Seasons at the Prince – Sunday Brunch Review

H and I love to indulge in Sunday brunch, so I can’t believe we have never tried Seasons at the Prince, located inside the Westin Prince Hotel.

Upon entering the hotel, we were greeted with an impressive waterfall, as well as a towering Christmas tree and fireplace. Seasons at the Prince is casual, yet elegant at the same time.  The decor is very clean, modern and minimalist, with more sleek fireplaces.

Seating is spaced well and very comfortable, with a lot of options for privacy.  The semi-circular booths looked very cozy, and we loved our table for 2 which offered a beautiful view of the parklands.

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We arrived early and Aladdin was gracious in allowing me to take pictures before the brunch started. He was “very” attentive throughout our stay, making sure we were well taken care of!

A unique selection of hot and cold buffet items were available, and on our visit we enjoyed the stuffed lobster shells, oysters, mussels and shrimp, salads, danishes, croissants, the omelet and carving station, chocolate waffles, and so much more. The food was very fresh and nicely presented, and I noticed dishes were replenished very quickly.

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Smoked Salmon, Assorted Deli

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Stuffed Lobster Shells, Oysters, Mussels

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Omelet Station

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Tomatoes, Fresh Mozzarella with Balsamic Vinegar Drizzle

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Roasted Red Skin Potatoes with Lemon and Garlic, Seasonal Garden Vegetables

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Roasted Leg of Lamb with Pearl Onions and Sun Dried Tomatoes

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Butter Chicken

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Tri-color Tortellini with Spinach and Artichokes

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Herb Crusted Barramundi with Citrus Salsa

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Chicken Apple Sausages

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Chocolate Waffles

Fresh juices, smoothies and fruit balanced out an indulgent brunch, but of course my mind was on the dessert table!  Being a dessert lover, I noticed a beautifully displayed dessert table and was tempted to start there first! 

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Desserts

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What’s On Our Plates

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My favorite desserts were the chocolate mousse cake which was not too sweet, Tiramisu and Chocolate Pots de Crème.

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Jolanta, our server, suggested we make room for the bread pudding, but to honest, it looked quite plain to me.  As they say, “looks can be deceiving.” I’m so glad we gave it a try … the bread pudding was pure decadence!  The addition of a very light, yet creamy and thick vanilla sauce was amazing.

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Most surprising was the coffee, as I prefer tea. When we asked Jolanta, she informed us it was Starbucks. While we love Starbucks lattes, H does not like their coffee, but this particular blend was mild and smooth, with no bitter aftertaste. Of course H enjoyed the pot that was left on our table, and I helped myself to several cups as well!

While the restaurant was booked solid, we never felt rushed to finish our brunch. We lingered long after everyone had left, and I was impressed that food was still being served, fresh as when we first arrived.

We were having such a relaxing afternoon, looking out at the beautiful grounds when Jamy and Jolanta brought out yet another piece of dessert while singing Happy Birthday. It was very nice that they took the time to chat with us! Most often, servers are in a hurry to clean up and usher guests out, but this was not the case at Seasons at the Prince!

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We had a very enjoyable brunch, the service was amazing, and we’re already looking forward to returning soon!

Note:

  • Sunday brunch is currently $44/person, which includes coffee or tea, juices and smoothies, as well as parking

Disclosure:
This is not a paid advertisement.

Christmas Cookies

You can find my favorite holiday cookie recipe on this hyperlink

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Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix Makes a Great Last Minute Gift!

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Just a few more sleeps until Christmas …. are you still working on your holiday shopping list?

Here’s a very easy homemade gift that chocolate lovers will appreciate – homemade hot chocolate mix.

I started making my own mix last year and I’ve never gone back to store-bought mixes. I like to use mason jars, but any container will do. Just layer with cocoa powder (Dutch cocoa is really good), icing sugar (which dissolves faster), or even vanilla sugar would be great. Add a few sprinkles of cinnamon powder and top with small chocolate chunks or chocolate chips. How easy is that?

Cheers!

To make:

Calculate how many servings your container or mason jar will fit based on the ingredients below. Fill each container about ¾ full, to allow room to shake contents.

1 serving contains:

  • 1 heaping tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 heaping tablespoon icing sugar (or vanilla sugar)
  • 1 – 2 tiny shakes of cinnamon powder
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of small chocolate chunks or chocolate chips (any type: milk, semi-sweet or dark)

My mason jars fit 6 servings so I spooned in 6 of the above.

Heaping = generous serving!

Cut and paste the recipe below, and print out to include with each jar.

Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

Ingredients

• Dutch Cocoa Powder
• Icing Sugar
• Cinnamon
• Dark Chocolate Chunks

Directions

1. Shake jar
2. Add 1 heaping tablespoon to a mug
3. Add very hot milk, a little bit at first and mix well, then add remaining hot milk to top up your mug, stir to combine
4. Add your topping of choice – marshmallows or whipped cream

Enjoy!

This is so much healthier than store-bought hot chocolate mixes!!

Birthday Cake!

This cake is pure decadence!

It’s a vanilla sponge cake perfumed with strawberries and raspberries. The filling is a light and refreshing strawberry Bavarian cream, with a luscious layer of vanilla whipped cream.  The finishing touches are macarons, meringues, fresh berries, candied orange peel and fresh basil.

Truly a cake lover’s dream!

Birthday Cake 2014

 

Birthday Cake 2014

Birthday Cake!

This was my second birthday cake!  A totally different cake from the first, both in design and taste.  It’s a raspberry vanilla cake, filled with lemon curd, and iced with American buttercream.  The cake is very sweet, but balanced with tart flavors.

Birthday Cake 2014

 

Birthday Cake 2014

Sticky Toffee Pudding – Pure Decadence!

Sticky Toffee Pudding Sticky Toffee Pudding is one of the most decadent and delicious desserts on this planet … okay, that’s a bit dramatic, but the first time I tried this dessert, I was hooked!

Who knew that a cake made with dates could taste so scrumptious??? H couldn’t even detect the taste of dates.

I’ve tried so many recipes, but the one I keep coming back to is from the Barefoot Contessa. Her recipe makes 2 cakes, but I easily cut it in half. H loves the toffee sauce so much that I make extra and freeze it (it is simply amazing on vanilla ice cream with toasted pecans!)

Please don’t try to serve this extremely moist cake (I don’t know why it’s called a pudding?) without the toffee sauce; it will taste really, really bland. And yes, the fresh whipped cream is a must!! Or, even a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Sticky Toffee Pudding is a very filling dessert so I like to serve it after a light lunch or dinner. Oh heck, I’ve even eaten it several times for breakfast and any time in between!!

The cakes can be made in any size (round, square or muffin tins). I used my jumbo cupcake pans because one small muffin size is NOT enough! The cakes and sauce freeze really well – just thaw and heat in the microwave for a minute or two. There have been times when I craved the toffee sauce for another dessert, and I just scooped it straight out of the container from the freezer (use a very strong and sturdy spoon) and microwaved it!

I just know you’ll fall in love with Sticky Toffee Pudding … we have!

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Makes two 9” cakes or 20 muffin sized cakes
Adapted from barefootcontessa.com

Ingredients

  • 2½ cups all purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups dates, pitted and chopped
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3¼ tbsp baking powder

Toffee Sauce

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup heavy cream (35%)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Butter and flour two 9” round cake pans or 20 muffin tins
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour and salt and set aside
  4. Place the dates in a large saucepan with 3 ½ cups cold water. Bring to a boil, stirring a little to break up the dates. Watch carefully as it can boil over. Simmer for 1 minute before removing from the heat. Stir in the baking soda (this will cause the mixture to bubble up) so stir carefully but quickly. Set aside
  5. Cream the butter and sugar together in a stand or electric mixer until creamy
  6. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides and middle of the mixing bowl after each addition
  7. Add the vanilla extract and then the flour mixture and mix briefly, the batter will be lumpy
  8. Add the warm date mixture in two batches. Scrape down the sides and middle of the bowl in between mixing. The dough will now be quite watery (this is normal)
  9. Add the baking powder (this will bubble up also)
  10. Pour the batter evenly into the two pans or muffin tins
  11. Bake for approximately 30-40 minutes for cake pans and about 20 minutes for muffin tins. Test if they are cooked with a small toothpick, it should come out clean when cakes are done

Toffee Sauce

Combine the butter, brown sugar, heavy cream and vanilla extract in a medium saucepan
Bring to a boil and whisk gently, then reduce to simmer for a minute or two until thickened and well mixed. Be careful as this mixture will become very hot (use caution when whisking).

Optional:

When the cakes are done, poke little holes all over with toothpick, this will enable the sauce to be absorbed more easily. Pour the toffee sauce over cakes while both are still warm and leave to soak for about 10 minutes. Turn the cakes out upside-down onto serving plates.  Serve with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream

Note:

I like to serve the cakes with the toffee sauce poured over the cakes, but it’s entirely up to you 🙂

Kitchen note:

  • I cut this recipe in half and it makes 1 round or square cake, or 8 jumbo cupcakes
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