Get Creative at PopBar

>> Friday, September 23, 2016

Not too long along ago I visited Crossiron Mills Mall and was surprised by their revamped food court. I knew that they were planning an extension but didn't know when or how fast it had happened. The space has really opened up with this new expansion and the food court looks great! Not to mention it has allowed new vendors to open their doors. I was particularly intrigued by one - Popbar - as I was strolling through the mall. Gelato on a stick? What isn’t better on a stick.

There are three types of Popbar’s you can choose from, either the PopSorbetto, made from fresh fruit, the PopGelato, which is creamier and milk based or the YogurtPop, as you probably guessed, made from yogurt. All the popbars are made from natural ingredients in small batches to ensure amazing freshness every time. I was shocked to find out that they made all the popbars right on sight at Crossiron Mills just behind the food court! They’re also gluten free and kosher certified so everybody can indulge. You can customize each popbar if you like, with toppings such as white, milk or dark chocolate, either drizzled on top or dipped and add additional nuts, crunchy waffle bits or more chocolate chips to your hearts desire.

I got the chance to try a couple of the popbars starting with a fresh watermelon PopSorbetto, which I had just as. It was very refreshing and it felt like you were eating a watermelon itself. It also reminded me of a watermelon bubble tea. For the PopGelato I decided to dress it up a bit more. I had the hazelnut PopGelato with dark chocolate drizzle topped with crushed waffle cone. The combination of the creamy gelato and the crunchy waffle topping was a huge hit in my books. The added dark chocolate was just a bonus providing more depth of flavour and really making it “pop”, pun intended. I was extremely surprised at how there was no milky aftertaste which can often happen with some other gelatos out there. Instead my palate was clean and the popbars definitely quenched my sugar craving.

With 40 flavours and limitless topping combinations there are endless combinations to try. Not only is it a perfect treat, its even better coupled with shopping. I can’t wait to go back and can foresee myself indulging every chance I’m at Crossiron. I’ve already got a couple flavours on my must hit list. What’s yours?

Check out their site here: for more information and to salivate over your next popbar creation.

CrossIron Mills
261055 Crossiron Boulevard
Unit K22
Calgary, AB
(403) 454-4733


Fly Beyond with Grey Goose Boulangerie Bleue

>> Thursday, September 8, 2016

Looking around at the trees reminds me that summer is truly over. The yellowing of the leaves signals fall is just around the corner. Now that August is over and September is in full swing I can't help but look back at all the great times over the last couple months including the boulangerie bleue event held by grey goose vodka. Although the weather was a story in itself this year. We were lucky enough to have a beautiful sky the night of the event. The sun peering over us on the rooftop bar at the Simmons building as we got to enjoy the French Riviera here in Calgary.

Grey goose not only brought France to Calgary but they did it in style. The blue and white outdoor party along the bow reminisce of the beautiful river seine in France. To top it all off we were treated to a lovely four course menu paired with scrumptious grey goose cocktails from the farm to table Chef Jamie Kennedy along with delectable bread creations by Marc Thobor, who deliberately flew in wheat from France to create the bread which is also derived from the same wheat that is used to make grey good vodka. What a treat indeed.

After a brief introduction and tasting of said delicious bread and the Grey Goose fizz (take on the French 75) we began our food journey with some fresh oysters from both the east and west coast. The oyster dish was paired with the vodka martini. Where the dryness of the martini compliments the briny oysters to perfection. It was a great start to the night.

Next was a divine marinated wild salmon with fresh strawberry aigre doux salad complimented by the Grey Goose Cocktail de Vin Rose. A wine inspired cocktail which tasted exactly like sipping on a lovely crisp rose. The sweetness brought out the amazing salmon flavours along with all the lovely fresh fruit on the plate.

The main was a Grilled Hanger Steak with duxelles made from different mushrooms, served with baby vegetables. The Grey Goose inspired drink was the Vin Rouge aka a dark red wine. The addition of black peppercorns in to the cocktail brought out the same flavours in the steak. I was surprised at how well the vodka was able to double as a wine substitute.

For the final course, our dessert was a decadent chocolate almond cake with sour cherry and vanilla. The cake was moist with the perfect amount of sweetness and chocolate. This course was served with the Grey Goose Espresso Martini, a creamy smooth cocktail made from coffee liquer, vanilla bean, chocolate, espresso and of course, grey goose original.

After our amazing dinner, we were all invited to attend the after party held along the banks of the bow river, where a luxurious outdoor setting was there to whisk us away to the banks of the Seine. People were invited to sample more delicious Grey Goose cocktails as well as have a cocktail developed just for them. It was definitely the celebration of the summer. One that many could not stop talking about!


Restaurant Review: The Guild

>> Wednesday, August 24, 2016

It’s great to see Calgary’s urbanscape still changing even though it’s been a tough year for our city. Even iconic buildings such as the Hudson’s Bay Building downtown can be transformed to allow for new additions such as the new Oliver & Bonacini restaurant – The Guild. Focused on hearty cuisine and local sourcing, the new restaurant is a great addition to this historical building on Stephen Avenue.

Atmosphere: Amazing nuevo industrial décor with the use of the original rustic Hudson Bay building accents.

Price Range: Mid $10s - $30+

Food & Wine: Everything on the menu sounded delicious and I literally wanted to eat it all, but decided that we should probably pace ourselves and started with a couple appetizers. I definitely couldn’t pass up the Steak Tartare and Roast Bone Marrow. The plating of the dish is amazing! The steak tartare arrives served atop the hollowed out beef bone and topped with shallot rings, crispy capers and pretty flower petals. I liked the flavour of the tartare but one thing I did miss was mixing the yolk in to the steak, regardless it was still a very pretty dish.

Next we had the Pork Country Pate served with fire roasted bread, apple puree and a fresh green salad. The texture of the pate reminded me of a rillete in flavour, which is meatier and less similar to liver or foie gras. I really liked the accompaniments, the salad was a nice touch to lighten up the dish and provide the extra tartness.

When it was time to order our mains, we had the same issue of wanting to eat everything listed. Luckily for us our server suggested the West Coast Octopus and am I ever glad that he did. It was easily the dish of the night for me, maybe even my favorite risotto dish right now. The dish is called octopus and even though it does come with perfectly grilled octopus, that’s not all. It is served over an unbelievably flavourful squid ink risotto with sea asparagus, clams and pureed squash that provide extra sweetness. I could not stop eating it and am still dreaming of it as I’m typing this.

We also had the Maple Glazed Brisket with a wildtree glaze, Saskatoon style wild rice, prairie corn and pickled leeks. I really enjoyed the glaze which was sticky and sweet, adding flavour and depth to the brisket itself. The meat was well cooked but I prefer my brisket quite fatty and was hoping for a bit more marbling in the meat itself.

For dessert we had both the Sticky Maple Butter Pudding and the Flourless Dark Chocolate Tart, both with added ice cream of course! The pudding was similar to a bread pudding (which they also have on the menu and I need to go back and try!) served with a green apple puree and crème fraiche. It was moist and was slightly sweetened, perfect with a delicious cappuccino.

The Flourless Dark Chocolate Tart was unctuous with a crisp outer layer and velvety center. Its flavour was even more elevated with a sumptuous glass of red wine. The tart itself was satisfying without being overly dense or too sweet, it’ll for sure satisfy that chocolate craving.

With this hot weather we couldn’t help but crave summery drinks and ordered the Sangria made with old vine Spanish garnacha, brandy, watermelon, oranges, lemons, strawberries and soda. It was literally summer in a glass with all that fruit! For dinner I also had the Angels & Cowboys Rose, a light and crisp rose with citrus grapefruit notes perfect pairing for seafood or sipping on a warm day.

My Picks: West Coast Octopus

Overall: Not only does the interior space take your breath away, so does the food that’s served from their amazing kitchen. I wasn’t kidding when I said I wanted to taste everything on their menu. I already have my eye on some dishes that I can’t wait to order the next time I’m in. I was excited when I hard Oliver & Bonacini was opening a restaurant in Calgary and they have not disappointed, truly a great addition to our city and to the Stephen Avenue food scene!

The Guild Restaurant
200 8 Avenue SW
Calgary, AB
(403) 770-2313

The Guild Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Nomme Towa Event!

>> Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Ever since getting pregnant even though we still enjoy going out for dinner, its definitely been a lot harder since I've been so tired, especially now with a newborn. We found that instead we have been ordering in a lot more so we can still enjoy delicious food while taking a break from cooking (even though that's one of my favorite things to do!!). Luckily for us there are many new apps available which allows us to order in from restaurants that we would normally go to such as Greektown, Shibuya, etc. Recently I was invited to a foodie event where they're celebrating the launch of a new app called Nomme, which allows you to order in and they coupled up with the new Towa Sushi location out west which just opened to showcase their delicious food.

After a brief introduction by the Nomme and Towa staff we were treated to many amazing dishes, starting with their BBQ Skewers which is new to Towa and only available at their new west location. We got the opportunity to sample the BBQ Pork Belly, BBQ Chicken Wings and BBQ Chicken Skewers. They were all nicely chargrilled with a light charcoal taste and served with their house special BBQ sauce. Be sure to check out their menu for other great skewer options.

The Salmon Tataki which is seared salmon with ginger, lemon, red onion and ponzu sauce. The slices of salmon were nice and thick which is quintessentially Towa. I enjoyed the light sweetness of the ponzu sauce coupled with the spicy red onion and ginger. A bit of sweet, salty and tart made for a very nice start to our sushi filled meal.

Next up was all the delectable sushi rolls. First was the Spicy Salmon Roll made with salmon, cucumber and spicy mayo sauce. It was one of my favorite rolls that evening. I enjoy my foods with a kick and I liked the spiciness of the mayo especially when combined with the big towa style sushi rolls. Those who have visited Towa on 4th know what I mean when I say ‘big sushi rolls’. It’s a signature Towa style and they haven’t changed it here. The Rainbow Roll is a classic, with white tuna, salmon, shrimp, cucumber, avocado, and flying fish roe. It’s a roll for traditional sushi lovers who aren’t in to sauces or all the fusion style sushi additions. Here you truly get a taste of the fish itself which gives the roll a light and fresh quality that can’t be beat.

If you’re into rolls that have a bit more flare then the next two rolls would be highly recommended. The Mango Paradise Roll has tempura shrimp, cucumber, kani, unagi, mango, masago, avocado, house special mango and unagi sauces. The presentation itself is amazing and when it arrived at the table, it caused quite the commotion and all cameras started flashing up a storm. I enjoyed the mouthfeel of this roll with the crispness of the tempura in combination with the rice and nori. It definitely is a sweeter roll due to the use of the mango and unagi (the unagi sauce being sweet as well). Its perfect for those looking for a sweet and salty combination.

Our last dish and roll of the day, the Playboy Roll truly was playful. It came to the table flaming and needed 5 minutes for the flames to stop before we can unveil the deliciousness inside. The roll includes tuna, yam tempura, shrimp tempura, kani, spicy mayo, ebi, house special spicy sauce. The main difference here is that the use of flame provides the roll a bit of a charred taste similar to aburi sushi or the use of a torch. I really enjoyed the taste of the roll and would definitely order it again! What a great way to end the evening!

Its always nice knowing that there are different dining options and with the introduction of apps such as Nomme ordering in has never been easier. Congratulations to both Towa West and Nomme and can’t wait to try the new app, possibly ordering in from Towa! You can never have too much sushi!

Towa Sushi & Lounge
105, 8560 8A Ave SW
Calgary, AB
(403) 727-4383


Restaurant Review: The Derrick Gin Mill & Kitchen

>> Thursday, July 28, 2016

I remember a time when we would be out with friends and I would order my gin and soda and all my friends would give me the look of bewilderment. Why would I drink gin? They’d ask as they’re all sipping on their vodka drinks and other mixes. They didn’t know what they were missing and I’m glad to see that there are pubs and restaurants out there that now utilize gin as their main source of inspiration. One of those being The Derrick Gin Mill and Kitchen, where gin is prominently part of their name.

Atmosphere: Pub style eatery, great for happy hour get togethers and more.

Price Range: Mid $10s

Food & Drinks: To start we decided on the Smoked Beef Tartare made with gherkins, cognac and served with house made chips. The presentation of this dish is quite dramatic. When it arrived at the table the lid is lifted off to showcase a smoke infused beef tartare dish (which you can taste). The tartare itself has a nice balance of salty, tart and smoky, a great way to start our meal.

The Mushrooms on Toast also caught my eye and I’m really glad we decided to try it. It was heaven, the mushrooms were tender and juicy, perfect in the demi glaze with lots of truffle oil. Everything in this dish just made sense. I couldn’t stop eating it and didn’t want to waste a drop of the sauce so I was scooping it all up with the toast!

For our main we ordered the Lamb Pot Au Feu which is slow cooked lamb shoulder with potatoes, carrots and parsnips. The lamb was fall off the bone tender and the accompaniments were soft and cooked through. It’s definitely elevated comfort food and reminds me of delicious home cooking. Our second main was the Fish Stew with Stewed Tomato and Fennel. This dish was extremely light and a nice contrast to the lamb dish. It came with mussels, clams, Atlantic grey cod and topped with a spicy aioli to give it some richness. All of the seafood was cooked well which is important since overcooked seafood can often be chewy and dry. The broth was flavourful but didn’t overpower the delicate flavours overall. It’s a great dish for those who love their shellfish.

We had to try some of their cocktails to accompany our meal starting with the Newly Fashioned, an update on a classic, with bourbon, raisins, rosemary syrup and bitters. It has similar flavours to the original but with a twist due to the use of rosemary syrup. I really enjoyed the herbaciousness and would order it again. I was surprised at how well the rosemary complimented the bourbon. We also tried the Apricot Sour made with cognac, apricot brandy, lemon juice, mint syrup and bitters. The closest I would compare this drink to would be the whiskey sour but with a hint of sweetness coming from the apricot syrup. It’s a nice change if you’re looking for something different without going too far from the norm.

My Picks: Mushrooms on Toast

Overall: Come for the gin but stay for the food! Since their menu’s always changing, be sure to check out what’s the latest for each season. There are many different dishes on their current menu that I can’t wait to try, possibly along side some more delicious cocktails.

The Derrick Gin Mill & Kitchen
620 8 Avenue SW
Calgary, AB
(403) 475-7226

The Derrick Gin Mill & Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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