Reader. Writer. Romantic.

Archive for June, 2015

Restaurant Review: The Beltliner

Location: 243 12th Ave SW

I first heard about this restaurant on the CBC Calgary Eyeopener with David Gray and Angela Knight. It sounded interesting so that night I came home and checked out the menu. It looked pretty decent so I made plans to go for a birthday brunch with my sister and cousin. Today, we finally got the chance to go.

When we arrived, the place was already pretty packed and I wasn’t sure that we’d be able to get in. However, the hostess took down our phone number on an iPad and said that it should only be another 15-20 minutes before we could get a table. Now, I’ve been to tonnes of restaurants that tell me 10-15 minutes and it’s more like an hour or longer, so I took that with a grain of salt. But true to her word, about fifteen minutes later, she came to outside to call us in and seat us. She was really cheery and upbeat and made me feel welcome and excited to try out this place. We were seated at a table that was clearly meant for two people, so it was a bit tight. I didn’t mind since where we were seated was in the direct path of a cool breeze coming through the open doors of the patio. We sat, perusing the menu, me still caught between ordering the Chicken and Waffles and the Mushroom Benedict and waited for our waitress. It was a while before she showed up and asked what we wanted to drink. She didn’t seem all that happy or excited like our hostess had been, but that was okay. We ordered our drinks and she headed off for a long time. When she returned, one of our party had gone to wash up and the waitress asked if we knew what she wanted, but when we didn’t know exactly how she wanted the eggs, the waitress seemed rather annoyed. She seemed more interested in helping out her other tables than helping us out, which I found to be a bit rude.

I noticed that the table next to us was seated before us but had their order taken after us. And while their order came out first, she delivered the wrong order to him. She asked him if he’d be okay to take it or if she should take it back and have his actual order made. He chose to keep the mixed up ordered item and I mean I would too. There was no point to waste any food.

I was the only person who ordered a hot drink, a mocha. My sister had a blue raspberry soda and my cousin had a veggie smoothie. The veggie smoothie had kale, apple, cucumber, ginger, pineapple, yogurt, but I kept tasting banana. Not sure why, but I kept thinking it was in there. Nothing else was really noticeable in taste, but my sister insisted she could taste the kale overpowering everything.

We started with an appetizer, the molded yolks and caviar. It was unlike anything I had ever tried. The yolks had been sous vide, molded into mango looking cubes, sprinkled with some salt flakes and served with caraway crackers and a small spoon of Canadian sturgeon caviar. The portion size of the caviar was slightly disappointing. It was clear that the caviar’s salinity was meant to be paired with the sous vide yolk because the  yolks were flavourless. Unlike masago or tobiko, sturgeon caviar is much fishier in its taste, so I wasn’t able to really eat all that much. The caraway crackers were really an interesting pairing to the yolk and caviar. The yolky taste wasn’t all that noticeable, but the texture was creamier than usual. For the price of this appetizer, I expected it to be a little bigger and with a little bit more caviar.

For our mains, my cousin ordered the classic 2x2x2, my sister had the steak and eggs, and I myself finally decided on the chicken and waffles. The classic 2x2x2 is the typical breakfast that one would find at home: two eggs, two sausages (or bacon as it was in this case), and two pieces of toast. A small dipper of berry jam was provided on the side if you wanted some jam to go with your buttered toast. In my cousin’s opinion, the jam was too sweet. In my sister’s opinion, it was just right. And in my opinion, it was a bit tart. My sister’s steak and eggs were a bit of a weird one. She asked for her steak to be done medium rare and for the most part it was, except for one section of it, which was rare. Also, scrambled eggs? Yeah, not something that I’d normally request to have with my steak, but it really didn’t look like three eggs had been used. Her dish also came with toast and hash browns. The hash browns were glazed in sugar, giving it a crunchy exterior and they were triangle shaped, but when you cut into them, you could see the individual layers, like when you pile a bunch of scalloped potatoes on top of one another. Then came mine. The Chicken and Waffles. In my opinion, it was huge. I shared the majority of it with my sister and cousin and still couldn’t finish it off. They give you a full buttermilk waffle covered in white gravy and several pieces of crispy fried chicken thighs. At first I thought the pieces were to big not to contain bones, but they had been deboned prior to battering and frying. My biggest complaint about the chicken was how much of each piece of chicken was batter. And the batter was so heavy that dousing it in hot sauce was the best option since the tartness and heat of the hot sauce really helped to cut through the grease. I would have preferred if they had pounded a chicken breast flat, breaded it, and fried it instead of having these hard to eat, hard to cut chunks. I did like the slight sweetness of the waffle that contrasted with the saltiness of the gravy and chicken, but like many of the other dishes here, there was way too much salt in the batter, in the gravy, and on the steak.

To top it all off, when the bills came, they were separated. I was going to ask for her to do that, but she did that for us already. Only problem was, was that she mixed up everything for everyone. My cousin’s bill ended up with my mocha, her main, and the entire appetizer while my sister’s ended up with her drink, my cousin’s drink, and her main and mine was just my main.

Poor service, order and bill mix ups and over salted food have made me think about ever returning to this restaurant. Maybe I’ll give it a couple years before I come back, but based on today’s experience I’d have to rate it a 1.75/5.

The Beltliner Exterior

The Beltliner Exterior

The Beltliner Interior

The Beltliner Interior

The Beltliner Interior

The Beltliner Interior

The Beltliner Interior

The Beltliner Interior

Molded Yolks and Caviar

Molded Yolks and Caviar

Classic 2x2x2

Classic 2x2x2

Steak and Eggs

Steak and Eggs

Chicken and Waffles

Chicken and Waffles

Fragile Teacup

Even though on my own
I could rule the world
And run it with an iron fist
I still love it when a man like you
Is willing to come to my rescue
And sweep me off my feet
Making me believe in the beauty of my dreams

There has never been a day
Where I don’t think
What it’d be like
If I pretended to be
A damsel in distress

Would that win you to my side?
Or push you all away?

Imaginary Love

I wake up each morning
And lay down to sleep each night
Thinking of the only thing on my mind

How can one person
Mean so much to me
When we’ve barely spoken a word?

I don’t know what to say
Or why my heart likes to fabricate lies
The only explanation being love

But how can I say I love you
When I don’t even know you?
How can I trust in something
I made up in my mind

This is not the same
As when I dream up
A story
Or Song

This is real life
And I cannot project
A love that isn’t there

But when i read kindness in every word
When I see a serenade in every action
How can I not say that I don’t love you?
How can I not say that I’m not lonely without you?


Never in my life
Have I met someone
I hate as much as I hate you

I say what I mean
I speak and wear my heart on my sleeve
Not encrypted bullshit
And egotism

I don’t brag or boast
About what I’m capable of
I don’t tell my superiors that I am better than they
As you have done

I have no respect for the likes of you
For you have none for me

You are a lying, useless piece of shit
If you die in a hole
In agonized pain
No one will miss you
You fucking bitch

I hope that one day
I am so lucky
To see you suffer such a fate

Restaurant Review: Jimmy’s A & A Deli

Location: 1401 20 Ave NW

The first time I had a shawarma from this place I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Despite the mess I made, these are the best things I have ever eaten in my entire life. So naturally I requested this for my lunch at the office for my birthday (well joint birthday lunch since a coworker had her birthday the day before mine).

There are three main choices for shawarmas: chicken, beef, or chicken and beef. I have tried all three and I can say that I prefer the chicken way more than the beef. The beef is donair meat, meaning that it’s not a full muscle piece of meat. It’s been somewhat grounded up and lost much of its beefy texture. The chicken, however, is still a full piece only ripped up into more bite sized chunks. The seasoning is a little on the salty side, but goes well with the veggies added in. Like most places, the shawarmas are customizable, so you can choose which veggies are in and which are out. Since I’m a pig, I put all the veggies in: tomatoes, lettuce, and onions. Extra veggies include banana peppers and pickles which you have to specifically ask for. Then there are three sauces: sweet, garlic, and hot. I also ask for all three of them. It is likely that after you’ve eaten one of these, you may need to brush your teeth several times or else risk killing someone with your garlic and onion breath. But it is so worth it. The size of these shwarmas is more than I can eat in one sitting. Just to give you a general idea of how big these things are, two large shwarmas can feed my entire family. One large shwarma is the length of my head. Best reaction I got when I went into this place to buy them since my father couldn’t park the car since they were so busy (they’re always busy cuz they’re so good) was the guy asking if I was sure I wanted two large shwarmas. I think he thought I was going to eat the whole thing by myself. Haha, if I did that I really would die.

Though these are amazing, I don’t think I can eat them everyday because they are kinda oily and I know too many of them wouldn’t sit well in my stomach. But that isn’t gonna keep me from coming back and giving it a rating of 4.5/5.

Chicken Shwarma with everything

Chicken Shwarma with everything

Restaurant Review: Shanghai Palace

Location: 520-5149 Country Hills Blvd NW

Like I mentioned in a previous review, this is one of the restaurants that our family goes back to time and time again. The price is decent for the amount of food we get and there are always leftovers for one or two more meals.

Tonight we went for an early Father’s Day dinner. I thought it’d be crazy busy, but we were somehow able to get a table, walking in at 6:30. Usually we get four dishes which comes with a complementary soup and dessert and of course steamed white rice. However, since it was a special occasion we went for six dishes. Since we come here so much, the waitresses thought we’d be going the usual route of four dishes and brought out the complementary soup as we perused the menu. That meant we ended up having two soups because we ordered the three course Peking duck. For those who don’t know, the three courses consists of the duck and pancakes course, the soup course, and the fried rice or noodle course. The name in Chinese roughly translates to really thinly shaved duck skin and traditionally, in Beijing (Peking is the old name for Beijing, by the way), that is how it’s done. However, in coming to Canada and the Western world, ordering a plate of skin isn’t exactly cost effective. People here want to eat meat, so here it’s primarily thinish slices of duck. I honestly prefer it this way because this is what I grew up eating. When we visited Beijing and tried the Peking Duck there I was so surprised. The duck had a far gamier taste and it was just the skin, which had been crisped up. The duck is served with green onions, cucumbers, and hoisin sauce and wrapped up in a steamed pancake. I’ve had a lot of Peking Duck in my lifetime and I can say that the pancakes here were not well done. They were far too thick and were more like tortillas instead of crepes (they should be slightly thicker than crepes). The soup was also different from most other duck soups I’ve had. Usually the soup consists of the duck bones boiled in water and mixed with soy milk and ginger and siu choy. This one had shitaki mushrooms, mung bean noodles, duck, and some other things was thicker. Next came the fried rice. Depending on the restaurant, sometimes they do fried noodles instead. Even though I’m a noodle person, the duck fried rice is always better. I find that with the noodles, it gets way too greasy, whereas I don’t really notice the grease with rice since the rice absorbs it all anyways. But this place takes the cake with weird things thrown into a fried rice. There were peas, duck, tomatoes, and pineapple. The strangest combination I’ve ever tasted. Essentially, the point of the three courses is to utilize the entire duck. However, I’m sure, based on the amount of meat in each of the three dishes, more than one duck was used.

Most families would probably stop at that. It’s already a three course meal, but my family doesn’t. Ever. We ordered three more dishes to go along with it. The first of the three was a shrimp and egg tofu in a salted egg yolk batter, deep fried, and served on a bed of fried mung bean noodles. Salted egg yolk has a very distinct taste that is hard to describe and a texture that is kinda grainy. This is one of my favourite dishes. The second was bok choy with imitation abalone. It seems to be a staple at most Chinese banquets, so I’m not super fond of this dish and for me it’s rather ordinary. The final dish was a fish dish. Apparently my father’s favourite dish: wanyu and he prefers it prepared rather simply (steamed and served with soy sauce, ginger, and green onion). Again, not a fan, because of it’s slight “dirt” taste and its many bones.

The desserts at this restaurant vary by season. In the winter it’s always a hot bowl of soup: tapioca, taro, and coconut milk or red bean. In summer it’s either a jelly (coconut, mango, etc.) or it’s mochi. Both options are very good, but I’d prefer a jelly cube or mochi over a red bean soup.

This time the food was not as sweet and not as salty as it usually was. My father speculated that it was due to a change in the head chef. But hey, lower sugar and sodium intakes aren’t all that bad. If you want it a little saltier, all you’d have to do is grab the salt shaker.

I’ve tried so many foods at this place that I can hardly remember everything. It may not be the best restaurant in the world, but for the price we pay for a four course dinner, I’d say it was worth returning to time and time again.

I would rate this place a 3.75/5 simply because it’s not a place I’d want to be taken to for a date, but it is a nice place to go to for a warm family dinner.

Peking Duck

Peking Duck

Attracted to the Heart

Never have I loved
As I do love you
For no one has a heart
Has a soul
As beautiful as yours

You’re so ordinary on the outside
But inside
You conceal
A warmth
A tenderness
A joy
Waiting to envelope me

I love you
As I have never loved before
Give me a reason not to follow my heart to yours


People say
That the bite of anger
Will tear you apart
Limb from limb

I say let the fires of passion burn
And burst forth from the page
With a life renewed

You are the reason that flowers die
The reason empires fall
You are a disease
Who deserves to be murdered
Not swiftly
Not remorsefully
But with the same burning rage
Of sharp stinging words

Under my pen
You will squirm
And I will relish in your agony

Without You

I know that we have nothing left to talk about
But that doesn’t keep me from missing you

Why did things have to change?
What made you think you had to cut yourself out of my life?

Why is it you
Who gets to decide
That I don’t need you anymore
By my side

I don’t mean to sound needy
Or clingy
But after all we went through
A good bye
Would do

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