Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >

johnjohnson78's Profile

Title Last Reply

Cassoulet in YYC?

I've ordered cassoulet at both Avec Bistro and Brasserie Kensington. While both were adequate, I'm certainly not dying to order it again at either restaurant. If I recall correctly, the beans were undercooked and somewhat chalky at both places. Could just be bad luck on my part...

Long's Chinese Food (Calgary): Real Sichuan on 17th!

Just tried Long's last evening. I'm also amazed (and delighted) that a restaurant with a real Szechuan menu has opened in this area of town.

I had the spicy chicken with peanuts, cumin scented beef with peppers and onions, dan dan noodles and spicy fried cabbage along with rice. The order amounted to about $50.

I will say that the flavours were amazing although some of my food (specifically the cumin beef) was overly greasy and the heat literally had me pouring sweat.....and I absolutely love spicy food. I could handle it, but the heat was simply too much for a couple of people I was dining with. I think the issue was that literally every dish I ordered was a spicy one so there was never a cooling/contrasting bite. I give them major credit for not dumbing down the spice for the North American palate but be forewarned if you are sensitive to spicy foods......they use a mother load of dry roasted chillies!

There are a ton of items I'd still love to try on their menu

Andouille Sausage

I've tried the Spolumbos Andouille sausage and while there's nothing wrong with it, it's barely any different in terms of flavour and texture than any of their other spicy pork sausage varieties. Doesn't really fit the bill if what you're looking for is real Andouille.

I too, would love to find an authentic supply in Calgary. I'd also love to try the Andouille from Okotoks that a previous poster mentioned but it sounds like a fair amount of leg work.

Where to go for the best Ramen noodles in Calgary

You should indeed. It's easily the richest, porkiest, nuttiest soup I've ever had in Calgary. It's got a great amount of spice and I've always found the noodles to have a nice chew to them.

Like Bill said, I find it very hard to get past on the menu. Dang, I'm way over due for a bowl...

Ratatouille Restaurant

I attempted to go last week after seeing their facebook page. When I got there the windows were still all covered up but it certainly looks like it's open now.

No ratatouille from what I can tell!

Good, cheap eats near Univ ?

Totally agree with Shazam's post. Regardless of what style or combination of styles Big T's is trying to emulate, it's just not particularly good. . .Canadian strip mall BBQ at its finest!

Phil's is acceptable if what you're looking for is a cheap greasy spoon style breakfast after a night out.

I almost never go there anymore but I actually kinda like the pizza, steak and 80's atmosphere at Nick's. In my experience years ago, I was always surprised by the quality of their steaks given the price. They definitely had a better supplier than your typical family style resto or pub.

Spring is Here really!

Spring time means hardwood charcoal grillin' for this guy. Before the last couple of snow dumps I managed to smoke some St. Louis style ribs with applewood and some JD oak barrel chips. I also managed to to grill a thick bone in rib-eye on some South American hardwood and enjoyed it sliced with some chimi-churri.

I'm looking forward to eating a half decent tomato and plenty of young asparagus some time in the near future....

MARKET restaurant, 17th ave

Just got home from what I *thought* was going to be a tasty and interesting dinner at a relatively new spot. Upon walking in, the first thing I notice is the awful shrill music that's playing way too loud and the fairly tacky white and black warehouse-modern decor. I'm guessing they're sort of going for a hip Chuck Hughes style of place with upbeat tunes and an atmosphere that morphs into more of a bar/lounge as the night goes on. The problem is that whoever is in charge of the playlist ...... should not be in charge of the music. I literally had to listen to 10 atrocious songs in there and I'm the furthest thing from an out of touch fogie. Totally subjective I do realize.

Anyhow on to the food....
I wanted to start with the pork shoulder and kale salad with crackling but my dad had his heart set on the charcuterie board so we went with that. All in all, not bad. Good elk sausage, double smoked salami, and pork/pistachio terrine. The pickled beets were great but the mustard and gherkin/pepper relish were very forgettable.

For my main I ordered the sausage wrapped Broek acres pork chop with white beans and Swiss chard. Sounds great on paper however in reality it was a disaster. The cut of pork itself was super knarly with tons of fat and sinew. It was obviously brined for so long that it had an off putting sausage-like texture. What I really didn't expect was the stringy sausage casing that was wrapped around the entire thing. Combine this along with the chalky undercooked white beans and the fact that I was given a butter knife to eat the dish with and what you have is a plate that I had 4 bites of and sent back. Well actually I just left it on the plate until the waitress asked if everything was alright. She handled it well and offered to tell the kitchen about the issues (and perhaps get me something else?) but at this point I was happy to just ride it out and not subject myself to another entree. $5 was taken off our bill for an inedible $26 entree. Go figure.

My dad had the hanger steak which was properly cooked to temp and came with a very pedestrian herb pistou as well as another orange sauce. He said the $3.25/glass (2/3 ice) house made root beer was average. I later confirmed that the house made ginger ale was far below average.

I will say that the burger and halibut entree that another table ordered both looked great from a distance.

Anyhow, a quick read of the menu convinced me that this place in the old Yardhouse location had potential, and perhaps it still does, but I'd suggest trying at your own risk. At least the prices are somewhat reasonable. Truth is I'd happily pay a bit more for something that's actually good.

Where is everyone?

It would be a shame if the low traffic is really a result of people going over to Urban Spoon. I admit that I use the app on my phone on rare occasions when I can't think of anywhere I'd like to eat, but the reviews on US are an absolute farce in my experience....

Banff 2013

I actually like to hit the Bison for brunch as there's usually an available table or you can make a reservation whereas most of the the breakfast joints in town are absolutely slammed on a weekend morning. The prices are a bit higher than a greasy spoon but the food quality is also a step above.

If you're hungry, a great option is the 16 hour roasted lamb shank dish at the Balkan. I recall this being rich and delicious and the place has a fun and lively ambience.

For a modest lunch I like to hit Chaya for a spicy bowl of tonkatsu style ramen. Great way to warm up in the winter!

Moving to Calgary

There's one long table that can seat maybe 6 or 8 people. It's mainly take-out.

I've tried the grilled lamb kebab, which is reasonably priced and pretty tasty I must say. They've got a ton of sauce and topping choices.

The strange thing, however, is that the majority of their signature "home made toppings" aren't very middle eastern in nature (not that they have to be). Things like corn salsa and mexican style pickled onions. I think they're good in their own right but I find it a little strange to throw on a kebab. To each their own I suppose. Kudos to them for trying to bring something new and interesting to the table.

I particularly liked the options of hummus, sumac onions and spicy pomegranate sauce. They also have house made aioli, sweet donair sauce, a yogurt/garlic/dill sauce, and their own super-hot sauce as well as Sirracha.

They wrap these babies tight (so they don't fall apart and get sloppy), and they finish them in the hot panini press which I really like.

For the OP, another great place for shawarmas and middle eastern fare is Taza Deli in Bridgeland. Arguably the best in town for shawarma platters and sandwiches.

bacon marmalade in yyc?

Not sure if you're interested, but it's fairly easy to make on your own....

Cook your favourite bacon (finely diced) until almost crisp.
Pour off as much fat as you'd like
Ad thinly sliced onions and sauté at low temp until dark brown and very caramelized
Add a little apple cider vinegar to deglaze
Add some water or stock
Add sweet component(s) of your choosing--brown sugar/molasses/ maple syrup
Add piquant component(s) of your choosing--mustard/hot sauce/hot chilis
Add umame component(s) you like---Worcester/tamari/ magi seasoning
If you'd like it smoother you could use an immersion blender at this point
Simmer for 15-30 minutes until all the flavours are combined and you reach desired thickness.


I feel like recipes are discouraged on this board so I hope this bacon jam guideline is OK. Great condiment for a burger party or any number of things I'd have to assume....

Fine Diner (Calgary)

Tried fine Diner this week. Not like it really needs to be said again but I was not impressed at all.

I had the all day breakfast with scrambled eggs and "house cured bacon" and honey roasted potatoes. Certainly sounded good on paper!

I noticed when the table next to us was served, that the bacon came thick-cut and very soft and flabby. After seeing this I politely asked the manager/host type guy if they could cook our bacon a bit extra crispy. It was at this point he explained to me that they absolutely could not do this as "it would completely ruin their house made product". I wanted to tell him right then and there to use less sugar in the cure, turn the heat down a notch on the grill and simply cook it longer but I bit my tongue and walked back to my table. This admittedly left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth before I even had a chance to try anything.

As it turns out their precious house cured bacon was a bit of a failure. Super sweet, lacking salt, no smokiness whatsoever, and plenty bites that were literally mushy (in a different way than regular non-crispy bacon). Kind of gross actually. The roasted potatoes were also complete soggy-ville. It was kind of funny that the guy declared it "the best breakfast in the world" when he sat down our plates.

I will say the the toast was great and I also enjoyed their drip coffee, however, my girlfriend's cappuccino arrived with coffee grounds floating throughout the foam.

I won't be back any time soon but I would suggest that if you're going to make a big deal about house cured bacon and not allow your customers to order it as they'd like.......learn how to make some decent bacon first!

Best Burger in Calgary?

Great suggestion. I've been meaning to try this place out for months and I think you've just provided the kick in the pants I needed.

That being said, I don't put a lot of weight on the Burger quest rating system. Their credibility took a bit of a hit for me when they decided to claim that the dense/overworked/raw garlic packed/gas charred Fergus and Bix burger is some kind of mind blowing experience. At the same time they scored Rocky's at just over 50/100 for being too meaty and having no frills. Seriously!?!?

Southern Style Fried Chicken in Calgary

It could indeed have been a freak incident. I was shocked that it was actually good to be honest. Huge piece, heavily seasoned and super crispy. I guess I'll have to be careful about recommending this joint in the future....

Khao San Thai kitchen YYC

I was fortunate enough to have dinner at Khao San this week. This is easily my favourite Thai restaurant in Calgary. This warm little spot is run extremely well, with fantastic food and prompt, friendly service.

I particularly enjoyed the perfectly steeped jasmine tea, the (very spicy) green papaya salad, the massaman beef shortrib, and the chicken green curry. All of the dishes were nicely presented and bursting with flavour. When I asked for some chilli sauce I was given a little 4 pack side dish thing with everything from dried chillies to toasted chilli oil to a sambal style sauce. Awesome!

I'll be returning soon to try out the stuffed chicken wings and corn fritters as well as the Crying Tiger rib-eye dish, the Khao soi curry noodle/coconut milk dish, and the jumbo prawn entree.

Top notch operation in my opinion!

Southern Style Fried Chicken in Calgary

I would second Olives as some of the best fried chicken in town. That being said, I stumbled upon some amazing fried chicken earlier this week. Two of my buddies had a few beers and dragged me to the Elbow River Casino to play poker on wednesday night. After winning a bit of $$ I was wandering out the front door when I noticed a little deli counter to the left of the front door.

The chicken was very well seasoned, SUPER crispy and not at all greasy. The wedges were also perfectly done. I wouldn't expect many folks to go to a casino as a destination restaurant, but if you happen to be on your way to/from the saddle dome, it's well worth a try.

Jackie's Thai, Eau Claire Market, Calgary

Good call.....I LOVE green papaya salad. Now I just have find out how to get my hands on those dishes you mentioned in the original post....

Dried Maldive Fish in Calgary?

Thanks! Your post is much appreciated. I can't wait to dig around for some exotic goodies over there!

Dried Maldive Fish in Calgary?

I'm currently int the process of putting together a few Sri Lankan curries. In an effort to make an authentic coconut sambol, I'd like to procure some dried/pounded Maldive fish. It adds a similar element to a dish that a shrimp or crab past might in SE Asia.

Curious if anyone has seen this product anywhere in Calgary? I don't recall seeing it at T & T but I wasn't actually looking for it last time I was there.

Maybe somebody on 17th ave SE carries it? Not sure what my best options would be.....

Jackie's Thai, Eau Claire Market, Calgary

I checked out Jackies this aft and to be honest I was looking for the chicken salad dish mentioned in the OP and/or the creamy chicken noodle soup. Unfortunately they didn't seem to have either dish available on their steam trays or on the posted menu. I was going to order the tom yum goon but I changed my mind at the last second because I was quite hungry and it didn't appear to come with noodles. Perhaps there's a separate made-to-order menu I'm not aware of?

Anyhow I got the 1 meat, 1 veg combo with rice and it was certainly decent and great value for money, however, I found the flavour to be fairly one-note and bordering on mild/bland for Thai food that I was really expecting to pop. For the record I had the Penang beef as well as the vegetable curry that consisted of braised greens in a peanut or cashew curry style sauce. I'll definitely go back....hopefully to try those less common dishes mentioned above.

Last Night of Honeymoon & NYE in Calgary

I'd consider Teatro and perhaps Bon Terra as well....both places have good food and a classy ambience while being warm and appropriate for a celebration at the same time. Congrats and I hope you find something that suits your tastes.

Soup restaurant?

I'd love a dedicated soup restaurant/cafe as well, but I'm not aware of one. I made 3 different soups last week to satisfy my soup requirements but that can get a little too labour intensive. It would be great if somebody would fill this void in the Calgary market place.....that's for sure

Italian beef sandwich in YYC?

Thanks Deedub,

That's actually not a bad idea at all and it would be awesome if he'd be willing to make the addition to the menu. Failing that, I could doctor up a batch of giardiniera at home and throw some on the sandwich myself. Too bad it takes a day or two to make properly......I'd like to test out your idea this aft!

Italian beef sandwich in YYC?

I'm curious if anyone is aware of an Italian beef sandwich spot in cowtown, similar to what one might find in Chicago?

Thinly shaved beef, sweet and hot peppers, giardiniera, and dipped in au jus if you like.

Any ideas?

*absolutely nothing against the cowtown beef shack but it's not exactly what I'm in search of

Anejo Calgary

I gave Anejo another chance as my friend really wanted to check it out for lunch.

We started with an order of guacamole. $14 for a molcajete full of $2 worth of ingredients. I could honestly care less about the the novelty act of having it made table side. Fairly good guac aside from the fact that they use too much raw garlic and it sticks with you long after the meal is over.

For lunch I had the tortilla soup and a pork taco. The soup was fairly good albeit pretty small for $9. Mild in flavour and had a rich silky texture. The taco was about as basic as it gets. The 3 salsas they serve with their tacos really don't do anything for me. The pico de gallo includes tiny cubes of cucumber or zucchini and almost no chilli; very bland. The red picassa salsa is the spiciest and includes almonds if I'm not mistaken. This one has a strange bittersweet flavour.....not really my thing I suppose. The salsa verde would be my favourite of the bunch although it's certainly nothing to write home about. My friend ordered the sizzling beef tenderloin molcajette with nopales cactus. Although it looked fantastic, he said it was fairly bland and would probably not order again.

All in with tip, we payed almost $70. That is with no booze, no soft drinks and no desert. Still water only. For that price I can't help but think I could have had a spectacular lunch at one of Calgary's best restaurants.

Seeking Sausage YYC

The european deli on elbow dr and heritage makes their own bratwurst almost every day. Their brats are quite tasty and they also sell all kinds of european specialty items.

Avec Bistro, Calgary

Just had a nice quiet dinner at Avec tonight. Overall, a very pleasant experience and solid value for money. Even though they are located at the bottom of an office tower, they've managed to make it feel warm and classy without being pretentious. The service was great even though our courses took quite a while to come out of the kitchen.

Things that were great:

-Simple green salad with a tart vinaigrette. Very nice mixed greens and those tiny french radishes. I could tell a nice oil was used along with a quality white wine or champagne vinegar.

-Mushroom and sherry tart with thyme. Flaky, creamy, rich and delicious...what else can I say!

-Tuolouse sausage: this was part of my cassoulet entree and might have been house made....really tasty and well balanced flavour. It was very nice with the accompanying tangy braised red cabbage.

-Frites: very nice and crisp and served with a delicious house made aioli.

-The Americano coffee I had with desert was top notch. No doubt about it.

-The appetizer mussel dish was certainly good but didn't blow my mind. They came in a white wine broth with bacon and tomatoes.

Minor complaints:

-The white beans in my cassoulet were significantly undercooked. Quite hard and chalky. I must say I really didn't expect this. There was also a ham hock in the dish and while it was nice and tender it didn't bring any flavour to the party. No smoked/cured/saltiness whatsoever. A little disappointing.

-Flank steak: A very nice cut of flank that was ordered med-rare. It was unfortunately served bright red throughout.....very rare. This kind of mistake is understandable but seeing as how the steak was served sliced and fanned out, the chef should have easily noticed that it was waaay under the requested temp. Not a huge deal but far from ideal. The bernaise sauce on top was nicely done.

The small complaints I do have could be easily fixed or avoided entirely with another one of the kitchen staff preparing the meal. It's a great place for a French fix and I came away feeling like it was money well spent for a nice dinner.

Han's is back with its original owners

This is phenomenal news. I was just driving by Han's the other day and was wondering how things were going over there. I loved this spicy little gem before the original couple sold the business.

YYC - Hamburger bun help needed

Thread revival!

Curious if anybody has stumbled across a truly amazing hamburger bun in Calgary yet? I've been looking for something like a Martin's potato roll for a couple of years now to hold me over on a casual burger night.

While I love pretty much everything from Glamorgan bakery, they don't seem to make the kind of hamburger bun that will stand up to a big juicy burger. (to my knowledge)

I've tried the buns from the bakery at the CFM and while they were good, I simply found them too dense and they tried their best to steal the show.....threw off my meat-to-bun ratio to the point where it easily overwhelmed a 3/4 inch thick house-ground short rib/chuck patty.

I generally don't love pretzel buns (on burgers) for the same reason....usually too dense and heavy for my tastes.

I've even managed to purchase some of the buns from the Silver Sage burger stand at the CFM and while they were good, I found the texture to be strangely chewy....almost seemed to have the outside texture of a boiled bagel, before it's wood fired.

Honestly, some of the most satisfactory I've found are the plain Jane white burger buns with or without sesame seeds from Sunterra. No glaring flaws, but they don't really bring much of anything to the party. In the words of the late Phil Hartman, "they're bursting with adequatulence".

I suppose I'm looking for something resembling a soft brioche style bun with a slight crust to stand up to the burger juices, and only the tiniest bit of sweetness (if any). I must say I really like the buns at Earls and Clive Burger but I'm not aware of a place that sells anything of the sort?

Might have to put my current business plans on hold and develop some PROPER burger buns if somebody doesn't fill this gap in the marketplace soon.

Sorry for the rant...I'm up late and killing time. What kind of nut would waste this much time thinking about burger buns anyway?!?! *scratches head*