EVENT: BATTLEDISH EDMONTON
This past weekend, Katstronomy went out into downtown Edmonton to participate in Battledish. Billed as an international food event where Six Chefs compete for the King of Battledish. We ended up skipping one Chef because we got a little turned around.
First lets discuss the meals we ate!
THE BURG: Mac and Cheese Ball with Pork Belly.
Our first stop was The Burg. I was surprised but pleased to see they weren’t serving a slider of some sort. The Mac and Cheese ball was a soft,rich inside with a crispy panko crust, It sat on a fairly thick Jalapeño sauce, which was a nice mild spice. The Pork belly was soft and tender, just the way I like it. It had a drizzle of blackberry gastrique, which was INCREDIBLY tart and I felt threw the flavour off.
HAWLEI: Indian Buffet: Veggie Pakora, Aloo Tikki, Butter Chicken, Channa Masala, Saffron rice and Naan.
Haweli was, in my opinion the best value of the day. Meal tickets were 5$ each, and Haweli was set up buffet style allowing you to take as much or as little as you would like. Considering we would be eating more, I was fairly conservative with my portion. It was also, the most delicious food I ate all day. I LOVE Pakora and could have just eaten that all day. The Channa Masala was light on the spice, the Butter chicken had a subdued sweetness, the naan was fresh and made right in front of our eyes. I had never had Aloo Tikki before, but I also really enjoyed that. I can’t wait to go back here and eat again
LUX STEAKHOUSE: AllyKat Beer Tasting + The Ultimate Slider.
AllyKat had a cute little booth set up to do a beer tasting. I am not a beer person, but I did enjoy 2/3 of the beers I tried. The Aprikat and the Grapefruit. I really do lean towards fruit-flavoured alcohol. For our meal, provided by LUX we had The Ultimate Slider. Consisting of a 3oz Wagyu beef patty,double smoked bacon, aged cheddar, a crispy portabella mushroom, Stella Artois battered onion ring, house made mayo, butterleaf lettuce, tomato allll on a fresh baked kaiser. I’m going to be honest, I don’t go out for burgers. I don’t want to go to a nice place to eat burgers, no matter how fancy you make em. I liked the mushroom on this burger the best. I felt the beef wasn’t as flavourful as it should have been, and that it was just WAY too much on a tiny bun.
HUNDRED BAR: Dude Fizz Vodka Cocktail and Pork Belly Sandwich.
Hundred’s Cocktail was nice and light, a refreshing palette cleanse. Sadly, the food offering underwhelmed me. There was SO MUCH bun and so little of the meat. Compared to the pork belly that I had eariler in the day, Hundred’s was tough and not very flavourful. The only thing I could taste in the “sandwich” was the kimchi and aoli. Very disappointed, since this is the one we were looking forward too the most!
Overall, Haweli took was the winner in my eyes. Best value and best flavours.
There was a lack of information passed on though. We were not told that it was a credit card only event before hand. We had taken out cash only to be told we could not use it, and we had to charge our tickets to our credit cards. Several people in the crowd behind us also were unaware, so it was not an isolated incident. Other than that, it was an awesome event and I was happy to participate!
Review: Urban Shabu
I like when food is fun as well as being delicious. Urban Shabu has introduced me to a real treat - its a hot pot spot (say that three times fast!) A quick history lesson: Hot Pot is Chinese, and was adapted in Shabu Shabu by Japanese restaurant Suehiro in the early 20th century. From my understanding,despite using the name “Shabu” Urban Shabu is much closer to the original Chinese Hot Pot.
The white marble and white furniture make Urban Shabu look fresh and clean. There is a big tank with fresh sea food that takes up 1/3 of the wall as you walk in from off 97th street. It’s a fairly large place! Each table has several heating plates built in for your hot pot.
Urban Shabu presents a very interesting experience - every person gets to customize their own meal. It starts with the broth. Standard Chicken broth is free, and then any of the other “speciality” broths are an additional 2$. Both my date and I went with Chicken. You are given a pamphlet filled with all sorts of ingredients - from your raw proteins (the marbled beef was to die for!) and vegetables, to seafood and cooked dim-sum style items. (We had steamed buns that we dipped in condensed milk and the peanut sauce…yum!)
You make your selections of what you would like - indicating how many servings you would like. However, I did feel the portion sizes were very inconstant. “1” serving was barely enough, and “2” was too much for two people, so it is all about finding a happy medium I suppose. After you make your selections, the waitress comes by and picks up your menu. We had our fresh selections arriving within moments of our menu being taken to the kitchen!
Once you have your ingredients, you toss them in your hot pot and wait for it to cook! This is so much fun, I think I giggled the whole time. You are given chopsticks, a soup spoon, a small ladle, a plate and a small bowl to eat. I mostly used my ladle to serve my hot pot up soup style!
I had so much fun! The service was great, and I enjoyed all of my food. I don’t usually like to discuss price when reviewing, but for 26$ for a two-hour-all-you-can-eat place, Urban Shabu was an amazing experience and I can not wait to return!
I’m really flattered that a handful of you enjoy my reviews! I started Katstronomy for fun, but I work really hard on it. I know that my reviews are long, and the food is mouthwateringly delicious looking… but it really hurts me when people reblog my posts without the review. The review is the whole point of Katstronomy. I understand if you aren’t local and you don’t think its “important” or relevant to you… but its very important for me! You can very easily hide the text under a read more! Please be considerate when you reblog from me and remember, I am a real person who works on this blog for fun!
Review: Kyoto Japanese Cuisine (Garneau Location)
My friends and I have made it to the end of our first semester! We wanted to celebrate by going out for one last hurrah before the holidays sent us our separate ways for a few weeks. I’m not sure why they let me pick the restaurant, but I’ve been dying to go to Kyoto for a while and I sneakily got my way.
Kyoto is situated next to the Urban Diner, Remedy Cafe and across from La Poutine. There are some heavy hitters for Edmonton dining in this one little spot. From the outside it doesn’t look like too much, but the inside is beautifully decorated with a variety of sitting spaces (tables, booths and private booths!) The sushi bar is dead centre and its a treat to watch the chefs make your sushi.
Midori and Sake: We were celebrating, so of course the alcohol flowed (somewhat) freely. I can’t remember which brand of Sake we ordered, but I don’t enjoy sake enough to have drank more than a few sips of it. The Midori however, is a melon liquor that tastes like melon cream soda which I love.
Beef Tataki: I’m a big fan of rare and mid rare steaks, so Beef Tataki felt like a natural choice for my starter. Slightly seared and then swam in a bath of ponzu and onions, the tataki was perfection. The beef melted in my mouth and wasn’t sliced to thick, which is an issue I’ve had with tataki dishes before.
Miso Soup and Bean sprouts: This was fairly standard fare, nothing really special. The beans were blanched and coated in ginger, which was pretty lovely though.
Bento Box: I love bento boxes, and I think thats a theme you’ve probably picked up on if you’ve been following Katstronomy through out the year. I love that they give you the chance to sample a little bit of everything. Not pictured is the bowl of rice the box also came with. However what you do see is my assorted Sashimi (Tuna, Salmon, Crab), Tempura,Teriyaki Chicken and Salad! The sashimi was AMAZING, probably the freshest I’ve had in a Japanese restaurant here in the city. I had never actually had crab sashimi before and I really enjoyed how sweet it was. The tempura (eggplant, sweet potato, prawn) was quite good as well, the batter had a great crunch although I wasn’t too fond of the eggplant. The teriyaki chicken I feel was the biggest let down-everything else in my box was exceptional, but the chicken was fairly standard.
I really enjoyed my meal, and my company. I don’t have any complaints about our waitress, which is something I’ve noted many people have issues with at Kyoto. We were served in a timely manner and she was very pleasant. The food was wonderful and I would not hesitate to visit again.
Chicken,Apple and Brie Panini’s.
I had made a suggestion to have homemade Twisters (a la KFC) for dinner, but mom suggested we have these panini’s instead. I’m glad we did, because they were DELICIOUS. She INSISTED they go up INSTANTLY! So,here they are
Here’s what you need:
- Roasted Chicken (we used one from a grocery store)
- Red Pepper Jelly (Or any type of Sweet-and-Spicy Jelly. I also enjoy Jalapeño Pomegranate and Chipotle Peach)
- Brie Cheese,sliced
- 1 Apple,sliced thinly (I personally prefer granny smith)
- Red Onion, sliced thinly
- Ciabatta Bread
Pull the chicken apart, slice cheese, apples, and onion. Spread jelly on both slices of bread and then assemble in your preferred order.
Butter BOTH SIDES of the outside of the bread and then place on grill or frying pan until cheese bubbles.
Review: Cafe Del Sol
I had originally had plans on Saturday that had sadly gotten canceled, so I tagged along with my mom to go to the bank instead. Still wanting to go out for lunch, I browsed the Northwest/Northeast sections of US for restaurants near by. Did you know Edmonton’s northside is SORELY missing on non-fast food eateries? Its really quite upsetting and makes getting reviews up as frequently as I would like too a little difficult. Regardless, the name Cafe Del Sol came up. Now, I haven’t had a mexican meal in about three or so months (my last visit to Tres Carnales) so I was pretty excited.
Cafe Del Sol is located just up the street from O’Leary school, kind of tucked away off the beaten foodie path. It’s very easy to locate, and the atmosphere once entering was warm and welcoming, almost like stepping into a quaint Mexican family’s home which makes sense- seeing as the chef and owner both hail from Mexico. Although it was Saturday afternoon it wasn’t busy so we were seated quickly. I had already checked the menu before arriving so I was already ready to order, however, my mom needed to mull it over a bit. The lady (who I believe was the owner) was very kind to us, and patiently waited.
Nachos and Salsa: These actually came free with our meal! The salsa was house-made, and was amazing. The tomatoes were rosted so it added an extra level of flavour to it which is always nice. The nachos themselves however,were store bought. Honestly though, this didn’t bother me. You’ll see why.
Tamale: We had never had tamales so my mom and I each had our own, and honestly we should have shared one. Cafe Del Sol makes their tamales with pork, steamed with corn mesa inside the corn leaf (which you do not eat!). On its own, its very filling but so delicious. The pork is soft and the corn mesa is flavoured with a delicious blend of spices.
Chorizo and Carnitas Tacos: First off, I really liked that I was able to get two of each tacos at no extra charge. I won’t lie of course, I went with two things I knew I would probably like but there are several other taco options. The chorizo is made in house and its absolutely wonderful. Its not greasy or overly spicy, two of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to chorizo. The pork was soft and tender, similar to the way it was in the tamale and tasted like it had bathed in tequila, so my heart was quickly won. Both come topped with onion and cilantro to enhance the flavour and on soft house made tortillas. I also got the side order of guacamole (hey, put guacamole on anything and chances are I will eat it regardless.) They make each order of guacamole to order. Meaning, if you order the guacamole it come to you fresh. It hasn’t been sitting since that morning, the chef made it just for you and it shows in the taste. This is the best guacamole I have ever had in restaurant. Ever. These were perfect little bits of heaven.
Sopa Azteca: This was mom’s dish. Chicken,tomatos,cheese and a myriad of other things blended together to make a mild soup. The broth was quite flavourful however she did say it was too salty.
Overall: I, personally, preferred this place to Tres Carnales in both terms of service and food. Considering I ate almost exactly the same thing I would at Tres Carnales and paid considerably less for better food, I will be making more trips here. I highly recommend it!
Review: Creole Envie
I’ve never had southern food until today, but my father has traveled to New Orleans on several occasions and really really enjoys it. Luckily my mom had heard through the grapevine about Creole Envie. I guess it originally started as a food truck that my mom CONSTANTLY wanted to get to but never could and they now have a sit down place.
I won’t lie,we were originally a LITTLE put off -Creole Envie is tiny-it probably used to be a pizza shop before Chef Danielle moved in and most of the seating area was outside and its a very suspect area if I am truly honest. Service had us a bit worried too until we learned what was going on and Christie made it up to us. The deal with Creole Envie right now is that its only Chef Danielle and her mom Christie running the show. Once we learned that and spoke with Christie we TOTALLY got it and we felt REALLY guilty for being put off. We didn’t get a chance to speak to the chef, but Christie provided a great,personable experience for us.
Pulled Pork Po’Boy: Pulled Pork is a food I feel very strongly about. It can either be really really good or really,really bad. Luckily, the pork on this delicious sandwich fell into the really,really good category. It only tasted slightly of the bourbon it was cooked in and the meat was melty in my mouth. The french bun was super fresh and not too heavy. The house-made creole mayo blended well with the pork sauce and helped blend all the flavours to a t. Honestly, this was probably the best sandwich I’ve had at a restaurant
Sweet Potato Fries: Again, another food I feel very strongly about. I wish there were words to describe these fries because amazing just isn’t enough. They are thinner than most sweet potato fries I’ve had before, but that only helps keep them crisp and the house made mayo was the perfect compliment.
Blacked Chicken and Catfish Po’boys:Mom and dad’s, respectively. Mom was too busy eating to really give any feedback, but I did take a nibble of her chicken. I’m not sure how to describe the flavour- it was almost smoked, almost a little chard and just so wonderful. The meat was still moist and just fantastic. Dad kept saying how delicious his was, and I will take his word for it. I’m not a big catfish fan so I’m guilty of not trying it.
Pies: Key lime,Sweet Potato and Pecan. I won’t lie to you, I had checked Creole Envie’s menu the night before and when I saw Sweet Potato Pie I was sold. I haven’t had sweet potato pie in a long time and not only did I get it here it was the perfect delicious ending to a perfect delicious meal. Its hard to explain sweet potato pie to people, but oh my gosh I love it. Dad’s key lime was great as well,and mom’s pecan pie tasted a bit like my grandmothers homemade butter tarts!
Overall : I’m glad we didn’t walk away from this place. It was amazing food, great conversation with Christie and an overall awesome experience. I want to go back (Maybe on Saturday when the special is ribs.) and enjoy it all over again.
Please excuse my tardiness on this, life has been kind of up and down as of late!
But regardless,here is my overview of the food I ate at Taste of Edmonton this year. Admittedly its not as much as I usually eat-I tried to eat only new things this year instead of the same things I always get!
Deep Fried Pickles- Okay. I admit. I have a MASSIVE soft spot for these bad boys and I had to have them. I really liked that the Brewhouse chefs managed to get the breaded coating to remain crisp AND stick to the pickles the whole time which is an issue I usually have with Deep Fried Pickles. I wish there had of been more.
Whiskey and Dark Chocolate Ribs w/Slaw- I love ribs. I think my favorite pork products are pulled pork and ribs (sorry Bacon.) I was really worried that these would taste like knock-you-off-your-ass whiskey, but they tasted more like the chocolate which was AMAZING. Not overly sweet and spiced just right. Again I would have gone back for more! I also really enjoyed the slaw, but slaw is another one of those things I could eat for days…
Potato Bhajia- When I saw that Guru was offering up fritters I was pretty stoked. I was expecting something a little different but I have NO complaints about these little potato bites of goodness. The curry was amazing and they were made fresh for each order! Can’t go wrong with that.
Caprese Salad- Actually,there was nothing incredibly special about this caprese salad. I mostly wanted it as a cleanser before dessert. It was yummy though.
Original Cannoli- I don’t eat enough cannoli. They aren’t readily available on my end of the city and this upsets me. But oh my god was this ever good. There was a slight hint of nutmeg that just sent this cannoli to a whole nother level.
I had a fairly good taste of Edmonton this year! Honestly,this and Heritage days are my favorite Festivals
Review: Crepe Symphony Cafe
I had a lunch date today with my lovely friend Levi and we were dressed to the nines. We chose Crepe Symphony!
Crepe Symphony has its work cut out for it- its right next door to Tres Carnales which means they REALLY have to bring it. Having lived in Europe for four years I’ve been to a fair number of cafes and I do give Crepe Symphony the approval on the atmosphere. Very quaint, bright thanks to the large windows and modestly decorated. I think however-that is where my enjoyment ends. The staff didn’t really interact with us, and it was a free for all for sitting. I had originally wanted the meat crepes-but I was told they had “just ran out” and to order something else. The crepes come in sets of two- meaning if you want both a savory and a sweet crepe, you have to order four crepes at around 8$ per pair.
Lets talk about the food. I only took a bite of Levi’s Chicken and Mushroom crepe but I will add my thoughts on it.
Salmon Crepe: Consists of smoked salmon, creme cheese and arugula. They are rolled long ways like a traditional salmon wrap up. I found that it was heavy on the creme cheese and too light on the arugala. I didn’t actually finish it because I was SO over whelmed by the creme cheese. I also felt that the crepe itself was still fairly doughy and didn’t balance the meal.
Chicken and Mushroom Crepe: I had a fair sized bite of Levi’s crepe and I got no chicken,it was mostly mushroom! This is consistent with what I’ve read so far,so I’m pretty bummed about that.
Caramel Apple Crepe: This one was okay. It came out a little cold. The crepe was still a little doughy, and the apple was supposed to be poached-but I feel it had too much crunch to it to be at the perfect poached level. Out of all of them,this is the one I enjoyed the most.
Its a good effort, but easily forgettable. For the location and price, I would probably pass them by and go right into Tres Carnales again. I won’t be returning to Crepe Symphonu unfortunately.
I dont usually post pictures of myself but I was in the news paper today! The caption below reads “Michelle,from ATB with food blogger Hayley of Katstronomy”