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.

Northern Canadian Class – Dining In Style At ‘The Back Eddy’

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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!