Another photo dump

I had another wonderful Friday afternoon with Miss R & Lil’Miss E=MC^2.

Takeout Chinese was on the menu for lunch this time: Hot & Sour soup, Salty Fish & Chicken fried rice, and a leftover Assorted Meats & Tofu hotpot from Wednesday night. The Hubbs sweet enough to go pick up our lunch for us, since I had to Moose up earlier, as well he wanted to grab a few things beforehand — mainly the final Harry Potter movie and some new tins of cat food. Sahmy is being utterly picky about what she will and won’t eat in the gooshy foods deparment and it has him incredibly worried, so he’s buying a whole shwack of different brands and flavours in hopes of finding something that she’ll eat again.

Towards the end of the afternoon, just as we were getting things ready for the girls to head back home, The Hubbs came down to the family room to inform me that Environment Canada had a severe weather warning for Calgary — snow was on its way in a big bad way and it was going to make travelling to Canmore a treacherous idea for Saturday or Sunday. Since we still didn’t have snow tires on SAM, and wouldn’t be able to put them on until the 22nd of the month, this left us in a bit of a predicament because when I had ordered the Turducken from Railway Deli they still hadn’t decided if they would be closed for Rememberance Day, on Friday, which is why we originally figured we would go to Canmore on Saturday.

I ended up calling them in a bit of a panic and thankfully found out they were open and they would be until 7pm. WOO! By the time I had hung up the phone and discussed logistics with The Hubbs, it was getting on to being about 430pm and we had to leave ASAP to get to Canmore before the Deli closed as well as get there and back before the storm hit us without our snow gear. So I helped Miss R pack up Lil’Miss E=MC^2 and they were headed on their way home safe and sound.

Friday night The Hubbs & I made a mad dash out to Canmore to pick up my birthday Turducken.

Our drive out to Canmore was pretty tense — the wind was incredibly blustery on the way and the weather was just unpleasantly cold. Once we had safely picked up and packed up my Turducken, we decided it would be a shame to waste the opportunity of being in town and not have dinner since it was by that point about 530pm and still relatively early by restaurant dining hours. We still had a few hours of leeway until the storm was supposed to hit (around midnight) so we decided to pop into one of the restaurants that I had been wanting to try for quite a few years now, but never had the opportunity to. Usual reason is we didn’t have the forthought to make a reservation in advance and more often than not, we’re in Canmore to kick back and relax with D & K, so dining affordably is our usual motto.

Apparently just walking-in on the fly and asking if there are any available tables when you’re wanting to try out a restaurant like Crazyweed, you get a generally unpleasant and slightly hostile response from the Hostess (manager?). Not having a reservation at 530pm, in a less than half-filled restaurant, is frowned upon. Who knew? Ya. Rly.

Anyhow, we lucked out getting a table and we were very appreciative, I just could have done without the bitchiness. After some standing around looking slightly confused (we weren’t entirely sure what we were supposed to do after I asked my question and she gave a very vague response in return) the Hostess found us a table and proclaimed that she could only do so because they had a no-show. She made it sound like she had moved heaven and earth to give it to us — honestly, we would have been just as happy if she had said, "No, sorry we’re all booked up for 530, but we would be happy to seat you at the bar, if you’d like." instead of giving us the attitude she did.

Thank goodness our waitress was much friendlier.

Side note: The Hubbs & I have discovered something in our dining experience at Crazyweed — I am a traditionalist, for a lack of a better term. I don’t like my food messed with and I really am not a fan of the fusion thing. The dishes we ordered were tasty, but I didn’t care for most of the menu items, which is kind of a shame. This is totally my own fault, of course. Not realizing that the direction the restaurant has taken is totally different than what their original concept was only a couple of years ago, I would have realized that it was not a restaurant I would have chosen to dine at. I don’t regret eating there (mostly), now I can say I have it checked off my list of Camore restaurants that I’ve been wanting to eat at.

Anyhow, here’s dinner in photo form:

Housemade sundried tomato foccaccia with an anchovy-citrus butter

Medium plate appy: braised duck b’stilla with "phyllo" pastry and panfried sweet potatoes with indian spiced butter (or something).

The Hubbs’ braised beef short ribs served on a bed of spinach with mashed potatoes and beet salad(?) on crouton

My wild pacific halibut with roasted red pepper tapenade, lemon aioli, brabant potatoes and greens

Crazyweed verdict — Restaurant ambiance was nice, very dark inside and even more so since there are no lights out on the streets of Canmore and most of the restaurant is window. The music was actually okay for my tastes, but it was a little bit too loud after awhile because the restaurant started getting busier and the noise levels would amplify, making it difficult to hear. We enjoyed the dishes we ordered, but like I said, fusion is not my thing. Would we go back? No, not likely. Food was good, but it didn’t wow us enough to make either of us want to go back for a specific dish. We would especially not go back with how we were treated by the Hostess or whoever she was.

Advertisements

Summer Vacation 2011 Recap

The Hubbs’ holidays are now over and it was actually quite nice! I didn’t think we had done much this year compared to our first year where we stayed home specifically just to hit up restaurants in the city, but according to The Hubbs, we actually did a lot more food-related things this year than I had thought.

Other than Waldhaus in Banff to kick off the holidays, we of course hit up North Sea Fish Market, as I had mentioned earlier, before we had gone to the cabin to pick up a nice fish — wild sockeye salmon, smoked maple candied salmon (we bought this more for D cuz we know it’s one of his favourite treats), smoked trout and smoked mackeral. We stopped in a second time on Thursday and picked up a piece of wild steelhead trout that was fresh that day and a portion of lobster mac’n’cheese for my lunchie. We were originally going to go out to dinner that night somewhere but I couldn’t get super excited enough to choose a place after we had visited Jelly Modern for the first time that afternoon, even though I still had restaurants on my list I wanted to try. After picking up fish, we popped next door to Springbank Cheese Co. and bought some cheeses: Salt Spring Island goat cheese with truffles, Scottish cheddar, a Boursin cheese and wedge of Parmesan.

When we got back to town on Monday, we went to Kinjo’s for dindin and specifically went about trying different things on their menu – more nibbly cooked things than actual sushi/sashimi which I guess it would be like going to a tapas bar or more correctly, since it’s Japanese, an izakaya. They’re menu is designed similarly to that of Sushi Boat — items are priced based on their plate colour and menu items are listed under each colour heading which is kind of odd when you wanna order stuff. For example: I wanted to order o-toro sashimi (fatty tuna belly), it’s not listed under sashimi, but under “gold plate items”. Pain in the butt in my opinion, but it’s a relatively minor issue. Food is mostly okay since I don’t hold them to super high standards. One nice and interesting thing about Kinjo’s is that they give you an amuse bouche/sampler plate when you arrive at your table, which generally tends to be 4 VERY small slices of their special rolls of the day. Oh I do have one gripe about their rolls: unless you order their house special rolls, the regular stuff (ie: simple tuna or salmon or even california roll) is extremely tiny. Usually sliced half the size of a regular roll and only four pieces to a plate. Total disappointment in that regard. If you order their special rolls, they are quite ikmpressive, so perhaps that’s what your’re expected to buy instead.

Wednesday we went out for brunch at a place on 4th Street called Red’s Diner. They do not get thumbs up from us. The whole meal was disappointng from start to finish. Maybe it was just a bad day, but somehow I am leaning towards our experience being considered normal. Waitress was slow, forgot my coffee, claimed to not have heard my coffee order (even though she repeated it back to me when I made it), food took over 30 minutes to arrive, took even longer to acquire a bill and we think we both may have had a bit of tummy upset for the days following as a result :/ and no, the place was not busy, which is what made things even more frustrating and disappointing. They even lost a few customers due to their failure to acknowledge the customers’ presence at the door for 5 minutes of standing around waiting for a table. Poor customer service all around.

Friday we went to Big Rock Grill with D&K and the lovely Miss R. We didn’t realize it, but it was D&K‘s five year anniversary so we bought everyone lunch to celebrate. Their lobster bisque is quite tasty, and even moreso on a day that happens to be cold, wet and gloomy. The rest of the day we spent at home (actually, the last three days) vegged out on the sofa in the family room. Me with my ipad and cookooks and The Hubbs with his laptop paying WoW. I had a hankering for comfort food that night so we ordered Chinese takeout wih lots of veggies from our usual haunt Shanghai Palace. It never fails to amuse me, everytime The Hubbs comes back with our dinner, the ladies at the restaurant always say, “Good deal! We give you free chicken fried rice!” Even funnier is when we order something “particularly Chinese”, they always make doubly sure when he picks up our order that it’s what we wanted and he reminds them that I am Chinese and then they always go, “OHHH!!!! Very good then, she knows and will like it lots!” Or something to that effect. They’re awesome, I hope they stay in business for a good long, long time even though we’ve already been frequenting them for the last 10(!!) years. ^_^

Saturday we didn’t actually have any plans, but we ended up running off to Jelly Modern again and picked up some doughnuts for my parents. Apparently Dad was craving doughnuts after I had spoken to them that morning. We also picked up a reuben for The Hubbs at Myhre’s Deli. Apparently the boy at the deli missed us ;)

Sunday was a mostly veg-out day too, but we decided at the last minute to make a jaunt to the new location of theCalgary Farmer’s Market. We picked up a three cheese rosemary focaccia, a chocolate truffle mousse thingy, and an almond croissant from Yum Bakery, some black truffle salt, and a jar of whole nutmeg from The Silk Road Spice Merchant, and a jar of lobster bisque from Blu Seafood. The bread, Thursday’s cheeses and the bisque is what ended up being dindin for last night.

Bread’n’Cheese

The bread was excellent, though a bit on the greasy side, be it because of all the cheese or perhaps they had rolled the dough in olive oil prior to putting it into its bread pan and baking, I don’t know. Flavour-wise it was wonderfully fragrant with the rosemary and the amount of cheese sprinkled on top wasn’t so excessive to make it heavy and weighed down. The lobster bisque, I have to admit, I was underwhelmed by. Not necessarily because it couldn’t hold a candle to the bisque at Big Rock, I really enjoy tasting a restaurant’s lobster bisque when it’s available so that’s not the issue. The problem was that it had no lobster flavour and no lobster pieces. It was flavourful, but it tasted more like a creamy tomato soup than anything remotely lobster-like. Kind of a disappointment, but given that it was $6 for a 500ml jar (to which you had to add 1/2 cup of cream when reheating) it would have been an absolutely awesome price for such a decadent soup that I would have been more than thrilled to buy again if only the flavour was there. They also sell it in 1L jars for $12 which would be a great size when having friends over for dindin and not be a break the bank kind of dinner option.

All on all, I guess we did do a fair bit, it just didn’t seem like that much in my head. The Hubbs wished he could take the rest of the summer off with me when we went to bed last night, but otherwise, I think he had a mostly restful week off ^_^

We’re baaaaaaaaaackk….!

Yaaaaaaaaahhh..

Weekends in Canmore are always good for what ails you. Mountain air, mountain water, laid back activities that generally only involve a deck chair and/or hammock, a little bit of old-movie watching and lots of great food.

We went up Saturday as we usually do, but unfortunately for us, hit mega traffic leaving the city and got stuck in it til we were probably halfway to Canmore. It sucked.

We would have actually been able to leave on time and be in Canmore by noon, had I not made the stop at the fish market and Starbucks before leaving the city. I had it stuck in my head the last couple of weeks to buy a nice whole fish to do on the grill.

Now, here’s where my minor rant comes into play: WTF? I thought the purpose of a Fish Market was to sell me fish in any way that I wanted? Why do white guy markets (Yes, I actually said it…) not sell WHOLE fish? Or even SCALED fish for that matter!? o_O;;; Are people really that squeamish that they can’t stand the sight of a whole fish?? I was so sad that the North Sea Fish Market didn’t sell whole fish, nor would they even scale the large wild sockeye salmon fillet that I spent $33 on. Grrrr… that’s kind of the biggest reason for me to consider not doing return business. I mean really… if T&T Market can sell whole fresh fish, gut it and scale it in under five minutes for a customer, just before purchase, why can’t North Sea do the same?

Anyhow.

Saturday night we went to Waldhaus at the Banff Springs Hotel for dinner. Again, it was fantastic. A word of warning and apology for the fuzzy pics: they were taken with an iPhone at a weird angle, and mostly not by me.

The Hubbs ordered some pretty nifty things that night. He ordered straight off the menu, and I partook in the Schnitzel Experience which included appies, main and dessert.

To start off dinner, The Hubbs had the rabbit riellete which consisted of a confited rabbit leg with warm brioche toasts, lingonberry preserves and microgreen salad on the side.

Rabbit Riellette

My meal started off with the Berliner Potato Soup which had brioche croutons and crispy fried gruyère cheese flakes and garden herbs.


Berliner Potato Soup

The Hubbs’ choice for entrée was the Brome Lake Duck Breast which was confited, served with rutabaga and a fig-merlot jus and fresh veggies.


Brome Lake Duck

My entree was the Walliser Schnitzel, which was a breaded & pan fried veal escalope topped with some chopped gherkins and melted raclette cheese with a side of veal zurichoise, spaetzle with speck, and veggies. The veal zurichoise was a creamy riesling sauce with chunks of veal, with morel & cremini mushrooms. To be honest, I would have much preferred the sauce to be veal-free with lots of mushrooms. There was just too much meat going when paired with the schnitzel. But the spaetzle… ohhhh the yums!


Walliser Schnitzel

For dessert, I gave The Hubbs my Viennese Apple Strudel that came with a caramel & vanilla sauce and house-made vanilla ice cream.


Viennese Apple Strudel

I was far too stuffed to consider eating anything more that evening. I didn’t even eat most of my dinner that night — the soup I actually gave half to D when I was done eating and my dinner I ended up bringing half it back to the cabin with us for my evening snack.

After dinner, we went for a little stroll to help things digest and then we drove through Banff just to enjoy the beautiful weather we were having before returning to Canmore for the evening.

Sunday Dinner was pretty fantastic and was the meal I was most looking forward to the whole weekend. Like I said, I had been obsessing about having a whole fish to serve and was highly disappointed that I couldn’t. I’m thinking that perhaps from now on, I shall just buy fresh fish from T&T Market, at least there I know I will find what I want and it will be sold to me in the manner that I am expecting to be able to buy.

The wild sockeye salmon fillet I bought was cedar planked. I had the salmon lying on a bed of fennel fronds, seasoned with salt & pepper, topped with sliced onions, thick slices of lemon, dotted generously with garlic butter, and covered with some fresh dill. It was expertly cooked on the BBQ by D until the fish flaked easily and served with tzatziki sauce for those that were interested.


Cedar-planked Salmon

To go with the fish, we also had corn on the cob, french bread with a roasted garlic & parmesan dipping oil, and roasted veggies (zucchini and bell peppers) which I had K season with just some oil, salt, pepper, garlic, onion powder and I think some garlic powder for extra oomph.


Sunday Dinner on the Deck

All around an absolutely wonderful dinner, served with great food and even greater friends.

Canada Day Long Weekend Food Pics

I find it such a pain in the butt to have to hook up my phone to my laptop so I can upload the pics I take when we go out to eat at restaurants.

As a result of me being lazy, I will periodically make one large restaurant photo-dump.

If nothing else, it means all the photos will be all in one place, but peoples’ feeds will probably choke from it all.

My appologies. TIME FOR PICS!

Canada Day @ District
Since it was so nice out on Canada Day, we went to District for dinner. I think I may have written about them last year when we went for the first time with friends. They like to concentrate their efforts on really good local ingredients and house made condiments to go along with their menu items. The fun thing about this place (though some people are not a fan of this quirk to the place) is that there are no proper menus. Since the items change seasonally — they have blackboards all over the place and you have to walk around the pub sometimes to other peoples’ tables to read what they’re serving that night. They do have 1 semi-permanent board which is their poutine list. You basically choose your size, choose your cheese(s), choose your extra toppings if you want them and go from there. I should take a pic one day. It’s pretty neat.

Fresh East & West Coast Oysters

Crab cakes with warm vinaigrette and spinach salad

July 2 @ Wa’s Japanese Restaurant
This is much more to my liking for a special dinner out — Wa’s Japanese Restaurant… Sushi ^_^ We ordered a whole bunch of new stuff we’d never tried before and it was another beautiful night to be out in the city.

The first item we ordered to start off our meal was the “hiyayakko”, which is cold soft tofu topped with bonito flakes and ginger and served with a really light soy-based dressing mixed with finely chopped chives to pour over or dip the tofu with.

Hiyayakko, what remained after remembering I wanted to take pics

The special of the day was wild sockeye salmon! I have never ever had wild sockeye salmon sushi or sashimi before! OMG! If you ever have the opportunity presented to you to try wild sockeye salmon, you HAVE to try it! It’s so incredibly amazing compared to regular old salmon, whatever it is that they serve in the normal run of things. The flavour, the texture and the COLOUR is just so mind blowing… yes, I am gushing over a small piece of raw fish.

Wild Sockeye Salmon sushi & sashimi are the brightest red pieces on the platter

The last “new” item we ordered was a whole grilled saury. I have no idea what saury is, but it was pretty yummy! It wasn’t to The Hubbs’ liking because it was too fishy for him, but he did get great amusement watching me meticulously pick the whole fish apart bone by wee tiny little bone… and lemme tell you, there are a LOT of bones in this fish!

Grilled Saury served with grated daikon, beni shoga (preserved red ginger) and a few slices of lemon

The other nice meal we had on Canada Day was lunch — every now and then we’ll go to subway and pick up a couple of subs (6″ sub club for me on brown with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, black olives, and green peppers, light on the mayo & mustard, and just pepper… I know, I’m weird.) on a beautiful long weekend and drive to this “super sekrit” spot just a few minutes away from the house that seems like a total hide away and eat lunch in the car overlooking a field of grass with the breeze blowing in through the windows.

Admittedly, it’s not the most attractive sounding eats compared to the dinners we had, but it’s just the two of us together, no other cars, no other people and we get the chance to have those really important heart to heart talks which are so good for us.

So that was our Canada Day Long Weekend in a nutshell, just a little bit late ^_^

Gaucho Brazilian BBQ

Two words: Meat Coma.

Today was the day we finally got a chance to celebrate Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Mom & Dad’s anniversary, and Mom’s birthday. With everyone being sick during May, we only now had the opportunity to get together. Unfortunately the only person not with us was Older Bro and that made me kind of sad because we found out after the fact that he probably could have joined us. That’s the problem with him — we’ve been inviting him and inviting him and inviting him to stuff and of course the one day we don’t, he tells us he could have come. *sigh* Anyhow.

Meat Coma: Srsly.

Normally Gaucho Brazilian BBQ‘s Sheriff’s Sampler lunch is $22 per person, for seven of the all-you-care-to-eat tender cuts of the day plus all the offerings on their cold table. Their current promotion(?) has dropped the lunch price to $16.99, from Tuesday to Friday. Sunday Brunch is $22 and the Cowboy Classic dinner is $35 per person. Today’s BBQ items happened to be: rump steak, top sirloin, chicken drumettes, parmesan beef striploin, mild sausage, pork loin, garlic steak.

There’s a 2 hour time limit as to how long you can sit around eating and if I’m correct, a policy of no take home leftovers, so I would highly recommend that you be mindful of how much food you’re taking/accepting everytime the nice gentleman comes around with his big skewers of meat.

The cold table that Gaucho has is a rather conservative size. In my mind, for some reason, I had thought it would be one of those really large all-you-can-eat buffet sized tables, but it’s not. I didn’t actually count the number of cold salads on offer, but my guess from what I can recall is that there were about 5-7(?) different cold salads, two chafing dishes with: a coconut fish stew (for a lack of a better term), a brazilian style chicken stroganoff, brazilian rice and cowboy beans. There was also a soup pot of feijoada, two kinds of “salsa” (one mild & chunky, the other smooth and spicier), and a bowl of farofa to top your rice and feijoada with.

The biggest thing I noticed with our meal is that everything is quite salty. I like salt, but some items just seemed too salty, even for me. The fish I found to be especially salty for some reason, but really tasty — the baja fish pieces were battered and deep fried, then nestled in with big chunks of bell peppers, onions and red sauce. I didn’t try the chicken stroganoff or the beans so I can’t comment on those items. I did try the feijoada and rice, which is actually one of a couple of things that I was particularly excited to try for the first time at Gaucho. Unfortunately with my small stomach capacity, I only could only take a small portion of rice with the feijoada, which consisted mainly of black beans and pork with sausage chunks.

We had a really nice waiter. We were the first (and only) reservation for their 11am opening and he was really generous in explaining to us what was in their feijoada, how Brazilians generally eat it and to make sure we topped it with the farofa that was sitting at the end of the table. I was really impressed that Dad liked the feijoada as much as he did! He’s an awesome adventurous eater, which is probably where I get all my food obsessions from, and it’s tons of fun going shopping with him to ethnic markets. I honestly can’t remember what the feijoada tastes like because of all the meat we had… and I didn’t even eat everything on my plate! I had a sample of each of the seven meats that came by, but I had Baby Bro eat some of the stuff I had on my plate because I just couldn’t do it all by myself.

7 meat lunch plate

Lest you think that’s a full-sized dinner plate in the picture above, it’s not. That is a salad plate with miniature tongs that each person gets for when the gentleman with the big monster meat skewer comes by, to aid him in slicing the meat onto your plate, since both his hands are busy holding the skewer and a big knife.

One of the items that I thought might be offered with your meal automatically is the paõ de queijo. You have to order these little crackbuns off the menu and it takes about ten minutes before they arrive. This means two things: 1) they are made to order and 2) they arrive at the absolute peak of perfection: piping hot, straight out of the oven and delivered straight to your table.

Basket of freshly made to order, hot out of the oven, paõ de queijo

These little cheese puffs are so amazingly ooey, gooey, and cheesy with a nice bit of garlic flavour that wasn’t overwhelming. The texture of these cheesy puff crackbuns is especially fantastic AND they’re gluten-free, to boot! The outside is wonderfully crispy and the inside is just so soft and chewy like mochi. The melted cheese inside makes the whole thing just over the top crazy good. Dad even liked these, which is just awesome. He’s not huge into cheesy bread, but he really liked these. I am definitely going to be making these little babies at home so I can revel in what is the most amazingly textured bread I’ve ever eaten. I even have a recipe already lined up to try, thanks to Ozy!

Ooey Gooey Crackbun Innards *swoon!*

On the whole, Gaucho was a fantastic experience and I definitely think that lunch is the way to go in terms of affordability. In terms of the variety of meat they have on offer at lunch time, I was a little bit disappointed only because I really would have liked the opportunity to try the leg of lamb, the grilled quail, and I hear they have grilled pineapple on the skewers at dinner time. But I understand why they wouldn’t have these items available during lunch. People just aren’t that adventurous during midday meals and you want to satisfy as many customers as possible during that short time frame but still give variety that’s not outrageously expensive with the limited number of offerings.

Would I ever consider going back for dinner? To be honest, I don’t think so. The main reason is the pricetag, but I just can’t stomach that much food in one sitting. As attractive as “all-you-care-to-eat” meat concept is at first bite, you can really only eat so much meat before you feel outdone. Even with my seven small samplings of meat, I could only eat about two-thirds of the plate on my own. When you take into account the few bits of veggies I chose from the cold bar, the rice & feijoada and two crackbuns I ate, it adds up to a pretty large meal for me. Even with giving Baby Bro some of my lunch, it resulted in me leaving behind one piece of meat which I felt really guilty about.

All in all, it was a fun and satisfying experience.

Passion fruit juice

Food pics from my phone…

I quite like my new cell phone, the camera takes really decent photos!

Here are some pictures, in no particular order, that I took over the last week whilst out and about doing stuff:


Kimchi Korean Delight — mall food court place that serves decent fast food Korean food

I rarely go to the mall and eating there is something I almost never do, so this was a nice surprise for me. I was kind of torn between ordering the japchae or the bibimbap. In the end I ordered japchae and I really enjoyed it, portions were a little much for me though. As a side thought, I have never seen a fast food place use shiitaki mushrooms! White button mushrooms, sure, but shiitaki?? Wow. Their menu is pretty diverse and I was really impressed by the ingredients. The sister company to Kimchi Korean Delight is Thai Express and their menu is pretty impressive too. They do a lot of curries with rice, some noodle dishes, the requisite pad thai and pho! Who knew that fast food could take thai, vietnamese, korean and japanese and make them so mainstream? Decent mainstream, too!


Riverstone Pub — The best beef dip I have yet to find in Calgary (with the requested addition of cheese) and a side of poutine.

I really like the atmosphere of Riverstone, but for some reason, I have a really hard time finding food in pubs that I want/like to eat. It’s a struggle everytime we end up here or at The Drake in Canmore when we do our weekends away. I love sitting around with friends, and I like eating, but pub food is so difficult for me to get enjoyment out of. So this was my lunch from last weekend when The Hubbs & I were used-bookstore spelunking. Another thing, beef dip sammiches? Impossible to find a really decent, if not excellent version. The Riverstone does a pretty darn good job. I asked to have it with cheese and a side of poutine. That was probably one of the best meals I’d ever had at Riverstone.


Myhres Deli — The Hubbs’ fave Montreal Smoked Meat Sammich place.

A note on my takeout box from Myhres Deli: This is what remained of my lunch that they packed up for me. When I opened the box, I found that my 1/2 smoked meat sandwich was nicely wrapped in deli foil and black paper, there was a fresh cup of coleslaw, The Hubbs’ leftover cup of ripple chips, our two combined pickles packed in a waxed paper bag so they wouldn’t get everything around it soggy and wet and pickly-juiced, a fork & napkin on the bottom and a DubbleBubble bubble gum! So cute!

I ~love~ the coleslaw that these guys make. Generally speaking, I am not a huge fan of coleslaw, but whatever this guy makes, is awesome. There’s no mayo in it, it’s just vinegar and a whole whack of spices. The coleslaw is fresh, peppery and has just the right amount of crunch. I keep trying to get the recipe off the guy that makes the coleslaw every day, but so far no luck. He’s basically told me that he just takes stuff and throws it in. It is fantastic.

I am thoroughly impressed with the pack job they did on my leftovers. I haven’t gotten anything even remotely close to this awesome from any other restaurant either with leftovers or with ordering takeout. They get super high marks for awesomeness, not that they weren’t already pretty awesome to begin with. The bubblegum just takes the cake ;)

OMG FOOD…

So last year, for The Hubbs’ vacation, we spent it roaming around town checking out all sorts of affordable restaurants.

I’m rather ashamed to say that today is the first time, since that vacation, we’ve been back to Jimmy’s A&A Mediterranean Deli.

We didn’t take pics of that wonderfully tasty deliciousness that is Jimmy’s, the first time. It was rather ridiculous and the second time even more so because The Hubbs had the brilliant idea in his head to order a LARGE pita because he hadn’t had anything to eat (not really, at least) since last night.

So here’s my small combo pita in all its glory. Note that it’s sitting on a regular-sized dinner plate.

Beef & Chicken combo pita with a little bit of hot sauce, too.

Here’s a pic holding the pita to show its true breadth.

And finally, baklava, cuz The Hubbs had a craving for it. All homemade, on the premises, fresh daily.

Jimmy’s dozen, 13 assorted pieces of baklava… so awesome with hot tea.

Blue Monday

I’ve been wanting to go out.

Not necessarily spend monays, but just be away.

Travelling… go… somewhere.

I had a blue day yesterday afternoon because I can’t go travelling and I really want to.

I’m still really disappointed that I missed the Japan trip with my parents & Baby Bro a few years ago… it still makes me very, very sad.

What sparked it was watching a really awesome youtube video on Korea by this couple named Simon & Martina. They have a great channel called Eat Your Kimchi that I quite enjoy.

For some reason I am feeling an incredible need to drink alcohol lately. Izakayas are basically Japanese pubs, for a rather simplistic explanation. You go there to drink cold beer and eat all sorts of tasty nibblies at super affordable prices. Main attraction, obviously, is the beer. On Saturday night, The Hubbs & I went to Shibuya Izakaya for dindin and had a great time. For Calgary, the prices at Shibuya were pretty on par for a dinner with sushi, it cost us about $50. I dunno why I have it stuck in my head that I want desperately to be able to consume alcohol (and smoke cigars again *cough*) but I’m just feeling bummed out about a lot of stuff like that.

For dindin we had char-grilled chicken gizzards with coarse salt and a squeeze of lemon, a deluxe sashimi platter, a spicy salmon roll and I ~think~ a deep fried tempura lobster roll. The last item is a bit fuzzy because The Hubbs said it was crab, but I could’ve sworn I ordered lobster. Neither of us can remember for sure, so it just means that we’ll have to go back and order it again ^_^ There are a whole bunch of other nibbly things that I am wanting to order while we’re there, like tongue, gizzards, intestines and stuff, but The HUbbs is just not that into internal organs. He didn’t seem too offended by the idea of the crispy salmon skin and chicken skin options, which is cool. He does very much want to order the takoyaki next time, though.

The only disappointment I have with Shibuya is the teeny sizes of some of their rolls. The lobster roll was a modest, but acceptable size, but with the spicy salmon roll we ordered, the size of each piece of roll was itty bitty. In fact, they were about the size of my thumb from first knuckle to tip. VERY tiny. The roll itself was in a pool of bright orange sauce and had a little green salad on the side which went remarkably well with the sauce, but holy moly was the sauce spicy. I guess I’m still not quite sure I understand the attraction to the spicy with sushi.

But back to the travelling… *sigh*

Just yea.

I would love to see neato stuff in Japan like checking out makers of old family-run soysauce and homemade tofu makers. Or go to Korea and see makers of the spicy red pepper paste called gochujang, the alcoholic fermented rice beverage called makgeolli, green tea plantations and potters of handmade tea-bowls… stuff like that… and street food of course ;)

Art is (can be) interesting, but I find food culture much more fascinating.

I’m really just feeling so poopy about life. I feel like SALLY came in and decided to make it so that I will obsess about how little time I may have left in a semi-functional body and make me terrified to actually live like a normal human being. I haven’t gotten to the point where experiences and fun will outweigh pain and enjoyment of life. It’s so depressing.

Cabin weekend

We went to the cabin and spent probably what has been the most fabulously relaxing time, in the forever, in the mountains .

We packed up SAM as soon as The Hubbs got home from work, did a couple of really quick chores around the house and then hit the road to Canmore by 530pm for the hour-long drive to the mountains. Given it was Friday afternoon, I was surprised the roads weren’t busier than they were. Generally there’s a mass exodus of the city happening by about 500pm on any given start to the weekend.

The weather for the weekend was absolutely phenomenal — Friday night, while it appeared to be on the brink of being cold and dreary with oncoming rain, ended up being just perfect for the drive up. In fact, no rain at all even though the skies seemed to threaten with moisture. It turned out more often than not that it was the sun’s rays peaking through the clouds, not oncoming rain. Saturday was absolutely gorgeous from moment we woke up, tons of sun straight through to the evening and Sunday started out just as sunny, but started to rain for about five minutes as we were on the highway headed home.

As to the activities for the weekend, the most important item on our agenda: Relaxation… and food, of course.

Friday night we did our usual for a weekend at the cabin — The Drake Pub. I know that our friends really like the place, as does The Hubbs. Atmosphere-wise, I do too, but menu-wise, I’m still always left feeling unsatisfied. As far as pub food goes, it’s pub food, but for some reason I can never find anything that grabs me & my tastebuds for a ride. I don’t know what it is and we’ve been going to this place for years.

If I remember correctly: I believe The Hubbs had the Drake burger with a caesar salad, D had the Drake burger with fries, K had the chicken(?) fajita and I had the extreme beef dip. Thing is, talking about dinner on our drive up to Canmore, I had said to The Hubbs that I was going to have a big ‘ol salad for dinner, but then upon being presented with their new menu, I saw the beef dip and remembered that I’d been craving one for a long time because The #Ranma! Boys keep talking about beef dips in channel. Once again, I was disappointed with my dinner choice by dinner’s end.

While I do enjoy a good ciabbata, it doesn’t quite fit the needs of a beef dip. The beef was tender enough, but the au jus was rather tasteless. Not even instant bouillon cube-salty, which made for a rather pointless dipping sauce. The size of the sandwich was respectable, but it just didn’t taste like anything to me :( Once again, I regretted my decision and should have just ordered the chicken Cobb salad. Oh well, there will always be next time.*sigh*

Dinner was capped off by a trip to the local grocery store to pick up desserts for later in the evening — German chocolate cake and Haagen Daz ice cream bars. To finish our evening, we spent it lounging around on the couches chatting in front of the cabin’s wood burning stove. I luvs me a good roaring fire. Lung disease, shmung disease, I’m going to enjoy it for all its worth. It felt especially nice having the fire roaring with all the windows and doors open to let out the excess heat and the cool evening breeze blow in the fresh mountain air.

Saturday morning everyone woke up rather late, around 1100am, after having stayed up til 100am talking about stuff and life and things. Breakfast was a bit of an oops on everyone’s part. We failed to realize that there wasn’t much at to eat while we were at the grocery store picking up sweets the night before so we ended up eating pancakes. Pancakes are never a bad thing, I just seem to draw very strange reactions to the way I eat some foods. Pancake topping options consisted of: (butter), strawberry jam and corn syrup. While I do like strawberry jam, I have difficulties eating sugar first thing in the morning unless it’s accompanied by something savoury. So I scrounged around in the fridge to see what else there was I could eat with my pancakes and ended up with… ranch dressing. It was actually pretty tasty, to be honest. When you slather the pancake in butter (okay, really, it was Imperial margarine) and then dip each piece of your pancake into ranch dressing, it’s not too shabby. Paired with a glass of almond breeze, it made for a pretty satisfying breakfast. My last two bites of pancake I had a little bit of strawberry jam and it made for the perfect mini dessert ending to a really filling breakfast.

I have to say, I need to change my opinion of instant pancakes… and I also need to find out what brand of pancake mix D & K have up at the cabin. Those instant pancakes are decent and I would actually say pretty darn tasty! They’re fluffy, moist and don’t suck every speck of moisture out of your mouth upon consumption. And from what I recall, the mix also makes decent waffles, too. I think, if I remember correctly, the mix came from Costco, so that shouldn’t be too hard to find. The Aunt Jemima stuff is just nasty. Blech.

With our extremely leisurely breakfast out of the way (about three hours) the boys decided to head out for a little hike. The amazing thing about the cabin is that it sits at the foot of a mountain. Literally. You walk out the door and the base of the mountain is right there in front of you. You don’t have to drive 20 minutes to the nearest parking lot. You open the door and just head straight up the path. The Hubbs & D took a whole bunch of gorgeous pictures for me since I’m unable to do any strenuous walking, let alone climbing around loose rock and shrubbery but I don’t have any of the pics on Tiny Bubbles. I’ll see if I can get The Hubbs to send me some and post them later.

When the boys finally got back from their two hour hike (all sweaty and gross-like), showers were in order and then we headed out for dinner again. A few weeks back D & I had a discussion about what we were going to be doing for food at the cabin. We had it all planned out a few weeks ago that I was going to be bringing up some marinated korean short ribs to make kalbi and we’d have him do the BBQ’ing of the meat, then we’d have awesome lettuce wraps with all sorts of yummy fillings for dindin. Unfortunately with my kidney infection fiasco, that plan fell through. I hadn’t been up to going grocery shopping at all last week to pick up the ingredients and so we’ve put that plan on the back burner for another time — perhaps when the boys do their boy-day-thing.

Generally speaking, we try to stay in and eat. Canmore, like Banff, is a touristy place and so eating out is not cheap. Pub food is usually affordable and satisfying, with little chance of disappointment. I’m obviously the exception to the rule. But once you get into actual “restaurant” eating territory, it’s mind-bogglingly expensive, so we tend to try and avoid it. If we do go out for the “restaurant experience”, there’s usually a few months warning and some advance financial planning involved, so to speak.

The original plan after the boys were done the hike was that we’d pop into town and hit up the grocery store again, but they were both so hungry that we chose, instead, to try a new restaurant. It would seem that Canmore has grown incredibly busy in the last few years and given that it was a gorgeous Saturday evening with full-on sun and it being peak dinner hour, the first stop we had made fell through. It was a bit of an awkward and annoying experience. Standing in line waiting for what we assumed was to be the next available table only to not be told by the hostess that unless we had a reservation, there was a twenty to forty five minute wait. We were only told there was no table by the guy that replaced her. She had been standing at the kiosk and didn’t say boo. So we left, having wasted fifteen minutes just standing around.

At that point, I made the decision to stop in at whatever looked interesting… a bit of a mistake on my part to have worded things that way. We ended up at Murrieta’s WestCoast Grill. I must say that I am constantly surprised at how expensive it can be to eat out… it’s just mind boggling some days.

To start with, The Hubbs & I shared the whole roasted garlic appetizer. Given how easy it is to make this at home, I’m amazed at how much money restaurants can charge for it. The whole bulb came on a plate with three petite slices of bread and two small chunks of gorgonzola and a sprig of rosemary stabbed into it for garnish. The proportions seemed rather strange to me, three slices of bread with two chunks of cheese? Bizzarre. D & K shared the tempura prawns with caramelized sake glaze and apricot miso reduction.

For mains, I had the 12oz. Ribeye which came with daily veg of roasted new potatoes, zucchini, carrot and baby bok choy. Because I couldn’t have any of their suggested sauces (all of them started out with a red wine reduction), I ordered it with a blue cheese crust. The biggest disappointment of my meal was that the steak was way overdone for my liking, my medium rare was not even remotely so, it was more like well done with the faintest hint of pink. The Hubbs ordered the Oriental Duck Breast with sesame honey sauce and confit duck spring rolls, which also came with the daily veg, but his potatoes were garlic mashed. He was absolutely amazed by the whole dish and loved every mouthful. D ordered the Lamb Meatball Spaghetti with roasted garlic tomato sauce and I believe K had the Fettuccini Bolognese.

Portions were quite generous, compared to what my expectations were when looking at menu prices. I might also add that they do an excellent virgin Caesar. Much better than a lot of places that comes with a pickled green bean(!) and a wedge of lemon or lime. Given I had two caesars that night, I had one of each and was pleased with both. I didn’t realize that I liked the citrus in my caesars.

Rolling ourselves back to the car, we made that important pitstop at the grocery store to pick up Sunday breakfast ingredients. We spent the early part of the evening enjoying the last of the sun’s warmth for the day with some quality deck time and then the rest of the evening was once again spent on the couch with the roaring fire and a good run of an old James Bond flick Live and Let Die.

Sunday mornings are awesome. Sunday mornings are especially awesome when there’s bacon and eggs and friends involved. Our Sunday morning was the bacon & egg extravaganza. It was kind of funny, we’ve now established that D & I are complete opposites when it comes to eggs & bacon. He likes his eggs completely cooked through with the yolks rock hard and his bacon shatteringly crisp upon impact, also called “petrified” by K. Whereas I like my eggs to have the whites set and the yolks slimy, with my bacon rather anaemic & squishy. The bacon part tends to disturb a lot of people. I should make mention that I do enjoy the perfect slice of bacon where it’s uniformly golden browned and texture is chewy with the odd bit here and there barely crisp. But for the most part, yea, I shamefully admit that I prefer my bacon anaemic and squidgey.

Speaking of bacon, while D & K were on holidays, they found me the most hilarious gift. This is the gift I was talking about last week about feeling loved. They brought back for me a tin of Uncle Oinker’s Savoury Bacon Mints. They are surprisingly tasty and super smokey, bacony flavoured with a hint of mint. Strange combination, but it’s actually a decent product given it’s bacon flavoured. In fact, I would say it’s even tastier than the famed Bacon Salt.

Before heading back home, we made a quick pitstop in town at O Canada Soapworks so I could replenish my stash of skin silks. They’ve come up with some new scents since I’d been there back in January, but I stuck with my oatmeal milk & honey bars and picked up for The Hubbs an aftershave bar to see if that makes his skin feel better.

The weekend was fantastic and it was so wonderful getting away to the fresh air and spending some much needed quality time with friends. It seems like we can’t get enough of it and we’re so incredibly lucky to have such generous friends to be able to do this with.

Long Day was Long… and fun!

Yesterday was great, up until the drive back between Field, B.C. & Lake Louise, Alberta that is — my butt started rebelling against being in the car for so long.


Highway between Field, B.C. & Golden, B.C.

I have lots and lots of pics and my appologies to everyone, I’m too lazy to put a lot of this stuff under the cut, some of the pics are too neat to hide.


Golden, B.C. — I had to take the pic, I’m sorry.

For some reason, without fail, I always manage to forget stuff.


Rogers Pass Interpretive Centre

Yesterday’s weather was pretty nice for driving, but not so much for being roadtrip-y to stop off at places, hop out of the car and wander. It was freaking cold out from Lake Louise out to B.C. Wearing shorts and a tank + a hoodie is NOT enough clothing for 13C + wind & drizzle, even if I did have a rain shell in the car.


Freezing my butt off at Rogers Pass (wearing proper clothing thanks to Lake Louise)

We ended up spending too much money at Lake Louise for a new fleece (me), a Buff headthingy (me), new jacket (The Hubbs) + nice shirt (The Hubbs). The last two items weren’t actually needed, The Hubbs just happens to really, really, really, really, REALLY likes Columbia-wear. The headband thingy wasn’t really needed either, but I’m getting tired of the ugly bandanas and this thing will apparently wick away sweat because it’s made of microfiber so that’s what I’m hoping for… plus it can be worn 12 different ways (which amused me, greatly).


The new fleece in its upper body-encompassing glory at Hemlock Grove

This is what happens when The Hubbs insists of having me shooed out of the house before I have adequate time to think things through and pack things up. I forget stuff.. LOTS of stuff. I made 3 rolls of california rolls to take for snackums! I forgot how awesome homemade cali rolls were. I hate that all restaurants (and grocery stores) make them inside out with the rice on the outside with sesame seeds. Blech. Having the seaweed on the outside just makes it taste so much better. I get the super-important stuff like meds and snacks, but the “what if” stuff I totally forget.


Homeward Bound from Rogers Pass, B.C.

We got as far as a little point of interest not too far away from Rogers Pass, B.C. called Hemlock Grove Boardwalk Trail, it was so cool! It’s a 400m boardwalk inside a rather awesome little hideaway with super old-growth stand of Western Hemlock trees. I even did it without the stick! Woo! Not that 400m is particularly long, but we were a little concerned given the altitude (~1330m) that my lungs might poop out. I think the cold + humidity actually made it slightly easier to breathe.

Heading homewards, I think we finally got back to Banff at about 700pm. We had dindin at The Bison, which was nice enough, but I have to say I was kind of disappointed that their menu has changed so much considering their online menus haven’t even been updated to reflect the significant changes.


Homeward Bound

Current menu is one double-page spread of all locally and regionally sourced ingredients. They’re getting into ~that~ sort of thing. We enjoyed dinner, but I was just bummed about not seeing anything left of the old menu or the fact a good portion of the items on the new menu I couldn’t have because of wine reductions or whatever. Oh, wait, there was something that hadn’t changed: the bread basket with the accompanying frozen pat of butter, topped with coarse sea salt and extra virgin canola oil :P That hadn’t changed.

The Hubbs had wild salmon with a rather strange risotto. It may have been barley, but it definitely wasn’t rice. I had the hand-torn pasta with asparagus, pine nuts, peas, mushrooms and goat cheese. Tasty enough, but their old tagliatelle with wild mushrooms and chevre was so much tastier. No more duck carpaccio, no more fondue frites, no more lamb(!) on the menu, even.


Chocolate Tart @ The Bison

For dessert, The Hubbs had the booziest of boozy chocolate tarts (basically a flourless chocolate cake with a crazy-boozed up chocolate mousse on top with Chambord jelly on the side) and I had a vanilla smore with homemade marshmallow atop a freakingly huge cakie chocolate brownie with some macerated strawberries.


Vanilla S’More @ The Bison