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Food, Reviews

Review: The Dog

This week I heard (through my friend Diane who found out from Long Thach in the Alberta Food Connections Facebook Group) that there was a new gourmet hot dog place in town!

The Dog Gourmet Hot Dogs Edmonton

The Dog – gourmet hot dogs at 9567 118 Ave.

“The Dog” at 9567 118 Ave. replaces what used to be Absolutely Edibles on 118 Avenue and 95 Street. The location is super close to NAIT so I had actually been to Absolutely Edibles a few times over the past year and some for lunch dates – I always liked their food (check out my old review here).

The Dog Gourmet Hot Dogs Edmonton

Inside The Dog on 118 Avenue.

Turns out The Dog is run by the same people behind Absolutely Edibles and Sloppy Hoggs (which is just a building over from The Dog).

Absolutely Edibles had been a sit-down restaurant but when I heard of The Dog I was – for some reason – expecting just a stand, order and leave place. Not so! The interior is much different than what it used to be. They’ve got a nice diner-esque look, with a sleek rock wall and lots of greys, whites and black tones. It’s got a very clean and uncluttered feel to it. (They kept the tables from Absolutely Edibles! Great tables).

The Dog Gourmet Hot Dogs Edmonton

Pretty varied menu at The Dog!

The Dog opened last week, not long after ‘IT Dog’ opened in the south side. (Are gourmet hot dogs the next kale?) It offers a pretty big variety of gourmet dogs to choose from – including exotic animal sausage dogs (kangaroo, alligator, elk, to name a few) as well as some Asian-inspired ones (a Vietnamese banh mi dog, a Japanese ramen dog), and some other ‘safer’ but still not your average – dogs.

Diane and I planned to go try it for lunch and it ended up being a bigger lunch with our food friends Andrea, Cindy, Lesley and Addie (we also saw our friend Kim there trying it too! Small world).

The prices at The Dog range from about $7 up to $12 (for the exotic sausages – which by the way are all prepared in house) and since there was a big group of us we were able to try quite a bit.

The Dog Gourmet Hot Dogs Edmonton

The “Coney Island” dog (beef dog, beef chili, cheddar cheese, mustard & onions – $8) at The Dog.

I tried The “Coney Island” dog (beef dog, beef chili, cheddar cheese, mustard & onions – $8).

The Dog Gourmet Hot Dogs Edmonton

The Vietnamese-style “Banh Mi” dog (beef & pork hot dog, head cheese, pate, mayo, cucumber, cilantro, carrots, jalepenos – $7) at The Dog

Diane had the Vietnamese-style “Banh Mi” dog (beef & pork hot dog, head cheese, pate, mayo, cucumber, cilantro, carrots, jalepenos – $7)

The Dog Gourmet Hot Dogs Edmonton

The “Narita” dog (beef & pork dog, wasabi mayo, dry ramen, kimchi, bonito flakes, sesame sauce, pickled ginger -$7) at The Dog.

I encouraged Andrea to try the “Narita” dog (beef & pork dog, wasabi mayo, dry ramen, kimchi, bonito flakes, sesame sauce, pickled ginger -$7)

The Dog Gourmet Hot Dogs Edmonton

The “Kangaroo Sausage” dog (housemade, with fresh herbs, red pepper, corn relish, and raspberry chipotle mustard – $12) at The Dog.

Lesley tried the “Kangaroo Sausage” dog (housemade, with fresh herbs, red pepper, corn relish, and raspberry chipotle mustard – $12)

The Dog Gourmet Hot Dogs Edmonton

Crispy housemade chips with dill pickle dip ($6) at The Dog

Cindy and Addie tried the Hog Dog (beef & pork hot dog, pit beans, pulled pork, shredded cheese and waffle sauce – which is kind of like a maple sauce – $8) and the Kansas City Dog (beef dog, sauerkraut, cheese, Reuben sauce and caraway seed – $7). We also had some housemade chips and dill pickle dip ($6) and some poblano poppers (spicy cream cheese stuffed poppers – $7). The chips are very much Boston Pizza Cactus Cut Chips-esque, but less spicy.

The Dog Gourmet Hot dogs Edmonton

Gourmet hot dogs in Edmonton!

I thought my hot dog was pretty good. The Banh Mi one was not very good. Diane thought the cuts of meat could have been thinner, and there wasn’t really any pate. I also thought the mayo was overpowering – actually I thought most of the sauce on all of the hot dogs were maybe a bit too much.

I, however, really liked Andrea’s Narita dog. Everything surprisingly worked well together. (She doesn’t think there was kimchi in it though – not that she could taste or see). But I would say the Narita was my favourite, followed by the one I ordered.

The Dog Gourmet Hot Dogs Edmonton

More interior of The Dog!

Lesley liked her kangaroo sausage but thought all the sauces were too tangy together – and at $12 (it was a bit more expensive as it was not your average meat), she thought it wasn’t worth it. But at $7-$8 for mine and Andrea’s dogs, I thought those were definitely worth it – they don’t skimp on meat/portions so you do get quite a bit.

Also worth noting: They have a few vegetarian “hot dog” options too – like a falafel dog!

The Dog Gourmet Hot Dogs Edmonton

Pickled veggies and relishes made in house for sale at The Dog!

The first thing a few people asked when they saw we were trying this place was how it compared to IT Dog. I haven’t personally tried IT Dog but some of the ladies I was dining with have – and say they prefer The Dog’s hot dogs over IT Dogs (but IT Dog’s chicken is the best – I’m told).

I would simply go to The Dog more because it’s more conveniently located for me (right by work)!

It’s always nice to see new places pop up, especially along Alberta Avenue/118 Avenue. I’m sad that Absolutely Edibles had to close for The Dog to exist but it’s nice to see the owners aren’t giving up on the restaurant/food industry, just changing their focus. I think the variety is great, and they’re only a week old so I think kinks like too thickly cut meat or too much sauce can easily be fixed. I also like their wall of pickled vegetables and relishes – also all made in house that you can purchase. I think they’ve got something here!

The Dog has nice atmosphere (well-lit for photos!). The server was very friendly, the food came out pretty quick, and was pretty good for the most part. There’s also a “Build Your Own Hot Dog” option which I think I would try next time! There wasn’t many people in there when we went for lunch – I mean it’s only a week old. Hopefully it finds more success than Absolutely Edibles did. I’d definitely recommend it if you’re looking for something a bit fancier than your standard hot dog. It wasn’t anything overly special but it was solid for your more “upscale” hot dog dining. I would be back!

So have you been to The Dog?! What did you think?

Linda


The Dog on Urbanspoon

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Edmonton Chinatown Series, Food, Reviews

Review: Tao Garden Restaurant (Edmonton Chinatown Series)

* This review is part of a 2015 series of reviews on restaurants in Edmonton’s Chinatown! Check out other reviews in my Edmonton Chinatown Series here! and as a family plug: do consider visiting King Noodle House Pho Hoang, my family’s restaurant, as a Chinatown option too! *

This week my friend Diane and I went for lunch in Chinatown at Tao Garden Restaurant (9642 107 Avenue).

Tao Garden Edmonton - Chinatown

Tao Garden at 9642 107 Ave. in Chinatown

Tao Garden is tucked behind the Lucky 97 Supermarket, across the street from the old Asian Express Hot Pot restaurant.

Tao Garden Edmonton - Chinatown

inside Tao Garden

I had never heard of it until recently, when I saw another food friend Lesley eat there. Diane had also been not too long ago! Apparently they’ve only been open for about 10 months.

Tao Garden Edmonton - Chinatown

At Tao Garden – build your own noodle soup bowl!

Tao Garden’s biggest claim to fame is their Build Your Own Noodle Bowl option. It’s like an express version of hot pot! You get a sheet to select your preferred broth, noodles, and toppings. Each bowl (includes two toppings) is $10.50 (which I am told is actually a price increase from when they first opened). The bowl also comes with a hot or cold beverage included.

Tao  Garden Edmonton Chinatown

The little sheep (less spicy) broth with round vermicelli noodles, watercress and brisket ($10.50)

Diane ordered their little sheep broth (it’s a brand name, not actual little sheep! Lol) with round vermicelli noodles and watercress with brisket.

Tao  Garden Edmonton Chinatown

My tom yum, udon bowl with steak, shrimp, enoki mushrooms and spam! ($13.50)

I of course can’t just stick with two toppings when I know I can add more (any additional toppings after your included two cost $1.50 each) so I got a Tom yum broth with udon noodles and steak, shrimp, luncheon meat, and enoki mushrooms.

Your bowl includes some cabbage and bean curd sheets too (they look kind of like unfilled wontons).

It is pretty tasty broths!

Tao  Garden Edmonton Chinatown

The milk tea comes with your bowl!

We both ordered the hot milk tea, which isn’t anything special but comes in cute mugs.

You also have the option to get some sides including: spring rolls, century egg, tofu, dumplings, Chinese long donuts and more! You can also get congee or some rice dishes, a bigger “hot pot” (not to be confused with all you can eat hot pot) and you do get to choose from a pretty varied list of soup toppings if you do the build your own bowl!

Tao  Garden Edmonton Chinatown

So many toppings to choose from!

The service wasn’t the speediest. It took over a half hour to get our food out to us, which is precious lost time during lunch hour but our server and the older woman who took our money at the end of the meal were both very friendly!

The inside of Tao Garden is pretty typical of a Chinatown restaurant – kind of faded with retro chairs and plastic table coverings. It’s definitely your classic family-run noodle shop.

Overall I thought it was great! I love meals that give me more options to choose what I want and I can’t resist choosing lots of toppings. ;) Everything as very tasty. You get quite a bit of broth, noodles, and toppings for the super cheap price. It is filling for sure.

Tao Garden is a great addition to Chinatown and I know I’ll be back! It fills the noodle and soup craving and really is like a quicker, cheaper, smaller, but satisfying hot pot noodle bowl equivalent.

I’m really glad Lesley mentioned Tao Garden recently so it was on my radar, and I’m glad Diane suggested we go there for our bi-weekly lunch date! We will certainly be back! :)

As a side note: parking options include mainly residential. Do not pay for meter parking – please! So not necessary in Chinatown. Tao Garden also accepts cash or cards (debit & credit)!

So have you been to Tao Garden? What did you think?!

Linda

Tao Garden Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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Food, Giveaways, Reviews

Recap: Cooking Catelli with Chef Lynn Crawford + Giveaway: Win a Year’s Supply of Catelli Healthy Harvest Ancient Grains Pasta!

On Wednesday night I was so excited to be invited to the Catelli Healthy Harvest Ancient Grains Pasta cooking event with Chef Lynn Crawford! Read my recap of the fun below, and also scroll to the bottom to enter my giveaway to win a year’s supply of Catelli Healthy Harvest Ancient Grains Pasta!

The night was put on to celebrate the launch of the new pasta line, which hit store shelves in late January 2015. Chef Lynn has been travelling around western Canada hosting these food events to talk about the product and demo recipes she’s developed using Catelli pasta.

Cooking Catelli with Chef Lynn Crawford

Cooking Catelli with Chef Lynn Crawford

Catelli Healthy Harvest Ancient Grains Pasta is the only 100% whole grain pasta of its kind, made with 100% Canadian wheat and five ancient grains – teff, quinoa, amaranth, sorghum, and millet! 

As Chef Lynn prepared some whole grain rotini marinara and pesto spaghettini, she talked about how the new ancient grains pasta is all natural, with no preservatives – low in fat, with no sodium or trans fat. It’s meant to be a super healthy pasta pick for people increasingly paying attention to healthy eating and knowing what’s in their food.

Chef Lynn was an awesome host! As usual. She’s been to Alberta so many times in the past year now – first as NAIT’s 2014 Chef in Residence and next as a presenter at the 2014 Christmas in November. I can’t think of a better person for Catelli to pick to get people aware and excited about their new pasta.

Cooking Catelli with Chef Lynn Crawford

The five ancient grains used in Catelli Heathy Harvest pasta: millet, sorghum, amaranth, quinoa, and teff!

We had a few snacks from the Get Cooking Edmonton team, and bites of Chef Lynn’s pasta, and then we moved onto a demo of Chef’s Chilled Noodle Salad with Ginger Wasabi Dressing. (Click here for the recipe!)

Cooking Catelli with Chef Lynn Crawford

Cooking Catelli with Chef Lynn Crawford

Chef Lynn got some food bloggers to come up to help with her salad demo and then we all split up into different tables to create the salad ourselves!

Cooking Catelli with Chef Lynn Crawford

Action shot!

Overall, it was a really fun night and I’m really excited to try some of these recipes using Catelli’s new, healthy pasta!

Here are a few more recipes using Catelli Healthy Harvest Ancient Grains Pasta you can try at home!

Cooking Catelli with Chef Lynn Crawford

Chilled Noodle Salad with Ginger Wasabi Dressing.

And here are a few Tips for Cooking Whole Grain Pasta from Chef Lynn!

  • Skip the oil

    No need to add it to the cooking water – this takes away from the pasta’s final texture

  • Think salty sea

    Add a generous amount of sea salt to the boiling water to ensure your pasta is well-seasoned.

  • Avoid rinsing

    For hot pasta dishes, never rinse the pasta after cooking in order to retain starch and enable warm sauces to adhere to the pasta

  • Watch your cooking time

    Cook pasta according to the cook time guide on the package but for a professional twist, cut one to two minutes off the suggested cooking time and finish off cooking the pasta in the sauce!

  • Create the perfect pair

    Delicate pasta shapes go well with delicate sauces and heartier, ridged shapes pair well with richer sauces and ragus. Examples: Long thin pasta should go with classic marinara whereas penne, ziti, or rigatoni, can handle thicker sauces with more texture like a ragu Bolognese.

Cooking with Chef Lynn!

Delicious Catelli Ancient Grains Pasta!


Cooking Catelli with Chef Lynn Crawford

Lillian, Sharon, Phil and I and our salad creation!

There were professional photos taken throughout the night too so when I get a hold of those I’ll swap out some of my not-the-greatest iPhone photos on this blog! Meanwhile, keep scrolling down for Catelli’s awesome giveaway! A year’s supply of Catelli Healthy Harvest Ancient Grains Pasta! 

Cooking Catelli with Chef Lynn Crawford

Always great hanging out with Chef Lynn!!

Cooking Catelli with Chef Lynn Crawford

Enter to win a year’s supply of Catelli Healthy Harvest Ancient Grains pasta!

** GIVEAWAY **

ENTER TO WIN A YEAR’S SUPPLY OF CATELLI HEALTHY HARVEST ANCIENT GRAINS PASTA

(60 BOXES, VALUED AT $200)

I’m so excited Catelli is letting me give one of my readers/followers a year’s supply of pasta!

To enter, you must leave a comment on this blog post, answering the question: What pasta dish would you make with your ancient grains pasta? (gets you 5 entries)

You can get additional entries by doing the following:

I will randomly draw a winning entry from all entries after the contest closes on Saturday, April 4, 2015 at noon.

Please note comments need to be moderated so if you don’t see your comment appear right away, don’t worry!

Thanks again for this fun night and great giveaway opportunity, Catelli + Gail Bergman PR!

Linda