Colonial Fusion Cuisine – Calgary, Alberta

We drove by Quarry Park randomly and saw Colonial Fusion Cuisine and immediately we knew it was a location we wanted to try. We were excited about fusion restaurants as we always hear about them, yet we never go in to try. The fusion was a mix between Vietnamese plus Thai and some French, which is kind of awkward if you think about it – but they seem to make it work with subtle modifications to traditional Vietnamese recipes for most items on the menu.

We started the evening with Mango Salad Rolls which takes a spin off your regular Vietnamese Salad rolls, as the rice papers are stuffed with mango, prawns, vermicelli, vegetables and herbs. It also comes with a coconut hoisin sauce to dip. This starter is really different as you do taste the mango, but it is a delicious combination of mangoes into the traditional rolls. I actually didn’t taste any coconut in the dipping sauce, so the coconut taste was really subtle against the mango. It is really light and refreshing appetizer.

For the main course, I ordered Caramelized Salmon – salmon with fish sauce and jalapenos, severed with rice and vegetables. The salmon was cooked perfectly, and it tasted so good, I ended up just eating the entire piece of salmon! 🙂 It had the perfect amount of heat and sweetness what was really special!! Great flavours, and great dish altogether!

We ordered the Mahogany Quail which is quail glazed in honey, garlic, onions, coconut juice and served with coconut rice. This dish was quite far from ordinary, which was really special! the quail was chopped into quarters, and smothered in their honey garlic sauce, with sauteed onions! This dish, you definitely had to eat with your hands, and the waitress realized that and brought us a bowl of water, with a beautiful flower floating in the bowl for us to wash our hands. The rice and the sauce that was eaten afterwards went in perfect harmony as well!! In more traditional Vietnamese locations, the quail would just be deep-fried so it’s crispy. Their spin here was the sauce which was really delicious!

Curry Stir-Fry with Chicken and vegetables served with rice was the last entree that we had, and it was really flavourful. The bowl of curry was really large, and it wasn’t filled with all sauce. It almost seemed like the pile of rice was too small for the amount of curry that was given! The chicken was tender and juicy, and had great flavours of curry, and a hint of ginger.

We ended our night with Iced Coffee which was really different than the traditional iced coffee. In my optional, in this case, I prefer the normal iced coffee. This glass was filled with ice, and it didn’t have sweet condensed milk, which is what I like!

We ordered dessert, a Mango Creme brulee which was your typical creme brulee, but with mango puree. I can’t say that I would get this dessert again, as it wasn’t a nice brulee texture. It wasn’t smooth, creamy and thick. It was like a pudding with a sugar topping, instead of a custard. They probably put too much milk or cream in, but it tasted a lot like mangoes! 🙂

Overall, this is a very fancy Vietnamese restaurant, and the seating, ambiance and quality of food was really good. The price tag to the dishes seemed a little high for what it is, but we had a wonderful experience. In actuality, I’m undecided if I will return! Go figure…

Colonial Fusion Cuisine

163 Quarry Park Blvd. SE
Calgary, AB
(403) 723-6669

Urban Rice

Dim Sum is always something I crave – maybe it’s because I’m Chinese, or maybe it’s because I don’t know how to make it… or, it’s the fact I live so far away from the Chinese communities I feel a little “home sick”. Regardless, dim sum is something I enjoy as it’s part of my heritage.

Urban Rice is a location that was recommended to me by a good friend. I’ve been to their previous location and loved it, so I’ll just follow them around like the hungry person that I am. It’s been really nice with all the festivals at Olympic Plaza downtown as I can fulfill my cravings in Chinatown, since it’s not far distance apart!

We were seated in a pretty big table – a table for 4 people, maybe they knew I’ll eat a lot or something, but I appreciated that! They didn’t try to cram me into the corner or anything like most Chinese restaurants. The place was was quite full when we got in, and we could smell all the dim sum. We quickly sat down and mark off on a sheet of all the goodies I wanted to try!

We had our few favourites such as Beef Tripe, Chicken Feet and Turnip Cake which turned out really well! I pretty much ate the entire dish of chicken feet all by myself! 🙂 I didn’t realize until the end, and I had all the bones on my plate! No questions about it, I ate the beef tripe, and my other half ate all the turnip cake! We had nothing to complain about! (Well, it seemed like the food could use a little more salt, but that didn’t make the food bad.)

Ok, the beef tripe wasn’t as tender as it should be, but it was still tender enough to eat it! The flavour of the ginger and green onion was really nice too! I like to add a bit of hot sauce to my beef tripe, and it was really good. The chicken feet was the most flavourful dish of them all! Soaked in it’s sauce, and cooked till fall off the bone it really wasn’t a surprise when I ate the whole dish!

We also ordered some specialty items on the item as well, and another favourite of mines would be the Shanghai Style Pork Dumplings which I actually get some frozen ones from T&T Supermarket at steam at home for when I’m carving dim sum that badly, and it’s just out of my reach! 🙂 The skin was a little thick, but the dumpling altogether was really good! I of course like to dip it in the vinegar because that’s the way it’s eaten! The best thing about this dish is the fact it came with 5 pieces — which means I got to eat 3 of them!

Overall, I quite enjoy this location, as it’s got big portions of food, and they have lots of items to try out. The best part of this experience was all the dim sum was $3.25, which made the entire experience seem a little extra delicious at the end of the day when our bill was just slightly over $20!!!

Urban Rice

104- 108 3rd Ave SW
Calgary, AB
(403) 984-3380

Salt & Pepper Mexican Restaurante – Calgary, Alberta

We were wandering around Inglewood one sunny afternoon, actually for the Inglewood Sunfest and we were a little sad that there wasn’t too many street vendors or anything like that. So, we ended up popping into Salt & Pepper for lunch instead.

The place had a nice line-up, as it should since it was a sunny weekend afternoon after all! The line moved really quickly despite the speed of service. So, we got seated in no time! To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of Mexican cuisine as I’m not a huge “bean” eater. I’m not sure why, but I don’t really like them… so, I normally just eat “what I ordered” and throw out the rest! 🙂 As I did on this day as well.

The service was a little odd, as I would have to say our waitress was really slow. It’s always funny to me how tables that come in and sit after me gets served their water first, and their order taken first. Oh well, it’s all good, since we were in no hurry at all.

I ordered Las Enchiladas which I chose chicken enchiladas with a tomato & basil sauce. It was really good actually! 🙂 I know, I’m suppose to get it with the mole sauce, but I really won’t eat it, and that’s much more of a waste! The enchiladas from Salt & Pepper was really fresh, and the meat was really tender and juicy. I was able to eat all 3 of the enchiladas with just my fork.

We also tried the Chuletas de Cerdo Adobadas which was Grilled pork chops with our own spicy adobo. The actual pork chop was really thin piece, and was a little over cooked. It was quite tough – instead of juicy and tender, but the flavours were there, and so we gobbled it up anyway!

Overall, I did enjoy the atmosphere, as there was live music which was a special treat! The sun was out with a little breeze, so the patio was a great choice! The food, I will have to say was mediocre, but I must remember it was a really busy day – so perhaps they had difficulties keeping up? With entrees between $10-$15, I would’ve expected more, but that of course is just my opinion. And, who knows, maybe it’s just me, as I’m not the bean eater…

Salt & Pepper Mexican Restaurante

1413 – 9 Avenue SE
Calgary, AB
(403) 265-5739