Las Vegas Getaway....

Sunday, April 28, 2013 0 comments

To be totally honest, I had the intention to use my first trip to Vegas as a food adventure trip. Afterall, it is said to be the home of the best buffets in the world. And with a deal like Caesar's Entertainments "Buffet of Buffets" where you have 24 hours to eat at their 6 casino buffets for as low as $40 you could say I was excited.

But who was I kidding, first time in Vegas and with my friends Dustin and Amy food took a back seat to the party scene ;)

I did have the chance to try out the American sensation chain-restaurant Chipotle's. I wish we had one of these, right here in Windsor, Ontario. It was delicious, affordable and probably the second best Mexican I have tried. First best Mexican still goes to Mamasitas in Melbourne, Australia. But for a chain-restaurant.... it was really, really good.

Of the Vegas buffets, we had breakfast at The Quad's Emperor's Buffet one morning. To be honest, the buffet was not worth it at all. The waffles were rock hard from the heat lamps, the sausage overly fatty and flavourless, and the scrambled eggs tasted like rubberized sponge. The highlight of this meal was probably the large assortment of desserts and the mimosas that kicked off that day's festivities.

Another buffet that we tried was Harrah's Flavors . For just $24, I could say it was worth it. I only made it through one round (barely... but that story stays in Vegas ;) ) but wish I could have gone up for seconds and thirds. The Buffet was divided by cultures, with Mexican tacos, Japanese sushi, Chinese General Tao's chicken, Italian pasta and pizza, North American Roast Beef (cooked perfectly), and of course the staple salad bar. The gelato is also a must try here, I had the raspberry and it was delicious. I would definitely recommend you given this buffet a try.

On this trip, we also ate at the Food Network featured restaurant, Hash House A Go-Go. I had the feature sage fried chicken benedict. It was a HUGE portion, which included a spicy hollandaise, two decent portions of fried chicken, two eggs, mash potatoes, and decorated with sweet bell peppers and a large sprig of rosemary.

REVIEW: Bacana Brazilian Steakhouse

Friday, February 22, 2013 0 comments

Bacana Brazilian Steakhouse
3347 Tecumseh Road East
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Phone: (519) 948-3331

Type of Restaurant: Brazilian Steakhouse
Attire: Casual
Prices: $$ Affordable
Payment Options: Cash, Visa, Mastercard, Debit/EFTPOS
Monday: CLOSED
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 5 - 9 PM 
Friday: Lunch: 11:30 AM-2PM
            Dinner: 5-10PM
Saturday: 5-10pm
Sunday: Open for Special Occasions

Reservations? Recommended
Handicap Accessible? Yes.
Vegetarian Friendly? not worth it, unless you really want to pay $25 for rice and black beans.
Vegan Friendly? Nope.

Quality of Food: 4/5
Service: 3.5/5
Originality: 3/5
Atmosphere: 4/5

From my previous post, you would know that I successfully completed a one-month vegan challenge. Now it was time to celebrate and what better way to celebrate, than with a Brazilian Steakhouse. ;)

Some of my co-workers have been waiting for the one month challenge to be over so that we could go out to try Bacana's as I didn't know it even existed in this neck of the woods.All I can say is, it was well worth the wait.

This was my first time at a Brazilian Steakhouse and the staff were more than welcoming. We had reservations for 8pm last Saturday, and were well advised to park across the street, as MNSi Internet Services isn't so fond of Bacana patrons using their parking lot next door, no matter how empty it is.The Bacana staff were also more than helpful to explain how their Brazilian steakhouse works. 

Essentially, you have an open buffet of salad, rice, black beans, coleslaw, and potatoes all of which were really delicious to the point where it is difficult to pick a favourite. Then you have a building block type thing that is painted red on one end and green on the other. If the green is facing up, the meat keeps coming, served and carved by the gauchos (male servers) fresh from the skewer it was cooked on, right at your table. The selection of meat is always changing. On this occasion we tried an apple cider brisket, brown sugar marinated pork, sea salt steak, chicken drumsticks, bacon-wrapped chicken breast, sausage, and chicken hearts. Of all the choices, I would have to rank the brown sugar pork as a favourite as it was cooked perfectly and was very tender followed closely by the seemingly simplistic sea salt beef brisket which was incredible juicy with just the right amount of salt to make your mouth water for more.

By time 9:30 rolled around, we were the last table remaining. The music shut off and we got that this was our queue to wrap it up. We were caught a bit off guard as having worked in hospitality we are well aware that this is a hospitality faux-pas. Despite this abrupt end to a great experience, the service and food quality are definitely enough to pay this hidden Windsor gem another visit in the near future. 

In with 2013, out with meat.

Thursday, February 21, 2013 0 comments

I know, I know. It has been forever since I have updated this blog. Life has gotten a bit hectic since last October. I ran my first marathon, had a few family health scares, and took on a new position at work. With 2013 now upon us and the craziness seeming to have calmed down slightly, I'm prepared to at least offer up some of my schedule to updating this blog more than I have been the last few months.

How are those New Year's Resolutions going for you? For 2013, I decided to start crossing things off my life bucket list. For the month of January, my friend Katie and I challeneged each other to a month on a vegan diet. Vegan, not to be mistaken with vegetarian, means nothing from animals. No meat, no eggs, no milk, no cheese, no honey, no butter, etc. If an animal made it, we couldn't have it.

I have read over and over again the benefits of a vegan diet. One of the most convincing books highlighting the benefits of a vegan diet was the Thrive Diet written by Canadian Ironman athlete Brendan Brazier.

To ring in the new year, I had taken a trip up to Niagara Falls with my friends Melissa and Jen. This made waking up on January 1st, and only being able to eat a vegan breakfast especially challenging. We went to the IHOP (International House of Pancakes) in the hotel's lobby. I have never eaten at an IHOP, and my first visit I couldn't even have about 98% of there menu. I ended up ordering the disappointing (and expensive) bowl of fruit.

Despite this disappointing breakfast, the challenge allowed me to gain a bigger appreciation for the food I consume as well as try recipe alternatives I would not otherwise try. It also forced me to invest in a food processor which made making hummus and babaganoush all that much easier :)

Lunches and dinners were quite easy to make vegan, but breakfasts were definitely the most challenging. There is simply no replacement for an eggs benedict but there IS a pretty impressive replacement for pancakes.

Check out this gluten free, sugar free, dairy free pancake recipe:

1 cup of ground oats (to the point of it almost becoming a flour, I just put 1 cup in a food processor)
1 really ripe banana
some almond milk
cinnamon (optional)

You definitely need a food processor or a really decent blender to make this pancake batter. Add the banana to your food processor and mix until it is liquid in texture. Then add your ground oats until you have a thick dough. Add your almond milk until you get a smooth pancake batter-like consistency. Mix in some cinnamon to add a spicy taste and for the added health benefits.

Thats it, DONE. Now just pour them into a frying pan with some vegetable oil (or raw virgin coconut oil) and when the batter starts to bubble its time to flip your pancake.

Let me know how it goes.

For now, I have returned to a mostly vegetarian diet with the occasional meat but am ready to do another vegan challenge when our local farmers markets kick off again in the spring.