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Archive for the ‘Breakfast’ Category

For those of you who follow me on social media, you would know that we took a trip to Vancouver Island. It was a pretty epic trip — travelled from Nanaimo to Port Hardy and San Josef Bay in the northwest corner, and everywhere in between — 2,300km in 9 days.

First stop, Nanaimo. It was brunch time when we arrived in Nanaimo. Downtown Nanaimo has no shortage of brunch options, and Gabriel’s Cafe caught my eyes. Gabriel’s is about eat local, farm to table.

Gabriel's Cafe, Nanaimo

Food

Ordering wasn’t an easy task for me, because I was just recovering from a bad stomach flu. I had to pick something light so I avoided pulled pork, braised beef, or anything rich and heavy. I opted for the Breakfast #11 — Coconut Milk Pancakes with Roasted Apples, Seasonal Fruit and Yogurt. I thought coconut milk pancakes wouldn’t be too heavy and there would be a good dose of fruit on the plate. Haha the portion size was not for the faint of heart. (more…)

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For the Canada Day long weekend, Mr. and I went to the Okanagan with Bryan and Kathryn. Last year, we received a certificate for a two-night stay at The Villa at Hester Creek Estate Winery, so we took the opportunity to spoil ourselves on this getaway.

Terrafina Restaurant

During our stay, Mr. and I also had dinner at the Terrafina Restaurant at Hester Creek.

Terrafina RestaurantTerrafina Restaurant

To start, we shared the Wagyu Beef Carpaccio. There was so much on the plate you can barely see the thinly sliced wagyu beef. The flavour combination was quite typical — capers, parmesan, arugula, aioli — what came as a pleasant surprise was the little sprouts sprinkled on top. They gave a slight crunch, an earthy note, which brought a new dimension of flavour.

Wagyu Beef Carpaccio

Mr. ordered the Ricotta & Confit Duck Pizza. It’s, interesting.

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One Saturday afternoon I was going to take Mama Lam to a restaurant on Fraser Street for lunch, but that place was opening much later on that particular day than its usual hours so we were greeted with a “Closed” sign. We decided to go somewhere else for lunch. And we stopped at the doorstep of Jethro’s Fine Grub.

This is the second location of Jethro’s and the lesser known one, so the line up was not as crazy as the Dunbar location, where the “You Gotta Eat Here” episode was filmed. In fact, we were able to get a table as soon as we arrived.

Food

Jethro’s serves breakfast all day long. There is a wide selection of savoury and sweet items to choose from. Mama Lam and I chose one of each. The Crab Cake Benedict was smothered with a lot of hollandaise sauce. The crab cakes had a good crust and didn’t feel like having a lot of filler. The eggs were poached just right to medium softness. I wish the crab cakes were slightly thicker so it could hold up to the eggs. It’s also a carb-loaded plate, with lots of hashbrowns and four pieces of toasts on the side.

Crab Cake Benedict

For the sweet item, we opted for the Apple Cobbler French Toast. (more…)

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It was part of my mission to visit a cafe in Montreal, to experience drinking coffee in this European-like city. I was looking for something with more character, and that led me to Chez Boris.

Chez Boris, Montreal

Food

I ordered a Latte and Mr. ordered a caffeine-free Roiboos Tea. They serve Kittel and 49th Parallel coffee/espresso, and tea from Pure Tea. The Latte was good, served at the right temperature, coffee was not burnt and it was creamy.

Roiboos Tea & Latte

The highlight of the visit wasn’t the drinks, but the donuts (beignets) they serve. They are Russian style donuts (ponchiki), which frankly, I had no idea what that means until I looked it up.
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As part of our review of The Dirty Apron Cookbook, we tried the recipe of the Dirty Apron Scones. I was very impressed by how easy the recipe was, and for making it for the first time, how great the scones turned out. Are you preparing a brunch on New Year’s Day? This will be a good recipe to prepare ahead of time and just finish it off in the morning after recovering from all the champagne and drinks!

Dirty Apron Scones

Although the recipe was easy to follow, we discovered a few things that we would suggest tweaking as you make your next batch of scones. We’ll note the suggestions at the end of the post. The recipe below is as found in the cookbook:

Basic Scone Mix

Recipe provided by David Robertson / The Dirty Apron Cooking School

Ingredients

  • 3-1/3 cup All-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon Baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 2/3 cup Unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes

Dirty Apron Scones

Preparation

  1. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Using your hands, a pastry blender or even two knives, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse oatmeal.
  3. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 month or freeze for up to 3 months.

Dried Fruit Scones

Recipe provided by David Robertson / The Dirty Apron Cooking School (more…)

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I don’t eat out fast food very often; but when fast food joints release interesting menu items, I’m often intrigued and want to give it a try. Two recent items were Wendy’s Pretzel Burger and Tim Hortons’s Maple Breakfast Biscuit.

I’ve always been a huge fan of brioche buns, but lately I’ve found a new love in pretzel buns. Pretzel buns, not pretzels. In contrary to the eggy flavour, slight sweetness and pillowy texture in brioche buns, I also quite enjoy the slight saltiness and chewiness in pretzel buns. Traditional German pretzels are just too hard and chewy for my liking. That being said, Prohibition Tasting Room’s Pretzel Knots are also up there on my “have again” list of pretzel interpretation.

Not trusting burgers at fast food restaurants, Wendy’s Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger, to my surprise, was quite good. Patty was of decent thickness, still juicy; I was worried that the bacon strips would be cooked to death, to extreme crisp, but they were still moist and added oily dripping mess to the burger. Pretzel bun was soft with a bit of a chew. By the way, you know how McDonald’s burgers look nothing like what they show in pictures/ads? My burger looked just like what they have on the website – now that’s impressive! Overall, a burger that I would actually eat again, and Mr. concurred.

Wendy's Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger

Breakfast sandwich is another indulgence for me, a change of pace from my regular cereal breakfast. (more…)

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People know about wine and food. The wine industry has done a fantastic job promoting food pairings and recipes that include wine as an ingredient. When I lived in Ontario, I used to get a monthly box of wine from Hillebrand Estates Winery that included two bottles of wine along with suggested recipes that paired with, or incorporated, the included wines.

But what about beer? Beer goes with food, too. Craft breweries aren’t shy about giving suggestions on what food to pair with different beer styles, even going as far as to print it on the labels. Unfortunately the industry, from a total sales standpoint, is still dominated by macro brews that don’t give a whit about food pairing or cooking. So, in spite of the efforts of craft producers, the overall alcohol-with-food perception is skewed towards wine.

I think this is changing. Craft beer is growing, and more people are becoming aware of the possibilities craft beer offers for cooking and food pairing. Two of the breweries I’ll be reviewing today, Cannery Brewing and Vancouver Island Brewery, have taken the step of including beer recipes on their websites. I love it!

Those who follow me on Twitter may have noticed me dipping my toes into the Cooking With Beer arena. Today I’m here to tell you some of the results.

Pancakes with beer

Pancake Recipe

I decided to start with something easy – Pancakes! I have a base recipe that I’ve been making for years so I know exactly what to expect from it. Here it is: (more…)

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