Tuesday, May 27, 2014


Social media is a wonderful resource. Without it I probably wouldn't have discovered some of the food places I've visited. That's when I came across the page for Popbar Canada on Instagram (@popbarcanada). They made a post saying their first Canada location at West Edmonton Mall would be having their grand opening celebration on May 8, so I knew I needed to take a trip to the mall soon. I made several plans with CJ to go to West Ed over the next few weeks after the 8th, but each plan didn't end up following through. Last Thursday, however, he surprised me by saying we'd finally be able to go to the mall and try out Popbar for the first time. 

Popbar (www.pop-bar.com) offers handcrafted gelato or sorbetto on a stick, made with all natural ingredients. Specifically, Popbar sells popGelato, popSorbetto, or yogurtPops - a yogurt based treat. Each treat is customizable, which makes it exciting for both the young and old. The Popbars can be dipped in a variety of chocolate and also topped with different "poppings" (aka, toppings). 

Popbar is situated on the second floor of West Edmonton Mall near the Ice Palace skating rink. It's the first thing you see coming up from the escalators in that area. Definitely a very good location since many people pass by the place. When CJ and I arrived, there were only a few people in line and a lot of curious mall goers taking a peek at WEM's newest addition. 

An assortment of Popbars.

There were so many different flavours to choose from... I couldn't decide! CJ asked one of the staff for their recommendation and he responded by asking us if we wanted something creamy or fruity. Let's go with something fruity. He told us that while all of them tasted good, the Strawberry popSorbetto was one of the most popular. He also said that taking a bite into the fruity Popbars was like taking a bite into the actual fruit. Mmmm... it already sounds very delicious. I decided to get the Strawberry popSorbetto while CJ got Watermelon. 

The next step would be customizing our Popbars. Right next to the Popbar display were containers of chocolate used for dippings. There was dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate and mint chocolate. I'm pretty sure there was another dipping next to the mint chocolate, but I don't remember. You can choose to get your Popbar with a "half dip" of chocolate or a "full dip" (or no dipping at all). Beside the dippings were the poppings, which consisted of an assortment of nuts, coconut, and chocolate sprinkles. 

I decided to get my Popbar with a half dip of mint chocolate with chocolate sprinkle poppings. I customized CJ's Popbar as well and got him a half dip of milk chocolate with chocolate sprinkle poppings. Strawberry and mint chocolate is an odd combo, but I love mint chocolate too much to care. I guess a Strawberry popSorbetto bar with a dark chocolate or milk chocolate dipping would have been a more typical choice. CJ paid just a little over $10 for both our Popbars. 

My Popbar (left) and CJ's (right).

The first bite of my Popbar: awesome! I absolutely loved the taste of my mint chocolate dipping with the Strawberry treat. I don't think the Strawberry popSorbetto itself tasted exactly like the actual strawberry fruit, but it was close enough. I loved each and every bite of this treat! I tried CJ's popbar as well... and it tasted exactly like the actual watermelon fruit! I had only one bite of his Popbar but that bite alone was very tasty and refreshing. I think I'm going to get Watermelon for next time!

Popbar is great if you want something cold and delicious after doing some shopping at the mall. I love that these Popbars are made fresh daily at the store so that everyone can see. All the Popbars made are gluten free, which is an awesome bonus. The popSorbettos (the fruity varieties) are lactose free and vegan friendly, which means that pretty much anyone can enjoy these treats! 

Strawberry popSorbetto with mint chocolate dipping and chocolate sprinkle popping.

I can't wait to go back to West Ed so I can have another one of these delicious treats. I'm going to try Watermelon next time, and I'll eventually want to try one of their popGelatos. The fact that these treats are on a stick make it very easy to eat and carry around the mall. Thank you CJ for finally taking me here!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Sushi Sugoi

Now that it's summer, you think seeing other people becomes easier to do. Not for CJ and I. He gets pretty busy with work and some other things, so that's why I cherish every moment we get to hang out together. He picked me up on Tuesday so that we could have lunch together. He was initially planning on eating somewhere in South Edmonton Common, but we ended up going to Sushi Sugoi (www.sushisugoi.com) instead. Sushi Sugoi is a Japanese restaurant located on Calgary Trail (not too far from South Common). I've been wanting to try this place out for awhile now, but I've never really had the chance to do so. It's a bit difficult to get here by bus, so the only real option is to drive or walk if you live within the area. 

When I walked in through the doors, I immediately knew that Sushi Sugoi was a modern-style Japanese restaurant. I really loved the texture on the walls - I thought it looked very refined and unique. There were also a lot of large, oversized windows in the right section of the restaurant which provided good lighting for the darker accents inside. The restaurant was also very spacious, which is always a bonus. 

We were seated at a booth close to the sushi bar on the left side of the restaurant. Unfortunately, there weren't any windows around us so the lighting in general was pretty dim. Not really good if you like to take pictures of your food (or any kind of pictures for that matter). 

My view from where I was sitting.

I decided to get a Golden dragon roll ($14), one of their Special Rolls. "Seasoned salmon" and "Deep fried" in the description were the selling points for me. CJ chose the Hardcore roll and Teriyaki chicken with rice. We ordered a Magma roll as well. 

The menu.

Our server returned a few minutes after taking our order. She told us that they couldn't make the Golden dragon roll! Doesn't it suck when you're unable to get your first choice? I asked for the menu again and she apologized several times. It's okay, it happens. She suggested to get the Crazy roll, another one of their Special rolls that was also deep fried. I decided to go with her suggestion and got the Crazy roll as my second choice. 

CJ's Teriyaki chicken, Hardcore roll and the Magma roll arrived in a consecutive fashion at our table. I sampled some of his Teriyaki chicken since my food hadn't come yet. 

Teriyaki chicken with rice.

The Teriyaki chicken lunch ($11) came with sautéed vegetables with a nice amount of teriyaki sauce served with rice. I thought it tasted good, but considering the fact that CJ orders this dish at EVERY Japanese restaurant we go to, it was nothing special. I did appreciate the portion size of the dish though. Not too big, not too small.

The next dish I tried was the Hardcore roll ($16). This roll features spicy tuna, spicy seasoned salmon, Thai chili, cucumber, tobiko, hot sauce and shichimi, and a soy bean wrapper. You can tell from the description that this roll would be packed with a lot of spice and heat. CJ loves spicy food, so it's no wonder that he picked this roll out of everything else on the menu. 

The Hardcore roll.

I loved the way this roll was presented. It indeed looked very fiery. I tried one roll and it definitely had the spice that was promised in the description. Instead of a powerful punch of heat in the first bite, this roll had a nice heat that built up with every bite. Not too spicy, but just enough so that I had to reach for my glass of water afterwards. 

The Magma roll was next in the line up. After all these dishes had come out, my Crazy roll was still nowhere to be found. I think it was this delay and waiting on my own food that prevented me from trying more of the dishes CJ picked. 

The Magma roll.

The Magma roll ($17) looked just as beautiful as the Hardcore roll. Another one of Sushi Sugoi's Special rolls, the Magma roll consists of deep fried eel, avocado, cucumber, pickled ginger, tempura crunch, unagi sauce and hot sauce. I really enjoyed the crunchiness of the tempura surrounding the roll, as well as the mild heat from the hot sauce. I thought this dish was just okay. It was nothing memorable for me. I guess if I had more than one roll, I would have liked it a little better. 

My Crazy roll finally came out! I definitely thought it arrived late, considering that the Magma roll was already halfway done at this point. The Crazy roll ($14) is a deep fried roll that has spicy tuna, cucumber roll bread with panko, mango sauce, tonkatsu sauce and hot sauce. I've had spicy tuna before, so I thought the taste of this roll would be somewhat familiar to me. 

The Crazy roll.

My first impression of the roll: its overall appearance wasn't very pretty. It kind of reminded me of chicken cordon bleu... and I don't think that's a good thing. The roll was also topped with bonito flakes, something I've never had before. I tried one roll, complete with the flaky topping. I did not like my first bite at all. I thought the deep fried layer was too thick and very chewy. I was actually expecting the roll to have a thinner fried layer. Since I take small bites, I had to chew through that layer in order to reach the middle of the roll. I did not like the flakes which had a slight onion taste to it either. While the spicy tuna alone tasted delicious, the roll overall was very unpleasant. This makes me wonder if the Golden dragon roll which I initially wanted would have tasted any better, considering that it was also a deep fried roll. I was definitely not crazy about the Crazy roll. 

"Sugoi" is Japanese for "awesome" in English, but unfortunately the food I had ordered was far from awesome. CJ's food (especially the Hardcore roll) was great, so I'm a bit disappointed that I didn't get the same experience as he did. One of the only positives worth mentioning was our server. She was very friendly and was able to answer our questions and give us descriptions of the other rolls on the menu. Apart from that, I think the food I got took away from the lunch date. I was expecting amazing food considering how pricey each item was, but that wasn't the case. If I ever do return here, I plan on avoiding any of the deep fried rolls. Hopefully next time I'll have a more positive experience. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Frickin' Delights Donuts

Two Fridays ago, I attended the debut of one of my closest friends. A debut is a grand coming-of-age birthday celebration in the Philippines for girls turning 18 years old. While debuts are very exciting (I had an unforgettable night!), they can also last for many hours. With that being said, I was looking to do something relaxing and low key the next day. I decided I wanted to take a trip to the Old Strathcona Farmers' Market (OSFM) - I knew Frickin' Delights Donuts (www.frickindelights.comwould be at the market that Saturday, so I definitely did not want to miss my chance to satisfy my craving for their donuts. 

The Old Strathcona Farmers' Market (osfm.ca) is located in the heart of the Old Strathcona district in Edmonton. It is just north of Whyte Ave (82 Ave), one of the city's most popular places to visit. I've only ever gone to OSFM once before, so this trip would be my second time going there. It is definitely an awesome place to check out. I still consider myself to be a "newbie" market-goer though, so I am yet to learn about making the most of my future trips there. I find farmers' market "culture" to be quite fascinating - the vendors, their products, the food, and the hustle and bustle inside the entire building is great. Every shopper seems to have an appreciation for the Alberta-produced products and the need to support the city's local vendors. The Market runs every Saturday from 8 am to 3 pm and also offers free parking. I really wish I had the opportunity to visit OSFM more often! 

I picked up CJ around 11:30 am, so we didn't get there until a little after noon. My advice: arrive early! You'll be able to take advantage of the free parking that is conveniently across the street from the Market, and you'll also have a greater selection of products to buy. 

Taken during my first visit to the Market.

I immediately made a beeline to Row 6, where the table for Frickin' Delights Donuts was located. I was blown away by the fact that there was only about 5 or 6 packs of the assorted donuts left! If we had arrived any later, I probably would have missed out on the donuts altogether! I decided to buy not one, but TWO full packs of the assorted donuts. One pack would be for CJ and I, and the other for my family. Each full pack cost $10, so I paid a grand total of $20. For 7 unique and delicious donuts, $10 is a very reasonable price. There are also the 3 pack chocolate and vanilla varieties, which cost $5 per pack. 

A full pack of donuts, 7 for $10.

Before I describe the flavours of the donuts I had, I want to talk about Frickin' Delights Donuts some more. Frickin' Delights Donuts is a vegan donut company owned by a lovely lady named Mandy. Despite the fact that I've gone to the Market twice now to buy her donuts, I am too shy to introduce myself to her! I would really love to have a conversation with her. I can tell that she puts her heart into every donut she makes, and that she is truly passionate about her work. I follow her Instagram page, and I love seeing her posts about her amazing donuts. 

Now let's talk about donuts. Frickin' Delights Donuts are vegan donuts, which means they do not contain any animal products. Some of the donuts contain nuts, so that's something to watch out for if you have allergies. Three of the donuts in the full pack have a chocolate cake base, while another three have a vanilla cake base. The seventh donut in the pack is the Gourmet Donut, which is different each time they are at the Market. Frickin' Delights are at OSFM every second week. 

All 7 donuts from the assorted full pack.

The Gourmet Donut for that week was the Vanilla Lemon Raspberry. It was a lemon cake donut containing organic raspberry jam, topped with a vanilla bean glaze. It was nice and light, and I could definitely taste the raspberry jam inside the donut. The chocolate varieties were Raspberry, Peanut Butter Fudge, and Mayan Chocolate. I love that Frickin' Delights uses real fruit - it made the Chocolate Raspberry (named Raspberry Dreams on the website) taste so much better. I've always loved the combination of chocolate and raspberries, so the Chocolate Raspberry is one of my favourites. The Mayan Chocolate donut was quite interesting for me. While it had a beautiful, rich chocolate taste, there was just a perfect amount of heat and spice from the addition of red chillies and cinnamon. The last chocolate donut was mine and CJ's favourite in the bunch - the Peanut Butter Fudge. I enjoyed the combination of the peanut butter glaze and the chocolate cake base, as well as the extra crunch from the bits of peanut on top. After eating every last crumb of this donut, I immediately wanted more. 

The vanilla varieties were just as tasty as the chocolate ones. The vanilla flavours included Blueberry, Earl Grey Latte, and Strawberry Rhubarb. I loved the balance between the blueberry glaze and the vanilla base in the Vanilla Blueberry donut (named the Big Blue on the website). The Earl Grey Latte was another personal favourite. I don't usually drink earl grey tea, but the earl grey taste on the donut is awesome. Finally, the Strawberry Rhubarb donut had a nice, sweet tasting glaze on it. However, since I've never really tasted rhubarb before, I couldn't really distinguish it from the strawberries in the glaze. The donut is very refreshing nonetheless. 

Yes, I arranged the donuts on a tiny coffee table for a photo.

I love Frickin' Delights Donuts. They have the perfect amount of sweetness, and each donut offers a unique experience with every bite. The cake base is beautifully moist as well. Be sure to refrigerate these donuts if you don't consume them all within the day! I love the fact that the flavours change every time - I am always looking forward to something new and exciting. Mmmm... just the thought of writing about these donuts is making me crave for them. I'm hoping to stop by the Market again for these donuts before the end of my summer. I strongly recommend everyone to try out Frickin' Delights... even if you don't have much of a sweet tooth, I promise you will love them as much as I do. Thank you Mandy for creating such frickin' delightful donuts! 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Rodeo Burgers

After picking up my boyfriend CJ from work yesterday afternoon, we decided to go on a food adventure to a place we've never tried before. I excitedly told him about one of Edmonton's newest restaurants - MEAT - that had their grand opening night the day before. However, after doing my research (that is, checking the restaurant's website, Instagram, and Twitter pages) I found out that they would only be open for dinner for the next couple of weeks! They did tweet that they would eventually open up for lunch, so I'm looking forward to that. 

With option one no longer available to us (since we didn't want to wait around for dinner), we decided to try out Rodeo Burgers (www.rodeoburgers.com). Rodeo Burgers is a fast casual restaurant (in between fast food and fine dining) located at the University of Alberta North Campus. It is just south of the Timms Centre, and is situated between Burrito Libre and Sherlock Holmes Pub. I love that this place is easily accessible. 

CJ and I usually try out new food places during the time of day when people aren't typically out eating. So we weren't surprised that we, along with just a few other people, were the only customers at that time. There was plenty of tables and seats for us to choose from, which I liked. 

We weren't really sure what to order, so we asked one of the staff for their recommendation. She recommended the "Western Burger", so we each got one along with a drink and fries with Rodeo Seasoning. We spent around $25 (including tax) for our meals.

Our Western Burger combo.

I started with the fries first, and they were great. It wasn't greasy at all and the seasoning wasn't overwhelming either. I loved that they weren't cut too large - I prefer my fries to have a thinner cut. 

Afterwards it was time to start on my burger. The Western Burger is one of their Signature Burgers, which contains a single AAA Alberta Angus beef patty. There was also lettuce, guacamole, sautéed mushrooms, green chillies, bacon, caramelized onions, and two sauces: their Rodeo Sauce and Southwest Sauce. I also requested to add a slice of cheddar cheese. 

The Western Burger.

The first bite was a surprise to me. I failed to realize that there were green chillies in the burger! I wasn't a fan of the extra heat the chillies provided, so I just removed them off the burger. I really enjoyed the sautéed mushrooms and caramelized onions which I found made the burger well balanced. The overall taste of the burger was nothing too extraordinary though. I think I would have liked this burger more without the green chillies. Oh well, my mistake for not noticing them on the menu to begin with. 

I asked CJ how he found his burger and he described it as "different". He admitted that the green chillies threw him off as well. But then again, he's not too picky about his food so he ate the entire thing, green chillies and all. 

Overall, this place is a good choice if you're looking for a more casual place to eat. It's also an option if you're craving a burger packed with great quality toppings. I don't tend to pick burgers as my first choice to satisfy my hunger though. However, I know how much CJ loves to eat meat, especially when it's in the form of a good old fashioned burger. We'll probably end up taking another trip here in the future, but we would definitely order something else. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Hi Everyone!

Hello there! I thought I'd start with an introduction to who I am and what this blog means to me. My name is Stephanie. I am currently a university student in my hometown of Edmonton. Since the start of 2014, I've slowly but surely started to develop a passion for the adventures my city has to offer. The local restaurants and boutiques, the hidden gems throughout the city... all of these discoveries have resulted in a greater appreciation for my hometown. In particular, the food adventures I go on are now a central part of my life. Discovering new places to eat, reading reviews, looking at pictures of the food and drink, and finally, being able to experience the adventure myself is truly exciting. I've always taken pictures of my food and posted it on my Instagram, but now that my summer break has begun I think this is the perfect time for me to take it one step further and start my own blog.

The idea of starting my own blog has never occurred to me until more recently. I've never blogged before, so why would I suddenly do this now? My inspiration for this blog comes from the entire Edmonton foodie community! I like to check the hashtag "yegfood" on Instagram (#yegfood), and I feel inspired everytime I see the beautiful photos of food and drinks from places all over Edmonton. I love the sense of belonging I feel everytime I share my photos with this amazing community. 

While my food adventures will most likely be the primary focus of my blog, I don't want to limit myself on just food posts. I have a love for fashion, video games, anime, and stuffed animals. I'm looking forward to blogging about many different things that I love. Hopefully you enjoy reading about my adventures.