Chick-a-fill

If you have a taste for fried chicken and lots of it, go to the KFC on Bowness on Monday, April 24th, 2017 because for one day only, you can feast on all the fried chicken, fries and gravy you want. It is an All-You-Can-Eat event so get there hungry. According to previous foodies, the event runs from 4-8pm and costs $12.99 for adults and $6.99 for kids under 10 years old.

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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.

Pizza with “Permissible” Meats

SPU - Best Pizza in Town

SPU – Best Pizza in Town

If you’re looking for halal meat on a pizza then this is the place to call for pizza. SPU is located at the corner of Patterson Drive and Coach Hill in the SW. It shares the strip with 7-Eleven, Shell and Treasures of Saigon. Halal is an Arabic word that means “permissible.” In terms of pizza toppings, it can never be pork and the meat was obtained from an animal that was slaughtered under strict Islamic guidelines.

I have to admit, it wasn’t the ‘halal’ that attracted me in. Instead it was their street sign that promised ‘unlimited toppings’. For as little as $11.99 for a medium 12 inch pizza, you get all the toppings you want for free. There’s quite a selection of toppings too such as the regular stuff like mushrooms, green peppers, red peppers, ham, bacon, pepperoni, sausage and tomatoes but there are some premium toppings like shrimp, feta cheese and tandori chicken. I think I saw donair meat too.

Their regular pizza dough format is thick but if you want thin crusted, be sure to ask for it when ordering. I inquired about thin crust at the till when I 0rdered my pizza but I got a thick crusted pizza when I got home and opened the box. Next time, I’ll have to order it instead of asking whether they can make it thin.

On the wall reads ‘SPU – Best Pizza in Town”. With that in mind, I was anxious to get home and sink my teeth into.

The crust was fair to good. It’s nothing like my favourite (ie. Pizza Bank) but it’s comparable to Pizza 73. I was a little disappointed with how the toppings were placed. Most of the toppings were placed around the center of the pizza with no topping near the edges. When you get about 2-3 inches from the crust, all you get is cheese and a very light coating of the tomato pizza sauce.

For $11.99 (medium), $13.99 (large), $15.99 (x-large) and $19.99 (giant) with unlimited toppings, it’s awesome and worth a second try. It doesn’t come close to my absolute favourite which is still Pizza Bank at Glenmore Landing so I disagree with their claim that it’s the best pizza in town.

Timmy’s Chili Knockoff

Tim Horton's Chili (Knockoff)

Tim Horton’s Chili (Knockoff)

Now that the ‘Rollup the Rim to Win’ contest is over, it’s time to get my coffee elsewhere. I was getting tired of lining up at those ridiculous lines every morning for a chance to win a new Rav or one of those cool BBQ’s. But this year, nada. I managed to win the odd latte or free donut but that’s about it. I think this year, Tim produced more cups that read ‘Play Again’ because every time I rolled up the rim, I kept reading this phrase over and over again.

Just to get even with Mr. Tim Horton, I scoured the internet for a Tim Horton’s Chili Recipe knock-off and plan to make my own instead of shelling out more money to Tim. In my opinion, I think the Tim Horton corporation has enough of my money.

 

The trick to Tim Horton’s chili is not to use tomato sauce, but tomato soup. Instead of pouring a can of Heinz tomato sauce into the mixture, pour two cans of Campbell’s tomato soup but don’t add water to dilute it.

Here’s the recipe for his chili, compliments of Food.com.

Still my Favorite: Harvey’s Burgers

Harvey's Original

Harvey’s Original

When it comes to a burger, I still like my Harvey’s burgers. Too bad for the Harvey’s at Home Depots and at select Swiss Chalet locations. And the one was replaced at YYC by a Burger King.

The best burger to have at Harvey’s is still the Original. And the best value is to have it as a combo to get a side salad or upgrade it for a poutine. But remind you, they don’t make it very well. Most of the time, the cheese curds are still lumpy because the fries aren’t hot enough to melt them.

Unlike at Five Guys Burgers and Fries, there aren’t so much toppings to choose from. Tomato, lettuce, pickles, raw onions and hot banana peppers along with ketchup, mustard, mayo, relish and hot sauce.  No grilled mushrooms, green peppers or grilled onions.

At the YYC location, be sure to ask for a freshly grilled burger. Otherwise, the staff will take a previously grilled patty and re-grill it. Who knows when they previously grilled it – earlier that day, yesterday, last week, last month, last year??! (I got this tip from someone who works at YYC and eats there daily.)

Click here and get some free coupons that are valid until June 3, 2013.

 

Burger Week

Little Hamburger

Little Hamburger

If you’re craving for a burger then this is the week to have one because it’s ‘Burger Week’ in Calgary. From May 3 – 10, 16 restaurants have prepared their best burger for you to test out. After eating it, go to YYC Burger Week and submit your vote. Most of the participants are downtown with a few on the outskirts such as one on 37th Street at Murdoch’s Bar & Grill, in Bowness at NOtable – The Restaurant, in Inglewood at The Fine Diner and in Ogden at Naina’s Kitchen.

Unfortunately, none of the fast food joints like McDonald’s, A&W, Harvey’s or Five Guys are in the race for the best burger.

My first encounter with Five Guys when I was in Thousand Oaks, California. At its Grand Opening, they had a line-up that wrapped around the block. There was so much hype in the papers, on the radio, word of mouth – everywhere. When I finally tried it, I found it nice and juicy. The first thing that impressed me was the amount of free toppings that you can get with your burger. Aside from the typical condiments, you can get jalapeno peppers, green peppers, mushrooms, grilled onions, tomato and lettuce.

Compared to the one on Macleod Trail SW, they could be more generous with the fries. In the states when you order the ‘little fries’, you get a heaping mound of fries that they have to bag for you to walk away with. Here, you’re lucky to find 10 more sticks in the bag. The burgers are freshly grilled but not as juicy as I remembered them to be. And the prices? What can I say, more money here as always.

Five Guys Burgers and Fries on Urbanspoon

Kingsland Farmer’s Market

Kingsland Farmer's Market

Kingsland Farmer’s Market

If you’re looking for a good walk on a Saturday morning, head over to Kingsland Farmer’s Market on Macleod Trail before Heritage Drive. There’s plenty of parking and lots to buy and samples to try. Twenty years ago, it used to be a Buick dealer. The reason I know that is because I used to live in the apartment block just north of the market and I almost bought a Buick from there. Now it’s converted to a farmer’s market that is open only on weekends.

The market is organized in open stalls, selling fresh vegetables from local farms, handmade chocolates, pastries, desserts, wines and butcher cuts of meat.

The Community Natural Store has a stall that sells popular books, along with a selection of goods from their Chinook and downtown 10th Avenue stores.

Watch for some future blogs on specific vendors that we encountered and enjoy.

Chinese Festival

Lion Dance

Lion Dance

After attending the Chinese Festival on Saturday in Chinatown, I have to admit that it was better organized than the first year. My day started at the James Short parking structure with a nice surprise – free parking. That was very nice of the City to provide that to alleviate parking woes in Chinatown.

We were greeted by the dragon or at least the kung fu master who was holding the dragon’s head. He said we had some time before they started the dragon dance so we decided to wonder and browse the kiosks selling knick knacks.

There were the usual stalls that were selling iPod cases for $5, $10 and $15 for the premium cases. One stall sold Angry Birds slippers, Angry Birds pillows and Angry Birds keychains. There was even t-shirts that read Save the Birds – not sure if that was a play on the Angry Birds franchise.

Our friends from Asia Snacks were setup, but not selling our favourite egg puffs. They were too busy with taking orders for their Vietnamese sandwiches, to fire up the waffle-like maker so they kept telling us to come back later. We ran out of patience and ended up at the Dessert House for the egg puffs which were excellent. The mini doughnuts van was out and so was the Noodle Truck, both were very popular. TD Canada Trust were giving out personalized zodiac pins, ZipCar was promoting their new hourly car rental service in downtown Calgary and GlobalFest was selling tickets at their booth. There was something for everyone that attended the festival. Too bad it was only for one day, August 11th but I’m glad they ran it from 10am to 8pm.

 

Samurai – Awesome Sashimi

Salmon Sashimi

Salmon Sashimi

After eating sashimi at Samurai on Fraser Street in Vancouver, I now know how a bear feels like on a salmon run. Samurai is an awesome place to eat sushi or sashimi. The fish is fresh and they give you plenty of it.

In a city where there’s more than 222 sushi bars, Vancouver is the place for sushi. Other than salmon and tuna, there is yellowtail, octopus, surf clam and other exotic fishes available year round.

Every time I’m in Vancouver, I have to make at least one stop at Samurai. My usual order consists of one salmon sashimi, one tako sashimi and a selection of rolls. Let me warn you that the rolls are really filling so take it easy on ordering too many if you are not going to share it with anyone. The beef teriyaki roll for instance, is tasty but it’s quite large for one.

For uni or sea urchin lovers, Samurai has a Uni sashimi dish. Uni is very high on cholesterol but very good for the advanced sushi go-ers. Given a plate of uni, I can devour it in a few minutes. Yum.

Other reviewers think this is more quantity than quality. I would have to disagree. I have never found a bone in my fish nor sent it back because it was not fresh. I recommend this place to all my Calgarian friends who visits Vancouver looking for fish to eat.

Samurai Sushi on Urbanspoon

Misato – Bigger and Better

Misato new sushi bar

Misato new sushi bar

If you live near the Signal Hill area then you’re in luck. You too, can make Misato your second kitchen like us. Misato Japanese restaurant is one of the best on the hill, serving both sushi and teriyaki dishes. Recently renovated, Misato expanded their sushi bar and restaurant space to accommodate more guests.

Signature dishes include the infamous Calgary Roll which is huge and can serve as a hearty meal. It’s an inside out roll with lots of fish in it including salmon, tuna, crab meat, tobiko, shrimp and sea stick.  Avocado usually gets wrapped up inside but being I’m allergic to it so I ask for a cucumber substitute which they don’t mind replacing.

For the health conscious, ask for the low sodium soya sauce which they have behind the counter if you ask. Also, I recommend asking for a knife so that you can cut the Calgary Roll pieces in half for easier handling. It’s either that or you end up taking apart your roll and eating each fish separately. Our friend, Wayne ordered the fried smelt from the whiteboard menu but found it a bit fishy. He plans to avoid that next time. I ordered the Agedashi Tofu that came in a broth of its own, tasty and delicious. The dinner boxes are of great value and comes with tempura, miso soup, salad and ice cream. If you’re not that hungry, order the teriyaki chicken or beef from the la carte menu. They come with miso soup and a bowl of rice. The chicken or beef is served on top of a bed of sprouts.

Misato Sushi & Grill on Urbanspoon

There’s a lot of take-outs and reserved seating. They recommend reservations, especially on Friday nights and on the weekends. Misato is becoming the favourite place to eat on the hill.