Vietnam in Bowness

Chicken Pad Thai

Chicken Pad Thai

I have been hunting for a good Vietnamese restaurant for awhile that I can consider as a neighbourhood eatery.

I ordered a coconut bubble tea and found it sweet. The bubbles were soft for awhile but after soaking for 10 minutes, it became hard like ice balls. The one thing I didn’t care for, was ice bits in my drink. They need to pulse the blender some more or get a better blender. Bubble drinks with boba needs to be smooth. You don’t want to be sucking up pieces of ice through your straw.

I had the Chicken Sate Sub and my wife had the Chicken Pad Thai (pictured). My sub was had too much mayo in it and too much butter too. All I could taste was the buttery mayo mixture that was the relish of the sub. The chicken sate was ok but the carrots, cucumber and cilantro needs to be chopped up some more. I have strong teeth but I found it hard to thrash the cilantro stems, especially when the bun is soft. My wife’s pad thai was better. She enjoyed it thoroughly but for $8.95, I think it was a bit pricey for the amount of noodles you get. Pad Thai is usually not found in Vietnamese restaurants so it was a nice surprise for us.

For clientele, there were plenty of people eating around us. I doubt this place would suffer with the average prices and good menu items. Give it a try and see what you think. Write me a comment after you tried it.

Seanachie Irish Pub

Chicken Leek Boxty

Chicken Leek Boxty

No signs of Fuddruckers here. Did you know Seanachie Irish Pub in Signal Hill used to be a Fuddruckers, the DIY burger joint? Anyways, I met my sister there for lunch yesterday.

We arrived early to get a seat in the patio. At 11am, they don’t know what to do with customers. We sat ourselves on the patio and practically had to get our own iced water and menus.

Their menu is extensive and had a good selection of lunch and dinner entrees. If you’re stopping by for lunch, be sure to ask for the lunch menu. They didn’t offer that to us and we had to be nosy to borrow the one from the table next to us. Perhaps if we ordered a beer, we would have got better service.

Seanachie Irish Pub on Urbanspoon

I chose the Chicken Leek Boxty. Does the wrap look like a potato pancake or a tortilla? Yep, I got fooled. The potato pancake was what sold me on the dish, not the contents. But then this is an Irish pub and not a Jewish deli. I was hoping for a really good latka but got this instead. The veggies on the side were plentiful but I found them too salty for my taste. Luckily my sister had a salt tongue so she ate it.

She chose the Prime Rib with mini Yorkshire puddings. When it came, we somehow visualized this dish differently. It came with about six yorkshire puddings the shape and size of a muffin. The prime rib looked like deli meat, thinly sliced beef shoved inside the yorkshire puddings. She was disappointed to say the least. Overall, it was just ok.

Saigon Bistro

Beef Dish at Saigon Bistro

Beef Dish at Saigon Bistro

I used to live in one of those towers near Southland Crossing when it was just a Safeway. Now there’s plenty of restaurants to choose from, ranging from Japanese to Chinese, to Vietnamese and Thai. One place that caught my eye was Saigon Bistro so we decided to give it a try. We walked in and was seated very quickly. It was dinner time but the restaurant was only a quarter full on a Saturday night.

Saigon Bistro on Urbanspoon

We ordered the Sweet and Sour Chicken wings as appetizers because the photo of it in the menu reminded me of the tamarind flavoured wings served at other Vietnamese restaurants. When it came, I thought they made a mistake because the wings were dry and not soaking in sauce. They were like Salt and Pepper wings, the kind that you order at Chinese restaurants.  I called the waiter over and said that it wasn’t the same as what we had ordered. He looked at it and said it was missing the sauce. The waitress brought a dish over with some Thai sweet chili sauce for us to dip the wings in.

For entrees, we decided to go with Crispy Fried Chicken and a Beef Cube dish. The Crispy Fried Chicken was served with the sauce on the side. It had a gingery taste to it and had green pepper and onions in it. It was fair. The Beef Cube dish was better but surprisingly, only one bowl of rice accompanied both dishes. Since there were two of us eating, we ordered an extra bowl for $1.50. The total bill came out to $34 without tip. (We did leave a tip but the service was so-so.) The food was nothing to write home about and we know we will not be eating here again.

EDO, Not so-awesome

Edo Japan at Crowfoot Village

Edo Japan at Crowfoot Village

I’ve been trying to write a good review for the Edo Japan Restaurant that I tried this weekend but the words just don’t flow. I’ve had meals at Edo Japan before, mostly from mall locations but this time, we decided to sit down at the Crowfoot Village location. Edo Japan is famous for its teriyaki sauce and so their Teriyaki Chicken was my choice. My wife chose the Teriyaki Beef. The bill came out to about $15 without drinks.

When our meal was ready, we chowed down in a hurry because we were pressed for time. We had to run off for a golf game in the NW and tee off time was coming up fast. Regarding my meal, it was just ok. I used to remember how filling this dish was. Now, it’s just an appetizer. The chicken was cut thin and were no larger than a postage stamp. The beef was similar, cut very thin and had very little nutritional value.

The taste was great but it wasn’t enough for lunch. If it wasn’t for time, we would have ordered some yakisoba to share and possibly some sushi. This was a disappointment for us. The servings from the original menu is enough for kids but not for hungry adults. I trust the bento boxes would had been better but we weren’t prepared to pay $12+ for lunch because we’re cheap.

Welcuts

Welcuts

Welcuts

It’s a busy haircut place and they’re open 7 days a week. Only thing I would recommend to them is to have a clipboard and let people sign in. It lets new customers know how long the wait is and what number they are in line. Welcuts on Patterson Drive SW is located in a busy strip along with a Shell gas station, 7 Eleven, Alterations, Poco Loco pizza and Schooner’s Pub.

You can see from the banner on the door that they are a startup. Using Vistaprint for free business cards and cheap banners, Welcuts is well on their way to being a profitable haircut and beauty salon. They charge $17.95 for men’s cut and $20.95 for ladies’ cut. A bang trim is $6.00.

On Sunday, they were in full force with 3 hairdressers on the floor. There was a constant stream of new customers from 12 noon to 1:00pm. Customers peeked in and saw people waiting did not go pass the doorway, turned around and headed for their cars. There’s no reception and people just don’t want to wait. But they’re too busy to tell them that it’s no more than a 10 minute wait because they’re fast workers.

One thing I did observe, everyone takes haircutting for granted. If you want a haircut, please tell them what you want. Don’t just sit there and expect them to shave it off. How much do you want should be stated upfront. If you want layering, say so. If you want a shampoo, say so. They can’t read your minds!

Buddha’s Veggie

Sweet and Sour (Mock) Pork

Sweet and Sour (Mock) Pork

If you’re a carnivore then Buddha’s Veggie is not for you unless you want to pay the same as your meat dishes. I can’t understand how the non-meat version of Ginger Beef can cost as much as the real thing but at Buddha’s Veggie, it is. In the past, I used to take my vegetarian friends here and feast on popular meat dishes such as Sweet and Sour Pork or Ginger Beef.

As a meat eater, I can tell you that the taste is there but when you bite into the mock pork pieces, all you get is fried gluten. There’s no substance inside for you to chew on like the real thing. For the price they are charging, they should put something inside such as crumbled up dollar bills. At least you don’t feel ripped off when you eat a whole plate of dough.

The Ginger Beef is the same. The taste resembles the real dish but the fried sticks are so crispy, there’s no fun chewing on them. As a veggie restaurant, I wanted more authentic vegetarian dishes with fried tofu or bean curd. Instead, they are into making counterfeit vegetarian food.

We were also disappointed to be charged $1.50 for a pot of hot water. We complained but the waitress just shrugged her shoulders. I just took it out of their tip.

Buddha's Veggie on Urbanspoon

Hyatt Mercedes Benz

Lone Rabbit at Hyatt Mercedes Benz

Lone Rabbit at Hyatt Mercedes Benz

There is certainly a difference between buying a brand new Mercedes Benz and a certified preowned or used vehicle. At least when you shop at Hyatt Mercedes Benz on 9th Avenue and 15th Street. After dropping my wife off downtown, I decided to stop by and take a look at certified preowned GLK 350. When I arrived over by the new cars, the place was deserted. There was absolutely no movement there. Behind the showroom glass, there was nothing. A few desks and some leftover buckets. Perhaps there were some renovations going on that I wasn’t aware of. It didn’t look like it was open for business.

Almost behind the showroom and fenced in, are the certified preowned’s or used vehicles. I asked for a salesman to help show me the certified preowned GLK 350 that I saw online. He opened the vehicle and I sat in. It was filthy. There were coffee stains on the console and someone had been eating chips in the front driver’s seat. Are they seriously selling this car? Compare this to buying a BMW at Calgary BMW in the south. All their preowned’s are embedded. They even have a preowned BMW X3 in their showroom. I think this is great! Customers can still have their dignity when buying used as they are buying new.

People wanting to buy a car would like to see it clean and sparkling, even if it is used. There were stickies on the front hood and bumper which probably can be scraped off but why wouldn’t a dealer do this before showing it to the public? A quick vacuum and wipe would have done it for me. There were two chips in the windshield and the tires looked worn out. It’s amazing to imagine this was a 2011 vehicle.

We made an offer and he told us that his manager wouldn’t consider it. We gave him a comparison of another vehicle with lower mileage and more options and told him that this vehicle was overpriced. We volunteered our phone numbers and told him to contact us in case he changed his mind about presenting the offer to his manager. Would I recommend Hyatt for a used car – stay tuned.

Ruin Thai

Update: Ruan Thai is now closed. A new restaurant will be opened at this address.

Sometimes after work, it’s easier to eat downtown before returning home. We usually take 11th Avenue and go west. Yesterday we decided to stop at Ruan Thai for a beef salad, basil chicken, garlic pork and spicy string beans. When we walked in at 6:00pm for dinner, there was absolutely no one in the restaurant except the staff. Usually this is not a good sign for a restaurant to be empty at dinner time. We sat down and the waitress gave us two menus and a glass of iced water each. As we were looking through the menus, we both came to the same conclusion rather quickly. We looked up at each other and said the same thing. “This is expensive”. The beef salad was $19 and every entree averaged between $20 to $30. Where are those $10.95 dishes that I’m used to finding at most Thai restaurants?

Ruan Thai on Urbanspoon

We tried Ruan Thai when they first opened in Calgary. They were located across TransAlta Utilities, further east on 11th Avenue. The food was just ok at the time and the prices were average. After many years, we thought it was time to give them a try. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get ourselves to order from their menu. We totally agree with Stefan’s review on UrbanSpoon to stay away and congratulate yourself for eating elsewhere and saving money.