Sunsets in Ireland

a single photo from this past weekend, because that's all I have so far! I can't tell you how excited I am to finally be seeing this surreal scenic country we have been living in for about two years now.

This last weekend I travelled 4 hours to Connemara to visit the very special Dillisk Project.  I have been wanting to get out for way too long.

this is just the beginning...




Worthwhile Weekends in Dublin - Jen's Hen

Another weekend.  Saturday night, you’re getting set for another night on the town. Couple weeks back we went out for my friend’s bachelorette, or as they call it here in Ireland (and this side of the pond, in general) - a Hen party.

**Tickets GIVEAWAY! ** - scroll to the end for deets on the LIQUOR ROOMS Sunday night bash!

Planning a hen? 5 Tips to having a great one. no male strippers & no dangerous living, unless you count dancing dangerously awesome ;)

IMG_0631 Tip 1:  Start drinking, start early.   We started at VCC, one of our favourite places for a classic cocktail, tasty treats, and punch bowls.



Tip 2: 

Involve the groom  As you do, always have a quiz or game ready to see if the couple really are a match made in heaven. Make sure to have prizes! Pictured here, an extinguisher full of 'screwdriver'



Tip 3:  Have fantastic food - and/or fantastic slop that takes the cake On this occasion we suggest the tastiest of burgers at *Rick's burgers* after a little drinks top-up at Exchequer.

















Tip 4:  Class it up with some burlesque  No silly, I don’t mean to partake, I meant show up and get hot and bothered watching them talented ladies.  We were at the Button Factory for a special occasion burlesque show, lucky us! hear that feline roar.



Tip 5:  Dance like there’s no tomorrow,  because there’s nothing like a little limbo to loosen you up We danced the night away with some nice shots & cozy dance floor at Ukiyo Bar; a sushi joint turned bar at night time.

That pretty much concludes our adventures in Dublin. We called it a night after all the early fun.

GIVEAWAY TIME: a nice friend at the Liquor Rooms has given me a few tickets to their Rock Your Northern Soul tomorrow night - free 'Twisted Wheel' Cocktail comment below or tweet me if you're interested!


Deli Bros. - Frankfurt Airport, Germany

For those of you who didn't know, I embarked on my new adventure on Thursday.  From #YYC to #DUB (that's DUBlin, Ireland).  Although it was a very emotional goodbye to my amazing friends and family, I was trying hard to stay focused on where I was going- To begin a new adventure with S, my husband.

Of course, count on me to find the most hipster eatery in the airport.  I scoured the land... of the four-hour layover at the Frankfurt airport.  This airport fine food deli/grocer, is very stylized and resembles an american deli.  The servers are dressed in jeans and 3/4 length plaid shirts with a round patch on the arm DELI BROS.  The deli makes its own Hot Chili Marinade, bottles pre-made dry ingredients of cookies, and made-to-order Breakfast all-day.  One side is retail the other is for restaurant service.  With several biers on tap, the server asked me if I was serious when I asked for a glass of tap water.  He said he doesn't recommend it, nor does he drink it himself.

For breakfast, they offer themed Euro breakfasts.  For example, the Swiss breakfast includes muesli, fruit, and yogurt.  The French, a croissant, and of course I was out for a 'cultural' experience, of which I can't tell if its authentic or not.  I chose the the German one that comes with two boiled breakfast sausages (Brühwurst) and a pretzel (Bretzel) with sweet mustard.  House made, might I add.   The boiled wurst was spiced nicely, but I'm not sure I fancy the texture of boiled sausage. The meat is so finely ground and homogenous that it has an almost processed texture.  It is crisp and bouncy if that can even describe it.  I think this calls for a return to Germany.
The store is filled with quaint food/eating/design books - Create, and Delicate.  They also sell in-house cured sausage.
Where: Terminal 1
Chill Chairs: 3.5/5 for creating ambiance in a busy airport terminal!

Service: helpful, friendly

Likelihood to return: hm, maybe next time I'm at Frankfurt Terminal 1

Food/Coffee: Black coffee was an americano, food decent - I especially liked the rustic feel, homemade appeal

Chillness: 3.5/5 for creating ambiance in a busy airport terminal!



Pichet [Dublin, Ireland]

Service: laid back but busy, cozy, seemed like lots of returning regulars there, over the top nice - hospitality

Likelihood to return: 5/5 Can't wait to go back!

Food/Coffee: 4/5

Chillness: 4.5 chill chairs

Highlights: aside from the warm smiles, fresh cut bread, and triple desserts - two words, SCOTCH EGGS!

I spent Christmas in Dublin this year. Getting acquainted with the ol'Irish-livin', ok, that was bad, but I really enjoyed my time there. The people are friendly, there's lots of beer and pubs 'poobs', and it feels quaint and European.

S took me to one of their favourite restaurants in Dublin- Pichet. He boasted about how it is always a very solid meal, delicious to the last bite.

Nick Munier, the owner of Pichet is possibly the hardest working restauranteur I have seen. If you don't know him, he's kind of a big deal in Ireland - He is known for his maitre-d role on the Irish Hell's Kitchen. In the short time that we were there, he greeted guests, checked coats, bussed tables, plated meals, pretty much wore every had under the sun in this restaurant.

The meal was delightful.

After the mains, we took a peek at the desert menu; this of course, being my favourite course! I was stuck in a dilemma between my favourite of all time: Sticky Toffee Pudding and the intriguing Pavlova. Pavlovas are similar to 'Baked Alaska", but upside down, minus cake and, pretty much not at all alike except for the baked meringue.

Pavlovas originated in Australia and were named after a Russian ballet dancer believe it or not. It is essentially a meringue crust; with the outside baked to a perfect crisp and filled with dense marshmallowy insides; topped with either whipped cream/Chantilly cream; finished with fruit compote. The mouthfeel of this dessert varies from moment to moment. I love and respect a great pavlova because I have battled with getting the meringue OFF the pan or parchment- quite the art, I must say.

Back to my dilemma, Mr. Munier crouched down two see if we had any questions about the dessert and I asked what his favourite choice would be, I mentioned that I was torn between the usual favourite and my curiosity for the pavlova. He empathized with my dilemma and said he flip flops between the two- Great! that wasn't helpful at all right? I chose the sticky toffee pudding.

Dessert is served

My sticky toffee pudding came first. It was gooey, sweet buttery cake with sprinkles of toffee bits. I was very pleased with my decision. S ordered a Chocolate Fondant Cake, in North American terms I think it's a molten lava cake. Can't go wrong.

The server came by with s' dessert in one hand and another dessert in the other. I caught a glimpse of it, it was the beautiful Pavlova, I suddenly had dessert-envy. Can I question my decision now? To my surprise she gestures to put it on our table, I'm suddenly shocked and confused- oh no, I think he misunderstood me. I can't imagine the shock and confusion on our faces as she explained that he wanted to send both by so that we could try them. - I'm thinking.... this is too much, how am I going to do this and STILL fit in my dress?

Well, I am so glad that we had all three desserts. I'm pretty sure I finished about 90% of them and S had merely a bite of each. I am wowed by the relaxed and conversational atmosphere of the bistro. The Gin&Tonic was solid, thanks to Hendricks. - and there, another inspiring meal.


Happy St. Patrick's Day Dear friends in Ireland.


Cork & Canvas - Propose a Toast to your Orchestra

[slideshow] Last night saw the kick-off of the annual Cork & Canvas Festival- a month of wine, drink, and art.  Pick your poison, whether it be wine, beer, whisky, or tea, there is something catered to stimulate senses and support local live music.  The festival is filled with enjoyment of the finer things, but also incorporates love of all styles of music- including, yes... the Barenaked Ladies.

The crowd was lively and spirits were high last night.  As we worked our way around the room, the tasting stations were spread out with wines from various regions and food stations.  I will let most of the photos do the talking.  With each event that I attend, I try to take notes on what I'm tasting and eating, but I'm really starting to gain an appreciation for how difficult it is to keep track of everything.

Great Events Catering offered:

Moroccan Lamb Tajine - black sesame cone topped with bamboo rice fritters.

Ahi tuna Fish Tacos with wasabi aioli, soy reduction and pickled ginger - I felt like this was the Alberta special, the ahi tuna trend that is often the card played as the crowd pleaser.

Basil Marinated Scallops breaded with panko and served with a sake injection shot- Now THIS, was an interesting experience!

Hotel Arts served:

Beet root Cured Sokeye salmon with Fairwinds goat cheeese and house-grown micro greens- Delicious cured salmon was the bed for the surprisingly flavour rich goat cheese.  Chef Duncan Ly topped this dish with smoked Maldon salt, what an interesting dimension!

Belgo's team plated:

Pan Seared Scallop with lentil salad, truffle culiflower purree, port caramel, and crispy smoked bacon - this was a very sweet dish with the predictable but a nice contrast to the wine.

The evening wouldn't complete without the serenading and folk sounds of Cellist, Morag Northey- creatively strumming her cello like a guitar and singing rhythmic lyrics, she created a mood of alluring exploration and expression.   I should add that each time she played, she was introduced by the clanging of a large gong.

The silent and live auctions were varied in cultural adventures and vintage wines and ports.  I missed out on bidding as I was too busy tasting and honing the palate- and failing.  Honestly, who wouldn't want to bid on a 7-nights accommodation in France including a wine tour?  Folk fest tickets anyone? How about a meet and greet with the Barenaked Ladies? or an Urban getaway, in my backyard at Hotel Arts.  It all came to an abrupt end, way too fast, and before you knew, there was money all over the floor! - kaput!

What an evening! - even ran in to some unexpected friends :)

UPCOMING events for Cork & Canvas: [click for tickets]

“Beer is the New Wine” on Mar. 8 @ 7 p.m. at Willow Park Wines & Spirits.  Craft beers with top local restaurants, check.

High Tea at the Fairmont Palliser. Mar. 10 @ 2 p.m. The event will feature specialty blended teas, pastries and sandwiches, and a live classical serenade ** there may even be TWO quartets!

Four-course luncheon at La Chaumiere restaurant.  Mar. 14 @ 12 p.m. The meal will feature vintage wines and a live auction

The Art of Whisky through 100 of the world’s finest whiskies Mar. 21 @ 7 p.m. at Willow Park Wines & Spirits

Winemaker’s Dinner on Mar. 31 at 6:30 pm