Monthly Archives: May 2010

A ball will complete me!

When I go to a ball game, popcorn and cracker jacks are a distant second to what I really want. I want to catch a ball! Why do I want to catch a ball? I have no idea!
Is it because I never have?
Is it because I want to see if I can catch it with my bare hand? Is it because I want to have 40,000 people applaud me?
Or is it because there’s that little kid in all of us that want to catch a ball for an inexplanable reason?
45 minutes to first pitch at Wrigley Field and feeling positive today. I hope to add one final comment on this entry in a few hours (with picture proof!) Let’s play ball!

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Filed under Chicago, Roadie, Wrigley Field

Crepes in Calgary

Name game time, when I say Calgary, you say?

Stampede…yes

Flames…yes

Beef…yes

Authentic Dutch Pancakes (aka crepes)…really?

It was Saturday, we were hungry and someone mentioned a hankering for crepes. So off we went to the Pfanntastic Pannenkoek Haus. The restaurant was full (always a positive sign) and we had a bit of a wait, so we all brushed up on our Netherlands geography as there is a big map by the front door.

Once we were seated, we started with a sweet hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

Hot Chocolate

Once equipped with the hot chocolate, we were able to start going over the 80 types of crepes, some sweet, some savory. I saw bacon was an option on many of them, so my eyes focused in on those and I opted for the bacon and leek crepe.

Bacon and Leek Crepe

The crepe was thin (as it should be) and the toppings were really good (how can you not love bacon?) Someone else at the table had bacon, leek and mushroom (they liked it), someone else had a herb butter crepe with a garden salad on top of it (they liked it), someone else had bacon and cheese (they liked it) and someone had 4-5 toppings (that I can’t remember) on theirs which looked good too. So the morale of the story, it’s good!

A little side note, I love condiments and if you’ve ever seen my fridge, you know it’s true. So I had to try the Dutch condiments that I couldn’t pronounce on the table. This first one tasted like a liquid, slightly less salty version of vegemite, which was actually pretty good on the crepe.

I wish I could pronounce this...

The other one was some type of Dutch syrup which was a mix between maple syrup and molasses, so it poured pretty slowly and was not surprisingly very sweet.

Dutch syrup

Hours

Monday and Tuesday – Closed

Wednesday – Friday – 10am-8pm

Saturday – 8am-8pm

Sunday – 8am-3pm

Address

2439 – 54th Ave. SW

Calgary AB T3E 1M4

Tel – 403-243-7757

pfanntasticpannenkoek.com

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Filed under Calgary, Crepes, Pfanntastic Pannenkoek Haus

Bottomless Goodness at Galaxie Diner

Ever have bottomless hashbrowns? Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? So let me tell you about it. My first stop on my way back east was Calgary to visit some friends for a few days.

It was lunch time and we were hungry so the suggestion was made to check out a place called the Galaxie Diner.

Galaxie Diner

I love milkshakes, but I try not to have them too often, but when you’re sitting in a diner that makes them from scratch, well, you know how the story goes. I opted for the chocolate/coffee combo, it was sweet with the perfect hint of coffee. As you can see, it passed the all important straw test for thickness. And most importantly, I found a bit of ice cream left at the bottom that was happily eaten with a spoon.

Chocolate/Coffee Milkshake

Now, they do serve all day breakfast, breakfast burrito, omelettes, huevos rancheros (which my friend always orders), but I opted for the blue cheese burger. The burger was cooked perfectly, the blue cheese was in ideal oozing form and the hasbrowns were delicious. Once I was all done, the server came over and asked if I wanted more hashbrowns. I was full, but I’d never been asked that question before, so I had to say yes. Moments later, I was enjoying a few more hashbrowns. Bottomless hashbrowns…brilliant!

Blue Cheese Burger and Bottomless Hashbrowns

The Galaxie Diner is not huge, so prepare for a little bit of a wait, especially on weekends, but apparently they’ll pour you some coffee to make the wait more bearable.

Hours

Mon – Fri – 7AM – 3PM
Sat, Sun, Holidays – 7AM – 4PM

Address

1413 11th St. SW

Calgary, ABT

2R 1G7

Tel – 403-228-0001

galaxiediner.ca

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Filed under Blue Cheese Burger, Calgary, Friends, Galaxie Diner, Hashbrowns, Milkshake

Bringing “Poulet en Vinaigre” to Canada

Have you ever been to a restaurant and had a meal so good that you had to try and replicate it at home? Well, if you caught my experience in Lyon, you know I had to try making “poulet en vinaigre” (chicken in vinegar) for myself.

I found a recipe on the Food Network site compliments of Emeril that seemed to be identical to what I had and even though it was listed as an “intermediate level” recipe, I gave it a go. Luckily, some friends of mine in Vancouver were willing to be the guinea pigs for my project. I was overall pretty happy with the result and I got a thumbs up from my friends and I’m pretty sure they were telling the truth, since they ate the leftover chicken the next day!

Chicken in Vinegar (Poulet en vinaigre)

From Emeril Lagasse on the Food Network

A quick side note, I tried to take pictures along the way as I was cooking, but I needed all my attention devoted to the task at hand, maybe next time!)

Chicken in vinegar - Lyon Style

Ingredients

  • 1 free-range chicken or fryer, 3 1/2 to 4 pounds, cut into 8 pieces, rinsed and patted dry
  • (I’m not ready to cut a raw chicken properly, so I went with 3 chicken thighs and 6 drumsticks)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 1 cup good-quality white wine vinegar
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped, about 1 cup
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons creme fraiche or heavy cream (I used heavy cream)
  • Chopped parsley, garnish

Directions

  • Season the chicken evenly on both sides with the salt and pepper.
  • In a large Dutch oven, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter with the oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add the chicken and garlic cloves and cook until the chicken is well browned, turning once, about 8 to 10 minutes per side.
  • Add the vinegar and stir to loosen any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the tomatoes, cover the pot and reduce the heat to medium.
  • Cook until the chicken is tender, about 25 minutes. Transfer the chicken pieces to a warmed platter and cover to keep warm.
  • Add the chicken stock to the pot and bring to a boil, scraping any browned bits that cling to the sides or bottom of the pan.
  • Cook until the sauce is reduced by 1/3 in volume, about 10 minutes.
  • Strain the sauce through a fine sieve and return to the pan, discarding the solids.
  • Reduce the heat to low. Add the remaining butter, a piece at a time, whisking constantly until all the butter has been added and the sauce is smooth and thick. Do not allow the sauce to boil and remove from the heat as necessary to prevent from breaking.
  • Add the creme fraiche and whisk to combine. Adjust the seasoning to taste. (I forgot to add the heavy cream at this point and remembered it only after I had plated the chicken, so I poured a little bit in to each plate. Not exactly as Emeril would do, but it seemed to be ok)
  • Ladle the sauce over the chicken and garnish with the parsley. (I was so excited that I had finished the dish, I totally forgot to garnish with the parsley!)

The broth is perfect for dipping, so make sure a really good baguette or loaf of crispy bread is nearby for dipping and soaking.

Bon appétit!

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Filed under Chicken in vinegar, Emeril Lagasee, Food Network, France, Friends, Poulet en vinaigre

365 Days (roughly) in Photos

I just left Vancouver after having lived there for a year. While I was driving back east, I had a few kilometres worth of time to think about the last little while.

This was me just about a year ago. Moving to Vancouver, knowing  a grand total of 4 people. As you can see, I have my Magic Bullet, so I was confident about making friends:)

Everything...check!

I drove for five days to get to Vancouver and still wasn’t quite sure if I had made the right decision until I saw the sunset two blocks from my place. Warm, sand, water, doesn’t get much better than that.

Sun setting over Vancouver

I enjoyed the summer in Vancouver, but since I had never been to the West Coast before, rooooaaaaad trip!

Stepping out to check out the Pacific Ocean in Oregon on Highway 101.

Checking out the Pacific Ocean

You cannot go through California without checking out Napa County. Come to think of it, I still have one bottle left from one of the vineyards.

Napa County

Haven’t watched Karate Kid in a while, but I was inspired to work on my crane position during an early morning run along the ocean.

"Crane-ing" it with the Pacific Ocean

I did work when I was in Vancouver. I managed the arena that was used for training by all the men’s Olympic hockey teams. Welcome to Britannia, a great local community rink in Vancouver. It was not in the job description, but how often can you paint the red line of Olympic ice?

Check out my red line...

So going by the pictures, it may not look like it, but I did work . During the Olympics, it was easily 100+ a week, so once the Olympics were over, had to try something new, surf’s up anyone?

Surfin' in Maui

So that’s it in a nutshell, twelve months via photos. Vancouver gave me great weather, amazing friends, fun times and the opportunity to begin Tastes Better With Friends.  Thanks to all and i’ll be coming back for sure!

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Filed under Highway 101, Maui, Napa County, Olympics, Vancouver

Coconuts and scenery along the Road to Hana

Why am I drinking two coconuts? Please join me on the Road to Hana…

Enjoying some local flavors!

I had a few must-do’s in Maui. I wanted to eat/drink a coconut from a stand on the side of the road. Luckily, I got to do it along the Road to Hana. In Maui, there is a small town called Hana which is on the far east side of the island. It is often referred to as the old Hawaii since it hasn’t been developed like the rest of the island. Known as the Road to Hana, it is a stretch of approximately 50 curvy miles that takes you through a tropical rainforest  with the Pacific Ocean keeping you company.

The winding Road to Hana

When I saw this coconut stand, well, this was where I would have my coconuts. So it was two for $5, so I opted for the two different types (I didn’t even know there was two types). The first one was a young/tender coconut, which is not like the typical brown ones we are accustomed to, basically it’s green before it becomes the hard, brown version we all know.

Coconuts galore!

The fellow slicing and dicing the coconuts, well, let’s just say it was not his first day on the job. Wielding a massive knife that I’ve seen cut down sugar cane, he just got down to business. First, he chose a good coconut (or so he said), then he hacked the top off of it. The tender coconut is very heavy and thick, so it took a bunch of whacks to get to the middle. And then of course, using the same knife, he dug a little hole for the straw.

Cutting open a tender coconut

The “water” of the tender coconut was simply magical. Close your eyes and imagine sitting by the Pacific Ocean, sipping out of a coconut and tasting sweet water. Once I was done the water, I was able to ask the fellow with the big machete to slice it open so I could taste the flesh on the inside. The “meat” of the coconut was soft and chewy and didn’t really taste like anything. But I would have asked for a gallon of the liquid if I could have!

Ready to drink coconut

Next was the ripe, brown coconut that we all picture when we think of coconut. Well, I was disappointed, the coconut water was bitter and murky and really not that good. I drank more than I should, just to make sure I was giving it a fair chance and the taste did not change. Once I was done the liquid, I asked for it to be split open. And than, I almost witnessed a man slice off his own hand! Coconut in one hand, machete in the other, he proceeded to strike the coconut while tossing it in the air to rotate it so he could get an even cut to open it up. Again, like I said, not his first day on the job!

The coconut we know

The inside of the coconut looked familiar and I immediately pictures shredded coconut and that’s essentially what it tasted like, minus the additional sugar. It was good, but there was no way I was going to eat all of it. It was the perfect thing to nibble on during the drive, but it was given back to mother nature for some little creature to enjoy.

Welcome to Hana

A great day with sun, good food and friends driving the open road.

A thank you to Leslea for some pictures along the way!

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Filed under Coconuts, Maui, Road to Hana

Aloha from Maui

So my recurring thought as I’ve now been in Maui for a week is that I cannot believe this is how people live. Perfect weather (and I mean perfect), amazing views, a leisurely pace of life (from what I can tell) and some great food. Here are some highlights over the first few days, more to surely follow.

Aloha, welcome to Maui!

A Hula show

Don’t you have weekly Hula shows in your mall?

Shaved ice

A massive snowball of shaved ice with 1/2 strawberry and 1/2 Blue vanilla syrup and hiding underneath is vanilla ice cream. Basically, an absolutely delicious and refreshing creamsicle perfect for any of the 365 hot days in Maui.

Surfing Goat Dairy Farm

Welcome to the Surfing Goat Dairy Farm where I learned that goats are basically dogs, they want to be fed, scratched and loved. Their cheese must be that good from all the love they get! I had to try it and I was floored with my fresh ping pong size goat cheese balls served on a bed of local mango chutney.  The mango chutney, possibly one of the finest things I’ve ever tasted.

Ping pong goat cheese balls & mango chutney

If you’re nearby, stop in and enjoy!

Rainbow tree

On the famous Road to Hana, I found myself a rainbow tree. You look at it and can’t help but smile.

Loco Moco

Yes, I ate it all! Fried rice, topped with a hamburger patty (which you cannot see) because the patty is topped with two fried eggs and an obscene amount of heavenly gravy. It’s called a Loco Moco, it’s a traditional Hawaiian dish and it’s for breakfast and it was great!

Maui sunset

Every night, we’re treated to this. Life is good and hope yours is too wherever you are right now. Mahalo for stopping by…

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Filed under Hawaii, Maui, Moco Loco, Rainbow tree, Road to Hana, Shaved Ice, Surfing Goat Dairy