Sunday, June 30, 2013

Breakfast for Lunch: Tofu Scramble at B's Diner

When I am hanging out on Whyte Avenue, I try to eat and drink at independent establishments. Although I have walked past B's Diner (10037 82 Ave.) many times, I was never able to stop in.

I had breakfast there on Saturday and enjoyed the air conditioned interior on a very hot day. I was also amazed at how extensive the menu was - full of all-day breakfast options, burgers, sandwiches, and other typical greasy spoon diner fare.

I went for the tofu scramble, which was huge. It filled the plate and was full of mushrooms and bell peppers (you get two filling choices), along with toast and hash browns. The tofu was a little on the bland side, but mixed with the potatoes and toast it worked. And for $7 it was a great value.

Wor Wonton Soup, Vegan Style

I sometimes get into a groove where I keep going back to the same restaurant within a short span of time. Such has been the case lately with me and Veggie Garden.

I wanted soup, and decided to try to Wor Wonton because I have never had it before. Anywhere. It is usually full of pork and other things I don't eat for cultural reasons. So this was a rare chance to try it.

The flavour of the broth was much more intense than other vegetarian Asian soups I have had, and the abundance of tofu, veggie ham, and veggie shrimp (in addition to a goodly amount of vegetables) made the soup quite substantial. But what made it the most substantial were the wontons, which were laced with ginger and mostly sank to the bottom of the bowl because they were so heavy. I don't know what a pork wonton is supposed to taste like, but I enjoyed these vegan ones.

I have a feeling this will be my soup of choice upon return visits.

The Pho Files: Vietnamese Beef Stew

Pho Hoa is a chain of Vietnamese restaurants, and there is one in Chinatown on 97 Street and 106 Avenue. I went here for supper this past week prior to a meeting, and had the beef stew (pho bo kho) which can be one of my favourite dishes.

The chunks of meat were plentiful. the seasoning of the broth wonderful, and the carrots soft. Definitely a winner.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Vegan Tofu Loaf

Well, this vegetarian and vegan food seems to be a recurring theme for me these days. On Saturday I had supper at Cafe Mosaics, one of my favourite Whyte Avenue restaurants.

I had the vegan tofu loaf, which was full of vegetables, seasoning, and tofu (duh!) which was crumbly in places and chewy in others. The texture almost reminded me in this way of ground meat. I loved the mushroom gravy, with its large pieces of mushrooms, along with the roasted potatoes and salad. Healthy, filling, and delicious.

Vegan Vermicelli

It was back to Veggie Garden Restaurant for lunch yesterday and I went all out with a vermicelli bowl including lemongrass beef, chicken, shrimp, and pork spring rolls. The flavours, while not totally authentic, were realistic enough - the textures were nearly perfect. I loved the sweet soy sauce on the side and would have liked a couple more pieces of "shrimp," but overall this was filling and wonderful to look at.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Beef Duo at The Common

I visited The Common for the first time ever this week, as I was a panelist for an interVivos event (also my first) being held there. I decided to get there early to enjoy some supper before the event and to really check the place out. I have heard so many good things about it.

After spending a while examining the menu and asking my wonderful server many questions, I finally decided on the Beef Duo which had two medallions of steak and a chunk of braised beef rib. The rib was fork tender and full of complex flavours, while the steak was done to perfection. The meat had a gravy giving some needed moisture, but also became gelatinous rather quickly.

The meal was served with roasted vegetables which were fresh and colourful, as well as a large portion of crispy shoestring fries. It was as attractively presented as it was delicious.

I get the impression the place fills up fast, so the next time I visit I will also make sue I get there early once again.

Flavourful Focaccia

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

As someone who spends a lot of time in Little Italy, I love heading to Spinelli's Bar Italia at the north end location of the Italian Centre for a quick nosh. For a number of months I have been enjoying the focaccia with black olives and ripe tomatoes. This week, I tried a new variety, with green olives, capers, and sun dried tomatoes. The flavours of the capers and green olives complemented each other perfectly (I feared together they would be too salty, but they weren't), while the sun dried tomatoes added a smokiness that added balance.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Veggie Chicken on Rice

I have been wanting to go back to Veggie Garden Restaurant for a while now, but for one reason or another I was unable to make it. Finally, I was here today for lunch and had, for the first time, "chicken" on rice. I often enjoy the vegetarian imitation meats because I find them quite filling with a satisfying texture, and I was right on the money here. The soy-based sliced chicken had a slightly spicy mushroom gravy on a bed of steamed white rice. I also could not resist some spicy and salty fried tofu to start with.