Sisters with a passion for food

Host of Off the Beaten Palate, Michael-Ann Rowe

Host of Off the Beaten Palate, Michael-Ann Rowe

If you’ve been in Urban Deli you may have noticed our owner Liz is often a whirlwind of activity. However, she is almost zen-like when compared with her sister, Michael-Ann (aka Mikey, aka MA), who lives in New York City when she’s not traveling the globe or coming back to New Brunswick.

Each sister has her own distinct characteristics but they also have many in common. Not the least of these is a passion for food. Where Liz opened her own restaurant, Urban Deli, Michael-Ann created her own television show, Off the Beaten Palate.

You’ve probably seen Mikey in the Deli as she brings her energy back home to New Brunswick every chance she gets. In fact, the first show of Off the Beaten Palate showcases our great province.

Now Michael-Ann’s show is nominated in the 2012 Taste Awards (aka the Tasty Awards). If you’re unfamiliar with them, here is how they describe themselves.

Off the Beaten Palate

Off the Beaten Palate

The Annual TASTE AWARDS (aka the TASTY Awards) is the premier broadcast awards show to celebrate the best in food, fashion, and home lifestyle programs on TV, in Film, Online, and on Radio. The goal is to recognize and acknowledge outstanding excellence in video and film content focused on food, drink, fashion, design, and home lifestyle.

The awards are a pretty big deal in the world of food. Other people up for awards in various categories are the likes of Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver with shows like Kitchen Nightmares and Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.

MA’s show finds itself in the Best Food Travel Series: Web (there are five shows nominated in the category).

Mikey will go just about anywhere to explore culinary delicacies from their roots.

Mikey will go just about anywhere to explore culinary delicacies from their roots.

What is Off the Beaten Palate?

Host and narrator, Michael-Ann Rowe, is a food lover, restaurateur, and TV personality, who takes an unabashed and inquisitive approach, as she travels the globe disclosing culinary delicacies from their roots.

We’re all pretty excited about Mikey’s nomination given that the show has not yet launched. But keep with us at Urban Deli for news of a PBS airing date in March, 2012! Canadians everywhere will have a chance to see it.

She’ll be heading to Hollywood soon for the January 12 Tasty Awards show (and we’re pretty envious because it sounds like it will be a snazzy red carpet affair).

We’re wishing her all the best as her culinary adventure takes her to Tinsel Town to hobnob with celebrity foodies and others as they celebrate the best in food television.

If you’re curious about Off the Beaten Palate have a look at the the trailer. You can also read about the Tasty Awards and Michael-Ann in this Huffington Post article.

Off the Beaten Palate:

Michael-Ann Rowe, host of Off the Beaten Palate, takes a break while shooting an episode back home in New Brunswick.

Michael-Ann Rowe, host of Off the Beaten Palate, takes a break while shooting an episode back home in New Brunswick.


Some very belated congratulations

Good grief! Talk about late out of the gate … We’ve been so busy lately in the restaurant and with catering, we’ve fallen way behind on our site. That would be fine, such things happen when you’re a relatively small operation and there loads of things needing your attention, but we’ve neglected some people that should have been given a tip of the hat and a, “Well done!”

We’re referring to this year’s The Saltys, Saint John’s first ever social media awards. It was thrilling for us because we found ourselves nominated in one of the categories. It was completely unexpected and we we’re thrilled. We didn’t grab the top honour but, as they say at the Oscars, we got a real charge out of the nomination and felt privileged to me in the running.

We want to send a big congratulations out to this year’s winners:

Mel won in the category we found ourselves in and we think it was well-deserved. The big night was held at SJAH, just down the street from us. Fran made it to the big night but Bill was stuck up in Frederiction. (They’re the two helping out with our social media efforts.)

Once again, “Bravo!” to all the winners and nominees. This is meant to be an annual event, so we’re looking forward to next year’s awards and hope this thing just grows and grows (kind of like social media itself).


Our Valentine’s Day menu

Even when we’re busiest, we like to think there’s something romantic about the Deli. It’s in the way we approach food (always with love) and something in the decor.

And there’s something contagious about romance, so we’re hoping you’ll join us Monday evening for our Valentine’s Day dinner.

Here’s our menu (a .pdf file). It involves a couple of yummy appetizers, a choice of savoury entrees and a dessert to die for. (Can you say chocolate molten cake with chocolate drizzle, fresh whipped cream and a strawberry?)

Maybe you’ll be headed to see the Goo Goo Dolls and want something loving and romantic beforehand, or maybe you’re just planning on a starry-eyed evening with someone special. We’re pretty sure we’ll fit the bill.

So, please join us for our Valentine’s dinner. It will be our pleasure to serve you. We’re always big on romance!


Brush off the frost and get warm

Urban Deli's very popular "comfort food," the meatloaf sandwich.

It’s more than a little cool out today — it’s freezing! Welcome to January.

If we may be so bold, we thinks it’s the perfect time for Urban Deli. You can come in and warm up with our creamy pesto pasta or, our most popular; a steaming, Montreal style smoked meat sandwich.  And we encourage you to try our new spare rib sandwich.

Of course, there is always the meatloaf sandwich too …

And if you’re not into venturing outside, you can still enjoy the Deli.  Gather up a few of friends and colleagues and order in. We’ll deliver! Just call us at 652.3354.

It’s always warm in our kitchen, and we like it that way!


Sautéed red peppers – so versatile!

Red peppersThis dish is versatile, easy to make and requires minimal ingredients — and it is so delicious!

The sautéed red peppers are equally great as a stand-alone dish or a  compliment to other dishes such as a topping for steamed chicken, pasta, or salads and served with a nice Italian bread or baguette, or with grilled sausages.

My sister Michael-Ann and her girlfriend Jodi recently visited Saint John from Manhattan (one of my favorite food cities).  Jodi, who also lived in Italy for a few years, prepared one of her many recipes, which were taught to her in the kitchens of Italy.

I made the sautéed red peppers this past Saturday following Jodi’s recipe and found it easy and the results were fantastic!


  1. Extra virgin olive oil — approx 3/4 to 1 cup (I used a 10.5” skillet – measured the width of the top lip opening of my skillet)
  2. 2 to 3 Garlic Cloves
  3. 8 to 9 red peppers (yellow can be used too and mixed in). Cut into large pieces – skins on. (I used 11 red peppers with my skillet size. I cut each pepper in half, top to bottom, removed the seed core and the top green stem and then cut each half into six long slices, again cutting top to bottom.)
  4. Approximately 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted (I used black olives and wished I had used Kalamata olives simply for the better flavor)
  5. 2 tablespoons of capers (If using dried salted capers less is needed as they can be salty)
  6. Salt


Coat large skillet with extra virgin olive oil ¾ to 1 cup (approx 1/4 inch).  Add garlic cloves cut into 2 to 3 large pieces.  Heat oil and garlic until garlic starts to brown but do not completely brown the garlic.

Add cut red peppers to hot oil.  Do not worry if the peppers are heaping over the skillet because they will melt down as they are heated.  To help keep the peppers in place use a lid smaller than the skillet and press down.  Slowly start to rotate the peppers as they cook down.  Turn the peppers frequently.  (I cooked the peppers at a simmer and for 1.5 hours … Ok, I started talking and got side tracked … It all worked out for the good though.)

When the peppers are softened in the oil, add the Kalamata olives, capers and salt to taste.  Cook the peppers until the oil turns to a clear red color and the peppers are soft.  There should be no crunch at all to your sauteed peppers.

Serve hot, warm or cold. It’s even better on day two!


Bio: Liz is the owner of the Urban Deli. With a sister in Manhattan, she has visited New York many times and invariably studies the Big Apple’s famous delis.


Smoking good time in New York

Yesterday we mentioned that Mike and Gord had been south of the border, in New York, taking a course (Charcuterie, Smokehouse, and Condiment Workshop).

We asked Gord to tell us a bit about it, and here’s what he had to say:

It was a great experience even for a neophyte cook like me, albeit a little intimidating at times …

The school itself is amazing (The Culinary Institute of America). Located on the banks of the Hudson River, the main campus building reminded everyone of Harry Potter’s Hogwarts Hall with its high ceilings and dark rich wood paneling. The region boasts some notable estates: the Roosevelt estate and Presidential Library and the Vanderbilt estate both are within a few miles for the campus.

From a workshop perspective … the first hour or so was spent in a class room environment to understand the science of smoking, curing and sausage making, then the balance of the day (about 6 hours) was spent in the kitchen.

There were five  teams of three. We were given a progressive menu to work on through the week. Some of the items were:

  • barbequed beef brisket
  • pork loin kassler
  • carolina bbq pork
  • gravlax
  • pastrami
  • confit of duck
  • duck breast bacon
  • kansas city spareribs
  • tete pressee (prepared pig’s head)
  • beef jerky
  • tasso
  • pate campagne
  • smoke chorizo
  • kielbasa rings and links
  • garlic sausage creole beef and veal daube
  • smoked pheasant sausage
  • leberkase
  • kassler liverwurst
  • pate grand-mere

The Urban Deli's Gord.Believe it or not, that’s just a partial list. There were others on it, plus a number of condiments, marinades and rubs.

As a result of the course, we’ll likely be refining a few of the menu items plus looking at adding a few others once the recipes have been perfected in house. Yes, we had a fabulous time!


Preparing ourselves (and our deli)

Urban Deli awning seen as you head toward the harbour front.Yes, we’ve neglected as we’ve been busily getting the Urban Deli (the actual restaurant) ready for the opening, which we’re hoping will be the end of June. And it will be, barring the unforeseen … You know, like earthquake, alien invasions or similar unplanned for calamities.

It hasn’t all been hammers and nails over here on King, however. A week or two ago Liz and her compadres made a trip to New York City (where her sister, Michael-ann, lives). It wasn’t a pleasure trip (though it was loads of fun). Liz was doing some “research” of NYC delis and picking up some necessities for the restaurant, like a steamer, plates and bowls and other equipment. We’ll do a separate post on the New York trip soon. Today, we’re just letting you know that while we’re working on getting the restaurant ready, we’re also getting our bums in gear as far as the site goes.

By the way, you’ll find a nice piece about us in the June edition of Streetscope, the monthly newsletter from Uptown Saint John. It’s the “New Business Feature – The Urban Deli.” It’s great feeling we’re a part of the city’s uptown!

Lastly, we had an absolutely fabulous time at the Fundy Food Festival here in Saint John last Saturday. We were giving people a taste of our ribs but at the same time we were tasting some of the foods other restaurants and food related businesses were providing. The chefs in SJ are absolutely incredible.

Does everyone in Saint John realize how good the food is here? As the saying goes, “To die for …”