Bars/Lounges · Beer · Burgers · Cheap Eats · Comfort food · Fusion · Happy Hour · Pubs · Restaurants

Eat Crow Snack Bar – COVID-19 dine-in edition

On Monday evening, L and I checked out Eat Crow Snack Bar, a new restaurant that took over Brassiere Kensington. For this post, I’m going to play a piece by conductor Liang Zhang from the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. I know nothing about conductors, but according to my father, Zhang is the bee’s knees.

I ordered a Texas Paloma ($13) and L ordered a Lone Star beer (HH $5, regular $7.50). The dried grapefruit garnish was a pretty, decorative touch. The combination of Texan Paloma, Epsilon Reposado, Ketel One Grapefruit, Rose Vodka and grapefruit was surprisingly balanced and subtle. I was expecting a cocktail that was heavy on the tequila. L took a sip and mentioned that in our next visit, he would partake in a cocktail instead of his usual beer.

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The Spicy Chicken Wings ($8.50 w/ ranch dip) is a winner. If you are a wing connoisseur, you need to try these wings. The seasoning is mildly spicy and dry. The batter is thin and crisp, and so light the skin melted on my tongue. The chicken is good quality – plump with unblemished, silky white meat.

Each order comes with three pieces of chicken, and each wing is equivalent to three or four pub wings. I estimated I got about nine regular size wings worth of meat and skin. I would come back to Eat Crow just for the wings because it was that good.

Another must order dish is the Crow Burger ($6). The patty is thick and tender and explodes with juicy flavour. Though small in size, this burger is packed with so much meat, cheese and pickles, it was satiating. The Crow Burger rivals all the heavyweights in Calgary – Charbar, Clive Burger, and Burger 320.

The Magic Fries ($6) is also worth ordering again. Golden brown and perfectly munchy, these fries are delightfully addicting. I love the soft, mealy texture inside the crispy shell. Extra bonus – the portion is large enough to share.

I ordered my second and last cocktail of the night – the Humble Pie (HH $8.50). Made with Highroad Alberta vodka, sparkling wine, raspberry and lemon, this drink reminds me of the Framboise fortified wine from Elephant Island Orchard Wines. Not too sour or sweet, this cocktail is too easy to drink. I couldn’t taste the three ounces of booze, but I could sure feel it.

The Humble Pie cocktail came with a baby lemon tart. The custard is creamy and bright with a citrusy zing. The crust is brittle and buttery. The fresh mint and dehydrated strawberry garnish wasn’t just decorative but added to the flavour profile. I would order this cocktail again just for the lemon tart.

L and I shared the Crow Joe ($6). This is an incredibly messy slider. With every bite, an equivalent amount of the filling would drip down onto the plate. The sauce reminded me a little of Heinz beans.

I’ve actually never tried General Tso Chicken ($10) before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. The batter was sweet and sticky. This dish, as well as everything else we ordered, arrived piping hot and immaculately presented.

The Handmade Pirogies ($10, $2 bacon) arrived supersized and fluffy. L enjoyed the sweet caramelized onions and smoky bits of bacon. I’m curious to know what my friend Sirosky would think, as his family makes their own pirogies.

Eat Crow charges prices similar to El Furniture Warehouse, a restaurant that sells all dishes for $5.99 (plus extra for upgrades like bacon, cheese, and sauces). However, the food quality at Eat Crow is significantly higher and vastly tastier than El Furniture Warehouse. I’m keen to return to try some of the vegetarian dishes, as well as those delightful wings and the Crow burger.

 

Eat Crow Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bars/Lounges · Beer · Happy Hour · Italian · Restaurants

Happy hour at Pubblico Italian Kitchen – COVID-19 edition

On Tuesday, it was L and my first date anniversary. I wanted to have drinks at Bar Von Der Fels, but I couldn’t get us a table. I’ve joked before that I’m going to start making multiple reservations at Bar Von Der Fels and sell my spots to other customers. I bet I can make fat coin doing that. I suggested to L we try Pubblico Italian Kitchen. When L heard Pubblico has free parking, he was game.

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In light of these chaotic times, I’m going to continue playing music that relaxes me when I’m stressed out. For this post, let’s listen to Violin Sonata No.9 “Kreutzer” by composer Ludwig van Beethoven. My father pointed out this is a very emotional work and only the second movement could be described as relaxing.

As we drove along the street, I could see all the restaurant and shops were empty. Inside Pubblico, we were the only customers. However, by the time we left, three more parties arrived for dinner. I could overhear the other customers nervously joke about coronavirus.

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Pubblico offers a wicked happy hour. I’d go as far to say this restaurant offer one of the best deals in Marda Loop, Killarney and Richmond. I ordered a glass of the House White ($5). The white wine was crisp and non-offensive. L requested a pint of the Annex Forward Progress ($8.75).

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I wasn’t in the mood to eat, but L insisted we order at least a couple of plates. I was curious about the “Burrata Bar” as I love fresh cheese. I ordered the 18-month Prosciutto di Parma with MOB honey ($21.50).

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The crust was crunchy and chewy. The cheese itself was light and soft. The use of honey was very subtle. I didn’t find the prosciutto overly salty.

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L ordered the Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta ($4.00). We enjoyed the deep char on the outside and the soft centre of the sprout. The sauce was slightly sweet and garlicky. I’d order this again.

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I ordered a glass of the House Red ($5). I enjoyed the red wine even more than the white. The pours at Pubblico are generous too. I overheard our server Kaitlan mention to another table that the manager is passionate about bringing in wines that are unknown.

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L and I shared the Spaghetti Alla Carbonara ($11). The guanciale (pork cheek) was so frigging tasty. I loved how each piece of pork cheek crackled and popped with flavour. The noodles were firm and slick with a creamy, peppery sauce of egg and pecorino. When I commented on how much I enjoyed the pasta, our server mentioned I would like the specialty pastas even more, as the other pastas are made in-house.

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I’m keen to return again. I’d like to try some other wines and pastas. With free parking, friendly service and more than decent house wine, there’s a lot to like about Pubblico.

Puublico Italian House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bars/Lounges · Beer · Fusion · Restaurants · Seafood · Special Occasion

Nights & Weekends – Pop-Up Restaurant and Bar

It’s my birthday week! L picked me up from the airport and told me I had one hour to get ready for our dinner reservation. His colleague M emailed him an article about a pop-up restaurant – Nights & Weekends. What interested L was that co-chefs Bern Glatz and Nick Berenyi collectively worked at Ten Foot Henry, Anju, Mercato, Bar Von Der Fels, and Una Pizza + Wine. He figured since we like all those restaurants, we would enjoy Nights & Weekends. As always, L is correct.

On Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, Nights & Weekends takes over the space at Shiki Menya. The restaurant is dimly lit, with the exception of the glow of the pink neon sign. The tunes are rocking and the vibe is intimate.

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Initially, I was skeptical when the bartender informed us they only sell four wines – bubbles, rosé, white and red ($12 glass, $48 bottle). After sampling three of the four wines, I realized you don’t need a large selection if each bottle is well chosen. Kudos to Katie, an employee from Vine Arts who selects all the wine for Nights & Weekends.

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L ordered a pint of Asahi ($7) while I requested a glass of French bubbles ($12). I found the bubbles tight and clean tasting.

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We ordered two servings of the Tamago ($4). The egg was cool and soft. As I slurped the egg back, it felt like I was eating an oyster. I enjoyed the restrained use of black sesame and chili oil. However, L’s portion received all the scallions. Luck of the draw.

egg close upThe Waygu Beef Tartare ($14) is a winner. L appreciated how the focus of dish was the meat rather than competing flavour of secondary ingredients. The beef tasted supremely fresh. I didn’t even want to use the potato chip because it would take away from the flavour of the waygu. As I chewed, I savoured the texture of the beef.  Oh so good.

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The bartender recommended I try the Russine (2017) rosé with the wagyu tartare. He described this wine as a winter rosé. I was reluctant to try it because too often, I find rosé tart, sweet or fake tasting. He didn’t steer me wrong. The wine was heavy for a rosé and a little dry.  I would order this again.

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The Poached Tiger Prawn ($10) was the star of the night. This sandwich was off the hook. The kewpie sauce was light and just enough to bind and coat all the ingredients together. The pea shoots helped to cut into the mayo. The tobiko added a pop of the sea.

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The prawns were plentiful and sweet. With each bite, proportionally, there was more shrimp than bun. We liked how the bun was squishy and mushable against the crunchy prawns.

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The Handmade Pasta ($18) was unique. What I liked was the firmness and bite of the noodles. The combination of the cheese, guancialle (cured meat), dashi, gachujang (Korean red chili paste), mushrooms and nori reminded me a little of Kraft cheese, but in a good way.

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I drank one more glass of wine because I was having so much fun and I didn’t want to leave. The Maggiorina Vino Rosso (2018) was interesting. The wine hit my tongue hard but then mellowed out.

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In my opinion, this little pop-up restaurant competes with the best restaurants I’ve tried in this city and elsewhere. I love it so much, Nights & Weekends is making it on my list of favourite restaurants in Calgary. Hitting the Sauce gives Nights & Weekends two fat thumbs up.

Nights and Weekends Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Beer · Brunch · Patio · Restaurants · Seafood

Dandy Brewing Company

On Friday, I suggested to L we revisit Dandy Brewing Company. Pro tip – Dandy now takes reservations through Opentable. This new change was one reason for our visit. Dandy is one of my favourite spots in the city, but it was always too difficult to snag a table. For this post, let’s listen to “Hollywood Forever Cemetery” by Father John Misty.

I ordered a flight of beer: Dandy Lager (5%, $2.25); Une Vielle Maitresse Grisette (4%, $2.25); La Peu d’Elisa Quebec style saison (7%, $2.75); and Common Crown Collab (7%, $2.50). L asked for a glass of the Dandy Ultra Pils (3%, $6.50).

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Some of my descriptions below may sound odd but then again, taste is subjective. At times, even L was at a loss for my observations. However, we both agreed that all the beers we tried were well balanced.

I enjoyed L’s Crisp Pilsner (3%, $2.50). This beer is fresh, sweet, bitter and reminded me of coleslaw. The Dandy Lager is a touch too sweet for my taste. L and I like the peppery notes in the Une Vielle Maitresse Grisette.

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I’m crazy for La Peu d’Elisa Quebec style saison. I found the saison bright and lemony with an almost perfume-like note. I ordered another sleeve because it was that delicious. Look at all that creamy foam!

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The Common Crown Collab is a full-bodied wintery beer, most appropriate for our extreme cold weather. L tried the Black Cabin Black IPA (6.5%,$5). When I took a sip, the flavour triggered memories of the 80’s cartoon Gummi Bears and A&W root beer.

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Dandy produces unique beers without tasting artificial or fake. I’m not a beer drinker, but the beers at Dandy are so enjoyable, I actually prefer their beers over wine.

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To prove my point, I ordered a glass of Leiz Eins-Zwei Riesling ($9). The riesling was dry with a bit of zip to it. While I liked what I tasted, I preferred the Quebec saison. Coming from me, that speaks volumes.

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Dandy has an equally strong food game. Whenever I eat here, I always think its similar to Bar Von Der Fels Wine Bar, but there’s less use of cream, butter and all things decadent.

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L raved about the flavours of the Elk Tartare ($18). The crispy shallots added a garlicy, crunchy contrast to the silkness of the minced elk. The use of aioli was subtle while the brightness of the pickles added a refreshing pop. This was my first time trying elk tartare. If I had to compare elk to other meats, I’d say elk is more like lamb than beef.

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The smoky smell of the Octopus ($21) was appetizing. I appreciate how the chef chose to showcase the octopus by grilling it over charcoal, resulting in a firm but not chewy texture. The tentacles were delightfully crispy. The “smashed potatoes” were like a warm potato salad. I love the addition of the olives, red onion, and what I thought was dill or pickles.

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The Cheese Plate ($17) was stellar. Though smaller and five dollars more than Cabin Brewing Company, the cheese plate was so seductive I overlooked my beer. The cracker was more like a sheet of warm, flaky pastry. I liked all the cheeses – a mix of creamy, dry, and one that tasted a bit like blue cheese. L said what made this plate next level was the cherry marmalade and figs. I’m a purist and I prefer just eating the cheeses with the cracker.

L and I are going to continue with our mission to try all of Calgary’s breweries. To date, L’s favourite Calgary craft beers are the Jack of Diamonds by Blindman Brewing and Mount Crushmore by Banded Peak. For myself, Dandy does for it for me. Hitting the Sauce puts this brewery on her list of best restaurants in the Calgary.

The Dandy Brewing Company Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Beer · Japanese · Restaurants · Seafood · Special Occasion · Sushi

Sukiyaki House – Ichiban (#1 in #YYC)

Now that L and I no longer have our annual trip to Japan, we crave sushi all the time. I noticed on Instagram, Sukiyaki House receives constant praise from foodkarmablog, Miss Foodie and Loaf2go. Sukiyaki House is located in the heart of downtown core. Pro tip – after 6:00 p.m., there is complimentary heated parking.

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Sukiyaki House is known in Calgary for Head Chef Koji Kobayashi’s elaborate omakase dinners. Chef Kobayashi was born in Osaka and trained in “kaiseki”, the highest form of Japanese fine dining. Below is a picture I took without permission from their Instagram account.

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Foodkarma recommends the agadashi tofu, tempura and special event dinners. Miss Foodie orders the sukiyaki hot pot and other specialty dishes. I like to focus on the nigiri. For this post, let’s listen to “Lights Out” by Santogold.

L knows the owner’s son – Justin – a graduate from the Haskayne School of Business. I think it is endearing that when we visit, there are other U of C graduates dining there. I’m thinking of organizing a get together with our previous Japan kids at Sukiyaki House, who are also Haskayne alumni.

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Justin impressed me with his knowledge of sake. He treated us to a glass of premium sake – Kozaemom Junmai Ginjo Omachi ($90 bottle, 3 oz glass $12). Wowzers. The sake was flavourful and it smelled incredibly nice. I loved the dryness and the viscosity of the sake. This is hands down my favourite sake. I would order this again.

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We started our meal with a dish off the regular menu – Sawara Tataki ($24). Holy Mackerel! This dish made me appreciate the subtlety of fine dining. The delicate textures of the daikon and chrysanthemum was a nice contrast to the mackerel. The greens and garlic chips added a dainty crunch to each bite.  The sauce was refreshing and perfectly balanced.

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We ordered an assortment of nigiri and maki rolls, as well as a pint of Asahi ($7, 16 ounce). Justin informed us that he imports the beer from Japan. I could tell the difference between Asahi made in Japan and the stuff made elsewhere. In 2019, L and I visited the Asahi factory to learn about their brewing process.  Asahi made in Japan tastes purer and the bubbles are tinier.

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The Aka Maguro (red tuna, $4.20) is a must order. The tuna was firm in texture but rich and fatty. The tuna literally melted in my mouth when I slowly chewed it. L noted that the fish to rice ratio was balanced.

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Amaebi (raw prawn, $4) is one of my favourite things to order. The prawn was cool on my tongue, sweet and crunchy.  Equally delicious was the accompanying fried shrimp head, dusted with matcha salt.

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The shrimp head was served still warm. The fried shell was covered in a soft, light layer of tempura. The texture and taste of the shrimp head meat reminds me of fried soft shell crab.

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I think Sukiyaki’s Ebi (steamed prawn, $3) is the best in town. The prawn was tasty with a pleasant crunch to it. We both thought the Shake (Atlantic salmon, $3) was creamy with a rich, smooth flavour. The Tamago (egg omelette, $2.40) was sweet with a light, almost foamy texture.

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The Hotategai ($4.20) was large and plump. The freshness of the scallops was exceptionally lovely – silky smooth with a clean flavour profile. L noted the use of wasabi in the sushi was just as it should be – present but not overpowering.

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We also ordered one of the specials of the night –  Sawara ($6). When I put this piece of Spanish mackerel in my mouth, my head exploded with the realization that I don’t have to go to Japan in order to eat excellent sushi.

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L enjoyed the Special Scallop ($3.80) even though he doesn’t care for scallops or mayonnaise. Despite the thick and almost buttery dressing, I could still taste the freshness of the scallop. The pop of saltiness from the flying fish roe added to this insanely decadent bite.

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L ordered a Prawn Dynamite ($11). What a rookie move! I didn’t want L to order a dynamite roll but sometimes you gotta let your man order his food.  Don’t get me wrong – the dynamite roll was made well, but there’s so many better things you can get. For example, my Shake Skin Roll ($12). Now this is a roll worth ordering.

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The semi raw salmon was scorched on the top. The salmon skin was crunchy and smoky. I enjoyed the sauce which added a touch of sweetness. L doesn’t like salmon skin but he admitted that he now understands the appeal of BC rolls.

After our meal, L spoke to Justin to book my milestone birthday at Sukiyaki House. I normally shy away from extravagant meals but at Sukiyaki House, I see the value in such an experience.

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The sushi was so excellent, I couldn’t stop raving about our meal. I haven’t been this excited in a long time. When we went to bed, I told L that if I died that night, I would die happy. I was serious. If you love sushi, you must check out this restaurant out. Hitting the Sauce thinks Sukiyaki House is the best sushi restaurant in Calgary.

Sukiyaki House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Beer · Restaurants

Cabin Brewing Company

L is keen to check out all the newest breweries. So on Sunday afternoon, we went for an afternoon taster at Cabin Brewing Company. For this post, let’s listen to “You don’t know how it feels” by Tom Petty.

We both ordered our own beer flights ($12). L prefers hoppy or dark beers while I picked the lighter options.

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The Retrospectrum Pale Ale (5.2%) was nicely balanced and light. This is an easy drinking ale that even my non beer drinking girlfriends would enjoy. Try not to focus on the nasty band-aid on my thumb.

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I enjoyed the Four Alive Fruited Sour (5.4%). I found this beer simple – sour and tart.

I was surprised to like the Super Duper Saturation Imperial NEPA (8%) as much as I did. The bubbles were tiny and there was a ton of flavour. This beer was neither bitter, hoppy or sweet.

I don’t normally like cider, but Cabin’s Bloom Crisp Apple Cider (6.6%) was different. The flavour was crisp and not too sweet. I thought this cider was excellent. The cider was my favourite pick of the flight.

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I also tried the Belgian Dubbel (7.8%), a collaboration between Cabin Brewery and Banded Peak. I found this beer sweet, nutty and heavy.

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I was feeling tipsy after our flight, so we ordered some food. The Cheese Pretzel with Marinara Sauce ($5) was served piping hot. The pretzel itself was soft, the topping of cheese was crispy. On a cold wintery day, this carby snack warmed me up.

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I was pleased with the Cheese Board ($12). For the price, we were given three generous chunks of cheese: Chevalier Triple Cream Brie (St. Hyacinthe, QC), Mainland two-year aged cheddar (New Zealand), and Cave-aged Gruyere Switzerland). L mentioned if we ordered this at the now defunct Janice Beaton, we would have been charged sixty bucks. The cheese board was tasty and such good value. I’d order this again.

On a cold Sunday afternoon, Cabin Brewery was packed with families. I can see why. Cabin is kid-friendly, offering the little ones plenty of games and even their own kiddy charcuterie. For only four bucks, children can snack on goldfish crackers, pizza pepperoni, fruit and a juice box.

Cabin Brewering Company Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bars/Lounges · Beer · Fusion · Happy Hour · Restaurants

Raw Bar – Happy Hour

Québécois and I have been friends ever since she and her husband moved next door to us in 2014.  On Friday night, she treated me to dinner at Raw Bar. I haven’t been to Raw Bar since Duncan Ly was the executive chef. For this post, let’s listen to “Date Night” by Father John Misty.

On Fridays, almost all the wines are half price. What a steal! I can’t think of any other restaurant in Calgary that offers half price wine on Friday. Select appetizers are half price until 6:00 p.m. and dollar oysters are served until 7:00 p.m.

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Our first bottle of the night was Sirius Bordeaux Blanc 2017 ($49, HH $24.50). When we first took a sip, we thought the wine was acidic. But after the wine had a chance to breathe, the flavour was more tropical and light. I enjoyed this bottle.

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We started with a round of oysters (HH $1.00). The oysters were small and briny. I ate one oyster that tasted bitter, so I spat it out. I didn’t get sick, so no hard feelings.

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Our server recommended the Fried Caulilini ($10, HH $5). Caulilini is a variety of cauliflower. The batter was doughy in some pieces.

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The Grilled Shishito peppers ($12, HH $6) were crunchy. I enjoyed the curry aioli and the crispy bits of puffed rice. Québécois took a bite of a pepper and announced it was too spicy. When I bragged that I can handle my spice, she dared me to eat her pepper. I popped the shishito in my mouth and immediately my face flushed red. When Québécois saw me chug my glass of water, she regretted telling me to eat it. I said no worries, as spicy food speeds up my metabolism.

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Québécois ordered a second bottle of wine – Michel Gassier Viognier France, 2018 ($46, HH $23). I really liked this bottle – the wine was dry with a floral aroma. I would order this bottle again.

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Even though I just returned from Cabo, I wanted to try the Ahi Tuna Tacos ($16, HH $8). The tuna was tasty but oversauced. I had to pour some of the liquid out of the hard taro root shell before eating it. I thought I could taste kimchi in the sauce, even thought the menu described the sauce as a chili glaze.

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My favourite dish was not on the happy hour menu –  Korean Beef Tartare ($16). The flavours of the chilled beef and sweetness from the Korean pear were spot on. I found the tartare refreshing and nicely seasoned. The rice chips were so addictingly delicious, Québécois asked for another serving for me. The chips remind me of a fresher, tastier version of shrimp crackers you get with roast chicken at a Chinese banquet dinner.

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Québécois needed a sweet to finish the night. She ordered Homemade Bon Bons ($3.50). The chocolate was dark and the filling tasted like coconut.

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Québécois wanted to end the night with a glass of bubbles. She insisted on getting another bottle because it was about the same price as ordering two flutes. She picked Famiglia Zonin ($45, HH $22.50), a fizzy and easy to drink prosecco. By this time, we could barely finish our prosecco. Québécois asked our server to cork our bottle.

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If you haven’t been to Raw Bar, I’d recommend checking it out on a Friday night. Thank you Québécois for treating me to a merry night out with great wine and tasty bites. My treat next time.

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

Beer · Pubs · Restaurants · Vancouver/Richmond

Richmond – Fuggles and Warlock

Due to unforeseen circumstances, my parents cancelled our second dim sum adventure. Since it was L’s birthday weekend, I let him pick another spot for lunch. He requested pints at Fuggles and Warlock. For this post, let’s listen to “Babooshka” by Kate Bush.

On a chilly Saturday afternoon, I can think of nothing better than pulling up a bar stool and killing time at Fuggles and Warlock. The brewery is small and cozy, filled with awards, trophies and quirky memorabilia.

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The food is simple but ideal for the cold weather. The small menu offers pretzels, meat pies, pizza, piping hot samosas and warm sandwiches. The portions are snack sized. I noticed there’s a curry food truck parked outside the store.

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L ordered a flight ($8) while I ordered my usual – Strawberry Wit ($6). The consistency of the wit reminds me of a cross between an A&W root beer float and a strawberry milkshake. Fuggles and Warlock nailed the flavour – it actually taste like fresh strawberries.

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L took a liking to the Destiny IPA. I’d describe this IPA as mildly hoppy, with pleasant citrus notes. I don’t normally like IPAs, but I could crush the Destiny IPA.

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L was also a fan of the Pixel, a Czech pilsner. He thought the pilsner was crisp and light. I thought this beer was refreshing but it was a tad hoppy for my taste.

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L mentioned the Destiny IPA and Pixel pilsner were the more traditional than the other beers we sampled. I preferred the more eccentric beers. Fuggles and Warlock makes alcoholic beverage I’d imagine a grown up Harry Potter would appreciate.

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I was a fan of the Gin and Lime, which tasted more like a cocktail than a beer. The taste of the lime and gin was prominent. Fuggles and Warklock uses infused Unruly Gin from Wayward Distillation House.

I was surprised that I liked the Kiwami Plum Sour even more than Strawberry Wit. Fuggles and Warlock used fresh plums to make this sour. This beer reminded me of a simple wine. I could picture my favourite Japanese restaurant in Calgary – Shokunin – featuring this beverage.

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L and I shared the Ham Sandwich and Pickle ($9). The bread was light and crispy. The generous amount of cheese made each bite full of gooey goodness.

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The pickle tasted homemade because it lacked that chemical taste of grocery pickles. The pickle wasn’t crunchy or sour. When I bit into the pickle, the juice squirted out onto my sandwich.

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L thought the Tourterie Pie ($9) tasted like a sausage roll. Tasty, but I preferred the steak pie I tried at my previous visit. I guess ten years in Calgary will make you an Albertan.

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Stopping by for a pint at Fuggles and Warlock is an annual tradition for us.  I’m sure the next time we visit, the brewmasters will pull out some wizardy and have a new, oddly wonderful beer for us to try. Hitting the Sauce gives Fuggles and Warlock two magical thumbs up.

Fuggles and Warlock Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Beer · Burgers · Pubs · Restaurants

Newcastle Pub

Whenever L and I have a big decision to make, we discuss it over a pint at Newcastle Pub. We started this tradition when we bought our first home. Personally, I think it’s just an excuse to drink. We both know what we want to do before we even slide into a booth. For this post, let’s listen to “Just What I Needed” by The Cars.

The last time we visited, L ordered the Truffle Parmesan Fries ($9.5). Double damn! This shit was unreal. The large portion of fries were steaming hot and extra crispy. The potato chips were cut wide with a soft silky interior. L and I thought the taste of the truffle oil worked well with the tartness of the balsamic aioli. The smell of the fresh parsley helped tone down the heady scent of the truffle and parmesan.

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On our most recent visit, our server recommended we try the Smoked Meat Burger ($12.95). For only three bucks, we upgraded to the truffle parmesan chips. This burger was so delicious, I want to add another expletive but as my father reads my posts, I’ll refrain.

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The beef brisket was piled high, tangy from the BBQ sauce and fragrant from the smoker.  The fried onion strings added a pleasing crunch that contrasted with the soft, saucy meat. This burger is not from your average pub.

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Jay, the manager at Newcastle, come over to see if we were happy with our meal. I told him that I couldn’t remember the last time I enjoyed a burger this much. Jay informed me that he was an executive chef for 30 years, and his cooks do things a little differently than other folks. For example, prime rib is used for the brisket and they smoke it themselves.

Check out Newcastle’s feature burgers. It’s obvious a lot of thought is put into the features. Hitting the Sauce is so infatuated, she’s putting her local pub on her list of favourite restaurants in Calgary.

Newcastle Pub Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Beer · Patio · Restaurants

Two House Brewery

Numbers and Caviar invited us out to check out a new brewery by their place – Two House Brewing Company. When we entered, I felt like I wasn’t in Calgary. The brewery has a friendly, industrial vibe. The movie Heathers was projected on the wall. The music was rocking, playing tunes from bands like Blondie, The Japanese House, Assenger, Siouxsie and the Banshees.  For this post, let’s listen to, “The Passenger”.

On a Friday at 8:00 p.m., there wasn’t a single table available. Note that seats are somewhat communal. You’ll likely be sharing a table with strangers. No sweat because the clientele was welcoming and in my age bracket. We sat with a group of expats and I bonded with a customer over her Cowichan sweater.

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We ordered a flight of all five seasonal beers ($11): Prvni Pilsner, Rec Room Brown, Hoptimist, Fool’s Gold, and El Hefe. I thought the prices were good value, particularly considering Two House is located in Sunalta, an inner-city community. It was actually cheaper for me to drink here than at my own house.

beer list

The Prvni Pilsner (4.5%) was light and offered a nice aftertaste. L said it was an easy drinking beer. Whenever someone tells me a wine is ‘easy drinking’, I always want to ask for them to recommend a difficult drinking wine. The Rec Room Brown (5.5%) tasted like coffee, with nutty notes. The brown ale reminded me of Granville Island’s Christmas lager. Both L and I liked this beer, but because it was sweet we couldn’t drink a lot of it.

I enjoyed the Hoptimist (6.5%) – I found it  tasty, crisp and not overly hoppy. A very crushable beer, perfect for sipping on Two Houses’ dog-friendly patio. Bring your kids too, as the brewery is kid-friendly until 7:00 p.m. L liked the Fool’s Gold (5%). He found this beer crisp and bright. I found the carbonation a little flat.  L disagreed, as this one was one of his favourite picks of the night. The clear winner for me was the El Hef (4.5%), a spicy bubbly beer. I ended up getting two more pints of the El Hef.

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Numbers knows the owner, as he recently started working at Two House Brewing. She gave us complimentary Urban-Grub potato chips and blue cheese dip ($5). Numbers said all the food is homemade and made with top ingredients. I liked the thickness of the crunchy chips and the flavour of the potato. These were real artisanal chips and it beats Miss Vickie’s any day. The dip was cold and creamy with intense notes of blue cheese.

dip

The company was excellent and the venue a lot of fun. We enjoyed ourselves so much, we stayed until closing. L noticed the brewery is located right by the Sunalta LRT station. How convenient for us! I look forward to my next visit.

Two House Brewery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato