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
Website: foreignconcept.ca

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

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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!

Oxbow
1126 Memorial Dr NW
Calgary, AB
(403) 228-4442
Website: kensingtonriversideinn.com



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

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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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Restaurant Review: Deane House

>> Friday, June 9, 2017


Father’s day is literally just around the corner and I’m trying to decide what to do to celebrate the amazing day. My son is almost one so this is my husband’s second father’s day since he was born before father’s day last year. But officially it’ll be his first time celebrating (since sitting in a hospital without any sleep wouldn’t really be classified as a celebration). It also got me thinking of all the amazing times we’ve had to far this past year with our son, which made me look back on the amazing valentine’s meal that we enjoyed and had baby L along. It was the perfect evening because he was quite the pleasant company while we enjoyed our delicious meal.

Atmosphere: Dining in a beautiful historical setting with a cultural significance in the city. Elegant and romantic – the perfect combination.

Price Range: $20 - $30+


Food & Wine: The set menu that evening looked incredible and I couldn’t wait to start my dining journey. One of the things I enjoy most about a chef’s tasting is the slow progression of every plate which peaks with the main entrée and then finishes with a delectable dessert. We began the meal with an amuse of oysters topped with a tangy mignonette. Being a lover of oysters it was a perfect way to kick off the night.

Our first course was the Smoked Beets with crème fraiche, a mustard vinaigrette, and topped with dill, trout roe and a rye crumb. The dish had a symphony of flavours from the sweetness of the beets to the tangy vinaigrette and the roe to little bits of dill on top. The crème fraiche added the creamy texture that brought the whole dish together. My only complaint was that there wasn’t more of it!


Next was the Sunchoke Veloute with a wonderful herb pistou and hazelnut gremolata. I’m not one to order soups very often on my own but am glad this was part of the menu. The dish had amazing punchy flavours while being incredibly velvety smooth. A nice lead in to the next course which was the 7K Longhorn Beef Carpaccio topped with northern divine caviar, smoked aioli and pickled shallots. Nothing beats a well done carpaccio and this one was it. Well balanced between the tender beef and flavourful accompaniments. Another winner here.

For our mains we had the Seared Rabbit Saddle with pan seared gnocchi, wilted winter greens, lacto fermented carrots and the Haida Wild Black Cod with braised white beans, celeriac puree, pickled seaweed and a dashi broth. Out of the two, I leaned more towards the black cod because the rabbit was a bit gamier than my liking. Even though I really enjoyed the gnocchi and veggies that came with the dish. The black cod itself had a very nice sear and was nicely paired with the white beans and celeriac puree. The addition of the dashi added an extra depth of flavour to the dish.


To end our meal we had the Theo Organic Chocolate Pate served with vanilla ice cream, sponge toffee and salted caramel. This was a decadent dessert with the creamy smooth chocolate pate to the sweet and salty caramel and the crunchy toffee. Not to mention it also came with ice cream, which is always a plus. It definitely satisfied anyone with a sweet tooth!

There were amazing wine pairings for each course but I kept to the 2007 Lan Gran Reserva Tempranillo since I was craving red that evening. It had lovely notes of blackcurrents and chocolate with a full bodied finish. It went very nicely with the carpaccio and chocolate courses.


My Picks: Everything! But if I had to pick…the Sunchoke Veloute or the Black Cod

Overall: Beautiful surroundings and a delicious meal. It was a wonderful evening and I’m glad we were able to share it with our son. I can definitely see myself going back for more chef’s tasting meals or even to try their a la carte menu. It would also be a lovely place to take father’s to celebrate their awesome day. I also recently read that they have a pastry brunch buffet? Sign me up!

Deane House
806 9 Avenue SE
Calgary, AB
(403) 264-0595
Website: deanehouse.com

Deane House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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KIND Snacking Giveaway - Limiting Hidden Sugar Consumption

>> Friday, June 2, 2017


There are so many articles out there now a days about how to eat. You should be eating 3 full meals a day, no - you should be eating 6 small meals, no - you should be eating every 2 hours. It’s all quite exhausting to be honest. Food should be enjoyable and not something that causes more stress. When you eat food made from real ingredients, you know you’re putting in the right fuel for your body. Which then minimizes all that stress.

Being a new mom this becomes especially important. Time definitely becomes something that needs to be well managed. Spending time with my son is a priority but being healthy by exercising and eating well is also very important to me. Lately there’s been a huge of focus about sugar consumption and through just eating desserts or but through passive sugar intake. Just like sodium, sugar is now added to most items in the supermarket to make it taste better. This I’ll never understand, if the correct ingredients are used why do they need to add more sugar in to things?


I was shocked to hear that most people are not aware of how much sugar in is prepackaged foods. Even though there’s the nutrition guide on all packaged foods, most people don’t know how to decipher the information. Out of 992 women polled showed that they were consuming more than the daily recommended 100g of sugar a day and 35% of that was coming from ‘other’ foods that aren’t from natural foods such as fruits and vegetables.*

Its hard to fuel your body correctly when you’re eating something that isn’t what it seems. So I was surprised to learn that KIND snack bars have no added processed sugars. Everything in the bar is truly ‘what you see is what you get’. With amazing flavours such as Almond Mocha & Dark Chocolate, Maple Glazed to Honey Roasted Nuts and Sea Salt there’s one to satisfy every craving.


The bars are perfect for a after workout snack when I need something quick. I had the opportunity to try the different flavours and was pleased that they were all perfectly balanced. Not overly sweet but enough to get the taste buds going all by using natural ingredients. Being someone who loves to eat and eat healthy these bars fit in well with my lifestyle.

So if you’re someone who aren’t sure how you should be eating, listen to your body and be Kind to yourself! Try a KIND bar and know that you’re having something that’s delicious and tasty. To help others on their way we're GIVING AWAY A MONTH OF KIND BARS! Please respond to this post and I will make a draw for the winner!

*Poll results provided by KIND snack bars

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Calgary's Pig & Pinot Festival on Jun 15!

>> Tuesday, May 23, 2017


Just the other day I was chatting with some of my friends about Calgary’s bustling food scene and how I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to have seen those changes and share my stories throughout the years. I was telling them about how I still remember one of the first events I attended when I was just starting to explore the culinary world which was the Pig and Pinot Festival!

I’m so glad to see that the festival has been such a success year over year and now is in it’s 7th year of supporting CalgaryMeals on Wheels. Hosted by City Palate the festival allows guests to sample multiple succulent pork dishes made with Spragg’s Meat free range pork paired with different pinot wines from 12 chef teams and sommeliers representing Calgary’s wonderful restaurants. You really get an appreciation for how wine brings out different flavours of each dish and there are few things in this world that beats a good wine and food pairing!

The event also hosts a silent auction and this year the items will be highlighting Canada’s 150th! Along with that one of the chef teams will be awarded the coveted “Divine Swine” trophy. I’m excited to see what they will be cooking up and pouring for the event this year.


I still remember what a great experience it was for me that first time (and every time since) because my girlfriend and I were supposed to meet up for dinner but at the last minute decided to attend the event instead and ended up having a wonderful girl’s night!

If you’re interested, the event will be held on Thursday June 15 this year from 7-10pm at Hotel Arts. Links to the tickets and additional info can be found here!  

*Photos from City Palate

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White Chocolate Toasted Coconut Popcorn Recipe

>> Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Spring is definitely in the air. The bulbs are starting to come out on our trees and soon the flowers will going to be making their appearance. Now that Easter has passed everybody's probably itching to get their garden started and planning for summer. But wait! What do you do with all that extra Easter chocolate? Well if you have a bunch of white chocolate lying around. I've got the recipe for you. 

White Chocolate Toasted Coconut Popcorn! It would work with milk chocolate too but I find that white chocolate is a bit lighter  which seems to fit this weather a bit better. Here is my recipe and I hope you enjoy whether it be at the park or in your backyard soaking up the warm sun. Hope you can put your Easter chocolate to use!



White Chocolate Toasted Coconut Popcorn Recipe

Ingredients:

1 cup Popcorn Kernels or already popped options like SkinnyPop Popcorn
1/2 cup White chocolate chips
1/2 cup Unsweetened coconut flakes




Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prep a flat sheet pan and spread the coconut flakes evenly on the baking sheet.

Leave in for roughly 10 mins or until the coconut flakes start to turn brown. 

Meanwhile, pour popcorn kernels in popcorn popper as per machine instructions or if using SkinnyPop Popcorn you can skip this step!

Microwave the white chocolate chips until melted approximately 30 seconds.

Slowly drizzle the melted chocolate over the popcorn until evenly distributed.

Mix in the toasted coconut flakes all over the popcorn so that it adheres to the melted white chocolate.

And that’s it! A simple but tasty recipe for all to enjoy!



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Truffled Mushroom Risotto

>> Thursday, April 6, 2017


A guilty pleasure of mine is watching cooking competitions, but not just any cooking competition. I watch Top Chef, Masterchef and all that, but I quite enjoy watching the original Australian version of My Kitchen Rules. I’m not sure why, probably because their catch phrases make me giggle. My husband and I always joke about how we would act and react if we were on the show. Since there always seems to be something going wrong in the kitchen.

Although we’d probably never go on a cooking show, it’s still fun to cook together at home and we often do. Trying different recipes and going outside the box to make dishes to see how we can handle cooking different cuisines. One dish that often seems to cause issues is a risotto dish. I can see why since people all like their risotto a little different, more or less runny, al dente, etc. Plus it would be hard to get it right for a large group of people if you’re not serving it straight out of the pan. Once risotto cools a bit it automatically turns gluggy.


So the other day I was craving risotto after watching an episode of MKR and decided to whip some up, expecially since I recently was sent a lovely bottle of truffle extract. What better way to use up some truffles that in a lovely Mushroom Risotto. Here is my recipe below, I thought it was lovely right off the stove top…but not sure how it’d handle being served to a group or a team of judges. Luckily for me I’m not going to be needing to worry about that, just about how great it tastes when I gobble it up!

Truffled Mushroom Risotto Recipe


Ingredients:

1 medium onion, chopped
A handful of cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
1-2 tbsp Bitarome truffle extract*
2-3 cups chicken stock
1 tbsp butter
salt and pepper


Preparation:

In a medium skillet, warm up 1 tbsp of oil over medium heat and stir in the onions.

Let the onions cooks until translucent, approximately 8-10 mins.

Stir in the mushrooms and let them cook down for another 3 mins.

Spread the mixture to the side of the skillet and add in the rice. Cook for roughly 2 mins. This allows the rice to slightly crisp on the outside and create that al dente texture.

Pour in the white wine to deglaze the pan and stir until the wine evaporates.

Add in the truffle extract as well and also cook out the alcohol in the extract.

Scoop in 1/2 cup of the broth and slowly stir the rice so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.

Keep adding stock once the rice starts to absorb the liquid. Add a bit at a time to allow the flavour to develop in the risotto. Don’t add too much at a time to prevent the rice from being overcooked. Adding about 1/2 cup of liquid a time allows you to control the consistency of the risotto.

Once the consistency of the risotto is what you’d like or try some (best way to cook!), remove from the stove and finish with the butter. Stir in the butter and let it melt. If you choose to use cheese as well you can shave some over top or mix it in.

Flavour with salt and pepper to taste and serve with your favorite protein or on its own. You can also top with additional truffle oil to really bring out the truffle flavour!


*Bitarome truffle extract provided by Qualifirst

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Restaurant Review: Hayden Block Smoke & Whiskey

>> Thursday, March 23, 2017

It feels like BBQ season is just around the corner and I can’t wait! After being cooped up inside all winter long, I’m extremely excited to break out the grill and whip up some favorite BBQ recipes of mine. Although we’re not quite there yet…almost. For the time being, to satisfy my BBQ cravings I’ve been heading down to Hayden Block to get my fill!

Atmosphere: Pub style interior with long benches perfect for larger groups or chatting up your neighbour!

Price Range: Mid $10s


Food & Drinks: The menu at Hayden Block is split between either 1/2 lb orders for specific cuts of meat versus single orders of their chicken, short rib or hot link aka sausage. It’s a great way to sample all the items on the menu if you’re not sure what to order. Their items are all smoked for 14 hours using a dry rub. If you like your BBQ ‘wet’, they offer different BBQ sauces to mix and match for all your dipping needs.

We decided to start with the Brisket (you can’t go to a BBQ place and not get the brisket!), the Pork Spare Ribs, and the Hot Link with sides of Cornbread, Coleslaw and Green Beans. The brisket came in nice thick slices and had wonderful flavour. I liked that it was tender but had a nice texture to it. It was delicious on its own but would probably be equally wonderful in a sandwich. The ribs also used their signature dry rub, although I’m personally enjoy ribs that are smothered in sauce, I didn’t mind these because you could taste the smokiness of them.


Surprisingly one of my faves for the evening was the hot link, which had a perfect ratio of fat and spices to the meat. Often sausages can be salty and overwhelming after a couple bites, but these were different. They were tasty without being heavy. We contemplated ordering another link however there was still more on the menu to taste!

The sides are a must to put a bit of a breather between all the meat heavy components of our meal. Coleslaw and cornbread is quintessential, being as much a BBQ necessity as ribs and brisket. The green beans were crunchy and sweet. All in all good accompaniments which lots of other selection available as well.

We decided to add an order of the Smoked Wings as well and they were delicious! They brine them for 24 hours which really packs in the flavour. They’re also on special every Wednesday for half off which makes them an even better deal!


To top off the evening, we had to try their Pecan Pie. It’s the proverbial icing on the cake. Nothing better than finishing the meal off with something sweet and sugary. The chewy center was perfectly balanced with the crunchy pecans and the sweet whipped cream on the side.

My Picks: Smoked Wings, Hot Link

Overall: With different daily specials, you can always count on Hayden Block to satisfy your BBQ needs. I’m looking forward to heading back for their wings and also try out other items on their BBQ menu such as the pulled pork and the short ribs! Also while you’re there don’t forget to check out their whiskey menu such as the smokey old fashioned, lovely twist on the original. They do have whiskey in their name for a reason.

Hayden Block Smoke & Whiskey
1136 Kensington Road NW
Calgary, AB
(403) 283-3021
Website: haydenblockyyc.com

Hayden Block Smoke & Whisky Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Big Taste Calgary 2017

>> Monday, March 6, 2017

Wow, it feels like I blinked and its already March! Although here in Calgary snow is still on the ground making it feel more like winter so it’ll probably be a while before it actually feels like spring. Luckily for us the Big Taste Festival - Calgary's dining week is currently on making it a great time to get out and try a new restaurant! Even amongst this cold weather.

The Big Taste festival runs from March 3-12 this year and has many of Calgary's downtown restaurants showcasing some of their delicious cuisines through specialized set lunch and dinner menus or through special Big Taste events! For a full listing of the restaurants involved check out the Downtown Calgary website.

I'm always excited to try out the menus each year and have a couple reservations made for the upcoming week (reservations are highly recommended!). To kick start our dining journey we stopped by Buchanan's Chophouse for their delicious 3 course menu.


Buchanan's offered 2 options for each course, which allows you to pick and choose the dish to satisfy your cravings. For the first course it was a choice of either a Cajun Seafood Chowder or Sweet Chili Glazed Pork Belly with Mixed Green Salad. I opted for the latter because who doesn’t love a good pork belly dish? The sauce was sweet and tangy which helped cut through the fattiness of the pork. The lightly dressed greens were also refreshing. I did wish that the pork belly was a bit more tender but aside from that thought it was a great start to the meal.

Next was a choice between the New York Steak with red wine balsamic peppercorn reduction, fresh seasonal vegetables, Yukon gold mashed potatoes or Charbroiled Spring Salmon Filet with wasabi cilantro vinaigrette, curried rice and fresh seasonal vegetables. Since we were at a chophouse, I decided on the NY strip and was not disappointed. The steak was cooked perfectly to order with a good amount of seasoning. I enjoyed all the accompaniments, especially the creamy mashed potatoes. Sometimes you just can’t beat a good meat and potatoes dish especially when paired with a glass of Bordeaux.


Finally for dessert it was either the Sticky Toffee Pudding or Apple Crumble with vanilla ice cream. I went with a combo of the two choosing the sticky toffee pudding with an extra scoop of ice cream on the side. The pudding was covered with a lovely caramel sauce which I couldn’t stop swooning over. I was extremely happy that I added the ice cream because it did help balance out the pudding itself which was quite sweet due to all the chunky dates. Although the sweetness did go quite nicely with a cup of coffee to end the evening.

Overall we were quite satisfied with our selection and was happy that we made it out to kick start the first day of the Big Taste! I’m looking forward to our other meals this week and am debating whether I should check out more places before I blink again and it’s all over. Be sure to make your reservations if you’re interested because the Big Taste ends soon and the reservations are already booking up quick!

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Restaurant Review: Bridgette Bar

>> Thursday, March 2, 2017



People who know me well know that I love family style eating. Being Chinese, family style dining has been what I was brought up on. So I’m so happy to hear more and more restaurants offering dishes that allow sharing of different plates and features. When we visited Bridgette Bar, I noticed they had a whole section of small plates and I knew right away what I was going to order

Atmosphere: Upscale retro decor surrounding a beautifully designed interior reminiscent of old Hollywood glamour and style a la Mad Men.

Price Range: Mid $10s - $30s



Food & Drinks: Starting with the Oysters off their snacks menu, we figured it would be a nice way to start our meal that evening especially when paired with a bit of Varichon & Clerc bubbles! The oysters came with a unique dill pickle granita (think tiny ice chunks), where the salty and sour dill brought out the brininess of the oysters that I love.

It was hard not to order all the small plates since it was just the hubby and I (well..and baby but unfortunately he can’t contribute just yet). To start we had the Grilled Octopus which was nicely charred from the grilling process, while the orange and fennel provided a nice citrus and textural component. I love octopus and wish it was served more often!



Next was the Wagyu Beef Carpaccio dressed with a mushroom vinaigrette and topped with a mushroom salad. Steak and mushrooms go well and its no different here. The mushrooms were perfectly paired on this plate while the vinaigrette added the extra zing, which I find is much needed for carpaccio to really bring out the sweetness in the rare beef.

Another light dish we had was the Smoked Tuna Crudo, the fish benefitted from the crunch and freshness of the cucumbers as well as the creamy avocado. None of the flavours overwhelmed each other and it was definitely light on the palate overall. Similarly the Endive Salad was also refreshing! Reading mozzarella dressing on the menu made me a bit hesitant and I wasn’t sure what to expect but it was not heavy what so ever nor did it overpower all the delicate flavours. The orange slices along with the pecans made for a wonderful dish. I could eat this salad every day and not surprisingly it was one of my faves for the evening!


We decided to also try the Italian Pork Sausage with conchiglie pasta and I’m so glad we did. The pasta was perfectly al dente and the chili added an extra kick to the salty Italian pork sausage. It reads as such a simple dish but the flavours were literally exploding off the plate.

To end our evening we tried the Chocolate Hazelnut Bread Pudding with pickled red wine grapes and topped with hazelnut ice cream. The bread pudding was quite sweet, but that was mellowed with a lovely French press coffee on the side. I think the highlight was definitely the hazelnut ice cream, but I do have a thing for ice cream so I may be biased. =)


My Picks: Endive Salad, Italian Pork Sausage

Overall: Sitting in the surroundings of Bridgette Bar it just felt right to order a Manhattan and how could one resist, it felt like a place where Don Draper from Mad Men would be found after a long day at the office, especially if he enjoyed family style dining like I do. We had a blast that evening and even the baby enjoyed his night out (super happy that they’re family friendly)! Can’t wait to check it out again maybe when I’m hankering for another Manhattan or maybe a Old Fashioned.

Bridgette Bar
739 10 Avenue SW
Calgary, AB
Website: bridgettebar.com

Bridgette Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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