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city palate T H E



C A L G A R Y ’ S



eat well spend less



WE INVITE YOU TO CELEBRATE OUR FIRST BIRTHDAY! Join us this January and February with these many guests and receive: 10 % off - up to 5 15% off - 6 to 10 20% off - 11 to 20 25% off - 20+ Complimentary Brazilian sparkling wine after dinner

Now available 50-seat private room

521 10 Avenue SW Calgary, AB (587) 354-3441 Check our website for details


@ eatpampayyc














Sundays from 10:30am-2:00pm | Fort Calgary Barracks $27 Adults / $15 Children 5-12 | Children under 5 - Free For reservations call 403 290 1875 Taxes and Gratuity Additional.

Market Seafood Check out our great selection of fresh fish, seafood, crab cakes, salmon burgers and lots more! CALGARY’S TOP CHOICE FOR SEAFOOD

Cozy Up To The Market ★ OPEN ALL YEAR ROUND Thursday – Sunday 9am – 5pm ★ We’re just off Blackfoot and Heritage Specialists in all manner of spices, herbs and seasonings from around the world.






Behind every happy couple is a great Florist

Thanks to irrigation


The natural choice.


At The Market

Pasture raised & naturally fed.

• family owned and operated • focused on quality and taste

Learn more about irrigation at the Calgary Farmers’ Market or visit: thankstoirrigation.ca

Visit us in Rosemary, Alberta www.spraggsmeatshop.com

city palate editor Kathy Richardier (kathy@citypalate.ca)

brazilian barbecue

publisher Gail Norton (gail@citypalate.ca) magazine design Carol Slezak, Yellow Brick Studios (carol@citypalate.ca) contributing editor Kate Zimmerman contributors Karen Anderson Shelley Boettcher Jennifer Brigden Tom Firth Chris Halpin Regan Johnson Ellen Kelly Pierre Lamielle Karen Ralph Allan Shewchuk Julie Van Rosendaal Kate Zimmerman contributing photographers Karen Anderson Regan Johnson for advertising enquiries, please contact advertising@citypalate.ca

we hardly look our age. Ten years, two restaurants, countless pounds of picanha, and we don’t feel a day over nine and a half. Thank you, Calgary and Canmore, for a decade of support.

account executives Ellen Kelly (ellen@citypalate.ca) Liz Tompkins (liz@citypalate.ca) Janet Henderson (janet@citypalate.ca) prepress/printing CentralWeb distribution Gallant Distribution Systems Inc. The Globe and Mail website management Jane Pratico (jane@citypalate.ca) Cover artist Pierre-Paul Pariseau is an award-winning Montrealbased artist and illustrator, with an international following. He also exhibits his work regularly. Find him at pierrepaulpariseau.com. City Palate is published 6 times per year: January-February, March-April, May-June, July-August, September-October and November-December by City Palate Inc., 722 - 11 Avenue SW Calgary, AB T2R 0E4


100 5920 Macleod Trail SW phone:403.454.9119

Subscriptions are available for $48 per year within Canada and $68 per year outside Canada.


629 Main Street phone:403.678.9886

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Editorial Enquiries: Please email kathy@citypalate.ca For questions or comments please contact us via our website:

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24 n Great Places to Eat Well, Spend Less

Some of our favourite foodies know where to go

26 n A Toast to Calgary’s Coffee Roasters

Dinner just got easier.

For coffee lovers on the hunt for all things local Jennifer Brigden

28 n How To Make A Great Cup Of Coffee

Italian fast food.

The art of making the perfect cup at home Shelley Boettcher

30 n Coming back... after the weather has kicked you in the teeth

The Block Kitchen and Lounge is one of many Shelley Boettcher

32 n Welcome to Baku, Azerbaijan

Pull up a pomegranate and stay a while Kate Zimmerman

34 n City Palate’s Culinary Crossword

Play to Win!


9 n word of mouth

Notable culinary happenings around town

11 n eat this

What to eat in January and February Ellen Kelly

12 n drink this

The beers of winter Tom Firth

14 n get this

Must-have kitchen stuff Karen Anderson


16 n great finds

Unimarket Latin Foods and Native Tongues Taqueria Regan Johnson

18 n one ingredient

Carrots Julie Van Rosendaal

20 n feeding people

The Mother of Vinegars Karen Ralph

Bring water to boil. Add salt and ravioli, stirring often for 20-25 minutes.

Lemon Curd with Ellen Kelly

In a preheated pan, sauté sausage with olive oil. Once meat is browned, add sauce and simmer.

36 n stockpot

Stirrings around Calgary

When ravioli is al dente, remove from water and place into sauce, stirring gently to coat pasta.

37 n kids can cook

Pirate’s Pudding with Berried Treasure Pierre Lamielle

Top with grated cheese.

40 n 7 quick ways with...

Salt Ontario Jumbo Ravioli (Meat or Cheese) Hot or Mild Italian Centre Shop Sausage Extra Virgin Olive Oil Menu Pomodorino Sauce Grated Parmigiano Reggiano


22 n the sunday project

1 Tbsp. 1 Bag 1 Pkg. 2 Tbsp. 1 Can To taste

Pineapple Chris Halpin

Buon Appetito!

42 n back burner... shewchuk on simmer Cover artist Need a bio Let’s all lose it Allan Shewchuk


city palate


city palate

Willow Park 9919 Fairmount Drive SE italiancentre.ca @italianctrYYC | 403-238-4869



y! . da ed to it er lim st s gi g i Re atin Se

Thank you for helping me on my journey as a woman, rancher, mom and human. All the speakers were amazing and relevant in so many ways. - Holly L., Didsbury, Alberta, AWC Delegate

Local celebrities, live music and amazing hors d’oeuvres from the city’s finest restaurants

Saturday, April 16, 2016 Doors at 6:30pm Willow Park Wines & Spirits 10801 Bonaventure Dr SE

Tickets $100 NEW THIS YEAR! Tickets include ALL hors d’oeuvres and beverage pairings!

Capitalize on your opportunities and reap the benefits of your growth! Learn how to reach your full potential! Join women from Ag and related businesses as they reveal the secrets to their success. Attend in Calgary or Toronto - or both. Early Bird and Group Rates available now. Register today! Visit advancingwomenconference.ca or phone 403-686-8407. HYATT REGENCY CALGARY, MARCH 28 & 29, 2016 FAIRMONT ROYAL YORK HOTEL, TORONTO, OCT 3 & 4, 2016



Photos by Jeff Yee

Join us for Calgary’s Famous Food Frenzy! 403-294-7402 | ATPlive.com

word of mouth


and the gold medal plates winners are ...

read these

Chef Matt Batey, The Nash and Off Cut Bar, took the gold medal at the Gold Medal Plates competition that took place in November. His dish made good use of the fruits of the sea – smoked sablefish and compressed octopus – paired beautifully with the Okanagan’s Road 13 sparkling chenin blanc. Chef Jinhee Lee, Hotel Arts’ Raw Bar, took silver and, for the first time ever, a tie between chefs Shaun Desaulniers, ChefBar, and Kenny Kaechele, Workshop Kitchen + Culture, for bronze. Tasty food all ‘round, a fun event, and a great cause supporting Canada’s Olympic athletes. Chef Batey is off to Kelowna in February to the Canadian Culinary Championship.

Fermenting is something more people are doing in their homes these days, and the fermenting folks might also be dehydrating. If that’s you, you’ll like Dehydrating at Home, Getting the best from your dehydrator, from fruit leathers to meat jerkies, by Michelle Keogh (Firefly Books, $24.95, soft cover). Like Peanut Butter and Jelly Leather, Mushroom Risotto, and even Pet Treats.

ben put wins again...

preserving the flavours

The 2015 Canadian National Barista Championships for the 3rd consecutive year. The co-founder of Monogram Coffee will represent Canada at the World Championships in Dublin in 2016. (Jon Lin Photography)

Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts – CRMR – parent company to beautiful mountain lodges, great Calgary restaurants, a game ranch and wine store, has added CRMR Kitchen to the family. Now you can recreate the CRMR dining experience in your own home. Made in small batches by CRMR chefs, the line features all-natural and locally made sauces, jams, condiments, pre-made meals, pizzas, sausages, salsas and glazes. Find these good foods at all three Second to None Meats locations: Willow Park Village, Mission and Stadium Shopping Centre. The mango and pineappe salsa, for one, is so fresh and tastes of its fruits. We like that!

lots of love for the ones you love For Valentine’s Day, Cococo Chocolatiers wants you to spoil your loved ones with love-themed chocolate, including moulded hearts filled with delectable bonbons, heart shaped lollipops and a specialty “12 Reasons I Love You” gift box that includes award-winning chocolates such as Earl Grey Tea and succulent Sea Salt Caramels. Cococo’s chocolate heart is filled with chocolates made for sharing... like kisses...

such an awfully good dog Home and Away’s Brant Lake Wagyu beef dog is one of the finest you’ll ever eat. Oh my goodness – there is hardly anything as good as a good dog, we think, and this one, beyond the wagyu beef, is tarted deliciously up with pepper jelly, Dijon aioli, fried pickled red onion and baby greens. Nip off the end sticking out of the bun to get the full delish of the wagyu beef without the delish add-ons.

such an awfully good burger In our never-ending quest for great burgers, we’ve happily come across the house-ground burger at Suzette Bistro. In keeping with Suzette’s high standards, the burger is sublime and can be ordered any way you like it, even rare! No bells or whistles, just a perfect burger. Perfect meat to house-made brioche bun ratio, the right condiments and nutty French comté cheese. And oh, those frites! Très, très bon!

such an awfully good sandwich Sidewalk Citizen’s grilled cheese sammie is one of the best things we’ve eaten in a long time. Great bread wraps up three cheeses – gruyère, aged cheddar and fior di latte – and is grilled. But the best part is that there’s a layer of almost-caramel on one of the bread sides. They put honey on it before grilling so it gets an amazing texture and taste.

a great team That clever and talented dude, Kenny Kaechele, chef and owner of WORKSHOP Kitchen + Culture, has hired our friend from Brava Bistro, Dewey Noordhof, as general manager. Score! This speaks well for WORKSHOP to have these guys team up, since both dudes are recognized for their commitment to building a world-class restaurant culture in Calgary. Check it out inside the historic Grand Theatre downtown at 608 - 1St. SW.

Who doesn’t love toast with good stuff on it? Toast, the Cookbook, by Raquel Pelzel (Phaidon, $29.95, hard cover) provides us with the most delicious toast toppings, like Cauliflower and Beer Rarebit, Crab and Avocado and Grilled Steakhouse Hanger Toast. We may never eat anything else now, just well-topped toast. Nigel Slater, author of many bestselling and awardwinning food books, has written another winner, A Year of Good Eating, (Fourth Estate, $44.99, hard cover) filled with good writing that starts, “We are not here for long, so let’s at least make ourselves something good to eat,“ month by month and season by season. On February 7, we have “A short rib feast” – slow-roast ribs with honey, anise and creamed cauliflower. In summer we have duck with apple: duck breasts, cucumber, apples, white vermouth, honey. A great read with great recipes.

looks good, tastes great We had it at Pigeonhole and were able to replicate it at home – The Greenwich Sour – Buffalo Trace bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup and red wine. We shook the bourbon, lemon and syrup and poured it into a cocktail glass. We poured the red wine into a serving spoon, sat the tip of the spoon against the glass just atop the bourbon and gently let it slide off the spoon. It works! Thanks, Pigeonhole. AND, congrats on being named the best new restaurant in Canada, 2015, by Air Canada’s enRoute magazine. Not a surprise to us!





eat this

Ellen Kelly


Mid-winter is the best time to start putting a little extra tart and tang in our everyday cooking. Enter the world of citrus – lemons, oranges, limes and grapefruit are so important and for so many reasons. It’s our good luck that, even though most basic citrus is available all year round, they’re especially bountiful and diverse now.

Illustrations by Pierre Lamielle

This is marmalade season! Seville oranges should make an appearance end of January, beginning of February. Lemons are always available, thank goodness, with Meyer lemons in season over the winter. Blood oranges and pink Cara Cara oranges contribute much-appreciated variety, not to mention a touch of the exotic. Add eggs and there’s always something good to eat, just think beyond omelets and frittatas to fruit curds, mayonnaise, aioli, hollandaise and custards.

“Maltese” or “Maltaise” denotes the use of BLOOD ORANGES in a recipe the same way “à la forestière” suggests mushrooms. Making your own Maltese mayonnaise is guaranteed to impress. Assemble 2 blood oranges, 2 large eggs, 1-1/2 c. canola oil and salt and pepper. Zest the oranges into a bowl, then squeeze the fruit and set the juice aside. Separate the eggs (saving the whites for another purpose, of course), place the yolks in the bowl and whisk vigorously. Add about 1 t. of the juice and beat again. Start adding the room temperature oil to the yolks, drop-by-drop, constantly whisking. As it thickens, increase to a thin stream of oil, but go carefully. Finish with salt, lots of fresh pepper and more juice to thin to the right consistency. If your mayonnaise should break, beat another yolk in a clean bowl, then gradually whisk in the curdled mixture. This makes a sublime chicken salad, but is equally delicious on fish.

I’d hate to have to choose between an onion and a LEMON. While both do much of the heavy lifting in the kitchen, lemons have the distinct advantage of being able to move easily from sweet to savoury. Preserved lemons, an intriguing ingredient on the savoury side, are easy to make and will add a “What’s in this?” quality to anything you add them to. Wash about 10-12 medium-sized Meyer lemons. Cut them in half lengthwise, then cut each half into three. Start with about 1 c. Maldon salt, put a little in the bottom of two 16 oz. sterilized widemouthed jars. Packing tightly, layer lemon wedges and salt. Press the lemons down and top off with salt and more lemon juice, if needed. Seal and keep the jars in a cool dark place for 30 days. Try to give them a good shake every day or so. To use, rinse the wedges and chop finely to add to chicken or a lamb stew, saffron rice, vinaigrettes, or marinades. Top the lemons in the jar with a little olive oil and refrigerate after using.

EGGS are not really seasonal, but always having them on hand means a quick meal (breakfast or otherwise), rich baked goods, or even the world’s best hors d’oeuvres are never out of reach. I’m talking about Deviled Eggs, and though they may sound a bit old-fashioned, they’re the first to go at any party. Hard cook a dozen eggs. Cover the eggs with cold water by an inch and bring to a boil. Remove the eggs from the heat, cover and leave for 11 minutes. Drain and run under cold water until cool. Peel, cut in half lengthwise and put the yolks in a bowl. Lay the halved whites on a platter and cover with cling film. Add to the yolks 1/2 c. mayonnaise, 1 T. Dijon mustard, 1 t. white wine vinegar, 1 T. finely chopped shallots, 1/4 t. Tabasco, 1/4 t. Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper and mix well with a fork. Mound or pipe into the halved whites and garnish with chopped chives, thin slices of cornichons, capers, smoked paprika and/or parsley… your choice, just make them look pretty. There are never enough, sadly.

BUY: Purchase blood oranges as you would any other citrus fruit; unblemished, thinskinned, heavy in the hand, with a sweet clean fragrance. TIPS: The fruit is slightly bitter, but less acidic than regular oranges, tasting a bit like raspberries. Depending on the variety and growing conditions, the colour of the flesh can range from pink and red, to dark burgundy. They make the best orange juice, try blood orange mimosas! DID YOU KNOW? Anthocyanins, antioxidant pigments, are responsible for the maroon colouring of blood oranges.

BUY: Lemons come in all sizes, but make sure there are no blemishes and the fruit is heavy for its size, which indicates a juicier lemon. TIPS: Wrap a zested lemon tightly in cling film to keep it from drying out. Conversely, if you’re not going to use it right away, juice it and freeze the juice. DID YOU KNOW? Cut a lemon in half, dip in salt and start cleaning those copper pots. Dip the other half in baking soda and get rid of discolouration on plastic containers. More points for the hard-working lemon!

BUY: Check the dates on the eggs you buy. Buy eggs from a source you know to be reputable. Happy chickens produce tastier eggs. Brown and white eggs taste the same; the difference is just in the breed. Brown eggs shouldn’t be more expensive than white. TIPS: Use the freshest eggs for poaching; the albumen will not be as likely to run amok in the water and you’ll have a neater looking egg. An older egg is easier to peel, as the membrane has come away slightly from the inside of the shell. Cracking the shells and letting them sit awhile in the water will also facilitate peeling. DID YOU KNOW? The shell is one of Nature’s great containers, but is still permeable. Store eggs, large end up (keeps the yolks centered) in the original carton inside the fridge away from smelly foods. If, however, you’re lucky enough to have even the smallest truffle, store it with a few eggs to make the best scrambled eggs you’ve ever had.

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



drink this

Unleash your senses,

Tom Firth


Despite what most beer commercials would have you believe, the enjoyment of beer doesn’t only happen around the pool as 20-somethings celebrate life, or as young urbanites flit from hip nightspot to rocking rooftop with 25 of their closest friends on a summer’s night. Here in Calgary, we enjoy four very distinct seasons, three of which are quite cool, 2.5 of which can be downright chilling. Naturally, in our short but typically awesome summer, crisp lagers, aromatic IPAs and a bevy of local brews are enjoyed in backyards, during summer getaways, and on any and all local patios. Once the weather turns cool enough for even the heartiest patio denizen to wear gloves and a toque, it’s time to bring the beer drinking indoors. So what makes a beer winter-friendly? Winter-friendly beers are served slightly warmer than the pilsners and light beers of summer. As always, the right serving temperature is very important when serving beer. Drinking a Budweiser (or any other commercial American-style beer) at room temperature makes it taste like what I imagine would normally pass through a camel’s urethra, served ice-cold, it takes on a semblance of balance. Wintersuitable beer is typically best served at slightly warmer temperatures to allow the greater nuances of the flavour and aroma to show through. Too cold, and your wintertime beer might taste like a cold cup of coffee with a little caramel and hops.

bolerocalgary.com 403-259-3119 6920 Macleod Trail S, Calgary, AB T2H 0L3

joIn us.

Most of the beers mentioned here could be served straight out of a cold room (like a cellar or cold storage), or chilled in the fridge and allowed to warm up slightly before pouring. Seriously, when its 20 degrees below zero outside with a soulshrivelling wind chill, why would you drink an ice-cold beer? These aren’t beers that require a smoking jacket or a roaring fireplace, but beers that call out to be enjoyed after a late hockey practice, shovelling the walk one more time before turning in, or when you just can’t decide if you’d rather stay in or go out. The cold months are also an ideal time for brewers large and small to release a seasonal beer. Seasonal beers are a perfect way for brewers to try new things, offer something else to their adherents, and even test the waters for new yearround offerings. Summer seasonals tend to be wit beers or focus on citrus flavours, while beers released in the winter months are often porters, feature cherries or chocolate, or are higher in alcohol, over 6 or 7 percent. Winter-suitable beers often have roasted or nutty flavours, which strangely enough work well with what we consider to be wintertime fare. Braised or roasted meats, savoury stews, rich sauces, and, yes, sweet or chocolaty desserts are typically good pairings with porters, stouts or hearty brews. In many cases, recipes for these types of dishes will call for the addition of a little beer in the dish – plus some for the chef, of course.

Here’s a selection of local and almost-local beers to warm you up on a winter’s day...




Wild Rose Cherry Porter (Calgary) $8 This Cherry Porter has rabid fans among lovers of locally-made beer when the snow starts to fly. Using B.C. cherries, the porter comes across a bit like a black forest cake or Cherry Blossom candy, with dense, chocolaty character, cherry “tang”, and a little espresso note to warm your soul on a cold winter’s day. Brewsters Hawaiian Coconut Porter (Calgary) $6 Porter originated as a brown ale that was aged a little longer at the brewery and released ready to drink, using darker or patent malts. In time stronger or “stouter” porters became known as stouts. Brewsters, a well-known watering hole for Albertans that serves excellent house beers, now has several offerings for the at-home beer drinker. A coconut porter is a little different, but if you’re dreaming of a Hawaiian vacation this winter, the organic coconut might just be your thing. This has wonderful espresso aromas balanced by fresh (and real) coconut nuances. Flavour-wise, look for plenty of nutty and roasted qualities, perfect for a night in. Dandy Brewing Company Golden Brown Dandy English Pale Ale (Calgary) $8 Pale ales are my go-to style of beer for most of the year. The Dandy Brewing Company is one of the most recent additions to the Calgary craft brewing scene, and all its beers are pretty exciting. Dandy’s pale ale (about 6% alcohol) features lighter carbonation, but it’s full of malty, roasted aromas, and offers a rich texture to match its beautiful flavours. As I sit here drinking it while writing this, it’s calling out for an Irish stew or something cheesy like fondue or a grilled three-cheese sandwich. Gimmie That Nutt Brown Ale (Red Deer Alberta) $9 Let’s not focus on the Eazy-E song, but on the beer that comes from the craft beer “division” of the Drummond Brewing company. It’s brewed only in cans (the Gimmie is a 4-pack). You’ll love the distinctly nutty aromas of roasted peanut and walnut, and the ale’s rich, malty character. With good fizz and a long finish that’s a little sweet, this might be the sort of beer to enjoy around a post-shinny fire.

Fair Trade. Fair Price. 22 Meal Items Under $10

Goose Island Sofie Belgian-Style Farmhouse Ale (USA) $10 Originating in Belgium, Saisons or Farmhouse ales are traditionally winter-brewed beers intended for summer consumption. This one out of the U.S. is barrel aged and features a little orange zest for flavour. The Sofie brings plenty of fizz with warm, yeasty/bready aromas and a light citrus note. The flavours are pretty clean, with 6.5% alcohol, but you’ll barely notice. It’s a beer to savour, and even to share over rich, buttery seafood. Les Trois Mousquetaires Grande Cuvée Porter Baltique (Quebec) $11 Very much a strong, dark lager, the Baltic Porter is higher alcohol (10%), rich, sweet, and black, like the darkest chocolate. Bursting with coffee, dark chocolate and some brandied cherry fruit, it’s a mouth-filling, belly-warming savoury beer. This roaring-fire beer would be a treat to enjoy with rich chocolate desserts or a selection of smoked meats or sausages.

Can’t get enough local brew this winter? Try some of these seasonal and winter-friendly pints: Big Rock – A special edition beer from Big Rock is the Dark Cherry Abbey Ale, a strong Belgian ale filled with dark and chocolate malts, spices and oodles of cherry. Something to relax with after a big snow-shovelling session. Village Brewery – The Village Woodsman, a new red ale available until about April, will suit your fireplace-sitting, flannel-wearing, beard-stroking self through the snowy months ahead. Grizzly Paw Brewing Company – Canmore’s Grizzly Paw has three seasonals in the works, a Strong Scotch Ale (the “Wee Heavy”), an India Black Lager and 2014 Barleywine, hitting shelves and taps this winter.

Tom Firth is a Calgary freelance beverage writer and consultant. Follow his tweets @cowtownwine.

Organic, Fair Trade Coffee and Tea. Locally-owned and operated in the heart of Kensington. hgcafe.ca


Opening Spring 2016


Beneath Higher Ground

BAC KIL TOAST Full Breakfast



COMING SOON! An uncompromisingly fresh breakfast and lunch menu featuring naturally-raised and locally-sourced ingredients. Served up daily in Kensington from February 2016.

Full scoop at DailyYYC.com Sausage & Egg Sandwich - Two eggs (one over easy, one over hard) Aged Cheddar, Tomato, Scallions, Spicy Aioli, Scratch made pork patty, French-Toasted bun, Served with smash fried baby potatoes. Eggs Benedict - (all served with sliced tomato) Scratch made hollandaise sauce, two soft poached eggs, choice of slow roasted ham, avocado and sprouts. Served with smash fried baby potatoes. Corned Beef Hash - House corned beef brisket, smash fried baby potatoes, roasted tomato, grilled red onion, two soft basted eggs. French Toast - Thick

slices of Brioche, French-Toasted, Served with house made fruit syrups, Seasonal fresh fruit, powdered sugar, and fresh Whipped Cream. The Full Breakfast - two eggs cooked any style, smash fried baby potatoes, fried tomato, choice of bacon, sausage, or turkey sausage patty, choice of brioche, sour dough, or whole wheat toast Bacon Steak - two slices double smoked bacon, cut ¾ inch thick, slow braised with local Black Lager and brown sugar, peppered, and seared to perfection. Served with a soft egg, smash fried baby potatoes,

house made chipotle aioli. Breakfast Burrito - Eggs, Shaved ham, ground beef, house made queso sauce, iceberg lettuce, diced tomato, scallion, sour cream, Jalapeno relish, served on Cajun fries with a side of house made hot sauce. Egg Hole Sandwich four strips of smoked bacon, aged cheddar cheese, and a soft egg embedded into each slice of toasted brioche Savage Land Salad - Spring mix / Spinach blend, Smoked Bacon, two Soft Eggs, heirloom tomato, red onion, balsamic reduction, Corned Beef Sandwich - House made corned beef,



get this the way to the heart… …is through the dishpan. Cooks dream of a Valentine to do the dishes after she has cooked up the romantic feast. It’s culinary kismet and a match made in heaven when it happens. One heart is accessed via the stomach, the other is secured via the dishpan. This Valentine’s Day, pick up these eco-friendly cellulose and cotton Kattinatt Kitchen Cloths for your sweetheart. If he doesn’t already do the dishes, he might take the hint. If he regularly does the dishes, it’ll be a nice way to show you appreciate it – straight from the heart. Kattinatt kitchen cloths, $4.99, Lina’s Italian Market

home, home… in the slow cooker Bison is so high in iron and low in fat, it has been touted as a super food. As a result, many of Alberta’s herds are now being packed off to feed the mega U.S. demand for it. Bauer Meats owners, Annette and Mike Bauer, from Torrington, Alberta, have a friend who raises bison specifically for their business. At a time when so many of our animals are roaming far from home, it’s great to have someone dedicated to keeping our indigenous species roaming “home, home on the range.” Need inspiration for cooking bison? Pick up a copy of Buffalo Girl Cooks Bison by Jennifer Bain and enjoy her roundup of flavourful recipes. Winter is a great time to enjoy bison home, home in the slow cooker. Bauer Meats Bison, various prices, Bauer Meats at The Calgary Farmers’ Market

truffle treasure hunt “Find them, find them,” the truffle dog’s master says. The dog stops and begins digging. The master moves the hound aside and finishes the job delicately with his own hands. A truffle of immense tastiness is unearthed. It’s carefully wrapped and taken home to be shaved into an omelet or to finish a risotto. If you’ve had the good fortune to experience the flavour of a fresh truffle, it lingers in your mind always. You can join The Cookbook Co. Cooks’ Gail Norton and chef Judy Wood of Meez Fast Home Cuisine in Italy for a truffle hunt on their annual Culinary Escape. Meanwhile, Pignatelli Truffle Sauce mixed with some butter and a little garlic spread on bread and carefully toasted is a great way to see what the fungi fuss is about. Pignatelli Truffle Sauce, $20.50/2.8 oz, The Cookbook Co. Cooks



Karen Anderson


gin-spiration What do you get when you mix a mason jar full of vodka with carefully selected botanicals? Gin-spiration, that’s what. Cocktails were originally concocted to hide the taste of amateur attempts at gin’s creation, but with this Botanical Gin Kit from Kent of Inglewood and The Silk Road Spice Merchant, you make flavour, not mask it. This gin alchemy kit has the highest quality juniper berries, coriander seeds, lemon and orange peel, cinnamon chips, cardamom, angelica and orris root, pink peppercorns, licorice root, lavender and grains. All you need to do is grind the juniper berries, choose your botanicals, add 750 ml of vodka and shake your boozy bottle daily for seven days. Strain, sieve and sip your sophisticated gin both with tonic and as a tonic. The Kitchen Alchemist’s Botanical Gin Kit, $30, Kent of Inglewood

memories of Orvieto A lot of TLC goes into the making of Domenica Fiore’s Olio Reserva Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Only nine percent of growers in the region are Domain Origin Protected (DOP) and this estate high in the hills overlooking Orvieto in Umbria is one of them. The soil is laden with minerals from an ocean that once covered the area five million years ago. Four types of olives (leccino, frantoio, maraiolo and canino) are grown organically. They’re hand picked as they ripen in early October, pressed and then allowed to rest for two months to reach their true flavour before blending (for year-to-year taste consistency) occurs. The flavour is robust. It’s Domenica Fiore’s philosophy that you should taste memories of the land in the oil. Perhaps it’s rated as the #1 oil in the world for its ability to awaken taste memories of Orvieto that we never even knew we had. Now, that’s good oil. Domenica Fiore Olio Reserva, $24.98/250ml, Spinelli Italian Centre Shop

exotic energy bars The taste of Going Nuts’ Coconut Cashew Butter is as exotic as southern India where 90% of the world’s commercial cashew crop originates. The lacy sprawling cashew bushes grow alongside towering coconut palms and jungles full of ginger plants. Make these Exotic Energy Bars with a little candied ginger and local granola from Highwood Crossing or Sidewalk Citizen. Stir 1 c. Coconut Cashew Butter with 1/2 c. honey and 1/2 c. coconut oil over low heat in a saucepan until melted and smooth. Remove from heat; stir in 2 c. granola, 1/2 c. each chopped toasted cashews, diced candied ginger and shredded coconut, plus 1 t. vanilla and 1 c. white chocolate or butterscotch chips. Press into a 7x10x2-inch pan and refrigerate until set. Cut into bars or squares to serve and enjoy this tropical treat. Coconut Cashew Butter, $8/300 g, Going Nuts at the Calgary Farmers’ Market Karen Anderson is the owner of Calgary Food Tours.



great finds


t o H s s o Cr ns Bu

Where is Richard Ospina’s favourite place to get a taco in Calgary? The owner of Unimarket Latin Foods doesn’t discriminate, but, he says, “I’ve been to Native Tongues Taqueria three times in the last few weeks.” Quite the endorsement, because it’s fair to say that after opening Unimarket in 2007 and overseeing its operations for the past eight years, Ospina knows a thing or two about fresh Central and South American flavours. The business started small as a market for imported products, but has grown over the years to now include a bakery, a deli counter, and a host of fresh produce that one is hard-pressed to locate elsewhere in Calgary. Now, Unimarket is one of the largest Latino markets in Canada.


In Unimarket’s capacity as a supplier to restaurants, Ospina has been able to keep a finger on the pulse of the Calgary food scene. What restaurants are now purchasing from him indicates that menus have changed with the changing attitudes of their guests. Ospina is certain Calgarians have become far more adventurous eaters than they were when Unimarket first opened. Once, he says, there was little market in Calgary for menu items that listed ingredients like cassava, a Latin American root vegetable, or nopales, cactus pads endemic to Mexican cuisine. Now, not only are Calgarians willing to enjoy Latin American food at restaurants – they’re excited to try cooking it at home. In fact, Ospina credits import businesses like Unimarket for aiding this change in perspective. “Ten years ago, nobody was importing these foods. Now the ingredients are available.” Though many groceries now carry the same wide variety of peppers one can find at Unimarket, Unimarket carries even more niche ingredients than cassava or nopales. In particular, Ospina mentions maguey leaves, which are used to make mixiotes, a dish where meat is slow-roasted, then wrapped in maguey leaves. He also has fresh aloe vera. No need to spend money on a bottle of aloe juice at the gym. Ospina puts it in his morning smoothies, citing its health benefits for the stomach, but it seems a good thing to have around in the summer in case of too much time spent in the sun. Beyond the fresh produce, Unimarket has a wide collection of products from all over Latin America, from Mexico to Brazil. An entire rack of shelves is devoted to hot sauces and glittering bottles of Mexican sodas come in every colour. There’s a rack at the end of one shelf that has mole sauce – by the gallon. In the end, it comes back to the idea of authenticity in regional cuisine. Many recipes offer substitutes for hard-to-find ingredients, but taking the time to track down the real thing is often the difference between decent and delicious.




“If you’re planning to cook a very authentic recipe, we can help,” Ospina says. “We’re a little part of South America, in Calgary.” Unimarket South 128 - 50th Ave SE, 403-255-4479 Unimarket North 2405 Edmonton Tr NE, 403-984-3373

Regan Johnson


I asked Cody Willis – founder and co-owner of Native Tongues – a silly question. Why tacos?


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“Tacos are just fun,” he says, with a laugh. “Fun to eat, fun to share. Tacos are for anytime – they’re always appropriate.” He could get that printed on a T-shirt and make a mint from Calgarians these days, because Calgary loves tacos.

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It wasn’t always tacos for Willis, who entered the restaurant industry at age 14. His rise to co-owner of Native Tongues came by way of a few stops, including a year spent bartending in London and a diploma from the International Sommelier Guild. He attended culinary school in Stratford, Ontario, and spent time touring Toronto taquerias and taking inspiration where he could.

• Half hour drive to the Mediterranean sea, Narbonne and historic Carcassonne, two minutes to the beautiful Canal du Midi

And that’s how Calgary came to know Willis’s take on the taco, when he returned after graduation. With the seed of Native Tongues in his mind, he made a name for himself running pop-up taco events around town. What were those tacos like compared to what’s on his menu now?

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“Abstract,” he says, smiling, and then admits, “Chef-y. I was straight out of school.” Anyone who’s eaten at Native Tongues can testify that nowadays, that’s no longer the case. In fact, authenticity is its motto every day, from the ingredients, to the wood-fired ovens, to the handcrafted tortillas. So what changed? “I went to Mexico,” he says. Mexico inspired him, and members of his team – including bar manager Samantha Casuga and acting chef de cuisine Ryan McNamara – into changing their vision for Native Tongues, which was still under construction. Travelling in Oaxaca inspired Willis to lay down his ideas about chef-y tacos and, instead, focus on bringing the rich culinary roots of Mexico back to Calgary, with as much authenticity as possible. Willis’s favourite thing on the menu right now is the Barbacoa de Cordero, which utilizes the traditional barbacoa slow-roasting method on the untraditional cut of lamb neck. The NT Burrito is also on his mind, an offering available only through the newly opened takeout window. The menu describes it as “fully loaded” and Willis says it’s just that – decadent, compared to the delicate, if no less delicious, flavours that dominate the rest of the menu. As for the restaurant itself, the space seems authentic, too. The walls look as if there are layers of old paint peeking through, and are lined with a collection of artfully mismatched prints in artfully mismatched frames. Behind the bar, bottles share space on the shelves with a menagerie of knickknacks and curios. One, for example, I took at first glance to be an anatomical model of a liver. “It’s a lung,” Willis says, recounting a visit to a flea market in Mexico City, after which he came home with a suitcase full of décor. Eccentric, maybe, but still authentic, and one of the many reasons Native Tongues is unique to Calgary. The question really isn’t why tacos, but, instead, why not tacos.


L-R: Chef de cuisine Ryan McNamara, bar manager Samantha Casuga, and executive chef Cody Willis.

Native Tongues Taqueria 235 -12th Ave SW, 403-263-9444 Regan Johnson works at The Cookbook Co. Cooks

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one ingredient

Julie Van Rosendaal


When I was a kid, carrots were my nemesis. They were my parents’ school lunch or recess snack of choice while other kids got much-coveted (and new to the market) fruit roll-ups. Those were the days before pre-whittled, bagged baby carrots; mine were large, scrubbed but not peeled, or they were plucked from a Tupperware container of cold water in the fridge, as per late-‘70s protocol. I preferred the slender, sweet ones from a friend’s garden – we’d wipe the dirt off on our jeans and munch as we played kick the can, feeling the residual grit between our teeth. Carrots is one of those crops that have become so mainstream it’s tough to tell when they’re in season, and varietals have been reduced to primarily the bright orange kind, unknown by name, usually trimmed but occasionally for sale (at a steeper price) with their green tops still intact. If you pay attention, you’ll discover dozens of varieties beyond the grocery produce section, with taproots ranging from long and slender to short and stubby, almost turnip-like, or multi-limbed. In late summer and fall, you may come across carrots in shades of deep purple (with brilliant orange insides), yellow and white. Relieved of their greens, they’ll last well into the winter, staying crisp and sweet in a cool, dark place free of excess moisture. In the kitchen, carrots are sweet enough to take on cakes, muffins and pastries, with a flavour that’s also easily paired with hot chiles, delicate and woody herbs, fresh garlic, ginger and curry blends. When you get some good ones, they’re delicious enough to stand on their own, roasted in a hot oven or grated and barely dressed for dinner.



Scalloped Carrots and Potatoes Carrots add sweetness to classic scalloped potatoes. A mandoline is the best way to slice them thinly and evenly – use wide carrots and slice them on a slight angle so you get a broader surface area. 3 T. butter 3 T. all-purpose flour 1-1/2 c. milk 2 c. grated aged cheddar or gouda salt and freshly ground black pepper 3 c. thinly sliced thin-skinned (Yukon Gold or red) potatoes 1 c. thinly sliced carrots

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the butter and flour over medium-high heat. Whisk in the milk and bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for a minute or two, until the sauce thickens. Stir in a little more than half the cheese, season with salt and pepper and set aside. After a few minutes, stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.

Roasted Carrots baby carrots, tops trimmed extra-virgin olive oil chopped fresh rosemary salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Scrub and trim your carrots, place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, drizzle with oil and roll them around with your hands to coat well. Sprinkle with rosemary, salt and pepper and roast for 20-30 minutes, shaking the pan once or twice, until tender and starting to char at the ends. Serves as many as you like.

Layer half the potatoes and carrots in a buttered baking dish; pour half the cheese sauce over top. Repeat with the remaining potatoes and carrots, ending with the potatoes. Pour over the remaining cheese sauce and sprinkle with the remaining grated cheese. Bake for 1 hour, or until golden and bubbly and a sharp knife poked in shows the vegetables are tender. Serves 6 to 8.

Carottes Râpées (Grated Carrot Salad) Paris food writer David Lebovitz says you’ll find Carottes Râpées on café and bistro menus around the city, and charcuteries sell it by the kilo. It’s not the mayo’d, raisin-studded variety you may find at a prairie potluck, but a properly dressed mess of crunchy grated carrots – use the sweet ones, preferably those grown in late fall/early winter, when the cold nights allow their natural sugars to develop. Cilantro swapped in for the parsley would be a delicious change, or the addition of a pinch of cumin or dab of Dijon. A mound of this salad goes well beside almost anything. 3-4 large carrots, grated a handful of Italian flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped juice of 1 lemon 1-2 T. extra-virgin olive oil 1 t. sugar salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl, gently toss all the ingredients with your hands, tasting as you go, until the carrots taste just right. Feel free to add more lemon or oil, taking care to keep it very lightly dressed.  Serves 6. continued on page 39



Fresh Produce


In-store Bakery

feeding people

Karen Ralph


Specialty Foods Olive Oils Balsamics Catering

Vinegar is the versatile stalwart of the condiment world. It lifts, livens and cuts insipid or fatty flavours in soups, stews and sauces, enhances the sweetness of cooked greens and vegetables, and adds zing to marinades and salad dressings. A natural preservative, it’s an essential ingredient in hot sauces, Filipino adobo sauce, a vast array of pickles and all things sweet and sour. Its ancient history is intertwined with that of wine. From the Romans’ addition of herbs and honey to what must have been wine well on its way to becoming vinegar, to wealthy Italian women making balsamic vinegar from “mosto cotto” (cooked must), vinegar is found in kitchens around the world. Vinegar is the condiment’s condiment, a household and industrial essential, its contribution is immeasurable. Vinegar is everywhere, yet I’d never really thought about where it comes from until I agreed to take care of a friend’s “mother of vinegar” and came into possession of a sour-smelling, wine-filled, cellophane-wrapped ceramic crockpot. Like an iceberg, only the tip of the mother’s mysterious mass was visible. Assured that she was low maintenance, I was instructed to keep her warm, feed her wine dregs and drain off the vinegar approximately every two weeks. Unnecessary movement could cause flavour to be lost to oxygen, and she could drown if too much wine was added.

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Luckily, vinegar can survive and thrive in less than pristine conditions, and a shelf in my warm, dark studio seemed like the perfect place for a mother of vinegar to live a quiet, undisturbed life. I poked a hole in the plastic wrap and left her alone for a couple of weeks. When I finally removed the cellophane for a better look, I realized that the fine line between low maintenance and benign neglect had been crossed. The wine level had dropped to a third of the pot, what was left was covered in a dry looking film. I could just barely make out the mother, lurking under the surface of the brackish liquid. Instead of her natural tang, she smelled like acetone, the chemical in nail polish remover. Hoping that I hadn’t killed her, I turned to the Internet and the chapter called “Vinegar” from the book 50 Foods, A Guide to Deliciousness, by Edward Behr. The basic chemistry of vinegar was straightforward: wine or any sweet liquid capable of creating alcohol could become vinegar as long as it was exposed to air and the naturally occurring acetobacter aceti, which converts alcohol and oxygen into the acetic acid that defines vinegar.

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Discovered by Louis Pasteur, this is a benign microorganism bacterium that needs oxygen to grow and is found wherever sugar fermentation occurs. This meant that, although she’d been suffocating under the cellophane, the thin veil on the wine’s surface meant a new mother was starting to form – acetic bacteria was present. That was the good news. The bad news was that the same bacteria responsible for turning ethanol into acetic acid had swerved off into ethyl acetate territory, which was responsible for the unmistakable smell of acetone, both ruining the vinegar and possibly indicating that both the mother and the newly formed veil were dead. Returning to the scene of the crime, I tilted the pot this way and that for a better look, but, despite the low liquid level, she was elusive, slipping out of sight under the surface. Hoping that she just needed to be fed, I poured most of a bottle of wine into the crock and went back upstairs to Google “vinegar mother.” There were pages of advice from other vinegar makers, most recommending that the bad vinegar be drained off, new wine added, and the mixture be rapidly stirred by hand to oxygenate it. The mother was not to be submerged or she could drown, and hands had to be cleaned and dried to avoid contamination.

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I had just completely covered her with wine, but luckily, hadn’t touched her. After washing and drying my hands, I ran back downstairs with an empty jar and a bottle of red wine. The pot’s spigot was jammed, so I stuck my clean hand into the scungy liquid and poked a finger into the hole, squishing aside the slimy mother gunk to drain the acetone-scented wine into the clean jar, partially revealing the mother. This inanimate but living thing, self-contained in her wine-soaked world, had as much in common with the small, pale clouds floating in raw apple cider vinegar as the monster from “Alien” had with geckos. Well established – lean and liver-like in size, colour and texture, she was thick, slick, and possibly deceased. Gently lifting her out of the pot, I put her on a dinner plate. Easily a foot in diameter and half an inch thick, she weighed almost a pound. The exposed side felt like soft leather, while the underside was covered with smooth, placenta-like bumps. My hand was stained red and my nails had a disturbingly bloody looking, thick, visceral, gummy substance under them.

Carefully putting her back into the pot, I added more wine, swirled it with my hand, being careful to avoid tearing the mother but destroying the thin veil that had been forming. The aeration blew off the chemical smell, and within a couple of days, the unmistakable smell of vinegar indicated that she was alive and the bacteria were back on track. Wanting to create a vinegar with flavours reminiscent of the tannic structure, aromas and flavours of my favourite wines, I fed her with bottle dregs from Southern France. After about three weeks, the varying blends of grenache, mourvèdre, carignan and syrah had created a rustic, deep, ruby-red vinegar with strong, earthy and fruity aromas and tart, slightly tannic, mouth-puckering flavours of sour cherry and red berries. Taking the advice of veteran vinegar-maker, Gail Norton, instead of regularly draining it, I’ve left the vinegar in the pot for weeks and she’s right: it gets better and better. Making vinegar is like a cross between a science project and having a pet – anyone can do it, but it’s not as low-maintenance as you’d think. If you decide to try it, use a porous container that breathes – the mother must have access to oxygen. Avoid using or feeding her any wines that might be laden with preservatives that will inhibit or prevent the growth of the acetobacter aceti bacterium. Keep her warm. The kitchen counter is fine – nothing more complicated than that, and be prepared for a little bit of mild odour. Unlike commercial vinegar, home-made red wine vinegar is unpasteurized and uncut with water so it’s strong, and, in my case, unfiltered. Vinegar is constantly evolving, always interesting. The next time you have a half-finished bottle of wine that’s been sitting for too long, just leave it uncorked. If a veil starts to form, you’re on your way to creating your very own mother, discovering the magic of bacteria and experiencing, first-hand, the messy, authentic reality of DIY. You still might buy vinegar, but only to gloat about how superior yours is. It’s totally worth it.

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Making vinegar is easy, satisfying and fun. You can start a mother by leaving the lid off an unpasteurized vinegar, such as Bragg’s apple cider vinegar, or any natural, organic, unpasteurized vinegar available at whole foods stores like Amaranth and Community Natural. When the vinegar is exposed to air, over time, a mother will form. Put the mother into a breathable container, like a ceramic crock, never metal or glass. Add wine to the crock and leave it at room temperature, undisturbed, until it has established itself – about two weeks. Vinegar is the result of the naturally occurring acetobacter aceti, which, with the help of oxygen, converts alcohol into the acetic acid that defines vinegar. The mother is a mass of cellulose and acetic acid bacteria that will grow and expand. You can take pieces of it to share with deserving friends! One of the other important things is to NOT keep your vinegar mother concoction in your wine cellar. Everyone gravitates to that because it seems a natural thing to do, but wine corks “breathe” and storing your vinegar with your wine can turn your wine cellar into a vinegar cellar. Unless you’re sure that your homemade vinegar is more than 4 per cent acid, don’t use it for canning or pickling. This vinegar mother is turning a too-sweet moscato wine into vinegar. This is to illustrate only what a mother looks like. You would not keep her in a glass jar – this mother will go into a ceramic crock to “breathe”.

AND, if, for some reason, you need to start all over again, you can transplant your mother into a new batch of wine. Rinse her off, first, though.

When Karen Ralph, co-editor of Calgary Cooks, isn’t tending to her “mother”, she works at Metrovino.



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the sunday project

with Ellen Kelly



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Ellen Kelly

1. Ingredients

In memory of the lovely Betty Sturgess – thanks for the original recipe and many years of: Lemon Curd 4-5 large lemons, zested and juiced (You should have between 2-3 T. of zest and about 1-1/2 c. of juice) 2 c. granulated white sugar

AMPA acknowledges the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Periodical Fund (CPF) of the Department of Canadian Heritage, as well as the Government of Alberta through the Alberta Media Fund (AMF).

12 T. (3/4 c.) cold butter, cut into pieces

2. Zesting lemons

6 whole eggs plus 2 egg yolks, well beaten

Put the lemon juice, zest, sugar and butter into a stainless steel bowl set over simmering water. Make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Or you can use a conventional double boiler or bain marie. Stir until the butter is melted and the sugar dissolved.

Traditional Italian Grocer

In a separate bowl, beat the whole eggs and egg yolks really well. Temper the eggs by adding a ladleful of the hot butter/juice mixture slowly to the eggs while whisking vigorously. Then slowly pour the egg mixture into the hot mixture, again whisking all the while. (Tempering gently heats the cold eggs so that when they’re poured into the hot juice/butter/ sugar mixture they don’t “scramble.”) Continue to cook, stirring often, for 10-15 minutes or until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. It should not flow together when a finger is drawn through it. Remove from the heat, strain through a relatively fine mesh sieve and cover with plastic wrap pressed to the top of the curd to prevent a skin forming.

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Three generations of service and quality



Lemon curd can be used to fill pastry tarts topped with crème fraîche or whipped cream; it’s lovely spread between cake layers before icing; it can be folded with whipped cream to make a mousse and then served in chocolate cups with fresh berries. If you can’t quite justify eating it with a spoon, try spreading it on a piece of brioche toast. It also freezes well, just be sure to let it thaw slowly in the refrigerator. You can also pour the hot mixture into pretty jars, cool and give as hostess gifts if you can bear giving it away. Makes about 4 cups.

3. Juicing lemons

4. Breaking eggs

5. Whisking eggs

9. Eggs into the juice, butter, sugar


6. Juice into sugar in double boiler

10. The thickened curd





S O C I A L I Z E 7. Butter into juice and sugar

11. Straining the curd

8. Tempering the eggs

12. Pressing plastic wrap on top of the curd






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




ANDREW JONES, BONVIDA WINES I like these spots for great value, the quality of the food and also because the service is quite crisp. I’m often on the fly so don’t have time to linger over lunch. NATIVE TONGUES TAQUEIRA 235 - 12 Ave. SW. I enjoy everything at this Beltline venue, but I indulge in their hamburguesa. This is a serious burger that features two thin charcoal-grilled wagyu beef patties on a well-chosen bun. I like that it’s about the seasoning and flavour of the beef. Add-ons don’t rule over the main event – they complement what’s inside the bun. (I’m not big on wearing hamburger toppings each time I take a bite.) MIDORI JAPANESE CAFÉ 1054 - 17 Ave. SW. Bibimbap is a favourite and healthy sizzling rice bowl. Though a Japanese restaurant, I know there’s a Korean influence in the kitchen. The dish is packed with sticky grilled meat and fresh vegetables, with a runny-yolk fried egg on top. There’s also a small bowl of miso soup to start, which is a nice touch as we head into the chill of a Calgary winter. All kinds of great umami here. LITTLE LEBANON 3515 - 17 Ave. SW. Chicken shawarma is healthy nourishment any time. Little Lebanon is skilled at seasoning the grilled chicken and builds a seriously fantastic sandwich that’s authentic, with pickled turnip that adds a zesty crunch to each bite. MENYATAI 24 - 12 St. NW. This is a cozy nook, a Japanese ramen shop next to the Kensington Wine Market. The flavours are bold and the dishes are well prepared. I think they work hard on their broth and stock preparation. Very friendly staff. OGAM KOREAN CHICKEN 6008 Macleod Tr., SW. This little spot across from the Chinook mall makes some incredibly sticky and delicious spicy fried chicken. This isn’t a frequent stop for me, but it’s a great stop. Important liquid pairing, Asahi Super Dry. GOLDEN BELL SAIGON is in the same plaza - 6008 Macleod Tr., SW. I have no idea how this busy Vietnamese restaurant prepares food so quickly, and it’s very well prepared. The Hanoi favourite “bun cha” vermicelli bowl that features sweet and sticky char-grilled pork is exceptional. It’s $10 for a very large serving. PIO PERUVIAN ROTISSERIE CHICKEN 2929 Sunridge Way NE. Get your Peruvian cuisine fix from a great range of dishes to tempt you. It’s well worth the drive to this restaurant – the owners and staff are wonderful and the service is crisp.

PIERRE LAMIELLE, FOOD ON YOUR SHIRT, COOKBOOK AUTHOR, ILLUSTRATOR I get regular cravings for JIMMY’S A&A DELI 1404 - 20 Ave. NW. If I’m mega hungry and want something to knock me out I get a monstrous large Combo Shawarma. It’s brimming with chicken and donair meat, loads of crunchy veg and gobs of garlic sauce. Schedule a nap after. All that for $10.50 for a large combo.



ANDREA CINTULA, SMUGGLER’S GROUP With two unpredictable toddlers, we don’t tend to venture out very often, so multi-tasking is a must. We like SPINELLI’S ITALIAN CENTRE SHOP 9919 Fairmount Dr. SE, for its delicious thin-crust pizza from the in-store pizzeria, while we’re shopping for groceries. Pho at our local Vietnamese joint, HA TIEN 10, 11225 - 30 St. SW, is always a good bet, too, to get in and out fast.

#1 Spot is SUSHI BAR ZIPANG 1010 - 1 Ave. NE. We think Zipang has the best sushi in Calgary – the fish is fresh, fresh, fresh. An eclectic menu includes simmered Black Pork Belly and Panfried Lotus Root & Burdock, and aside from the usual sushi and sashimi, there are interesting daily specials. We like the basics and it’s a Friday night go-to before a movie. It’s always busy – a good sign in a sushi house – and the staff are very friendly. This is also one of our splurge places, when we’re feeling flush and adventurous. #2 Spot is VENDOME CAFÉ 940 - 2 Ave. NW. Vendome makes good food, very generous servings – two people can easily share a main course and salad, price point $12- $15. Add wine for $8 and very good desserts for $6 - $8. Budget dining with good food. When I’m looking for comfort food – turkey pot pie is the winner – a nice buzz and bright space, Vendome is a great option. Easy parking, walking and cycling, and you can stroll the ever-changing Kensington to work off the pot pie and dessert. #3 Honourable Mention is TUBBY DOG’s Tuesday Taco Night, 1022 - 17 Ave. SW. Tubby has a great selection of really good tacos for $5. The vegetarian version is the best I’ve had where tacos are the new “it” food. For me, it’s local, funky and not your usual fare. The tacos are also my go-to food for staff meetings.

ALLAN SHEWCHUK, ITALIAN FOOD INSTRUCTOR There are locations in Calgary where restaurants don’t do so well, like in the Shaganappi Plaza on 17 Ave. SW at 32 St. Maybe it was that the venerable Spiro’s was across the street. But, for whatever reason, no one seemed to make a go of it there. That is, until The Himalayan moved in. Not only has it thrived, but it’s also ranked #2 of over 3,000 places to eat in Calgary on TripAdvisor. When you go, you’ll find out why – great service, unique food, low prices. THE HIMALAYAN 3218 - 17th Ave. SW, is Nepali – a cool blend of Chinese and East Indian cuisine that provides the best tastes of both worlds. Your proud host Sanjay ensures you try something you will like and starts you off with complimentary lentil flatbreads with spicy oil that are reminiscent of pappadom. To begin, I recommend the Mo:Mo for sharing – Nepali dumplings, part potsticker, part gyoza, filled with curried meat. The Dal Bhat dinner is a traditional Nepali plate that includes a vegetarian or meat protein along with Dal (lentil soup), Bhat (saffron rice), Saag (spinach in a creamy sauce), buttered flatbread and pickled vegetables. Add coffee/tea and mango rice pudding, and the tab of $23 for this feast will leave both you and your wallet full. The best main dish is the Chau-Chau, which is a huge plate of stir-fried noodles with your choice of pork, chicken or shrimp and generous vegetables with even more generous spices. At $14, it’s enough for two people to split. The food comes out quickly, and, best of all, the wine list has been developed by the great wine-pairers at Metrovino so you don’t have to suffer from the common problem of wine being a second thought with authentic ethnic food. The Himalayan is the real deal – deal is the operative word.

YOUSEF TRAYA, BRIDGELAND MARKET, TAZZA DELI AND GRILL SUSHI BAR ZIPANG 1010 - 1 Ave. NE. It’s not your run-of-the-mill sushi place, it’s kinda like the Cheers of Bridgeland. Whenever I go there I always run into neighbours and friends, which is great fun. The quality of the food is very high – I love the green beans, the salmon in a bowl and the oysters when they’re in season. PULCINELLA 1147 Kensington Cr. NW. This is our go-to restaurant for our family. We have all our extended-family dinner gatherings here, and we have our annual staff Christmas party here as well. The margarita pizza is simple and traditional. I love it.

GAIL NORTON, CITY PALATE, THE COOKBOOK CO. COOKS I have driven by A TASTE OF BEIRUT BAKERY 3214 - 17 Ave. SW, for years. A friend of Lebanese heritage gasped in delight when he saw the name of the bakery, so we stopped to check it out. It was fantastic. From the moment you walk in you see that the offerings are authentic and freshly made. As we perused the case filled with baklava pastries, the owner offered us delicious little shawarma “turnovers” to eat while we pondered what to order. And feast we did. We ordered a couple of manakish, an open-face meat flatbread, a lentil and fried onion dish (mujadara), hummus, hazelnut baklava and a pistachio confection. The two of us ate very well for $24. The owner gave us a taste of small baklavas that were the best I’ve ever tasted, so that meant extra pastries bought to take home! A great lunch stop.

NIKO’S BISTRO 1241 Kensington Rd. NW. I have been eating Niko’s food since I was a kid. The beef tenderloin is to die for and the calamari is the best anywhere. It’s simple, easy and delicious. BRASSERIE KENSINGTON 1131 Kensington Rd. NW. This is a great spot for delicious comfort food. Everyone loves it – the foie gras, the poutine, the fish and chips... ahhhh.

YVES TRÉPANIER, TRÉPANIER BAER GALLERY A favourite quick lunch is JANICE BEATON FINE CHEESE 1006 - 17 Ave. SW grilled cheese sandwiches with a side of coleslaw and a drink, sometimes a beer. I ride my bike over, sit at the counter facing the window, and 30 minutes and 10 bucks later I’m done. Great quick mid-day break.

KEVIN KENT, KNIFEWEAR AND KENT OF INGLEWOOD We like SHEF’S FIERY KITCHEN at the Calgary Farmers’ Market. Shef is a great chef and her take on Thai and Indian food has been a staple of my family’s diet for seven years. The mango lassi and butter chicken are delicious.

The best deal in town is the $25 three-course lunch at TEATRO 200 - 8 Ave. SE. I often take clients and artists there. Sometimes my partner Cheryl and I have a mid-day get-away there. Best deal in town for a quick elegant gourmet meal in a great room.

And EATS OF ASIA at the Crossroads Market is a favourite for us, too. The ramen, teriyaki, dandan noodles and japatots – Tater Tots jazzed up with the likes of teriyaki and more – are always worth the trip.

OSCAR LOPEZ, PAMPA BRAZILIAN STEAKHOUSE I really enjoy PIO PERUVIAN ROTISSERIE CHICKEN 2929 Sunridge Way, NE. My favourite dish is the Pio con yuca frita – chicken with fried cassava root. The rotisserie chicken is perfectly slow roasted so the chicken is crispy on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside. Cassava root is very common in South America and we enjoy it when other cultures serve it like we do back in Brazil. There’s also a really traditional Peruvian drink called chicha morada, which is purple corn indigenous to Peru that I tried when I was in Cuzco. The Pio version is very close to the real deal!

I go for the Calabrese panini at LINA’S ITALIAN MARKET 2202 Centre St. N. The spicy pickled eggplant reminds me of having lunch at my dad’s house. And the chicken shawarma at JIMMY’S A&A DELI 1401 - 20 Ave. NW. is just a big, sloppy, delicious wrap.


When in Inglewood – it’s where our framer works – if it’s mid-day, I’ll have lunch at BITE GROCETERIA 1023 - 9 Ave. SE. Great take-away counter, with a super variety of salads and prepared meals that are well priced. The dessert counter is great, too. I usually grab something and, weather permitting, sit outside and chill in the warmth of the sun.

I also think some of the best food in Calgary right now is from Aviv at SIDEWALK CITIZEN BAKERY in the Simmons building downtown. The sandwich prices are great for the quality and portion you get.


CHING LI, COOKING INSTRUCTOR AT THE COOKBOOK CO. COOKS When I have a craving for something spicy, I call a friend or my mom to go to BANANA LEAF 3330 - 32 St. NE, Malaysian cuisine at its best. It’s open every day and is always busy. There are no reservations on weekends, but the service is speedy and the wait isn’t too long. The décor in this small space is bright and minimal, while the food is jam-packed with flavour and the price is perfect for budget eating. The Roti Canai is a flatbread with a spicy curry dipping sauce that is fabulous to share. Another popular appetizer is the Deep Fried Crispy Chicken Nuggets. The portion is generous and you can choose Taiwanese spice salt or garlic and onion. The main reason I go to Banana Leaf is to get the Grilled Fish Wrapped in Banana Leaf with rice. It takes at least 20 minutes to cook, so make sure you’re not in a rush. Basa fillet is steamed with okra and a thick layer of spice paste that will give your tear ducts a workout. Fresh cucumber and roasted peanuts help balance everything. My mom orders Curry Beef Brisket with Yellow Noodles. The beef brisket is braised to perfection, the curry is rich, creamy and spicy, and the noodles soak it up. You have to wash the bold flavours down with something. The restaurant is not licensed, but it has a vast array of non-alcoholic beverages to choose from, such as fruit slushes, bubble teas and other Asian drinks. I like the refreshing cold Honey Lemon Tea.

I have so many places, but when it comes to affordability, I have a problem because I like to eat everything! My first choice for dinner would have to be SUZETTE BISTRO 2210 - 4 St. SW. Everything on this menu is awesome and affordable, but two of my favourites are the warm chèvre on crostini with cherry tomatoes and salad, and the Norvégienne galette of smoked salmon, leek and cream. Actually, everything on this menu is my favourite! Another place I go to eat that’s near my office is CEDARS RESTAURANT AND DELI 3103 Edmonton Tr. NE, where I enjoy chicken shawarma on whole wheat and the chicken and falafel plate – the falafel balls are really good! My list can go on and on and on.

CHEF GRANT PARRY, BOCCE In the summer, I take the gang to PETER’S DRIVE-IN on 16th Ave. NW. In the Lincoln, of course! Pho is always top of the list anytime of year. We go to the place in Inglewood on 9th Ave., MINH CHAU VIETNAMESE. Most of our crew lives in Ramsay now, so it’s easy to get together. The Crossroads Farmers’ Market also has great little places to pick up a quick lunch. At EATS OF ASIA, it’s dandan noodles and wings & tings, to name a few. Also – shamefully! – we have been known to visit a drive thru or two for bags of cheeseburgers. There are rules... A bag must contain a minimum of ten burgers…

ERIC GIESBRECHT, META4 FOODS I don’t tend to eat out... at all. The best “cheap” eats are the ones I cook myself! ✤



A Toast to Calgary’s Coffee Roasters by Jennifer Brigden

Roasting coffee is serious business. The top roasters in Calgary have long, interesting histories and caches of flavourful beans to their names. Best of all, these beans are widely available. Coffee lovers on the hunt for a locally roasted and brewed drink can take their pick at cafés and restaurants, or buy a bag of beans for their own pantry – the options are endless.

Phil & Sebastian

Big Mountain Coffee

Fratello Coffee Roasters

The famous namesakes behind Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters – Phil Robertson and Sebastian Sztabzyb – are driven by the pursuit of perfection, and they’re the first to tell you that “perfect” is an impossible goal.

This family business full of hustle and bustle has been roasting its own brand of coffee – Big Mountain – for an impressive 14 years. Founders Wade Semograd and Georgina Christou launched their commercial roasting business with a clear goal: produce high quality, flavourful coffee.

With deep roots and a bright future, Fratello has exploded on the Calgary market with a new café and an even newer restaurant that ooze urban cool. But the business is far from new. Its owners, the Prefontaine brothers, grew up around their parents’ coffee roasting business, which they bought in 1997, and, so far, have re-invented it twice.

Their rise to fame has been well documented since their first location opened at the Calgary Farmers’ Market to rave reviews. The entrepreneurs plotted a series of expansions before starting to roast their own beans using a 1955 drum roaster they’d customized. “It was on our road map from day one to start roasting coffee. When we opened our café in 2007, it became clear we needed to approach the café business and the roasting business as two separate things,” says Robertson. For the pair, roasting their own beans was a matter of control and consistency. “The first thing we did after we started roasting was to add a lot of control to the process,” says Robertson. “We treat every coffee uniquely.” He wrote one-of-a-kind software to monitor the company’s roasting. The software ensures data and measurements for each roast are recorded, so if a particular batch tastes different from the way it should, the roasters can pinpoint changes. “We want to roast coffee in such a way that we’re accentuating the positive traits of that coffee’s region and variety,” says Robertson. All Phil & Sebastian coffees are light-roasted – no medium or dark. Each roast is carefully crafted to achieve the best possible result for the bean, and the team holds regular, vigorous critiques of the company’s roasts. “It’s about not being complacent; always striving for improvement. It’s never good enough, it’s never perfect.”



“We do small batch roasting; we roast to order,” says Semograd. “Our coffee is fresh every week and specific for each client.” Big Mountain boasts a robust coffee line. All told, it has 13 single-origin coffees and blends, plus proprietary coffees developed for partners, including the official brew of the Calgary Stampede. “Espresso is our specialty, but we believe in variety,” explains Semograd. “It’s not up to the roaster to tell the customer what they want. We want the customer to tell us what they want.”

“We’re set up for service, we’re set up for wholesale, and we’re set up for distribution. That’s what we’ve been doing for 30 years. What is new is that we’re now doing retail,” says Russ Prefontaine. After building a sprawling company with clients and customers around the world, the brothers took a huge leap and narrowed their focus while expanding their coffee offerings – lightly roasted, single-origin – and rebranded their coffee to its current name: Fratello. They opened a small café at the Calgary Farmers’ Market to get their feet wet before opening two of Calgary’s most popular haunts: Analog Café and Corbeaux Bakehouse.

Blue Mountain beans are available in grocery stores, and the family runs a popular location at the Crossroads Farmers’ Market called Espresso Pi, where its coffee and ice cream are served.

“In our cafés we only do light-roast, singleorigin coffee, but it doesn’t mean we’re going to stop doing what we’ve been doing and take away what our clients find valuable. We have different coffees and roasting styles that we still provide as a service to our partners.”

At its heart, this is a Europeaninspired roasting company led by a family focused on roasting the best beans and brewing the best coffee possible – and it’s doing a great job.

The core brand, Fratello, is undeniably good, and with the taste, drive and business acumen of its creators behind it, there’s no telling how big it might get. “What makes our coffee different is how long we’ve been doing it,” says Russ. “We’ve been here for 30 years and people are just starting to talk about us.”

“We keep it traditional here,” says Semograd. ”Everything’s the way it’s supposed to be.”

The Roasterie

Rosso Coffee Roasters

Paradise Mountain Organic Coffee

Co-op Coffee Roasters

This popular Kensington coffee shop and quaint roasterie oozes charm. From the antique coffee grinders and bric-a-brac on the shelves, to the burlap sacks of beans ready to be roasted in-store, it’s clear this shop is a delightful oddity.

Once a single café, Rosso Coffee Roasters is now a successful small roasting business with three locations in Calgary and more to come. Led by founder David Crosby, Rosso began roasting in 2011.

The philosophy of “Doing the right thing in the right way,” was the jumping-off point for Paradise Mountain Organic Coffee.

Chef John Humphreys’ enthusiasm for his work is palpable. He’s been the executive chef of Calgary Co-op’s Fresh to Go business for three and a half years, and he’s led the charge to add coffee roasting to its repertoire.

Owner Lech Wojakowski has been roasting coffee in the heart of Calgary for 30 years. He uses a traditional drum roaster he bought after thumbing through the yellow pages in search of a coffee supplier. He found one and it turned out the seller was offering lessons, too.

“After opening our second location, we knew roasting our own coffee was the direction we wanted to go,” explains Jessie Attrell, Rosso’s managing director. And go they did.

“I ended up working with this guy for about a month and then we bought the roaster,” said Wojakowski. “That was how it all started.” Smartly, Wojakowski installed the roaster near the front entrance of his store, where it turns and turns, drawing in customers for the one-of-a-kind experience that is The Roasterie. “We wanted to take coffee roasting out of a warehouse, so the public could see. We have people who come in and just stare at the roaster for five minutes.” He roasts his coffee six days a week, serving and selling it as fresh as possible. All orders are filled within 24 hours; nothing is pre-roasted and waiting in a storeroom. Roasts are custom for each new crop of beans and the product line is constantly changing. “If I had my way, I’d have coffee here from every country,” he said. “I try to get my hands on all of it, so people have choices.” After all this time, Wojakowski is a bona-fide coffee expert with the suppliers to match, buying from everywhere, trying everything. He favours dark roasts over light, dismissing the latter out-of-hand. “I’m a firm believer in roasting coffee to its full potential,” he says. “I don’t like under-roasted coffee; it has to be dark roast. The bean has to be opened up to release all its coffee potential.”

The team at Café Rosso lovingly creates a dynamic profile for each new bean it brings into its cafés. Team members have travelled to different countries to meet coffee farmers and purchase the best beans available. “Being able to purchase directly from the farmers means you have a lot more control over what happens at the farm level,” explains Attrell. Rosso recently purchased 75 percent of a coffee crop and hopes to buy 100 percent next year, giving the company more say in how it’s grown and farmed. This tinkering will have a huge impact on the finished product. Café Rosso gets new coffee three or four times a year, with each growing season. The team, led by Crosby, makes a new profile for each crop and adjusts it over time as the beans age. The coffee is freshly roasted every week – nothing is back-stocked. “Every roaster has something to offer, something unique,” says Attrell. “Being able to offer our own ‘something different’ was important to our team.” Rosso classifies its coffee into two categories – comfort and adventure. Comfort coffees are more of a medium roast, while the adventurous coffees are typically a lighter roast. To help educate customers, information cards are included with their coffee detailing the region, variety, elevation and processing of the crop and beans. “We don’t have light, medium and dark roasts. We have one roast for each specific coffee that we feel is the best profile,” says Attrell. “Our roasting goal is to maintain the integrity of the bean.”

The company is a legacy operation for its founders, Rip Price, Degnan Whittall and Mung Gao, who bought an organic coffee farm north of Chiang Mai, Thailand, intent on both making a profit and supporting a community in need. Next, the men reached out to a long-time friend and roaster for help. Enter Shawn McDonald, whose knowledge and passion for the coffee business has helped build Paradise Mountain Organic Coffee into a multi-country success story. “My vision when I got into this business was to link me, as a roaster, directly with the farmers,” McDonald explains. The team has invested in the farm’s community, from buying shoes and mopeds to paying school tuition fees. For McDonald, helping the farmers is an important part of the process. “The lowestpaid, hardest-working people in the organization are the growers. I work pretty hard, but I don’t have to go into the jungle every day and pick coffee for nine hours.” Beans are harvested using the rustic traditional method – no chemicals, or pesticides – and planted in the existing forest, not in a cleared plot. They’re shipped to Calgary where they’re roasted in small batches using original-style drum roasters. For McDonald, Paradise Mountain Organic Coffee is a feather in his cap in a storied career. This is the fifth coffee brand he has brought to market and the company’s philanthropic commitment is a point of pride. “The most rewarding thing I do is help these people – they live tough lives,” he says. “Almost all the coffee in the world is grown in Third World countries, so there is a social gap that someone needs to fill.”

Roasting coffee was a natural choice, albeit a large undertaking, considering Humphreys had never roasted coffee before. But, a devotee of lifelong learning, he quickly embraced the challenge and got started. “First, I asked myself, how are we going to do a good job with coffee and how are we going to be different and better at it,” he explained. He partnered with a local coffee bean supplier – interestingly, Big Mountain – and got ready to learn everything he could about the art and skill of roasting. Co-op bought a Diedrich roaster and chef Humphreys headed to Spokane, Washington, for three days of intensive, hands-on training. “If you don’t understand the fundamentals of roasting you can make a real mess of things,” he says. “I took that time to learn and then spent the next several weeks developing our coffee profiles. From a chef perspective, the process was fascinating.” Humphreys hired a chef friend to help with the profile development. Together they roasted a huge array of beans to about 15 different variations, then chose which ones showed off the best qualities of the beans. They whittled down their selections to create a number of profiles that they were ready to introduce to the marketplace. From there, the profile specifications were saved into the roaster, so that employees can do small-batch roasts in-store based on demand. Co-op added coffee kiosks, called Local Roast, in four stores, and now sells seven varieties of beans by the bag along with the brewed coffee menu. With the hard part well underway, Chef Humphreys has his eye on what’s ahead for Co-op’s burgeoning coffee roasting business. “We’re looking for ways to expand this into our other stores and provide our shoppers with something they can’t get anywhere else.” ✤

Jennifer Brigden is a Calgary writer and coffee addict. Find her on Twitter @jennbrigden



How To Make A Great Cup Of Coffee by Shelley Boettcher

You’re a coffee drinker. In fact, some might call you a coffee snob (but you prefer the term “aficionado”). You know where to find the city’s best espresso and where to buy the best beans. But your home brew? Maybe it needs help. If you haven’t mastered the art of making the perfect cup at home, here are some tips from champion baristas Jeremy Ho and Ben Put, owners of Monogram Coffee. THE BEANS – Choose good-quality, fresh beans from a reliable source; Calgary has a number of local roasteries to choose from. Whether you’re using pour-over, French press or Aeropress, Put says to aim for about 60 grams of coffee (roughly 2/3 cup) for one litre (4 cups) of water. And aim to keep your beans in contact with your water for about three minutes for best results.

THE GRINDER AND THE GRIND – Save your 20-buck spice grinder for spices, and treat your beans with the respect they deserve. A Burr grinder is best because it chops the beans, rather than pulverizing them. Why is grinding important? “Grinding beans increases their surface area and creates resistance for the water as it is poured through,” Put says. “The finer the grind, the more resistance.”

 L-R: The finest grind works best for Aeropress; medium for pour-over methods, including the Nel Drip; and the French press needs a grind in between medium and the coarsest grind. It is a common mistake to have too coarse a grind for a French press.

Increased resistance means more contact with the beans and more opportunity to extract flavour. But a grind that’s too fine can create coffee that tastes bitter and over-extracted; a grind that’s too coarse can create coffee that tastes weak or too acidic or lacking flavour. THE WATER AND THE KETTLE – “Ideally, use filtered water,” says Put. “98.9 percent of brewed coffee is water. It’s your primary ingredient. Filtered water will do the best job of extraction.” Unfiltered water can also have a lot of minerals in it, which will impact the taste of your brew. A kettle with a long narrow spout, like the Hario Coffee Kettle (pictured) allows a slow, controlled and precise pour; critical for a good pour-over.

FRENCH PRESS – Measure your ground coffee into the pot and carefully pour hot water over it. Put the plunger in without breaking the crust (the foam and grounds that you see on top). Allow it to steep for three to four minutes. Then, remove the plunger and stir the coffee to break up the crust. Plunge slowly. This method gets rid of some of that gritty coffee texture, common with many French presses. And don’t dump in more coffee if you think your coffee is too weak. “Grind your beans finer, rather than add more coffee,” says Put. AEROPRESS – Despite advertisements, the Aeropress doesn’t make espresso. “But it’s a very easy and consistent single-cup brewing method,” says Put. “It’s a hybrid of a French press, but with the cleanliness of a paper filter.” To use it, add a paper filter to the basket, then add the ground coffee. (Make sure the grind is slightly finer than a pour-over grind, but coarser than espresso.) Add a little hot water, to get everything wet. Then fill it with hot water to the top of the No. 4, written on the side. “Let it sit like that for two minutes, then start to plunge,” Put says. It should take about two and a half minutes in total to make a cup.



PAPER/METAL FILTERS – Paper filters can impart a papery flavour to your coffee. Choose a metal cone to avoid that. Boil the water and pour it slowly over the ground coffee until barely wet. Then pour in more water, until your filter is about half-full. Stir. Flavour is only extracted when the grounds are submerged in water. It should take about two and a half to three minutes for the water to run through the coffee. If it’s much faster or slower, you need to adjust the size of your grind. NEL DRIP – Ritualistic and time-consuming, but fans love it. Invented in Japan, this cloth filter allows some fine particles and oils through, which creates extra body and, in turn, more flavour. Similar to the pour-over style, the key is to ensure all the coffee gets wet; otherwise you’ll end up with uneven extraction. It’s also not as easy to keep clean as other methods. In our dry climate, it’s easy to take care of. Wash it carefully and leave it to dry until the next use. Change it for a new filter every month or when it takes longer than three minutes to make your cup of coffee. ✤ Shelley Boettcher is a Calgary wine, food and travel writer. Contact her on Twitter @shelley_wine or drinkwithme.com



Willow Park Village 10816 Macleod Trail South | 403.278.1220




Alberta’s unpredictable weather has been a recipe for disaster – no pun intended – for the province’s culinary scene for years. In June, 2013, many downtown restaurants were dramatically affected by the massive flooding that hit the province. Scores were closed for a week or two, while electricity was restored to the downtown. Other businesses, however, sustained major damage from floodwaters. Bin 905 – the 4th St. SW wine shop was closed for 10 months, after the flood destroyed its electrical system, located in the basement. River Café – located on Prince’s Island, River Café was literally in the midst of the river’s torrent. But it opened only two months after the 2013 flood, partly because the water didn’t hit the restaurant’s main floor. Vin Room Mission – proprietor Phoebe Fung was on the phone to her contractors before floodwaters had even subsided. “I come from the oil and gas biz – down time is not an option,” she said at the time. Still, her wine bar was heavily damaged, and it took her team three weeks of 24-hour work to get the doors open again. Wurst – the popular Bavarian restaurant sustained serious damage, including close to 10 feet of mud and water in its basement, where its kitchen is located. At the same time, Highwood Crossing’s Tony and Penny Marshall were also flooded, losing land, crops and their High River store. And just a few years earlier, in the summer of 2009, Kris Vester at Blue Mountain Biodynamic Farm, north of Calgary, experienced a massive hailstorm, which destroyed much of his farm’s crop and feed for the coming winter.

By Shelley Boettcher

The couple didn’t worry too much – at first.

This past August, Norma Jean and Kai Salimaki had just marked the first anniversary of their popular northwest Calgary restaurant.

But in July 2015, the city experienced heavy rains for a few days. “Water would pool and subside,” recalls Norma Jean. “We weren’t panicking, but it kept happening, so we had a company come in and jet all the lines.

But instead of celebrating, the couple – who co-own The Block Kitchen and Lounge – was frantically stacking tables, rebooking reservations and dealing with insurance. A hailstorm had hit. It wasn’t the worst the city has seen. It wasn’t even the worst of the summer, but the hailstones and damaged leaves quickly clogged the neighbourhood’s storm drains. With nowhere else to go, the water pushed quickly and mercilessly through the restaurant’s main-floor drains. By late afternoon – less than two hours before the start of the Saturday evening rush – three inches of water covered The Block’s floor. “We frantically tried to get rid of the water and just close for that one evening,” Norma Jean says. “We began optimistically, but we knew we couldn’t continue the way it was. You just have to take a deep breath and push on.” No strangers to Calgary’s culinary scene, the Salimakis have worked at 20-some restaurants, including Vin Room, Catch, Notable and the various National locations. The Block, however, was their first restaurant investment as a couple. The parents of young children, they thought this would give them more flexibility and time together as a family. They opened The Block on July 2, 2014, to rave reviews from critics and customers alike. Food writer John Gilchrist named it one of the best new restaurants of 2014, and fans talk about it on TripAdvisor. But within weeks of opening, the restaurant began to have problems. Every time it rained, or a chinook hit and melted snow, water leaked up from the ground. The building – built in 1952, Norma Jean says – had no basement, so the storm drains were built into the main floor of the space.



“And we thought, OK, that’s done.” Not exactly. On Saturday, August 15, the hailstorm made things much worse and they were forced to close the restaurant. Norma Jean spent the rest of that evening rebooking a birthday party and a couple of other large gatherings at other restaurants. “I’m lucky that I have friends at other restaurants who were willing to help out,” she says. “You just panic, right?” And you work. Within days, the beautiful restaurant had been torn up for cleaning and renovations. The long, rustic bar. All the flooring. All the woodwork. Drywall. The bathrooms, too. Despite their hard work, the restaurant will stay closed until January 2016. Still, the Salimakis are a resilient pair. And with the help of the building’s owner and their insurance agents, they’re determined to fix The Block’s problems and start again. “We couldn’t continue to operate the way it was, hoping the weather would cooperate,” Norma Jean says. “We’re down but we’re not out. It won’t defeat us, that’s for sure.” The Block Kitchen and Lounge (2411 - 4th St. NW) is scheduled to reopen January 15, 2016. Call 403-282-1339 or go to eatdrinkblock.com for more information. With the renovations, the bar and restaurant will be divided, allowing minors to eat in the restaurant. Take the whole family! ✤ Shelley Boettcher is a Calgary wine, food and travel writer. Contact her on Twitter @shelley_wine or drinkwithme.com



Welcome to Baku, Azerbaijan P U L L U P A P O M E G R A N AT E A N D S T AY A W H I L E by Kate Zimmerman reportedly left behind a taste for borscht and perogies. On the other hand, according to Feride Buyuran, the author of a cookbook called Pomegranates and Saffron, the Soviets’ discouragement of rice-growing ultimately led to a rebellious popularity boost for Azerbaijan’s native rice pilaf, called plov.

Baku Flame Towers

Market vendors

Market pomegranates Market wares

There are few more exotic-sounding destinations than Azerbaijan. A hub on the Great Silk Road that linked Asia with Europe from the third century BC to the 15th century AD, the Azerbaijan Republic’s history is as interesting and complex as one of its famous handmade carpets.

Georgian cheese bread, khachapuri

This secular Muslim country’s remarkable past includes Zoroastrian fire worship and unfriendly visits from Genghis Khan. Its capital, Baku, boasts a Walled City (Icheri Sheher) that dates back to the 12th century. Hovering beyond this World Heritage site, however, are ultra-modern towers and futuristic museums; Baku may be incredibly old, but it’s not washed up. And by hosting events like 2015’s first-ever European Games, the Azerbaijani government is trying hard to shrug off the country’s cloak of invisibility.

Tea service at Old Baku Teahouse

It hasn’t quite done that yet. Where is it, you ask? Azerbaijan is at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, sandwiched between Russia and Georgia to the north and Iran to the south, with Armenia and Turkey to the west and the oil-rich Caspian Sea to the east. It’s been divided, traversed and ruled by a vast assortment of masters, including (in no particular order) the Ottomans, the Turks, the Mongols, the Persians, Cyrus the Great, Alexander the Great, and, for more than a century, Russia the not-so-great and its unpleasant progeny, the USSR. After the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, Azerbaijan finally gained its independence. The plus side of being a stop on a centuries-old trading route and the victim of numerous occupations is that the country’s culture – now dominated by Azerbaijani Turks – has absorbed all kinds of influences, culinary included. Along with monolithic buildings and an oppressive policing style, for instance, the Soviets



All may not be forgiven between the Azerbaijanis and the Russians, but Georgian food is a local favourite. You see why when you taste khachapuri, a fantastic Georgian bread filled with the sour, slightly salty cow’s milk cheese called sulguni; it could give any pizza a run for its money. Intriguingly, the pleated dumplings found at Baku’s Georgian House restaurant, called khinkali, bear a strong resemblance to Shanghai’s xiaolongbao, or soup dumplings. As the dumpling boils, the uncooked minced meat mixed with onions, chile, salt and cumin within the packet produces a soup-like juice, similar to that created in steamed xiaolongbao by lining the dumpling dough with meaty aspic. Examining the khinkali on my trip to Baku, I couldn’t help wondering if some Georgian traveller and Shanghai trader hadn’t met at one of the ancient roadside inns called caravanserai and cooked those up together, each claiming the credit when he got home. But never mind the Georgians and the Shanghainese. Azerbaijan’s 11 climatic zones and largest lake on earth – the Caspian Sea – produce all kinds of wonderful foodstuffs and decent wines that inspire its native cooks. Wandering through one of Baku’s farmers’ markets, you’ll find stalls heaped with pomegranates – the country’s national fruit, celebrated in art as well as on the table – alongside live chickens, dried apricots, fresh herbs and nuts, bins full of saffron and black tea, and glistening jars of beluga caviar harvested from local sturgeon. Azerbaijanis are apparently known for their hospitality. Although on my visit I didn’t get to eat in anybody’s home, I was bowled over by Baku restaurants’ efforts to honour their guests. At the chic eateries Nakhchivan and Zeytun, the visual welcome started before we were seated, with tables (even at lunchtime) already loaded with a grand array of appetizers. They included plates piled high with extraordinarily fresh herbs – an assortment that might include cilantro, dill, basil, tarragon and mint – along with saucers of a feta-like sheep’s cheese, flatbread, radishes,

fresh tomatoes, stuffed grape leaves and olives or olive dip. Who wouldn’t be tantalized by such a start? Diners familiar with the flavour profile of Middle Eastern foods will find lots of comfort in Azerbaijan’s reliance on tomatoes, eggplant, grape leaves, tart cheeses, yogurt and the flatbreads known as lavash and tendir. Whether grilled, stewed or fried in the iron drum known as a saj, lamb and beef are treated simply and deliciously. One traditional dish really caught my fancy – Chicken Levengi, a roast chicken stuffed with onions, finely ground walnuts and sour paste, its skin rubbed with more of the paste, which is made from small, tart plums or cornelian cherries.

Full circle Pizza & Oyster Bar

Preserves – whether black currant, yellow cherry, mulberry, quince, grape or fig – are not only served for breakfast, but often as something to eat by the spoonful alongside a pear-shaped glass of outstanding black tea. Typically made in a samovar, tea is a big deal here. Although tea houses are ordinarily reserved for men, the Walled City’s Old Baku Teahouse is an essential stop for both sexes, a mysterious, candlelit hideaway lined with carpets. It seems an ideal place to launch an illicit romance; bubbling waterpipes waft flavoured tobacco smoke over intimate, shadowy groups. Your steaming glass arrives with diamonds of the baklava-like pastry called pahklava and bowls of dried fruits and nuts. Afterward, you might stop to haggle over a silk tablecloth, or explore the Walled City’s ornately carved 15thcentury sandstone Palace of the Shirvanshahs. From there, you won’t be able to miss the three Flame Towers thrusting into the sky, their spectacular curves sheathed in LED lights that change colour. One morning, you might find your mind blown by the undulating architectural eggshell called the Heydar Aliyev Center, an art gallery, museum and concert hall designed by IraqiBritish female architect Zaha Hadid. The next, you might travel 65 stark, dusty kilometers outside the city to gawk at ancient petroglyphs at Gobustan Rock Art Cultural Landscape. That’s Baku – the old and the new weaving into something remarkable, waiting to be discovered by the world. ✤

Kate Zimmerman highly recommends the Azerbaijan Carpet Museum, whose exterior resembles a rolled up carpet.

933 17 Ave SW • fullcirclepizza.ca • 587 351 3141

93.7 FM #yyc @ckuaradio ckua.com



culinary crossword

city palate

play to win



Mail in your completed puzzle by January 31st, 2016 to: City Palate, 722 - 11th Avenue SW, Calgary T2R 0E4 or scan and email it to: gail@citypalate.ca


ACROSS 3 Milk that grows on trees (7) 6 French apple hooch (8) 7 Chinese “porridge” (6) 8 Black-cherry pit seasoning (6) 10 Pastry elephant ears (7) 12 Popeye’s girlfriend (5,3) 13 Steak in a tube (3,3) 14 Tea green with envy (6) 16 Unyeasted biscuits (6) 17 Thyme scented Moroccan bitter (4) 19 Elevated pork and beans (9) 20 Scrapes and flips (7) 21 Fermented teff bread (6) 23 Kissing cousin to raisins (8) 25 Disc of dried bread (4) 26 Circular flat bread (5) 30 Cold potato soup (11) 32 Lemony Middle Eastern spice (5) 35 Sourdough with an Italian accent (4) 36 Flat Canadian donut (11) 37 Consolidating sediment in Champagne (8) 40 Bacteria for a barnyard taste (13) 42 Puree of the Middle East (6) 43 “Cure” for a hangover (4,2,3,3) 46 Drained yogurt (6) 47 Syrian layered dish (6) 49 Grain puree for beer (4) 52 Ugni blanc distillation (6) 54 Stock-based cream sauce (7) 58 Wine’s aphid-like enemy of grape vines (10) 60 Is to coffee as a bartender is to cocktails (7) 62 Burnt star (7,6) 64 Spiced Ethiopian butter (4) 65 Mayonnaise with a French accent (5) 66 Artichoke flavoured Italian liqueur (5) 67 Grape skin soaking process (10) 70 Floating island dessert (3,9) 72 Kidney fat (4) 73 Celery’s dumpy, warty cousin (8) 75 Pakistan stew (6) 79 Obscure appellation of the Pyrennees (9) 81 Wine steward (9) 84 Sweetening mix added to Champagne (6) 87 Musical vessel for vino (5) 88 Mexican water chestnut (6) 90 Salt cod and potato dish (8) 92 Ottolenghi’s latest London restaurant (4) 95 Pancake with syrup traps (6) 96 An onion seed by another name (7) 97 Licorice in a glass (6) 98 A pepper with a smoking problem (8) 99 Stew from the Casbah (6) 100 Sanctified sweet Italian wine (3,5) 101 Dark, coarse, unrefined sugar (7)

DOWN 1 Pear eau de vie (5,8) 2 Flat, hole-y Italian bread (8) 3 Filipino super citrus (9) 4 Pliable icing (7) 5 Scottish savoury pudding (6) 7 Kitchen boss (4) 9 Noble rot (8) 11 Secondary fermentation (10) 15 Bugs Bunny ingredient for beer-making (4) 16 Expensive stamen (7) 18 Halloween’s companion icon (7) 22 Long clam (5) 23 Campfire pan (4,4) 24 Spanish bubbles (4) 25 Head of the shop spice blend (3,2,6) 27 Chicken franchise of “Breaking Bad” (3,8) 28 An unruly educated meringue dessert (4,4) 29 The man who “drank” stars (3,8) 31 Squash with a Japanese accent (4) 33 A stew of furred game (5) 34 To sliver (8) 35 Fortified wine from the Roussillon (7) 38 Egyptian spice blend (6) 39 Lebanese meatball (6) 41 Spanish turnover (8) 44 Breaking down of gluten (8) 45 “Valley of Peace” scotch (12) 48 Citrus garnish or marinade (9) 49 Silk worm’s favourite food (8) 50 Tropical palm starch (4) 51 Sauce accompaniment to chipotle (5) 53 Sweet flat onion (9) 54 Unfermented sour grape juice (6) 55 Molasses with an English accent (7) 56 Sunday brunch traitor (8) 57 Brown Derby’s salad claim to fame (4,5) 59 The “fragrant” sherry (7) 61 Pine mushrooms (9) 63 Brie’s kissing cousin (9) 68 Goat cheese’s leap to immortality (6) 69 Moroccan “ketchup” (7) 71 Leafy licorice-flavoured herb (8) 74 A fungus or a chocolate? (7) 76 Matriarch of vinegar (6) 77 Home of mustard (5) 78 Romeo and Juliet’s tree (6) 80 Chinese date (6) 82 Head adornment for philosophers (6) 83 Hot dish support (6) 85 Onions at the gym (8) 86 New Orleans’ fried treat (7) 89 A delicious package of mozzarella and cream (7) 90 Embarrassed wine (5) 91 Scotch of the small headland (6) 93 Delicacy of the prairies (6) 94 Fermented honey beverage (4) 95 Curd’s buddy (4)

Enter between Feb 21 - Mar 6

Amaranth KIDS CAN COOK contest Calling young chefs aged 10 to 17! Make a meal for your family and email a picture of you and your finished meal to kidscancook@amaranthfoods.ca. You’ll be entered to win one of three $100 gift certificates. Pick up our new Amaranth Family Food Guide on healthy whole food eating and check our blog for delicious healthy recipes!

Ente oftenr !


The entries that successfully complete the crossword will be put into a draw to win one of three prize packages. Each package contains three restaurant gift certificates, and a cooking class of your choice for four at The Cookbook Co. Cooks.




er The Chef & The Farm Join us for another of our dinner series. Enjoy specially created menus that bring together talented chefs, winemakers and local producers. This is an up-close and personal food and wine

experience. Let the food come, the wine flow and the stories begin!



 Join us March 7th as Carino Reserva continues City Palate’s Field Trips dinner series, The Chef and The Farmer. Owners Toshi Karino and talented chef Eisaku Kuboki will delight you with their melding of Japanese and Italian cuisines. Richard Harvey of Metrovino will pair wines with all the courses. White Gold cheese, Driview Farms lamb and Brant Lake Wagyu beef will be some of the local producers featured.

MEA CULPA In all the years of putting City Palate together, this editor has never made such clunking gaffes as in the November December 2015 issue. In the article, “My Favourite Ingredient,” Mr. Kale Lover, chef Kevin Hill was mis-named Kevin Bell, and though the editor knows perfectly well what his name is, it slipped by. Not only that, but in the “word of mouth” there’s a note about Gold Medal Plates and, again, though editor knows perfectly well who chef is, somehow the editor’s finger struck the letter “Z” on the keyboard instead of the letter “X” – they are next to each other, but that’s no excuse – to spell chef Xavier Lacaze’s name, and that slipped by, too. Gentlemen, please forgive me, it never happened before like this and will never happen again. (Note editor wandering way out on a limb on it never happening again.)

restaurant ramblings ■ Congratulations to River Café on its 25th birthday this year! Watch for special events to commemorate after the restaurant reopens on January 29 after its January retreat. Boxwood rewards – pick up a “club sandwich” card with your next lunch. Buy 7 sandwiches and get the 8th free. Calling all students to get a 10% discount to eat “real” food. ■ The new Derrick Gin Mill & Kitchen is all about gin. The plan is to feature 50 different gins, all of which are served à la carte with mix on the side accompanied by a lime wedge and cucumber wheel so you can mix your cocktail how you like it. The menu is about home cooking with a French influence, such as lamb pot au feu, and something different, such as the popular smoked beef tartare served under a dome of applewood smoke. Check it out at 620 - 8 Ave. SW. thederrickyyc.com (The Derrick also offers other liquor, plus wine and beer, just in case gin isn’t your thing!) ■ One of Calgary’s favourite restaurants in the south just received a complete revamp! Starbelly welcomed new chef Jonathan Sobol (previously from FARM) who reinvented the menu. A community hub in Calgary’s southeast in Seton, the menu is a reflection of chef’s passion for locally sourced ingredients and home-style cooking, with seasonally inspired dishes. Look for the likes of mac ‘n’ cheese and a BLT with deep fried bacon! Mmmmm, yes. The restaurant is now open for lunch. ■ Catch & The Oyster Bar have teamed up with Mealshare Calgary to provide meals to those in need, including the Calgary Drop-In & Rehab Centre and Save the Children. Look for the Mealshare icon on menu items, like the salmon burger at lunch, and do your part to help Mealshare. ■ The Cactus Club Café has opened its third location in Calgary downtown at Stephen Avenue and 3rd St. SW. Executive chef Rob



Feenie has crafted a menu that’s globally inspired and features fresh, sustainable, local ingredients. Look for CC’s classics, such as the tuna stack, crispy chicken sandwich and butternut squash ravioli with prawns plus Bengal chicken curry and a double-braised pineapple hoisin short rib. And that’s only the beginning! Check it out at 317 - 7 Ave. SW, cactusclubcafe.com ■ Vero Bistro Moderne invites you to enjoy steak frites on Wednesdays – 28-dayaged AAA Alberta New York Steak, truffle parmesan frites, organic greens and dessert for $39. 403-283-8988, verobistro.ca ■ The Daily, Breakfast and Lunch opens in February in the old Cat’s Pyjamas space in Kensington and will be operated by the Higher Ground people who are on the upper level of the building. We can always use another great breakfast place, especially in Kensington. Locally raised and locally sourced ingredients with everything made from scratch, including mustard and ketchup. Expect tasty food from hormonefree meats and free-range organic eggs. ■ Higher Ground Café in Kensington serves 100% organic coffee and tea along with a selection of beer and wine, which makes it a great place to hang out with friends. It’s open until midnight on Friday and Saturday so you’ll have lots of time to settle in next to the cozy fireplace and take in the relaxed vibe after a movie at The Plaza theatre. ■ Neil McCue’s Whitehall – in the old Il Sogno space at the bottom of Edmonton Trail – brings us a bit of Britain, or as he says, modern European with British influences. The food is casual and approachable, using classic European cooking techniques to make seasonal food using locally and nationally sourced Canadian ingredients. The toothsome bread, for one, is made on-site. At a media dinner, McCue’s kitchen put together wonderfully tasty food, including succulent venison tartare with pickled beets and luscious mackerel confit with pickled cucumbers – fabulous combinations of rich and tangy and a tasty mixing up of textures. McCue’s got great creds, including head chef at Catch restaurant when it opened. Check it out at #24, 4th St. NE, 587-3499008 whitehallrestaurant.com

wine wanderings ■ Join BIN 905’s Wine Club. Each month six wines are selected that include a mix of red and white, and club members save 20 percent with the added bonus of a write-up about each wine complete with food and wine pairing suggestions. Details at BIN 905, 2311 - 4 St. SW, 403-261-1600, info@bin905.com ■ At The Cellar wine store: Spain 101, January 13, learn what this versatile and value-driven country has to offer. Bordeaux for the Love Of The Chateau, January 27, explore the multiple growths and AOCs

of the region for an evening of history, education and flavour. Wine 101, February 10, a second “seating” of the popular introduction to the world of wine for the New Year. Robert The Bruce Scotch Tasting, February 26, an evening of blends, single malts and cheese boards in the classic world of Scottish whiskey. Visit cellarwinestore.com or phone 403-503-0730 for details.

kids can cook

Pierre Lamielle

■ Winefest Calgary is back to spoil your senses! This all-inclusive event at Stampede Park, BMO Centre, February 19 and 20, allows the opportunity to “try before you buy” within a casually refined atmosphere – every sip and sample is included in the ticket price. Wine experts are available to share their knowledge as guests taste their way from booth to booth, providing tasting notes while educating the palate and senses. Savour a delicious selection of hors d’oeuvres in a relaxed, fun atmosphere. For more details and tickets, visit celebratewinefest.com and stay tuned to @Winefest and Facebook: Winefest. ■ Vin Room goes international by launching a third location at the new international terminal at the Calgary airport in late 2016. Look for tranquil surroundings, a business centre and a great drink selection for travelers, including the longest list of wines by the glass of any airport wine bar. Great tapas too at Vin Room Airport. ■ Big Rock Brewery has added a twist to its taps with a special concoction of Cantonese Chenpi Kölsch exclusively for Goro + Gun named Yuzu Wit. Oh, my goodness, we love yuzu juice, so fragrant and acidic. We’ll have to check it out at Goro + Gun – you will, too. Yuzu is a citrus fruit originating in China, Japan and Korea. It’s just freaking delish! Check out Big Rock’s Dark Cherry Abbey Ale, dark sweet cherries blended with a strong Belgian ale in this special edition winter offering. Dark and chocolate malts, Belgian candi sugar, coriander, orange peel, mmmmm, good. And, coming down the road, look for Citradelic Single Hop Citra IPA with a most fun label. ■ Here’s a name for you from Stone Brewing – 4 Hands/Bale Breaker/Stone Sorry Not Sorry IPA. Sounds like a try might be in order to get a whiff of hops, pine, resin and stone fruit and a taste that’s fruity and hoppy – prevalent peach complements the hops especially as the beer warms up. A combo job of three breweries, find it at your fave beer purveyor.

pour 1/2 cup white sugar 1 cup white basmati rice 2 cups milk 1/2 cup water into a small pot over high heat when the milk starts bubbling turn the heat to low and set the time for 20 minutes. stir occasionally to keep the bubbles down

how to zest + juice a lemon, orange or lime use a rasper/zester to scrape off the colourful skin

the white part underneath is the pith pith is bitter

squeeze out all the juice a fork helps loosen up the pulp

the zester is sharp watch your fingers!

use the fork to scoop out the pits

all the zesty citrus flavour is in the skin

when the timer is up stir in 2 tbsp butter zest + juice 1 lime 1 lemon 1 orange

cut the fruit in half

place 3-4 of your fvourite fresh or frozen berries in 6 cups or bowls to discover berried treasure when you eat fill the cups with the rice pudding chill for 2 hours or overnight in the fridge before eating

■ The Sun Peaks Okanagan Wine Festival, January 14 to 24, takes place at Sun Peaks Resort in Kamloops. Details, including tickets and accommodation specials, plus complete event listings at sunpeaksresort.com/wine-festival ■ Look for these well-priced and good reds – warming in a Calgary winter – from Bodegas Osborne, owners of Spanish vineyards and makers of wine, spirits, Iberian pork products and mineral water. Montecillo Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva, Viña Cumbrero Tempranillo, Carlos I Solera Gran Reserva and, our favourite, SEVEN, a blend of merlot for elegance and mocha notes, and cabernet sauvignon for structure, colour and spicy character – smooth and seductive. Look for these at your fave wine store. ■ For gin lovers, here’s one from the U.K. that’s really tasty – Brockmans in the black bottle. What makes this gin so tasty to both the nose and palate is that it’s continued on page 38



stockpot continued from page 37 not only predicated on such botanicals as juniper berries, angelica and coriander, but on some of our fave fruits – blueberries, blackberries and Valencia orange peel – for a hint-of-berries sexy smoothness we haven’t found in any other gin. Oh, my, the martini it makes, and we love it shaken with yuzu juice, squeeze of lemon, drop of agave syrup and served in a martini glass garnished with blueberry, blackberry or orange peel. Find it at your fave gin purveyor – liquorconnect. com tells us it’s available at 19 locations in Calgary, including Co-op Wines Spirits Beer and Highlander Wine & Spirits.

cooking classes ■ At SAIT’s Downtown Culinary Campus – classes $90 unless otherwise noted. Introduction to Cooking, January 11-February 8, $400; Savoury Tarts, January 21; Chutneys and Relishes, January 27; Fondue, January 28; Knife Skills, Butchery, February 3; Winter Stews, February 10; Portuguese, February 24. At SAIT’s Main Campus: Pasta, January 19; Vegetarian, January 26; France, February 2; Sushi, February 19; Introduction to Baking, February 20 & 27, $500; Bar Mixology, February 29 - March 17, $575. Visit culinarycampus.ca for details and more courses. ■ Cuisine et Château Culinary Centre: hands-on cooking classes include Stocks & Sauces, January 13; From New Delhi with Love, Indian Cuisine, January 5/February 27; Cocina Mexicana, January 15/February 25; Moroccan Flair, January 19; Cheese Making, January 23; Table for Two, January 8/23, February 13/26; Simply Italian, January 9/February 5; Best of Brunch, February 20; Flaky Viennoiserie, January 31; Classic French Bistro, February 21; Gluten-free Baking, February 6; Chocolate for Lovers, February 13/14. Special Events: Wine Pairing Workshop, Pinot Noir, a tasting event; 4th Annual L’Amour! A dinner that inspires love, February 14. 227- 10 St. NW, 403-764-2665. For details, visit cuisineandchateau.com ■ At The Cookbook Co. Cooks: A Night Out, A Couples Cooking Class; Bread Making, a Two-Part Workshop; Tagines: Stews from Morocco; Hand-Made Stuffed Pasta; Bone Broths and Their Soups; SushiMaking; Off the Menu of Anju; Culinary Bootcamp: Just for Men; Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate; Eat! Barcelona; Valentine’s Night Out: A Couple’s Cooking Class; A Lebanese Menu; Winter Tarts. Details at cookbookcooks.com/cookingclasses ■ Nutrition and Culinary Solutions: Vegetarian Cooking 101, learn basic vegetarian substitutions, cooking skills and how to cook plant-based proteins, February 29, details and registration at nutritionandculinarysolutions.ca/ncs-calendar

general stirrings ■ The Alex Community Food Centre now has a home on 17th Ave. SE – International Avenue – in Forest Lawn. An old White Spot has become a bright and beautiful community kitchen and dining space to help provide improved access to healthy food, food skills, physical and mental health, greater civic engagement and better public policy to create sustainable, systemic change for families, neighbours and the community. Details at thealexcfc.ca


■ The Main Dish Fit Kitchen offers a $50 gift card when you sign up for an 18-day January meal plan to help you get your 2016 resolutions off to a good start, post holiday overindulgence! Fit Kitchen is in McKenzie Towne, 33 High St., 403-455-3474. ■ Alberta Theatre Projects presents Celebrity Hors d’Oeuvres, April 16, at Willow Park Wines & Spirits, 10801 Bonaventure Dr. SW. Some of Calgary’s hottest restaurants are paired with local celebrities in a race to tempt you with culinary delights. It’s Calgary’s Famous Food Frenzy! The $100 ticket price includes all hors d’oeuvres and beverage pairings! Details at atplive.com/whats-on/celebrity-hors-doeuvres, 403-294-7402. ■ Mmmm, more good chocolate has set up shop in Calgary – Sweet Lollapalooza, one of North America’s top 10 chocolatiers for 2015 – at 1126 -17 Ave. SW. Owner Brett Roy set up his first shop in Edmonton in 2003 and has won more than a dozen international chocolate awards for his premium chocolates. Check it out. ■ Condé Nast Traveler announced the results of its 28th annual Readers’ Choice Awards with Emerald Lake Lodge recognized as the #9 in Best Resorts in Canada. These awards are the longestrunning and most prestigious recognition of excellence in the travel industry and are commonly known as “the best of the best of travel.” The full list is published exclusively online, at CNTraveler.com/rca ■ Calgary’s artisanal French take & bake pastry maker Pascal’s Patisserie won the Globe and Mail’s Small Business Challenge Award for its region from a record 3,300+ Canadian applicants, three times more than last year’s competition. Pascal’s is one of two prize winners in Alberta recognized at the national level as “One of Ten Small Businesses Doing it Right.” Good show Pascal’s Patisserie!

■ Flavoured dry-roasted coconut chips are the “it” snack these days, better for you than potato chips, they say. “They” are Left Coast Naturals Hippie Foods made in Burnaby, BC, and Prana Biovegan made in Montreal. Both use organic coconut and flavour with the likes of: bacon, tamari & cracked pepper, spicy chile, barbecue and natural. They’re tasty, crunchy, great to toss on top of salads, and a darn good snack all ‘round. Find them in whole foods stores, such as Community Natural, Amaranth, Planet Organic, Blush Lane, plus The Main Dish, Bridgeland Market and Sunterra. ■ How important is it for the kids in your life to learn to cook? Amaranth Markets wants to see kids of all skill levels make the family meal! From February 21 to March 6, all kids ages 10 to 17 are encouraged to send in a picture of themselves with their homemade meal to kidscancook@amaranthfoods.ca. They can send in an entry for each meal that they make and Amaranth will draw for three $100 gift certificates. ■ Join Cuisine et Château’s professional chefs in the Perigord region of France for an all-inclusive luxury gastronomic experience.


Stay in an exclusive, private château. Meet farmers, purveyors, wine makers in a unique and authentic setting that will change the way you think about food. The 2016 dates: May 29 - June 4 and June 5 -11. Don’t wait, these are already 50 percent sold out. For more information visit cuisineandchateau.com/ culinary-tours or call 403-764-2665. ■ Get inspired and have fun with hands-on cooking classes at Meez Cuisine, hosted by chef Judy Wood, using seasonal local ingredients to show you the secrets of a professional kitchen. Looking for a unique gift or party idea? Book a private cooking class. Looking to have your next event catered? Work with chef Judy to decide on your menu, Meez does the rest. Call 403640-3663 or email catering@meezcuisine.com. Visit meezcuisine.com for information on all that Meez offers. ■ If you’re in Vancouver in January, don’t miss Tourism Vancouver’s annual Dine Out Vancouver Festival offering unlimited ways to enjoy the best flavours of the city, January 15 to 31. You’ll find events of all sorts, including the Secret Supper Soirée, wellpriced “Dine and Stay” hotel packages and well-priced prix fixe menus at more than 240 restaurants. A feast for the palate, for sure. Details at dineoutvancouver.com

Calgary’s Consumer Choice Award winner for business excellence 14 consecutive years! Consumer Choice Awards recognize business excellence Canada-wide. ■ The Wingate by Wyndham Calgary Airport partners with Urbane Culinary for a truly upscale offering at an otherwise limited-service hotel. The hotel provides a complimentary deluxe hot breakfast, but to service its meeting and event business, Urbane Culinary provides fresh and creative food to attendees. Guests can also sample Urbane’s delicious food as the hotel’s gift shop sells artisan sandwiches, salads, creative entrées and even desserts all prepared with fresh ingredients. ■ Join chef Gail Hall on these culinary tours in 2016: South India, February 28 March 9; blues and jazz in Chicago, May 19 - 23; Nova Scotia, September 22 - 29; Turkey and Greece, fall 2016. Visit seasonedsolutions.ca for details.

■ Book your summer wedding at the Meadow Muse Pavilion in Fish Creek Park by January 15 and receive $1500 off the full day rental fee for Friday and Sunday bookings in 2016. This beautiful setting is just steps away from the Bow Valley Ranche Restaurant, just behind Annie’s Bakery & Café. Visit meadowmuse.ca for details, email info@meadowmuse.ca or phone 403-305-7701. ■ Michael Christiansen of Pear Tree Restaurant in Burnaby, B.C., took first place and the Gold Medal as the Canadian National Representative at the prestigious 39th 2015 Concours International des Jeunes Chefs Rôtisseurs Competition held in Budapest, Hungary, last September. The competition, open to the world’s young cooks under the age of 27, was hosted by La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs. ■ Slow Food Canada’s national meeting 2016 is hosted by Slow Food Columbia Valley in Invermere, B.C., April 6 - 10. For conference details, visit slowfoodcolumbiavalley.weebly.com ■ The annual Calgary Health Challenge, starting January 1, is a 12-week challenge that focuses on helping set, achieve, and exceed personal health and wellness goals. A recent study from the Health Quality Council of Alberta says we’re not in very good physical shape and we’re experiencing a lot of stress. Our economy isn’t helping, either. The Calgary Health Challenge is free to join and serves as a community for participants to set their goals and achieve them, through the support of local health professionals and fellow members. Through local sponsorships and donations, the winner of the challenge is expected to walk away with over $3,000 in cash and prizes. ■ Bon Ton Meat Market has been serving Calgarians with nothing but the finest fresh meats for the past 95 years. Bon Ton is committed to selling the finest premium AAA Alberta beef, aged a minimum of 21 days, hormone- and antibiotic-free pork, freerange chicken and turkey, Alberta lamb and milk-fed veal. Personalized individual service ensures that you get exactly what you want, each and every time. Bon Ton has been

1613 9th Street SW (juSt off 17th Avenue)

1 ingredient CARROTS continued from page 19

Quintessential Carrot Cake Although there are plenty of delicious things to do with carrots, everyone loves a good, basic cake. Big, wide carrots are the best – not only because they tend to be woodier, but because their sturdiness makes them easier to grate.


3 c. all-purpose flour 1 c. each sugar and packed brown sugar 1 T. baking soda 2 t. cinnamon 1 t. salt 1 c. canola oil 4 large eggs

Winter Sunday Brunch – your weekend treat! January 31 – March 27 Sundays 11 am – 2 pm

1 T. grated fresh or 1 t. dried ginger 1 T. vanilla 2 c. (packed) coarsely grated carrots 1 c. applesauce or plain yogurt 1 c. chopped walnuts, pecans, raisins, or a combination of dried fruit and nuts

Vanilla drizzle: 1 c. icing sugar 2 T. cream 1/4 t. vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

Preheat the oven to 325°F and spray a Bundt pan well with non-stick spray.

Curried Carrots with Browned Butter & Cumin Crème Fraîche

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugars, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, ginger and vanilla. (If you’re using dried ginger, stir it into the dry ingredients.)

Cooking carrots in a hot pan caramelizes their edges, intensifying their sweetness, which allows them to pair well with curry spices, fresh cilantro and lime.

Add the oil mixture, grated carrots and applesauce or yogurt to the dry ingredients and stir by hand until almost combined. Add the nuts and raisins and stir just until blended.


Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Bake for 1 hour, until deep golden and cracked on top and springy to the touch. Let cool slightly in the pan on a wire rack, then invert onto a plate while still warm.

olive oil, for cooking 4-5 carrots, sliced 1/2-inch thick on a slight diagonal 3-4 T. butter 2 t. good-quality curry powder or paste pinch salt juice of half a lime, or to taste chopped fresh cilantro (garnish)

To make the drizzle, whisk together the sugar, cream and vanilla, adding a bit more sugar or cream as needed to achieve a drizzleable consistency. Drizzle over the cake once it’s completely cooled. Serves 16.

It’s time again to open our doors to the 11th annual winter brunch. Experience the opportunity to enjoy a culinary experience without the wedding ritual.


Apricot-stuffed French toast, salmon eggs benedict, black pepper and brown sugar bacon, seafood, hot fresh sticky buns, in-house crafted desserts, and the most-applauded carved beef. Reservations required. Please call 403.288.9558 Located at 10817 West Valley Road SW

We look forward to seeing you and your family.

Cumin Crème Fraîche: 1/3 c. crème fraîche or full-fat sour cream 1/4 t. ground cumin pinch salt

In a large, heavy skillet, heat a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat. Add the carrots and cook, tossing occasionally, until starting to turn golden. Add the butter and curry powder or paste to the pan and cook until the butter starts to turn golden and nutty and the carrots are tender. Season with salt and lime. Meanwhile, stir together the crème fraîche, cumin and salt. Serve the carrots warm, with a dollop of crème fraîche and a smattering of chopped fresh cilantro. Serves 4 to 6.


Julie Van Rosendaal is a cookbook author and blogs at dinnerwithjulie.com

Great taste found here! Located in historic Inglewood

1331 - 9th Ave SE 403.532.8222



beyond WE ARE


7 quick ways with...


Pineapple is plentiful at this time and there are so many things you can do with it. Conjuring thoughts of tropical flavours and faraway places, I always feel like it’s a little winter getaway when I eat pineapple. To pick a ripe pineapple, first ensure that it is firm and smells like a pineapple. Tug at one of the spears and if it easily comes free, then you know you have a good one. To prepare a pineapple, start by cutting the top and bottom off. Place it upright and start to slice the skin away; be sure to cut deep enough to clear the divots. Then cut from top to bottom into four wedges. Take one wedge and hold it upright and cut the hard core from the centre. Then cut into pieces any way you like.


pineapple salsa

Specialty Food

This is great with grilled meats or just as is, with chips. I like to use a chile that is only a little hot, like a Fresno chile. Mix together in a bowl 1 c. finely diced pineapple, 1/2 c. finely diced cucumber, 2 red Fresno chiles (I have found them at Co-op, Superstore and Community Natural), finely diced and seeds chopped, 1 shallot finely diced, 1/2 c. chopped cilantro, 1 t. ground coriander, 2 garlic cloves, crushed with salt and worked into a paste, 2 T. lemon juice and salt to taste. Makes 2 cups.

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prosciutto-wrapped pineapple on greens with Cajun crème dressing This is a great starter salad, that looks like more work than it is. To make the dressing, whisk until smooth 1/4 c. whipping cream, 2 T. mayo, 2 T. white wine vinegar, 1 T. Mexican chile powder, 1/2 t. hot sauce, 1/2 t. salt. Cut 8 thin 3” long pineapple spears and wrap each with a slice of prosciutto. Put a handful of arugula on each of 4 salad plates and drizzle with dressing. Place 2 wrapped pineapple spears on each plate and garnish with caper berries. Serves 4.

braised pork rib roast with pineapple, winter vegetables and white wine

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I’ve used a pork rib roast, but this will work with any cut of pork roast or even a chicken. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Put a 2 kg. pork roast, fat cap up, into a roasting pan. Generously salt and pepper the top, place in the oven and bake until the roast has turned crispy and golden-brown, about 15 minutes. While it’s baking, prepare the vegetables. Peel and cut 1 large onion, 3 large carrots, 3 celery stalks, 4 parsnips, and 1/2 fresh pineapple into 1-inch pieces. Remove the roast from the oven and reduce the temperature to 350°F. Arrange the vegetables and pineapple around the roast with a sprig of fresh rosemary and 1 bay leaf. Pour in 1/2 bottle of white wine. Cover, return to the oven and braise for 40 to 50 minutes. When the vegetables are tender, remove from the oven and place the pork on a platter. Place the roaster with the vegetables over low heat and bring to a boil. Make a paste of 1/4 c. water and 2 t. cornstarch. Stir this into the sauce and allow to thicken, adjust the seasoning before serving. Serves 4 to 6.

pineapple prawns with snow peas and cashews in black bean sauce You can also use asparagus or green beans, all good. Put 1/4 c. water, 1 T. rice wine vinegar, 1 T. black bean paste, 1 t. cornstarch into a bowl and mix well; set aside for later. In a pan over high heat, put 1/4 c. canola oil, 16 prawns, 1 t. black pepper, 1 T. grated fresh ginger, 2 garlic cloves, crushed, and sauté until the prawns start to turn pink. Add 12 chunks of fresh pineapple, cut about the size of the prawns, and continue to sauté until the prawns are cooked and the pineapple is tender. To finish, add 1 handful of snow peas and the black bean mixture; stir until the sauce has thickened and simmered for about 1 minute. Remove from heat and serve over rice. Serves 4.

pineapple jerk chicken I love the spices of Jamaican jerk, but I find a traditional jerk, with the scotch bonnet chiles, too intense. This is my take on jerk, which is much less fiery. Grate 1 small onion, put it in a bowl and mix well with 2 T. molasses, 1 T. salt, 1 T. grated fresh ginger, 1 t. ground cloves, 1/2 t. allspice, 1 t. ground black pepper and 1/2 t. chile flakes. Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a casserole dish, put 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, 1/2 fresh pineapple, cut into chunks, 1 red pepper, cored and diced, 2 Roma tomatoes, quartered. Pour the sauce over top and roll to evenly coat all. Place in the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked and pulls away from the bone easily. Serves 4.

pineapple fritters These fritters are a great alternative to pancakes. This is one of my favourite recipes to cook in coconut oil. The combination is quite memorable. Put 1-1/2 c. flour, 1/2 t. nutmeg, a pinch of salt and 1 t. baking powder into a bowl, whisk together, and set aside. In another bowl, put 1 egg, lightly beaten, 2 T. brown sugar, 1 t. vanilla and 1/2 c. milk. Lightly beat together and stir in 2 c. crushed pineapple, drained. Add the dry ingredients and stir into a paste. Put 1 c. coconut or canola oil into a pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is very hot, spoon about 1/4 c. of batter into it to make each fritter. Fry until golden. Serve with maple syrup and berries. Makes 8 to 12 fritters.

recipe photos by Chris Halpin

rum baked pineapple with chocolate ice cream This is simply a great dessert with no fuss. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Cut 1 fresh pineapple into thin 2-inch spears. In an ovenproof skillet over medium heat melt 2 T. butter and add 1 c. brown sugar and 1/2 c. dark rum; stir until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture starts to bubble. Simmer without stirring for 2 minutes, add the pineapple and stir until evenly coated. Place in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the pineapple is tender. Remove from the oven and let cool. Serve warm over chocolate ice cream. For a bit of fun and to turn the simple into the sublime, give your guests a jigger of rum to pour over the pineapple and a book of matches to set the rum alight. Serves 4 to 6.

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



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Allan Shewchuk


I’ve recently come to recognize that there are certain events in life that cause everyone to lose it. I used to think it was only me when I had one of those uncontrollable meltdowns, and that perhaps I had a unique anger management issue that needed to be addressed by therapy or large doses of medication. But now I know it isn’t just me. I was relieved after I started to identify universal “rage triggers” from which no one appears immune, and which now seem to be part of the modern human condition. Don’t pretend that you don’t know what I’m talking about – you surely lose it, too.

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For example, I’ll bet you start foaming at the mouth when your computer totally freezes up and that little whirling rainbow thingy appears on the screen when you’re right in the middle of something. Sure, at first you might stay calm and collected, but once you’ve clicked your mouse a hundred times and started pounding on the keyboard with both hands as hard as you can, you know you’re going off like a rocket and there’s nothing you can do to stop yourself. Nobody can. Let’s be honest – even the Dalai Lama would blow a blood pressure cuff if the new operating system for his MacBook froze while he was watching Netflix. Other guaranteed “lose it” situations include driving in what’s supposed to be the fast lane behind someone who’s texting, trying to fold a roadmap to get it back to how it started, or failing to untangle a string of Christmas lights that had been carefully put away last winter so they wouldn’t get tangled. After making my rage trigger list, I actually thought I might come to a finite number of rage provokers, but they appear to be endless. Like the other day, when I took a short flight to the West Coast. I thought my stress was behind me after the usual hell of going through security, but I was wrong. Just as I got into the plane, the guy in front of me stopped cold at Row 1, looked at the seat number on his boarding pass, looked up at the row number and again at his boarding pass. Only then did he proceed to Row 2, where he repeated the same process. He did it again at Row 3 and yet again at Row 4. When I finally glanced over his shoulder at his boarding pass and saw that his seat was 28F, I started to seethe. How many rows was it going to take this dullard to figure out that they were in numerical order? Was this a new concept, not taught at his elementary school? Just as I was about to lash out, the woman behind me snapped like a dry twig and hollered, “Get me off this plane – this man is too stupid to fly!”, saving me from being the villain.

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I’m not always so lucky to be spared from being the one to go ballistic. I often go to restaurants in groups and trouble starts when the server brings the menu and asks, “Can I bring something to start?” I understand that to mean “Can I rush you up something immediately while people are deciding?” The key word is “rush.” I like to sip an aperitivo while deciphering a menu and I hate delaying gratification when this pleasure is offered to me. However, invariably some tablemate will intercede and say “We need some time,” before I can get a word in, at which point the server disappears and our table is stranded for what seems like an eternity. And while an eternity may seem long enough for anybody to be able to make a simple choice, apparently for some people, it’s not. I start to squirm when a server does return and somebody blurts out, “Oops! I haven’t even looked at the menu yet!”, which sends the server scurrying away again before I can get his attention. When I finally get a drink ordered, the dog-weary server is sidetracked yet again by someone who can’t decide on which wine to order and demands a “taster” of every wine by the glass. For what? Does one really need to sample Copper Moon or Barefoot to realize that one can do better? At this juncture, I lose it and shriek, “Just bring me a drink, CANTCHA???”A pall is cast over the table, but am I wrong? Isn’t this another one of those situations where anyone would reach their breaking point? I’ll bet you a glass of Copper Moon you’d lose it, too.


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Allan Shewchuk is a 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.

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Profile for City Palate

City Palate January February 2016  

The Flavour of Calgary's Food Scene

City Palate January February 2016  

The Flavour of Calgary's Food Scene