There are those times where and when you least expect it that you find a total unexpected gem. Those times are the best. Those are the places I am always on the search for.
Here I am enjoying some time in the Quesnel, BC area, and I was suddenly made aware of one such unique place – Petty Catwater.
This little property turned chic farm style home and Bed & Breakfast, offers these incredible Farm Table evenings of culinary delights and wine. Umm, yes please!
Owned by a very lovely couple, Bruce and Jenn have put their heart and soul and 17 years of building to make this little slice of heaven a reality.
With all ingredients being local, and Jenn, whom is also the chef, having trained in France, you know you are going to be in for a treat. I truly had no idea what kind of unforgettable treat I was actually in for.
Upon arriving to the property you pull in by an honesty stand.
I love the concept of honesty stands! I see them quite a lot around British Columbia, and I just think they are great. Honesty makes the world go round and having integrity makes a persons life so much more rewarding.
As you walk into the yard its hard not to be immediately enamored by the elegant farmhouse design and landscape.
As you walk around you can even get a glimpse of what is in store.
There is a garden where in the summer they grow the majority of their produce, and some lush little sitting areas for the guests whom are staying on property at the BnB.
Not only do they have the Bnb, but they also accept Wwoofers(willing workers on organic farms) where they have volunteers come and exchange work for food and accommodation.
I enjoyed a lot of wwoofing experiences around the globe in my backpacking days, so this spoke straight to my heart.
The Bed & Breakfast is located in a separate building to the house. Which is nice as it feels very private.
I was pleasantly surprised at the warm and inviting atmosphere of the BnB, and the chic decor. It was done in such a way that you feel quite luxurious up there. To me it felt as though I was back in Europe again.
The dining area is in an addition, with a long table with proper fine dining settings. Once again the decor was spot on in the house as well.
I really have to give kudos to Bruce and Jenn for how well their interior and exterior designing skills are.
I was loving the long table concept as well. Again bringing me back to Europe. As you sit at a table among strangers, it doesn’t take very much time for the conversation to flow as good as the vino. I had the best date in the room though – my darling sister! Some of the best dates are the ones you take your sister on.
My kinda party, if I do say so myself.
The food. Oh my the food. Where to begin really.
The starters were home made French Onion soup accompanied with a divine fluffy crusted pizza. Seriously, every bit I took was better then the last.
As we moved onto the main course, the culinary journey of grand proportions did not slow down.
There was plenty of slow cooked, perfectly seasoned, melt in your mouth meats to choose from, a beautiful array of roasted vegetables, and a superb mash of combined potatoes.
One must be careful not to over do it on dinner as there is still dessert on the menu. Trust me, its hard not to have seconds, or thirds. Loose fitting clothes perhaps are a good option.
Coffee and home made cakes for dessert seemed so fitting to complete this divine experience. There was a fresh fig cake, and a pear cake made with Guiness.
Every single guest at the table had pure satisfaction beaming out of their faces.
Bruce and Jenn do this amazing job of opening up their home and making you feel so comfortable, and transport you to a place of class and spoiling. You feel and taste their passion in all that they do here. I would go back simply to be in their company once again. But really, I need to go back and experience a night in the Bnb. If their dinner is that good, I bet the breakfast is something to write home about too. It is a place not to be missed.
This truly was a one of a kind and unique experience. Happy culinary adventuring!
Fried Potatoes, cheese, and gravy – a traditional Canadian treat. That gooey goodness that is total comfort food. Not something I indulge in very often, but from time to time, I don’t mind treating myself.
In 70 Mile House, British Columbia, there is an inviting little establishment called The Sugar Shack, where it boasts to have the best poutine in the west. Located right on the side of the highway with plenty of signage to make you aware of it, you can’t really miss it.
I really liked how it was built out of a garage, and one of the entrances is a large garage door. I was diggin it.
I was also diggin the rustic, beautiful varnished wooden interior.
They are not only famous for their poutines, but you will also find every maple syrup and maple syrup product under the sun.
Maple Bread, maple chocolates, maple jerky, heck if you want maple syrup on your poutine you could absolutely have that.
I tried out a coffee with maple syrup in it, and I must say, it was pretty darn tasty. Never had I even thought to put maple syrup in my coffee, but really, why the heck not?! It is a natural sugar.
Seeing as how I don’t eat poutines very often, I was pretty excited to give it go. Let me tell you, they are very generous on their portions. Go with and empty belly, and in sweat pants. You will not be leaving hungry, or a size smaller.
Look at that proud poutine in all it’s glory. My pants were getting tighter just taking it in with my eyes. When I put the fork in to take a morsel, the cheese was sooo gooey and stringy, it was poutine perfection.
What made the difference was that they use cheese curds. Glorious cheese curds. They really don’t get enough of the spotlight.
The gravy was delicious!! I love gravy, particularly good gravy. I think the only thing I would have opted out on was the smoked meat. Not because it was bad, but because I really am only there for the gravy and cheese on those crispy potatoes.
With the owner, Robert, being from Quebec, it was all making sense. The Maple Syrup, the poutine, and the cheese curds. These things are his art and in his blood.
He is fantastic! And truly goes above and beyond to be sure that everyone whom steps in his door has a memorable experience.
If you are interested in seeing the video of my experience, have a peak at my Youtube Video.
I can honestly say, that if your after a unique experience, and you happen to find yourself in 70 mile house in BC, then The Sugar Shack is a must do.
Don’t forget to sign up to my monthly newsletter! Every month I am sharing my top destinations, top wine picks, my monthly inspiration, and so much more!
Chic atmosphere, fine food, fab service, and beverages the entice the taste buds to wake up. That is exactly what you will find at Calgary’s One18Empire, a whiskey inspired bar and restaurant. With a selection of over 100 whiskeys, you could spend plenty of time sipping your little heart out. I do enjoy sipping on a fine whiskey myself. The focal point of their local inspired fare is shareable plates. The whole concept really intrigued me, so I had to go and experience it for myself.
Located in the Marriot Hotel downtown, One18Empire’s ambiance is very inviting.
The name is derived from where it was located on the original historic Atlantic Avenue in the early 1900’s known then as the Grand Central Hotel. There was a time the hotel nearly blew up way back when an old miner shoveled dynamite in the furnace. They now have a drink named after the event called ‘Near Miss‘. A perfect place to unwind after work full of rich Calgary history.
Our server for the evening was Meredith, she was awesome from the get go. I was digging the uniforms which were that of workshop apparel too, and also the trays they use.
Very fashionable workshop apparel I might add.
We got right in there with some Bourbon to start things off. The Black Walnut Old Fashioned– their signature cocktail. Which also happens to be one of the worlds first written down recipes. I was instantly enamored by the large tennis size ball of ice in my glass. Not gonna lie, the ice sphere was pretty darn cool.
Apparently it is not just for show either. It also has a purpose as I was informed. The ice melts slowly because of its shape and size, so that it maintains your drink at the perfect temperature while very minimally changing the taste, so as to keep it good until the last drop. That it was!! Delicious. I could get used to sipping on that.
My tastebuds were awakened, and seeing as how One18Empire’s focus is on shareable plates, we dug right into a charcuterieboard. I do love a good charcuterie board, it is a common staple back in Spain, so it almost brought me back home to Mallorca for a moment. I was very impressed with their personal touches on the board consisting of house made marmalade, house made pickles, and house made mustard. Those details always make a difference.
Accompanied with that fine feast was the simple beet salad.
Don’t let the name fool you, that salad was not so simple, it was more like divine.
With a chilled bottle of Reisling on the go, and even though we were feeling quite stuffed from the first course, we still went on to tuck into a couple of mains. Seeing as how we were already in sharing mode, we thought it best to stay on that train and choose a main each for the both of us to try.
We decided on the Seared duck breast and the Alberta grass fed petite tender.
I would have to say my favorite of the two was the tenderloin, it was superb.
This was absolutely a divine experience, and we were provided with ample history of One18Empire by our knowledgeable and top notch server Meredith, her bubbly personality, and attentive service really made the experience a memorable one.
Unfortunately we didn’t do any whiskey sampling, or see the whole restaurant, but that is just more reason to go back sooner rather then later – and I absolutely will be going back for an extended experience. One18Empire, a historical sensory filled culinary journey not to be missed.
Classy dining around the globe is a hobby that I take very seriously. Enticing the palette with incredible and unique flavors and food pairings, all while surrounded in a comfortable chic atmosphere – is exactly what I am after when dining out. I am continually on the hunt to find the best and most amazing places to experience and share around the world. It’s an art that one can’t help but appreciate.
Here in the hub of the North – Hay River, NWT, there happens to be one of my absolute life long favorites. The Back Eddy. They always provide an unforgettable experience, and the dishes will never disappoint. Having been in business for over 40 years, it is clear there are many things being done right here.
The decor of The Back Eddy reflects a nautical theme, adorned with helms, and various pieces from ships.
Hay River has been a port for shipping and barging for many years, so it was very fitting for The Back Eddy to take on this theme. The name is derived from an ‘Eddy’, which is a whirl of water, and in this case, ‘Back Eddy’, intended to represent the whirl of water created by the back of the ship.
The original owner of The Back Eddy also created what’s called, Back Eddy Spice, which is still sprinkled in quite a few dishes on the menu to this day, as well as sold in many stores. It’s a Back Eddy staple. The Back Eddy has now been family run by some pretty phenomenal people for the last 16 years.
The atmosphere is inviting and very relaxing. Particularly now with all of their festive decorations making the place feel ‘oh so magical’.
Each month they feature different lunch and dinner specials, as well as a monthly dessert(made in house).
The majority of their dishes are all made from scratch in house and with plenty of love, so you are guaranteed to always have a fresh flavorful experience.
One of my absolute favorite dishes of theirs is the ceaser salad. Nothing fancy, but they make their own dressing, and it is sooo darn good. I can eat it every day. In fact, when I am home every year, I pretty much do eat it every day. I have yet to find another around the globe that compares.
This time around on our ladies of leisure dinner, rather then one of their tantalizing menu items, we were after one of their other classics. Hot Rocks.
Hot Rocks are just that, heated marble slabs, that you get to cook your own food on, right at your table.
It’s seriously a lot of delicious fun. They come out already nicely heated and then you place them on the flames to keep the sizzle going.
You have the choice between meat rocks, seafood rocks or a combo of both. We decided to go for the combo rocks which included, Lobster, Prawns, Chicken and Beef, along with plenty of various veggies.
The platter is very abundantly stocked, and has a fabulous array of house made butters and dips. So you absolutely will no be going home hungry – better bring those stretchy pants.
First thing was first though. I needed to prepare my palette by getting the vino flowing(lets not forget who we are talking about here). It’s simply the classy lady way to begin any culinary journey. For a small Northern establishment they do have quite a good little selection of Vino to choose from. I opted for a Rose, a nice inbetween of white and red.
With hot rocks, your act of having dinner truly turns into an experience. It so nice to share fabulous food, great chat, and good drinks all while being surrounded by an extremely comfortable environment. It’s the best way, and always creates it to be nothing less then memorable.
You won’t forget how full you were in the end either. Good thing the seats have wheels on them – in case you can’t get up and need to be wheeled out. Isn’t that a classy mental picture?!
The Back Eddy truly is a Northern Gem, and it only gets better with age. That’s right, just like a fine wine. If you find yourself in Northwest Territories, and particularly in the Hay River area, make sure you stop in and enjoy some Northern class and true North hospitality. Cheers to keeping the palette adventures going!
Wining and dining is one of my favorite past times. A great group of friends having endless laughs and good chat while sharing fine food, and sipping on superb wine in a classy atmosphere. What culinary dreams are made of. The culinary scene in Calgary is pretty impressive and I am always on the hunt for unique places that stand out from the rest.
Recently I had the supreme pleasure of enjoying an incredible culinary journey at the Workshop. Located in the heart of downtown Calgary right inside the Theater Junction Grand, boasting the perfect combination of the Arts Culture as well as Culinary Culture – it is a pure gem.
I love the feeling of walking into a theater, we all know it. It is a feeling of excitement, and cultural history, beckoning you inside with its antique feel. Yes, I was absolutely already diggin the feel of it when I reached the front doors.
The restaurant is very open and airy, split on either side of the entrance to the actual theater.
With the decor being that of an actual workshop – and a classy one at that. Building things was a hobby of mine growing up, so the workshop feel was quite appealing to me.
We were warmly welcomed and upon being seated we were then given a great in depth briefing about the history of the place.
I was amazed to learn that the theater itself was built in 1912, being now just over 100 years old. At the time the theater was considered the biggest and best in the Pacific Northwest. It is now a place where art can be expressed in multiple forms, from all areas of life. The Workshop and the Theater are two separate outfits, yet combine perfectly as one.
We clearly got into the wine from the get go. There is no messing around when it comes to myself and my love of wine.
I decided on a bottle of French Rose. I do love a good Rose!
Red, white, rose, who am I to judge really?! I love them all. Particularly Rose from French vineyards, however I have enjoyed some very fine Rose’s from North America now as well. Three of us arrived prior to everyone else, and being famished, we just ‘had’ to get right in there with some sort of snack to get us going. I suppose the excitement was also getting the better of us.
Because of the high recommendation given to us, we chose the Fried Cauliflower with garlic, green olive and Harissa aoili. As well as the Seared Scallop with pickled potato, pork cheek, charred radish and serrano broth.
Wow, it was truly delicious!! I love vegetables, and particularly cauliflower, and with the aoili(which we eat alot of in Spain), it was the perfect compliment. Seriously ridiculous. The scallop was perfectly flavored and melted in your mouth like butter.
So far this culinary journey was off to a dreamy start.
Literally it was so darn good we had to order seconds of the cauliflower. Along side some Albacore tuna poke and the Bulgogi beef tartare.
Both beautifully presented and flavored, I myself however was more partial to the Tuna. I love fish though.
The service was impeccable, and the wine was flowing like a river. Just the way we like it.
Not only were we being provided with top notch service, we were also being entertained as heck by our server. He really was amazing.
I was pretty stuffed from all those appetizers we indulged in, so for the main, I shared an order of the Parmesan Cream Gnocci and the Spicy Maple Brussel Sprouts. Two of my absolute favorite foods on this planet.
I loved every bite. Just when you thought the food couldn’t get better – it then it got better.
The others shared the BBQ pork loin and Pork Belly, accompanied with some cumin roasted yam.
With the amount of ‘this is so good’ that was coming out of their mouths, I was pretty certain that they were enjoying tantalizing their taste buds. You can see the effort and taste the passion that goes into every dish there.
Long behold just when we thought we were at capacity, dessert arrived, and so did the Chef.
We were treated to their three house made desserts. Fallen chocolate souffle with cherry compote, hazelnut crumble, and malted stout ice cream. Fresh berries with citrus genoise, muscat sabayon, and pink peppercorn shatter. Last but not least, Lemon semi freddo, with torched italian meringue, blueberry compote and sugar cookie.
How in the heck can you say no to dessert when it’s put right in front of you and boasting with artistic fresheness?! Well, you can’t. You just can’t.
I can’t express enough how fabulous this whole experience was. The food, atmosphere, service, and the the people, were amazing. You can check out the YouTube video about the incredible experience if your keen.
I am absolutely going to be visiting again, this time around I will also take in a show. If you find yourself in YYC, the Workshop is not to be missed.
If you have been on an endless search for a serene mountain oasis, where you are surrounded by lush enchanting nature, in an ultra chic cabin on a hill with a view to boast about, and impeccable service by people whom genuinely love there job. Then I have found the place for you.
Made for heli-skiing in the winter and hiking adventures in the summer, not to mention the ideal location for weddings and events, or a relaxing, and rejuvenating get away.
Recently I had the pleasure of experiencing what its like to stay and be pampered at this gem.
From the minute I arrived I was already taken by it.
I received a very warm welcome by Becky whom is the manager, and has been with Heather Mountain Lodge for 6 years.
She provided me with a wealth of information about the Lodge and surrounding area, and got me all booked in for dinner. I was booked into the King cabin, which is one of the two newly built cabins on the hill above the lodge.
I didn’t know exactly what to expect, and was completely blown away by the ultra-chic cabin. It’s the perfect combination of luxury and nature.
Each cabin is equipped with in floor heating – which would be perfect on those chilly nights in the winter after an epic day of heli-skiing, a wood burning stove, king size bed, a very large bathroom with both a beautiful tub, and separate shower. I was loving the decor and amenities.
Although as soon as I pulled up to the cabin and seen the view I was in for, my soul was already feeling soothed. I zoned in on the little deck, and knew I was going to be spending some chill time basking in that view.
This trip was also serving as a reunion with my sister, so as I was taking in my surroundings, I was also impatiently awaiting her arrival.
Once she arrived, and we enjoyed some catching up on our little deck, it was hard to tear ourselves away from the cabin to go for dinner, but, we were about to be treated to a culinary experience that heightened all of our senses.
The patio where we chose to dine rather then in the dining room has picturesque views of the mountains and property. The property is conveniently located just off the highway, but when your immersed in Heather Mountain Lodge’s environment, you feel as though you are far away from the hustle and bustle of life.
Muzza was our server, and he was exceptional from the get go.
Full of personality, and he more then happy to recommend or describe anything about the menu, or even anything off the ‘hiking menu’ if you were already trying to figure out how you would wear off this fine food.
He is extremely knowledgeable about the area, and any hiking excursions you could want to take.
Our dinner experience began with cocktails(would you expect any less really), while we read through the menu trying to narrow it down to actual choices.
Everything sounded wonderful, so it was hard to choose. Although in the end we were so spoiled we were able to sample a variety of things.
We ended up starting with Caramelized Tomato & Juniper Soup
The flavor of the aromatic soup was enough to wake up our palettes immediately. That way they were on full form for what was next.
The Triple Creamed Brie.
Cheese is an addiction of mine, one that I don’t give into very often, usually only when I am out. So, clearly this was one of those occasions. Baked in phyllo pastry until molten, accompanied with pickled Okanagan peaches, apple mint jelly, reduced blueberry balsamic, and black pepper crackers. It was exactly as amazing as it sounds. When you dug a cracker into it, the perfectly backed brie, spilled out, begging to be enjoyed.
A glass of Pinot Noir was a must to compliment our mains. They have a very elaborate wine list to choose from. I was pleasantly surprised. My little wine loving heart could have been happy there for weeks with a list such as that.
For my main I went for the Alberta Rack of Lamb, served with fondant fingerling potatoes, grilled summer squash and roasted chipolini Jus.
My sister tucked into the BC Farmer’s Game Hen, which was slowly braised in white wine and herbs, accompanied with potato gnocchi, baby spinach, golden beets, toasted almonds with roasted garlic Gorgonzola Cream.
It’s not very often I can say that every dish I tried at a restaurant was amazing, but literally, everything was amazing. The love and passion that was put into creating these dishes was very apparent! We had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know the Chef, Josh Gaudet.
I was so impressed to learn that he creates all the menu items himself. Not only is he a fantastic person, but he really is very skilled at his craft. We enjoyed some very good chat throughout the evening with him.
We were absolutely out of room(where the heck did I put those sweat pants?!), but we couldn’t not try the amazing desserts created by their in house pastry chef, Ryan Doggart.
We went for the Rhubarb Crumble and Creme Brulee.
Both were absolutely divine, and tasted as fresh as you can get. It was obvious that Ryan also know’s his skill very well, and his passion shows in his creations.
This was a feast fit for a couple of queen’s, that’s a certainty.
Before we weren’t able to move anymore, we had to answer the beckoning’s from the hot tub and sauna. The hot tub is out doors but also enclosed, which is great, as I love having the best of both worlds. It was so relaxing.
Now being an avid sauna lover, and having grown up with one in my back yard – you could say I was very excited for that experience.
Let’s be real here though, I sipped on vino(personality in a bottle) for quite sometime before hand(obviously like a classy lady), I am pretty sure that the only thing detoxing out of this ladies pores was fine wine.
After an amazing afternoon/evening, the king size bed in the cabin swallowed me right up. I can’t even tell you how comfy that bed was, like probably the most comfy mattress ever! I didn’t want to leave it in the morning. I bet its even better in the winter. I could envision myself all wrapped up on those chilly winters nights on the mattress sent from mountain lodge heaven. Bliss!
Coffee on the little deck was the best way to get the day rolling the next morning.
Basking in the view and taking it all in. I could get used to that. I was contemplating just buying the cabin and becoming a permanent resident of the lodge. Alas, not this time around. That cabin was rocking our world, but at some point we had to head down for breakfast…..
Thank goodness we did! The beautiful breakfast surprise that awaited us, was nothing less then amazing.
Seeing as how we were fashionably late, they had so graciously set up a table for us on the patio(which we had all to ourselves), and Josh & Ryan, treated us to some more incredible culinary delights.
Seriously, however Josh cooked those eggs, I am telling you, for sure the best scrambled eggs I have ever had.
Between the view, and the spectacular breakfast it was hard for me to put my camera down and just enjoy the moment. This was something that had to be shared. Oh the life of a blogger. Before we continued on our adventures and ‘tore’ ourselves away from this amazing piece of heaven we had to take one last walk around the area to get the last feel for it all.
There is a very comfy little lounging area upstairs that is more so used in the winter.
But the property is pretty amazing in and of itself.
All I could think of was how badly I wanted to climb up to those mountain peaks. Being such a short and whirlwind trip this time, it only means that I have to return.
You can check out my Video Blog about the experience.
There are so many reasons that Heather Mountain Lodge is so special, but one of the main things that stand out is how the staff treat it as their own, and welcome people as if welcoming them into their own home. They love what they do, and they love the lodge, and it creates an environment that you feel warm, welcomed and pampered. I want to give huge thanks to the phenomenal people at Heather Mountain Lodge that made this such an unforgettable experience.
This lodge, is not a place to be missed if you find yourself in the area. Heck, even if you don’t find yourself in the area, plan a trip there. You will not soon regret it.
We all know that I like a classy establishment where I can dress up and put on my heels, but I am a small town girl at heart, so sometimes I like those down to earth, home cooked flavors in a more rustic ambiance. I have driven by ‘The Corner House Cafe‘ many times and it always caught my eye – I knew I had to stop and check it out at some point.
Finally, long behold I was once again in the area visiting my family, and this time I made it a point to stop in! It had to happen. I am also the type of person that once I get something in my head, I will not be able to get it out of my head until I have tried it or done it. This situation was no different.
It has a charming, warm and inviting feel. There was just something about it. Clearly, otherwise it wouldn’t have been calling out to me for so long.
Upon entering I was pulled right in to the homey ambiance.
Not a bad view.
It’s family run, quaint, busy, and very friendly. Apparently from what I am told, they are always very busy, which doesn’t surprise me, I can absolutely see why.
It’s a great place, with great food. I was impressed with their little menu.
We were all in need of some grub at this point.
Being Sunday they were only offering breakfast, which really was not a problem for me as a Sunday Breakfast was exactly what I was after.
I was stoked to see that they made smoothies, and the smoothie of the day had loads of green ingredients in it, and for me the greener the better! So I was one happy patron.
I made sure to share it with my nephew, I do believe it’s never to young to prepare for a life of health and vitality.
Train those taste buds as soon as you freaken can!
All in all, it was a pretty awesome experience, and I was finally able to check it off my list(let’s not forget how important that is to me). I will say – if you ever find yourself in the Millarville area and happen to come across ‘The Corner House Cafe‘, pull on over and treat yourself! It was pleasantly surprising, and I will absolutely return to try out their lunch menu.
Keeping it random, local and classy every day of the week.
17th ave in Calgary is one of my fave places to hang out. Whether its coffee, tea, wine, cocktails or a dining experience. You have loads of great places to choose from. Whatever floats your boat really.
It was a last minute dinner kinda night, not to mention Valentines day. Coming from world travels, I tend to forget that Valentines is a thing – as its not a thing everywhere in the world. Well I suppose being single doesn’t help either. In any case, single or not, Valentines is just another day to me. I think any day of the year is just as good a day as any to romance someone and show some love. Instead of cupid and arrows, it was just a couple of gal pals, looking for a nice atmosphere, some tasty wine, and an enjoyable culinary experience. Obviously the usual things I am after on a night out.
Being a women, I can be indecisive as heck sometimes. I don’t deny it. I can have 100 options placed in front of me, and yet not be able to choose one. Even upon staring them in the eye, my mind can still stay totally blank. It’s those moments, I much prefer whomever I am with to take charge, and when I am in that indecisive mood, I am quite easily pleased, as long as I don’t have to do the choosing. Although, if I am only in my own awesome company, this mood can pose a problem. Who should I ask, me? myself? or I??? Decisions decisions – and that is just another decision to add to the already grande question at hand, ‘where the heck should I go?!‘
After walking up and down 17th ave, we came across Market(for the second time), and its very appealing ambiance was calling to us. I had heard great things about it, and I have a soft spot for establishments that keep everything as local as possible. Market does just that, they cure their own meats, do their own butchering, make their own cheese, and grow their own herbs and micro greens in their in house garden(the first restaurant in Calgary to do this). Oh, the impressive list goes on. Living local is my motto no matter where in the world I am. Not only to support the locals, but you are going to get far greater quality of products from locally sourced places. Living in Mallorca, Spain for the better of the last 5 years, I have been very spoiled in this respect. Quality coming out of the ying yang over there.
Quick team check, and we had a unanimous decision made. Hello Market! I would like to say we made some sort of grande entrance; The doors swung open, the wind was blowing our hair, and everyone turned and looked in astonishment.
Alas, we just walked in, and nobody really took to much notice I don’t think. Ahhhh well. My imagination world is a brilliant place to be.
With a cheery and bright decor, it was very inviting to walk into, and the dark grey/black bar add’s a nice contrast and chicness to it.
I was diggin it’s classy feel, yet not over done approach.
We picked a nice little quaint high top and preceded to get right down to business. First thing was first. Get that vino flowing! We chose a nice Italian red. Tedischi Corasco Corvina.
Being Valentines, they had a four course dinner special. Obviously we had to give it a go. It’s hard to pass up a special. I wish I could remember exactly what everything was, but I was enjoying the moment to much and didn’t take proper notes. So pardon me in that respect. The first course was something(clearly) with chocolate in it.
It was beautifully presented, and you could see the love put into it. The flavor just didn’t get along with my taste buds(strange since it had chocolate in it). So I didn’t eat mine…. But Stephanie did enjoy hers. My eyeballs enjoyed taking it in though.
The radish, ricotta, and mini loaf(made fresh in house) we had for course numero 2 was interesting, and full of fresh flavor. Who can really say no to fresh bread?!
And the fettuccine & meatball dish to follow was divine!
Perfectly cooked al dente, and superbly flavored meat balls. Not a type of dish I eat often, so it was a darn treat.
The plates they gave us for the pasta were way to damn cute. Loved them!
To top off our v-day dinner, our fabulous sever Kaylee brought us our final course. Chocolate cake for 2.
Who the heck doesn’t like chocolate? The dessert of love. Not to mention the chocolate dipped strawberry. How romantic. Steph may not be a tall, dark and handsome man, but she was a perfect date! This turned out to be much more then just settling on a place because we could not come to a decision. It was absolutely fantastic! The food, the service, and the ambiance. I am looking forward to going back to Market soon to try out more of their amazingly fresh, and locally sourced creations. See you there!
It was a ladies of leisure kind afternoon, and after driving around for sometime trying to make a decision, we ended up choosing to head into the Simmons building in East Village where we got all comfy in Char Bar.
It’s funny how there are so many fabulous restaurants that I want to try in the city, and for some reason when the time came to go out and dine somewhere – my mind went completely blank, and I couldn’t come to any sort of decision what-so-ever, nor could I even think of a name of an establishment that I wanted to visit.
Ahhh, where am I again?! Oh right! Calgary. The mind of a traveler. Although it was a last minute decision to head out, so we really didn’t put a game plan into action before hand. Had we have planned the lunch excursion the evening prior, I would have put some damn good thought into it. However that being said, spur of the moment spontaneity, does lead to some pretty favorable experiences. Not to mention, the ambiance in the Simmons Building is right up my alley. I love the fact that it’s a historic building that’s been restored, I am all about history, vintage, and recycling. The open concept of the Phil & Sebastian cafe, Sidewalk Citizen Bakery, and Char Bar that are inside, is also a winner. Three separate, local businesses, whom are like minded and working in union to create this wonderful culinary experience.
The feel when you walk into the Simmons building is warm, chic and inviting, with plenty of aromas to savor, from the fresh ground coffee, to bakery delights, onto the culinary creations.
Having spent the better of the last 5 years living on the island of Mallorca in Spain, and having that still as my home for half of every year, I have been quite spoiled with my luxury Mallorcan lifestyle and incredible dining experiences. So I suppose my bar is set pretty high. I myself very much enjoy atmosphere, setting the stage for my experience. Obviously having worked in the hospitality industry for many years, service is quite important to me as well. Natasha and myself got seated at the most perfect quaint little table, nicely tucked away, where we could have our photo shoot and laughs without being amidst loads of people. It was 2 in the afternoon as well, so there was not a massive crowd as it was.
Obviously first thing was first. Get on top of the vino situation. Yes, if you have followed my blog up until now, you know, I am a massive wine lover. Having traveled the world for 10 years and visited many vineyards around the globe, my palette is finely tuned and has a massive appreciation for fine wines.
I absolutely adore French rosé, particularly rosé from the Provence region – where they are famous for their rosé. Producing it from as early as 600bc, so you could say they have had some practice. This one was a nice combination of wild strawberry, red cherry and raspberry. It went down beautifully.
We had a very fantastic server, Tyson, whom was extremely knowledgeable and very happy to give us any and all recommendations on what to try.
We were interested in just a few small things to share, and so decided on the vegetable ceviche, pistachio and avocado bruschetta, plantain chips, and a small portion of regular fries.
Wait! Before you dig in, let’s not forget to place your napkin.
Being classy makes you cool – and so does sipping on fine wine in a classy establishment.
The vegetable ceviche was super flavorful, and well prepared, I enjoyed every bit of it. The pistachio and avocado bruschetta was made with a different take, but I am a massive avocado lover, so there is no way I won’t enjoy some avo. The chips and fries where exactly that, chips and fries – as you would expect them to be. It was all very tasty.
We were treated to some dessert which was super nice.
In which I washed down with a nice steaming almond milk cappuccino.
I was trying my darnedest to make the ol’ classic heart with my hands. For some reason though, I couldn’t quite do it. What the heck?! After struggling with it for a bit, I came to the conclusion that my hands just weren’t made to make a damn heart. Well I suppose my real heart is just big enough as it is.
Before our dining experience was concluded, we were also kindly offered to be taken on a tour of the building. To which we obviously accepted.
We were feeling very knowledgeable after that tour. It’s always so nice to see people whom truly enjoy and take pride in their job. Very impressive. What was also impressive is that Tyson proudly hand crafts all his own bow ties. That’s a good stitch if you ask me.
Having had such a fabulous experience for the second time around at Char Bar, you can guarantee that I will be back again in the very near future.
So, if you happen to be scratching your noggin trying to decide where to take yourself for your next culinary experience in Calgary, then make sure to head down to Char Bar, and make it a memorable culinary delight.
One thing to remember when embarking on a dinner mission in Spain – ‘Most restaurants don’t open before 8’. Freaken heck though, most westerner’s don’t like to eat after 8. It can be a tad bit of an adjustment. Seeing as how I am programmed to have dinner quite early in the evening, I always tend to forget this late dinner fact.
My friends and I had dinner plans, and we decided to just wing it – meet up, be spontaneous and just find a place. It just so happened to be about 6 pm, and the streets were quite and most restaurants chained up, dark and lifeless. Yes it was way to darn early. ‘Dang’ we thought, where the heck are we gonna get some chow?!’
Long behold, we came across ‘La Cueva’. With 20 people standing outside(well maybe 10, but in dead streets it looked like 20) we figured there was a good chance it was open. We took a peak inside – and damn straight, it was OPEN! Score! We were in there like flint.
Not before having a photo shoot in front of the door.
From the entrance we had to go down a few stairs(I know from the previous photo you would assume up, BUT, it was down), and enter into the restaurant which is very much like a cool ass little cave. With ‘La Cueva’ translating to ‘The Cave’ in English, it only made sense really.
I am all about fresh and local ingredients, and they definitely had the fresh part going on. I didn’t have a chance to ask about the local part though.
My eyes were already liking what they were seeing. Although, once menu was in hand, and you are presented with what appears to be loads of delicious plates, it ain’t so darn easy anymore.
Oh geez, what the heck to choose?! How about just one of everything?
OK, ok, that’s excessive, it would be far too much…… So we each just chose 2 tapas each for the table.
It was still way too much in the end, but at least we got to try a bit of everything. They have their system down pat, and are ready to rock with the plates at any given moment. It was very good service. The only thing I did notice was the microwave.
We were a bit shocked at how incredibly fast it came, and not being someone whom uses microwaves myself, it was a small bit daunting, but being as hungry as we all were – we weren’t about to complain, and in reality, its not like they were hiding the fact they use a microwave for some things. Everything was made fresh, and I suppose it was necessary to keep up with the capacity of clients they receive. So really, it is what it is. No biggy what-so-ever.
We opted to choose a different Vino then the one on the table, and instead went for the Jose. L. Ferrer. One of my favorite vineyards in Mallorca . We tested out a bit of everything food wise. From olives and aioli,
onward to, potatoes with aioli, mushrooms, pepper padrons(one of my all time Mallorcan favorites), Mallorcan bread and cheese.
Not to mention, shrimps still sizzling.
Calamari, octopus, and shaved ham.
Don’t forget to share – sharing is caring.
The food was all ridiculously good to be honest, and super traditional. If there is one thing I enjoy most in life, it’s taking in as much of the local cultures and traditions where ever in the world I may be. Even when it happens to be in my own Country of Canada.
Just when we thought we were having the time and feed of our lives – in came the live music. My little world would not turn without music, and I am ALL about live music, in any and all forms. So this rocked my darn world.
In came the cavalry.
Pucker up princess. They were freaken awesome! And such good sports. Not to mention, I do love the accordion oh so much! I am into the most random things. I also happen to play a few tunes on the harmonica. Bet you didn’t expect that.
My time was running short in Mallorca. Even though I am never gone that long, I like to end my time here with the most Mallorcan experiences as possible. Considering we thought we were outta luck unless we waited for places to open – we were pleasantly surprised. A feast for a king – a hungry king at that. This little gem of a restaurant was absolutely great, and I would go back to ‘La Cueva‘ in a heart beat.
Hungry for some traditional tapa’s before 8 pm? Well meet me at La Cueva.