There are three sushi places I’ve visited in Calgary’s Mission district; Towa, Kawa, and Hana. While Towa and Kawa are less than a block apart, Hana is on the opposite side of 4th street and closer to 17th Avenue. I visited Hana with a friend after a Saturday event in June, and I thought I’d share a brief post about our visit. Read the rest of this entry »
Tag Archives: Review
It’s actually a bit shocking that it has taken me this long to blog about Midori, a tiny little 17th Avenue SW standard for quick sushi. After Kyoto 17 (back in the day…) it was one of my favourite places to go when I needed a sushi fix while shopping or visiting with friends when I first discovered sushi.
But… then things seemed to change. I sought out more places to dine, and when I went to Midori I found myself uninspired by their menu or disappointed in their quality. It was several years since I’d been there last; until recently when a friend and I headed there for dinner after meeting with a number of friends for coffee.
Midori is a tiny little place, and it was nearly full when we arrived, and nearly full when we finished our meal as well. The menu wasn’t overly inspiring, but I selected a rainbow roll (good, but nothing special) and a shitake mushroom roll (great flavour, but the roll was falling apart on the plate).
The food was ok, the service felt more like fast-food than dining, and the atmosphere was… fine. As much as I loved Midori years ago – I wasn’t impressed. I wasn’t disappointed either, but there just wasn’t anything that really thrilled me like it used to. Next time I’m on 17th looking for a quick after-coffee nosh, I’ll probably head to Crepes and Cravings instead… (shocking! Choosing something over sushi!)
Midori Japanese Cafe
1054 17 Ave SW
Calgary, AB T2T0B4
After a really disappointing experience with a sushi place, I had the totally opposite experience recently visiting Yume in northwest Calgary.
Driving up to Yume, my expectations were pretty low – their website hadn’t worked in the morning, the location was in a strip mall (next to a closed hair salon), and the interior, while clean, was simple and a bit ‘cheap’ looking. While I had gone for sushi last with high expectations that weren’t met – my expectations of Yume were really low, but the food was really good!
After reading really wonderful reviews about Sushi Bar Zipang I had really high expectations when I visited for a late lunch (1:00 p.m.) Tuesday two weeks ago. Bridgeland isn’t on any of my normal routes, so every time I would read a glowing review I would remind myself that I really wanted to check them out…
Maybe it was because of those positive reviews I had previously read that I had high expectations at Sushi Bar Zipang, or maybe they just don’t bring their ‘A-game’ for lunch, but either way I was disappointed.
Dishing on the menu
Looking at the menu was the beginning of my disappointment – I just wasn’t inspired by the menu. In part, I wasn’t thrilled with the high prices ($3.50 for one of my favourite nigiri sushi pieces, which costs between $1.15 – $2.50 at other places I’ve visited recently) and part due to the repeating disclaimer that no substitutions would be available, and the number of items that had been crossed off the menu.
One of the teas I picked up at the Banff Tea Company ages ago was the Kusmi brand Violette tea. I had heard and seen a bit of Kusmi tea, but didn’t know much about it until reading a bit about it in the shop. You might remember I tried some of the Kusmi Almond Green tea last May as well.
Kusmi teas were first established in 1867 in St. Petersburg, and in 1917 the company moved to Paris where it continues using “high-quality teas with natural essences to create subtle aromas and flavours“. Teas come from India, China, and Ceylon, while the essences come from around the world.
I had seen some violet candies in the candy store only a little while earlier, (but not picked them up, as I was only getting things for someone else.. and no sweets for myself) and so the chance to try violet tea was too enticing to pick up (even if the cost was quite dear! eep!) According to the Kusmi website (the Canadian site is all in French, so I am referring you to the English USA site instead) the tea is from Chinese black tea leaves and violet petals.
Dry, the tea is distinctly a black tea, with a light floral violet scent. It doesn’t look particularly pretty – though the tin itself is especially pretty! Although the Banff Tea Co. website doesn’t list the Violette in-stock, they did have a few tins, though only the large size – they did have some smaller tins of different flavours and variety packs of smaller tins, so it’s worth calling ahead and seeing what they might have in stock before making the trip. I’m sure I’ve seen the tins on the shelves of other specialty tea/coffee shops as well, so you can likely find it locally as well… (though next time you’re in Banff, you know where to go!)
The scent while steeping is similar to any other black tea, with a slight floral scent – though the violet isn’t especially distinct.
I visited Big Catch a while ago, but then over and over again I kept seeing posts, tweets, and reviews raving about the kiosk in the Kingsland Farmer’s Market (just off MacLeod Trail). I had to go back last Friday – and this time Connie came with me!
It took me a while to get back to Big Catch because of their hours. Since they’re in the market, they’re tied to the hours of the market – Thursday – Sunday only. On the Friday when we went, the market closed at 5:00 p.m., but Big Catch is open 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Thank goodness, because we only just made it in time for 5:00 p.m. after work!
While we were both tempted by the sashimi (they offer 5 pieces of sashimi for $7.50 in either salmon, tuna, toro – fatty tuna, and wild salmon) we decided to go for the rolls that they’re really are known for.
I picked out the Mount Alaska roll that I’ve had before (skipping the onions this time) and the Zesty Avalanche roll, while Connie went for the God of Wind roll and the Meteor Rain.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 21,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 8 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
After visiting the Vancouver Aquarium, I headed back to my hotel and was quite tired after a long day of walking around. Although I kept my eyes open for sushi dinner options, I opted to go for the close-to-my-hotel Sushi Star once more. Scroll back to see my recent post about my visit to Sushi Star, as well as some of my other experiences in Vancouver.
This time around because timing just didn’t work out, I ended up dining at Sushi Star solo. The space was still super cold, but I was really tired after a long day of walking around (and taking a few dozen photographs!) so I opted for a familiar place rather than look for something new. Knowing that Sushi Star was only across the street from my hotel was a big incentive!
I started out with more of that delicious Tuna Sashimi that I mentioned in my previous post. This was so good! So tender, fleshy, flavourful and delicious. It took nothing to cut the generous slices in half with my chopsticks – I even could cut two at a time!
Next I tried out their Butterfly Roll. I had to take a few photos of this one to show off how pretty the presentation is! It’s a chopped scallop and fake crab roll, topped off with sockeye salmon and avocado, plus two different sauces – I couldn’t identify either one, but they were delicious! (I think one might have been a pureed mango?)
A different shot of the roll above – plus in the background is my super-cute skull and roses Betsey Johnson purse!
A different shot of the “Butterfly” above – so cute!
I don’t want to leave you with a post about the Vancouver Aquarium without showing you some adorable photos as well, so check out the photos below.
If you’ve been to Sushi Star in Vancouver before – let us know what you thought in the comments below! If you want to see some of the other places we visited in Vancouver, make sure you follow Happy Sushi Belly on Facebook!
The other day I mentioned Kanpai Sushi on 8th Avenue S.W., so today I’ll blog about their next-door neighbour, Jelly Modern Doughnuts.
Although I do love sweet treats, I’m not much of a big doughnut fan. I was looking forward to these treats though – packing them up to share at home after a late sushi lunch. There are so many great posts about Jelly Modern on UrbanSpoon that I don’t really feel like I need to share too much more, so I’ll just share some photos to tempt your tastebuds…
The interior is cute and perky, sweet just like pastry with hot pink paper lanterns and glossy white surfaces. I disliked the glossy white menu with the pale grey writing though.. my poor eyes strained after the dim light in the sushi restaurant! There were only a few different flavours in the display case though, which was disappointing – the menu promised flavours that just weren’t available at the time…
I loved the little display of Halloween doughnuts, but they weren’t behind glass, so I presumed that they were only for display – examples of doughnuts you could order for a party.
I liked that they had two different sizes of doughnuts to choose from, though not all flavours were available in both sizes. I ended up picking out a S’mores doughnut (only available in the large size – a regular plain doughnut with a very, very thin chocolate glaze on top, with a melted marshmallow in the middle and a few graham cracker crumbs on top), a Callebeaut Chocolate doughnut (a plain doughnut in the smaller size with a thicker dark chocolate glaze and a few chocolate shavings), and a Peanut Butter Cup doughnut (the smaller size plain doughnut with a chocolate glaze, and a blob of peanut butter icing in the centre, topped with two peanuts.
The doughnuts were all tasty, but not any better than good-old Tim Horton’s doughnuts in my opinion. Their website claims “We use only the finest quality ingredients in our recipes — locally sourced and organic whenever possible. A healthier artisan treat — a sophisticated update on a classic Canadian tradition” which might suggest that they might be a bit healthier than the local coffee & doughnut joint.
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.
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 – $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 – $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.
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