Happy Hour · Restaurants · Vietnamese · Wings

Pure Contemporary Vietnamese – All-you-can-eat wings

In my office, I’m usually the one who organizes after work get-togethers. This time around, I picked Pure Contemporary Vietnamese for Wing Wednesday. Horatio made a joke that we should call our party “West Wings”. I’m not political. Left wing, right wing, I just like to wing it. For this post, let’s listen to The West Wing theme song.

Here’s the lowdown. Everyone at the table must order a drink from Pure’s speciality menu and choose one of two options: pay a) 35 cents per wing or b) $10 for all-you-can-eat wings. If you have leftovers at the end of the meal, you’ll be charged $1 per wing. You are also limited to two hours from time of order.

wine

There’s something for everyone here: cocktails, draft beer, bottled beer, wines and non-alcoholic drinks.  I tried a glass of the 50th Parallel Gewurztraminer ($9.50), which was a bit too sweet for my taste. I preferred the Casa Petrone Pinot Grigio ($8.50). Disco Mary liked her Kimmy Caesar and Carol enjoyed her mojito. Zeplin was impressed with his showy, mint green milkshake topped with whipped cream. Everyone else at our table ordered draft beer.

table

There are 15 different flavours to choose from. The most popular wings are: chili lime, nuoc cham, garlic butter, gochujiang, truffle parmesan, and chili tamarind. For the traditionalists, there’s Franks Hot, honey hot, teriyaki, honey garlic and salt and pepper.

salt and pepper

Pure’s version of salt and pepper reminds me of Chinese style salt and pepper squid. The wings were fried then dressed in chili flakes, wok fried peppers, onions and green onions. The wings were juicy, fat, crunchy morsels. The size of these babies are at least three times that of any other pub in Calgary.

parm.jpg

The taste of the freshly grated parmesan and black truffle salt was dominant. Delicious, but I couldn’t eat a whole plate on my own because the flavour and smell was pungent after a few.

hoison.jpg

Everyone ordered a plate each and we all shared our wings. About my fifth wing in, I began to lose awareness of which flavour of wing I was devouring. I was so into mowing down that I lost tract.  I do remember our group’s favourite flavour was chili lime. The sauce was tangy and spicy.

saucy

Andrew observed that our section of the table consumed more wings than the other side. I didn’t want to analyze how much we actually ate, but he was persistent and made me take the  photo below as evidence. Now I get to relive how much I over ate.

bones.jpg

Meets said these were the best wings she’s ever had and wants to come back.  I know my coworkers were surprised that I picked to have wings at a Vietnamese restaurant. After they ate here, they knew why. Pure serves up kick ass wings.

banhmi.jpg

My husband L enjoyed wing Wednesday so much, we returned on Saturday. L ordered the Open Face Beef Banh Mi ($13.75) on focaccia bread, with fries as the side. The wok tossed kalbi beef was tender and saucy. This is just a personal preference, but we would have preferred a plain baguette instead of the focaccia.  I felt like a simpler bread would have been a good foil to all the strong, flavourful sauces. I’m keen to try Pure’s traditional Vietnamese Baguette ($13.75), to see how it compares to my favourite banh mi spot – The Submarine.

pho.jpg

The Pot au Pho ($13.75) is big enough for two people. I was too full after devouring the entire bowl. The bowl is generously filled with slices of beef, flank, beef balls, crunchy bean sprouts, freshly sliced scallions and a few leaves of basil. The broth is rich and has more intense flavours than your typical pho joint. To date, Song Huong and Pure make my favourite pho in the city. I wanted to try Pho Da Bo for their sate beef with bone marrow.

Screen Shot 2018-07-11 at 8.23.48 PM

I’m keen to organize another wing event. Horatio wants to go to Leopold’s Tavern for cauliflower wings because he’s vegan. There’s a location in the Beltline and another location opening up in Bowness. I want to try Beagle 14 and Unicorn Pub, as I hear from @yycwings that the wings are stellar. Also, if you want to see some serious wing drama, check out the beef @betterthanyycwings has for @yycwings. Hopefully there won’t be any fowl play.

Pure Contemporary Vietnamese Kitchen + Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Happy Hour · Restaurants · Seafood · Special Occasion

Rodney’s Oyster House – Happy Hour

restaurant

Barbie and I checked out Rodney’s Oyster House for happy hour. The Calgary location is more upscale than Rodney’s locations in Vancouver. Judging from the exterior, I was surprised to find the restaurant was so spacious. I liked the use of white in the decor, the high ceilings and the ‘catch’ of netted lights in the middle of the room. For this post, let’s listen to I was Made for Lovin’ You by Kiss, a song I overheard while dining here.

Happy hour runs from Monday to Friday, 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. For $15 bucks, you get half a dozen oysters and an alcoholic beverage. You can choose from a select vodka cocktail, draft beer, prosecco, red, rosé or white wine. Drink specials include the above drinks for $5 and breaded scallop sliders ($15), fish tacos ($12) and calamari ($10).

unnamed.jpg

I could hear our server pop a fresh bottle of bubbly (NV Vaporetto – DOC Brut Prosecco) for us. Yay! A pet peeve of mine is getting the tail end of a bottle. Our flute was filled to the top. Another yay! It really irks me when I order bubbly and my flute arrives half empty.

condiments.jpg

The tray of condiments ranged from sweet to heat. The best of the bunch was the Seawitch, a tangy, sweet tomato sauce. I’m not normally a fan of cocktail sauce but Rodney’s version was so good it converted me.

oysters good.jpg

The oyster featured for happy hour was Sex on the Bay (New Brunswick). This little oyster was smooth and silky, a little briny with a clean finish. Cold and delicious. The horseradish was fresh.

close up oyster

We ended up leaving early in order to beat the snow fall warning in effect. I instantly regretted our decision when I saw another table order the sliders, tacos and calamari. From what I can see, Rodney does not cheap out for happy hour.  Oh well, that just means we have to return soon. Hitting the Sauce gives Rodney’s happy hour oysters and prosecco two fat thumbs up.

Rodney's Oyster House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

17th Ave · Beer · Happy Hour · Pubs · Restaurants · Wings

Home and Away

Last night I saw a post on Instagram of these incredible looking wings. On Tuesdays, Home and Away offers half price wings and $4.00 beers from Calgary. L didn’t have any fight in him when he came home and nodded in agreement when I suggested we go out.

Screen Shot 2018-01-24 at 7.48.05 PM
For this post, let’s listen to Beastie Boys You Gotta Fight for Your Right to Party. You’ll see why shortly.

We both ordered glasses of Banded Peak’s Plainsbreaker. This is a wicked deal for $4.00. At Banded Peak’s brewery, we pay $10.00 for a big can. I find the Plainsbreaker fresh, crisp, and not too hoppy or bitter.

beer

The feature wing of the night was Sushi Roll (hh $7, regular $14.50). The wings themselves tasted like good quality chicken – ample amounts of tender white meat. The wings were crispy and sweet from the ginger soy glaze. I smeared my wings with the avocado puree and topped it with a piece of cold fried sushi rice, cucumber and nori. L said the combination of ingredients tasted odd together because of the sweetness of the chicken and the avocado. I thought it was interesting and enjoyed it for what it was – something novel and fun.

wings.jpg

About this time, a couple next to us started to fight. Apparently the female told the male it was rude when he pointed to the TV screen. He took offence to this and told her off. He then brought us into the conversation. “Look, I’m pointing at him and he doesn’t care. It’s not a big deal.” L did care. It was uncomfortable and awkward to be pointed at while they fought. The volume and angry tone in his voice started to give me a headache. Before he took off he sarcastically wished her a happy birthday. What a gent! Five minutes later he came back and started to loudly argue with her again. I told L we were moving tables.

sushi wings

We ordered a second beer and shared a Cubano with fries ($16.50). What a disappointment. The sandwich lacked a crunchy exterior and a warm gooey middle. The bread was cold and doughy, similar to but not as good as the cheese breadsticks I use to get in elementary school. The sandwich was supposed to include country ham, braised pork, aioli, mustard, cheese curds and home pickles. I saw home pickles and tasted an extremely salty pulled pork. I didn’t taste any cheese curds, ham or aioli. The meat and the bread itself was a really small portion. We did get a generous amount of fries.

Cuban.jpg

I liked our server Melissa – she was informative and competent. I recommend Home and Away for wings and beer on Tuesdays. The restaurant is a big space so it is ideal for large groups.

Home & Away, Calgary Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Restaurants · Seafood · Vancouver/Richmond

Vancouver – Fanny Bay Oyster Bar

Our last full day in Vancouver. Beep Beep, L and I checked out Granville Island. I showed L around my old stomping grounds. The art school that rejected my application. The playhouse my elementary school would take us to watch the Christmas Carol. The Lobster Man, where I experimented with shucking oysters. Then we walked around the food market where I use to buy my ravioli, pates and organic hot chocolate. L suggested at the end of the tour we sit down for a pint at the Granville Island Brewery.

granville

The brewery is a small room with a view of the machinery and retail store. Personally, I don’t like Granville Island beer. I find most of the flavours weak, watery and artificial tasting. Afterwards, L said he felt like raw oysters at Rodney’s in Yaletown. I wanted to try a new oyster place that opened up – Fanny Bay Oyster Bar on Cambie Street. L reiterated that he wanted to go to Rodney’s. I said a little white lie to get my way. I told him Fanny Bay Oyster was cheaper than Rodney’s. Ha! Worked like a charm. For this post, let’s listen to Blue Oyster Cult – (Don’t Fear) The Reaper.

Fanny Bay also sells their seafood in their market section. I noticed trays of oysters for sale, as well as lobsters, containers of shucked oysters and frozen crab legs.
tray.jpg

The restaurant is roomier than Rodney’s. Service was very good. We were checked on often and the bartenders have a heavy hand when it comes to their wine pours. Happy hour is between 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

wine.jpg

We ordered two dozen oysters ($1.50 each/hh), a plate of fried oysters ($13/hh), white wine ($6.50) and a 14-ounce of Parallel 49 Gypsy Tears Rube Ale ($5).
fried.jpg

The fried oysters came first. Most of the oysters were overcooked, resulting in a rubbery, dry texture. There was one oyster that was properly cooked and that was good. The center was still soft and creamy, tasting of the ocean. I liked the house made coleslaw – the shredded cabbage was crunchy and lightly dressed.

agina.jpg

The raw oysters were delicious. Each oyster was nice and cold. So delicious, I chewed as slowly as I could to enjoy the slightly salty, plump sweet morsels. Fanny Bay oysters have a pleasant aftertaste – a bit like cucumbers.

oyster again

We received a shallot mignonette, but I preferred just a squeeze of lemon, hot sauce and touch of horseradish.

hot sauce

You can get $1.50 oysters in a few places in Calgary, but none taste like this since Full Circle closed. Earlier that day I walked into the Lobster Man on Granville Island. Their oysters cost $1.50 and up and you have to shuck them yourselves. Do you know how much work goes into shucking? Too much for me.  I give Oyster Bay Bar’s raw oysters two fat thumbs up.

new

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

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

Jamesons Irish Pub

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

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

platter.jpg

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

pizza.jpg

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

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

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

Bars/Lounges · Beer · Burgers · Patio · Pizza · Pubs · Restaurants

Tudor Rose – Sunday Happy Hour

Last Sunday, Chris, Barbie and I went door knocking with Ward 3 candidate Jyoti Gondek.  When we were finished, she told she was taking us out for food to celebrate a new milestone – 7, 500 doors! Since Jyoti’s number one priority is to ensure the needs of ward 3 communities are not overlooked, I’m going to play the song ‘Uprising’ by Muse.

We went to her favourite local pub –  Tudor Rose. On Sunday afternoon, Tudor Rose offers an appetizer special – two for one appetizers. We each picked a dish – Crispy Calamari ($12), Stuffed Yorkies ($13), Pub Wings ($13) and Basil Meatballs.

Stuffed yorkies.jpg

I tried everything but the stuffed yorkies as Chris was famished and he could use the calories more than I. These babies looked glorious – nicely brown, puffed up and filled with beef and soaked in dark gravy. I tried the horseradish dip and that had a nice bite to it.

Meat.jpg

I enjoyed the super-sized beef meatballs. I liked the sprinkle of feta cheese and the tangy tomato sauce. The beef was tender and I could tell the basil inside the meatball was fresh. When I ate this I imagined a little elderly Italian woman in the back of Tudor Rose making homemade meatballs by hand. I have a wild imagination.

wings.jpg

The wings were hot and crispy. I appreciated the garnish of fresh vegetables – celery, carrots and bell peppers. The wings were meaty and moist. I’ve been told not to use the word ‘moist’ because people find the adjective gross.  I could use the word juicy but I don’t find chicken juicy. Chicken doesn’t squirt juices out like a nice steak. I stand by the word moist.

Calamari.jpg

The calamari was a non-typical version. The squid came in squiggly ringlets. The exterior  of the squid had more of a crumb texture than the battered type you get at Paros Souvla. I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy the non-creamy dip, but it was good and probably a lot healthier. The calamari was tasty on its own so that it didn’t need anything other than a squirt of lemon.

Screen Shot 2017-08-17 at 5.58.21 PM.png

The municipal election is coming soon… October 16, 2017. If you plan to vote, check out the City of Calgary’s election website and learn where you can vote and more about the candidates in each ward.

Tudor Rose Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bars/Lounges · Burgers · Happy Hour · Patio · Pizza · Restaurants

Spot On Kitchen – Kid-friendly Pub

I met my in-laws at Spot on Kitchen for happy hour on Friday. My sister-in-law Turned loves this place because of the high-chairs, colouring sheets and range of toys to amuse her toddler Jack. The covered patio is nice – it gets lot of light and the deck is decorated with Japanese maple trees and planter baskets.

Screen Shot 2017-06-21 at 7.02.07 PM.png

My sister-in-law Turned tied up her dog Sam outside the patio. Sam, who I like to call Sam the Scam because of his cunning ways, wedged himself under the patio wall and crawled inside. Turned tried to squeeze Sam out, but got tired and said Sam could stay. Our server apologetically informed her dogs are not allowed on the patio. Can you guess what I`m going to play for this post? Baha Men – Who let the dogs out.

Turned untied Sam’s leash and had her partner Dave lifted him over the wall. I just sat there silently judging, thankful it wasn’t my dog that misbehaved. Turned should bring Sam to Vin Room’s dog-friendly patio.

Screen Shot 2017-06-21 at 7.02.16 PM.png

Happy hour runs from 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm. Drink specials include $4.00 glasses of wine, $6 pints (which isn’t advertised) and $4.00 nibbles. I enjoyed my pint of Belgian Moon as it was bubbly and the wedge of orange was fresh and juicy. I hate it when I get flat beer and dried up garnishes.

Screen Shot 2017-06-21 at 7.01.12 PM.png

We ordered boneless chicken bites, kettle chip style nachos with pulled pork and onions and fries. We ordered avocado on the chips too but I think the kitchen forgot to put it on. I prefer kettle chips over tortilla chips any day. The potato chips make for a lighter dish and the delicate flavour of chips didn’t overpower the ingredients, so I could taste more of the toppings. This whole dish was only six bucks. Four dollars for the kettle chips and a dollar for every additional topping.

Screen Shot 2017-06-21 at 7.01.23 PM.png

The chicken bites were better than I expected. The chicken was tender and it was served hot, with the same sauce options as the wings. The chicken bites tasted like wings but without the crispy skin (which is the best part). For four dollars, it was a good deal.

Screen Shot 2017-06-21 at 7.01.55 PM.png

 

Spot On Kitchen & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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

Charbar – Rooftop Patio

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

view

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

wine

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

burger.jpg

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

salad.jpg

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

guac

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

kids.jpg

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

17th Ave · Beer · Happy Hour · Patio · Pizza · Restaurants

Sunday Funday at Cibo

Cibo has an awesome happy hour and daily specials. On Sundays, Cibo features half off pizzas all day long, as well as four dollar draft beers. The patio is also one of the nicest on 17th Ave.

Screen Shot 2017-06-06 at 6.23.54 PM.png

We ordered Philips Citricity Grapefruit IPA ($4), a mushroom pizza (hh $10, regular $20) and the prosciutto pizza (hh $11, regular $22). I found the chili oil for our pizza too mild – it tasted like regular olive oil.

Screen Shot 2017-06-06 at 6.24.08 PM.png

I could detect button and oyster mushrooms on our vegetarian pizza. The roasted garlic and truffle oil was delicate. The cream sauce was mild tasting as well. The fried rosemary added a nice crunchy texture and pleasant aromatic flavour.

Screen Shot 2017-06-06 at 6.23.44 PM.png

I enjoyed the pronounced flavours from our meat pizza. The prosciutto was salty, but the arugula added some freshness to the pizza. I liked the sweetness that the fig jam added. The crust on both pizzas were chewy with airy.

Screen Shot 2017-06-06 at 6.23.34 PM

I have to give our server Alekdandra kudos. She was excellent – competent, attentive and sincere. I really appreciated her suggestions and ability to make her customers feel comfortable. Great service makes such a difference, and at happy hour to boot!

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

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

Dog-gone crazy at Vin Room West

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

Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 4.53.37 PM.png

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

 

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

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

Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 4.53.13 PM.png

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

beer.jpg

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

Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 7.05.14 PM.png

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

Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 4.52.37 PM.png

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

Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 4.52.52 PM.png

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

Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 4.51.49 PM.png

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