Friday, August 5, 2016

Sabor Seafood Festival 2016: August 5 - September 3

Seafood lovers get ready! Sabor's annual Seafood Festival is back for it's third year, from August 5th - September 3rd. I had the opportunity to attend the media kickoff dinner last week and there's some exciting plates on the menu this year.

Sabor - 10220 103 Street - Edmonton AB

As one of Edmonton's top seafood restaurants, its great to know that Sabor's menu is 100% Ocean Wise approved. This means that all the seafood utilized at Sabor is recognized by the Vancouver Aquarium conservation program as sustainable. Given the farm-to-table popularity, it may seem silly to question where your seafood comes from, but overfishing is one of the greatest threats to our oceans. Without making a conscious decision to consume sustainable seafood, fisheries worldwide could collapse by 2048!

Chef collaborations are becoming increasingly popular, this year Chef Jan Hansen of Hotel Arts in Calgary collaborated with co-owners Christian Mena and Chef Lino Oliveira. Although the chefs worked on the family-style meal together, the dish created by Chef Hansen will be noted on the Seafood Festival menu this year, and the proceeds from his dish will be donated to Ocean Wise to fund their research programs.

The meal began with five different tapas dishes, and first up was the Scallop & Limpet Ceviche. You won't find limpets on any other menu in Edmonton, so this is your best chance at trying these aquatic snails! You could taste the natural sweetness of the fresh scallops and limpets, but the dish was a tad viscous for my palate.

Next up came the Heirloom Tomato & Queijo Fresco Montadito - a Spanish take on bruschetta. The tomatoes were sourced from the City Market on 104St and served on bread freshly baked at the Hotel Arts. The subtle flavours worked beautifully together - it was a simple dish done right!

The Sardina Escalivada arrived next, plated beautifully across the plate. Escalivada is a Catalan dish of roasted vegetables, and the mix of roasted red peppers, eggplant, capers, and garlic paired well with the sardines.

Amêijoas á Bulhão Pato is a dish of clams cooked in a white wine sauce and is a dish with which you cannot go wrong. This Portuguese dish is named after the 19th-century Lisbon poet Bulhão Pato and is a popular first course in many restaurants.

Last of the tapas came the stunning plates of Gambas al Ajillo, jumbo shrimp cooked with garlic and wine. This interactive course made everyone set their manners aside - you just had to get in there with your hands, rip off the heads, and suck all the good juices out of those prawn heads! 

Before the main courses made their way to the tables we all had a taste of the Croquetas de Bacalao. These poached Lingcod and potato fritters had a crispy crust made for dipping into Sabor's signature piri piri sauce. The piri piri has a great kick and is so addictive!

The Caldeirada de Peixe, otherwise known as Portuguese fish stew, was my favourite dish of the night. Sabor's version features beautiful sablefish and poached lobster cooked with peppers, tomatoes, onions, and potatoes in a saffron-lobster broth. The seafood was cooked perfectly and the broth had a nice depth of flavour. If I had access to a spoon I would have finished all that delicious broth!

The last savoury dish of the evening brought together octopus and lamb for a spin on surf & turf. Smoked paprika charred octopus was paired with a chorizo-stuffed saddle of Alberta lamb. The proteins sat on a bed of migas, a side dish of kale, pine nuts, and white navy beans for a filling end to the savoury courses.

The Leite Crema ‘Dona Irene’ rounded off our meal and was a great finish to the night. The combination of creamy custard with raspberries, candied nuts, and silky caramel sauce were so good, I might have had two portions. If you're a panna cotta fan, this one is for you!

The Sabor Seafood Festival runs now through September 3rd, so you have just under one month to try out the dishes on the special menu. While the regular menu is still available, I would encourage you to try something new, or even order the dish made by Chef Hansen to support Ocean Wise initiatives! If seafood isn't your thing, not to worry - check out Sabor's newly opened sister restaurant Bodega in the Highlands area for wine and tapas instead.

*Disclosure: Sabor invited me to attend their media preview dinner. Views expressed in this post are solely mine. I was not expected to feature this restaurant on my blog, nor obligated to do so. This post is 100% my opinion, and as always, my priority is to you, the reader, to present an unbiased, thorough review.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

House Cleaning with Mad Maids: Review & Giveaway!

You may have noticed it's been a little quiet around here for the past few months, but there's good reason for it. I purchased my first home in March and it's been non-stop busy ever since! Between work, furniture shopping, and spending time with family, it feels like I haven't had much time for anything else. It's been a great learning experience and I wouldn't change a thing. My boyfriend and I are happy with where we are, but the one thing I would love to change is the amount of cleaning I do!

Shortly after I moved into my home Mad Maids got in touch with me to schedule a deep cleaning of my house. The timing could not have been more perfect - the house was dusty from renovations and despite all the wiping and cleaning I had already done, I kept finding dirty spots here and there.

Mad Maids is a home cleaning company based out of Calgary, which recently expanded their services to Edmonton. Their company operates by a flat-rate basis which is determined by the number of rooms in your home. Using their system, the number of rooms correlates with the amount of living space in your home which needs to be cleaned.

Three different cleaning services (Routine/Deep Clean/Move in & Move Out) are offered by the teams at Mad Maids, where the deep clean (+$50) and Move In/Move Out (+$60) have an additional cost. If you don't need your whole house cleaned, there is the option for cleaning at an hourly rate of $45.

For each scheduled cleaning a team of two maids comes to your home. I must admit that I was a bit skeptical letting strangers into my home to clean, but Mad Maids employs people who pass a thorough background check, and the company is fully bonded and insured to protect customers in the case of accidental damages or theft. The two people on the team work well together, with the advantage that the job done quickly and efficiently.

I scheduled my cleaning on a Saturday afternoon while I was home as I was curious and wanted to see how my home would be cleaned. The great thing about Mad Maids is that scheduling is done easily online, so their hours can accommodate your schedule. Whether you want cleaning done during the day, evening, or on the weekend, they will find a team that can work for you.

My stove top is SPOTLESS!

I live in a bungalow so there's a ton of living space that needs to be cleaned. For a deep clean of my four bedroom house, it took Mad Maids 3.5 hours, which would technically equate to 7 hours of cleaning for one person! My team didn't take any breaks and worked straight through to clean my house from top to bottom. That's the beauty of the flat rate pricing - you don't pay any additional fees no matter how long the cleaning takes. I was impressed with the cleaning done by Mad Maids. Their extensive cleaning checklist ensured that no spots were left dirty, and no fine details were missed. I was actually surprised about some of the spots they cleaned (the exterior of my front door, the cracks under my sliding windows) and appreciated their attention to detail.

We had a great experience using Mad Maids and my boyfriend and I are considering getting regular cleanings done every few months to supplement what we do on a weekly basis. Mad Maids also offers the option of cleaning when you aren't home, and I think it would be amazing to go to work and come home to a clean house! Does your house need a little bit of help from Mad Maids? Use my code LMA20 for $20 off a house cleaning from Mad Maids, or enter to win a $200 gift card to use towards a cleaning! A second gift card of $50 is also up for grabs. Check out all the details below!



$200 Towards a Mad Maids Cleaning
($50 for the runner up)

Mandatory Entry: comment below telling me why you do/don't like to clean.
If you enjoy it, leave me some tips to help make my cleaning easier!

Note: leaving a comment is mandatory to enter this giveaway - additional entries
will improve your chances of winning, but will not count unless you leave a comment

  • Follow me via Twitter (@littlmissandrea) (+1)
  • Follow Mad Maids via Twitter (@MadMaids) (+1)
  • Tweet about the giveaway: "Hey @MadMaids, my house needs a good cleaning! Hope I win the $200 GC from @littlmissandrea! #yeg" and link back to this post (+2)
  • Follow me via Instagram (@littlmissandrea) (+1)
  • Visit the Mad Maids Facebook page (+1)
  • Visit my Facebook page, and share the giveaway post (+3)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is open to anyone 18+ years of age in Edmonton. You have until July 30th to enter and the winner will be selected by random and be contacted via email. Good luck!

*Disclosure: I was provided with a house cleaning from Mad Maids free of charge. Views expressed in this post are solely mine. This post is 100% my opinion, and as always, my priority is to you, the reader, to present an unbiased, thorough review.