Satisfaction Guaranteed

By Tina Albo:

I went on a special trip to London, UK, back in the fall of 2015. A friend of mine from New Brunswick and I spent ten glorious days soaking in the sights and enjoying everything London had to offer us. Long story short, we ended up going to dinner at this fabulous East Indian restaurant just off of North Gower Street, and I ended up ordering dinner for the both of us.

When our food arrived and she tasted morsels from each dish, she looked up at me and marveled, “You have a knack of knowing what tastes delicious. What is your secret?”

Her comment caught me off guard momentarily, as nobody had ever said this to me before. How did I know what she would enjoy and what she wouldn’t?

I recovered and simply shrugged. We focused on enjoying our food and returned to our modest room at the Carlton Hotel with full bellies and satisfied taste buds.

I spent the remainder of our trip in constant thought and paid close attention to my suggestions and our choices, as there had to be a method to my madness. We made a few discoveries in regards to where the best food and atmosphere was, but I also lent a hand in expanding her palate as well through a strategic trip to a small Italian deli called Giacobazzi’s near North Hampstead.

I made a few suggestions for her, and we enjoyed our little sandwiches in a nearby park. As we ate, she mentioned that back home she would never have eaten anything like this and took it upon herself to relish every remaining bite of her mortadella and sun-dried tomato sandwich. To this day, she reflects on that one sandwich and how much she enjoyed it.

Being from a small town in a small Canadian maritime province, my friend has had fewer opportunities than I have to enrich her culinary palate. Bathurst is a beautiful little town, but it does not house the many specialty markets that have popped up in Edmonton in the past few decades.

After I returned home, I made it my mission to understand and further develop this knack of mine. In the past few years since, I have experimented in my own kitchen, gathered opinions from my closest friends, and watched a lot of food documentary series on Netflix.

I have never taken food and dining lightly, as both sets of my grandparents instilled in me that food was more than just fuel for the body. Yet, my work proved to be more fruitful than I thought, as I have made many discoveries along the way.

The Greatest Things Take Time

In this day and age, convenience outweighs the simple pleasures. Many of us are pressed for time and require everything to be made quickly and efficiently. Take your morning coffee for example: Traditional drip coffee makers and the latest Nespresso machines definitely do their best to serve that purpose and produce a deliciously convenient beverage. However, it also leaves something to be desired. On those days where I want to sit and enjoy my morning coffee, I want something that will tantalize my senses and make my start to the day more pleasurable. If there’s anything I’ve learned over the years, it’s that my idea of perfect coffee takes time and patience.

Enter the French Press.

It begins with a fresh, coarse grind of beans and ends with the viscer