Calgary - DINING & NIGHTLIFE
February 19th, 2010
The small yellow house on 17th Avenue home to a consignment shop for years has just spiced things up.
The owners have moved into the restaurant biz with the newly opened Los Chilitos Taco and Tequila House. Serving authentic Mexican dishes, the well-edited menu has the all the classics: burritos, tacos and tortas (Mexicans subs). The tostadas ($6.95) are a lighter option and choose from six different types of salsas including pico de gallo, verde and avocado.
The 35-seat indoor space is cozy but when summer hits, the 70 extra spots on the double-tier patio are sure to be packed with margarita-sipping and tequila-shooting Calgarians.
Los Chilitos Taco and Tequila House, 1309 17th Ave. SW, Calgary, 403-228-5528.
February 12th, 2010
When it comes to restaurants, the open-kitchen concept is nothing new—watching chefs create meals is a favourite pastime among many diners.
An Evening at Our Chef's Table, hosted by CRMR At Home on March 24 and April 21, takes it to another level as you listen to insider tips and learn step-by-step how that delicious dish is created.
The evening ($100 per person) also includes wine pairings and the CRMR cookbook, Simple Treasures.
We’ll be battling it out with Gordon Ramsay in no time.
CRMR At Home, 330 17th Ave. SW, Calgary, 403-532-0241, www.crmrathome.com
February 5th, 2010
From sourdough to walnut and raisin, Peasant Artisan Bread and Charcuterie by Aviv has us forsaking our carb count and indulging in delicious slices of the good stuff.
Aviv Fried's breads are available around town, but it’s what he does on Mondays that has us charmed. Every week, he delivers loaves of bread ($6 with portion of the proceeds going to charity) by bicycle to any downtown location. Sign up for the mailing list and each Wednesday you’ll receive a selection of breads to choose from for Monday's delivery, along with "recession package" pairing suggestions (from $12) like honey, cheese or soup.
Now let's break bread.
February 4th, 2010
Cheese plates and veggie platters are classics, but for your next party, go worldly with EthniCity Catering.
Operated by the Centre for Newcomers, the catering collective creates edible delights from around the world including East Asian flavours, Latin American staples and South Asian items. Impress your guests with pakoras ($2.29) to start, followed by fatouche salad ($3.99) and a main dish of chicken korma with rice ($7.49). The aforementioned classics are also available but your guests will be too busy noshing on samosas and baked fatayer.
EthniCity Catering, 125-920 36th St. NE, Calgary, 403-537-8809, www.ethnicitycatering.ca
January 29th, 2010
These days, we’re seeing double downtown with the opening of two new coffee hot spots.
Located on Stephen Avenue, the second location of Ramsay’s beloved Caffe Rosso opened last month. Roomier than their original, it’s more business than casual but expect the same fresh-baked goods and delectable coffee.
Three’s a charm for deVille Luxury Coffee and Pastries with a third location in Fashion Central. Beware: the big booths will suck you in into a day of coffee sipping and watching shoppers emerge from the newest fashion spot downtown.
January 26th, 2010
Una Pizzeria has taken the long, narrow space formerly occupied by the Wicked Wedge (our 3 a.m. post-bar spot) and turned it into a chic eatery with a well-edited menu inspired by the owners’ favourite international dining spots.
Appies like sautéed prawns ($9) and Serrano ham with olive oil and minted melon ($10) are made right at the bar while veal and pork meatballs ($13) and flatiron steak ($19) come steaming hot out of the kitchen. Go for the pies (from classic margherita, $13, or a potato with provolone and alfalfa honey, $15). While you nosh,check out illustrations by Calgary artist Wilford Barrington on the chalkboard walls; the sketches are of actual people roaming around the 17th Avenue neighbourhood, so you might just see yourself on the wall.
January 22nd, 2010
The feathery light, small round bites of perfection are nearly impossible to master but the husband-and-wife team behind the new Yann Haute Patisserie has succeeded in creating melt-in-your-mouth macarons.
Former pastry chef at the Fairmont Palliser, Yann Blanchard grew up in a pastry shop in France and studied the craft in Paris before moving to Calgary and meeting Jéraldine over warm, fresh croissants in the bakery where they both worked (the former is true, the croissants, we just imagined).
Now, in the bright yellow house in Mission, the duo creates eclairs, pâtes de fruits, croissants, pains au chocolat and rustic baguettes made with homemade sourdough. But it’s the Parisian macarons ($1.80/each), in flavours such as passion fruit and milk chocolate, caramel and ganache fleur de sel and pistachio and morello cherry that have us swooning over the thought of the first bite, and the second.
Yann Haute Patisserie, 329 23rd Ave. SW, Calgary, 403-244-8091, www.yannboutique.com
January 15th, 2010
Resolution #4: Throw away the take-out menus and cook more often.
In comes Kitchen Scraps ($29.95) by Calgarian Pierre A. Lamielle, an illustrator who studied at the French Culinary Institute in New York City. Filled with simple recipes accompanied by Lamielle’s Burton-esque drawings, this kitchen helper is broken into four sections: “Food You Eat With a Spoon,” “Food You Eat With a Fork,” “Food You Eat With a Forkenknife,” and “Food You Eat With a Hand” and includes cleverly named recipes like “Vampire Slayer’s Garlic-Laced Chicken,” and one of Lamielle’s favourites, “Snails in the Garden” (deep friend escargots in a salad).
January 8th, 2010
The detox has begun. For a hearty meal that’s light enough to counteract the three weeks of eating cheese balls and chocolate, we recommend this white bean salad. After all, beans aren’t called the "magical fruit" for nothing.
Post-Holiday White Bean Salad
1 can of white beans, drained
½ cup of chopped parsley
2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes cut in half (regular tomatoes diced can also be used)
¼ of a red onion diced or use chives if onions are too strong
Large lemon wedge
1 tbls of balsamic vinegar
1 tbls of olive oil
¼ teaspoon of sea salt
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl (the last four can be mixed separately before adding).
Season with more lemon and/or salt to taste and enjoy, or shall we say detox.
December 30th, 2009
If you missed the swine flu but think you may have a case of the wine flu, take a dose of these winning bottles picked by our staff and you’ll be better in no time.
This sparkling wine from France’s Loire Valley comes in metallic navy blue packaging with gold script lettering, meaning it looks (and tastes) tres cher, but isn’t. We always keep some in the fridge in case of ‘emergency.’ Monmousseau Cuvée J.M. Brut, $18.99, www.bcliquorstores.com
Sarah Bancroft, editor-in-chief
The elegant ivory Paul Mas label looks perfect on your sideboard. And with notes of leather, tobacco and cherry, guys will love this hefty French bargain, too. Paul Mas Grenache Noir, 2007, $11.99, www.bcliquorstores.com
Sarah Bancroft, editor-in-chief
We’ll be ringing in a new decade with a firm patriotic stand with Trius Brut Niagara Peninsula Mousseux. Part Chardonnay and part Pinot Noire, Niagara’s Trius Brut Mousseux has lovely notes of citrus and apple. $25.70, www.saq.com
Marianne Wisenthal, Montreal editor
A nice alternative to champagne, this Italian Prosecco is organic, refreshing, readily available and inexpensive. What's not to love? Villa Teresa Frizzante Prosecco Veneto, $15.99, www.bcliquorstores.com
Joy Pecknold, Vancouver editor
Vouray Moncontour ($19.95) has bubbles so delicate and refined, it’s more like Champagne. Or go crazy and splash out for a bottle of Gosset Grand Millésime Brut Champagne 1999 ($98.25) to drink with your lover. www.saq.com
Elsa Vecchi, Montreal editor, French editor