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Seared Tuna for dinner

Using the oil from the Eau Claire Oil & Vinegar bar to cook delicious furikake-coated tuna steaks for dinner!

Using the oil from the Eau Claire Oil & Vinegar bar to cook delicious furikake-coated tuna steaks for dinner!

A while back I shared my Hawaiian-inspired seared tuna dish… well I made it up again, this time using oil from the Eau Claire Oil & Vinegar Bar to cook the tuna. I used my favourite Furikake seasoning to coat the tuna steak… and created SO much NOM.

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Posted by on July 16, 2017 in Downtown Calgary

 

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Azuma Sushi – Victoria, BC

 

Tuna sashimi from Azuma Sushi

Tuna sashimi from Azuma Sushi

Well since I took a bit of a break from my Iceland posts to share the Taste of Calgary 2014 with you, I figured I’d postpone getting back to Iceland a bit longer, and bounce off to my August trip to Victoria, BC.

I’m not entirely sure how to rate Azuma Sushi – I’m not sure if I should give it a good rating (for food, price) or a poor one (due to one really rather serious problem…so let’s start off with the good…

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Posted by on October 1, 2014 in Out of town - BC, Sushi

 

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Another meal at Vancouver’s Sushi Star

Another meal at Vancouver’s Sushi Star

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.

Tuna Sashimi - part two - from Sushi Star  (iPhone photo)

Tuna Sashimi – part two – from Sushi Star (iPhone photo)

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!

Totally delicious Butterfly roll from Sushi Star in Vancouver  (iPhone photo)

Totally delicious Butterfly roll from Sushi Star in Vancouver (iPhone photo)

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?)

Totally delicious Butterfly roll from Sushi Star in Vancouver  (iPhone photo)

Totally delicious Butterfly roll from Sushi Star in Vancouver (iPhone photo)

A different shot of the roll above – plus in the background is my super-cute skull and roses Betsey Johnson purse!

Totally delicious Butterfly roll from Sushi Star in Vancouver  (iPhone photo)

Totally delicious Butterfly roll from Sushi Star in Vancouver (iPhone photo)

A different shot of the “Butterfly” above – so cute!

Vancouver Aquarium

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!

Sushi Star on Urbanspoon

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2014 in Out of town - BC, Sushi

 

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Vancouver: Sushi Star

Vancouver: Sushi Star

The last time I was in Vancouver, I visited Sushi Star – and with good luck, I stayed close to there again – right across the street in fact! This meant that good sushi wasn’t far away, and I visited twice while in the city. (I also checked out Juno Japanese Sushi Bistro – click the link to read my review!)

On my first visit, my companion and I had a few different things at Sushi Star, including Agedashi Tofu (a battered and fried tofu in a fish-based sauce), Tuna sashimi, Salmon Sashimi, and then two rolls. We split both of the sashimi orders and the tofu, and then had the chance to try one another’s roll as well.  My companion and I also ordered a piece of Saba (Mackerel).

Salmon sashimi in Sushi Star  (iPhone photo)

Salmon sashimi in Sushi Star (iPhone photo)

We started off with the Agedashi Tofu, though the sashimi came shortly after.

The bowl of tofu was piled high – which was a great sign of quantity to come.  The tofu pieces were a good size – not too big (which made them easier to grab and eat rather than when the pieces are too big) but the tall pile meant that the tofu pieces at the top never got to sit in that delicious fish-based sauce, but the ones at the bottom were soaking in it. We quickly rotated things through, setting the top tofu on our sashimi plate to make sure each piece got to sit in a bit of sauce – but not long enough to get super soggy.

The (sockeye) salmon sashimi (pictured above as well) was good, but honestly wasn’t anything special for me. It had a decent flavour, but really didn’t stand out.  I haven’t been having ‘good salmon luck’ lately though – each time I’ve had it lately, it really seems to be unimpressive. This is the sockeye salmon that seems to be more common here on the west coast, and although it might have other benefits, I think for sushi I really do prefer the salmon that I usually have here in Calgary.

Delicious tuna sashimi from Sushi Star  (iPhone photo)

Delicious tuna sashimi from Sushi Star (iPhone photo)

The tuna on the other hand, was amazing! It was flavourful, super tender, fleshy, and delicious! I really enjoyed it, and when I returned to Sushi Star for a second time during my all-too-short visit to Vancouver, I made sure to have it again! Highly recommended!

Both of the sashimi dishes were served garnished with a large quantity of grated daikon, lemon slices, and a few slivers of cucumber – which I figure is the most vegetables I’m going to get when sushi is on my mind…

scallop-topped roll at Sushi Star  (iPhone photo)

scallop-topped roll at Sushi Star (iPhone photo)

My companion had been craving a baked scallop roll for a while, and ordered one of the rolls topped with baked scallop. However she hadn’t read the menu’s top comment, where it said that all of the rolls were topped with sauce, so when it came with spicy sauce (just sniffing it was super-spicy) she had to send it back – but quickly had the above roll which was really good!

A mouth-watering mango and avocado-topped scallop roll from Sushi Star   (iPhone photo)

A mouth-watering mango and avocado-topped scallop roll from Sushi Star (iPhone photo)

I enjoyed the Tropical Roll though (and shared a piece with my companion of course!) which is a scallop roll (with fake crab too.. see more about that below) covered with avocado and mango and a really delicious (though not identified on their menu) sauce that I really liked.

The upsides and downsides

While I really enjoyed my meal, my companion was a little less impressed I think, largely because of the mix up with her roll.  I was happy with the prices and with the food, as well as the service, but I didn’t like two things…

1) The temperature

It was super-cold inside of Sushi Star! With no double-door system, and not even a bend to break up the incoming cold winter winds, it was mighty cold inside.  This wouldn’t be nearly so much of a problem in nicer weather, but we visited during a chilly patch in mid-December, so it was pretty uncomfortable at times.

2) Pollock filler

I understand that pollock (or that fake crab stuff..) is an inexpensive fish, but I really didn’t like that they used pollock as ‘filler’ in what was advertised as a ‘scallop roll’. I would have at least expected the roll to be advertised as a ‘scallop and fake crab’ roll instead of being advertised as a scallop roll – where I expect just scallops!

Our receipt from Sushi Star

Our receipt from Sushi Star

One of the sights I went to see while in Vancouver was the Bright Nights light display on Stanley Park. So pretty!

Bright Nights light display in Stanley Park

Bright Nights light display in Stanley Park

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!

Sushi Star on Urbanspoon

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2014 in Out of town - BC, Sushi, Uncategorized

 

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Vancouver: Juno Vancouver Sushi Bistro

Vancouver: Juno Vancouver Sushi Bistro
Ikura from Juno in Vancouver (with a chopped scallop roll behind)

Ikura from Juno in Vancouver (with a chopped scallop roll behind)

As loyal Happy Sushi Belly readers probably know, Connie and I recently took a trip to Vancouver, and amoung other things, enjoyed some delicious (and much less expensive than Calgary!) sushi!

Juno was just one of the many places we visited, and I thought I’d share with you some of our experiences.

Located on Davie Street in Yaletown, Juno Vancouver Sushi Bistro (let’s just call it Juno for short…) is a tiny little sliver of a restaurant in a neighbourhood filled with coffee shops, a lovely little park, and towering apartments. Not far from our hotel, it was a great stop as I was heading back from Granville Island and Connie was heading out to meet up with friends.

Tuna sashimi from Juno in Vancouver, BC.

Tuna sashimi from Juno in Vancouver, BC.

I’ve loaded up photos of the menu below, but when I entered I slid into a tiny, tight-fitting booth to be joined by Connie a bit later. I ordered an order of tuna sashimi (lately I’ve been much more fond of tuna than salmon) which came with a bit of green decoration – including the seaweed salad at the bottom of the plate. I’ve had this once that I enjoyed, and every other time I’ve hated it… this was one of those later times so although I nibbled on the grated daikon, I had one bite of the seaweed and skipped the rest. Ew.  (Does anyone like seaweed salad? Let us know in the comments below – what’s the trick to this?)

Tuna sashimi from Juno in Vancouver, BC.

Tuna sashimi from Juno in Vancouver, BC.

Although the seaweed didn’t appeal to me, the tuna was delicious. It tasted fresh and fleshy, but super tender and flavourful too. Fantastic!

On the menu was also “live uni” (sea urchin).  I was curious – but almost every time I’ve had sea urchin I’ve been discussed by it (not just the flavour but more so the after-taste) so I wasn’t willing to wreck an otherwise wonderful meal just to satisfy curiosity…

Ikura from Juno in Vancouver

Ikura from Juno in Vancouver

I also ordered two pieces of Ikura (my beloved salmon roe) which was firm and tasty, though honestly it wasn’t anything super special. On the other hand.. the scallop roll was fantastic – so good that when I still had a sushi-shaped hole left to fill (oh sure, I could have looked for a dessert place, but what would be the fun in that?) I opted for a second!

Juno's chopped scallop roll (I asked them to hold the cucumber though!)

Juno’s chopped scallop roll (I asked them to hold the cucumber though!)

I asked for no cucumber in my scallop roll (I find it overpowers the delicate flavour of the scallop) and it was perfect – with lovely tasting scallop and perfectly sized sushi bites. I’m getting hungry for good Vancouver sushi just writing about it!

Other thoughts

If you haven’t already picked up the impression, Juno is a super-tiny spot. It’s a squeeze to get into a seat, and an even tighter squeeze to use the restroom. If you have mobility challenges or just are feeling a little bit claustrophobic, you might want to opt for take-out or another local sushi place instead of taking a seat.

The service was prompt and efficient, but not super friendly. The reviews on Urban Spoon seem to be mixed, but we had a good time and enjoyed the food; just not the cramped-feeling atmosphere.

A few more photos
I took a few more photos with my iPhone – take a look! You can see any of the photos larger by clicking them.

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Not far from Juno is The Elbow Room, a neat diner that I’ll be blogging about in a week or so… stay tuned, or click the Vancouver Tag to see all of our posts from our favorite (and forgetable) places to eat in Vancouver.

Have your own thoughts about Juno? Add them to the comments below!
Juno Vancouver Sushi Bistro on Urbanspoon

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2014 in Out of town - BC, Sushi

 

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Sushi: UBU Lounge

After checking out Market Collective’s 5th Anniversary event at the Mewata Armoury in July, Connie and I were keen for some sushi. It would be the first real sushi (as in, not fast-food take-out sushi!) that I’d have since returning from Finland, and since we were already downtown, I was keen to try some of the places I’d read about on UrbanSpoon.

UBU Lounge was not disappointing!

I’ll admit, we were a bit hesitant when we entered the lounge to see we were the only customers there… even throughout our visit, I think I only saw one other customer come in, but luckily we still had excellent service and good sushi in a gorgeous location.

Location

UBU Lounge is located in the historic Grand Theatre, a building first built in 1912. In it’s heyday, The Grand (previously known as the Sherman Grand Theatre and the Sherman Grand Opera House) attracted stars like Sandra Bernhardt, George Burns, Fred Astaire, Ethel Barrymore and the Marx Brothers. Nellie McClung, Prime Minister Robert Borden, and Premier William Aberhart also spoke at political events hosted in the Theatre. It was once the biggest and best (and most modern) theatres in the Pacific Northwest. In 2004, the Grand was slated for demolition. Not far from the Grand is the towering Bow Building, and the small complex which houses the theatre along with retail and residential space is dwarfed by it’s glass and steel neighbours. Theatre Junction made a $12 million bid to save the Grand with a significant donation from Calgary philanthropist Jackie Flanagan and support from Calgary citizens, corporations, and all levels of government. The space is now known as Theatre Junction Grand, and presents new, experimental, and interdisciplinary art while maintaining the original architecture.

UBU Lounge is just one of several retail businesses on the ground floor of the Grand, including a coffee shop and their sister restaurant, the burger and wine bar Black Betty. We entered the lounge through the building’s main entrance, headed up the few stairs, went down the hall, and arrived at the dimly-lit lounge. UBU felt like a lounge with few people in it, though I imagine when it’s full it feels more like a nightclub with red lighting, an upstairs mezzanine, and high-end furnishings.

Of course, that dim lighting also meant it was really hard to get good photos!

Not just sushi

UBU Lounge specializes not just in sushi, but offers a “fresh take on traditional Asian” cuisine. While we were there for the sushi, we noticed that they had a number of other dishes if you happen to be dining with a non-sushi lover. They call their selections “Asian Avant Garde” though we didn’t find that the description or presentation overshadowed the food. (I really hate it when there’s more words on the menu than there is food on my plate….)

Still, despite the menu options, we were a bit hesitant.. after all, an empty restaurant is usually empty for a reason. We ordered one roll each to “give it a try” and realized that our worries were for naught – the food was wonderful. (Of course, this meant a second roll each was ordered to complete our meal!)

UBU Lounge menu

UBU Lounge menu

Our rolls

Hopefully Connie will chime in with her own experience and impressions of UBU Lounge, but just in case she forgets, I’ll try to share with you my thoughts on all of our rolls (of course, she tried some of mine and I tried some of hers!)

Roasted Duck Roll

Roasted duck roll from UBU Lounge

Roasted duck roll from UBU Lounge

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Posted by on August 17, 2013 in Downtown Calgary, South-West Calgary, Sushi

 

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Sushi: I Love Sushi in Edmonton

Of course, when I go out of town, sushi is on my mind! When I was up in Edmonton for a music festival that I mentioned in a previous post, I didn’t just go out for sushi once, but twice with friends! My first trip out was to Kyoto, but my second was to I Love Sushi – a drastic difference.

I Love Sushi in Edmonton

I Love Sushi in Edmonton

While Kyoto had clean, modern decor, I Love Sushi is cute, and economical – the kind of place that I imagine caters more to people swinging by to pick up sushi for lunch or dinner and taking it out, rather than dining in.  The seating is minimal, and even though there were only three tables of customers in there (the space would seat about three times that number) it still felt a little cramped or crowded. Still, some of my favorite places have been more ‘hole in the wall’ than ‘fine dining’ so I was still up for a delicious meal with great company!

I Love Sushi in Edmonton

I Love Sushi in Edmonton

I ordered an order of tuna sashimi, and two pieces of chop chop – the chopped scallop and tobiko sushi that in Calgary we call a ‘special scallop’.  The chopped scallop was fantastic (although they had that silly little ‘tail’ of nori which I always pick off – with it on there there’s just too much sticky seaweed for my taste!) with great taste and perfect quantity.  The sashimi on the other hand was really disapointing.  When it came, it visually looked mushy. It actually still LOOKED partially frozen (although it wasn’t) and when I ate it, the very small pieces also felt and tasted mushy.  I like a nice, firm but tender piece of tuna, and this wasn’t it.  This was super-cheap maki quality tuna, not sashimi quality tuna as far as I was concerned.

I Love Sushi in Edmonton

I Love Sushi in Edmonton

So, the food itself was a bit of a mix… with that being said, the service was friendly and prompt – a great trait for take-out sushi.  I did have a bit of a frown to their washrooms though – there was no paper in the ladies, so I used the mens which had no coat hooks or anything, and smelled bad.  However, the washrooms are not just for the resturaunt, but also for the little health food store beside it – so likely not the resturuant’s responcibility but rather the responciblity of the landlord.

I Love Sushi in Edmonton

I Love Sushi in Edmonton

My conclusion; although it wouldn’t be my first choice to visit again, I Love Sushi is worth checking out for a quick sushi bite. I went around 3pm on a Tuesday, but I read on UrbanSpoon that they’re pretty busy during the lunch hour, so I expect that their goal is to be a quick pop-in or take-out option for those working downtown 9-5.

I Love Sushi in Edmonton

I Love Sushi in Edmonton

I Love Sushi
(780) 428-0606
10106 105 St NW
Edmonton, AB

I Love Sushi on Urbanspoon

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2013 in Out of town - Alberta, Sushi

 

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