Monday, May 27, 2013

Food Issues: March Against Monsanto

In April, I attended a rally against the use of genetically modified alfalfa. At that time, I heard rumblings of a major rally to take place in May against genetically modified foods in general, aimed specifically against the corporate giant Monsanto.

March Against Monsanto - Edmonton

May 25 was the March Against Monsanto. It was a global day of action that saw many thousands of people around the world marching for food security and safety, promoting organic food and food producers. Here in Edmonton, more than 1000 people took part at the march and rally's peak, which began at End of Steel Park and snaked its way through the Whyte Avenue area, before returning to the park.

March Against Monsanto - Edmonton

It was no coincidence that the location of the march and rally was near one of Edmonton's most popular farmer's markets. The event was as much encouraging people to buy local and organic as it was against corporate domination of our food (and lives in general).

March Against Monsanto - Edmonton

Indeed, the March Against Monsanto is about changing people's attitudes towards food and where and how it is produced rather than just being against a corporation. It is about educating people about their choices and hopefully encouraging them to make choices that are healthier for themselves and the planet. And it is about implementing policies for honest labelling so that people can make these informed choices.

For a full photo set from the event, click here. For videos, click here.

Chicken Tenders at Hudsons

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

I sometimes hang out with a group of friends at the campus location of Hudsons Canadian Tap House. In addition to my Happy Hour-priced beer from Hudsons own label, I had an order of chicken tenders for supper.

Chicken tenders (or fingers, as they are commonly called) is my favourite pub comfort food. So I had been rather disappointed that the previous three or so times I had asked for them, Hudsons was sold out. Finally, I was able to get an order.

It was worth the wait. The four huge (around the length of the palm of my hand) tenders were thick, juicy, and had a delicious crispy coating. I loved the grainy mustard dipping sauce and used as much of it on my fries as I did on the chicken.

I go here mostly for the company, but I am glad I can also enjoy one of my favourite meals.

The Pho Files: Chicken Noodle Soup at Pho Delight

It was a grey and rainy Saturday. I had just finished filming and photographing two rallies and needed some nourishment. After I got back to Whyte Avenue I heard for Pho Delight. I noticed Chicken Noodle Soup on the special menu, and decided to give it a try.

My bowl was filled with noodles and tender slices of white meat. The broth was chicken based, and very flavourful - it was a lot deeper and aromatic than other chicken pho broths I have had. All in all, it was an enjoyable soup and helped warm my day.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Froyo at Menchie's

I am a frozen yoghurt fanatic - it doesn't twist my gut like most other dairy products - so I absolutely had to try the new location of Menchie's near 87 Avenue and 109 Street in the Garneau area.

I was impressed with the number and variety of flavours. I wish the chocolate and vanilla dispensers worked a bit better. I ended up with original tart flavour as well as tart cherry. I could have just done a twist of them, as they were in the same machine, but oh well.

The number of self-serve toppings was also huge, and leaned on the candy side, as well as nuts, chocolates, granola, and fruit. I went with a rather diverse assortment of Smarties, granola, Skor bits, chocolate rocks, and chocolate macaroons. Did I mention this was my lunch? Stop judging me.

Payment is by weight and there is only one size of cup. Staff are very friendly. This place bodes a definite return visit.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Chicken Avocado Pizza at Leva

I know that Leva Cafe has great coffee and other drinks, but until today I did not know how wonderful the food is also. At least what I had - a pizza with chicken, avocado, and tomatoes.

A huge slice of fresh chicken breast, half moon of avocado, and slice of ripe tomato adorned each slice of the thin-crust pizza, as well as beautiful, fresh basil. The mozzarella was generous and mild, while a drizzle of olive oil added a final touch of decadence.

My only criticism was the nearly invisible sprinkle of black pepper - all it did was set my mouth on fire. I will definitely ask for it to be held next time.

Speaking of next time, I am going to have to bring someone. The pizza was a good 12 or 13 inches and could easily have been shared. I finished almost all of it only due to the fact I was famished.

Turkey Burger at High Level Diner

I had supper at High Level Diner yesterday evening prior to an event at Metro Cinema.

I ordered the turkey burger, since I have been meaning to try it for a while. The meat was ground with sage, vegetables, and cranberries. It tasted like turkey dinner with all of the elements at once! I wish I could have detected more of the taste of the turkey itself - the cranberries and sage dominated.

Adorning the whole wheat bum was a creamy dressing, greens, red onions, and some of the most ripe tomatoes I have ever seen. I decided on a tabbouleh salad instead of fries. It's lightness and acidity paired well with the burger.

The Pho Files: Phobulous

I have never really cared much for Phobulous. The name alone was a turn off. I found the prices high, the place pretentious, and the pho really not that great.

However, after one of my social media friends said he thought Phobulous was one of the best places for pho in Edmonton, I decided to give it another chance. I am glad I did. My pho tai (rare steak) was almost overflowing with meat, had lots of noodles, and the broth was very rich and flavourful. It was one of the best bowls I have had outside of Chinatown in a long time. And at around $10 for the serving, it was fair for the portion.

To say I was pleasantly surprised is an understatement. I have a feeling Phobulous will become my south side pho destination.

Spicy Chicken Noodle Salad at Wild Earth

Chicken salad #yegfood by raise my voice
Chicken salad #yegfood, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

I needed a quick and light lunch earlier this week and the Laurier Heights location of Wild Earth was the location.

The gluten free, spicy chicken noodle salad intrigued me. The portion was deceptively large, full of tender noodles, lemongrass chicken, and lots of fresh carrots and snap peas that added sweetness. I don't normally care for salads with cold meat in them, but it really worked. It was almost like a chicken Thai salad. I would definitely have it again.

Remedy for Hunger - Palak Paneer

I haven't been to any location of Remedy in ages, so when I was craving Indian food for lunch earlier this week I headed over to the downtown location.

The meal was huge! Thick, pureed spinach curry with firm paneer cheese and lots of chickpeas - just to make the meal even heavier. I paired my meal with rice, which was incredibly aromatic. For only $10, this seemed like about twice the portion I would get at other places, for half the price!

Combined with the iced Kashmiri chai as my beverage, there was no way I was going to finish. The next time I eat at Remedy, I will bring a friend!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Pub Grub: Chicken Strips at Brewsters

Chicken strips (or fingers, if you prefer) are my favourite pub or bar food. Brewsters has an excellent take on the dish, with strips that are extra crispy and solid white meat. $14 may seem a bit steep, but you get five large strips and a mountain of fries.

Another unique aspect of the meal here is the dipping sauce. You can get generic sweet chilli sauce if you prefer, but my choice is the Hammerhead beer dip. There is just no other dip like it. I also like to get gravy for the fries - very rare of me to do so, but I like the gravy at Brewsters a lot.

The fries are not as thick and crispy as they used to be. They are now more along the lines of the shoestring variety.

This is the perfect dish to pair with one of Brewsters original beers.

Onion Cake Craving

Onion cake #yegfood by raise my voice
Onion cake #yegfood, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

I can't forget to mention the green onion cake at I had at Double Greeting Won Ton House (10212 96 Street) - which I really did not need, given the huge portion of my food. However, I love onion cakes. This was sort of a cross between the flat pancake variety and the puffier doughnut kind. The outside was not all that crispy, but the inside was very doughy and flavourful. The hot sauce on t he side was more like hot chilli oil - beware of putting too much on!

Tofu and Mushrooms at Double Greeting Won Ton House

A number of my friends think Double Greeting Won Ton House (10212 96 Street) is the best Chinese "greasy spoon" restaurant in the city. And greasy it is - from its no frills exterior to somewhat grungy looking interior, the place spells "cheap."

I opted for one of the menu's front page specials: tofu and mushrooms on steamed rice. This came with a glass of soy milk. I found this an interesting beverage choice, but fine since I like soy milk. Tea was also provided with my meal. I probably should not have also ordered a cold Hong Kong style coffee (like Vietnamese coffee, but it comes already stirred), but I had not yet had any coffee that day so I felt justified in my abundance of drinks.

When my meal came, I stared in disbelief. The huge plate of rice, mushrooms, tofu, and vegetables could easily have filled two people. It tasted great and I loved the sauce, which penetrated into the rice.

My meal deal was only around $9. Amazing. The coffee was around $3 extra.

Now, while I mentioned at the beginning that some of my friends rave about this place (and I can see why), others have warned me about it. In particular, they said that the restaurant would not meet my need for a high level of cleanliness. Personally, I didn't see anything that grossed me out in particular (admittedly, I did not visit the washrooms).

However, without going into graphic detail, a little while after I ate I was not very happy. In fairness, it could have been something else I had eaten that day. It could have been the strong coffee. It could have been that I ate a little too much. Or, I could have just been having a bad day.

Still, if I return to Double Greeting Won Ton House, I will do so cautiously, and possibly with others - this food is meant for sharing.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Just Desserts: Bread Pudding at the Sugar Bowl

My dinner companion wanted dessert after our meals at the Sugar Bowl. I personally was too full to even contemplate a dessert for myself, but dug in for a spoonful or two (or three) of his bread pudding.

And what a bread pudding it was. Warm and soft and layered and just sweet enough. The caramel drizzle added more sweetness and the dollop of whipped cream on top more richness.

I don't think any treat at the Sugar Bowl can take the place of their awesome cinnamon bun, but this was definitely a dessert to remember. Next time, I am going to have the whole thing!

Steak and Fries at the Sugar Bowl

I needed some nourishment before the big May Day march and rally on May 1. The Sugar Bowl had just the atmosphere and food I was craving.

It also had the beer - I enjoyed a Blanche de Chambly from Unibroue as I ordered my entree of steak and frites (French fries).

The Spring Creek Ranch steak was marinated, tender, and quite thick. It was a little heavy on the marinade, but fortunately it was a good one. The fries were crispy obviously home made, but the best part was dipping them in the ketchup and chipotle mayo - both also home made and incredible.

The vegetables mentioned on the menu came in the form of a spring mix salad with vinaigrette. It added some colour to the plate and balance to the flavours.

My only "beef" (sorry - I can't seem to avoid that pun) is that my steak was not cooked to order - not even close. I did get a discount on the meal and still enjoyed the food - I would definitely order this again.

The Pho Files: Beef Stew at Uyen Uong

Uyen Uong has a variety of soups, rice, and noodle dishes, but the selection of soups in particular seem more exotic to my Western tastes. I noticed there was no Pho Ga (chicken pho) or Pho Tai (medium well steak pho), which are my two usual standbys when I try a new pho house. If you like beef balls, tripe, tendon, and spleen (the first time I have ever seen the latter on a pho menu), you will hit the jackpot here. If you like more basic kinds of pho, you might have to do some back and forth with the staff to have something made up for you, which may prove difficult because of the language barrier.

I had a Carrot Beef Stew with Rice Noodles. It was a generous portion with lots of huge chunks of beef, cooked carrots, and a mountain of noodles. Vietnamese style stew is more like a soup, and the broth is different than pho in that it has a lot of paprika and lots of aromatics like anise and cilantro. There are hints of both spiciness and sweetness, and Uyen Uong's version was excellent. I found myself drinking up as much of the broth as I could. The meat could have been leaner, but it was no worse than other places where I have had this dish. And at less than $9, it was very affordable.