Chef’s Studio Japan

We were in Canmore a few weeks ago, and visited Chef’s Studio Japan. We tried to get in on Friday night but they were full. So we made a reservation for the next night. We started off with the tempura fried cheese. It was quite an interesting combination that worked. It was served with a thousand island like sauce on the side. Hubby had the beef tataki followed by some assorted sushi rolls.

I treated myself to a hot pot. It came with a seaweed and salad and miso soup. The hotpot had an appropriate quantity of seafood, with tofu, veg and noodles. The broth was tasty and came with a side of spicy sauce. The service was a little slow, but the staff were friendly and they spoke Japanese. The food is worth coming back for.

Beef Tataki Rare cooked Alberta Beef served with tamari ponzu Gluten Free

Beef Tataki
Rare cooked Alberta Beef served with tamari ponzu
Gluten Free

5 Piece Cheese Tempura Cheese skewers in our house made tempura batter. Crisp, light outside, and soft inside. Served with spicy mayo dipping sauce

5 Piece Cheese Tempura
Cheese skewers in our house made tempura batter. Crisp, light outside,
and soft inside. Served with spicy mayo dipping sauce

Miso soup and seaweed salad

Miso soup and seaweed salad

Hot Pot Dinner Set Seaweed salad and miso soup to start, salmon, mussel ,scallop, vegetables, Starch noodle and rice

Hot Pot Dinner Set
Seaweed salad and miso soup to start, salmon, mussel,scallop, vegetables, Starch noodle and rice

Assorted rolls

Assorted rolls

Chef's Studio Japan on Urbanspoon

Reader’s Garden Cafe Revisited

Reader’s Garden Cafe certainly can’t be beat for atmosphere. This is a return visit, as I was originally here last year for my birthday. The food was good last year, but simply out of the ballpark this year. Thanks to a change in chefs.

We started with a complimentary appetizer from the kitchen. Popcorn mixed with flowers and herbs from the garden. A nice way to wake up the tastebuds. My friend and I split an order of eggplant soup and tomato & watermelon salad. The soup was flavourful and smooth. The salad was out of this world. The sharpness of the granita went well with the coolness of the watermelon. I could eat it all day. Hubby had the smoked salmon salad. It was beautifully presented. There were these tiny cucumber balls, and a mysterious olive shaped fruit. Hubby thought they were tiny watermelons, but I’m not sure what they are.

Onto the entrees. My lamb was succulent. It was nestled in tasty garlic broth. The cabbage rolls filled with lamb were delightful. My friend also enjoyed her lamb and hubby found his chicken tasty.

For dessert, we all shared the beet root mouse. I found the taste unique, and enjoyable. The meringue and sesame seeds added a nice contrasting texture.

I still love that their veggies and flowers are from their garden. I love their food even more now and expect to return.

Popcorn Appetizer with Herbs

Popcorn Appetizer with Herbs

Eggplant Soup

Eggplant Soup

Tomato & Watermelon Salad-Watermelon granita, pickled watermelon rind, chilli

Tomato & Watermelon Salad-Watermelon granita, pickled watermelon rind, chilli

Smoked Salmon Salad - Spring greens, cucumber balls, crisps and mysterious olive shaped fruit

Smoked Salmon Salad – Spring greens, cucumber balls, crisps and mysterious olive shaped fruit

Alberta Lamb Cabbage Rolls-Lamb & garlic broth, wild rice filling, roasted root vegetables

Alberta Lamb Cabbage Rolls-Lamb & garlic broth, wild rice filling, roasted root vegetables

Roasted Chicken Breast-Toasted barley & sweet onion ragout, seared Brussel sprouts, natural jus

Roasted Chicken Breast-Toasted barley & sweet onion ragout, seared Brussel sprouts, natural jus

Beet Root Mousse - Apricot, meringue and toasted sesame seeds

Beet Root Mousse – Apricot, meringue and toasted sesame seeds

Reader's Garden Cafe on Urbanspoon

San Remo Ristorante

Hubby and I happened to be in the deep south of town Monday night. On our way home, we were looking for a place for dinner. We decided on San Remo, conveniently located off the Deerfoot in McKenzie Rowne. It was also $10 pasta night, so their usual menu of five pastas blossomed into twelve. It’s good value as the pastas are half or more off the usual price.

Hubby and I shared the prosciutto and melon appetizer. They were nice enough to split it into two servings for us. It looked beautiful and tasted just as good. Hubby ordered the braised beef short rib. He really enjoyed it.

I ordered the lasagna for my main. The portion size looked small but it was surprisingly filling. It had a nice, rich flavour. The service was prompt and fast, but not rushed. I had a good experience here and would return if it wasn’t so far from where I live.

Prosciutto & Melon Thinly sliced prosciutto & cantaloupe, lemon, mascarpone, truffle cream.

Prosciutto & Melon
Thinly sliced prosciutto & cantaloupe, lemon, mascarpone, truffle cream.

Lasagna House made pasta layered high with meat, tomato and cream sauces, topped with mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, then oven baked.

Lasagna
House made pasta layered high with meat, tomato and cream sauces, topped with mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, then oven baked.

San Remo Ristorante on Urbanspoon

Sundried Tomato Carrot Top Pesto with Pasta

I had a lot of carrots with their lovely green tops from my last few CSA deliveries. I found a great way to use them up. It can also be frozen for later.

Sundried Tomato Carrot Top Pesto with Pasta

1-2 bunches carrot tops
1/3 C sundried tomato, chopped into pieces
2 tbs chopped garlic
½ C pine nuts or slivered almonds
1 C grated parmesan + extra
½ C – ¾ C extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
½ C peas
I bag Olivieri pasta or 1 bag penne, fusilli or other pasta

This is a super quick, easy to make supper. Especially if you use fresh pasta.

Roughly chop the carrot tops. In a food processor, add all ingredients except extra parmesan, peas, pasta, salt and pepper. Puree. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Dump into a mixing bowl and add peas and pesto. Add parmesan to taste. Mix well and serve. Serves 6-8 people with a side salad.

 

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Ginza Ramen

Mmmm I think I have a love affair with ramen. So much that I went to the same place twice in less than a couple of days.

I was in Ottawa a couple of weeks ago and Ginza Ramen came highly recommended. The gyoza were tasty. How was the ramen? The first bowl was vegetable miso. The vegetables were cooked to a turn and the broth was very miso-y. Their noodles come from a supplier, but that’s ok; as most places don’t make in house. The second bowl was the shoyu. It does come with half an egg, but someone absconded with it before I took the picture. It was quite tasty too. One note: both bowls are pictured with an extra serving of noodle which was recommended. This is more the size I am used to getting in Calgary; their regular size would have left me hungry.

Calgary’s ramen scene is well ahead of Ottawa’s but this place made a good first impression.

Gyoza

Gyoza

Vegetable Miso Ramen

Vegetable Miso Ramen

Shoyu Ramen sans egg

Shoyu Ramen sans egg

Ginza Ramen on Urbanspoon

Goro + Gun

I went to Goro + Gun a while ago. Just a little behind on my blogging. Located in the former West Restaurant and Bar location, it is definitely the largest ramen serving restaurant in Calgary. It’s not exclusively ramen; there are other Japanese influenced Asian dishes on the menu.

Hubby and I started with the okonomiyaki. It is a traditional Japanese savoury pancake. I quite liked the taste and concept.  There was pork belly topped with ginger, bonito flakes, mayo, and teriyaki style sauce over a fried green cabbage batter. It was a fairly substantial appetizer and something that I have not tried before.

I went with the Miso ramen for my main. The noodles are what I would expect with ramen; yellow, slightly curly with a chewy texture. The broth was tasty and more like creamy tonkotsu if compared to Shiki Menya’s.  I liked the added flavour of the black garlic oil.

Hubby and I shared the dessert which was a black sesame creme brulee. It was served with what tasted like a rice cracker on the side and topped with what seemed to be deep fried crispy noodle. It was a very interesting and unique dessert. I love the richness of black sesame, which works well in this case.

Lovely wine rack

Lovely wine rack

OKONOMIYAKI green cabbage, green onion, pork belly

OKONOMIYAKI
green cabbage, green onion, pork belly

MISO RAMEN  bbq pork, kikurage mushrooms, red ginger, green onions, shio

MISO RAMEN
bbq pork, kikurage mushrooms, red ginger, green onions, miso

Sesame Creme Brulee with Rice Cracker

Sesame Creme Brulee with Rice Cracker

Goro + Gun on Urbanspoon

The Wooden Spoon Brunch & Bistro Co.

We decided to check out The Wooden Spoon for breakfast and then the White Rock Farmer’s Market. I needed something a little lighter and healthier so I choose the granola with spicy sausage bangers. The fruit was fresh, but the parfait was pretty average. The sausage had kick, but was a little dry. I liked the coffee, served in a french press. Hubby enjoyed his Wooden Spoon poutine. I had a taste and found the flavours satisfying, but a tad on the greasy side.  Service was really attentive to start, but faded as they got busier and when we tried to get the bill. They are definitely creative with their brunch items, if I am in town again. I might return.

Granola Parfait  House roasted granola served over Greek yogurt topped with Fraser Valley honey, and fresh fruit Spicy sausage bangers

Granola Parfait
House roasted granola served over Greek yogurt topped with Fraser Valley honey, and fresh fruit
Spicy sausage bangers

Wooden Spoon Poutine Spicy house ground sausage, sauteed sweet peppers, caramelized onions, cheese curds, topped with two poached eggs and hollandaise

Wooden Spoon Poutine
Spicy house ground sausage, sauteed sweet peppers, caramelized onions, cheese curds, topped with two poached eggs and hollandaise

The Wooden Spoon Brunch and Bistro Co. on Urbanspoon

Five Corners Cafe

I was in White Rock a couple of weekends ago, visiting friends. We were looking for breakfast and decided to try Five Corners Cafe. I loved it. This is a fifties style diner which hasn’t changed. They had old cameras (I mean really old), photos and other knick knacks on display.

The food is traditional diner food. I had to try the full Irish breakfast. I’ve had a real full English breakfast, but not an Irish one. It was so big that I shared it with my friend. You know their portions are generous when there are half servings available for some menu items.

My Irish breakfast from L-R: baked beans, scrambled eggs, tomato, white pudding, ham, black pudding, sausage, potato cake and soda bread. It was delicious. The black pudding is pork blood and oatmeal. White pudding is oatmeal and suet. Both tasted pretty good. The service was friendly and the place is popular on a Saturday morning.

Full Irish Breakfast

Full Irish Breakfast

Five Corners Café on Urbanspoon

 

Tandoori Chicken Pizza

I’ve always wanted to try making pizza on the grill. I just needed an excuse to do it.  Today is the day, a beautiful bluebird 27C day and a preference not to turn on the oven.

I defrosted the leftovers from my last pizza party – one piece of dough, caramelized onions and tandoori chicken. Prep the chicken, onions, and mayo before grilling.

Tandoori Chicken

This recipe is adapted from the book Simply More Indian by Tahera Rawji. It is actually part of the butter chicken recipe, but I omitted the sauce ingredients and adapted the instructions.

2 lb boneless chicken pieces
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp tumeric
1 tbs tandoori powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 tbs ghee or oil
1/4 C crispy fried onions (buy at an Indian grocer)
1 C warm water

Cut the chicken into 1 inch cubes. Combine the ginger and garlic pastes, chili powder, tumeric, tandoori powder and salt. Toss this mixture with the chicken in a plastic bag and let sit for 30 minutes in the fridge.

In a large, deep, saucepan (dutch oven works well), melt the ghee over medium high heat. Add the crispy fried onions and the chicken. Saute the chicken until browned, about 5-8 minutes. Add the warm water and simmer for 15 minutes, until the chicken is tender. Let the chicken cool, and pour into a strainer to remove any excess liquid. This will make more than enough for one pizza. I suggest freezing the remainder.

Caramelized Onions

I love caramelized onions and usually double or triple the recipe to save for other uses.

Slice a large yellow onion into 1/2 inch rings. In a heavy bottomed pan, (Dutch oven is great), heat 1/4C oil suitable for high heat such as ghee or grapeseed oil.  Saute the onions on medium until they turn golden brown. This may take at least 20 minutes. Take off heat and cool.

Mango Chutney

I cheated and used some store bough Patak’s chutney. I used about 1/2 the 250 ml jar.

Curry Mayo

2 tbs plain yogurt
1 tbs mayonnaise
1 tsp curry powder, to taste

Mix all three ingredients together. The colour should be a slight tinge of yellow. Add more curry powder to taste.

Pizza Dough

Use whichever pizza dough recipe suits your fancy. I froze my dough before proofing, so I let it sit on the counter in a large zipper bag for an hour.

I stretched it out, and it was round when it hit the cookie sheet. I basted olive oil on the top and tried to pick it up and put it on the grill. Unfortunately, it stretched and turned into sort of an oval. The temp was less than 500F but I had to reduce the cooking time as it was already starting to brown. The olive oil and the grill marks make for a satisfyingly crisp crust. Next time I will just do flatbreads using the pizza crust. So good! Or maybe naan…

Back to the recipe. After the first flip, I slathered on the chutney, followed by the chicken, and then the caramelized onions. Do not put on the mayo!

I followed the instructions from The Kitchn for grilling.

After taking it off the grill and cutting for serving, top off with the curry mayo to your own taste. Delicious!

Tandoori chicken pizza on the grill

Tandoori chicken pizza on the grill

Served with curry mayo

Served with curry mayo