Perogie Perfection

perogiesI went out for a bowling extravaganza with my team from work last night – woo hoo!  And we had dinner at Swiss Chalet…I have a deadly cold so I didn’t feel like eating much so ordered the perogies they were maybe just okay…but they reminded me that my perogie post is long overdue.  Perogies are yum yum in my book.  I love potatoes any way you can cook ‘em, but this is definately one of my favourite was to cook ‘em. I have many a great family memory of my Aunt Cathy and I making perogies together, her trying to reminder the recipe her mother made when she was little, and I think we’ve got it as close as we can for now.  Now these little morsels of goodness do take some effort, but a lot less than you might expect.  In true consultant form I’ve right sized the recipe, but if you want to make enough for six or eight people I’ve included those volumes as well.  The key to this recipe is the sour cream in the dough.  It makes the dough harder to work with, but it will be worth the effort.  I’m giving them a dish it again n again rating!

 

Click here for the Recipe for Gayle’s Perogies

Happy Perogie making!

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Pet Peeve – hard poached eggs…sophies not so cosmic cafe…hmmm…

Sophie’s Cosmic Cafe
2095 4th Avenue West, Vancouver    V6J 1N3  
604.732.6810

 

Beautiful day in Vancouver s I hoped on my bicyclette and headed up to my favorite dive shop IDC (these guys rock) to check on my gear for tomorrow’s dive trip!  On the way back I stopped by Sophie’s Cosmic for a bite to eat.  I pondered for a while over the menu, wondering if I should test out my favorite eggs huevos rancheros, or try out the pancakes.  Since I am in pursuit of good Vancouver best pancakes I gave that a go and ordered the Kits breakfast, poached eggs (soft), no meat.  This breakfast was such a disappointment that I didn’t finish it…(I can’t even believe it cost 14$)   My eggs came hard…very hard, and hard poached eggs is a serious pet peeve of mine.  The pancakes were a great shape and color, but left a lot to be desired in the flavor department.  They also weren’t that hot when they arrived, and weren’t accompanied by any butter…how can you have pancakes without butter?  The rest of the food looks good, but I just don’t know if I’d come back to find out.  I’m giving Sophie’s my second Just Ok of the weekend…

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Just Ok BBQ in Yaletown

DIX Barbecue & Brewery
871 Beatty St, Vancouver, BC V6Z‎ – (604) 682-2739

 

In Yaletown this ‎Mircobrewery is a part of the Mark James Group of restaurants and you’ll realize it the moment you walk in the door.  The feeling there is very similar to the Yaletown Brewing Co.  Open space, big wooden tables, and rustic/casual décor.  When I went on a Friday afternoon for lunch the place was dead quiet.  But I was craving BBQ and figured if I could find good BBQ near me that’d be awesome.  However, I’m not giving it an awesome, instead I’ll give it a Just Ok (I think that is my first Just Ok in a long time).  I had the beef rib sandwich, which was good, but not great.  The meat was quite good, although a touch too much smokiness (it is a delicate balance perfected by few).  The mayo on the sandwich was the best part, and I don’t think the dill pickle was a good flavor match.  The soup with corn and chicken was only so-so, and the corn was definitely frozen, but I’m actually thinking maybe the soup had been frozen too.  The okra in the soup was flavorless and quite mushy…okra should not be mushy…or rather doesn’t taste good mushy.  I’ll keep looking for my BBQ joint in Vancouver, and I would maybe suggest going here if you have a really big rowdy crowd.

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“Like a Tea Tray in the Sky” – High Tea in Vancouver

Bacchus
845 Hornby Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6Z 1V1 
For Reservations: 604.608.5319

 

A great way to spend a hot summer afternoon or rainy one for that matter is high tea with your girlfriends, and there are several places in Vancouver that serve high tea. Annie and I were planning on going to the one at the Fish House, be we miscalculated the interference the Gay Pride Parade would play in that plan, and after an hour of trying to get there we abandoned our efforts and went to high tea at Bacchus.  Annie had already been, but it was my first time.  I’d say the tea sandwiches were just okay.  My favorites were the egg salad and the smoked salmon, but nothing too notable.  I grew up eating the most delightful tea sandwiches made by my great grandmother and her friends…colored bread, pinwheels, and interesting shapes, so perhaps the bar is too high.  The pastries were good, but the only remarkables were the Devonshire cream and the chocolate éclair.  The Pear Green Tea was dee-liocious!!  And the price point at $29.00 per person makes for a nice afternoon.  The seating at Bacchus is uber comfortable (Trivia: it appears uber isn’t a word, but I hope you understand what I mean).  I could have sat in one of those high back chairs all day!  I’ve had high tea at the Fairmont Banff Springs – it is excellent. 

 

If you have been to Bacchus for high tea share your rating below.  And if you have comments or suggestions on high-tea in general please share!  Not OKJust OKVery OKVery GoodGreat (1 votes, average: 3.00 out of 5)
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Bistro Marcel for lunch in Calgary

Bistro Marcel
Suite 110, 520 – 5th Avenue SW, Calgary, T2P 3R7
403.237.7993

 

If you are near the corner of 5th and 5th in Calgary SW you’ve got to try this place.  The pizza dough is really good, thick and yeasty, just the way I like it.  The Calzones are yummy, and the Souvlaki wraps are great as well.  The chicken satay sub is spicy and deliocious, on the best fresh roll!  I’m not a big fan of their salads, but the price is right on lunch for sure.  The downsides are sometimes you might wait a little longer than you want, the joint is in desperate need of a restaurant makeover so there is almost no seating and pizza oven just sitting in the middle of a restaurant like an old car parked out in someone’s lawn.  The folks that work there are like a sitcom in personalities, which makes the waiting a bit amusing.  The food is great and so are the prices.  Also they cater lunches and the pizza is great. Open for lunch Monday – Friday.   Thanks to John Lee for this suggestion…looking forward to going back soon!

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Julie & Julia a la Alyssa – Host a party for the movie release!

Alyssa hosted a splendid event of lunch and a movie for the Julie & Julia movie release.  A movie based on two books first Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen, by Julie Powell and the second My Life in France by Julie Child and Alex Prud’Homme.  Guests were invited to bring a bottle of French wine  (I brought a Beaujolais Villages wine) or a French cheese and Alyssa prepared a splendid feast from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking for lunch.  We started with stuffed mushroom caps, followed by vichyssoise (cold potato leek soup).  Then the cheese and bread course, and then the Pièce de résistance, Crab Quiche served with a tossed salad and homemade vinaigrette.  She made the quiche while we were there, so it came out of the oven warm and perfectly set for eating!  Everything was sooo delicious!  We finished our meal with a wonderfully fragrant French tea, and these delightful little French Macaroons.  For an amazing food blog and great collection of Macaroon recipes visit this site:  http://www.mytartelette.com/search/label/macarons.  It is the kind of blog that makes me realize I’m such a hack as a foodie and blogger – and wished I had the creative energy to produce something so splendid.  After lunch we all went to the cinema to catch the flick!

I recently read Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen and I enjoyed it for what it was.  An easy read, with a bit of sarcastic humor (which I always appreciate), by someone who seems a little more disgruntled with the world than perhaps her apparent lot in life affords.  She makes herself look bad by being harsh with and about her seemingly saintly husband, but she wrote it herself, so I think it is intended to be self deprecating humor.  Julie’s description of Julia’s Oeufs en Cocotte (you can find the recipe here) in the book is so appealing I’ve decided I have to make them…so as soon as I find the appropriate ramekins I’ll get those whipped up.  There were parts of her struggle in life reaching thirty and being childless I have to say I identified with.  And because I love food, I just enjoy books right now that get me thinking about it.  But because of the humor and writing style, I definitely appreciate the opinion of some of my friends that the book just wasn’t that good.  What I haven’t read yet, but would like to pick up is My Life in France.  I enjoyed that the movie combined the two books playfully such that I didn’t feel I was just re-experiencing the book.  Both of the stars did an exceptional job at bringing life to their characters on the big screen, although I would say some of the sharp edges of Julie’s character were  shaved off by the script and Amy Adam’s performance.  I will be shocked if Meryl Streep doesn’t get an Oscar nod for her outstanding characterization of Julia Child…if you don’t realize how marvelous it is, watch a clip of Julia Child on youtube…and you will be amazed.

Check out Alyssa’s post on the event!  http://wherearethekeys.wordpress.com/2009/08/10/french-food/

So bring together some girlfriends with a flavor of French food experience and watch Julie & Julia.

Share your comments on the book, the recipes, or the event below.

The way to a man’s heart and a smidgen of mine – My Papa and an early introduction to ginger

Recipe Featured: Rice Paper Tuna Rolls with Mango Ginger Dipping Sauce

tuna rollsMy Papa, my great grandfather on my mother’s side, was a generous and kind man.  By trade he was a Ford Mechanic, and most people who knew him tell me he had a knack for taking apart a car and putting it back together with less pieces than it came with.  He had his own shop which was central in our hometown and right next door my great grandmother, Nana, had a teashop where folks could hang their hat while waiting for their car to be repaired.  But by the time I was born those days were long behind my Papa, and his full time job as far as I could tell was telling me stories.  While perched atop his knee I sipped a Canada Dry Ginger Ale through a straw and figured out what splendid thing I would share with him that would cause him to open the large red glass candy jar next to his chair and offer me a candy.  There were only two occasions in my life when I was allowed to Ginger Ale (or any kind of pop), the first was as told here at my Papa’s house, and the second is when I was deathly ill with stomach flu, the former being my favourite.  Now ginger is not a fresh ingredient I was aware of until much later in life, and to be honest it wasn’t until I was introduced that I even realized ginger was a flavouring of plant origins.  I always thought it was something that those smart folks at Canada Dry created. However, now more enlightened, I think these early memories of ginger influenced it as one of my favourite flavours, and I enjoy it most in its natural form.  And to this day when I get sick the one thing that comforts me most is a glass of Ginger Ale.  There are many recipes for Ginger Ale, but my opinion Canada Dry has got that right, so why mess with a good thing. I’ve decided to come up with my own recipe that uses a bit of ginger in it.  Those moments with my Papa were such loving moments I feel true comfort remembering them.  I’m sure my Papa never had sushi, rice rolls, and I’m not even sure he would have had mango or avocado.  So what I’m sharing here is a truly evolutionary use of ginger for Papa’s little Port Dover girl.  

Click here for the Rice Paper Tuna Rolls with Ginger Mango Dipping Sauce.

Best fish n chips in Calgary?

James Joyce
114 8 Avenue Sw, Calgary, T2P 1B3
403.262.0708

 

So I’ve heard tell this is the best fish and chips in Calgary…but the jury is still out for me on this one, as it is the only james joycefish and chips I’ve had in Calgary.  And sometimes it has been pretty good, but it has also been pretty bad once, and it has never really been phenomenal for me.  There is haddock and halibut – one of them is frozen, one fresh.  I thought it was the Halibut that was fresh, but the stuff I had the other day tasted frozen…so just make sure you ask for what is fresh and make sure you eat that.  The fries are actually pretty yummy, and they’ve got some unhealthy but good appetizers.  I’ve had mixed experience with the service as well, last week was the worst service I’ve had in Calgary (and that means it was probably the worst service I’ve ever had).  Tough breaks for the James Joyce, because it is actually a good place to get together with a bunch of friends or coworkers, so that said I’ll probably go back.  But I’m going to try the Chowder House for fish and chips and see if it is better.

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