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REVIEW: Collective Coffee

2 Mar

Collective Coffee
220 20th street West

Weekdays – 8am – 5pm
Saturday 10am – 5pm
Sunday – Closed currently

Friends who live in Riversdale told me that a new coffee shop would be opening in the new Two Twenty building on 20th Street. Not aware that this shop would be an artisan coffee spot, I was not excited, nor was I expecting anything other than the status quo. On Saturday, I found their Facebook page and ‘liked’ them. Their status was promoting a free shot of single origin espresso. I got the feeling that this place might be different than the norm. Since I can’t pass up free high quality coffee, I dragged my Fiancee down with me.

Coffee Collective is a beautiful little spot. The emphasis is on little! Seating is very limited, but don’t let that deter you from trying it out. There is ample room by a very large garage style glass door. I can’t wait until summer when that door will be open spilling the aroma of coffee yum all over 20th! Rich browns dominate the space at Collective Coffee. The bottom third of the walls are covered with an interesting lacquered wood. Looking closer it’s revealed that the wood is plywood.

We both ordered the sample espresso and a cappuccino. I’ll start with the free espresso. First, the smell was really nice! It smelled toasty, rich, and almost chocolaty. Second, it tasted very acidic. The bitterness was surprisingly low, and the texture and mouth feel was good. The tanginess was just too off-putting for me. Generally, excessive acidity is a sign of poor quality beans. I’m sure that low quality isn’t the case here since they use a very reputable product and a tremendous amount of care and experience goes into pulling each shot. I would guess that it was caused by something not quite perfected with the extraction process. I’m very certain that these kinks will be worked out.

This cappuccino was yummy. Made from medium roasted beans, It had a pronounced acidity from the espresso (discussed earlier). In the drink, the milk softened the acidity. The crema was densely rich and the milk foam was airy and creamy. One other issue I would have was the temperature of the drink. It was a little cool. Well, lukewarm is a good descriptor. I know that proper steamed milk isn’t overly hot, but this was a little too cool.

“Our vision is to join the ongoing effort to bring the city of Saskatoon to the next level of Coffee awareness…”

After trying Museo earlier that week, and experiencing Collective Coffee, I am very excited that Saskatoon is becoming more interested in and passionate about coffee! For many years I have longed for a spot where ‘real’ coffee is the focus. Sure, Saskatoon has the Broadway Roastery, Starbucks, and other small coffee shops, but they are all alike. Their espresso is over-roasted and their drinks are pumped out with out any care or cognition. Collective Coffee, Museo, and Cafe Sola seem passionately determined on informing us Prairie folk on the idiosyncrasies of Coffea Arabica. I will definitely be back!

Check them out @
Collective Coffee on Urbanspoon


Restaurant Review – New Island Sushi

30 Nov

2036 Quebec Ave
Saskatoon, SK S7K


240 22nd St E
Saskatoon, SK S7K

Lunch – $14.99
Dinner – $24.99
A-la-cart – Who cares

Well, what can I say about New Island Sushi? It definitely is NOT authentic Japanese food. It is typical Canadian sushi and noodles… very dumbed-down and bastardized. That said, it has some OK flavours at times and shwackloads of bang for your buck if you like rolls. I have tried both locations and I think the Circle Drive location is superior.

Expect fish and sauces cholk-full salt and MSG. The flavour is evident in their raw fish, soy dip, and tempura dip. Though spiking fish and sauces with MSG is weird and wrong in my opinion, I suspect a business would do that to cover up sub-par ingredients, and make you bloated and full faster. I suspected something was up after we left the restaurant. I felt like I ate a 10 piece bucket of K-Fry even though I used almost no soy sauce for dipping.

What to order:

Tempura Shrimp
Tempura Vegetable
Salmon Sushi
Deep Fried Curry Chicken Cutlet
Teriyaki Salmon Belly
Seafood Fried Udon
Dynamite Roll

What NOT to order:

Most generic rolls
Udon soups (Mmmm, MSG flavour!)

Here are some pictures:

New Island has a no waste food policy. If there is any left over food at the table they will charge you per individual piece. Because of that, DO NOT over order! If you do, the food keeps coming out and coming out! Our second last visit was traumatizing. We decided to try the downtown location this time. We ended up ordering too much and the food kept being served. We were getting extremely full and they kept bring us plates. We did not want to pay extra for wasted food so we kept eating. I was getting so sick I literally contemplated emptying my contents in the washroom and then continue, but I refrained. The only thing that really bothered us (besides being too full) was the wait staff. They were standing right by us making sure we did not waste food. It was embarrassing. Needless to say we have not returned to that location.

I give it 2 stars out of 5.

New Island Sushi - Northend on Urbanspoon

Long Time No See

13 Nov

Wow, it’s been a very long time since I’ve made a post on my blog! A lot has happened since I last posted! August was a crazy month… we were away more than we were home. Then, September came and it was back to work. Hence it is November and I am just now adding a post.

The biggest thing this summer was I proposed to the most wonderful and amazing women I’ve ever met!!! I asked her in her hometown of Moose Jaw Saskatchewan in August. She said yes!

The summer consisted of yard work and travel. We went to the lake numerous times, Moose Jaw, and Edmonton Alberta. We were in Edmonton for the Sonic Boom Festival
. This was so awesome! The day was topped off by an amazing show by Weezer!!! My fiance is the biggest Weezer fan ever and have both never seen them live, so it was so cool to share that special moment with her. Here are a few pics from that day:

So… I’m going to try and update this blog more often with reviews and food related stuff. I’ve been asked why there hasn’t been any new posts as of late by a few people. They seem to find it interesting so may be I should keep it up.

See you soon.

Welcome to Flavour Country! Here is a Little About Me…

12 Jul

First, I want to welcome you to my blog and taking time out of your busy life to read it.

So I’m going to try this blog thing. There are few things in my life I really like to talk about… photography, politics, things I have bought, and food related topics. I have always loved cooking and watching people cook. I think I developed my passion for food and cooking at an early age when I spent hours watching my mom and grandmother cook. Though my mom didn’t like me there beside her in the way, I was defiant and didn’t go away for long. I think my mom is glad I did not just ‘go away’ when I cook for the family. Still, now, she calls me to see if I would come over and make some supper. Actually, after high school I was seriously thinking I would go to school to do the chef thing. I ended up opting out due to the extremely long hours in the commercial kitchen. I guess I didn’t have the passion to do it commercially then, but I think if I came into a large sum of money I would consider opening up my own place.

I used to spend many hours a week watching The Food Network. During this time I would be inspired to explore flavours and ingredients. This last year I have not had The Food Network to watch and it has been a tough separation to deal with. Instead, I have read hundreds of recipes online and many books to keep that spark going. Also, I usually cook for my girlfriend nightly, though she cooks sometimes and it is soooooo good! Most nights are quick one-pot dishes (two if I’m making rice), but I sometimes get to make some really special food for her. Check out this picture of the dish I made for her on Valentines Day.

In this picture there are blackened shrimp and a diver scallop and a perfectly grilled steak. The asparagus has been sautéed in browned butter. Missing from this picture is the blue cheese sauce on top of the steak (I forgot it and noticed it just before I served it).

In this blog I plan on talking about my coffee, restaurants, and food experiences. Sometimes I may even add in a review of a non-food product I have bought or experienced in some manner. I will tackle reviews in a no BS manner; I’m usually very critical and hard to impress. I have very high expectations of products and food. So, enjoy my life and passion with food. Please feel free to comment and share your opinions. Thanks.