October 18, 2011

Coffee Oasis in the California Desert

Nutmeg could not be happier to discover some coffee options in the land of Starbucks.  The alternative coffee-house options much like really good restaurant options in Palm Springs, Palm Desert and most of Riverside County are limited.  There are of course the ubiquitous Starbucks outlets in almost every second strip mall.  However, as you may have gathered that is almost the land of last resort for Nutmeg.  (more…)

Travel to Coffee Oasis in the California Desert

Recipes & Travel:
, , , ,

October 18, 2011

Would you eat Sushi in the Desert

If you were stuck on a desert island what would you eat?
If you are visiting Palm Desert what would you eat??
The choices on an island are slim and in Palm Desert are vast, although far from fantastic.  In Palm Desert (and most of the surrounding area) it is a safe bet you will find lots of food chains, big restaurants, large menus, sizable helpings and mediocre food.  Nutmeg says this may sound terrible and although it is not a crisis, you need to try hard to find the gems – don’t worry this is one challenge she is always up for!
One of these gems is NO DA TE on El Paseo in Palm Desert .  This small sushi restaurant has never disappointed.  The sushi chef and owner Shin is very involved, if he is not making sushi he is in the restaurant making sure the quality is just so.  Ideally, try to sit at the sushi bar to catch…

Travel to Would you eat Sushi in the Desert

Recipes & Travel:
, , ,

October 8, 2011

Celebrating The Milestones

Hot Sauce has a milestone birthday this week.  Although, she does not want to advertise the specifics, let us just say that it starts with a “7”.  So in order to celebrate Nutmeg’s family converged in Toronto for a weekend of celebration.  Nutmeg’s sister Bernaise decided that they would host the weekend event.  This is no small undertaking as the family is well practiced in the art of consumption on many levels.  In fact there was an emergency run to the LCBO  (“Large Central Booze Organization”  or as Nutmeg calls it the Ontario liquor monopoly) to refill the stock of wine.  It was almost a national emergency!!!   There is no question that the LCBO has been able to position themselves well in the marketplace – some might call it a monopoly….the Avenue road store is impressive with a two-level underground, heated parkade and four freight elevators to make sure you are not restricted by what you can carry. …

Travel to Celebrating The Milestones

Recipes & Travel:

September 22, 2011

Canmore’s Harvest Cafe Not Just for Locals

Harvest is tucked way on 9th Street in downtown Canmore.  This place is not flashy in any way.  They have a small sunny patio for the days that allow for sitting outside.  Inside is pretty rustic decor but clean and generally not too crowded.  They have daily specials; usually two soups and a couple hot dishes.  On top of that they have a great selection of yummy baked goods and cookies, including some gluten-free options.  They have a standing list of delicious breakfast items (breakfast parfait, homemade granola, french toast), salads and lunch sandwiches (grilled cheese!).  Pretty much everything is made to order.  The coffee is good and there is little waiting (see Coffee Mine).
So what is the problem?  They make no bones about catering to the local crowd.  They are only open Monday through Friday, starting at 10am (too bad for the early risers).  So if you are only Canmore on your days off (i.e. Saturday and Sunday)…

Travel to Canmore’s Harvest Cafe Not Just for Locals

Recipes & Travel:
, ,

September 18, 2011

The Coffee Mine in Canmore Mea Cuppa

Just in case it is not already obvious, if there is one thing Nutmeg is very serious about, it is coffee.  If there is one thing that brings out Mace (Nutmeg’s evil twin), it is bad coffee or inefficient coffee service.  The Coffee Mine in Canmore has long been OFF Nutmeg’s list because the service is slow.  After years in the location on 7th Avenue they have very recently moved “up-town” to Main Street.  This is good news for Main Street as it fills in some of the dreadful empty retail space (a whole other blog topic) and possibly good news for The Coffee Mine.
So Nutmeg (and Mace) decide to put the old demons aside and check out the new location on Main Street.  The problem is the first attempt was a failure…they only open at 9am on Saturdays and Sundays – too bad for early risers.  This past Sunday with Ginger in town it was no problem arriving…

Travel to The Coffee Mine in Canmore Mea Cuppa

Recipes & Travel:
, , ,

September 16, 2011

Calgary’s First Street Village Giuseppes Italian Market

For those of you who are no longer under thirty years old “First Street Village” is 1st street between 17th Avenue and 12th Avenue SW.  This used to be a dance bar scene in the late 1990s with Mescalero’s and the Crazy Horse which enjoyed regular patronage from Nutmeg and Ginger.  In the past several years a dramatic change has occurred in this area the result is the emerging “First Street Village”.  The transformation of an old Holiday Inn into the contemporary Hotel Arts started a construction frenzy with an expansion of the hotel and two nearby condo developments (Union Square, Colors by Battistella).  The area now boasts some reasonable men’s clothing, boutique women’s clothing, coffee shops, a wine bar and Giuseppe’s Italian Market.  Nutmeg has wanted to try this place for awhile.  This location used to be a night club as well (possibly called the lizard or some equally appealing name).  They have rid the place of the…

Travel to Calgary’s First Street Village Giuseppes Italian Market

Recipes & Travel:

September 12, 2011

Lake OHara Lodge a Slice of Paradise

For eight years running Ginger and Nutmeg and a crew of very spicy friends have trudged up the Lake O’Hara access road in March.  The conditions have varied every year from deep winter to nearly spring.  The equipment ranges from light to touring to teli and alpine touring – this year the gals got really smart and went in on snow shoes.  Everyone arrives parched, hungry and feeling like they have accomplished something and they have – 11kms of hills!!  This year’s crew included Cilantro and Mr. High Maintenance, Curry Murray and Mr Curry, Mountain Pepper and Cayenne, Cinnamon, the salsa twins, Oregano and his lovely wife.
Why is Lake O’Hara a slice of paradise?  So many reasons;

An endless amounts of great BC wine – the group tried very hard to get to the bottom of the supply
Gluten free offerings included a flour-less dark chocolate cake on arrival from Mrs Oregano
Arrival snacks including; salt/pepper/lime chicken wings and mini croque monsieurs…

Travel to Lake OHara Lodge a Slice of Paradise

Recipes & Travel:
, , , ,

September 3, 2011

Which is the best Coffee Capital Paris Vienna or Brussels

Nutmeg says hands down Vienna is the best Coffee Capital.  You will find decent coffee in all three locations, Paris has already been mentioned (02/23 Don’t tell the French Italian coffee is better), Brussels is decent with many options for Italian expresso or café au lait.   However, the Viennese have created an entire culture around the “coffee-house” which generally involves a smoky bar or quieter lounge. Legend has it that soldiers of the Polish-Habsburg army, while liberating Vienna from the second Turkish siege in 1683, found a number of sacks with strange beans that they initially thought were camel feed and wanted to burn. The Polish king Jan III Sobieski granted the sacks to one of his officers named Jerzy Franciszek Kulczycki, who started the first coffee house. After some experimentation, he added some sugar and milk, and the Viennese coffee tradition was born.
In Vienna, there are plenty of sweet choices to go along with your coffee.  The two…

Travel to Which is the best Coffee Capital Paris Vienna or Brussels

Recipes & Travel:
, , , ,

September 3, 2011

European Capitals Dining options in Paris, Vienna and Brussels

If there is one thing that Nutmeg and Ginger love to try it is food.  The truth is you are not going to starve in any of these great cities; the array of options can be overwhelming.  In all three cities Paris, Vienna and Brussels there is no end of options for international cuisine.  Each city offers fresh farmers markets, local produce retailers and many ethnic specialty areas.  In turn, each city has a large inventory of what Nutmeg likes to call the dreaded “overpriced and underwhelming tourist traps”.
With the internet, it is easy enough to search for good to great restaurant options in any city. Zagat is a reliable resource and a bit more established in Europe than Open Table.
The other strategy is “roll of the dice”; this means taking some time to look at the menu (price and limited variety), the décor (lighting levels and table settings) and the number of diners (never try an empty restaurant). …

Travel to European Capitals Dining options in Paris, Vienna and Brussels

Recipes & Travel:
, , , ,

September 3, 2011

Wonderful Vienna Austria

This blog post is out of order (and late) our trip itinerary was Paris-Vienna-Brussels, however the weather and the sites in Vienna were so engaging that Nutmeg had no time to write, so the best is last. Nutmeg and Ginger both like Austria and agree Vienna is wonderful, for slightly different reasons:
Nutmeg loves the fact that the Austrians seem to have combined the Swiss and German efficiency with fantastic architecture and cuisine that embraces the borders with Hungry, Italy, Germany and Switzerland.
Ginger loves the fact the Austrians serve schnitzel and spatzle in many variations.  In addition, there is copious draught beer and the locally produced wine is very drinkable.  He also loves the fact that the country has some really great skiing and they love to Apres Ski.
We visited Vienna the capital, it is a magical place, the city centre was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005. The population is about 1.7 million, there is a good…

Travel to Wonderful Vienna Austria

Recipes & Travel:



About Ginger & Nutmeg

Explore Provence

Explore Our Recipes

Work With Ginger & Nutmeg