So, after a very ample steak dinner, I decided to give dessert a go. The Chocolate Lava Cake caught my eye, being a lover of chocolate.
The cake was warm and very rich. It did not explode with chocolate sauce as other lava cakes I have had, which was a bit of a surprise, but the accompanying ice cream and fruit sauce kept things moist and added layers of flavour. The fresh fruit pieces were also delicious.
Saturday, December 29, 2012
So, after a very ample steak dinner, I decided to give dessert a go. The Chocolate Lava Cake caught my eye, being a lover of chocolate.
For the second week in a row, Murrieta's was the place for supper on Whyte Avenue.
I had an eight ounce sirloin steak, served with mashed potatoes and vegetables. I opted for the wine reduction sauce (bearnaise was the other choice) - it was very rich and went well with the meat. I was also drinking red wine, which tied everything together nicely.
My steak was cooked to perfection and bursting with grilled flavour. Adding another level of richness was the side of sauteed mushrooms. This is definitely a meal I would want again for a special occasion. If another apocalypse is scheduled, I would also consider it for then.
It was another Blues on Whyte afternoon, so for a pre-beer snack, Naanolicious next door was the obvious choice.
Crumbled, spicy Chicken Tikka filled the buttered, grilled naan bread. The four large wedges made for a perfectly filling snack. No singing the blues here!
Monday, December 24, 2012
Two eggs, potato pancakes, and beef sausage. #yegfood, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.
I always get excited when I see beef sausage on a breakfast menu. As a non-pork eater, this is one of the few chances I have to enjoy some meat with my eggs and potatoes.
This is one reason why I had breakfast for lunch at Albert's Family Restaurant on 51 Avenue and 99 Street on Saturday. Three huge, thick, ctispy links of beef sausage were served alongside two eggs (over easy, of course) and potato pancakes (other choices included regular pancakes and toast with hashbrowns).
The best way I can describe this meal is with the word "huge." Two sausage links would have been enough (and they tasted great - not too spicy but still bold). The potato pancakes were also large, with plenty of apple sauce and sour cream on the side.
Interestingly, the server informed me that the beef sausages were new - the previous kind were the same size as regular pork sausages (which is why four were listed on the menu instead of the three I was served). Whether or not these will be kept or the old ones will return will be decided largely on customer reactions. Never having ever had the previous kind I could not comment other than I thought these current ones were excellent, if not slightly too large.
I headed to Naanolicious on Whyte Avenue and 103 Street yesterday for a snack and decided it was time to try a stuffed naan. I opted for the aloo, with a thin spreading of spiced potatoes in between the layers of the crispy, fresh made flat bread. It was hot, fresh, and delicious, if not a bit dry - I would perhaps order some chutney on the side for dipping next time.
Saturday, December 22, 2012
For me, frozen yogurt is the new ice cream. I eat it far more often and even now during these frigid months of winter. So, I was thrilled to stumble upon the new location of Pinkberry at West Edmonton Mall.
I eagerly samples some flavours - you can try before you buy - and I had the tart and pomegranate, which I ended up getting swirled. The choices of toppings are similar to other frozen yogurt places, with fruit, nuts, candy, and sauces, except this is not self-serve. As many toppings will go in your cup as will comfortably fit. For me, that was four.
I was impressed with the portion size and selection of flavours and toppings. I shall return.
Salmon with potatoes, vegetables, and maple ginger sauce. #yegfood, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.
I made my debut visit to Murrieta's Bar and Grill this evening. I had one of the sustainable fish dishes on the menu - salmon, to be specific. Salmon is one of my favourite fishes to eat and it has been a while since I have had it for dinner.
I chose the spicy maple ginger sauce (there are three choices, with bearnaise and lime salsa being the other two). I tasted more ginger than maple in the sauce, which gave the meal an Asian flavour. The salmon was perfectly done and fork tender, with just the right proportion of mashed potatoes and vegetables.
Before the meal, I was presented with complimentary focaccia bread. It was unlike any I had before - the bread was a sourdough.
Service was very friendly and reasonably speedy for a Saturday evening. Murrieta's is a very classy Whyte Avenue dining choice.
Friday, December 14, 2012
Viphalay has the best Pad Thai in the city. The sauce, texture of the noodles, and abundance of chicken and tofu simply is second to none. There is also shrimp, but we held that.
We also ordered the oven roasted chicken, which is a half chicken that is so tender it is literally falling off the bones. Plus, it is roasted in herbs and seasonings making the meat extremely flavourful. I also love the presentation - the chicken is cut into many small pieces, making sharing and eating very easy.
Iced coffee and tea at Viphalay's original location on 95 street! #yegfood, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.
I discovered this week that the original location of Viphalay on 107 Avenue and 95 Street is open after a long hiatus. This location is mere block away from my downtown office, so I had supper there with a co-worker on Wednesday.
For drinks, she had the iced coffee and I had the iced tea, Thai style. The coffee was like Vietnamese coffee, but already stirred into the condensed milk. My tea was rich and creamy, but still full of tea flavour. It's a red tea that is used (it gets orange from the cream). So tasty and delicious even on a cold winter's evening.
Monday, December 10, 2012
I hadn't been to Credo Coffee in a long while, so decided to stop in there this afternoon when I was in the area.
I ordered a cappuccino never having had one before at Credo. It was like a short, rich, latte. It lacked the pile of foam on top I have had elsewhere, but the richness of the flavour was unsurpassed. A wonderful mid-afternoon caffeine jolt.
The Phat Noodle (10347 Jasper Avenue) calls itself an "urban Vietnamese kitchen." The decor is indeed very modern, spacious, and bright. But how is the food?
I ordered a bowl of steaming pho tai, which came with the tender, lean beef slices already well done. The broth was multi-layered with flavour, but was unaccompanied by the side of herbs and sprouts (perhaps one has to ask?). Overall it was a reasonable value.
The onion cakes were light and crispy, almost to the point of shattering in certain places. I like a bit more chew. The sweet and hot sauce was definitely needed.
Overall, I would come here for the soup again.
Saturday brunch at Blue Plate Diner is always better when I have someone with whom to share an order of the maple grilled corn bread. I can't tackle it alone and then have a main brunch item.
The two thick triangles of corn bread were generously drizzled with maple syrup, warm, and had a wonderful texture. This is truly breakfast comfort food.
When lunching at Pho Binh in the west end last week (150 Street and Stony Plain Road in the Jasper Gates shopping area), we decided to forgo the traditional green onion cakes and have fried mushrooms as an appetizer.
They were not what we expected. Instead of button mushrooms battered and fried, they were large slices of cap, battered and fried and sprinkled with sesame seeds. The coating was rich and flavourful, but the mushroom part had little to offer other than texture. I was thankful for the hot and sweet dip to add flavour.
Thursday, November 22, 2012
Ricky's in the west end is where we ended up for lunch earlier this week. I had a veggie omelette, which had a load of vegetables both inside and outside the egg portion.
The bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, and spinach were sauteed in basil and lemon - lots of lemon. The result was very tangy, a flavour which dominated the meal. The flavour could have been a bit more balanced.
However, vegetable lovers will love the huge portion of veggies, and the toast and hash browns round things out well.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
As for me, I had a bowl of minestrone soup, which was spicy and full of tomato flavour. It was also packed with protein, as a number of large beans in addition to vegetables, made up the contents. Most interestingly, chickpeas were used instead of pasta.
I also tried a vegan roll, which is the non-meat version of sausage roll. A ground mixture of a number of vegetables and spices were in the centre of a crispy, flaky pastry roll topped with sesame seeds. I am not a huge fan of sesame seeds (I find their bitter taste to detract) but all of the flavours merged together well.
I had been wanting to try the Butter Chicken Fries ever since I first saw the item listed on the menu. I was not disappointed - huge chunks of tandoori chicken in a rich butter sauce topped a generous portion of piping hot fries. It was quite decadent and the portion size deceptively large.
I ordered a piece of plain naan for an extra $3 to absorb the rest of the butter sauce. The flat bread was freshly made and buttered, and perfectly chewy and crispy.
Of course, I had some chai to wash everything down. And again, I enjoyed the atmosphere.
Saturday, November 3, 2012
There is a cold tearing its way through my household, and while I know I am not immune, I thought chicken soup for lunch the other day would be a good idea.
Yes, we were at Pho Rice Pot again. It has become my go-to spot in the West End for Asian food. I ordered the Pho Ga, and made a request to have it in chicken broth instead of the default beef.
The chicken was plentiful and tasted very fresh. The broth was more delicate than beef, without the aromatics. I could have used some of the herbs to the side, but they were not brought to the table. Still, it got more flavourful throughout the meal, and was steaming hot.
I will definitely have this again, but perhaps in the beef broth with a bolder flavour.
It was one of those give and take sorts of lunches. He wanted one thing, and I wanted another, so we decided to share.
At yet another trip to Pho Rice Pot (185 Street and Stony Plain Road) we split an order of Lemon Chicken. That deep fried, thick batter gets me every time. The chicken inside is always juicy and delicious.
I ordered the Vegetarian Shanghai Noodles. There was a prominent curry taste to the thin noodles with lots of large pieces of tofu. It was a bit too hot for my liking, but certainly wasn't bad. The other half of the equation was not as happy.
Overall though, I felt the sweetness of the Lemon Chicken and the heat of the Shanghai Noodles balanced each other well.
I made my first of what I am sure will be several visits to Naanolicious (10331 82 Avenue). Owned by the same group that runs New Asian Village, Naanolicious has lots of different kinds of naan breads as well as fusion dishes (naan pizza type creations, butter chicken fries, and a few items where roast beef is involved).
I had a grilled naan sandwich filled with aloo gobhi (spiced potatoes and cauliflower). Mouth-watering it was - and the naan was fantastic. I did not know cheese would be melted all over it, so I had to have the sandwich re-done (which happened with no problems) and I really did not need the tomato or cucumber - I like my Indian food straight-up. The serving of Bombay potatoes was small - I wanted more!
I will be back - I am curious about those butter chicken fries.
Saturday, October 27, 2012
Pho Rice Pot (18485 Stony Plain Road) is fast becoming my go-to place in the West End for Asian food.
The vegetarian Pad Thai was a huge portion of chewy noodles, vegetables, and tofu in a spicy sauce. The pieces of tofu were much larger than I have had in the same dish elsewhere (which is a good thing). And while it wasn't orange, the sauce had the same flavour notes as I am accustomed to when it comes to this dish.
I visited Artisan Resto-Cafe (10732 82 Avenue) today for the first time in ages. Of course, I was most interested in breakfast items.
The smoked salmon, green onion, and dill omelette was my choice. I was concerned that the green onion and dill would overshadow the smoked salmon in flavour, but I was happy to discover that the ingredients were well-balanced. The smoked salmon was definitely the dominant flavour, with the green onion and dill adding accents.
The "grilled pan bread" was basically toast made in a press, while the roasted potatoes were seasoned chunks that were a tad on the dry side but tasty. The fruit on the side was a nice touch.
Friday, October 19, 2012
When the place we wanted to go was too crowded, we ended up here, at an old Albert's Family Restaurant on 51 Avenue and 99 Street.
My two eggs were done perfectly to my specifications. Besides toast and hashbrowns, and regular pancakes, potato pancakes were a side option. They were crispy and delicious. At less than $7, the two egg meal (with no meat) is definitely one of the cheapest things on the menu.
Thursday, October 18, 2012
My first visit to Noorish Cafe was very enlightening. You can feel the artful, New Age vibe as soon as you walk in (there is a yoga studio in there also, as well as a small grocery area).
I had a Bodhi Burger, which is a flavourful patty of sprouted chickpeas and other grains. I loved the ginger drizzle and avocado topping. Besides having a lactose problem, I usually hate cheese and I learned that this applies to the vegan version also, which looked, smelled, and tasted almost like the real thing. As a result I did not touch the top half of the bun.
My Whirling Dervish salad was so delicious, I would come back just to have a full sized portion as a meal. The mix of quinoa, figs, and nuts was incredible.
After having a hard time deciding on a drink, I had some organic blueberry juice, which tasted almost like non-alcohol wine. I would definitely return to try one of the coffee or chai concoctions.
The menu here is a bit pricey. Also, this was my first time trying raw, vegan food and I think it shocked my system in a cleansing way. Maybe I needed it.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
First of all, I am actually writing this blog right here in the establishment. Never done that before. I feel so stealthy, LOL!
Anyways, I am also at Leva Cappuccino Bar (10653 86 Avenue) for the first time. I had to go out of my way, but it was worth it. This latte is fantastic, albeit with a bit more of a foamy head than I am used to. It is also a bit pricier here - most of the coffee drinks are in the $5 range - but the quality is well worth it. It is a bright space as well, with lots of tables that lend themselves to using a laptop on the free wireless.
Saturday, October 13, 2012
Vietnamese subs (banh mi) at V Sandwiches may cost a bit more than their competition, but the size and quality of the sandwiches speaks for itself.
I had a lemongrass chicken sub, and it was packed with meat. It also had a lot of cilantro, which really defines the flavour of a banh mi, as far as I am concerned. I held the onions.
I don't usually have dessert after having supper out, but this evening I decided to treat myself and my guest to a slice of Leprechaun Pie at the Oliver Square Brewsters.
The mint pie is not overly strong, but sweet and cold (the pie is frozen before serving), with a creamy consistency. The chocolate drizzle and chips offset the mint flavour very well. This is Brewsters signature dessert and it is excellent.
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Tokyo Express is fast, reasonably priced, and decent. It is acceptable. Which means, the food is nothing special, but good value for the money.
My vegetarian sushi combo is a case in point. It was a satisfying combo of one piece of sweet tofu sushi, four vegetarian rolls, and six avocado maki (it usually comes with cucumber maki, but I asked for avocado). Why the avocado was warm is beyond me, but otherwise everything was fine. A good mid-afternoon snack.
The Laurier Heights location of Wild Earth beckoned on a windy and brisk afternoon while I was doing a photo walk in the area.
My small mocha warmed my body and heart. Served without whipped cream at my request, it was rich and chocolatey, without being overbearingly sweet. Definitely a win.
Monday, October 8, 2012
On Saturday, a small group of us headed to Brewsters for post-rally food and libations.
I finally tried Gurvinder's Butter Chicken, which has been on the menu forever - long before other mainstream restaurants included a butter chicken. I recalled when a group from my former church used to go to Brewsters for lunch after services, and several of them would order it, week after week.
I was not disappointed. The flavours penetrated deep into the many pieces of chicken breast, amongst a rich, creamy sauce. The basmati rice was perfectly cooked, and while not authentic, the garlic naan was perfect for scooping up those last drops of sauce.
This dish went well with my blueberry beer and I would definitely order it again..
Sunday, September 30, 2012
My appetizer actually came after my main course at P&L (9441 Jasper Avenue) yesterday. The onion cake in and of itself was not remarkable, except for the sauce. It was a sesame oil and soy delight. Very unique, and I kept dipping my chopsticks in it just to get more of its flavour.
I attended a special event at P&L (9441 Jasper Avenue) yesterday, which was the first time I had ever been there. A Chinese friend of mine absolutely raves about the food, which I tend to take as a good sign.
I have lately been in a vegetarian state of mind and so decided to go with a green onion cake and the home made tofu. The tofu was simple but one of the best I have ever had: chunks of deep-fried tofu with a dry rub of bell peppers, salt, and spicy pepper. It was flavourful but not overbearing.
On Thursday, after a long day of distributing newspapers, a meal of Chinese food was requested of me. As we had business to attend to in the west end, we went to Pho Rice Pot (18485 Stony Plain Road).
Pho Rice Pot offers Vietnamese as well as Chinese cuisine, so I went for a vermicelli rice noodle bowl. The lemongrass tofu was spicy and refreshing at the same time, with lots of bold flavour.
This was my last beefy adventure until I decided to go off beef during the current e coli debacle. The steak sandwich at Next Act is lean and tender. Being a skirt steak, it is very heavily marinated to make it so tender. I love the huge amount of sauteed onions and mushrooms, and the fries are crispy and seasoned well.
I can't get enough of Tutti Frutti, and the fact the chain opened another Edmonton franchise this weekend in West Edmonton Mall means I may actually have to spend more time in that bastion of consumerism.
However, this tasty treat was purchased yet again at the original Whyte Avenue location. I decided to ass some fresh fruit to the original tart and blueberry flavoured yogurt - double blueberry intensity! I also added my usual round of cereal, plus some almonds, just to be different.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
I needed a quick, light lunch before heading to a rally on Sunday afternoon. Three Bananas is located conveniently on Churchill Square and a favourite place of mine to go downtown for coffee.
I had a bowl of one of the Soups of the Day, which was chicken noodle. It was good enough - hot, good chicken flavour, a little light on the meat, and the noodles had a texture of being made from scratch. I thought the portion was a little light for $5 though.
My grilled panini sandwich was the disappointment of the meal though. It was the smoked turkey featured sandwich, and had maybe one or two slices of processed turkey throughout, topped with sliced tomatoes. The dijon mustard, while delicious, dominated the flavour. The multigrain bread was very good, but basically all I could taste was bread and mustard. And why was the bread upside-down, other than to give the nice grill marks? With sandwiches in the $10 range, if this is any indication they are overpriced.
Saturday, September 15, 2012
Kafana (10803 95 Street), since its transformation to Balkan eatery from dodgy sports bar, still seems to make its living primarily from the bar section in the front - which still attracts an "interesting" clientele.
The dining section in the back has a better vibe, but fewer patrons. Although the menu only has four main items (besides a few appetizers, salads, and soups), what Kafana does, it does very well.
I had the Balkan Burger, which was, as promised HUGE. I could have had it either on a bun with roasted vegetables on top and no side, or as a dinner on top of rice with the veggies to the side. Being a lover of Salisbury steak, I had the knife and fork variety.
I almost could not finish the grilled, seasoned, thick hunk of ground beef. It was delicious, although could have been a bit more well-done in the centre. The rice pilaf is great, as are the vegetables, and I still had some grilled bread on the side (which tasted perfectly charred - like the burger).
Although I wish I did not have to, the meal was worth walking through the alcohol-soaked front area.
Bento boxes are perfect for someone like me, who likes to eat a lot of different things at the same meal.
I had a different lunch bento at Ichiban (87 Avenue and 149 Street) than I usually have. Instead of the vegetarian one I had one with crispy teriyaki chicken, moise ginger beef, and crunchy tempura (I asked for only vegetables).
The result was quite satisfying.
I love sushi of the non-raw fish variety, and when I have a craving it is usually to Ichiban (87 Avenue and 149 Street) where I head.
Avocado is my favourite, and I decided to expand my horizons with a couple of pieces of smoked salmon as well.
Monday, September 10, 2012
While we were carefully avoiding recreating the spaghetti scene from the animated film Lady and the Tramp with our noodles at Won Jung Gak, our bulgogi was brought to our table. Such bulgogi I have never seen before - and I know my bulgogi. Please don't judge me for how weird that sounds. The pieces of beef were huge, thick, soft, cooked thoroughly, and absolutely delicious. It was accompanied with more white rice. The chow mein was great, but the bulgogi stole the show. And, it was a lot easier to share!
Our meal at Won Jung Gak continued with our first shared main: the show mein with beef and vegetables.
The noodles were piled high with beef and veggies - and very long noodles at that! Dividing the dish between us proved to be a bit awkward and a bonding experience in an awkward way. We thought that perhaps a knife would make getting the noodles from the main plate to our mini-plates easier, until our server informed us that there were no knives for the tables. Instead, she brought us scissors. Yes, scissors. She explained that in Korean dining, food is cut with scissors instead of knives. I had a hard time picturing scissors going through the dishwasher, but was thankful for the assistance nonetheless.
I lament the closure of Basil Leaf, a really great Vietnamese restaurant. Today, I visited the restaurant that has taken its place, the second location of Korean eatery Won Jung Gak (10023 107 Avenue).
Our meal began with a surprise. A short while after we placed our order, our server brought numerous small dishes to our table filled with a number of small appetizers: pickled daikon (like a yellow radish) with soy dipping sauce; a potato salad with peas and carrots; marinated broccoli; some kind of sauteed seaweed; kimchi (a Korean spicy delight of picked vegetables); a mixed green salad with a thick dressing that tasted like strawberry yoghurt; and plain, white rice. The potato salad was quite unique with a sweet taste to it. I loved the dressing on the salad a lot and was thankful my dining partner is not big on greens so I could enjoy it alone. The kimchi was not too spicy and went well with the rice. We were both amazed the the variety of food brought to us, and even though there were only a few bites' worth of each, it was fun trying all of the different flavours.
Sunday, September 9, 2012
After a day of riding my bike around town, I was thirsty but also craving ice cream. How fortunate that one of my favourite neighbourhood coffee spots also sells ice cream floats.
The floats at Wild Earth Cafe (142 Street and 85 Avenue) are quite sophisticated. First, you pick which flavour of Italian soda you want. I opted for vanilla. Then, you pick your ice cream from the four flavours available. I chose chocolate.
The results were sweet and very refreshing. The chocolate ice cream blended perfectly with the vanilla syrup. The key here are quality ingredients, and making the right choice for flavour combination. My barrista said that sometimes kids come in and pick mango syrup with coffee ice cream - well, maybe that would work for some people, but sticking with basics like vanilla and chocolate tends to work best for me.
A warm Saturday afternoon in Edmonton is the perfect time to sit on a cafe patio with beer and people watch.
I met a friend for a late lunch and that is exactly what we did at Two Rooms Cafe (10324 Whyte Avenue). In addition to our beers - of which Two Rooms has quite a selection - we each had a bowl of lentil curry soup.
The portion was quite generous, and as a light lunch, it fit the bill. It was absolutely packed with lentils. I just wish I could have tasted more of the curry. While there was some heat, the flavour was not that distinctive.
Friday, September 7, 2012
I often have meetings at Spinelli's Bar Italia at the north side location of the Italian Centre on 95 Street and 109 Avenue. Now that Spinelli's also serves food in addition to great coffee and treats, I try to get there early to have lunch.
I had a piece of tomato and olive focaccia as I often do, but cycling had made me even more hungry so I ordered a bowl of soup as well. The soups change daily, and today one of my favourites was available.
I love chicken noodle soup, even the generic stuff out of the can. Spinelli's took it to another level. The soup was so thick with pasta and chicken, it was almost a stew. The portion was also quite generous for $5. If the other soups here are similarly delicious, I think I may have to start trying them.
Thursday, September 6, 2012
Pho Huong (10531 107 Avenue) is one of my favourite pho restaurants, even though it is slightly out of my way. Yesterday, I made the effort to go here for lunch and had a large steak and brisket pho.
I was not disappointed. While "large" typically just means more brother, here it was the full deal of extra meat and noodles too. The steak was soft and rare, while the brisket was well-done. Brisket in pho can be very fatty and full if gristle, but here it simply melted in my mouth.
As usual, the broth was perfectly seasoned. And the service is great!
I owed someone a volunteer appreciation meal, and we headed to the Calgary Trail location of Montana's.
I had a brisket sandwich, which featured either a half or full pound of thinly sliced meat in barbecue sauce, between a light and fluffy bun. I was quite hungry, and my companion wanted to have some also, so I went for the full pound. Wow. It reminded me of some of those sandwiches the hosts dig their faces into on the Food TV Network. The meat was lean and soft, the barbecue sauce was tangy and had a slight kick to it, and if I was not sharing I would never have been able to finish. This is a sandwich for when someone wants some serious meat.
Thursday, August 30, 2012
I have had the Little Italy numerous times at Santo's but when I had it again this past Sunday, it was different.
I have decided to diversify and am now enjoying my eggs sunny side up. The toast was much lighter - most of the time it has been nearly burned. Best of all, the hash browns are these small, flat, fritter-like creations that are lighter and crispier than the dense, cubed ones previously used. My only criticism is that they could stand a little more seasoning, as the flavour is quite bland on its own.
At only $5, the Little Italy is big value.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
I wandered away from the Fringe grounds for a bit during my shift to get one of Cha Island's large iced teas. The mate tea had grapefruit puree. I love mate (a drink popular in Argentina) so I went for it. The grapfruit really did not add much, only a bitterness. The smokiness of the mate cut through that fortunately.
A once a year treat no more - also from Punky Potato, I think these over-fried, greasy morsels contributed to my gastrointestinal distress. Really, cookies and chocolate bars are not meant to be fried. I am a reformed woman.