Koto not my Goto

Grilled Halibut

Grilled Halibut

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.

Koto Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Something Dark and Wicked

Funnel Cloud over Calgary

Funnel Cloud over Calgary

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.

Not a Milestone

Prime Rib

Prime Rib

Lobster Jambalaya

Lobster Jambalaya

After eating out three days in a roll, I am cooking dinner at home tonight. Last night, we ate at Milestone’s at Market Mall and was again, disappointed. As entrees, I had to try their new menu item, the ‘Lobster Jambalaya’ ($26) and the ‘Prime Rib’ dinner.

The jambalaya was dry and uninteresting. I found 2-3 shrimps in it and 1 piece of lobster, a small section of the claw. It was the size of two ice cream scoops with 4 slices of grilled pita bread. The rice was overcooked and dry. Definitely, not worth the money.

The prime rib was dry as well. The edges were very tasty from the seasoning but not on the inside. It was served on top of some veggies and came with a baked potato. There were fried onions alongside like you would see at Outback but nothing like their blooming onion.
Milestones Grill + Bar on Urbanspoon

 

 

Free Stampede Breakfast

Pancake Breakfast

Pancake Breakfast

I hope everyone of you enjoy Stampede! And the best way to kick it off is to attend a free breakfast in town. Look for listings in the Calgary Sun newspaper or drive around and watch for signs.

I was up in the Coach Hill/ Patterson area this morning and went to the community’s Stampede Breakfast. It started at 8:30 and tapered off around 11:30am. They had it at the Coach Hill Plaza, just in front of the 7-11 and behind the Shell station. The parking lot was roped off and they had a live band playing in front of Schooner’s Bar.

It was a typical breakfast with flap jacks (or pancakes), sausage patties, Tim Horton’s coffee and Sun Rype juices. In all, it was a great turn out and it was a good opportunity for neighbours to meet neighbours. Parking wasn’t too bad because you could park anywhere on the streets unlike certain neighbours where event parkers would be ticketed without a resident pass.

 

 

A little Cajun in Elbow Valley

Cajun Burger

Cajun Burger

If you want to burn your mouth off then you have to try the new Cajun burger at the Elbow Springs Golf Clubhouse. Actually, it wasn’t that hot but I have to admit, it was scary when they served it to me. The first thing to see is all the jalapeno pepper slices on top and very little of anything else.

The menu at the clubhouse has changed for the better. There are more items on the menu and there is a clear distinction between lunch items and dinner items. Gone is the steak sandwich served over garlic bread and replaced with 3 new steak dinners in the $25 to $30 range.

From the new menu, the Cajun burger is worth trying. It is 100% Alberta beef and is served with a good dose of homemade chili and topped with fresh jalapeno peppers (as pictured). Instead of the usual relish, they use guacamole on the bottom side of the bun. This makes it really messy to eat but then, that’s what you expect from a burger of this size.

With the burger, you get a choice of sides that range from soup of the day to yam fries. I recommend the soup, salad or regular fries but for the yam fries, I think they slice it too thin. I felt like chewing into cardboard for some reason.

I hope you get a chance to play here and try out the new menu. Even if you don’t play golf, come out and try this burger. If you like spicy then it is worth the drive here.

 

Koreans Serving Pho

Spicy Squid on Rice

Spicy Squid on Rice

I haven’t seen Huong for a long, long time. He used to visit our table on a frequent basis when we dined at the ‘Pho Huong Viet’ restaurant on Bow Trail but when he moved to 17th Avenue, we no longer ran into him. I think his family is running it for him so if you see him, tell him I said ‘Hi’.

His brother used to run the second location, next to the 7-11 on 37th Street between 16th and 17th Ave where I would see him in the kitchen sometimes.

But there was a time last year when they ran out of the soup stock. That went on for a number of weeks and I couldn’t really understand that. They were serving everything else but the bread and butter which for a Vietnamese restaurant, was the PHO.

Now in 2014, it is under new management. The first thing you will notice when you walk in, is the new expanded menu. The same noodle dishes and subs are available on the right side of the menu but now, there are Korean dishes. We ordered two dishes, Spicy Squid on Rice (pictured) and Sate Beef Noodle in Soup. The Spicy Squid was delicious and very Korean. However, I was disappointed with the Sate Beef Noodle in Soup. I found it to be more Korean than Vietnamese because it lacked the cardamon/ cinammon flavoured beef soup that usually comes with Pho. Also, the pho was replaced with very thin vermicelli instead of the flat thin noodles that I have grown accustom to liking.

I’m Tongue Thai’d

Basil Chicken

Basil Chicken

I’m just 14 days away from getting on a plane and visiting Thailand for the first time. Last year when I when booked the trip, I promised myself I was going to visit countries that I enjoy the cuisine from. And so, I feel like sharing another restaurant with you that I really like. At Juree’s Thai Place, I like every dish they serve there. My favourite dish is the Fried Fish with special sauce but the Basil Chicken is exceptional too. The food is usually delicious with just the right amount of spice.

Unlike a lot of Thai restaurants in YYC that seem to bring a small bowl of the Tom Yum soup, Juree’s serves it to you in a large bowl that can be shared among the 2, 3 or 4 of you. I’m yet to find a Thai restaurant in town that still serves soup in the traditional slow cooker with a propane flame at the bottom. Please share a comment if you know of a Thai place in YYC that gives you an abundance of soup.

The one thing I really enjoy at Juree’s is the waitresses. They wear traditional Thai dresses that seem to make me feel like I was in Thailand already. They seem to speak Thai which is a good indication that the cook is Thai. Don’t you hate it when you hear Mexican in a Thai kitchen or Chinese in a Japanese sushi bar?
Juree's Thai Place on Urbanspoon

Lemon Garden, next to OK

Cantonese Chow Mein

Cantonese Chow Mein

When the leaves begin to turn and the winds start to blow, it is time to bring your vehicle in for a winter changeover. I have been bringing my tires to OK Tires on Richmond Road for a few years and continue to like their service. They are honest and upfront with you which is very important in my opinion.

On this occasion, I was getting my rear brakes done so it was going to take a few hours.  I decided to walk out and have an early lunch. To my right and across the street was an interesting place called Teaspoon. I yelped it and found that it served Persian food. That would had been my first choice but unfortunately, they weren’t open yet. Something told me to come back and try again.

To my left and down the block slightly is Lemon Garden, a Chinese and Western restaurant. Their menu was extensive with both Chinese dishes and Western dishes. They open at 10:00am for breakfast or early lunch. I wanted to try their Chow Mein to see if it was any good. Scanning the menu, I noticed they have Singapore Fried Noodles and Shanghai style thick noodles which is a good sign for a noodle house. They also have won ton and wor won ton which is something to try next time I visit.

I ordered the Cantonese Chow Mein because it has tidbits of everything ranging from BBQ Pork to shrimp. It’s usually the safe bet when it comes to ordering chow mein. After a short wait, the waitress brought it over along with hot sauce and chili oil. The dish was quite large (for one) and I think it was meant to be shared.

On taste, I would give it a rating of 3.5 out of 5. I was expecting the noodles to be crispy rather than soggy but it was reasonably cooked well. Would I return? Probably in the spring when I change over my tires.

Lemon Garden on Urbanspoon

Quiet, eh?

Quiet Sign

Quiet Sign

It was great seeing our mayor on Sunday at the Shaw Charity Classic when he presented the winner, Rocco Mediate with a white hat. It was quite the presentation with Rocco looking nervous as though he had to do the hoky-poky in front of a cheering crowd. Before giving it to him, we all had to shout a loud “Yahoo!”.

The tournament went really well and I think it gave the Champions Tour’s players a chance to see Calgary and to take in some western hospitality. Most of them were very gracious and they spoke highly of our downtown and the people that make up our fine city.

I had a chance to take a few pictures on Wednesday at the Pro-Am and to get autographs. I walked with Mark O’Meara and Jay Haas for a number of holes then switched over to Esteban Toledo and our own Canadian, Dave Barr. I enjoyed chatting with Fred Funk and told him I enjoyed his commercial with the “skinny jeans”.

All of us were treated to a free Greek yogurt from Liberte. And kids were given stuffed space creatures from Shaw. There were plenty of Big Rock beer on ice and lots of action around Fred Couples who was the crowd’s favourite for the week.

One question I have, who designed the trophy?

Why Not? Too Salty.

Linguini alla Vongole

Linguini alla Vongole

I’ve always liked the pasta at Why Not Italian Restaurant in Strathcona. After the waiter served us with a few glasses of water, he brought us a basket of dinner rolls. I had forgotten how tasty dinner rolls can be, especially when they are served warm.

I had ordered my favourite, Linguini alla Vongole or Linguini with Red Clam Sauce. They make the White Clam Sauce as well but I like the tomato version as oppose to the white wine. They’re equally tasty but I have always enjoyed the red marinara sauce here.

When it arrived, I was quite surprised to see how small the dish was. I seem to recall that they used to give you a big heap of linguini. And now, it looks like it’s about half the size of what it used to be. Either my memory is failing me or I have a bigger appetite or both.

Tonight’s red clam sauce was too salty for me to give it a thumbs up. I normally enjoy this dish here but when the sauce is salty, it’s ruined.

I’ll have to look for another Italian restaurant in Calgary. Any suggestions? If so, please leave me a comment.