Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Breakfast for Lunch: Two Eggs and Hash Browns at Route 99

I don't find myself at Route 99 Diner (8820 99 Street) often enough. The food is great and the prices reasonable.

I went for the low-priced ($5.99) two egg breakfast. My eggs over-easy were perfect - a runny yoke with some crunchy white around the edges. The hash browns at Route 99 are a favourite of mine - they are so much more flavourful than shredded varieties I have had in chain restaurants.

The meal also came with two thick slices of toast, which are not pictured here because the cook kept buttering them. I ordered my toast dry, and out of force of habit each time my slices popped up, on went the butter. Eventually, my poor waitress toasted them for me herself. It was the only glitch in an otherwise great meal.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Vermicelli with Beef and Spring Rolls

Today I had lunch at Pho Rice Pot, or The Rice Pad, or whatever it is called these days (18531 Stony Plain Road). I just call it one of my favourite places for Chinese and Vietnamese food in west Edmonton.

I had beef vermicelli with vegetarian spring rolls (ones with pork were also an option). The beef was thin, lean, and tender, tasting of the grill and lemongrass. The spring rolls were long and thin, and super crispy.

Although I always enjoy the pickled carrots, the rest of the salad looked a bit on the wilted side. I was full enough from the spring rolls, beef, and noodles (as well as the onion cakes I consumed as an appetizer) not to worry about that much, and simply left it behind.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Coffee Break: Red Tea Latte at Cafe Tiramisu

Red Tea Latte by raise my voice
Red Tea Latte, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

Some of the most interesting coffee breaks I have, is when I don't even end up ordering coffee! Such was my choice this afternoon at Cafe Tiramisu. Cafe Tiramisu is a "lifestyle" cafe that incorporates wellness programming such as yoga into the establishment. As well, there is a playroom allowing parents with young children to enjoy socializing.

I had a red tea latte. I have had other kinds of tea lattes before, but never this. Red tea has a lot of antioxidants in it, but I chose it because I wanted to try something new. The latte was rich and creamy, and tasted like a hot version of the Thai iced tea I enjoy at Viphalay. I drank it quickly and would definitely order a large next time.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Chicken Vegetable Soup

Chicken Vegetable Soup by raise my voice
Chicken Vegetable Soup, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

As I was saying in my previous post, I had been walking for quite a while outdoors, I was hungry, and I stopped in to Wild Earth Cafe to have lunch. I ordered a chicken pot pie, but knew I needed something on the side to round out the meal.

I opted for a small bowl of one of the featured soups. It was chicken vegetable, and unlike any I have ever had. It contained a creative combination of seasonings (with a citrus flavour being dominant), along with a healthy dose of vegetables and a large amount of shredded chicken. Served hot with a piece of bread on the side, it was exactly what I needed on a winter's day.

For $4 I found the portion to be ample (a larger size is available for around $6 and would be a meal in itself).

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie by raise my voice
Chicken Pot Pie, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

I have been spending a lot of time at Wild Earth Cafe lately (85 Avenue and 142 Street). Most of the time, I am drinking coffee. However, on Saturday I ventured there for lunch after a long hike through Buena Vista Park after attending the Silver Skate Festival.

I was quite hungry, indeed. I ordered a chicken pot pie ($8) and enjoyed the densely packed chicken and vegetables that were housed within the tasty crust (which I wish was a bit crisper on top). Unlike many pot pies I have had, this one did not have a lot of liquid in it, making it quite substantial for a small pie.

But like I said, I was quite hungry, so alone the pie was not enough. Fortunately, Wild Earth sells a number of salads and soups which go well as a side dish. I'll get to that in a moment!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Dinner for Two at Taipan

Dinner for Two by raise my voice
Dinner for Two, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

I owed someone lunch, and what better day to dine out than Valentine's Day? He was craving Chinese food, so we headed to Taipan Cafe on 106 Avenue and 97 Street, our regular haunt for such fare.

We shared a Dinner for Two, which comes with wonton soup, chicken fried rice, and a choice of three items. We went for the orange chicken (sweet and delicious), chicken with two kinds of mushrooms (heaven for mushroom lovers), and beef with mixed greens (mostly broccoli, bok choy, and peapods, with some cauliflower thrown in).

Everything was fresh and delicious, and quite ample in portion. And at only $30, it is a deal. Three people could easily have eaten this amount of food.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Chicken and Beef Kebabs at Kafana

Once upon a time there was a sleazy Italian sports bar on 95 Street that was transformed into a Balkan and Serbian restaurant called Euro Taste. Then, about a year later, two of the waitresses got together and bought the place, changing the name to Kafana. Sounds like the Canadian dream, right?

Kafana is like culinary mullet in reverse - a bar in the front, and a classy dining area in the back. The decor has not changed much - the dining area is very open and spacious. The menu is currently in transition, but is staying Balkan.

I opted for kebabs, or raznici, as they are called. You can mix or match two choices of beef, pork, or chicken, so I had on skewer of beef and one of chicken. The meat was cooked to perfection - marinated, juicy, and bursting with flavour. Plating was attractive, with roasted vegetables and rice pilaf rounding everything out. The two large crusty buns were a nice addition, although impossible to finish.

I also had a cup of cappuccino, which was excellent. It was so quiet in the dining area that I would find it an excellent place to just have a cup of coffee with a book, or a private meeting with a friend.

I am looking forward to seeing the new menu. Kafana is located at 10803 95 Street.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Coffee Break: Mochaccino at Wild Earth

Mochaccino by raise my voice
Mochaccino, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

Wild Earth Cafe (142 Street & 85 Avenue) is fast becoming a favourite hangout of mine. Today, I tried the mocha. It was superb - when real chocolate is used instead of syrup, it makes all the difference. Now, if only the place would get wifi!

Four Colour Vermicelli Bowl at Veggie Garden

The main thing I love about eating at vegetarian restaurants, is being able to order dishes I would not be able to otherwise.

Such was the case for lunch today at Veggie Garden (10582 100 Street). I ordered a four colour bowl of vermicelli which featured "beef," "grilled lemongrass chicken," "shrimp," and spring rolls (which had "pork" in them).

I loved the different flavours and textures, even if they were not exactly like the real things. The soy sauce made a perfect replacement for fish sauce, which I never touch anyways. I especially liked the sweet, crunchy chicken and authentic looking shrimp.

Coffee Break: Americano Misto at Wild Earth

Americano Misto by raise my voice
Americano Misto, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

I paid another visit to the new location of Wild Earth in the Laurier Heights neighbourhood yesterday(142 Street & 85 Avenue). I tried an Americano Misto, which is espresso diluted with water about two thirds of the way up the glass, and finished with steamed milk.

While the word "misto" may conjure images of a light drink, this was very strong and bold. I enjoyed it more than a plain Americano, which I often end up dousing with cream anyways. The tall glass was hot to hold, but had a nice presentation.