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eat well,

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table of contents



16 n

Great Places to Eat Well, Spend Less

Two can eat well for $50 or less

20 n

Hey, Great Chefs: What was your "A-Ha" Moment that led you to Chefdom?

Shelley Boettcher

22 n

Fighting Food Waste

Erin Lawrence

25 n

City Palate's Culinary Crossword

Play to Win!


7 n word of mouth

Notable culinary happenings around town

9 n eat this

What to eat in January and February Ellen Kelly

Un nuovo inizio. (oon noo-OH-voh ee-NEAT-zee-oh) A new year means ‘a new beginning’, and that means you get to try all kinds of new things from our shop.

10 n drink this

Catena Zapata taking malbec to the top Geoff Last

Also, Valentine’s Day is coming.

12 n one ingredient

Winter squash Julie Van Rosendaal

14 n the sunday project

The 3 Bs – Basic Beautiful Bread with Karen Ralph

24 n stockpot

Stirrings around Calgary

28 n 8 quick ways with...

Tea Chris Halpin

30 n back burner... shewchuk on simmer

The Avocado Toast Affair Allan Shewchuk

Grocery. Bakery. Deli. Café. COVER ARTIST: François Richardier lives in Nanaimo, B.C. His work includes oils and acrylics, watercolours, illustrations, cartoons, caricatures, animations. Check his web site at www3.telus.net/artstudio42


EDMONTON Little Italy | Southside | West End CALGARY Willow Park





SLOW POKE BUYS LUNCH! A romp through Mother Nature’s backyard, whether on a bike, skis or snowshoes, deserves a refreshing reward. With so many restaurants, eateries and coffee shops, not to mention the many artisan shops, there’s so much to experience before or after a visit to the woods. Come take a deep breath of the freshest air on the planet and slide into an experience only Bragg Creek can deliver.

Proudly supported by

The Bragg Creek & Area Chamber of Commerce


word of mouth


gold medal plates On November 2, winter just had to make its big “I’m Here!” statement and fingers, toes, eyes, arms, legs were crossed that everyone would make it – the judges, the competitors, the athletes – and they did! The usual amazing food from our great chefs. The bronze medal went to Dave Bohati, Teatro, who presented a modern take on a terrine whose heart was a steelhead trout. It was a delicious and intricate web of flavours and textures. Matthias Fong, River Café, took silver with a dish that was almost entirely vegetarian and reflected his enthusiasm for locavore dining. The gold medal – a unanimous decision from the judges and a roar of joy from the crowd of 600 – went to chef Blake Flann of Blake, in Canmore. His dish acknowledged the coming winter Olympiad in South Korea with a gochujang laquered pork belly, the surface crisply crusted with the sweet heat of the glaze, the flesh and fat inside succulent, melting and packed with flavour, and prawn paper with peanut, ramen, pickled prawn and egg yolk. A winning blend of presentation, textures and flavour! And their dishes all married well with their chosen wines, lots of good wines chosen. Chef Kenny Kaechele, Workshop Kitchen & Culture, paired his dish with a Black Market wine! We love Black Market wines. We love the Gold Medal Plates food because it’s so adventurous and interesting. (Your editor, Kathy Richardier, is normally a judge, but missed it this year due to a bad cold.) Blake Flann will be heading to Kelowna February 2 and 3 to compete with Canada’s other GMP champion chefs at the Canadian Culinary Championships to determine who is the best of the best!

a winning drink Deane House bartender Jeff Savage took 1st place in the recent Bacardi Legacy Regional Cocktail competition with his cocktail A Love Remembered. The next round is in Miami in February. The drink was inspired by the love between Ava Gardner and Ernest Hemingway and the story that after she swam naked in his pool, he refused to change the water. Drop into the Deane House and try one, or make your own...

A Love Remembered 2 oz. Bacardi Superior rum 1/2 oz. Martini Bianco 1/4 oz. Maraschino Liqueur a bar spoon of citric and malic acid solution (available at health food stores and most large grocery stores) 2 dashes Scrappy’s Grapefruit Bitters

Combine all ingredients with ice in a mixing glass and stir to dilute. Strain into a chilled coupe glass and express a fresh lime zest over the drink.

chowder chowdown Vancouver aquarium’s Ocean Wise chowder chowdown was, as always, a most delicious evening of chowing down on our talented Calgary chefs’ best recipes for sustainable chowders. It was a really interesting chowder event, and the winner, River Café’s chef Matthias Fong’s chowder, was totally different from anyone else’s, it was cool rather than hot, a Manhattan style. We liked it a lot but preferred the hot chowders. Our fave was Raw Bar’s Tom Yum Chowder, and it was a winner, too. It’s always interesting to see what chefs come up with on the chowder front. All proceeds benefitted the Ocean Wise seafood program. The three winners, L-R: Jamie Harling, Deane House, Matthias Fong, River Café and Peter Paiva, Raw Bar at Hotel Arts. And our local craft beer accompanied the chowder – totally tasty it was! (Photo by Marnie Burkhart)

empire provisions Karen Kho and Dave Sturies, who used to make their great artisan charcuterie and sausages, meat pies underneath UNA Takeaway, have now set up their café and deli – Empire Provisions -- where Cured Deli used to be on Elbow Drive at Heritage Drive. Look for delicious charcuterie, sausages, a cheese counter focused on Canadian cheeses, meat pies and a unique selection of house-made provisions. And you can enjoy everything at the café that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. We were at a media lunch recently and we can tell you that you will eat very well here, and the menu includes products from other local artisans with a keen eye on quality and sustainability. So take yourself to 8409 Elbow Dr. SW, lots of parking, and enjoy a great meal or take it home for dinner, or do both, can’t go wrong.

Photo by Lauren Ryan

read these Marilou and Alexandre Champagne published Three Times a Day some years ago when Marilou, the Quebec pop sensation, decided she needed to heal her anorexia through food. Now they’ve published this new book, 3 Times a Day, Simple & Stylish (House of Anansi Press, $34.95, hard cover) featuring more than 100 new recipes themed on categories such as Indulgence, Entertaining, Quick & Easy, Gluten Free, Lactose Free, Vegetarian, His Choice and more. A beautiful book full of good recipes and beautiful photographs. Another good book filled with good recipes and beautiful photographs from Aimée Wimbush-Bourque, The Simple Bites Kitchen, nourishing whole food recipes for every day (Penguin Random House Canada, $32, paper cover). The author has an award-winning blog called Simple Bites. She has turned it into a great family cookbook. Check out the delish recipe for Quick Crustless Ham and Cheese Quiche, for example. We have! And there are good recipes for basics, like home-made buttermilk and ricotta, called Lighter Ricotta. Good stuff in this book.



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FO O D & DR I N K Britannia Wine Merchants Suzette Bistro Britannia Starbucks Sunterra Market Village Ice Cream


eat this

by Ellen Kelly


This may seem like a motley crew of ingredients, but on the prairies, January and February are tough months for fresh local produce. We still have fruit and veg that keep well, like apples, onions, squash and potatoes. Citrus fruits are in season where they grow and mercifully make their way to us over the winter months. Thankfully, our booming greenhouse industry has improved to the point that it supplies us with tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce that actually taste like something. Winter is the time we see the largest variety of citrus fruits, but LIMES especially perk up our often dreary winters. Authentic Latin American and East Indian foods are impossible without them. And, sadly, Key lime pie and limeade just wouldn’t exist at all. A favourite tartare-style spread includes tuna and avocado, both good pairings with lime juice. Brush a 6-ounce ahi tuna steak with olive oil and sear on high heat until browned on both sides and opaque in the centre, about 2-3 minutes. Allow to cool and then cut into 1/2-inch dice. Dice a large peeled, pitted avocado and add to 1 finely minced serrano pepper, 1/3 c. chopped cilantro, 1/3 c. finely chopped shallots, 1 T. roughly chopped capers and 1/4 c. freshly squeezed lime juice. With a fork, gently mix in the tuna, season with salt and pepper and cool for an hour or so before serving with sesame crackers.

The world of alliums is vast, from leeks and scallions to shallots and garlic, but it’s the papery-skinned dry ONION, whether originally from Italy, Maui, Bermuda, Rio, Vidalia or Walla Walla, that is the real workhorse of the kitchen. This underground bulb is universally treasured for the alchemy it brings to virtually every cuisine around the world. What stew, soup or chili would shine without the addition of this flavour essential? But the onion can serve as an innovative edible container as well. I almost always have frozen ratatouille on hand, which means, with very little effort, an exceptional dinner entrée is mere moments away. Cut 2 large-ish onions (peeled and trimmed) in half and scoop out the centres. Place onions, cut side up, in a baking pan in water halfway up the sides. Cover with foil and bake for about 40 minutes at 400°F until fork tender. Drain well and set back in the wiped baking dish. Fill each “cup” with ratatouille and top with crumbled feta cheese. Cover and bake again for 15-20 minutes in the same 400°F oven, or until completely heated through and cheese is melted. This works equally well with leftover stew or chili topped with any cheese you like.

And, of course, we have BANANAS. As ubiquitous as bananas have become today, imagine the delight North Americans experienced when they first encountered this odd looking and exotic tasting fruit in the late 1800s. After you tire of banana bread marathons, try something different… banana fritters. In a bowl, mix together 1-1/2 c. flour, 2 t. baking powder, 2 T. powdered sugar, 1/4 t. salt, a pinch of cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg. Into a measuring cup, measure 2/3 c. milk, add an egg, 1 T. rum, and then beat well; mix into the dry ingredients. Mash 3 large ripe bananas with 1 t. lemon juice and fold into the batter. The batter should just mound slightly on a spoon, so add a little milk if it’s too thick or a little flour if it’s too thin. Heat about 2 inches of canola oil in a heavy pan to 370°F. Scoop up a spoonful of batter and carefully push it into the hot oil with your finger. Don’t overcrowd the pan. Cook the fritters 3-4 minutes before turning, and then cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon to paper towels and then put into a warm oven (200°F.) while you continue to cook the rest of the fritters. These are lovely as an elegant dessert served warm with crème fraîche and warmed maple syrup or you can dust them in powdered sugar and eat them standing at the counter.

Illustrations by Eden Thompson

BUY: The little brown patches sometimes found on limes don’t affect the flesh (it’s called scald), but avoid limes that have dried or shrivelled skin. Choose bright green, smooth skinned fruits that are heavy for their size. TIPS: If it looks like your limes are going to go off before you have a chance to use them all, just freeze them whole. When you need the juice, defrost them slowly in some warm water. Obviously you won’t be able to use the zest, but the juice will be just fine. DID YOU KNOW? Limes need a warmer climate than other citrus fruit. Mexico is both the world’s biggest producer of limes and the biggest, per capita, consumer.

BUY: Look for onions that are heavy for their size and have no soft spots, blemishes or moistness. TIPS: Store in a cool, dry dark place. Don’t store with potatoes; onions will cause potatoes to sprout sooner than they would normally. DID YOU KNOW? Sulphuric compounds in onions cause tearing, but apparently freezing them for 20 minutes before chopping will help. My advice, just work quickly and don’t touch your eyes before you wash your hands and it’ll be over before you know it.

BUY: Avoid fruit that has blemishes, split skin or mouldy stems. I recommend buying bananas fairly green and ripening them at home. The Cavendish variety common to us is more easily bruised the riper it becomes. TIPS: The banana is a fruit that actually develops more flavour when it’s ripened off the bush. They ripen inexorably at room temperature, but if you’re in a hurry, pop them into a perforated paper bag. If you want to slow the ripening, put them in the fridge; the skins will turn brown, but the flesh will remain unchanged. DID YOU KNOW? There are hundreds of varieties, but we rarely see more than two or three. Occasionally you’ll find small stubby red bananas and short yellow bananas called apple bananas – they’re delicious and fun to eat.

Ellen Kelly is a chef and regular contributor to City Palate.



drink this

by Geoff Last


136 2nd Street SW

Warm Hospitality, Brazilian Style

As I sit in the office of Trialto, the wine importer that represents Catena’s wines in western Canada, during a video conference call with Laura Catena, the managing director of Argentina’s most famous winery, I’m struck by how calm she seems. This strikes me as odd because her life redefines the notion of what most of us consider a busy life. Her time is split between San Francisco (where she lives) and Mendoza, Argentina, but in addition to running Catena, she’s also an M.D. in the emergency ward of one of San Francisco’s busiest hospitals. Her book, Vino Argentino: An Insider's Guide to the Wine and Wine Country of Argentina, is a defining text on the country’s wines. In addition, she’s the mother of three children. I ask her how she manages all these jobs and she says the key is that sometimes, even when you strive for an A-plus, you have to settle for a B. Let that be a lesson to all you slackers out there. Her father, Nicolás Catena Zapata, is largely responsible for putting Argentine wines on the world map and he’s been awarded pretty much every major accolade a winemaker can receive. The winery was founded in 1902, but it was Nicolás who took it to a new level, and in doing so, he brought a lot of attention to the country’s wine industry as a whole. In one respect, Argentina was in the right place at the right time; when people began to tire of Aussie shiraz, Argentine malbec was a logical transition because, like shiraz, it offers lots of immediate pleasure in a fruit-forward style. If anything, malbec’s a little more restrained than shiraz, and the style has served the country well as it continues to enjoy healthy sales.

Not your typical Brazilian Steakhouse! Churrascaria & Restaurante OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK

Catena’s vineyards are planted at altitudes rarely seen in the wine world. The flagship Adrianna’s vineyard sits at almost 5,000 feet of elevation. Picture Sunshine Meadows in Banff but covered in vines and you get the idea. Because of the extreme altitude, many thought that the elevation was simply too high to get fruit to ripen, but that was obviously not the case. As such, Catena’s vineyard has become one of the most studied vineyards in the world. Nicolás Catena describes the vineyard like this: It was planted with cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay cuttings from France, and with malbec taken from Lot 18 of his 75-year-old Angélica vineyard. Over the next few years, the wines consistently proved to have more minerality and more acidity than wines from other sites in the Southern Uco Valley at lower altitudes – sites such as Altamira, La Consulta and Eugenio Bustos. The Adrianna cabernet had more pyrazines – the molecules that give the variety its characteristic capsicum (bell pepper) flavour. The malbecs had more “grip” and denser tannins, and the chardonnays were both mineraly and “fat.” As a grape, malbec was once a staple in Bordeaux, but it was effectively kicked out because it ripens late and is susceptible to mould and other problems in the region’s cool, often wet, maritime climate. In the dry climes of Argentina, however, it has thrived and while it defines Argentine viticulture, the country – and Catena in particular – is now producing some excellent chardonnays and cabernets. This is important because very few wine regions can survive as one-trick ponies and consumers are increasingly expanding their wine horizons. Nevertheless, the country’s beloved malbec still reigns supreme, and you can encounter many distinctive styles, depending on region and producer. Catena has demonstrated this, perhaps better than anyone, with the release of some pricy single vineyard wines that push malbec into unfamiliar territory – complex and highly expressive wines created to demonstrate the individuality of the sites.



For those interested in the premium range, there are several options. The White Bones chardonnay ($131) is made from a few rows within a single block of the Adrianna vineyard. It’s aged in French oak and bears more than a passing resemblance to Grand Cru Burgundy, a rich, complex wine with lots of racy minerality. The White Stones chardonnay ($110, but sold out until next year) also hails from the Adrianna vineyard, but from a different block, with much more gravelly soils. Like the White Bones, it’s very expressive and Burgundian in style. I would say that these two whites are easily among the best chardonnays produced in the new world. In the premium malbec range, things get serious when you move from the basic malbec (at about $20 a bottle) to the 2012 Nicasia malbec ($102), from the southerly growing region of Altamira en La Consulta. Near the top of the range is the iconic Nicolás Catena Zapata ($132), a wine that was the flagship for many years before the release of some of the new single-block wines. This one’s a big, brooding style of malbec that needs time to unveil its numerous charms. Finally, there’s the River Stones malbec ($154), sourced from a single plot in the Adrianna vineyard. When I tasted this during my virtual interview with Laura Catena, it struck me as a new benchmark and expression of this grape, more like a top-growth Bordeaux with amazing complexity and finesse. People who tend to collect old world wines in the $100-plus range should seriously consider these – they are quite remarkable. For everyday consumption the entry-level malbec and chardonnay are always among the best value wines on the market and deliver well beyond their $20 price points. Move up to the mid-tier Alta range and you get into some serious drinking for about $50 a bottle (these are also age-worthy). Catena is one of the most dynamic wineries in the world and well worth a visit should you be planning a visit to Argentina. It’s a remarkable place producing remarkable wines. Cheers!

Adrianna Vineyard White Bones

Adrianna Vineyard River Stones

Catena winery Geoff Last is a long-time Calgary wine merchant, writer and broadcaster and a regular contributor to the Calgary Herald, City Palate and other publications. He instructs on food and wine at the Cookbook Co. Cooks and was recently awarded a fellowship to the Symposium of Professional Wine Writers, based in the Napa Valley. He manages Bin 905.


Nicolás Catena Zapata

In historic Inglewood 1332 - 9th Ave SE 403.532.8222



one ingredient

by Julie Van Rosendaal


The prairie provinces are not known for their abundance of local produce when they arrive at bleak midwinter. A few root veggies cling to life well into the new year, though, and winter squash carries on with little effort, its sturdy exteriors protecting vitamin-rich and flavourful innards from the elements.

Beyond pumpkins (the smaller ones are more than ornamental), supermarkets in the past rarely ventured beyond the usual trio of squashes – acorn, butternut and spaghetti. But dusty grey-blue Hubbards are becoming easier to find now. You may come across a teardrop-shaped red kuri, a lumpy, lanky crookneck, or a squat green buttercup or kabocha, and you might even discover some varieties you’re unable to identify. So long as you know it’s some sort of winter squash, thick and gnarly, you can take it home, warts and all, scoop out the seeds and stringy bits and treat it the same as others that are more familiar, even if you’re not on a first-name basis. When searching for recipes, butternut squash is often the default, its solid neck easy to handle, providing a large enough chunk to spiralize into ribbons, coarsely grate or even hasselback. Beyond butternut, and besides spaghetti squash, which has a stringy texture that can be pulled into strands with a fork, most winter squash has dense flesh in shades ranging from yellow to deep orange; its hardy, often awkward surface is the only obstacle between inside and out. Smooth butternut can be peeled with a vegetable peeler, but ridged or warty squashes aren’t as easily accessed, particularly when they’re almost the size of a watermelon. Delicata – long and narrow, yellow with green stripes – has a thinner skin, sortof halfway between acorn and zucchini, that is perfectly edible once cooked and requires no significant upper body strength to wrestle a knife through. Whichever variety you’re attempting to tackle on your kitchen counter, use a large chef’s knife or cleaver to cut it into manageable pieces and microwave or bake it in the oven until the flesh is soft enough to scoop from its skin. Or toss wedges in oil, sprinkle with salt and/or spices and roast at 425°F until tender and golden.



Maple-Roasted Winter Squash Soup Perhaps the main mission of winter squash is to be transformed into soup – it’s a great way to use squash varieties that are harder to handle, and you can save the seeds to toast, chop and sprinkle on top. Use sage or curry powder, depending on your mood. 1 winter squash canola or olive oil, for cooking 1/4 c. pure maple syrup, divided 2 T. butter 1 onion, finely chopped 1 tart apple or ripe pear, chopped 1/2 t. sage or curry powder 4 c. chicken stock 1/2 c. whipping cream or 18% coffee cream salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Halve the squash, scoop out the seeds and separate them from the membranes, rinsing them well in a colander. Cut the squash into rough chunks, or, if you’re using butternut, peel it using a vegetable peeler and cut into chunks.

Spread out the pieces or chunks on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with oil and half the maple syrup, and roast at 425°F for 20-30 minutes, or until tender and starting to turn golden. (Don’t worry if they aren’t cooked through yet – you’re just looking for larger pieces to be soft enough to scoop out, or chunks to get a bit of colour.) Toss the rinsed seeds with oil and spread out on a smaller parchment-lined baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and roast alongside, or after the squash comes out, stirring once or twice, for 10-15 minutes, until golden.

Winter Squash and Pear Morning Glory Muffins

Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a muffin tin with paper liners.

Grated raw squash works much like grated carrot in cakes and muffins – it’s a great way to inject veggies into your morning routine. This batter can also be baked as a loaf, in a parchment-lined 9x5-inch loaf tin for 50-60 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Add the squash (or carrots), nuts, raisins, and coconut and toss to combine.

In a medium pot or Dutch oven, heat another drizzle of oil along with the butter over mediumhigh heat. When the foam subsides, add the onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes, until soft. Add the apple or pear along with the sage or curry powder and cook for another minute. Add the roasted squash, scooping the flesh out of the skins if necessary, and the stock, and bring to a simmer; cook for 20-30 minutes, until the squash is very soft. Add the cream and remaining maple syrup, season with salt and pepper and purée in batches in a blender or with a hand-held immersion blender right in the pot, until smooth. Adjust seasoning and serve topped with the toasted seeds, if you like. Serves 4 to 6. 

2 t. baking soda

2 c. all-purpose flour 1 c. sugar (white or brown) 2 t. cinnamon 1/4 t. salt 2 c. grated raw butternut squash or carrots 1/2 c. chopped pecans or walnuts

In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla. Add to the squash mixture along with the grated pear or apple and stir just until the batter is combined. Fill the prepared muffin tins almost to the top and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the muffins are golden and the tops are springy to the touch. Tip them in their cups to help them cool by allowing steam to escape. Makes about 1 dozen muffins.

1/2 c. raisins 1/4 c. flaked coconut, sweetened or unsweetened (optional) 1/2 c. buttermilk or plain yogurt 1/2 c. canola or light olive oil 3 large eggs 2 t. vanilla extract 1 pear or apple, coarsely grated (don’t bother peeling it)

Delicata Squash Jackson Pollock I started thinking of this dish as Jackson Pollock-esque simply because of its presentation, because I love to scatter the colourful roasted veg with bright pomegranate seeds and splatter it with balsamic reduction before bringing it to the table. 1 delicata or acorn squash a few handfuls of Brussels sprouts, halved olive or canola oil, for cooking salt and freshly ground black pepper pomegranate seeds balsamic reduction

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Slice the delicata or acorn squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Slice into wedges or half-moons. Spread out on a parchment-lined baking sheet with the Brussels sprouts, without crowding the pan, drizzle with oil and toss them about with your hands to coat while spreading them out in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for 20-30 minutes, stirring or shaking the pan once or twice, if you think of it, until the veggies are tender and caramelized on the edges. Scatter with pomegranate seeds and drizzle with balsamic reduction (if it’s still on parchment, the balsamic will constrict to little dots) and serve immediately. Serves 6. 

Hasselback Squash The necks of butternut squash can be cooked much like hasselback potatoes, with dense flesh that’s easy to slice thin. Like other roasted veggies, your hasselback squash could be spiked with curry powder, chile powder or sprigs of fresh thyme. 2 medium-small butternut squash recipe photos by Julie Van Rosendaal

canola or olive oil, for cooking 1/4 c. butter, melted salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Cut the necks off the squash and set the bulbs aside for another use. Peel the necks and cut in half lengthwise, lay

cut-side down on a parchment-lined sheet, drizzle with oil and bake for 15 minutes, or until just tender. (Alternatively, place in a microwave-safe dish and cook, covered, for 5 minutes.) Remove from the pan and set them cut-side down on a cutting board, lay a chopstick on either side of each piece and slice crosswise very thin, using the chopsticks to keep your knife from slicing all the way through. Return to the baking sheet, drizzle with melted butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Return to the oven for another 20 minutes, or until tender and golden. Serves 4. Julie Van Rosendaal is a cookbook author and blogs at dinnerwithjulie.com




the sunday project

with Karen Ralph


Taking four basic ingredients and turning them into a loaf of aromatic bread is a type of transformative magic that never gets old. Making bread is fairly straightforward, but I’ve learned the hard way that the combination of flour, yeast, salt and water can be temperamental. Never underestimate dough’s sensitivity to its environment – indoor and outside temperature and humidity fluctuations affect both rise and texture. There’s nothing you can do about the weather, but you can make sure that your yeast or sourdough starter is active and your oven temperature is accurate. Bread-making is a skill honed through practice, repetition and getting a “feel” for the dough, literally, through handling, mixing and kneading it. If your first few loaves aren’t perfect, remember that the wonkiest home loaf is still better than anything you can buy. This recipe was my gateway into baking and it’s still a favourite. It also makes the best toast.

2207 - 4 St SW

403 244 4443


Easy-Peasy Loaf 2-1/2 c. unbleached white flour *1/4 c. stone-ground rye flour 1 t. instant yeast 1-1/2 t. kosher salt *about 1-1/4 c. warm water

*You might have to add a couple more teaspoons of water, depending on the weather and the flour. I use unbleached all-purpose white flour, organic stoneground dark rye flour and instant dry yeast. If you omit the rye flour, make up the difference with unbleached white, but the rye flour adds a lovely, subtle nutty flavour. Mix the flours, yeast and salt, add the water and mix just until the dough is rough and sticky. Lightly dust your countertop or table with a tiny bit of flour so your dough won’t stick. (Dough doesn’t stick to my zinc countertop, so check your surface; you might not have to flour it.)

VINTAGE IS BACK IN STYLE WILLOW PARK VILLAGE 10816 Macleod Trail South | 403.278.1220

www.compleatcook.ca 14


Tip the dough out onto your countertop, scrape it all together with the side of your hand, and start kneading it by pushing with the heels of your hands. This keeps your fingers relatively clean and lets you really push the dough. Knead for about five minutes. The gluten will start to relax and you can shape it into a ball, put it in a clean bowl, and stretch plastic wrap over the bowl. Put it in a warm place, out of direct sunlight, for at least 8 hours, and up to 24 hours. I prefer to let the dough rise for about two hours, refrigerate it overnight and bring it to room temperature in the morning. Enzymes turn the flour starch into sugar that’s consumed by yeast. That yeast, in turn, creates alcohol and carbon dioxide, causing the dough to rise, forming little bubbles on the surface that emit a yeasty, beery odour. About two hours before you’re ready to bake, rub flour into one side of a cotton tea towel, unless you have a brotform or banneton proofing basket. These are wicker baskets in various shapes that are lined with linen or cotton and leave a wicker imprint on your dough, but a flour-dusted cloth in a bowl works just as well. Use enough flour to ensure that the dough doesn’t stick to the cloth. Scrape the stringy, sticky dough from the bowl and shape it by pulling it towards you repeatedly

and turning it occasionally. It will form a ball, and you might see bubbles starting to form under the dough’s skin. Carefully put your shaped loaf into the flour-dusted basket or cloth-lined bowl, with any seams on the bottom. The dough will flatten out as the gluten relaxes; the basket/bowl forces the dough to expand up instead of out. Let it rise for about two hours. When you’re ready to bake, place a heavy, enameled pot with a lid in the oven and heat it to 500°F. Lightly flour the dough so it won’t stick during baking, gently lift it into the hot pot, and score the surface. Put on the lid and bake it covered for 30 minutes and uncovered for 10-15 minutes, until it browns. When it’s done, carefully turn the loaf out of the pot (don’t burn yourself!) and let it cool on a wire rack. The resulting loaf will have a crunchy crust and chewy crumb with unevenly sized air bubbles. As is the case with any well-established art or craft, there are labour-saving techniques to breadmaking. One of them is “autolyze,” which Edward Behr, author of The Food & Wine of France, describes as self-relaxation. Water is added to the flour, the dough is given a quick mix, and then it’s covered with a towel and left for 10 minutes to half an hour, depending on how long it takes you to finish a glass of wine. During that time, the flour will absorb the water and gluten strands start to form. At that point, add the yeast and salt, knead until the dough isn’t sticky, and proceed as usual. Successful professional bakers produce consistently perfect loaves every day. As a home baker, I can be a dilettante, experimenting to my heart’s delight, but I always defer to French bread master Raymond Calvel, who was an expert on white flour. He said that too much kneading can lead to loss of colour, which leads to loss of flavour. Visually, I prefer the uneven crumb that results from shorter kneading times. A longer rise will enhance flavour, but occasionally I’ve shortened the rise time to six hours and skipped the shaping and proofing stage completely, scraping the dough from the bowl, shaping it into a rough round ball lightly dusted with flour, and baking it as usual. It has always emerged beautifully cracked, densely crumbed, chewy and aromatic.

1. Bread shaped for 1st rise

2. Bread's 1st rise

3. Home-made Benetton proofing basket, tea towel rubbed with flour in wicker basket

4. Dough after overnight rise

5. Loosely covered dough

6. Dough lightly dusted with flour

7. Hot pot and dough ready to bake

8. Dough going into pot to bake

9. Dough in baking pot ready to bake

Cozy Up.

10. Lid on, in the oven

11. Bread after 30 minutes covered, needs 10 minutes uncovered


12. Done! Yum!

Karen Ralph is a regular City Palate contributor, bread baker and SCOBY farmer. Photos by Regan Johnson



A good meal doesn’t have to cost a small (or large) fortune, especially these days with all the great casual eateries that offer tasty, interesting, fun food at really affordable prices. For our eating challenge, we chose a handful of discriminating palates to take $50 and buy a tasty meal for two in a fave restaurant. This is what they found. (The $50 didn’t include tax and tip)

Goro + Gun Scotia Centre, 245 7th AVENUE SW, Plus 15 level (beside Starbucks) 403-237-5596


Robert Jewell and Andrew Lowery The story of Goro + Gun is quite an intriguing one, part of the reason I chose it for City Palate’s two can eat well for $50 or less. The Japanese film, Tampopo, was released in 1985 and branded as the world’s first “ramen western.” Haha, get it? The Japanese take on spaghetti western. Goro + Gun were two truck drivers who used their culinary passion to change the fate of a struggling noodle shop. This passion and expertise is translated beautifully into G+G. I love that tidbit about this spot… gives it a light air and a “yes we make amazing food, but we don’t take ourselves super serious” vibe. The more I delved into the story of Goro + Gun (the restaurant) the more I couldn’t wait 'til it opened so I could indulge. Not only does chef Tomo Mitsuno have a Michelin star pedigree, he is also one of the few people on the planet who is certified in the preparation of blowfish, which is deadly if not prepared properly. Spending my days running Double Zero Pizza in the Core and my nights at the Chinook location made Goro + Gun the perfect spot for me to grab a quick lunch between services at my restaurants. From the distinctive hardwood, modern art design and Japanese décor to the six stockpots always steaming with divine broth, I knew I wanted to brag about G+G, its great food, amazing atmosphere and perfect price points. Andrew and I arrived on a Tuesday eve to an almost full room. As we entered we heard the ever-loving “Irasshaimase!” (welcome to my restaurant!). Chef Tomo was there and chimed in to greet us as well. His big smile made us, as always, feel like part of the family.



Italian Centre: Spinelli Bar Italia 9919 FAIRMOUNT DRIVE SE 403-238-4869


John Gilchrist and Catherine Caldwell G+G focuses on Hakata-style ramen (pork broth, noodles and sliced pork belly), sushi, sashimi, and, of course, classics like gyoza and tuna poke for snacks. One of the first things we noticed when we sat down were the Japanese movies playing on the TVs around the room, a perfect addition to the stellar atmosphere. Looking on the table we noticed a tent card featuring the happy hour that runs from 3 to 6 p.m. weekdays, and kicked ourselves for not getting there earlier. Ten items on the happy hour menu for $3 to $5 each. Handmade takoyaki, tepenyaki, ramen burgers, the list goes on. We could have had the lot! Also, wine, Sapporo beer and cocktails were featured. We both pulled the trigger on a cold beer for a beverage with dinner. The Tokyo Drift by Last Best Brewing seemed most suitable… Japanese restaurant, local brewery’s Japanese-named beer! The fruity hop power in our beers meant we had to get some gyoza to share. I am a dumpling fiend and these are the perfect solution to my craving. House-made pork dumplings with a decadent, rich sesame sauce. Oh yes! They had the crisp golden brown I love. I always poke a small hole in my gyoza so that when I dip them, the sauce fills the dumpling. For dinner I dove into my ever-favourite Yakisoba topped with a fried egg and the wonderful bonito flakes that dance for you on the plate. There is no broth in this noodle dish, but the broth is unnecessary, as the dish is super creamy from the Japanese mayo and fried egg yolk. Andrew opted for a true ramen and ordered the Tonkotsu with pork belly, pork broth, arugula, ginger and fried onions. In no time we both devoured these amazing dishes. We sat back full, happy and reveled in our dinner at G+G, sipped the last of our beers and decided to see the damage and head home. Goro + Gun nails it for the two can eat well for $50 or less.

Spinelli’s Italian Centre Shop is a mecca for those looking for fine Italian and Mediterranean ingredients. There are rows of pasta, aisles of olive oil, tons of tomatoes – canned and fresh – and an entire wall of cheese. A centrally located deli holds a wealth of cured meats and condiments (olives by the boatload) and fresh meat and produce fill one large section. Smack in the middle, by huge garage doors that open onto a patio, sits Spinelli Bar Italia, a tidy café where you can sit with an espresso and enjoy the energy of south Calgary’s Little Italy. Ordering is handled at the counter, they give you a numbered sign, and the food and drink are delivered shortly. We arrived for an early dinner with different appetites – I wanted pizza, Catherine wanted pasta. Decisions, decisions. The pizza is the hand-tossed thin-crust variety, topped with a rustic marinara or multiple cheeses or fresh sausage or any of a multitude of ideas. (Seriously, if you can’t find something to layer onto a pizza here, where can you?) It’s good pizza with a crisp crust, rich sauce, appropriate cheese and a good price at about $15. I opted for the marinara rich with tomatoes, peppers and onions. Catherine stepped over to the deli’s hot table laden with the day’s selection of pasta, hot meats, meatballs and a few sides. She returned to the dining area with a tray of the veal with farfalle in a tomato-sausage sauce and roasted vegetables (zucchini, peppers, onions) for $11. It was a hearty meal that suffered a bit from dwelling too long on the hot table, but was nonetheless tasty. We enjoyed our casual Italian meal, finishing with a couple scoops of fine Italian gelato made at Spinelli’s Edmonton headquarters and a San Pellegrino limonata, all for about $40 including tip. We contemplated an espresso pulled by Spinelli’s staff and a cannoli from their kitchen, but decided to save that for an early morning visit. Instead we strolled arm-in-arm through Spinelli’s aisles, dreaming of Italy and its culinary treasures. Spinelli Bar Italia opens daily at 7:30 a.m. and serves until 9 p.m. nightly. (The pizza oven works 11 a.m. to 7:45 p.m.) And you can get wine and beer to go with your dinner, too.

RECEIPT ********************** Marinara pizza



Veal scallopini


2 Tokyo drift

Limonata 2.00


1 Gyoza

14.00 9.00

1 Yakisoba


1 Tonkotsu



TOTAL $49.00

Ice cream



TOTAL $31.73

********************** Thank you for dining with us!

********************** Thank you for dining with us!

continued on page 18 CITYPALATE.ca JANUARY FEBRUARY 2018


continued from page 17

Boogie’s Burgers 2129 33rd AVENUE SW 403-454-2902


Suzette Bistro

Dave and Lindsay Amadio

2210 4th STREET SW 403-802-0036

When it comes to dining in a restaurant where one can chill and enjoy traditional French food in a friendly bistro in Calgary, I walk across 4th Street SW from Inspirati to Suzette Bistro. Dominique Moussu, the executive chef of Suzette, partnered with Gilles Brassart from Cassis Bistro to bring in the best of Brittany’s regional cuisine.

Having grown up in northwest Calgary and going to middle school in Bridgeland, Boogie’s Burgers was an institution. The cheerful “Hello, Darling!” and the faint scent of cocoa butter brings back fond memories of my youth. With a location on Edmonton Trail in Renfrew, Boogie's Burgers opened in ‘69, and in ‘08 was acquired by Noel Sweetland and Kipp Teghtmeyer who have maintained the original diner, quality burger, arcade games and family-friendly restaurant format. Fast forward several years later when on my way home one day I was surprised to find Boogie’s Burgers was opening in my community of Marda Loop.

I usually choose one of the galettes, which is a savoury gluten-free buckwheat crêpe filled with an assortment of mouth-watering cheese, meat or vegetable combinations. However, when my friend and colleague Karen Miller and I arrived on a Wednesday night, the featured item was the “10 Dollar Burger” with frites (french fries). I chose the burger while Karen decided on the Moules Frites (mussels with french fries).

On the first cold night of November, seeking some nostalgia, I convinced my new bride to join me for a burger feast – who doesn’t enjoy a good burger! Upon walking into the new location on 33rd Ave SW, it’s not all that different from the original Boogie’s that I grew up with. A burger can be both the simplest and most complicated thing to do well. Everyone has their favourite, what sets Boogie’s apart is consistent, fresh ingredients and imagination… plus the arcade games.

To me, the best hamburgers are made from meat ground “at home.” Suzette uses freshly ground Silver Sage beef accompanied by Comté cheese, mushroom fricassée and butter lettuce with homemade ketchup or a garlic aioli for the hot crisp frites. Did I mention the buns are freshly baked? In my estimation, it’s the perfect burger that could be shared.

After a thorough look at the extensive menu, we selected a Boog-Mak (a riff on the Big Mac) and a Shawn’s burger (triple patties, bacon, cheese and fried egg). Our sides included mini corn dogs, deep fried mac ‘n’ cheese wedges and large fries. A draft beer, glass of wine and a child-sized Oreo milkshake washed it all down (milkshakes covered 1/4 of the menu so we couldn’t resist). Everything from the sesame seed bun to the bacon and burger were extremely fresh and handled with care and attention. The patties on both burgers were crusted, juicy, and most importantly, cooked perfectly. These are the burgers I grew up with and today are even better than I remembered. The mini corn dogs were a welcome addition (piping hot and not greasy). Mac ‘n’ cheese wedges rounded out the selection of sides with cheesy goodness.


Wendy Brownie and Karen Miller

The mussels are served in the traditional marinières à la crème style, a savoury sauce with herbs, leeks and garlic in a butter and wine base. The obligatory bucket for dumping the shells makes you feel like you are at least close to the sea! The sauce is creamy and you can use the shells to scoop it up if you decide not to go with the baguette. The mussels are light and cooked to tender perfection, served up with the best crispy frites in town, the perfect combination. We decided to share a generous glass of Domaine Montrose rosé for ten dollars. At Suzette, complimentary baguette with homemade butter is presented upon seating. However, we declined in anticipation of the Hamburger and Moules Frites. On top of excellent food, Suzette has such a fun atmosphere with a caring staff who enjoy what they are doing.

Outside of the fresh food and great value, what also struck me was the number of families with young children who were having a family night out. The experience is less Chuck E Cheese (with the creepy mouse costume), more dad explaining the nuances of pinball to a soundtrack of the Run DMC, Tears for Fears and Public Enemy. (I also crushed my wife at Street Fighter 2 and Pac-Man – just saying). Good food, great times and fond memories: the perfect night out.

RECEIPT ************************

RECEIPT **********************

Shawn’s Burger


Boog- Mak Burger


Large Fries


Mac‘n’Cheese Wedge x2


Mini Corndog x2



Annex Ale



Glass of Wine


Oreo Milk Shake (child size)


Moules Frites


Burger Special


Rosé Wine



********************** Thank you for dining with us!


TOTAL $45.50

************************ Thank you for dining with us!



Cotto Italian Comfort Food 314 10th STREET NW 587-356-4088


Shelley Boettcher and Anders Knudsen It’s possible to eat off the regular menu at Cotto for close to $50 for two people. You can split a flatbread pizza plus a glass or two of the house wine.

Everything under one roof.

Or share some appetizers. A plate of four crisp arancini, four bruschetta made with whipped ricotta, roasted tomatoes and basil pesto, and patatine – homemade fries with sea salt, garlic, rosemary and pickled peppers – will set you back $36, not including tax and tip. You can even order a pasta or two, although you may not have enough leeway in your budget for booze, too. Given the choice, however, I head to Cotto for the happy hour pasta deal. Tuesday to Thursday every week, from 5 to 6 p.m., Cotto offers a tasty special – pasta and a glass of wine for less than $20. Each week the deal changes, depending on what’s in season and what chef Giuseppe Di Gennaro and his staff feel like making. Maybe you’ll get linguini with sauteed mussels, tomato broth and green chiles, paired with a crisp chardonnay. Maybe you’ll get bucatini pasta with amatriciana sauce and a glass of Italian red. The day we went, I ordered the special: fusilli with mushrooms, caramelized onions, fava beans and asiago, plus a glass of Italian merlot, for a total of $16. Anders ordered the same thing. It was fresh and garlicky, with the pasta cooked perfectly al dente. We savoured our meal, enjoying the cozy dining room, as winter made a brief appearance outside. Our bill came to a total of $32, which left enough room in the budget for gelato or sorbet ($3 a scoop), or an espresso. We debated it for a few minutes, enjoying that sleepy, happy feeling you get after a busy day and a carb-loaded good meal.

Since 2011, at Eight Ounce, we have stocked a broad choice of quality coffee, tea and kitchen equipment for baristas, restaurants and the aficionado at home. Shop in-store for a broad selection and honest advice on brewing at your very best at home or work. #1–4005 9TH STREET SE, CALGARY SHOWROOM MON-FRI 9-5 SAT 10-4

(403) 457-9844 or shop online at eightouncecoffee.ca

But we were too full for dessert. In fact, we each took home half our order, for delicious leftovers for lunch the next day. Also worth mentioning: by going early to eat, I always find excellent parking near Cotto, although you can’t park on Tenth St. N.W. until after 6 p.m. It’s just off the LRT line if you’re taking transit, and it’s a fast and easy dinner stop before a show at the Jubilee Auditorium, just up the hill. Check the Cotto website or the Facebook page to find out what the upcoming week’s special is, or contact the restaurant directly. Just remember to order before 6 p.m. to take advantage of the offer. ✤

RECEIPT ********************** 2 Fusilli with mushrooms, caramelized onions, fava beans and asiago cheese, plus a glass of Italian merlot




TOTAL $32.00 ********************** Thank you for dining with us!





by Shelley Boettcher

Maybe it’s praise from the right people at the right time. Maybe it’s an inspiring cookbook, or the taste of a hauntingly delicious flavour.

Every great chef has that moment when they discover they’ve found their calling. That time when they realize that the universe has pointed them in precisely the right career direction. But for everyone in the culinary industry, that time is slightly different. Maybe they were still in high school, searching for something to do when they grew up. Maybe they were already cooking professionally, but, at least for a while, they weren’t always convinced of their career path until that time. Here, six of Calgary’s top chefs talk about their “a-ha!” moment, that point in their lives when they knew they had found the career they were meant to have.

Michael Noble

Matthias Fong

Judy Wood

Chef/proprietor, NOtaBLE, The Nash and Off Cut Bar

Executive chef, River Café

Chef/owner, Meez Cuisine

notabletherestaurant.ca, thenashyyc.com



The first Canadian chef to appear on the hit TV series Iron Chef, Michael Noble grew up in Vancouver where he went to culinary school and then worked at renowned restaurants across Europe and North America, including six years as executive chef at Vancouver’s Diva at the Met. (Even Gourmet magazine took note, naming it Vancouver’s top table at the time.)

After finishing a sociology degree at the University of Calgary, Matthias Fong briefly considered going to law school. It seemed like the right thing to do – until he stopped and thought about what he loved to do.

Judy Wood says that, as a child, she was constantly surrounded by dinner parties and good food. “My parents entertained all the time. At least once or twice a week, they were throwing a party or hosting an event.”

Ever since he was about 15 years old, he had been working in restaurants in Calgary, becoming the summer intern prep cook at River Café when he was still just a teen. It’s been an upward culinary trajectory ever since. In 2015, he was named the new head chef at River Café, and this year, he placed second at the Calgary Gold Medal Plates for the Canadian Culinary Championships.

By the time she was a teenager, Wood was handling much of the cooking for those parties, but she didn’t think of it as a career choice.

Then, for a time, he headed up the culinary program at Earls and he was the head chef at Catch when it opened in Calgary, too. These days, he’s the head chef and proprietor of the acclaimed NOtaBLE and The Nash and Off Cut Bar. His A-Ha! moments – first, there was his experience apprenticing under chef Ben Weber and then competing alongside him for a decade, as a member of the Canadian Culinary Team. “I wish he knew what he gave me. I’d say thank you for teaching me to make sauces, for teaching me how to organize myself for service and to be professional.” His time working under chef Bruno Marti was also pivotal to Noble’s career, he says. “Two or three times, I got discouraged and I wanted to leave and become an instructor,” he says. “But Bruno said, ‘Michael, we need people like you within the business. You need to stay.’” He was right, Noble says, “and now it’s my turn to be a mentor.”



His focus for River Café is making food – even fruit vinegars – from local ingredients, including vegetables, flowers and even apricots harvested from the restaurant’s Prince’s Island garden. His A-Ha! moment – when he realized he was spending more time reading cookbooks than his course books. “The real a-ha moment was one of the first sets of cookbooks I ever bought: seeing the food, the way it was photographed, and the complexity of every dish,” he says. “All the flavours that were, to me, unknown and unusual. I wanted to put them together and see how they’d work.”

Her parents, however, had a rule for the kids: university or Europe, and realizing their youngest child wasn’t inclined to go to university, they gave her two cookbooks for Christmas for her final year in high school. One was from the Cordon Bleu cooking schools; the other was from L’Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne in Paris. Her A-Ha! moment – when she opened those cookbooks. “I thought, ‘Wow, I could do this. It was a big a-ha moment for me because I realized I didn’t have to go to university. I could go to school in Europe and learn more of the craft I really enjoyed doing, for which I could actually get paid.” So she did just that. She studied at L’Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne before cooking at the now-defunct Four Seasons Hotel in Calgary, followed by stints at Buchanan’s Chop House and Sunterra. These days, she heads up the kitchen at Meez Cuisine, a gourmet take-away shop and catering business in southeast Calgary.

Jinhee Lee

Mike Provo

Andrea Harling

Executive chef, Foreign Concept

Executive chef/general manager, Fresh Kitchen at CP Rail

Executive chef/partner, Made Foods

foreignconcept.ca Born and raised in South Korea, Jinhee Lee grew up loving food in a family of good cooks. As she grew up, however, she thought she would become an accountant. Something stable. Something professional. But then she came to Canada on what was to have been a short visit to study English. She stayed, falling in love with Calgary and what it has to offer. Last year, she was crowned Best Chef in Canada at the Canadian Culinary Championships and, this year, she won the $10,000 culinary competition at the prestigious Prince Edward Island Shellfish Festival. Her A-Ha! moment: while she was studying English in Calgary, Lee took a tour of SAIT, to learn more about its programs. The tour included a stop at the culinary school where chef Colin Maxwell was leading a class. He invited her into the classroom to taste a dish that he had just demonstrated. “I thought, I have to learn how to do this,” she says. She never looked back. She dropped her dreams of an accounting career and she began to study cooking at SAIT. After graduating, she worked at Hotel Arts and, now, Foreign Concept. “I just fell in love with the kitchen,” she says. “I feel this time, I’m on the right career path.”


freshkitchen.ca Born in Halifax, Michael Provo grew up in Calgary, where he got his first kitchen experience helping his mom. “I am useless when it comes to changing tires and fixing washing machines,” he says. “But I can cook.” These days, he’s part of the team at Fresh Kitchen’s CP Rail location, where they make meals for staff as well as cater for special events, including weddings. In 2018, he’s hoping to become a contestant on the next edition of Top Chef Canada. His A-Ha! moment – he was 15 years old and helping his family prepare for a New Year’s Eve party. His contribution was a massive platter of roasted red pepper devilled eggs. “I had to make three per person. It seemed very daunting,” he says. “But people really liked what I’d made. They were genuinely appreciative.” Provo says he’s never forgotten how great it felt, and even today, he searches for that same response every time he’s in the kitchen. “I don’t think you get that sort of response from people in other professions.”

Andrea Harling is one busy woman. She leads the culinary team at Made Foods, which offers ready-toeat healthy meals for every occasion: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and special occasions, too. Since the Calgary-based business began in 2015, it has expanded to include seven locations, including the Shawnessy and Eau Claire YMCAs, plus stops at three of the city’s five hospitals. You’ll also find select Made Foods products at Calgary Co-op and Planet Organic stores, and this past year, Made launched a line of branded supplements, too. Her A-Ha! moment – an athletic kid growing up, Harling always figured she’d land a career doing something sports-related. But a friend landed her a job at a French restaurant in Toronto, and Harling quickly realized the restaurant world has something in common with the sports world. “It has that same competitive edge,” she says. She was hooked, and from that moment on, she had found her calling. After graduating as a chef from Fleming College in Ontario, she worked at a slew of places, including the renowned Chemong Lodge in Peterborough. She moved to Calgary in 2008 and worked at Brava Bistro, District and Dobson’s before co-founding Made Foods. ✤

Shelley Boettcher is a Calgary-based food, wine and travel writer. Find out more about her at drinkwithme.com or follow her on Twitter @shelley_wine or on Instagram @shelleyboettcher.




by Erin Lawrence How much food is going bad in your kitchen today? If you’re like the rest of us, something in your fridge is likely no longer edible, and you won’t think twice about tossing it in the composter, or, if you haven’t yet made the earthfriendly jump, the garbage. But consider the waste in your own kitchen on an industrial scale. While most homeowners are quick to pitch out half a loaf of bread, some mushy carrots or part of a tub of now-furry yogurt, the waste generated by the people that make the food we buy and allow to rot in the fridge is exponentially larger. If a few buns fall off a table at a packaging station each hour, that adds up over a week. Small shavings of butter that fly off the bricks swooshing along a conveyor belt get scraped up and hucked in a dumpster at the end of the day. Over the course of a year, hundreds of pounds of butter could be lost. All that waste adds up big time, and that’s why Canada’s food producers are working to do something about it. “People think it’s a much smaller problem than it really is,” says Bruce Taylor,



founder of Enviro-Stewards Inc. Taylor is an internationally recognized expert in water and waste reduction, reuse and recycling. He goes into factories and works with the leadership and staff to identify where large-scale food waste is happening, then finds ways to reduce it. At one plant he evaluated, he watched as industrial-sized blocks of mozzarella dropped from one conveyor belt to the next, each drop causing a piece of cheese to break off and fall into a collection tray. At the end of the day, the tiny bits were sent off to be made into processed cheese, an excellent re-use option. “But when we took the time to actually measure it, that’s actually $70,000 in value being lost, when you compare selling mozzarella to selling processed cheese,” explains Taylor. “We had them adjust the conveyor so that little piece didn’t fall off in the first place.” The family-owned Calgary Italian Bakery has recently worked with Enviro-Stewards to reduce waste at its southeast Calgary facility, and has adopted several recommendations.

In that plant, Taylor noticed that buns were sticking in some baking pans and had to be yanked free, crushing them and rendering them unsellable. Taylor traced the sticking issue back to the pans themselves. They needed refinishing so their non-stick glazes could be replenished. The amount of waste decreased immediately. Louis Bontorin, V.P. of Sales and Administration for Calgary Italian Bakery Ltd., was shocked to discover that these particular baking pans had been creating 7% waste. “We started to teach our team, saying, ‘If you see a pan that has an issue, put it to the side,’” says Bontorin. “Then we can assess and evaluate if that pan needs to go for re-glazing.” The Enviro-Stewards Audit also found Calgary Italian Bakery could save thousands each year by changing its lights to more energy-efficient versions. Bontorin says the audit also revealed just how much heat and energy was being wasted in lengthy preheating times. “Out of convenience, supervisors will come in in the morning and go, ‘click

click click’ and start all the equipment. But it may be two and a half hours before the person at the end of the packaging line gets the bread.” The answer was to break the habit and specify that ovens and other equipment only needed about 20 minutes to warm up. “It’s the system we’re trying to change, not people,” says Taylor. “It’s not any one person’s fault, but if we have a better system, it’s better for all of us, and we have more secure jobs; it’s better for society if food ends up being eaten instead of becoming waste.” Alberta’s food processing industry agrees. The organization is championing the reduction of industrial and food processing waste to its 200 members. “Reducing food waste is a very important topic in the food processing industry across Canada,” states Ted Flitton, Director of Sustainability and Communications for the Alberta Food Processors Association. “The world’s population is growing quickly, yet the amount of land available for cultivation is shrinking. In addition, weather events are more frequently impacting food production, and, ultimately, food processing.”

more sustainable in the future. Bontorin envisions excess heat and moisture from the baking process being used to heat greenhouses that could be added to the building’s roof, where the bakery could grow herbs for its bread. “We’ve actually had a conversation with a couple of greenhouse operators, trying to figure what that would look like.”

Eyes on the earth – grocers do their part for planet Food waste happens at all levels of the human food chain. From bycatch in a fisherman’s net, all the way down to food that sits uneaten in our fridges at home, all that waste adds up. As the food production industry is doing something about it, so too is the grocery industry. Spud.ca, the online grocer that offers delivery in Calgary, is on a mission to be Canada’s most sustainable grocery chain. “We did an audit of ourselves to understand where we were at with our food waste. It’s quite frightening when you look at how much food is being wasted out there and how empty the food banks are,” says Arndrea Scott, the Director of Marketing at spud.ca.

Flitton cites one successful example of cutting industrial food waste in Calgary, an initiative undertaken by Calgary Italian Bakery and Village Brewery. Used grains from the brewing process are diverted from becoming waste, and instead turned into Beer Buns, sold at Calgary Co-op stores.

Spud started with an audit, which found they were only losing about .05% of their produce to spoilage. So they were already throwing out far less than some grocery stores, which see an average of 10% fresh produce loss, according to a 2014 study by the US Department of Agriculture. (Consumer produce waste by comparison runs about 21%.)

“We actually use the spent grains as one of our ingredients. It’s a partial replacement for some of the flour,” explains Bontorin.

https://www.ers.usda.gov/webdocs/ publications/43833/43679_eib121_ summary.pdf?v=41817

Even the Calgary Stampede has joined the push, and this year initiated a “food recovery program.” The Stampede invited LeftOvers Calgary to pick up excess food from the Midway and Stampede breakfasts and donate it to places like the Drop-In Centre and the Calgary Foodbank. A team of volunteers collected – or as LeftOvers Calgary calls it, “rescued” – more than 2,400 kilograms of food from the 2017 event. Since working with Enviro-Stewards, Calgary Italian Bakery has kept thousands of kilos of waste from the landfill monthly, and has instead found better, more sustainable options. “In the ‘70s, my dad used to have farmers come and pick up a lot of our scrap and use it for feeding the animals,” says Bontorin. “So we went back to our roots and actually found a farmer who comes and picks up the organic waste. So we now don’t send it to the landfill.” While diverting food waste from the landfill is a huge step, Bontorin isn’t done yet. He and his team are dreaming up ways to make the bakery even

Available at: Amaranth, Blush Lane, Bridgeland Market, Sobeys and Safeway



Spud has also taken up the cause of so-called “ugly” produce. Blemished, misshapen or off-size fruit and vegetables are offered at a discount. Apples that are too small for a store might be perfect for juicing, and gnarled carrots might have a future as soup instead of sticks. Spud also touts delivering groceries to customers’ homes each week as being better for the planet. “When the van pulls up, it’s delivering to 75 homes. So that's instead of 75 car trips to the grocery.” When it comes to the bricks and mortar stores, those grocers, too, are trying to do better for the planet. Some Co-op locations donate food that may be close to expiring to local food banks. Food that can’t be served is returned to the earth. “All our organic material that is deemed non-sellable goes into our compost program; both packaged and unpackaged items,” says Rob Morphew, Health, Safety and Environment Director at Co-op. ✤ Erin is a Calgary TV producer and freelance writer. Check her web site ErinLYYC.com.




STIRRINGS AROUND CALGARY Subscribe at citypalate.ca and you could win great prizes from our wonderful advertisers!

restaurant ramblings n Vin Room Mission and Vin Room West continue with Jeans and Jazz nights every Saturday night from 8-11 pm. No cover charge. Come as you are and support local artists. Reservations recommended. Visit vinroom.com for more details. n Paddy’s Barbecue and Brewery opened in December and is a part of the Sorrenti’s Catering family. Located in the light industrial area of Manchester at 3610 Burnsland Rd. SE, Paddy’s brewbecue is home to small batch craft beers and southern-style barbecue. With small batch brewing, freshness is a focus and eight house beers are featured along with two guest brews. The tasting area overlooks the brewery, and the restaurant features seating for 40 guests with family-style tables. The barbecue is prepared fresh daily and offers weekly features, and is family-friendly with takeaway options. Check the website for current hours at paddysbrewbecue.com




EXPRESS LUNCH Two courses $20 | Three courses $25 PRIX FIXE DINNER Wednesdays and Thursdays Three courses $30


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n The Guild’s chef Ryan O’Flynn has introduced new seasonal and great-looking dishes to the menu, showcasing rich, comforting flavours and focusing on the fine art of butchery that he specializes in – Dry-Aged Bone-In Meatballs with beef glaze, smoked blue cheese and toasted walnuts; Hunter-Style Salt Cod with spiced tomato velouté, mixed mushrooms, cipollini onion and crushed new potatoes; Half Peking Duck cured in birch syrup, with wild rice, ale and sea buckthorn ponzu; Prairie Paella with west coast octopus and clams, housemade bacon, applewood-roasted chicken, smoked black barley, chickpeas and red rice. Chef O’Flynn’s food is always adventurous and delicious – we all need some. AND we’ll need some new seasonal cocktail creations served in The Guild and Sub Rosa, known for crafting cocktails that add modern flair to traditional favourites, such as Autumn Leaves with Bulleit bourbon, pineapple, caramel and Peychauds bitters and Brandy by the Fire with warm apple brandy and maple syrup that add a festive twist to a classic Sazerac. Cranberry Yule is a twist on Moscow Mule, with a blend of cranberries soaked in sweet Italian

almond liqueur, cherry bitters, vodka, dry ginger beer, fresh lime and maple syrup! Bring it on! n Teatro Group now has a universal gift card! Whether you’re wanting a baguette from Alforno, Eggs Benny at Vendome or a cocktail at Royale, this one card can do it all! Available for purchase online at teatrogroup.ca/gift-cards or at any of its seven properties. n Goings on at the Smuggler’s Group restaurants: Smuggler’s Inn serves a great brunch every Saturday and Sunday, 9:30 a.m. 2 p.m. and offers special gathering meal help with Prime Rib to Go, Full & Half Roast meal packages; Open Sesame offers meatless Mondays where you can enhance your stir-fry with a meatless add-on at no extra charge – tofu for market, mushu wraps, lettuce cups or naan bread, $7 Martini Mondays, Tuesday is $2 off Markets, Wednesday, 30% off apps and $5 tallboys, Thursday 1/2 price bottles and glasses of wine; Bolero offers Monday Buck A Shuck and $7 glasses of prosecco, Thursday wine night free corkage and 50% off wines, Friday sangria $6 glasses and $24 pitchers, Sunday brunch 10 a.m.2 p.m., $5 caesars and mimosas; Tango Bistro, Monday Buck a Shuck, $7 glasses of Blanquette and free corkage, Tuesday, Raw Bar happy hour and green hour, 1/2 price glasses of wine, $2 off all cocktails, $5 pints and bottles of beer, Wednesday wine night, half price glasses of wine, Thursday beer night, $5 draft and bottles, Raw Bar happy hour and green hour every day from 4:30-6 p.m. and 9 p.m. until close. n River Café reopens February 1 after the annual winter holiday for repairs, maintenance and culinary inspiration. Enjoy skating on the lagoon, a winter walk in the park, and chef Matthias Fong’s acclaimed tasting menu, available daily at a special Friends and Family rate of $85 per person every day through February (except Valentine’s). Come Sunday evening and bring your own wine, corkage free. Visit river-café. com for details. Fine dine on a dime. River Café offers an Early Bird menu daily from 4:30-5:30 p.m. throughout the year. Just a romantic walk in the park to River Café on Valentine’s Day continued on page 26

city palate




Dry sherry


Hit the shore like a wave

10 Small pickle 11 Ouzo flavouring 12 Is located






6 8


15 Aesthetics 16 Grouper or seabass


18 Beans 19 Eat out



13 ____ delight, delightful dessert

20 Motorhome 21 Calgary chef that won Top Chef Canada, 2017 – last name


22 Controversial refrigerant


25 Coffee break snack

14 16




29 Beetle that is believed to have produced manna, special food in the Bible





26 27



PLAY TO WIN The first puzzle that comes in successfully completed will receive a delicious collection of gift certificates! Scan and email your completed puzzle by January 31, 2018, to Kathy Richardier at kathy@citypalate.ca

27 Chapter of history 28 Cleaned


19 20

26 Kidney bean


Type of pasta, 2 words


Brunch order

3 ____away 4

French cookies that look a little feline? 3 words


It’s famous for its king crabs


Meat and vegetable stews


Restaurant booking website, ____ table


Top grades

14 Italian bacon 16 Iced 17 Towel stitching 18 “The”– in Quebec 22 Drink served with marshmallows 23 Ginger cookie 24 Soft cheese 25 Last word of a soda brand




continued from page 24

featuring a multi-course tasting menu with perfectly paired wines. Book online now at river-café.com. Reservations are essential. n Find River Café and Deane House at The Bash (Calgary’s boutique wedding show), January 20 and 21, for full details on two of Calgary’s most spectacular wedding venues. Tickets available at thebash.ca. n The Deane House invites you to toast to love on Valentine’s Day with chef Jamie Harling’s seasonal multi-course tasting menu, $100, and optional wine pairings. Reserve at deanehouse.com. And check out the 2018 library series with local brewmasters, visiting winemakers, and Inglewood neighbours, for an intimate evening of food, drink and nightcaps. Dates and ticket details on the web site. Happy Hour at the Tenement bar, 4-6 p.m. daily, offers discounted wine and beer with bites from the bar menu and cocktails by mixologist, Jeff Savage. Sundays are corkage free, so bring your best bubbles for a morning mimosa or a Bordeaux to savour over supper. Fresh Bread Fridays offer freshly baked red fife sourdough and soudough baguettes available for purchase every Friday for $5 per loaf. Yum! n Scopa Neighbourhood Italian, Lina’s attached restaurant is now serving brunch on the weekend, Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Go eat really good food and lots of it at the right time of day for lots of good food! drinks docket

n Mill Street Brewery’s Winter Mix Pack seduces beer lovers with all-time favourites Tankhouse Ale, Original Organic Lager, West Coast IPA, and 100th Meridian Organic Amber Lager, alongside the new Makani Pineapple IPA and a new, amped-up release of the beloved Imperial Coffee Porter, exclusive to the Winter Mix Pack. Mill Street brought back the Imperial Coffee Porter, a special collaboration with Distillery District neighbour Balzac’s Coffee Roasters, to help bring a taste of Toronto’s Distillery District to beer lovers across the country. Brewed with Balzac coffee beans, this coffee porter offers comforting flavours of roasted coffee, dark chocolate, roasted barley, and caramel undertones with a newly impressive 7.0 % ABV to help keep you warm during those long winter nights. Visit the Mill St. Brewpub at 219 -17


Ave. SW and get your Winter Mix Pack – as well as Pineapple IPA on draught. Also found at Co-op Wine Spirits Beer, Safeway Liquor and Liquor Depot. n And, speaking of what beer lovers love to drink, there’s always Big Rock’s Traditional Ale (Trad), one of Big Rock Brewery’s first offerings when it opened over 30 years ago. The recipe hasn’t been altered since – for good reason. People love it exactly as it was originally made, with its base of prairiegrown barley, with a flavour profile of coppery English-style brown ale with toasty malt and sweet caramel flavours up front, finishing with a nutty taste, medium creamy carbonation and mild hop bitterness. Bring on the Trad! n Our backyard Eau Claire Distillery introduces Alberta’s first single malt whisky, a limited release, a farm to glass whisky that encapsulates the best of Alberta – blue skies, mountain fresh water, malted barley and entrepreneurial spirit! Check it out at eauclairedistillery.ca. n Get yourself some good Red Rooster wines to get you happily through the winter. The Red Rooster lives on the Naramata Bench in the Okanagan, a great Canadian wine making area. n Ben Put, Monogram Coffee, won the 2017 Canadian Barista Championship for the fourth time and represented Canada in the World Barista Championship in Seoul, Korea in November. The newly formed Canadian chapter of the Specialty Coffee Association hosted the competition where Calgary baristas were awarded all top five spots – Monogram’s Jill Hoff placed 4th. cooking classes n SAIT’s downtown Culinary Campus: Introduction to Cooking, Jan. 8 Feb. 5; Date Night, Jan. 12; Pasta, Jan. 17; Vegetarian, Jan. 23; France, Feb. 7; Winter Stews, Feb. 13; Intermediate Cooking, Feb. 26 - Mar 19. SAIT’s Main Campus: Cooking with Cheese, Jan. 31; Sushi, Feb. 2; Baking Cakes, Feb. 3; Bean to Bar, Feb. 10; Curry, Feb. 23; Butter Cream Basics, Feb. 24; Fish Cookery, Feb. 28; Cooking Boot Camp, May 29 - June 1; Desserts and Confections Boot Camp, May 29 - June 1. The Tastemarket by SAIT: Cooking for Your Health, Jan. 17-31; Date Night at The Tastemarket, Feb. 14. Visit culinarycampus.ca for details and more courses.


n At The Cookbook Co. Cooks: A Night Out Couples Class, hands-on, January 12; Grown-Up & Kids Class, hands-on, children 8+, January 13, 10 a.m. 12:30 p.m.; Thai Classics, hands-on, January 13, 2 4:30 p.m.; A Bowl of Goodness Soups and Stews, hands-on, January 14, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; Tagines Stews from Morocco, hands-on, January 14, 2-4:30 p.m.; Handmade Pasta Linguine, Tagliatelle and More, hands-on, January 17; Make & Take Perogies, Sweet and Savoury, hands-on, January 20, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; Risotto and Prosecco Fast Foods, Fast Friends, hands-on, January 20, 2-4:30 p.m.; Get Them in the Kitchen! Kids’ Cooking (8+), hands-on, January 21; Italian Comfort Food From Cotto, demonstration class with Giuseppe Di Gennaro, Cotto owner and chef, January 22; Food & Wine from our Travels to the South of France (the Languedoc) with Karen Ralph on the wine front and Gail Norton and Judy Wood on the food front, demonstration class, January 24. Visit cookbookcooks. com for more classes and registration. n The Light Cellar offers educational experiences to enlighten culinary abilities and expand perceptions about food and nutrition. Learn the art and craft of fermentation, chocolate making, elixirs, gluten-free and more – a variety of classes to help you upgrade your health and nutrition know-how in fun and easy ways. Check thelightcellar.ca for class listings and registration. general stirrings n Cappuccino King is opening its first caffè in the northwest Crowfoot Co-op store. Drop in to find authentic Italian snacks and aromatic Cappuccino King coffee pulled on an Elektra Indie espresso machine. Chef Richard Bywater has created foods reminiscent of the quality bites you might find in the great caffès of Italy. Or recharge with CK’s Peter Izzo’s nitro cold brew, as it’s one of the few places in town you can sample this satisfyingly textured beverage. If Crowfoot isn’t your Co-op store, other caffès will be opening in other Co-op stores. n If you ever get an invite for one of the Secret Suppers at Forage Foods in Marda Loop, clear your calendar and go! It’s an opportunity to unplug from your smartphone (no tweeting, photos or using your phone in any way is allowed) and meet some interesting people while indulging in some amazing food and wine. Wade Sirois, chef and owner, has been bringing people together at his long table for a few years now and, trust us, it’s a great experience. If you know someone who has been, be really nice to them and maybe they will bring you as their guest next time! foragefoods.com n Le Creuset introduces its new product that will be available March 1st

– Toughened Nonstick Cookware that features elegant design in a line that is safe and easy to use. There are 26 pieces and two sets available exclusively at Le Creuset Boutiques. Check it out at LeCreuset.ca. n Piece on Peace Boutique, at Spruce Centre on Spruce Drive, is a very cool place with lots of perfect products, such as beautiful Japanese dishcloths. Kaya Dishcloths are traditionally used to wipe tables and bench tops in Japanese homes. They are made of coloured rayon using a traditional weaving technique and measure 12”x12”. The multilayer weave increases water absorbency and durability. The textured surface allows for better cleaning and it dries really quickly so it doesn’t get stinky. n The newly opened Horse Creek Heritage Candy and Gifts in Cochrane, next to MacKays Ice Cream, is a great concept with hundreds of different types of candy, as much as possible Alberta-sourced. The owner also has a section dedicated to the candy of many people’s youth – from wartime to present day. Plus, Alberta-made artisanal crafts, too, like hand-carved scarf rings and wooden cutting boards, and much more. Visit horsecreek.ca to see it all, then go check it out in person! n Mountain Rhino Donuts has now moved into the Market on Macleod full-time, Thursday to Sunday 9 a.m.5 p.m. The celiac community is going nuts over the gluten-free donuts. They are the best in the world at the moment, Mountain Rhino thinks! Guess it’s time to check it out. n Canada’s largest foodservice trade event returns to the Enercare Centre in Toronto, February 25-27. It’s all about the new ideas, products and services that are changing Canada and the world’s culinary landscape.This year’s theme is Innovation Unleashed, focusing on the best of what’s new in taste, trends and technology with content that encapsulates everything from where and how we source ingredients to what the future of food will look like. Details and attendance information at rcshow.com n Don’t miss the Calgary Renovation Show, January 12-14 at the BMO Centre at Stampede Park. Check in with HGTV Canada’s Sarah Richardson on The Main Stage, and the stunning 1,000 sq. ft. Renovation Home by Wicket Blue Interriors, plus more than 200 home improvement companies – everything to make your home goals happen. More information and tickets at calgaryrenovationshow.com and save $3 on regular adult admission when ordering online.

Help us Find Calgary’s Best Hot Chocolate

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8 quick ways with...

by Chris Halpin


I love to drink pots and pots of tea. However, caffeine can be a problem for me so, about a year ago, I started to play with my own tisane blends. I wanted them to be full flavoured and satisfying, just like the black and green teas I love. I use loose-leaf ingredients and purchase the sachet pouches (tea bags) separately from David’s Tea, Community Natural Foods and The Light Cellar. In this way, I have more control over the freshness and quality at a much-reduced cost. If you opt for this too, the rule of thumb is 1 t. of ingredient for each sachet. Soothing Evening Tisane I find this to be very comforting, yet still full-bodied. Into a large teapot put 2 chamomile sachets, 2 slices fresh ginger and 2 slices fresh turmeric. Fill the pot with boiling water and steep for 4 to 6 minutes before consuming. Makes 1 teapot.

Rejuvenating Ice Tea


This tastes just like black tea, it’s good hot, but I love ice tea. I always have a pitcher of this in my fridge. In fact, I’m drinking some right now. In a 2 litre heat-proof pitcher put 2 sachets of each – hibiscus, rosehip, lemon balm – and 3 cardamom pods. Fill with water that’s just about to boil. Let it cool to room temperature before refrigerating. Makes 1 pitcher.

The world of tea and tisanes is seemingly endless. I have just recently started to explore the concept of using them the same way as I would use any other herb. Here is some of what I have come up with. Earl Grey and Mint Lamb Chops

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The earl grey bridges perfectly with the mint and parsley. Wow! Into a bowl put 1 t. earl grey tea, 1/4 c. fresh mint, finely chopped, 1/2 c. fresh parsley, finely chopped, 2 garlic cloves, crushed, 1/4 c. olive oil, 1 t. each pepper and salt and mix well. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Pat evenly onto a lamb rack and arrange on a baking pan. Place in the oven and roast for 15 minutes for rare or longer to suit your preference. Remove from the oven and let rest 5 minutes before slicing into chops. Serves 4.

Lapsang Souchong Glazed Pork Tenderloin Lapsang souchong is a smoked tea that has fruity overtones, making it perfect for pork. This tea can be a little tricky to find. I buy mine at The Light Cellar. In a bowl, put 1/4 c. liquid honey, 1 garlic clove, crushed, 1 t. chile flakes, 1 t. lapsang souchong and a pinch of cloves. Mix well. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place 1 large pork tenderloin on a baking sheet, rub with 1 T. canola oil and sprinkle with salt. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. With a spoon, liberally smear the glaze over the pork and return to the oven. Roast for 5 minutes more, then repeat to give it another coating. Return to the oven for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, slice and spoon some of the glaze over the pork. Serves 2 to 4.

Oolong Mushroom Soup, with a Chèvre Crouton and Matcha Salt The oolong opens the earthy flavours of the mushrooms and makes the broth richer. In a pot, put 2 T. olive oil and place over medium heat, add 2 c. cremini mushrooms, sliced, 1 leek, thinly sliced, 1/2 t. ground sage, salt and pepper to taste. Sauté for about 5 minutes, then add 4 c. beef stock, 1 potato, peeled and grated and 1 sachet of oolong tea. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, then remove the tea bag and simmer another 10 minutes. While this is simmering, take 1 slice of dark rye bread and toast it, then cut into 4 triangles and smear each with some chèvre. When the soup is ready, spoon it into 4 bowls, place a crostini in the centre and sprinkle with matcha salt. Serves 4.

Matcha Green Tea Salt I use this as a garnish or finishing salt for salad and the like. I prefer Diamond Crystal kosher salt as it powders easily. In a bowl, put 1/2 c. salt and 1/4 c. matcha tea. With your fingers, rub them together until the salt powders. Store in a jar in your cupboard and see how often you find yourself using it. Makes 3/4 cup.

Chamomile, Hibiscus Poached Salmon, with Savoury Whipped Cream and Matcha Salt Hibiscus has a tangy citrus quality, while the chamomile brings in a lovely grass flavour. Savoury whipped cream is a really easy and eye-catching way to have a “sauce.” In a bowl put 2 c. whipping cream, a pinch of salt and whisk to soft peaks. Then add 1 garlic clove crushed, 1 t. Sriracha and whisk to fully incorporate. Place in the fridge for later. To poach the salmon, in a stainless-steel pan put 5 c. water, 1 chamomile sachet, 2 hibiscus sachets, 3 garlic cloves, cut in half lengthwise, and 1 T. salt. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Place 4 salmon fillets into this and poach for 8 minutes. Remove from the pan and place on a bed of greens that have been rolled in 1 t. sesame oil and a pinch of salt. Spoon some of the cream over the centre and sprinkle with matcha salt. Serves 4.

recipe photos by Chris Halpin

Chai Posset with Mandarin Compote and Chile Threads Possets are my favourite type of pudding, they’re so easy to make and share the same delightful texture as a crème brulée without the fuss. The flavours in this compote swirl and pop. Into a pot put 2 c. whipping cream, 1 chai sachet, 1/3 c. sugar and place over medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar and bring to the boil. Allow to boil rapidly for 2 minutes before removing from the heat. Into a measuring cup, put 3 T. lemon juice and 1 T. orange juice concentrate, stir to dissolve and then stir this into the hot chai cream. Remove the tea bag and divide the chai cream into 4 ramekins and place in the fridge to chill and set, about 1 hour. Drain a can of mandarin orange segments and place in a bowl, with 2 T. Cointreau, 2 T. icing sugar and a pinch of saffron. Gently mix together and let stand at room temperature until you’re ready to serve. When you’re ready to serve, spoon some of the compote in the centre of each posset and garnish with chile threads. (These can be purchased at any Korean grocery or specialty food establishment.) Serves 4.

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Chris Halpin has been teaching Calgarians to make fast, fun urban food since 1997 and is the owner of Manna Catering Service. mannaonline.com



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Allan Shewchuk


A worldwide controversy erupted from Australia when a multimillionaire took to the television airwaves to berate millennials who were complaining that they would never be able to afford a house. Real estate mogul Tim Gurner bluntly told the whiney youngsters that if they wanted to own a home, they needed to stop going out and spending their money on avocado toast. According to Gurner, ordering smashed avocados on toasted multigrain bread at $22 a pop was the root of an entire generation’s financial woes, and that staying at home and avoiding “hipster cafés” was the magic formula for having a home. Outraged millennials, after spitting out their mouthfuls of $8 soy lattes, took to social media to excoriate the man who’d dared suggest the need for sacrifice. Many pointed to the outrageous cost of property and mocked Gurner’s proposition by saying things like, “I have done the math, and if I skip avocado toast every day and the cost of housing stays the same, I figure I will be able to save up enough to buy a starter home in about 75 years.” However, the real outrage was not about going cold turkey on what, in essence, is a guacamole bruschetta, but rather that an entire demographic group was being told that they shouldn’t go out and that they needed to economize by only ever eating at home. I know I’m a baby boomer, but still, if someone had told me that, I’d have been outraged, too. Why the outrage? Because not ever being able to go out to eat is, in my view, cruel and unusual punishment. I love to cook. I make dinner every night. I find prepping and chopping therapeutic. I have tons of recipes and a huge pantry so I can make almost anything at any time. But if my bride and I eat at home nightly for more than about a week, we find that we are into such a boring routine that our kitchen nook might as well be a cellblock at Guantanamo Bay. Everything starts to taste the same. We sit in the same places and eat off the same plates. It’s the Groundhog Day of dining. If we don’t go out for two weeks, I’m always on guard, because I half expect her to wing me in the head with her pork chop, just to break the monotony. Going out to eat doesn’t need to take us to a fancy or high-end place either, since white tablecloths usually translate into “staid” in terms of flavours or ingredients, and that really doesn’t get you out of the rut. I find it’s better to go to an ethnic joint or a food truck for cheap eats, where you can get bombarded with textures and spices and ingredients that you can’t get at home. Give me something wild like street tacos stuffed with tongue or tofu pockets with wild mushrooms drenched in hot sauce. Heck, even going to a greasy spoon for “homestyle” food does the trick. That’s because even though anyone can make an open-faced Denver at home, the old adage that “a sandwich always tastes better when someone else makes it” is absolutely true. It’s having someone else cook that is the point of going out. Life is good when someone smashes your avocado for you.




ne in

3.7 9fm




an i g r di c o o a r


Ultimately, the avocado toast attack on millennials backfired. In the aftermath, the dish suddenly popped up on menus and sales skyrocketed. One bank, in an attempt to attract a younger demographic to borrow money, ran an ad campaign about its loans that said, “Now you can have your avocado toast and eat it too!” Television commercials about financial planning now lure millennials with the promise of saving enough to be able to afford avocado toast into their golden years. The height of avocado toast mania was this past Hallowe’en, when the millionaire celebrity couple made up of NFL quarterback Tom Brady and supermodel Gisele Bundchen went to a costume party as “the world’s most expensive avocado toast,” with Gisele looking fetching as the multigrain. In the end, telling an entire generation that they should never go out to eat was one of the greatest food-related gaffes in history. It ranks with Marie Antoinette’s famous answer to being told the peasants did not have bread. If she were alive today, no doubt she wouldn’t have said, “Let them eat cake!” but would have replied, “Let them eat avocado toast!” After which, house-hungry millennials would immediately have started sharpening the blade of the guillotine. Vive le pain grillé à l’avocat!

Allan Shewchuk is a lawyer, food writer and sought-after Italian food and wine guru. He currently has kitchens in both Calgary and Florence, Italy, but will drink wine pretty much anywhere.



H V I C T O R C A R A C C I OL O h 1937



Victor shared his passion for life through his love of food, wine and hospitality. It’s with this same passion that Mama Cathy and the Mercato family will continue to celebrate treating each guest HhisImemory, hthe way Victor would T ’S G O OD —with a warm greeting, a big smile and of course, a delicious meal. So please, next time youRestaurant. raise a glass of Italian vino, think of Victor. Mthe ER C ATO Market. Take-away He would have wanted it that way. 4th Street and 23rd SW 403-263-5535 m e r c at o 2224 4th St SW


873 85th St SW

Profile for City Palate

City Palate January February 2018  

The Flavour of Calgary's Food Scene - Eat Well, Spend Less

City Palate January February 2018  

The Flavour of Calgary's Food Scene - Eat Well, Spend Less


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