Friday, December 17, 2010

Melting Pot on a snowy, winter night

Last night, me and Raeanna finally made the point to head to the Melting Pot and nothing was going to stop us.

Fondue a la France
Baby Brie, Fontina, Gruyere and Raclette cheese accented with Nueske's bacon, onions, white truffle cream and fresh chives.

Sides: Granny apples: which was the best combination ever. It balanced the cheese so well without the dry taste of the white wine.
Assortment of breads and veggies: Also quite good, however the bread just magnify the dry taste of the white wine.

Salade Nicoise (or their version of it)
Containes haricots verts, tomatoes, hard-boiled egg, and nicoise olives topped with a tangy shallot vinaigrette. I like the freshness of the salad and the olives, and the shavings of beet. However branding it as a Nicoise Salad is sad, there was no tuna, and there was just a lot of extra ingredients.

Fondue Fusion: Cold Water Lobster Tail, Filet Mignon, Peppercorn-Crusted NY Strip, Chicken Provencal, Roasted Garlic Shrimp, Wentzel Farms Duck a l'orange, Ratatouille & Goat Chesse Ravioli and Fresh Vegetables

The Last 4 bites.... some down points: the duck a l'orange, the chicken provencal, and the coq au vin cooking style. The duck with the orange citrus taste was just a bad combination, the orange taste was too overpowering, the chicken had too much pepper and the because of all the red wine in the coq au vin, all the meat came out the same color and flavor wise was just one note. Raeanna clearly did not like the third course, because essentially it was just hot pot, white style.

Yin and Yang Chocolate Dessert Fondue

Plate of marshmallows, pound cake, brownie, cheesecake, strawberries, pineapples, bananas.
The highlight of the night. HMMMMMM

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Famoso Saturdays

Last Saturday, I went out to lunch with Raeanna before heading to work. We met up at Famoso downtown location. It was a surprise when I entered, I had no idea it was so causal and so small. It was like a upscale, very upgraded version of a fast food restaurant with service.

My Nutella Mocha ($4)
Really rich and just full of yummy Nutella flavor, but be warned: this is a dessert treat itself!

Sandwich and Soup Combo: Small Prosciutto Arugula and Fire-Roasted Tomato Bisque Soup ($10)

Pizzetta and Caprese Salad ($13.75)
Raeanna got the Quattro Formaggi pizzetta which surprisely, was able to finish her soup, salad and small pizza for our lunch date. I could barely finish my sandwich.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Hardware Grill/Pre-Birthday Dinner

So this evening, I met up with two friends and we had a nice dinner at Hardware Grill. The atmosphere was comfortable and warm. We were probably the youngest party in the restaurant this evening, and I was probably the youngest person! We ordered a bottle of Riesling from Germany, and all of us agreed it held out quite well all night. But I was probably buzz halfway through the appetizer. I was happy when we could still order from the Early Grazing Menu even though it was one minute passed 6:30pm, and even happier when all three of us all ordered something different which means more pictures to be taken!!

My appetizer: Pepper Crusted Rare Ahi Tuna with Warm Provençale Tomato Tart, Wood Smoked Tomato Vinaigrette and Aged Balsamic.

I really like the ahi tuna, there were some non-crushed peppers on top which added a neat change of texture and a very strong pepper profile. The tuna was yummy and it was a good portion size and fun to share.

Ben's appetizer: Blue Crab Cakes with Chipotle-Lime Aioli & Corn Relish.

When Ben saw they had crab cakes, his appetizer was decided. I usually avoid crab cakes because of a bad experience before, but the ones Ben had ordered was a pleasant surprise. It was warm and smooth and creamy. HMM

Erika's appetizer: Feta-Terranean: Roasted Peppers & Portobello Mushroom with Chèvre Feta, Tomatoes, Rocket Pesto, Balsamic Syrup & Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

I loved how the colors came out on Erika's dish, even though how the dish was plated suggest something else... Anyways, she too enjoyed her dish, roasted vegetables with warm cheese inside.

My main: Truffled Mac ‘n Cheese with Baby Lobster & Shiitakes mushrooms.

I was surprised how big my bowl was, I was afraid I couldn't finish it either. It was very good but also very rich too, mainly because of the strong truffle flavor and the cheese. It was fun finding the baby lobster bites and the shiitake mushrooms which cuts the richness a little bit.

Ben's main: Hand Rolled Butternut Squash-Mascarpone Tortelloni with Truffle Butter Cream Sauce & Fresh Chanterelles.

Ben really like this dish, I would too from the bite I took. The squash was sweet and smooth and works well with the rich sauce.

Erika's main: Bison Carpaccio Chèvre Noir, Truffled-Potato Salad & Cold Pressed Organic Hemp Oil.

From the bite I took from Erika's plate, I must have tried hemp oil before because, I swear I tasted in some asian dish before. The carpaccio was quite thin and along with the crispy fries or chips it added the right amount of salt and texture.

My Dessert: Salted Caramel Crème Brûlée with Cinnamon Doughnuts.

This was some good crème brûlée, the custard was warm, creamy, and rich in caramel flavor and it was under a hard but "crackable" crunchy sugar barrier. I would lick the bowl clean if I didn't have company. hehe. The cinnamon doughnut was also quite good, warm and fresh, it was a "runaway" doughnut.

Ben's Desset: Chocolate-Hazelnut Truffle Cake with Raspberry Gelato and Pistachio Daquoise.

Another of Ben's favorite, chocolate. Though the cake had a very tough, unbreakable coating, the cake was very rich and soft. I guess that's why Ben had to ask for coffee to accompany his rich cake.

Erika's Dessert: Warm Prairie Gingerbread Cake with Rhubarb-Saskatoon Compote, Mango Ice Cream and Warm Caramel Sauce.

When her dessert came out, we both knew there was no way she will be able to finish her plate. Her cake was really, really warm and was perfect with the warm caramel sauce. But I think her most favorite part and the only reason she got the dessert in the first place was the mango ice cream and it did not disappoint her.

I was really glad and happy to share a meal with friends, it nice to not work, enjoy good food and wine and have some laughs inside a cozy and nice restaurant on a freezing cold Edmonton evening.

Hardware Grill

9698 Jasper Avenue Northwest
Edmonton, AB T5H 3V5
(780) 423-0969

Hardware Grill on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Last Saturday evening, it was the last public day for the Rocky Mountain Wine and Food Festival. Since I didn't want to work the same event 3rd night in a row, I attended the large event this year. Me and Raeanna met up at Shaw, around 4:30-5pm, and we went in early before the crowds hit.

On The Rocks : Steak Bites-tender bites of AAA Alberta Beef, pan seared and served with dipping sauce

We started with these little steak bites, and they were quite juicy, tender all in one bite size. It was just too sad I only had 5 bites.

Moriarty's Bistro | Wine Bar: Hazelnut crusted Mahi Mahi with Chai cream sauce and lobster truffle risotto

I had the Mahi Mahi with risotto. The portion size was just right, and the fish encrusted with hazelnut was cooked just right and had good texture. Though I'm not the greatest fan of any kind of risotto, it was quite infused with the truffle aroma and cream sauce but I couldn't notice much lobster taste. Raeanna was able to spot the Chai taste fairly quickly also but I wasn't, haha.

Moriarty's Bistro | Wine Bar: Herb crusted flank steak with duck and black trumpet mushroom perogy and an Earl grey and black trumpet “Stroganoff” sauce

Raeanna had the perogy and flank steak from Moriarty's, but I don't think she was too thrilled when her flank steak just tasted like pepper more than anything. The dish filled her up but not too sure of her reaction to the dish.

Milestones Grill and Bar: Butterscotch Pot de Crème served with dark chocolate toffee crunch, flavoured with premium scotch and topped with dark chocolate cream

Thursday night when I tried this: I love it. It was rich, smooth and had great crunchy texture but I was sad I only had a very little cup of it. However, Raeanna didn't agree totally with me on Saturday night, it was just all right with her.

Koutouki: Sizzing Ouzo Prawns

First I must admit I was shocked and happily surprised at the sheer size of these prawns, but again sadden I only had 2! It was cooked to shrimp perfection, just right and not overcooked at all. It was pan seared in olive oil and with some lemon, and a hint of something sweet which I could not figure out whatsoever!

Shaw Conference Centre Collage : 3 different types of truffles (Top: Milk Chocolate Salty Caramel Truffle, Passion Fruit Coconut Truffle, and Dark Chocolate Espresso Truffle), and Smoked Salmon with Salmon Mousse and Fresh Cucumbers in a plastic verrine.

The day before I attended the festival , I was working as hostess at the Shaw Booth, and I've pigged out my fair share on Shaw samples. The Smoked Salmon and mousse was quite tasty. The lemon in the mousse along with the fresh cucumbers were able to cut through the richness of the mousse and made for great texture. And the truffles, oh, how decadent they were! The winner was the Milk Chocolate Salty Caramel Truffle, and from all the reactions of countess women I saw, it was mind-blowing. Everyone had a reaction to the gooey chocolate and the crunchy outside coating.

Billingsgate Lighthouse Café: Lobster Bisque prepared the traditional French style with cognac, cream and a rich lobster broth AND Jamaican Prawns with a spicy jerk sauce & tropical fruit salsa

The Lobster Bisque was just amazing. It was rich, creamy, and frothy. There were little lobster bits just waiting to be found too. I lost count how many I had over the past 3 days, it was just that good, and the number two on top just added points in my books. The Prawns were quite de-lish also, though not as large as the ones from Koutouki, it had more kick in terms of flavor and heat. The spicy jerk sauce was indeed spicy as I kept popping the prawns in my mouth, I guess, that the fruit salsa is supposed to help cool the heat with a rush of sweetness.

Fiesta Olives: Festive Mix, and Purple Olives

Hmmmmm, Olives, how I grow to love thee. All of them were quite good, there were some green and purple ones with a celery inside, which just added to the texture and crunch to the olive.

The Copper Pot: Braised Bison Short Ribs-slowly braised in a red wine demi glace with its natural jus with Duck Sausage- Brome Lake duck, sundried tomato and garlic sausage

Round 1: I found this by asking someone else where they got there's. And why not, it's like a huge piece of meat! and it looks mighty tasty too. I must admit, it did not disappoint at all, well, except the duck sausage. I could have went without the sausage and still be a happy gal, it was just kinda bland and lacking of any duck flavor whatsoever. However, the real winner here was the bison short ribs. Braised so tenderly in its fat and juices, it was full of flavor and not dry at all. (And also while I was eating away, someone else asked where I got this plate from!)

Round 2: It was sooo good, I had to get another one!!! and guess what? While I was eating my 2nd sample, someone asked me where I got this too!! =D

Friday, October 15, 2010

Sugarbowl Sweetness

Last weekend, the same day after going to PURE, and before going to POSTSECRET, Raeanna and I head to SugarBowl for some food and to play more catchup. I must admit, we were very adventurous with our dinner choices because we obviously ordered more than any of us can handle, alone and together.

Olives! ($3.0)
Combination of many types of olives.

Raeanna's Potato Sauerkraut Soup ($5.0)

Mussels cooked in Hoegaarden Beer and Bacon served with corn bread ($12.0)

The mussels was a flop. Some were okay, some were overcooked, and more than half didn't open! It was a generous serving, but just wasn't worth in the end because I ended up wasting more than half wasn't able to go in my belly to enjoy. The upside: Different variation by cooking such a beer with mussels, Good bacon and Corn Bread.

Raeanna's Caesar Salad ($10.0)

Their Special: Thanksgiving Poutine ($13.0)

I became afraid just at the sheer size of the plate when this arrived at our table. I was about 60% full and the plate of Poutine just seemed endless. The fries were fresh, crisp and excellent with their gravy. There was a lot of turkey, but not enough dark meat, as always. Needless to say, I had to pack the leftovers in a box.

10922 - 88 Ave NW
Edmonton, AB T6G 0Z1
(780) 433-8369

Sugarbowl Coffee & Juice Bar on Urbanspoon