Restaurant Review: Two Penny

>> Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Now that it’s November I feel like Christmas is in full swing and I don’t think I’m quite ready for it yet. Don’t get me wrong, I love everything about Christmas but admitting that its’ just around the corner means that 2017 is officially coming to an end. 2017 was an amazing year and I don’t think I’m ready to close that chapter. Luckily for me I got to add a bit more excitement to 2017 by attending a dinner tasting of the new highly anticipated Two Penny restaurant that opened on 1st street.

Atmosphere: Beautiful chic interior with an amazing vibe perfect for grabbing a drink with a quick bite or indulging in the full menu experience.

Price Range: Mid $10s - $30+

Food & Drinks: We were truly treated to an amazing meal where we got to sample a fair amount of the menu. Needless to say, we were extremely full but happy at the end of it all! Since there is so much to cover I’ll just provide the highlights as much as I can even though I want to talk about every dish in detail. Off the Snacks portion of the menu we tried the Baked Oysters, Sichuan Cold Chicken and Black Mushroom Salad. The standout for me was the Baked Oysters with black bean mayo, chili breadcrumbs. They were quite unique and the creaminess actually worked well with the oysters rather than overpower them.

Next was the Dumplings with the infamous Xiao Long Bao (XLB), Shrimp Wontons with chili garlic soy sauce and Chinese Cabbage Potstickers with chive and egg. I thought they were all good choices, the XLBs were soupy and the potstickers were crispy while the wontons were nice and spicy.

From the Chef Specialities we had the spicy Cumin Lamb Ribs, Mapo Tofu and Beef and Broccoli dish. The ribs would be perfect with an ice-cold beer, while the tofu and the beef reminded me of homemade comfort food. Something I could find in my parent’s kitchen. The tofu dish was flavourful and zingy with the addition of Szechuan peppercorns, while the wagyu beef was tender and literally melting in the mouth.

If that wasn’t enough food already, we were treated to their Roast Half Duck served with milk buns, in house made hoisin sauce, cucumber and scallions a la peking duck style. I love peking duck so I was all for this dish, but I did miss the traditional wraps possibly because I really enjoy the chew that the wraps provide which the buns didn’t provide. Don’t get me wrong though, I do love me a good fluffy bun, but there's just something special about the wraps.

Dishes just like the Smoke Mushrooms, Wok Fried Mixed Vegetables and the Special Fried Rice with shrimp, duck, pork, egg and bone marrow (which is to be mixed in tableside). I really enjoyed the smoked mushrooms, again a different take on a simple ingredient which really allowed it to shine. The mixing of the bone marrow in to the fried rice was also interesting definitely not what you’d except in your fried rice.

Although it was quite a full menu, we just couldn’t refuse the dessert. Starting with the Taro Wafer Chestnut Cake to Coffee and Doughnuts with Vietnamese coffee ice cream and ending with Portuguese Egg Tarts. My favorite of the three was definitely the play on coffee and doughnuts, the doughnuts themselves are traditionally eaten for breakfast in a savoury style, but here Two Penny chefs have dusted them with powdered sugar added ice cream and the works to make this a stand out dessert.

To accompany their amazing food selections are some delicious cocktails and you have to try them. With names like the Appletini 2017, 3 years in the making, how could you resist? I went with the Cocktail #7 made with gin, rice wine, strawberry, chili, thai basil and lemon. Light and refreshing, its perfect for gin lovers everywhere.

My Pick(s): Baked Oysters, Chinese Cabbage Potstickers, Smoked Mushrooms

Overall: Although we are approaching December and 2017 will eventually come to a close, I’m glad that there are all these great new places that have opened up this year so we can continue devour delectable dishes regardless of the time of year. Two Penny has definitely hit its mark serving a more traditional style of Chinese dishes albeit for a bit higher of a price point than what I’m used to at Asian restaurants, but you are also paying for the surrounding and atmosphere which are definitely outstanding. Here’s to continuing the celebration with delicious food and amazing drinks all year long!

Two Penny Chinese
1213 1 Street SW
Calgary, AB
(403) 474-7766

Two Penny Chinese Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Restaurant Review: NOtaBLE

>> Tuesday, October 31, 2017

October has been a crazy month for us. My son, my mom and dad were all in various stages of illness. So needless to say it was hectic trying to accommodate everyone’s doctor and hospital visits. It just felt like a never ending train of issues. So it was amazing to be able to get out one night and be able to enjoy ourselves at Notables, a nice little oasis in all the madness happening around us.

Atmosphere: Cozy restaurant setting with a family friendly atmosphere. Perfect for a dinner date or a delicious meal with friends and family.

Price Range: Mid $10s - $30+

Food & Wine: Even before we ordered I knew I wanted something from the Rotisserie. If you haven’t heard of Notable’s rotisserie then you’re definitely missing out! They are known for their “Happy Chickens” which are slow roasted on their wood fired grill. If you don’t have time to dine in, you’re in luck! The rotisserie chickens are available for take out, so be sure to check it out! Since it was Sunday while we were there, the feature was the Porchetta! Therefore we decided on smaller starters so we don’t get too full before the main.

Of course we had to get an order of the Wood Fire Grilled Bread with Garlic Confit. The bread is so fluffy and perfect with the roasted garlic. Even my 1 year old loved it just maybe without the roasted garlic for him. Next was the Brant Lake Waygu Beef Carpaccio with peppercorn aioli and served with arugula and multigrain toast. They really kept the flavours of the waygu beef intact. The arugula with the lemon added the peppery tartness. I did find that there was a generous helping of aioli, so I sparingly added it to the beef to ensure it didn’t overpower the taste, which worked out well. Another light start to the evening.

One of the new menu items was the Calabrese Campanelle Pasta with BC Clams, salami and roasted garlic in a tomato basil sauce, which sounded amazing. For those that don’t know, campanelle pasta is little pastas shaped like cones with ruffled edges, making them a perfect vessel for the tasty tomato basil sauce. I really enjoyed the addition of the sweet BC clams and the salami.

Now on to our main, The Heritage Breed Porchetta Roast with a smoky eggplant spread and sautéed vegetables. The porchetta itself was super tender and you can definitely tell that it was slowly roasted because it was melt in your mouth delicious. It was without a doubt the start of the dish. I also enjoyed the vegetables and other accompaniments but even if they weren’t there the porchetta would have still been satisfying. So glad we ordered it!

At this point we were beyond full but couldn’t resist something sweet to end the evening so we ordered just the Ginger Gelato which normally accompanies the Carrot Cake. It was a perfect end to the evening. Cool and refreshing with a hint of sweetness, the gelato was the proverbial cherry on top.

My Picks: Heritage Breed Porchetta Roast

Overall: Everybody had an amazing time that night including my son who just got better from his cold and was able to eat some of the delicious food. I often forget that there are amazing places outside of the core and this is one of them. The best part is, if you’re too busy to dine in and it’s crazy (like the month we had) you can always take the food to go! They call them happy chickens for a reason!

4611 Bowness Rd NW
Calgary, AB
(403) 288-4372

NOtaBLE Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Food Delivery with Foodora

>> Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Over the past week I was feeling a little under the weather and then our son also caught the flu so needless to say, it was a bit hectic in our house. I felt bad for my husband since he ended up having to take care of both of us as I was trying to mom as best as I can without being overly exhausted. Luckily for us we had the opportunity to try a new food delivery service here in Calgary - Foodora! Food delivery is one of the best inventions for people who are a) sick b) tired or c) both sick and tired of having to go out but still wanting tasty meals at home without having to prep it themselves.

Foodora has recently launched and is currently providing free delivery service for all their orders until December 31st of this year! We decided to take full advantage of that and ordered in a delicious mediterranean meal from Cafe Med downtown. I’ve never had their shawarma’s before so it was nice to try a new location. We ended up ordering the different platters which was either chicken, or a mix platter with hummus and a side of pita bread. I also had to try their tzatziki as well.

I was surprised by how tender and juicy the different cuts of meat were. I’m typically weary of trying chicken since it can to be dry, but they cooked it very well. Also the kofta sausages were flavourful and juicy as well. I also really liked their tzatziki sauce, which had a good punch of garlic and was a nice compliment to the platters themselves. Overall we were very impressed, especially since the food did not take long to get to us. Sometimes, delivery can be a bit slow, but I was happy to see that it didn’t take them more than 30 mins to get to us.

There are ton of delivery services available now in town, which is great because they all offer something a little different. In this case, I really like that Foodora is offering free delivery service till the end of the year, so definitely be sure to take full advantage! Feel free to use this link below to receive a free $10 off your first purchase!

Luckily for these food delivery services we’re not just stuck with pizzas now that we’re not feeling well or just not in the mood to cook. that I think about it, maybe I might just need to order something tonight. =)

Sponsored post - Photos provided by Foodora


Moxie's Downtown Grand Reopening!

>> Tuesday, September 26, 2017

It seems like we are in full on autumn mode here in Calgary. The weather has significantly cooled down and the sun it starting to set earlier and earlier. I feel like all I want to do is hang around indoors. Gone are the patio days and runs in the park. Luckily for me there are lots of great places in Calgary for indoor activities and food. Such as the new Moxie’s that recently went through a full renovation of their space! I was shocked by how different it looks when I was invited down to check them out!

Atmosphere: Bright, vibrant and contemporary. Definitely not the Moxie’s of old!

Food & Drinks: After a quick look through their menu you can definitely see that they’ve even changed up a lot of their offerings. With Chef Brandon Thordarson revamping essentially every item on their menu you can be sure that what you were used to here at Moxie’s has been given a significant face lift. We couldn’t wait to dig in.

Normally I would totally start with a drink (or two), however I was drawn to their housemade sodas so we decided to or both the Pineapple Lemon and Pomegranate Beet Sodas. I’m glad we did. They were both light and refreshing, not overly sweet, a perfect way to get the taste buds going.

To start we ordered the Tuna Poke in a Jar which came with nori crisps and a zingy ponzu sauce for extra punch. I really loved the nori crisps which provided a nice crunch and great umami flavor. The ponzu sauce on the side definitely added that additional flavor with the green onions and a bit of spice. The poke itself was creamy, with the added avocado, and I really enjoyed how this dish all came together with each of the elements adding something unique to the dish.

Along with the poke we also had the Biryani Chicken Wings, which was a suggestion from our server and I’m glad that he did. They had a good amount of spice and are a bit spicy. I thought they were a nice alternative for those who like dry wings, since the default is typically your usual salt and pepper (they offer those too!).

For our mains, my husband order the Loaded Burger, which true to its name….was loaded with everything! After a couple bites, he mentioned that the sweetness in the BBQ sauce nicely balanced out the salt from the bacon. He’s not huge in to sweet and salty, but this worked for him. I am still amazed that he was able to power down the whole thing because it was definitely a good-sized burger.

I had the Fish Tacos and was surprised to find that they grilled the haddock which was a nice healthier alternative. A lot of restaurants typically deep fry the fish but I enjoyed it grilled. There was two to an order and they were served with a housemade hot sauce on the side. I thought the addition of the corn and bean salsa was a nice addition and went well with the rest of the ingredients. Both of the mains came with sides as well, so I’m glad to report that I definitely got my fill of greens that day since we ordered side salads!

Even though we were beyond full by this point, it was hard to pass up on dessert with Sticky Toffee Pudding and ice cream on the menu. It’s nice that they offer mini versions for those who just want a taster, but I usually go full throttle. The soft warm gooey cake with toffee sauce is perfect for the this fall weather.

My Picks: Tuna Poke, Biryani Chicken Wings

Overall: My surprise continued throughout the meal. One dish after another, they were tasty and delicious and not the old Moxie’s I remember from high school. I’m glad to see that not only have they revamped their design but also their flavours and I’m hoping for more! Chef Brandon has done a great job so far and hopefully he’ll start introducing some new exciting things soon because with the weather the way it is outside, what’s better than getting cozy indoors and enjoying a delicious meal in an amazing space?

Moxie’s Downtown
888 7 Ave SW
Calgary, AB
(403) 234-7507

Moxie's Grill & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Restaurant Review: 1918 Tap and Table

>> Wednesday, September 13, 2017

We love walking. Well mostly I love it, but luckily for me, my husband doesn’t mind it and finds it a nice way to past the time. Especially when we’re away on vacation. Walking is a great way to see the city. However, we don’t walk nearly as much as we should in Calgary since we have cars and Calgary has always been known as a ‘car city’. You wouldn’t be able to get anywhere or anything if you didn’t have a car. But luckily for us we live in an area that’s sort of walkable. We could walk to Kensington which is just down the hill or to Amato Gelato just down 19th street. Over the summer, there was a new restaurant that opened right by 19th street and Kensington Rd! I was pretty excited to check it out and was so glad that I got to do so a couple times as a guest of the restaurant. If you haven’t guessed, I’m talking about 1918 Tap and Table. The best part about dining at this place? Aside from the fact that it’s close, I love how we’re literally giving back and helping support our veterans. All the proceeds from the restaurant goes towards the Canadian Legion!

Atmosphere: Beautiful dining space with big bright floor to ceiling windows that truly highlight the amazing contemporary room. A great location for dinner, drinks or even to host a special event. Definitely not your parent’s legion. =)

Food & Wine: After their soft opening, I was super excited to be back and check out their lunch selections. To start off our meal we were introduced to some of their appetizers such as the Brined Wings, Hand Cut Organic Fries and the Flatbread made with salami, spinach, mozzarella and basil oil. They were tasty starters and everybody enjoyed them. You can’t go wrong with wings and fries!

We also got to try some of their cocktails and I opted for the No Way Frose, a blended frozen rose wine cocktail with strawberry simple syrup. You can’t go wrong with rose and I’m loving this new frozen rose trend. 1918 does it right by not making it overly too sweet with the simply syrup so you can still taste the essence of the wine. It dangerous stuff because I can probably drink like a dozen of these.

Luckily, they were about to serve the mains and it drew my attention away from that delicious frose cocktail. My main was the Seared Salmon with a white bean puree, wilted spinach, summer squash in a tomato broth with fresh herbs. The salmon was cooked nicely, perfect sear on the outside without drying out the fish itself. The broth was a nice touch and made it a relatively lighter dish, perfect for lunch. The suggested pairing for the dish was the Vina Mayu Sauvignon Blanc, a nice crisp white that doesn’t over power the delicate flavours of the fish but instead enhanced the flavours of the tomatoes and white bean puree.

For dessert, I had the Chocolate Truffle Cake served with Saskatoon Coulis. Since my main was a bit lighter I decided to indulge a bit for dessert. The cake was velvety smooth and would definitely hit the spot for any chocolate lover. It very decadent and a decent size, so it would even be perfect for sharing.

My Pick: Seared Salmon

Overall: The meal was really good and not something you would think is served at the Canadian Legion. I was pleasantly surprised plus, I still can’t get over how beautiful the space is, perfect for a wedding reception or even to host a birthday party! And you don’t even need to cater in the food! So now there’s even more motivation for my husband to walk with me because now we can walk down to 1918 to grab a bite AND we’re supporting our veterans so what’s not to love?!

1918 Tap and Table
1918 Kensington Road NW
Calgary, AB
(403) 209-1918

1918 Tap & Table Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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