Restaurant Review: Sushi Kimu

>> Thursday, February 27, 2014


I’ve been reminiscing a lot lately, thinking of all the laughs, the joys of childhood, the friends I’ve met along the way and all the great times we’ve shared. I know I won’t be able to relive those moments but am glad that I was able to enjoy it when it happened. Funny how some moments just resonate with me and how many of them always occur over food. Like all those times our group of friends used to hang out at Japanese restaurants (particularly one) on a Friday afternoon in high school. All the shenanigans that would follow and I definitely wouldn’t change any of those moments for anything. I guess that’s why to this day there’s always a bit of me that gets nostalgic when I eat at a Japanese place even if it’s for the first time. That’s exactly what happened when me and my husband were starving after our workout one weekend and wondered in to a nearby sushi restaurant only to find ourselves talking about all the good times that’s past.
Atmosphere: Petite casual dining area that wraps around the bar. Remember to make reservations as this place can be quite full due to its limited space.
Price Range: Mid $10s 

Food: We arrived without reservations and were told that there would be a 15-20 minute wait, but lucky for us there was a small table near the door that was empty. We didn’t mind taking that table to avoid the wait, however slight since we just finished our workout and was starving. After perusing the menu, I decided on a couple of my usuals along with some interesting sounding rolls.
First to arrive at the table was the Assorted Sashimi combo, since there was only two of us, we decided on the chef’s choice of four different types of fish. Our selection that night was Hamachi (yellow tail), Tuna, Salmon and Octopus. The sashimi was very well presented in an elegant bowl with lots of ice to keep everything cool.  The fish itself was very fresh tasting and we were impressed by the thickness of the sashimi cuts, a great way to appease my grumbling stomach.
It’s rare that we don’t order Calamari when it’s on the menu and it was no different that evening.  We were expecting the typical calamari rings with a bit of dipping sauce on the side, but when the dish arrived we were very pleasantly surprised.  The calamari was piled high upon a lovely bed of lettuce (extra greens!). The calamari itself was thinly sliced and very lightly battered, evenly coating each piece of the calamari.  Everything was then topped with the perfect amount of mayo (not too much as to cause the calamari to become soggy), togarashi spice and fish roe for effect. I’m going to dust my calamari with togarashi spice from now on. It really heightened the dish for me and I could really keep talking about how amazing and light the batter was. 

We started with a couple rolls, the Vancouver Roll consisting of mango and with crab meat topped with pieces of tuna. I was intrigued since most rolls are comprised of the tuna in the middle topped with mango and not the other way around. It was a nice simple twist to keep things fresh. It didn’t taste much different whether the tuna was inside or outside, but I guess to some its preference and to others it’s appearance. I just enjoyed it overall. One thing I did find was that the rice was somewhat firm and would fall off the roll, making it a bit difficult to eat. It could have been that the batch of rice wasn’t properly prepared because we noticed it on only two out of the three rolls we ordered.
The Spicy Tuna Roll was topped with a different type of peppery sauce. I would classify it as being more sweet than spicy. I typically prefer the standard tuna roll with siracha, more so because I really enjoy my spicy food and found the sweetness of the sauce hindered that spiciness from coming through.
Our last roll of the night was the Rainbow Roll. I was expecting the typical six piece California roll topped with different types of seafood. However, what actually arrived at our table was so beautiful I didn’t want to ruin the dish by eating it.  It was essentially a California roll topped with various types of fish, the usual suspects, salmon, shrimp and tuna but then there was also mango, avocado and seaweed salad! To take it to the next level, there were different colored tobiko and two different types of sauces drizzled on the roll. It was definitely unique and I quite enjoyed it, not to mention the rolls were gigantic!

My Picks: Calamari, Assorted Sashimi
Overall: It’s funny how after all these years I still enjoy a good piece of tuna like it was the first time I tried it. Even though the rolls have transformed (here’s looking at your Philadelphia cream cheese…), I can still remember the first time I ordered a certain type of roll and how I would always compare them to the ones I’m currently eating. I guess food always brings back memories and the food at Kimu was unique in its own way, but still doesn’t stray too far away from your typical sushi restaurant. Hopefully you can find something here that fits your palate and brings back memories for you.
Sushi Kimu
6522 4 Street NE
Calgary, AB
(587) 293-9380
 
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Restaurant Review: Euphoria Cafe

>> Thursday, February 20, 2014


Cravings, a single word that can often times summarize my diet. Well, I guess on a daily basis I tend to eat pretty healthy so on the weekends I like to splurge a bit and go for items that I’m craving and maybe isn’t so great for me (balance is key). On such a weekend, I woke up craving waffles. Nothing was going to stop me from obtaining them. After a bit of searching online and realizing that all the brunch houses were going to require me to wait for my waffles. I found this little coffee shop not too far from the university called Euphoria Café. According to their website they served Belgian waffles, within 15 mins I was there.

Atmosphere: A cozy and intimate coffee shop where you can just nestle in and watch the day go by.

Price Range: Mid $10s

 
 

Food and Coffee: We were mainly there for waffles but couldn’t help also sampling their paninis and coffee. Plus, what’s something sweet without a hot cup of espresso to wash it down with? We started with a southwestern style Panini made with avocados, cheddar cheese and ground beef served with a side of vegetable chips. The bread was nice and crispy of the outside and the cheesy was warm and gooey. I really enjoyed the avocados, they provided the creaminess that the Panini needed without the use of mayo.
 
Next up and why we were there…the waffles, just the smell of them baking away in the waffle iron was too much to bear and I couldn’t wait for the first bite. We got an order of the Chocolate and banana Belgian butter waffle (with lots of chocolate chips and caramel drizzle) and the White chocolate Belgian waffle. Both topped with lots of whipped cream. I personally enjoyed the white chocolate version more because I revel in the taste of the waffle dough itself, which really shown through with just a light touch of white chocolate and whipped cream.  Don’t get me wrong, the chocolate and banana is just as good, but I don’t have as much of a sweet tooth, so I prefer something a bit lighter. My husband really enjoyed the chocolate waffle, which worked out perfectly because then I got the white chocolate all to myself.



Nothing is a better pairing with something sweet then an Americano. Dark and rich, it’s flavours robust enough to cut through the sweetness of the syrups.  Euphoria café also serves 100% fair trade coffees. If you’re looking for something more decadent, they also serve special features that changes all the time. Just follow their twitter or facebook for more information.
 
My Pick: White Chocolate Belgium Waffle
 
Overall: Now I know just where to go when I’m craving that special Belgian waffle, but if you’re on the go, they offer delicious muffins, cookies and other goodies as well. I guess now that the cat’s out of the bag, I better go again soon before I can’t find a table!



Euphoria Café
5403 Crowchild Trail NW
Calgary, AB
(403) 313-0503
Website: euphoriacafe.ca

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Winefest Tickets Giveaway!

>> Wednesday, February 12, 2014


 
Its Winefest time again in Calgary, held at the Stampede Park BMO Building next weekend February 21 and 22. I have a set of tickets to give away for the Saturday February 22nd Afternoon session from 2-5 p.m! So respond to this post and I’ll do a random draw next Wednesday for the winner.

For all of you that are interested, here’s a bit more information.  Plus there are still additional tickets available for purchase during the Saturday afternoon session.

Calgary’s highly-anticipated all-inclusive wine event returns to the Stampede Park Big Four

WHAT: Alberta’s favourite all-inclusive wine event is back celebrating its 22nd year in Calgary. Winefest invites guests to sample hundreds of local and international wines, including a selection of red, white, sparkling and dessert wines from 18 of the world's most renowned wine regions. Wine experts will be available to share their knowledge and suggest tasting notes, as attendees sample their way from booth to booth. Also, attendees can download Winefest's free mobile app for smartphone users. The Winefest App allows attendees to make tasting notes and bookmark all of their favourite wines at Winefest. One ticket includes all-inclusive wine tasting, as well as a complimentary Riedel wine glass and Festival Guide.

This year, Winefest is proud to announce the brand new 2014 title sponsor, Sobeys Liquor. During the event, attendees can stop by the on-site Sobeys Liquor store to purchase their favourite finds to enjoy at home. Also, with 11 Sobeys Liquor locations in the Calgary area attendees can restock their cellars anytime!

Attendees can also nibble on a delicious selection of hors d’oeuvres from Stampede Catering, Springbank Cheese Company, COBS bread, Dave’s Hot Pepper Jelly, Nefiss Lezizz and The Ship & Anchor.

WHO: Wine novices and seasoned vino lovers alike will enjoy a decadent evening or afternoon of all-inclusive wine tasting alongside delicious hors d’oeuvres. Winefest is a chance to enjoy a fun outing with friends, family or loved ones, while discovering new favourite wines and increasing wine knowledge.

WHY: Celebrate and sample from 251 wines from the world’s most renowned wine regions! Winefest is the perfect opportunity for guests to ‘try before you buy’ and to discover new favourites in a casually refined atmosphere.

WHEN: February 21, 2014 7-10 p.m. Friday Evening Session SOLD OUT!

               February 22, 2014 2-5 p.m. Saturday Afternoon Session

               February 22, 2014 7-10 p.m. Saturday Evening Session SOLD OUT!

 
WHERE: Stampede Park BMO Centre Hall E- New 2014 Location!
                  20 Roundup Way,
                  Calgary, AB T2G 2W1

 For ticket information visit:

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Restaurant Review: Korq Winehouse & Kitchen

>> Wednesday, February 5, 2014


With the hustle and bustle of the holidays and prepping for our whirlwind vacation, we really tried our best to get together with all our close friends and family in December.  Which also meant a lot of eating out, but lucky for us, there were some interesting restaurants that opened up around that time so we got to explore new spaces and without the worry about a lack of choices. Korq Winehouse & Kitchen was one of those places that opened up late last year and we couldn’t wait to sip some different new wines and munch on some yummy new dishes.
Atmosphere: Modern and contemporary designs featuring multi-level dining spaces and an amazing wine wall over the revitalized bar.
Price Range: Mid $10s - $20s
Food & Wine: Korq has a nice sharing menu for those that are like us and love to try every dish. However we decided that day to even split the items that were meant to be small appetizers or personal entrée sizes. I guess old habits die hard and I’m just a family style kind of diner.  From the Small menu, we ordered the Tartare made with Alberta beef tenderloin, flavoured with capers and pickles, sides of mustard, wasabi and crunchy crostinis. We had to order more bread since there was lots more tartare to go around. I liked the idea of having the mustard and wasabi off to the side because often times I can find the tartare too acidic due to the addition of pickles, capers, mustard and more. Being able to control the tartness of the dish was a bonus.

Next our waitress brought out the Fish Sliders from the Share menu, made with a combination of steelhead and whitefish and topped with roast pepper relish and aioli in a bannock bun.  I found the fish to be a bit under seasoned and the bread to be a bit tough. I think it would go better with a sweet roll or a brioche bun and I did like that it was a slider format allowing easier sharing amongst our group. I enjoyed the pan fried Calamari. It’s a nice twist on the typical deep fried version, although lacking a bit of the charred goodness from the grilled version. It was an overall light dish and a nice appetizer.
With my husband there we always tend to order the Mussels if it’s on the menu. This version included both mussels and clams cooked in white wine with chorizo, potato and shallots. The mussels were quite sweet and I always enjoyed the combination of mussels and clams to switch things up a bit. The broth was light, overall a simple yet tasty dish. We also had an order of the Mediterranean Lamb Flatbread, I found it to be a bit gamey, so for those that enjoy their wild game meats, this flatbread is for you. Served with a side of mint cucumber yogurt, it made for a nice dipping sauce for the crust.

From the Big menu, we sampled the Buttered Chicken Curry, which isn’t your traditional buttered chicken curry. Instead it is served on papardelle noodles, making it a fusion Italian Indian dish. I enjoyed the creaminess of the chicken curry and the pasta was cooked well but our table did find the dish a bit under seasoned. The Braised Spring Creek Short Rib was nice and tender and I really enjoyed the carrot mustard puree. It was a comforting dish that I could eat again especially during this cold Calgary winter.
For dessert, we had the Beignets and Sticky Toffee Pudding. My husband was a bit disappointed with the beignets since he’s been traveling to and from the Southern United States recently, but I’d have to say there were a bit firmer than I would have liked. It did come with ice cream and that definitely helped! The sticky toffee pudding was a bit dry and the toffee sauce was darker and tasted more of molasses as opposed to caramel, which was different for me, but our dining companions seemed to enjoy the more concentrated version, to each their own!

We started with a bottle of the Domaine de la Janasse Cotes du Rhone, smoky and bold with strong berry notes, definitely a good wine to pair with meat dishes. Next we tried the Cuvelier Los Andes Coleccion, which was extremely tasty and very well priced, medium bodied with a sweet lingering finish. It’s a very easy drinking wine and will be a nice accompaniment to less meaty fare.
My Picks: Braised Spring Creek Short Rib

Overall: It was nice to see a new restaurant on the west end of downtown since majority of them now seem to be along 17th Ave or in the suburbs. As with all new restaurants it’ll take a bit of time for them to make little tweaks to their menu, can’t wait to see what modifications are coming our way!
 

Korq Winehouse & Kitchen
801 6 Street SW
Calgary, AB
(587) 352-5677
 
KORQ Winehouse & Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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