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Jun 12, 2007 08:39 PM

FFWD Best Of Calgary 2007

The current issue of FFWD has their reader's Best Of Calgary selections; it's available online here: (It's a big list; dining is the last category, and there's also some grocery stores and food places at the end of the shopping category, about halfway down).

They've also done some of the same annoying thing as last year - replacing Best [Ethnic] with Best [Specific Ethnic Dish]. For instance, they have a Best Falafel category, listing Falafel King #1 and Tazza #2. Do the voters really mean just best falafel, or do they mean best Lebanese/Middle Eastern food? I always get the chicken shawarma (and I'd also swap places for my personal top 2). Similarly, I don't care who has the best salsa; I want good enchiladas or carne asada. Anyways, rant over.

A lot of the selections seem to be a little heavily biased towards 17th Avenue; the top 2 Vietnamese Sub joints are Thai Tai and Kim Anh -- although I admit the lineup at Thi Thi is long enough.

Some of the top picks include the River Cafe (top overall, best service, #2 "best when somebody else is paying"), Capo (best new restaurant, #2 overall) and Globefish (#2 new restaurant, most innovative sushi). Also with impressive showings are Tubby Dog (best hot dog, best cheap eats, best after 1 AM) and what must be the all-time FFWD Best Of champion, the Ship and Anchor (best fries, best veggie burger, #2 best cheap eats as well as 4 other #1 and two #2 mentions in non-food categories).

What do you think of the list? What's your personal pick for best of? What got missed, and what placed criminally high?

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  1. I won some swag this year (including a $20 gift cert to Tazza) so I can't criticise! But seriously, I'd love to see best espresso, best cappuccino, not just "best coffeehouse" since people vote for that on the basis of ambience. At least they got rid if "best cup of coffee" since there are, literally, THOUSANDS of places to get "a cup of coffee" (versus three "art house cinemas," so why have a category for this one?). I also hate "best french fries" for the same complaint I have about "best cup of coffee." I also fnd "best cool treat on a hot day" to be a ridiculous category- why not just "best ice cream"?

    On balance I'd do some things differently, but as a devotee of the free urban weekly in general, I look forward to this issue way too much.

    KUDOS are due to ffwd to take measures to stop ballot stuffing- remember when Cactus Club won for best resto a few years ago? That was because of ballot stuffing. Much better security this year (if you voted you know what I mean, don't ask me to explain, just vote next year).

    3 Replies
    1. re: John Manzo

      Congrats on winning something :)

      I don't mean to sound snobby, but i find that for every opinion i would trust that votes in the FFWD poll, there are 20 other people in there i wouldnt take a recommendation from. Sadly, after years and years of hoping that they would get a decent list out, i came to the realization that people who truly love food AND are knowledgeable about it are few and far between. The list is fairly worthless to me. I'd be more interested in putting together a poll here on the WC board (as BBB suggests above).

      1. re: yen

        Amen Yen. I don't even bother reading that rag when it comes to food or wine.

        1. re: ureviewcalgary

          yeah, no vested interest in that comment - lol!

          Love the new bar and restaurant guide on their site.

    2. I am REALLY hating that the Cheesecake Cafe would win for best dessert. I find their cheese cake to be WAY too heavy and the crust always tasted a little burnt.

      Has it improved since the last time I was there?

      All in all there have to be better places in this city for dessert than there! What about all the Gelato places? Grr

      1. I always think they put the Ship too high. Maybe the name of the paper should be changed from 'FFWD' to 'Ship & Anchor Weekly'. :)

        1. How do they rank these? Because it seems like for some categories, they totally missed the boat, or choose them based on popularity of name. I know that it's my opinion, but I'm sure many would agree.

          12 Replies
            1. re: Hoj

              I supposed it's voted.

              A couple of years ago, McDonald's won for best fries. How's that for good eats?

              1. re: Shazam

                They do seem to get some of the choices right, though. But in others it seems like they are just choosing places based on hype or name. I wonder, would it be inappropriate to have a post for most overrated Calgary restaurants? I can think of few that are probably also on the FFWD 'Best Of' list.

                1. re: Shazam

                  I love McD's fries- but the problem is, with a ridiculously broad category like "best fries," places with the most locations/customers/exposure will always win. that's why you don't have that, or my previously-ranted-on "best cup of coffee" as a category. Period.

                  1. re: John Manzo

                    Yup, the category is ludicrous, as was the winner. But I was surprised that a ubiquitous franchise like New York Fries didn't win.

                    I actually wasn't surprised McD's won. They still use glorious beef fat in their fries in Canada.

                    And best cup of coffee? Come on, that's easy: Tim Horton's. I hope you didn't fall off your chair :)

                    1. re: Shazam

                      I always thought McD's switched a few years ago. Not that it matters to us. The kids are past the age when the advertising hooks them so we haven't darkened the door of a Mickey D's in years.

                      Is Fast Forward's office still on 17th ave above Megatunes? That may explain the bias.

                      1. re: sharonanne

                        Nope, I just checked their website and they still use beef tallow in their fries. The oil they use to fry the potatoes is all vegetable oil though.

                        Sneaky, eh?

                        1. re: sharonanne

                          No, not for several years. They're in Ramsay.

                          1. re: sharonanne

                            uhm, is it wrong for me to point out (again) that it's a readers' poll, not a Fast Forward poll? Also, I don't the McD's has been mentioned for the last couple years.

                            Beef tallow — yum!

                            1. re: bohunk

                              That's a good point. Maybe they ought to do editors' choice and readers' choice.

                              1. re: feuerzeug

                                i'm not sure i trust their food writers that much more than their readers...

                                1. re: marcopolo

                                  Haha, another good point! Maybe we should put together a list of categories and have the Calgary Chowhounds vote on it. Can we have a most overrated category? Or maybe most overrated breakfast, because we seem to be awash in those.