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?
One thing I’ve been bad at lately is remembering to share my writing on here from other publications. Well, truth be told, I am bad at a lot things…Dating, singing, counting…the list goes on, but, anyway, here are a few different pieces I’ve done for Avenue Magazine in the past few months. Every month there seems to be a great new restaurant popping up on the scene, which is awesome. I can’t wait to see what new flavours and culinary experiences 2013 is going to bring, now that it’s just over a month away! Yikes!
On the corner of 10th Avenue and 12th Street S.W., right across from Community Natural Foods, and is a welcome addition to the neighbourhood.
The small space features an open kitchen with a cozy surrounding environment and a sun-filled patio (weather permitting, of course).
A step up from the standard brunch offerings, you can choose from a selection of unique egg Benedicts like chorizo, caramelized onion and goat cheese, or sliced Angus beef with sautéed mushrooms. I decided to try the smoked ham and prawn option with mascarpone cheese ($16). The perfectly poached eggs sat on top a medley of ham, prawns and cheese appropriately topped with hollandaise. A trio of frittatas, as well as a brisket hash, are also on the breakfast menu…
Alright folks, I don’t do this very often, so just bear with me. As usual, I have been leading a busy, hectic life trying to balance work, writing, social activities and, last, but not least, learning how to do cart-wheels (to no avail). Naturally, with all these different adventures I have on the go, I feel like it’s only fair that I provide a little bit of a life update…
Summer seemed to blow by with amazing swiftness this year, but doesn’t that always seem to be the case? With the end of summer comes my birthday in early September. And, as written about by my friend Gwendolyn, I spent it in a park with friends eating food that was shaped like cakes. You know, the regular things that late twenty somethings do on their birthday. (pictured below, my disastrous attempt at a potato salad moulded into cake form…)
As a present to myself, I decided to abstain from alcohol for one month. During the summer I had been a bit too, um, ‘nonchalant’ with my alcohol consumption. Pub patios and barbecues with friends are all too common during the warm weather and sometimes it’s just too hard to say no to a cold beer on a sunny day. Thus, the 28 day ‘No booze for Dan’ experiment began. I now have only four days remaining in the challenge and feel nothing less than fantastic. This is not to say that I am not looking to having a glass of wine again next week, but it really puts things into perspective. This cleanse also came at a good time as I am attending a wedding in Hawaii in four weeks and need to look good in a bathing suit!
My cooking initiative, Start From Scratch, has just started up again. This year we’re taking thirty university students (fifteen from the University of Calgary and fifteen from Mount Royal University) and helping to inspire them in the kitchen. Since the program has doubled in size this fall, I have found a foodie partner in crime, Jacinthe Koddo, who will be teaching the Thursday night group. With the first week of classes down, it’s looking like the remaining nine weeks are going be a great ride.
I’m fortunate enough to have some great partners with this program including Calgary Co-op, Yelp Canada, Steam Whistle Pilsner, as well as some awesome local food personalities. We’ll be doing a farmers’ market tour with the students in a few weeks with Conne Desousa from Top Chef Canada! Yes, you should be jealous…
In the past month, I’ve been lucky enough to be given the opportunity to start writing regularly for two local publications. The first is Avenue magazine. I’ve started doing a series of pieces where I get to go partake in hands-on foodie ‘adventures’, then write about the experience. How fun is that?
I actually just finished but butchering a lamb yesterday with Chef Rogers at Home Tasting Room, so stay tuned for that recap! I’ve never butchered anything before, except a chicken (kind of?), so it was definitely a learning experience. Good thing the chef was patient with me…
It’s bloody work, but someone’s got to do it!
The second opportunity is a weekly restaurant review column in Metro News Calgary. Each Tuesday, starting on October 18th, you’ll be able to read my short review of a local lunch spot in their ‘Lunch Rush’ column.
The focus of this column is finding great establishments in Calgary to have a tasty, yet affordable lunch. I’m always up for discovering new delicious dishes around the city, so I very much look forward to this challenge. The majority of this challenge will lie in expanding my comfort zone beyond the downtown core, in which I work and live. I just may have to exercise a bit more each week now…but, on a mildly unrelated note, I did recently join a swim club, so maybe that will balance out the extra calories?
If you are a regular to the Food Network Canada site, you’ll notice that they’re making some great changes on there. One of the new features at www.FoodNetwork.ca is the addition of their ‘Food Network Canada Blog Network’. I am excited to say that my website is officially part of the Food Network family now. The network’s primary focus will be recipes, so I’m more than happy to share my creations and be an integral part of this new extension of the Food Network brand. The new feature to their site is set to launch in a few weeks, so you’ll be able to check it out in full functionality very soon!
Another great new online project I’ve become a part of is Food Bloggers Of Canada. Set up by three dedicated, as well as prolific, food bloggers Mardi, Ethan, and Melissa. This site is meant to be a hub for all Canadian food bloggers. A place where you can share information, find how-to guides, as well as food events happening in your area.
I was humbled when the trio asked me to contribute to their site by means of a series of recipe development posts. I’ll be posting monthly, give or take, touching on everything from basic salad dressings to roasting koala…Ok, maybe not that random. Anyway, you can check out my first piece, 5 fundamentals for recipe development here…
Almost done with the life updates here…This week I got a special holiday issue of Canadian Living in the mail. About six months ago, the magazine had put out an open call for recipes to be featured in this fall issue. I submitted a few of my favourites, and, luckily enough, two made it into the magazine. I was notified of this via email back in July and, from there, eagerly awaited the print copy to land in my mailbox.
Now, I was excited enough that a couple of my own recipes would be this issue, but I was floored when I received the print copy, flipped through it and saw that my Tandoori Carrot And Apple Bisque had a two page colour spread. Actually, I pretty much had a heart attack. I mean, this was kind of like the food version of a Playboy centerfold, right? My recipe for Coconut Curry Chicken Pot Pie made the cut as well, and it actually shares a page with my friend Ethan Adeland’s recipe! Small food blogger world, ain’t it?
(aforementioned recipe feature in Canadian Living!)
I’ve been bad about posting recaps of my Monday Night Supper Club. Life often gets in the way. Rest assured, the supper club is still going strong and it is always a great way to spend a Monday night. With my significant workload as of late, you may see some guest writers from the club doing the recaps. Consider them to be a nice break from my sarcasm…
With all of this going on, I’ve decided to dedicate Sunday to working solely on my writing and website. I think I will also dedicate it to a delicious brunch prior to working the day away. What do you think?
I do have one more exciting project in the works, but can’t mention it quite just yet. I think you’ll love it though! I might drop a hint or two in the next month or so…Until then!
Ok, that’s all.
- The Canadian Food Experience Project: Seabuckthorn Berry and Shallot Vinaigrette
- Top Chef Canada: Taking The Challenge Home, Week Twelve
- Top Chef Canada: Taking The Challenge Home, Week 11 (and a contest!)
- Sweet And Spicy Udon Noodles
- Top Chef Canada: Taking The Challenge Home, Week 10
- Appetizers & Co.
- Ask Dan
- Calgary & Area
- Monday Night Supper Club
- Season 2
- Season 3
- Something Sweet
- Top Chef Canada: Taking The Challenge Home
- United States