Category Archives: Restaurant Reviews

My Pizza

In this week’s topic we explored restaurants that we found and enjoy. I would like to talk about a couple of my favorites with you as well. Maybe you’ve been there…pizza

If you’ve been keeping up with this blog you know that I am in no position to be hippity hopping between restaurants right now. I am getting better though……But if I was to eat something right now that I really really loved it would be MY PIZZA in Nanton, Alberta (they’re old school, there is no website, just a phone #). How dare they not have a website.

It is comparable to the Lethbridge franchise TOP’S PIZZA. Same locally owned situation, family ran atmosphere and characteristically, the same type of pie. It’s amazing. If you are ever driving from Calgary to Lethbridge, get the number and phone once you leave Calgary’s city limits……It’ll be worth it.

And by no means is it related to the newfound My Pizza franchise thats popped up in the United States. They probably found out about this guy and stole his ingredients – or his super awesome pizza style!

mongol_orduI also can’t say enough good about the Mongolie Grill. I love being able to put what I like on my dish, and not eat junk I don’t like. I also like that I can see my food being prepared. Who knows what people have done to my food in the past, but not at Mongolie – they’d have to taint the buffet containers.

The restaurant in Lethbridge is never busy and I love that about the place (the owners might not like that though). The only gripe I hear from people is that it’s expensive – DONT PUT SO MUCH ON YOUR PLATE!!! Just cause those things are full of food doesn’t mean you have to shovel it into your bowl……

Such is life, indulge in excess. I might actually chance my sensitive belly with some Mongolie soon. Who knows….

Either way, it’s time for me to go eat something. Kids, be safe this weekend, and remember to eat food that you love because you can. See ya next time.

W

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Round Street Cafe

This is one of my new favorite cafes to go to in Lethbridge. For those of you who know Lethbridge, their is round_street_cafe_sizednot a whole lot of good Cafes. However, this one, I just love it. The food is great, the atmosphere is relaxing and it is a great place to people watch.

What makes Round Street Cafe different from the rest, is that the owner, actually comes around and chats with everyone and their employees are extremely nice. One thing that is different is that a portion of the employees have physical or mental handicaps. The owner, who was a former Teachers Assistant, worked with people who have disabilities. She said that they also need jobs and here they can come and work for as many hours that is perfect for them. This is great!

The food is amazing and made with fresh local ingredients when possible. The pastries are baked fresh each morning. My favorite, is the blueberry muffin. Also, their sandwiches are quite filling, where you have the option of getting a half sandwich or a full sandwich. I love to eat, and personally a full sandwich is to much. So, i would recommend the half sandwich. My favorite lunch choice, is a half sandwich with the soup.

If you haven’t been to this cafe yet, go out and try it, you won’t be disappointed!

Round Street Cafe is located at 427 5th Street South, Lethbridge. They are open Mon – Fri 7am to 6pm, Saturday’s from 9am to 5pm and closed on Sundays.

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Obamalicious!

Rajdoot is the Obama of Indian food restaurants in Calgary. obamaI don’t know if the newly elected president has even eaten at Rajdoot, but if he ever does I bet he would say that the food is Obamalicious and that the service is Baracktastic!

I Obomapoligize for all the Barackisms, but how can i write a post the day after the first African American President is elected without making some reference to him?

That being said, It’s not that far fetched to imagine Obama visiting Rajdoot because the restaurant is frequently visited by many movie-stars such as, Anthony Hopkins. anthony_hopkins1501

But don’t worry average Joe the Plumbers like you and I can also dine and receive the same great service as Obama or Anthony Hopkins would.

I was first introduced to Rajdoot when my brother treated my family to the best indian food I had ever had. My bro had just got back from India and said that the food at Rajdoot tasted just like the food he had in India.

Well he was right. You know your Indian food is good when you have one bite and you start to sweat! Part of the reason the food tastes so good at this restaurant is because they cook the food in authentic clay ovens. The servers at Rajdoot are friendly and attentive and they don’t hesitate to bring you lots of foreign beer to go along with your meal! beer

Rajdoot is very accommodating for large parties because the restaurant has a separate room which can be booked through their website.

In addition to the menu, customers can order off the large buffet which contains a variety of delicious vegetarian dishes.

All in all I give Rajdoot a strong Obama win over McCain! ( Read as 5/5)

Well I can’t wait to go back to Calgary next week and chow down with my family at Rajdoot! Maybe Obama will be there and i can get his autograph!

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Got a Hot DATE?*

So if you live in Lethbridge like I do then you understand that the restaurant selections that are available can feel lacking. Don’t get me wrong I do very much enjoy the food at the Cheesecake Cafe, Moxies, and Earls, which seem to be the old standards for a lot of people. Sometimes, especially when it comes to a date, I start to feel like I want something a little more special. 

 So if you have a hot first date coming up or if you are just looking for some place to take that someone special 360 Inspired Cuisine is sure to be the perfect spot.

360 Inspired Cuisine is located in the heart of downtown Lethbridge right across from Galt Gardens and the Park Place Mall. They use the highest quality, local ingredients that they use to create a diverse menu that changes with the season. They are also the only restaurant in town that offers a full tapas menus. The tapas menu varies in price from 3 – 15 dollars, making it an excellent value for budgeting students. 360 also has a full bar and wine selection to choose from.

You may be asking yourself how I know so much about 360 as the perfect date spot. It’s because I went on a date there… with my sister and her husband.

It wasn’t quite the hot date I imagined being on in such a nice place. Nor was it the perfect date for my sister and Henri i’m sure. Regardless we had a great time. 360 has a wonderful ambience that they have created through smooth jazz music, warm low lighting, and rich decor.

We of course started by ordering some drinks. I had the Geisha Punch. It was a blend of Sake, Blue Curaco, and Juices. It was a delicious drink with just enough sweetness. Ashley, my sister, had the Vanilla Ice, which is a mix of Vanilla Skyy Vodka, Cream, Pineapple Juice, and Orange Juice. She said that it was very tasty and she would definitely order it again. Though the drinks are a little on the expensive side I felt my drink was worth every penny.

For any of you who know me and read my blog consistently you know that I am seriously allergic to garlic, paprika and dairy. A lot of times it can get really complicated for me to find things that I can order in restaurants. So much of this depends on the quality of the waiter and the chef. Unfortunatly over half of the time when I go to a restaurant I end up having to send back my food because either the waiter hasn’t told the chef the correct order or the chef just didn’t pay attention. I know human error is common of course, I worked as a chef and waitress before, but it does get frustrating for me and other people I know with food allergies. Fortunately this wasn’t the case at 360. When the waitress came to take our order I told her about my allergies and that I was interested in having the duck or the salmon. I asked her to ask the chef if this was possible to make without dairy and garlic so she went and asked. They made the duck to my specifications, and they also gave me non-menu options that the chef could make for me for a starch. I have never had better service or had staff make so many accommodations for my allergies for me. Just because of that I knew it was somewhere that I would return to.

 

 

On top of all of that, it was one of the best meals I’ve ever had. The duck was succulent. I had never had duck before but I want it every day. The pasta was had a mystery sweetness, and the white asparagus was cooked to perfection. Ashley had the Dry Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Maple BBQ Sauce and Roasted Pear, Red Pepper, and Charred Scallions Salsa. The pork was incredibly tender and the maple bbq sauce had a sweet depth of flavor. Henri had the 10oz. New York Sirloin with Shrimp Butter and Garlic Prawns. He said it was good (not the best he’d ever had) and he didn’t feel the portions were big enough.

For dessert Ashley and Henri ordered the shared trio for two. It came with a Godiva Creme Brule, Cappuccino Mousse, and Milk Chocolate Flan with Vanilla Gelato. It was beautifully presented (as were all of our dishes) and they said it tasted divine.

 

 

When it was all over it was time to see the bill. For two people, including two drinks, two entrees, and one shared dessert, plus a 20% tip you can expect to pay 100 dollars to eat out at 360 Inspired Cuisine. To many of you that may seem like a lot to spend on one meal. Personally I think I’m worth it. And in the wise words of Henri, as the man you need to remember that you’re eating too so you’re really spending that money on yourself. And for the ladies we can look for some advice from Phyllis from The Office. When we’re on a date always order the most expensive thing on the menu so he knows you’re worth it. You’ll have to put out, but then he’ll know.

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Eating Out At Home

There’s nothing better than having someone else cook for you while you enjoy a cocktail or two. Even better is when they clean up after you as well. This is why I’m guilty of eating out – a lot. This week the author’s of Digitally Delicious will be hard at work, enjoying beverages and letting others do the cooking for us.

One of my favorite dishes is the Santa Fe Chicken Salad from Earl’s. It has Cajun grilled chicken on a bed of mixed greens, tossed with a peanut lime dressing, complimented by black beans, corn, avocados, feta cheese, fresh dates, and corn tortillas.

It’s what I order every time we go to Earl’s, and we go to Earl’s a lot so I can have it. It’s really, really good. But eating out takes a toll on the wallet the salad costs about $16, factor in drinks and well, you know… it adds up. So, I’ve decided to see if this is something I can make at home. After scouring the Internet I found a recipe (via kitchenlink.com )and with a few minor modifications I tried my hand at recreating this salad…

Right off the bat I was not impressed with this decision. ‘I should have just gone out’ I thought, ‘and have someone make it for me’.

First off, I didn’t have most of the ingredients on hand. This meant a specific shopping trip that totalled about $40. Not the cheapest salad to make and it didn’t even come with wine. But, the recipe promises to feed four so in the grand scheme of things it’s potentially a money saver.  Plus, I drew the line at buying fresh dates. At $10 for a package I decided to use some dried cranberries instead (what would I possibly do with 2 pounds of leftover dates?).

Then I found a calorie listing for the Earl’s salad (via dailyplate.com ). Holy crap! At 900 calories and 58.1 grams of fat it rivals a fast food combo! This can no longer be my favorite thing to order. I feel duped. Salad is supposed to be good for you. Granted, much of it comes from good fats (avocados, peanuts, feta? No? Feta’s no good?) it’s still hard to justify getting 89% of your daily fat intake from one salad.

It also took a long time to make. About an hour in total (excluding, I should add, the shopping trip which was very time consuming – who knew black beans were only located in the organic isle?). Time I could have spent relaxing in the lounge. Plus, there was the cleanup after. I have to admit, preparing the salad myself did take away some of its glamour. No cocktails, no wait staff, no dishwashers…

Ok, but complaining aside the salad was actually good and tasted pretty much like the restaurant version. Most of the dish (chicken, dressing, beans, and corn) can be made in advance or tucked away for next day leftovers. The recipe looks daunting for a salad but there are a few shortcuts that can be taken.

Since I can no longer order this in good conscience I may be able to tweak the recipe at home to make it a little easier on the waistline. Plus, all the shopping, cooking and cleaning no doubt burns off some of the feta. Overall, I have to recommend the at home recipe over the restaurant version.

SANTA FE CHICKEN SALAD AND PEANUT LIME VINAIGRETTE
(source: kitchenlink.com but adapted by me)

FOR THE CAJUN CHICKEN:
2 whole chicken breasts
favourite Cajun seasoning

FOR THE PEANUT LIME VINAIGRETTE:
1/4 cup each: fresh peanuts, vegetable or peanut oil and fresh lime juice (2 limes)
1/2 Tbsp peanut butter
1 tsp each sugar and soy sauce
1 small clove garlic, pressed or finely chopped
2 Tbsp lime zest (2 limes)
FOR THE SALAD:
1/2 cup fresh dates, chopped into 1/4″ pieces (OR 1/8 cup dried cranberries)
1 cup boiling water (only if you are using fresh dates)
2 small corn tortillas (OR crumbled red nacho chips)
vegetable oil for deep frying (only if you are frying fresh tortillas)
4 to 5 cups mixed lettuce
2 cups chopped Romaine lettuce
1 cob corn (OR 1 can of corn kernels)
vegetable oil
14 oz can black beans, well rinsed and well drained
1 avocado
1/2 cup feta cheese

TO MAKE THE CAJUN CHICKEN:
Sprinkle Cajun seasoning liberally on both sides of chicken. Grill over medium-high heat or broil until done. Set aside. Slice diagonally into 1/4″ wide slices.

TO MAKE THE PEANUT LIME VINAIGRETTE:
Process ingredients in a small food processor until almost smooth. There should be tiny chunks of peanut and lime.

TO MAKE THE SALAD:
a) Prepare date mixture – pour boiling water over dates; soak for 1/2 hour; drain well and mash (chill until using). OR, skip this step and add dried cranberries to salad.

b) Prepare deep fried tortilla pieces: slice tortillas into pieces 1/8″ wide and 1″ long. Heat oil in a small pot or skillet to 375 degrees F. Drop tortilla pieces in batches; drain on paper towel; sprinkle on salt (may be kept loosely covered at room temperature for 1 day). OR, crumble a few nacho chips into salad

c) Grill corn: rub corn with vegetable oil; place over medium-high grill. Cook, rotating until lightly brown tinged. Remove kernels. (May be chilled until using). OR, pan-fry canned corn kernels in skillet with a little bit of peanut oil until they start to brown slightly.

TO ASSEMBLE SALAD:
Place lettuces in a large bowl. Toss with enough dressing to lightly coat. In a separate small bowl stir together mashed dates or cranberries, corn and drained black beans. Add black bean mixture into lettuces; gently toss. Divide lettuce mixture between 4 dinner plates. Thinly slice avocado and divide between 4 plates, placing on the side. Top each salad with crumbled feta cheese, tortilla pieces, and chicken pieces.

Makes 4 meal servings

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