Saturday, December 29, 2012

Chocolate Lava Cake

So, after a very ample steak dinner, I decided to give dessert a go. The Chocolate Lava Cake caught my eye, being a lover of chocolate.

The cake was warm and very rich. It did not explode with chocolate sauce as other lava cakes I have had, which was a bit of a surprise, but the accompanying ice cream and fruit sauce kept things moist and added layers of flavour. The fresh fruit pieces were also delicious.

Steak Dinner at Murrieta's

For the second week in a row, Murrieta's was the place for supper on Whyte Avenue.

I had an eight ounce sirloin steak, served with mashed potatoes and vegetables. I opted for the wine reduction sauce (bearnaise was the other choice) - it was very rich and went well with the meat. I was also drinking red wine, which tied everything together nicely.

My steak was cooked to perfection and bursting with grilled flavour. Adding another level of richness was the side of sauteed mushrooms. This is definitely a meal I would want again for a special occasion. If another apocalypse is scheduled, I would also consider it for then.

Chicken Stuffed Naan

It was another Blues on Whyte afternoon, so for a pre-beer snack, Naanolicious next door was the obvious choice.

Crumbled, spicy Chicken Tikka filled the buttered, grilled naan bread. The four large wedges made for a perfectly filling snack. No singing the blues here!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Breakfast for Lunch: Beef Sausage Breakfast

I always get excited when I see beef sausage on a breakfast menu. As a non-pork eater, this is one of the few chances I have to enjoy some meat with my eggs and potatoes.

This is one reason why I had breakfast for lunch at Albert's Family Restaurant on 51 Avenue and 99 Street on Saturday. Three huge, thick, ctispy links of beef sausage were served alongside two eggs (over easy, of course) and potato pancakes (other choices included regular pancakes and toast with hashbrowns).

The best way I can describe this meal is with the word "huge." Two sausage links would have been enough (and they tasted great - not too spicy but still bold). The potato pancakes were also large, with plenty of apple sauce and sour cream on the side.

Interestingly, the server informed me that the beef sausages were new - the previous kind were the same size as regular pork sausages (which is why four were listed on the menu instead of the three I was served). Whether or not these will be kept or the old ones will return will be decided largely on customer reactions. Never having ever had the previous kind I could not comment other than I thought these current ones were excellent, if not slightly too large.

Aloo Stuffed Naan

I headed to Naanolicious on Whyte Avenue and 103 Street yesterday for a snack and decided it was time to try a stuffed naan. I opted for the aloo, with a thin spreading of spiced potatoes in between the layers of the crispy, fresh made flat bread. It was hot, fresh, and delicious, if not a bit dry - I would perhaps order some chutney on the side for dipping next time.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Frozen Yogurt at Pinkberry

For me, frozen yogurt is the new ice cream. I eat it far more often and even now during these frigid months of winter. So, I was thrilled to stumble upon the new location of Pinkberry at West Edmonton Mall.

I eagerly samples some flavours - you can try before you buy - and I had the tart and pomegranate, which I ended up getting swirled. The choices of toppings are similar to other frozen yogurt places, with fruit, nuts, candy, and sauces, except this is not self-serve. As many toppings will go in your cup as will comfortably fit. For me, that was four.

I was impressed with the portion size and selection of flavours and toppings. I shall return.

Salmon at Murrieta's

I made my debut visit to Murrieta's Bar and Grill this evening. I had one of the sustainable fish dishes on the menu - salmon, to be specific. Salmon is one of my favourite fishes to eat and it has been a while since I have had it for dinner.

I chose the spicy maple ginger sauce (there are three choices, with bearnaise and lime salsa being the other two). I tasted more ginger than maple in the sauce, which gave the meal an Asian flavour. The salmon was perfectly done and fork tender, with just the right proportion of mashed potatoes and vegetables.

Before the meal, I was presented with complimentary focaccia bread. It was unlike any I had before - the bread was a sourdough.

Service was very friendly and reasonably speedy for a Saturday evening. Murrieta's is a very classy Whyte Avenue dining choice.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Pad Thai and Roasted Chicken at Viphalay

Viphalay has the best Pad Thai in the city. The sauce, texture of the noodles, and abundance of chicken and tofu simply is second to none. There is also shrimp, but we held that.

We also ordered the oven roasted chicken, which is a half chicken that is so tender it is literally falling off the bones. Plus, it is roasted in herbs and seasonings making the meat extremely flavourful. I also love the presentation - the chicken is cut into many small pieces, making sharing and eating very easy.

Iced Bevvies at Viphalay

I discovered this week that the original location of Viphalay on 107 Avenue and 95 Street is open after a long hiatus. This location is mere block away from my downtown office, so I had supper there with a co-worker on Wednesday.

For drinks, she had the iced coffee and I had the iced tea, Thai style. The coffee was like Vietnamese coffee, but already stirred into the condensed milk. My tea was rich and creamy, but still full of tea flavour. It's a red tea that is used (it gets orange from the cream). So tasty and delicious even on a cold winter's evening.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Coffee Break: Cappuccino at Credo

I hadn't been to Credo Coffee in a long while, so decided to stop in there this afternoon when I was in the area.

I ordered a cappuccino never having had one before at Credo. It was like a short, rich, latte. It lacked the pile of foam on top I have had elsewhere, but the richness of the flavour was unsurpassed. A wonderful mid-afternoon caffeine jolt.

The Pho Files: Pho Tai and Onion Cakes at Phat Noodle

The Phat Noodle (10347 Jasper Avenue) calls itself an "urban Vietnamese kitchen." The decor is indeed very modern, spacious, and bright. But how is the food?

I ordered a bowl of steaming pho tai, which came with the tender, lean beef slices already well done. The broth was multi-layered with flavour, but was unaccompanied by the side of herbs and sprouts (perhaps one has to ask?). Overall it was a reasonable value.

The onion cakes were light and crispy, almost to the point of shattering in certain places. I like a bit more chew. The sweet and hot sauce was definitely needed.

Overall, I would come here for the soup again.

Breakfast for Lunch: Grilled Corn Bread

Saturday brunch at Blue Plate Diner is always better when I have someone with whom to share an order of the maple grilled corn bread. I can't tackle it alone and then have a main brunch item.

The two thick triangles of corn bread were generously drizzled with maple syrup, warm, and had a wonderful texture. This is truly breakfast comfort food.

Deep Fried Mushrooms

When lunching at Pho Binh in the west end last week (150 Street and Stony Plain Road in the Jasper Gates shopping area), we decided to forgo the traditional green onion cakes and have fried mushrooms as an appetizer.

They were not what we expected. Instead of button mushrooms battered and fried, they were large slices of cap, battered and fried and sprinkled with sesame seeds. The coating was rich and flavourful, but the mushroom part had little to offer other than texture. I was thankful for the hot and sweet dip to add flavour.