Sunday, January 20, 2013

Audi Roadside Assistance & Dealership - Excellent Service

The other day we were on our way out to get groceries when my husband and I discovered our key fob wouldn't work in our 2011 A4 (our only car).  It would go in 3/4 of the way but no further.  We took turns trying just in case it was one of us as we hadn't used the car in a while and tried both fobs to rule out all possible issues we could think of.  No luck.  Concerned I called Audi dealership here in Saskatoon hoping their service department was still open as it was 4:00 on a Saturday and about -29 outside, not including the wind chill.  The receptionist answered and confirmed my fears that their service department was indeed closed.

I proceeded to call Audi's Roadside Emergency Assistance and spoke with a very helpful Amber who was sympathetic to our situation.  She put me on hold for a bit and came back on stating she spoke with the dealership here in town who were going to call me in five minutes as they were willing to help us out any way they can.  As promised, both Trevor and Scotty contacted me to find out what the situation was.  They were very helpful and great to work with and came up with a plan to get the car towed and looked at first thing on Monday.  I contacted Roadside Assistance again to get the car towed so it wouldn't cost us anything and this time spoke with Erin.  I thought I would have to repeat our situation again but Amber was very diligent about recording our conversation and Erin was quick to set us up with a tow truck.  Overall I have to say I was impressed with the service I received and the quickness Audi was able to respond to our needs.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Simon's Fine Food Cooking Class - Irresistable Italian

gnocchi: (in Italian cooking) Small dumplings made from potato, semolina, or flour, usually served with a sauce (Wikipedia)

 I love cooking. I am always looking for ways to improve my cooking and increase my repertoire. My dream would be to open up a small restaurant using quality ingredients prepared simply so when John bought me a cooking class with Simon Reynolds of Simon Fine Foods here in Saskatoon I couldn't wait.

Leftover gnocchi and chicken
Simon is a trained chef with over 20 years of experience, working in many parts of the world like the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada. He once owned Simon's British Flavors here in town and now teaches cooking classes, as well as caters and provides private chef services. He offers a number of different classes ranging from $50-60 that can be viewed here. The class I signed up for was Irresistable Italian with a menu consisting of: potato and nutmeg Gnocchi, mushroom and shallot cream sauce, tomato salad with balsamic and pesto dressing, parmesan and herb tray focaccia, and orange and rasberry biscotti. Yum!

As this was my first cooking class I wasn't quite sure what to expect.  I've seen shows on television where wannabe chefs stand around a table taking notes while the instructor goes through the process. I packed the required items of a chopping board, knife and small containers for leftovers as well as a second knife, pen and notebook just incase I needed to take notes (which I ended up not needing). The class ran approx. 2 hours with time afterwards to enjoy our creations and take home leftovers.
Cranberry and orange biscotti

Simon's Fine Foods is easy to find - it's located in the Avalon strip mall and his signage is easy to spot. I arrived 10 minutes early as suggested on his site only to find out that I was the last to arrive (hopefully I wasn't late as the site mentioned classes starting at 6:30). The place was exactly how I pictured it would be. It was clean and organized, with cooking shelves against the front and left wall, 2 stainless steel counters in the center, sinks against the right wall and an oven and stove at the back. Our class was smaller in size - we initially sat around a table as Simon introduced himself (or everyone was just sitting there waiting for me to arrive :S). We proceeded to put on the provided cloth aprons and went to the counters to start our class.

Parmesan and herb tray focaccia
The class was very hands on, starting with each of us learning how to make gnocchi from scratch. Along the way, Simon would provide pointers and reasons why certain techniques were used. He was open to answering any questions we had, even questions that may not have related to the theme of the class. As the class progressed we were assigned different tasks such as slicing and peeling different items. At one point I was assigned to make the biscotti which I've never made before and enjoyed doing so. I don't want to go into the specifics of the class as I believe Simon's classes are worth signing up for and experiencing things first hand. We finished the class on time and was able to sit down and enjoy our creations. I wish I had a picture of our finished creations but you'll have to make due with pictures of the leftover focaccia, gnocchi and biscotti I took home. I would definitely recommend signing up for one of Simon's classes as he is knowledgeable and personable.