Thursday, May 22, 2014

Shibuya Izakaya

One of my fondest memories of Shibuya was when I came here on a Wednesday afternoon with a bunch of girl friends and by the end of the night we somehow ended up with 15 empty sake bottles on the table. How did they get there? I dunno. Hehe... :)

I love the food at Shibuya and the staff is very attentive, sometimes a little too attentive but it comes from a good place. I usually order the same dishes whenever I eat here: a miso soup, seaweed salad, a dozen oysters, beef tataki (THE BEST I'VE EVER HAD), salmon sashimi and 1 special roll. Dinner for 2 :)

Salmon Sashimi
Miso Soup
Seaweed Salad
I LOOOOOVE the oysters and beef tataki here. They serve their oysters with a ponzu sauce which is actually the same sauce they put on their tataki -- maybe I just love ponzu sauce. Hehe... The oysters are always fresh and the beef tataki is paper thin so you don't get too much of the raw beef flavour. The key is thin slices, I hate when I order beef tataki and it ends up being too thick.

$1.25 Oysters Mon-Thurs
Beef Tataki

Other notable dishes are the miso black cod, grilled squid, and these delicious curry potato croquette which I'm sure have a proper name that I can't remember at the moment.

On most occasions, when there's only the two of us, we don't order any sushi because I'm always too full from all the other dishes (there's just to many tasty ones to try!) but always try to get at least 1 roll. Recently, they have started doing specialty rolls which have changed every time I go there and they are definitely worth trying -- today, I tried the crispy cajun roll which actually turned out to be really good!
Special Roll
Crispy Cajun Roll
All in all, Shibuya is one of my favourite izakaya restaurants the food is tasty, the service is great, and they always play good music. Throwing a bottle of sake and you have yourself the perfect date night. :)

Shibuya Izakaya on Urbanspoon

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Sukiyaki at Misai

When I first stumbled upon Misai years ago, it was right after I came back from a trip to Japan where I discovered Japanese hot pot aka Sukiyaki!!  I got back to Calgary and couldn't stop thinking about this delicious dish and wondered if I would ever be able to have it again. I searched high and low, east and west and finally found Misai -- all-you-can-eat Sukiyaki! Disclaimer: Since then they no longer offer the all-you-can-eat option but the serving they have is more than enough for a 2 person date.

So years passed by and very recently I decided to stop by Misai once again for that delicious Japanese hot pot. Just like the first time, the server cooked the meal at our table: first he melted some butter in the pan then sautéed some onions and veggies and poured the soy sauce broth into the pan. We waited for the soup to boil and then we added some thinly sliced beef and, voila! yummy in my tummy!

Soup base cooked at the table
Check out the marble on this beef
More goodies for the pot
The sukiyaki experience this time was not as good as before. Don't get me wrong, it was still delicious but it was different. As I had mentioned, it was no longer all-you-can-eat beef but instead they offer you other things to put into the pot. I like the traditional beef and cabbage combo but now you can add tofu, radish, squash and spinach -- more of the Chinese hot pot style. This is probably because the management has shifted since I first discovered this place.

We've tried some other items on the menu but I'm not a fan of their other dishes, I only go here for the hot pot dish. So if you are looking for good sushi I would recommend another place. 

Misai Japanese on Urbanspoon

Monday, May 12, 2014

Dim Sum @ Casa Imperial

Did you know that the Pineapple Princess is originally from Toronto? *boom* mind. blown. Yes, I am a Toronto ex-pat! I grew up there and indulged myself in many of the delicious eateries but didn't really appreciate them until I left Toronto. Now every time I come back for a visit I try to eat at as many places as I can hitting both my old favourites and trying out new places. On my last visit, I took a trip down memory lane to Casa Imperial. I discovered this place last summer and I keep going back for more. This trip was a family affair with my mom and brothers so we splurged a bit.


I remember driving by the building many times over the years but I didn't realize it was a restaurant until a friend took me there. I've noticed a couple of the dim sum restaurants have become more "high end" and British influenced, it's like having high tea with a side of pork dumplings!! Casa Imperial is one of these places and Crown Prince/Princess are a couple others -- also pretty good dim sum. The common decor in all these restaurants is extravagant chandeliers, marble wall coverings, finer dishes and flatware and the waiters are dressed in old school server uniforms. Ruffles and all!

But let's get down to the food, with all the showiness how does the food stack up??? On today's menu.....

Siu Mai
Har Gow

Egg Tarts
Abalone & Chicken Tarts

Chinese Donut wrapped with Rice Crepe
Rice Crepe with Shrimp and Scallions

BBQ Pork Bun
Deep Fried Taro Dumpling with Meat Filling

Xiao Long Bao aka Soup Dumplings
Beef Tripe with XO Sauce

The food was pretty good with the exception of the beef tripe. I usually LOVE tripe but I just wasn't feeling this dish. Maybe it was the XO flavour but the tripe was also way to chewy. One of my favourite dishes that is unique to this restaurant is the Abalone and Chicken Pie, these little tarts are sweet on the outside with a salty meat filling. This is actually the one dish that keeps me coming back!!

Shark Fin Soup Dumpling

Roasted Squab
Today we decided to splurge a little bit on our lunch and try out the roasted squab -- their "most well known dish" is what the server told us -- and shark fin soup dumpling -- one of my favourite dim sum dishes. The squab was tasty and moist and the soup was amazing!!! The dumpling was filled with shrimp, mushroom, scallop, shark fin and other goodies and there was even a big piece of shark fin in the soup. Add a little red vinegar and bam! -- soooooooooo delicious!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not all restaurants have this dish so when I see it I always order it.

What a lovely lunch with the family -- until next time Toronto!!! xoxo

Casa-Imperial Fine Chinese Cuisine Ltd. on Urbanspoon