October 28, 2011

Photo Friday: Lunch for One

Lunch for one

I thought when my youngest would enter grade 1, I would have the whole day to do all sorts of cooking and baking and that I would prepare myself the most glorious lunches! But alas, the lunch hour comes and goes I can't be bothered to heat up or cook anything.

This is where the "lunch for one" sandwich comes in. Just so you know, I'm not complaining, I really love sandwiches. It's actually one of my favorite things to eat. I think I eat sandwiches at least 4-5 times a week. Sometimes, people will ask what I am preparing for dinner and I'm sure they think I am joking when I say sandwiches.

And those beautiful slices of tomatoes are from our garden. We have quite the harvest still that we are whittling away. Cream cheese and tomatoes on a thin slice of bread. Sounds good to me.

October 26, 2011

Eating Out: Bistro India

Chicken Tikka at Bistro India in Edmonton
Chicken Tikka

There are many international cuisines I like and Indian is definitely included in my top choices. Just saying "Indian food" has me salivating.

Vegetables in a creamy cashew sauce
Vegetables cooked in a creamy cashew sauce & naan bread

We made our way out to Bistro India. It is southern Indian cuisine and I just had a conversation last week with someone who said they love all the different spices and the way they prepare their foods in southern India. I don't know the differences but what I can tell you is that it is all mighty fine and tasty.

Butter Chicken
Butter chicken

One of my favorite dishes (not pictured) was the madras mutter paneer. Paneer is a type of cheese and I did not want to share any of it with my fellow diners.

Oh Indian food, you rarely let me down.

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Bistro India
10203-116 St
Edmonton, AB

October 24, 2011

Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival, Edmonton, 2011

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Did some of you make it out to the Festival? I was invited to the event and spent 3 hours going from exhibitor to exhibitor on the Friday night. There was much to see, taste and sample.

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The bulk of the event is beverage based. Wine, beer, scotch, vodka and every spirit you can imagine. There was plenty to sip and sample but also opportunities to buy bottles to take home as I saw many folks take advantage of buying bulk from the vendors.

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At the back-end of the hall, the Dairy Farmers of Canada held a complimentary cheese seminar, where I learned a few new things and got to taste some great cheeses.

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There were restaurants featured too! Hotel-based restaurants, chain and independent restaurants peppered throughout the event.

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I would have really liked if the event listed what food each restaurant exhibitor was offering in the notebooks they provided and how many tickets each menu item cost. I know that would entail a lot of organization but it would have made it easier for me to plan my eating and how to use my tickets.

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But, that did not defer me from tasting a wide assortment of food. I think I am only showing you half the pictures of what I ate! And please, do not forget to leave room for dessert!

Jacek Chocolate Couture & Fuss Cupcakes

Make sure you make it out to the next event. It makes for a great evening out with friends and family.

October 20, 2011

Halloumi, the squeaky cheese

Grilled halloumi

Imagine a dinner party with friends. Laughter, lots of talk over sips of wine, and then the halloumi comes out.

Squeak, squeak, squeak.

Have you tried halloumi? You would know what I'm talking about if you have. When you chew the cheese, there is a squeaking sounds that happens. The hubby and I were laughing the first time we ate it together because we could not hear each other talk over the noise.

Halloumi, to me, is the child of Buffalo Mozzarella and Feta parents, in taste and texture. It has a saltiness like feta and texture somewhat like mozzarella. Fantastic feature about halloumi is that it can be grilled or fried because it doesn't easily melt. Choose the desired thickness and place slices directly onto medium heat bbq to heat up and produce lovely grill marks. Really easy.

I'm sure there are many places around the city to find halloumi. I picked some up at my last trip to El Safadi Bros. supermarket, at 113th Street and 134th Avenue.

Happy squeaking!

October 17, 2011

Pair of Tickets Giveaway to the Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival!

UPDATE - WEDNESDAY, October 19th. 12:12pm:

Hello Everyone! Comments are now closed and we have to pick a winner!


According to the random number generator, #9 comment is the winner.

Linda, who commented on October 18th at 8:52 AM

Please send me an email at oomelement@gmail.com with your full name, we will get you set up!

Thanks to all who commented! Nice to hear from you and nice comments that you left for me too :) I will be at the Festival when it opens on friday, so if you see me, stop and say hi!

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Rocky Mtn Food & Wine Festival
Images courtesy of Rocky Mountain Food & Wine Festival.


I have been given a pair of tickets for The Edmonton Rocky Mountain Wine and Food Festival at the Shaw Conference center for Friday's attendance.

All you have to do is leave me a comment below (one comment per person only please!) and I will pick a winner! Deadline is Wednesday at noon and I will announce the winner after that. Please find all the details below.

Also, if you can be so kind, please share my blog with friends OR you can "Like" me on my facebook page! Did you know that you can even follow my blog through email subscription? (see the first column to the right of my blog)

THANK YOU AND GOOD LUCK!!!

...

The tickets are for the Friday, October 21th session (4-10pm). Tickets are not transferable to Saturday’s session.

When presented at the door, these tickets will allow for complimentary access into the Grand Tasting Hall
. Please note that all attendees will need to purchase sampling coupons (50 cents each) to use in exchange for samples of food, wine and other beverages.

This is an adult only event. All attendees must be 18 years or older. Minors (including infants) are not permitted to attend.


...

Edmonton Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival Uncorks in October!
Enticing details for Edmonton’s largest (and tastiest) wine and food event

What: If there was ever a weekend where taste, texture, colour, and aroma come together in breathtaking and mouthwatering detail, than this is it. From gourmet mini-bites, to decadent sweets, wines, and adult beverages, the Edmonton Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival is the perfect place to indulge and succumb to all senses.

Back for two days, the Grand Tasting Hall will see its largest gathering of food and beverage exhibitors. Attendees can enjoy an endless array of delectable cuisine from local restaurants and hotels, as well as a diverse selection of wine, import beer and premium spirits.

Liquor Depot will once again feature an on-site liquor store, where attendees can purchase their favourite finds from the night. Liquor Connect will also be available to demonstrate to consumers how LiquorConnect.com can help find sensational sips after the festival.

Who: Food lovers, wine, spirit, and beer enthusiasts are invited to indulge in a selection of palate pleasing samples from local exhibitors. Attendees can sample some of the award-winning wines from several of the Wine Access International Value Wine Award (IVWA) winners. It’s an evening of tasty treats, that are sure to leave taste buds completely satisfied and craving more.

Why: Enjoy an evening of sampling fine wines, delicious food, and an array of unique spirits and beer in a relaxed atmosphere with family, friends, and co-workers alike.

When: Friday, October 21, 4-10 p.m.
Saturday, October 22, 3-10 p.m.

Where: Shaw Conference Centre, Halls A –C

October 13, 2011

Travels: Paris, France

Eiffel Tower at night

Paris. Where do you even begin? So many places to see and eat and never enough time to explore it all. Here are some of the foodie-related spots I hit during my journey.

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Macarons? How can one go to Paris and NOT have one?

Laduree - Champs Elysees

While you can find many places to buy macarons, the most famous are ones from Laduree. Be prepared to stand in line though!

Macarons - Laduree

Colorful macarons in every color and flavor. There are several Laduree stores throughout Paris, find a location that is most convenient for you. I visited the Laduree on Champs Elysees in the 8th arrondissement.

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Fauchon is a must for all gourmets and foodies and there are actually two stores at Place de la Madeleine, in the 8th arrondissement of the city.

Fauchon Paris - Place de la Madeline - 1st store

I picked up some famous french treats to enjoy along with our coffee and tea. Canele, madeleine and brioche, oh la la!

Fauchon - Canele, Madeleine, Brioche

The other store, just down the street, has all sorts of gifts to purchase. Jams, chocolates, cookies and everything gourmet you can think of.

Fauchon - Place de la Madeline - 2nd location

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Spend an afternoon at an outdoor markets. There are plenty to choose from all throughout the city.

Rue de Grenelle Market, Paris
Rue de Grenelle Market, 7th arrondissement

Raspail Market & Le Seine, Paris
Raspail Organic Market, 6th arrondissement

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Great foodie eats in the Latin quarter of Paris.

Rue Mouffetard - Latin Quarter - Great foodie eats
Rue Mouffetard - 5th arrondissement

Tons of cafes, restaurants, boulangeries, patisseries, etc. A popular place for university students thus you will find this quarter a bit more budget-friendly. Don't forget the street food. Crepes, baguettes full of delicious meats and cheeses, ice cream and other sweet treats.

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Marais is home of the Jewish quarter of Paris. Located in the 4th arrondissement, plenty of ethnic foods and treats, alongside traditional french foods, can be found in this area.

Picking up treats in the Le Marais, Jewish Quarter-  Paris

Speaking of street food, we stopped in at L'as du Fallafel. The internets told me that it was a must go to in Paris and the word got out because there was a continual lineup.

Falafels - L'as du Fallafel, Marais, Paris

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Just in case you never make it out to Paris or are afraid of heights, I've got some shots from atop of the Eiffel Tower for you!

View from atop of Eiffel Tower, Paris

View from atop Eiffel Tower

October 11, 2011

Travels: 5 hours in Vienna, Austria

We had 5 hours in Vienna. We had taken the train into the busy downtown and the weather was not cooperating. Rain and wind made for a gloomy day. But, this would deter me to hit some of my foodie stops.

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Our first stop was the Naschmarkt, Vienna's most popular market. Lots of fresh fruit, vegetables and breads but I was enthralled by all the ethnic spices and prepared foods. Plenty opportunities to buy nibblies along the way.

Vienna Opera House & Hotel Sacher

We walked north until we saw the Vienna Opera House and the Hotel Sacher, which are across the street from each other.

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Hotel Sacher is the place to buy the famous Viennese Sachertorte. It is layers of chocolate cake with apricot jam and chocolate outer layer. I bought mini tortes to share with the family.

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After doing some sightseeing we ramped up our appetite for a traditional Austrian dish, the schnitzel! Bad luck has it, the infamous Figlmueller was closed for renovations so we stopped into another restaurant for it. Unfortunately, I can't remember the name of the place we ate, sorry peeps.

Mostly Mozart store & Oberlaa Konditorei

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the famous composer was born in Austria, so if you are looking for some sweet goodies to bring home, don't forget to stop and buy some Mozart kugel (Mozart balls!). We passed the Mostly Mozart store on our journey. We also stopped in at Oberlaa Konditorei for some coffee and cakes/desserts.

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Our friend, a pastry chef, highly recommended the place. You will not be let down on all the top notch offerings. We also decided on a sachertorte duel. While Oberlaa's torte was good, we found it a bit drier so I would still recommend the Hotel Sacher for sachertorte.

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Further north, we stopped into St. Stephan's Cathedral.

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Right across the street from the cathedral, you will find the Manner store, another great place to stock up on Austrian sweets. By this point, we were tired and stuffed so we hopped onto the subway.

Wiener Riesenrad - Giant Ferris Wheel, Vienna

We made our way out to Wiener Riesenrad. The famous giant ferris wheel in Vienna.

Wiener Riesenrad view

Looking high above, I wondered where my newlywed parents lived and worked. They moved to Austria and lived nearby the Wiener Riesenrad. Vienna is my birthplace and I had wished we had time to scout out the area and the hospital I was born in.


5 hours is definitely not enough to time to see Vienna but I think we made a good dent, especially with all the rain and with 2 young children in tow. Next time we will definitely spend a lot more time there.

October 6, 2011

Travels: Winzerhof Freitag, Winden um See - Austria

One cannot travel through the Burgenland region of Austria without seeing vineyards and wineries. Fields and fields of grapevines as beautiful and bountiful as fields of canola and wheat in Alberta.

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Our travels take us to the little town of Winden um See to Winzerhof Freitag, where we were given a tour through the families vineyard, a look at where all their wine is created and followed up with a wine tasting.

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One envisions the romantic notion of a big 'ole tub full of harvested grapes just waiting for one's bare feet to press out all the sweet grape juices. Ah, think again.

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That idea works well enough for a small production of grapes but when you have fields and fields of grapevines, you'll need to step it up. Welcome to the land of technology where commercial-grade stainless steel crushers, presses and vats are the norm.

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But if you still are adamant that there should be some nostalgic feelings in regards to wine making, a quick walk through the Freitag's cellar, where the wine is stored before bottling, will give you that sentiment. Dark, musky and a "little bit spooky" (as my kids put it), best describes where the precious grape juices rest.

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While I am not incredibly knowledgeable about the aspects wine tasting and what makes a "good" wine, I can tell you I enjoyed all that I sampled. Reds, whites, roses, ice wines and everything in between can be found at the Freitag winery. I was shocked to see large bottles containing 1.5L and 3L of wine! If you are wondering, those volumes of bottled wines are called magnums and double magnums, respectively.

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While this is not my first wine tour, I particularly enjoyed the Freitag's warm and hospitable manner which has created many fond memories that I revisit now with every lift of a wine glass to my lips. Cheers!

October 4, 2011

Travels: Venice, Italy

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I couldn't pick just 1 or 2, nor could I pick 5 or even 10 photos I wanted to show you. So very difficult when it involves the beautiful island of Venice. So bear with me in all the scrolling.

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You often hear about Venice being this magical place and I have to admit, I was taken aback by it.

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Yes, you hear about it in travel magazine or on tv shows but I really was speechless. Did you know there is water everywhere. EVERYWHERE!

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And that there are canals that boats travel through. Little itty bitty canals and boats to get you around!

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And plenty of those famous boats in Venice, called a GONDOLA!

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If you can get yourself away from the fact that you are surrounded!by! water!everywhere!, you'll see all the old historic churches, beautifully aged buildings, charming old stone sidewalks and narrow streets.

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Every street seems to have a cafe or restaurant and the old buildings clad with colorful shutters and baskets of flowers greet you every time you look up.

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Don't forget all the shops and markets! Plenty of souvenir shopping, fresh food offerings and places to eat. Espresso, paninos filled with plenty of cheese and meat and so many flavors of gelato to choose from. One thing to remember though, don't be in a hurry in Venice, because you servers are definitely not.

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We sampled a "torrone", which is a was a large triangle shaped cookie with almonds and amaretto, while the kidlets noshed on liquirizia (licorice) and long strands of freshly made marshmallow.

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Every nook and corner was a new visually pleasing adventure for the eyes. So you can understand my dilemma and why I went happily photo-snappin away AND why it is so hard to only show you a couple of pictures, right?

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And of course, I couldn't not offer you a picture of clothes drying on the clothesline, could I? I didn't think so. Oh Venice, until we meet again :)
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