As Paul wrote in a previous post, NOtaBLE is a wonderful and welcome island in the sea of chain restaurants in Northwest Calgary. Duane and I enjoyed dinner there last night, a regular spot for our ‘date night’ dinners. Sadly however, the normally lively urban atmosphere was brutalized by various families who chose not to keep their children under control. At one table, a toddler screamed constantly while mom and dad ignored the wails. Another extended family enjoyed their dinner while their children ran (yes, RAN) the ‘loop’ of the restaurant squealing and shrieking their way past our table, over and over and over again. Even the servers were apologizing to us. One said, ‘after tonight, I will never have children’.
On the opposite pole to this experience, on a recent visit to Paul and Megan’s in Edmonton, we noticed a trend towards ‘adult only’ dining. What a concept!! What a breath of fresh air!! We dined just off Whyte Ave at a lovely bistro called Accent. Not a cranky child in sight! Signage outside restaurants in The Chuck will often identify the adult only eateries. And other tout signage indicating whether seating is currently available. Brilliant!
If you insist on taking your children for a nice dining experience, please, consider the atmosphere and the people around you. At very least, ensure your children are well behaved – we do not want to listen to them shriek throughout the restaurant. If we did, we’d likely have gone to McDonalds for dinner to enjoy the sights and sounds of their ‘PlayPlace’.
Come on, Calgary! Get with the program! Let’s bite the bullet here and learn something from our northern neighbors (tough to admit I know but this time its a good idea)!
As for our meals at NOtaBLE, I had the Chicken Stuffed Ravioli which was served with chunky carrots and green beans in a rich cream. Delicate and tasty. Duane had the Crab and Shrimp Bake, a nice cheesy concoction which you spoon onto bread rounds. Yummy. The Pear Upside Down Cake for dessert was in fact a very nice gingerbread with pear halves and a dollop of very thick cream. Dinner, as always, was fabulous, but they really do need to do something about the kids.
I recently discovered something quite remarkable about baking muffins. Odd, since I have been baking them for 45 years. No matter, I am a big enough man (figure of speech) to admit that I can still learn new tips. And this one is so simple it seems a trivial change to an ingredient. But it makes a HUGE difference to the result. Seriously, I’m shocked that a) I didn’t know this before and b) how much it transforms your muffins from really pretty darn good to fantastic!
The secret is with the oats. Before adding the oats to your muffins, add boiling water and let it rest 15 minutes. The difference is in the texture of the muffin. Lighter and somehow more flavorful. For each cup of oatmeal, add 1/2 cup of boiling water.
Give it a whirl!
Really Good Oatmeal Muffins
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Grease or line muffin pan with muffin cups.
In a small bowl, combine:
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup boiling water
Grated rind of one orange
1/2 cup orange juice
By hand or with mixer cream together:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Mix lightly until combined.
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
Add to butter mixture and combine. Add oat mixture and mix together.
1 cup raisins
Spoon into prepared muffin pans, filling 2/3 full.
Bake at 350 F until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Makes 12 muffins.
Enjoy them as much as everyone here at my house did!
Nice, fluffy, wordy reviews are great. They tell a story, paint a picture, give context to a situation. But really, it’s quite satisfying to have a concrete grade to stamp onto things. And so, we’re introducing the FoodBunch Certified rating scale. I’m sure many of you are familiar with this scale, with the letter A signifying total and complete awesomeness, and F being REALLY horrendous. Like, all aboard the failboat bad. Seriously, you’d probably have to slap me in the face and feed me uncooked rice to get an F, but you never know…
Anyways, you can look forward to seeing a rating on all restaurant reviews going forward, and via the magic of WordPress, going backwards in time too! Amazing! The ratings will look EXACTLY like this:
Sounds delicious, right? Right! Well, we don’t always have the time or energy to make everything from scratch, so sometimes we cheat on our marinades and buy pre-marinated meat. We found these PC Blue Menu Pork Tenderloin Souvlaki kebabs at Superstore a while ago and as it turns out, they’re really good! When we first started buying them, we made all four kebabs for the two of us but we found that with veggies and a starch, one kebab is really all we need. We love that they’re 60 calories each (for those of you who don’t keep track of calories and stuff, that’s a good thing!) and they’re still FULL of delicious flavours!
We’re BIG fans of Greek food; greek salad, souvlaki, pita, hummus, tzatziki… we love it all! So when we were shopping for things for dinner one day and noticed how many calories are in your average store-bought tzatziki, we were BUMMED. It was no longer on the menu. I couldn’t just give it up though so we decided to just make our own low-fat version. It turned out great so when we had souvlaki for dinner tonight, it inspired me to share this recipe with all you trusty readers!
When I cook, I almost always like to ‘freestyle’ – using what I have on hand to modify recipes and try out new flavour combinations (I don’t, however, rap… sorry to disappoint you). Many people, including the other half of the FoodBunch, really like to cling to recipes – but I would encourage everyone to give freestyling a shot. In my mind, THE easiest way to step slightly outside of the box while keeping a feeling of comfort is by making tomato sauce.
You know, some foods have that uncanny power to transport you to a different place or a different time in your life. I needed an idea for dessert to take to Leslie’s tomorrow – something classic, pretty to look at and over the top yummy. Several things would fill this bill, but I knew I’d found the perfect recipe when suddenly I had the sensation that I was 12 years old, sitting patiently at my parents’ dining room table waiting for my serving of Pineapple Upside Down Cake. I would take tiny little bites to try and make it last. Mmmmmm mmmmm.
This recipe is my grandmother’s (Paul’s great-grandmother).