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calgary foodie

Your Ultimate Calgary BBQ Guide

By SILVIA PIKAL and RACHAEL FREY 

You don’t have to head south to get a taste of authentic barbecue — from St. Louis ribs to Carolina-style pulled pork to true-Texas brisket, Calgary chefs are bringing it home.

HAYDEN BLOCK SMOKE AND WHISKEY
The true-Texas barbecue at Hayden Block is a labour of perfectly smoked love. Located in the bohemian Kensington neighbourhood with both a street-side patio and a whiskey garden out back, the communal tables and chilled-out vibe set the stage for some downright delicious meat. Best done family- style (so you can taste more stuff), the food is served on old-school metal trays. Even vegetarians profess love for Hayden, with dishes like watermelon mint salad, deep fried pickles and gooey mac ‘n’ cheese gracing the menu. They also make three of their own sauces — don’t miss the espresso version.
Eat: The beef short rib.
Drink: Michter’s American.

Photo courtesy Hayden Block Smoke and Whisky.

HOLYSMOKE BBQ
When Alec Ferguson and Torin Shuster started Holysmoke BBQ, they recognized a need in the catering market for high-quality, delicious food that wouldn’t break the bank. Shuster, a lover of Southern barbecue, knew it would fit the bill. They opened their flagship location on Manhattan Road in the middle of an industrial park, and people quickly flocked to get a bite of tasty and sizable portions without a hefty price tag. The seating is banquet-style, so you could be rubbing shoulders with people in suits or coveralls and everything in between. “We often get remarks from American visitors that we succeeded in capturing the essence of Southern BBQ — no nonsense surroundings and keeping true to the recipes and methods,” Ferguson says.
Eat: Carolina-style pulled pork sandwich, Kansas City-style ribs, and Chef Shuster’s sweet corn bread.
Drink: Southern sweet tea.

BELLE SOUTHERN KITCHEN AND BAR
Belle’s tagline is “making barbecue beautiful” and it shows. The welcoming space showcases stylish picnic tables, a pink pig smoker, and the food is exquisitely presented on cookie trays. Wood is stacked neatly in the corner — you may catch staff picking up a piece for the smoker. The menu is full of Southern-inspired dishes and lets you build your own feast, with the ability to pick from multiple snacks, salads and sides. They also offer a vegan main — the grilled cauliflower steak topped with creamy cashew olive remoulade is always a hit.
Eat: The “Daisy Duke” platter which includes Cajun-roasted chicken, 14-hour applewood smoked brisket and St. Louis ribs.
Drink: The Belle peach tea.

Photo courtesy Belle Southern Kitchen and Bar.

THE PALOMINO SMOKEHOUSE
Cowboys, punk rockers and suits on their lunch break are all welcome at The Palomino. Western memorabilia is wedged on the walls next to playbills and the iconic poster of Johnny Cash’s angry finger. The popular live music venue has supported many local and touring artists over the years. Food-wise, they specialize in dry rubbed and smoked Texas-style barbecue and have developed their own special Palomino dry rub. “Our goal is to do the best barbecue, showcase the best live music and have the coldest beer,” says Arlen Smith, one of the operating partners of The Palomino. “That’s what we’ve been aiming for and want to keep hitting.”
Eat: Sliced Alberta beef brisket.
Drink: Good, crisp, light, cheap, American-style lager.

JANE BOND BBQ
Jane Bond BBQ first rolled through Calgary as a food truck before expanding to a barbecue house in 2016 on International Avenue, a cuisine hotspot in the southeast. The space is classy yet comfortable, thanks to black leather, wooden planks and light- up marquee letters that spell out “BBQ.” Jenny Burthwright, owner and chef, says they aim to create an atmosphere where guests feel like they’re in a second home. The menu features some tasty and unique dishes, including croc bites — that’s right, crocodile battered and fried. You can still catch the food truck out and about, and they offer full-service catering too.
Eat: The jerk chicken.
Drink: Tennessee sweet tea.

Photo courtesy Jane Bond.

BOOKERS BBQ + CRAB SHACK
Bookers is all about Southern style, from the smokehouse barbecue, to the music, to the laidback, welcoming atmosphere in a century-old brick warehouse. It’s also about some epic all-you- can-eat sprees — every Sunday from 4 pm, dine on piles of succulent ribs and crab legs until you can’t possibly take another bite. More than 200 pounds of Alberta chicken, turkey, beef and pork are slow-smoked every single day, and if you’re not into barbecue (why are you even reading this!?) there are other Southern favourites like shrimp po’ boys and jambalaya. This is a place to relax, kick back and let the good times roll.
Eat: The BBQ platter featuring pork ribs, brisket, smokehouse turkey breast, pulled pork, baked beans, coleslaw and fries — add crab legs for market price
Drink: The sangria (it’s a secret recipe!)

PADDY’S BARBECUE AND BREWERY
If you want to chow down on Southern-style barbecue with small-batch craft brews never far from your side, this “brewbecue” is the place for you. For years before he opened the joint, owner Paddy Sorrenti worked with smoked meats in the family catering company. Once he started home brewing, it wasn’t long before he envisioned a barbecue brewery. Nestled in Manchester Industrial Park in a cluster of craft breweries pegged the “Barley Belt,” it’s a casual and family friendly spot. “We want people to feel at home and then do everything at their own pace — take time to enjoy the beer and food,” Sorrenti says.
Eat: The in-house pastrami served only on Thursdays.
Drink: A house lager.

BIG SKY BBQ PIT
While Big Sky isn’t exactly in Calgary (it’s about a 30-minute drive south), it’s well worth the trip to this massive, no-frills barbecue emporium with indoor and outdoor seating for hundreds. Don’t go alone — bring your hungriest friends to help you defeat the mountains of Texas- style smoked meat, including brisket, pulled pork, St. Louis ribs and chicken thighs. Add sides such as scratch-made cornbread, smoked beans and scalloped cheddar bacon potatoes, plus a giant candied bacon chocolate chip cookie for dessert. You won’t find any fryers, freezers or grills at Big Sky — everything is authentic and made with 100 percent Alberta-grown meat.
Eat: The Whole Pit is made for eight to 10 people and comes with brisket, pulled pork, chicken, pork ribs, beef ribs, house-made sausage, hog spuds (potatoes wrapped and smoked in bacon, drizzled with honey and sour cream) and a tub of beans.
Drink: One of the 12 different Caesars on the menu.

Photo courtesy Big Sky BBQ Pit.

 

 

3 new eats in Calgary

By RACHAEL FREY and SILVIA PIKAL

Looking for something fresh? These places have opened in Calgary within the past few months.

LITTLE LOT DINER 

Check out Little Lot Diner for casual and tasty breakfast, and lunch and dinner, from bennies to burgers. They’re also licensed and serve 12 cocktails, 4 rotational taps and a coffee bar. (more…)

Where to celebrate Pi Day in Calgary and other foodie updates

By Silvia Pikal

March 13, 2018

Read the latest in our bi-monthly food and drink series, which rounds up eats, drinks and food news!

Where to get pizza and pie in Calgary for Pi Day

Mini pies from last year’s Pi Day at The Beltliner/Photo by Silvia Pikal.

In our geeky hearts, Pi Day (March 14) is one of the best days of the year. The annual celebration of pi, the sexy mathematical constant you know and love, is observed around the world with specials on arguably two of the best foods on the planet—pizza and pie.

Hop by one of Calgary’s Blaze Pizza locations to add some pizzazz to your day for personal pizzas at the special pi price of $3.14.

The Beltliner is participating in Pi Day again this year by offering apple and Saskatoon mini pies for —you guessed it—$3.14.

Crave Cupcakes will be selling raspberry sour cream pies for $5. The single-serving pies are baked with raspberry sour cream filling and topped with brown sugar pecan crumble, along with a pi symbol in honour of Beakerhead (and the Mathletes among us)— $1.00 from each pie sold will benefit Beakerhead programming. Pre-order or stop by a store on March 13 or 14.

Elwood and the Rabbit now open for lunch

Opening night of new restaurant Elwood and the Rabbit/Photo by What’s Good Photography, courtesy Elwood and the Rabbit.

This new restaurant in Bridgeland with quirky rabbit-themed décor cooks globally inspired comfort food. They’ve officially opened their doors to the lunch crowd, providing hungry diners with tantalizing menu options like buttermilk fried chicken with kimchi potato salad, or grilled flank steak with hot and sour wild rice.

Get your brunch on at Murrieta’s Bar & Grill


Murrieta’s is officially serving brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am to 3 pm. You’ll find mouth-watering traditional brunch dishes like eggs benedict, along with modern fare including banana bread French toast, tiramisu pancakes, avocado toast and smoked salmon tacos.

Michael Noble launches Noble Fare catering


Michael Noble, the chef behind highly successful and acclaimed restaurants The Nash and Notable in Calgary, launched Noble Fare Catering and Events on March 1.

“We’re doing what we do best in small bites,” Noble said.

Noble Fare will serve weddings, parties and corporate events with the delicious and familiar comfort food you know and love from Notable and The Nash, along with options from a wine and cocktail list.

We were lucky enough to try some bites at the launch party, which included unbelievably gooey mac n’ cheese and tasty mini burgers cooked right in Noble’s restaurants for catering customers.

Vintage Chophouse offering Social Hour

Vintage Chophouse and Tavern now has a social hour menu with food and drink specials. We’re eyeing meaty and decadent plates like the BBQ glazed confit duck wings for $12, pork belly tacos for $5 each and beef ribs for $10.