Friday, December 22, 2017

Brunch, Brisket, and Steak at the Brick and Whiskey

Brisket sandwich, fries, and a highball. #yegfood #yegeats #yeg #foodporn

A post shared by Paula E. Kirman (@livingsanctuary) on

I have been to this location (8937 82 Avenue) in several previous incarnations, most recently reinvented as the Brick and Whiskey. I am happy to say both the food and ambiance have improved. My first meals was the brisket sandwich, which had the meat piled up thick, with a mountain of fries. The meat was a little fattier than I like, but otherwise it tasted great.

Corned beef hash #yegfood #yeg #yegeats #brunch #foodporn #yegbrunch

A post shared by Paula E. Kirman (@livingsanctuary) on

From opening until 4 p.m. on weekends, Brick and Whiskey has a longer brunch time window than most other establishments in the area, which stop serving at 2 p.m. I went for the corned beef hash, which was almost like a deconstructed reuben - huge chunks of house-cured meat atop seasoned hash browns and sauerkraut, topped with a poached egg (I held the cheese).

Steak for supper. #yegfood #yeg #yegeats #foodporn

A post shared by Paula E. Kirman (@livingsanctuary) on

On another Thursday evening jam, I tried the steak. At $17 and served with mushrooms, fries, and a grilled tomato, this is an excellent value. My well-done steak was cooked to perfection, still juicy on the inside without being burned on the outside.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

"Penelope" Pizza and Fish and Chips at Rebel Food and Drink

“The Penelope” pizza. #yegfood #yeg #yegeats #foodporn

A post shared by Paula E. Kirman (@livingsanctuary) on

A restaurant/bar in this location is exactly what the neighbourhood needs. There really aren't any casual dining restaurants within walking distance in the Parkview area. Rebel Food and Drink is casual but upscale (as a previous reviewer mentioned). Likely because it was so new, it was extremely crowded. The tables are rather close together, making walking to and from a bit awkward. As well, the high volume of music combined with the high level of ceiling made for a noisy experience. All of the drinks are on one side of the menu, with food on the other, and the type is small to read in the dark-ish light. That said, the service was great despite it being so busy. During "Anarchy Hour" (what the restaurant called Happy Hour), all shareables and pizzas are $10. This is an excellent value considering most of the entrees run in the $16-$30 range (some even higher). I had The Penelope pizza, with was 12 inches of mozzarella, smoked salmon, capers, red onion, and sprigs of dill. It was a white pizza with excellent flavour.

“Hook, Line, and Chips.” #yegfood #yeg #yegeats #foodporn

A post shared by Paula E. Kirman (@livingsanctuary) on

We also had the fish and chips (it had some sort of cutesy name) which was listed as a shareable. The cod bites were simply adorable and delicious, with a good amount of fries and an aioli infused with malt vinegar. I would like to try the weekend brunch here - it might be a quieter crowd.

Beef and Vegan Sausage at Otto

I finally got a chance to visit Otto this past week, and it definitely lived up to the hype. A very cozy neighbourhood establishment, it wasn't all that busy on a Friday night. My server was very friendly and helpful. I loved how the menu was divided into pork and non-pork sausage options. I had the beef bratwurst and a vegan sausage. The vegan sausage was hearty, totally nailed the texture, and had a slightly sweet taste to it. The beef bratwurst was incredible. I'm not a huge fan of beef sausages because I find they often taste like hot dogs, and I don't love hot dogs. However, this sausage had more of a texture and flavour reminiscent of a kofta kebab - ground beef with seasonings in a very thin casing. Intensely flavourful. For my side I had a small dill coleslaw, and it was extremely fresh without the dill being overpowering.

Five Piece OG Combo at Seoul Fried Chicken

I finally got to try Seoul Fried Chicken the other night, and I think my mind is blown. I went for the five-piece combo with original chicken, slaw as my salad, and the corn fritter as my side (as opposed to fries). The chicken was crunchy and extremely juicy, while the slaw was fresh and had lots of hearty carrot in it. I loved the corn fritter, which was served in a milky, sweet liquid. I did not find the chicken too greasy, and the price point was great. I definitely want to get back here and try another flavour of chicken.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Steak Frites at The Almanac

Last night’s steak frites. For blogging purposes. #yeg #yegfood #yegeats #foodporn

A post shared by Paula E. Kirman (@livingsanctuary) on

I was at The Almanac Saturday night for a music show, and figured I may as well have dinner while I was there. It's a small menu and I went with something familiar: steak frites. I ordered my flat iron steak medium well, and it was perfectly done atop a mountain of fries, with a garlic aioli on the side (as well as ketchup). There is a butter that the steak is finished in, but I asked for it not to be used in my case, due to my issues with dairy. There is really no going wrong with this dish, and at $18, it is actually one of the less expensive items on the menu.

Just Desserts: Nutella Creme Brulee at Block 1912

Nutella crème brûlée and espresso. #yeg #yegfood #yegeats #foodporn

A post shared by Paula E. Kirman (@livingsanctuary) on

Block 1912 is a regular haunt of mine on Saturdays. I had a craving for dessert, so headed here for espresso and a Nutella creme brulee. I was tempted to try one, even though I have never been a huge creme brulee fan, after seeing an episode of the Baker Sisters where the women visit Block 1912 and owner Jorel shows how it is made (on the show, it is referred to as "hazelnut chocolate creme brulee, likely because of the fact Nutella is a trade name and this was not a commercial for it). First of all, I love Nutella, so the creamy, chocolatey filling was decadent and rich to my tastebuds. The use of caramel on top worked so well because it hardened into candy. As pointed out on the show, sugar is generally used in this dessert, which ends up getting a burned taste that I personally find sickening. However, this dessert was perfection and I am already craving more.

Breakfast for Lunch: Big Beer Breakfast at Situation Brewing

Big Beer Breakfast (with beef) #yegfood #yegeats #foodporn

A post shared by Paula E. Kirman (@livingsanctuary) on

Saturdays for me often means brunch, and this weekend I headed back to Situation Brewing. I opted for the Big Beer Breakfast: two eggs any way, hash browns, toast, and my choice of bacon or beef sausage. I chose the latter: two thick, juicy sausages that went well with the rest of the dish. It's not an overwhelmingly huge portion as the name of the dish implies, but it's got pretty much all of the elements of a hearty breakfast.

Soup and Sandwich at Homesteader's Kitchen

Egg salad sandwich and borscht - Saturday’s lunch. #yegfood #mystonyplain #yegeats #foodporn

A post shared by Paula E. Kirman (@livingsanctuary) on

I gave a presentation at the Multicultural Heritage Centre in Stony Plain last weekend, and afterwards had lunch at their Homesteader's Kitchen. The menu items are prepared from local ingredients, and the prices are incredible. I had an egg salad sandwich, which was on thick white break. The egg salad was prepared with dill and vegetables, and on its own would have been filling enough. However, I had the borscht on the side, which was a creamy, garlicky broth with beets, carrots, and other seasonings. I actually have never had hot borscht before, and this was a pleasant introduction. If and when I am back in Stony Plain, I will definitely head here for lunch.

Mini Yorkshire Puddings at Sherlock's

Roast beef stuffed in mini Yorkshire puddings. #yegfood #yegeats #foodporn

A post shared by Paula E. Kirman (@livingsanctuary) on

When I was at the campus location of Sherlock's a week or so ago, I opted for the mini Yorkshire puddings stuffed with roast beef, with rosemary au jus. The four puddings were indeed stuffed with tender roast beef, and for one person makes the perfect meal sized portion, but I wish the horseradish came with it and did not have to be ordered to the side for an extra $1.50. Otherwise, this is a lot of fun and flavour.

Fried Chicken from Northern Chicken

Just tried @northchickenyeg via @skipthedishes! Wow! #yeg #yegfood #yegeats #foodporn

A post shared by Paula E. Kirman (@livingsanctuary) on

I finally tried the much-hailed Northern Chicken last week, thanks to Skip the Dishes. I had the original three-piece fried chicken, seasoned with salt and pepper, which had a good crunch on the outside and was so moist on the inside (I think it was brined, which is a technique that helps keep those juices in). I also loved the coleslaw, which comes on the side. We also had the maple creamed corn, which was very thick, and while it had a sweetness, it did not taste much from maple. The chicken was definitely the star here.

Two Paneer Curries from Namaste India

Tried Namaste India yesterday, via @skipthedishes! #yeg #yegfood #yegeats #foodporn

A post shared by Paula E. Kirman (@livingsanctuary) on

My brother and I ordered from Namaste India through Skip the Dishes last week. We each ordered a paneer curry. I had the palak paneer, which is my favourite. It was very creamy, with a smoky taste I really enjoyed. He had the butter paneer - chunks of the pressed cheese in butter sauce like what is used for butter chicken. It was quite rich and tangy. On the side was saffron rice. We ordered two servings, but one would have been more than enough. We also shared a plain naan and veggie samosas. The samosas came cold - I am not sure if this is how they are served in the restaurant, but it did not hurt the flavour at all. Overall the food was very fresh and satisfying.

Chicken and Mushroom Pot Pie at District Café

Chicken and mushroom pot pie #yegfood #yegeats #foodporn

A post shared by Paula E. Kirman (@livingsanctuary) on

An organizational meeting brought me to District Café a couple of weeks ago. I figured that in addition to coffee, I may as well have lunch. I had a chicken and mushroom pot pie, which was extremely fresh because the baker had just made another batch. While the size did not seem large, it was deceptively dense (but in a good way). The flaky, buttery crust enrobed the chicken and mushroom filling, with a side salad to lighten things up. This is comfort food at its best.

Rock Sole at New West Restaurant

Rock sole, hash browns, and veggies. #yeg #yegfood #yegeats #foodporn

A post shared by Paula E. Kirman (@livingsanctuary) on

It's obvious from walking through the doors of New West Restaurant (15025 111 Avenue) that this place has never been renovated - nothing major, anyway. It's like stepping into a time warp. A no-nonsense diner with a menu of classic dishes like hot sandwiches, all-day breakfast, and homemade soups, the menu is extensive and reasonably-priced. I had the rock sole dinner, which came with a choice of soup or salad, as well as dessert. The sole itself was plentiful, pan-fried in a light batter and served alongside freshly-cooked carrots and squash and my choice of potato - which, in this case, was the hash browns. They are great with breakfast and equally so with supper. My cream of cauliflower soup was comforting and thick, while the chocolate pudding for dessert rounded off a good meal on a sweet note. No complaints here.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Dinner at Yianni's Taverna

Appetizers: roasted olives and hummus. #yegfood

A post shared by Paula E. Kirman (@livingsanctuary) on

I was treated to a fabulous dinner at Yianni's Taverna a couple of weeks ago. We started with the hummus and pita, as well as the roasted olives. The hummus was rich and thick, and likely the best I have ever had. The olives were hot, marinated in seasonings and oil, and absolutely incredible. I could probably have made a meal out of the appetizers.

Rack of lamb for him and roasted chicken for me. #yegfood

A post shared by Paula E. Kirman (@livingsanctuary) on

I had the chicken (top), which was a full breast grilled and seasoned to perfection. The vegetables were just lightly blanched while the lemon potatoes were excellent - cooked fork tender and not overwhelming on the lemon. A dollop of tzatziki on the side complemented the chicken well. I also tried a bite of the rack of lamb. While I am not a lamb fan, this was absolutely succulent, cooked to a perfect medium, and a huge portion.

Just Desserts: Bread Pudding at Block 1912

Coffee and bread pudding. #yegfood #coffee #dessert

A post shared by Paula E. Kirman (@livingsanctuary) on

It was back to Block 1912 for a treat a few weeks ago. I love bread pudding, so was eager to try theirs. Warmed up, with some whipped cream on top, the dessert was enjoyable but read more like a piece of cake in a bed of syrup than a bread pudding. The pudding itself was not moist enough, and I just felt like I was eating bits of cake rather than bread. I liked it - it was sweet and comforting - but I think it needs a better description.

Chicken Skewers at Cask and Barrel

Last week’s chicken skewers. #yegfood

A post shared by Paula E. Kirman (@livingsanctuary) on

I often go to the Cask and Barrel on Saturday afternoons to enjoy some live music. It's a cozy venue that is often family-friendly. On a recent weekend, I ordered some food off of the menu in addition to my drink. The kebabs come in either beef or chicken. I chose the latter. Four perfectly grilled skewers were served with a That satay sauce. My only beef (joke intended) is that the price point is a little high for something that does not come with a side.

Beef Schnitzel and More at Bistro Praha

Tonight’s dinner: pickled herring, tomato onion salad, and Wiener schnitzel. #yegfood #nomnom

A post shared by Paula E. Kirman (@livingsanctuary) on

Bistro Praha is one of my favourite Edmonton restaurants. Alas, I do not get the opportunity to come here as often as I would like. A gift card and a farewell dinner for a friend brought me back, and I spent the evening enjoying European comfort food. I had an appetizer of the rolled pickled herring. Served with a generous dollop of sour cream, the portion brought me back to the Saturday afternoon lunches of my childhood. My main was the Weiner Schnitzel: a thin slice of beef in a crunchy, breaded coating. I ordered the half portion and am glad I did - the one schnitzel literally spanned across my plate. A full portion has two. The small scoop of fresh potato salad provided a flavour and texture contrast to the schnitzel. I opted for the tomato and onion salad which comes with mains, served as a starter. The tomatoes were so juicy and flavourful from being marinated, and the onions were sweet. This was a meal that satisfied all of my senses.

Just Desserts: Pumpkin Spice Cake at Block 1912

It's that time of year when pumpkin spice takes over the drinks and desserts of many coffee shops. I had a piece of pumpkin spice cake recently at Block 1912 and was apparently the first to try it. I am sure I was not the last. The cake was light and fluffy, with the pumpkin spice flavour coming from the icing between the layers. This was a really interesting and light alternative to pumpkin pie.

Soups at Rice Bowl Deluxe

Trying out the new Rice Bowl Deluxe in the west end, and thought the pho was fab. #yeg #yegfood #yegpho

A post shared by Paula E. Kirman (@livingsanctuary) on

Rice Bowl Deluxe has a new location in the Lynnwood area. On my first time there I had the pho. I was surprised that the flavour profile of the broth was as rich as it was. It came with the basil leaves and beansprouts already inserted. Although the bowl looked small-ish for the price, it was deceptively large, with lots of sliced beef (I held the beef balls - never been a fan of their texture). There also also several kinds of green onion cakes available. I had the flat kind, and it was quite full of onions and a great side to the soup.

On my second trip, I had the Laksa soup with tofu as my protein. The soup already comes with tofu puffs, which absorb the flavourful mild curry broth. The sliced tofu that was added was a huge portion, along the the noodles. This was a very thick, rich soup and wonderful on a cold day. I had a green onion doughnut as well, which was crunchy but not greasy.

Korean Fried Chicken at Nara Fried Chicken and Tongkatsu

Korean fried chicken. My first time. #yeg #yegfood #friedchicken #koreanfriedchicken

A post shared by Paula E. Kirman (@livingsanctuary) on

I have never had Korean Fried Chicken before, and tried it for the first time here in this little west end eatery at 8712 150 Street. I had the half fried chicken, the basic one with no sauce. So crispy on the outside, and so moist on the inside - I think I am a believer now! It also was not greasy or salty at all. I may have liked some dipping sauce to the side, but the pickled turnips provided an interesting flavour profile.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Beef Noodle Soup at Fuqing Lanzhou Noodles

Really good Fuqing noodles in this soup! (I could not resist!) my first time trying hand-pulled noodles. #yegfood

A post shared by Paula E. Kirman (@livingsanctuary) on

I have never had hand-pulled noodles before and finally had the opportunity to try them here at Fuqing Lanzhou Noodles(10824 97 Street). I was the only customer in the restaurant, as I went at an off-hour. The very friendly woman serving made sure I understood that I was in a noodle house, and kept checking to see if I was okay using chopsticks (I indeed am). I ordered a bowl of beef soup, and loved the rich bone broth and tender chunks of beef, but the noodles were definitely the star of the bowl. They are much thicker and chewier than other noodles I have had. The beef literally melted in my mouth. It was filling, reasonably-priced, and I would definitely come back.

Breakfast for Lunch: Unforgettable Bowl at Friends and Neighbours

Friends and Neighbours (10834 82 Avenue) is one of my go-to places for brunch, and this past weekend I tried the Unforgettable Bowl, one of the cafes unique creations. Three large chicken fingers were served with scrambled eggs, sauteed peppers and onions, fresh tomatoes, and a base of cubed potatoes. The menu said avocados, but those were not there. The eggs and chicken paired surprisingly well, and the chicken was actually my favourite part of the dish. The potatoes, however, were a disappointment. They were greasy and some had a sweet off-taste as though the oil had not been changed in a while. The result was less than appetizing, and I was unable to finish - a pity, because the portion was more than ample. This is one of those dishes that seemed like a good idea at the time, but the execution does not work because there was nothing tying the dish together, like a sauce. Or, the eggs could have been sunny side up or over-easy, the yolk creating the sauce. I would order the chicken fingers by themselves (or with fries) at a later time, because those were really good.

Italian Sandwich at Tony's Pizza

I was at Tony's Pizza last week for an event with an organization I work with, and decided to try something on the menu I had never had before. I noticed an Italian sandwich made up of a stir fry of one's choice of chicken, veal, or Italian sausage, with peppers and onions, served on a torpedo bun with mozzarella and topped with fresh tomatoes and seasonings. I chose the chicken and skipped the cheese. The filling was incredible, as the peppers and onions were brought to a point of tenderness and sweetness that resonated on my palate. The bread was fresh and crispy, lightly toasted. And, it was HUGE. I want this again, and I want it soon!

Brisket and Vegetable Chow Mein at Garden Bakery

Brisket and vegetable chow mein. #yegfood

A post shared by Paula E. Kirman (@livingsanctuary) on

A business lunch last week brought me to the Chinatown location of Garden Bakery. The noodles were crispy, but gave way to softness under the tender brisket and bok choy - which was the only vegetable. The amount of food was enormous and my server was amazed at how much I actually ate. Well, I *was* hungry!

Smoked Salmon Biscuit Sandwich at Lock Stock Coffee

Discovered Lock Stock Coffee yesterday and had an Americano and biscuit sandwich with lox. #yegfood #yegcoffee

A post shared by Paula E. Kirman (@livingsanctuary) on

I discovered Lock Stock Coffee while on Jasper Avenue looking for a place to grab a cup of coffee and maybe a quick bite, on a Saturday afternoon. Thanks to the signage, I headed down, looked at the small menu, and ordered an Americano and one of the biscuit sandwiches. My Americano was brought to me first, and it was very good. Deep, rich flavour. The sandwich had lox, arugula, pickled scallions, and dill cream cheese on an herb and cheddar biscuit. I normally don't like cream cheese, so if it is flavoured it had better taste strongly from the flavour - and indeed it did. The richness of the cream cheese paired perfectly with the fresh lox and bitterness of the arugula. I also normally don't go for cheese biscuits, but this one was so fresh and flaky, with little crispy hints of cheddar. I thought at first $8.50 was a lot to pay for a small sandwich, but it was deceptively rich and filling. The staff were very friendly and I liked the vibe of the place. I am definitely coming back!

Superfood Soup at Freshii

A very layered superfood soup. #yegfood

A post shared by Paula E. Kirman (@livingsanctuary) on

I needed something fast and healthy after being at an event, which rn well past the lunch hour one Saturday. I headed to Freshii at 103 and Jasper, and had the Superfood Soup. The soup was served in a plastic container, and the contents were very layered. This meant I ate one element of the soup at a time, until I got closer to the bottom when the quinoa started to rise. The flavour was very mellow, with a sweetness to the tofu. The soup was very hot and filling, and I knew I was eating something healthy.

BBQ Chicken Flatbread at Metro Billiards

Metro Billiards was conveniently located next to Latitude 53 gallery where I was taking pictures at an event a few weeks ago, and I had The BBQ, a flatbread (which is essentially a pizza) with bbq chicken, roasted peppers, cilantro, an onions, on a base of mozzarella and tomato sauce. The sauce was more of a bbq sauce which was fine, because I expect that on such a bbq flatbread, and wasn't too spicy. There was plenty of topping, and the price was right ($9). Definitely a win.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Chicken Vermicelli at Spring Roll Kitchen

Yesterday's pre-conference chicken vermicelli. #yegfashion

A post shared by Paula E. Kirman (@livingsanctuary) on

I was in the Century Park area for a conference a couple of week ago, so went to Spring Roll Kitchen (2395 111 Street) when I got off the LRT for a quick lunch. I ordered the chicken vermicelli. The chicken was diced and did not have the deep, grilled flavour to which I am accustomed at other places. Also, some pineapple seemed to have made its way into the bowl. There was a lot of chicken though, and two large spring rolls that were sliced. It was good value, although I find the pho to be better.

Breakfast for Lunch: Morning Grill at Albert's

I had a Morning Grill yesterday even though it was the afternoon. #yegfood

A post shared by Paula E. Kirman (@livingsanctuary) on

I had a Morning Grill for lunch at Alberta's Family Restaurant, even though it was already the afternoon. It consisted of two pancakes, two pieces of French toast, and a choice of bacon or sausage. They were kind enough to substitute beef sausage for pork. The pancakes were light and fluffy and as large as the plate upon which they were served. The pieces of French toast were rather mighty as well. It turned out I did not care for the taste of the beef sausage, but they were also quite big. I did not finish. I will remember this for when I am really, really hungry.

Pickle Dog at Wild Wing

Hot dog with dill pickle sauce, julienned pickles, a fried pickle, and pickle potato chips. I really like pickles. #yegfood

A post shared by Paula E. Kirman (@livingsanctuary) on

I like the hot dogs at Wild Wing as much, if not more, than the wings. For lunch one Sunday I had the pickle dog, which is topped with a dill sauce, shoestring pickles, and a fried pickle (what they call a "Pickled Willy"). The bun was literally impossible to pick up, and the pickle flavour was intense. For my side, I opted for the chippers with the pickle seasoning instead of the usual fries - I was going for the full pickle experience. The freshly made chips were excellent, but the seasoning was unevenly distributed, making some chips almost impossible to eat because so much seasoning had adhered to them. Next time, I would ask for the kitchen to go easy on the seasoning.

Just Desserts: Blueberry Bread Pudding at Brewsters

Blueberry bread pudding. #yegfood #dessert #blueberry

A post shared by Paula E. Kirman (@livingsanctuary) on

A late evening trip to Brewsters a couple of weeks ago had me ordering a dessert instead of a meal. I had been wanting to try the blueberry bread pudding for a while, but am always too full after meal to even entertain the thought of dessert. The pudding was served warm in a skillet, with vanilla gelato offsetting the heat. Very dense and rich, the blueberries were not overwhelming but added colour and texture in addition to flavour.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Just Desserts: Snowy Dessert

Trying a Snowy Dessert for the first time. Milk and honey goodness. #yegfood

A post shared by Paula E. Kirman (@livingsanctuary) on

I stopped in to Snowy Dessert on Whyte Avenue out of extreme curiosity. I had seen the Coming Soon signs for quite a while, and wanted to learn first-hand what a Korean shaved ice dessert would be like. It's called bingsu and there are about a dozen different types from which to choose, as well as small pizzas and dessert toast. The ice is made from milk and honey, and has the consistency of snowflakes and the look of shaved coconut. It's a very light, sweet flavour, but not too sweet. I had the strawberry topping, and the outside of my bingsu was totally covered in sliced, fresh strawberries, with more in the middle. Very refreshing. However, I definitely think these desserts are made for sharing. I had the "small" and it was served in a metal pail with the spoon the size of a small shovel. I can't imagine trying to tackle a large one by myself. Also, the price point gave me a bit of a sticker shock. $12 for shaved ice (albeit delicious and unique) with fruit is a bit high. Large portions run in the $18 range. Worth trying for the novelty though, but be sure to bring friends.

Fish and Chips at Route 99

Yesterday's fish and chips. #yegfood

A post shared by Paula E. Kirman (@livingsanctuary) on

Route 99 (8820 99 Street) is my go-to diner on the south side. I was not in a "breakfast for supper" mood when I stopped by here hungry after doing a workshop presentation, so I decided to try the fish and chips. It was a mighty portion of very crispy fish with a mountain of fries, along with tartar sauce and coleslaw. If you like fish and chips (and like your fish with a very crunchy coating), you really can't go wrong with this. The portion, which also included a soup or salad (I had the soup), defeated me.