The Food

Calgary, Oh Calgary, When Did You Get So Fabulous: Food Edition Friday January 13, 2012

A couple of years ago, when I departed to Washington, Calgary had a pretty decent and growing food culture. There were the obvious staples such as Tubby Dog, Crave Cupcakes, Peter’s Drive In, Muse, The Ship Burger and of course a few other well established places. But over the past two years, the city’s food culture has really… well… matured.

Alright, matured is an odd word, but it really is the best word I can think of. (I’m honestly not trying to be condescending)

And let me preface this post by saying, that I in no way consider myself a professional foodie. I also understand that Calgary still has a way to go to rival a Philadelphia (which I’m told is the foodie place on the eastern seaboard) or even elements of DC (albeit, I’ll take a Tubby Dog over the average dogs in DC). But since leaving my beloved hometown, I’ve had the opportunity to watch and marvel at the city’s food culture from a distance.

There’s a bunch of different factors that have probably ignited this change. Obviously, one of the most overstated initiatives was the Mayor’s move to get The Food Truck concept off the ground. But a dramatic change in demographics, with a younger population benefiting from above average levels of disposable income has to be one of the strongest reasons for this growth. But what I’ve noticed is that over the past few years the number of must see eating establishments in the city has tripled. Clearly a city as young and as vibrant as Calgary is ripe for an influx of innovative new restaurants. Something that hasn’t been lost on the city’s entrepreneurs.

Since coming back in mid-December, I’ve spent most of my time back in Calgary seeking out some of the new places that I’ve heard so much about. Which is in stark contrast to last year’s trip, which was more of a reunion tour than a exploration tour.

Since arriving back home, my wife and I have had the pleasure of devouring heaps of heaven at Diner Deluxe (which I understand is really only new to me) and gorging on delicious Gluten-Free wings at the newly renovated VooDoo Lounge. During my own work-related trips into the core, I’ve had the pleasure of sampling some of Calgary’s freshly minted Food Trucks with Charcut’s Alley Burger and Perogy Boyz Food Trucks. I’ve also spent far too much time sharing conversations with old friends and downing far too many cups of divine coffee at the various Phil & Sebastian locations. Not to mention spending far too much time salivating and stocking up at the racks of spices at the Silk Road.

And the worst part about this trip back, is that I haven’t even had the chance to check out some of the other places on my predetermined hit list. Such as the donuts at Jelly Modern, the Bavarian sausage platters at WURST, the thin crust pizza at UNA or even the gluten-free menu at Milk Tiger Lounge. And that of course doesn’t even cover some of the legendary staples like the A-Bomb at Tubby Dawg (Albeit, I did have the Yukon Cornelius with my niece), the buckets of maple bacon at The District, a chocolate-orange milk shake at Peter’s or the currys that I grew up on at The Radjoot. Hell, I could go on and on and on about all the places I love in this so-called redneck town.

As I said earlier, I’m definitely no foodie. I’m more of a what’s going to clog my arteries connoisseur. If you want a real foodie’s opinion of Calgary’s scene, check out Ugonnaeatthat.com or Avenue’s Food Blog. But what I do have is the pleasure of a) distance b) separation and c) a limited time.

There’s nothing in the world more motivating than a list of places you want to try and a tight time line. (Yes, I acknowledge a month seams long, but it really isn’t). Calgary’s food scene has grown leaps and bounds in the two years I’ve been away – this trip really confirmed it. There are dozens of places that are really intriguing in this city. But what this specific trip back to Calgary has taught me, is that rather than spending time just trying to relieve old memories, it’s better to take advantage of the growing food culture in the city. Sure there are mandatory staples, but there is some far more interesting place to eat popping up in this city. It really seams like each up and coming area of the city sprouts even more unique and enjoyable treasures.

For all of you living in this fair city, take some time to enjoy some of the places hidden in the different regions of the city. You’ll be surprised what’s lingering in your back yard.

Categories: The-Calgary-Vibe, The-Food,

Random Thoughts For The Burger Tri-fecta Tuesday May 31, 2011

Last week I posted a link to an article comparing the Tri-fecta of big name burger joints against each other. The article went through each burger, awarding the big prize to Shake Shack.

Now with a new Shake Shack in The District, I finally got to personally complete the Tri-fecta of Burger joints this week. And the verdict…

Well In my opinion it’s a two-way race between Five Guys and Shake Shack. Which will upset a few of the In-N-Out faithful, but hear me out.

Don’t get me wrong Shake Shack was awesome – juicy patties, a load of cheese and a great sesame seed bun – except in comparison to Five Guys the toppings were a bit of a let down. Nothing in my books beats a Five Guys Burger loaded with Jalapenos. BUT on the other side, Shake Shack does Gluten Free burgers, which is freaking HUGE for us. So while I’d gladly gorge on a Five Guys Burger, the experience of Shake Shack of having a fantastic Gluten-Free option propels it into another atmosphere.

So yeah, that’s my take on the Burger Tri-fecta.

First – If the annoying kiddies at the mall weren’t enough to annoy you, it appears that there is another reason to hate Urban Outfitters. It appears that the underground trend store likes to rip off etsy artists. (Thanks to Mr. Arnott for the link)

Full Disclosure I’ve purchased quite a few things from Urban Outfitters, from my Lumography camera to dinner plates and dishes for our apartment, so it pains me to see such shitty business practices.

Second – For all you music lovers out there, Calgary’s Michael Bernard Fitzgerald is releasing a live album. It’s hard not to love MBF, god knows with his ravenous support from hipster teens I’ve tried my hardest, but there’s just something endearing about this guy.

Third – I’ve been raving about this game for months (probably a year), but Bastion is starting to get some RAVE reviews at E3.

I’m no longer a BIG gamer, but this is one game I can’t wait for…

Fourth – Have I talked about Shauna Mae Luedtke’s Slipoffs? No? Well I should have.

Yes, I just found out about this, but Shauna is a designer based in Calgary who does custom-painted slip on shoes, where are pretty awesome. (It also looks like she was featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show).

Fifth – I tweet this out last week, but it’s so good it deserves another round of promotion. It’s a great post on how to live in Washington, DC. It’s so dead on it hurts.

Go to a “networking” event. Drink too much wine and eat too many hors d’oeuvres. Listen to the person speaking incessantly about themselves and what they do. Want to punch them. Want to jump out the window. Leave feeling defeated. After meeting 100 new contacts and handing out dozens of cards, realize you have not had a substantial conversation in what feels like days.

Sixth – Personally, I’d rather see a Gowalla and Living Social team up, but this is a good article on why Groupon & Foursquare should team up to try and take on the Social world.

Seventh – A big shout out to Dublin for taking out President Obama’s Beast of a armored Limo. I can’t embed the video, but please watch it. It’s hysterical.

Eighth – Thanks to @Shandro for the link to Desingers.Mx, which is a series of playlists created by a variety of web designers.

If you have some time, please check it out. It’s a great idea, for anyone who has been struggling to find some new and accessible music.

(P.S. This has to be my favorite mix on the site… Sawyer Hollenshead’s Go With The Flow.)

Ninth – A neat article on how two Calgary-based promoters helped fund Kevin Smiths (Clerks, Jay & Silent Bob, Clerks The Cartoon, etc) latest movie – Red State.

Tenth – You can all thank Mr. Rennie for this great link – Literally Unbelievable – Which catalogues people’s serious reactions on Facebook to clearly made-up Onion articles.

The stuff about the Abortion Mega-complex is priceless.

Categories: The-Random, The-Food, The ArtWorld, The Canada Vibe, The D.C. vibe, The HomeLand, The Humourous, The Inane, The Music, The Pop-Culture

Random Thoughts For TIWYF Friday August 28, 2009

I’m not sure if it’s the popularity of the web site This is Why You’re Fat.com or the fact that KFC is just desperate for attention, but either way here is the soon to be legendary (And what I hope isn’t a new trend in the fast food industry) – KFC Double Down (image via. FoodGeekery.com)

Yes! You’re eyes are telling the truth.

Two check breasts substituting for buns with cheese, Colonel Sauce (Hey! At least it’s not Chubb Sauce) and Bacon.

First – Probably not safe for work, but it is The Gummy Bear Kama-Sutra (via. titanDG)

Second – And what could be the single greatest description of what I do on a daily (or nightly basis) it’s Brain Artka’s post on the Modern Day Web Designer.

This could be one of the most compressive descriptions of a web designer I’ve come across. A great read for everyone (via. Alex of Bitfyre Fame)

Third – In case you’re curious, the CrossIron Mills mall has be officially renamed Mallzak? (via Cameron Chapman and MyOwnBiggestFan)

Fourth – I’ve been a bit of a blogging machine this week, so you’ll have to forgive me for brevity of this week’s Random Thoughts. But if you’re interested, I am now posting some content at the official yyc Twits Blog.

My first post is on upcoming events in the Calgary Tech Community.

Fifth – Calgary based – Ph03enix New Media Inc. is making some great headway in the online gaming industry with its hugely successfull Curse of the Pharaoh Franchise.

Sixth – I’m sorry, but Andrew W.K.‘s twitter feed is like that surprise nugget of Zen like wisdom you find on a discarded Fortune cookie. Honestly, check these nuggets of advice and tell me you don’t have a smile on your face anymore…

AndrewWK – If you can find any reason at all to smile, it’s reason enough! Force yourself to SMILE and PARTY, and soon it’ll come naturally!

PARTY TIP OF THE DAY: Pick one person in your life to worship today! Buy or make them a gift, and show them how they rule! PARTY!

No matter where in the world you are right now, it’s time for a HIGH FIVE! If you’re alone, clap your hand and pretend it’s mine!

Seventh – When a great idea, goes horribly wrong – The Shaw Millennium Park Graffiti project goes horribly, horribly, horribly wrong (via. DJKelly)

Eighth – For Caitlin …

Vampires Beware - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

Ninth – So simple, yet… Soooo good. Kriss Kross …

Categories: The-Random, The-Food, The ArtWorld, The Blogosphere, The Calgary Vibe, The Canada Vibe, The Humourous, The Inane, The Pop-Culture, The T-Shirts, The Twitter-verse, Want To Be A Web Designer

Glutastic.com - Or How We Learned to Live Gluten Free Monday November 3, 2008

So to further solidify ourselves as the single most nauseating couple in the 403 area code, I’m happy to launch Caitlin’s own blog – Glutastic.com.

Yes, we are now a couple that blogs! And I know that’s going to drive people absolutely bonkers. But before you go judging us, here’ s a bit of the background for why Glutastic.com was created.

Last January, after months of stomach flus and excessive tiredness, we finally Sherlock Holmes’d that Caitlin was indeed severely allergic to Gluten. (You can read more of that struggle on Glutastic’s Great About Page)

To say it totally transformed our lives would be an understatement.

Gone were the staples of our diet; Bread, Pizza, Hamburgers, Montreal Steak Spices, Peter’s Drive-in, Crave Cupcakes, and Kraft Dinner. Simple nights at our favorite local restaurants where gone and replaced with foul looks from uneducated Waitresses. And instead of spending our Sunday mornings at Nellie’s; we had to spend our mornings deciphering which bloody box of Waffles were Gluten-Free and which would cause her to get violently ill. (For the record Nature’s Path makes the best gluten Free Waffles)

Anyways, shortly after being diagnosed, we discovered that information on Celiac Disease and living a Gluten-Free Life style was severely lacking in this City. Actually, besides the Calgary Chapter of the Celiac’s Association web site there was very little information available.

No reviews of Restaurants. No helpful lists of stores to purchase products from. Nothing.

So as any good web designer would do, we decided to solve the problem with a web site. (Too much Crime in your neighborhood … build a web site! Famine affecting your country … Build a Web Site!)

With that we decided to build Glutastic.com.

We’ve created your typical blog, but also added a few new features. Like local restaurant reviews (The Dish)and product reviews (the Basket), all with a touch of Caitlin’s witty banter. We’ve also added some links for users to find Celiac information and a section of Facts about the disease. (coming soon) We’ve also created a few spots for local Gluten-Free Businesses to put some advertising and for them to get some exposure for their products.

So with that I suggest you give Glutastic.com a gander and keep checking back. Unlike many other projects I’ve launched, Caitlin has already churned out over 12 posts and has another 12 waiting in the wings. So there will be updated content coming shortly.

Categories: The-Food, The-Blogosphere, The Calgary Vibe, The Corporation, The Family, The Humourous, The Inane

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