Beer · Fast Food · Restaurants

Marda Loop Brewery and Flirty Bird

On Friday evening, I tried to get a table at Paper Lantern so L and I could go on banh mi date #12. Unfortunately, I waited too long to make a reservation, and the speakeasy was booked. L suggested we grab a drink and then a chicken sandwich in Marda Loop. In light of rising gas prices, let’s listen to “Gasoline” by Britney Spears.

Our first stop was at Marda Loop Brewery. The patio is more spacious than the brewery itself. I appreciated how the deck was covered overhead and heated.  We picked a Jenkins Grapefruit Ale (HH $5, Regular $7.25) and Casablanca Blond (HH $5, Regular $7) for drinks. L enjoyed his ale and said it was similar to a radler but not as sweet. I thought the ale was crisp with a strong grapefruit-forward flavour.

We shared an order of Street Car Fries (HH $5, Regular $8.50). The only place I know who makes fries this good is Bitter Sisters. The potatoes are hand-cut and fried to a crunchy golden state of perfection. Each order comes with two homemade sauces. We picked garlic aioli and spicy cajun aioli. Both sauces were yummy. The cajun dip reminded me of a creamy McDonald’s bbq sauce. 

We were enjoying ourselves so much that we stayed for another pint. I pondered out loud if I should order a glass of wine. L said not to do it. He asked me why do I always order wine at a pub because I just end up complaining about how bad it is. I disagreed with him and pointed out I enjoy the wine at Dandy Brewery.

I did want a glass of wine, but I didn’t want L to say I told you so if it was only drinkable. I chose a Peach Wheat ($7.25), and L tried the SoCal Raspberry Citrus Wheat Ale ($7.50), which reminded me a little of KoolAid. 

By the time we made it to Flirty Bird, I wasn’t starving, so we just ordered a chicken sandwich. We both ordered the Mild Flirt Sando ($14). If Flirty Bird considers this only mildly spicy, I won’t be trying any of the higher spice levels. L mentioned there were three more levels above what we tried. 

I read somewhere the buns are from Glamorgan Bakery. The bun was soft and buttery, making it easier to squish against the massive slab of boneless chicken breast. Some chicken sandwiches are all about the batter or the sauce. Flirty Bird is all about the meat. The chicken itself was freshly fried and steaming hot. I prefer dark meat, but I noticed the breast wasn’t dry. The batter was thin and light. 

The sando is messy to eat. I used all five napkins as the creamy sauce, hot sauce, and coleslaw dribbled all over my hands. When I tried to compare Flirty Bird to Alumni Sandwiches, L said it irks him that there is always a need to say one restaurant is better than another in the foodie community. He said there is no need to compare, and why not just agree Alumni and Flirty Bird both make good chicken sandwiches? I wish L was this passionate about Vietnamese subs. I’m tempted to start a mission to try all the hot chicken sandwiches in the city, but I have to finish what I started with our 19 banh mi date goal before taking on any more challenges.

Beer · Pubs

Waterloo Kitchen and Bar – Tacos

I’ve been trying not to eat out as much in my quest to get fitter. However, after having my hair done by the talented Mai at Good Salon, I was in the mood to go out.

L was tired and thus less likely to humour my more frivolous nature, so I had to appeal to his tastes. I knew Major Tom wasn’t on the table right off the bat. So I called L and announced I wanted to take him out for tacos. He agreed but requested the restaurant be close to home. Let’s listen to “Bang Bang” by Nancy Sinatra for this post.

Lately, I’ve been into Waterloo Kitchen and Bar. Usually, when I’m at a pub, I’ll have a pint of beer and avoid the food. I’m pretty surprised with the flavour coming out of this bar. At Waterloo, I focus more on eating than drinking.

On Saturdays, the Waterloo offers three tacos for $12 or five for $16. Each taco is small, so I would order five tacos if you have an appetite. L and I each ate four, and I was still snacky, so I ordered a side of fries ($5).

L’s favourite taco was the beef brisket. The beef was smoky, with a nice chew to it. L thought the BBQ flavour was fantastic.

For me, the fish taco and pulled pork stood out. The generous portion of fish tasted fresh, and the light batter melted in my mouth. L noted the battered fish wasn’t greasy. I loved how the fish was piping hot, contrasting with the cold, creamy house tartar sauce.

This was the first time I had tried pulled pork, and I didn’t find the meat dry. Instead, the pork was so juicy that I had to suck back the juices when I took a bite. The Carolina BBQ sauce was delicious – a little acidic with an edge.

The smoked pull chicken looked like it was all-white meat. Proportionally, there was a generous amount of chicken to the tortilla and cabbage.

Waterloo’s tacos are smaller but packed with more meat compared to Mikey’s. The smokey flavour of the bbq meats at Waterloo is also more pronounced than Mikey’s. I thought the quality of BBQ at Waterloo was even better than some other popular BBQ joints in Calgary. Hitting the Sauce gives Waterloo Kitchen and Bar two phat thumbs up.

Beer · Pizza · Pubs

Richmond Pub

I was texting my brother Jacuzzi about a series of unfortunate events. He must have noticed the melodramatic tone in my messages because he immediately ordered me to go out for dinner. I told L and he agreed with Jacuzzi. As always, they are correct. For this post, let’s listen to “Cherry Bomb” by Joan Jett.

L was in the mood for pizza. I suggested Richmond Pub because their pizza rivals Spiros, Hanni’s and Inglewood Pizza. On the night we went, a 12″ pizza and a 60 oz beer were on special for $30. For drinks, we picked Duke Lager, an easy-drinking American-style beer. For pizza, we went for the gut filling Rocky Balboa.

I also ordered hot wings ($14.50). Unfortunately, there are no pictures of the wings and beer because my photography was worse than usual. If a picture is worth a thousand words, my photos that night would be worth only a sentence fragment.

The menu states Richmond Pub only uses fresh wings. I thought the wings were great – the skin was crispy and the meat was white and plump. The hot sauce was pleasantly tangy and spicy.

The pizza is heavily layered with pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushrooms, red onion, and blanketed with a thick layer of gooey cheese. The tomato sauce was bright and zingy. The crust was crunchy and thick enough to stand up to the ratio of meat and cheese.

Thanks, L and Jacuzzi – it turns out all I needed was a night out. Hitting the Sauce gives Richmond Pub’s pizza two phat thumbs up.

Beer · Burgers · Pubs

Waterloo Pub

With Calgary’s cold snap, I haven’t left the house in days. By Thursday, I was running around the house like a squirrel. I didn’t want L to drive far with the icy road conditions, but I wanted to go somewhere different. So I suggested that we check out Waterloo Pub instead of our regular hangout, Newcastle Pub. For this post, let’s listen to “Snowman” by Sia.

We shared the Thursday night special – the BBQ Platter ($19) and Hot Wings ($15). We drank Citizen Brewery – Senor Citizen (HH $5) for beverages. The Mexican lager was dark and sweet. L enjoyed this beer while I would have preferred something milder and bubblier. L was amused with the name because instead of senior citizen, it was “senor” as in the address used for a Spanish-speaking man.

Waterloo makes some tasty BBQ! The meat on the ribs was so soft, chewing wasn’t necessary. The brisket was thickly sliced, firm in texture, and smoky. L’s favourite piece of meat was the brisket, while I enjoyed the ribs the most.


The pulled pork was soft and fluffy – the texture was so light it reminded me of cotton candy floss. I was impressed with the coleslaw – it was so fresh and crunchy, and the dill dressing was downright delicious. L agreed and asked how often I rave about coleslaw. Never!

The beans were not mushy and still had a bite, making me think this batch was homemade. The macaroni and cheese were pretty standard – I thought it could use more seasoning or cheese. L said if he ate the whole platter, he would have been too full.

The highlight of the night for me was the wings. The skin was so crispy and light, it crackled when I bit into it. One order comes with nine wings. Yes, I counted because how can you properly compare establishments without a tally? I take wings so seriously, I need a qualitative and quantitative analysis.

The wings were not as meaty or as unblemished as Bottlescrew Bills, but bigger than Newcastle Pub. The sauce was so spicy, I could feel the heat tingle on my tongue and lips. One thing I loved was an order of wings is accompanied by a whole wack of fries! The fries tasted like McDonald’s but better like it was actually made with an actual potato.

One thing we noticed was the music playing in the background was quiet. We expected the Waterloo to be playing loud and proud rock and roll.

L and I were so pleased with the food quality and service that we want to return to try some other dishes. I’m curious about the calamari, Dumpling Hero potstickers, and mussels and clams. Hitting the Sauce gives Waterloo Pub two phat thumbs up.

Beer · Pubs · Wings

Inner City – Oyster Night

I met up with my peeps at Inner City Brewing. The three of us are all in the same boat at our workplace, so we wanted to get together to share our optimism on the changing environment. For this post, let’s listen to “E.I.” by Nelly.

All the servers were new and eager to help us navigate through the beer menu to find something that would complement the oysters. I picked the Hub and Spoke – a Vienna Lager ($7.50), Pedals ordered a Brick work English Dark Mild Ale ($7.50), and Lethbridge ordered a Sassy Kate ($11). Library is the healthiest one of us and he stuck to water.

Photo credit: Cyung5

Pedals loves oysters even more than I do, so he was excited to try the Two Buck a Shuck Thursday special. Inner City gets Malpeque oysters harvested the day before from PEI. The oysters were delicious – bright and briny. I could taste the freshness of the oysters. We were all impressed with all three mignonettes – a classic shallot, an Asian soy and shallot and a creamy horseradish.

Photo credit: Cyung5

Years ago, Library won a hot wing eating contest at Hudson’s Pub, claiming the ultimate prize of free wings for a year. So of course, he wanted to order the wings ($14.25) at Inner City. I was pleasantly surprised. Lately, my wing experience at other pubs have been subpar. Inner City does a great batch – the wings arrived sizzling hot and nicely crisp. There was at least three plump mouthfuls of meat on each drumstick. The flavour was on point too. The ginger beef was saucy with a nice spice to it. The salt and pepper was my favourite. I love that combination of salty, hot crackling skin and cold ranch dip. I would order this again.

Photo credit: Cyung5

For dessert, we shared an order of churros. The warm chocolate dipping sauce was a nice touch. The churros were hot and a little chewy in the middle.

Photo credit: Cyung5

I would happily come back for more beers, oysters and especially those wings. If you visit on Wednesday, a pound will set you back six bucks if you also purchase a 16 oz beer. Appetizers, including the wings, are half off between Monday and Friday from 2-5:00 p.m.

Photo credit: Cyung5

We enjoyed our camaraderie so much; we already planned our next event. I’m hosting a dinner at my house. Lethbridge and Library love Chinese food. I plan to order from Emerald Garden. I was told by a friend that there is a new chef at Emerald Garden who previously worked at Signature Palace and Silver City. Some of the dishes that were recommended for me are the greens with duck and black egg, shrimp paste stuffed treasures (green pepper, eggplant, tofu), bitter melon fried egg (similar to fried oysters), beef brisket and tendon casserole, shredded cold chicken with jellyfish, fresh grouper, and dried scallop and egg white fried rice. To accommodate L, Library and especially Lethbridge, I’ll add some ginger beef to the mix. To be continued.

Beer · French · Restaurants

The Dandy Brewing Company – Hot diggity dog

I wish more pubs were like Dandy Brewing Company. This brewery is light years ahead of other establishments in terms of food, beer and wine. Good thing I don’t live nearby because this place would be a frequent spot for me. For this post, let’s listen to “Blow at High Dough” by The Tragically Hip.

We sat inside because it was so hot. While the breeze was constant, we were still feeling the heat. To cool down, L tried the Bright and Happy Days Lager (5.7%, 14 oz, $6.50). This lager reminded him of Banded Peak’s Plainsbreaker, but with more complexity. I thought the lager tasted fresh, and I noticed a sweet aftertaste.

I was jonesing for wine, so I ordered a glass of Chateau Teyssier Pezat Bordeaux Blanc 2018 (5 oz, $10). I found this wine a little tart, refreshing, and well-priced.

L second beer was the Bunbury Pineapple Wheat Ale (4.5 %, 14 oz, $7). He found this ale ideal for such a scorching day because it light and crushable.

Despite the heat, I ordered a glass of the Stephane Aviron Cote de Brouilly 2015 (5 oz, $10). Our server wanted to chill the wine first because the heat made all the bottles of red wine too warm to serve. While I waited, he recommended I try the Wild Sour Ale 7% ($2.50, 5 oz) because the flavour profile was similar to a sauvignon. The sour certainly smelled similar to a white wine. I enjoyed this beer so much that I brought home a four-pack.

Since we were getting snackish, we decided to try the hot dogs ($8.50). L picked the beef hot dog with daikon slaw and crispy shallots while I opted for the chili cheese dog. I was shocked to see the amount of care that goes into each hot dog. Hats off to the female chef in the kitchen – she nailed this dish in terms of temperature and execution.

This hot dog is a fatty, juicy flavour bomb. The daikon garnish was piled high. L loved the crunch of the shallots and freshness of the daikon salad. My god – these hot dogs are a work of art. A masterpiece of deliciousness.

I demolished my chili dog – a steaming, saucy mess of melted cheddar cheese and spicy chili. If you like Von Der Fel’s famous house-made buns, you’ll love Dandy’s version. The potato bun is prepared daily. Soft and fluffy, the bread is the perfect vessel to sop up the chili sauce and sausage drippings. This hot dog is so good that if I came down with gout the next day, it would be worth it.

For dessert, I tried the red wine. I found it yummy and jammy. I would order this again. After tasting these two wines, I wonder why other pubs can’t follow Dandy’s lead and provide customers with interesting wines at this price point.

If you haven’t been to Dandy Brewing Company before, you are missing out. In every single of my past visits, the food, beverages and service has proven to be consistently excellent. Dandy makes it one my list of best breweries in Calgary.

Beer

Canmore Brewing Company

Before dinner, L and I wanted to stop by a place for a drink. I wanted to get a cocktail at the Fairmont Banff Springs but then I remembered this trip was for L and not for indulging my whims. Instead, I suggested Canmore Brewing Company for a flight of beer ($10). For this post, let’s listen to “Ramble On” by Led Zepplin.

I’m not normally a cider fan, but the Outsider Cider (7%) was just right – not too sweet or tart. My neighbour would like this one as it is gluten-free and vegan.

The Ramble On Saison (6.2%) was tasty, with a refreshing herbal note that reminded me a little of rosehips. I kept trying to guess what was in the saison until L looked it up and told me it was hibiscus.

I really enjoyed the Jam Session – a blackberry and cherry sour (4.8%). Like the cider, this sour wasn’t too tart but nicely balanced. I thought the flavour was similar to a rosé wine. 

The Sulphur Mountain Session Ale (4%) was clean and bright. For some reason, sipping this ale reminded me of the smell of fresh basil and tomato plants.

L’s favourite beer was the NE IPA (6%). I found the IPA easy to drink and juicy. L liked how the taste would disappear on his tongue, which he says is perfect for a summer beer. L could taste a little of the rye, which the IPA is made of.

What I liked about all the beers was each one tasted fresh, and the bubbles were small. We were impressed with our flights – each one was unique and tasty. I enjoyed our beers so much, I picked up three packs for us to enjoy at home. If we lived in Canmore, this would be a regular spot for us. If you are in the hood, I recommend checking out Canmore Brewing Company.

Bars/Lounges · Beer · Burgers · Cheap Eats · Happy Hour · Restaurants

Eat Crow Snack Bar

My brother Jacuzzi and I text each other when we are in a bad mood. He never takes my advice and he often ridicules my answers, but we usually end the conversation on good terms. My solution to him is to go out. I can’t think of a better place than Eat Crow Snack Bar to bring some cheer into your life.

Eat Crow has changed since my last visit. There’s now a handful of local beers, alongside their beers on tap – Lucky Lager and Lone Star. The music is at the optimal volume. The sound is loud enough to enjoy the beats but low enough to carry on a conversation. For this post, let’s listen to a song that was playing last night – “Get Money” by Junior M.A.F.I.A.

Unlike this song, you don’t need to get a lot of money to dine at Eat Crow, particularly so for happy hour. From opening until 5:30 p.m., wines are five dollars and snacks will set you back four bucks. Beers and cocktails are also on special. The regular menu is wallet-friendly, most dishes are six dollars and the most expensive item is twelve dollars.

I asked my server for a recommendation for the driest red wine. He suggested the grenache ($5), a choice I didn’t see on the online menu. I really liked this wine – it was a good, solid red that I would drink at home.

L enjoyed his Microburst Hazy IPA from Banded Peak (473ml, $9). I took a sip and found the IPA light, sweet and juicy.

The Chick Pea Fingers ($4) were delicious. The interior was soft and fluffy. The pesto sauce was bright with some nice spices and what I thought was garlic. I would order this again.

We each ordered a fun-size Crow Burger ($4). What the burger lacks in size it makes up for in flavour. The patty is seared on the outside so that it had this beautiful crunch to it. The beef is cooked to a medium, and the texture is so soft it caresses your tongue. The combination of the pickled zucchini and melted American cheese creates the ultimate flavour bomb. The flavour was so intense that as I ate, I wanted to suck back the juices.

We both tried the Crow Dog ($4). How good can a hot dog be? The Crow hot dog is mind-blowingly good. The weiner is juicy and salty, topped with a creamy sauce, caramelized onions and cheese. This is the ultimate umami pleaser. My favourite part of this dish was the light, crusty bread. The crackling sound the bread made when I bit into it was as satisfying as how it tasted. Heaven.


L wanted to try the Popcorn Shrimp ($12). I’m all for a cream sauce but I love Eat Crow’s pick – a chili lime dipping sauce. The sauce was bright and lively, with flavours that reminded me of Thai food, like coconut oil, cilantro and lime. The lighter sauce also highlighted the quality of the shrimp – there was a good crunch to it and it tasted a little like the the crab claws I would get at a Chinese banquet. There was a nice heat to this dish, the type of hot that sears your taste buds. We would order this again.

Around this time, I wanted to try another wine. I picked the Four Star Pinot Noir ($11). I found this wine sweet with a hint of vanilla. Our server asked me if I liked it. I said the previous wine was more to my taste and this one reminded me of vanilla. She looked so disappointed in my response that I wished I liked vanilla notes in wine.

My last dish was the Chili Dry-Rubbed Chicken Wings ($7.50). This was as good as I remembered in my last visit. The batter melts in your mouth. The chicken arrived so hot, I burned my fingers. Every time I touched the wings, I would be punished for my impatience.

This experience brightened our mood. The music was fun, service was excellent and the food was some of the best I’ve eaten in a long time. Make sure you make a reservation, because the secret is out and you won’t want to get turned away. I’m not the only one who thinks this is an awesome bar. I could hear two other tables exclaiming how fantastic the food is. Eat Crow makes it on Hitting the Sauce’s list of best restaurants in Calgary.

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

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 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.

Beer · Burgers · Comfort food · Happy Hour · Restaurants

Jane Bond BBQ & Urban Shack Fried Chicken

I wouldn’t go as far as to call myself a political junkie, but I do follow municipal politics. The post below made me smile because it shows how good food can bring people together – no matter where they fall on the spectrum. Below is a picture of Councillor Gian-Carlo Carra and Craig Chandler sharing a meal at Jane Bond BBQ.

As the election heats up, may I can suggest all candidates running in the 2021 race spend some quality time eating at our local restaurants. For this post, let’s listen to “All You Need is Love” by the Beatles.

I ordered the Brisket BBQ Plate ($20), which includes half a pound of brisket, a side and coconut cornbread. I upgraded my side for the macaroni cheese (+$1). Jane Bond is having a special for their new shack style chicken. I ordered the 8 Piece Bird Attack (Regular $45, Featured $22.50), which includes boneless fried chicken (choice of five flavours), two dipping sauces, large creamy slaw, large fries, two Cajun corn cobbs and two pieces of coconut corn bread.

Pro tip – if you want both BBQ and fried chicken, you have to order each separately online. I went to Jane Bond’s website to order the BBQ and for the fried chicken, I clicked onto a subcategory on the website. Not a big deal, but a little confusing if you aren’t aware that Urban Shack Fried Chicken falls under the Jane Bond website.

The restaurant was busy when I went to pick up my order. There were about five customers inside waiting and two people outside in their cars. When I arrived, the staff were busy pumping out orders, so I was left standing there unsure as what to do. Here’s another pro tip. Walk to the front counter, catch an employee’s attention and tell them your name and what method you used to place your order.

After a 15-minute ride home, I thought it would be best to reheat the fries and chicken in the oven. I also microwaved the brisket, corn, and macaroni and cheese. Our fries crisped up nicely in the oven.

The beef brisket was soft, coated in a tangy, smoky sauce. There were some pieces that were well marbled with fat. I enjoyed the caramelized top part of the macaroni and cheese. Underneath the crust, the noodles were soft and saucy. The slaw was light and crisp. I found this salad necessary in between the heavy, rich bites of brisket and macaroni and cheese.

L really enjoyed the fries. The batter on it reminded me of the bulgogi fries at Wow Chicken. I love the corn bread. The texture was crumbly. The flavour was sweet and buttery, with a hint of smoke. The chicken was crunchy and the meat was tender. My favourite dipping sauce was the jerk sauce – it tasted like there was cinnamon in it. I enjoyed the heat and spice in the sauce. The corn was sweet and wet with butter and Cajun spices.

We ordered way too much food and we had ample leftovers for the next day. Below is a picture of all the food we didn’t end up eating. The cornbread was just as tasty in the morning. In fact, everything tasted good the next day.

My last pro tip of the post. I ordered ice tea, mistakenly thinking there was booze in it. I ended up ordering the regular ice tea (4 pack, $12). Get it! It taste like a mix between peach Snapple and SoCIAL LITE spiked lemon ice tea, but sweeter. Jane’s ice tea was a nice complement to our meal.

It’s my birthday week and I am looking forward to writing about our next food adventure. It’s a bit harder to celebrate with takeout because you have to make some allowances, such as the time and distance it takes to get your food and how certain foods are best eaten fresh. If you have any favourite spots ideal for takeout, let me know.