The Common – Downtown Dining Week

Hi food friends!

This week (March 13-22, 2015) is the 12th annual Downtown Dining Week. Several downtown restaurants participate in this 10 day event and present multi course special menus at set prices.  Two-course lunches for $15, three-course dinners for $28 or an Executive dinner for $48. It’s a great way to try a restaurant that maybe you haven’t had a chance to before. 

I dove right in at the first possible chance and went for lunch on Friday with a friend from work. We decided to tried The Common, a gastro-lounge that boasts a scratch made kitchen taking pub and comfort foods and putting modern twists on them.  



The Downtown Dining  Week lunch menu offers a salad as the starter. It had roasted apples, mushrooms, blue cheese, pecans, brussel sprouts and a mix of greens. It was quite tasty and I liked the mix of warm apples and brussel sprouts with the crisp greens. 



They have 2 options for your main course, pork meatballs with gnocchi carbonara or a tandoori nada sandwich with rocket (arugula), avocado, sweet ginger and olives. We got 1 of each and shared. 

The gnocchi was wonderfully light and fluffy, the carbonara sauce was rich and flavourful with big bits of bacon. The meatballs were moist enough and topped with a little Parmesan cheese for some flavour. 



The sandwich was also quite good. The basa was cooked just perfect! Crunchy on the outside but perfectly moist on the inside! Since this was supposed to be a tandoori fish I did expected a little more flavour. Now I know that a tandoor is a type of oven or cooking method traditionally, however when the menu states tandoori I usually expect the tastes of masala, garlic, ginger and cumin. Nonetheless the sandwich was tasty. The olives added a nice salty flavour but wasn’t overpowering and the bun was really fresh. The sandwich also came with a side; options were salad, fries or soup. Since we had a salad as a start we decide on soup. Which was a tomato veggie soup and was also very good. 





Well I hope you will take this opportunity to go and try some new-to-you places and we couldn’t have asked for better weather for a chance to check out the city’s downtown core. 

Thanks and until next time, enjoy your adventures!

Kyra 

🙂

The Common on Urbanspoon

Farm – Calgary Restaurant Review

Hi there food pals!

On our way back from Banff a couple weeks ago we stopped in Calgary to have some lunch with our good friends Mike and Amber (shoutout!). They took us to Farm on 17 Ave (from what I gather this is Calgary’s equivalent of Whyte Ave).

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Their idea is food inspired by our beautiful province. Since we were there on Sunday we got their brunch menu. The brunch menu is fairly small, consisting of only 7 items and a special. I like when places keep their menu small; keep it small and do it right.
I ordered the special which was a porchetta benedict which had an olive tapenade spread on the halved English muffin, smoky porchetta, 2 poached eggs and a grainy mustard hollandaise sauce served with a fresh salad on the side (I don’t recall how much this was but I think it was around the $15 mark). The eggs were beautifully poached! Runny yolks mixed with the tangy creamy hollandaise sauce which was easily mopped up with the yummy English muffin which I would bet money on that it was also fresh. The olive tapenade sounds like a strange component for a benedict but it went wonderfully with the smoky pancetta. This dish was delicious and I scrapped my plate clean!

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Ward ordered the French toast which was what they call a ‘french toast casserole’ topped with maple syrup and cinnamon whip and had seasonal compote on the side and 4 slices of bacon ($15). This was so good too. The ‘French toast’ was like a slice of cake and was moist and flavourful, the whip and the syrup were perfectly paired.

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I really enjoyed this restaurant and would like to go back one day to see what kind of offerings they have for other meals.

Thanks and until next time, enjoy your adventures!
Kyra

Farm on Urbanspoon

Banff Burger Showdown – Banff Ave Brewing Co & Saltlik Restaurant Review

Hi friends!

Last weekend we were in Banff for my company Christmas party (I know awesome right?) and we decided to check out a couple places that had been featured on Burger Wars Banff. Both were decent burgers but there was one clear winner.

Our first night we went to the Banff Ave Brewing Co.. They have 2 other locations, one in Jasper (the original) and one in Fort McMurray. When we arrived we were seated right away. The place was relatively busy but not overly so. Our waitress came over and let us know that they had 2 seasonal beers available which we both opted out of and went with something off the menu. I had a pint of the Banff Ave Blonde Ale ($7) and Ward had the Brewer’s Oar Cream Ale ($7). Both were good. Mine was light and refreshing and Ward’s had a nice creaminess and was a bit heavier but not too heavy.

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After our drinks arrived we ordered our food. I got the Brew Pub Drive-In Classic (featured on Burger Wars) which had 100% Alberta beef, lettuce, (hold the tomato), onion, pickle, Dijon, mayo ($14) and I added smoked cheddar (+$2) all on a garlic buttered brioche bun and it came with skinny fries. The burger had good flavour but the meat was a little on the dry side. The mayo and Dijon were a nice touch as was the toasted garlic butter bun. The fries were a bit over cooked but they came with a side of Sriracha mayo that helped them out a bit. Over all a decent burger and meal.

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Ward ordered the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich which had the choice of grilled or crispy chicken breast (he went with crispy) then topped with Frank’s red hot, smoked cheddar, bacon, lettuce, tomato, blue cheese dressing on a mini French loaf served with skinny fries and Sriracha mayo ($16). He said it was very spicy and the sandwich was huge! He didn’t finish the whole thing. I didn’t have a bite since it had tomatoes on it.

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The following day we decided to go to the Saltlik for lunch. They are tucked away off of Banff Ave but have a cute mountain cabin looking exterior. They also have a location in Calgary.

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Since it was mid afternoon the place wasn’t busy at all, just a few people having a late lunch or early drinks. The burger that was featured, and won, on Burger Wars was the Royale with Cheese. Ward went ahead and ordered it. This burger was Kobe beef topped with aged cheddar, bacon, lettuce, (hold the tomato), onion, pickle, garlic aioli on a brioche bun, served with skinny fries ($18.50). This burger was so good! So moist it was dripping on the plate, lots of flavour, and that garlic aioli was just right! The fries were also really good, well seasoned with salt and pepper and just the right crisp.

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Since Ward was ordering the Royale with Cheese I decided to go with something different and got the Wolly Bully Burger. This had a bison and pork patty, 2 panko crusted onion rings, emmental cheese, arugula, truffle aioli on a sourdough bun served with skinny fries ($18). The flavour of the burger was nice and it was a big burger but it was a little dry and the arugula didn’t stand up to the heat of the patty and became wilted. I was sad that I hadn’t ordered the Royale as well.

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So the clear winner here was the Royale with Cheese! Next time I’m in Banff I will make sure to go back and get my own so I’m not just stealing bites of Ward’s.

Thanks and until next time, enjoy your adventures!
Kyra 🙂

Banff Ave Brewing Co. on Urbanspoon
Saltlik on Urbanspoon

Boualouang – Restaurant Review

Hi again!

So as I’ve stated before I enjoy many different cuisines and Thai is one of my top favorites. This might seem odd since I don’t like really spicy food but I enjoy a good mild curry or some tasty pad thai that doesn’t set your mouth on fire.

I visited Boualoung a couple weeks ago with some friends. There are 2 locations in Edmonton, one in McCauley and one in Northeast Edmonton. We went to the Northeast location. It was my first visit there but my friends had been there multiple times and claimed they had the best yellow curry in the city. I had also heard good things about their pad thai so I was torn on my choice of what to order. Others at the table were getting the pad thai and offered for me to taste it so I decided on the curry.
I also ordered a small bowl of tom yum with chicken to start. I asked how spicy it was and was warned that it was pretty spicy. I decided to take my chances since I liked the sound of the other flavours in the soup which included lemongrass. When my soup arrived everyone wanted a taste so I passed my bowl around and let everyone take a spoonful. It was very flavourful but it was really spicy as well! I had about a quarter of the bowl before my mouth couldn’t handle any more. ($6)

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One of my friends ordered Gold Bags as his starter. These are little fried purses of crab and cream cheese in wonton wrappers and were served with a dipping sauce. ($10)

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Our other food arrived shortly after. The yellow curry (Gaeng-Ga-Lee) was very good, It had a good coconut creamy sauce and lots of chicken, potatoes, carrots, peppers and jalapeños. I thought the jalapeños were an interesting addition, at first they look like peppers but then suddenly theres a kick of heat in your mouth. Personally I could have done without them in there but they weren’t terrible. The potatoes in the dish had a flavour that they were roasted on their own before being added to the curry, it added a really nice touch. ($17) It doesn’t come with rice so you have to order that seperatly. I got the regular steamed rice ($2) but there is also the option of sticky rice and coconut rice.

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As promised my friends gave me some of their pad Thai to try and it was really good too. Not greasy like I’ve had at some other places. And the heat was just enough to tingle your tastebuds but not so much that you wouldn’t be able to enjoy a whole plate of it.

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Over all I quite enjoyed Boualouang and will gladly go back in the future!

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Thanks and until next time, enjoy your adventures!
Kyra

Boualouang Laos & Thai Cuisine on Urbanspoon