Restaurant Review: Ten Foot Henry

>> Thursday, March 31, 2016


Even though I’m born and raised in Calgary, I’ve never really heard much about the history of our city, which I always thought was a shame. Until recently that is. I learned about a little or big cartoon character that was quite famous in the city. Ten Foot Henry was renowned throughout the city around the 80s and even though we haven’t heard much about him since, a new restaurant that opened up on 1st Street has decided to keep his name and make a tribute to this fascinating character. I couldn't wait to dine there and was extremely lucky to be invited for dinner!

Atmosphere: Bright airy dining area which feels like you’re in a garden oasis due to accents of planters and greenery.

Price Range: Mid $10s - $20s


Food & Wine: The menu at Ten Foot Henry focuses mainly on veggie dishes with a twist all of which are meant for sharing such as the Collard Greens with merguez sausage, shiitake mushrooms and chickpeas, which sound simple but the flavours hit all the right notes. The shiitake mushrooms are full of buttery goodness and the collards are cooked perfectly. It’s a dish I would definitely order again. We also really enjoyed the Salt Roasted Potatoes served with shishito peppers and a creamy mayo. The potatoes were cooked just right and the added peppers gave it an interesting kick without it being overly spicy.

Don’t get me wrong, they don’t only serve vegetables. There are also wonderful seafood and meat options for those looking for something a bit heartier. The Yellow Fin Crudo is definitely a defining dish. Made with fresh yellow fin tuna and topped with chimichurri, sesame and chili oil, the dish was refreshing yet flavourful. The combination of all the various sauces really just lifted the tuna to another level. It’s a must have when you’re at Ten Foot Henry.


Sticking with the seafood theme, we also tried the Grilled Sardines with creamy yogurt, salted cucumbers and dill as well as the Crispy Skin Salmon with chorizo, mushrooms and avocado puree. The sardines had a nice smoky flavour from the grill which also allowed you to eat the most of the little bones within (since they’re served whole). It was a very nice rustic approach to the dish and I’m glad it’s made it on the menu. The yogurt was a surprising combination but the tanginess went well with it. The salmon had amazing crispy skin and I loved the idea of using avocado (going to be stealing this one). It was a very light dish and a good sharing portion.

There’s a great selection of sides to choose from ranging from Spaghetti cacio e pepe (meaning cheese and pepper) to handmade bread dumplings. We opted for my favorite Sidewalk Citizen Sourdough Bread which came with chimichurri for dipping. It was also great to use it to sop up all the delicious sauces which came with our dishes.


When the dessert menu came around, it was so hard to pick! How does one choose between cream puffs, butterscotch pudding and all the other wonders? I guess we had to decide (come back for the others later) and chose their famous Coconut Cake with toasted coconut, coconut milk and milk frosting and the Cherry Stuffed Pampushky. The coconut cake was super moist and not overly too sweet, it would be a great option for those looking for something sweet but yet still feels healthy. The pampushky aka doughnut had a cherry jam filling and dusted with cinnamon sugar and served with an English crème anglaise. I wouldn’t have minded a bit more crème anglaise, but overall it wasn’t overly too sweet either and did go well with the cappuccino.


Ten Foot Henry also has an interesting cocktail list, so we ordered the Cucumber Collins made with gin, lemon, cucumber, celery bitters and topped off with soda. It was quite refreshing. A nice way to start the meal and I could definitely see myself ordering it in the coming summer months. If you’re interested in wine, they also have a great wine selection for either single glasses or bottles to share.

My Picks: Collard Greens, Yellow Fin Crudo


Overall: It’s really nice to see a restaurant bring back a bit of Calgary history and couple it with new innovative dishes. The blending of the old and new is very refreshing and I love what they’re doing with the cuisine at Ten Foot Henry. I can’t wait to go back and sample all the dishes I missed that night and also all those delectable desserts!

Ten Food Henry
1209 1 Street SW
Calgary, AB
(403) 475-5537
Website: tenfoothenry.com


Ten Foot Henry Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Preview of the 2016 Juno Awards Gala Dinner

>> Wednesday, March 23, 2016


The Junos are coming to Calgary on April 2nd and last week I had the honor of previewing the delicious dishes conceptualized by Chef Roger Mooking for the 2016 Juno Gala and Awards Dinner. This is the Junos first ever celebrity driven dinner and it was truly an honor to be able to sample Chef Mooking’s creations.

All guests will be enjoying a wonderful start to their menu with the Tomato Surprise appetizer. Made with sweet sunset Campari tomatoes, which is always the top award winner for flavour, texture and color. The tomatoes are confit and served with the Chef’s own Nuh Gana sauce comprised of roasted red peppers, roasted garlic, white wine vinegar and olive oil all pureed together. Why is the dish called the tomato surprise? Well the tomatoes are actually hidden beneath a bed of butter lettuce, baby kale and arugula and topped with our own Sidewalk Citizen sourdough spicy croutes. When the guests start eating the salad they’ll actually find the tomatoes within and when they cut in to them, the tomatoes then also serves as part of the sauce for the dish. The dish is accompanied by the Brut Prestige sparkling wine from Napa Valley where the apple and vanilla notes pair perfectly with the tomato.


The main dish for the evening is the Blackened Canadian Rangeland Bison Tenderloin with chimichurri and parmesan crushed fingerling potatoes, grilled lemon and chili oil baby bok choy. This dish was an homage to Alberta’s local ingredients. The bison is marinated in a blackening spice and pan seared until medium rare allowing the meat to retain its delicious flavour while enhanced by the light coating of spices and the tanginess of the chimichurri sauce. It’s perfect with the addition of the charred lemon overtop to provide it that extra bit of zing. Paired with this dish is the Campo Viejo Rioja from Spain, full of cherry, plum and blackberry notes. The grapes are aged for 18 months in oak barrels and maintain a medium body as not to overpower the bison flavour.

The vegetarian option for the evening is a flavourful Herbed Mushroom Toast over Sidewalk Citizen Sourdough and served with the same delicious sides. Use of various mushroom varieties such as crimini, oysters and shiitake really brought out the various earthy flavours of the mushrooms. The dish was also finished with cannellini beans instead of cream which still provided that extra creaminess to the dish without added fat. A light and crisp New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is paired with this course. The Stoneleigh Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc plays nicely with the earthy mushrooms where the citrus and peach notes really shine and help lift the dish.

And for my favourite course, the Cracked Caramel and Brownies Dessert! Made with Phil and Sebastian espresso mousse, chocolate brownie chunks, sautéed bananas and finished with vanilla chantilly cream, sponge toffee and coffee dust. It sounds decadent which is it, but it remains light due to the fact that it was not overly too sweet. I loved the combination of the different textures and flavours and could probably eat the lot of this. It was truly a great way to end a meal!

In addition to the exquisite wine pairings throughout the meal two cocktails were created specifically for the event. The first cocktail “Cool with that” is made from JP Wiser’s deluxe Canadian Rye Whisky and similar to a play on the typical whisky sour. Next is the Polar Ice “Downtown”, a grapefruit inspired cocktail with lillet blanc, fresh grapefruit and polar ice vodka. Both drinks are easy on the palette and great for sipping throughout. For those looking for something different and inherently Canadian, Steam Whistle is the official beer supplier for the event and will be showcasing their famous pilsner, which is also one of my favorite go to beers.


It is no surprise that guests are in for a real treat this year. It truly is a great way to showcase Alberta and all the great food items we have to offer. Let me know if you’re interested in the recipes for each of these dishes or for the cocktails and I can make them available. Here’s looking forward to Juno week which begins March 28 to April 3!

All photos are courtesy of Nikolai Cuthill

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Restaurant Review: One18Empire

>> Thursday, March 17, 2016


Cocktails have been making quite the come back the last couple years and it’s starting to define the type of food restaurants are serving on their menus. One18Empire which specializes in whiskey has really taken that concept and ran with it. A hidden gem located in the Marriott hotel in downtown Calgary, One18Empire not only showcases whiskey on their cocktail menu but throughout both their food and dessert menus as well. I couldn’t wait to dig in.

Atmosphere: Casual sophistication with elegant flare, loved the whiskey feature wall in the dining area which really draws the eye, perfect location for both groups large and small.

Price Range: Mid $10s - $20+


Food & Wine: I was really glad that there was a big group of us so we can taste quite a few different dishes ranging from appetizers to dessert. To start we ordered the Maple Bacon Wrapped Dates stuffed with gorgonzola and topped with whiskey syrup. You can never go wrong with anything wrapped in bacon and the sweet and salty combination of dates with bacon is always a winner.

Next up was the Seared Calamari. I really enjoyed this dish. It’s refreshing to see calamari prepared in a different way other than the typical battered and fry method. Here the calamari was served over a light tomato sauce and topped with a fresh fricassee salad and olives. The calamari was soft, not chewy and went very nicely with the different flavour profiles going on in the dish.

One of the favorites of the table that evening were the Weathervane Scallops which were cooked to perfection and accompanied by pork belly and a creamy polenta with grainy mustard glaze. I loved the contrast of pork with scallops and the creamy polenta, perfect texture and taste.


After our amazing appetizers it was really hard to pick and choose our mains. The server mentioned the Daily Feature which was the Ossobuco and we couldn’t resist. The veal shank was falling off the bone. I don’t even think we needed a knife to pull the meat apart. The portion size was also very impressive. Served with a bean casserole and fresh greens, it was quite the formidable meal. Everything on this plate was comfort food brought to the next level. I really hope they decide to bring it back again.


My favorite main that evening was the Braised Short Ribs over a bed of risotto and blistered tomatoes. I have a soft spot for short ribs, especially when they’re braised. It must be the melt in your mouth tenderness or the depth of flavour that the braising creates but I can never get enough of it. Couple this with the creamy risotto and tangy tomatoes and you’ve got yourself a winner. I probably could have eaten the whole dish if I didn’t have to share.


The group really enjoyed the Grilled Duck Breast accompanied by a root vegetable hash. The duck was cooked to medium and had flawless crispy skin with all the fat perfectly rendered. It was definitely a good sized portion and the root vegetable hash was a nice compliment to the duck. A huge hit overall.

Choosing dessert was even harder (since they were all such a great deal!) and ended up ordering one of each and I was extremely glad we did when they came. Starting with the rich and decadent One18 Triple Chocolate Bourbon Cake, which was perfect for sharing. I loved the use of dark chocolate here or else it would have been too sweet otherwise. It was velvety and smooth with just a slight hint of bourbon.


Everybody loved the Goat Cheese Cheesecake, creamy and smooth with a perfect amount of goat cheese flavour coming through. It was definitely unique if you’re looking for something a different. My favorite dessert was the Sticky Toffee Pudding with calvados ice cream. Not too sweet but utterly satisfying, the soft gooey cake was perfect with the creamy smooth ice cream, hot and cold all mixed together. Nothing beats a great sticky toffee pudding in my mind. And last but not least, my cousin got her Guinness Float, which she was craving since seeing the menu online. It was a full sized pint of…you guessed it Guinness! Topped with a nice big scoop of ice cream. This would be perfect for summer on the patio!


When you’re here don’t forget to sample some of their signature cocktail creations made with over 100 different types of whiskey they have on stock or if you’re feeling adventurous let the bartender help you decide.

My Picks: Weathervane Scallops, Braised Short Ribs

Overall: The food at One18Empire just blew me away. The portion sizes were more than generous and the flavours really do speak for themselves. I was really glad that I made it out and can’t wait to go back. I can see why it was named as one of Calgary’s Top 10 new restaurants for 2016! I can see this hidden gem no longer being hidden for long!


One18Empire
820 Centre Street SE
Calgary, AB
(403) 269-0299
Website: one18empire.com

ONE18 EMPIRE Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Restaurant Review: Via Cibo Coventry

>> Friday, March 4, 2016


Some of my friends have always complained that it’s hard for them to get downtown to enjoy a lot of the restaurants since they live far from the core. For others, it’s tough because of kids and getting them home for bedtime. So it was really nice to see Via Cibo opening up a sister location in the northern part of the city with their south location being such a hit! We were lucky enough to be invited to sample their delicious food and check out their amazing new space.

Atmosphere: An Italian style eatery with a casual bistro feel, perfect for those looking for Italian fare outside the core.

Price Range: Mid $10s - $20s


Food: We ran in to some good friends at the event and decided to share everything so we were able to try a greater selection of food then what we had initially ordered. It worked out perfectly since we didn’t order any of the same dishes! We started with the Insalata Bistecca made with grilled steak, a mix of greens, roasted peppers, cipollini onions, shaved grana padano cheese and topped with aged balsamic vinaigrette. The beef was sliced quite thinly and therefore remained quite tender and all the greens were extremely fresh. The balsamic vinaigrette made for a classic combo.

We ordered the Arugula and Roasted Vegetables insalata with arugula, seasonal vegetables, shaved grana padano cheese and a house Italian vinaigrette. By itself the salad was quite peppery due to the use of arugula and I would have preferred to have a fit of spring greens mixed in. However, it was perfect mixed with the pizza and pasta. It added that nice bitterness and really helped cut through the strong flavours. I highly recommend ordering this and just placing a bit of it on top of your choice of pizza or mix with the gnocchi.


For pastas we tried the Rose Pasta and Shrimp made with a white wine rose sauce, slow roasted tomatoes, shrimp, baby spinach and topped with lots of shaved grana padano cheese. I really liked the cream sauce, it was tangy due to the tomatoes and the penne pasta really sopped it all up. The shrimp itself was cooked nicely and was a nice addition to the pasta.

My favorite however was the Gnocchi. The gnocchi themselves were soft and pillowy, the gorgonzola cream sauce was velvety and flavourful! All the extras such as the slow roasted tomatoes, pancetta, green onions and shaved grana padano cheese was the proverbial cherry on top. We added grilled chicken to ours to make it a heartier meal but it would have been a great vegetarian dish if you’d prefer to leave the chicken off.


For the pizzas we were encouraged to sample the traditional Margherita topped with tomato, fior di latte mozzarella and fresh basil. A classic combination, the flavours definitely went well together. However the star was the dough itself, crispy on the outside while remaining nice and chewy on the inside, exactly what I look for in a pizza crust.

When it comes to pizza though, I prefer the sweet and salty and ordered the Prosciutto E Arugula made with prosciutto, arugula, fior di latte mozzarella, slow roasted tomatoes, shaved grana padano cheese and a drizzle of fig infused balsamic reduction. The reduction added a nice simple sweetness to the pizza and really lifted the flavours. I added more arugula from our salad on top of this pizza and found the combination to be a winner. I think others around the table agreed. Again the chewiness of the dough was really the star here making for a wonderful bite.


For a side we had the Polpette, which are three handmade meatballs with pomodoro (aka tomato) sauce and shaved grana padano cheese. The dish is great for sharing and the meatballs themselves packed in quite a bit of flavour. They were moist and tender and I thought would go well with any of the pasta dishes.

Via Cibo serves Fiasco Gelato and espresso type coffees to curb your sweet tooth. You can see all the gelato flavours through their display and order to your hearts content.

My Pick: Gnocchi

Overall: For those who are craving Italian, Via Cibo is a great option and not just because you have a family. It’s also great for those just looking for a lovely evening out but don’t want to deal with the hassles of parking downtown.

Via Cibo Coventry
Unit 101, 104 Country Village Road NE
Calgary, AB
(587) 755-4856
Website: viacibo.com


Via Cibo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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