Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bits and Pieces

I've got a bit of a build up of posts, so I thought I would wrap them up into something as tidy and concise as I am able to...

First of all, although I'm sure it has been mentioned somewhere already, we noticed that the Mexican restaurant on 108 St and White (just behind the convenience store) has finally opened. I know there was some drama with the naming, but it looks like it has worked out and they have settled on "Arriba Mexico".

Also, after quite a few months of work, the space that was formerly Nokomis Clothing (on the 108th Street block of Whyte) has opened as Friends and Neighbors "Delight", and is offering more Vietnamese and vegetarian selections than their attached diner.

Muddy Waters Cafe on 111th and Whyte appears to have shut down. All the furniture and equipment have been taken out and it doesn't look like renovations. Although I didn't venture there too much, Zed liked it for its proximity to home and late night hours, so it will definitely be missed if it has in fact closed for good.

I made these nonfat gingersnaps from David Lebovitz' blog. I'm not sure why I decided to venture into nonfat territory, but it sure was a good way to use up some left over applesauce. They weren't quite rich enough for my liking (those ginger cookies from Duchess are the best!), but they are really nice with a glass of milk for dunking.

We went for brunch at The Hat last month. I'm surprised we stopped as we've had really bad luck with service there in the past, but in the spirit of the second last City Centre Market day, we decided to give it another shot. I had an omelet with green pepper, Swiss cheese and mushrooms and was less than impressed - it was thick and heavy and the green peppers made the filling watery. Again, Zed is not a breakfast person unless he's making his own pancakes, so he went for his fall back of ham and toast which he found fine.

Once again the service left something to be desired. There was too much lag time between drinks, ordering and food, and there were only a few tables of two in the restaurant. Also, they were doing server interviews within ear shot of the customers, and it would have been nice if they could have found an alternate location that was a bit more private. We will definitely be heading back to the more reliable Blue Plate for Saturday brunch instead.

We also went to Dahlia's Mediterranean Bistro (10235 - 124 Street) for lunch a few weeks ago. The owner, Fadi Smaidi, just moved to Edmonton from Montreal last year. In addition to Shawarma, hummus and other Mediterranean dishes, Dahlia's also offers panini and Montreal smoked meat sandwiches... the smoked meat is the real thing, flown in weekly from Montreal, so of course we had to get a couple of those. It wasn't quite like being in Montreal, but it was nice to order a "Smoked Meat Sandwich" and actually get the real thing.

We've picked up a couple new kitchen tools recently. In August we found this Peugeot pepper mill in Montreal and couldn't resist. There was definitely some associated sticker shock, but after using it for a couple months and having perfectly ground pepper, it's faded.

After sorting through what seemed like hundreds of knife reviews, we decided to purchase a MAC Mighty Santoku and picked one up on Monday. We made soup that evening to make sure we were giving the knife a good breaking in... I never knew chopping veggies could be so pleasant! And it made quick work of this red pepper on Tuesday morning for my omelet.

And finally, we have finished our culinary classes at NAIT and we both had a great time. Although some of the techniques in either class may have been simple, they were still a bit daunting to undertake at home, so it was nice having an instructor close by to answer any questions and to guide us through the more difficult steps.

The instructor of the pastry course was Curtis, who besides teaching part time at NAIT, also works at Duchess Bake Shop and Kerstin's Chocolates; I think having someone there with everyday industry experience really added to the course.

The pasta below is from the class Zed took at the end of October, and the rest of the pictures are from the baking class I attended last week and this past Tuesday.

Fettucine, marinara and alfredo sauce

Day 1: Caramel Pannacotta

Day 1: Crème brûlée

Day 1: Raspberry Charlotte Royale

Day 2: Pate a Choux and Pastry Cream

Day 2: fresh puff pastry for raspberry & sour cherry turnovers

Day 3: Tiramisu with chocolate cigars (the poor thing sagged on the way home because the inside wasn't set yet... it still tasted fantastic though!)


Chef Laurel said...

Hey my tiramisu did the same thing! I couldn't even bring myself to take a picture of it by the time I got it home.

I love your blog by the way.. we same to frequent quite a few of the same spots. Looking forward to see where you'll go next :)


Isabelle said...

Nice to hear what you've been up to! I actually just read on a great post on knives on Tea and Cookies and she mentions the Mac brand. And those pastries look delicious.