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Gourmet food stores in Calgary??

Does anyone remember Figbelly's? It was one of the first gourmet-to-go stores I found when I moved to Calgary. Figbelly's, Debaji's and Wraytons all g-o-n-e. I shop the Calgary Farmer's Market, Planet Organic (north) and Community... and of course Sunterra. When it comes to more than pedestrian groceries is there anywhere else I should be shopping??

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  1. The Cookbook Company on 11th Ave. SW has many specialty food items.

    1. i've been searching myself - I like the Calgary Farmer's market and Sunterra but we could use an Urban Fare here. Cookbook Company is good but they need more, it would be nice if they had more fresh items too.

      Has anyone seen watercress or pea shoots anywhere? They show up in restaurants so they must be available somewhere...I've never come across them in the shops.

      2 Replies
      1. re: pants

        I saw pea shoots in a shop for the first time today, in Planet Organic on Shaganappi!

        1. re: pants

          You can find them both (most times) at T + T Supermarket

        2. There's a bizarre lack of upscale markets in Calgary. I think if the Trader Joe's people opened a store here they'd make money hand over fist. I go to Sunterra often, but mostly just because it's a more pleasant shopping experience---their meat is good, but everything else is comparable to chain groceries but more expensive, and their produce is simply bad.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ChrisA

            trader joe's would be fantastic - i forgot about them

          2. Palate magazine had an item that a book on food shopping in Calgary will be launched at Cookbook Company on Oct 25th. See how I remembered the date of the launch but not the author or book title? I was considering picking it up.

            3 Replies
            1. re: sharonanne

              sharonanne...Yeah I saw that article and it got me thinking: why do I need to buy a book to shop for good food in my own city? It shouldn't be THAT hard to figure out where to go. I'll have to find that issue or check cookbook co's website.

              1. re: gourmethunter

                I was thinking that a book is going to be out of date before it gets finished printing but one of us could buy it and see if it is worthwhile. Any volunteers?

                Maybe the author has found a few places we've missed.

              2. re: sharonanne

                The author is dee Hobsbawn-Smith, a local food know-it-all and I think the title is Shop Talk; should be worthwhile reference guide.

              3. Lina's Italian Market
                Rustic Sourdough (the deli part)

                But I agree, Calgary needs more foodie boutiques.

                ANY shop would make money here- problem is LABOUR.

                Trader Joe's is nowhere in Canada, by the way.

                3 Replies
                1. re: John Manzo

                  I haven't been to Lina's in awhile but when I think Italian I think carbs...I'll have to have another look at the store for lower carb options. Thanks for the info JM I had no idea Rustic Sourdough had a deli.

                  1. re: gourmethunter

                    We were just there and I'm watching carbs too. They had a good selection of produce and cheeses.

                    1. re: gourmethunter

                      oh yeah, dinner was just some outstanding smoked turkey and roast beef on some deeeelicious rye- we live only a block or so west of RS but I always forget it's there. They do this loving job of slicing and packaging the meats in butcher paper, very old fashioned and beautiful.

                      Lina's has tons of pastas and such, but it is also a complete grocery with all sorts of interesting international stuff. They also have among the best prices in the city for cheeses, and they have a really nice produce dept- seems to be the only place in the city for rapini, sometimes.

                  2. Edelweiss Village carries a lot of European items that you can't get elsewhere.

                    And not to rub it in, btu I am headed to a Trader Joe's next week. Between that and Sur La Table, I may have to ditch all of my husband's clothes from the luggage for the return trip.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: alex8alot

                      I already have a map of where the TJ and Wholefoods are in Vegas. We're going weekend after this one. Is there any limit on how much Fage yogurt I can bring back? My husband is going on to a business meeting so I can't use his suitcase but was thinking of buying a new one there. I need to get a dutch oven at Target too.

                      1. re: sharonanne

                        I never believed in soulmates before but.... too funny: that is the first thing my husband does for me when we travel to the US: print out maps and trajectories for those three exact stores. I was so sad to discover that denver doesn't have TJ's, but Whole Foods and Target are already mapquested. And I am planning on gorging myself on Fage next week in Seattle. Will your husband seriously carry that dutch oven home in the luggage for you? good man!

                        1. re: alex8alot

                          No, he won't carry it. That's why I am threatening to buy another suitcase. We want to travel with just carryon because we have show tickets a couple of hours after landing otherwise I'd just check an empty one. He's going on to Utah while I come home.

                          And I even have to print my own maps!

                          I think I have Target and TJ on the maps not Whole Foods. Just as long as I get my yogurt.

                          Sorry for hijacking this thread but everyone in Calgary will hear about it if Fage starts exporting to Canada.

                    2. Add Community Natural Foods (downtown + Chinook), Amaranth (Crowfoot).

                      A Whole Foods in Calgary would be nice.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: Shazam

                        You would think with Wholefoods having locations in Toronto and Vancouver Calgary would be next on the list.....

                        1. re: JWh

                          Whole Foods might be in the Eau Claire redevelopment- sit tight, it will be here.

                          1. re: John Manzo

                            I really hope so.
                            The only Canadian stores in development listed on the Whole Foods website are in Vancouver and Toronto.

                            1. re: John Manzo

                              That'd be awesome. Should we have high hopes, John?

                              (Although when I used to live near one I'd always refer to it, with only mild hyperbole, as "Whole Paycheque.")

                              1. re: ChrisA

                                Well, there will absolutely be an urban-format grocery there, but which one is to be determined- you have to also realise that build-out of the new eau claire will take years. But it will be among options including whole foods, urban fare, sobey's, co-op, and sunterra. or so they say on skyscraperpage.

                                1. re: John Manzo

                                  I am under the impression it will be a new-format Sobeys

                                  1. re: graemejw

                                    which would not be a terrible thing- though with such Sobey's opening in Marda Loop and (so I hear) at the retail space of Sasso/Vetro, not really unique, but so it goes. I'm much more desperate to know that we'll have new THEATRES at eau claire!

                        2. Totally agree Calgary needs more boutique food stores and is ready for them.

                          My suggestions and affirmations include...

                          The Cookbook Company - mostly wonderful sauces and jams. But also a nice shopping experience because...Metrovino is in the backside of the shop, one of the best wine stores in Calgary. Ask for Stephanie if you need help/direction/advice, imo she is Calgary's best/friendliest sommelier....And brulee is in the basement, one of Calgay's best gourmet cake and cookie shops.

                          Mercato - Good gourmet Italian market. However, their standards are slipping!! On a number of ocassions I've found food in their refridgerator section that was past due. Their fresh pasta and meatballs are very good and you can find figs and fresh Daikon here.

                          Springbank Cheese - Good Cheese...lots from the british Isles it seems. Next door is the North Sea fish Market - a good but not great fish store (Calgary lacks any great fish stores)...and Willow Park Wines is next door as well, with an excellent cellar but not as personable as Metrovino.

                          Sunterra - A poor man's trader joes..various locations.

                          Urban Baker - on Edmonton Trail beside Deluxe Diner. Here's a tip - they have THE best tuscan bread I've ever tasted and it normally sells out. So on weekends you need to get there and buy it before noon.

                          Crave Cupcakes in Kensington - Calgary's best cupcakes, as good if not better than anywhere else.


                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Major_9000

                            I've gotten so fed up with expired items on shelves, I've been phoning the CHR and getting them to inspect places where I find them.

                            Urban Baker seems to be ludicrously popular. I went there at 10 in the morning a few weeks ago and they were already running out of bread.

                            1. re: Major_9000

                              Sunterra is actually nothing like trader joe's. TJ is like a cross between whole foods and costco. The ones I've seen have been uniformly filthy- great deals, yes, but the atmosphere of Aldi.

                              1. re: John Manzo

                                Content wise not definately not atmosphere.

                            2. For a global gourmet hunt, i go to the small ethnic stores along the stretch of 17th ave NE.

                              - the small Portuguese store in the Little Saigon mall (the brioche-like sweet bread baked by the owner's wife)
                              - La Tiendona for Latin American finds (dulce de leche in squeeze bottles)
                              - Lucky and Shun Fat for oriental goods (good selection of servingware at Lucky and cookware at Shunfat such as rice steaming baskets)
                              - Mayfair Foods for Caribbean ingreadients (frozen patties and goat curry mon)
                              - Green Cedar
                              - a middle eastern bakery (forgot the name) with a small selection of grocery items for rosewater, orangewater and tahini

                              outside of the 17th ave NE area i go to the following:

                              Italian - Scarpones, Italian Supermarket and Lina's
                              Asian -T&T, Arirang + another Korean market in the Dalbrent area in the NW
                              German - Edelweis Imports
                              Middle Eastern - Atlas and Jimmy's A&A
                              Mexican - Boca Loca
                              Indian - Dalbrent Spice Rack, Naga Traders and another one in the Heritage/Acadia area (apologies - i'm hopeless with names)

                              I also go to Janice Beatons (for Cunningham's smoked fish pates) as well as Second to None Meats (for Pure Indulgent food's Flats which I like much better than Leslie Stowe's crisps)

                              1 Reply