I’ve been lucky enough to be able to visit San Diego twice in the past little while. Back in November, I spent some time there with friends, checking out the zoo, soaking up some sun in La Jolla and just enjoying the city in general.
My most recent jaunt there was just prior to flying out to Australia from L.A. My friend, Chez, and I took an early morning train (notice my tired, coffee-loving face pictured above) down from San Juan Capistrano for a quick overnight trip where we basically ate, strolled around, ate again and strolled around some more.
I’ve, more or less, fallen in love with San Diego. It’s a beautiful, vibrant city, extremely walkable and boasts some wicked food. I’ve had some great cocktails and small bites in the Gaslamp district at Searsucker (probably the best calamari I’ve ever tasted). The Hopping Pig is a great pub to stop by for lunch with some unique microbrews and quality menu, but out of all meal times of the day, my heart belongs to brunch.
My friends love going out for sushi. When it’s decided that we’re heading out for some rolls, t’s always a little bit of a discussion picking out which restaurant to dine at. Like most people in Calgary, everyone has their favourite sushi place. Some people love Globefish, some like Wa’s (I love Wa’s), or Zipang in Bridgeland…this list can go on and on…No matter which place I truly love at the moment, I’m always up for trying out a new establishment.
Sho Sushi opened up recently on Macleod Trail, just south of Chinook Mall (it’s right beside Campers Village, everyone seems to know where that store is, but never goes in it…). As far as sushi restaurants go, this place is massive. It’s two floors and even has a small patio on the upper level. My friends and I popped in a couple weeks ago for lunch and were pleasantly surprised by the nice interior and their extensive menu. The price point here is amazingly low, with appetizers ranging from $3 to $7.50 and sushi rolls going for $3.50 to $9.90.
Finally, it’s open! I feel like I (and many other people) had been waiting for MONTHS for this new restaurant on 4th St to open its doors. Candela is owned by the gentlemen from Alloy, so it was pretty much guaranteed that the food here would be fantastic.
On a mildly unrelated note, I often wonder why such lovely ladies go for lunch with me. It’s a mystery, but I never ponder on that thought for too long…Anyway, my friend and actress extradonaire, Ksenia Thurgood, met me at Candela for some tapas and a catch-up. We laughed, we cried, we ate. All that good stuff.
The menu here is purely tapas, all dishes that meant to be shared. The items that are available during the lunch hour are exactly the same that are available in the evening. So, regardless if you’re lunching or dinner-ing (is that a word?), you won’t miss out on any of the plates.
There are around forty different tapas options to choose from, ranging from $6-$14 in cost. Depending on how hungry you are, anywhere from 2-3 small plates per person should fill you up no problem. We started off lunch with the scallop ceviche. A bright, zesty dish. The chunks of tomatillo gave the mellow flavour of the scallops a nice, refreshing boost.
We moved swiftly along to their seared quail dish. The bird came deboned (aside from the protruding leg bone), and the meat was moist. The brush of sweet and sour Asian-inspired sauce underneath the bird was a great compliment to the meat. I debated asking for another order of this one.
The hummus was rich, with a slight sweetness coming from the carrots. There was touch of star anise in dip, which was completely unexpected, but added an amazing exotic taste to it. I would never have thought to add star anise to hummus. Very interesting! I am now going to try this at home!
Last, but not least, we couldn’t leave Candela without having something sweet to finish off with. The bunuelos seemed like the perfect dessert to try. The best way to describe what these little cinnamon-sugar coated dough balls tasted like would be to compare them to mini churros. They came with a side of dulce de leche for dipping. I’m not a huge dessert fan, but I could have eaten 30 of these.
Alright, so five dishes down, thirty five to go. I can’t wait to head back to Candela again soon for another great meal!
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