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.
Once Top Chef Canada released the news that they would be taking the show on the road to Calgary for the finale, I was inspired to take ‘Taking the Challenge Home’ on the road as well, so I decided to head to Vancouver. Cooking in your own kitchen week after week becomes relatively predictable, so it’s nice to feel your way through someone else’s kitchen and stress out about not knowing where everything is. Keeps things fresh, you know?
This challenge was my first time cooking with goat meat. I was trying to think if it would also be my first time eating goat meat and I think that was the case, although my memory has been known to fail me. After years of being indifferent with goat’s cheese – don’t hate me – I was not too sure what kind of deliciousness, if any, this current culinary venture would bring.
It’s been almost two months now since the premiere of Top Chef Canada season 3. In total, we’ve now seen eight competitors leave the competition. Whether it was Kayla‘s self-sacrifice orDan Hudson’s failed shortbread cookie, it’s never nice to see a talented Canadian chef go home.
Now, since I’m Calgary-based and all, you can imagine the raincloud over my head this past week after watching Chris Shaften get the axe in the previous episode. With three chefs on the show, this has been Calgary’s largest representation in the history of the series, so it was definitely sad to see one of them pack their knives up. In honour of Shaften’s departure, I only ate picklewichs for the past week. That’s Canada’s new national dish to me, pal!
When it came time to vote, I’m sure it will come as no surprise that Nicole Gomes’ Beaver Balls swept the polls. If her viewing party was any indication, I’m assuming that the majority of Canada laughed uproariously at her candid interview regarding the inventive dish and David Rocco andMark McEwan’s innuendo-filled commentary.
Well, it certainly seems like Calgary is having a hard time staying out of the Food Network Canada limelight these days. In-between Top Chef Canada, You Gotta Eat Here, Eat St. and now the network’s newest show, Donut Showdown, there’s a good chance that every time you turn to the channel there will be a little piece of Calgary’s culinary community being showcased. I am A-OK with that!
Donut Showdown, which premiered two weeks ago, is a competition series centring around – you guessed it – doughnuts! Tonight at 8 p.m. (MDT) you’ll be able to catch two of Jelly Modern’s co-owners, Chef Grayson Sherman and Rosanne Tripathy, battling it out with two other pastry teams for a cash prize of $10,000. Holy dollar bills Batman!
I chatted with Chef Grayson while he was busy dipping away this past week about being on the show, strange doughnut creations and why Jelly Modern’s doughnuts kick some serious ass!
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?
I guess winter is not technically over yet, but we’ve had some nice days last week, so I’m pretending that it is on its way out and you should too! Here are a few restaurant pieces that I’ve done for Avenue Magazine over the past few months! Still so many great new places opening up here in Calgary. We are one lucky food scene, I’m telling you!
Our most recent addition to Calgary, MARKET, opened up this past Friday and I can’t wait to eat there once I’m back from my trip down under.
Suburban territory in Calgary has typically been left for the Moxie’s and Earl’s of the world, but now we’re starting to see some great local restaurateurs recognize the potential of these areas outside of the core. Just a few weeks ago, Vin Room opened a second location in Aspen Landing called Vin Room West.
Owner Phoebe Fung has always had a great thing going in Mission and now residents of one of Calgary’s far west neighbourhoods can have a taste of what she’s offering.
The new Vin Room has a beautiful interior. The floor-to-ceiling windows shed light on fantastic design accents like a 30-foot wine bottled wall, all full and drinkable and can be accessed by a library-esque ladder. There’s an upstairs private dining area, modern walnut bar chairs and a brightly coloured piece of artwork on one of the main floors that captures the eye…
- 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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