Author: theporkgirl

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. …

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 …