I always wonder how many people know the origin of Ginger beef. Ginger Beef is a popular dish which consisted of deep fried strips of beef in a sweet and sour sauce julienne with carrots. You can easily find it in many food court places that serves chinese food and in some chinese restaurants. I am an Asian decent myself and whenever people ask me about ginger beef, I can never figure out the Chinese translation to it. Nor do I ever recall ever hearing about it during the time I lived in Hong Kong. So why is everyone in Calgary raving about how good ginger beef taste in a chinese restaurant? Apparently, this favorite westernized Chinese dish was invented 40 years ago in Calgary. To our curiosity, my husband convinced me to go to Silver Inn for dinner where the tasty ginger beef was originated.
Silver Inn is a quaint restaurant located right on the busy center street. When I walk right in, I noticed the atmosphere was a bit off. Where are the large crowds and noise level that you normally hear when you walk into a chinese restaurant? It was quiet, but with a few patrons quietly dinning under the dark dim litted room. Chinese restaurants are bright and loud! Not quiet and romatically lighted! Anyways, we are here for the food, not the atmosphere.
Once we are sitted, we ordered the main dish ginger beef and shrimp fried noodles. The ginger beef was good, but it wasn’t what we expected as it wasn’t as deeply fried and crunchy as we normally get them. We think the Ginger beef at Spicy Hut was better. Spicy hut was more crunchy and more spicy. The shrimp fried noodles were not the thin deep fried noodles as we expected. It was the think noodle type. So overall the food was ok, nothing great. if you are looking for authentic chinese food and atmosphere, this is not the place to be.

Besides the food, I was surprised they charged us for tea! Calgary chinese restaurants never charge us for tea! And they serve us fortune cookies just to remind me that their target clientel are westerners. I mean when I looked around the room, their clientele are almost all elderly westerners. The owner even seems to know them on a first name basis. Definitely a local joint! Also, the service is attentive and they ask how our food was. Another sign that they don’t serve authentic Chinese food because I always get poor service at a real authentic chinese restaurant. The ruder their service is, the better their food taste (wait did I just said that?). Maybe that is a bit extreme, but I’ve been to several good authentic Chinese restaurants and they all seems to have bad service. Such as taking forever to serve you and yell at you when you ask to clarify something on the menu. They felt like we are wasting their time. And if you don’t like their service, they don’t care because there are other people lining up to get in because their food taste that great!

Anyways, I apologize I went on a ranting spree here. I just wanted to give some context of what experiences I had with Chinese restaurants and Silver Inn just doesn’t stick to that paradigm. Although they may have invented ginger beef, I felt many other places have taken it to the next level to make it taste better. I love to support local business but Silver Inn is not the place that I will be going back. But if you like Chinese food and want a quiet place to enjoy the food and expect clean dishes with good service, this local flare may be worth a try.

Today, we decided to take-out pizza for dinner.  When it comes to pizza take-out, most people will think of places like Pizza 73, Pizza Hut, Domino Pizza, and etc.  The list goes on.  However, this is something different.  We saw an ad for the Famosa Neapolitan Pizzeria that offers authentic napoleon style pizzas.  It was located near the 4th Street area near 17th ave.  A couple of years ago, we tried napoleon pizza in Naples, Italy and we loved it.  They had so much cheese and the perfectly baked thin crust was still looming in the back of my memory.  When we saw this place, we had to try it at least once to see if it can bring back the taste from Italy.

Instead of pulling up to this small tiny store with just a front counter top with staff wearing their pizza logo uniform, we arrived at a live and busy resturant filled with atmosphere of people dinning and socilizing.  They even sell gelato so we got one to try it out.

We tried the blood orange flavor gelato.  The gelato flavor was wonderfully fruity and taste of mandarin/tangerine orange hit my palate immediately, but the mixture was still a bit frozen.  Obviously not freshly made. I guess we don’t expect them to make gelato fresh in Calgary.  Unfortunately I didn’t have a chance to take a picture of it as I couldn’t resist to eat the gelato right away.

As for the pizzas, they only had one standard size to order.  It look like an average medium so it feeds the two of us.  We ordered the sweet bbq chicken and here is the verdict.

The crust - If you like thin crust, then this is the pizza for you.  Take made the crust and baked it the same way with the same taste and texture that they made in Naples, and I can vouch for that.  It totally brings me back to the memories in Naples.

The toppings - The pizza was sprinkled with colorful shades of green parsleys, red tomatoes, onions and chickens.  I can taste each ingredients were freshly made.  The chopped tomatoes tasted just like the ones you find on top of a bruschetta, fresh and juicy.

Closing Comment

For the same price as the pizzas you can get in your local convenient pizza take-out joints, I would say this pizza is totally worth your money!  They use fresh ingredients and handmade crust, so why would anyone choose to buy the over salty reheated pizzas?

Neapolitan Pizzeria Pizza Box

 

Sweet BBQ chicken

 

 

 

Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

When it comes to East Indian food, we would normally go out to a fancy restaurant and make it an evening night out.  But once you have kids, dinning out seems to be a limited option, so we try take out instead.

In our nearby neighborhood, there was a new restaurant that features authentic north and south East Indian cuisine.  It’s called Raj Palace located in the Northwest area in Calgary.  For just my husband and myself, we ordered a Dinner for 2 for take out. For about $25, you get the following items:

  • 2 vegetable samosas
  • 2 naans and 1 rice
  • 1 vegetable curry
  • 1 meat curry
  • 1 dessert
Not bad for two people on an evening night “in”.  I believe they make their food fresh since they told us it will take about 25 minutes for the food to be ready for pick up.  The 2 samosas were good sized and were jam packed with mashed potatoes with a blast of spices and peas infused into each bite.  The shell was the perfect crunch and not too crispy.  The naan came wrapped up in a tin foil.  They were good portions but a bit soggy.  I guess that’s what you expect from take-out.  The rice comes in a medium container as seen in the picture.
Fruity/Vegetable in creamy sauce
For the vegetable dish, the person who took our order suggested the Navrattan Korma.  The menu described it as a most unique combination of mixed fresh vegetables, dried fruit, and roasted nuts in a creamy sauce.  At first I wasn’t sure what to think of it since the name itself doesn’t give me a clue what the dish will taste like.  As I scoop up the sauce onto the rice, you can see there were quite a generous portion of vegetables/fruits mixed into this dish.  The creamy sauce wasn’t my favorite.  Then again, I am a bit bias since I am not a big fan of anything that has creamy white sauce.  I tried the first bite of this dish and I tasted a pineapple.  The second bite I tasted apple, and they tasted fresh as opposed to dried fruit.  At times, the sweetness of the fruits overpower the creamy sauce which made this dish as an overall tasted good.  Next few bites I had tasted fresh grapes, zucchini, and was that cheese?  It is almost like an adventure in each scoop of Navrattan Korma that you don’t know what fruit or vegetable that you are going to bite into.

Navrattan Korma (Vegetable Dish)

Lamb Curry

When we ordered the meat dish, we wanted a lamb dish so we decided on lamb curry (with very mild curry).  Even though we emphasized ‘Mild’ a couple of times over the phone, when we took a first sample into the curry, it was spicy!  The good news is that after the first couple of taste, the spicy was gone afterwards.  Yes, I am a wimp for spiciness, but it was good curry.  Normally, East Indian restaurant gives you lots of sauce and little meat in their servings, but in this take out container, there were lots of lamb meat chucks!  and they were good sized chucks too!  So we were not disappointed in their serving sizes.  Later we found out that Lamb curry wasn’t even on their menu, but they still accommodated our request.

Lamb Curry (Meat Dish)

Desserts
Last of all, we were left with desserts.  We saw the container with two egg shaped looking item soaked in this sugary syrupy mixture that we had no idea what is was.  Looking up at the internet, we found it was called Gulab Jamun.  A popular East Indian dessert which mixes milk and flour and have them rolled into a ball.  It then gets deep fried and served in a syrup concoction.  With my sweet tooth awaiting, I couldn’t resist but to dive right into it.  The Gulab Jamun was spongy so it soaked up the syrup quite well.  And as I take a bite into the sponginess, flavors of sweet ginger syrup filled my palate.  I was so happy as it was something new and I like it!

Closing Comments

Overall, I will give this take out experience a 4 out of 5.  The food is good and the portions are very generous.  The only thing I would like more is if they give us more rice since we found ourselves left with a lot of curry but not enough rice to go with it.  The naan could be a bit crunchier. I may not get the vegetable dish again since I am not a big fan for a creamy sauce, but for sure I will go back and try out their other dishes!

Raj Palace (North West) on Urbanspoon

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.