Indian · Restaurants

The Curryer

For dinner on Saturday, I wanted to take Beep Beep somewhere I’d never been before. I remembered Miss Foodie recommended The Curryer, a Pakistani restaurant in the Beltline. As she is my number one go-to for restaurant picks, I knew we wouldn’t be steered wrong. For this post, let’s listen to “You Drive Me Wild” by The Runaways.

You have to order and pay for your food at the front counter before sitting down. Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember which drink Miss Foodie recommended, so I just ordered what the owner suggested – the Anar Twist ($5.95). For food, I choose the Aloo Mutter Samosa ($2.50), Chicken Samosa ($3), Beef Korma ($15.95), Chicken Biryani ($15.95), and Kachumber Salad ($3.95).

Our drinks were fizzy and sweet, filled with pomegranate seeds and a jelly-like lychee slush. Since I’m sensitive to sugar, I would ask for half the amount of syrup the next time I visit.

Of the two samosas we tried, I preferred the aloo mutter, as I found the filling delightfully soft and savoury. I noticed the wrapper on the aloo mutter was crunchier and poofier than the chicken samosa.

The beef korma was excellent. The texture of the beef was tender and velvety, similar to Chinese-style brisket. The creamy sauce had a deep, smooth depth to it. I warned Beep Beep to avoid the drizzle of hot oil in the curry, as she’s sensitive to spicy foods. I would get the korma again.

The naan was fantastic! I loved the big blistered air pockets. The only other place in the city with flatbread this good is Yemeni Village. The Curryer’s bread is flaky and almost papery compared to Yemini’s softer, chewier bread.

The naan is so good that I would skip the rice and double up on the bread. There’s nothing better than fresh, crisp naan and a stellar curry.

The chicken biryani tasted like the chef just made it. The plump chicken pieces were slow-roasted, which made the meat pop easily off the bone. The long grains of the basmati was fluffy, aromatic, and liberally spiced. The owner recommended mixing the cucumber salad into the biryani, as it added a crunchy, refreshing element to the dish. I enjoyed the combination of the creaminess from the mint chutney and yogurt raita with the chicken and rice.

The Curryer is located only two blocks from my office. I enjoyed the food so much that on Monday, I told everyone I saw to check out The Curryer. When I told The Voice about the generous portions, he mentioned the prices sound more reasonable than what he paid at Saffron at First Street Market with his counterpart, Sophia. After I showed GC my pictures and described the naan and beef korma, he said he would check it out, even though he’s avoiding carbs. In my meeting with Miss V, I told her she needs to try The Curryer. She asked me if that was the place GC’s been talking about. I said yes, but he hasn’t been there yet. I know L will be excited, as we haven’t been happy with the consistency of the food at our usual haunts. Hitting the Sauce gives The Curryer two enthusiastic phat thumbs up.

Italian · Special Occasion

D.O.P. – Celebration dinner

Tuesday was a day of celebrations! First, I accepted a new position. Then, my friend Honesty quit her second job. Finally, Jyoti Gondek became Calgary’s new mayor. L took me, Honesty, and Glen Jr to D.O.P to celebrate this series of beautiful events. For this post, let’s listen to “Paperback Writer” by the Beatles.

I’ve been trying to get into D.O.P. for weeks. Even on a Tuesday night, the restaurant was packed, vibrating with energy from the open kitchen and the loud chatter from the customers dining at the bar. Pro tip – if you visit right when D.O.P opens, you’ll likely snag a spot at the bar.

We began with a round of drinks. Glen Jr chose a beer from Inner City ($8), L picked an Annex Italian Pilsner ($8). Honesty ordered a non-alcoholic Negroni ($6), and I sipped on a flute of Lambrusco ($14). I found the pinkish sparkling wine light, clean and minerally. L enjoyed his beer, which he said tasted like Peroni but better.

I heard D.O.P.’s antipasto are excellent, so we ordered two orders of Grilled Bread ($10); White Anchovy ($10); Whipped Ricotta ($9); Meatballs ($21.50); Eggplant ($7); and Green Pickled Tomatoes ($7).  Holy moly – this bread is wondrous stuff. The innards of the bread were light and fluffy. I love how the bread puffs up and the big air pockets within. The outer layers of the bread were crispy, hot and salty. The olive oil was excellent – grassy and smooth. I know the French are known for their bread, but the heavyweight title should go to the Italians in Calgary. D.O.P, Rocket Pie, Savino, Azzurri, and Cotto – these chefs create magic with just flour, water, yeast, olive oil and salt.

Our server instructed us to eat the anchovies with ricotta and bread. What a knock-out pairing! The ricotta was cool and creamy, rich like whipped cream. The anchovies were bursting with umami – salty and pungent.  I appreciated the crunch of the white onions against the oily mixture of fish and bread. This was my favourite bite of the night.

L doesn’t generally like eggplant, but he declared D.O.P’s version excellent. The eggplant was soft, tart and smokey. L thought he could taste balsamic in the eggplant.


L also doesn’t like tomatoes, but he was a fan of the pickled green tomatoes. He liked how the tomatoes were crunchy and tart. There was something in the tomato dressing that sparkled on my tongue.

Honesty loved the flavour of the meatballs. I was impressed with the soft, fluffy texture. The red sauce was delicious. Having made meatballs before, I could tell labour and a lot of love goes into this version. I would order this again and I’m not a fan of meatballs.

The Tajarin ($26) was a saucy, cheesy pasta dish. The thin egg noodles were soft and soaked up the flavour of the garlic and tomato sauce. I could see my father enjoying this dish. This pasta dish reminds me of an elevated version of the pasta at Nick’s Spaghetti House, an Italian restaurant my father would eat at weekly back in the 1960s.

I loved how the Veal Chop Parm ($49) arrived in this impressive, super-sized portion. The exterior was crunchy and sizzling hot. The veal itself was tender, blanketed in a heavy layer of melted provolone cheese. As I gnawed on the bone, I could feel the shards of the batter shatter and land in my hair. I’m not a dainty eater.

I ordered a bottle of Noelia Ricci Sangiovese ($65) to enjoy with our meal. I found this wine easy to drink, smooth and bright on my tongue. I also tried a glass of the house white wine ($9). I was so happy to find such an enjoyable glass of wine for only nine bucks; a tear escaped from the corner of my eye. Thank you D.O.P., you are my unicorn.

For dessert, we shared Gelato ($11), Plums ($11), and Limoncello ($16). The plums tasted like cherries to me. I thought I could detect a bit of licorice in the dessert. The gelato was cold and creamy, with a salty, crunchy garnish.

I’m a big fan of D.O.P. The antipasti, veal chop and wines are impressive. Hitting the Sauce gives D.O.P two phat thumbs up.

Fusion · Seafood · Special Occasion

Von Der Fels – COVID-19 dine-in edition

Quebecoise’s parents are in town, which meant she and her husband Sirski could get away for a double date. Both haven’t been to Von Der Fels, which in my opinion is the place to get mind-blowing food, with zero pretension. For this post, let’s listen to “Strawberry Letter 23” by Shuggie Otis.

Québécoise and I ordered a glass of bubbles to start – Aubusieres Vouvray France Chenin Blanc (5 oz, $16). L and Sirski chose a Kinabik pilsner from Sylvan Lake ($8). I enjoyed my bubbles – it was dry and smooth. I thought it was better than the bottle of champagne we had just consumed at our place. Québécoise disagreed and said nothing is better than champagne.

The restaurant is small to begin with, but with COVID-19 restrictions and the implementation of large plastic dividers between tables, there are even fewer tables available. We were lucky to snag the best seat in the house – the round table by the front window, complete with a view of the Calgary Tower.

Quebecoise and Sirski know more about wine than I do, so I deferred to them. Quebecoise asked for a white wine that wasn’t oaky. When she noticed our server also spoke French, she switched to her native tongue. He recommend a textured white wine- La Collière, Côtes-du-Rhône (2017, $60). Quebecoise was happy and exclaimed the wine was “bon”. She found the wine aromatic, bright and not acidic – a good choice because it wouldn’t overpower the food.

I knew Quebecoise would enjoy the Smoked Castlevetrano Olives ($8). These little olives are incredibly juicy with a subtle smoky aftertaste. My buddy Jaime goes crazy over these olives, so much she wanted to get an extra order to bring home in Kamloops.

The Korean Fried Oyster ($4) tasted of the sea. The plump oyster morsel was soft and creamy as a poached egg. The batter was light and delicate. The crunch of the cucumber garnish was refreshing.

Each couple shared a Green Tomato and Mortadella Tempura Sandwich ($8). I could hear the crunch of the thinly battered tomato as I bit into it. The tomato itself was firm, smeared with a sauce that reminded me of Thousand Island dressing.

The Pizza Fritta with black truffles and potatoes ($15) was lighter in flavour than I anticipated because I’m used to the pungent black truffle salt from Silk Road Spice Merchant. I enjoyed the contrast between the crackling of the batter to the softness of the slice of potato. I thought the simple sprinkling of salt was the perfect condiment for the combination of ingredients.

The seafood in the Scallop and Shrimp Crudo ($29) was so fresh. L thought the combination of the toasted pine nuts and the softness of the artichokes paired well with the silky scallops and sweet shrimp. I liked how the the artichokes weren’t acidic as I prefer a clean flavour over a strong herby marinade. We all wondered where Von Der Fels buys their seafood. I can’t remember when I tasted shrimp with such a soft delicate texture and clean flavours. This was L’s favourite dish.

One of my favourite dishes was the Wild Squid Haskap Berry Aguacile ($20). The batter was brittle and light, similar to the crispy skin on Sukiyaki House’s agadashi tofu. The non-fried squid was soft and tender, and again, with that pureness you can only get with super fresh seafood. The fresh basil and the brightness of the berry sauce was unique and made me think of Scandinavian cuisine.

My other favourite dish was the Charcoal Grilled Pork Toro Lettuce and Herb Wraps ($36). This dish reminded me of Peking duck wraps. I loved the combination of the sizzling, fatty meat with the fresh basil and lettuce. I actually prefer pork toro over Peking duck because of the intense smoky flavour of the pork.

At the end of the night, Quebecoise and I wanted one more drink. She asked for a cocktail that was fruity, herby and not sweet. What we received was pure heaven. If you want to get sauced, this is the drink for you. I asked our server what was in this magical elixir of life. The only information I could squeeze out of him was there was some champagne and strawberries in it. Quebecoise said she could tell it was really boozy. I could tell I was in love. If I could name this drink, I would call it the Cinderella because after consuming just one of these drinks, I can see why she lost her shoe after the ball. I’m glad L took me home immediately after, because I would have surely turned into a pumpkin.

Please Von Der Fels, put this drink on your regular menu. This cocktail is a masterpiece. The Cinderella cocktail ties with Klein/Harris’ D’Angelo martini for best cocktail in the city. Hitting the Sauce gives Von Der Fels two extra chubby thumbs up.

Cheap Eats · Happy Hour · Japanese · Restaurants · Seafood · Sushi

Ke Charcoal Grill- COVID-19 dine-in edition

I’ve been hearing good things about Ke Charcoal Grill, a restaurant specializing in yakitori. I convinced L to go, though I warned him that he needs to lower his expectations. L’s eaten his fair share of yakitori in Tokyo, so I knew he had preconceived notions on what it should taste like. Ke Charcoal is popular for its cheap and tasty food. For this post, let’s listen to “Joyride” by Roxette.

When we arrived, the hostess took our temperature. As with most restaurants, there is sanitizer at the entrance. For our safety, all our cutlery and sauces were individually packed. I liked how the tables were spaciously set apart. I also noticed that the staff were attentive and friendly, despite appearing understaffed.

L ordered a glass of Asahi ($6) and I stuck with tap water. I took a sip of his beer and found it flat. I heard from a reliable person with industry knowledge – Jude – that Ke Charcoal’s sake is inexpensive. I’ll have to try some on my next visit.

The Chicken Karaage ($8) is a winner. The chicken leg meat was juicy and the batter was nice and brittle. I would order this again.

To go with our skewers, I ordered two heaping bowls of rice ($5). The rice was fluffy and the fragrance reminded me more of Chinese rice than Japanese.

We started off with two skewers of Hatsu with teriyaki sauce ($4.60). I normally love chicken heart but these skewers were served cold and the texture was rubbery instead of tender.

Next up were two skewers of Mo Mo with teriyaki sauce ($4.80). The chicken thighs were tasty and served hot. The teriyaki sauce tasted heavy and sweet.

The cheese on the Yuki ($5.20) was sticky and stuck to the roof of my mouth. I preferred the plain chicken thighs without the cheese but that’s just a personal preference.

One of our favourite skewers was Negima ($4.80). So simple but so good. The green onion was deeply caramelized and it paired beautifully with the chicken thighs.

The Dunagimo ($2.40) arrived hot. I’ve never tried chicken gizzard before. The gizzard was addictingly chewy yet crunchy, and the flavour was surprisingly subtle. I would order this again.

My favourite skewer was Kawa (w/ sea salt $2.30). The chicken skin was super crispy. When I took a bite, the skin would flake apart and then melt in my mouth. I love eating chicken skin with rice, as the plainness of the steamed rice accents the texture and richness of the skin.

I didn’t know what to expect when I ordered Okra ($2.10). The okra was cooked perfectly – there was still a resistance when I bit into it. I loved the crunchy, juicy texture and I could taste the smoky flavour of the grill.

The Asparagus Maki ($4.80) skewers were yummy. The bacon was crispy on the edges but still soft on the inside, coating the asparagus with the flavour of hot pork fat. The texture of the grilled asparagus reminded me of green beans.

We tried both the Tsukkune with teriyaki sauce ($5.20) and with cheese ($5.20). These chicken meatballs were filling, but I found the temperature cool. I think if it was served fresh off the grill, I would have enjoyed it.

I thought that more than half the skewers we tried were awesome, particularly for the price. We ordered way too much food and the bill was half of what we would pay at Shokunin. However, you can’t expect the quality of Shokunin at Ke Charcoal’s prices. Ke Charcoal is an affordable, easy introduction to yakitori. The food reminded me a bit of Torikizoku – a popular and dirt cheap yakitori izakaya chain in Japan. I think the food at Ke Charcoal is far better than Torikizoku.

I told Jude that L wasn’t as impressed as I was with yakitori. She said that the food at Ke Charcoal is great when it’s hot. Sometimes when the yakitori is colder than she would like, she’ll inform the servers and they bring over a new set. I never even thought about complaining. Jude suggested the next time I go, I should ask the servers to ensure the skewers are hot.

Jude recommends the oyster special on Wednesdays, unagi, chicken meatball with shisho, scallop, miso sablefish, beef tongue with daikon and ponzu. She told me to request salt on the yakitori and togarashi on the side for L, so he can get that essence of Japanese yakitori he craves.

I was so excited after talking to Jude that I wanted to go to Ke Charcoal the next day. I told L that I would even pick up the tab. He looked at me sourly and responded, “Look, I know why you want me to go again. You want me to have a different experience. But I won’t. It’s not Japan.”

Wow L! Talk about being inflexible. In the circle of compromise, you aren’t meeting me halfway. I’m not going to pressure him again because I think I am too controlling over where and what we eat. Plus, I know Karplop will go with me. I’ll post an update on my second visit to Ke Charcoal shortly, because this is one izakaya I’ll be frequenting. Hitting Sauce gives Ke Charcoal two fat thumbs up.

Bars/Lounges · Beer · Patio · Restaurants

Inner City Brewing Company – COVID-19 dine-in edition

On Saturday, I told L to pick a new brewery for us to check out. He picked a winner – Inner City Brewing. The beer was so good, I was surprised that I had never heard of this place before. For this post, let’s listen to The Streets, “Could Well be In”.

Inner City’s vibe is very Vancouver.  The brewery looks like a modern warehouse straight out of Yaletown. From the taproom seating area, you can see inner workings of the brewery. I stole some photos from Inner City’s Instagram account because my photos were awful.

Photo credit: Inner City Brewing Company

To create their concept beers, Inner City Brewery takes inspiration from the city. “Our brewing strategy is to produce a wide range of beer styles, true to their origins. In our names and our packaging, we honour the location where the recipe originates and the diversity of the inner core of that location.”

L counted 22 beers on tap. I opted for an Old Fashioned ($12) because he told me Inner City receives good reviews on their cocktails. L ordered a flight of beers ($9). We nibbled on popcorn ($6) while we sipped the night away. I was saving my appetite for a late night banh mi. I wish Thi Thi would partner up with some of these breweries like Clive Burger did with National. Banh mi goes with everything.

Photo credit: Inner City Brewing Company

Our server Jaime makes a wicked old fashioned cocktail. There’s an option to select the ingredients to your liking, but I asked Jaime for his recommendation. I’m a fan of his favourite version- it was sweet, bitter, and perfumed with the strong scent of a lemon peel.

L was impressed with each beer we tried. The Heart of the City – Helles Lager was light and fresh. This is a good option for an afternoon of crushing beers in the backyard.

The Bridgelandia Modern Blonde Ale was similar to Banded Peaks’ Plainsbreaker. I liked how light and smooth this ale was. The Sunnyside XPA – Extra Pale Ale was another easy drinking, smooth beer. I could taste the citrus in it. L thought the Collectively Smashed was similar to Dandy Brewery’s Oyster Stout. Rich, dark and creamy, this beer would be ideal to drink during the Christmas season.

L ordered another flight ($9) and I ordered a second cocktail. He thought the Bridgelandia – Hoppy Blonde Ale was awesome. I don’t normally like hoppy beers, but this one was easy to drink. There was no bitterness to it.

L thought the Rooftop – Modern Lager was reminiscent of American beer. I asked him what that meant. The whole point of describing something is to word it in such a way that someone who’s never tried it would understand. He said a typical American beer taste similar to Budweiser, but this version was superior in flavour.

My favourite beer of the night was the BLX: 2005-10A-2 Weiss Bier. The Weiss was almost saison’ish with a pleasant herbal taste. L enjoyed the Brickworks – Traditional English Dark Mild. He thought this was a mild dark beer that reminded him of a Newcastle brown ale. I thought it was a very drinkable for a non-beer drinker. For a double IPA, the Lights of the City was super smooth and not bitter.

L and I both noted that all eight beers were neither too strong or sweet. I think it’s telling we tried eight out of 22 beers and we liked each one. All the beers were unique and different from each other. For a fun night tasting stellar spirits, you can’t go wrong here. We’ll be back. Hitting the Sauce gives Inner City Brewing two fat thumbs up.

Burgers · Dessert · Fusion · Restaurants · Vegetarian

Donna Mac – COVID-19 edition

Restaurant owners in Calgary and Brooks are dealing with excess food after the Alberta Government delayed Phase 1 of the province’s relaunch strategy. Despite the fact restaurants were already stocked, staffed and ready to go, these businesses can’t open until May 25th. Some owners are requesting reimbursement for the last minute reversal date of the opening date.

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Municipal politicians are encouraging residents to purchase takeout from these restaurants to help use up produce that would otherwise go to waste.  For a list of restaurants that were ready to open, visit Savour Calgary’s list.

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L announced that this long weekend, we were going to eat out at least twice. As I’m always eager to play the role of best supporting wife, I suggested several restaurants I wanted to try. For this post, let’s listen to “I Will Follow Him” by Little Peggy March.

One restaurant that’s been long on my wish list is Donna Mac. I called and requested curbside pickup. Customers can also order delivery available via DoorDash, though keep in mind when a delivery app is used, that company receives a hefty commission from the restaurant.

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The Mac Burger ($11) reminded me of L’s go-to spot in the city – Clive Burger. The patties oozed with the juices of the meat. The patty tasted like it was cooked over charcoal.  I enjoyed the thick, sticky layer of American cheese so much I scraped the leftover remnants stuck on the foil wrapper with my fries.

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I recommend adding the fries to the burger, as it adds a crunchy contrast to the softness of the patties and squishy bun. I preferred the smoked dijon aioli to McDonald’s Big Mac sauce. My favourite part of the burger was the smoky flavour of the beef and heavy handedness of the cheese.

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Despite the ten minute drive home, the batter on the Fried Chicken Sandwich ($11) was still crunchy. I liked the sweet tang and heat of the gochujang mayonnaise sauce. The slightly acidic pickles added a little taste of summer to the sandwich. I could taste and see the quality of the white chicken meat.

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I thought both burgers were a gourmet take on fast food, but with better ingredients and sauces. I don’t think I can eat at McDonald’s anymore, knowing what I know now.

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The fries ($4) were well-seasoned, skinny and crispy. The mouth feel of the potatoes reminded me of McDonald’s fries. Next time I order burgers from Donna Mac, I will request a side of the chicken burger sauce for my fries.

doughnut

For dessert, we ordered the daily made Donut ($5). The doughnut was soft and fluffy, rolled in a thin, crunchy layer of cinnamon and sugar. The lemon curd filling was bright and lemony, smooth and creamy. The next time I go to a party, I’m going to order half a dozen of these babies. I’m not a doughnut person, but Donna Mac’s version is so superb, I predict it’s going to win a future award in Avenue Magazine’s “best of” category.

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I’m excited for this weekend. I can knock off a couple more restaurants off my wish list. Have any suggestions? Send me a message.

Donna Mac Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Beer · Patio · Restaurants

Two House Brewery

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

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

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

beer list

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

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

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

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

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

Bars/Lounges · Beer · Cheap Eats · Pubs · Restaurants

Greta Bar – No Man’s Dinner #1

“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” – William Congreve

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When I applied to  No Mans Dinner – a supper club in Calgary –  I was informed that no female members are permitted. I pointed out that rule 5 stipulates no female guests, but there was no rule about female members.  Despite my outstanding qualifications, I was still rejected. Being the private person I am, I had to post this devastating blow on my Instagram feed.

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I joked to Loaf2go about having our own supper club – No Man’s Dinner. Loaf2go was also initially joking when she encouraged this, but after some back and forth and a coffee date, our new club was born.  Loaf2go designed the logo and created the rules. Please note –  despite our name, we are inclusive of all foodies, with one exception. No children.

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We picked Greta Bar for the first meetup. Even though it was -27 weather, the adult arcade bar was packed with customers.  You’ll either love or hate the music – a fun, nostalgic mix-up of 80’s and 90’s music.  I enjoyed listening to Bon Jovi, Spice Girls, New Kids on the Block and Biggie Smalls. For this post, let’s listen to Bon Jovi’s ” Living’ On a Prayer”.

Loaf2go texted me saying she would be a little late. I was in the same boat. Traffic was awful. She and her husband T arrived 3 minutes late. L and I were literally seconds behind.  Happyeatsyyc and Lizarooprai were already sitting at our table when we arrived.

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L was surprised there were so many men in our party, considering our club is called No Man’s Dinner. There was Iatehere, Pak_to_Eating_yyc’s boyfriend, Lizarooprai’s plus one, and the spouses of the Founder and President. I finally met HangryinYYC, my go to expert for dim sum in Calgary. I already knew ShellyKirks from my travels to Japan. The last to arrive was Jeanie.Mark. I found out she was late because she saw a car accident and she had to stay as a witness.

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For happy hour, house beers, wine and select cocktails were $5. Shop Fries, Greek Doughnuts, and Jamaican Patties were $5. The Greta Brown was tasty – with notes of espresso and chocolate. I preferred the brown over the Greta Blonde, the latter being a bit too yeasty for my taste.

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I enjoyed the Greek doughnuts ($6.50, HH $5) more than I thought I would. Each piece was warm and puffy, tasting a bit like a deluxe Tim Horton’s crueller Timbit. I didn’t find the addition of honey too sweet. I’d order this again.

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Loaf2go shared her Ginger Beef Baos ($13) with us. The sirloin beef is from Community Foods. I liked the squishiness of the homemade white buns. The beef was cut thin and lightly battered.

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The table’s favourite dish was another one of Loaf2go’s picks – the Currywurst Pretzel ($13). She said she knew it would be good because the sausage is from Empire Provision. The house-made curried ketchup had a hot kick to it.

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Shelly ordered the Jamaican Patties ($10, HH $5). The wagyu meat was also from Community Foods.  I enjoyed the heat in the curry ground beef. Shelly liked the turmeric pastry because of its thin, crispy shell. I liked the ratio of filling to crust.

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I ordered the Street Nuggets ($12) – buttermilk brine chicken with pickles and onions. I picked hot sauce, which was very hot. Loaf2go enjoyed the this dish more than I did. I prefer my nuggets with more a crunchy exterior.

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I also ordered the East Coast chip shop fries ($5.50, HH $4:00). The potatoes were made from fresh-cut Hutterite red skin  potatoes.  Everyone thought the fries were a tad overcooked.

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I tried some of Loaf2go’s Thai Mango Salad ($6.50). I could taste the fish sauce in the dressing. I wasn’t expecting to see a Thai salad that looked so authentic.

L and I were impressed that Greta was not afraid to use some heat. I thought it was cool that a bar that sells this range food of international dishes didn’t dumb down the spicy dishes. I wonder if the clientele appreciates the heat.

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Our next foodventure is going to be at Bar Modern, a new steakhouse on Stephen Ave for happy hour. If L is good, I might even splurge and buy him a steak dinner. Modern Steak serves beef from its prize-winning Black Angus Bull with Benchmark Angus. I’m pretty curious to see the difference between ranch specific Alberta beef and the sale stuff I buy from Safeway.

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

Fusion · Restaurants · Special Occasion · Vietnamese

Foreign Concept

Beep Beep was in town for my birthday. For one of my celebratory dinners, I picked Foreign Concept. We arrived at 7:00 p.m. and the rooms were just buzzing. Most of the clientele were in their fifties and well-dressed. Though I doubt Foreign Concept’s crowd listens to Jidenna, I want to give props to Chef Duncan Ly so here’s Long Live the Chief.

Beep Beep and I started off with a cocktail – Long Farewell (2.5 ounce, $12). This is a drink I can get behind. The combination of Ketel One vodka, plum sake, maraschino, lime juice, and basil was tart, boozy and refreshing.

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We started off with the Bulgogi Imperial rolls ($12). The lettuce arrived lush and shiny. The imperial roll was hot out of the fryer, crunchy and chewy. The addition of the greens, pickled vegetables and mint made this dish come alive. We asked for more mint half way through our rolls. I like my mint.

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I was surprised that the Cashew Satay Toasted Eggplant ($10) packed such a flavour punch. When I bite into the marinated eggplant, the juices drip down on my plate. The delicate tangle of greens, sautéed red peppers and perfectly cooked snap peas sopped up the eggplant juices.

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My favourite dish was the Charsiu Pork and Foie Gras Steamed Buns ($29). I liked the process of taking a warm squishy bun and adding a slice of pear, small coins of cucumber, and pickled vegetables. When I chewed, I could taste the distinct and contrasting flavours of the foie gras and pork.

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I appreciated the pace of which the food arrived at our table. Our server asked us if we needed more time in between the eggplant and the pork entree.

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I want to start coming to Foreign Concept more often. The food is refined and the flavour combinations are sophisticated, at least to my palate. Hitting the Sauce gives Foreign Concept two fat thumbs up.

Foreign Concept Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cheap Eats · Comfort food · Curry · Fusion · Happy Hour · Japanese · Restaurants · Sushi

Redheads

My husband and I dine at Redheads every week. Recently, Redheads started to offer Japanese tapas. We’ve only gotten through half the menu. What I like about the tapas menu is we can try so many different items but not feel stuffed.

The mini seaweed ($2.50) was a generous quantity for the price. I like the silky strands and the taste of the sea. The seasoning was a good balance of salty, sweet, and sour.

The Avocado with Seaweed ($5.00) is more appropriate for hardcore foodies. The plum sauce was mouth puckering sour. I thought it was delightful, but this dish wouldn’t be for everyone.

The Chicken with Fresh Vegetables ($6.00) was one of my favourite dishes. The zucchini tasted like it was plucked from a garden. The chicken was crispy and covered in a sweet and sour sauce that didn’t taste like it was from a bottle.

The Chikuzen-ni ($5.00) is a dish I can eat without guilt. The simmered root vegetables were soft and comforting. The chicken was well-marinated in a soy based marinade.

We tried the Salmon Grilled Yuan ($3.00) and the Salmon Nanban Marine ($3.50). L preferred the grilled salmon while I enjoyed the nanban a bit more because it was fried and sat in a sweet vinegar.

Another winner was the Japanese Chunky Miso Soup ($4.00). The broth was hot and tasty. The pork and veggies were plentiful and hearty.

We each tried Temari Sushi ($4). Each plate contained a piece of salmon, tuna and ebi. The rice was shaped like a large marble and well-seasoned.

After all this, we were still peckish. We shared a Mini Katsu Curry ($6.00). On top of a bed of steaming rice were five small pieces of fried pork. The beef curry was dark and rich. Just how I like my coffee.

Our group from our last trip to Japan wants to get together again. I’m going to see if they would like to rent out Redheads for an evening of Japanese comfort food.

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