dinner

Fun Times at Famoso

October 28, 2010

Back in August, Groupon started up here in Edmonton and had a daily deal for Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria. $15 would get you $30 worth of food, so naturally I bought it right away, as I love their pizza! Vince on the other hand, not so much, so we decided to take my family out for dinner to try it out.

It was quite packed when we arrived that night into the dimly lit restaurant, but it was mainly congested by the entrance since people were waiting anxiously to pick up their orders to take home and eat with their families.

The waitress kindly sat us down and explained the whole process of ordering to my parents & sister, as Vince & I checked out their new winter menu. For dinner, we decided to go with three pizzas: the Primavera, and the featured Vittoria and Ricotta Spinaci.


Cooks in the prep area


I find it so interesting how they cook the pizza for a mere 90 seconds, in their oven which is heated to 900 degrees fahrenheit. The food comes out quick, hot & fresh.


Primavera


The first to arrive to the table was the Primavera, which is a red sauce pizza (pizza rossa)topped with fresh mozarella, smoked mozza, roasted red pepper, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, kalamatta olives, caramelized onions and fresh basil leaves. This pizza was very yummy, and presented with the ingredients spaced apart expertly on the pizza. Each piece was garnished with a bit of everything so that everyone was able to taste the true pizza!


Ricotta Spinaci


Second to arrive was one of the featured pizzas, the Ricotta Spinaci. This was a white sauce pizza (pizza bianca) in which the sauce is made with EVOO, garlic, and oregano as a base. The word 'sauce' is somewhat misleading, as I would consider it to be a thin spread that dries up when being cooked in the oven! On the pizza was fresh mozarella, thinly sliced oven roasted rosemary potato, spinach, ricotta cheese and fresh basil leaves. This one was my least favourite of the three, because it was quite dry, and the ingredients were not well spread apart. I definitely would have enjoyed it more if the ricotta was more evenly spread out rather than in the large globs it was presented as. Oh heck, I probably would not have liked it then either.. bring on the red sauce version please! I like my pizza with substantial sauce! The thing that really attracted me to this pizza was the fact that Top Chef winner, Deb Pirker designed this pizza. Luckily the other featured pizza was quite a bit better.


Vittoria


Last but not least, the Vittoria arrived at our table, which was another red sauce pizza. This one was created by Dave Housman, who is actually one of the co-owners of the Famoso location we were eating at! The Vittoria is made using fiery salsa as a base, and topped with mozarella, chorizo sausage, roasted chicken, pineapple, and basil leaves. It was relieving to be able to have another pizza with substantial amounts of sauce, and the heat from the salsa gave it a nice kick. Combined with the sweetness coming from the pineapple, it made me think it was a delicious step up from the traditional ham & pineapple. Ingredients on this one were also spread relatively well.

Now here is Vince's complaint: he hates eating at Famoso because the pizza cools down rapidly, and he claims he dislikes eating cold food. This is quite true actually, as the pizza isn't really cooked for all that long, the heat dissipates quite quickly. So we, as a family, came up with a great solution (given that you're not super hungry and have a little patience!). All you have to do is order one pizza at a time - when one arrives, order another, so you will have a constant supply of hot pizzas being served at the table at the right time :)


Delectable tiramisu


To finish off dinner, we ordered the tiramisu, which Famoso claims to import from Milan, Italy. I've got to say, I really enjoy the tiramisu here because it's not overly sweet, the mascarpone is fluffy and creamy, and the sponge cake is soaked in the perfect amount of espresso, ensuring it isn't overly bitter. Also, theres no lady fingers in it (wow, don't get me started on how much I dislike lady fingers in tiramisu!).

I'll definitely be back again at Famoso for their pizza - the Neapolitan style is so unique, and their menu changes with each season, so I'm excited to try things out once spring and summer come around!

Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria
14123 23 Avenue
Edmonton AB
Famoso (Magrath) Neapolitan Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

dinner

Happy Birthday Rajeev : Rockford Grill

October 24, 2010

This past Friday, Rajeev called us out to celebrate his 20th birthday with him at Rockford Grill. Needless to say, I was excited to check out the new restaurant here in town.

Owned by the same group that manages Moxie's, CHOP, Dennies and etc., this restaurant comes to Edmonton after opening three locations in British Columbia. From the outside looking in, the restaurant looked like it would be a bit pricey, but a nice place to have a sit down meal.


Exterior of Rockford


Upon walking in, there were two sides to the building - a lounge to the left, and a dining room to the right. The restaurant was dimly lit by oversized lamps suspended from the ceiling, which is quite typical of most casual fine-dining restaurants here in our city. The items on the menu were quite reasonably priced, and leaned towards Asian fusion cuisine.


Dimly lit dining room


To start, I ordered the wok mushrooms. A mix of shiitake, portabello and crimini mushrooms wok fried with garlic and shaoxing wine was very tasty, but on the salty side of things. I couldn't eat them all due to the saltiness of the dish, so I waited for my main to arrive to offset the intense flavour. Otherwise, the mushrooms weren't overcooked, and had a nice texture to them.


wok mushrooms


For the main course, I opted for the 9 oz. sirloin creole style steak, which was described to be cajun rubbed with spicy creole butter. Compared to the charbroiled version, the extra $2 seemed to be worth it to try out cajun style steak. But boy, was I WRONG.


Cajun style sirloin steak


When my steak arrived, it looked exactly the same as the charbroiled one that one of our friends ordered, but the only difference was the colour of the butter sitting on top of the steak. My creole butter was orange, while his was a yellow, lemon parsley butter. My creole butter hardly tasted like anything! As did my steak, it hardly tasted different from the charbroiled version. In addition, I asked for medium-rare steak, and mine was clearly overdone as it had very pale light pink in the middle. Pretty disappointing, but I decided to eat it anyway since our food took quite a while to arrive at the table. I was too hungry to send it back and wait for another plate!


Charbroiled sirloin with jumbo prawns


If this counts for anything, my seasonal vegetables tasted good.. but that really doesn't make up for the poor steak!

Based on what everyone else ordered, it seemed that their food came with no problems. I wasn't too impressed, but considering I paid my visit during their first couple days of opening, I may or may not give this place another try. I much prefer their older sister, CHOP, which is actually located right around the corner from this restaurant. If you do visit and are to order the steak, opt out from getting the cajun style version, it really isn't worth the extra money.

With that, I leave you with some pictures from that night!


Vegetarian Red Curry Rice Bowl



I *think* this was kung pao chicken



Ginger beef



Me + Birthday Boy



With Cassie & Lisa!



Last but not least, Happy 20th Birthday Rajeev!

Rockford Wok Bar Grill
10111 Ellerslie Road SW
Edmonton AB
Rockford Wok Bar Grill on Urbanspoon

Edmonton food

University Fare

October 24, 2010

In order to complete my mission of trying out all the food places available on campus, I decided to order from International Fare inside Hub Mall. This little restaurant serves up Thai and Vietnamese style cuisine, which is a nice change from the usual chain restaurants located inside hub, like A&W and Subway.


The little establishment


They have different curries (including vegetarian options) and stir fries cooked and ready to be ordered by themselves, or you can venture and make a combo plate. I'm not a big curry person, so I decided to try out their Tom Yum Noodle Soup.

It took about 3-4 minutes for the ladies to cook it up for me, and it was served in a decent sized styrofoam bowl, piping hot. The soup was flavourful, and mildly spicy, which was nice because I didn't have anything to drink! It was a tad disappointing, however, that my noodles were on the soggy side *sad*


Tom Yum Noodle Soup


Topped with broccoli pieces and shrimp, it's not too bad of a dish for $6. I might give it a shot again, hoping the noodles won't be so soft!


Jap Chae Bab


Vince on the other hand headed over to KFR and had their Jap Chae Bab - jap chae on top of a plate of rice, served with potato and kimchi on the side. The jap chae in my opinion could use a bit more flavour. I like it at lunch time though! They have this delicious, addictive sauce you can add on top!

International Fare
9013 112 Street NW
Edmonton AB

beauty

Trick or Treat Yourself Gala : Benefit Cosmetics

October 19, 2010

I was so excited this past Saturday, as one month ago, I had booked a makeup consultation date with for myself and my girlies with makeup artists from Benefit Cosmetics. The Halloween inspired event, called the 'Trick or Treat Yourself Gala', was being held at the Magrath Shoppers Drug Mart location, and representatives from many other make up companies were in attendance. I had chosen Benefit because the artist was Korean, and is well known for her expertise in brows and Asian makeup.


B getting her makeup done



C getting her makeup done


When we arrived, we didn't quite know what to expect, but we ended up each having a individual makeup consultation based on what type of look we wanted to achieve. The makeup artists would complete a look for us, give us some tips and pointers, and educate us about the products they used. Since the artist, Hyejin, is well known for her brow shaping, she treated each of us to complimentary shaping.

I myself am a big fan of Benefit products, so I ended up picking up two products: the POREfessional, and the Confessions of a Concealaholic kit. The POREfessional is a pro balm, targetted to minimize the appearance of pores. At first I was skeptical that this would clog my pores and make me break out, but so far so good! It's a very lightweight, silky formula that does minimize pores. It doesn't make them completely vanish, but it's a good start! It can sit over or under make up, and seems to make the complexion much smoother!


POREfessional & Concealing Kit


The Concealaholic kit on the other hand is currently my FAVOURITE! 'That Gal' face primer is lightweight, and brightens the complexion. I don't use this on a day to day basis, but I use it when I'm going out, under my makeup! The 'Boing' concealer I use under my eyes to hide circles, and sometimes I use eyebright on the inner corners of my eyes. I like that the formula is creamy, and very easy to blend. However, I think the star of this kit is the Erase Paste! This concealer is fantastic! It's easily blendable on my skin and covers up any imperfections that I have to make my face flawless. This is now my go-to concealer!


Goodies from the event



Cupcakes! Not too sure about the non-Halloween theme here, haha


At the makeup event, there were refreshments and snacks provided, and the associates in the beauty boutique created a little scavenger hunt to complete in the store. After collecting five clues, we were given a treat bag with candy and make up goodies to take home. With a $150+ purchase, we were also given lots of free, full sized samples to try out!


All made up and ready to go :)


With our makeup done, we decided to check out the new frozen yogurt place in the southside, called Twisted Yogurt Creations. I had heard about this place in Sherwood Park, but never had the chance to visit it as it was far away. Lucky for me, this location opened in the south side of Edmonton!


Twisted Yogurt now open!



me & B outside!


I absolutely love frozen yogurt. Ever since trying it out at Kiwi Kiss (located in Edmonton City Centre), I've always been craving it! It was a definite treat for me to have gobbled up my share while I was in Los Angeles in May! Just as I had expected - the process was to grab a cup, choose your yogurt and toppings, and pay according to the weight. The only difference between Canada and the US? The pricing. Here at Twisted Yogurt, the current selling price is at 49 cents per ounce, whereas Most locations in the states are selling at 29 cents.


Self Serve station


At twisted yogurt, they have a multitude of different yogurt flavours ranging from plain and pomegranate acai, to white chocolate and licorice, and with over 20 different toppings (fresh fruit, cereals, nuts, chocolate, gummies) to choose from, you can make hundreds of combinations to your liking!


My creation :)


My usual combination is the plain yogurt topped with raspberries, mangoes and mochi. I like the tartness of the plain yogurt, and the fact that it isn't very sweet. Here at Twisted Yogurt, there was only one disappointment for me - they didn't have mochi balls as a topping! I talked to one of the girls working, and she said she didn't know what I was talking about (Kiwi Kiss does have them though!), but would definitely take note of it and tell her boss!


Crystal with her fro yo!


Between the two frozen yogurt places here in Edmonton, I definitely take favour to Twisted Yogurt, despite the lack of mochi. At Kiwi Kiss, you are restricted to ordering set sizes of yogurt, and limited numbers of toppings depending on the price you pay. For example, you can order a small frozen yogurt with a maximum of three different toppings. I enjoy being able to control how much yogurt I am eating, and have a variety of toppings, which is why I recommend checking out Twisted Yogurt. You aren't forced to consume a large amount, and you have the option of trying out the many flavours of yogurt that they carry in the store. And now that I found mochi at the Korean Central Market, I can have my favourite combination any time of the year!


love my girlies!


Twisted Yogurt plans on expanding and opening two more locations here in our city. One location will open in Terwillegar in April of 2011, and one on Whyte Avenue in the near future. I love that the frozen yogurt trend is finally making it's way to Canada. Make sure to check it out! You will not be disappointed :)

Twisted Yogurt Creations
#650 3803 Calgary Trail
Edmonton AB

dinner

Fiesta at Julios Barrio

October 16, 2010

This past summer, Vince had won a $50 gift certificate to Julios Barrio, and we finally decided to use it! It's starting to get a little chilly, but nothing was stopping me from ordering a cold margarita!

We arrived shortly after 4pm, and thought it would be busy since it was a Friday afternoon. However, we were seated within 2 minutes, and our waiter promptly served up some complimentary tortilla chips with salsa to munch on while browsing the menu.


Complimentary chips


I ordered a strawberry margarita and the flautas, which are flour tortillas stuffed with ancho chicken & onions, topped with lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream and marinated purple onion. On the side, the flautas are served with salsa and guacamole. The tortillas are fried until golden, giving the outside a light crisp. I quite enjoyed this dish actually, because it wasn't too salty, and the chicken was cooked with a nice mix of herbs. Despite this dish being an appetizer, it was quite filling, even for me!


delicious margarita!!



Flautas


Vince on the other hand ordered the quesadilla, which was served with Mexican rice, refried beans and a corn salad. The quesadilla was stuffed with monterey jack & cheddar, saueteed onion, red & green pepper, chipotle sauce, and chicken, then garnished with salsa, tomatoes, lettuce, and sour cream. The quesadilla tasted very good in the beginning, but the portion was big and felt dry over time. On the plate, my favourite was honestly the Mexican rice, haha.


Vince's quesadilla


The food at Julios isn't bad, but I think I want to check out the other Mexican places in town before I decide where my favourite Mexican place is!

Julios Barrio Mexican Restaurant
10450 82 Avenue
Edmonton AB
Julio's Barrio on Whyte on Urbanspoon

Date Night

Edmonton Corn Maze!

October 10, 2010

On Friday after class, the girls and I decided to head out to the Edmonton Corn Maze for a girls night with dinner planned afterwards.

As we progress through fall, the days get shorter and shorter, and the sun just sets so early! We headed to the maze at 5pm, and the sun was already sitting just over the horizon.


Welcome to the corn maze!


I remember the last time I went to the maze was maybe 5 years ago, and going this time, things seemed to be very different. I know that the corn didn't look healthy since we visited late in the season, but the stalks seemed to be so short. The last time I went, I felt like the stalks of corn towered over me!


Cute little question stations



My set of questions


Prior to entering the maze, there was a station with different coloured paper, each with questions pertaining to different subjects. Throughout the maze, there are different stations with questions for "interactive fun". By answering an answer correctly, you can determine which way to turn to find your way out of the maze. We tried to use the questions to go through the maze, and finished it within what seemed to be an hour. Back in the day, I think I was stuck in the maze for a good hour and a half!


Trying to figure out the answers.. hah



Finished!


While we went through the maze, it was extremely annoying to find that there were bratty children running around, picking ears of corn and throwing it up into the air at other people! Ridiculous! Other than that, it was a pretty good night for us to spend some girl time, and we headed to Moxies after to finish off with a white chocolate brownie! Yum! :)


Kernel Express!

Edmonton food

Free Burger Day at Rodeo Burger!!

October 05, 2010

Now the day has come! FREE BURGER DAY at Rodeo Burger!

As mentioned in my post about Burrito Libre, Rodeo Burger is doing an event today in support of the Salvation Army. In order to get a free burger, you had to bring in a non-perishable food donation, or just $1. Good deal if you ask me :)

This week, Lisa and I met up with Crystal to get our burger on! Unfortunately, with a longer line came a longer wait time. It was quite cold early this morning, but with the sun shining, the weather wasn't too bad.


Free Burger Day Pass!


Stepping into the restaurant (after our 30 minute wait!) revealed a small, cozy establishment, full of patrons. We were told that we had a choice of the Lonestar (single patty) or the Western (veggie patty), with all the free toppings available. Anything extra, like cheese, bacon, and guacamole would be charged for. I opted for the lonestar, topped with mustard, ketchup, mayo, rodeo relish, salsa, lettuce, tomatoes, mushrooms, caramelized onions, banana peppers, and pickles. Talk about getting my "moneys worth", haha.

Just as it was at Burrito Libre, there was a big assembly line of employees, many of which were from Burrito Libre, lending a helping hand. This also confirmed for me that Burrito Libre & Rodeo Burger are owned by the same people. Burgers were freshly made to order, and it took a little over 3 minutes to have the brown paper wrapped burger in my hands, warm and ready to be eaten!


Assembly Line


Sitting down at the table, there was a small sign telling the story of this burger joint. It was really interesting to read about all the things that they make from scratch in their own kitchen! They make their own relish, burger patties, french fries, veggies, and condiments! Pretty impressive from my point of view!


Fun facts


The burger was delicious! The bun was toasted, and crisp on the outside, while the inside was warm and soft. The ingredients that I chose to have put in my burger complimented one another well, and my favourite would have to be the caramelized onions. The burger was juicy, tender, and not too salty, and the amount of sauce wasn't too much that it was dripping out of the bun.


Free Burger Day Pass!


All in all, it was a great burger! My parents had gone earlier in the day, and brought their order home to eat. They didn't find the burger to be all that great since it was cold. I would recommend to eat it right after ordering, or you won't be able to see how great this burger happens to be!

Rodeo Burger
8525B 112 Street NW
Edmonton AB

Edmonton food

Made fresh, right on the spot: Freshii

October 04, 2010

I always like watching people make the food I eat, and the new Freshii located at West Edmonton Mall lets you see it all! They prepare the food right when you order before your eyes, and you can see the unique way that they put it all together.

I believe they opened early September, because I remember my coworkers and I gushing over the new place and their interesting concept. Their little space in the food court is brightly lit, with green and white decor, bringing lots of life to the dull, old food court.


Freshii


At this place, they have a preset menu to choose from, or you can grab a little clip board, take a seat, and plan out exactly what you want them to make for you, using their fresh ingredients. Basically what they do is take the ingredients you want, toss them together with the sauces you choose, and turn it into a wrap, burrito, rice/noodle bowl, soup or salad. It's pretty interesting and I really like watching them do their job.


Short & Simple Menu


Once they receive your order, they scoop up all the ingredients into a bag, add sauce, tie a knot, and SHAKE! They shake it all up for a good while, to coat the ingredients and make them taste delicious. Afterwards, they pour it into a box for you to take & enjoy.


Warrior Chicken!


This would be the second time I've been here, and I ordered the Warrior Chicken to try out. This is it's description: brown rice, cajun chicken, sweet corn, red onions, diced tomatoes, carrots, and ranch dressing. Think it sounds gross? So did I, until I took a bite of it! The ranch dressing they use is very mild, and the brown rice is cooked perfectly - not soggy, not hard, but just in the middle where the rice almost has a bit of elasticity to it. I don't know how to describe it, but I think of it like al dente pasta. Al dente brown rice! Yum! The cajun chicken is seasoned well, and when combined with the corn and other vegetables, its a slightly sweet and salty mixture that tastes oh so good in your tummy.

Big change compared to the first time I went - they had just opened and the place was hectic! The workers were frantic and seemed like they had no idea what was going on - they were getting orders wrong, food wasn't cooked properly, and it just wasn't a good time. But after being open for over a month, they now have things under control and I can almost disregard my first visit. My first time I had chosen to go with a noodle bowl, but my rice noodles were so undercooked. They were hard and so gross, I could taste the starch! They also ran out of their lemongrass sauce so mine barely had any flavour. I'm not so sure I want to try the noodles again though, just in case.

I would definitely recommend trying out anything other than their noodle bowls, or even customizing something! It's cool to see how they make their foods, and they really do stick to their motto - "FRESH FOOD. CUSTOM BUILT. FAST."

Freshii
1586 West Edmonton Mall
Edmonton AB

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