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restaurants

Dining spotlight: Holly Parks of Vintage Group

By SILVIA PIKAL 

Photo by Jasmine Croteau.

Holly Parks loves a challenge — especially when the clock is ticking. So the hospitality industry feels like home.

“It’s 100 percent a perfect fit for me,” Parks says. “I like to be busy. Even in my own home, I’m always putzing. It drives my husband crazy that I can’t stop doing things and sit and enjoy. I’m always going and fluttering about.”

As the operations manager of Vintage Group, Parks oversees their downtown properties, including Vintage Chophouse. She’s also got her hands full travelling to Lethbridge once a week in support of a new concept Vintage Group is opening there in the summer. And with a steakhouse opening in Mahogany in 2019, there’s no slowing down.

Born and raised in Nova Scotia, Parks moved to Calgary in 2000 eager to make her mark in Calgary’s hospitality scene. She got her start with Creative Restaurants, and then the Stampede Casino, before joining Vintage Group in 2010.

The folks who come through the doors keep her energized in an industry known for its fast pace and long hours.

“The guests make our business. Vintage is celebrating 15 years this year. We’ve weathered some major recessions and the only way we’ve stayed in business and continued such great success is because of our guests. We’re loyal to them and they’re very loyal to us.”

Watching her team grow is a big part of what she loves about her job.

“It’s exciting to watch the evolution and growth of younger employees — to watch them grow through the ranks — starting as a server or bartender and moving into management and seeing their great success and rise within our group or outside of our group.”

Luckily for Parks, she’s been able to find a career that ensures she’s able to follow the big passions of her life: food, wine and travel. She’s always learning more, and both for work and fun she travels the globe in search of the next big dish, or new wine, Vintage Group can bring to their guests.

“My work allows me to travel all over the world to some really great places, sometimes because of work, and sometimes on my own with my husband and my family,” Parks says. “Any travel you do changes you as an individual. You see how other people live and you see what other people’s core values are, which you bring back with you.”

Chef Spotlight: Wayne Martin

By Teena Legris

CAPITAL COMFORT

After years cooking in Vancouver, Chef Wayne Martin has embraced the authenticity of Winnipeg. Since opening Capital Grill and Bar three years ago, he has been impressing diners with exacting techniques applied to unfussy comfort food. This self-professed chef of the everyman sprinkles hints of his west coast tenure, throughout his menu, like a Dungeness crab cake that has made waves within his fanbase. Accompanying Granny Smith apple slaw accompaniment demonstrates the expertise of his kitchen. Experience a perfect blend of haute and homey at 3116 Roblin Blvd, 204-615-3116.

To check out Chef Wayne Martin’s recipes, go to ciaowinnipeg.com.

5 cocktails we loved in 2017 (and what to eat with them)

By SILVIA PIKAL

Here are five cocktails we ordered again and again in 2017, and the dishes we like to enjoy with them. This is part of our bi-monthly food and drink series, which rounds up eats, drinks and food news!

Mimosas at Buttermilk Fine Waffles

Mimosas at Buttermilk Fine Waffles/Photo by Silvia Pikal.

Freshly squeezed orange juice is a must for breakfast and brunch. The team at Buttermilk Fine Waffles go through about 800 pounds of California navel oranges a week! They’ve recently stepped up their orange game by adding mimosas to the menu, which make use of those oranges and 3 oz of Prosecco. Pair your sweet drink with a savoury waffle like the green eggs and ham (poached eggs, maple smoked ham and aged cheddar).

Buttermilk Fine Waffles, 330 – 17 Ave SW, buttermilkfinewaffles.com (more…)

Three New & Notable Ottawa Restaurants

By Joseph Mathieu

It seems like every time you turn around a new restaurant pops up in Ottawa. We aren’t talking about franchises, but unique eateries with their own personality. The newest additions to the city’s food scene are beautiful, interesting, and far from a flash in the pan. Here is a roundup of new and notable restaurants that opened in 2017.

The Albion Rooms’ Heritage Room

33 Nicholas St., 613-760-4771, thealbionrooms.com

Open every day 11 a.m. to late

An often-overlooked gem is hidden in plain sight at the base of the Novotel on Nicholas Street. The lounge chairs and low tables visible from the hotel lobby are only the tip of the iceberg of The Albion Rooms, which includes a polished bar with standing tables, a glass-walled charcuterie station, and a dining room. The restaurant’s newest addition is hidden in the back, called the Heritage Room and themed like a British gastro-pub. Its rounded booths, cozy corners, and satellite kitchen serve up a breakfast buffet every morning, and dinners on Wednesday to Saturday. The harvest table can be the buffet display or sit a 10-person party. The restaurant’s three pillars remain craft cocktails, local beers, and a farm-to-table menu, all of which are well worth exploring.

Tried & True (and something new): Mushrooms on toast ($14) and elk tartare ($15) are nice additions by head chef Jesse Bell, but you really should try the charcuterie board (from $10)

Photo by André Rozon

Sur-Lie

110 Murray St., 613-562-7244, surlierestaurant.ca

Open 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m to 11 p.m.

If you have an interest in locally-inspired modern French cuisine, this is the place for you. Opened last February, sommelier Neil Gowe’s Sur-Lie offers elegant fine dining without the pretension. If you want to eat like the pros, try their $80 five-course tasting menu — and don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations. The menu is seasonal, made with fresh produce and game from the ByWard Market and the surrounding region, and always aims to bring in the best quality ingredients. Each plate is a piece of art that you are welcome to remix with your fork.

Pretty much omg: Local rabbit and fowl tartine ($18) for lunch goes a long way, and dinner is a win with the squash bisque ($10) and Québec fois gras torchon ($20)

Photo by Rémi Thériault

Citizen

207 Gilmour St., 613-422-6505, townlovesyou.com/citizen

Open Thursday to Monday, from 6 p.m. to late

First-timers will feel right at home in this casual wine and small plates nook. With dedicated staff, Citizen builds on the success of its big sister Town (296 Elgin St.) but is really a restaurant apart. Its wine list features bottles from around the world that pair well with menu items from all over the map — influences range from African to Spanish, and Italian to French. Something new (and meatless) by guest chef Mike Frank shows up on every Monday menu. Co-owner and chef Marc Doiron is comfortable creating new dishes for new wines, and the suggested dessert is a wonderful case in point. There are no beers on tap, but it’s hard to notice with such a generous selection of bottled beer from near and far. 

Love at first taste: Falafel and eggplant ($14) or the pork belly with mojito salad ($18), and definitely go for the concord grape tart ($12)

5 new restaurants – and what to order at them

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

Mezze maniche pasta at Cardinale/Photo by Silvia Pikal.

Housed in the historic Dafoe 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…)

Where to Eat at Calgary’s Top Attractions

By CAROLINE GREEN

Sky 360 restaurant in the Calgary Tower. Photo Courtesy of Sky 360

You might already know of these places as some of the must-see spots in Calgary, but did you know they also have some of the must-eat restaurants? Here are some dining hot spots within attractions you won’t want to miss.
(more…)

Top 5 ways to dine in nature

Get a dose of the wild or a picturesque view of outdoor scenery at these spots that blend sit down dining with outdoor fun.

Courtesy of Tundra Grill

Courtesy of Tundra Grill

The patio at Prairie’s Edge overlooks a serene pond surrounded by the greenery of Kildonan Park. Start the evening with crispy fried beet fritters before taking in a show at outdoor theatre Rainbow Stage. 2015 Main St, 204‑284‑7275

Hearty breakfast and lunch options make Buffalo Stone Cafe inside FortWhyte Alive nature preserve a go-to pick for a sweet nature setting inside city limits. The signature bison burger and a breeze off the shimmering lake are a perfect pair. 1961 McCreary Rd, 204‑989‑8355

Tundra Grill (pictured), inside the Assiniboine Park Zoo’s Journey to Churchill exhibit, boasts a 9 by 150 foot wall of windows looking out onto a polar bear habitat. Snack on kid-friendly foods like hamburgers and pizza while observing the animals roam and play. 2595 Roblin Blvd, 204‑927‑8060, Map 2: D-2

The elegant country cottage setting at Pineridge Hollow is the perfect backdrop to scratch-made fare that highlights prairie products. After sampling wild mushroom-stuffed perogies, wander the on-site garden and hand feed the goats outside. 67086 Heatherdale Rd 25E, Oakbank, MB

A century old country estate is the setting for fine dining at The Gates on Roblin. Seats in the Atrium deliver breathtaking views with your tender duck confit. Take a stroll around the grounds and visit horses grazing in the paddock. 6945 Roblin Blvd, 204‑224‑2837

The Top 5 Places to Eat Right Now in Food-Obsessed Toronto

FOOD_FINAL01

The trendy dining room at Hanmoto.

Hanmoto

This tiny west-end spot offers addictive Japanese comfort food like dyno wings: deep-fried, boneless chicken wings that are stuffed with pork, bacon and ginger,slathered in kewpie mayo sauce and served in a takeout box. 2 Lakeview Ave.

Antler

The appropriately named chef Michael Hunter serves up wild and foraged cuisine—including boar, venison and bison. 1454 Dundas St. W.

 Alo

Dig into Alo’s inventive six-course tasting menu to find out why chef Patrick Kriss’s French-dining destination is one of the finest restaurants in Canada. 163 Spadina Ave., 

Jackpot Chicken Rice

Everything on the menu, from the kaffir broccoli tempura to the Hainanese chicken to the rich, schmaltzy rice, is full of exciting flavours, both traditional and new.
318 Spadina Ave. 

Piano Piano

Chef Victor Barry’s chic Italian restaurant is great for kids and a boon to grown-ups who love perfect Neapolitain pizzas (try the Bitters: scamorza, parmesan, dandelion, kale, garlic, chilies and lemon). 88 Harbord St. 

 

Now Open: Brazen Hall

Courtesy of Brazen Hall.

Courtesy of Brazen Hall.

Winnipeg’s craft brewing scene has exploded recently, with new breweries popping up all over the city. Brewpub Brazen Hall is the latest joy for homegrown hopheads. This well-designed Fort Garry spot styled with rustic wood, plush leather, and gleaming geometric fixtures opened to instant approval from pub lovers who now fill the space with lively chatter. A crisp blonde ale and peppery bière de garde are now on tap with more varieties brewing in the tanks on site. Superb suds are complemented by a fun menu of twists on pub favourites, like gussied-up burgers and wings, as well as filling pastas and brawny meat dishes.

  • 800 Pembina Hwy, 204‑453‑7980

5 Restaurants for Wine Lovers

Courtesy of Fusion Grill

Courtesy of Fusion Grill

Calling all oenophiles: these restaurants are must-visits for wine lovers of all stripes.

At DeLuca’s Cooking School, sip specially paired wines provided by attached DeLuca Fine Wines while chef Anna Paganelli demonstrates how to prepare elaborate Italian dishes. Call for class schedule and to register. 950 Portage Ave, 204‑774‑7617, delucas.ca

529 Wellington, Winnipeg’s most lofty steakhouse, maintains its elevated reputation with an award winning wine list so thick it could have been written by Proust. More than 800 selections pair with anything from porterhouse to prawns. 529 Wellington Cres, 204‑487‑8325, 529wellington.ca

Mona Lisa Restaurant is a top pick for comforting red sauce Italian fare in a sleek yet casual atmosphere. The adjacent cantina is perfect for variety-loving imbibers, with 20 featured wines offered by the glass. 1697 Corydon Ave, 204‑488‑3684, monalisarestaurant.ca

Fusion Grill stokes Canadian pride with its sophisticated use of regional ingredients, and local love doesn’t stop there. Owner Scot McTaggart (pictured) built an extensive wine list that is exclusively Canadian, and sure to win over even old-world enthusiasts to the Canuck terroir. 550 Academy Rd, 204‑489‑6963, fusiongrill.mb.ca

Forget hot cocoa—cap off a day of outdoor activities with a glass of vino at The Common at The Forks. Pours by the glass or in tasting flights are perfect to sip while relaxing in the food hall or even browsing the market’s upper level shops. The Forks Market, 204‑942‑6216, theforks.com

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Now Open: Two New Restaurants for Casual Cuisine

Photo by Mike Linton, Centric Productions

Photo by Mike Linton, Centric Productions

Popular board game cafe Across the Board outgrew its small space on Albert St and has moved into a bright location on the corner of Main St and Bannatyne Ave. The spacious new room, boasting high ceilings and picture windows, sees its game selection upped to more than 1000 offerings, and an expanded menu of snacks, appies, and entrées for hungry players to eat between turns. 211 Bannatyne Ave, 204‑691‑3422, acrosstheboardcafe.com

Tastes of the Mediterranean are the specialty at Agora Fine Foods. The spot, named after the ancient Greek market and gathering place, has plenty of reason to gather, from the shelves stocked with local and imported specialty foods to the sleek Indulge Bistro and Wine Bar that serves up Spanish, Greek, and Italian dishes in a smartly designed space. 1765 Kenaston Blvd, 204‑285‑4068, agorafinefoods.ca

Top 5 Souper Bowls

Cioppino at Cafe La Scala. Photo by David Lipnowski.

Cioppino at Cafe La Scala. Photo by David Lipnowski.

Soup’s on! In a city famous for winter, its no wonder Winnipeggers love to huddle up around steaming bowls of broth. These are the city’s most slurp-able.

Sana Souphouse is a haven for nearby office workers, with a comfortable interior and selection of soups both classic and novel. Try a bowl of the creamy cinnamon-scented red pepper bisque, or sample a flight of three varieties. 387 Graham Ave, sanasouphouse.com

Recent renovations have given Corydon Avenue mainstay Cafe La Scala fresh new digs, and the kitchen is equally skilled at updating the classics. Stellar cioppino piles tender seafood beneath a shimmery red stock, with a hit of Sambuca imparting modern edge. 725 Corydon Ave, facebook

Sherbrook Street Delicatessen has indecisive diners covered. A heaping bowl of mis mash soup has a little of everything–corned beef, matzah balls, veggies–thrown in. 102 Sherbrook St, sherbrookstreetdeli.com

A family-owned gem tucked into a St Boniface strip mall, Boun’s Restaurant serves a mix of Laotian, Chinese, and Thai cuisine. With hits of lime, roasted garlic, and cilantro, Laotian chicken noodle soup packs more punch than Granny’s and is equally sure to cure what ails you. 208 Marion St, facebook

Winnipeg’s French Quarter is the ideal place to find a bowl of French onion soup. Promenade Cafe and Wine offers a classic version with loads of gooey cheese. 130 Provencher Blvd, cafeandwine.com

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