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yyc eats

Chef Spotlight: Jenny Kang

By SILVIA PIKAL

Eating farm-to-plate isn’t new for Jenny Kang — it was always a way of life. Kang, the executive chef of Bow Valley Ranche Restaurant, grew up on a farm in South Korea where her parents taught her the value of growing and picking your own food. “That’s how I grew up, so I know how different the flavour is,” Kang says.

Courtesy Great Events Group.

Kang brings that passion for fresh and local food to Bow Valley Ranche, which has its own garden. The restaurant is in a historical ranch house situated in a valley in Fish Creek Provincial Park. Every summer they bring fresh herbs they’ve grown into the kitchen. She’s committed to sourcing all their vegetables, grains and meats from local producers.

Kang’s cuisine is inspired by traditional Italian and French recipes, thanks to her background of working in several of Calgary’s fine dining establishments like Teatro and Catch, with Asian flavouring mixed in. “I have all the traditional and classic recipes and try to incorporate modern styles,” Kang says. She points to a popular item on the current menu — the Bouvry farm elk tartar with horseradish cream, cured yolk, truffle powder and parmesan.

One of her favourite parts of the job is developing new menus, from the Sunday Night Chef’s Table to menus for the multiple events they host in the building. Seeing a customer’s happiness after trying one of her meals keeps her energized and motivated in a demanding industry. “I love to cook for people. It makes me happy when they enjoy my food. I hope they taste the freshness of what we’re using.”

Kang invites patrons to walk the grounds, which offer an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. She’s always happy to share her passion for cooking farm-to-plate with other people. “I have the background so it’s easy for me, but people are thinking, ‘That’s not easy,’ but they can do it at home too. I can show them our garden.”

From bubble tea to ramen: 3 must-try eats in YYC

By RACHAEL FREY

Courtesy Pixabay.

CALGARY TO TOKYO IN SECONDS
The Japanese capital boats some of the best cuisine in the world, and trendy Tokyo Street Market is committed to bringing that atmosphere and flavour home to Calgary. With a menu of “fresh-fast food” like ramen, yakitori and takoyaki, it’s designed for those looking to grab a quick lunch, or throw back some beer or sake after work. The space is also family friendly.

Courtesy Burwood Distillery.

SIP LOCAL CRAFT SPIRITS IN STYLE
There’s a little jewel tucked away in northeast Calgary where you can sit at the bar and sample small-batch spirits while watching the distillery at work in the next room. Burwood Distillery lovingly crafts gin, vodka, honey eau de vie and medica (an incredible eastern European honey liqueur) and is now offering a menu that perfectly complements their hand-crafted beverages. Pair the vodka with their house pickles and gin-cured salmon, or try the honey eau de vie with charbroiled octopus and prawns, and polish it off with medica trifle topped with vodka-macerated berries. Don’t forget to take a bottle home — Burwood’s spirits are also available in local shops and Alberta-wide at Co-op Wine & Spirits and Sobeys Liquor.

A NEW TEA TIME FAVOURITE
If you need more bubble tea in your life, Presotea has you covered. Located on 17th Avenue, this new tea time hangout is exclusive to Calgary as the only location in Alberta. The Taiwanese chain uses espresso machine technology to press each cup of tea, maximizing the flavour. Choose from an array of milk tea and fruit slush before customizing your drink by choosing the temperature, sweetness, and toppings such as panda pearls or basil seeds. There are tons of options that allow you to find your perfect combo, though you may need to conduct a few experiments.

Taste the Rainbow: Must-try treats for Calgary Pride

By RYAN MASSEL

The rainbow flag will be soaring in Calgary during the city’s annual Calgary Pride festivities from August 24 to September 3. Many local businesses are celebrating by serving up unique menu offerings to wet whistles and please palettes in support of the LGBT community, and a number of them are donating a portion of the proceeds to a variety of charities, including Camp fYrefly. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the delicious offerings and collaborations you’ll see during Calgary Pride!

PRIDE MACARONS 
Back by popular demand, Ollia Macarons & Tea will once again offer the wildberry pride macaron as well as two new unicorn macarons with mane colours to mimic the classic pride rainbow flag colours and the pink and blue of the transgender flag. A portion of sales from the macarons will go to Camp fYrefly.

Photo courtesy Ollia Macarons and Tea.

RAINBOW BAGELS 
Available by pre-order only starting August 27, to be picked up August 31, you’ll be able to brighten up your mornings with Bagelino’s vibrant rainbow bagels. Don’t forget to pick up a tub of their limited edition vanilla cream cheese spread filled with colourful confetti!

Photo courtesy Bagelino’s. 

PRIDE CUPCAKES 
Calgary’s iconic Crave Cupcakes, creatively decorated with vanilla buttercream rainbows and unicorns, will be available for 6-pack pre-order throughout pride week and individually in stores on parade day, September 2.

Photo courtesy Crave Cupcakes. 

FIASCO GELATO LEATHER DADDY 
Gelato lovers have spoken, and this year will see the return of an award-winning Pride Collaboration Gelato to Fiasco Gelato. The vanilla based “Leather Daddy” combines daddy’s soft side of fluffy housemade marshmallows with his dark side of licorice-flavoured jawbreakers. (Editor’s Note: Ryan Massel, aka local blogger Mr. Fabulous, created the Leather Daddy flavour in collaboration with Fiasco Gelato!)

Photo courtesy Fiasco Gelato. 

PROUD N’ LOUD UTCA CHIMNEY CAKE 
This traditional bread-like dough pastry straight from the streets of Budapest is baked in a way that gives it a crunchy caramel texture on the outside, keeping it soft and fluffy on the inside. It will be rolled in rainbow sprinkles, filled with vanilla soft serve, topped with Fruit Loops and boldly named “I am Proud ‘n Loud” at UTCA Chimney Cakes.

Photo courtesy UTCA. 

SWEET RELIEF SUGAR COOKIE 
You’ll have some extra pep in your step after snacking on these artfully decorated sugar cookies topped with royal icing and colourful sugar sprinkles or rainbows at Sweet Relief Pastries. Proceeds go to Camp fYrefly.

Photo courtesy Sweet Relief. 

SPILL THE TEA FROM WILD TEA KOMBUCHA 

Keep cool this pride with Wild Tea Kombucha’s small batch offering “Spill the Tea.” Brewed by hand, using pressed juice for bold flavours, this limited-edition kombucha (fermented tea) will offer a mix of fruity flavours and is perfect to enjoy alone or as a base for your pride-inspired cocktail. Now that’s the tea (wildteakombucha.com)!

Photo courtesy Wild Tea Kombucha.

 

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.

 

 

Calgary restaurants: 5 new and noteworthy things

By SILVIA PIKAL

January 31, 2018

This is part of our bi-monthly food and drink series, which rounds up eats, drinks and food news!

Brunch Happy Hour at Earls

Brunch got a lot happier at Earls in January 2018. All brunch entrées are $8 on the weekends during brunch happy hour, along with $5 mimosas. Hollandaise fans should order the chorizo and mushroom hash with crispy fried potatoes and poached eggs, topped with everyone’s favourite breakfast sauce. Visit their website for a list of times and locations. (more…)