All Day Comfort

The best thing about a great weekend breakfast is that it is cooked by someone else. One of our favorite tried and true breakfast haunts is Red’s Diner in Calgary. With two locations, one in Ramsay and one in the belt line on 4th street SW you have a couple of options to try out.

All day breakfast, there really is almost nothing better to hear especially after a late night out. The menu at Red’s is excellent and you can get items other than breakfast if that’s what you’re looking for. The portions are more than generous and the hardest part is deciding what to have. One of the nicest things is that you can add to and modify the dishes on the menu to suit your cravings. They also have the option of gluten free bread that can be substituted in most meals.

My favorite at Red’s is the Ramsay Benny with artichoke, tomato and balsamic drizzle ($16.50) however, the blueberry basil goat cheese stuffed French toast ($17) is on my radar. My husbands go to is the hash, either the Montreal smoked meat or the short rib ($18-19).

Breakfast in Calgary can be a busy time especially if you have had a late night and are getting going a bit later in the day. If you are not one for taking a chance and waiting in line I suggest checking out the No Wait app. This app is available for most mobile devices and let’s you get on the waiting list at participating resturants before you even get there. Straight  forward and easy to use you pick your resturant, the app tells you the estimated current wait time, you click on the get in line button add your party number and voila! The app will send you a message and allows you to check up on your current place in line while you either travel to your destination or maybe do some wandering and shopping.

A few notes about this app, for some of the resturants you have to be within a certain distance of the resturant to get in line but won’t find this out until you try. If you have a larger party (4 or more) don’t just look at the estimated waiting time as that can increase by quite a bit once you put in your party number. There is also no way to tell how many people are in the parties that are ahead of you so if you do arrive and see some larger groups waiting you can be sure to add a bit of extra time to your wait.

Right now there are only a few Resturants participating with No Wait but as this catches on I can see more coming on line. Check it out at No Wait or on your selected App Store.

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Enjoying comfort food everywhere, I am Your Everyday Foodie.

 

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Brunch With A View

Easter brunch is almost a pre-requisite it seems. So not wanting to buck the trend we decided to head out somewhere a little special.

Today’s Easter brunch adventure was to be out at the beautiful jewel in the foothills Azuridge Estate just a short drive 15 minutes west from the south end of Calgary on the 22X. A turn off the highway at Priddis, follow the signs to just one more turn and you are on the mysterious wooded road that leads up into the foothills then seems to magically pop you out at this beautiful location.

Once a private residence, it is now One of Canada’s only estate hotels complete with butler service and an amazing resturant that overlooks the beauty of the foothills.

The hotel and the resturant are both very intimate with a small number of rooms and an equally exclusive feeling in the resturant.

We were seated at a small table along the bank of floor to ceiling windows with a beautiful view of the vistas beyond. Shortly after being seated we were offered a complimentary drink with the choice of fresh red berry or white peach sangria. After admiring the view, enjoying our drinks and a hot coffee we decided it was time to venture up to the special Easter Extravaganza brunch.

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A large selection of salads, breads, Charcuterie plates and beautifully smoked salmon were just the beginning. The lunch features included dishes like vegetarian lasagna and roasted chicken with mushroom sauce just to name a couple. The breakfast line up was even more impressive with apple pancakes, the most amazing bacon, sausages, roasted creamer potatoes, creamy scrambled eggs and a selection of vegetarian and traditional eggs Benidicts. At the end of the buffet line stood the carving station with the most beautifully roasted ham and roast beef of course with all the accompaniments.

The view here is beautiful but the food really was the star. Each dish was perfectly seasoned and each sauce was perfectly balanced not too light and not too heavy. I love a resturant where  there is no salt and pepper on the table and you never once miss not having it because everything is prepared to perfection.

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With so much to choose from we sampled our way through the line then the beautiful dessert bar and lounged the morning away drinking coffee and enjoying the ambiance. With a live jazz duo in the corner and the sun shining in we enjoyed top notch service. Not once did we have empty coffee cups or an empty dish left at the table. With a second brunch seating at 1PM we never once felt rushed or neglected.

Azuridge is a beautiful setting tucked away in the beauty and silence of nature. With great little events like fondu night in the foothills, a casual dinning lunch, evening a la carte menu and what looks like an amazing fine dining chefs tasting menu there are options for every dining experience. At $65 per person for Easter brunch, we were expecting the best and Azuridge delivered on every front. We are looking forward to trying the tasting menu and will keep an eye on any upcoming events being held here and maybe even a chance to spend the night.

Discover more about Azuridge Estate on their web site at Azuridge Estate Hotel or take a relaxing drive west towards the mountains, follow the signs and stop to explore the possibilities!

Brunching with a view, I am Your Everyday Foodie.

Party With The Girls…

If you are looking for a fun night out for a special occasion or just because, book yourself and some friends in to see the Carley’s Angels show at Lolita’s Lounge in Inglewood.

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This is a show for all your friends! Bring all the men, ladies and anybody over the legal drinking age that wants to head out for a fun time. The drag show will leave you smiling, laughing and singing along. The performers are amazing and the intimate atmosphere at Lolita’s means there is not a bad seat in the house. It is a lounge show so be prepared for a great late night out as the show doesn’t start until 9:00 and runs to the 11:30 range. Buy your tickets early for this show as they are always a sell out months in advance. These girls work hard during the shows so they only perform on select Saturday’s each month.

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Once you reserve your tickets ($50 per ticket for the show) make sure to go early and enjoy dinner from Salt N Pepper the Mexican resturant nestled below the club. The menu has a large selection of eats and can also provide gluten free options.

Check them out at http://lolitaslounge.ca/performers/carlys-angels and remember to buy your tickets well in advance!

Having fun everywhere, I am Your Everyday Foodie.

Friday Night Escape

Friday night we attended The Grape Escape hosted by Coop Wine and Spirits held at the BMO centre on Stampede Park. The very affordable tickets were $65 plus tax and included 12 food tickets and 30 liquor sample tickets.

After investigating the event I wasn’t sure what to expect, would the tickets be hard to handle, would there be enough tickets to enjoy sampling etc. Having heard mixed reviews we decided to see for ourselves, tickets bought and tasting plates in hand we headed in and after about five minutes in the hall all doubts were erased and I was 100% sold on this event.

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This event was spectacular and a great value for the night running for 4 hours with outstanding sample selections. The Grape Escape really is an event for everyone, the liquor samples cover the whole gambit with something to impress everyone in your group. Samples were one ticket each and included everything from scotch, whisky and every beer imaginable to vodka, tequila, flavoured liquors and wines of all sorts.

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The food samples for the night were provided by a wide array of Calgary food trucks. At one ticket per sample there was lots to taste however the samples are quite small so I would definitely recommend having dinner before you go. That said, the food trucks really did pull out some amazing samples! Sticky Ricky’s Beef Po’Boy sandwich and Take and Go East African Cuisine & BBQ’s Butter Chicken were the favourites of the night earning many visits from our group throughout the event. Other trucks in attendance included Burger 320 offering a meatball slider, Rule the Roost Waffles offering a chicken spring roll, Shogun Teppanyki grill with teriyaki meatballs and several other trucks to tempt your tastebuds with. As an added bonus there were also a few “no ticket needed” sample tables including an offering by Spolumbos, chips from Old Dutch and a selection of cheeses and crackers from Coop themselves.

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A great bonus to this event is that you can join the Coop experts for a sit down seminar style tasting. The topics change every hour so make sure to swing by and check out the program schedule to see if there is something you want to experience and learn a little more about! A great chance to rest your feet and take home a little extra knowledge.

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Each time we attend a tasting event we learn a bit more about what makes our time there easier and more enjoyable. I hope that sharing some of our discoveries here might make your evening at the Grape Escape a little more enjoyable too!

Make sure you have a designated driver or take a cab or transit to and from this event, with all of the hard liquor samples we were very happy after just three hours that we had arranged a ride home!

To make things easier for hands free tasting prior to the event we took apart our food and drink ticket books and placed all of our pre-ripped tickets into lanyard style name tag holders. This meant no fumbling with ticket books and trying to rip out tickets while standing at the sample booths. Take the time to pick up a tasting plate that also holds your wine glass. These re-useable plates can be purchased at many stores for under $5 each or you can often purchase a smaller style plate at the event. So much easier to have everything in one hand and not have to juggle everything while wandering around.

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This is a huge event, make sure to take time at the beginning and walk around the whole hall. Check things out and get an idea of what you might like to sample. With 4 hours and so many samples you can take your time to really look around before you jump into the fray.

The Grape Escape happens twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. Keep an eye out for the fall event as this is was a thumbs up from our whole group. Tickets will go on sale in mid to late summer and can go fast. Coop Wine and Spirits also holds many great and very affordable tastings throughout the year. Take a look on line or in store at the Sips magazine for tastings coming up soon at a tasting centre near you!

For all your escapes, I’m Your Everyday Foodie.

Foodie at Home

I have said it before, I love tasting events. My wallet however does not always agree. So tonight we foodie at home.

What makes cooking at home worthy of a foodie? I think that changing up just one of your usual and expected ingredients can do just that. Tonight we switch out the everyday beef for bison.

With the ever rising price of beef and having thoroughly enjoyed bison at several restaurants we decided to stock the freezer with bison steak. A great replacement for beef, it is a leaner and more flavourful meat. We purchased our bison ribeye steaks directly from Canadian Rocky Mountain Ranch for $10-14 per steak. They come vacuum packed so they store quite well in the freezer should you decide to stock up. You can now pick up their products at the Second To None Meat locations around the city.

The preparation for these steaks makes them so tender you hardly need a knife to cut them. I like to marinate them in juniper berry balsamic vinegar (from Soffrito at the Calgary Farmers Market) and then coat generously with seasoned salt and seasoned pepper (from the Silk Road Spice Merchant with locations in Inglewood and the Calgary Farmers Market).

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Tonight we add in roasted sweet potato and lightly steamed asparagus with goat butter and truffle salt (also from the Silk Road Spice Merchant).

A quick turn on the grill for the steaks as bison is best cooked to medium rare at most, oven roast for the sweet potato and we’re off for our foodie night at home.

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Here’s to more events coming up soon!

Cheers from Your Everyday Foodie

Educated Cuisine

This weekend we managed to snag a couple of last minute tickets to one of the Big Taste YYC  signature events. This event was held at the SAIT Culinairy campus in downtown Calgary which as you may assume is actually a SAIT cooking school. The students here provide a selection of fresh eats regularly for the downtown crowds.

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Tonight the campus was turned into a free flowing, around the world culinary tasting event run by the students (with assistance of a few instructors) and accompanied by a selection of BC VQA wines. This event truly was an exploration as the guests had the opportunity to explore the cooking campus while roaming station to station tasting foods from around the world.

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The students truly were the stars of the night. With each station being manned by a student cooking fresh creations from caramelized onion, bacon and poached pear flatbread to Parmesan crusted lamb with ratatouille and an amazing selection of seafood delights. So although there was a slight line up at a few stations it was worth the wait to be getting these steaming fresh creations cooked and plated right in front of your eyes.

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We tasted sushi balls, lobster shooters, shrimp and grits, crab cakes, rabbit wrapped in prosciutto with a potato cake, duck confit perogies and many other delights.

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Our bellies almost full we spotted the dessert table tucked away in one corner so away we went. We indulged in a selection that included chocolate mousse, banana maple muffins, vanilla honey pana cotta and a variation of tiramisu and a few other delectable treats.

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At $85 per ticket this event was a great exploration of foods from around the world and the inside workings of a kitchen at the same time. An excellent free form event where you could choose your own pace to roam and taste.

The Big Taste YYC is a foodies dream event that covers 10 days in early spring. This year included 15 signature ticketed events and over 70 resturants that participated in various prix fixe menus that showcased the best of what they do. The ticketed events ran from $45 to $175 per ticket and included both afternoon and evening events. The prix fixe dinning included lunches that ranged from $15-$25, 3 course dinners from $25-$35 and a selection of gourmet 5 course dinners for $65. An amazing festival that happens each year, keep your eyes out for next year as this years event ends March 13.

Check out all of the action at calgarydowntown.com and get details on next years events. And if you are interested in learning more about the SAIT Culinairy Campus take a look at them at culinarycampus.ca.

Continue tasting on!

Your Everyday Foodie

Sweet Sweet Sugar

I recently attended the Pastry Chef Showcase hosted as a fundraiser for L’Arche Calgary and held every other year in Calgary.

The tickets were about $75 per person and included a whole evening of delectable dessert tastings offered from 13 pastry chefs through out Alberta as well as wine, spirits and beer tastings with a side of breads and cheeses to cleanse your palate.

Held this year at Heritage Parks Gasoline Alley the event venue felt grand right from the get go. Greeted with a champagne reception and viewing of some beautiful chocolate sculptures the evening had begun. Although I don’t have a huge sweet tooth the beautiful smell of chocolate as you wandered through made it hard not to reach in and break off a taste!image

With a whole hall full of sweet offerings the question was where to start. The plates were all beautifully presented and the imagination of the chefs know no bounds. Some of the plates included lavendar and chickpea meringue and banana sponge with caramel corn. Pearls of every shape and size made from all kinds of amazing flavours, passion fruit caviar, blue berry pearls and even sage pearls!

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I have to admit that after about 6 samplings I started to have the sugar shakes. Time for a break with some wine, bread and cheese to break up the sweets. As this event was a fund raiser this was a great time to explore the available silent auction items.

The chocolate work and attention to detail really was amazing to see. Little mini pic-nic baskets full of cream and fruit with chocolate basket covers, basket handle and even a mini bumble bee hanging on for the ride.

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Back to tastings, I managed to make it through about 9 of the 13 desserts before I had to give in but I gave it a heck of a try! Not having a huge sweet tooth I found my two favorite desserts were a bit more on the savoury side. From The Nash was a fresh carrot gelato sitting on a chocolate genache with sage pearls and aerated chocolate and from Fiasco Gelato a pineapple sponge cake with rosemary and Guava Rosemary gelato.

At the end of the evening all of the people’s choice award votes were counted with the big prize going to the team from SAIT and their Myer Lemon vanilla bean mousse with basil sponge on top of a Streusel cookie.

Another interesting and amazing evening that was proof that not all gastronomical amazements are savoury. I would give this event a two thumbs up and suggest you watch for it again in 2018.

For your foodie adventures sweet and savoury I’m Your Everyday Foodie!