False Pinterest Promises

My pinterest pride produced the shame of million Italian nona`s legacies. This is the worst meal I`ve ever made. What is it with eggplant! If you overcook it, it gets slimy. If you under cook it, it tastes like wet Styrofoam. This is a recipe that Pinterest calls Eggplant Pizza or some nonsense. Its a no-carb sad excuse for … Continue reading


Dat Sauce

Don’t be fooled by the quinoa that I got, I’m still (I’m still) enchilada nice’n hawt. Enchiladas are like …so sexy. Try not to hoot and holler as you stroll oven-side waiting for the velvety sauce to start bubbling. Then the tortillas brown just a little bit, got a crunch on the edges…dayum enchilada, you … Continue reading

Sweet Life

The Sweet Life is a very exciting place for me. It’s a darling new cafe on Regent, next to Mid Sea Eatery, that I have been creeping on for a few weeks. I watched as a young woman and her daughter set it up together: a family effort. The decor is all white, with pictures of candy on the walls, a nice turquoise print upholstering the chairs. Stepping into it is like inhabiting a childhood dream, part doll-house, part bakery. Something like the movie Chocolat, but Fredericton’s version.
 The owner’s daughter Ellie gets her own miniature play kitchen inside the cafe, right beside the cash. There’s a little stove, chairs, tables, and a chalkboard that proudly states her involvement in the business: This is Ellie’s place too.

I arrived for lunch believing this was a dessert-only cafe. But the lunch special included a few other things, including a Chicken Basil Panini. I started with a Chicken Basil Panini. It was really tasty, though I wish it had a side. The chicken was fresh and pulled apart, held together with a basil mayo, if there was any mayo at all, it was very subtle and light.
I grabbed a coffee off their self-serve station comprised of two Keurig’s set up on a shelf with just about every flavoured coffee and tea disk one could imagine.
The panini was really just a prelude. A foreword. A nicety I felt I owed the owners. I reached the counter and looked at the glass display of cupcakes, cake pops, squares, cheesecakes and began my order.
I wanted an assortment. I wanted to sit there with a tray of desserts and eat it all until I had a mild sugar heart attack.
Half way through making my selection the cashier misunderstands me, tries to ask, “Wait…is this for here, or to go?”
I smile devilishly, “For here…Yep…For right here,”
I’m not saying that there’s no merit in going to Sweet Life to eat a panini. Sure there is. They’re downtown, and Im guessing the professional crowd isn’t going to sit eating 4 cupcakes a day. They need the options. But this cafe is called the Sweet Life for a REASON. Their desserts are to die for. The chocolate strawberry cupcake is moist and rich and heavenly. The peaches and cream cupcake is sugary and a reminder about the peach, the peach! What a wonderful fruit! The light hint of it in the frosting is completed by a fresh slice of the fruit in the center.
 The key lime squares are the owner’s self-professed favourite. She claims she can’t stay away from them. I love cheesecake so I agree. And I loved the twisted lime sliver decorating the top. (I’m unsure that the food colouring in it is necessary to make it green. You can tell from the taste and I’m a bit bothered when things look artificial…)
What takes the “cake” if you will, were the cake pops. I have never had a cake pop. I’d seen them at Starbucks but thought, “What’s the point?” It seemed too cutsey, dainty, non-committal. But consider the amount of moisture that one small bite of cake, made for that purpose, glazed with chocolate for that tiny purpose, can accomplish. My heart flutters for cake pops.

There are many new experiences to be had at Sweet Life. If you’ve never had a cupcake, if you don’t understand the cake pop frenzy, if you’ve never taken a day to yourself to just sit and eat a plateful of desserts for lunch…There’s a little family-run haven saying you should.

Park’s Noodle & Sushi

I’ve been meaning to go to Parks Noodle & Sushi for a while. Before it even opened, I was excited about the prospect that Fredericton might actually have decent sushi. Real sushi. The store was a tight corner on Queen and Regent, with windows all around, and enough traffic that it always seemed busy.
The menu looked promising: a lot of things I’d never heard of, no “English Subtitled” explanations. They even had exotic options, and the curious fat kid in me was dying to try Eel sushi. I ordered it, and also something called the Lion King, the safer twist on a California Roll topped with smoked salmon, salmon roe (juicy fish eggs that burst in your mouth) and, wait for it…cheese.
No, not cream cheese. A big ole’ slab of what looked like Kraft Single’s plasticky cheese was blanketed on top of the roll. I watched them make it, and though the chef looked really bad-ass torching the top of this sushi roll…Something didn’t make sense. Were they trying to dumb it down for me? Appeasing a “north-american” palate as if it I had grown up eating so much fast-food my taste buds needed a McDonaldized version of SUSHI?

Trust me, the dairy addition is pointless. I couldn’t even taste the cheese beneath the smoked salmon, another inauthentic item. Ladies and Gentlemen, let’s clarify something: smoked salmon is used on sushi because you like it on your bagels. I am almost positive that real sushi, from Japan, never had smoked salmon. They use raw salmon primarily, not smoked. That’s a semi-recent invention from sushi bars in California, who felt that raw salmon might be dangerous as it fosters many a parasites.
All of these qualifications aside, my point is that this meal was in no way, not even close, to resembling real sushi. The eel variety was equally terrible: too dry, too fishy. Two things it shouldn’t be. Eel Sushi when done right, is supposed to flake in your mouth, and the fatty texture on the bottom should be cooked through so you don’t have to chew on it so much.

I was glad I tried it, sure. I wouldn’t have the Eel sushi again. I might have the Lion King or something simpler, but then you might as well just walk over to the Superstore and buy their Bento stuff all the same (and probably cheaper).
Don’t worry though, I didn’t forget the Noodle part of Park’s Noodle & Fake-shi, and ordered what the waitress instructed me was the most popular dish. A tofu vegetarian choice of their Park’s Noodle. Bam, now we were talking. Park’s knows their noodles. Whatever I had was a thick noodle, something I’d never seen before and it was hearty. The tofu was cooked well, seasoned, it actually tasted like something! The veggies were just barely cooked, retaining a crunchy bite.
The noodles were worth my time, worth my money, worth a whole lotta slurping. (You’re supposed to slurp right? The louder you slurp the more appreciation you have for the food?)

So if you’re looking for sushi, forget Parks. But if you like noodles, different varieties like Soba (buckwheat noodles) then this place has oodles, truly the whole kit and caboodle of noodles.

Caribbean Flavas

 When Naz Ali, the chef and owner of Caribbean Flavas, first submitted his proposal for an ethnic restaurant to his business professors at UNB, it received an average mark: a C+. The government didn’t go for it either, they told Naz he’d be better off opening a convenience store. Seven years later, the chef is living proof that a conscientious approach to business and dining can pay off , he had friends and family who were willing to help. You’d never be able to tell Naz has no formal culinary training.

We started off with the beef samosas. The pastry – baked, not fried – crumbled and crackled in our hands. Around us, we noticed Naz’s careful construction of the dining room: no salt shakers on the table, the sweet chilli dipping sauce was a shallow sliver on the bottom of a dish. And with our complimentary serving of warm coconut bread came a modest portion of butter, leading us to realize Caribbean Flavas is mindful of healthier choices, and you might not even know it. 

Naz told us, as he we left, and  in a warm Trinidadian accent, that in seven years only one customer complained about the restrained amount of “buttah” that comes with the bread.
I had the Jerk Chicken, a traditional Jamaican dish, at medium heat; a described 6 out of 10 on the hot scale. It’s a pretty accurate scale, and, considering I can handle spicy, I was content dabbing a runny nose and sweaty forehead in between forkfuls.
Jamie’s Pinneapple Chicken was a mild fruit 4 out of 10 in heat, and he managed to clean up the plate of chicken marinated in pineapple sauce , julienned steamed carrots and rice pilaf accompaniment.

Caribbean Flavas is a good ethnic alternative amongst the sea of pub grub that’s found in Fredericton.
But Naz’s skillz have garnered recognition from more than a few small town food bloggers. He’s catered for Justin Bieber, Leonard Cohen and countless others who have come to admire his food (We can’t list them all here, but the list is on the back of the menu or on the website).
I will make one suggestion: They need to make their own iced tea. I was a bit disappointed getting a bottle of Brisk at a tropical restaurant.
We were satisfied but not uncomfortably stuffed, for around $20.

DineAroundFreddy…Still hungry.

Dear Fred-eats Readership,

This week I’m a little bit mad. You see, I heard Fredericton was encouraging people to go out and eat at its assortment of, if I may say so myself, very fine restaurants.

They started a Restaurant Week entitled DineAroundFreddy. Many cities do this: Toronto’s is  called Summerlicious and Winterlicious. I have a Bostonian friend who posts amazing pictures of her city’s gastronomical event too.  The idea is that for two weeks restaurants set up new, creative, dazzling menus at a fixed rate for everyone to enjoy.
Have you heard about DineAroundFreddy? Probably not. Because the advertising is terrible, and nowhere to be found. Unless you google Fredericton Tourism (but even then it’s not explicit on their main page) or have stumbled upon the hashtag on Twitter.
Why aren’t there posters around town? Why aren’t servers urging me to “save the date”?

But my real grievance is with the prices. The options are a 3 course menu for $29 or $45. Right up until I saw the figures, I was ready to try and hit up all the participating restaurants.
But  to do so, I would have to budget around $300 dollars, eating the smaller menu, and eating alone because nobody in their right mind would spend that kind of cash to accompany me.

Ultimately, I am insulted by the exclusionary aspects of this incentive. Did they completely forget about students? Every other establishment makes concessions for us, offering a lesser priced alternative. There is student pricing for theatre at the Playhouse. There’s student pricing for groceries. There’s student pricing for movies.

So why on earth Fredericton Tourism couldn’t offer a smaller, appetizer-sized menu for $15 is beyond me. Although I checked and all Canadian based restaurant weeks (although most American ones too) have a cheaper lunch menu option for $15-20.

I’ve decided the only way to deal with this matter is by taking donations. I might be “blogbusking” at a downtown corner. You can feel free to come by STU and interrupt my classes, daily from 10-5, and donate a couple of dollars. Really, every penny counts. I believe that one day we will live in a Fredericton where we can all afford to eat out together.