You must (fon)due this hike!

This is a hike I have had the privilege of doing twice, and it is not far from Neuchâtel, Switzerland, where I live.  In this hike, you essentially hike up and down what is called the “Creux du Van”.  The Creux du Van is a huge rock formation (apparently called a rock “cirque”:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creux_du_Van) that you spend a tough 30-45 minutes hiking straight up, followed by a leisurely hike down (1-2 hours).  Here is a link describing the hike:  http://activityworkshop.net/hiking/switzerland/creuxduvan.html . It is describing a slightly longer hike (don’t be thrown off – it doesn’t take 7 hours as it is listed!!!)

Despite the difficult hike up (known for its 13 switchbacks – believe me, you count them as you go) the view you are rewarded with (if there’s no fog) is stunning!  Not only that, but you are also greeted by the sound of swiss cow bells, because there are a few farms up top.  After the hike you can stop at Ferme Robert for a classic Swiss dish – cheese fondue!  Not a bad way to finish it all off, I can assure you.  Eat your fondue one of the typical ways, with a nice cup of hot tea.  Ferme Robert even has a little natural history museum upstairs, if you’re not already sold by their cheesy specialty!  (http://www.ferme-robert.ch/)
Here are a few photos I took on my first hike (the weather was so foggy the second time, I didn’t bother taking any):
Happy Monday!

northkate

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Savory Saturday – Ohh the celebrations!

Aside from being my sister birthday yesterday, it was also celebration time with my boyfriend as we have been together for 2 whole years!

Happy anniversary dude! (so romantic).

No cooking for me today, just reenacting our first date today!

Here is the place we met and shared a plate o frites:

Ahhh the memories!

Thanks S. for introducing me to Yellowstone, for inspiring me and motivating me, and for all the fabulous food (DEEP DISH PIZZA)!

 

By the way, try OnTheWay

I saw this website OnTheWayApp, where you can plug in a road trip start and destination and it will plot “must sees” along the way.

What a great concept, and then I put it into practice.

Last summer, I drove out from Toronto to Yellowstone (Wyoming/Montana) and had probably the greatest tour guide (my boy) directing me to our destination. He has been to Yellowstone every year since he was 10 years old (29 now).

Although he either flew in, or drove in from Vancouver, he still had one of those great childhoods where he and his parents explored as many park as they could when he was growing up.

What I am saying about this new site is – it is great if you have absolutely no clue where to stop and what to eat along your road trip journey.

But when I looked up the route we took last year to Yellowstone, it recommended stopping at a movie theatre in Guelph (been there….it’s a movie theatre), then Limeridge Mall in Hamilton (ummm a mall, with banks, a few clothing stores and a food court), after the mall, it recommended John Labatt Centre in London, Ontario where you could view the OHL hockey team for an evening, if they are playing there that evening…in the fall – spring…then IKEA in Dearborn, Michigan.

It’s a great way to look up malls and arenas as I discovered after looking up alternate road trip destinations.

Really, I despise criticizing anything, but this site is just a google map with a few tagged waypoints.

Great concept, but more people need to ‘write in’ the local must-sees to make this site work.

Savory Saturday – Where the Buffalo Roam (in Canada)

I will not be cooking at all today, I am sorry.

My travels take me to the heart of Southwestern Ontario to see my good friends new baby girl. When I return home in the evening, I am looking forward to going for a bite to eat at one of my boys’ favorite Canadian pubs – Rebel House.

It’s one of those places you would love to be stuck in on a snowy day in the middle of winter. So cosy with a few fireplaces, friendly people, cheap, and amazing LOCAL food.

My mind is already focused on the mussels and the Buffalo Burger that I will quickly spill out to my waiter/waitress:

DOWNEAST MUSSELS – Fresh P.E.I. mussels with the chef’s daily sauce and spiced bread

BUFFALO BURGER

Fresh minced buffalo and beef grilled to order and served with homemade spicy ancho pepper ketchup, red onion, tomato and pickle on a country Kaiser with house salad and/or kettle fries

So, I am a bit curious as to how Buffalo burgers are created….and I need to have a recipe available for my ‘Savory Saturday’ post today….

Here we go! (with a recipe from Canadian Living)

Butchers at farmer’s markets and specialty stores are great sources for homegrown bison. Try these burgers with grainy mustard and whole wheat buns.

Ingredients

Preparation

In skillet, heat oil over medium heat; cook onion, stirring often, until softened and golden, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in large bowl, mix together egg, bread crumbs, beer, mustard, thyme, salt and pepper. Stir in onions, then bison; mix until just combined. Shape into four 3/4-inch (2 cm) thick patties. (Make-ahead: Store, separated by waxed paper, in airtight container and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Or freeze for up to 1 month; defrost in refrigerator.)

Place patties on greased grill over medium heat; close lid and grill, turning once, until no longer pink inside and digital thermometer inserted sideways into centre reads 160°F (71°C), about 10 minutes. Sandwich in buns.

Pizza pizza pizza!

Shout out to my boyfriend today for this post. The ultimate pizza maniac I have ever, and will ever know.

Source

Lonely Planet came out with an article on the best pizza in the USA. It mostly discusses the debate between New York or Chicago style pizza. As a person who has only had Chicago deep-dish, and has tested it a total of 4 times at different places, I have to say that it would be very tough to beat this ooey-gooey-cheesy goodness.

Here are their top picks:

Manhattan

1. Joe’s in the West Village

2. John’s in the West Village or Midtown

3. Patsy’s uptown.

Brooklyn

Source

1. Grimaldi’s, under Brooklyn Bridge

2. Di Fara (1424 Ave J)

3. Franny’s in Prospect Heights

4. Totonno’s by Coney Island

5. Lucali’s in Carroll Gardens

Chicago

1. Giordano’s in the Near North

California, New Haven, and St. Louis are also mentioned. Which I found came right out of left field!

I was a bit disappointed that they only listed one pizza restaurant in Chicago. Me thinks Lou Malnati’s and Gino’s East should be included as well. (read my review of Lou’s on my Restaurant page!). Can’t complaint too much since Giordano’s is where it’s at!

In Canada, I have a few to add to the list:

Toronto, Ontario

Source

1. Queen Margherita Pizza

2. Terroni’s

3. La Vecchia

4. Mercatto

5. Camerra’s

Kingston, Ontario

1. Wooden Heads

Halifax, Nova Scotia

1. King of Donair (KOD)

Quebec City, Quebec

Source

1. Portofino

2. Savini

Vancouver, British Columbia

1. Hell’s Kitchen

2. Incendio

Victoria, British Columbia

1. The Joint

Waterloo, Ontario

1. McMullens

I think the most entertaining aspect of this article are the comments at the end. Some people, like I just did here, recommended their own favorite pie places.

But a few actually were offended by this piece of writing. Come on, it’s pizza! Everyone has their own tastes, don’t be a pizza party pooper.

Mmmmmm pizza…

Minervas, Sioux Falls

If you ever find yourself hungry in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, please try Minervas on Phillips Ave.. It was an unexpected and pleasant surprise to fulfil my hunger this summer when traveling back to Toronto from the Rockies.

I tried the Balsamic Steak Tips which consisted of sautéed steak tips, caramelized onions & mushrooms, balsamic glaze drizzle, and roasted garlic mashed potatoes. Deeeeelicious!!

What a great meal! Not sure if I will ever return to Sioux Falls, but if I do, I know where I am eating!

K-Bar

I need to talk about this bar/restaurant I went to in Gardiner, Montana that is the sort of place that you just know the food is going to either be the most disgusting thing you have ever eaten, or the most amazingly delicious food you would have never thought to try.

Let me start with what K-Bar looks like. On the outside, there is a huge red sign with those light bulbs framing the word K-BAR in that clown-ish font. The sign on the outside of the bar read, “must leave alcohol inside” and on the inside, “No Hunting or Trespassing. Violators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Survivors will be prosecuted again” and “patrons are requested to refrain from disposing of cigarette butts in the urinals as they become soggy and difficult to light”. Just the look of it says, late night, smoke filled, shady pool hall in small town USA.

Next, I’ll tell you about the people. The cook in the bar is the owner’s son, who must be 14 years old. The bartender/waiter resembles a stereotypical mountain man, complete with the requisite mountain man beard – and on the day I went, he had just finished for the day at his other job as a white water rafting guide.

So the food should be on par with an awful, cliche dive bar, right?

Nope.

The K-Bar pizza is one of the greatest pies I have ever tasted – and I have tasted plenty! The sauce is what got me; I absolutely loved it. When I asked the owner what the secret was, he said it was his wife’s secret, but might have to do with a lot of fennel and garlic. My boyfriend feels it’s the cheese that makes this pizza. Apparently, the wife of the owner grew up on a dairy farm, where this unique cheese was discovered and made en mass by the family. Deeeelicious!

Can I tell you, also, that the from the owners to the staff to the patrons, you will not find a nicer group of people than at the K-Bar? Bar none, they were the nicest people I met on my trip. They all came out to make sure we had the best food experience of our lives. Which brought us back two nights in a row…during our 2 night stay near Gardiner, Montana.