Thursday, March 26, 2015

SMAK Ukrainian Store & Coffee Shop

Way back in November, I visited SMAK Ukrainian Store & Coffee Shop at 1002 - 22nd Street West, open Monday-Friday, 10 am to 6 pm. They stock an impressive variety of products as these photographs will illustrate.

Mushrooms - yum!

Marinated vegetables

They also stock no-stir, quick-cooking barley, buckwheat and millet.



Soup in a jar - just add water

Homemade bread and rolls with cherry, plum and poppyseed filling

Spices and marinades

Kvas - a lighly fermented drink made from rye bread

Honey with fruit and nuts

Tea - some with herbs from the Ukrainian mountains

Monday, March 23, 2015

Flavourful Saskatoon, March 23, 2015

Urban Agriculture for Sceptics, Mar. 27
Noelle Chorney and William Hrycan will discuss the pros and cons of urban agriculture and field questions from the floor from 2-3:30 pm, March 27, at the Frances Morrison Library.

Transitioning to Organic Farming, April
Saskatchewan Organic is offering a series of one-day workshops across the province in April on how to profit from transitioning to organic farming.

Bizarre Beers, Apr. 1
This month's beer tasting at the Co-op Liquor Store is a series of weird and interesting beers from various breweries.

Famoso Pizzeria
I really enjoyed my mini pizza and chocolate gelato at Famoso Pizzeria. Good food and a nice, casual atmosphere (photos, except for the wine, are of Famoso Pizzeria).

9 Mile Legacy Brewing
Saskatoon will soon have a new addition to its craft brewing scene. 9 Mile Legacy Brewing, located in the Ideas Inc. building next to the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market, will be opening in late April and plans to sell growlers on site as well as draft to some local pubs. They’re planning a rotating line-up of ales with up to 4 available at any given time.

Chain Reaction Urban Farm
I was delighted to see a video on Facebook showing a local urban farmer trying out his new cargo bike. As Jared and Rachel Regier of Chain Reaction Farm explain, “We know that it is possible to farm by bike and we are serious about using sustainable farming practices right down to the way we transport our food and tools. We consider this our peaceful zero emission counter, or "chain reaction", to the failing fossil fuel driven economy.”

Torreón de Paredes Wine
I thoroughly enjoyed a tasting of 7 wines from Torreón de Paredes Winery in Chile on Saturday. The winery was started by Don Amada Paredes in 1979 when he was 73 years old! I particularly enjoyed the Chardonnay Reserva and am looking forward to purchasing the Pinot Noir Reserva Privada, which will be available at the Co-op Liquor Store in roughly two months’ time.

Talking about the Chardonnay (available now at Co-op Liquor Store), Javier de Paredes said, “We are very cautious not to overdo it. The oak should frame the fruit not kill it. The character of the wine is in the fruit.” Javier went on to say, “Our style of winemaking is on the softer, more mellow, elegant side.” 

The Co-op will also be bringing in Sweet Raquel, the winery's late harvest dessert wine. Torreón de Paredes wines are distributed by Doug Reichel, Fine Wines Sask.

Local Food Distribution
There are a lot of small local growers and a lot of people wanting to serve and eat local food. The challenge is often in helping the two groups to connect. A food distribution hub and business resources for small producers are part of the solution.

Interesting Wine Tours
I like to travel independently, but these Kutrubes wine tours in Georgia and Macedonia/Greece/Bulgaria look really interesting as they’re off the beaten track and include visits to wineries that might be difficult to visit on your own.

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post regular profiles of culinary entrepreneurs, new restaurants and new food products.

You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Facebook, Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Monday, March 16, 2015

Flavourful Saskatoon, March 16, 2015

Slow Food Saskatoon 
Slow Food Saskatoon is planning some interesting events over the next few months. I encourage you to attend one or all of them. In addition to the events listed below, there are several members-only events – an excellent reason to become a member of this international organization.

Mar. 29, 1:30-3 pm (The Local Coffee Bar) – Hear from Nicole Davis, Daybreak Mill, and other past attendees about all there is to see, taste and enjoy at Terra Madre, an international slow food festival.
Apr. 19, 1:30-3 pm (GSA Commons, Emmanuel & St. Chad Chapel) – In celebration of National Poetry Month, local poets will read from their works.
May 24 – Eat These Words, Slow Food Annual Fundraising Dinner & Readings from MFA Creative Writing students (part of Wild About Saskatoon’s NatureCity Festival)
June 28, 1:30-3 pm – tour of Saskatoon Food Bank’s Garden Patch

Saskatchewan’s Craft Breweries 
There was an excellent profile of some of Saskatchewan’s craft breweries – Nokomis Ale, Rebellion Brewing, Black Bridge Brewery, and Bushwakker Brewing – in this past weekend’s Regina Leader-Post.

The Temperance Brewing Co-operative Ltd. is taking a different approach as it’s using a co-op model. “Temperance’s plan is to build a base of a few hundred members who are invested, both financially and psychologically, in the brewery. They hope to leverage the capital raised from members into additional financing for a 10 to 20 hectolitre brewery with a full-service tap room to serve the region. As an initial step, they hope later this year to contract brew a beer to get the name out and start generating some revenue.”

Flying Dust First Nation 
Flying Dust First Nation has a 20-hectare organic garden, a storage facility that includes a farm store and a commercial kitchen, and a CSA. They offer cooking and crop production classes.

Christie's - Il Secondo Bakery

Coffee Cherries & Leaves 
If you’re always eager to try something new, here are a couple of coffee-related options.

City Perks serves cascara, a coffee cherry tea that is made from the dried skins of the coffee cherries once the beans have been removed. It doesn’t taste like coffee and has a much lower caffeine content. “Cascara is often described as having a sweet, fruity taste with notes of rose hip, hibiscus, cherry, red currant, mango or even tobacco.” 

Another option is coffee leaf tea (I don’t know whether it’s available in Saskatoon). It has no caffeine and very high levels of antioxidants.

(with thanks to Daryl (@ddgrunau), one of City Perks’ very knowledgeable baristas)

Leibster Nomination 
My thanks to Nicole Davis, Daybreak Mill, for nominating me for the Leibster Award. I really admire Nicole and her determination to grow, mill and distribute healthy, organic flours, grains and cereals. Young farmers like Nicole are our hope for the future.

The Future of Local Food 
The number of farmers’ markets has changed very little in the past two years as food producers find new ways to get their food into the hands of local consumers: e-commerce, food hubs and farm-to-school programs.

Is the Era of Big Food Coming to an End? 
Consumer demand for fresh, healthy food has led to a decline in the growth of the large food companies, such as Kellogg and Kraft. Some of the major food producers are responding by offering healthier options. Unfortunately, some processed foods continue to see growth, such as Pringles chips and Chef Boyardee’s canned pastas.

Vegan Chefs
It’s great to see vegan chefs receiving media coverage. In this article, three vegan chefs (including a 14-year-old girl) share recipes and outline what inspired them to become chefs.

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post regular profiles of culinary entrepreneurs, new restaurants and new food products. 

You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Facebook, Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Monday, March 9, 2015

Flavourful Saskatoon, March 9, 2015

Saskatoon Food Bank’s Garden Patch 
In 2014, the Saskatoon Food Bank’s Garden Patch grew over 30 varieties of vegetables and produced 17,000 pounds of produce. Volunteer now to form a team and adopt a plot to plant, weed and harvest in the summer.

Backyard Garden Sharing
If you’ve got a garden you can’t use or are itching to turn the soil but don’t have a space, contact Jared Regier, coordinator of CHEP’s Backyard Garden Sharing Program.

Espresso & Lavender 
Riversdale Delicatessen has an excellent selection of cheese. There are at least six kinds of Pecorino, but the cheese that caught my fancy was the Espresso & Lavender. It’s a subtle flavour (you don't have to like coffee!) and I really enjoyed it. Not cheap but worth it.

Vending Machine Beans
Affordable food was hard to come by in some of the poorer neighbourhoods on the outskirts of Santiago, Chile, until a small company started distributing vending machines full of bulk staples, such as rice, beans, lentils and sugar in small neighbourhood stores. The company splits the profits with the store owners.

Raddest Vegetarian Chef in the US
Amanda Cohen is the first vegetarian chef in 17 years to earn two stars from The New York Times, the first vegetarian chef to compete on Iron Chef, and she operates one of the few Michelin-recommended vegetarian restaurants in the country. She’s eliminated tipping and advocates for a more equitable system where women chefs make as much as male chefs.

Fairtrade or Fairly Traded? 
Fairtrade certification and labelling has played an important role in educating consumers about the working conditions of food producers. But it has its limitations. Producers are expected to belong to cooperatives and the focus is on a minimum price as opposed to a premium price for a top-quality product.

They're back! There were hot cross buns at Earth Bound Bakery on Saturday. 
P.S. There will be soda bread at The Night Oven Bakery on St. Patrick's Day. Happy holiday specials!

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post regular profiles of culinary entrepreneurs, new restaurants and new food products. 

You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Facebook, Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Monday, March 2, 2015

Flavourful Saskatoon, March 2, 2015

Down to Earth, Mar. 4 
Jasmin Fookes and Brit MacDonald are the new hosts of CFCR Radio’s environment and sustainability program that they’ve renamed Down to Earth. They’ve asked me to be their first guest! I’ll be on the radio this coming Wednesday, March 4, at 6:30 pm, to talk about food, the environment and my two online publications (Wanderlust and Words and EcoFriendly Sask).

Meet Javier Paredes, Torreon de Paredes Winery, Mar. 21 
Meet Javier Paredes of Chile’s Torreon de Paredes Winery on Saturday, March 21. He’ll be at Ingredients from 11 am to 1 pm offering samples of his wines. There’ll be a formal wine tasting from 2-3 pm at the Co-op Liquor Store where he’ll open a wide selection of wines from three different ranges, including some in Saskatchewan for the first time. Javier will also be attending dinners in Moose Jaw and Regina.

Slow Food Canada 2015 National Meeting, Apr. 24-26 
Slow Food Canada is holding its annual meeting, along with a regional Terra Madre in Montreal from April 24-26. There’s a really exciting line-up of activities and both Carlo Petrini and Richard McCarthy, President of Slow Food USA, plan to attend.

Mercadito Latino Grocery Store 
There’s a new Mexican grocery store in town. Mercadito Latino is in the Ideas Inc. building, right next door to the Farmers’ Market. I photographed some of their products. I love the piňatas and I’ve heard they’ll order in anything you request. The owner is hoping to offer cooking classes at the Farmers’ Market.

Home Slice Pizza Shoppe
Dale McKay and his colleagues at Ayden Kitchen & Bar will be opening a take-out and delivery pizza store in mid-late March. Home Slice Pizza Shoppe will be located at 227 Pinehouse Drive.

SK Food Centre 
The Governments of Canada and Saskatchewan are providing $13 million in funding to build and equip a new agri-food innovation centre. The facility will house new food development labs, a mini pilot plant for product and process development, a new commercial kitchen, multi-tenant incubation suites for technology transfer for start-up businesses, and a commercial incubator for pulse and cereal processing.

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post regular profiles of culinary entrepreneurs, new restaurants and new food products. 

You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Facebook, Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Capanna Pizzeria: Comfort Food in a Warm, Welcoming Environment

Pizza is one of my very favorite foods and, when it’s being prepared by the folks who run Riversdale Deli, I know it’s going to be good.

Capanna Pizzeria is located around the corner from Riversdale Deli. Big windows facing east mean that the restaurant is full of sunshine, a welcome sight on one of our cold, wintery days.

Passing by on the street, you can watch the chefs rolling out the pizza dough. Step through the door, and you’ll feel right at home. This isn’t a big, intimidating restaurant. There’s bench seating under the window and a scattering of wooden tables and chairs.

Behind the marble-topped bar is a brick wall lined with bottles of wine and there’s a mural of Italy on the wall in the kitchen area. The kitchen is open so you can chat with Chef Darby Kells and have a look at the pizza oven.

The pizza oven is hi-tech fancy. It has three different heating sources, all of which can be individually controlled. The rotating stone disc heats the pizza crust from below; there’s another heat source up above to cook the pizza toppings; and the flickering flames in the back are designed to ensure that the edges of the crust are cooked to perfection. It’s self-ventilated so the chefs aren’t roasting.

You won’t be kept waiting for your food as pizzas bake in one and a half minutes!

Riversdale Delicatessen prides itself on stocking the finest local and international ingredients. You’ll find that same attention to quality at Capanna Pizzeria.

The tomato sauce is made from San Marzano tomatoes and the pizzas are topped with fresh, locally-grown basil from Floating Gardens.

If you like the buffalo mozzarella on your pizza, you can probably take some home with you from the Deli, along with OO flour from Italy, garlic from Elbow (Meadowlark Farm) and fresh greens from Biggar (Jenn's Garden).

Some Saskatoon restaurants offer great food, but their wine list is disappointing. I was delighted to find that Capanna offers a great selection of international wines, all distributed by Doug Reichel, Fine Wines Sask.

Beer drinkers will be pleased to find Nokomis Craft Ales are available on tap, and the gin and vodka are from Lucky Bastard Distillers.

There are five kinds of pizza, a calzone, a variety of appetizers and two desserts. Vegetarians have several different choices.

Cathy and I tried the Margarita and the Wild Mushroom pizzas. The crusts are thin and crisp, and not overdone, which can be a problem in other restaurants. The tomato sauce was lovely and the tart, fresh arugula and basil were an excellent counterpoint.

I recommend Capanna Pizzeria and will definitely be making a return visit. It’s the kind of place I’d feel very comfortable coming on my own for a meal or a glass of wine and an appetizer, but it’s also a great place to go as a couple or with a group of friends.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Flavourful Saskatoon, February 23, 2015

Solar Gardens products available at The Prairie Pantry

Urban Ag Films, Feb. 27
The Saskatoon Found Council will be showing the 10 finalist films in this year’s Real Food Media Project at 7 pm, Feb. 27, at Station 20 West. The films showcase individuals who are building a sustainable food system.

Fermentation for Gut Health Workshop, Feb. 27 
Esther Beazer will be offering a Fermentation for Gut Health workshop at The Refinery from 6-9 pm, February 27. There will be another workshop on March 14.

Museo @ Mendel Closing 
The Mendel Art Gallery branch of Museo Coffee will be closing at the end of February. I’ll miss going there.

Saskatchewan-grown quinoa at The Prairie Pantry

Dine in the Dark, Mar. 5 
The CNIB is hosting a Dine in the Dark fundraising dinner at the Parktown Hotel on March 5. You’ll be blindfolded, so the focus will be on the smells, sounds, tastes and textures.

Saskatchewan Organic has a new name and a new Facebook page.

Cauliflower Madness 
“Every winter stands manned by farmers pop up along most of the West Bank’s winding roads …. This is zahara baladi, an ancient local cultivar that takes a full year to grow and is in season for just a few weeks. The plant has a nice, mustardy hue; the flavour is well-rounded, sweet and earthy and the texture irresistibly creamy.” (The Economist)

Organic, Canadian spices with less packaging at The Prairie Pantry

Do It Yourself 
From using a popcorn popper to roast coffee to grinding your own flour and flakes, there’s a whole range of handy, electricity-free devices.

Multi-Stakeholder Food Co-op 
Oregon’s Our Table Cooperative “goes beyond the “know your farmer” ethos of the local food movement to create an environment where you know your cheese maker, truck driver, and grocery store attendant too. In Our Table’s cooperative, people in different parts of the food world work together, negotiate with each other, and share decision-making—all with the intention of creating a fairer and healthier system." (Yes! Magazine)

From Fish to Okra 
When the Vietnamese community near New Orleans could no longer fish because of the BP oil spill, they set up a farming cooperative. (Modern Farmer)

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post regular profiles of culinary entrepreneurs, new restaurants and new food products. 

You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Facebook, Twitter, or by email (top right corner). 

Solar Gardens oil and vinegar at The Prairie Pantry