Summer at Market

>> Friday, July 17, 2015

It’s been one of the warmer hotter summers that we’ve seen in a long time here in Calgary and what better way than to celebrate with food and drinks on a patio. Market has launched their new summer menu and I was lucky enough to be amongst those that had a chance to sample some of their new dishes. Each course was wonderfully paired with delicious summer cocktails or delectable wine to really help showcase their flavours.

We first started off with a light amuse bouche which consisted of chicharron (pork rinds) with dehydrated tomatoes and goat cheese with chai flowers from the chef’s own garden. The crunch with the creamy goat cheese was nice way to ready our palates for the amazing meal ahead of us.

Our first course was the Strawberry Salad with roasted strawberries, bitter greens, a chamomile vinaigrette and goat cheese. I enjoyed how the salad was only lightly dressed so the bitterness of the greens was able to come through and when combined with the sweetness from the strawberries, it made for a very summery dish. The course was paired with the Backyard Blanc De Noire from Lanley, BC, a sparkling wine with hints of green apple and grapefruit. You can’t go wrong starting with bubbles!

Next up was a lovely pasta dish – the Gnocchi Romano consisted of tiny pieces of gnocchi in a percorino sauce with lots of black pepper and shaved parmesan. I can never resist gnocchi when it’s on a menu and I was glad that they featured this dish. The gnocchi itself had the perfect texture and was flawlessly showcased in a scrumptious creamy sauce. We were served the Bench Unoaked Chardonnay to accompany the pasta. A great summer chardonnay with lots of citrus notes and due to its limited use of french oak, maintains a richness that’s perfect for sipping.

When the Lamb Agnolotti plate arrived, everybody at the table was in awe of how beautifully plated the dish was. Showcasing the braised lamb filled pasta with mint ricotta and minted peas, a classic combination of lamb and mint was definitely elevated to enhance the flavours of both ingredients. All the contrasting textures and flavours made for a great dish. To compliment this we were served a Mint Julep of course! I’m a sucker for a good mint julep and this was no differen. I also enjoyed the fact that all the alcohol used in the cocktails was locally distilled in Alberta!

This next plate was extremely playful when it arrived. The Duck Taco made with crepes, pickled strawberries, caramelized onion was served with what looked to be milk and cookies. However it was just a play on the latter with dessert a few more courses away yet. The decadent cookie was made with foie gras and pickled pear which we were to dip in to the cream - an adult version for the child in all of us. The duck taco itself was a crowd favorite. The use of crepe instead of the typical corn taco shell was ingenious. We were served the Banff Ice Cilantro Watermelon Slush cocktail which was extremely refreshing and perfect for the summer patio.

One of my favorite dishes of the even was the Scallop with Cream Corn. Sounds simple, but words can easily deceive. The creamed corn was lightly fermented and had an amazing texture and when combined with the corn truffle, whey gastrique and the briny scallops, my tastebuds were flying. We returned to wine for this course and had the Blasted Church Pinot Gris. I’m a huge fan of Blasted Church wines and this was no different. The pinot gris had just the right amount of pear and citrus notes to really bring out the flavours of the scallop.

For our last savory course, we enjoyed the Pork Belly with pistachio puree, radish slaw, brandied cherry and green beans. Although I was quite full by this point, I could not pass up on pork belly! I did wish they seared the pork belly a bit more however I enjoyed the flavour of the pork and loved all the accompaniments which really elevated the dish. The wine pairing for this course was the Quail’s gate pinot noir one of my favorite Canadian pinot noirs. It’s light yet medium bodied and goes well with both seafood and meat. In this case, the wine was bold enough to hold its own against the heavier pork belly.

Just in case we weren’t full enough by that point, there was still dessert! But I can never refuse dessert. We were served the Brown Butter Grapefruit Bar with toasted marshmallow gelato, lemon basil gel and a star anise crumble. My favorite was the toasted marshmallow gelato when mixed with the star anise to give it that extra kick of spice. I found the grapefruit bar to have a similar texture to cheesecake and I did find it a bit sweet. However I know there are some out there who enjoy a sweeter dessert, if so then this is for you. For our last cocktail of the evening we sampled the Banff Ice Basil Grapefruit Spritz. The addition of basil is a nice touch. I’m really loving the use of herbs in cocktails and hopes that it’s a trend that will continue to grow. Again like all the other cocktails that evening, I can definitely see myself enjoying it on a sunny patio.

Just doing this write up has got me hankering for a cocktail on the patio. Luckily for me the summer has just started and there is still a lot of time to enjoy Market’s delicious summer menu and cocktails. I’m looking forward to checking out all of their other amazing menu offerings. What is your favorite? Let me know!

Market Restaurant
718 17th Avenue SW
Calgary, AB
(403) 474-4414

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