Double the fun this week… One of my friends is on vacation and she generously offered me her half share. We have potatoes, carrots, spaghetti squash, fennel, garlic, cucumbers, mixed greens, yellow beans and broad beans. I think I’m going to have to give some away… What to do with spaghetti squash? I see some fennel frond pesto in the future. I also have some gojujang in the cupboard. Let’s spice up some veggies.
Anju serves Korean tapas meant to go along with drinks. Similar concept to an Izakaya in Japanese cuisine. Korean fusion with a nice dash of urban vibe. The charming house that is home to this restaurant has changed hands over the years. When I last lived downtown, it was a coffee and tea house called Caffeine and Leaves. Tuesday night, early, we had no problem walking in without reservations. We sat upstairs in the lounge with a table facing the window. Cozy. Music was being piped in the other room, but it was not so loud that we couldn’t chat. It’s probably not like this most nights.
Onto the food. It was fantastic. The service was a little slow to start, but was good. I asked for a virgin cocktail based on a mojito. The bar put together something sweet, tasted like guava juice, infused with Thai basil. Lovely and a nice counterpoint to some of the spicy dishes we would have. I love their liberal use of gojujang, a red chili paste in their recipes. The base flavor was in many of the dishes we ordered, but tasted different enough for my liking. I loved the KFC, much better than Colonel Sander’s version. The fried anchovies were a nice trip back into childhood where Mom would serve fried dace with steamed rice and black beans. Except these are honey garlic. Mmmm. The salmon tacos were delish and I loved the gojujang sauce with the pulled pork tacos.
This place is popular. Reservations highly recommended.
Dinner from the Billingsgate Seafood Market. Pan fried pickerel (Manitoba Walleye?) with a Cobs bread country grain roll. The seafood market and bakery are almost next door to each other. Perfect. I had the pickerel for the first time earlier this week at Big Fish. It must be in season as they have it at the market. It is a very delectable white fish and sustainable from what I hear. There are some concerns about mercury content, so eat in moderation.
The oysters were from Komo Gway in BC. I prefer west coast oysters if eating them raw, they seem to be less gritty than the east coast ones. Broiled with bread crumbs, butter and cheese… the second best way to eat oysters.
I’ve known about this place for a while, but just got around to trying it. Billingsgate Fish Co. has both a seafood market and a diner. Their fresh sea food in the market is superb. I brought home oysters in the shell and pickeral. The cafe is a nice idea, you can pick anything from the market and they will cook it for you. This is mostly a fried fish kind of a place. My friend had the Boston clam chowder. I sampled it, it was good, but had a strong flavor of tarragon. I find tarragon to be pretty overpowering and should be used sparingly.
We shared the crab cakes which tasted house made. Very good. The oysters in the burger were plump and delicious, but they spent too much time in the deep fryer and were dark brown. Same with the fries. For a diner, I think its’ good value. I would come back if only for the freshness of the seafood.
Where in landlocked Calgary, can you find good seafood? Big Fish! This would be the second time I’ve visited, and it won’t be the last. If you like oysters on the half shell, Mondays are two for one. We made a raid on them. Their fish dishes were perfectly cooked, and full of flavor. We also had dessert. The Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie with Praline Vanilla Bean Mousse and Caramel was sooo good! Holiday Monday, we practically had the restaurant all to ourselves. We had a diverse group (including a gluten free diner) and our server was very patient with offering menu suggestions. Will return to sample more of the menu.
They source what they can locally and the fish… well it’s pretty fresh.