Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Dharma Dahl Bowl at Noorish

I wanted something warm. Something comforting. I found it at Noorish, where I lunched yesterday.

The Dharma Dahl Bowl was incredible. This was my first time having dhal. It was a thick lentil soup (or stew) with tomatoes and eggplant. Spicy, but not too hot, and finished with cilantro. The brown rice on the side went well in terms of flavour and texture. I thought the chili oil would be too hot, but it actually reminded me more of sesame sauce and I used it generously on the rice.

Pity this is only served on Tuesdays. I could go for this any time.

Orange Omsicle at Noorish

I don't usually buy a non-alcoholic beverage that costs more than a few dollars when I have a meal out, I decided to try one of the superfood elixirs. The Orange Omsicle is touted as being packed with vitamin C and other immune-boosting agents. As I was fighting a cold, I decided it would be worth a try.

Although I did not find that it tasted like a Creamsicle (as the description stated), this drink had a quite unique, refreshing flavour. It was creamy, with an underlying orange taste, with earthy elements.

I can't say for sure if there was any effect on my health, but it certainly did not hurt.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Combination Plate the the New Tan Tan

New Tan Tan #yegfood by raise my voice
New Tan Tan #yegfood, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

I was at a rally Friday in the bitter cold, so I went for the closest restaurant I could find in which to warm up and get some nourishment. New Tan Tan (10133 97 Street) is quite a popular destination from what I heard, and was glad it was across the street from Canada Place, where I was.

Known for Dim Sum, there is also a regular lunch menu. I had one of the combination plates. The ginger beef was cooked to perfection - not too hard or soft. The veggies came with chicken, not beef as stated on the menu, but I was not disappointed as the vegetables were very fresh and the chicken actually tasted like chicken (I find a lot of meat and veggie dishes have weird tasting meat). And, of course, the chicken fried rice rounded out the plate.

The meal was around $12 and I found it more than ample in terms of portion. Service was very attentive and friendly, and the place was bright and clean (and had nice washrooms). I would definitely head here again for a great lunch.

Yoga Yummy

Naan-o-licious has some new menu items, Yoga Yummy being one of them. A very cute name for a rather sophisticated dish.

The base is yellow lentils which are made into a puree. Organic vegetables and a healthy dose of cilantro balance out the texture and flavour. The heap of plain white rice in the middle helps to absorb the lentil sauce.

I was actually hoping for the lentils to be in more of an intact form. Still, the colour and flavour they gave the dish was excellent. The portion size was also easily enough for two - I could not finish on my own.

Veggie Samosa

This photo may not look exactly like a vegetarian samosa, but that is indeed what it is. At Naan-o-licious, the samos is served cut in half, topped with a generous amount of its unique chutney, which was at once sweet and savoury. I loved the yogurt component giving a coolness to the food. The flavour of the potato and spice interior still came through. While the exterior of the samosa lost its crunch early on due to the chutney, the unique flavour and freshness of the samosa more than made up for it. And at only $3, it is one of the most economical appetizers on the menu. Frankly, I could make a meal out of a couple of these.

Coffee Break: Chai at Cafe Mosaics

The chai at Cafe Mosaics is only available seasonally during the fall and winter. Which means you still have a couple of months to get down there to enjoy a steaming, spicy cup of what is one of the best chais I have ever had.

It was so hot, I finished my meal and the drink was still steaming. It was so spicy, I could hear my taste buds singing. It kept me warm on a cold day. Delicious.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Pho Files: Pho Tai at Golden Orchid

Occupying the former original location of Padmanadi and later an ill-fated ramen house, Golden Orchid (10626 97 Street) is the latest noodle house in Chinatown. The menu is packed with pho soups, vermicelli bowls, and various other dishes you would expect at a restaurant like this. Prices are very, very reasonable - slightly lower than some of the other restaurants in Chinatown.

I had a small bowl of steak pho for only $6.99. For a small bowl, the portion was very filling. I also loved the presentation - red and white onions were atop a mountain of medium-rare beef, atop the noodles, with a sprinkling of cilantro over everything. The aroma was fantastic and the broth was good. I had to let my meat simmer in the broth until it all cooked through - some of the pieces were quite red at first. After cooked, the meat was lean and not too chewy.

It's a nice place with friendly service. I will definitely be back.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Breakfast for Lunch: Steak and Eggs at Santo's

Santo's, a mainstay of Little Italy, has an all-day breakfast menu with a few new additions not currently listed on the print version: pancakes, French toast, and steak and eggs.

I love steak and eggs, even when I am not suffering from a hangover. My steak was perfectly cooked to order and had a great grilled taste. My eggs were also done to my liking. I ended up with both garlic toast and plain toast - the garlic was a bonus courtesy of the kitchen, I am assuming. I only ate a little of the bread anyways - the mountain of hash browns fulfilled my carbohydrate quota for the afternoon!

Fusilli Al Pacifico at Chianti

Chiantis #yegfood by raise my voice
Chiantis #yegfood, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

Fusilli Al Pacifico has long been my favourite pasta dish at Chianti's, so when I finally got a chance to have supper at the restaurant on Saturday, that is what I had.

I love pasts without a heavy sauce, and dishes like this are all too rare in Italian restaurants. The flavourful combination of olive oil, peas, onions, sun dried tomatoes, and smoked salmon makes for a light, refreshing meal that is also filling.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Pho Files: Steak and Brisket at Pho Rice Pot

Pho Rice Pot has many different soups on themenu, but surprisingly, the only choice for beef pho (as opposed to satay and other styles) is their special with steak, brisket, tendon, and beef balls.

I am not a fan of beef balls or tendon, so I asked for it just with steak and brisket when I had lunch there yesterday. They obliged, and I was thrilled with the results: piles of medium-rare steak and lean, tender slices of brisket. This is one of the rare places I can get pho with brisket that is thinly sliced AND lean. I am tempted to go for all-brisket next time.

The broth was flavourful and full of noodles and sweet onions. A total win for my pho cravings.