Weekend in Calgary, AB

OK. This is going to be one epic post. Maybe not in terms of content – but at least in terms of “reviews”. I’m not too sure if this is the best format but it does follow somewhat of a timeline ^^

7 weeks after our wedding, we were due for another road trip to Calgary.

The days leading up meant a purge of our fridge …

Geisha Girl’s


M (and by “M” I am referring to one of the three M’s that have appeared in my posts … time for a new system methinks) …

Anyways, so M was telling me about a lovely cocktail of strawberry puree, cranberry juice, raspberry vodka and vanilla vodka all served up in a lime sugared rim glass — the ingredients of which he delivered to me two days later ^^ He stressed the importance of the sugared rim and he was right! If you drank the liquid portion on it’s own the flavor was incomplete and more harsh. But the lime sugared rim adds that extra bit of acidity and the sugar balances out the flavor.

If you want to get someone drunk w/o them knowing – this is the way to go ^^

likelihood of remaking: 75%
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Mango Cream Udon w. Smoked Salmon


I had a unopened pack of spinach that needed to be used – coupled with a noodle craving, I came up with this dish.

Spinach and udon seemed a bit plain for dinner so I added a poached egg and smoked salmon. The smoked salmon ended up being absolutely essential for the sauce as it took the simple mango butter and cream sauce to the next level.

Likelihood of remaking:100%
Changes: I’d wanna add capers next time ^^

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Tim Horton’s – the first stop of any road trip.


Glazed Cinnamon Bun – either i’ve always been a bit blind or this is a new item. Dry bread-like consistency filled with a light layer of cinnamon and enveloped with a sugary glaze.

Likelihood of re-buying: 0%
culinary mindset: …

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Located just a little North of 16th Ave and Center St, I’ve completely forgotten about this sushi restaurant until Carn.H suggested Wa’s for his mom’s belated b-day dinner.

Wa’s menu is pretty diverse – not a huge selection of each but a good mix of both traditional and contemporary apps, rolls, grilled fish and ramen.


(… a house roll on steroids) *mmm… * each piece is like 3 pieces of nigiri combined into 1 – as you can prob see from the picture the selection consisted of california, salmon, chopped scallop, spicy tuna, sea bream and Unagi.

I had the chopped scallop and the spicy tuna. The non-bitter scallop (yay~) was tossed in a light mayo mix and topped with fresh tobiko (flying fish roe). The spicy tuna had a pretty good flavor and texture as well but I found I had to flatten down the tuna and manually mix in the spicy sauce before eating. The “base” added a great crunch as the roll was filled with tempura bits, cucumber and if memory serves me right – avocado. Definitely not a one-bite piece of sushi..


(… Dragon Roll?)
Toasty warm Unagi over creamy avocado over a california roll – can’t go wrong with that! While quite tasty, nothing out of my expectations. Which is quite a compliment actually – I don’t order Unagi often as most places either serve it room temp. and coagulated-like or cut it up in the weirdest cost-cutting ways.


Spicy Maguro and Avocado Salad – just as the name suggests. It was ok.


Sunrise Roll – box sushi style – very similar to Toshi’s but quite different too. Topped with smoked salmon and lemon slices and sandwiched by two THICK layers of slightly soggy sushi rice, I didn’t like how all the cream cheese was concentrated slightly off center, next to the avocado and protected by fresh salmon.

Oh well, live and learn.


Our receipt is a pretty inaccurate reflection of Wa’s pricing. We wanted to make it a little more special for Carn.H’s mommy, but I do think $20 a roll is a bit steep. Their regular rolls were much cheaper and some of the specialty rolls were only $12. But everyone seemed quite happy with the food.

Wa's Japanese on Urbanspoon
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Original Joe’s (Kensington)


Joe’s Patio Something-Or-Other ($7.95) – tasty ^^ – either I was drinking it slowly or i wasn’t given the full 2 oz b/c I didn’t turn my trademark tomato color LOL

Original Joe's (Kensington Road) on Urbanspoon
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Spoon Me (Kensington)

I knew we were going for frozen yogurt, what I didn’t know, was that it was all self-serve!


First, you grab your soup cup from the wall (no, that’s not a typo – along the edge it reads something along the lines of “caution: contents are hot” lol~)


Then you fill it with as much and as many of the 5 flavors available: acai, piña colada, green tea, vanilla, and chocolate.


Then you have an array of dry toppings: cookie crumble, coconut shavings, gummy worms, etc.


And lastly, a selection of fresh fruit ^^


Pricing is by weight so you can go as crazy as you’d want – this one was ~$6

The frozen yogurt itself was not the best… on the grainy side, more icy than creamy and a little artificial tasting. Still, it was a fun excursion and their napkins made up for it ^^

Likelihood of revisiting: 0%
culinary mindset: novelty

Spoon Me on Urbanspoon
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Delta Bow Valley Bistro

After a very unsatisfactory wedding night stay at the Delta Bow Valley, we were given a free re-do with a full complimentary breakfast buffet.


(watery) Coffee and (Tropicana) OJ


Oatmeal and Etc.


Cereals


Fresh fruits, croissants, …


… eggs, (decently crisp) hash browns, (deep fried?) bacon, (crisp) breakfast sausages, ham…

… store-bought loaves of bread, (activia) yogurt … and that about sums up the selection of breakfast staples.


…mmm! Jam filling! That’s different… a little on the sweet side though…


While a pretty solid breakfast with a good selection of fruit … I don’t think it’s quite worth the price tag of $21/per

likelihood of revisiting: 0%
culinary mindset: complimentary

Delta Bow Valley Hotel on Urbanspoon
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Vietnam Palace – otherwise known as – “The Vietnamese Restaurant where Coffee Time used to be” (16th Ave)


Rare Beef w. Satay & Peanut (~$8.50? I don’t remember the exact price BUT I do remember that they have a pretty sweet deal – buy two get one free bowl of Pho ^^)

I liked their slightly thinner style noodles and the broth tasted like it had a tomato-based flavor with a kick. Not quite satay but I didn’t mind it ^^

Carn.H decided on the version with no peanuts (sorry, no pic ><) and his broth was the regular beef broth style with a layer of oil (satay) on top. Judging from the sweat on his face, this one was quite spicy too ^^

It might just be the AB beef, but I don’t think Vancouver can beat Calgary in the Pho category. Well … maybe in the authenticity department lol~

Likelihood of Revisiting: 50%
Culinary Mindset:Central

Vietnam Palace Grill & Noodle House on Urbanspoon
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Buttercream Bake Shoppe (17th Ave)


Passionfruit – “vanilla caked topped with passionfruit purée buttercream and purple sprinkles (~$3)


The cake was super moist and they really didn’t skimp on the purée. As with all cupcakes it was quite sweet – but who can say no to buttercream?

My first encounter w. Buttercream’s cupcakes was a month and some ago when my MOH surprised me with a six pack of cupcakes – four of which we didn’t have a chance to enjoy until 6 days later, when they were still moist! Not as much as day 1, but it held it’s freshness well.

likelihood of revisiting: 66% (I like them! I just don’t crave them)
culinary mindset: sweet tooth

Buttercream Bake Shoppe on Urbanspoon
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I had forgotten all about this cafe until we were kindly reminded by P


I decided on … a latte! (surprised? Lol~)


And Carn.H chose an iced Vietnamese coffee.


He chose not to mix his drink together so my first sip was super bitter! Not that he minded of course, having developed a liking for flat out espresso shots. There were little floating black specks in the milk which he thought may have been vanilla – I think they were coffee bean bits lol~


The latte was super smooth and the espresso just melded into the milk.

likelihood of revisiting: 66%
Culinary mindset: hmmm…?

Caffe Beano on Urbanspoon
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Towa, on 14th street, is known for it’s large hard-to-fit-in-your-mouth rolls.


5 years ago, their prices were considered quite high but reasonable for what you get. Now, both points are debatable…


D LOVES his tamago…


So he was quite content with the thickly sliced large pieces of tamago.


Alaska Roll (D’s), California Roll (D’s) and Sunset Roll (mine ^^)


So much cheese! (not much salmon though) Lol~ great for cream cheese lovers ^^


I traded D for a piece of california – it was tasty, but could have used more avocado…


I thought the sunset roll had too much rice and not enough fish to balance it out. Coupled with the super crunchy angular cucumber that filled the center, it was even more watered down in flavor and pretty awkward to chew. I had totally forgotten about the spicy wakame and thought it was an aged spicy ginger which just didn’t seem to belong.


Like my reconstruction?

likelihood of revisiting: 10%
culinary mindset: testing the waters… every so often we will visit Towa’s hoping for a glimpse of it’s former glory, … it’s been 4 or 5 years now…

Towa Sushi on Urbanspoon
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Papa Herb’s “home” cooking!


“tossed won ton noodles” (Carn.H’s absolute fav!)


Mushrooms


Fermented Tofu Vegetarian Medley


Garlic Veggies (grown by Grandma Herb)


Chicken and … leek? (it looked like a smaller version of leek.. so I’m not too sure, since it’s not something I eat lol~)


Steak-y! The main highlight of the night ^^ Pan-Seared AB Strip Loin courtesy of Mama Herb.


… and for dessert – mini cupcakes! ($10 was a bit steep for only 6 mini’s but doable w. a Groupon ^^)


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Central Grand… or in other words “the place  on the 2nd Fl of New Asia”

Their wall by the cashier is littered with pictures of HK stars who have dined there – I think the fairchild peeps just really like bringing guests to this restaurant. Grand Central is quite well known for their both their high prices and quality but most people tend to shy away, opting for more economical choices.


We started off with the usual


… more of the usual…  just the dim sum staples, really.


Egg Tarts! They’ve had the best dim sum egg tarts for the longest time…


… so I was a little disappointed they weren’t was flakey as I remember … but being straight out of the oven made it a bit better…

Actually, we ordered a LOT more food then what is above… some above average, some below but all-in-all no real complaints.  Of everything, I enjoyed the “lor mai fan” (savory glutenous rice) the most ^^

likelihood of revisiting: 50/50 (depends – whose paying? LOL!)
culinary mindset: good, solid dim sum

Central Grand Restaurant on Urbanspoon
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Higher Ground Kensington


Quad Espresso for Carn.H


Nut ‘n Honey for me ^^

Higher Ground was one of the first places to play around with flavor combinations in Calgary (well.. as far as I knew back then anyways)..  They have some pretty solid flavor combo’s and were (and probably still are?) well known for their chocolate whip cream.  I don’t tend to go for flavored drinks anymore as I get enough of my sugar fill through desserts, but the Nut ‘n Honey has almost become a ritual every time we visit Calgary ^^  Then again, it is a pretty good central meeting place and they serve a fair selection of food, dessert, beer and wine.

Likelihood of Revisiting: 80%
Culinary Mindset: Good place to hang out – especially now that they’ve slowed down there’s actually tables available LOL

Higher Ground Cafe on Urbanspoon
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But to be completely honest, the MAIN reason we were back in Kensington just minutes before our drive back to Vancouver, was Carn.H’s immense love for Peppino’s.

Peppino’s is  a little Italian Deli and market.  I remember their coffee being just ok, but their sandwiches are pretty tasty.

As we only had dim sum 2 hours ago, we planned to have it as a late lunch/early dinner. Upon hearing this, the sandwich maker/owner said “I’ll make it in a way the bread won’t get soggy” aww… so nice ^^

But… it just smelled too good!  And it seemed like such a waste not to eat it fresh! We’re pigs… I know!


Artichoke Turkey – Probably one of the “lighter” choices on their menu.

Hoe Down Hogie – Ham, capicollo, genoa salami topped with fresh onions, hot peppers, lettuce, cheese, and spiced olive oil dressing

Carn.H’s staple.  Packed full of flavors and supple deli meat.  This one we did wait for as we were pretty stuffed.  We did experience a little bit of sogginess on one side of the bread, but quite understandable, being 4 or 6 hours later.  I really like the flavor combo of this one but it’s just SO much meat!  So it’s a good thing Carn.H doesn’t mind me nibbling around the edges for the non onion-nified and hot pepper ridden center ^^

Peppino’s uses a very interesting bread – it’s soft, slightly chewy and has a tinge of sour dough flair.  Normally, it’s not the type of bread I would buy in a bakery, but it works well with their ingredients ^^

Likelihood of Revisiting: 100% (I don’t think Carn.H would ever think otherwise lol~)
Culinary Mindset: Italian Sandwiches

Peppino's on Urbanspoon
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What else was in the car:

A VERY refreshing Fruit “Soup” made by Mama Herb

Bag of Fruit

*Mmmm…* Fig!.. I’ve only ever tried the purple figs before – this green one had a tougher, chewier exterior but a much more honey-like center ^^

Tuna, Egg, Apple Salad

Leftover Steak Medley

And that about sums up our weekend in Calgary, AB!
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Oh! and for those of you who were ever curious – I made an amazing discovery yesterday morning!  A mix of Starbucks Via, Tazo Vanilla Rooibos and Coffee-Mate will let you experience the flavor of….


… Chinese Herbal Medicine! The smell is quite similar too!  If you ever wanted to know what all those Chinese kids were complaining about but was too intimidated to venture into a Chinese Herbal store, well here’s your chance! -or- if your significant other ever annoys you, there’s always the option of offering to make them a “soothing drink” ^^

– C.Herb –
Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone (( _ _ ))..zzzZZ

Location:10 St NW,Calgary,Canada

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