To be Happy Is Simple - T.H.I.S. (Place)

November 28, 2012

A couple weeks back before school got all crazy busy, I had a study break with my friends Teresa & Diane - of course, "studying" was done, but we needed a place to wind down after staring at our laptops and books. We did a little walking around downtown until we stumbled across this quiet little cafe right by Grant MacEwan....

T.H.I.S. (Place) - 10382 105 Street - Edmonton AB

T.H.I.S. = To Be Happy is Simple. How often do we complain about our lives and forget how grateful what we should be to have? Inspired by his mom, this is the philosophy of the owner, Tom, at T.H.I.S. Place.You may not be familiar with Tom in this environment, but if I mention Lan's Asian Grill, his name may ring a bell. Yep! Tom has ventured into the downtown core to open up a cafe featuring coffee, frozen yogurt, ice creams, and... popsicles! Yes! Homemade popsicles.

Being able to sit down and have a conversation with him gave me the opportunity to understand where the concept for the cafe came from. Coming from his roots, which stress the importance of family and food, why add more than is needed? All you need is happiness, family, friends and food to share in. And this philosophy is reflected in all that encompasses T.H.I.S. Place. The decor is simple and clean, and is a great place to sit down and just enjoy everything around you. I wouldn't recommend this as a place for studying (stools don't give you lumbar support!) but I could definitely see myself sitting here for a study break and endulging in a treat or two.. ;)

Keeping with simplicity, the crew at T.H.I.S. Place strives to make a majority of their menu items from scratch with the freshest ingredients. A variety of coffees and drinks like fresh squeezed lemonade and limenade ($3) are available, but what really caught my interest was the housemade all-natural fruit popsicles ($2.75-$3), frozen yougurt, and shaved ice! As I was scheduled for dinner soon, I refrained and tried out the mango coconut popsicle.

What I love is that upon the first taste, I could tell it was freshly made in house. There is always going to be a difference between homemade and manufacturer produced popsicles, and I love knowing that what I'm eating is all-natural and free of preservatives. The popsicle was creamy and contained fruit chunks here and there - I'd love to try more! I know that I'll be back to check out the froyo (love!!) and shaved ice, but Tom gave me a little inside secret - they're in the process of making their own condensed milk. Yum!

Take a break from your busy life and check out this place :)

T.H.I.S. Place on Urbanspoon

Manicure Monday

Manicure Monday: The Spy Who Loved Me

November 26, 2012

Is it just me, or did the weekend go by REALLY fast? Everything feels like a blur (no I was not drunk!) but I did have a lot of fun celebrating my birthday meal after meal this past weekend. Lots of delicious food pictures are headed your way soon.. brace yourselves.

Up this week for Mani Monday is The Spy Who Loved Me from the OPI James Bond Collection - this one was the 10th bond movie ever made! Speaking of which, I finally saw Skyfall over the weekend and quite enjoyed it! Go out and see it if you haven't already!

The Spy Who Loved me is this beautiful bright apple red with gold glitter bits in it - I couldn't stop staring at my fingers all week! The formula is so easy to work with, and is self levelling to give a smooth, glossy finish. Despite the glitter, the polish is quite easy to remove and wears up to 4 days chip free. I can easily see this worn throughout the holiday season!


Microwave Potato Chips?!

November 23, 2012

Yeah, you must think I'm crazy making potato chips in the microwave. Or on the flip side you might think I'm a genius, and you'll want to be making these with me!

I've been on a bit of a potato kick lately. I'm loving making potato wedges, breakfast hashbrowns, roasted potatoes, you name it. I love my carbs. So one day I was craving chips, and of course, when you crave something SO badly and can't have it, your mind will not stop thinking about it.

So then I started thinking of alternatives, but nothing was satisfying. So I decided to try something out, and surprisingly it worked. Thanks to my microwave! So yes, these are a great quick fix if you're craving some chips, and what I love about them is that they are quite healthy since they are made without oil - you need nothing except the potato itself, and some seasoning if you please.

They're not made with an energy efficient process, and you may want to argue that I am consuming huge amounts of radiation - go with your gut and do what you want. But these are a quick fix for perfectly crispy chips when I'm craving some and I love them. Let me know your results if you try these out!

{Sriracha Variation}

Microwave Potato Chips

1. Wash and slice a potato into thin rounds (1/8 to 1/16 of an inch thick). I use a mandoline for this process, but a sharp knife will work as well

2. Place the slices into a bowl of ice cold water for 3-5 minutes to soak. Afterwards, rinse them off until the water becomes clear

3. Dry the potato slices with a cloth or paper towel

4. Prepare a large plate lined with a paper towel, and place the dried potato slices on the paper towel, ensuring the potato slices are not touching one another

5. Season the slices to your liking (I like garlic salt!)

6. Microwave the potato slices for 3 minutes. Remove them from the microwave to flip them over, and microwave again for an additional 2 minutes. The potatoes should be golden brown & crispy, ready to enjoy.

*Depending on the size of your potato, you may have to microwave 2-3 batches in order to prepare chips from a whole potato
*If you have an inverter microwave, I would decrease the microwaving time by 30 seconds!


Southern Flavours with Creole Envie

November 21, 2012

Three weeks ago, I was invited to attend the Grand Opening of Creole Envie, hosted by owner Danielle Majeau herself. Creole Envie first made its appearance as a catering service earlier this year, which is how I met Danielle and had the chance to try out her jambalaya. Months later, she proceeded to open her restaurant, only having to shut the doors and look for a new home at the beginning of September. Search after search, she finally came across her dream location in the Highlands area.

Creole Envie - 6509 112 Avenue - Edmonton AB

In the space that used to be home to the Highlands Kitchen now sits Creole Envie. While the space is small, the dimmer lighting and decor made it cozy and an inviting place to dine in.

Walking in, everyone received a flute of celebratory champagne before finding a seat! Trust me, it was tough fighting the crowd for a seat on this night, but rest assured, you'll have a little bit more room when you visit the restaurant yourself.

On the menu that night was a self-serve Bourbon buffet. Buffet? I'm so there, and am totally the person trying to get as much food as possible on my plate. I kid (but not really). Available to guests that night were: chicken & waffles, Creole deviled eggs, collard greens, alligator étouffée and bourbon chocolate bundt cakes for dessert.

I've never had authentic chicken and waffles before (trust me, I am dying inside trying to have them!!), so I was quite excited for it to be available. However, due to the nature of the event, the chicken and waffles brought out in batches were unfortunately cold, soft, and dry by the time I got to them. I'll have to head back on a second occasion to try them out for real!

Collard greens really never are my thing, as the sweet and sour combination doesn't quite sit well with me (I also hate sweet and sour pickles!). But the guests that like collard greens enjoyed the dish, so it's worth a try if you've never had it before. The Creole deviled eggs on the other hand were great - topped with some crackling for interest, it was a nice addition to the meal.

Ever since my encounter with alligator at Louisiana Purchase, I've been wondering when my next meal with it would be. The étouffée was hearty and full of flavour - definitely a perfect choice if you need to warm up from the cold weather we get here in Edmonton! This was my favourite dish of the night.

Last but not least was the Bourbon chocolate bundt cake - a definite favourite amongst guests at the party. The cake was moist, dense, and contained some crystallized sugar which was an unexpected surprise for me. Despite the presence of the sugar, the cake itself was not too sweet, which is what I usually look for in desserts. And because I was ready to subject myself to stomach explosion, I had to have a second one.

Chef Majeau has done a great job with this new location to build it into the restaurant of her dreams. The decor is beautiful, giving the place has its own warm personality. I know I'll be back in the future to try those fresh chicken & waffles - they're a special on Thursdays!

Disclaimer: as this was a grand opening event, 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.

Creole Envie on Urbanspoon

Manicure Monday

Manicure Monday: Tomorrow Never Dies

November 19, 2012

Where did the weekend go? It's Monday again! What did you guys do this past weekend?! Aside from studying (I'm such a good student ;)), I headed out to the Art Gallery of Alberta on Saturday night for their Monstrous Baroque Refinery Late Night Party. Everything was gorgeous, and I had so much fun dressing up for the event! If you haven't seen what I had up on Instagram from the party, details are to come later.

This week for Manicure Monday I have another polish from the OPI Skyfall Collection - getting bored of them yet? I surely am not cause the shades are SO pretty! Tomorrow Never Dies is the 18th Bond film ever produced and was released in 1997 - with Pierce Brosnan as Bond!

Tomorrow Never Dies is a deep indigo polish with a dimension of holographic depth, and full of blue and pink pulverized glitter. I secretly hate these shimmer, pseudo-metallic shades mainly due to visibility of brush strokes, but the formula for Tomorrow Never Dies is spot on. It definitely requires two coats, but each coat is self levelling with a beautiful smooth, glossy finish. The polish wore chip free for four days and was surprisingly easy to remove. If you're on the lookout for a deep blue polish, this one has your name written all over it!


Occupy Common 2.0

November 17, 2012

If you've followed my blog long enough, you'll know that I love pop up dinners! Back on October 16 (oh my gosh, where did this month go?!) was Occupy Common 2.0, where five different chefs came together to put a pop up dinner together! So much fun. As the food will never be replicated, I thought I'd share some quick thoughts & pictures of the yummy eats from that night!


First plate of the night was by Chef Andrew Cowan of Hundred Bar Kitchen: pickle brined, duck fat fried chicken with kimchi & honey drizzle. Unfortunately, having to plate so many dishes meant that the chicken arrived to the table cold, and the skin soggy. However, there was no trace of duck fat smell or taste in the chicken - quite peculiar as it was what I was most looking forward to. The kimchi was spicy and crisp, but without the familiar fermented flavour, so this dish was unfortunately a miss for me!

Second up was Nathan Saurette's of the Enjoy Center's creation: charred brussels sprouts and lentil salad tossed with maple dressing, topped with porchetta and squash bread. This one I was dreading. I hate brussels sprouts with a passion. But after tasting this dish, maybe I don't hate brussels sprouts themselves, but rather my mothers brussels sprouts. The miniature cabbages were charred to perfection, while the maple dressing gave them a sweetness that paired perfectly with the smoky flavour. The porchetta was tender and had delicious crispy skin attached to it - the dish left me wanting more!

Next to the table was by Edgar Guitterez of Tres Carnales Tacqueria: steamed lamb shoulder with tamal de elote, chile de arbol and pumpkin seed sauce. I'm still debating whether this dish or Nathan's was my favourite for the night. The tender, flavourful lamb atop the soft tamal de elote was so tasty, I'd eat it again in a heartbeat.

Stu Chell from Amber's Brewing cooked up the fourth dish: stout brined corned beef on rye with a waldorf slaw. Let me tell you this, I was SO FULL at this point, I had no idea how I was going to finish this plate! Thankfully my food baby was prepared to grow and I was able to taste the mustard and corned beef together. It was a nice dish, but definitely too big of a portion to eat this far in the meal. Need I mention that every single dish had protein up to this point? I was ready to explode and was begging for dessert to come.

Last but not least was the dish from executive chef of The Common, Jesse Morrison-Gauthier: shropshire blue cheese with syrup & oat biscuits, rhubarb, celery and cherries. I was hoping for more of a dessert to end off the meal, but this one was nice too. Not being a big blue cheese girl, I did try it, and it was waaaaay potent! Where were my cheese loving friends when I needed them? Anyways, the biscuits were tasty - soft and pliable, and not too sweet. Topped with the rhubarb and cherry jam, I was a happy girl.

The next pop up dinner at The Common is happening this upcoming November 20, 2012. Breakfast for dinner! Who's in?!



November 14, 2012

Zara Top | American Eagle Denim Jacket | Old Navy Rockstar Jeans
F21 Scarf (similar) | Shoedazzle Heels (similar) | Tom Ford Nico Sunglasses
Coach Lindsey & Boyfriend Watch & Rings

Winter has struck in Edmonton. There is snow everywhere, and this is the last (and probably only) Fall outfit I was able to snap before the cold weather hit. It's almost like we had Summer then skipped straight to Winter this year. Boo!

James Bond

Manicure Monday: Casino Royale

November 12, 2012

Happy Monday! I've been having an amazingly long weekend - mine started Friday and ends tomorrow, so obviously I've been up to no good! ;) Just kidding.

This week I have another shade from OPI's Skyfall collection to share with you - this time we've got Casino Royale, which I can say I did watch before! Casino Royale was released in 2006, and the 21st Bond movie to be released.. I never actually realized there were SO many Bond movies!

Casino Royale is a shade I would describe as a plum wine. In brighter lights, it appears as a plum creme, but in darker environments, the red wine shade comes out, making it much darker, but still a great colour.

Surprisingly enough, the polish itself applied sheerer than I thought it would, so a full two coats is necessary to level everything out and achieve opacity. The formula does flow smoothly as expected, and lasts up to 4 days chip free.

It really is a gorgeous, rich shade to wear for the upcoming holiday season! Skyfall was released in theatres just this past weekend.. did anyone get to see it yet? Let me know your thoughts if you have!


FLARE World Runway Tour Recap

November 10, 2012

A couple weeks ago, the FLARE Fashion World Runway Tour made a stop here in Edmonton, and I had the opportunity to attend the event hosted by Tresemme and Southgate Centre with my girlfriend Diane. It was a night of food and fashion - two of my favourite things! Having it held in the Art Gallery was the perfect touch of classiness as well. Just thought I'd post a couple pictures from the event, can't wait til next year!

The ghosts were too cute.. had to snap a picture! Outfit details here.

Edmonton food

Getting Social with Social Modern Pub [CLOSED]

November 07, 2012

Pubs. Not really places you'll usually find me, cause I'm a bit of a sheltered grandma somtimes.. but when Social Modern Pub invited me in to check out their menu, I couldn't refuse. Oops, now you all know I'm a bit of a grandma.

Social Modern Pub - 10807 106 Avenue NW - Edmonton AB

When I headed down to Social Modern Pub, it was a little bit hard to find - not on the main road, but off to the side. It really is a hidden gem in the downtown area, not to mention they have tons of parking available!

I met one of my girlfriends here on a Friday night around 6:30, and while it wasn't packed, I would say it was at or a bit over half capacity. Being Halloween party weekend, it was understandable, and I actually liked having a bit more space there for ourselves! Walking in, the leather seats and mirrors among the red and black decor gives the place an upscale feel, while the flatscreens on the wall still make it a great place to come down and watch the game with friends.

To start off, we ordered the Veggie Skins ($9): Our vegetarian version of the classic potato skins. Red and green pepper skins topped with roasted garlic, onions, tomatoes and Bocconcini cheese. I hadn't known what to expect, but was surprised with what arrived on the plate. The red peppers still had crispness to them, and the melted cheese held all toppings together. It could've used a little bit more seasoning in my opinion, but it's so healthy and I want to make these at home now for when I'm studying!

Next up was the Chicken Strips ($9): Breaded chicken strips served with our signature Dijon Honey Mustard aioli. They make these in house, and are nothing short of delicious. The chicken is very tender, coated in a flavourful breading and served nice and crisp. I would order these again in a heartbeat. What we hadn't realized was that they would be served with fries - it left us wanting way more chicken and fewer fries.

For mains, we ordered two to try out and the Lamb Burger ($14) came out first: 6oz Homemade Lamb burger, topped with spinach, tomato, feta and mint aioli. First of all, we substituted yam fries for regular fries, and they are fantastic here! They have the perfect amount of crunch to go with the paired garlicky aioli. The lamb burger itself was quite good - it had a small trace of that gamey flavour, but the patty held itself together well. The only thing was it was a little on the dry side for me, so a little more of the aioli added in there fixed it up.

Our second main, the Brandied Cajun Chicken Fettucini Alfredo ($15) is something I never thought I would order in a pub atmosphere. But there's a first for everything, right? Sautéed chicken dusted in Cajun and flambéed in orange brandy. Laid on a bed of fettuccini topped with Alfredo made from scratch. The alfredo pasta was cooked al dente, and the sauce was very rich and creamy - I could really taste the butter in there. Mmm, calories! The sauce ensured that the pasta did not start sticking to itself even after cooling down - but the problem was that the sauce itself didn't have much flavour to it. All the flavour in the dish was in the chicken, so eating the pasta was best paired with the chicken. The pasta was a nice surprise, and I would love to try some of the other pastas they have.

On this particular night, we were able to meet and speak with the General Manager Ian who is extremely friendly and outgoing, making trips around the pub and taking the time to talk to everyone and make sure they're having a great time. We were chatting away, until he professed his love to bacon to us! One thing lead to another, and before we knew it, a plate of bacon wrapped bacon was making its way to our table! The bacon wrapped bacon is currently unavailable, but will be found permanently on the new menu soon. The dish itself is a substantial chunk of back bacon wrapped in candied bacon and drizzled with some maple syrup on a skewer. I'm not a huge bacon fan myself, but this was delicious. It was perfectly sweet and salty, and the celery and pickled carrot & daikon on the side made me feel just a little healthier.

And as if I wasn't ready to explode already, I ordered the Warm Apple Crisp ($7): Just like Grandma makes, warmed up and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The apple crisp was less on the crispy side, and more like a ooey-gooey dessert that was just the right amount of sweet to end the night.

Overall, I had such a great time at Social Modern Pub, and would return again if I were in the area. Our server was so friendly, and the environment is perfect for a night out with friends. The menu changes up every 3-4 months, and the kitchen is open as late as 1:00 AM if you're looking for late night eats. They have so many great specials everyday too, giving patrons more incentives to go! Mondays they give out free steak sandwiches, free wings on Wednesdays, and 50% off for the ladies on Saturdays are just a few of the many things they do throughout the week! They use the DibsIn app and also feature a Socialite Passport (seen above) you can have stamped each time you visit to earn a free dessert! Their deals are so crazy, check them out!

Disclaimer: as I was invited to try the restaurant, 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

Social Modern Pub on Urbanspoon


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