6 Delicious Things to Eat in Vancouver and a #TasteForTravel Quiz from Travelocity.ca!

ARC Vancouver menu

I’m not usually a huge fan of partnering up for promotions and that sort of thing, but every once and awhile I find something that’s a pretty good fit with what I’m all about. Travelocity.ca‘s new campaign #TasteForTravel is all about upcoming food trends in different culinary destinations across the world and also about finding which food-centric city is match with your palate. Needless to say, if you’re a picky eater then all of this likely won’t appeal to you, but if you are a picky eater then why are you writing a food blog right now? So, I’m going to assume there are no picky eaters around here!

Anyway, the #TasteForTravael quiz is honestly pretty fun and let’s face it, most of us take one of those Buzzfeed quizzes at least a few times a week that don’t have anything to do with anything. What 90s rocker are you? Which Dawson’s Creek character would you be? (ok, that may be of interest to me…) But, come on…how about something a little more relevant?

Culinary tourism is continually on the rise across the world, which means that these days the average traveller is more interested in what lands on his or her dinner plate in a foreign city than a statue or landmark to take a selfie beside.

Take the quiz here and see what your match is. Mine was New York City, sa-weet!

#TasteForTravel quiz

There’s a lot of great cities on Travelocity.ca’s ‘Top 10 Culinary Destinations’ for this year including Seattle, Florence, Stockholm and New York City (no shocker there). If you are looking to plan a trip some time soon, then it’s worth taking a look at what trends are happening in these cities and see what piques your interest. For me, I’m pretty interested to see if hand-held pies in Toronto really take off. I mean, who doesn’t like a pie? Especially when it’s mobile!

Just to add a little value above the soapbox for this culinary personality quiz, I thought I’d share some delicious dishes that I’ve enjoyed in my recent travels to one of the ‘Top 10′ cities Travelocity.ca has listed, Vancouver. Obviously it’s no shocker that one of Canada’s biggest cities would have more mouthwatering food options than you can shake a stick at, but here’s just a few to get you started…

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‘Greek’ Lemon Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes recipe

I really think I hit the jackpot of mashed potato deliciousness here, folks! The other week that we dare not speak of (i.e. the snowstorm of early September), everyone was forced to resort to comfort food to feel better about themselves here in Calgary.

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Avenue Magazine: Restaurant Round Up For The Summer

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It’s a little scary to think that September is already half over. As much as I hate saying goodbye to my shorts and tank tops, I do always appreciate a little bit of layering in my outfits, so autumn isn’t all bad.

Anyway, here are some of the restaurant features I’ve done over the past few months for Avenue Magazine. As per usual, Calgary has no shortage of new dining destinations popping up and there’s certainly a lot more on the way in the coming months. Keeping me in a job, I like it!

The Block

The Block Calgary

When Michael Noble opened Notable in 2010, he was really taking a gamble. An arguably obscure location in a residential area where many people were unsure if they’d be willing to drive to for a dining experience? Granted, Bowness isn’t that far to drive, but you know us inner-city folks…

Noble not only bucked the trend of making refined dining available only in the downtown core, but he also set the stage for other restaurateurs to do so too. Since 2010, we’ve seen indepentant establishments opening up in areas like Aspen (Diner Deluxe), Signal Hill (Bistro Rouge) and even all the way down in Seton with the soon-to-open Starbelly.

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Maple Cinnamon Granola and Start From Scratch

Homemade granola recipe

Now that it’s back-to-school season, my Start From Scratch program is only a few weeks away from starting up. We cook a ton of recipes throughout the 10-week course, but this one for a simple homemade granola that I made originally for Chopped Canada Mystery Solved on FoodNetwork.ca is one of the first that we tackle. Granola always makes for a great start to a day, either by the handful straight to the mouth or on top of a generous serving of greek yogurt topped with a bit of honey.

I’m going to be on Global Calgary this Saturday morning talking a bit about the free cooking program for post secondary students and assembling this granola, so tune in if you’re up!

Click here for more information about Start From Scratch and how you (as long as you’re a post-secondary student in Calgary or Saskatoon) can apply!

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Culinaire Soup Recipe Round Up and Start From Scratch!

Tomato and Roasted Poblano Gazpacho

When August rolls around, I’m always scrambling to make the most of the last few weeks of summer before ‘back to school’ mode kicks in. This month has been ladden with road trips to Saskatoon, Kelowna and Edmonton and I’m about to take off to Vancouver for a few days as of tomorrow.

While I do have a parrot, I do not have any children, nor do I attend university, but I do run the cooking program Start From Scratch, so that’s how the ‘back to school’ feeling creeps into my life.

If you haven’t heard of the program before, Start From Scratch is a free 10 week cooking course for post secondary students in Calgary (MRU, U of C or SAIT) and Saskatoon (U of S). We take 30 participants in Calgary each semester and 15 in Saskatoon.

Start From Scratch Calgary (Start From Scratch alumni getting ready for service in the kitchen with Chefs Paul McGreevy and Dilan Draper.)

Now in our fourth year, the program is still a ton of fun. Just this week, we had a pop-up dinner in collaboration with Test Kitchen YYC where we brought some of our awesome alumni participants into the restaurant space to help cook and serve a coursed dinner to a full dining room. Was it scary? Of course! But, we pulled it off!

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Swiss Chard Stem and Shallot ‘Salsa’

Swiss chard stems

Now that summer is at its peak, you’ll be hard-pressed to walk past a community garden or glance into someone’s backyard (not in a creepy way!) and not see this vegetable growing strong and tall. While the hearty green leaves are great in a variety of ways – steaming, sautéing, left raw and thinly sliced – the stems can throw people for a loop.

I spent the August long weekend in Kelowna with some friends. In exchange for a comfy bed to sleep in, my friend Kerry Bennett and I, cooked our awesome hosts a big dinner on the Friday night. We served up a big platter of barbecued chicken, which I topped off with this fresh-tasting ‘salsa’.

When chard stems are sliced thin they give a nice crunch and add a brightness, not to mention some nice colour if you are lucky enough to have a handful of the rainbow variety. Anyway, enough from me! Try whipping this up some time this week!

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