Beer · Pubs

Waterloo Kitchen and Bar – Tacos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beer · Pizza · Pubs

Richmond Pub

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beer · Burgers · Pubs

Waterloo Pub

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheap Eats · Pubs · Restaurants

Ship and Anchor

On Saturday, Zeta-Jones celebrated her 40th birthday party at the Ship and Anchor. I know Zeta-Jones through her partner Fougui, whom I’ve been friends with for eight years. For this post, let’s listen to “Baby, Baby” by Amy Grant.

Fougui ordered two massive platters of nachos ($22, + $3 guacamole) for the table to share. Damn – this was a good plate of nachos! Each chip was fresh, light and thin. One of my pet peeves is stale nachos. I liked how there was an even distribution of cheese, diced tomatoes, pickled jalapeños and green onions throughout the platter.

With the exception of Zeta-Jones and Fougui, I didn’t know anyone else at the table. But, lucky for me, Claudia befriended me, and throughout the night, she took the time to translate the group’s conversation. I noticed Claudia was drinking red wine (La Bite Merlot, $9), so I asked if she liked the wine. She said there was only one wine by the glass, but it was good, especially for the price. Claudia and I got along so well that night that I invited her to be a No Man’s Dinner member, and she asked me to attend her birthday party next week. We also have plans to try the charred liver at Yemini Village.

Claudia ordered the Two-Piece Fish ($15) with Yam Fries (+$3). She said wasn’t expecting much, so she was pleasantly surprised by the fish and chips. She noted the velvety texture of the fillet reminded her of the fresh fish in Mexico City. She liked that fries and fish were crispy because she thinks there’s nothing worse than soggy fish. She mentioned she ordered two pieces of fish because she expected the portion to be small. Instead, she said the fish was plump and large and could only eat one piece. I thought it was interesting the batter was so pale, but perhaps that’s just because of the lighting.

Her friend Daphne said she enjoyed her fish but found the regular fries too dry. Claudia didn’t like the tartar sauce, but Daphne enjoyed it so much, she ate her friend’s portion. Daphne noted that she could taste the vinegar in the tartar sauce, which she said paired well with the fish.


I wasn’t hungry yet, but that didn’t stop me from rudely staring across the table at the plate of Chicken Wings ($15) and Humboldt Calamari ($9). When I come back, I would order both the wings and calamari.


Though I didn’t eat, with Claudia’s riveting descriptions, I felt like I did. This experience renewed my interest in the Ship and Anchor. I’ll have to bring L for a date night so I can try some of the deep-fried delights. I also hear the lamb shank is particularly good. To be continued.

Beer · Pubs · Wings

Inner City – Oyster Night

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

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

Photo credit: Cyung5

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

Photo credit: Cyung5

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

Photo credit: Cyung5

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

Photo credit: Cyung5

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

Photo credit: Cyung5

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

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

Newcastle Pub – Wing Night

L wants to be cautious on where we choose to dine out because of the new COVID-19 variant. We drove by Newcastle Pub and saw that it was quiet, perhaps because of the weather and time of day. In honour of the new documentary on Britney Spears, let’s listen to “I Wanna Go”.

Newcastle installed glass barriers between socially distanced tables. The room looked and smelled clean – even the walls and ceilings appeared freshly washed. When we sat down, we saw our favourite server Katarina going to each table to ask for a name and phone number. One of the new restrictions is that restaurants are expected to collect contact information from one person of the dining party.

L ordered an IPA ($7, 20 ounce) and I settled on a Wild Rose Velvet Fog ($7, 20 ounce). I still remember when I first came to Calgary, how much I liked Wild Rose beer. At that time, BC only had Granville Island beer, which tastes like what I imagine piss to be like. I can actually feel my mother cringing at that description. I’m not so worried because another restriction is that out-of-town visitors cannot stay in other people’s homes while these restrictions are in place, regardless of where they are coming from.

One thing we always order is the Truffle Fries ($9.75). The portion is huge and despite the fact the fries are piled high, there’s an even distribution of grated parmesan, truffle oil and fresh parsley. L likes that the amount of truffle isn’t overwhelming. I love the side of garlic aioli, even though this dish is decadent enough on its own.

I felt like wings and L said he would share it with me, just as long it wasn’t salt and pepper. I asked him why and he responded that it is the most boring flavour you can get. I questioned why he’s just telling me this now, as I’ve always ordered salt and pepper wings. L said how can you not know? It’s just salt and pepper, and now that he thinks about it, that’s not even a flavour. I think this pandemic is getting to us. I’ve never seen L so passionate about chicken. I was speechless.

I have to admit, hot wings ($3.50, $1.50 for a side of ranch) taste much better than the salt and pepper. The hot sauce had a nice heat to it and a pleasant vinegary tang. On this day, the wings were extra meaty.


Newcastle Pub is one of the best run pubs in the city. I think part of the reason is the manager Jay is always helping out and he previously worked as an executive chef. In the nine years we’ve been customers, we’ve never experienced a bad meal or poor service. Keep up the great work enforcing the mandatory restrictions.

Beer · Burgers · Patio · Pubs · Restaurants

Bitter Sisters Brewery – COVID-19 dine-in edition

On Sunday, L and I were too tired to drive up to Hub Town Brewing as we had planned. Our ex-neighbours spoiled us the night before with homemade pizzas cooked on their new ceramic grill. Sirski’s secret recipe produced a crust that was crispy and light, with a unique flavour profile. We spent the night eating a total of five pizzas, each with a different combination of toppings and sauces.

For our Sunday day date, I wanted to try Bitter Sisters Brewery because of all the positive reviews I read. I can tell when online reviews are fake or genuine. You have to look for common themes and variation in writing style, as well as the reviewer’s history. For this post, let’s listen “We are Family” by Sister Sledge.

Finding parking isn’t an issue at Bitter Sisters – their private lot offers ample room. The patio and the interior of the restaurant is nicely decorated. You can tell the owners put money and thought into the build.

At the front door, there is a sign requesting customers sanitize before they enter the room. I also saw staff constantly cleaning and sanitizing tables after each party left.

L ordered a flight of beer ($10) and I requested a 16 oz of the Sassy Jack ($6.75). My saison was cool and bubbly. L liked how the peppery notes dissipated on his tongue in a matter of seconds.

On the menu, Sassy Jack is described as a beer that is designed to go down slowly. I’m glad L warned me the alcohol content in my beer was 7.2%. I took my time and sipped slowly, but the beer still wobbled me when I got up to leave.

L’s favourite beer was the Tropical Big Brother Butch Pale Ale. He liked the crisp and fruity notes. I tasted a slight bitterness that I found appealing.

The Fifi’s Dirty Blonde ale reminded L of a pilsner. When I tried the ale, it reminded me of the beers I drank in Prague.  His last sampler was a pineapple sour from Bitter Sister’s rotating line.

I wasn’t starving so L and I shared the Nashville Fried Chicken ($17). Wowzers. Now this is a damn fine chicken sandwich. What made this burger sing was the compilation of all the ingredients.

The chicken was well marinaded, covered in a spicy crunchy batter. L appreciated how the burger wasn’t overly sauced and the proportions of bun to chicken to broccoli slaw was balanced. I would have preferred a little more of that tangy creamy chipotle aioli, just so I could sop it up with the fries.

Our server was considerate enough to check if we liked cilantro. We asked for a side of the noxious herb, so I wouldn’t have to eat it. L loved the addition of cilantro in his burger. We both thought the bun was excellent – it was chewy and soft.

The fries were golden white, crispy on the outside with a fluffy interior. The portion was generous. These fries reminded me a cross between New York Fries and the Belgium frites from the Fritz European Fry House in Vancouver.

I can’t believe this place hasn’t been on our radar before. Bitter Sisters deserves much more hype. At these prices, the food is a steal. The beers are tasty and go up against any of Alberta’s well-known breweries. Service was excellent and because of the obvious sanitation rules in place, we felt safe eating here.

L and I are looking forward to our next trip. He wants to try the Viet style club ($17) and I want to sample the Steak and Fries ($20). Check them out before patio season ends. Hitting the Sauce gives Bitter Sisters two fat thumbs up.

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

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.

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

Beer · Pubs · Restaurants · Vancouver/Richmond

Richmond – Fuggles and Warlock

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

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

bar.jpg

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

menu.jpg

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

fuggles

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

sampler

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

beers

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

little one

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

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

sandwich.jpg

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

pickle.jpg

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

torte

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

cheesy.jpg

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

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

Beer · Burgers · Pubs · Restaurants

Newcastle Pub

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

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

fries.jpg

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

pub

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

sandwich.jpg

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

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

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