Saturday, November 28, 2009

bulk barn - edmonton, ab

bulk barn
2077 98 Street

Where do I even begin. With the store finally opening it's doors in South Edmonton Common, I made my way over with Sarah to check things out. The store was fairly busy when we arrived, and is structured in sections. Candy occupying a major portion of the middle, with baking needs (flours, nuts, chocolate) to the left and savory items (soup mixes, spices, pasta) to the right.

Of course, and maybe unfortunately, Bulk Barn isn't the size of a barn. So it's fairly easy to navigate your way through. Just try and stay focused, I dare you. Seriously, every time I saw something interesting or intriguing, BAM! something else comes at you. I think there ended up being a lot of banter between Sarah and I (Come see this/Whoa, did you know they sold this) during our entire visit. Besides that, I can think of a few containers I would like to drown myself in.

I ended up taking a lot of pictures, so I've scaled the quality down and will now proceed with a sampling of whats available. And lets start with the candy...
Chocolate covered sunflower seeds and blueberries! Who knew
Does your boss have a mint dish..this is mint mania!
Jawbreakers you probably can't fit in your mouth..or at least comfortably.
They also sell a lot of pinatas, from Sponge Bob to NHL. There is of course plenty other bins of candy (broken chocolate bars, m&m's, sour candies, ju jubes, bark, suckers etc)but I'm not a sweets guy. More important in my mind is the baking section.
Flour of every kind, from all purpose to coconut to buckwheat and two types of whole wheat.
But wait everyone. There is more. How about fixing yourself up with some gluten free goodies. Soy flour, arrowroot..Check.
With an amazing selection of flours. Does it come as any surprise they also offer a cornucopia of sugars. I was in mini baking heaven.
You are also going to find yourself a collection of grains.
Heck, even if you aren't into scratch baking there is something for you. From pie crust to cookie dough mixes. Pancakes to cornbread. Even two types of bran muffin mix
One of the best surprises, was this.
A corn syrup machine (next to the honey). Who knew!
And speaking of honey, it goes swimmingly with nut butters! Smooth, crunchy, you name it.
Plenty of dried fruit. In fact, probably every kind of dried fruit. An assortment of raisins from around the globe. Dates, Figs, Pineapples, Peaches, Pears, Apples and candied fruit/peel.
What about nuts? You better believe they have a huge selection. Salted, roasted, slivered, diced..There is a good selection of beans as well.
And party snacks. I didn't even know you could (or would) buy bulks chips.
There are bins with regular, whole wheat and gluten free pasta.
Coffee and tea anyone!
They also carry a huge supply of spices, rubs, and seasonings. But really, the best part might just be the huge array of sprinkles!
And by now your arms are probably full, but don't forget about your pets. Dog, cat, heck even bird treats!
So what do you think. Did you enjoy the show? Have you been? Do you shop bulk? Are these good savings? So many questions I know, but do let me know when you go.

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

the greenhouse - edmonton, ab

the greenhouse
8623 112 Street

Meeting up with Sarah recently for lunch, had us visiting the Greenhouse. Billed as a gourmet salad experience, this newish restaurant is located right in the University area and shares its space with a Good Earth location.

The space is very welcoming, with the entire process available for your viewing pleasure.

Due to the time, and a different eating schedule, I'd already eaten my lunch and took advantage of the coffee offerings from Good Earth. Sarah on the other hand had a look through the handy menu and decided on a soup/salad combo. Choosing bocconcini classico for her salad, she then selected the jerk beef stew to complete the meal.

The presentation was nice, and a small sampling of the salad left me happy. There was a good balance of ingredients, with the balsamic complimenting the package nicely. Really, the best part was probably the chicken. Not dried out at all, the breast was juicy and tasted exactly like it should off a grill.

What threw me was the soup option though. Billed as a stew, it didn't fit the bill. I think it would be stretching it to even label it as 'stoup'. Either way, the soup base was flavourful, and the peppers were a nice touch. The main issue was the fattiness. Maybe this is where the 80/20 mentality they talk about comes into play, but the lingering fat, both in the soup and on the beef, could have been reduced.

At the end of the day, this sampling did it's job, in that it's enticing me to go back. With a selection of proteins, and a few delicious sounding combination's, it almost goes without saying that the Greenhouse was doing steady university business during our visit. Now if only the parking lot attached didn't cost a small fortune for the hour, and I could find a white belt...

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I suppose I should say that the pictures after the jump aren't that appetizing. So if you are, in any way, easily put off, then maybe wait for another post or go look at pictures of pretty unicorns. If you are however curious, let me show the the way.

Balut isn't going top be everyone's cup of tea; I realize this. In fact it isn't a cup of tea at all. Very simply, it's an egg; as you can see from the pictures. What makes this egg different from your regular store bought egg is the nearly developed embryo inside. The duck, or chicken egg, is allowed to age for a few weeks, the ideal age I've read is around 17 days, after which the egg is boiled.

Pulling the shell leaves you with quite the sight.

I've been on the lookout for balut for some time now. Now, I'm not exactly calling around everyday, but I do ask when I'm out and about. Walking by a Filipino grocery store today, I decided to ask. To my surprise, there was balut to be had. Asking if I would like my balut cooked, or uncooked, I opted for one that was already cooked. With this being my first experience, I wasn't going to get involved with boiling it correctly..because if I had to wait too long, I might drop the idea all together. The shop owner was more than happy to sell me the egg, but wanted to know if I recently watched the balut episode of Fear Factor. Saying no, I did my best to explain that the foodie in me was dying to try it. I don't know if she understood my desire, but she did ask me to come back and tell her how it was.

The shop owner mentioned I may want to sit the egg in warm water for a few minutes so it can warm up, but once again, not wanting to give up, I dug right in. The shell seemed a bit harder to crack than a normal egg, but it could have been my passive aggressive banging. See I didn't really know what I would see, and didn't want to somehow wreck the interior. Eventually I had the shell completely off, and took a pause. By no means is balut visually appealing. Or for that matter gross; it's just not what you expect. Slicing the egg open is really where the 'oh' factor comes in. I probably should have peeled apart the pieces, instead of slicing through the embryo..but hey; live and learn right! So how was it. Interesting. With a mix of soft and crunchy bits, and everything in between, it makes for an interesting snack. Combined with a familiar, but unfamiliar egg test, I can see why many people would pass on the dish.

I actually didn't mind the egg. The texture of certain sections, was easily the worst part. The crunch of a beak, or the mental imagine of hair does strange things to the belly. I imagine a fresh, warm egg could have a stronger flavour, something the cooler temperature in which the egg was stored may have robbed, and that every egg would be slightly different (just like people and snowflakes). So it's almost hard to judge the entire balut experience based on this first attempt. And, although I'm almost curious to go back and compare...I may not be running back to the store in a hurry.

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