Living in Calgary (Cowtown), I haven’t really learned to appreciate really good vegetarian food in restaurants, other than in Indian restaurants. Until I tried Fresh, on a recommendation from a friend. I had the Energy bowl, which had a coconut curry sauce with vegetables on top of soba noodles. It also came with marinated tofu, which had a rich flavour, with undertones of vinegar. It was quite large and substantial. The flavours were rich and satisfying. I would highly recommend it, even for non vegetarians.
I was craving some ramen when I went to Toronto last week. Since I’d already been to Kinton, my sister suggested Kenzo on Queen West. This is a relatively new location; she had been to the original location and enjoyed their house made noodles.
They had a nice variety of ramen on the menu. I ordered the ji su men, which had a thick broth due to the addition of egg. My sister commented that the noodles did not taste the same as their original location. I thought they tasted suspiciously like Chinese egg noodles. We asked our server, and she said they did make their own.
Their gyoza, however was really good. There was a good quantity of meat inside and they fried it in flour paste water.
The service was quick and friendly. With so much to choose from in Toronto, it’s not likely that I will visit the same ramen place again.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This week we have: rainbow chard, lettuce, Chinese cabbage, flowers, kohlrabi, radish sprouts, radishes and garlic scapes. Going to be making a lot of stir fried veg and salads.