I happened to be in the NE on Friday and was looking for a quick, light lunch. I decided on Saigon Night. The food was fresh and definitely quick. The service was very good and friendly. My wonton soup could have used more flavor, but was perfect for the day. As my stomach was a bit unsettled before lunch. Hubby had the deep fried wontons, which he enjoyed. He also had the satay beef with rice, which he thought was good, but average.
Hungry after a day in the mountains, we decided on quick, tasty and close. Juree’s fit the bill. I’ve been here several times before and have always enjoyed the food. All their curries have rich flavors with liberal use of coconut milk. The larb kai had some very spicy and herby notes. I really liked the deep fried tilapia, served whole with sweet and sour sauce on top. The service was very quick. On this night, there were some ladies dressed in traditional outfits dancing outside. I should really visit more often.
I went to Lambda Supermarket today and found some unusual items that I have been looking a while for. I always thought this store had less selection than T&T and Topps, but today I was pleasantly surprised.
I’m slowly putting together a plan for making ramen noodles. Food grade potassium carbonate, lye water or kansui is used to impart the yellow color and chewiness in the noodles. It’s also used to boil bagels. In stronger concentrations, it’s used in soap making as well as oven and drain cleaner. Sound delicious? Now all I need is a pasta roller attachment for my KitchenAid standmixer.
I’ve been looking for fresh ramen noodles too. The fresh package I bought did not look or taste like ramen. The frozen is pictured below and locally made; I have yet to try it. The most authentic I’ve tried came from a local shop in Toronto.
The third item is frozen pandanus leaves. They are used a lot in south east Asian cooking. I had a use for them at one point; now I have forgotten what it was. Oh well, when I remember, I will have them at hand. I own a copy of Thai Street Food by David Thompson and it has all sorts of dessert recipes that use that ingredient.
I was hoping for some fennel in my CSA delivery this week, but it was not to be. I really like fennel frond pesto. I’ve just about decimated my basil plant so I decided to make pesto with something else. I did get some arugula to go along with the bunch of cilantro that I bought earlier this week.
The recipe is adapted from Veganivore.
- 2.5 c. arugula or baby arugula
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro (or a little more if you really like cilantro)
- 1/2 c. pine nuts
- 1/2 c. olive oil
- 2 T. lemon juice
- 2 t. minced garlic
- 1 t. Fleur de sel (or sea salt)
- up to 1 t. freshly-grated pepper
- 1/2 C grated parmesan cheese, more to taste
For the pesto:
Combine arugula, cilantro, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper into a blender or food processor. In a pan, toast the pine nuts for a minute or two and add to the blender. Pulse the blender until all pesto is thick and creamy and a bright, beautiful green- pausing to scrape unblended ingredients from the sides if you need to. Have a quick taste and adjust salt if necessary. Use a rubber spatula to scrape every bit of the pesto from the blender and enjoy!
I mixed it with some penne pasta and for a gluten free version, buckwheat groats.
When it comes to Chinese food, I have my list of usual suspects: Cantonese, Hong Kong style cafe and occasionally Westernized. I’ve tried a bit of Szechuan and it’s a little too spicy. It was interesting to find something different in Yunnan food. Yunnan cuisine takes strong influence from Szechuan and a host of other cuisines. There is liberal use of chillies, mushrooms, fungus and flavorful meats.
I’ve not had Chinese food like this anywhere. One of my favorites was the deep fried taro roll with black sesame seeds. I suspect it might have been a dessert but we were served it as an appetizer. A few of our dishes were liberally laced with fresh and dried chillies, but they were easy to avoid. I enjoyed the wood ear fungus salad “mok yee”. The mushrooms and dried vegetable in the dry beef dish were nicely spiced. The twice cooked pork had some fatty roasted pork, some lean slices and tofu. There was also squash that was fried tempura style which was good. We were all full but just had to try the dessert, the pineapple rice. It was served warm. That too, was really good.
We arrived early so there weren’t too many people. Service was very attentive and we chatted with the chef owner. As the evening progressed, the service slowed a little but they were nice enough to flag us down when we forgot our leftovers.
There is so much more to try so I am definitely returning.
Today we have another diversion from my usual business of food. I spent my weekend at the Calgary Dragon Boat Festival, which has been an annual event for me for as long as I can remember. This blog entry is for the benefit of my friends and family who are not on Facebook or Google Plus. Yes, you know who you are. I drop you an email about once a year to catch up. If I remember. This time, all you get is a blog entry.
The sun was shining making for a warm beautiful weekend. I drummed for Bad Tippers which is a merged boat from Monday and Thursday night practices. For not having a full boat for any practice, I think we did pretty well. I even got to paddle, as a last minute recruit. We had the pleasure of meeting Mayor Nenshi and got a Kodak moment with him. I’ve seen him in person twice this year, he certainly gets around. He could have a second career as a comedian, he obviously knows a good team cheer from one that needs improvement. Yes, ours needed improvement and I’m not going to disagree. I made it up; I’ll take the heat for it. 😉
So I am going to unashamedly advertise for my dragon boat club. If you enjoyed the festival, please join us again next year!
This little place has been on my wishlist for some time. Over the years, on Urbanspoon, the reviews haven’t been consistent and I’ve experienced why.
The restaurant is located in an old character house in the midst of towering condo developments. I like the plaster walls and eccentric decor. I think it would be suitable for a romantic dinner, except the room we were in had a lot of tables in a very small space. It was loud, even with only a table of four next to us. I really wanted to try the beef, but the source could not be adequately verified. I only eat organic or naturally raised beef. On the menu though, they do say they source from local organic producers.
We both shared the cheese fondue which was delicious. We asked for seconds of the bread to finish it off. My appetizer plate was not clean, but our server replaced it quickly with a new one.
Hubby had the beef bourguignon and I choose the bouillabaisse. My stew came with an abundance of seafood: whole lobster claw, shrimp, clams, a fish similar to bass, potatoes, onion and carrots. The soup was full of flavour. The only thing was that the broth was oily. I should not have filled up with bread, but the portion size was hearty; I took home the leftovers. When I got home, I dug out my lobster shears and pick. The claw was cracked in half, but it wasn’t sufficient to get to all the delicious meat.
The service was slow, as the table next to us received their meals before us, even though they arrived later. Out server was new to the restaurant, but she did try.
I might consider coming back, but since there are so many new and good restaurants to try in Calgary, it might be a while.