YYC Hot Chocolate Fest!

>> Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Boy was it cold out earlier this month! I found it really hard to muster up the strength to want to leave the house everyday so am I ever glad that we’re getting a bit of a break with the chinook lately. Hopefully it keeps up for a bit but seeing that it’s Calgary I’m not going to be surprised when we get hit by our next big chill. Luckily for us, February is also YYC Hot Chocolate Fest!

Celebrating their 6th year, the YYC Hot Chocolate Fest is supporting Calgary Meals on Wheels with proceeds from each of the hot chocolates benefitting their Home Meal Delivery Program. Various cafes, restaurants and chocolatiers are supporting the cause by creating a signature hot chocolate (some even spirited) for the competition. Calgarians are encouraged to try as many hot chocolates as they can and then go online to review each. It is highly encouraged to review all the ones you’ve sampled because the winners will be selected based on the overall rating of the hot chocolate!

I’ve been lucky enough to try a couple and here are my thoughts on them…

Seasons of Bowness - S'mores Twist

An update on the traditional hot chocolate with Smirnoff Marshmallow Vodka. The hints of cinnamon and graham crackers are delicious and playful on the tongue. A warming drink perfect for a cool winter day especially when skating in Bowness Park.

CafĂ© Rosso – Marble Coconut

I really enjoyed this creation with both dark and white chocolate mixed together and topped with lots of whipped cream and toasted coconut that they made in house. I preferred it because it wasn’t too sweet and the toasted coconut on top added a nice textural crunch. I could probably have one of these everyday.

Analog – Corbeaux Hot Chocolate

Their version showcased basil and lemon infused in to white chocolate and topped with Corbeaux’s own marshmallows and a white chocolate chip cookie. The basil was definitely interesting, this one would be perfect for those looking for a blend of sweet and savoury. The cookie was a lovely bonus.

The Deane House – Bergamot Sea Salt

Hinted with flavours of sea salt and earl grey tea then topped with roasted marshmallows. This was a delicious combo! The subtle flavour of the tea really added an extra layer of flavour to this hot chocolate. I also enjoyed that it wasn’t cloyingly sweet. The roasted marshmallow on top also reminded me of nights out camping and smores. Amazing!

Even though it has warmed up, now is an even better time to get out there to sample all those delicious hot chocolates for a cause! Grab one and chill or grab one to go! I'm off to sample a couple more myself and will continue to update as I try more! Check back for new reviews. Yum!


Restaurant Review: Jinya Ramen Bar

>> Friday, February 3, 2017

Vacation and food are almost synonymous in our family. It isn’t truly a vacation unless we’re in local areas trying specialize dishes and unique cuisines of that location. On our most recent trip as we were looking for a place to eat we ran in to a couple different Jinya restaurants! They reminded me of our visit to their newest location in Calgary. We were told that they had locations all over the world but who would have thought that we would run in to them on our trip! We were lucky enough to try out their ramen bowls amongst other goodies before we left and here’s some of our highlights.

Atmosphere: Contemporary interior and a hip vibe makes this place unique amongst current ramen restaurants in town.

Price Range: mid $10s+

Food & Drinks: We were advised that we could try two appetizers, two ramen bowls and a dessert. So after looking at the menu we decided on the Jinya Bun which is a steam bun stuffed with slow braised pork chashu, cucumber, baby greens, kewpie mayo and jinya sauce and the Brussels Sprouts Tempura, crispy tempura with truffle oil. I really liked the Jinya Bun. There are many different version of this, some with only the pork and a bit of sauce and some with all the fixings. I particularly enjoyed this because it was a good ratio of bun to pork to sauce along with some greens. It was a great start to the meal. The Brussels Sprouts Tempura were crunchy but they needed a sauce or a dip. A spicy mayo would have elevated the dish or even better, a truffle oil mayo since I couldn’t really taste the truffle oil on the brussels sprouts themselves.

I ordered the Jinya Tonkotsu Black made with pork broth and served with chashu, garlic oil and chips, thin noodles and topped with a spicy sauce and this amazing egg which is cooked to perfection. When I go back I am definitely going to order an extra egg. It’s cooked just so that the yolk inside is still gloriously runny! Overall I enjoyed the bowl, the noodles were well cooked and the broth wasn’t overly salty which I find happens with tonkotsu. I would order it again, but next time I have my eye on the Cha Cha Cha for Garlic Lover’s!

The hubby tried the Premium Tonkotsu White (funny how the name was exactly opposite of the “Black”). This bowl was made with pork and chicken broth served with chashu, a half egg, kikurage (mushrooms) and thin noodles. My husband prefers thin noodles and thought they were well cooked. The broth wasn’t as heavy since it was a nice combination of both chicken and pork. As part of his meal he also ordered the set, which comes with Gyozas. The dumplings had a nice char to them and the filling was quite flavourful. We both enjoyed them and would order them again.

For dessert we ordered the Mochi Ice Cream, one green tea and and one chocolate. For those who haven’t had mochis before, they are soft rice balls made from glutinous rice flour and these ones in particular are stuffed with ice cream where traditionally they would be stuffed with red bean or sesame paste. I liked the green tea one and my husband liked the chocolate so one of each was perfect for sharing. Although I probably could have eaten more of just green tea myself. =)

My Picks: Jinya Bun, Mochi Ice Cream

Overall: It is definitely nice to see more ramen options in Calgary. Especially global establishments such as Jinya recognizing that Calgary is a city that has a food scene that they would like to be a part of. After speaking to the manager, I was informed that Jinya has very specific requirements for their stores and I’m glad they were able to find something that suited them here in the city. Here’s looking forward to seeing new items being introduced on their menu and opening up our palates to new global cuisine!

Jinya Ramen Bar
Unit 180, 1800 4 St SW
Calgary, AB
(587) 356-0721
Website: http://jinya-ramenbar.com/locations/detail/calgary

Jinya Ramen Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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