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Posts tagged ‘fried pickles’

Restaurant Review: The Gateway

Location: 1301 16 Avenue NW (SAIT Campus Centre)
Website: https://saitsa.com/gateway/menu/

Unlike The Den, which I tried out in my final year of my university career, I didn’t get to try out The Gateway until after I graduated.

Alex and I decided that this would probably be the best/most convenient place for dinner as we would be proceeding to the Jubilee Auditorium to watch Rigoletto shortly after. It also happened to be one of the last days of Advanced Polling and seeing as I live pretty much in the middle of nowhere, voting on actual election day would prove to be a bit of a challenge.

It wasn’t crazy busy when we arrived, but it was fairly packed. Given that it was a Friday afternoon, that was to be expected. It was nice that there was a live band playing, but made it difficult to have a conversation, which again was to be expected.

What I liked about The Gateway over The Den was that there were large windows in the establishment, making it feel less enclosed and dungeon-like.

After a week of eating a lot of deep fried foods, I wanted to go a little lighter, but considering where we were, lighter isn’t really a thing. I decided to go with appies instead of mains for this dinner.

We ordered the fried pickles to share and I got the roasted poblano and artichoke dip and the bacon bomb trio. Alex ordered the saucy cow.

Our orders came out pretty quickly, considering how many people there were in the place, so I was pretty happy about that.

I started with the pickles. These are pretty standard, and as Alex said, you can’t go wrong with these. While these were good, these aren’t the best fried pickles I’ve ever had. I still have to say that Seanachie’s has the best bar food I’ve had to date. The next dish I tried was the roasted poblano and artichoke dip. It was pretty much what I expected, except for the toasted bread crumbs on top. My only wish is that the dip was a little hotter because then it would be more like a cheesy dip than a cheesy paste. Taste wise, it wasn’t bad. I liked that there were chunks of artichoke because if I ordered something that indicates that a certain ingredient in it, I like to be able to at least see it, if not also to taste it. Unfortunately, the poblano didn’t come through as much as I had hoped. I was in the mood for spicy and this dish didn’t quite deliver. The last appie I had was the bacon bomb trio. On paper it sounds really good: house ground bacon sliders with crispy bacon, root beer BBQ, cheddar, bacon mayo, and crispy fried onions on pretzel buns. When the sliders came, there weren’t any crispy fried onions or bacon as far as I could see. Instead, they were topped with lettuce and tomato. Honestly, if I could have had the crispy onions and bacon in addition to the lettuce and tomato, it would have made for the perfect balance. The veggies would’ve provided that much needed hit of freshness that the heavy slider would’ve been. Without the crispy bacon, the slider patty just tasted like pork. I haven’t quite decided if that’s a good or bad thing yet, it was just a very porky pork taste. The root beer BBQ isn’t something I’ve had before and it was a very unique flavour that I enjoyed.

Alex’s saucy cow, which is essentially a beef dip, was quite nice. The horseradish in the mayo didn’t quite come through in the bite I had, which was a little disappointing. In the past, I’ve also had beef dips buttered with garlic butter, which I have enjoyed immensely. While this beef dip was good, there were so many things that could have made it better. Another thing is that The Gateway’s “standard” fries are curly fries. Curly fries are 100% better than regular fries, in my opinion anyways. I think Alex really enjoyed them, as she prefers softer, pillowy fries rather than extra crispy like I do. They seemed a little bland and could’ve used a little bit of seasoning on them.

Overall, it was a good experience. As it’s on the SAIT Campus, the pricing is very affordable, which is a huge incentive for me to keep coming back. The food is pretty good, but having been to The Den so many years ago, I don’t think I can make a fair comparison to the food there. Each has its merits and given the opportunity, I would happily return here again. Based on this experience, I would give this a 3.5/5.

Saucy Cow (back), Fried Pickles (left of Saucy Cow), Bacon Bomb Trio (left side of image), Poblano and Artichoke Dip (front)
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Restaurant Review: Seanachie

Location: 5909 Signal Hill Centre SW
Website: http://calgarysbestpubs.com/seanachie/

I’d like to start off by saying that Seanachie is part of a chain called Calgary’s Best Pubs which includes Dixon’s (Millrise), Kilkenny (Brentwood), Limericks (on Macleod Trail), and Joyce (Mission), which means that each of these locations have the same specials and share the same menus.

Each day of the week has a different special and we chose to go on Friday, which meant Fish and Chips.  Besides getting the special, Alex and I opted to order the Salt & Pepper Calamari and Pickle Spears.

When I hear “salt and pepper,” I automatically think about the Chinese dish where it’s salt and (chili and bell) pepper, so I was very interested in seeing their take on it.  When the dish came out, it looked like a normal calamari dish, so I guessed that the salt and pepper had already been mixed in the batter, although, that’s what I would normally assume batter is seasoned with, so that wasn’t anything really new or innovative.  The calamari was served with a tzatziki sauce and breaded and fried banana peppers.  I always love red onions, lemon, and banana peppers with my calamari because it provides a strong taste to cut through the heavy, deep fried calamari.  As is often the case with deep fried seafood is that I wish that there was one more lemon wedge to squeeze over the calamari because I could barely detect the lemon.  The Pickle Spears was more of a last minute craving.  The cider dill dip that accompanied the deep/flash fried pickle spears has got to be one of my favourite dips I’ve had to date.  It has all the creaminess I love in the dill dip from State & Main, but the cider makes the dip thinner and a little bit more ranch like in its consistency, but gives the dip some much needed acidity.  However, it isn’t overly sour (like a punch in the mouth), which is perfect for me since I do like a little bit of acidity, but I’m not at the level of eating a lemon.

The fish and chips was a little disappointing.  For starters, it looked a little sad all alone on the skewer (the two piece fish and chips looked a little less sad, but then it would have been too much food and I wouldn’t have been able to finish the fish. I was already struggling and I didn’t even finish my fries, which were also disappointing).  Again, there wasn’t enough lemon so I resorted to dumping way too much malt vinegar on my fish.  The acidity was fine, but even with the copious amount of vinegar I added, the batter still felt thick and greasy and I ended up removing it and just picking the fish out.  Of the fries I did have, the crunchy ones (naturally) were my favourite.  The tartar sauce was really good, but after so much deep fried food, I had to lay off on putting too much on my fish.  I usually dip my fries into the tartar sauce, but the rich on rich on rich from appetizer to entree was just too much and I ended up just dipping the fries in ketchup and unfortunately the remainder of the tartar sauce went to waste.  The “creamy coleslaw” was also super sad and somewhat of a disaster.  It definitely wasn’t creamy, but it wasn’t like the acidic coleslaw either.  It was something in between and really weird to me.  Hands down, Olly Fresco has some of the best non-restaurant coleslaw I’ve had.  The best restaurant coleslaw still has to be Tony Roma.

Overall, the appetizers were average, what you’d expect for pub food.  I was really craving deep fried pickles, so those felt like they were exceptionally good.  The entree didn’t really measure up.  But despite all that, I would be willing to give this chain another go.  I definitely want to try out their steak sandwich and their shrimp po’boy.

Service is what you’d expect from a pub.  The wait staff are a little more hands off, which allows patrons to chat a little more.  So obviously, don’t come here expecting to be in and out super fast (except maybe lunch service?), but they’re not super slow either.  In other words, I think that we had a good amount of attention from our waitress.

Based on this experience, I’d give this place a 2.25/5.

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Seanachie Interior

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Back: Pickle Spears; Front: Salt & Pepper Calamari

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One Piece Fish and Chips

Restaurant Review: Buffalo Wild Wings

Location: 2620 32nd St NE Calgary, AB
Website: http://www.buffalowildwings.com/en-CA/

Tonight was a night of celebration. After an hour at the Extreme Airpark, coworker Sarah and I were starving to say the least. It didn’t help that it was freezing outside and all I had on were shorts and a tank top. For her, the fried pickles and wings were a must. For me it was the mozzarella sticks and wings. So we decided to get fried pickles and mozza sticks as starters and get the double. Before I came here I didn’t understand what that meant. For those who still have no idea, it means that you get to pick two flavours. Regardless if you choose single, double, or triple, you get a pound of wings. Now you may think that that’s not a lot and really it isn’t if you have a large group, but when it’s just two people with two appies already, it’s a lot.

I normally love mozza sticks for their stringiness, but these ones were a little colder than I was used and not as stringy (it snapped very easily). The fried pickles on the other hand were  the complete opposite; they were very hot. The chipotle sauce is smokier than most other places I’ve had it at.

The contrast between the Bourbon and Asian wings were a good combination. The first few Asian wings weren’t that spicy, but the more I had the spicier it got. The Bourbon ones weren’t spicy per se, but there was definitely a kick to it. The only thing I really wanted more of were carrots. I absolutely love carrots and considering how much ranch dip they gave us, it would have been nice to have more veggies to dip into it (I don’t like dipping my chicken wings into the sauce. I’ve heard some people do, but why would you do that if you already have a delicious sauce on it?).

Overall, I’d say this place has some really good bar/pub food. Service wasn’t bad either. The servers were very friendly and we didn’t have to wait too long for food. Yes it was way salty, but it’s meant to paired with alcohol so it was understandable. I would come back again with friends to enjoy a casual night out and rate it a 3.75/5.

Mozzarella Sticks and Fried Pickles

Mozzarella Sticks and Fried Pickles

Asian Zing (front) and Bourbon Honey Mustard (back)

Asian Zing (front) and Bourbon Honey Mustard (back)

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