Il Canale (2 Visits)

Food Decor Service Cost
19 21 20 $30

Disclaimer: I was invited back by the owner after my 2010 review

We visited on a Tuesday night (11/15) and had a great experience. Our waiter, Rohit, was very knowledgeable about every aspect of the food and structure of the restaurant. He knew how every dish was made and where all the ingredients were sourced, down to the ingredients in the olive oil! The service was excellent and he had great recommendations for pizza and appetizers. After our meal, he offered to give us a tour of the pizzaiolo’s working space, but no pizzas were in the queue at the moment.

We tried the calamari again; there was a better ratio of zucchini to calamari and the plate came out piping hot. Though the zucchini was a little watery, the texture of the breading and calamari more than made up for it. The sauce was also more flavorful and paired well with the fried morsels. We also ordered two pizzas, the Il Canale and the Diavola. The Il Canale had a perfectly crunchy crust and the toppings were flavorful. My favorite part of the pizza was actually the tomato slices that burst with a great flavor–and I don’t really like tomatoes! My only concern was that after I finished eating one slice of pizza, the rest of the pizza had basically turned to mush because of all the cheese and veggies. The softened crust mixed with the moist ingredients melded together and lacked textural contrast. Maybe a quick zap in the toaster oven at home will revive the slices? The Diavola didn’t skimp on the ingredients and while the crust wasn’t as crunchy, each bite was still flavored well with the salami and cheese. We didn’t have room to try dessert, though we were eyeing the tiramisu.

I’m glad I visited again–I can tell that the ingredients, processes, and service has all been changed. But, I just don’t like soupy pizzas, so I will probably not be back again.

A few things: there was a guy going around selling roses, which made us feel uncomfortable (especially since they were so expensive!). There were also several times that a server tried to bring us other people’s food, or give our food to the wrong table and we had to flag him down. Other than that, the rapport with Rohit and the host was great and the weather outside was refreshing.

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Seasonal Fall Godiva Coffee – Caramel Pecan Bark & Pumpkin Spice

Long time no post, eh? I started a new job in September and have been crazy busy since then!

A few months ago, I received two bags of Godiva‘s Limited Edition fall coffee flavors — Pumpkin Spice and Caramel Pecan Bark– as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a coffee machine at my house and my new job doesn’t have a small coffee machine that I can use my own coffee in. So, I gave this coffee to my dad and went over to my parents’ house one weekend to try a cup of each.

The coffee has a strong aroma, especially the caramel pecan bark. The pumpkin spice flavor had a weaker smell that was less sweet, but still noticeable. The smell is still strong after being brewed, but the smell did not translate into flavor. Drank plain, there is no flavor in the liquid that is discernible from normal coffee. Adding cream and sugar helped to bring out some of the spice notes, but not any more than adding a flavored cream to regular coffee would. This coffee is good, but I don’t think I would buy it for myself at full price, especially since this coffee retails for $12-$14 per bag.

KC Masterpiece® Sauce

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received a bottle of KC Masterpiece® Buffalo Marinade recently. At first, I thought “Wow! Awesome, I can use this for some great things”, and then I thought, “Oh.. It’s a marinade… I need to marinade things…which will take time…and has to be meat”.

So I tried that. I marinated some chicken breasts in the sauce for 30 minutes as was suggested and grilled them on a gas grill. while they were grilling, we brushed more sauce on the chicken and also brushed some on some white onion rings. The chicken tasted alright, but I felt like the flavor wasn’t truly absorbed. The onions on the other hand, tasted great with the marinade. And that’s when I realized: I shouldn’t use this as a marinade, as intended, but rather a sauce or dressing!

The photo above is of some shirataki (yam) noodles that I marinated in the sauce, then added some vegetables and cooked in a pan. I also used some below-average produce (crisper bin potatoes and frozen brussel sprouts) and they got a second lease on life with this sauce! I tossed the cubed potatoes and sprout quarters in the sauce, added some pepper and cojita cheese, and roasted at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. The vegetables had the perfect done-ness and spiciness.

The only thing to mention is that with a marinade-method, most of the sauce is discarded, so the flavor isn’t as strong. When using this as a cooking sauce or “dressing”, the sauce stays put so the flavor is stronger. In the case of the buffalo sauce I received, the flavors are red pepper, garlic, paprika, vinegar, and…hot sauce. The heat tends to build up a bit if you don’t take a break with a beverage or side dish, but that might be my low heat tolerance talking.

Ghirardelli Luxe Chocolates

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received three squares of Ghirardelli Luxe Chocolates to sample — one each of milk, milk with almond, and milk with hazelnut.

Ghirardelli touts that these chocolates blend the finest cocoa beans, whole milk, cocoa butter, and vanilla to “create a rich and creamy chocolate experience like no other”.

I snapped the chocolate in half, rubbed the chocolate between my fingers, and smelled. The aroma was nutty and sweet on the hazelnut and almond flavors, but the milk smelled like regular milk chocolate. All the squares tasted creamy and there were no large sugar granules to be found like in lower-grade chocolates, but this difference may have been noticeable because 1) I was looking for it since it was advertised and 2) I used to work as a choclatier.

These were great, indulgent snacks, but they weren’t much better than regular Hershey’s or Nestle chocolate, especially for the price difference.


Recent Creations

Here’s a little of what I’ve been up to lately in the realm of home cooking, baking, and general creation of delicious things.

I made chocolate whoopie pies with vodka caramel cream cheese filling (tinted green) for a co-worker’s going away celebration in March around St. Patricks Day. The cookies in a bag are from my boyfriend’s mom and are molasses spice cookies (I think the recipe is on the side of the Grandma’s Molasses jar). She also made the delicious chocolate cake in the bottom left. My boyfriend and I made the oatmeal raisin cookies in the bottom right (recipe from the Quaker Oat’s container).

For a work potluck, I made a simple blueberry and quince tart by layering blueberries and poached quinces on top of a pie crust and topping it with a simple crumble. Some parts of the quince were a bit tough since I didn’t remove the parts near the seed pods all the way, but it was a great way to use up fading fruit!

Around Christmas last year I made gingerbread houses with my family and spent two days during December making homemade truffles (Oreo, Fleur de Sel, and Hibiscus Tea) and peppermint bark for family, friends, and co-workers with my bestie Stephanie. We packaged them up with twine, artist tape, and stickers for the season. If I get around to it, I’ll post our truffle adventures, including a truffle class and recipes.  I also made gingerbread cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and milk chocolate espresso cookies since exchanging cookies during the winter is a family tradition.

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