Naina’s Kitchen

My birthday is coming up soon, so I asked hubby to take me to Naina’s for lunch. I’ve always wanted to pay a visit, except life got in the way. This seemed like a good time to go.

They were located in Ogden for the longest time, but have just moved to their new home in Victoria Park. The restaurant has been open for five days and plan to have their official opening on Friday. I love the decor. Black and charcoal. Modern and rustic, yes. Oh my gosh. The food. Yes.

Naina’s is known for their stuffed burgers. I need to get out of my Safeway deli rut courtesy of my recent trip to YVR. So I went all in and ordered the daily special, the stuffed jambalaya burger with a side of the soup special, turkey and barley. The beef was flavourful and done to a turn. My first bite was a of creamy, molten cheese. The second bite was sausage with spicy rice. It’s like alarm bells went off in heaven. There was a sauce that complimented it nicely but I totally forgot what it was. Mayo maybe? Who cares… back to the burger. The soup was nice and comforting on a rather chilly day for fall. Hubby had the eggs benny stuffed burger with a generous 1/2 portion of poutine. I had a bite of the poutine. The fries were clearly home fries. Nice and crisp and there was ample brown gravy to go around.

Ok, because it’s my birthday, I’m going for a splurge. I tasted their ice cream of the day, spicy apple with candied bacon.  Delish. This is the best ice cream I have ever tasted. Smooth apple with hints of cinnamon, sugar, notes of candied ginger and bacon. Hubby wanted just one bite but he ate half of it. If they end up selling this, I’m going to buy it by the truckload. As if stuffed burgers weren’t enough, Naina’s has recently gotten into the house made ice cream business. Watch out Calgary.

The place was empty. Long weekend, pride parade coupled with a newly opened restaurant. Great for me. Service was top notch.  The  back of my server’s tshirt said “Get stuffed”. How appropriate.

 

Jambalaya stuffed burger with turkey barley soup

Jambalaya stuffed burger with turkey barley soup

First bite of the stuffed jambalaya burger

First bite of the stuffed jambalaya burger

Second bite of the stuffed jambalaya burger

Second bite of the stuffed jambalaya burger

1/2 poutine

1/2 poutine

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New decor

New decor

Naina's Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Crown Grocery and Pizza

Ok, so I have to admit. I’ve been slacking on my blogging. A lot. I order from Skip The Dishes once a week, but I never blog. This busy Mom has no time. Except when the pizza is exceptional. Like the butter chicken pizza at Crown Grocery and Pizza.

I must have biked past this place many times; I know I’ve passed it over for pizza many more because I thought it was another Canadian Pizza Unlimited type joint. But hey, free delivery enticed me to look at the menu and the reviews. I’m sure glad I did. It fits my criteria. Not a chain, most likely family run, and a hole in the wall.

Back to the pizza. I’ve tried many a butter chicken pizza. This one has a nice balance of flavours. The smooth taste of cream peppered with the right amount of spice. I could eat the whole thing. I also ordered a vegetarian with extra chicken. Mostly because most works pizzas don’t have enough veg for me. They have nice deal for multiple pizzas. I got two 12″ pizzas for $25.99. The pizza wasn’t grease and it wasn’t too thin or too thick. I also wanted to try their fried chicken, but they called me and said they were out for the day. They offered to substitute samosas. The were a little over fried but the flavour was still there. I would order them again. They also have tandoori chicken pizza. I am coming back. Maybe next week.

Butter Chicken Pizza

Butter Chicken Pizza

Crown Grocery & Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Native Tongues Taqueria

Hubby and I were in the mood for something different on date night. So I decided on Native Tongues Taqueria, to investigate their take on Mexican street food. I’ve been to Mexico once and sampled the street food in Loreto. There are so many styles of Mexican food; I’m not saying that this is even a fair comparison.

The place was packed on a Sunday night. The atmosphere was loud and lively. As first timers, we needed some help with the menu. Our server was very helpful. We went with her recommendation, the tacos al carbon. This translates to “tacos grilled over charcoal”. We ordered the barbacoa de cordero. It was fall-off-the-bone slow roasted lamb neck. The homemade flour tortillas and the flavourful sides of salsa, roasted onion & pepper complimented the dishes perfectly. We could ask for more tortillas and we did.

To start, the taquitos were a nice amuse bouche. We finished with a couple of decadent desserts – the tres leches cake and the flan de chocolate. The tres leches cake was good, except that I was a little disappointed that the pineapple was raw. I mean it would have tasted fantastic charred over the grill and caramelized.

Tasty indeed.

Taquitos potato & sheeps milk cheese, salsa de ajo, crema, queso fresco

Taquitos
potato & sheeps milk cheese, salsa de ajo, crema, queso fresco

 BARBACOA de CORDERO slow roasted lamb neck, salsa verde & rojo, coal roasted cebollas, agua chile, white onion, cilantro

BARBACOA de CORDERO
slow roasted lamb neck, salsa verde & rojo, coal roasted cebollas, agua chile, white onion, cilantro

Sides for BARBACOA de CORDERO

Sides for BARBACOA de CORDERO

 TRES LECHES CAKE horchata soaked cake, whipped cream, pickled fruit

TRES LECHES CAKE
horchata soaked cake, whipped cream, pickled fruit

 FLAN de CHOCOLATE chocolate flan, salted caramel, coconut, almond

FLAN de CHOCOLATE
chocolate flan, salted caramel, coconut, almond

Native Tongues Taqueria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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

Adobo Experience

Fact. I’ve never tried Filipino food. Ok, maybe once, when a friend brought over some cassava cake. Neither have three of my friends. So we all went down to Adobo Experience to give it a try.

We went early, around quarter to 6. The place wasn’t busy and our server was eager to take our order. We needed more time. To explore this exotic to us cuisine. We finally went with his suggestion of crispy pata which is deep fried pork hock to share as an appetizer. Mmmm, crispy pork skin. Three of us choose different versions of adobo, which is a meat stew. Hubby was the odd one out and went with the kare kare which is a peanut sauce based stew. The food was tasty. They also have a meal for a large group called Boodle Fight Experience. Google it. It’s now on my bucket list.

The food came reasonably quickly. But after that, the service fell down. The restaurant got really busy and it turned into Chinese style service. Where you play hail the waiter. If they see you. We decided to share the halo halo dessert which is more than enough for the four of us. It was pretty tasty. But it took a long time to order and then to arrive. Food is good, service not so much.

Crispy Pata

Crispy Pata

Halo Halo

Halo Halo

Kare Kare

Kare Kare

Traditional Adobo

Traditional Adobo

Adobo Experience Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Red’s in Ramsay

Feeling hungry after a session at the climbing gym, hubby and I decided to check out Red’s in Ramsay. It is really hard to find a brunch spot on weekends in Calgary, but Red’s uses the NoWait app which piqued my interest. It worked out really well for us. We arrived; we were seated ahead of a few other parties that were waiting. I wish that busy restaurants would use this more often. You don’t have to be at the restaurant to reserve your place in line.  It’s real time, unlike Open Table.

I dug into one of the specials of the day, turkey and bacon on marble rye with creamy chicken and vegetable soup. I found the food pretty average, but it was enough to satisfy a climbing appetite. Service was friendly, but a little spotty as they were busy. Nice location and definitely a neighborhood eatery.

Turkey and bacon sandwich with creamy chicken and vegetable soup

Turkey and bacon sandwich with creamy chicken and vegetable soup

Red's in Ramsay 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

 

Modern Steak

I was looking for a restaurant for date night on a Sunday. My first choice wasn’t Modern Steak, but I was enticed by a 1,000 point reservation on Opentable.

I suspect that this was the former location of The Muse, as I remember the multiple levels and uniquely shaped downstairs dining area. We were seated downstairs, in a quiet corner. So far, so good. Hubby started off with the steak tartare. The beef was assertively spiced and the chips were nicely crunchy. Anticipating the meat fest ahead, I ordered the wedge trio salad. The salad looked massive; containing three quarters of an iceberg lettuce. All the dressings were house made. I especially enjoyed the green goddess dressing.

Hubby had the 10 oz Wagyu striploin for his entree with a side of brussels sprouts with maple and bacon. He thoroughly enjoyed his steak. I ordered the 7oz Ben’s filet. It was done to a turn (medium rare) and was flavorful. I had asparagus parmesan with a poached egg on the side. I also ordered Bearnaise sauce. It was rich and velvety.

We shared the crème brûlée for dessert. It was traditional and there’s nothing wrong with that.

The service was attentive, but not disruptive. The decor is modern and I do prefer that to the traditional 70’s wood paneled steakhouse decor.

Definitely recommended for that special occasion dinner.

Beef Tartare

Steak Tartare with dijon, caper, gherkin, farm yolk, truffle oil and chips

Modern Wedge Trio with 1000 Island & tomato, blue cheese and bacon, green goddess and red onion

Modern Wedge Trio with 1000 Island & tomato, blue cheese and bacon, green goddess and red onion

L-R 10 oz Wagyu New York Strip, brussels sprouts and bacon, Bearnaise sauce, asparagus parmesan with 63 degree egg and 7 oz filet

L-R 10oz Wagyu New York Strip, brussels sprouts and bacon, Bearnaise sauce, asparagus parmesan with 63 degree egg and 7oz filet

Classic creme brulee

Classic creme brulee

Modern Steak Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Madras Cafe

I haven’t had a dosa in a long time. So when a friend of mine mentioned that Madras Cafe was having a dosa festival, I just had to go.  They had a special menu that featured 100 dosa and dosa variants.

We started off with the podli idli. Idli is a savoury rice and fermented black lentil cake that is steamed. This version was subsequently fried and mixed with spices. It had a tang of heat and the fried onions added a nice crunch. I ordered the mix vegetable dosa for my main dish. It came with a side of soup and a couple of dipping sauces. It was quite tasty. Hubby asked the server for his recommendation. Our server, who I assumed was also the owner had a thick accent that I found difficult to decipher. Hubby accepted our server’s suggestion. It was a vegetarian dosa, bursting with vegetables and flavour.

I love hole-in-the-wall family run places. This is the sort of place that I would come back to, if I found myself in the area again.

Mixed Vegatable Dosa

Mixed Vegatable Dosa

Podli Idli

Podli Idli

Dosa specials

Dosa specials

Dosa Specials

Dosa Specials

Madras Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hardboiled Eggs

I made deviled eggs yesterday and finally figured out how to hard boil them and make them easy to peel at the same time. The eggs also do not have a grey ring around the yolk, which is caused by overcooking. It takes about half an hour, but the results are worth it! This is a combination of two methods, both which are referenced below.

Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan and cover with enough water so that there’s 1 1/2 inches of water above the eggs. Heat on high until water begins to boil, then cover, turn the heat to low, and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and leave covered for 14 minutes

After the eggs have simmered, pour out the hot liquid, and shake the pan to crackle the shells. Next rinse it in cold water for about a minute. Leave the eggs in the cold bath for 15 minutes, enough time to allow the eggs to cool and the stinky sulfur inside the eggs to dissipate into the water. Peel the egg, under a stream of water if you prefer.

Read more at: Food Network’s deviled eggs

Also, here for tips on boiling the perfect egg.

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