Tag Archives: food

My Favourite Coffee Brewing Methods

16 Feb

Coffee should be ground  with a conical burr grinder. The burr grinder is optimal but a blade grinder will somewhat work if you know what the grind size needs to be. I use the Cuisinart burr grinder but there are many other grinders better (and more expensive) than mine. Different brewing methods require different grind sizes. Pour-over requires a ground size around the size of beach sand or granulated sugar. Coffee press needs a course grind, and the Aeropress needs an fine espresso grind. The Moka Express needs very fine ground espresso coffee for it to work properly.Experiment to see what you like best.

The best way to dose out the coffee and water is by weight. Weighing the water and coffee gives the more accurate and consistent results. I have tried many different combinations of water and coffee and I prefer the Intelligentsia Coffee Company proportions best. For pour-over I prefer 28grams of ground coffee to 415grams of hot water just off the boil for about 1 minute. The coffee press needs 34grams of coarse ground coffee and 500grams of hot water just off the boil for about a minute. The Aeropress requires tinkering with weights and water amounts. Following the instructions included with the press work as well. The Moka Express requires you follow the instructions and various demonstrations via YouTube.

You can find Intelligentsia’s iPhone app at the App Store. It has instructions for ALL of the popular brew methods and times within the app.

Pour-Over Method

This is my favourite method. A pour-over should take 2 1/2 minutes to pour, therefore you need to pour the hot water using a trickle.

I personally use the Mellita cone due to its availability and price. I adjust my water pouring method to the Hario. Here is a video for the Mellita method.

French Press (Coffee Press)

Hot water is poured over coarsely ground coffee and it is allowed to steep for 4 minutes. After this time, gently press down the plunger, pushing/filtering the grounds to the bottom of the press. This is a great method for allowing coffee oils and very fine silt-like sediment through the mesh filter. These are crucial for allowing many different flavour compounds to come through.


Bialetti Moka Express

This is a great method to obtain concentrated espresso-like coffee. This method is the standard in all or most Italian homes. This coffee is great as a base for warm milk.

Aeropress

This method is very new to me. It is an ugly contraption that looks like syringe setup. Following the instructions will make really good coffee, but inverting the Aeropress and allowing time for a steep makes AMAZING coffee! There are many videos on YouTube regarding the Aeropress.

I just recently purchased a very DIY coffee ‘roaster’ off Ebay. Soon I will fill everyone in on my first attempts into home coffee roasting.

REVIEW – Fixin’s Homestyle Eatery

2 Feb

Fixin’s Homestyle Eatery
106 Circle Drive West
Saskatoon, SK S7L 4L6
Phone: (306) 978-6506

http://www.fixins.ca/

A couple of weeks ago my fiancee stumbled across a link on Facebook. It was a advertisement for Fixin’s Homestyle Eatery located in the Travelodge Hotel. The website was colourful and the pictures of the food looked delicious and high quality. Somewhere on the page had a listing for their different buffets. The only one that caught my eye was the chicken and rib buffet. This is how it is described on their website:

Evening Buffet – $12.95
Fridays & Saturdays, 4:00pm-8:00pm
Saturday, indulge in
“Chicken & Ribs.” Buffet features homemade Soup of the Day,
fresh salads, crisp vegetables and delicious homemade desserts

Saturday comes along and we were out and about in the Circle Drive area at supper time. We decided to try Fixin’s. Ummm, where do I even begin to review this restaurant? While dishing up at the buffet and while eating, I began to compile a list of adjectives that adequately describe the experience. My list included such words as nasty, cheap, gross, disgusting, yucky, abominable, awful, beastly, crappy, cruddy, crummy, detestable, distasteful, foul, grody, gruesome, hideous, icky, loathsome, lousy, nasty, nauseating, odious, offensive, raunchy, repugnant, repulsive, revolting, rotten, sickening, stinking, and vile. The sad part was that not one of them adequately describes how bad this place is. This place makes Saskatoon’s lousiest buffets (Smiley’s and Johnny Boys) seem incredibly appetizing.

First of all, the price of $12.99 listed on the website is not correct. The real price of the buffet is $16.99. It’s too bad we didn’t know until the end of the meal. The first warning sign should have been the lack of people eating. There were only three others in the whole restaurant. Though my gut and common sense told me to run, my fiancee and I decided to stay for some weird reason. It was ribs and chicken night, so I was somewhat interested. I was kinda looking forward for some tasty pork! I got pork, but it sure wasn’t tasty. Though the ribs were slathered in sauce, they didn’t have any seasoning or spices on them. The ribs were covered with chunks of fat that should have been trimmed off before cooking. The ribs were not smoked or grilled. They were steamed in the oven. I can tell this because the meat was flavourless and mushy. Dry baked or smoked ribs are very tender, but still keep their meaty texture. In addition to nasty meat, the BBQ sauce was bland and very low quality… it tasted like Kraft brand bottled sauce. The chicken was just plain gross. It was swimming in oil and a “BBQ sauce” that tasted like cranberry sauce. The chicken pieces were not seasoned or grilled before cooking in the oven. The chicken still had the skin on, and because it was baked in the oven in a pan of sauce, the skin was wiggly and slimy. I’m guessing that the cooks just threw raw chicken into a baking pan, poured sauce on it, and threw it into the oven. This is NOT how you make “BBQ” chicken and ribs.

Other items on the buffet included white rice, mystery yellow rice, corn bathing in a cloudy liquid, and many nasty salads. They looked like they sat out at room temperature for hours and were sopped with bottled dressings. There were pickles, pickled onions, stale cheese, and some jello-salad type substance. The desserts were ok, but they were old, stale tasting, and were NOT homemade like the website said.

I don’t want to seem like a negative nancy about Fixin’s. There is one thing they did very well. The only part of the meal I really liked was the water. It was really cold.

So if you want to eat terrible food while getting ripped off, try Fixin’s!!!

Fixin's Homestyle Eatery on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Review – New Island Sushi

30 Nov

Locations:
2036 Quebec Ave
Saskatoon, SK S7K

and

240 22nd St E
Saskatoon, SK S7K

http://newislandsushi.com/

Prices:
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

Restaurant Review – Weczeria Food and Wine

4 Aug

Weczeria Food and Wine –  616 10th Street E, Saskatoon, SK, Canada  –  306.933.9600

http://www.weczeriarestaurant.ca/

A week ago, my girlfriend Alison and I realized there was a special day coming up on the weekend and were looking for something very special to do. We thought why not try Weczeria Food and Wine. We have heard many good things about this restaurant and decided to give it a go. Their philosophy behind food is refreshing and sustainable. They only (when ever possible) source ingredients from Saskatchewan and/or Canadian farmers. Also, which I found cool, the menu changes daily.

We arrived early for our 6pm reservation and met the Chef and his wife (both are co-owners) outside getting some fresh air. Though they didn’t seem open yet, they were willing to bring us in and feed us. Not wanting to take away from their last few minutes of free time, we opted to take a few steps away to Starbucks to get a coffee fix until 6. We finished our drinks and began our 50ft journey back to the restaurant.

Walking into the restaurant I felt a warmth (no because it was REALLY hot in there) and hominess to it. For fine dining, the décor was refreshingly modest and unpretentious. The floors were aged wood, and the walls were adorned with pictures of the farmers the Chef sources food from. There was also a wholesome and complex food smell coming from the kitchen. The hostess was genuinely friendly and bubbly when we were met at the front door. When we were sat, we did not wait long at all to be met by our server (which happened to be the owner/wife of the chef). She was so warm and genuine in her welcome to us. She began to explain to us the whole concept of their food vision. Instead of menus, Weczeria uses smaller chalkboards at the table to display their items. This makes sense if the menu is changed daily.

All of the items on the menu looked so tasty! Labeled was the protein, and 4 or 5 other ingredients. There were no fancy, and wordy explanations to make their food seem more important… just simple list of ingredients. We were torn by which items to order, but finally decided on the following:

_______________

Starters

Gnocchi with asparagus, bacon and Parmesan cream sauce (there is no picture available because we ate it all before we could photograph it)

Trout rillette with crustini

Entre

Wild Boar topped with apricots, on a bed of wild rice, and surrounded by carrot, asparagus, spiced walnuts, and chive oil

Dessert

Fig and blue cheese bread pudding, topped with homemade vanilla ice cream.

Raspberry chocolate cake

Wine

Inniskillin Cabernet Sauvignon

_____________

The Trout Rillette (pate type spread) was unreal! Alison does not like fish that is too ‘fishy’, so I think she was a little weary when I ordered it. The first taste proved to be perfect for her. It was mild and very fresh. The Rillette came in a mini pickle type jar with crustini and rhubarb compote. The trout was great by itself on the crustini, but was really good with the added rubarb. The sweet/sour of the rubarb cut through the fattiness of the rillette.

Though the Rillette was great, I wish I ordered the Gnocchi that Alison ordered. It was unreal! If you are unfamiliar with Gnocchi, it is a potato dumpling pasta. The sauce was very rich and went well with the sautéed pasta. The Gnocchi was very tender and fluffy, and the asparagus was perfectly tender. It was quite literally one of the best things I have ever tasted!

For our entre, we both ordered the Wild Boar. The meat was perfectly cooked medium rare and extremely tender and juicy. Roasted apricots, asparagus, garden carrot, wild rice, spiced walnuts, and chive oil accompanied the boar. The vegetables were so tender and fresh, and the walnuts were an unreal combination with the boar. The only issue I had with the dish, and it is purely a personal opinion, was the apricots. Though correctly prepared, they did not work well with the boar. I am not the biggest fan of apricots, and I think that peaches or nectarines would have gone better.

For dessert we both chose an item to share (the dishes look messy because we had already dug into them before we could take a picture). Alison ordered the flourless chocolate cake, and I chose the fig and blue cheese bread pudding. Both items were excellent, with the winner going to the bread pudding! The cake was VERY rich and ultra chocolaty. It was a very dense flourless cake with the raspberries baked into it. The only dish that could even attempt to beat out the Gnocchi was the bread pudding. I have never had anything like it! The cheese was subtle and salty, and was balanced by a yummy sweet fig flavour. The pudding was topped with two fig halves, and an incredibly creamy homemade vanilla ice cream. In addition to dessert we had an good cup of coffee. I really like the service of the coffee at Weczeria… it came in a single cup french press. The flavour from the press was excellent.

I would urge you to try this wonderful find! Though a little expensive (not that expensive for fine dining in Saskatoon ), it is worth it, and is a great place to spend a special time. The food was so good, and ingredients so fresh, I would say Weczeria is the best restaurant in the whole of Saskatoon.

Weczeria Food & Wine on Urbanspoon

Hot Sauce Review: Droolin’ Devil’s Liquid Sin

19 Jul

Ahhh, Droolin’ Devil! I was so excited when I found out we had a store that only sold hot sauces and spicy products a few years back. Most of their stock was hot sauces from around the globe, but showcased their own sauce. The shop was owned and operated by Craig “Uncle Big” and Lorien Lowenberg. They had two different lines of sauce… Droolin’ Devil and Uncle Big’s. Droolin’ Devil has more of a gormet edge to it, while Uncle Big’s is pure hellish heat with awesome flavour. I will review the Uncle Big’s products in the future.

But in true Saskatchewan fashion, we could not support a store with such a niche market, thus they went out of business last year. Hark, don’t fret people, they still sell their signature brands, and many other brands online at Droolin’ Devil Fiery Foods!!!

A couple of months ago I went to their online market and stocked up my supplies. I ended up buying like 8 different types of sauce. One sauce included in my purchase was Droolin’ Devil’s Liquid Sin.I actually got 2 bottles. Their sauces are a little more money than most are used to, but that is to be expected when you’re buying craft made sauce.

I’ve been using this sauce since I used to get it from their Saskatoon store. It is by far my favorite hot sauce to use. The taste is SOOOO good and is really hot. Check out Liquid sin here.

Uncle Big prides himself in using many complex flavour and  fresh ingredients when making his sauces. The ingredients for this sauce are: Red Savina ® Habanero, Peri Peri, Red Jalapeno Peppers, Fresno Peppers, Roasted Red Peppers, Garlic, Onions, Lemon, Lime and Blood Orange juice, Salt, Honey, Spices, Vinegar. Any one who knows chili peppers knows that the trademarked Red Savina pepper is the hottest Habanero pepper out there. It has been genetically bred for heat!!! Actually, Liquid Sin won 2nd place at Chili Magazine’s Fiery Food challenge.

Generally, hot sauces are very sour. I usually dislike a hot sauce that uses too much vinegar (ie Franks Red Hot). Vinegar has its place, but can easily be over used. This is why I love Liquid Sin so much! Some may feel it is too sweet, which it is, but it fits my taste buds just right. The sweetness comes from the honey and citrus juice. Though these ingredients might seem weird for a hot sauce, they work very well. The flavour of Liquid Sin is very complex and balanced. You can taste the honey, garlic and Habanero first, and the citrus and vinegar comes in at the end. The heat attacks the back of the throat first, which is typical of chiles like the Habanero.

If you like hot sauce, I urge you to visit Droolin’ Devil’s Fiery Foods and order yourself up some of their sauces.

More reviews on their sauces to come!

Image taken from:  http://droolindevil.com/ecomm/

Restaurant Review – Mogul Divaan, The Imperial Cuisine of Pakistan

12 Jul

Mogul Divaan –  2115 22nd St West, Saskatoon, SK S7M   (306) 343-5005

Why have I not heard of this place sooner?!?! My girlfriend and some friends had their buffet tonight and were all blown away by the flavours and quality. And the price was awesome for the quality.

Mogul Divaan is a small and modest restaurant on 22nd Street by the McDonalds. Each dish was fresh and the highest quality. The Naan was done perfectly and not oily. They had these chicken wings that were unreal! They were marinated in spices and fried to perfection. All the curry dishes had perfect flavour and spice. The spices were mild and balanced. The Butter Chicken was the best I’ve ever had. It had a slight flavour of fenugreek and cumin and a smooth tomato flavour. The level of heat was good (I could have loved it much hotter) for a general audience. The beef balls were nice, simply seasoned and spicy hot.

The service was good and friendly. The owner who was there was very courteous, and informed us when fresh food had come out to the buffet! Our water was always topped up and didn’t taste stale or bleachy.

I am excited that Saskatoon has such a great and affordable place that serves middle eastern food. I can’t wait to visit again.
Here is a link to their Facebook page:  www.facebook.com/pages/…/MogulDivaan…/116393191713072

Here are some pictures:

All photos taken from:  www.facebook.com/pages/…/MogulDivaan…/116393191713072

Mogul Divaan on Urbanspoon

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.