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.

Happy Hour · Mexican · Restaurants

Mikey’s on 12th – Live music and tacos

On Sunday afternoon, L and I went to Mikey’s live music event – Sit Back Jam with Tom Philip and Friends. When we walked in, the laidback environment and the music-loving crowd reminded me of King Eddy. For this post, let’s listen to a song I overhead – “Don’t Mess Around with Jim” by Jim Croce.

Service was genuinely friendly, despite how busy the captive audience kept the servers. We sat in the far back of the bar, next to the kitchen. I ordered a Caesar ($6.50), and L got a pint of Mount Crushmore (Banded Peak, $7.99).

I liked my cocktail. The flavour of the Clamato was strong and salty, even after most of my ice melted. I could taste the heat from the spices and the tartness from the pickled bean. I’m picky when it comes to Caesars, and I would order this again. I sensed the bartender gave me a full shot of vodka and undulated at that. Call me paranoid but I get the sense most pubs water down the booze or don’t give you a full shot. Not so at Mikey’s.

For only eleven bucks, you get three tacos. Cheese and guacamole are extra, and unnecessary in my opinion as these babies are jam-packed with flavour. We shared nine tacos: beef brisket, pork pastor, confit pork, Baja fish, panko shrimp, tinga (chicken), and calamari frito.

I enjoyed the stewed meat tacos over the deep-fried fish, shrimp and calamari. In particular, the tinga impressed me. The white chicken meat was tender and flavourful. I loved the addition of the sour cream and warm, chopped tomatoes.

L’s favourite taco was the beef brisket. The beef was saucy. The meat’s saltiness contrasted with the cold, crunchy pickled radish and onions. He liked that each taco was loaded with filling and came with two thin corn tortillas.

The pulled pork was light with a subtle smokiness. The pork pastor tasted like it was grilled. The juicy piece of pineapple was sweet. I thought the kitchen did a great job with the beef, pork and chicken tacos, as each tasted distinctly different from the other.

I noticed all the customers were drinking alcohol, but most weren’t eating. I don’t understand how anyone can come here and not indulge in a street-style taco, especially when enjoying an ice-cold beer. My father always said that music fulfils the soul, so perhaps there’s less of a need to fill the belly.

For dessert, we shared an order of Churros ($5.99). Each churro was warm and fluffy like a doughnut. The texture was cake-like, and it melted in your mouth. The chocolate sauce reminded me of chocolate chip cookies. I would order the churros again.

L and I had a nice time. The musicians were talented and lively, the food was yummy, and the service was warm. I would return and recommend this place to anyone who enjoys live music and cheap tacos. Hitting the Sauce gives Mikey’s two phat thumbs up.

Bars/Lounges · Happy Hour · Patio

King Eddy – Wubbalubbadubdub!

On Friday, L and I stopped by the King Eddy for Stampede happy hour with Matt Masters. It felt so good to listen to live music again! If it wasn’t for the masks and the social distancing practices exhibited by the staff and clientele, I could have sworn I was back in Nashville.

From now until the end of Stampede, I’m spinning country music on my blog. For this post, let’s listen to “Change the Locks” by Lucinda Williams.

We ordered some drinks to enjoy while we watched the performance. I ordered a glass of Domaine Houchart rosé (5 oz, $11) and L chose a pint of Village Roadie ($7.25 HH). For food, we shared the Spicy Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Fries (half a bird, $32).

The batter on the skin was extra crunchy and slipped easily off the meat. The spices in the chicken are unique – I found the seasoning a little sweet, spicy and salty. I got a whiff of paprika or chili, which hit me in the back of the throat. The chicken itself was so tender and smooth, I could easily peel away the layers of white meat right off the bone.

We both agreed that the chef nailed every single item on this dish. These are some of the better fries in the city. The shell was golden brown and oily, so that the exterior shattered when I bit into it. The interior of the fry was still soft and mealy. The cabbage and carrot slaw was fresh tasting and vibrant. I was relieved as my pet peeve is eating slaw that tastes like it’s about to expire. This happens to me more often than not.

The gravy even tasted homemade. There was none of the artificial flavour you get from the powder mixes. Like the spices in the chicken, the gravy was well-seasoned, creamy and most importantly, served boiling hot. Since gravy is pretty much fat and flour, I think it has to be warm enough to only leave a thin coat over the fries when you dip the fries into the gravy.

King Eddy fried chicken is better than Hattie B’s in Nashville, and it has pretty much ruined Popeyes or any other fast-food joint for me. If you want to do some safe Stampeding this summer, drop by the King Eddy from July 9-17th. Check the website for hours of operation and the live music schedule.

Brunch

Stage West – Hollywood Hits

The girls from work organized a night out at Stage West to watch Hollywood Hits. I went online to check out the prices and I saw that tickets were going for just over a $100. My friends managed to get a deal and we paid about $78 each, which included the buffet and the show. Dinner starts at 6:00 pm and the show begins at 8:00 pm. Drinks, both non-alcoholic and alcoholic are extra.

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I’ve been to Stage West before to watch the 80’s Solid Gold Show. The music is nostalgic for me and I found the food tasty. Parts of the show are corny, such as the MC’s jokes, but they cater to their crowd. One tip – don’t use the washrooms later in the evening. Large crowd +small washrooms + all-you-can-eat buffet = gross.

You want selection in a buffet? You got it here. For salad and cold food, you can choose from: Caesar Salad with Stage West Garlic Anchovy Dressing & Parmesan Cheese; Fresh Vegetable Florets, Celery Sticks with Blue Cheese Dip; Russian Potato Salad with Dijon Mayonnaise & Hardboiled Eggs; Athens Greek Salad; Roasted Beet Root, Orange, Fennel and Bocconcini Salad; Cranberry Coleslaw; Spicy Beef Salad with Crispy Vegetables; and Festive Hawaiian Chicken Salad.

At the make your own salad bar, pick from the: Taco Bar; Baby Shrimp Salad with Lime Vinaigrette; Taco Shell; Nachos (Red, Green and Yellow Corn Tortilla); Tomato Salsa; Guacamole; Sour Cream;  and Jalapeño Cheese Dip.

For seafood, you can try: Cold Shrimp; Ancas de Rana (frog legs) Creole Honey Mustard Aioli; and Alaskan Snow Crab Legs. Sushi and sashimi offerings include: Atlantic Salmon, Albacore Tuna and Ahi Tuna Tataki Sashimi; Yellow Pickled Daikon and Cucumber Maki Rolls; Tempura Crab Stick and Carrot California Rolls with Togarashi Aioli; Tri-colour Tobiko Roe with Wasabi & Pickled Ginger; Boiled Edamame with Sea Salt and Seaweed Salad.

There were two carvings stations: Herb-Crusted Turkey with Fresh Cranberry Sauce and the Roasted Alberta Baron of Beef with Merlot Jus (aged 15 days). At the sauté and grill section, options included the Escargot and Baked Polenta.

Hot foods included: Roasted Rosemary Parisienne Potatoes; Baked Sweet Potato with Cinnamon Sugar; Stir Fry Vegetables with Shitake Mushrooms; Lobster Mac and Cheese; Roasted Garlic and Smashed Potato with Bacon, Cheese and Green Onion; Turkey Gravy; Apple and Cranberry Stuffing; Butter Nut Squash Ravioli with Tomato Cream Sauce; Chicken Breast en Croute (Mushroom Duxelles and Aged Cheddar); Roasted Pork Loin with Roasted Pepper Relish; Garlic Peppered Black Harbor Salmon (Crisp Batter with Spiced Pepper) and Sautéed Red Thai Curry Jumbo Prawns.

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Dessert options included: White & Dark Chocolate Dipped Florentine Cookies; Chocolate Rum Balls; Pumpkin Cheesecake; Cranberry Yogurt Parfait; Mocha Latte Parfait; Assorted Fruit Tart and Cheesecake Squares; Chocolate Fudge Cake; Caramel Chocolate Cake; Cranberry Butter Cookies; Eggnog Mousse Cake; Chocolate Mint Cake; Holiday English Trifle; Chocolate Christmas Log; Warm Christmas Pudding, Rum Sauce and Chantilly Cream; Assorted Canadian & Imported Cheese and Fresh Fruits.

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The selection varies seasonally. I ate mostly the sashimi, ravioli, escargot, lobster macaroni and cheese, caesar salad, crab legs, and the Thai curry shrimp. I ate all three plates, but only one piece of the ravioli as I found the pasta undercooked. I also didn’t finish the crab legs because I didn’t like the way it tasted. The sashimi wasn’t expertly cut but it tasted fresh and it was nicely chilled. The escargot was delicious, buttery and heavy on the garlic. The curry shrimp was crunchy and not overcooked.

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The food is better than what you get at places like Chili’s Texas Grill or Boston Pizza. I thought the selection was better than all the buffets I’ve sampled at all-inclusive resorts, but then again, I go to 4-star resorts, not 5.

The Hollywood hit songs ranged from James Bond Films, Saturday Night Fever, 8 Mile, The Breakfast Club, A Hard Day’s Night, Despicable Me 2, The Graduate, Top Gun, Easy Rider, Ghostbusters, Dirty Dancing, Frozen, The Bodyguard, Titanic and more. The only songs I didn’t enjoy listening to were Gangsta’s Paradise (Coolio) and 8 Mile (Eminem) mostly because the singers tried to sing the lyrics instead of rapping it. For the full list, click here.

Who would enjoy this sort of venue? Middle-aged people looking for a night out with a lot of food. I can see my parents’ friends really enjoying themselves here or the type of people who like to eat at casinos. The show is entertaining and some of the cast have an amazing set of chords. Who wouldn’t enjoy this place? My husband would find the show corny or anyone expecting to see a Broadway show. If I get an invite from my friends at work for another show, I would happily go again.

Stage West Theatre Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato