Tag Archives: food

Why Mealshare is Awesome!

I first heard of Mealshare through a restaurant I serviced and  soon after from a good friend of mine who owns a southern cooking New Orleans’ style restaurant. Mealshare partners with restaurants to provide  food for the less fortunate.

Here’s an excerpt from their website:

At Mealshare, we create partnerships with restaurants to help people, by providing one meal to someone in need for every Mealshare item purchased. Menu items that restaurants select to participate have a Mealshare logo next to them for easy recognition. For each Mealshare meal sold, restaurants give a portion of the proceeds to Mealshare. With this contribution, we ensure that one meal is provided for someone in need for every Mealshare purchased. Buy one, give one. Simple.

To provide meals, Mealshare receives money from our partner restaurants for each Mealshare meal sold, and we then donate money to our charitable partners. With that money, our partner charities are able to provide a complete and nutritious meal to someone in need. Partner charities, of course, have different meal costs as they operate in different areas and with different approaches, so a different amount of money gets donated by Mealshare in each case. In the end, we ensure that the number of meals provided to people in need matches the number of Mealshare items purchased. We hope you will take the time to find out more about our amazing charity partners by visiting the ‘Charities’ section of the website.

you can follow mealshare in twitter or facebook

@mealshareteam or facebook.com/MealshareTeam

Mealshare is a wonderful program dedicated to help the local charities to continue services and food to the homeless. I’m happy to say here in Edmonton are at least 3 restaurants participating. My hope is for the big players and chain restaurants to take part and spread the not only the word but the great benefits this program has to offer.

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The Empty Table Mystery

Have you ever walked into a restaurant without a reservation? You reach the hostess table and let the hostess know the size of your party 2, 3 or however many people you’re arriving with. Then you hear the words, “wait time is 1 hour”. You look at your party, roll your eyes and brace to sit down or stand up whichever case it might be. Some restaurant don’t even have a sitting place. You have to stand outside in the cold around the corner. Yes, it’s that bad in some places.

But as you inch your way into the restaurant warmth comforts you see that a table of 4 is empty, cleaned and set. You say to yourself and your companions in a sarcastic tone, “There’s an empty table, why are we still waiting?”.

Busy restaurant in Koto-Ku, Tokyo

Busy restaurant in Koto-Ku, Tokyo (Photo credit: dmeurer)

During times like this it can be frustrating to have to wait in line, specially when you’re hungry. But in reality there’s a reason why that table is waiting.

I will take a chance to say that 7 out of 10 times this phenomenon is caused on purpose. Smart managers will know what their restaurant staff and their ability are. Managers are not trying to cause you to be upset and angry, rather they’re allowing you have the best experience.

You see, your dining experience really starts when you sit down. It is worst to wait at the table than it is to wait at the door. Once seated the floor supervisors can take care of you. There’s only so many people a kitchen can serve at one time or per minute. Really good managers or Chef‘s will track this time. If 130 people get seated within 10 minutes apart then mayhem follows. I remember serving 200 people banquet style and that took 45 minutes with 6 cooks plating finished product. Imagine having to cook and serve per table on 130 guests. Nonsense. When the ticket times are reduced the managers will signal the hostess to sit different size tables. Sometimes it’s easier to serve 3 or 4 tables of two than 1 table of 4 or vice versa.

So next time you’re growing impatience at a restaurant foyer remember you can be growing impatient on your seat. For me I’d rather take my time at the door and be served quality while I enjoy my seat.

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Leave us a comment with your restaurant waiting experience!

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Today I Make

One of our family favorites is pancake breakfasts. Today I saw a few ripe bananas just laying there taunting me to put them in the batter. So I did. (Did this for thanksgiving weekend)

Banana on Pancake

Banana on Pancake (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The kids love to mix in the batter and slice the fruit when we add it to the batter. One of my super very secret ingredients is vanilla extract. PURE! vanilla extract, adding a couple of teaspoons to the batter makes for good times.

In reality when making pancakes the possibilities are endless. Go, Play , Eat! I hope you’ll get creative next time you make pancakes and enjoy the time with the kids.

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It’s a BBQ Affair

Let’s us talk about BBQ sauce!BBQ sauce is not all that bad, let me explain. Most Grill Masters would disagree with me that real BBQ meat don’t need the typical bought BBQ sauce you get at the grocery store. I agree, however if there’s one thing we can learn from the French chefs is that a good sauce makes the dish. The sauce puts the finishing touches on any dish. If the food is great then the sauce puts it into another level. Any great sauce can take a dish and shoot it straight into the stratosphere. This is why I want to write about a BBQ sauce.

Store bought BBQ sauces are all the same in a sense. They’re usually tasty and very flavourful but when you turn the bottle around you’ll find a bunch of sodium, preservatives and other questionable ingredients. This is why I’m starting to pull away from buying store brands. Here’s my take on BBQ sauce

Common large shelf display of Maull's BBQ sauc...

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The Act Food Truck (Reviewed)

Finally, after a much awaited time The Act Food Truck hits the road. (Well, it’s been about 2 months). One lucky day I was able to find the time to make it to the spot where the truck was parked. I was also lucky to gather a few of my co-workers to come with and try out the truck fare.
Personally, I had no reservation on the food since I know the Next Act folks are very detailed oriented and great lovers of food. But boy, we were in for a treat!!!
 
Upon arriving there we were greeted by what seems to be now the truck’s mascot ‘Pancakes’. My first thought was “I love Pancakes” but this was no ordinary lovable pet , it’s the personal dog of one owners and operators. Pancakes makes for an awesome host and addition to the team. Shout out to Pancakes.
As I mentioned before I was wasn’t really worried about the kind of quality I was going to get from The Truck, and I wasn’t disappointed either. I ended up having the BBQ Pulled Pork sandwich. The sandwich was very good indeed, tasty and juicy topped with crispy onions and nestled between a soft kaiser bun. I ended washing down the pork with one of the sugar cane sodas they had on board and ready available at my request.
The one part I was really impressed with was the concoction was floating around the $10 mark including the drink. With pricing like this the folks at The Truck make it really affordable and desirable to go back and shop there again. But wait the goodness doesn’t stop there. The package would be incomplete if I forget to mention how the team is always challenging themselves and adding new characters to their ever revolving menu. And to keep it in the family they als reprise the Cameo’s specials from the pub fare as well. This I believe it to be genius.
In conclusion, if you like food and good food at that please find the truck and go. I guarantee you wont be disappointed. The service is best in class, food is phenomenal and with those prices I wont have to break the bank to get a good mouthful of goodness.
Follow them on twitter @theacttruck to find out where and when you can find them parked, the could be just around the corner.

Q: What’s a food crave you support and recommend? Feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts. 

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Why I Prefer Brines

Why I prefer Brining?
With BBQ season underway I feel compelled to share why I love the idea of brining. Flavor is one of the driving factors to good food. When we sit down to eat our favorite foods we’re looking for a specific flavor to touch our palates and remind us again of why we love this food so much. Flavor is essential and can it often conjures our guilty pleasures allowing us to escape to lands far away even if its all in our imagination.

Just the other day I was making baby back ribs for the first time at home. I wanted to cook them in the BBQ but we didn’t have any propane and it was to late to get some more. Normally I would make a rub and season the ribs to place in the off part of the BBQ and turn the other side and have the heat cycle the BBQ. Since that option was out I had to improvise. I decided to brine the ribs first before roasting them in the oven.
I placed them in a big bowl added sea salt and cracked pepper and enough water to cover them (you can add any flavoring you’ like at this point, like garlic, ginger, chillies, etc).  Left them soak for about 4 hours before I put them in the oven.
 When using a dry method of cooking is important to know this will maximize the amount of moisture coming out of the meats and vegetables you’re cooking. This why it’s important to understand the different types or methods of cooking 
 The reason I brined my ribs prior to roasting its because:
1) Moisture Retention: by being submerged in water for a good amount of time the meats absorbs water which then comes out or leeches during cooking giving you a better moisture yield and to not dry the actual muscle tissue causing the meat to get hard and crusty.
2) Flavorur Injection: The spices and ingredients in the water are absorbed into the meat. This means any flavour added to the brine will result in burst of flavor.
 I prefer brining when grilling and roasting. Rubs are great for dry heating methods like smoking or BBQing. Marinades on the other hand is not a great way to season your  meats. Usually marinades consist of oils, acid and spices plus a LONG period of time in order to infuse flavour. I find the marinades stays on the surface and the oils are not absorbed by the meats giving you a shallow flavour profile and the acid starts to “cook” the meat.
If you like really moist flavourful BBQed meats try a good brine it might just make your day!
English:

English: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What’s your preference when you BBQ?

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Go Local or Go Home


A few months back I had the opportunity to go to eat a mainstay in downtown Chicago, Il. I was in Elk Grove for work training and every night our group had an activity. One particular night we decided to go to a Cubs game. However, we were late getting out of our class and a bunch of us decided to hang out in downtown Chicago since we were already on the train. While walking through a multitude of people between the pier and the ever beautiful marble clad Union Station we decided to go somewhere to eat. And after walking and searching Chicago’s great array of niche type restaurants, pubs and family dinners we decided to go local or go home. Giordano’s was the name.
Giordano's Chicago-style deep dish pizza

Image via Wikipedia

Once inside the restaurant we had to wait over an hour to be seated on a Tuesday night. The place was full, every seat in the house was cradling a tush, including the small bar wood they called a lounge. We stood there in patience since it was already late and we where really hungry. Once seated, everything changed. Service was stupendous, our server was one of a kind, attentive to all details, and quick to take our drinks order and appy’s. One thing Chicago is known for is Deep Dish. So I convinced a Texan named Terry (Big T) to share with me in this endeavor. Let’s just say none of us were disappointed. I can actually say I had a moment with my slice of pizza.
Like no other I’ve ever tasted, this pizza is grade “A” in my books. Between the layers of real full fat mozzarella, deli pepperoni, and that succulent, delicious and hefty serving of pizza sauce I got lost. For a moment all seemed to stop, the voices in the room dimmed and tunnel vision kicked in. After what seemed like an eternity I came to, like being awoken from a deep sleep I started to notice everyone else in the room.
My advice to anyone who travels:
1. Go local or go home: With all the choices it was hard coming to an agreement on where to eat. We prevailed and decided to go local. Giordano’s is a place I will never forget.

2. Create Memories: I love traveling. Flying or road trips are all the same. But going on the road usually means lots of prep work, planing and spending time getting there and then leaving. The least you can do is to enjoy yourself while you’re there. Plan accordingly and take with you all the intangibles for you will never forget them.

In short, If I ever have a chance to make it to Illinois once again, I will make another pit stop at this locale.

Go local or Go Home,

If you could experience unknown local food fare to restaurants you’re familiar with which on would you choose?

English: Chicago Style Pizza with a rich tomat...

Image via Wikipedia

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