Sunday, November 29, 2009

Taco Flavoured Kisses

mmmm    Mexican food.  Our favourite place to pretend we're in Mexico (without the heat, of course) is Salt & Pepper.  We were introduced to this restaurant by a friend of ours who lived near Bowness at the time, and after our first meal there we've been back time and time again.  The waitress at the McLoed Trail location knows what we want as soon as we walk in the door.  We don't even get menus anymore!  On most visits I will have the pork chops and Scott will have the chorizo burrito.  To start we will usually get the homemade chips & salsa.  He has the special coffee (it has cinnamon in it) and I will either get water, or iced tea and then water - it's spicey stuff, this Mexican food!

The platter, which is meant to be shared, is huge and filled with just a ton of great food.  Most of it I can't pronounce but I can point and say "that's mine!" quick enough.  And I can't say I was ever a fan of guacomole, until I tried it at Salt & Pepper, Bowness.  Our friend, mentioned above, didn't get the platter with us, but was stealing all the guac off our plates and I complained, in jest because I actually wasn't eating any.  The waiter overheard my complaint and brought us a huge bowl of guac.  How could I not have any now?  I tried it and instantly knew why everyone else was gobbling it down!  Fresh is best, and that's just how they serve it.

Another funny event was when we noticed the salsa at the McLeod was really really really spicey hot.  When we mentioned this to our favourite waitress she said theyhad noticed the jalapenos were hotter than usual, and so they had to cut the called for amount in half when making it - but it was still really hot.  As soon as she left the table I said to Scott "Who was that poor S.O.B. who discovered they were twice as hot!?"  And we laughed, assuming the person could either tolerate a lot of heat, or had instantaneously combusted as a result of the jalepenos! 

I've had business meetings there, my birthday there, quick lunches, and long dinners.  I've even take my sister & nephew there where he said his first unprompted word (as far as I know.)  He wanted our drinks (margaritas) and our favourte waitress made him a strawberry smoothie but put it in a margarita glass and he was so impressed his eyes got really big when he saw it and he said "WOW!"  She was his favourite person for the rest of our meal.  He even tried to get her to dance to the music while she was trying to take other people's orders.

I could go on and on an on about this place.  It's just great.  I'm glad they have a location in Cochrane as well, but did sorely miss the location on 16th Avenue NW closing down - it was so easy to stop there on the way home when we lived in Chestermere. Everything is fresh but still fast, and at a fair market value.  I never like it when the prices increase, but everything else in Calgary started costing more during the boom a couple years ago, and so it was only a matter of time before they increased their prices.  They did just that and although it's more for a meal now, it's still really worth it.  We were just getting a screamin' deal before.  And in case you missed the reference in the title of this post, if you don't watch South Park then it's just too tough to explain just how funny the Taco Flavoured Kisses episode was.  Hilarious!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Mindful Eating

I receive a daily dharma from Tricycle - thought today's really fit in with our food blog.  It's an interesting meal, when eating mindfully. 

Pausing When We Eat

Here are some methods for helping yourself to slow down your eating by creating pauses:
  1. Pause before beginning the meal. Look at each item of food, taking it in with the eyes. Notice colors, textures, shapes, arrangement on the plate or bowl.
  2. Take a moment to say grace. Thank the animals, plants, and people who brought this food to you. Be aware of their gifts as you eat.
  3. Begin the meal by pausing to inhale the fragrance of the food. Imagine that you are being nourished by just the smell.
  4. Eat food like a wine connoisseur tastes wine. First sniff the food, enjoying the bouquet. Then take a small taste. Roll it around in the mouth, savoring it. What ingredients can you detect? Chew slowly and swallow. Take a sip of water to cleanse the palate. When the mouth is empty of food and flavor, repeat the process.
  5. If you notice that you are eating without tasting, stop and pause to look at the food again.

 -Jan Chozen Bays, "Mindful Eating," Tricycle, Summer 2009

See Tricycle's Daily Dharma if you'd like to receive their daily dharma too.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Slow Joe's

Okay, so it's actually Original Joe's, not Slow Joe's, and the service isn't slow.  But for some reason Scott started calling it Slow Joe's and it stuck.  It recently opened up in Quarry Park, just down 18th Street from us, and we have been there every couple weeks since.  There isn't a lot to choose from in Riverbend (Boston Pizza, McDonald's, Tim Horton's, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Ricky's, Subway, some Chinese food place, and The Riverbend Station) but sometimes it's just too much effort to go out of our neighbourhood.  I know that sounds lame, but that's how it is.

We initially had their Fish & Chips and I've had it repeatedly now.  I've also enjoyed their Beef Dip, albeit without onions (I hate onions).  Scott has gotten their side salad - some thai type thing - along with his meals, whereas I stick to the fries.  Perhaps I should branch out and try the salad, but when you're eating Fish & Chips, you wants Chips with your Fish.  Not carrot sticks.

The one time we had dessert it was because we shared an entree.  Everything there is a little bit larger than life.  The entrees come with your choice of two sides even!  Anyway, back to the dessert.  It was two slices of their Dirt Pie, and it was fabulous.  Frozen ice cream, peanut butter, chocolate, probably mocha somewhere in there too, on top of a bed of cookie bits.  We actually had to take it home and had it the next day.

All in all, it's a good bit better than a pub, but not quite a restaurant either.  There are multiple big screen TVs and loud music after work.  But it's still beats the rest of the options in Riverbend, hands down.

Mingle & Jingle, snacks & crafts

In conjunction with a little open house on December 6th, I’m hosting a small craft sale from 10am to 4pm. Scott & Maggie & I will be decorating & playing holiday music & cooking up some yummy snacks. Okay, so Maggie will just be begging for the snacks, but she will be on hand to bark randomly and get snuggles from everyone.

There will be some snickey-snacks and some eggnog (provided Scott hasn’t consumed it all by the time you get there) as well as all of my paintings & cards & crafts on display for sale, at special Holiday prices! I’ll have my wrapping supplies on hand in the wrapping station, so if you’d like your purchase gift wrapped as well, I can do that too.

Come by early for the best selection of crafts (oh, & snacks!).  Let me know if you can come by so I can ensure there are enough snacks for everyone.  :)

Monday, November 23, 2009


This is going back a few years, but ...  I've got the photos so here we go.  We were in Arles, France and Scott wanted to see the coliseum where they do the 'nice' bull fights (not where they die).  I, being near the Med Sea, ordered prawns.  I did not know they don't actually do anything other than boil them.  Ewwwww.  I have to say, I was turned off prawns for a while after this.  I mean, there's little eyeballs and everything's left attached.  And there is not really any flavour.  I'm used to garlic or chili peppers or.. well.. something! 

The only saving grace was Scott's meal wan't really any better.  He had bull.  So apparently on of the bulls from the ring didn't make it.  Not sure what happened there.  But it was tough and gamey.  The potato and other veggies weren't any more appetizing.  And don't you love the plating of the dishes?  A triad of tomatoes and herbs surrounding each plate.  Yeah, that totally makes up for the icky food.  Totally.

We couldn't wait to get back to our baguette avec jambon, fromage, et tomat.  I may spell it wrong and say it wrong, but at least I can enjoy it.  Which is more than I can say for this meal!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

chowda, baby

Let's start off with the fabulous chowder we had at Mo's Chowder House in Florence, Oregon.  We had read about it in the book we bought about travelling down Highway 101 from Oregon to California.  I am a bit of a snob when it comes to chowder, and I get it from my Dad.  "None of that red crap!" as he says.  I want a thick, hearty soup, and no rubbery findings anywhere in sight.  What we got was amazing.  Scott got the bowl, and I opted for the bread bowl.  Both of us were plesantly surprised with the addition of melted butter off on the side of each of our bowls.  The fine sprinkling of paprika was another bonus.

Mo's crowded us all in to a variety of picnic tables with bench seats.  We were lucky enough to get the table in the back corner by the open door.  It was pretty hot in there!  The cheery gingham oilcloth, along with the large plastic cups for our drinks (raspberry-lemonade and traditional lemonade) really spoke to the Mom'n'Pop feel of this restaurant.  The wait staff were happy to serve us, even with the overflowing amount of people milling about.  I can't say the bathroom was any screamin' hell, but then again I wasn't there to use the loo.  I was there for the chowda baby, and that's what I got!

We love food!

Welcome to the first posting of our new blog on food.  People keep asking us about good places to go and eat in Calgary, as well as some of the recipes we make consistently.  So we thought we'd start up a blog about all the things we like to consume.  Hence the name, Consumption Junction. 

As a budding photographer I am also going to try to take photos of the things we nosh and imbibe.  We will be attempting to label all of our postings so you, the reader, can take full advantage of our ramblings about places to eat around town (or on our vacations).  I am pretty certain I will be writing most of the postings, with my husband only chiming in every once in a while.  My sister and her husband are big foodies and I will be lobbying for her writing & photography skills to join us as well.

Looking forward to hearing your comments and feedback on our blog, but mostly, I'm just really looking forward to the food!

~ Michelle

Monday, November 16, 2009


"A man (or woman!) should never be ashamed to own he has been in the wrong, which is but saying... that he is wiser today than he was yesterday." - Alexander Pope

Ahhh Charlie, the sweet little terrier-poodle cross from the Humane Society. Had you been the only dog in our house, this would have all worked out fine. As it stands, Maggie is the Ruler of the Roost, and you and she just don't get along. I'm sorry, little dude, but I had to take you back to the Humane Society so a family who has more space (and less Maggie) in their lives could adopt you.

Here's the back story - after realizing that children will not be a part of our lives, I wanted to add another dog to the mix. The theory being he or she would be a playmate for Maggie, our poodle from the Humane Society 3 years ago, and would help to calm her down a bit (did I mention she's kinda high-strung?). As well, caring and loving him or her would fill a little more of the empty spot in my heart, and let me love another little soul (albeit a soul covered in fur.)

Maggie, however, had other plans. She has Plans of World Domination, and her world is our house. I know she's gotten along with other dogs before; not famously, but well enough that I thought perhaps this could work. Enter Charlie. The 'meet-n-greet' went okay, but once at home the clashing began. Maggie would hide in her kennel. Charlie would eat her food. Maggie would lash out. Charlie would fight back. hmmmmm...... Not good.

There is the theory that I could have waited longer, given them more time before taking him back. Maybe things would have improved between Queen Margaret and Prince Charles. Maybe they would have worked it all out, and I was being too impulsive. But I felt so bad for Maggie! Here she was, finally settling in and not being as aggressive as before, and then I go and add another dog to the mix, and he's getting all the attention! She had to share her bed, her food, her water, and my lap, Scott's attention. And then I felt bad for Charlie! Here he was, all set to be adopted by some nice family in the near future (he'd only been there a week) and I plucked him out of there with promises of a Lady-friend and many quiet naps on the couch, and a few belly rubs too. And what he got was a lot of surprises instead.

I didn't want him (and us) to get so attached that we couldn't see that this wasn't going to work. I also knew that people who were looking at him last week would still be checking the Humane Society website, and would be happy to see him still there for them. So I decided this was just an expensive weekend for all (emotionally and financially) and took him back to the people who could best find him a good home. Sadly, we are not a "good home". But I am wiser! I will never adopt a dog while Maggie is still with us. I swear.

And so, his little bark, funny walk, and voracious appetite are meant for someone else. Good luck, Charlie (although I don't think you'll need it, cute boy!)

Thursday, November 12, 2009


"twas the night before Christmas, and all throught the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse" C.C. Moore

click on the above to get a larger view of the collage
I recently found a project I had started before we moved into our house (2 years ago!) An Advent Calendar that didn't involved chocolate. I incorporated the classic story into little cards and envelopes to turn around and read. It's really a lovely piece. I'm going to be taking it to the Craft Fair this weekend and see if it sells! If it doesn't, you'll see it on Etsy by Monday.