Tuesday, 28 August 2012

The Grizzly Paw: Steak, Salmon, Pizza, Quesadilla

After a long day in the car (I was just the passenger) we finally sat down to dinner in Canmore, Alberta. Whenever my family and I are in a new city and we don't know what to eat, we choose the restaurant with the most people and hope that is an indication of its food quality.

This time we stumbled upon The Grizzly Paw which had a full patio and we were seated at an indoor table on the second level. We were next to the window facing beautiful mountains which were everywhere in the Rockies.

Steak Sandwich: 6 oz NY grilled steak on a garlic toast
There was a choice of fries, caesar/house salad or both which I found convenient because sometimes I just want fries AND salad! The steak was ordered medium-rare but came practically well-done.

BBQ Chicken Quesadilla: sliced chicken, BBQ sauce, tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, cheese
The quesadilla came hot and every bite was juicy but the one at On the Border was better. The slices were cut too large so the fillings began falling out when you lift to take a bite making it a messier meal than necessary. Otherwise, it was a good quesadilla (although not authentic Mexican).

Canmore's Meat Deluxe Pizza: black forest ham, chorizo sausage, salami, bacon
The 9" pizza came very hot as well which was appreciated. The crust is made with organic flatbread from The Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company which made the pizza crust slightly soft, doughy and chewy. It was a fine pizza but for personal preference I like thin crust crispy pizza crusts more.

Grilled Salmon Sandwich: salmon filet, Kaiser bun, mayo, lettuce, tomato, onion
House salad: garden greens, beets, carrots, eggs, cheese
I enjoyed the salmon with its grilled smoky flavour although it was a tad overcooked. The house salad was delicious with the mix of ingredients and the dressing seemed to have a hint of beer (just a guess) since The Grizzly Paw has a brewery.

Overall, it was satisfying comfort food after a long day's drive from British Columbia to Alberta.

The Grizzly Paw on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Donburiya + Bon Crepe: Japanese Snacking on Robson amongst Zombies

Yesterday Robson Street was crowded with bloody, ripped clothed people and it wasn't even Halloween! I accidently stepped on a bloody ear while crossing the street. Later I found out that it was the Zombiewalk.

We stopped by two Japanese places for snacks while on Robson. The Donburiya menu with the picture of takoyaki caught our eye so we went in. A friendly Japanese girl greeted us behind the cash register and we ordered our food then sat down. It is a self serve restaurant.

Takoyaki was $6.25 for 10 which is a better deal than the night market. Most importantly we could sit comfortably to eat unlike at the night market where you have to eat amongst the crowds of people in the food aisles.

The takoyaki came almost hot with plenty of mayo and sauce on top. Each one had little cubes of squid and warm batter. The only thing missing were the bonito flakes that are fun to watch "move"!

For dessert we went to Bon Crepe and ordered the Banana Chocolate Whipped cream crepe. They were so good! There were thin banana slices and the whipped cream was thick enough so it did not melt immediately from the heat of the crepe. I had crepes twice in Quebec but I prefer Japanese crepes better. I want to try the savoury crepes from Bon Crepe next time.

Donburiya on Urbanspoon

Bon Crepe on Urbanspoon


Empire Chinese Cuisine: Sponge Cake & Dumplings

This past weekend we went to Empire Chinese Cuisine which was pretty crowded because they offered complimentary tea and 20% off for early bird dim sum.

The four of us shared 6 dishes of dim sum and were comfortably full.

Peanut & pork rib congee
Steamed squid paste chicken patty with rice
 I suppose black truffle is supposed to be very fragrant but it did not enhance these dumplings. They just tasted like average vegetarian mushroom dumplings.

Black truffle mushroom dumplings

Vegetable pork dumplings

Steamed bean curd pork roll

Steamed custard sponge cake
Overall the food was all right with the exception of the sponge cake. Usually they are steamed into one loaf instead of divided into layers like at Empire so that it is very fluffy and soft. However, this cake was too solid to be considered a spongey texture.

Empire Chinese Cuisine 金粵軒海鮮酒家 on Urbanspoon


Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Beijing Noodle House: Dumplings & Beef Rolls

We went to Beijing Noodle House for lunch to find that they did some renovations. The partial open kitchen is now closed off with a solid wall which was repainted a purple colour. The noise level was significantly lower than before with the kitchen closed off from the dining area.

For the three of us we ordered three items to share: beef roll, Beijing dumplings, and lamb in noodle soup.

The beef roll had thin slices of beef and lettuce wrapped in Chinese pancake. I liked that they added lettuce to make the dish less filling but I think it would've tasted even better if it came hot.

Beef roll
The Beijing dumplings had a pork filling and was served in a broth with seaweed and green onions. The skin of the dumplings was very smooth which is why I enjoy handmade dumplings as opposed to machine pressed ones. There were 12 dumplings in the bowl.

Beijing dumplings
There was a strong game smell when the lamb noodle soup was placed at our table but it did not transfer to the taste. The broth was heavily flavoured served with hearty, thick noodles and slices of lamb (like the kind in hotpot). This is the type of noodle I would choose for hot comfort food in the winter.

Lamb in noodle soup
Overall, Beijing Noodle House has quick service and reasonable prices that continue to attract local customers. Note that they accept cash only.

Beijing Noodle House 北京麵館 on Urbanspoon


Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Lemongrass: Dusty but yummy submarines

I went to Walmart today and probably overbought line paper because they were only 17 cents for a 150 page pack! They're only ever this inexpensive and in stock around this time of year.

Back from shopping at Queensborough Landing we went to eat at a Vietnamese restaurant called Green Lemongrass. There's a patio out front which would be ideal on a summer day if not for the noisy and exhaust filled road it faced.

The front door is actually on the side where the parking spots are.

Honestly I think the decor of this restaurant looks better in photographs than in real life. As I was waiting for the food to arrive I couldn't help noticing the smaller details, or maybe I'm just being picky but these things certainly did not help with my appetite. For example, I sat next to a bike decorating piece and it was extremely dusty with some cobwebs. As shown in the photo, this dusty piece was directly above the condiments and utensils area. There were also a few flies swarming around empty tables which is understandable since the doors to the patio were open.

Bike piece which looks less dusty than in real life

Cleanliness aside, I have to say that I liked the food here. We ordered a large house special pho noodle, beef submarine sandwich, and shrimp Viet spring rolls.

The rice paper on the spring rolls were still slightly warm when the dish arrived. Inside were vermicelli noodles wrapped with thin pork slices, lettuce, and shrimp. Hoisin sauce was served on the side for dipping. I liked how appropriate these fresh rolls were for a warmer summer day.

Spring rolls
 The large pho bowl was very large indeed but it was mostly filled with noodles. The broth smelled pleasant as it came steaming hot to our table. The house pho had a little bit of everything including beef balls, beef slices, and beef tendons. This wasn't the best pho I've ever had but it still tasted good.

Beef pho noodles
 I've tried the chicken sub sandwich from Lemongrass before so this time I opted for beef. I have to say that I prefer chicken better because it is more juicy. However, this beef sub was still solid. It was about the size of a Subway foot long with a crunchy baguette bun and sliced beef, carrot, and cucumber. The sub lacked the sour white radish which I prefer in my Viet subs.

Beef submarine
 If you have a Qooway card you can get 10% off here!

Green Lemongrass 香茅屋 on Urbanspoon


Monday, 6 August 2012

Sea Harbour Seafood: What the Yam?

First authentic Chinese meal in five weeks! I guess it seemed appropriate to start with classic dim sum in the morning. We went to the new location of Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant at RiverRock Casino. Some people at the table next to ours was confused about the restaurant designated parking and thought they could park anywhere in the lot. Sea Harbour only provides parking at the very top on the 7th floor but it was sufficient parking compared to the old location.

The dim sum sheet was mostly in Chinese without English descriptions which I found weird considering the restaurant is located next to a hotel so the menu should be more tourist friendly.

BBQ Pork Bun
Beef ball congee
Fish paste rice noodle roll
I wanted to try this chicken wing to compare to Top Gun's and it was a disappointment.When the server put her scissors to the wings to cut them I knew they would not be as good because the skin did not have a crunch sound. There was less sticky rice and the skin was simply oily instead of crispy like Top Gun's.

Sticky rice stuffed chicken wings
Marinated duck
Egg tart
The purple yam & cheese dessert sounded interesting on the menu but after tasting I would describe it as unnecessary. The texture and taste was exactly like how a yam would taste simply baked. The yellow substance was the only source of cheese found in the dessert and I'm not sure it could even be considered dessert because it wasn't sweet at all. All this effort to make this yam cake seemed unnecessary to me when it is no different from a baked yam in tin foil.

Purple yam and cheese dessert
In general the food and ambiance of Sea Harbour is good but I had higher expectations due to its well known name, hence the comments about the dishes above. With the competition of many dim sum restaurants around Richmond, the same quality food can be found elsewhere for a lower price point than Sea Harbour.

Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant 海港大酒樓  on Urbanspoon