A trip to St John’s, NL: Rocket Bakery

A few months after we moved to St John’s, NL from Vancouver, the local newspapers were filled with stories about a local eatery, Auntie Crae’s, closing down. Rumor on the street was that a new bakery was opening in its place. A few weeks later unknowingly I walked into the new Rocket bakery to get a cup coffee and ended up spending hours there.

During a recent visit to Rocket Bakery, I was looking for the bathroom and somehow ended up in Kelly Mansell’s office. Kelly introduced herself as a part owner and I couldn’t stop myself from asking how it all began. Turns out she moved from downtown Toronto to St John’s, just to open Rocket. She has been a part of Comrags, Toronto based women’s clothing label, and has worked on projects such as Pepsi’s Junos/Refresh. I am glad I got to connect with Kelly as she is a vibrant entrepreneur and is full of ideas to take Rocket to a whole new level.

Menu: Rocket Bakery offers in house made soups, salads, sandwiches, jams, and baked goods ranging from breads to cakes. They also have an espresso bar served by a barista who even creates latte art. Arvind’s favorite Rocket food is the pulled pork sandwich.

Price: I got a spicy tomato & black bean soup and a chocolate covered profiterole for $11.80.

Taste: Even though I am not a big fan of cream filled pastries, I loved the profiterole. Rocket’s profiteroles are filled with pastry cream, which tasted like a cross between whipped cream and custard. The tomato soup was served with a cheesy slice of baguette. The soup was hot, spicy, and hearty. I’ll definitely have both of these again.

Size: After devouring the soup, I found the profiterole was too much for me. I made the mistake of taking the rest of profiterole home… As Arvind got to it before I did.

My verdict: Rocket Bakery is where taste of home cooking meets modern heritage style. I will definitely go back to Rocket Bakery to eat healthy meals, buy local bread, and enjoy fresh flowers on each table.

Review: Junoon Resturant

I found out about Junoon, a Michelin star Indian restaurant in Manhattan, when it’s executive chef, Vikas Khanna, was featured on Martha Stewart’s show.

It was a rainy and windy day, but we managed to find the place on time at 6:30pm. The restaurant lobby felt like it was a hotel. It was so fancy, that I consciously tried to act classier.

Menu: We started the evening with Lahsooni Gobi and Murg Tikka Mirza Hasnu. Vikkie and Arvind ordered a Highland Cooler and could not stop raving about it. For dinner we ordered fusion dishes like Lobster Tandoori, Duck Tellicherry Pepper, Patiala Shahi Goat and classics like Daal Makhni. For dessert we had Mango Lassie, Gianduja Chocolate Parfait with an edible gold leaf, and three types of Kulfi.

Price: For all that and a half bottle of wine it came up to $70/person.

Taste: It’s hard to create the right balance of flavors in a fusion dish and it’s even harder to perfect a classic a dish like daal makhani. Junoon nailed them both.

My verdict: Excellent food, ambience, and price. This place gets my stamp of approval.

Review: Cafe Medina

Cafe Medina in Vancouver Review

With over 400 reviews in Google and all those people waiting to be seated, you can’t help but wonder what is so special about Cafe Medina.

Menu: The globally influenced brunch menu has everything from Moroccan meatballs to Belgium waffles.

Price: The paella and waffle came up to $18 before tip.

Taste: Paella was a tasty blend of chorizo, zucchini, red pepper, corn, topped with watercress, avocado, tomato salad and an egg. The waffle was a perfect balance between crispy and soft. The waffle was served with a dip, which was chocolatey with a slight smell of lavender.

Size: More than enough for one person.

My verdict: It’s safe to say that the taste justified the wait. Some might even say the hype killed it.

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

I too am confused by conflicting nutritional advice. A couple of decades ago margarine was better than butter. Today margarine is bad!

Michael Pollan’sIn Defense of Food” questions this nutritionism that has conditioned us. My favorite piece from the book is “when the vitamins were isolated a few decades later, scientists thought, okay, now we really understand food and what the body needs for its health; and today it’s the polyphenols and carotenoids that seem to have completed the picture. But who knows what else is going on in the deep soul of a carrot? The good news is that, to the carrot eater, it doesn’t matter.”
My verdict: Backed with 23 pages of references/sources, Michael Pollan knows what he is talking about.