>> Monday, March 15, 2010
Every year around this time Calgarians are treated with the Dine Out Calgary event, a special ten days for participating restaurants to showcase their food and wine. I’ve made sure to partake in this event since the first time I’ve heard of it in 2005 (I’m not sure when this all started, but 2005 sounds good to me, that way I don’t feel like I’ve missed out), it’s a great way to try a bunch of different restaurants at an affordable price. How it works is simple, each restaurant that opts to join the list puts together a set menu, which includes appetizer(s), entrée(s) and dessert(s). It should highlight the restaurants genre and their specialty dishes. This year we almost missed out, it wasn’t until a colleague asked if we were going did I realize that the event was on! I would have been devastated, but luckily we were able to make it out on Saturday with a last minute reservation (we’re talking 7pm and we’re frantically calling around). We eventually ended up going to Escoba, which is located on 8th avenue downtown, I’ve wanted to try this place out for a while now, but every time we plan on it, something always ends up happening causing us to cancel (so you could imagine I was quite excited to actually head over there!).
It was more casual than I expected, giving off more of a comfy feel, somewhere you can find yourself just lounging with friends and chatting for hours.
We can’t really say since we were there for Dine Out Calgary, but after taking a quick peek at the menu, it looked to be around the mid $20s- mid $30s.
Food & Wine:
It was ok. I know, you’re thinking just ok? Well I mean, it started off really good, we both ordered the wine samplers (3 x 2.5oz glasses different light or full bodied wines). Then we ordered the dip trio, consisting of spinach & artichoke, roasted red pepper and chickpea dips with delicious pita (for those who know our appetites know why we ordered on top of the set menu!), so far so good, we’re quite impressed and it inspired me to want to make some dips at home.
Out comes our appetizers, a signature sampler, with shrimp and asiago stuffed mushroom, spinach feta and almond spring roll and calabrese wrapped prawn. Maybe I started eating from the wrong side because so started my gradual decline. The mushroom was very flavourful, so I couldn’t wait to try the spring roll, but when I cut in to it, it sort of just smooshed all together and the filling started oozing out (note to self, no more cutting spring rolls). The skewered shrimp was a little over done, but the flavor made up for it.
For my entrée, I decided to order the Linguini Fresca – spinach, baby roma tomatoes, olives, roasted red peppers, artichokes & mushrooms, in a white wine and garlic olio - sounds delicious and it was, except my linguini was overcooked (sense a trend?). After having pasta in Italy, you understand why Italians take their pasta so seriously and this sort of saddened me, possibly because I was so looking forward to eating here. Well, I looked onwards to our next course, dessert, banana bread pudding, I was extremely excited and this was the main reason why I wanted to come. Let’s just keep it short and say that I rarely ever have dessert leftovers but I did…
My Picks:From what we tried, the dip trio was definitely a treat! I wouldn’t mind going back just for it!
Overall:As mentioned above, it was meh…it wasn’t bad (I’ve had far worse), but it wasn’t the best. I wouldn’t write it off as never trying Escoba again, but probably not any time soon.
Escoba Bistro and Wine Bar
624 8 Avenue SW