bakery

Ohh la la: Gorgeous Pastries at the Patisserie

February 27, 2013

On my last trip to Calgary, I had the chance to visit one of the city's newest bakeries. The catchy name and vibrant colors of their logo captured my attention, and I had heard they had amazing croissants. Did I need more reason for a visit? Probably not.

Ohh la la Patisserie - #3118 - 8561 8A Avenue SW - Calgary AB

Located in what felt like a newer area of southwest Calgary, Ohh La La is about a 10-15 minute drive from the downtown core. Although it may be a bit of a further drive from other parts of the city, the moment you walk in and that sweet smell of baked goods hits your nose, you instantly forget everything and want to sink your teeth into flaky pastries.

The cakes and pastries here smell absolutely divine and they are beautifully presented. Just look at that macaron style cake! And the chocolate one? Man, I really wish I could've taken that one home. What I love about this bakery is the philosophy behind owner and pastry chef Sebastian Judkovski - he believes that everyone should be able to enjoy baked goods! Gluten Free? He can do that. Dairy Free? He can do that. Nut Free? He can do that. Vegan? I don't know if he can do that one but I'm sure he would try! If you have any special requests, Ohh La La can take them and make something for you.

On this particular day, I picked up some of their macarons and croissants. They have a wide variety of flavors on hand everyday, but I chose the mango, blackberry and salted caramel. The macarons themselves were not as chewy as I would prefer, but the flavours were spot on. The blackberry was probably my favorite - loved the colour of the cookie & taste of the filling!

Now the croissants are a different story. They have coconut and maple croissants and both are delicious. The pastry is rich in butter and flaky goodness, with either the maple or coconut folded inside of the layers. Warm them up slightly in the oven before eating and you're going to bite into a little bit of heaven. Mm, thinking about it again is making me salivate.

While Ohh La La is a small, local bakery, their pastries back a punch of flavour and leave you wanting more after the last bite. The owners are so humble and thankful for the growth and support of their business, so if you have a chance, make sure to check them out!

Ohh la la Patisserie on Urbanspoon

beauty

Beauty Box Update: February Top Box

February 25, 2013

Happy Monday! Hope the weather was fabulous over the weekend wherever you are! Just a quick post today as I'm exhausted from a week of doing nothing (seriously). I woke up for a midterm this morning that was supposed to be from 1:30-2:30 in the afternoon, only to be notified at 12:45 that the exam actually started at 1:00. Uh, talk about stressful.

I've had some questions in the past couple weeks about the beauty boxes available in Canada at the moment, so I thought I'd touch a bit on the subject. In the past couple months, a lot of the beauty boxes have increased their prices and changed their products - some for the better, and some for the worse.

I used to fully support Glossybox - which in my opinion was one of the better boxes, catering to their clientele and customizing their deluxe samples. However, I've recently noticed that not only has their price gone up, the quality of their products has gone down - a definite no-no in my books.

For a few months I had stopped all my subscriptions to boxes as I had way too many samples to deal with. I still do, but was curious about Top Box. They've been known to offer high-end bands, and for a price of $12, it is one of the cheaper subscriptions out there. They have now also launched a Wishlist program (chose the box you want to receive most!) and something they call a Prive box, which is a box that showcases samples from only one brand. I've had the Clinique prive box and my February Top Box (shown above) so far, and I'm quite liking it. Hey, if deluxe brands like Deborah Lippman and B. Kamins are showing up in my box, I'm not going to complain.

Reviews for the products coming up ASAP! :)
Which boxes are you subscribed to? Thanks for reading & have a good week everyone!

Edmonton food

Good Pho You: King Noodle House

February 23, 2013

For the longest time I've been trying to find a new favorite pho place. Ever since Basil Leaf closed down, there hasn't really been anything in Edmonton that has wow-ed me. For a couple months now, I've been trying to get the girls together to try out King Noodle House - a Vietnamese restaurant that's often talked about and recommended. Better yet, it's owned by super tweeter Linda Hoang's family.

King Noodle House Pho Hoang - 10615 97 Street - Edmonton AB

Located on one of the busiest (and main) streets of Chinatown, King Noodle House has been open for quite a number of years now. The restaurant isn't hard to find, and there's plenty of parking spaces available in a lot right next to it. Walking inside, you can tell its an older restaurant - dimly lit, but very clean. Each table is well stocked with chopsticks, napkins, and a variety of sauces for you to dress up your dish with. Even at 1PM on a Saturday afternoon, the restaurant was busy but we were seated quickly by Linda herself!

Most restaurants don't make the combination of noodle soup that I typically like - pho with beef balls and tripe. But upon opening the menu at King Noodle House, I was surprised to see they offered practically every combination of pho you could think of. So there I was, ordering the small #21, eagerly waiting for the steaming bowl of pho to arrive infront of me. A large size costs $8.75 (which looked massive), while a small is $7.75, so it's about the average price for pho here in Edmonton.


#29 - Pho with beef balls, tripe & raw beef

Cilantro and I really don't get along, so I had requested for it to be removed from my bowl. To my surprise, my pho arrived with no greens or onions in it, which was a little disappointing, but understandable that it is quite likely that the greens are premixed. Garnish aside, I took in a nice big spoonful of broth - and it instantly hit me - this broth HAD to be good for me. You know when you eat something and just know that it's made from scratch and is good for your body? Yeah, that. It reminded me of the Chinese vegetable soups that my parents make. I typically like my pho broth to have more depth and herbs to it (mm star anise!), but the broth at King Noodle House has a nice sweetness to it that sets it apart from other pho places in the city.

The noodles in my bowl remained al dente throughout the meal, which was really nice as I hate being served soggy noodles in a bowl. I happily slurped away, and the small size was just right to be satiated and keep me satisfied until dinner time. One nice thing is that I didn't feel thirsty after the meal, even after a couple hours, which tells me the broth didn't rely on much sodium or MSG to bring out its flavours. While I can't say that it takes the place as my favourite pho, I wouldn't hesitate to return for a quick meal again in the future. Pho real.

King Noodle House Pho Hoang on Urbanspoon

outfit

Pop of Pink

February 20, 2013


H&M Blazer (similar)| Talula (Aritzia) Betsy Blouse | J Brand Denim
Charlotte Russe boots (similar) | Clutch from HK | Coach Watch & Rings | Helloberry bracelet

Maybe I should've been a meteorologist. I complain about the weather ALL THE TIME (I know you've noticed it!). When I finally grow up, I need to settle down somewhere warm. Someplace where I don't have to wear layer upon layer just to walk outside to pick up my mail! In the meantime, I'll suffer and wait it out. Last week my city was blessed with above zero temperatures, so when Valentine's Day rolled around, I was able to pull out my hot pink blazer for a spin and dress for the occasion. Warm temperatures meant slippery roads and puddles galore, so a pair of boots was the perfect answer to functionality and keeping the outfit casual.

What did you wear on Valentine's Day? :)

Deborah Lippman

Manicure Monday: Revlon Popular

February 18, 2013

Happy Monday! And Happy Family Day to all of you in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario! Hope you're enjoying the long weekend and getting in that quality time with your family and loved ones :) I for one somehow managed to make my schedule a hectic whirlwind this entire weekend, so I feel like I haven't had the chance to sit down and relax at all. Oops, at least it's Reading Week!

Here in my city we've been blessed with a couple days of warm weather (above zero, whooo!), so feeling that Spring is just around the corner, I dug out this pretty pink polish from Revlon that I've had for quite some time now.

Revlon Popular is a pale, milky pink polish studded with small silver glitter and pearlescent hex glitters. At two coats the polish reaches near full opacity, and due to the presence of the glitter, this polish stays chip free on my nails for up to 6 days. Seriously incredible wear time. What I love most about this polish though, is the Deborah Lippman-esque quality to it. Popular was released around the same time as Whimsical, which is the dupe to DL's Glitter in the Air. The jelly-like quality of the polishes really make them special, and considering Revlon is at a much lower price point, I'm all for it! Now if only they'd make more like these two..

dinner

Fork Fest at Sabor Divino

February 16, 2013

A couple weeks ago, the winter edition of Fork Fest was running in Edmonton. For those of you unfamiliar with Fork Fest, it is a two week long event where various restaurants in Edmonton offer a prix fixe menu in addition to their regular offerings for a lower price to allow patrons to try out a sample of what they have to offer.

Sabor Divino - 10220 103 Street NW - Edmonton AB

Sabor Divino is a restaurant that is always featured when Fork Fest comes around, and I always look forward to what they are offering on their menu. This Mediterranean restaurant is located in downtown Edmonton, and it had been a while since my last visit - so I figured it was time for a revisit!

Sabor Divino is a quiet restaurant, dimly lit for a feeling of intimacy, but big enough to accommodate larger parties. For the night, we were seated near the kitchen in a brighter area - a request I had made which the restaurant clearly paid attention to. The attention to small details really shows how much they care about your dining experience, which unfortunately can be hard to come by these days.

The Fork Fest menu showcased a three course meal, with a choice between two entrees for $45/person. When you take into account the pricing for the three courses versus a regular meal a la carte, there is considerable savings, which is what I love about Fork Fest! So to start off, we were presented with olive oil and balsamic for dipping bread, and our Grilled Piri Piri Prawns - with pimento aioli and mixed greens. Each prawn on the plate was large and meaty - they had been slightly seasoned with salt, but the spicy aioli kicked it up a notch. The mixed greens were mixed with balsamic, making the miniature salad tangy but refreshing.


Grilled wild boar chop served with Brazilian style black bean feijoada

For myself, I had chosen the Fresh Monkfish and Lobster Risotto. The creamy risotto surrounded numerous chunks of monkfish, all of which were fresh and perfectly cooked. Underneath I was surprised to find a massive lobster claw waiting for me - I'm usually a crab person, but this lobster claw was naturally sweet, and the cream sauce was light, allowing the true flavour to shine.

To finish up the meal, we were served Leite Creme - Portuguese milk custard - which was right up my alley. The custard itself was creamy and not too sweet, just the way I like it. But the most interesting component had to be the caramelized sugar, which had notes of cinnamon and cayenne, making it different from the other Creme brûlée like desserts I've had in the past. The spicy and sweet was unexpected, but a harmonious combination.

I always try not to have high expectations when I walk into restaurants, but having had a great experience prior to this dinner, it was inevitable for me to have higher standards for Sabor Divino. Our waiter was respectful, food was delicious, and the environment facilitated a quiet, intimate dinner. I'll definitely be back in the future for special occasions!

Sabor Divino on Urbanspoon

outfit

Little Miss Frozen

February 13, 2013


H&M Jacket, Toque & Sweater | Old Navy Rockstar Jeans
Coach Bag (similar)& Boots (similar) | Tom Ford Nico Sunglasses

A little over a week ago, it was -40'C outside. Edmonton was literally just as cold as Siberia. What? I know, it sounds crazy to me too and I've lived here all my life! The only way to survive the conditions is basically layer, layer, layer. One of my favourite non-parka jackets to wear out into the cold is this peacoat from H&M. I love that the collar sits up and protects my neck from the cold, and adds some interest to the neckline. Add a toque and a punch of colour and I'm out the door - trying not to freeze into a human popsicle.

..................I can't wait for Spring!

Eyeliner

Makeup Monday: Kanebo KATE Super Sharp Liner

February 11, 2013

Happy Monday! Hope everyone had a safe, fun weekend - those of you out on the East Coast, hope you're alright and not covered head to toe in snow! Today we're switching things up and celebrating Makeup Monday, cause I'm so excited about this eyeliner!

While I was in Hong Kong last summer, I knew that my holy grail Dolly Wink liquid eyeliner would need to be replaced soon. But instead of picking up an identical one, I decided to discover some of my options, and the Kanebo KATE super sharp liner stood out at me when I was visiting Sasa one day.

The size and structure of the eyeliner is very similar to Dolly Wink, in that the packaging is very sturdy, and the cap fitting tightly to ensure the product doesn't dry out. Similarly. the the pen is very fine, flexible, and capable of drawing both thin & thick lines. Upon application, the product dries readily, and does not smudge or budge all throughout the day. It works so well that its difficult to remove, and can leave a bit of a stain on your eyelids if you don't take the time to thoroughly wash it off!

For the time that I need to be wearing the product for (8+ hours), this liquid liner is awesome for me. The applicator tip is precise, and the colour is just as intense at the end of the day as it is at application. Serious perfection. It also is a little cheaper than the Dolly Wink liner, and goes for about $10. I highly recommend this eyeliner, so do try it out if you're in the market for something new! It's available via Amazon & Kanebo.

Edmonton

Calling My Wine Lovers! Edmonton Winefest 2013

February 09, 2013

Where are my local wine lovers? Winefest is here in Edmonton just in time for Valentine's Day (Feb 15-16) and I have an awesome surprise for you!


Alberta’s favourite all-inclusive wine event is back celebrating its fifth year in Edmonton at the Shaw Conference Centre. Winefest invites guests to sample hundreds of local and international wines, including a selection of red, white, sparkling and dessert wines from fifteen of the world’s most renowned wine regions. Wine experts will be available to share their knowledge and suggest tasting notes, as attendees sample their way from booth to booth.

An afternoon spent sampling all the wine you can imagine - does it get better? Oh yes. Each ticket includes unlimited wine tasting (offerings here!) as well as a complimentary Riedel wine glass and a keepsake Tasting Notebook. Attendees can also nibble on a delicious selection of hors d’oeuvres (menu here!) from The Shaw Conference Centre Catering, The Cheesiry, Cococo Chocolatiers, COBS Bread, Oh! Naturals, Nefiss Lezizz and Terra International Food Inc. The onsite Liquor Depot store will allow guests to purchase their favourite finds of the night, and there are tons of prizes available to be won, including tickets to next year's winefest, tickets to the Rocky Mountain Food & Wine Festival & a getaway to the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel!

Tickets to the event run for $75 each and are selling out fast! The Saturday night session is completely sold out, but I have a pair of tickets to the Saturday, February 16 afternoon tasting session from 2-5 PM to give away to one lucky reader! Get ready to vino out. The tickets will gain you entrance to the event and all the wine you can drink and appetizers you can eat *valued at $150*. To enter, follow the directions below!

Mandatory Entry
- Leave your name and contact email address for me in the widget below!

Optional Additional Entries
- Follow my blog via Google Friend Connect (+1)
- Follow me on Twitter @littlmissandrea (+1)
- Tweet "Enter to win a pair of tickets to @Winefest in #yeg on February 16 from @littlmissandrea! http://t.co/myImbZnK #yegwine" (+2)

For additional information, please visit the festival website here.

Contest opened to individuals 18 years of age and older. Please note that this event will NOT allow minors - not even if you are bringing an infant along with you. Please ensure that you are able to attend on Saturday afternoon! Winners will be chosen by random and announced on February 13. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Birthday

A Very Baconhound Birthday

February 07, 2013

A couple weeks back, Robyn sent me a top secret invite for a surprise birthday party down in Calgary for her husband Phil, another food blogger here in Edmonton. Phil had mentioned he wanted to celebrate his big 40th birthday over a meal at Charcut (a dear favourite of mine!), so I quickly arranged to clear my schedule and get myself down to Calgary for the big night.

CHARCUT Roast House - 101 899 Centre Street - Calgary AB

The morning had come to head down to Calgary, and to my knowledge, Phil still didn't have a clue what was going on. I didn't think it would be that hard to hide from two people in a big city like Calgary, but WOW I was wrong. Things are a little different when a group of people share similar tastes and want to hit up all the same places in the same city! I was travelling with Diane, Teresa and Carmen, and we had planned to grab brunch after entering the city, going to a couple local bakeries to pick up goodies for home, and hit up the Calgary Farmers Market before checking into the hotel. We were twitter stalking the couple, finding that we were following their tails to each location. It was difficult not to tweet about where I was, and seeing that we were staying in the same hotel as Phil and Robyn, Robyn had to be creative and stall every time we were in a nearby location, or when we were checking into the hotel.

When we arrived at the restaurant, we found out that Robyn had rounded up about a dozen of us from Edmonton for the big surprise. We weren't sure whether Phil had figured things out yet, but all was confirmed by his expression when he walked into the restaurant. He was speechless. Weeks of sneaking around and being secretive had paid off big time!


Arugula & Tuna Conserva - shaved celery & lemon preserve - a hit around the table, even for the tuna haters!

For the night, Carmen had worked with Chef Connie DeSousa to plan a 10 dish meal served family style for all of us. Little did I realize it would be the biggest meal of my life! Restaurant hospitality was great, but the company even better. I won't go in depth about each dish that night, but thought I'd share a glimpse into the major gluttony around the table.


Warm raclette cheese - cast iron baked pan bread made to order - the melted cheese on fresh brioche is always, always welcome


Slow roasted heirloom beets - house made soft organic cheese, mint, basil - the beets are refreshing and great for palate cleansing, while the cheese adds richness to the veg on the plate


CHARCUT BOARD - house cured meats including Heritage Wine and cheese sausage - the sausage is Phil's favourite! But my favourite will always remain to be the pig head mortadella and lonzino. But really, a big plate of meat? You can't really go wrong..


Duck fat fried poutine, cheese curds and truffle gravy - potentially a heart attack on a plate. go big or go home!


Farmers market seasonal vegetable pasta - kudos to the kitchen for the freshly made al dente pasta. Flavours were light and the sauce was nice a creamy


Spit roasted Spragg Farms porchetta - arugula, grilled lemon, roasted garlic - natural flavour, beautiful crackling, but unfortunately chewy as decided unanimously across the table


Platter: Slow roasted heritage chicken - Share Burger CHARCUT style - smashed poplar bluff potatoes - I think this dish pushed my limits as I was so full at this point, but the chicken was tender, the share burger a sausage-like patty delicious when paired with a bun, and the potatoes a nice filler


MASSIVE warm date toffee pudding - chantilly cream, caramel sauce, roasted almonds


Individualized warm date toffee pudding - can I just say this is amazing? The warm cake-like texture drizzled in caramel and cream is something else. So. Good.


Raspberry lemon meringue cake - light meringue and super tangy filling

All in all, it was a wonderful meal with friends over great food. I can always expect CHARCUT to meet my expectations, and the trip down to Calgary just for dinner was totally worth it! Of course you'll be hearing about my other Calgary shenanigans soon enough, but to tide you over, you can read Robyn and Chris' account of the dinner in the meantime!

CHARCUT Roast House on Urbanspoon

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