New Restaurant in YEG: Sakura Izakaya

Sakura Izakaya

Let us introduce you to a new Japanese Izakaya spot in Edmonton: Sakura Izakaya. This cozy new spot is located on 4436 Calgary Trail NW and has free parking for easy access. With Japanese Izakayas (meaning Japanese Bar/Pub), you can often expect a variety of small, typically inexpensive, dishes and snacks to accompany alcoholic drinks. When you first arrive to the place, you will be greeted by their friendly staff. The team at Sakura Izakaya work together like a family and on top of that, the stylistic choice for the interior design gives you a warm welcoming feeling.

Now let’s talk about their food. The menu is simple, yet diverse in the type of foods you can expect. There is a range of sushi, skewers, grilled fish, noodles, drinks and more. What was most surprising to me was that the menu items are fairly priced. For what you pay for, the food is worth it! Chef Akisan has also informed us that all their meats are locally sourced and the seafood is imported fresh from Japan. This is definitely a plus when it comes to the freshness and taste I experienced here.

grilled skewers

To start off, we tried the Okonomiyaki, which is a Japanese seafood pancake topped with tonkatsu sauce and mayo. For a ‘small dish’ this item had a large portion that’s great for groups of 4 or more! The seafood was also topped with Bonito flakes (dried, smoked shavings of skipjack tuna).

Next up, we were served the Sakura Bun (BBQ tender beef, spring mixed served with steamed white bun) and Angry Edamame (spicy soybeans). These were great starters before the main meal, especially the flavoured Edamame which had a unique taste.

For the main meal, we had a variety of pressed sushi, Beef Yakisoba noodles, and a spicy poke bowl. My personal favourite was the Pressed Mango Sushi. Since it’s mango season, the fruity taste was potent and melts in your mouth. However, the Pressed Chopped Scallop sushi was a close contender. Both had me wanting more! Whether you are a noodle or rice fan, they have both options including the Yakisoba noodles and poke bowl with rice that we tried. I would say the spicy poke bowl was the winner for me. The mix of greens, egg, avocados, and fresh raw tuna worked harmoniously.

Of course if you are enjoying the food, you must pair it with a drink! They offer a variety of unique alcoholic beverages that are imported from Japan: plum, strawberry flavoured sake, Japanese beer, and more.

Overall, this place really shines with their flavours, pricing, and friendly staff! You have a curated menu with a variety of foods and drinks that are unique. The atmosphere is great for socials and late night hangouts with friends and family. I highly recommend checking out this place if you’re looking for somewhere new to eat!

Visit Sakura Izakaya


5 Things to Do This Holiday Season in Edmonton

It’s the most wonderful time of year full of Christmas lights, festivities, and holiday cheer! This year is a little bit different as we may not be able to gather with friends and family. However, there are still some ways you can celebrate the holidays without being in a crowd.

Here are 5 ways I’m spending my days before Christmas!

  1. Christmas Lights
  2. Outdoor Ice Skating
  3. Baking at Home
  4. Toboggan Down A Hill
  5. Watch Holiday Movies

1. Christmas Lights

One of the many reasons that make the holiday so magical is the lights and décor around the city. From simple string lights to extravagant light statues…people do it all! Below I will share some great places for you to see Christmas lights around the city.


The Winter Wonder Forest – Open until January 3, 2020

If you don’t want to walk outside because it’s too cold, look no further than this 115,000 square foot Christmas drive-thru in Edmonton! This is a no contact way of enjoying Christmas lights in the comfort of your own vehicle. Get your Christmas playlist ready as you drive-thru and jam to your own tunes. They also have ice sculptures and live music for you to enjoy.

Check it out here

Luminaria – December 1-30, 2020

Luminaria is an annual event that happens at the University of Alberta Botanical Gardens for the month of December. This will be an outdoor experience, so make sure you dress for the weather! Not only is this garden beautiful in the Summer, you can enjoy this candle lit and peaceful winter wonderland today.

Check it out here

Summerside Christmas Lights 

If you’re on the hunt for a free alternative to enjoying Christmas lights. Drive down to the Summerside neighborhood and you can find houses all decked out in Christmas decorations. These homeowners really know the spirit of Christmas! It’s as easy as finding parking and walking down the street.

Located at Summerside Grande Blvd

2. Outdoor Ice Skating

Do you own a pair of ice skates? If yes! Grab them and head to an outdoor rink for some skating. If no, you can skate rentals are available at:

  • Castle Downs Park
  • City Hall
  • Jackie Parker Park
  • Rundle Park
  • The Meadows Community Recreation Centre
  • Victoria Park Oval (Check website for times when the Oval is closed to public skating for maintenance and speed skating training.)
  • William Hawrelak Park

This is the perfect time to play hockey or do those figure 8s. No matter if you are going alone or with friends, this is a great place to relax and enjoy the ice!

Check out City of Edmonton’s website for all outdoor skating rinks


3. Christmas Baking At Home

What better way to spend the holiday then to bake some delicious cookies, shortbread, pies, and more! Not only will your house smell good, your stomach will thank you for this. There’s so many delicious recipes online that you can look up to get started. Here I will share one of my favourite website that compiles a list of baking goods that you can try right now!

Check it out here


4. Toboggan Down A Hill

Okay. You might think this is just children’s play, but have you tried this as an adult? Go to your local store right now and purchase a magic carpet or toboggan and find a hill. It may seem like simply sliding down one, but with the right hill, it can be so much fun! Team up with some friends and get competitive…see who can make it down the fastest or even, who can be the most creative while going down. The possibilities are endless!

Check out toboggan hills in the city


5. Watch some Holiday movies

The best part to end a long day is to wear your comfiest pajamas, snuggle up in a cozy blanket, and make some nice hot chocolate while enjoying a movie. I’m sure there are a lot of recommendations out there, but here are some great ones to watch:

  •  Office Christmas Party
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  • The Night Before
  • Elf
  • Home Alone


Well this rounds up 5 ways you can spend your holiday this year! This year may be slightly different, but that doesn’t mean you can’t embrace the Christmas spirit. Instead, use this time to be creative and enjoy the little things that make you smile.

7 Favourite Food & Fun Spots in Edmonton 2020

For the month of October, we explored the local food and entertainment scene to find you all the best places to try in the city. Given the current circumstance in the world, we want to highlight local businesses in Edmonton and to show our support! Even though I’m born and raised here, there are so many new and existing places I haven’t been. This blog post is here is to inform you and provide insight into some of Edmonton’s hidden (and not so hidden) gems.

The places I visited:

  1. La Bosco Bakery & Cafe
  2. Bundok
  3. Korean Grill
  4. Hanjan Oliver
  5. Tiramisu Bistro
  6. Made By Marcus
  7. Wyld Archery

La Bosco Bakery & Cafe

This new Korean-inspired bakery and café has opened up this month near the Whyte Ave area. They offer a range of pastries, desserts, and drinks, all in one place! The building is enormous and there is plenty of space to dine inside or outside (perfect for dates or group hangouts). Other than the tasty food, one of my favourite parts of this place is the atmosphere. The décor is whimsical and elegant, and you can really tell that they put a lot of effort to ensure that the finer details are perfected. The mix of delicious food and a good environment calls for good vibes only! Highly recommend this place if you want to grab a drink or snack to go!



If you are on the hunt for a more elevated fine-dining experience, than I would head down to Bundok to try some unique dishes. This restaurant offers a candle-lit atmosphere that is perfect for a date night or a night with loved ones. Out of all the menu items, I found myself really enjoying the Beef Tartare dish that we ordered as an appetizer. The meat contained salsa macha, corn butter, spiced hazelnuts, and served with grilled bread. The protein was rich and tender and the combination of flavours made my taste buds dance! Definitely a must-try if you stop by.


Korean Grill

Korean Grill is one of many Korean restaurants in the K-mall plaza that you have to visit. For me, I really enjoy the Pork Bone Soup here, and find myself always coming back for more! The soup broth is rich and the pork bone meat is tender (slides right off the bone). The single pot is great for one person, as it comes with rice on the side. However, this restaurant offers more than just soup, as they have a wide variety of different Korean dishes on the menu. They have Korean fried chicken, rice and noodle dishes, Bibimbap, and more! Make this your next stop if you’re in the area.


Hanjan Oliver

If you don’t know that I enjoy Korean food already, well than now you know! Hanjan is another Korean restaurant that I highly recommend in the city. They have three locations, 99 Street (South), Downtown, and on Whyte Ave. They are your one stop shop for all things Korean, as this restaurant offers, Korean dishes, desserts, and drinks! At night, I would say that this place is very upbeat and great for young-adults looking for an environment to gather as a group. Their recent grand opening of the Oliver location is the place just for that! The space is enormous and there is plenty of room for fun and entertainment. Gather your friends now if you haven’t already checked out this place.


Tiramisu Bistro

Are you up early on the weekend and are looking for a nice brunch place? Look no further than this restaurant located downtown on 124 street. I ordered the Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict (one of my go-to brunch favourites) and it was perfectly splendid. The egg was nice and runny and the hollandaise sauce was fab. However, my favourite part of the dish was actually the potatoes on the side. They were the perfect crisp and sweet and savoury taste. Don’t just take it from me, this place has many great reviews online as well!


Made By Marcus

The weather in Edmonton right now is heading towards being more cold, but as an ice cream fan, it is definitely an appropriate dessert to eat year round. Made By Marcus is an Alberta based ice cream shop with two locations (Calgary & Edmonton). The Edmonton location is right on Whyte Ave and tucked away in an alley. I ordered the double cookies and cream, and roasted strawberry buttermilk flavour! Although I got mine in a cup, you can get your ice cream in their signature waffle cone. The ice cream was tasty and creamy, just how it should be! If you are seeking a cute little spot that serves unique flavours that you may not find elsewhere – this may be your spot.

Wyld Archery

Gather your friends and family and visit this local archery shop for all things archery! This place offers beginner to advanced level shooters the chance to buy equipment or rent and shoot. As a newbie in this sport, the owner made it very easy to get a hang of the equipment. Your admission includes rental, a brief training introduction on how to use equipment, and safety protocols when you’re on the shooting course. Once that run down is over, you grab your target sheet and you’re off to shooting! It can be intimidating at first, but the owner is there to help you. Overall, it was a unique experience that is a great activity with friends or family. If you find yourself loving the sport, don’t forget to check out the retail area to buy your own equipment!


Final Thoughts

Every place that I visited truly had its’ own unique flavours, character, and story! This month was about exploration and finding new places in Edmonton that I’ve only heard about, but never tried. My final thoughts to wrap this up is to suggest that you do the same. Grab a buddy and visit some local businesses you have never tried. When you get outside your comfort zone you can discover some pretty amazing things! Let me know your favourite local Edmonton spots you have recently supported in the comments below.

A Taste Of South Korean Street Food – Gangnam Style

Gangnam Street Food

Before we dive into our restaurant review for Gangnam Street Food, let’s quickly speak about what Gangnam is in the first place. Gangnam is a district of Seoul known for its lavish buildings, lifestyle, brands and entertainment scene. This upscale district represents the modern and rich neighborhoods of South Korea. However, when we look past the glitz and glam, dining in Gangnam can range from high-end fine dining to cheap eats on the street with a cold beer. This is where Gangnam Street Food draws its inspiration from combined with popular Korean menu items.

When I think about street food, I imagine the food to be quick, bite-size, and affordable! Gangnam Street Food offers just that for someone who’s looking to try a bunch of menu items all in one go. Although, I haven’t tasted everything quite yet, I ordered a few favorites.

Garlic Butter Mayo Fries ($7.50)

Garlic Butter Mayo Fries

These garlic fries were very tasty. The garlic flavour was subtle and not overpowering. The fries were tossed with bacon, green onions and drizzled in butter mayo. You get a mix of crispy and soft fries that are freshly made. Plus, the cut and thickness of the fries resemble McDonalds’s famous fries, which are my favourite!

Bulgogi Ramen ($7.95)

Bulgogi ramen

This was a substantial dish (maybe because I was so full by the time I got to it). However, the ramen dish was just okay. The ramen had instant noodles, bulgogi meat topped with green onions. The soup was tasty, however I would have liked it to be richer and spicier. To be honest, this dish is something I feel I can draw inspiration from and create it at home. If you’re on the go and looking for an inexpensive ramen rendition, I would recommend this.

DDuck Bo Kki ($6.50)

DDuck Bo Kki

This is a classic rice cake and fish cake combo with spicy sauce, most commonly found on the streets of South Korea. Dduck bo kki is a favourite for most people because it’s easy and delicious to eat. You can also find it available at most Korean restaurants under the appetizer section. I enjoy the chewy rice cakes and just how spicy it is!

Mozzarella Cheese Sausage ($6.50)

Mozzarella Cheese Sausage

Now for their more well-known menu item, we have the cheese dog! After watching a do it at home version on YouTube, I was having major cravings for this. This chubby crispy corn dog delight is what I need when I want some nice fried foods. Do be careful when you take your first bite, because it is hot (not spicy, but steamy). The only downside to this item is that I was expecting a nice cheese string when I pulled it apart, but as per the photo, it wasn’t the case. Otherwise, I would order again!

In the end, these four items filled me up and I was going into a food coma. You can also enjoy these lovely foods all across the city as they have four locations: K-mall, West Edmonton Mall, Londonderry Mall, and Kingsway Mall. I have yet to try the rest of the menu items so I’ll have to make a second trip!

Check out Gangnam Street Food

What is it like going to the theatre in the middle of a pandemic? Christopher Nolan Edition

Arriving at the Theatre

When I first came across the trailer for Christopher Nolan’s new movie, Tenet, I knew I had to go see it. The only hesitation was the safety and cleanliness of going to the theatre during a pandemic. After reviewing Cineplex’s new health and safety guidelines, I was reassured that sanitation measures are in place to prioritize the safety of movie-goers. I even recall booking the tickets online and noticing that there were major gaps between each seat selection. Surprisingly, there was almost no reservations made for the noon time-slot. When we arrived at the Cineplex theatre, it was like being in a ghost town. We saw just one person sitting two rows above us, and that was an employee (lol). I must say though, the quietness of the theatre was quite enjoyable, and you feel like you have the whole place to yourself!
Empty Movie Theatre at Cineplex

Let’s Talk Film

Now let’s talk about how I felt about the movie (without any spoilers). First off, I want to say that Christopher Nolan has done an amazing job with the film. If you like the movie Inception and find his films unusual, stunning, and challenging to wrap your head around, then this might be your movie. The concept behind the film talks about things that go backwards through time (don’t worry it’ll make more sense when you watch it in action). With that, the film gets you thinking about the past, present, and perhaps future. And as a bonus to all the Twilight fans, you have Robert Pattinson starring in the film as the protagonist’s partner (I would say this was a much-needed change from his time as a vampire). This original screenplay is jam packed with war-action, secret intelligence scheming, and Russian dealers, all in the span of two and a half hours!


Of course, I don’t want to go into any more detail to spoil the movie. I’ve only provided a glimpse into what you can expect. To be honest, I was confused for some of it and caught myself back tracking to remember the timeline. Nevertheless, the movie Tenet is thought provoking and allows for the imagination to wander about the possibilities of our world if we had this. This movie has my thumbs up! I would recommend watching the movie in theatres, as the cinematics are unmatched compared to watching at home.
Lastly, this review won’t be complete without your thoughts on the movie too – so write to me in the comments about your rating and insight!

Disclaimer: At the time of this event, theatres are thoroughly sanitized, and seating capacity is reduced.  This review is not written to encourage or discourage attendance to theatres, but merely for information purposes. Attendance to any theatre is at the discretion of the reader.

Lakeview Signature Inn: Home Away from Home

My partner and I have had our fair share of questionable hotel experiences. Often times it’s not worth saving a few extra dollar a night to get a room that smells strange or a shower-head that doesn’t work.

But if you’re a frequently traveller accommodation costs can rack up quickly. So it was with great relief that we got to know Mr. Freeman, the general manager of the Lakeview Signature Inn in Calgary, Alberta.


Deane House: Canadian Fine Dining

Deane House Trout

Many of my international colleagues like to joke about “Canadian cuisine”. Because apparently all we eat are Timbits, poutine, and maple syrup. So how fortunate we have restaurants like Deane House in Calgary to showcase some of the local and seasonal delicacies that Canada has to offer.

We had managed to stop by just in time for this year’s Food and Drink Expo menu. For a great price you get to sample a lot more of the menu and spoiler alert, it was fantastic both for my taste buds and my wallet.