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Food, Reviews

Come try my burger at Delux Burger Bar in October!

Linda Hoang Delux Burger Bar Celebrity Chef October

I am super excited to announce that I will be supporting the Second Chance Animal Rescue Society (SCARS) as the October “celebrity chef” for Delux Burger Bar! $1 from each sale of my burger creation throughout the month of October will go to support SCARS and help them with the amazing work they do for animals.

My burger creation is:

The ‘Om Nom Nom’ Burger ($13) 7 oz. Heritage Angus beef, bacon, arugula, blue cheese, egg, crispy onion, sriracha aioli, buttered brioche.

Linda Hoang Delux Burger Bar Celebrity Chef October

Now I don’t really have access to a captive TV, radio, or newspaper audience that past DeluxBB “celebrity chefs” have had to help spread the word about their burger and encourage people to come try it and support their charity of choice, so I’m turning to this blog, social media, and a bunch of organized tweet-ups to create buzz and drive sales! I’ll be hosting five different tweet-ups at both DeluxBB locations throughout October.

Come to one (or all) of these October burger tweet-ups!

Please RSVP at the Eventbrite links above so I have a good sense of numbers. Come to one.. come to all! (You can also RSVP on the Facebook Event Page so your friends see it on their feeds :))

If you don’t really like the sound of my burger (which is silly though, because it’s AMAZING ;)) then please come anyway! Locations will also be accepting direct donations to SCARS. Please help me spread the word about the burger and encourage your friends, family, and co-workers to go and try it with you! :)

About Second Chance Animal Rescue Society: SCARS is a non-profit organization that takes in animals who are slated for euthanasia. SCARS is dedicated to reducing the number of homeless and abandoned animals in northern Alberta. I’m a huge animal lover (mom to two cats and a dog) and try to support organizations that better the welfare of animals whenever I can.

About Delux Burger Bar Celebrity Chef: Each month there’s a new “celebrity chef” / burger creation at Delux Burger Bar locations. The celebrity chef gets to choose a charity that $1 from each sale of the celebrity chef burger will go towards. Since 2011, more than $34,000 has been raised for various charities through the celebrity chef burgers.


Life, Random

Recap: Behind-the-scenes Animal Encounter at the Valley Zoo!

On Sunday I took Mike for his early birthday surprise at the Edmonton Valley Zoo… featuring a behind-the-scenes animal encounter!!

I had been thinking about this as a birthday gift for a year now and was so happy that it finally came to be. You see, Mike is in love with red pandas. We have only ever been to the Valley Zoo together once before and it was then (about three years ago) that I went to the bathroom and came out to see this sight:

Mike pressed up against the glass watching the red pandas.

Mike pressed up against the glass watching the red pandas.

He could not stop staring at the red pandas! Shortly after, TELUS started featuring red pandas in their commercials and I’ve heard constant squeals (manly squeals of course, lol) from Mike whenever he sees a red panda. So the great idea formed – I would somehow get Mike up close and personal to play with the Valley Zoo’s red pandas! Now I wasn’t even sure if the zoo offered this kind of animal interaction and I didn’t seriously look into it until late last month so now I’ll lay out the details in case you want to spring an adorable animal session surprise on one of your loved ones!

The Valley Zoo Development Society is the one that hooks you up with behind-the-scenes animal encounters!

The Valley Zoo Development Society is the one that hooks you up with behind-the-scenes animal encounters!

I originally emailed the city to see if they could arrange for this birthday surprise and was told that the Valley Zoo itself doesn’t offer any kind of animal encounter but the Valley Zoo Development Society does! The Valley Zoo Development Society is a non-profit organization that raises money to improve the zoo/help the animals at the zoo. They offer something called the “ZooBuilders Program” which offers a bunch of different types of animal encounters/experiences at certain prices – costs that go to support the zoo/animals.

I went the “Foreman” route – which costs $250 to $499. (I paid the minimum amount – $250). The Foreman option is described as: Bring the whole family to the zoo for a day, or discover the fascinating facts about one of our animals at a private behind the scenes animal encounter ** (maximum 2 people/2 hours) led by one of our ZooKeepers. It says one animal but the one animal doesn’t really take two hours so they also ask for a few other animals you’re interested in going behind-the-scenes with so for my ‘wishlist’ for Mike, I chose red pandas, lemurs, otters and arctic foxes. We ended up doing red pandas, seals and lemurs (totally forgot about the otters that day, lol) and we ended up seeing one of their red foxes that they just recently took in (they’re still working to get an outdoor area for the fox).

(Other ZooBuilder program options range from $1,000 to be a ZooKeeper for a day – making regular rounds with an official zoo keeper, $1,500 to have a special animal enocunter with Lucy and she’ll paint a masterpiece for you, $5,000 to have a travelling zoo come to your office, home or school! Lots of neat options (but obviously they come at a price. But remember the price goes to help the animals!!)

Red panda Pip waving hello!

Red panda Pip waving hello!

Our behind-the-scenes tour guide/zoo keeper was a great guy named Derrick. Derrick has been working at the zoo for four years, started out in the petting zoo (got to pay your dues!) and has worked his way up. He’s also studying for a biology degree at the University of Alberta and says his zoo keeper job is pretty much the best job ever. You can tell he loves the animals!

Here are some photos from our behind-the-scenes encounter with red pandas Pip, George and Lola, harbour seal Hula, various lemurs and a cute red fox named Trouble:

Behind-the-scenes with red panda Pip!

Behind-the-scenes with red panda Pip!

Feeding Pip!

Feeding Pip!

Pip grabbing food!

Pip grabbing food!

Pip, George and Lola - the red pandas!

Pip, George and Lola – the red pandas!

Hula the harbour seal being super affectionate (for food!)

Hula the harbour seal being super affectionate (for food!)

The lemurs were very touchy! So fun.

The lemurs were very touchy! So fun.

Mike hanging with a bewildered lemur.

Mike hanging with a bewildered lemur.

'Trouble' the red fox is a bit shy. But super cute.

‘Trouble’ the red fox is a bit shy. But super cute.

We learned tidbits about each of the animals and also learned that most of them are part of a breeding program – so when they do have babies a committee basically decides what zoo those animals will go to once they’re ready to leave their mamas.

You can ask your zoo keeper/tour guide whatever you want about the animals really! They have so much information to share (so much that I can’t even remember them to list here and I didn’t take notes, lol). It was also really cool because we were ‘behind-the-scenes’ – regular visitors to the zoo could see us through the glass and were obviously thinking how important and lucky we must be to be all up in the animals’ faces the way we were, lol. ;)

To sum up…

I am a frugal person (for certain/most aspects of life) so when I found out making this animal surprise happen for Mike’s early birthday gift was going to cost in the hundreds, I did hesitate at first but in the end I’m so glad I went for it. Mike had a great time. I had a great time. It was such a unique and special experience that you don’t hear people doing very often (even though it is available to the public and now you know, so you can do it too!) I would classify it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! I mean now that we know it is do-able we’ll probably do it again in the future for our future kids or something so maybe twice-in-a-lifetime. ;) But really, how often do you get to play/touch/pet red pandas and seals? How often do you get lemurs hanging off your clothes and jumping on your shoulders? How often do you get to see the areas where zoo keepers prep and set up food to feed the animals? It was so fun and so informative and completely worth the money – especially when you know the money is also going to a charity and the charity is helping the very same animals that your visiting. Win/win! And the animals were just soooo cute!!

I don’t particularly enjoy going to zoos in general because I can get super emotional thinking about animals caged up… but the behind-the-scenes experience was actually quite helpful in that sense because you really do see that these zoo keepers LOVE these animals and are doing their best to care for them and you also learn that a lot of the animals that do end up at the zoo – would have died otherwise due to bad circumstances/health/etc. so they’re actually probably way better off being cared for in a zoo setting!

Thanks to Tammy from the Valley Zoo Development Society for helping set this up and many thanks to tour guide/zoo keeper Derrick! What an amazing animal adventure. :)

Click here for more on the Valley Zoo Development Society’s ‘ZooBuilders Program’


Thor and Loki Photo of the Week
Clicks of the Week

Clicks of the Week: November 12 to 19, 2012 Edition

Welcome to Clicks of the Week: November 12 to 19, 2012 Edition!

Clicks of the Week is a weekly round up of news. It used to be Clicks of the Day, but Linda’s life got busy so now it’s a weekly thing. Number of Clicks will be dependent again on the busyness of life that week.


    (okay this section is really weak this time around, it’ll be stronger next week).

  • Harper warns of consequences if U.S. fails to avoid fiscal cliff
  • “Prime Minister Stephen Harper says if President Barack Obama and U.S. lawmakers can’t find a solution to the looming fiscal cliff it could spark other unforeseen economic woes.”


  • Formerly homeless Edmontonians getting married, shelter seeks donations
  • “A year ago they were homeless, sleeping in a parking garage, and preparing for a baby. Today, they have a five-month old child and an apartment of their own. And, they’re planning a wedding. For the first time ever, Youth Empowerment and Support Services (YESS) is hosting a wedding for two clients.”


  • Keystone XL pipeline concerns resurrected, protesters call on Obama to reject project
  • “Thousands of environmentalists marched outside the White House on Sunday, armed with banners and signs, chanting and voicing their opposition against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.”

    While I worry about the environmental impact, I recognize we need this for, well, basically the world to function.

  • Call to help dozens of pets answered
  • “Mere moments after the story of Dan Lapotac, and the dozens of pets he had been looking after went to air, Janice Dodd’s phone started ringing, and it hasn’t stopped. “The calls started literally one minute after it went to air, one minute,” Dodds said. Dodds is an animal advocate who took up Lapotac’s cause after hearing about his living conditions. Lapotac has been living in a makeshift tent on the Enoch Cree Nation for four years – while he started with only four cats, the number of pets in his home has grown steadily. Recently, two litters of kittens and another litter of puppies were born, adding up to nearly 50 cats, and eight dogs.”

    Local animal story of the week, for sure. I am so happy the Edmonton Emergency Vet Clinic offered to spay/neuter these cats for free and that there’s been a bunch of people calling, hoping to help & adopt. I hope every animal finds their forever home!!

  • Traffic circles proposed as way to deter speeding
  • “The city is considering modifying five neighbourhood roads, including adding traffic circles, as a way to discourage speeding and address safety concerns… Plans include adding modified traffic circles, raised crosswalks, curb extension intersections, medians, speed tables and curb extension mid-blocks.”

    Way too expensive.


  • Civilian death toll climbs in Israel-Gaza crisis as world leaders urge ceasefire
  • “More Palestinian civilians were caught in the line of fire Monday as Israel expanded the scope of its campaign in the Gaza Strip, hitting densely packed areas of the territory with airstrikes. Israel began targeting the Gaza homes of Hamas activists and suspected military commanders over the weekend, bolstering its efforts to stop Hamas rocket fire on the state. The new approach, however, has led to an increased number of civilian casualties as airstrikes devastate more crowded areas of Gaza.”

    This violence needs to stop.

  • Dolphins shot, mutilated, stabbed along Gulf Coast
  • “Over the past several months, dolphins have washed ashore along the northern Gulf Coast with bullet wounds, missing jaws and hacked off fins, and federal officials said they are looking into the mysterious deaths. The most recent case was of a dolphin found dead off the coast of Mississippi, its lower jaw missing. Officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Monday they’re asking everyone from beachgoers to fishermen to wildlife agents to be on the lookout for injured or dead dolphins — and any unusual interaction between the mammals and people.”

    This makes me so sick. If someone is doing this to the dolphins I honestly wish only the very worst things on them. Horrifying.

  • The Petraeus scandal: What we know
  • What a scandal.

  • What the hell is China building here?
  • “What the hell is this 157m high metal structure in the the city of Fushun, in northeast China’s Liaoning province? It’s made of an astounding 3000 tons of steel and it will glow at night — decorated with 12,000 LED lights. According to Fushun Municipal Government’s officials, this titanic structure does absolutely nothing except serve as an elevated sighting position. They claim it is pretty “landscape architecture” — like the Eiffel Tower. It uses four elevators to take people to the top.”

    Hmmmmmm. It definitely does look like an interdimensional portal, lol.

  • Remembering Neft Dashlari, Stalin’s utopian ocean city made from oil and steel
  • “Shortly after the Second World War, the Soviet Union constructed a massive industrial city-complex in the Caspian Sea off the coast of Azerbaijan. Home to over 5,000 workers, it was an intricate maze of oil platforms linked by hundreds of miles of roads and featuring a park, cinema, and apartment blocks. Called Neft Dashlari, the ocean city is still in use today, but it’ll be only a matter of time before the sea completely consumes it.”



  • Can you move it and work it on a treadmill desk?
  • “As we’ve reported, there’s a backlash brewing to sedentary office life as more people realize how sitting all day can do a body wrong… Take Salo, a financial consulting firm based in Minneapolis. The company has 12 treadmill desks, and encourages walking meetings and a mini-breakaway game — a mixture of pingpong, tennis and a bit of squash. Throughout the day, employees rotate on and off the available treadmill desks.”

    Love this… and other ideas to get people moving at the workplace (‘walk and talk meetings’). There should be a push to have these initiatives put in place at al workplaces!!

  • Real-life sleeping beauty slept 64 days in a row
  • “This 17-year-old teenager from North Fayette, Pa., has a rare condition called Kleine-Levin Syndrome — or “Sleeping Beauty Syndrome” — that makes her sleep 18 to 19 hours a day. And when she does wake up, she is often so tuckered out that she is in a sleepwalking state and doesn’t remember doing basic things like eating, according to KDKA-TV.”

    Wow! Weird.

    Technology/Social Media/Internet

  • Recruiters post 1.7 million jobs on new Facebook jobs board
  • “Facebook launched a job-board application, featuring 1.7 million listings from five different recruiting organizations. The new application, a product of the Social Jobs Partnership that Facebook started last year with several public agencies, aggregates jobs that are already available through the separate organizations to give job seekers a central location to look for work. This initial slew of jobs — sorted by industry, location, and skills — comes from BranchOut, DirectEmployers Association, Work4Labs, Jobvite, and”

    Oo! That’s interesting.

  • Facebook ‘couples’ pages spark anger and praise
  • “The global behemoth of social media has introduced an automatic “couples” page that has triggered the same instant revulsion and joy of its past changes… Facebook introduced the “couples” page last Thursday as “a new look for the Friendship page.” If you and someone you are in a relationship with both list that by name on your status, Facebook has already created a page just for the two of you. To see it, go to The page collects all of your joint tagged pictures, lists your mutual friends and tracks your shared posts.”

    This is stupid.

  • Nintendo Wii U consoles sold out, alraedy selling for over $500 on eBay
  • “One reason some people waited in long lines to be the first to get the new Nintendo Wii U console has nothing to do with the games. With Wii U devices all but guaranteed to be sold out at retailers around the world this Christmas, some buyers immediately put their new consoles on Ebay. Wii Us are already selling for over $500 on the site. There were well over 2,500 consoles listed on the world’s largest auction site just hours after it went on sale on November 18 at the Nintendo World store in New York City and around the globe.”

    Some people are evil and greedy!


  • RIM will pull the covers off its BB10 devices January 30
  • “RIM’s BB10 has been a hell of a long time coming. But the company has finally pinned down a launch date for the new OS: it will officially enter into the world on January 30th next year. The new software is pretty much make-or-break for RIM, whose fortunes have been failing of recent time. CEO Thorsten Heins, however, promises great things.”

    It will be sad when this fails and then RIM fails.

  • Retailers try to keep consumers at home as Black Friday deals come to Canada
  • Bring on the deals!


  • Nose cell transplant enables paralysed dogs to walk
  • “Scientists have reversed paralysis in dogs after injecting them with cells grown from the lining of their nose. The pets had all suffered spinal injuries which prevented them from using their back legs. The Cambridge University team is cautiously optimistic the technique could eventually have a role in the treatment of human patients.”

    That’s fantastic.

  • It’s been nearly 28 years since we have had a colder-than-average month
  • “This is the 332nd consecutive month with an above-average temperature.”


  • ‘Rogue planet’ spotted 100 light-years away
  • “Astronomers have spotted a “rogue planet” – wandering the cosmos without a star to orbit – 100 light-years away… One tricky part is determining if rogue planet candidates are as massive as the “failed stars” known as brown dwarfs, further along in stellar evolution but without enough mass to spark the nuclear fusion that causes starlight.”

    What a badass planet! ;)

  • Belly button bacteria oligarchs dominate our navel’s ecosystem
  • “The Belly Button Biodiversity Project, which explores the bacterial ecosystems living in its participants’ navels, has discovered that a small number of bacterial phylotypes (or “species”) dominate the micro-landscape. The biologists’ results show a “jungle of microbial diversity” with over 2,300 species of bacteria present and only eight of those recurring frequently — a similar diversity distribution to that of tree species in tropical rainforests.”

    Something to think about next time you pick your belly button, lol.


  • Lucasfilm wants to make ‘two or three’ movies a year. That’s a lot of Star Wars.
  • “Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Lucas’ anointed successor, Kathleen Kennedy, says that the company wants to produce “two or three films a year”, which aside from the odd Indiana Jones flick certainly suggests we can expect all kinds of Star Wars output over the next decade.”

    That’s a lot…

    Weird News, Other News, Good News and/or Fluff

  • The top places to survive the end of the world
  • Interesting! I wonder how Mike & I (and family & friends) will do when the apocalypse arrives.

  • 31 kids who are too clever for their own good
  • “Meet your future statesmen, poets, inventors, and pioneers. Also, scoundrels.”

    This is a MUST read!!!! So funny. Brings me much laughter and joy.

  • 34 insanely simple two-ingredient recipes
  • “Cooking doesn’t get much easier than this. BTW, these are mostly desserts. I hope you’re OK with that.”

    I’m not big on desserts but this is a list worth checking out!

  • Ecuador officials deny donkey the chance to run for office
  • “The demand of dozens of citizens has been denied in the Ecuadorean city of Guayaquil: There will be no jackass running for the legislature. At least 40 people paraded their candidate through the city’s streets to the electoral council offices. Mr. Burro even wore a tie. But officials refused to even let them in the door on Thursday.”

    Lol. What’s with people pushing for animals to run for office everywhere?

  • A harbor for Akutan, but no road to it
  • “Akutan, the Aleutians community with a brand new but so-far unused airport on another island, also has a new harbor but no road connecting it to the town 2 miles away. KUCB reports the harbor was begun by the Army Corps of Engineers with $29 million in federal stimulus money even though the connecting road was likely years in the future.”


  • [Video]: Little girl dresses liker her cat
  • Sooooooooooooooooo precious.

  • [Video]: Cat and doberman bffs
  • Besties!!!

  • [Video]: Kittens and ducklings playing together
  • This is a cute-xplosion.

  • [Video]: Red Panda gets surprised
  • Poor panda!!!

Thor (and/or Loki) Photo of the Week:

Best buddies.

Have your say on some of these Clicks! Leave a comment! Or tweet me!