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Alberta hounds visiting Markham, Toronto downtown & Niagara

For Chinese food, we ended up going to Northern Dumplings Kitchen, Congee Wong and Congee Queen (we prefer the latter), Judy's Cuisine for stir fry and Dragon Boat for dim-sum. All the recommendations were spot-on, Charles.

We did also go to Treadwell for an early dinner, and felt like we went to the West Coast instead instead of dining at Niagara-on-the-Lake. It was solid food but excellent wine list with local offerings available.

We only went for ethnic food in Niagara Falls - Taki was excellent for lunch (had uni and other sushi, very fresh and well-made), and The Mojito House was a pleasant surprise. A little off the beaten path, it was inside a strip mall, but the Cuban food seemed authentic and very reasonable. We loved their Mojito selections! (haha good namesake drinks) The only reason why we went there originally was because we just watched the movie, The Chef, and wanted to sample Cuban food. But I was really glad that we went there instead of the tourist traps on the strip!

I didn't make it to any of the downtown places myself since I was working, but my companion thought Whole Food reminded him of Sunterra in Alberta.

We ended up at the brand new Buca Yorkville on a whim; see my recent post for my comments and pictures.

Thank you again for taking the time to guide me through Ontario - until next time!

Oct 25, 2014
Anomay in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Buca Yorkville - interesting Italian with a Seafood twist

Yeah, more sour because of the vinegar, I think. See the pics that I took below.

Oct 24, 2014
Anomay in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Buca Yorkville - interesting Italian with a Seafood twist

We returned from our Ontario trip - we went to Richmond Hill to sample Chinese food, tasted the ethnic offerings from Niagara Falls, and splurged on Treadwell at NOTL. But the most surprising meal we had was at Buca Yorkville, a last minute decision due to rainy weather.

It was quite wet and chilly in Niagara last weekend, so we decided to head back to Toronto early on Sun morning. I remembered the pig ears dish that I had at Buca when it first opened, and I was happy to discover that Buca Yorkville opens on Sun for brunch and is within walking distance to my downtown hotel.

When we arrived at 2pm, the restaurant was still busy and we were seated in front of the busy open kitchen. We decided to try the Italian seafood salad, Squid Ink pizza, and the chocolate cake.

The salad was sourier than expected, and I didn't recognize the veggies (they were crunchy like celeries but have more of a kick.) The Squid Ink pizza was chewy, blackened almost to the point of over crisp, and quite favourful. The calamari on top with the pesto drops were nice touches.

My favourite was actually the chocolate cake - dense, dark but not too sweet and rich.

I have never had anything quite like what Buca served, so perhaps they were mixing traditional recipes with their own modern twist? I think I prefer the original Buca, though I'd have to come back one day for dinner.

More on my adventures elsewhere shortly!

Oct 23, 2014
Anomay in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Alberta hounds visiting Markham, Toronto downtown & Niagara

Awesome, I was worried about the new location, Charles. I will spend the next little while reading your dining experiences and decide on the 2 lunches & dinners! Thanks again!

Oct 01, 2014
Anomay in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Alberta hounds visiting Markham, Toronto downtown & Niagara

Thanks, we do have a reservation at Treadwell, and I have noted the Whole Foods in the vicinity.

Oct 01, 2014
Anomay in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Alberta hounds visiting Markham, Toronto downtown & Niagara

Hi Charles, I am really sorry to bother you again, but my accommodation in Markham is changed and we are now staying at Courtyard By Marriott Toronto Markham instead. Will your recommendation differ now that we are closer to Richmond Hill?

Thanks very much for your insight in advance.

Oct 01, 2014
Anomay in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Alberta hounds visiting Markham, Toronto downtown & Niagara

Thanks, everyone! Your suggestions are all very helpful - I look forward to our Ontario visit in a few months.

Aug 07, 2014
Anomay in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Alberta hounds visiting Markham, Toronto downtown & Niagara

I don't know how I missed the local's guide to NOTL. Thanks, Midtowngirl!

T, I did come across Charles Yu's posts before and have taken notes. The challenge is that I am unfamiliar with Ontario and not sure what is close to the places that we are staying. I have plugged the address into Google Map and everything looks like it's 15-20 mins away by driving, which is quite far for us.

Jammy, I also looked into First Markham Place and the bathroom comments scare me. Will the restaurants outside of the food courts better in terms of cleanliness?

Aug 06, 2014
Anomay in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Alberta hounds visiting Markham, Toronto downtown & Niagara

Hi fellow Ontario hounds,

We will be spending a week in Ontario comes October - 2 dinners & 2 lunches in Markham, a few meals in Niagara and Toronto downtown respectively.

We are staying at Monte Carlo Inn Downtown Markham, a B&B close to the Niagara Falls & InterContinental Toronto Yorkville Hotel in Downtown Toronto respectively.

We are looking for authentic Chinese recommendations in Markham, reasonable but wonderful cuisine in Niagara-on-the-Lake and the Falls area, and take-out/lunch places within walking distance of the InterContinental Hotel. We will have a car in Markham and Niagara but not while in downtown.

I have already searched through the message boards but have not found exactly what we are looking for. Thanks in advance for your guidance!

Aug 06, 2014
Anomay in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Special occasion dinner - Victoria, BC

We are celebrating a special occasion dinner in Victoria BC, and I have narrowed our options down to 3 restaurants:

Ulla: I liked the modern vibe and it seems to be generating good reviews for its innovative food. Being a younger couple, we do not want to go anywhere that are too stuffy or need to dress up for the meal.

Blighty's Bistro: I picked it mostly because of the Oak Bay location, and it also seems to get a loyal following. We love Japanese food but do not want sushi for this particular evening, so perhaps a Japanese chef is a good compromise?

Blue Crab Bar & Grill: I am intrigued by the Harbour view, but the food only get okay reviews ... but perhaps it's improving? Has anyone been recently?

Our focus is good seafood, excellent service and good decor, in that order. Thanks!

May 27, 2013
Anomay in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Haru Sushi Bar - Calgary SW - comparing it against various Japanese restaurants

We went back to Haru on a Sat evening since they have a free appetizer special via the flier they distributed to the nearby neighborhood.

We ordered the salmon tataki as soon as we sat down. It came very fast - my dining companion really enjoyed the toppings (various chopped up veggies), and for a free dish I thought they were quite decent as well. Not sure I'd order it again if I had to pay regular price, because there were so many other items to sample.

We then ordered the Haru sushi special platter & an unagi & avocado rolls, plus 2 aburi scallop nigiri. The service was amazing throughout dinner - they cleared our plates right away as soon as we were finished, and we got unlimited green tea refills. I enjoyed almost everything that we chose this time - the sushi was fresh, the assorted tempura that came with the platter was light & crispy, and I loved the scallop with the little spicy sauce on top. Not a fan of the unagi rolls because I found little bones in them, but they did taste ok as well (if I ignored the little prickly bones).

I'd recommend this restaurant now - this is the 4th or 5th times I have been to it (all the other times were lunch). Since my 1st visit from my last review, they have added some good value lunch specials (I especially enjoyed the sushi combok, with salad & soup), and it seemed like it has improved every time I returned. And like Talo wrote, they have added many California rolls too! LOL.

Frankly I am more of a nigiri sushi eater, but I think in Calgary, a Japanese restaurant have to do their rolls well. They certainly have some very interesting creations on their menu that I haven't seen anywhere else.

Dec 11, 2010
Anomay in Prairie Provinces

Haru Sushi Bar - Calgary SW - comparing it against various Japanese restaurants

Ah, I read your review on Urbanspoon. I don't disagree with you about the mall-quality sushi at much higher prices. I mean, almost all rolls are at least $10-$15, and nigiri sushi are like $3 each ...

Professor Manzo (yep, I was one of your students), I am not a fan of California rolls either, but I think it is a mistake for a Calgary Japanese restaurant not to include it on their menu. It's almost a given, like pasta in an Italian restaurant is a given. I am aware that California rolls are not exactly "authetic", but when people think about sushi in North America, more often than not California rolls pop into minds first.

Sep 05, 2010
Anomay in Prairie Provinces

Haru Sushi Bar - Calgary SW - comparing it against various Japanese restaurants

We went to the newly opened Haru Sushi Bar in Springbank area (right next to Ambrose University College) today for lunch.

The menu is interesting but misses a few of the basic, such as California rolls, in Calgary. I actually overheard another patron asking whether California rolls were available. My favourite sushi places have always been the more traditional Japanese restaurants, however I am willing to give the new dig a try. The decor is Asian chic, and it kinda reminds me of Alloy with the fake Sakura trees in the middle. The owners and servers and kitchen staff all stood awkwardly around; we already knew about the higher prices before going in, so we were well prepared.

We got fish & chips to start - my dining companion proclaimed that it was one of the best fish & chips he had recently. The basa fish was on 2 skewers, lightly covered in tempura batter, and it was fresh and delightful. The banana and yam chips were also crispy & airy. Very enjoyable.

We also ordered 2 rolls to share: calamari rolls and seared scallops rolls. We also wanted to try the sashimi, but I usually don't like to try raw fish at a new Japanese restaurant before it proves itself capable. Haru claims that their sushi is "aburi" style, lightly seared raw fish. My first experience with aburi was at Miku restaurant in Vancouver, and Haru's take on aburi was not as impressive. But enough of comparing Calgary Japanese restaurant with the Vancouver ones - different dining scenes, vastly different expectations.

I really didn't like the calamari rolls - they fell apart too easily and the calamari didn not went well with the rice and other ingredients. The scallop rolls were much better; seared shellfish on top of dried, sliced lotus roots with the same chopped up seafood chunks as the calamari rolls. I enjoyed the crunchiness and creativity that went into the creations. But I like El's Japanese Fusion's take on non-traditional rolls better.

All in all, we may go back for their cooked food (most Japanese restaurants nearby do not offer such selections), but I am not too impressed with their rolls.

Interestingly enough, we now have almost 10 Japanese restaurants within 15 mins of driving radius. I am in sushi heaven! This is my top 3 in terms of how I like their sushi ...

1) Sushi Miki - great selection of fish, Japanese chef
2) Momoyama Sushi - if I want a cheap meal or take-out, here's where I go. Reasonable freshness & gigantic portion size
3) Misato Sushi - good old faithful; dinner boxes are great; I also like how well made their rolls are - they don't fall apart easily. Way too busy - can't linger for long after finishing the food

Still like Zipang the best.

-----
El's Japanese Fusion
2008 33 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2T 1Z4, CA

Sep 04, 2010
Anomay in Prairie Provinces

Alaska king crabs and spot prawns in Calgary?

Thanks for the tip!

Jun 06, 2010
Anomay in Prairie Provinces

Alaska king crabs and spot prawns in Calgary?

I searched through the board but I couldn't find any reference to king crabs and spot prawns in Calgary restaurants, just where to buy them fresh locally.

I am looking for suggestion where to go for seafood, preferably prepared the traditional Cantonese way. In Vancouver, there are many Chinese restaurants that will prepare Alaskan King crab a few different ways (e.g. crab legs steamed in garlic sauce, baked crab meats with rice on the shell, deep fried craws), and I am looking for a similar experience in Calgary.

Isn't it still spot prawns season?

Jun 05, 2010
Anomay in Prairie Provinces

SFO on Christmas Day and also 11 hours layover on a Saturday

Thanks everyone! I guess I'm a little too enthusiastic for my upcoming trip LOL. Just thought I will get a head start in my research. I will ask again in Dec.

Aug 06, 2009
Anomay in San Francisco Bay Area

SFO on Christmas Day and also 11 hours layover on a Saturday

I did a search on the board before posting, but I couldn't find what I was exactly looking for.

I'm looking for places to eat in San Francisco airport on Christmas Day morning inside the International terminal. What's open?

On the way back from Asia to Canada, I also have an 11 hours layover in San Francisco again on a Sat. Thinking of taking BART and checking out Ferry Building for breakfast and somewhere scenic for an early dinner, before heading back to the airport.

Suggestions please? I would prefer non-Asian food - somewhere causal and not too high end.

Thanks in advance.

Aug 06, 2009
Anomay in San Francisco Bay Area

Fruit/Veggie Carving Calgary?

Try Edible Arrangement. We got them for special occasions and it's always a hit. It tastes fresh too. http://www.ediblearrangements.com/ They have a few location in Calgary.

Jul 10, 2009
Anomay in Prairie Provinces

El's Japanese Fusion, Marda Loop (Cgy)

I was just there the past Sat and the Sat prior (I know, we liked it so much that we went 2 weekends in a row), no sign of closing ...

Jun 16, 2009
Anomay in Prairie Provinces

Green Chili NW Calgary now open

I really like the Macleod Trail location too. Prices are awesome you Nonlinear said and such big plate of yummy Butter Chicken!

We tried to go to the NW location on a Friday night, but couldn't get in without a reservation.

I have still yet to try the 17 Ave location.

Jun 06, 2009
Anomay in Prairie Provinces

Disappointed in Wa's: My old favourite in Calgary

I'm glad to hear that you had a good time at Wa's. I just feel that they have been inconsistent for the last few times that I have been.

We still like their Nagomi maki. We almost never order cooked food in Japanese restaurant, so I don't know how good Wa's Tempura and gyoza are.

My new favourite is Zipang - for the last half dozens time that I have been, the sushi has been consistently good, authentic and fresh. Since I almost always only order nigiri sushi, I can't comment on their rolls and cooked food either. My dining companions told me they are good though.

But I really enjoy Zipang's deluxe sushi combo (can't remember the name), which consists of uni, red tuna and raw prawn. They are also the only restaurant in Calgary that I know that deep fry their shrimp heads as snack ... sounds weird the first time I tried it, but it was like shrimp chips.

Jun 06, 2009
Anomay in Prairie Provinces

El's Japanese Fusion, Marda Loop (Cgy)

Does anyone know what their opening hours are? I tried calling 4 times today and yesterday, but no one picked up the phone. I'd like to try them on a weekend but I'm afraid that we may not get a table if I don't make a reservation.

Thanks in advance!

Jun 04, 2009
Anomay in Prairie Provinces

Your latest 'addiction'?

Natto - yeah, those sticky, slimey soy beans!

I eat them on toasts, rice, or by themselves. Just can't seem to stop.

I'm thinking about making my own batch. Has anyone made natto before?

May 28, 2009
Anomay in General Topics

Ah Chin & Unforgettable Chinese in Edmonton

I visited Unforgettable for brunch over the weekend and I figure I should report back to chowhound regarding our experience.

The building was in really bad shape, and if it weren't for the chowhound recommendation, we probably would have never gone in. Once inside though, the restaurant was bright and cozy. There's a regular Hong Kong cafe type menu and a list to order Dim-Sum. We tried both.

The dim-sum (shrimp dumplings and siu mai) were steamed fresh once ordered and they were quite good. Turnip cake was slightly soggy and not crispy enough, but overall I'm happy with the quality.

Assorted noodles were a little too oily for my taste, but my dining companions enjoyed the veggies, meat and seafood on top, and there were plenty to share. I ordered a bowl of beef stew noodles - when it arrived I couldn't believe the portion size - it was huge! Taste wise it was pretty standard fare.

The highlight of the meal was definitely dessert though. We ordered a manga pudding and tapioca pudding to share - the topioca pudding was baked inside a bowl, and it was hot, sweet and not too filling. My type of dessert. The manga pudding had chunks of fruits served with milk on top - very tasty and fresh as well. The best part was that the dessert was only $2.5 each, a true bargain!

The restaurant was not busy and the service was friendly and pleasant, a rarity among authetic Chinese restaurant. I would definitely return! Maybe next time we'll try their Canadianized menu like ginger beef and chicken balls with friends.

May 18, 2009
Anomay in Prairie Provinces

Calgary -fresh chicken livers?

Sometimes T&T Supermarkets have them. Or try Chinatown.

May 15, 2009
Anomay in Prairie Provinces

Ah Chin & Unforgettable Chinese in Edmonton

Thanks for the info, Felix. Saigon Garden sounds more like a Vietnamese restaurant than Cantonese, I'd give them a try next time.

Will try Unforgettable next weekend and report back later.

May 07, 2009
Anomay in Prairie Provinces

Ah Chin & Unforgettable Chinese in Edmonton

Has anyone been to either Ah Chin and Unforgettable Chinese restaurant in Edmonton lately?

We used to go Ah Chin but I heard that they have recently changed hands. How's food there now?

What about Unforgettable - is it pretty similar to the old Ah Chin quality and value-wise? How's their Dim Sum?

We like Golden Rice Bowl too, but not for its crazy dim-sum line-up system on the weekends. Good Buddy and Buddy Seafood - we were there 6 months ago, the food was decent, but nothing to write home about.

May 04, 2009
Anomay in Prairie Provinces

Vancouver old-school sushi

Still reading ... and taking notes. :)

I'll let you guys know where I ended up with. So many choices! Wish I live in Vancouver for the sushi alone.

Apr 15, 2009
Anomay in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Vancouver old-school sushi

The pictures look great!

I wonder if there's a restaurant like Sushi Hachi in Vancouver?

Apr 13, 2009
Anomay in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

easter weekend in kelowna

Wonderful report, Pants! I'm looking forward to our trip to Kelowna. :) Already got a reservation to Quail's Gate Old Vines restaurant for lunch.

Apr 13, 2009
Anomay in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)