barry finds a new home

December 24, 2008


 It’s out with the old in with the new! after some fun with formatting, barry has moved to blogspot.

follow barry’s ongoing (mis)adventures in food HERE.



pharos popeye pizza

this is difficult for me to write. pharo’s pizza, a staple of the garneau community for years, is closing its doors in mid-to-late january. the 80-year-old owner wishes to retire, and so has sold the building. i know. it gets worse though.

pharos pizzaedmonton

the building, which includes the garneau theatre, has apparently been sold with plans to modernize the look of the two businesses. with this being one of the few art deco buildings left in alberta, it seems shocking that anyone would want to change the décor! according to pharo’s pizza waitress jill, the plan is for the theatre entrance to be moved to the side of the building on 87 avenue, and the whole façade modernized. i was very surprised that i hadn’t heard of this earlier, as i imagined that there would be an uproar in the edmonton community, but it seems that not only will we be deprived of mouth-watering popeye pizza and delicious greek salad, but we will also loose an edmonton landmark to modernization. there is one month left for locals to pay their respect to this fantastic eatery, so go out, grab a popeye pizza and toast this garneau landmark.

pharos popeye pizza spinach
who knew that spinach could be SO tasty (well, other than Popeye and Olive Oyl that is…)


my vocabulary was expanded this past weekend as my family and i gathered at the santa maria groetti community centre in edmonton for a traditional italian dinner (pranzo) sunday afternoon. wave after wave of food was brought to us, and in true italian style, we ate until it was physically impossible to eat anymore. we had two antipasti courses (cheese, meat and marinated vegetables and rice with a beef stew), a prima (rotini with a marinara sauce), pork chops and breaded chicken with gravy, roast potatoes, salad and mixed vegetables, and finally chocolate cake for dessert. i think that’s everything, but with so much food, you can’t blame me for forgetting something. my family loved this home-style meal.
i’m going to be honest: i didn’t.


the food was okay, and yes, there was plenty of it, but the sauces and chicken looked and tasted as if they were store bought, and nothing stood out in my mind as being extremely tasty or even tasting authentically italian. as my sister pointed out, nothing was wrong with the meal, and i have to agree with her; nothing was wrong with the meal. but when you go out to eat, particularly for a nice family get-together, do you want to have a meal with nothing wrong with it, or would you rather have a meal that was special and excited you, made you wish for seconds, or in this case, made you think of an army of italian grandmothers preparing this meal in the kitchen simply because of their love for food? i didn’t feel that way unfortunately, and was particularly looking forward to this meal since i had heard such wonderful reviews of the pranzi served up by the community centre.

maybe the cooks were having an off weekend, but after this meal, i feel that if you’re looking for a “nothing’s-wrong-with-it” meal, head on down to albert’s. it’s cheaper. 

Santa Maria Groetti Community Centre
Sun (11 am – 2 pm)
11050 90 Street NW
Edmonton, AB T5H 1S5
(780) 426-5026

prechristmas08_051 jujubes candy

run as fast as you can.actually, you don’t need to run that fast: this army of gingerbread men is pretty out of shape with all their candy and doughy goodness. and they are oh-so-tasty! enjoy the recipe – it’s perfect with kaluha hot chocolate and mulled wine (we *ahem* thought it best to test it out. for quality assurance of course…) 


christmas gingerbread men on rack

 gingerbread army:

½ c. shortening (i used margarine)
½ c. sugar
2/3 c. molasses
1 egg
3 ½ c. sifted flour
2 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. ginger (or more if you like)
1 tsp. cinnamon (again, i used more)

1. melt shortening and let cool. add sugar, molasses and egg; blend well.
2. sift in the flour, baking powder, salt and spice. mix well.
3. wrap dough in waxed paper and chill in refrigerator. take out a small amount of dough.
4. roll out on lightly floured board to ¼” thickness. you may have to warm dough in your hands, as it may be too crumbly otherwise.
5. bake on greased cookie sheet at 375F for approximately 8 – 10 minutes.


restaurant review: da capo.

November 25, 2008


coffee-lovers (and haters) rejoice!

there is a place on edmonton’s south side that will make your taste buds soar with a single sip of their cappuccino. da capo caffe can safely boast to have some of the best coffee outside of italy, and will compel anyone to come back for another cup. this funky spot, located on 109 street next to the garneau theatre, has a fantastic ambience – think modern european coffee house, great service – food and bevies will be in hand quickly for you to dive into, and fantastic menu items! besides the cappuccino, you might want to try out their panini or pizzas, homemade biscotti, and you must, beyond a doubt, try their gelato. heaven! nothing outside of italy is this good.
go overload on a taste of italy today. right now. go. why are you still here?


  • great food and beverages
  • fairly fast service
  • handy central location
  • great ambience


  • parking is sometimes hard to come across


  • it can be expensive
  • odd hours, so call ahead to make sure they’re open

phone: (780) 433.5382, address: 8738 – 109 Street

barry loves bruce

November 17, 2008

…bruce, alberta that is.


bruce hotel


yes, as a carnivore, i can’t help but love bruce, alberta. many would drive by this tiny community of three streets and two avenues without thinking to stop, take a deep breath and smell the beef, but friday nights at the bruce hotel is the place to be for one of the best steaks you’ll have in your life.


steak by barrycollins3.

not to be forgotten are the unlimited salad bar, sweet treats and potatoes drowning in cream. even if steak isn’t your thing, there’s no excuse to not come by, check out the wood paneled walls, bingo hall chairs and luxurious paper plates. it’s a feast for the senses (and your belly) that should not be missed!

the bruce hotel: reservations are required: (780) 688.3922



· really good, reasonably priced steak ($15.99 for a 8oz top sirloin and $21.99 for a 16oz steak the size of your face…prices include buffet sides, salads, coffee and sweets)

· terrific taco salad

· three words: dill cream potatoes. four more words: all. you. can. eat. 

· at least 8 different freshly prepared salads

· dolly parton poster. as a youth. enough said.



· a bit of a drive from edmonton (road trip!).


· canned mushrooms have never been my thing.

bruce hotel interior

wall art devoid of irony. this man's niece probably eats here every friday.


and this is where he ties up his horse

and this is where she ties up hes horse.






just once a year chocolatier Bernard Callebaut indulges his customers to a Christmas treat. he brings out his famous chocolate covered cherries (BC cherries that have been soaked in kirsh for five months and then dipped in semi-sweet chocolate) for people to elbow each other out of the way for.



there is something incredibly sexy about unwrapping a proper chocolate covered cherry. it seems so decadent and forbidden that you can’t help but swoon as you take your first bite of it. and then there’s the melted chocolate on your fingertips and the kirsch dripping down your chin – what’s not sexy about that?!




(well, except for the fact you look like a dribbling mess and you’re sobbing over the remains of the cherry that didn’t make it into your mouth and the fact that then there’s no more, and you’ll have to wait until next christmas to get more. but other than that, what’s not sexy about it?!)




all gone.




mmmm ham by you.

growing up i hated ham.

why would i consume such a boring meat when i could be savouring turkey or a roast, or best yet, some lamb? as an adult, living on my own, i have since seen the light. it’s a pinkish light, and for some reason has the most alluring aroma: spicy, yet slightly sweet, and rich as it wraps around you like a big, comfy blanket.

Ham!! by you.

how could i have ever hated this most delightful meat?


nothing could be more juicy, rich, or aromatic, and there is no better dish to present to guests: scoring designs in the fat, studding it with cloves and finishing it off with a glossy glaze – it’s not just a meal, it’s art! and if i happen to scald myself with the boiling water? please! i live to suffer for my art. most of all though, i’ve taken pleasure in converting fellow friends and family from their ham-hating ways, and introducing them to this most comforting of treats.

its hammer time people: join the herd.



1. Start with a picnic-shoulder ham. Rinse and take of “netting”

2. Boil for 1 hour in gingerale and a little water. 

ham, gingerale, water by you.

ham, gingerale, water.

(2.5. save stock for soup)

3. Place ham in roasting pan, skin-side up. Cover with tin foil and put it the oven at 300F. 30 minutes per pound (kg x 2.2 to figure out pounds)

  Read the rest of this entry »

something to mull over.

November 13, 2008

Radish/Carrot Frenzy by barrycollins3.

fREE FOOD! that was the draw to a sobey’s holiday open house last night, but that was not what kept me there. as someone who works in the event industry, it did not seem that this was a spectacular success; the food stations were not clearly marked, the program was non-existent, and half the time i didn’t know what products i was eating (neither did the staff for that matter), but let me tell you about the vino!




the vino.


upon arriving at the store, i immediately discovered their mulled wine. oh! the heavenly, heavenly aroma of cloves, oranges, cinnamon, and above all, alcohol. it’s heady smell, and complex flavour sent me back for more four times, and was perfectly paired with the only two decent appetizers: the festive canapés with blue cheese, walnuts and maple syrup on toasted baguette, and their cheese crisps: simple, elegant baked cheese and flour. these were what made the evening palatable, regardless of the rest of the food, most of which was dry, dreary, and made me sad.


so raise a glass to the start of the holidays: the season of mulled wine has begun.



·     mulled wine

·     blue cheese and maple canapés

·     cheese crisps

·     funky produce to take pictures of while we waited for more wine to be brought out


·     frozen shrimp cocktail (the shrimp was still frozen)

·     food preparation demonstrations (they smelled okay, but were not set up well)

·     my lobster friend in the tank. you made me sad.


·     any of the meats served

·     the length of the event

·     the lack of signage

·     the menu delivered to us at the beginning of the night (3/4 of the items listed were not even served)





bite this.

November 7, 2008

these messages go out to everyone that needs to eat…so we guess that’s everyone.

a small appetizer to whet your appetite

a small appetizer to whet your appetite