Bars/Lounges · Beer · Brunch · Burgers · 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 asparagus 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

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

Local Public Eatery – Stampede 2017 Series

For this post, I’m going country. Let’s go!

Don’t wantcha for the weekend, don’t wantcha for a night
I’m only interested if I can have you for life, yeah
Uh, I know I sound serious; and baby, I am
You’re a fine piece of real estate, and I’m gonna get me some land

It’s pretty square at my office year-round, but during Stampede the whole office loosens up. My colleague Aycaramba and I use up our extra lieu time to enjoy the merrier mood. On Thursday, Downtown Calgary hosted the first pancake flip of the Calgary Stampede. We ate pancakes with whip cream and berries, savoured each bite of our sausage and washed it all down with orange juice and Starbucks coffee.

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We went back to the office to work and headed out again for lunch. Aycaramba has never worked downtown. During Stampede, the whole core comes to life. We sailed by the patios at Milestones, Catch, The James Joyce, Original Joe’s, The Unicorn until we came to the Local Public Eatery. This spot is the best for Stampede vibes because it’s filled with locals and not tourists.

As we were not returning to work, we indulged in a couple of beers. I picked a refreshing, easy gulping beverage – Shock Top. This was a fruity wheat ale with a sweet aftertaste. For $5.50, it’s also a wicked deal on Stephen Ave.

The patio was packed and every time a server walked by with hot wings, I started to salivate. Aycaramba and I shared the Tuna Club Sandwich with truffle fries ($17, + $2 for upgrade). Our server was awesome and didn’t rush us out. She also split our food and bill. I wish I asked her name to give her props. She’s a petite brunette that was working the corner of the patio by the door.

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The tuna club was delicious. Packed between toasted bread was a cool piece of seared tuna, crispy smoked bacon, melted cheese and ample slices of avocado and tomatoes. I liked that each bite of my sandwich contained some tuna. The yam fries had this decadent truffle lemon mayonnaise with parmesan cheese. My half portion was perfect. I was left full but not stuffed.

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The crowd was fun and friendly. We chatted with the other people at our communal table. The oil and gas guy sitting next to Aycaramba picked her up and asked if she was free during Stampede to have a liquid lunch with him or (after he watched her expression) a coffee. I watched Oil & Gas drink from stemless wine glasses with a liquid that was filled to the top. I asked what he and his friends were drinking. Oil and Gas responded it was white wine. Puzzled, I asked why it was filled to the top. His friend said it was because they ordered doubles. Aycaramba!

For people-watching and food, Local is my new favourite hangout. I’m already planning on returning for lunch next week. Hitting the Sauce gives Local two fat thumbs up! Yahoo!

Local Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bars/Lounges · Beer · Brunch · Burgers · Happy Hour · Patio · Pizza · Restaurants · Seafood · Special Occasion

Charbar – Rooftop Patio

It was my colleague’s Aycarama birthday on Wednesday. I wanted to book a table on a patio in the downtown core. My first choice was Charbar but I thought that there was no way I could get a table for eight. I called National and the hostess was rude and unhelpful. I contacted Cactus Club and the male hostess was snotty but a bit more helpful. Finally, I phoned Charbar and I was relieved to speak to someone who actually sounded like they wanted us to visit. The hostess told me she thought I had a good chance of getting a table if I came at 3:30pm. When I got to Charbar at 3:15 pm, the same hostess that was so lovely on the phone chatted pleasantly with us as our table was prepared upstairs. The service from there on continued to be excellent.

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Charbar offers happy hour from Monday to Friday between 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Pints of Steam Whistle, cava, rioja, vinho verde, and cave de rasteau rosé were only $5.00. The view was free but it is probably valued at five million.

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What I really liked about the happy hour menu was there was an actual selection to choose from (if you like wine). Also, those same wines can be found on the regular menu, meaning you aren’t given a cheap wine that is just served during happy hour.

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I told Aycarama to try the Rooftop Burger ($16) as I think it’s one of the best I’ve eaten. Made with Alberta beef, it’s a gooey mess of provolone cheese, sauce, ripe tomato, shredded lettuce, all squished between a soft brioche bun. I tried a potato wedge and while it was good, the regular fries served at the restaurant are better.

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I ordered the Napa cabbage salad sprouted lentils, mixed with avocado, crunchy seeds, mint and doused in citrus ($17). I should have ordered the smaller size and added chicken, but live and learn. I like this salad for all the different textures and because the mint in it is so refreshing. For a salad, it was a delicious as it could possibly be. However, I did stare at Aycarama’s burger the entire time she ate it, which was probably uncomfortable for her. She’s also a slow eater, so I was eyeing it for a good hour.

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My office mates and I really enjoyed our time at Charbar. The view is stunning, the service was spectacular and the food and wine was awesome. I have to bring my husband here for date night. This place is a gem. Hitting the Sauce gives Charbar two fat thumbs up and it makes it on my list of favourite places to eat in Calgary.

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Charbar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bars/Lounges · Beer · Brunch · Happy Hour · Patio · Restaurants · Special Occasion

Dog-gone crazy at Vin Room West

On Sunday my husband and I wanted to take Brut out for his belated birthday. He turned four years old when we were away last month. To make up for our absence, I decided to celebrate his birthday in style at Vin Room West.

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Vin Room West offers a dog-friendly patio from Sunday to Wednesday. I read about Vin’s doggie dog experience in Avenue Magazine. Picture this – dog owners can sip away from the largest wine selection in the city while pups can snuggle in designer beds, munch on treats and drink from stainless steel bowls.

 

Let’s start off this post with appropriate blog music. Let’s listen to Snoop Dogg Bow wow wow yippi yo hippy yay.

Brut Bow wow wow yippie yo yippie yay
Where my dogs at? Bark with me now
Brut Bow wow wow yippie yo yippie yay
An’ all my hounds around Vin 
That love how it’s goin’ down say

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When we arrived, there were two other well-behaved dogs sitting on a cushion. Brut didn’t receive a cushion and instead sat on my lap and helped me pick out a beverage. From 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm, Vin offers select $7 wines and beers, as well as happy hour bites.

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Brut suggested I try a Spanish non-oakey white, which was Vin’s sommelier wine selection ($7, 6 oz). L ordered Vin’s bartender choice beer pour,  Wildrose Brown ($6).

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L tried the weekly taco – halibut with valentina hot sauce, and pico de gall ($5). I opted for the spaghetti pomodoro ($5). If you’re hungry, I’d suggest getting a dish from the regular menu. My favourite sampling was the chef’s choice cheese and charcuterie ($10).

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The pork rillette was creamy and delicious. The smoked gouda silky and smokey, even more delightful with the fig  jam. The bread was warm and soft with a crusty exterior. Next time, we’ll have to try more of the cheeses.

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If you have a dog and want to share a special experience – I’d highly recommend you visit Vin Room West. Brut had a muttvelous time and told me, “Woof mother, this Brut Dogg came to play.”

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Vin Room West Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bars/Lounges · Beer · Brunch · Burgers · Pubs · Restaurants

National Westhills – Best Burger

My husband and I frequent National Westhills. It’s not in our neighbourhood, but we make the trek because of National’s heavy focus on local beers, happy hour oysters and recently, their burger special on Thursdays.

National Westhills is a family friendly venue. My sister-in-law feels comfortable bringing her toddler here – as so many other parents do the same. Personally, as I don’t have children, I would prefer not having kids around. However, I will say at this location, kids and babies are really well-behaved. Actually, I think they are even more well-mannered than me.

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I’ve mentioned about the delicious happy hour oysters here in an older post. What I want to talk now about is the Clive burger. I could tell from the moment it arrived at the table that it would be delicious. The Clive burger is like a high quality Big Mac. There were two beef patties, made from natural grass-fed Alberta beef. Topped with American cheddar, Clive sauce, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles, sandwiched between soft brioche buns. All the layers of the burger just melded together.

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I was equally impressed with the Caesar salad. The romaine lettuce was crisp, covered in grated grana padano. The boiled egg still retained the creamy yolk. The large chunks of lean bacon were still warm. The garlicky dressing gave the salad a nice flavor. The croutons tasted freshly and were grilled but still soft and chewy.

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Normally the burger and salad is $17. On Thursdays, you can get this burger and a side and a sleeve of beer for $16.00! Holy moly, what a deal! National on Westhills makes it on my list of favourite restaurants for burgers. Hitting the Sauce gives the Clive burger two fat thumbs up.

National Westhills Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bakery · Brunch · Dessert · Restaurants

Thierry Chocolaterie Patisserie Cafe

My last day in Vancouver. Naomi chose Thierry so we could enjoy our breakfast in the sun. We managed to get a table by the front of the business. There was a Chow Chow dog tied up near our table. Tourists walking by assumed it was my dog (because the breed is originally from China?) and after petting it, told me my dog was a cutie. I just nodded and accepted their compliments as graciously as I could.

I love Thierry for their pastries. Naomi ordered a pain au chocolat ($3.95), a pear danish ($2.95), croissant au jambon, two americanos ($2.75) and a cappuccino ($3.25).

I love Naomi. She is one of my closest friends and her alpha female traits have served her well in life. However, when someone argues with her, she goes full on mortal combat. There was a mix-up at the counter when Naomi ordered all her pastries and at one point I was worried she’d bring out her nunchucks. Thankfully, all it took was her receipt as proof to clear up the confusion.

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I ordered a cappuccino and a ham and cheese croissant ($4.99). I think the sweets, like the cakes and danishes are the best items to try at Thierry. My croissant was flaky and the cheese tasted like it was gruyère. The ham was thickly sliced, folded over and it tasted like it was good quality. My cappuccino was alright. The foam was nice and light, but I prefer my espresso to be stronger and heavier on the creama and less milky. I think Mercato in Calgary makes the best cappuccino.

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If you’re in the hood, I would make this a destination for dessert and an after dinner drink. There’s also gorgeous macarons, chocolates and treats you can purchase which make for great gifts.

Thierry Chocolaterie Patisserie Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Brunch

Stage West – Hollywood Hits

The girls from work organized a night out at Stage West to watch Hollywood Hits. I went online to check out the prices and I saw that tickets were going for just over a $100. My friends managed to get a deal and we paid about $78 each, which included the buffet and the show. Dinner starts at 6:00 pm and the show begins at 8:00 pm. Drinks, both non-alcoholic and alcoholic are extra.

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I’ve been to Stage West before to watch the 80’s Solid Gold Show. The music is nostalgic for me and I found the food tasty. Parts of the show are corny, such as the MC’s jokes, but they cater to their crowd. One tip – don’t use the washrooms later in the evening. Large crowd +small washrooms + all-you-can-eat buffet = gross.

You want selection in a buffet? You got it here. For salad and cold food, you can choose from: Caesar Salad with Stage West Garlic Anchovy Dressing & Parmesan Cheese; Fresh Vegetable Florets, Celery Sticks with Blue Cheese Dip; Russian Potato Salad with Dijon Mayonnaise & Hardboiled Eggs; Athens Greek Salad; Roasted Beet Root, Orange, Fennel and Bocconcini Salad; Cranberry Coleslaw; Spicy Beef Salad with Crispy Vegetables; and Festive Hawaiian Chicken Salad.

At the make your own salad bar, pick from the: Taco Bar; Baby Shrimp Salad with Lime Vinaigrette; Taco Shell; Nachos (Red, Green and Yellow Corn Tortilla); Tomato Salsa; Guacamole; Sour Cream;  and Jalapeño Cheese Dip.

For seafood, you can try: Cold Shrimp; Ancas de Rana (frog legs) Creole Honey Mustard Aioli; and Alaskan Snow Crab Legs. Sushi and sashimi offerings include: Atlantic Salmon, Albacore Tuna and Ahi Tuna Tataki Sashimi; Yellow Pickled Daikon and Cucumber Maki Rolls; Tempura Crab Stick and Carrot California Rolls with Togarashi Aioli; Tri-colour Tobiko Roe with Wasabi & Pickled Ginger; Boiled Edamame with Sea Salt and Seaweed Salad.

There were two carvings stations: Herb-Crusted Turkey with Fresh Cranberry Sauce and the Roasted Alberta Baron of Beef with Merlot Jus (aged 15 days). At the sauté and grill section, options included the Escargot and Baked Polenta.

Hot foods included: Roasted Rosemary Parisienne Potatoes; Baked Sweet Potato with Cinnamon Sugar; Stir Fry Vegetables with Shitake Mushrooms; Lobster Mac and Cheese; Roasted Garlic and Smashed Potato with Bacon, Cheese and Green Onion; Turkey Gravy; Apple and Cranberry Stuffing; Butter Nut Squash Ravioli with Tomato Cream Sauce; Chicken Breast en Croute (Mushroom Duxelles and Aged Cheddar); Roasted Pork Loin with Roasted Pepper Relish; Garlic Peppered Black Harbor Salmon (Crisp Batter with Spiced Pepper) and Sautéed Red Thai Curry Jumbo Prawns.

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Dessert options included: White & Dark Chocolate Dipped Florentine Cookies; Chocolate Rum Balls; Pumpkin Cheesecake; Cranberry Yogurt Parfait; Mocha Latte Parfait; Assorted Fruit Tart and Cheesecake Squares; Chocolate Fudge Cake; Caramel Chocolate Cake; Cranberry Butter Cookies; Eggnog Mousse Cake; Chocolate Mint Cake; Holiday English Trifle; Chocolate Christmas Log; Warm Christmas Pudding, Rum Sauce and Chantilly Cream; Assorted Canadian & Imported Cheese and Fresh Fruits.

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The selection varies seasonally. I ate mostly the sashimi, ravioli, escargot, lobster macaroni and cheese, caesar salad, crab legs, and the Thai curry shrimp. I ate all three plates, but only one piece of the ravioli as I found the pasta undercooked. I also didn’t finish the crab legs because I didn’t like the way it tasted. The sashimi wasn’t expertly cut but it tasted fresh and it was nicely chilled. The escargot was delicious, buttery and heavy on the garlic. The curry shrimp was crunchy and not overcooked.

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The food is better than what you get at places like Chili’s Texas Grill or Boston Pizza. I thought the selection was better than all the buffets I’ve sampled at all-inclusive resorts, but then again, I go to 4-star resorts, not 5.

The Hollywood hit songs ranged from James Bond Films, Saturday Night Fever, 8 Mile, The Breakfast Club, A Hard Day’s Night, Despicable Me 2, The Graduate, Top Gun, Easy Rider, Ghostbusters, Dirty Dancing, Frozen, The Bodyguard, Titanic and more. The only songs I didn’t enjoy listening to were Gangsta’s Paradise (Coolio) and 8 Mile (Eminem) mostly because the singers tried to sing the lyrics instead of rapping it. For the full list, click here.

Who would enjoy this sort of venue? Middle-aged people looking for a night out with a lot of food. I can see my parents’ friends really enjoying themselves here or the type of people who like to eat at casinos. The show is entertaining and some of the cast have an amazing set of chords. Who wouldn’t enjoy this place? My husband would find the show corny or anyone expecting to see a Broadway show. If I get an invite from my friends at work for another show, I would happily go again.

Stage West Theatre Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Brunch · Cheap Eats · Comfort food · Curry · Dessert · Happy Hour · Japanese · Sandwiches

Redheads Cafe

Redheads is always tweaking its dishes or trying out something new. On my last visit, I learned that Sapporo is now on tap.  A new rice burger (not yet on the menu) has become my new favourite, beef and gobo. I still haven’t tried the Japagetti or five-course meal set, but I’ll get there eventually.

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The beef and gobo (burdock root) rice sandwich is something special. The beef is sweet and nicely seasoned. Gobo has this marvellous mild, earthy taste and crunchy texture. The rice was perfectly cooked, warm and topped with fresh spinach leaves. The nori is fresh and crisp.

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Recently, L and I have tried the Tofu Asian Salad ($6.99). What a great price for such a stunning salad. I particularly enjoyed the strands of seaweed and nori. The tofu was nicely cut and fresh-tasting. Just a tip, you probably don’t need to use all the dressing, as the sesame dressing is quite rich.

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One of my other go-to dishes is the miso-tonkatsu ramen ($9.99). I’ve been telling my friends Asian Persuasion and What’s Up Hamsup to try Redhead’s version. They want to but every time they visit, they can’t help themselves and order the tonkatsu curry. The soup is steaming hot. The broth is rich and the noodles are chewy. The pork crispy and fatty. I love the assortment of sprouts, the milky egg and all the garnishes.

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Redheads is best known for their Japa Curry, the Katsu ($10.99) or the Karaage Curry ($10.99). The katsu is well-marbled and crispy. The beef curry is thick, rich and flavourful.

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Finally, L and I were lucky to try a special dessert, apple with caramel and strawberries. Sounds simple, but so good. The tart crispness of the  apple with the sweetness of the caramel sauce was old-school delicious. Check out the crazy knife skills.

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The best time to go is in the evenings, when the cafe is quieter. The prices are a steal and the food is so comforting in the chilly weather. Thank you Redheads, for being so consistently delicious.

View my food journey on Zomato!

Redheads Japa Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bars/Lounges · Brunch · Seattle · Special Occasion

Seattle – Lola

Beep Beep and I started our Sunday at Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room. Forget the original store in Pike Market. Check this place out instead. Other Yelp reviewers have compared Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Personally, I think it’s more like a Playboy Mansion for coffee nerds. There are two floors to this super sweet pimped up Starbucks.

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We learned from our friendly barista that when this place first opened, to work here you had to 1) be a Starbucks employee 2) be nominated by Starbucks and 3) undergo months of training before even touching the coffee.

Beep Beep use to work at Starbucks too, and I still remember when Gordon Campbell picked up a latte she made. He drank a sip and make a big face, like he drank sour milk. I joked to Beep Beep that she would have never made the cut at Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room. She  agreed. She’s better at writing data then pulling shots of espresso.

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I ordered a Nitro Cold Brew ($7.50). This cold brew is infused with nitrogen, which brings out the coffee’s creamy, natural sweetness. I added fior di latte (cold sweet cream) to my brew. Refreshing, but I preferred Beep Beep’s drink over mine.

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Beep Beep ordered the Classic Affogato ($7.50), which is made with two shots of Starbucks Reserve espresso, poured over a scoop of Mora Iced Creamery ice-cream. Oh my. This ice-cream is full of creamy goodness. All this pleasure for only 120 calories.

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There’s something intoxicating in the air here. I swear, when Beep Beep and I were drinking at the bar, we both felt tipsy. The prices are higher than your run-of-the mill Starbucks, but justifiably so. Service is excellent, baristas are knowledgeable, and the drinks are far superior than your standard Starbucks.

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After our Starbucks experience, we walked over to Pappardelle’s Pasta in Pike Place. I bought enough dried pasta to completely fill up my carry-on luggage. There was a team of young kids manning the pasta station. They do a good job engaging with customers and offering samples. When Beep Beep saw how the staff were having a fun time working together, she started to romanticize. “Do you think they hang out after their shifts? What do you think they do when they aren’t here?” I shook my head and retorted, “Do you realize you’re fantasizing about these kids like they are on that show Friends? Do you think they’re talking about us and saying, “Oh. There are those stalkers again. I wonder what those bored, middle-aged office workers do after working in an office all day?”.

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We walked for about ten minute from Pike Market to Belltown for brunch at Lola. Though I made reservations, we still had to wait. We ordered the doughnuts ($9.50), Eggs Benedict ($19.25) and Fava Skordalia ($4.25)  and Kopanisti ($4.25) with freshly griddled pita. The doughnuts were fine but it was the vanilla mascarpone that made this dish so yummy.

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Cool on the tongue, not too sweet and with a rich whip cream like texture, putting this mascarpone on anything would taste good. With the cherry jam, the doughnut reminded me of an old-fashion jelly doughnut.

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Our server recommended two dips. The Fava Skordalia and Kopanisti. The fava skordalia was bland and tasted like a hummus I could make at home (by the way, my homemade hummus sucks). The kopanisti was very tasty. I liked the smooth cheese texture, herbs and the toasted pistachios. The pita was nice when it was warm, but once it got cold, it didn’t taste nearly as good.

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The best dish for me was the Eggs Benedict. Beep Beep and I shared an order, which was plenty of food. The garlic fried smashed potatoes were crunchy and well-seasoned. The Bavarian ham was high-quality. The egg was poached perfectly. I asked for the hollandaise to be served on the side. With the addition of fresh dill, the sauce was light and subtle.

I would return. The prices are on the high-end but the portions and quality make up for it. Note that Lola adds an automatic gratuity of 20% to your bill. Our server saw me exchange Canadian cash with Beep Beep’s American money (I was buying some American money off her).  I could see our server’s face contort in panic. She ran over to take a peek at the bill to ensure we didn’t give her our dreaded Monopoly money. I don’t blame her. I wouldn’t want to be stuck with Canadian currency either.

Lola Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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