Review: Golden Restaurant (Dim Sum)

One of the challenges of living in Ottawa is finding good Chinese food; for whatever reason, the Chinese food here is often mediocre at best – at least in comparison to Calgary.

Good dim sum is even harder to find. Unless you live in the vicinity of Chinatown, there are not that many options out there.

I was craving dim sum recently and so my wife and I decided to try out Golden Restaurant located in Barrhaven.

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Review: Dim Sum at Oriental Chu Shing Restaurant

It is always a great thing when family comes and visits, and what is even more great is to go together and share a meal at a place you’ve never tried.

As I mentioned previously, I love dim sum – I grew up on the cuisine and always try to seek out some good dim sum whenever I can. So when we planned to head down to Somerset again to show my parents around Chinatown, we were on the hunt for dim sum. The reviews online for Oriental Chu Shing Restaurant in Ottawa’s Chinatown is quite fair and so as we parked our car on a rainy Friday lunch, we made a quick decision between Yangtze on one side of Somerset and Chu Shing on the other.

A friend had mentioned to us when we first visited Ottawa months ago that these two restaurants were “the best” in the area and were often in competition with one another.

We could’ve been persuaded to try the other restaurant, but we opted to try out Chu Shing this time around.

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Review: Bolero’s

There is a type of barbecue cuisine that exceeds all others in terms of sheer quantity and breadth of meats that tantalize your taste buds and make you death-full: Brazilian BBQ.

There are two main Brazilian BBQ in Calgary, namely, Gaucho’s and Bolero’s, both are located minutes from each other on Macleod Trail South.

My wife and I have frequented Bolero’s twice now, the first time, I had forgotten to write-up a review and take photos, but this past Tuesday, I remembered to bring along my camera as we dove into the delightful meaty offerings at Bolero’s.

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Review: Paloma Mexican Restaurant

My wife and I love trying out different cuisines from different cultures and that led us one day to take a look through Urbanspoon and try to find an interesting restaurant to eat at.

One particular afternoon, we opted to try Mexican and chose to go to Paloma Mexican Restaurant located in the community of Whitehorn in the northeast of Calgary. That being said, some of you who are familiar with Calgary may be wary of traveling to the northeast of Calgary to venture to find edible delights due to its reputation for crime and the general ghettoization of the neighbourhoods in the northeast… but I have lived in the northeast of Calgary for the majority of my life and cannot imagine living anywhere else in Calgary.

My wife has always wanted to try “authentic” Mexican food and so we opted to try this restaurant due to its high ratings.
Paloma is located on the corner of 36th Street and Whitefield Drive N.E. and is in a small strip mall. It had recently taken over a small local pub/bar called “Coyotes” which was notorious in the neighbourhood.

We arrived at 5pm and found ourselves in a restaurant that was understaffed due to a Latin festival that was happening downtown and the restaurant had sent half of its staff to sell food at the vendors.

We were promptly seated and given a menu and it took us a while to figure out what to order simply because this is truly Mexican food! Sure there were tacos and enchiladas (which my wife ended up ordering) and tortillas, but there was also a whole host of other foods on the menu!

We started off with quesadillas for our appetizer and my wife ordered a pineapple soda (which she has desperately sought out for many years in Calgary since her travels to Central America) and the chicken enchiladas and I opted for the Menudo Colorado. Now a word of warning… I am a Vietnamese guy who loves food and when I see tripe, I rarely say no. Sometimes I liken myself to the Asian version of Anthony Zimmern (Bizarre Foods), only with hair.

These quesadillas were sooo good. We scarfed them down!

My wife’s enchiladas… she couldn’t finish them so I helped her devour them. =)

The menudo colorado… this is the stuff of legends and only legends can really stomach… did you catch the pun there? hehehe.

My wife loved her enchiladas and soda and I scarfed down my beef tripe soup.
The menudo colorado is an interesting soup, if I were to describe the flavour of the soup I would have to use the word… “tripey”. That is, you can taste what part of the animal you are particularly eating from this soup. It’s organy, it’s irony, it’s sorta got a neat hint of bowel, not enough to turn someone off of this dish but just enough to remind you what you are eating. What’s interesting with tripe is that typically, in East Asian cuisine, we marry the tripe flavour with ginger, green onions, and garlic as well as fish sauce and sometimes five star spice powder (depending on the treatment of the tripe) and so the tripe often is cooked and marinated in sauces and takes on a wonderful rich flavour of herbs and veggies… so when I actually had the first spoonful of the menudo colorado I was actually surprised that there was no preparation done to transform the flavour of the tripe and instead it is utilized as a characteristic of the soup itself!

We were both satisfied with our meal but I am not sure we would come back for Mexican food here because the pricing is a little bit on the higher end of things. If you’re looking for delicious and cheaper Mexican fare, I suggest checking out El Mariachis down on Macleod Trail South.

For more info, check out their website: http://www.palomamexicanrestaurant.ca

Reviews: Alberta King of Subs

Tucked in a corner of the Northeast of Calgary, Alberta King of Subs boasts a menu of submarines and Montreal smoked meat sandwiches which are fabulous!

If you’ve had smoked meat sandwiches in Montreal before, you know that it is absolutely amazing meat and it’s tough to find good smoked meat outside of Montreal. Alberta King of Subs (AKS) gets their smoked meat from Montreal rather than making their own smoked meat. The results are still the same as eating in a Montreal eatery though: YUM!

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Review: Rocky Mountain Bagel Co.

Growing up I was never a fan of bagels, to top it off, I was not a fan of cream cheese (or cheese for that matter). So in my mind, why spend money on a bagel and cream cheese when you dislike both items?

Fast forward to today. Now, I enjoy bagels, but they have to be fairly fresh and involve meat. Bagel and cream cheese? Um, no thanks… Bagel and meat? Please!

And so when we had a church staff and board retreat in last October in Canmore, Alberta, it was a pleasant surprise for us to drop in on a busy Sunday morning to grace the local establishment known as Rocky Mountain Bagel Company.

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Review: Aida’s

My wife and I had a double date with another couple at Aida’s Bistro (2208 4 Street Southwest, Calgary, AB) in the neighbourhood of Mission on New Year’s Eve.

I had never gone to the quaint bistro before but my wife had a number of years ago with her uncle and aunt. This is a beautiful little bistro with about fifteen tables and enough seating for anywhere between 30-50 people. It serves Lebanese cuisine and open at 5pm for dinner (I don’t recall if they were open for lunch).

Aida’s is a hidden little restaurant on the main strip on 4th as it is wedged between two fairly large restaurants and is difficult to find as you are driving by. The signage is hard to see and the restaurant is so small, that you would miss it if you glanced by it. So park your car and walk down the street to find it!

Regarding Middle Eastern food, I am not a fan of hummus and my wife knew that as she was planning our dinner date and was worried that I would not enjoy the meal, but I have to report that I absolutely loved our dining experience at Aida’s.

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