Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Back at Taste of Edmonton 2010

Anna:  The girls and I were planning to use up the rest of our tickets for Taste of Edmonton today, but my older daughter wasn't feeling well, so it was just two of us, this time.  It was quite a lovely day for it, and the crowds weren't as thick as they were yesterday.  That didn't make it any easier to find someplace to sit and eat, though.  The space with grass and shade had very few picnic tables, but the beer garden was full of them - mostly empty.

Taste if Edmonton 2010

First, we stopped at Hawkeyes Too Restaurant and Bar.  We were going to have their Lemon Grass Chicken Wrap, but it had tomato in it, so we went with the Dry Ribs.  They were quite delicious, and the portion was quite generous.

Next, we visited Firestone Restaurant and Bar for their Bacon Wrap Scallops.  They were rather steep at 5 tickets for only 3 scallops (tickets are $1 each, or 10% off if purchased in advance, as we did).  There is very little seafood that I like, and I liked these scallops a lot, as did my daughter.  Comparing the amount we got to the dry ribs, which only cost us 4 tickets, did have me debating whether or not they were actually worth the cost.  I still haven't decided.

Either way, both dishes got a positive vote from each of us.

Taste if Edmonton 2010

Our next foray led us to Zen Shabu-Shabu Japanese Cuisine, Sushi and Grill for their Beef Tenderloin Wrapped in Bacon.  There were 4 pieces of bacon wrapped beef on the skewer, and they tasted quite good.

We also stopped at Tropika Malaysian & Thai Cuisine, getting their Roti Canai (Malay Bread).  Half the fun was watching the bread first being grilled, then smooshed on all sides before being hacked by a cleaver, then plated with some dipping sauce.  I really liked it, though my daughter could take it or leave it.

So that's two positive votes for the beef tenderloin, but one enthusiastic vote for the Roti Canai tempered with a "meh," neutral vote.

After this, my daughter and I were in need of hydration, but after seeing the prices on the vending machines, we decided to go to Three Bananas for drinks, instead.  Not that we ever need to have our arms twisted to go there.  We've often had their delicious pizzettes for lunch.

Next up, it was time for dessert.  Sorta.

Taste if Edmonton 2010

We searched out the Strawberry Cheesecake for my daughter, who is an absolute cheesecake nut.  This was offered by The Old Spaghetti Factory.  No surprise that my daughter loved it, but I find it too sweet.  One vote for, one... meh.

Then we got tempted by an old favourite, Green Onion Cake from Hong Kong Bakery.  Because we just can't go to a local festival without having some green onion cake.  Gotta have it.  Two enthusiastic votes in favour of the cakes.

At this point, we were ready to go home, but not without picking something up for my other daughter.  We picked up a few more tickets and got another Green Onion Cake, as well as...

Taste if Edmonton 2010

...some Vegetable Tempura from the Korean Village Restaurant, where we got the Seafood Pancakes yesterday - a treat I look forward to every year (I got a second one for myself) and Deep Fried Wonton with Crab Meat and Cream Cheese from Panda Hut Express.  Those are another treat we look forward too.  I was really impressed with the portion size for the Tempura Vegetable.  My younger daughter doesn't care for either, but my older daughter and I love them.

We're now out of tickets, but the festival runs until August first.  Who knows.  We might head back at the end of the week. ;-)

Storm on the Horizon

Storm on the Horizon
Originally uploaded by amkb

Anna: There's an exhibition going on right now, with nightly fireworks displays. We can see them from our balcony, albeit with a few power lines and posts blocking the view.

A couple of nights ago, I stepped outside to watch the fireworks to the north, only to be distracted by a flash behind me. That's when I discovered there was a far more dramatic fireworks display over our entire southern horizon. The lightning was quite frequent, so I grabbed the tripod and started shooting.

I managed to get a few decent shots (click on the image to be taken to my flickr account and see the others I've uploaded). While the ground strikes were dramatic enough, the truly impressive shots were ones like this, where lightning streaked from cloud to cloud.

I don't know how long the storm continued, but there was still a lot of lightning when I finally packed up and escaped the mosquitos.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Taste of Edmonton 2010

Anna:  I've got quite a few photos from the past while to post - just haven't got around to resizing them to post online.  Meanwhile, the girls and I took in Taste of Edmonton today.  We waited until the afternoon, to avoid the lunch time crowds.  You can check out all the photos from today in my flickr account.

One of the hard parts of the festival is fighting the desire to have nothing but our tried and true favorites, most of which we only indulge in during this festival.  We sought out dishes we haven't tried before.  First up are out "main course" choices.

Taste of Edmonton 2010

My older daughter was really looking forward to the Korean Village Korean Seafood Pancake, which we'd read about in a newspaper review.  She really liked it, but I found it rather bland.  My younger daughter and I both thought it was rather "meh."  Not bad, but nothing we'd go out of our way to eat again. 

So this one got one vote in favour and two neutral votes.

I was pleased to see that's Aroma! Italian Kitchen on the list.  It's a place I've wanted to try that we've just never got around to visiting.  They specialize in garlic dishes, which is a total winner in my books! We tried the Garlic Chicken Satay.  My younger daughter loves white chicken, while I prefer dark and my older daughter doesn't like chicken in general, so white chicken meat skewers would be touch and go for our little group.  I found it absolutely wonderful, as did my younger daughter.  My older daughter, on the other hand, got a taste of the sauce as she was about to take a bite and was thoroughly repulsed.  She couldn't eat it.  So her sister happily ate it for her.

Two very positive votes and one very negative vote on the chicken satay.

Next was the Cheese Empanada from Roma Bistro.  I don't think any of us have had empanadas before.  I thought it was quite good.  My older daughter really loved it, while it got a "meh," from my younger daughter. 

One good, one very good, and one neutral vote on the empanadas.

Next, we sought out some vegetable dishes.  This was a bit more challenging.  There were very few we hadn't tried before.  Here are the dishes we settled on.

Taste of Edmonton 2010

First, we picked up some Spanakopita from It's All Greek to Me.  My older daughter and I both love spinach and feta.  I like Greek food in general, so my expectations were perhaps a bit high.  I found it good, while my older daughter found it quite good.  My younger daughter, on the other hand, didn't like it at all.  But then, she doesn't like feta at all, so that wasn't much of a surprise, I guess.

Two votes for, one against, the spanakopita.

Next, we stopped at the Japanese Village for a Bean Sprout Salad with Ginger Sauce.  The sprouts were nice and crunchy.  I enjoyed the taste at first, but strangely, the more I ate of it, the less I liked it.  Not sure how that works.  The portion was quite generous and, this being our second course, the three of us couldn't finish it.  Neither of the girls really liked it, though.

Two votes against, one half-vote for.

Our third choice was another Japanese treat, the Canada Maki from Kyoto Japanese Cuisine.

First off, I need to be clear.  We aren't sushi types.  Personally, I detest cold rice, while my kids don't like rice in general.  Strangely, though, my older daughter and I have both developed at taste for California Rolls.  We've tried Maki before and didn't like it.  So while this was a beautiful looking offering, our expectations were rather low.

The 3 portion serving was quite generous - and perfect for us, since everything was being split three ways.  It included a surprising amount of pickled ginger (which I love, but I'm the only one in the family that does), some wasabi and soy sauce.  My older daughter and I were totally impressed.  They were delicious.  My younger daughter, on the other hand, couldn't even bring herself to try it.  In fact, she chose to eat more of the Bean Sprout Salad, instead.  Her sister and I split the last one, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Two enthusiastic votes for, one too-disgusted-to-even-try-it vote against.

Which brings us to the dessert course.

Taste of Edmonton 2010

There were so many possibilities - and old favourites - to choose from!

First up, the Apple Crumble with Jack Daniels Carmel Sauce from On the Rocks.  The crumble was quite hot - hot enough to make holding it while we made our other choices a bit of a challenge - with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.  I really enjoyed it.  Personally, I prefer really tart apples for a dish like this, but found it quite tasty.  The girls, however, didn't enjoy it as much as I did.  They both found it good, but nothing they'd go out of their way to eat.  My older daughter complained that you couldn't even taste the Jack Daniels.  *L*

One enthusiastic vote for, and two not quite so enthusiastic votes for the apple crumble.

Next is the surprisingly bright green Leprechaun Pie from Brewsters.  Our expectations were actually rather low for this one - probably because we were put off by the colour a fair bit.  It's a mint flavoured pie with mint chocolate chips.  I happen to really love mint, but my kids aren't big fans of it.  Still, we all enjoyed this one.  My only complaint was that I found it a touch too sweet. 

Three positive votes for the brilliant green pie.

Finally, we had the Custard Horn from Pazzo Pazzo.  I was sure we'd had this before, but my kids told me we didn't, so we gave it a go.  It was wonderful!!  The pastry was light, crisp, and perfect.  The filling was bliss inducing.  Truly delicious.

Three enthusiastic votes for the Custard Horn.

By the time we had all these, we were pretty full (well, maybe not my younger daughter - it was a bit of a disappointment for her!), so we called it a day.  Tomorrow, we come back with the rest of our tickets, and will probably indulge in our tried and true favourites!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Slowly getting back to the routine

I just wanted to add a quick note to say that, little by little, we'll be getting back into the routine of photo blogging again. 

Thanks for your patience.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

In my mother's garden

Originally uploaded by amkb

Anna: The girls and I made the trip to Manitoba for my brother's funeral this past weekend. While there, I visited with my parents as much as possible. This flower was in one of my mother's many gardens around their yard.

More photos of the trip are here.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Sometimes, life is harder to face.

Anna: I take a lot of pictures. Sometimes, I feel kind of intrusive when doing it, and I know my kids will sometimes roll their eyes at me when the camera comes out.

And sometimes, you wish there were more.

Yesterday, I found out my youngest brother was killed in a terrible accident.  He had been missing for several days before he was found. Living in another province from the rest of the family makes it difficult to keep in touch, find out what happened, when and where. I spent yesterday glued to my computer, constantly checking my emails, as it's the most efficient way of communicating - that and I couldn't really trust myself to talk on the phone.

With nothing useful or helpful to do, I found myself going through old photos of my brother.  I've been making dvds of photos and videos to share with my family for a couple of years now, so I decided to make a video tribute to my brother.

What I discovered is that I have very few photos of him.  My sister had scanned and shared old black and white photos, but I had next to nothing recent.  I had some I took during our visit on Thanksgiving last year, and I had some of him working that one of my SILs had emailed to me.  I had no recent photos that included his wife and daughter.

Sometimes, I don't know if I'm doing right by looking at life through a lens; that maybe the camera is getting in the way of participating in that life.

At times like this, I wish I'd been able to do it more.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Happy Canada Day!

Anna:  Yes, I know - technically, Canada Day has been over for more than an hour.  I just got these uploaded not long ago, though.  For more photos, visit my flickr set.

I took more than 200 photos of the fireworks tonight, and most of them actually turned out!  I've only uploaded 2 of them so far - I might add more later, but definitely not tonight!

Canada Day fireworks, 2010

Both photos were taken near the end of the show, when the smoke was pretty thick and drifting down the river.  The combination of the smoke and the light from the fireworks gives the bridge a surreal look.

This one, I just really liked. :-D

Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadians!