Blue Star Diner 

As much as I love taking my time in the mornings and lazily making my way downstairs and cooking breakfast, there’s something to be said about going out for breakfast and having someone else serve you. As my hubby says, “it’s nice to have someone else serve you coffee once in a while.” We don’t go out for breakfast very often compared to lunch or dinner. Simply because on the weekends the waits to get into some of the breakfast places around Calgary can be downright frightful. With two kids, the last thing I want to do is wait 45 minutes to an hour for a table. I often wished more places took reservations just to make things easier on families.

The only time I really get a chance to hit up a breakfast place around town is when hubby and I both happen to be off during the weekday. Our go-to place is usually OEB on Edmonton Trail. However, we wanted to try something different this time and after browsing through various menus I settled on Blue Star Diner. We’ve been here before for dinner and tried their burgers, which are fantastic but we’ve never tried their breakfast. We walked in around 10:30am on a weekday and easily got a table. No wait!


I usually veer towards eggs benedicts cause let’s face it. If I’m going out to eat I might as well go all out and get some hollandaise sauce in me. However, this time their was a corned lamb dish that caught my eye. The Corned Lamb Hash with cornbread sounded amazing! Slow cooked lamb, red potato hash browns, zucchini, roasted peppers, mushrooms, kale, caramelized onions, chilis, 2 poached eggs, goat feta and hollandaise. How can you say no to that? So I didn’t. And, wow! Was it ever satisfying! The lamb paired perfectly with all those vegetables and the chilis provided a nice kick to the dish.

Their eggs Benedict didn’t disappoint either. The Brisket and Caramelized Onion Benny with red potato hash was filling and another great choice. The slow cooked brisket was tender and flavorful with the caramelized onions adding a hint of sweetness to cut through the richness.

We had a fantastic breakfast here and I would love to return. We were pleasantly surprised and impressed with both dishes. Perhaps this will be our new go-to breakfast place from now on. It’s always nice to take a stroll around Bridgeland after and burn off some calories too.

Blue Star Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Briggs Kitchen and Bar

Hubby and I were downtown one Sunday and looking for a place to have lunch at.  Unfortunately for us, many places are not open for lunch on Sundays so as we were wandering around Briggs Restaurant and Bar came to mind so we made our way over there.  Sadly, when we arrived we were informed that they were only serving their brunch menu.  Bummer.  But, since we walked all the way there we decided to stay.  Brigg’s brunch menu is small and since I already had eggs for breakfast that morning I wasn’t in the mood for anymore even though their eggs Benedict sounded really good. The only eggless savory choice that appealed to me was the Breakfast Potato Gratin ($14.25) and it sounded pretty good so I went with that.  Hubby couldn’t decide on what he wanted either but eventually settled for AAA Sirloin Steak ($18.25).

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It was very quiet that afternoon with only one other table occupied in the restaurant while we were there while most of the small patio was full.  I was admiring the space while waiting for our food and I could already tell that this place must be pretty busy and lively in the evenings.  The place is filled with banquette seats, bar seating by the window and a bar situated in the middle of it all.  There are several flat screen TVs on the wall airing sports which is sure to attract a crowd and perhaps make it easier for ladies to drag their man out for a meal.

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The food took longer than expected to arrive and when the server placed our meals down she explained why.  It turns out the kitchen had to re-cook hubby’s steak twice because it was not cooked to his liking; he had asked for it to be rare.  The dish itself was quite stunning to look at with the crispy potato pancake on the bottom and then layered with the steak, eggs and hollandaise sauce.  However, when he had cut into his steak it was still not cooked to his liking.  It was more medium to medium-rare.  The star of this dish was the potato pancake though – gloriously crispy and so good!  I had a taste of it and seriously – they should just put the potato pancake on the menu by itself.  It is that good.

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My dish was not quite what I had expected.  The potatoes were roasted well but there was a huge pool of oil at the bottom of the cast iron dish.  Perhaps because they had roasted the potatoes in it but it was a bit off-putting and too greasy for my liking.  The pork belly was crispy but there were only a few pieces of it and there were quite small.  The kale was slightly charred and I probably enjoyed it more just because it helped to cut the greasy potatoes.  Overall, I found this dish to be disappointing and underwhelming.  I really expected a lot more from this dish.

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We opted for dessert just because I needed something to rid the grease.  Their dessert menu is quite small with only 3 items to choose from.  I settled for the Lemon Pie ($8) since I’m a huge lemon fan and the meringue topping set it apart from other lemon pies that I’ve had.  Although the concept of it was unique I did find the pie itself underwhelming.  The pastry was slightly soggy and the curd was dry – to me that’s a sign of a pie that was made a while ago and has been sitting in the fridge.  Eating all three components together did make for a very interesting mouth feel and it really does taste best if you eat all three components together.

Service was pretty attentive and the servers actually do their job rather than chit-chat with each other.  I noticed many of them were restocking/cleaning since it was a quiet day.  I’m still interested in trying their regular menu so I’ll be back to do that but I would pass on the brunch menu.

Briggs Kitchen and Bar

317 10 Ave Southwest
Calgary, AB  T2R 0A5

Briggs Kitchen and Bar on Urbanspoon

Big Fish

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Hubby’s friend C was recently in town from London, UK and we had brunch with him to catch up.  It is not easy looking for a kid friendly place to dine at on a Sunday afternoon.  A lot of the places that we go to are either not open for lunch or they don’t take reservations for brunch.  And, doesn’t it seem like everyone in Calgary is out for brunch on Sundays?  It sure seems that way when we’re left waiting for table.  That’s when Big Fish came to mind – one of the bonuses is that they take reservations and the food is good.

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I went with the Wild mushroom, truffle, basil and white cheddar scramble on Noble duck confit hash ($15).  I’ve had it before, really enjoyed it and wanted to have it again.  It was still as good as I remember although I found the portion to be a bit smaller than before – not as much duck I think. I still enjoyed it though and love the flavor combination of mushrooms and duck together.

Homemade jam and ketchup

Homemade jam and ketchup

I tried some of their homemade strawberry jam with my slice of bread and really enjoyed the intense strawberry flavor.  I love their homemade jams because they’re always packed full of fruit and not cloyingly sweet.

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The Citizen Sidewalk brioche French toast with orange curd and maple syrup ($13) was my toddler’s order since they don’t have a kids menu.  Although on the pricier side, the French toast was indeed really good.  The toast was crispy yet soft, buttery and custardy.  The orange curd was to die for…I could seriously smear that on everything and eat it!

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Hubby had the Arugula, oven dried tomato and Sheppards Dairy sheep feta omelette ($12) with a side of bison chorizo ($4).  He really enjoyed the omelette and sausage but was super stuffed after.  The chorizo was huge and he couldn’t believe the portion size. I didn’t try his dish so can’t comment on the flavors but he polished off the entire thing so that must be a good sign.

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C decided to try the Soft shell crab club sandwich with wild boar bacon and organic tomatoes with a side salad ($17).  The server was kind enough to explain what it the crab was like so he wouldn’t be surprised.  He enjoyed the soft shell crab but got tired of eating the bread with it halfway through.  I suspect because it was too hard and crunchy overall – in other words too much jaw work.  The buttery crusty bread with the deep fried crab can give your jaw a bit of a workout. I think this sandwich would almost pair better with a soft bun instead.

Service was pretty average – the server got us what we needed and refilled our waters when they ran low.  We really liked the laid back atmosphere of the place and didn’t feel rushed to finish our meal and leave so that waiting patrons could get their table.  I would definitely return for brunch and try their other offerings.  I have my eyes set on their Maple Fried Oatmeal next time.

Big Fish

1112 Edmonton Trail NE
Calgary, AB T2E 0Z2

Big Fish Dockside on Urbanspoon

Rhubarb Strawberry Crumb Bars

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I recently found out that one of my friends grows rhubarb in her backyard.  Since, she’s not really into baking I was delighted when she said I could harvest some and take it home with me.  I was ecstatic and quickly started working on a recipe to use them.  I love the strong tart taste of rhubarb and the juicy sweetness of strawberries.  Since rhubarb and strawberry are a match made in heaven they paired beautifully together in this recipe for crumb bars.  With every bite you’re hit with the buttery crust, tart and sweet rhubarb strawberry mixture and the crunch from the streusel.  Enjoy these while fresh rhubarb and strawberries are still around. Continue reading

Diner Deluxe & Fiasco Gelato

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We were trying to decide what to have for dinner one Friday and Hubby wanted either Vietnamese, Chinese or a burger so we took a gander at Urbanspoon and settled on Diner Deluxe. Neither of us have been to this Calgary institution before but we knew that they’re usually crazy busy for breakfast with waits up to an hour or more. Since we weren’t sure what it would be like for dinner we decided it would be best to get there early. We arrived just after 5:30pm to a mostly empty restaurant – whoo-hoo – no wait!

I knew that Hubby wanted to have a burger but I just couldn’t decide on what I wanted. Their lamb shank sounded really good but it was hot out and I wasn’t in the mood for something braised. Some of their breakfast items were appealing but I had eggs for breakfast every day that week so I wasn’t in the mood for that either. I know, I know – picky! So finally, I just settled on having a burger as well.

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The Bridgeland Burger is just a classic bacon cheeseburger. It was alright – flavors were good, patty was moist and I enjoyed the smokiness and crunch from the bacon. However, this was definitely more of a clean tasting ‘healthier’ burger – not the large messy gooey burgers I love. I wished the patty itself was larger as it was quite small compared to the size of the bun. I have to say that’s one of my pet peeves. When it comes to burgers I feel the patty to bun ratio is extremely important. I absolutely hate taking my first bite only to be met with bun and condiments. I decided to pay an extra $2 for their yam wedges since I’m a huge fan of yam fries. However, these yam wedges fell short of my expectations. They were completely burnt on one side and were very soft and mushy. I did not enjoy these at all – even my toddler wouldn’t touch them.

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Hubby had the Rangeland Burger which was a buffalo burger topped with caramelized onions and Havarti cheese. He felt it was decent but not spectacular. He was craving more of a rustic messy burger that day. He ordered that with a salad and thought it was pretty ordinary – packaged greens with a slice of red onion on top. We both felt that their burgers missed the mark – we’ve definitely had much better burgers elsewhere.

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My toddler had his first restaurant meal of a Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Roasted Potatoes. To my surprise, he actually ate the entire sandwich himself. That’s quite a feat in my books considering that he’s never consumed more than one piece of toast. He didn’t like the roasted potatoes though so hubby and I ate them. They were disappointing as they were quite soft and bland. I was really expecting well seasoned crispy roasted potatoes. The sandwich also came with a couple of pickles which is great if you have an older child but for young ones I thought a piece of fruit would’ve been nice.

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This place gives off a laid back retro diner atmosphere. It wasn’t terribly busy during dinner so next time I feel like having breakfast for dinner I’ll head here to try some of those menu items. The service was average and nothing particularly stood out other than the fact that she offered crayons and a coloring page to my toddler to keep him busy.

Diner Deluxe

804 Edmonton Trail NE
Calgary, AB T2E 3J6

Diner Deluxe on Urbanspoon

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We decided to stop over at Fiasco Gelato (just opened next door to Diner Deluxe) for dessert. It was really hard trying to choose a flavor and I ended up sampling almost every one of them (haha – whoops!) but the Blood Orange Gelato was too good to pass up so I went with a scoop of that. It was really nice, orangey and not overly sweet. It was the perfect end to my meal.

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Hubby decided to splurge and go for the Peach Bellini Milkshake which he ended up sharing with our toddler. Hubby really liked it and thought the peach flavor was quite pronounced but was super stuffed after. I see that they’ll have wood fired pizzas in the near future and am really looking forward to trying those.

Fiasco Gelato

802 Edmonton Trail Northeast
Calgary, AB T2E 3J6

Fiasco Gelato on Urbanspoon

Vendome Cafe

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I love going out for breakfast but I hate having to wait especially since I’m usually starving in the mornings.  My friend J and I met up for breakfast at Vendome Café and I was quite happy to find that they had a steady stream of customers but it wasn’t so bad that we weren’t able to get a seat right away.

I really loved the atmosphere of this place.  It was very inviting and also meant that you could drop in for a quick bite, catch up with friends or bring your laptop and chill out for a few hours.  The space is bright and the seats aren’t so close together that you can hear your neighbors conversation.  It was perfect for us. Continue reading

Cucina

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Hubby wanted to head out for breakfast one Saturday and originally wanted to go to OEB Breakfast Co. I warned him about the ridiculously long wait times and suggested Cucina instead since I’ve been dying to try their brunch menu ever since I had dinner here. He insisted on swinging by OEB first to see what the wait was and was told an hour so we headed down to Cucina. We were seated immediately upon arriving and quickly decided what we wanted to order.

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Hubby ordered coffee and the server dropped off this pretty little sugar bowl. He’s a fan of Phil and Sebastian’s Coffee so he quite enjoyed the brew.

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We started with the Ricotta Fritters ($6). These were deep fried to order and served with an apricot jam. I took one bite and immediately fell in love with them. They were light, fluffy and had that melt-in-your mouth quality to it. They are seriously the best fritters I’ve ever had and I could’ve easily polished off the entire serving. Very dangerous! Continue reading