French

Cassis Bistro – Girls’ Night

Kournikova, Betty, and I met at Québecois’ house before our dinner at Cassis Bistro. Québecois popped some bubbles, and we also tried a new white wine Kournikova brought over. We picked this French bistro for our monthly dinner because Betty has a penchant for beef tartare, and Cassis makes the best in town. We also live within walking distance of the restaurant, so we didn’t have to turn any of our husbands into chauffeurs. For this post, let’s listen to “Poisson Rouge” by Saint Privat. 

I asked Québecois to pick the wine. She selected the Graves Peyrat Bordeaux ($70). She mentioned she loved the smell of the wine. I enjoyed the soft, mellow notes. I’m a fan, and I would order this wine again.

When our appetizers arrived, I asked Betty to help me take the photos. Kournikova thought the tartare was better than Orchard. Betty felt the potato chips paired best with the tartare – she loved the delicious saltiness of the chips.

Our server gave us a glass of dessert wine to pair with the foie gras. I would never have guessed a sweet wine would be such a perfect match. I thought the wine amplified the flavour of the foie gras. Kournikova said that’s what she likes with a proper wine pairing – you get so much more out of the experience. Québecois appreciated the combination of the pear with the foie gras because she said it cuts into the fat. I loved the way the foie gras melts in your mouth. 

I ordered Steak Frites, but I was over the moon with Québecois mussels. Holy smokes – what a beautiful bounty! The moment I tried a mussel, all the other food on the table ceased to exist. 

Each mussel was so fat and bursting with the flavour of the sea. The texture reminded me of a poached egg – hot, silky and soft. At the end of our meal, I noticed that each mussel was still at the optimal consistency, despite having sat in the steaming broth.  

If I knew the mussels were like this, I would have ordered my own bowl. But, in the end, I didn’t need to as Québecois couldn’t finish her dinner. I must have eaten about half her meal. She is a most generous and wonderful friend. 

During dinner, all I could talk about was the mussels. Kournikova said she could tell I enjoyed the mussels because I talked about them for so long. I realized I was repeating myself for about half an hour. I looked up and saw the glazed expression of Betty, who was politely listening to me rant. I realized two things. First, I’m a boring person. Second, I need to give more credit to L, as he is a very patient man. 

We were full, but we still ordered dessert. The Marquise ($14) consisted of three or four different layers and textures of chocolate. I liked how in each bite, I could taste a variety of chocolate that was fluffy, creamy, crunchy or fudgy. The port was spicy, with warm notes. 

The service was lovely, and the food was excellent. And those mussels – sweet Bejesus- are so impressive that I would order it as my last meal if I were on death row. Thank you, Cassis and Québecois, for a sublime meal. 

Japanese · Korean · Restaurants

Katsuten -L’s bday lunch

It was L’s birthday on Saturday. I asked him where he wanted to go for lunch. He said no where far and something warm. I reminded him of Katsuten, which is a five-minute walk from our house. For this post, let’s listen to “Shape of Youby Ed Sheeran, with a dance choreographed by Kyle Hanagami.

Katsuten doesn’t take reservations. When we arrived at 12:30 p.m., the room was more than half full. Soon after, there was a line-up. Pro tip. If your group is bigger than two people, come right when the restaurant opens to guarantee a seat.

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There was only one server for the whole restaurant. Despite the line-up, takeout and serving the rapid turnover of tables, she remained cool as a cucumber and efficient. We were well looked after and felt service was uncompromised despite how busy the restaurant became.

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L and I shared the Cheese Katsu ($17.90) and Creamy Curry Udon ($14). The katsu comes with miso soup, rice and a cabbage salad. In my past visits, the only thing that prevented me from loving this restaurant was the rice. Well, that’s been rectified. The rice was good. The grain looked like what I use at home – Kokuho Rose. I like how firm each grain of rice is and that it has a bit of a chew. The cabbage was drizzled with a yellow dressing that was nice and bright, which was refreshing after eating fried food.

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The cheese was warm and soft. Against the fluffy, fried breading, it was like eating a grilled cheese sandwich, but more decadent. The cheese makes the katsu tasted even richer. I would recommend sharing this dish.

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Our server instructed us to mix the topping with the noodles because the potato cream is cold. Marvelous. The noodles were chewy and slippery in a heady curry gravy of bacon, mushrooms, carrots, garlic, and green onions.

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L thought the combination of curry and cream was unusual and delicious. The curry wasn’t hot or overpowering. More of a hint that complimented the bacon and potato cream.

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The katsu here rivals the best I’ve tried in Japan. I didn’t realize how full I was until I got up to pay the bill. For this feast, our bill was only $35. I’d say that’s a steal for katsu of this calibre. I love this place so much, I’m putting it Hitting the Sauce’s list of favourite restaurants in Calgary. I give Katsuten two fat thumbs up.

Katsuten Japanese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Comfort food · Curry · Fusion · Indian

The Himalayan – Going away dinner

Beep Beep had to head back to Vancouver. For her last supper in Cowtown, I wanted something close to my house, and something hot and filling to warm us from the cold weather. The Himalayan fit the bill.

Based on our server’s recommendation, we ordered the Kathmadnu Vegetables ($14) Himalayan Eggplant ($14.50), Mango Fruity Shrimp ($16.50), and the Butter Chicken ($16.50). Our server said two dishes would do, but I wanted to take the leftovers for my husband, who was again, working late.

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I’m surprised to say I enjoyed the vegetarian dishes the most. Did you hear that Jaime? In particular, I was impressed with the kathmadnu vegetables, a mix of chickpeas, cauliflower and potatoes in a tomato and onion based sauce. The vegetables were still firm and retained its own texture.

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I love eggplant, and Himalayan’s version – grilled stir fried eggplant with onions, tomatoes, and green peppers was delicious. The soy sauce and Neapli spices was a nice alternative to the Chinese version I often eat. I liked the crunchiness of the onions and peppers as well.

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I wanted to try the Mango Fruity Shrimp because John Gilchrist recommended it. I found the creamy mango tomato sauce too sweet for my taste. The shrimp was cooked well – still crunchy and a decent size.

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I tried a little of the butter chicken. The chicken tasted like it was cubed chicken breasts. The sauce was creamy with a hint of ginger and tomato. I couldn’t order the dishes with more spice, as both Beep Beep and L can’t take the heat.

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With the sides of rice, fresh naan and complimentary papadum, Beep Beep and I were blissfully stuffed and L had enough for dinner as well. He raved about the butter chicken when he came home.

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I always like the service and the food at the Himalayan. Servers are attentive and kind, always around to make sure our waters were topped up and we were comfortable. I should eat here more often than I do, but I’ll blame the difficulty of getting a last minute reservation at the Himalayan.

One more week and I’m back in Vancouver visiting family and friends. I got my eye on Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill & Enoteca and Acorn and my usual, Miku, Guu and Kingyo. I don’t normally blog in my hometown because I like to catch up with my friends rather than take notes, but I think I’ll make the exception for Cioppino’s, Jaime’s favourite restaurant.

View my food journey on Zomato!

The Himalayan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato,