The Fine Diner

I was in search of brunch with little to no lineups. It’s quite a feat in Calgary to avoid weekend brunch lineups. Which brought me, to the Fine Diner in Inglewood. The restaurant was full when we arrived. We were third in line; the estimated wait was 15-20 minutes. They took my mobile number and would text me when a table became available. No sooner then did we cross the street, I received the text. It turned out the the party ahead of us didn’t show up for their reservation. We were seated in separate dining area in the back of the restaurant. It was nice that they had an overflow area. It was quiet, with just a few tables.

Hubby ordered the croque madame and I had the stuffed french toast. Hubby really enjoyed his dish. It came with a side of fruit and roasted potatoes. Both of the dishes used house made brioche which was delicious. The french toast was stuffed with orange marmalade and cream cheese. I found the first half delightful, but was wanting some relief from the sweetness by the time I finished. It was served with caramel sauce and whipped cream. The only knack was that our meal took a little longer to arrive, and the kitchen apologized for the wait.

We enjoyed our dining experience and we will be returning.

STUFFED FRENCH TOAST House baked brioche stuffed with our kitchen team's latest creation

STUFFED FRENCH TOAST
House baked brioche stuffed with our kitchen team’s latest creation

CROQUE MADAME Home made brioche stuffed with gruyère & bacon. Topped with a poached egg. Served on creamy mornay sauce

CROQUE MADAME
Home made brioche stuffed with gruyère & bacon. Topped with a poached egg. Served on creamy mornay sauce

The Fine Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Lake House

I’ve always enjoyed the food from CRMR and was less than happy when they vacated The Ranche. I finally made it to The Lake House where they have set up shop.  I really wanted to see the view of the lake, but having dinner in late fall means none of that.  The dining room is decorated in Rocky Mountain style, complete with the antler chandeliers. The dining room has a nice, romantic ambience, complete with a wood burning fireplace.

Back to the food. The charcuterie platter was my favorite at The Ranche. They have reincarnated here, complete with the pickled melon which I adore. The half platter was more than enough for the three of us. I had the black cod for my entree. It was done to a turn, fork tender and full of flavor. The shiitake mushroom and bean stew lent an earthy flavour to the dish. The raspberry tiramisu was a light and refreshing finish to the meal.

The service was good; attentive, but not intrusive. The next time I come back, it will be during the day when I can take in the view.

Rocky Mountain Charcuterie Platter A Selection of Regionally & House Made Charcuterie, House Made Accompaniments & Pumpernickel Bread

Rocky Mountain Charcuterie Platter
A Selection of Regionally & House Made Charcuterie, House Made Accompaniments & Pumpernickel Bread

Pan Seared Black Cod Calypso Bean & Shitake Stew, Salt & Pepper Cuttlefish, Miso Butter, Yuzu Gastrique

Pan Seared Black Cod
Calypso Bean & Shitake Stew, Salt & Pepper Cuttlefish, Miso Butter, Yuzu Gastrique

Raspberry Tiramisu Mascarpone Cream, Mandarin Coulis, Pistachio Dust

Raspberry Tiramisu
Mascarpone Cream, Mandarin Coulis, Pistachio Dust

The Lake House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

A Visit to the Hospital

As a foodie,  I blog about everything food related. Including the good and not so good.  I had a hospital stay for about a week back in January due to my new arrivals. Here is a recollection of what I ate.

The food was Ok. My first meal was lunch which was basically my first solid food in over 24 hours. Tasty when one is starving.

But let’s get back to breakfast.  I could choose my menu some days, when the sheet came around. Just the basics. Toast, egg, usually scrambled,  some kind of fruit, yogurt, milk and juice. Occasional muffin, pastry or hot cereal. Good enough for me. I’m not usually a milk drinker but I did during my stay because I was always hungry.

Apparently they had a small kitchen full of snacks which mostly consisted of peanut butter toast, yogurt and juice. Apparently, as I never made it there; I only asked the nurses for the above items.

The lunches were usually sandwiches with a salad, vegetable or soup. The sandwiches look like they might have been prepared in house.  For dinner, there was always a hot entree. I was pleasantly surprised one night when I got a cabbage roll. I’m not really into the idea of having my meal produced in say, Ontario, freezing it and shipping it here  to be rewarmed as typical in some healthcare settings. This is known as rethermalizing. I was tired of the obviously thawed from frozen peas, corn, carrots and beans, but hey, this is a hospital not a fine dining establishment.

It wasn’t a horrible experience, except for what happened below in the next paragraph. I’ve had airplane food, although not recently and I can say that it is still better than hospital food. I did supplement my diet with fresh fruit from home and some oat bars from Fraiche Desserts. But I can see how if one were used to more culturally diverse foods how one would encourage their family to bring in what they prefer to eat.

My last dinner was clear liquids, thanks to a bout of ileus. I was so hungry and looking forward to some food.  The real (as opposed to plastic) knife and fork that came with it was an additional insult. Thank goodness it resolved by next morning so I could have real food for breakfast.

I wonder what would happen if they let patients order from say, Skip the Dishes? Of course keeping in mind dietary restrictions.

 

Menu 1

Menu 1

Menu 2

Menu 2

Breakfast - Orange cranberry pop tart, toast with peanut butter and jam, hard boiled egg, apple slices, milk and apple juice

Breakfast
Orange cranberry pop tart, toast with peanut butter and jam, yogurt, hard boiled egg, apple slices, milk and apple juice

Breakfast Scrambled egg, toast, bran muffin, mandarin orange, milk and apple juice

Breakfast
Scrambled egg, toast, bran muffin, yogurt, mandarin orange, milk and apple juice

Breakfast Toast wit jam and honey, scrambled egg, cream of wheat, yogurt, mandarin orange and apple juice

Breakfast
Toast wit jam and honey, scrambled egg, cream of wheat, yogurt, mandarin orange and apple juice

Breakfast Scrambled egg, toast, yogurt, apple slices, oatmeal, milk and coffee

Breakfast
Scrambled egg, toast with peanut butter and jam, yogurt, apple slices, oatmeal, milk and coffee

Lunch Deli meat sandwich, beef stew with rice, roll with butter, milk, apple juice, fruit cup and rice pudding

Lunch
Deli meat sandwich, beef stew with rice, roll with butter, milk, apple juice, fruit cup and rice pudding

Lunch Chicken sandwich with side salad, green beans, can, cantaloupe, vegetable soup, milk and tea

Lunch
Chicken sandwich with side salad, green beans, carrots, consomme, milk and tea

Lunch Chicken sandwich with cucumber, peas, butternut squash soup, milk,orange juice and rice pudding

Lunch
Chicken sandwich with cucumber, peas, butternut squash soup, milk,orange juice and rice pudding

Dinner Cabbage roll with mashed potatoes, carrots, peas, corn, fruit cup and tea

Dinner
Cabbage roll with mashed potatoes, carrots, peas, corn, fruit cup and tea

Dinner Poached salmon with green beans, peas, carrots, carrot sticks, berry crumble and milk

Dinner
Poached salmon with green beans, peas, carrots, carrot sticks, berry crumble and milk

Liquids for Dinner Tea, fruit juice and consomme

Clear Liquids for Dinner
Tea, fruit juice and consomme

Pfanntastic Pannenkoek Haus

I went to the Pfanntastic Pannenkoek Haus for brunch a while ago, it has taken me this long to follow with the post. When we arrived, it was a Saturday around lunchtime. As expected, the place was fairly busy. I ordered the herb butter pannenkoeken. It made for a substantial meal. The side salad was a nice fresh accompaniment to the substantial pannenkoeken. Hubby preferred mine over his Mediterranean.

The icing on the cake (literally!) was the Black Forest pannenkoeken. It was big enough for three or four people to share, after the main meal. It came with a cupful of liquor in a chocolate cup! Good thing I was driving home, as hubby had it all to himself. It was definitely a chocolate and cherry lovers dream. Need to go back…

Kruidenboter (Herb butter) Ham, mushroom, onion and cheese served with a herb butter patty and a small house salad on top

Kruidenboter (Herb butter)
Ham, mushroom, onion and cheese served with a herb
butter patty and a small house salad on top

Mediterrian (Mediterranean) Chicken, spinach, olives, feta cheese, house blend cheese, garnished with fresh tomatoes and red onions

Mediterrian (Mediterranean)
Chicken, spinach, olives, feta cheese, house blend
cheese, garnished with fresh tomatoes and red onions

Zwarte Woud (Black Forest) Warm cherries, ice cream, whipped cream, Kirschwasser in a chocolate cup and chocolate sauce

Zwarte Woud (Black Forest)
Warm cherries, ice cream, whipped cream,
Kirschwasser in a chocolate cup and chocolate sauce

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Pie Cloud

Continuing on my tour of new places in Kensington, I stumbled upon Pie Cloud. I love pie. All my dreams have come true; I can now take out fresh pie whenever I want! I decided to try their luscious lime pie. It’s sub-lime, if you know what I mean? Everything is made fresh daily, right down to the freshly squeezed lime juice. The velvety filling is layered on a crispy gingersnap crust. Topped with pillowy whipped cream and freshly grated lime zest. Heaven in a pie tin – they even customize their tins!

Better get there quick, the luscious lime is their most popular and I got the last one of the day.

They also serve breakfast and savoury pies as well. On my to try list is their apple pie milkshake.

Luscious Lime Pie

Luscious Lime Pie

Luscious Lime Pie

Luscious Lime Pie

Custom pie tin

Custom pie tin

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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

The Block Kitchen and Lounge

Looking for dinner one night, hubby, MIL and I went to The Block Kitchen and Lounge. It’s located on a section of 4th St. NW somewhat known for its turnover in restaurants. I would say it has the potential to become a nice neighborhood restaurant. We went early on a Sunday night, as expected the place was just about empty.

We ordered appetizers to share. The charcuterie was tasty. There were homemade bread and butter pickles and lap cheung. It also came with date jam,  honeycomb,  grainy mustard, cured meat and bread. We also had the sweet potato perogies. They tasted hearty and delicious.

I had the lobster pot pie which stayed steaming hot throughout my meal. Hubby enjoyed his steak and hubby’s mum, her burger.

Dessert was lovely. I had a rich butterscotch pie and Hubby the s’ mores crème brulee.

The service was a bit slow to start, but we mentioned we were in a hurry as we had a sitter at home. Our serv was appropriately quickened. Our server was nice and friendly.

Menu

Menu

THE “BLOCK” CHARCUTERIE cured meats, artisanal cheeses, pickled vegetables (for two)

THE “BLOCK” CHARCUTERIE
cured meats, artisanal cheeses, pickled vegetables (for two)

SWEET POTATO PEROGIES double smoked bacon, crème fraiche, fried sage, brown butter, gruyère

SWEET POTATO PEROGIES
double smoked bacon, crème fraiche, fried sage, brown butter, gruyère

LOBSTER POT PIE poached lobster, atlantic cod, peas, shellfish gravy, house salad

LOBSTER POT PIE
poached lobster, atlantic cod, peas, shellfish gravy, house salad

BUTTERSCOTCH PIE toffee crumble

BUTTERSCOTCH PIE
toffee crumble

Click to add a blog post for The Block Kitchen and Lounge on Zomato

Chinese Stuffed Eggplant (Yeung Nhi Gwa)

I’ve always wondered how to make this delicious recipe that is served at dim sum. Here is my take on my Mom’s recipe.

2                              Japanese eggplants

1¼ lbs                    fish paste

1/4 C                     Cornstarch

1                              green onion

Oil for frying

Slice the eggplant diagonally, about an inch thick. Then again in the middle, but not all the way to the edge. Smear inside of eggplant with cornstarch. Stuff with 1 tbs of fish paste. Finely chop green onion and set aside. Heat oil in a frying pan to cover ½ inch on the bottom. Brush eggplant with oil and fry until golden.

Gravy

200 ml                   water

2 tbs                      cornstarch

1 tsp                      soy sauce

1 tsp                      oyster sauce

¼ tsp                     sugar

¼ tsp                     salt

Combine all ingredients, mix well. Cook over medium low heat until mixture thickens. Pour over eggplant. Garnish with green onion.

The ingredients

The ingredients

Stuffed and ready to go

Stuffed and ready to go

Pan frying works pretty well

Pan frying works pretty well

Making the gravy

Making the gravy

Ready for the sauce

Ready for the sauce

All finished!

All finished!

303 Fusion Kitchen

I had a chance to go out with my family for lunch. Five of us went to 303 Fusion Kitchen. I’ve always been interested in trying the few Taiwanese restaurants in town. This one caught my attention as a friend seems to visit frequently. Chinese food isn’t just one thing; there are many different areas in China with a subculture. Taiwan is one of them. My parents had visited Taiwan long ago, and still hold fast to memories of being there.

First up was the yam fries. For the sauce, a plum sauce from Taiwan was used. Crsip and sweet, the sauce went with the fries quite well. Next came the calamari, equally crisp and with a nice change up: tentacles instead of rings.

I wondered what the crystal dumplings were. They were pork and ginger potstickers pan fried in a flour paste to make the bottoms look extra crisp.

The oyster pancake was soft and fluffy with a rich gravy over top. Mom recalled that the oyster pancakes in Taiwan weren’t sauced, so this must be the fusion aspect.

The fried tofu with salted pork was really nice. I love how tofu can be accented with the taste of anything. The pork belly rice was full of flavour too.

All of the above were their specials. Next time I come back, I’ll have to try the beef noodle soup.

image

Sweet Yam Fries with Plum Spice

 

image

Calamari

 

image

Crystal Dumplings

 

image

Oyster Pancake

 

image

Pork Belly Rice

 

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Mongolian Style Beef

Tofu with Salted Pork

Tofu with Salted Pork

 

303 Fusion Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Chinese New Year’s Eve Dinner

Chinese New Year was last month. It’s been a long time since I sat down to dinner cooked by my Mom. We always have had a special meal such as this on new year’s eve. The dishes often have a connection with Chinese traditions.

We started with a cream style corn egg drop soup. Not traditional, but it was easy.  Then we had stir fry BBQ pork with assorted vegetables. In Cantonese, it’s called yew gor yuk ding.  Roughly translated as cashews with diced meat cubes and vegetables.

The next dish is similar to shiitake mushroom with dried oyster and seaweed dish. This version has king mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms and bok choy. Traditionally it contains dried oysters and seaweed. In Cantonese, it’s called ho see fat choy. Ho see sounds like prosperous and fat choy sounds like hair and means healthy.

The last dish is a chicken, ham, and broccoli dish. It is called kum wah yuk shi kai.  Kum sounds like gold in CantoneseKum wah (jinhua) is also a famous ham in China. Yuk shi means jade. Kai is chicken. It’s a homestyle Cantonese dish.

Oh and white rice, which we had, but not in the photos. In Cantonese, everything is about how it sounds and what it resembles.

Thanks Mom, for the food and the memories!

Cream style corn soup

Cream style corn soup

Chicken and cashews with assorted vegetables

Chicken and cashews with assorted vegetables

Mushroom and bok choy

Mushroom and bok choy

Chicken and ham with broccoli

Chicken and ham with broccoli

Chinese New Year's Eve Dinner

Chinese New Year’s Eve Dinner