Monday, March 29, 2010


We went to ZINC on Friday night, and while we enjoyed most of our food and all of the beautiful plating, the service was no where near smooth or professional. Our server was very nice, but it was clear he needed more training. Maybe they still need time, but I really thought they would have gotten it together after two months.

I'm in the middle of essays right now, so more details to come, but for now here are some (dark and blurry) pictures!

The view!

House made thyme butter and warm brioche

A very sweet AGA Berry Cosmo and an Innis & Gunn

Amuse bouche - cucumber, creme fraiche and earl grey tea smoked salmon

Roasted Beet Salad with goat cheese puree, Beet and Rose Petal Honey Reduction, Beet Carpaccio & Carrot Juice ($14; the carrot juice was a palate cleanser before the next course. Charles' House Salad came with cucumber water as the palate cleanser - we loved this element!)

For me: Pan Seared Wild Alberta Pickerel ($34) with Pickled Mushrooms, Edamame Beans, Beets & Warm Potato Espuma (aka. foam); I was happy to hear that Zinc is part of Ocean Wise through the Vancouver Aquarium! I think this program is finally starting to gain some ground in Edmonton.... Here is an article about the program and some of the aquaculture issues from Avenue Magazine's March issue.

For Charles: Black Cod poached in a Barigoule Stock, Warm Fennel Salad, Brunoise of Cucumber and Potato in Creme Fraiche, Wild Boar Bacon, Basil Tarragon Emulsion ($36)

Charles and one of their beautiful blue water goblets

Charles: Vanilla Espresso Creme Brulee with Praline Hazelnut Gelato and Strawberry Foam ($12)

Me: Dark Callebaut Chocolate Flourless Cake (I really wish they would have used Valrhona here to punch up the chocolate) with Raspberry Sorbet and Mission Fig Compote ($12). They matched this with a complimentary glass of Maple Ice Wine from Quebec in honour of my birthday.

2 Sir Winston Churchill Square

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Birthday, Studying and Lemon Meringue

Growing up in the BC interior, I always associated my birthday with spring. But in Edmonton today, it snowed, and I spent most of the day indoors with my nose in textbooks (although I'm researching for a paper on cacao cultivation and for another on the local food movement, so at least the topics are interesting!).
Charles and I are off to Zinc on Friday evening for a birthday celebration, but for now, he brought me this pretty Lemon Meringue cake from Duchess... along with other treats that I've been snacking on all day. You're allowed to eat as many cakes, pastries and cookies as you want on your birthday, right?
**I also meant to note that this is post #100! So this cake is serving multiple purposes.**

Monday, March 22, 2010

What's your madeleine?

Awhile ago, in Anthro 372, we were discussing the role of food in evoking memory and identity... Food is a powerful tool, connecting us with people, time and place, and it seems that everyone has their own food (a baked good, a packaged snack, an entire meal, anything), that is laden with emotional and symbolic significance. What we eat reveals what we are, and what we are not (Belasco: 26).

I thought I would leave a small blurb from Volume I of Proust's Remembrance of Things Past (or In Search of Lost Time), that describes his memory in connection with the madeleine, as well as an 'exercise' from Belasco's "Food: The Key Concepts" on the same topic.

(These ones are from Duchess)

"And suddenly the memory returned. The taste was that of the little crumb of madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray,... my aunt Leonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of lime-flower tea. And once I recognized the taste of the... madeleine soaked in her decoction of lime-flowers..., immediately the old grey house... rose up like the scenery of a theatre to attach itself to the little pavilion, opening on to the garden, which had been built out behind it for my parents; and with the house the town... the Square, where I was sent before luncheon, the streets along which I used to run errands, the country roads we took when it was fine (Belasco: 25)."

For class, we were asked to come up with our own madeleine, but of course, I'm not grading you, so I'll just leave the 'assignment' details. Here are some things to help you along if you'd like:
  • Is [your madeleine] a positive, negative, or somewhere in between?
  • Is it a comfort food or a discomfort food? A medium for conflict or reunion?
  • Is it homemade or commercial?
I've decided that my madeleine is Yorkshire Pudding... my Mom's. A little too doughy, but a great reminder of big family meals during my Nanny's visits.

(Belasco, Warren. 2008. "Food: The Key Concepts". Berg: Oxford UK.)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pancake appreciation

I arrived home from class today around 5:30pm, to find Charles cooking pancakes for dinner. He even had a bowl of fresh raspberries and blueberries to top them, and the bottle of maple syrup was already out at room temp. Simple, and much appreciated after a long day of lectures.

A nod-and-smile 'Date' with David Adjey

First of all, I'll start this post by saying I'm disappointed in myself for not getting any questions out there (especially after having tried to pull a few questions from my Anthro books!). But after taking in Adjey's responses to some earlier questions, it seemed like he just wanted to talk about himself and the high life... food seemed to be a secondary topic.

I was sitting right next to the man, and was almost blinded by all his 'bling' (yes, bling) - the Louis Vuitton "clutch" (complete with removable pen holder!), the giant Rolex, and the diamond cuff links. Amazing. Taking this all in, I think his stories about money (or "gold," as he fondly called it), women, partying and fame, went along with the outside image. He came off as pompous to me, but after a couple glasses of Prosecco, and a realization that we weren't going to be talking about food, I gave in, put on a smile, and nodded and laughed with his stories where appropriate.

After a couple lectures in class on celebrity chefs, Food Network entertainment and patrons' relationships with both, I was curious to hear his thoughts on the subject, and I think he referenced it enough (actually, enough that I'm writing my final take home exam on the subject for Anthro!). It's all about the money. TV is about entertainment, and cookbooks are coffee table books (or the new 'porn'); no one cooks from these mediums any more. While I know his stats are realistic (only about 2% cook recipes from Food Network shows), and that Food Network has to cater to demographics beyond 'foodies', I was still wishing for his belief in the medium beyond pure entertainment value, just a little, but I don't think it's there.

And while I feel like taking him to task now on his attitude, I still don't feel it was the right setting to open up any debates (especially since he would probably be the only one talking). And like other bloggers have rightly mentioned in their posts on the evening, he is what he is, and he's not changing or hiding it. However, I still felt he was putting on a show with all the name dropping going on - parties with Kevin Brauch, Bobby Flay, Mario Batali and Michael Symon... I'm not sure what to say. He's good at telling frat party stories (however exaggerated... or not?), with animated gestures included. It's obviously worked well for him, so there you go.

He commented on the obesity rates in North America, saying it was about portion size. While I agree with this, there are other issues here concerning class, history, food procurement and accessibility, and our food ways as a whole, that I don't feel he's taking into account (this is also one of those questions I thought I'd better not open up... it truly deserves many voices).

He dashed off local food, opting for 'national' selections, which disappointed me after he touched on how important it is to educate children on food. He talked a little about animals and ethics, although his example of an ethical, 'good life' treatment, was foie gras destined ducks/geese being raised on staged, shortened day and night cycles to increase their feeding times. Maybe it's just my veggie years still coming through, but is this really what he considers ethical?

His comments on the obesity subject though, the part on cooking with his kids - especially making cookies from scratch when they wanted 'a cookie' - and on wanting to level out the playing field as far as trades go (culinary students earn far less when coming out of school compared to other trades), provided such a contradiction to his - it's all about the money - attitude towards his day to day work around food, that it left me confused. Will he really do anything to help in these areas? I doubt it, but I hope I'm proven wrong.

I'm wondering if he would be different if it were a one-on-one interview? There's a teaser at this Tech Life Magazine link and he seems so much more thoughtful and considerate... he's into Neil Young and Miles Davis! So great! But none of this seemed to come through to me during our 'date'. (There will also be a video of the evening posted at that same link soon.) Isabelle of The Little Red Kitchen was heading back Wednesday to do a one on one interview for CBC, so I'm curious to see how that pans out.

All this being said, I'm glad I got to go and observe Adjey's thoughts on different subjects, even if I didn't get out there into the mix. Since I missed the latest Foodie Meet-up, I was happy to see lots of familiar faces, and to meet (even if only for a brief time), some new ones.

Thank you very much to Diane for putting the event together, and to the NAIT staff and students of the Hokanson School for Culinary Arts, for hosting such a lovely evening. We seriously got treated! It was definitely not an ordinary Tuesday!

I'll post some pictures of the food (from Adjey's newest book, Deconstructing the Dish, as prepared by NAIT's culinary students), although, unfortunately, I missed the Arctic Char dish. But I'll list bloggers below who have posted on the night, with great pictures of the food, table, bloggers and the man himself!

Shrimp with bread stuffing, 'kick-ass' tartar sauce and wilted chicory
I'm not a shrimp fan, so this one didn't do it for me. The bread stuffing was crumbly and dry, but I could have eaten a whole plate full of that wilted chicory!

Arctic Char with fennel braise and Yukon gold dumplings (again, sorry about missing a picture on this one)
 I love Arctic char, but I didn't like this one - it was a little oily, and the texture was off to me, although I enjoyed the potato dumpling.

Pork Chop rubbed with "stir fry" paste; baby bok choy and kumquat-garlic sauce
Like shrimp, I'm not a pork chop person, so that part didn't go over for me. But I was glad for the piece of bok choy.

Halibut with crab hash, saffron aioli, and "angry" fritter garnish
This halibut was amazing - perfectly cooked, and still moist, lovely; and the saffron aioli added some extra luxury. But I could have left the crab hash underneath.

Beef tenderloin with red wine jus, lobster butter and buttermilk onion ring
This beef tenderloin was amazing, but I couldn't finish it after all the food! While I wasn't crazy for the lobster butter, that onion ring was pretty great.

Thoughts (and great pictures) on the evening can be found via: Walsh Cooks (Cathy), Only Here for the Food (Sharon), It's a Weird, Wild and Wonderful Life (Twyla), Eating is the Hard Part (Chris), Moments In Digital (Bruce), In My Element (Maki), A Canadian Foodie (Valerie), Thoughts About Things (Sarah) and Mack Male's photos here. I will keep updating this list as more posts come up on the event.

**I'm editing here to add a You Tube video of David's thoughts on the evening. Once again, he comes off as being so sincere and thoughtful... maybe he just had a bit more time to choose his words? It's only added to my confused opinion on the man, but he generally seemed to have enjoyed himself.

**And here are some clips of the evening. The dinner actually lasted about twice that time, so quite a bit had to be cut for the video. But great to see it up. Thanks, Diane!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A very, very early visit to Kabuki Sushi and Grill

With most of the hoarding finally down around the Garneau theatre, we decided to check out the new Kabuki Sushi and Grill this past Friday with a friend. I was a little hesitant to post anything on our visit, since they had only been open two days, but I finally decided I would post the pictures at the very least.

Edmonton Roll - prawn tempura, spicy tuna and crab ($6.5)

Sashimi Deluxe ($35)

(I just thought I'd post a more detailed shot of the sashimi plate)

Centre of the restaurant (That tree goes all the way to the ceiling. I wish I could have gotten a shot of the whole thing.)

We were able to get past the general 'newly opened' things, like strange service and not having tea pots yet, but what we could not get past was that the sashimi was served on a bed of ice. It was too chilled, and gave the fish a grainy texture and didn't allow for the flavour of the fish to come through. Similarly, those lemon wedges were tucked into the scallops, so all you tasted was lemon when you ate them.

While I'm sure the service type things will change with time, I think I'll stick to Furusato for my sashimi cravings if that is the final plating style. The Edmonton roll on the other hand, was pretty good - it stayed together, was slightly spicy, and the rice seemed nicely prepared.

I passed by the theatre again today, to find that all the hoarding had been taken down around Transcend and the rest of the building. There is now just a temporary fence up around the old Gramophone space that is set to be the new Whimsical Cupcakes location. Garneau is really going to have a coffee, cupcake and sushi concentration now!

Tree Stone Croissants

Charles showed up at work on Saturday afternoon, presenting me with a croissant he picked up at Tree Stone Bakery that morning.

While I enjoy the lightness of the ones from Duchess, the ones whipped up at Tree Stone are quite lovely... a little heavier, but still fluffy on the inside, and with a thicker, crunchier crust on the exterior. That crunchy crust thing gets me every time... it's definitely my favourite part of any croissant, which makes the Tree Stone version one of my favourites.

By the way... they are still working on their bagel recipe, but you can leave comments for Yvan on his blog, letting him know what type of bagels (chewy, soft, flavoured, plain, etc) you'd like to see in Edmonton. Very exciting!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Chocolate cake is best on Mondays

With a cake craving this afternoon, David Lebovitz' Devil's Food cake recipe fit the bill. It's rich and moist, not too decadent, but satisfying all the same... perfect for Mondays.

I am a goats' milk yoghurt convert

I am not very adventurous when it comes to yoghurt - it's vanilla or 'natural' with a bit of granola on top and that is that. I've walked by Fairwinds Farm's goats' milk yoghurt a bunch of times, taking it into consideration, but never bringing it home. Yesterday, finally deciding to take the plunge, I picked up a container of Saskatoon.

The tanginess is amazing, and the Saskatoons give it a nice sweet-tart kick... exactly what I need to start my morning.