Thursday, June 23, 2011

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night...
... at least in my glass it was.

When it comes to beers, I'm not a pale ale girl. Reds or Stouts all the way. And the Dark and Stormy Night by Picaroons is one of my favorites. It's just gorgeous to look at and I swear I taste molasses and coffee.

Served up at the Saint John Ale House by a charming waiter, I enjoyed my Dark and Stormy Night with most likely the best veggie burger I have ever had. Truly. A black bean patty with tomatoes, onions, lettuce and goat cheese. Oh boy! The condiments brought to the table were never touched. Ketchup, really? (she says with disdain.) I highly recommend it.

But you won't find it on the menu. Apparently, it's one of those mystery items you hear them promoting on the elusive gnocchi, which I must go back and try some day. So you've just got to ask. I understand it is their Wednesday special. Personally, I love the idea of having specials that aren't on a menu. I like surprises.

And is it just me or does that place only hire attractive people? Just sayin'.

One of The Girls

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Grrr Nola!

I'm a big fan of breakfast. It really can set the tone for your day. One of my favorites is granola with yogurt,  all homemade. I've got the yogurt making down. (See, Yogurt) But I'm still hunting for Zenny's recipe for granola. I just can't get that flavor out of my head.

I've done some googling and have started making my own batches, tweaking it here and there until I find the flavor she mastered...or something close. I did something very right last why oh why did I not write the combination down somewhere?! Back to the drawing board.

Granola is fairly simple to make. Mix your ingredients, bake stirring occasionally until you can smell it then it's done. And man how wonderful the kitchen smells with baking granola. (325 for about 30 mins)

I made a batch this week and thankfully, it's close. Just missing some freshly shredded coconut. This is what I had in it:
  • 4 cups of rolled oats
  • 1 cup of bran flakes
  • pecans (I just dumped the bag in)
  • sesame seeds
  • ground flax
  • sunflower seeds
  • 1-2 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp of oil
For me it's the cinnamon that is the flavor that haunts me. Getting so close. :)

One of The Girls

I had a photo but the photo picker in blogger isn't currently working. I'll add it when it's up and running again.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Home Cooking Polish Goodness

I had a fantastic weekend in spite of all of the rain. Friday evening was a Girl's night out at the Vintage Bistro. Sunday was a day at Parlee Beach visiting a friend who was camping there. Sun and bonfire. Perfect. And Saturday I had lunch at the Polish Restaurant in Hammond River.

I love this place. I don't go often but when I do I'm always overjoyed with their home cooked goodness.  Usually I get the perogies but this weekend I decided to go with the cabbage roll, a staple in our home when I was growing up. And it did not disappoint. Rice, meat and seasoning all bundled up perfectly in a cabbage leaf with some tomato sauce over it. Yum! Similar to mom's and just as good.

Served up by the friendliest man you could ever meet. What a beautiful smile. You feel like you are at home sitting down to a family dinner.

And not to forget the view. Perfect location, inviting service, and marvelous food. What's not to like?

One of The Girls

Friday, June 17, 2011

Organic: Yes, Eat Real Food

The more I experience in life, the more I want to. And naturally that translates into living a healthier lifestyle. I'm too busy enjoying what life offers to get sick. And if there is something I can do to reduce that risk then why not?

Over the years I've traveled a good chunk of the world and am always amazed how food in countries like the Philippines, Bolivia, and Greece has so much more flavor than at home. Is it just from travel euphoria? You know how food tastes better outside just because you're outside? M'eh.

Caught that day we had
it grilled that night!
The papaya in the Philippines is so sweet and juicy, not to mention the coconut. Thinking about it still makes me drool!

I make it a point to order anything with tomatoes when I travel to Greece. I live off of their yogurt, and the olive oil...forget about it.

You know how everything tastes like chicken? Then you need to go to Costa Rica and have a real grain fed chicken breast!! We ain't got nothing like that here.

Or do we?

Gradually, I've been culling my kitchen of processed foods and going with a whole food kitchen as much as I can. It's been cool to watch the whole food, organic industry grow as more and more of us are reading labels and discovering most of what we eat...well it isn't actually food.

My cousin has chickens in their back yard. They are free range and their eggs are amazing! There are more and more opportunities to buy local and organic produce. And this morning I read an article in our provincial paper on how the face of farming is getting younger and going organic. It's exciting to watch this rebirth in such a healthy and delicious way!

One farmer mentioned is also the executive chef at the Saint John Ale House. I honestly hadn't visited much as it wasn't on my radar for healthy choices. Thanks to this article (and admittedly a photo of a gnocchi dish Jesse posted on twitter...I have a love affair with gnocchi) I plan to visit very soon.

Read the article here:

One of The Girls

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Brains Storm Better When Fed

Can we meet? Are you free for lunch? Coffee?

The best meetings seem to happen over food. Is this just a maritime phenomena? I don't think we can claim that honor as I've been wined and dined by some amazing people with varying nationalities. But I will say we do it well. Oh, we do it well!

Brains storm better when fed.

And in Saint John we seem to have a plethora of great dining options just popping up all over the place. It's part of why I love living here. Restaurants who cook real, whole food in brilliant atmospheres, with knowledgeable staff and great service.

Today, The Girls, took our meeting with Danielle from Women in Business to Britt's Pub and Eatery, a restaurant we had only followed on twitter up until now. Have a meeting? Great excuse to try it.

I love the crisp yet warm feeling the pub gives you when you walk it. Lots of natural light and areas for privacy.

One of us are trying a gluten-free diet so we naturally wondered what could a pub possibly offer other than salad. We were over the moon when the waitstaff were perfectly knowledgable about what was on the menu she could eat. This pub carries gluten free bread!! Snaps to them for investing in their clientele this major way.

The staff did recommend staying away from the spring rolls as they did have gluten and shellfish. So appreciated their expertise on their menu!

Taken from Britt's Facebook Page
We three did end up being salad girls even though the bangers and mash were calling me. And what delicious salads they were: caesar, spinach and garden. I had the spinach: roasted pecans, strawberries, apple, goat cheese, and their homemade grapefruit dressing that gave the sweet kick I was looking for.

My mind was focused on the business at hand so I didn't think to take pictures. Next time, when I go back to try the curry fries....hmmm, maybe I'll have a meeting with a photographer. Giggle.

I did find a picture on their Facebook page of their caesar salad for your pleasure. I hope they don't mind me using it.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Love That Food Experience

At home I'm a one pot, comfort food cooker. Love sitting down with a good book in one hand and a bowl of something warm and aromatic in the other. From soups to risottos, one pot cooking is serenity.

But there are so many other eating experiences out there that I enjoy equally.

Photo by Kelly Lawson of the
amazing food at Alley Gria in Saint John.
Check out her blog here.
Tapas and Dim Sum are in my mind the perfect date food. Sharing dishes of little bites. Eating without a fork or spoon but your hands and chopsticks. It takes the date from two people sharing a table to two people sharing an experience.

Take out is the ideal hanging out with friends at home food. Sitting around in your grubs, spooning out pad thai or slicing up pizza. Not caring about noodles and crumbs on the counter.

And pot luck, best if shared with other foodies. Giggle.