17th Ave · Curry · Restaurants

Simply Irie Cafe – Caribbean Cuisine

I’ve only tried Caribbean cuisine in Toronto. Toronto is such a great city for eating out, just due to the sheer number of restaurants and variety of cuisines. In Calgary, I’m unfamiliar with the Caribbean food scene, so I rely on the expertise of @Dianathefoodie and @foodiegyal7. For this post, let’s listen to “S&M” by Rihanna.

Dianethefoodie recommended Simply Irie Cafe for the oxtail stew and spicy shrimp. She said as a first-timer, I had to try the oxtail because it is the gateway for Caribbean food. She also mentioned that the beef patty is delicious but the goat patty is even better. She didn’t find a big difference in taste between the two patties and the beef version was a dollar cheaper. Pro tip – if you order online, first time customers receive a 10 percent discount.

Photo credit: @dianethefoodie

I ordered a Spicy Beef Patty ($5.25), a Goat Patty ($6.25), Jerk Chicken (16.95) and Oxtail Stew ($23.95). I had a minor issue with ordering, and for my troubles, the owner gave me a complimentary Ackee & Saltfish patty ($7.95). Completely unnecessary but I’m glad she did, because it is one of the best things I’ve eaten in 2021. I don’t think I would have tried ackee and saltfish unless someone recommended it to me.

When I left the restaurant, I noticed the heaviness of the bag. There was enough food for three people. When I got into our car, L commented on how good the food smelled.

The pastry in the patties is phenomenal. The patties look thin but when you bite into it, you can taste a million light, crisp layers. Each patty was still warm. The beef patty was the most mild in flavour whereas the goat had a noticeably stronger flavour and aroma. I loved the subtle saltiness of the fish. Out of the three, my favourite was the saltfish, followed by the goat and then the beef.

Our food was still piping hot. L liked how much meat was on the chicken. Judging from the size, Simply Irie uses big birds. The sauce was lovely, though I couldn’t pick out the seasoning and spices. Simply Irie version taste nothing like the jerk chicken I make at home. I’m a big fan of the peas and rice. I expected green peas but it turns out, “peas” is a Caribbean term to describe kidney beans or black eyed peas. The beans infused the rice with a homey earthiness.

Photo Credit: L

This was my first time trying oxtail stew. Stems of thyme were entangled among the glistening pieces of oxtail and potatoes. My container was filled with meaty chunks of tender meat. To me, oxtail taste like a hybrid between a beef rib and tendon. I liked nibbling around the bone to get to the gelatinous bits. The gravy was saucy, a little sweet, with a buttery aftertaste.

Photo credit: L

I thought the prices were very reasonable given the portions, quality, and location. I actually think the entrees at Simply Irie offer more value than some of their neighbouring restaurants on 17th Ave. When life gets back to normal, I would love to dine inside or out on their patio.

Give this restaurant a try. I’m already planning on order takeout again. I want to get the Spicy Shrimp ($23.95), Jerk Chicken Wings ($15.95), Chicken Soup ($9.99), and of course, more Jamaican patties. Hitting the Sauce gives Simply Irie two thumbs up.

17th Ave · French · Seafood

Pigeonhole

I met up with my friend K-Pop. She lives alone, and since I’m one of her non-household contacts, she asked me to check out Pigeonhole with her. K-Pop was eager to try Pigeonhole because their menu offers her two most favourite dishes – beef tartare and foie gras. For this post, let’s listen to “In The Air” by Allah Las.

After consulting with our server, I ordered a gaymay/pinot blend (Pierre Goigoux, Chanturgue, France $66). He suggested this particular bottle because I wanted something dry, light and soft. K-Pop enjoyed this red as much as I did. She liked how the wine didn’t overpower any of the dishes we ordered.

Since I picked the wine, K-Pop ordered all the food. She chose the Atlantic Scallop Crudo ($15), Wagyu Beef Tartare ($16), Foie Gras Mousse ($17), Smoked Ham Croquettes ($10) and Honey Glazed Brioche ($8). I noticed each plate was gorgeously plated.

The scallop crudo was so fantastic, I would order this again. The scallops were silky smooth, the flavour was so clean and pure. I loved the combination of crunchy almonds, spicy chili-citrus oil, fresh basil and slivered celery. Each bite was bright and lovely, and with a lingering heat. This dish made me think of Chef Koji Kobayan because he’s known for his stunning carpaccio and tataki creations at Sukiyaki House. I’m sure Chef Koji would appreciate Pigeonhole’s version as well.

Photo credit: K-Pop

K-Pop is a beef tartare fanatic. She liked that it wasn’t salty, which allowed her to appreciate the flavours of the fried shallots and buttery smooth wagyu beef. She liked the use of traditional ingredients, such as the gherkins. I enjoyed the sharpness from the green peppercorns.

Photo credit: K-Pop

K-Pop is also a fan of foie gras. What she loved about Pigeonhole’s version was that she couldn’t taste the liver. The mousse was cool, light and creamy. The tiny bits of pink lady apples added a touch of sweetness. There was so much foie gras, K-Pop ordered extra lembas bread, a honey glazed brioche with whipped honey butter.

The croquettes were a winner. The creamy, cheese sauce was so addicting, I scraped every bit off the plate. The croquette reminded me a super crunchy tater tot, but a million times better. I loved the freshness the basil added to this dish. I would order this again too.

I was also impressed with the attentive service we received. Throughout our evening, we had different servers checking in with our wine, waters and food. It seemed like the staff were working together to provide the best experience for their guests.

Sometimes I get so stuck in my routine that I forget what it is like to eat something that is beyond my cooking skills. I’m glad K-Pop picked Pigeonhole for our dinner date. The dishes here are a gastronomical delight. If you haven’t been yet, this is a spot you need to check out. Hitting the Sauce gives Pigeonhole two thumbs up.

17th Ave · Banh Mi · Cheap Eats · Restaurants · Sandwiches · Vietnamese

Kim Anh Vietnamese Submarines

L and I were out running errands when he suggested we pick up something for dinner. I suggested either banh mi or a shawarma. Since we were already on 17th Ave, we stopped by Kim Anh Vietnamese Submarines. For this post, let’s play “Cool” by Gwen Stefani.

I’ve eaten here at least six times and each time I find the service fast and friendly. Kim Anh sells a variety of Vietnamese dishes, such as vermicelli, spring rolls and salad rolls. I would recommend sticking to what their are known for – banh mi.

I’ve tried the Lemongrass Chili Chicken, Lemongrass Chili Beef, Cold Cut, Korean BBQ Pork, and Satay Chicken. My favourite is the Lemongrass Chili Beef ($8.75, + .50 cheese). However, I ordered the Assorted Cold Cuts ($7.45, +.50 cheese) for myself in order to do a proper comparison to Saigon Deli and Banh Mi Nhu Y. Pate and cheese are an extra charge.

When we arrived home, I cut up our subs in half and took my obligatory pictures. As I finished squeezing L’s sub together for a shot, I looked up and caught his expression. He looked patient, but it was so practiced, like he was resigned to never eating a sandwich without a production. I felt bad for him and then I comforted myself knowing that this time, I paid for dinner.

The lemongrass chili beef was spicy and saucy. The tang of the lemony herb was dominant in the beef. L liked the texture that the crunchy peanuts added to the sub. I noticed Kim Anh doesn’t overload the sub with cilantro. If I had ordered the beef sub for myself, I would request pate because it just adds another dimension of flavour.

The cold cut combo was packed with meats and carrots. The pickled carrots were sweet and wet. The flavour of the pate was much subtle than Saigon Deli and Banh Mi Nhu Y. My friend Asian Persuasion doesn’t like it when the pate is too strong because she complains it taste metallic. If you are like Asian Persuasion, you’ll like Kim Anh’s milder pate. Compared to Kim Anh, Saigon Deli’s cold cut sub is heavier on the meats.

The jalapeños were so hot, they burned a little on my tongue. The cheese is the type that sticks to the roof of your mouth. The taste of the white cheese reminded me a little of Laughing Cow cheese. I like the cheese in the lemongrass beef chili sub but not as much in the cold cut. In the beef sub, the cheese blends in but with the cold cut, the cheese sticks out.

The subs at Kim Anh cost more than their competitors in Forest Lawn, but that’s justifiable because of the higher rent on 17th Ave. I noticed that the bread at Kim Anh is shorter in length and more crumbly than Saigon Deli and Banh Mi Nhu Y. I like how Kim Anh pickles their carrots and the extra pizzazz in their lemongrass subs. These subs are smaller but there is no shortage in flavour or ingredients.

For an inner-city banh mi, Kim Anh does it right. I’ve noticed when I used a third-party food delivery, the price is within 29 cents to the in-store menu, and the portions are the same for pick up. It’s also the only Vietnamese sandwich shop I know of that is open until 12 a.m., and even later on a Saturday. Hitting the Sauce gives Kim Anh two fat thumbs up.

17th Ave · Bars/Lounges · Beer · Happy Hour · Pubs

Newcastle Pub – Wing Night

L wants to be cautious on where we choose to dine out because of the new COVID-19 variant. We drove by Newcastle Pub and saw that it was quiet, perhaps because of the weather and time of day. In honour of the new documentary on Britney Spears, let’s listen to “I Wanna Go”.

Newcastle installed glass barriers between socially distanced tables. The room looked and smelled clean – even the walls and ceilings appeared freshly washed. When we sat down, we saw our favourite server Katarina going to each table to ask for a name and phone number. One of the new restrictions is that restaurants are expected to collect contact information from one person of the dining party.

L ordered an IPA ($7, 20 ounce) and I settled on a Wild Rose Velvet Fog ($7, 20 ounce). I still remember when I first came to Calgary, how much I liked Wild Rose beer. At that time, BC only had Granville Island beer, which tastes like what I imagine piss to be like. I can actually feel my mother cringing at that description. I’m not so worried because another restriction is that out-of-town visitors cannot stay in other people’s homes while these restrictions are in place, regardless of where they are coming from.

One thing we always order is the Truffle Fries ($9.75). The portion is huge and despite the fact the fries are piled high, there’s an even distribution of grated parmesan, truffle oil and fresh parsley. L likes that the amount of truffle isn’t overwhelming. I love the side of garlic aioli, even though this dish is decadent enough on its own.

I felt like wings and L said he would share it with me, just as long it wasn’t salt and pepper. I asked him why and he responded that it is the most boring flavour you can get. I questioned why he’s just telling me this now, as I’ve always ordered salt and pepper wings. L said how can you not know? It’s just salt and pepper, and now that he thinks about it, that’s not even a flavour. I think this pandemic is getting to us. I’ve never seen L so passionate about chicken. I was speechless.

I have to admit, hot wings ($3.50, $1.50 for a side of ranch) taste much better than the salt and pepper. The hot sauce had a nice heat to it and a pleasant vinegary tang. On wing night and regular nights, there’s always sufficient meat on the bones. However, on this day, the wings were extra meaty.


Newcastle Pub is one of the best run pubs in the city. I think part of the reason is the manager Jay is always helping out and he previously worked as an executive chef. In the nine years we’ve been customers, we’ve never experienced a bad meal or poor service. Keep up the great work enforcing the mandatory restrictions.

17th Ave · Burgers · Sandwiches

Alumni Sandwiches – Hot Chicken

On Thursday, I was feeling down.  L noticed my mood and announced we were ordering takeout for dinner and he was willing to drive anywhere. Anywhere? My mind immediately raced to all the restaurants on my list – My Greek Plate in Cochrane, The Sensory in Canmore, and Jerry’s in Okotoks. For this post, let’s listen to “(You Drive Me) Crazy” by Britney Spears. 

I didn’t take advantage of L’s niceness and instead, I picked a place I knew he wanted to try. L mentioned his students told him that Alumni Sandwiches makes a wicked spicy chicken burger. Apparently someone got the full spice chicken burger and it was so spicy, it made quite the buzz in their circle.

I informed L that I don’t have to make a mistake in order to learn from it.  I much rather learn from the errors of other people. We ordered two 1/2 spice Hot Chicken Burgers ($13) and one order of the Parmesan Fries ($7.5). 

Holy smokes – even at half spice, this is one spicy mamacita!  Despite the heat, the hot sauce was delicious. The spice was complex and with a depth you can’t find at a fast food restaurant.  

L prefers white meat, so he was pleased with the large, thick chicken cutlet.  The batter around the chicken was crunchy and flavourful.  So much better than Popeye’s!

The condiments complemented the chicken. The slaw and pickles added acidity and creaminess, which countered the heat from the hot sauce. The pickles were crunchy and sour, fragrant with dill.  The brioche was soft and buttery, the lightness of the bun allowed the chicken to take center stage.

L and I shared an order of the Parmesan Fries. The fries are seasoned with parmesan, rosemary, smoked paprika and aioli sauce. There’s a lot of different flavours going on with the parmesan fries, but it works. I loved that the fries actually tasted like a potato. The fries were so crispy, I felt like I was eating them at the restaurant.  However, I should have paired my chicken burger with something that would soothe the heat from the chicken – like a slaw, potato salad or macaroni salad. I could see the parmesan fries pairing well with Alumni’s turkey sandwiches, like the Dagwood, Turkey Club, or Roasted Turkey and Brie.    

L said to date, this is his favourite chicken burger in the city and he would gladly return. I concur. The food at Alumni travels well and we felt that ordering takeout didn’t take away from the enjoyment of the food. Hitting the Sauce gives Alumni Sandwiches two fat thumbs up.

17th Ave · Bakery · Dessert · French · Mexican · Restaurants

Con Mi Taco, Black Sheep, and Wow Bakery – COVID-19 edition

Right before The City of Calgary declared a State of Local Emergency​, my friend Lovegastrogirl visited me for wine and snacks. Before she left, I sent her home with saffron lime pistachios from Ayoub’s Dried Fruits and Nuts, a bottle of my favourite wine that I discovered at Bar Von Der Fels, and a moisturizer she admired. For this post, let’s listen to “It’s Tricky” by Run DMC.

Lovegastrogirl surprised me last Friday night with a Beef Birria Taco Kit ($38) from Con Mi Taco and pastries. I’ve been wanting to try the birria ever since FoodKarma’s posted her hubby’s photos on Instagram.

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Photo credit: @therealbuntcake

Our kit included a 2/3 pound of 18 hour chili braised beef chuck, ten freshly ground hand-pressed corn tortillas, lime wedges, onion garnish, mozzarella cheese, cilantro garnish, salsa morita, vegan jalapeño aioli and birria broth.

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Photo credit: @therealbuntcake

The beef chuck was tender and saturated in flavour. We found the beef and broth so rich, that instead of dipping the whole taco into the broth, L and I just drizzled the sauce on the very top. The combination of the broth and sauces created a smoky, spicy profile. I’m really into Con Mi Tacos sauces – it’s more complex and creamy than what I’ve sampled in my trips to Mexico.

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Photo credit: @therealbuntcake

I prefer the beef birria taco over al pastor because I like heavier, richer tasting meats. L stated while he enjoyed the birria, his all time favourite is al pastor.

guac

The Guacamole and Chips ($10) was a hit too. The dip was cool and creamy, with just the right amount of salt to make the flavour of the lime and avocado pop. I liked that we received so much dip, we ran out of chips before we finished the guacamole. Usually it’s the other way around because avocados are expensive.

nood pull

I took FoodKarma’s advice and used the leftover broth for Mexican ramen. The broth must be potent because it made a beefy bowl of noodles. Con Mi Tacos should consider selling their broth to customers to use at home. I would buy it.

bleubrrery

Lovegastrogirl also brought us pastries from Black Sheep and Wow Bakery. L and I shared the Blueberry Croissant ($4) and the Pan au Chocolat ($3.75). I was impressed with the flaky crisp shell and the big air bubbles inside the pastry.

half blueberry

The house made blueberry jam is delectable. I’d order this again and I don’t normally order pastries with fruit filling. I would buy this jam if Black Sheep ever bottles it up for sale.

crossiant

The pain au chocolate contained two sticks French Valrhona chocolate. Such a simple combination but when high quality chocolate and pastry is used, it’s a perfect pairing.

half chocolate

Black Sheep offers contactless delivery and pick up at their store. The stop is open every day except for Tuesday, from 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

almond

Lovegastrogirl also bought us pastries from Wow Bakery. I knew beforehand that she was a fan of Wow Bakery because she bought a cake for the No Man’s Dinner at Moon Korean BBQ. Wow Bakery is piloting a free delivery system with no tip for orders $25 or more until June 15th.

onion

We tried a French baguette ($2.99), Sweet Almond Bread ($3.80), and an Onion Cheese Bread ($4.50). L crushed the almond bread. The onion cheese bread reminded me of my homemade pizzas. My favourite of the bunch was the French baguette from Black Sheep, which I used to make a sandwich the next day.

sandwich

L said if we were in prison, Lovegastrogirl’s generous gifts would make us her prison bitches. I agree. I’m no one’s bitch. Next Thursday is my turn to treat her. But how am I going to top her?

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Photo credit: @lovegastrogirl

I’m not a competitive person, except when it comes to hosting parties. Since I can’t host anymore, I’m going to bring the party to Lovegastrogirl. I’ve been scouring her Instagram profile to get clues on what would appeal to her.

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Photo credit: @lovegastrogirl

As you can see from her posts, she’s a complex person. She has an affinity for finer things in life, like views from expensive tourist spots, over ordering at fancy restaurants, and consuming grossly overpriced cocktails. But she also has a soft spot for fast food, Cluck N Cleaver, and dazzling sweaters.

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Photo credit: @lovegastrogirl

If you have any suggestions on what to get her, send me a message. I have until Thursday to come up with a plan. Thanks again Lovegastrogirl, you really know how to spoil a friend.

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Photo credit: @lovegastrogirl

Wow Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

17th Ave · Bars/Lounges · Fusion · Hawaiian · Restaurants

Lulu Bar

I met Jaime and Invisible Sandi at Frenchie Wine Bar. Invisible Sandi’s husband Boudoir stopped by for a drink. When we finished our wine, we all walked over to Lulu Bar for dinner. For this post, let’s listen to a song Lulu Bar played that totally made my day.

Lulu Bar took over the old Local 510 spot. If you ever frequented the previous establishment, you’ll recognize the bones of the former bar. The space feels open and bright.  With the warm breeze blowing into the room I felt like vacationing somewhere sunny.

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After I ordered wine from our server, I realized how annoying I am. Based on her facial response, I have to tone my specification down. I blame Bar Von Der Fels as they encourage me to be picky until I find a glass I love. I enjoyed the glass of French chardonnay she picked for me. I didn’t find it oaky or buttery.

pop

We ordered a small bowl of Sambal Popcorn ($3.50). The seasoning was so tangy and spicy it made me sneeze. I covered my mouth with my hand but a piece of the popcorn flew out onto my hair. I tried to discreetly pick it off, but the kernel was stuck on pretty good.

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Boudoir ordered the Hot Dog Baos ($9), his favourite dish of the night. He said the hot dog reminded him of a sweet pepperoni bun. Invisible Sandi didn’t say much about the food, maybe because she was too busy amusing everyone with her whimsical quips.

egg

Jaime and I enjoyed our Fried Miso Cured Egg ($4). I liked the heat from the tamarind chili jam. The batter on the egg and crunch of the cucumber relish made this appetizing dish pop.

Boudoir thought his Fried Coconut Squid ($13) was underseasoned. I didn’t taste any heat or salt, just the sweetness of the pineapple sauce. I thought the squid itself was tender and better quality than I’m accustomed to.

peas

Jaime said the Snow Peas and Tendrils ($10) was a dish that her parents would make at home. The pods were crunchy with a satisfying snap. The flavour profile was nice – a hint of sesame, fresh horseradish and the smoky char of the peas. I’d order this again.

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I usually find yams and sweet potatoes overly sweet. Lulu’s version was a winner. The fresh mint, yuzu cashew cream and salt flakes balanced the sweetness of the Crispy Roasted Sweet Potatoes ($10).

lobster

My favourite dish was the Steamed Lobster Dumplings ($16). These dumplings made me finally understand the phrase ‘Asian sensation’. The lobster filling was luxurious, slippery from its bath of fresh basil, chili, soy sauce and tobiko. I’d order this again and I wouldn’t want to share.veg dump.jpg

Jaime was too full so I ate two of her vegetarian dumplings ($13). Compared to the lobster dumplings, the vegetarian version was squishier and simpler. If you’re a vegetarian, this is probably as good as it’s going to get for you.

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We shared the Baked Kuna ($11). Jaime enjoyed the macadamia nuts and the warm dark chocolate.  I liked the process of drizzling the chocolate over the cake, even though I know the kitchen staff would have done a better job with the presentation.

Thanks Jaime for treating me out to a fun filled night. I plan to return to Lulu with L. I know he would love the vibe and the lobster dumplings.

Lulu Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

17th Ave · Beer · Comfort food · Happy Hour · Restaurants

Alumni Sandwiches

L called me at work to tell me he won an award. Not only that, he was taking his broad out for dinner! There are two restaurants I’ve been wanting to try – Alumni Sandwiches and Pad Thai Restaurant. I picked the former because it was closer to our house. For this post, let’s listen to an old goodie that I heard playing that night – Lauryn Hill, Doo-Wop (That Thing).

 

Our server was bubbly and brimming with excitement when we ordered. She seemed genuinely thrilled when we ordered her favourite dishes. She recommended the Hot Chicken Sandwich ($12), Mexican Torta ($13), and the Chicken Parmesan sandwich ($13). L and I were already hot chickened out, as we just returned back from Nashville. I wanted to try the Vegetarian Torta but L said he wouldn’t share it with me unless there was meat. We decided on the Mexican Torta, Chicken Parmesan sandwich and a Mac Salad ($3). For the torta, I asked for the cilantro on the side so L could still have that noxious weed.

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I planned on ordering  a cocktail but our server told me about their happy hour special, $5 house wine, Alumni lager and a lemonade cocktail. Their house wine is described as “good red” and the other red available is called “better red”. If you are fussy about your wine, don’t get the house. I don’t know why I keep doing this to myself. Actually, I do. I’m hopeful that I’ll find a wine that I love and that’s cheap. I like to dream big. L was happy with his happy hour drink, the Alumni lager. He remarked it was refreshing and ice-cold. I took a sip – nothing wrong with the house beer. Pleasant and easy to drink.

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The Mexican Torta was heavy with ground chorizo and creamy with the Monterey Jack cheese, refried beans and green goddess sauce. This is a messy sandwich. The saucy mixture would periodically ooze out.

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The coleslaw gave the filling a satisfying crunch and the jalapenos provided a spicy heat. I liked how the ciabatto bread was crispy and light. I liked the temperature of the sandwich. It warmed me up a like a bowl of steaming hot soup.

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The Chicken Parmesan was a lighter sandwich compared to the torta. The breaded chicken was thinly sliced an melded with the provolone cheese and tomato sauce. The bright lemon dressed kale salad made this sandwich pop and gave it a bright zing.

chicken parm

I was a fan of the macaroni salad. The noodles were cold and firm. The macaroni salad tasted like my homemade potato salad. I could taste egg, onion and something tangy.

mac

To end our meal, we shared an Apple Pie ($7). The crust was flaky and warm. The apples were diced into small little cubes and the sauce actually tasted like apples instead of just sugar and cinnamon. The dulce de leche and vanilla bean ice cream tasted homemade.

apple pie

I did end up ordering a cocktail – the Oaxaca Old Fashion ($10). I found this drink smokey and sweet. I should have ordered it in the beginning of my meal, because it didn’t pair well with the apple pie.

I have a greater appreciation of the food scene in Calgary since I’ve returned back from Nashville. In Nashville, the food was good, but it because it was triple fried. You can taste the quality ingredients Alumni uses in all their food. The sandwiches I tried don’t fall into the health food category, but the ingredients tasted real and not processed.

These aren’t the sort of sandwiches you can make at home. I can honestly say I’ve never enjoyed a sandwich more. My brother-in-law Dave is a sandwich connoisseur and previously held title of sandwich artist. He’s been replaced by Alumni. L and I agreed we have to take him here to be wowed. Hitting the Sauc gives Alumni Sandwiches two fat thumbs up.

Alumni Sandwiches Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

17th Ave · Beer · Happy Hour · Patio · Restaurants · Seafood

Las Canarias Spanish Paella and Tapas Bar

I’ve been meaning to try Las Canarias ever since I saw Gwendolyn Richard’s Instagram post (March 15, 2017). I knew it would take 40 minutes for the paella to cook, so I called the restaurant 20 minutes before we arrived to get the dish started. For this post, let’s listen to Siempre Me Quedara by Bebe.

Las Carnarias has a patio that’s conducive to my memories of eating in Barcelona and Madrid with Beep Beep. Sharing pitchers of sangria under the hot blue sky followed by small dishes of calamari, paella and garlic shrimp. I ordered a glass of sangria ($12) and L ordered a pint of lager ($7). His beer came in a tall frosted glass. My drink came in a huge goblet. The sangria was floral and fruity. If you don’t like sweet drinks, stick to the wine or beer.

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To start, we shared the Calamari ($15). The ringlets were large and tender. The exterior texture was dry and crumbly. Unlike some restaurants, this calamari wasn’t all batter. I quite liked flavour of the lemon aioli. I would order this dish again.

calamar

We ordered the Mixta Paella ($36) – which contained seafood, chicken and beef. The paella arrived in a big, black cast iron pan filled with langostinos, clams, mussels and shrimp. I couldn’t detect the beef or chicken but I could really taste the shellfish and fish flecked throughout the rice. Other options for paella include: daily fish special; black rice with calamari and langostinos; chicken and chorizo; rabbit, chicken, fish and seafood; and a spinach, mushroom and chickpea version.

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I was impressed that none of the seafood was overcooked. The rice was firm and flavourful. I particuarly liked the tangy bits of tomatoes on the baked top layer of the rice. The mussels were plump and bursting with juice. I enjoyed the process of breaking into the long shell of the langostinos to get to the meat.

paella

J-Thug asked me how Las Carnarias compared to Ox and Angela. I get the sense he’s quite fond of the latter restaurant. Las Carnarias isn’t fancy but it’s not trying to be. The dishes here taste like they were made from a traditional recipe that has remained unchanged over the years. I thought the food was different and refreshing from the norm in Calgary. Don’t get me wrong. I like fusion restaurants and trendy ingredients, but sometimes I just want old world cuisine.

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I recommend you check out Las Carnarias for their daily specials. Happy hour is from Monday to Friday (3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.). Local craft beer is $5.50, highballs are $4.00 and all food menu items are 15% off. On Sunday, all paella and sangria is 20% off. On Monday and Tuesday, bottles of wine are half off. Steamed mussels are $10.00 and coconut shrimp is $8.00. On Wednesday, beer is on special and the calamari is only $11.00. On Thursday, you can get a three-course dinner and sangria for two people for $70.00.

Las Canarias Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

17th Ave · Beer · Happy Hour · Pubs · Restaurants

Home and Away

Last night I saw a post on Instagram of these incredible looking wings. On Tuesdays, Home and Away offers half price wings and $4.00 beers from Calgary. L didn’t have any fight in him when he came home and nodded in agreement when I suggested we go out.

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For this post, let’s listen to Beastie Boys You Gotta Fight for Your Right to Party. You’ll see why shortly.

We both ordered glasses of Banded Peak’s Plainsbreaker. This is a wicked deal for $4.00. At Banded Peak’s brewery, we pay $10.00 for a big can. I find the Plainsbreaker fresh, crisp, and not too hoppy or bitter.

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The feature wing of the night was Sushi Roll (hh $7, regular $14.50). The wings themselves tasted like good quality chicken – ample amounts of tender white meat. The wings were crispy and sweet from the ginger soy glaze. I smeared my wings with the avocado puree and topped it with a piece of cold fried sushi rice, cucumber and nori. L said the combination of ingredients tasted odd together because of the sweetness of the chicken and the avocado. I thought it was interesting and enjoyed it for what it was – something novel and fun.

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About this time, a couple next to us started to fight. Apparently the female told the male it was rude when he pointed to the TV screen. He took offence to this and told her off. He then brought us into the conversation. “Look, I’m pointing at him and he doesn’t care. It’s not a big deal.” L did care. It was uncomfortable and awkward to be pointed at while they fought. The volume and angry tone in his voice started to give me a headache. Before he took off he sarcastically wished her a happy birthday. What a gent! Five minutes later he came back and started to loudly argue with her again. I told L we were moving tables.

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We ordered a second beer and shared a Cubano with fries ($16.50). What a disappointment. The sandwich lacked a crunchy exterior and a warm gooey middle. The bread was cold and doughy, similar to but not as good as the cheese breadsticks I use to get in elementary school. The sandwich was supposed to include country ham, braised pork, aioli, mustard, cheese curds and home pickles. I saw home pickles and tasted an extremely salty pulled pork. I didn’t taste any cheese curds, ham or aioli. The meat and the bread itself was a really small portion. We did get a generous amount of fries.

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I liked our server Melissa – she was informative and competent. I recommend Home and Away for wings and beer on Tuesdays. The restaurant is a big space so it is ideal for large groups.

Home & Away, Calgary Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato