Duchess Bake Shop – Restaurant Review

Hi friends!

A few weeks back I met a friend for coffee and treats at Duchess Bake Shop on 124 street.

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It’s a bustling little shop which has vintage style chairs and small marble topped tables and a few vintage couches. It was my first visit here and I had heard it can get quite busy but we had no trouble grabbing a table as one had just opened up as we arrived. What good timing 🙂
They have shiny, well lit display cases filled with many delights! We walked back and forth a few times trying to make our choices.

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I decided on the tartiflette (potatoes, gruyère cheese, onions and fresh thyme layered on olive-oil-brushed foccacia $4.25), a key lime tart ($6) and a mocha. The tartiflette was very good, nice and cheesy and they warmed it just a bit. I honestly didn’t taste potatoes on it but that’s ok because the other flavours were very good. The key lime tart was delightful! Not too sweet, not to tart, the graham crust was just the right crunch and thickness. The mocha was also tasty and had a dark chocolate flavour.

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My friend ordered the mushroom and marscapone Danish (croissant dough with a mascarpone and crimini mushroom mixture $3.25) and the brioche pepin (vanilla bean pastry cream and milk chocolate folded between brioche dough $3.00) and a latte.
I had a taste of the brioche pepin and it was quite good, not too sweet and nice and light dough.

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The Duchess Bake Shop delivered some tasty treats on a chilly Sunday afternoon. The atmosphere was bustling yet calming. I look forward to my next visit 🙂

Thanks and until next time, enjoy your adventures!
Kyra

Duchess Bake Shop on Urbanspoon

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Boualouang – Restaurant Review

Hi again!

So as I’ve stated before I enjoy many different cuisines and Thai is one of my top favorites. This might seem odd since I don’t like really spicy food but I enjoy a good mild curry or some tasty pad thai that doesn’t set your mouth on fire.

I visited Boualoung a couple weeks ago with some friends. There are 2 locations in Edmonton, one in McCauley and one in Northeast Edmonton. We went to the Northeast location. It was my first visit there but my friends had been there multiple times and claimed they had the best yellow curry in the city. I had also heard good things about their pad thai so I was torn on my choice of what to order. Others at the table were getting the pad thai and offered for me to taste it so I decided on the curry.
I also ordered a small bowl of tom yum with chicken to start. I asked how spicy it was and was warned that it was pretty spicy. I decided to take my chances since I liked the sound of the other flavours in the soup which included lemongrass. When my soup arrived everyone wanted a taste so I passed my bowl around and let everyone take a spoonful. It was very flavourful but it was really spicy as well! I had about a quarter of the bowl before my mouth couldn’t handle any more. ($6)

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One of my friends ordered Gold Bags as his starter. These are little fried purses of crab and cream cheese in wonton wrappers and were served with a dipping sauce. ($10)

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Our other food arrived shortly after. The yellow curry (Gaeng-Ga-Lee) was very good, It had a good coconut creamy sauce and lots of chicken, potatoes, carrots, peppers and jalapeños. I thought the jalapeños were an interesting addition, at first they look like peppers but then suddenly theres a kick of heat in your mouth. Personally I could have done without them in there but they weren’t terrible. The potatoes in the dish had a flavour that they were roasted on their own before being added to the curry, it added a really nice touch. ($17) It doesn’t come with rice so you have to order that seperatly. I got the regular steamed rice ($2) but there is also the option of sticky rice and coconut rice.

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As promised my friends gave me some of their pad Thai to try and it was really good too. Not greasy like I’ve had at some other places. And the heat was just enough to tingle your tastebuds but not so much that you wouldn’t be able to enjoy a whole plate of it.

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Over all I quite enjoyed Boualouang and will gladly go back in the future!

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Thanks and until next time, enjoy your adventures!
Kyra

Boualouang Laos & Thai Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Garlic Soup Recipe

Hi friends!

Today I am bringing you a yummy soup recipe. I’ve been making this soup for quite some years now and it is a hit with my family. When I told my mom and sister I was making a batch of this soup my mom said she wished she lived nearer so she could have some and my sister asked when she could come get a bowl haha.
This recipe was inspired by a restaurant that’s no longer in Edmonton called That’s Aroma! They had a garlic soup on their menu and it was so tasty. So this is my version of that soup.
Though there is cream in the soup I wouldn’t classify this as a creamy soup since it’s not thickened. The cream just adds a good flavor and rounds it all out. I hope you make this Garlic Soup for your family and I hope they enjoy it as much as mine does 🙂
If you want to make this a vegetarian soup you could substitute the chicken broth for vegetable broth.
Ps this makes A LOT of soup! I use my biggest pot and it’s nearly full. I’d say it’s around 4L of soup in the end.

Garlic Soup
Ingredients:
– 1 whole head garlic
– 1 large zucchini (or 2 small to medium)
– 1 onion
– 1 large green pepper
– 1 cup diced tomatoes (if canned drain off liquid)
– 1 can chick peas (540ml)
– 1 tsp dried oregano
– 1 bay leaf
– 2 L chicken stock
– 2 Cups whipping cream
– 2 tsp salt
– 1/4 tsp pepper
– 1 tsp olive oil

Directions:
– Chop onion, put oil in big pot and sauté onion.
– While the onion cooks chop the zucchini and green pepper into about 1/2 inch pieces and set aside.
– Peel garlic and cut into thin slices.
– Add spices to the onion and stir.
– Add garlic to pot and stir for about 1 minute then add other veggies.
– If your using fresh tomatoes chop them about the same size as the zucchini and pepper; if your using canned diced tomatoes drain them then add to the pot.
– Drain and rinse the chick peas and add to the pot.
– Add broth to pot then bring to a simmer with the lid on and allow to simmer for about 30-40 minutes until the veggies are cooked.
– Add the whipping cream then bring back up to a simmer slowly.
– Adjust salt and pepper as needed.
Enjoy!
*Note: the cream and broth will separate when the soup cools, just give it a good stir before warming and serving*

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Thanks and until next time, enjoy your adventures!
Kyra
🙂

PiccoLino Bistro – Restaurant Review

Hi everyone,

This review is a little overdue but I’ve been struggling with whether or not to write it. Sadly this is my first negative review.

(Since this was a few weeks ago I’ll try to give an idea of the prices of the dishes but I don’t remember exactly how much they were, sorry.)

My family and I went to PiccoLino Bistro for a family dinner a few weeks ago. I called ahead and made a reservation as there was to be 6 of us. One of our guests couldn’t make it the day of so upon arrival we informed them that we would only have 5 people. They asked our name for the reservation and replied “Karen?” I said no Kyra, they seemed confused but sat us anyways. A few minutes later someone was at our table telling us we had to move as we were at the wrong table. They sat us (now 5) at a 4 person table and stuck one of us on the end in the aisle/walkway. We all were a little surprised since we had made a reservation for 6, if all of our party had been there where would we have been seated? We tried to brush it off as we were determined to have a good time eating and visiting. Our waitress arrived and took our drink order and rattled off the specials so quickly we weren’t sure where one dish ended and the other started. I think that showed on our faces as she then pointed to a wall behind a booth and told us they were listed there. When our drinks came we ordered our mains and an appetizer to share.
The appetizer we ordered was the Antipasto Misto. It was delivered to our table along with some complimentary bread and a plate with oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping. The Antipasto Misto was a really sad display and very disappointing. Not a good way to start a meal. It was literally 2 pieces of salami, 2 pieces of mortadella, 2 pieces of provolone and 1 piece of prosciutto with a few pickled veggies. This was priced at about $14 or $15.

 

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For my main I ordered the ravioli from the specials board since it sounded delightful. It was fig, prosciutto and marscapone filled ravioli in a cream sauce. I asked the waitress if it had tomatoes and she said it didn’t but made note that I had an allergy. When everyone else’s meals arrived she told me mine would be a few more minutes cause they had topped it with tomatoes. When it did come out it was flooded with cream sauce! The ravioli was bland. I searched in vain for some indication of what was promised for the filling but came up with just a white glue between the pasta. I was very disappointed. I didn’t finish my meal and when the waitress came at the end I did ask for it to be packed up (didn’t end up eating the leftovers). I asked her if the ravioli were house made and she said no they weren’t and asked if I hadn’t liked it. I said no I didn’t. Her response to that was that this dish is usually a favorite. I said sorry I just didn’t think it had much flavor. When my takeout container was brought back to the table I opened it to make sure it was mine and found that it looked like the pasta had been tossed in without any care, in fact there was even sauce on the lid side of the container (no one else’s leftovers looked quite as disheveled). I guess I had insulted the waitress with my honesty. I also noted that there was a piece of tomato in there, makes me wonder if they hadn’t in fact remade the dish when they put tomatoes on it but perhaps just scraped them off.

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(ravioli)

The other dishes that were ordered around our table were the fettuccini Alfredo, pesto Alfredo, tortellini alla panna (veal filled in a white cream sauce) and stuffed chicken with a peppercorn demiglace (stuffed with prosciutto, provolone and spinach).
My family generously let me taste all of their dishes (for research obviously lol).

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(pesto alfredo)
The pesto Alfredo was not too bad. Had a decent amount of flavor from the pesto in the sauce. I don’t believe this was made in house. My guess is it was their standard white sauce which was used in all the other dishes and they added a few spoons of tasty pesto to it.

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(fettuccine alferdo with added mushrooms)
My aunt ordered this dish and she likes pepper. I mean she really, really likes pepper! So when the waitress asked if anyone wanted fresh cracked pepper her hand shot up. The waitress probably didn’t need to go to the gym that night after spinning that pepper mill for my aunt 😉 In my opinion this dish was a little bland. The pepper added some flavor to it as did the added mushrooms but other than that it was just pasta and white sauce.

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(stuffed chicken)
This was what Ward ordered and cudos to him for the best pick of the night. The chicken was flavorful and still relatively moist. He chose pasta with tomato sauce as his side which was ok too but nothing to get too excited about.

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(tortellini)
The tortellini did offer more flavor than the ravioli. The meat inside was moist but I did think it had too much sauce again.
All of the dishes were in the high teens for pricing, I remember them being around $17-19. I think Ward’s dish was around the $21-22 mark.

Looking at their menu online again (no pricing shown) it indicates that they do have a few pasta offerings that are home made. Apparently the fettuccini is homemade but based on what I tasted I’m not convinced that’s true.

Though I was thoroughly disappointed and was ready to go Ward wanted desert so he ordered the caramel apple cheese cake. I don’t think this is made in house either 😦

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Admittedly I had high expectations since I had heard good things about them but considering they market themselves as a authentic Italian restaurant they missed that mark by a long shot! I’d like to think that this could have just been an off night for my ordering skills but sadly there were too many things that disappointed me for me to offer PiccoLinos any second chance. This is the type of quality I would expect from a chain restaurant that’s just pumping out dishes from a rookie cook. I don’t believe I will be going back.

Hopefully I can find another Italian restaurant in Edmonton that truly delivers an Italian meal.

Thanks and until next time, enjoy your adventures!
Kyra

Piccolino Bistro on Urbanspoon

Casa12Doce – Food Truck Review

Ola amigos!
As the end of the food truck season was sadly approaching I had been trying to get in as many food truck eats as I could. And with the cooler weather pretty much here now I’ve been daydreaming about sunny beaches so I thought Mexican food would help me feel like I was on a holiday. I had heard good things from a few people about the Casa12Doce truck so I figured I’d give it a go.

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The chef of this food truck is from Mexico City so I trust that he knows authentic Mexican food. I was able to make it out to 2 lunches to try them before they closed for the season.
On my first visit I ordered the Gringa and a chicken taco.

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The Gringa had 2 flour tortillas with cheese in the middle, al pastor pork, pineapple, onion, cilantro and a lime wedge. The pork was moist and had a good flavor. The pineapple and the cilantro went together really well and the fresh squeezed lime was a great addition. I have to admit that I’m not typically a fan of flour tortillas but this might be the exception they were fresh and light and with the cheese melted between them it was a great compliment. I quite enjoyed the Gringa.

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The chicken taco was also pretty good. Traditional Mexican tacos are pretty basic as was this one. It was 2 corn tortillas, seasoned chicken, onion, cilantro and a lime wedge. The chicken was moist. I like bold flavors so to me the chicken could use more seasoning but it was still quite good. There was an assortment of sauces to choose from but since most of them were tomato based I avoided them and went for the Garlic and Japaleno sauce which says it’s mild but offers a good kick! For me a little of this went a long way.
Tyrone also ordered the Gringa and said he enjoyed it. Then he decided he was still hungry and got an order of the quesadillas with cheese and potato which he also said were pretty tasty.

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It was a really nice day and we were in no hurry so we sat in the chairs provided and ate and chatted and watched others come and go. There were a lot of Latinos coming for lunch so to me that’s a sign that the food must be pretty authentic. Most other patrons were ordering tacos so I made a mental note to try more of the taco options on my next visit. After the initial lunch rush the chef came to the window and was chatting up his guests. Nice to see that kind of hospitality 🙂 I asked him a few questions about the food truck business which he was happy to oblige in.

On my second visit I decided to go straight for some more tacos and ordered 2 sirloin and 1 al pastor.

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The al pastor was similar to my Gringa as it had the seasoned pork, pineapple, onion and cilantro. Pretty tasty. The sirloin were all right. The meat wasn’t as moist and I didn’t really think they were seasoned much at all. Personally I would get the chicken or al pastor again or try another option. My coworkers that I went with mostly ordered tacos as well but one of them also ordered the flautas which he said were pretty good.

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Overall I give them a thumbs up. The tacos are authentic. Even if they don’t pack a punch of flavor, that’s just how they are supposed to be. Perhaps if my tomato allergy hadn’t hindered me from the sauces I could have added more flavor to them.
As they are now closed for the season I will have to try a couple of the other Mexican restaurants around Edmonton over the winter so I have something more to gauge them on too.
Hopefully you give them a try come the spring.

Thanks and until next time, enjoy your adventures!
Kyra

Casa12Doce on Urbanspoon