Congrats Calgary Farmers’ Market …
who celebrated their One Millionth Visitor of 2015 mid-December! That speaks volumes about Calgarians who support our local economy, and local businesses offering unique handicrafts, local meat, fresh produce and locally baked goods – all while employing hundreds of people – you should all take a bow!
Calling All Pastry Chefs!
Have you registered for Calgary’s 2016 Pastry Chef Showcase yet? Show off your signature dessert or chocolate masterpiece at this biennial event on Sunday, February 28 at Gasoline Alley Museum’s Grand Hall in Heritage Park. There are fabulous prizes at this prestigious competition, and you’ll be helping to support L’Arche Calgary, creating homes and community for people with developmental disabilities. Check out pastryshowcase.ca for more details.
New from Prana, of Quebec, these moreish vegan, organic, gluten-free and GMO-free coconut chips come in four dancing flavours: ‘Jive’, chili and spice; ‘Hula’, sea salt and black pepper; ‘Charleston’, BBQ; and ‘Classic’, wholesome dry roasted coconut. These will get your feet tapping!
There are still plenty of new restaurant openings in our city; here are some new faces to welcome to Calgary’s culinary scene…
Full Circle Pizza and Oyster Bar
Joshua Stoddart is no stranger to pizza, having worked with Sugo and WOP for years, but now he has his own place, Full Circle Pizza and Oyster Bar, with his own ideas, in the old Bensonhurst location on 17 Avenue SW. His pizzas differ though, in that he believes western Canada grows great wheat, which he’s having milled to the same specs as 00 flour. He also has unique toppings, such as ‘Dr. Octo-Pi’ – braised octopus, bonito flakes, seaweed and lemon; and ‘3.14 Day Beef Pi’ – slow-braised marinated beef, with Gorganzola and mushrooms. It’s all washed down with a great wine list, 8 beers on tap, and Stoddart’s creative cocktails, like ‘Caesar’s Banquet’, that boasts cheese, salami, pickled veg, and anoyster on top – a veritable meal in a glass!
Surprises await at The Mission, 4 Street SW’s new bar/lounge, in the old Candela location. Completely refurbished (you won’t recognise the room at all) the décor is all blue and dark greys, yet fine loose teas are served in delicate Japanese teapots, and there’s a Japanese influence to Corporate Chef (of Living Room fame) Kevin Hill’s menu. We bet the 20 seats at the big blue bar will be full most of the time with people chatting and drinking, maybe even after a meal further down the street. Although the food here is good! Don’t miss the beautifully plated Elk Carpaccio or Lobster Tortelloni from the small plates menu – they taste as good as they look! And watch out for your welcome cardboard tray of popcorn, it’s full of apricots, wasabi peas and nori treats!
Grassroots Burger Cafe
NU Burger Sushi Bar is moving to a larger location, and from the same owners with the same idea of sourcing ingredients from small, Canadian family farms and ranches that care deeply about the quality of their products, is the new Grassroots Burger Café. Burgers, sliders, and rice bowls, come from cows and free-run chickens raised without antibiotics or hormones. Great tasting burgers that are not only good for you, but also good for the planet!
We suspect the new Workshop Bar, above Kenny Kaechele’s popular Workshop Kitchen in Theatre Junction Grand, will be the next hub for artists, musicians and industry folk; it’s a cool place to hang out. With a separate entrance on 6 Avenue SW, this historic building bares its walls, and you’ll be bagging a seat at the bar set around a big hole in the floor where you can see down to the restaurant below. You’ll want to try one of the creative Classic, Revisited or Original cocktails, along with bites from Workshop’s small plates menu, and listen to local DJs on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights – or just stare at the eclectic space, with its theatrical ‘Sin’ sign, and soak in the atmosphere.
Umami Noodle Bar
It’s often hard to find a table in the more popular ramen places, so Umami Noodle Bar on 16 Avenue NW, is a welcome addition. Offering both Paitan (12+ hour long-simmered pork bone broth) and Citain (the same, but chicken) the small menu has everything you’ll be looking for. There’s a selection of generous sharing appies, like homemade Chashu Buns with char-siu pork, and Tonkatsu – deep fried breaded pork, but you won’t want to share your Tantanmen, a rich and satisfying, spicy peanut and sesame ramen dish. Add Shoyu Tamago (soy marinated soft boiled egg) for extra creaminess. There are nice touches at Umami, like under-table clips for handbags, and they’re open for lunch and dinner every day except Tuesdays – if they don’t sell out of broth!
And we have a new Browns Socialhouse now too in Mount Royal Village. This part restaurant/part pub, serves up dishes with stories, and everything made in-house available gluten-free too. Try a #28 Dragon Bowl of chicken or tofu with coconut rice and veggies; or Biltmore Pizza, with feta, shrimp, sundried tomatoes and jalapeno white sauce – while your orange or grapefruit juice is fresh-pressed to order.