Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Breakfast for Lunch: "Ham" Omelette at Padmanadi

I have been a fan of the Indonesian vegan fare at Padmanadi for years, ever since the restaurant was still located in Chinatown. However, I never had the opportunity to have brunch until this past weekend.

Only available on Saturdays and Sundays until 2 p.m., the brunch menu concists of a variety of pancake, French toast, scramble, and omelette dishes - all made without actual eggs, meat, and dairy. Substitutes mostly made from different formulations of bean curd are presented.

I had a "ham and cheese" omelette, sans cheese. I have realized that even in vegan form, I cannot handle the taste and texture of it. The "butter" on the organic multigrain toast tasted so much like the real thing, I was almost afraid I would actually have a lactose reaction. A side of fresh fruit added colour to the dish, while the root vegetable hash was ample and had a nice seasoning to it, some of the pieces were undercooked.

Now, for the omelette itself. The "egg" part was bean curd spread thin. It had the look and texture of egg with a very pleasant crispy outside, but did not much of a flavour in and of itself. It absorbed flavour from the filling, which was spinach, mushrooms, and large slabs of "ham", also a soy or tofu substitute I have had many times at the restaurant. I was amazed at how much of the meat was in there. I opted out of the "cheese" but I am sure it would have been generous.

I added a side of "sausage" to my meal but really did not have to. This was as filling as a supper entree. Bean curd is much denser than eggs and I was full for the rest of the day.

At around $15 per meal, plus drinks and additional optional sides, brunch at Padmanadi is a bit pricey but very unique and with huge portions.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Breakfast for Lunch - Chicken Sausage

While unexpectedly ending up at Albert's Family Restaurant on 99 Street and 51 Avenue, even more unexpectedly I discovered several breakfast specials on the menu - including chicken sausage!

Made in Alberta, this huge hunk of sausage was crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, with a hint of sweetness. I did not feel like I was eating a chicken hot dog - the skin was far too crispy, with the texture and seasonings being quite unique.

This was definitely the highlight of the meal, which was otherwise mediocre. My eggs, ordered over easy, were actually over medium (the yolks barely ran) and the hash browns were cold.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Salty and Crispy Shiitake

I finally made it back to Veggie Garden Restaurant for supper during a day working downtown. I often have the Hot and Salty Tofu, but decided to give the Salty and Crispy Shiitake a try, just for variety.

The thin slices of mushroom were breaded and salted to perfection, with a crunchy mix of carrots and peppers (both the bell and hot variety). I found the dish a little difficult to eat, with the threads of mushrooms getting tangled like noodles, but it was very flavourful.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Bagel and Lox at Block 1912

Block 1912 is my favourite place to go for coffee on Whyte Avenue. However, other than an occasional basked good, I have never really had a meal there.

For a light Saturday lunch I had the smoked salmon bagel (minus the cream cheese - yes, I know that is sacrilege, but I am a woman of unique tastes. And lactose intolerance).

The fresh, lightly toasted multigrain bagel made the dish filling. The lox was of good quality and the portion was quite reasonable. I love tomatoes on a bagel and lox, although the red peppers were a bit strange. The capers added some zest to the over all flavour, and I even ate a few onions - just a few, as they were strong.

A basic salad was a garnish on the plate - I would have appreciated a side of a little more substance, like a small cup of soup as I did find the dish rather pricey.

I had a regular coffee as well, and with a tip the meal came to around $15.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Breakfast for Lunch: Choices at Smitty's

When I was a kid, Smitty's was a regular place my family would eat at for our pancake and French toast fix.

Now many years later, I stepped in to the Westmount location for a lunch to appreciate a valued volunteer. A current promotion is a "pick your own breakfast" menu of around 30 items. Customers can pick four, with an additional charge for extra items.

I am someone who likes eating smaller portions of more kinds of food in one sitting. Almost overwhelmed with choices, I settled on two eggs any style, two beef slider patties, two potato pancakes, and a strawberry crepe.

Even though the crepe different greatly in appearance as depicted on the menu, I easily had enough food for two people. The beef sliders tasted like basic frozen patties cooked on a barbecue, but I was pleased there was one non-pork meat selection.

I am already planning what combination I would like to have on my next visit!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Halo-Halo at Panciteria de Manila

Halo-Halo by raise my voice
Halo-Halo, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

Although I definitely had enough to eat when I finished my chicken adobo for lunch today at Panciteria de Manila, I simply had to try the Halo-Halo, a popular Filipino summer dessert.

First, let me clarify something: it is pronounced "hallo hallo," not like the round thing hovering over my head that gets more tarnished year after year. Let me try to draw a mental picture of exactly how epic this dessert is: it was a large plastic cup like the ones used for bubble tea, with ripe bananas, white beans, creamed corn, and young coconut slices at the bottom. Atop that was a mountain of shaved ice and milk. Topping the whole thing off was a scoop of purple ice cream (taro flavoured - sort of like a purple yam) and half of a creme brulee tart. I had to have instructions on how to eat it.

First, I consumed the ice cream and tart. The ice cream is so delicious, I would be happy just to have an order of that. Then, I had to mix the shaved ice and milk with the ingredients at the bottom of the cup. I joked with Bayani and my tablemates that this was an interactive dessert. The results were creamy, sweet, refreshing, and appealing in texture. Did I mention how huge it was? I have plans to go back just to have one of these.

Chicken Adobo at Panciteria de Manila

Chicken Adobo by raise my voice
Chicken Adobo, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

Occupying the space formerly housing the late, lamented Noodle Maker, Panciteria de Manila is a family-run business that offers a selection of Filipino rice and noodle dishes.

For my first venture at this restaurant, I decided on the chicken adobo, which featured a generous amount of chicken chunks on top of a bed of garlic rice. The rice was not overly tasting of garlic, and the tomatoes added colour to the dish. The egg was scrambled, adding protein, colour, and substance to the dish. I liked how the chicken was not overpowered with seasonings. The natural flavour of all of the ingredients really worked well together. And at only $7.99 ($6.99 plus an extra buck for a fountain pop) the value is excellent too.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Act Burger

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

I finally made it to The Next Act Pub on a busy Saturday evening for a burger. The basic Act Burger was all I was after - a huge, thick, juicy patty that is grilled to perfection on a brioche bun with mayo and "groceries." It is more than a burger - it is an experience. The burger has a very unique flavour, enhanced with seasonings but never overpowered.

And the fries - oh, the fries. The fresh cut, thin, house-made fries. If I was not so hungry, I would never have made it through the plate.

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Pho Files: Brisket and Steak at Pho King

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

Pho King was conveniently located near where I was working this week, at the exact time I was in need of a lunch break. Coincidence? I think not.

I had a small bowl of rare beef and beef brisket soup. The steak was already cooked through by the time I got my bowl, but it was tender and lean. The brisket was reasonably lean although some pieces had a rim of thick fat around them.

For a small bowl, it was brimming with meat and noodles. It was perfect comfort food for a day of outdoor work.

Breakfast for Lunch: Blueberry Comfort

Nothing feels more like comfort food after being sick for a while, than blueberry pancakes. The ones at iHop (3921 Calgary Trail) are very moist and covered in blueberry compote. I opted for turkey bacon instead of the piggy meat that usually accompanies. It was just the right amount of food, and worth the substitution costs (for the turkey bacon as well as having blueberry pancakes instead of plain buttermilk).