Passion for Pork in Calgary

>> Monday, October 15, 2012

 What is Passion for Pork?

The Passion for Pork initiative is a new project to bring more awareness to pork and pork products here in Canada including cities like Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. Calgary’s Passion for Pork week begins today, Monday October 15th and runs until Sunday October 21st. For the whole week, different restaurants around town will be showcasing pork in various ways on their menus.

Yesterday night I had the honor of attending the official kick off event at the great new restaurant Downtownfood right in…you guessed it downtown Calgary. We got a chance to sample ten amazing dishes which either had hints of pork flavour or featured pork as its main ingredient.

We started off the evening with a light Consumme infused with Broek Acres house cured bacon and house made kimchi with pickled Asian vegetables and green apple. It was sweet and warm with a slight spiciness at the end, a good way to amp up the appetite.

Next we had the Beet Tartar which was made with bacon fat aioli and served over a thin cumin crisp. There was just enough cumin to taste it without it overwhelming the gentle flavours of the beets. The bacon aioli gave the bite that nice unctuousness that otherwise would have been missing, a must in a tartar.

The third course was a Crostini topped with lardo infused mushrooms and Noble Meadow goat cheese. It didn’t feel like I was eating mushrooms at all. If it wasn’t for the texture of the mushroom I would have thought that I was biting in to pieces of pork. The infusion of flavour was truly amazing.

To cut the heaviness of the last couple courses, we were presented with a house made (down to the wrapper itself) pork Wonton in a light rice wine and Szechuan chili oil broth. I really enjoyed the chewiness of the wrapper and slight spiciness of the chili oil. It was a great way of utilizing pork in a healthier manner.

Then came the highlight of the evening, the West Coast Oysters. House smoked, then tossed in the Meta4 hot sauce, breaded and fried. The oyster flavour wasn’t overpowered even though it was fried and the smokiness still permeated each bite. It was definitely the favourite of the table and a topic of conversation the rest of the evening.

We were then served a light breakfast of sorts, with breaded quail eggs over buttered toast and bacon. We were all jealous of how perfectly cooked my husband’s dish was, when he cut in to his egg, the egg yolk just ran all over his toast and became the perfect sauce.

Our seventh course of braised Pork Tail Cake has always been one of my favourite dishes at Downtownfood. The pork cake is lightly seared and served with a lightly spiced Korean BBQ vinaigrette and crunchy house made kimchi style vegetables. I really enjoy the combination of sweet, salty and spicy in this dish. Hope they don’t remove it from their menu.

To end our savour courses, we had the Scallop Sashimi cooked with peanut oil heated to 600ºc, accompanied by a ginger garlic puree and topped with a bacon dust. Due to the method used, the scallop had an interesting texture and flavour. I especially liked the addition of ponzu, which made it feel like you were eating an elevated piece of sashimi.

Our first dessert was a Pumpkin Tart topped with a good helping of whipped cream. The perfect seasonal dessert, the filling was smooth and silky, not overly too sweet. We also got to try the Bacon and Apple Fritter, fluffy, cinnamony goodness with just the right amount of honey for that hint of sweetness.

If that wasn’t enough, the night was topped of with a decadent strawberry liquer Truffle. The perfect pairing for coffee!

After that amazing meal, I personally can’t wait to see what else is in store at all the other restaurants around town. I’m sure you must be too and I can help! I have a couple gift certificates to start you on your way to porky goodness! Please respond to this blog with a great pork dish you’ve tried locally in around town. All the entries will be put in to a draw and the winners will be contacted mid week. Good Luck!

Also, be sure to checkout the Passion for Pork website for more details on participating restaurants. You can also get great recipes and tips on how to use pork at home. There area great Chef interviews and videos as well. What better time to try pork!


Mir&a October 15, 2012 at 2:49 PM  

Definitely Libertine has some great dishes, planning the man's b-day park with the full roasted pig for Jan

Bonnie Huang October 15, 2012 at 5:43 PM  

Mmm...yes roasted pork. 😊

Michele October 15, 2012 at 6:45 PM  

Hmm I always enjoy The District's bucket of bacon!

Bonnie Huang October 16, 2012 at 2:20 PM  

Bacon is always a great choice!

Calvin N October 17, 2012 at 8:09 AM  

Chinese BBQ pork and cha siu!

katy_bee October 17, 2012 at 1:42 PM  

Stopped into Blue Star last night and had a chance to try both of their offerings for Passion for Pork Week, Broek Acres pork sausage cassoulet and Broek Acres Pork Confit poutine. Both were really great dishes. The poutine was tasty, but didn't really have much pork in it. On the other hand...the Cassoulet really showcased the pork, fantastic pieces of sausage and bacon, excellent - we both chose the cassoulet as our favorite. Try it!

katy_bee October 18, 2012 at 7:02 AM  

I will also add that I love the pulled pork sliders at Wild rose brewery - so delish!

Bonnie Huang October 18, 2012 at 7:55 AM  

Katy - The cassoulet sounds amazing. There are always long lines at Blue Star, guess good things come to those who wait! Pulled pork sliders are my usual go tos at BBQ joints. I'll have to make sure to try the one at Wildrose Brewery!

Bonnie Huang October 18, 2012 at 7:56 AM  

Chinese BBQ anything is delicious..I can use some right now! Even for breakfast. =)

katy_bee October 18, 2012 at 9:13 AM  

@bonnie, while we were at blue star they mentioned that they were trying to expand their weekend hours and that they have a later night seating on Thurs - Sat, might be a place to keep in mind for late night noshing! :)

Bonnie Huang October 18, 2012 at 11:30 AM  

Late night diner fare?!! Sign me up! Thanks for the heads up! Yumm!

Bonnie Huang October 19, 2012 at 11:13 AM  

Congrats Katy, you won the Libertine gift card. Can you send me your info? Thanks!

katy_bee October 19, 2012 at 12:24 PM  

oh how awesome!!!! I will email you!

katy_bee October 19, 2012 at 12:30 PM  

strange, i'm not sure how to message you. Why don't you send me an email through my blogger profile. thanks again! so exciting!

Bonnie Huang October 19, 2012 at 3:05 PM  

Just did! Let me know if you didn't get it. =) Congratulations again!

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