Da-De-O: Lust for Oysters

Watching Lynn Crawford at a Maryland oyster farm on Pitchin’ In the other night made me crave oysters something crazy, so tonight I called King Crabby and invited her to join me at Da-De-O (10548 Whyte Avenue).

I adore oysters prepared just about any way (except baked – yuck), but especially raw or fried.

I began with half a dozen Oysters Greta Garbo ($13). It combines four foods I love on a half shell: raw oysters, smoked salmon, capers and sour cream (the alarming pink tinge in all these pictures was cast by a neon sign we were sitting near).

I followed with an oyster po’ boy – two huge, juicy fried oysters on a French loaf, accompanied by potato hash and coleslaw (normally $11 but on Mondays and Tuesdays all po’ boys are $8). I was completely satisfied (and stuffed) by my meal.

Crabby was less happy with her Philly cheese steak po’ boy – the steak was sliced too thick for her liking. Shoulda had the oysters!

Posted by Jean Poutine

Table Scraps – Nov. 18

• I can’t speak for my co-bloggers, but I’ve been very busy of late with limited internet access – that’s why I haven’t been posting.

• Yesterday King Crabby, Truly Scrumptious and I met for lunch at Won Jung Gak, an out-of-the way Korean restaurant that’s been mentioned a few times lately in the Journal. If Crabby was writing this post, she’d want you all to know that she knew about this place long before it became a media darling, because a former co-worker who lived in Korea raved about it to her. Whatever.

It was cold (and very bright) sitting next to the window, but the food warmed us up.

Crabby cuts the homemade noodles with scissors. The dish is called Ja Jang Myun (noodles with black bean sauce). Is it just me, or does Crabby look like Jamie Oliver in this picture?


Separated at birth?

Don’t remember what this is called – some sort of chow mein dish – but it was more delicious than it looks.


Unpretentious

I was disappointed that nothing we ordered packed any of the heat Korean food is noted for (I should have paid more attention to the menu). I’m up for a return visit after I’ve studied the reviews.

• Rodeo Burger has added a new signature burger to their lineup:

The Aussie comes topped with pickled beets and a fried egg, the way they eat ’em in Oz.


Delish!

Posted by Jean Poutine

Ellerslie Gift & Garden Bistro

I have always liked the Ellerslie Greenhouse for specialty plants for my garden, but they also have beautiful gifts when I am looking for something special. They also have a Coffee and Bistro Bar. I don’t know if I just thought they only served coffee and pastries, or whether they added a lunch menu recently, or if I just never noticed before, but I slipped over there on a lunch hour last week to buy a gift for a friend’s birthday, and I saw their lunch menu board. I ordered the Cassoulet which was on the soup menu, but it was so thick that it was really more of a stew.

Sorry about the poor picture quality – I didn’t have my camera with me so I snapped these photos with my cell phone. I also had a V8 and the woman at the Bistro put it into a glass for me so it would look nicer.  Here is their description of the Cassoulet:

Cassoulet – If you have travelled in southern France, you’ve seen this offering on the menu.  Our take on this centuries old recipe combines pork meatballs, roast chicken, roast breast of duck, and a bit of dried sausage in a rich tomato broth with navy and kidney beans.  This soup is so filling, you won’t be wanting a sandwich on the side. Wheat but no dairy.

It was such a nice surprise – absolutely delicious. I asked the woman at the Bistro what the spices were.  She said bay leaf, thyme and cloves. It was the cloves that I was tasting that gave it such as warm rich flavour. It had a bit of heat too so I think there may have been some cayenne. I lucked out with the Cassoulet because she said they only have it on the menu about once a month.

The Cassoulet was served with a crisp that was made from bread crumbs and parmesan that she toasted on the Panini press. The crisp is crisper than it looks in this photo. But the mosaic table top is in good focus!

The handful of Bistro tables are tucked away in a corner of the gift shop, surrounded by plants and beautiful things. They have garden magazines on the tables that you can browse through while you eat.

In the winter, I like to visit there and go into their tropical greenhouse to breathe in the air and remind myself that there is life after winter.

If my lunch that day is any indication of the other items on their menu, I really want to go back and sample some more. You can find it as you are heading south out of town. Take Ellerslie Road to your right in that tangle of new overpasses.

Posted by Truly Scrumptious

Bubba’s

I work in an area of town I fondly refer to as The Industrial Wasteland. There are hardly any restaurants or stores I want to visit, but on the bright side, I probably save a lot more money than if I worked downtown. So I was very excited when a co-worker informed me of a guy who was serving up authentic bbq in a street meat cart mere blocks from my office called Bubba’s. The only problem was it was so cold in the first few weeks of September that we were too wimpy to walk the few blocks to stand in line.

Then a terrible thing happened. The Edmonton Journal did a feature article on Bubba’s and the next day when we went by there were at least 45 people in line. For weeks afterwards I would drive by on my lunch hour and on my way to meetings but there was always a large line. That is, until today. There were only 2 people in line and I jumped on the chance to get a taste of the elusive bbq. Today was pulled pork sandwiches with baked beans and corn.

I’m not sure if he steams the buns or if they become steamed from sitting in the carton, but they were so soft. The meat had a delicious smokey flavour and just enough barbecue sauce that it wasn’t dry. The corn was frozen, but even bad corn is good corn in my books. Then there were the baked beans. I’m going to go on record and say I hate baked beans. This is where you try to convince me they are so delicious and if I only tried blah blah’s beans I would like them. Well I have tried everyone’s beans because they are an institution at Alberta potlucks and I can say with my whole heart I don’t like theirs or Bubba’s.

That being said, I’ve heard the sides change so here’s hoping I get a different side next time. Bubba’s has a set menu and I hear brisket is on Thursday and ribs are on Friday. I think we should go on one of those days. The meal cost me $11 and I was stuffed all day. I will be having sweet bbq dreams tonight.

Posted by King Crabby

Date Night: Rummage and Bauernschmaus

Thrifting and eating, two of my favorite activities, were made all the more pleasurable on Friday by being in the company of my favorite perma-date (that’s you, King Crabby).

The Anglican church in our neighborhood had their semi-annual rummage sale. We lined up about 40 minutes before the doors opened. This sale is very popular and I’ve never been this close to the front of the line before. We were even in front of Book Guy who shows up at every church basement sale and buys books by the boxful.

I don’t have any pictures from inside, because I was, you know, too busy trying to find treasure. I totally got elbowed out of the record section by some old dudes. Old folks at rummages sales are really pushy, don’t you find? I guess I’m just not cutthroat enough for church basement bargain action.

All I bought was some baking – a half dozen pumpkin bran muffins for 3 bucks, and a pie plate full of jack-o-lantern cookies, also 3 bucks.

Here you are in my kitchen with your purchases: A nice, newish looking suitcase with wheels and everything for 4 bucks! It came in handy for carting home all the cookbooks and magazines you bought. I know you paid a quarter each for the magazines – how much were the books?

Betty Crocker’s New Good and Easy Cook Book, first published in 1962. Apparently in the 60s people needed to consult cookbooks to prepare packaged breakfast cereal.

For supper we went to the Bauernschmaus Restaurant (6796-99th Street), a German/Austrian restaurant that’s been around for as long as I can remember (though this is the first time I’ve been).

I don’t know if you’re aware that our Old Strathcona neighbourhood used to used to be the German part of town back in the day. I think there was a lot of German immigration after WWII (or did it happen earlier? I’m no historian). There used to be lots of German stores at one time – bakeries, butchers, restaurants and so on. Studio 82 cinema on Whyte Ave. used to show German movies weekly. The K & K Foodliner is an enduring remnant of this period (as is my German-born neighbour across the street who’s lived in the same house for more than 50 years).

Anyway, on to the meal.

I started with a large Leberknödelsuppe (beef liver dumpling soup). The substantial liver dumplings were meaty and delicious and the broth was mild and pleasant but not particularly flavorful.

My Bauernschmaus Farmer’s Feast plate was a pork lover’s delight – it came with a slice of smoked pork loin, a slice of roast pork loin and a (brautwurst?) sausage. I’ve been trying to eat more sauerkraut since I learned of its amazing health benefits, but this night I opted for rotkohl (red cabbage) instead. Dinners come with a salad and choice of starch: buttered potatoes, a dumpling, Viennese pasta or French fries. I had the Viennese pasta (sort of like German spätzle) which was light and buttery.

Your Wiener schnitzel and dumpling. The schnitzel had nicely seasoned breading and wasn’t at all greasy. The dumpling was made from bread rather than dough, which I’ve never seen before. It was very good – like a savory bread pudding.

Desserts are all made on the premises. I loved my Sacher torte. It was dense and moist and very chocolaty. I think it deviated from the traditional apricot filling with raspberry or strawberry jam under the chocolate icing.

I believe you were equally satisfied with your pumpkin cheesecake,

and the extra helping of whipped cream our server brought.

The service was old-worldly slow (especially the long wait between getting our menus and having our order taken), so it was a good thing we were in the best of possible company. Thanks for the lovely evening.

Posted by Jean Poutine

I Love Nieces to Pieces

Hey Crabby, it was great having you over the other night.

You know how crazy busy I’ve been with my nieces visiting from far-flung cities and my mom in the hospital with a broken arm. Things are starting to get back to some kind of normal and I’m trying to catch up on my blogging.

My niece V, from Montreal, was in town for a week (not nearly long enough). She brought me a nice, fatty smoked brisket from Schwartz’s. We ate half of it in sandwiches and I have the other half in my freezer.

Here she is with Kekumazooo (on the left) from Belua Designs at the Strathcona market. It was her birthday present from me.

Sisters: K (left) and V

Last Tuesday we all went to Boualouang Laos & Thai restaurant for V’s farewell dinner. I took K there the last time she was in town and she wanted to go back.

A complimentary amuse bouche. It looks a little anemic but WOW! the flavours were great – spicy and intense. From what I remember, it was a scallop and shredded green mango with peanut on a crispy (shrimp?) cracker.

A big bowl of Tom-Yum soup, full of shrimps and mushrooms.

Smoky Thai iced tea to quench the fire. I adore the stuff.

Yaw-Tawt-Goong with Avocado – deep fried spring roll with shrimp, avocado and sweet mayonnaise. A lovely contrast between crisp and creamy.

Spicy Phanaeng curry with beef – probably my favourite dish of the evening. I would have been happy just eating the rich gravy from this dish over coconut rice.

Pad-Kee-Mouw (Drunken Noodles – no idea why they’re called that).

Pad-Ka-Pow with mussels. It had straw mushrooms, long green beans, hot basil and red chilies. Looked to me like there were two kinds of mussels in this dish, including the large New Zealand ones with green-tinged shells. I thought they were huge but K says they’re even bigger in New Zealand (she gets to eat them fresh, not frozen like we get them here).

Nice face

The girls helped their baba celebrate her birthday with tiramisu cake. Fall is birthday season in the Poutine family (mine’s just over a month away [cough]). K’s was last Monday. Here’s her present from me:

I took her to Duchess Bakery for all the pastry she could eat. Luckily she’s small.

This is her mom (my sister), looking like she’s already on a sugar high – but she hasn’t had a bite yet.

We started with cake.

A mini Duchess

A mini Duke (cut in three for sharing)

and a lemon custard tart. All so good, but my favourite was the Duke – dark, chocolately and rich. Also loved the lemon tart. The Duchess not so much (I love marzipan but there’s something about fondant-covered cakes that just puts me off).

We also got a plate of macarons. K was too full from cake to eat hers so she took them home for later.

Well, it’s a start. More to come.

Posted by Jean Poutine

Dinner: d’Lish

This post is coming a bit late. We (Jean Poutine, King Crabby and our friend Mikey Likesit) had our first visit to the recently relaunched d’Lish Urban Kitchen and Wine Bar (10418-124th St.) more than three weeks ago and we’re only posting about it now. Getting three busy people to contribute to a collective blog post has proved to be like herding cats.

Here’s a word of advice to new food bloggers: Always take notes!! We didn’t and after three weeks it’s been difficult to remember exactly what everything was. That’s why our descriptions may be a little vague (such as the names of the wines) or possibly wrong. We humbly appologize for any incompleteness or errors.

click to enlarge

The menu was still being ironed out in this initial soft-opening phase. It may have changed since we were there.

We all decided to have some “Faith” (45 minutes of whatever the chef wanted to send to our table) along with 3 appropriate wine pairings.

Our server, Kasha, was very friendly and knowledgeable. She must have walked several miles bringing us our wine and food. Every few minutes there was a new wine glass or little plate being put on our table.

The contributors are King Crabby (KC), Jean Poutine (JP) and Mikey Likesit (ML)

KC started with a vanilla whiskey and fresh basil martini (the basil was grown right in the dining room)

KC: I liked it, but I wouldn’t order it again. There was too much vanilla flavour.
JP: The vanilla and basil together made it smell like root beer. It tasted mostly of basil. I’d order one of these.
ML: Crabby seemed to enjoy this drink initially, but not so much towards the end.  I tried it, but wasn’t a big fan.

Spanish white wine

KC: I really liked this and I usually don’t care much for white wines.
JP: Nice.
ML: The wine pairings were pretty good.

Squash puree topped with pickled beets

KC: I liked the taste of the amuse-bouche (oui, je parle français), but it was really awkward to eat it off this spoon.
JP: I liked the squash paste – nice and nutty. Not enough.
ML: Who knew squash and beets could be so good! My childhood self is appalled at my adult self!

Chevre with roasted beets

KC: This was tasty, but I think I would have loved it if I hadn’t been eating beets for dinner every night for the last month. Damn you, beet thief, for not returning this year, leaving me with copious amounts of beets.
JP: The cheese was very tangy and the beet was earthy. A nice combo. Not enough.
ML: Very fresh!  I liked the combination of flavours.  (Can’t remember what the whipped white stuff was, but it worked well with the beets).

Scallop with chipotle tomato sauce and baby greens

KC: Anything with scallops is okay with me, but I would’ve preferred them without the sauce or greens.
JP: I didn’t like the tomato sauce. My least favourite plate. Are those purple flower petals on top? I don’t remember them.
MLI: It was very good, but small.

Salmon cubes topped with black sesame seeds and orange slices marinated in some kind of booze

KC: I felt the citrus with the salmon made this taste really fresh.
JP: The best part was the boozy orange – yowza!
MLI: Great presentation! A tasty nibbly.

Bread salad with turkey sausage gravy and apple (?) compote

KC: By far the best thing we ate that night. It was warm and tasted like good old down home cookin’.
JP: Probably my favourite plate. It was like a mini taste of Thanksgiving turkey and sage stuffing. Give me a whole plate of this please. The chutney (or whatever it is) was unmemorable.
ML: Interesting. Never had bread salad before. Very tasty!

California (?) Pinot Noir

KC: The red was a bit light for my liking, but paired nicely with the food.
JP: Really liked it.
ML: Another great wine.

Deconstructed Margherita (proscuitto, tomato, cheese, herbs, balsalmic reduction)

KC: Server: This is a deconstructed margarita. Us: Silence. Me: Oh, Margherita pizza. JP and ML: Ohhhh!
JP: This would be a nice hors d’oeuvre for a cocktail party.
MLI: Ah, there’s the deconstructed pizza! Mmmm.

Pork rillette (?) with caramelized onion on cracker with wine gelée

KC: This was good, but not very memorable. I had forgotten it was part of the meal until I saw this photo.
JP: Everything on this plate was delicious. More please.
ML: I remember this – I quite liked this mini-main.

Australian ice wine

KC: This was the best drink of the night. It was so smooth I could’ve had a bottle to myself.
JP: I loved this and I don’t even like ice wine.
MLI: Ah, the dessert wine! Very sweet. But good.

Orange blossom dark chocolate truffle with something jellyish, like a wine gum or Turkish delight

KC: What, it’s dessert already? But I’m still hungry. I felt this should’ve been the last thing served because it was such a rich dessert.
JP: The truffle was dense and rich. I didn’t taste orange blossom (does it taste like oranges?)
ML: Quite rich. And the gooey sugary red thing.

Meringues with cherry coulis (?) and vanilla cream

KC: The meringues were more of a cross between a meringue and a sponge cake. Whatever they were, they were delicious.
JP: The sauce was out of this world! Neither sweet nor tart. I wanted to lick the plate clean.
ML: Desserts were quite tasty.

Macarons with chocolate filling

KC: These macarons were over cooked. They were dry and crunchy instead of moist and chewy. I could have done with more meringues. I could have done with more in general.
JP: Dry and crunchy like an amaretto cookie. Not nearly as good as the macarons at Duchess.
ML: Very nice. Hmm, why do I always remember the desserts?

Everything was tasty and interesting in various degrees, but this was certainly not a filling meal. Still feeling peckish when we left, we stopped at the grocery store en route to Crabby’s to pick up a post-prandial snack.

Posted by King Crabby, Jean Poutine and Mikey Likesit. Photos by Jean Poutine.