Monday, December 21, 2009

Blog Update

I just wanted to let everyone know that I will no longer be posting blogs on this site as the RSS feed does not go through. My new blog address is, which still features the same content.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Happy Holiday's!

Merry Christmas and happy holiday's everyone! I'll be back in the new year with more dining delights and disasters.


Friday, December 11, 2009

'Tis the season to indulge

It's that time of year again, the time when holiday snacking is always warranted. Here are my top five favourite holiday snacks.

5. Red Rose Tea and a box of Lindt chocolates. The perfect snack for any student on a budget. Have some friends over, crack open the chocolates and let the smooth fudginess melt in your mouth with a much needed gab session.

4. Any pastry from The Frenchway (on Academy). If you can't get away this holiday season, The Frenchway is the place for you --dining in there feels like you're in Paris or Montreal.

3. 529 Wellington's maple creme brulee ($8). The best part is 529's creme brulee has a gingersnap stuck right in the middle of the dish so if you're sharing nobody will touch your half.

2. A caramel macchiato...and don't forget the whipped cream! It's warm, sweet and sinful --the perfect snack to stop for while Christmas shopping.

1. Baked Expectations' Tia Maria Torte ($7). Loads of whipped cream and cookies soaked in liqueur --need I say more?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Is Fazzo flipping fantastic?

Tired of the same old breakfast menu?

Try Fazzo. The bistro now serves Saturday and Sunday brunch from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

From the simplistic two egg combo ($6), to more authentic Italian style dishes like eggs pomodoro (two poached eggs on top a smooth and moist potato pancake with spicy marinara sauce and Italian sausage, $11), to adventurous ingredients like pork belly, Fazzo’s brunch menu is fresh, new and innovative.

I recommend the filling Fazzo frittata, an open face omelette stuffed with a blend of rich cheeses and topped with a creamy rose sauce ($9).

For any non-breakfast lovers, Fazzo has sandwich items on its brunch menu like grilled cheese with ham and asparagus ($12), a breakfast burrito (two eggs with avocado and tomatoes in a wrap, $10), a grilled chicken sandwich (spicy chicken thighs with lettuce, tomato, onion and garlic aioli on a ciabatta bun, $11), and a denver ($9).

The denver was different from others I’ve had because rather than ham, Fazzo’s denver contained porchetta, a fattier ham stuffed with herbs. It is also uniquely dressed with a sweet roasted garlic aioli. The sandwich was tasty at first but lost its appeal throughout as it became too sweet and creamy.

The menu also features quick breakfasts’ like yogurt parfaits, fresh pastries and fruit smoothies that average $5.

The fruit smoothie is the most expensive quick breakfast item and beverage on the menu ($6 regular, $8 if you add Whey protein), but was not worth the price. The taste of plain yogurt dominated the beverage creating a disappointing un-sweet and un-fruity surprise.

The best part about having brunch at Fazzo is their warm and relaxing yet uncluttered environment. Fazzo has long, deep and sprawling tables making your visit seem private. The contemporary design has warm neutral colours creating a cozy clean feel as opposed to some places that have crisp white colours that make you feel like you’re in an over lit testing lab.

And although Fazzo was virtually at maximum capacity both times I was there, I felt like I was the only person in the room.

Their problem? The service.

If you plan to go, plan to wait. It took at least 10 minutes for our beverages to arrive, 15 minutes for our breakfast order to be taken, and then the server disappeared for over half an hour once we received our meals, even though we had no condiments on our table and we were in dire need of beverage refills.

Lack of attention is definitely a problem and became just as clear when the same thing happened again on my second visit.

Now don’t get me wrong, the servers were nice and were helpful in that they could offer recommendations and clarification on some of the rarer menu ingredients. But they weren’t there to entertain, so bring a good friend because you won’t have their company.

Nevertheless, I would recommend Fazzo’s brunch to others. The menu is exciting. The ingredients are fresh. The environment is relaxing. And the prices are affordable ranging between $10-15.

It’s the service that brings down the overall quality of the upscale restaurant.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I took the plunge

The neatly stapled hand out was passed around. The pressure was on. I gripped my seat, leaned over my keyboard, peered down at the alphabetical buttons glaring up at me. It was like I was deciding to jump off a cliff. Would I click enter and take the plunge?

I had to. And so I clicked.

It’s official –I am now a Tweeter. Shudder.

I don’t know why I’m so reluctant to join these sites, but for some reason they freak me out. I felt the same way about joining Facebook and (cringe) MySpace, although I no longer use the latter, and in fact I didn’t even sign up for either one of them myself. A friend did it for me, forcing me to submerge myself into our modern world where people are pressured to publicly open themselves up to a world of strangers.

I later felt the same way when I was instructed to start a blog…and now it’s Twitter.

But now that I have all of them, is it really so bad?

Not really. Just time consuming and problematic when you have a journalism assignment due the next day at 8:00 a.m. and all you can think about is a new blog idea or who may have just sent you a Facebook message and now I’ll be thinking what’s going down in the world of Tweets. They’re actually all exciting resources and fun ways to get to know others and shout out your own opinions. Not to mention they’re extremely critical resources for future communicators like myself because you get to show off what you can do.

So ultimately I am excited to have been instructed to join Twitter. Just like I was secretly excited a friend had created a Facebook page for me. And just like I was secretly excited I would have to create a blog.

So if I enjoy blogging and Facebook messaging and tweeting then why am I so reluctant to admit that I enjoy doing these things? Why is it that I sometimes hate our world of instant messaging? Why do I cringe at the very thought? I have nothing to lose, right?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Salt! Salt! Salt!

Recently I went to Boston Pizza for diner before attending the Manitoba Moose’s Skills Competition. It was tasty –your typical greasy-yet-so-delicious pizza accompanied with a crisp and refreshing glass of chardonnay. However, I noticed how salty the food was.

And yes you’re probably thinking: what’s with this crazy girl always harping on salt in restaurant food in her blogs. But, honestly, the weird obsession started after I read that Globe and Mail article this past summer on how Canadian’s (and American’s) consume far to much sodium.


So I decided to do my own investigation on how much sodium Canadians are consuming and on how much sodium is in Boston Pizza’s menu items. The results are shocking!

Persons aged 9-50 years-old are supposed to get 1,500 mg of sodium/day. However, a Statistics Canada study from 2004 reveals males consume more sodium than females and they get an average of 4,000 mg/day! (The study did not specify how much sodium females take in.)

That’s practically double the amount! (If I got the math wrong, bear with me I’m a CreComm student.)

According to Statistics Canada, too much sodium in a person’s diet leads to hypertension (also known as high blood pressure). Hypertension causes strokes, heart attacks, heart failure, arterial aneurysms, and chronic renal failure.

The problem I figure: eating out, especially if you’re eating at Boston Pizza.

After digging through Boston Pizza’s online nutritional guide (which is nice of them to have), I quickly discovered just how unhealthy its menu is. For example, a starter size Caesar salad has 370 mg of sodium (the regular size if 740 mg). A starter size of breaded chicken wings –1,510 mg, so considering just about everything contains sodium, I guess that’s your meal for the day. One slice of their famous spicy perogie pizza contains 360 mg of sodium. And if you want dessert too –that’ll cost you another 300 mg of sodium.

So let’s say you start with a Caesar salad, have three pieces of pizza and dessert. That amounts to 1,750 mg of sodium –in one meal!

The most shocking menu item in terms of the amount of sodium it has is the jambalaya fettuccini. Its ingredients include a pomodoro sauce, vegetables, chicken, shrimp, and Italian sausage and has 3,460 mg of sodium. Now that’s crazy. On average, however, the pasta’s contained roughly 2,000 mg of sodium/dish.

Now, I should clarify before things get too far, I’m not trying to fear monger, rather I want to raise awareness on the issue. I think many of us worry more about the amount of calories or sugar an item contains than the amount of salt. Why would we, it seems harmless. That’s what I thought too, until I read the Globe and Mail feature.

So I just want people to think about it. I think it’s fair to say that when eating at home salt intake isn’t a large issue because you’re conscious of how much you’re actually putting into your food (unless of course you eat a lot of pre-packaged foods or foods with preservatives). But when eating out we don’t really think about it. And many people dine out a lot. And yes, buying your lunch from the snack kiosk counts.

I’m also not trying to detour you from going to Boston Pizza. I chose the place as a guinea pig for my blog simply because I was there the other day and I noticed the saltiness. I too love going out for some unhealthy grub every once in a while. And I certainly can’t resist a few slices of BP’s perogie pizza. But I’m also very conscious of the fact that I’m eating unhealthy food.

Do you think about it? If you don’t, try being more aware. Reflect on your recent food choices. Were they prepared at home? From scratch? Could you be making some changes to your diet? Should you be worried? How can you begin making those changes?

Now take action.

My advice: buy a cook book that focuses on low sodium intake. Eat fewer pre-packaged foods and foods without preservatives. And/or bring your own lunch to work or school. But at the same time, break the rules. Indulge every once in a while. Just be aware!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Just say hello!

(Photo found on by Bryan Scott)

I was sitting inside the Princess Street Grill observing my environment as I waited on a friend to meet me for lunch. The diner wasn't clean. It smelled like old grease. My table wobbled. The menu's were greasy and crinkled. And yet I was comfortable. I felt safe and welcomed.

Perhaps it was because everyone around me was happy. The restaurant was filled with young families and a few business crews who were out for lunch. Everyone was laughing.

As people walked into the restaurant the busy servers would turn around and cheerfully shout from whichever table they were taking an order from at the time: Hello! Now I know what you're thinking: Hello? Who cares.

It's a big deal.

How many upscale restaurants have you gone to where you are paying large sums of money for quality food and service and upon your entrance, you stand and wait at the door because the sign says 'Please Wait to be Seated' and there's not a host in sight? And in those moments I can always feel the hatred from the busy servers as they glare at me over their shoulder while running yet another tray of dishes to the kitchen. To me the glare always suggested a cold: "I know". Why not just say hello?

One word, that's all it takes and instantly the customer feels welcomed.

So as I sat there thinking and obersving, I realized how often the friendliest service at restaurants comes from the laid back ones, not the upscale. You know the ones who have servers that are being paid large amounts of tip money for their 'friendly service'.