Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Mid-week view at La Ronde

We were hoping to avoid the rush of multiple seatings and slightly overpriced menus of New Year's Eve this year, so instead we decided to check out La Ronde a couple Thursdays ago. I had read this review in Vue Magazine a couple months ago, and we were both looking forward to an evening of good food and great views.

In the end our evening started out really well then went a bit down hill. Our starters of rabbit for me and a Caesar for Charles were great, but then our server forgot to bring our sorbet course and went straight to mains, which we decided to just go along with.

Sage and Walnut-Rolled Rabbit Loin ($17)

100 Avenue

The entrees were just alright - Charles enjoyed his prime rib, but he thought he could get it pretty much any where else in the City. I thought I'd try the chicken supreme crusted in Parmesan. The actual chicken portion was lovely and moist, and I loved the crunchy, salty Parmesan exterior. But the accompanying vegetables swimming in cream sauce were heavy, and with all the cheese already on the chicken, I barely touched them.

Prime Rib with buttermilk mash and seasonal veg ($34)

Chicken Supreme on root vegetable fricassee ($30)

101 Street

Our server offered us dessert menus, and took our order of a latte for Charles and shot of espresso for me at the same time. The espresso was actually really nice... not too bitter or smoky, but smooth, light and perfect after a heavy meal. We decided to share the Madagascar Milk Chocolate Cream with Mocha Brulee Centre for dessert. While the cream itself didn't really taste like Madagascar chocolate to me, the fudgy cookie underneath was definitely citrusy and fruity which I liked. And we both enjoyed the smooth centre of mocha brulee, which also gave a little extra boost to the chocolate.

Madagascar Chocolate Cream ($12)

Since the view is so great on the 24th floor of the Crowne (and you do pay a premium for it), we would have liked to stay for another coffee or drink after dessert, but instead of asking if we would like anything else, our server just dropped off our bill and bid us a good evening before we had a chance to say anything.

South East

So instead of spending an extra $20 on drinks there, we ended up at The Confederation Lounge at the Mac, which has a great list of "Mixology Cocktails", plus their seasonal winter warmer type drinks (I'm a sucker for a Hot Rum Toddy, and they always add something interesting to it).

Elderflower and Champagne at the Mac

Although the entree section of La Ronde's menu is a bit lack luster, we both appreciated the effort to highlight Alberta based products like the Highwood Crossing's flour used in the bread, Fairwinds Farm Goat Cheese, and Peace Hills chicken, just to name a few.
Despite the underwhelming service, I think we will likely be back to La Ronde. The view is just to great to pass up, and it seemed to serve as a little reminder of some of the reasons we stick with this City, even in -40 weather. Next time though, I'm going to make sure the Saskatoon Berry and Basil sorbet makes it to our table.

Final point of rotation

La Ronde (in the Chateau Lacombe)
10111 Bellamy Hill
La Ronde Revolving Restaurant‎ on Urbanspoon

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Brunch at The Manor Bistro

I'm working at Kerstin's Chocolates this month to help out with the retail end of things during the busy holiday season. One of my co-workers, Liz, used to work at The Manor Bistro and she still thinks they have the best brunch in town. So when we decided to meet up with a few friends for brunch to celebrate the end of the fall semester and a couple weeks of holidays, I had an easy time persuading everyone to try The Manor with us.

We arrived a little late for our 12:30 reservation for six, but were sat down immediately in the private dining room at the front of the converted house. Our server arrived immediately to offer drinks, and two of us decided to share a 1/2 liter of mimosa ($14), while Charles went for a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice ($5.50), and everyone else stuck with coffee or water.

The snowy view of High Street

Liz had recommended any of the four versions of eggs Benedict, as their hollandaise sauce was supposed to be amazing. So in accordance, I ordered the traditional eggs Benedict with soft poached eggs. Charles decided on the fritatta, while the rest of our party went with sweet crepes, the quiche special, Denver crepes and the Florentine eggs benedict. Our food took a little too long to come out, but we were enjoying coffee and mimosas and our little private room, so we didn't mind at all.

Everyone seemed to enjoy their dishes, and Liz was right, the hollandaise was amazing, with a nice balance of lemony tartness and richness from the eggs and butter. There were also little piles of couscous filled with berries and fruit on everyone's plates, which I thought was a nice, different touch.

The traditional eggs Benedict ($14)

Quiche special (salmon, roasted red pepper and goat cheese)

Sweet crepe ($13)

Denver crepe ($13)

Florentine Benedict with spinach Mornay sauce ($15)

Chorizo Fritatta ($13)

Our server asked if we had room for dessert, and of course we couldn't turn it down. Expecting a menu he instead brought out a leaf shaped plate full of their five dessert selections - their "award winning tiramisu", a fruit crumble, cheesecake rounds filled with a chocolate nut mixture then dipped in chocolate, a lavender creme brulee and lemon souffle served warm with lemon sorbet. One of our party had a severe nut allergy (which our server and the kitchen did well working around), so opted out, but the rest of us decided to share the tiramisu and the creme brulee.


Creme brulee (sorry it's so blurry)

The creme brulee was done really well, in a wide, shallow dish with lots of caramelized sugar, and the tiramisu was lovely and rich, and definitely full of some nice, dark rum. The Manor was a great way to celebrate, and whether we have an occasion or not, we will definitely be back.

The Manor Casual Bistro
10109 125 Street
Manor Bistro on Urbanspoon

Monday - Thursday:

11am - 10pm

Friday & Saturday:
11am - midnight

Brunch: 11am - 2pm
Dinner: 5pm - 9pm

Saturday, December 12, 2009


A few weeks ago we went to Unforgettable on Calgary Trail to meet up with a friend for Sunday evening Dim sum.

The only other place I've been in Edmonton for Dim sum is the New Tan Tan downtown, but I prefer Unforgettable for a couple of reasons - first of all, it's in our neighborhood and we can get there via walking if it's a nice enough day. I also prefer their food and selections, and the staff is always really helpful and patient when it comes to explaining dishes, and they are always checking the teapot to see if you need more hot water. And finally, Unforgettable always has interesting specials to offer - this time it was steamed oysters with black bean and garlic sauce, while it was black chicken last time we were there.

They only do baked buns (BBQ pork and coconut) on the weekends, although the steamed ones are really great too. By the time we got there on Sunday around 6:30PM, they had sold out, so keep that in mind if it is one of your Dim sum musts. Also, the space is pretty small, so if you are heading over with a group, be sure to call ahead.

Wonton Soup (off of their non-dim sum menu; mostly for Charles)

The necessary spring rolls

Steamed beef balls

Curried squid (my favourite)

Pork short ribs

Steamed oysters

Shrimp dumplings

Stuffed peppers

Stuffed eggplant

Unforgettable Chinese Restaurant
7219 104 Street
(780) 431-0220
Mondays and Wednesday through Sunday: 11am - 3pm for lunch; 5pm - 11pm for dinner; closed Tuesdays
Unforgettable Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Friday, December 4, 2009

Tea and Chocolate

We stopped at Cally's Teas this evening for the preview of their Christmas blends. They have about a half-dozen or so new teas that they've blended right there in the shop for the holidays and they all smell amazing!

Cally gave us a cup of the Tea Affair Chocolate Cream to try (along with some of Tree Stone's stollen - also great) so we left with 50g of that ($6), and I couldn't leave without some of the Vienna Winter Green, which also has the most amazing aroma (50g for $7). The preview of Cally's holiday teas and Tree Stone's holiday breads will continue tomorrow, and everything in the shop will be 15% off.

Vienna Winter Green

Tea Affair Chocolate Cream

Cup of the Chocolate Cream

On Monday we also stopped at Sweet Lollapalooza to give some of their confections a try. Our experience was similar to Sharon's, although instead of the buttercrunch, we left with 9 bonbons ($20) and a pack of milk chocolate dipped chocolate chip cookies ($12 for 6). Our favourite bonbon was the 'burnt butter caramel', and I also think it had the best design of them all - very deco. We both agreed we could have left the cookies though, as we didn't care for the combo of the thick, milk chocolate bottom with the cookie - just too much of a good thing in one large size.

The assortment

The burnt butter caramel bonbon

The milk chocolate chip cookies

Cally's Teas
8610 99 Street

Sweet Lollapalooza Confections
Lower level, Commerce Place
10155 - 102 Street