Reader. Writer. Romantic.

Archive for August, 2018

Restaurant Review: Without Papers

Location: 1216 9 Ave SE
Website: http://wopizza.ca/

After two months I finally got the chance to meet up with Carmen for dinner.  I usually let Carmen decide where we’re gonna go because of her allergies and since I had been craving pizza for several weeks, this was the perfect fit.

We had been planning this since June so I had time to look over the menu well in advanced.  On my initial perusal of them menu, I wanted to order the Shrooom pizza because I love mushrooms and truffle oil, but since buying that bottle of truffle oil, I don’t think I need to really order anything that contains truffle oil because last time I made something at home with the truffle oil, I got all truffled out and I don’t want to go through that again.  I’ll work on finishing the truffle oil I’ve bought before truffling myself out on restaurant food.

On the day we finally made it here, we had some trouble finding the restaurant because the sign wasn’t very prominently displayed.  Since we got there around four, the restaurant wasn’t very busy yet and we were promptly seated by the window.  I didn’t realize I had been here before, a few years ago, as part of a Jane’s Walk that was focused on visiting restaurants in the Inglewood and Ramsay areas.

It didn’t take long for us to decide on the pizzas we wanted.  Carmen ordered her usual, the Parma with mushrooms added and I decided on the margherita pizza.  The sound of fresh mozzarella gave me images of those large chunks of creamy, stringy, melty, deliciousness.  That’s what drew me to this particular pizza.  Well, that and the fact I had been craving a simple, but delicious pizza as of late.

As the waitress indicated, all the pizzas are thin crust, like actually thin crust, which I was really happy about.  The unfortunate thing about the pizza being so thin is that it cools really quickly and this pizza is not good cold (although I do enjoy cold, leftover pizza most other times). The pizza itself was a little sparse and I did not get the ooey gooey fresh mozzarella as promised in the menu description.  Carmen’s pizza was less sparse and if I had liked prosciutto and it wasn’t so overloaded with arugula, it would’ve been a delicious pizza.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy arugula, but I don’t need a salad on my pizza (totally exaggerating, but you know me).

Despite all my “complaints,” I really would order from here again.  I can’t stress how much I loved how thin the thin crust is.  However, returning to the restaurant is a different matter altogether.  The flies constantly buzzing around our food was one source of vexation, but the second was the level of service.  Here, at Without Papers, I did not experience the same level of hospitality as I expected to be accorded at a restaurant.

Unfortunately, this place is not wheelchair accessible since it’s at the top of some fairly steep stairs.  Carmen had mentioned that she had ordered in from here several times, so for those who want to enjoy this from the comforts of their home, that’s an option available.

Based on my experience, I would rate this restaurant a 3.5/5.  The score is high because of the quality of its food, but also low because of the quality of its service.

Restaurant Interior

Restaurant Interior

Parma

Parma with Mushrooms

Margherita

Margherita

 

Advertisements

The Colour of Her Eyes

Her phone rang.  Caller unknown.

She didn’t typically pick up calls from people she didn’t know, but something compelled her to do so tonight.  She immediately regretted it.

“Hello.”

“Minnie, it’s me.  You busy?  Wanna grab a drink tonight?  I can swing by your place and pick you up if you want?”

“Tonight…?”

“Or any night.  Look, baby, I’m sorry.  I fucked up.  There, I said it. I. Fucked. Up.  I should’ve never let you go.  I miss you so much and I want you back, baby.”

Three months ago she would’ve given anything to hear those words.  But that was three months ago.  She learned a lot about her own self worth in that time, to understand what it meant to love someone, to miss them, but to recognize that they didn’t deserve to be in her life anymore.

“Minnie, you still there?”

“Uhh, yeah.  Sorry, you were saying?”

“Do you think you can give me a second chance?  I mean, we’re only human, we all make mistakes.  You’re not perfect, but neither am I.  I made a mistake.  I’ve fessed up.  So you gotta take back, babe, that’s how this works right?”

“I-I don’t know what to say…”

“Yes, say yes.”

“Before I do, can I ask you a question?”

“Of course.  Anything.”

“Tell me what colour my eyes are.”

“What?”

“What colour are my eyes?”

“If I answer this, I’ll get you back?”

“Depends.”

“On?”

“Whether you give me the right answer.”

“There’s a wrong answer?”

“What do you think?  Of course, there is.”

“Uh…mmm…bl..ree…brown?”

The colour of her eyes held the warmth of saccharine liquid gold on a frigid, winter’s eve.  Their lustre rivalled that of the finest obsidian.  And the way sparkled in the sunlight, like golden sapphires made them all the more beautiful.  But the one thing that set her apart from all others was the way her eyes lit up when she talked about her passions; they were brighter than fireworks on the fourth of July.

To call them brown was like saying the ocean was big.  It wasn’t wrong, but it wasn’t right either.  There were so many ways to describe her eyes that calling them brown was a huge injustice.  To the world, they were just ordinary, but to a lover, they were poetry.

Restaurant Review: Pampa

Location: 521 10 AVE SW Calgary
Website: http://pampasteakhouse.com/calgary/

This was my first time going to a Brazilian Steakhouse, and I have to say, I will definitely be coming around more often.  While it is amazing it is also very pricy, so I’m really glad that one of our cousins, Tanna, had the sense to purchase a groupon for the event.  While this place does have a salad bar (for all the sides you might want to go with your meat), Tanna has the right idea grabbing just the cheese bread (pão de queijo) and a smallish bowl of soup.  Since it was Sandra, Cynthia, Val, and my first time here, we got a little more from the salad bar than was probably recommended which we would all regret later.

For those who haven’t been to a Brazilian Steakhouse, it’s essentially servers walking around with giant skewers of meat to which you can have as much as you want.  They will stop once they see you flip your card from green (yes, please) to red (no, thank you).

We started off with drinks.  Sandra, Cynthia, and Tanna didn’t order any drinks, Val had the Brazilian Lemonade and I had the Brazilian Shirley Temple.  The Lemonade consisted of lime juice blended with condensed milk, topped with ice and the Shirley Temple used guaraná, (an Amazonian berry) orange juice, and grenadine.

On this evening they had their usual ten meat skewers:

Beef Top Sirloin
Beef Rumpsteak
Beef Garlic Steak
Chimichurri-Basted Beef Tri-Tip
Pampa Pork Sausage
Parmesan Pork Loin
Rosemary-marinated Pork Shoulder
Bacon-wrapped Chicken Thighs
Marinated Chicken Drumsticks
New Zealand Leg of Lamb

As well as four seasonal ones:

Coconut-Lime Shrimp
Slow-roasted Beef Ribs
Caramelized BBQ Pineapple
Marinated Chicken Hearts

I didn’t try the marinated chicken hearts because I’m not usually one for offals and I did try a little bit of the leg of lamb.  The gamey taste of the lamb was very mild, but it still wasn’t really for me.  Of the ones I did try, the bacon-wrapped chicken thighs, parmesan pork loin, Pampa pork sausage and chimichurri-based beef tri-tip were my least favourite.  The bacon was soggy and limp, the pork loin was dry, the sausage was nothing special and the chimichurri, which amazingly tender, was way over salted and the texture was more like a stewed beef (which is nice, but also not my favourite preparation of beef).

Some of the other beef dishes were also quite salty, but I had expected as much.  The deliciousness of the cut made up for the over salting.

I will say, that this place is not for the faint of heart.  There is a lot of food and it’s very easy to overeat and go into a food coma.  Especially since the groupon comes with dessert.  For dessert we got a passionfruit mousse, a chocolate mousse, a coconut flan, and a orange roulade.  The mousses were served on top of a pao-de-lo cake/sponge, which absorbed the compotes and made them soggy.  I felt as though there was a little too much liquid on the plate from the compotes and that the mousses themselves were amazing and would have been even more amazing if the sponge had not been drenched with sauce.  The coconut flan was the most ordinary dessert we had.  It’s flavour was very light and delicate, making it very easily overpowered by the tastes of the other, more decadent desserts.  The orange roulade was my least favourite.  I had expected an appetizing orange flavour that would aid in the digestion of my dinner (as Chinese often have orange peel in their desserts as a digestive), but that was not the case.  It was fairly dense and sweet and after one bite I essentially gave up on eating it.

As I said, I would definitely return here without question, but not alone and not without a groupon. I would rate this place 4.5/5.

pampa 5

PAMPA!

pampa4

Interior View 1

pampa 3

Interior View 2

pampa 2

Yes, please!

Brazilian Shirley Temple

Brazilian Shirley Temple

Brazilian Lemonade

Brazilian Lemonade

Meat 2

My plate with way too much food (and a piece of Chimichurri-Basted Beef Tri-Tip in the corner

chicken

Chicken Drumstick

Pampa 1

Beef Top Sirloin and Garlic Beef

pineapple

Pineapple and Sandra

Escape Room Review: Escape60

Location:1638 10th Avenue SW
Website: https://www.escape60.ca/

*NO SPOILERS*

I’ve never done a review on an escape room, but don’t worry.  If you’re intending on trying this room out, I will not spoil it for you.

We (as in Val and my cousins Sandra, Cynthia, and Tanna) came across this escape room after finishing a different escape room.  Originally, after doing the first escape room, we were left hungering for another adventure and stumbled across this one when googling “escape rooms near me.”  Unfortunately, we were one person short and couldn’t make a second escape room adventure happen that day.

Upon further exploration on Escape60’s website, we discovered that they had a Harry Potter themed room!  From that moment on, that became my point of fixation; I had to do this room!  Due to the popularity of the room, however, we were unable to book in a time until August (we had been intending to go since July, but there were no rooms available until now).

The Harry Potter room is their only premium room (they’re intending to come out with more, but it probably won’t be until later this year) at the moment, so it is slightly more expensive than regular escape rooms ($35 rather than $25).  But, of course, since the room is more expensive/premium, it is a little bit longer (75 minutes rather than the traditional 60 minutes).

Unlike traditional rooms, the Harry Potter room did not feature any of those classic number, letter, or directional locks.  These were much more unconventional, which was nice in the sense that it was really creative, but that also made for quite a startling experience.  There were times we completed the puzzle, not knowing what to expect or where to expect something from and screamed.  There was even a moment where I actually just bolted and had I not remembered  that the doorway was slightly lowered, I would’ve smoked my head on a wall.  As funny as that might’ve been, I luckily did not do that.

In the end we did manage to escape with five minutes to spare, which I would say was pretty good considering that this is one of their hardest rooms or one of the hardest rooms we’ve done (the rating on this room was extremely hard, most of the other places use stars to indicate difficulty and the hardest we did to date was a 3 star at Exit Calgary, which had an escape rate of like 25%.  We also did a 2 star at The Locked Room, which had an 18% escape rate and we got out of both of those).

We had opted in to get Butterbeers after we completed the room.  If we hadn’t gotten out, they would’ve been consolation Butterbeers, but since we did, they were celebratory Butterbeers.  This place offers two types: alcoholic and non-alcoholic.  Both of them are the same price, $9, so if you drink, obviously, the alcoholic choice is the better one (this place has a licence to serve alcohol, so you are allowed to purchase drinks and bring them into the room with you, as long as you’re careful not to spill anything anywhere).

In my opinion, this was not how I imagined Butterbeer at all and not in the best way, but since it’s from a fictional universe with no recipe book to accompany it, it’s pretty much left to anyone’s imagination.  Based on how Butterbeer was described in the Harry Potter books, I always imagined it to be something like a butterscotch concoction that was rich and creamy and I always imagined it to be a hot beverage that could be enjoyed in both summer and winter, but better suited for winter as a drink that would warm you up.  At Escape60 their Butterbeer is a root beer float topped with whipped cream, jelly beans, chocolate sprinkles, and three roasted marshmallows on a stick served in a Moscow Mule mug.  The marshmallows, having been roasted by a blowtorch, don’t have the same delicious flavour of ones roasted over a camp fire.

Even though this place is a little more out of the way than the other escape rooms we’ve been to, with the exception of The Locked Room escape rooms, I would definitely come back and would recommend this place to others.  It’s a small business and they’ve only been open for 7 months, but they have ambitious plans for the future (another Harry Potter room, a Star Wars room, and a Jurassic Park room).  They also host a Harry Potter paint night which I would love to attend some time. Overall, I’d give this place a 4/5.

Escape 7Escape 5Escape 6

Butterbeer

Butterbeer

Tag Cloud