The Char Bar Experience

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.

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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.

Today the Rosé was jumping out at me. Mirabeau En Provence from France, was the wine of choice.



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.

Look how much love they put into that cup

 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.

Tyson continued to wow us with his knowledge of the place.

That table happens to be 103 years old.
The flooring and brick are also completely original.
An original fire door. In case of a fire, the rope would burn and the door would automatically close, keeping all the money safe.
The room upstairs that I would book my private functions in.They do also have ample seating upstairs, as well as a patio in the summer.
Have I mentioned how much I love oysters?!
They take great care in dry-curing their meat.

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. 

There is a couple of very satisfied customers.

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.

 

An Unforgettable Dining Experience at Bens d’Avail

So here we were on a beautiful summeresque Saturday, thinking it would be a brilliant idea to take a little road trip and go for a lunch excursion. And what an excursion it turned out to be!! Off we cruised to that beautiful little town of Deia, well we were actually just outside town, on a Mountain, where there was the place of all places, Béns d´Avall. I Almost couldn’t believe my eyes when we arrived. First of all, the view, was just hanging there like a priceless painting, it was unbelievable. The most spectacular view I have got to enjoy while having an equally as spectacular meal. This was the topper of all the places that I have had the pleasure of visiting while in Mallorca, not to mention one of the best restaurants in my 9 years of travelling the world. We got there before it opened, to my dismay…IMG_5609IMG_5610 As after the little road trip, I really had to Pee!!! Darn it… and we had like 45 minutes till it opened.. It’s amazing how long 45 minutes can feel, when you have a bursting bladder! But none the less, we took a little walk to check out the beautiful scenery.IMG_5607 I already knew I was going to absolutely love this establishment. It had the perfect energy and ambiance to it all. The minute I heard the gate open though, it was like heavens gates opening! And I ran straight for the relief of the ladies room;) Happy days! And then when I walked out onto the terrace I was welcomed with this stunning vision, literally, stop in your tracks kinda stunning, the view and the table. IMG_5614 Wow. This alone was enough reason to come. IMG_5612Béns d´Avall has been here since 1971, it is owned by Benet Vicens(whom is also the chef), and his wife, Catalina Encrypt, together with their son James, whom is the second Chef to his father, and they are all absolutely LOVELY, might I add. So friendly, and inviting, and you can see they are there because they are doing what they love, and they want nothing more than to create a memorable experience for all of their guests. It is located in the most pristine location, right with mother nature, and all she has to offer. They have a set menu every day, that changes monthly, and offers only the finest cuisine, with local products from Mallorca. You have the option of the Express Menu for 50 Euros, the Short Tasting Menu for 65 Euros, or the Full Tasting Menu for 75 Euros! Well if you are going to come this far, you mine as well go for the full one:)IMG_5619 I decided it was only fitting to start off with a glass of Cava(Similar to Champagne), I mean being in that place at that moment, was somethinIMG_5624g to be celebrated, and bubbly always makes things seem like that much more of a celebration. Once we had put in our order for the full menu, it wasn’t long before the incredible culinary delights began to arrive. I think ‘Delight’ may even be an understatement. Mr. Vicens, knows exactly what he is doing in the kitchen. It’s Amazing. Of course, we were offered fresh bread to start, with olive oil for dipping, along with some little finger snacks,IMG_5626 to get the palette ready. I had no idea, that the full menu, is basically endless, and you best come prepared with your biggest appetite…. BUT, when the food is that salivating, you can make sure to keep eating whatever pleasure they put in front of you. Once we started our magical taste bud journey, I knew I had to combine it with a fine Mallorcan wine(I wanted to keep the experience as local as possible), I had the beautiful Catalina assist me in my choice, and it was a fantastic choice indeed! I ended up taking a red wine that goes by the name of ’12 Volts’, which is a Crianza make. IMG_5629Delicious! It paired very well with all the courses. I will be buying more from the shop for sure!

IMG_5628 We started with a Mallorcan pizzaIMG_5631 Next up was a Free range chicken Crepe Souffle with artichokes and black truffle.IMG_5632Then we were onto Foie Gras 2014. IMG_5660 To be followed by the fish, which was Ray Pave with Black butter, wild green asparagus and capers.IMG_5661 What follows fish but the meat dish! Candied and spiced Sierra de Tramontana lamb with legumes and winter vegetables. IMG_5663 IMG_5664 After all those courses, you have 2 desserts!! What the?! it just keeps on coming. You definitely get your moneys worth. And one more thing to boot!! IMG_5665

Well 7 courses and 3 hours later, and we were beyond stuffed, with absolute lusciousness. It was very nice that it is spread out over such a long period of time, you really get the opportunity to savour every morsel, and not rush through it, not to mention there is no one pushing you rush either. After it all, we still managed to have a coffee, it was kinda necessary or we would have succumbed to food coma, and never made the drive home;) They were so sweet, to even bring the whole crew out and take a photo with us. IMG_5662 All the people that play their part in creating an astonishing experience. What can I say. Amazing Venue, Amazing People, Amazing Food and Wine. I will be back there, FOR SURE! The end. Or maybe I should say, to be continued… This could be a monthly stop, since the menu is always changing;) Thank you Béns d´Avall!!