Sunday, March 16, 2014

Braised Beef Short Rib

Braised Beef Short Rib by raise my voice
Braised Beef Short Rib, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

I haven't been to Brewsters in a while, so when I saw some changes on the menu I was excited - especially when I noticed the braised beef short rib.

The rib was a huge slab of meat (two, actually) in a red wine reduction on top of horseradish mashed potatoes, with fresh roasted vegetables. The meat was perfectly prepared, with the red wine reduction penetrating into the potatoes. Using horseradish as a flavour within the potatoes was a nice break from the garlic mashed potatoes that seem to be on menus these days.

This is a really wonderful dish that I look forward to having again.

Breakfast for Lunch: Hangover Breakfast at Next Act

Hangover Breakfast by raise my voice
Hangover Breakfast, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

Brunch at the Next Act Pub was a perfect choice for a meal prior to a rally taking place just across the street. I had the Hangover Breakfast without bacon, which meant I had two eggs, hash browns, and marble toast.

The eggs were perfectly done and the toast was wonderful - thick and crunchy without being over done. The hash browns were very unique, with their seasoned coating. Plus, the portion was huge. And at only $8, it is a pretty affordable meal.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Veggie Pakora at Naanolicious

Veggie Pakora by raise my voice
Veggie Pakora, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

Veggie pakora has never been my favourite item at East Indian restaurants because I find they tend to be very dense and dry. However, I decided to try Naanolicious' take on them when I was there the other day for supper.

I was pleasantly surprised. The pakoras (which is like a fried dumpling of potato and spinach, dipped in lentil dough) were bite-sized but very flavourful - and moist. Yes, they were a little greasy, but enhanced the flavour, along with the chutney served to the side. This is a really nice dish to share as an appetizer.

Just Desserts: Cinnamon Naan

Cinnamon Naan by raise my voice
Cinnamon Naan, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

As a special treat for participants in the International Women's Day march on Saturday, the owner of Naanolicious offered me a cinnamon naan for dessert when I dined there on Saturday.

It was a piece of basic naan bread covered in gooey caramel and dusted with icing sugar. I totally forgot that a naan is usually savoury as it was totally transformed into a delicious dessert.

Breakfast for Lunch: Two Eggs with Smoked Salmon

Almost a year has passed since I dined at Murietta's on Whyte Avenue. As a special treat, I went here on the weekend for brunch prior to an International Women's Day event.

The brunch menu has been incorporated onto the lunch menu and now consists of only about a half dozen items: a number of eggs benedict, and two eggs with bacon, hash browns, grilled panini, bacon, and tomatoes with olive oil and basil. I opted for the latter, substituting the bacon with smoked salmon.

The results were amazing, My eggs were cooked perfectly to order, with some tasty crispy areas. There was much more smoked salmon than I anticipated, and while not a huge tomato fan, these were delectable.

The hash browns had both regular and sweet potatoes, and were a little on the greasy side (with some of the sweet potato cubes slightly undercooked). This was the only criticism of an otherwise fantastic meal. The coffee here is excellent also.

The Pho Files: Vietnamese Brisket Stew at Pho Binh

Vietnamese Beef Stew by raise my voice
Vietnamese Beef Stew, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

I ordered the Vietnamese Beef Stew at Pho Binh (15055 Stony Plain Road) while taking a co-worker to lunch last week. I really enjoy this dish as an alternative to basic pho, as the broth is much more aromatic (without being spicy). There was a lot of meat which wasn't too fatty as brisket can sometimes be, and the carrots were cooked to perfection. Flavour and comfort in a bowl.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Above Average Pub Grub: Gallagher's

Steak Sandwich by raise my voice
Steak Sandwich, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

I have passed by Gallagher's Pub (8937 82 Avenue) countless times when on the east side of Whyte Avenue, but never bothered to step in. The place seemed like a dive. I went there for supper yesterday evening. I was right, but it wasn't a dive in a bad way.

I was impressed with the menu and ordered a steak sandwich with fries. Although my steak was not done perfectly to my order (there was some pink and I had asked for well done), the cut was excellent - soft, with little waste. The fries were hand cut and excellent. I did not need the gravy I ordered on the side, but it was quite thick and beefy tasting. I tried a few onion rings from my dining companion's plate and they were crispy and thick.

Gallagher's certainly does not win points on atmosphere, but the drink and food prices are excellent and the culinary offerings here are way above expectations.

The Pho Files: Steak and Brisket Pho at Pagolac

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

It may be the first weekend of March, but we have fallen into a deep freeze. Prior to an event Friday evening I headed to Pagolac for a soothing bowl of pho. I opted for a regular sized medium steak and brisket. I am glad I did not order a large as I was not very hungry and this was the most packed "regular" sized serving of pho I have ever had. The bowl was full of noodles and meat, and the broth was hot and superb. A side order of vegetarian spring rolls (called egg rolls on the menu) added some flavourful crunch on the side.

Breakfast For Lunch: Building an Omelette at Smitty's

Smitty's has a new customizable omelette menu, where you can pick several meat and vegetable fillings with cheese. I went for the most basic variety (one item plus cheese) and had turkey bacon with sauteed mushrooms (instead of cheese).

The omelette was quite substantial, with a lot of turkey bacon running throughout it, and a decent amount of mushrooms too. Cubed hash browns and two slices of toast rounded out the meal.