Saturday, January 18, 2014

Steak and Spaghetti at Boston Pizza

Steak and Spaghetti by raise my voice
Steak and Spaghetti, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

I was convinced to have supper at the Westmount location of Boston Pizza this evening, even though I was not really in the mood for pizza.

The page of mains apart from the selection of pizzas and pastas drew me in, as a result. I had a seven ounce steak, which comes with freshly steamed vegetables and a salad; however, I swapped out my salad for spaghetti. I also tried the new tomato marinara, which was great as I never cared for the pomodoro sauce and find the meat sauce a little too spicy for my liking.

The serving of spaghetti was also huge! My steak was done to order and had very little waste. And at $15.99, it was not a bad price either.

Breakfast for Lunch: Pannekoeken at De Dutch

De Dutch by raise my voice
De Dutch, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

Spending most of the day in the downtown core gave me the opportunity to try De Dutch again. This time, I wanted to try the pannekoeken, the signature dish at the breakfast and lunch restaurant, which is a large, thin pancake with a choice of a variety of toppings and combinations.

I opted to build my own savoury pannekoeken, and chose turkey bacon and two eggs. The pancake, as I expected, was huge, filling an entire plate. It was thinner than a traditional pancake, but tasted similar. Four large pieces of turkey bacon and two scrambled eggs (as I requested) adorned the massive pancake. I certainly was full by the end.

My favourite part of the meal though, was trying stroop, which is a Dutch syrup. It does not taste at all like maple syrup, but more like molasses. It was very sweet and a little went a long way.

I really enjoy trying food from different parts of the world, and pannekoeken certainly fulfils that desire. In some ways, I think the novelty of the huge pancake is a large draw. I look forward to more meals at De Dutch but I think my curiosity about pannekoeken has been satisfied.

Pancit Canton at Panciteria de Manila

Pancit Canton by raise my voice
Pancit Canton, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

I ended up at Panciteria de Manila for supper last night because of its close proximity to Brittany's Lounge, where I was performing in a variety show.

I decided to try pancit, which is the signature Filipino noodle dish. It normally comes with shrimp and/or pork, but the kitchen was kind enough to use chicken in my case.

The noodles and chicken were under a deep layer of raw or slightly steamed vegetables like broccoli, carrots, and lots of cabbage. I did not eat most of that since I was concerned about my, ahem, stomach integrity for my upcoming performance.

However, the noodles and shredded chicken were also plentiful, in a light, slightly salty, soy-based sauce that collected at the bottom of the bowl like a broth. The flavour was not all that robust, but this is a healthy, simple dish.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Pan Seared Salmon at Blue Plate Diner

Pan Seared Salmon by raise my voice
Pan Seared Salmon, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

I was in the mood for something decadent for lunch prior to heading to a filming assignment, so at Blue Plate Diner I opted for the pan-seared salmon.

I am a fan of salmon in general, but this dish took things up to another level. The salmon was cooked to perfection, seared crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. The seasoning and bed of vegetables (with fork-tender baby potatoes) seemed inspired by the Mediterranean.

This was a dish that was as good to look at as it was to eat. Bravo!

Smoked Meat Sandwich at Culina Muttart

Smoked Meat Sandwich by raise my voice
Smoked Meat Sandwich, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

I went to the Muttart Conservatory last week to take in the new Lunar New Year feature display. I also wanted to meet someone for lunch, so it just made sense to dine at Culina Muttart.

I had been here once before for brunch, but that was a couple of years ago. The small lunch menu had a number of sandwiches, soups, salads, and a few mains. I opted for a sandwich with a side of salad, in this case the smoked meat, and the salad was the sweet and spicy slaw.

The sandwich was piled high with fresh, lean smoked meat. The bread was a panini that was so fresh, literally every bite was crunchy. I skipped the cheddar, and could have done with less of the spicy mustard (I will definitely tell them to go easy next time).

The slaw was a meal in itself, and reminded me of a teriyaki stir fry, except cold. The vegetables were crunchy and fresh, and it was an excellent pairing with the sandwich.

$11 for a sandwich and side is a reasonable price to pay for an excellent, fresh, delicious lunch. I can't wait to come back and try another sandwich or one of the mains.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Craisin Paapri and Keema Naan

My usual Saturday routine involved a trip to Blues On Whyte and then supper at Naanolicious. I had the craisin paapri on a previous visit, and felt like something lighter that evening, so enjoyed the refreshing salad-like confection of craisins, potato, tomatoes, chickpeas, and crushed samosa chips. Something new for me was the keema naan, which was ground beef and spices stuffed into a butter naan. The flavour was rich and toasty, and would have made a great snack on its own.

Breakfast For Lunch: Smoked Salmon Omelette

Smoked Salmon Omelette by raise my voice
Smoked Salmon Omelette, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

On Saturday morning, it was back to Mill Creek Cafe for brunch. I had the gravlax omelette - gravlax is a kind of smoked salmon cured with sugar, salt, and dill, and Mill Creek Cafe makes their own!

The omelette was light and fluffy, full of smoked salmon, as well as a few red onions for flavour. Capers peppered the eggs and went well with the smoked salmon. I held the soft herbed cheese, not being a dairy person, and enjoyed the home made hash browns and grain toast.

The meal was most memorable for the texture and taste of the eggs, as well as the smoked salmon. This is a definite must-try if you head here for brunch.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Stir Fry Adventure at Viphalay

Orange Chicken Cashew Stir Fry

Viphalay (the 95 Street location) is conveniently located near where I had a meeting last night, so I went there for supper with a newbie to the Thai and Laotian goodness served there. We both had a stir fry and shared. I had the orange cashew chicken, with lots of crunchy cashews, tender strips of chicken, and colourful red and green bell peppers, prepared in an orange sauce. The sauce was very subtle in flavour, with the hint of citrus accented by the cashews.

Basil Beef Stir Fry

On the other side of the table was a basil stir fry with beef. The beef was ground, and the rustic tecture made me think it was done by hand. The flavour of the basil penetrated the dish, as did the spice from the chili flakes. Slivers of bamboo shoots absorbed a lot of the flavour, and diced snap peas added crunch. Overall this was a very flavourful, powerful dish that is definitely meant for sharing.

The Pho Files: Oodle Noodle

I have never had a really good experience in a fast food noodle place. In fact, I tend to avoid them unless I am really in a rush and it is a convenient option.

Earlier this week, I ventured into the 170 Street location of Oodle Noodle for the first time. Someone I trust convinced me it was excellent. I was impressed with the selection of noodle dishes from different parts of the world, but I was craving one thing, and one thing only: pho. I was thrilled that they have it, and at the very low price of $6.95.

Although I was sceptical, I ordered a bowl of Pho Bo, which has well done brisket. It was the only choice, as opposed to the standard medium done sliced beef I usually order - I suspect that Oodle Noodle is going after pho newbies who may be alarmed at the sight of pink meat floating around in their soup.

Pho Bo

I was first surprised by the size of the portion - it was equivalent to any regular sized bowl I have had elsewhere, full of noodles and lots of chunks of meat. Some of the meat could have been leaner, but brisket tends to be fatty to start with. Also, the aroma of the broth overtook our table almost immediately. The flavour was incredible, and I thoroughly enjoyed the soup.

Green Onion Cake

Since I often enjoy a green onion cake with my soup, I was glad to see them on the menu at Oodle Noodle as well. I ordered one and it was hot and chewy. Flavour-wise it was great, but I prefer my onion cakes a little more crispy. Still, this was minor and I would definitely order one again when I return for another bowl of that incredible hpo.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sweet Potato Bisque at Wild Earth

Sweet Potato Bisque by raise my voice
Sweet Potato Bisque, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

Edmonton's weather has seen some extremely cold days lately, which are perfect for soup. I had a bowl of sweet potato bisque at the Laurier location of Wild Earth last week and it really hit the spot. The bisque was thick, rich, and had just a hint of spice. I was the lucky person who got the last bowl, and it was only enough for a small - pity!

Deccan Meatloaf at Naanolicious

Deccan Meatloaf by raise my voice
Deccan Meatloaf, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

Naanolicious has a number of East Indian/Western fusion dishes, such as the Deccan meatloaf. Using flavours inspired by South India, the dense chunk of meat is covered in a rich coconut curry sauce. It is served with a pile of curried vegetables and a side of Bombay potatoes, which are basically sliced, seasoned potatoes. I personally found the meat to veggies ratio a little skewed in favour of veggies, although they were delicious. The meat is deceptively dense, and the sauce is so rich I could not even finish it with the naan I ordered on the side. If you are a lover of meatloaf, this one will throw you for a twist.

Diving into Vegetarian Pizza at Xwrecks

Vegetarian Pizza by raise my voice
Vegetarian Pizza, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

Sometimes these little neighbourhood dives and holes in the walls have the most unexpectedly good food. Such was the case at Xwrecks ( 9303 50 Street), a bar in the Ottewell area. I had a vegetarian pizza, and seriously, there was a whole garden's worth of veggies on it. The crust was crunchy and I could not even finish. It did take quite a long time to cook, so if you head here for pizza, be prepared to stay a while.