Monday, April 27, 2009

Sorrentino's Tiramisu

Monday, April 27, 2009
Location: Downtown, Little Italy, Sherwood Park, South, St. Albert, West (check website for more information)
Phone: 780-474-6494

A couple of weeks ago, we decided to embark on our new adventure to find the city's BEST tiramisu. It's kinda funny, since neither Amanda nor I liked tiramisu at all until we found the one at Famoso. Now everywhere we go, we look at the menu and get all disappointed when there's no tiramisu on the menu. This blog has literally changed us. ;)

It also seems we like to venture out to new places after yoga. I'm not sure if meditating tends to open us up to new things, but probably not. I think the tree pose exhausts us enough to get so hungry we'll settle for anything in sight.

So last Monday after our last yoga class, we were debating between a few restaurants. Then there it was - Sorrentino's right in front of us! It was as if it was just meant to be. We've been talking about going there for tiramisu forever, but just never found the right time to go.
We went to the one on the West end in Callingwood. Parking was a breeze. We scored pretty rock star parking in front of the restaurant. We walked in and were surprised at how busy the restaurant was. We took one look around and knew we didn't quite fit in with our yoga pants and runners.

Amanda was starving, which served her right because she didn't have dinner before yoga. We asked for the dinner menu, which at a glance, we can tell you right now was not Cheap Chicks material. So we won't blog too much about their food...but we can tell you this - their seafood pasta although good in value (for $18, you get tons of seafood), I would only order if you enjoy chewing on rubber and inhaling clams. There were a lot of clams. Clams. Enough said.

After dinner, we were so excited about the tiramisu! Sorrentinos has advertised that they make the best tiramisu in town. I was on the edge of my seat! I couldn't imagine it being better than Famoso. I was dreaming of the creaminess and the fluffiness of it all. I was dying for them to bring it out.

Not before we ordered coffee, of course. Their coffee wasn't horrible, but wasn't the best either. It had an interesting after taste. I don't know about these Italian coffees, they all need a lot of cream. At least for me.

Finally, the tiramisu came! It looked presentable (note the picture below, which took me literally 5 whole minutes to take because of my crappy camera which wouldn't focus for the life of me, and the crappy lighting. Finally, I had to get Amanda to hold it up with her goofy face so you can have a good look at it). Amanda and I dug our forks in and took our first bite....

It was followed by silence.

Then a weird face from both of us.

And then roaring laughter.

Amanda: This is terrible!
Carly: I've never had anything like it!
Amanda: How is it even tiramisu?
Carly: I think this is why we've never enjoyed it.
Amanda: It's dense! Ladyfingers aren't supposed to be dense! I think they used cake!
Carly: Where's the cheese? Oh, there it is (scraping a thin layer off). Wait, I think it's cream cheese.
Amanda: Let me try a strawberry.
Carly: What's wrong?
Amanda: (with a squinty eyes and scrunched up face) It's REALLY sour.
Carly: Argh, I can't eat this. This was the most disappointing outing ever. It's not creamy, it's not light. There's nothing good about it.
Amanda: It's just a cake...and they named it "tiramisu".

It could've just been an off night they had. Who knows? If you've had a different experience, we would love to hear it! The good news is that Sorrentino's tiramisu is ranked #2 on our list! With the dessert and coffee, our bill came to just over $14. Would you rather spend $14 here? Or $12 at Famoso? You decide.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Army and Navy's Legendary Shoe Sale

Sunday, April 19, 2009
Location: 137th Ave & 66th Street or 10411 82nd Ave (Whyte Ave)
Phone #: 780-456-1155 or 780-433-5503
Date/Time: Wed., April 22, Doors open at 8am

Amanda: When Carly suggested that we check out Army and Navy I thought "Seriously? I used to go there with my Grandmother when I was a kid!" and, while I love my grandmother, her fashion sense was not one of the traits I most admired about her, but Carly assured me that there were great deals to had especially with the annual shoe sale coming up. Being a bit of an Imelda Marcos in the shoe department myself I decided to see what Army and Navy had to offer and boy was I in for a surprise!

We chose to check out the newest location of the Canadian owned chain in Londonderry Mall. Parking at the mall was extremely easy; definitely no hassles there! Walking into the store we were very pleasantly surprised. This was not the same Army and Navy that Amanda remembers visiting with her Grandmother! Moving to the shoe section of the store we were even more pleasantly surprised. This section is set up much like any discount chain shoe section. Shoes are sorted according to style and size. Walking through the aisles of shoes some pretty well known names started to jump out. Guess, Nine West, Rocket Dog, Baby Phat, and Dereon just to name a few, and the prices seemed to range from about $20 for a pair of flats to $70 for a pair of Arturo Chiang knee high leather boots. The day we went there there was a sale on Guess sandals; $40 a pair. The Cheap Chicks were in shoe heaven!

As it says in the title the shoe sale is fabled to be legendary. Shoes start at about $9 and go up from there, but seriously where can you get adult shoes for $9 anymore? And there seem to be some pretty big labels expected. Isaac Mizrahi, Kate Spade, BCBG, Walter Steiger, and more! Apparently there are line ups the morning of waiting for the store to open, and the rush to the shoes once the doors open is akin to the running of the bulls - get out of the way or be trampled! This is the kind of sale movies are made of including women fighting over the last pair and shoe vultures lurking in the aisles just waiting to pick up any tantalizing morsel that may be put down even for a second to try on a second pair. So guard any of your finds with your life! In dire situations we condone taking your significant other along to guard your shoe collection while you go back into the fray for more.

A warning to the faint of heart. Like any discount store this kind of shopping is not fun and relaxing. Shoe sale or not, this is do it yourself shopping. You have to be willing to go through the aisles and take in all that is being offered. Then on top of that you hope they have it in your size, but on those occasions when the stars in shoe heaven align in your favor there is nothing as rewarding as finding your shoes at a discount! This is a do not miss for shoe lovers everywhere and with new styles being released daily we recommend going back for more! Remember Amanda's motto: life's too short; buy the shoes!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Famoso's Tiramisu

Sunday, April 12, 2009
Location: 11750 Jasper Avenue or 14123 23 Ave
Phone: 780-732-0700 or 780-436-8799
Time: Tues to Sat 11am to 11pm, Mon 11am to 9pm, Sun 12pm to 9pm

One of our friends invited Carly out to Famoso about a year ago, and ever since, pizza had a new meaning. Even Amanda, who isn't a big pizza fan loves Famoso because of its authentic Italian taste! Although Famoso is famous for it's wood-oven fresh made pizza with ingredients right from Italy, Cheap Chicks decided to blog about something that tastes good, and fits our budget! Both of us weren't tiramisu fans, but after one bite of it at Famoso, we are now in search of the city's best tiramisu! So here's our first review - stay tuned for more!

There's plenty of parking at the Famoso parking lot. You do share with patrons at On the Rocks and Liquor Depot. But if you can't find parking there, there's also some meter parking on the street. Rest assured that you don't have to park a mile away to work up a bigger appetite!

Famoso is normally "seat yourself" style, but during peak time, you will have to put your name down and wait on the list. We have never had to wait longer than 15 minutes. And it's definately worthwhile!

Famoso isn't a big restaurant, which gives it a cozy feel. The aroma of fresh pizza is enough to make you drool all over. They have menus on the table, and once you choose what you want, you just go up to the register and order. Once the food is ready, they'll bring it to you. Meanwhile, you can help yourself with cutlery, water, and parmesan cheese/chilli on the side table.

We went to the downtown Famoso one night after Yoga to have a coffee and shared a tiramisu. Their coffee comes in a huge mug (and we mean HUGE!). We normally take 2-3 creams in our coffee, but in this mug, we both took at least 6! We recommend that you ask for it 3/4 filled (or even half), then 2-3 creams should be just right. They have vanilla flavored sugar on the side, which makes for a perfect cup of coffee.

One bite into the tiramisu, and you know this one stands out from the rest. The flavor, fluffiness, and creaminess come together in a perfect balance. The whole bite will just melt in your mouth. It was by far the best tiramisu we've had so far, but we've heard that other places claim they carry the best, so our search continues...

If you're looking for a light and yummy treat to complete your meal, then head over to Famoso! For 2 coffees, one tiramisu to share, it's only $10! It's perfect to go with a friend, on a date, or just to go!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Crankpots Ceramic Studio

Saturday, April 4, 2009
Location: 10702 82 Ave.
Phone #: 780-414-1005
Time: Mon.-Fri. 10am-9pm, Sat. 10am-6pm, Sun. 12pm-5pm

A couple months ago we were planning a girls weekend and trying to think of daytime activities that everyone would enjoy. Should we go to a spa, or the farmer's market, or just out for lunch? Carly eventually came up with the idea of Crankpots! We thought Crankpots would give us the opportunity to combine girl bonding time and creativity; plus none of us had been before so we thought we'd check it out on Saturday!

Carly : We drove in circles around Whyte Ave. a few times before we found a parking spot "a mile" away. (Amanda: aka - 2 blocks)

Walking into the studio it was an opposite experience to the perogy dinner. There were children everywhere. Amanda: and I mean EVERYWHERE! (Carly: there was a little corner left for us.)

Being Crankpot virgins we appreciated not having to wait long before one of the staff members approached us to offer assistance. We learned that there was a $10 studio fee to use the space (unlimited time) and a $3 glazing/firing fee. Before we were allowed to touch any of the pieces she sent us to wash our hands. This is to prevent the transfer of oils from your hands to the pieces which will ruin your piece after it's fired.

Browsing through the pieces we tried to find ones that were practical and fit our budget. While a figurine for $7 fit the cheap chicks budget we could make better use of a $70 platter. It took us almost an hour to decide on an $18 bowl and a $20 plate (Amanda: TOO many kids in the way!)

Now it was time to get creative! The studio offers a variety of books and stencils to assist you; however, cheap chicks recommend that you walk in with an idea in mind otherwise you risk spending the next 2 hours choosing what to paint. In actuality it only took us an hour and a half!

The rest was a breeze! Whether you are artsy or not it's impossible not to have fun! Looking through the finished pieces even the simplest designs turned out well. Just pick your colors and paint away! We were so busy painting, chatting, and laughing that the next thing we knew the store was closing. If you haven't finished your piece have no fear! They do let you come back to finish without recharging you. When you're done you turn in your piece for firing. If you have a time limit keep in mind that it takes 8 days for them to finish your piece.

In total we spent $36 for 4 hours of fun, but what makes this a Cheap Chicks pick is Crankpots' Happy Hour which saves you the $10 studio fee during the following times:

10am-4pm Tuesday to Thursday
4pm-9pm on Wednesday (Students Only with valid ID)
All day Monday and Friday

This would bring our total to $26, but for $5 more you can also go on Tuesday or Thursday from 4pm-9pm and paint at the kids rate.

Crankpots also offers other deals on in studio parties as well as a paint at home option. Contact them for more information.

Overall this is a great idea for a girls weekend, staggette, birthday party or even a date! Throw in a meal and you can have a whole day of fun for under $40! As Martha would say - "'s a good thing."

NOTE: Unfortunately for Carly a small accident sent her bowl to Crankpot heaven. A new one is being reincarnated as we speak (at no charge). Our thoughts are with her during this time of need.