Ceili’s Irish Pub and Restaurant

I was at Macleod Trail South area and was getting hungry. I wasn’t too sure where to go, so we just got out of the car and walked around. We ended up walking by Ceili’s Irish Pub and it caught our attention as they were roasting a pig outside on the patio! Once we saw that, we knew we’re in – even though it wasn’t ready for us to enjoy.

I really didn’t know what to order, so I just found words on the menu that caught my eye. I found their Fish Tacos which was blackened haddock, chipotle mayo, horseradish cream, hot sauce, pineapple salsa, coleslaw, mixed green salad. Now that I look at it, I think they forgot my salad as I didn’t get one! 🙁 The pineapple salsa and the haddock was the highlight, it was delicious and refreshing. The hot sauce was absolutely delicious, and it wasn’t just “hot”, it had lots of flavours in it too.

We also ordered their Chicken Pot Pie made with pulled chicken, light thyme cream, then topped with light and flaky puffed pastry with an organic mixed green salad. Clearly, this meal came with the salad. The filling in this pot pie was really good, and it wasn’t heavy at all.

Overall, we really enjoyed the dining experience here on the patio! We enjoyed watching the pig roast and the food and service was really good. I’m sure we’ll be back one day to see how the pig gets used – and to try it too!

Ceili's Modern Irish Pub on Urbanspoon

Ceili’s Modern Irish Pub

297-9737 Macleod Trail South
Calgary, AB
(403) 252-2700

Bolsa Vietnamese – Calgary, Alberta

Honestly, I never thought I’d find myself at Bolsa Vietnamese Restaurant after the 2009 shooting for some reason. But, with all the great reviews from here, I knew I would have to! So, I pulled up my brave pants and ventured off! We were greeted at the door by really friendly staff and tons of fish tanks! They’re just their pets/decoration, but they sure had a lot of them! I ordered the Bolsa Special Salad Rolls and they were different than any other salad rolls I’ve ever had! It was soft with tons of filling and packed with flavour!

While we were deciding to order, all the staff kept mentioning to try “spicy”… so, we asked them how spicy it was, and they said “quite spicy!” So, we ordered a bowl of Pho Bo Kho – medium spicy which really means we got a bowl of satay beef rice noodles. It was the perfect amount of heat (I can’t imagine the spice with it at full spicy!) even though I know we will be back just to try it!

We also ordered something a little lighter option and opted for Bolsas Special Rice Vermicelli which was the regular warm rice noodle without soup, but with nuoc cham and goodies. The goodies in this special was pork and beef sausages and I think there were some ground shrimp cake as well! Regardless, all the individual items tasted wonderful alone and even better together in the bun style!

Overall, we’ve been comparing all our Vietnamese experiences to this one. This one has just set a high benchmark for us – so for sure we’ll become a regular customer here!

Bolsa Vietnamese on Urbanspoon

Bolsa Vietnamese

180 94 Ave SE
Calgary, AB
(403) 255-3777

Brewsters Brewing Company & Restaurant – McKenzie Towne

Warm weather spell hits Calgary a few days a year – and when it does, I crave a patio setting. This time, I found myself on the roof top patio of Brewsters Brewing Company and Restaurant in McKenzie Towne. It’s located just off High Street, on the North side. The restaurant is large, but parking is quite limited, unless you’re willing to walk. On nice days, walk!

I ordered a Virgin Chi Chi as I was already feeling dehydrated from being outside all day soaking up the sun rays! It’s really just a blend of juices, but it’s delicious! I actually think it’s more a virgin Mai Tai, but what do I know! 😉

We went during their “Appy Hour” and so we enjoyed some snacks too! We ordered their super delicious Spicy Honey Garlic Prawns which was as the name suggests sweet and spicy. The prawns were quite large and fresh – so the texture was really nice. Tons of sauce and flavour, but not so much where it overwhelms the prawns!

Then, the last thing we ordered was the 1/2 Nachos which really is the perfect size for 2 people! I can see the regular order being great for larger crowds – but this was excellent in all aspects (not just the portion size). The cheese was all melted, ooey and gooey with tons of topping of tex mex cheese, tomatoes, black olives, banana peppers, jalapenos, green onions and creme fraiche all on top of thin and crispy white corn tortillas – served with salsa and sour cream!

Overall, this has been one of my favourite roof top experiences in the city and I can’t wait for my next opportunity to return! Appy hour was a complete success in my books and I should return for a regular meal too!

Brewsters Brewing Company & Restaurant - McKenzie Town on Urbanspoon

Brewsters Brewing Company & Restaurant

11 McKenzie Towne Ave SE
Calgary, AB
(403) 243-2739

Sho Sushi Bar & Kitchen

I was in a celebrating mood this one afternoon, and I thought “what better way to celebrate than a nice sushi place!?” so I found myself at Sho Sushi Bar & Kitchen as it looks super fancy, and high end from the outside. The parking lot is a little tricky as it’s not really marked one way – but it all works out at the end. This restaurant is in the deep south, on the East side of Macleod Trial.

We were first greeted by nobody for the longest time, and then the hostess came to stand at the podium at the front folding napkins. “It’s alright!” we thought to ourselves as we were in no hurry… until it got ridiculous, we had to go up and say hi first. When we finally got seated, it took forever for any sort of service. It actually was tough getting service throughout the dinner and we watched other customers suffer a bit. We were alright, as we kept the mentality of “we’ve got nothing better to do!” The menus come out on laminated copies and you mark what you want on it with a dry erase pen! It’s pretty neat! We started with some Gyozas as it’s always something I love. They were alright, nothing great, but not nasty – mediocre!

The other starter we had was their Miso Soup which again wasn’t anything special. So far, this celebration night just seemed like a normal night… so, we hoped the sushi was at least great! The miso soup was very bland with a few pieces of tofu in the bottle and one shredded piece of seaweed floating in the soup.

Then, we ordered some sashimi, and we ordered the Salmon Sashimi and the Tuna Sashimi which the tuna was kind of the “wrong” texture. The salmon was really good, but something was funny with the tuna. We ate it anyway without a word, and I must add, our bellies were fine the following day – so it’s all good! The portions were quite generous, and that kept us quite happy.

Then came our plate of sushi, we ordered Smoked Duck Sushi, Smoked Salmon Sushi and Spicy Tuna Roll, and these came out very good! We were very pleased with the duck sushi as it was a nice piece of tasty duck with some rice! The smoked salmon was one of my favourites all night and there wasn’t anything to complain about with this tuna roll. So, things took a turn – and we were satisfied!

The last thing we ordered was what they called Ocean Surprise and it was described as “spicy prawn with mayo and avocado topped with seaweed salad and gold tobiko” on the menu. It was an odd ball, but not gross! It had a good balance of flavours and textures making it unique and special. It was pretty good!

Since things turned out better at the end, we figured it’d be fine to order some dessert. We asked for the Creme Brulee Cheesecake and this cheesecake took forever – as I think it was thawing in the kitchen or something. The top of the cake wasn’t actually bruleed so it was cold and didn’t have the nice topping. The cheesecake itself tasted like the ones you could get from the frozen isle at the grocery stores… so, we wished we never ordered it – since it wasn’t made by them. It’s just not what we were expecting for some odd reason (they’re not a bakery!)

Overall, the dining experience was a decent one. It had it’s moments of ups and downs. It’s average food quality with a higher price tag. Service is kind of lacking, but not a place I would avoid… nor a place I would go to celebrate with again though… you decide whether or not you’d like to try. For their benefit of a doubt though, we went when they were just opened, so maybe it was wrinkles they needed to iron out at that time!

Sho Sushi Bar & Kitchen

7212 Macleod Trail S
Calgary, AB
(403) 252-5199

Open Sesame

I was looking for a special place to go for my husband birthday. We’ve been hearing great things about the Smugglers Group chain, and we didn’t know which restaurant to try. We ended up settling for Open Sesame, for no particular reason really! Eventually, we will try it all! 🙂

Parking was in the back, and there wasn’t too many in the parking lot, but there are street parking available, which seemed like there was plenty! I really felt like something sweet to drink, but non-alcoholic – so I ordered a delicious Aladdin’s Passion. This drink, it says it’s made with Passion fruit sorbet, Orange, Mango juices, slash of Green Tea. It was refreshing, even though the chunks of ice was kind of made it hard to drink until during the dinner entree when the ice started melting.

We started off with a plate of Potstickers as it’s one of my all time favourite foods! I like them even when they’re not good! But, no problem here at Open Sesame, it tasted great! It was stuffed with Ginger Chicken & Shrimp, but for 4 pieces at $7.45, I felt like it was a tad costly! But, that’s probably because I’m use to it being quite cheap from actual Chinese restaurants! Besides, it turned out to be the right amount anyway as the entrees are pretty big!

Now, for the hard part – the actual dinner! I couldn’t choose what I wanted to eat, as a lot of items on the menu sounded so good! From creating your own dinner with an “ingredient” bar to different areas of inspirations on the menu! I finally decided on having Malaysian Blazin’ Noodles which was a huge plate of delicious white, wide rice noodles tossed with Malaysian spices, and then stir fried with chicken and vegetables!

Then, the birthday boy ordered a sizzling plate, which came out steaming and making the area smelling wonderful! It splashed oil/sauce as it was put down, but it was so worth it! It was a very comforting plate of food as we have meals like that in Chinese restaurants. He ordered the Chicken Katsu, made chicken breast that was breaded and made super crispy. Served with this amazing chicken had a bowl of rice and a bunch of vegetables. There was a sauce that was placed on top of the chicken, and it was really good!

At the end of dinner, to be honest, I was way to stuffed for dessert. I even had the rest of my dinner packed to take home! It was really good, and I loved the ambiance of Open Sesame! I loved that a lot of their customers at least try to use chopsticks as they put it on the table with the normal eating utensils! I had fun here, and I’m sure I’ll return one day – but probably after I try the entire group of restaurants as they’re so well known in the city!

Open Sesame on Urbanspoon

Open Sesame

6920 Macleod Trail South
Calgary, AB T2H0L3
(403) 259-0123