Thursday, August 30, 2012

Breakfast for Lunch: Little Italy Breakfast

Little Italy Breakfast by raise my voice
Little Italy Breakfast, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

I have had the Little Italy numerous times at Santo's but when I had it again this past Sunday, it was different.

I have decided to diversify and am now enjoying my eggs sunny side up. The toast was much lighter - most of the time it has been nearly burned. Best of all, the hash browns are these small, flat, fritter-like creations that are lighter and crispier than the dense, cubed ones previously used. My only criticism is that they could stand a little more seasoning, as the flavour is quite bland on its own.

At only $5, the Little Italy is big value.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Iced Grapefruit Mate Tea

I wandered away from the Fringe grounds for a bit during my shift to get one of Cha Island's large iced teas. The mate tea had grapefruit puree. I love mate (a drink popular in Argentina) so I went for it. The grapfruit really did not add much, only a bitterness. The smokiness of the mate cut through that fortunately.

Cherry Slush Puppy

Cherry Slush Puppy by raise my voice
Cherry Slush Puppy, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

This brought me back to my childhood. A sweet cherry Slush Poppy drink sure was refreshing during a hot shift at the Fringe.

Deep Fried Oreos

Deep Fried Oreos by raise my voice
Deep Fried Oreos, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

A once a year treat no more - also from Punky Potato, I think these over-fried, greasy morsels contributed to my gastrointestinal distress. Really, cookies and chocolate bars are not meant to be fried. I am a reformed woman.

Evil Corn Dog

Corn Dog by raise my voice
Corn Dog, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

I have never had a real corn dog before (just the vegan variety). Since they are usually made with pork, I avoid them. However, brilliant me asked Punky Potato at the Fringe if their corn dogs were beef. I was told they were chicken. Fine - I went for it. The corn coating was not as thick or greasy as I had imagined. The filling was pure pink nitrite - didn't exactly taste like chicken, but didn't not either. I put some mustard in my tray and devoured the entire thing, a move I regretted that night as I expunged the contents of my stomach, most likely due to this lapse in my culinary judgement. Never again.

Frozen Yogurt with Cereal Again

On my way to my final shift at the Fringe yesterday, I had lunch at Tutti Frutti on Whyte Avenue. This time, I only partook of the original Tart flavour, only loaded up the bowl 3/4 of the way, and finished it off with as much cereal as I could pack on. That was good eating!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Mango Chicken at Zaika

Mango Chicken by raise my voice
Mango Chicken, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

For supper after my shift at the Fringe was over, I went for the Mango Chicken Combo from Zaika.

I sure wish Zaika was closer to me as I would love to experience the food there, if what they are serving up at the Fringe is any indication. Mango Chicken is like Butter Chicken but with a hint of sweetness. The basmati rice is actually aromatic and the vegetarian samosa had the biggest kick in terms of spice - the delicious chutney helped cool things down.

If you are Fringing and are hungry for some real food, go for Zaika.

Coffee Break: Iced Latte at Da Capo

Iced Latte by raise my voice
Iced Latte, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

Da Capo has a second location along Whyte and 102 Street. Sharing digs with another cafe and a grocery, this location features all of the great espresso drinks like at the the original location.

Being so warm out, I wanted an iced latte. It really hit the spot. The strength of the drink was perfect and I loved the little pieces of ice that just floated on top and did not dilute things too much once they melted.

Shredded Tofu Sub at Nhon Hoa

Shredded Tofu Sub by raise my voice
Shredded Tofu Sub, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

I wanted a light lunch on Saturday as I waited for my shift at the Fringe to begin. I headed to Nhon Hoa on 102 Street for a vegetarian banh mi (Vietnamese submarine sandwich). I wanted shredded veggie chicken, but they were out of that, so I had shredded tofu instead.

The tofu was more crumbled than shredded and I was surprised it was cold. I have had the regular tofu sub before, and the protein was hot. The tofu was slightly seasoned and there were also some clear noodles in the sandwich. Of course, my favourite parts are the mayo, cilantro, picked carrots, and the warm, crunchy bread.

At only $4.50, this sandwich was a great value and was actually quite filling.

Frozen Yogurt: Three Flavours and Cereal

Frozen Yogurt by raise my voice
Frozen Yogurt, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

Oh Tutti Frutti, why do you taste so good? I headed to the Whyte Avenue location and had a small bowl with three flavours: tart, green tea, and taro. I actually like tart the best. It's a bold flavour that defines to me what frozen yogurt should taste like.

I added cereal galore: Cheerios, Raisin Bran, Fruit Loops, Frosted Mini-Wheats, And Captain Crunch. Oh, and a few pieces of crumbled brownie, just because.

My lesson for next time: leave more room for toppings!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Coffee Break: Iced Chai Latte at Wild Earth Cafe

Iced Chai Latte by raise my voice
Iced Chai Latte, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

I wanted something cool this afternoon while riding my bicycle around the neigbourhood on errands. However, I did not want coffee. I opted for an iced chai latte at Wild Earth Cafe on 85 Avenue and 142 Street.

It certainly was cold and refreshing. The chai flavour was not overwhelmingly strong and I could perhaps done with a little more of it, but it was better than being bitter which I often experience elsewhere. Perhaps next time I will try the chocolate chai.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Crispy Chicken Croissant at Cafe Du France

The cozy eatery in Le Marchand Mansion on 115 Street and 100 Avenue has a small menu for lunch, mostly consisting of sandwiches, soups, salads, appetizers, and a few entrees.

I had one of the croissant sandwiches - a crispy chicken one to be precise. Three chicken tenders were arranged within a freshly baked croissant with tomatoes, mayo, pickles, and lettuce that was almost as crispy as the chicken itself. My side of fries were elegantly served in a dish and were lightly seasoned.

Everything about Cafe Du France defines class, especially the food presentation. Prices are reasonable (my sandwich was $11.95). I will therefore forgive the misuse of French in the restaurant's name (you didn't think that would get by me - did you?).

Folk Food Fest: Chicken Adobo from Filistix

Chicken Adobo by raise my voice
Chicken Adobo, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

Filistix is one of Edmonton's finest food trucks, and I wanted to try one of their signature dishes: Chicken Adobo. A small chicken thigh was marinated in a tangy soy sauce, served over rice with Filistix's signature slaw. I wished the thigh was larger and the sauce was definitely elevated soy sauce (which especially went great on the rice), but the slaw is really what made the dish special. Almond slices and dried cranberries added lots of flavour and texture. Very fresh too.

Folk Fest Food: Vegetarian Rice from Hakuna Matata

Vegetarian Rice by raise my voice
Vegetarian Rice, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

I wanted to put some spice in my life on Saturday evening during the Edmonton Folk Music Festival. The line up to the East Indian eatery was so huge, that I decided to try East African food instead. Alberta Avenue-based restaurant Hakuna Matata offered rice with several options, including vegetarian, which is what I went for. The sauteed vegetables were very flavourful but not too hot and the rice was perfectly cooked. I'll have to pay the restaurant a visit in person one of these days.

Folk Fest Food: Pad Thai from Numchok Wilai

Pad Thai by raise my voice
Pad Thai, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

One of my favourite Taste of Edmonton samplings this year was the Pad Thai from Numchok Wilai. So, when I saw the restaurant had a booth at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival, I decided to try a full portion of the vegetarian version of this tasty noodle dish. The flavour was great - tangy without being overpowering - although I would have liked a bit more tofu.

Folk Fest Food: Iced Cappuccino

Iced Cappuccino by raise my voice
Iced Cappuccino, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

I climbed all the way up the hill in the heat of the afternoon sun during the Saturday main stage, and by golly I was thirsty. There was a coffee stand at the top selling drinks made with Kicking Horse Coffee, which I have always wanted to try as it is Canadian, organic, and Fair Trade. Far too warm outside for hot coffee, I had an iced cappuccino (pretty much the same thing as an iced latte). The double shot kept me buzzed for the rest of the day, and it tasted great without having to add sweetener.

Folk Fest Food: Onion Cake from Hong Kong Bakery

Onion Cake by raise my voice
Onion Cake, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

Getting a green onion cake is obligatory for many Edmonton festival goers. There is one booth in particular that sells a lot of the doughy, salty treat, but this year Hong Kong Bakery entered the fray. I always enjoy Hong Kong Bakery's onion cake during Taste of Edmonton, and since the line up was exponentially smaller than the competition, that is where I got my onion cake fix.

Folk Food Fest: Cactus Chips

Cactus Chips by raise my voice
Cactus Chips, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

Another Folk Fest food ritual for me are the Cactus Chips from D'amores Deli. Nothing could beat a big plate of freshly made potato chips after a cup of cider in the beer garden.

Folk Fest Food: Saskatoon Berry "Lemonade" from Culina

Culina by raise my voice
Culina, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

Many top notch restaurants have food stands at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival. One of them is Culina, which offered some salads and finger foods. I had a Saskatoon Berry "Lemonade" which was a tart, thirst-quenching treat.

Folk Fest Food: Banana on a Stick

Banana on a Stick by raise my voice
Banana on a Stick, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

This was my final treat of this year's Edmonton Folk Music Festival. I love frozen bananas dipped in chocolate, but tend to avoid them at public events since I have a habit of wearing the chocolate on my mouth for a while. But, since I was leaving, I figured it did not matter and had a "Decadent" banana pop dipped in chocolate and rolled in chocolate chips. It was refreshing and at least somewhat healthy, because underneath the chocolate I was eating a banana. Right? Right?!?!?

Folk Fest Food - Fat Franks

Fat Frank by raise my voice
Fat Frank, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

Another Folk Fest tradition for me is having a Fat Frank or two. I was so glad when the condiments included both sweet pickle and corn relish. It made my hot dog even more special - and colourful.

Folk Fest Food: Lemon Heaven

Lemon Heaven by raise my voice
Lemon Heaven, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

I always pack plenty of water for the Folk Fest, but sometimes I need something else to cut through the thirst. Lemon Heaven makes delicious, fresh, just sweet enough lemonade that comes in a huge size and is very refreshing.

Folk Fest Food: Fries from Punky Potato

Fries by raise my voice
Fries, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

The Edmonton Folk Music Festival is one of my favourite events of the summer. Besides the great music, I always look forward to indulging in a few of my favourite treats, like an order of fresh-cut fries from Punky Potato. There is no beating the greasy goodness.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Heritage Festival 2012: Non-Alcohol Beer at Germany

Heritage Festival 2012 by raise my voice
Heritage Festival 2012, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.
I was down to my last six tickets, it was getting hot (again), and I wanted something to drink. As the oompah band was getting ready on the stage at Germany, I got myself a non-alcoholic beer. Krombacher is a popular German brand. It was quite smooth, with a slightly sweet finish. I particularly enjoyed the looks I got when I wandered away from the German pavilion, drinking my "beer." Oh, Heritage Festival, how I love you.

Heritage Festival 2012: Chulent (Cholent) at Israel

Heritage Festival 2012 by raise my voice
Heritage Festival 2012, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.
For the first time in living memory, Israel had a meat dish on its menu. Cholent (or, "chulent" as it was spelled in the festival menu) is a slowly simmered stew of meat, beans, barley, carrots, and potatoes that is traditionally eaten on the Sabbath (in a pot left on the stove that is turned on before the Sabbath begins, as cooking on the Sabbath is verboten if you are an observant Jew).

Anyways, this was the biggest surprise of the weekend for me. The cholent was beyond excellent. It was rich and full of all of its ingredients (although it could have used a bit more meat - which, by the way, was kosher, thus satisfying my Orthodox Jewish baggage), with a slice of ciabatta bun to catch those last few, tomato-based drops of the stew.

A vegetarian version was also available.

Heritage Festival 2012: Beef Kebab and Plantain

Heritage Festival 2012 by raise my voice
Heritage Festival 2012, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.
I was intrigued by the delicious smells of grilled meat coming from the Afrika OYI pavilion, and saw the skewers being cooked on open grills. I also saw a lineup that was long, but manageable. I originally was only going to have a beef kebab, which featured seasoned chunks of meat for six tickets - a bit pricey for only one skewer, but very robust in flavour.

When I saw the caramelized plantain, I found myself craving some as well. So, for an additional six tickets I had a generous scoop of the banana-like fruit, which was cooked to a golden brown crust. The plantain was at once crispy, chewy, sweet, and savoury, depending on where I bit in. Definitely one of the highlights of the weekend's food.

Heritage Festival 2012: Langos at Hungary

Heritage Festival 2012 by raise my voice
Heritage Festival 2012, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.
Oh, how sweet it is! It isn't the Heritage Festival for me until there is icing sugar all over my camera. I was able to get to the Hungary pavilion before the line up got too crazy to grab a coveted langos for four tickets. Think of a large elephant's ear, but thicker, with lots of icing sugar. I probably got my week's worth of fart and calories with this deep fried treat, but it was so worth it.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Heritage Festival 2012: Cornish Pastie

Heritage Festival 2012 by raise my voice
Heritage Festival 2012, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.
The Cornish Pastie, found at England's tent, was one of my favourites from last year. It reminded me of a beef pot pie, with lots of liquid, veggies, and bits of meat.

This year's version is radically different, and quite disappointing. The ground meat is almost absorbed by the amount of dough within, which is dry. There are a few vegetables here and there. The look and texture of the pastie was not very appetizing. It was grey, and, to put it in English terms, quite stodgy.

Heritage Festival 2012: Beef Kebabs at Afghanistan

Heritage Festival 2012 by raise my voice
Heritage Festival 2012, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.
My favourite meat dish at the Heritage Festival is still the kebabs at Afghanistan. I love the grilled veggies, and the meat is cooked well and still juicy, with just enough kick. It is not cheap at eight tickets, but you do get two skewers.

Heritage Festival 2012: Lime Slush at Indonesia

Heritage Festival 2012 by raise my voice
Heritage Festival 2012, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.
Indonesia's selection of fruit slushes saved the day. As the temperature went up, so did our thirst. At only four tickets, these slushes really hit the spot. My "Liplock Lime" was just tart enough. Other flavours included Strawberry Daquiri, Pina Colada, and Orange Mango.

Heritage Festival 2012: Poffertjes

Heritage Festival 2012 by raise my voice
Heritage Festival 2012, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.
They are small, buttery pancakes covered in icing sugar served at the Dutch pavilion. Can't really go wrong here.

Heritage Festival 2012: Bolani

Heritage Festival 2012 by raise my voice
Heritage Festival 2012, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.
Afghanistan's Bolani is still my favourite non-meat dish at the Heritage Festival. If a green onion cake married a potato pancake, this would be the result. It's a chewy, flavourful adventure and the creamy dip is so refreshing.

Heritage Festival 2012: Sweet and Sour Chicken

Heritage Festival 2012 by raise my voice
Heritage Festival 2012, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.
I don't usually go for food at the Chinese pavilion at the Heritage Festival, because I eat so much of it in my day to day life. However, my companion was absolutely hungry for the sweet and sour chicken.

Fried, dry bits of chicken with some generic sweet and sour sauce poured over it. He was not impressed with the flavour or texture. At seven tickets, the portion was along the lines of Asian chicken dishes we had at Taste of Edmonton. We considered this dish a fail.

Heritage Festival 2012: Apple Strudel at Germany

Heritage Festival 2012 by raise my voice
Heritage Festival 2012, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.
Small, but incredibly sweet and full of apple flavour. This is four tickets' worth of apple heaven. The pastry is flaky and covered in hard icing, while the apple filling is quite rich.

Heritage Festival 2012: Beef Kebab at Bangladesh

Heritage Festival 2012 by raise my voice
Heritage Festival 2012, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.
Bangladesh's beef kebab is a long strip of spicy, ground beef on top of a pita with some vegetables. It is quite hot, and also dry. My friend mentioned that some kind of a sauce would have made a difference. Also, at eight tickets, it is rather pricey. Tasty, but pricey.

Heritage Festival 2012: Mango on a Stick

Heritage Festival 2012 by raise my voice
Heritage Festival 2012, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.
I have always coveted the mango on a stick, seeing people walking around the Heritage Festival devouring the juicy goodness. So, while on line to get a beef kebab at the Bangladesh tent, I decided to get a mango as well.

Unfortunately, it was hard and inedible. The consistency and colour was like an apple. It was not the deep yellow, sweet, juicy goodness I was expecting. Total waste of four tickets.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Breakfast for Lunch: Big Steak Omelette

Big Steak Omelette by raise my voice
Big Steak Omelette, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.
A late lunch/early supper was had yesterday at iHop (3921 Calgary Trail) in advance of an important rally on the south side. I tried the Big Steak Omelette and was floored by its size. It was more like a loaf, packed with hash browns, mushrooms, steak, onions, green pepper, and topped with freshly diced tomatoes. I held the cheese, but made use of the salsa that was served on the side.

As if that wasn't enough to eat, three buttermilk pancakes were served with the omelette. I couldn't finish. This was the biggest omelette ever. Next time I'm taking some home.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Laksa Noodles at Fo Guang Tea House

Laksa Noodles by raise my voice
Laksa Noodles, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.
I hadn't been to the Fo Guang Tea House (10232 103 Street) in almost a year, so I decided to head back there yesterday in search of an economical vegetarian lunch.

All menu items are now $6 (up from $5) and prepared by volunteers in the Buddhist temple where the tea house operates Tuesday to Friday from noon to 2 p.m.

I opted for the Laksa noodles. The deep bowl of spicy broth (coconut curry with lots of heat) was full of noodles, a few pieces of tofu, and some imitation seafood towards the bottom. The serving was hearty - never having had Laksa before I did not know it would be so spicy, but the flavours really worked well together.