Delicious Local Lettuce!

Lettuce rejoice – spring is here!

I’m so happy that this season has brought us lots of sunny days and warm weather, a welcome change after last year’s 70 days of rain. Welcome back, sun!

Despite the clouds and raindrops that made their appearance today, I headed out to two of my fave groceries: Belbin’s and Food For Thought. I was excited to find that The Organic Farm has started selling their lettuce and spinach for the year at both of these shops (deliveries are Wednesdays and sometimes Saturdays at Food For Thought). Also: I have discovered that The Lettuce Farm, a local indoor grower, sells their delicious lettuce at Belbin’s.

If you’re like me and you LOVE a good salad, I strongly recommend trying these lettuces! TLF’s is to diiiie for with its big, sumptuous, buttery leaves. I snagged a bag of TOF’s spinach and can’t wait to try it. Nothing makes one feel more virtuous than salad, no?

photo by Flickr user psd

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Sweet Love Bake Shoppe

Last week, some friends and I attended the “Cupcakes and Greeting Cards” event at The Paperie in St John’s. The cupcakes were made by the Sweet Love Bake Shoppe, a local small business working out of a home kitchen.

What a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon! Laura, Kim and I bought one of each flavour (plus a few extras!) and decided to have a cupcake tasting. It was a beautiful, sunny day… a perfect occaision to share some treats among friends.

The flavours that were available to try last Saturday were: Vanilla Love, Chocolate Love, Coconut Lime Corruption, Red Velvet Romance, Cookies and Dream, Chocolate Mo’mints and Orange Chocolate Crush.

First of all, the cupcakes are absolutely beautiful. Each one is hand-made in a home kitchen, and each one is picture-perfect, right down to the hand-made chocolate hearts on top.

The texture is light and fluffy and the icing is both decorative and delicious. My experience is that there is often an inverse relationship between the prettiness of icing and its yumminess. However, Sweet Love has found a way to marry the best of both worlds. You would NEVER guess that these cupcakes are vegan and cholesterol/trans-fat free (apparently only the Red Velvet is a minor exception to this). They are truly the best cupcakes I have had in the city.

We all agreed that the Chocolate Mo’mint’s was delicious… too often, chocolate-mint confections seem to shy away from minty flavour, but this was not the case with Sweet Love’s cupcake. When asked to pick favourites, however, Red Velvet won the gold medal from all three tasters! Here are our top picks:

Kim’s Favourites:
• Red Velvet
• Chocolate Mo’mint
• Cookies & Dream
Comments: Also loved the very chocolate-y “Chocolate Love” cupcake, and meeting the very friendly people who made them!

Laura’s Favourites:
• Red Velvet
• Chocolate Love
• Cookies and Dream
Comments: Also loved the punchy mint flavour of Chocolate Mo’mint, and how each cupcake is beautifully made.

Christine’s Favourites:
• Red Velvet
• Coconut Lime Corruption
• Cookies and Dream
Comments: Beautiful and delicious… Can’t wait to try these again!

For more info on the Sweet Love Bake Shoppe, see our previous blog post or visit their Facebook page.

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Sweet Weekend: Cupcake Event this Saturday!

What a great way to celebrate this Easter/Passover week! This coming Saturday, April 23, The Sweet Love Bake Shoppe and The Paperie are hosting an event called “Gourmet Cupcakes and Sweet Greeting Cards.”

This pretty Spring-themed cupcakes will be making an appearance on Saturday.

The Sweet Love Bake Shoppe is a local business run by Joanne Metcalfe and Gary Hunter. The adventure began last September when they provided 100 cupcakes for a party. Everyone loved them so much that they decided to keep it up, and they’ve been creating delicious and beautiful cupcakes ever since!

The cupcakes come in mini- and regular-size and are regularly available by special orders of a dozen per type. This Saturday is our chance to try out some of their fabulous flavours, one cupcake (or two… or ten!) at a time.

What I love about Sweet Love is that it’s a small business that is run out of a home kitchen. They have a fun list of flavours and will make custom cupcakes, too. They even have gluten-free options! For a full menu selection and price list, click here (via Facebook). Here are some of the flavours that I can’t wait to try:

Chocolate Mo’mint: chocolate/mint cupcake with mint icing and chocolate drizzle.
I Said Gingerbread: gingerbread cupcake with lemon icing and candied ginger.
No Hangover Here: stout and chocolate cupcake, man-friendly, with a “rugged crumb topping.”

And, as if you needed another reason to check them out this Saturday, Sweet Love’s cupcakes are cholesterol and trans-fat free, vegan-friendly, and absolutely gorgeous. They use high quality ingredients, including organic cane sugar, unbleached flour and real vanilla extract. Here are some pics – just looking at them is making me crave cupcakes in a very serious way!

"Cookies and Dream" mini cupcakes... yum.

Vanilla cupcakes topped with fruit.

"Chocolate Mo'mint" minis... I can never say "no" to a chocolate-mint cupcake!

The event takes place on April 23, 10:00 to 17:00, at the Paperie (36 Pippy Place, St John’s). Cupcakes will be sold for $2.50 to $3.00 each. Visitors to the event can also participate in a card-making workshop and take their hand-made cards home to give to a special someone ($2/each). A portion of funds raised will go towards supporting the Community Food Association and local food banks.

Find out more about Sweet Love Bake Shoppe via their Facebook page (full of mouth-watering pics) or via email at

Pictures with permission from Sweet Love Bake Shoppe.

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Pasta with Scallops, Pancetta & White Wine/Cream Sauce

Having recently come off a gluten-free-stint, I was craving pasta with cream sauce one day while at Sobeys. I had recently bought some fresh tagliatelle and was excited to make something with it. It often happens that I decide what to make for dinner based simply on “what looks good” at the grocery store that day. There were some beautiful fresh scallops on hand, so we quickly found a recipe that looked good and decided to try something new.

This recipe is bound to be one of our household favourites! (Here is the link.) We made one key modification: the addition of pancetta, which provided a smoky-saltiness and added dimension to the flavour. Seriously: there is nothing like bacon or pancetta… you almost can’t go wrong with it!

If you decide to try the recipe linked above, I recommend omitting the butter. Instead, fry up your pancetta in a skillet and set aside, using the remaining juices in place of butter. Then, add the pancetta to the sauce at the end and serve. YUM!

Fresh tagliatelle with scallops, pancetta, and a white wine/cream sauce

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New on the Scene: Rocket Bakery and Fresh Food

It’s the moment many of us have been waiting for! Rocket Bakery and Fresh Food opened its doors last week on Water Street.

Located in the former home of the much-loved Auntie Crae’s, a long-established favourite among locals and visitors, this newcomer to the St John’s food scene has a lot to live up to. From what we can tell, they are off to a rockin’ start!

Available at this new foodie destination are several of the staples that we all came to rely upon from its predecessor: fresh breads, pastries, coffee (which has been christened with the clever nickname “Rocket Fuel”), salads and soups. Gourmet dried goods are also available and include organic teas and specialty honey – they plan to flesh out their selection as they receive requests and feedback from customers.

The team at Rocket have expressed an interest in serving a community of people who appreciate well-prepared and good quality foods. Like Auntie Crae’s before them, they plan to offer fine teas, condiments and sauces that are imported or otherwise difficult to find. Other specialty groceries, like Belbin’s and Food for Thought, exist in a similar vein. Where Rocket has a chance to stand out, I think, will be in their capacity to also provide excellent, freshly-made foods to those who have an interest in eating locally and eating well.

Chocolate cupcakes with raspberry icing at Rocket

I can personally vouch for the excellence of their croissants: the pain au chocolat in particular is absolutely divine. They have secured the services of a former Georgetown Bakery expert in this position and I can’t wait to go back to try more of their delicious-looking breads! Alas, however, the chocolate cupcake with raspberry icing left something to be desired – it had an uncanny black colour and lacked flavour. But it’s early yet, and I think the foundations have been laid here for a new bakery-to-be reckoned-with.

The environment at Rocket is warm and welcoming. Set in a gorgeous heritage building, the place has a sense of history about it and also feels new and fresh. Devotees of Auntie Crae will appreciate that many of the fixtures, including the seating area, have been carried forward into the new business. It’s a friendly and fun-loving environment and a pleasure to visit.

Right now, Rocket is encouraging customers to make suggestions and requests as they build their business with our needs in mind. I think this shows a great respect for their community and the tastes of its members, don’t you? Drop by, enjoy a croissant, leave a suggestion – let’s help build this great new resource for our food-loving town!

I think we can call Rocket’s “launch” (couldn’t help myself, sorry!) a success and I look forward to watching it soar to new heights! Have you checked it out yet?

Visit Rocket’s website at

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Tea Time

It might be “roll up the rim” season, but my favourite place to get a hot cup of tea is still from my own kettle – using the lovely teas from Britannia Teas on Water Street.

I just adore going into this boutique and choosing some new teas to try. Black tea, green, white or herbal… organic, decaf or fair trade… whatever your favourite, they have it all! All of the teas are loose-leaf and each is presented in a little canister so you can see and smell the leaves before buying.

ECF Favourites:
Spearmint: it has a delightful, refreshing flavour… a breath of fresh air and a nice change from the more commonly-seen peppermint variety.
Lady Hannah’s Whole Fruit: it’s real pieces of dried fruit! Delicious, with a beautiful ruby colour.
Decaf Sencha: for those Zen moments.
Earl Grey Organic: A flavourful pick-me-up.
– And there are many more flavours I have yet to try!

Of course, it’s hard to resist the other goodies for sale as well. They have a small selection of gourmet candies, jams and sauces – and fun tea accessories, too.

Hot, iced, with a lemon twist, with a good book, with a cookie (or four)… what’s your favourite way to enjoy a cup of tea?

Colourful cream and sugar dishes

Some down-home flavour


More fun tea-time accessories!

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Upcoming Events

Hi all! Two fabulous foodie events to let you all know about!

Newfoundland’s 4th annual Savour food and wine show is coming up on April 7! This is an opportunity to taste food, wine, beer and spirits from Newfoundland’s finest.

This event is taking place from 6:30 to 9:30 at the Delta Hotel and Convention Centre in St John’s.

Tickets are $75. There is also a package available from Delta Hotels that gets you two tickets and a room at the hotel for $199 – a great deal, especially since it means not having to worry about driving home!

In conjunction with the show, Dining Around is taking place on the following evening (April 8, 2011). Restos across the country will be offering special three-course meals that evening at a great price. It will be a great night to try that new resto you’ve had your eye on!

For a list of participating restaurants and for more details on how to get your tickets, visit

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Dining out in Corner Brook

I was very excited to visit Corner Brook (and Marble Mountain!) for the first time a few weeks ago. The skiing was amazing, as about a foot of snow had fallen right before we got there! There was also some delicious food in Corner Brook – here are my two faves from the trip.

Bay of Islands Bistro

I just can’t say enough about this place. Bright, upscale and welcoming ambiance, friendly service, and creative food. The menu changes seasonally and the chef takes great pride in his work. We loved that they used local dishes as inspiration, too: while we were there, they were serving rabbit with a topping of julienned carrots, celery and juniper. Dessert was truly delicious: the rum cake and flourless chocolate cake were huge hits.

Recommended for: An evening out with friends or à deux, special occasions, or an elegant lunch.

They also have a great website.

Local rabbit with carrot, celery and juniper

Pork belly and seared scallops with brandied apricots and celeriac purée

Delicious duck with local root veggies


This place is a little more off the beaten path and is a hidden gem, indeed. Sorrento’s is best known for their homemade pastas, pizza and bread but their menu also boasted several other strengths. The salad with organic greens, candied walnuts and balsamic reduction had a great combination of flavours and textures and was definitely a cut above the phoned-in salad found at so many pasta places.

The house-made dessert was another surprise highlight at Sorrento’s. Definitely worth leaving room for!

Recommended for: A casual outing with family, friends and good food.

Chocolate cake at Sorrento's

What are your favourite spots to eat in CB? Any other delicious West coast eats? We’d love to hear from you and are always looking for new flavours!

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French Glassware

I absolutely love my new La Rochère glassware… reminds me of lovely meals on the terrace in the South of France. Here’s to the official beginning of Spring (in two days!)

La Rochère glassware in the traditional bee pattern, made in France

See the collection on La Rochère’s website. You’ll find similar styles at Home on Water in St John’s.

photo from La Rochère

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Drink of the Week: Irish Whiskey

In honour of Saint Patrick’s Day, why not forgo the green beer and try something with a little more kick to get and/or keep the party going?

This week, we’re featuring Bushmills Blackbush, a sweeter whiskey aged in sherry casks for added flavour.

A toast to Saint Paddy’s Day!

Photo from eVintner

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