Category Archives: reviews

[Recipe] Grilled Chicken and Spinach Salad with Berries, Avocado, Feta, and Green Onions

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You know, sometimes a recipe is no more than putting together foods and flavours you like to make one really great dish. This salad is just like that – a lot of great ingredient friends who haven’t all been together in a while, snuggled close on a dinner plate.

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Our Culinary Tour of Walt Disney World

The Mouse feeds people well. Too well, most times.

Husband and I are just back from a week long trip to Disney with friends of ours. We had a blast! Great friends, great weather, great entertainment, and great food.

Disney food is some of the best we’ve ever eaten, and after two trips this past year, we’ve been lucky enough to sample a lot of it.

At Hollywood Studios, we made reservations at our favourite Disney restaurant, The Hollywood Brown Derby. As usual, it was amazing. We enjoyed an andouille-crusted prawn over cheddar grits and prosciutto cake with parmesan petals and an olive salad to start, followed by filet mignon with a red wine reduction over garlic mashed potatoes and duck two ways served over an herbed polenta cake. For dessert, we each tried the chocolate three ways. Oh my goodness it was delicious.

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The next morning we breakfasted at Kona, which was new to us. People brag online about the food at Kona, we had to see what this was all about. Kona is famous for their tonga toast – a huge piece of sourdough bread filled with bananas, then fried and crusted in cinnamon sugar. I had to try it, but I was nervous. I’m one of those people who orders one thing, then wants whatever her husband ordered when his arrives. I’m happy to say though, that I wasn’t disappointed. I ordered a side of strawberry sauce and macadamia nut butter to go with my tonga toast. It. Was. Phenomenal. When I cut into this, I heard the crunch of the cinnamon sugar coating, and I didn’t look back. (The picture doesn’t do this justice, believe me.)

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Husband ordered The Somoan – poached eggs with Hollandaise served over smoked pulled pork hash.

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Both breakfasts were two of the best we’ve ever eaten. We will definitely be heading back to Kona on our next trip. Even if for no other reason than the pressed Kona coffee.

Another of our meal highlights comes from Le Cellier, in the Canadian pavillion in Epcot. Let me just say that we Canadians really know how to do things right.

We were accidentally seated in the New Brunswick section, and served by a great gal named Danika – a BC native. She was so friendly, and very happy to serve some fellow Canadians.

The starters were the cheddar cheese soup, a charcuterie platter, and a non-traditional poutine (aged white cheddar and a beef stock and red wine reduction instead of the traditional curds and gravy). Everything was amazing. The poutine, although non-traditional, left us looking for a way to make it at home.

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Our main was a lovely AAA steak over mushroom risotto and a bearnaise sauce. No words.

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Dessert. Maple creme brulee, and a cheese course.

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Another great meal that deserves mention was the character brunch we attended at 1900 Park Fare in the Grand Floridian resort to celebrate my beautiful friend Sara’s birthday. What a great time. The Mad Hatter was there, along with Mary Poppins. We had so many laughs, and more great food. All served on Mickey plates.

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Strawberry soup and a Mickey waffle? Yes, please.

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What an amazing time!

Other honourable mentions:

Our breakfast at Boma, in the Animal Kingdom Lodge – this is one of our favourite breakfasts at Disney. Boma’s breakfast is a buffet of African-inspired fare, including corned beef, bobotie, African fool, and banana bread pudding.

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The dole whip! This one is an orange-pineapple mix, and it melted VERY quickly. I guess soft serve does that in 37C heat.

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The Liberty Tree’s pot roast and ooey gooey toffee cake:

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At Via Napoli in Epcot’s Italy pavillion we enjoyed calamari, arancini and fried veg to start, candele pasta and pizza, then the best tiramisu I’ve ever eaten (alongside my Aunt Mav’s that is, Mav’s tiramisu is THE best):

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And finally, two delicious surprises we found at The Animal Kingdom – the seared tuna appetizer with asian slaw at Yak & Yeti, and a lovely chocolate coconut cupcake (I got to use a snack credit for this!!!).

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Disney food is ridiculously good. The next time you visit, be sure to take advantage of the flavours Disney has to offer. I can’t wait to do it all again!

[Recipe] Fried Pickles

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I like fried. I like pickles. I LOVE fried pickles.

Fried pickles and ranch dressing are a match that no one can keep apart. Sure, they’re both married to other things. Ranch to salad. Pickles, well pickles are pretty promiscuous actually, spreading their love with most anything, but you get my point. Fried pickles and ranch are a love affair no one can deny. They just set off fireworks in your mouth.

This past Christmas, my husband and I decided we’d take advantage of a good deal on the new T-Fal Actifry. I love a new kitchen appliance, and I love that the Actifry effectively “fries” anything you put in it with much less oil than is required by conventional fryers. The Actifry produces crispy fried anything with just 1-2 teaspoons of oil – any kind of oil, allowing you to fry your favourite foods in healty oils like olive and grapeseed. Wonderful!

One of the first things I had to try in my Actifry were french fries, of course. I’m a fry fanatic. The Actifry didn’t disappoint. Since then I’ve gotten a bit braver, making all kinds of fried goodies, including these breaded pickle chips.

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Frilly [Restaurant] Review: Primitive Cuisine

Primitive Cuisine
Trenton, Ontario

July 26th, 2012

Primitive Cuisine, opened in fall 2011, is located at 178 Dundas Street East, in Trenton, Ontario.

As soon as we walked through the door at Primitive Cuisine, I knew we were in for a fantastic food experience. What a funky, fun place to hang out. All of the names of the stocked beers and wines are written on a chalk board tableau – great idea! Simple wooden tables are dressed up with rolls of paper towel and an array of condiments – this is our kind of place!

The house scratch-made sauces, all very good, include a honey chipotle and a Memphis-style sauce (both voted to a tie as table favourites), along with a Kansas-style sauce, and a Carolina vinegar sauce.

The menu offered just enough options and twists to keep it interesting, while staying true to real Southern BBQ. Call it Southern BBQ with a Canadian twist.

Check the menu for yourself on their website, at www.primitivecuisine.ca.

Now, let’s get started.

I was excited to see they have sweet tea on their menu. Surprised? No. Happy? Yes. Mason jar? Of course. It was delicious.

At our table of five, we tried our best to get a good sample of what the menu had to offer, covering as many of the main items as we could.

To start, we opted to try the deep fried pickles, and deep fried cheese curds to start. Both are served with a honey mustard dipping sauce.

It was unanimous that the deep fried pickles were some of the best any of us had ever eaten. That says a lot coming from at least one non-pickle eater. That’s right, Primitive, you may just have started a deep fried pickle craze. The batter on the outside of these pickles is phenomenal. Crunchalistic. Crisptastic. Epic crunch factor.

The curds? The peoples’ faces tell the story, don’t they?

Look at the stretch on that curd!

Pulled pork poutine? Yes, please. Although not technically a starter, we weren’t leaving without trying it.

After such a great start, we were really looking forward to the main event. We opted to try beef brisket plates, and a pulled pork plate. If you’re curious to know the difference between a “meaty” portion, and a “meatier” portion – the “meaty” is a hefty 4 oz of meat, while the “meatier” weighs in at a whopping 8 oz! Fantastic value!

You can see that we got to try a wide array of sides they offer at Primitive: the potato chips (oh, my, goodness), slaw, beans, cornbread, and the macaroni and cheese. The cornbread was so moist, and some of the best I’ve ever had. We took the liberty of trying it slathered with each of the table sauces. The macaroni and cheese has a great tang to it – a tang we couldn’t quite identify, and which wouldn’t be revealed, no matter how much we guessed and begged. We all agreed that it was a macaroni and cheese that didn’t disappoint – it certainly wasn’t a bland mac and cheese.

Of course we couldn’t leave without trying the only dessert on the menu – a deep fried Mars bar. Crispy on the outside, and deliciously gooey on the inside. Served on vanilla ice cream and drizzled with chocolate sauce. If you’re looking for a rich indulgence, this is a good one.

Last, but certainly not least, service was FAN-TASTIC! Friendly, helpful – we had a blast with our server. In my opinion, service makes a good dining experience a great dining experience. Our food arrived hot to our table, and in generous quantities.

Primitive Cuisine is a great example of a small restaurant doing things right – serving great food in a cozy, welcoming atmosphere, and supporting local farms and suppliers to boot. Best get there early enough to get what you want – when they sell out of an item for the day, you’re out of luck until the next day. I personally think that’s fantastic, since as a customer, that means I’m going to get the best quality BBQ I can get.

Further, look at these smiles.

Great, fun eating experience. Our first visit to this unique restaurant will not be our last.

You gotta eat here!

Frilly [Restaurant] Review: Wolastoq Wharf

I’ve decided to post reviews of all kinds of things – restaurants, gadgets, products, cookbooks, and any other home/garden stuff I might want to share.

Take them all with a grain of salt, especially if you like things really salty, like my husband.

So here it is – my first restaurant review.

Wolastoq Wharf

Wolastoq Wharf is one of the newest restaurants in Fredericton’s dining scene, located at 527 Union Street, on Fredericton’s north side.

We liked Wolastoq Wharf as soon as we walked in. We were greeted by the smell of seafood wafting out of the kitchen, and a friendly hostess standing in front of a gorgeous water wall. Having made a reservation, which is recommended, we were seated almost immediately at our table for two.

After getting seated, we took a minute to take in the atmosphere. The dining room is bright and clean, decorated with brown and beige tones. The tables were dressed with white linen tablecloths and folded brown linen napkins, and were each set with bread plates, spotless heavy silverware, sparkling wine glasses, and a small soft white lantern. Very nice, we thought.

Our friendly and personable waitress was quick to take our drink order, presenting us with our menus and a description of the daily dinner special – a truffled risotto with mushrooms and leeks. We were off to a great start.

The menu was just the right size – comprised of about a dozen choices each for appetizers, lunch, and dinner courses. There is also a good list of wines that would compliment any of the dishes on the menu. The menu is suited to most any taste, with fish and seafood options, as well as beef and chicken dishes.

Once we had really looked over the menu, which had detailed descriptions for each dish (I LOVE this), we thought we’d each try an appetizer, and an entree. We opted for the salmon 2 ways and local oysters on the half shell as our appetizers, and seafood risotto, and prosciutto wrapped halibut as our entrees.

I was thrilled when our appetizers arrived shortly thereafter, each a perfect size.

The Beau Soleil oysters came served on a bed of sea salt with mignonette. They tasted of the ocean. They were clean and very fresh. The mignonette was a slightly sweet accompaniment and complimented them very well.

The salmon two ways comprised of a maple hot smoked salmon and a tequila beet cured salmon, served with cream cheese, crostini, capers, and one of the most delicious tapenades I’ve ever eaten. I’m going to try my best to make a version here at home with roasted red peppers, kalamata olives, green olives, onions, and parsley.

We weren’t disappointed with our entrees either.

The “risotto” was filled with chunks of lobster, shrimp, and scallops. It was creamy and steaming hot when it arrived. I am calling it “risotto” because it wasn’t a risotto in the true sense, in that it wasn’t made with arborio rice. Regardless, it was creamy, hot, and slightly sweet. It was full of fresh herbs. I didn’t even season it at the table. As a matter of fact, there are no salt nor pepper on the tables – they are offered to you if you’d like them, and you grind them yourself.

The halibut, served on a bed of honey wilted spinach, with herbed smashed potatoes and shallot butter, also arrived steaming hot. It was cooked perfectly, bright white, and moist. The potatoes were nothing short of divine.

When we were offered dessert and our waitress told us that all of the desserts are made in house, we couldn’t resist. We opted for the cheesecake.

I was delighted with the presentation. The edible flowers were a cute accent. The crust was nice and thick and gave just the right amount of resistance to my eager fork. It was smooth and creamy, not grainy or stiff. Simply delicious.

We had a great experience at Wolastoq Wharf. The service was fantastic, the food was fresh and served hot (or cold where appropriate), and the atmosphere was cozy and comfortable. Overall, a really really great eating experience. I hope they continue what they’ve started, changing the menu with the seasons to provide more new dishes.

Other menu highlights:

Appetizers: fish cakes with tzatziki, steamed PEI mussels, Atlantic seafood chowder, fresh catch platter, wharf burger, salads, soup

Lunch: lobster roll, butter poached shrimp farfalle, pulled pork, angel hair jambalaya, crispy shrimp baguette

Dinner: beef tenderloin, pan fried salmon, goat cheese stuffed chicken, fish and chips, tuna steak, scallops, lobster dinner

Dessert: cheesecake, brownie, apple danish, creme brulee

If you’d like to visit Wolastoq Wharf, you can find it at 527 Union Street in Fredericton. When they say reservations are recommended, they mean it. It’s a bustling spot, and several patrons waited for tables while we were there. Appetizers range from $5-$17, lunches range from $10-$14, and dinner entrees range from $14-$30.