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Posts posted by merlin

  1. Vancitygirl:

    It has been probably been longer for my wife and I during our visits with friends in North Van. As I recollect our dinner was quite good. Alder-cooked salmon. Extensive primarily Cdn. wine list. Beautiful view afforded by the multi-tiered seating and terrific west coast art.

    However, as I said it has been quite some time. I have wondered whether it has become known as a "tourist trap" given the absence of comments here whereas Beachside Cafe, The Beach House at Dundarave Pier, La Regalade and the like are mentioned in West Van.

  2. Now that "Tofino" has headed south to more exotic climes...St. Lucia I think...we have lost of one our "resident" posters on what is happening in and around the area.

    We have not stayed at the LBLR but have visted annually, usually for lunch, since it opened. Beautiful physical structure especially in their great room. The view of the surf rolling into Cox Bay is different and soothing from that afforded by the Wick and Chesterman Beach.

    Personally I would opt for the Wick [last stayed June of '05, last there for lunch Oct of '05] over the LBLR but to each his own.

    Wasn't Lisa Aheir [sp?] the first chef at the LBLR before moving on to SOBO?

  3. I thought that Steingarten had it in for Susur...Steingarten was very denegrating to Susur, but worshipped Flay's mere existence.  ...Too bad they keep bringing him back on the show.


    So it was Steingarten who was the pompous jerk. I read about Susur and Flay in the Globe & Mail's tv column and the writer made a reference to comments being made to Susur by one of them and a withering glance being returned.

    Have enjoyed Steingarten's books, "It Must Have Been Something I Ate" and "The Man Who Ate Everything".

    I cannot stand the show [bobby Flay too] but had intended to watch it because of Lee's participation but got caught up in the Flames' "flame out"...go Oilers!

    Was the special ingredient actually bacon?

  4. Parmhero:

    If you scroll back a tad you will see Daddy-A's link to the best of Calgary but otherwise I would recommend the following.

    River Cafe [www.river-cafe.com]

    In a beautiful location on Prince's Island in the middle of the Bow River. Mere steps away from Eau Claire Market and a bustling downtown but "miles' away from everything if you are out on their deck watching the ducks float by enjoying a good glass of wine.

    Excellent regional fare...no moose but I have heard that they can skin and spit-roast a smart-ass tourist especially if from Toronto quite quickly :laugh:

    Good wine list with a number of otherwise hard to find Cdn. selections.

    Divino Wine and Cheese

    On Stephen's Avenue toward the Calgary Tower, Mariott. Eclectic and very, very good. I always eat here at least once when visiting "Cowtown". Their reversed ravioi is to "die for"...accompanied by lobster claw and seared scallop, black truffles...yummm

    Very personable and competent staff. Known and enjoy their wine.


    Just a couple of doorways down from Divino. Very good.


    Old time steak house. Quality. If you are a carnivore this is the place to go.

    Lot of other steak alternatives in town. Smuggler's down south on MacLeod Trail, the Owl's Nest in the Westin, Carver's up at I think the Sheraton in the NE and Murietta's Grill on Stephen's Ave. to name but a few.


    Also on Stephen's Ave. Italian influenced. Almost nouvelle cuisinse in some ways. "Sister" establishment to River Cafe. In beautiful structure of renovated old bank building. I prefer lunch to supper.


    Opened a few years ago. Micheal Noble from Diva at the Met "poached" from Vancouver to open a seafood restaurant in Calgary.

    Disappointing for us upstairs at their higher end restaurant. Have enjoyed the food and particularly the oysters at their main floor oyster bar.


    Again in very much the same location as many of the other Stephen's Ave restaurants. Higher end, up scale Italian. Less pasta. Esquisite duck.


    Across the river from downtown in "trendy" Kensington. Had just about the best lamb I have ever there.

    Living Room

    Restaurant on the "Red Mile". Trendy to a "T" but the food did not disappoint. Great fondue and other options.

    Brava Bistro

    Down the road a away from the Living Room. Again, restaurant aka nite club with the "trendoids" but the food does deliver. Their lobster gnocchi was very good.


    This is a new restaurant in Calgary. My favourite place to eat Italian used to be Il Sogno in Bridgeland...the area immediately north of the river and Center Street but the chef apparently left there and has opened Capo. I am heading there the next visit I am down south. Hopefully while the Oilers are continuing in the playoffs and the Flames have "flickered".

    Lots of Italian alternatives. Dolce Vita, Sugo, Tavola to name but three.

    Those are the spots which immediately spring to mind. Have heard good things about La Chaumiere, The Ranche and Tribune but have not been there myself.

    Enjoy your trip.

  5. Seems to be an industry wide-issue, certainly not limited to the lower mainland or Vancouver Island.

    Today's National Post has Amy Rosen commiserating with Calgary chefs like Ned Bell [Eight], Scott Pohorelic [River Cafe] and the C.B.C.'s food critic John Gilchrist on the same issue. The "oil boom" has a projected 1,500 new restauant seats being opened by mid-summer [i am assuming that is since last Fall].

    Same issue here in Edmonton having discussed the same with a chef after lunch at a downtown spot I frequent and with an owner who is the process of opening another.

  6. I also was wondering about Wilensky's, which somehow managed to get two mentions in Gourmet.  Can it really be worth a trip for a bologna sandwich on an onion bun?  Seems like the charm of the place is that the owners are brusque, like New Yorkers.  I get enough of that at home.

    If you are a Mordecai Richler fan and want to pretend to relive the days of Duddy Kravitz or St. Urbain Horseman then you may want to have a "special".

    Personally I would not bother ... mind you I spent enough time around Baron Byng aka Fletchers Field High during my "mispent youth".

    If you are looking for the dining experience I would rather go to Schwartz' or any of the many, many deli's you have in your own home town.

    L'Express on the other hand was excellent. I would definitely go back again. Mind you it is French bistro. It may not be everyone. My brother raves about Chez Gauthier. When about 15 of us during another visit, half enjoyed it and the rest were bemused especially the Albertans who questioned the French fries in a "fancy French restaurant" :rolleyes: ...chacun a son gout I guess.

    The wine list is good. Not extraordinarily so but quite good. I was drinking what they had available by the glass and have no complaints and since I was alone, enjoyed being up at their bar.

  7. Last week I was in Montreal and thoroughly enjoyed the spots that I managed to get to.

    My favourite? Overall probably Au Pied de Cochon. I would go back in a "heartbeat". Fun, neighborhood feel. Good value. Large portions...yikes, I had more duck breast on my plate than I would ordinarily serve a group! Excellent casual service from a terrific server who tolderated my poor efforts en francais. Good, varied wine by the glass offerings. If I lived in Montreal I would be a regular.

    Close second but in a different category would be CCet P. Agree with the observations above about the atmosphere. Personally did not a problem with the portion size but relatively speaking they were "diminutive" if compared with Au Pied de Cochon's "Fred Flintstone" plates. We had superb friendly but professional service. Excellent wine list. Heavy hit but worth it.

    L'Express provided a welcomed first meal. Sat up rubbing elbows with others at the bar. Relaxed, busy but friendly. The kind of bistro fare and atmosphere that I enjoy. We are eating a lot more cornichons...maybe not the same case with frites...here chez nous now that I have returned home.

    Lunch at Cafe Fereirra was excellent. Classy, a tad more formal than what I had expected. Grilled octopus and then halibut were both outstanding. Lots of "suits" doing the business lunch thing. Good spot for people watching along Peel.

    Excellent time. Looking forward to a return visit

  8. kayaksoup:

    Perhaps Dock 503 at the Van Isle Marina, 2320 Harbour Rd. Sidney


    A few years back we stayed at what was then called the Shoall Harbour Inn or something to that effect...it has since been renamed... and ate at their restaurant in an adjacent building which I believe was formerly the Lieutenant-Governor's summer retreat.

    The food and ambience there was just "ok". Later we heard that we probably should have just taken the short walk to the marina and eaten at Dock 503.

  9. Thanks Shelora.

    We'll try to get to Cucina.

    Choux-Choux is definitely on the list...how far is it up Fort? We'll be walking. I looked for it without success during our last visit. Not sure our fellow WestJet passengers would appreciate the sausages and pate en route back to Edmonton but we'll see :biggrin:

    Daidoco would be perfect for me. Not so sure about my "significantly better half" who is not as big a fan of Asian food, particularly raw seafood.

    We'll likely be at Zambri's at noon on Tuesday or Wednesday as we usually end up there for at least one lunch each visit. Such "honest" rustic food. I had some roast chicken with a spicy sauce and soft polenta that was to kill for in the Fall as was the duck ragu with green olives over grilled polenta.

    Appreciate the suggestions...looking forward to the week-end

  10. Stephen/Shelora:

    We are flying in Saturday a.m. as well. Way too early for this fellow who "enjoys" his Friday nites but "pays the price" on Saturday a.m.

    Dinner that night with "Sparky et al" , dinner Sunday at Rosemeade...Monday maybe Paprika or Brio...in all liklihood Brasserie again on Tuesday...

    Will have to fill in some lunches and the like.

    Is that spot in "Dragon's Alley" still open at this time of year? Cucina?

  11. Had a meeting in Calgary yesterday so flew down Wednesday nite.

    Wandered over to Stephen's Ave to get a bite to eat. Stopped at Catch and grabbed a seat at their oyster bar. It was really "rockin' and rollin'"...quite a treat to watch the gal "running the show" barking out orders as the rest of the line tried to keep up. They were quite busy. An awful lot of lobsters being ordered. Sure can see that Calgary is "booming"!

    They had about a dozen or so oysters available. I decided to have 2 each of the 6 east coast varieties: Raspberry Point, Colville Bay and Pickle Point from PEI and Caraquette, Beausoleil and Village Bay from NB.

    Served on the half-shell on a bed of crushed ice accompanied by mignonettes of blackberry and "show stopper" hot sauce.

    I had mine with just a squeeze of lemon juice. The Raspberry and Pickle Points from PEI and the Beausoleil from NB were my favourites. The first had an interesting acidic,salty and almost "spritzy" taste.

    Washed them down with a delicious glass of bubbly from ON's Vineland Estates and then it was off to try more wine and delicious food at Divino Wine & Cheese Bistro across the street.

  12. Decent enough article.

    I like the Osoyoos Larose very much and believe that the '03 vintage is better than the '02 which was better than the '01.

    I love the Cave Springs Reserve Riesling. The only Cdn. riesling I have enjoyed more is their CSV label.

    Sadistick mentioned a couple of ON producers. I have never seen a Lailey product in Alberta but did enjoy their wines at restaurants on trips to Ottawa.

    Had a bottle to the Stratus Red a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately, not impressed. Disappointed. Lots of light raspberry and strawberry flavors but not much weight. Not sure what was the combination of grapes as nothing was noted on either label and I understand that the winemaker has done this intentionally. Do not get me wrong. This was a pleasant wine. However, at $40 + too much competition at this price point.

  13. I don't know if it is still around but you might want to try Daddy-o's in Edmonton.

    When I was last in town, it was serving some fine Stanley Bridge Malpeques.

    Daddy-O's? Now there is a "blast from the past"! I have no idea if it is still in operation. Maybe I will venture down Whyte Ave. this week-end and see.

  14. I love my oysters. Unfortunately I cannot think of a spot in Edmonton where they are featured.

    Cafe Orleans when it was out on Bourbon Street in West Edmonton Mall and Somethng Fishy on Saskatchewan Drive both served tasty malpeques but they are both long-gone.

    The latter used to barbeque oysters during their "parking lot parties" for the regulars. Placed on the hot grill until the steam built up and popped them open. Delicious. Not as "fishy". Their oysters Kilpatrick...baked, topped with bacon and worcestershire were great too.

    Personally I prefer east coast oysters. I enjoy the Beausoleils that have been mentioned along with the Cariquettes, BrasD'ors, Stanley Bridge, the aformentioned Malpeque Bay and any number of other PEI selections. Have also tried Blue Points and Golden Mantles from the American coast but will usually "eat Canadian" when I have the choice.

    On the "wet coast" I like Washington State's kumamotos probably the most of any of them. Not sure if it is still open but fondly recollect a great lunch of kumamotos and pink swimming scallops at the Oyster Bay Cafe on the Chukanut Drive near Bellingham, WA.

    Of course there are "Oyster Jim's" roasting oysters topped with Saltspring Island chevre and various other sauces from Tofino's Wickaninnish Inn.

    Those big beauties were delicious and make up for my not so favourable experience of the first time I had oysters in Tofino. It was at the Schooner restaurant in the village. Yes, I expected them to be raw but what I did not realize that I would be getting some great big "honkin'" shucked beach oysters. They arrived, big gelatinous, quivering 1/4 pounders sitting on top of some lettuce daring me to try to eat them. Sorry, the old "gag reflex" could not be overcome.

    The Oyster Bar in Michael Noble's former "haunt" of Catch in Calgary is usually a spot that I drop into if in "Cowtown". They usually have 5 or 6 selections from each of the coasts. Nicely presented on crushed ice with mignonettes, sauces and other condiments. Personally, just a squeeze of lemon is what I prefer.

    Libation of choice? Usually something white and relatively dry.

  15. Thanks for the "hisory lesson" Shelora...much obliged. It must have been quite the spot with Greg and Sylvia both working tables....we have had a hoot with them at Brio.

    If the Victoria eGulleteer's do "storm" Sparky and co. at Brasserie l'Ecole we'd sure like to join you...we'll be out from the 25th of Feb through Mr. 1st and Brasserie is always on our list of where to eat.....

  16. Brenda/Memo:

    You are likely both correct.

    It literally has been decades since my first venture to the Herald Street Cafe. It bore little resemblance to the "relatively" current versions I have experienced more recently.

    I remember good valued interesting food and a terrific wine list.

    Back then our favourite was Rebecca's where the D'Arcy McGee pub is now below what at that time was Harpo's adjacent to Bastion Square across from the inner harbour.

    I asked one of the servers where else we should eat and she suggested the Herald Street Cafe.

    What is its history? Was Greg at Brio one of the orginal owners/operators?

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