OEB – Best breakfast in town

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Yahoo! I found out that you can download an app, NoWait, and skip the line-up at OEB. However, our seats were given away because we had difficulty timing how long the line would move and arrived too late. The host told us we were next on the list, and so we were.

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My co-workers and I scored a spacious booth. Our server was efficient and pleasant, offering suggestions and answering questions to my friends, who were newbies. We ordered a round of coffee and tea. My coffee was rich and delicious and refilled throughout our meal.

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My friends were impressed with the food. Crazy Girl ordered Crab Eggs Benny while Buzzy ordered the Banana Stuffed French Toast. I tried a bite of both dishes. The crab was fluffy and didn’t have that fake taste you get in California rolls. The French toast was fluffy and the sauce was delectable.

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I was torn between the duck confit ($16.99), Hogs and Scallops or the Gold Digga ($16.99) Soul in the Bowl. Based on our server’s recommendation, I ordered the Hogs and Scallops ($17.99), half with duck fried potato wedges and half of the fresh, organic spinach. I was impressed that they left me do the half of each option.

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The scallops were seared beautifully on the outside. Sweet and silky smooth, the scallops were the highlight of the dish. I ordered the medium poached eggs, and it came as requested. The bright orange yolks were just soft enough to blend in with the rich browned butter hollandaise sauce. The little bits of bacon added a pop of smoky saltines.

Now that OEB has the NoWait app, I’ll be here more often. Breakfast food is elevated at OEB. All the ingredients are local and sing with freshness and flavour. Forget every other breakfast place in the city, get your ass here. OEB makes it on Fei Po’s list of favourite places to eat in Calgary.

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OEB Breakfast Co. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Carino Riservo

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L wanted to go to Carino Riservo for his birthday. We sat at the front of the restaurant. The front window afforded a view of 4th St. We watched the snow fall and people scurry back and forth from their vehicles into the nearby restaurants and bars.

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L ordered a Sapporo while I drank a glass of Collazzi Liberta, a blend of Merlot, Syrah and Sangiovese from Italy ($10). Our server told me this wine would go with everything. I love trying wines out at Carino, as they always have a selection of wines that are new to me and all affordably priced.

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If you love Ahi Tuna Poke ($15), you must order it at Carino. You could tell the tuna was high quality. Cold and creamy, with no Calgary fishiness to the dish. I liked that the avocado wasn’t used as filler. This photo doesn’t do the food justice. The pretty purple garnish, radish, the slivers of green onion and occasional avocado made this dish sing (with my high praise).

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Next up was a Healthy Seafood Hotpot ($16). The portion was large for an appetizer, not that I’m complaining. The broth was rich and deep. The fish, prawns and shellfish were perfectly cooked. Gnocchi, bok choy, snow peas, and mushrooms completed this bowl of delights.

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L ordered the Proscuitto Wrapped Tenderloin ($25). He went crazy for the onion sauce and the juicy meat. There was quite a bit of garlic in the mushroom risotto. L doesn’t care for garlic, but I do.

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I would order the Scallop and Prawn with Mushroom Risotto ($28) again. The big scallops were silky smooth inside, sweet and tender. The prawns were crunchy and delectable. The portion of risotto was large enough that I could have easily taken it home. However, I couldn’t stop eating the risotto. I wish the portion police was there that night, as self-control was absent.

Service was stellar. One table was waiting for a cab after dinner. Our server told them to wait inside while she waited outside to flag the taxi down, which took at least ten minutes. Did I mention it was a cold, snowy night? Who does that? It was refreshing to say the least. Lately, at some of my favourite restaurants, service has been less than pleasant. Not that I would bother to blog about it. Lousy service deserves an appropriately mediocre tip, but it isn’t worth writing about. Lucky for me, Carino Riserva has it all. Excellent service and amazing food. I’ll go as far to say that Carino Riserva in Mission is the most under-rated restaurant in the city. If you haven’t already, check it out. The experience won’t disappoint.

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Carino Riserva Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Fresh-Adilla Fresh Tortilla

Damn and double damn. Fresh-Adilla makes some freaking awesome tortillas and sopes. I go to Mexico pretty often and I have my share of delicious street tacos, everything from marlin to brains, tongue and lip. However, Fresh-Adilla makes something I haven’t tried before – deliciously fried stuffed tortillas and sopes.

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For $15.00, I ordered a beef sope, a chicken tortilla and a tamarind drink. Though it was after 2:00pm on a Sunday, this little Mexican stall was pumping out orders like mad. The little tables around the kiosk was full of families devouring these savoury pockets of deliciousness.

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The sope had this thick, lovely crusty bottom, like a deep-fried quiche. I personally preferred the beef over the chicken. The mixture of melt in your mouth meats, cheese, beans all in a crispy, delicate vessel was a taste sensation.  I would recommend the liberal use of the complimentary side toppings, particularly if you want to add some spice your dish.

Each sope or tortilla is under $5.00. Two is enough to fill you up. Definitely make your way to this gem of a food stall. There will be a line-up but the food is worth the wait.

On a side note, Billingsgate at the Stadium Shopping Centre burned down due to a fire. L and I headed over to support their second location on Market on Macleod. Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 4.55.45 PM.png

I ordered a dozen oysters and picked up a bag of langostino meat. I cooked the langoustino in bacon fat and tossed it with some pasta, cream sauce, and a load of freshly grated parmesan. Yummy. If you want to support Billingsgate, check out their location Thursday to Sunday or check out their GoFundMe account.

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Fresh-adilla Fresh Tortilla Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Lunch Today

My buddy AC took me to Lunch Today, a Vietnamese restaurant near the 7 ST C-train stop. I wished he introduced me to this gem earlier. Lunch Today serves up the best value Vietnamese food in the downtown core. The food is simple, fresh and comforting.


To find this restaurant, go to 736 6th Ave SW. Go up a flight of stairs and you’ll find Lunch Today. If you go around noon, you’ll see a long line-up. AC knows the owners Jenny and Raymond, a very sweet couple. The owners are extremely efficient and fast, so the line moves quickly.

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AC ordered Chicken Pho and I ordered Sate Beef. Both bowls were served piping hot. AC informed me that Raymond makes the broth and cooks it for hours, which is why no additional condiments are needed. I agree. The broth was salty and flavourful.

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It’s impossible to go anywhere without AC bumping into someone he knows. This time around, we met B. B told me that he comes to Lunch Today often because the food is good and the value is outstanding. He told me that unlike the nearby food court, the pho served at Lunch Today has lots of noodles, meat and sprouts.

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I couldn’t believe the amount of meat that was given to me. AC said the Raymond prides himself on buying high quality meat and shopping often for groceries, so that everything is fresh.

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The noodles were perfectly cooked – bouncy with a bite to it. We also ate homemade vegetarian spring rolls, which had a satisfying crunchy shell. AC told me he’s drop by and saw the owners make it themselves.

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The food was so good, I ordered salad rolls to go. Of course, Jenny made it on the spot. Freshly wrapped, the roll was almost bursting with noodles, lettuce and shrimp.

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Lunch Today is a must if you work downtown. The food is downright cheap for the big portions. Plus, the owners are very sweet and kind people. Lunch Today makes its on Fei Po’s list of favourite Vietnamese spots in the downtown core.

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Lunch Today Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Great Taste Chinese – What’s in a name?

Great Taste Chinese Restaurant gets to the point, just like me at work. What does this restaurant want to tell you? That their food has great taste! I appreciate their candour. There’s no ambiguity or mixed signals here.

Joking aside, I have another joke. My ex-neighbour is a wine connoisseur and he once said to me, “Wouldn’t it be amazing if there was a Chinese restaurant that had great wines and service?”. Well, Great Taste does serve wine and the service is well.. for lack of a different word, great!

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This Monday, I went to Great Taste with AC (aka my Calgary father), PB and Choi. We all ordered soup noodles. I ordered the lunch special, Dandan noodles ($9.99). The portion was filling but not overly so. The noodles were a little too soft for my taste, but the soup was creamy and pea-nutty.

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The complimentary seaweed egg drop soup was light. I liked it, though I wouldn’t pay for it. For my money, I would rather sup on the fish maw or the hot and sour soup.

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We ordered three rounds of the Shanghai soup dumplings ($7.99). The dumplings tasted great (of course)! CLtaught us to gently pick up the dumpling by the “nipple” (she makes everything sound so dirty) and to nibble on the side and suck out the hot juices. Worth ordering again.

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A few days later, I took out a graphic designer for lunch. She bailed my office a few times and I wanted to thank her. I wasn’t sure what she liked so I played it safe. We started off with a medium size bowl of Hot and Sour Soup ($11.95). Damn, this was fine soup! In fact, even better than great. Thick and spicy, spot on in the right balance of vinegar and heat. The soup was thick, crunchy with silky smooth lines of tofu. I liked the pieces of shrimp in it. Best hot and sour soup in town.

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The Beijing Style Dumplings ($7.99) were simple but really well-done. The wrapper tasted homemade and was bang on with its smooth, thin dough. The filling was delicious with the taste of fresh green vegetables.

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The Beef and Cucumber Roll ($7.99) was tasty in a greasy sort of way. The pancake was super crispy and chewy. The roll could have used a bit more beef. Good portion. I was full.

Service at Great Taste was great. For those who complain that service at Chinese restaurants is not always great, you should check out this restaurant. Servers smile! Servers are polite! I even get a thank-you when I pay for the bill! Great Taste lives up to its name and deserves copious exclamation marks to show my enthusiasm!

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Great Taste Chinese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Regency Palace – Dim Sum

A & W took AC, Gee and myself out for lunch at Regency Palace. I have to say on this second visit, the dim sum was much better than my first experience. The food was hot, fresh and the seafood dishes were really good.

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As with most lunches with AC and his friends, this was a work lunch. The last time I went out with AC friends, we talked taxes, customer service and finances. This group of friends were chatting about some private venture overseas. I occupied myself by eating and posting the photos on Instagram.

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One of the best dishes I tried was Beef Tendon. The tendon was soft and took on the flavour of the light sauce. The beef and tendon was served piping hot. I only like tendon when it’s served really hot, as I think it makes the texture smoother and richer.

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I really liked the Shrimp Rice Crepe. One prawn per half rice roll, the seafood was crunchy while the wrap was smooth and glossy in texture. The soy sauce was sweet and just enough to flavour the crepe.

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The Salt and Pepper Squid was tender but the batter was too soft and bland in flavour. The batter also had this sweetness to it that reminded me of plastic. I would skip this dish.

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I remember that the last time I wasn’t impressed with the How Gow. This time, the shrimp ball was full and plump. The rice wrapper was perfectly steamed so it wasn’t gummy or too soft.

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The Sui Mai was scarfalicious. These were big balls (that’s what she said). The flavour of the dumpling was really tasty. I particularly liked the big piece of shrimp and I thought it had a nice crunch to it.

The sticky rice was a no-go this time. The rice was over-cooked and the meat tasted quite bland. I wouldn’t order this dish again.

Overall, I was really pleased with the food. I would hit Regency Palace the next time I’m craving me some haw gow, sui mai, and beef tendon.

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Regency Palace Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Ho Won – Friday Lunch

AC and I were walking to Chinatown when we saw his friends B and A. AC asked them where they were going for lunch. B said, “Ho Won of course! We always go on Friday”. AC invited us along to B and A’s weekly tradition.

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We ordered the Salt and Pepper Squid ($11.99) because it’s one of Ho Won’s best dishes. I must have ordered this dish a dozen times. The squid is consistent though sometimes its more tender or the batter is not as delicate as it can be. Regardless in what state of perfection the squid is in, I’ve always enjoyed the big toothsome pieces and the level of spice in it.

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B saw another table order the Beef Hotpot and decided we should try it too. The pieces of beef were soft and flavourful. The onions had a good crunch while I thought the bok choy was a little overcooked.

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I really enjoyed the Assorted Fried Chowmein. Man oh man. The light crunch of the noodles was delicious. While I know the noodles were fried, hence the deliciousness, I didn’t find it oily. Lots of squid, shrimp, char sui and black fungus (wood ear mushroom) completed this textural delight.

A lot of people knock Ho Won on Zomato, but my foodie friends and I love the cheap prices and tasty fried-delights. Some dishes are hit or miss but generally, the food is a home run for me.

Ho Won Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Vie Cafe – Market 17

One of my favourite places to pick-up groceries and get one of the best sandwiches in the city is Vie Cafe, which is inside Market 17 (which is inside the Casel Marche building). It’s a short walk from my house so I usually walk my dog to the store and park him at the dog lot. My dog anxiously chirps while I’m shopping, which is embarrassing because other customers always look around say, “Is that a dog? Is that dog okay?”. The employees are very nice about the noise disturbance and provide him with treats and cuddles.

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The produce is very good. In the summer, the price of some of the local vegetables are on par with Safeway. In the winter, the cost climb up but I think the freshness and taste makes up for it. I usually pick up the brown mushrooms, kale, potatoes and the organic bananas when they go sale for being too ripe. The reduced price is super cheap and it makes for great banana bread. When the avocados become perfectly ripe, Market 17 usually sells them for a dollar. I also pick up olives, which I swear taste just like the ones served at Cassis, which is also located inside Casel Marche.

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I think the local cheeses are well-priced. I usually get the ricotta, fresh mozzarella and the cheese curds. The mozzarella is made in Alberta and it is cheaper by weight than the generic stuff you get at Safeway.

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What I really love about Market 17 is Vie Cafe. The baguettes are well-worth the cost ($7.50). My favourite is the roast beef but the vegetarian version is also tasty. There isn’t anything fancy about the baguettes, just high quality ingredients and the perfect ratio of the vegetables, meat/cheese and condiment spread. A little secret… if you near the end of the day, you can snag one of the sandwiches for the ridiculous amount of a dollar.

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I’m going to try Vie’s coffee, as I see from other Zomato reviewers that it is good stuff. So there you have it folks. Vie Cafe and Market 17 get 5 Zomato stars from me. Excellent customer service, high-quality ingredients and wicked deals make Vie Cafe/Market 17 a Fei Po favourite.

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Vie Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Central Grand – Dim Sum Bliss

My buddy AC took a bunch us out for dim sum at Central Grand. My experience here was way better than T.Pot. The food was hot and fresh. The servers were attentive, partly because AC knows them and because he is a real sweet talker. He was all “leng lui” (pretty lady) this and ho leng (very pretty lady) that.

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I never order deep-fried shrimp wonton so I’m glad AC ordered a plate. The shrimp ball was large and crunchy. The wonton wrapper was brittle and a tad oily. I was in heaven.

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The BBQ pastry was flaky and filled with a good amount of minced BBQ pork. Delicious. The filling was warm and the ratio of meat to pastry was perfect. All the meat buns at Central Grand are delicious. A must-order if you come.

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AC ordered shrimp and BBQ pork rice rolls. Central Grand sure doesn’t cheap out when it comes to the seafood or meat. The rice wrapper was smooth and silky, soaked in light, sweet soy sauce.

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I tried cow stomach for the first time. I prefer the plain version (white) than the curried one shown above. The texture was chewy and clean. Yummy.

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I also tried chicken feet for the first time. I resisted for a long time but peer pressure was fierce. Normally I can handle AC, but combined with a table full of pro-chicken feet eaters, I succumb to the pressure. I was heckled for not sucking the bone, but hey, at least I tried it. I thought the skin was too soft and I didn’t like the texture. Taste-wise, it was fine.

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The shrimp dumpling was well-done. For a second, I forgot I was in Calgary. The shrimp ball was large, crunchy and sweet. The wrapper wasn’t gummy, over-steamed and it had a good resistance when I bit into it. I’ll give Central Grand an A for the how gow.

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Pork spareribs in black bean sauce was typical, in a good way. Just a simple dish of fatty, juicy spareribs in a light sauce.

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I don’t like using the phrase too die for, so I’ll say the BBQ buns are are to gain weight for. The pastry was soft and sweet, the perfect vessel for the warm BBQ pork filling.

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C loves egg tarts. I tried one to appease her and though I don’t care for Chinese desserts, this one was good. Flaky crust, warm filling. Enough said.

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AC ordered tofu with ginger sugar sauce. I was too full to sample this dessert. I ate and ate and I really felt like a fei po. I was so stuffed that I was getting dim sum sweats and feeling hyper from all the MSG.

Roughly for all the dishes, some of which we ordered twice and some others that I’m too lazy to post, the bill came to about $23 per person. If my family comes to visit me, I would take them to Central Grand. For Calgary, I don’t think you can get much better than this.

Central Grand Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Redheads Jap Cafe – Fei Po returns

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L and I are making our weekly tradition to eat at RedHeads Jap Cafe. This time around, we were seated at a table and served, instead of ordering at the front counter like the last visit. I’m guessing the cafe is slowly turning into a bistro. We ordered two cans of Belgium black beer ($7.50). The beer reminded me of Guinness but it was lighter and sweeter. Just an FYI – Redheads now offers a happy hour special for drinks from 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm.


We were tempted to order the table d’hôte ($19.99) but L wanted more of that delicious katsu curry. I ventured out and picked the Japa Rice bowl ($12.99) and the DLX Japa Dessert ($5.00).

The moment the food hit our table, L and I both ravenously dug into the food. How good was the food? So delicious that by the end of my meal, I barely drank my beer. Now that’s a sign of damn fine cooking.

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I don’t know what goes into that salad dressing, but it must be magical because I couldn’t stop gobbling it up. It taste like traditional Japanese salad dressing but with a noticeable kick to it.


My Japa Rice Bowl was a hit, so much in fact, L wished he ordered it as well. The Japa Rice Bowl is similar to a Vietnamese vermicelli bowl (bun). You get the textural differences between the salad, soft carbs, something crunchy and savoury. My bowl was filled to the brim with rice balls, hamburg, chicken karrage, katsu, salad, a jiggly gently poached egg, and a side of beef curry. Every single item was delicious. The karrage was juicy and meaty. The hamburg – a Japanese style beef patty – was mildly spiced and flavourful. I could taste the quality of the beef.

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L’s katsu curry tasted just as good as the last time we tried it. The curry was magnificent, heavy with a mild heat. The chunks of beef were so tender and nicely marbled with fat. The rice was perfectly cooked, so good that I could just eat it alone.

Dessert was a light treat for our tastebuds. The doughnut reminded me a bit of a bran muffin, which went so well with the matcha green tea ice-cream. A side of strawberries and green grapes with caramel rounded out the dessert.

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L wants to return for the lunch buffet, even though he hates going out for brunch and buffets. We plan to return weekly and try the entire menu. Japaghetti, table d’hôte, cold ramen bowl, salmon, tempura shrimp rice burger, sushi, and miso-katsu sandwich… These are just some of the items we can’t wait to try.

My work buddy C said she wants me to stop blogging about Redheads because she’s afraid it will get too busy and she won’t be able to get a table anymore. However, this is one gem that is too great for me to not sing its praises. I figure if Redheads gets too popular, the owners can open up a chain of restaurants in Calgary.

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


Earl’s Tin Palace – Meet Market

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Oh my! I haven’t been to Earl’s since I was in high school and college. Back then, Earl’s was considered by people in my age group as a sound bet for drinks and food. In those times, chain restaurants were considered cool. But that was so early 2000’s… So what was I doing here on a Friday night?

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L and I were previously at WURST (see pictures above and below) for the Früli Oktoberfest roast pig party. Tickets were only $25 including taxes and include samples of Früli, Früli radler and a buffet of roast pig, potatoes, salad and bread. Our friends Gee and Crazy Girl were meeting up with us and didn’t want to pay the $20 cover charge. The nearest venue was Earl’s.

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The bar section at Earl’s is quite the pick-up scene. And I’m not talking about customers ordering food to eat at home. While our party waited for a table, we ordered glasses of wine (Mission Hill Pinot Gris $15.25/9 oz) and beer (Phillips Blue Buck Pale Ale, $7.25/18oz). The prices for wine were reasonable and the server and bartender were really good about giving us samples before committing to a glass. I actually give Earl’s an A for service.

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We shared the Italia Pizza (15.00). The pizza was more bread than toppings, but it was pretty tasty stuff. Thin slices of Genoa salami, ham, chorizo with provolone cheese and chiffonade basil.

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Our table was surprised that we liked the Warm Spinach + Three Cheese Dip ($13.00). Though the dip isn’t much of a looker, with its almost neon green hue and hunks of toasted flat bread, it was good. The dip was hot and creamy, rich with cheese and chunks of artichokes.

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I noticed that Earl’s still offers daily specials and a pretty good happy hour. There is an Earl’s near my workplace and I just might check it out with my co-workers one day after work.

Earl's Tin Palace Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Mikey’s Juke Joint – Best Fish Tacos in Calgary

Mikey’s Juke Joint is must visit for anyone who loves a good fish taco. Known for its live music and food with southern and Mexican influences, this is one pub that L and I will frequent more often. When I was in school, L and I rented an apartment two blocks away from Mikey’s. It’s a shame we never ate there when we lived so close.

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Mikey’s reminds me of a 70’s style basement. There’s old chairs and tables, a pool table and mismatch of memorabilia. However, you come for the food, not the furniture.

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Our server told us the soup of the day ($6.00) – chicken and rice – was getting rave reviews from customers. I really liked the taste of lime and the fragrance of the broth. However, the soup was served lukewarm, much unlike the super hot corn cheesy jalapeño corn muffin. If the soup was served hot, I would have enjoyed it even more.


Next up was a neatly packed, well-made chicken burrito. The rice was fluffy, the mixture of beans, stringy cheese and chicken each retained its individual flavour and texture. The bean sauce mixed with the cold sour cream really elevated this burrito. The fries were crispy and reminded me of New York Fries.



The fish tacos were the best I had in Calgary and Mexico too. The spices in the tacos was addicting. I like how it was crispy but not over-battered, so you could enjoy the still juicy white flesh of the fish. The mix of cabbage and other vegetables were light and fresh. The tortilla had grill marks, giving it this smokey charcoal taste. I think Mikey’s fish tacos kick Local’s tacos in the balls.



L and I ordered two beers, fish tacos, a burrito with fries, a large soup with cornbread and with tip and tax, this meal cost me under $50.00. I’d say for the flavour explosion, the food is a steal. Our server told me the crab and shrimp cakes, burgers and wings were all winners in her book. My co-workers C and PB plan to coming with me for lunch try the crab cakes and of course, more of those fish tacos.

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Mikey's Juke Joint & Eatery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Local on Stephen Ave

I always wanted to check Local out because of the all the positive reviews on Zomato and Yelp. I got the chance when B threw herself a going-away party at the nearby Bank & Baron at 8:00 pm. Before we dropped by B’s party, L and I stepped into a completely packed Local.


The restaurant was packed with a twenty-something clientele. Back when I was a student, this was the type of place I would frequent. The beer selection was varied and better yet, a 14 ounce glass was only $5.50. I could hear Funky Cold Medina blasting in the background. For those of you who think they don’t know the song, let me jog your memory.

The girls all jockin’ at the other end of the bar
Havin’ drinks with some no-name chump
When they know that I’m the star
So, I got up and strolled over to the other side of the cantina
I asked the guy, why you so fly? He said, Funky Cold Medina


L and I came for the fish tacos and I have to say, for $5.00, it was pretty tasty. The amount of fish was small but there was just enough to taste it in each bite. The was a lot of fresh, crunchy cabbage which helped to cut into the batter of the fish and the sweet garlic aioli.


The calamari ($7.00) was underwhelming. The portion was very small, but I’m glad there wasn’t much to eat as it was greasy and flavourless. The worst part was the sauce – a mix of overly salty hot sauce and something creamy that didn’t go with the taste of squid.

I work nearby and would return again for the fish tacos at lunch. I saw other customers ordering burgers and wings, which looked good enough for me. Fei Po gives Local a solid Zomato rating of 3.5/5.

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

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Maharajah East Indian Restaurant – Lunch Buffet

wall indian

I was in charge of picking a restaurant for a work-related lunch. I suggested Maharajah because it’s close to work and the buffet means we can get in and out in a timely fashion. The exterior of the building is nothing to look at, which was why I was surprised to see a spacious room and decorative touches. I particularly liked the chandeliers dangling from the ceilings.

buffet butter

There was always an employee around watching and replenishing the trays with small, fresh batches. The selection included: naan; papadum; rice; butter chicken; tandoor chicken; daal; panner; vegetable pakoras; vegetables; salads; rice pudding; gulab jamun and fruit.


I tried most of the dishes except for dessert. Several of the dishes were quite creamy and rich. The big chunks of butter chicken and the nicely spiced pakoras were my favourite dishes. There are lots of saucy dishes, which is perfect to mop up with the endless naan.


The flavouring and spice level in all the dishes was quite mild, which was appreciated by our table. Our table of ten went for a second heaping plate and then for dessert. The restaurant was a hit with my co-workers. For the all-you-can-eat buffet, it cost $20.00 a person. Not cheap but worth it if you have a big appetite and work in the area.


plate indian

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Maharajah East Indian Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Charbar – Yelp Elite Event

The main reason I’m on Yelp is because I love the Yelp Elite parties. Seriously, the Yelp social manager arranges epic parties with the newest and coolest businesses and best of all, the events are free!

wine red

In the three years that I’ve been going to Yelp Elite parties, Charbar was the most memorable. The food, ambience and service far exceeded any other bash I’ve been fortunate enough to attend. And all the Yelp Elite parties are fantastic, meaning that Charbar hit this one out of the park.


Once we walked inside and went up the stairs, L and I were treated to ceviche, which was made on the spot for us. The seafood was so fresh and the acidity was bang-on. Throughout the whole night, my husband wouldn’t get his own dish to taste. Instead, he just picked off my portion. I love him to death but he was really pissing me off.

ceviche raw

I sipped on a full-bodied Shiraz Malbec, Bodegas Callia Alta, an Argentina wine that I found out cost only $45.00 at Charbar. My neighbour Esther visits Charbar quite often and told me she enjoys the Casa Ferreirinha Papa Figos, Sogrape Vinhos, a Portuguese wine that also costs $45 a bottle. Next time we visit, I’ll have to try her pick. She knows her wines and the price can’t be beat.


L and I feasted on slices of 75 day aged porterhouse with aji picante aioli, chimichurri, white chimichurri green chimichurri, and red charred romesco “fire pit sauces”. The sauces each offered a different flavour profile.


The best of the best, however, were the super large raw prawns. These babies were freaking fantastic. I ripped the shell off and even sucked at the head. L knew to back off. If he went for one of my prawns (yes, plural, I ate two), I would have forked his hand. We also ate raw oysters, shrimp, crab legs, two types of pizza and avocado pistachio dip.

Live music, wine from JustWineApp , and chatting with the owners of Charbar really made this party “elite”. Connie DeSousa (Canada’s Top Chef) was gracious and friendly, even though I came on a bit strong, asking if I could pen a book about her career. John was also amiable and chill as I ranted about the abuse public servants and people in the service industry suffer. I blame the generous pours of the Just Wine App representatives for my abrasive behaviour. My bad.

L and I will be back for the rooftop patio. Though the menu is limited to a burger, chicken sandwich and a handful of appetizers but the view alone will be worth it. It is truly stunning to be on the top of the building, gazing below at the view from the top of East Village.

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

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Muku Japanese Ramen

My friend Stephanie was in town and she wanted to try Muku. I’ve never been before but Professor A+ from my old department would always rave about the ramen. The line-up is ridiculous but he would pick-up up his food to eat at home. He said that the servers at Muku would separate the noodles from the broth, so the ramen wouldn’t get soggy.


I arrived at 2:00 p.m. and waited about 15 minutes for a table. We ordered green tea ($1.00 per person). Stephanie mentioned she thought the green hue of the tea was a pretty colour.


Based on Stephanie’s recommendation, we each ordered Kuro-Ton ($9.50). I just loved the smell of the broth. The black soup had this delicious nutty taste, enhanced with the taste of smokey notes of garlic. The noodles were not as chewy as I liked, but I still enjoyed the long, skinny noodle strands. Between the lean and fatty pork, I enjoyed the marbled piece.

I would eat here again. Most likely, I would do what Professor A+ told me to do. I would order the ramen to go and slurp it in the comfort of my own home. The prices are cheap and the noodles are toothsome.

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Muku Japanese Ramen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Wurst – Oktoberfest

Our buddy Trevor had his birthday bash at Wurst. I haven’t been in a long time (pre-2013 flood) but I was looking forward to eating some good German food. When I was a fat little kid, my father Ludvig use to take me to this all-you-can-eat German buffet on Robson Street in Vancouver. Ludvig thinks it was called Hofbräuhaus. I can still taste that creamy cold potato salad and the mounds of schnitzel I packed away. Unfortunately, that place closed down decades ago.

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Back to 2015. Trevor had a table reserved for his party. L and I ordered a German beer, Erdinger Weissbier, which I enjoyed because it was a light refreshing wheat beer ($7 for 1/2 litre). We snacked on a giant stuffed turkey wing ($7.00) and shared the Schnitzel BLT ($16.00).

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The sausage stuffing inside the wing was quite tasty and I thought it went well with the vinegary hot sauce slathered on top of the skin. The temperature wasn’t hot nor was the skin crispy, but it still tasted good to us. The portion was worth the $7.00.

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The schnitzel BLT was a small sandwich, but it made up for it taste-wise. The thin slices of rye bread was toasted, giving it a crunch. I liked the garlicky aioli spread and the addition of bacon. The fries were cold and stale, but the entertainment around us made up for it.

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My brother-in-law ordered the Franzels Mixed Grill ($68), a cast iron platter of meats for four people. The piece I really liked was the roasted pork. The crunchy skin was my favourite part, as it reminded me of the roast pork you can buy at a Chinese BBQ counter. Despite four hungry appetites, a good portion of the platter was left-over.

Our party was impressed with our server Christina, as she pleasantly managed our table and the jumble of separate bills. I enjoyed the general merriment that is encouraged at Wurst, such as the jumping on tables and singing along. I thought of Ludvig as I was swigging my beer and shouting. My father would always sing in German “Die Zauberflöte” (Sarastro/Magic Flute/Mozart). His friend, who is German, once told him that his pronunciation was awful.

I wish every Friday at Wurst was the opening night for Oktaoberfest. We were treated to a live oompah band, dancing and a guest appearance by ex-Calgary Flames goalie Mike Vernon. The official keg tapping was awesome. The keg sprayed over the floor and then everyone lined up to get a free beer. In fact, I had so much fun, I just might book my next birthday party at Wurst.

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


Italian Store – #YYCPIZZAWEEK

Zomato bloggers were invited to participate in YYC’s Pizza Week. I picked up my ingredients from the Italian Store/Scarpones, as the store generously donated 3 of the 4 mystery ingredients and the pizza dough. Since L and I were already shopping at the Italian Store, we decided to grab a bite to eat as well.


The set-up is a bit like a cafeteria and bakery combined. At the counter, there were trays of hot, ready-to-eat food, such as pasta, lasagna, and pizza. L and I ordered a latte and an americano.


Let me tell you that the ladies at the Italian Store can teach YYC baristas a thing or two about making excellent coffee. I don’t even like lattes but I couldn’t stop sipping L’s drink. Both our coffees didn’t need sugar because of the noticeable sweetness from the espresso.


My father would love the Italian Store’s version of gnocchi with meatballs. I could taste the tomatoes in the sauce, which was light and fresh. The meatballs were extra large and fluffy. With a liberal sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese, which you can help yourself to at the front counter, this dish was very homey.

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The pizza was delicious. The crust was thick, the exterior crunchy. The texture of the pie crust reminded me of focaccia bread. The thin layer of cheese was hot and gooey. The pizza had the right balance of saltiness from the olives and meat with a pleasant kick of heat.

The food is simple and hearty. With our bellies full, my wallet was happy too. The feast of pizza, pasta and two fantastic espresso drinks cost us only $20.00.

The store is pretty neat as well, packed with customers all patiently waiting for their meats at the deli. I picked up homemade pesto, fresh pizza dough, mozzarella, ricotta, roasted chicken, olives, roasted red peppers and olives. The pizza I made (see below) was tasty, but not as good as the one I ate at the Italian Store.

pizza week

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Italian Store Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Redheads Bagel Cafe – Calgary’s Best Kept Secret for Funky Japanese Comfort Food


I found my new favourite place for Japanese food. Redheads Bagel Cafe does indeed serve bagels, but they also serve homemade ramen noodles, Japanese curry, sushi burgers and fusion dishes, like chicken karaage sandwiches.


Being the diligent person I am, I called ahead to preorder the ramen and to check to see if I needed reservations. I was shocked to see that cafe was not jam packed full of customers. The food is affordable, delicious and something you can’t get anywhere else in the city.

The cafe itself is stylish and calming. The grey tiles pop out of the wall, a small chandelier dangles from the ceiling and jazz music plays gently in the background. We sipped on Asahi ($5) while we waited for our food.


The Pork Katsu ($10.99) was served with rice and a salad. The pork itself was extra crunchy, the meat was a nice thickness. The curry was rich and heavy with chunks of beef. The rice was well-made and slightly sticky.


A green salad was included in the curry dish. The simple green salad was fresh, mixed in with finely sliced radishes. The dressing was yummy, light and tart.


The Homemade Ramen Noodles ($9.99) was a treat. These were the very antithesis of instant Ichiban noodles. Thick, chewy and heavier than your average ramen, the noodles were worthy of slurping. Beautifully presented with charred slices of pork, a milky soft egg and sprouts. The broth was deep, flavourful and hearty.

rice burger2

I don’t normally over order when L and I eat out. However, the prices were so good, I really overdid the ordering. We ate Salmon ($3), Tuna and Mayo ($3) and Spam and Egg ($3) sushi burgers. I didn’t expect the sushi burgers to be so large and filling.

rice burger

The salmon burger was our favourite. The salmon was good quality and salty (in a good way) and layered with crunchy deep-fried bits of onion. The tuna wasn’t fishy and quite refreshing with the layer of lettuce and again for textural delight, those crispy onions. I was too full at this time to enjoy the spam and egg sandwich, though it would make for a delicious breakfast.

ice cream

My husband loves his Japanese desserts, so we shared the Sesame Ice-Cream ($5). Oh man. This was good. The soft ice-cream was flecked with black sesame seeds. Nutty in flavour, the addition of the fresh strawberries cut into the intense flavour.


Redheads is going to be my new haunt. Affordable prices, deliciously unique food in Calgary, and the lovely people who operate it make this cafe makes it on Fei Po’s list of favourite restaurants in the city.

On the weekend, Redheads offers a buffet of Japanese and Canadian breakfast food for only $18.99. Make sure to call and reserve a table, as I hear the cafe is packed to capacity. I spoke to the owner before we left and he informed me that by next week, they will have a new special dinner menu. Dinner is only available on weekdays except for Monday.

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


T.Pot Bistro – Dim Sum Confusion

T.Pot came highly recommended to me by my boss and two colleagues. L and I arrived around 1:30PM. It took ten minutes for the hostess to take my name down on the list. In that time, I saw an elderly Asian woman blow a spaz at the hostess because she had to wait so long. The hostess was quite understanding and patted her on her wrist, saying her table was almost ready. This little lady went to her not quite ready table, turned around and started yelling “zǒu” (to go/leave) to her friend and left.

front entrance

When our hostess was ready to take my name down, she couldn’t tell me how long the wait would be. Fair enough. L and I took the buzzer and went shopping at T&T and we came back in less than 15 minutes. When I went up to the hostess, she looked greatly annoyed, saying my table was ready ages ago and she gave it away. Normally, I’m an honest person and willing to admit when I’m wrong. Instead, I played dumb and said I was in the car, right outside but the buzzer never went off. She looked at me like she was trying to decide if I was full of it or not. She nodded reluctantly and said my table was the next one.

room topot

After all that drama, some self-created, we landed a table for four. I thought it was interesting that whenever a dish would arrive at our table, our server(s) would literally dump the dish at the corner of the table farthest from us. So we had to drag the piping hot dish over to our side of the table.


I ordered the Home Made Noodles with Pork and Mushrooms ($5.99). I didn’t realize until the dish came to the table that it a noodle soup. The broth was light and tasty. The noodles were the slippery suckers that kept escaping our chopsticks. Little bits of char sui (BBQ pork) and mushroom were intermingled with the noodles.


The Steamed Scallop and Shrimp dumplings ($6.50) didn’t look the best but the seafood was good for Calgary. The shrimp was small and not the crunchiest. The scallop was a good size but a little fishy. The wrapper was nice, not too thin or gummy.


The sui mai ($5.99) were called Crab and Meat Dumplings,though I didn’t taste any crab. The wrapper was too thin and broke quite easily. The shrimp and the pork dumpling was small but tasty.

sui mai

The best dish was the Chef’s Special congee (HK style, $7.75), which came bubbling away in its own cauldron. There was about a dozen small shrimp, bits and pieces of delicious textural gems, green onion, ginger and deep-fried crispy strands. I was impressed with T.Pot’s version.


I came to T.Pot because I was feeling homesick and I was treated like family, albeit, by indifferent and unloving relatives. I mentioned to my friend AC that T.Pot wasn’t as impressive as he made it out to be. He responded that if I had gone with him I would have experienced better service. I questioned my boss’ taste, “I thought you said T.Pot had the best dim sum?”. He retorted, “I said it was the best dim sum you can get in Calgary“.

I would go to T.Pot again for dim sum. The fried dishes looked delicious. Next time, I’ll promise to stay put and wait for my table. I don’t want to get xùnchì (rebuked) by the hostess for being a huài nǚhái (bad girl) again.

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T.Pot China Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Charbar – Girls’ Night Out


Jaime and I haven’t hung out in a while. For our girls’ night out, she picked Charbar because she loves checking out the newest hot spot.


Jaime is the most inquisitive and intelligent food lover I have ever met. There were a lot of items on the cocktail menu that Jaime and I were unfamiliar such as lillet blanc, carpano antica formula, and amaro montenegro. Our server Stephanie went the extra mile to describe the ingredients and how the drinks and food were prepared. Jaime asked so many questions, I jokingly reminded her that Stephanie is paid per hour.

jaime drink

After careful examination of the cocktail list and a flurry of follow-up questions, Jaime decided on the Aldeano ($13). She enjoyed it and thought it tasted like caramelized citrus.


I picked the cocktail with the most alcohol, the Corpse Revivier #2 ($13). My cocktail was surprisingly light, lemony and floral. Despite the the 2.75 oz of alcohol, it didn’t taste boozy. I could feel my face glow with revitalization.


We shared the Pistachio and Avocado Bruschetta ($12) with two slices of grilled, buttered sourdough bread. The dip was cool in temperature, buttery, and nutty from the generous amount of pistachios. This would be the perfect appetizer on the patio on a sunny afternoon.


The Fried Roman Broccoli ($12.00) was one of my most favourite dishes. Jaime said it reminded her of the Fried Cauliflower at Nuba, which I concur, as it is fantastic. The combination of the crunchy broccoli, hint of mint, fresh lemon and spicy aioli was a unique taste sensation.


If you love saganaki, order the Blistered Provoleta ($13). Jaime almost burnt her hand squeezing the gorgeously broiled lemon over the cheese. Stephanie told us because the cheese has been aged, it makes the texture extra stretchy, giving it wonderful texture. The cheese was so good, I didn’t eat it with the bread, as I wanted to just enjoy it as is.

clam pizza

Another standout dish was the Clam Pie ($20). I make my own dough at home and I think, a pretty good pizza. However, Charbar’s pie put my pizza to shame. The buttery crust was crunchy and delicious from the top to the bottom down to the crust. There was a creamy layer of goodness underneath the crispy top layer that was thick, soft and seductive on the tongue. The clams on the top were fresh and covered in a salty mint sauce that was new to me. I didn’t see any clams in the pie, only the garnish on the top, so perhaps there was clam puree in the sauce.

delicious wine

Let’s go to the wine list. This is where Stephanie stole my heart. I was deciding on a glass of wine and Stephanie went to get me two samples. I ended up picking her favourite, Orin Swift Cellars ($15, or $75 for bottle), an Argentina wine that was smooth with a soft finish. Jaime spotted Orofino Beleza ($95) on the wine list, her favourite wine.


Jaime opted for dessert while I ordered a bottle of Village Wit White Wheat Ale ($7.00). The top of the crepe was brûlée-like. The dulce filling was warm and sweet. Stephanie ordered us a side of ice-cream to go with the crepe, which I thought was the perfect pairing. The soft cold vanilla ice-cream was a nice contrast to the crunchy and rich crepe.

ice cream

I mocked Jaime for her drink beverage, hot lemon water. I called her paw-paw (Chinese translation – grandmother), as hot lemon water is a popular beverage for older Chinese women. She was the one laughing the next day, when I had a hangover.

lemon water

I’m not sure what to take from the negative reviews I read on Yelp and Zomato about Charbar. The wine and beer prices were reasonable in such an unique and gorgeous building. My beer was $7.00, Jaime’s favourite wine sells for about $45 at a BC liquor store and is sold at Charbar for $95, which is a reasonable mark-up.

The food is unique and the cost to make a similar dish at home would be more than what you pay at the restaurant. The side dishes and shareable appetizers are $9-$13, and pizzas and burgers are around $20.00.

There are higher priced dishes. A lot of other customers were ordering the $120 seafood platter and the $100 steak for two, but if you’re on a budget like I am, there are plenty of main dishes for a more affordable night out.

I don’t think my positive experience was unique either. Everyone I know that has eaten at Charbar enjoyed the food. I saw a customer go up to an employee and thank her “for always taking such good care of me when I’m here with my clients.”

Charbar is new and I can only imagine the difficulty in starting up a large restaurant business with so many staff, cooks and servers. I know there should be kinks but Jaime and I didn’t experience any fault or flaws.


I’d like to thank Stephanie for her excellent recommendations and knowledge of the cocktail, wine and food menu. I would like to also thank the people behind Charbar for bringing to Calgary a treasure. Charbar is going to put Calgary on the map now for food destinations.

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


Toronto – Day 3: Carousel Bakery, Under the Table, Clinton’s Tavern, Tacos El Asador, and Corso

Our last day in Toronto. We woke up and walked over to the Carousel Bakery in the St. Lawrence Market. The set-up reminded me of the Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver, except St. Lawrence had zero vacancy and was filled with vendors selling gorgeous and high-end cuts of meat and seafood. The floor below was filled with food stalls and gourmet kiosks, selling caviar, smoked salmon and international goods.

peameal bacon

L and I shared the Peameal Bacon Sandwich ($7.00), as we knew it would be a food heavy day. The meat was hot and salty, nicely crisp on the outside. The Portageuse bun was the soft squishy type that allowed our tastebuds to focus on the bacon.

under table

We took the subway to Cabbage Town, as I wanted to see the neighbourhood and L wanted jerk chicken. I picked Under the Table based on Yelp reviews. I am happy to report that the food is worth seeking out.

jerk chicken

We ordered a couple of beers and shared a plate of Jerk Chicken ($12.99) with rice and salad. Though it wasn’t busy inside, it took about 30 minutes for our food. I didn’t hear a microwave in the background, and from the way the food tasted, I’m guessing a lot of care goes into the food. The chicken was succulent, subtly spicy and delicious.

beers clinton

We went back to our hotel to pack and called Uber to take us to Korean Village. By the way, I love Uber. It’s way cheaper than taking a taxi, faster and you can track where and who is picking you up. With the exception of one driver, all were professional and helpful.


As we were early meeting my friend Phoebe, we stopped into Clinton’s Tavern. Beers and wings were cheap on Tuesday. L and I shared an order of hot wings ($6.00) and Steamwhistle beer ($5.00). The meaty wings were burn your hands hot, the skin had a nice crackle to it. I also liked that the hot sauce was served on the side, so the wings remained crispy and we could control how much sauce was on it.

seperate hot sauce

When Phoebe arrived, we headed over to Tacos El Asador for tacos and pupusas. Tacos are made fresh for you and if you eat inside, there’s hot sauce and onions you can add to your dish.
taco store

tacos sauces

The food was so tasty, I forgot to take some pictures. Good thing we ordered seconds. We each ate a fish, shrimp and pork tacos and a mixed pupusa. The pupusa was really tasty though a little oily. I preferred the seafood tacos over the pork. The fish was light and flavourful while the shrimp was richer noticeably more of of that pink cream sauce.

fish taco

Without drinks, L and I paid just about $28.00. Soft tacos are about $3.70 and pupusas are around $3.00 each. The burritos looked good and very filling.

tacos supreme

L and I still had time to kill before our flight, so Phoebe took us to Tallboys. I love this place. The drinks are so cheap and the servers are so nice. Though it was busy, we never felt rushed even though we just sipping on our happy hour beers ($4.40) and wine ($5.00). The food we saw other people ordered looked good, such as the burgers and tacos.

tall boys


At the airport, we made one final pit stop at Corso. Our experience at Corso was the exact opposite of Chili’s

The prices of beer are listed in the menu (crazy, I know). Our food came out quickly, which is much appreciated as you don’t want to miss your flight. The prices of booze and food, selection and quality of food were far superior. I don’t understand why the Calgary airport cannot have a place like Corso. Does the Calgary airport want to punish locals? I don’t get it.


The calamari wasn’t just the generic ringlets, but also contained the lovely squid legs. The batter was light and melted in your mouth. There were lots of left over fried batter bits on our plate, which I scooped it up to eat.

I’m glad we only spent three days in Toronto. I ate and drank way more than I should. Toronto is a destination for any Canadian foodie.

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Corso - Toronto Pearson International Airport Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Day 2 in Toronto: Banh Mi Boys, Mill Street Brewery, Black Hoof, & Bellwoods Brewery

store brothers

We woke up late the next day and headed over to Banh Mi Boys. Our Airbnb host Kimmy recommended it for lunch. L ordered the Grilled Chicken ($6.99) while I picked the 5 Spice Pork Belly ($7.50) banh mi and a can of coconut water.

four banmi

I was surprised that the sandwiches contained so much meat considering the price. My favourite of the two sandwiches was the Grilled Chicken. The chicken was hot and smothered in a mouth-watering BBQ sauce. I really liked the pork belly and the fact the cut of meat contained quite a bit of lean meat and not all fat. I thought the seasoning in the pork belly smelled like dim sum.

Excellent prices, good quality ingredients and delicious flavours, I think Banh Mi Boys deserves all its hype. I can see why it is such a popular spot.

pork bin mah

We checked out the U of T campus and then the Annex before we met Thomas at the Mill Street Brewery. I know Thomas would have preferred to head to Kensington for drinks, but I wanted to show L the touristy Distillery section. We drank free samples in the tasting room and then landed a table on the patio.

cheese dip

L ordered a Tankhouse Radler, poured with grapefruit juice ($8.00) while I drank a pint of Mill ST Organic and a shot of bierschnaps ($14). The bierschnaps tasted like whisky. L’s radler was refreshing and delicious.

We munched on the Cheddar Ale Dip ($12.00), which is made with Tankhouse ale, four cheeses and came with fresh potato chips. I thought the dip was not the most flavourful and the chips were too oily to go with the watery consistency of the dip. Regardless, I’m glad we went as the speciality drinks were good and not something I can get back home.

pig hoof

We walked back to our hotel room to get ready for the main event, dinner at Black Hoof. The only show I watch on Netflix besides Narcos is Anthony Bourdain, Parts Unknown. I saw that he raved about Black Hoof, as well as our friend M, so I made it my mission to check it out.

cocktails hoof

We arrived at 6:30 pm and were the second couple to arrive. However, within an hour, the entire restaurant was packed. L went crazy over his Trou du Diable ($9.00), a beer made in Shawinigan, Quebec. The IPA was a juicy, slightly hoppy, with small bubbles. Based on my server’s recommendation, I ordered a glass of the Charles Baker riesling ($11), which I found not sweet and fragrant.

black drinks
Our server recommended five dishes but I’m glad we only ordered four as the food was so filling. We ordered Pistachio Hummus and Chicken Livers ($10, plus $3.00 for bread), Tongue on Brioche ($15), Horse Tartar ($18) and the Smoked Scallops & Sobrassada ($18).


The horse tartar was quite delicate in texture and flavour. To me, it was clean tasting, fresh and much lighter than a beef tartar.


One of our favourite dishes was the Pistachio Hummous with Chicken Livers. By the way, no chickpeas were used in this dip. The sweet nuttiness of the pistachio went well with the richness of the chicken livers. With or without the bread, this was a divine dish.


I enjoyed the smoked scallops. The scallops had a buttery smooth texture without a trace of fishiness. This dish, like the horse tartar, was a light and subtle in taste.


The tongue was delicious. The meat was sliced super fine and was kinda like pastrami but less strong tasting. Mixed with whole grain mustard and the richness of the mayonnaise, the tenderness of the salty meat and crunchiness of the brioche made me forget all about what a whole beef tongue looks with its skin on.

bellotwon brewery

After dinner, we were meeting with my sister's best friend M and her husband D. They were running late so we headed over to Bellwoods for a table. I'm glad we were early as the place was packed. The garage-like interior was such a cool space, I wished there was one like it in Calgary or Vancouver.

bellotwon brewery

Based on the server’s recommendation, I ordered a Diable Pitoune, an unfiltered pilsner. This beer was fruity with tiny bubbles that reminded me of champagne. It was very easy to drink.

M and D ordered some snacks. Fries with garlic mayo toscano cheese, fine herbs ($7) and foie gras terrine ($12) with sour cherries and house-made brioche. The food looked and smelled so good, but I was so full from dinner, I couldn’t even try a bit nor another beer.

When L and I return to Toronto, we’ll give Bellwoods Brewery a go for dinner, and Bar Isabella, M and D’s favourite hang-out. I’m happy to report that day 2 in Toronto was a success.

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The Black Hoof Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Day 1 in Toronto – Steam Whistle, Wallflower & Fran’s

In 2008, I lived in Toronto for a month and then again in 2010 to do some research for my master’s thesis. I adore Toronto’s food scene. There is so much diversity and options. The restaurants can from extremely expensive to dirt cheap. While Vancouver has an abundance of Asian cuisines, Toronto also has excellent Caribbean, Ethiopian, Korean and Thai restaurants. On my most recent visit, I planned to try Pai Northern; Japango; Black Hoof; Okonomi House; Rasta Pasta; Gandhi’s Roti; and Banh Mi Boys. Unfortunately, the first day didn’t go as well as planned, food-wise.


On our first day, L and I headed over to watch the Blue Jays. We didn’t have time for a sit-down meal at a restaurant, so we picked up beef hot dogs ($4.00) at a vendor with the longest line-up. I loaded my dog with mustard, ketchup, raw onions, pickles, sauerkraut and hot peppers and let it drip down on the ground as we listened to a good drummer/performer who entertained the crowd milling around the Dome.


Since we had some time before the game started, I took L over to the Steam Whistle for free samples and a couple of pints ($8.00). I ordered a blisteringly hot, buttery pretzel ($4.99) to go with my beer. The whole grain mustard had a nice pop to it.


I’ve never been to a baseball game before. Though our seats were sky high, I could still see all the home runs the Blue Jays repeatedly hit. I was also impressed with the beer selection at the Dome. Unlike Calgary, the beers vary beyond Budweiser and Bud Lite. Hallelujah.


We met our friend Thomas at 1602, a bar on Dundas W. We were the only people in there the entire hour. With an absence of food and ambience, we left to check out a nearby restaurant, Wallflower.

patio wallflower

Ah, the Wildflower was more my scene. The patio was cute and clean, the selection of drinks was better and cheaper. Most wines by glass went for around $10.00 and beers were about $6.00.

menu wallflower

We ordered Gnocchi ($14.00), Jerk Devilled Eggs ($4.50) and Potato Wedges with Garlic Aioli ($5.00). The creamy filling in the devilled eggs ($4.50) had a nice kick to it. I liked how they sliced the bottom of the egg off so that the egg sat up on the plate. I need to remember to do this when I make my own devilled eggs. For $1.50 per egg, this was a tasty and cheap snack.


The dumplings were light and fluffy and came soaked in a heavy, rich creamy sauce. While the menu said there was chicken sausage, pancetta, and bolognese, I could only taste the sauce and salty meats. Not that this was a bad thing. The gnocchi was a hot delicious mess and the favourite thing we ate.

fries wallflower

The potato wedges remind me of the Naam‘s famous miso fries. The potatoes tasted like they were baked, crispy on the outside with an almost powdery soft consistency inside. I enjoyed the heavy use garlic in the aioli.


The food was so good, we should have stayed and eaten more. However, we left to see Thomas’s place and to meet his friends. By the time we left for our hotel, we were starving. The only place open and literally next door to our hotel was Fran’s.


L and I thought since we had more than a couple of drinks, that no matter how bad the food was at Frans, it would be okay. Well, perhaps we didn’t drink enough.

L ordered the Chicken Parmigiana Sandwich with fries ($11.99) and I ordered a Beef Burger with home Fries ($9.99). On the positive side, the food was cheap. However, the patty was dry and the bread in both the sandwich and the bun were too hard and chewy to eat. The home fries were hot and crispy, so another point there. I vowed that the next day, we would fare better and hit some of the places recommended to me by locals.


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Chilis Texas Grill – Airport Experience

The Fort McMurray airport is the only other place that’s worse than the Calgary airport in terms of food options. If I’m travelling solo, I bring my own food via Chuen May. Once, the customs agent actually said my dumplings and sticky rice from Chuen May smelled so good that everyone in security wanted to know what was in it. However, this time around I was travelling with my husband and he likes to do “trip shorteners”. Essentially, it is having a couple of beers before a flight, which seems to shorten the waiting time before we board.


Chilis was our only option. I’ve eaten here before and I would avoid the burgers and buffalo chicken wraps. I do like the chicken lettuce wraps, but it is no longer on the menu. I ordered a glass of NK Mip Cellars Pinot Blanc ($12.99) while L ordered a beer. I thought it was annoying that there was no prices listed for beer ($8.00).


We waited fifty minutes for our food to arrive. Our server came at the twenty-five minute mark to say that the kitchen was having issues with the tickets. We repeated our order and watched as another table asked for their food to go, as they had to board. At forty minutes, our server told us it shouldn’t be too much longer. When we received our food ten minutes later, I mentioned out loud that the fries were cold.


Our server heard me and looked annoyed but didn’t say anything. Lucky for us, the Sante Fe Chicken Salad ($15.00) fared better. I don’t normally order salads at chain restaurants, but I saw someone else order it and it looked good.

sald best view

The portion was filling. The lettuce was fresh. The avocado was buttery and a generous amount. The chicken was juicy and subtly spiced. The crispy tortilla strips added a crunch. I also liked that the dressing was served on the side, as only a little was needed.

I guess being the only restaurant at the airport means you have a captive audience. Hopefully when the airport is renovated, there will more options. If you find yourself at the mercy of Chilis, I recommend ordering a salad with a side of patience.

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Lunch at Q Haute


Seven of us from work (L and B no-showed) went to Q Haute for their $20.00 two-course meal. Q Haute is a bit of trek from our office. However, with our bosses away on vacation, I thought this would be a golden opportunity to go somewhere special.


We were surprised to see that we got our own private room. The table was beautifully set-up, long wooden logs were elegantly arranged in the centre. I could imagine how cozy the fireplace would be during the winter. The window offered a pretty view of the trees and the street below. The back drop of the room would be ideal for a Christmas party.


The complimentary buns were really good – almost scone-like in texture. I thought I could taste cheese and chives. The herb butter was so good, I couldn’t help but slather it on the bun.

best pour

For my appetizer, I picked the Carrot Veloute with Chive Creme Fraiche. The richness of the chive creme fraiche was a good contrast to the soup, which was light but flavourful.


When all the food arrived, I darted around taking pictures. My husband gets embarrassed when I take photos at a restaurant, though he won’t admit it. My mother gets impatient, telling me the food is getting cold and I shouldn’t be working while I eat. I explained to my co-workers that I was taking photos of their food for my blog. They didn’t mind and patiently waited while I snapped away.


PB opted for the pastrami with hot mustard, rye crostini and pickles. PB is not his real initials, but I got to know him better that afternoon and thought it was better suited to him. PB stands for playboy.

pork salad

C and M ordered the beet salad with pork belly, tomato goat cheese and olive oil bread. This salad looked beautiful and according to C and M, it was delicious too. The presentation of the dish was so nice.

pork salad da

I was surprised how quickly our food came out. Our servers were friendly, professional and efficient. Despite the privacy of our room, there was always someone around to ensure we had everything we needed. From what I could see, Q Haute is well-staffed. Doing lunch at Q Haute within an hour is totally doable.


J ordered the brined pork loin with lentil pilaf and honey glazed beets. The portions look small, but its actually quite dense and filling.

salmon cake

T ordered the salmon cake with warm quinoa salad and cucumber caper and red onion bruschetta. I think this is the perfect summer entree. If you visit and see this on the menu, do get it.


I ordered the sous vide leg of lamb tomato with barley risotto. The topping tasted like potatoes and eggs, aka potato salad which went well with the lamb. The meat itself was tender and pink. The barley risotto was perfectly cooked, each grain was smooth, glossy and firm. What we all liked nothing we ate was over salted, letting the flavours of the food shine through.


For $5.00 more, you can partake in dessert. J ordered the tonka bean cheesecake with almond financier and creme Chantilly. I loved the bright pop of colour on this plate.


I didn’t have dessert because I had a beer instead ($10.00). I was going to order wine but changed my mind when J decided on a beer. With the air quality advisory, beer is much more refreshing. Disclaimer – I took the afternoon off – so I was not drinking on the job.


The food was beautiful to look at and delicious to eat. The value was outstanding. The room was gorgeous and service was stellar. Company was great, but hey, what else do you expect when I’m in the room? The crowning glory however, was our server bringing orange and pink gerbras to all the ladies in our table. We squealed like teenagers, delighted with the gesture. I noted that the gerbras were really fresh – as in just delivered from the greenhouse.


We all walked out feeling pretty special. Our server asked us if we would see him next Friday. Our bosses are back, otherwise the answer would be a resounding yes. I plan to organize another lunch or dinner at Q Haute with my buddies soon. Dining here is most definitely an elevated experience.

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Sidewalk Citizen – Fei Po gives two fat thumbs up

At lunch, M and I went to check out the Simmons building in East Village. Charbar was packed so we went over to Sidewalk Citizen. I really like the soups and pizzas at Sidewalk Citizen’s Kensington location, so I was confident that food at this location would be good as well.


M picked up a pastry filled with cream that was decorated with blueberries. She said it was one of the best pastries she has eaten in a while. At 63 years old and an avid traveller and eater of desserts, I’d say that’s quite the compliment.


I ordered the Sabich ($12), a homemade pita filled with vegetables. Yes – I knowingly ordered something with no meat. Jaime would be proud of me. And I wasn’t even doing it to impress her. An employee told me it was a unique pita and Sidewalk was probably the only place in Calgary that serves this type of vegetarian sandwich.


The pita was thick, soft and pillowy. Stuffed with eggplant, hummus, egg and matchsticks of tomato and cucumber, it was surprisingly filling and I stayed full until the evening. The eggplant was creamy, smoky and full of flavour. There was also some cilantro (which I hate) in the pita, however the other ingredients were so good, I didn’t mind the offensive herb.


The side of amba looked like it was spinach, but I could also taste cumin. I smeared this tasty spicy oil-based goodness all over the pita. Double yum. I would happily order this pita again.

bread budding

My husband loves bread pudding, and my recent attempt at home was not nearly as good as Sidewalk Citizen’s version. This was phenomenal. The pudding was doughy (in a good way) and dense, studded with plump raisons. There was a flavour in the pudding that really elevated it – it tasted like vanilla but lighter, more subtle and fragrant. Perhaps it was magic.


From what I sampled, I’m a huge fan of Sidewalk Citizen. Fei Po gives Sidewalk Citizen an unheard of Zomato rating of five.

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One18 Empire – $15 Lunch Special

Today was P’s last day at our office as his contract ended. A group of nine of us decided to take him out for lunch. I picked One18 Empire in part because of bloggers Le Petite Shar and KimmyW/Journey of Wellness posts, the close proximity of the restaurant to my office, and the $15 two course/$20 three course meal.

lunch menu

Props to our server Vanessa (I hope I got her name right, my apologies if I did not). She managed our table efficiently, politely reminding latecomers to order sooner rather than later, so that everyone could eat at the same time. She explained the menu’s concept of 2 dishes for $15 or three for $19 and then described the special sandwich several times for those in our group in la la land. Vanessa went the extra mile to split up our tab and dividing P’s tab on our bills all in a remarkably short time. I appreciated this greatly as I had a meeting immediately after lunch with no time to dawdle.

special treat bottle

We couldn’t partake in a cocktail as our work place has a strict no drinking policy. Instead, we gasped at the list of special treat bottles and dared each other to buy a bottle. The most expensive bottle was a 1969 Glenrothes Vintage Single Malt Scotch Whisky ($11,450). My budget allows for more modest tastes. If I didn’t have to work that afternoon, I would have tried some of the Japanese whisky.

japanese saki

One18 Empire offers good value for lunch, much like Charcut across the street. Though the two restaurants share a similarly priced lunch set special, both offer something different.

grilled cheese

One18 is quieter and roomier than Charcut, making it more ideal for customers seeking some privacy. One18 is more conducive for bigger groups because its not as busy as Charcut and it has larger sized tables. On the other hand, if you want to experience Calgary or show the city off to an out-of-towner, I would go to Charcut for the wow factor.


Charcut has superior soups than One18. However, the sandwiches at One18 are very tasty and much more filling than Charcut’s lunch sandwich. Charcut promises to get you in and out within 45 minutes, which I did not see on One18’s menu. Charcut also has a larger lunch menu whereas One18 Empire menu is more limited in selection.


Everyone enjoyed the main component of their lunch – a huge mushroom omelette, grilled cheese, roasted chicken on a pretzel bun and the special of the day, lamb sandwich with brie on sourdough bread. The lamb was cooked medium rare, tender and a generous amount of meat. The combination of the toppings – sweet tomato sauce, rich aioli and brie made this a deliciously saucy sandwich to eat.

chicken salad

My co-workers that ordered the salads enjoyed it. Caesar with jumbo croutons, Kale and Farro and the Roasted Salad with bacon. The best looking salad was the Kale and Farro. You can see from the photo how vibrant the kale looks.


The only minor disappointment of the meal were the soups. P’s garlic and spinach soup was a bit bland and tasted more of spinach than garlic. My tomato soup was not warm and while it was not bad, it was not good either. However, two out of three components were tasty and the price was right.


When our server Vanessa found out we were taking P out for lunch for a special occasion, she brought out a slice of cake from him. This dessert was a winner. Soft, luscious and chocolate heavy. We all really enjoyed the bag of Bourbon Yorkshire pudding to go. The bag it was enclosed in had the recipe on the back. These little babies reminded me of French toast. I’ll definitely make this at home.


Overall, the food was pretty darn tasty. One18 offers complimentary sparkling water, free Bourbon Yorkshire pudding and a great value lunch that should get you in and out within an hour. Service was awesome and the venue was very nice with its modern fixtures and clean colours.

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Proof – Happy Hour

Saturday night on the second last week of August. I told L we were not wasting a sunny weekend evening playing guitar (L) or watching Anthony Bourdain (me). We were going out and it would be a happening hotspot.


I like reading all the reviews on Zomato and Yelp before checking out a new restaurant. I usually find Dale, Ange, Mcclane and Tunit top picks are to my taste.

ahppy hour

I saw Dale’s and Ange’s review of Proof and decided it was time to check it out. When I checked Proof’s Twitter action, I was surprised to see that Proof offers happy hour all week and on weekends. Score! I love a good happy hour and to get a good deal on a Saturday is unheard of in these parts. Now Seattle, that’s a different story.


Happy hour begins at 4 pm and ends at 7 pm. We arrived around 5 pm and the bar was about half full. L chose a can of the Tool Shed People Skills Pilsner ($5) while I ordered the feature cocktail, the Wallace (2 OZ, $7).


The Wallace was a well-made drink. A nice balance of intoxicants: Writer’s Tears Irish Whiskey, Dillon’s Pear eau-de-vie, Cocchi Americano and some non-alcoholic liquid, fresh lemon juice. I thought the torched cinnamon stick, which arrived with my drink still smoking, reminded me of a smoking cigar.


I also really enjoyed the Old Fashioned (2 OZ, $7). The cocktail was presented with a big ice cube, which I prefer as it keeps the drink cold but doesn’t water it down. The smell and flavour of orange and citrus was pleasing on the palate.


For a snack, we ordered the meats and cheeses platter ($20). We received three meats, three cheeses, a bowl of toasted buttered bread, peach chutney and homemade mustard. The cheeses were top-notch. If you are like me and hate it when restaurants give you a cheese and meat platter that consists of what you can pick up at Safeway, then you’ll like Proof’s version. The orange blue cheese was smooth and not too sharp tasting. The other two cheeses were very different from each other and had unique flavours – the triangular square was nutty and the other reminded me a bit of cheese curds.


We also ordered a preserved pork belly rillette ($8). The cured pork was salty and rich, a good bite on top of the toast. I appreciated how much bread Proof provides diners. It’s a pet peeve of mine when a restaurant doesn’t provide you with enough condiments or vessels for a dish in the first place and then charges you extra when you need more.


Calgary needs more places like Proof. Fantastic drinks, good prices and a nice environment to quaff the evening away. The windows offer light and people watching. The room is small and urban chic with a touch of the old world. Cozy couch seats, tall table stools and a centre piece bar seating with a first rate view of a wall stocked with every type of booze imaginable.


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Italian Supermarket

I overheard my work buddies saying they were going to eat at the Italian Supermarket for lunch. I asked Cindy if there was room for me in her SUV. She granted me access and vroom vroom, we were off!


I love the Italian Supermarket. It’s the sort of place my father Ludvig and I would frequent in Vancouver. Ludvig grew up in a predominately Italian neighbourhood and he would often reminisce about the spaghetti, ribs and veal at Nick’s Spaghetti House, one of the oldest Italian restaurants in the city. His own mother could speak Italian and he always felt it was a privilege to grow up in the Italian district.


To honour my father, I ordered what he would have picked. Veal Parmigiana with Vegetable Linguine ($11.99). Damn this was good! The breaded cutlet was still crispy despite the soft cheese layer and zesty tomato sauce. I could detect lemon in the veal, which help cut into the richness of the dish.


The pasta was soft and slippery. The marinated zucchini and eggplant was surprisingly flavourful, in a subdued way. Delicious.


Next time I want to try the pizza. The dough is prepared once you order. The crust is thin, so it takes no time to bake in the oven.

pizza oven

After lunch I strolled around and picked up extra virgin olive oil ($25.99); ladyfingers ($3.99); parmesan cheese ($12.00); brie ($4.00); fresh buffalo mozzarella ($8:00); dried lasagna noodles; dried pasta; pesto; sun dried tomatoes; fresh bread, anchovy paste and candy for my co-worker M.



lady fingers


olive oil




I left $100.00 lighter but a whole lot happier. I found a great store with quality products from Italy at excellent prices. Better yet, I can get a taste of home and tell my father all about it. He’ll be happy to hear I found an Italian supermarket that serves up food even better than what we could find on the Drive.
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SAIT Culinary Campus

My co-worker M wanted to walk down Stephen Avenue for lunch. We convinced our counterpart R to join us. We hemmed and hawed until I made the decision to pick something up at SAIT Culinary Campus.

flank steak

I poked around and looked at the cold sandwiches and salads. The hot food appealed to me as everything looked fresh. There were several stations serving up Perogies ($10), Pad Thai ($10), Pappardelle with Pork Ragu ($8.99), Flank Steak ($9) and Prime Rib ($9).

prime rib

The Chopped Salad ($6.50) was a good deal. Unlike most to-go salads, this one wasn’t mostly lettuce, but filled with bright red tomatoes and peppers, cucumbers and pumpkin seeds.

chop salad

The Italian sandwich ($6.50) was light and fresh despite the heavy filling. The sandwich was filled with proscuitto, salami, capicola and provolone cheese.


The prime rib sandwich was basic but I thought its simplicity let the quality ingredients shine. The beef was thinly sliced and still warm. The meat was soft and tender with a nice marbling of fat while the bread was dry was crusty. The sea salt and olive oil flavours really came through.

beef andwich

I like SAIT and I would go back again. The food is well-priced and there is a great variety of sandwiches, salads, and dessert. I’d compare it to the food at Whole Foods, but SAIT seems fresher with fancier ingredients and some of the hot dishes are prepared individually and just for you. FYI – SAIT is only open at breakfast and lunch during the week days.


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Sushi Bistro Anzu


It took a long time for me to convince L to give Sushi Bistro Anzu a try. He doesn’t believe anyone can replace Wa’s, the former restaurant. Wa’s was our favourite restaurant in the city. We would dine there at least twice a month. The food, particularly the chirashi, was a work of art. The owner and chef also took a liking to L, so they would always chat in English and Japanese. The owner told L that he had some health concerns and he had to cut back on the opening hours. Then all of a sudden, the restaurant closed.


As I was sick all week, when I finally got over my stomach bug I persuaded L to give Anzu a chance. Plus, we were picking up meats at Sun’s BBQ, which is two blocks away. He relented but I could tell he wouldn’t give Anzu a fair chance.


What I like the most about Anzu was the cooked food and the way the sushi chef slices the sashimi. L and I shared the bento box with sashimi, chicken teriyaki, and tonkatsu and a sashimi lunch special. The prices were inexpensive for the quantity of the food.

azuou two

The portion of the sashimi was generous: two large, flat piece of salmon; two pieces of ahi tuna; two pieces of snapper and a small piece of surf clam. Usually I don’t like snapper because I find it sinewy and hard to chew. However, the sushi chef sliced the snapper in thin slices, making it easy to eat. The salmon tasted fresh. The surf clam was sweet. I prefer the raw fish at Anzu more than Nami.


In the cooked food, I saw touches of the old Wa’s. The miso soup was richly flavoured, with needle thin slices of scallions and crab. You would chew it and get this burst of green onion flavour. A little side dish came with root vegetables covered in a wonderful sauce and a piece of marinated beef. The tonkatsu was fresh from the fryer, the exterior crunchy. The chicken teriyaki was unusual. The sauce wasn’t the sickly sweet stuff you find at some restaurants, but lighter and more subtle. The batter around the chicken was soft and squishy, but comforting to eat.

I would like to return to try some of the other kitchen dishes. I saw other bento boxes sail past me and I thought the shrimp tempura looked lovely – long with a snow white batter. There’s also a reward program at Anzu. You get a stamp for every $10 you spend, and after you spend a $100 you get $5.00 off your bill.

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Sun Chiu Kee BBQ Restaurant – Take out

I’ve been getting requests for my duck fried rice. So on Sunday, L and I made a stop off at Sun Chiu Kee BBQ. While I always have to wait in line to order, this time was particularly crazy.

long line-up


Sun’s BBQ meats are pretty close to the best of the best I can get in Richmond, BC. The duck has lots of meaty goodness, and not too much fat. I ordered a whole duck, which is about $26.00.


I ordered a pound and a half of char sui, roughly $15.00. The meat looks like a lean cut and is bright red. The sticky sauce makes the pork a sweet tasting meat.

chai sui cut

Last but not least, I also picked out a pound and a half of the roasted pork ($16). The top layer is this delicious, crunchy fatty skin. In between are layers of fat and lean pork. I know this type of meat would really gross out my vegetarian friend Jaime.

roast pork

For every person that orders, the butcher has to select the meat, carefully cut it up and then place it in a styrofoam box. Then another staffer writes up the cheque, bags the boxes, and hands it to the cashier. While all the employees work efficiently, its excrucinating to wait. You can hear kids cry in the background. Servers dart in and out of the line, reaching for food for the sit down customers.

half duck

L timed how long it took for me to get my meats. 25 minutes. L loves the BBQ meats but hates how the car smells after the trip. He says it smells like duck farts.

roasted pork cut

Personally, I don’t mind the smell. It reminds me of dinner as a kid. It was common to eat dishes of BBQ Chinese meats, like char sui, duck, and lap cheong (Chinese sausage) with rice and gai lan (Chinese greens). The meats are rich so the plain rice and steamed vegetables help to cut down on the heaviness of the meal.


Sun Chiu Kee BBQ is worth the wait. I have yet to find another place in Calgary that offers the same quality meats. Just an FYI, if you order in, the food comes out more quickly as there is a staffer dedicated to cutting the BBQ meats for customers eating at the restaurant.

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Ship & Anchor – Preconcert pit stop


I find that people either love or hate the Ship & Anchor. Personally, I’m a fan of the Ship. The food is good pub grub and a bargain (in Calgary). No matter what you wear, I’ll bet you aren’t underdressed, unless perhaps you try to go in your birthday suit.


That night, L bought us tickets to see the Foo Fighters. We met up with his two friends, recent immigrants from Labrador. The night before, I was so frustrated that I couldn’t eat solid foods due to stomach bug, I had a glass of wine. Guess what? Turns out though solids irk my health, a little booze is good for me. So while everyone was chowing down on delicious food, I indulged in a can of Sofia Blanc de Blancs, a sparkling wine by Francis Coppola Winery ($8.95). The can reminded me of Red Bull.

butter chicken

I told L’s friends that the Ship Burger w/ the works ($10.95) or the Butter Chicken ($11.50) were solid picks. Zee ordered the butter chicken, and boy did it look good. I could smell the curry from across the table. The heaping portion of chicken and basalti rice came with naan bread too. I could see nice chunks of tomatoes, peas and onions. Z gave two thumbs up for the curry, which he said was hot, flavourful and spicy.

Ship burger w: salad

The Ship burger with the works comes with super crispy bacon and oozes with cheddar cheese. The grass fed beef patty was thick and charbroiled. The Kaiser bun was proportional to the patty and toppings: tomatoes, pickles, onions and mushrooms. However, the mushrooms would have been better sandwiched next to the patty and produce versus against just the patty and bun, as it made the bread soggy. My advice to L’s friend M would be to eat faster, so the bun doesn’t have time to get soft.

ship and fries

It was very interesting to post about food when you can’t eat it. The experience left me feeling angry and frustrated. However, little sips of my drink calmed my nerves down a bit. Hopefully I’ll be back to eating solids in no time. When I get better, I want to try NU Burger and Sushi Bar and the Redheads Bagel Cafe for their Japanese food.


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Cedars – Market Mall

I’ve been fighting the flu for the past week. L wanted me to get up and walk around a bit, so he thought he’d kill two birds with one stone by shopping and taking me along. I haven’t eaten in a food court in a long time. In my wasted youth, I was a mall rat and even back then, I’ve never been a fan of the food.

sign cedars

We walked past KFC (too greasy), Subway (too generic), and finally stopped at Cedars. I really enjoyed the food at the Panorama Hills location, so I thought it would be a safe choice.

cedars two

The price is right. Around $8.00 for a regular size chicken wrap. The pita was stuffed with everything you could want: lettuce; beets; onions; parsley; tomato; radish and hot peppers. A healthy amount of chicken and garlic mayo completed the wrap.

cedars whole

The value is here. I just wish it was as flavourful as the Panorama Hills location. While there were so many vegetables and pickled condiments, it lacked flavour. The pita would also have tasted better if it was grilled for a couple of minutes longer. However, for mall food, Cedars does a good job of filling you up without using a deep-fryer. Better than Subway, Cedars at Market Mall is just not as good as the original location.


I also wanted to take this moment to thank community manager Lisa Nguyen for sending me a card and water bottle. Zomato just turned seven today and Lisa sent me a gift to celebrate with them. Yahoo. When I’m up and better, I’ll fill it up with some bubbly. Cheers to you Zomato.

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Garden Patio Date Night at Bonterra Trattoria


L and I have several trips planned, which means lots of eating out. So for the next six months, I am self-imposing one restaurant meal per week. This means when I do go out, I sure as heck won’t waste it on a chain restaurant (no offence White Spot, you know I love you).


This week’s rationed restaurant meal was at Bonterra Trattoria. We snagged a seat on their city renowned garden patio. When we sat down, I realized why they win best patio category in various magazines. The spacious patio is outfitted with flowers and covered overhead, which is handy in Calgary’s hail fraught summer. I also like the view of the sky scrappers. A male server noticed I was rubbing my goose pimpled arms and he kindly offered to kick on the heater. After two minutes, I was warm and cozy.


I liked our female server too. She had this no nonsense aura about her. I like the way she thinks – she analyzed which wine I should drink and which pasta I should order based on what I told her I did and didn’t like. She picked a glass of chianti ($13) which was a heavier, berry-like red.


We ate some complimentary rosemary focaccia while we waited for our appetizer. Fluffy with a nice crust not the outside, it was the perfect vessel to soak up the olive oil and salty chopped up olives.


On Yelp, I read that reviewers loved the antipasti at Bonterra. We ordered the Antipasti Piatti ($36), which contained three imported cheeses, about four meats, and tons of pickled vegetables.

L enjoyed the high quality meats. My favourite item were the fresh tomatoes. Oh my goodness. These were the best tomatoes ever. Sweet and juicy and ripe. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

I also ate pickled beets, pickled cauliflower, pickled onions, olives, and some other vegetable that looked like a curly white noodle that was also pickled. I love pickled veggies but I thought it was a bit much for me. I did dig the cranberry mustard, which was tart.

I told my server that I loved fat noodles, but the sausage on the Garganelli alla Salsiccia ($19) didn’t appeal to me. She was nice enough to do a special order for me. I got my fat noodles, but with a mix of chicken, arugula, and those tomatoes I love so much. L ordered the Linguine Carbonara ($17.00).

I don’t normally eat at Italian restaurants because I find I can replicate the food well enough at home. Well, eating at Bonterra proved me wrong. These are pastas I can’t make at home. And unlike Buon Giorno, each pasta was very different from each other and didn’t taste the same.

special order

The chicken in my pasta was almost delicate in flavour. In fact, all the ingredients were subtle. The sweetness of the tomatoes. The peppery flavour of the arugula. I really enjoyed the addition of the warm roasted pine nuts.


L’s pasta was like buttery heaven. The wild boar bacon added a smokey flavour.
Though the spaghetti noodles were so thin and fine, it was still al dente. We noted that Bonterra doesn’t rely on rich heavy sauces to give their pastas flavour.


One last thing I noticed. When we were standing inside to wait for our table, all the staff were very courteous, asking us if we were looked after. The chefs in the open kitchen were busy making kick-ass food, but you could hear them cheerfully converse with each other. The whole scene looked so fun it almost made me want to apply for culinary school and then a job at Bonterra :-)

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1 Pot – Hot Pot

Leighton soup

I added six more hours of exercise to my routine, totally about nine hours per week. This doesn’t leave much time to eat out anymore. However, I was feeling homesick on Saturday and I wanted to go out for Chinese hot pot. When my grandparents were alive, they would always make something warm to eat even if it was a humid summer day. Congee, wonton, herbal soups and deep-fried chicken were just some of the dishes I would have at their house.

spicy soup

1 Pot was recommended to me by a restauranteur Heather Wigmore of Pigeonhole. I love getting recommendations from people in the industry as I figure they know the inside scoop. 1 Pot differs from other hot pot restaurants by the following: individual pot of soup; more condiments to make your own dipping sauce; and food is brought to your table. Personally, I really enjoyed having my own pot of broth and not having to get up to get my food.

dipping sauce

L ordered a sate broth and a beer. I made the mistake of ordering Szechuan broth and putting too many spicy condiments in my dipping sauce. In the middle of the meal, L noticed beads of perspiration dripping down my neck. Good thing I’m married to the guy and this was not our first date. Seriously, I felt like I was in hot yoga. Next time I’ll bring a towel and put it underneath me while I eat. I’m glad I brought my own homemade gatorade to drink. I know better than to bring my own beverage to a restaurant, but I wanted my electrolytes. I figured they wouldn’t care if my beverage was water (with freshly squeezed lemon and orange, sea salt and a pinch of brown sugar).

chicken springroll

1 Pot offers a few cooked items. The two dishes L and I indulged in were the spring rolls and chicken wings. The spring rolls were very crunchy with a soft filling. The wings were sticky on the outside, made just like my gong gong (grandfather) use to make when we were kids. Both dishes came straight from the deep-fryer and arrived piping hot.


I ordered an assortment of dumplings: lobster, shrimp and beef balls, sui mai and wontons. My favourite was the wonton – I thought these were a step above the usual stuff you find at westernized Chinese restaurants. I liked the contrasting textures in the wonton and the filling was quite flavourful with a touch of sweetness.


The oysters were small but tasted fresh. We ordered a little of the beef, pork and chicken. I thought the pork and chicken tasted like it was a bit over tenderized. The texture tasted off.


L and I really enjoyed the fish pastes, which were much tastier than the fish balls. I also liked the non-meat items like Chinese mushrooms, taro, Korean cakes, and assorted vegetables.


I really enjoyed 1 Pot and I would happily return. We paid about $28 per person for the all-you-can eat hot pot experience, which I thought was very reasonable, considering the quality of the food was a step above some hot pot restaurants I visit in Richmond, BC that charge the same price or more. I plan to try Regency’s version of hot pot and revisit the Chinese Cultural Centre just to see how they compare to 1 Pot.

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Anju – Late Night Eats

Jaime and I were on 17th Ave and wanted a snack at Anju. At 9:00 p.m., the restaurant was packed. I put my name down and the hostess told me she would give me a text when a table become available. In the meantime, I took Jaime to the Ship and Anchor, as she’s never been before. We sat at a table covered in beer and drank Moosehead Lite. In about 15 minutes, Anju texted to tell us we had a table.

Our table was right behind the hostess, so we didn’t have to walk far to our seats. All around us were customers winding up or down. We fell in the latter group. As Jaime is a meat-hater, we chose a few vegetarian dishes.


We started off with the King Mushrooms ($8.00). The shrooms were meaty, accompanied with some tasty charred green onions. Jaime and I weren’t drinking at this point, but I think I would have enjoyed the mushrooms more if I was sipping some soju or a cold beer.


I ordered the infamous Crispy Tofu with Pork Belly with sweet kimchi and citrus aioli ($14.00). I asked if we could have the pork belly on the side. When the tofu appetizer arrived, we both noticed the tofu was cold. As I know how the dish can taste, I asked the server if he could heat up the tofu. Instead, he brought out a new dish that was piping hot. Jaime really liked the kimchi.


Our favourite dish was the Japchae noodles ($12.00). The sweet potato noodles were glassy and slippery. I liked generous amount of the julienne vegetables that still had a pleasant crunch and all different colours and textures in this dish.

Price-wise, if you stick to the appetizers and side dishes, you can get in and out for a very reasonable price. On a side note, it must be a hard time to own a restaurant right now. With food costs rising, then the slumping oil prices and layoffs. Having said that, apparently spending at restaurants and bars is still high in Alberta.

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Carino Riserva – Fei Po’s Favourite Restaurant of 2015

I had one of the best meals at Carino Riserva in Mission. The food is just killer. I haven’t been this excited about a restaurant since Anju back in 2011.

cherry tomatoes

We sat in the back of the room, which was a semi-private space. The restaurant itself is small and narrow. There were about half a dozen tables filled when L and I arrived at 8:00pm. The majority of customers were fluent in Japanese.


After we ordered our food, my husband and I ate complimentary candied cherry tomatoes that were sweet and crunchy. I started off with very bubbly glass of prosecco ($10) while L ordered an Asahi. I was pleased as punch to notice most wines by the glass were $10.00 or $11.00. Just another reason to make Carino my new go-to restaurant for date night.


We each ordered an Aranchio ($3.00), which was decorated with a little flower. The smell of the cheese hit our nose the moment it landed on our table. Oh, this was a taste teaser. The softness of the risotto and the richness of the cheese contrasted with the crispy exterior. The spicy tomato sauce with wagyu beef was spicy but not enough to burn our tongue. You can tell that a great deal of attention is paid to the flavours of the food.


L and I shared an order of the Spaghetti alle Pescatore ($22.00). The noodles were al dente and lightly sauced in a clear dashi broth. I thought the sweet sauce highlighted the freshness of the clams, scallops, prawn, and squid. The big old prawn was large and plump. I’m not sure if I was suppose to suck the prawn head, but I did anyway, and the flavour was heavenly.

soup gnocchi

I ordered a glass of Vioneti de Monteforte, which was smooth like sake and it had an almost flat aftertaste. The wine went so well with the Duck Leg Confit and Ricotta Gnocchi ($24). This last dish was even better than the previous dishes. The duck and gnocchi came in a separate bowl, in two different broths. The broth with the gnocchi was almost like an intense French onion soup. The broth with the duck confit was very flavourful with a heat to it. Both broths were so good, L and I drank every drop. The duck was was fall off the bone soft. The vegetables were so fresh and perfectly cooked. The small potatoes were sweet and tasted like they just came from the garden. The bok choy and sugar snap peas still had a snap to it. The mushrooms were soft and silky smooth.

chocolate dessert

L and I were too full for dessert, but we received a complimentary chocolate at the end of the meal. Dark chocolate with some crispy filling, the sweet (which actually wasn’t sweet) was the perfect end to a truly amazing meal.

The prices are incredible for this league of food. We plan to come and often. Normally when I find a dish I like, I stick to it. However, the taste explosions at Carino Riserva make me want to sample across the entire menu.

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Zipang – An Oldie but a Goodie

I’ve tried other popular Japanese restaurants in Calgary, but for what I enjoy eating (chirashi, nigiri, oysters), Zipang is my favourite pick. The seafood is fresh and consistent. And in my humble opinion, Zipang makes the best fried oysters.


L wanted to order Octopus and Kimchi ($6.99). The small bowl contained a chilled mix of octopus and cucumber in a kimchi sauce. The sauce was spicy and smokey, and it went really well with our Asahi beer.


One dish I always order at Zipang is the appetizer of Oysters in Ponzu Sauce ($7.99). Yum. The batter is light and tempura like, yet it retains its crispiness despite the sauce and grated mountain yam. The cooked oysters at Zipang are never over-cooked and taste like the sea.


L and I usually share the Chirashi ($24.00). The scallop is usually the highlight of the meal, however, on the most recent visit, the scallop was very small and a little fishy. The red tuna was my favourite, with its firm texture and subtle flavour. The Amaebi (raw shrimp) was cool in temperature, sweet and delicious. The texture was creamy with a bit of a snap.


The salmon in the nigiri was served at room temperature, which I think allowed the flavour of the fish to come out. L really likes the fact Zipang doesn’t overwhelm the balance of the fish and rice with too much wasabi. He also likes that the sushi rice is a little wet. The surf clam was sweet and had a nice chew to it.


I asked for my shrimp head to be deep-fried. Before I received my “dessert”, we received our bill, which was a bit awkward. I normally love the deep-fried shrimp head, but this time around, I found the shell too tough and it had a grittiness to it. There was a light sprinkle of sea salt, but I wish there was some fresh lemon too.

Regardless of a few minor glitches, Zipang Sushi is still my favourite Japanese restaurant since Wa’s and Sushi Club closed down. I have heard rumours that one of the chefs from Sushi Club is now at Sukiyaki House and a chef from Wa’s is at Sushi Bistro Anzu. I haven’t checked either restaurants but I just may try it the next time I’m craving sushi.

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Lemon Garden – Chinese Food in the Hood

You won’t find “authentic” Chinese cuisine at Lemon Garden. Judging from its clientele, customers are happy there’s an absence of traditional Cantonese fare, like tripe, chicken feet or Chinese daikon and carrot broth. If you don’t like the exotic stuff, you’ll love the menu. Salt and pepper squid, sweet and sour chicken balls, as well as an assortment of western food such as burgers, fish and chips, and sandwiches.

By the way, I’ve ordered cheeseburgers at Lemon Garden before and enjoyed the thick patty and the large, soft sesame bun. Don’t expect homemade patties or handout fries, and you will be pleasantly surprised with the food. My burger was juicy and thick, stacked with processed cheese, iceberg lettuce, and a thick slice of tomato. I saw that Lemon Garden has recently raised their prices again, but I noticed the portion has also increased.

assorted chowmein

L and I usually order two dishes, which is enough food for three people. I like the Special Chow Mein ($12.99) which comes with bbq pork, chicken and shrimp. The chicken is a tad too tenderized for me, but I dig the still crispy noodles and assortment of vegetables. For some reason, the celery is a bit mushy.

salt and pepper squid

We always order the Salt and Pepper Squid ($13.99), which this time was not crispy. The container was packed to the rim. The squid is tender and has a good amount of spice to it.

Lemon Garden is always packed with customers, particularly on holidays and weekends. The food is mostly consistent, though sometimes the vegetables are too squishy. My favourite picks at Lemon Garden include the Almond Chicken ($11.99), Salt and Pepper Squid ($13.99) and the Singapore Rice Noodles ($10.99).

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Catch Restaurant & Oyster Bar – Happy Hour


I love oysters. So during Stampede week, when my friend K wanted to have a drink on Stephen Avenue, I picked Catch for their oyster bar specials. Monday to Friday, from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM, you can get: Fish & Chips ($13); Tempura Prawns ($2 each); 6 Chef’s Choice Oyster ($13); Moules Frites ($14) or New England Clam Chowder ($6).

blue buck

We sat on the patio and we ordered Philips Blue Buck ($6.00) and prosecco ($6.00). I mentioned to K, an ex-bartender, that it is a pet peeve of mine when I get too much head in my beer. She informed me that a little head is good, as it indicates the beer is fresh.

first round oysters

For the first round of a half a dozen oysters ($13) I received three east coast and three New Zealand oysters. I enjoyed the New Zealand oysters more, as it was larger, creamier and salty. The east coast oysters were briny and almost lettuce like in flavour. For the next half dozen, I requested the Kiwi oysters.

oysters catch

K ordered a Halibut Burger with Salad ($19), which she enjoyed. She liked the apple and fennel in the burger. Her side salad was impressive – big croutons, large pieces of crispy pancetta, and a healthy sprinkling of grana padano.

halibut burger

Service was excellent and the company even better. It’s my turn to treat K out next week. I got my eye on One 18 Empire, a restaurant that’s been featured in two Yelp Elite events. I sampled some cheeses and meats from One 18 Empire, and it left me wanting more…

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Raw Bar

On our most recent date night, L and I were in the mood for beers and oysters. On Fridays, Raw Bar offers dollar oysters and pints or prosecco for only $5.00. Whoo hoo! Now that is a reason to celebrate!


We ordered a dozen of oysters, a Lagunitas IPA, and a Blanche de Chambly for moi. My beer was cold and bubbly. Raw Bar offers a nice selection of draft beer – such as what we ordered and Sapporo, What the Huck, Canada 81/2 Village Brewery, Phillips Analogue 78, and Blacksmith India Black Ale.

beers raw bar

I saw Christina Mah, the general manager of Raw Bar, walking around in one of her usual gorgeous outfits. I go to Raw Bar often enough to know that everything she wears looks like a unique runway dress. She came over to say hi and she told me about a new dish, the Grilled Prawn and Noodle Salad ($14).

salad prawn

L wasn’t hungry so we ordered the Grilled Prawns and the Fried Boneless Chicken Thighs ($18). The prawn and noodle salad was so good, I wish I ordered my own. The large marinated prawns were charbroiled, crunchy and juicy. The chilled noodles were like spaghetti-like, with a light cream-like coating of peanut satay sauce.

raw bar chicken

L liked the Fried Chicken more than me. Sweet and savoury, the sticky battered glaze reminded him of General Tso chicken. The chicken itself was cooked well. I like the chicken a lot more than my recent experience with Olive Chicken. The portion was large enough to fill L and myself up.

chocolate raw bar

At the end of the night, Christina gave us two hand painted chocolate bars that pastry chef Karine Moulin created. The chocolate didn’t make the 10 minute car ride home. The soft chocolate filling tasted like there was a hint of cinnamon while the white chocolate had a faint citrus note. Great food and value has made Raw Bar my favourite date night spot. L and I plan to return to try the duck entree, and if he’s hungry, the fix price $35 (per person) family platter. Thank you Raw Bar for another great dining experience.

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Emerald Peking and Seafood

My new co-worker R told me about Emerald Garden, his favourite Chinese restaurant. Instead of our usual team pow wow at Good Earth, I told R and MD that I was treating them to lunch at Emerald Garden. I know better than to ask my boss if I could expense the meeting.

I still remember my first day on the job. My boss said he would take me out for lunch. We walked along Stephen Avenue and I remember feeling giddy, wondering if we were going to check out one of the restaurants I could never afford to eat as a student. He picked A&W because “It’s cheap and it’s fast.”

chow fun

I was surprised to see that we were charged for tea at the Emerald Garden. Not a biggie. Our server was friendly and attentive throughout our meal. The restaurant itself was about 1/5 full.

The dish I enjoyed the most was Beef Chow Fun ($11.99). The sprouts and onions were crisp. The noodles were slippery and smooth, with that heavenly wok smell and flavour. The beef was tasty and tender.

sizzling rice hot sour soup

R loves the hot and sour soup at Emerald Garden. I can see why. Emerald Garden nailed the right consistency and ingredients. Peas, tofu, pork, thin strands carrots which added lots of different textures. I liked the strong taste of pepper, the spicy heat and hint of vinegar. I would have preferred the soup without the crispy rice as I thought it took away from the soup, but R wanted it.

ginger beef

The Ginger Beef ($12.99) was disappointing. The dish wasn’t very hot and I found the flavours one dimensional. There was little beef but lots of this hard candied batter. However, the temperature of the other two dishes was spot on. The hot and sour soup was served sizzling hot. The chow fun arrived steaming hot as well.

Overall, I liked the food. I would order the hot and soup again, without the rice. The chow fun was good as well, though the server told me they don’t always serve it. Reviews on Yelp mentioned Emerald Garden served Portuguese influenced dishes, of which I saw none on the regular menu.

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Paros Souvla

front paro

L asked if I would come with him while he picked up a new pedal in Royal Oak for his guitar. I was game but I used the opportunity to try a newish fast food joint, Paros Souvla.

first calamari

My sole reason for wanting to check out Paros was because I heard they make incredible calamari ($6 half order, $10 large). Oh my. The calamari was so good that after L and I devoured a half order, I went and ordered another. A half order comes with about a dozen ringlets. The batter was light and melted on your tongue. The squid itself was tender and toothsome.

calamari second round

L and I shared a Chicken Wrap ($8). The chicken was juicy and tender. The fries were cold and overcooked. We liked the cool, refreshing white sauce and fresh lettuce. This wasn’t the most flavourful chicken wrap, but it was good.

chicken wrap

I plan to drop by again for more calamari and to try some other dishes. The shop had a constant stream of customers, who ordered a range of food, from salads, wraps to more substantial platters. I haven’t been to Greece but L has visited and he informed me the food tasted authentic to him. One thing is for sure, Paros ain’t no Opa (no offence Opa, you were there for me when I needed you).

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The Keg – Stadium Location

Ah, the good old Keg. Back in Vancouver, my family would always default to the Keg for family dinners. I would usually get the most marbled steak available or choose the ribs.

keg drinks

When L and I arrived at the patio, our server greeted us with water. We ordered our drinks immediately, a Stiegl Radler Grapefruit ($7) and a Keg size caesar ($11). We waited 20 minutes for our drinks. In the meantime, I was fortunate enough to enjoy the picturesque view of Tim Horton’s and the gas station across the street.

Despite how busy it was, our server still asked L if he would like a glass for his beer and topped up our waters. She also replaced a knife inside the cloth napkin that was stained with something sticky. The caesar was too spicy for me, and I have a very high spice tolerance. I think this was the first time I felt like sending a drink back but I didn’t because it was so busy.


After 30 minutes, we received our food. A medium-rare 12 ounce Top Sirloin ($29) and the Scallops and Bacon ($11). When our server brought our steak, she warned us it looked more well-done because of the natural sunlight. When I cut into the steak, it was most definately well-done. I didn’t bother to say anything to our server, as she just told us if we found our steaks more cooked than requested, it was all in the lighting. I disagree with her rationale. Wouldn’t more light mean you could better see the steak?


I really enjoyed the scallops. Each piece was meaty and sweet. The bacon around it was crisp. The steak was tasty thought it was a little tough only because it wasn’t cooked to our specification. If it was cooked to a medium, I can only imagine how tender and juicy this cut would have been.

The Keg is doing something right. Every table was filled by the time L and I left. Overall, if I was craving steak again, I think I would rather go somewhere known for being more attentive to the quality of the food and service, like Modern Steak in Kensington or Vintage Chophouse. You pay more but with that I think you can expect more too.

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Sunny Vietnamese

I went out for lunch with KN and H. They felt like eating Vietnamese food but didn’t want to eat at Pho Hoai Vietnamese Noodle House because of the poor service they received in the past. The older gentleman that works on the weekends is nice, but I did notice the guy who mans the till on the weekday is short with customers. He usually points a table without saying anything and then throws the menus on the table.


We each ordered small/medium bowls of Pho Sate ($9.00). KN orders the sprouts cooked to avoid salmonella and E. coli. The broth was steaming hot but the noodles were barely warm. I’m glad the sprouts were cooked beforehand, so that it didn’t further cool the soup. The beef was razor thin and not a generous portion. The broth was bright orange with a mouth-watering spice to it.

I would come back again. The portion was what I should be eating. I wasn’t full but I wasn’t hungry. The service was polite and it was easy to wave a server over if we needed anything. The restaurant is calmer and less cramped than Pho Hoai, so that’s another bonus.


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curry popcorn

Ever since I read Dale’s Yelp review, I wanted to try Cleaver. Finally, on Saturday night, I told L I was treating him out to dinner. Unfortunately, that night it was raining and we got the end seat on the patio. The servers brought over multiple blankets and made sure we were comfortable. A few drops weren’t going to make me melt. I could see L’s eyes glaze over in prerest (meaning – pretend interest) as I described how I thought it was kinda romantic to eat, cozily wrapped up in blankets, as the rain dripped behind our table.


L ordered an IPA ($9) while I stuck to a white ($11) and later, a full bodied Malbec ($13). As we sipped on our chosen poison, I noticed that Cleaver is full of decked out women. Have you seen that Real Housewives of Vancouver? Imagine full on make-up, hard to wear but nice to look at shoes, and clothes you would need to not ever eat to wear well. I opened the door to the ladies washroom and walked into a scene involving a brunette and something illegal. You would think she’d have the sense to lock the door.

real housewives

My favourite dish at Cleaver turns out to be the cheapest. Double dipped duck fat fried fries ($7.00). The fries were so good, I would come just for these crispy suckers. The exterior was crunchy while the interior held pillowy goodness. Dunked in curry aioli, I was in ecstasy. The chips and dip combo reminded me of my favourite late night fry house in Vancouver, Fritz European Fry House.

fries duck fat

Cleaver makes two wicked sliders. We order the trio ($24) The soft shell crab was hot, meaty and full of goodness. I was surprised that I thought the buttermilk chicken was as good or better. The chicken was crunchy, double-down, with cucumber ribbons and sweetness from I think, an apple. The lamb slider was okay, flavourful but puny in size.


The only dish that disappointed was the Kale Salad ($17). I thought the raspberry vinaigrette was too light for the sharpness of kale. The arugula did cut into the bitterness of the kale, but the dry sprinkling of quinoa and curry croutons didn’t add much to it. I did like the blue cheese and thin slices of two different colours of beets.

salad beets

I would come back for the duck fries, two of the sliders and to people watch. There are lots of other dishes that look good. If you’re a dessert person, I saw some pretty decadent desserts at reasonable prices.

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Cafe Medina

AY insisted she was taking L and I out for brunch. She told me to pick whichever restaurant I wanted, but recommended Cafe Medina. Cafe Medina it was! My sister use to take me here for brunch, back in the day we both lived in the same city. Once we arrived, waited about 25 minutes for our table (no reservations).

While we waited in the sitting area, L and I noticed how loud the music was playing. I felt like a premature granny, wincing at the noise. The grumpy old man next to me concurred – Cafe Medina likes to rock out.

We ordered rounds of coffee ($2.75) and decided to share a few dishes: Les Boulettes ($17), Poisson Lem Marrakech ($17), Oeufs Du Jour ($15) and a Liege Waffle with a topping ($4.15). Coffee came quickly, and our server topped it up frequently.


We picked the white chocolate pistachio rosewater topping. Made fresh, the waffle was still warm. The portion of the sauce was generous for the size of the waffle. I like the simple presentation of the dish.

poached eggs

Les Boulettes translated into two poached eggs with lamb meatballs in a tomato stew with focaccia. The meatballs were very firm and didn’t have the juicy fat ratio I enjoy. However, the eggs were poached to a creamy medium and delicious with the spicy stew with roasted peppers and olives.


The Poisson Lem Marrakech included one soft poached egg with elegantly placed Marrakech cured wild salmon. The salad was out of this world. Made with sprouted wheat berries, pistachios and parsley, the salad was unique and zesty. I would order this wild salmon dish again, the flavours of the salmon and assorted greens were light and refreshing.


I was also a fan of the Oeufs Du Jour. The daily frittata showcased sausage, fresh dill, peppers, and asparagus. The omelette was fluffy and a filling portion. I like the addition of the arugula, which cut into the heaviness of the dish.

Overall, I really enjoyed the food at Cafe Medina. Despite how busy it is, servers were polite and attentive. The venue is nice as well, I adore the super high ceilings. If you want to brunch in style, check out Cafe Medina.

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Craft Beer Market

L and I met our friends N and R for drinks. R picked Big Rock, which didn’t impress us much with its lackluster flatbread and mediocre wine. For the next venue, I chose Craft Beer Market, as the trainer at my gym raved about the food at the Calgary location.

We sat outside on the patio, overlooking the park which overlooked the water. N ordered the Harvest Graden Sandwich ($15) L ordered the Baja Fish Tacos ($16.00), and I ordered the Craft T.L.T. ($17).

I tried a bite of N’s vegetarian sandwich. The distinctive taste and texture of sprouts was evident. The sandwich was too large for N to finish and according to her, not good enough for her to take home.

I loved my tuna sandwich. The cool slices tuna was a generous size, which was proportional to the thick, still warm slices of toasted focaccia. I really appreciated the layers of fresh, chilled vegetables: pea shoots, avocado, tomato and cucumber. The spinach salad was nice as well, lightly dressed and speckled with walnuts, strawberries, and feta.

tuna ahi

L and R polished off their dishes and said it was tasty. I enjoyed Craft T.L.T. so much, I’m going to venture to the Calgary location when I return home. Fei Po doesn’t normally like chain restaurants, but Craft is the exception.

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Charcut – Express Lunch

My co-worker CL and PB wanted to have lunch at Charcut. AC tagged along, even though he prefers to frequent the Chinese restaurants over all else. AC is really eccentric. I think he gave off an odd vibe to our wonderful server Amanda.

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 8.41.03 PM

First, AC thought it would be funny to lick the communal spoon and dip it back into the homemade ketchup. He did this right in front of Amanda. Amanda laughed it off and said she would bring some more ketchup for everyone else at the table. Then AC tucked his linen napkin into his shirt, peered his eyes quizzically at Amanda and slowly asked for her name. He then put out his hand and said, “My name is AC.” I felt so bad for Amanda because if I didn’t know AC, I would think, “OMG. Possibly creepy dude!” Lucky for us, she was good natured over the quirky lovableness that is AC.

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I didn’t spied with my beady eyes the owners, Connie and John, in the house. Usually when I’m at one of their restaurants, I can see them working at the front. Not that I’m a stalker. However, despite their absence, the restaurant hummed beautifully. Service was polite and swift. Food was hot and delicious. The restaurant looked spotless.

We all ordered the lunch special, pulled BBQ pork sandwich, duck-fried fries with parmesan cheese, and tomato soup with wine sausage ($15). The meal was filling! The pork was so tender, covered in a tangy, sweet sauce. The fries were piping hot. The soup was comforting, packed with pieces of sausage. I can honestly say this was one of the best and most inexpensive meals I’ve enjoyed in a long time.

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For dessert, we received complimentary chocolate chip cookies, fresh from the oven. I found out from the pastry chef what type of chocolate is used in these cookies. I’ll give you a hint. It ain’t Chipits. Long live Charcut! Hip hip hooray! Charcut makes it on Fei Po’s list of favourite places for lunch in the downtown core.

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