Thursday, September 14, 2017

Chicken Vermicelli at Spring Roll Kitchen

Yesterday's pre-conference chicken vermicelli. #yegfashion

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I was in the Century Park area for a conference a couple of week ago, so went to Spring Roll Kitchen (2395 111 Street) when I got off the LRT for a quick lunch. I ordered the chicken vermicelli. The chicken was diced and did not have the deep, grilled flavour to which I am accustomed at other places. Also, some pineapple seemed to have made its way into the bowl. There was a lot of chicken though, and two large spring rolls that were sliced. It was good value, although I find the pho to be better.

Breakfast for Lunch: Morning Grill at Albert's

I had a Morning Grill yesterday even though it was the afternoon. #yegfood

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I had a Morning Grill for lunch at Alberta's Family Restaurant, even though it was already the afternoon. It consisted of two pancakes, two pieces of French toast, and a choice of bacon or sausage. They were kind enough to substitute beef sausage for pork. The pancakes were light and fluffy and as large as the plate upon which they were served. The pieces of French toast were rather mighty as well. It turned out I did not care for the taste of the beef sausage, but they were also quite big. I did not finish. I will remember this for when I am really, really hungry.

Pickle Dog at Wild Wing

Hot dog with dill pickle sauce, julienned pickles, a fried pickle, and pickle potato chips. I really like pickles. #yegfood

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I like the hot dogs at Wild Wing as much, if not more, than the wings. For lunch one Sunday I had the pickle dog, which is topped with a dill sauce, shoestring pickles, and a fried pickle (what they call a "Pickled Willy"). The bun was literally impossible to pick up, and the pickle flavour was intense. For my side, I opted for the chippers with the pickle seasoning instead of the usual fries - I was going for the full pickle experience. The freshly made chips were excellent, but the seasoning was unevenly distributed, making some chips almost impossible to eat because so much seasoning had adhered to them. Next time, I would ask for the kitchen to go easy on the seasoning.

Just Desserts: Blueberry Bread Pudding at Brewsters

Blueberry bread pudding. #yegfood #dessert #blueberry

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A late evening trip to Brewsters a couple of weeks ago had me ordering a dessert instead of a meal. I had been wanting to try the blueberry bread pudding for a while, but am always too full after meal to even entertain the thought of dessert. The pudding was served warm in a skillet, with vanilla gelato offsetting the heat. Very dense and rich, the blueberries were not overwhelming but added colour and texture in addition to flavour.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Just Desserts: Snowy Dessert

Trying a Snowy Dessert for the first time. Milk and honey goodness. #yegfood

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I stopped in to Snowy Dessert on Whyte Avenue out of extreme curiosity. I had seen the Coming Soon signs for quite a while, and wanted to learn first-hand what a Korean shaved ice dessert would be like. It's called bingsu and there are about a dozen different types from which to choose, as well as small pizzas and dessert toast. The ice is made from milk and honey, and has the consistency of snowflakes and the look of shaved coconut. It's a very light, sweet flavour, but not too sweet. I had the strawberry topping, and the outside of my bingsu was totally covered in sliced, fresh strawberries, with more in the middle. Very refreshing. However, I definitely think these desserts are made for sharing. I had the "small" and it was served in a metal pail with the spoon the size of a small shovel. I can't imagine trying to tackle a large one by myself. Also, the price point gave me a bit of a sticker shock. $12 for shaved ice (albeit delicious and unique) with fruit is a bit high. Large portions run in the $18 range. Worth trying for the novelty though, but be sure to bring friends.

Fish and Chips at Route 99

Yesterday's fish and chips. #yegfood

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Route 99 (8820 99 Street) is my go-to diner on the south side. I was not in a "breakfast for supper" mood when I stopped by here hungry after doing a workshop presentation, so I decided to try the fish and chips. It was a mighty portion of very crispy fish with a mountain of fries, along with tartar sauce and coleslaw. If you like fish and chips (and like your fish with a very crunchy coating), you really can't go wrong with this. The portion, which also included a soup or salad (I had the soup), defeated me.

Bibimbap at Washoku Bistro

I visited Washoku Bistro for the first time for a business lunch, and was impressed with how the menu had both Japanese dishes (mostly sushi) as well as Korean ones. I had the vegetarian bibimbap, my first time trying the dish. It was a beautiful, sizzling bowl of rice, vegetables, and a fried egg which my server mixed together in front of me. The egg, which was not fully cooked when the dish was brought out, finished cooking while being stirred in the extremely hot bowl, and made some of the rice very crispy. In fact, the food stayed very hot to the end. When my server saw I did not care for the hot sauce it was served with, she brought me a soy sauce which I liked much better. The sauce could also have been stirred in with the egg. I really enjoyed this dish and would love to try the beef variety too.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Pho Files: Chicken Pho at Pho Boy

I was so excited about my first trip to Pho Boy a few weeks ago, that I went again and brought someone in tow. This time my "choose my own" pho had chicken and mushrooms as my toppings (you can get up to three), and I asked for chicken broth and all of the garnishes. My regular-sized bowl had a lot of chicken, but it was shredded so a lot of it settled at the bottom, only for me to retrieve it at the end of my meal. As well, I am almost positive I actually got the beef broth - it was far too dark to have been chicken. My lunch date was not happy with the amount of beef in his large bowl and found the broth to be bland. We also tried the green onion cakes. We enjoyed these, and loved the hot sauce/plum sauce combination that was served on the side. Because I did like my soup despite the wrong broth, I am willing to give this place another chance, but my lunch date is not.

Chicken and Waffles at The Buckingham

#Vegan chicken and waffles. Yes, such a thing exists, and not just in my dreams. #yegfood

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I was in a vegan frame of mind a couple of weekends ago, so headed for The Buckingham, as I was on Whyte Avenue enjoying live music. I like the place - it has a good vibe, and the fact that half the menu is vegan sets it apart from the other pubs in the area. I had the chicken and waffles. The "chicken" had a good texture and crispy coating, but I did not like the hot sauce poured all over the waffles. Hot sauce and waffles do not mix. I had to keep adding maple syrup to temper the heat and flavour, and it just got very messy and unappealing. In general, I don't like food that is heavily sauced, but this was really too much. When I return, I will definitely try something else.

Breakfast for Lunch: Vegan Bowl at The Needle

Tofu breakfast scramble. #yegfood #yegbrunch #vegan

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The Needle Vinyal Cafe has a weekend brunch featuring a special menu and musical performers. I dropped by a couple of weekends ago and had the vegan bowl, which is a tofu "egg" scramble with red peppers and jalapenos over breakfast potatoes. I held the jalapenos, and am glad I did. I find The Needle's food to be rather spicy, and there was more than enough kick without that ingredient. The plentiful tofu had a curry flavour, and the potatoes, which was an extremely generous portion, were hand-cut and well-seasoned. Overall, this was a very filling brunch item that is ideal for vegans.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Breakfast for Lunch: Smoked Meat Scrambler at Jay Bee's

Smoked meat scrambler #yegfood #eatalberta150

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I had my first experience ay Jay Bee's (3633 188 Avenue) this past weekend, as the person I was with told me his workmates recommended the place highly. This is a diner with all of the things you would expect to find on the menu: breakfast, burgers, sandwiches, pasta, pizza, and traditional mains like fish and chips and hot turkey. Some of the breakfast offerings are quite unique for this sort of establishment, like the option of beef sausages and turkey bacon with your eggs. I had one of the "scrambles" with smoked meat. It was more like a flat omelette that was so huge, it covered the plate. Underneath was a bagel which was very fresh and actually tasted like a bagel (as opposed to some places where bagels just taste like bread in a round shape), and hash browns. The server said they were going to be cubes, but they were small strings that were a bit greasy, and a bit overcooked in places, but then again this is a "greasy spoon" sort of place. My eggs tasted heavily from the smoked meat, as it should have, and the onions were sweet and cooked. I held the marble cheese that would also have been a part of the dish. I was totally stuffed at the end, and the dish was less than $15. The place was clean, spacious, and the service was good - my server went back to the kitchen several times to get answers to my questions. I will definitely be back if I am in Beverly, and I hope future visits will live up to this one.

Quarter Chicken Plate at Fired Up BBQ

Quarter chicken, potato salad, beans, and corn bread. #yegfood #bbq

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I haven't been to Fired Up BBQ in a while, so when the opportunity came up this past week to go there for lunch, I grabbed it. I decided to try the chicken for the first time. My quarter chicken was tender and full of smoked flavour. I can't really say much else about it other than it was excellent. For my three sides I chose the bean medley, potato salad, and corn bread. I think corn bread goes really well with chicken. A hearty lunch overall.

Blueberry Smoothie at My Tea

Blueberry bubble tea smoothie. #yegfood

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I love bubble tea, as anyone who knows me is aware. I have passed My Tea (10728 82 Avenue) countless times on my Whyte Avenue journies. Last weekend, during the Art Walk, it was so hot out that I just had to stop in and get some bubble tea. It's a very small, clean place with a solid menu of different kinds of hot teas, and cold bubble teas made with fresh fruit or as smoothies with milk. I had a blueberry smoothie and it was fantastic. It had an abundant blueberry flavour and the ice did not separate from the juice as it often does with these kinds of drinks. Love, love, love - I will be back!

The Pho Files: Pho Boy

Eating hot pho on a hot day. #yegfood #yegpho

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I stopped in for lunch at Pho Boy during the Art Walk. It is a lovely place with lots of indoor and outdoor seating. The service was fantastic. I found the menu to be unique, as you can choose your broth and up to three toppings. I had beef broth with steak, flank, and chicken. The broth was rich and deep, and there was plenty of meat and noodles for the regular-sized portion ($10 - reasonable). The chicken was especially good - very tender and fresh, not chewy at all. My only beef (pun intended) is that for the vegetarian choices, it would be nice to have a protein choice like tofu - not just vegetables.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Bubble Tea at Gong Cha

Bubble tea on a hot day. #yegfood #eatalberta150

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I love bubble tea - I got hooked on it from hanging out in Chinatown. So, when a bubble tea place opened up on my favourite block on Whyte Avenue, I was very happy. Gong Cha features a variety of bubble teas, coffees, and other drinks in Taiwanese style. Most of the drinks are tea or coffee-based - there isn't the fresh fruit variety found at other places - with a few seasonal or very regional ingredients (red beans, grass jelly, winter melon). The focus here is on the toppings, from the traditional sago balls to pudding to milk foam. You pick your flavour and topping(s), as well as how much ice and sugar you want. Most drinks come in two sizes, and range $5-$6. The drinks are made to order, cold, and refreshing. Hot drinks are also available. I like basic coffee and tea milk, and love that you can choose black tea or Earl Grey. I have a feeling I will work my way through the menu over the summer.

Chicken Kebabs at Kebab Express

Chicken shish kebab combo. #yegfood #eatalberta150

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I was at the Blues On Whyte Block party this past weekend, and had Sunday evening supper at Kebab Express (10355 82 Avenue). The seating allowed me to enjoy my meal while still having a clear view of the street stage. I had the chicken kebab combo platter. The chunks of chicken breast meat were grilled to perfection. They were served on a bed of white rice that had a slightly salty flavour, almost like butter. A small side of salad added some lightness to the plate. Of course, there was pita bread and a yogurt dip (I was expecting garlic, but this was very light and refreshing). At close to $18 it was not cheap and the portion was not huge, but it really hit the spot.

Breakfast for Lunch: Gravlax Bennies at Situation Brewing

Gravlax waffle bennies for brunch. #yegfood #eatalberta150

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I had brunch at Situation Brewing a couple of Saturdays ago. While I don't normally go for Eggs Benedict, I made an exception. I had the gravlax, which is a smoked salmon with curing that is heavy on dill and other seasonings. It was served on two fresh-made Belgian waffles, with pickled vegetables, eggs, and lots of capers. I held the cream cheese but had the hollandaise, which I normally don't care for, but it was fresh and fantastic! The side of fruit added some lightness and colour to the plate. I found the pickled vegetables a little dominating, but I loved that there were lots of capers. The buttery, sweet waffles provided a good counterpoint flavour-wise to what was otherwise a very savoury dish.

Eggplant Curry at Panda Hut Express

While in the west end needing lunch and craving Chinese food, my friend and I went to

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Pho Files: Tofu Pho at Phobulous

Tofu pho (the broth is beef). #yegfood #yegpho

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While running errands in the University area, lunch was required, and I stopped in to Phobulous for the first time in ages. I was definitely in the mood for soup, but not for lots of meat, if that makes any sense. So, I went for the tofu pho, which included a plentiful number of fried tofu cubes in a beef broth with loads of rice noodles. Obviously, this was not a purely vegetarian dish, but I did not mind. The tofu picked up the flavour of the broth and also absorbed a lot of it, which forced me to be careful when I bit into each piece, as there would be an explosion of piping hot broth in my mouth. The broth was indeed piping hot and remained so for most of the meal. It also had a deep flavour, if not a little too bitter to my taste, possibly due to an abundance of fish sauce. Next time, I might go for one of the non-soup dishes instead.

Braised Beef Skillet at Montana's

Helping a friend celebrate a special day. Braised beef skillet for me. #yegfood

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A friend was celebrating a milestone birthday a short while ago, and I offered to take him out for lunch - and even let him pick the place. He was in a steak frame of mind, so we went to Montana's in the South Edmonton Common area. I was in more of a lunch frame of mind and had the braised beef skillet. It was a perfect, lunch-sized portion of tender chunks of beef in a mushroom and wine sauce, arranged around a large scoop of mashed potatoes, served in a skillet with a piece of corn bread. The portion was not huge (especially for a $15 price tag), but it was an excellent comfort food combination.

Sweet Caroline Pizza at The Needle Vinyl Tavern

My chicken pizza and the healthy salad with chicken which is not mine. #yegfood

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I went to the Needle Vinyl Tavern last week to catch some tunes by John Guliak, a singer/songwriter whose work I really enjoy. Being as the performance was over the supper hour, I ordered one of the pizzas on the menu. I love barbecue chicken pizza, so opted for the Sweet Caroline. The pizza was about 12 inches - quite large for one person - and loaded with cheese, chicken, cooked onion, cilantro, and red sauce. A delicious combination, but oh my goodness, the spice level was quite high (at least, as far as my tastebuds went). I could only get through a few pieces before the fire got to me. Fortunately, I was dining with a friend who enjoyed sharing.

Just Desserts: Mars Bar Square at Block 1912

Mars bar square and Vietnamese coffee. #yegfood

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It was a rare Saturday afternoon off and to myself, so I headed to Block 1912 for coffee and dessert. I had a Mars Bar Square, which surprised me with its crispy lightness. It was a Rice Crispy square made to taste like a Mars bar, and it really did. The rice bits had been covered in a sweet coating resembling caramel and nougat, and the top was drizzled with chocolate and caramel. Very sweet, but not too heavy. To drink I had a Vietnamese coffee, which is more like a sweet iced latte here. The tiny bit of condensed milk sinks to the bottom, with lots of milk on top and fresh espresso (as opposed to the slow drip over condensed milk like you get in Vietnamese restaurants).

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Kaey Wot at Langano Skies

Ethiopian food for supper. #yegfashion

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I love Ethiopian food, even if the spices can sometimes be a bit much for me, so I was delighted to finally try Langano Skies. It's conveniently located next to one of my favourite bars, so after the music was over, this was the supper destination. I ordered something that seemed basic - Kaey Wot, which is tender beef in a spicy sauce, and I opted for brown rice instead of the injera. We also took advantage of an appetizer special, and had the lentil sambusas (which are like samosas, but with a lighter outer shell). Those had a definite "wow factor." I could probably make a meal out of some of the appetizers. The food was incredible, but I will definitely take the spice level into consideration next time and ask the server's advice about something milder. Which should be no problem, because the service here was excellent.

Fish and Chips at Grandin Fish 'n' Chips

Checking out Grandin Fish and Chips - cod was my choice. #yegfood

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I love fish and chips and have heard a lot of hype about Grandin Fish 'n' Chips, so I went here for lunch following an event at the Legislature on a Saturday afternoon. Despite it being an off-hour, the place was packed! You line up and order and pay, and then get a number and try to find a seat (unless you're taking your food to go). I love the decor and the service was good. The menu was also quite extensive as far as a fish and chips place goes: several different kinds of fish, salads, and even a few non-fish options. My main concern was the price. $16 for one piece of fish (I chose cod), which wasn't all that big, is a bit much. The fries were good and the tartar sauce and coleslaw were very fresh, but the sides really filled out the plate. The fish was delicious - flaky and the batter was just right. It wasn't too thick or greasy. I would come here again if I was in the area and my wallet allowed. Maybe I would splurge an extra $5 for one of the other sides (always wanted to try Bubble and Squeak!).

Friday, April 21, 2017

The Pho Files: Vegan Pho at XO Bistro

Vegan pho #yegfood

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I visited XO Bistro on the advice of my brother, who says the vegan pho is excellent. It was. What made the soup was the broth, which is a true vegan broth but has much more flavour than other ones I have encountered. I ordered the small size, which was ample enough for lunch and slightly more expensive than Chinatown (not a surprise, given the location and upscale interior). I especially liked the tofu, which was fried but firm. Definitely deserving of a repeat visit.

Chicken Shawarma Plate at Paramount Lebanese Kitchen

Chicken shawarma plate. #yegfood

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I headed to the new food court in Edmonton City Centre this past week, and tried Paramount Lebanese Kitchen for the first time. I was impressed with the selection and the prices, and had a chicken shawarma plate. The chicken was definitely house-made, served with pickles, pickled turnip, and garlic sauce, and my choice of two sides. I opted for hummus and salad, both of which were fresh and delicious. Good portions and good prices - I'll be back!

Butter Chicken Perogies at Naanolicious

Butter pirogies #yegfood

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One of the few things I have not tried at Naanolicious are the perogies in butter chicken sauce. Talk about fusion - the perogies were fried to perfection, covered in the rich sauce. This is not something I would want every day, but it was delicious.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Beef Stew Noodle Soup at Old Szechuan Restaurant

Beef stew noodle soup. #yegfood

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I was hanging out on Whyte Avenue and wanted soup, but something different than pho for a change. So, I headed into the new location for Old Szechuan Restaurant, formerly of the north side. I had an onion cake, and it was excellent: chewy and salty. My beef stew noodle soup had a delicate broth, lots of meat (which was quite flavourful), and loads of noodles in a mild beef broth. A perfect portion for one person, and at a reasonable price.

Veggie Burger at State and Main

Post-church veggie burger. #yegfood

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I was asked to speak at a downtown church this past weekend, and after the service I went out for lunch at State and Main with a friend. I liked the complex flavours of my veggie burger, which included guacamole, hummus, and bruschetta - it made my tastebuds feel like they went on tour in the Mediterranean. My fries were lukewarm to cold, however, and this really soured the experience. I loved the dill dip that went with them, however.

Beef Brisket Sliders at The Alibi Pub

Shaved brisket sliders. #yegfood

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I went to the Alibi on St. Patrick's Day because it was both convenient and I wanted to catch a music act playing there. Kudos to The Alibi for supporting local music. Being both a Friday night and St. Paddy's, the place was understandably packed. I got there around 7 and they were already out of a number of food items because, as my server later explained, they did not expect to be so busy. On a Friday night. On St. Patrick's Day. In a bar. Wow. It took a very long time for me to finally get my drink order in, and even longer to find out that what I ordered was not available. I ended up ordering something I really did not want, and I can't tell you if it was good or not because, honestly, I was so hungry by then it didn't matter. It was the beef brisket sliders, which was served on focaccia and covered in shredded lettuce. Lots and lots of lettuce, most of which I pushed away because it dominated the meat, which was sliced and diced and in a mild sauce. That's all I remember. And taking a cab home.

Funghi Misti Pizza at Rosso Pizzeria

Funghi Misti pizza. And wine. Can't forget the wine. #yegfood

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I was attending an event a couple of weeks ago at the Metro Theatre, so stopped in to Rosso Pizzeria for supper beforehand. I ordered the Funghi Misti which had lots of mushrooms, a very mild mozzarella, fresh parsley, garlic, and white truffle oil. There was another kind of cheese on it also which I held in favour of just mozzarella (I'm funny when it comes to cheese). It was incredible, with a thin, chewy crust, and a light feeling overall made decadent by the truffle oil. Definitely exceeded my expectations.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Prime Rib at Ricky's All Day Grill

Prime rib and trimmings. #yegfood

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So, the same friend I went for steak dinner with a few nights ago decided he wanted steak again. However, we needed a lower-cost option, so headed to the 170 Street location of Ricky's All Day Grill. Ricky's has Prime Rib available on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, so we decided to take advantage of that. You choose the size - I had the six ounce, which was the smallest option. It was cooked to perfection, but was rather underwhelmed by the flavour. It was actually the sides that made this meal, especially the vegetables and Yorkshire pudding. It was good for the price point, and I noticed others were coming in to order the same thing, but I tend to prefer Ricky's steak sandwich or one of their steak dinners.

The Pho Files: Beef Satay Soup at Hoang Long Fresh Market

After picketing outside for over an hour, I need this. #yegfood #yegpho

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I was between events/meetings and needed a bowl of soup after my previous engagement had me outside in the cold for over an hour. So, I ventured into Hoang Long Fresh Market for the first time. The place was very modern and fancy, albeit empty on a Saturday afternoon. I certainly did not mind having the place to myself, and ordered a beef satay soup. I've never had beef satay soup before, so I can honestly say this is the best I have ever had, but it truly was great. The broth was rich and flavourful without being too spicy. There was an abundance of beef, noodles, and cooked carrots, topped with lettuce, red cabbage, and peanuts. Really great flavour. Although it is slightly pricier than other Vietnamese eateries I frequent, I love the look of the place and will be back.

Steak Dinner and Dessert at The Sawmill

Steak. It's what's for supper. #yegfood

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It was an evening to relax, blow off steam, and consume steak. So, I and a friend headed to the west end location of The Sawmill. We took advantage of a 10 ounce New York Steak special, which came with our choice of potato and vegetables. The steak was juicy and delicious. The sides were the perfect complements, especially the vegetables which were cooked to perfection.

Double Dutch chocolate brownie sundae. #yegfood

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As if that wasn't enough, we decided to go for dessert. My mocha brownie sundae was huge - I must have been super hungry. I wish the brownie pieces atop the mocha ice cream were softer. They were a bit on the dry, hard side, making it difficult to penetrate them with my spoon. Otherwise, I really enjoyed myself.

Vegetarian Curry at Kids in the Hall

Lunch after a fruitful meeting at City Hall. Vegetarian curry. #yegfood

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A meeting at City Hall led to lunch at Kids in the Hall Bistro. The vegetarian curry was a warm (but not too spicy) mix of chickpeas, potato, and other veggies, with rice and bannock (an interesting diversion from the naan which is typically served with curry). The flavour was great, and the rice carried the curry well (although it was almost the consistency of soup). A really great choice for a mid-winter lunch.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Breakfast for Lunch: Smoked Salmon, Egg, and Toast at BRU

Yesterday's brunch - smoked salmon and egg on toast. #yegfood

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I had a meeting at BRU Coffee + Beer House this past weekend. I was already familiar with BRU's coffee, and as it was time for lunch, was delighted to discover that BRU offers brunch on the weekends. I had what was an attractively arranged open-face sandwich on rye, with smoked salmon, hard boiled egg (my request, as opposed to the soft boiled egg on the menu), and avocado, with a dill yogurt dressing. I held the cream cheese. There was a lot of smoked salmon, and the yogurt was light and wonderful with the garnish of fruit on the side. Unfortunately, it's hard to get ripe avocados at this time of year, and my server even apologized for the fact the wedges were chewy. While falling short of perfect, I did enjoy the dish overall.

Pan-Friend Sole at Friends and Neighbours

Sole amandine. It's been too long. #yegfood

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Sometimes my favourite comfort food comes from surprising places. Friends and Neighbours (10834 Whyte Avenue) has such an extensive menu, that it comes as no surprise that there are a number of reasonably-priced fish dinners. What the surprise was, for me, was how good my choice was. I had the pan-fried sole, which consisted of several delicate pieces of fish that were lightly breaded and garnished with sliced almonds. Basically, it was a take on sole amandine, which I have not had in ages. My baked potato was perfectly cooked and had a light, thin skin. Rounded out with some vegetables, coleslaw, and a huge piece of garlic toast, I remained happy and full for the rest of the evening.