Monday, May 20, 2019

A Long Weekend Away

On Thursday we flew to Edmonton for a long-weekend getaway.  It's such a quick flight, so it's a nice place to go for a short four-night stay.

We stayed in the West Edmonton Mall, at the Fantasyland Hotel, which is so convenient, especially since we weren't driving.

After checking in we went for dinner to The Old Spaghetti Factory.  This place isn't great, but we were feeling like pasta, and it hit the spot.

After sharing a cinnamon bun on Friday morning, we went to spend a good part of the day at the World Waterpark.  My sister, Riley, and their kids were all there too, so we did some water sliding with them, and had a fun time splashing around in the wave pool.  Christopher and I are just like kids again when we get in a wave pool - so fun!

That evening we went out to Biera for dinner.  This restaurant came in at #32 of Canada's 100 Best Restaurants, and we were really, really impressed.

The dishes are meant to be shared.  We ordered four of them, including the endive with pear, and a pistachio crema:

Chicken with cabbage:

Risotto, which was absolutely outstanding.  Instead of rice, they use sunflower seeds, and we were pleasantly surprised by how delicious this was; I'd order it again for sure.

And, finally the nuggets, which are chunks of fried sourdough bread, with a cheese/beer dip that is incredible.  This is another one we're going to have to go back for.

Oh yeah, and we had some crunchy malt too:

After dinner we had tickets to a concert (an industrial metal band), and we had a blast dancing at the show.

On Saturday we ate a strange breakfast of food court poutine and pho.

This fueled us for a day of walking.  We took an Uber to the Strathcona Farmer's market, and spent some time looking around there.  This beer cheese was a standout for us:

And we also liked this waffle/shortbread cookie hybrid:

After visiting the farmer's market, we walked and shopped down Whyte Avenue, and then kept walking all the way to Jasper Avenue.  

In the evening we went to Guru for dinner.

The cauliflower appetizer was great:

And we loved the butter chicken, coconut naan, saffron rice, and spinach cheese kofta.


The leftovers were even better as a late night snack.

On the topic of late night snacks, check these out:

Vegetarian chicharron = yummmmmmm!

Sunday was spent in the West Edmonton Mall.  We ate a crepe:

And a poke bowl:

We shopped a bit, and also tried one of the coolest things ever at The Void in The Rec Room.

It's a hyper-reality experience, complete with sight, sound, touch, smell, and motion.  We just put on vests and a headset, and the next thing we knew, we were moving through an incredibly realistic world, feeling, smelling, and interacting with the environment and the things within it.  It's something you have to try for yourself; we loved it!

We also tried the 9D virtual reality pods, but they were no where near as cool as The Void.


On Sunday evening Christopher's aunt Dolores picked us up, and took us out to Louisiana Purchase for a Cajun dinner.

We shared some oysters to start:

And then I had the delicious fried chicken dinner; the buttermilk mashed potatoes were perfect.

It was nice to catch up with Dolores, as it had been four years since we saw her last.

This morning we enjoyed breakfast at Jungle Jim's.

And lunch was a perogy pizza in the airport.

Now we're back home, and looking forward to the week ahead.

How was your weekend?  Was it a long weekend for you?

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Mothers' Day

We had an early mothers' day visit with my mom the weekend before mothers' day, and it was really nice.  On Sunday we had Christopher's parents over to celebrate with them.

In the morning I made pie, and then got beans in the oven.

It was nice enough to sit outside, so when they arrived we snacked a bit in the backyard.

The appetizer was grilled melon wrapped with endive and prosciutto.

Christopher grilled up jerk chicken and Greek ribs, and then we moved inside to eat.

On the side we had smoked cheddar mac and cheese, bourbon baked beans, and mango salad.

My plate:

Dessert was key lime pie:

It was so wonderful to be outside enjoying the gorgeous weather, and this week has been beautiful too.  We're looking forward to eating many more snacks and meals in the yard in the coming months.

Have you eaten outside yet?  Grilled?  How's your week going so far?

Monday, May 13, 2019

Dinner at my Sister's House

On Saturday evening my sister and Riley had Christopher and I over for dinner.  They made a delicious spread, and we had a great time catching up and seeing our youngest nephew.

When we arrived we snacked on an artichoke dip, that I totally need to get the recipe for; it was garlicky, cheesy, and really hit the spot.

Next they served a beer cheese soup - mmm!

The main course was jerk chicken, coconut rice, and a mango salad.  I loooooved the mango salad, and made sure to leave with the recipe for that (it's just mango, fresh lime juice, red onion, and cilantro).  It paired so well with the spicy chicken.

Dessert was a strawberry, cheese-cakey, pretzel, type dish that we all really enjoyed.

We goofed around in the living room for a while, laughing at what my sister and I would look like as men, hahaha!  That Snapchat filter is so creepy! 

Tonight we're having leftovers from the mother's day dinner we made yesterday (more on that later), and watching Master Chef CanadaChristopher's friend from high school is on it, and is doing so well!  There are only about 5 or 6 people left, and we're rooting for Josh each week.

How was your weekend?  What did you do?
Did you celebrate mother's day?

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

The Last of Chiang Mai - The Food!

We ate dinner at Italics, which was in the lower level of our hotel, a couple of times while in Chiang Mai.  One night Christopher had the tuna tartare:

And I had khao soi.

Another evening we ordered the pizza (you can pick four kinds, and they'll do a quarter of the pizza in each of your choices), and the lasagna to share, with bruschetta as a starter.


Everything was excellent!

A different day we shared the mango sticky rice for dessert:

Mango sticky rice is a very popular dessert in Chiang Mai, and it's super addictive. You can find it on the menu at most restaurants, and we made sure to get our fill.

We did a lot of walking on this trip, and stumbled upon many ice cream shops.

Durian ice cream!  (It's not great).

On Cloud Nine:

Janie Scoop:

Frozen yogurt from the mall:

This was one of the better walking cities we've been in, if not the best.  No matter where we were in the city, there was always somewhere to stop in for a coffee or a treat to rest our feet, and there was always something beautiful to see.

The streets are really narrow, there are no sidewalks in most areas, and the traffic is crazy, so you have to watch where you are going, but we got used to it quickly.

When we weren't on foot, we mostly used Grab.  I've never used Uber, but I am thinking Grab is similar.  We just got the app. and then entered where we wanted to go, and in under a minute the car would pull up to get us.  They dropped us off at our destination, and none of our rides were more than $4 CAD, even if we drove for 20 minutes.  Nearly everywhere we went had free WiFi, so we were always able to use that to book our next ride.

We also took one tuktuk, and a few rides in the songthaews, although Grab was a cheaper, safer, and more convenient option.  I'm super thankful that one of the hotel employees told us about this app. as it was so useful!

Songthaews (these ride share trucks are everywhere)
We spent an afternoon wandering one of the malls, and ate lunch there.

One evening we went to a Korean restaurant for dinner.

We had a fabulous late-night green curry at Warm Up Cafe, while checking out the band.

We saw a couple of live bands on this vacation; there seems to be a big music scene in Chiang Mai.

Daddy's Antique Cafe was a lovely, charming little place, and it also had excellent chicken wings and house-made pasta (the pasta picture died with my phone).

We snacked on stuffed jalapenos at Rustic and Blue:

Cheesy fries with beet mayo at some over-priced pub:

And all sorts of new and exciting flavours of snacks from good old 7-Eleven.  They have so many 7-Elevens in Chiang Mai; it feels like they are on every corner.

The larb seaweed was really tasty:

But these lemon chips were horrible!  They tasted like Vicks lemon cough drops.  Good in cough drop form, horrendous in chip form.

We were pretty sad to leave Chiang Mai, but we will definitely go back.

Fortunately there was delicious ramen in the Taipei airport, so that helped to make our very, very, long journey home not so rough.

Do you have any spring/summer travel plans?  
Camping?  Road trip?  Somewhere far?