Tag Archives: photography

Guest bloggers wanted!

Inside Shiki Sushi in Victoria, BC

Inside Shiki Sushi in Victoria, BC

Now that I’m back in the swing of things, taking photos and writing up short posts about great places to eat in Calgary and beyond, I’d like to open up this blog to anyone who would like to join me!

I’m looking for a few guest bloggers – either those who want to write an article once in a while, who maybe want to write once a month, or even those who just want to share one or two things that really excite them!

How it works:

You write an unbiased (but hopefully positive!) article about a topic you think would interest our readers. Food, cooking, recipes, spotlights on new food-based businesses, or even a critical-thinking piece about food service/etc.

  • If you have a WordPress account, I can add you as a guest writer.
  • If not, you can email me your article and I’ll write an introduction for you, post your article, and link to your blog or website.

I’ll also need at least one nice, clear photo (sized for web please – I usually stick to about 600pixels on the long side at a dpi of 72 – if you don’t know what this means, feel free to send me your photo and I can edit it). Your watermark can absolutely be included… it’s your photo… I’m just publishing it here with your permission.

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Posted by on July 1, 2017 in Uncategorized


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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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Capture the Colour contest 2013

Capture the Colour contest 2013

While I was reading about the Luv Mex Avocado contest yesterday, I came across the Capture the Colour contest hosted by the Travel Supermarket.

Launched in the summer of 2012, the 2013 edition of the contest has a simple idea – “publish a blog post showcasing five of your favourite travel photographs which best capture the colour of our five categories: red, blue, green, yellow and white.” In 2012 they received over 3,000 entries encapsulating the most colourful travel experiences, and this year I learned about the contest and want to enter too!

My entries

Scroll through the slideshow below to see all of my entries, and then scroll down for the individual photos and descriptions.

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Capture the Colour - Yellow - fortress island of Suomenlinna off the coast of Helsinki, Finland

Capture the Colour – Yellow – fortress island of Suomenlinna off the coast of Helsinki, Finland

Many of you who have been reading Happy Sushi Belly have seen some of my photos of Finland, and my entry for the ‘yellow’ category is one of my most recent photos – from Finland! A lovely bird came to sit on the bridge as we crossed from one island to another on the fortress island of Suomenlinna. The yellow building in the background is a residential building, and you can check out all of my delicious posts about the fortress island by clicking the Suomenlinna tag. (More coming in a few days too!)


Capture the Colour - Green, at the Muttart Conservatory in Edmonton, Canada

Capture the Colour – Green, at the Muttart Conservatory in Edmonton, Canada

Of the photos I looked through, seeking out “green” I didn’t have to look too far from home. In Edmonton’s Muttart Conservatory, I loved this lush, green moss in the Temperate gallery. Click the Edmonton tag for our posts about the delicious treats and sushi I’ve had in Edmonton.


Capture the Colour - Blue - jellyfish at an aquarium in Maui, USA

Capture the Colour – Blue – jellyfish at an aquarium in Maui, USA

I looked through a few of my different photographs, but best of all showing “blue” I thought was this photograph of jellyfish. This photo was taken on the island of Maui in the state of Hawaii, at the Maui Ocean Center, The Hawaiian Aquarium. I loved this tall aquarium full of jellyfish – I could watch them for hours, floating and moving hypnotically through the water.  Of course, while in Hawaii I tried lots of sushi and local dishes too – click the Hawaii tag for all of my travelling foodie posts about the beautiful islands.


Capture the Colour - White - near Geiranger, Norway

Capture the Colour – White – near Geiranger, Norway

My entry into the “white” category is from my 2012 trip to Norway. We started our trip by flying to London, UK, and then flew to Amsterdamn, The Netherlands. From there we took a Royal Carribean cruise. This shot is from a stop in Geiranger, Norway. In town we took a bus tour which took us up a long and winding road (the north and south sides of route 63), to an alpine lake called Djupvatnet high in the mountains. Although it was early summer, there was a thick blanket of snow, and someone had even crafted a tiny snow bunny looking out onto the snow and ice-covered lake.

Shockingly, I haven’t blogged at all about the cruise or the foods we enjoyed in Norway – I guess I know what I’ll be blogging about when my Finland posts are done!


Capture the Colour - Red - at 3 Valley Gap, Canada

Capture the Colour – Red – at 3 Valley Gap, Canada

For my “red” entry I decided to select a tilt-shift photo. Now, I don’t have a tilt-shift lens, so this image has been edited through a website called The contest rules say “We are tolerant of image editing and will allow images to be edited with software as we do not wish to inhibit your creative freedom. Entries will be judged on a case by case basis” so I hope that this editing is ok! (I figure since it replicates something that I ~could~ do with a lens, if I had the money to invest in such a lens, that it should be ok!)

This photo is of the resort at 3 Valley Gap, close to Revelstoke, British Columbia, Canada. This shot was actually taken from our car – we didn’t have the chance to stop here, but instead you can read other posts about great places to eat in British Columbia by checking out the BC category.

More contest details

The contest will be judged by a panel of five leading travel and photography experts. Five individual category winners can choose from one of three awesome prizes (an iPad, a Fuji camera, or a Arc’teryx shopping voucher) and an overall winner will receive a huge £3,000 travel fund. I know that if I won… that would go directly into one of my next travel destinations – L’Anse aux Meadows in the summer of 2014, and then either back to Finland or to the Faroe Islands in the summer of 2015!

You be the judge!

So, which of the photos that I have entered do you like the best? Let me know in the comments below! Want to see the other entries? Check out the #CTC13 twitter hashtag for other bloggers sharing their travel photos! (note: it looks like there’s a conference using the same hashtag, so don’t get confused!)


We’re also supposed to nominate others to join in the fun, so I’m nominating:

Connie Chau Arts
Throwing Horns Abroad
Boing Photography
300 pounds of metal


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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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Tea: Love Tea #7

One of the teas I picked up while in Edmonton at David’s Tea is named “Love Tea #7” and despite the cute name, that is not the (only) reason I picked it!  Chocolate, rose petals, and strawberries all made this tea smell absolutely incredible.

Love Tea #7

David’s Tea describes this tea as: “One sip of #7 and you’ll find yourself head over heels. Mysteriously changed. Magically happy. Walking on air. How does it work? Frankly, we don’t know. Our blender came up with it and then just ran off with the girl of his dreams. Maybe it’s the chocolate bits that lower your inhibitions. Or the seductive strawberries. Or the romantic rose petals. Either way, this black tea is seriously lucky.”

It is a delicious tea, sweet without being overly sweet, and really nice black (though I usually have it with milk!)

Love Tea #7

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Posted by on October 11, 2011 in Out of town - Alberta, Tea & Beverages


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Sushi: Another sushi dinner to-go

With our house in reno-hell and too many other things on our plate right now, we’ve been eating out a lot.  This means a lot of take out, a lot of restaurants, and not very many groceries in the house.  I don’t mind when I get the chance to have sushi as part of that… but I’m not exactly happy about it overall.  Oh well.. hopefully soon the renovations will be over!

Chef's special

I just wanted to share a quick snap of one of the Co-op sushi meals I had a few days ago.  It’s a rainbow roll (a crab, avocado, and cucumber roll topped with eel, salmon, and avocado.  Plus, there’s the cute little “flower” roll of salmon and avocado to go with it.  Yum!  Nothing from there has been as good as that Dragon roll was a while back though… hmmm maybe I’ll have to ask for something made fresh next time I go in????

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Posted by on August 10, 2011 in South-West Calgary, Sushi


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