Month: November 2012

Get the official coaster of Santa Claus (and more gift ideas!)

Here’s a rock-solid gift idea: Get the official coaster of Santa Claus. If you leave milk and cookies out for the big man, then you need one of these travertine tile coasters. Order it here for only $8 from VersaTile, a small Ottawa-based company (and a friend of Cool Food Dude.) VersaTile ships to Canada and the US.

Did you know that the Romans used travertine stone to build the Colosseum? These coasters are built to last! VersaTile’s method of transferring the images to the tile preserves the natural beauty of the stone but also allows the artwork to shine. The tiles measure 4″x4″ and are bundled by a kraft paper belly-band in a set of four. Your furniture remains protected by four cork pads on the bottom of each coaster. The coasters are heat and water resistant. To clean, simply wipe with a damp cloth.

Can’t get enough of the holidays? Get a set of travertine coasters featuring Christmas themed graphics. Order here to get 4 coasters for only $32.

Attending parties this holiday season? Versatile coasters make a great gift for your host or hostess. Choose from ready-made designs or send in a design of your own. Get a set of 4 for $32. Order here.

Get your memories set in stone with MOSAIX, VersaTile’s signature line of tile mosaics. Whether you choose a baby picture, a wedding photos or a stunning landscape, these conversation pieces are a unique and stunning addition to any home. The photo tiles used in MOSAIX undergo the same image transfer process as the coasters. For depth and texture, the tiles are mounted onto a fabric covered backing inside a shadow box. The tiles are spaced slightly apart, breaking up the image to give a mosaic effect. All the MOSAIX come complete with hanging hardware. Prices start at $65. Order here.








Check out VersaTile’s website for more great gift ideas.



I tried the PC Pot Roast Cooking Sauce and I loved it!

I thought pot roast was dead and gone. A relic of the 1950’s long banished from our dinner tables. Evidently I was wrong because during a recent discussion, I was dressed down and provided with a long list of reasons why the pot roast is still king. I discovered that pot roast tends to bring up some comforting childhood memories and a great deal of emotion!

I’m not generally a fan of one-pot meals. I love fancy food. The more complicated and intricate the better. I enjoy the challenge. But when it comes to everyday meals, I give in. Convenience is key. I happened upon the Pot Roast Cooking Sauce in the new Loblaws Insider Report. Perhaps a sign that a pot roast was in my future? I’m not totally unopposed to trying new spins on old classics.

The recipe was easy enough. Buy large roasting meat. Check. Carrots, onions, turnips and garlic. Check, check, check, check. Chicken broth. Check. Brown the meat. Pretty easy so far.

Chop up the vegetables and then sauté them.

Add the stock and sauce to the pan and bring to a simmer. Add the meat, cover and bake in the oven at 325 degrees for 3-3-1/2 hours. Unfortunately, this is where my pictures end. I’m quite forgetful and after 3 hours of cooking I simply didn’t remember to take a picture of the final product. Quite duh, I know. But here’s an image of pretty much how it looked.

I was impressed with the ingredients in the sauce. Water, tomato paste, onion, balsamic vinegar, burgundy wine, garlic, roasted portobello mushrooms, red wine extract, salt, beef suet (beef fat), spices, modified corn starch, seasoning and dehydrated onion. Pretty healthy. I can tell you that the PC Pot Roast Cooking Sauce added tremendous flavour and had no-fail cooking instructions. And it was a bargain at $2.49. It made my life easier and I will certainly use it again.

Meet Me in Las Vegas

The part of Las Vegas in this blog post in being played by Windsor.

I’ve never been to Las Vegas. No bachelor parties, no Siegfried & Roy, no gentlemen’s clubs, no Liberace museum. The closest I’ve ever been to Vegas is Windsor. I know. It’s a little sad. But I was travelling to Windsor to see my nephew get married and as a result, I got to experience a little slice of Vegas at the posh Caesars Hotel.
Not sure how Roman General Julius Caesar would feel about having a hotel/casino named after him, in Windsor no less. Although the hotel is without reproach, the two restaurants I dined at, Taza Mediterranean Grill and Artist Cafe, are worthy of a civil war. Caesar would not have been impressed. Those two restaurants are not terrible but certainly not worthy of such a world-class hotel. The shawarma meal at Taza was pretty bland and the meat was dry. Breakfast wasn’t much better. There is a breakfast buffet at Artist Cafe that was similarly unimpressive. The long lines to enter the restaurant wasn’t indicative of the great food, there is just no where else to go. I didn’t get to Neros Steakhouse which I hear is incredible. Next time.
Throughout the years I’ve stayed in many, many hotels. Caesar’s Windsor is by far the best. Amazing facilities, great service and wonderful entertainment all under one enormous roof. I do think that they need to improve the dining establishments. It will not, however, get in the way of a return trip. I can’t wait to go back. And I still have my hopes up for Vegas. But in the meantime, Caesars Windsor is a great stand-in!

Get your goat

Did you know that goat is one of the most widely-consumed meat on the planet? It is. And if you live in Ottawa I found the perfect place to get your goat on. It’s called Fishy’s Tropical Grill. Tucked away in the corner of a generic strip mall on Montreal Road in Vanier, Fishy’s is a Caribbean/Jamaican restaurant serving traditional Island food. Curry goat, fried dumplings, ackee, salt fish and more. And Fishy’s just also happens to be a Halal restaurant. Check it out. Friendly service and scrumptious food await you!


Fishy’s famous roti with island veggies and plantain. Delicious!