Sunday, June 16, 2013

Tilted What? Where?

If you're from Calgary you might remember Bob the Fish.  Or you may have lived here all your life and never even heard of the place.  Don't worry, you're not alone.  And besides, this isn't a blog about Bob the Fish, its about Tilted Kilt, the American chain that bought the building and renovated extensively .

I can't put my finger on what the company is going for... Hooters with plaid skirts and better food?  The girls who work there are pretty.  Pretty Stupid.   And I suppose I am using the term "work" loosely.  So its a lot of pretty girls standing around chatting while you get more and more frustrated about the lack of service.  Good start right??

We run in from the rain and at first, I'm very impressed by the renos.  It literally is a whole new place inside. (For those unaware, Bob the Fish would be in the bottom rung of our Dive Bar list... it was that ghetto).  We hover near the host stand, assuming someone would be up to seat us.  A few minutes later, we are thisclose to seating ourselves, when finally someone comes over "have you guys been helped?"   Oh, yes, we have a table, we just prefer to stand in the doorway people watching until our food arrives.   For god sake.   There were only a handful of tables left, most of them by the door (one oddly behind the host stand all alone) and she asked us if we had a preference.  I asked to have one over yonder and if she could clean it off.  She said yes, off she went.   Okay.  Oh.  Wait.  What?  What's happening?   She's cleaning a different table.  It's ALREADY clean.   She actually walked around in circles, made the effort to get a cloth, and then cleaned a clean table. Holy shit.    I can't even type this without laughing to myself.

Moving on.  We sat at the one she had made such an effort for, with no fuss.  Let's just get a beer and relax.
...many many minutes later...

M: 5 minutes and we're leaving.
T: Ya.  I felt that way 5 minutes ago.

Oh finally... I think our countdown was at 25 seconds and we had someone come over.  Again with the same question as the hostess asked.   What is wrong with this place??  I understand that I'm a bit sensitive, because I'm in the industry, but this is ridiculous.   Fortunately she's very quick with the beers and has some helpful answers about our menu questions.    Our beers are fast, cold, and on special.  Good deal.  We settled on Mozzarella Sticks and a pound of the " famous " grilled wings tossed in the special Tilted Kilt sauce.   Our food arrived in a timely fashion (which clearly I'm surprised by) and it was mediocre at best. The mozzarella sticks were of the frozen variety.  Now bear with me.  I wasn't expecting homemade mozza sticks, but the least you can do, is when they are cooking, separate them!   When you deep fry frozen food it clumps together unless you do some preventative shuffling.  Of my ten sticks, probably 6 of them were cooked together like conjoined twins.  And, they were tiny.  Gosh, so disappointed.  But because it's deep fried cheese I ate them anyway.  M's wings are just alright.  Not the best, not the worst.  Just average, but the special sauce was supposed to be the star.  It was 't, and if anything it was confusing.  Sort of like BBQ sauce, sort of sweet.  He can't put his finger on it.  I attempt to identify the mystery sauce and also come up short.  Who the hell knows?

My biggest beef with Tilted Kilt is the washrooms.  It's downstairs, and beautiful, but my issue is the staircase.  It is very narrow, and very steep.  The kind of scary that makes us high-heel wearing folk a little worried.  Especially if you're out on the town and have had a martini or 4.  With all of the other renovations they did, they maybe could have moved the washrooms to the main level.  Now, I'm in no position to give construction advice, but I wonder how easy that could have been.  What will happen when a girl falls down the stairs?

We go to 17th Ave pretty often, and we have many more places to try before coming back to Tilted Kilt.  Sorry. Your cold, cheap beers just aren't enough to keep us coming back.

Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery on Urbanspoon

Dive Bar Date Night

There aren't many things I love more than my dog and my husband.   See that?  Husband?  Yup, we tied the knot two weeks ago today, on the beach in Santa Monica, California!  So he gets upgraded from "bf" to "hubby" going forward :)
Focus, Tammy.

Okay, so we know I also love beer and deep fried food.  And you know who always has lots of that?  Dive bars.  The hole-in-the-wall, run down, neighbourhood strip mall type of place.   I am so excited when we check out a new place that M found, over in his old stompin' grounds.

Bally's Bar and Grill.  It is everything you expect from a dive bar, including the neon beer signs and the questionable entrance way.  Perfect for our Date Night :)

The area isn't bad, it's right on 14th street just north of the Bankview area, but the clientele is a bit less than desirable.  Works for us though, we're there for draft beer and deep fried cheese.  The other guests of the bar are just for our entertainment!  We like to count the mullets, make fun of cut off t-shirts and guess the age of the raggedy bartender.  Good fun I tell ya, but right now I need to take it all in.   The Flames are on TV and the nightly event is Karaoke at 9pm.  Sounds like a pretty fun night out!  A horrible lay out though I have to admit.  A lot of seats at the bar, a bunch of pool tables, and an upstairs level that has some arcade games and the karaoke set-up.  So we're left with a small group of tables a little squished together, but it will do.  Saturday night food specials (which are rare) is "most appy's 7 bucks".   Wicked deal!  I, presumably, get the Potato Skins, and M goes outside the box a bit with the "Chips with Apricot Aioli".    Ooohh fancy.

My skins are perfect... just what you expect when you order deep fried potato and cheese :D  Yummy.  And M's chips are awesome.   He cleaned the plate, devoured them.   He really loved them.  Or maybe he was just very hungry?   Nope, I've confirmed he loved them.   He actually keeps talking about them, even though we ate there three months ago!

Because we were doing a bit of a pub crawl, we had to move on from Bally's before the hockey game ended and before the karaoke began (shucks) so no clue how great the late night crowd is... I'd be willing to bet it's a bit questionable.  If you happen to be in the area and need a cold one, stop in.  You won't regret it.

However, heading down 14th street to Mugs Pub & Grill, you'd probably regret it.  Keep in mind this is Dive Bar Date Night so we are fully prepared for hilarity.  From the outside it looks just right, but inside you begin to question your decision.  The U-shaped bar in the middle holds some of the
sketchier people we've come across and the giant mirrors on the walls give the illusion of it being a much bigger place.  But also, they are deceiving because you don't notice that its a mirror until you run face first into it.  Damnit.

We were looking for a quiet-ish place to have some wings and a pint, and at 930pm on a Saturday night we were one of three tables in the bar.  No worries about too noisy here.    Our server takes a while to come over, and is seemingly quite nonchalant about her job.  Doesn't exactly know the answers to our questions (about parking in the lot out front/towing issues) and takes her sweet time bringing us our beers.  To her credit (?) she claimed she was new, but in this city, servers are a dime a dozen.  And I don't think Mugs is a decent enough place to keep staff long term.

Oh  I love beer in Honeycomb Mugs.   Not.   I don't know why, or what it is, I just hate them.  It's not 1989 anymore people, buy new glassware!   So our wings come, they're cheap and small, just right for this kind of dive bar.  But they're just gross really.   M has been adventurous tonight and also ordered a French Onion Soup.  Brave, I tell ya.   Surprisingly, he really likes it.   I don't think it's the best he's ever had, but he ate it all.  Couldn't have been horrible then!  We decide we can't handle the trashy atmosphere anymore and need to get out of here.  We settle up as fast as we can, but keep in mind our server is slow as all get out, so just paying the bill is a bit painful.

Overall, Date Night is a great success!   We found a new dive bar that isn't worth it, and one that totally is!  It won't be our last adventure to the Dive Bar theme, there's a hundred more in this city!  Can't wait to discover the next best one.  Right now Bally's is in the lead, cheap bear and apricot aioli!  Stop, you're making me hungry!!

Ballys Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Mugs Pub on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Finally, a new pub in the south!!

As we all know by now, I don't have a lot to do at work. This means I get to spend upwards of seven hours a day playing on the internet! Sounds amazing, right? It is. And it isn't. My eyes hurt by the end of the day, but more often then not I've found either a new recipe or a new pub. This past weekend we finally got to try out the newest member of the Mill Group Pub Company, Kildares Ale House.  MGPC also owns Barley Mill, Rose & Crown and Muldoons, and to be honest, I am not a fan of any of those restaurants, so I'm a bit leery. I am also being surprised by this outing! Our conversation that afternoon revolves around what food do we have in the fridge, what of those options do we feel like cooking, and where would we go if we decided against the comforts of home.

Well, my fabulous husband to be remembers that the new pub in our neighbouring community of Silverado has opened recently and we've both been wanting to go. I'm pretty sure it opened in the beginning of February and for some reason it has taken us this long to get over there for a pint...let's not make that mistake again! This place is great!!! From the outside it looks a big bigger than it is, and the parking lot looked sort of busy, so on a Sunday night at dinner time we expected it to be much busier than it was. Once inside we notice that it's much smaller than you would imagine, and significantly less busy than the cars would have you believe. I think we were the 8th table in the whole place and the longer we stayed the more it emptied out. But I think that made our experience even better to be honest.

We both recognized the bartender, but couldn't place where from, and once our "Flames Game Daily Special" beers were poured we say to him "you look really familiar" at nearly the exact moment he says the same thing to us! Good, we're not crazy! Turns out he was a bartender over at Windsor Rose (our very close to home and all too frequent hang out). We get to talking, catch his name, and then he regales us with his stories of being a Calgary Firefighter as his day job! That sure passes the time for us, and I hope it did for him too. We might have been one of his three tables all night.

I suppose I should get in to the reason we're Fairly big draft selection. Luckily for me they have Canadian and Keiths on tap! That doesn't happen often!  But for the more adventurous folk there's many more to chose from and also, a scotch menu that's probably 50 deep. Oddly enough M doesn't order a scotch and instead gets a tequila and  later on, an amaretto (pfffttsssshhhh, we're not drinking on a work night...).

We are taking our time ordering dinner, but we decide to start with an appy and this one practically calls our name. Garlic Truffle Frites: Shoestring fries drizzled with white truffle oil, slivered fresh garlic, cracked black pepper and Grana Padano Parmesan cheese.
This presentation is great!  Piled high in a tall metal tube-thingy.  Doesn't matter.  Just get the fries.   The huge chunks of shaved parmesan, oh the warm small chunks of garlic... ohhhh.  These are awesome.  I ask M what he thinks, and specifically, are they better than Palomino's Garlic Fries?   I say yes, they are better, he says sort of.    He's a man of few words.   I manage to get out of him that the taste isn't exactly better (even though it's still awesome), but they are much more realistic for an appetizer   The one from Palominos' are so huge and filling that it's a bit tricky to consider them an appy.

A beer or two later we go for the entree order and I, presumably, ask for a steak sandwich.
Black Angus Steak Sandwich:   A tender 7oz Certified Black Angus sirloin is grilled to your liking then topped with sautéed mushrooms and crisp onion strings. Served on garlic pan bread.
Now that sounds delicious! (Minus the onions and mushrooms)   When it comes out, I'm a little bit disappointed.  The steak looks good but it's much closer to med-well (I ordered it med-rare).   I have to try to forgive the kitchen because it looks like a striploin, and striploins seem to always be overcooked.   I guess I'm accustomed to a sirloin being a thicker, rounder, more ball shaped cut, and this one was long and flat.  Look, I'm not a butcher, I just eat a lot of steak.  It still tasted great (or I was just very hungry and was determined to finish it!).  Where I was lost even more though is on the fries.  They were a large, thick cut fry, and princess here doesn't like thick cut fries.  I actually was expecting them to be the same shoestring fries they used in the appy, just minus the good stuff.  In hindsight I will ask for the shoestrings, and happily pay the difference.  Hell I might just order the appetizer fries as my side dish!!  I will confess to not eating any of the sauteed mushrooms, and handed those all over to M.  He liked them so much that he says he will order the steak sandwich one day, and say no onions extra mushrooms.   That's great news, because I loved the crispy onion strings, so I'll take his portion on my plate!  Great team work there babe!!

M's dinner was the Hearty Beef & Barley Soup: A rich hearty broth of beef sirloin, carrot, onions and celery finished with pearl barley and Smokey chipotle peppers. Served with a sharp cheddar cheese stick.  Maybe I just didn't see it, but I don't remember a cheese stick.  Strange.  Anyway, the portion size is a little small for what we would consider a large soup (but we are also spoiled by Windsor Rose's soup, because it is ginormous!).  Next thing I know M is done his soup!  I am assuming he liked it and I get a very generic response.   I chuckle and jokingly ask for a better description than that.  I get "it was good, I'd give it an 8".  OK, Tam, that's the best you're gonna get on this one, so trust it.

Let me tell you a story about Kildares.
One time we went there for dinner on Sunday.  It was so great we returned on Tuesday night for dinner.
The end. :)

Kildares Ale House on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Burgers for Breakfast Round Two!

We went on a little burger bender the other month after our Clive Burger experience.  Hey, it's not our fault so many new burger joints have opened up!

This one has a bit of a different background to it though. 

Again, a Sunday and we are super lazy to get up and out of the house.  By the time we drop the dog off at daycare it's past noon and I'm starving!!  We're up in the 'hood (ahem, the North East I mean) and have time to kill.  We might as well try SmashBurger while we're up here, it's been on the list for a long time now, but both locations are in the far north ends of the city. 

An American chain that has moved north, SmashBurger had rave reviews when it first opened and friends were saying we have to go try it.  I remember the news covering this opening and all the hoopla surrounding it.  I can only pray the traffic has calmed down even though we arrive right at lunch time.   Luckily it has, we're the only people in line!  Sweet.  I hate lines. 

Anyway, they provide little take out style menus for you to read before approaching the counter, or look up on the giant wall menu behind the counter.  Same thing goes as Clive: figure it out, place your order, get your number to sit down and wait.  Phew - glad I've figured out the ordering process.  We both ordered a classic burger as we wanted this to be about the patty itself.   Because it felt like I wasn't really trying anything new, I did order the Chili Cheese fries, and M got the Smash Fries (rosemary, garlic and olive oil).   Turns out, I should have read the menu.  My fries are covered in chili and cheese - but also onions and jalapenos!  Shit.  So there I sit for the first five minutes trying to pick off any hint of yuckies, while M dives into his.

After all that effort, I am ready to eat my burger!  Ouch!  Damn it.  Burned my tongue on the burger grease.  That stuff is like napalm. (And, they are not licensed, so no beer to help with the sore tongue!)  Well I guess I have to resort to my fries now, and let my burger cool off.   Tasty stuff those fries.  Crispy and perfectly cooked.  Not even soggy considering all the toppings on them.  M says his garlic fries remind him a lot of the Fries & Dolls food truck.  They're good, they aren't great.  He loves his burger though.  A LOT.  It was at one point up for debate if this is his favourite one.  I think his consensus was he liked the patty itself better than Clive, but the toppings and atmosphere of Clive still make them the winner.  

Once mine cooled down enough to finish, I was pretty disappointed.  Not only did it fall apart in my hands, it didn't have that "je ne sais quois".   It was just a burger.  I've had way better, I've had way worse.

I can't say that I'll go back.  There's still a bunch more burger joints we haven't tried yet, and I'll for sure try those before giving SmashBurger another chance.

Smashburger on Urbanspoon

Burgers and Beer for Breakfast

When M tells me he's got a plan, I am usually okay with whatever he has in mind.  And in this case he was bang on.

Clive Burger is a pretty new joint on 17th ave and I would assume it's very busy at peak times.  Normally this would make me avoid it like the plague, but seeing that it was 11am on a Sunday I figured we were ahead of the hangover crowd.  When we arrived there was only a few people in line ahead of us, which turns out to be a good thing.  Being newbies we were unsure of the ordering process so we got to follow the lead of those in front.  There is a huge menu on the wall that lists all the meat options, topping choices and side dishes.  Figure out what you want then proceed to the cash to ring it in and pay.  They give you the little flashy-light pager that restaurants use and you grab a spot to wait.  It's vibe is a wee bit hipster, but new and fresh.  Music could be less hipster, but that's just my personal taste.  It's always fun to sit at the bar/counter and watch all the food being made and this place is no exception.  One thing that stood out to me is that everyone seemed to really enjoy their jobs, and that creates a cool environment.

We both ordered the beef burger, with cheese and with Clive Sauce, but M added an extra patty and some mushrooms, and maybe an egg(?).  Not sure what exactly is in the Clive Sauce, and I'm sure they'd have to kill me if they told me, but it's yummy!  My best guess is ketchup, mayo and spices.  And love.  When I went for my first bite I mumbled to myself  "Clive burger, don't let me down".

T: Ya know, it's just ok.
M: Really?  I love it.
T: Let me tell you my final thoughts once I'm done.
M: Mine is missing the mushrooms, but I don't care it's one of the best burgers I've ever had.

Well, way to go on forgetting the mushrooms guys, but you redeemed yourselves.  Because the french fries are incredible!!  They're fresh cut, and just like what you'd want to match a burger of this caliber.  And then you dip your fries in the Clive Sauce.  Then you're in heaven.  Golden and crispy but a few are oddly soggy...which it 100% okay.   (I don't think that description did it justice.. you'll have to go eat them to see what I mean).   Oh, yes they have beer, and yes we drank it.  A bit of a crafty-beer place, but enough variety to cater to anyone.  By the time we were finished the place was packed.  Clearly the hangover crowd stumbles out of bed at noon.

T: OK, you're right.  That was one of the best burgers I've had also, but for some reason it just took me a few bites to realize it.
M: So we're coming back?!!!
T: Absolutely, just not during the Sunday hangover rush :)

Clive Burger 17th on Urbanspoon

Friday, January 11, 2013

It's on the train line!

I know it has been a very long time since I wrote anything, so that means that there will be a bunch of new posts in the next few days!  I can feel your excitement from here!

Let's look back... look waaaaaaaaay back.    (Get it? The Friendly Giant?)

One October evening we found ourselves bored of the neighbourhood pub and needed to have a real proper date night.  As we know, I love the Urbanspoon app, and use it all the time to find new places to go.  Tonight was no exception.

I had heard of Palomino Smokehouse many times before, but could only remember that it was on 7th ave near the hotel.  Descriptive, I know.  But we find it easily, so I get out to find a table and M parks the car.  4 blocks away.  Stupid downtown parking.  The first thing that I notice is the bouncer at the door.  Strange, I think to myself, its only 7pm, and hand over my ID.  Speaking to big burly man dude I learn that there is a live band (shit) and he's there all night.  This makes me upset for two reasons. One I hate live music and two, I had called earlier about reservations/live music and was told by the employee that there is only live music on the downstairs level.  So as I'm waiting for M to get here I look around for a table in this seat yourself joint.  When I walk by the stage and see its a dude with a guitar, I relax.  Guitar dude I can handle.  Metal/Punk rockers I cannot.

It took me a full 10 minutes to decide where to sit, and we end up at the bar where it seemed less noisy.  Then little guitar man went on a break. Yahoo!  They have Pabst Blue Ribbon on tap! Double Yahoo!!  The first thing you notice when you walk in is the smell.  It is delicious.  Garlic and BBQ permeates the air, which really just makes you more hungry.  It worked, because as soon as we got our beers we put in an order of the Garlic Fries.  Menu description:

In sales?  Maybe you should pass on this one

They also should mention that if you plan on kissing anyone that night they must also eat the fries.  These are not light on the garlic.  Quite the opposite actually, drenched in garlic juice and smashed garlic, it's more like "would you like potatoes with your garlic".  Why yes, I do!

The service was a bit slow that night but for the most part it didn't bother us.  We weren't in a hurry, but having an empty beer mug gets old after a few minutes.  Bartender seemed quiet busy (most of the chairs were occupied) but he often wasn't even in the bar.  I might blame that on shift change, so they get a free pass on that one.  One thing that gives this place it's vibe is that the kitchen is totally open, so you can see, hear and smell the yummy food being made.  Sitting at the bar you're right there and you're tempted by every dish you see leaving the window.

I talked M into having the Catfish Po' Boy Sandwich with Corn Bread and Jack Daniel's Apples.  I was hoping for some down south home-cookin type dinner and it didn't disappoint.  The sandwich was a bit plain M says, and I feel bad for choosing that one, but the side dishes made up for that!  Corn Bread was amazing...maybe even better than Holy Smokes' corn bread (oh, that felt traitorous).  I recall M saying he would come back here and just eat the corn bread.  As an entree.  It was that good.  The apples though, were a bit of a surprise.    Sweet and saucy, just a hint of booze so it wasn't overwhelming.  Great meal all around for M, and there is just so much more to try next time!

My dinner, was a little bit different.  Of course :/  I had the Half Rack of Kansas City Pork Ribs and my sides were Bacon Wrapped Corn on the Cob and Smoked Cheddar Grits.  Yeah, you read that right I said grits.  When dinner is served I'm pretty stoked.  Big plate of ribs, and sure enough a cob of corn wrapped in bacon.  They do a great job of producing what the menu describes.  Too bad the menu doesn't describe the taste of grits.  It really should come with a warning.

The thing is, it looks like mashed potatoes.  Same colour, same consistency, but when you take a bite your brain starts firing on all cylinders.  "What the heck?" "Why is it crunchy?" 'Why is it mushy".  So many thoughts, so many questions.  I'm not even sure if I like it or not, I'm that confused.  I move on to the ribs just to get my mind off the bizzaro world that just happened with the grits.  For a half rack, this portion is huge!  They are flavourful, and not spicy (a lot of "house made" sauces are to me).  Wee bit tough, not as fall-off-the-bone as I'd like, but still good enough for me to love them!  In between bites of rib I chow down on the bacon wrapped corn.  It is everything you can image.  The bacon is great, because bacon always is.  But I found the corn a little lacking actually.  Overcooked a bit, so it's sort of mushy, and it didn't have a lot of flavour.  Probably because I'm expecting Taber quality corn at the end of October.  Now, when you eat the whole deal in one bite it's pretty much bacon/corn heaven.  So if you go, and order the corn, do not peel off the bacon then eat the corn.  Learn from my mistakes people.

I tried a few more bites of the grits but just can't wrap my head around it.  Good thing too, because M loved them!   He was eyeballing my plate and asking me if I was going to finish them.  Nope, not a chance, they're all yours.  But hey, I tried something new.  And although the texture was strange, the taste was good.  I'll try them again for sure, but maybe I'll reserve that for a trip to New Orleans.

I think at this point we were both in a bit of a food coma but the night is still young!  We hiked back to the car and decided that we should go play BINGO.  Too bad neither one of us knows how to play and by 11pm we were falling asleep.  Let's call it a night dear, I need to go have sweet dreams about bacon wrapped corn.

Palomino Smokehouse on Urbanspoon

Friday, October 19, 2012

Road Trip!!

Settle in my friends, this takes place over three days......

I was in dire need of a getaway over the summer and we just didn't get around to it.  But, since starting my new job though, I've discovered these things called Long Weekends!  Oh my!  I can have three days off in a row?!  Fabulous idea, and on top of that I earn Vacation Days.  What a big girl job I have hey?  So I packed my bags and we hit the road to Kelowna for four days, the weekend after Labour Day.

At the crack of dawn we are up, ready to begin our 6 hour drive, so after a stop at Timmy's we head west.   Are we there yet?  Now, M and I have traveled TWICE across the country in a car, but I still prefer to fly.  I'm loaded up with magazines, snacks and pop, but after hour 4 I'm antsy.  I want out of the car.  We did the usual stop in Golden for McDonald's, but that was hours ago!  I'm hungry!!

Our hotel was mediocre (this isn't a hotel review blog) so we dropped our stuff and went for a walk.  On the way around M was pointing out places he's eaten at before and things I might like.  There's a lot of restaurants in this city.  I can't decide, and we'd need to be here for weeks to try everything out.  But we pass by a pub that M hasn't been to and we go on in.  Patty O'Bryans / Carlos O'Bryans is a big family friendly Irish pub downstairs and a smaller roof top patio upstairs.  I bee-lined it for the patio.  M is not a fan of patios and so 99% of the time we're inside.   F that.  We are on vacation, and it's hot out, so sit your ass down was my thoughts on the topic.  Oh well, look at that, I can smoke on the patio.  I get that it's probably not why I should love the place, but hey, it's nice to be able to.  The server took a little while to come over, but I didn't mind.  I was too busy taking pictures of the view and looking around.  The menus crack me up!  The food menu is normal, plastic covered, but the drink menu - wow.  It's practically a book.  Probably 8 pages long, it lists every single drink they make.  Four pages of cocktails.  I guess in such a tourist town your server can't stand at your table for 10 minutes reciting drink choices.  She's way too busy, and you're way too indecisive.  Many of the drinks come in their own unique glassware including M's favourite Leprechaun Urine.  I was happier with a double Long Island Iced Tea.  Or four of them.  By now though I'm starving!  Let's Eat!

I'm trying to live a little here in Kelowna, and being on vacation I'll try new things.  So I ordered the pizza.  (Stop laughing, right now).  It was a Margarita Flatbread  and no, I've never had one of these before.

Margarita Flatbread
Vine ripened tomatoes, aged parmesan & marinara sauce baked on a stone crust and finished with a basil infused oil.

God Damn.  This is incredible.  F'ing great.  And even more adjectives that I won't bother you with.  The toppings were perfectly laid out, so you never had a bite of just one thing.  It was really big and after my first bite, dammit  I didn't want to share.  M should have got his own. Oh, the melted cheese, the crusty bread, the basil infused oil.  Also, I ate every single tomato on the plate.  I need to go back to Kelowna just to eat this flatbread again.  And again.  And again.  Time to leave though, we still have to have room for dinner.

After a short nap at the hotel it was about to be dinner time, and I was hungry.  That is what happens.  M was not.  That is also what happens.  We watched a movie and finally I was able to drag him out for dinner.  Turns out we are not spry young chickens any more and at 830pm I didn't want to venture far or stay out late.  The pub across the street fit the bill perfectly.  Surprisingly empty for that time of night on a Friday, but we got a table that was comfy and quiet, so I'm not complaining.  Doc Willoughby's is exactly what you want a pub to be, and to top it off they have a Roast Beef dinner special.  Oh heaven.  We didn't even need the menus.

T:  *to server* Two pints of Canadian, and two dinner specials please!
T:  *to M*  You can have my Yorkshire Pudding.
M:  What? You don't like them??!
T:   Nope, hate them... too much like a croissant, which you know I don't like.
M:  OK, well then you can have my broccoli.
See how well we work together? :)

Man, that was also delicious.  Huge portion, tons of gravy.  Just what you want when you're looking for some home cooking.  I licked my plate.  Well, no, but I was really damn close.  (I think I did the finger swipe through the plate then licked my finger).  I actually ate the remainder of M's plate.  Scored myself a good two more ounces of roast beef and gravy there, couldn't let that go to waste now could I?  So now, it's 10 o'clock on Friday night of vacation.  I'm going to bed.  So much more food to eat tomorrow!  Surprisingly Doc Willoughby's is doing a Pig Roast the next night!!  I wonder if we will eat dinner there two nights in a row?

You know what happens to me on vacation?  I wake up at the exact same time that I do for work.  7:00 am, on the dot, I'm up.  And I'm the kind who once they are up can't go back to sleep.  I play on my phone, I read, then I go check out the continental breakfast the hotel offers.  Fruit, toast, cereal, bagels.  Oh wait - no bagels, because the lady in front of me cut her bagel all fucked up now she's jammed the toaster.  It might be on fire.  Idiot. Moving on,  I get whatever I can fit on those dinky little plates they give you, and thank the lord for my years being a waitress.  I load everything up and head to the elevator.  Good thing I'm bendy because if it weren't for my toes to push the elevator button I was going to have to resort to using my tongue.  (if you're wondering why M isn't there to help me, it's because he's abnormal and can shut off his internal clock.  It's only 7:52 am don't forget, so he's still sleeping).

We hit the road later in the morning hoping for a cute little breakfast place.  Something you'd find on Triple D or YGEH.  No such luck apparently.  This town has a huge love for sushi and pubs, but I can't do that for breakfast.  I need some bacon & eggs in a bad way.  We stroll along the water hoping to just run into somewhere to eat.  Turns out, there isn't a whole lot of restaurants directly on the water.  So we end up at Rose's Waterfront Pub.  Fitting name I think to myself, but I also think they'll have a little breaky special, let's try it out.  This pub is enormous!!  Including the patio I'll bet it seats 500 people!  Super fast service, because we were there at 10:59 waiting for them to open.  The girl had nothing better to do than come over immediately.  But they don't have any breakfast.  Shit.   Now I'm being a little grumpy because, well, that's just how I am.   We don't think there is anywhere else to go, so I will shut up and order.  Ooh! Beef Dip!  We all know how I feel about that!

When it arrives my mood instantly changes.  This looks incredible.  An enormous portion of beef, added a little mozzarella cheese on there too for added gooey-ness.  The bun is so soft, no crusty crust that will tear open the roof of my mouth.  And the fries I upgraded to poutine.  Am I ever glad I did.  The fries on their own were very good, but when you add gravy and real cheese curds it just makes all the difference.  Wicked yummy.  There was no way I could finish my meal, so when M helped me out, even he was impressed.  As we've learned he's a man of few words, but he certainly agreed that this was probably the best Beef Dip/Poutine combo I've had.  Even though I wasn't a big fan of the city itself, there sure are some great places to eat, and Rose's is one of them.

Away we wander, me still thinking about that breakfast (lunch?), M wondering how he's going to have room for appy's when we meet up with a friend later in the day.  I remind him that we are going back to Patty O'Bryan's, and he decides he won't eat, he'll just have drinks.  Fine with me, then I don't have to share :)

This pub seems to be the place to go.  The patio is nearly full and we've got to find a table for three.  We did get one, right near the service bar, which was kind of neat.  Our server was always nearby and we could watch the bartenders make all kinds of concoctions.  Granted, I did see her cheat and read off the menu to find the ingredient she was missing.  But I can forgive - remember - 8 pages of drinks listed!   I can barely remember 8 kinds of vodka we serve.  On the recommendation of our server we ordered the Bacon Wrapped Scallops, and on our friends recommendation the Pachos.  Side bar:  I actually was disappointed with the lack of seafood in this city.  I was under the impression that being so close to the Pacific Ocean that there would be seafood all over the place.  Not true.  Sushi was it.  (We were told that Kelowna is very heavily influenced by Asians).  Sad panda.  I wanted lobster and crab legs, so would have to settle for scallops.

And they were just ok.  Could have had the same thing here in Calgary for the same price.  I can't even describe them to you because they were that non-distinguishable.  The Pachos on the other hand I recall very well.  Essentially lattice cut fries, covered in seasoning salt.  Sounds OK so far right?  Then they add Cheddar Cheese.  That's all, just cheese fries.  The dip they serve is called " a bowl of Emerald Isle ".  It's yellow-green, with flecks of green (don't ask me what) and didn't taste very good.  Although M and our friend devoured it, so I'm the odd man out here.  Even after we left M was still going on about how good the Pachos were.  Maybe he's on to something and I should try them again.  Or maybe I won't and I'll just order the flatbread again :).

Dinner time has arrived, and this time, we both aren't hungry.  After a long walk on the beach (lol) we settled in to watch a movie, planning on dinner afterwards.  By the time we get to the restaurant it's about 9pm and the host tells us there is an hour and a half wait.  WHAT??  At nine o'clock?!?  To be honest, I knew that was going to happen.  Raudz is the most happening place to eat in all of Kelowna.  I had read some reviews and had friends demand I go there.  But sorry guys, not going to wait that long at that time of night.  The Keg is next door, and there is no wait.   I'm a bit sad that we don't get to eat at Raudz, but I know that The Keg has crab legs.  Alright, I'm in.  (I have a thing where, on a trip,  I don't like to eat at a place we have in Calgary - could have just stayed there and eaten at The Keg).   But it was lovely, my steak was perfect, my crab legs were buttery. Yum.  No need to write too much on The Keg.  Except to point out that after our server took our order we didn't see her again until we paid the bill.  That's crappy service.  With a full belly we contemplated going over to this bluesy type bar we saw for some drinks.  Then we contemplated going back to the room and sleeping off our food babies.  Guess which one happened?

During our afternoon stroll the day before we had stumbled on to not one, but three breakfast places!!  Why couldn't I have seen those the other morning?  The Bohemian Cafe is the one I had picked out as my bacon & egg savior for the next morning and we were up and at 'em bright and early.  (Remember my 7 am alarm clock?)  We were checking out that morning, so even M had to get up early.  Car packed and I was ready to go!  Breakfast!  My favourite meal - thanks mom!  The wait wasn't too long, maybe only ten minutes, but with such a big, inviting interior time passed quickly people watching and reading the fun wall art.  I needed some chocolate milk stat.  When I asked for the biggest possible glass our server chuckled.  I was dead serious.  I did get a large glass, but when she joked about bringing me the carton I was sad she didn't.  She had no idea I would gladly have paid for, and drank, an entire 1L carton.  I just love milk.  A lot.

Right, breakfast, sorry-milk rant.  Food was delicious.  Free-range eggs (not that I give a crap) and bacon and toast and hashbrowns.  Are we seeing  trend in my breaky choices?  I noticed there was no jam caddy on the table, but a jar of what I would assume is strawberry jam.  I thought I was being so brave to try it.  Shit.  That is good jam.  I ate every single piece of toast, minus the one that I gave to M to try the jam, and for me that's impressive.  I usually leave the toast until the end and then am too full to eat it.  Not this time.  It was homemade, wholewheat-ish and heavenly.  I am such a happy girl right now.  I don't ever want to leave.
That's a lie, I do.  We booked out of Kelowna right after breakfast, a day early because I was a little bit bored and a lot missed my doggie.  But on the way home there was one last stop to make.

I love a burger.  From almost any place (there are two places that I can name where I don't like the patty) but overall, I love them.  So you can imagine my delight when I found out that there is a Carl's JR. in Vernon, right on the highway heading back home.  Pretty exciting stuff to get an American drive-thru chain like that up here.  They are few and far between.  So we order the Super Star with Cheese combo to share.  I said all of two sentences the whole time I ate, and not really for a good reason.

T: The fries taste like Wendy's
T: The burger tastes like Burger King.

We had waited in the drive-thru for about ten minutes.  Not being from here we aren't sure if this is usual or not, but it was way too long for a fast food joint.  I wonder if we had hyped it up so much in our heads and to each other that we were doomed to be disappointed.  M agreed with me on the fries, but disagreed about the burger.  See he thinks that BK has a burnt charcoal taste.  I do not and think BK makes a better patty than many other joints.  If you've ever eaten at either Wendy's or BK then you already know the taste, not much reason to go into detail.  M is quite a bit happier with Carl's JR, and even comments that  having a burger with mushrooms would be awesome.  We will just agree to disagree on this one I suppose   I eat most of the fries, he eats most of the burger and we are back on the road.

Overall, Kelowna was a nice vacation.  I tried new things, some I loved, some I hated!  It's way too difficult to go there for just three days and eat everything you want.  We'll have to make a trip back there next summer, and I'll bring Ramsay.  That way I won't miss him.  And I'll take more time off work.  And I'll bring my fat girl pants.