Saturday, September 3, 2011

More Samples Please

Welcome to the 2011 edition of F-Log for Thought's adventure at the Taste of Calgary. Click here for the entry from last year. And as always, this is posted several weeks after the event is over so you're probably jonesing for that thing that I ate and you passed on because you weren't sure if will be taste good or not but now it's too late. 

After a short relaxing 14k run with Maria on Sunday morning, I decided to check out the Taste of Calgary at Eau Claire after a quick shower. For those who have never been, Taste of Calgary occurs every year around the middle of August. Various restaurants around town congregate in the courtyard area at Eau Claire Market to serve up tasty samples of their menu. It is the perfect time to try out that restaurant you've been eyeing but couldn't commit to eating a full order of that thing they serve. All items are sold for tickets (They don't want your dirty money) ranging from 1 to 5 tickets each. Tickets can be purchased for $1 each at various booths on site. A tip from a Taste of Calgary veteran: Don't line up with the other ten thousand people at the entrance to get your tickets. There's probably a vendor around the corner twiddling their thumb longing for social interaction. Remember: time spent in line is time spent not eating delicious food. The exception to this rule is when you are lining up for delicious food. But only because they sell out sometimes. There's a variety of non food vendors but this is a food blog so we'll skip right on over to what you came here for. 

Back again this year is Nubian Express. They were sold out of many of their popular items last year so I made my way there first this time around. Small sample dishes were set out to show what was what. I had an order of coconut rice with beef and a separate order of plantain. To be completely honest, I think I enjoyed the chicken from last year better. The chicken didn't look as appetizing this year. Taste wise, the beef was decent but it was a little on the thin side. The plantain were cut up into small pieces this year rather than serving them as giant blobs of deliciousness from last year. Texture was a little crispier. For a total of seven tickets, that was a pretty significant increase from last year (40% increase). I wish my salary increased by that much. 8 stars out of 10 for both the coconut rice with beef and plantain. Photo of the chicken in the second photo below.

Pacific Hut was the next vendor I hit up. I had an order of BBQ pork skewer (Second photo, if there was any doubt about that). It was very flavourful. It may have been a tad undercooked... I'm still kicking so it was probably alright. To wash it down, I had a refreshing sago and gulaman beverage (First photo). It was sweet and syrupy. Nice and cold. Perfect for a hot summer day! Best of all? It only cost one ticket. So I doubled fisted it like a champ. 5 and 9 stars out of 10 for the pork skewer and beverage respectively. 

Next up - Delicious Thai. We hit the lines as I was finishing my tasty drink. The line was fairly long. When I got to the front, I placed my order. "One Pad Thai please!" The lady opened the tray to reveal a couple pieces of scraps left. That should have been my cue to order something else. But I wanted my Pad Thai. And to be honest, I am most definitely regretting it. My bowl consisted of mostly tofu, a couple of pieces of noodles, sprouts and a nice garnish of crushed peanuts (that was all me though). It was a little on the dry side. I was expecting it to be a bit more moist. Taste wise, it was ok. I think it was mostly because I had the bottom of the barrel scraps. : ( 6 stars out of 10. 

Coconut curry chicken was one of many dishes offered by La Jawab (I got a weird warning message when I checked out their website but it's totally legit). Upon ordering, a spoon full of the orange gobbly goop was slapped onto a styrofoam plate. I know what you are all thinking "Sick David! That looks like a plate of your own vomit!" But I can assure you that it was in fact sweet tasty coconut curry chicken! The meat was tender and the sauce was super fragrant and delicious. I wish there was rice so I could soak up all the tastiness. Wouldn't do that if it was vomit, that's for sure! 8 stars out of 10. 

I've been to loungeburger a few times in the past and despite the massive lineup, I decided to check out their curry lamb meatballs. Each little meatball cost 2 tickets. Although it was pretty delicious, I thought it was a bit overpriced. Served over a mango chutney, the goat cheese stuffed meatball is finished off with a tandoori aioli and a fancy cocktail stick (The kind I didn't want to throw on the BBQ). The meat was firm but not hard. 6 stars out of 10. 

My last stop of the day (for savory items anyway) was Pegasus Greek Restaurant. I had the Spanakopita with tsatziki. This savory pastry features a flaky shell. Taking a bite revealed the tasty spinach and feta cheese stuffing. So good! 7 stars out of 10. 

I finished off Taste of Calgary 2011 with a moijto from Soho Bar and Grill. After an sizzling afternoon of greasy foods, my bevy was extra refreshing. Mmmmm... So good! 10 out of 10. 

Taste of Calgary 2011 was decent. There was a lot of repeat vendors from previous years serving similar, if not the same, items from before. Like Ric's Grill. I'm fairly certain this is the third year in a row that they've served the peppercorn New York Strip. It's not bad... But some new dishes would be nice... *hint hint*

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