Monday, November 6, 2017

Dinner at Yianni's Taverna

Appetizers: roasted olives and hummus. #yegfood

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I was treated to a fabulous dinner at Yianni's Taverna a couple of weeks ago. We started with the hummus and pita, as well as the roasted olives. The hummus was rich and thick, and likely the best I have ever had. The olives were hot, marinated in seasonings and oil, and absolutely incredible. I could probably have made a meal out of the appetizers.

Rack of lamb for him and roasted chicken for me. #yegfood

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I had the chicken (top), which was a full breast grilled and seasoned to perfection. The vegetables were just lightly blanched while the lemon potatoes were excellent - cooked fork tender and not overwhelming on the lemon. A dollop of tzatziki on the side complemented the chicken well. I also tried a bite of the rack of lamb. While I am not a lamb fan, this was absolutely succulent, cooked to a perfect medium, and a huge portion.

Just Desserts: Bread Pudding at Block 1912

Coffee and bread pudding. #yegfood #coffee #dessert

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It was back to Block 1912 for a treat a few weeks ago. I love bread pudding, so was eager to try theirs. Warmed up, with some whipped cream on top, the dessert was enjoyable but read more like a piece of cake in a bed of syrup than a bread pudding. The pudding itself was not moist enough, and I just felt like I was eating bits of cake rather than bread. I liked it - it was sweet and comforting - but I think it needs a better description.

Chicken Skewers at Cask and Barrel

Last week’s chicken skewers. #yegfood

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I often go to the Cask and Barrel on Saturday afternoons to enjoy some live music. It's a cozy venue that is often family-friendly. On a recent weekend, I ordered some food off of the menu in addition to my drink. The kebabs come in either beef or chicken. I chose the latter. Four perfectly grilled skewers were served with a That satay sauce. My only beef (joke intended) is that the price point is a little high for something that does not come with a side.

Beef Schnitzel and More at Bistro Praha

Tonight’s dinner: pickled herring, tomato onion salad, and Wiener schnitzel. #yegfood #nomnom

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Bistro Praha is one of my favourite Edmonton restaurants. Alas, I do not get the opportunity to come here as often as I would like. A gift card and a farewell dinner for a friend brought me back, and I spent the evening enjoying European comfort food. I had an appetizer of the rolled pickled herring. Served with a generous dollop of sour cream, the portion brought me back to the Saturday afternoon lunches of my childhood. My main was the Weiner Schnitzel: a thin slice of beef in a crunchy, breaded coating. I ordered the half portion and am glad I did - the one schnitzel literally spanned across my plate. A full portion has two. The small scoop of fresh potato salad provided a flavour and texture contrast to the schnitzel. I opted for the tomato and onion salad which comes with mains, served as a starter. The tomatoes were so juicy and flavourful from being marinated, and the onions were sweet. This was a meal that satisfied all of my senses.

Just Desserts: Pumpkin Spice Cake at Block 1912

It's that time of year when pumpkin spice takes over the drinks and desserts of many coffee shops. I had a piece of pumpkin spice cake recently at Block 1912 and was apparently the first to try it. I am sure I was not the last. The cake was light and fluffy, with the pumpkin spice flavour coming from the icing between the layers. This was a really interesting and light alternative to pumpkin pie.

Soups at Rice Bowl Deluxe

Trying out the new Rice Bowl Deluxe in the west end, and thought the pho was fab. #yeg #yegfood #yegpho

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Rice Bowl Deluxe has a new location in the Lynnwood area. On my first time there I had the pho. I was surprised that the flavour profile of the broth was as rich as it was. It came with the basil leaves and beansprouts already inserted. Although the bowl looked small-ish for the price, it was deceptively large, with lots of sliced beef (I held the beef balls - never been a fan of their texture). There also also several kinds of green onion cakes available. I had the flat kind, and it was quite full of onions and a great side to the soup.

On my second trip, I had the Laksa soup with tofu as my protein. The soup already comes with tofu puffs, which absorb the flavourful mild curry broth. The sliced tofu that was added was a huge portion, along the the noodles. This was a very thick, rich soup and wonderful on a cold day. I had a green onion doughnut as well, which was crunchy but not greasy.

Korean Fried Chicken at Nara Fried Chicken and Tongkatsu

Korean fried chicken. My first time. #yeg #yegfood #friedchicken #koreanfriedchicken

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I have never had Korean Fried Chicken before, and tried it for the first time here in this little west end eatery at 8712 150 Street. I had the half fried chicken, the basic one with no sauce. So crispy on the outside, and so moist on the inside - I think I am a believer now! It also was not greasy or salty at all. I may have liked some dipping sauce to the side, but the pickled turnips provided an interesting flavour profile.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Beef Noodle Soup at Fuqing Lanzhou Noodles

Really good Fuqing noodles in this soup! (I could not resist!) my first time trying hand-pulled noodles. #yegfood

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I have never had hand-pulled noodles before and finally had the opportunity to try them here at Fuqing Lanzhou Noodles(10824 97 Street). I was the only customer in the restaurant, as I went at an off-hour. The very friendly woman serving made sure I understood that I was in a noodle house, and kept checking to see if I was okay using chopsticks (I indeed am). I ordered a bowl of beef soup, and loved the rich bone broth and tender chunks of beef, but the noodles were definitely the star of the bowl. They are much thicker and chewier than other noodles I have had. The beef literally melted in my mouth. It was filling, reasonably-priced, and I would definitely come back.

Breakfast for Lunch: Unforgettable Bowl at Friends and Neighbours

Friends and Neighbours (10834 82 Avenue) is one of my go-to places for brunch, and this past weekend I tried the Unforgettable Bowl, one of the cafes unique creations. Three large chicken fingers were served with scrambled eggs, sauteed peppers and onions, fresh tomatoes, and a base of cubed potatoes. The menu said avocados, but those were not there. The eggs and chicken paired surprisingly well, and the chicken was actually my favourite part of the dish. The potatoes, however, were a disappointment. They were greasy and some had a sweet off-taste as though the oil had not been changed in a while. The result was less than appetizing, and I was unable to finish - a pity, because the portion was more than ample. This is one of those dishes that seemed like a good idea at the time, but the execution does not work because there was nothing tying the dish together, like a sauce. Or, the eggs could have been sunny side up or over-easy, the yolk creating the sauce. I would order the chicken fingers by themselves (or with fries) at a later time, because those were really good.

Italian Sandwich at Tony's Pizza

I was at Tony's Pizza last week for an event with an organization I work with, and decided to try something on the menu I had never had before. I noticed an Italian sandwich made up of a stir fry of one's choice of chicken, veal, or Italian sausage, with peppers and onions, served on a torpedo bun with mozzarella and topped with fresh tomatoes and seasonings. I chose the chicken and skipped the cheese. The filling was incredible, as the peppers and onions were brought to a point of tenderness and sweetness that resonated on my palate. The bread was fresh and crispy, lightly toasted. And, it was HUGE. I want this again, and I want it soon!

Brisket and Vegetable Chow Mein at Garden Bakery

Brisket and vegetable chow mein. #yegfood

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A business lunch last week brought me to the Chinatown location of Garden Bakery. The noodles were crispy, but gave way to softness under the tender brisket and bok choy - which was the only vegetable. The amount of food was enormous and my server was amazed at how much I actually ate. Well, I *was* hungry!

Smoked Salmon Biscuit Sandwich at Lock Stock Coffee

Discovered Lock Stock Coffee yesterday and had an Americano and biscuit sandwich with lox. #yegfood #yegcoffee

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I discovered Lock Stock Coffee while on Jasper Avenue looking for a place to grab a cup of coffee and maybe a quick bite, on a Saturday afternoon. Thanks to the signage, I headed down, looked at the small menu, and ordered an Americano and one of the biscuit sandwiches. My Americano was brought to me first, and it was very good. Deep, rich flavour. The sandwich had lox, arugula, pickled scallions, and dill cream cheese on an herb and cheddar biscuit. I normally don't like cream cheese, so if it is flavoured it had better taste strongly from the flavour - and indeed it did. The richness of the cream cheese paired perfectly with the fresh lox and bitterness of the arugula. I also normally don't go for cheese biscuits, but this one was so fresh and flaky, with little crispy hints of cheddar. I thought at first $8.50 was a lot to pay for a small sandwich, but it was deceptively rich and filling. The staff were very friendly and I liked the vibe of the place. I am definitely coming back!

Superfood Soup at Freshii

A very layered superfood soup. #yegfood

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I needed something fast and healthy after being at an event, which rn well past the lunch hour one Saturday. I headed to Freshii at 103 and Jasper, and had the Superfood Soup. The soup was served in a plastic container, and the contents were very layered. This meant I ate one element of the soup at a time, until I got closer to the bottom when the quinoa started to rise. The flavour was very mellow, with a sweetness to the tofu. The soup was very hot and filling, and I knew I was eating something healthy.

BBQ Chicken Flatbread at Metro Billiards

Metro Billiards was conveniently located next to Latitude 53 gallery where I was taking pictures at an event a few weeks ago, and I had The BBQ, a flatbread (which is essentially a pizza) with bbq chicken, roasted peppers, cilantro, an onions, on a base of mozzarella and tomato sauce. The sauce was more of a bbq sauce which was fine, because I expect that on such a bbq flatbread, and wasn't too spicy. There was plenty of topping, and the price was right ($9). Definitely a win.

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).