Restaurant Review: 1918 Tap and Table

>> Wednesday, September 13, 2017

We love walking. Well mostly I love it, but luckily for me, my husband doesn’t mind it and finds it a nice way to past the time. Especially when we’re away on vacation. Walking is a great way to see the city. However, we don’t walk nearly as much as we should in Calgary since we have cars and Calgary has always been known as a ‘car city’. You wouldn’t be able to get anywhere or anything if you didn’t have a car. But luckily for us we live in an area that’s sort of walkable. We could walk to Kensington which is just down the hill or to Amato Gelato just down 19th street. Over the summer, there was a new restaurant that opened right by 19th street and Kensington Rd! I was pretty excited to check it out and was so glad that I got to do so a couple times as a guest of the restaurant. If you haven’t guessed, I’m talking about 1918 Tap and Table. The best part about dining at this place? Aside from the fact that it’s close, I love how we’re literally giving back and helping support our veterans. All the proceeds from the restaurant goes towards the Canadian Legion!

Atmosphere: Beautiful dining space with big bright floor to ceiling windows that truly highlight the amazing contemporary room. A great location for dinner, drinks or even to host a special event. Definitely not your parent’s legion. =)




Food & Wine: After their soft opening, I was super excited to be back and check out their lunch selections. To start off our meal we were introduced to some of their appetizers such as the Brined Wings, Hand Cut Organic Fries and the Flatbread made with salami, spinach, mozzarella and basil oil. They were tasty starters and everybody enjoyed them. You can’t go wrong with wings and fries!

We also got to try some of their cocktails and I opted for the No Way Frose, a blended frozen rose wine cocktail with strawberry simple syrup. You can’t go wrong with rose and I’m loving this new frozen rose trend. 1918 does it right by not making it overly too sweet with the simply syrup so you can still taste the essence of the wine. It dangerous stuff because I can probably drink like a dozen of these.




Luckily, they were about to serve the mains and it drew my attention away from that delicious frose cocktail. My main was the Seared Salmon with a white bean puree, wilted spinach, summer squash in a tomato broth with fresh herbs. The salmon was cooked nicely, perfect sear on the outside without drying out the fish itself. The broth was a nice touch and made it a relatively lighter dish, perfect for lunch. The suggested pairing for the dish was the Vina Mayu Sauvignon Blanc, a nice crisp white that doesn’t over power the delicate flavours of the fish but instead enhanced the flavours of the tomatoes and white bean puree.

For dessert, I had the Chocolate Truffle Cake served with Saskatoon Coulis. Since my main was a bit lighter I decided to indulge a bit for dessert. The cake was velvety smooth and would definitely hit the spot for any chocolate lover. It very decadent and a decent size, so it would even be perfect for sharing.




My Pick: Seared Salmon

Overall: The meal was really good and not something you would think is served at the Canadian Legion. I was pleasantly surprised plus, I still can’t get over how beautiful the space is, perfect for a wedding reception or even to host a birthday party! And you don’t even need to cater in the food! So now there’s even more motivation for my husband to walk with me because now we can walk down to 1918 to grab a bite AND we’re supporting our veterans so what’s not to love?!

1918 Tap and Table
1918 Kensington Road NW
Calgary, AB
(403) 209-1918
Website: 1918tapandtable.com

1918 Tap & Table Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Chevrolet's Positivity Pump Experience at Chinook Honey!

>> Tuesday, August 29, 2017


video


It’s been an amazing summer so far and I’m fully capitalizing on it by spending as much time as I can on our patio. Even my son is growing an affinity for the outdoors. He just started walking not too long along ago and every day he stumbles towards his shoes, points at them, sits down and tries to shove them on his feet. Of course, he misses his feet 100% of the time and the shoe never actually goes on, but it’s cute and we get the hint. So outside we go.

While outside we walk around our garden and point out all the flowers, vegetables and rocks (kid loves rocks). If we’re lucky there will be butterflies and lots of bumblebees as well as honeybees. He doesn’t quite understand what everything is just yet, but it’s exciting for him to see all the colors and hear the different sounds. For me, I love watching him discover this new world to him. It also reminds me of the amazing opportunity last year when I got to discover all about the honeybees myself when I was lucky enough to be a part of the Chevrolet Positivity Pump Campaign.


As part of that experience I got to visit Chinook Honey farms and spend a day bee keeping and learning how to make honey. I’ve been reading up on the extinction of honeybees here in Canada so it truly was amazing to learn all about them first hand. I truly did luck out because it wasn’t up to me. People have been asking me how it all came about and well it just so happened that my blog popped up when they were looking for someone who would fit the role for Chevrolet’s Positivity Pump Campaign. However, I didn’t know where I was headed and what I’d be doing for the day. What is the Positivity Pump all about? It’s to celebrate positivity and to get people talking about how to be positive as part of Chevrolet’s Fueling Possibilities campaign.


When the time came, I drove up to the gas station which rated my positivity score, allowed me to ‘pump’ gas (hence positivity pump) and told me where I was headed for the day as part of the experience. When I looked down it told me that I was going to be making honey for the day and I couldn’t believe it! How exciting!!

After my drive, down to Okotoks, I pulled in to the Chinook Honey farm and met my film crew. It’s not every day I can say that I met my film crew (I'm also not used to seeing myself on screen...photos included). I got suited up in my bee keeper outfit and off we went to spend a day with the bees!


We drove out to the fields where all some of the beehives are located. There are several different places to allow the bees the best movement between their hive and where they go to collect their nectar. First off, we had to smoke them a bit, by using a bee smoker. The smoke makes them less aggressive which makes it easier for us to retrieve the honey. Then we remove the lid on the stacks and remove the honeycombs. It was majestic hearing all the humming of the bees and I found it strangely tranquil. After that I got to use a leaf blower essentially to remove the remaining bees from the honeycomb. All the while trying not to injure any of the bees, maybe that’s why I didn’t get stung!

After all the honeycombs were removed from the hives it was time to retrieve the honey! We drove back to the processing facility onsite and moved all the honeycomb inside. It’s amazing what a great workout it is to lift the honeycombs. It’s like they can start a honey workout session. =) To extract the honey we needed to scrap off all the wax that covers the honey before putting in to in a spinner that uses centrifugal force to extract all the honey. Then the honey is strained to remove any wax and other particles. The pure honey is then bottled and ta da…you get the delicious honey that we all enjoy!


Writing it now it seems simple, but the process is a lengthy one because the bees need to collect their nectar and slowly form each and every honeycomb. Then us humans get the pleasure of collecting and enjoying the fruits of their labour. It truly made me appreciate every step that went in to a jar of honey and reminded me the importance of bees not just for honey but for pollination. Here in Canada, our bees are becoming extinct. My husband and I always talked about starting our own colony because every little step counts right? Every year we plant bee friendly plants to draw in pollinators and hope to help support the bee population.


Athough our son isn’t quite old enough now, I can’t wait to teach my son about the importance of the bees. Therefore, this has been an amazing experience for me and thank you so much to Chevrolet for allowing me to do so and hopefully I have shared a bit about supporting our local establishments like Chinook Honey Company and help spread the word about the importance of our bees! Check out the video and I would love to know your thoughts on how to save the bees!

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Restaurant Review: Foreign Concept

>> Friday, August 11, 2017


My cousin moved downtown a little while ago and we were discussing how its’ so hard for her to cook for one when there were so many delicious eateries around. It must be extremely difficult to resist all the amazing new places opening up around the beltline, especially when they’re all within walking distance. One of those places opened up in the old Vicious Circle location (who still remembers that?? Yes I am dating myself). We were all curious about the new space and when we heard it was Duncan Ly and his team opening up a new Asian concept restaurant, we were all excited. So how could I not visit Foreign Concept?

Atmosphere: A beautiful dining space where east meets west. The d├ęcor definitely speaks to the menu that is served at Foreign Concept.

Price Range: Mid $10s - $30+


Food and Drinks: I was extremely lucky to be dining with a foodie who has been here before many many times. After chatting we decided to get some of her fave dishes along with something new that she has yet to try. We started with the Gochujang Tuna Poke, served with crunchy nori tapioca crackers. The layers of flavours and textures all worked together very well. It was refreshing and a great way to start our meal.

We also requested the Honey Butter Chips which is normally a lunch item since it came highly recommended and it definitely did not disappoint. Served with preserved lemon aioli the chips were just that…sweet and buttery. I could probably eat these every day! Here’s hoping that it becomes a staple on both the lunch and dinner menus! Alongside the chips we also got to sample a new cocktail that’s currently in the works so new that the drink itself is still in the naming process. Made with Eau Claire gin, yuzu sake along with salt cured egg yolk, simple syrup, cream and a dash of lemon, the drink was amazingly refreshing. I’m not usually a fan of creamy drinks, but this one wasn’t at all! Very pleasantly surprised and hoping to sample more from their cocktail list.


Next we had the Charsiu Pork & Foie Gras Steamed Buns served with samjang sauce. Who doesn’t love a fluffy steamed bun with fatty pork goodness? The dish comes deconstructed so you can adjust the filling based on what you’d prefer. I’m normally a huge fan of foie gras, but in this case since the pork and the samjang sauce are already quite rich, I was quite light handed with the foie or even kept it off sometimes. That’s the beauty of having the ability to control how the bun gets assembled. It really gave me the ability to play with all the different flavours. Plus the pork was full of flavour and the bun was super soft. You really can’t go wrong with this dish.

Our main was the Vietnamese Fisherman’s Stew with a mix of octopus, prawns, mussel, clams and a side of Chinese doughnut made with squid ink. It reminded me of a Thai influenced spicy and sour hotpot that we make at home. All the seafood was cooked very nicely and the Chinese doughnut was a nice addition for sopping up the broth. It was perfect for sharing and we both really enjoyed how light and refreshing. It was a nice contrast to our other dishes that evening.


My Picks: Honey Butter Chips, Vietnamese Fisherman’s Stew

Overall: If you were a fan of Raw Bar when Duncan was head chef, you’ll definitely enjoy the food at Foreign Concept. Here they’ve expanded their menu further to include dishes inspired by local Southeast Asian favorites. As for my cousin she’s definitely going to have a hard time resisting the urges to eat out, with amazing restaurants like this..she likely won’t be cooking for a while.

Foreign Concept
1101 1 St SE
Calgary, AB
(403) 719-7288
Website: foreignconcept.ca

Foreign Concept Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Restaurant Review: Oxbow

>> Friday, July 21, 2017

It sort of feels like a changing of the guards right now in Calgary. Due to the economy the last two years we have unfortunately seen a lot of restaurants having to close their doors. Very sad, but the good thing is it seems to be turning around, with lots of great new dining options that are now taking the places of great restaurants before them. Even in Kensington, where there were already some great dining options, they decided to run their first ever Foodie Fest this year to showcase all the great locations within that neighbourhood and as part of the event I was able to check out Oxbow. The new spot located inside the Kensington Riverside Inn!

Atmosphere: Contemporary dining located within the Kensington Riverside Inn. Dining area evokes a laidback casual elegance that’s perfect for relaxing on whether during the week or weekend.

Price Range:  Mid $10s - $20+

Food & Wine: Since we were there as part of the Kensington Foodie Fest, we were treated to a lovely 4 course Chef’s tasting menu featuring ingredients sourced from the Kensington Community such as Sidewalk Citizen and Higher Ground. For those who haven’t tried a chef’s tasting before, this is a great location to delve in since their price is more than reasonable. I suggest the optional wine pairing on top since it elevates the dish and you get to sample 4 different types of wine.




We started with some delicious local bread served with both specialty and housemade butters which was made using bone marrow. Definitely unique – the bone marrow butter that is - and my kind of way to start the evening, can never go wrong with bread in my books.

For our first course we had the BC Octopus Tempura with compressed cucumbers and chipotle aioli. I am a huge fan of octopus and am glad to see that more and more chefs are now serving it at their restaurants. The octopus was extremely tender and well-seasoned. I don’t typically see tempura style octopus served outside of Asian restaurants and I enjoyed it. The salad was refreshing with the added cucumber and of course the bubbles from the Graham Beck Brut Rose lighten up the whole dish.




Next we had Mushrooms On Toast with Sidewalk Citizen bread and wild mushrooms topped with a hazelnut pistou. I would order this again and again. One of my favorite dishes is mushrooms on toast and I will always get it when it’s available on the menu. There is something special about the creamy earthy mushrooms contrasted against the crunchy chewiness of the bread. Here the pistou added another level of flavor which paired quite nicely with the French Saint Veran Burgundy white wine that was served with the course.

Our meat course was a Hanger Steak featuring the Higher Ground coffee Espresso Chili Rub served with a corn relish and arugula salad. I don’t typically order hanger steak and which is why a chef’s tasting is so worth it because you eat things that you probably wouldn’t normally order and in this case I’m glad we got to. The steak was juicy and tender and the chili espresso rub gave it just the right amount of spice. This course was paired with the Trust Syrah a heavier red to match the steak and coffee aromas.



The last course, dessert, was an Earl Grey Goats Cheesecake made with tea from the Naked Leaf along with a berry compote. For those who love their goats cheese, this is the dessert for you. You can definitely taste the cheese throughout and hints of the earl grey tea. We had the Lakeview Cellars Ice Wine from the Niagara region.

My Pick: Hanger Steak

Overall: A really nice reinvention of the space and I was extremely glad that we got to visit during the foodie fest, but as mentioned before it’s still a great dining option regardless. I would almost say it’s a hidden gem due to the location inside Kensington Riverside Inn. It’s like an oasis from the hustle and bustle of the city!

Oxbow
1126 Memorial Dr NW
Calgary, AB
(403) 228-4442
Website: kensingtonriversideinn.com



Oxbow Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Cocktails for Inglewood at The Nash and The Offcut Bar

>> Friday, June 30, 2017


Canada is celebrating 150 years and what better way to celebrate than to give back to the community, which is what The Nash and The Offcut Bar is doing. They are giving back to Inglewood. Together with other establishments in the neighbourhood they are creating delicious ‘Cocktails for Inglewood’. An event that runs all summer long where a portion of the proceeds go towards The Alex Youth Health Center.

Each of the cocktails are featured for a certain number of weeks throughout the summer with a possibility of returning at a later date. I was lucky enough to get to sample each of the cocktails and here is a quick summery of each. The first two cocktails unfortunately are no longer featured but here’s hoping that they bring them back since Cold Garden’s Caribbean Cake Affair was one of my favorites.


ESPY Experience – Afternoon Tea Light
June 1 – June 14
Featuring Bulleit bourbon, assam tea syrup, ango stura bitters and topped with a sprig of mint. This one is for the bourbon lovers. A good strong kick, the perfect aperitif to get those taste buds going.


Cold Garden – Caribbean Cake Affair
June 15 – June 28
Made with Cruzan spiced rum, pineapple juice, lemon juice, vanilla syrup, egg white, topped with Cakeface beer. This one was my favorite of the bunch (even though it was hard to choose). It was hard to imagine what it would taste like after reading the ingredients but this cocktail was perfectly well balanced and super refreshing. Fingers crossed that they bring this one back again and again!


The Livery Shop – Barn Burner
June 29 – July 12
The mixture of mezcal and tequila are the star here along with lime juice, cranberry juice, cherry syrup, juniper bitters and finished with absinthe wash. You can definitely can taste the smokiness of the mezcal as it lingers on the palate. This one would work great with a hearty meal!


Rosso – Cold Fashioned
July 13 – July 26
Featuring Jim bean, rosso coffee bean infused syrup, rosso cold brew coffee, walnut bitters and topped with a cherry garnish. I enjoyed the subtle hint of coffee and it felt like drinking a sophisticated iced brew. It would work great even as a disgestif after dinner along with some delicious dessert.


Kent of Inglewood – Rose of 1867
July 27 – August 10
Made with Dark horse, Dolin sweet vermouth, Benedictine, ginger rose tonic, rose water and garnished with an orange peel, this drink what I think a manhattan and an old fashioned would taste like when combined together. This cocktail is perfect for those who enjoy theirs not overly too sweet but still with a nice well rounded flavour profile.


Plant – Coniferous Zingibeer
August 11 – August 24
The combination of Ginger spruce beer, Plymouth gin, lime juice, herbal syrup and alpino amaro, topped with ginger spruce beer and a rosemary sprig was interesting to say the least. I was curious whether it might be sweet due to the ginger beer but that was definitely not the case. Instead it was earthy and fizzy with lots of kick!

Although Canada day celebrations will be at the peak this long weekend. Don’t forget that you can continue to celebrate all summer long at the Nash with their amazing cocktails that support the community which is a celebration in itself!

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