Christmas Round-Up 2014

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I thought my generous amount of time off for Christmas would be an excellent opportunity to catch up on all the blog posts I hadn’t gotten around to writing during my first couple weeks of work. I pictured nice play-by-plays of all of the extravagant meals I would have planned, complete with pictures taken by an actual camera, and some of my favourite gluten-free Christmas recipes. What actually happened was that we all got sick, every day just flew by, and I cooked a lot but didn’t take a single photo because I was either up to my elbows in raw turkey carcass and my kitchen was in a state of perpetual disaster, or because I really wanted to relax and enjoy my family and our holidays instead of worrying about taking pictures of sautéed brussels sprouts.

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For the most part, my food turned out great. I did a dry brine on my turkey because I was cooking dinner at my aunt’s, and we didn’t arrive at her house until Christmas Eve. The beauty of the dry brine is that it can be done in as little as 8 hours (as opposed to three days – see Thanksgiving post). I made a simple mixture of kosher salt, pepper, sage, and garlic; gave the bird a nice massage with it, and then put it in the fridge and headed off to church. The unappealing aspect of this method is that general wisdom suggests leaving the turkey in your fridge uncovered in order for the skin to dry out (leading to crispier skin when roasting), meaning you have to clear quite a wide berth in order to keep stray limbs from brushing up on any other food in your fridge (and obviously there is tons because you are cooking a turkey dinner). I don’t know why I have this obsession with getting crispy golden skin on my turkeys when not a single person in my family eats it. In the end I preferred the results of the traditional liquid brine, its flavour edged out the dry brine in terms of both meat and gravy.

I think the best way for me to summarize my holidays, culinary events and other, is to make a list a la Bridget Jones’ Diary. This is a broader picture of what went down from the 19th of December to the 4th of January, in no particular order.

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CHRISTMAS ROUND-UP (stats apply to my immediate family only)

Sisters home from vet school/the coldest place in the world, thus signifying the beginning of Christmas: 1

Oven fires: 1

Family Members Sick: 3 out of 4, plus Grandma

Days added onto vacay because of illness, collectively: 5

Hospital Visits: 3

Shopping done by my father: none

Turkeys fully cooked on first try: 0

Meat thermometers functioning on Christmas day: 0

Bottles of red wine consumed: unknown

Boxes of Purdy’s given/received: 18 and 16, respectively.

Sugar cookies iced with icing made of raw egg whites that I then fed to my elderly grandparents and other extended family members, later learning that the eggs were also a month older than their expiration date: roughly 50

Pounds of butter used over course of holiday: unknown

Watched National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation: twice

Watched Love Actually with my Grandma: once, awkwardly

Tarts consumed (butter and maid-of-honor varieties): approx. 6 dozen

Family Christmas Bingo 2014 winners: Frankincense and Moore (1st), Polar Baras Express/FrostBlights (2nd), and The Cousin Eddies (3rd). Great success.

Short term/permanent grudges formed as result of FCB ‘14: 0

Blind dates: 1

Ferries taken (one-way trips): 10 human fares plus 2 car fares ($260 value)

Flights taken (single flights): 11 (Kiewit incurred costs, in addition to unknown amounts of cash and airmiles expended)

Flights rescheduled to accommodate sick family members: 1

Dog fights: 1

Beautiful, heavy-duty professional All-Clad pans gifted to Alex: 1!!!

As you can see, it was a very good Christmas for the Priers. I hope yours was great too; that you ate with abandon and watched Love Actually sans grandmother. Happy New Year!

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“Salmon Two Ways” Pasta

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I made this last night in celebration of landing my first real grownup job! Fast, easy, and I could eat the whole thing myself.

WORKING GIRL PASTA (realistically serves around 4 adults)

  • 2-3 shallots, sliced thin
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • glug of olive oil, small chunk of butter
  • 1 large piece salmon, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 150 grams or so candied smoked salmon nuggets, cut into little pieces
  • 1 500ml carton heavy cream
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 box gluten free Catelli fusilli pasta
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • salt, pepper, chili flakes

-In a heavy frying pan, heat butter and oil. Saute shallots and garlic for a minute or two, then add fresh salmon chunks. Salt and pepper. Cook for another 1-2 minutes, until salmon is not quite cooked through.

-Dump this stuff in a bowl and set aside. Add a bit more oil to your pan if you need it.

-Meanwhile you should get your pasta water to a rolling boil. I love the Catelli gf pasta for its good quinoa-corn-rice blend, but anything else will do.

-Cook peas until thawed and soft. Add all of your heavy cream and smoked salmon. Bring to low simmer, cooking for a least 5 minutes.

-Scrape the sides every once in a while to avoid chunky cream. Season with salt, pepper, and chili flakes (amount based on personal preference).

-Your pasta should be almost cooked (6-7 min). Add green onions and salmon/shallot mixture back into cream sauce. Strain pasta. Thoroughly toss with salmon and cream. Sauce should not be thick or “saucy,” just light and stuck to the pasta.

-Eat three bowls in less than ten minutes.

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This was my “funemployed” life. #GloryDays

Fried Chicken Confit and Waffles, or The Most Crazy Delicious Thing You’ll Ever Eat in Your Life

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For Daniel’s early birthday meal I cooked Chuck Hughes’ Fried Chicken Confit with Waffles out of his Garde Manger book (named after his restaurant in Montreal that I can’t WAIT to go to… in my dreams, where I go to celebrity restaurants and eat deep-fried lobster). Chicken and waffles is one of Daniel’s favourite dishes but one that I have never been able to eat with him because it consists of: fried chicken, waffles, and gravy. Gluten city.

I thought it might be complicated because I’ve never confited anything before. Confitted? Confat? Not sure. But it sounded fancy. The hardest thing turned out to be finding duck fat in Nanaimo to cook with. I called the only butcher I know on the morning before dinner and asked if they carried it. He said yup, it came in frozen blocks, and it was cheap. Perfect. Drove to butcher, no duck fat. No one would cop to promising the crazy lady her duck fat. Finally a guy came out from the back of the store and said, “It was me, and I thought you said BACK fat! Hahahaha!”

After that it was quite easy. You just need to give yourself lots of time.

First you do a dry-brine thing for around 4 hours. Chill.

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Then you rinse your chicken off, dump out your brine, and replace that brine with melted duck fat. A whooole lotta duck fat. Cook for 3-4 hours on low heat, and you’ll get this:

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Take your chicken out of the fat using tongs and throw it on some paper towel, strain your fat so you can freeze it and confit something else some other time.

After that it’s pretty standard: flour-egg-flour the chicken, fry it in my super McDonalds deep-fryer (out on the deck, in case it expodes)(not sure why I think that could happen, that’s my mom for you). Made the gravy: ridiculous ratio of butter, reduced white wine, and reduced chicken broth. For the waffles, I didn’t use Chuck’s recipe exactly because I didn’t want them to have that limp or chewy texture (a risk you can sometimes run by substituting flours straight across when making pancakes or waffles). Instead I used the gluten-free Bisquick and followed their waffle recipe, replacing the oil with melted butter and adding ¼ cup sour cream (as per Chuck). They came out light and crispy. Dinner was served.

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Any other time I’ve ever said “wow, that’s really good,” I didn’t know what I was talking about. This was so good. This makes me doubt all the other things I go through my life thinking are really-really-good, and wonder, what else am I missing here? I’m gonna be confitting my cereal.

Forget the caramelized bacon. Forget the buttermilk pecan fudge. This is the final word in flavour (except for don’t forget those things completely because they’re also delicious and variety is the spice of life).

My First Thanksgiving: A Novella

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I come from a large family of adventurous eaters. For the great majority of us, excluding myself, there is no such thing as too spicy or too aged. I’m generally the only one to abide by the old “When in Rome” mentality of ordering fish and chips at the fish and chips joint- my mom will have the moussaka, thanks.

Except for holidays. On holidays our preferences run more toward the fiercely traditional, almost militant, idea of what turkey dinner should look like. Particularly if certain uncles are invited. There are no variations, no substitutions. For it to be truly pure, my grandmother, Kay, must prepare the bulk of it (or at least all of the things that aren’t just boiled vegetables. And they can only be boiled.)

Over the last couple of years my diet has presented a number of challenges to our holiday table that have really rocked the family to its core (I’m talking to you  Uncle G). The contents of the stuffing. The thickening of the gravy. The flake of the pumpkin pie crust. Changing them? What are we all doing here? What is the meaning of life? At first we were making all separate stuff just for me, to preserve the integrity of the Official Turkey Dinner for the sake of the rest of the family. But it was just too much work, so we had to switch everyone over. Sacred side dishes were now being altered on my behalf; suddenly no one was safe from my soggy stuffing.

But then my mom and I figured it out and it’s awesome again and nobody knows the difference.

I am a big fan of trying new recipes and cooking techniques. Especially when I’m entertaining. Unknown result + guests? So fun! I’m pretty sure Kay has actual nightmares about this. But seeing as I was in charge of Thanksgiving this year and was feeling emboldened by my Uncle Gord’s absence, and the fact there were only going to be 13 victims at the table, I thought I would switch it up and try some all-new recipes to see if maybe there were some traditional items that could be tweaked.

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My first ambition was to brine my turkey. This initial compromise of the main event itself, a bird I christened Ted Baker (after the host of my favourite food network show, Chopped) was immediately met with resistance from the team. At least three times, my dad begged “don’t do itttttttt,” when I mentioned my big plans. I finally asked him why and he said “… because my mom never did.” Huh. Leah took a more aggressive “NO, Al. NO.” but couldn’t give even a reason as legit as my father’s. I was partially stalled by this opposition, and by the fact that the brine required 72 hours soaking time (my personal hesitation was more to do with poisoning the whole family than breaking with tradition). I knew my grandma would just drop dead if she knew. She has poultry paranoia. But I was more curious than scared, and soon Ted was well on his way to brine-dom.

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The The Menu/Verdict:

Ted himself turned out very tasy. I didn’t notice a very different flavour in the meat from having soaked it with the vegetables/herb/seasoning mixture, but other people said they did. For this reason, I probably wouldn’t bother with the 3-day brine again, but I will do a dry brine next time or just a 24-hr one. What did make it worth it was that I got incredible gravy out of that thing. I was a little worried when Ted came out of the oven and it didn’t look like I was gonna have a ton of dark drippings to work with, but it was seriously flavourful. So I’d brine again just for that.

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Showtime!!! Unfortunately somewhere along the way I lost a bit of Ted’s skin.

DSC_1424Cornbread Stuffing with Bacon, Onions, and Apple (Food52)

The reason I chose it over the 4,350 other cornbread recipes on the internet is because the recipe for the actual cornbread didn’t include flour, so I knew that my final product would be the same as Food52’s. I was hesitant to rely on my old cornbread recipes because then I would need to sub out regular flours for gf and I didn’t want my little cornbread croutons disintegrating into mush once I combined them with all the other ingredients. It was pretty well received but if I made it again I would reduce the bacon and increase the apple. I was going for that Kraft Stove Top vibe and it didn’t quite hit the mark for me. I missed my gran’s Irish potato/bread stuffing that we usually have so I whipped some up the next day to supplement our leftovers (potato stuffing is great if you’re a celiac, and if you’re not. But especially for celiacs. I wonder if it was invented because so many Irish people are celiac and they can’t have Stove Top? Not sure why I’m still so obsessed with boxed stuffing?)

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Grilled Brussels Sprouts with Chanterelles (Bon Appetit)

I was excited by the prospect of thick-cut applewood smoked bacon on our Thanksgiving table, so naturally I took it too far and decided to work it into another recipe in addition to the stuffing. These dirtballs (as my family calls them) were a big hit. I sautéed instead of the prescribed grilling, because I just had too many irons in the fire to be running outside tending the barbecue. The mushrooms were beautiful and an exotic addition to the meal. We never have mushrooms at Thanksgiving! Wild.

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Cranberry-Orange Relish with Mint (Bon Appetit)

Those mavericks at Bon Appetit were just a little off with this one. Thankfully I made our traditional cranberry sauce to accompany the experimental one (I’m brave, but not brave enough to face the mob without the classic cranberry sauce that is a nonnegotiable requirement of any turkey dinner at my house.) I thought the relish got luke-warm to positive reviews (I always know when people refer to my cooking as “interesting” or “different” that I’ve missed), but next time I would rather put my energy towards elevating other basic dishes and stick with the recipe on the back of the bag for this one.

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Roasted Cauliflower with Parmesan

Because this Thanksgiving was as much about Leah being home for the weekend as it was the holiday, I thought I’d do some fancy cauliflower in her honor. I broke down two heads and spread them out on a cookie sheet to roast away with some sliced onion, garlic cloves, olive oil, S&P, and parmesan cheese. Another unorthodox thanksgiving vegetable! She approved.

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Old Standards

Rounding out the meal we had “Sweet Potato Supreme” (mashed sweet potatoes and yams with a topping of maple syrup, brown sugar, and toasted pecans), carrots, peas, mashed potatoes, and black olives (don’t know why these need to be on the table… they just do).

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DSC_1494Dessert: Pecan Pie with Cream Cheese Crust

This was delicious, however at this point we were all dying from such a heavy dinner. The filling was super rich and syrupy and sweet. I had to convert the crust into gf using my trusty Cup4Cup flour, and I thought it could have been a bit more pliable. The dough was very dry when I was rolling it out and I should have known to add more liquid, but I went along with it anyway and it still turned out okay. I would totally do this again and eat less dinner so I could fit more pie.

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Kay brought her classic pumpkin pie, which I probably still prefer to, well, pretty much any other food in the world. I also made one batch of buttermilk pecan fudge, which I’ve made several times and is indescribably good. Have you tried crack? It’s crack.

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Success! Overall it was a success. Nobody died from trying new stuffing, or from eating a three-day-thawed turkey, for that matter. I just got my Thanksgiving issue of Bon Appetit and am already planning out my Christmas menu (stay tuned for a spatchcocked bird).

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Note: This was so much work! I think about my gran doing it single-handedly with 30+ people coming over… a huge undertaking. As we got closer to sitting down to eat, I had more and more things on the go that needed to be cooked and garnished and steamed and rested and carved. It was a bit of a circus. For this reason, I enlisted the help of Jaime and Daniel to take all photos of the meal and its prep for the blog. I hope you enjoyed their artistic, at times downright avant-garde eye for food photography.

Some of my favourites that didn’t quite make the storyline:

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Float On Bakeshop on Fraser

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I think this is my new favourite place in Vancouver. It is so cute and I am so jealous of it. There are weekends when Daniel and I are trying to think of a place we could go for brunch where I could have a nice waffle and it’s just a pointless search (see the post “Deacon’s Corner on Main”). It’s particularly frustrating because there are so many good brunch places we could go if I didn’t have the stupid celiac thing to think of. However, my prayers have been answered in Float On. It has pretty dishes and décor; lots of tables and fresh copies of the Georgia Straight so we can read the Savage Love column to each other; and you get your tea in a little pot with a real teacup. The portions are dainty but that’s what I like about it. Also happens to be what Daniel hates about it. I think it’s some nice competition for Gluten Free Epicurean, my other favourite place that’s just down the street. On Saturday we even saw Henrik Sedin’s wife and little boy chillin out and eating cookies there with some other babies. Best of all they make delicious, adorable waffles and crepes that remind me of being in Paris when I was 19 and carefree and ate every flour-based food I could get my hands on.

Saskatoon Round 2: Bottega Trattoria

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Last weekend Saskatoon really won me over with its sunny open skies and green parks and their zoo that had two cougars in the same cage (that’s nuts right?). It helped that this time I stayed in Leah’s nice apartment in University Heights (and not the hotel that we stayed last month when we dropped her off, which was apparently the ‘hood of Saskatoon and a place my mother reacted to like one might react to having lice poured on their head. Combine that with daytime highs of 10 degrees in August and we didn’t get the nicest first impression of Leah’s new hometown. And my parents and I bond over nothing if not our shared obsession with Leah’s happiness, safety, and well-being. Often to the detriment of all three.)

Anyway on Friday night we went to Leah’s Coating Ceremony. It was at a nice hotel by the river and there was a big banquet for all the new vets and their guests to eat before they (the vets) got led out of the room and then led back in again by a guy playing bagpipes and then handed their stethoscopes and embroidered white lab coats (not by the bag piper… by some other people). Leah actually put so much food on her plate that by the time we got to the carving station she had no more space and I had to ask the chef for two pieces of roast beef and then wait for her to eat her way through a couple inches of real estate so I could put her share on her plate. It was a fun evening. Another vet student at our table, this real Saskatchewan cowgirl, kept asking me why I wasn’t eating any of the fancy cupcakes and making fun of me for taking fruit for dessert. Those crazy BC girls and their fad diets!

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On Saturday we ventured downtown, where you would think many businesses should be open and busy, but we couldn’t find a place to eat lunch. If there is a street where all the good restaurants are, we couldn’t find it. The places we did duck in to, just to scan the menu for gluten-freeness, were completely empty. Turns out this is pretty off-putting when deciding whether or not to eat somewhere. We left a place that boasted a 100% gluten-free menu for this very reason (and also for the reason that they had chili in a bread bowl on the menu, which obviously intrigues me. Turns out the “bread bowl” component of this particular dish isn’t gluten-free at all, it’s just regular old wheat bread carved into the shape of a bowl! A funny trick. So really it was like a 98% gluten-free menu, as Leah pointed out. We read on to find their page of sandwiches, which listed a gluten-free bun as a potential option, which suggests not only that there are other options at the 100% gluten-free restaurant but that gluten-free is not the default option, which is what you might assume in a place that says it’s 100% gluten-free. It was more like 72% gluten-free. The hostess did not understand why we were asking her about so many obvious things.)

Sadly this was not the most disconcerting restaurant experience we were going to have that day. We eventually chose to sit down at a place called Bottega Trattoria, which was basically empty but looked nice-ish and new-ish, and not cave-ish. We were sold when the waitress confirmed that they “offered gluten-free options” (not giving away the farm with a “100%” guarantee. Get it? Giving away the farm? We’re in Saskatchewan!), and that they had gf pasta and pizza. So we sat down at one of the very crowded tall wooden tables, and our super beautiful waitress gave us menus (“Ugh she’s so pretty…I want to punch her in the face”-Leah).

We both ordered pasta and hoped for the best. The urban spoon reviews were pretty terrible, only scored 56%, but most of the complaints were about the service, and we really weren’t in the mood to keep searching for what was sure to be a similarly average meal a few blocks away (feeling quite cynical at this point).
While we sat there drinking our waters the owner came over and opened up the big glass garage door beside us, letting in not only the sunshine, but three drunk guys wearing what can only be described as shorteralls, into the restaurant.

Why they were wearing identical hick-costumes, and why they were blind drunk at one in the afternoon, we still don’t know. But we certainly had time to find out, because once they procured the necessary beverages to keep the party going, they swarmed our table and wouldn’t leave.
So just to review: inside the restaurant you have one manager, one server, two paying customers, and three drunk guys in shorteralls. What happened next is as follows:

Guy 1: Hey ladies, what’s up, are you from here? (or something like that) (looks down at empty chair) Can I sit here?
Me: Vancouver, and no!
Guy1: (looks hurt) Hey don’t judge me, gargle blah blah blah, something indignant.
Guy 2: Sorry about him, he’s got no social skills. I used to be a runway model!
Guy 3: And now he’s the king of the rigs! He makes a lot of money, you know.
Guy2: So do you guys want a casual night out, or like a party night? Because I would suggest _____bar for dancing and ______lounge for just like, hanging out. Which one do you want to go to?
Guy1: Are you a redhead?
Guy2: How old do you think I am?
Guy3: Can I sit here?
Leah: I don’t want to eat lunch with you guys…
Guy 2: Let me guess, you’re a teacher.

And so on.
It wasn’t as if anybody was going to mistake them for our friends who just ran into us and were saying hi. We were two normal people, in normal clothes, waiting for our food. They were three hammered guys in shorteralls, standing way too close to our faces. The service staff, which made up the only other bodies in the building, watched this happen and didn’t do a thing about it. When one of them asked again to sit down with us and we again said no thank you, they sat down at the table that was right beside ours. At this point we had been waiting for our food for 40 minutes and there were NO OTHER CUSTOMERS in the restaurant. Leah proposed we exit out of the front window, just like our visitors entered. But we were too tired to find somewhere else to eat. When our food came and we were ready to just be alone and eat our pasta and get out, guy 3 said, a la Kanye to Taylor Swift, “ok I’m gonna let you enjoy your meals, but I need to ask you one question… I have a food truck called “Disco Dogs” and it’s like, doing, really good. Do you think I’d make it in Vancouver?”
Like how would I know? So we didn’t go out for a casual or dancing night, we stayed home so we wouldn’t have to try to find food again.

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Wanna go for a picnic? Alpaca lunch! (My favourite joke)(At the zoo with the two cougars)

And Now, a Terrible Review About a Place You’ll Never Go (The Firestick Cafe in Saskatoon)

It’s important to first put out there, that the food at the Firestick Cafe was pretty good. Not great, but pretty good.

That’s the end of the positive portion of this review. Thanks for stopping by.

I have a million places to put on the blog (like a years worth at least) that I have had on a list, just waiting to be addressed (probably never gonna be addressed though). Haven’t been feeling it. In the back of my mind, for at least a week, was the thought that I would write a comeback post about a fancy/weird 7-course meal I whipped up for Leah’s Vet School Send-off. And then, after that (’cause I’d be on a roll), I would do a snappy little summary of the places we ate while in Saskatoon.

But then we went to the  Firestick Cafe tonight, and my fury (disbelief?) at the terrible service we had just received inspired the end of a good 8-month blog drought.

So the place is only open Saturdays and Sundays, and it is part of a weird little art-farm-“tasting studio” thing. Reservation only. No kids allowed. The menu online looked very good. I thought, hey, here’s an unusual dining experience for the whole family! After a long day of shopping for hangers and windex we all really needed an enjoyable dinner. We Priers live for enjoyable dinners. The last seating is at 6 oclock, which is a bit early, but we were even down for that.

The fact that it didn’t exist on Google Maps should have tipped us off. That fact that is was a good 20 minute drive out of Saskatoon should have tipped us off (because there is nothing… in any direction.. outside of Saskatoon). The fact that, once you arrive, the place is decorated like an Art Knapp’s/that weird magical garden place that Rosie O’Donnell takes Harriet to in Harriet the Spy.. should have tipped us off. That sign on the gate that said their dogs would kill us if we brought our dogs on the property should have tipped us off:

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It was not overly welcoming outside, or inside, the gate. And that is a sign that begs to be photographed.

The first issue (besides that fact that no one greeted us and there is no clear signage as to where the restaurant even is on the property and that when you do find it, it is in an un-heated greenhouse) was that they have no liquor license. You are allowed to bring your own booze, but it doesn’t mention any of this on their website. This wouldn’t be a big deal if we hadn’t all just spent the last 48 hours locked in a car together. Fortunately, the table of 8 beside us knew the drill and had brought with them 8-10 bottles of wine and a 40 of (homemade?) vodka. So we had entertainment.

The previous night for dinner I had selected State and Main, a Browns Socialhouse facsimile for the prairies. Although I initially felt I had let everyone down by making this somewhat pedestrian selection, the food was quite good and our server was very accommodating of my various requests. I believe there is a certain balance that needs to be maintained in order for the diner to feel that they have had a good experience- if the service is impeccable, the food can be slightly sub-par. If the food is amazing, the odd faux pas or rude exchange can easily be forgiven.

When people complain about bad service, I often think to myself, how bad can it be? Their job is just to bring you your food. Why do you need to take it so personally? After over 6 years of serving it is probably remarkable to a lot of people (most likely past coworkers that are consummate professionals) that I still have this stupid opinion. I can usually sympathize with a harried server, as I have been a bad one myself.. for over six years. And I can tell you, the reasons you are mad at your server are usually well out of their control. But then every once in a while I’ll have a really terrible service experience, and it truly does make your food taste bad because the whole night out has been tainted by some server’s indifferent ineptitude.

In my opinion, this was bad. Next-level bad. This was her opener: “are you ready to order?” Fine, we can all handle that. I ordered our appies (pork lettuce wrap things), and then asked for the Santa Fe pizza on the gluten-free crust ($5 extra). To be sure, my dad asks “are those toppings gluten free?” She bluntly says no, only the crust. I said “Yes, I know the crust is gluten free, but are those other particular ingredients also safe? Do you know which toppings are ok?” To which she replies, “No, I don’t know, it says in the allergy part of the menu that we can’t guarantee anything, so, I don’t know which ones are. Do you still want it?” How useless is that? What is the point of offering the gluten-free crust if it is a mystery to everyone that works there whether or not any toppings are gf? I was miffed. But I did still want the pizza.

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It was pretty good. Not $20 good, but still very edible after a long day of Walmart and Sleep Country. While we were eating I asked our server if she could please turn on the space heater that hung over our table. She looked at me blankly and said that it wasn’t plugged in… so she would need someone to help her. Apparently that was a long version of “no.” She eventually came back, but only to give us our check when we still had food in front of us. We were ready to get out of there because we were freezing anyway, she must have known! So that was thoughtful. We practically ran to our truck, we were all so confused and amused and annoyed. I found out my dad tipped $15 on a $90 bill and then I was extra mad. It makes me SO MAD when a 15% tip (or more) is just a given, regardless of your heinous personality. How will she ever learn how to live in the world?

Anyway we drove back into Saskatoon to look for some milkshakes. This is what it looks like outside of town:

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Kind of like Dawson Creek! It’s pretty. Very flat.

If anyone from Firestick should ever read this- the young guy was very friendly. I’m sure if he was our server he would have turned our heater on.

And I know the sign said absolutely NO photography, but I had to. I mean who do you think you are?

Solar Gardens Firestick Cafe on Urbanspoon