This is a restaurant that I come back to repeatedly. I don’t know how often I’ve been back, but for a while last year my friends tried to come every three months. In seafood starved Calgary, this satisfies my craving. We’re not talking sushi. The warm oysters, were just that; warm on the outside, but raw in the middle. Delish. Their fish is always cooked perfectly. Dessert was rich and satisfying. Service was attentive but not obtrusive.
Ahhh.. Dairy Lane. I’ve been going there for years, since its in the ‘hood. On this particularly chilly night, we decided to make the short drive. All three of us were in the mood for the classic Dairy Lane Burger, with different toppings and sides. I had mine straight up, with the yam fries. My dining companions choose the bacon, cheese and fries. The burger was juicy and the fries were crisp and well seasoned. All of us ordered our own chocolate shake. Perhaps we should have shared. Be forewarned: you get the shake and half the metal container. I would say, almost a liter of shake. Why chocolate shakes on a chilly night? Not sure, but according to our server, it’s not uncommon. The portions are huge and they support local producers. ‘Nuff said.
If you don’t like waiting in lineups, go on a chilly, snowy weeknight. One of the best diners in town.
I had already judged this restaurant before I ever ate a meal here. I am going to be honest in my review. Last time our reservation was cancelled but we arrived on time. I decided that I would give this place a second chance. When we arrived, there were two tables, a reserved for two and one for four that had yet to be cleared. We we given the one for two and we did not have a reservation. Moral of this story: even though they accept reservations, don’t make one.
There was only one server for a busy dinner service. We waited 1o minutes to order, and the waitress apologized. They were out of a lot of items. We wanted to try the glutinous rice rolls and Hainanese chicken laksa. They were out. So we ordered deep fried chicken nuggets Taiwanese style, preserved duck egg with tofu, and seafood laksa with yellow noodles. I overheard the table next to ours trying to order bubble tea. They were out of some of the flavors. My friend had the cold honey lemon drink and I had the dates and longan tea. Our food arrived in good time. We had to ask for bowls as we were sharing our meal. I was surprised when the server came by to do a quality check.
The food was really good. Everything was flavorful. The dates and longan tea reminded me of the Chinese soup my Mom used to make. The drink tasted sweet, like luo han guo (monk fruit). I liked the preserved duck egg with tofu. It was topped with a sweet soy type sauce and bonito flakes. The laksa was spicy enough for me, but my friend preferred Tropical Delight’s version, which was spicier.
We had to get the attention of our server to get a takeout box. I can recommend this restaurant for its food, but not for service. Perhaps I expected more than I got. I am used to subpar, even rude service in some Chinese restaurants. I don’t expect it from a Malaysian restaurant. If you really want to eat here, be patient and skip the reservations.
I was looking for something to go with my chili, so I thought some good quality bread would be nice. I bought a baguette pan a while ago, so now is the time to use it. Disclosure: I don’t have a bread maker and see no need to buy one. I like my 800 watt Bosch Universal Kitchen Machine as I’ve already smoked one KitchenAid stand mixer.
My first effort was tasty. I tried using a high altitude bread recipe. I found the dough a little dry, but it seemed to proof ok. The oven was too hot, so I reduced the cooking time by 5 minutes. Next time, I will try 360F, the temperature that I use for my Chinese bao. The bread is sturdy and chewy.
Have you ever looked at the ingredients on the baked goods at Safeway? I will buy their bread in a pinch (I make an exception for their bagels) but there is an awful lot of polysyllabic words in there. So if I want bread, I’ll just bake it myself or buy from a local bakery.
It’s a cold, snowy day today. Perfect time for some comfort food, and of course, using my new toy, an All-Clad 7 quart deluxe slow cooker. I like using dried beans and soaking them overnight. I find that they have a much firmer texture in the finished product. It gives the chili some “bite”. Vary the chili powder to taste. Chili pepper flakes can also be added for extra heat. Don’t forget the cocoa; it adds a certain je ne sais quoi.
Slow Cooker Chili
1 lb ground pork
1 lb ground beef
2 C kidney beans
1 C black beans
1 can corn
2 large cans diced tomatoes
1 large onion, chopped
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground onion powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbs garlic powder
2 tbs cocoa powder
salt & pepper
Brown meat in slow cooker insert if possible. If not, use a dutch oven. Add all the spices to the meat except the cocoa. Brown the onions in another pan with the oil. Transfer meat to the slow cooker and add onions. Add the rest of the ingredients with enough water to cover. Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4.
I was in the deep south today, running an errand and then looking for some lunch. After vetoing hubby’s vote for Five Guys Burgers, I was happy to discover that Li-Ao Sushi was nearby. They are located in a strip mall, well off the main drag.
I ordered the seafood udon, mainly because I was in the mood for hot soup. The lobster taco looked interesting so I had that too. Hubby started with the tempura calmari and followed with a spicy sushi platter. Their servings are generous; the platter could easily serve two people at an affordable price. My udon was only average but I was impressed with the lobster tacos. There was also a complimentary appetizer of fried gyoza, which tasted more like fried wonton.
The chefs speak Cantonese. I don’t judge; I enjoy all Japanese food as long as its good. The service was good and they offered pocky Kinjo style at the end of the meal.
I probably won’t be back as it takes me a long time to journey to the deep south of Calgary. But if I lived in the neighborhood, I would definitely go for takeout.
I’m looking for something a little different for my Christmas cookie exchange this year. These cookies are the colours of the season, red and green. The original recipe ended up too dry, so I added egg white and water. I took out some of the sugar as the matcha was sweetened. It seemed affordable at $18 a bag, as the pure fetched $30 for a Chinese teacup sized amount. These turned out surprisingly well. For the cookie exchange, I will probably omit the red bean paste it it makes it a little messy to store.
Matcha Thumbprint Cookies With Red Bean Paste
Makes 15- 17 cookies
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup brown rice flour (can be substituted with all-purpose)
2 tsp pure or sweetened matcha powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
¼ C unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ C + 2 tbs sugar, if using sweetened matcha, reduce to 6 tbs
1 large egg
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ C water
A little red bean paste
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flours, baking soda, matcha and salt.
- Using a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for another 30 seconds.
- On low speed, add the flour/matcha mixture and mix until fully incorporated. Add water if too dry.
- Form into a ball or disc and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Position rack in the middle of the oven.
- Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and bake them for 12 minutes.
- Remove from oven and make a dent in each cookie (you can use your thumb but I don’t like a burnt thumb so I used the back of a ½ tsp measure).
- Fill cookies with red bean paste.
- Place the cookies back into the oven for 8 more minutes .
- If you like your cookies crisper you can go for more time. These are still chewy in the middle.
- Remove cookies from oven and let cool on cookie sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
This recipe was modified and inspired from:
A new KFC restaurant has opened in Kensington. I love Korean fried chicken. I tried Olive Chicken, now for their competition.
The decor of the restaurant was trendy and modern. With a counter for ordering takeout. One of our party suggested that this was a chain. I wasn’t so sure, but it did seem like expensive decor for a restaurant of this type. It turns out that it is a chain alright, from Korea. I usually don’t like chains, but I can lower my standards for an unknown international one.
We ordered the half and half chicken with the sweet sauce. I love sweet sauce. It’s less sweet than Olive Chicken’s, which was overly sweet. It still had a huge hit of garlic which I love. The original fried chicken was crunchy and all of it was juicy inside.
There were some slips with the service. The service was fast; they were not very busy. But the waitress spilled the dishes when she was clearing them, and we got the wrong bill. She was very sincere and apologetic.
Their food is definitely good and I will give their takeout a try.
When a friend setup a night out at Cerezo with a Chef’s tasting menu, I could not resist. I know I was only there a couple of months ago, but a change in season brings a new menu. Our party of nine took up half the restaurant, and we were awarded a private event sign at the back entrance. I feel special. An ironic thing that happened was that two of our party turned themselves away when they saw the sign, thinking the restaurant was booked for someone else. Ah, what they missed.
We had a twelve course menu with a palate cleanser. I felt this dining experience was definitely elevated compared to the first time I was here. The fusion of Japanese and other international flavours was apparent. I enjoyed the texture of the scallop ceviche – it was sliced paper thin. The prawn wrapped prosciutto was a nice diversion from the lighter fare we had to start. The crab cakes were delicious and swam in the puddles of Hollandaise. I though the meal was heavy on the beef, with three dishes. But then again, this is Alberta.
We had an endless debate on what was in the beef panini. We settled on the flavors of dark sweet soy and possibly five spice. It’s good when a dish spurs debate. The yuzu mimosa served as a palate cleanser and offered quite a hit of alcohol. It did surprise me. The goat cheese came shaped as a pear with a whole clove as the stem. The desserts were delicious small bites. We eased into the course slowly with a refreshing lemon tart. The chestnut custard was a hit with most of the table. Finally, we were assaulted with the strong flavor of the matcha chocolate cake. It was a delightful dining experience.
The pictures are arranged in the order of serving.