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.
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…
One of the most anticipated restaurants, MARKET, hosted a pop-up charity dinner event in mid-December at The Calgary Farmers’ Market. With all proceeds from the dinner going towards The Calgary Food Bank, the five course menu was well worth the ticket; both for a good cause and deliciousness.
MARKET’s executive chef Geoff Rogers (formerly of Home Tasting Room) and their chef de cuisine Dave Bohati (formerly of Rush) have joined together to head the culinary team of the upcoming restaurant, set to open February 1st, 2013 on 17th Ave SW.
Though the official menu for MARKET is not yet finalized the chefs gave last night’s guests a taste of what everyone could expect in the new year.
Their pop-up dinner menu was a reinvented look at the traditional Christmas Dinner full of flavour and flare. I may be biased, but, personally, I can’t wait for this restaurant to open its doors.
Until then, here are some teaser pictures of the style of tastiness you’ll be able to experience there…
Blood Orange and Cinnamon Cocktail, a sweet and spicy start to the evening.
Turkey Veloute, a rich soup reminiscent of a comforting stuffing and gravy.
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…
Last week, Calgary was lucky enough to have Food Network Canada’s popular series ‘You Gotta Eat Here’ return to film segments at more of our great restaurants.
If you remember from last winter, the always funny host, John Catucci, and his crew filmed segments at Diner Deluxe, Tubby Dog and a handful of other quirky places.
This time around, I was invited to the filming at Boxwood Cafe, that charming little spot nestled in Central Memorial Park on 13th Ave SW and 4th St SW. Boxwood is the sister establishment of River Cafe, sharing the same local and sustainable ingredient mentality. The food here is beautifully simple, fresh and always filling.
My lunch date, Naddine, and I, opted for some lighter options as we had Jelly Modern doughnuts tempting us for dessert a bit later in the afternoon.
We started off with the Red Lentil Hummus, which is one thing I always make sure to order when I’m here for lunch. Served with house made crackers, the dip was smooth and garlic-y. Using the lentils instead on chickpeas gives it more of an earthy flavour and definitely more Alberta-centric.
While we were devouring the hummus, John Catucci was making his way around the room, chatting with different diners about the dishes they were eating. You Gotta Eat Here is fairly casual by nature, so you could tell everyone in the room was enjoying the filming and laughing at John’s witty commentary.
For our main dishes, we opted for a couple salads. Naddine had The Toasted Quinoa and Vegetable Salad, which was filled with fresh veggies and tossed in a light brassica mustard vinaigrette.
Since I’m a sucker for red stains on my white shirts, I decided to go with the Roasted Poplar Bluff Beet Salad. Big, colourful chunks of beets were joined by fennel (fennel rocks!), pea shoots and farro grain. The salad was almost too pretty to eat, but I ate it anyway and ended up with no stains on my shirt. Success!
You know you’re in the big leagues when you’re being served a 10-foot smokie, a 35-pound poutine, a 3-foot-high beef dip, and a 50-pound meatball sandwich. Ok, so maybe not all at once, but every Sunday at Charcut Roast House is a one-of-a-kind dining experience, and they’d love to ‘meat’ you!
I recently had the pleasure of heading down to Charcut on a night where I, along with 19 others, shared a 50-pound meatball sandwich. Every Sunday evening’s guests are comprised of the first 20 individuals who ‘RSVP’ via Facebook. This interesting concept is working well for the restaurant–no surprise really, in this social media-crazed world.
The 110-seat establishment (40-seat patio coming soon!) is all about the meat. Chefs John Jackson and Connie De Sousa–along with the other two co-owners, Karrie Jackson and Jean Francois Beeroo–put an emphasis on sourcing their ingredients locally. Their pork and beef are raised in Alberta by Sprague Farms and Spring Creek Beef. Also featured in Charcut’s dishes are locally-grown pea shoots and herbs from the restaurant’s own herb garden! A friend’s lemon-infused olive oil (Skyhawk’s, produced in California) is that special finishing touch to each menu item.
So why Charcut? ‘Charcuterie’ comes to mind, but it’s actually an abbreviation: splice together their custom-made rotisserie grill (‘Char‘) and manual meat slicer (‘Cut‘), and voila, you have a unique name! They also make use of a meat smoker and a unique fermentation machine where they can make their own pepperoni and salami! Sandwich meat need not apply here…
This post is featured on Food Network Canada’s website. To read more, and check out some great photos from my night at Charcut click here!
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