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Whither Hiroo Nagahara?

Dmkly, as far as I can tell he seemed to have returned to Florida and be hawking knives and opening or involved in the opening of a place called Dragonfly Robata in Orlando.
...not that I am a fangirl or anything. ;)

It is a shame you missed it, twas a great restaurant. If you head to Vegas you should try Raku instead. It's not Bar Charlie...but it is something.

Apr 06, 2011
kazzy in Las Vegas

Looking to have wedding reception in a restaurant - Edmonton

I feel you on this idea - I found the caterers in town inflexible, unprofessional and unimaginative. Renting out a restaurant is a great idea and can save money .


I met with Nathin and Dan at Wildflower to discuss renting out the restaurant for my wedding before the wedding was relocated to Las Vegas. They hadn't really done it before, but were very willing to give it a try. Minimum discussed was about $10,000 for a weekend night, completely buyout of the restaurant for the night. The layout is a bit awkward, but there is a large bank of tables that will hold 30 in a row, with another 30-35 people scattered throughout the rest of the restaurant in smaller booths.

Other suggestions:

- ZINC at the art gallery. You can rent out the restaurant, but the kitchen caters all other events in other spaces as well. I found it inconsistent and a visit there was actually a big reason we moved the wedding to Vegas, but they might be better now, or at catered events.

- Madison's Grill at the Union Bank Inn

- Culina will cater, I never actually met with Cindy Lazarenko, but we chatted via email and she was open to the idea. Both restaurants are quite small though.

- Ruth's Chris? Hundred Bar and Grill (for more of an upscale cocktail party feel) and the other Century Group restaurants are supposed to be getting into the special event world as well. I would also suggest indian, but it's probably far too adventuresome for your group!

Apr 30, 2010
kazzy in Prairie Provinces

bad pizza in calgary

I recently visited some friends in Calgary, and we decided to have pizza for dinner. After a short web search using yelp an the friendly advice at chowhound, we picked Pizza Bob's as it was close to their house in Kensingtons, offered thin crust and got favourable reviews.

This place is crap. I don't know how else to put it. The crust was thin, alright, but it was also over baked so it was cracked, hard and stiff. No chew. It was like a cracker. The toppings were ample, but so ample they weren't in proportion to the cheese and kept falling off into the box or plate off the inflexible crust. They also weren't of top fresh quality as the box claimed. The box also claims a stone oven baking, but I'm pretty sure the pizzas were just keeping warm in a faux stone oven facaded oven.

We chose it over the nearby Demetris which might have been better. However, it has apparently recently changed hands. My friend's boss, who lives in the neighbourhood called her at home one night to tell her to never go there again; it's not the same as it was.

I never thought I'd say this, but are we really that spoiled for thin crust in Edmonton? What's going on with pizza in Calgary, friends? Do you have any better recommendations for my next visit?

Pizza Bob's Classic Pie
2610 Kensington Rd NW, Calgary, AB , CA

Apr 20, 2010
kazzy in Prairie Provinces

Dried chilies in Edmonton

I typically buy mine when away from Edmonton, but in a pinch, Sobeys Urban Fresh has a few different kinds.

Jan 09, 2010
kazzy in Prairie Provinces

The Melting Pot fondue resto coming to YEG

The first non-American franchise of The Melting Pot chain is scheduled to open on the southside of Edmonton in late January. In Gateway Village, near where Cora's and Outback Steakhouse is, off Calgary Trail and 23 Ave.

I have to say I have never been to one, but kind of clump it with other large popular American chains like the Cheesecake Factory, PF Changs and Bahama Breeze which seem to linger at the edges of suburban shopping centres. Large stylish restaurants with huge menus full of decent food in enormous servings. No doubt will tickle the fancy of chain crazy Edmontonians. Maybe it will finally be able to put the "romantic" Creperie out of its misery as well.

Oct 31, 2009
kazzy in Prairie Provinces

Where to buy Black Garlic?

If anyone is looking for this in YEG/Edmonton, I bought two heads in a bag for $4.95 at the downtown Sobeys yesterday. Can't wait to make hummus with it.

Oct 20, 2009
kazzy in Prairie Provinces

Bulk Barn in Edmonton

*slaps self on head*

I didn't think to google the address backwards. The Great 88 is a dollar store that closed a while ago, beside the Payless Shoes in S.E.Common. I hope they are renovating as we speak...

Oct 18, 2009
kazzy in Prairie Provinces

Bulk Barn in Edmonton

I investigated in that area the other day, but couldn't find anything that looked like a storefront. I assume it is either well hidden, or a corporate office? This is the area around the Alberta Research Council, by the way.

However, I could be wrong. Traffic was nasty and they weren't kind to a girl driving slowly, just trying to find some awesome bulk food items, so I didn't look as hard as I should have.

A closer look at their website just shows an Alberta location in Lethbridge, by the way.

Oct 15, 2009
kazzy in Prairie Provinces

Macarons have landed in Edmonton: Duchess Bake Shop

These croissants were quite good, actually. Extremely buttery and moist yet flaky, well-layered with a crispy crust and a touch of airy fluffiness. All the qualities one looks for in a good croissant!

They are small as I mention in the blog post, but good croissants need not be large. They may become my go to for croissant cravings.

Perhaps the only downfall might be my own personal taste for a slightly salty croissant. These may be a bit sweet for my tongue, but I will have to try them again tomorrow. The pain au chocolat was extremely delicious as well.

Oct 06, 2009
kazzy in Prairie Provinces

Macarons have landed in Edmonton: Duchess Bake Shop

Duchess Bake Shop at 10720-124 Street has been open four days, but have the baking arsenal of a bakery open much longer. I'm highly impressed by this place.

French pastries are the specialties. This is not a boulangerie, so there are no bread products. But there are tiny, perfect French flavour flecked macarons ($1.25 for a toonie sized bite), meringues, madeleines and croissants ($1.50). Pies, shortbreads ($4.95 for 12 cookies), pain au chocolat ($1.75?)... the list goes on.

I highly recommend a visit. Some may find the prices a bit high, but I've been waiting for years for a place like this to open in Edmonton, and have been saving my pennies.

More photos:

Oct 06, 2009
kazzy in Prairie Provinces

Gourmet Croissant, Canmore

It seems that the Croissant Gourmet is again for sale, if the small garage style "for sale" sign in the window is any indication. The French mother and daughter that run it seemed more than slightly stressed today when I visited. It's a shame because their croissant was pretty amazing, and I enjoyed their quiche. The savoury crepe I sampled was okay. I wanted to try their other pastries, but a man bought them out of danishes. It was only 10:40, so that made me sad.

It remains to be cash only. I would visit shortly, in case they close in a hurry. :-(

Sep 17, 2009
kazzy in Prairie Provinces

Edmonton: Dinner and brunch downtown?

It should be noted that the building Bistro Praha was in on Rice Howard way had a fire earlier in the year. They (along with Cocodi's) are relocating later in the year. Bistro Praha to 104 Street, south of Jasper and Cocodi's to the area around 115 Street and Jasper.

Sep 13, 2009
kazzy in Prairie Provinces

Bualong...not likely ever again

Interestingly, I was going to do a post soon about Boualouang's fall from grace after their move to a larger space in May. I can see why they wanted to move; they were constantly full and infact overflowing into the streets all the time. The food was solid, and it was a true southeast Asian experience (including service-wise!) Moving up meant they could capitalize and make customers happier, right?


I was excited when they moved to a larger, more stylish restaurant. It somehow made them more accessible. I've eaten at my share of holes in the wall, but it's sometimes hard to get less experienced stomachs to enter such establishments. The well laid out and designed new location was promising.

Unfortunately, it would seem Boualouang kept the same amount of staff and food supplies as for their old six table restaurant. I have had two miserable experiences there this summer.

The first was right after they moved in May so I chalked it up to growing pains. Service was slow, items were forgotten and yet others were not available. I went back in July and things were worse. Service was just as slow and they were out of two dishes (lahp and their jerky) and one ingredient, galangal. Lahp is a major reason I go there, and although their green curry was good, it would have been much better with galangal.

I love the food (when it's around), but I agree. Moving may have killed them.

Sep 12, 2009
kazzy in Prairie Provinces


you should definitely try the mini burgers at Hudson's, cleopatra. I haven't tried the Hat's slider mini burgers, but I hope they're as good as Hudson's.

I find them a bit drier than their larger counterparts due to their smaller patty size, but they definitely fill my burger craving when I don't want the whole shebang. They come with all the same delicious fresh toppings of their bigger brothers, as well.

Aug 30, 2009
kazzy in Prairie Provinces

Food shopping in Edmonton

Will, try the Arab supermarkets in the north neighbourhood of Rosslyn. I'm pretty sure I have seen the lemons at Elsafadi Brothers. They have a large preserved/pickled produce selection. 11316 134 Avenue.

It's a bit bizarre to get there, but once there, also pay a visit to Sunbake Pita for a light lunch. It's just down the street a bit. Highly recommended.

Failing that, Superstore might have what you are looking for, or even the Indian markets on 34 Avenue between Gateway Boulevard and 91 Street.

Aug 23, 2009
kazzy in Prairie Provinces

Three nights in Edmonton - what's essential?

Ugh, how could I forget Culina?!?! Yes, this is a must do. Two locations, one relatively near Whyte Ave, the other quite farther away. They focus primarily on locally sourced ingredients and offer stellar dishes.

Jul 26, 2009
kazzy in Prairie Provinces

Three nights in Edmonton - what's essential?

My suggestions operate under the assumption you are relying on public transit or walking. If you have a car, please reply, my suggestions will differ quite dramatically.

A new favourite of mine is Wildflower Grill. It's downtown, but easy to access via the LRT system from the U of A area. Getting off at the Corona Station and walking south on 107 Street to the Matrix Hotel will find you there. French with Canadian twist, their dinners and lunches are great.

Others may snark, but I really like the burgers at Hudsons, if you want a casual option. Freshly ground, decently priced and the bar has a friendly ambience for a simple meal. Locations on the U of A campus and on Whyte Avenue. It's a local chain that serves above average pub fare.

Breakfast/lunch/dinner on a weekday is pretty good from the New York Bagel Cafe. It's north of Whyte Avenue, probably 20 minute walk from the campus. Others may try to persuade you to eat breakfast (or other meals) at the Highlevel Diner, for it's proximity and legend in Edmonton. Do not listen to them unless you like long line ups for undercooked yet burnt homefries and mediocre eggs. Their ketchup is quite good though. :-)

For light snacks/lunch, coffee, drinks and gelato, DaCapo and Sugarbowl (within steps of eachother near campus) are fantastic choices. Located very near to the aforementioned Highlevel Diner.

Jul 26, 2009
kazzy in Prairie Provinces

recession deals in las vegas

There was some mention of this, but thought I was specifically post about it.

When I was looking at the awesome hotel deals (Encore for $119 plus $50 resort credit that can be used for dining which is CRAZY) I saw there is a "Taste of Wynn" offer going on.

Alex, Bartolotta, Country club, Boulud, Okada, Stratta and Wing Lei at the Wynn and Encore's Society Cafe, Switch and Wazuzu are all offering tasting menus.

Times available and prices range, but there is a good cross section of restos. It's a hell of a deal with that resort credit. The hotel deal is May 27-Sept 7.

Apr 19, 2009
kazzy in Las Vegas

High end ingredients - Edmonton

At Sobeys Urban Fresh on Jasper Avenue on the way home from work last night I lingered to examine their spices again. They have (jarred) truffles and balsamic behind a locked case, the saffron is out in the open and seems to be the same variety the Italian Center carries. They do, however, carry some odd spices and may be worth a try. I just rarely need spices when stopping in for my fresh ingredients and hadn't checked closely enough!

As I first mentioned they do not seem to carry the same frozen exotic meats they used to. The space has been taken over by seafood mostly. I suspect the turnover wasn't quite high enough to rationalizing stocking it all the time, which is a shame.

Feb 21, 2009
kazzy in Prairie Provinces

Edmonton coffee/pupusas/dosas

Blue Nile closed over the summer. There was word they might reopen under new ownership, but I have not checked to see if that has happened yet since I have become entranced by Habesha.

Feb 21, 2009
kazzy in Prairie Provinces

Best New Ethnic - Edmonton

Habesha Ethiopian 9515 118 Avenue or Boualouang Lao and Thai (The latter isn't that new, but it's new to me) at 10669 - 97 Street.

Habesha has a bit more atmosphere, and Boualouang only has 6 tables, if this has any bearing on your decision.

Feb 21, 2009
kazzy in Prairie Provinces

High end ingredients - Edmonton

For spices, I would recommend visiting one of the spice/indian variety stores on 34 Ave, between 91 St and 99 St. I can't recall the one I like best, but options include: Millwoods Spice Center 3930-91 St, Spice Bazaar 9236-34 Ave, Spice Center 9217-34 Ave.

Superstore also has a surprising array of spices in their baking and ethnic aisles, and Save On has a number in the bulk section which can be convenient. I do not think I have ever seen anything unusual however (grains of paradise, lavender, etc)

Bosch Kitchen Center (9766 51 Avenue) does carry some higher end things, such as juniper berry which you may want to use in sauce for all the game meat you are seeking. They only sell pre-weighed amounts, however, so you can get a bit more than you might want sometimes.

Saffron I think I have seen alongside high end balsamic, in a locked case in Sobeys Urban Fresh downtown (104 St, Jasper Ave). Bosch may also sell it. I have no clue as to the quality of these ingredients.

Fin's in Sherwood Park (298 Cree Rd) may be able to get in black cod. I have seen some other "luxury" fish there, and they do order in. Most of the (high end) restaurants in town use them as their fish supplier and I find them much better than the more visible Billingsgate fish market.

For meats, I have seen the "Wild Game Consultant" truck around town. Again, they supply many of the better restaurants in town. I have never ordered, but they have quite a list on their website. I see they even sell ostrich, which I recently tried and loved. I think they used to supply the downtown Sobeys with frozen game meats, but they have since cut that section back in their store.

Personally, I have started buying a lot of the fancier ingredients when I visit other cities. Unusual spices from a spice trader in Vancouver's Granville Market, chilis and mexican ingredients from Las Vegas. Even Calgary has some better selection. I bought ground sumac recently at the Currie Barracks Farmer's Market! Online sources are also better than you might expect. This is an option if you find yourself really hard up.

Feb 20, 2009
kazzy in Prairie Provinces

Recent resto closures - Edmonton

Looks like La Tapa is being turned into an Indian resto.

Feb 20, 2009
kazzy in Prairie Provinces

New Ethiopian veggie buffet: Edmonton

Just following up and updating: my mate and I visited this past Wednesday and enjoyed the spread.

This is a WEEKLY event, and runs 5-9pm. Cost is $14.99. They are hoping to average 7-8 dishes in the buffet, but are still experimenting.

On our visit the features were:

- chickpea fitfit. Chick peas, torn injera in a simple dressing (the owner's mom made the dish specially for him)
- two lentil wots: one spicy and one mild
- gomen wot (spinach/kale and spices)
- fosolia (green beans and carrots)
- atekilt wot (cabbage and potatoes)
- tossed salad

Feb 06, 2009
kazzy in Prairie Provinces

cool finds on granville island

Sea asparagus is amazing prepared like fiddleheads: steamed till bright green, then sauteed with garlic and splashed with vinegar.

I nominate Mike Vitow's corned beef. As he writes:

"J. Beethoven's Corned Beef often gets compared to that which is offered at the Carnegie Deli in New York and Schwartz's in Montreal. I am a native New Yorker. My product is strictly hands on, non injected, tender and flavourful. The briskets are cured in barrels and turned every few days for a two-week period before they are cooked. "

Seriously amazing. If you aren't sold, you can go try it at Salt Tasting Room before you commit to an entire chunk. He's not always at the market, though. I think he goes every four to six weeks; he has a mailing list and will let people know when he's there.

Last time I was in Vancouver I brought a hunk back home to Edmonton in a cooler bag. I didn't buy enough. It was so good, delicately steamed and on rye with a thick slather of mustard...

Feb 02, 2009
kazzy in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Recent resto closures - Edmonton

Sad to say that in the past week I've noticed two restaurant closures in Edmonton: Grandma D's in the west end (they expanded just last year, but when we visited tonight there was a sign stating they closed for good in early January).

Also: La Tapa downtown closed in late December. Only noticed this this week when driving past. Perhaps due to constant staff shortages? On a visit earlier in the year, the owner/manager mentioned he had to turn people away because he didn't have staff to cater to them.

It is a little bit farther back (November?), but Jewel of Kashmir on Calgary Trail South has also been lost. There was some non descript looking chinese place in there now.

On the other hand, some recent openings include Sabor Divino ("european") downtown and Sabzy (health/Persian) on Whyte Avenue. Seems to be more closing than opening in this town lately though. :-(

Feb 02, 2009
kazzy in Prairie Provinces

New Ethiopian veggie buffet: Edmonton

They do. There are a few more dishes than most other places in town. A few different variations on wots (the lentil based dishes) and different spinach/kale (gomen wot), cabbage (alitcha wot) and string bean based dishes (fosolia) that are absolutely delicious.

Jan 29, 2009
kazzy in Prairie Provinces

Los Tortillas in NE Calgary

Thanks for the recommendation, guys. I visited this place last weekend and got a kilo. I live in Edmonton, and I hear there are some places here that sell fresh tortillas, but they would have to be pretty good to beat Las Tortillas.

They also sell some varieties of refried beans and dried peppers that can be hard to find in the little shop. I picked up some to make tortilla soup and enchilada sauce. There was a sign saying they served some kind of tacos during limited hours, but I was kind of a in a rush and didn't take that close of a look.

I made tostadas with the first few tortillas:

Jan 29, 2009
kazzy in Prairie Provinces

New Ethiopian veggie buffet: Edmonton

Habesha, my favourite Ethiopian restaurant in town will be starting up monthly vegetarian buffets on the first Wednesday of the month next Wednesday, February 4.

When last talking with the owner, he said he hoped to serve more variety and more dishes than the other more famous (and established) Ethiopian veggie buffet in town. I have strong hopes for him. Although the buffet at Langano Skies is filling and a good choice for vegetarians who have little variety in town, I have consistently been more impressed with the freshness, unusual dishes and spicing at Habesha. (is L.S. even still doing their buffet??)

It maybe a bit more out of the way, and I'm sure Langano Skies will continue to attract hordes of veggie students due to its proximity to the university, but Habesha is worth the trip.

Not sure what the price point will be, but probably around the $15 mark.

Habesha :: 9515 118th Avenue, Edmonton

Jan 28, 2009
kazzy in Prairie Provinces

Reviews of Restaurants in St. Albert please...

I have eaten at Cajun House on two occasions in the last 6 months, and really enjoyed both visits. It's been incredibly consistent, and the ingredients are fresh. On my first visit I was puzzled as to why they offered extra sauce as an option: was it because the servings were so small? ...then I tried their sauces. Every one I have had has been creamy, savoury and rich. Nice attention to detail, and I always want more just to enjoy the flavours and texture.

It seems to me they just try harder with the ingredients they have. The side veggies are taken just as good of care of in the kitchen as their slabs of fish so the meals aren't haphazard or unbalanced in terms of quality, which I often see at restaurants in Alberta. (You know, your steak is great, but the mashed potato side is mixed with boxed potatoes or something equally sad.) It's not super fancy food, nor totally casual, but they just do the best they can with what they have which I appreciate. I would characterize it as southern style comfort food, with excellent seafood and sides, lots of flavour.

The service is acceptable. Fast, knowledgeable and helpful. Not overly friendly (some might even pass it off as cold, depending on who you get), but I don't go to restaurants to make buddies. Make reservations on busier nights, they seem to be quite busy.

I would recommend the frogs legs (delicate, light and served guessed it, a great sauce) and the crab cakes (melt in your mouth morsels of the crustacean.) They also do half orders of most of their mains, which is nice if someone is a lighter eater or you are there for lunch.

Jan 03, 2009
kazzy in Prairie Provinces