Tag Archives: calgary

5 Tips We Learned From Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown

Stuffed again!

Jessica and I joined lots of Calgarians at Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown 2013. In addition to trying out 11 top chef’s creations in one stop, we went to support sustainable seafood. What a fun experience! What a great way to showcase sustainable ingredients. It sure got people talking and spreading the awareness of a more responsible way of life.

Chowder is such a comfort food especially on a cold day, or 6 months of winter in our case. We learned a few tricks from the pros as we savoured and appreciated the imagination poured into all 11 chowder creations tonight. Ready to spice up your winter?


1. Pork rind is a fantastic substitute for bread or cracker in your chowder.

Tonight’s Chowder created by Chef Paul Mcgeevy of CRAFT Beer Market won the Best Paring with beer. This grey cod, chorizo 7 chicharon chowder was topped with an oversized super crispy pork grind.

2.  Vegetable chips such as kale chips are also brilliant alternative to bread or cracker for your next chowder.

Chef Rebecca House of Thompsons topped her Smoked Salmon Chowder with kale chips and it won tonight’s People’s Choice title. Chef Andrew Keen of Redwater Grill added a splash of colour and texture to his Pacific Oyster & Parsnip Chowder with vegetable chips.

3. Devonshire cream can be used to add richness and flavour to your chowder.

Yes, devonshire cream commonly used with tea scones is proven to perform wonders in Chef Dustin Schafer‘s Smoked Salmon and Candied Scallop Chowder tonight.    He dropped a dollop of devonshire cream mixed with roasted sweet corns in the cup before pouring over steaming hot chowder to complete the serving. I was in heaven.

4. Okra adds body to none cream based chowder.

For those who are lactose intolerant, creamy chowder can be a dangerous craving. Chef Darren Maclean‘s DTF Modern Chowder was the only chowder without cream tonight.  He used okra to add body to his creation. It’s such a surprising and genius modification to a chowder. The bold and memorable flavor won tonight’s Best Chowder!

5. Cheese kills the heat.

There were a few spicy chowders tonight, mostly curry spices. A big cheese station offering generous portion of Asiago, Brie and Goat cheeses was placed half way down the lineup of chowder stations. It sure was a great relief to prepare us in challenging all of the full-flavored chowders tonight.



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7 Ways to Halloween in Calgary

There is a dark secrete I’ve been keeping in my closet, and it’s coming out today. Ready? Here we go. I turn off my lights and hide in my basement from the trickle treaters on Halloween night. There I said it, feeling much relieved though My friends with kids are probably un-friending me on Facebook right now.

I have nothing against Halloween! I just want to enjoy it without getting out of my seat every 5 minutes and endure the fear of running out of candy. For those sharing the same dark secrete, you now know you are not alone. You can still have Halloween funs regardless. Get your customes before you go out there and scare people.

1. Scream Fest

It’s a 10 days event rated PG13 leading up to Halloween. It’s not intended for the faint of hearts and not recommended for young children. Be prepared to some truly scary haunted houses, carnival games, and entertainments.

2. Calgary Ghost Tour

You can enjoy the public walking tours all year round and learn about the spooky history of Calgary and Banff. Not only suitable for out-of-town visitors, but also entertaining for local residents. It’s a friendly tour for children as well as wheelchairs. Tour guides wear cape, so don’t forget your camera.

3. Calgary Thrill The World

If you are going to miss the ever growing annual Calgary Zombie Walk (10/12 2013) because I release this blog post too late (so sorry), you are not to late to sign up and get ready for this simultaneous world wide dance event. You’ll have to learn a few easy moves, but you’ll have a chance to beat world record with Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”. This is a great event to bring your relatives and children along for a physically active weekend of fun.

4. Calgary Corn Maze Flashlight Night

The flashlight night gave me a totally different perspective about this seasonal corn maze. It gets real dark inside the maze. Moonlight and flashlight are your only hope to sight. Next flashlight night is 10/18/2013. I hope you get a chance to go and nudge the staff to have more of flashlight nights! Check out our video for a little taste of thrill.

5. Sci Fi Night

University of Calgary’s observatory is throwing a party on 10/26/2013, too! $10 to this celebration of 60s science and pop culture. There will be games, trivia challenges, costume contest, music. You’ll be amongst the stars in Rothney Astrophysical Observatory.

6. Party at Home

If you are a home body, and in need of helpers to answer the door bell and handout the candies for you. Why not throw a last minute pot-luck party? You’ll only have to decorate. Here are a few last mid pumpkin hack and party decor tips I found on YouTube. Easy peachy.

7. Out and Party!

There are quite a few of them in Calgary:

Fright Fest in Hotel Arts; 10/26/2013; $100/ticket, $2000+ cash prizes for best costumes.

Witch CRAFT; 10/26/2013; $10/ticket; party at one of Calgary’s most popular and trendy Craft Beer Market.

The Party to Die For; 10/26/2013; $65/ticket; hosted by Calgary restaurant Belgo Brasserie.





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18 Art Works in 2 Hours

We love to travel! When we can’t get away, we play tourists in our own city.

City of Calgary downtown area has so much art and beauty to offer. Have you noticed them while you rush to your office towers and balancing your Starbucks and smart phones? Why not take a walk with your camera and do a little scavenger hunt after work? While everyone is stuck in rush hour traffic, you’ll be having fun “travelling” and rediscovering your home city!

We found a great Downtown Art Guide by City of Calgary and Downtown Calgary as our initial reference. We made our own little map if you want to take the same walk we did. It was short and sweet.

With all the goofing around we did, the walk took us 1.5 hours. You can take your time learning about the art works, interacting with them like we did. Or you can power through it if you have only a lunch break. Lots of coffee shops and restaurants along this walk for you to grab something on the way. Even better, have your date in this wide open art gallery, call in the sunset. Wouldn’t that be romantic!

What a blast we had traveling in our own city. We are definitely going to do another walk to check out the other 38 art works in the Art Guide. Perhaps, we’ll do a night walk to see which ones are lit up all dramatic and theatrical. What do you say?!

transit storymetal horseNouva TwistWeather VanesTribute to Land (Turtle)Between Earth and the SkyTree8 seconds of gloryever evolving humanCalgary clock yellow chairBig DaddyPeter's Co BellBig BrotherSpirited DanceMillenium BeetleBrown Trout RisingFriendshipCow Bench

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5 Fun Things to Do This Summer

Long awaited summer is upon us in Calgary!  Mos of us continue to work during summer and it can be difficult to get away from our busy work schedules.  Here are 5 fun and easy things to do this summer without much planning and budget. Why don’t you join us before this summer slips away?!


1. Put on your cutest swimsuit and go for a boat ride

2. Grill lemon with backyard BBQ

3. Dress cowgirl chic and go to Calgary Stampede

4. Enjoy watermelon in a different way: Watermelon Granita

5. Paint fingernails with bright color matching new summer outfit.


5 fun things 1 Boat ride.jpg5 fun things 2 grilled lemon.JPG5 fun things 3 stampede fashion.jpg5 fun things 4 watermenlon ice.JPG5 fun things 5 nail color match summer outfit.jpg



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Good Eat: Down Town Food Modern Bistro Calgary

Modern day conveniences keep our palates satisfied regardless of seasonalities and without geographical boundaries. What’s often forgotten is what our native land has to offer. With commitment to using local ingredients, DownTownFood (DTF) took us exploring the flavours of the season and of the land. It’s no easy task for a restaurant in Calgary, landlocked and long harsh Winter with major temperature swings (chinook), to insist on local ingredients and sustainability. Foodies in Calgary, you are in luck!

Chef’s tasting menu is often our first choice on the menu during first visit. It tells uncompromising stories by the chefs, through which, unpublished tit-bits were often found. DTF’s Garde Manger chatted with us about the meal. We found that his favorite ingredient is mushroom. He experiments like a mad scientist in the kitchen. He wears trendy cap perhaps to hide his mad scientist hair from the hot kitchen (lab). Haha. We’ll be going back for the next seasonal menu for sure, and maybe get a chance to also chat with DTF’s Chef Darren MacLean in person.




V Indicators:

1. Delicious non-alcohol beverages: yes

2. Checks on the table: 4

3. The decibel point: 67

4. The price tag: $75.00/ person without wine pairing


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Good Eat Review: Brunch at Lougheed House in Calgary

Lougheed House is a historical house full of history.  It’s located in downtown Calgary (on 13 Ave SW between 6 & 7 St).  Most people don’t know that they also have a restaurant there – call “The Restaurant.”  It serves lunch from Wednesday to Sunday (11am to 2pm MT) and brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 2pm.  The food is always good.  They use as much local food as possible.  It’s a lovely place for a nice brunch on the weekend with family – they take reservations & it’s kid-friendly.  You can also make reservation to have private function.

Lougheed House是位於卡爾加里市中心(13 AVE SW, 6及7街之間),一家充滿了歷史的建築。大多數人不知道,他們還有一個餐廳 – 供應午餐從週三到週日(上午11時至下午2時MT),週六和週日早午餐從上午10時至下午2時。他們盡可能地使用當地的食材,他們做得食物總是很好吃。春夏時,可欣賞他們著名的花園。 這實在是個和家庭人享受早午餐不錯的地方。

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Good Eat Review: Borgo Trattoria – Best Italian Restaurant in Calgary

We first read about Borgo Trattoria on Calgary Herald’s blog – it’s on the Air Canada’s enRoute magazine’s list for best new restaurants in 2012.

We made a reservation for 6:30pm dinner. They only take reservations between 5pm to 6:30pm and after that it’s walk-ins (or shall we say “line-ups”) only. You could do walk in between 5pm and 6:30pm but we’d suggest you to make a reservation to secure your seats! Note: if you plan to go there for lunch, they do take lunch reservations.

We ordered GIUSEPPE’S “SPERLUNGA” $45 p.p. (min. 2 people) from the dinner menu. We got to sample a variety of appetizers, the pasta (which is the BEST pasta EVER and you only get it if you order Giuseppe’s Sperlunga), main pesce & carne with side contorni. It’s simply delizioso ( delicious in Italian)! The portions were generous. The taste and presentation were fabulous! It’s a great value for the quality and quantify of food you get!

By the way, it’s good-kid-friendly too. :-). Our 7-month old nephew was with us during the dinner. They talked to him and said he can get a reservation any time – very friendly people.

BONUS: Like them on Facebook for special menus notification – https://www.facebook.com/BorgoTrattoria


Here are some iPhone photos:

Front Entrance:













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Calgary Zoolights 2012

We are four 7-year-Os tonight! 1.5 million twinkling lights got us OH SO Excited! Colourful and so mesmerizing.

Over the past 14 years, Calgary Zoolights has gotten more and more popular and was voted Best Christmas Event in 2011 by Calgary’s Child Magazine. To me, it’s one of the best part of living in Calgary like our most engaging Mayor Nenshi.

It’s not just for parents and kids. Zoolights is a pretty fantastic event for couples without kids, or groups of friends hanging out. Hop on the C-Train after work with $10 admission, you’ll have a few hours of walking outdoors sipping on hot chocolate, quite a few fire pits one the path surrounded by benches for a quick warming up, and be mesmerized by the colourful and creative arrangement of all the lights. Are you tempted?






















































































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Farm Restaurant

Having visited Janice Beaton Fine Cheese from time to time for many years, I was ecstatic to learn from this year’s Canada Food Day that Janice Beaton opened a restaurant back in 2008. Farm is the name of her lovely creation.  The decor carries the same sense of chic in the restaurant. It was quiet when we first sat down around 5:45pm, but the night just got more hip and bubbly. The restaurant  quickly filled up around 6:30pm and it was buzz all around.

















The menu still conveys love and belief in quality of food as well as the respect for local food producers. I noticed the item changes from time to time, and I suspect it’s to adhere to the vision of using quality, seasonal, local ingredients. “We love our suppliers! They are our neighbors and friends.We work closely with farmers who care for their animals and respect the land.” It truly melted me from inside out.

We ordered 5 items from charcuterie menu since we are in the world of Janice Beaton, it would be silly of us to miss out on the always surprising variety of cheese and the meat brought into the restaurant specially. The items were paired with house made pickles, house marinaded olives and honey. I forgot to document the details of the selection. I promise to update next chance I get.

We also ordered duck breasts and pork belly for main course. The pork belly was prepared to perfection with unique paring of roasted jalapeno sauce. It is both visually inspiring and very pleasantly surprising combo to the key ingredients. The vegetables, on the other hand, didn’t really strike up much excitement for me.

For dessert, peanut butter pot de creme was quite delightful. Full body creamy peanut butter flavor took me less than a minute with one spoonful got away from me, only because my friend sitting with me was fast as lightening. The jumbo macaroon got my eyes wide open. It was bigger than my lens cap and super satisfying.

























































V Indicators:

1. Delicious non-alcohol beverages: yes

2. Checks on the table: seven times

3. The decibel point: 90 (after 6:30pm)

4. The price tag: to be updated (lost receipt)













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Boxwood Cafe

I walked by it many times, but never realize it’s an actual restaurant. The style of the building blends in so well with the landscape of Central Memorial Park downtown Calgary, surrounded by water fountains and flower beds. Sitting at the patio and sipping my drink, it’s great entertainment to watch the slow exchange between sunlight and city lights.

































Boxwood serves “local” “seasonal” and “sustainable” foods.  Those three words scream fresh ingredients to me and got me all mouth watering. From the dishes ordered, I can see the intention of keeping the dish simple so the local seasonal ingredients shine with its natural rich and vibrant flavors. The portion size to some may be small. Yet, it was thoughtful as I intended to fully enjoy my dessert without feeling missing out on the appetizers and main course. The menus carries lots of South Beach friendly choices such as fresh backyard greens, quinoa, chickpeas, roasted chicken breasts, pan-seared trout, and more.












































































The restaurant has not only a beautiful patio, it also has indoor seating with cozy and romantic atmosphere. It’s still worth dropping in after a day of work for dinner during winter or on a raining day. If it’s on your way home, place your take out order before 11am by calling 403-265-4006 to get 10% off. What a great feature for us urban dwellers.



























V Indicators:

1. Delicious non-alcohol beverages: yes

2. Checks on the table: three times

3. The decibel point: 66 (at outdoor patio)

4. The price tag: $82.00













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