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What's with the lousy service in Calgary?

Yes, where was this? and when?

Oct 29, 2007
gourmethunter in Not About Food

Something blue...

I like the blue mashed potatoes idea, the purple potatoes are available in our farmers market right now. Blueberries, blue curaco(blue hawaiian drinks) and blue jello (jello salad anyone?) are the only totally blue "foods" I can think of...except for blue M&Ms (good in cookies but wouldn't make for a totally blue dish)

Good luck, let us know how it turns out :)

Oct 29, 2007
gourmethunter in Home Cooking

What did you cook today, and was it good?

goodhealthgourmet I'd be interested to know what you thought of Bear Naked? I bought the fruit and nut one recently and liked it but was considering making my own in the future... the price tag (and 200 cals for 1/3 cup) means I only ever put it on top of my yogurt.

Oct 29, 2007
gourmethunter in Home Cooking

Pancakes in a can?

I hadn't seen it until checking out the link on your post. My first thought was "OMgosh that just seems soooo wrong" followed by "come-on it's not THAT hard to make pancake batter" lol. Nevermind the fact that somehow they're certified organic? Wonders will never cease.

Oct 27, 2007
gourmethunter in General Topics

20 minute wait too long?

To me the 20 minute pacing is perfectly fine. I'm sure with a large party the pacing gets more complicated...what confuses me about the OP is: There were three courses, did everyone order all three or did some opt not to get the first?: "There were 3 courses, only 2 of us got the first (soup)..." If everyone ordered a first course and only two of how many were delivered then the resto is to blame. If no one else ordered a first course then the wait would certainly feel long but it wouldn't be the resto's fault...they'd have to wait til the two who ordered the soup were through with that course.

Based on the information provided I'd say the poster should be more than content with the $100 cert.

Oct 26, 2007
gourmethunter in Not About Food

Everyday luxuries?

The Bialetti I had was the Mukka Express (the model below the Moka)... and unlike the Moka it's aluminium but that wasn't an issue for me. No matter how careful I was to follow Bialetti's recommendations to say not to leave espresso on the threads of the top and bottom, or to screw it together tightly etc it usually failed...or I failed... Whether it was the machine or the operator, 8 time out of 10 tries it meant hot espresso sludge and grinds all over the stovetop. Big mess...and me without my caffeine...not a good combonation. I ended feeling like a complete moron taking it back to Williams Sonoma.

It may be that I have to check out the Moka instead since it looks like it's one of Bialetti's original espresso makers...I originally bought the Mukka with the intention of making my "everyday luxury" of an espresso drink (an Americano) at home, instead of paying someone else to make it for me. :)

Oct 26, 2007
gourmethunter in General Topics

What's with the lousy service in Calgary?

I'm sorry to hear you had a bad experience KevinB but I wouldn't tar all of Calgary with the same brush. As others have said, Calgary is certainly experiencing a labour shortage which is no excuse for bad service but it does somewhat explain why the server could perform so poorly and still have a job - particularly up at the airport which due to location alone probably doesn't attract the best of the best in serving staff.

Keep in mind that your coffee and your dinner were both provided by the Big Brother of chain restos: Cara Operations Limited is a Canadian company that provides catering services to airlines and operates several restaurant and coffee shop chains including: Harvey's, Swiss Chalet, Kelsey's , Milestones and Montana's. <<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cara_Ope...>>

Oct 26, 2007
gourmethunter in Not About Food

Foodie Weekend - A Calgary Report (Warning - long!)

"...high and low, urban and suburban is what i consider the essence of Calgary to be. We arent some fancy high fashion kind of city, and we arent some cowboy town either. There are many faces to Calgary, and you need to see a lot of it to appreciate the diversity, and how interesting it can be."

Very well said. I can't wait for the day Calgary isn't referred to as "Cowtown" because we are soooo much more than that name implies.

Thank you for the report yen! I love the CFM yuppiness and all heh. Nothing compares to P&S's coffee... I wonder if they'll ever open a location open more than 3 days a week? ...and it's thanks to you that I make a weekly trip to Manuel Latruwe too - I'm one of those crazy people lined up at 8-9 o'clock in the morning on a weekend. In my defense...I'm not a morning person but my kids are up by 7:00am regardless :)

Is there anything you just can't make, no matter how hard you try? [Moved from General Topics board]

Phenomenal even.

Oct 25, 2007
gourmethunter in Home Cooking

Food Basket for New Parents...

I think the suggestions for pasta and sauce are great... makes for easy prep and cleanup... Otherwise harryanddavid.com is the first site that comes to mind...they have a ton of gift baskets/boxes I've only used them once but ordering was easy as pie and I received huge thank yous for the gift.

As a mother of three... I can tell you cooking healthy meals is a difficult task, at least in the first few weeks. If you can't find a suitable place to order online, perhaps there is a local gourmet store or restaurant you can give them a gift certificate for? That way they can have it delivered and have no dishes to worry about. If you live close maybe drop off something you've made thats easy to heat and serve? snack items like fruit, nuts, quick breads etc are also welcome gifts since it's nice to have something to put out for the inevitable onslaught of visitors.

Hope that helps :)

Oct 24, 2007
gourmethunter in General Topics

How do people portion size at home?

I avoid the grocery stores on the weekends...it's usually ridiculously busy. I usually shop early mornings or late evenings when the stores are quieter. I try and plan at least 5-6 dinners... we don't have a "steak night" I just try and put together a list of what we'll need for those 5-6 dishes and get everything but say the salmon filet - that I'll pick up on the day I'm using it. I'll also try and prep some ingredients for two dishes at the same time for example: chicken for dinner becomes chicken noodle soup for lunch.

As for portion control on my plate... I divide it up in three sections 1/4 protein, 1/4 carbs, 1/2 veggies. We also have a digital food scale...something that has helped explain what a "deck of cards" size portion of protein really looks like. I've also found calorie-count.com helpful ...keeps me from "cheating" at the end of the day... I used to rationalize: " I've been "good" I can have ____." ...the calorie counter keeps me from overindulging. I still have dessert and whatnot, I just have less.

Well...that's my 2 cents :)

Oct 24, 2007
gourmethunter in Not About Food

Everyday luxuries?

Thanks for the info I'll have a look and see if it's carried in my area. :-)

Oct 24, 2007
gourmethunter in General Topics

Everyday luxuries?

lol this peep has three kids ages six and under...there are days when I'm powered by caffeine so it might as well be the good stuff ;-)

Oct 24, 2007
gourmethunter in General Topics

Everyday luxuries?

Richelle - if I might ask, what kind of espresso maker do you have?

Oct 24, 2007
gourmethunter in General Topics

Jaro Blue- Calgary- Outstanding!

Good to know.

I have to say, I'm not sure if I would have been up for frog's legs either...something about growing up with a creek behind your house and frogs all over the lawn/driveway... I'm just too visual for my own good I guess. I grew upon perch too, but from the St. Lawrence. There's just nothing like a perch roll.

Tell me about your CSA

aaah thank you for the explanation. Sounds like an excellent idea. I don't know of anything like that here...we shop the Farmer's Market in order to buy from Alberta/BC/Sask producers. There is a service called S.P.U.D. (Small Potatoes Urban Delivery) who specialize in delivering organic groceries but I'm not sure all the food is local but they do offer different sized baskets.

Oct 24, 2007
gourmethunter in General Topics

Tell me about your CSA

Maybe I'm the only one who doesn't know this...*blush* what is CSA?

Oct 24, 2007
gourmethunter in General Topics

Everyday luxuries?

Ditto...for me it's a medium Americano. Although I tried making them at home, even bought a Bialetti stove top espresso maker and it failed spectacularly (picture espresso pouring out the "seal" between the top and bottom pieces of the machine *ack!*). I could stick to regular coffee all the time but once and awhile the ritual of going to a coffee shop and letting someone else make it for you is a nice treat.

My DH would argue the organic milk, cheese and produce I buy is a luxury but imho it just tastes better and I prefer to support producers who use organic methods.

Oct 24, 2007
gourmethunter in General Topics

Jaro Blue- Calgary- Outstanding!

Jaro Blue sounds wonderful! Thanks for the "stub" John. By the sounds of things I'll have to take DH there on our next date night. Or maybe a night out with the girls hmmmm. John - any idea if Jaro Blue has a private room?

Organic Eggs in Calgary

I was going to suggest the PC Organics eggs but they too aren't consistent with regard to yolk colour...and probably not less expensive than Co-op.

I've been curious about sourcing more local food, so when your question came up I did a query and found one Calgary based egg producer listed on http://www.agric.gov.ab.ca/app68/dine... >> Premium Organic Farms: Paul and Sheila Schneider 403-235-6000 paulschneider@creb.com

Hope that helps :-)

snickers dark?

I've seen that same commercial and I'm with you "hallelujah!" although part of me thinks the trend toward dark is just some marketing person's way of making the most of the "dark chocolate has less fat/is better for you" stories in the news of late. I just might give in to my craving at the grocery store checkout one of these days... easier to get a Snickers Dark than it is to get across town to a Callebaut Chocolate shop (and probably easier on the wallet).

There's such a thing as "razzberry M&Ms"??? Yikes I like M&Ms and even went to the M&M store in Vegas this past spring...but I have to say my tastes in that department lean toward the more traditional. Something about it being "razz" instead of "raspberry" worries me :-)

Oct 23, 2007
gourmethunter in General Topics

Heads up about Nutella- European vs. US version

I emailed Kraft Canada about a similar issue - trans fat free peanut butter that lists "partially hydrogenated vegetable oil" in it's ingredients and this was their response:

0 grams of trans fat as defined by Health Canada's new Nutrition Labelling regulations: Where a product contains less than 0.2 grams of trans fat per serving, contains 2.0 grams or less of trans fat and saturated fat combined, and derives 15% or less of energy from trans fat and saturated fat combined, Health Canada requires that the content be rounded down and listed in the package's Nutrition Facts box as "0" grams of trans fat. When a label shows 0 grams trans fat per serving and lists "partially hydrogenated" or "hydrogenated" vegetable oil (such as soybean or cottonseed, among others) in the ingredients, the product may contain trans fat-up to 0.144 grams per serving. Some non-hydrogenated oils and some meat and dairy products also contain trans fat.

Personally trans is trans and we've switched to organic peanut butter... but that's a bit OT. I wonder if the consistency/spreadability of the European Nutella is different than the American version? Or, does anyone know whether European manufacturers are required to label for trans?

Oct 23, 2007
gourmethunter in Not About Food

Suggestions for Cocktail Party Food

Without knowing specifics of the event it's difficult to give suggestions but here are a few links that might help:

Everything from formal to 50's style menus: http://www.epicurious.com/recipesmenu...

Or this link for an interesting looking "A Taste of Christmas" Menu from myrecipes.com: http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/rec...

Otherwise I'm pretty sure cocktail food on a budget has been discussed on the Home Cooking Board.

HTH

Oct 23, 2007
gourmethunter in General Topics

Is it ever okay to pick up your soup bowl to drink the broth?

Like others have said, it's ok in some circumstances however kids have an easier time with etiquette when theres one set of rules. I always ask myself: Could the kids do this (picking up the bowl, eating something with their fingers etc) in front of Grandma? If the answer is no, then I know what the rule is. Unfortunately past the "it's rude and uncivilized" explanation I can't think of why they shouldn't pick up the bowl.

Once my own kids are older I want them to know that there are cultural differences and eventually they'll be able to take cues from their hosts in those situations... but for now I'll be sticking with what I grew up with so there'll be one clearly defined set of rules for now.

Oct 23, 2007
gourmethunter in Not About Food

Salad at end of meal?

I'm Canadian...and my parents always served salad after or with the main course. In my own home salad is served before the main course just like it is in any restaurant I've been to.

Oct 23, 2007
gourmethunter in General Topics

Fun treat ideas for the Fire Pit

This might not be very CHish but you could try bannock...there are a number of variations - you might know it as Navajo Fry Bread. I think Alton Brown did a show involving fry bread awhile ago. It can either be made in a frying pan over the fire or made thicker and wrapped around a stick and roasted like you would marshmallows. The basic recipe and variations can be found here: http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/rsi/fnb/FNB....

Oct 23, 2007
gourmethunter in Home Cooking

Odd Question [Moved from General Topics board]

I sent my Sis some homemade Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies awhile back and sent them in a tin rather than a tupperware (the tin was left over from a package of christmas cookies and believe it or not weighed less than the tupperware).... I never did use plastic wrap I just put a paper liner inside (more to dress up the package than anything) and carefully stuffed the tin making sure they were in tightly but not squished and my Sis said they arrived in perfect condition.

I dunno if I'm being any help... that's my 2 cents anyway :-)

Oct 22, 2007
gourmethunter in Not About Food

Marscapone substitute?

Sheila I don't know where in Birmingham you are but I did a bit of looking on Google and came up with: TRIA Market • SoHo Square • 1831 28th Avenue S. Suite #110 • Homewood, AL • (205) 776-8923 Hours Open Monday - Saturday 6:30am to 9:00pm | Open Sunday 8:00am - 8:00pm http://www.birminghammenus.com/tria/f... They say they have a full service cheese counter - which I expect would mean they have mascarpone. HTH

Oct 22, 2007
gourmethunter in Home Cooking

Two outstanding things you have bought recently in Calgary!

Cinnamon swirl bread from Hunterhorn Bakery - mmmm cinnamon bun taste without all the guilt ;-) made an amazing baked french toast with it on the weekend...and Bothwell's Quail's Gate OVF aged cheddar...found at Costco of all places. The cheese purchase was part nostalgia...we tasted Quail's Gate OVF at the winery on our last visit to Kelowna. Tasty aged cheddar and the red wine flavour really comes through.

I'd also second (or third?) the nomination for Gull Valley tomatoes. There's just nothing like them in the grocery chains.

Is there anything you just can't make, no matter how hard you try? [Moved from General Topics board]

The method in the Green & Blacks recipe sounds similar to the Fry's Cocoa one I've been using although since it's cocoa powder instead of chocolate it doesn't require a double boiler. With the exception of the attempt at Cheesecake Brownies(earlier brownie post) the Fry's recipe always comes out perfectly chewy and dense. I have to be careful to make them when we have company or I'm bound to polish off the whole pan in a few days time... I tried finding the Fry's cocoa recipe online but no luck.

Oct 21, 2007
gourmethunter in Home Cooking