Summer is coming and it is almost time to sit out on the patio with a Corona and have good Mexican food. Too bad Los Mariachis don’t have a patio but then, who wants to sit out on the parking lot facing busy Macleod Trail? Instead come inside to a rustic cantina and explore the menu that have a bit of everything Mexican. There is fajita, tacos, enchiladas, burritos and even horchata on the drink menu. And if you have room afterwards, there is the caramel flan for dessert. (We never got that far but that would be my choice).
I had the El Trio which had a chile relleno, enchilada and chimichanga. I never stopped to ask but the chimichanga tasted a lot like the enchilada. Both had beef in it and both were wrapped with a soft tortilla. The only different was the sauce on top. For some reason, I thought the chimichanga was fried but then, I could have been mistaken. The chili relleno was tender and tasty.
My wife had the snapper and it came with green peppers and olives topped. The fish was firm and hard to tell whether it was previously frozen or not. (We should have asked but we didn’t). Both dishes came with some rice and refried beans.
When the bill came, we were surprised to find that the chips and salsa wasn’t complimentary like it is at many Mexican restaurants. After taking our order, the waiter thanked us then asked if we wanted chips and salsa to start and we (foolishly) said ‘Of course’. The chips and salsa is an appetizer here and sells for $10. As an appetizer, it comes with chips, salsa, guacamole and some pickled vegetables.
Would we return? Probably not right away but when we do, we have to be careful to not say ‘Of course’.
Before you head out for spring golf, you might want to warm up your swing in an indoor driving range first. You know, there are two indoor ranges in town. One in the SW and one in the NE. Both offer golfers the ability to hit golf balls indoors.
But I have a great deal for you. For the price of a large bucket of balls, you can hit as many balls as you want in an hour of time. Why be limited to the number of balls in a bucket? Get an hour for $16 instead of the original price of $29.40 in the NE dome. Click here to get this offer. But hurry before it sells out.
All my friends have tried Village Ice Cream and have been raving about it ever since. The fact is, we are never in the Stampede area so we haven’t tried it…until now. The only thing is, we tried it at the Britannia branch on Elbow Drive near 50th Avenue.
Is it the best ice cream I have ever had? Yes. Is it the greatest tasting ice cream I have ever had? Yes. Is it going to be my #1 ice cream store? Yes.
If you have never tried it then go try it. You will find their ice cream to be rich, creamy and good. The best way to describe it is, your very own homemade ice cream with all natural ingredients.
My favourite flavours are the Phil & Sebastian, Salted Caramel and any of the berries flavours.
Thanks to the drop in oil price, I had to curb my spending on eating out. Hence the reason why I haven’t blogged much about food lately – sorry! After not eating Japanese food for awhile, I finally broke down and bought a Groupon to try out Koto, a Japanese restaurant and bar. The place is nice with Terra Cotta warriors in the front, seating against the window, a drinks bar, dining room and sushi bar in the back.
The hostess decided to seat us in the back where the sushi bar was behind us and we had a clear picture of who sat at the bar and what drinks they were having. I can see this how outside visitors staying across the street (at the Westin) could come here for a night cap.
We decided to order an entree each and share. I chose the steak and my wife chose the Grilled Halibut. I enjoyed my steak but the halibut was not good at all. For some reason, we both had expected the halibut to be a slice rather than filet. It didn’t look like halibut and the taste wasn’t good either. It was warm, not hot. And stiff. Was it basa?
There were plenty of veggies that came with both entrees and the fried ball actually contained fried rice which was a pleasant surprise. I initially thought it was a large potato tater.
It’s scary to hear that a lot of you will die without a will. People who pass through the pearly gates without a will are known as ‘intestate’. I know what you are thinking. Everything you have owned will go to your spouse and family, right? Sadly, no.
According to the laws in this country, if you are intestate then all your belongings on earth will be decided by the court. They will assign someone to take care of it and if you like the way our province is run then you will like the way they will use your money. I know it sounds bizarre but it’s true. Google it if you don’t believe me.
After I found that more than 56% of Canadians will die without a will, I started wondering how I could change that. I thought, ‘hmmm, I have a blog that I can use to communicate this.” So here I am, communicating it to you. I plan to change my email signature to get the message out too. I think you should do the same. You know, tell 2 friends and they will tell 2 friends and so on.
I know my excuse up to now was pretty lame. What is your excuse? Too busy? Too expensive? No time to see a lawyer? Too young? No assets? No house? No car?
Well, I made it easy by finding an online service that will let your create a will in 3 easy steps, print it and store it in their vault for up to 10 years. After that, you can extend the time or print it out and move it to your own safety deposit box. Keep it online if you plan to change it over time or if you win the lottery and need to change the beneficiaries.
To make it easy and affordable, I have made friends at LegalWills.ca (Canada), USLegalWills.com (US), LegalWills.co.uk (UK), ExpatLegalWills.com (Other) and they will give you 10% off their prices when you enter the reference code ‘a1040285444’. I hope you do follow up and get yourself a will. Lets lower that 56% to 0%. Pass it on.
There are so many restaurants in Richmond and so little time to try them all. Today we tried a new Shanghai restaurant on Alexander Road in Richmond for breakfast and dim sum called Shanghai Morning. Like all Shanghai restaurants, they serve the famous Shanghai dumplings. When it was served, it was a steaming tower of not one but two containers of dumplings. The trick in eating it is to delicately pick it up with your chopsticks without puncturing the dumpling. If you do, the soup inside the dumpling will leak out and destroy the eating experience. If you have master the chopstick control, you can pick up the dumpling with the soup intact.
Now to eat it, you place it on a spoon and nibble at it. You bite a bit of the skin off and you sip the soup through the opening. If it is made right, the soup will be delicious. Once the soup is sipped out, put the whole dumpling into your mouth and chew. The dumpling has pork in it and the skin is a little thicker than the won ton wrapper.
Next came a steamer with green dumplings in it. These were made with chives and hence, gave the dumplings a nice green colour (pictured). These dumplings could be my next favourite because they were light and scrumptious. I have never had these but I will definitely order them again.
Lastly came the deep fried slice buns that are served with condensed milk. These are nice dessert items to round off the meal.
After an enjoyable round at Green Acres Golf Course in Richmond, BC, we asked our playing partners for their restaurant picks. The first restaurant they recommended to us was the Top Shanghai Restaurant on No. 3 Road in Richmond. I couldn’t help but to ask Sylvia Wong for her favourite dishes. I told her we have tried many Shanghai restaurants in Vancouver but we always order the same old thing. The dumplings of course, is standard Shanghai but they are almost the same wherever we go. Sylvia insisted that we order that if we were to go to that restaurant. Along with that, she recommended us to order a roasted duck or whatever duck was on the menu. I asked about a fish dish and she didn’t advise anything special.
When we arrived at the restaurant, it was jam packed. Everyone in Richmond was there. I found the atmosphere almost deafening. There was laughing and loud conversations going on several tables by the wall. When the menu landed on our table, I was impressed. Did I tell you that I love restaurants with huge menus? The menu was like a large coffee table book with pictures. Oh, I love menus with pictures, especially when I don’t read Chinese.
We went through the menu and decided to find the duck that Sylvia had recommended. Instead of a crispy chicken dish, we found a crispy duck dish. We ordered it. Then came the chicken. The name intrigued me. It was something like Chicken balls in spicy sauce.
Out of tradition, we ordered the Shanghai dumplings, even though they were dim sum items. When the food came, no rice was served so we ordered two bowls of it. The chicken balls was a disappointment. First of all, they weren’t ball shaped. I don’t know where we went wrong. The crispy duck was a disappointment too. It was salty, very salty and it reminded me of wax duck that I had when I was a kid. FYI, wax duck is preserved in salt and smoked.
Overall, the dinner was ok. And for the menu, we found out most of the dishes are obsolete and they don’t serve it anymore.
I like meals that you can share with a friend or with your spouse. On my last golf outing to Chestermere, we settled in for some dinner at the clubhouse at Lakeside Golf Course. It was a pleasant day for golf with some friends but after being rained on and bitten by mosquitos, it was time to chow down.
On tap, there’s always a nice selection of beer but I wanted Sapporo, a nice bodied beer from Japan. To complement it, I ordered the Butcher’s Block for $55. On Friday’s, the price comes down to under $50 and it is worth every penny of it. The meal comes with an ultra tender 8 oz steak, cut up in slices, a rack of ribs smothered with a bbq sauce and half a rotisserie chicken. You also have a pick of 2 sides which include a salad, sweet potato fries, regular fries, mushrooms or cooked vegetables.
I’ve ordered this meal twice this summer and both times, it was delicious. If you are in for an all-meat dinner then I would highly recommend it. The ribs are fall off tender and the chicken is nicely seasoned and cooked to perfection. My favourite is still the steak and I would eat that by itself if my wife didn’t beat me to it.
Something dark and wicked rolled our way on Wednesday. I was in line at the Richmond Registry in Westhills when an Alberta alert came over the television screen that warned us of a tornado. Minutes later, I heard the rumbling in the line as some lady was talking about a funnel cloud outside. Everybody in the registry was getting nervous.
When I stepped out to the parking lot, there were a bunch of kids with their smartphones pointed west. I walked up to my car and looked over to the west. There in plain sight was a large funnel cloud that was halfway to the ground. This was the closest I have ever been to a funnel cloud.
I took a snap of it and jumped into the car. It started hailing as people bolted out of the parking lot. The roads were getting busy as people were hurrying out of the area. The winds started to pick up and the hail became larger. I drove east to get out of the way of the tornado that was forming behind me.
For once in my life, I felt for my friend Todd, who lives in Oklahoma City (right in the dab of tornado alley) and works as a Senior Claims Adjuster, helping people pick up their lives after a tornado rips through their home.
There aren’t any restaurants in Calgary that serve Louisiana cuisine like crawfish boil, etoufee, dirty rice, hush puppies and seafood gumbo. If you want that kind of meal then head west to Banff where you can find everything including alligator bites. The place is called Tooloulou’s and it is goooood.
My recommendation is to drive out in the morning, walk around Banff then around 2:00pm, sit down for a late lunch. They have 3 menus, breakfast, lunch and dinner. The lunch menu is pretty much the same as the dinner menu except for a few dishes and is less money.
I had the combo dish that gave me a sampling of three dishes including gumbo, jambalaya and creole. I expected three separate dishes but they cram it all on one dish and add a piece of cornbread on the side. The gumbo was a bit on the dry side and the red jambalaya was tasty and it had a lot of shrimp but it needed more hot sauce which you can add to by visiting their ‘hot sauce shelf of pain’. There by the bar is a shelf full of hot sauce ranging from scotch bonnet to jalapeno sauce. Take your pick along with the jug of water to douse out any flame.
Next time I’m going to save room for the bread pudding dessert. Be sure to walk off the carb meal before driving back to Calgary.