Spaghetti Cafe Prairie

I keep a low profile as a food blogger. Only because I don’t have much time these days to pursue my passion. I was surprised to receive an invite from the restaurant owner to visit his cafe. I couldn’t visit in person, so I ordered from Skip The Dishes.

Food trends come and go all the time. Some have staying power, like ramen. Noodles for me are always a classic, never out of style.  Asian cuisines doing a take on western cuisine is not new. But this is the first that I have heard of Japanese spaghetti. Intriguing. I’m all for fast, good quality and affordable food.

I ordered the Japanese chicken spaghetti, with a salad and the carrot and lemon zest soup. The spaghetti tasted like roasted chicken with a slightly asian style soy sauce flavour. Like home cooked food. The carrot and lemon zest soup had vibrant flavours and color. Pasta was done al dente. Hubby had the spaghetti carbonara. I had a taste, it was good. The portions are really generous and it is good value for the price.

I could see my old, super active self hitting this place after a session at the climbing gym or day out in the mountains. Now I can see myself halving the portion and saving it for lunch the next day.

I like it. I’ll be back. Thanks for the invite, Takeshi!

Spaghetti Carbonara
Spaghetti Carbonara
Japanese Chicken Spaghetti, Carrot and Orange Zest Soup, Salad
Japanese Chicken Spaghetti, Carrot and Orange Zest Soup, Salad

Spaghetti Cafe Prairie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Umami Noodle Bar

I had a craving for ramen. It is a craving if I always want ramen? I dropped by Umami Noodle Bar to try their wares. First thing I noticed. The stroller parked in the foyer. As a MoM (Mother of multiples) family friendly restaurants now interest me.

The aroma of full bodied ramen broth was wafting through the air enticing me like Pavlov’s dog. The space was small, but not crowded for a midweek lunch. The server was very friendly and helpful. I like that.

The ramen arrived in short order with a head of steaming broth. The broth was rich and had a full flavour. Noodles were  chewy firm; the way I like them. The chashu buns I ordered to go. I reheated them as a snack later and they tasted pretty good. I think I will return.

Chashu Buns
Chashu Buns
Tonkotsu Original Ramen
Tonkotsu Original Ramen

Umami Noodle Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

Ikemen Ramen Bar

It feels like it has been ages since I’ve been down to Kensington. Oh, it’s probably been just over a month now, but since then several new places have opened. One that I have been eager to try is Ikemen Ramen Bar. It has been open for about three weeks now. They were still putting the stickers on the windows.

I love ramen. Traditional, fusion, and even my homemade attempts. All good. Ikemen has sprung up where the old Tandoori Hut used to be. They have a small selection of traditional and fusion ramen. We started with the age dashi tofu and gyoza. I had the green curry seafood ramen and my sister-in-law the dynamite roll. The tofu was simmered in a delicious broth. Our server asked us to to describe the dish as she had not yet tried it. I said the broth was rich with overtones of dashi and bonito. With the bonito flakes blowing in the breeze.

I really enjoyed my ramen. The green curry was a tad on the medium spicy side, but full of flavour. They could have been more generous with the seafood, as it came with a whole shrimp, mussel and a couple of scallops. SIL had the dynamite roll which was beautifully presented. For dessert, we shared the organic corn ice cream which was on their daily special board. It tasted of sweet corn and vanilla. An interesting combination. Worth a return trip!

Daily specials
Daily specials
Age dashi tofu
Age dashi tofu
Green curry seafood ramen
Green curry seafood ramen
Dynamite roll
Dynamite roll

Click to add a blog post for Ikemen Ramen Bar on Zomato

Kenzo Ramen Queen West

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.

Gyoza
Gyoza
Karashi Ramen Spicy ramen with japanese Karashi hot sauce topped off with roasted pork slices. Seasonal topping: marinated bamboo shoot.
Karashi Ramen
Spicy ramen with japanese Karashi hot sauce topped off with roasted pork slices. Seasonal topping: marinated bamboo shoot.
Ji Su Men A soy sauce base soup combined with chicken, eggs and sesame oil. Mixed with stir fried vegetables. Vegetarian option avilable.
Ji Su Men
A soy sauce base soup combined with chicken, eggs and sesame oil. Mixed with stir fried vegetables. Vegetarian option available.

Kenzo Ramen Queen West on Urbanspoon

Chef’s Studio Japan

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.

Beef Tataki Rare cooked Alberta Beef served with tamari ponzu Gluten Free
Beef Tataki
Rare cooked Alberta Beef served with tamari ponzu
Gluten Free
5 Piece Cheese Tempura Cheese skewers in our house made tempura batter. Crisp, light outside, and soft inside. Served with spicy mayo dipping sauce
5 Piece Cheese Tempura
Cheese skewers in our house made tempura batter. Crisp, light outside,
and soft inside. Served with spicy mayo dipping sauce
Miso soup and seaweed salad
Miso soup and seaweed salad
Hot Pot Dinner Set Seaweed salad and miso soup to start, salmon, mussel ,scallop, vegetables, Starch noodle and rice
Hot Pot Dinner Set
Seaweed salad and miso soup to start, salmon, mussel,scallop, vegetables, Starch noodle and rice
Assorted rolls
Assorted rolls

Chef's Studio Japan on Urbanspoon

Ginza Ramen

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.

Gyoza
Gyoza
Vegetable Miso Ramen
Vegetable Miso Ramen
Shoyu Ramen sans egg
Shoyu Ramen sans egg

Ginza Ramen on Urbanspoon

Goro + Gun

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.

Lovely wine rack
Lovely wine rack
OKONOMIYAKI green cabbage, green onion, pork belly
OKONOMIYAKI
green cabbage, green onion, pork belly
MISO RAMEN  bbq pork, kikurage mushrooms, red ginger, green onions, shio
MISO RAMEN
bbq pork, kikurage mushrooms, red ginger, green onions, miso
Sesame Creme Brulee with Rice Cracker
Sesame Creme Brulee with Rice Cracker

Goro + Gun on Urbanspoon

Sushi-Bar Miki

I was in the mood for some traditional sushi. I love finding the small hole in the wall places like Sushi-Bar Miki. It was definitely small, but it was busy for dinner. I decided on the pan fried mackerel to start. I love the strong taste of the fish ever since my Mom pan fried them for me. It was done nicely and was big enough for two as an appetizer.

Hubby had the dynamite roll for his appy, followed by a set dinner. The tempura was part of his set dinner. He thought the food was ok, but he tends to prefer fusion style sushi.

All the food was very nicely presented. The Chirashi sushi was beautiful and it tasted good too. Yes, I will come back if I’m in the area.

Dynamite Roll (shrimp tempura)
Dynamite Roll (shrimp tempura)
Saba Shioyaki
Saba Shioyaki
Tempura
Tempura
Chirashi Sushi
Chirashi Sushi

Sushi-Bar Miki on Urbanspoon

Sushi Bistro Anzu

Ahh, another restaurant has risen from what was formerly known as Wa’s. Another new restaurant, serving ramen. A must try for me. Well, they are a sushi restaurant, and just happen to have two ramen dishes. And a bunch of udon and soba.

We were quite hungry after a day at the climbing gym. We started with the wakame salad. It was light and refreshing topped with what tasted like toasted burdock root.

Chuka Wakame Salad
Chuka Wakame Salad

The grilled oyster was pretty tasty. It was cooked in a mayonnaise and cheese sauce, topped with tobiko.

Yakigaki (Grilled oyster)
Yakigaki (Grilled oyster)

I ordered their tonkotsu ramen, which had the white broth which is typical of this style. It was quite good. I inquired about the noodles; they were from frozen. Which is fine with me, as I’ve had frozen ramen that was tasty. My friend had the spicy ramen, appropriately called “Hell Ramen”. I had to agree, it was hot.

Tonkotsu Ramen
Tonkotsu Ramen

The staff were pleasant and friendly. We went early in the dinner hour, so it wasn’t too busy. Return visit? I think so.

Sushi Bistro Anzu on Urbanspoon

Shiki Menya

Ah, Calgary is finally catching up with the ramen trend prevalent in Toronto and Vancouver. Two new ramen shops in less then two months. I took a long lunch for this visit, as they have a limit of 150 bowls a day, and typically run out before dinner. Good thing I arrived early as it is a small shop and a lineup developed soon after.

Our food arrived soon after we ordered. I had the sense that turnover would be quick; ramen is fast food, but cooked slow food style. The char siu tacos were delicious. The pineapple salsa offered a nice kick.

char siu tacos, pineapple salsa
char siu tacos, pineapple salsa

My friend ordered the tonkotsu black. She enjoyed her meal. I had a taste and found that it had a strong flavour of garlic, which I love.

tonkotsu black negi, soft tamago, menma, char siu, corn, black garlic oil, squid ink garlic
tonkotsu black
negi, soft tamago, menma, char siu, corn, black garlic oil, squid ink garlic

I decided to order the tonkotsu classic. The broth was not the creamy white as I might expect from a classic tonkotsu broth. The broth was flavourful; I overheard that they cook it for 16 hours. It was just a tad over salted though. The noodles were homemade. They were very good and they retained the chewy texture expected of ramen noodles. The egg was cooked to a turn and the char siu had a nice flavour.

 tonkotsu classic negi, soft tamago, menma, char siu, spring greens

tonkotsu classic
negi, soft tamago, menma, char siu, spring greens

The service was quick and attentive. I think I will be back to try some of their other selections. As an aspiring home cook learning to make ramen; I appreciate it when a restaurant takes the time to make it from scratch.

20140417_112227 (480x640)

Shiki Menya on Urbanspoon