Today- Canadia!

Calgary Tower, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Calgary Tower, Calgary, Alberta, Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I embark on my Spring Trip to Calgary, I will try to put content up whilst I am away, but no promises- after all, this is supposed to be a vacation. As usual, I’ll let you know what/where I eat/drink/dance in the beautiful Cowtown that is Calgary. With my guide, Nicole, I’m sure it will be amazing.

See you next Tuesday!

Calgary Food Tour

Spending time with Nicole in Calgary means fantastic food. Not a bad meal in the bunch. So if you go to Calgary and want some recommendations, here are a few highlights:

The first night out, we went to The Living Room and sat on the patio to catch up. JJ was our server, and he helped us through a fantastic menu, which included one dozen assorted fresh oysters (gorgeous), Duck Confit & Foie Gras Spring Rolls (off the hook), and then I had the duck breast (tender and flavorful) with an assortment of white wines which was beautiful (Nicole and I always order different ones and then taste). A great  meal.

Lunch the next day was at The Cassis Bistro, where our server was JJ from the night before! Besides the amazing Kismet, the food was fresh, French and delicious. We shared the Nicoise Salad and the Croque-Madame- a perfect cap to the morning.

We also enjoyed The Home Tasting Room. The experience began with a glass of champagne, freshly smoked oysters and continued with ricotta gnocchi, foie gras, mussels, chorizo octopus and ended with a gorgeously prepared rhubarb berry tart. It was simply fantastic!

We also went to Blink one night. Words fail, but I’ll try.

This was without question the best food I’ve had in years. From the reception, the starters, the wine and the service- the experience was perfect. The food was perfectly prepared, presented and paired. I couldn’t have asked the Make-a-Wish Foundation for a better experience.

We tasted albacore tartare- delicate and fresh; heirloom tomato torte- sweet and fresh; zucchini blossoms-light and tasty. Dungeness crab souffle which was light , sweet and perfect. And the beef tenderloin! Fantastic! It was so hard to choose form a scintillating menu, but we did our best. Chef Andrew Richardson prepared everything with elegance and verve- leaving nothing out. Everything was beautifully seasoned and the temperature of each plate was perfect. The staff made it especially worthwhile and fun- even a thunderstorm and a move indoors from the elements were handled with grace and charm. The knowledge of the menu, the wines, and the atmosphere makes Blink one of my all time favorites. Top Three. Easily.

I’ll be back. And God help you if you go to Calgary looking for a fine dining experience and miss Blink. That would be a sin.

From Greg’s Vacay…

…a photo before we went out last night.

Having a ball!


Schmucks, Dinner and The Vin Room

A Relaxing day yesterday- it was Heritage Day in Alberta. I expected Holly Hobbie dresses and Ma Ingalls look-a-likes, but no such luck… Instead, the town was just, well, empty. Spent some time just relaxing round the house and then we decided we had to do something. So we saw Dinner for Schmucks (FUNNY) and then went to The Vin Room for dinner. (FANFREAKINGTASTIC) Erika served us and she really knew her stuff. We just told her what we were looking for in general, sat back and ate and drank whatever she brought us.

Courses of: Oysters, fried camembert, mussels, lobster nachos, bison short ribs, finished with raspberry sorbet. Each dish accompanied by 2 oz of two different wines- one for me, one for Nicole (which we promptly shared). We were there for three hours enjoying ourselves immensely and were delighted when Jonathan stopped in with his friend, Katie.

Jonathan, Katie and Nicole at the Vin Room

Did I mention the downpour?

It happened right after we were seated and lasted a good 20 minutes. There’s nothing like the feeling when you’re warm, dry and comfortable and the world outside is cold, wet and messy….

Rest Stop

It seems so strange to have to travel 7 hours by car through rain, hail a dust storm and a particularly Barbie-looking Canadian Border Patrol guard to get to a place where I don’t notice the pressures of life so much.

But it’s true.

Whenever I wake up in this house in Calgary, I feel very relaxed, refreshed and I often roll over and go back to sleep. I even stayed off the computer for over 36 hours!

Today, more relaxing, probably some Scrabble and then I think we’re going to see Dinner For Schmucks. I’ll let you know.


Calgary Recovery

…I needed that. The vacay and the recovery time.

I’ll say one thing, Nicole and I didn’t let too many blades of grass grow under our feet. We had meals at Blink (where Nicole works), Petite, crepes at The Calgary Farmer’s Market, tapas at Jaroblue, lunch at Sky 360 in The Calgary Tower, oysters and Champagne at Raw Bar, drinks at Earl’s (not our first choice, but it was cold out), Local 510 (We were freezing. There was a line. I told a filthy joke to the doormen- they let us right in), and went dancing at The Mercury Lounge with Nicole’s friends Jonathan, Razor, Gas, Brent, Luke and TJ (we lost Brent and Luke somewhere).

All in the space of three days. Oh, and there was a house party in there somewhere- and shopping.

So much fun- so this is a mini recommendation- all of these places worked for us, check them out if you’re ever there….

At Raw Bar, Calgary, self-portrait