Sunday, October 24, 2010

Revamped old bank on Jasper Avenue now offering great nightlife, food and entertainment

It was a day out with girls on Saturday. My sister and I have the same birthday exactly three years apart. She decided to have a day out with her girlfriends and had asked if I wanted to come along. Why not I'd thought, afterall, we do share the same birthday and a day out with the girls always involves mischevious fun. After shopping along 124th district, we were all hungry by the time the shops closed down for the day. I suggested Moriarty's to my sister as I have been there before, and enjoyed it very much. Being a Saturday evening, of course they were jam packed with reservations already and only had bar seating avail, which did not interest us very much. We left in search of another restaurant nearby. I then suggested The Treasury Vodka Bar & Eatery, and had read on the journal that their food was supposed to be delicious. We settled down here and was seated to the left of the entrance, which was a bird's eye-view reflection to the men's bathroom...

The large, movable booths were comfy; the lighting was dim (the lead waitress turned up the lights not long after we were seated), beautiful chandeliers and sleek flooring. We were seated in a location that one could look into the reflection of the mens bathroom, well a urinal (!), as they were mirrored tiles on the men's (and women's) bathroom. Funny to mention, I know. We even pointed that out to the lead waitress and she mentioned that they will eventually put a curtain up (she also pointed out we were the first to mention that to her!). The restaurant was rather cold, not because we were seated next to the entrance, but because the boiler in the building shut down and had to be turned on again. They had to contact the owner of the building and gain permission to turn it back on. Boy, did I feel for those waitresses wearing their short LBD's!

Normally, one would not expect great food from a venue that offers great nightlife. This place totally proves wrong! Some dishes are traditional favourites, but are 'fancied' up. For example, I ordered the chicken pot pie.
My chicken pot pie.

 Instead of potatoes, substituted was yellow squash and sweet potatoes. Yum! It was presented in a large, rounded bowl with a round puff pastry on top. It was delicious.
My sister ordered the gnocchi palmadorro.

My sister's gnocchi palmadorro.
 It consisted of those small potato dumplings, scallops and black tiger shrimp presented in a bold pesto sauce, topped off with micro-greens and purple cabbage. The other gals ordered salads (one caesar, the other not quite sure what the name was) and a pasta dish with mushrooms that smelled and looked equally delicious as the rest of our dishes.

If you are looking for a good place to dine, don't be deceived by the name or look of this place. The fare here is delicious.

Verdict: Scrumptious!
Treasury Vodka Bar and Eatery on Urbanspoon

Saturday, October 23, 2010

HAPPY 10 YEARS FOOD NETWORK CANADA! I've been a fan since day one

Food Network Canada celebrates 10 years this month: October 2, 2000 - October 2, 2010. And I've been a fan since day one. I remember watching Iron Chef back in 1998 on Food Network--way before it got popular. Some of my favourite shows on Food Network in the past were The Inn Chef, New Classics with Rob Feenie and License to Grill. Today, I still enjoy watching Michael Smith and his Chef at Home series and Bob Blumer in his always entertaining Glutton for Punishment series. There's a a special edition of TV Guide Canada for Food Network celebrating over the 10 years. If you are a Food Network Canada fan, I highly recommend this mag. Though a bit pricey for it's thickness (it's quite thin), there are great recipes and excellent personal profiles on your favourite Food Network Canada chefs. A great souvenir!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Urban Diner to open at previous Fiore location on 109 Street

As my boyfriend and I were walking to the Sugar Bowl to meet up with some friends, I noticed that Fiore has shut down. Urban Diner will soon be taking over the venue! They even chopped down the trees that deliberately obscured the patio. I will keep my eyes peeled! :)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

New casual fine dining restaurant in new Southwest Edmonton hotel

My boyfriend and I tend to be quite tired Friday evenings; a long day of work and running around getting errands done. I usually love cooking for the both of us but today was no exception. I threw out a bunch of suggestions for restaurants since there has been a bit of growth in Southwest Edmonton. I've been wanting to try this new restaurant in the new Sandman Signature hotel that just opened in Southwest Edmonton, just off of Gateway Boulevard. It looked kind of pricey from the outside and I wanted to be sure. They didn't have an online menu so we drove there and asked for a quick glance at the menu. It was quite reasonably priced, so Rockford Grill it was for dinner!
The Rockford Grill is a new restaurant that is associated with the powerhouse franchisee  who also owns Moxie's Classic Grill, The Shark Club, Denny's and Chop Steak House. I would say it is classified as casual fine dining--as we chatted with our waitress, it's a "step above Moxie's."
Outside view of Rockford Grill
The ambiance of the restaurant is sort of typical in casual fine dining restaurants-oversized light fixtures, dim-lighting, dark booths and chairs and eclectic art pieces here and there.
Interior of Rockford
On the dining side of the restaurant (it's separated into the dining room and lounge side). On the dining side, there's a huge black chalkboard located on the corner of the wall with all the different wines they offer. I thought that was a cute and rather unique concept because as your wine selection changes, you can simply just erase and write over it. We sat in front of the lounge for a few minutes while we were waiting for our table. Not long after, we were seated in the lounge side of the restaurant. Similar to the dining room, we were seated in the back corner in a high booth. I always love sitting in booths!

I scanned through the menu and the dishes they offer are typical of a casual fine-dining restaurant; Asian-inspired cuisine, signature sandwiches, salads, and main entrees such as ribs and steak.  My boyfriend and I first opted for the five mushroom appetizer as we are both lovers of mushrooms.  Shitake, cremini and white button mushrooms and two other kinds I can't recall. Sauteed with wine and tonnes of garlic, you can't go wrong with this appie! We also each ordered a slushie drink each; mine was lychee liquor and mango and my boyfriend ordered the strawberry swirl with vanilla liquor. Yummy!

Our drinks and our appie; sauteed mushrooms.
I normally take a while to decide what I want at a new restaurant I've never been to, but I was craving flat bread (yes, flat bread) because I had just spoke to my mom and she had just ate at the Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company in Canmore.  That being said, I ordered myself the avocado and shrimp flat bread with house-made potato chips as a side. My boyfriend opted for the Mongolian BBQ sauce ribs with fennel salad and hand-cut french fries. I asked for my flat bread to be unrolled so I could eat everything separately (yes, I am odd that way). The flat bread was spread with avocado and the shrimp was marinated in a tangy lime sauce. It was pretty tasty, but the flatbread could of been toasted a bit more. The house-made potato chips on the other hand were a little too burnt for my liking; of course the lighting was dim so it made it a bit harder for me to see how badly burnt it was (I took a picture of my food but accidentally deleted it...)

Mongolian BBQ ribs with fennel slaw and fries
My boyfriend enjoyed his dish--I snuck a few tastings or two and the ribs were indeed tasty. I enjoyed the fennel slaw on the side; something refreshing. The fries were better than mine because they weren't burnt. 

We didn't bother with desserts as we were quite stuffed.

I think this restaurant was quite good. Perhaps the lighting was too dim for my liking, but the ambiance is nice. For a restaurant that's connected to the Sandman suites, I think it's worth visiting at least once if you happen to be in the area.

Verdict: scrumptious

Rockford Grill is located right in front of the new Sandman Signature Hotel on 10011 Ellerslie Rd SW, just East of Gateway Boulevard South.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Yummy 'newget' in town!

Hot chocolate flavour: marshmallows, roasted almonds, fresh cinnamon in a chocolate newget. Yum!

What a great encounter I had at the Downtown Farmer's Market on September 25th. I was heading straight to the Eva Sweet's waffle van when I glanced on my right and two girls were handing out free samples of nougat. I tried once piece and told them I'd be right back as my stomach was grumbling for breakfast! Not too long after I finished my waffle, I moisied my way back there. What yummy treats they have! This company calls themselves  The Newget Kompany. A little pricey a first glance ($7/100g bag), they are indeed gourmet treats. A unique twist on the traditional Italian nougat (that chewy bar made of sugar, egg whites and almonds), this 'kompany' boasts flavours like hot chocolate,
which is a spin on the drink, made of milk chocolate, marshmallows, roasted almonds and fresh cinnamon. Delish! They also offered a seasonal flavour-white chocolate, pistachio and organic edible flower, which I purchased as this was the last week they'd be selling that flavour.

Verdict: scrumptious!