Jaime has never been to the Stampede. I took Friday off, and we moseyed over to the grounds. Though it was before noon, I wanted to show Jaime the interior of Nashville North. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any valid ID on me as I was waiting for my new Alberta license. For the first time in my life, I found myself arguing about how old I was to the bouncer (who was just doing his job). “Look at me. Do I looked under-aged to you?!?” He shrugged his shoulders, indifferent to the cold hard evidence standing right in front of him. Rejected and feeling dejected, we searched the grounds for deep-fried butter.
The employees making the butter delicacy were a friendly bunch. Jaime asked what they thought of deep-fried butter. The girls stated, quite passionately, that they have tried it and it’s delicious. They showed us how each ball is wrapped around pastry dough and then deep-fried in oil.
Jaime is a nutritionist, so she declined ordering the butter balls. I couldn’t bring myself to buy a whole bag for myself, so we found ourselves again, dejected and walking through the grounds. Jaime was in the mood for sushi, so we decided to head to Red Ember for lunch.
I ordered the sashimi and sushi set ($14.50) while Jaime ordered the vegetarian combination ($15.00). My lunch set came with a California roll or a dynamite roll. I asked our server, Christina, if I could substitute the dynamite roll with a plain tuna roll. Sweet talking Christina responded that for me, it shouldn’t be a problem. This was awesome news, because I know some Japanese restaurants do not allow for any changes in combination sets.
Jaime and I both enjoyed large bowls of miso soup. Jaime mentioned that the soup was richer and more flavourful than most other Japanese restaurants in Vancouver. Christina brought my salad with the dressing on the side, because she knew I was trying to be healthier. What a doll!
The vegetarian combo consisted of a cucumber roll, an avocado roll and the Jumbo Veggie Roll. Jaime was impressed with the presentation of her sushi, noting it was too pretty to eat. Her favourite roll was the Jumbo Veggie Roll because of the crunchy combination of carrots, avocado, carrots, cucumber and seaweed salad. I like the detail in the Calvin (sushi chef) work. For example, I could see the line marks on the ripe avocado. Jaime liked the fact the sushi rice wasn’t strongly seasoned with vinegar, because she thought it allowed the flavours of the vegetables to shine.
My personalized Sushi and Sashimi Set consisted of: six piece tuna roll, two pieces each of salmon, tuna sashimi and tako sashimi, and one piece of tuna, salmon, snapper and ebi nigiri. I thought the salmon was delicious, it was so creamy and smooth. The ebi was larger than the norm, crunchy and sweet. The pieces of fish on the nigiri were thin, large slices. I like the fact that though the pieces of fish were generous, it was thinly sliced so that I didn’t feel like I was literally eating a whole fish. The rice in the nigiri wasn’t as chewy as Sushi Club, but I think its refreshing to try different chefs’ approach to sushi rice. Kind of like wine, you don’t always want to drink the same bottle because it would get boring.
L and I no longer live in the neighbourhood, but I picked up a take-out menu for the next time we drive by Kensington. If you order more than $20 worth of food, you get a complimentary California or Dynamite Roll. Along with stellar service, fresh sushi, it’s just another incentive to dine more often at Red Ember.