Culinaire 5:6 (November 2016)

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MUST-TRY VIETNAMESE DISHES IN ALBERTA The Season for Saisons | 9 Local Alberta Christmas Markets | Spicy Meals

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Features 14 Take the Noodle Train …to Asia with our beginner’s guide to the various types of popular noodles you can find at the grocery store, and how to use them by Gabriel Hall and Diana Ng

20 An Alberta Christmas Is there a better way to holiday shop than in crowded malls? We’ve scoured the province for nine holiday markets that you can’t miss! by Anna Brooks

30 8 Must-Try Vietnamese Dishes in Alberta Who says we’re “steak and potato country”? by Dan Clapson

46 Making the Case Hurrah for Syrah! by Tom Firth

36 Sours and Saisons: Not just for Belgians anymore by David Nuttall

39 That’s the Spirit Alberta’s thriving craft distilling industry by Tom Firth and Mel Priestley

48 The Bijou A “new” classic cocktail by Brice Peressini

50 Open That Bottle Jayme MacFayden, co-founder BMeX Restaurant Group by Linda Garson


Find Your Best: Spicy Meal It’s getting cold – if you’re looking for a spicy bite to warm up with in Calgary or Edmonton, take our little quiz to see which spot is right for you by Twyla Campbell, Dan Clapson and Linda Garson

Departments 6

Salutes and Shout Outs


Off The Menu – Cucina’s Sundried Tomato, Chorizo and Chicken Rigatoni


Book Review


Chefs’ Tips – and Tricks!

18 Soup Kitchen 24 Spice It Up: Popcorn 28 Step-By-Step: Dhal

On the Cover: Thanks go to Oohmami Pares House and Noodle Bar of 17th Avenue SW, Calgary, for the delicious bowls of Mami appearing on our cover this month, and to Ingrid Kuenzel for her photographic skills, capturing them in all their mouthwatering glory.


Letter From The Editor Less obvious is a passion for international cuisine, and the use of spices – not necessarily spicy-hot food, but more flavourful dishes. I’m an experimental cook, and love to travel as much as possible to understand and learn the culture and gastronomy of new-to-me places, in this country and overseas.

It’s November, and with it come two of my favourite things. That daylight saving time ends needs no explanation. It’s almost worth losing an hour of sleep in spring to wallow in an extra hour of horizontal time in the autumn. It feels like a gift, and never goes unnoticed in my house.

issue we’re bringing you advance news of Christmas markets across the province, in the hope you’ll find some unique and delicious treats for yourself and those you love.

We’re also taking a look at more artisanal endeavours – Alberta’s newest craft distilleries, and the recent increase in I really do believe that travel broadens the interest and demand for these local spirits. mind, and I still maintain that my mind is Let’s raise our glasses to them! the only part of my body that’s allowed to be broad. Cheers, Linda Garson, While appreciating that spicy food has Editor-in-Chief not always been a part of Alberta cuisine, I celebrate the diversity that is an integral Correction: Our apologies for missing component of our province, and welcome Top Value winner Spier Creative Block the influence and variety that a mix of 3, and Judges Selections Road 13 5th cultures brings to our culinary experiences. Element and Clos du Soleil Signature, in the Bordeaux Blends category in the This mix is evident in our farmers markets, October issue of Culinaire. To view the another reason I love to wander the aisles, corrected page, go to culinairemagazine. soaking up new smells and tastes. In this ca/articles/2016-bordeaux-blends.


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ALBERTA / FOOD & DRINK / RECIPES Editor-in-Chief/Publisher: Linda Garson Commercial Director: Keiron Gallagher 403-975-7177 Edmonton Sales Director: Lisa Wolansky 587-338-8780 Creative Director: Dan Clapson Managing Editor: Anna Brooks Contributing Drinks Editor: Tom Firth

Our Contributors < Gabriel Hall

Gabriel is a freelance food writer and executive business consultant based in Calgary. Having travelled all over North America, Asia and Europe, he perpetually wanders the world in search of close encounters of the gastronomic kind. He currently writes for multiple publications on topics including chef culture, cocktails and spirits, and ethnic culinary practices. His website, is a living archive of his experiences. Follow him @voyagegourmand

Contributing Photographer: Ingrid Kuenzel Design: Emily Vance Contributors: Anna Brooks Twyla Campbell Dan Clapson Mallory Frayn Gabriel Hall Renee Kohlman Karen Miller Diana Ng Dave Nuttall Brice Peressini Mel Priestley Phil Wilson

To read about our talented team of contributors, please visit us online at

< Renée Kohlman

Renée is a food writer and pastry chef living in Saskatoon. Her blog, sweetsugarbean. com, is a combination of her favourite things: cooking, food photography and writing, and she considers herself super fortunate to make a living doing what she loves. Renée writes Taste Saskatoon Column for The Saskatoon StarPhoenix as well as a recipe column, In Renee’s Kitchen, and her desserts can be enjoyed at Riverside Country Club. Follow Renee on Twitter @sweetsugarbean_

< Ingrid Kuenzel

Contact us at: Culinaire Magazine #1203, 804 -3rd Avenue SW Calgary, AB T2P 0G9 403-870-9802 Twitter: @culinairemag Instagram: @culinairemag For subscriptions, competitions and to read Culinaire online:

Ingrid moved from Germany to Calgary at three years old. Fortunate to spend many trips touring European historical sites, vineyards and breweries, she is fascinated by modern architecture, sampling culinary delights along the way, always with camera in one hand, most often coffee, wine or beer in the other. As a freelance commercial photographer, Ingrid specializes in great food, drink, and the people making it. She’s at @ingridkue

All Trademarks presented in this magazine are owned by the registered owner. All advertisements appearing in this magazine are the sole responsibility of the person, business or corporation advertising their product or service. For more information on Culinaire Magazine’s Privacy Policy and Intention of Use, please see our website at All content, photographs and articles appearing in this magazine are represented by the contributor as original content and the contributor will hold Culinaire Magazine harmless against any and all damages that may arise from their contribution. All public correspondence, which may include, but is not limited to letters, e-mail, images and contact information, received by Culinaire Magazine becomes the property of Culinaire Magazine and is subject to publication. Culinaire Magazine may not be held responsible for the safety or return of any unsolicited manuscripts, photographs and other materials. Reproduction of this publication in whole or in part without written consent from Culinaire Magazine is strictly prohibited.

Salutes... Calgary success stories!

Congratulations to Jayme MacFayden and Kelly Black of BMeX Group (Ox & Angela, Una, Native Tongues, and Frenchie) on winning the Pinnacle Award for Canada's Independent Restaurateurs of the Year, the only national recognition program of our $57 billion hospitality industry.


Two Calgary food-related businesses are listed as 2016 PROFIT 500 companies, Canada’s largest celebration

of entrepreneurial achievement. Congratulations to Fiasco Gelato who come in at #62, and to Knifewear at #123. Impressive!

traditional – Coconut, all found at Cococo Victoria Park, Calgary. Cococo will now represent Canada at the International Competition.

Chocolate success!

And finally…

Owners of Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut®, Cococo Chocolatier, were awarded six medals at this year’s Canadian National chocolate competition! Five new chocolates won awards: Dill Fusion Tablette, Alaea Mint, Maple Buttertart, Matcha Citrus, and Bee Pollen Gianduja, and one

and Shout Outs... There is still no shortage of new openings – in Calgary we welcome:

Mill Street Brewpub

Mabou Cheese + Bar

Mabou Cheese + Bar

For us cheese lovers out there, the Farm location on 17th Avenue SW has had a complete makeover, and is now reinvented as Mabou – and as you might expect (and hope for!) from Janice Beaton, it’s a bar with a cheese-centric menu. Open every day from 4pm, it’s a good-looking spot with plump, silvery banquettes, and a wine wall featuring carefully curated wines from the everchanging list (at great prices!). Fear not, fans of Beaton’s mac ‘n’ cheese and grilled cheese – you’ll still find them on the menu, along with small plates of salad, meatballs, and charcuterie from Empire Provisions… 6

Further east on 17th Avenue SW, Mill Street Brewery and Creative Restaurant Group have opened a microbrewery with a retail store and pub. This huge space has shiny fermenters and tanks as you enter (brewery tours start at 4pm) and different areas to eat and drink, from community tables in the pub to the softly lit, private dining room. Head Brewer Bennie Dingemanse is producing exclusive brews for Calgary (ask about the story behind Pilsner Pursuit!) as well as showcasing Mill Street favourites – he’s aiming to brew a 100mile beer! Chef Glen Manzer’s menu means we’re in for elevated eats too; the menu is western Canadian, using spent grains and beer wherever possible, even in desserts. Our faves include the wild boar meatballs, cured trout with beets and tater tots, fish & chips with hop salt, and wild rice pudding with IPA caramel. Weekend brunch is also on offer!

Congrats to 500 Cucina for taking 1st place for their thin crust, and 2nd place for their gluten-free crust pizza at the 2016 YYC Pizza Week. Congrats also to Full Circle Pizza & Oyster Bar, who took 2nd place for their thin crust pizza, and to thick crust winners, Windsor Pizza (1st) and Matador Pizza

Sub Rosa

Beneath The Guild, on 8th Avenue SW, on Thurs/Friday evenings is the VERY cocktail-focused Sub Rosa, a high-energy lounge/speakeasy. Harking back to the days of private bars, this exotically plush room opens up in stages as it fills up. A DJ spins the tunes, but Sub Rosa is no nightclub, you're coming here for Bar Chef Austin Purvis’ well thought out cocktails. Try “Funky Beets” with vodka and roasted beets, “El Chapo” – tequila and avocado with jalapeno, and lime, or go big with the $50 “Dire Wolf”, a snifter of XO cognac, Chartreuse, Galliano, Bacardi 151 rum – and fire! Peckish? Snack on bar bites of smoked devilled eggs, signature tacos, Big Country Nachos, or a house-made charcuterie board. Saturday-Thursday Sub Rosa hosts special occasion and private events. Sub Rosa

breads and cheeses. It's bright and modern, yet homely, with room for 18 people to dine in for breakfast and lunch. Try Schnitzes Get Stitches (chicken cutlet jumbo Kaiser bun) and Belly of the Beast (with grilled Cajun-spiced pork belly), and for weekend brunch, go for chicken and waffles, with chocolate chorizo (!) and karaage chicken, or Banana Foster French toast.

Cured Delicatessen

Haysboro neighbourhood meat shop, Cured Delicatessen, has a far broader appeal, and is worth a visit wherever you live. Dale and Shaine Greene produce over 2,000 lbs of house-made meat and sausage per month – one of the largest selections of in Calgary – with over 50 varieties of fresh, cured and smoked sausages and salami. You’ll also find homemade potato salads, breaded schnitzel, Hog Log (stuffed pork loin), quiche, and shepherd’s pie, and a selection of canned goods (including Salt Spring Kitchen Co’s candied jalapenos!),

And in Edmonton…

The Rec Room

There’s a choice of three different restaurants in The Rec Room, the new entertainment space in South Edmonton Common. After your next game of ping pong or pool, bowling, or racing in the CXC car simulator, head to Three10 for the Canadian-inspired menu of woodfired dishes such as BC mussels with pinot grigio butter sauce, organic BC salmon, and wood grilled pork chops, and share some wood fired olives or smoked bacon caramel corn. The Loft serves up

For 100 years, Fairmont Hotel Macdonald has been Edmonton’s destination of choice, and we are excited to welcome ICE District to the Downtown Edmonton Family. Enjoy all that the new district has to offer and then escape to the comfortable and familiar oasis of our hotel and all it has to offer. Just 10 minutes away from the excitement of the ICE District, we welcome you to #StayHerePlayThere while you visit our city centre.

Book your experience now. T: 780-424-5181 E:

Show your event ticket and receive 15% off of your guestroom and outlets bill. Event night valet parking available through Parking Panda, reserve your spot today!

salads and wood-fired pizzas, and if you're still hungry, head over to The Shed for one of seven poutines or a donut that’s stuffed, glazed, and served to order. Cool!

Bar Clementine

Oliver neighbourhood has an elegant new 36-seat cocktail bar at the base of The Pearl Tower. Andrew Borley, Evan Watson, and Jordan Clemens, along with Chef Roger Létourneau, are shaking, stirring, searing and sautéing their commendable, creative cocktails and dishes at the Art Nouveau-themed Bar Clementine. This beverage-focused eatery features artisan wines and a choice of seven absinthes, but don't overlook impressive menu dishes such as hot and horseradish deep-fried marrowfat peas, carrots dipped in amaranth and seabuckthorn seeds, melted Port Salut with candied beets and carrots, and jambonneau with cassoulet, apples, and sauerkraut. Be warned, Bar Clementine doesn't take any prisoners – or reservations!

Off The Menu Cucina’s Sundried Tomato, Chorizo and Chicken Rigatoni by LINDA GARSON photography by INGRID KUENZEL

This creamy, tomato-y, chicken-y pasta dish has a touch of warming spice, and is pure comfort food. We’re delighted to be asked for this recipe, many thanks to Chef Shaun Halstead for sharing it with us! Serves 4-6 1 cup sundried tomatoes 6 cloves garlic, peeled (4 chopped, 2 whole for sundried tomato pesto) 1 cup (240 mL) extra virgin olive oil 10 fresh basil leaves 1 cup Parmesan cheese To taste salt To taste pepper

4 chorizo sausages 2 chicken breasts 1 box rigatoni 1 yellow onion, diced ½ cup butter 1 tsp chili flakes 1 cup (240 mL) white wine 4 cups (1 L) heavy cream Italian parsley, chopped (for garnish)

1. Soak sundried tomatoes in hot water until soft, then squeeze water out.

2. For sundried tomato pesto, add

soaked sundried tomatoes, 2 whole cloves of garlic, olive oil, basil leaves, and ½ cup of Parmesan cheese in a food processor. Puree until smooth, and add salt to taste.

3. Roast chorizo in oven at 325º F until browned, then slice in half lengthwise and cut in to ½ cm pieces.

4. Bake chicken breasts with a little

olive oil and salt in 325º F oven. When cool, pull into small pieces.

5. Cook rigatoni noodles according to directions on box.

6. In a pot add a little oil, chorizo

and onions, and cook until onions are translucent. Add butter, chili flakes, and chopped garlic, and cook until butter melts. Deglaze with white wine and add cream, reduce by half.

7. Add chicken breast, sundried tomato pesto, and rigatoni noodles. Cook until hot then divide between 4-6 bowls, and finish with Parmesan cheese and chopped Italian parsley.

If there’s a dish in a local restaurant that you’d love to know how to make, let us know at, and we’ll do our very best to track it down for you! 8

Book Review by KAREN MILLER

Flapper Pie and a Blue Prairie Sky

Karlynn Johnston Appetite by Random House 2016 $32.95 This book definitely has a retro feel to it, much like the author’s fabulous Pyrex collection. Johnston has taken many long-forgotten baked goods classics, occasionally revamping them, and paired them with incredibly enticing photographs. Not every family has a collection of recipes, but this is hers from a prairie farm background including a grandmother who was all about the pies! She's always had a love of baking, but Johnston's Famous Buttercream Icing recipe became an instant hit on her blog ( in 2010. She says her catalyst for writing this book was “The (Almost) Lost Prairie Pie” on p.21; I didn’t grow up in the prairies, and was totally unaware of this decadent custard pie otherwise known as Prairie Flapper Pie. Johnston is upfront about her baking. Fancy cakes are not her thing, but butter, sugar, eggs and cream are, making all her pies, squares, doughnuts and cakes as delicious as they look and sound. Who knew Poke Cake gets its name from holes you poke in the top of boxed cake mix cake to allow for a pudding or Jello filling? Johnston makes her Poke Cake (p.156) from scratch, and it sounds infinitely more appetizing. For those novice bakers out there, this book is a treasure trove of hints and confidence boosters. Try the “Perfect Pie Crust” on p. 26, or the “Better-than-Cooking Spray Homemade Cake-pan Release” on p.20. So whether or not you grew up on a prairie farm with a grandmother who baked pies, this book will make you wish you did. Now you too can reminisce about Johnston’s baking for generations to come! Karen Miller is a lawyer by trade, giving her a knack for picking apart a cookbook. She has taught many styles of cooking classes and was part of the Calgary Dishing girls.

Chefs' Tips Tricks! Exotic Spices at Home by MALLORY FRAYN Calgary photography by INGRID KUENZEL

Thai Green Curry with Chicken

For many, cuisines like Indian, Thai and Vietnamese are often thought of as restaurant meals, rather than home cooking ventures. But with the right ingredients and know-how, cooking with exotic spices at home can be a way to not only delve into a variety of international cuisines, but also amp up the flavour in your favourite family recipes. 10

Shefali Somani

Shef’s Fiery Kitchen The name of her business might suggest otherwise, but Chef Shefali Somani knows a thing or two about incorporating spices into her food without necessitating blow-yourmouth-off spicy heat.

“Nigella tastes like a combination of onion, oregano and black peppercorns,” describes Somani, “It’s also a wonderful spice to bake into savoury breads.”

Even in dishes as simple as rice, it’s easy to perk up the flavour by throwing in some whole spices and allowing them to infuse. “Try adding cinnamon, cardamom, cumin seeds or grated ginger to basmati or jasmine rice to bring some exotic flavours to the table,” Chef Somani suggests. Nigella seeds are also an ingredient that you may not be familiar with, but can add flavour to sautéed vegetables, lentil dishes, salads and poultry.

Shefali Somani

Thai Green Curry with Chicken

Chef Hanson’s Special Secret Fish Sauce (SSFS)

2 Tbs (30 mL) vegetable oil 4 Tbs (60 mL) Thai green curry paste 1 can (400 mL) coconut milk 1 large potato, cut into 2.5 cm cubes 240 g chicken breast, thinly sliced 3 Kaffir lime leaves, torn into pieces, discarding the stem 1 Tbs palm sugar (optional) 3 red bird’s eye chilies, cut in half diagonally 2 Tbs (30 mL) fish sauce Juice of 1 lime ½ bunch fresh coriander leaves, pureed 1 Tbs Thai basil leaves for garnish

This recipe is a loose guideline — not a blueprint. Feel free to add anything you want! My most recent batch had avocado and eucalyptus leaves in it.

Serves 4

1. Heat the oil on medium high, and

1 bottle your favourite fish sauce 2-3 each dried Mexican chilies (I love to use Pasilla, Guajillo or Morita) 3 Thai chilies 3 cloves garlic 1 shallot Small bunch of cilantro stems 1 knob of ginger (if desired) Eric Hanson

then add the green curry paste and fry for 1-2 minutes.

Eric Hanson

2. Add the coconut milk and simmer

for a minute, then add the potatoes and cook for 5-7 minutes.

Chef Eric Hanson, of Prairie Noodle Shop in Edmonton, suggests creatively combining Mexican and Thai flavours.

Try adding cinnamon, cardamom, cumin seeds or grated ginger to basmati or jasmine rice

“There are a lot of crossovers between the two cuisines and notes that carry over from one to the other,” Chef Hanson says.

3. Add the chicken, and simmer till the

Take chilies, for example. Dried or fresh, Mexican and Thai chilies can be substituted for each other in various recipes to add different levels of complexity. Whereas dried Mexican chilies are often sweet and smoky with notes of raisin and an almost Fig Newton-like characteristic, Thai chilies typically have more of a “make you sweat through your clothing” heat. As Chef Hanson puts it, “people don’t always want to have to change their shirts after eating.”

potatoes and chicken are both done.

4. In the meantime, purée the

coriander leaves with the fish sauce and lime juice, adding a little water if needed.

5. Add the Kaffir lime leaves, palm

sugar, chilies, and coriander purée to the pot, and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.

6. Turn off the heat and serve on

coconut rice, garnished with fresh Thai basil leaves.

Prairie Noodle Shop

Mix everything in a mason jar and let it sit in the fridge for three days. Strain if the flavour is where you want it at that point, or leave longer to allow flavours to deepen. Remember to hit all five essential Thai flavours: sweet, spicy, salty, sour and bitter I’ll use this fish sauce to pour over rice or as a base in marinades, but my favourite is smoked fish drizzled with fish sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce, and fresh lime juice. You get bonus points if you layer fresh shallot, garlic, and chilies on top of the fish before you smoke it. Serve with greens or rice.

When brainstorming your own flavour pairings, just remember to hit all five essential Thai flavours: sweet, spicy, salty, sour and bitter. Regardless of what ingredients you use, as long as you cover all of your bases, you can create a complex, but balanced, recipe.


Lam Pham

Pure Contemporary Vietnamese Kitchen & Bar Toasting your spices is an essential step to ensure you maximize their flavour potential. “When using spices like star anise, cloves, cinnamon or cardamom, it’s important to toast them first to fully extract the aroma each has to offer,” says Lam Pham, chef and owner of Pure Contemporary Vietnamese Kitchen & Bar in Calgary. If you’re working with bold, hearty proteins, especially in making braises or stews, star anise and caramelized onion is Chef Pham’s go-to combination to accentuate the richness of the meat you are cooking. “It’s the perfect meat booster!” he says. But more isn’t always better, especially when it comes to toasting spices. “Remember, spices are much more intense when toasted, so a little goes a long way. You can always add more if you feel like you need it,” Pham advises.

Lam Pham

Pot au Pho

Makes 5 litres of pho broth 5 L good quality beef broth, unsalted 4 cups (1 L) cold water 3 large onions, peeled 2 fresh lemongrass stalks 50 g fresh ginger root 3 cloves 3 star anise 2 Asian cinnamon sticks 1 cardamom pod To taste salt, sugar and pepper Fish sauce (optional)

4. At this point, you should have 5 litres of broth. If short of 5 litres, add cold water to make it enough for 5 litres.

5. Bring broth back to a boil and add in seasonings (salt, sugar, pepper, and fish sauce, if using). Taste for final adjustment.

Spices are much more intense when toasted, so a little goes a long way

1. To a pan add cloves, star

anise, Asian cinnamon sticks, and cardamom. Toast until it smokes and aroma starts to develop.

2. Brown the onion and ginger,

transfer to a big pot, combine all above ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 2 hours.

3. After 2 hours, discard all

onions, ginger, lemongrass and spices. Strain broth through a fine sieve. 12

Best served with: –– Sliced beef –– Fresh pho noodle –– Basil –– Lime –– Beansprouts –– Green onion

–– Cilantro –– Hoisin sauce –– Sriracha –– Fresh cracked black pepper

Mallory is a Calgary freelance writer and grad student now living, learning and eating in Montreal. Check out her blog and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @cuzilikechoclat

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Take The Noodle Train by GABRIEL HALL and DIANA NG photography by INGRID KUENZEL

Nothing warms you up or comforts you quite like a full bowl or plate of noodles, whether it’s a bowl of chewy ramen noodles in a thick tonkotsu soup, an overflowing plate of Chinese chow mein with vegetables and meat, or a steamy bowl of thinly shaved beef pho with fragrant basil and lime on top.

Bee Hoon (Rice stick) Wheat Noodles

There seem to be countless well-known Asian noodle dishes and it’s not always easy to try to create them at home. Here’s a beginner’s guide to the various types of popular noodles you can find at the grocery store and how to use them.

Egg Noodles


After Japan abandoned its isolationist policies in 1858, “Chu-ka soba” (Chinese Style Noodles) were introduced and eventually morphed into the modern ramen noodle. The most important quality of a ramen noodle is the texture, according to Calgary’s Darren McLean, chef and owner of Shokunin. 14

“I like [noodles] a little firmer. That’s the beauty of Asian noodles; there are different textures for different styles of soup. For example, with pho the noodles are light, and the broths are light, so it acts as more of a flavour conduit. It’s important to use the right noodle for the right broth or dish.”

E-Fu Noodles

Also known as yi mein, this type of egg and wheat noodle is used almost exclusively in Cantonese cuisine. The dough is first fried and then dried before being packaged. To prepare, the noodles are boiled, then they can be either used in soups, in stir-fries, or in a thick seafood or vegetable sauce. Note: Pre-boil these noodles quickly before preparing them to remove excess oil.

Cellophane Noodles


In Japan, one either prefers ramen, or alternatively, leans towards the udon and soba camp. Udon’s thickness makes it extremely versatile to be used hot in broth, fried, or even served cold with sauce.

Won Ton Noodles


Invented in the Qing dynasty, won ton noodles have become a staple in the Cantonese diet of Hong Kong. Although the name refers to the dish of pork and shrimp dumplings with noodles, the type of noodles used is very specific to the dish. Made with eggs (duck eggs, traditionally), flour and lye water, the noodles are thin, but almost bouncy in texture. Another use of the noodles is in lo mein, a mixed noodle dish with oyster sauce, green onions and ginger. Tip: When cooking with won ton noodles, it’s important to pre-cook them to remove the excess lye water in the noodles. 15

Dried rice noodles were believed to have been invented for easy travel. Another story is that Chinese people who were migrating to the south missed their wheat-based noodles and had to make do with rice, the local crop. There are many variations, each of a different width and shape, some with the incorporation of tapioca (which builds structure and makes for a heftier noodle) or cornstarch, and each going by a different name. Vermicelli noodles, also known as bún in Vietnamese cuisine and bihon in Filipino cuisine, are thin and round, and used in an array of dishes from stir-fries, to soups, salads topped with vegetables, meats and sauces.

Wheat Noodles

Shou lai mein (hand pulled noodle) is arguably the first instance of noodles in the world. A preserved bowl of milletbased noodles over 4,000 years old was found in north-western China. This method of preserving grains as flour, and its subsequent processing into a foodstuff, quickly spread. As the noodle reached other regions, the types of grain, thickness, lengths, and even the textures changed to suit local preferences.

Although soba is synonymous with buckwheat, it is often a mix of buckwheat (which is a grass, not a grain) and other types of wheat. In some remote regions, soba is almost all wheat. The use of Soba often mimics udon, being served in both light and heavy broths.

Dried rice sticks (Bee Hoon, rice stick)

Vietnam’s banh canh, China’s lai fun or mi xian and Philippines’ luglug are all thicker and chewier variations on the round and thin rice noodle. They tend to have a sturdier texture as well. In addition to dried, round rice noodles, there are wider, flat varieties like the kind used in pho. They are also used in pad Thai, a stir-fried Thai dish of tofu, egg, tamarind, fish sauce, and other spices.

Soba was one of the earliest noodles brought over to Japan from China. Some stories place it as early (or late in comparison to China) as 700 AD.

Most prominent in east and southeast Asia, rice noodles are one of the most recognized type of noodles when it comes to Asian cuisine. They are believed to have been around since the Qin dynasty, with their dried form recorded around the Jin dynasty, when people fled the north for stability in the south.




Few dishes can help you through the symptoms of a cold or simply give you that cleansing and comforting feel like pho. This Vietnamese dish is believed to have originated in the early 20th century in northern Vietnam as street food. The common version today consists of a rich meat stock made with beef bones, charred onions and spices, and served with cuts of meat and herbs.

Ramen emerged as a uniquely Japanese creation after World War II, when rice was scarce and American imports of wheat created the opportunity for a dish that catered to Japanese tastes, but could use almost any ingredient. Ramen noodles are served in hot pork or chicken broth with soy or miso, and meats and vegetables.

Mami is a Filipino noodle soup (pictured on our front cover), not unlike ramen, and uses miki noodles, which are very similar to thick Shanghainese noodles. They were brought to the Philippines from Chinese migrants in the early 1900s, also bringing their food and culture. You’ll find traditional mami at Oohmami, on 17th Avenue SW, Calgary.



Fresh Ho Fun

It may seem like most noodles are bought dried, like pasta, but fresh noodles are just as common in Asian cooking. Unlike the round variety, wide noodles can easily be found in the refrigerator section in grocery stores.

for Pies In Vi’s Chinese cooking, these broad noodles are used in soups, dry stirfries (without sauce) or wet stir-fries (with a sauce, usually thickened with a cornstarch slurry). Phat si-io or pad see ew, a Chinese-influenced Thai stir-fried dish with soy sauce, broccoli, egg and meat, also uses this style of noodle.

In Singaporean cuisine, this kind of noodle lends itself to char kway teow, a stir-fried rice noodle dish.

Egg Noodles

In order to enhance the texture in their noodles, some chefs opt to use the protein in eggs in addition to alkaline water to help create a firm, chewy texture, and to help prevent the noodles from becoming soggy in broth. Chicken and duck eggs produce different results, with the latter providing additional texture.



2014 Pinot Noir, Natalie MacLean, April, 2016

Cellophane Noodles

While rice is the foundation of the Asian diet and lends itself to countless permutations from noodles to cakes, other plants are often made into noodles for different applications. Cellophane noodles – clear noodles made with starch other than rice – can be produced from mung beans, yams, and potatoes, among other plants. Mung bean noodles are often used in stewed dishes, not so much as a main element like in a stir-fry or soup noodle dish, but to soak up flavourful soups and sauces. In Thailand, it is used in the popular clay pot dish goong ob woonsen. In Korea, sweet potato noodles are used in japchae, a stir-fried dish with sesame oil and vegetables, and sometimes with the addition of meat. Its Japanese equivalent, shirataki, is made with yams and can be used in a variety of applications from soups to salads.

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Soup Kitchen story and photography by DAN CLAPSON

These soups are both what I’d lovingly refer to as “flavour bombs” and, admittedly, slightly spicy as well. The intense flavours you’ll find in Southeast Asian ingredients like Thai curry paste or sambal oelek can offer as much warmth in a pot of soup in the cooler months of the year as they do brightness in, say a meat marinade when you’re barbecuing in the summer.

With that in mind, here are two recipes that will keep you warm and cozy in the comfort of your kitchen while you watch the snow and wind dance unforgivingly through your window.

Curried Broccoli Soup 1. Place chopped broccoli in a

large baking dish, drizzle with 2 Tbs (30 mL) oil, and season liberally with salt and pepper. Let roast in oven until broccoli is well-caramelized, about 16-18 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before combining with soup.

2. Heat 1 Tbs (15 mL) oil in a large

pot on medium-high heat, add onions and garlic and cook until softened and starting to turn slightly golden, approximately 8-10 minutes.

3. Reduce to medium heat, add

Serves 4-5 Total cook time 45 minutes 1 head broccoli, stem trimmed and florets halved 3 Tbs (45 mL) canola oil 1 yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 Tbs (15 mL) Thai red curry paste 2½ cups (600 mL) coconut milk 6 cups (1.5 L) vegetable broth 18

1 Tbs (15 mL) fish sauce 1 Tbs (15 mL) honey ½ tsp (2.5 mL) lime juice 5 cm piece lemongrass 2 red potatoes, 1 cm cubed 2 large carrots, halved and 1 cm sliced 8 white mushrooms, halved To taste salt and pepper ½ cup fresh whole basil leaves

Preheat oven to 400º F.

curry paste and cook until fragrant, about a minute or two. Place the next 6 ingredients in the pot and once simmering, cover and allow to cook for 20 minutes.

4. Remove ginger from broth and add

vegetables. Let cook until vegetables are fork-tender, about 10 minutes.

5. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add caramelized broccoli and fresh basil leaves to the pot, and stir gently to combine. Ladle out into bowls.

Smoked Pork Shoulder and Udon Noodle Soup Serves 4 Total cook time 35 minutes 6 cups (1.5 L) pork broth 2 cups (480 mL) vegetable broth 1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced 8 slices smoked pork shoulder, ½ cm thick, roughly chopped 5 cm piece ginger root, peeled and halved 2 Tbs (30 mL) mirin 2 Tbs (30 mL) sambal oelek 1 Tbs (15 mL) soy sauce 2 stalks gai lan, 2.5 cm chopped (a.k.a. Chinese broccoli which is available at most major grocers) 1 cup (240 mL) water 2 tsp (10 mL) sesame oil 1 tsp (5 mL) rice wine vinegar 1 can whole baby corn, drained and 1 cm sliced 2 packages udon noodles

The intense flavours offer warmth in a pot of soup

1. Bring broth to a boil in a large pot on

medium-high heat. Once simmering, reduce to medium heat, add onion, pork shoulder and ginger; cook for 25 minutes.

2. Discard ginger root, and add the next 4 ingredients to the pot. Continue to cook until gai lan is al dente, about 8 minutes.

udon noodles to separate, and once baby corn and noodles are heated through, the soup is ready to serve.

3. Add remaining ingredients to the pot (note: the water should be added to offset the liquid the udon will absorb). Stir gently for a few minutes to allow

Dan Clapson is a freelance food writer and columnist in Calgary. When he’s not writing about Canada’s amazing culinary scene, he is likely listening to 80s rock or 90s boy bands. Follow him on twitter @dansgoodside

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An Alberta Christmas: Nine Holiday Markets You Can’t Miss! by ANNA BROOKS

The holidays are here, and with them come the scramble of Christmas shopping. Mall shopping has never been a luxurious or relaxing endeavour — harried moms, long line-ups of over-excited children waiting for a picture with Santa… isn’t there another way to holiday shop? The answer is: yes. There are many Christmas markets across Alberta that not only have unique gifts, but also offer hearty meals and warm drinks. Here are some of our favourite markets you can’t miss this Christmas:

Once Upon A Christmas at Heritage Park

If Christmas is your thing, you definitely can’t miss Once Upon a Christmas at Heritage Park. Starting in November, the whole park is enchanted with Christmas carols, gingerbread cookie decorating, and winter wagon rides.

made with the best local ingredients. Tickets sell out quickly, so make sure to get yours in advance!

What: Once Upon a Christmas Where: Heritage Park, 1900 Heritage Drive SW, Calgary When: Weekends only, November 19 – December 18 For more information or to purchase tickets online, visit:

Explore crafts and games in Gasoline Alley, do some advance shopping at the Kids’ Only Store and, of course, try some mouth-watering treats at Heritage Park’s bakery and candy store. Once Upon A Christmas at Heritage Park

We all know the holiday season is about eating – don’t miss the renowned breakfast buffet featuring delicious dishes Once Upon A Christmas at Heritage Park

Once Upon A Christmas at Heritage Park 20

Banff Christmas Market

your tired feet in the Banff Hot Springs, or if food is your thing, pay a visit to one of the many award-winning restaurants in town. Banff Christmas Market

Banff Christmas Market

Freshly roasted coffee, sticky jars of honey and artisan cheeses are a few of the many fine food attractions at the Banff Christmas Market. Bringing together the best in handcrafted dĂŠcor and festive treats, the Banff Christmas Market is one of the most scenic spots to do your holiday shopping. Warm up and rest

Market Collective

Do you love art, food and cocktails? Well, who doesn’t! Market Collective Cheer is amping up for their most festive holiday season yet with four weekends celebrating local artists, mixologists and food connoisseurs. With 60 different vendors supplying food and drink for eager marketgoers, you can find anything from holiday cocktail creations by Sugar War Cocktail Bar to sweet and savoury pies from The Pie Hole and Bakery. Market Collective Cheer is the perfect place to pick up unique

Open only for one weekend, start your Christmas early in one of the most beautiful spots Alberta has to offer. For more information, visit:

Mall shopping has never been a luxurious or relaxing endeavour

Christmas gifts, while maybe enjoying a little personal shopping yourself. Make your way through crowded stalls with a fresh Rosso coffee in hand, or take a breather and treat yourself to some hot ramen from Eats of Asia. What: Market Collective Cheer Where: Chinese Cultural Centre, 197 1 Street SW, Calgary When: November 25 - 27, December 2 - 4, December 9 - 11, and December 16 - 18 For more information, visit:

Make It Edmonton!

With a Christmas market this large, it really is like being at Santa’s workshop in the North Pole. Get lost amongst Christmas lights, carols and mouth-watering baking as hundreds of exhibitors (275 to be exact) present their best Christmas offerings. True to its name, Make It is just that: a market filled with handmade art and designs. If shopping isn’t your thing, you can still join in on the Christmas cheer and enjoy the market’s beer garden, live music and variety of snacks from food trucks on site. What: Make It Edmonton! Where: Edmonton EXPO Centre, 7515 118 Avenue NW When: November 24 – November 27 For more information or to buy tickets online, visit: edmonton/event/make-it-edmonton/

Canmore Christmas Artisans Market

What’s Christmas without a good cause? In support of children in the community, the Canmore Christmas Artisans Market is using market admissions to raise funds for the Canmore Preschool Society. Enjoy a day in the Rockies, where more than 80 artists and fine food aficionados will be showing off their holiday wares and best Christmas baking. Whether you’re searching for unique gifts for the family or just want to window shop, the Canmore Christmas Artisans Market is not to be missed! What: Canmore Christmas Artisans Market Where: Canmore Collegiate High School, 1800 8th Avenue When: November 19 – November 20

Canmore Christmas Artisans Market photo courtesy Erin Murphy

Canmore Christmas Artisans Market

For more information, visit:

Calgary Christmas Market

One of the city’s busiest local food markets, the Calgary Farmers’ Market is transforming from farmer to festive for the holiday season. With 90 different vendors on site, you can find everything from homemade Christmas baking to holiday gifts and décor.

Millarville Christmas Market

Millarville Christmas Market

Yee-haw! Lace up your Christmas boots, saddle up and head off to The Millarville Christmas Market, one of the longest-standing Christmas traditions in rural Alberta.

Millarville Christmas Market offers all types of handcrafted knitting, painting, pottery and — of course — the best varieties of homemade fudge, caramel corn and Christmas cookies.

Held in November, this four-day holiday extravaganza features everything from hayrides to glassblowing to even roasting your own chestnuts (there really is nothing quite as special as a freshly roasted chestnut). A great spot to do some early Christmas shopping, The

What: The Millarville Christmas Market Where: Box 68 Millarville, Alberta When: November 10 – November 13


For more information, visit:

If you’re strapped for ideas on what to laden your Christmas counters with, the Calgary Christmas Market has it all. Whether it’s a gift for under the tree or some decadent baking to stuff the kitchen full, there’s something from everyone this holiday season. What: Calgary Christmas Market Where: Calgary Farmers’ Market, 510 77 Avenue SE When: November 18 – December 11 For more information visit: news/call_for_christmas_market_vendors

Cochrane Christmas Market

A famously scenic spot for weddings and special events, the Cochrane RancheHouse will be welcoming the public in for their annual Christmas Market.


Featuring homemade baking, Christmas decorations and local art, the trip to Cochrane is well worth it. With a $2 admission fee to enter, the market will also be accepting donations for the Cochrane Food Bank. For locals or overnighters, November 19 is Cochrane Light Up, which features a festival of Christmas lights, fireworks and free hotdogs, and hot chocolate. What: Cochrane Christmas Market Where: 101 RancheHouse Road When: November 20 For more information, visit:

The Ranch Christmas Market

All the year-round hustle and bustle of Calgary’s Symons Valley Ranch Farmers’ Market is expanding for the Christmas season, inviting 30 specialty vendors to show-off their holiday wares. Unlike the many local craft markets seen around town during the Christmas season, Symons Valley is focusing on a gift market; more than 50 gift-specific vendors will be selling Christmas-themed clothing and art in the Lower Level Ranch Hall. Of course, a whirlwind day of Christmas shopping will work up an appetite — the Farmers’ Market on the main level is free of admission, and offers hot drinks, fresh food and some tasty Christmas treats. What: The Ranch Christmas Market Where: 14555 Symons Valley Road N.W., Calgary When: November 25 – 27 For more information, visit:

It’s all about ™ the whiskey Michter’s spares no expense in producing some of the finest single barrel and truly small batch whiskeys available. Tracing back to the first American Whiskey company in 1753, Michter’s is an American Legacy.


Spice it Up:



If you’re a popcorn junky like me, sometimes the pre-packaged microwave corn just doesn’t cut it.


As simple as it’s usually served (slathered in mystery butter at the movie theatre), popcorn is quite a versatile treat. Whether it’s a surprising snack like the “popcorn” shrimp at Home and Away,

or the finger-licking truffle butter popcorn appetizer at San Remo, there is a lot you can do with a little kernel of corn. If you’re making popcorn at home (or maybe want to show off for your guests during a Netflix marathon), here are some ways we like to spice up our popcorn.

The Basics

Everyone has a different technique, but here’s how to make things quick and easy:

1. Grab a large pot with lid. Pour

enough olive or coconut oil to just coat the bottom of the pan (over-oiling will leave you with greasy corn!).

2. Turn the heat up to high, and

sprinkle two or three kernels in the pan (keeping lid off).

3. Once the first kernel pops, quickly pour in all your kernels, turn down the heat to medium/low-medium, and cover with a lid.

4. Kernels should rapidly begin

popping. Shake pot periodically to prevent burning your corn.

5. Wait until popping slows down

substantially (around three minutes), and then remove from the heat and pour immediately into a serving bowl.

Have A Sweet Tooth?

Every since kettle corn emerged, people seem to be pleasantly surprised with the sweet and salty popcorn combo. If we had you at kettle corn, it’s really not as complicated to make as you might think: Pop your corn, and while still hot, toss with butter, refined sugar and a touch of salt.

If you want to take things to the next level, there really isn’t much that beats good, sticky caramel popcorn:

1. Preheat the oven to 250º F. Pop a whole lot of corn and spread over a baking sheet.

2. Make a simple caramel sauce;

everyone is different here, but all you need is butter and brown sugar (a touch of vanilla is a nice addition!).

3. Coat the popped corn with caramel sauce. Bake for one hour, giving the mixture a quick stir every 15 minutes – and voila, caramel popcorn!

I came across this recipe online and never turned back. For a bit of sourspice, try sriracha lime popcorn. Mix lime juice, sriracha sauce, butter and a bit of salt, and drizzle over popped corn. If you like things spicy, toss in a bit of cayenne powder.

I feel like when you’re eating a S’more, there needs to be camping involved. How To Top Your Corn Luckily, S’more popcorn is something you Not all of us have time to spend hours can eat any place, any time. All you do is: in the kitchen becoming popcorn connoisseurs, so here is a quick list of 1. Melt butter, brown sugar and ingredients you can toss your popped marshmallows in a pan and mix with corn in for a quick, delicious snack. popped corn. Try: –– Parmesan & cooked garlic 2. Sprinkle graham cracker –– Dill and lemon zest crumbs all over, let cool, and then –– Salt and cracked black pepper mix in your favourite chocolate and –– Pickle juice (we’re serious, it’s mini marshmallows. surprisingly good!) –– Salt and vinegar Savoury Flavours –– Rosemary and olive oil I tend to lean a little more towards –– Chilli seasoning savoury popcorn myself. And I was quite surprised to discover the variety of When we’re talking cheese, caramel and savoury recipes! S’more popcorn, it’s hard to consider your treat a healthy one. But there are A staple: cheese popcorn. The trick here little steps you can take to help: is not using grated cheese — that would make an untold mess. Make your popcorn, Use low-sodium salt alternatives or fine and then shake with cheddar cheese pink salt. Same goes for butter — use powder, mustard powder and a bit of salt. unsalted, or low-sodium butter. If you’re Simple as that! loading up your popcorn with toppings, try popping with coconut oil instead of Truffle popcorn has to be an all-time olive oil; your corn will be less greasy. favourite, and it’s super easy to make. You might have to splurge on truffle oil There are a million and one ways to if you don’t already have some, but toss make popcorn, but this should give you your corn with a little bit of truffle oil some starting tips on how to spice up (I’m serious – a little goes a long way, in everyone’s favourite movie snack. this case), salt and load up with cracked black pepper. Amazing. I sometimes like Anna Brooks is Culinaire’s managing editor. A Mount to toss in a bit of powdered Parmesan Royal journalism graduate, stories have pulled her overseas to pursue international work in India, Africa cheese — popcorn heaven! and Thailand. Follow her on Twitter @Anna_Brooksie 25





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Located in vibrant Downtown Calgary, ONE18 EMPIRE is a whisk(e)y-inspired bar and restaurant with a strong focus on handcrafted whisky cocktails and sharable, locally inspired cuisine, masterfully paired with our select onsite reserve. With a focus on the art of storytelling, the staff seeks to engage patrons in ONE18 EMPIRE’s rich history by showcasing how these stories have influenced the design of our cuisine and beverage offerings.

KLEIN / HARRIS is an independent restaurant inspired from the diverse bounty that Canada has to offer. Highlighting the stories of passionate Canadian producers with the use of exceptional products and ingredients. Working with a long list of national heroes that make True North Cuisine possible, Executive Chef James Waters focuses on distinct coast-to-coast Canadiana dishes. Partner and cocktail curator Christina Mah offers an elevated libation program to match, featuring both tried and true Canadian creations and venerable classics.

820 Centre Street SE Calgary, AB 403-473-4285

Main Floor, 110 8 Avenue SW Calgary, AB 403-262-8100



Anju: food you eat with alcohol. Award-winning chef and owner Roy Oh puts a modern twist on Korean cuisine. The menu showcases the flavors and ingredients of Korea with a focus on Canadian influences, modern techniques and unique ideas. Bar Manager Dustin Joynt has expertly 3rd Ave nuetheswsame philosophy to applied the cocktail program and paired it perfectly with the cuisine. At Anju 4th Ave nue sw our motto is “Eat. Drink. Live.” 344 17 Avenue SW

5th Ave Calgary, nue AB sw


6th Avenue sw


Unapologetically bold cocktails! Cleaver is out there with innovative fun cocktails, usually with a side of craic (Irish for fun, music & gossip) Happy hour daily from 4-6pm.

524 17 Avenue SW Calgary, AB 403-452-1211


Inspired by candy, Bar C has launched a new cocktail list. Try the Snickers Old Fashioned featuring caramel and Aztec chocolate bitters or the Opposite of Earl, which is topped with lemon cotton candy. But the list isn’t all sugar and spice and everything nice. The new list features bold options such as the Daywalker or the Chimango. Celebrate the warmer temperatures with a cocktail on either of Bar C’s two patios. The perfect way to squeeze every ounce out of summer!

Live Jazz to DJs, PRLR Lounge is dedicated to bringing the nightlife of our beautiful neighborhood to another level. Whether bitter, brown and stirred, light and refreshing and everywhere in between, our cocktail program will showcase a wide variety of spirits and creativity. So, grab a spot to sit and share the night with us. It’s where Kensington goes for Cocktails.

340 17 Avenue SW Calgary, AB 403-984-3667

124 10 Street NW Calgary, AB 403-455-2452

1st Street se




Step-By-Step: Lentil Dhal

story and photography by RENEE KOHLMAN

If you haven’t heard, earlier this year the United Nations declared 2016 to be International Year of Pulses. 28

Although this wonderful year is drawing to a close (scary, isn’t it?), there is still some time to celebrate lentils, chickpeas, dried beans and peas, before the year is up.

Pulses are edible seeds of plants in the legume family, and Canada grows a whole lot of them. If you took a road trip across the prairies this summer, chances are you drove by fields of pulse crops without even knowing it.

Our country is the world’s largest producer and exporter of lentils and dry peas, and a major supplier of pulses to more than 150 countries around the world. Nutritional powerhouses, pulses are high in fibre and protein, and help regulate blood sugar levels. In addition, they’re affordable, easy to prepare, and their versatility makes them superstars in the kitchen. See? Lentils are pretty darn cool! Dishes like this easy dhal can be thrown together in mere minutes. One of the perks is it will also leave your house smelling amazing, with a warm breeze of exotic curry and coconut wafting from your kitchen. Pulses are affordable, easy to prepare, and their versatility makes them superstars in the kitchen A quick sauté of vegetables and spices builds the flavour base of our dish. Use a brand of curry powder that you love, as the blend can vary from package to package and affect the taste of your dhal. Tip: try to use fresh curry powder, not the stuff that’s been in your cupboard for five years. Using coconut milk, like I did here, will add a lovely richness, especially when combined with the tomato paste. Let the dhal simmer away on the stove. After 20 minutes, the lentils will have broken down into a purée of sorts, but the texture of the vegetables will still shine through. Serve the fragrant sauce over bowls of steamed rice, and garnish with plain yogurt, cilantro and hot sauce (if you like to spice things up even more). I love eating dhal in winter, when the bones are cold and the house smells of warm, faraway places. It’s such a satisfying dish, for both the body and the soul!

Easy Curried Red Lentil Dhal with Coconut Milk Serves 4-6

2 Tbs (30 mL) canola oil 1 onion, diced 2 carrots, finely diced 4 garlic cloves, minced 2 Tbs fresh ginger, grated 2 tsp curry powder 1 tsp ground cumin ½ tsp ground turmeric 1½ cups split red lentils, rinsed 1 can (398 ml) coconut milk 2 cups (480 mL) vegetable broth 2 Tbs (30 mL) tomato paste 2 tsp sugar 1 tsp salt ¼ tsp pepper 2 Tbs (30 mL) fresh lemon juice ½ cup chopped cilantro or parsley

1. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-

high heat. Add the oil and let it warm up for 30 seconds. Stir in the diced onion and carrots. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes until the vegetables soften.

2. Next, stir in the garlic and ginger,

and cook for another minute or two. Add in the spices and cook for 1 minute, being sure to stir often so they don’t burn on the bottom. Use fresh curry powder, not the stuff that’s been in your cupboard for five years

3. Add the lentils and the coconut

milk, being sure to scrape any brown bits off the bottom of the pot (use a splash or two of water to deglaze if necessary).

4. Add vegetable broth, tomato paste, sugar, salt and pepper. Cover and bring the dhal to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, stir and simmer for about 20 minutes, with the lid slightly ajar. Be sure to stir every 5 minutes or so.

5. When the lentils and vegetables

are tender, stir in the lemon juice and cilantro, and adjust the seasonings. Serve over steamed basmati rice. Renee is a food writer and pastry chef living in beautiful Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Her columns appear in The Saskatoon StarPhoenix and her desserts can be enjoyed at Riverside Country Club. Check out her blog 29

8 Must-Try Vietnamese Dishes In Alberta by DAN CLAPSON photography by INGRID KUENZEL


Being a province that is all too regularly described as “steak and potato country,” people might be surprised to know that Calgary has the highest number of Vietnamese restaurants per capita in North America, second only to Vancouver. Edmonton isn’t far behind, meaning our Alberta metropolises boast plenty of fantastic Vietnamese restaurants in almost every neighbourhood within their city limits. We should feel pretty lucky about that! When it comes to deciding what to order at a Vietnamese restaurant, it’s always nice to rely on an expert’s opinion. Carmen Cheng and Patricia Lau, @foodkarmablog and @miss_foodie, respectively, are not just simply passionate food bloggers, but also two women who have made it their mission to discover the best dishes at Alberta restaurants. Here, they dish on a few of their favourite menu items they’ve discovered at some of the most popular Vietnamese eateries in the province.


Calgary Pure Vietnamese

Char Siu Sesame Donut: It’s the perfect bite because it encompasses a great combination of flavours and textures – the melt-inyour-mouth tender pork contrasted by the crunchy pickled vegetables and cucumber in between a crispy yet fluffy (on the inside) sesame seed bun.

Raw Bar

Pork Imperial Rolls (Chả giò): These may be a staple at most Vietnamese restaurants, and most of us are used to enjoying “spring rolls,” but when this dish comes rolling out at Raw Bar, it’s still impressive.

The rolls are served on a beautiful platter with traditional accompaniments like lettuce, rice vermicelli, and herbs to wrap around the crispy fried pork spring rolls. These accompaniments add freshness and balance to the dish.

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The broth recipe has been passed down through three generations and cooked for 12-15 hours to get a deep flavour. King Noodle has been in business 21 years so you know it’s good, plus this restaurant is well known for the owner who has an awesome handlebar moustache!

Tau Bay Restaurant

Pho Tai, Nam, Gan, Sach (with rare steak, well-done flank, tendon, and tripe): The sweet meaty flavour is the prominent flavour in the broth at Tau Bay. I especially like that they give you five-six pieces of tendon in this bowl.

Pho Dau Bo

This is one of the few places in Calgary [that you can find] oxtail pho. The oxtail gives the soup a more rich and hearty beef flavour and it is perfect for a cold weather meal.

you like. I always get it all – carrots, cucumbers, daikon, onion, thai chilies, cilantro, cheese, a squirt of fish sauce and their soy sauce mixture – I don’t know what it is about this place, but the way they assemble all of the ingredients is so delicious and I always end up inhaling my sub in five minutes flat!

Nho Saigon

TNK Vietnamese

Unless you make these at home – which I do – Nho Saigon may be the only place in Calgary to get these fresh rolls. Compared to the typical salad rolls, Bo Bia are stuffed with shredded jicama, Chinese sausage, egg, and carrots, and served with a peanut dip. The combination of flavours and different textures [in the roll] makes this a fresher option than standard salad rolls.

I love this light and crispy Vietnamese savoury fried crepe at TNK. It’s made with coconut milk, rice flour and turmeric and is stuffed with pork, shrimp, and sprouts.

Oxtail Pho (only available on Saturdays and Sundays):

Jicama Salad Rolls (Bò Bía):

Thi Thi Vietnamese Subs Banh Mi:

There are a lot of banh mi spots in Calgary, but I doubt any are as busy or as tiny as the Thi Thi shop in Chinatown. Despite their size, this place makes my favourite Sate Beef banh mi in the city. The sweet sliced beef is sandwiched in a toasted baguette and garnished as 32

Vietnamese Crispy Crepe (bánh xèo):

I like that you can really taste the coconut in this version and the fact that this is not a dish that is commonly found at most Vietnamese restaurants. There are only a handful of eateries in Calgary that serve this dish. It is eaten wrapped in lettuce along with fresh herbs and dipped in a tangy nuoc cham sauce.

Edmonton King Noodle House Pho Hoang

#1 (extra-large size) or 2 (small size) – Phở đặc biệt (Special pho with all the meats – rare steak, well done beef flank, tripe, tendon, beef balls):

This place is so popular, but be warned: if you get addicted to their pho, it may be disappointing when they take their summer breaks. There’s a website titled because this restaurant is infamous for long closures during the summer while the family travels to Vietnam.


When the temperature begins to drop and drop (and drop), it’s natural for all of us to scramble to find a restaurant that can keep us warm. Now, all self-respecting restaurants will have the air conditioning systems set to “toasty warm” and fireplaces crackling if applicable, but finding heat on your dinner plate isn’t always so easy. Dishes that are full of flavour and accompanied by a nice tingle of heat — be it from Thai chilies, scotch bonnet peppers or pili pili sauce — have the kind of superpower that can shake the bone-chilling cold and shivers right out of you. If you’re looking for a spicy bite to warm up with in Calgary or Edmonton, take our little quiz to see which spot is right for you. 1. When I hear the word “spicy,” my mind immediately thinks of... a) Hot sauce. b) A big bowl of curry. c) Szechuan peppercorns. Make my tongue numb! 2. If I need to drive and the roads aren’t so good, I’m willing to drive for… a) 10 minutes max. b) I’ve got good tires, so 30-40 minutes is fine. c) Zero minutes. I’m not leaving my house. Delivery it is! 3. The availability of vegetarian options with some heat at a restaurant is… a) Not important because I’m basically a carnivore. b) Welcomed because like life, dinner is all about balance! c) Not something that makes or breaks where I want to eat.

4. I think having a spicy condiment on the table at a place I’m eating is… a) Essential because dishes are rarely spicy enough for me! b) Great to have to spice up a regular dish. c) Irrelevant. If I order it hot, it’s always hot enough for my tender tastebuds! 5. The amount of lingering heat I’m willing to tolerate from a plate or a few plates of food is… a) Fairly high. I don’t mind sweating a bit. b) Moderate. A warming tingle in my throat is fine. c) Low. Just enough to warm me up! 6. My idea of the perfect warming plate of food is… a) Something meaty like pork or beef served piping hot with some sort of spicy sauce.

b) A bowl of soup with exotic flavours like bird’s eye chili and lemongrass. c) Anything that resembles a stew. 7. True or false: I love big portions of food at restaurants so I can eat the leftovers the next day. a) False. Well, I like getting big portions, but I am a big eater. b) True! It’s great for the kids for lunch the next day. c) Neutral. It’s more about what type of food I’m craving rather than portion size. 8. Price point on my meal is something I… a) Consider, but not a deal breaker. b) Do think plays a part in my dining decisions. I love good value. c) Don’t care about too much. I’m usually just dining solo or with a friend! 33

Calgary Restaurants Simply Irie (mostly ‘A’s)

When visiting a place like the sunny Caribbean and enjoying their vibrant cuisine that’s spiked with the heat of scotch bonnet peppers, the jerk spice is technically more for cooling down (courtesy of the sweating reaction some dishes induce in a person’s body) than it is for keeping you warm. With that said, Irie is here to comfort us Calgarians when there’s snow on the ground and we’re bundled up from head-to-toe. Pop in for lunch or dinner, and you’ll walk into a small room with the aroma of essential components of tropical cuisine like allspice, cinnamon, cloves and cumin.

Sit down and find contentment in the hand-made Jamaican patties filled with anything from spiced ground beef or chicken to a medley of vegetables (these are great taken home and reheated the next day too). Then there are the big platters of curried goat, braised oxtail and jerk chicken, of course, all with a side of hot rice and beans. Calgary may be the sunniest city in Canada during the winter (that is a fact!), but having Irie serving up madewith-love Caribbean cuisine on the corner of 17th Avenue and 14th Street makes it feel all the warmer. 1431 14 Street SW, Calgary 403-454-7400


(mostly ‘B’s) Yuga is all about choice – there are locations both downtown and in West Springs, and a vast array of authentic dishes to choose from. Think you know what to expect of traditional Indian cuisine? You might be surprised to find a few dishes here that you haven’t yet tried. At lunch you don’t have to choose, as you can try everything on the extensive buffet – or if you’re eating at your desk,

Safari Grill

(mix of ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’) Just 10-15 minutes east of downtown, in Short Pants Plaza, you’ll be transported 34

try a lunch box to go. Fill up your box from the buffet and pay by weight, and look for great value weekday specials at a set price. Eating in, you’ll receive a basket of freshly cooked naan at your table, and

it’s complementary to go too. Dinner’s where the decisions start, with Twenty choices of pakoras, samosas, seekh kababs, tikki and tikka appetizers, you may be full by the main course! But save room for a curry; as well as the meaty variations, Yuga is known for its selection of veggie and house made paneer dishes, as well as 10 rice dishes and 12 different breads… 731 6 Ave SW, Calgary 403-719-8183 and 120 - 8560 8A Avenue SW, Calgary 587-483-9111

to the jungles of Africa to experience your own journey of exotic cuisine. You’ll find curries with flavour rather than heat, using coconut, tomatoes, and nuts to create the rich sauces for beef, chicken, prawns, goat, and veggies.

Don’t miss your chance to devour crispy mogo with your ribs or mishkaki – these deep fried fingers of cassava come with spiced crushed tomatoes or dipped in pili pili sauce, and are completely addictive – fries just won’t be the same again!

But it’s by no means all curries at Safari Grill; there’s a choice of eight different marinades for their tender beef short ribs (try the Fusion Ribs for sweet and spicy). And Mishkaki – skewers of beef, chicken, or prawns marinated in African spices and barbequed – with a quartet of chutneys to cool you down or warm you more.

Wear your animal print top to blend in the decor, relax, and order from a good selection of South African wines and East African beers to enjoy with your meal at Safari Grill. 100, 255 28th Street SE, Calgary 403- 235-6655

Edmonton Restaurants Shanghai 456

The green beans with XO sauce carry a different warning: be prepared to be addicted to this dish of perfectly cooked beans topped with the legendary umami-packed sauce. The same can be said for the beef wor tip dumplings. Place a double order for snacking later. The service slows down during busy times, but the food makes up for any shortcomings.

(mostly ‘A’s)

Shanghai 456’s new location in the west end may lack the quirkiness of its former location in an airplane hangar at the nowdefunct Edmonton Municipal Airport, but the food still retains the Szechuan character the establishment is known for. Xia long bao fans know this is the place to get the best soup dumplings in the city. Word of advice: bite off a small portion of the dumpling’s tip in order to let the

Narayanni’s (mostly ‘B’s)

Narayanni is the name of the Hindu Goddess of Abundance, appropriate for the abundance of good food that has been served here since 2010 by Daya and Selva Naidoo. The Naidoos are descendants of East Indian labourers brought to South Africa in the 19th century to work the cane fields. The food they serve is East Indian with South African and European influence: tomato base curries (instead of cream); cooling raita, tart and tangy chutneys, braised kale, and steaming hot roti.

steam escape and cool before popping the tiny pork-filled bao in your mouth.

14456 118 Avenue NW Edmonton, 780-451-8333

All the dishes are based on the Ayurvedic food philosophy, which revolves around balance through six tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent. You won’t find any a la carte options here. What you will find is a bountiful buffet full of locally sourced products, conscientiously raised proteins and scores of vegan, vegetarian and glutenfree options. The dishes are free of food colourings, preservatives and MSG, and full of Naidoo family love. 10131 81 Avenue, Edmonton 780-756-7112

Sawaddee Thai

(mix of ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’) Making a trip from the city to the ‘burbs just for food isn’t the usual direction of travel when it comes to dining, but Sawaddee in Sherwood Park is definitely worth the trek. Thai food is all about fresh ingredients, intricate preparations and the fundamental pairing of sour, sweet, salty, bitter and spicy. The use of fresh herbs results in the food tasting as good as it looks. Try the Chu Chee Goong, shrimp in a warming curry sauce flavoured with lime leaves, and don’t fear the heat: Thai curry is more robust than spicy.

Get ready to be addicted to the Gai Hor Bai Toey: fragrant pandan leafwrapped bundles stuffed with chicken marinated in soy sauce, garlic, cilantro, sesame oil, and white pepper. The packets are first steamed, then deep fried and served with a thick soy sauce. Need a pick-me-up? Go for the Thai version of ‘grandma’s noodle soup’, Tom Yum Goong, a generous helping of shrimp and mushroom in a beautifully balanced, spicy lemongrass broth. One sip, and all is right with the world. 190, 664 Wye Road, Sherwood Park 780-570-1999 35

Sours And Saisons:

Not Just For Belgians Anymore by DAVID NUTTALL

If you’ve ever wandered the beer aisle at your neighbourhood liquor store or looked at the menus at better beer bars lately, you may have noticed some unusual new beer names. Not only are there some wonderfully inventive beer monikers from breweries you’ve never heard of, but you might have observed some perplexing beer styles as well! Brewmasters like to walk a fine line between producing beers for mass appeal and brewing something unique. With 150 to 200 beer styles, there is certainly no


shortage of varieties to choose from. And these styles are not new; most have been around for hundreds of years. But they might seem new to the beer neophyte because very few of the original European beers have ever been imported into Alberta. In addition, when new craft breweries began exploring what to brew beyond what was being churned out by the “Big Breweries,” as a rule, they stayed away from these esoteric styles, fearing they might be a little too obscure for the general public.

While there are dozens of beer styles that fall in this class, it’s the European Sour Ales and Belgian Ales that seem to have literally come from nowhere. Seriously. Of all the thousands of North American breweries, only a handful have ever produced these beers… until now.







The European Sour Ale category contains styles such as Berliner Weisse, lambics, gueuze, gose, and Flanders’ ales. Many of these beers are mild wheat ales with a sourness that replaces the bitterness of hops. The result is a citrusy acidic or tart beer, which can taste somewhat like cider, and is sometimes so sour that many are sweetened or flavoured with fruit. The sourness comes from the use of wild yeasts or by purposely infecting the wort with bacteria. These beers are a challenge to make. Breweries have to be careful to not let the microbes used in sours contaminate other beers. Also, the very nature of these beers makes it difficult to get consistent batches at all times, so many are put into barrels, aged and then blended. Fortunately, the Belgian Pale Ale category has more approachable beers. Herein lie witbier, bière de garde, and saison. Witbiers have been around for a while now, while Bière de gardes are very uncommon. Saisons seem to have become the new darling of the craft brewing community. This highly carbonated, spicy, dry, refreshing beer has fruity — and sometimes hoppy — characteristics. Originally brewed as artisanal farmhouse ale to quench the thirst of seasonal

workers (saisonaires), it requires special yeast to yield its unique characteristics. North American breweries generally import this yeast from Belgium or France, and once brewers have mastered this style, making fruit versions is often forthcoming. Already, the nascent Alberta scene has taken notice. Wild Rose Brewery has done very well with its Cowbell sour, and introduced a Berliner Weisse this past summer. Tool Shed Brewing, in conjunction with Olds College, is making beer with captured Alberta wild yeast, hoping to debut in 2017. Big Rock Brewery has built its own quarantine room within the main brewery to allow wild yeasts from outside to contaminate the wort in open “coolships”

in order to create its own lambic-style beer. Now aging in oak barrels, they will be released in 2017 and beyond. So expect to see more of these different styles of beer. If you’d like to try them, look for some of the European originals. Here are some great versions to try out from local breweries:

Six Corners Brew Works: Post ‘N Bale Farmhouse Ale

This summer seasonal is as spicy and as thirst quenching as its Belgian cousins. The yeast does the talking here. CSPC 778238, $16 per 6 pk.

Banded Peak Brewing: Chinook Saison

A true transatlantic brew; a Belgian farmhouse ale with North American Chinook hops. Typically dry, with a slight spicy flavour. Look for their fruit versions as well. Available on tap, at growler bars, and at the brewery (519 34 Avenue SE, Calgary).

Troubled Monk Brewery: Homesteader Belgian Saison

This Red Deer brewery has created their own tasty homage to manual labour. CSPC 779877, $15 per 6 pk.

The Dandy Brewing Company

At least seven different sours have come out of this small Calgary brewery in the past year. Expect more versions in the future. Look for them on tap, at growler bars or better yet, visit them at #11-1826 25 Avenue NE, Calgary. 38

That’s The Spirit:

Alberta’s Thriving Craft Distilling Industry by TOM FIRTH and MEL PRIESTLEY

From moonshiners making illegal hooch in the hills to the growing numbers of shiny, new craft distilleries, Alberta has a proud tradition of distilling.

But unless you grew up in a family that made its own home brew, seeing a distillery in action was quite a rare thing until recently. Since the province’s inception at the turn of the 20th century, Alberta’s licensed stills

slowly closed or merged until only a handful of large producers remained: Alberta Distillers in Calgary, Highwood Distillers in High River, and Black Velvet in Lethbridge.


That changed in 2013, when the Alberta government removed the 5,000-litre minimum production requirement for distilleries — this had been a major barrier for new, small and/or craft distillers. Since then, five new craft distilleries have cropped up in Alberta with their own stills and facilities: Eau Claire, Big Rig, Park, Last Best and Red Cup, and more are certainly on their way. These pioneers have faced numerous hurdles in the craft distilling industry. Overhead costs – for everything from bottles to barrels to raw materials – are a huge challenge, and smaller distillers don’t have the resources to place bulk orders like large producers. “All provinces in Canada offer some kind of industry support program with the exception of Alberta, which is something we hope the government will correct” David Farran, president of Eau Claire Distillery and president of Alberta’s Craft Distillers Association, notes that there are other challenges as well. “Barrel maturation (of whisky) means that expenses have a minimum threeyear gap with realized revenues,” he explains. “All provinces in Canada offer some kind of industry support program with the exception of Alberta, which is something we hope the government will correct.” The time does seem right for some further changes. Alberta’s exploding craft beer scene has driven major policy change, and more and more Albertans are discovering the different types of drinks being made in our backyard. As both consumers and bartenders alike embrace local products, demand continues to rise. We can drink to that! 40

his moonshine for $30 a bottle so it’s affordable for everyone, and each batch sells out in hours. “We had to rediscover what grandpa knew off the top of his head,” de Groot says. “I would have never hazarded a guess on how much I’d have to reconnect with our collective past.”

Last Best Brewing and Distilling 607 11th Avenue SW, Calgary

Red Cup Distillery

5441 Maple Street, Vegreville Red Cup Distillery embraces Alberta’s tradition of moonshine – our original craft spirit, made throughout the prairies by resourceful farmers who brought ancient distilling knowledge with them from Europe. Red Cup is the first legal moonshine producer in the province, and that’s the only thing they make. Owner Rob de Groot made his small pot still from salvaged copper, and had to learn how to do his own floor malting, which involves sprouting the grain on site instead of purchasing commercial malt. He describes these factors as key in the unique flavour of his product. De Groot, who comes from a farm family, is blunt about Red Cup’s focus. “I want it to be for people with dirt on their boots,” he says. He sells

Last Best is playing a waiting game right now. They are primarily a whisky distillery, and therefore have to wait out Canada’s three-year minimum barrel aging requirement before they can release their first whiskies. In the meantime, the distillery – which is part of the Bear Hill Brewing Company that operates both Last Best and Wood Buffalo Distillery – has time to experiment. “We have fun with some

Last Best Brewing and Distilling Last Best Brewing and Distilling

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unaged products found in limited quantities,” says Bryce Parsons, Bear Hill’s Master Distiller. “We recently released our first edition of the Beltline Series.” That series will be comprised of unaged white distillates (essentially, whisky before it’s barrel-aged). The first is a “non-gin” lilac and spruce tip botanical spirit; these botanicals grow around the beltline area of Calgary in the spring, hence the name. To try the full range of products, you’ll have to visit the closest Bear Hill brewpub — these products aren’t available in many liquor stores!

Park Distillery

219 Banff Avenue, Banff When Park Distillery opened, everyone asked why there wasn’t always a craft distillery in Banff. Located along Banff Avenue, Park is perfectly situated to take advantage of the tremendous amount of foot traffic strolling by. Master Distiller Matt Hendriks recalls one of their first eye-opening experiences. “When we had our first shipment of bottles arrive, we underestimated what 20,000 of anything looked like – let alone glass bottles,” he says with a laugh. “That was an interesting day, carrying 3,300 cases up two flights of stairs.” Park Distillery

Eau Claire Distillery

Hendriks has been part of the operation since the beginning, which was about three years from inception to opening. He spent the first year working on the recipes while the equipment was being ordered and installed. Starting a distillery is three times the investment of a craft brewery, with lower volumes Park specializes in premium white spirits and flavoured vodkas. Their gin is made with local botanicals found just outside Banff National Park, and their muchanticipated Canadian whiskey is slated for release September 2018.

Eau Claire Distillery

113 Sunset Boulevard NW Turner Valley Turner Valley is the site of Alberta’s first craft distillery. The region was previously home to several illicit stills in the province’s early days, but alas, things have changed. Eau Claire is now located in Turner Valley’s old movie theatre and dance hall, with a recently built tasting room adjacent. The folks at Eau Claire have plenty of experience in the beer industry, but quickly learned that distilling is very different. David Farran, president of Eau Claire, notes that starting a distillery is three times the investment of a craft brewery, with lower volumes. But not all the surprises they encountered were bad. “Our other surprise – a pleasant one – has been the tremendous reception by consumers,”


Eau Claire Distillery

Farran says. “Few understand the amazing things you can do with spirits produced using handcrafted techniques, or even what a craft spirit is.” “Alberta has the best source materials in the world – particularly our production of malt barley,” he continues. “But we also produce exceptional corn, wheat, potatoes and other feedstock for distilling. The key to distilling is agriculture.” Eau Claire regularly hosts events where people can come out and help harvest grains destined to be used by the distillery, driving home the farmto-glass message. They have also earned plenty of accolades for their white spirits, including Parlour Gin and EquineOx, a spirit infused with refreshing prickly pear cactus. They’ll be releasing a whisky in 2017.

Big Rig Craft Distillery

2104 8th Street, Bay B, Nisku Big Rig Distillery is Alberta in a bottle – the name and oil rig-shaped bottles pay tribute to our province’s biggest industry, while the liquid inside showcases the best of our agricultural prowess. The distillery has enjoyed significant growth in a short time after opening


Big Rig Craft Distillery

in October 2015 – far quicker than owner Geoff Stewart anticipated. A former dental hygienist and tattoo artist, Stewart makes a wide range of spirits, including unique items like garlic vodka. Like most of the other craft distilleries, Big Rig is currently

barrel-aging whisky, and selling various white distillates and unaged white spirits in the meantime. Stewart is embracing the prospect of a craft distillery explosion by offering distilling courses – a good opportunity for new distillers, since distilling at home is illegal (unlike beer or wine making). “If there is going to be a little distillery gold rush, we want to be the ones selling the shovels and teaching people how to use them,” Stewart says. “We also hope that by being a training centre, we can instill a sense of ethics and not compete with one another as craft distillers, but work together to gain market share from the big boys.” Tom Firth is the contributing drinks editor for Culinaire magazine, and the competition director for the Alberta Beverage Awards. He firmly believes that great riesling is proof the universe is unfolding as it should. Mel Priestley is a food and wine writer, editor, journalist and author. One day she’ll find the perfect pairing for cheezies. Follow her on Twitter @melpriestley

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Making The Case:

Hurrah for Syrah! by TOM FIRTH

Whether you call it syrah or shiraz, it’s most definitely one of the great wine grapes of the world.

Laughing Stock 2014 Syrah Okanagan Valley, British Columbia An entirely captivating, delicious syrah from the Okanagan. A little viognier dials up the colour and intensity, but any fan of syrah will love the deep blue and black fruits, floral aromas, wood smoke, and thick, rich flavours. Meaty, spicy and delicious, it’s a stick-to-yourribs sort of wine. Well worth it at about $46 CSPC +751845

Mission Hill 2013 Reserve Shiraz Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

Syrah started becoming a household name around the time Australia was contemplating global wine domination with their version of the signature grape. Shiraz began flying off the shelves, and wine drinkers flocked to the sweet, intense flavours Australia would become known for. If you weren’t swept up in the shiraz craze, then most likely you haven’t been giving this wonderful grape enough of your attention. The European versions of syrah lean towards spice and earthy characteristics, while outside Europe that spice becomes savoury with cured meat, and even floral stylings, but often with a deep intensity of colour and flavours. While putting syrah versus shiraz on the label

used to mean something, this is most often a nod to marketing rather than identifying a style of wine — wineries will put on the label whichever they think will be more appealing on the shelf. Cheap and cheerful versions usually flaunt shiraz, while something a little more premium will favour syrah on the label. In Europe, syrah is a mainstay of the Rhône Valley, typically blended with grenache or mourvèdre in the southern Rhône, and more often a solo player in the north. Syrah is seeing increased plantings in Spain, Portugal, Italy and Eastern Europe. In the new world, syrah is of course common in Australia, but sees a home in Chile, the U.S., New Zealand, and more recently, in British Columbia.

The Hill of Hermitage courtesy Linda Garson 46

Mission Hill has been at the forefront of quality winemaking in B.C. since forever, so I’m always interested in what they are making. This shiraz is decidedly spicy with plenty of white pepper, balsamic and herbal tones leading generous cherry fruits. Fans of spicy shiraz rejoice! Serve with cured meats, pork shoulder, or something with a little salt… $19-22 CSPC +1106048

Alice May 2012 Crosswinds Syrah Santa Ynez, California Oh, this is the stuff. An abundance of flowery scents with black pepper, anise, a touch of caramel, and sandalwood, charcoal, and dill. Tannins are softening up in all the right places letting subtler flavours emerge, yet still vibrant with great acidity. Pair with something a little salty, or a great cut of beef skillfully prepared. Drink now or soonish. $28-29 CSPC 761131

Peter Lehmann 2013 Portrait Shiraz Barossa, Australia

Paul Jaboulet Aîne 2012 “Les Jalets” Crozes Hermitage, Rhône, France

Jim Barry 2012 The McRae Wood Shiraz, Clare Valley, Australia

Peter Lehmann really helped put Australian wine on the map and his recent passing was a blow to wine lovers everywhere. A more traditional example of Aussie shiraz, look for plump, almost jammy fruits, with a fair amount of spice and cocoa flavours, along with some prominent acids. Acids love fat, so bring on the steaks and sausage! About $20 CSPC +572875

A really exciting and interesting wine to grace your glassware. Named after the galet pebbles in the vineyard, it’s a clean, traditional, spicy and floral syrah from the Rhône Valley. Tannins are a little understated, but the nose is entirely enticing. Buy and keep a few years if desired, but it will work very well with a range of grilled or smoked dishes. Approximately $30 CSPC +779033

Jim Barry’s the “Armagh” might have a bit of a cult status, but the McRae wood is a worthy wine to stock up on. The nose has fruit – yes, but deep and earthy tones, liquorice and cedar, blueberries and herbs. Flavours are intense, but multilayered with full, perfectly integrated tannins. This is perfect for a roast or similar. Around $58 CSPC +583823

Black Hills 2014 Syrah Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

Two Oceans 2014 Shiraz Western Cape, South Africa

19 Crimes 2014 Shiraz Durif Victoria, Australia

A pleasure for the nose, and a treasure for the palate. Deep, layered and interesting, mild smokiness, bitter chocolate, and beautiful plum and berry fruit aromas lead into a wonderful spiciness with the absolutely correct amount of tannins and acids. I’d recommend drinking it whenever the urge strikes. Maybe with robust meat dishes or a selection of charcuterie. $28-30 CSPC +746272

Distinctively South African with that smoky, rubbery nose, yet a little floral, spice and cherry/plum fruits eke out from under it. Quite mellow, but still showing good varietal character along with a bit of smoke on the back palate. Easy, versatile, and well-made for the price. A little wintertime barbecue or slow cooked roasts are friends with this wine. $10-12 CSPC +699249

A not-uncommon blending from Australia, durif adds weight and additional structure to the blend; it has a wonderful jammy, berry fruit nose with some lovely spiciness to boot. Full-flavoured for sure, but with few rough edges and just slightly tight tannins. Drinking well now, enjoy with pulled pork, braised beef ribs, or a fine chilli simmering away all day. $19 CSPC 746969

Hillside 2014 Syrah Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

Vidal Fleury 2012 St. Joseph Rhône, France

Yalumba 2014 “Y Series” Shiraz Viognier, Barossa, Australia

Here is something that showcases all the minerals and spiciness that are a dead ringer for a Rhône style syrah. Floral with white pepper and dried meat aromas, and some black fruit taking the back seat. Finely balanced with lean fruits, loads of spice, and silky — almost supple — tannins. Know what? This would work ohso-well with duck or Korean barbecue. $24-26 CSPC +734896

From the Northern Rhône, this 100 per cent syrah has been in Vidal Fleury’s range since the 1920s. You’re greeted with rosemary and tarragon on the nose, with a bit of sausage too, and on the palate you’ll recognise gamey meat, salami with garlic, and black peppercorns. It’s still lean, but very drinkable. Enjoy it with rare lamb chops, salami, and black olives. (LG) $36 CSPC +703954

This shiraz was almost too good to put down. About 4-5 per cent viognier dials up all the things you’d want dialled up. Very much European in style, it’s lighter-bodied, with spice, plummy fruits, leather, floral tones, and great acids. Perfect for duck or goose, Korean barbecue or ribs. So, so good. About $15 CSPC +624494 47

The Bijou: A “new” classic cocktail by BRICE PERESSINI

The Bijou is a more obscure classic than some others. It’s as old as the Manhattan and Martinez, but with much less fame than its classic brethren.

The Bijou (which is French for jewel) first appeared in the 1882 Bartender’s Manual by Harry Johnson. The timing of this cocktail’s creation coincides with the introduction of sweet vermouth to American bartenders in the 1870s and 1880s. This newfound availability of sweet vermouth explains the appearance of the powerhouse cocktails that are still some of today’s most popular. But why isn’t the Bijou as popular as the Manhattan or Martinez? It most likely comes down to the fact that it’s a strong drink, with strong flavours. One third of the drink is green Chartreuse, a 55% ABV herbal liqueur made by Carthusian monks in

France. To many seasoned cocktail aficionados, green Chartreuse is (very strong) liquid candy. However, to the uninitiated palate it may knock you over like a freight train. So what rounds out this fine cocktail? It’s not a big secret: gin. In Harry Johnson’s original recipe, he calls for the less fragrant Plymouth Gin, however a London Dry (Bombay, or Tanqueray for example) gin will do just fine. The drink can be played around with, considering Chartreuse is the only component that has no substitute. The rest of the drink — gin, vermouth and bitters — are ingredients allowing you to use your favourite bottles on hand. To make this simple cocktail at home, I’ve included my favourite version of this classic.

The Bijou

1 oz Star of Bombay Gin 1 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth 1 oz Green Chartreuse 2 dashes Bitter Truth Orange Bitters

Combine all of the ingredients with ice in a mixing glass. Stir for 20 seconds. Strain into a coupe and garnish with a lemon twist or cherry. Enjoy! But watch out, this is one jewel whose sparkle is as bright as its punch is strong.


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MacFayden. “We loved the feel of those places.” And so Una Pizza + Wine was born. Wanting somewhere for their customers to have a drink while waiting in line for pizza, they opened Ox and Angela a year or so later, and other opportunities followed quickly. Last year, a couple wanted to open Una in Saskatoon, a member of staff came with a business plan for a Mexican taqueria, and the space next door to Una became available. “I would say I was a bit addicted to conceptualising restaurants; building them is a lot of fun,” MacFayden says. Now, as well as Una Calgary, Una Saskatoon, and Native Tongues, this year the couple have opened Una Takeaway and passion project – Frenchie wine bar. So what bottle has MacFayden saved for a special occasion?

Open That Bottle

story by LINDA GARSON photography by INGRID KUENZEL

“San Francisco must be the pizza capital of the world; every neighbourhood has a dedicated pizza restaurant, and in my opinion the pizza is better there than anywhere else in the world – strong words, I know,” says Jayme MacFayden, BMeX Restaurant Group co-founder.

“Borie de Maurel is from Minervois, in the south of France, and I had the opportunity to visit them in 2010,” she explains. “Where they live is really rustic, everything is done by hand – they still plough the fields with a horse. This family has an almost poetic philosophy about wine, and all their wines have really romantic descriptions, it’s very sensual and seductive.”

“They are so hands-on and passionate about what they do,” she continues. “They're really putting their heart and MacFayden has always loved food, taking there, but the Caribbean shuts down for soul and blood into the production, cooking classes in her hometown of the summer, so in 2006, they decided to and they feel that it's an extension of Kamloops, and cooking dinner parties for give booming Calgary a try. MacFayden themselves. I feel the same about my her parents, in her early teens. After high loved working at the Living Room, then at restaurants - they are an extension of school, an exchange program in Belgium Merlo Vinoteca to learn more about wine, myself. After spending time with them, I provided the opportunity to travel for but the couple dreamed of opening a small fell in love with what they're doing, and I a year, to experience new cultures, and restaurant that would make its mark and feel like I can taste that in the wine.” develop a love of wine. But on returning add to the city. to Canada, the future was less obvious, And when is she going to open the bottle? and she started studying French literature, They took an entrepreneurship course, switching to photojournalism, and and spent three years working on a plan MacFayden laughs and says, “I think ultimately a graduate certificate in public for a French brasserie, but locations and tonight actually! I have a date with my relations management. leases continually fell through. Finally, sister so we’ll open it and probably swing by in 2009, they found a space, but it was Metrovino and share it with them, as they A vacation in the Turks and Caicos Islands too small. “We did a total 180, rewrote were the ones that introduced me and gave with partner Kelly Black, turned into full- our business plan, and started working on me the opportunity to visit this producer, time work and they quit their jobs to move a Californian-inspired pizza place,” says so they deserve to share in it too.” 50

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