Alloy Restaurant, Calgary

This elegant fine dining restaurant is located off Macleod Trail.  We decided to go to this “highly rated” place since it was a special day for us.  Luckily it was within the car-2-go area since we didn’t have a car and it was out of downtown!

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Appetizers

  • Truffle Gnocchi – this was probably the best gnocchi I’ve had outside of Italy.  I felt that it was so fresh and almost melting in my mouth. It was served with sauted mushrooms, cream and parmesan.  Definitely one to try

  • Lobster Tempura – served with lime aioli dressing and fennel slaw – not bad but nothing to stand out

  • Alberta Beef Tartare – cilantro and sriracha with qual eggs and crisps.  It was sweet and a spicy dish (more on the sweeter side); and was probably the largest appetizers out of the 3 we tried.  The others were tiny!  I didn’t like the crisps on it though


Main Dishes

  • Pacific Halibut – served with shrimp risotto and sauted kale.  The fish was a bit dry (more meaty) and didn’t have much seasoning it.  Despite adding some hot sauce to it, it still didn’t live up to the expectations.  The risotto was a bit overcooked and the arborio rice was smaller compared to others.  Shrimps were the tiniest ones you can get and didn’t make a big difference.  Kale? I cant remember seeing the kale much. I think there was a leaf or two.  For $45, this was disappointing. I’d rather have a tasty bit of fish from Red Lobster, Macleod Trail in Calgary!

  • Beef Tenderloin – I didn’t feel that “wow..mmm Alberta beef” feeling as I did in other steak places. Served with mushroom ragu, it was good and complemented the baby peeled potatoes, but the sauce lacked a bit of salt.


Desserts

  • Flourless Chocolate Cake – I heard that this was to die for, so I had to order it.  It was a huge disappointment; perhaps because I’m from Montreal and got spoilt with the likes of Juilette et Chocolat and Cacao 70….or perhaps cuz I’m a baker myself!  It was a bit hard and dry (i’d expect it to be soft since flourless cakes are more “eggy”).  This was served with vanilla ice cream and berry syrup

  • Mini Doughnuts – Served with dulche de leche cinnamon sugar and toasted pistachio.  There were about 8-10 warm mini doughnuts in a bowl.  I felt it lacked sweetness (was more light).  I couldn’t taste much of the dulche de leche or cinnamon taste.  This also didn’t meet my expectations.


Overall, the appetizers and main dishes were quite small and the desserts were huge! I would expect their sizing to be more consistent with each other.

Ambiance – Very good, no complaints.  The environment is more of a classy feeling.  Customers were dressed really well and they were much older.

Service – Very good, but was extremely slow towards the end (because the restaurant was packed!).  Ex: it took around 20 mins for the desserts menu to come to our table, then another 20 mins to receive the desserts.  The waitress, however, apologized and gave one of the desserts for free!

Since the price of food is quite high, I’d have expected the food taste to be really good!  However, none (except the gnocchi) met my expectations.

It’s a nice place to come for a special occasion (due to the ambiance), but I wouldn’t come here again.

 

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Vancouver Trip 2016

The drive to Vancouver from Calgary was out of this world; and so was some of the food that I ate! What particularly stood out the most was the sushi and BC’s dairy products and berries!

Local BC Dairy Products and Berries

Since moving to Canada 8 years ago, I have been utterly disappointed with the taste of milk, yogurt and cheese.  Maybe I have been spoilt by fresh local dairy food by living in Europe. Then 2 weeks ago, my last attempt was going into Whole Foods Market in Vancouver and picking up some whole milk and yogurt.  And guess what happened? Magic!! The yogurt was so creamy and delicious, and did not need any sugar or fruits in it! I could eat it just like ice cream.  I felt like I was at home 🙂

Miku Sushi

For sushi, we went to the Miku Restaurant (Waterfront location).  Mind you, they need advance booking!  Their famous and popular items were the aburi oshi sushi (i.e. fish cooked with its flame seared technique).  I am simply out of words on how to describe this.  Let’s just say that it was “melt in your mouth” sushi, so moist and so flavourful that it did not need any dipping sauce per se!  My favourite type was the Salmon Oshi Sushi (as it had jalapeno). Hubby’s favourite was the Ebi Oshi Sushi (prawn with lime zest).  Service was top notch and the ambiance was great. Desserts were very unusual and worth the try!

Aburi Oshi Sushi
Aburi Nigiri
Chocolate Apricot Mousse
Green Tea Opera Cake

Dim Sums at Sun Sui Wah Restaurant

This place is open for dim sums from 10am until around 2pm.  There were many round tables in a huge hall, packed with customers.  We ordered food from the decent size menu (price listed individually) by using the order form provided. Food came quickly and was all delicious, plentiful and not too salty.  However, one cons was that most of the prawn dishes actually had pork in it, so our options were limited.

Nero Belgian Waffle Bar

Simply the best liège waffles I’ve ever had: warm, fresh and slightly sugary crust. It has been a challenge to find fresh liège waffles here in Canada.  This place is owned by a couple from Brussels!

Rain or Shine Ice-Cream

This was probably the freshest ice cream I’ve had in Canada.  It reminded me of home (Cornwall, UK) – handmade ice cream made with local ingredients without being overpowered by sugar or any other condiments. I think their local BC milk really made the difference in the outcome of their ice cream!  Yes I had natural ice cream made with sustainable ingredients before, but wasn’t tasty as this.


Lucky’s Doughnuts

Fresh american style doughnuts.  Unlike Krispy Kreme, this is handmade with simple, fresh, local ingredients.  Unlike Tim Hortons, this is not loaded with sugar and is softer (no offence, but I find Tim Hortons doughnuts “fake”).  I’m personally not a fan of american style doughnuts as I prefer fresh cream english doughnuts 🙂 However, if you like doughnuts, you must try this out.


Cafe Medina

This is like a Mediterranean inspired brunch place that serves items such as paella, meatballs etc.  It is most famous for it’s liège waffles, but after trying Nero’s waffles, this did not meet my standard.  There is normally a long waiting outside so it is better to go there early.  However, I personally did not find it worth the wait.

Ramen Santouka

Ramen is Japanese noodle dish which is quite popular in Vancouver!  Unfortunately, I did not get the opportunity to try this out.  If you do, please let me know how it is!

Vij’s Indian Restaurant

This is a modern Indian restaurant that is different from other Indian restaurants..how? They use local meats and seasonal produce.  Their menu is more like “east-meets-west” (not typical indian dishes).  Since we don’t eat pork, we did not have much choice – I guess we could only choose between 3 main dishes.  I loved its simplicity and that they incorporated local produce into their food (such as ghee braised squash).  However, the waiting time was 1.5 hour on a weekday and prices per main dish averaged out to $30 each (rice and nan were unlimited).  If you’re expected real desi food, don’t go here.  If you’re expecting so much from a $30 meal, don’t go.

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