Macleod Sushi & BBQ – Food Review

Tuesday, 12 July, 2011

Macleod Sushi & BBQ (visit 2) - pix 01 - various sushi - visit 1 - order 2

[Dec 21, 2011 Update: See additional somewhat negative remarks in the comment section at the bottom of this post.]

[Feb 16, 2013 Update: Why we stopped eating at Macleod Sushi & BBQ? We had been a long time customers even though the food quality sometimes varies. Over Christmas holiday, we went there well before closing (30-40 mins) but were told that they don’t & won’t serve us our favourite all-you-can eat sushi anymore because of a busy day. So we were greatly disappointed. And then later another time, we were told that if we need a pot of hot water (we don’t drink tea, just hot water), we would be charged a $2 per pot fee in the new year of 2013. This disappointed me greatly as it seemed so wrong a way to treat a long time repeat customer. So in 2013, I am glad to say I have stopped eating at Macleod Sushi & BBQ. Gave me an excuse to eat a few less all-you-can eat meal, which may be a good thing for me to shred a few kg! :) ]

I love food, especially reasonably priced, reasonably good food. So we were quite happy to discover Macleod Sushi & BBQ (Suite 100, 5211 Macleod Trail SW, Calgary). We went there twice already in two weeks to check out their lunch time $14.95 all-you-can-eat Japanese sushi & cooked food and Korean BBQ. After my first visit, I even spent sometime to chat with the sushi chef Ken about the food (Ken told me he is in charge of food quality).

In the following food review, you will see what I like and don’t like about Macleod Sushi & BBQ.

House Salad

Macleod Sushi & BBQ - pix 03 - House Salad

House Salad:  7/10  It tasted nice, nothing too unexpected.

[Possible improvement: put the same amount of salad dressing on each salad. Of the two house salads we ordered, one had normal amount of dressing and the other one (above photo) had too much dressing.]

Various Nigiri Sushi and Rolls (over two visits and multiple orders)

Macleod Sushi & BBQ - pix 04 - various sushi

General comment: These sushi and rolls were all quite nice, not your typical “all-you-can-eat” stuff. Some years ago, one restaurant used a machine to form the sushi rice, that was horrible. Fortunately, they aren’t in business anymore. And some all-you-can eat places put way too much rice on the sushi, as if to try to stuff you full first. Now the following are my ratings for the Nigiri sushi and rolls.

Tuna: 8/10, Salmon: 8/10, California roll: 7.5/10, Chopped Scallop: 9/10

The chopped scallop got a 9/10 because the scallop was fresh and sauce was nice. And the seaweed was crunchy if I eat it right away. This is nice attention to detail. note: of course, if you leave the Chopped Scallop uneaten for too long, the seaweed will soften and it won’t taste as nice in terms of having a crunchy and smooth taste in your mouth.

Macleod Sushi & BBQ (visit 2) - pix 01 - various sushi - visit 1 - order 2Macleod Sushi & BBQ (visit 2) - pix 09 - variious sushi

The above pictures of sushi and rolls were taken from our second visit. I want to bring out an important point that the food have to be consistently good. The food’s taste and presentation should be consistent over multiple visits. [July 26 update: We recently had our third visit. And I am happy to say, the food is still consistently good plus they even improved some of the dishes. e.g. I will rate the Shrimp Tempura: 8/10 now.]

You see, there was one restaurant that we visited once, it wasn’t even able to send out consistent dishes from the kitchen on the same day when we ordered the same thing!

As you may notice in the photo on the right, we ordered some rolls to try. We ordered Spicy BC Roll and Dynamite Roll, I think thats their names. Anyway, they are the ones that have BBQ salmon skin in them. When done well, the salmon skin should be crunchy and mixed well with the rest of the roll. In this case, the salmon skin was too hard and tough to chew. I ended up eating the rest of the rolls and picked out the salmon skin (the roll’s main ingredient).

Spicy BC Roll and Dynamite Roll: 2/10 (Macleod needs to fix this asap)

Baked Oysters

Macleod Sushi & BBQ - pix 06 - baked oyster - visit 1 - order 1

The oyster Read the rest of this entry »


Superbugs in supermarket chicken

Thursday, 10 February, 2011

CBC News, “Supermarket chicken harbours superbugs“.


Erin Bolger’s The Happy Baker – 2010 New York Times Best Cookbooks

Wednesday, 8 December, 2010

Erin-04-Paris

I am excited to report Erin Bolger’s “The Happy Baker” has made the 2010 New York Times Best Cookbooks!

[…] After a while, Ms. Gold’s injunctions to cook “breathtaking” food made me want to curl up on a cinnamon bun for a nap with “The Happy Baker: A Girl’s Guide to Emotional Baking” by Erin Bolger (Harlequin, $17.95), a bright spot on the often-messy bookshelf of culinary comedy. Ms. Bolger’s tales of love, loss and caramels, matched with easy recipes, include advice on why sleeping with the gardener at a Cuban resort hotel is a good idea, and how to deal with a Valentine from Mom. She and Matt Moore, the earnest author of the self-published “Have Her Over For Dinner” (Last Resort Press, $25), might make a nice couple. Mr. Moore, a musician in Nashville, targets the young man who wants to make dinner on a date — while managing to avoid the usual Playboy-tinged prose of cookbooks “for men.”

Congrats Erin on your great job! You’ve worked hard to make this possible!

Feel free to check out my video interview with Erin “The Happy Baker” from earlier this year.


Superstore/Loblaws: “Try it … you’ll love it!” guarantee

Monday, 1 November, 2010

PC Dim Sum - pix 2

Many of Superstore/Loblaws‘ in-store President’s Choice brand of products carry the “Try it … you’ll love it!” guarantee (or money refunded with proof of purchase). I see this as a great promotional method to get customers to try PC brand products and ways to collect customer feedback. The guarantee lead me to try their PC brand of Chinese frozen dim sum.

PC Dim Sum - pix 1

Unfortunately for me and for PC, the frozen dim sum tasted awful and nothing remotely like what you have in a Chinese restaurant or the cheapest frozen dim sum you can buy from Chinatown.

So I took up the PC’s guaranteed offer and called their 1-888 number and managed to get a $10 gift card as refund, saving me the hassle of bringing the box & receipt and lining up at the store for refund.

PC Dim Sum - pix 3

As smart consumers, I think we should take these money back refund guarantees by companies seriously for two reasons. Firstly, if they guarantee we will “love it” and we don’t, they should refund. Secondly and more importantly, I believe by us complaining about the product quality or taste, the complaints allow the companies to improve their product offerrings in the future. Having a monetary cost associated with the complains will give them a better chance to be heard by some mangers somewhere because the money payouts have to be recorded, accounted for, and justified.

Lastly, I should mention that I have tried various President’s Choice products (from various food products, to non-stick pans, and even meat and poultry scissors) and they taste pretty good and work pretty well.

Thanks Loblaws. Thanks for setting a good example of Customer Service Excellence.


Kings of Pastry – CIFF review

Monday, 11 October, 2010

2010 CIFF Picks: Kings of Pastry

Kings of Pastry is one of my 2010 Calgary International Film Festival Picks. The film was great to watch for food/pastry lovers as the pastry were all beautifully made , creatively inspiring, and made with all the attentions to the smallest details. On a deeper level, I also see Kings of Pastry as a film about the journeys for a group of people (pastry chefs in this case) who are willing to go really far (to the extreme) in their pursuits of excellence.

Kings of Pastry made me felt like one of the chefs, experiencing their ups and their downs with them. I highly recommend you check out Kings of Pastry when you can.

Here is a trailer of the film.

Here is a clip from the film.


2010 CIFF Picks: Kings of Pastry

Saturday, 28 August, 2010

2010 CIFF Picks: Kings of Pastry

Another one of my 2010 CIFF Picks: Kings of Pastry (CIFF screening time)

Are you a food lover? Well, I not only love food, when it is great food, I also want to see and experience the exquisite preparation of food. Kings of Pastry is a film about sixteen French pastry in pursue of excellence.

Here is a trailer of the film.

Here is a clip from the film.

Here is some info about the film from the filmmakers’ site (emphasis and link added),

“Imagine a scene never before witnessed: Sixteen French pastry chefs gathered in Lyon for three intense days of mixing, piping and sculpting everything from delicate chocolates to six-foot sugar sculptures in hopes of being declared by President Nicolas Sarkozy one of the best. This is the prestigious Meilleurs Ouvriers de France competition (Best Craftsmen in France). The blue, white and red striped collar worn on the jackets of the winners is more than the ultimate recognition for every pastry chef – it is a dream and an obsession.

Filmmakers D A Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus secured exclusive access to shoot this epic, never-before-filmed test of France’s finest artisans. The film follows chef Jacquy Pfeiffer, co-founder of Chicago’s French Pastry School, as he journeys back to his childhood home of Alsace to practice for the contest. Two other finalists are profiled in the film — chef Regis Lazard, who was competing for the second time (he dropped his sugar sculpture the first time), and chef Philippe Rigollot, from Maison Pic, France’s only three-star restaurant owned by a woman.

During the grueling final competition, chefs work under constant scrutiny by master judges and the critical palates of some of the world’s most renowned chefs evaluate their elaborate pastries. Finally, these pastry marathoners racing the clock must hand carry all their creations including their fragile sugar sculptures through a series of rooms to a final buffet area without shattering them. The film captures the high-stakes drama of the competition – passion, sacrifice, disappointment, and joy – in the quest to become one of the KINGS OF PASTRY.

This film is made by the same team (co-directors Chris Hegedus and D A Pennebaker) that made The War Room. Here is an insightful “Kings Of Pastry – Doc Talk” with the co-directors.

P.S. Incidentally, love Ang Lee’s classic “Eat Drink Man Woman” and it makes me want to eat or cook some good food after every viewing. If you love food and haven’t seen the film, check it out.


Bernard Callebaut’s financial details

Tuesday, 10 August, 2010

3 lessons as chocolatier Bernard Callebaut enters receivership

From Calgary Herald “Bernard Callebaut determined to claw his way back from receivership” (emphasis added),

“Last Tuesday, Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut was placed in receivership by ATB Financial, which alleges in court documents it is owed roughly $3.9 million by the company. […]

Callebaut is candid about the issues. One crux is a $5-million land purchase west of Calgary made during the boom — a 78-hectare expanse Callebaut dreamed one day would house a factory and warehouse facility and would feature an organic dairy farm to round out his chocolate production.

He recently tried to sell that land, but was only offered $2 million.

The head office building on 1st Street by 13th Avenue S.E. was sold during the boom to raise capital, he says. It did that, but also saddled the company with an expensive lease signed with the new owner during the height of the market.

Then the economic downturn brought sliding sales. In June 2009, the company temporarily reduced its workforce to a skeleton crew. But Callebaut says when people saw the headlines, they believed the chocolaterie was closed, leading to an immediate 15 per cent drop in business.”

See also my previous article, “3 lessons as chocolatier Bernard Callebaut enters receivership“.

Oct 4th, 2010 Update: “Chocolatier Bernard Callebaut making final bid to regain company

Apr 11th, 2011 Update: “unLovemark: Bernard Callebaut the businessman and the two brands


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