Deliciously Spoiled: Visa Infinite Dinner at Rouge

Sometimes, I wonder if I was slapped in the face, repeatedly, with the lucky branch when I was younger. That’s the only reasonable explanation I give myself for being invited to certain events. The dinner I had at Rouge this past week was one of those experiences.

Visa Infinite hosts various dining events throughout the year in Calgary. Restaurants and themes always vary (i.e. Top Chef Canada dinner at Charcut, Model Milk’s executive chef, Justin Laboe and Vancouver chef Lee Cooper of Vancouver’s L’Abattoir, etc…), but the quality is always top notch.

On this particular evening, Rouge hosted a collaborative dinner between executive chef Michael Dekker and Jonathan Gushue (executive chef of Langdon Hall in Cambridge, Ontario). With nine course total (if you count the palate cleanser), I knew I was in for a hell of a ride.

Rouge owner, Paul Rogalski, served as the host for the evening, making his way to each table, introducing himself and chatting a bit about the food we were about to experience. The vagueness of the printed menu in front of me left room for curiosity to grow.

Instead of printing the menu with full descriptions like (my imaginative example) ‘Poached Virgin Quail Breast with Blackberry Reindeer Foam and Essence of Gold’, each course was simply listed as it’s main ingredient (i.e. scallops, foie gras, beef, etc…).

When Paul came around to our table, he explained that with each course we’d get to put out our best guess as to what we were eating. So, kind of like a competition, but you get to keep on eating the prize. Needless to say, I was totally down for this.

Now, I won’t list off every single course to you, which even included a cheddar cheese tasting in-between our main dish and dessert (sometimes ‘all you need is cheese‘ before dessert right?), but here are some of the highlights of what we enjoyed during the collaborative dinner at Rouge…

Arctic Char with sea buckthorn berries in nori broth…The nori broth was a safe bet, but my guess fell flat when I thought the char was poached…and, as for the sea buckthorn berries, well now I know what they are!

Foie Gras and Pear Terrine with bee pollen and foie profiterole. I guessed ‘apple’ was the sweetness layered in-between the foie in the terrine. Damn, so close…

Sweetbreads Bratwurst on top of homemade sauerkraut, double smoked bacon and pesto…I guessed ‘kielbasa’! Damn, so close!

Crab Apple beverage with accompanying sorbet…Quite contrary to my guess of ‘Roasted lamb shank consume and pigeon blood sorbet’. Well, you can’t win ‘em all folks!

Finally, the dessert…A white chocolate brownie topped with chocolate and homemade marshmallow, which had a neopolitan kind of layering to it. I think I saw a few people at the table licking the glasses clean, but let’s keep that on the down low.

After the dinner service had concluded, both Chef Dekker and Gushue came by each table to hear any guesses and fill all the attendees in on what they had tasted throughout the evening. Although most of my guesses were not exactly on the mark, I really loved the opportunity to try and utilize my palate to identify each bite instead of having our food, for lack of a better word, spelled out for us on our menu. It also reminded me that, in this massive culinary world, I still have a lot to learn!

Rouge on Urbanspoon

In honour of having this amazing dining experience, I want to pay it forward, and spoil a couple people too, by giving away a pair of tickets to Winefest next Saturday, February 25th (worth a total of $150). The Winefest will feature 236 wines from over 57 different wineries! Sounds like a blast, right? I thought so.

To enter to win the pair of tickets, either leave a comment on this post about my dinner at Rouge or share the link to this piece on Twitter, mentioning both Rouge (@rougecal) and Winefest (@winefest). On Monday, February 20th, I’ll randomly choose the winner from all entries!

*Note: You must be of legal drinking age (hopefully that’s obvious), the two tickets are only valid for attendance at Winefest on Saturday, February 25th, from 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. and are non-transferable. The winner must pick up their tickets from will-call at the Winefest event location.

15 Comments to “Deliciously Spoiled: Visa Infinite Dinner at Rouge”

  • Stephanie February 17, 2012 at 10:18 am

    Yes! Winefest tickets giveaway :D

    That meal sounds amazing.. especially the part about foie gras. I just ate breakfast but after reading your post I am seriously craving everything on that menu

  • Laura Grace February 17, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Looks delicious. I see where you’re coming from on the ‘roasted lamb shank consume and pigeon blood sorbet.’ Would love tickets to Winefest!

  • Irene S. February 17, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    Rouge is on my to-eat list and I am saving up for the special occasion. Thanks for sharing these tasty courses!

  • Danelle February 17, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    Had the honour of attending the Slow Food event at Rouge during the summer, but would love to eat there sometime. Sounds interesting! And like you had a good time.

  • Buzz Bishop February 17, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    Well done, Dan. You can leave me out of the draw, but as everyone gets excited for WineFest, I wanted to pass along this post with some tips to get the most out of the night:


  • Misty February 17, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    NICE! Pics and descriptions are drool-worthy! You definitely were hit with the lucky branch. :)

  • Paticia February 17, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    Wow, that foie gras terrine looks amazing! Thanks for sharing your experience. Rouge is definitely on my list of places to try. Would love tix to Winefest! :)

  • Dan February 17, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    I can learn from this. I tend to get too into the wine ‘sampling’ and lose out on the experience. ;)

  • Fareen February 17, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    Looks like you had an amazing meal!!

  • Dale Nathan-Simons February 18, 2012 at 10:46 am

    What an amazing use of ingredients! I am curious about the “Sweetbread Bratwurst on top of homemade sauerkraut”! What a creation! I love to cook and I love wine! I will follow in the future!

  • Chris February 20, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    The Foie Gras presentation is excellent. Hope I win those tickets

  • Christine February 20, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    Great write-up. I’ve always wanted to try Rouge.

  • Stephanie Warthe February 21, 2012 at 9:57 am

    Oh wow, that Sweetbreads Bratwurst looks divine!! I’ve never been to Rouge before but it’s definitely on my list now. Fantastic post and a fantastic giveaway, would love to go to Winefest this year!

  • Amanda baldwin February 22, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    Yay winefest!!! That dessert you had looks delicious! White chocolate brownies?! Heaven! I would love to try this sometime! I’ll have to try Rouge sometime!

  • Michele February 21, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Looks delicious! What did the sea buckthorn berries taste like? That’s an interesting concept to not know what exactly you’re eating and try and use your palate to identify the ingredients!

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