Yuzen

It's been a busy month! I've been out and about and in just a few weeks, I'll be halfway across the world. If you have Instagram, my food adventures are now posted daily at @mshangryfoodie. Give me a follow if you wanna stay hungry (or should I say hangry?)! 

Photo taken from @mshangryfoodie on IG

Last month, I finally had the chance to check out Yuzen! I was never able to before since I always worked on Saturdays. Coincidentally, my friends had never been there either so all 6 of us were newcomers! Yuzen is a Japanese restaurant in St Albert that offers the regular food you'd find such as sushi, sashimi, bento, and tempura. They're also very well known for their ramen, which is only made on Saturdays from 11:30 am to 2 pm. My friends and I came around 12 pm and knew we'd have to wait since we needed a bigger table. Our wait was about half an hour which wasn't too bad. The restaurant itself is tiny though. You're very close to each other and although it doesn't feel intimate, there's a bit of a cozy feeling. Which is perfect for eating ramen, of course. 


Miso Ramen $11
All of the ramen was accompanied by the usual: cha shu, bamboo shoots, green onions,  and nori (seaweed). I was craving miso soup so I decided to go with the miso ramen, which uses a soy bean paste. The ramen sizing was decently generous, I was full after for sure! Actually, I got mad itis after. The broth was very light but it wasn't bland. The noodles were chewy in texture and fun to eat. One thing to note is that eggs are an extra addition with the ramen, so don't forget to order it. The size of the egg was surprisingly big compared to other ramen bowls I've had. 


Tonkotsu Ramen $11
The tonkotsu ramen had a thick and creamy broth made from pork bones. Yuzen perfected it because it wasn't too thin or thick which can be a problem! This particular ramen is more creamier so I would recommend it if you wanted a heartier meal. 


Shio Ramen $11
The shio ramen had more of a saltier base. The right touch of umami was found in this ramen, just like all the other bowls. 


Tantanmen Ramen $12
For those with a spicier taste, tantanmen ramen will be your go-to! It uses a sesame paste which brings out the redness in the broth. The spiciness level was definitely there so this isn't for the weaklings (aka me cause I can't eat anything spicy). 


Chicken Teriyaki Don $9.50 
Along with their ramen menu, Yuzen also has appetizers and donburi (Japanese rice bowls) on Saturdays. It's definitely a smaller portion that the ramen so I wouldn't say it would be filling as a meal. My friend ordered the chicken teriyaki flavored which came with deep fried chicken. The teriyaki sauce was too light for me. I feel like overall the bowl lacked some flavouring and was of average. 

I wouldn't say Yuzen is the best ramen shop but it's definitely one of the better ones in and around Edmonton. Honestly, I prefer Ohana Ya in St Albert for ramen (review here). If you ever have a chance to stop by on a Saturday, I'd recommend it. I probably won't be back till the colder season though just cause I don't really like ramen in the summer... Yeah I'm weird like that! If you decide to stop by, go before they open so there's less of a wait time. And less chance of them running out of eggs cause we got the last eggs apparently.

Yuzen Japanese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Address: 127-1 Herbert Road

Blaze Pizza

The latest pizza joint to hit the city goes by the name of Blaze Pizza. It's a California based chain with countless locations in the US, and very few in Canada. We are lucky to be one of the few (the others are Toronto and Calgary). It's actually owned by the creators of Wetzels Pretzel! Blaze Pizza follows the trendy "made to order" concept that a lot of eateries are taking part in nowadays. No complaints though, it's quicker and more efficient, which means... less hangry waiting time for me! Blaze Pizza is found in Manning Town Centre which already has multiple eateries in the area (such as Five Guys and soon to be Brown's Socialhouse). Finally, the northside is getting some good recognition. The interior is spacious and has a modern feel to it. The service is super friendly! My friend and I were greeted right as we walked in. When it was our turn to order, the worker was very informative on explaining how the ordering process worked. Great service always adds to an enjoyable experience.

At Blaze Pizza, you have the choice of ordering one of their signature pizzas or building your own. (Have you noticed a lot of similarities between this and Love Pizza? A mini comparison will be made later!). If you choose to make your own creation, it's basically unlimited toppings for one price. Solid deal. There's a gluten free crust available as well and a high-rise crust (for an additional charge) if you want your pizza nice and thick. All of the pizzas come in one size, which is quite filling! The pizza only takes 3 minutes to be "Fast Fire'd" in their 800 degree open flame oven.


During my trip, I decided to try one of their house creations. I went with the White Top, a white cream sauce based pizza with mozzarella cheese, applewood bacon, garlic, oregano, and arugula. The crust of the pizza was on the thinner side but had a slight crisp to it. It wasn't too thin though and luckily, it wasn't soggy! Sogginess is a problem that no one wants to deal with when they eat a thin crusted pizza. I enjoyed the light combination of toppings on my pizza. I wish that there was more applewood bacon though. The ratio of bacon to arugula was not even! My friend decided to create his own pizza with grilled chicken and other toppings (I honestly don't remember, whoops). He thought the pizza was delicious and filling. 


For dessert, only one option was available. The s'more pie is created daily and has the option of being warmed up when you ordered it. I highly recommend this option because when you're eating it, the chocolate is literally melting all over your hands and it's so DELICIOUS. It tastes like a legit s'more from a firepit since the marshmallow is soft and oozy as well. Although the s'more pie was a smaller serving, that just means you need to order two! 

So how does Blaze Pizza compare to Love Pizza? They are both equally delicious, in their own ways. Both places use completely different crusts (thin vs slightly thick). The creations are different as well but I'd say that Love Pizza has a wider range to choose from when it comes to toppings. Blaze Pizza certainly goes out of their way to provide friendly service though. Pizza lovers will enjoy Blaze Pizza for sure! 

Blaze Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 
Address: 15709 39 Street


Quickly

Another addition to the multiple bubble tea places around the city is Quickly! Quickly is actually a worldwide chain with more than 2000 locations on the world. Honestly I had never even heard of them till they were opening in southside Edmonton. Their menu is quite extensive, they offer a variety of bubble tea, food, and dessert options. You can finally have a real meal at a bubble tea joint! My friend and I came here last Friday night. The place was very busy as we had to line up for around 20 minutes. The line up seemed to go very slow even though there were so many workers. It took about another 15 minutes to get our food and drinks. The service appeared unorganized because the workers would walk around the place shouting your name when your food was ready. Kind of amusing watching workers approach at least 3 different tables till they found the right person.


Bubble Tea
I ordered the feature slush mix with lychee and passionfruit ($5.95). All of their bubble teas come with 1 free topping. It was nice that this offer included many toppings that would be charged at other places like different flavored jellies (green tea, rainbow, lychee, green apple) and popping pearls (mango, lychee, yogurt). I enjoyed my bubble tea because it was different from other places! It was very refreshing and tasty. It was obvious in the taste that they used fruit powder mixes though. My friend had the sesame milk tea ($5.25). He said it tasted the same as other places. Some of their bubble teas come in two sizes, regular and large. 


Thai Milk Tea Ice Flakes
VERY disappointed in this. I was super excited to try this because I love Thai iced tea (not sure why they refer to it as Thai milk tea here.. pretty sure it's the same thing). But anyways, from my first bite I barely tasted anything. There was no flavour. All I tasted was melted ice. It took me a few more bites to taste a very SUBTLE flavor that barely tasted like Thai iced tea. The ice flakes also melted very "quickly" (lol get it??) so you'll have to eat this super fast. I wanted to try the Japanese matcha ice flakes as well prior to ordering this. Now, I won't even bother because I don't want to eat anymore tasteless ice flakes! On a side note, this is offered in 2 sizes: for one ($6.95) and for two ($10.95). We ordered the bigger size. 


Taro Fries $6.95
My cousin actually recommended these to me. Before I came to Quickly, I asked around a lot for recommendations because of how "hit or miss" my friends experiences seemed. The taro fries are more on the savoury side, not a dessert item. The fries consist of taro being deep fried to a very crispy touch. Loads of savoury flavouring are added on top. The fries were certainly different but they weren't bad. I might order them again to munch on if I wanted to share snacks with a few friends.

I'm not sure if I would return to Quickly. Everything appeared to be a hit or miss and the service was definitely a let down. I'd rather go elsewhere with consistent food and service. If I was around Southgate though and really craving bubble tea, I might stop by.. 

Quickly Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Address: 5818 111 Street

Nando's

I had the opportunity of attending Nando's VIP launch party back in February before they opened. Through the course of the night, I was able to sample some of Nando's most popular dishes. When I had heard that the world-famous chain was opening up in Edmonton, I was super excited. Nando's originated from South Africa but their food has Mozambican and Portuguese influences. They are very well known for their peri peri chicken. The restaurant is currently located southside but another one is planned for a northside opening (yay!).  Since the launch party was the very first night that they opened their doors, there were some kinks. The service was very inconsistent. There was a long wait even though I came during the later part of the evening. When my friend and I got seated, no server came by to explain to us how the night would go. Would we get to order off the menu? Or would different plates of food be brought around to be tasted? Eventually, I asked a nearby server and found out that we would be tasting different items being brought around the restaurant. 


The interior of Nando's was more modern and hip than I had expected. I thought it would be very plain jane on the inside but the wooden accents and artistic decor proved my thoughts wrong.


To start the dinner off, we each had a glass of their housemade sangria. It was deliciously refreshing and fruity. The taste of the wine wasn't too strong either. 


Portuguese Garlic Bread $4
The food tasting came out in a regular meal order: "appeteasers", entrees, then desserts. The first appeteaser I tried was their Portuguese garlic bread. It was a baked Portuguese bun with a garlic and herb spread. The bun was a bit too chewy for my liking. On the other hand, the spread wasn't overly filled with a garlic taste. 


Peri-Peri Fries $3.75
Next up were the Peri-Peri fries. These fries were served with a Peri-naise sauce. It was a creamy blend similar to an aioli but not as thick. The lightly crispy fries had the right amount of salt on it. 



Sliders $8.50 (3 Pcs)
We tried out both types of sliders that Nando's offered. Found as an appeteaser, you have a choice of chicken or mushroom sliders. The chicken ones used Peri-Peri chicken with cilantro dressing and chili ham. The vegetarian option used roasted portabello mushrooms and halloumi cheese. I preferred the mushroom sliders better because the chicken sliders were very bland. There was barely any flavour or spices in it. 


Lemon & Herb Chicken
All of the chicken at Nando's is marinated for 24 hours in their secret sauce. The timeframe allows the flavor to be soaked right to the bone! After, they are flame grilled then basted in one of Nando's Peri-Peri sauces. Their chicken is ordered based on a spiciness scale. I tried the lemon and herb chicken, which is further down on the scale since it's not spicy. After taking a first bite of the lemon and herb chicken, I can see why they are well known for it. The chicken was deliciously juicy and tender. There was a bit of zest from the lemon with a balance of aromatic spices and herbs. The freshness of the chicken came through with every bite. 


Mild Chicken
The other flavour of Peri-Peri chicken that I tried was the mildly spicy chicken. Maybe my tastebuds are weak but I found it to be too spicy for me. I had to take a sip of water after every bite! 


Pasteis de Natas $2.50
Dessert offerings at Nando's include pasteis de natas (Portuguese egg tarts), New York cheesecake, Nando's kisses, and bottomless frozen yogurt. I had the pasteis de natas, which I was excited to eat. I'm a big fan of Hong Kong egg tarts so I wanted to see how the Portuguese version would compare. They have a custard in the center similar to creme brûlée. The crust was buttery and flaky. It was very tasty!


I feel like Nando's is worth a try once or twice. There is a lot of hype surrounding it though, but that's not necessarily bad. 

Nando's Edmonton South Gateway Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 
Address: 4228 Gateway Blvd

  Disclosure: I was invited to the VIP Launch Party, complimentary of Nando's. A review was not expected. It is 100% unbiased and based on my own sincere opinion.