21 Mar 2013

New logo

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My friend Angelica designed me the coolest logo ever!

Old Logo:

logo

New Logo:

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Quite the improvement, eh?

20 Feb 2013

Creole Envie

1 Comment Restaurant Reviews

I first recall hearing about Creole Envie, from a fellow food blogger.  At the time,  it was a cater-only business, but I decided to chance ordering and wow, the food that was delivered right on my doorstep did not disappoint my taste buds.  Shortly after her catering business began to bloom, she moved to a brick-and-mortar location on Stony Plain Road for several months.  Since then, Creole Envie has nestled into a location formerly known as Highlands Kitchen, right next to La Boheme.

Now, let me tell you all about Southern Comfort…

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No, not the whiskey.

I’m talking about the restaurant, Creole Envie.

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Danielle, the brains behind Creole Envie, hails from New Orleans and possesses a Red Seal in the culinary arts.  With several years of cooking experience under her belt, it is no surprise that Creole Envie has become quite a popular spot.  The location itself is very welcoming and what one would define as “cozy”.

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The water is served in wine glasses, which is a really cute twist to the ol’ pitcher of water!

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All ingredients are sourced locally, with the exception of alligator, catfish and crawfish (as these are flown in from Louisiana).  In addition, there are several vegetarian and gluten-free options that can be found on the menu.

Sweet tea would be one of my favorite non-alcoholic drinks and a jug of it ceases to be full in my presence, especially in the summer heat.   However, if you don’t want a whole jug, you can order it as an individual drink.

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I have never had fried green tomatoes before Creole Envie, but I have heard about the dish from the novel.  The fried green tomatoes were lightly breaded and fried to perfection, with a center nicely cooked.  They also come with a side of delicious Creole aioli sauce, made in-house, for dipping (or drizzled over top).

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However, if you aren’t a huge fan of tomatoes, I would recommend trying the fried pickles instead.  As well, they are breaded and come with the same aioli sauce.

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The roasted okra is one of the newest additions to the menu for 2013.  I wasn’t sure what to expect when I tried it, but I was pleasantly surprised!  I find that most people either love or hate okra, as it normally has a “slimy” texture.  However, these had a nice crunch to them and I would definitely consider them to be a nice, healthier alternative to fries.

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Po’boys are a classic submarine type of sandwich with origins from Louisiana.  This is the pulled pork one served on a French baguette with Roma tomatoes, pickles and lettuce in it.  This would be a perfect dish if you are not in the mood for a dinner entree.

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…But if you are in the mood for a dinner entree, the alligator and andouille étouffée entree is worth checking out.  The tomato sauce was tangy and rich with a creamy texture and it had large chunks of alligator and andouille mixed in it with vegetables.  It is usually served on jasmine rice, but I opted for it with cheddar grits instead.

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On Thursdays, you can find chicken and waffles as their feature menu item.   I believe that this would be Edmonton’s best place to go to for chicken and waffles out of all the places I have tried (and believe me, I have tried several).  Not only is the portion size great, but the chicken had a crispy exterior and was melt-in-your-mouth tender on the inside.  Drool.

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Last, but not least, beignets are a famous type of Louisiana doughnut.  Words can’t describe how scrumptious these were.  I’m not normally someone with a huge sweet tooth, but I really couldn’t stop eating these!  Accompanied by candied pecans and drizzled in caramel sauce, this is surely not a dessert to miss, sweet tooth or not.

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My rebeccamendation: Danielle’s authentic take on Southern cooking has brought back many repeat customers, with me being one of them.  In a nutshell, prices are reasonable and quality is top notch.  It is highly recommended to make reservations on a weekend, else one risks long wait times or possibly even being turned away due to high traffic.  If you’re craving for a taste of New Orleans but can’t afford a plane ticket, Creole Envie will fit the bill perfectly.

Creole Envie on Urbanspoon

18 Jul 2012

Cactus Club Cafe

No Comments Restaurant Reviews

Originally started from BC, Cactus Club Cafe is conveniently situated in West Edmonton Mall. Hungry and need a break from shopping at the world’s largest mall, but sick of the food court or Bourbon Street? Simple … check out Cactus Club Cafe. Its menu consists of several dishes created by Rob Feenie, Canada’s first iron chef.

The atmosphere feels quite similar to an Earl’s or Joey’s – with a simplistic, modern touch and quite lounge-ish when night falls, as lights get dimmed, waitresses in tight black dresses walk around and music volume increases.

The goat cheese + feta flatbread ($11.25) is definitely one of the better appetizers available on the menu. Not surprising because after all, this is a “RF” (Rob Feenie) signature dish. The combination of grape tomatoes, caramelized onions, goat cheese, feta cheese, arugula and balsamic glaze over a toasted and fluffy flatbread tantalizes one’s taste buds.

The rocket salad ($16.75) is large and filling. However, the chicken underneath the bed of greens was too salty, which ended up throwing the entire salad off.

The raincoast greens ($16.75) were also a large portion. This was a better option for salad because the chicken was not salty (due to not being breaded I suspect) and the thus, the flavours mixed more pleasantly.

Rob’s Hunter’s Chicken ($23.75) was decent. This was also another “RF” dish. The chicken was tender and the mushroom demi-glaze on top of it was rich. However, the mashed potatoes tasted like instant mashed potatoes from a box and the green beans were bland.

My rebeccamendation: Quality has always been consistent each time I have gone there and prices are above average. However, the menu is quite similar to what you would find at a Joey’s or Earl’s, despite having a few signature dishes from Rob Feenie in it. I would definitely consider it a step above Joey’s or Earl’s, yet not enough to elevate above the two.

Cactus Club Cafe (West Edmonton Mall) on Urbanspoon

18 Apr 2012

Corso32

5 Comments Restaurant Reviews

I remember when Daniel Costa worked at Red Star Pub.  I, regrettably, did not have a chance to taste his menu there.  Fear not – Corso 32 arrived onto the scene.  It is located in the center of downtown, right on 103 Jasper Ave. The menu changes occasionally depending on what ingredients are fresh and in season.

Corso 32 has its interior set up quite intimately.  Too intimately though – the tables are pushed together so closely that it felt like you were intruding upon the other dining tables beside you.  Incandescent lighting and loud music filled the entire room.  Alas, at one point, the music was so loud that there was shouting over the music!

This is the arancini ($11), which is essentially breaded risotto balls filled with funghi misto and fonti.  The outside was crunchy and the inside had a nice tang to it, as it oozed with goodness.

This is not your run-of-the-mill grilled cheese sandwich ($14).  It was topped with charred onion, boschetto al tartufo, shaved umbria truffles and a sunny up egg (which was like the cherry on top!) on grilled bread.   It was absolutely divine, but words cannot describe the feeling of when my teeth punctured the egg yolk and it mixed with everything.  My mouth is salivating at the thought.

This is the bucatini alla gricia ($17) tossed in a tomato sauce with cured pork jowl and pecorino.  I felt that it could have been kicked up a notch with just a pinch more ingredients added to it.

Last but not least, the chocolate torta ($9) was rich, but so, SO good and I felt that the salty hazelnuts were a great addition to it.

So overall, do I “rebeccamend” this?  Yes.
I have a dream proposal for Daniel Costa: Will you please be my personal chef?
On a serious note though – everything tasted wonderful, with the grilled cheese being my favourite dish of all.  However, if you are not a fan of loud and noisy atmospheres, you may not find it to be an appealing place.  With that aside, this is fine Italian dining at acceptable prices.  However, it is recommended to make reservations a few weeks in advance to secure a table.

Corso 32 on Urbanspoon

08 Mar 2012

Bubble Buzz

No Comments Restaurant Reviews

Bubble Buzz, one of the newest bubble tea places in Edmonton, is located right in the heart of downtown (which makes parking kind of a bitch, but also convenient if you are in the area).

The interior is bright, crisp and clean, which makes this place easy to spot from a mile away.

What is a selling point of this bubble tea cafe compared to the others in Edmonton? Well, for starters, their bubble tea is made with fresh fruit and no powder is used, which is quite refreshing. They also have popping sago (which is usually mixed in with regular sago, unless otherwise requested)!

Strawberry bubble milk with no sago ($5.75) and honeydew bubble juice with sago ($5.50).

Compared to the other bubble tea places, the cup sizing is rather standard.

So, would I “rebeccamend” this? Yes!

Despite how it is a bit pricier than your average bubble tea place, you are paying for quality here because they use fresh fruit in their bubble tea with no artificial flavouring added to it.  Oh, and it tastes quite good ;) ).

Bubble Buzz... on Urbanspoon

06 Mar 2012

Downtown Dining Week 2012

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Hey folks,

The downtown core of Edmonton is doing a Dining Week this week, which is much similar to Forkfest.

Here are the list of restaurants that are participating:

Cafe Select
Cocoa’s Restaurant & Lounge
The Creperie
The Free Press Bistro
Hardware Grill
The Harvest Room, Fairmont Hotel MacDonald
Hundred Bar & Kitchen
Kids in the Hall Bistro
La Ronde Dining Room, Chateau Lacombe
Lazia
Lit Italian Wine Bar
Lux Steakhouse & Bar
Madison’s Grill
The Marc Restaurant
Moriarty’s Bistro Wine Bar
Niche Restaurant
The Old Spaghetti Factory
Pazzo Pazzo Italiano Cuisine
The Rose and Crown
Ric’s Grill Downtown Edmonton
Ruth’s Chris Steak House
Sabor Divino Restaurant and Lounge
Share, The Westin
Sorrentinos Downtown
Tzin Wine & Tapas
The Wildflower Grill
Zinc Restaurant

For more information & menus, check out here.  Menus vary from $15, $25 to $50 depending on if you are doing lunch or supper and how many courses.  Hurry, as it is just a week – last day is Sunday, March 11th.