This Sh*t's Delicious

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Chasing Free-range Chickens at Over Easy Breakfast

Summary: if you can suffer through the wait times, OEB is worth the long line-up and chaotic billing system.

I don’t really understand why Bridgeland is turning into a mecca for breakfast/brunch joints, but every other week I find myself in another long line-up waiting for (what I hope to be) a delicious start to my weekend. As such, I ended up finding myself in Bridgeland once again on a sunny Sunday with Richard.

The insides are pretty tiny and it shows. It was bustling by the time we got to OEB. There isn’t enough room for patrons to line up near the entrance, so we were split up into two groups: one that just got there and the other for those who got there 15 min earlier than you…at the other end of the restaurant by the kitchen.

I really liked the ambiance of the place. Unfortunately, due to a technical snafu, I seem to have accidentally deleted all my photos, so a written description is the best we can do. There’s a very “cafe” vibe to OEB, with large floor-to-ceiling windows facing the street that let plenty of natural light in. There’s a large centre table to share between multiple parties and side tables for those lucky enough to have come early. The kitchen is partially exposed to the seating area so you can kinda see what the cooks are up to…which is always pretty cool in my opinion.

Kiran’s 2 Cents

The coolest thing for me is the fact that OEB’s eggs from free range chickens that they own on the Sparks egg farm (I couldn’t help but think of this sketch when I heard that –Richard). With that in mind, I got the eggs over easy on a toasted bagel with cherry tomatoes and avocado. I also got home-style fries on the side to carbo-load my busy day consisting of sitting on the couch watching TV.

The fries were the highlight of my dish. Perfectly salted and herbed with oregano, I can honestly say these were the best tasting fries I have had in a while. The guacamole was clearly made from fresh avocados and had a great citrus-y tang. Adding a little bit of hot sauce to the whole ensemble really brought out the flavours.

Unfortunately though, I couldn’t really taste any difference between OEB’s free-run, grain-fed eggs vs. regular store bought organic eggs. I suppose they are one and the same thing though.

My only problem with the whole experience was the payment process. For some strange reason, OEB doesn’t believe in wireless payment terminals that have become ubiquitous in every restaurant around town. Instead, you have to pay at the counter where there’s an overflow of people a) waiting to be seated, b) waiting in line to pay, and c) trying to get to the washrooms through a) and b). This whole process pissed me off, especially cause it doesn’t need to be that way. All the proprietor needs to do is build a heated overflow area outside and the problem would be solved (though to be honest, the sidewalk out front is pretty tiny too –Richard).

Richard’s Ruminations

Between Diner Deluxe, Blue Star and Over Easy (or the OEB as they seem to want to be branded as now), Bridgeland is surely the mecca for hipster breakfasts in Calgary.  Waiting times at all of these places are almost guaranteed to top an hour during peak times on weekends these days, so be sure to show up early and put your name on the waiting list!  Despite the cramped interior, waiting isn’t really that bad at OEB – you can get your coffee along with complimentary banana bread to munch on while you wait.  I agree with Kiran that they probably shouldn’t direct people to wait at the back though, as not only is that the cashier’s area, but that’s also where the “condiment bar” is located.  Not a bad place to hang out if you want to get cozy with some strangers, though!

I too liked the clean, simple interior with retro styling, though I wonder if they ever change the “menu” that seems to be scrawled in chalk on the roof.  They manage to squeeze around 10 tables into the place, along with what I like to call the “community bench.”  The staff was super-friendly, which definitely brightened my morning.  Oh yeah, the place is also fully licenced, which means you can order your coffee liquored up or try their very limited selection of beer and wine.

The menu is pretty straightforward, though with a nice amount of customization – pancakes, french toast, and waffles are fully interchangeable!  I went with the threesome of waffles, thinly-sliced ham and their much-touted eggs (ordered over-medium, which is the best way to identify a quality short-order cook in my opinion).  The waitress was eager to point out that the eggs are enhanced with keratin supplements, though amusingly she didn’t know exactly what that meant (we could hear the wait staff talking to the kitchen staff about it later).  No doubt though, the eggs are a thing of beauty, with extremely rich, brightly-colour yolks.  The waffles and ham were decent, but nothing mindblowing.

Prices are comparable to the other breakfast places in Bridgeland – that is to say, not that cheap, but you can probably get your money’s worth in free banana bread if you are feeling especially avaricious.  Between the cheery atmosphere, stellar service and quality food, I think it’s well worth both the price and the wait!


I had a good time at OEB. If you discount the horrible payment ordeal, the friendly staff, the trust-fund hipster ambiance, and the great food more than make up for the wait times. I would highly encourage everyone to check it out…with one caveat: get there early! If you want to read up on other reviews on OEB, check out Eat Your City’s review.


Kiran Richard
Ambiance 4/5 4/5
Service 3.5/5 4.5/5
Taste 4/5 4/5
Originality 4/5 4/5
Value 4/5 4.5/5
Overall 19.5/25 = 78% 21/25 = 84%

OEB Breakfast Co. on Urbanspoon


Boozin’ it up Kiwi-style 1: Pomona Traditional Apple Cider


Pomona apple cider is second in a series of alcoholic drinks that I bought when I was over in Nz for a holiday. This drink is also brewed by Monkey Wizard, the very same brewery that I blogged about earlier when I reviewed their Wheat Ale.

I was actually more excited about this drink than the wheat ale –which turned out to be quite disappointing – even though I hadn’t tried it out at the brewery (no open bottles). The selling point basically was:

“All mainstream market ciders are shit. You need to try ours.”


Here’s the lowdown:

IMG_1953Appearance: golden hue tinged with red. Clear in appearance, although it is supposed to be unfiltered…I didn’t notice any sediments

Aroma: apple-y

Taste: mellow, smooth, tangy with a clean finish. Bottle fermented so there wasn’t any of the sharp, pungent feel of forced-carbonation ciders like Strongbow. If you didn’t know any better, you could be fooled into thinking this was fruit juice. If you want a summary on bottle fermentation, check out out previous post here.

Palate: to be honest, I didn’t really taste much other than apples!

Monkey Wizard claims that the cider is unfiltered, unpasteurized, and fermented using only the wild yeast found on the apples. Riwaka (the town where the brewery is located) was pretty much over run with apple orchards, so I don’t doubt the claim that the cider apples have been cultivated over generations specifically cause they lend themselves well to be turned into cider.

Summary: a refreshing summer drink than can be surreptitiously fed to kids cause they won’t know the difference. Haha.

Review of Blue Star Diner

Blue Star Diner is a new restaurant in Bridgeland opened by the same guys who run Dairy Lane Cafe, taking over the space on 1st Ave where Artisan Bistro used to be. They work on a similar concept as Dairy Lane, serving a solid selection of breakfast and lunch dishes. But I hear that they will offer a dinner menu in the future (at least, that’s what the sign in the window says! –Richard).

There's a fair bit of wine on the wall for a place that's only open for breakfast and lunch!A lot of the food comes from local Alberta producers, and there is a lot to choose from if you go down the gluten-free or vegetarian path. Many of the burgers on the menu offer a gluten free bun for an extra $2. Like many new establishments in Calgary, hype gets built up, and hipsters and foodies all feel like they need to check it out ASAP just so they can tell their friends “oh this place is new, you probably haven’t heard of it before”. So the four of us were asked to wait about 20 minutes one Sunday before a table was available. It was busy, but thankfully the turnover was pretty quick. They offer coffee (not free, but all you can drink) as you sit at the bar or stand outside waiting. I didn’t know cream and sugar was available near the entrance until after I sat down, so I drank it black. And everyone knows the saying, once you go black, you’ll never go back. It was really good brew, in my limited coffee drinking experience.

Isn't pulled pork just carnitas with a less Mexican- sounding name?I had the pulled pork tacos ($14), which came with a side of yam fries. Standard chipotle mayo with the fries, jalapeno salsa with the tacos. The yam fries were some of the better ones I have had. Cinnamon was sprinkled on top, which sounds kind of odd but it works really well. The pulled pork tacos were a bit disappointing though. They were loaded with fresh toppings, but the meat itself I found to be quite dry. But the jalapeno salsa made up for it as it added much needed flavor to the tacos.

Richard’s Experience

This place is literally right around the corner from my condo, yet I never really noticed that it had replaced Artisan Bistro until my cousins were all like “ooh Blue Star, you should check it out!”  I figured it would be worth a shot, so I called down Kent and Kiran for a leisurely lunch.  The fresh robin-egg blue and white made the place feel modern yet comfortable, which fit a new diner quite nicely.  Like most breakfast places in the Edmonton Trail area, this place was hipster central, which Kiran had to explain to one prospective customer (she didn’t stick around ultimately, but it wasn’t the hipsters that scared her off, it was the prices -Kiran).

Steve's gotta save money for travelling, so he went with the white mug!As Kent mentioned, we got to have some coffee while we waited, and as it turns out, they actually have two kinds – a medium roast (“Guatemala”) and a dark roast (“Cup of Excellence”).  I went with the dark roast, and it was nice and smooth without a hint of sourness – just how I like my coffee.  Of course, it turns out that it was $4 for a (admittedly bottomless) cup – it seems the medium roast is only $3, so if you have had enough Excellence for the week then you can save a buck by choosing the medium roast instead.  They have white mugs for the medium roast and blue for the dark so they know which one to top you up with – clever system!

Chicken burger vs. beef burger - next time, pork!Having not been to Dairy Lane, I found the menu quite exciting (any place with pork burgers gets a +1 in my book!), though I am told that they share some similar items – I am guessing the “Dairy Lane burger” isn’t just a coincidence.  I ordered the honey Dijon chicken burger, but was a little surprised when it came out as a patty (wholly my fault, as it’s written right on the menu that it’s ground chicken!).  It was quite nice, if a little lacking in mustard for my tastes (though I could actually taste the honey, which surprised me).  Fortunately for me, I also ordered the stuffed French toast – to split with everyone for dessert, of course – which I thought was REALLY good.  Lightly-egged slices of toast sandwiching a sweet, sultry, slightly melted centre of cream cheese and fruit filling… and topped with berries!  $12 is a bit steep for something of this size, but I thought it was worth it.  The French toast came with a side of hash browns, which I thought made kind of an odd pairing.  The potatoes seemed to be of quite good quality (with a nice natural flavour), which was fortunate because they were rather plain with only a bit of green onion to spice things up.

The service wasn’t the fastest, but it wasn’t too bad given the patron to wait-staff ratio – but I thought the food was solid enough and menu interesting enough to warrant future visits.

This stuffed french toast is just oozing with deliciousness

Kiran’s Observations

Kent and Richard don’t really do justice describe the ambiance of this place. Having recently come back from NYC, the New York “feel” is still freshly pressed in my mind. Blue Star Diner reminded me of  that “NYC feel.” It was a cloudy fall day, so the floor-to-ceiling windows let plenty of natural light in. The place was humming, but it didn’t feel crowded. The dining area itself wasn’t very large, but felt spacious as the tables weren’t packed in too close together. The tables were square, instead of the annoying rectangular, which facilitated the flow of conversation, but left plenty of room for your plates and utensils. And of course, when you first walk in, you are immediately greeted by the bar, with its row upon row of glasses and wine bottles. I almost considered giving a 6 for Ambiance, but it didn’t feel right…I don’t know why.Beans, beans, in magical soup!

I wasn’t feeling too hungry as I had already eaten before, so I opted to get the black bean soup instead. It turned out to be the best decision of the day. The first thing that hit me when I scooped it in my mouth was “wow.” This was possibly the best ”soup” I have ever had – “soup” cause clearly this was more like a vegetarian chilli. You had lime just jumping off every bite without overwhelming the heat and spice in the dish. The thick, spicy broth of corn, beans, onions made for a great dish on a cloudy fall afternoon.

I also tasted the stuffed French toast, which I felt was underwhelming. It sounded so good on the menu, but it failed to inspire in its execution. The  “stuffed” part was essentially a French toast sandwich with some filling in between. Apart from that, there was nothing really that special or different about this dish compared to regular French toast offerings.

Bridgeland is, for some reason, quickly turning into breakfast/brunch central. I love the feel and ambiance of Bridgeland, (and I personally think it’s the next Marda Loop) so it’s great to see this area developing a great restaurant scene. I had a pretty good time at Blue Star, but be warned that the prices aren’t the cheapest. I don’t think you get the full value for your menu, esp. if you are a vegetarian. But apart from that, there’s very little reason to NOT visit the place.

Back to Kent

In terms of value, its okay. Not really that expensive, but no cheaper than any other diner place in Calgary. And if you are a firm believer in buying local and putting those poor oil companies out of business, its a worthy restaurant to support. Everything else on the menu sounds really good, so Blue Star is a place I will have to visit again.


Kent Richard Kiran
Ambiance 4.5/6 5/6 5/6
Service 5/6 4.5/6 4/6
Plating 4.5/6 5/6 4/6
Taste 4.5/6 5/6 5/6
Originality 5/6 5.5/6 4/6
Value 4/6 4/6 3/6
Overall 27.5/36 = 76% 29/36 = 81% 25/36 = 69%

Blue Star Diner on Urbanspoon

Review of Indonesian Kitchen

Indonesian Kitchen is officially named Calgary Sweet House because they originally focused on Indian food and desserts. On urbs (what I call urbanspoon), there is one listing for Calgary Sweet House, and a separate listing for Indonesian Kitchen. They are, in fact, the same place.


To make it even more confusing, when you look for this place, its main signage says Calgary Sweet House with Indonesian Kitchen printed on a smaller banner on the window underneath. The place has apparently been open for five years, but only in the past year have they started serving Indonesian food alongside Indian food (on separate menus). I am considered the Gordie Howe of urban navigation in some circles, so I didn’t have trouble finding this restaurant, but I can how some people might (ie. me –Richard).

Richard and I came for the Indonesian food. The owner is actually Indonesian, but I am sure she does a fine job with the Indian food too.

Alright, story time:

The menu picture that almost ended KentI got there first and decided to take a wide photo of the restaurant from the inside. Immediately after I took the photo, this big burly dude asks “was I in the photo?”. No smile was made, he looked pissed. I think I offended him and at that instant my testicles ascended into the depths of my body cavity. I was going to die that night.

My reply was “um, no sir”, and I sat down. I take a photo of the menu because us at TSD (This Sh*t’s Delicious) folk tend to forget names of dishes. BBD (Big Burly Dude) then asks “are you stealing food ideas for your own restaurant?”. This place is in Forest Lawn. If I were to disappear in this lawless land, no one would know! My response was “um sir, I am actually writing a review for a food blog”. Five long seconds passed before he said “oh cool” and went back to his meal.

Now to the food:

This picture makes these look better than they actually are :P

(Kent didn’t take notes and it took us 3 months to get around to writing this, so it’s all me from here! –Richard)

The first thing out was a plate of some sort of salty, southeast-asian tasting chip – it had an… interesting flavour, but I wasn’t a huge fan of it – it was rather stale and unevenly salted/spiced.  Hey, at least they were free!

We ordered a variety of things to split, as the only Indonesian food I’d ever had previously was from a food court in Singapore and I was eager to try something new.  Kiran wasn’t with us so we took the opportunity to order all meat.  Our server recommended the deep fried wontons to start, and we went with the rendang stew and satay skewers to flesh things out.

Who doesn't love the deep fryer?

The wontons were kind of floury tasting, but nice and crispy – and the dipping sauce had that complex tangy/vomit-y (not in a bad way) taste that you only seem to get with Southeast asian cuisine (tamarind-y?  My flavour vocabulary is rather limited here, sadly – if you know what causes the flavour I’m talking about though leave a comment!).  The rendang was pretty good – rich like a curry, but not spicy at all.  The satay skewers had a very unique flavour – kind of grassy, very peanutty, and with a sort of lofty bitterness that reminded me of vodka.  Also, they put fried onions on everything (or something resembling onions, as they didn’t have that strong of a taste).

We were also treated to a plate of ayam goren ibu sari – quite the mouthful!  What was this, you ask?  “Mother’s recipe”, we were told – piping hot and very tasty chicken wings!  Probably the best dish we had there, and we didn’t even order it!

Curry? Nope, just rendang!A satay that's actually peanutty - fancy that!Awesome wings, and not just because they were on the house!I only counted 27 layers... rip-off!

To top it off we got a 30-layer cake, which sounded like a real pain in the ass to make.  It smelled warm and cinammony, and it had subtle yet exotic flavours that I can’t quite describe.  You’ll have to try it yourself!  Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention that the coconut juice has floaty bits in it – just like Orbitz, if anyone remembers that.

Doesn't this look like a nice summer drink? Oh yeah, that's when we were there.All in all, the food was decent, though the servings seemed kind of small given the price and the foot wasn’t all that hot (though maybe we were just eating too slow).  The Indian menu, on the other hand, seemed damn cheap from what I saw (lots of dishes under $10, which I’m pretty sure isn’t typical in Calgary!).  The service was good, but it wasn’t very busy so hard to say what it might be like on a different day.

The owner (the husband half of it, anyway) sat down for a chat with us near the end, and was quite the talkative guy – apparently he’s quite the well-traveled renaissance man.  Car importer, correctional officer, school board member, restaurant owner – oh, the stories he could tell!


The food was hit and miss (though the hits were really quite good), but the people and place were cool (there’s even a stage there where they hold speeches, weddings, and other events), so if you’re ever in the area and in the mood for something different, it’s worth checking out.

-Kent & Richard


Richard Kent
Ambiance Interesting TBD
Service 5/6 TBD
Plating 1/2 TBD
Authenticity 5/6? Who knows TBD
Taste 4/6 TBD
Value 3.5/6 TBD
Overall 18.5/26 = 71% TBD

Indonesian Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Tu Tierra Review

Short Take: The place might look like a Chinese restaurant on the outside, but don’t worry, it is in fact a Mexican restaurant – and a pretty good one too!

It’s been a while since our last post – sometimes life gets in the way of writing Smile with tongue out  Luckily life hasn’t gotten in the way of good eating Smile

This salsa may gently kick your ass (no serious ass-whoopings here)Tu Tierra has its roots as a hole-in-the-wall restaurant, with humble beginnings as a taco stand.  Over time, the business grew to the point where the owners were able to open a full-blown restaurant – Mi Tierra.  Business was booming to the point where they were able to open a larger, sister restaurant – Tu Tierra – though funnily enough the new restaurant cannibalized enough of the original restaurant’s clientele that they ended up closing Mi Tierra.  But enough about history!

It's YOUR restaurant!  How welcoming!They must have taken over the space of a former Chinese restaurant, judging by the pagoda outside – though surprisingly it doesn’t look too out of place. The restaurant has a warm and fairly simple interior, with a certain rustic tinge that helps set the Mexican feel, though the Mexican pop music and dark haired Latino/Latina staff do more to cement the air of authenticity than the interior decorating.  Our waitress was a brusque badass with an arm cast, which she apparently got due to a shark attack (!) – unfortunately, she wasn’t too knowledgeable about the food.  Luckily, most of the items on the menu are standard fare for the home-style Mexican restaurants – as one of the owners informed us, pretty much all Mexican families make the same recipes back in Mexico.

The complimentary salsa was quite tasty, having a medium level of spiciness that wasn’t too overpowering.  Our main courses came quite quickly, and looked great – does being hungry make food look better too, or just smell/taste better?  I had ordered the enchiladas de mole (mole being like the Mexican/chocolate version of sate sauce, haha).  The sauce itself was quite nice – nutty, slightly sweet and with a touch of heat – though the chicken inside the enchilada was kind of dry (not much of a problem considering the amount of sauce involved).  The rice and beans were good, but nothing to write home about.

Horchata - it's f*cking deliciousMmmm mmm mole!

The horchata caught my eye (thanks Vampire Weekend), so I figured we could give it a try – and what a good decision that turned out to be!  None of us had had it before, so I’m not sure how it stacks up against other horchatas, but you probably can’t go wrong with the recipe: vanilla, cinnamon and rice milk over ice.  Liquid perfection.

Kiran’s Notes

Is he eating Slimer from Ghostbusters?

Apparently, there is a dearth  of good Mexican restaurants in Calgary, so when I saw that Tu Tierra ranks as the #1 Mexican eatery in town, I couldn’t say no. Like Indian restaurants, it appears that Mexican restaurants carry similar recipes between the different establishments, which makes taste comparisons more applicable. As such, I decided to order the relenos chillies, the same dish I had ordered at Los Chilitos. This dish basically consists of poblano chillies stuffed with spinach and cheese, with the standard Mexican thoroughfare of rice and beans. The main thing I remember while eating this dish is how supremely satisfying each bite was. In addition, as you can tell from the photo above, it had a nice amount of heat. Unlike the Los Chilitos dish, this one was fairly traditional with no fancy sauces, but yet, was a far superior product.

I wanted to round-off my culinary experience with a dessert, preferably tres leches like I had at Los Chilitos. Unfortunately, the only item available on the menu was leche flan (crème caramel), so that is what I ended up getting. Crème caramel is essentially caramel custard, but without the hard shell that crème brulee has. Although it was delicious, I don’t remember it being anything spectacular.

I can definitely see why, from a taste perspective, Tu Tierra was ranked as being #1 for Mexican food. I would like to try a few more Mexican restaurants before I personally crown them so, but they are definitely going to be at the top!

Looks flan-tastic! [/horriblepuns]Good sauce is good


Kent’s 2-Cents

Observe the bulge in the back...The one thing I like about an authentic Mexican restaurant is that I can always expect something new.  Aside from the few places along 17 Ave and other pockets of the city, much of the Mexican cuisine that I’ve had has been of the Tex Mex variety. The burrito I ordered was huge and jam packed with chunks of steak, beans, and other veggies (though you could have made it even more awesome by turning it into a Chimichanga – how can you not want something with that name??? –Richard).

Eff yeah, steak mu-fuggahs!It tasted great, but the distribution of fillings was not even. The steak chunks were more towards the back end. So it was like eating a bean burrito for the first 5 minutes, then bam! What’s this? They gave me a new burrito on the same plate? Eff yeah, steak burrito mu’fuggahs. Oh and Horchatas! Why haven’t I known about these liquid candy treats before? It’s like Mexican egg nog, but without alcohol.  They need to start making horchata with booze in it!


It’s nice to see a restaurant grow from a small start-up to a flourishing institution – it would have been interesting to have known the place as it evolved to see if the food quality changed at all.  It’s pretty damn good in its current state, so I’m curious to know whether it improved, degraded or stayed the same as the business grew.  The service was not a strong point during our visit, but when the food is good enough I’m willing to let that slide.


  Richard Kiran Kent
Ambiance 4.5/6 3.5/6 4.5/6
Service 2.5/6 3/6 5/6
Plating 4/6 4/6 4.5/6
Authenticity 5.5/6 5/6 5/6
Taste 5/6 5/6 5/6
Value 5/6 5/6 5/6
Overall 26.5/36 = 74% 25.5/36 = 71% 29/36 = 80.6%

Tu Tierra on Urbanspoon

Review of WURST Restaurant & Beer Hall


Summary: Looking like it could be a great overall addition to the YYC food scene, Wurst deftly navigates the line between classy and casual while bringing a classic alternative to the traditional watering-holes in Calgary.

Despite the rain a couple of weekends ago, Kent and I decided to join up with Kiran and head on over to Wurst, the questionably-named, German-inspired restaurant/beer hall that has taken the place of Wildwood in the district of Mission.  I had been meaning to check this place out for some time, though I had mistakenly thought that it had opened in April when it, in fact, was opening the same weekend as Craft – it was like two Hollywood blockbusters going at it for the opening weekend box-office title!

DAS BOOT! (or Stiefel, to be proper)

Much like Wildwood, Wurst has both a main floor and a basement with different styling and demeanour – the upper floor is classier with tablecloths and lighted trees (putting the garten into biergarten), while the lower floor is a boisterous beer hall with benches, barrels, and boots of booze.  No joke – for the price of $25 (though the website says $30?), you can have a 2L boot of beer, just like in Beerfest!  As we walked in without a reservation, we were relegated to sitting around a barrel in the basement – not the most comfortable of situations – but we were at least promptly served with some beer!  The waitresses were dressed in mock-Bavarian-beer-girl outfits (they were actually T-shirts), and while the service was quite average, it was a vast improvement over Craft that day (I personally thought it was excellent considering how how packed the place was –Kiran).  Unfortunately, Wurst had the same problems as Craft: of the 20 draft beers that they have on the menu, only three were available!  It was as though there was a mini-prohibition going on in the city or something (good social media marketing, poor planning, or are Calgarians just getting ready for Stampede? –Kiran).

Sausage fest!  It's like an engineering party :PGiven the storied history of its chefs (the executive chef has worked at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club, the Drake Hotel, and Bison in Banff amongst other places), I had high expectations for the food at Wurst.  The schweinshaxen (pork knuckle) immediately caught my eye, as it was one of the dishes I associate most with beer halls in Europe.  As Kent had already settled on the knuckle, my aversion to ordering the same dish as someone else at the table caused me to order the pile of bratwurst instead.  The food came out in sizzling cast-iron pans – quite a striking presentation! – and definitely looked delicious (especially the pork knuckle… mmmm, 80% fat!).  Just as our food arrived, a table opened up. However, the table that we moved to was in utter darkness – the light bulb above us emanated only the faint glow of a dying ember (to be fair though, they turned the lights down in the entire beer hall in some misguided attempt to generate ambiance and mystique –Kiran) .  As such, I wasn’t able to see what I was eating – though given that it was just a pan full of bratwurst and beets floating in some sort of potato-ey substance, that wasn’t a huge problem.  I wasn’t a huge fan of the bratwurst, actually – I thought it was too dry and didn’t pack much flavour.  Wurst’s website boldly proclaims “We’re bringing mustard back”, but I could barely taste any on my dish, despite the picture clearly showing it.  Perhaps my taste buds were just numb from the couple pints of beer.  I did try some of Kent’s pork knuckle, though, and it was all I imagined and more!

Underneath the crackly exterior lies a heart of fat, interlaced with bits of meat - mmmm!

Kiran’s Observations

I was actually feeling sick that day, but still opted to check out WURST as I was pretty jazzed about the positive reviews it was getting in twitter verse. Twitter was abuzz with mentions of CRAFT and WURST, and it was quite clear from the tweets that most people were pretty unhappy with the level of service at CRAFT. Indeed, @300rwhp confirmed that he had, in fact, been so unimpressed by the poor service at CRAFT that he left 15 min. after he got there.

Walking into WURST, I was pretty taken by the expansive space that the classy main floor took up. This was clearly the restaurant part of the establishment full of families and groups of friends. I quite liked the ambiance and felt the like the designers did a pretty good job of utilizing the existing space and incorporating it into WURST’s vision to be both a restaurant and a beer-hall.


Walking in to the basement, I was immediately struck by the row upon row of beer steins. I didn’t realize it at the time, but according to Calgary Foodies, the steins are for sale for a low $250/year that goes to charity. Although long sold out, this is definitely one of those “cool factors” about WURST that adds to its buzz. Imagine walking into a restaurant and getting served beer in your customized stein! Pretty freakin’ cool…

The basement level is definitely where the debauchery takes place. I was immediately struck by how similar the beer hall was to the ones at Oktoberfest in Munich (there were even people breaking out into random bouts of singing –Richard). The long tables force people in smaller groups to mingle with each other, which can only be a good thing in a conservative city like Calgary where people are generally reserved. I definitely caught myself wishing that we had come in here sooner so we could sit at one of these tables and meet interesting new Calgarians. This place is definitely going to be an absolute gold mine during Stampede…!

A good place to chat to random strangers

I ordered a litre of the only German-sounding beer on the menu that night: Kolsch. It was an alright beer, nothing to get excited about. What I was really excited about was the side of egg noodles (spätzle, $7.99) that I had ordered. It was also pretty much the only vegetarian option on the menu. Digging in, the first thing I noticed was how goddamn salty it was. Having never had a spatzle before, I cannot ascertain whether this is intentional or just a misstep on part of the line cook. Either way, it was nice to have a liter of beer to down what was essentially a German-style macaroni and cheese. The menu items looked expensive at the outset, but once I saw the portions, I was a bit placated – they sure do not skimp out on portion sizes in Germany!

IMG_0194I had the chance to shoot the shit with one of the owner’s of WURST regarding the drastic differences in service quality between the latter and CRAFT. It just seemed like the WURST staff were trained better and had their shit together. I can understand running out of beer, but poor service just reflects badly on any establishment. Research shows that people are more likely to tell their friends of the bad experience or service they received than about a positive experience. I am pretty sure that CRAFT will bounce back from it’s rocky start, but at the same time, why take the chance? Why bother opening and have people turned off by poor service when you can take the time to get your shit together? Maybe, just maybe, this was a soft opening for the Stampede week and the CRAFT management wanted to iron out any kinks before The Greatest Show on Earth began. Let us hope so…


Wurst is a great alternative to the generic pubs around the city that serve the traditional mainstream brews. While the basement level definitely caters to the rowdy young crowd, older people and families will feel right at home on the classy-yet-casual main level. Wurst made a better first impression on us than Craft, though it wasn’t without troubles itself – the selection of both seating and beer could be improved over what existed during the opening weekend.  If you don’t mind dying early of heart disease, I recommend trying the schweinshaxen. For those who value their health a bit more, there is a good variety of other German-inspired fare as well Winking smile.



Kiran Richard
Ambiance 5/6 5.5/6
Service 5/6 4/6
Plating 3.5/6 5.5/6
Authenticity 5/6 4/6
Taste 3.5/6 4.5/6
Value 5/6 4.5/6
Overall 27/36 = 75% 27/36 = 75%

WURST Restaurant and Beer Hall on Urbanspoon

Review of The Himalayan (Nepalese Cuisine)


Summary: A great date place / family restaurant for those looking to try a fusion of Indian/Chinese cuisines, friendly service, and more importantly, good food.

Calgary has a dearth of Nepalese cuisine, so when Kent found a Groupon for this restaurant, it was a no-brainer.The Himalayan is tucked away in a tiny strip mall in the west end of 17th Ave, but don’t let the location and outer facade fool you. It felt like we had stepped into another world as soon as we had walked in – the interior is in complete contrast to the exterior. The owners have clearly put a lot of thought and effort into tastefully decorating the place. The mood lighting, in addition to enhancing the ambiance, accentuates the Nepalese inspired artwork on the walls. Definitely a great date place, if you don’t mind the families.



Upon seating, we were immediately greeted by our very friendly server. While shooting the shit with him, we found out out that his father was a former part-owner of the other Nepalese restaurant in town: Everest Kitchen. However, due to irreconcilable differences, they had decided to part ways. It will be interesting to cover Everest Kitchen as part of our next outing and compare the differences between the two establishments.

Nepali cuisine is a very interesting mix of Indian/Chinese fare and is reflective of Nepal’s geographic location nestled between the two Asian giants. The intermingling of these two ancient cuisines is clearly evident in their offerings and reminded me of Hakka cuisine, which is Indian/Chinese cuisine hailing from the East Bengal region of India. Our server, being related to the owners, was very knowledgeable about the menu and was able to steer us through the vast offerings.

Kent and I didn’t order anything to drink but decided to get the mouth-watering momos ($6) as appetizers (while waiting for the perennially late Richard). The latter are a traditional Nepali dumpling made from a mixture of vegetables, mozzarella cheese, and “Himalayan spices and herbs” all wrapped and steamed in shell made from flour dough. That is a lot of words to describe a delicious little appetizer – I could eat this sh*t all day and not feel satiated. The outer shell was moist but not too sticky. The vegetable filling was delicious but a tad salty. The tomato sauce was milder than I would have liked as the momo filling definitely overwhelmed the sauce. Overall though, highly recommended. Definitely, a “must try.’

I ordered the Himalayan Roasted Eggplant ($13) tarkari as my main course. Tarkari, of course, is the Nepali version of curry, but not as liquid-y. Richard ordered a thuk-pa and Kent went with an old standby dish, dal (lentils).The tarkari dishes came with a side of naan and rice. Our dishes took a long time to arrive so we were comp’d with a side of papad served with sweet yogurt and mango dipping sauces. The sauces were sweet and tangy and provided a great contrast to the savoury papad.



Kiran’s Thoughts

Given the vastness of the vegetarian offerings at The Himalayan, I was hard-pressed to select just one dish to order. Now I know what most people feel like when they go to a restaurant. Ordering something off a menu is typically a simple affair for me, given that I usually have only one or two options. I was sorely tempted to order something I knew would taste good, but in the interests of expanding my mind and palate, decided to go with the roasted eggplant tarkari. It turned out to be not such a good call. The dish was flavourful with a sweet and sour finish, but in general, too salty. The eggplant was also unevenly cooked as some pieces were tough when chewing. The salad accompaniment was just a filler with the ingredients not being very fresh. In fact, I seem to have been so disappointed with this dish that I didn’t even bother to take any photos.

The dal, on the other hand, was an excellent call on Kent’s part. It was a perfect dish for a cold, rainy day like it was that particular evening. It was perfectly spiced, with just the right amount of salt and spices. You could tell it was clearly home-made from a family recipe. The combination of dal and naan, although not typical, was what I needed on that cold, clammy day.

The Himalayan didn’t seem to have much in the offering for desserts, but Kent and I decided to go with server-recommended cassava root cake. This turned out to be a delicious choice. The cake itself had the texture of oatmeal, but was spongy like, well, sponge cake. The drizzle of chocolate and raspberry sauces only served to enhance the dish overall. My only complaint was it was a bit too small: Kent and I managed to destroy the dish in two seconds. But it was worth it.


Richard’s Ruminations

Namaste, b*tches. I wasn’t too sure what to expect from their place after seeing the questionable aesthetics of their website,(yeah, it’s pretty fucking terrible; crashed my browser once – Kiran) but it turned out to be quite a pleasant venue. After ordering drinks, I perused the menu looking to see if they served yak. Sadly (or happily?) no, but they did offer quite a large variety of Nepali dishes, including several with shrimp (which I found slightly amusing considering Nepal is rather landlocked). I had originally intended to try the mis-mas rice (a mixture of rice, saffron, raisins, and meat), however the waiter rather vehemently turned me away from it, stating that they were working on removing that from the menu (yikes!). Instead, I settled for a mutton thuk-pa, a noodle soup with carrots, cabbage, parsley, onions, chilli, and small chunks of mutton.

Mutton Thuk-paThe starters were pretty good in general, with the papad standing out in my mind as being particularly tantalizing. To me, it tasted like a mix of Indian-style lentil crackers and Chinese-style fried puffed-rice crackers. My main course (thuk-pa) was simple but decent, though the flavours/textures evoked thoughts of cheaper fare – the meat reminded me of cha siew (Chinese BBQ pork) and the vegetables in the soup made me think of instant-noodle ramen packs (though I imagine the vegetables in this soup were actually fresh and not reconstituted from dehydrated husks Winking smile). I also had a pineapple-coconut juice, which is a tropical-paradise-dream of a drink – I would definitely recommend this drink, and I’m not even much of a fan of coconut.

I was greatly impressed with the service and speed that the food came out, though we did arrive before it really got busy -  I’m not sure if they would have been quite as attentive with twice the crowd.

Kent’s Two Cents

I really enjoyed the Himalayan, and its a shame there aren’t more of these Nepali restaurants in the city. The service is exceptional in this family run restaurant, mostly staffed by native Nepali who can explain what’s on the menu. Ever since eating dal bhat (lentils & rice) everyday for a month in Nepal, I have considered it to be healthy and hearty comfort food. The Himalayan makes a good dal, but it wasn’t what I originally expected. Its consistency is on the watery side like a soup. I always thought it was supposed to be like a stew or porridge. Not really a bad thing, it still tasted great. Now if only I could make this stuff properly at home.


I am glad to see another ethnic eatery getting its sh*t together and share its culinary offerings with the rest of Calgary. Although I was disappointed with my own dish, I really enjoyed the two vegetarian options that Kent had ordered. There are far too many options to choose from to visit this place only once. Although this is contrary to my own personal philosophy, the Himalayan might just be the one place that I could see myself visiting again. The friendly and knowledgeable server also helped. In short, this is a great date or family outing place that shouldn’t be missed.

Peace out.



  Kiran Kent Richard
Ambiance 4.5/6 5/6 5/6
Service 4.5/6 5/6 5.5/6
Plating 4/6 4.5/6 5/6
Authenticity 6/6 5.5/6 5/6
Taste 5/6 5.5/6 4.5/6
Value 5/6 4.5/6 4/6
Overall 29/36 = 80.5% 30/36 = 83.3% 29/36 = 80.5%

The Himalayan on Urbanspoon

Review – Franca’s Perfect Gift & Cafe Italia

Franca’s Perfect Gift & Cafe Italia is a new cafe in the NE serving some really good coffee, paninis, and fresh Italian pastries. Interested? Read on.
Photos coming soon mofos…

I’ll get this out of the way first, signage is quite poor. If you were to look up Franca’s Perfect Gift & Cafe Italia on Google Maps, it would probably direct you to its original location, which now doesn’t exist. It is still on Edmonton Trail, but has been moved north closer to the Kal Tire on 37 Ave NE (actually a block away from my office, no stalkers, k thx). Franca’s Perfect Gift & Cafe Italia has been in it’s new location for just over a month now and not enough people know it exists. Hipster talk: Its too underground for you to know that its there. Driving along Edmonton Trail, you wouldn’t think that a restaurant is in that building. Most of the clientele are friends of the owner or regulars from the previous location, and I’m pretty sure even surrounding businesses (including my coworkers, a 10 second walk away) yet have had the chance to try it out. More people should try it out.

Franca’s presents itself as a gift store slash cafe. Inside is a very modern looking restaurant with everything literally brand spankin new. It doesn’t get any newer or cleaner than this. As soon as you walk in, you are presented with their gift store section, a bunch of French press’s, mugs, and gift baskets. I don’t think they have ironed out their ordering system yet for food, its all very improvised. The few times I have visited, they were busy and understaffed, so no one was really greeting me and taking me to a table. No one really indicates how to order take out, where to pay, etc. Once they get consistent and more customers, I suggest they get organized a bit, it will help in the long run and make things efficient.

On the menu are mostly panini’s and soup for hot food. For dessert are a wide variety of pastries made fresh in house. (Their online menu is outdated, and they currently have more variety for paninis and dessert) The owner said that all of the meat is imported directly from Italy. And despite my criticisms of the service and its location/signage, the food is really delicious. The Mario’s panini consists of a bunch of Italian cold cuts, provolone cheese and roasted red peppers. The bread is a bit on the oily side, but when served hot comes out crispy. It is savory but not that salty. The tiramisu is fresh and might be one of the best I have tried in the city. Prices aren’t necessarily cheap, paninis go for $8-9 and pastries are in the $3-5 range. Its a slight premium worth paying for some fresh and authentic food. I don’t have a refined palate for coffee, but I do know its better than any franchise or chain.

I worry a bit about how well Franca’s can survive in the location its in. Some good marketing can go a long way. And if they take advantage of the buttload of businesses in the Greenview industrial area and everything along Edmonton trail, they will be able to get a really good client base for morning coffee and lunch hours. The area is pretty old and most of the food establishments there are although good, they are aging. So it is nice to see a new food place in this area that doesn’t have decor from 1988. Not the cheapest lunch you can get on Edmonton Trail, but well worth it for food that had effort and quality put into it. I’ll be coming here often. If not for their paninis, but for their pastries so I can get my dose of sugar to stave off sleeping at the desk every afternoon. (If I work with you, I’m totally kidding, I don’t sleep at work)


Ambiance 5/6
Service 3/6
Plating 5/6
Taste 5.5/6
Authenticity 5/6
Value 4/6
Overall 27.5/36 = 76%

Franca's Perfect Gifts & Cafe Italia on Urbanspoon

Review of Canada Dosa Corner

Canada Dosa Corner (CDS) has been on my hit list for a long time. It fits every definition of a hole-in-the-wall place (HITW). In a seedy part of town? Check. Ethnic clientele? Check. Almost hilarious lack of attention to detail and decor? Check. Owner and chef from original country? Check. I could go on. To say that I was excited to check out this place would be an understatement.

CDS’s claim to fame is their ginormous dosas (crepes) made from rice flour and are a staple of South Indian cuisine (kinda like pasta for Italians). Unlike most French crepes, dosas are a traditionally savoury dish served either plain or stuffed with meat or potatoes and eaten with sambar (vegetable broth).

We sat around and twiddled our thumbs for a few minutes before our server came out. He was short line cook from Bangalore, India whose family has been in the catering business for generations. I ordered the Mysore Masala Dosa and Idli-Sambar whereas Kent & Richard ordered Minced Goat Dosa and Sri Lankan Lamb Curry. In addition, Richard ordered Mango Lassi while Kent & I decided to stick with Sri Lankan chai.

Kiran’s Thoughts

I have been eating dosas since I was a kid and was excited to finally find an authentic South Indian eatery as opposed to the saturated North Indian fare that one typically finds in Calgary. I couldn’t resist ordering Idli Sambar (steamed rice cakes) for my appetizer. Like dosas, I have been eating idlis like a good boy since I was 5 and was anxious to compare them to the ones my mum makes at home.  The Mysore Masala Dosa came stuffed with mashed potatoes, onions, green chillies all cooked in aromatic Indian spices. All dosas came with the standard sambar and two assorted chutneys.


As you can tell from the above picture, these dosas are frickin’ massive. Believe it or not, that’s the way they are made back home. When your portions get this big, it is pointless to maintain any decorum by using utensils – I dug in with my hands, using my fingers to tear the dosa into smaller chunks and dipping them into either one the sambar, onion chutney, or tomato chutney.


IMG_0031.CR2The dosa was exactly like my mum makes it – mix of crispy and soft with just the right amount of salt in the batter. The stuffed potato also was perfectly done. The prize, however, had to go to the sambar. It was everything I could ask for – a perfect blend of spicy, salty, tangy, and umami. It was like being transported back to a food stall in India with every bite. Absolutely fabulous.

Idli is typically had as an appetizer/breakfast, but is a time-consuming dish to make as the rice cakes have to be steamed. The idlis were piping hot when they came out, fresh out of the steamer. They were a tad stickier than I am used to but were fluffy and moist.  The idli also came with the standard thoroughfare of sambar, onion and tomato chutney. IMG_0055.CR2

The only issues I had with CDS was the relatively poor service and the off-putting taste of the chutneys. There was a moment in time where the server completely forgot about us and we had to ask him a couple of times to refill our water. Also, the Sri Lankan chai that Kent and I ordered turned up towards the middle of the meal instead of the beginning…or even the end. As for the chutneys, I just wasn’t a big fan of them. They had a weird off-putting taste which I can’t describe that completely turned me off them.

Richard’s Ruminations

The place smelled delicious even when standing outside in the parking lot – that was surely a sign of good things to come!  Entering the restaurant, we were surprised to see that it was completely empty, given how much hype this place has been getting (though there were a few tables with reservation placards on them).  Like many an ethnic restaurant, they had sweets prominently displayed in glass cases, which caused some excitement in the group (not for me though; I’m not a fan of Asian desserts in general).  The menu, on the other hand, sparked my interest substantially – ultimately, Kent and I decided to split a goat dosa as well as a Sri-Lankan lamb curry.

The curry came out first, quite quickly (probably one of the few things that is slow-cooked and hence already made – the waiter made sure to inform us that they freshly cook virtually everything upon order).  The curry came with rice by default (as it should, IMO), a nice change from many places where prices for curry may seem deceptively low if you don’t take into account the extra rice order.  The lamb was melt-in-your-mouth tender and the depth of spices was terrific, though there were a lot of bones in the curry.

Then came the dosas.  These things were f*cking huge!  They were literally the length of your torso and looked like they could feed a small country.  The crepes themselves were thick (for a crepe) yet crispy, with decent filling and a few nice chutnies on the side.  I also ordered a mango lassi, which ended up being kind of plain tasting.

Kent’s Two Cents

Everyone, this place is effin amazing. South Indian/Sri Lankan cuisine is hard to come by in Calgary. The dosas are gigantic and could be ordered on its own if you are looking for a meal for yourself. And if you are not that adventurous, the more well known Indian dishes are also excellent. It might be my favourite place in the city for butter chicken, and I NEVER order butter chicken at an Indian restaurant (its equivalent to the California roll for sushi for me). The service could use a bit of work depending on the server, but that is mostly due to miscommunication and a language barrier. Don’t let that stop you from visiting Dosa Corner, everything there is absolutely delicious.


It is hard not to see why CDS was recently crowned as the hidden jewel of Calgary 2011 by Avenue Magazine. Although the service was ok, and the location out of the way, CDS is an must for everyone looking for a taste of authentic South Indian cuisine. This is definitely where the real locals eat. I took a huge dump the next with a solid ring of fire around my anus and that’s how I knew it was good times. Thank you, CDS!



  Kiran Kent Richard
Ambiance N/A 4.5/6 4/6
Service 3/6 4.5/6 3/6
Plating 6/6 4.5/6 6/6
Taste 5/6 6/6 10/12
Authenticity 6/6 6/6 6/6
Value 5.5/6 5/6 5.5/6
Overall 25.5/30 = 85% 30.5/36 = 85% 35.5/42 = 85%

Canada Dosa Corner on Urbanspoon

Review of Jelly Modern Doughnuts


Tucked away at the corner of 8th St and 14th Ave, Jelly Modern is the latest entry into Calgary’s ever expanding food scene. Started by a pair of sisters, Jelly Modern attempts to bring to Calgary what one of the sisters saw in her travels around the world. The sisters don’t have any culinary background themselves, but opted instead, to rely on consultants and other pastry chefs to expand on their vision and crystallize their ideas.

The thing that strikes you about Jelly Modern as you walk in is how meticulously everything has been thought out. From the overall color scheme and decor to the wooden (and biodegradable) knives and spoons, the sisters have clearly put in a lot of thought and effort into this establishment. The interior of the place is bright and airy, even on a cloudy day, and enhances the appearance of the doughnuts behind the giant glass wall. There are two entrance doors to facilitate the movement of foot traffic through the place. Unlike other dessert houses, Jelly Modern invites you to stay and enjoy their delectable offerings with ample seating room. Clearly, everything about JM has been designed to enhance the experience of doughnuts. Brilliant.
















Everything about this establishment is different from what you have seen in Calgary. Indeed, even their ordering process is different. Instead of ordering and paying upfront, you order first and then pay the next counter over where your order is fulfilled. There was some heated discussion in our group if this system actually increased efficiency and turnover, but like most arguments, ended with two of us ganging up on the third engineer and berating him for being a bitch. Yes, engineers can be assholes too (this should come as no surprise to anyone who has met Kiran -Richard).

Richard throws his  Asian "gang sign"

The above picture makes more sense if you watch this video:  POSER! – The history and evolution of the "Peace Sign"

Richard and I ordered the marshmallow doughnut, whereas Matt went for the mini-doughnuts. I also decided to get an espresso to complement the sugar rush I was about to receive. The doughnuts come in this paper box that is clearly designed to leave the option of taking a portion of your doughnut home. Biting into the doughnut is like biting into a cloud – your teeth simply cut through the doughnut without any resistance whatsoever. The marshmallow glazing wasn’t too sweet and complemented the doughnut. I wasn’t that impressed with the espresso though – it came in a paper sippy cup and was simply too weak. In fact, it was so unmemorable that I don’t even remember what it tasted like.

Richard’s Notes


Upon hearing about Jelly Modern, I immediately thought that doughnuts are the new cupcake – no doubt the place is drawn along the same lines as boutique bakeries such as Bliss, Crave, and Buttercream, though with a doughy, deep-fried twist. Their menu features some rather unique options such as marshmallow, carrot cake and maple-bacon (!), as well as having a special creation every Saturday.

With both Jelly Modern and the Big Cheese opening in the past little while, sales of wax-lined cardboard boxes in Calgary must have surely exploded.  In my opinion, a plate would have served better given that we were staying to eat, and might have cut down on the time it took from the order to receipt of fatty deliciousness. Despite the awkwardness of eating a doughnut out of a box, the marshmallow doughnut proved quite tasty.

I also ordered an organic pomegranate-limeade (can you get a more pretentious juice?), which cost nearly twice as much as my doughnut – not quite worth it, in my opinion.  In general, I felt that the regular doughnuts were of reasonable value (at $2.25) given how large they were, while the mini doughnuts were relatively steeply priced at $1.95 each despite being less than half the size of a regular doughnut.


JM is apparently Canada’s first and only gourmet doughnut bakery-cafe that makes hand-crafted doughnuts (I didn’t realize not all doughnuts aren’t hand-crafted). This is gourmet doughnuts at its finest. In fact, this place is so gourmet and boutique, it deserves an ‘e’ at the end of ‘modern’. The doughnuts are so gourmet that they are, in fact, healthier than regular doughnuts (to be honest, that doesn’t seem like much of an achievement 😛 -Richard). Amazing.

JM is definitely garnering its share of attention. The place is amazing and definitely caters to the young, hip, socially-conscious clientele. Only time will tell if Jelly Modern survives the initial hype and excitement, but considering the success of other gourmet dessert houses like Crave, I don’t think it is going to go away anytime soon.


  Kiran Richard
Ambiance 5/6 5/6
Service 4/6 3.5/6
Plating N/A 4/6
Taste 5/6 5/6
Originality 5/6 6/6
Value 5/6 Depends (3.5/6)
Overall 24/30= 80% 27/36 = 75%

Jelly Modern Doughnuts on Urbanspoon