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.
Sometimes it really frightens me just how many images of food I have on my phone. Granted, it just sort of comes with the territory, but between snapping photos, socialising while out for dinner and, dare I say, actually eating what’s on my plate, sometimes different moments don’t get the full explanation they deserve. Especially if you don’t have Instagram (blasphemy!) and can’t see what’s going through my stream.
In no particular order, here are 8 pictures I’ve shared on Instagram over the past few months that, when looking back, have been especially memorable for myself…
Stacked Broccoli at Calgary Co-op’s Downtown Marketplace
I love visiting Kelowna. Actually, I’m even heading there this weekend. Aside from having more boutique wineries and sexy landscapes than you can shake a stick at, there’s also some pretty damn good food there too. The city is also currently the host city of The Canadian Culinary Championships, a final competition between ‘Gold Medal Plate’ winners from across the country.
The last time I spent some time in this lovely mountain valley city, my friend and I had a whirlwind tour that included stops at a dinner at Waterfront Wines (an absolutely amazing restaurant, I’ll touch on this culinary hotspot at a later time) , Urban Distilleries (the birthplace of my all-time favourite gin), Okanagan Spirits and lunch at a cute, little spot called Okanagan Street Food.
After working for years at a winery in Summerland, owner, Neil Schroeter moved to Kelowna to begin his own venture. The endeavour initially existed as a street food vendor, but after increasing popularity the business shifted to a bricks and mortar restaurant space in the industrial area of interior Kelowna.
Our wave of new restaurants in Calgary has seemed to slow down a bit over the past few months, which has been great. Just gives our city’s foodies some time to catch up on their dining out. Whether it’s a new brunch spot in Mission or National’s second location on 10th Avenue, here’s a few of the restaurant features I’ve done recently for Avenue Magazine.
Calgarians seem to have an undying love for the brunching hour. From greasy spoons to some of the finest restaurants in the city, if there’s an eggs Benedict being whipped up on a Saturday or Sunday morning, people will — and do — line up for it. Blondes Diner is the newest addition to our city’s ever-growing list of breakfast hot spots, dishing out some interesting takes on the standard breakfast in a casual setting.
Located in Mission, this a.m. eatery opened its doors in the early spring. While the decor is rather minimal, the seating is generously spaced out, with a small patio out front for the (hopefully) many sunny days Calgary may be graced with this summer. As with most of the city’s diners, Blondes has a first-come, first-served set-up, which means you may be waiting a little while for a table if you sleep in on a Saturday.
When I arrived back in Calgary from my adventures in Australia and New Zealand, I immediately took to eating. Not that I didn’t eat a lot while I was traveling, we humans need to eat of course, but in the month and a half I was away, five new restaurants had opened up. Crazy!
A transformation of space and taste is always expected when a new restaurant opens in the place of an old establishment but looking at the newly opened MARKET restaurant, you would never know that it had a previous life as The Yardhouse bar.
The interiors in MARKET are visually divided, with black floors and walls highlighting a bar area covered in a funky chalk mural, while whitewashed walls pull your sight straight back to the open kitchen. Living orbs hanging above MARKET’s long, tiled bar are the real design highlight in the space. Small living plants hang from the roof while bartenders shake, stir and pour drinks for patrons.
MARKET dishes have a sort of rustic elegance. Though the offerings change often — note the ‘print date’ on the top corner of the menu — you should cross your fingers that the bison tartar with flank jerky and pickled shallots as well as the Pork Salad with kale, pork shoulder, bacon, pig ears and shaved gouda both grace the menu when you arrive.
March is always an exciting month for restauranteurs and food lovers in Calgary. It’s the month where Avenue Magazine celebrates our food community and hands out their annual Restaurant Awards. Like last year, I was excited and honoured to be on the judging panel with some of Calgary’s top culinary folks.
With all of the restaurants we have popping up lately, next year it’s going to be even more difficult to decide who takes the top spot in the various categories we argue over in a small room. Picture a heated Law and Order courtroom debate. Yes, it is that intense – ok, maybe not that intense.
In addition to the many categories we deliberated on, all contributors had the opportunity to put together some ‘Top 10′ lists to go along with the 10th anniversary of this particular issue. (You can check out all category winners and other content here)
A couple of the lists I wrote up were on food trends in Calgary. Food trends that I thought should be on their way out and trends that I’m happy are happening around town. Obviously, just like dining out, some things come down to a matter of taste. So, take a look at each of these lists. I’m curious to know if you agree or disagree with me.
Ten Calgary Food Trends We Wish Would Go Away
For example, I think ridiculously flavoured vodkas like this need to hit the road. What do you think? James Bond would be so unimpressed!
On the flip side of things, I love a good cocktail and am so happy to see cocktail culture gaining momentum in Calgary.
So, what do you think?
- 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
- Appetizers & Co.
- Ask Dan
- Calgary & Area
- Season 2
- Season 3
- Something Sweet
- Top Chef Canada: Taking The Challenge Home
- United States