Kinjo Dalhousie – Calgary

When one can hardly throw a stone without hitting a Vietnamese restaurant in Calgary, the same could be said for sushi.

One of the more franchised spots in the city is Kinjo. I’ve only ever been to the Dalhousie location so if you have tips on any of the others, shoot them my way.

Siddall and I were in the northwest the other day and decided sushi was required. (If you also know of some sweet sushi tastiness in the n-dub, let me know!)

Kinjo is such a friendly place – and a very streamlined one. The service is always immaculate. Before you even arrive at your table, you’re armed with ginger and wasabi. The entire menu is in a pick-you-own format – and then your choices are kept on a small clipboard at the table in the event you’d like to order more. We didn’t have to order more because we got a little excited and ordered way too much in the first place.


Like most sushi restaurants, your food comes out as it’s ready. Sashimi first, and the rest followed quickly after. A big win for me here actually wasn’t sushi at all but the onion ring tempura – I’d hazard to say tastier than A&W, but don’t run me over with a truck for that.

The smaller rolls are pretty generic and not necessarily the prettiest, but they do have great flavour – particularly the yam tempura.

The prettiest sushi we ordered was definitely the vegetable roll. I’m usually all meat, all the time, but this one looked very intriguing with yam and asparagus tempura and a strawberry slice on top. The asparagus was a little tough, and I wasn’t exactly enamored with the strawberry mingling with the other flavours, but a success.

Kinjo 1

One of the perks of Kinjo is the end of your meal when a fellow comes around with a variety of Pocky Sticks for your dessert – always go strawberry!

Atmosphere: 3
Service: 5
Food: 3

Kinjo Sushi & Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Vimy’s Lounge & Grill – Waterton, Alberta

So, it’s a bit snowy in Calgary these days which makes it the perfect opportunity to leave town and go snowshoeing.

Headed south with the peeps last weekend to do some snowshoeing in beautiful Waterton Lakes National Park. Waterton is smaller and more peaceful than Banff and I love going to the park in the winter because it’s so quiet. I would say 95 per cent of its businesses close up and await the summer season. As many know, the Park was ravaged by wildfire last year, and judging by how close some of the burnt out trees are to the townsite, we’re very lucky to still have a Waterton at all, so huge kudos to all the crews that worked on the blaze.

During our trip last year, Wieners of Waterton  was open so we delighted in some pre-snowshoe hot dogs. We were looking forward to doing the same this year but no dice. The one place open in town was Vimy’s Lounge & Grill at the Waterton Lakes Lodge Resort – and it was hopping as our servers told us there were three weddings … that day. So, after being all adventurous out in the beautiful cold, we headed to Vimy’s and sat amongst the families dressed in their wedding finery.

Vimy 1

There’s really nothing like an ice cold beer to wrap up some cold day exertions and I tried a pint of the Big Rock Magpie. I’ve never heard of the Magpie (apparently it’s a “retro” brew) but it had a nice, even flavour and was a really nice, easy to drink beer that I would look for again.

Since we were in that weird twilight zone between lunch and supper, we just ordered a bunch of appetizers between the five of us.

The deep fried pickles ($9) were delish. Not Ship & Anchor delish, but very tasty indeed. What I found odd was they were served with good ol’ sour cream. Now I totally dig sour cream, but I feel something with a little more zing, like an aioli of some sort, might pair better with these deep fried beauties.

The southwest spinach and artichoke dip was creamy and well cheesed. No one likes skimpy cheese sportsfans. I like that it was accompanied by both nacho chips and pita pieces. I’m on team pita with this one, probably because you can load more on it and cram it in your piehole. At $17, this was our priciest pick of the day.

Vimy 2

We also had chicken wings, obvs, in the honey hot flavour ($16). They were hella saucy and very tasty, and I appreciate the effort, but two carrot sticks and three pieces of celery is a little on the short side. Probably the tastiest, and most reasonable purchase of the day was James’ poutine ($11). It was a great portion, the gravy was rich and the fries in the happy place between too thick and too thin.

Vimy 3

If you’re thinking of being all romantic and stuff this Valentine’s Day, they do have a special posted, so that’s one sweet road trip option for you and your person.

Atmosphere: 3.4
Service: 4
Food: 3.5

Vimy's Lounge and Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Palomino Smokehouse – Calgary

When one has a morning appointment in downtown Calgary, on a weekend, there aren’t a lot of brunch places that come to mind. I know they’re out there, but to be honest downtown can be a ghost town outside of business day hours – so please do give me recommendations.

One bright spot in the downtown brekkie scene is The Palomino Smokehouse. Located on the picturesque? Seventh Avenue and First Street stretch, it was the perfect location for some pre-Women’s March nosh a couple weeks back.

Walking into The Palomino is like walking into a warm, smoky hug. There is stuff everywhere: posters, autographs, animal heads. The tables and chairs unapologetically don’t match and it’s got some major vintage back home chic. In other words, it’s perfect.


While The Palomino has a sweet breakfast menu, you can also order off the regular lunch menu. Katie went with the Palomino Bennies – homemade hollandaise over soft poached eggs and choice of meat (she went with ham).

I went with the traditional breakfast classic, The Smokehouse Poutine. Really though, nothing warms the heart, and body, of a lady about to march for Women’s Rights better than a poutine piled high with melt-in-your-mouth brisket.


Other meat options for the poutine include pork, bacon, sausage or smoked turkey. While I’ve already highlighted that freaking delicious brisket, I’d also like to point out the gravy. It. Was. Amazing. I don’t know what it was, and I probably should of asked, but I would bottle this in a flask and sip it on the ski hill it’s so darn tasty.


Should also give a shoutout to our server, who was attentive and helpful. Especially when we couldn’t decide how much PBR we wanted to add to our orange juice (breakfast drink of champions). Also fun fact: they have PBR on tap!

Atmosphere: 5
Food: 4
Service: 3.5

Palomino Smokehouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Lee’s Buffet – Brandon, MB

So, my sister lives in Brandon, the one in Manitoba – so we try and get there as often as we can for visits with her and the fam (particularly the nuggets of course).

In my books, no visit to Brandon is complete without a visit to Lee’s Buffet. Lee’s used to be Ye’s, but has been under new management for a year or two now. This bad boy is one of the biggest buffets I’ve been to in Canada (nothing really holds a candle to Vegas in buffet land).

Disclaimer: There is a lack of photos occurring in this post, so my apologies. I was busy giving a two-year-old all-you-can-eat ice cream on more than one occasion.


Lee’s has a little bit of everything. There’s the usual buffet fare of jello, salad and fruit. There’s the usual Chinese food offerings with fried rice, chicken balls, sesame chicken, beef and broccoli etc. There’s some fun Asian desserts I don’t know the name of (please help me out if you know!) One consisting of doughy balls coated in sesame with some sort of dark paste inside, one a deep fried won ton dipped in some sort of delectable honey caramel type thing, and the epitome to this lady, the egg tart.

What also sets Lee’s apart is it has a pretty extensive sushi bar. Lee’s isn’t the only place to get sushi in Brandon (there’s five options in total), and it’s not the only all-you-can-eat – but it is a place where you can load one plate with salmon sashimi and another with french fries.


The sushi tends to move pretty fast so is always fresh. The rolls are decent in their art form, especially for the price. There are a lot of takes on California style, but there’s also some nice spicy rolls and the aforementioned salmon.


Lee’s is clean, the food is hot and it’s a very kid friendly joint.

Service: 4
Atmosphere: 3.5
Food: 3.4

Lee's Buffet Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mossleigh Bar’n Grill – Mossleigh, AB

*Disclaimer: Received a lovely email from Brooklyn at the Mossleigh Bar’n Grill with an invite for a complimentary lunch. I accepted on the basis I would write an honest review, and that I would also chip in for anyone I might bring along. Siddall came with me, and the Bar’n Grill ended up kindly comping our whole meal.

Exploring Alberta back roads is one way of finding yourself some great eats. A big one that comes to my mind is the Twin Butte County General Store. People will drive for miles for a taste of the Mexican there (and you should too).

The Mossleigh Bar’n Grill is another of these. Yes, we were invited, but had we been cruising along Highway 24 just for the fun of it one day, this is definitely somewhere we would stop – even for a quick beer and a snack. Also, to my two-wheeling peeps – looks like a great stop over while out cruising on a lovely Alberta day. The Bar’n Grill is just east of Aspen Crossing and you can’t miss the big red building on the roadside.


The Bar’n Grill is large and in charge, but upon entering feels immediately cozy. There is woodwork everywhere, some sweet ceiling fans, buffalo horns and other paraphernalia giving it a rustic chic feel. Hockey was on the televisions, so that’s an immediate draw for moi.


The old standbys of pool tables, Buck Hunter and the big punch boxer is also on hand. A variety of different tables and chairs add to the charm of the place, while ’50s hits on the radio keep one bobbing their head and singing along. If you’re your own crooner, the Bar’n Grill hosts jams every other Friday.


As well as the daily specials, the Bar’n Grill offered up a specials menu and regular menu. I was immediately drawn to the Mac’n’Cheese stuffed burger, while Siddall went the greener route with the Chef’s Salad and the less green route adding a side of onion rings.


Siddall’s salad was fresh and plentiful, but what she really raved about were the onion rings.  A fiend for onion rings, she’s knows what’s up and the Bar’n Grill really delivered. I tried one as well, and the batter was hella light and the onion well cooked and tasty. 10/10 would be a great snack for game time and beers.


The Mac’n’Cheese stuffed burger was a big ol’ burger and hot, hot, hot off the grill. The meat had great flavour, but I would like to see a tidge more mac’n’cheese stuffed in there as it’s a killer combo of awesomeness.

When ordering, Brooklyn asked if I wanted shoestring or homemade – my usual go to is always shoestring, but she had me at “we slice them here ourselves”. These, ladies and gentlemen are good fries. Not too big as to be all potato and no crunch, and not too skinny so they still taste like an actual potato.

Many thanks to Brooklyn, and the Mossleigh Bar’n Grill. We’ll be back – and I’ll bring the folks because I maybe forgot to invite them this time around and Mama Bear hinted it had been a lovely day for a drive.


Madison’s 12|12 – Calgary

Now our buddy Norman is one of the loveliest people you’ll meet – she’s also one of the hungriest. Girl can pack some snacks in her, particularly when it comes to tacos and nachos.

So, when I heard John Gilchrist awhile back talking about a new “Craft Nacho” joint in Inglewood, I knew Norman had to come along.

Tucked in along historic Ninth Avenue in Inglewood (where the original Bite was), Madison’s has a modern, industrial chic thing going on. Beautiful bar upon arrival, mixed booth and table seating and the kitchen tucked at the back.

The tables at Madison’s are very unique, the have a bit of a bow to them, a very subtle u-shape so watch your liquids sports fans.

I was particularly fond of the array of hot sauces placed on the bar so you can go on up and try whatever tickles your fancy – including some Assburn, which I chose not to try.


Clockwise from L: The loveliest presentation I ever did see for a coffee, the bar and hello hot sauce

Madison’s menu is simple. Want nachos? Here’s a bunch of flavours you have rarely, if ever, see on nachos. Want salad? Here’s a bunch of salads, some you know, and some very similar to the nachos on the other side of the page. Flavours range from Korean, Wilted Kale and Roasted Yam, Mexican and Wild Mushroom and Truffle.

I went with the Mac & Cheese & “Hot Dogs” (the “hot dogs” are actually Spolumbo’s sausage from down the street), Norman went with the Poke Nachos and Siddall went with the Crunchy Kale Caesar salad.

Before we get into the eats, I’d like to point out a lovely sense of local/community I got from Madison’s. Here I am in an Inglewood Nacho Bar, drinking a High Line Brewery Hopeless Romantic Sour – made just down the street, eating nachos with sausage – made just down the street. Feeling the love Inglewood!


Poke Nachos and Crunchy Kale Caesar

Now when making my nacho choice, I skimmed right past the Poke because I lack imagination sometimes. Norman went right for it and sweet baby unicorns, worth it. Served on won-ton chips, the tuna was tender, the mango sweet and the cucumber fresh. Topped with spicy mayo, I will admit, this dish was my favourite of the evening.

The Crunchy Kale Caesar did not shy away from bacon and cheese love. Siddall had no problem crushing it and liked the added crunch of the taco chip a la croutons. I think she said it’s one of the best salads she’s ever had, but don’t quote me on that.

Madisons 3

Mac & Cheese & “Hot Dog” Nachos

Now this may seem like I’m downplaying my choice and trust me friends, I am not. This was delicious. Half the plate was gone before I even knew what was happening. The Mac & Cheese is usually served with a homemade ketchup over top but I asked for it on the side as I don’t have the same fondness for ketchup I once did as I advance in my years.

However, the mac and cheese was spot on, the sausage all over the place without being overwhelming, and the chips remained cruncy. The sliced green onion was a nice touch to break up the heaviness of the dish but all in all, perfect for a winter evening.

At one point, Siddall the Younger arrived and he also ordered the Mac & Cheese – crushing it faster than one would think possible. Randy Santel of Calgary perhaps?

Our dishes came out hella quick thanks to the fast hands of the one, yes one chef in the back. It was him and our server, who was awesome with as many as four tables on his hands at one time. It was a bit quiet in there and I do wonder why considering our experience. Maybe they get more of a lunch crowd?

Obviously we needed dessert, and obviously we needed to try one of each of the Apple Pie Nachos and Strawberry Shortcake Nachos.


Strawberry Shortcake Nachos and Apple Pie Nachos – obvs

I only had a couple bits of the Apple Pie but they were rich and warm like Apple Pie should be. The shortbread however, was freaking delicious and 10/10 would eat again.

Atmosphere: 3
Service: 5
Food: 3.5

Garage Sports Bar – Calgary

Sometimes you go out to enjoy a film with friends only to realize the times have changed from the day before and you’re almost two hours early.

What is a lady and her friends to do?

In the case of the theatre at Eau Claire Mall, the answer is to head downstairs to Garage Sports Bar. Garage is hella spacious (the website says they can accommodate up to 500 for special events) – but manages to feel like a corner neighbourhood pub. I very much hope they’re incorporated into the new Eau Claire development plan.

Pool tables book end the place with tables and bar in between. There were lots of folks wandering by with their own fancy pool cues and our server informed us there’s league play on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Belgian Moons were on special for five bucks so obvs that’s what we went with for the drinking. I knew I couldn’t hold off on any snacking before the film so I ordered a salad, that’s right, you heard me, a salad.

The Vespa is greens, cucumbers, tomato, feta and a honey balsamic for eight bones. Since it was hella reasonable for a salad, I expected something of a fairly mediocre size and what showed up was far from mediocre. This was a very healthy portion and I don’t just mean because it was salad. There was also a giant wedge of foccacia with some stellar grill marks.


(L) Not every day a car welcomes you to a bar – (R) Why hello tasty Vespa

The salad was fresh and the extras plentiful. The dressing was fan-freaking-tastic but I didn’t have a chance to ask the server if it’s house made. The only downfall was the bread, while it looked stunning, there wasn’t a ton of seasoning going on.

Monday night is also pizza night at Garage. While I didn’t have one this time, I’ve had one before and for $12 (on a Monday), they’re a steal of a deal.

While crushing my salad we crushed some balls on the billiard table followed by a rousing foursome of ping-pong and the NCAA championships and Maple Leafs/Bluejackets games were all around us. While Garage was a great stop over before the film, it would also be a great place to just go hang out with your peeps for some funsies.


Hockey, pool and pong!

Tip: Unless you’re playing, maybe don’t sit right beside the ping pong table – if we come back, you’re libel to get nailed once or twice.

By the way, we did make it to I, Tonya (7/10).

Atmosphere: 3.5
Food: 3
Staff: 4

Garage Billiards Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato