Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Vegging Out: Padmanadi

Carrot Ginger Soup

A business lunch brought me to Padmanadi this week. I ordered off of the lunch menu and was surprised with a starter bowl of carrot ginger soup. The flavours were delicate, with the carrot providing sweetness and the ginger not overpowering.

Bean Curd Drumsticks

I was in need of a veggie meat fix, so ordered an appetizer of bean curd drumsticks. The "skin" was crispy and tasted rather authentic. The moist insides did not taste totally like chicken, but the texture and flavour were heading in the right direction.

Sweet and Sour Pork

The lunch menu consists of a number of Padmanadi's most famous main courses teamed up with rice, vegetables, and spring rolls. My generous portion of sweet and sour veggie pork filled whatever room I had left. Plenty of rice absorbed the delicious sweet and sour sauce. The spring rolls added some extra crunch.

Just Desserts: Gracious Goods

Beef Barley Soup and Thai Chicken Wrap

I found myself in Belgravia and in need of lunch a few days ago, so stopped in to Gracious Goods. My Thai chicken wrap had a lot of chicken in it, as well as crunchy noodles, green onions, and lots of spicy peanut sauce (which was a bit overpowering at times). Beef barley soup probably was not the most obvious side and the flavours clashed somewhat, but the soup was incredible: piping hot, and full of beefy goodness.


However, the real star of my afternoon was the affogato. A huge scoop of chocolate ice cream was surrounded by two shots of espresso. The mix of temperatures and a flavour combination that resulted in a pleasant mocha would bring me back here just for that.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Breakfast for Lunch: Chicken and Waffles at CRAFT

Chicken and Waffles

I was hungry and thirsty between events on Sunday, and as I was in the Churchill Square area, headed to CRAFT Beer Market for the first time. I had a couple of the hundred or so beers on tap (nothing here is bottled) including a Steigl Radler Zitrone which is a fruit beer exclusive to CRAFT, and a Liefmans on the rocks - my favourite fruit beer.

CRAFT serves brunch on weekends until 2 p.m. My chicken and waffles had two chunks of breaded, fried chicken, four wedges of waffles that had some pepper in them to make them more savoury than sweet, and a garnish of fruit on a kebab skewer. I adored the little individual glass jar of maple syrup and the side of CRAFT hot sauce had a citrus kick - and major after burn. Use sparingly if you are sensitive to spice. My chicken was slightly over done on the outside, but was redeemed by the moist, juicy meat inside.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Pho Files: Maki Maki

Avocado roll at Maki Maki. #yegfood

On Saturday, I was attending an event at a venue almost directly across the street from Maki Maki. It was well over two years since my first and only visit to the restaurant, and without even knowing it, I ordered the exact same meal! The only difference was the addition of an order of green onion cakes, which were crispy and delicious. Otherwise, I enjoyed the avocado roll, with the crunch of tempura adding texture to the fresh avocado.

Pho at Maki Maki #yegfood

The pho tai did not disappoint - it was even better than I remembered. The broth was rich and flavourful, and there was so much meat that I actually ran out of noodles first! Sliced so thin, the steak was amongst the most tender I have ever had in pho.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Breakfast for Lunch: Masala Morning at Artisan Cafe

Masala Morning at Artisan Cafe. #yegfood

Saturday morning say another visit for brunch at Artisan Rest-Cafe I tried the Masala Morning, of which I was curious for quite some time. It was basically a scoop of chicken curry, with a spicy sauce, potatoes, and slices of chicken breast. Two eggs (any style) and toast were served on the side. The eggs actually seemed a bit disjointed from the rest of the meal, and I found peanut butter went really well on the toast. I think the concept of an East Indian brunch dish was creative, but did not really say "brunch" to me. No eggs and a little more of the curry would have made a great lunch, though.

Breakfast for Lunch: Hash at De Dutch

Smoked Salmon Hash

I stopped in to De Dutch for a late lunch after doing some filming downtown a few days ago. I had the hash, which features a generous portion of the finely diced hash browns mixed with corn, green peppers, tomatoes, and edam cheese (which I held, with two eggs, a protein of choice, and toast. My soft poached eggs were perfect with this, the runny yolk providing a rich sauce in place of the edam. My smoked salmon blended in with the other flavours, which were dominated by the pepper.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Tandoori Salmon at Naanolicious

Tandoori salmon at Naanolicious. #yegfood

I have been to Naanolicious so many times that I have pretty much settled into a routine of ordering my favourite dishes in rotation. Tonight, I decided to try something new. I love tandoori chicken, so was curious as to how the tandoori salmon would measure up. The results were impressive. The salmon was moist, tender, and full of flavour without diminishing the natural taste of the fish. Served with saffron rice, a few roasted potatoes, and a salad, the plate was as attractive to look at as to eat. One of the most incredible salmon dinners I have had in a long time. It's also one of the pricer items on the menu at $22, but worth treating yourself to.

Lamb Kebabs at Naanolicious

Lamb kebabs from Nannolicious #tegfood

Supper at Naanolicious after the Saturday afternoon jam at Blues On Whyte is something of a ritual. I have tried the chicken and paneer kebabs, but but the opportunity to try some of the lamb kebabs. Huge chunks of meat and vegetables were served on a sizzling platter, with saffron rice. The lamb was just tender enough, and did not taste gamey. I personally prefer the taste of beef and will try those kebabs on a future visit.

Breakfast for Lunch: Country Harvest at Artisan Resto-Cafe

Breakfast at Artisan Cafe. #yegfood

I have had brunch before at Artisan Resto-Cafe on Whyte Avenue, usually an omelette, but tried the Country Harvest for something different. Two eggs any style, potatoes, two thick beef sausages, and a choice of a piece of French toast or one pancake - this is indeed a unique combination. The sausages in particular were filling, and the piece of French toast I chose made a pleasant alternative to the plain toast usually served with such a meal. My eggs were perfectly done, and the potatoes were Artisan's own. My only criticism was that the onion that garnished them was raw - and strong. Lightly fried or sauteed onions would have made a huge difference. Otherwise, a very good meal, and a restaurant with a cool atmosphere.

Teppan Beef and Mushrooms at Pagolac

Teppan Beef and Mushrooms

Everyone at Pagolac (10566 97 Street) knew this dish was coming to our table - the sizzling and smoke trail were impossible to ignore. A mountain of beef and mushrooms served on a sizzling platter - the one it was cooked on. The beef was a bit on the chewy side, but tasted great. Perfect for sharing, and be sure to order some rice or noodles to the side.

Chicken and Rice at Mamenche's

Chicken and Rice

I have had chicken with onions at Mamenche's numerous times, so when I went there for a business lunch last week I ordered the basic quarter chicken and rice. Three perfectly braised pieces of chicken with a heaping of rice filled me to the brim. The chicken was not as moist as the version with onions (where the pieces are stewed), but here there was crunchy skin, where much of the flavour resided. The two corn tortillas went well with the salad and made it possible to break down the chicken with some rice for a nice stuffing.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Coffee Break: Flat White at Second Cup

Flat White

I first tried a Flat White at Transcend, and it quickly became my favourite drink there. It is a strong, short drink of espresso with steamed milk - sort of like a cappuccino without the foam. When I stopped in to my local Second Cup over the weekend, I was surprised to see their new Flat White being promoted. I gave in to my curiosity and tried it. The size was right and the two shots of espresso were fresh and strong - however, it was too hot. Flat Whites are not supposed to be as hot as a latte. Actually, the top part of the drink were about right, but it got hotter as I got further down the cup. The Second Cup Flat White is definitely a work in progress.

Just Desserts: Bread Pudding at Cafe Leva

Bread Pudding

While it is no secret that I adore the coffee and pizza at Cafe Leva, I have actually never tried one of their desserts. I stopped in there this past week and had the bread pudding. It was presented in a flat square, slightly heated so that the chocolate on top had melted. The results were rich, buttery, and sometimes crispy. The portion of cream on the side added moisture and even more richness. An absolutely decadent treat.