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Delicious Panini at Fiasco Gelato (Cgy)

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Here's a resurrection of the "Calgary sandwich" thread-

I've quickly become a big fan of the grilled sandwiches at Fiasco Gelato (the 17th Ave store; I'm retty sure the one on 1st downtown is only open May-Oct and not sure about the one in Kensington). They used to have something similar- I can remember having at least one grilled panini at the old location in the now-demolished-and-replaced Mt Royal block, but don't recall a thing about it. So it was as a last-ditch, what-the-heck-they're-open-Sunday decision to throw them a bone (nobody else in the shop) and try a sandwich.

I had the roast beef- asked about cheese pref, cheddar or provolone- what, no processed "white cheese" a la Peppinos? I asked for provolone, always a treat, and the kid behind the counter proceeds to saute me beef with onions and a very aromatic sauce- I rocked out to The Streets ("she's fit and don't she know it?") and other tunes on the absolute best restaurant soundtrack in the city while he actually, well, cooked. He puts the nice juicy aromatic sliced beef onto an honest-looking ciabatta with a slice of prov and then slaps it in a panini press- I get the combo with a bag of Miss Vickie's and an orangina and munch away- first impression- HOLY HELL this is good bread. Crispy and chewy, perfect for a panini, much better than the horrid focaccia you saw everywhere in Calgary when panini grills first started showing up a few years ago (focaccia, from my experience, gets too brittle and dry in a press).. second impression- MAN this beef is tasty and tender. It's also decadently, well, oily- but not in a bad way; more in the "this would be awesome with melting gorgonzola and maybe arugula" way. As it was, the sauce- a sort of tomato based thing- was more than adequate and the prov lovely. I moaned through the whole experience. Seriously.

Today I had a chicken version- this time, for cheese, do I want cheddar, provolone, swiss or goat cheese? Seriously? I get swiss because it's made for grillin', and the rest is the same- nice savoury sauce, perfect bread, a treat. I find out the ciabatta rolls are "from Canmore"- Valbella? Good choice.

I know this must sound like an absurd exaggeration but I haven't had a sandwich this good (aside from some of my own) since Wild Sage disappeared. And this has been happening under my nose since last summer- I'm ashamed. Spread the word- about the panini, not my shame.

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  1. Sweet! Thanks for the heads up John. I'll have to make it down sometime if I'm back this summer.

    4 Replies
    1. re: peter.v

      You gotta at least visit to check out Phil+Sebastian- I know a too little too late for you, but man, is this place a godsend for us who live here!

      Go to Fiasco and also give them some tips about their coffee program, because they sure as hell don't want to listen to me!

      1. re: John Manzo

        Yeah, I'm actually friends with Phil, so I've been kept up to speed on the events happening out in Calgary. It's pretty awesome what he's doing out there.

        And... I've "tried" with Fiasco. A friend of mine works at the 1st St location when it's open, and apparently the owner has brought in people to train their staff on coffee. Apparently, not much progress was made.

        1. re: peter.v

          Peter- I know this is better placed on coffeegeek but I don't want to spread this too far- I posted this on skyscraperpage.com since this is as much about "development" as it is about coffee... if this pans out, and since the lease is signed no reason to see it wouldn't, I wonder how it will impact Bumpy's:

          I heard something very cool today- I was at the Farmers' Market getting my supply of coffee beans from Phil&Sebastian, which is (as a coffee geek) too much to dream- John Gilchrist is going to be writing about them for his column on Sunday, this place is the first in Alberta and the first in Canada outside Van/Vic to have a Clover brewing system (which costs more than $10,000 and has to be seen to be appreciated)... well as I was having my espresso there I noticed the proprietors of Java Jamboree, an amazing coffeehouse in Cochrane, were at the opposite counter. It so happens that they've signed a lease for the commercial space at 8 St and 13 Ave acros the street from the Best Western and will be opening a Calgary outpost of their Cochrane shop- they're connected to Phil&Sebastian in that they'll be using the same suppliers (all absolutely top notch) and will also have a Clover- in all of Los Angeles there is only one of these machines, and Calgary will have two... opening day is September 1, they hope, and it'll be at 2000 sf the biggest coffeehouse in the city. My coffee hopes and dreams come true...

          1. re: John Manzo

            Well, I went to P+S today, and got a coffee (Columbian) from the clover.

            Well, what can I say? It is one of the best coffees in town. Absolutely no bitterness, the coffee comes out HOT, and the flavour of the coffee was absolutely perfect, absolutely fresh.

            I'd definitely rank the beans above Big Mountain Coffee, which was my #1 before P+S.

            If you like coffee, you owe it to yourself to go there and try out the clover. There is nothing like it in town.

            The only black spot with the experience are the incredibly insipid customers at the CFM that drive me crazy.

    2. Sold, sold, sold. I will have to check it out.

      Checked out Phil&Sebastian today -- good coffee, and nice baked goods. (thank god no muffins" a la Costco.)

      Have to say, though, my husband Dan makes the best coffee in the city. He roasts on the gas BBQ.

      2 Replies
      1. re: dpeacey

        where does he get his green beans? I'd like to try roasting and it didn't even occur to me that a a great way to deal with smoke and chaff is to use the grill- neat idea!

        1. re: John Manzo

          Dan orders his beans from the States, mostly. He used to use Sweet Maria's a lot, but he's moved on to someone else, I think. He usually does a batch and then freezes the beans. His set-up is a bit intense (although low-tech) -- a box fan, grilling mitts, wire baskets, thermometers, timers ...

      2. Couldnt resist the best sandwich since Wild Sage. So tried it for lunch yesterday. Had the beef, and tried the chicken.

        Bread was great. Phenomenal even. It really made the sandwich. My only choices for cheese were Provolone or Cheddar - wonder if it's dependent on the day. The beef was excellent, the chicken not quite as good, but still quite good. At 5.95 for a sandwich, it was definitely a steal.

        Thanks John for adding a worthwhile place on the list.