A Quick Bite at Corbeaux Bakehouse

>> Friday, February 27, 2015

 
As someone who celebrated the Flames Stanley Cup run in 2004, I was shocked to hear that Melrose Café closed their doors on the infamous red mile. It truly was an end to an era and it was a surprise to everyone who has ever frequented the establishment. However, with all change it always opens its doors to new opportunities and ventures. So when we heard that they were opening a bakery where Melrose used to be. It was quite the surprise. However, after visiting the new Corbeaux Bakery and seeing all the hustle and bustle of the packed café. One can say that Calgarians definitely embraced the new change, showcasing how much our city has evolved over the last couple years.

When you first step in to Corbeaux, you could hardly even recognize what the space used to be. Featuring a large bakery display with many delectable desserts and pastries, a large open dining area and coffee bar, the designers did a great job of transforming the restaurant part of the old Melrose in to a cozy and contemporary café establishment. There is the option of ordering straight from the bar or having a sit down meal which includes a separate menu. Since we were there for a quick snack, we decided to order from the bar. It’s debating which item to order that was the difficult part, since everything looked beyond wonderful.


After a bit of confusion due to the relatively new staff trying to get their bearings on the constant influx of customers, we were able to get a table and enjoy our afternoon snack. We started with one of their gourmet sandwiches made from their delicious baguettes with bacon, ham, cheese, arugula and grainy mustard. The bread was chewy and the sandwich itself was very flavourful, helped that the cheese was warm and gooey making the bite perfect. Next up I had to order the Almond Crossiant, which was covered with marzipan and almond flakes. Ripping off a piece (just like how the French do it…when eating a French pastry right?), I could already feel the flakiness of the pastry and couldn’t wait to taste it. As suspected, it was buttery and soft with a nice chew covered with almond goodness. A Fratello cappuccino was the perfect drink to wash it all down.



My husband ordered the Lemon Curd Danish and although I’m not usually one for citrus desserts, I couldn’t help but try it since the custard looked amazing. The pastry was crisp and crumbly, the curd was slightly tart, not overpowering but just enough to give it that lemony zing. My husband really enjoyed it and surprisingly so did I. We also took a quick peek at their serviced menu and were intrigued by some of the dishes that were offered. We’ll definitely have to stop by again at a later date, possibly also at a later time to avoid the crowds. Apparently the counter service is open till midnight if you’re also looking for a late night bite.


I’m happy to live in a city that continues to evolve and change. These last couple years in Calgary have been some of the most exciting for me, seeing all the new restaurants, public art pieces and development in the city has really brought Calgary forward as the new up and comer. 17th Avenue is no longer just the street for bars and pubs, but an area with distinctive culture and artistic flare. Closing of Melrose and modifying it to a busy café was really just the beginning. Here’s looking forward to what else this city has in store for us and I believe we’re all excited.

Corbeaux Bakehouse
730 17 Ave SW
Calgary, AB
(403) 474-9214
Website: corbeaux.com

Corbeaux Bakehouse on Urbanspoon

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Restaurant Review: The Nash

>> Friday, February 20, 2015


We were lucky enough to be one of the first individuals to see the new Nash in Inglewood last year and after sampling some of the delicious menu items I couldn’t wait to go back for more. So for a girls night out we decided to drop in for a bite or two.

Atmosphere: Amazing contrast between the dark cool colors of the Off Cut Bar and the bright open dining area of The Nash, featuring an open kitchen concept with unique décor from the original National Hotel.

Price Range: Mid $10s - $30+


Food and Wine: My friends and I love fresh baked bread and that was the first thing we ordered when we saw that it was available, so we could munch on it while we decided on the rest of our meal. The bread was made with grain flour that evening and had a nice outer crust and airy center. It went nicely with the homemade unsalted butter. To start we had the Brown Butter Gnochetti, which are smaller versions of gnocchi tossed with winter squash, sage and walnuts. The texture of the gnochetti was nice, slightly chewy and went well with the butter sauce. The squash and the sage helped cut through the slightly heavier sauce while the walnuts provided a nice crunch. Overall it was a notable way to begin our meal.

 
We also couldn’t pass on the Hand Cut Frites and Aioli and were glad that we didn’t. They were crispy and delicious. Each fry was cooked and seasoned perfectly. They were a great side and I would highly recommend them, especially if you needed something to accompany your drink. For my main, I ordered the Bison Flank Steak served with Brussels sprouts, onions and topped with a sweet bbq style glaze. The steak was cooked to perfection especially since bison tends to be a leaner meat, but I did find that it was slightly over seasoned. The sweetness of the sauce did help with the saltiness. The Brussels sprouts retained a good crunch and the onions also helped round out the flavours of the dish.

It was hard to pass over dessert, especially how intriguing they sounded. We finally decided on the Aerated Mascarpone Mousse which reminded me of an unbaked cheesecake. It came with a very tart cranberry sorbet to contrast the sugary spiced wafer and meringue. The server mentioned that everything on the plate was meant to be eaten together and not separately. So we made certain to get a bit of everything in each bite. Surprisingly everything managed to balance out, although we did end up with quite a bit of leftover sorbet. I’m personally not a huge fan of tart desserts so I definitely stuck more to the mascarpone cream which was extremely smooth. It hit the spot.



My Picks: Gnochetti

Overall: It’s great to see the old National hotel location transformed in to such a great restaurant space. I’m looking forward to going back to the Off Cut Bar to check out some of their unique cocktail offerings and definitely will grab another bite at the Nash to see what new and exciting changes they have planned.

The Nash Restaurant and Off Cut Bar
925 11 St SE
Calgary, AB
(403) 984-3365
Website: nashyyc.com

Nash Restaurant & Off Cut Bar on Urbanspoon

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Winefest Tickets Giveaway 2015!

>> Thursday, February 12, 2015

 
Its Winefest time again in Calgary, held at the Stampede Park BMO Building next weekend February 20 and 21. I have a set of tickets to give away for the Saturday February 21st Afternoon session from 2-5 p.m! So respond to this post and I’ll do a random draw next Wednesday for the winner.

For all of you that are interested, here’s a bit more information. Plus there are still additional tickets available for purchase during the Friday night session and the Saturday afternoon session.

Highly Anticipated Winefest Returns to Calgary

WHAT: Calgary’s all-inclusive wine event is back at the Stampede Park BMO Centre on February 20 – 21. Celebrating its 23rd year in Calgary, Winefest invites guests to sample from a wide selection of local and international wines from 16 of the world’s top wine regions. Wine experts will be on hand to share their knowledge and suggest tasting notes, as attendees sample their way from booth to booth. Attendees can nibble on a delicious selection of hors d’oeuvres from Stampede Catering, Springbank Cheese Company, Ollia Macarons & Tea, Rosso Coffee Roasters and Nefiss Lezizz.

During the event, attendees can stop by the on-site Sobeys Liquor store to purchase their favourite finds to enjoy at home. One ticket includes all-inclusive wine tasting, hors d’oeuvres, as well as a complimentary Riedel wine glass and Tasting Notebook.

WHO: Novice and seasoned wine lovers alike will enjoy a decadent afternoon or evening of all-inclusive wine tasting paired with delicious hors d’oeuvres. Winefest is a chance to enjoy a fun outing while discovering new wines and increasing wine knowledge.

WHY: Celebrate and sample from 266 wines from the world’s most renowned wine regions! Winefest is the perfect opportunity to ‘try before you buy’ and to discover new favourites in a casually refined atmosphere.

WHEN: February 20, 2015 7-10 p.m. Friday Evening Session
               February 21, 2015 2-5 p.m. Saturday Afternoon Session
               February 21, 2015 7-10 p.m. Saturday Evening Session *Sold out!

WHERE: Stampede Park BMO Centre, Hall E
                  20 Roundup Way
                 Calgary, AB T2G 2W1

TICKETS: Friday Evening Session - $85
                    Saturday Afternoon Session - $80
                    Saturday Evening Session - $85 *Sold out!

For ticket information visit:
http://www.celebratewinefest.com/calgary.html

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Restaurant Review: Lava Dining

>> Wednesday, February 4, 2015

 
Tucked away in Kensington is a relatively new restaurant featuring fusion cuisine with an Asian flare. I first found out about it when we were walking around the neighbourhood last year and when our friends asked about a new restaurant to try I suggested it. Needless to say I was quite excited when they came back and told me that the food was beyond amazing! I definitely had to check it out for myself.

Atmosphere: Contemporary and open, the space is really used to showcase the food itself.

Price Range: Mid $10s - $20+


Food and Wine: We decided to start with the Rare Seared Albacore Tuna Salad featuring a variety of fresh seasonal vegetables with a tarragon vinaigrette and garlic aioli. This wasn’t your typical tuna salad. The plate was stunning and beautifully arranged. You know what they say about eating with your eyes first. Luckily for us it was also extremely flavourful and refreshing. I really enjoyed the tarragon vinaigrette, which highlighted the taste of the tuna exceptionally well and all the different vegetables were a nice addition.

Next we had the Thai Chili Calamari which came on a bed of grape tomatoes and arugula salad with key lime vinaigrette. Again, this was another light dish since the calamari was grilled as opposed to deep fried. I really enjoy arugula and this was a good use of the peppery greens along with the tangy tomatoes and vinaigrette to tie the whole dish together.


We definitely had to try the Asian Sliders and ordered one of each. The Kakuni Pork Belly was my favorite since the extra fattiness from the pork belly itself provided that extra unctuousness to the steamed bun. Although the Braised Beef Short Rib was also quite tender and delicious. The short rib had a nice robust flavour blending well with the cucumber kimchi and jus. Lastly the Confit Duck Leg was an interesting choice and it reminded me of Peking Duck, the flavour profiles being very similar. I thoroughly enjoyed all of them, but did wish that there was a bit more greenery to cut through the heaviness of the sliders themselves.

For dessert we ordered the Lava Style Ice Cream Volcano which sounded quite exotic. It comes as your choice of different ice cream selections with a baked meringue and chocolate fudge sauce. We chose green tea and mango ice cream, which wasn’t an exact match but was what we were craving at the time. The ice creams were tasty and the dessert was satisfying, but we were expecting some sort of volcano or lava flow. Maybe that’s just the kid in me expecting a baking soda vinegar volcano, which probably wouldn't taste too good, but more so for effect.


We accompanied our meal with the Sumac Ridge Cabernet Merlot which is a blend of cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon and merlot varietals. A medium bodied wine that features dark cherry notes and a smooth finish, it definitely held up well against all the different dishes we sampled that evening.

My Picks: Albacore Tuna Salad, Thai Chili Calamari

Overall: We were glad that we stopped by because all the dishes we sampled were delicious. It was a bonus that they’re using local ingredients and gluten free options are also available for those that require it. I’m glad that we saw it when we were strolling through the neighbourhood and like our friends we definitely enjoyed our meal.

Lava Dining
314D 10 Street NW
Calgary, AB
(403) 283-8608
Website: lavadining.ca

Lava Dining on Urbanspoon

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