Brunch · Fusion · Restaurants

ZCrew Cafe – Brunch with Haskayne 3.0

L drove me to my brunch with Haskayne 3.0. He accidentally dropped me off at the wrong location and I had to hoof it for the last seven blocks. When I got to ZCrew Cafe, Screamy asked me why I didn’t just call L to pick me up again. That idea never even occurred to me. She inquired why L didn’t come with to brunch. I said because he wasn’t invited. Screamy said it should be assumed he’s invited, as he’s my husband. I told her that in the future, she needs to be more specific with me. For this post, let’s listen to Shakira & J. Lo’s Superbowl performance.

Though I was uncharacteristically late, Strong Zero, Queen B, and Shady Bones were even tardier. I guess we aren’t on Japan time anymore! After fielding more questions about L’s absence and whether or not I should call him, we ordered food. Geez – I had no idea L was so popular. Why would they want him when they already have me?

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I enjoyed my pot of Jasmine Dragon Pearl Tea ($5.50). The blooming flower inside the clear pot was aesthetically pleasing. The tea was mild and fragrant with a subtle sweetness.

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Screamy enjoyed her Crispy Tofu Bowl ($15). She said the tofu wasn’t crispy but it still tasted good. Her favourite part of the dish was the kimchi as it brought all the ingredients together.

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Shady Bones ordered the Matcha Pancake ($17). She spent a good five minutes debating whether or not to eat the orchid. She shared her dish with Strong Zero.

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Strong Zero ordered the Monster Bao-Ger ($19). Man, this dude is precise. He cut his burger and the pancakes into half with surgical precision. Strong Zero said the little potato doughnut tasted like sweet, spicy balls. He offered me a bite of his food and I didn’t think before I spoke and said, “Why, don’t you like it?” He looked taken aback and responded he did like his food, he just wanted to know if I wanted to try it.

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Queen B ordered the best looking dish – Korean fried chicken and waffles ($19). You could hear the skin crackle as Queen B cut into the chicken.

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My Special Poke Bowl ($17) tasted healthy. The wasabi mayo and teriyaki sauce were minimal, allowing the natural flavours of the vegetables to shine through. The rice was a little hard and I found a fish bone in the salmon. Overall, a tasty bowl.

ZCrew Cafe offers some seriously Instagramable meals. It’s a cool little spot offering brunch with an Asian twist. I can see why it’s such a popular spot with the kids.

ZCREW Cafe 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

Brunch · Chinatown · Chinese · New York · Patio · Restaurants · Special Occasion

New York – Bar 54, Ellen’s Stardust Diner and Cheong Fun Cart

Beep Beep wanted to have a drink at Bar 54. She mentioned the bar was overpriced and touristy, but she wanted to see the rooftop view of Chrysler Building and of lower Manhattan. We toasted to her birthday with an Aperol Spritzer ($26) and a Rosolio Spritz ($26). The spritzer tasted gross and reminded me of cough medicine. Pro-tip – stick to wine. We much preferred our glass of Rodney Strong Knights Valley ($19) over the cocktails. After midnight, we decided to call it a night.

We were about to enter the subway when a dirty looking man peeped through the gate and started babbling in a high-pitched baby voice: “Nooo? Yesss! Nooo? Yesss!” Before I could stop myself, I responded “Noooo.” Subway Guy looked excited and repeated “Yesss?” I sternly shook my head and said firmly “No!” Since we hadn’t entered through the gate, he assumed we were looking for another train. He said if we went up the stairs and to the left, the other train would be there. I didn’t like his eagerness and the fact he wanted to continue our ‘conversation’ so we pretended to exit. When I heard him take off, we returned to wait for our train. There was another guy there who there who half-heartedly muttered, “Noooo? Yesss!” We ignored him. For this post, let’s listen to Trouble by Pink.

A minute before our train arrived, Subway Guy came back and told his friend he couldn’t find us. I pulled my large black hood over my head. Beep Beep whispered, “Your disguise sucks. You are not fooling anyone.” She was right because Subway Guy spotted me and said something that is so obscene, I will not repeat it. I’ve already said too much. My father reads my blog. Knowing Ludwig, he will tell on me to my mother. I know I’m going to get a flurry of emails from Boss Lady telling me to quit creating drama and getting into trouble. Sorry ma, old habits die hard.

On the way home, Beep Beep really had to pee. She ran ahead and then would stop, crouch down with her knees pressed together and bellow “Nooo?” Then she turned around to face me and coo, “Yesss!” I doubled over with laughter and couldn’t breathe or walk until she stopped mimicking the Subway Guy. Omigod, we are so immature.

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The next morning, Beep Beep woke me up at 6:30 a.m. so we would to make it to Ellen’s Stardust Diner by 7:00 a.m. Ellen’s is known for its singing wait staff. Beep Beep ordered the Smoked Salmon Plate ($20). The cook forgot to put the cream cheese on the bagel. Our server was absent so she ate her bagel without any cream cheese.

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I wasn’t feeling well, so I ordered a ginger ale and a Fresh Fruit Cup ($9). I found the assortment of cantaloupe, honeydew, grapes and pineapple incredibly fresh and sweet. Beep Beep took a bite and said it was normal fruit, I was just hung over. I ordered a latte ($6.50) that tasted like it come out of a vending machine from the 90s. Beep Beep said I should have just drank her latte, because she didn’t like it either.

I enjoyed the confetti that fluttered down from the ceiling. Some of the wait staff differed in charisma, but I enjoyed listening to them sing. A staffer came come out and gave a long story about how hard the staff worked to both sing and bring your food, so donations for their singing classes would be appreciated. The suggested additional tip was $20 bucks.

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Before we left for the airport, we stopped by Union Square Farmer’s Market, Little Italy and Chinatown. Beep Beep wanted us to try the Cheong Fun Cart. After using Google maps, I found it. Beep Beep asked a waiting customer if this was the famous Cheong Fun Cart. I knew the lady Beep Beep asked had no clue. I looked up the cart on Yelp to confirm the pictures of the cart and location. The lady said no, we needed to go to a cart that was ten minutes away. I told Beep Beep this was the right cart and showed her the matching pictures I found.

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Beep Beep freaked out because there was only a small slit through the metal cart where the vendor’s face would pop out to ask you what you wanted. The elderly woman working there was tiny, and it looked like there was enough room for her and her husband. I requested two small cheong funs ($1.50), one with pork and the other with chicken and an egg (50 cents). I added green onions and requested no cilantro.

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Oh my goodness. If you are into the texture and subtle flavours of Chinese dim sum, you’ll love these silky pools of noodles. The noodles are made fresh for you, and it was everything I was craving. Steaming hot, soft with little specks of meat and sauce to give it the right amount of savoury, salty flavour. Next time I’d omit the egg as I found texture of the yolk too dry. I would also add hot sauce. Since Beep Beep and I were sharing, I didn’t add any.

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Cheong Fun Cart was one of our favourite eats in New York. When Beep Beep complained again about the work conditions, I informed her that the woman working in the cart was the owner, so it was her decision. If she wanted to unionize, she could. Besides, after only three days in the Big Apple, I too would want to be enclosed in a metal container to protect me from being spat on, hustled or spoken to in an indecent manner.

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Before we left for the airport, Beep Beep found me a Trader’s Joe store so I could stock up Everything But the Bagel seasoning and Mushroom & Company Multi-Purpose Umami Seasoning Blend . Happy 40th birthday Beep Beep! I had an amazing time with you.

Ellen's Stardust Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Brunch · French · New York · Restaurants

New York – Buvette

Beep Beep wanted to check out Buvette because it was a Michelin recommended restaurant. We stopped by for a glass of wine and found the bistro so charming, we went again the following morning for her birthday breakfast. We arrived when the restaurant opened at 7:00 a.m.  so we could make it in time for the Wendy Williams show. For this post, let’s listen to the show’s theme song. 

Everything inside the bistro was adorable. I like the Parisian décor and the tiny seats and chairs. The narrow wooden stairs and brick walls added to the room’s vintage vibe.

Beep Beep ordered a latte ($6.5) and I requested an Americano ($4). I don’t normally like lattes but Beep Beep’s beverage was excellent. The foam was thick and creamy. The coffee was strong with just the right amount of milk to take the bitterness out of it.

We ordered Saumon Fume ($16) and the daily Omelette ($16). The steamed eggs in the salmon dish was smooth and custard-like. The salmon wasn’t like the frozen stuff I’m used to eating in Canada. The fish was thicker, fresher and tasted more sashimi-like. I loved the addition of the crème fraiche and the sourness of the pickled caper berries. I’d order this again.

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The omelette was fluffy and moist. Simplicity at its best – I didn’t know eggs could taste this good. The generous layer of chevre was light and melted in my mouth.

Beep Beep and I got out of Buvette and in line for Wendy’s show by 7:55 a.m. As it was her actual birthday, Beep Beep was given a tiara to wear on the show. However, since she had already brought a tiara and it was far nicer, she gave it away. Beep Beep also brought a pink feather and rhinestone crown for me to wear.

I’ve never even seen an episode of Wendy so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Instead of doing her usual Q&A routine, Wendy announced that she was living in a sober house. I was shocked – as was the crew when they stopped filming. Beep Beep spoke to Wendy after the show and gave her words of support. Wendy nodded and asked if it was also my birthday, since I was wearing a tiara. Nope, I’m just a victim of Beep Beep’s love for you.

I told Beep Beep afterwards that I was surprised she didn’t try to shake Wendy’s hand or give her a hug. She told me that she knows better – Wendy is known for slapping fans away when they try to hug her or touch her microphone. Watch the video below for illustration.

Congratulations Beep Beep, that’s one off your bucket list. Next – to Café China – a one star Michelin restaurant. Whoot whoot!

Buvette Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Brunch · Burgers · Comfort food · French · Happy Hour · Restaurants

Brasserie Kensington – Big Taste 2018

Asian Persuasion, Ay Caramba, Office Dad, Lam Jam and I had the most delicious lunch at Brasserie Kensington. For this post, let’s listen to a song I listen to rev me up for work – Bitch Better Have My Money by Rihanna.

We tumbled into a packed restaurant. We were seated near the window, which affords a street view of Kensington.

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The Big Taste of Calgary menu offers a stellar deal. For only $18 we had the choice of an appetizer, main and dessert:

Peasant Duck Broth Soup or Green Bean and Lentil Salad

Brasserie Grilled Gruyere & Raclette Cheese & Vegetable Sandwich, Brasserie Beef Bourguignon with Toasted Baguette, or Crispy Chicken Sandwich with Collard Green Coleslaw

Baked Alaska with Italian Meringue & House Made Coffee Ice Cream, Chocolate Waffles with White Chocolate Sauce & Confit Apple or Coconut Creme Brûlée.

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We all ordered the duck soup. Ay Caramba and I picked beef bourguignon for our mains. Office Dad, Asian Persuasion, and Office Dad ordered the chicken sandwich. Lam Jam asked for the raclette cheese and vegetable sandwich. When the chicken sandwich came to the table, our mouths dropped. This is what I imagine patrons are like at a strip club. I was drooling. That sandwich was just busting out with chicken. Lam Jam received the chicken sandwich instead of his racelette sandwich, but he remained quiet because after he saw the chicken sandwich, he also wanted a piece of that.

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I watched my coworkers as they bit into their sandwich, moaning with ecstasy as the juices dripped down onto their plate. I have to admit, I got food envy. That is, until I tried my own entree.

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Ay Caramba and I were over the moon with our beef bourguignon. That dark gravy sauce was incredible. The potato wedges were baked and then layered on top of the stew. The carrots were bright orange, the potatoes a mellow yellow. I asked Annika if she could pack my stew for me, as I didn’t want to overeat. It was a good thing I’m so fond of this stew. On the way back from work, I spilled the sauce in my work bag.

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The desserts were phenomenal. The exterior of the baked Alaskan was warm and rich. The homemade coffee ice cream was cool and creamy. The layer of cake on the bottom tasted so good I ate every crumb.

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Ay Caramba picked a coconut brulee. Office Dad picked the chocolate waffles. Usually in a group, you have that one person that poo poos everything. In this group, it’s usually  Office Dad. Everyone was happy. A Christmas miracle in March.

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Brasserie Kensington makes it on Hitting the Sauce’s list of best restaurants in Calgary. I want to return for happy hour and dinner. If you can still manage to wrangle a reservation for Big Taste, do it.

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Brasserie Kensington Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Brunch · Burgers · Chain Restaurants · Restaurants · Vancouver/Richmond

Richmond – White Spot – Part Deux

I asked my father Ludwig where he wanted to go for breakfast. White Spot he responded, without a moment’s hesitation. However, he stressed that we were not to eat at the location inside Richmond Centre. Though I didn’t ask him why, he proceeded to inform me the reason. First, let’s put on some music. As my father stands firm when he makes a decision, let’s listen to Johnny Cash I Won’t Back Down.

Here’s the story. My father went to the White Spot located inside Richmond Centre. He noticed that there was all new staff. He emphasized that he did not recognize any of the employees. He ordered his usual – fish and chips with extra lemon. When his food arrived, the fish was so poorly cooked he didn’t eat it. It was not just the fish that tasted poorly. The fries were little shards of dried up potato and the coleslaw was not fresh. When the server came to clear his dish, she asked him if he wanted to pack up the leftovers. Ludwig responded, “I’ve been coming to the White Spot since I was a young boy. When I attended UBC,  I would drop by at the Broadway location after my classes. This was in the 60s. Since then, I have eaten at numerous White Spots all over the province so I am well aware of what the food should taste like. I am now 76 years old. I have to say this was the worst meal I have ever eaten at a White Spot.” The server said she could take $8.00 off the bill. Ludwig said that was a nice gesture but he would never return.

To sum up Ludwig’s story succinctly, he will now only eat at 5880 Number 3 Road, not the one at 6551 Number 3 RD. I wanted to cut some calories so I didn’t order my own plate. My vegetarian father ordered Nat’s Hearty Breakfast ($13.49). He picked scrambled eggs, three sausages, smash brown potatoes, and two pancakes with diabetic maple syrup.

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My father weighs 124 pounds and he’s 5 foot seven. Yet he ate everything on his plate and ordered another refill for the potatoes. I don’t know where he packs it away. And why didn’t I get his metabolism? I did eat half a pancake and half a sausage. It was pretty tasty. The pancake was light and fluffy. The sausage was juicy and tasty, not like the tiny tasteless ones you get at Safeway. Ludwig disagreed with my observation and he said it wasn’t that much food as he had given me a pancake and a sausage.

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L ordered the Breakfast Quesadilla ($14.99) and shared it with me. This is a breakfast I can get behind. Two crisp tortillas were filled with mushrooms, fresh spinach, three cheeses, green onions, scrambled eggs, and chorizo sausage. The filling wasn’t uniformly hot, the cheese and spinach were warm but the eggs were colder. The cilantro in the sour cream was quite subtle so I enjoyed it.

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I’m all White Spotted out. Next!

White Spot Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Brunch · Restaurants

Vero Bistro Moderne

My friend Westjet called me out of the blue and wanted to do brunch. I’m not fond of brunch. I detest the long line-ups, crowded venue and the calorific dishes that leave me feeling tired and unhealthy. If you feel the same way as I do, you should check out Vero Bistro Moderne.

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The bistro is small and elegant, reminding me of a jazz club. I enjoyed the relaxing ambience. There was ample room to sit and have a conversation without being overheard. Frank Sinatra could be heard crooning in the background.

Westjet and I both ordered the Wild Boar Bacon & Jumbo Prawns. The single organic egg was cooked just how I like it – solid yet the yolk was still warm and creamy. The egg white was fluffy like a cloud and just as light. The hand whipped hollandaise was how I think all hollandaise should taste. Buttery and barely there, just enough to compliment to all the other ingredients. This was not the heavy yellow glop I remember in my past brunch experiences.

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The croissant was so delectable it deserves its own paragraph. The warm layers of the pastry flaked apart. You could see the actual separate layers. The exterior was a glossy dark golden brown.

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Hotchkiss pea shoots added a freshness to the dish. The tomatoes were sweet and ripe, dotted with pesto. The boar bacon was razor-thin, loaded in flavour, with zero grease. So crispy that the bacon shattered when you bit into it. The potato garnish also added a delightful crunch.

The two prawns were large and sweet. These reminded me of the prawns my mother use to get for us in Steveston, Richmond. She would boil the fresh prawns and peel it for us, so good you didn’t really need to do anything else to it.

Hitting the Sauce gives Vero two fat thumbs up. This is one of the best brunches I’ve ever had. Prices are higher than your usual popular, crowded venues, but the experience and quality ingredients make up for it.

Vero Bistro Moderne Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bars/Lounges · Beer · Brunch · Burgers · Happy Hour · Pizza · Pubs · Restaurants

Jamesons Irish Pub

I had a team meeting at Jamesons in Brentwood. I didn’t really want to go on a Friday afternoon but that’s not very team-oriented to say to my boss! At this time of the year, things get a little crazy at the office. So let’s play some appropriate music…

Happy hour entails $5 glasses of house wine and 12 ounce glasses of beer. I was pleased to see Shock Top on the list of draft beers. We ordered a party platter ($33) which consisted of calamari, sausage, dumplings, wings, riblets and vegetables. I wanted hot wings but Rascal and Ayecaramba are wimps when it comes to spice. Tread Lightly asked for hot sauce on the side, cuz he’s a problem solver.  For the riblets, the consensus minus my opinion was Greek-style seasoning. I thought it was a bit odd that the platter came on a baking sheet. I noticed the nachos arrived on a baking sheet as well.

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My favourite items were the sausages and calamari. The sausage was grilled on the outside, the interior was juicy and flavourful. The batter on the calamari was light and the squid was tender. The gyoza was better than what you get at Safeway but about the equivalent of what you find at T&T Supermarket. The riblets were dry as were the wings.

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Tread Lightly ordered ham flatbread ($11.99) that looked tasty. I wasn’t hungry enough to try it but it looked good with its layer of gooey cheese and crunchy thin crust.

Overall, Jamesons is a good university pub. The restaurant itself is nicer looking than your average pub, with lots of natural light and new furniture and fixtures. Add in happy hour pricing, and it would be a regular hangout for me if I lived nearby.

Jamesons Irish Pub Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomatoon

Bars/Lounges · Beer · Brunch · Burgers · Chain Restaurants · Dessert · Happy Hour · Restaurants · Seafood

Cactus Club – Yelp Elite Event

I write reviews on Yelp solely to get invited to their ‘elite’ parties. Most recently, I attended a Taste of Cactus Club. Holy smokes – their management team (Elim, Jim, Curtis and Kurt) can throw down. We were so spoiled, I felt like a rock star. For this post, I think Guns N’ Roses ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ would be most appropriate.

 

When I arrived, I was handed a flute of Blue Mountain Brut that was refilled continuously throughout the night. Our two tables were on the patio section. I lucked out and sat with social Yelpers Stephanie M, Jen L, Nadia, Jen 2 and Diane. Bottles of chilled sparkling and mineral water sat in champagne buckets nearby and were used to replenish our water glasses as we feasted the night away.

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Elim gave us an orientation for the night as we opened our goodie bags. We all received a $50 gift Cactus Club certificate, a Cactus bandana, custom-made chocolates flavoured after each of their desserts and a choose your own adventure booklet that we used to for our ‘Taste of Cactus’ event.

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I opened my book to read my first food adventure. “No good story ever started with a salad, and this is going to be a great one. So, tell us, when having a cocktail, do you prefer a sophisticated slush, or is your cocktail refreshing and on the rocks?” Stephanie M influenced my choice by telling me how much she loves gin. I picked option two – a summer sipper on the rocks.

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The “Summer Smash” cocktail consisted of gin, cucumber, Thai basil, lime and soda. This is the sort of drink that goes down way too easy. Light, refreshing and herbal. I was off to a great start! The slush – a Frose- looked really good too – a blend of rose wine, strawberries, elderflower, vodka and lemon. I want to try it next time.

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For our appetizer, I was given the option of a tuna tataki or a tuna stack. I wanted something creamy so I chose the tuna stack, which consisted of ocean wise albacore, citrus vinaigrette, nori, sesame, avocado and wonton chips. I requested no cilantro. This was a tasty and healthy way to start off our meal. I made sure to mix the dressing and all the ingredients up well before stacking it on my crunchy wonton chips.

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For our entrees, we were asked if a) is it beer and bar foods all day every day b) If you say you’re a meat and potatoes kind of person c) Do you prefer delicious food that’s fresh and healthy? I asked myself, “Who am I”? I thought of how tight my clothes were becoming and picked c. Thankfully, it was indeed delicious. If all vegetarian food tasted like Cactus Club’s ‘Modern Bowl’, I’d become one.

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The modern bowl was a colourful array of ingredients – tabbouleh, grilled avocado, pineapple salsa, roasted cauliflower and broccoli, tomatoes, cucumber, fancy greens, jasmine rice, and the most magically delicious ingredient – miso carrot ginger sauce. You mix up all the ingredients to get a filling and tasty dish. The pineapple salsa elevated this dish by adding a tropical, sophisticated flavour profile. You can also get salmon or chicken instead of avocado. My bowl was paired a glass of Adobe Reserva Sauvignon Blanc.

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I liked the modern bowl even more than the double-crossed pineapple hoisin short rib dish, which Jen L and Nadine gave me to try. The short rib was slow cooked for five hours, the pineapple ginger glaze and shiitake mushrooms gave it that extra edge over all other short ribs I’ve consumed.

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Cactus Club’s marketing maven – Elim – couldn’t finish her chicken tacos and fries. Even though I was so full, both Jen L and I couldn’t resist finishing of Elim’s sea salted fries. These fries put McDonald’s to shame. This was a perfect balance of crispy exterior and a soft mealy potato texture in the inside.

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My new friends and I turned to the last chapter of our food adventure. “Now for the million dollar decision… dessert. Which movie title best describes you? “Confessions of a Chocoholic” or “Life of Pi(e)?”.

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Turns out it’s a crime to have to choose between desserts, so they treated us to a little taste of both. My favourite of the two was the caramel chocolate mousse. I enjoyed the sweet, warm foam and the crunchy toffee. The key lime pie was good too, tart from their use of 25 key limes in every pie.

I arrived at 4:30 p.m. and I left around 8:00 p.m. I was having such a good time I didn’t even realize how long I was there. I dig the energy and vibe at Cactus. I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun. I’m looking forward to using my gift certificate to try their other lifestyle dishes, like the rain coast greens, the ceviche and the modern bowl again because it was that good. Hitting the Sauce gives Cactus Club Cafe two fat thumbs up.

Cactus Club Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Brunch · Restaurants · Special Occasion

Deane House – Stampede 2017 Series

I saw on Facebook that Deane House was celebrating the Stampede festivities in their garden, complete with live music and an oyster station. When we arrived at 7:00 p.m., there was no live music, only some western stuff playing through the speakers. By the time we left at 8:00 p.m., there still wasn’t any live music. Well, that don’t impress me much!

L ordered a Big Rock beer ($7) and I ordered a glass of Blue Mountain sparkling wine ($13). We received complimentary red fife sourdough bread with cultured butter and Vancouver Island Fleur de Sel. We sat at the edge of the patio, which overlooked the river.
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I looked up the menu beforehand and wanted to try the grilled apparatus with fried oysters ($14) and the ricotta agnolotti ($16). However, both items were not on the menu at the restaurant. Instead, we ordered the Bison tartare ($17) and the charcuterie ($32).
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L declared the bison tartare was the best he’s ever tried. He must have liked it as he kept talking about the tartare the next day. The temperature of the bison was cool with textural pops from the pickled mustard seeds, dotted with a flavourful nettle aioli. The potato chips were light and a delicate vessel for the creamy tartare. I would order this again.

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The charcuterie offered a good selection of treats, like duck rillette, mortadella, lamb sausage, blue cheese, homemade preserves and pickled blueberries, beans and pickles. L’s favourite pick was the lamb sausage that was served warm and had a subtle kick to it. I liked the sharp, creamy blue cheese and the dainty homemade nut and fruit crackers.
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Service was warm and professional. Our server suggested we return for brunch. I think I might on a  Sunday, when corkage is free. A nice touch when we left – we could see a plane flying the Canada flag overhead. If you want to do something relaxing and different for Stampede, I’d suggest you visit Deane House.

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