Author: theporkgirl

Why the 30th Anniversary of Christmas in November at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge will be the best yet

Heading to the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge (JPL) to experience Christmas in November (CIN) has become my favourite event of the year. Who wouldn’t love escaping to the mountains to spend your days in interactive culinary sessions with local and celebrity chefs, getting your Christmas decor and craft on, and indulging in decadent meals and a few adult beverages. The hardest part is deciding which session to go to and when to fit in a dip in the heated pool. The first Jasper CIN I attended was five years ago for their 25th anniversary, and I can tell you they like to celebrate anniversaries. This year, the Fairmont JPL team is going all out to put on the best Christmas in November yet! The event is already close to a sell out, so if you want to rub elbows with Food Network Canada culinary stars, learn tips and tricks on how to DIY (do it yourself) your holiday decor, and get all the recipes you need to host the perfect holiday dinner, you better book quickly. …

Two Weeks in Japan – Highlights in retrospect

It has been a year since I returned from a two-week trip to Japan with one of my favourite travel buddies Josh (who met me there from Australia). Life was a bit crazy when I returned from that trip, and I never got around to blogging about our adventure. My facebook memories have been on overdrive in recent weeks reminding me of what Josh and I were up to a year ago, which made me feel like it wasn’t too late to document our Japanese journey, and reflect on my favourite memories of our trip. So, here is my top 10 highlights from two weeks in Japan (along with some tips which helped make the most of our trip). 1. Went to a Japanese baseball game A post shared by Sharman Hnatiuk (@theporkgirl) on Apr 25, 2017 at 4:30am PDT Going to watch a baseball game was so much fun in Japan we did it twice. (We actually tried to go three times but we arrived at the ballpark in Tokyo to find the game sold …

Recap: Taste Alberta’s Prairie on the Plate at Buco Epcor Tower

Every Wednesday, all three Buco Pizzeria & Vino Bar locations (Epcor Tower, St. Albert and Windermere) feature a Date Night three-course chef’s choice meal for just $32. Last week, chef Spencer Thompson transformed the weekly Date Night menu at the Buco Epcor Tower location into a Taste Alberta Prairie on the Plate menu featuring an assortment of ingredients from across Alberta. A post shared by Sharman Hnatiuk (@theporkgirl) on May 9, 2018 at 6:05pm PDT To kick things off, diners were treated to house-made tortellini with ricotta, spinach, and Alberta-grown dandelion greens. The pasta was served alongside chicken sausage, made by their sous-chef Michael who is also a butcher, along with Sylvan Star Grizzly Gouda, pickled pine nut butter, and shaved apples. I’m told sous chef Michael spent over 20 hours prepping the Alberta Pork main course. He had to source pork trotters from a number of different Alberta pork farmers, which he braised, and then deboned. Chef Michael then made his own pork sausage using the trotter along with pork belly and shoulder, which …

Chef Mridul’s culinary journey dining series at the Harvest Room

Last month, I joined a new dining series aimed at taking diners on a culinary journey around the world. Chef Mridul Bhatt joined the  Fairmont Hotel MacDonald culinary team last summer, and the Indian born and raised chef is eager to bring some international flavour to the Hotel Mac’s Harvest Room. A post shared by Sharman Hnatiuk (@theporkgirl) on Mar 30, 2018 at 8:50pm PDT Sadly, I missed his first two destinations – India and Spain – but managed to get my culinary passports stamped with his latest Italian dinner over the Easter weekend. I felt $75 for the dinner was an excellent value for our five-course Italian dinner, and of course the service in the Harvest Room was impeccable. Chef Mridul and this team happily accommodated my gluten-free needs, but I did have a moment of envy while dining with the Spaniard and our friend Jose-Mi. While I did enjoy my gluten-free spaghetti with truffle, sunchoke, egg yolk and pecorino, I know I was missed out on the the hand-made parpadelle from the pasta course the …

Confections Cake Co. dessert bar now open in St. Albert

If you have a sweet tooth there is a new dessert bar in the Edmonton area to add to your baked-goods hit list. Confections Cake Co., tucked between Jack’s Burger Shack  and Cerdo Tacos + Tequilla on Perron street in St. Albert, quietly opened on Tuesday last week, offering up an assortment of sweets late into the evening seven days a week. I spotted a tweet on Friday from my massage therapist about the newly opened dessert bar, which caught my eye as she mentioned gluten-free options. I happened to be in St. Albert on Sunday evening and was excited to learn they were open until 10 p.m. Actually, they are open every night until 10 pm! At present, Confections Cake Co. is run entirely by life and business partners Brittany and Jarrett. Brittany, who hales from Vancouver Island, took three years of cooking school before studying pastry arts. She first moved to Edmonton to gain work experience at Duchess Bake Shop, before spending five years with Over the Top Cakes in St. Albert. The current …

Recap: Taste Alberta Prairie on the Plate at Chartier

Chartier is a rustic, Quebec French style restaurant in the heart of Beaumont, Alberta. For those who have dined at Chartier, named one of the top 30 new restaurants in Canada by EnRoute Magazine last year, you can feel the warmth and love in every dish that chef Steve Brochu and his culinary team plate on the restaurant’s collection of vintage plates. Last week, Chartier played host to the latest Taste Alberta dinner in the Prairie on the Plate dining series. Chef Brochu’s four-course meal for $75 highlighting some of Taste Alberta’s commodity partners: Alberta Canola, Egg Farmers of Alberta, Alberta Milk, Alberta Pulse Growers, Alberta Turkey Producers, and Alberta Pork. Guests were greeted by the Chartier team with welcome drink – an Alberta Premium Rye Saskatoon berry shrub lavender syrup and soda. With the clanging of a pot to grab our attention, chef Brochu welcomed us all and explained our first dish of the night. In advance of the event, Debra with Alberta Pulse Producers had dropped off some products from Alberta farmers to inspire chef Brochu.  With a black box …

A weekend on Vancouver Island

Conveniently, my birthday falls around the family day weekend. The last few years we’ve celebrated by going out of town for the three-day weekend. This year, we decided to take advantage of the direct Westjet flight from Edmonton to Comox and visit my friend Christopher and spend the weekend on Vancouver Island. Christopher was very excited to show us around. We kicked our weekend off with a hike along the shore of Comox Lake before we joined the locals for a roast-beef-dinner at the Waverley Hotel in Cumberland. We also picked up some locally brewed Raven’s Moon craft cider (and bootleg BC wine) before heading home to binge watch the winter Olympics. Saturday morning we were ready to kick it to west coast of Vancouver Island. A post shared by Sharman Hnatiuk (@theporkgirl) on Feb 17, 2018 at 10:47am PST Christopher suggested picking up some seafood before we set off, so we stopped in at Fanny Bay Oysters for oysters and crab, and we also grabbed some clams from Mac’s Oysters, where I was blown …

Win 2 Tickets to the #ABFoodFight Feb 12, 2018 with Taste Alberta

On Monday, Feb 12, 2018 the oven mitts (or as The Spaniard likes to call them – kitchen mittens) are coming off! The Alberta Diabetes Foundation and Taste Alberta are joining forces to show how locally sourced ingredients can be used to create healthy and nutritious dishes. Home economist, writer, comedian, cookbook author and host of My Left Frying Pan youtube cooking show Mairlyn Smith will go head-to-head against local ingredient lover and executive chef of Chartier restaurant Chef Steve Brochu. The event, which includes lunch at the Westin, is sure to have your healthy ingredient packed belly shaking with laughter. I’ve had the pleasure of learning nutrition tips from Mairlyn as I laughed my ass off on two different occasions when she was presenting at Christmas In November at the Jasper Park Lodge. Thanks to Mairlyn I learned the correct lyrics to a song from my childhood: beans beans the musical fruit, the more you eat, the less you toot. Chef Brochu is sure to give Mairlyn a run for her fibre facts. Plus, he …

Recap: Prairie Noodle Shop Taste Alberta Dinner

On Sunday, January 21, Chef Eric Hanson and his culinary team at Prairie Noodle Shop broke away from their ramen mould and plated a noodle-free Taste Alberta family-style meal inspired by flavours, ingredients, and products from across the province. The challenge to the kitchen with every Taste Alberta Prairie on the Plate dinner is to showcase the seven commodities groups within Taste Alberta: Alberta Canola, Egg Farmers of Alberta, Alberta Milk, Alberta Pulse Growers, Alberta Chicken Producers, Alberta Turkey Producers, and Alberta Pork. Well, chef Hanson and his team started off the 2018 Taste Alberta dining series with a bang! The menu represented the many unique voices from the kitchen, with the team sharing a flurry of bites which incorporated each of the commodities groups, and a whole lot more from the bounty of Alberta. Upon arrival, guests were welcomed with a mint raspberry cocktail featuring spirits from two Alberta distilleries:  Strathcona Spirits Gin and Eau Claire Distillery Prickly Pear Equinox. I had a chance to savour my drink along with the first bite of …

Five Reasons to Brunch at Dogwood Cafe at Victoria

It is no secret that I like to brunch at the Dogwood Cafe located in the clubhouse of the Victoria Golf Course. My friend Linda (@lindork) teases me that ‘I love that place’ every time I rave about it – but I think she is just jealous she doesn’t have a neighbour gem like Dogwood so close to her house.  As a resident in Oliver, I absolutely love being able to walk down the hill, or when the weather agrees, get in a quick cross-country ski loop or two on the Victoria Golf Course, before enjoying a relaxing brunch at the Dogwood Cafe. During the winter season, anytime someone asks me for a recommendation for brunch in the downtown area I always list Dogwood Cafe in my top three options. Here are five reasons you should brunch at The Dogwood Cafe. 1.  À la carte Saturdays or buffet brunch on Sunday This winter season, chef Brad Lazarenko decided to switch things up by offering an à la carte brunch from 9am-2pm on Saturdays and Sunday brunch buffet from 10am-2pm. While the Eggs …