Monday, May 26, 2014

Flavourful Saskatoon, May 26, 2014

Beer on the Patio, May 31
Prairie Sun Brewery is opening a patio for the summer months with a gourmet grilled cheese menu. There’s a patio opening party on May 31, but the menu is very meaty. Prairie Sun Brewery has added a barbecue grilled cheese entree and vegetable sides to their menu.

Odd Couple Restaurant
Word of mouth says that Odd Couple Restaurant, 220 – 20th Street West, is opening this week. They’ll be serving Cantonese cuisine.

Wine & Beer Tastings
The Saskatoon Co-op Liquor Store in Blairmore holds regular tastings. The schedule is available online. They have a monthly beer tasting event (next one is June 11) as well as wine tastings (Crazy About Cabernet, May 30; Wines of the Italian Islands, June 13).

I bought a container of mixed olives at Riversdale Deli this week. They’re delicious! Finally a source for good olives!

I’m looking forward to trying Prairie Bella Gourmet Pasta (Saskatoon Farmers’ Market). They had fettucine, gnocchi, and sauces on Saturday. Prairie Bella uses as many local, organic products as possible, including flour from Daybreak Mill.

Eat Your Greens
Spring! And the market is full of wonderful fresh greens (including asparagus). Here are a few that caught my eye:

Japanese Hakurei turnips (Kaleidoscope Vegetable Gardens) – Hakurei turnips are mild and sweet, so you can eat them raw in a salad or lightly steamed. Plus you can eat the greens.

Callaloo (Floating Gardens) – Callaloo is a Caribbean dish. The main ingredient is a leaf vegetable – sometimes amaranth, sometimes taro or water spinach. And there are several different recipes. Or you can just eat the greens.

Living Lettuce (Grandora Gardens) – Pick the outer leaves first, and your plant will keep producing fresh greens for several months.

Out and About in Saskatchewan
I've added a new page to my website - Out and About in Saskatchewan.

Rethinking School Lunch
Rethinking School Lunch: A visual guide linking food, culture, health, and the environment is a new school guide from the Center for Ecoliteracy and National Geographic. It covers everything from rethinking school lunch to interviewing elders or newcomers about what they ate in different times and places. It’s part of a growing collection of activities and lesson plans on the Center for Ecoliteracy’s web page and coincides with the National Geographic’s 2014 series on the future of food.

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).

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Regina Farmers' Market, May 2014

There was a cold wind blowing when I visited the Regina Farmers’ Market, and I was grateful for Saskatoon’s year-round, indoor location. On the other hand, the Regina Market is located right downtown, which must make their Wednesday market a popular stop for people who work downtown.

Here are just a few of the vendors I spoke with.

33 1/3 Coffee Roasters
I purchased a small bag of freshly-roasted coffee from Chiapas, Mexico from 33 1/3 Coffee Roasters. My brother, who is something of a coffee aficionado, said it was excellent. You can drink and purchase 33 1/3 coffee at The Night Oven Bakery in Saskatoon.

Going with the Grain
Going with the Grain sells a variety of breads made with organic flour. The loaves are small, perfect for one person, so you can buy several different varieties. If you like olives, you should definitely try the green olive bread.

Laurel’s Danish Pastry
I didn’t purchase any Danish pastries, but I found it interesting that she has chosen to offer lots of different flavours but only one product.

Pure T Organics
I’m always happy to see vendors selling locally-grown organic grains and pulses. I wish I had purchased one of Pure T Organics' ground lentil and pulse mixes for thickening soups (and adding protein).

Rocky Acres Orchard 
Rocky Acres Orchard has an extensive range of jams (including locally-grown cantaloupe topping) and soft apple cider.

Soup…Simply sells a wide variety of frozen soups, including lots of vegetarian options. I particularly enjoyed the split green pea soup and the tomato, squash and coconut bisque. The black bean soup was a little bland, but then I was comparing it to Wild Serendipity Food’s Cuban black bean soup, which is really zippy.

Studio Flour 
These folks sell wonderful single-serving galettes. I thoroughly enjoyed mine with oyster mushrooms, goat cheese and hazelnuts. Studio Flour also sells handmade marshmallows and sponge toffee.

The Earthy Artisan
I loved the whimsical lightweight hypertufa container with a full head of hair from The Earthy Artisan.

There are two vendors selling cheese at the Regina market. Unfortunately, neither of them were there when I visited. SalayView Farm sells several flavours of fresh, soft goat cheese. Craibstone Cheese is a new vendor selling sheep’s milk cheese. They sell ricotta, crowdie (fresh, soft, Scottish style), and Farmtoon (semi-hard, creamy, mild).

I Wish I Had Met… 
Stellar Gourmet Mushrooms sells locally-grown gourmet mushrooms.

Regina has a great farmers' market and I will have to make a return trip to pick up some more of their goodies.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Flavourful Saskatoon, May 19, 2014

There is so much happening in Saskatoon right now. I’m not sure I can squeeze it all into one post.

French Wines, May 24
Fine Wines Sask is hosting two wine seminars at the Blairmore Co-op Liquor Store on May 24. This is your chance to sample some Bordeaux and Burgundy wines and learn about their viniculture from a winemaker and a regional expert. Sounds like fun and I’m delighted that the new specialty liquor store is offering this sort of opportunity.

Slow Food Salon, May 25 
Come meet Gordon Enns, the newly-appointed Executive Director of the Saskatoon Food Council, at the May 25 Slow Food Salon. Gord will speak about the founding of the Saskatoon Food Council, its purpose, and will answer questions about how to connect with Food Council activities.

The Slow Food Salons are now being held from 1-3 pm at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market in the sector not normally used by vendors.

Eat These Words Community Supper, May 31
Slow Food Saskatoon is hosting a community supper on May 31 at St. James Emmanuel Anglican Church (Dufferin Avenue). Chef Jenni will be our chef and she does amazingly creative things with local ingredients. There are vegan, gluten-free options, and it's a kid-friendly event. This is the closing event of the NatureCity Festival and U of S MFA students in Writing will be reading from their works on urban nature.

Tickets can be purchased on Picatic. Last year's event was lots of fun, so I encourage you to attend.

Healthy Raw Chocolate
Those Girls at the Market  started selling chocolate at the Saskatoon Farmers' Market on May 17. And it's not just regular chocolate either. They use raw, organic ingredients that are processed at a low temperature to preserve the enzymes and anti-oxidants. They use maple syrup so the bars are only lightly sweetened, unlike the heavy sugar content in a traditional chocolate bar. They are selling 4 different flavours: vanilla, coffee, mint, and sea salt cranberry. I really like the vanilla bar, which is infused with whole ground vanilla beans, but the cranberry sea salt sells out the fastest.

Ey Zhn Greek Cuisine
I went back to the Farmers' Market on Sunday and, lo and behold, there was another new vendor. Ey Zhn is selling Greek food made from authentic Greek recipes using natural ingredients, including extra virgin olive oil. There are some standard options, such as baklava and tzatziki, but I was delighted to discover some new dishes made with vegetables and pasta. I purchased the Fasolakia (green beans  and other vegetables braised in a tomato sauce) and Lahanopita (cabbage, herbs and feta cheese). I sampled the baklava and it's excellent. Ey Zhn will be at the Market 2 or 3 times a week.

Petrofka Orchard
Petrofka Orchard has new owners – Diana and Jeff Fedosoff. It’s a small world as I have worked with Diana on a couple of communications projects. They currently have 1,200 trees and hope to grow the orchard to approximately 5,000.

You can visit the orchard and pick up some of their products – from Apple Cider Vinegar and Soft Apple Cider to pies and jams – they're on Highway 12, about 40 minutes from Saskatoon. The products are also available at various locations throughout Saskatchewan.

You may remember that I interviewed the original owners of Petrofka Bridge Orchard several years ago.

Mortal Sin Cakes
Remember those lovely single-serving cakes from Mortal Sin Foods I sampled in Stonebridge? Well, they’re now available at Ingredients Artisan Market as well.

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).

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Eat and Shop in Lumsden, SK

I’ve been longing to visit Fourth & James Bakery in Lumsden. (What can I say? I love bakeries.) So, on my way to Regina, I made sure I arrived in Lumsden in time for lunch.

Fourth & James Bakery doesn’t have a flashy exterior (the bench is a great idea), but it’s very nicely laid out inside and the food is great. They have a daily lunch special. It’s not always vegetarian, but it was the day I was there, and I enjoyed a slice of roasted pepper quiche with garlic and herb cream cheese.

Dessert was a slice of lemon loaf (nice and tart). I also picked up a brown butter brownie and a pecan bar for later. The brownie had lots of rich chocolate flavour, while the pecan bar was covered with gooey caramel and nuts. I was tempted by the cinnamon buns which appeared to be a very popular item.

Two friendly young women were working in the bakery, and they encouraged me to visit some of the local stores. I’m glad they did.

The Painted Parasol has an amazing mixture – everything from candy to baby items to home décor. I bought a pretty bag and a couple of Christmas presents.

La Vault Decor is in a renovated bank building. I liked the way they had included sections of the original brick walls and the old vault.

The flower shop has lots of plants and flowers as well as various gift products. I admired their truck, which was decorated with pink and purple daisies and the slogan “Romancing the Valley.”

Lumsden has a park beside the river and some lovely older houses. Be sure to visit next time you’re in the neighbourhood.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Flavourful Regina, May 12, 2014

My mini holiday in Regina was so much fun that I can’t possibly include everything in one article. So here is an assortment of food highlights. Later in the week I’ll profile the Regina Farmers’ Market and Lumsden.

Hotel Saskatchewan
With an elegant room like this at the Hotel Saskatchewan, I wasn’t tempted to venture far afield. I had an excellent vegetarian lasagna in the hotel dining room and enjoyed a bowl of soup in the Lounge. The servers in the restaurant specifically mention that they use as many local products as possible. I appreciated the amuse bouche as I waited for my meal.

Koko Patisserie 
As you would expect, Koko Patisserie, with an outlet in the Hotel Saskatchewan lobby, has some lovely baked goods. But you might not know that they also sell some very fancy sandwiches. I enjoyed the chopped egg and asparagus croissant so much that I had it twice! But act fast – they don’t make many sandwiches and they sell out well before lunchtime.

13th Avenue Coffee House
I always enjoy browsing in the craft stores and independent stores along 13th Avenue. I’ve always wanted to eat at the 13th Avenue Coffee House so I made a point of being there at lunch time. They have lots and lots of vegetarian options – such a treat to have a choice. There are about 6 different veggie burger options as well as rice bowls and curries.

Salt Food Boutique 
Salt Food Boutique is a little off-putting if you are a vegetarian as they sell tons of charcuterie. However, they also have some interesting preserves – housemade relish and catsup, turnip sauerkraut, fig relish. I picked up jars of pickled okra and pickled beets as well as a bag of salted caramels (oh, so good!).

Atlantis Coffee
I spent more than a few happy hours in Atlantis Coffee, drinking Mighty Leaf tea and reading. Many of their baked goods are from Fourth & James Bakery in Lumsden that I’ll be telling you more about later in the week.

Atlantis is next door to Salt Boutique and around the corner is Flip Restaurant, and I believe they all have the same owner.

Cookies by George
No trip to Regina is complete without a quick trip to the Cornwall Centre to pick up some Cookies by George. What can I say? I love chocolate!

Globe Theatre
Theatre in the round at Regina's Globe Theatre is a very intimate experience as you’re so close to the actors and the other members of the audience. I really enjoyed the performance of Man of La Mancha and have happy memories of our high school choir performing some of the songs at a big city-wide event at the Centennial Auditorium.

Right across the street from the Hotel Saskatchewan is Victoria Park – another pleasant place to read a good book. And you never know what you might find . . . .

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).

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Oriental Aroma Chinese Cuisine

I enjoyed my lunch with Michelle Zimmer, Wild Serendipity Foods, at Oriental Aroma Chinese Cuisine, 928 D 8th Street East (corner of Clarence and 8th).

The menu has lots of interesting (i.e. not your standard westernized dishes) options. We tried three vegetarian options and they arrived quickly and were very attractive.

Our favorite was the Mapo Tofu, which has just the right amount of heat (if you ask, they'll leave out the meat). (Here is the recipe Michelle uses to make Mapo Tofu.) Next time I plan to try the Sichuan Style Green Beans, which they told us were also spicy and very popular.

The Mixed Mushrooms with Shanghai Cabbage (aka Baby Bok Choy) was very good. The sauce was mild with just a hint of sweetness.

The Wood Ear Mushrooms and Mountain Yam was intriguing. The mountain yam (the only yam that can be eaten raw) was white and tasted a bit like bamboo shoots. The wood ear mushrooms had a very distinctive texture and appearance and are very mild. Large chunks of ginger added flavour.

Michelle and I enjoyed our lunch and both of us plan to return.

Oriental Aroma is open from 11 am to 10 pm daily. Their phone number is 306.477.7757.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Flavourful Saskatoon, May 5, 2014

Riversdale Deli 
The Riversdale Delicatessen & Market, on the corner of Idylwyld and 20th Street, has a good selection of cheese, olives, and various other goodies as well as soups, salads, and sandwiches for lunch. I had a vegetarian sandwich – olive and white bean spread, marinated eggplant, goat cheese, and frisé lettuce. Messy but tasty on a freshly-baked bun made on the premises.

Rozendal Vinegar 
This is just the best vinegar I have ever tasted – and all that is needed to finish off a salad to perfection. Rozendal Vinegar is made at a South African winery where it is matured for up to 12 years in oak barrels and infused with local organic herbs (try the lavender – my absolute favorite). Rozendal Vinegar is available at the Riversdale Deli and the Prairie Pantry.

Portuguese Wine & Olive Oil 
The Riversdale Delicatessen sells a variety of vinegars and olive oils. I was particularly interested to see that they sell two Portuguese olive oils imported by Doug Reichel of Fine Wines Sask.

The first is Medeiros from 19th century olive trees. The winery’s website describes their land as a natural sanctuary for birds and other animals and says that they are dedicated to protecting the natural wilderness.

Lagar do Monte olive oil is also from the Alentejo region of Portugal. It was the first ecological (organic) olive mill in Portugal.

The Woods Ale House
On Friday, I had a busy day facilitating a workshop on strategic planning with the Employment Services Unit, Saskatoon Open Door Society. On my way home, I stopped in at The Woods Ale House to unwind over a local brew. On tap is Saskatchewiezen, a light, refreshing wheat beer from Paddock Wood – I highly recommend it.

Good Earth Coffee Shop 
A Good Earth Coffee Shop is now open just down the block from the Persephone (Remai) Theatre. All Good Earth Cafes are 100% wind powered with Bullfrog Power.

Intuitive Path Superfoods 
Intuitive Path Superfoods has opened a store at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market. They sell a wide variety of products, from raw chocolate to goji and golden berries. They also offer various classes.

Chili peppers were first cultivated in east-central Mexico

Top 10 vegan restaurants in Toronto

I’m going to be spending 3 days in Regina. Please send me your suggestions for awesome, vegetarian-friendly food places.

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).