Restaurant Review: Diner Deluxe

>> Friday, June 14, 2013

Breakfast is the best part of any morning. Nothing beats waking up to a great meal to ‘break’ my ‘fast’, but I’m also a believer that breakfast dishes don’t have to be enjoyed just during the morning.  I believe that breakfast can be served all day and lucky for me, others also feel the same way. So when we were craving eggs and pancakes in the afternoon one day, we decided to head down to Diner Deluxe to savour a bit of the morning later in the day.

Atmosphere:  Funky retro décor throughout the room reminiscent of a classic diner with many different items on the walls that draws the eye.

Price Range: Mid $10s

Food and Drinks: We were there for an afternoon snack, but ended up ordering a bit of everything after looking at the menu. It’s hard not to since everything sounded amazing but perfect for sharing!  We decided on the Classic Breakfast opting for 2 poached eggs, chicken sausage, hash and toast. Nothing beats a good poached egg, especially the moment you cut in to it and see the yolk ooze out of the center.  I really enjoyed the hash as well, with a mix between potatoes and sweet potatoes it really kicked up the traditional hash by making it more flavourful with the added sweetness from the sweet potatoes.  Plus, it makes it a bit healthier as well.  I found the sausage to be very nicely balanced. Not overly salty or oily, which they can often be.

It was nice to see healthier options on the menu as well. To get our greens for the day (and to balance out my pancakes) we ordered the House Salad, which came loaded with fresh greens, tomatoes, onions and topped with pecans, candied sunflower seeds served with a tangy balsamic vinaigrette.  The large salads are also served with a side of toast.  I did find the salad to be a bit over dressed, but I should have asked for the dressing to be served on the side because I prefer very little dressing in my salads.  Overall though, it was a very satisfying plate, a meal in itself.

I couldn’t possibly go to an all day breakfast place and not get an order of their pancakes….so I did, ordering them as a side.  However, they’re not your typical small pancakes, they were huge! Think dinner plate sized, making them perfect for sharing (totally optional). The pancake was fluffy and soft the perfect foundation for syrupy goodness and a great way to end our meal.
We also ordered a couple caesars and they were delicious. Really enjoyed the added horseradish for that extra kick. A great accompaniment to our not breakfast - breakfast meal! Some of the other drinks on the menu also sounded interesting. Will have to try more next time!

My Picks: Since I was dining with some gluten free friends, it was really nice to see all the gluten free options on the menu. They also said that the gluten free biscuits were one of the best they’ve ever had! I was quite impressed!

Overall: They’ve got a great concept and I hope more restaurants and diners opt to follow in the trend, since there are still many places that stop serving breakfast items after a certain time or close in the early afternoon. Sometimes nothing beats a good omelet for dinner or pancakes for dessert!
Diner Deluxe
804 Edmonton Trail NE
Calgary, AB
(403) 276-5499

Diner Deluxe on Urbanspoon


Korean Kalbi Shortribs Recipe and Blogging

>> Friday, June 7, 2013

As most bloggers out there know and truly understand, blogging isn’t just some easy feat where you sit down for 5 minutes and punch out an article. It isn’t where you can just expect any random post to capture people so that they want to read it, enjoy it and truly identify with it. Blogs take time, a lot of it, especially when you’re trying to express what you truly feel about certain topics.

For me, it has been expressed through my enjoyment of food, whereas for others its fashion, lifestyle, photography, etc. In the end, each post still involves time and energy, of which many are already lacking in. I for one am usually tired from a long stressful day and work, so it’s often difficult trying to refocus my thoughts and formulate them in to a blog post. People ask me why do it then....well my blogs help me relieve that tension, by allowing me to articulate how I feel about a topic that I’m truly passionate about.

Many who aren’t bloggers don’t seem to understand that we don’t do it for the perks or for exposure, but more so to share our thoughts and ideas with others around the world. My blog is truly a place where I cay put myself out there, maybe be judged by others, but it’s my own. Here is where I experiment with not only my recipes, but with the way I express myself with words. All I can do is hope that people who are reading it or following my recipes enjoy the results, which is what occurred recently when I ventured outside of the box and attempted to cook Korean cuisine.

Yes, Korean is Asian food and the ingredients are fairly similar to Chinese cuisine but the difficulty with Korean is many of the dishes require quite a bit of marinating time. If the marinade isn’t prepared correctly, it could result in an under or over seasoned dish. Devastating because when you find out that it’s not correctly flavoured, it’s already too late to go back to square one. Especially when there are starving party guests waiting anxiously nearby! So I had to make sure that I got the ingredients and proportions just right. Luckily for me, the dish was a success and nothing feels better than having people enjoy the food that you’ve prepared. Just like blogging, having people provide you positive feedback is its own best reward!

I’ve incorporated the Kalbi recipe below along with a delicious Ssamjang sauce recipe. Both were adapted from Food Network, but adjusted to be a bit healthier. Hope you enjoy!

Korean Kalbi Shortribs Recipe

4 pounds Korean style beef short ribs (you can always find these at T&T in Calgary)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup rice wine (can be found at most Chinese supermarkets including Superstore)
1 small onion, peeled
1 small Asian pear, peeled and seeds removed
5 cloves garlic
2 tbsp dark sesame oil
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt

In a large mixing bowl, add the short ribs and sprinkle the brown sugar to evenly coat each short rib. Set aside while preparing marinade

In a small bowl, combine low sodium soy sauce, water, rice wine, sesame oil, pepper and salt

Grate the onion, Asian pear and garlic cloves in to the marinade

Pour the marinade over the short ribs and make sure each short rib is coated

Transfer the short ribs in to 2 large freezer bags and place in the fridge

Remember to rotate the bags at least once or twice to ensure each rib is evenly coated

Let it marinate overnight

When ready to grill, heat the BBQ to medium hot or set the oven to 475ºF (I personally prefer the grill because it gives the short ribs the smokiness that makes it true Korean Kalbi, but for those that don’t have a grill, the oven works just fine, I would suggest maybe searing it as well as another option)

Drain the excess marinade in to a small pot and place on grill (3-4 mins per side) or in oven (approx. 15 mins)

Heat the pot of leftover marinade on the stove top on medium heat until it slightly reduces.

Remove the short ribs from grill or oven, pour sauce on top and serve.

Makes 4 servings

I highly recommend serving it with the following Ssamjang sauce, which isn’t traditional, I’ve definitely changed it a bit so please let me know what you think!

Ssamjang Sauce

2 tbsp gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste, can be found at T&T or Korean grocery stores)
1 stalk green onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup onion, diced
2 tsp honey
2 tsp sesame seeds (toasted is optional, it provides and additional flavour kick)
2 tsp sesame oil

In a small bowl, add in all the ingredients.

Mix well until everything is combined.

The sauce can be served with rice, on top of the above short ribs or other Korean style BBQ meat! It’s also a great dipping sauce for hot pot!

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