Thursday, 16 January 2014

All Hail Duchess- Queen Bakery

I am in love with this place! I know there is a big hype around this place but it really is yummy! If it wasn't so far from where I live, I would love to visit this place more often. I love the interior decoration, the atmosphere and especially the baked goodies! The macarons are definitely my favorite from this place and I love the new creations that they come up with as the seasons changes. Lemon and mint dark chocolate are my favorites! The delicious crispy outer shell and yummy chewy center along with the filling is the best little treat!
Oatmeal milk chocolate cookie is really cholately. It is not the typical chocolate chip type cookie, but is actually made out of chocolate wafers? The center has a layer of soft melted chocolate in the center.
Rhubarb galette is so delicious as well! The pastry is so flaky and crispy and the rhubarb filling is quite tart and not overly sweet!

The small banana cream pie is so cute! Again the pie shell is really good, butter flaky pastry along with the light fluffy banana cream filling is a killer combination. Good for the palette, bad for the overall figure of my body haha...

Anyways, if you are looking for a place to enjoy delicious baked goodies, a cup of cappucino or latte than this is the ideal place for you! Everything is delicious and the visit will not disappoint you! I am always looking forward to my next trip to duchess!

Duchess Bake Shop on Urbanspoon

Yokozuna - New Interior and Yummy Food

When in doubt, pick Japanese food! My friends and family are usually indecisive when it comes to selecting a place to dine at. My back up is almost always a Japanese restaurant. I remember coming to Yokozuna a long time ago when I was a little girl and have never been back until late last year. Recently, they underwent renovation and the interior is a lot nicer! The food quality is still superb and Yokozuna will always be one of my favorite Japanese restaurant in Edmonton.

On my most recent outing, a friend and I wanted to be as diverse as possible upon selecting what to eat. So we ordered a variety of things from opposite ends of the menu. I wanted to see how well rounded Yokozuna was in terms of food preparation. 
We started off with one of my favorite Japanese small eats/snacks: Takoyaki! When I visit the night markets in Richmond, this is one of the things I honestly cannot pass up on! The takoyaki here was well presented, and the hot steam coming out from the takoyaki warped, twisted and shriveled up the fish flakes. There is something strangely wonderful about watching the fish flakes twist and dance when it comes in contact with heat.... Anyways, the takoyaki had a nice crispy outside with the soft chewy center. Perfect consistency and well cooked inside, out, except there was one problem. Where did the octopus or squid disappear to? The octopus filling was so minimal and so small, I thought we ordered plain Takoyaki. 
The next thing we ordered was beef udon. The soup was miso based which is very interesting to me. Among the other places I have ordered udon from, this was the first time I had udon served in miso soup. It was very delicious, and the sweet teriyaki beef served on top was delectable, soft but a little chewy. The udon noodles were al dente, just the way I like it. 
Look at the thickness of the sashimi!

Sashimi time! We ordered our go to favorite, salmon sashimi as well as the special sashimi of the night, amberjack (kanpachi). The salmon was a little disappointing. It was not as firm as expected, and it was a little warm, as if it has been sitting outside at room temperature all day. On the plus side, there was no fishy taste at all. I was so excited to try the amberjack sashimi! I have tried a lot of different sashimi such as yellowtail, red snapper and eel but this was my first time trying kanpachi. After tasting it for the first time....this is my new favorite sashimi! I really do love the texture, it was extremely firm and was similar in texture to yellowtail (hamachi). I encourage everyone to give it a shot at least once! It is extremely pricey though (3 pcs of kanpachi for $12), so it will not be something I will be ordering every single time. 
Following the sashimi were the rolls. I love experimenting with sushi rolls at every Japanese restaurant I have dined at because each restaurant offers their own unique and special house rolls. Yokozuna offered a variety of unique combinations of filling to go along with the unique names (Naruto maki, oompa loompa, avo avo roll). We were intrigued by the black dragon roll and the Yokozuna aburi roll. 

The black dragon roll consisted of tobiko, scallop and was topped with unagi (eel) in a teriyaki sauce. I thought the combinations of scallop and eel came together nicely, and the sweet teriyaki sauce completed the flavours. 

The Yokozuna aburi roll is very very unique. I mean the roll itself consists of 8 different ingredients! It looked like a hot mess with the onion scattered all over the top and the lemon slices randomly dangling from each piece. Did I mention there is lettuce in this roll too? It consisted of tempura crumbs, avocado, lettuce, masago, topped with onions, thin lemon slices and seared salmon. The roll was just really confusing.. My palette was confused with the different amounts of textures and with what I was suppose to be tasting (the avocado overpowered everything). 


On a separate visit, I decided to take my mom out for lunch and she really wanted to eat Japanese food. So I decided to take her to Yokozuna for lunch! We both ordered the bento: I ordered the beef ($13.50) and she ordered the sushi and sashimi bento ($14.50). The bento is served with the traditional, miso soup, salad, tempura, rice and sushi or sashimi. 
The bento is such a great deal for the quality you are receiving! Not to mention it was very filling. The tempura was very crispy and not overly greasy, the sashimi was fresh and the beef was decent in flavour. 

Yokozuna is a great south side Japanese restaurant that serves good quality food. If you are looking for an authentic Japanese food experience I do recommend to restaurant to satisfy your cravings. Yokozuna can be expensive (but is no more than places such as Mikado, Japonais Bistro or Kobe), but the quality you receive in return is a fair trade. 

Yokozuna Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Monday, 13 January 2014

YEG Winter = New Hotpot Restaurant! Chili Hotpot

Nothing beats the cold winters in Edmonton better than a hot bowl of soup, hot bowls of pho or all you can eat hotpot. I love my hotpot and I have been to almost all the hotpot places here in Edmonton. Recently, there has been a couple of new hotpot places appearing. Chili hotpot is one of the newest, located in the south side (kind of) right across from Strathcona High School on 104th street. The location is quite odd and parking may be difficult to find on a busy day, since the majority of parking will be on the street. I am a little behind on posting but I wanted to get this one out first since there are many things to be brought to attention after visiting this place twice..

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Time is Ticking......Corso 32 Worth the Wait?

I am sure a lot of people have heard amazing things about Corso 32. They were everywhere in the media and being the restaurant it is, word does get around. I love how the name is seriously specific to the number of people they can fit in the place. With a seating of 32, I can now see why reservations must be placed at least a couple months in advance.

On the day we made reservations, the weather was not co-operating with us... It was pouring. And with my luck, there were no nearby parking available. So my friend and I had to run a couple blocks before arriving at the restaurant looking like wet soggy dogs.. It was awful. Did I mention we were given a couple of strange glances? But who cares! We made reservations far in advance, nothing would turn us away at this rate.

We were seated almost immediately, and after about 20 minutes of getting settled we were ready to order. I noticed on the bottom of the menu it says something about how Corso encourages sharing! Which is pretty neat. Up until this point I had no idea what that meant. Anyways, we started with the grilled cheese and ordered Garganelli pasta and the 40 day aged rib eye steak.
The grill cheese was sooooo goood. I love the idea of the sunny side up egg being presented on top of the thinly cut bruschetta. The boschetto al tartufo cheese was a perfect blend of sweet and this rustic garlic hint.
Garganelli pasta! Okay, so when you ask for the dishes to be split between however many people, they really do prepare it as if there were two separate orders. The pasta was pleasant, cooked to perfection (al dente) with a lovely meaty bolognese sauce. No complaints here, just a traditional take on the good ol' bolognese sauce pasta.
On to my favorite dish of the night. Aged rib eye steak! I loveeeee my meat and this dish made my palate dance. The rib eye steak was extremely tender and soft. Cooked to the perfect temperature and rareness that would make any steak lover proud. It was just so juicy and the natural flavours of the steak is all you really need to make this dish outstanding.

After the meal, my stomach wasn't quite complete without desserts! (The portions were indeed small but the quality of the food really made up for everything.) I was so excited for the desserts anyways they sound amazing! I ordered the chocolate torta (of course I would order something with chocolate in it haha..), and my friend went with the vanilla panna cotta. The chocolate was so rich, dense and thick. It was like the ultimate brownie and thoroughly satisfied my sweet tooth for the night.

All in all, what a wonderful place this is! It really lives up the expectations and the hype buzzing about Corso. The quality in food preparation is superb and the presentation really sets the bar in terms of fine eateries. Service was friendly and attentive to our needs, price was reasonable and extremely fair. I would love to come back for another dining out experience at Corso. I'm even willing to dash through the rain or snow haha. 

Corso 32 on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

What's Up With Red Ox Inn?

I have heard so many excellent reviews about this restaurant, but had no real interest in purposely seeking this place out. I mean the location of this place is a little random, as it is located among the residential area of Strathearn. But it wasn't hard to find at all, and am I ever glad I paid a visit here..Where do I even begin...

Red Ox Inn is one of the finest restaurants in Edmonton. I mean it. The restaurant interior is very simple (small - did I mention there were only about 10 tables or so?), in no way is it as fancy as a place like Wildflower or the Harvest room but that rustic aura really makes you feel at home. From the moment you walk in the door, to the moment you walk out, the service is wonderful and go beyond to make your dining experience memorable. The server was friendly, knowledgeable, helpful and attentive to our needs.

Starting of the meal with drinks and an appetizer, I wanted something warm so I went with the cappuccino. That strong, rich espresso coffee with steamed milk was lovely, but was a better accompaniment with the desserts at the end.
Lucky for my friend and I (or maybe not), they ran out of the pork belly so they had a substitute appetizer for the day: Lamb ravioli. It sounded amazing, and it wasn't on their main menu so we had to order it. If the portion seems small to you, it really was. But, the ravioli was none like any other....Slices of asparagus on top of a tomato jam, on top of the lamb ravioli which was again on top of a creamy pea sauce. The lamb was braised to perfection (melt in your mouth), and the pasta was al dente. When everything was brought together, you have this amazing combination of nutty (from the pea sauce) and sweet tomato. The flavours are insane!
For my entree, I decided to go with the classic strip loin. I was expecting the typical 7 o.z steak on the side, with steamed vegetables as the side arrangement but was pleasantly surprised! The strip loin was cooked to perfection and exactly what I wanted it medium rare. Super soft tender meat served with kale, cornbread puree, a dark rich bordelaise sauce (made of red wine, bone marrow, demi-glace and shallots) and a creamy, thick gruyere cheese sauce. Again with the flavours!! How does one come up with such original and fantastic combinations??? It is unbelievable. Everything on the plate had its own distinctive taste, but when combined my palate was brought to life with the creaminess of the cheese, the tangy bordelaise and the natural flavours from the steak.
Desserts, desserts, desserts! After the nice meal, my friend and I both wanted more! So after browsing the dessert menu for a minute, I knew right away the chocolate mousse was for me. I absolutely love anything chocolate! The mousse was rich and creamy, yet not overly sweet. I thoroughly enjoyed the brownie bits For the tart, the waiter said the rhubarb came from the owners backyard? Something like that..but the fresh BC cherries, strawberries and rhubarb came together so well. I love the tart shell too, flaky, light, crispy...yum yum yum...

So back to my question..What's up with Red Ox Inn? The menu selection and quality of each dish will blow your mind away. This is the place to go for an amazing dining experience. Although the interior is a little shabby and simple, the food will surpass all expectations! The service is excellent, and the waiter really went out of his way to purposely find us the information for the local supplier of where they buy their tea from. I adore this restaurant and is definitely in my top 3 list for favorite restaurants in Edmonton. I am looking forward to my next dining experience here at Red Ox Inn.
Red Ox Inn on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Quick Burger Meal at the Next Act

Ugh. I am a sucker for fast food...The fries, the burgers...the fattiness..something about it all just lures me each and every single time. My brother is on this giant health kick, comes home from work, spends 4 hours at the gym, downs protein shakes and is cutting back on the carbs. Then you have me! Someone who finds great enjoyment eating burgers and fries. Haha. But! I have a taste for good quality burgers, not any burger can satisfy this palate! Plus, it's not like I spend every weekend dining on burgers. So this message is directed to Winston (my brother), stop scolding me on being unhealthy and chubby!

Anyways, after a hard day of work, my friend picked me up and we went to the next act on whyte ave. A couple of co-workers were there the week before and I missed out on that, so I wanted to make up for it! I love love love this place. Everything about this place is so original starting with the interior. I absolutely adore the wall of facial expressions pictures of the employees hanging up on the side. It really does bring out the chill/laid back environment.
I started off with the usual choice of beer: Crabbies ginger beer. Such a refreshing light drink that really hits the spot after a long tiring day of work.
For the burger, I went with the classic pulled pork. The pork was soft, tender and flaky. Not sure if enjoyed the coleslaw on top though. It was watery and had no taste! I felt like it should be on the side and not part of the actual burger. In my opinion the watered down mayo does not mix well with the barbecue sauce of the pulled pork. But nonetheless, this is a killer sandwich.

I will definitely be back with a couple of friends! This is the ideal place to hang out, grab a drink and catch up. The delicious burgers (food) is a nice bonus. :) I cannot wait to be back to try the other things on the menu.

The Next Act on Urbanspoon