Category: Dessert

Vienna Bakery

Vienna Bakery

I am about to share with you one of my “hidden gems” right here in Edmonton.  My favourite European buttercream in the city; Vienna Bakery.

This is a family owned operation that has been in Edmonton in one form or another since 1959.

Oma and Opa ran the business from 1987 until they retired in 2005.  Brian Jaeger took over the business in its current location in 2011.

I have been volunteering with Deadmonton Haunted House for the past 5 years.  The floor manager was doing some bookkeeping for the bakery so we would often get cookies and sheet cakes from Vienna for the different fundraisers and celebrations that we had as a team.  Best. Buttercreme. Ever.

Doing a bit more exploring, I found out that they were a European bakery and actually made “Bee Sting” cake (Bienenstitch) and not only is it available as a whole cake, but as a single slice as well.  My favourite. Heaven.

The pretzels, the marzipan, the sourdough…  The list of deliciousness goes on and on. Rye breads, sourdough breads, and pretzels are their specialties.

Not only are they a retail bakery but some of your favourite restaurants and cafes also carry their breads and pastries.

This place can be tricky to get to.  It is on Gateway avenue on the south side of the Argyll road intersection.  It is tucked behind the main building facing the road. Google Maps will steer you in the general direction.  Heading south on Calgary Trail, turn left on 61 Avenue and go straight through the traffic lights. The customer door faces north along Argyll.

Now that you have found the place, make sure that you get there early to get those pretzels.  They often sell out before noon, no matter how many they make. Very limited hours, but definitely worth the trip.

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They saved my butt for a Halloween potluck.  They have the cutest spooky cupcakes to brighten up any Halloween gathering.  Complete with tiny axes, spiderwebs and eyeballs! The pumpkin bars are currently in season.  If you are a pumpkin spice lover like myself, you must try these!

Custom cakes are also available.  Put that delicious buttercream to good use!  They have some very creative designs sprinkled around the internet.  The birthday cake for me and the sheet cakes made for the haunt were beautiful AND delicious.

Support your local family run business, give them a visit!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Vienna-Bakery-215540941816881/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/viennabakery/

Swiss 2 Go

Swiss 2 Go

Swiss 2 Go is one of those places in Edmonton that you kind of take for granted.  They have been in Edmonton serving Swiss style sandwiches and desserts since 2012.  I have had the pleasure of attending a couple of events catered by Swiss 2 Go but had never stopped by the storefront.  Their specialty is soup, sandwiches and dessert.

Narcity made photos of their teacup cheesecakes go viral and my dessert loving friend Brenna insisted that we make a girl date of it.

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I wanted to pop in and see what the rest of the menu was like before I invited all my ladies out.

My husband and I stopped by one evening for a sandwich and dessert.  Plenty of free parking available out front. When you walk into the café it is like walking in off the street into a grandmother’s kitchen.  Very cute knick knacks everywhere. It is an environment that feels very comforting. The menus are all handwritten chalkboards and selections rotate regularly.  There is a coffee bar, a selection of teas and always some citrus infused water available.

The sandwiches run around $10 – $12 for the smaller size.  Since we were there primarily to try the cheesecake, we opted for the smaller sized sandwich.  They are big!

The sandwiches are served on a bun that is a combination of brioche and pretzel.  It has a beautifully soft inside and that nice chewy crust with the kosher salt. You could almost put anything on that bun and call it delicious!  The sandwiches are made with such care and attention to detail, presented with a Swiss flag skewer to keep it all together. The fillings are made with quality ingredients and piled high.  I don’t know how anyone could finish one of the larger versions.

The teacup cheesecakes will run you $13.  Pricey? Not for what you get. They were almost too pretty to eat.  Once you get over the artistry and dig in, they are just as delicious as they are beautiful.  Hand made with quality ingredients. No artificial flavours or preservatives. We got to try one of the green tea versions and a fresh fig version.

When I spoke with the lovely Drita about bringing my group of ladies in, she was telling me that they have 150 different varieties of cheesecake.  She is always willing to create something new with the caveat that if it is popular, it goes on the menu! Drita was lovely enough to print me off the list of flavours so that I could let the ladies choose and order ahead.

It was exciting being able to see all of the flavours to choose from, but also a bit overwhelming because it may take me a couple of years to try them all!

We got our favourites picked and ordered in advance.  All of my ladies dressed up and wore their fancy hats.  We arrived – the place was PACKED! (this was Saturday afternoon)

PRO-TIP:  Swiss 2 Go does not take reservations!  We had no idea.

We finally managed to sweet talk another table into trading so that we could get two tables together which would be enough space to fit our large group.  Mission accomplished.

We enjoyed our mochas and lattes, and caught up on each other’s lives.  We had a delightfully lovely afternoon. The cheesecakes were heavenly. My flavour was honey lavender.  It was garnished with a sprig of dry lavender. So pretty.

Hicks on Six gave Swiss 2 Go a pretty amazing review and he can be a bit of a hard ass.  Budget and epicurean friendly. Go support local and give them a visit!

 

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/Swiss2Go

 

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/swiss2go

 

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/swiss2go/

 

Northern Bites; Showcasing Local Producers and Talent

Northern Bites; Showcasing Local Producers and Talent

Northern Bites is the brainchild of Jacquie Fenske and Monique MacDonald.  Jacquie is part of the Fifendekel family and Monique is one of Edmonton’s social media influencers.  Monique is also on the teams for Spirits on Ice and Sherwood Park Cravings.  These two lovely ladies have partnered together to bring you unique tour experiences to meet local small businesses in Edmonton and the surrounding counties.  It was quite the tour!

After we RSVP’d to our invite, we were sent an email requesting that we meet at Fifendekel to board the limousine that would be leaving promptly at 6pm.  Limo?  Swanky!

We were treated to a bagged lunch from Fifendekel.  Wow, did that bring back memories!  They have been an Edmonton staple for 35 years.  I have had the pleasure of being able to indulge in many catered lunches through various workplaces over the years.  Quality ingredients, quality food.

During the ride to the farm, we were treated to a presentation by Chocolates by Terry.  This is a lady that started out her whole business with a batch of chocolate covered pecan bark.  It was so popular that she decided she might need to make a business out of it.  This is her retirement project so there is no retail storefront, custom orders only!  Everything is made fresh to order and has a shelf life of approximately 3 months.

Before we knew it, we were pulling up to Thiel’s Greenhouses in the Bruderheim area.   We were introduced to our lovely host family and educated on the different types of Saskatoon berries.  (I had no idea that there were different varieties!)

Malcolm also showed off his very unique titanium Morse code glyph pendants.  Super talented creator.  A beautiful way to put a message onto a piece of jewelry to gift to a loved one.

We were sent on our way with our pint sized pail to speed pick the saskatoons.  By chance, it was also the Scotford Hutterite Colony’s night to pick berries as well.  The ladies came with their berry picking belts and pails and settled down to work.  Unbeknownst to me, the Hutterites are known for singing while they work.  These ladies had beautiful voices!  I could have picked berries all night listening to them sing their hymns while they picked.  This was my favourite memory of the night.

Speed picking it was!  Fill that pail up and off we go!  The lovely Nancy made us some scrumptious Saskatoon and Rosemary Ice Cream to sample before we got back in the limo.  We were also gifted with some creeping Rosemary seedlings to plant at home.  They smelled absolutely delicious.

Sparkling conversation took place for the ride back to Fifendekel.  It was lovely to get to know our hosts and our fellow influencers.  Edmonton is so fortunate to have such a vast and diverse group of people that want to promote everything local!

When we arrived back at Fifendekel, our baking stations were all set up for us and ready to go.  I have never made a scratch pie in my life, so this was a little intimidating for me.  We washed our berries and then followed the recipe (see below).

Thankfully the pie crust was pre-mixed and rolled out for us already.  I remember many battles with that damn rolling pin and being covered head to toe in flour.  I am NOT a good baker! I have, however, watched many food television shows and was at least able to fake it.

I managed to get the berries into the bottom crust and make the top crust into a flower cutout.  I think I even managed to flute the edges so that they didn’t look too bad.

The pies went into the oven.  They needed to bake for 50 minutes so we were treated to another couple of special guests.

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Camola Sustainable Foods was first up.  I have been following them for a couple of months now doing my research on cricket flour and the sustainability factors of growing crickets versus cattle.  Due to a personal setback, I haven’t gotten that blog post up yet, but it is coming in this month’s edition of The Edmonton Muse!

Don’t let the whole “cricket” thing turn you off of the products.  They are both delicious and nutritious.  There is no “off” flavour.  If you didn’t know that there was cricket flour in these products, you would not be able to tell the difference between a normal biscotti and a bugscotti.  Be brave, try one!

Camola’s products are available for purchase on their website, or you can buy them in person at one of the farmer’s markets that they attend on a weekly basis.  They will also be growing their own crickets within the next couple of months.  It is an exciting time for them.

Rig Hand Distillery was on hand to sample about 12 different flavours of vodka, gin, brum, moonshine and whisky.  I have had a previous opportunity to get a super quick tour of the distillery and one of their tasty garlic vodka ceasars!  Clearly I need to pop back in for a complete tour soon.  Many flavours in all of the different categories.  All of them use ingredients available right here in Alberta and no added sugars.  My favourite was the raspberry vodka.  I love the “no added sugar” concept.  You actually get to taste the flavour of the raspberries in all of their natural glory.

Jacquie Fenske from Fifendekel gave us a bit of history on the business.  It is 35 years young this year.  Originally it was started out as an ice cream business.  The name comes from a family “urban legend” from one of the uncles.  When you were misbehaving, it was all because of Phillip Fifendekel, a mischievous imp.

Eventually, the ice cream business wasn’t lining up around the block any longer because people were becoming more health conscious and the popularity of ice cream was going down hill.  This is where the sandwiches took over.  The meats are all roasted in house.  Nothing is processed.  All of the ingredients are fresh and lovingly prepared.  Famously fast, friendly and flavourful.  Nothing pretentious here!

Fifendekel is most famous for those pies.  A different featured flavour every month.  When good things go into a product, deliciousness comes out.  Fifendekel pies are no exception.  Family recipes, simple and unique ingredients, tasty dessert.

Monique gave us a bit of information on Spirits on Ice.  This is part of the Silver Skate festival that takes place each year in Hawrelak park.  Enjoy food and drink samples from local vendors inside a heated tent.  Live music, firepits and a beautiful winter atmosphere are here to enjoy.  Admission is free, you just pay for your food and drink tickets.

Special packages were available at last year’s event where $20 would get you admission to the Ice Castle and 10 tasting tickets.  What a great date night idea!

Jacquie also filled us in about #MustardDayAB which will take place on August 13.  Chicks n Chaps has a little competition going where you can win some prizes for the best recipe using mustard.

Our pies were finally done baking, the whole process smelled so good that it was making everyone’s mouth water!  It is such a delicious recipe that I thought I would share it with you below:

Fifendekel Saskatoon Pie

One of the featured flavours during the month of July.  Use fresh local ingredients. 

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 8 people
Author Fifendekel

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 cup saskatoons freshly picked
  • 2 9 inch pie crust
  • 1 tbsp butter cut into small pieces

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

  2. Mix sugar, cornstarch and salt together. Sprinkle over top of saskatoons and mix together gently.


  3. Line dish with one pie crust. Add saskatoons. Dot with butter.


  4. Get creative with that top crust! Cut into 1/2 inch strips and make a lattice, or place the second crust on top and make some slits for ventilation.


  5. For some added flair, you can sprinkle the top of the crust with a bit of extra sugar.


  6. Bake on the bottom shelf of the oven for 50 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

Northern Bites is a bit too new to have a website up and running just yet, but you can find them on all of the popular social media platforms:

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

They will surely have some exciting tours coming up soon!  Go and give them a follow and experience some of the delicious local producers that Edmonton and area has to offer.

Get Your Knosh On!

Get Your Knosh On!

Knosh Catering is a family run business, headed by a gentleman that is generous, creative and talented. Knosh prides itself on supporting local producers.  The majority of the ingredients used are provided by some of Edmonton’s best local farmers and independent producers. They specialize in British and European cuisine.  Cream Tea,  Afternoon Tea and High Teas are their specialty.

Stuart Parry is completely self taught.  The passion that he puts into his cooking and baking is evident in anything he puts on your plate.  His customers are family and are treated as such when they have a meal with him.  I have been following Stuart and family since the food truck days.  The sandwiches and traditional English breakfasts are just as tasty as the Trifle and Victorian Sponge Cake!

Knosh Catering now calls the Crestwood Curling Club home; Stuart and family run the concession.  They still cater for weddings and events.  It’s nothing fancy,  unless of course, you are attending a Knosh Tea Party.  I was lucky enough to get an invite to the most recent event.  The tickets always sell out.

When you see the concession area transformed into Grandma’s dining room, you can’t help but marvel at it’s beauty.  The tables are covered in matching linens with the tea trays and teacups all ready to be filled for the guests.  Stuart and his family are busy in the kitchen filling the tea trays for the guests that have already been seated.

Once you are comfortable, you have your tea brought out to you with your own tea set on a silver platter.  Your tea tray is also brought to your table filled with tea sandwiches, savouries and Stuart’s famous scones; one of each for everyone at the table.  The scones by themselves are delightful, but Stuart puts it over the top with in house made clotted cream and strawberry preserves.

If that wasn’t enough, there is also an entire table loaded with traditional cakes, tarts and biscuits!  You will never leave Knosh hungry.

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I LOVE dressing up for tea, but it is not mandatory.  There is no dress code at Knosh.  If you want to dress fancy, or if you want to dress down.  Everyone is welcome.

After I was completely sated with such a delicious tea, I got the chance to chat a bit with Stuart and congratulate him on his new granddaughter.  Proud Grandpa!

RR: What inspires you to cook and bake?  What is your muse?

SP: All of my most treasured memories as a child are centred around
food.  I have always cooked for Family and Friends.  I am self taught
by trial and error.  My wife Karen says that I am most happiest in the
kitchen and even on  worst days I still have a smile on my face when
baking.  When people come to Crestwood they are treated like family, I
am always pulling people into the kitchen at Crestwood to eat this,
sample that.  Crestwood curling Club has become an extension of my
family, so for me Family and Friends inspire me to cook and I love
nothing more that see people eat and smile.

RR:  What can we expect from Knosh in the near future?

SP: I truly have found a home at Crestwood Curling Club. Knosh has
been made to feel welcome and we have been given a great opportunity
to be able to expand while at the club.  We still offer catering
services in the non-curling months, but we are also are now able to offer
traditional afternoon teas, fish and chips nights and full English
breakfast and brunch on Saturdays.  The Crestwood Curling Club is open
to the public to come any time, so I encourage people to come check
out the club and grab a bit to eat.  The upstairs lounge area is
totally family friendly, children are welcome and they have a great
selection of local craft beers on tap.  We also are providing fresh
baked scones and pies to Mandolin book store.  Knosh is a family owned
and operated business.

RR: Can I please get a brief background on how you started cooking and how
Knosh came to be?

SP:  I have always loved to cooked, feeding people is one of my biggest
joys.  I started professional by fluke.  I had just been laid off from
my Nursing attendant position with The Good Samaritan and a friend
recommended me for a job at a catering company.  I got the job there
and worked there for 10 years, I learned so much it was great but
decided to take some time off to be with family.  That did not last
long as I saw an ad for a food truck for sale, something I had been
thinking about for a while.  So I bought the truck and Knosh Catering
was born.  I have not looked back.  Loved every day working on the
truck and meeting some amazing people that I still keep in contact
with.  The Food Truck owners are a tight knit family that help and
support each other.  After four seasons I decided to sell the truck
and was invited to move into Crestwood Curling Club which has given us
the ability to expand our menu and offer special events such as
Afternoon Tea and Fish and chip nights.

Traditional British food is hard to find in Edmonton.  I hear rumours that the traditional British fish and chip nights featuring “Effing Seafood” cod, mushy peas and the works, will be taking place the third week in October.  The afternoon teas will continue as well after September. Keep your eyes on the Facebook page for the event listings.

 

Sweet and Nerdy; The Gummi Boutique

Sweet and Nerdy; The Gummi Boutique

Do you have a nerdy person in  your life that is hard to shop for?  Search no more and get yourself to the Gummi Boutique!

The Gummi Boutique is located in Old Strathcona at 101-10345 82nd Ave NW. They have just recently celebrated their fifth birthday in Calgary and their first birthday here in Edmonton.  If for some reason you got snowed in, or just didn’t feel like putting pants on to go out and get your candy fix, or suddenly craving a 5 pound gummi bear, you can have your Gummi Boutique candy DELIVERED!! How awesome is that?

They carry all of the classics that you could ever think of.  They have your Garbage Pail kids, cola balls, licorice babies, gummi candy, Jelly Belly etc. all in the bulk area.

For international choices, they have a good variety of the US candy bars that are hard to find.  They carry the European original Haribo gummi bears as well as a very popular line of Japanese confectionery.

Soda; lots of it!  Your cherry and vanilla headquarters.  There are also some brands of soda available that are just weird and awesome all at the same time.  Old fashioned favourites are also available.

It’s not all just sweetness either.  There are all kinds of unique gift items to browse through.  Blue Q, Pez dispensers, metal lunch boxes, board games, and gifts that are great for a laugh.

I almost forgot the bugs!  Crickets, chocolate covered ants and insect lolipops.  Perfect for that creepy cute bug lover in your life.

 

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Oh the nostalgia when you walk through this store!  There are so many things that I saw that brought me back to my childhood.  There is a lot of Willy Wonka that graces the walls of the store; one of my favourite movies as a kid.

I came up with some great gift ideas and stocking stuffers while browsing.  One of my ideas was to buy an appropriately themed metal lunch box and fill it up with their favourite candy.

Gummi Boutique also has thier “Eat More Candy Club” which is a subscription that can be a one time only, or on a month to month basis.  This is something that you can sign up for online, or go down to the store to give the staff all of the details.  The package will include items that are new to the store, things that are on special for that month and other surprises. It’s like a “Nerd Block”, only it’s candy.

The little kid in me just squees every time I walk in to this place.  This visit was no exception.  I brought home my favourite cola balls and they had some Dad’s Rootbeer Barrel hard candies as well.

I will look forward to my next visit for stocking stuffers!

Don’t despair… If you have taken a peek at the website, it is only a small portion of what they offer in the store. Treat your sweet nerd with sweets and give Gummi Boutique a visit in person soon.

Experience Edmonton International Airport

Experience Edmonton International Airport

I was invited last year to do a food crawl of some of the more popular restaurants that exist on the secure side of the Edmonton International Airport. There are some restaurants there that don’t exist anywhere else in Edmonton. This time, I was one of the food bloggers that was chosen to “Experience EIA”.

This experience started out with being spoiled with priority valet parking. It’s incredibly simple. You make sure that you call ahead with your reservation. When you arrive, you pull up and the valet takes care of everything from there. More information and rates are listed here.

I had a lovely companion to join me for my lunch experience; Jacquie. For security reasons, my visit was required to be supervised.

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Behind the Gates; #tasteofEIA Edmonton International Airport

Behind the Gates; #tasteofEIA Edmonton International Airport

Have you ever wondered longingly what lies behind the security gates at the Edmonton International Airport?  Wonder no more…

I need to tell you, I am not a flier.  I’m not scared to fly, in fact, I love it!  Sadly, my stomach does not. I have always wondered what existed for the passengers on the other side.

On the other side of the security gates lies shopping and supping nirvana.  Technically, because it is deemed “International” soil, normal Alberta rules do not apply.  The restaurants are licensed to serve alcohol 24/7, how cool is that?

I was fortunate enough to be invited with two other Social Media personalities; Sharon Yeo and Mack Male to experience one of a series of visits to #tasteofEIA.  Please keep you eyes on that hashtag to see the further adventures of other bloggers and social media people from #YEG visiting more of the businesses behind the gates.  In fact, check out the options HERE.

Our gracious hosts at EIA have almost convinced me that I need to book a flight, just so I can try some of the very unique culinary options that reside only in the Edmonton International.  They are trying to do the same with international passengers and convince them to start the vacation before the flight.  They have a great rewards program; monthly discounts for parking, shopping and dining.

Our first stop for our appetizers was Houston Avenue Bar & Grill.  What is so unique about Houston?  It is the only location in Western Canada, right here in our airport.  Not in Calgary.  Not in Vancouver.

The view from Houston’s is very pretty.  You can watch the planes land and take off.  They have a “patio” section just outside of the restaurant seating area that is not really outside, but it is more open than the inside of the restaurant.  The inside is also very open and inviting.

Houston’s is known out East for its “Sterling Silver Premium Beef”, which consists of only the top 12% of all grain-fed beef cattle.  They have a “fresh is best” attitude when it comes to their menu.  The menu is nicely balanced and varied for any discerning palate.

Houston’s is licensed 24 hours.  You can enjoy one of the creative and refreshing cocktails with your breakfast to calm your nerves before your flight.  The breakfast menu is served from 0600 to 1000 daily.

We were treated to the Beef Sliders, Crab Cakes and Warm Goat Cheese.

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Our Servers were all very helpful and friendly.  The three dishes chosen for us were some of the most popular that the resto has to offer.

The Beef sliders were really good.  They manage to pack the big burger taste into a small bite.  The sweet potato fries aren’t as good as Dadeo makes, but they are a nice partner for the sliders.

The Crab Cakes were also very good as far as taste was concerned.  The outside was nicely crispy.  The inner texture was very smooth, almost pate-like.  I wasn’t a fan of the texture, I like my crab cakes a little more chunky.

The Warm Goat Cheese was my winner out of the three.  The texture and the blend of flavours was perfect.  It was a little difficult to share.  The crostini could have been a bit smaller. The large pieces of spinach made it difficult to portion the goat cheese onto the crostini.  I would definitely like to experience another one of these!

Our next stop was the Belgian Beer Café for our main courses.

Edmonton is proudly the Belgian Beer Cafe’s first location in Canada.  The second is coming soon and will be located in the Calgary Airport.  There are 70 locations world wide.

The Belgian Beer Café has a wonderful Belgian Beer menu.  What a great place to take your beer lover to for dinner!  The menu also has some of the traditional Belgian food items like waffles and the Mussels and chips.

The venue is furnished with millwork from the 1930s that has been imported from Belgium.  It has lovely antiques decorating the space throughout.  The Café is right next to the living wall which is beautiful to look at while you enjoy your meal.

I just had to try the Belgian Chicken and Waffles.

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I was unfortunately disappointed with my selection.  Both the waffle and the chicken were over-cooked making them really dry.

Mack seemed to have the best experience with his choice of mussels.  They looked and smelled wonderful.

Our next stop on our journey was for dessert at Cookies by George.  We got a really great run through on the company by Faye, who has been with the company for many years.

Cookies by George is actually 32 years old.  15 of those years, the head office has been in Edmonton. They have 11 locations in total.  This location is unique because it is the only one in an airport, and they are doing a trial with soft ice cream.

All of the cookies are hand made in small batches.  They are packaged with recycled paper products printed with vegetable based ink.

Cookies by George is very aware of allergens and will make sure that if you have  a nut allergy, or are a celiac, that they have options available for you.

It’s not just about cookies either, there are a premium line of teas and espresso based drinks as well as Italian Sodas, ice cream sundaes, granola bars and cake (to name a few!)

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Cookies by George makes a lot of great gift options as well.  They have an online ordering system that enables them to ship worldwide.  Personally, I would like these a lot better than donuts at a presentation!

Faye spoiled us and we were able to try the sundaes.  These are completely decadent and I hope that they hit the rest of the Cookies by George locations soon! She also sent us home with a granola bar (I will never eat another store bought again!) and a selection of cookies to try.  They were all soft and delicious.

Sadly, that was the end of our evening.  We all got to leave with a new perspective and full bellies.

Consider going early for your next flight and trying out one of the many options that the Edmonton International has to offer!

 

Little Italy Pasta; Little Cafe with a Big Heart

Little Italy Pasta; Little Cafe with a Big Heart

In August of 2013 a lot of things in my life changed.  I finally got married to my sweetheart of four years AND I got a shiny new job.  The “Shiny New Job” was out in Acheson… my foodie self was devastated.   I would have to give up my much loved food trucks and learn to pack lunch for myself.  (Insert lengthy sigh here)

Luckily, I had heard of this lovely little Pasta restaurant; “Little Italy Pasta”.  I had never been able to make it out there when I worked downtown unless I was taking a flex day.  They are open for lunch – that’s it.  So one day, I did exactly that.  I took myself out for lunch and met Gerry Graziano, the face of Little Italy Pasta.

Pasta is a weakness of mine.  When I am craving comfort food it is usually pasta.  So when I got my piping hot serving of pasta and sauce with a side of espresso and Tiramisu.  I got to have a lovely chat with Gerry AND I inhaled all of my food before taking pictures of it!

So when the news came that I would be changing gears and moving out to Acheson, things weren’t so bleak because I knew that I could depend on Little Italy for a great meal.

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Vi’s for Pies – Not Just Desserts!

Vi’s for Pies – Not Just Desserts!

This is a hidden gem for Edmonton.  Period.

Vi’s is one of our favourites for date night.  It is small and relatively intimate.  There is a beautiful patio for when weather permits and a fireplace inside for winter.

The daily menu is brought to your table as a chalkboard on an easel.  They generally have a selection of comfort food all year round, and barbeque in the summer months.

We have never been disappointed with the soups.  They are always flavourful and hit the spot every time. They always use really good ingredients for everything on the menu.  You will never leave hungry!

Vi’s, as the name suggests, is famous for the desserts.  The selection is always different.  Cheesecakes, tortes, pies, squares etc.  There hasn’t been anything that we have tried yet that we haven’t enjoyed.

They also sell the cakes etc whole to take home, but I suggest you call ahead, as you never know what will be in the case.

Vi's For Pies Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kaiten Sushi Experience – Japonais Bistro

Kaiten Sushi Experience – Japonais Bistro

It was lovely to be invited to this event.  Sushi is my favourite thing in the world of food.

There was a Japanese fusion tapas restaurant that was located in Oliver Square, here in Edmonton several years ago.  That used to be the highlight of my week was to go for their incredible martinis and the tapas.  The “small plates” give you the option to have several taste experiences in one sitting.  I was very sad when they moved locations, and then disappeared.

When I was invited to a “Kaiten” sushi tasting, I admit I had to look it up:

“The term Mobile Sushi Bar refers to a mobile version of sushi conveyor belt. Food is prepared on site, in plain view of your guests by a skillful sushi chef to deliver the best quality sushi. Simply enough, you can either sit down or stand in front of the conveyor belt while different plates of sushi are whirled round and round. Take off a plate, eat the sushi, take another plate you like, and eat the sushi. You will never have to wait in line as the dishes taken are quickly replaced by new ones.

The mobile bar extends up to 16.5ft and can be installed quickly and conveniently without a large installation team congesting your premises. Rather a straightforward installation steps allow us to travel virtually anywhere you require our presence.”

When you get to Japonais Bistro there are cozy booths lining the walls. It is a nicely decorated environment with rustic brick walls and wood accents. Our host, Isaac, was friendly and welcoming as was the rest of the staff.  The sushi bar was spinning, and the plates were beautifully presented.  I was happy to see a couple of professional cameras there as I know my point-and-shoot will not do these plates justice.

Jalapeno Yellowtail - torched yellowtail with thin sliced jalapeño, cilantro, tobiko, yuzu kosho sauce and ponzu sauce
Jalapeno Yellowtail – torched yellowtail with thin sliced jalapeño, cilantro, tobiko, yuzu kosho sauce and ponzu sauce

The thinly sliced jalapeno peppers were perfect with the Yellowtail, just the right amount of zing!  Ponzu is a favourite of mine, I love the way it brings out the flavours of the fish without being salty like the regular soy sauce.

Sushi Pizza - Salmon, Avocado etc on a light tempura crust.
Sushi Pizza – Salmon, Avocado etc on a light tempura crust.

I can’t seem to find this one on the menu, possibly a new item.  Delicious nonetheless.

Shrimp Wrap - Shrimp, tempura bits, fresh mango etc wrapped in a Soy Bean paper.
Shrimp Wrap – Shrimp, tempura bits, fresh mango etc wrapped in a Soy Bean paper.

This one was also delicious.  The tempura bits and the mango slivers both gave the whole experience a beautiful taste and texture.  This was another item that was recommended but I could not find on the online menu.

Wild Salmon Carpaccio - wild sockeye salmon, red onion, arugula with wasabi cream sauce and citrus soy sprinkled with roasted garlic.
Wild Salmon Carpaccio – wild sockeye salmon, red onion, arugula with wasabi cream sauce and citrus soy sprinkled with roasted garlic.

Again, delightful!  All of the flavours blend well together.  The salmon was fresh and firm.  The ponzu and wasabi really brought out the flavour of the salmon.

Sushi Tortilla - Salmon and tuna on a crispy rice tortilla with avacado, red onion, tomato, cilantro, jalapeno and arugula.
Sushi Tortilla – Salmon and tuna on a crispy rice tortilla with avacado, red onion, tomato, cilantro, jalapeno and arugula.

This was another that Isaac recommended when he was describing the options.  Packed with flavour per square inch with fresh ingredients making all the difference!  A nice blend of salmon and tuna.

Matcha Creme Brulee
Matcha Creme Brulee

This is my new favourite dessert!  The caramelized sugar crust was perfect.  The matcha custard was smooth and not at all grainy.  Perfectly sweetened.

Cheese Tofu - Mascarpone cheese, organic silken tofu, honey strawberries and toasted almond
Cheese Tofu – Mascarpone cheese, organic silken tofu, honey strawberries and toasted almond

Last, but certainly not least, the Cheese Tofu.  The texture is smooth… literally silk on the tongue. Pairs well with the fresh strawberries. This one would be nice with mango as well.

Needless to say from my tasting experience, I have a new place to go for Japanese Tapas.  They have a lot of my favourites on the menu and they are easily accessible located in Downtown Edmonton with free parking in front.  They also have a patio if that is how you prefer to drink your Sake!

If you would like to have Kaiten at a private function, Japonais Bistro will happily discuss it with you and make your experience tailored just for you and your guests.  Please give Kaiten Sushi’s website a look for more information.

Japonais Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato