Monday, September 24, 2012

Restaurant Review - Yard & Flagon

I have a hard time letting go of summer and for that reason I'm grateful for the heated rooftop patio at the Yard & Flagon in Saskatoon. Get there before the snow flies! Read my review of the Yard & Flagon in the Star Phoenix.

Rooftop view of Broadway Avenue

Mediterranean Plate

Parmesan chicken BLT and a delicious bowl of soup.

The Yard in Saskatoon's Broadway district.

718 Broadway Ave.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Pillow Project

This summer I've been sewing pillows for the benches in my sun porch. I bought most of the pillow forms at the Sally Ann, as well as the embroidery. The fabric came from my stash.

I can't resist a cute embroidery, knowing how much work went into it, and thinking that someone (perhaps a family member) no longer values it. If I can buy it for 50 cents or $1, I'll give it a new home. 

I eat lunch and dinner out here most days. So, drop in for tea!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

La Vendange (that's French for the grape harvest)

I don't often get to harvest grapes in Saskatoon, but when the opportunity comes along, I'm there! I planned to make grape jelly, but I'm eating these fresh and loving them, despite the seeds. There might not be enough left for jelly!

Thanks to the fruit gleaning co-op Out of Your Tree, I learned about these grapes up for grabs. While I was picking, it occurred to me that there must be grapes all over Saskatoon -- vines planted for show and ornament that produce wonderful fruit -- that aren't being picked. Wouldn't it be great to pick all those grapes and make jars and jars of jelly?

Let no grape go to waste...

Monday, September 10, 2012

Restaurant Review - City Perks

What makes a great coffee shop? Good coffee, fresh scratch baking, natural light, free WiFi, comfy seats, friendly staff, bike rack, outdoor tables, smiles... I found that and more at City Perks Coffeehouse in my weekly restaurant review in the Star Phoenix.
The apple and Brie cheese quiche was good but the scratch-made vegetable soup was fabulous.

Pleasant outdoor seating under the elms.

801 7th Avenue N.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Saskatoon Chef's Tour - Stop #4

After lunch at Pine Vew Farms, the chefs were in need of some exercise. Well, not too much exercise. At Living Soil Farm, we jumped onto a tractor-pulled wagon for a tour of the fields.

The farmer, Steve Guenther, showed us his huge organic vegetable gardens, including the strawberry patch. Yeah, dessert!  

Steve primarily grows root vegetables such as these potatoes, but he's also got lentils and peas.
Steve grew up on this farm, which was a dairy operation until 2005. Now, Living Soils Farm sells its organic potatoes and other produce at the Saskatoon Farmers' Market. 

Last stop, the hemp fields. Hemp is related to marajuana but doesn't get you high. Even so, some of the chefs were rather excited to stroll through the hemp field. Must be nostalgia for the chefs' tour of 2012.

For the start of the chef's tour, click here.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Saskatoon Chef's Tour - Stop #3

After the touring the greenhouse at Floating Gardens and the apple orchard at Petrofka Bridge Orchard, the chefs were hungry. And lost. After a quick phone call, we found ourselves on the road to Pine View Farms for lunch.

Melanie Boldt met us in the farm store. She and her husband Kevin market livestock raised without hormones or regular antibiotics. Thus their motto "all natural meats."

Pine View Farms products include chicken, turkey, pork, beef, lamb, rabbit and duck. Chickens are raised on this farm while the other livestock are raised by neighbouring farmers who follow the "all natural" protocol.

The chefs cooked up a beautiful lunch on the patio with many Pine View Farms products on the grill and plenty of fresh vegetables from Floating Gardens.

The farm was started by Kevin's grandfather. This old barn is picturesque but no longer used for livestock. For locations where their products are sold, including the farm store, visit the Pine View Farms website.
Next stop: Living Soil Farm

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Saskatoon Chefs' Tour - Stop #2

After the bus left Floating Gardens, we made our way to the Petrofka Bridge Orchard overlooking the valley of the North Saskatchewan River.

Mike and Anne Noel grow dwarf apple varieties created at the University of Saskatchewan. Mike tells the chefs: "Prairie Sensation is the most beautiful apple."

 They started Petrofka Bridge Orchard from scratch 16 years ago. From 2,000 trees, they harvest 20-25,000 pounds of apples each year.
Apples are sold in the orchard store, along with apple cidre vinegar, apple juice and dried apple slices. The store also carries produce from neighbouring farms.

Just squeezed the night before. Anne fills a jug for each chef. It takes 7-8 pounds of apples to make enough juice to fill one jug.

Next stop: the chefs make lunch at Pine View Farms.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Saskatoon Chef's' Tour - Stop #1

I rode the bus to school for twelve years. And I haven't been on a school bus since, until I joined the recent chefs' tour of food producing localities north of Saskatoon. It was a cloudless sky and in the countryside, harvest was in full swing. First stop, the Floating Gardens greenhouse at Osler.

The greenhouse is heated with a wood-burning boiler but the internal systems -- temperature, humidity, CO2, light, etc. -- are regulated automatically by computer.

Plants grow in a substrate of coconut core and are watered by an automatic drip system. In these ideal conditions, vegetables grow 6-8 times faster than if they were in a regular garden.

The owners, Chris and Rachel Buhler, demonstrate how the floating gardens will work in the future. Water from fish tanks will fertilize plants in floating trays. The plan is to raise tilapia -- 400 fish per week -- primarily for the restaurant market.

They produce a tremendous amount of vegetables -- including edible flowers. Currently, they sell 40% directly to restaurants/stores and 60% at the Saskatoon Farmers' Market.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Restaurant Review - Lebanese Kitchen

The minute I walked in the door at Lebanese Kitchen, I felt at home. We were greeted with a big smile and great smells emanating from the kitchen. Read my newspaper review of the family run Lebanese Kitchen in Saskatoon.

Beef Shawarma -- marinated and flavourful.

Fatayer stuffed with potato and spinach/cheese.
A filling snack at just $2 each.

Falafel -- Just like travelling in the Middle East.
Well, maybe not the dill pickle.

Zatar Manaeesh (top) and Tabouli Salad.

Summertime dining outside the Lebanese Kitchen at 1206 Emerson Ave.