Kitchen Sink – November/December 2011

Recipe of the week: Culina Mill Creek’s Gluten free Valencia orange cake from Gluten Free Holiday Baking.

Tea fans are ecstatic: Cally’s Teas (10151 Whyte Ave, 780-278-3294) has re-opened in a new location on White Ave. for Christmas shopping December 21-23, 11am-6pm, and December 24, 9am-3:30 pm. But, they will close again for most of January as they build the tearoom. Expect full retail plus tearoom in early February. Yaay!

Are you a last minute shopper? Check out these wonderful gifts: DOP Balsamico, Imperia pasta makers; gorgeous Stinson Studio hand-made Canadian maple salad bowls, or, if you were very very good, a culinary vacay in the French countryside: Cuisine et Chateau: A French Culinary Journey in Perigord.

No time to shop? One call will send a basket of Italian-themed goods to friends and family across the country: 877-277-4787 or order on-line at

Panettone is the Italian equivalent of the Canadian fruitcake. No one admits to eating it, but they are as ubiquitous as Santas at shopping malls. Our fave is the Tre Marie Milanese. Similar in texture to brioche, and studded with bits of dried orange and plump juicy raisins, it’s great in bread pudding or toasted for breakfast. We also like the individual sized boxes of panettone, with chocolate, for party favours. At the Italian Centre Shops.

Holiday entertaining doesn’t have to be stressful. Make crostini, savoury hits of deliciousness to serve with cocktails, with champagne, with beer. These toothsome little bites, essentially a small piece of grilled bread with a topping, can be put together in a jiffy with a loaf of bread and jars from the pantry.

Two wines to stock up on for the hols:

PKNT Gold Carmenere Reserva 2009 was awarded Best Chilean Carmenere at the 2011 International Wine & Spirits Competition (IWSC) considered the world’s premier wine awards. We love PKNT’s friendly price, easy-going nature and ability to work with just about any food, from turkey sammies to turkey curry.

In our never ending quest for good bubbles at a great price, we landed on Bad Girl Cremant de Bordeaux, a sparkling wine made in the traditional fashion, like Champagne; aka bubbles created in the bottle. Primarily Semillon with some Cab Franc and Muscadelle, it’s citrusy, crisp and dry, fabulous by itself or as a base for mimosas, spritz and kir royales. It also sports an impossible to miss hot pink label. Tasty, fun label, good price, what’s not to like? Check out Around $20 in better wine shops.

City Hall Market is closed until January 7. Old Strathcona Farmers Market has their last market of the year on Saturday December 24, then reopens January 7. Sublime Wines is closed Christmas and Boxing Day, January 1-2, January 4, and January 8-10.

We love the Mighty Trio guys and their super clean hemp, canola and flax oils. They’re offering a rustic gift box for a limited time: three bottles of 250 mL oil (your choice) in boxes made from old barn wood with an attractive lasered logo, $44. Visit them at Old Strathcona Marekt or

Wild Tangerine (10383 112 Street, 780-429-3131) has a delightful holiday gift crate available: festive popcorn, along with a bottle of their delicious oregano vinaigrette, and a gift card, all for $29.99. There’s a holiday pizza too, made with turkey and cranberries.

Recipe of the week: Short rib terrine from Gifts to Make.

Give yourself a present: visit Narayanni’s (10131 81 Avenue 780 756-7112) to enjoy their compelling South African Indian flavours. The chef, matriarch of the Naidoo family Selwa Naidoo, is a flavour maven bar none. Highlights include impeccable vegetable dishes such as spiced squash and cabbage with kale; crispy chick pea fritters and toothsome curries. The Naidoos, known for their hospitality, opened Block 1912 several years ago.

The City Market on 104 has moved into City Hall for the winter; December 13 in the parkade, but most Saturdays vendors are set up in the beautiful rotunda on the main floor. Lots of Christmas goodies, including Newget; torta, dips and baked goodies from Citrus Foods for Entertaining plus Irvings’ Meats, Kuhlmann’s and Natures Green Acres. Check it out!

Bin 104 Fine Wine and Spirits (5454 Calgary Trail, 780-436-8850) A Pinot Christmas, 7:00pm, December 7, $50.

Looking forward to checking out the new Mediterranean bistro Ousia, bringing some life to the 109 street end of Whyte Avenue. Open Tuesday through Sunday for dinner, and Sunday from 10:00am-4:00pm. Get there soon if you want to visit in 2011— they close for holidays December 24-January 6.

Stop by Fine Wines by Liquor Select (8924 -149 Street) Wednesday December 7, from 6:30-9:30 for their annual Christmas Open House. Sample over 50 wine, spirits, and beers absolutely free.

Holiday offer from Century Hospitality: buy $100 worth of gift cards, receive another $20 gift card. Visit, call 780 424-0702, or pick up in person at Lux, Century Grill, 100 Bar + Kitchen or Deluxe Burger Bar

Wild Earth Bakery Café’s (8902 – 99 Street 780, 425-8423) new spot in Laurier Heights (14238 85 Avenue), is now open and, we’ve been told, they’re working on a third location in Epcor Tower. We’re hoping that the denizens of Epcor Tower take advantage of their proximity to Chinatown for lunch.

Don’t miss the 104 Street Customer Appreciation Day, December 20. Not only will you be able to finish your Christmas shopping at DeVines, you can have lunch at the Blue Plate Diner for 25 per cent off, plus treats at Queen of Tarts. Come on down!

More 104 street news: Expect more coffee on 104 street come 2012 with the opening of the Mercer Roast House in the historic Mercer Warehouse.

Oaky, works with turkey, but it doesn’t rhyme
Lammershoek Chenin Blanc 2008 pleases unrepentant lovers of oak, with full-on vanilla aromas and flavours, coupled with the luscious marmalade honey citrus that Chenin is known for, balanced by a steely minerality and lively acidity. Full-bodied, creamy-textured, call it a white wine for red wine lovers — just the thing for an elegant turkey dinner. $23

Hush, your wine is here
If your Christmas dinner runs more to various rellys, kids and both sets of grands balancing paper plates on knees, you may want to reach for Summerland’s Dirty Laundry Rosé, Hush. The label is a conversation starter; the wine is congenially off-dry, able to please both the bone dry and fully sweet camps; the flavours are berry rich and delicious. It’s predominately food friendly Cab Franc with Pinot Noir, Cab and Merlot creating a slightly darker-coloured, fuller-flavoured-than usual rosé. $24

Sun Peaks Winter Festival of Wine
Enjoy the delicious pairing of culinary events, wine tastings and some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the world, January 18-22 at the Sun Peaks Winter Festival of Wine with a package from AMA Travel. Includes four nights hotel, two days skiing, three festival events and transfers from the Kamloops airport. From $799 per person, land only, based on two people sharing. Call 1-866-667-4777,

Earl’s Kichen & Bar has joined the Ocean Wise Certified Fish program and will offer sustainable Albacore tuna in Hawaiian-style Tuna Poke Nachos, and Lois Lake steelhead salmon in the Maple Glazed Salmon Salad with roasted butternut squash, faro, and Quebec goat cheese. New on the Sips list is the Skinny Martini, made with raspberry vodka, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, white cranberry and their house-made, sugar-free vanilla syrup, ringing in at a measly 150 calories.

Recipe of the week: Pieno Natale (Lunigiana Christmas Cake) a cake by Benedictine nuns from The Chestnut by Karen Virag.

There may be a few seats left for MRKT’s Seasonal dinner, Wednesday November 30, 10542 Jasper Avenue, 780 757-6758.

Expect two new opportunities for steak downtown in 2012: Chop Steakhouse in the Sutton Place Hotel and a Keg in the Westin Edmonton.

A local resto group plans a German-style beer hall (a la Wurst in Calgary) to be opened late 2012 (Mittel-Europe cuisine is a strong trend in the US, for example, Gruner in Portland). In the meantime, check out the classic Baurenschmaus (6796 99 Street, 780 433-8272, or the Continental Treat (10560 82 Avenue, 780- 433-7432).

Eco Café presents A Taste of Portugal, December 3. Five courses $45, reservations, 780-586-2627. Visit for menu and directions.

Expect to see some new looks and flavours at Bernard Callebaut. Maître chocolatier Derrick Tu Tan Pho joined the chocolatier in the fall. No slouch when it comes to chocolate, Derrick is Saigon born, Montreal raised, studied with Gaston Lenotre in Paris, taught pastry at George Brown College, and was with Barry Callebaut AG, the world’s largest chocolate manufacturer for several years, picking up numerous awards along the way. We’re looking forward to tasting some of the new arrivals soon.

Taste the new beer in town: Original 16 by Great Western Brewing.
The name is in tribute to the 16 workers who bought the Saskatoon plant 20 years ago when the Carling Molson merger threatened closure. They created a new beer company and now, a new brand. Original 16 is a premium Canadian pale ale, crisp, hoppy and available pretty much everywhere.

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire and all that — Karen Virag writes: “With its spiky green and rather scary exterior, the chestnut of Paris springs and Christmas carols actually resembles something a centurion might have used to smite an enemy.”

The Italian Centre Shops have bins of chestnuts ready for roasting and the pans to roast them in ($20). Here’s how: Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in the middle. Cut an X in the rounded side of each chestnut with a sharp knife. Roast chestnuts, cut side up, in a shallow baking pan until shells curl away from the nutmeats, 20 to 30 minutes. Wrap hot chestnuts in a kitchen towel and squeeze gently to further loosen shells. Let stand, wrapped, 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Paddy’s Cheese (12509 102 Avenue, 780-413-0367) stocks crackers, vinegars and other specialty foods, all in time for the holidays. Recommended: Gluten-free Polenta Crisps ($7.49) in red pepper, parmesan and rosemary flavours; Clovis vinegars ($11.49) come in five flavours including herbes de Provence, and the South African Rozendal Hibiscus Vinegar ($36.99), winner of the prestigious Sofi Gold Award. Paddy’s makes spectacular custom gift baskets. Prices start at $50, and the deadline for ordering up to four baskets is December 15. Want several for your entire list? Call them now to avoid disappointment.

Looking for an elegant way to unscrew the screw cap? Yes, many good wines now come with the handy dandy Stelvin closure, otherwise known as a screw cap. Danish company Nuance has produced a good-looking piece of stainless to remove the cap stylishly. Nuance Wine Screwcap Opener, at Dansk, $22

Are you a food journalist published in the US this year? If so, the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) invites you to submit work that best describes the relationship between Canada’s primary products and the culinary experience available in Canada. Visit the Food Day Canada website for details. Winners receive $1000.

We all love to go for lattes after yoga. This must be the origin of the newest trend on the restaurant scene — café with yoga studio. The lovely Noorish (8440 109 Street, 780-756-6880) was the first, now joined by Tiramisu Café (10750 124 Street) also with an on-site yoga room.

Enter to win! The TOMATO is giving away two copies of the exciting new board game: Duck Soup, The Restaurant Game.
Think you have what it takes to open a resto? Or do you just love beating the pants off your friends over a board game? Either way, Duck Soup is for you. Former restaurateurs Greg and Martin Thompson, used their experience to create a fun, informative and competitive board game. Available at select Indigo and Chapters, River City Games, Zenari’s, and To win your free copy: send us a message using the “Contact Us” form at the bottom of this page.

Feel the heat
Edmonton-based condiment queen Joanne Zinter has developed a tasty new rub called Spicy Seoul Seasoning. The garlic and red chile heat, cooled by a waft of mint, is an excellent partner to seafood, pork and beef. Find at Italian Centre shops, and other fine retailers.

Recipe of the week: Make these sweet/savoury salted caramels for holiday giving. Simply delicious.

November 16 is the Veuve Clicquot Winemakers Dinner at Century Grill (3975 Calgary Trail 780-431-0303) with Pierre Casaneve, head winemaker, Veuve Clicquot. Chef Tony Le has created a menu to showcase the stellar Champagnes of Veuve Clicquot. For resos contact $150/person inclusive.

November tastings at Sublime Wines (104 160 Broadway Blvd, Sherwood Park, 780-467-9463): Crush Imports portfolio tasting with Valerie Albrecht, November 17, $25; Camus Cognac, November 24, $30. Tastings start at 7pm, email to book.

Check out the new menu and wine list at Moriarty’s
has a new menu created by chef Cory Welsch and manager Stacy Dieckman and wine list by in-house certified sommelier Shelley Sillito. Bring your Citadel Theatre ticket in after the performance for a manager’s pour, part of Moriarty’s commitment to the downtown entertainment community. “We have a DJ on Fridays from 8pm to 11pm, providing a great vibe in the room. It has really good energy on a bustling Friday or Saturday,” says Stacy. Plans for New Year’s Eve include two dinner seatings. Call 780-757-2005 for reservations.

The importance of salt, and mustard in your Christmas stocking
Everything Cheese (14912 45 Avenue, 780 757 8532) stocks the wonderfully savoury Savor et Sens organic mustards in Basil and Parsley, Truffle, and Herbes de Provence, Also from Savor et Sens, flavoured sea salts in three varieties; Colours of the South, A Walk in Provence and Pink Dreams. Specialty mustards and unique salts can take Sunday morning scrambled eggs or weekday roast chicken to new heights— imagine what truffle mustard can do for a hot dog.

Freddy’s War, Judy Schultz, Brindle & Glass, $19.95
We’re big fans of Judy Schultz’s first fiction book, Freddy’s War. Well, we’re big fans of Judy period. But even if we didn’t know Judy, we’d still love this book. It’s the story of a young man who goes to war, what happens to him and the people who love him. It’s raw, compelling, sad. We couldn’t put it down. Now we can’t forget it. And yes, there’s food writing — writing so evocative you can smell and taste every noodle.

Campbell Liquor (3 Curial Drive, St. Albert, 780-419-3444) celebrates 15 years in business with a special anniversary event on November 19. Expect in-store specials from 1pm-5pm; samples, door prizes and giveaways.

All is bright on the High Street
Don’t miss All is Bright,
the special holiday celebration in the High Street (125 Street and 102 Avenue) November 17-20 with festive tree lighting, store specials and a $1000 raffle.

Spilling the Beans Dinner, Monday, November 21, 5:30pm. Ernest’s at NAIT, Edmonton, $60 (includes book). Join Julie Van Rosendaal and Sue Duncan for dinner featuring dishes from their new cookbook Spilling the Beans: Cooking and Baking with Beans and Grains Everyday. Julie and Sue demonstrate how to use more pulses. To register, visit, deadline is November 14. Sponsored by the Canadian Association of Foodservice Professionals, Dietitians of Canada and the Alberta Pulse Growers.

Bin 104 Fine Wine and Spirits (5454 Calgary Trail, 780-436-8850) Wine tasting evenings begin at 7pm and are priced per person. Douro Magic, November 23, $50; A Pinot Christmas, December 7, $50. For more information, visit

Love Italian wine?
Winequest’s Barb
and Susan Giacomin create a super Italian wine tasting every year called Italia with Gusto. It’s a fabulous event with over 60 wines, great nibbles and a chance to purchase wines at a discount. Here’s the best part: all proceeds go to the E4C School Lunch Program. Saturday, November 26, 7pm-10pm, Italian Cultural Centre (14230 133 Avenue, 780 453-6182). Tickets are $65 available at Vinomania, 780-488-7973, and the Italian Cultural Centre.

Blue Kettle Specialty Foods (70, 20 Circle Drive, St. Albert, 780-418-2878) holds their annual Christmas in our Kitchen Open House on Saturday, November 26. Visit for more information about their gift baskets and gluten free products.

Look forward to a dynamic culinary experience Tuesday, November 29 at Commerce Place Sunterra Market (Commerce Place, 10150 Jasper Avenue). The Art of Entertaining teaches how to make delectable hors d’oeuvres. Class starts at 6:30pm, $49.95/person plus gst. Call 780-426-3791 to book.

Sign up for Wine 101 Wednesday, a series of six afternoon tastings by women for women. At unwined, 512 St Albert Trail, 1pm-3pm, $60, 780-458-4777.

Recipe of the week: Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake

How to Cook Bouillabaisse in 37 Easy Steps: Culinary Adventures in Paris and Provence Diane Shaskin and Mark Craft, Voconces Culinary, $25 Former Edmontonians Diane Shaskin and Mark Craft (founders of Planet Organic Markets) share their love of France in this chronicle of their culinary adventures — food markets in Paris, learning how to make the perfect roast lamb and tasting their way around the 56 French AOC cheeses.

It’s Christmas party season! The Union Bank Inn has several options: Book in Madison’s Grill or the private Vintage Room for up to 14 people. Larger rooms are available for up to 130 guests. Call 780-401-2222 or the catering department, 780-401-2209 to book. Enjoy a five-course menu for Christmas Day Dinner in Madison’s, $80 per person, seatings from 4:30pm New Year’s Eve is a six-course gourmet extravaganza, $190 per couple, seatings from 5pm. Pair with an overnight stay. New Year’s Day Champagne Brunch features a sumptuous a la carte menu from 11am, $39.95 per person. All events require advance booking. Visit or call 780-423-3600 for details and reservations.

Check out Cibo (11244 104 Avenue, 780-757-2426) a 50 seat bistro featuring modern Italian food, in the Tesoro Caffe space in Oliver Square. Owners Rosie Caputo and Mike Giampa are making their first foray into a place of their own, along with sous chef Mathew Helstein. Open for lunch and dinner. Closed Sunday, Monday.

We all love to go for lattes after yoga. This must be the origin of the newest trend on the restaurant scene — café with yoga studio. The lovely Noorish (8440 109 Street, 780-756-6880) was the first. Opening soon is the Tiramisu Café (10750 124 Street) also with on-site yoga room. Noorish, a “conscious eatery and superfood elixir bar” plans a full meditation and yoga program, and cooking with raw foods certification.

Earl’s Kichen & Bar has joined the Ocean Wise Certified Fish program and will offer sustainable Albacore tuna in Hawaiian-style Tuna Poke Nachos, and Lois Lake steelhead salmon in the Maple Glazed Salmon Salad with roasted butternut squash, faro, and Quebec goat cheese. New on the Sips list is the Skinny Martini, made with raspberry vodka, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, white cranberry and their house-made, sugar-free vanilla syrup, ringing in at a measly 150 calories.