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Posts tagged ‘Burgers’

Pub Review: Pig & Duke

Location: 503 4 Avenue SW

I’m not exactly sure what meal you would call this, but dinner was what it was supposed to be.  Breakfast didn’t happen, lunch was at 3:00 p.m., so it seems logical that dinner would get pushed back…until 10:00 p.m.?

Working in downtown and commuting to Alex’s place via +15s meant that I passed by this pub multiple times.  Alex even mentioned going there once or twice, so when given the opportunity to try it out, I jumped at the chance.  After all, I wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to write a review on food.

Like most pubs, we seated ourselves.  The waitress came by in a moderately timely manner.  Even though I had been looking at the menu in the hours before, I still had no idea what I wanted.  The Classic Burger was on special that night, but for the price it was offered at, we had to order it as is, which was the burger with regular fries.  Since Alex and I both opted for yam and garlic fries, respectively, we had to pay regular price.

We started with the Korean BBQ Steak Bites, which funnily enough, though it was an appetizer, came out after/at the same time as our mains.  Like Bank & Baron, the steak bites was served in a skillet, but unlike Bank & Baron, Pig & Duke served it with a blue cheese dip and a side of garlic bread.  Honestly, I’m finding that a lot of appetizers now can be ordered as mains, considering their size and all.  Alex and I were both a little apprehensive about the blue cheese dip, as neither of us are a fan of the pungent flavor of it.  However, upon trying it, it really wasn’t all that strong.  In fact, it was virtually undetectable.  In comparison, Bank & Baron’s steak bites are far superior in flavour and consistency.  What I mean by consistency is that each of the chunks of beef at Bank & Baron were more uniform, whereas here, there could be a piece that required a fork and knife and others that were so small  that the meat completely dried out.

The Classic Burger is exactly what you’d expect from a burger by that name: a 6oz patty topped with cheddar, lettuce, tomato, and onion, topped with a pickle spear and skewered by a knife.  As indicated on their menu, their patties are made up of a blend of beef and pork, but I couldn’t tell the difference between this and a regular patty; the consistency of the meat was about the same as a regular beef patty.  Unlike yam fries elsewhere, these ones were criss-cut, which allows the fry to better maintain its integrity.  As a result, these fries seem “meatier” than their sad, limp, counterparts.  If you’ve been following my reviews for a while, you’ll know that I love garlic and when I ordered these fries, I expected much more garlic flavour than I got.  I was thinking it’d be something closer to what Earls had offered at their restaurant, minus the semi-raw garlic collected at the bottom.  I, honestly, don’t have a problem with the Earls’ fries and the amount of garlic it has, but when  I’m eating them and expected to go back to work afterwards and talk to people…well, maybe not.  The fries were seasoned with some kind of spice blend, not unlike the herb and garlic fries at McDonald’s.  As such, the top few fries, though they appeared to be seasoned, tasted like normal fries.  It wasn’t until I got to the bottom half of  the basket that I started getting the garlic flavour coming through.  As much as I like ketchup, mayo on fries is a totally different experience.  While it may seem kinda gross to be dipping fries into may, aioli is essentially the same thing; giving it a different name doesn’t make it different all of a sudden.  Of course, I don’t recommend eating fries with mayo all the time because that is a lot of fat on fat, but for me, it feels like a bit of a treat.

Overall, I had a pretty good experience here.  Service was relatively prompt, and I had no actual complaints about the food.  I would definitely come back to try some of the other things on the menu.  As Alex said, there’s nothing she wouldn’t recommend on the menu, which is a good sign.  Based on this experience, I’d give this place a 3.75/5.

Back: Classic Burger with Yam Fries
Middle: Korean BBQ Steak Bites
Front: Classic Burger with Garlic Fries

Restaurant Review: NOtaBLE

Location: 4611 Bowness Rd NW

For the longest time I’ve wanted to come here. And finally, on Julia’s birthday we got the chance. Situated in Bowness, this gem is a stark contrast to the community around it. While the rest of the community looks rather weathered, as many of the older communities are, this restaurant is a modern delight. At the entrance we were greeted by a friendly hostess. Though we had made reservations, there had been some kind of mix up, resulting in a slight delay, but we didn’t mind. Watching the chefs work in the open kitchen was mesmerizing. Once that was sorted, we were seated near the back of the dining room. I sat facing a mirror (mirrors always are great at creating an illusion that the place is bigger than it really is) and to my left a giant window looking out onto the street to remind me exactly where I was.

The waitress was prompt in getting our drink orders in, I had a jasmine green tea and Julia had the Cherry Cola (The Grizzly Paw Brewing Company’s soda’s are popping up everywhere. I had this same one at Charcut when I went, they’re fantastic, so I understand why so many restaurants are taking them on). For entrees we both decided on burgers, she had the Grilled BC Albacore Tuna Burger and I had the NOtaBLE burger, both with fries. The Tuna Burger was a beautifully seared patty of tuna served on a sesame bun, topped with  togarashi mayo, pickles, and local butter leaf. To be honest, the pickles were more like slightly pickled cucumbers. I liked that because it provided a fresh contrast to the fish, lifting it. As delicious as it was, I don’t think I would have been able to eat the entire thing on my own. The NOtaBLE burger was essentially a meatloaf burger which consisted of a mix of naturally raised pork & beef served with smoked Cheddar, a slice of beefsteak tomato, lettuce, roasted onion, and mayo atop an Asiago cheese bun. The mixture of pork and beef made the patty more moist and was very meatloaf-y. The roast onion provided the right amount acidity to make the dish pop. It may not be the best burger I’ve had ever, but it’s up there.

Though we were both pretty full, we decide a birthday meal wouldn’t be complete without dessert. Julia settled on a Stilton cheesecake (yes, it’s blue cheese) and I had the Dark chocolate milk pie. The cheesecake had been bruleed, adding another depth of texture to it. The rhubarb compote provided a tart contrast to the creaminess inherent in cheesecakes, making them a nice pairing. The blue cheese taste was not overbearing, it was actually almost unnoticable. Had I not known that Stilton was blue cheese, I would have never guessed it was in there. Though I don’t really like how strong blue cheese is, the marbling colour of blue and white are beautiful, and I would have loved to see that imitated in the cheesecake itself. My pie had oatmeal cookie crust served with a mandarin marmalade and vanilla gelato. In all honestly, I ordered this for the gelato. In the last little while, I’ve had an obsession with vanilla gelato, but it’s so good so who can blame me right? The pie was more like a dark chocolate ganache tart I had attempted a while back, incredibly rich and I could have done with a smaller portion size (and if the portion size was reduced, the price would have to be adjusted accordingly), but it was still delicious. While orange and chocolate are a classic pairing, the orange failed to measure up to its potential. For me, it just fell flat, not giving me the brightness orange usually promises.

Overall, great atmosphere, great service, and great food. Though the menu is not extensive, I would most definitely come back here again. This place would be great for a cozy date night. 4.25/5.

Open Kitchen Notable

Open Kitchen

Notable interior

NOtaBLE interior

Burgers Notable

Back: NOtaBLE Burger Front: Albacore Tuna Burger

Dessert Notable

Top: Dark Chocolate and Milk Pie with Mandarin Marmalade and Vanilla Gelato Bottom: Stilton Cheesecake with Rhubarb Compote

Restaurant Review: Montana’s Cookhouse

Location: 11654 Sarcee Trail NW

Tonight, in celebration of my father and sister’s birthdays, we went out for dinner. Not really sure if this was actually their birthday dinner, but we can call it that. Like Boston Pizza, this is another restaurant that our family frequents. It is relatively cheap and offers a wide selection of items. I don’t know how we got into the habit, but every meal we have at a Western restaurant, we now always start with an appetizer. Maybe that was my fault?

Usually we get a starter platter which is like a combination of the cookhouse platter and the bbq starters platter, which consists of deep fried pickles, loaded baked potato skins, ribs, and four cheese spinach dip or something like that. There’s usually so much food I can’t really remember what’s there. And also the menu changes so I can’t always refer back to it. We’ve also ordered the calamari from here, but it’s really not that memorable, so I don’t remember if it was any good. Today’s appetizer was the Kapow! Shrimp. We had this a long time ago and I really like it, but it’s funny how memories are hardly accurate. Kapow! Shrimp are Jalapeno popcorn shrimp deep fried and tossed in Kapow! sauce served on a bed of shredded iceberg lettuce in a skillet. The breading to shrimp ratio was way off. In other words, I cut the breaded shrimp in half and couldn’t find the shrimp. The batter was rather heavy and in my opinion over fried. It was so crunchy that at one point I thought I was going to break a tooth. The Kapow! sauce which is what gives the dish it’s name is a combination of creamy garlic and tangy Thai chili mixed garnished with fresh chopped cilantro and a splash of lemon/lime juice. The sauce itself was not evenly distributed on the shrimp leaving some very bland and others over coated. The chili was very slight and the jalapeno negligible; the sauce tasted like a cheap salad dressing and it certainly wasn’t worth the $12 it was priced at.

For our mains, I had the chicken tacos, my sister had the beef brisket sandwich, my mom had the fish and chips, and my dad had the sirloin. I have an affinity for tacos, so along with my obsession to try every restaurant’s take on calamari, I also want to try every restaurant’s take on the taco. Some of the best tacos I’ve had are from Joey’s Seafood. Now usually ordering tacos is not the best decision since portion sizes are small and they can be quite pricey. However, tonight I thought I’d just give it a chance. I was not disappointed.  I thought that two soft shell tacos would never fill me up. I have never been more wrong in my life. When they said “jam packed” I thought, “Yeah right,” but they were pretty packed. It had all the same things tacos come with: lettuce, cheese, red onions, diced tomatoes, fresh cilantro, and lime juice. So what did they bring to the table that made these tacos different? There were a couple pieces of tortilla chips, but that wasn’t what made it “special.” No, it was their Kapow! sauce of course! Unlike in the appetizer, their addition to the taco made them all the more flavourful. Though the taste of the cilantro and lime didn’t come through in the tacos either, I hardly noticed. The chicken, the star of the dish, really was the star. Though a bit dry, I enjoyed that slight charred taste that was light and gave the feeling of the chicken coming fresh off the BBQ. As I side, I ordered fries and in the years of coming here, I can say that the fries are improving. They are a bit on the salty side, but at least they are crunchy now. My sister had ordered the Brisket Burger the last time we were here and that was ridiculously huge, so this time we decided to downsize and go with the beef brisket sandwich. The Brisket Burger was essentially a burger topped with a brisket. In other words, a lot of meat. The Brisket sandwich is exactly the same, minus the beef patty, but the menu gives the option of having half a pound or one pound of brisket for people who have a larger or smaller appetites. It was very tender as advertised, but not really my cup of tea (or hunk of meat? I don’t think there’s an appropriate expression for this :/). She chose to have the house salad as a side and they forgot to bring or add balsamic vinegar into the salad…My mom had the fish and chips, something I was originally considering ordering, but decided against it and I’m glad because the first thing I tasted when I put a piece of fish in my mouth was a puddle of oil pooling in my mouth. It goes without saying, that it was the most disgusting and unpleasant thing ever. The tartar sauce was more creamy than tangy, which didn’t help cut down on the greasiness of the fish and fries and it only came with one lemon wedge. This is the time I wish I had had a bottle of malt vinegar to douse the fish in. Finally, my dad had the steak. I could have told you that ordering a steak from anywhere that wasn’t a steakhouse was going to be a big mistake and I am right. I’ve had steak from this place before and the first thing that comes to mind is dry. Despite what the menu says, the sirloins are not grilled to perfection; they are far from it. Even the sides taste better than the meat. My dad chose the kicked up corn and garlic mash as sides. The kicked up corn isn’t bad. I personally like it because it’s really different from any other place I’ve been that offers corn as a side. It has bell peppers (red and green) and some kind of light seasoning that gives it a nice salty-sweet taste. The garlic mash…not so garlicky and not really that good. There was a strange taste to it, but at least it was smooth with the random potato skin to add texture.

My recommendation when visiting Montana’s is to go for the sandwiches or burgers. If your appetite is anything like mine, you’ll find they are always so large that you end up packing up half of it away. I always like having a bit to bring home as a treat for lunch the next day or something to nibble at as a midnight snack. If you’re looking for a relatively cheap and casual place to have a filling lunch or dinner with friends, this is the place to go. I would rate it a 3.75/5 because it’s not a high class restaurant I’d prefer to have dinner with after a long day to relax and enjoy, but this is definitely a family friendly place. Maybe one day, when I have kids of my own, I will be able to say that this is the restaurant I’d want to go to with my kids after a long day.


KAPOW! Shrimp

Chicken Taco

Chicken Taco

Beef Brisket Sandwich

Beef Brisket Sandwich

Fish and Chips

Fish and Chips

Sirloin Steak with crispy onions, mashed potatoes and kicked up corn

Sirloin Steak with crispy onions, mashed potatoes and kicked up corn

Restaurant Review: Chili’s

Location: 1632 14 Ave NW

Chili’s is a fun restaurant to go to with friends or family. Most of the food is great, but it’s not a restaurant that you’d want to keep going to again and again. It’s more like a restaurant you’d go to once a year. I’ve been there with my family many times and they’re food isn’t too pricy, especially the 2 for $25 or 2 for $30 deals.

Tonight I went with my cousin and sister who I consider more as friends than family. As usual we started with an appetizer: the triple play. The three appetizers we chose were: the boneless buffalo wings, the jalapeno poppers, and the crispy chicken crispers. Despite it’s odd name, the crispy chicken crispers was by far my favourite of the trio with it’s honey mustard dipping sauce. Unlike most honey mustard dipping sauces, this one was heavier on the honey and only a hint of the mustard was detectable, but enough so that you knew it was there. The chicken was well breaded (by that I mean that the breading was not heavy and oil, but crisp as the name entailed) and very moist on the inside. As per usual, the buffalo wings (aka the hot sauce on them) was sour enough to choke you up upon inhalation. It’s typical paring with a blue cheese/gorgonzola ranch dip made it an ordinary dish. The jalapeno poppers were also quite average, although they were very crunchy and the inside gooey as it should be, I could taste very little of the spicy of the diced jalapenos inside. We also decided on a second appetizer, a quesadilla explosion salad. I must say, this is one of the better salads I’ve had. I’m not usually one to order salads unless it’s a side to my main course. Though it is not even in the same league as the Asian Steak Salad at Milestones, but it has its strong points. We decided to go with steak since the triple play already had chicken we didn’t want to have another chicken dish. It was a good choice. The tartness of the balsamic vinegar really stimulated our appetites and the balance was so perfect that there was no one element overpowering another. My only complaint about the dish was that I got a charred piece of steak and I’m talking completely blackened and tasted awful, but that was really minor.

For our mains, I ordered the Spicy Grilled Shrimp Tacos, my sister had the Sweet and Smokey Burger and my cousin had the Bacon Ranch Chicken Quesadilla. In the past I’ve had horrible experiences with shrimp tacos. Most of the time they are dreadfully underseasoned so I was wary of trying a shrimp taco, but as there was already chicken in the appetizer I didn’t want to get chicken tacos. Plus I get more than enough chicken at home…My main was three tortillas topped with zesty coleslaw, pico de gallo, sautéed garlic chili shrimp & fresh sliced avocado. Served with chipotle rice and beans. It also came with a spicy sauce on the side. It was the most amazing sauce I’ve ever tasted. I want that sauce on everything. They were great on the tacos, but even better on the fries. There was an actual kick to it. It actually made my throat burn, but in a good way. The rice was dry and hard to swallow while the beans were wet and tasted too salty and strange to me. For me the Sweet and Smokey Burger was nothing special. It advertised that there was a mango infused BBQ sauce, but the mango taste didn’t really come through, nor was there any BBQ sauce on the side. I think they mistakenly gave us a chipotle sauce instead. The Bacon Ranch Chicken Quesadilla wasn’t anything special either. I mean I’ve never had bacon in a quesadilla, but they’re all pretty flat and don’t have much filling.

Of course at this point everyone is stuffed, but nope, gotta get dessert. The waitress recommended we get the Skillet Toffee Fudge Brownie and my sister really wanted it so we ended up getting it. It was very sweet…good for satisfying my craving for chocolate and sweets, but not something could eat by myself.

As the menu has changed slightly from the last time I was there, I can’t remember which burger I had, but it was huge. I could not finish the entire thing. Even half of it killed me.

Overall the prices are quite reasonable and the servers are super friendly. The server we had tonight was super awesome and it’s too bad the receipt she gave us doesn’t have the survey code cause I would have praised her for her excellent service. Ah well, can’t have everything you want. As this is not a restaurant I would return to on a regular basis I would rate it a 3.5/5.

Triple Play: Jalapeno Poppers, Boneless Buffalo Chicken Wings and Crispy Chicken Crispers

Triple Play: Jalapeno Poppers, Boneless Buffalo Chicken Wings and Crispy Chicken Crispers

Quesadilla Explosion Salad

Quesadilla Explosion Salad

Sweet and Smokey Burger

Sweet and Smokey Burger

Spicy Grilled Shrimp Tacos

Spicy Grilled Shrimp Tacos

Bacon Ranch Chicken Quesadilla

Bacon Ranch Chicken Quesadilla

Skillet Toffee Fudge Brownie

Skillet Toffee Fudge Brownie

Restaurant Review: Boston Pizza

Location: 232 – 6455 Macleod Trail SW, Calgary, AB T2H 0K8

Boston Pizza has been one of the staple restaurants I find myself returning to again and again. Like Milestones, the food and service has been consistently good. Unlike Milestones, it has more of family friendly atmosphere. Milestones would be a restaurant I’d recommend for a girl’s night out or dinner with friends, while Boston Pizza could be for the same purpose, I find it better as a place to go with family or very close friends. Having said that, i’m about to contradict myself by saying that the Chinook location is a little different. Perhaps due to its location in a mall, its lighting is a little darker providing a less family friendly environment and making it seem a little more “grown up.”

Over the past few years I’ve had almost everything off their menu with the exception of soups. When I used to go in junior high, one of my biggest complaints was the sodium content in the food. That hasn’t changed and is till one of my biggest complaints. I find the sodium problem to be more prominent in their sandwiches and burgers, but some of their pastas on occasion are also too salty.

Today I went with my sister and surprised myself and the waitress with how much I could really eat. We ordered two appetizers: calamari and a spinach and artichoke dip and two entrees: a Jalapeno and Crispy Onion Prime Rib Burger and a Double Bacon BBQ Burger. Past dishes we have ordered are (or at least what I think we have ordered): BP’s Pizza Spring Rolls, the Boston Brute, the BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich, Jambalaya Fettuccine, Seafood Fettuccine, Pesto Chicken Penne, Bacon Wrapped Steak Skewers, and Chicken Parmesan.

Unlike most calamari dishes, the one was served with breaded and fried banana peppers and a chili lime mayo. It was nice for once not to have it served with tzatziki sauce. The banana peppers provided a bit of heat, which I always love. However, the chili lime mayo was pretty flavourless. I couldn’t taste any chili or lime in it. Though the breading on the fried banana peppers was light and delicious, the same could not be said about the actual calamari. The breading was constantly falling off and the calamari was so tough that I couldn’t get my fork through it and kept losing it in the dip. Thank goodness for the two wedges of lemon that were included. Without those I think the oiliness of the calamari would have been too much for me. The second appetizer, a spinach and artichoke dip was different from most dips I’ve had. First, it was served with pizza bread rather than pita, but they both had about the same consistency. This dip was topped with BP’s own bruschetta mix. As my sister pointed out, it wasn’t really a bruschetta, more of canned or stewed tomatoes that had been seasoned and added as a garnish on top of the dip. Regardless of that, I like it on top, especially with the pizza mozzarella because seriously, pizza mozzarella is the best cheese out there when it comes to melting because it is so stringy!

I’ve been craving a burger for a week and oftentimes when i go out to a restaurant, my go to protein has always been chicken. Today I refused to do that and ordered the jalapeno and crispy onion prime rib burger. The patty was thick and juicy and the pickle, red onions and pickled jalapenos cut through the richness of the burger. However, the “crispy onions” were not crispy at all. In fact, I wasn’t even sure if there were onions there. It felt and tasted like a mushed up patty of breading on top of the patty. As a side I had their caesar salad. I was first off disappointed by the portion size. It was probably the size of my fist…which isn’t very big. And secondly, the salad was so over dressed that I could feel myself gaining at least five pounds just eating it. The salad wasn’t about the salad; it was about the dressing. Of the Double Bacon BBQ Burger, I had one bite. I’m not a huge fan of bacon, so I don’t think I would have ever been able to finish the burger. It wasn’t bad at all. What I could discern from one bite was that it was very balanced. The smoked flavour of the bacon and BBQ sauce didn’t over power the burger. The yam fries that the Bacon BBQ Burger was served with was like many other restaurants, though a bit lanky and limp looking.

Normally, I wouldn’t order pasta from Boston Pizza except for on Pasta Tuesdays. My dad usually brings home a box, so I’ve tried a lot of pastas without ever having gone on Tuesdays. My favourite are the pennes because they are easier to eat than the fettuccines. I’m not saying that the pennes are any better than the fettuccines, but when you’re getting sauce all over your face, it’s going to affect how you perceive the “taste” of the dish. Convenience for me is number one. I would never order long noodle style pastas if I ever had to eat out with my boss or date because there will be sauce every where and if I have a tomato sauce…well dinner might just turn out looking like a crime scene. The most cost effect pasta I can think of (maybe because my dad has said it like three dozen times) is the seafood fettuccine because of the amount of seafood that is put into the pasta. The jambalaya is a close second. I enjoy this one much more because I love spicy and putting in slices of spicy Italian sausage in there is the best thing ever! The only concern with this one is the amount of oil that is left in a puddle at the bottom of the dish once you’re done.

Normally I like pulled pork sandwiches, the one at Montana’s is a great example of a delicious pulled pork sandwiches (wait…I haven’t done a review for Montana’s…that’s coming or will be coming eventually). However, what BP does to them, I do not like. Balsamic vinegar reductions are usually delicious because they bring out the inherent sweetness of the vinegar itself…BP decides it doesn’t want to do that. So I got nicely smoked pulled pork doused in “raw” vinegar. That is the grossest taste I have ever had the misfortune of putting in my mouth. It isn’t as sour as white vinegar, but it just doesn’t sit will with the pulled pork.

The only other times I had an appetizer was when I went with my cousin for lunch and with my mom and sister for dinner. Whe I went with my cousin, we had the bacon wrapped steak. The bacon was cooked so crispily that I had a hard time trying to bite through it and get it in the same mouthful as the steak. Not only that, it was next to impossible to get the steak off the skewer and I swore that I almost sent one flying across the restaurant and I had no idea that I had that kind of strength in me. The second appetizer, the pizza spring rolls, I ordered in hopes of fulfilling my craving for Beer Revolution’s pizza spring rolls. I was sorely disappointed. BP’s pizza spring rolls are no comparison to Beer Revolution’s. Beer Revolution uses the spring roll wraps that we are used to seeing on Vietnamese Spring Rolls making them crisp, light and delicious. BP used the old style Chinese egg roll wraps making them heavy and incredibly oily. I will not be eating those ever again.

My experience with the service has mostly been good. However, this is the only restaurant in which I’ve ever had anything spilled on me. The only unfortunate incidents I have had the misfortune of experiencing is getting a drink spilled on me or watching the waitress spill the drink on someone else at my table and finding a large piece of plastic wrap on my chicken parmesan. The first one is understandable because the serving tray is honest not the best thing to be carrying drinks on, especially once you start removing drinks because the balance has been thrown off and if you don’t work fast, well…you get a nice cold alcoholic slush shrewn across your lap or a glass of ice cold water sitting on your lap. The waitress was nice enough to take the drink off our bill for her mistake and offered to move us to another, less wet table. I didn’t think it was too big of a deal and definitely felt that we didn’t have to be moved to another table. And the incident with the plastic wrap? Well I didn’t care so much about finding plastic wrap in my food. I never have been one to get fussy over finding things in my food…well ok, if I found a bug in it, I would freak out, so thank goodness I’ve never had to deal with that. Besides if I did that would be a clear indicator of the condition of the kitchen: not clean enough to been health and safety standards.

Despite a couple mishaps, Boston Pizza is a place I would return to time and time again especially with my family. It is a place I can go to kick back and relax with those who are closest to me. The prices aren’t ridiculous and is one of the more affordable restaurants. However, if compared to Milestones, I would prefer Milestones over Boston Pizza solely because of the atmosphere. In part, I don’t think the family friendly environment will be one that will be applicable to me any time soon, not unless I find a boyfriend in the next few weeks, get engaged and married in the next few months and have a child in the next year. Because of some of the above mentioned issues I’ve had with the restaurant, I would rate this place a 4/5.


Background: Spinach and Artichoke Dip Foreground: Calamari


Background: Double Bacon BBQ Burger with Yam Fries Foreground: Jalapeno and Crispy Onion Prime Rib Burger and Caesar Salad

Restaurant Review: Milestones

Locations: 3625 Shaganappi Trail NW, Calgary, Alberta, T3A OE2 (Market Mall)
107 8th Avenue SE, Calgary, Alberta, T2G 0K4 (Stephen Avenue)


This in one of the restaurants that I keep coming back to. The first time I tried this place with my family near Christmas since my dad got a gift card. It may have been disappointing for him, but I loved it. However, I didn’t have the chance to return to this place much while I was in high school. When I hit university, the first few years were occupied with my studies, so I didn’t get a chance either. It wasn’t until third and fourth year that I went rather frequently.

The first Milestones location I went to while I was in university was the Stephen Avenue one. Sitting on the patio along Stephen Avenue at lunch time was beautiful. I loved the sounds of the clock chiming noon. The atmosphere of Stephen Avenue was one I will never forget. That day I had a Southern Fried Chicken Sandwich with Yam Fries and my friend had The Montreal Stack with the roasted garlic Caesar salad. I typically like chicken and cuisine from the South, probably because I loved deep fried things. Well, who doesn’t. Of course there are times of deep fried overload, but it’s definitely satisfying. Keeping this in mind, I returned in May with my mom for Mother’s Day. I decided to get appetizers and from this day forward, every time I go to Milestones, I get appetizers. On Mother’s Day we had an Appetizer Share Platter that had calamari, phyllo shrimp and crispy Asian chicken bites, a California spring salad with goat’s cheese, and Kobe beef sliders. As I’ve said in a previous review, I’m not a huge fan of wasabi and just avoided dipping my sliders into the soy sauce, sesame, and wasabi dip that was provided. I’ve never had Kobe beef before and it was delicious because of it’s melt in your mouth quality. The dip for the calamari, which I’ve forgotten now, was strange tasting and I didn’t like it and I don’t like cooked cucumbers that were in the Asian bites, but the Asian bites themselves were pretty good. I don’t remember much of the California spring salad except that it had the right amount of dressing (aka not drowning in it) and it hit all the flavours advertised (so sweet, savoury and a bit tangy without any overpowering another).

After Mother’s Day, I started taking my sister every time we went to the mall. Milestones became the place I went to to de-stress and unwind after a particularly stressful academic event, usually a big paper or exam. Now, I normally don’t drink because I don’t have a high tolerance for it and I don’t like the taste, plus now that I’ve learned that as an Asian who doesn’t have the enzymes to break down alcohol, I’m at a higher risk for esophageal cancer, I’m just not gonna drink at all. Anyways, the first time I went with my sister, we had a peach bellini. It was so good! I mean, if you put that much sugar into a drink, I’m going to drink it. I think I got about 3 sips in and was drunk, so my sister finished that off. In terms of food we had the ahi tuna tacos, a roasted garlic Caesar salad and a Californian burger. The ahi tuna taco was one of the biggest disappointments. It had a crust of spices around the slices of tuna, but nothing was seasoned. A pinch of salt would have been sufficient, but there wasn’t even that. The burger was average, like the kinds of burgers you could find almost anywhere. But the roasted garlic Caesar was phenomenal. Another weakness of mine is garlic and Caesar. I didn’t find the garlic too overpowering. There was just enough to give it flavour. The only complaint was that it was a bit on the salty side, I guess that was to compensate for under-seasoning the tuna.

Other dishes I’ve sampled from Milestones are: the appetizer share platter with fire grilled Indonesian chicken wings, Canadian brie and Pesto flatbread, hot spinach and artichoke dip, and crispy Asian chicken bites, spicy Thai basil noodles, Italian sausage ravioli, spicy Thai chicken roll up, portobello mushroom chicken, prime rib beef dip, and a Milestones Garden Burger. This Appetizer Share Platter was so big that we had a hard time finishing it in addition to our meal. I wasn’t a huge fan of the Indonesian chicken wings. They were rubbed with some kind of dry spice that left a unappetizing aftertaste in my mouth. The hot spinach and artichoke dip was delicious but became overwhelming after a while because of its richness. If you order this, I highly suggest that you go with more than two people and share it. The spicy Thai basil noodles were similar to ones that my dad made at home so I felt like it was a very comforting dish. I had the Italian sausage ravioli for dinner at a friend’s birthday dinner. It was a very pretty plate. Originally when I looked at it, I thought that the portion size was so small and that I would still be starving after. I was wrong. I was so full that I had to share a dessert with someone after, the dessert shots. These had mini versions of five different desserts stuffed into a shot glass: key lime pie, caramel gingered apple crisp, break up tub, ganache torte, and white chocolate cheesecake. My favourite was the break up tub which was cookie dough and cookie chunks in ice cream. The spicy Thai chicken roll up was another disappointment. I should have expected it though, I mean to order jasmine rice wrapped up in a tortilla is obviously a mistake. The rice is unseasoned (again obviously) and the filling of spicy smoked chicken breast with peanut sauce and toasted sesame cucumber mayo wasn’t enough to flavour the rice. Carbs on carbs is never really tasty if both are pretty bland options. The portobello mushroom chicken wasn’t bad, except that the pasta was overcooked and over-seasoned. Pasta should be done al dente, not soft. It was a large portion and the saltiness made it hard to finish. The prime rib dip was good even though it had Gorgonzola butter, it was not overpowering which is how I think blue cheese should be served. I understand that dishes should showcase the natural flavours of a product, but not for something as strong as blue cheese, at least not for me. Like all MIlestones burgers, the Garden one wasn’t super special, but still very good. All the burgers here satisfy a certain kind of burger craving I have.

Today marks the first time we have ordered a three course meal for lunch: two appetizers, two entrees,  and two desserts. For appetizers we had the calamari and Mediterranean bruschetta. As I’ve said before, I love calamari and today I was craving it. Lucky for me, so was my sister. I’ve never tried their bruschetta, what better day to try it than today? And it was one of the best decisions I’ve made. Bruschetta is typically made of tomatoes, onions, garlic, olive oil, and basil, but Milestones adds feta and a balsamic vinegar reduction which takes it to the next level. It is a bit of a mess, but completely worth it. I wouldn’t mind food all over my face if I was eating this all the time. Also, it isn’t served on a baguette like it traditionally is, instead it’s on a stone baked flatbread making it all the more delicious. The entrees consisted of the Thai red curry chicken bowl and Asian steak citrus salad. This is the first time in a Western restaurant that I’ve had something labelled as spicy and come out as actually being spicy. Okay, well technically nowhere does it say that it is spicy, but it’s assumed that curry is a little bit spicy. My only problem with this one is that there was an overload of bok choi and red bell peppers. Yes, there was a fair amount of chicken, but the ratio of rice to veggies was grossly disproportionate. Also, bok choi in a Thai dish? Really? That makes me think more of Chinese, but anyways. This is the second time that we’ve ordered the Asian steak citrus salad. The first time we found it so delicious it was tempting for me not eat the entire thing and not share it. The steak was cooked to the perfect temperature the first time we ordered it, unfortunately this time it turned out closer to medium well than medium rare. Other than that it was perfect. Oh wait, no, this time they went overboard with the red bell peppers, must just be a red peppery day. Then for dessert we had the breakup tub and The Cookie. I decided on the break up tub based on having had it in the shots. However the entire tub was disappointing. I found only 2 pieces of cookie dough in the entire tub of ice cream, the cookie bits were more like giant chunks of dried out brownie. But the thing that didn’t make sense to me was that they topped a tub of ice cream with a scoop of ice cream and drizzled caramel on top of it. The Cookie was much better. It was more like a flat brownie, but absolutely delicious. I was very happy with that. After having eaten so much, both of us entered a food coma and had to move very slowly lest we upset our stomachs. But we were both very happy.

Overall my experience at this restaurant has been very good. The servers are excellent and extremely helpful. Wait times aren’t too bad, but maybe that’s because we choose to go around 1:30 instead of exactly at noon. The food is always exceptional, with the exception of a couple of hiccups which happen once in a while. I would rate this restaurant 4.5/5.


Left: Calamari with tartar and chipotle aiolis
Right: Mediterranean Bruschetta


Ahi Tuna Tacos


Peach Bellini


Appetizer Share Platter: phyllo shrimp, calamari and crispy Asian chicken bites
Background: California Spring Salad
Foreground: Kobe Beef Sliders


Thai Red Curry Chicken Bowl


Background: Montreal Stack with Roasted Garlic Caesar Salad
Foreground: Southern Fried Chicken Burger with Yam Fries


Asian Steak Citrus Salad


California Burger
Top Corner: ahi tuna taco
Bottom corner: roasted garlic Caesar salad


The Cookie


Breakup Tub


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