Throwback Thursday: Alberta Open Farm Days – Reclaim Urban Farm

Sometimes there are moments when procrastinating on a post for over a year can actually work in your favour. I went to Alberta Open Farm Days last year with Cindy at Reclaim Urban Farm and never got around to posting about my experience, so here’s a throwback Thursday in time for this year’s Alberta Open Farm Days happening this weekend. I didn’t have a lot of time to drive out to some of the farms outside of Edmonton, so I popped down to the St. John’s Institute to learn more about Reclaim Urban Farm instead. I had some knowledge about Reclaim Urban Farm based on their farmer’s market booth and from a few presentations/panels they have been on.

Alberta Open Farm Days

Alberta Open Farm Days

Reclaim Urban Farm

Reclaim Urban Farm

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XIX (Nineteen) in November

Welcome back to another edition of Throwback Thursday! Before I take off for Vancouver this weekend, let’s reminisce about my dinner at XIX (Nineteen) to celebrate Andrea and Carmen‘s birthdays in November. A whole group of our twitter food friends came out to the far south side in Terwillegar to sample the culinary delights XIX had to offer. When we first walked into XIX, I definitely appreciated the elegance of the restaurant and was blown away by the huge glass window that showed everything that was going on in the kitchen. I don’t know how Chef Andrew Fung can do it – I would feel like I was working in a fishbowl with everyone just watching my every move and taking photos (you know like I did below).

XIX Open Kitchen

Open Kitchen – Hello Chef!

Andrea and I decided to share our appetizers and we had heard so many good things about the Ahi Tuna Twists that it was a no-brainer for us to order this. I loved this dish and there are days when I think back and go, that was really tasty and I could go for some right now. One of the highlights of this was the firm texture of the ahi tuna as it was seared on the outside only but the middle was still firm and not mushy. The noodles added a nice element of texture and flavor to the dish too – I would definitely suggest ordering this if you’re heading down to XIX.

Ahi Tuna Twist with Spicy Thai Noodles, Asian Slaw and Cilantro Aioli

Ahi Tuna Twist with Spicy Thai Noodles, Asian Slaw and Cilantro Aioli

Our second shared appetizer were the Japanese baby back ribs and I liked the ribs – they were tender and easy to eat (with a knife and fork too!) and just all around great. I could have done without the salad as it didn’t add much for me and the pieces at the bottom got pretty salty because of the sauce.

Japanese Baby Back Ribs with Sake Soy Glazed Back Ribs and Fresh Herb Salad

Japanese Baby Back Ribs with Sake Soy Glazed Back Ribs and Fresh Herb Salad

I never realized this until now but I apparently really like fish and following that trend, I did order the dijon crusted Pacific halibut. Halibut is one of my favorite fishes as I really love the firm, meaty-like texture of it and if I see it on a menu, I generally do tend to order it. I really enjoyed my entree as clams and halibut were beautifully cooked and the French curry cream sauce added flavor without overpowering the fish. A small downside was the grainy dijon mustard crust was a bit salty, but once I scraped a little off, everything was all good again.

Grainy Dijon Crusted Pacific Halibut with Fresh Manila Clams, Tomato Concasse, Basil, Linguini Tossed in French Curry Cream

Grainy Dijon Crusted Pacific Halibut with Fresh Manila Clams, Tomato Concasse, Basil, Linguini Tossed in French Curry Cream

Some of my dinner mates ordered the truffle chicken linguine and the reason I’m mentioning it is because of the 63 degree egg. A 63 degree egg is gently slow poached at a constant temperature (63 degrees) and the reason for this is because this is the temperature where the egg yolk and whites are at the same consistency. I’ve heard a lot about it via ‘Mind of a Chef’ and ‘Lucky Peach’ but this was my first time seeing one in a meal. Despite my lack of love for egg yolks, this was just so beautiful. The dish comes with the egg in its poached glory and then the diner just cuts it open and the egg-y yolk just runs and gets mixed up in the dish giving it this creamy texture. Everyone who ordered this dish seemed to enjoy it but I passed on having a taste due to the egg yolky-ness that I just praised. :p

Truffle Chicken Linguini with 63 Degree Egg, Sauteed Wild Mushrooms and Fresh Cream

Truffle Chicken Linguini with 63 Degree Egg, Sauteed Wild Mushrooms and Fresh Cream

What would a birthday dinner be without dessert? We had heard many people rave about the caramel eclairs that I think we had three orders at our table! I have to admit I was a bit disappointed with this dish and I don’t know if it is because I had hyped it up so much in my mind that it just couldn’t compare or what. I loved the cream in the eclairs but the pastry was not as amazing as I thought they would be – it was a bit too chewy (that’s the closest word I can come up with for now) for my tastes.

Caramel Eclair with Creme Patissiere and Chocolate Sauce

Caramel Eclair with Creme Patissiere and Chocolate Sauce

But that’s ok, while the eclairs weren’t right for me, the vanilla creme brulee had my name written all over it! I loved this dish and it was the clear winner for me out of all the desserts. It was a  perfect balance of flavors and texture – the top had the right amount of brulee-y-ness where the sugar layer was not too thick. This one definitely ranks high on my creme brulees of all time list.

Vanilla Creme Brulee with Fresh Strawberries

Vanilla Creme Brulee with Fresh Strawberries

Everyone else seemed to prefer the white chocolate semi-freddo and I don’t blame them. This was another stellar dessert with great flavors. Even 4 months later – I can still distinctly remember the lovely cardamom flavor in the semi-freddo.

White Chocolate Semifreddo with Honey, Cardamom, Shortbread, and Grand Marnier Orange Reduction

White Chocolate Semifreddo with Honey, Cardamom, Shortbread, and Grand Marnier Orange Reduction

So What Would Argenplath Pay?

So once I split the bill with Andrea over our shared appetizers and dessert, my total came out to $71.24 after tax and tip. This was around the price I expected to pay as XIX is something I would classify as “finer” dining – so still casual enough that you don’t feel out of place but you come in expecting to pay a bit more for a meal. The breakdown of my meal was:

  • Ahi Tuna Twists – $12
  • Japanese baby Back Ribs – $15
  • Grainy Dijon Crusted Pacific Halibut – $32
  • Caramel Eclairs – $11
  • Vanilla Creme  Brulee – $12

I certainly enjoyed my meal at XIX and I wouldn’t hesitate to come back for a special occasion like a birthday or celebration, but $70 dinners don’t always fit in my dining budget especially as I move towards Austere April and hope to save more money.

Calgary Food Tour: Other Food Stops

I’ve been thinking (dangerous, I know) about my backlog of posts and rather than having old posts take precedence over new adventures, I’ve decided to institute regular “Throwback Thursday” posts instead. This way I can still share current reviews and photos with older ones and I won’t end up in this awful spiral of “I forgot what everything tasted like” (note taking might be in my future?).

So for the first WWAP Throwback Thursday – we’re heading back to finish the Calgary Food Tour with Carmen (@foodkarmablog) where I brunched at Diner Deluxe and Wurst, satisfied my ice cream cravings at Village Ice Cream and discovered the deliciousness of a Clive Burger custard shake.

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