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.

 

 

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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.

 

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.

Wonderful Broth at Muku Ramen

Tonkatsu, Spicy Ramen

Tonkatsu, Spicy Ramen

You can tell a lot about a restaurant from the broth they make and at Muku Japanese Ramen, the broth is delicious. If you want to get out of the rain and into a warm, cozy hangout on the 14 Street corridor then come in to Muku. It is very popular hangout for people who live in the area and there’s plenty of parking there too. They actually share the parking lot with Globefish, the sushi restaurant.

Muku does not serve sushi whatsoever. They even post a sign on the door that no sushi is served. Muku serves noodles and appetizers. Don’t expect to see teriyaki chicken or katsu don or sashimi because there’s nothing like that here.

The menu is simple to navigate. Basically they have a map of Japan on it to highlight three main broth styles. I chose the Tonkatsu ramen with a large scoop of hot sauce served in my broth. Once stirred, the broth is rich and flavourful. For those of you that cannot take the heat, take your spoon and scoop out some of the red stuff. The broth is made from cooking pork bones in high heat for a long time. The bone marrow is released into the broth and gives it the richness.

Garnished with my broth are green onions, baby corn and slices of lean pork. The other two broth styles are from northern Japan and central Japan. They are both equally tasty but I wanted something different this time around.

After the ramen, I was still a little hungry and needed something from their appetizer menu to round off my meal. I chose their deep fried baby octopus. For $6.50, you get about 6 battered baby octopus fried and served with a nice mayo mixture.

Muku Japanese Ramen on Urbanspoon

Asian Heaven

Asian Supermarket

Asian Supermarket

Residents living in the SW would love it if Loblaw’s opened a T&T Asian Supermarket in WestHills or the Signal Hill area. Slowly, we’re beginning to see more and more asian products at Superstore including potstickers, taro and cassava desserts, tofu and rice crepe rolls. These products usually sell at T&T and now are available at Superstore Westhills.

New to the 17th Avenue and 37th Street corridor is E.mart. If you enjoy making your own Asian concoction then you’re going to love E.mart. The selection is fantastic if you like cooking Korean or Japanese dishes. They have specially prepared sushi fish in the freezers including salmon and tuna, ready-to-eat once thawed out. There’s also unagi or bbq eel, the yellow turnip, masago or smelt egg and surf clam. They have a dedicated aisle for all sorts of rice including jasmine rice, basmati, long grain and short grain. There’s a drink aisle with all the exotic fruit juices, milk and tea drinks, soya milk drink and powdered drinks. E.mart also have a meat counter in the back to provide short ribs for your Korean Bulgogi recipe. If you don’t want to mix your own sauce, you can get the Kalbi sauce in the sauce aisle.

On the right side of the store, you will find the electronics and beauty aisle. There you will find all the latest gadgets for cooking rice, beverage maker and skin care. There’s quite a selection for your Asian tastebuds at E.mart, next time you’re shopping for auto parts (ie. next door) or had a donair at Little Lebanon (across the street).

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.

Hurray for Haru Sushi

Tempura and Teriyaki Lunch

Tempura and Teriyaki Lunch

Another craving for sushi this week led us to trying a new sushi restaurant in the SW. This time, we ventured past 69th Street in Springborough to Haru Sushi.

On the window, they advertise an incredible lunch deal. At $7, you get a plate of teriyaki chicken with a scoop of rice and vegetables. I wanted a little more food so I decided to choose the Tempura and Teriyaki Chicken lunch combo (pictured left).

Minutes after taking our order, a bowl of steaming miso soup was served. The soup was nicely seasoned and not at all salty like a lot of miso soup around town. The decor is pleasant with a silk cherry blossom tree hovering over us. Everything was decked out in expresso colour making the place pretty modern.

Haru Sushi is a classy Japanese restaurant with lots of booths and ambiance. The seating is comfortable and can easily accomodate larger groups. The service was excellent.

The lunch menu was impressive with sushi and sashimi choices as well as tempura and teriyaki combos, all averaging about $12 per plate. I had ordered a negi toro maki and was pleasantly impressed that they used whole chunks of tuna rather than a mash up. The sashimi slices were generous and fish was fresh. I found the tempura batter on the light side which is what I prefer, spring mix salad was fresh and dressing was delicious.

We will certainly return for dinner one day for great sushi and friendly service.

Haru Sushi Bar on Urbanspoon

Free parking is available up front as well as behind the restaurant but not on the streets. We will definitely return for dinner one day.

Misato’s for Lunch

Lunch Box at Misato's

Lunch Box at Misato’s

We used to go to Misato’s in Signal Hill a lot more but after their renovation last summer, we found they had jacked up their prices and hired more waitresses. When we used to go as often as we did, we started getting to know some of the servers but I can safely say, I don’t recognize any of them now. The sushi chefs behind the sushi bar are all familiar so I guess they kept the owners.

Misato’s serves very high quality sushi but you won’t find the exotic stuff here such as Uni (sea urchin), Bluefin Tuna, Belly Tuna or Blowfish. I don’t even know if I’ve seen Hamachi or Quail eggs on their menu.

Their signature roll here is the Calgary roll but I heard it’s over $22 now. I remembered it to be around $16 once upon a time. But as a signature roll, I guess they have the right to raise the price on us.

They are totally into presentation and not quantity. So if you’re looking for more quality and less quantity then Misato’s is your place. Pictured here is their lunch box. It’s very pretty but it’s more of an appetizer than a lunch meal. Luckily dinner was around the corner for me but if I had to go back to work, I would probably need something to tie me over. The tempura batter was nice and light. Salad with ginger dressing was nice. A few strands of edamame was a treat and a few slices of sashimi were excellent. A few more slices of teriyaki chicken would have nice or instead of bean sprouts, a bed of rice would had worked better. And the miso soup was not salty like a lot around town.
Misato Sushi & Grill on Urbanspoon

Honest Shoe Repair

Shoe Store

Shoe Store

Here’s one blog I should have written a long time ago. Thanks to Joe at his Westbrook Shoe Repair shop on 17th Avenue SW, my Keen shoes were spared from the big dumpster. I love my Keen shoes and at $90 for a new pair, I sure didn’t want to throw it out just because of a few loose threads.

One day as I was having lunch at the Little Lebanon, I went for a stroll and found Joe’s shop. I walked in with a hole in my shoe and asked what it would cost to mend it. He took a quick look at it and quoted me $8.

I almost left my shoe behind for him to work on it but it was wet out and I didn’t want to limp back to my car. I decided to come back and pay Joe a visit. His shop is a bit of a mess with shoes, purses and stuff on shelves. But I guess he’s doing well because these shoes and purses belong to customers. I don’t think it was decorations.

Anyways, I returned with my shoe and my wife’s purse. She had bought it from a street fair in Italy for $10 but the zipper came loose after just one use. Joe estimated it would cost $10 to fix so I went for it. After 5 days, I returned to pick up my goods and Joe was standing behind the counter waiting for me. My shoe looked new again. It was perfect and will last another 2 years or more. The purse looked great too with working zipper.

His shop only takes debit cards and cash. He is fast, honest and thoughtful. He told me he’s been in business for 30 years – awesome!

Fishing for Chips

Joey's Seafood, Westhills

Joey’s Seafood, Westhills

Some people refused to eat seafood in Calgary because Calgary is an inland city and far away from any ocean. On top of that, Calgary is known for its Alberta Beef but with the latest scare of E. Coli breakouts and XL Foods, people are favouring other kinds of food.

When I’m in the mood for fish and chips, I like to go to Joey’s Seafood.

Joey's Seafood Restaurants on Urbanspoon

Joey’s Seafood has been around forever. Since moving here to Calgary in 1985, I was first introduced to it by my sister and loved it since. On Tuesdays, Joey’s has their All-U-Can-Eat fish and chip special. Their battered fish is nicely fried. Mostly fish and little batter is what I like to see. If you don’t like North Pacific Cod then go for the North Atlantic Haddock. I honestly can’t tell the difference, can you? I’ve heard for the true fish and chip lovers that halibut is the fish of choice. Again, I can’t tell the difference.

My wife enjoys the salmon dishes at Joey’s but if you’re not into fish, there is rotisserie chicken, ribs, sandwiches and wraps too. Their menu has everything from salad and soup to fish and chicken, so try it out for lunch or dinner.