Caramel Popcorn Monkey Bread Recipe

>> Wednesday, December 20, 2017

We’re well into the thick of Christmas preparation around here and just like every other year I’m debating on what type of baking I want to do. I was inspired to do something a little bit different this year but still playing with a classic – Monkey bread – a delicious cross between pull apart bread and cinnamon buns. One of my husband’s favorites. To change I up a bit, I decided to mix in a bit of caramel corn to give it a bit of crunch and texture. Who doesn’t love the combination of caramel, cinnamon and sugar!

So here’s my recipe where everything for the monkey bread was made from scratch except the caramel corn which I used G.H. Cretors delicious old fashioned styled caramel popcorn. I find that adding the caramel corn gives it that little something extra. The corn really soaks up the caramel and provides little flavor bombs when you’re eating the monkey bread. Let me know what you think!

Caramel Popcorn Monkey Bread

1 1/8 tsp yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp water
1 cup white sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
2 cups caramel popcorn
1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar


In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in the 1/4 cup of warm water. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.

Measure out the flour and salt in the mixing bowl, add in the yeast mixture and the remaining water.

Knead the dough until it all comes together and is no longer sticky.

Set aside and allow to rise until the dough doubles in size.

When the dough is ready, preheat the oven to 350 degrees fareinheit.

Grease a 9” rounded pie pan or you can use a bundt cake pan.

In a small bowl mix together the white sugar and cinnamon.

Roll out the dough in to 1 inch pieces and place into the cinnamon sugar mixture until the ball is covered.

Place the ball in the grease pan. Intermix a bit of caramel popcorn after each piece of dough.

Repeat with remaining dough and set aside.

Heat up the butter and brown sugar in a small sauce pan over low heat until melted.

Pour over the entire pan and place the pan in the oven for 35 minutes.

When you remove the pan from the oven you can flip the entire pan upside down on a plate. Top with additional caramel popcorn and serve (or you can just spatula the whole thing out and top with additional popcorn like what I did!).

Or conversely you can serve individual portions and top with ice cream for a little something extra!



Restaurant Review: Two Penny

>> Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Now that it’s November I feel like Christmas is in full swing and I don’t think I’m quite ready for it yet. Don’t get me wrong, I love everything about Christmas but admitting that its’ just around the corner means that 2017 is officially coming to an end. 2017 was an amazing year and I don’t think I’m ready to close that chapter. Luckily for me I got to add a bit more excitement to 2017 by attending a dinner tasting of the new highly anticipated Two Penny restaurant that opened on 1st street.

Atmosphere: Beautiful chic interior with an amazing vibe perfect for grabbing a drink with a quick bite or indulging in the full menu experience.

Price Range: Mid $10s - $30+

Food & Drinks: We were truly treated to an amazing meal where we got to sample a fair amount of the menu. Needless to say, we were extremely full but happy at the end of it all! Since there is so much to cover I’ll just provide the highlights as much as I can even though I want to talk about every dish in detail. Off the Snacks portion of the menu we tried the Baked Oysters, Sichuan Cold Chicken and Black Mushroom Salad. The standout for me was the Baked Oysters with black bean mayo, chili breadcrumbs. They were quite unique and the creaminess actually worked well with the oysters rather than overpower them.

Next was the Dumplings with the infamous Xiao Long Bao (XLB), Shrimp Wontons with chili garlic soy sauce and Chinese Cabbage Potstickers with chive and egg. I thought they were all good choices, the XLBs were soupy and the potstickers were crispy while the wontons were nice and spicy.

From the Chef Specialities we had the spicy Cumin Lamb Ribs, Mapo Tofu and Beef and Broccoli dish. The ribs would be perfect with an ice-cold beer, while the tofu and the beef reminded me of homemade comfort food. Something I could find in my parent’s kitchen. The tofu dish was flavourful and zingy with the addition of Szechuan peppercorns, while the wagyu beef was tender and literally melting in the mouth.

If that wasn’t enough food already, we were treated to their Roast Half Duck served with milk buns, in house made hoisin sauce, cucumber and scallions a la peking duck style. I love peking duck so I was all for this dish, but I did miss the traditional wraps possibly because I really enjoy the chew that the wraps provide which the buns didn’t provide. Don’t get me wrong though, I do love me a good fluffy bun, but there's just something special about the wraps.

Dishes just like the Smoke Mushrooms, Wok Fried Mixed Vegetables and the Special Fried Rice with shrimp, duck, pork, egg and bone marrow (which is to be mixed in tableside). I really enjoyed the smoked mushrooms, again a different take on a simple ingredient which really allowed it to shine. The mixing of the bone marrow in to the fried rice was also interesting definitely not what you’d except in your fried rice.

Although it was quite a full menu, we just couldn’t refuse the dessert. Starting with the Taro Wafer Chestnut Cake to Coffee and Doughnuts with Vietnamese coffee ice cream and ending with Portuguese Egg Tarts. My favorite of the three was definitely the play on coffee and doughnuts, the doughnuts themselves are traditionally eaten for breakfast in a savoury style, but here Two Penny chefs have dusted them with powdered sugar added ice cream and the works to make this a stand out dessert.

To accompany their amazing food selections are some delicious cocktails and you have to try them. With names like the Appletini 2017, 3 years in the making, how could you resist? I went with the Cocktail #7 made with gin, rice wine, strawberry, chili, thai basil and lemon. Light and refreshing, its perfect for gin lovers everywhere.

My Pick(s): Baked Oysters, Chinese Cabbage Potstickers, Smoked Mushrooms

Overall: Although we are approaching December and 2017 will eventually come to a close, I’m glad that there are all these great new places that have opened up this year so we can continue devour delectable dishes regardless of the time of year. Two Penny has definitely hit its mark serving a more traditional style of Chinese dishes albeit for a bit higher of a price point than what I’m used to at Asian restaurants, but you are also paying for the surrounding and atmosphere which are definitely outstanding. Here’s to continuing the celebration with delicious food and amazing drinks all year long!

Two Penny Chinese
1213 1 Street SW
Calgary, AB
(403) 474-7766

Two Penny Chinese Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Restaurant Review: NOtaBLE

>> Tuesday, October 31, 2017

October has been a crazy month for us. My son, my mom and dad were all in various stages of illness. So needless to say it was hectic trying to accommodate everyone’s doctor and hospital visits. It just felt like a never ending train of issues. So it was amazing to be able to get out one night and be able to enjoy ourselves at Notables, a nice little oasis in all the madness happening around us.

Atmosphere: Cozy restaurant setting with a family friendly atmosphere. Perfect for a dinner date or a delicious meal with friends and family.

Price Range: Mid $10s - $30+

Food & Wine: Even before we ordered I knew I wanted something from the Rotisserie. If you haven’t heard of Notable’s rotisserie then you’re definitely missing out! They are known for their “Happy Chickens” which are slow roasted on their wood fired grill. If you don’t have time to dine in, you’re in luck! The rotisserie chickens are available for take out, so be sure to check it out! Since it was Sunday while we were there, the feature was the Porchetta! Therefore we decided on smaller starters so we don’t get too full before the main.

Of course we had to get an order of the Wood Fire Grilled Bread with Garlic Confit. The bread is so fluffy and perfect with the roasted garlic. Even my 1 year old loved it just maybe without the roasted garlic for him. Next was the Brant Lake Waygu Beef Carpaccio with peppercorn aioli and served with arugula and multigrain toast. They really kept the flavours of the waygu beef intact. The arugula with the lemon added the peppery tartness. I did find that there was a generous helping of aioli, so I sparingly added it to the beef to ensure it didn’t overpower the taste, which worked out well. Another light start to the evening.

One of the new menu items was the Calabrese Campanelle Pasta with BC Clams, salami and roasted garlic in a tomato basil sauce, which sounded amazing. For those that don’t know, campanelle pasta is little pastas shaped like cones with ruffled edges, making them a perfect vessel for the tasty tomato basil sauce. I really enjoyed the addition of the sweet BC clams and the salami.

Now on to our main, The Heritage Breed Porchetta Roast with a smoky eggplant spread and sautéed vegetables. The porchetta itself was super tender and you can definitely tell that it was slowly roasted because it was melt in your mouth delicious. It was without a doubt the start of the dish. I also enjoyed the vegetables and other accompaniments but even if they weren’t there the porchetta would have still been satisfying. So glad we ordered it!

At this point we were beyond full but couldn’t resist something sweet to end the evening so we ordered just the Ginger Gelato which normally accompanies the Carrot Cake. It was a perfect end to the evening. Cool and refreshing with a hint of sweetness, the gelato was the proverbial cherry on top.

My Picks: Heritage Breed Porchetta Roast

Overall: Everybody had an amazing time that night including my son who just got better from his cold and was able to eat some of the delicious food. I often forget that there are amazing places outside of the core and this is one of them. The best part is, if you’re too busy to dine in and it’s crazy (like the month we had) you can always take the food to go! They call them happy chickens for a reason!

4611 Bowness Rd NW
Calgary, AB
(403) 288-4372

NOtaBLE Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Food Delivery with Foodora

>> Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Over the past week I was feeling a little under the weather and then our son also caught the flu so needless to say, it was a bit hectic in our house. I felt bad for my husband since he ended up having to take care of both of us as I was trying to mom as best as I can without being overly exhausted. Luckily for us we had the opportunity to try a new food delivery service here in Calgary - Foodora! Food delivery is one of the best inventions for people who are a) sick b) tired or c) both sick and tired of having to go out but still wanting tasty meals at home without having to prep it themselves.

Foodora has recently launched and is currently providing free delivery service for all their orders until December 31st of this year! We decided to take full advantage of that and ordered in a delicious mediterranean meal from Cafe Med downtown. I’ve never had their shawarma’s before so it was nice to try a new location. We ended up ordering the different platters which was either chicken, or a mix platter with hummus and a side of pita bread. I also had to try their tzatziki as well.

I was surprised by how tender and juicy the different cuts of meat were. I’m typically weary of trying chicken since it can to be dry, but they cooked it very well. Also the kofta sausages were flavourful and juicy as well. I also really liked their tzatziki sauce, which had a good punch of garlic and was a nice compliment to the platters themselves. Overall we were very impressed, especially since the food did not take long to get to us. Sometimes, delivery can be a bit slow, but I was happy to see that it didn’t take them more than 30 mins to get to us.

There are ton of delivery services available now in town, which is great because they all offer something a little different. In this case, I really like that Foodora is offering free delivery service till the end of the year, so definitely be sure to take full advantage! Feel free to use this link below to receive a free $10 off your first purchase!

Luckily for these food delivery services we’re not just stuck with pizzas now that we’re not feeling well or just not in the mood to cook. that I think about it, maybe I might just need to order something tonight. =)

Sponsored post - Photos provided by Foodora


Moxie's Downtown Grand Reopening!

>> Tuesday, September 26, 2017

It seems like we are in full on autumn mode here in Calgary. The weather has significantly cooled down and the sun it starting to set earlier and earlier. I feel like all I want to do is hang around indoors. Gone are the patio days and runs in the park. Luckily for me there are lots of great places in Calgary for indoor activities and food. Such as the new Moxie’s that recently went through a full renovation of their space! I was shocked by how different it looks when I was invited down to check them out!

Atmosphere: Bright, vibrant and contemporary. Definitely not the Moxie’s of old!

Food & Drinks: After a quick look through their menu you can definitely see that they’ve even changed up a lot of their offerings. With Chef Brandon Thordarson revamping essentially every item on their menu you can be sure that what you were used to here at Moxie’s has been given a significant face lift. We couldn’t wait to dig in.

Normally I would totally start with a drink (or two), however I was drawn to their housemade sodas so we decided to or both the Pineapple Lemon and Pomegranate Beet Sodas. I’m glad we did. They were both light and refreshing, not overly sweet, a perfect way to get the taste buds going.

To start we ordered the Tuna Poke in a Jar which came with nori crisps and a zingy ponzu sauce for extra punch. I really loved the nori crisps which provided a nice crunch and great umami flavor. The ponzu sauce on the side definitely added that additional flavor with the green onions and a bit of spice. The poke itself was creamy, with the added avocado, and I really enjoyed how this dish all came together with each of the elements adding something unique to the dish.

Along with the poke we also had the Biryani Chicken Wings, which was a suggestion from our server and I’m glad that he did. They had a good amount of spice and are a bit spicy. I thought they were a nice alternative for those who like dry wings, since the default is typically your usual salt and pepper (they offer those too!).

For our mains, my husband order the Loaded Burger, which true to its name….was loaded with everything! After a couple bites, he mentioned that the sweetness in the BBQ sauce nicely balanced out the salt from the bacon. He’s not huge in to sweet and salty, but this worked for him. I am still amazed that he was able to power down the whole thing because it was definitely a good-sized burger.

I had the Fish Tacos and was surprised to find that they grilled the haddock which was a nice healthier alternative. A lot of restaurants typically deep fry the fish but I enjoyed it grilled. There was two to an order and they were served with a housemade hot sauce on the side. I thought the addition of the corn and bean salsa was a nice addition and went well with the rest of the ingredients. Both of the mains came with sides as well, so I’m glad to report that I definitely got my fill of greens that day since we ordered side salads!

Even though we were beyond full by this point, it was hard to pass up on dessert with Sticky Toffee Pudding and ice cream on the menu. It’s nice that they offer mini versions for those who just want a taster, but I usually go full throttle. The soft warm gooey cake with toffee sauce is perfect for the this fall weather.

My Picks: Tuna Poke, Biryani Chicken Wings

Overall: My surprise continued throughout the meal. One dish after another, they were tasty and delicious and not the old Moxie’s I remember from high school. I’m glad to see that not only have they revamped their design but also their flavours and I’m hoping for more! Chef Brandon has done a great job so far and hopefully he’ll start introducing some new exciting things soon because with the weather the way it is outside, what’s better than getting cozy indoors and enjoying a delicious meal in an amazing space?

Moxie’s Downtown
888 7 Ave SW
Calgary, AB
(403) 234-7507

Moxie's Grill & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Restaurant Review: 1918 Tap and Table

>> Wednesday, September 13, 2017

We love walking. Well mostly I love it, but luckily for me, my husband doesn’t mind it and finds it a nice way to past the time. Especially when we’re away on vacation. Walking is a great way to see the city. However, we don’t walk nearly as much as we should in Calgary since we have cars and Calgary has always been known as a ‘car city’. You wouldn’t be able to get anywhere or anything if you didn’t have a car. But luckily for us we live in an area that’s sort of walkable. We could walk to Kensington which is just down the hill or to Amato Gelato just down 19th street. Over the summer, there was a new restaurant that opened right by 19th street and Kensington Rd! I was pretty excited to check it out and was so glad that I got to do so a couple times as a guest of the restaurant. If you haven’t guessed, I’m talking about 1918 Tap and Table. The best part about dining at this place? Aside from the fact that it’s close, I love how we’re literally giving back and helping support our veterans. All the proceeds from the restaurant goes towards the Canadian Legion!

Atmosphere: Beautiful dining space with big bright floor to ceiling windows that truly highlight the amazing contemporary room. A great location for dinner, drinks or even to host a special event. Definitely not your parent’s legion. =)

Price Range: Mid $10s - $20+

Food & Wine: After their soft opening, I was super excited to be back and check out their lunch selections. To start off our meal we were introduced to some of their appetizers such as the Brined Wings, Hand Cut Organic Fries and the Flatbread made with salami, spinach, mozzarella and basil oil. They were tasty starters and everybody enjoyed them. You can’t go wrong with wings and fries!

We also got to try some of their cocktails and I opted for the No Way Frose, a blended frozen rose wine cocktail with strawberry simple syrup. You can’t go wrong with rose and I’m loving this new frozen rose trend. 1918 does it right by not making it overly too sweet with the simply syrup so you can still taste the essence of the wine. It dangerous stuff because I can probably drink like a dozen of these.

Luckily, they were about to serve the mains and it drew my attention away from that delicious frose cocktail. My main was the Seared Salmon with a white bean puree, wilted spinach, summer squash in a tomato broth with fresh herbs. The salmon was cooked nicely, perfect sear on the outside without drying out the fish itself. The broth was a nice touch and made it a relatively lighter dish, perfect for lunch. The suggested pairing for the dish was the Vina Mayu Sauvignon Blanc, a nice crisp white that doesn’t over power the delicate flavours of the fish but instead enhanced the flavours of the tomatoes and white bean puree.

For dessert, I had the Chocolate Truffle Cake served with Saskatoon Coulis. Since my main was a bit lighter I decided to indulge a bit for dessert. The cake was velvety smooth and would definitely hit the spot for any chocolate lover. It very decadent and a decent size, so it would even be perfect for sharing.

My Pick: Seared Salmon

Overall: The meal was really good and not something you would think is served at the Canadian Legion. I was pleasantly surprised plus, I still can’t get over how beautiful the space is, perfect for a wedding reception or even to host a birthday party! And you don’t even need to cater in the food! So now there’s even more motivation for my husband to walk with me because now we can walk down to 1918 to grab a bite AND we’re supporting our veterans so what’s not to love?!

1918 Tap and Table
1918 Kensington Road NW
Calgary, AB
(403) 209-1918

1918 Tap & Table Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Chevrolet's Positivity Pump Experience at Chinook Honey!

>> Tuesday, August 29, 2017

It’s been an amazing summer so far and I’m fully capitalizing on it by spending as much time as I can on our patio. Even my son is growing an affinity for the outdoors. He just started walking not too long along ago and every day he stumbles towards his shoes, points at them, sits down and tries to shove them on his feet. Of course, he misses his feet 100% of the time and the shoe never actually goes on, but it’s cute and we get the hint. So outside we go.

While outside we walk around our garden and point out all the flowers, vegetables and rocks (kid loves rocks). If we’re lucky there will be butterflies and lots of bumblebees as well as honeybees. He doesn’t quite understand what everything is just yet, but it’s exciting for him to see all the colors and hear the different sounds. For me, I love watching him discover this new world to him. It also reminds me of the amazing opportunity last year when I got to discover all about the honeybees myself when I was lucky enough to be a part of the Chevrolet Positivity Pump Campaign.

As part of that experience I got to visit Chinook Honey farms and spend a day bee keeping and learning how to make honey. I’ve been reading up on the extinction of honeybees here in Canada so it truly was amazing to learn all about them first hand. I truly did luck out because it wasn’t up to me. People have been asking me how it all came about and well it just so happened that my blog popped up when they were looking for someone who would fit the role for Chevrolet’s Positivity Pump Campaign. However, I didn’t know where I was headed and what I’d be doing for the day. What is the Positivity Pump all about? It’s to celebrate positivity and to get people talking about how to be positive as part of Chevrolet’s Fueling Possibilities campaign.

When the time came, I drove up to the gas station which rated my positivity score, allowed me to ‘pump’ gas (hence positivity pump) and told me where I was headed for the day as part of the experience. When I looked down it told me that I was going to be making honey for the day and I couldn’t believe it! How exciting!!

After my drive, down to Okotoks, I pulled in to the Chinook Honey farm and met my film crew. It’s not every day I can say that I met my film crew (I'm also not used to seeing myself on included). I got suited up in my bee keeper outfit and off we went to spend a day with the bees!

We drove out to the fields where all some of the beehives are located. There are several different places to allow the bees the best movement between their hive and where they go to collect their nectar. First off, we had to smoke them a bit, by using a bee smoker. The smoke makes them less aggressive which makes it easier for us to retrieve the honey. Then we remove the lid on the stacks and remove the honeycombs. It was majestic hearing all the humming of the bees and I found it strangely tranquil. After that I got to use a leaf blower essentially to remove the remaining bees from the honeycomb. All the while trying not to injure any of the bees, maybe that’s why I didn’t get stung!

After all the honeycombs were removed from the hives it was time to retrieve the honey! We drove back to the processing facility onsite and moved all the honeycomb inside. It’s amazing what a great workout it is to lift the honeycombs. It’s like they can start a honey workout session. =) To extract the honey we needed to scrap off all the wax that covers the honey before putting in to in a spinner that uses centrifugal force to extract all the honey. Then the honey is strained to remove any wax and other particles. The pure honey is then bottled and ta da…you get the delicious honey that we all enjoy!

Writing it now it seems simple, but the process is a lengthy one because the bees need to collect their nectar and slowly form each and every honeycomb. Then us humans get the pleasure of collecting and enjoying the fruits of their labour. It truly made me appreciate every step that went in to a jar of honey and reminded me the importance of bees not just for honey but for pollination. Here in Canada, our bees are becoming extinct. My husband and I always talked about starting our own colony because every little step counts right? Every year we plant bee friendly plants to draw in pollinators and hope to help support the bee population.

Athough our son isn’t quite old enough now, I can’t wait to teach my son about the importance of the bees. Therefore, this has been an amazing experience for me and thank you so much to Chevrolet for allowing me to do so and hopefully I have shared a bit about supporting our local establishments like Chinook Honey Company and help spread the word about the importance of our bees! Check out the video and I would love to know your thoughts on how to save the bees!


Restaurant Review: Foreign Concept

>> Friday, August 11, 2017

My cousin moved downtown a little while ago and we were discussing how its’ so hard for her to cook for one when there were so many delicious eateries around. It must be extremely difficult to resist all the amazing new places opening up around the beltline, especially when they’re all within walking distance. One of those places opened up in the old Vicious Circle location (who still remembers that?? Yes I am dating myself). We were all curious about the new space and when we heard it was Duncan Ly and his team opening up a new Asian concept restaurant, we were all excited. So how could I not visit Foreign Concept?

Atmosphere: A beautiful dining space where east meets west. The décor definitely speaks to the menu that is served at Foreign Concept.

Price Range: Mid $10s - $30+

Food and Drinks: I was extremely lucky to be dining with a foodie who has been here before many many times. After chatting we decided to get some of her fave dishes along with something new that she has yet to try. We started with the Gochujang Tuna Poke, served with crunchy nori tapioca crackers. The layers of flavours and textures all worked together very well. It was refreshing and a great way to start our meal.

We also requested the Honey Butter Chips which is normally a lunch item since it came highly recommended and it definitely did not disappoint. Served with preserved lemon aioli the chips were just that…sweet and buttery. I could probably eat these every day! Here’s hoping that it becomes a staple on both the lunch and dinner menus! Alongside the chips we also got to sample a new cocktail that’s currently in the works so new that the drink itself is still in the naming process. Made with Eau Claire gin, yuzu sake along with salt cured egg yolk, simple syrup, cream and a dash of lemon, the drink was amazingly refreshing. I’m not usually a fan of creamy drinks, but this one wasn’t at all! Very pleasantly surprised and hoping to sample more from their cocktail list.

Next we had the Charsiu Pork & Foie Gras Steamed Buns served with samjang sauce. Who doesn’t love a fluffy steamed bun with fatty pork goodness? The dish comes deconstructed so you can adjust the filling based on what you’d prefer. I’m normally a huge fan of foie gras, but in this case since the pork and the samjang sauce are already quite rich, I was quite light handed with the foie or even kept it off sometimes. That’s the beauty of having the ability to control how the bun gets assembled. It really gave me the ability to play with all the different flavours. Plus the pork was full of flavour and the bun was super soft. You really can’t go wrong with this dish.

Our main was the Vietnamese Fisherman’s Stew with a mix of octopus, prawns, mussel, clams and a side of Chinese doughnut made with squid ink. It reminded me of a Thai influenced spicy and sour hotpot that we make at home. All the seafood was cooked very nicely and the Chinese doughnut was a nice addition for sopping up the broth. It was perfect for sharing and we both really enjoyed how light and refreshing. It was a nice contrast to our other dishes that evening.

My Picks: Honey Butter Chips, Vietnamese Fisherman’s Stew

Overall: If you were a fan of Raw Bar when Duncan was head chef, you’ll definitely enjoy the food at Foreign Concept. Here they’ve expanded their menu further to include dishes inspired by local Southeast Asian favorites. As for my cousin she’s definitely going to have a hard time resisting the urges to eat out, with amazing restaurants like this..she likely won’t be cooking for a while.

Foreign Concept
1101 1 St SE
Calgary, AB
(403) 719-7288

Foreign Concept Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Restaurant Review: Oxbow

>> Friday, July 21, 2017

It sort of feels like a changing of the guards right now in Calgary. Due to the economy the last two years we have unfortunately seen a lot of restaurants having to close their doors. Very sad, but the good thing is it seems to be turning around, with lots of great new dining options that are now taking the places of great restaurants before them. Even in Kensington, where there were already some great dining options, they decided to run their first ever Foodie Fest this year to showcase all the great locations within that neighbourhood and as part of the event I was able to check out Oxbow. The new spot located inside the Kensington Riverside Inn!

Atmosphere: Contemporary dining located within the Kensington Riverside Inn. Dining area evokes a laidback casual elegance that’s perfect for relaxing on whether during the week or weekend.

Price Range:  Mid $10s - $20+

Food & Wine: Since we were there as part of the Kensington Foodie Fest, we were treated to a lovely 4 course Chef’s tasting menu featuring ingredients sourced from the Kensington Community such as Sidewalk Citizen and Higher Ground. For those who haven’t tried a chef’s tasting before, this is a great location to delve in since their price is more than reasonable. I suggest the optional wine pairing on top since it elevates the dish and you get to sample 4 different types of wine.

We started with some delicious local bread served with both specialty and housemade butters which was made using bone marrow. Definitely unique – the bone marrow butter that is - and my kind of way to start the evening, can never go wrong with bread in my books.

For our first course we had the BC Octopus Tempura with compressed cucumbers and chipotle aioli. I am a huge fan of octopus and am glad to see that more and more chefs are now serving it at their restaurants. The octopus was extremely tender and well-seasoned. I don’t typically see tempura style octopus served outside of Asian restaurants and I enjoyed it. The salad was refreshing with the added cucumber and of course the bubbles from the Graham Beck Brut Rose lighten up the whole dish.

Next we had Mushrooms On Toast with Sidewalk Citizen bread and wild mushrooms topped with a hazelnut pistou. I would order this again and again. One of my favorite dishes is mushrooms on toast and I will always get it when it’s available on the menu. There is something special about the creamy earthy mushrooms contrasted against the crunchy chewiness of the bread. Here the pistou added another level of flavor which paired quite nicely with the French Saint Veran Burgundy white wine that was served with the course.

Our meat course was a Hanger Steak featuring the Higher Ground coffee Espresso Chili Rub served with a corn relish and arugula salad. I don’t typically order hanger steak and which is why a chef’s tasting is so worth it because you eat things that you probably wouldn’t normally order and in this case I’m glad we got to. The steak was juicy and tender and the chili espresso rub gave it just the right amount of spice. This course was paired with the Trust Syrah a heavier red to match the steak and coffee aromas.

The last course, dessert, was an Earl Grey Goats Cheesecake made with tea from the Naked Leaf along with a berry compote. For those who love their goats cheese, this is the dessert for you. You can definitely taste the cheese throughout and hints of the earl grey tea. We had the Lakeview Cellars Ice Wine from the Niagara region.

My Pick: Hanger Steak

Overall: A really nice reinvention of the space and I was extremely glad that we got to visit during the foodie fest, but as mentioned before it’s still a great dining option regardless. I would almost say it’s a hidden gem due to the location inside Kensington Riverside Inn. It’s like an oasis from the hustle and bustle of the city!

1126 Memorial Dr NW
Calgary, AB
(403) 228-4442

Oxbow Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Cocktails for Inglewood at The Nash and The Offcut Bar

>> Friday, June 30, 2017

Canada is celebrating 150 years and what better way to celebrate than to give back to the community, which is what The Nash and The Offcut Bar is doing. They are giving back to Inglewood. Together with other establishments in the neighbourhood they are creating delicious ‘Cocktails for Inglewood’. An event that runs all summer long where a portion of the proceeds go towards The Alex Youth Health Center.

Each of the cocktails are featured for a certain number of weeks throughout the summer with a possibility of returning at a later date. I was lucky enough to get to sample each of the cocktails and here is a quick summery of each. The first two cocktails unfortunately are no longer featured but here’s hoping that they bring them back since Cold Garden’s Caribbean Cake Affair was one of my favorites.

ESPY Experience – Afternoon Tea Light
June 1 – June 14
Featuring Bulleit bourbon, assam tea syrup, ango stura bitters and topped with a sprig of mint. This one is for the bourbon lovers. A good strong kick, the perfect aperitif to get those taste buds going.

Cold Garden – Caribbean Cake Affair
June 15 – June 28
Made with Cruzan spiced rum, pineapple juice, lemon juice, vanilla syrup, egg white, topped with Cakeface beer. This one was my favorite of the bunch (even though it was hard to choose). It was hard to imagine what it would taste like after reading the ingredients but this cocktail was perfectly well balanced and super refreshing. Fingers crossed that they bring this one back again and again!

The Livery Shop – Barn Burner
June 29 – July 12
The mixture of mezcal and tequila are the star here along with lime juice, cranberry juice, cherry syrup, juniper bitters and finished with absinthe wash. You can definitely can taste the smokiness of the mezcal as it lingers on the palate. This one would work great with a hearty meal!

Rosso – Cold Fashioned
July 13 – July 26
Featuring Jim bean, rosso coffee bean infused syrup, rosso cold brew coffee, walnut bitters and topped with a cherry garnish. I enjoyed the subtle hint of coffee and it felt like drinking a sophisticated iced brew. It would work great even as a disgestif after dinner along with some delicious dessert.

Kent of Inglewood – Rose of 1867
July 27 – August 10
Made with Dark horse, Dolin sweet vermouth, Benedictine, ginger rose tonic, rose water and garnished with an orange peel, this drink what I think a manhattan and an old fashioned would taste like when combined together. This cocktail is perfect for those who enjoy theirs not overly too sweet but still with a nice well rounded flavour profile.

Plant – Coniferous Zingibeer
August 11 – August 24
The combination of Ginger spruce beer, Plymouth gin, lime juice, herbal syrup and alpino amaro, topped with ginger spruce beer and a rosemary sprig was interesting to say the least. I was curious whether it might be sweet due to the ginger beer but that was definitely not the case. Instead it was earthy and fizzy with lots of kick!

Although Canada day celebrations will be at the peak this long weekend. Don’t forget that you can continue to celebrate all summer long at the Nash with their amazing cocktails that support the community which is a celebration in itself!

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