Posted in General

The Sake Bomb

Sake Bomb

I was at the Wasabi restaurant down in Ottawa and I saw this thing called a ‘Sake Bomb’ on the menu. It turns out that this is actually a ‘thing’ these days (and not just unique to this restaurant) but, in any event, I had to try it…

My waitress brought me a small glass of beer (Sapporo, I think), and then she balanced a small cup of hot sake on swizzle sticks above it as you see in the left-hand picture above. Now, since I insisted on taking a photograph, she then did what the drinker is supposed to do. She yelled…

Ichi, ni, san, sake bomb!!!

And then she bashed her fist on the table causing the cup to drop into the beer…

Well… I am sorry I couldn’t snap a picture quick enough, but the result was like a little mini-volcano. You can see the resultant mess in the right-hand picture, and all I can say is that I am glad she got me to move my menus, Ipad, and camera case out of the way first.

Kind of a one-time novelty experience, of course, but the result actually tasted pretty good 😊

Posted in Foodstuffs

Foodstuff: Dried Hibiscus Flower

Hibiscus 1

I first purchased Dried Hibiscus Flowers a year or so ago after reading that they make a nice addition to various tea and tisane blends and, since then, my wife and I have made them a frequent addition to our evening pots of tea. After a little further reading, I subsequently learned that the flowers are used as the primary ingredient in a number of beverages and can even be used in more substantial culinary preparations as well… Continue reading “Foodstuff: Dried Hibiscus Flower”

Posted in Notable Nosh

Notable Nosh: Dry Soda – Cucumber and Juniper Berry

Dry Soda 1

I saw an interesting new line of soft-drinks in our local Co-op recently. They have only just put in an appearance in these latitudes but I suspect they have been on the shelves in southern Canada for considerably longer by this time.  The word ‘Dry’ on the label does not, as I first thought, indicate the relative sweetness of the contents (as in a ‘dry wine’), but rather that the beverages are produced by the Dry Soda Company, operating out of Seattle, Washington. The corporate website does, however, does make much of the fact that these low calorie drinks (products range from 45 to 70 calories per bottle) are made keeping ‘the pure cane sugar to a minimum’ and thus the company name may have been appropriately and descriptively chosen.

Anyway, there are apparently seven products in the line, being: Wild Lime, Lavender, Blood Orange, Rhubarb, Juniper Berry, Vanilla Bean and Cucumber. Our Co-op had 6 of these (I didn’t see the Lime variety), and I decided to bring a couple of the more interesting flavors home one afternoon so that my wife and I could do a little taste test of our own… Continue reading “Notable Nosh: Dry Soda – Cucumber and Juniper Berry”

Posted in Notable Nosh

Notable Nosh: Honey White Gourd Drink (蜂蜜冬瓜茶)

White Gourd Drink 1

As I was leaving a grocery store in Ottawa’s Chinatown recently, I happened to spy this interesting beverage in a cooler by the door and couldn’t resist giving it a try…

Although the English name of the main ingredient is ‘white gourd’ the Chinese characters translate as ‘Honey Winter Melon Tea’. The word ‘melon’ suggests a very sweet, succulent fruit in English, of course, but in Chinese, the term incorporates a far wider range of produce (a cucumber is a ‘yellow melon’, for example). I have yet to cook with the winter melon (I haven’t seen them in stores this far north), but they appear quite often in a number of Chinese dishes (soups and stir-fries especially) and are very much a savory, rather than sweet ingredient.

The ingredients for this Taiwanese product appear on the can as: Water, White Gourd, Sugar, Honey, and Caramel Flavor. On tasting, it however, I got no sense that I was drinking the juice of a vegetable . Indeed, the dominant taste was a blend of honey, caramel and, for some unaccountable reason, a slight hint of the overly rich synthetic hazelnut flavor one encounters in some commercial coffee blends. I can’t say I enjoyed it very much as there was no acidity to balance out the rather thick sweetness, and it wasn’t a drink that I can imagine being all that refreshing on a hot day. I won’t bother buying it again, I don’t think, but, hey… if you don’t try these things, how will you ever know?

Anyway, on a related note, about an hour after buying this drink, I happened to come across some actual winter melon in the produce section of another store not far away. If my travel plans permitted it, I would have happily bought one or two as this was the first time I have ever seen them outside of a restaurant and I would love to give them a try in my own kitchen. Next trip to Ottawa, perhaps…




Posted in General

Exotic Asian Drinks in Ottawa

Just a brief, rather light sort of post for today… I usually feature actual foodstuffs rather than beverages but, on my last trip to Ottawa, I happened to come across a couple of drinks at a Vietnamese grocery store that are definitely not on the list of common liquid refreshments amongst the majority of Canadians. Coke and 7Up are ubiquitous, of course, but ‘Tamarind juice’ and ‘Grass Jelly Drink’ don’t seem to have made the popular rounds yet as far as I can tell… Continue reading “Exotic Asian Drinks in Ottawa”