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5 new restaurants – and what to order at them

Story and photography by SILVIA PIKAL

We’re lucky with the variety of restaurants that have opened in Calgary and area in the last few months, from French and Italian cuisine to a charcuterie and butchery shop you can stop at for lunch. Check out our favourite dishes from 5 new restaurants, the first post in our new bi-monthly food and drink series.

CARDINALE: MODERN ITALIAN RESTAURANT

Housed in the historic Defoe building in Victoria Park, Cardinale is a refresh and rebrand of La Vita é Bella restaurant. The new restaurant focuses on fresh pasta made in-house, hand-crafted cocktails and fine Italian wine. The space is beautiful; exposed brick, green velvet booths and a large bar greet you when you walk in. A short walk away from the Saddledome, it’s a favourite hang-out when the Flames play. (more…)

Holiday Gift Guide – Souvenirs

Explore Toronto’s fantastic shopping scene to find gifts for friends, family and anyone else on your list.

Toronto subway buttons ($2 each)
Spacing store, 401 Richmond St. W., spacingstore.ca

View a slideshow of great clothing items and other cozy gift ideas:

Calgary Stampede Food 2017: 19 Wild Foods at the Midway

By RACHAEL FREY

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The Calgary Stampede (July 7 – 16, 2017) is the city’s signature event, drawing in well over a million fun-seekers from all over the world. From edge-of-your-seat rodeo action to scream-inducing midway rides to legendary music performances, there’s truly something for everyone—and the food is no exception. (more…)

3 Barbecue Hotspots

TRY ONE OF THESE RESTAURANTS THAT SERVE UP EVERYTHING FROM SOUTHERN TO COTTAGE-STYLE OPTIONS.

Big barbecue flavour at Big Crow. Photo by Connie Tsang.

  1. Tucked in an alleyway behind Rose & Sons, you’ll find Big Crow. Family-style seating with long benches making makes it easy to share a number of dishes—and you’ll want to try as much as possible. Be sure to wash it all down with a refreshing Dupont Sour.
  2. For Southern style barbecue look no farther than Queen Street joint Smoque N’ Bones. Pulled pork, ribs galore, chicken, sausages and sandwiches plus a standout coleslaw. An impressive selection of bourbons lines the wall behind the bar.
  3. Wenona Lodge (1069 Bloor Street W, Toronto; 647-344-6444) recreates that cottage feeling in the city. There’s lots of comfort food to be had, including a hearty selection of meats and sandwiches, all served up with house-made chips infused with smoky flavour—plus a great selection of Canadian craft beer!

Swatch Launches Olympic Timepieces

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Four of the seven new olympic-inspired watches Swatch rolled out as part of the Rio Olympic Games Collection.

 

Swiss brand Swatch, known for its colourful and affordable timepieces, has launched a special collection in honour of the summer Olympic Games. Marked by the signature silicone band and plastic case, there are five watches in all, including a special POP edition; prices range from $70 to $145. —Linda Luong Luck

 

H&M at CF Toronto Eaton Centre gets a New Look

H&M GETS A MAKEOVER AND NEW H&M HOME COLLECTION SECTION

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Budget-friendly housewares from H&M.

A newly-renovated H&M flagship at the CF Toronto Eaton Centre brings not only more affordable apparel for the whole family—including an expanded menswear department—but also the H&M Home collection. A core offering of textiles and accessories for the kitchen, living room, bathroom and bedroom are supplemented by seasonal items like tropical leaf bedding and pineapple-shaped plates. This Toronto location, which boasts two oversized digital screens illuminating the store’s exterior facing Yonge-Dundas Square, is among the company’s top 10 largest stores in the world.

—Linda Luong Luck

The Best 8 New or Improved Attractions in Canada for Summer 2016

Best New Attraction in the Canadian Rockies

Summer’s here, and there’s plenty to see and do across this vast country of ours. Each year, the regional editors of Where Canada select a brand new or significantly-improved attraction or event that’s recognized for its uniqueness and diverse appeal, which has earned our seal of approval as a can’t-miss destination for visitors.

This year’s honoured attractions range from an interactive homage to the Olympic games, a museum dedicated to works by British Columbian artists, a chronicle of the nation’s music scene, a newly-renovated cableway ride, and more. (more…)

Ufficio: Italian-Style Seafood in the West End

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Ufficio’s charming nautical-inspired decor.

WITH A MENU THAT CENTRES AROUND SEAFOOD, UFFICIO IS A FRESH ADDITION TO TORONTO’S ITALIAN DINING SCENE

Torontonians love their Italian restaurants; we each have our favourite spot for Neapolitan pizzas and spaghetti Bolognese. But when it comes to coastal cuisine, we’re somewhat underserved. Enter Ufficio, a highly stylish spot that puts the focus on seafood, with pescatarian dishes ranging from romesco-sauced B.C. Saltspring mussels on a chickpea fritter to grilled octopus with caponata. The intimate restaurant sits on one of Dundas West’s hipper stretches, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself swimming in specialty cocktails, too.—Craig Moy

1214 Dundas St. west, 416-535-8888; ufficiorestaurant.com

Vancouver’s Craft Beer Circuit

With 23 craft breweries in the city limits—and more brewing all the time—a hoppy haven is always just a hop, sip and jump away. Ready to raise your glass to the wealth of choice? Here are a few ways to dive into the city’s craft beer circuit.

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Tote your brews in a custom-designed growler by Sigil & Growler. (Photo: KK Law)

A custom-designed growler from Sigil & Growler shows off Vancouver’s beloved landmarks. (Photo: KK Law)

Tapped In
Brewery Creek, once the turn-of-the-century hub of the local brewing scene, is enjoying a renaissance that has put the historic area back on the map. Anchored by hip-and-happening Main Street, a cluster of breweries offer sippers ranging from easy drinking to experimental. It’s the perfect jumping-off point for exploring craft beer by the flight or pint, and easily accessed on foot or—to really blend in with the locals—by bicycle. (more…)

Chabrol: A Tiny French Bisto in the Heart of Yorkville

SMALL BUT MIGHTY CHABROL SERVES UP EXCELLENT SOUTHERN FRENCH CUISINE

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The buttery, unforgettable tarte aux pommes.

Chef Doug Penfold knows Spanish food. For years he’s served some of the city’s best tapas at midtown institution Cava. Turns out he’s equally passionate about French fare, as evidenced by his cooking at Chabrol, a tiny bistro Penfold launched with Cava co-owner Niall McCotter. Set back from the bustle of Yorkville Avenue, it’s an elegant hideaway for unfussy indulgence. Order and aperitif and some oysters, then spoil yourself with the rich wild mushroom and artichoke ragout—plus the chef’s acclaimed tarte aux pommes for dessert.—Craig Moy

 

•90 Yorkville Ave., 416-428-6641; chabrolrestaurant.com
Map and reviews

Exceptional Hospitality in the GTA Recognized with the 2016 Spirit Awards

On April 22, the Greater Toronto Hotel Association (GTHA) presented the fifth annual Spirit Awards, a ceremony that recognizes the tireless efforts of front line staff at hotels across Toronto and the GTA. Nominees in 18 different categories, including housekeeping room attendant, valet driver, laundry and steward of the year, are chosen by their peers. More than 500 attendees attended the luncheon celebrations, which were hosted by Kevin Frankish of City TV’s Breakfast Television. Here, GTHA president and CEO Terry Mundell shares more about the history of the Spirit Awards, its evolution and what it means to the organization’s 32,000-strong membership to be assisting visitors during their stay in Toronto.

2016 Spirit Award Winners

The 18 winners of the 2016 Spirit Awards.

Where: How did the Spirit Awards come about?

Terry Mundell: The Spirit Awards was developed from a discussion that originated with our association Board of Directors. The intent of the event was to recognize and show our appreciation to those front of the line ambassadors that provide an exceptional visitor experience, which leaves a lasting impression on the over 14 million overnight visitors to the Greater Toronto Area.

Where: How are the winners determined?

TM: The judging panel is made up of five individuals who include event sponsors, industry partners and representatives from the Spirit Awards committee. The judges review the nominations prior to the event and grade them based on a variety of criteria including, but not limited to, a can-do attitude, delivering that exceptional customer experience, and passion for their team and property that drives return visitors.

Where: What are the most common qualities of nominees?

TM: Passion. For these exceptional ambassadors in the hotel community, it’s all about the passion they have for the visitors they greet, their team members and their property.

Where: Why do you think the recognition means so much?

TM: These front of the line exceptional ambassadors are being recognized among hundreds of other nominees at the event to celebrate the best of the best our industry has to offer; just to be nominated gives them so much pride. 

Where: What is your favourite aspect of the Spirit Awards each year?

TM: After the winner is announced, they proceed to have their photo taken with myself and the award sponsor. Seeing this ambassador moments after they’ve accepted their award is incredible: the excitement, the pride and pure joy they express is an experience in itself.

Where: What do you look forward to the most at this event?

TM: Talking to the nominees, getting a chance to say hi and thanking them for everything they do for our industry.

Visit gtha.com for a complete list of winners and for more information about the GTHA.

2016 Where to Dine Awards: Vancouver

By TIM PAWSEY

Beef chow mein, at Torafuku. (Photo: KK Law)

Beef chow mein, at Torafuku. (Photo: KK Law)

Welcome to Where’s 20th annual celebration of Vancouver’s remarkable dining scene. In just a couple of decades the city has blossomed into a culinary crossroads, a melting pot of myriad flavours, unbridled talents and influences that now shape a global destination. Our chefs, servers, sommeliers, growers, fishers, farmers and vintners share in a culture driven by sustainable, regional and seasonal sourcing—in the firm belief that the best is still to come. (more…)