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Posts tagged ‘Milestones’

Restaurant Review: Boston Pizza

Location: 232 – 6455 Macleod Trail SW, Calgary, AB T2H 0K8
Website:https://bostonpizza.com/en

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.

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Background: Spinach and Artichoke Dip Foreground: Calamari

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

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Restaurant Review: Milestones

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

Website: http://www.milestonesrestaurants.com/

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.

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

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Ahi Tuna Tacos

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Peach Bellini

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

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Thai Red Curry Chicken Bowl

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

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Asian Steak Citrus Salad

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

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The Cookie

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Breakup Tub

 

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