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Posts tagged ‘Steak Sandwich’

Restaurant Review: Mulligan’s at Valley Ridge

Location: 11618 Valley Ridge Park NW

Unbelievably, having lived in this community for the last 22 years, I have never been to this restaurant located in the Valley Ridge Golf Club.

I came here on September 28 with a friend from my undergrad at the University of Calgary, Patricia. It was great catching up with her over a simple, but good meal. That is not to say I didn’t have my issues, but generally speaking, it was a pretty good experience.

I ordered the steak sandwich with yam fries and Patricia had the Cobb salad. Because I was doing a review, I also got a creme brulee for dessert.

Under advisement, I ordered the yam fries extra crispy and that was a very good decision. I love my fries more on the crunchy side rather than soft. When I first sliced into my steak, the temperature was perfect, but as I progressed to the middle of the steak (and the thickest part of the steak), it got to a point where it was too rare for me to eat. The seasoning was simple, but delicious and I like to see the grill lines my meat (or a nice sear/crust). While the steak looks small in the picture, it was definitely more than enough for me with the onion rings, yam fries, and garlic bread. I really enjoyed the compound butter, but because it was so long ago and the menu has changed on their website now, I can’t remember exactly everything that was in it.

Unlike at Van Gogh, the other restaurant in our community, Patricia was happy with her salad. While I didn’t taste it, it looked a lot better than what I had been told that the salads at Van Gogh had devolved into: lettuce and tomatoes sliced as though it were meant for tacos. I’m extremely disappointed that this is what Van Gogh has become as it had once been one of my favourite restaurants to go to (and it was conveniently located within walking distance from my house).

The creme brulee was a little disappointing. I went to go break through the sugar crust on the top, but it was literally just floating on top and kinda just caved into the custard below when I went for it. Flavour wise, it was pretty standard for a creme brulee, although there was a lot of whipped cream.

In terms of close restaurants within walking distance, this place is significantly better than Van Gogh (though i would like to go try again and see where they’re at now. I haven’t been there for several years), but still not the best that I’ve had.

My big problem is the service. There were maybe two other tables of people and yet my water glass sat empty for the majority of the meal. This only bothered me so much because my throat started to hurt from all the talking I was doing and the server kept walking past our table and not topping up our waters until asked. I don’t know if it’s unreasonable to be holding golf courses to a higher standard, but that’s exactly how I feel when I walk into a golf and country club. But also, I don’t think it’s unreasonable for me to expect the waitstaff to fill my glass when it’s empty, especially when there are almost no other people in the restaurant.

Clearly there were issues and a big one for me is the service. If that’s not good, it really affects how I feel about going back to the restaurant. Of course, the food has too be good too and I think it was just okay. Based on this experience, I probably won’t be going back. However, given that there are two choices for restaurants in this community, I’d probably take this one over Van Gogh. I’d rate this place 2/5.

Steak Sandwich with Yam Fries
Cobb Salad
Creme Brulee

Restaurant Review: Heartland Cafe

Location: 46 McRae Street, Okotoks, Alberta

Built in 1902 by the Baptist Church, this restaurant, in someways, is still recognizable as such. A building with history is something that always catches my attention, but having been converted to a restaurant, it’s the food that ultimately influences my decision to return or not.

On a warm Saturday afternoon, I ventured down here with a friend for lunch. As lovely as it would’ve been to lunch on the patio, I didn’t fancy getting into another fight with a wasp. Lunching inside was a great decision because it gave me the chance to admire the architecture and decor that made the restaurant what it is.

We ordered the Baked Brie as a starter to share, I got the steak sandwich, she got the Thai Duck Bowl and we split a six-layer chocolate fudge cake for dessert. Before my visit to River Cafe yesterday, I had never had brie. Today would be my first time trying a baked brie. The brie was served with a raisin and walnut chutney, red onion jam, and crostinis. I honest to God could’ve eaten this entire plate on my own. I never figured that raisin and/or walnut could be used to make a chutney, let alone taste so good! But the star on that plate was the onion jam. I can’t even begin to describe what an experience that jam was. It was incredible! After this experience, I’m definitely going to be including a baked brie with onion jam on my next cheese board. My only complaint was that there probably weren’t as many crostinis as I would’ve liked. I ended up having to put a lot of chutney, jam, and brie on each piece of crostini. The Thai Duck Bowl was delicious, but I don’t think I would be able to eat this entire thing on my own. It was a little on the sweet side, but I think if the lime had been added, it would’ve helped to cut through that richness. The steak sandwich came with a choice of soup or salad as a side. I chose to go with the tomato basil soup as my steak sandwich. The steak, though it looked small was more than enough. It was topped with chimichurri, caramelized onions, and arugula. My only wish was that the garlic bread was a little more garlicky, but the size of the bread was perfect. The side tomato basil soup was more like a pasta sauce. It was amazing, but near the end I wondered if I could actually finish it because of how thick and aggressively seasoned with oregano it was. We finished the meal with the most luscious chocolate cake. When I say I want chocolate cake, this is it. The chocolate is rich. It actually reminds me a little of the cake I had when I was at True Confections in Vancouver.

Thinking we would make it in time for brunch probably wasn’t very smart on my part, given what time I actually left my house, so I know I will be back to try their chicken and waffles, which is generally a favourite of mine. I would definitely recommend this place and I would come back here time and time again without a second thought. I’d rate this place 4/5 based on my experience.

Restaurant Exterior
Restaurant Interior
Restaurant Interior
Restaurant Interior
Baked Brie
Top: Thai Duck Bowl Bottom: Steak Sandwich with Tomato Basil Soup
Chocolate Cake
Oolong Jasmine Tea

Restaurant Review: Van Gogh’s

Location: 308B 11245 Valley Ridge Dr. NW Calgary, Alberta


I lived in this community for seven years before I even stepped foot into this restaurant. It was the best decision of my life. When I first came here, the portion sizes were enormous. So large that it was impossible for me to finish, so I’m partially glad that they’ve cut down portion sizes instead of wasting so much food.

Usually when I go, I have the lunch special: beef souvlaki wrap with fries and caesar salad. This time I had a steak sandwich.

The beef souvlaki pita wrap is often hard to eat because the beef is so chewy and when you bite into it, everything comes out into your mouth and all over your clothes. Honestly the messiest, but most delicious thing ever! These wraps only have four things in them: onions, tomatoes, tzatziki sauce and meat, in this case beef. The tzatziki sauce is a bit on the garlicky side, but I love garlic and onions, so, I thought it was fine, although I wouldn’t suggest eating if you’re about to go into a meeting or having lunch with your boss.

Then there’s the steak sandwich. The garlic bread was fine, the caesar salad was fine (my only complaint is that it looks like they douse it in oil before serving it to us), the fries were fine, the ketchup wouldn’t come out of the bottle and the there was the actual piece of steak. Steak…seriously what is wrong with people and getting the temperature on steaks wrong all the time. I like mine more well done than rare, so I usually ask for medium or medium well because it will come out perfectly well done. I did this this and what do I get? A piece of wood. Mmm, I love eating charred wood.  I am very disappointed. Not only that, it was chewy and hard to swallow. I won’t be getting this again. Going back to my souvlaki wraps.

In terms of appetizers, I’ve sampled the lounge platter, tempura shrimp, calamari, platter appetizer for 2, and the sweet potato fries. The lounge platter consists of cafe ribs, battered zucchini sticks and mushrooms, and wings. I found the cafe ribs hard to bite through and the meat was completely dry and kept getting stuck in my teeth, which was annoying. The mushrooms were a bit soggy since they released all the water in them while cooking and it wasn’t so crunch after that. The zucchini sticks were the highlight of the platter as I found the honey garlic overwhelmed with the amount of sauce spread on them. The tempura shrimp were average. It was pretty standard, like the kind all restaurants buy frozen and in bulk. The calamari by far is my favourite appetizer. It too is served with tzatziki sauce and is pretty filling on its own. I like that the batter is light and that you don’t taste a piece of squid saturated with batter and oil. However, a friend of mine has mentioned that she dislikes the powdery consistency of the batter and prefers it to be a bit more crunchy. The platter for two is by far one of the worst things I’ve had here, I’m sorry to say, worse than charred wooden steak. It has calamari, which is the only edible thing to me, dolmades, marinated onions, tomatoes and feta cheese, and pita bread. Maybe it’s just me, but the taste of dolmades is off putting and it is because of these I avoid ordering this platter. Even though the name of this dish indicates it is for two people, there is seriously enough food for four. Well, at least if you intend on eating your main course. And lastly, the sweet potato fries, like the tempura shrimp, are average. I mean, they’re sweet potato fries, what more do you expect? They are pretty much going to be the same no matter where you go.

For Mother’s Day one year, my mom had the Spinach Salmon Salad. Actually, now that I think about it, that’s all she has when she goes. I can understand because it’s actually not bad. The salmon is really moist and flaky and the dressing isn’t overwhelming. Other entrees I’ve had from here are the chicken parmesan, platter classic for two, Van Gogh cheeseburger, and spinach tortellini. The chicken parmesan was decent, but the spaghetti it came with wasn’t so good. I really like my pasta al dente, so I was a bit annoyed at really tender pasta drenched in sauce, but it is what it is. This isn’t an Italian restaurant, so I wasn’t expecting much anyways. The sauce itself wasn’t very flavourful, mostly just tomato taste, barely any seasoning. The platter classic for two is like the souvlaki lunch special for dinner with a few additions. This dish unfortunately also has dolmades, which I just avoided, but it also has spanakopita, meatballs, rice and a psilocomeni salad. The meatballs were weird. I can’t explain exactly what was weird about it, but when I put it in my mouth there was just this weird flavour/texture, not to mention they were like giant meatballs. Anyways, I have no recollection of eating the salad, probably because I didn’t and only ate the pita wrap, leaving everything for the other person I was sharing it with to eat. Well, I did they the spanakopita, it was the first time having it and I haven’t had any since, so I don’t really have anything to compare it to, but I’m assuming that the pastry ought to be flaky and that’s all I know. I have no idea how the inside is supposed to taste, but I don’t like spinach that much, so I found it edible, but not my favourite thing (at least more edible than those dolmades).  My experience of the Van Gogh cheeseburger and spinach tortellini isn’t very extensive; I only sampled a bite of each. From what I got from my friend who ordered the cheeseburger: “I don’t like it. I don’t remember much about eating it, but I know it didn’t taste good. Also, who puts iceberg lettuce in a burger!” The spinach tortellini sauce was nice, creamy. Didn’t actually get to eat the tortellini and when asked, the friend who ordered merely said, “It’s good.”

All in all, I really enjoy this place. The service is good, though sometimes they forget to bring you the bill and you have to walk up to the counter to pay. The prices aren’t bad, especially for the lunch specials. And considering how much food they give you for the appetizers, I’d say the price was reasonable (let me give you a hint, I could pack it away and have it for my lunch for the next day and it filled me up until dinner). Taking into account everything, I would give this restaurant a 4.25/5.


Calamari Appetizer

van gogh 5

Back: Beef Souvlaki Pita Wrap with Lemon Potatoes and House Salad Front: Steak Sandwich with Caesar Salad and Fries


van gogh 4

Steak Sandwich with House Salad*

van gogh 3

Van Gogh Cheeseburger*

van gogh 2

Spinach Tortellini*

Van gogh 1

Chicken Parmesan with Spaghetti*

*(starred photos) Photo credit goes to Yulin Fong

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