Category Archives: Dining Out

Bar C on Saturday Night

Although Bar C is a contemporary lounge you can’t get a logo more western then they have, check it out at Bar C. This is another restaurant owned by Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts and is joined to Cilantro which, after being open for 25 years, is a bit of an institution in Calgary. We stopped by at Bar C on Saturday night for dinner in between some sled island events. Walking in the door we were greeted by the smell of garlic and had a good feeling from the get go about dinner. We were in the mood to share so the three of us dove in to the menu to choose some dishes. Started with the mussels et frites ($16) which were served in a tomato, basil white wine sauce with a paprika mayo. The mussels were fresh, the fries on top were hot and crunchy and the smoky mayo was great for dipping. Next up we got the beef tips that were served with an aioli and a soy based dip, we found the tips to be in need of seasoning and were our least favourite dish of the meal. We followed with the wilted kale salad ($7) and one of the evening’s specials, which was gnocchi with mushrooms and lamb. The salad had tomato, shallots and garlic and was a great side to the savory and rich lamb gnocchi. Both of these dishes were a big hit and we finished every bite. Sorry, I don’t have pictures and prices for everything as we also had a couple bottles of wine and sometimes I get distracted!

Cheers,
Janet

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kale salad

kale salad

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Brunch on the Lake

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The Lake House restaurant is nestled on Lake Bonavista in the southeast quadrant of Calgary.  It is owned by Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts with chef Thomas Neukom serving up locally inspired cuisine with a diverse wine list to ensure you have a glass to pair with your food.    Four of us landed there on a beautiful Sunday to enjoy the view, some vino, and brunch.   Our meal started with the fish plank ($17) and Canadian cheese ($20), which the four of us delighted in the savory flavours and lovely accompaniments.  Next we shared two brunch items the Bison Brisket & Game Meat Chorizo Hash ($19) and the Lake House Eggs Benedict ($16).  The bison brisket with red potatoes, corn, peppers with a poached egg and hollandaise on top was colourful and yummy.  We found the benedict to be unremarkable but we weren’t too fussed about that, as everything else was fantastic; the view, the company, the WINE and our waiter Ben made sure we were well looked after.  Go check out the Lake House!

Janet

 

fish plank

fish plank

cheese board

cheese board

great view!

great view!

brisket hash

brisket hash

eggs benny

eggs benny

Dreaming of Aida’s Mouhammara

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Mouhammara is the name for reddish colour dips originating from Syrian and Turkish (ingredients may vary with region) cuisines. One taste of Aida’s and you will be back for more! Aida’s is a quaint family run Lebanese restaurant that opened up in Mission area of Calgary in 2000. They lucked out with last years flood as rising waters stopped within a block of the restaurant so they had no damage. Three of us popped in to enjoy a Mediterranean feast for lunch on Saturday. We started with the mouhammara ($8) that I had been dreaming of since mid-week when we decided we would be going there. It has red pepper paste, walnuts and pomegranate juice served with pita on the side and it doesn’t look like much but has a beguiling nutty and slightly bitter flavour that I adore. We also gobbled up some tabbouli ($8), fattoush ($7), squid ($9), garlic prawns ($9) and grape leaves ($6). The squid is sautéed in a light white wine and tomato sauce and the prawns in a garlic butter and coriander blend, they were tender, packed with flavour and so nice that neither is battered. All of our other shared dishes were fresh and packed with flavours of garlic, lemons and onion leaving us all in the need for a breath mint but so worth it!

Enjoy,
Janet

mouhammara

mouhammara

squid

squid

fattoush

fattoush

tabbouli

tabbouli

Bennies for Breaky

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It was a beautiful sunny morning and we decided to walk down to the Loop for breakfast.  We ordered up a couple of their bennies; the Blackstone ($16) and the Florentine ($15).  The Blackstone had bacon, brie, avocado with poached eggs and a house made hollandaise.  The Florentine had steamed spinach topped on the whole wheat English muffin with poached eggs and hollandaise.  My friend had ordered her eggs cooked medium they were served soft and we both found the hollandaise bland.  Overall it was a very mediocre breakfast, I miss the Belmont (rebuilding from last years fire)!

Janet

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Girl’s night out at The Living Room

Headed out to the Living Room with 3 great friends for dinner on Saturday night.  They have a lovely patio with awesome 17th Ave people watching but the weather was looking a bit dodgy so we sat inside but were lucky to sit at the window so really had the best of both inside and out.  The restaurant claims to have coined the phrase “Contempory Interactive Cuisine” and puts a Canadiana touch on classic French and Italian fare.

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To start we shared the Black Angus Beef Tartare ($22) and the Watermelon Caprese Salad ($18). The tartare was served with Dijon mustard, capers, gherkin, shallots, fleur del sel and mixed table side (you know I love the table side service!) it was accompanied by potato gaufrette. The dish was savory and the salty chips were great with the beef. Tamara says it’s the best tartare in the city and I would have a hard time disagreeing. That said, I fell hard for the Watermelon Caprese Salad! It had fresh buffalo mozzarella, a basil gel, balsamic pearls topped on juicy watermelon and drizzled with a lemon olive oil…oh so yummy! I could have just had two orders of the appies and been fine with that but we moved on to mains. Tina enjoyed the Duck Breast ($29), Sinead and Tamara shared the Wild Pulled Pork ($56) with a side of romanesco baby cauliflower with a cheese fondue ($12) and I opted for the Prosciutto Wrapped Cod ($26), which was one of the specials. The five spice duck was served with a foie gras spring roll, on rice noodles with a tom yum broth that was poured over table side (it is interactive!). Tina’s favourite part of the dish was the crunchy spring roll. The pulled pork was brined and sous-vide with a maple and biber salcasi (pepper paste) glaze and a charred pineapple salsa. The girls loved the meat but were underwhelmed by their side of cauliflower. My cod was served on a white bean sauté with asparagus and warm bacon vinaigrette. The cod was flaky and, really, I love anything wrapped in bacon or prosciutto. We managed to polish off a bottle of Oregon’s Johan Pinot Nior ($65) and then a couple bottles California Zinfandel ($70) from St. Francis vineyard. The Pinot was lighter and nice to have with the appetizers and the Zinfandel was dark, jammy & so luscious.

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I’m not sure we saved room but we indulged in the chocolate fondue anyway; it was decadent and worth it.  Check out the Living Room next time you are on 17th Ave for some people watching and great food!

Janet

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Stop in at the Trop

Located in my hood the Trop is a great place to stop for a bite and drink or check out some live music on the weekends.  The location used to be the Tropicana and was known to be a bit of a dive but about 5 years ago new management purchased the bar, did a significant renovation, and the new Trop was open for business.  Kristie and my driving range plans were foiled by pouring rain so we headed over to the Trop this week for a wine and a bite instead.  We chose the lettuce wraps ($13) and waffle poutine ($8) to share for dinner.  The poutine had waffle fries topped with cheese curds and homemade gravy.  This dish was a sinful delight that didn’t disappoint our taste buds!  The lettuce wraps come with your choice of pulled pork or torn chicken, sticky rice, pickled vegetable salad and crispy wontons.   We loved them, the crunch of the lettuce and crispy wontons contrasted by the sweet smoky chicken and we added a bit of sriracha to get the heat we needed.   Head over to the Trop for some tasty pub fare!

Cheers,

Janet

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YYC is Open; Vin Room

The Vin Room in Mission is a cozy wine bar with eclectic décor and a fantastic patio.  They were hit hard last June when flooding water caused them to close their doors for 5 weeks.  During the closure any staff that wanted was offered shifts at the Aspen location, kudos to management!  The basement and lower level of the main floor flooded but with the help of 9 sump pumps they were able to keep the water out of the kitchen.  They lost some pricy Italian and French wines in the cellar but managed to save many of their expensive American wines.  Once they re-opened business was much slower than anticipated because everything around was still closed and most of the area residents were not yet back in their homes.  It took months before it was business as usual.  Recently Kristie, Patrick and I headed there for a food and wine pairing of our own design.  Here’s our delightful menu (thanks for the great notes Patrick!):

 

Eats; Oysters, Irish Point East and Zen from the West, both oysters had a slightly metal flavour and were a nice offset to the crisp rose

Wine Pairing; Schroeder Family Rose (Argentina), Crisp acidic style with ripe berries and anise

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Eats; Eggplant Chips – The acidity of the Pomegranate Molasses cleaned up the greasiness of the chips and balanced out the acidity in the wine bringing a rounder, fruitier characteristic forward in the wine. The eggplant chips are so popular they have not left the menu since Vin opened.

Wine Pairing; Docil Vinho Verde (Portugal), Bright acidity, grassy on the nose and palate with light citrus undertones. I have had this in Portugal and it is cheaper than water!
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Eats; Pistachio Crusted Scallops – The natural sweetness of the scallops and sweetness from the pineapple raison chutney paired beautifully with the sweetness from the wine.

Wine Pairing; Rockford Frontenac – Sweet elegant white from Australia smelling of fresh apples and peaches. Although a sweet style it is light and refreshing in the mouth because of a well balanced acidity. The food’s sweetness brightened the wine up highlighting the acidity and peaches.

Eats; Pork Short Ribs – Sweet and smoky pork ribs.

Wine Pairing; Stuhlmuller Zinfandel (Sonoma), A jammy zin. The smokiness of the wine was intensified by the smoky bbq flavors in the short rib sauce. Because zin is softer than most full bodied reds it held up to the pork ribs but didn’t over power them.

2 oz palate cleanser; Copain Syrah (California) – Light juicy with fresh berries and white pepper.

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Eats; Lamb T-bones – delightful T-bones with a salt cheese.

Wine Pairing; Post Scriptum Duoro (Portugal) – a full bodied red wine with a savory bouquet and finish. The full-bodied, slightly chalky tannins softened with the lamb.

Eats; Grilled Flatiron – A beautiful steak served on cheesy risotto.

Wine Pairing; Lolita Merlot (California) – A smoky plum jam Merlot. The full lush wine was beautiful with the dish.

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Eats; Pumpkin Bread Pudding – The pumpkin spice and caramel desert felt like Christmas pie in your mouth when you added the sweet bruised apple flavor of the wine.
Wine Pairing; Rabl Trocken-beerenauslese (Austria) – an ice wine that has flavors of peaches and bruised apples. Although thick and sweet the Rabl has a serious acidy that leaves your mouth watering for more.
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Our lovely tasting menu totaled up to about $470 and left us with full tummies and in need of a taxi!

Check out Vin’s recently announced “What Women Want” lunch and learn series for $35/person you get a three course lunch with wine pairings and learn about topics varying from food, wine, health and style.

Enjoy,
Janet

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