Calgary Poutine Crawl 2014

I’d heard about it on social media in past years, but it was only this year that it was really big on my radar. It had piqued my interest in the past, but I always thought that it sounded just a little too crazy. I mean, eating poutine all day? That’s just a recipe for disaster and an extremely bad case of indigestion, isn’t it? But then I came to my senses and remember how much I love poutine, and how much I love being a part of cool food events going on in our city, and decided that I had to buy tickets. I was one of the lucky 60-some that scored a spot on the crawl (it sold out in ten seconds!!) and brought my fellow foodie friend Alanna along for the gravy-filled ride.

We started our day at Wurst, one of my favourite places for a some late night table dancing and giant beer drinking. I did grab a Stanley Park Pilsner, but only a pint, as I needed to save room in my stomach for all the carbs that I would inevitably consume. Wurst’s poutine had peas, duck confit, a speck sauce, and a little truffle oil to go along with the traditional fries and cheese curds. This one was one of my favourites. The fries were well cooked – crispy, but not overly so, the cheese curds were salty and squeaky, and the truffle oil added that little depth of flavour to put it over the top. I appreciated the small portion size they presented us with as pacing was definitely key on this day.

Wurst poutine

After we had all gobbled up our first course, we hopped on two busses, complete with stripper poles and a sweet sound system, and headed over to National, where Anju‘s Roy Oh was serving his Korean-inspired poutine. Being a lover of all things Korean, and especially all things Anju, this was the stop I was the most excited for. Roy brought us chewy rice cakes, which acted as the fries, with cheese curds, gochujang gravy, lardons, and a little bit of cucumber to add freshness. This was by far the least traditional of all of the poutines, and it may have been that creativity that made me love it so much. Well… it also might have been the gochujang – any dishes that incorporates my favourite condiment of the moment gets full marks from me. As much as I love eating Roy’s food, it always makes me a little sad, too, because I don’t know when I’ll get to have it next. I am chomping at the bit for the opening of Anju 2.0!

Anju poutine

Our next stop was Naina’s Kitchen. I was excited to visit this unassuming strip-mall spot, as I had heard about their amazing stuffed burgers (which I still want to go back and try!). They presented us with a caramelized onion and meatball poutine, with a sweeter gravy that had hints of maple syrup. Although the meatballs were yummy and the gravy was unique, this was probably my least favourite poutine of the day, mostly because the fries were undercooked. The portion was also huge, and while I appreciated their generosity, it took up a bit more room in my stomach than I would have liked.

Naina's poutine

We’d reached the halfway mark, and I was definitely starting to feel a little bit weighed down by the gravy-soaked portions we’d had so far. But we were in it for the long haul, so onward we went! Our next destination was The Libertine, a Steven Avenue pub, where we were greeted with cute little boxes of fried chicken poutine with pork belly and coleslaw. There was no shortage of pork among the various offerings, but this pork belly stood above and beyond them all – it was out of this world delicious! I appreciated the freshness that the coleslaw added, but I felt like the big piece of fried chicken was unnecessary and a bit out of place. It had gotten a bit soggy from sitting on top of the poutine and the two just didn’t seem to marry well together, in my mind. The pork belly more than made up for this, though, and I did enjoy the poutine as a whole.

Libertine poutine

At this point I was so full that I suggested that we walk the three blocks to downtownfood just so that we could get a bit of exercise and fresh air to counteract the heaviness of everything we had eaten. It wasn’t much of a jaunt, but it was still nice to get the blood flowing a little bit before round five. downtownfood was the 2013 Poutine Crawl winner, and they delivered again this time around. They started us off with an amazing lemon sorbetto that was meant to serve as a palate cleanser “to get rid of the taste of all of the gross poutines you’ve eaten” according to the chef. As weird as it is to say this after an event that was supposed to be all about the fries and gravy, this sorbetto may have been my favourite thing I ate all day. The flavour was perfectly tart, and the texture was silky smooth. downtownfood certainly scored some points with me for that extra little touch. It was soon time for the main event, though. The servers uncovered bowls of steaming hot fries right at our table, and we dug into housemade cheese curds, duck confit gravy, smoked mushrooms, and, of course, bacon. The gravy had amazing depth of flavour, my only complaint was that it was a little too thin, or perhaps there was a little too much of it, almost turning the dish into poutine soup. I quickly forgot about that tiny shortcoming, though, when they brought out macarons that were made to look like mini burgers. They were so adorable I could barely eat them, and they were delicious too!

dtf poutine

Finally it was time for our last stop, and a reprieve from my crying stomach. Don’t get me wrong, I loved every bite I took, but I was ready to lay off the potatoes for a while. We got off the bus at Kensington’s Oak Tree Tavern, a pub that always has a fun atmosphere and a great craft brew selection. We were greeted with a free beer courtesy of Wild Rose, a pretty good welcome, if you ask me. Oak Tree’s poutine was a vegetarian offering featuring a delectable sage gravy. I wasn’t too upset to have a break from bacon, but the cheese curds were a bit lacking – they were too small and missing their characteristic squeaky chew.

Oak Tree Tavern poutine

When all was said and done, downtownfood took the Calgary Poutine Crawl title as voted on by all of the participants. Anju was my pick, but dtf’s was my favourite of the more traditional poutines, so I certainly wasn’t upset about that choice (the lemon sorbetto didn’t hurt either). To be honest, there’s no way I could have been upset about the choice of winner after such a delicious day. Thanks to Karen Richards for organizing such a fun event! I’ll have my speedy mouse finger at the ready next year in hopes of getting a spot for a second time around.

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A family dinner

The spread

One of the things that brings me the most joy in life is sharing a meal with others. Food is one of my greatest passions, and, to me, there is nothing like sitting down at a table with family or some good friends and revelling in the shared glory of a delicious bite. I love going out and trying new restaurants and discovering hidden gems in the Calgary food scene and beyond, but I get the most satisfaction out of having people around our table in our little house and serving food that we have made. It’s a lot of work to make a meal for a big group, but the effort is worth it when it comes time to enjoy it.

Appies are always necessary

Appies are always necessary

This past Sunday we had my family over for an easter/passover/togetherness celebration. My sister has just arrived back in town for the summer after finishing her semester in Victoria and my brother is also back at home after having worked at Revelstoke for the summer. It was a lot of fun to have all five of us (plus Zevi) laughing and chatting and enjoying each other’s company. There was even a singalong to Tiny Dancer with me on piano thrown in there for good measure.

The fam jam

The fam jam

Back to the food. I feel very lucky to be married to someone who enjoys cooking and eating. I won’t say that he loves it as much as I do, because my love for food borders on obsession (most of my reading material consists of food blogs, cookbooks and Bon Appetit magazine), but it is a passion that we can share, and for that I am very grateful. We worked together to prepare the meal we served on Sunday, and being able to share the work with him not only lightens the load immeasurably, but it also strengthens our bond. I think we make a pretty darn good team!

We started the meal with a traditional matzo ball soup. This is something that I first had made for me by Zevi’s grandmother, so it was really special to make it ourselves for the first time. There was a lot of time spent waiting while the broth bubbled and simmered, but that patience was well worth it, as we were rewarded with a subtly flavoured soup that was so much better than anything you can find in a can or a carton. Our matzo balls were fluffy and tender, and I would call it a pretty great showing for rookie chicken soup makers. I think Baba would be proud.

The soup

The soup in process. Unfortunately I don’t have any photos of the finished product.

The main course was brisket with crispy smashed potatoes and a simple salad. We made a home made bbq sauce for the brisket that really stole the show. If you haven’t made these smashed potatoes, I’m telling you, you need to drop everything and do it NOW! Crunchy on the outside and silky smooth on the inside, they’re everything you could ever want in a potato. I’ll be hard pressed to make them any other way now! Zevi made a spicy mayo with Franks hot sauce, chili powder, and garlic powder that was the perfect counterpoint to the salty starch nuggets.

Smashed potatoes ready for the oven

Smashed potatoes ready for the oven

Every time I have people over for a meal I am reminded of how rewarding it is to spend time preparing something for someone and then watching them enjoy the fruits of your labour (and enjoying it with them, of course). There are always lots groceries to buy and veggies to chop and dishes to do, but, in my mind, knowing that you did that work and seeing it all come to life makes it all the more worth it.

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A little trip to the coast


We’re in Victoria for the weekend to visit family. Zevi’s dad lives just outside the city and I have some family here as well. My grandparents moved here right after I was born, so I’ve been coming out here for as long as I can remember, and even though I’ve never lived here, I always feel at home when I arrive. The lush beauty, the ocean, and the laid back pace of life never cease to make me feel relaxed and renewed.



On our first day here, I ventured out for a run (I’m training for this race at the moment) and was excited to discover a beautiful trail through the woods right near Zevi’s dad’s house. After the winter we’ve had (and apparently are still having) in Calgary it was an immense relief to see a green landscape instead of brown and white. I had a lot of fun flying down the hilly path and feeling the springy moss under my feet. My sister and I went a longer run yesterday and as we ran through leafy forests and by budding bushes I couldn’t help but wonder if I could somehow extend my stay until Calgary was just as green.


Along with its natural beauty, Victoria had always charmed me with its small town quaintness. It has more quirky charisma than a city of its size really should. Houses sprawl on huge lots, but somehow their moss-covered exteriors and weathered stone steps make them look magical instead of overbearing. The year round evenness of the climate lets the city’s residents spill their personality out the front doors of their homes, rather than keeping it confined to the indoors. The neighborhoods are a mishmash of colours and textures, leaving nothing the same from one house to the next. It’s such a refreshing change from the stark sameness I see as I look down the streets of Calgary.



We ate at a few great restaurants in town. Jam is worth the wait for brunch – you may have to stand in line but you’ll be glad you did when you taste the delicious huevos rancheros. Go down the street and grab a coffee at the adorable Union Pacific to keep you warm while you wait. I try to stop by Adriana’s every time I’m here, and not just because she’s a family friend. I’ve yet to have better Mexican food than the stuff she makes north of Puerta Vallarta. They even make their own tortillas!


We’re heading back home to snow and cold in Calgary in a few hours, but it sure was nice to see some green and smell the ocean for a few days.

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A day in the mountains

Zevi bought me snowshoes for my birthday a few months ago and with all of the cold weather we have had, along with the time we’ve spent away from home, I hadn’t yet had the chance to go out and use them. I was itching for some fresh mountain air, so today we finally got organized and, along with a couple friends, made the drive out to Kananaskis country.

Kananaskis mountains

Every time we go out to the mountains I marvel at how lucky we are to live so close to such amazing scenery. We live only an hour’s drive from a place that people travel miles and miles to marvel at. It’s easy to take that for granted, but we shouldn’t! Sometimes I almost feel bored by another drive down Highway 1 through the Rockies, and then I have to pinch myself, take a look around, and remind myself how lucky we are to live amidst the beautiful mountains of Alberta.

Snowshoeing friends

We did the Penstock Loop, a 4.7 km loop inside Peter Lougheed Park. It was a nice, easy trail, which was exactly what we were looking for. It was great to breathe some mountain air, and I definitely plan to get back out there before the winter ends!

Zevi and Benny

I think the puppy had a pretty good time too.

Mountain view


H snowshoeing

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Our trip to La Manzanilla

The view at sunset

The view from our balcony at sunset

It’s been a pretty great winter for us so far. A week ago, we came back from a wonderful trip to La Manzanilla, Mexico with seven of our good friends (and one toddler). It’s hard to know how travelling with a group of friends will go – you never know whether personalities will clash, or if you’ll see a completely different side side of the people you go out for drinks with a couple of times a week. Luckily for us, our friends are just as great as we imagined them to be and the trip absolutely went off without a hitch.

La Manzanilla at night

La Manzanilla at night

We stayed at this house, which was absolutely incredible. The pool was out of commission for the first few days, but the beach was only a short walk away, so it was far from the end of the world. It was nice to have our own kitchen for the few times that we decided to cook. The property management company was great and gave us a 25% discount because of the issues with the pool. I wouldn’t hesitate to stay there again!

Diving birds

Every day we saw hordes of these birds diving for fish

We spent most of our days eating, drinking and soaking up the sun at the gorgeous sandy beach right in the town. There were a bunch of little restaurants right on the beach, and we set up camp at a few different ones over the course of the week. The common theme among all of the eateries was deliciously fresh seafood, cheap beer, and a limited grasp of english. I was actually pretty thrilled about all three of these things, as, not only was I well fed, but I got a chance to practice my Spanish, which starts to fade away with limited practice. I ate my fair share of ceviche, and we all tried to take advantage of the inexpensive, fresh seafood that isn’t easy to find in Calgary.

Shrimp ceviche

The seafood and avocado put ours to shame

Indio beer

Love this label

La Manzanilla has a very cool vibe. I loved it because, although there were people hawking their wares on the beach, it didn’t have much of a touristy feel. The town is overtaken by 50 to 70something “gringos” who spend their winters (or, in some cases, the whole year) living the good life away from the snow and the cold of their northern homeland, so although they aren’t native to the area, they aren’t sipping $2.00 cervezas all day every day, either (not that there’s anything wrong with that – that’s what we spent most of our time doing). It makes for nice doses of the authentically Mexican mixed in with a sprinkling of cultural diversity supplied by the winter residents. With zumba, yoga, spinning, and cooking classes offered, there is no shortage of things to do in town! We did get many comments about how nice it was to see some younger people out and about, so that gives you an idea of the kinds of people you’re likely to meet.


I really could go on and on, but suffice it to say that it was an unforgettable trip. We all talked at one point or another about going back in the next couple of years, so I don’t think La Manzanilla has seen the last of us.

Stray dog1

So many stray dogs everywhere, reminding us of our own rescue puppy

Stray dog 2


At one of our favourite restaurants, Jolanda’s

Z on the beach

Zevi on the beach

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Adios, 2013

Some of my favourite photos of 2013 – one for each month of the year.






2013 treated me pretty well, but I think 2014 will be even better!

Here’s to a great year, a year that will (hopefully) include a lot more blogging.

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Portland – The highlights

Oh Portland, how I loved you. Not only were there too many amazing restaurants to count, there were also so many amazing shops and cool, eclectic street art around every corner. I couldn’t believe the amount of culture packed into one relatively small city. I already want to go back!

Of all of the restaurants I wanted to try, I had heard so much about Pok Pok that I knew I couldn’t miss it. So we made a point of going on our first night in Portland, and it lived up to the hype and then some. There’s pretty much always a wait,  so they have a little bar down the street called Whiskey Soda Lounge where you can go and have a cocktail or two until your table is ready. Pretty genius, I would say! We actually got in faster than I expected, so we downed our cocktails and hightailed it back down the block to take our seats in the restaurant. Pok Pok encourages diners to share the dishes they order, which is great as I am super indecisive and want to try one of everything, so Zevi and I chose the half game hen, the fish sauce wings, and the flank steak salad (apparently we were feeling pretty carnivorous). I’m not sure I can accurately describe how good all three of these dishes were other than to say that they were so addictively delicious that I pretty much wanted to go back for more immediately. Seriously, it was all Zevi could do to convince me that we needed to spend our limited time in Portland trying other restaurants rather than going back to Pok Pok, and I’m usually the one cajoling him into trying new things. Though all three were incredible, the fish sauce wings were the standout for me – the depth of flavour they had was out of this world. I’m drooling just thinking about them!

Alas, Zevi was right, there were many other places to try. The next day, we decided to check out one of the bazillion (I counted) food carts in the city. After much hemming and hawing over the gigantic variety of options, we settled on the Euro Trash cart. I had a deeelicious soft shell crab sandwich that was perfectly crispy, and nicely contrasted with fresh arugula. Crab isn’t something I eat often but I loved this!

Crab sandwich from Euro Trash

Crab sandwich from Euro Trash

Ravioli at Farm

Ravioli at Farm

Dinner that evening was very memorable as well. Having been to Portland recently, my lovely sister had recommended that we go to a little place called Farm, so we decided to check it out. With a focus on seasonal ingredients their menu is constantly changing, and everything we had was delicious, but the major standout from our visit was my incredibly flavourful ravioli. It was very reasonably priced, and I wouldn’t hesitate to go back if (when) I go back to Portland!

After eating at Farm we checked out one of Portland’s many brew and view movie theatres, The Living Room. Basically, we got to sit on a super comfy couch and watch a movie while drinking a beer for only $10. Genius! Calgary really needs to get in on this because going back to a regular theatre is such a disappointment after pretty much being able to watch a movie in the comforts of home.

The following morning we ate at Pine State Biscuits, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that the Reggie Deluxe nearly took me down. Consisting of fried chicken, bacon, an egg, cheese, and sausage gravy, it sounded so epic that I just couldn’t resist ordering it. While I could tell that the components of the sandwich were great, the sum of the parts was just too much for me to handle, and I pretty much couldn’t eat for the rest of the day, which is a biiiig deal for me. Zevi’s egg and cheese biscuit was much more manageable and actually allowed you to taste the biscuit, so I would recommend going that route, unless you have a stronger stomach than I do.

The beastly Reggie Deluxe from Pine State Biscuits

The Reggie Deluxe

Chilaquiles at Tasty 'n' Sons

Chilaquiles at Tasty ‘n’ Sons

For our last meal the morning we had to make our sad departure from the city, we went to check out brunch at Tasty n Sons. I was intrigued by some of the korean-influenced dishes on their menu, but in the end went with their special of the day, the chilaquiles – pulled chicken topped with green salsa, tortilla chips, and a couple of runny fried eggs. Holy man, this was so delish. It was one of the best brunch dishes I’ve ever had, and I’ve had my fair share of brunches. This place was a last minute pick for us but it’s one of the spots I would definitely come back to again.

Portland love

These were just a few of the places that we went, and there were so many other restaurants and food carts that I wanted to try out. Alas, we were foiled by too little time and stomach room, but there is always next time! Fingers crossed that we will meet again soon, Portland,

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Vancouver – What I Ate

Zevi and I are on a little road trip out to the coast in search of some rest, relaxation, and delicious food, of course! Vancouver was the first stop on our journey, and I thought I’d recap some of the places that wowed me in this great city.

Kadoya Sushi

Kadoya has long been a favorite of mine. I believe that Zevi and I went to this small sushi spot the very first time we road tripped out to the coast together only three weeks into our relationship (what??) and we’ve been going back as often as possible ever since. With creative rolls, super reasonable prices, and quality that is above and beyond anything that I’ve ever found in Calgary, I dream about this place on a regular basis and count down the days until I can make it back for another visit. My favorite roll is the Snow White – prawn tempura, ebi, tamago, and a delicious dusting of coconut on top. I think that a great measure of a place is if they can make something seemingly mundane into something memorable, and Kadoya does that with their Spicy Salmon roll, with the perfect amount of spice and the crunch from the tempura bits on the inside making this menu staple an irresistible treat.

Kadoya - spicy salmon roll

Kadoya - Zevi and sashimi

And then of course there is the sashimi – I am a sucker for atlantic salmon, and Kadoya serves huge pieces of fish that melt in your mouth like butter. I always know what to expect from this great little joint, and it hasn’t disappointed me yet!

Yolk’s Breakfast


On the second morning of our visit we were headed to see a Vancouver Whitecaps and wanted to find somewhere to grab some brunch along the way. After a couple of failed attempts at nearby restaurants, we decided to give the Yolk’s breakfast cart a try. Conveniently parked right beside the Stadium-Chinatown Skytrain station only a couple of minutes from BC Place, we weren’t the only soccer game goers taking advantage of their breakfast offerings.

Their special sounded amazing, but unfortunately they had run out by the time we arrived, so I settled (not unhappily) for an egg sandwich on an english muffin with ham, dijon, spinach and hollandaise. Extreme messiness aside, the sandwich certainly did not disappoint, with the tang of the dijon acting as the perfect counterpoint to the rich yolk and hollandaise sauce. I also tried the truffled-lemon hash brown skewer, and was impressed by the perfectly soft potatoes with a crispy exterior and the flavour combination of the truffle oil and the lemon. Zevi ordered blackberry pancakes, and although they may have been slightly underdone, they had great flavour as well. Based on what we were able to sample I would certainly go back for more!

Tacofino Commissary

Tacofino - Albacore Tuna Tacos

We were very excited to eat at the recently-established Tacofino Commissary, having gone absolutely bananas over the original truck when we were in Tofino after our wedding last summer. Sometimes high expectations can lead to disappointment, but let me eliminate the suspense for you – pretty much everything we ate was incredible.

Tacofino is a self-described tapas type joint, where sharing is encouraged and plates come out as they are ready. As its name suggests, the menu consists mainly of tacos, with a few appetizers and desserts thrown in as well. The first dish I got was the Albacore Tuna Taco (pictured) – I had sampled this taco in Tofino and couldn’t resist going back for more. The amazing seared tuna, crunchy cabbage and salty seaweed salad made for a combination that was just as good as I remembered it. Other standouts were Zevi’s extremely flavourful skirt steak taco, his light and crunchy fish taco and the brussels sprouts appetizer that my sister and I shared. Unfortunately there was a ferry that needed to be caught so we didn’t have time for dessert, but when we come back (and there will be a next time, that’s for sure) I hope that the Banana Sriracha Ice Cream is still on the menu!

Fable Kitchen

Being a fan of Top Chef in all of its many incarnations, Fable, started by TC alum Trevor Bird, had been on my radar for a while, so when we were looking for a place to go for brunch with friends I jumped at the chance to try it. We managed to arrive just before the rush would have forced us to wait in line, and the hostess even agreed to break the rules a little bit and seat us before our friends arrived, so things were off to a great start. The rustic feel of the dining room really reflected their farm to table focus, and the open kitchen let us peek at what the chefs were up to as we walked in.

Unfortunately I was too busy stuffing my face with my blood sausage eggs benedict (the special of the day) to get any photos, but everyone at the table pretty much licked their plate clean, which gives you an idea of how good the food was. Though I usually love a savoury breakfast, Zevi’s french toast was a major standout. The bread had an almost cake-like texture and was moist and incredibly flavourful. I will most definitely be visiting again to try out their dinner menu!

Jun Sushi

Our final meal in Vancouver, other than the bagels we grabbed from the always-delicious Siegel’s on our way out of town, was at a small sushi spot recommended to us by a friend of Zevi’s. Since we’re usually pressed for time when we’re in the city we don’t usually stray away from what we know and love (read: Kadoya) when it comes to sushi, so I was glad to have someone steer us outside of our comfort zone.

Jun’s food far exceeded its unassuming decor. The sashimi was incredibly fresh, with the tuna being a standout for me (that’s a big deal considering we got salmon, my usual favorite, as well). The rolls were also delicious, with my favorite being the Vancouver roll – prawn and yam tempura with mango and masago and avocado on the outside. It’s hard not to be jealous of all of the amazing sushi places that charge next to nothing for something that can’t be matched in Calgary, but I guess it’s just a reason to keep visiting the coast!

I think it’s pretty evident that Vancouver is a great place to eat and of course there’s way more to offer than I had the chance to try. I can’t wait for our next visit!

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To Market, To Market

What’s better than a delicious lunch with some good friends at an amazing new restaurant? Not a lot, at least for a foodie like me!

Calgary has been benefiting from an influx of great new restaurants lately, and Market is one of the most recent additions to the scene. I had already heard lots of great things through social media about Market, so when two of my closest lady friends and I were planning a lunch date, it seemed like a great choice.

Market - My dates

My dates

First of all, I have to mention the décor. I’m not exaggerating when I say that my friends and I just stood in the entrance in awe for a good 30 seconds when we walked in the door – the space is just that unique! From the glass terrariums hanging from the ceiling, to the chalkboard surfaces filled with fun doodles, to the simple white tables and chairs, to the open kitchen, to the graphic but simple black and white art on the walls, Market is without a doubt one of my favourite restaurant spaces. Nothing like an awesome first impression to get us excited for the meal ahead!

Market - Inside

Our server was lovely, giving us a great explanation of how the menu worked and how many dishes we would probably want to order. A large portion of Market’s menu is sharing based, which I always love, so we happily ordered four dishes, three small and one large, to split between the three of us.

Out first was the “Potato”, actually five perogies stuffed with potatoes and served with goat yogurt. I’m a pretty big perogy enthusiast, so I was excited to see what they would do with this classic comfort food, and man, did they hit it out of the park. Crunchy on the outside, and soft and warm on the inside, these were the best perogies I’ve ever had. How could something so simple be so delicious?

Next came the Pork Salad, consisting of pork (duh), bacon, kale, and fried bone marrow. I think we were all a bit confused about what the bone marrow was bringing to the party, but the salad overall was the perfect balanced by the saltiness of the pork, the freshness of the kale, and the tanginess of the grainy mustard dressing. I could have eaten a huge bowl of this!

Wanting to go for one of the larger lunch entrées, we decided on a tagliatelle with tender beef short rib. It came out with an egg on top that was to be mixed in to the house-made pasta to form the sauce, producing a creamy dish of pure comfort food. We ended off with the bison tartar that was melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

Market - Bison Tartar

Bison tartar

Market - Tagliatelle


By the time we had devoured all of this (and I mean devoured… I’m pretty sure there wasn’t one scrap of food left on any of the plates) we didn’t have room to sample any of their desserts. Just one more reason to pay them a follow up visit, I guess!

I think my lovely friends will agree with me when I say that we were thoroughly impressed with Market. We’ve all been raving about it to our significant others, so I think we’ll all be back before long. With their chef, Geoff Rogers, as one of the contestants on this season of Top Chef Canada, innovative and delicious food, and gorgeous décor I’m sure they’ll be a household name before long. This is just the beginning for this 17th avenue spot, and I can’t wait to see where they go from here!

Currently Craving… Ox & Angela’s Polenta

My boyfriend and I have a tradition of going for a nice dinner on our birthdays. It’s definitely something that I look forward to each year and I often use it as an opportunity to try somewhere I’ve never been before. So, this year, when it came time to pick somewhere to go for the big meal (yes, turning 21 for the sixth time is a pretty big deal), my thoughts immediately went to Ox and Angela, a relative newcomer to the Calgary dining scene that I’ve been wanting to try ever since it opened. Having foodgasmed from Una’s four cheese and honey pizza (omigod so amazing), I had high hopes for the Una owners’ newest venture

So, on a Monday night in early November, we made our way to Ox and Angela, and from the moment I walked in I was impressed. The decor was extremely modern and clean, but still felt homey and inviting – exactly the way I like it. Ambience is definitely not something that can be underestimated, and Ox and Angela hits it right on in my book. I also have to mention how impressive the service was from the moment we stepped in the door until we left at the end of the night. Everyone was super attentive and the server was full of great tips and suggestions. Big thumbs up!

But now on to the stuff that really matters – the food. We were told by our lovely server that the way to approach the menu was to order dishes to share, so we ended up ordering an appetizer, two entrees, and two sides to share.

The first thing to come out was the always-welcome complimentary bread. The instructions were to dip the bread in olive oil and then salt, which made things a little too salty for my taste, but it was a nice way to start the meal nonetheless.

Provoleta at Ox & Angela

How can you go wrong with fried cheese?

Next came our appetizer, which was a little something called provoleta, also known as heaven on a plate. Anything that features warm, stringy, gooey cheese is a major win in my books, and the green salad and tomato on the side provided the perfect counterpoint.

After that was quickly downed, out came our entrees and sides, which we shared as per the server’s instructions. The lamb was fall-off-the-bone tender, and swimming in a thick sauce with delicious notes of orange. We put our extra bread to good use and gobbled up every last bite of the stuff. The skirt steak was topped with a herb-o-liocious and lemony chimmichurri sauce sauce that was the perfect pairing for the medium-rare meat. There was a salad featuring zucchini prepared in a way I had never seen before – shaved into long, thin ribbons and topped with salty peanuts and queso fresco.

And then there was the polenta, so amazing that it deserves a paragraph all its own. No words can do justice to how amazing this dish was. With a rich and creamy interior that was perfectly contrasted by a charred and crispy exterior, it had a taste that hinted at the wood fired pizzas that I’m addicted to. It doesn’t seem to be on their menu any more (sob), so it may have to be something I crave until the end of time.

From the service, to the decor, to the food, Ox and Angela impressed me. But mostly I just want more of that polenta…


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