I did not expect to end up at Blue Plate Diner for lunch today, but that is exactly where I was.
My vegetarian shepherd's pie was a warm, comforting dish. The interior was a vegan chili with tomatoes, corn, and beans at its core, topped with Dijon butternut and potato mash. The mash tasted mostly from plain potato, and the inside was not too liquidy so that the pie retained its form throughout the meal.
Even though the portion is quite adequate, the meal came with a choice of side so I had to have Blue Plate Diner's fresh-cut fries.
By the way, the other meal on the table is the grilled veggie sandwich and a side of salad.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
I did not expect to end up at Blue Plate Diner for lunch today, but that is exactly where I was.
Sunday, December 15, 2013
I had two events to get to on Whyte Avenue this afternoon, and Naanolicious was almost smack dab in the middle of them.
Daal is one of my favourite East Indian dishes, so I was happy that a version of it is on the restaurant's menu (Dip Into the Lentil). A generous portion of the thick, lentil stew is served with a butter naan - it's a perfect pairing!
I had a rather long day on Saturday and ended up kicking back for a while at the west end location of Chili's for a bowl of Chicken Enchilada Soup and an order of honey barbecue boneless wings.
I have had the soup many times before, and it was as thick, rich, zesty, and full of chicken as ever. The wings were great - plump and juicy, retaining the crisp outer coating despite the sauce. The only downside was that for the cost of the two starters I could have had a main, but this was what I wanted and it was satisfying.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Yesterday a co-worker and I had supper at Viphalay prior to a meeting. In addition to Pad Thai, which I have reviewed here before, we also shared a Tom Yum soup.
I have never had Tom Yum soup before, and found it five-alarm spicy. That being said, it was also tangy and delicious. We chose chicken as the protein, which blended well with the broth and vegetables. It was very warming on a cold evening, on a number of different levels!
Monday, December 2, 2013
As the sun began to hide and the wind and snow started to kick up, taking a co-worker for pho seemed like a great idea. We went to the Pho Hoa located on 97 Street and 106 Avenue.
I went for the beef stew with noodles, my first time trying it here. Even though it was a small portion, there was a lot of beef, and the carrots were cooked to perfection. The broth, while different in colour than I have had elsewhere (usually it is more orange), was very aromatic with spices and seasonings. A great mid-afternoon pick-me-up.
Sunday, December 1, 2013
Saturday, November 30, 2013
Chicken noodle soup is an excellent comfort food after being outside on a chilly day. The version I had today at the Laurier location of Wild Earth was hearty and full of chunks of chicken, colourful rotini, vegetables, and seasonings. It was definitely not a traditional chicken noodle soup.
I finally made it to De Dutch for lunch today. The huge menu includes an entire pages of options for pannekoek, a large pancake with various toppings. However, I opted for one of the simpler two-egg breakfasts, in this case eggs over easy with smoked salmon, toast, hash browns, and fruit. The portion size was excellent, and the quality of the smoked salmon was especially good. My eggs were done to perfection, and the bread was also excellent. I found the hash browns a little small to collect easily with my fork, but this is a minor point. Paired with a mimosa, this was a lovely brunch.
Friday, November 22, 2013
Sunday, November 17, 2013
It has been a while since I had brunch at Blue Plate Diner, something which was rectified this weekend. I had the Blue Plate Breakfast which has always been my choice, with two eggs, potatoes, toast, and veggie sausage. The potatoes were different from the house made hash browns of the past, and while the eggs used to be advertised on the menu as Hutterite eggs, they were just simple states as eggs, so I am assuming that has changed as well. The veggie sausage has turned into a huge link of slightly sweet soy goodness, and was the star of the meal.
While running errands on Whyte Avenue on a chilly Friday afternoon, we stopped in to B's Diner (10015 82 Ave.) for a late lunch.. I had the meatless two egg breakfast, which came with toast, potatoes, and tomato slices. The toast was thick, the potatoes were obviously home made, and the eggs were cooked to order. My only problem was that the food was a bit on the greasy side. In fact, although the person I was with had something completely different, we both suffered from stomach problems for the rest of the afternoon. I love the dive-yness of the place, and the menu has some good offerings, but I will have to make sure I can handle having my innards well-lubricated on future visits.
I was at Abyssinia Restaurant this past week for a work-related meeting and had the Veggie Combo. Opting for rice instead of the traditional Ethiopian injera bread, I actually thought the rice worked very well with the dish, which included collard greens, two kinds of lentils, a salad, and a potato and carrot mix. It wasn't too spicy and was actually quite refreshing. And at only $13, it is also quite affordable.
Sunday, October 27, 2013
Tasty Tom's (9965 82 Avenue) is a popular diner on the east side of Whyte Avenue. I go here from time to time for breakfast dishes, and decided to try the vegetarian omelette the other day. The peppers were peeled and soft, the onion was sweet, and the mushrooms were plentiful. My meal had to be replaced at first since I asked for no cheese, but if I liked cheese I probably would have been disappointed as it appeared to be melted processed cheese. The potatoes were also not as good as I remembered them - rather bland and under-cooked in places.
I love how Naanolicious is so conveniently located right next door to Blues On Whyte. A pre-Saturday afternoon jam meal consisted of Chilli Chicken Bites for me. Tender chunks of chicken breast were prepared in a sweet and spicy chilli sauce, with peppers and onions, served in a poppadom basket. I normally would have winced at the amount of onion, but it was sweet and went well with the chilli sauce. The chicken itself was divine - tender, juicy, yet no overpowered by the sauce. The poppadom basket got soggy quickly, and other than appearance did not add much to the meal. However, the portion was bigger than it seemed and I was full for the rest of the day (I also had some potato stuffed naan bread).
Saturday, October 12, 2013
How appropriate for a vegan food truck to be providing nourishment at a rally concerning food security. Sailin' On had its last day of service for the season at the World Food Day march and rally, serving up a variety of sandwiches, wraps, and fries to the hungry crowd. This was my first time ordering food from the truck. My BLT wrap was fresh and delicious, filled with lettuce, tomato, carrots, and a generous portion of "bacon" made from coconut! It was salty and tasted very much like the real thing, albeit with a coconut undercurrent. The garlic vegan mayo held everything together flavour-wise without being overly dominating. I hope I have more chances to experience Sailin' On when it sails back into service next year.
Friday, October 11, 2013
I did not actually intend to have supper in a pub this evening, but The Canadian Brewhouse was directly across the street from where I had to attend an event. I decided on a pint of Strongbow and the Guinness beef stew, which was served in a deep bowl with a pie crust on top, cleverly branded with the word Guinness and decorated with a Canadian flag on a toothpick. The stew was full of large chunks of sirloin and potato (including the skins), in a rich Guinness broth. This is one of the best pub pies I have had, including ones from "English" and "Irish" themed places.
Thursday, October 10, 2013
I love certain kinds of fresh fish, and was excited to hear about the sablefish special at Murrieta's last weekend. It was cooked in a light crumb coating atop a sweet piece of cornbread, surrounded by roasted vegetables with just a bit of a spicy kick to them. The fish was cooked to perfection: hot all the way through, but so moist and fork tender. The coating and corn bread worked really well together, while the vegetables added colour, moisture, and texture to the dish.
I had supper with a colleague at Thanh Thanh the other evening and decided to try their take on Vietnamese beef stew. Although the bowl does no look big, it was packed with noodles, chunks of beef, carrots, and a delicious broth that tasted heavily from star anise. The carrots were cooked to perfection and I think there must have been a quarter of a cow in that bowl - I never ran out of meat! The noodles had a pleasant flavour all their own, not just absorbed from the broth. I was really, really stuffed after barely finishing my bowl, something I rarely say after having pho.
My adventure with Padmanadi began with this dish, and I had it again for lunch this week. Sweet and sour vegan pork - a crunchy meat substitute served as a lunch special with rice and two spring rolls. This huge portion also featured some vegetables.
Friday, October 4, 2013
Waffle with fruit and English cream from Tutti Frutti., a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.
Sometimes, I just really want fruit. So, breakfast for lunch is inevitable. I headed to Tutti Frutti for my second visit and had the mammoth waffle with fruit and English cream. The waffle was crispy and had a good flavour, enhanced by the mountain of fresh fruit and generous English cream. Very satisfying.
I would have tried Twisted Yogurt (located on Calgary Trail) sooner, but it is very far out of my way. finally, the opportunity arose this week. The selection of yogurt flavours was decent, and I combined plain with chocolate and raspberry. The chocolate was not all that rich, but the other two flavours were good. I think the selection of toppings is the biggest of all of the different fro-yo places I have tried. They even line the wall. Most of the cereals are in hanging containers that you have to release with a lever, and the stuff comes out FAST! I would prefer everything just be in bins to scoop out, because I ended up with far more Lucky Charms than I intended. It is a good thing I liked them! I would definitely come here again if I am out this way and have a craving for frozen yogurt.
Sunday, September 29, 2013
Beef stew done Vietnamese style is one of my favourite colder weather comfort foods. After a couple of hours outside while I was covering two protests, I took a walk over to Pho Delight where I indulged in a bowl. Plentiful beef and carrots abounded (usually I find the carrot portion skimpy), and the carrots were cooked until they were soft. Some of the fat could have been trimmed off the beef - it was the chewy variety - but otherwise this was an excellent bowl of comfort food.
Black Forest is my favourite kind of cake. Most bakeries I have encountered do not make it properly. They make a plain, dry chocolate layer cake with whipped cream and a cherry on top. That is not Black Forest - that is a chocolate layer cake. Black Forest has cherries and cherry liquor or syrup incorporated in the cake itself, as well as the middle layer of cream. Thank you, Block 1912, for knowing how to make a Black Forest cake properly and for giving me such pleasure with your moist, dreamy layers, rich whipped cream, and decadent chocolate shavings.
Thursday, September 26, 2013
I was in Sherwood Park last weekend and after I finished at the event I was at, I needed a snack. I noticed the Wild Wing, and remembered how much I enjoy the little morsels.
Opting for a plate of boneless wings, and one of the 100 or so flavours (a mixture of honey-garlic and maple), "little morsels" is an understatement. These were huge, crispy nuggets. I was happily full when done and looking forward to trying the Edmonton location.
I have often had coffee or a snack at Three Bananas, but never breakfast. This changed last Saturday when I was in the Churchill Square area for an event, and decided to seek nourishment first.
My Greek omelette was modified without feta. The combination of avocado, red onions, and tomatoes worked well. The onions were sweet and the tomatoes added moisture and were very fresh. The avocado was a little over-rip, unfortunately. The thick slices of toast made me not miss any potato component of the meal.
Friday, September 13, 2013
Turkey grilled sandwich and iced coffee at Gracious Goods. #yegfood, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.
I had to finish reading a book in preparation for a talk I am giving. Problem is, it seems like no matter which cafe I pick, someone knows me and strikes up a conversation, thus causing me to set aside the purpose for which I am there. So, I headed to Belgravia yesterday to Gracious Goods Cafe where I could read in peace.
Thing is, I was also hungry and thirsty from the bike ride there. I had a grilled turkey sandwich in flatbread (other choices were as a wrap or on focaccia), replacing the provolone cheese with avocado (which normally costs 50 cents extra to add). The flatbread was grainy, with a hint of sweetness, and served almost like a wrap.
The combination of the spinach, cranberry sauce, and turkey made the sandwich almost taste like Thanksgiving dinner, while the avocado added an earthiness. The way the sandwich was heated caused all of the ingredients to be hot, including the avocado, which was a bit strange. However, the most remarkable think about the sandwich was the fact they use actual, pulled roast turkey - not turkey deli. It was also a bit on the small side.
To drink I had an iced coffee. Freshly brewed, it was deep and fantastic.
I really like the location and atmosphere of Gracious Goods and will be back, hopefully on a regular basis.
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
A quick lunch was in order on the way to an event on Sunday, so Blue Plate Diner it was. I had a veggie burger with fries - I usually love house made veggie burgers, which differ greatly from the commercially available ones.
The fresh, crunch grain bun was a delight. The condiments and veggies were ice cold, which affected the temperature of the burger. I could also have stood to be cooked longer - it was quite soft and the outside should have been crispier. Flavour wise, the dijon mustard dominated, although I could sense a lot of seasonings going on within the burger too.
The house made fries were wonderful - hot, fresh, and plentiful.
I think with some tweaking and better preparation, Blue Plate's veggie burger could be a lot better than it is, or at least it was when I had it.
On Saturday, I was craving breakfast food while on Whyte Avenue. As the rain started falling, I remembered that The Next Act serves brunch on weekends.
I had an eggs Benedict with tomato, avocado, and sauteed mushrooms. The flavours went well together, although the tomato made it hard to cut.
I love hash browns, and the accompanying ones were house made, but were a little too heavily coated in seasonings. It was almost like a crust.
My mimosa was refreshing, but a little bitter - I was not sure if it was the juice or the choice of champagne. Overall though, the value and service was good, and Next Act should not be overlooked for weekend brunch - although I think next time I'll have a beer with it.
After a performance over the weekend, I needed some beer and food, but was not in the mood for a full meal. At Brewsters, I had a pint of craft beer with a Bavarian pretzel and gyoza - Japanese dumplings filled with chicken and vegetables. I am glad the Bavarian pretzel was brushed with herbs and served with beer mustard for dipping, because the pretzel itself would not have had much flavour otherwise. The Gyoza was similarly bland - the sweet chilli sauce helped. I think next time I will go for chicken wings.
I really like the atmosphere of Mercer Tavern. I was here for lunch this week, but I just wanted a snack, so went for the fritters - they were delicious, like little savoury doughnuts with corn in them, served with jam. All they needed was some confectioner's sugar! Hot, crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside - and they went great with my beer.
Monday, September 2, 2013
As a lover of home cooked, home style meals, I was eager to try the new Plow and Harvest which opened up on 170 street and 100 Avenue, in a large space formerly occupied by a number of restaurants.
I love the decor - the country theme is perhaps played up to the point of kitsch, but that is sort of the place's charm. Our greeter was very friendly and explained how to order. Of course, by the time we sat down, we had completely forgotten. Fortunately, there are staff wandering around, and one of them picked up on our confusion and helped us out.
The line between restaurant and cafeteria is blurred when it comes to payment. I don't mind paying for my food first. The main advantage for me is not having to wait for the bill after (my least favourite part of dining out). Tipping is another matter. Perhaps there is some way to tip afterwards that the management can incorporate.
I ordered a turkey entree and my friend had the "not so sloppy" Joe. Sandwiches come with fries, which cannot be substituted for another side (although sides can be ordered for an addition $4 each). Entrees come with a side, and you can pick one additional one, so I went for fries. I found them crispy and seasoned. My stuffing was one of the best I ever had. I loved the gravy, which was not overpowering and went especially well with the stuffing, and the turkey - five or six thick slices of white breast meat. The accompanying artisan bread (a pumpernickel bun) was also great - and I don't even like pumpernickel!
I did not taste the sloppy Joe but my friend was satisfied with it and said he would order it again. He also had a side of stuffing in addition to his fries and shared my enthusiasm for it. We loved the presentation - sides are in these mini cast iron skillets and condiments are in tiny silver buckets.
My main disappointment was our beverages. I was initially excited about Boylan's pop being on tap. The problem was that it tasted very watered down. Also, the chairs are not comfortable - my lower back felt sort of caged in. The restaurant is definitely not perfect, but I the food and service were good. I am hoping the standard will be maintained on future visits.