Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Pulled Chicken in Adobo at Situation Brewing

Pulled chicken adobo sandwich. #yegfood

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Situation Brewing is a new microbrewery and pub on my favourite block of Whyte Avenue. I finally got a chance to try it this past weekend, and of course ordered a pint of one of their beers. All pints are $7 which is good value. I had the Afternooner Tea Saison, which was an Earl Grey Blackberry ale. It was a pleasant, smooth ale, but I really could not taste the Earl Grey or the blackberry. I was disappointed, as I love both tea and fruit beers.

For my food, I chose the pulled chicken in adobo sandwich. It was a mountain of pulled thigh meat in a tasty adobo sauce, topped with avocado slaw. I loved the slaw, as it was full of avocado flavour, and I love avocado. The bun was also spread with avocado. However, I am not a fan of slaw in sandwiches, as the slaw tends to get room temperature as opposed to cold, and the hot filling cools down. Still, the sandwich tasted good enough for me to overlook this. Plus, there was a mountain of fries, perfectly crispy and seasoned, that I was simply unable to finish.

I would try Situation Brewing again, but definitely make a different beer choice and perhaps try some of the other menu items that caught my eye.

Sunday Brunch at La Ronde

Birthday brunch with my friend Duane #yegfood

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I had the privilege of being invited to a special birthday celebration for a good friend a few weeks ago at La Ronde. We had Sunday brunch, and it was my first time dining in the slowly-rotating restaurant. I loved the view, and the food was divine. There was a huge selection of traditional breakfast items, an omelette station, desserts, pastries, salads, and even prime rib. It was like breakfast and supper together. I especially enjoyed a freshly-made omelette, the prime rib, and a roasted salmon dish, as well as the cold smoked salmon, and the mashed potatoes as opposed to the hash browns one typically finds at brunches. The photo above is my first helping, and the bottom my second. I was almost too stuffed for dessert, but I had a blueberry tart and brownie. The desserts were all from scratch and I was impressed by the offer for the chef to make me an Eggs Benedict to meet my dietary specifications when a comment I made that I don't eat pork products was overheard by an attentive server. She even cleaned out the pan for my omelette. My coffee and fresh orange juice kept flowing, and I did not need to eat for the rest of the day. At $42 per adult it is not for every week, but not out of line for special occasions. Plus, I got lots of great photos of the view through the windows. I look forward to coming back some day.

Brunch: round 2 #yegfood

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Funghi Pizza at Famoso

Fun funghi at Famoso. #yegfood

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An organizational meeting over lunch led me to Famoso on Whyte Avenue on a recent weekend. I ordered the "pizzetta" (7 inch) size of the Funghi, which may not sound like an appetizing name, but to a mushroom lover like me, it sounded delicious. The creamy mozzarella was topped with a generous portion of caramelized onions, oyster mushrooms, roasted white mushrooms, and the decadent finishing of truffle oil. I held the parmesan crema, as I am not fan of parmesan. It was rich and delicious, with a great texture.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Pad Thai at Kaeng Thai Bistro

Pad Thai for lunch. #yegfood

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I was on Whyte Avenue this past Saturday and needed a quick and inexpensive place to have lunch. I stopped in to Kaeng Thai Bistro (10152 82 Avenue), as I have passed it dozens of times and was curious to finally try it. It's set up so you order off of a board, pay first, then sit down and wait for your food to be served. I went with the safe choice of a Pad Thai, choosing tofu as a protein. Pad Thai is already made with tofu, but it is minced up into small pieces. My additional tofu were large and firm, and went well with the huge portion of noodles and bits of fried egg - the latter of which I could actually taste. It wasn't super cheap, but it wasn't expensive either, and most of the people I know who have been here have had good experiences. I will likely come again.

Brisket Platter at Fired Up BBQ

Trying out some BBQ #yegfood

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Everyone knows I loves me some barbecue. A friend of mine has raved about Fired Up BBQ several times. I finally had the chance to check it out, and loved the cozy place with Blues music playing overhead. The menu basically consists of brisket, pulled pork, ribs, and chicken, with a variety of side dishes. I had the brisket platter, which had about a quarter pound on it, probably more, and I chose corn bread, coleslaw, and potato salad as my three sides. All three were house made and very fresh. The meat was lean and juicy, with a sauce that was not overpowering. Prices are reasonable, if not slightly lower than other BBQ places in town. I was impressed.

Breakfast for Lunch: Breakfast Burrito at Culina Muttart

Breakfast burrito #yegfood

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I hadn't been to the Muttart Conservatory or to Culina Muttart in ages, so when the opportunity arose to do both, I grabbed it! For Saturday brunch, I had the Breakfast Burrito (without cheese). The gigantic wrap was filled with scrambled egg, black beans, and sauteed vegetables, while the bed of mole sauce provided some richness and heat. If you like heuvos rancheros, you will probably love this.

The Pho Files: Yellow Curry Vegetable Pho at Friends and Neighbours

Yellow curry tofu noodle soup. #yegfood

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I often enjoy the vegetarian pho at Friends and Neighbours (10834 82 Avenue), but decided to try something different. The yellow curry veggie pho was not listed on the menu as spicy, so I went for it. It was a huge bowl of rich curry broth, with tofu and many vegetables. However, if this was not considered spicy, I would definitely suggest avoiding anything on the menu that actually says it is spicy, if you don't like heat. I found it delicious but quite spicy for my taste. It was definitely worth trying, though.

Building My Own at Urbano Pizza

I headed into the downtown location of Urbano Pizza on a rainy Saturday afternoon. It was my first time. The cheerful server walked me through how to build my own pizza creation, which was on a thin crust and included smoked salmon, capers, mushrooms, sundried tomato, zucchini, an egg, and more things I probably don't remember. At about $12 it was large, fresh, and delicious. The crust did not get too soggy despite all of those toppings. Very nice little place too.

Avocado Combo at Maki Maki

Lunch at Maki Maki (I'm having the avocado combo) #yegfood

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I usually have pho at Maki Maki, but decided to have one of the specials. The avocado special came with an avocado roll, several fried soy croquettes, a salad, and a bubble tea (I picked avocado, of course). Wow - this was a huge amount of food. My favourite part was actually the croquettes, which were in a light breading with a rich, dense filling. I took the bubble tea to go as I could not finish it. Even the miso soup at the beginning was very ample. Great value.

Beef Vermicelli at Saigon Taste

Grilled beef vermicelli #yegfood

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When I first had pho at Saigon Taste, I was underwhelmed because I found the broth to be bland. So, when I ended up there again a short while later, I went for a vermicelli bowl instead. What a difference! The meat was tender and flavourful and the portion was quite large. I added a couple of veggie spring rolls for two delicious colours in my bowl.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Pho Files: Saigon Taste

Pho! Medium rare beef. #yegfood

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Although I have passed it many times on my journeys back and forth from downtown, I never set foot in Saigon Taste until a few weeks ago when I was in the area for a while. I found the place clean and bright, with good service, and started off with an onion cake. How was it? It was an onion cake. It didn't really stand out to me one way or the other. The soup was a good portion of meat and noodles (I always try the Pho Tai first whenever I try out a new pho place), but the broth was rather one-note. It wasn't bad, just bland. I would come here again if I was in the area, and perhaps try one of the vermicelli bowls instead.

The Pho File: Spring Roll Kitchen

I am in the deep southeast and found pho! #yegfood

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A meeting brought me to the Century Park area a few weeks ago, and I wanted to grab some supper first. I discovered Spring Roll Kitchen (2395 111 Street) not too far from the LRT station. The place was extremely large and spacious, and decorated very tastefully. My bowl of Pho Tai was huge, with a broth that had some depth to its flavour. The vegetarian spring rolls were among the best I have ever had: large, crispy, and filled with different kinds of vegetables. If I am ever back in this neck of the woods I would try Spring Roll Kitchen again.

New York Mama Calzone from Battista's Calzone

New York Mama calzone #yegfood

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The annual Kaleido Festival brought me to 118 Avenue where I had supper at Battista's Calzone. I had the New York Mama, which I have always wanted to try. The balls of meatloaf had a slightly smoky, rich flavour and was smothered in cheese and marinara sauce. The crust is really a star here too - crispy and solid enough to hold up to the filling without disintegrating. It was an all-beef delight and extremely hearty. Comfort food at its finest - I am already fantasizing about my next trip to Battista's.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Just Desserts: Savarin Cake at La Mademoiselle

Savarin cake and Americano #yegfood

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A friend of mine is absolutely in love with La Mademoiselle Marvelous Pastries and Cafe, and treated me to coffee and dessert there a few weeks ago. After trying it for myself, I can see why he is enamoured with the place. First of all, the Americano I had was incredible, and I could not get over how adorable the cup and spoon were. My Savarin cake was the best rum cake I have ever had, moist and soaking with boozy flavour. The cream in the middle and on top added a richness that almost overcame me. This was definitely a splurge of decadence that is well worth seeking the place out.

Two Selections from Molly's Eats

Chickpea curry sandwich from @mollys_eats #yegfood

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While at the Edmonton Blues Festival this past weekend, I enjoyed some food from Molly's Eats for the first time. My first treat was a chickpea curry sandwich with mango and cucumber chutneys. The filling was substantial, vegan, and not too spicy. The mango and cucumber gave a delicious freshness, and it was served between two small pieces of naan. This was definitely a "fork sandwich." It was one of the best food truck offerings I have experienced.

Beef wrap from @mollys_eats #yegfood

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The next day, I had a wrap with beef, soy sauce, Japanese mayo, and fresh kale. The tortilla was stuffed to the max with the flavourful braised beef. It was filling and messy to eat. Next time, I will ask for a fork!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Lentil and Black Bean Falafel at The Next Act

Falafel #yegfood

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Getting a seat at The Next Act is next to impossible on busy Saturdays, but I got lucky a couple of weeks ago. I wanted something vegetarian and the lentil and black bean falafel jumped out at me. Three huge pieces of falafel with the unique flavours and textures of black beans and lentils were still recognizable of falafel in taste. The baguette also had pickled beets, tomato slices, arugula, and hummus. The tomatoes added moisture, the arugula a hint of bitterness, and the hummus authenticity. This was a unique and filling alternative to a veggie burger.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Original Hot Dog at Metro Billiards

Original hot dog #yegfood

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I took a break from photographic duties the other evening to have a hot dog at Metro Billiards, which is conveniently located next door to Latitude 53, where I was shooting. Inexpensive and all-beef, I picked the Original which is loaded with mustard, ketchup, relish, white onions, and celery salt, on a toasted bun. While the hot dog could have been a bit hotter (I attribute this to the avalanche of cold condiments on top), it was big, tasted great, and sort of reminded me of a Fat Frank in flavour and texture. Where the meal fell down was with the sides. The coleslaw did not taste fresh at all, and the kettle chips were too salty and tasted burned. Even the ones that were not burned tasted burned. I think I am going to order fries next time.

Roasted Chicken Sandwich at Sandwich and Sons

Roast chicken sandwich #yegfood

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I photographed Latitude 53's Patio party again yesterday evening, and once again went to Sandwich and Sons for an early supper. I tried the roasted chicken sandwich and simply could not get over it. It was like having a roasted chicken dinner in a crispy, fresh baguette. The chicken was cooked and seasoned to perfection, cut into cubes and covered in gravy, while sitting in a nest of cranberry sauce and stuffing. The way the chicken was cut meant that a lot of it was falling out of the bread, so this is definitely a "fork sandwich." And a delicious one at that.

Donair Platter at Urban Greek

Donair platter #yegfood

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I needed a quick meal prior to filming an event downtown last week, and picked Urban Greek since it was convenient and I was craving a donair. Although it was sort of awkward to eat (when is a donair not awkward to eat?), it was worth the effort: the hand-shaved meat was distinctive and easy to tell was made in-house. I paired it with rice and roasted potatoes, which had even more of the delicious tzatziki sauce on them.

Mushroom Sandwich at Sandwich and Sons

Mushroom sandwich #yegfood

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I went to Sandwich and Sons for supper last Thursday before heading to Latitude 53 to photograph their weekly Patio party. The vegetarian option for the day caught my eye, because it was a mushroom sandwich. Most mushroom sandwiches include the huge top of a portobello. This was a sandwich of toast and buttons - button mushrooms, that is. Sauteed with olive oil and delicious. I needed a fork to catch all of the falling mushrooms, like stars in a dream. Can you tell that I like mushrooms? Really, really like them? Cheese was an option that I skipped, that would probably have held the sandwich together a bit better, but seriously - why add anything to take away from the incredible, natural taste and texture of mushrooms? (This is a rhetorical question.)

Breakfast for Lunch: Farmer's Breakfast Skillet at Friends and Neighbours

Farmer's breakfast skillet - all veggie! #yegfood

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A late lunch a couple of weeks ago at Friend and Neighbours (10834 82 Avenue) allowed me to further explore the abundant vegetarian menu. The Farmer's Breakfast Skillet was a sight to behold, with potatoes, a tofu scramble with kale, sweet and smoky tofu (which doubles in some dishes as veggie bacon), and crispy tofu. This meal really could have been called "Tofu Three Ways." I found the crispy tofu sort of difficult to eat since it crumbled very easily, and the bites that were not perfectly crispy were hard to chew. Some imitation ham or sausage may have been a better choice. Oh, and there was toast. This is the ultimate vegan breakfast.

Smoked Turkey Leg and BBQ in a Bowl from Smokehouse BBQ

Smoked turkey leg #yegfood

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Summer means festivals, and festivals mean food trucks, and for me, that means I am going to having some meals from the Smokehouse BBQ food truck. At the Blues On Whyte Block Party at the beginning of July, I ate at the Smokehouse BBQ truck not once, but twice! My first item was the smoked turkey leg. This is usually offered as a special and always sells out before I can get one. Well, it was not going to elude me this time! The huge - and I mean, huge! - leg was smoked to perfection, the skin crispy on the outside with the inside remaining moist. Simple and good.

BBQ in a bowl . #yegfood

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BBQ in a Bowl is a speciality that is a layered dish of French fries, meat, baked beans, and coleslaw. I had the version with the brisket. Lots of tender chunks of brisket was found between the fries, beans, and coleslaw. The slaw was fresh and delicious, and it has been ages since I have had good baked beans (for me, they are hard to find because they are usually laced with pork. Not here.). It was a hearty meal that covered all of the BBQ bases.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Tempura Chicken & Pretzels at Metro Billiards

Pretzels and chicken tempura #yegfood

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I am one of the photographers for the gallery Latitude 53's Patio series this summer, and while on a break last week I went next door to Metro Billiards for a quick snack. During happy hour on weekdays, appetizers are on for two for $15, which is a pretty good deal. My tempura chicken was not what I expected - I thought it would be bite-sized pieces, but instead I had a helping of chicken tenders in a crispy batter, with sweet and sour sauce drizzled throughout. The fried wantons added extra crunch, while the diced cucumbers provided some freshness and a flavour profile to balance the spice from the sauce. My pretzels were hot, soft, and delicious, with a spicy mustard dip that had a hint of curry. I should have brought a friend - I could not finish all of this!

Buffet at Punjab Sweets

Buffet at Punjab Sweets #yegfood

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A meeting in Mill Woods brought me and my ride to Punjab Sweets. I was already familiar with the delicious selection of sweet treats, but had never tried the buffet. I normally don't like buffets because they are expensive, and in order to feel like I got my money's worth I overdo it and feel lousy for days afterwards. However, the buffet price was quite a bit lower than other comparable ones, and I found the food quality to be a step above at the same time. The butter chicken was made with white meat and had a unique sweetness to it. There was also a sweet rice that helped balance the spice of some of the dishes. The brown daal was divine, as was the tandoori chicken. The sweet, milky ras malai was incredible, as was the rice pudding with its hint of rose water. The price, selection, and quality was excellent and guess what? I felt fine afterwards. I cannot wait for my next visit.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Breakfast for Lunch: House Breakfast at Friends and Neighbours

House breakfast #yegfood

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I had a late brunch this afternoon at Friends and Neighbours (10834 82 Avenue) and did not feel like something super heavy. I opted for one of the many vegetarian choices, the House Breakfast. Usually something with that name will have a meaty component, but this plate of two eggs any style, toast, and hash browns was accented with a spinach and craisin salad, as well as lots of avocado. I think there was probably an entire avocado cut up on my plate, and it was perfectly ripe. I enjoyed putting avocado and craisins on my toast, and using it to sop up my over-easy eggs. This was definitely more substantial than it looked.

Breakfast for Lunch: Chicken and Waffles at MEAT

Brunch time - chicken and waffles #yegfood

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I was so impressed with my brunch at MEAT last weekend, that I went back this past Saturday to try the chicken and waffles. This was previously chicken with corn pancakes. The mean still came with two pieces of MEAT's fried chicken (a leg and a thigh), as well as butter and rosemary-infused maple syrup. The two Belgian waffles were hot off the grill and very sweet. The chicken could have been a bit hotter, and the coating this time was a little more on the soggy than crunchy side, but the flavour was all there. An almost-perfect pairing.

Breakfast for Lunch: MEAT Breakfast

MEAT breakfast - eggs, hash browns, and brisket instead of pork. Toast is coming. #yegfood

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I ventured into MEAT for brunch a week or so ago, finding that it is still one of the few places along Whyte serving brunch where I can still get a seat. I noticed that the brunch menu has changed a wee bit, and opted for a new item: the MEAT breakfast, consisting of two eggs any style, hash browns, toast, and a choice of bacon or sausage. My eggs over-medium were perfect, and the hash browns have changed from a patty similar to a potato pancake, to a generous portion of fried and seasoned potato chunks (and I think the seasoning may have included parmesan). Instead of the pork products, I substituted with some of the pulled brisket used for MEAT's brisket benny and sandwich. The combination worked really well, and they sure gave me a lot of it. This was a hearty brunch that was well done.

Appetizers: Smoked Salmon Spring Rolls and Zucchini Corn Fritters at Blue Plate Diner

Smoked salmon spring rolls #yegfood

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Prior to an evening function I was filming a few weeks ago, I headed to Blue Plate Diner. Instead of having main course, I opted for two appetizers. My smoked salmon spring rolls were excellent in concept - crispy and packed with smoked salmon made in-house - but the salmon was so overpoweringly salty that I simply could not finish.

Zucchini and corn fritters #yegfood

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The zucchini and corm fritters were much more mild in flavour, with the corn dominating and the zucchini adding a moist texture. Unfortunately, I also found the fritters to be rather greasy, an oily aftertaste lingering. They were so heavy that I also could not finish. I was overall quite disappointed in my choices.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Hakka Noodles with Beef at Naanolicious

Hakka noodles with beef #yegfood

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I first had Hakka noodles at Naanolicious a couple of years ago. This Indo-Chinese noodle dish is like a spicy chow mein. This time, I tried beef added to it. The beef was so soft and tender, it practically melted in my mouth. The portion was also incredibly huge - two people could easily share. If you like noodles and want to try a chow mein fusion, these Hakka noodles would be an excellent choice.

Breakfast for Lunch: Huevos Rancheros at the Blue Chair Cafe

Huevos rancheros #yegfood

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It's been a while since I had brunch at the Blue Chair Cafe. I had the huevos rancheros (minus the cheese): two eggs fried sunny side up on top of a mountain of black beans, ranchero sauce, and corn tortillas, topped with another mountain of salsa and pico de gallo. I could have done without the mountain of lettuce which only hid the beautiful eggs beneath it, and added little in the way of flavour. Otherwise, this was a perfect plate of brunch goodness.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Vegging Out: Quinoa Black Bean Soup and Fries at Sailin' On

Quinoa black bean soup #yegfood

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I was performing at the Earth Day Festival over the weekend, with food provided by vegan food truck Sailin' On. The weather was quite damp and chilly, so after my first setI warmed myself up with a bowl of quinoa black bean soup. The quinoa made it very thick and hearty, with a bit of spice and a colourful topping of tomatoes and avocado. It really hit the spot.

Sailin' On fries #yegfood

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A little later in the afternoon after I played another set, I had an order of plain fries (they come plain or with a couple of different toppings). The freshly cut fries were not too greasy, enhanced with coarse salt, and delicious. I've never had fries from Sailin' On before, and I can see (and taste) why they are so popular.

Just Desserts: Creme Caramel at Block 1912

Creme caramel and espresso #yegfood

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It's Passover, so my diet is rather restricted when it comes to cakes and cookies! But I was at Block 1912 a few days ago and really craved something sweet. I had the delightfully gluten-free creme caramel with my espresso, a firmly shaped pudding of sweetness. I don't usually order this anywhere because I tend to find it too sweet. Here, it was definitely sweet, but not cloying. There were undertones of vanilla, and it wasn't too rich either. Highly recommended, especially for the gluten free crowd.

Chicken Souvlaki at Urban Greek

Chicken souvlaki #yegfood

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I am often in the area of City Centre, and wanted to try Urban Greek on the recommendation of a friend. However, whenever I am around the line up is so long that I don't have time to wait. Until last week - I was able to quickly place an order and get one of the few tables available. I had the chicken souvlaki entree, which came with two sides. I chose rice pilaf and Greek potatoes. The rice was nicely done with vegetables, but the roasted potatoes ruled the plate: perfectly cooked with garlic tzatziki sauce on top. The one skewer of chicken was densely packed and seasoned to perfection, with yet more tzatziki on the side for dipping. Fast, reasonably priced, and delicious - I will be back, if I can beat the line up!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Chicken Schnitzel at Kafana

Chicken schnitzel #yegfood

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I found out that on Sundays, Balkan restaurant Kafana has a special: chicken schnitzel. As I was in the area this past Sunday for an event, and Kafana was almost right across the street from where I needed to be, dining there just made sense. And yes, I went for the schnitzel as it would be a rare opportunity for me to try it. The large chicken breast was pounded thin and coated in a crunchy breading which was not greasy at all. The meat inside was moist and flavourful. I opted for baby potatoes as my side, since Kafana roasts them really well. If I am in the area on a Sunday again, I want a repeat!

Smoked Tofu Sandwich at Block 1912

Smoked tofu sandwich #yegfood

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A Saturday lunch meeting on Whyte Avenue brought me to Block 1912. I decided to try something from their new sandwich menu. The smoked tofu sandwich was a nice size, on a fresh bun. I loved the smokiness of the tofu, which my companion said resembled liver pate. The dried kale and sprinkling of ramen noodles added crunch and a nutty flavour, while the peanut sauce was rather nondescript. The sandwich was a very interesting combination of flavours and definitely unique.