Foodosophy – Taxing to Eat


Scanning the news today, I began to wonder how quickly the tide changes from a mood of doom and gloom to sunshine and joy… based on some events that took place in recent days.

News media are happily reporting on the gains made on the TSE today (Thursday) as the Bank of Canada has come out suggesting the recession is over (and noted a 3% rise in economic growth for the Jan-Mar 2009 period), and the Canadian dollar crept up to 92.04 cents U.S.

And today, the BC government has announced they will harmonize the province’s 7% sales tax with the national 5% GST beginning next July. Allegedly done to give the business community a competitive, equal footing with other markets, but to me, I had to look at how it affects me… Mr. Joe Regular. And keeping with the dominant theme of this site, I wondered just how this will affect the power of my dining out dollar.

Brian Bonney, director of provincial affairs with the B.C. and Yukon branch of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, was interviewed in a Vancouver Sun article and this comment was attributed to him in explaining a very key point for us restaurant fanatics.

“Under the new tax system, the HST will apply to all goods and services to which the GST currently applies, with a few exceptions. So restaurants, for example, will have to start charging 12 per cent on meals when they currently only charge the GST on the meal and the combined PST and GST on alcohol.”

OUCH!

Let’s just hope a corresponding reduction in base prices coincides with this tax hike on restaurant meals.

Weigh in readers…

Imperial Court Beijing Cuisine – Richmond, BC


Imperial Court Beijing Cuisine
6360 No. 3 Rd
Suite 6
Richmond, BC V6Y 2B3
(604) 270-6169

Imperial Court Beijing Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Richmond BC, as many people already know, is a great place to eat Chinese food. Chinese restaurants of varying quality dot the city – specially around the main drag of Number Three Road. When it comes to breakfast spots – it is a real challenge to find anything worthy to eat. The choices seem limited to chain restaurants such as the Whitepot, the IHOP, and similarly mediocre restaurants.

I was running errands early one chilly morning and I wanted to have breakfast….so I drove up to Imperial Court Beijing Cuisine, a restaurant that I knew served dim sum at 8:00 am. Nice.

tea

Dim sum for breakfast? Sure…why not? People in the West think of dim sum as a lunchtime experience. In China (Hong Kong in particular) and other countries in Asia, dim sum is most certainly a breakfast meal. Dim Sum restaurants there open very early and often stop serving at noon. Here in Canada (and the US) most places that serve dim sum often start serving at 10:00am or 11:00am and stop at 3:00pm.

Imperial Court Beijing Cuisine is a mid-sized restaurant situated in one of Richmond’s oldest strip malls. It is somewhat upscale – it is clean, the tables have nice linen  and they are set with nice white porcelain settings. Like most dim sum restaurants these days, Imperial Court uses order sheets instead the once ubiquitous cart service.

At little after 8:00am on a weekday when I walked in, the restaurant was well staffed – having two “captains” and about four servers. I sat down and ordered a small meal. The captain asked for my tea preference – jasmine, I said. Using the green order sheet, I ordered some Sou (flakey pastry) with Char Sui (BBQ Pork), Chao Fun (Rice Noode Rolls) filled with enoki mushrooms, and Congee with Pork and Century Egg.

The Sou pastry dish came first. Imperial Court’s rendition of this dish is coated with a shiny and sticky syrup – so sticky that with each bite, a bit of the pastry stuck to your teeth. I notice that some of their other buns were similarly coated with this shiny syrup. They looked beautiful…almost like porcelain orbs. The BBQ Pork filling tasted fresh and tender…and not as “porky” as the others I have had.

dimsum1

I didn’t get a picture of the dipping sauce, but now I wish I had in restrospect. In my opinion, dipping sauces are the unsung heroes of the dim sum universe. It can really make or break the whole dining experience for me. In this case, Imperial Court’s dipping sauce was a sweet, but thin soya sauce concoction. It was a nice balance between sweet and salty and it had subtle notes of spice (perhaps some anise or five spice).

dimsum2

The Rice Noodle Rolls came in quick succession. The noodles tasted freshly made – soft, tender, and still resilient. The enoki mushroom filling, while delicious, was a bit unwieldy as bits of it fell out as I tried to pick up a piece. (The kitchen had failed to completely cut through the rolls).

dimsum3

The last dish was the Congee with Cooked Pork and Century Egg. The rendition came with an embellishment of deep fried wonton skin and scallion. It was good and creamy. On a cold day, it was definitley hitting the spot.

congee-copy

All in all a nice meal for under $10 CAD including tax. Unlike a “regular” breakfast – I didn’t leave feeling bloated and greasy. I asked myself why I don’t eat dim sum for breakfast more often.

Imperial Court Beijing Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Olives Restaurant Deli & Lounge – Calgary, AB


Olives Restaurant, Deli, and Lounge
1129 Olympic Way SE
Calgary, AB T2G 0L4
(403) 984-5000

Olives Restaurant, Deli & Lounge on Urbanspoon

Putting a restaurant in an area under redevelopment is a high risk, high reward proposition. New entrants into the neighbourhood are hoping to be the first to capture the loyalty of the shifting population, resulting in long term, steady, profitable business. However, neighbourhoods don’t always redevelop as planned. Things start and stop. In Calgary, The East Village is a good example of a neighbourhood that hasn’t exactly gone according to plan. Restaurants that rushed to get into the area ahead of the curve are paying the price.

Olives, from the Hotel Arts Group,  is a trendy, modern restaurant and lounge that is moving in ahead of the curve in the new Arriva building in Victoria Park. With a tremendous number of expensive high density buildings planned for the area, a restaurant featuring “innovative” Italian cuisine seems like the perfect fit. Approachable food that would appeal to the population at large. Based on the limited amount of parking for a 200 seat restaurant, mostly street side, I’m assuming this was not intended to be a “destination” restaurant, but to serve the local community. While the total impact of the financial crisis yet to be determined locally, the situation in Victoria Park is tenuous at best. Will the community of high income patrons ever move into the area? And can they survive with an expansive 200-seat space until it happens? It could, but for me, it would depend on the food.

img_3092

Upon entering the restaurant, my first thoughts were “impressive”. For me, Olives is a beautiful space. My dining companions found it a touch cold and impersonal, but the modern look combined with a fine attention to the small details works for me. Right down to the tile work in the bathroom and the decorations on the wall, they’ve done a  fantastic job of setting up a functional space that pleases. The only drawback is the extremely high ceilings, which do leave the space feeling a bit empty when it is not completely full of patrons.

img_3060

In terms of the food at Olives, there is a lot to say. First off, the menu is a manageable length, something I definitely applaud them for. Too many restaurants these days have a menu that is difficult for the kitchen to manage – sacrificing quality and efficiency by trying to be all things to all people. They’ve made some concessions from the Italian influence in some of their selections, but it’s an appropriate compromise for a menu that features 9 starters, 5 pastas, and 6 entrees.

Our meal starts with a selection of olives, bread, and olive oil for dipping. The bread and olive oil were satisfactory but not exactly memorable. The olives, however, were a great selection of well-preserved olives at the height of their flavour. In the interests of full disclosure, I would like to mention I’m not an olive fan. Dislike them really. No matter how hard i’ve tried, the tastes are too bitter on my palette. These olives were edible though. In my world, that is something extremely memorable.

img_3059

We started with the highly recommended grilled squid appetizer($12), served with artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes, asparagus, and a salsa verde. The squid was perfectly cooked, with a nice combination of tender, and bite. However, i wasn’t thrilled with the dish overall. The squid lacked the characteristics that make grilled squid great – a nice smoky char with a light taste of the ocean shining through. It was overdressed in a salsa verde that lacked balance, not enough acidity, and while the artichoke was a great complement, the tomatoes and asparagus added very little to the overall dish. It felt like a salad with squid, when i felt the squid should have shined instead.

img_3072_filtered

Next dish was one of their two flatbreads($12) – Chorizo with roasted red tomato, provolone, and Italian parsley. Well baked, there was a nice blend of ingredients topping a well baked crust. I found it a touch too doughy for my own personal preferences, as I usually like my flatbread to be a bit thinner, but the crust had a nice blistering to it, and a satisfying bite. Well executed. My only complaint was it arrived warm and not hot.

img_3070_filtered

The dish I was most looking forward to was the ravioli ($21). Well-prepared ravioli, while simple to prepare, I find to be very comforting on a chilly day. These ravioli were filled with marscapone and truffle parsnip, served on a bed of asparagus and topped with a wild mushroom cream.  Unfortunately, it was the dish that disappointed the most. Once again, the dish arrived a bit cool. The pasta itself was very good – silky, not too thin, but not too thick. I like a little more yellow “richness” to the pasta, but this was more an indication of the quality of the egg yolks rather than the preparation. The filling was conceptually good, but fell short in practice. Creamy smooth texture with a nice hint of truffle oil. The wild mushroom sauce was a bit underwhelming, but the asparagus was good. The issues with the dish were twofold. First, the overall texture was too soft – it was what my friends call “old people food”. A piece of crispy pancetta, or even a fried sage leaf would bring about a bit more contrast. Secondly, the flavours were mild, and to be honest, a bit bland. Parsnip, marscapone, brought very little to the table. Truffle oil, while nice, isn’t the predominant flavour im looking for in a dish. Traditional raviolis where the filling is milder are usually accompanied with a more robust, or brighter sauce. In this case, the wild mushroom sauce fell flat. It did nothing to accentuate the ravioli. Just provided some creamy texture. It was not a poorly executed dish, but I feel poorly conceived – the flavours failed me on this night.

img_3077_filtered The surprise of the night was the steak ($40). Dry rubbed Black Angus Rib Eye with caramelized shallot and mushrooms, served on a bed of pancetta mashed potatos. Succulent, tender, and perfectly cooked to medium rare, this rib eye was a revelation. Great flavours that accentuated the beef, a fine cut, served on my favorite preparation of mashed potatoes – pancetta, heavily buttered. I like some heavy cream in there too, but only on holidays! This was an excellent steak.

I got to try a piece of halibut ($32) too, and it was very well prepared as well. Moist, nice rich flavour well-basted in butter, without taking away from the flavour of the fish. The size would’ve disappointed me, as it was a small 5-6oz serving, but that’s why I didn’t order it.

img_3079_filtered

We finished with a couple of desserts. The chocolate and pistachio torta with pistachio gelato ($10) was good. Beautiful presentation, the torte had a rich, chocolate flavour that pared well with the pistachio. A touch dense, i enjoyed it nonetheless. The other dessert was a tiramisu ($10), which while I didn’t get to try, was assured was excellent.

img_3087_filtered

In most reviews I’ve read, Olives has been universally lauded. While there are a lot of very good aspects to them, I would not sing their praises as much as other people have. They’ve put together a solid menu, and the kitchen staff do an excellent job of  executing on the food. Some of the dishes are a bit conceptually flawed, and the portion sizes can be a touch small. The value was ok, but at these prices, I’d probably rather eat at Divino or Blink. They are, overall, consistently better. However, when you look at the experience on its own merits, I have to say, I enjoyed myself. Service was good albeit a bit slow, the food was well-prepared, and other than a few disappointments, it was a decent experience overall. I probably won’t go out of my way to go back, but I wouldn’t be upset if I found myself in the area and dining there again. The key question is, will the patrons needed to keep them afloat do the same until the Victoria Park revitalization is complete? I’m not sure. I think they have some challenging times ahead.

Olives Restaurant, Deli & Lounge on Urbanspoon

Captain Scotts Fish and Chips – Calgary, AB


Captain Scotts Fish and Chips
76-55 Castleridge Boulevard NE
Calgary, AB T3J 3J8
(403) 280-0009

Captain Scotts Fish & Chips on Urbanspoon

Today is more about food, than than any “osophy”. For some reason, i have writers block. I feel repetitive. Any other blog writers ever encounter this? Any solution that doesn’t involve emptying my bottle of gin?

I’ve been exploring the NE a lot lately – mostly because it’s one of those areas I find i’ve neglected for too long. Lots of interesting places – ethnic and otherwise – a drive into every neighbourhood yields a new adventure.

I’d first heard mention of Captain Scotts when involved in a discussion about Captain’s Fish and Chips. I kept confusing the two, and couldn’t keep them separated. It’s located in the same mall as Nirvana, Bombay Sweet House, The Village, and a variety of other East Indian eateries. Makes it a bit easier to find – it definitely sticks out like a sore thumb. 

img_4436b1

The decor is clean and simple. You order from a counter in the back, and sit in a cafeteria like setting. While there is nothing notable about the interior, there isn’t the oily residue on table surfaces and walls that places a little less meticulous often have.

img_4441b

In terms of a menu, it’s very simple. A wide variety of fish, including Cod, Haddock, Halibut, and Boston Blue, and a bunch of seafood choices – shrimp, scallops, clams. They have some salads and desserts, but to be honest, in a restaurant where everything is deep fried, neither of these really appeal. Prices are pretty reasonable – 1pc fish and chips start at $6.95.

img_4447b1

Unfortunately, the fish is pretty poor. The fish was dry,there was too much batter on an otherwise small piece of fish, and the oil had a definite funk to it. Old oil that really needed to be changed. Condiments came in plastic packages – tartar by Heinz. The coleslaw was slightly mushy and mostly cream – no acidity, no flavour.

On the plus side, the fries were excellent. Fried in what i would guess is a different fryer (no fish-smell contamination), they are crispy, hot, and toothsome. With malt vinegar on every table, and a generous amount of salt, they were an excellent order of fries.

No matter how good the fries are, fish is a pretty critical component to fish and chips. While i may go back occasionally for the fries, i’d skip the fish. Captains, in Brentwood, is much better.

Captain Scotts Fish & Chips on Urbanspoon

Nirvana Sweet House Restaurant and Hall – Calgary, AB


Nirvana Sweet House, Restaurant, and Hall
#1009-5075 Falconridge Blvd.NE
Calgary, AB T3J 3K9
(403) 590-9797

In a highly competitive world, restaurants are always looking for an edge. Lots of new restaurants try and upscale old ideas, usually to mixed success. Classic cuisines are classic for a reason – they work. They taste good, they have the benefit of being tried and true.

In Castleridge, an area dense with East Indian eateries, there is one that stands out from the others. From the owners of Bombay Sweet House, on the back side of Castlebridge Mall, is Nirvana. While most of the eateries in the area are rustic, simple eateries that have basic food, presentation, and decor, Nirvana provides a different concept. Aiming for a high-end look, they’ve combined traditional Indian decor with a slightly modern, western look. Their goal with the menu is high-end Indian, with traditional dishes and ingredients.

img_0761

The interior is a mix of modern and classic. One room, surrounded with pillars, is open, airy, and in many ways, cavernous. It is clearly used for banquets, as the vast spacing between tables makes it an uncomfortable dining experience. The second room is a well appointed room decorated in a more traditional “palace-style” Indian decor. This is the room used for service during regular restaurant hours. Spacing is still a bit awkward, but it does the job. I’ll be honest – as clean, nice, and tidy that it is, I don’t like the space. It’s definitely more banquet hall than restaurant. Each table is too detached from the others. I’d prefer a more intimate environment.

img_0769

The food is your typical tour across India. Dishes that represent Northern, Central, and South Indian dishes. Geared for producing banquets, the ala carte menu is extensive, with roughly 90 items.  Prices are actually quite reasonable – a great place to try a wide variety of dishes.

During my first visit, they had a buffet. They’ve since cancelled it, and it’s tough to compare buffet to ala carte service. However, my general  impressions of the buffet were that it was good quality, well spiced, and well prepared.

img_0770

On  a second visit, we ordered strictly ala carte. Murgh Makhni (butter chicken), tandoori platter, paneer e shola, saffron pulao, and naan.  I’m not a huge fan of butter chicken, but it was pretty decent. Good tandoori flavour, a nice rice butter sauce. A touch dry, but otherwise quite enjoyable.

The tandoori platter was good, but not specifically memorable. A mix of chicken tikka, paneer tikka, tandoori prawn,  fish tikka, and kebab, the paneer tikka was probably my favorite. The prawns were dry, the fish tikka was quite good flavour wise, but quite dry as well, and the rest don’t really strike much a chord with me.

The paneer e shola were good, but the chick peas were a bit overcooked, and the flavour wasnt well balanced. Too much bitterness. Rice and naan were standard,

img_0774

The owners of Nirvana bill it as “one of the finest establishments and first one of its kind in North America taking East Indian dining to another level”. This is a bit overstated, and Nirvana Sweet House is an overly ambitious project that doesn’t succeed on so many levels. While definitely clean, it is a cold, impersonal, and sterile space. The food is of good quality, and traditionally prepared, but fails to meet the billing of taking East Indian dining to another level. If i had to take the girlfriend’s conservative parents for Indian food on a first meeting, this might be the kind of place  i’d go. The friendly, albeit slow service is good, it’s clean, and the food is decent. On any other occasion, I’d probably pass. It’s too bad really, as the food is good, and reasonably priced. It’s just not a comfortable place to eat. I’d rather eat at the Bombay Sweet House.

Nirvana Sweet House Restaurant and Hall on Urbanspoon

Atlas Specialty Supermarket and Persian Cuisine – Calgary, AB


Atlas Specialty Supermarket and Persian Cuisine
100-1000 9 Avenue SW
Calgary, AB T2P 2Y6
(403) 230-0990

I was asked an interesting question today. “What do you think will be the next big cuisine? Japanese has taken off. Vietnamese before that. What’s next?” In thinking about this, I realized that the food trends over the past 10 years have quite a few similarities. First off, they’re ethnic that are becoming mainstream. Secondly, they have an abundance of flavour, yet with approachable ingredients (sushi would be the exception – that was quite the shock to the North American palette, and based on how many people mean “rolls” when they say they like sushi, i’d still say it is), and lastly, they are healthier than many traditional Western and European fare. Might it be Persian? It’s possible. There are an increasing number of kabob houses starting to open – which are generally Afghani, Iraqi, or Persian. The cuisine is quite healthy, has an abundance of flavour, and approachable ingredients. We might have a winner!

Atlas Specialty Supermarket and Persian Cuisine is a combination restaurant and supermarket, definitely a combination I find odd. While you often find takeout and grocery combined, rarely do you see a nice, well appointed room combined with groceries. However, it’s easy access to some of my favorite spices like sumac, and ingredients like pomegranate paste, so i don’t mind getting my shopping done while i eat.

food-307

As previously mentioned, the room is a clean, well appointed, comfortable affair. Much longer than it is wide, it comfortably seats 30-40. It is often completely full on weekends, when it is usually difficult to get a table. Weekdays i find are hit and miss. Sometimes, completely empty. Sometimes, you’re turned away, or encouraged to order take out. If you get a table, they are spartan, yet comfortable. No complaints here.

food-312

Persian food has similarities to other Middle Eastern cultures, primarily Afghani, Iraqi, as well as similarities in grilled meat with the Turks. As we order, we decide to try the traditional Iranian drink doogh ($2.50) with the meal – a mix of soda, yogurt, and mint. We made the incorrect assumption that this would function similar to a lassi in Indian cuisine – quench some of the heat, while providing a flavourful and complementary balance to the food. On the contrary, we found it difficult to finish, and while it complimented the khoresht (stew) reasonably well, it killed the flavour of the grilled meat. I would not order it again.

food-324

For food, we order a khorest – Ghormeh Sabzi ($13.99) to be exact, and a platter of grilled meat ($31.99) – koobideh, steak and chicken. The platter comes with the typical accompaniments – rice, grilled tomato and onions.

The rice itself is good. A kateh (butter-enhanced rice) decorated with some saffron color and onions,  it is both flavourful, and extremely fluffy. The richness goes well with the depth of the grilled meat. I find it’s a good balance with some of the more acidic, sweeter khoreshts, but not as good with the rich, creamier khorests. Bread would probably be a better choice for those.

food-333

The Ghormeh Sabzi is a khoresht made of mixed greens (herbs, spinach, and cilantro), and cooked with kidney beans, meat, and citrus, to produce a fragrant, tangy, yet slightly sweet stew. It’s good, but a touch oily, and not quite enough chunks of lamb for my liking. Good flavour though.

The grilled platter has many similarities to the kinds of kebabs served in most other Middle Eastern cultures – and there’s definitely nothing wrong with that! A couple of spiced ground meat (koobideh) kebabs, generally my favorite, are excellent. Flavourful, well spiced, and nicely caramelized on the exterior. The barg (beef in this case) is good, but really just chunks of seasoned meat on a skewer. The chicken is good – flavourful, tender, and not overcooked. Easy to share, and tasty to boot, this dish is an easy introduction for people learning to appreciate other flavours.

food-339

Overall, the food at Atlas Supermarket and Persian Cuisine is flavourful, and quite consistent. And just as importantly, the value seems to be there. Khoreshts are small servings, but reasonably good deals, priced similar to an Indian curry. The grill is where some find it a bit pricey – $32 for a platter for two isn’t cheap, but as long as you arent a meat glutton, then it will serve 2 people comfortably. We shared the khoresht and the platter among three people, and left a little bit of food behind. Not bad for $50.

Thinking on it some more, I feel predicting the next “big cuisine” is difficult. Typically, I find the trends of the West Coast generally filter their way across slowly, which means we can usually predict Calgary’s next restaurant shift based on what is popular there a year ago. And Persian food, while somewhat popular, is a long way from sharing the same success that other cuisines have had on the coast. Calgary seems to have a bigger Middle Eastern population, so im not sure if it’ll catch on or not. Which is too bad, as the food is approachable, flavourful, and reasonably priced. Something that should easily succeed here.

Atlas Specialty Supermarket & Persian Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Le Pho Vietnamese Cuisine and Grill – Calgary, AB


Le Pho Vietnamese Cuisine and Grill
36-55 Castleridge Boulevard NE
Calgary, AB
(403) 285-7830

Ok, so if you haven’t noticed, i like Pho. A lot. Im generally willing to try any Pho place twice, occasionally only once if it was terrible, even if it looks like it’ll be an unmitigated disaster.  I’ve had some bad experiences at some of my more favored places – so i want to give it a second try just in case i caught a great place on a bad day. Le Pho is a place i have to try again.

Le Pho is located deep in the heart of Little India – Castleridge Mall. A bit out of place amongst all the East Indian eateries, it caught my eye when i was on my way to Bombay Sweet House. In looking up their exact address, i realized there were 3 different Le Pho’s, with slightly different names. I’m not sure if they are all affiliated, but according to Urban Spoon, this one is affiliated with the one in the SE. Not quite Pho Hoa, but it’s described as a “chain” nonetheless.

food-219_filtered

For what it’s worth, the decor at Le Pho was clean, and dated. In my experiences, it’s hard to judge a Vietnamese restaurant based on its decor. Nice and clean doesnt necessarily mean that the food is good (Quynh in Sunridge is a perfect example of this… what terrible food). Dirty doesn’t mean it’s bad – i’ve seen cockroaches run around some Pho shops in Chinatown, and proceeded to have a really good bowl. However, i’ve developed a 6th sense just by looking at the clientele, what they are eating, and how happy and intent they look. I have to say, Le Pho wasn’t all that promising.

food-221

We ordered three standard tasting dishes,  goi cuon (salad rolls), a bowl of pho sate, and a bowl of bun thit nuong.

The salad rolls were excellent. The shrimp was fresh, there was fresh basil rolled inside (which i greatly prefer for texture, color, and flavour balance), and the noodles and greens were very crisp. The major issue was the skins, which were a bit tough and rubbery. But with a decent sauce, well balanced flavours of hoisin, chili, and fish sauce, these were a good start,

food-231

The Bun was actually quite disappointing. Generally speaking, i find the quality of the Bun Thit Nuong ($8.95) in Calgary to be pretty good. In conversation with a friend today, they mentioned that they felt the primary differences came down to the sauce for the meat, and the quality of the spring rolls. This was a bowl on the smaller size, with loads of ingredients. The problem was the flavours all kind of blended together, resulting in a slightly bland flavour. Good texture though.

food-235

The Pho Sate($8.00) was also quite disappointing as well. The broth was over MSG’d, leaving a very slightly chemically, overly salty taste. It lacked beef flavour, and the sate – well, i’ll let the photo speak for itself…it was bland and lacked any sort of peanut or chili character. The beef was actually quite good though – added rare, and sliced thin enough to stay quite tender. The noodles, however, were too firm and still all completely tangled. Overall, quite disappointing and unsatisfying.

Seeing as this was my first visit, I don’t wish to be overly critical. I have noticed i’ve been quite critical of many Pho restaurants in the past, and while i hold them to high standards for quality, there is the need to try and be as fair as possible. However, if it were for anything other than research, I would probably not return. Generally speaking, these outliers of Vietnamese restaurants (those outside the principle stretch of Pho restaurants between 16th Ave N and 17th Ave S), are usually much cheaper, though still quite hit or miss on quality. With Le Pho, we have average prices, and below average food. That’s not a winning combination.

Le Pho Vietnamese Cuisine and Grill on Urbanspoon

Pho Xuan – Calgary, AB


Pho Xuan
128-920 36 Street NE
Calgary, AB T2A 6L8
(403) 204-1299

Differences of opinion are healthy. After all, no two people will always agree on the same things. Especially when it comes to taste, we really have no idea if what im tasting is the same thing as what you’re tasting. Maybe a bit too theoretical, but for me, it brings up an interesting point. How important are other people’s opinions when it comes to choosing which restaurants you wish to visit? If we assume that no two people taste things the same, then every visit to a restaurant is an independent trial/statistical event (in the sense that each time two different people go to a restaurant, it’s a new trial), and much like gambling and gamblers fallacy, it could be reasoned that it is only a coincidence that two people have similar interests in restaurants.

I’m obviously digressing, but what brought me to this point is a distinct lack of sleep, and one puzzling issue. I occasionally find a restaurant that is well regarded by a significant percentage of people whose opinions are typically similar to mine, that I just don’t like. I don’t understand why, and it bothers me. Am i missing out on something? One of these restaurants for me is Pho Xuan.

Pho Xuan is located in the heart NE Calgary, where there is definitely a bevy of good ethnic restaurants. While not as richly saturated as Chinatown nor Forest Lawn, the NE has a fair selection of Vietnamese restaurants, including a very decent satay soup at Pho Que Hoang. When critics of Pho Que Hoang started pushing Pho Xuan, I had to give it a try.

In a strip mall across the street from the former Franklin Mall (T&T), Pho Xuan is one of those places that is easy to overlook. Very unassuming from the outside, i found it hard to spot within the diversity of stores in the strip mall, including Roti Hut and LaCay Banh Mi shop. After hearing many people, including two very pho-picky friends of mine rave about it, I had to give it a try. Or several tries, based on how often i eat Pho.

food-176

The decor at Pho Xuan is nothing to speak of, which, in my experience, usually ends up being a good thing. I can’t think of a single good Vietnamese restaurant with a fancy, well-appointed interior. It is clean, usually very busy, with a very straightforward,simple menu that is familiar to the North American diner now. Pho, Pho Sate, Bun of some sort, salad rolls, spring rolls, shakes and smoothies. While someday i’d like to see other kinds of Vietnamese cuisine make more headway, it’s still enough diversity for me on most days.

food-187

I’ve tried the Pho Sate on a couple of occasions – and I have to say it’s pretty bad. It’s their regular Pho with some chili oil, and sa-cha type bbq sauce added. Thin, limp, without depth, it is a not the type of Pho Sate i like. However, I was told that it’s their broth for Pho Tai that is key here. So several more visits were warranted.

food-191

While the ingredients are definitely quite fresh, Pho is about the broth, and it wasn’t really up to my standard. First off, i find it excessively oily – something i don’t usually notice, so it’s quite the exception when i do. I understand it is supposed to be oily, but i found it excessively so. Secondly, there is too much sodium, msg, or both – it’s hard to actually discern which the offending party is. The end result is the same of course, it is excessively salty. Not a lot of rich beef flavour, and not a lot of the secondary flavours that really make a broth stand out – the sweetness of charred onion and ginger, the anise and cloves lurking under the surface. Even though everyone I know loves this broth, I don’t.

food-196

On the other hand, their Bun Thit Nuong Cha Gio, Vermicelli with grilled pork and spring rolls is excellent. The greasiness of their preparation translates better with the crisp, fresh vegetables, and the firm chewiness of the rice vermicelli. Well seasoned pork and a generous slop of nam pla results in a wonderful spicy-sweet-sour balance. An excellent bowl of Bun.

I’m still a bit perplexed that I don’t like the soup nearly as much as everyone else does. I keep going back hoping it’ll be different, as in the real world, you can’t really measure a restaurant experience with statistical analysis – there are just too many variables involved in the entire experience. However, until the day i finally reach an epiphany, i’ll have to keep saying, I don’t really understand what all the fuss is about with Pho Xuan. The Pho just isnt that good. Maybe Bun Xuan would be a better name! If you try it (and bring cash, as it’s a cash only establishment) and find that it suits your tastes, don’t tell me. I don’t think i need to know yet another person who likes it when im just not getting it.

Pho Xuan on Urbanspoon

The Regency Palace – Calgary, AB


Regency Palace Restaurant
328 Centre St SE
Calgary, AB T2G 4X6
(403) 777-2288

Buffet. Hot pot. Dim Sum. Banquets. Most  Chinese restaurants leave no potential profit unturned, and yet somehow, even in their bid to be all things to all people, they usually manage to turn out some pretty decent food. To me, very few chefs can rival the versatility of a Chinese restaurant chef. The sheer scope of the menu they must know inside and out,  the sheer numbers that Chinese banquet facilities are expected to service quickly, and the renown pickiness of Asian diners makes for a very high pressure situation. One where when restaurants fall, they can really collapse badly.

food-241

The Regency Palace is one of the premier banquet facilities in Calgary. Able to accommodate up to 700 people, it is often used for Chinese weddings and other celebrations. Most of the time i’ve been to the Regency has been for such events. And the food is usually quite good.

food-247

On a recent week night, some friends and I decided to partake in their hot pot deal/meal. For $24.95, you get all you can eat (AYCE) hotpot, and buffet. When i arrive at 7:30pm, i wasnt quite prepared for what I saw. A completely empty restaurant, with the exception of one two top, and our own table. It was completely desolate.

food-254

Now i’ve been here before on a weeknight, and while it is never extremely busy, usually there are a decent selection of people. The food we’ve ordered off the menu has been ok, but no where near the quality of their banquet food. I’m not sure if the lesser chefs work on the quiet weeknights, but it’s never as good. This weeknight, with everyone getting the all you can eat hotpot and buffet, we don’t get a chance to order off the menu.

food-258

Hotpot ingredients are taken from a self-service bar. The hotpot “bar” has an extremely wide selection of food, of varying qualities. On the positive side, they put out fairly low quantities and refresh fairly often. Popular items are turned over fairly quickly, resulting in some fairly fresh ingredients. On the downside, due to the vast selection of ingredients, many are left sitting on ice for hours on end. In a quieter location, i generally prefer the Gold Wonton method – they bring out whatever is ordered, rather than self service. With a large selection of ingredients, and sauces, they definitely have a very comprehensive list of ingredients available.

Unfortunately, the Regency Palace has only one kind of broth, which is fairly mediocre. Not a lot of flavour, but it doesnt detract from the ingredients either.  Service is very attentive, though the staff to customer ratio was a bit ridiculous.

food-266

The cooked food bar is something completely different. Something straight out of University memories of Foody Goofy and 7.95 AYCE buffet, the food is poor, much of it deep fried and breaded, and while the selection is vast, the food is barely edible. I choked down a few dishes, hoping without hope that I would not be charged a “waste” charge on my plate for all the uneaten food. Thankfully, I was not.

Overall, for $24.95, even with the extensive variety, this is not a good deal by any stretch of the imagination. The food quality is fairly poor, and the buffet would fit the “avoid at all costs” category for me. It’s unfortunate, as they really do do a decent job of serving banquet food. However, if you’ve been to a wedding at the Regency Palace, and were thinking of trying it out for dinner – don’t. You’re better off trying somewhere else. Neither the menu, nor the hotpot deal are really all that worthwhile.

Regency Palace on Urbanspoon

Brewsters Brewing Company – Beltline – Calgary, AB (chain)


Brewster Brewing Company and Restaurant (Beltline location)
834 11 Avenue S.W.
Calgary, Alberta T2R 0E5
(403) 265-BREW (2739)

Many years ago, I was fascinated with the idea of starting a brew pub. I was sick and tired of sub-standard beer, and the same boring choices. I wanted beer brewed in small lots, with seasonal diversity, in many different styles. Rather than do my market research, I let enthusiasm take hold of me and I immediately started looking for a brewer. Through one of my contacts, I was put in touch with a top notch Canadian brewer. When i presented him with my idea, he says to me “oh, you want to build a Brewsters?”

Brewsters is a chain of Brew Pubs located in Saskatchewan and Alberta. Each location brews their own beer, and typically has a tremendous amount of diversity on hand at any given time. From Pilsners, to Barley Wine, to stouts, ales, and lagers, to seasonal beers, their skilled brew masters meticulously craft small lots frequently- making sure that their beers are fresh, and tasty.

img_3707

The concept behind Brewsters is pretty simple. Pub/Bistro type fare, microbrewed beer, televisions for sports, comfortable seats and VLT’s. A place for everyone – I often go here to meet friends that come from very diverse food and beverage backgrounds – it isn’t anyone’s favorite, but no one objects either. The food itself is reasonable – more of a crossover between Earl’s and a pub. It is, however, nothing to write home about, but with prices fairly reasonable (entrees from 11-30, mostly in the 12-16 range) and some decent, even healthy alternatives available, the diverse selection makes it a reasonable choice for something to eat when you’re craving a tall schooner of beer, and there’s a group of you that can’t decide on where you want to eat. The menu is one of those eclectic mixes of something for everyone.

img_3724

The beer itself is quite good. I find they don’t quite have the same body and depth that other brewpubs seem to have (like Wild Rose, or Wildwood) – everything tastes a bit sterile, like it’s been brewed for the lowest common denominator. However, it is very consistent from one brewery to the next, and they do have a great selection of styles. I’m fairly partial to the Bow Valley Brown ale, Czech Pilsner, and the Heffeweizen.

img_0411

Overall, the concept is pretty sound, and based on their 11 locations (and growing), they are obviously striking the right chord with the Alberta and Saskatchewan markets. Good beer, decent food, tv’s may not seem like a unique concept, but when trying to find a place that will appeal to everyone that consistently serves a decent pint and reasonable food, there arent a lot of other choices. Brewsters fits the bill.

Brewsters Brewing Company on Urbanspoon

Pho So 1 – Calgary, AB


Pho So 1
1609 Centre Street NW
Calgary, AB T2E 2S2
(403) 230-7472

Restaurant names are funny things. I’ve always wondered what goes through an owner’s mind when naming a restaurant. Are they trying to be catchy? Unique? Informative? Self-aggrandizing? Descriptive? I’m sure it’s probably a mix, depending on the restaurant. But i find them to be an interesting study. Think of some of your favorite restaurants – do you know why they named their restaurant what they did?

Pho So 1 has always boggled me, as to me, the “1” implies that there is a Pho So 2 somewhere.  But there isn’t. Maybe there were grand plans for expansion that never materialized. Or maybe they meant Pho So #1..the more recently added tag line “#1 vietnamese beef noodle house” seems to imply this. Regardless, at the end of the day, they could call it “raw cow palace” and i’d go, assuming it was tasty.

img_0452

Pho So 1 was the first Vietnamese restaurant i went to when i first moved to Calgary. Consequently, it’s tough to measure it’s place in the pantheon of Vietnamese restaurants in Calgary, because i have a tremendous soft spot for the food. However, i will try and objectively present, and distill, hundreds of visits into a fair review.

img_0454

My favorite dish, that keeps me coming back to Pho So 1 is the Cha Gio (Fried Spring Rolls). Supremely crispy, the filling is a wonderful balance of pork and shrimp. A judicious use of tree ear, mushroom, and garlic leaves a very pleasant aftertaste yet doesn’t leave one with any one overpowering flavour. I’ve honestly looked for better Cha Gio, but have yet to find any in Calgary that i like more (though Pho Dau Bo is excellent too).

The Pho itself is decent, and I do occassionally indulge in Pho Tai, but my biggest issue is their broth. Too much MSG, making it a bit salty. It’s also not as rich, and balanced as other broths i’ve had. It’s passable, but nothing to excite the senses.

img_0461

One of their special dishes though, the infrequently seen Bun Cari, used to be one of my favorites, and the first place i went in town for curry soup. Pho Anh Huyen down Centre Street has one too, but on their good days, Pho So 1 does a much better job. A blend of turkey, chicken, and potato, the curry is typically rich, flavourful, and full of thick noodles and a great blend of sweet and heat. However, lately, they’ve been quite inconsistent with this dish. On the day the photo was taken, it was extremely oily, and most of the veg had been overcooked. It was 20 minutes before closing, but i’d expect them to suggest a different dish if it wasnt still up to par.

img_0465

My final favorite is the Bun Bo Hue, the special beef noodle soup. This is a adaptation (or, as some Vietnamese friends have said to me, a bastardization) of the popular Central Vietnamese dish that typically features a rich broth made with beef, and pork knuckle, and featuring a lemongrass flavour. The broth does have pork hock in it, making for a richer broth, but has been spiced up tremendously, masking any (if at all) lemongrass flavour. It’s more satay meets rich broth than anything else. But i enjoy the break from Pho with thicker noodles, the richer broth, and a bit of kick. It’s still pretty good stuff.

At the end of the day, Pho So 1 doesn’t manage to standout from their peers. I’d skip the satay, definitely order the spring rolls, and order the Bun Cari and hope for the best it’s a good day. The Bun Bo Hue (23c i believe) is a good alternative as well. I can’t promise that you’ll like it as much as i do, but I do encourage you to give it a try, instead of your regular Pho place. Even if it doesn’t end up as good as your special spot, at least you’ll learn a bit more about your tastes, what you like and don’t like, and more importantly, why you like what you do. And if you ever find who what the “1” stands for, definitely let me know. It’s been bugging me for 8 years!

Pho So 1 on Urbanspoon

Misai Japanese Restaurant – Calgary, AB


Misai Japanese Restaurant
7-1915 32 Avenue NE
Calgary, AB T2E 7C8
(403) 250-1688

Choices – so many choices. In today’s society, we are accustomed to what some might consider an excessive amount of choice. While having more choices is usually better, in the restaurant industry, too much choices can be a very bad thing. A menu with too many choices usually means too much stock, not enough turnover, leading to lower quality. Too many choices generally mean that less care and attention are paid to each individual dish, also resulting in lower overall quality, and more inconsistency. Does it automatically mean the food will be bad? No. But i find it tough to believe a restaurant can perform to their full potential with a wide and extensive menu, unless the menu has been very very carefully planned.

Misai Japanese Restaurant is one of the few choices available in the NE for Japanese food. Located in a small strip mall of a busy commuter avenue, they’ve been around for quite some time – definitely one of the earlier “new entrants” to the Japanese restaurant community. Not a venerable institution like Sushi Hiro, but it has been around for almost a decade. It was, for the longest time, the favorite restaurant of my former room-mate and myself – we’d make the trek once to twice a week, and order the same thing every time. This was back when we had less choice.

The hallmark of the Misai menu is choice. Not only do they serve sushi, sashimi, and the general cooked standby’s – tempura, udon, soba, teriyaki, but they were the first in Calgary to carry a heavy Izakaya-influenced menu – Hamachi cheeks, grilled saba head, Grilled Ika, and a variety of other small plates and dishes. The result is the biggest menu at a Japanese restaurant i’ve ever seen. 8-10 very large pages filled with an infinite variety of dishes.

img_2518

This, unfortunately, is also their biggest drawback. From raw fish, to complex raw lobster meals, to a dizzying array of cooked dishes, the quality of the food generally suffers. There are several gems on the menu though.

My favorite dish at Misai is the Salmon Sashimi. Large (usually too large) pieces of firm, tasty salmon. This used to be the most amazing value on the menu, but even with recent price hikes (not exact on the price, but it is now roughly $1.80 a piece), it is still excellent value. The quality of the salmon can vary from day to day, but in general, is very good.

img_2515

Their bento boxes are also pretty reasonable. A selection of Nigiri, sashimi, tempura, rice, miso, salad, and tsukemono make for a large amount of variety at a reasonable price. The rice for the nigiri is pretty mediocre, but the tempura is often reasonable – not overbattered like many other establishments in town. Salad is lightly dressed, fish is reasonably fresh, the overall verdict on the bento is pretty good.

Out of their other dishes, I would definitely skip the lobster feast. Their grilled squid, and other grilled fish parts are usually frozen, which results in a noticeable decrease in quality, particularly in texture. Freezing fish cheeks and other delicate pieces that lack the fat and structure to stand up to freezing has it’s impact. They aren’t bad, but you can definitely get better.

img_2526

With the influx of Japanese restaurants into Calgary over the past 5 or 6 years, we now have an unprecedented amount of choice. Misai Japanese Restaurant, which used to be one of the best Japanese restaurants in town, is now just one of many acceptable places that are reasonable to eat at, but nothing very exciting. I would not measure them on par with Wa’s, Blowfish, or Zipang, but for NE Calgary, which has few choices to begin with, they are definitely the best of the lot. I really wish they would concentrate on just trying to do fewer things more consistently and better, but if you go, choose your dishes wisely – it’ll likely be the difference between an average meal, and a good one.

Misai Japanese on Urbanspoon

Oodle Noodle Wok Box – Edmonton, AB


Oodle Noodle Wok Box
10803 – 82nd Avenue
Edmonton, AB
(780) 988-7808

The wok. An Asian cooking utensil typically used for stir frying at high temperatures. The heat and the technique are the keys for making a great stir fry. When done well, you get a crisp, flavourful, non-greasy blend of meat, vegetables, and starch. When done poorly, the end result is an oily, slightly charred, coagulated mess of food. As simple as stir fries look to be, properly using a wok isnt that simple.

Oodle Noodle Wok Box, not to be confused with the local Edmonton chain “Wok Box”, is a small eatery that focuses primarily on wok-fried takeout. Broken down, the name actually makes a lot of sense. They provide a lot of noodle dishes (“oodles of noodles”), cooked in a “wok”, served in one of the classic chinese takeout containers- a “box” – first brought to the Canadian conciousness in movies and television shows set in New York.

food-140

A former Mr Sub located on Whyte Avenue, Oodle Noodle Wok Box first opened shop in 2005, the first of the wok-fried stir fry locations to open up in Edmonton. Wok and Roll, Wok Box, and assorted other places opened soon afterwards. The location is nothing fancy – retaining a lot of the old fixtures from it’s previous incarnation. However, the counter does provide a good view of the kitchen – several employees dancing, singing, and stir frying in intense heat. Their enthusiasm is kind of catchy.

food-138

The selection of foods is pretty diverse – much like a culinary tour around Asia. From Japan, Mongolia, and China, to the flavours of SE Asia (Vietnam, Singapore, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia) and even including India, they provide simple wok dishes of chicken, beef, and shrimp, stir fried with differnt noodles, different veggies, and different sauces. A very basic concept, but by allowing you to switch certain choices, providing you with infinite variety.

food-1471

The best part of the Oodle Noodle Experience? The price. $6.99 for chicken and beef. $7.99 for shrimp. They provide you with a very large serving of steaming hot food. The veggies are generally very fresh, and crisp. In general, each dish has some wonderful balance. Good acidity, spice, and sweetness. Nice texture contrasts of crisp and soft. The biggest issue is the whole dish is usually a bit oily, the result of inexperienced wok technique, and sometimes the sauce can be a bit overwhelming. Good flavour, but too much sauce leaves you with nothing but that taste in your mouth. Of all the dishes available, my favorite dish is the Jungle Curry Cambogee. I order this two times out of three.

food-150

Ok, so the boxes are cute. And the dancing is catchy. And the food is pretty good. That pretty much covers it all. Great value – definitely the best food, and value, of all the wok places in town. And with some great opening hours (open till 10pm weekdays, 11pm Fri-Sat), they are pretty much available whenever i have a craving for some hot, filling, satisfying food at one of the best prices left in town. Kind of makes me want to dance the next time im in line – and that’s something no one needs to see!

Oodle Noodle Wok Box on Urbanspoon

Sobaten Japanese Noodle House – Calgary, AB


[CLOSED NOW SINCE THIS POST WAS INITIALLY PUBLISHED]

Sobaten Japanese Noodle House
550 11 Ave SW
Calgary, AB
Tel: (403) 265 2664

I’m sure most of you have experienced an unexpected change in lunch plans that necessitated a sudden shift to an unknown location.  On this day, it was more of a disappointment given that I was looking forward to the original spot, but alas we can’t always get what we want.  Sobaten filled in during this pinch, and with less than an hour to go before I needed to head out of town, it sufficed in terms of geographic ease of access and we had already parked the car.

I’m fairly opened minded when it comes to a new eating location.  Though first impressions can certainly set things in motion, as it took a while before any wait staff could spot us waiting at the entrance.  There was a lunch buffet on, and some people were bustling around the feeding station that further added to the confusion and tested my patience.  Eventually we were seated in the more empty side of the restaurant, after we informed the (friendly) server that we would be ordering off the menu.  At the table, there was another sign that things were not going to go well.  Call me a stickler, and I know some people say the same thing about washroom facilities at restaurants, but I expect tables to be clean and anything on them to be fully presentable to customers, and use this as a guide to how the food will be.  In this case what caught my ire was the messy and unfilled bottle of soy sauce.  It had formed some crusty layer on the outside of the bottle and obviously had not been rinsed out prior to any re-fill since it was first used in this place.

To start our meal and to get a barometer reading of how the food is here, a starter plate of a few pieces of nigiri were ordered.  In Canada, as generic as it may sound, shake (salmon) is probably your safest bet in terms of quality.  Unfortunately, the slices that we received here were pretty dismal.  Obviously cut from a poor section that could have used the benefit of a sharper knife and a more skilled hand holding it, the rough jagged edges showed that the “chef” could use some tutelage in proper knife techniques.  Throw in some misplaced sesame seeds that were sticking to the surface and a weakly shaped nigiri, it just added up to a sad combination.  My hotate (scallop) was only slightly better, although it was still a little frozen in the middle and needed more de-thawing.  Most importantly for both, the sushi rice was not very tasty at all, too mushy and sweeter than would be normally acceptable.

As I’ve noted in previous posts, I have this belief that if a place claims to specialize in something, they had better do a really good job with it.  In this case, it was soba.  The Tenzaru set was ordered in a half portion, but when it was brought to the table, it sure did look to be a good enough quantity for a full order.  The soba was horrible – undercooked and had not been properly rinsed resulting in a sticky mess of noodles.  Some finely chopped green onions were provided to add to the sobatsuyu, but was missing the daikon oroshi.

The accompanying tempura was no improvement either in terms of quality or taste.  Cooked in too hot an oil bath (a common problem), in oil that appears to either be in need of a change and/or had been used to cook tonkatsu (Foodosopher picked up the pork scent on the tempura), it was a poor performance by the kitchen.  I had my suspicions that they were cooking these en masse for the buffet perhaps and sitting under a heat lamp, but did not visually check out that counter as after my meal I simply wanted to get the heck out of Dodge.

What surprises me most about places like this, is that customers seem to like it and come back – probably the buffet has something to do with it.  When it comes to some cuisine, in particular Japanese, I would never fathom that a buffet offering of it would be of any respectable quality, as this food is simply not cut out for long periods of sitting in water baths/under direct heat lights to keep it warm or in non-cool/refrigerated environments in the case of sushi.  As Foodosopher and I departed for my journey out of Calgary, we both shook our heads at the travesty we just endured and tried to rationalize how this kind of food can be deemed acceptable by some people.  Either they have no taste buds or just don’t know better.  As we drove to the airport so that I could put as much distance between me and this pathetic last meal in Calgary, I began to think it was a combination of both, as sad as that is.

Sobaten Japanese Noodle House on Urbanspoon

Joe’s Pizzeria – New York City, NY


Joe’s Pizzeria
7 Carmine St
New York, New York 10014
(212) 255-3946

When I have been drinking, I usually get a serious case of the munchies. In most cities, this means either 24hr fast food, a bag of chips, or cooking up some interesting fridge skillet. But in the city that never sleeps, there are always great options. And let’s be honest, nothing hits the spot quite like a nice greasy slice. In the Village, even at 3am, there are great options – the best of the lot is Joe’s Pizza.

In the pantheon of NYC Pizza, Joe’s Pizza generally falls near the top of everyone’s list. Ray’s, Grimaldis, DiFara follow closely behind. Even though they wildly promote their appearance in Spiderman, NYC locals already know about Joe’s. What they serve is a classic slice of NYC pie. NYC pie generally is a thin crust, crispy yet maleable like a true neapolitan pizza, and is eaten folded over on itself. Toppings are very simple – simple cheese, pepperoni, or sometimes as complicated as sausage and onion, mozarella, or pepperoni mushroom.

Slices are served at all hours – my fuzzy memory recalls that they are open until 4am on weekends. While standing in line for my second serving (my fourth or fifth slice), an argument breaks out in front of me over the appropriate condiments for a slice. Straight up parmesan on one side, parmesan and garlic powder on the other. I love New Yorkers 🙂 Personally, i side with the garlic powder people. It’s delicious.

There isnt much more to say. NYC style pizza is a mandatory food group everyone needs to try. Put it this way – after an evening at Masa, tapas at Boqueria, then drinks at the Mandarin Oriental, the most memorable thing of the evening was taking a cab from the Upper West Side to the Village for 5 slices of greasy, heavenly goodness. Joe’s Pizza is good stuff – and im even pretty sure it wasnt the booze talking!

Joe's Pizza on Urbanspoon