Monday, June 30, 2014

Flavourful Saskatoon, June 30, 2014

Mama G’s Authentic Nigerian Cuisine, July 5 
Grace and Friday Mbuekor are Nigerian refugees whose dream is to have their own restaurant serving authentic Nigerian food made from fresh, locally-sourced organic ingredients. Everyone is invited to attend the launch of their crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo from 1-3 pm, July 5 at St. Stephen’s Anglican Church. There will be refreshments, a video about Mama G's Authentic Nigerian Cuisine, singing, and prayers.

July Celebrations at the Marr Residence 
The Marr Residence, Saskatoon’s oldest building still at its historic location, hosts a variety of events over the course of the summer. There will be Dominion Day celebrations on July 1, an Open House & Garden Concert on July 6, and a Teddy Bears’ Picnic on July 13. All events are from 1-4 pm.

Garlic Guru @ Creekside Orchard, July 24/25
Teresa Giesbrecht, from Garlic Guru, will be preparing a four-course meal at Creekside Orchard on July 24 and 25.

July Tastings: Co-op Wine & Spirits
Take a look at the tastings that will be held at the Saskatoon Co-op liquor store in July. There’s everything from value wines and a comparison of the top 6 grape varietals to beer and cider from Kelowna and Belgium.

Mortal Sin Foods Ramadan Menu
Order fresh iftari items for Ramadan from Mortal Sin Foods. They’re offering vegetable samosas, Malaysian paratha, chana chat, dahi bara, and more.

Vegetarian Sausage Rolls
I highly recommend the vegetarian sausage rolls from The Night Oven Bakery. Bryn Rawlyk fills them with house-made seitan, so they have lots of protein and the spices aren't overpowering.

Restaurant Pietro, Waskesiu
Restaurant Pietro, Waskesiu’s newest restaurant, offers an Italian-influenced menu with fresh pasta, five mushroom ravioli, caprese salad, and risotto alla milanese.

Boreal Berry Bar 
Boreal Berry Bar Inc. is based in Flin Flon, Manitoba, and sells gluten-free energy bars using ingredients found in the boreal forest. The Bushman’s Bar contains wild rice, honey, wild blueberries, cranberries, and sour cherries grown in the boreal forest. They’re available online.

Downtown Grocery Stores
I was so impressed to see a small Sobey’s store on 104 Street in Edmonton. Their original goal was to serve local foods to downtown residents. Unfortunately, it’s closing, underlining how difficult it is to establish a grocery store in city centres and to incorporate local products in a mainstream grocery.

Green Audit for Restaurant Kitchens
Elizabeth Meltz is using technology to turn Mario Batali’s restaurants into eco-friendly eateries – from assessing waste to buying cleaning supplies.

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, June 26, 2014

Super Fresh Asian Market

“I love the new Asian Market,” says Sheri Imbach. “It reminds me of being back home in Vancouver, BC!” 

The first thing I noticed when I walked into the Super Fresh Asian Market on the corner of Clarence Avenue and 12th Street E. was the bilingual signage – and a very small section dedicated to “Canadian” food. The rest of the store holds Chinese specialties and standbys. It’s not just canned goods and packages either. There’s an in-store bakery, butcher, and Chinese pharmacy, as well as fresh produce.

I met Sheri Imbach, who works for Three Farmers, at the Rinnovo Dinner at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market. She’s a keen cook who obviously loves to try her hand at a wide range of different dishes. She was so enthusiastic about the Asian Market.

She says, “I love all the amazing items such as the Honey Buns, Coconut Buns, Red Bean Paste Buns (my favorite). Party in my mouth! They have a butcher on site who cuts the thickest pieces of Pork Belly #spoiled. I love to purchase items for making Pho' or purchasing items like Gyoza, Siu Mai, and Lap Cheong (Chinese Sausage). The produce is great as well. I love the experience and the staff.”

Sheri thinks everyone should try one of the bakery items, so I had a Pineapple Bun and really enjoyed it (soft, sweet white bread is my idea of comfort food).

Sheri recommends that vegetarians try some of the rice noodles and soup bases. She makes vegetarian ‘pho with Kai-lan (Chinese broccoli), bean sprouts, and tofu with chili flakes. “They sell these amazing chili flakes in a jar that I add to everything,” she says.

I was fascinated by the wide variety of herbs and spices.

Honeysuckle can be used medicinally to get rid of a bad cough or to clear away toxic substances.

Dried lotus seeds can be used in a wide variety of ways. They can be popped and eaten like popcorn or used to treat insomnia.

I really want to try cooking with Jackfruit, and I’d like to try the Saba cooking bananas and the Calamansi fruit.

According to an article I read, Taiwan Pickled Seeds “are rarely available fresh outside of Southeast Asia. There they are known, loved, and used in ever so many ways.”

I definitely recommend visiting the Super Fresh Asian Market (516 Clarence Avenue South). As Sheri says, it’s almost as good as a trip to Vancouver!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Flavourful Saskatoon, June 23, 2014

"The beet is the most intense of vegetables … The beet is the melancholy vegetable, the one most willing to suffer. You can't squeeze blood out of a turnip." (Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume) 

Michelle Zimmer, Wild Serendipity Foods, is now offering onigiri in a variety of flavours. They're perfect summer picnic food as they're easy to transport and eat with your fingers. Tasty too.

Now, if someone could start offering us some summer weather, we’d be all set.

Night Market, July 3
The Saskatoon Farmers’ Market will be holding their next Thursday Night Market from 4:30-9 pm on July 3. Living Sky Winery, Prairie Sun Brewery, and Last Mountain Distillery will set up an outdoor bar area under the pavilion.

Desi Dhaba Restaurant 
I’ve seen a good review of Desi Dhaba Restaurant in Riversdale (325 Avenue C South). If you’ve been, please let me know what you think. I believe that the East Indian restaurant was previously located in Dundurn and has now moved to Saskatoon.

Fresh ‘n Local 
Curtis Coleman and Jasmin Fookes are planning to relaunch Fresh ‘n Local in Fall 2014. They plan to offer a weekly home delivery service of sustainably produced food (Saskatchewan as much as possible). You can help them out by completing their short survey.

Nokomis Craft Ales 
Nokomis Craft Ales will start selling their beer at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market later this summer.

Temperance Brewing Co-operative
I'm eager to learn more about Temperance Brewing Co-operative. If you're in the know, please share the information.

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).

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Mountain Mercato, Canmore

“I don’t design clothes, I design dreams.” Ralph Lauren 

Mountain Mercato Specialty Food Market in Canmore, Alberta, is an absolutely fabulous store. I wandered up and down the aisles, intrigued by all the different products. But as I looked, I began to wonder. Was I excited about the products – or their packaging?

Is olive oil in a fancy pottery container or box more interesting than olive oil in a glass bottle?

Is bottled water more desirable in a fancy container?

Do I want to taste these biscuits, or just admire the butterflies and flowers?

I definitely covet these Italian tins more than I want to munch on the biscuits.

Is salt in a blue pottery container from Ibiza more flavourful than ordinary table salt?

Will maple syrup taste better when it's poured from a wine bottle?

I would have loved to purchase a jar of ice cream. It looked homemade rather than the product of a factory production line. Of course, they made sure I thought that way by labelling it as "homemade ice cream."

Am I more likely to buy a chocolate bar with a French name and a picture of a pig or one that is unusually tall and narrow? Will people think I'm a "smooth operator" if I eat the bar with that name?

Is it the name that intrigues me and makes me want to buy One Mean Mustard or a Knickerbocker Glory chocolate bar?

If you’re in Canmore, be sure to visit Mountain Mercato. And let me know what you purchased – the product or the package?

For more of my ideas on marketing food and drink, check out my Slideshare presentation on Seasoning Your Brand of Food and Wine.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Flavourful Saskatoon, June 9, 2014

Rhubarb Spiked Italian Solstice Dinner, June 21 
The Saskatoon Farmers’ Market and Chef Jenni invite you to a Solstice Dinner at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market on June 21. This is a seasonal, market-sourced dinner with wine pairings. A vegetarian second is available.

Beer and Food Trucks 
Saskatoon will have at least 7 food trucks this summer, but they’re not always easy to find. Prairie Sun Brewery is lining up a regular schedule of food truck visits for lunch and supper. What could be nicer? Beer on the patio with an ever-changing assortment of food on offer – sounds pretty good to me.

Vegan Beer 
Rebellion Brewing Co. will be opening a taproom with a limited food menu in Regina in Fall 2014. One of their key selling points is that they will offer vegan and gluten-free beer. (A beer is not vegan if the brewer uses something like isinglass [dried swim bladders of fish] to filter their beer.)

Out of curiosity, I asked Prairie Sun Brewery if their beer was vegan and it is. They don’t filter most of their beers, and if they do, they use a vegan filter.

Paddock Brewing Co. says that most of their bottled beers are filtered - using vegan-approved filters. They also explained that some non-filtered beers use isinglass, but they don't.

It's good to know that our local craft beers can be enjoyed by vegans.

Garlic Guru Pizza 
I had lunch at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market this week and really enjoyed my spinach, leek and mushroom pizza from the Garlic Guru. The crust was nice and crunchy and the hummus spread added lots of flavour.

Secrets of a Hutterite Kitchen
I strongly recommend reading Secrets of a Hutterite Kitchen: Unveiling the Rituals, Traditions, and Food of the Hutterite Culture by Mary-Ann Kirkby. It’s a fascinating inside look at communal living, with a focus on communal cooking. The book follows a head cook as she plans and prepares food for her community, including celebrations, funerals, and other large events.

National Food Strategy
The federal NDP have developed a national food strategy that emphasizes improving access to healthy and affordable food. It also looks at major agriculture issues and industry challenges.

Afro-Vegan Cookbook 
The Afro-Vegan cookbook by Bryant Terry is sure to add some new flavours to your culinary repertoire. The author has compiled recipes from the African diaspora so you’ll find everything from Jamaican patties to sweet pickled watermelon rinds and jalapenos, not to mention maple-glazed banana johnnycakes and gunpowder lemonade.

Not only will you acquire some new recipes, but you’ll also discover some new music and books as Bryant Terry pairs the recipes with a soundtrack and books.

Hitting the Road 
I’m heading off to the mountains to spend a few days exploring Canmore and Banff. I haven’t been in that area for years and years, so I’m really looking forward to it. I won’t be publishing Flavourful Saskatoon next week, but it will be back again on June 23.

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, June 5, 2014

ACO Multimedia: An International Perspective on Food Photography

“I want to take pictures to show people what they’re missing. We don’t see any more.”

The Art of Hotel Management
As a teenager in Mexico City, Alberto Cortés was surrounded by art. He grew up in Coyoacán, one of Mexico City’s oldest neighbourhoods, just a few blocks from Frida Kahlo’s house. There was beautiful architecture, street performers, small cafes, and restaurants.

Alberto loved to draw and told his parents that he wanted to be an artist, but they advised against it, saying he wouldn’t be able to make a living. His next thought was to become an architect, but his friends said there were already too many. Eventually, he decided to take a course in hotel management as he liked architecture and food: “I love looking at nice food, and Mexican food is so colourful.”

Alberto has now spent almost 30 years in hotel management in 8 to 10 different cities. He has always had a camera in hand, taking shots around the hotels of food, art, and flowers. His love of art intensified when he did some consulting work that involved menu designs (photographs and drawings). He also worked for Encyclopedia Brittanica on the pages with illustrations in Mexico’s Book of the Year.

Desktop publishing gave him the opportunity to “paint with his computer,” and he loved it. And his drawing skills might be rusty, but he could take photographs.

Turning Point
When Alberto turned 50, he decided it was time to start a photography business and do what he really liked doing. “I want to be able to use my heart and brains and hands,” he explains.

Alberto has chosen to focus his attention on commercial photography in order to provide excellent service in a few select areas rather than trying to do everything. ACO Multimedia specializes in food, architecture, and flower photography.

“I want to showcase real food coming from the kitchen – food you can actually eat,” he says. If possible, he will use natural light. “I don’t want to show fake food, glistening with oil. It has to look like it will when it’s served to customers.”

Alberto also produces short timelapse videos to illustrate the process of cooking, or an event in progress, or a house being built. Customers will be able to post them on their websites, Alberto explains.

Alberto also offers 360 degree photos, mainly for selling houses, which can be in the form of a video or a tour.

Examples of Alberto’s work can be found on ACO Multimedia’s website and Facebook page.

Like Father, Like Son
“Disney is the best,” Alberto says, and he has copies of all the Disney movies. His son, Antonio, started watching them when he was less than 3 years old. He would run to fetch a pencil and paper so he could draw while he watched. Antonio is now producing animated movies and has his own YouTube account.

“He’s only 16. His movies are amazing for his age,” Alberto exclaims. “Nobody trained him.”

5 Quick Tips for Food Photography
“Food dishes are beautiful. I want people to really look at them before they start eating.”

Here are some helpful tips from Alberto to help you improve your food photography.

1. Put your favorite dish in the best light setting you can.
2. Try out different angles and select the best angle for that particular dish.
3. Focus your camera on your point of interest (the entire dish or one specific area).
4. Select the proper camera settings (aperture, time and ISO).
5. Take the picture and.... enjoy your dish!

Of course, you could go one step further and hire Alberto! Let him know that you follow Wanderlust and Words, and you’ll be eligible for a discount in June and July of 2014.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Flavourful Saskatoon, June 2, 2014

Odd Couple Restaurant
Saskatoon’s newest restaurant, the Odd Couple Restaurant, is now open at 228 20th Street West.Riversdale has traditionally been the place to go for good Chinese food, but the Odd Couple restaurant takes it up a notch with classy décor, fresh and unusual ingredients, and beautiful presentation.

I enjoyed a heaping serving of Chinese Seasonal Greens with a glass of Australian Rosé. I’ll definitely be back to try out some of their other vegetarian/vegan dishes.

Earthbound Bakery Deli Items
If you enjoyed the salads from Saskatoon Sous Chef, you’ll be happy to know that Mary Ann is now preparing soups, salads and spreads for sale at Earth Bound Bakery.

Market Vendors
Ecobain Gardens is now selling their micro greens at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market. You’ll find radish sprouts, mixed brassica, speckled pea sprouts, mustard greens and more.

Cake Witch Café and Blazing Star Wildflower Seed Company can be found around the corner from the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market in the River Landing international craft market.

Blazing Star has heirloom pepper and watermelon plants in addition to wildflowers.

Saskatchewan Farmers' Markets
The Swift Current & District Farmers’ Market opens June 14 and  is expanding with more vendors than last year.

The Christopher Lake Farmers’ Market is open from 8 am to noon every Saturday until the September long weekend in the Christopher Lake School parking lot. Don’t miss the Mexican dishes from Fiesta Mexicana.

You’ll find lots more markets around the province on the Saskatchewan Farmers Market Cooperative website. Let me know which ones are your favorites.

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).