By GWENDOLYN RICHARDS
The weather outside is frightful, but Calgary’s hot plates are so delightful! As the coldest months of the year approach, our favourite local dining destinations are turning up the heat—everything from cozy comfort foods to a hearty helping of spice. If you need to banish the chill, we recommend you peruse these menus.
There are a lot of jokes about how there’s no such thing as a bad pizza. But a mediocre slice of pie is no laughing matter, and with ones like the Hutch from Without Papers Pizza, there’s no need to settle for anything less than fantastic. It starts with a hand-stretched crust and a swirl of sauce—as all good pizzas do. Then comes the kick of spice from calabrese salami, traditionally spiked with crushed chilies. Next, a layer of Genoa salami for even more meaty goodness. Bell peppers cooked into a peperonata add a sweet contrast against the heat, while requisite mozzarella brings a creaminess to the entire creation. The thin crust, cooked to bubbling perfection in the red pizza oven that serves as an open kitchen focal point, holds up to all the toppings. If you think spice is nice, this pizza is all you’re looking for.
From the outside, the house on the corner gives away no secrets. Beyond the stretch of breakfast joints Edmonton Trail is known for, the black-shingled building with its large windows and trees out front appears like many of the homes in the neighbourhood. Inside, though, all secrets are revealed—starting with the charcuterie case, which greets guests as they arrive. Tavernetta is a modern take on a traditional Italian tavern. Reflecting regions across Italy from Alba to Veneto, dishes range from speidini (food on skewers) to seasonal salads and mandatory pastas—handmade, of course. Consider the pillowy gnocchi or the sausage-filled bundles of casonsei pasta set off by browned butter. And don’t skip past the pork meatballs, tender and coated in a deeply flavourful tomato sauce. The house’s main floor serves as the dining room, framing the small kitchen at the centre where chefs saute, grill and assemble the dishes, creating aromas that make it hard to concentrate on conversation while waiting for food to arrive.
Tried and True
Dairy Lane is a quaint joint in West Hillhurst that inevitably has a line when you’re looking for a weekend brunch—but the flavours are worth the wait. Tucked among a short strip of small businesses, this is a neighbourhood gem of a diner, complete with a farm-to-table focus and hearty portions of local ingredients.