I am happy to say that my clothes still fit after dining for 4 days in Calgary! I was very shocked to see the huge array of originality from each and every restaurant I had the opportunity of eating at and each meal was just as equally good.
Being a fan of local establishments, all of these unique hot spots differed in cuisine, decor, and most importantly, experience. I definitely ate and drank my way through the week. (It was a good way to stay warm for the beginnings of winter we encountered while we were there!)
Our first stop on the evening we arrived in Alberta was a small Italian restaurant owned by an Asian family. I have to say, that was the best Italian meal I have had that was not cooked by an Italian! The chef actually worked at a Michelin Star restaurant in Italy. Carino Riserva, a welcoming, warm, friendly environment prepares all their food right in front of their guests. With their menu constantly changing to appropriately match the seasons, food lovers can return numerous times and experience it as if for their first time!
Of course, dining at an Italian restaurant, I chose a pasta dish! A seafood linguine accompanied with a tomato sauce and I thought it would only be appropriate to pair the meal with a Chianti as the acidity from the tomato sauce would nicely complement the acidity in the wine. The Collazzi Liberta from Tuscany was deep coloured with flavours of balsamic, and tomato. It had sweet, soft tannins with a well-rounded balance and was complex but did not over power the dish.
It was evident the rest of the team greatly enjoyed their meals and with the 2 hour time difference, it was a good ending to the night!
Yellow Door Bistro
This was my favourite stop during my trip as it was original, fun and had a very unique menu! Named Calgary’s Best New Restaurant in 2013, this hotspot attached to Hotel Arts is an eye-catcher featuring a contemporary twist. Yellow Door employs wonderful, attentive staff who assure their guests stay is delightful and memorable.
One of our Calgary sales reps and I shared the Clam and Bacon Flatbread (double smoked bacon / Manila clams / salsa verde / mozzarella) and The Artisan Greens Salad (raw, pickled & fried beets / sunflower seeds Noble Meadows goat cheese elderflower vinaigrette). Both were DIVINE!
Of course, we paired our dishes with a nicely toasted Chardonnay which complemented both dishes.
It was a great meal and made it very hard to go back to work for the rest of the day!
An East African experience in Canada! The decor, atmosphere and even the employees made you feel as if you were in another country! Very Authentic and realistic, this restaurant is a night to remember. An unreal meal full of flavours, spices and wine!
The food at Safari Grill was very different than my regular dining choices to but it was DELICIOUS and they fed us VERY well! Dishes kept coming out until we had to tell them to stop!
Some of my favourites were Mogo (deep fried cassava sprinkled with spices), Butter Chicken, and Ndizi Na Nyama Ya Masasani (Banana and beef cooked in coconut sauce with maharage)
The wine I enjoyed the best was the 2011 Plasiri de Merle Chardonnay. It was fruity with a medium body which could hold up to the meat but also a good pairing to the spices.
Halo Restaurant was a wonderful way to end our trip in Calgary. A steak and seafood house opened in 2006 that offers a casual fine dining experience. With their full range of menu options, everyone was able to gather and enjoy something they loved.
We were given a great table in the lounge where we would avoid the traffic and volume of the rest of the restaurant and regroup about our wine week. The service was great and our food came out in an timely and efficient order.
I started with the Seafood Stuffed Mushrooms (Sizzling mushroom caps stuffed with savoury crab and creamcheese baked with mozzarella and topped with green onion) Paired with the Bodega Norton Barrel Select Sauvignon Blanc, both paired well side by side.
Halo’s Heavenly Filet Mignon was my main dish of choice. Accompanied by creamy, garlic mashed potatoes, and some of the most incredible brussel sprouts I have ever had! As a wine pairing, I enjoyed the Norton Privada. A blend of Malbec, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, this Argentinian red perfectly holds up to a steak dinner with its intensity, complexity and richness. There is a lot of ripe black fruit, layers of oak, spice and a long pleasant finish.
It was another great dinner and allowed me to be well rested for my early flight back to Toronto! Can’t forget dessert! Peanut Butter Ice Cream Cake (A house made peanut buter ice cream cake fit for a king) and the Halo-Baked Apple Pie (Warm apples baked into puff pastry and topped with granola and maple walnut ice cream) Both INCREDIBLE!
Thank you for showing me your originality Calgary and for keeping me very well fed!