Home is Tough to Beat!

Having fallen deeply for a man who prides himself on quality and delicious foods (a self-declared foodie:), I have grown over the past 5 years to find that, on average, restaurants are too expensive for the quality of food we receive.  We often sit down at a meal downtown and can walk away feeling disappointed by the flavours or execution of our dishes at an overrated restaurant.

My boyfriend has shown me a perspective to food that I never knew existed.  He has taught me how to appreciate the flavours of food and even how to cook fantastic food on my own.  Even the simplicity of sharing the kitchen space while working together to build a meal that we savour has become the highlight of my evenings.. with a glass of wine of course.  I am forever grateful and love our many meal-time discussions about food.  I will say that I am definitely not a self-declared foodie, but am working really hard at becoming one.

This brings me to why I am writing this brief entry today.  Last night my boyfriend rummaged through the cupboards and literally made something out of nothing!  That nothing turned into Hyderabadi BiryIMG_4827ani with a spice that had me sweating, but in a really great way;)  The heat of the spiced chicken and its sauce with the cool yogurt cucumber and cilantro chutney to calm the taste buds was exactly what Sunday night should taste like – comforting, exciting and delicious.

I can remember not even fathoming the idea of putting something hot and spicy into my mouth before my boyfriend (BBF).  Now I consider my taste buds in training and I am working towards loving flavours that were once foreign to me!

We are constantly on the hunt for restaurants we will go to again and again.  Looking for that consistency and taste that resonates in our memories.  Until then, we shall delve into the amazing meals we make here at home.  Everything my boyfriend makes is scrumptious and I feel so privileged to be able to eat high end food from the comfort of my own home!

Mexico Lindo – Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Mexico Lindo is a quaint little ma and pop restaurant at the corner of Ordinance and Sydenham St. in Kingston, Ontario. Arriving with my family to a warm welcome by Armando, the owner and operator, we were excited to eat traditional Mexican food made with love and care.

Tostadas de Tinga

Tostadas de Tinga

Mexico Lindo stays true to homey Mexican flavours at a reasonable price.  It is genuinely good, fresh food and to quote my boyfriend “it’s like sitting in the dining room of a Mexican family!”

The guacamole is a spicy, almost salsa-like condiment that easily pours on the delicately homemade tostadas, quesadillas and/or enchiladas.  I received a smokey chipotle salsa that I wanted to bottle up and take home for future home-cooked meals!

Enchiladas de Mole

Enchiladas de Mole

After our plates were emptied, to end our experience, we engaged in devouring the churros for dessert.  My dad said he only wanted half of one and ended up grabbing and eating the whole piece!  A true testament to its goodness.

As the fine-tuning of service continues, I encourage all local Kingstonian and visitors to head over to Mexico Lindo for tasty food, personable service, at a great price!

Iron Goat Pub and Grill, Canmore, Alberta

After hitting the slopes in Lake Louise yesterday, and wreaking havoc on the body, today was a day of simplicity and using our two feet to get to our destination.

A drive just east of Canmore landed us at Grotto pond.  We parked the car and made our way to the Canyon.  It was a slippery, ice-covered creek surrounded by walls of rock that have transformed over time from various erosion processes. It truly is a beautiful sight to be seen!

At the end of the trail we found ice climbers on massive frozen icicles making their way up brittle crystals that have shades of blue peaking through. As we sit on a cold rock observing their every move, I get a basic lesson on ice climbing from my partner.

We slide our way back to the trail, with a few slips and falls, followed by laughter and a little hand holding to savor our final moments in beautiful Alberta.

A few kilometres away, we find the Iron Goat Pub and Grill. Walking up the stairs to the entrance, we find gorgeous, massive doors that anyone would love to have on their home. It even sparks a discussion about what our doors should look like on our home!

The timbre framing and iron accents make the ambience inviting, especially after a hike in the mountains! Sitting in the main window looking at the Three Sisters Mountains truly makes one appreciate the moments.

We first order a drink. A Big Rock for the man that was smooth, nutty, and a great mountain beer on a cold day. A Reindeer Games hot chocolate was ordered for the woman. I must say the subtle addition of butterscotch schnapps and Bailey’s, along with whipped cream, was welcomed and highly recommended after a winter outing. I will add that to my hot chocolate repertoire for the cold nights back home.

The Iron Goat Prime Burger and Slow Smoked Brisket sandwich is what grabbed our taste buds after a few minutes of digesting the Goat’s lunch menu.

The brisket was satisfying but needed a few minor improvements. The flavoring of the meat was smoky with a coating of barbeque sauce that gave the meal some punch. Its downfall was the dryness of the meat so it didn’t provide that truly satisfying bite that you want when chowing down on a brisket sandwich. Nevertheless it was edible. The bread was flaky and looked like it came from a supermarket. It could’ve been drastically enhanced if they had opted for a baguette or even pretzel bread.

With each order we recieved the standard issued fries that, when dipped in ketchup, were exactly what one would expect for pub grub.

The burger faced the same bread dilemma but the juiciness of the beef tied with the dill pickle, mayo, lettuce, and tomato made for a good bite. The beef had a hint of pepper that also made it enjoyable.

The atmosphere, setting, and views made this a pub we would definitely revisit regularly when we are amongst the mountains of Canmore!

Canmore, Alberta, Canada

December 30, 2012

Chez Francois

A misleading restaurant name for the quality of food you receive.  A Canmore eatery that, on TripAdvisor, states as the “best breakfast ever!” If you are expecting French cuisine, Chez Francois is not the place for you.

An order of eggs Benedict and “The Surprise” was to say the least, disappointing.

The Surprise consisted of a fat man’s portion of soggy French Toast and fruit that seems to have been marinating among its own juices for decades.

The pride and joy of Chez Francois as recommended by visitors was the eggs Benedict.  It was a curdled mess of burnt flour and fat that a child could’ve made.

The French would be disgusted with the usage of “fine French cuisine” on their sign and mortified by the simple taste of their food.

If diner style food that resembles Denny’s is what you are after, this is the place for you!

Twist on Burritos

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December 30, 2012

A late start to our day, but a necessary recovery from boarding at Kicking Horse yesterday. We decide to hit the 1a highway and take the scenic route towards Lake Louise. With every corner you turn, the mountains are breathtaking. One could never bore of living in Alberta with sites such as these.
Johnston Canyon was a narrow passage to shimmering icicles at the end of a one and a half mile trek. A trek, I might add, that requires good footwear and the ability to slide down a trail while keeping your balance:) You wouldn’t want your partner blaming you for not bringing your ski poles!
As we continued along the highway, Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep blocked our way but made for some great photo opportunities.
A stop near the Castle Mountain internment camp memorial is where we ate our pasta salad with tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers. Had we been at home, the dressing would’ve been homemade but Renee’s Gourmet Balsamic Vinaigrette would have to suffice. If only it had a little salt, pepper, and garlic!
From there we nibbled on my favourite Brookside Acai chocolates and Greek yogurt covered strawberries. We take a few photographs of the amazing view and determine if we are worthy enough to one day stay at The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise…and we are, one day:)
After an afternoon of galavanting around the 1a highway, we make our way back to Canmore where we decide to stay in at our wonderful lodge for a take on frozen Costco Burritos.
As I sit here and watch my boyfriend work his magic on the burritos, I can’t help but reflect on how wonderful this vacation is and how lovely our day was.
He adds a little cheese, salsa, and makes a salad for two. Not exactly what we would make if we were at home, but a great way to save on some cash!