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.

grapefruit

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

Happy Hour · Restaurants · Seafood

Rodney’s Oyster House – COVID-19 dine-in edition

Out of an abundance of caution, L and I decided that this summer, we will not be visiting my family in British Columbia. So for our first dine-in restaurant experience since COVID-19 restrictions were lifted, I picked Rodney’s Oyster House. For this post, let’s listen to “The Kids Aren’t Alright” by The Offspring.

I prefer Rodney’s in Calgary over the Yaletown and Gastown locations in Vancouver. The Calgary location has better ambience and service. Also, the shuckers at the Calgary location are more experienced. I’ve yet to eat an oyster with shell remnants.

Ambience

We noticed management implemented several safety measures. All the employees wore masks. The front door and washroom doors were propped open, enabling touchless entry. At each table, there was hand sanitizer and an option to download the menu onto your phone. The restaurant is spacious, so there was plenty of room in between tables.

sanitizer

From Thursday to Saturday, between 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m., Rodney’s offers a wicked happy hour. On the day we visited, the shucker’s choice for Six Oysters and a Drink ($15) was Savage Blonde Oysters (PEI). We also ordered Beach Angels ($3.35, BC) and Marina Top Drawer ($3.35, BC).

Menu

I found all the ingredients at Rodney’s incredibly fresh, from the parsley and onions in the calamari to all the seafood we sampled. Right before we received our oysters, I saw an employee grating the horseradish.

East Coast

L and I liked that all the oysters were served cold. I don’t like eating raw oysters at room temperature, which seems to be the norm in Cabo. The Savage Blond oysters were salty, with a crunch that reminded me of celery.

The Beach Angels were creamy and robust in flavour. The Marina Top Drawer were sweet and briny but not as meaty as the Beach Angels. I would order the Beach Angels again.

Best wcoast

New on the menu are the Pan Fried Oysters ($12). The oysters were thin and flat, with a pleasant deep sea-like flavour.  The panko crust tasted like it was pan-fried in butter.

Fried Oysters

I enjoyed the delicate, crispy batter on the Rhode Island Calamari ($11). The squid was tender and silky. L preferred the tangy White Boy Ranch sauce over the tartar sauce that came with the fried oysters.

calamari

The best dish we tried was the Atlantic Haddock Tacos ($12). I’ve eaten a lot of fish tacos in my life, and Rodney’s is hands down the best. The haddock was generous in size, flaky and sweet. The batter was ultra light and the crispy shards melted on my tongue. The fish didn’t taste oily or greasy.

Tacos

I loved the composition of the taco. Instead of putting the toppings on the top, the chili lime and chipotle slaw was on the bottom.  This helped to retain the integrity of the batter and the heat from the fish. The contrast between the chilled coleslaw and hot fish was tantalizing. I liked how the flour tortilla was thin yet proportionally large enough to wrap around the sizeable piece of fish.

taco close up

Dining out takes a noticeable chunk of our budget but eating at Rodney’s reminds me why for us it’s worth it. After taking into consideration the effort to buy oysters and then having to clean, shuck and dress it, the savings isn’t worth it.

Food

When we dine out, I get to choose a little bit of this and some of that. I don’t know about you, but at my house, there isn’t a wide selection of dishes that I can eat at a moment’s notice. I also don’t own a deep fryer. I’m a decent home cook, but I can’t cook seafood nearly as perfectly as Rodney’s chefs. Of course, there’s the obvious. We don’t need to cook or clean up after our meal, which takes away from the experience.

close up fried oyster

The restaurant was full, but considering the food, service and ambience, there should be a lineup to get inside. We enjoyed our tacos so much I wanted to return the following week. However, that will have to wait. I have a date with L at Sukiyaki House and after that, I want to support Black-owned restaurants in Calgary. I was also given a generous gift certificate to Beirut Street Food, my favourite place for Lebanese food, that I want to share with L’s parents.

plate oysters

I’ll miss traveling for the foreseeable future, but Rodney’s makes travel restrictions tolerable. For seafood, you can’t go wrong here. Rodney’s Oyster House gets two fat thumbs up and it makes it on my list of best restaurants in #YYC.

Rodney's Oyster House 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.

menu

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.

wine

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).

cheese

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.

sprout

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.

red

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.

pasta

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 · 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.

list

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.

fave wine

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.

tartare

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.

bon bon

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.

bubbles

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

Happy Hour · Restaurants · Seafood · Vancouver/Richmond

Vancouver – Fanny Bay & Oyster Bar

L asked me what I wanted to do on our free afternoon. Walk along the seawall! As we strolled over to English Bay, he complained that I walk too fast and said that I was going to blow out my hip. You don’t have to worry about me L, I have strong child bearing hips.

seawall

When we arrived at our destination, he wanted to rest on the bench. L mentioned he felt like oysters and if we left now, we could make it in time for happy hour. I could tell Old Man L was tired, so I sat and admired the water for a moment more before we turned around and headed over to Fanny Bay Oyster Bar & Shellfish Market . For this post, let’s listen to “Sweet About Me by Gabriella Cilmi.

Happy hour is daily from 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Select wines are $7, house beer is $5, and featured oysters are $1.50 or $2.25. The west coast oyster was the Sun Seeker (Floating Bag – 18 months old, Okeover, BC) and the east coast oyster was Totten Virginia (Beach Grown – 3 years old, Totten Inlet, WA).

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I wish I got the name of our server – a young man that spun our plate of oysters around in a circle and said it reminded him of the Game of Thrones introduction. His energy and attentive service, paired with the sublimely fresh oysters, made this visit exceptional.

bubbles

I tried a glass of the Sauvignon Blanc (Open Estates, Okanagan) and for $7 it was fine. However, I preferred the sparkling Pinot Grigio ($10, Most Wanted, Hungary) as it was simple, light and refreshing.

plate 1

Each oyster was perfectly shucked – there was no grit or shell in it. When you pulled the oyster out of the shell, it made the sound a cork makes when you pull it out of a wine bottle. 

shell

L and I prefer west coast oysters, but we enjoyed the Totten Virginia ($2.25). The oyster tasted a bit like celery. Compared to the Summit Seeker, the east coast oyster was cleaner with a crunchier texture.

shell 2

The Sun Seeker ($1.50) was firm and sweet, with a salty finish. The center of the oyster was cool on my tongue. These were chubby, creamy oysters. I was ecstatic.

beauty

The oyster was so big, I had to use my oyster fork to pull it out of the shell. Holding the oyster on the fork reminded me of a poached egg. The flavor was so good, I didn’t feel the need for anything but a little lemon and horseradish. The fresh horseradish was feathery soft – it added a bit of heat and chew to the oyster. I ate as slowly as possibly to enjoy the flavor as long as possible.

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The oysters were so enjoyable, I would be happy to return for non-happy hour prices ($3.50 each, Shuckers’ Dozen $39). I plan on visiting my parents again in November. I’ll definitely come by again to get my oyster fix. Hitting the Sauce gives Fanny Bay Oyster Bar two fat thumbs up.

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Fanny Bay Oyster Bar & Shellfish Market Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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

Klein & Harris

L won an award! To celebrate this special occasion, he took his parents and I to Klein & Harris Restaurant. For this post, let’s listen to “Whatta a Man by Salt ‘N’ Pepa.

Originally, L wanted to take his parents to Caesar’s Steakhouse. I convinced him to change the venue to Klein & Harris. He was initially worried his parents would be confused with a menu that wasn’t just meat and potatoes. Klein and Harris only uses Canadian produce, wines and spirits to create a ‘true North cuisine’.

prosecco

I first met Christina Mah – the co-owner of Klein & Harris – when she was the GM at Raw Bar. When she heard we were celebrating a special occasion, she sent over a complimentary round of prosecco with sumac and kiwi bitters. L’s teetotaler mother Loving Disapproval admired the pretty pink hue so much, she even took a sip. This is the sort of drink I adore – light, refreshing and bubbly.

mocktailWe arrived early enough to partake in happy hour drinks. L and his father Bobbino enjoyed an easy drinking beer – Philips Kolsh ($5.00). Loving Disapproval ordered a mocktail made with seasonal ingredients ($5.50). I found a new favourite white wine – Longhand Pinot Grigio 2017 ($9, HH $5). The regular price for a bottle is only $42, which is a wicked deal, particularly on Stephen Ave. The wine was pleasant, smooth and clean. I also tried a buttery, full-bodied glass of Chateau des Charmes Chardonnay 2017 Niagara on the Lake ($14.75, 7 ounce).

room

For appetizers, we ordered Diver Scallops ($20), Mushroom Ravioli ($16), and Grilled Humboldt Squid ($18). For our mains, we ordered Alberta Lamb Loin ($26), Duck Breast ($26), and the Wednesday’s Coastal Feature ($25). I only ordered three appetizers and three mains because L had to leave early to prepare for the ceremony and I’m trying to eat smaller portions. If you have a regular appetite, I would highly recommend that each person order an appetizer and main.

Loving Disapproval thinks she’s allergic to peppers. As a result, the chef prepared all the dishes without peppers, and instead, put it on the side for us to enjoy. We really appreciate the extra effort, as that was a lot of  work for the chef to accommodate one guest while still allowing the rest of us to taste the dish as it was originally intended.

scallop

The Diver scallops were cooked to perfection.  The outside was caramelized brown and the inside was silky smooth. These scallops were savoury from bacon and sweet from the apple nosh.

squid

The grilled Humboldt squid was overwhelmingly impressive.  Unless someone told me this was squid, I wouldn’t have known because the smooth, soft consistency was unlike any squid I have ever had.

mushroom

Loving Disapproval was enthralled with the mushroom ravioli. The filling was finely chopped, almost like a puree or a pate.  L is not a fan of mushrooms and he was impressed. The pasta itself was tender and delicate. The addition of the leeks, blistered tomatoes, greens and smoked Gouda made this dish quite substantial for an appetizer.

lamb

The lamb loin was pink and juicy in the middle.  Like the Humboldt squid, I’ve never tasted lamb with such a succulent texture. The sauce of green tomato and rosemary relish was really tasty and a wonderful compliment to the mild flavour of the lamb.

fish

L enjoyed the Coastal Feature, a white fish. He said it reminded him of Scandinavian cuisine. He liked the pickled potatoes, the freshness of the flavours, and the crispness of the fish and lettuce.

duck

My favourite entree was the duck breast. The meat was thick, soft and satiny. I’m familiar with Chinese BBQ duck, which is more gamey, dry and has a rougher texture. At home, I’ve made duck breast twice before and it was so rubbery, I had to throw it out.

This was an eye-opening experience for me. I am astonished that scallops, squid, duck, and lamb can taste like this.  I credit executive chef James Waters’ technique and skill. Truly, he is a master with meats and seafood.

I think Klein and Harris offers some of the best value in Calgary. That’s saying a lot because I find my go to restaurants in the city are well-priced. This gem makes it on my list of favourite restaurants in Calgary. Hitting the Sauce gives Klein & Harris two enthusiastic thumbs up.

Klein & Harris Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Happy Hour · Japanese · Restaurants

Ikemen Ramen Bar

L and I finished our grocery shopping when he announced he wanted to go out for lunch. In November, I won a $25 gift certificate to Ikemen Ramen Bar , so I figured we might as well use it. For this post, let’s listen to something groovy and relaxing, similar to Ikemen’s playlist.

The restaurant is bigger than it appears by its storefront. The room is spacious and stylish. I like the large chalkboard wall of specials, the cool stools and the colour scheme.

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Unlike some ramen places, at Ikemen you can make reservations via Opentable and book a table for larger groups. Convenient and a plus for those who detest waiting in line.

room

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I like the addition of kale. Non-traditional but I thought the hearty greens worked well with the salty broth and generous amount of meat. The noodles were chewy and plentiful. The portion was so big I didn’t finish all my ramen.  L was shocked. A first for me.

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The char siu (pork) was the highlight. The pork was cooked well –  succulent and the leaner cuts fell apart easily when you bit into it. There was one piece of meat that was quite fatty and tougher to chew. We like the proportion of meat to noodle, a ratio of about 1 to 4.

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L thought all the ingredients in his miso ramen worked well together.  The free range egg was interesting in that the egg white was wobbly and seemed less cooked than the yolk, which was in a semi liquid state. The broth wasn’t as hot as we would like. I think if the broth was served at a higher temperature, the egg would have been easier to pick up  with my chopsticks.

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When our bill arrived, I told our server that I had won a gift certificate. When I went to the counter to pick up my card, I spoke to the person in charge. I remembered that Asian Persuasion informed me that Ikemen hired the ramen chef from Ichi Rock. I inquired and was told that information was false. Glad I didn’t leak that gossip on Reddit. I learned my lesson the first time with Office Dad.

Ikemen is an ideal restaurant to meet up with old friends over a leisurely meal in the heart of Kensington. Service was excellent during our visit. Our server (guy with blondish hair) was attentive and thoughtful. We didn’t feel rushed out and we enjoyed the relaxing ambience and filling meal of ramen.

Ikemen Ramen Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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

Wine Bar Kensington – Baller Wine List

I’ve been to Wine Bar Kensington multiple of times – for my own stag, girls’ night, Sunday half price wine night, and impromptu meetings.  It’s a beloved bar for locals, particularly those who live in the hood. Which is why I’m surprised to see this is my first post for Wine Bar.

table

On Monday, Wine Bar celebrated its 10th anniversary with DJ Jon Yumol, magnum wines and a half price baller wine list. I thought that was funny because a true baller can afford to pay full price, so by buying a half price bottle, I’m just a wanna be baller.

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That’s okay with me, because I’m perfectly secure in knowing I’m a small potato.  For this post, let’s listen to Puff Daddy – It’s all about the benjamins. Oh god, I can’t believe how bad the lyrics are:

Now, what y’all wanna do?
Wanna be ballers, shot callers, brawlers
Who be dippin’ in the Benz with the spoilers
On the low from the Jake in the Taurus
Tryin’ to get my hands on some Grants like Horace
Yeah, livin’ the raw deal
Three course meals: spaghetti, fettuccine, and veal
But still, everything’s real in the field

I would argue that spaghetti, fettuccine, and veal are not a three-course meal. A three-course meal consists of three parts served one after the other. What Puff Daddy is rapping about is having three mains as one meal.

Our server Tess offered excellent recommendations. Outside of Bar Von Der Fels, she’s the only other person in Calgary that can nail down what type of wine I like. I learned from Bar von der Fels that I like full-bodied wines. That’s what I told Tess I liked.

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The first and my favourite baller wine of night was Ehret Cabernet Sauvignon ($110, half price $55). Smooth, gentle weight on the tongue, and just enjoyable wine to sip away. Excellent.

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L did all the food ordering because I had a stomach ache and I wasn’t planning on eating. Of course he ordered the Meat + Cheese platter – the chef’s selection of five ($42). I tried the 12-month aged prosciutto and the flavour was fantastic. I couldn’t taste the white, fatty part of the meat like I do some prosciutto.

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The second wine we tried was Farina – Amarone della Valpolicella ($105, half price $52.50) This was L’s favourite wine. Tessa said it if we liked the first wine, we would enjoy this one even though it was different. Lighter than first bottle, silky and I thought it had a nice balance of acidity.

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The Spinach, Goats Feta and Beet Salad ($17) was well-seasoned. The dressing was sweet and tart. I really liked the addition of the olives and nuts.

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I ate most of the Coconut Curried Lentil Dip ($16.75) because L and Bottlenick thought it was too spicy. I can handle my spice so I loved this dish. The flatbread was warm and crisp but still soft inside. Scrumptious.

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The brussel sprouts was a standout dish. I was getting quite tipsy at this point and I stopped taking notes. I just know that anything that taste that good isn’t healthy for you. Best sprouts in the city. I was really impressed with the food.

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I spotted my old neighbour – I’ll call him Wine Wizard. It turns out Bottlenick went to one of Wine Wizard’s events. At this event, Bottlenick picked up three bottles of Il Rosso Degugnano Dei Barbi and gave me a bottle to try. I should have known that Bottlenick bought this from Wine Wizard. The Wine Wizard is super serious with his wines. He wears a special pair of glasses to better analyze his bottles. I tried on his glasses that night and it did enhance my ability to think more deeply about what I was drinking.

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I asked Wine Wizard what he would drink. He pointed at what he was drinking that night – a $200 dollar bottle. The small potato in me came out and I balked at him. He then pointed to another bottle – Sor Ugo Superiore Cab Sauv/Merlot/Franc ($110, half price $55). That’s better.

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I had to put my thinking cap on because Wine Wizard took back his glasses. I liked his pick but I couldn’t describe what I was tasting. I think it was beyond my vocabulary.

I had a lot of fun at Wine Bar’s anniversary party. It was a treat to try some truly delicious wines at a price that’s more akin to my lifestyle. Thanks for the enjoyable company L, Bottlenick and Wine Wizard.

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

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

Alumni Sandwiches

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beer · Happy Hour · Pubs · Restaurants

Leopold’s Tavern – Wings Wednesday

I picked Leopold’s Tavern for our work ‘West Wing’ event. Horatio is a vegetarian and he voiced his displeasure about the lack of vegetarian options at my last work gathering. He pointed out that Leopold’s Tavern has cauliflower wings. I promised him that the next West Wing event would take place at a vegan friendly wing joint. For this post, let’s listen to “My Best Friend’s Girl” by The Cars.

Aycaramba, Lethbridge and I arrived at 3:00 p.m. to secure a big enough table. Leopold’s is a small pub and is very busy on Taco Tuesday and Wings Wednesday. The server was accomodating about us taking over a section of the restaurant and saving seats. The Caesar I ordered was smoky, strong and so spicy it stung the back of my throat.

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What’s the wing dealio here? You can get 1 lb of wings for only $3 between 3-4 p.m. $4 between 4-5 p.m., $5 between 5-6 p.m. and $5.99 between 6 p.m to close. You must purchase a drink for every order of wings/deep-fried cauliflower.
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For my second drink, I ordered Tokyo Drift ($7). Sour Cherry from Banded Peak is also offered on tap. I liked that Leopold’s serves up Calgary craft beer.

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I ordered Yolo Nachos (small $17 + $4 guacamole). The tortilla chips came flaming hot, covered in a soft cheesy blanket of mixed peppers, pico de gallo, fresh jalapenos & kalamata olives with sides of salsa and sour cream. The guacamole was the real stuff, with big chunks of avocado. I don’t like getting liquefied guacamole, as I can’t tell if it’s fresh or from a powdered mix.

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I tried Aycarumba sweet potato fries with chipotle mayo ($11). The exterior was crunchy while the interior was sweet and silky smooth. This is one of the better yam fries in the city.

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Horatio ordered his precious Buffalo Cauliflower Wings ($12). The vegetarian wings were  better than I thought it would be. The batter was crunchy and the sauce was tangy and a little sweet. If you’re a vegan, this is going to be as good as it gets for you.

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I was mesmerized by the way Lethbridge’s boyfriend Library eat his wings. I noticed that he eats two at a time. Wings all-star pro.

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Lethbridge ordered two plates of wings. I asked her why she wasted so much meat. She said it was because she was full after the first plate and didn’t like eating the cartilage. Lethbridge moaned about how full she was but went back and re-ate her food. The chipotle lime seasoning had a good zing to it.

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I ordered L a Classic Cheeseburger with fries ($16) as he was picking me up. Forty minutes later, the burger was still juicy. The patty was oversized and you could really taste the flavour of beef. L liked the fries too, thin cut and with the skin on. Our server gave me ketchup without asking, which was much appreciated. We ran out of ketchup at home and L would have been out of luck.

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How do these wings compare to other Wings Wednesday specials? The wings came out fresh out of fryer and there was suffice meat on dem bones. Some pubs give you the scrawny wings and serve them semi-warm. Service was friendly and efficient despite how busy the pub became.

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If you haven’t been to Leopold’s Tavern yet, give them a go. Service was great and the pub has good energy. I plan to go back and try the mushroom burger, poutine and macaroni and cheese, all of which I hear is tasty pub grub.

Leopold's Tavern Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato