Monday, February 17, 2014

Grilled Beef Vermicelli at Pagolac

Oh Pagolac (10566 97 Street), it has been far too long! I had a quick supper here after filming an event in the area, and had the grilled beef vermicelli with vegetarian spring rolls.

The dish was exactly as I remembered it: the beef was sliced thin, reasonably tender, and grilled to perfection. The spring rolls were crispy, and the noodles plentiful. It was a great way to end a long day.

The Pho Files: Tofu Noodle Soup at Nhon Hoa

Tofu Noodle Soup by raise my voice
Tofu Noodle Soup, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

I usually have a banh mi (Vietnamese sub sandwich) at Nhon Hoa (10154 82 Avenue) but for lunch on a busy Saturday I decided to try one of the noodle soups - tofu noodle soup, to be exact.

The price of the bowl was about the same as any pho place, and comparable in portion size. There were a lot of vegetables, noodles, and two kinds of tofu: plain and peppered. The broth was flavourful but a bit heavy on the garlic. It was definitely a satisfying bowl of vegan pho, while a bit on the spicy side (the peppered tofu will really get you!).

Tacos de Res o de Higado

Mamenche's (10831 101 Street) has been on my list of restaurants to try for some time, dating back to when it was still located on 97 Street in Chinatown. I finally had lunch there last week and was amazed at the friendliness of the service and freshness of the food.

This was my first foray into Salvadoran cuisine. I opted for the Tacos de Res o de Higado, which are two tacos in a fresh, soft corn tortilla with diced steak, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, and avocado. The flavours blended perfectly. It was light, refreshing, and delicious.

I look forward to my next visit!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Roast Turkey Bagel

Smoked Turkey Bagel by raise my voice
Smoked Turkey Bagel, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

New York Bagel Cafe (8430 Gateway Blvd.) is one of my favourite Old Strathcona cafes. However, whenever I am in the area it is so darn busy that I hardly ever get a chance to eat there. A weekday afternoon trip to the Ice On Whyte Festival brought the opportunity to get some lunch when it was not nearly as busy as on the weekend.

I have had breakfast dishes there numerous times, but never a bagel meal. I ordered the roast turkey, which came with organic veggies, cranberry sauce, potato salad, and cream cheese (which I held). The plating surprised me - everything was independent, meant to be assembled at the discretion of the diner. Personally, I love tasting each element individually and getting a feel for its flavour.

And lots of flavour there was. The bagel was a meal in itself. I chose a multigrain, and it was covered with nuts and seeds. The turkey was deli style, but it had a deep, smoky flavour and there was plenty of it. And the potato salad: it was so fresh and delicious. The only element on the plate that disappointed was the cranberry sauce. Too tart, and with some strange off smell, I did not use much of it. It needed more sugar and I think it may have been sitting for too long.

At around $17 per meal, the bagel platters at New York Bagel Cafe are not cheap, but it's such a great little place and the food is decadent (and the people who work there are really nice).

Dyna Bites and Paneer Naan

Dyna Bites by raise my voice
Dyna Bites, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

Another Saturday, another visit to Blues On Whyte, and another supper at Naanolicious.

On this evening I had the opportunity to try an appetizer dish that had not yet crossed my lips: Dyna Bites. Each "bite" was a double decker paneer (pressed cheese) sandwich with mint chutney in the middle, breaded and deep fried.

"Bites" is really a misnomer. Each piece was a good two or three mouthfuls. The pieces got most of their flavour from the chutney and accompanying dipping sauce, while the cheese itself was chewy and rather dry.

I also tried a wedge of the paneer stuffed naan, which had a bit of a creamy texture and did not taste much different than the basic butter naan.

Breakfast for Supper: Chicken and Waffles at IHOP

Chicken and Waffles by raise my voice
Chicken and Waffles, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

I made it to IHOP for supper a couple of weeks ago after quite a number of months. The menu had changed and I tried a new item: chicken and waffles.

The meal was exactly as described: four chicken strips with a waffle, plus whipped butter and honey mustard dipping sauce. It was a good combination, but not as well integrated as other chicken and waffle dishes. It was like eating two separate meals that happened to be on the same plate. Still, it was fun and affordable.