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Where to Shop Calgary

Where to Celebrate Wacky Holidays in Calgary

April is Grilled Cheese Month, the ideal time to head to Naina's Kitchen for an ooey-gooey ABC (apple, bacon, cheddar). (Photo: courtesy Naina's Kitchen)

April is Grilled Cheese Month, the ideal time to head to Naina’s Kitchen for an ooey-gooey ABC (apple, bacon, cheddar). (Photo: courtesy Naina’s Kitchen)

National Noodle Month: March
Noodles: the best food ever, or simply amazing? Kick off the festivities at Paper St. for a ramen burger — who needs buns when you have noodles? If your broth to noodle ratio ends up uneven at Jinya Ramen Bar, order a kaedama (noodle refill) for a second helping.

National Absinthe Day: March 5
Teetotalers, avert your eyes! This day is dedicated to the charming little beverage known as absinthe, which boasts an alcohol content of about 55 – 75 percent. Invoke the Green Fairy with Bourbon Room’s four-person absinthe fountain, or (careful, now) sample your way through five varieties at Avec Bistro.

Worship of Tools Day: March 11
No, not your ex — the useful kind of tool. If you’re bereft of tools to worship, visit Lee Valley, a family-run business that has it all from woodworking to gardening. About a third of the tools they sell are of their own design.

Waffle Day: March 25
There can be no waffling when naming the best sweet, bread-ish breakfast food — it’s clearly waffles. Get your waffle on with sweet and savoury variations at Buttermilk Fine Waffles or check out Starbelly’s weekend brunch buffet which features its own waffle station.

National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Month: April
Archer said it best: grill… me… a cheese. Naina’s Kitchen is well known for their stuffed burgers, but their grilled cheeses are underrated hidden gem — the ABC (apple, bacon, cheddar) is the work of a genius.

National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day: April 2
Peanut butter jelly time! Peanut butter jelly time! Now that the song is stuck in your head (you’re welcome), let’s move on to where you can celebrate this illustrious day. For true PB&J cred, you need Tubby Dog’s Cap’n Dog: a hot dog slathered in peanut butter and jelly, then topped with a sprinkle of Cap’n Crunch cereal.

National Beer Day: April 7
Not to be confused with every other day of the year, this is the day to enjoy a nice, cold bottle and/or glass of suds. Make the day extra special with a sampling of the world’s finest craft brews at Craft Beer Market, which boasts more than 100 beers on tap.

Movie Theatre Day: April 23
This is the perfect time to hearken back to the movie experience of yesteryear at Calgary’s indie movie theatres: The Plaza in Kensington and downtown’s Globe Cinema.

Pinhole Photography Day: April 30
To take a photograph, you need two things — and no, a camera lens isn’t one of them. Pinhole photography uses the simplest of cameras: a light-proof box with a tiny hole in it. Dianne Bos is a renowned pinhole photographer, and naturally her work will be on display at Newzones on this most appropriate day.

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Valentine’s Day can be kind of hit-or-miss, but Houseplant Appreciation Day and Drink Wine Day are a guaranteed good time. Here’s where to go in Calgary to celebrate some of the more “interesting” holidays.

Bean Day: January 6
Beans, beans, the musical fruit… enough said. The humble bean doesn’t get much attention, but all that changes today. Go to Native Tongues Taqueria for frijoles piled on tacos and tostadas or, if you prefer your beans baked, head to Holy Smoke BBQ for Southern baked beans with a side of barbeque.

Old Rock Day: January 7
Alberta is absolutely littered with old rocks — like, 60 million years old. It’s well worth the day trip to Drumheller’s Royal Tyrrell Museum to see one of the world’s largest displays of dinosaur fossils, plus other fossilized flora and fauna from prehistoric eras long before Alberta was Alberta.

Houseplant Appreciation Day: January 10
This is the day to really show your houseplants how much you love them. Perhaps an extra splash of water? If your houseplants didn’t survive your, um, previous lack of appreciation, start fresh at Plant with incredible tropical, succulent, cactus, and airplant terrariums, or take a workshop and learn to create your own little plant world.

National Pie Day: January 23
The pie’s the limit on this holy day. The question is, savoury or sweet? At Pie Junkie, the answer is both — maybe one to stay and one to go?

Inspire Your Heart with Art Day: January 31
There are lots of ways to inspire your heart, but art is definitely one of the least risky and most rewarding ways. Pay a visit to the Esker Foundation to see their new exhibition Earthlings (starting Jan 21) — otherworldly, surreal, magically figurative ceramic sculpture and works on paper by seven contemporary artists.

National Hot Breakfast Month: February
Not to be confused with National Breakfast Month (September), this month is dedicated specifically to hot breakfasts — not lukewarm, and definitely not cold. Yellow Door Bistro has just the thing, a weekend hot breakfast buffet with a changing menu that highlights seasonal ingredients and creative takes on traditional breakfast fare.

Umbrella Day: February 10
Rain, snow, sleet, or even sunshine — let not a drop of it touch your skin on this day dedicated to your own portable canopy. If you don’t own such a canopy (also known as an umbrella), pick up a Hudson’s Bay striped one at The Bay or choose from dozens of other styles.

Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day: February 18
Though it may seem a bit odd to be breakfasting on frozen treats in the middle of the winter, we must nobly soldier on. Village Ice Cream opens at 11 am, which is technically still morning, but if you’re more the breakfast in bed type plan ahead and pick up a pint or two to go.

Drink Wine Day: February 18
If ever you needed an excuse to drink wine, here it is. There’s simply nothing we can do, we must obey the day. Get to Murrieta’s Bar & Grill or Divino Wine & Cheese Bistro for whites, reds, ports, sparkling, and maybe a little food. Don’t overdo it on the snacks though — this isn’t Eat Food Day.

International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day: February 23
We strongly suggest that you let your dog handle the appreciation on this illustrious day. Help ensure your fuzzy friend makes the most of their soon-to-be-favourite day with a gourmet biscuit from Bon A-Pet-Treat! Pet Bakery in the Calgary Farmers’ Market. They also make dog cakes that are so enticing you’ll want to try a bite (don’t, though).

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Christmas is great and all, but you just don’t hear enough about Pizza With the Works Except Anchovies Day or Look For Circles Day. Here are some of the places in Calgary to celebrate the more unusual holidays in November and December.

On Look For Circles Day, take a gander at public art piece Travelling Light. (Photo: Sakib Pratyay)

On Look For Circles Day, take a gander at public art piece Travelling Light. (Photo: Sakib Pratyay)

November: Peanut Butter Lovers Month
Suffering from an insatiable desire for peanut butter? Never fear, the doctor is in at RE:GRUB Burger Bar — the Doctor Peanut milkshake, that is. It’s infused with peanut butter and topped with peanuts, peanut butter cups, and Reese’s Pieces, plus a plastic syringe filled with a shot of extra peanut buttery goodness.

November 2: Look for Circles Day
It would be cheating if we told you where all the circles are, but here are a few hints: visit the Chinese Cultural Centre and look up — way up — to the spectacular domed ceiling. Keep an eye out for the public art piece Travelling Light (aka the Giant Blue Ring) on your way to the airport at the interchange of Deerfoot Trail and 96 Ave NE.

November 3: Sandwich Day
There’s an overabundance of places to celebrate this day (what a great problem to have). Make the pilgrimage to Holy Grill and discover to-die-for panini, or head to Grumans Catering and Delicatessen for a reuben crammed full of thick-cut smoked meat and tangy sauerkraut.

November 12: Pizza With the Works Except Anchovies Day
To order a pizza with the works except anchovies, you must go to a pizzeria that actually has anchovies — otherwise you’re just shouting into the void. Pizza Bob’s thin crust and Stromboli Inn’s thick, fluffy crust pies both fit the bill. And if you love anchovies… well, you’ll just have to come back another day.

November 28: French Toast Day
Breakfast epicures have enjoyed French toast since the days of the Roman Empire, so it’s only fitting that it has its very own day. Honour the deliciousness with Diner Deluxe’s French toast stuffed with brie cheese and Canadian bacon.

December 2: National Fritters Day
Mention fritters to a Calgarian and you’ll likely be sent straight to Chicken on the Way, a beloved institution that has been serving up huge, salty-sweet corn fritters and juicy fried chicken since 1958.

December 4: Wear Brown Shoes Day
Black, white, red, blue, chartreuse? No! Only brown shoes will do. If you don’t have any, get yourself shod at Fluevog Shoes or Arnold Churgin Shoes. From heels to sneakers, remember: if you’re out on the town, your shoes must be brown!

December 14: International Monkey Day
2016 is the Year of the Monkey, so it’s especially important to pay homage to these adorable primates. Visit them at the Calgary Zoo, home to three species of monkeys: Eastern black and white colobuses, Japanese macaques, and mandrills (the largest monkey species on Earth).

December 16: National Chocolate Covered Anything Day
For some folks, every day is Chocolate Covered Anything Day. But if you need some guidance, get to Cococo Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut for the classics like chocolate covered almonds and chocolate covered orange peel.

December 17: National Maple Syrup Day
Maple syrup is the lifeblood of Canadians. If you’ve never had the pure stuff you might not understand the hype, but one taste and you’ll be convinced. A Taste of Quebec at the Calgary Farmer’s Market has the real deal, plus over a dozen maple infused delicacies from maple sugar pie to maple beef stew. Heritage Park’s Haskayne Mercantile Block (no admission fee required) also stocks syrup at Railway Café and Switzer’s.

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Sure, we all know about Halloween and Thanksgiving, but do you know when National Taco Day or Chocolate Cupcake Day are? We’ve listed some great places in Calgary to celebrate fall holidays in September and October, no matter how wacky they are.

September is National Chicken Month! In Calgary, celebrate with some delicious fried chicken to-go at Cluck ‘n’ Cleaver.

September: National Chicken Month
Did you know that September is deemed National Chicken Month? Celebrate this beloved bird at Cluck n’ Cleaver, where mouthwatering southern-friend chicken is the star of the show, along with homemade buttermilk biscuits, side salads, and homemade cookies. Also check out the popular chain Nando’s — famous for their mouthwatering peri peri sauce — which recently opened a funky, brand-new location on 17th Avenue.

September 3: National Beard Day
Get your facial hair a gift of grooming products from Kent of Inglewood, or pop by a barber shop such as Tommy Gun’sCannibale Barbershop, or Johnny’s Barber and Shop for a trim.

September 9: National Teddy Bear Day
Head to the Toy Shop at Heritage Park for a vintage-style teddy bear, or find a new furry friend at Livingstone and Cavell Extraordinary Toys.

September 16: National Guacamole Day
Watch as your server makes guacamole table-side at Añejo, or dive into the fresh guacamole and chips at Native Tongues. Make a return visit on October 2 for National Taco Day. Be sure to add a margarita for the celebration!

September 19: Talk Like a Pirate Day
Arrr, matey! Anchor your ship and enjoy a few rum cocktails and snacks at the Caribbean-themed Ricardo’s Hideaway. It’s a perfect spot for a pirate and fellow crew members.

September 21: National Mini Golf Day
Summer may be over, but you can still perfect your put at Winsport or Shakers Fun Centre.

September 24: National Cherries Jubilee Day
Did you know that the cherry jubilee was invented for Queen Victoria? Dine like royalty with this sweet treat at Hy’s Steakhouse. It’s an off-menu item, but also their signature specialty so you can order it any time.

September 25 – October 1: Banned Book Week
Celebrate diversity in literature and the freedom to read with banned books-printed notebook, socks, or a fun heat-reactive mug from the Calgary Public Library Store.

September 28: National Drink Beer Day
There are hundreds of places in Calgary to celebrate this day, but we recommend looking for ones with beers from local breweries on the menu: Big Rock Brewery, Wild Rose Brewery, Village Brewery, Dandy Brewing Company, Toolshed Brewing Company, and Banded Peak Brewing. Last Best Brewing and Distilling, Brewsters, and Trolley 5 Restaurant and Brewing are all brewpubs that create their own beers in-house.

September 29: National Coffee Day
It’s not hard to find a coffee shop in Calgary, but on this day especially we recommend visiting a local cafe. Get hyper-local and head to Phil & Sebastian, Analog, or Rosso; these cafes all serve their own locally-roasted beans.

October: National Pizza Month
Order up some tasty pies at local favourites Una Pizza + Wine, Without Papers, Pulcinella, Posto, PZA Parlour, or Double Zero. Don’t worry, we won’t hold it against you if you celebrate all month long!

October 1: National Vegetarian Day
Take a break from meat and head to The Coup or White Rose Vegetarian Kitchen for an all-vegetarian menu, or to Ten Foot Henry or Charbar where over half of their menus are comprised of meat-free dishes.

October 10: National Porridge Day
It’s time to celebrate this underrated breakfast item! Order up a bowl at Blue Star diner (we recommend the pumpkin and toasted walnut) or at Yellow Door Bistro for their steel cut oats with a homemade coconut cream and sliced peaches. Diner Deluxe also has a delicious oatmeal with a caramelized banana topping.

October 14: National Egg Day
Get crackin’ on October 14 and visit OEB Company for their amazing menu selection featuring dozens of options for eggs benedict, classic egg dishes, and omelettes.  At Bro’Kin Yolk all four of their eggs benny specialties are served on a homemade waffle.

October 18: National Cupcake Day
We know you don’t need a reason to indulge in a chocolate cupcake, but celebrate this day at Crave or Sweet Relief Pastries where delicious cupcakes (of all flavours!) are baked fresh daily. Sweet Relief Pastries even has a cupcake “happy hour” from 5 pm – 6 pm on weekdays where all cupcakes are only $2 each.

October 21: National Champagne Day
Order up a bottle of bubbly and toast this amazing day. Or, really indulge with a champagne dinner at Chef’s Table restaurant — you’ll be served a five course meal and six drink pairings from noted champagne brand Tattinger.

Decades of Decadence: One Family’s Epic Eats

By IAN DOIG

Decades of Decadence is a cookbook by local food writer Rebecca Klemke (Photo: Rebecca Klemke)

Decades of Decadence recently won a Gourmand World Cookbook award in the Historical Recipes category. (Photo: Rebecca Klemke)

Author and food blogger Rebecca Klemke is a member of one of the city’s first families of food. Her uncle Pat O’Connor is the founding owner of Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts (CRMR). The company’s boutique resort hotels and game-focused restaurants (including Cilantro and Bar C) are definitively Western Canadian, sourcing much of their ingredients from the region and the group’s own ranch.

Decades of Decadence is Klemke’s first cookbook and not only catalogues her family recipes, but the clan’s cuisine-centric passion for life. It was recently accredited as being among the Best in the World in the Historical Recipes category at the prestigious Gourmand World Cookbook and Wine Book Awards.

Rebecca Klemke, author of Decades of Decadence (Photo: courtesy Rebecca Klemke)

Rebecca Klemke, author of Decades of Decadence. (Photo: courtesy Rebecca Klemke)

What kind of cookbook is Decades of Decadence?
Bursting with over 300 recipes, it allows readers to choose their own adventure with food. From cocktail parties to romantic dates, summer cooking, holiday spirits, extravagant feasts or just dinner with friends and/or family.

(more…)

Best of Calgary Shopping Centres: Southcentre

By SARAH SUSSMAN

The 962,000 sq ft shopping centre contains more than 180 stores (Photo: courtesy Southcentre)

The 962,000 sq ft shopping centre contains more than 180 stores (Photo: courtesy Southcentre)

Located in the city’s southeast, Southcentre has been renovated over the past few years to make way for new independent retailers and emerging businesses. While the mall still features department stores and franchises, it also includes many independent and niche stores as well as the flagship locations of several local retailers.

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
This gourmet chocolate shop carries a sumptuous selection of handmade fudge (including rocky road and peanut butter), brittle, caramel apples and individual chocolates, as well as Kookaburra red licorice from Australia.
• Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, 403-265-1950, www.rmcf.com

Blu’s Womens Wear & Shoes
Alberta-based Blu’s features high-end designer women’s wear and shoes at reduced prices by brands such as Hugo Boss Woman, Eileen Fisher, Ellen Tracey Company, Teen Flo and Blu’s own namesake private label.
• Blue’s Womens Wear & Shoes, 403-225-8315, www.blus.com

(more…)

Best of Calgary Shopping Centres: The CORE

By ERIN LEGERE

The CORE features 160 stores, including flagships Holt Renfrew and Harry Rosen (Photo: courtesy The CORE)

The CORE features 160 stores, including flagships Holt Renfrew and Harry Rosen (Photo: courtesy The CORE)

Calgary’s largest downtown shopping centre boasts four levels lined with designer shops, unique boutiques and local retailers, and its recently renovated Devonian Gardens is a lush shopping-spree rest stop. For the third installment in our Best of Calgary Shopping Centres series, here are five of The CORE’s top shops.

Holt Renfrew
This upscale department store specializes in men’s and women’s designer apparel and accessories, featuring three floors of international fashion, shoes, designer handbags, cosmetics and fragrances. Boutiques include Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co. and Hermès.
• 403-269-7341, www.holtrenfrew.com

Harry Rosen
A Canadian high-end retailer of men’s designer fashion, Harry Rosen carries formal attire, sportswear, casual apparel and accessories. Exclusive in-stores boutiques include Tom Ford, Canali, Ermenegildo Zegna and Armani Collezioni.
• 403-294-0992, www.harryrosen.com

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Best of Calgary Shopping Centres: Market Mall

By SARAH SUSSMAN

Market Mall is located in the northwest, near the University of Calgary (Photo: courtesy Market Mall)

Market Mall is located in the northwest, near the University of Calgary (Photo: courtesy Market Mall)

Located in the city’s northwest, Market Mall features over 200 retailers, including numerous big-name fashion labels and lifestyle brands, upscale houseware stores and various independent boutiques. For the second installment in our Best of Calgary Shopping Centres series, here are five top Market Mall shops.

Lush
A specialty boutique carrying ethical, eco-friendly bath and body products in a variety of sumptuous scents. The intimate store is packed to the brim with products—think of it as a candy store for the bath-obsessed.
• 403-288-5870, www.lush.ca

Good Taste of Britain
This family-owned boutique specializes in British novelties, sports attire and newspapers. It also carries specialty foodstuffs, such as Irn-Bru soda pop and Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate bars, that will activate a keen sense of nostalgia for British expats, like.
• 403-247-4739, www.goodtasteofbritain.com

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Best of Calgary Shopping Centres: CrossIron Mills

By SARAH SUSSMAN

CrossIron Mills is a large shopping centre located just north of Calgary city limits (Photo: courtesy CrossIron Mills)

CrossIron Mills is a large shopping centre located just north of Calgary city limits (Photo: courtesy CrossIron Mills)

Located about 1.5 km (0.9 mi) north of Calgary city limits in the hamlet of Balzac, Alberta’s newest enclosed shopping centre features over 200 shops including many outlet stores. The centre also houses a movie theatre, several casual restaurants and a food court. To kick off our Best of Calgary Shopping Centres series of posts, here are our top five picks for places to shop at CrossIron Mills.

Michael Kors Outlet
Known for chic, modern American women’s fashion, this outlet store for the luxury designer label features discounted pricing on the brand’s apparel, accessories and footwear.
• 403-730-5677, www.michaelkors.com

Levi’s Outlet
Levi’s is one of the most popular and recognized denim brands in the world, and this outlet store for the label features discounted prices on a wide variety of styles for men, women and children.
• 403-275-6655, www.levistrauss.com

(more…)

Bound to Please: Calgary’s Best Indie Bookstores

By RACHAEL FREY

Pages on Kensington is located in the building that once housed Calgary's first library branch (Photo: Jason Dziver)

Pages on Kensington is located in the building that once housed Calgary’s first library branch (Photo: Jason Dziver)

The massive online book retailer Amazon.ca recently dubbed Calgary the second most well-read city in Canada, based on print and e-book sales from its website. But, this statistic doesn’t account for the many bibliophiles who loyally frequent the city’s independent bookshops to hold the books in their hands and riffle through non-digital pages.

Calgary is home to a small handful of indie bookstores, each offering its own carefully curated selection. JoAnn McCaig, owner of Shelf Life Books, is not threatened by online book sales or e-books. “The ambience and sense of community found in a bookstore can’t be duplicated by Amazon,” she says.

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Wild West Wardrobe: Top 4 Western Outfitters For The Calgary Stampede

By ADELE BRUNNHOFER

 

Custom-made cowboy hats made the old fashioned way  at Smithbilt Hats. Photo: Jason Dziver

Custom-made cowboy hats made the old fashioned way at Smithbilt Hats. Photo: Jason Dziver

During Stampede season, Calgary street fashion includes everything from business-casual with a bolo tie to head-to-toe cowboy garb. To complete your look, visit some of Calgary’s best-stocked western outfitters. (more…)

Unique Holiday Shopping: Ten Thousand Villages

With trends towards “responsible consumerism”, and avoiding big-box stores in favour of local or socially-concious retailers, shopping at Ten Thousand Villages (10432-82 Ave) is an easy choice this holiday season. This not-for-profit, fair trade retailer promotes “giving back”, carrying only products that are handmade in developing communities all over the world. If you’ve made a commitment to shop responsibly this Christmas — or perhaps you’re looking for a unique gift for the person on your list who is impossible to buy for — the products at Ten Thousand Villages can help make your whole holiday socially-concious.

Unique gift ideas and holiday decor await at Ten Thousand Villages, where everything is handmade and fair trade.

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Shopping in Calgary with Teens: 6 Places You Don’t Want to Miss

Shopping in Calgary With Teens

Shopping in Calgary With Teens: American Apparel (Photo: GYLo)

Our city is a hub for retail, with first-class shopping centres and unique independent retailers. When shopping in Calgary, you’ll find the latest trends at affordable prices at the stores listed below—and as a bonus, all of them are conveniently located in areas that will keep you and your teens entertained.

See the list of top teen shopping spots in Calgary »

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Top 5 Vintage Clothing Shops in Calgary

Best-Vintage-Clothing-Shops-in-Calgary

Where can you stop for the best vintage shopping in Calgary? We’ve compiled a list of our favourite local thrift shops below. (Photo courtesy of Joseph Brent)

Want to leave Calgary with a one-of-a-kind piece of clothing? Something no one at home will have? Head directly for one the city’s best vintage shops. Calgary is blessed with many, selling everything from upmarket brands to high-character pieces to basic Ts. Here are our picks for the top vintage shops in Calgary — perfect destinations for any savvy clothes shopper.

See our list of the best vintage shops in Calgary »

(more…)

Hot Date: Kensington’s Sun and Salsa Festival

Kensington Road during the festival. Photo: Kensington BRZ.

This Sunday, Kensington brings heat to the street for its fun outdoor Sun and Salsa Festival. Attendees are invited to wander the neighbourhood’s many shops and boutiques while sampling over 25 salsas lovingly prepared by a variety of the area’s businesses. (more…)