Edmonton food

Cibo Bistro: Best Lunch Deal in Town

November 30, 2013

It's pretty rare for me to have time to go out for lunch on weekdays with my crazy class schedule and all, but when the chance comes up, I look for good food and a great deal. I had always heard good things about Cibo Bistro, and having only visited for dinner in the past, I stopped by in the summertime to see what lunch was all about.

Cibo Bistro - 11244 104 Avenue - Edmonton AB

At Cibo, lunch is available from Tuesday to Friday from 11:30-2:00PM. Without a reservation, I stopped with a friend by around noon to find that the restaurant was pretty busy, but luckily there were still two open tables available. After being seated our waiter brought over a handwritten menu on a chalkboard with all the options for lunch and the special for the day. It was a little awkward with our waiter standing right at the tableside as we read and decided what we wanted to eat, but since there's only one chalkboard for the whole restaurant, it was understandable that other tables needed to be served as well.

We started off the meal with Arancini ($7): lemon marscapone, sweet pea, mint & fontina cheese. I will tell you that my favourite arancini belong to Corso 32 here in Edmonton, but the arancini at Cibo are a close second. A thin, crisp exterior houses a gooey mixture of cheeses, rice, and other ingredients. And since this one has lemon in it, it's slightly tangy and brings another flavour element to the dish. Just be careful and contain your excitement when they come to the table - I would hate for you to burn the inside of your mouth so you can't taste the remainder of your meal!

My friend ordered the Tortiglioni ($10), which was tossed up with a slow simmered bolognese sauce. The tomato sauce wasn't overly acidic, with a perfect blend of herbs and savoury notes. The pasta was cooked al dente, and portion wise, the size was perfect for lunch.

For myself, I just had to get the Sandwich Feature ($10) for the day cause it sounded delicious: roasted asparagus, prosciutto, red pepper aoili, and a side of the arugula salad. This sandwich here definitely ranks as one of the best sandwiches I've ever had. There was a substantial amount of prosciutto which wasn't too salty, the asparagus was tender, and the shaved parmesan really brought the flavours together. The bread had a nice crunch to it, but the interior was soft and easy to chew. The side asparagus salad was refreshing with a tangy vinaigrette, and the shaved cheese on top was a nice touch. If I could have this sandwich again right now, I would!

The lunch menu itself doesn't have a dessert, so to finish the meal we opted to go with their seasonal Panna Cotta ($10): vanilla custard, blood orange syrup and candied meyer lemon. Panna cotta ranks as one of my favourite desserts, as it's not too sweet and it's creamy without being heavy. The panna cotta at had a light sweetness, creamy texture, and definitely jiggled on the plate. I loved the citrus flavours combined with the vanilla, so this dessert was a clear winner for me.

It's been a while since I've been to Cibo Bistro for lunch, so I'm definitely due for another visit. The menu is simple, but the dishes pack flavour, and the service is quick and friendly. I've heard that their prices have increased from $10 up to $12, but honestly, it's still a great price and a good deal for lunch! So stop by soon and try them out - you won't regret it.

Cibo Bistro on Urbanspoon

christmas

Edmonton: Spot the Edo Elf!

November 29, 2013


The holiday season is near and Edo Japan, Canada’s leading Teppan-style fast-casual restaurant, is making Edmontonians’ holiday season simply better. As part of Edo Japan’s Simply Better campaign, several Edo Elves will be hard at work spreading holiday cheer with good deeds from Nov. 28 to Dec. 21. The Edo Elves will be seen sporadically throughout the city performing good deeds to make the holiday season easier and a little less stressful. The Elves can be spotted surprising Edmontonians by helping them with everything from carrying their heavy bags, scraping off icy cars and doing almost anything to make someone’s day a little brighter. In hopes of spreading the spirit of the season the Elves will be encouraging others to surprise someone they love. Edo Japan is also helping the Edmonton Food Bank to provide food and resources to those in need. Together, both organizations are working to reduce hunger in communities in which they serve and make the holiday season simply better. For every $25 gift card sold, Edo Japan will donate $5 to a local food bank, in hopes of raising more than $15,000.

Doesn't reading that just make your heart happy? When I was contacted and heard about this campaign, I thought, what better way to spread holiday cheer and pay it forward? It's those little things we do to help one another that truly make us happy! Just watch this quick little video put together by the Edo Elves:


“Edo Japan cares about the community and would like to make our customers and others lives Simply Better during the Holiday Season,” said President and CEO, Tom Donaldson. “Hunger affects people from all walks of life and Edo Japan has been supporting the food bank for a number of years now. This holiday season, we wanted to give back not only to the food bank, but to our customers and our different communities as well. We hope our Edo Elves will spread some joy and encourage others to make this a simply better holiday season.”

As part of the campaign, Edo Japan has given me a $25 gift card to give away to a reader. Think of it as a little holiday cheer to you from me & Edo Japan! You have one week to enter, and the winner will be drawn by random and contacted via email. Good luck! Follow the instructions in the widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

To find out where the Elves will be and who they will be surprising follow them on Twitter at @edo_japan and #EdoElf and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/edojapan. For more information on the campaign, visit the website here!

outfit

Fired Up: Red Blazer + Leopard Accents

November 27, 2013


Dynamite Blazer (similar) | Club Monaco Tee (old) | Old Navy Rockstar Jeans | Forever 21 Scarf
Zara Heels | Coach Clutch (old), Watch, Sunglasses | Bfrend bracelet

I feel like the colour red is underappreciated. Clothing wise, anyways, 'cause us ladies love our pinks and reds in lip products. Red is such a great statement colour and makes you stand out in the crowd when you're wearing it - which is maybe why people don't wear it too often in fear of drawing too much attention to themselves. But the best way to wear it is to let it stand out on its own - coordinate neutral tones in the rest of your outfit to make sure the outfit isn't too busy and you're good to go. Red, white & blue is a fail-proof combination, or wearing it with leopard like I did above makes for a classy outfit.

With Christmas right around the corner, make sure to pull out those festive, holiday reds from your closet and spread the cheer! :)

Moustache

Moustaches, Mondays & Movember

November 25, 2013

Triple M, triple threat! Today is a special post because I don't know if you've noticed or not, but I don't exactly have the capability to grow a mean moustache! And I hate to admit it, but my boyfriend gets a big gold star for his.

Men have too much fun in November. Going a month without shaving and having moustache competitions.. blasphemy! I'm kidding of course. As long as it's in support of prostate cancer research and raising awareness for mens health, I'm all for it! :) So instead of letting the guys have all the fun in November, I decided to sprout a 'stache of my own and help my man reach his fundraising goal! So say hi to Mr. G and our feline friend Holden. We would greatly appreciate your donation (of any amount!) if you love their moustaches, mine, or simply haven't donated to the cause yet! Mo bros and Mo sistas unite. Click here to donate!

Memories

Share Memories this Christmas with Ookpix!

November 23, 2013

I like to think I'm a pretty sentimental person. I always have some sort of camera on me to take pictures of those special moments in life, and I keep anything that has memories attached to it. Movie stubs, game tickets, birthday cards, maps for tourists - you name it, I've probably got it! So when a little birdie owl (cue: Ookie) told me about a new Canadian company specializing in making memories last, I was intrigued to say the least.

Ookpix is Canada’s first dedicated online photobook and wall art provider. Tangible photo albums are now a thing of the past with all the digital photosharing programs that we have out there. But things like that don't work for me. I like to have something I can flip through and look at from time to time to remind me of good times I've had and shared with friends and family.

Photobooks are a fantastic way to save those memories that you've taken with your camera. Aside from photobooks, Ookpix also offers yearbooks, wall art, calendars and portfolios -- possibilities are endless! Although I've used photobook services in the past, it's always feels better when you support a Canadian company.

The website is user friendly, Ookie has a cute sense of humour, and making photo projects has never been easier. Ookpix gave me the chance to try out their service, and it was pretty tough deciding what I wanted to make! I ended up going with printing a photo of my family on canvas that I'll be gifting to my father for Christmas (dad if you're reading this, please still act surprised when you open your present!). Shipping was quick, and the final product is sturdy and high quality. I know it'll be hanging up on the wall for years to come!

With Christmas around the corner, there's no better time to dive into the process and make something special for someone on your Christmas list. Ookpix has offered my readers 30% off! Simply use the code LMANDREA30 at the check out before December 1, 2013 and receive 30% off any product you create! And best of all - shipping is FREE in Canada!

*Disclosure: a product was sent for review purposes

outfit

Puppy Love: Embellished Sweaters & Knee High Boots

November 20, 2013


Old Navy Sweatshirt (on sale now!) | H&M Faux Fur Vest (similar) | F21 Olive Skinnies | Coach Boots, Watch & Wallet (similar)
F21 Sunglasses, Rings & Bracelet

Whenever we have the chance, my boyfriend and I like to head out into the Alberta countryside to visit his parents and spend some time away from the bustling city. One of the best things about visiting out there is getting to play with his dogs! Ahh. I love pups, but didn't have the chance to have any while growing up since my father is allergic. But lucky for me, my boyfriend grew up with lots of animals, including the 4 dogs that still live with his family today. I bundled up as best as I could to play outside with the dogs for a bit and Claire was the only one willing to play with me! She's just the sweetest, and keeps an eye out for the whole family.

Do any of you guys have dogs? Let me know! I'm so jealous. Seriously.

CND Vinylux

Manicure Monday: CND Vinylux Tinted Love

November 18, 2013

Happy Monday! If you follow me on Twitter, you're probably already aware that it snowed a TON in Edmonton this weekend! I spent most of my weekend indoors, far away from the piles of snow, but as an Albertan, I know the snow is something I'll be living with for the next six months. Oh man. Any of you also have really long winters?

As I said last week, I'm working on testing and swatching through the CND Vinylux Forbidden mini collection. This week I've got a beautiful magenta-red shade to share with you today called Tinted Love. In comparison with Dark Dahlia that I reviewed last week, this particular shade had similar results. During application, I found that this particular shade was more difficult to work with, having a streaky application with just two coats. The polish did, however, level out and dry to a beautiful shine. Throughout the week of wear, I noticed that the colour achieved a darker shade, as you can see in the Day 5 photo. And although the Vinylux system promises perfect week long wear, Tinted Love did start showing chips by Day 4, and they worsened slightly over the subsequent days. In the end, I did really like the shade, and got a good amount of wear throughout the week. It is a little disappointing that I don't get a full week of chip-free wear, but perhaps if people don't do as much typing as I do, better results can be achieved.

*Disclosure: This product was sent for consideration of a review.

Edmonton food

Naan-Sense at Naan-o-licious

November 16, 2013

I don't know if its just me, but I think fusion restaurants can be really scary places. Not all cuisines are meant to be mixed together, so you can have some pretty disastrous results. Case in point: a vietnamese restaurant that serves pho & pizza. What? Yeah, they exist. Anyway, when NaanOLicious first opened up in Edmonton, I heard that it was a Indian fusion restaurant. Naturally I was curious and had to find out what it was all about.

NaanOLicious - 10331 82 Avenue - Edmonton AB

Opened by New Asian Village, NaanOLicious was introduced with the intention to deliver casual, Indian fusion dishes in a modern/bar atmosphere to live up to it's neighbours found on Whyte Avenue. This fusion restaurant is the first of its kind in the city, making it stand out above the rest of the restaurants that serve traditional fare.

A few months back, my boyfriend and I decided to stop by for an early dinner on a weeknight around 5:30. To our surprise, the restaurant was just about full! After being seated we perused the menu and it took us so long to decide what we wanted. The menu descriptions were hip and witty, but the array of options had me confused and unsure of what to order, as nothing necessarily stood out to me. After ordering off the diverse menu, we were each presented with a cone of Masala Popcorn. The popcorn had a light dusting of a mix of spices and hint of salt, so I picked at it slowly and savoured each bite. Lo and behold another hand reached into my cone because my boyfriend finished his too quickly - but I definitely tried my best to make sure all the popped kernels made their way into my stomach and not his!

First dish to arrive to our table was my choice for the night, which was The Mango Butter Chicken ($19): your all-time favourite butter chicken complemented with fresh mango purée. Served with basmati rice. I had ordered this dish because I love the creamy, savoury characteristics of butter chicken, and wanted to see if the mango would truly bring the dish to the next level. Unfortunately, I was pretty disappointed in what sat infront of me. "Fresh mango purée" says to me that there will be fresh mango pieces if they're present, but the texture of the mango in this dish was beyond what I could have imagined. The mango pieces were soft with a powdery texture and basically disintegrated in my mouth. The powdery texture was similar to that of a baked potato, not the soft, smooth texture of a mango. It led me to think either a) the mango had been previously frozen, or b) the pieces were rehydrated dried mango pieces. The butter chicken sauce itself was quite sweet for my liking, but the chicken was tender. If it had been more on the savoury side, I may have liked it a little better, but in all honesty I would never recommend this dish.

The Lamb Kashmiri Pulao ($19) came up to our table next: A taste from the Himalayan mountains; lamb cooked with cashew and raisins with a hint of saffron then tossed in our fragrant basmati rice. This was the clear winner of the night, with tender pieces of lamb and hint of sweetness from the raisins in the savoury sauce. All the ingredients in the dish were fresh, and the portion size was perfect for one.

So my little adventure into Indian-fusion cuisine didn't go too well. If I've learned one thing, it's that my taste buds should probably stick to traditional flavours. Looking back, I actually wish I would've tried out one of the Panaanis - their interpretation of a panini using organic cucumbers, tomatoes & basil and the ingredients of your choice stuffed inside naan before being grilled on a panini press. Service for the night was good given how busy they were, and I have to say that their dishes do fall on the expensive side when considering you're having Indian cuisine. The uniqueness of their dishes may make up for the price, and I'll make that judgement when I make a trip back another day to try out some other interesting offerings. Hopefully they'll be better experiences.

NaanOLicious: The Fusion Bar on Urbanspoon

outfit

Fall Uniform: Chambray & White Denim

November 13, 2013


Old Navy Chambray (similar) & Rockstar Jeans | Coach Lavania Heel, Watch & Clutch | F21 Rings (similar)
Burberry Scarf | Salvatore Ferragamo Sunglasses (similar) | H&M Belt

When the cooler weather hits each year, I always grab my scarves. I love big scarves that are still lightweight and able to keep me warm, and trust me, I have a huge collection of scarves to prove it. My "fall uniform" or go-to outfit is simple: big cozy scarf, lightweight shirt & skinnies. Simple, chic, and perfect for everyday activities. Wear heels to dress it up or flats to make it more casual. From brunch to running errands, or a casual date, you'll find me wearing this combination all the time.

CND Vinylux

Manicure Monday: CND Vinylux Dark Dahlia

November 11, 2013

Happy Monday! It's another long weekend for me, so I'm staying warm indoors today away from the snow! Hope everyone had an awesome weekend and you're all recharged for this new week!

Has anyone head of the CND Vinylux nail polish line? I heard about the polish when it first came out but never really cared about it since I'm pretty loyal to my favourite OPI & Essie nail lacquers. However, the lovely team at Nail Polish Canada sent me the CND 7 piece Forbidden Mini Collection to try out and review!

The CND Vinylux polish was is marketed as a weekly nail polish - meaning it should last on nails perfectly chip free for a week. Crazy, right? The CND Vinylux polishes don't need a base coat and have a special top coat to use with all of their polishes. Apparently, exposure to natural light overtime actually strengthens the polish, increasing the resistance to chips. Again, crazy! But oh so intriguing. So I decided to take the polish on a wear test.

The 7 piece set I received comes as a box of six nail polish shades and one top coat. The first one I tried from the collection is called Dark Dahlia. It looks black, but actually is a very dark blueberry purple shade which I love! Those almost-black finishes get me everytime. So above, I applied two layers of polish without a base coat, and finished off with the supplied top coat.

So on Day 7 I took a picture of the progress of my nails and you can see that this polish isn't perfect. My index finger had quite a bit of chipping, while the remaining fingers had very subtle chipping which I can let slide. On my ring finger there is a substantial amount of chipping at the nail bed, but that is totally my fault. I had cut my finger on day 2, and the application and removal of bandaids throughout the week removed the polish. Oops!

On day 7, you can see that the chips on my index and ring fingers both progressed, as did the small chip on my pinky finger. But honestly, I'd have to say this polish did pretty well for one full week of wear. Had I not had to apply bandaids to my ring finger, I'd think my manicure would have looked pretty good with exception to my pointer finger. Upon removal, the polish was surprisingly easy to remove, and there was no staining of my fingers without the use of a base coat.

So for being marketed as a one week chip free manicure, the claims weren't true, but the results were way better than I would have expected. The CND Vinylux polish system is a great alternative to the Shellac manicures, as you're able to have prolonged wear without the exposure to UV light setting. I'll be wearing and testing the remainder of the polishes in this collection - we'll see if maybe one polish does better than the others! In the meantime, if you'd like to purchase Dark Dahlia in full size, you can do so here via Nail Polish Canada.

*Disclosure: This product was sent for consideration of a review.

All You Can Eat

All You Can Eat: Sushi Garden

November 09, 2013

All you can eat (AYCE) sushi that is good is so hard to find in this city. Actually scratch that, good sushi is hard to find in this city. Edmonton is surrounded by fields with no large bodies of water nearby so it's hard to get fresh fish. And if you get fresh fish, it's going to be expensive. So a while back when friends were telling me they went for all you can eat sushi in Edmonton, I had to try it out for myself.

Sushi Garden Japanese Restaurant - 10401 Mayfield Road - Edmonton AB

Located in the west end of Edmonton, Sushi Garden is a large restaurant kind of tucked away from the main road. My boyfriend and I decided to drop by for a quick lunch to see what their all you can eat menu was about.

We entered the restaurant on a Thursday around noon to find the place just about empty. A huge restaurant with tons of tables and only one had other patrons seated and ordering food! We ended up being seated close to the kitchen and were provided with an AYCE menu right as we sat down.


Salmon Pizza

AYCE at lunch runs from 11:00-3:00 pm, costing $15.99 per adult and $10.99 per child (aged 3-10) from Monday to Thursday. Weekends and holidays have a $2 surcharge added to the individualized price. For the dinner AYCE, adults cost $24.99 and children cost $16.99 with the same $2 charge on weekends as well.


Agadeshi Tofu

Looking through the menu it seemed like there were lots of choices available to order. Different sections on the menu indicated that they did have a wide variety of dishes available: Soup & Salad, Sushi Rolls, Sushi Pizza, Hand Rolls, Vegetarian Sushi, Nigiri, Tempura, Appetizers, Stir Fry, Teriyaki and Noodles in Soup. However, I felt that everything was very repetitive. The same combinations were available in rolls and hand cones (for example, California, spicy salmon, volcano, spicy tuna, etc.). The greatest variety available was in the selection of cooked foods - everything sounded great, but I don't go to AYCE sushi so that I can eat cooked food. And I think a majority of people would tend to agree.


Nigiri

For lunch AYCE, Sushi Garden does not offer any sashimi on the menu. None! I was surprised as other places will often offer it but limit the quantity that can be ordered at lunch. So we had no choice but to order nigiri for raw fish, but had to force ourselves to consume the rice that came with it. And as I mentioned, there wasn't much variety within the sushi section so we ended up ordering quite a few items off the cooked food menu.


Assorted Sushi

The food at Sushi Garden is alright, but if I'm going to have AYCE I expect to be able to eat the fish I want and not have to order a ton of cooked side dishes to fill the void in my stomach. The sushi available to order was very typical and boring, and I didn't even feel excited to order anything. By my standards, the AYCE menu is pretty poor and makes Edmonton's all you can eat options look pretty bad. The upside? The lunch menu is cheap if you're looking to fill up on a variety of cooked Japanese dishes. For me, I'm going to save my money and appetite for better AYCE options outside of the city - be it Sumo Sumo or out in Vancouver. Otherwise, I would much rather pay more money to sit down and have quality sushi a la carte at another Japanese Restaurant in Edmonton. The dinner AYCE may be a different experience, but I can't say the lunch menu exactly gave me a reason to check out the dinner menu.

Sushi Garden on Urbanspoon

Edmonton

Date Night at the Market: Light Chambray & Coral Denim

November 06, 2013


F21 Light Chambray Shirt (similar) | Old Navy Rockstar Jeans | Sam Edelman Gigi Sandals | Coach Chelsea Crossbody (old)
Coach Watch, Rings & Sunglasses | H&M Necklace

The fact that there is snow on the ground outside right now and that the temperatures are below zero is making me think back to warm summer days. I was going through my pictures from the summer the other day and noticed I never got around to posting these! As I've mentioned in the past, one of my favourite things about the summer months is the outdoor farmers markets. This set of pictures is from a Thursday night visit to the 124 Street Grand Market in Edmonton, where local vendors and food trucks unite! There's live music, delicious food, and you get to support your local producers with every purchase - why wouldn't I make a date night out of that?

So here's to all of you in the southern hemisphere who are just heading into summer, or those of you lucky enough to live in a place where there's no snow. I'm willing to trade places with you - can we?

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