Saffron Mantra

I’ve been ordering a lot of delivery of late; the latest foray was to Saffron Mantra last month. The concept sounded intriguing; a fusion of Indian and French cuisine. We started with the tandoori chicken tikka. It had layers of complex flavours which blended together well. The taste was sweet, smokey and spicy. For my entree, I had the Himalayan lamb burger which was spicy, yet creamy with the citrus mint aioli. The dressing for the house salad tasted of Indian spices and citrus. Hubby had the chicken fritter burger. I thought about ordering the wicked ghost pepper burger for him, but thought better of it. Someday, I will visit to dine in.

Himalayan Lamb Burger with starter house salad and Sizzling Tandoori Chicken Tikka
Himalayan Lamb Burger with starter house salad and Sizzling Tandoori Chicken Tikka

Saffron Mantra on Urbanspoon

Bistro Rouge

I’ll have to apologize, I’m a little behind with my blog posts. We visited Bistro Rouge on May 24.

Having been to Rouge, and having high expectations for the food, I expected as much from Bistro Rouge. The food did not disappoint. However, much remains to be said about the service.

Hubby and I were seated promptly but our server did not show up for drinks for 10 minutes.
Our section was full when we arrived and our server was busy serving other tables.  Service was faster once the room emptied. Hubby ordered the steak special but our server did not ask him for doneness. Good thing hubby specified medium rare. The Yorkshire pudding was just about the same size as the ribeye. He enjoyed his entree. However, the water glasses were struggling to be filled. Perhaps this is picky, but the wine glasses were not removed after we ordered our drinks.

The beet salad was good with the acidic taste of the beets and dill balanced by the crème fraîche. I enjoyed my roasted chicken; it was tender. The vegetables were well seasoned and flavourful. The dessert was interesting. The “Floating Island” was an island of meringue floating on lemon curd.

I really hope they will improve their service. But the food is well done.

Tender Beets & Apple, Crème Fraîche & Dill
Tender Beets & Apple,
Crème Fraîche & Dill
Roasted Mount View Chicken Breast, Lamb Bacon Choucroute & Dijon Sauce
Roasted Mount View Chicken Breast, Lamb Bacon Choucroute & Dijon Sauce
Daily Special Ribeye...
Daily special ribeye…
With a Large Yorkshire Pudding
With a large Yorkshire pudding
"Ile Flottante" - Fluffy Meringue, Lemon Curd, Blood Orange Segments
“Ile Flottante” – Fluffy Meringue,
Lemon Curd, Blood Orange Segments

Bistro Rouge on Urbanspoon

Vero Bistro Moderne

We decided to go to Vero after seeing the lineup out the door at Lido Cafe last weekend. It’s been on my wishlist for some time; and I’m glad that I’ve finally gotten around to visiting.

By mistake, we were given the dinner menus to order from. Our server sort of did a double take on our order, when she realized we had the wrong menus. I ordered a glass of their freshly squeezed orange juice. I settle on the eggs benny with burger.  The bread was a crisp brioche that paired well with the veal meatballs and runny vita egg. I like my eggs orange and full of omega-3s.  Hubby enjoyed his Vero Traditional. I had my eye on that as well, but decided we shouldn’t have the same dish.

The food is interesting; as they advertise it, a fusion of French and Italian. They source from local suppliers as well. The service was pleasant and not obtrusive. It is a combination that works well for them.

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Eggs Benedict with Burger and Balsamic
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Vero Traditional

Vero Bistro Moderne on Urbanspoon

Sainte-Marie Cendré est un fromage de chèvre

I shouldn’t really have to post warnings on a food blog. Read no further if you just had dinner or have a weak stomach. You have been warned.

This must be one of those foods that belong on those Foodie Challenge quizzes. You are a consummate foodie if you can eat this. Below is how my friend introduces me to this savoury delight.  I might go down to Springbank Cheese to have a look. Window shopping only.

For your reference, a beginner’s guide to French cheeses.



Sainte-Maure Cendre

French Bread

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.

All ready for the oven
All ready for the oven
Finished product
Finished product
Good with homemade preserves!
Good with homemade preserves!

Laurier Lounge

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.

Cheese fondue
Cheese fondue
Beef bourguignon
Beef bourguignon

Laurier Lounge on Urbanspoon

Brasserie Kensington

After a short, flood diverted hiatus, I am back to the business of food. Hubby and and went out to dinner a couple of weeks ago. This would be our second time at Brasserie Kensington, and I enjoyed it as much as the first.

We shared the moules frites flavoured with a green curry sauce. The fries were nice and crisp and the mussels danced in the melody of the Thai spices. I quite enjoyed my ahi tuna salad. It was just a tad heavy handed with the capers, but had the flavors of a good Mediterranean salad. Hubby’s lamb shank looked delish.

I’m not a wine drinker, but the food is certainly good enough on its own. It wasn’t too busy, and the service was attentive, but not intrusive. This won’t be our last visit.

Lamb Shank Special
Lamb Shank Special
Green Curry Mussels Mussels served with pomme frites
Green Curry Mussels
Mussels served with pomme frites
SEARED AHI TUNA radish, heirloom tomato, capers, cucumber, olives, haricot vert, sunflower
radish, heirloom tomato, capers, cucumber, olives, haricot vert, sunflower

Brasserie Kensington on Urbanspoon

French onion soup

I got bored of the usual, so I decided to make french onion soup. In a slow cooker. Because I am lazy. It still took 30 minutes to brown the onions! Well more because food in a slow cooker has better flavor. Anyways… Excuse the Chinese soup bowl but I should get some proper French onion soup bowls. Apparently, it is a meatless dish, usually served with a green salad. I had some sugar snap peas that I had to use, so I stir fried them with bacon and onions. Tasty.

French Onion Soup Emmental, Gruyere, Parmesan cheese on whole wheat baguette with sugar snap peas and bacon
French Onion Soup
Emmental, Gruyere, Parmesan cheese on whole wheat baguette with sugar snap peas and bacon