We visited The Guild on the urging of staff (Nicolas?) at the now closed highly recommended fish restaurant whose name I forget; it was located very close to the Marriott Downtown. I happened to go in there to book a table for dinner, and as it turned out, it was their last night and they were booked solid. They told me to bypass the other offerings nearby and take my friends to The Guild (at or near The Bay, I forget). And so I did. And we had a really great evening!
I see no review of The Guild yet, so despite it being a year ago, here's mine.
I have to mention that it was about -30°C with a hint of snow in the air, so walking into a big warm cosy space with a kitchen and bar running the entire length of the restaurant on one side, and big windows to the street on the other, with customers seated in between the two, was just divine.
The foyer had various interesting cooking implements or such to look at, I forget, and the restaurant had meat hanging in glass ageing cases and a fantastic view of the busy kitchen and bar from every table. The decorators have done a tremendous job here!
After the usual discussion about what to drink, we attacked the menu and found it full of temptations. And then I absolutely had to chat with the neighbouring diners ("roadkill scientists") who advised us to bypass the tempations of bison, lamb, ribs etc that we'd been salivating over, and instead go straight to the Specialties for Sharing section.
This included things for sharing such as a 32oz Tomahawk Steak, a 28oz Porterhouse .. and the Slow-Roasted Pig's Head. Should we? My motto is "You only die once". And so we did.
The server gave us a big thumbs-up and the group decided to blame me if things went wrong .. which it didn't and thank goodness for that. After a longish while a medium sized head was delivered to our table, like John the Baptists head, and then we sat and stared at it, daring each other to go first.
After some discussion we formulated a plan of attack, and got to grips with it .. I have to say, it has a lot of meat but also a lot of fat on it, so be warned: Dont order any other greasy sides or starters!
One pigs head and much beer and wine later, our group finished our last supper in Calgary and made our way through the icy streets to the Marriott.
This was a very very very different experience and looking back a year later, I'm very glad we did it: It really made our group gel and turned out to be the trip highlight! We still laugh and talk about it when we meet each other. So if in doubt - just do it! A big thank you to the Roadkill Scientist couple sitting next to us, whom we bumped into at the Marriott a bit later .. you know who you are!
A year later, having mentioned this specialty and showed off photos to all and sundry since leaving Calgary, I have received cooked pigs' heads from a local caterer who often has them left over after cooking whole-roasted pigs. After event participants have picked off every scrap of meat off the carcass, leaving behind the basted, cooked head, she'll call me!
Knowing my way around a pigs head by now, I don disposable gloves and pick that bad boy clean, using the very tender meat (and cheeks!) in sandwiches or soups. The head seems to leave a slightly bitter odour in the liquid if I make stock from it, so I just discard the bones, fat and skin. It's messy, I'm not going to lie, but the meaty bits are meltingly tender (as done by this caterer) and well worth the effort.
So I would definitely join the RoadKill Scientists and urge you to go for it!
It's definitely a show-stopper and a fun dinner event.
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