Saturday, May 28, 2011

Downtown City Market now in full swing!

I am sooo happy that the downtown farmers' market is now in full swing. My boyfriend and I walked there last weekend and what a splendid day it was. A few new products I tried: MoNA organic mushrooms, Irvings Cumberland sausage patties, English cukes from Gull Valley, turkey jerky from Greens Eggs & Ham, and the usual, Eva Sweets waffles and kettle popcorn. My boyfriend isn't particularly fond of farmers' markets (he can list up to 7 reasons), but he agreed to keep me company regardless.

I took my mom for the first time today and absolutely loved it! Although it was a bit windy, the sun was shining. There were also various performers today in on centre stage for the Chinese festival, right on the intersection of 104 street and 101 avenue; Chinese lion dance dragons and fancy dress performances. There were also martial arts performers showing each of their own special moves. Very interesting. Unfortunately, I did not have my fancy camera with me so I wasn't able to capture any shots. The next event is the Al Fresco Block Party, June 11th.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Soda Jerks-a confusing concept of being modern and retro

My boyfriend and I decided to go out for lunch yesterday. I still had a Good News coupon for the Noodlemaker, so we decided to go there. It was a good thing I read the coupon closely because it said to make reservations. Upon calling, I found out the restaurant wasn't open-they are closed Sundays. With that idea shot, I remember reading an article in the Edmonton Journal about a new restaurant serving up delicious burgers and 31 different flavours of sodas. Without hesitation, my boyfriend and I headed to Soda Jerks.

I am not sure when this restaurant opened on the city. It is located right by the Best Buy in the Westpointe Centre, just off of 100 avenue and 175 street. I don't drive by the part of the city too often, but I believe it is relatively new as their main sign above the door is still vinyl, fastened with gromits.  Upon entering the restaurant, it takes on the atmosphere of the former vendor (East Side Mario's and Ric's Grill, according to a reader). I had imagined this restaurant to be a retro-feel sort of diner, 50's or 60's type diner. Instead, it was a diner with a modern twist with barely any residue of retro-ness. The focal point of the restaurant was definitely the display of sodas. Right when you walk into the restaurant, there is a wall-display of 31 different types of sodas your left, ranging from Jones, Boylan to Fentimans. 
The display of sodas: an astonishing array of them.
Walk over the corner to your right, on your left is a continuation of more sodas. My boyfriend and I were seated in the dining part of the restaurant, which was made up of comfy booths. The dark interior of the booths, accompanied by the wood panelling on the side of the walls gave the restaurant a modern feel. 
My interesting botanical soda pop.

Now to the important part: the food! Upon first glance at the menu, I have to be honest that it didn't sound anything special to me. The food being served was pretty basic; the usual burgers (they call them sandwiches on the menu), salads, build your own (sandwiches). For drinks, I ordered the Fentimans Dandelion & Burdock soda, while my boyfriend ordered Jones Bubble Gum flavoured soda. I enjoyed my unique botanical soda-it tasted much like Jagermeister, minus the alcohol. My boyfriend's soda was good, but it was a bit too artificial tasting for me. I couldn't decide what to get, but I know I didn't want beef again as I had a huge steak the other day. I decided to order The Original burger, which consisted of housemade beef patty (I got turkey instead) topped with corned beef, havarti, mixed greens, tomato, red onion, sauerkraut and roasted garlic mayo; served on a sesame seed bun. My boyfriend opted for the Cowboy burger which consisted of housemade beef patty topped with cheddar cheese, chili, smoked bacon, an onion ring and coleslaw; served on a sesame seed bun.
My Original Burger.

The Cowboy Burger.

I have a tendency to ramble on about my food experiences so I'll just cut to the chase on this one: my boyfriend and I were disappointed with the food. Not that it wasn't tasty, but it just didn't taste like anything special to us. My turkey burger didn't have any turkey taste to it and none of the flavours in the burger really stood out. Though my boyfriend didn't mind his, he agreed that no particular flavour in the burger stood out. The prices were overpriced, too. $3 for a Jones soda... We can get Jones soda half that price (well, a little less than half) at any speciality grocery store. With that being said, we felt like the restaurant conveyed a confusing concept of retro-modern, without any retro feeling at all, except for the sodas. The restaurant seems like it is trying to portray a retro experience in a modern way. With nothing special to the menu and without a clear concept to focus on, I'm not sure how long this restaurant will last. 

Verdict: not-so-scrumptious!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Feeding my macaron obsession...

It came with a flavour booklet, too!

I apologize for those of you who follow me on my blog. I have been bad and haven't posted anything for weeks! Aside from being busy, I almost forgot that I have eaten at a few new places and didn't even think about blogging about them. I am silly. Anyway, to break that habit, here's a little treat. My friend was in Montreal last week and she offered to buy me some macarons since she was getting them as well ( a big fan as well). How could I pass up on that offer? These macarons, from La maison du macaron, were considerably larger than Duchess (I forgot to take a picture, even though I had Duchess macarons in my fridge! Of course I realized that after I ate them all). The Montreal macarons were very similiar in size to the ones I had in Calgary. They were good, but I found the fillings to be less buttery and creamy than the ones at Duchess. Nevertheless, I was still impressed. And for $17/dozen, that works out to be ~$1.42 each which isn't bad at all.

Flavours from L to R-strawberry & rhubarb, raspberry, lemon, hazelnut, cafe, pistachio, coconut, chocolate, maple & peach, mango & amarula, green tea and salted caramel. My favourite was salted caramel, mango & amarula and maple & peach!