Yup, it’s that time of the year again! Are you ready for this year’s list? It was soooooooo difficult pinpointing down to just 10 items but it’s gotta be done! I list these items because I think they’re all must try’s!
Update: I no longer recommend Papa Shunde. Even though my family and I are frequent, loyal diners, the owners are cheap and nickel and dime you. I’ll spare you the boring bits, but they pretty much lost our loyal business over $2.
Any dish at Papa Shunde Chinese Restaurant This restaurant has quickly became my go to Chinese restaurant whether it’s for lunch (weekend only) or dinner, and I frequent there quite a bit since I live only 15 minutes away. The food here has a hometown feel to it, and it’s not Westernized so you will not find ginger beef, almond chicken and the likes here. I think all of their dishes are tasty and done well – plus service is really good! I know right? Great service at a Chinese restaurant? Oh and if you come for dinner, their tofu dessert (complimentary) after your meal is seriously best in the city!
2. Braised Eggplant at Long’s vs. Eggplant Wontons at downtownfood
I love eggplant and I will eat it anyway that’s cooked, and my two favorites (I couldn’t pick one) were definitely these two. Long’s version is perfectly cooked chunks in a sweet soy bean sauce while downtownfood slices them up to paper thin, wraps it around a blob of goat cheese and then it gets lightly deep fried. Just simply delectable.
3. Korean Fried Chicken at Yum Yum Chicken & BBQ
Korean fried chicken differs from your usual fried chicken being that it is fried twice, so the end result is perfectly crispy chicken with much less grease. I’ve tried the hot & spicy, shallot chicken and original crispy (with a side of their yum yum sauce) and my favorite is still the shallot chicken with it’s own tasty blend of spices. And if Airdrie is too far of a drive for you, there’s a second location in Bowness!
4. Calamari at Sabroso Restaurant
Definitely the best calamari I’ve had in Calgary this year. The calamari pieces are cross cut resulting in a tender but still crunchy bite with no stringy fibres. They are coated in an absolutely flavorful blend of spices and lightly fried, then served with a wasabi lime mayo. Hmmmmmm!
5. Kari Ayam at Indonesian Kitchen
Rich chicken curry with a predominant taste of coconut milk, the flavors are quite exquisite. This is not just your usual curry powder or paste and not comparable to other ethnic variations either. I can only say… this is the best curry ever!
6. Warm Dark Chocolate Pudding, Salted Caramel Ice Cream at NOtaBLE
No, it is not strange to include a dessert on here, especially when I am a huge dessert person! Salted caramel is my latest favorite flavor of almost anything and NOtaBLE makes a delicious, velvety ice cream of it. Paired with a luscious but not overly sweet chocolate pudding cake, this has got to be my most favorite dessert I’ve tried this year.
7. Laksa at Tropical Delight Noodle House
Since I’ve never traveled to SE Asia, I can’t vouch how authentic the laksa here is but I do know one thing – I am strangely addicted to it and crave for it constantly. It is served mildly spicy but you can ask for it to be extremely spicy (I heard them said something like the equivalent to four peppers on a Chinese takeout menu). The blend of spices is just enough for me, and the addition of the creamy coconut milk makes this a perfect meal for a cold day.
8. Housemade Brisket at NYC Deli
Al the meats at NYC Deli are smoked from high quality meat, in house, and then thinly sliced and piled to your desire weight onto a sandwich. So far I’ve tried their brisket, rib-eye and Montreal smoked meat and although they are all equally delicious, I am partially drawn to the brisket. It is super tender, flavorful and not too salty – I can eat a pound of it on its own!
9. Brome Lake Duck Breast at The Ranche
Seared duck breast is sinfully delicious, and the one served at this restaurant is one I want to keep eating over and over again. We all know orange pairs extremely well with duck, and the sauce that the restaurant has created is just simply amazing. Sweet, citrus-y, light and orange-y but it doesn’t take away the main flavors of the fatty duck.
10. Roasted Beet Salad at Parkerhouse
Although I’m not crazy about the service at this restaurant, I can’t deny that their roasted beet salad was definitely the best I’ve tried this year. The lingonberry vinaigrette really brings all the components together and I love the addition of the candied walnuts throughout the salad which adds some sweet crunchiness to the whole salad.
Honorable mention: Sushi Club KZ
I only discovered this gem around April of this year, and they decided to close abruptly in October… I’m still pretty sad about it. However, without a doubt, I’ve had some of my best sushi meals there this year due to the fact that they have occasional special fishes flown in. Everything is fresh, prepared skilfully and tasty. The staff were all friendly and wonderful and it didn’t take long for them to remember my name.
There you have it! Here’s to more happy eating in 2014! 🙂