Lava not Flowing

Lava Souffle

Lava Souffle

It’s no comparison between Joey’s at Barlow and Roy’s Restaurant when it comes to their lava souffle. The one at Joey’s, is like an upside down cupcake that tastes like a brownie. It is served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and raspberry coulis but it’s nowhere near the quality and taste of the Lava Cake at Roy’s.

When you poke your spoon into Roy’s Lava Cake, the chocolate (lava) oozes out. Not here at Joey’s.

A Burst of Flavour?

Steak and Sushi

Steak and Sushi

When you talk about steak houses in Calgary, you don’t normally think of Joey’s at Barlow. But we made a mistake of booking a dinner reservation there last week and hoping for something else.

I haven’t been to Joey’s for some time but I used to order their ‘Burst’, a nice refreshing concoction made up of 7-up or Sprite and a scoop of blended fruit. It used to contain more chunks of fruit in it but now, it’s thin out like a lemonade. They give a free refill but after that, you have to buy a new drink. Be careful with that one. It’s not written anywhere and they assume you know.

The menu had changed over the years and the jambalaya that we had grown to love is now gone. In place of some fantastic dishes is now sushi. I usually don’t order Japanese food in a non-Japanese cuisine restaurant but I made an exception. I ordered the Steak and Sushi entree for $25, hoping it would fill my empty stomach but I am sorry to say that I was still hungry after the meal. The sushi was ok but I was really disappointed when I saw the steak. It was small to begin with but they served it sliced up. Perhaps if they left it whole, it might have lasted longer. When it’s cut up for you, it’s easy to count the number of pieces with just one hand.

JOEY Barlow on Urbanspoon

Personal is Tiny, Small is Small

Small Pizza

Small Pizza

I drove a friend to the University of Calgary clinic last week in the NW and while waiting for his tests, I stopped at Gus’ Pizza for lunch. It was half full when I walked in at 11:30am. By noon, the kitchen was filling takeout orders from people who worked in the Professional Building but luckily, I had my meal in front of me.

I decided to try the Small Pepperoni and Mushroom pizza and a can of Coke. When the pizza came, I was a little shocked at the size of it. I felt like asking the waitress if she had mistakenly dropped off a personal size pizza instead of a small but when she served the table next to me, I realized the personal size was tiny compared to my small.

If you’re hungry then order the Medium or something else on the menu. The Small pizza was disappointing for $12 because it was the size of my iPad with 6 slices. For the price, I expected a larger size pizza that I could have shared with a friend.

One thing good about the pizza was the crust. I like pizzas with crispy crusts (like Pizza Bank in the SW) and cheese that is baked right in. The cheese here was thick and acted like a canopy. As soon as you bite into it, the cheese would fall off the pizza like a topping.

There were plenty of pepperoni and mushrooms which was nice and hearty. Aside from the size, it was a relatively good tasting pizza. Anything that tastes this good should be large enough for you to enjoy there in the restaurant and for you to take home. Too bad I couldn’t do the latter because I ate it up in one sitting.

Next time, if you’re in or near the Foothills Professional Building just off the Foothills Hospital, drop in for lunch or a light snack. It’s worth another visit and review but I’m going to try their pasta next.

Gus's Cafe & Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Heaven Fish

Fish with Tamarind Sauce

Fish with Tamarind Sauce

Sometimes you find a dish around town that you absolutely fall in love with. On a late night after golf, we decided to try Juree’s Thai Place on 16th Avenue, just west of the North Hill Shopping Mall. We were worried that they wouldn’t sit us because it was close to closing time but they were happy to accommodate us, along with three other parties after us.

The place is incredibly cozy. I thought I was in Bangkok, sitting in an eatery with waitresses in beautiful and authentic Thai dresses. The menu has everything including soup, salad, entrees and dessert.

We started our meal with Tom Yum Soup which is a clear broth. We were pleasantly surprised that it was served in a large bowl. There were plenty of soup to go around, even if it was just the two of us. The next dish was the fish with special sauce. There were three large filets of Basa fish that was fried to perfection. The coating on it was like panko but it was the sauce that blew us away. This dish is so incredible and tasty that next time, all we are going to order is the soup and this fish. No need for other dishes.

Along with the meal, we ordered coconut rice which adds to any Thai meal. It’s only a hint of coconut but enough to make white rice enjoyable. We made the bad mistake by ordering too much and ended up packing away the Pad Thai which looked good. We ended up eating it the next day for lunch.
Juree's Thai Place on Urbanspoon

Where’s Bobby?

Beef Chunks

Beef Chunks

The best dish in the house is clearly, Beef Chunks with Bobby Chao’s Special Sauce. The restaurant is Bobby Chao Pho House and it is located on 53rd Street in Edgemont. The food is tasty and the prices are reasonable but their service sucks!

This was our second visit in two weeks and we were disappointed with the service or lack of. On our first visit, we ordered bubble tea and dinner for four. After a half an hour, half of our bubble tea order came but no food. After 45 minutes, the first dish arrived and it was the BBQ Pork. Not knowing when the other dishes were going to arrive, we asked for some white rice. After another 15 minutes, the other bubble teas came but we told them we were still waiting for the rice. Another 10 minutes passed and finally, the waitress almost threw the rice container at us. She was in a hurry to get to another table. When every table around us were fully into their meal, the second dish we ordered was served. It would take over two hours to have our dinner.

Our second visit wasn’t much better. We decided to go for an early supper and sat down at 4:30pm. The restaurant was empty at the time as we put in an order for bubble tea and about three dishes including the Beef Chunks with the special sauce. Again, the bubble teas took about half an hour. Another couple sat down behind us and ordered. Twenty minutes later, their order was served as we sat disgusted. We inquired about our order and they said it was coming. After another twenty minutes, the couple who came in after us had finished their meal and left the restaurant. We flagged the waitress down and inquired about our dishes. She kept saying it was coming but there was sign of any food coming out of the kitchen. “Where’s Bobby?”, we asked. She just shrugged her shoulders.
Bobby Chao's on Urbanspoon

Cora’s for Fruity Magic

Fruity Breakfast at Cora's

Fruity Breakfast at Cora’s

Many of us don’t have enough fruits and veggies a day, including myself. And maybe that is why our friends, Bruce and Lise insisted that we meet at Cora’s for breakfast.

After a year, I can now thank them for introducing Cora’s to us. Before then, I was not a huge fruit lover but now, I enjoy having fruit with my bacon and eggs.

That’s the trick here at Cora’s. You can still have your traditional bacon and eggs, waffle or crepe type breakfasts but you will also get a good serving of fruits too.

Cora's Breakfast & Lunch on Urbanspoon

It’s a popular place for breakfast and lunch. If you don’t get there early, prepare to wait in line for about an hour. Most Cora’s can accomodate big families and the turnaround is pretty good. They will have people turn around pretty fast and have you seated in no time.

What’s my favourite? Hmmm, it’s hard to say. Their menu is huge and there are a lot of choices. Just look to the next table and see what your neighbours are having. That’s the only way you can see what the popular dishes are. If you are looking for something light, try the Fruit Magic or the Samira Wake-up. Both of these are a light serving of fruit. Something interesting would be to try their crepe omelette combination. I’ve not had this yet but it looks pretty filling.

In YYC, I know there are 3 Cora’s. If I’m wrong, please add a comment and tell me where there is more. The downtown one is in the Bow Valley Square. The NW location is in Northlands Mall and the SE location is on 130 Ave.

What’s Up? Wasabi

Lunch Box

Lunch Box

On our way to pick up snorkel gear, we stopped by Wasabi’s on 16th Avenue for lunch. We’ve been there for dinner a few times and liked the sushi and dinner specials but we really haven’t tried the lunch until now. They have about 6-7 items in the lunch box category ranging from $11.95 to $13.95, some had sushi and sashimi, others did not. The ones that did not have raw fish had teriyaki beef or chicken instead. All lunch boxes had tempura, salad and miso soup.

When my lunch box was served, I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of food and variety in their lunch boxes. For $12.95, there were 2 tempura shrimps, 2 pieces of veggies, 3 nigiri sushi, 3 california roll pieces, 5 dark pieces of teriyaki chicken on a bed of rice, salad and miso soup. The lunch was more enough for someone with a small appetite but it was perfectly sized for me. Everything tasted good. The sushi was fresh and the california rolls were made with real crab meat instead of the imitation crab that a lot of restaurants uses. If I had to say a bad thing to average out my review, I would say that I am more accustomed to a lighter batter on the tempura. But it’s all good and filling too.

And if you are looking for a great snorkel and scuba shop north of the Caribbean, drop in next door and see John at Caribbean Dream.

Wasabi Japanese Restaurant Ltd on Urbanspoon

Golf Balls for Sale

Mesh of Golf Balls

Mesh of Golf Balls

Summer is out and Fall is in. For those golf die-hards, be sure to bring plenty of golf balls if you decide to play a course with lots of trees because it will be hard to find your balls if it happens to roll underneath a leaf. There is no coloured ball that you can buy that is going to be easier to spot in the leaves. Forget the yellow ones. They will just blend in nicely like a chameleon. Forget the orange ones too. Some leaves turn orange and reddish brown. If you’re going to insist on a coloured ball then choose blue, silver or stay with white.

Losing a golf ball these days is ridiculous. Why not spend $20 at Wal-mart and buy yourself a mesh bag of 40 balls? They are used balls but what the heck?! If you lose one, so what?

Btw, all city courses in Calgary (McCall Lake, Confederation Park and Shaganappi) have a sale on driving range balls – save $4 off a jumbo bucket when you purchase tokens after 3pm. Regular price is $12.75 so with the sale, it’s only $8.75.

Buy Groceries at Sobey’s and Fly Business Class

Sobey's at Strathcona

Sobey’s at Strathcona

One of the best ways to fly internationally is in business class. There you are invited to the front of the plane where individual pods are assigned to travellers like you. It’s nice on a long trip to be treated like royalty or you can adjust your seat and convert it to a bed. You can either sit up and watch your personal entertainment device or lie back and sleep the miles away. Have I convinced you to fly business class? If so, sign up.

The place to sign up is at Sobey’s in their club Sobeys program. Every time you shop there, you can earn Aeroplan points. The thing I like about shopping at Sobey’s is when they have promotional days such as their Dollar Days. I have to admit, I hate broccoli, however for a buck a bag, I can stomach that. It’s actually pretty good in Chinese dishes like Beef and Broccoli or a hotpot with chicken, tofu, celery, green onions, carrots and mushrooms.

Many times a week, Sobey’s will have sale days where they will encourage some bulk buying on your part. As a reward, they will give you additional points. Last week for instance, I purchased two bottles of salsa verde (to make chili verde with pork). From that purchase, I earned 25 points. If you like tea, they were giving you 100 points if you bought 4 boxes. My pantry is full of tea and coffee so I skipped this deal. Bottom line is that everyone needs groceries and a vacation. It makes perfect sense to shop for groceries, earn your Aeroplan points to fly business class on your vacation.

Maruju Sushi – Reasonable Eatery

Maruju Sushi

Maruju Sushi

If you’re ok with Chinese sushi chefs and waitresses then you’ll be ok with Maruju Sushi on Centre Street, next to Starbucks. We’ve been coming here ever since and like their reasonable nigiri sushi prices, especially our favourites which includes salmon, sea stick, arctic surf clam and uni (when in season). Their rolls are a bit regular and not the flashy types that you find at some of the fusion restaurants in LA but sometimes, regular is ok and reasonable. We always order the Negi Toro roll because we enjoy tuna with green onions.

Maruju Sushi on Urbanspoon

Their hot dishes are generally good. I’ve had their BBQ Pork Ramen and the broth is really nice. This is the first ramen I’ve had with Chinese BBQ Pork but it’s a nice dish overall. I’ve had their curry dishes and they are good, but I wish they had more meat and potatoes in it. They have about five specials on their lunch menu, ranging from sushi to a lunch box. Look for the menu on a rolodex instead of on their menu.

The salmon pieces in the nigiri sushi are long and slender. It makes it hard to eat with the rice but I’m sure you can get creative eating it. I tend to eat the salmon by itself then chase it down with the rice.

There are a limited number of booths which are always occupied when we arrive. Make reservations if you want the privacy and experience inside the booth. I think there’s only three of them. There’s room at the sushi bar but their display of drinks take up all the counter space. Prices are reasonable making this place a favourable stop after work.