Spent a couple days in Calgary this weekend, and had very good food experiences (thanks, partly, to recommendations here). Here’s a brief rundown:
Breakfasts were at the Palliser - staying on the concierge floor, so it was free and more than worth the cost :) But that means it is hard to justify going out and paying for breakfast, even though had been told the Avenue Diner is a must.
Friday lunch at Globefish in Kensington. Had the deluxe sushi combo platter, which was very good. Fish was fresh, rice perfectly done. Basic sushi, next time I’m in town I will go for one of the more interesting rolls, but this was a good way to try it out. Seafood-allergic wife had beef don (I think that is what it was called), said it was good. I had some of her tempura veggies, which were very good. Side of gyoza were OK, nothing spectacular. Overall though, will return.
Friday dinner at Mount Everest’s Kitchen. Nepalese food, which I had tried once before in Sydney, Aus. Wow! Not sure how to even describe it, other than similar to Indian, but a unique blend of a lot of other Asian cuisines. Started with veggie momos, which I was expecting to be like a samosa. It was more like a gyoza, but the filling, heavy on cabbage, was more Chinese. Main meal was peas pilau, butter chicken, and lamb chatpat. Rice had coriander leaves, moreso than would find in Indian, giving it an almost Thai flavour. Butter chicken was close to what I was expecting, with something unidentifiable in the spices though, and sweetened with cashew flour. Lamb chatpat was described as a spicy sweet and sour sauce and that is very accurate. Lamb, peppers, onions (can’t remember what else) in an absolutely amazing sauce. Similar to a Chinese sweet and sour flavour, with a hint of citrus and lots of heat. We also ordered a cauliflaur/potato dish but it never arrived…just as well because we wouldn’t have had room for dessert. Wife had mango rice pudding, I had the himali cake, which is a dense cake of coconut and cassava root, with chocolate and mango sauces. Again, like nothing I have ever tasted, and very good. Only drank water, bill came to about $70 with tax and tip.
Saturday lunch was at Kane’s Harley Diner. Something about this place that I love. We go there every time we are in Calgary (2 or 3 times a year). Food is good, simple, and cheap. Huge burgers and crisp fries, the plain burger was only $8, bacon and cheese burger just $9. And for some reason, they got slowed down, even though we didn’t notice, and so gave us 20% off. With discount, under $14 to get stuffed with a whole lot of ground beef and deep fried potatoes. Whatmore can you ask for.
Saturday dinner, our “splurge” night – basically we go to Calgary because my wife has to go for work, so in trade for me driving her, she buys me dinner at place of my choice. Since we can’t get good Italian here in Edmonton, this time was Il Sogno (have already done Teatro and Capo). Pretty much a perfect evening. Went for the chef’s menu at $85/person, with a cheese course added for another $16 for the two of us, and had them pair wines with each course.
The amuse bouche (I can never remember the Italian term…stecchino?) was a shrimp on a bed of bruschetta topping. Wife mentioned seafood allergy, server came back with a tiny duck prosciutto/apple item. As good as mine was, I would have prefered that! Antipasti plate: pickled mushrooms and baby gherkins, pumpernickel, poultry terrine with evoo and fleur de sel, some sort of shredded duck, and a grainy mustard. Eaten in various combinations, it was a great little starter paired with prosseco. Primi was fava bean risotto with a chardonnay. Still haven’t figured out what one of the prominent flavours was, but it was one of the best risottos I’ve had (and I eat risotto whenever possible).
Secondi was beef tenderloin with a grainy mustard sauce, black lentils, and very tiny pink beets. Wife declared it the best piece of meat she has ever had! Not sure if I would go that far, but it was a stellar dish. Wine was Copertino negroamaro, which went well with the meat and the lentils.
Cheese plate…don’t remember what the 3 cheeses were, but one was a gorgonzola. Plate also had a strawberry, candied walnuts, cedar jelly (which was a great dipping sauce for the gorgonzola), can’t remember what else. Paired with an American syrah, which was not a bad choice. I might have chosen a port.
Dessert sampler: panna cotta with…something…and vanilla bean, white and dark chocolate brownie, and a third item that I don’t remember. All wonderful though, as was the dessert wine, a Dona Fugata Ben Rye.
Which leads to why I can’t remember parts of the cheese and dessert courses – too much alcohol! I had a 2 glasses of wine at my hotel before going to restaurant, another with the amuse (wife had martini), then one more with each course! And my wife doesn’t drink much, so with most of the courses she ended up sliding her glass over to me for the last 1/3 or so. My only suggestion would be that they do smaller glasses when pairing like this, even splitting one between two people. For example – last time I was at Capo, doing a similar thing, basically leaving it up to the server to choose our wines, he brought ½ glasses and charged accordingly. This, to me, is enough wine… Maybe I could have asked for this at Il Sogno, but by the time I thought of it it was too late! But, I guess if the only criticism of a place is they served me too much wine, I shouldn’t complain (though it does add up quite quickly on the bill). Final tally, after a small glass of complimentary eau du vie…more alcohol, similar to grappa) with tax, before tip was $305. And worth every cent.