Banh Mi · Cheap Eats · Restaurants

Ami Tea and Sub – Date night 10 of 19

After my appointment at Good Salon, I was famished. I debated getting a Vietnamese sub next door from Ami Tea and Sub or fried chicken across the street from the Blue Store. It was a tough decision, but in the end, banh mi won. For this post, let’s listen to “Sweet Dreams” by Beyoncé.

I ordered a Warm Kitchen Pate Sausage ($8). I noticed the owner put a lot of care into making my sandwich. The sub was jam-packed with generous amounts of pate and simmered pork meat slices. The carrots were minced so it lacked that crunch I crave. The texture of the cucumber was soft.

The bread is light and crusty. I didn’t find the baguette dry, but there were a million little crumbs on the table after I finished eating. The flavour of the pate and sausage was delicate and fresh. I thought my sub was heavy on the sauce – the soy and mayonnaise intermingled and dripped down all over my napkin. I noticed the mayonnaise was painfully sweet – so much that I wished I omitted it.

How does Ami Sub compare to the banh mi heavy hitters in Calgary? Taste-wise, this sub was similar to My My Sub‘s homestyle cold cut. Ami’s sub is even more filling than My Tho BBQ’s cold cut and nearly matches To Me in quantity. I have a hearty appetite, and after demolishing this sub, I was uncomfortably full for hours. The flavour combination of the pate, vegetables and sausage was subtle – there isn’t that rustic pungency that you get at Saigon Deli or flavour bomb that you get at Thi Thi. I also prefer my pate with a richness to it, like Xich Lo, Obanhmi or Banh Mi Nhu Y.

I’ve reached a milestone today! As Ami Sub was date #10/19, I’ve only got nine more to go to complete my goal! For banh mi date #11, I want to check out Paper Lantern or Rau Bistro.

French

Eden Bistro – Friday Takeout

Eden Bistro is offering themed takeout options on Friday. I was taken with the latest offering – Parisian street food. For this post, let’s listen to “Sous le Ciel de Paris” by Pomplamoose, featuring Ross Garren.

I ordered L the Jambon Beurre ($18) and for myself, the Country Terrine ($18). For wine pairings, there was an option for a red, rosé or a white from Loire Valley. I picked the Cabernet Franc ($25).

I didn’t end up drinking the wine I purchased from Eden because I still had half a bottle of red from the previous night. Unlike my father, if my wine is older than two days, I’ll put it in the fridge to use for cooking. When my father drank alcohol, he would nurse the same bottle of wine over the course of a month. He wouldn’t refrigerate it either. I was curious so one day I tried a glass of my father’s wine. Let’s say just I know why it took a month to drink the whole bottle. Not even a spoonful of sugar would make that medicine go down.

Our baguette came with a generous side of fresh pickles and homemade potato chips. These pickles were something special! Cut into long, floppy segments, the flesh was juicy while the skin retained its crispness. The pickles were sour and tart, with a summery melon-like flavour.

I took a bite out of L’s baguette. It wasn’t until halfway through his meal that L realized it was butter, and not cheese like he initially thought. I was impressed with the thick slice of silky butter. The ham was thinly shaved but heaped high. I enjoyed the saltiness of the ham because it accentuated the quality of the butter and bread.

The slab of country terrine was generously sized and rich in flavour. Each bite of the terrine offered a different flavour and texture than the next. I like how the creaminess of the mayonnaise, terrine and whole grain mustard melded against the crusty, chewy baguette. The purple micro greens were gorgeous and added a little peppery zip to each mouthful.

Eden Bistro created a fantastic evening retreat with its whimsical Parisian theme. The food took me back to my first trip to Paris, twenty years ago. With the new government restrictions in place, L and I will be looking for new takeout adventures. If you know of any fun takeout themes, give me a holler.

Japanese

Chicken the Hutt Pop-up Event- Bite Grocery and Eatery

Karplop is friends with Kaede Hirooka, the founder and co-owner of Respect the Technique. She wanted to support Kaede and co-owner Jonathan Chung and asked me if I would check out their latest pop-up event at Bite Grocery and Eatery. I looked at the menu and noticed the predominant theme was fried chicken. Say no more, I was in. 

When Karplop called to book our reservation, she was informed that the event was sold out. She told the person on the phone that she knew there were seats available for walk-in. Therefore, he could give her a reservation right when the event was open at 4:00 p.m. I love that about Karplop – she won’t take no for an answer. For this post, let’s listen to “Shut up and Drive” by Rihanna. 

As we examined the menu, I asked Karplop if she would share an appetizer with me. She glanced up and announced that we were going to share everything. Another thing I like about Karplop is that she knows what she wants.

The Gyoza Stuffed Wings ($10) came in a set of three. Is it just me or do these legs look sexy to you? Karplop sized up our appetizer and announced it was going to be difficult to share. 

The wings were lightly drizzled with black vinegar mayo and rayu. Rayu is a Japanese chili oil commonly used on noodles and rice. The pork filling tasted just like a gyoza. I was impressed with how much gyoza stuffing was inside the wing. Karplop noted that stuffed wings are difficult to make. 

Next up was the Fried Chicken Ramen ($15). The spices in the broth made me sneeze repeatedly throughout our meal. The chicken broth was light and the noodles were thick and springy. We both thought the chicken was really juicy and cooked well. Karplop regretted not ordering another piece of chicken because it was that good. Despite the bath of broth, the batter held up and made a loud crackling sound when I bit into the meaty thigh.

The Hutt Sando ($12) came with a macaroni salad. The bun was sweet and the texture was soft and milky, similar to the rolls you get at a Chinese bakery. I liked that the flavours of the tangy slaw, crunchy chicken and melted cheese held up to the heavy proportion of the bun. I can’t get enough of this cold macaroni salad – it is so creamy, generously speckled with mortadella, pickles and herbs. 

Kaede and Jonathan nailed the batter. When I was eating I felt like Jughead Jones in an Archie comic. I just needed a caption with the words “Chomp. Smack. Munch.”

Karplop said she was glad to see Kaede and Jonathan doing more pop-up events. She always enjoys the food and hospitality. I can see why. Looking forward to the next one! Urp.

Burgers · Dessert · Fusion · Japanese · Restaurants

Gorilla Whale

After a particularly mundane Monday, I was keen to get out and try a new restaurant. I saw on Instagram that Gorilla Whale was opening to the public for the very first time. I’m not one for visiting a restaurant on its opening day, but I had a good feeling about this place.

The space is cool and casual, with lots of natural light streaming in through the windows. Gorilla Whale plays a rad, rock and roll playlist. We were treated to Duran Duran (Hungry like the Wolf), The Breeders (Cannonball), Blondie (Atomic Blonde), Vaughan Mason and Crew (Bounce, Rock, Skate, Roll). For this post, let’s listen toOne Way or Another by Blondie.

L ordered a sleeve of Bright Young Things (Dandy Brewery, $5) and I tried the Gorilla Whale Ginger Beer ($6.50), a collaboration between Village Brewery and the restaurant. This is my type of drink! The rice lager was light, refreshing and sweet,  like the kombucha I get at the Little French Market on 17th Ave. Except at Gorilla Monkey, the taste of ginger is more subtle. I would order this beer again.

beers

We started off with Milk Bread with Togarashi (red pepper flakes) Bone Marrow Butter ($6). The bread was dry, light, and crumbly, a good vessel for the rich, salty butter. It was messy too. By the time we finished our crusty loaf, our table was covered in fine crumbs.

two

L and I shared one order of the chicken thighs ($6) and halloumi cheese skewers ($6). I was surprised how well the dipping sauce of egg yolk and “house tare” paired with the cheese and chicken. I was skeptical at first because the dipping sauce isn’t exactly a looker. I looked up the definition of house tare on the good old Internet but was unsuccessful in learning its meaning. Whatever it is, it tastes good and made our skewers pop with flavour.

skewers

The chunks of chicken thigh were juicy and nicely charred on the outside. The addition of chicken skin gave the meat an extra layer of flavour. The exterior of the halloumi cheese was like how toasted and caramelized a marshmallow gets over a campfire. When I return, I plan to order these skewers again, and I want to try the pork belly, shitake mushroom and oyster next.

Around this time, L knocked over his nearly full sleeve of beer. The liquid went right under the seat of our neighbor and splashed her arm. We both sat there in shocked silence for a few seconds. I even closed my eyes and then opened them, hoping it was just a dream. Then I was tempted to keep eating and pretend nothing happened. L apologized profusely and asked if he could pick up her tab to make up for the unwanted shower of Bright Young Things. She graciously declined. One of the owners came over and mopped up our table and brought over a new beer for L, even though he said he didn’t need/deserve it.  There was a guy at the very front of the restaurant by the window that thought it was hilarious. He was laughing hysterically. Glad you enjoyed the show buddy. So happy we could amuse you.

chicken sandwich.jpg

L and I shared the Chicken Karaage Burger with greens ($16). The only thing Japanese about the burger was the karrage. This was a legit tasting karaage. The skin was brittle, light and crackled into tiny shards in my mouth. The chicken was seasoned and succulent. The bun and toppings were not Japanese’ish at all. The sharpness of the cheddar cheese, the still hot, crispy piece of bacon and tangy coleslaw worked well with the karaage. The salad was simple but fresh – micro greens dressed in a sweet vinaigrette.

ramen.jpg

Everyone in the restaurant was ordering ramen. I ordered the duck confit ramen ($16). The broth was quite salty. I couldn’t really taste anything but the broth. I think it was just my bowl because I saw everyone else drinking all the liquid from their bowls. The yolk and egg white was a tad too raw for me. I did enjoy the sprouted peanuts in my bowl, as the taste reminded me of fresh peas. The presentation was lovely.

I’m looking forward to returning to try more skewers and that awesome karrage burger. Gorilla Whale serves up Japanese’ish food, but they take their own liberties that I haven’t seen in other restaurants. If you don’t come here expecting the usual Japanese fusion or anything “authentic”, you will leave happy. Gorilla Whale is completely different from Carino Reserva, Redheads, Ke Charcoal, or Shokunin. I personally dig what Gorilla Whale is serving.

The value is excellent. For more food than we needed and two beers (well, three technically), the bill was only $65.00.

Gorilla Whale Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bars/Lounges · Special Occasion

Nash Restaurant – Lunch

screen-shot-2016-10-01-at-3-29-38-pm

My friend Veronica and I were shopping at Espy when she suggested we eat at Nash Restaurant for lunch. I was game, though I had a hankering for Spolumbos. We were greeted by a friendly hostess and we chose to dine at the bar section. We started off meal with two glasses of Sauvignon Blanc ($13).

Screen Shot 2016-10-01 at 3.29.25 PM.png

Veronica and I shared the special appetizer of the day – homemade ravioli with egg yolk, peas and mushrooms ($13). This was one of the best dishes I’ve tried in my life.

Screen Shot 2016-10-01 at 3.29.46 PM.png

The butter sauce, cheese and creamy egg yolk was so decadent. The ravioli was al dente and done right. One of my favourite ingredients were the peas. I love sweet peas so much, I could contently eat a big bowl for my meal.

Screen Shot 2016-10-01 at 3.30.11 PM.png

Veronica and I shared the Pacific Halibut and Heritage Breed Pork Hot Dog ($17). This similar to the  Japa hotdog you can get in Vancouver but with far superior ingredients. This dog was finger-licking good, drizzled in an addicting crack-like brown mayo sauce. When I bit into the sausage, I got sprayed with its juices. You need a shield to eat this baby. Veronica liked the fries but I found them a bit dry.

screen-shot-2016-10-01-at-3-30-01-pm

I was really happy with my meal at Nash. I plan to return to check out more of the other dishes they have to offer. If you see the special ravioli appetizer featured again, you have to try it. Seriously, best dish I’ve tried #yyc for 2016.

 

Screen Shot 2016-10-01 at 3.29.53 PM.png

View my food journey on Zomato!

Nash Restaurant & Off Cut Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato