Author: theporkgirl

A weekend in Los Angeles – 10 things to do without a car

When Westjet posted a seat sale a few weeks before The Spaniard’s birthday, I took advantage of a deal I saw on the direct flight from Edmonton and booked us a three-night trip to the city of angels. I knew I wanted to take him to an NBA game, but after that I wasn’t sure what we would get up to. Everyone I spoke with said we would have to rent a car, but we weren’t excited by the prospect of sitting in traffic, trying to find parking, or paying for parking (especially with the Canadian $ making our American trips more expensive). So – I took a look at where the LA metro and bus system could take us, and we decided to plan our trip around that. From the airport we took the free shuttle to the LAX metro stop  where we were able to take the metro conveniently for around the same time it would have been for an uber or the FlyBus in high traffic times. Google didn’t give us the …

Get Creative at a Cory Christopher Fresh Floral Workshop

For the past few years, Cory Christopher has inspired me into attempting holiday decor designs at home after attending his Do-It-Yourself (DIY) decor sessions at Christmas in November at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. Cory, who is like a Christmas elf with a green thumb, manages to whip through about 15 projects in the 75 minute class using an assortment of fresh florals, second-hand books, and home accessories from everywhere from the storage closet to the dollar store and Canadian tire. It is exhausting and inspiring all at the same time.   View this post on Instagram   A post shared by Cory Christopher (@corychristopher) on Oct 2, 2018 at 9:11pm PDT If you follow Cory’s Instagram account, it is hard not to be inspired by the beautiful floral bouquets, succulent displays, and wedding theme photos he and his team create around the province of Alberta. Thankfully, Cory offers a chance to recreate his bouquets through his hands-on fresh floral workshops at his studio in Edmonton and at his family farm north of St. Albert. …

Five Reasons You’ll Want to Devour! The Canadian Rockies

In March, I was invited to attend the inaugural Devour! The Canadian Rockies Food Film Festival at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. Even though my weekend was complimentary, I was blown away by the incredible value of a two-night stay at the JPL including most meals, alcohol, and access to all the happenings of the food and film festival. Now in its 8th year in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Devour! is a food and film experience combining cinematic excellence with extraordinary gastronomic activities. Festival organizers chef Michael Howell and Lia Rinaldo have expanded the maritime event to include satellite Devour festivals around the world – including Alberta’s only event at the JPL. Devour! The Canadian Rockies Food Film Festival is back at the Fairmont JPL – February 22 – 24, 2019 – $479 per person After experiencing last year’s event, I’m happy to pay the $479 for a spot at the 2nd annual Devour! The Canadian Rockies Food Film Festival.  In fact, The Spaniard and I are already booked for 2019! Packages for the 2019 edition …

Recap: Taste Alberta Prairie on the Plate at the Harvest Room

Chef Mridul Bhatt, the executive chef at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald, has lived in Alberta for just over one year, but already has a knowledge and deep appreciation for ingredients grown, raised and produced from across the province. On Friday night, Chef Mridul and his culinary team presented a six-course menu Prairie on the Plate menu highlighting ingredients from Taste Alberta‘s commodity partners: Alberta Canola Producers, Egg Farmers of Alberta, Alberta Milk, Alberta Pulse Growers Commission, and Alberta Pork. After welcoming us to the Taste Alberta dinner, Chef Mridul shared his passion for using local ingredients and introduced our upcoming dishes. Our first course – ‘Rebel Within’, was a 63 degree Alberta egg, was nestled inside an applewood cheddar & jalapeño muffin and served alongside a chorizo tomato sauce. A quick slice with the knife revealed a perfectly runny egg.   View this post on Instagram   A post shared by Sharman Hnatiuk (@theporkgirl) on Sep 7, 2018 at 6:21pm PDT Chef Mridul explained that he was inspired by the strength of the egg, and complimented the Egg Farmers of Alberta for what …

A Weekend in Montreal – 10 things to keep you busy

Montreal has been on our travel Canada hit list for some time now, so when my friend Adrienne asked if we wanted to join her for the August long weekend, we took her up on the offer of a free bed. We took a couple extra days off work so we had extra time to eat and have some extra fun in the sun (and humidity). Here are 10 things that will can keep you busy on a summer weekend in Montreal. 1. Watch tennis at the Rogers Cup Both The Spaniard and Adrienne are tennis fans, so when the initial invite came to come visit – we knew we would be going to the Rogers Cup. This year the women were playing in Montreal, and we got up-close with number of high-ranked players including Johanna Konta, Jelana Ostapenko, Sloan Stevens, and Maria Sharapova. 2. A culinary walking tour Montreal is a food-lovers dream city. We arrived late on Friday afternoon and decided the best way to orient ourselves (it was The Spaniard’s first time …

Recap: Get Cooking -Taste Alberta Burger Club

Earlier this month, Get Cooking Edmonton transformed their final Burger Club in their summer pop-up dining series into a Taste Alberta – Prairie on the Plate event. Chefs Doreen Prei and Kathryn Joel helped celebrate a Prairie on the Plate first by featuring all seven of Taste Alberta’s partners – Alberta Canola Producers, Egg Farmers of Alberta, Alberta Milk, Alberta Pulse Growers Commission, Alberta Chicken Producers, Alberta Turkey Producers, and Alberta Pork – on their Burger Club Wednesday menu. The sun was shining and most of the patrons that night opted for a seat on the Get Cooking patio. To help keep everyone hydrated, butcher (and Get Cooking culinary instructor) Elyse Chatterton was helping out on the bar serving up everything from Alberta brewed Medicine Hat Brewing Company Burnside Blood Orange Ale and Pimm’s cocktails. The appetizer for the evening was deep-fried chickpeas, which helped recognize the Alberta Pulse Growers Commission, represents 6,000 growers of field pea, dry bean, lentil, chickpea, faba bean and soybean in Alberta. There were four burgers packed with Taste Alberta ingredients available, each served with side of either kennebec fries …

A Weekend in Porto

Summer has been a whirlwind and it all started when jumped on a plane to cross the Atlantic Ocean so I could meet up with Helen, my lovely friend from London, for a weekend in Porto, Portugal. I arrived at the airport jet-lagged and so out of it that I left the airport, was standing on the platform for the metro, and realized I had forgotten to pick up my suitcase. Thankfully I still had my boarding pass, as I had to show proof I was on the flight and be checked in with the police before a security staff member could escort me back to my bag. I had time for a quick nap in our suite at the Magnolia Hostel before Helen arrived. I woke up to a text telling me they couldn’t find our reservation. After a series of messages and finally a call, she figured out she was at the wrong hostel, but just a quick eight minute walk away. (Her error made me feel less silly about my bag blunder – …

Recap: Taste Alberta Brunch at Bodega

Last weekend, chef Lino Oliveira of Sabor and Bodega Tapas and Wine Bar hosted Taste Alberta‘s first ever Prairie on the Plate brunch. Taste Alberta’s Prairie on the Plate dining series invites chefs to create a unique meal that celebrates ingredients, farmers, and producers from commodity groups that make up Taste Alberta. Chef Lino took on the challenge – and his brunch menu featured ingredients from six of the seven partners including: Alberta Canola Producers, Egg Farmers of Alberta, Alberta Milk, Alberta Pulse Growers Commission, Alberta Turkey Producers, and Alberta Pork. Both the Bodega Highlands and the new Bodega 124th Street locations offered brunch on both Saturday and Sunday from 11 am to 2 pm, so chef Lino and his culinary team decided to offer a three-course menu for $25 at both locations throughout the weekend. To kick things off, diners received a pintxo – a small snack typically eaten in bars in northern Spain. Chef Lino featured Winding Road Artisan Cheese‘s RDB cheese from Smoky Lake, Alberta, paired with quince marmalade on a slice of baguette. For the main course, diners had a choice of three dishes: …

Weekend in Seattle

We recently took advantage of the direct flights from Edmonton to Seattle for the long weekend in May. As per usual, we used public transit (the light rail transit and buses were very convenient) and booking on Air BnB to save some coin while traveling on the American dollar (which always leads to more colourful encounters with locals). While we have shied from uber touristy activities on our most recent city-break trips to the United States (San Antonio, Portland, and New York City), we decided to go full on tourist with the Seattle City Pass. I knew The Spaniard, a civil engineer, would want to take a ride up the Space Needle, and our friends Marc & Jaddah had suggested the locks harbour cruise tour. With two of those activities (the locks tour was a small upgrade), we decided it would be worth the $89 (American) pass for five of Seattle’s top (insert most touristy) attractions. For our first toursity activity we joined the mob of families taking in the Seattle Aquarium. We had some …

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. …