel restaurant, as it’s usually not very good. Although that seems to be improving recently, with Charcut Roast House at Hotel Le Germain being an exceptionally good restaurant located in a hotel.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Sailin On - Veganlicious

Sailin On Food Truck
Sorry for the tardiness of this post, having been away a good portion of the fall, I fell behind on my food truck posts!

Now if you’ve read my posts, you know that I’m a vegemootarian – in other words, I eat everything except feeb or feeb related meats. So I am nowhere near vegan, however we know quite a few vegans and were intrigued to see what vegan street food would taste like. Unlike the majority of food trucks in Edmonton, Sailin On doesn’t do a regular lunch service (although they have been spotted downtown at lunch occasionally), and instead caters mostly to the late night crowd on Whyte Ave. However, over the summer they could also be found at 124 Street Market on Thursday evenings and other events around Edmonton.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Stinky Socks are Tasty at The Patty Wagon

Stinky Sock Burger
Sorry for the tardiness of this post, having been away a good portion of the fall, I fell behind on my food truck posts!

The Patty Wagon was new to Edmonton streets this summer, offering downtown diners a myriad of burger options. Diners could choose from three patty options – feeb, lamb or veggie – as well as half a dozen of pre-determined burger options plus additional toppings for a wee bit of extra money.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Indulging in Model Milk's Sunday Suppers

So much food!
We had heard many great things about Model Milk from our Edmonton friends who had been when they visited Calgary, yet had been unable to fit a visit in ourselves until now. Finding a restaurant that was open on a Sunday night we found could often pose a challenge, as many are closed on Sundays, so since Model Milk was actually open on a Sunday, we opted to make it our Sunday night meal. On Sunday nights at Model Milk, they take the concept of a family dinner and make it their own. So if you plan to go to Model Milk on a Sunday, remember that you won’t be able to order from the menu as they only offer the family style dinner on Sunday nights.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

CRAFT Beer Market - Handcrafted Food Folly

CRAFT Beer Market
CRAFT Beer Market, a beer focused restaurant chain where everything’s served on tap, first started in Calgary, AB, recently opened their third location in Edmonton. I had the opportunity in November to tour the space, weeks ahead of their planned opening date, to see what they were planning and to find out more about what CRAFT Beer Market was all about. The space itself was very large and impressive, although still far from complete, it looked like it was going to seat quite a lot of people inside. The front area of the main floor consisted of a combination of booths, and bar type seating situated by floor to ceiling windows. Meanwhile the back area of the main floor boasted an impressively sized bar, surrounded by seating, as well as additional booths along the walls, and a room filled with kegs of beer. There was more seating upstairs, along with a massive kitchen, which they informed me they would baking the majority of their own bread in, except for their brunch bread which would be provided by Popular Bakery.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Scrumptiousness Salon de The de Joel Robuchon

Afternoon Tea Stand
Joel Robuchon has become famous worldwide, with restaurants in Paris, London, Hong Kong, and Macau just to name a few cities, many of those restaurants have Michelin stars to boot. Let’s not forget to mention that his Paris flagship restaurant is on the Top 100 Best Restaurants in the World list. Although we had hoped to give his restaurants a whirl on our last trip to Paris and London, given our already busy dining schedule, we just couldn’t squeeze it in. So since we were going to be in Hong Kong for almost a whole month, we were able to fit in both a visit to his L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, as well as a few visit to Salon de The de Joel Robuchon, which has several locations in Hong Kong and is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and afternoon tea.
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