The snow has finally come and I think we can all agree that nothing says “Goodbye warm weather!” quite like a slippery, snowy sidewalk. It’s not all bad though, as cold as it can be outside, at least there’s no shortage of tasty, comforting food to enjoy around town. Here are some of the restaurant features I’ve done for Avenue over the past few months. Happy eating!
Brunch hotspot Diner Deluxe has given its sister space next door, Affogato, a bit of a facelift — and a name change — to offer much more than just baked goods and preserves to its patrons. If you’re either not in the mood to stand in line for brunch at the diner or if you’re just too damn hungry, the revamped space, Affogato, offers a fairly varied menu including sandwiches, pizza and waffles to appease your appetite.
The decor here is simple — bright and white with space invader decals on the wall, a Pac-Man arcade machine tucked in the corner and a large open-air bar that can let you soak up a bit of sun. Weather permitting, of course.
Available daily from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., the waffles can come classic with a healthy drizzle of maple syrup and icing sugar, or with fresh strawberries and cream, blueberries and lemon curd or bananas and Nutella. For a sweet-meets-savoury kind of experience, get some pulled pork on top of your waffles with a bourbon maple syrup.
Tenth Avenue is becoming more alive with each passing month. Just next door to National on 10th, you’ll now find the city’s newest restaurant, Briggs Kitchen + Bar.
The interior has dark tones with wood grain tables, large windows facing the street, a jet black ceiling and an exposed brick wall alongside the right side of the room. Throughout the space, you’ll find quirky animal accents like black bull heads and gold plated shark jaws, giving Briggs a somewhat masculine feel.
If you’re just coming by for a casual drink and something small to eat, grab a seat along the window bar and order a few items off of Brigg’s share plates section. The devilled eggs (which, for the record, I’m really happy are coming back into style) are filled with a mushroom stuffing, topped with bacon and have a rich, almost smoky flavour to them.
If there’s one thing that’s lacking in the downtown core of Calgary, it’s establishments where you can grab a good sandwich. Now, I’m not talking about pubs or casual fine dining spots where you can order an elegant take on a clubhouse. I’m talking down and dirty, meat-heavy, wrapped-up and ready-to-go kind of sandwiches.
Dominion is located just off the corner of 12th Avenue and 8th Street S.W. so if you’re not paying attention, it is easy enough to walk right by it. Upon opening the door, this place smells good. Like, really good. The decor is minimal. White walls, a few booths and a big counter where you can place your orders.
The restaurant offers a few breakfast options (served until 11 a.m.) including a breakfast wrap, filled with sprouts, eggs, bacon and cheddar and the waffle Sandy — fried eggs, house-made sausage, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and garlic aioli in between freshly made waffles.
Let’s face it, Calgary is not the land of vegetable-focused plates. As much as we try to shake off our steak-and-potatoes mentality, it is the foundation of Alberta dining and although we’ve come a long way from a well-done steak, our restaurant menus are typically rooted in meat. That being said, it is now 2013. Our palates are more adventurous than ever. With the offal trend (thankfully) on its way out, it’s time to embrace the other side of the spectrum: vegetables.
Vegetable-focused menus are slowly but surely moving into the culinary spotlight across the country. Just this past Thursday, Vancouver’s vegetarian hotspot, The Acorn, was named one of the best new restaurants in Canada (alongside our city’s own Carino) by Enroute magazine. If that accoldade is any indication, I’d say Canadians are in for a produce-centric year in 2014.
Hotel restaurants are a necessity for many travelers. Whether it’s a continental breakfast or a quick cocktail after (or during) a business meeting, we’ve all found ourselves next door to a hotel lobby killing time. And we all know that hotel dining destinations can lack character.
While Thomsons has never been that kind of restaurant, it has not always been at the forefront of the peoples’ minds when Calgarians are deciding where to go to dine. But it will be. After being closed for an extensive renovation costing one million dollars, the Hyatt’s establishment re-opened its doors last week.
The room has been transformed to a contemporary setting with warm tones of brown and blue and a long, movable room divider covered on both sides with forest imagery.
The new chef’s table, which seats 20, faces the open-concept kitchen in a semi-circle so diners can watch the chefs preparing each plate of food. Large scale photography, taken by artist Joanne Meeker, hangs throughout the interior and shows images of life on the ranch with all shots taken at Diamond 7 Ranch (the restaurant’s local, natural beef supplier).
- Roasted Garlic Pork Meatballs and Walnut Pesto
- Roasted Cauliflower and Bacon Soup
- Coconut and Acorn Squash Bisque
- Winter Squash, Tomato and Split Pea Stew
- Honey Roasted Chicken Thighs with Tomato and White Bean Cassoulet
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