Tag Archives: food photography

New image style for Instagram

Gravlax and super tasty mustard from the cafe in Ikea - so pretty too!

Gravlax and super tasty mustard from the cafe in Ikea – so pretty too!

In my previous two posts I showed off the new style of images I’ll be using for Instagram (come follow me!) and there are a few more I thought I’d share here… ones I won’t necessarily be blogging about, but thought are pretty all the same.

Take out sushi from Sushi Ginza at Chinook Centre

Take out sushi from Sushi Ginza at Chinook Centre

The style doesn’t translate perfectly to the blog… but what do you think? Do you think you’d click a post with these graphics – or do you like the regular, unedited style better?

Lemon strudel from Kruse's bakery (located in the Market on MacLeod)

Lemon strudel from Kruse’s bakery (located in the Market on MacLeod)

Do you think that this style of graphic works well in the blog?

My companion's meal at Ikea - meatballs.. yummm

My companion’s meal at Ikea – meatballs.. yummm

Share your thoughts with me in the comments below!

Carrot-cake "muffin" filled with cream cheese icing from Kruse's bakery (located in the Market on MacLeod)

Carrot-cake “muffin” filled with cream cheese icing from Kruse’s bakery (located in the Market on MacLeod)

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Posted by on May 7, 2017 in South-West Calgary, Sushi


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Kanpai Sushi on 8th

Sashimi roll at Kanpai Sushi with our other two rolls in the background

Sashimi roll at Kanpai Sushi with our other two rolls in the background

Driving down 8th Avenue SW in Calgary I saw a “now open” sign hanging over a sushi restaurant. When it came time for Connie and I to grab some Sunday lunch (after attending the Calyx art show) I suggested Kanpai Sushi on 8th Avenue S.W.

Overall our meal was… ok.  While there wasn’t anything distinctly wrong with anything at Kanpai, nothing really stood out for me to recommend you check them out, or to encourage me to return again.


First off, the service was ok. The food came out quickly, and as it was ready (rather than all at once which is good) but when we needed things, it was hard to get our server’s attention.

Decor & atmosphere

The interior was quite nice actually (and the restrooms were clean and nicely styled too – not a huge thing when it’s right, but its definitely better than when it’s wrong...

Then there’s the music… There was a weird mix on ranging from Alanis Morrisette to John Mayer (or one of those other male crooners…) which I found all just kind of annoying. Perhaps it was a matter of volume, or perhaps it was just that the music didn’t really suit the restaurant at all.  Either way it was just a bad, disjointed fit.

Sashimi roll at Kanpai Sushi

Sashimi roll at Kanpai Sushi

Our selections

Tuna & Salmon sashimi – $12.95

There were a number of rolls that we both wanted to try, so we agreed to split two rolls, and then we ordered individual items for ourselves.  Connie had a plate of tuna and salmon sashimi along with a scallop (they didn’t carry her favourite Saba/Mackerel) while my individual item was a sashimi roll.

Sashimi roll – $9.95

The Sashimi Roll is listed as “tuna and salmon sashimi wrapped in rice paper with house special sweet sauce” – I’ve tried a rice-paper roll once before and didn’t like it because the rice paper was really thick and chewy- but this was perfect rice paper, and I’d have it on a roll again. However, I wouldn’t have THIS roll again.  Missing the rice was fantastic, but the menu forgot to mention that the roll also included avocado and cucumber.  The cucumber completely overwhelmed the delicate flavour of the sashimi, and the pieces were so small that it was hard to get any of the flavour other than cucumber.

Alpine Delight roll from Kanpai Sushi

Alpine Delight roll from Kanpai Sushi (with the Lotus Blast roll in the background)

Alpine Delight – $14.50

The first roll that we split was the Alpine Delight roll (or at least it was the first one I had!) which is listed as “fresh tuna, salmon, mango, cucumber, tomato, dill & red tobiko served with mango creamy sauce”. This roll, like much of the experience at Kanpai was ‘ok’. It wasn’t exceptional in any way… the mango wasn’t flavourful (although the drizzle of sauce on the plate was, I later found out when Connie urged me to try it) the tomato was without flavour, and there was far too little dill to get a dill taste to the roll.  Ultimately the roll was underwhelming and forgettable.

Lotus Blast roll from Kanpai

Lotus Blast roll from Kanpai

Lotus Blast – $13.50

The second roll we split was Connie’s choice, the Lotus Blast. This is a “lightly battered crispy tuna, salmon cream cheese roll topped with spicy crab meat, (and a) lotus root chip served with teriyaki sauce”. Connie commented that she couldn’t really taste much flavour in the sauce, and I agreed.  The spicy crab meat was tasty, and the lotus root chip was cute (but not really flavourful).  The whole roll was battered (and fried) and served warm. It was interesting, but not something I’d order again.


I noticed a few things about the menu – first off there were a number of price corrections on it. I understand that suppliers change, and that when a new business starts it takes some time to work out the kinks, but it just looked bad to see SO many adjustments to their pricing.

I also noticed that a lot of the specialty rolls were similar to some of the other well-known sushi places in Calgary. Yet, there were a lot of things that were new to us which was great – though made it hard to decide! 🙂 I took a few photos of the menu – if you want to get a sneak peek of what you might want to order, click the photo for a larger version.

You can also see their full menu on their website.

Your thoughts?

Have you been to Kanpai? Let us know what you think (what are the stand-out best dishes and which ones to avoid…) in the comments below!

Kanpai Sushi on 8th
110, 1414 8th St SW
Calgary, AB T2R1R7
(403) 460-6303
Kanpai Sushi on 8th on Urbanspoon

teaser photo from Twitter

teaser photo from Twitter

If you follow me or Happy Sushi Belly on Twitter, you might recognize this little teaser that I tweeted!

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Posted by on January 16, 2014 in South-West Calgary, Sushi


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Food photography class

Ikura at Sakura

Ikura at Sakura

A number of months ago I went to a food photography class downtown taught by Neil Speers, who is a PPOC (Professional Photographers of Canada) member, along with the host of a website and Facebook page devoted to photography “Best Photo Lessons”. (I was planning on doing something else with these photos, hence why it has taken so long to get this post up.)

As a professional photographer, his equipment is obviously more expensive than my iPhone camera (he anecdotally confessed that he carries about $8,000 worth of camera equipment in his backpack when he’s just going out for a little stroll) but a lot of the techniques he was sharing were more about lighting and styling than the actual camera used.

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Posted by on January 12, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Food Photography how-to

Burger and a salad - with an impressive view!

Burger and a salad – with an impressive view!

I won’t try to claim that all of my food photography is top-notch, but I’ve collected a few ideas from different articles and experiences that I wanted to share. (The photo above is from the Lagoon Grill in Hawaii)

Basic tips for food photography

Make it look delicious!

Sometimes this will mean ‘staging’ the food. Picking out that brightly-coloured orange slice from the bottom of the salad and putting it on top of the spinach beside the strawberry.  Drizzling the dressing on top instead of tossing the salad with the dressing. Maybe it just means turning the plate so that you can see the pickle peeking out from behind your sandwich or adding an extra dollop of whipped cream right before you take the shot of your hot cocoa.

If you’re shooting food that you’re cooking, use the best, freshest, least blemished and most symmetrical-looking raw ingredients for your ‘setting up’ shots. You might use 10 apples in your recipe, but audition each to see which one will make that great “apple” shot.

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Posted by on December 22, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Photographer Foodies

Salad from The Hub

Salad from The Hub

Back in June I posted about a contest for food-loving photographers (amateurs welcome) in Calgary by The Hub – the pub at Mount Royal University.

Well, the contest closes soon, but there’s still time to enter.  You can enter as many different photos as you’d like, and the contest ends August 15th, 2013.  Learn more about the contest on their website: 

You can enter through their Facebook page, or send them your photos by email to enter.

As a bit of a disclaimer – I have a personal connection to The Hub, hence my special interest in promoting this contest.  With that being said, I will NOT be judging the photos, so being a Happy Sushi Belly fan won’t win you any contest points.. (though it certainly makes me happy!)

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Posted by on August 6, 2013 in South-West Calgary


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Another ‘food photography’ contest

Avocado salad

No spoilers of my entry, so here’s a photo of an avocado salad 😉

Back in early June I shared a food photography contest with you – well, here’s another!

This time around, the contest is for foodies who read City Palate – take a photo of yourself holding a copy of the publication taken in Calgary.

From their website:

This year, in commemoration of our 20th Anniversary,
our photo contest stays local and goes creative!
We know there are a lot of readers out there who’d like to
show off their creative side, so we’re looking forward
to some funny, interesting, and crazy photos,
featuring you and a copy of City Palate,
taken right here in Calgary.
And, just to make it interesting, bonus points will be given
to the photo containing the oldest copy of City Palate.
3 fabulous PRIZE packages are up for grabs…

Check out this PDF for all of the information on how to enter! The prizes are awesome – well worth the time to click a few photos and pick out your best one! The deadline to enter is July 31, 2013, and the winning photos will be published in their September/October issue (as well as online).

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Posted by on July 4, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Food photography contest

Salad from The Hub

Salad from The Hub

I mentioned The Hub in a previous post – well they’re having a photography contest to help highlight their food to fellow Calgary foodies.  The contest runs from June 1-August 15th, 2013, and you can enter as many different photos as you like.  From their website:

Just take a photo of your food the next time you dine at The Hub. Post the photo in a wall post to along with the name of what you had and any comments.

The contest runs from June 1, 2013 until August 15, 2013. The winner of a Hub gift card will be contacted after August 15th. We’ll contact you on Facebook, so make sure you’re “friends” with Samru Buzz ( ) so we can be in touch. If we aren’t able to contact you, you can’t win! The winning photo will be selected at random from all entries. You may enter as many photos of different meals as you like within the contest time frame.

More information, along with some of the ‘small print’ and a way to enter without being on Facebook is on their website:

As a bit of a disclaimer – I have a personal connection to The Hub, hence my special interest in promoting this contest.  With that being said, I will NOT be judging the photos, so being a Happy Sushi Belly fan won’t win you any contest points.. (though it certainly makes me happy!)

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Posted by on June 6, 2013 in South-West Calgary


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Sushi: Sushi Hanami

Salmon and tuna sashimi from Sushi Hanami

Well I’ve posted about Sushi Hanami a number of times previously, so I won’t bother commenting again, instead just some Happy Sushi Belly photos of take-out dinner the other day when only sushi would do! (I really need to start incorporating some veg with my sushi meals though….)

Yummy dinner from Sushi Hanami

Honestly, Sushi Hanami isn’t my favorite sushi place, in case you’re wondering why I go there so much… but they have a good take-out system, and they are super-close to where I live!  That makes for easy sushi!

Ikura from Sushi Hanami

Delicious looking, right?

Chopped scallop from Sushi Hanami

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Posted by on May 4, 2012 in South-West Calgary, Sushi


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Sushi: Back to Momo-yama

I’ve talked about Momo-yama a few times -my favorite sushi place so far in Calgary – not only because it’s very close to home and work!

The second half of our sashimi - we started eating before photo-taking!

Well, Connie and I went there not too long ago and I thought I’d share a short post about some of our goodies…


We had hoped to get an 8pm reservation (because she had a 7pm appointment and we didn’t want to push our luck) but they would only give us a 7:30pm. It turned out to be fine since her appointment was quick, and both of us arrived early!


This time around we didn’t split a gyoza – they are usually great here, but I wasn’t really in the mood.  Instead we both had an order of salmon and tuna sashimi, and then some of our personal favorites – tobiko, ikura, and special scallop for me!

Chopped Scallop from Momo-yama

I really wanted more ikura when it was all done, it was just SO good!

Momo-Yama Sushi Japanese Cuisine
(403) 233-0995
3919 Richmond Rd SW
Calgary, AB

Momo-Yama Sushi Japanese Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Nigiri sushi

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Posted by on May 1, 2012 in South-West Calgary, Sushi



Sushi: MomoYama

One of my favorite places to go for sushi has long been MomoYama, in the Glamorgan shopping plaza in SW Calgary.  It is a tiny little place, with active to-go customers (largely because getting seating is difficult!) and reasonably prompt service.

Tasty special scallop

Usually while I’m there I just get my favorite pieces.  They do my favorites very well, with nicely sized portions.  When I first discovered the restaurant (with a friend who I now haven’t seen in years) I joked that it was a good place to spend a lot more money than we intended, because everything was just so good.

This visit I got my two top favorites (Ikura and special scallop) but since I was quite hungry, I decided to try their Salmon Don as well – a bowl of rice topped with sashimi-grade salmon.


I was actually somewhat disappointed by the Salmon Don.  The salmon wasn’t cut as well as I would have liked – while the pieces were nice and thick; full of flavor, they were also sinew-y and tough to eat delicately.  The rice that I really like in the battleship-style sushi pieces from them was too sticky in the bowl.  Although I really like bowls like this, I wasn’t especially happy with this dish from MomoYama.

Instead, I’ll stick to the nigiri and battleship-style sushi that I love from MomoYama instead!

As usual, the Ikura burst with little bubbles of fresh salty goodness, and the special scallop was flavorful and tender.  Fantastic!  Although I wasn’t impressed by the rice in the Don bowl, in the battleship-style sushi I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it.

Salmon don

My companion (who wasn’t in the mood for sushi) had the Chicken Katsu instead. It’s breaded chicken, and comes with rice, miso soup and a side salad.  It looked ok, and she said it was good, but perhaps too much of the same flavour to enjoy on her own. We’d likely recommend splitting it.

Chicken Katsu

If you’re going to visit MomoYama, you should know that they aren’t open Mondays. This has frustrated me on more than one occasion when I have forgotten and show up to be disappointed.  The restaurant is also very small – there are a few booths and a few tables, and a rarely-used counter, with good seating for 1-4 people, but larger groups might find it difficult.  They also recommend reservations.  I occasionally have made them, and have only ever turned away because of a long wait because I didn`t make one, but it`s a good idea.  On a similar note, they do a really good job of take-out, which is a good solution if you have a larger group or don`t want to feel cramped in the restaurant; however since they only have so many staff, I`ve also faced disappointment when placing a take-out order over the phone or just stopping in around dinnertime – to hear that the wait just for take out was much longer than I was willing.  With these problems, a visit to MomoYama is still worth it – just be prepared!

As many sushi places I’ve visited, they don’t have a website – but the Urbanspoon websitehas some photos of their menus loaded. When you’re there, grab one of the take-out menus (it’s the same menu) for future reference (if you live/work/travel close enough to make pick-up reasonable).  Food=Life also has a review of MomoYama if you are interested in reading another blogger’s review.

If you’ve been to MomoYama, let us know what you thought of it in the comments below!

Momoyama Sushi
3919 Richmond Rd SW
Calgary, AB
(403) 233-0995

Momo-Yama Sushi Japanese Cuisine on Urbanspoon

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Posted by on November 8, 2011 in South-West Calgary, Sushi



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