A Divine Dining Experience At One18Empire

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.

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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.

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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 charcuterie board.  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.

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Accompanied with that fine feast was the simple beet salad.

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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 .

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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.

A Culinary Journey At The Workshop In YYC

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 WorkshopLocated 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.

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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.

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We were warmly welcomed and upon being seated we were then given a great in depth briefing about the history of the place.

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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.

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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. img_5959

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.

img_5962 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.

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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.

img_4034 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.

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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.