Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Food Treasures Galore at the Riversdale Delicatessen

If you love good food and quality ingredients, I hope you’ve already discovered the Riversdale Delicatessen. And if you haven’t, you’re in for a treat.

On one side of the large, light-filled space are the dried goods. Don’t miss the Rozendal vinegar from South Africa, the olive oils from Portugal and the San Marzano tomatoes from Italy.

The delicatessen’s goal is to provide the best quality ingredients possible – wherever they come from. So alongside the imported goods are carrots and beets from Wally’s Urban Market, fresh greens and tomatoes from Floating Gardens, and garlic from Meadowlark Farm. Three Farmers camelina oil is alongside the European olive oils. The Happy Days goat milk yogurt and cheese are from British Columbia. The fair trade Galerie au Chocolat products are from Montreal.

Organic air-dried PastaJesce sits alongside the largest line-up of gluten-free pasta in Saskatoon, including a buckwheat pasta for people who also have corn allergies.

On the other side of the room is a cooler with an amazing selection of cheese (7 kinds of pecorino) and charcuterie (Chef Darby gets very excited when he starts talking about the jamón iberico).


And please don’t leave without picking up a container of olives. They’re amazing.

Travel & Experience 
The staff at Riversdale Deli are friendly, knowledgeable and well travelled. Before returning to Saskatoon, Chef Darby Kells worked under an Italian chef in a French restaurant. Maxine Panchuk, the general manager, is just back from trekking in Myanmar. Cook Sarah Slind has lots of experience with Spanish tapas and cuisine.

The staff share a love of good food. “I want to have fun with my food so that people can have fun with it at home,” Chef Darby says. He is looking forward to hosting regular food demonstrations to showcase the deli’s products.

Chef Darby recently offered tips on how to cook risotto while handing out samples of a wonderful one he’d made with porcini mushrooms, white truffle oil and black truffle paste. All the ingredients are available at the Deli so you can make your own at home.

The Deli is also teaming up with Doug Reichel of Fine Wines Sask to host wine and cheese tastings. There will be a meat and beer tasting on November 29.

Over-Indulgent Sandwiches 
While you’re at the Deli, you have to try one of their sandwiches. These are thick, messy sandwiches that are full of fresh produce. Chef Darby describes them as “over-indulgent sandwiches” and says they’re his version of comfort food.

The bread is baked fresh every day from Chef Darby’s own recipe. “I sat on the phone with former colleagues from Calgary for about an hour to brainstorm the recipe,” he says. “We have a small kitchen and limited oven space. We have to be very organized or the bread will over proof.”

The sandwich options change frequently, and there is always a vegetarian option. The current Eggplant Caponata combines mushroom, carrot, eggplant, onion, tomato, greens and paprika-dusted popcorn. “I like to keep it different,” Sarah says. “Sometimes vegetarian sandwiches have no texture.”

Sandwiches are made to order until 3 o’clock. A limited number of grab and go sandwiches are available after that time.

 In addition to sandwiches, there are soups, salads (creative combinations such as cantaloupe, mint and cocktail tomatoes) and charcuterie plates.

Cappana Pizzeria 
Around the corner from the deli, a dusty space is rapidly being transformed into a 30-seat pizzeria with an Italian-style Remco pizza oven that will be the second of its kind in Canada.

Using the Deli’s top-quality ingredients, Chef Darby will prepare 5 different kinds of thin crust pizza, including margarita and wild mushroom with truffle. There will also be appetizers: arancini balls, caprese salad, and traditional Caesar salad.

Chef Darby expects Cappana Pizzeria (“cappana” is Italian for “hut”) to open in December.

Business Partners
Chef Darby says that they were fortunate to obtain their space and lock in the rent quickly as business is booming on 20th Street. He’s also fortunate to have engaged business partners.

Matt McIssac is a sports medicine doctor with a passion for snowboarding, biking, great wine, and cheese. He was the first to see the dream and help bring it to reality. Two additional investors, Brad Selk and Chris Almond, later joined the team.

Six months after putting together a business plan, they had the keys to the building on 20th Street and renovations were underway. There is a strong sense of ownership as the business partners did a lot of the work themselves, helped out by family members such as Matt’s dad, a local veterinarian.

Riversdale Delicatessen is located at the corner of 20th Street and Idylwyld Drive. They are open from 10 am to 8 pm, Monday to Friday, and from 9 am to 7 pm on Saturdays. They’re closed on Sundays and holidays.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Flavourful Saskatoon, November 24, 2014

Christie's Bakery

Slow Food Salon, Nov. 30 
Slow Food Saskatoon is hosting a Slow Food Salon from 1-2:30 pm, Nov. 30, at the Agriculture Greenhouse (45 Innovation Blvd, across from the Synchrotron). Doug Waterer will introduce the U of S Vegetable Research Program, which provides commercial and hobby producers with information on production, handling and marketing of horticultural crops.

Riversdale Rumblings 
Riversdale Deli now has house-made mustard for sale.

Drift Sidewalk Café has a business license. I’m looking forward to the cafe/creperie opening on 19th Street (next to Escape Sports).

Thrive Juice Co. will be opening a store on 20th Street in January.

Saskatoon Food Council 
Gord Enns, Executive Director, Saskatoon Food Council, recently attended the annual meeting of Food Secure Canada. He will be part of a cross-Canada group that will be developing material for the upcoming election to ensure that MPs are aware of the importance of good food policies. Contact Gord if you would like more information.

Christie's Bakery

Brazil’s Dietary Guidelines 
Brazil has issued draft dietary guidelines (translated by Marion Nestle) that are refreshingly straight-forward:

1. Prepare meals from staple and fresh foods.
2. Use oils, fats, sugar and salt in moderation.
3. Limit consumption of ready-to-consume food and drink products
4. Eat regular meals, paying attention, and in appropriate environments.
5. Eat in company whenever possible.
6. Buy food at places that offer varieties of fresh foods. Avoid those that mainly sell products ready for consumption.
7. Develop, practice, share and enjoy your skills in food preparation and cooking.
8. Plan your time to give meals and eating proper time and space.
9. When you eat out, choose restaurants that serve freshly made dishes and meals. Avoid fast food chains.
10. Be critical of the commercial advertisement of food products.

How Much Arsenic is in your Rice? 
Depending on where they are grown, some types of rice contain much higher levels of inorganic arsenic than others. Rice from California, India and Pakistan have some of the lowest levels of arsenic. Inorganic arsenic is introduced into the water and soil through pesticides and drugs injected into animal feeds. Children are the most vulnerable and should only eat limited quantities. It makes no difference if the rice is organic or non-organic.

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, November 17, 2014

Flavourful Saskatoon, Nov. 17, 2014

The Grazing Goat
I enjoyed my lunch at The Grazing Goat on 20th Street this past week. The falafel wrap included lots of fresh greens and halved cherry tomatoes as well as a cucumber-rich tzatziki, and the truffle fries are addictive. The restaurant is spacious with lots of room between tables so that you can have a private conversation.

I compared the lunch and supper menus and there are more vegetarian options at lunchtime.

Night Oven Updates
I mentioned last week that The Night Oven Bakery is now selling bialys (like a bagel but baked not boiled). Bryn Rawylyk tells me that he is always researching recipes that will take advantage of the full range of heat produced by his wood oven. Bialys and pretzels can go in when the oven is really hot, while bread goes in a bit later.

I thought that canelés (small custardy pastries) were always sweet, but apparently not. Bryn occasionally makes a savory version – you can try it out at Flock and Gather’s upcoming craft sale, Dec. 5 and 6. And if you’re in New York City, Canele by Celine sells only canelés, including parmesan and basil.

Judging the Best Baguette 
In my opinion, it’s hard to beat a soft, creamy cheese and a good baguette. But how do you define a good baguette? I like a crisp, crusty exterior and a chewy crumb.

Much as I love whole wheat bread, I have yet to try a whole wheat baguette that can compete with a white one. They may be a high-quality bread, but they lack the crust and the chew that I'm looking for in a baguette. Plus, whole wheat baguettes, by their very nature, have too much flavour (that surprised me; perhaps I don’t want the taste of the wheat to compete with the taste of the cheese).

In Paris, there’s an annual competition to judge the best baguette and here’s an article about trying to identify the best baguettes in New York City.

10 Fantastic Food Markets
If I had a bucket list, it would probably include visits to all the world’s top food markets. The Food Tank highlights 10 of the best. I’ve been to the Borough Market in London and La Boqueria in Barcelona, and they’re both fabulous.

Homemade Xmas Gift Ideas
If you prefer to bake rather than buy your Christmas gifts, here are a few ideas:

Northern Light Orchards shared a recipe for Haskap Maple Whiskey Jam

The Guardian newspaper has recipes for Blue Cheese Poppyseed Biscuits and Hazelnut and Dried Blueberry Chocolate Loaf.

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, November 13, 2014

Inglewood, Calgary

The Inglewood neighbourhood, just a few blocks from downtown Calgary is a world away from the towers and franchised stores. In just a few short blocks, there's an interesting combination of independent food and art/design stores.

I started my neighbourhood visit at Choklat where you're invited to design your own chocolate. This was new to me and I had a hard time selecting the “perfect” combination of centre, dip and coating. This is a bean-to-bar chocolate store – no ready-made ingredients here.

Silk Road Spice Merchant is in a wonderful old building with a pressed-tin ceiling. You could spend hours sniffing and sampling all their spices. Presentation, product and service are first class. If you just want a small amount, they’ll weigh it out and put it in a small bag for you so you can try something new without spending a fortune.

I had lunch at one of Wild Grainz Artisan Bakery’s outdoor tables (there is lots of outdoor seating all the way along 9th Avenue). They use local ingredients, no preservatives and traditional techniques. A sign on the wall proudly announces that all their breads take 3 days to make.

Bite is a large, quality food store, a combination of health food store, delicatessen and restaurant (and there’s a wine bar just outside). It was so much fun looking at all the products and I bought a wonderful Wisconsin cheese that had been aged in balsamic vinegar.

I was more than happy to discover Tea Trader and went home with a new variety of oolong.

I had great fun wandering around one store with upcycled furniture and household items, but I’m afraid I can’t remember its name.

See also:
Market on MacLeod, Calgary

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Market on MacLeod, Calgary

I had less than a week in Calgary in October, but I made sure I visited at least one of their markets.

The Market on MacLeod is, I believe, relatively new. And it’s super convenient, even for pedestrians, as it’s only two blocks from the Heritage LRT station.

You enter via a seating area, so I wondered if the market was primarily a food court, but that wasn’t the case. There were certainly lots of vendors selling hot lunches, but they were also selling frozen and take-out food.

There were also fruits and vegetables, dairy, cakes and chocolate.

Here are just a few things that caught my eye.

I loved the mini paletas (Mexican fruit bars) from Sabores, and I was even happier when I realized they were organic with 100% natural ingredients. I bought a slice of Mexican cake that was very good.

The stuffed olives from Angela’s Olives were spectacular. I had the Cadillac mix, which was stuffed with almonds and marinated with feta cheese and herbs.

The curries from A Touch of India (Dostana) were fabulous and there were lots of vegetarian options.

I also picked up a vegetarian taco pie from Simple Simon Pies. They offered samples of all their pies, which I really appreciated.

Sylvan Star Cheese is based in Red Deer, Alberta. I definitely recommend their Old Grizzly, an extra aged sharp gouda.

I recommend visiting the Market on MacLeod if you’re in Calgary.

See also: Inglewood, Calgary 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Flavourful Saskatoon, November 10, 2014

Coming later this week - two stories from Calgary

Tastings, Saskatoon Co-op Wine, Spirits, Beer
Here are two of the upcoming tastings at Saskatoon Co-op Wine, Spirits, Beer.
Nov. 13, 7 pm – Port wine tasting
Nov. 21, 7 pm – Orofino wine tasting with winemaker John Weber

Wine & Cheese Tasting, Nov. 15 
Riversdale Delicatessen is hosting a wine & cheese tasting with Doug Reichel, Fine Wines Sask, on November 15. Contact them quickly if you’re interested as tickets are selling fast.

Black Market Market, Nov. 30 
I just read about the Black Market Market on Nov. 30, and it sounds like fun. They describe it as “Berlin flea market meets Christmas market” and there will be treats from The Night Oven Bakery.

Did you catch my story about the 8 Street China Supermarket?

Choo-It Coffee
Choo-It is planning to roast coffee and make cold-brewed coffee. With cereal and coffee in their repertoire, it’s almost a complete breakfast.

Bialys Comes to Saskatoon
The Night Oven Bakery was selling bialys on Saturday. That was something new to me, so I googled it. Apparently bialys is not well known outside of New York City. It originated in Bialystok, Poland, and is similar to a bagel, but there’s no hole in the middle and it’s baked not boiled.

Gardening on Campus 
It’s great to read about university gardening projects. The article describes a CSA, a farm and nature preserve, and a couple of learning/teaching gardens.

What’s Your Favorite Cheese? 
Can our taste in cheese identify our personality? Who knows, but it’s a fun exercise.

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, November 6, 2014

8 Street China Supermarket

Adithya Ramachandran, Kaleidoscope Vegetable Gardens, sent me a message: “If you’re looking for vegan imitation meats, check out the Chinese grocery store on Louise Avenue. They have a freezer full of everything from beef to squid.”

Well, I had to check this out, and it’s true that the 8 Street China Supermarket has an amazing collection of imitation meats.

The Vegan Lemongrass Chicken is excellent. It’s in a spicy sauce that goes perfectly in a vegetable stir fry over rice. I’ve also purchased a package of Vegan Citrus Spareribs but haven’t tried it yet.

Adithya says the Vegan Lemon Chicken was too sweet for his tastes, but his wife is looking forward to trying out the Vegan Sea Cucumbers – she’s more adventurous than I am!

The store has lots of other interesting products. I’d like to try the Fresh Dried Guava and the Red Bean Jelly Ice Cream Bars. The Dumplings and Sesame Seed Cakes sound interesting too.

If you’re curious or looking for something different to try, I’d recommend visiting the 8 Street China Supermarket on Louise Avenue.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Flavourful Saskatoon, November 3, 2014

New at the Farmers’ Market 
Kaleidoscope Vegetable Gardens is selling chickpea microgreens. They are so cute – little feathery leaves – and full of flavour and texture. A great salad addition.

 I’m looking forward to trying the Lemon and Hemp Hearts chocolate – this month’s special from Those Girls at the Market.

New Products at Dad’s 
 I spotted a couple of new products at Dad’s Organic Market this week. There was a raw, vegan, organic CheeSauce from Rawfoodz as well as naturally fermented kraut and ginger carrots from Firefly Kitchens.

Earth Bound Bakery 
How could anyone resist the croissants at Earth Bound Bakery! The options change frequently, but this week I enjoyed a savoury croissant with squash, sage and cheese and a mango-raspberry-blueberry cheesecake croissant. Delicious.

Riversdale Deli Tastings 
I watched Chef Darby make wild mushroom risotto at Riversdale Deli this past Saturday. It was very tasty! He plans to hold regular tastings to introduce products and producers so I suggest you keep an eye on the Deli’s Facebook page.

My Saskatoon 
I met with Lauren Sekulich of My Saskatoon last week. My Saskatoon’s goal is to promote and share information about local businesses. You can find profiles of some local food establishments on their website.

Interesting Articles 
Egg-based products are a multi-billion dollar business – and that means there are an awful lot of penned-up chickens. Josh Tetrick decided to tackle the problem by creating a plant-based egg substitute. His mayonnaise is now on sale in places like Walmart and Safeway.

Year-end must be approaching. Here are predictions for the top 5 food crazes for 2015 – from ancient grains to cauliflower steaks.

Toshiba turned their semi-conductor factory into a salad farm. The packaging is pretty cool too.

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).