The Wooden Spoon Brunch & Bistro Co.

We decided to check out The Wooden Spoon for breakfast and then the White Rock Farmer’s Market. I needed something a little lighter and healthier so I choose the granola with spicy sausage bangers. The fruit was fresh, but the parfait was pretty average. The sausage had kick, but was a little dry. I liked the coffee, served in a french press. Hubby enjoyed his Wooden Spoon poutine. I had a taste and found the flavours satisfying, but a tad on the greasy side.  Service was really attentive to start, but faded as they got busier and when we tried to get the bill. They are definitely creative with their brunch items, if I am in town again. I might return.

Granola Parfait  House roasted granola served over Greek yogurt topped with Fraser Valley honey, and fresh fruit Spicy sausage bangers

Granola Parfait
House roasted granola served over Greek yogurt topped with Fraser Valley honey, and fresh fruit
Spicy sausage bangers

Wooden Spoon Poutine Spicy house ground sausage, sauteed sweet peppers, caramelized onions, cheese curds, topped with two poached eggs and hollandaise

Wooden Spoon Poutine
Spicy house ground sausage, sauteed sweet peppers, caramelized onions, cheese curds, topped with two poached eggs and hollandaise

The Wooden Spoon Brunch and Bistro Co. on Urbanspoon

Five Corners Cafe

I was in White Rock a couple of weekends ago, visiting friends. We were looking for breakfast and decided to try Five Corners Cafe. I loved it. This is a fifties style diner which hasn’t changed. They had old cameras (I mean really old), photos and other knick knacks on display.

The food is traditional diner food. I had to try the full Irish breakfast. I’ve had a real full English breakfast, but not an Irish one. It was so big that I shared it with my friend. You know their portions are generous when there are half servings available for some menu items.

My Irish breakfast from L-R: baked beans, scrambled eggs, tomato, white pudding, ham, black pudding, sausage, potato cake and soda bread. It was delicious. The black pudding is pork blood and oatmeal. White pudding is oatmeal and suet. Both tasted pretty good. The service was friendly and the place is popular on a Saturday morning.

Full Irish Breakfast

Full Irish Breakfast

Five Corners Café on Urbanspoon


Tandoori Chicken Pizza

I’ve always wanted to try making pizza on the grill. I just needed an excuse to do it.  Today is the day, a beautiful bluebird 27C day and a preference not to turn on the oven.

I defrosted the leftovers from my last pizza party – one piece of dough, caramelized onions and tandoori chicken. Prep the chicken, onions, and mayo before grilling.

Tandoori Chicken

This recipe is adapted from the book Simply More Indian by Tahera Rawji. It is actually part of the butter chicken recipe, but I omitted the sauce ingredients and adapted the instructions.

2 lb boneless chicken pieces
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp tumeric
1 tbs tandoori powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 tbs ghee or oil
1/4 C crispy fried onions (buy at an Indian grocer)
1 C warm water

Cut the chicken into 1 inch cubes. Combine the ginger and garlic pastes, chili powder, tumeric, tandoori powder and salt. Toss this mixture with the chicken in a plastic bag and let sit for 30 minutes in the fridge.

In a large, deep, saucepan (dutch oven works well), melt the ghee over medium high heat. Add the crispy fried onions and the chicken. Saute the chicken until browned, about 5-8 minutes. Add the warm water and simmer for 15 minutes, until the chicken is tender. Let the chicken cool, and pour into a strainer to remove any excess liquid. This will make more than enough for one pizza. I suggest freezing the remainder.

Caramelized Onions

I love caramelized onions and usually double or triple the recipe to save for other uses.

Slice a large yellow onion into 1/2 inch rings. In a heavy bottomed pan, (Dutch oven is great), heat 1/4C oil suitable for high heat such as ghee or grapeseed oil.  Saute the onions on medium until they turn golden brown. This may take at least 20 minutes. Take off heat and cool.

Mango Chutney

I cheated and used some store bough Patak’s chutney. I used about 1/2 the 250 ml jar.

Curry Mayo

2 tbs plain yogurt
1 tbs mayonnaise
1 tsp curry powder, to taste

Mix all three ingredients together. The colour should be a slight tinge of yellow. Add more curry powder to taste.

Pizza Dough

Use whichever pizza dough recipe suits your fancy. I froze my dough before proofing, so I let it sit on the counter in a large zipper bag for an hour.

I stretched it out, and it was round when it hit the cookie sheet. I basted olive oil on the top and tried to pick it up and put it on the grill. Unfortunately, it stretched and turned into sort of an oval. The temp was less than 500F but I had to reduce the cooking time as it was already starting to brown. The olive oil and the grill marks make for a satisfyingly crisp crust. Next time I will just do flatbreads using the pizza crust. So good! Or maybe naan…

Back to the recipe. After the first flip, I slathered on the chutney, followed by the chicken, and then the caramelized onions. Do not put on the mayo!

I followed the instructions from The Kitchn for grilling.

After taking it off the grill and cutting for serving, top off with the curry mayo to your own taste. Delicious!

Tandoori chicken pizza on the grill

Tandoori chicken pizza on the grill

Served with curry mayo

Served with curry mayo





CSA Delivery #1

It’s that time of year again, fresh veggies from the farm. I’ve signed up with Eagle Creek Farms going on three years now. I never tire of freshly picked vegetables. This week we have: arugula, mixed greens, spinach, parsley, pea shoots, green garlic, strawberries and some kohlrabi plants. I am a reluctant gardener; I still have a basil plant from a couple years ago that’s going strong. Last year’s Thai basil had to be thrown out due to insect infestation. :-(

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La Vita E Bella

I like a little fusion with my Italian; it keeps things interesting. On a Thursday night, the place was just about empty. Given that, parking was still a challenge. Avoid the $15 Stampede lots south of the restaurant. Instead, as advertised on their webpage, try NW of the location around 10th Ave. We parked just down the street from Village Ice Cream. Convenient dessert.

I like the decor. It is in an historical building, called the Dafoe Terrace, built in 1910. The interior is cozy with a modern touch.

I started with the minestrone. It came out piping hot. I had to give it a moment to cool before I wet my whistle. It was fresh tasting and had a rich tomato flavor. I ordered the Nero linguine for my main. I was surprised that the pasta was made from squid ink. It was piping hot like the previous dish and delightful. The seafood was cooked to a turn; the scallops and prawns were still juicy. Hubby enjoyed his gnocchi.

The service was top notch and quick. Definitely worth a return visit.

NERO LINGUINI scallops, prawns, mussels, tomato, onion, garlic, basil, tomato sauce

scallops, prawns, mussels, tomato, onion, garlic, basil, tomato sauce

GNOCCHI house made ricotta and potato gnocchi, double smoked bacon, red onion, tomato, basil, red chili, tomato sauce

house made ricotta and potato gnocchi, double smoked bacon,
red onion, tomato, basil, red chili, tomato sauce

La Vita E Bella on Urbanspoon

Sabroso Restaurant

This restaurant has been on my wishlist as I was curious about it. Curiosity has been more than satisfied. I realize that large groups perhaps are not the appropriate setting for spectacular service, but ours could really use some improvement. We had at least 20 people in our party. The evening started out good; our server was on top of our drink orders. Unfortunately, as the evening progressed, the restaurant filled and our service got progressively worse. It wouldn’t have been so bad, except we were stuck with a mandatory 18% gratuity for large groups. No incentive for good service. Amongst the faux pas: the doneness of hubby’s steak was incorrect, the server mixed up a couple of the orders, and was slow in general.

The food was for the most part, average. Many who ordered steaks had the incorrect doneness. My beef skewers were dry. The salad and shrimp I had weren’t bad and the dessert was the highlight for me.

The overall volume was loud; even before the live band started playing. Halfway through our speeches, they finally turned the music down.

I was so busy socializing that I forgot to take pictures, except for the dessert. Sorry guys, there will be no next time.

 Milhojas con Arequipe  Dulce de Leche Custard/ Mille-Feuille

Milhojas con Arequipe
Dulce de Leche Custard/ Mille-Feuille

Sabroso Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Spirit of Calgary – Part 2

Foodisms of The Office Broccoli:

Continuing with my look back, rolling up my sleeves in Bowness and Sunnyside.

Originally posted on Eat Your Broccoli!:

Well Calgary, you have impressed me again. I’ve just finished the two days of the best volunteer experiences in my lifetime.

This morning, my new friend Penny picked me up and we headed back to Bowness. We got our assignment at the Sportsplex and headed to the address. The homeowner was not around so we went down the street in search of opportunity.  We found Joanne, who was emptying her basement. She had a lot of help already, but appreciated the extra hands.  I finally got the chance to get dirty! I got to muck a basement. There was a few inches of water down there. The water went past the ceiling and into the first floor. As a result, the drywall came off really easily, but was heavy due to being waterlogged. We shoved the mess out the basement window. It was quite the experience.

I returned home with…

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Thai Pork Burgers

This is a recipe that I’ve been meaning to post for some time, and have finally gotten around to it. The burgers come out nice and moist. It is a summer staple on my grill.  You can’t have just one!

Thai Pork Burgers

1 lb ground pork, regular not lean
1 heaping tsp pureed ginger
1 heaping tsp pureed garlic
2 tbs fish sauce
1 tsp shrimp paste
1 egg, beaten
1 tbs or more to taste Dried Thai basil
1 tbs or more to taste chopped fresh or dried cilantro
Handful bread crumbs for consistency
Dash black pepper

Combine all ingredients except for bread crumbs. Add bread crumbs just enough to get the mixture to hold together. Use ¼-1/3 cup to make large meatballs. Slightly squish onto cookie sheet. The burgers should be slider size. Ensure the burgers are at room temperature before heating; otherwise they will stick. Preheat grill on high. Grill for 5 minutes at 350F, flip and grill for another 6 min.

Serve with your choice of dinner roll. They are the perfect slider size. I served them with flax seed buns as pictured below. It doesn’t need condiments, but a dab of sriracha, or sweet chili sauce will liven it up. Ketchup, relish and grainy mustard are all good too.

Slider sized burgs

Slider sized burgs

Slider with strawberries, blueberries and spring greens with chili balsamic dressing

Slider with strawberries, blueberries and spring greens with chili balasmic dressing

Spirit of Calgary – Neighbor Day

One year after the day the floods struck Calgary, June 21 has been declared Neighbour Day by Mayor Nenshi.  It is a day to celebrate and get to know your neighbours. For those flood stricken neighborhoods, a day to thank the volunteers properly. I chose to go to the Bowness Boots and Hearts celebration because I spent two full days volunteering there. I was also invited to a party by my coworker, who was away in Europe while volunteers cleaned out his basement.

I got off the bus, near where it used to be Mary’s corner store. The irony is that, the store is now torn down and a new house is going up next to it. But the lot for the store sits empty. I headed towards Bow Crescent where it was ground zero for the flood in that community. Streets were blocked off and a private security guard was manning each blockade. A little extreme perhaps, for the mood of the day? Compare that to police manning blockades a year ago and first responders everywhere.

I walked a few blocks on the crescent, just to take in the festivities. Every house had signage, of which many were large bristol board hearts, with messages of thanks and positivity on them. Nearly every second house had free food on the table for passers by. Ironically, there was a similar situation last year. There were signs on the properties, indicating no power, help needed, or thanking volunteers. The food stands then were run by the volunteers. The roads were closed then.

I kept all the addresses I helped out at, meaning to get to each of them. I only got to one, and the homeowner remembered me! It was a surreal moment. I signed her sign that she hung on her garage door. She is doing well, but has not rebuilt her basement.

I didn’t get as far as the stage, or the park set up for family fun day. I did stop by on Bowwater Crescent to talk to a gentleman with signs on his lawn handing out ice cream. I took up on his offer of an ice cold treat and listened to his story. This truly what today is all about, recalling the stories of last year and seeing how people have moved on with their lives. And thanking the volunteers.

I finally arrived at my coworkers house. There were already a few people there, all of whom I work with. It was a small gathering, but there was plenty of food. Plenty of stories and friendship. This is what I came for.

Calgary, yet again you have impressed me. I am a proud to be a citizen of this fine city.

Bowness wears its heart on its fence.

Bowness wears its heart on its fence.

Crowds on Bow Crescent

Crowds on Bow Crescent

Thank you and love you volunteers!

Thank you and love you volunteers!

Love the custom no parking signs!

Love the custom no parking signs!

Crowds on Bow Crescent

Crowds on Bow Crescent

Do not give up, the beginning is always the hardest.  Home is where the heart is. Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.

Do not give up, the beginning is always the hardest.
Home is where the heart is.
Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.