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Kensington gossip - Calgary

http://www.thenakedleaf.ca/
103-305 10 Street NW
A new tea shop just north of the Carpenter's Union hall.
They have just started renovating their space - new paper covering the windows in the last coupleof days.

Vero Bistro Moderne (not Velo as John M. had previously noted
)209 10 Street NW
Beside Fiasco Gelato
The renovations seem to be mostly complete.
They are advertising for front and back of house staff so the opening should be soon.

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  1. my bad :) "Vero" sounds good!

    You forgot one- "winebar" where the danube used to be- I hear it's Muse's take on a charcuterie type of thing.

    Also I heard Fiasco is closing their Kensington location, too bad but that's a tough space, long skinny and dark- still, it would just kill to have a REALLY good coffee place go in somewhere...

    Two questions-

    1. Anybody been to the new Thai place where most recently Tibet on 10 was? I don't hold out much hope for anything there but am still curious. They had a lunch buffet for about one week and I went to check it out and no more lunch buffet :( so I departed and had the curry (yes, again) at Sungate.

    2. I notice that Lula is gone- too bad as that was a neat store- any news about what's happening in that space?

    18 Replies
    1. re: John Manzo

      Re: the "Muse" space - it wasn't on my (albeit short) tour path. The times I have passed by, the door was open and the lights on so I assume work is progressing but I haven't made the descent - the last time I took a good look, the place had been gutted but that was a month ago. I will try go by some time this week and give a better report.

      I was thinking about lunch at the new Thai place as well but it was closed so I ditched for a steak sandwich instead.

      1. re: John Manzo

        Lula - it is becoming an American Apparel store.

        1. re: cancowboy

          Well I'll be damned- seems too small for an AA (the one by my house must be 10,000sf, on 17th) and I saw they were opening in Market Mall.

          You're a great info source cancowboy!

          edited- just checked AA website, 130 10 St NW, yeppers. If it has to be a chain I must say AA has a bit of an edge.

          1. re: John Manzo

            Thanks but merely snoopy.
            And they were kind enough to post hiring ads in the window.

            I bow before the master.

        2. re: John Manzo

          Re: Winebar (there is a nice little paper? sign now at the top of the stairs)
          I tried to take a look but they have very efficiently covered all the windows.
          Except for a small peephole at floor level at the bottom of the stairs which gives you a good look at construction debris. From what little I could see, it looks like a work in progress - no visible completed anything.
          Looks like late summer at least before it will be open.

          An aside: My original rumour had Winebar going into the Polish Combatant's Hall but I see there is a For Sale sign on the building again - this is the third or fourth time that it will be changing hands.

          1. re: cancowboy

            The Polish hall will be a hard sell- no visible windows and generally an unwelcoming facade- it reminds me of the Crete Social Club here in Bankview; it's like it's trying to be invisible, and is succeeding.

            1. re: John Manzo

              Last time I looked as I drove by the Polish combatants club the front was being changed up.

              1. re: The Gut

                yes, but also FOR LEASE in front. May still sit empty for years and years.

                Of note- The Canadian Bible Society where the futon store was closed (what a surprise) and the property is now "SOLD."

          2. re: John Manzo

            Delicious-Thai
            http://delicious-thai.com/ still under construction - a semi-hidden link lead to http://delicious-thai.com/frontpage.html

            Prices are roughly on par with Ruan Thai (from an 20007 Waiters En Route menu).
            I should preface this by saying I have no idea what Thai food should taste like.
            I went to the restaurant @ 5:30 on Sunday - no one in the place yet.
            A quick look at the takeout menu and I settle on the shrimp pad thai - a safe choice for my inexperienced palate. 10 minutes later I am on my way home.

            Overall, I thought the dish was fine. It looked like the pad thai pictures that I had Googled. I expected the veggies and noodles to be crisper in texture for some reason but it tasted ok.
            It was good enough for me to consider trying the restaurant again some time but perhaps with a more knowledgeable guide.

            1. re: cancowboy

              Miss L and I went to *Delicious Thai* in Kensington for lunch yesterday. The deep fried chicken wings stuffed with pork were really nice, flavorful and very different for a Thai place. We both liked that. The chicken Pad Thai was very disappointing. It was dry, very light in color, and had an overwhelming fish sauce flavor that just wouldn't go away. Pretty sure there was MSG too, as my head began to act up almost immediately after lunch. This Pad Thai was nothing like any other I've had. Linda agreed. The service was nice and friendly.

              1. re: Bagel Guy

                how do they stuff chicken wings with pork?

                  1. re: John Manzo

                    oh, right on! i've never seen such a thing!

            2. re: John Manzo

              Re: Winebar
              I was having brunch in KP and someone mentioned that Winebar would be open in the next week or so.

              1. re: cancowboy

                Well. peering into the tiny slit in the window covering today (Aug 24) - I'd say that's being very unrealistically optimistic, but let's hope for the best.

                1. re: John Manzo

                  Walking past Winebar today.
                  The limited peek in the (mostly) covered windows shows a lot a progress towards being completed.
                  Also a "Change of Use" notice was posted in one window - last date for comment was October 1st. So maybe mid-October for opening????

                  1. re: cancowboy

                    Excellent, can't wait to try it out...thanks for the update.

              2. re: John Manzo

                I happened to walk past Sungate this morning and there is a "For Lease" sign in the window and the place looked emptied so I assume closed for good.

              3. Vero Bistro Moderne is now open (apparently for about a week).
                Menu is euro/continental (I think).
                Pricing is on par with Chef's Table and Muse.
                Lunch $15-$20 for mains; dinner $30-$40+.

                More than I felt like spending on lunch today.

                4 Replies
                1. re: cancowboy

                  Has anyone tried this place yet? I've looked at the menu a couple of times but it's a bit pricey for just a 'it's Tuesday I don't feel like cooking' type day.

                  1. re: magrat22

                    it got a very positive review in ffwd this week.

                      1. re: magrat22

                        I was at Vero Bistro Moderne with a friend 2 weeks ago - and we absolutely loved it. We had a reservation for 9:00 and were informed that we were there in time for the full dinner menu as well as the tapas menu. The tapas menu is available until 2 am. Our server was very attentive and knowledgeable. We shared the shrimp balls/cakes from the tapas menu. They were delicate, had a beautiful crunch and a lovely mango sauce to go with them. I had a ribeye steak that came with a gorgonzola cream, truffled mashed potatoes and veg of some sort. It was the special of the evening and also came with a 2 ounce red wine pairing ($37). It was fantastic! My dinner companion had the duck breast from the dinner menu. I can't remember the specifics of his dish, but it was delicious. We met the chef/owner (Jenny). She is a lovely woman who clearly has a passion for the business. We ordered a dessert to share (creme caramel - also delicous), and Jenny sent us some complimentary sauternes to enjoy with the dessert, as well as some homemade truffles. It was a great meal, and I'd highly recommend it.

                    1. Take Ten is gone. I walked by yesterday and the windows are papered up.

                      A small sign in the door says "????? Sushi" - sorry I forgot the name; I should have posted yesterday. No opening date but it shouldn't take too long to redo the interior - assuming they are not going for the full restaurant makeover.

                      So that will make 4 sushi restaurants in Kensington.
                      An embarassment of riches.

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: cancowboy

                        Is that the one on the corner of 10th and Memorial Drive? The one that changes ownership/formats every year?

                        1. re: alau2

                          No it is the little hole in the wall between the Roasterie and Broken Plate.

                          1. re: cancowboy

                            OOH! The breakfast place. Thanks!

                        2. re: cancowboy

                          The restaurant will be named Tenshi Sushi.

                          Also, one of the Japanese restaurants may be changing hands by the end of the year - most likely candidate is Zeal Sushi.

                          1. re: cancowboy

                            Zeal is pretty good... changing hands and changing restos are just ownership change?

                            1. re: John Manzo

                              I believe ownership change but I have no concrete details.

                              And Zeal is just a guess by elimination - not Globefish obviously; Sushi Club just renewed their lease and did some minor renos; Tenshi is too new (my impression was that the establishment was already a going concern) which leaves Zeal - I know Zeal had been on the market within the last year.

                              Besides I think my rumor record has only been about 50/50.

                              Speaking of which, I peeked in the window at Winebar and they don't seem to have made much progress from the last time I looked in.

                              1. re: John Manzo

                                I spoke to the owner of Zeal Sushi and confirmed that the restaurant had been sold - without his partner, keeping Zeal going was becoming overwhelming and he needed a break.
                                <rumour>
                                The new owners will be renovating and adding an actual kitchen plus bathrooms. I don't know how they will manage that in such a small space and maintain enough seating .
                                </rumour>

                                1. re: cancowboy

                                  Just a final note on Sushi Zeal
                                  The doors are closed and the windows papered over (for about the last week).

                                  A big dumpster in the back so renovations are underway.

                            2. re: cancowboy

                              FYI Tenshi Sushi opened this weekend.

                            3. Fiasco's contract comes up in 2009 and I'm pretty sure they're not going to renew it. Do you guys have any ideas for what will go there in it's place? Or what you would like to go there? I personally wouldn't mind an independent bookstore but not many would agree with me. Another restaurant would be nice, I guess.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: cn1822

                                Fiasco is way way WAY too small for a bookstore! Besides, I think the days of new indie bookstores ever opening up anywhere- aside from strip mall used Harlequin romance ones that litter small towns all over NA- are over.

                                A GOOD coffee place would be killer for Kensington. And you are correct, Fiasco is moving out.

                                1. re: John Manzo

                                  I was thinking that a bookstore in the area (kensington) would be nice, not in that particular spot. But that spot is pretty small for most things. The spot where fiasco is, wouldn't be the greatest place for a sit in coffee shop. What's a good shop that could fit there do you think?

                                  1. re: cn1822

                                    Well there is already a fantastic indie bookstore over on Kensington Rd- not that we couldn't always use more.

                                    It is indeed a bizarre, narrow, tiny space- I guess something that could do with a somewhat sunny front and private back- and I hate to say it but that is the perfect setup for a tanning salon, something Cgy does NOT need more of!

                              2. Winebar.
                                The plastic is off the windows so you can see in now.
                                Interior is done; tables set up.
                                Looks just about ready to open.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: cancowboy

                                  Great news!

                                  And wow, Calgary might not be exactly an early adopter of this trend but it sure is making up for lost time now. All very reminiscent of the coffee (r)evolution here.

                                  1. re: cancowboy

                                    We walked past Winebar's open door today... They opened on Friday! A very nice manager-type saw us looking in and stopped to chat. They're open 4 pm-1 a.m. (2 a.m. on weekends) and on Thurs, Fri and Saturday for lunch.

                                    He said "city stuff" delayed Winebar's opening for about two months and he hoped their website would be up next week.

                                    They've got chalkboards up for cheese and charcuterie (like Salt in Vancouver) but also very tasty sounding munchies like grilled cheese and duck sandwich ($11) and pulled pork something (I think)... from the quick glance I got from the menu he let us peruse.

                                    The decor is relaxed, greys, metals... Looks very promising! I might have to force myself to visit this week...

                                    1. re: alau2

                                      They have an ad in the new "City Palate".
                                      Web address is http://www.winebarkensington.com/

                                      1. re: cancowboy

                                        Hey, that's the address of the Danube cafe, the place that made those wonderful crepes... does anyone know what happened to them?

                                        1. re: AriaDream

                                          Is it possible that there is a connection b/t Danube and the crepes place in the TD Square food court (Fresh Crepes)? I just ask because they are (or were) both run by Croatian folks.

                                          AFAIK Danube is no more.

                                  2. In other Kensington news, I've heard that Heartland Cafe will be closing in a few months, seems the landlord plans to re-develop the Heartland/Child at Heart space, probably as a restaurant/bakery.

                                    8 Replies
                                      1. re: a voce

                                        I'm hoping it's a bakery! In my wildest dreams Manuel Latruwe opens a second store there...

                                      2. re: irishgirl

                                        Isn't it already a restaurant/bakery?

                                        Maybe the new concept won't have the city's worst espresso...

                                          1. re: irishgirl

                                            For those following the Heartland/Child at Heart space... Child at Heart closed it's doors for good on Saturday, Jan 31st (their Britannia location is still open for business). I tried to ask the Heartland staff what their timeline was but just got a lot of pouting faces and no answers.

                                            1. re: vanderb

                                              Really? I guess it was expected. Glad to hear Britannia is still open. I wonder if they mean to take over the space occupied by the 3rd retailer (antiques?) as well? I'm not too surprised at the reaction by Heartand staff...the place is closing after all.

                                              1. re: maplesugar

                                                The woman I spoke to in Child at Heart thought Heartland would be closing in June. Not that I have any idea what she based that on!

                                      3. Fiasco in Kensington is open for business again.
                                        The freezers are full of yummy ice cream plus they are featuring cupcakes from Buttercream.
                                        New freezers I think - it is no longer smoking hot waiting for your fix!
                                        They have also created a little patio area in front so you can do some people watching.

                                        I was coming back from beers in Robbie Stewarts so I only had room for a vanilla cupcake. Butttercream makes a very good cupcake - moist and tasty and not over the top with icing. It is good to have an alternative to Crave in the neighborhood.

                                        1. Other recent news is that Heartland has closed, as scheduled... sign in the window says Vendome Cafe will open soon. The Vendome Block is the name of the building Heartland was in, so the name doesn't tell us anything about it's future nor have any serious renovations really started behind the paper on the windows.

                                          10 Replies
                                          1. re: vanderb

                                            I could be wrong but I thought I heard that the old Sunnyside Heartland location would become a bakery & they were expanding into the space formerly occupied by Child at Heart.

                                            1. re: vanderb

                                              Just a little intel from the Herald a couple of weeks ago:
                                              http://www2.canada.com/calgaryherald/...
                                              "... when Heartland gives way to a new business later this year (the move wasn't Swartz's choice: the building's owner, Teatro's Dario Berloni, decided not to renew the lease in favour of opening his own venture, rumoured to be a bistro, in the 2nd Avenue N.W. location)."

                                                  1. re: Bananna85

                                                    Yep- reposting my review from coffeegeek.com:

                                                    I stopped in this afternoon. They are pulling "Abiamo" angel's espresso- this is The Planet rebranded. I have never seen the make/model of espresso machine they have; it's something Italian (Venezia maybe?) but it's new and clean. Espresso's not bad; I got a shot and it was decent, but they have a lot to learn- PFs were on the drip tray but when I suggested they keep them warm in the groupheads they were happy to be taught, which is nice. My main beef was that they didn't grind to order and seeing as the place was empty when I came in (this was around 4pm, and they currently close at 5) one could surmise that the grounds had been sitting in there a long time. This is easily corrected though, and the shot I got was pretty good, nice looking and pulled into a proper demitasse.

                                                    Where I think this place will shine is its food- pastries come from Teatro and for example the tarts I saw in the case were gorgeous, and I mean Manuel Latruwe gorgeous. I got a pricey ($3) tea biscuit with raisin and it was excellent.

                                                    As I say they're only open until 5 for now but are open 7 days. I look forward to trying their panini but for now their coffee program looks merely competent... which places it at the top of the heap in Kensington.

                                                    1. re: Bananna85

                                                      The food is very good. I've been a couple of times - have had the lemon tart (not quite Ladybug level but nearly as good), apple caramel muffin and blueberry loaf - both lovely. On Sunday we had lunch there, I had the chicken pot pie, very tasty chicken and veggie 'filling' with a yummy pastry rectangle balanced on top. My husband had the veggie panini, which was nice but very strongly lemon-flavoured (it does say with lemon zest on the menu but he missed that). Planning on trying the duck confit panini next...

                                                      1. re: Bananna85

                                                        Vendome is a very pleasant surprise, especially for folks that were often underwhelmed by the prior tenant.

                                                        First, good coffee. I'll defer to Manzo's expertise on the particulars, but I can attest that both of their brewed coffees (medium and dark) are leaps and bounds better than the Heartland's. Cappuccino was nice, though not the best I've had in the city (though the best I've had in the neighborhood).

                                                        Food is also very good. I've had the cheese biscuit on a number of occasions and it has been consistently great; incredibly soft, perfectly balanced (crumbly yet moist?) dough, and great sharp cheese on top. Ham and cheese croissant is the best I've had since Bonjour Brioche in Toronto. And wonderful attention to detail...the sandwich is heated in a small convection oven then taken out, sprinkled with some Gruyere and finished with a bit more heat. The duck confit panini is nice, but might need something to take it to greatness. I took it for a late lunch takeaway and found myself experimenting with grainy mustard, ginger jelly and onion relish to give it a bit more kick. That said the duck and onion filling was quite tasty and the grilled bread was wonderfully crisp without being too oily.

                                                        Friendly staff too.

                                                        A great , though at first impression slightly more formal, addition to the neighborhood.

                                                        1. re: KcM

                                                          Thoughtful review, thanks KcM. For me the name"Vendome" reminds me of a rather dodgey Metro stop in Montreal's Notre Dame de Grace (NDG) I'm glad to hear this incarnation is the antithesis. I'll have to make a point of stopping there the next time I'm in town.

                                                          1. re: maplesugar

                                                            LOL- Vendome in this case is very appropriate as the retail block is the Vendome Block- it's very classy, but comfy.

                                                            1. re: John Manzo

                                                              Heh I forgot that was the name of the block. The architecture is what drew me there in the first place...reminded me of Montreal in a good way. Heartland's salads and their eclectic magazine selection kept me going back (albeit infrequently) since we lived in Sunnyside in 99-00.

                                                  2. I was driving down 14th St North and spotted a new(?) sushi spot - SW corner of 5th Ave and 14th St NW; a building or two south of the intersection. I think it is new - last thing I remember in that spot was breakfast\lunch place for the surrounding offices.

                                                    Sushi Kai
                                                    100-609 14 Street NW
                                                    (403) 453-0577

                                                    Might be related to the Sushi Kai in Chinatown?
                                                    See if I make the trek over there sometime this week.

                                                    15 Replies
                                                    1. re: cancowboy

                                                      I was walking to Kensington Winemarket and noticed a big sign in Janice Beaton Cheese...they are closing this location? A staff member told me that the rent is getting really high in Kensington and we are bound to see more closures or moves as leases come up for renewal. Rumoured to be a tea house of some sort subletting the space, but not confirmed. Also noticed that Red Tree has changed its hours to close Sundays, and a few other empty storefronts (mostly clothing stores if I remember correctly from past visits) makes me wonder if the sq ft rent is just too much for some of the businesses we are used to seeing there? (as an aside parking could be friendlier too....)

                                                      1. re: messier

                                                        Funny that the rents would be "high" during a recession...

                                                        Sounds like their pricing caught up with them.

                                                        CM

                                                        1. re: seemac70

                                                          My thoughts precisely. Although rents would have been set when they moved in. I do think people are watching their money more closely at the moment.

                                                          1. re: sarah galvin

                                                            http://blog.calsun.canoe.ca/sixinthec...

                                                            A big love in for "Janice" from the Advertainment specialists at the Sun...

                                                            It's called going out of business, actually.

                                                            "Farm" is so amazingly overpriced, it proves my point(s) about the Calgary food scene with finality and grace.

                                                            Choke on it.

                                                            1. re: seemac70

                                                              “We recognize some of our customers will miss the convenience of the Kensington location,” said Ms. Beaton, “But the benefits of the new locale will soon have them looking forward to the short trip across the river to see us. We are part of a great destination neighbourhood where people are always happy to spend a few minutes or a few hours. And we can finally offer adequate parking to accommodate their stay – however long it is.”

                                                              Wow, thanks Janice! What an opportunity. I'm looking forward to it already.

                                                              By the way, there's lots of parking in Kensington. More than on 17th, in fact. When in doubt, blame parking, not the Gruyere at a zillion a pound.

                                                              1. re: seemac70

                                                                But seemac, "With its back-lane charm and casual atmosphere, you’ll find a little bit of Europe in the heart of the city" at the 17th Ave location!

                                                              2. re: seemac70

                                                                I ate there once and couldn't believe how small the portions were for the money. I'm sure that the coffee shop is carrying her.

                                                                1. re: seemac70

                                                                  My goodness. Was that a real article? Sorry, I'm new to town, but it sounds like she PAID for that little bit of promotional gloss-over!
                                                                  I do hate seeing empty storefronts, but I have to agree, I bought some pretty straightforward cheese there and paid way too much for it....

                                                                  1. re: messier

                                                                    Text is copied from the link above.

                                                                    Welcome to the set my man...

                                                                    You got it in Technicolor. Not paid, exactly, just a lot of ad revenue over the years would be my bet. Myke Thomas is the real whore at the Sun, but he's shilling for the real estate industry. Hey, it's just cheese for J.B. not houses!

                                                                    Empty storefronts? Patience. Hopefully something real will fill them. Not just trinket shops.

                                                                  2. re: seemac70

                                                                    JB is not "going out of business." And choosing to focus on her corner (JBFC/Farm/Beano) is great, especially since I live near it. So we get JBFC and Kensington gets the new and very improved Fiasco Gelato. Everybody's happy.

                                                                    I've only eaten at Farm once but I didn't find it a bit overpriced for what I got, it was absolutely fantastic, BUT I am happy to teetotal and it might have been different otherwise. I had three gorgeous things for $44. I didn't find this bad at all considering the overpriced nonsense I'd experienced recently in Seattle, one of the most disappointing trips of my life...

                                                                    1. re: John Manzo

                                                                      Well with all this talk of Farm, I will have to go visit. I've been to Salt, so I assume its of similar format. Who can't love a little cheese and meat?

                                                                      As for Kensington, I won't say that gelato is a fair trade off for a one stop cheese/wine shopping experience, but since you live in the neighbourhood receiving benefit I will forgive your zeal Mr Manzo :)

                                                                      Lets hope something nice replaces it...

                                                                      1. re: messier

                                                                        farm is good, but it's even more expensive than salt and not quite as good, adds up quick.

                                                              3. re: messier

                                                                Another tea house? That would make 3 tea shops and 6 coffee shops in the neighbourhood.

                                                                1. re: messier

                                                                  I walked by today while foraging for lunch.
                                                                  Renovations are underway - new posters in the window.

                                                                  Elixir Fine Tea http://www.elixirfinetea.ca/

                                                                2. re: cancowboy

                                                                  My cousin works at the Sushi Kai in Chinatown, so I know that yes, the two are related.

                                                                3. I stumbled across "Royal Kabab Express" last week when I was on my way to Shawarma King and decided to give the new place a try. There is dine in and take out options, and since I wasn't in a rush, I dined in. I had a "Sultani Kabab" meal at $18.50 which included basmati rice, grilled tomatoes and a Persian Salad consisting of tomato, cucumber, onion, mint and lime juice. The kababs were Kubideh (ground beef) and Barg (steak). Afterwards, I treated myself to a delicious little baklava.

                                                                  Flavours were great and portions were sharable in size, but I still felt the price was a tad high considering what the meal actually consisted of.

                                                                  The space is nice enough and clean, as you'd expect an "everything-new" restaurant to be.

                                                                  I'll likely be back, but will probably stick to ordering a more reasonably priced pita wrap, even though the "super" size wraps get up to $13.50.

                                                                  Overall a quality alternative to the other Middle Eastern options in the area... though I would say their pricing will be the biggest hurdle to attracting customers (during my time there, two groups came in and left again after looking at the prices... heading across the lot in the direction of Shawarma King).

                                                                  Royal Kabab Express
                                                                  #20B 14th Street NW (next to the liquor store where the frame shop was)
                                                                  403-270-4323

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Chow_Down

                                                                    We went there last week, and I thought the same thing about prices.

                                                                    But my fiance got the Kubideh kebob ($10.99) meal which is probably the best value. It's TWO skewers of ground spiced beef with basmati rice. I got a lamb kebob ($14.99) meal which came with one skewer. (It wasn't listed on the menu but the owner said was available.)

                                                                    We got takeout and as we were waiting the owner served us Persian tea. I think it came from the Samaavar I saw in the corner.

                                                                    He said he owned the frame shop for 20 years and because of the economy decided to turn it into the restaurant.

                                                                    As we were waiting, we saw some large kebobs with pita bread go out. They looked really good.

                                                                    Our dinner was quite good once we got home. I found the lamb quite tender and full of flavour. I've only had the kubideh from Ali Baba (Afghan) off 17th Ave. but it tasted similar. Takeout dinner came with a bag of huge onion wedges and pita.

                                                                    Royal Kabob also serves donairs, shawarma etc. but their kebobs definitely differentiate them from Shawarma King et al.

                                                                    1. re: alau2

                                                                      Why "express"? is this is an order-at-the-counter sort of place, like Ali Baba?

                                                                      1. re: John Manzo

                                                                        There is a take-away option, so I guess that's what makes it "express"...

                                                                  2. I went to a CIFF flick at the Plaza last night (100% sold out!) and had dinner beforehand- decided to give Tenshi another try (first time was lunch which was okay but an issue with the cash register made it very frustrating what with the damn thing beeping constantly during my meal) despite reports I'd heard about slow service on yelp etc; it was 5:30 so I figured I'd be beating the dinner rush and had plenty of time. I had an order of gyoza (pork), two unagi nigiri, two hamachi nigiri, one yam/avocado roll, on spicy tuna roll w/ fried tempura bits. Everything was really good and some was exceptional. Gyoza were great, they were pan (not deep) fried and a perfect (non-searing-hot) temp. Nigiri were well-formed with decent sized unagi but the really pleasant surprise was the hamachi, which was sliced quite thick, not paper thin as one sometimes finds at less pricey sushi places. Fish was fresh and not too cold. The rice was very good, well-formed and not too abundant nor too scarce. Rolls were nice- yam/avocado was fine, but the spicy tuna was amazing; it wasn't drowning in spicy sauce (this one is non-mayo based btw) nor was it smothered in tempura bits but it was balanced and absolutely delicious. With just water to drink the bill was a very reasonable $24, and service (maybe because of my early arrival) was very fast; even taking the time to read this week's Savage Love after paying my bill, I was in and out in 40 minutes.

                                                                    Afterwards with about 30 minutes to spare I had desert at the new and very much improved Fiaso Gelato. For those who don't know this, Fiasco has been taken over by a new owner who has retained some of Matt's original aspects (like the branding) but almost everything is new. The gelato is much better, with more flavours, more creativity; for example I had an anise gelato that was just incredible and not something I've ever seen before. Sorbetti are gorgeous too. They also have cupcakes from Buttercream and a raft of panini on offer (I think they have 6 on the menu). The plan is to stay open year-round now, not to close winters anymore. Please check it out if you haven't recently!

                                                                    The film? Interesting.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: John Manzo

                                                                      Good stuff JM! Very reasonable price and I don't get why my friends go to AYCE sushi places when you pay more and stuff yourself like crazy with mediocre excuses for sushi and gyoza, etc. I'd rather go ala carte and get quality Japanese cuisine.

                                                                    2. Indochine Bistro (next to the Roasterie) has closed.

                                                                      A sign saying "Chinese Cuisine" is sitting in the doorway.

                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                      1. re: cancowboy

                                                                        Too bad. Nothing seems to like that location.

                                                                        1. re: cancowboy

                                                                          Very unfortunate! I loved this place. Any idea if they’ve moved or shut completely?
                                                                          I’ll miss eating soup and watching the game there…

                                                                          1. re: Kaffe Ton

                                                                            Sorry no other intel.
                                                                            It has been on and off the market for the last year(?) or so.

                                                                          2. re: cancowboy

                                                                            They have a sign - Classic Wok N Roll China Bistro.

                                                                            1. re: cancowboy

                                                                              It looks horrible. I grabbed a take-out menu and it's the same as every suburban strip-mall gwai lo craphole in town. They even have the category of "Vegetables and misc," just like every mired-in-the-70s "Chinese" place in Calgary.

                                                                              Of course not every "western" Chinese is bad- the chicken and broccoli, with tons of fresh garlic and not a trace of MSG or cornstarch, at King's on 17th is fantastic. So is their ginger beef. But this place looks like it'll last about 3 months in a community that will want more than strip mall chinese-ish.

                                                                          3. A new frozen yogurt place will be opening west of Higher Ground (where the yoga wear place was). Still being renovated but some frozen yogurt machines were being wheeled in yesterday.
                                                                            Sign in the window "If you love me ... Spoon Me".
                                                                            This appears to be the website: http://spoonme.com/

                                                                            14 Replies
                                                                              1. re: cancowboy

                                                                                It's about frickin' time that the Korean frozen yogurt trend (Pinkberry, Blueberry, et al) came to Calgary!

                                                                                1. re: John Manzo

                                                                                  Is Korean frozen yogurt like Mexican frozen yogurt? In Mexico, frozen yogurt is "plain" flavoured: not very sweet, a little bit sour.

                                                                                  1. re: Jetgirly

                                                                                    I don't know about Mex, but Pinkberry and its knockoffs are a Korean trend and yes it's quite sour.

                                                                                2. re: cancowboy

                                                                                  Spoon Me is open (since Friday?). Just FYI

                                                                                  1. re: cancowboy

                                                                                    thanks cancowboy! Your updates are very much appreciated.

                                                                                    Chatted with a friend who extolled Gratitude. They seem to be doing great business and maybe they're hitting their stride. Happy to give them a chance, soon.

                                                                                  2. re: cancowboy

                                                                                    Had lunch in K'ton today- first a delicious but TINY panino from Fiasco- it was very tasty but for $7 a bad deal, which I hate to say about Fiasco as their gelato is a great deal. Fine sandwich but don't come hungry...

                                                                                    Anyway I had Spoon Me for desert and two thumbs up! They have three base flavours: plain, green tea (they were out) and acai. I had plain in a baby size which is not really baby at all and comes with 3 toppings for $5. This is a good deal compared to places like this I've been to in the states, which only come with one topping. I had kiwi, honeydew and peaches and it was great- it had that very cold and thin consistency that you will find at Pinkberry et al (no fat) but the consistency was fine and the flavour was great; I could have eaten more. It's not ridiculously sour (versus an "Italian" version I had in Portland this summer- it was unpleasant) but it's unquestionably still yogurt. Also- nice clean space, and it's open until 11p so you can pop in after a Plaza flick.

                                                                                    1. re: John Manzo

                                                                                      Peaches? Really! This time of year? Was the fruit fresh do you think or IQF? The price sounds fantastic though...I will pop over next week after my dentist appointment, lol.

                                                                                      1. re: messier

                                                                                        no idea, but it tasted great. One of the better executions of this sort of place, and I've been to many of them. Never been to an actual pinkberry though oddly enough.

                                                                                        Hey maybe we'll bet a Beard Papa now :)

                                                                                        1. re: John Manzo

                                                                                          Or its off-brand relative, Goatee Cousin.

                                                                                      2. re: John Manzo

                                                                                        Fourth visit to Spoon Me yesterday- ADORE this place! They have a new flavour- pomegranate. Fruits are beautiful too. Baby size with three fruits (I had blackberries, mango and kiwi) is a gorgeous healthy treat. And they're opening a second location...

                                                                                      3. re: cancowboy

                                                                                        Thanks for the posting cancowboy, we tried Spoon Me last night (orange yogurt was new), and delish. Paired with dark chocolate, it was a perfect finish to dinner. My husband had the Acai with fresh blackberries, etc. which he preferred over mine. Everyone was happy :)

                                                                                      4. Coming soon in the space formerly known as "Red Tree" ...

                                                                                        Exceptional Pizza (I may have the wrong name - I was on the way to Kensington Wine Market and my head can only hold so much info at once).
                                                                                        Sign says opening January 2010 - open until 3AM on the weekends.

                                                                                        Pizza, Subs and HALIFAX DONAIRS.

                                                                                        17 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: cancowboy

                                                                                          Uff da! I know that's Norwegian, but I don't know what else to say. Great news!

                                                                                          1. re: John Manzo

                                                                                            I hate to constantly demonstrate my ignorance but what is a Halifax donair? Is it a fish donair? I imagine a cod spinning delicately on the rotisserie being flaked off into a fresh pita with all the regular sauces and veggies. Set me straight or let me know I've thought of the next great culinary experience... fish tacos are a huge hit why not fish donairs.

                                                                                            1. re: vanderb

                                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5212...
                                                                                              " A Halifax Donair is like the usual doner kebab, but uses a slightly sweet milk-based garlic sauce and tomatoes/onions. It should be very soaked and sloppy when served."

                                                                                              1. re: cancowboy

                                                                                                I have a friend who always makes a pit stop at a donair shop in Halifax before hitting the airport and flying back to Calgary, and then brings a cooler full of donairs for all of her friends and family from the Maritimes!

                                                                                          2. re: cancowboy

                                                                                            The correct name is "Evolution Pizza".

                                                                                            Hey ... I got the "E" right.

                                                                                            1. re: cancowboy

                                                                                              Has anyone tried Evolution Pizza yet?

                                                                                            2. re: cancowboy

                                                                                              Pizza Evolution is no more.
                                                                                              I went by today (on my way to KWM) and a rental arrears letter taped to the door.

                                                                                              1. re: cancowboy

                                                                                                Can't say I'm surprised...with Pepinos and so many other choices you'd better be spectacular. I went and it was just...ok.

                                                                                                1. re: cancowboy

                                                                                                  My God, didn't it open just few weeks ago??

                                                                                                  1. re: John Manzo

                                                                                                    I think they opened in November? Its the same guy who bought the Mexican place that was in the same plaza but around the corner. He just moved it to the vacant space in the front and I guess he would have subleased his space at the side? It's too bad for him, but I guess the Halifax Donair was not a big hit!

                                                                                                    1. re: messier

                                                                                                      Long live Peppino's, all hail the Nico's special.

                                                                                                      1. re: Places_I_go_things_I_eat

                                                                                                        Amen!
                                                                                                        Hmm, now I want a meatball sub from Peppino's. Darn you!

                                                                                                      2. re: messier

                                                                                                        Being a big fan of Halifax donairs, I spoke to the owner of this place a couple of times.... he never actually could offer them since he could not get the permits for the donair roasting spit. Building code issue, it didn't have the proper ventilation, or something like that.

                                                                                                        I thought the pizza was okay, but I was ready and waiting to buy the donairs. Never got the chance.

                                                                                                    2. re: cancowboy

                                                                                                      In a related closing, Tandoori Knights has a "For Lease" sign in front.
                                                                                                      I was told TK left their sub-lease which Pizza Evolution was counting on.

                                                                                                      1. re: cancowboy

                                                                                                        On my way to Sushi Club for sushi and there is new signage and awning on the Pizza Evolution location.
                                                                                                        It will be Maggie's Shortbread - another part of the (eventual) diaspora from CFM?
                                                                                                        Gourmet cookies and treats.
                                                                                                        http://www.maggiesshortbread.com/

                                                                                                        1. re: cancowboy

                                                                                                          Stopped in Maggie's today- happy to have a regular source for her addictive pecan clusters! She is not moving with CFM.

                                                                                                    3. Fiasco Gelato is closed for the month of January - I walked by today and the freezers were parked outside the front door - looks like they are doing a bit more renovation.

                                                                                                      Winebar Kensington is rumoured to be expanding into the space above them (or adding a new venture to their empire).

                                                                                                      TRFKARS The restaurant formerly known as Robbie Stewart can be all yours for $399K. At least that's their asking price.

                                                                                                      9 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: cancowboy

                                                                                                        "The restaurant formerly known as Robbie Stewart can be all yours for $399K. At least that's their asking price."

                                                                                                        Stripped of the equipment?

                                                                                                        1. re: sharonanne

                                                                                                          Maybe probably yes - I don't really know - it is just the number that was bandied about by people who do know.

                                                                                                          1. re: cancowboy

                                                                                                            I understand. I won't hold you to it.

                                                                                                            Just thinking that sounds like a good deal. With equipment it would be a very good deal.

                                                                                                            1. re: sharonanne

                                                                                                              I can't be 100% sure but based on the description I think I found the listing: http://www.restaurants4sale.ca/Proper...

                                                                                                              1. re: sharonanne

                                                                                                                Just a guess.
                                                                                                                Some of the front-of-house equipment would have been taken/seized by the vendors who were owed money.
                                                                                                                Back of house is probably still intact - the kitchen should be relatively new (ie from a previous incarnation on the corner).

                                                                                                                1. re: cancowboy

                                                                                                                  The ad says turn-key so the equipment should be there but that rent is a killer and I'm skeptical about the sales they report.

                                                                                                                  Interesting.

                                                                                                                  1. re: sharonanne

                                                                                                                    I drove past there today and they had a new sign up...it is on the side facing Memorial but I couldn't see the name...any Kensington folks have word, or was I hallucinating?

                                                                                                                    1. re: messier

                                                                                                                      There's a sign up called "Bottlehouse Beer Parlour." I think someone just started a new thread on it.

                                                                                                                      1. re: alau2

                                                                                                                        pretty sure the price includes everything back of house.

                                                                                                                        beer parlor doesn't look promising. This location will forever be cursed by parking and location. Something would have to be ABSOLUTELY amazing, unique, and reasonable to work here.

                                                                                                        2. Here is something random that may or may not happen. You know the building where the Wind store resides? I hear there might be a breakfast place opening in the empty bay. I think it depends on some things. Won't know for sure 'till later.

                                                                                                          1. Charlie Chan's is no more. I walked past just last week and people were eating on the patio.

                                                                                                            Sign says 'Song Han Vietnamese Restaurant'.
                                                                                                            Renovations are already underway.

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: cancowboy

                                                                                                              Song Han is open for business - they are running a grand opening 10% off for the month of August. Patio was mostly full for dinner - inside looked about half full.
                                                                                                              Take-out menu has the usual Vietnamese offerings with some Cantonese(?) additions.
                                                                                                              Pricing seems to be around the average for Kensington.

                                                                                                            2. There's a sign up "European Deli & Bakery" in the storefront next to the Nellie's. I hope it's a real bakery with fresh bread. About time in Kensington!

                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: alau2

                                                                                                                A week or two after it was mentioned here I walked by and peered in the windows.
                                                                                                                Fast forward to last week - I looked in again but everything seemed to be the same as the first time.
                                                                                                                Seemed to be absolutely no progress in construction.
                                                                                                                Anyone else have any insight?

                                                                                                                1. re: alau2

                                                                                                                  Tried to peek in on the weekend.
                                                                                                                  Some new drywall - a lot of stuff piled up in front of the windows.
                                                                                                                  Some progress but it still looks a long ways from being ready.

                                                                                                                  1. re: alau2

                                                                                                                    A new sign taped to the window "Soon To Open".
                                                                                                                    I peeked in and the front of house is set up with display cabinets ready to be filled with baked goodness (hopefully).

                                                                                                                  2. The space that was Fiasco Gelato has paper covering its windows and a Development Notice that says "Outdoor Cafe".

                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: cancowboy

                                                                                                                      New signage in the window says "Wake Bistro".

                                                                                                                      1. re: cancowboy

                                                                                                                        the summers hurtin w/o fiasco.... :( I don't like amato...

                                                                                                                        1. re: crigg

                                                                                                                          Kind of late on this reply but Fiasco sells their gelato at Famoso Pizzeria in Mission!

                                                                                                                      2. re: cancowboy

                                                                                                                        The paper is off the windows so they are pretty close to opening.
                                                                                                                        Shiny new display cases visible from the street.
                                                                                                                        They were hoping to open a week ago but ...

                                                                                                                      3. In the space formerly occupied by the Canadian Bible Society Book Store (beside Ridley's).
                                                                                                                        Signage for "The Candy Kid".
                                                                                                                        This is the vendor from CFM (I think).

                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: cancowboy

                                                                                                                          This might have been mentioned but.. During sun 'n' salsa I noticed the former mexican pizza guy a couple doors down from the Kensington wine market is gone and it looks like Shwarma Knights are moving in. Unless I'm way behind and they just moved out.

                                                                                                                          1. re: The Gut

                                                                                                                            The latter - they came and went while you weren't looking.

                                                                                                                        2. The space that was Tandoori Knights is getting a quick(?) renovation.
                                                                                                                          "KO3" (I should really write this stuff down) - Asian crepes.

                                                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: cancowboy

                                                                                                                            Very good! I hope it's like Chicco in Vancouver- Asian deserts; crepes, gelato and these funky parfaits with gelato, sponge cake, red bean- amazing food.

                                                                                                                            1. re: cancowboy

                                                                                                                              When you said "Asian crepes" I thought dessert crepes- but the sign that I saw today (finally - it's been months since I ambled around K'ton, or seems that way) says banh xeo- those are the eggy omelet-type "crepes" you get at Viet places stuffed with pork and shrimp. I assume they'll be having a variety of them. I've never seen a Viet resto devoted entirely to banh xeo and am really looking forward to trying this place.

                                                                                                                              1. re: John Manzo

                                                                                                                                Note of trivia: Banh Xeo usually don't use eggs at all. It's cocunut milk, yellow beans, and flour. The yellow colour comes from turmeric.

                                                                                                                                Nevertheless, super interested in seeing what this turns out like.

                                                                                                                                1. re: marcopolo

                                                                                                                                  Ah! Good to know! My partner avoids them because he has problems with eggs. I will let him know.

                                                                                                                              2. re: cancowboy

                                                                                                                                This place is now open.
                                                                                                                                Some pictures in the Wikipedia article
                                                                                                                                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bánh_xèo

                                                                                                                                Was on my way to sushi so didn't have a chance togo in but it looks interesting so I will att try to swing by next week.

                                                                                                                                1. re: cancowboy

                                                                                                                                  Name correction s/b Kol3 Restaurant

                                                                                                                                2. @John Manzo
                                                                                                                                  I was going by Shawarma Station on 10th last Saturday and noticed Sam was NOT behind the counter - a petite oriental(?) woman instead. And today there was a man (also not Sam) serving the customers. No time today to snoop further.
                                                                                                                                  ?? Maybe it has changed hands ??
                                                                                                                                  If it has, I will miss Sam and his wife - they were always happy to see me and remembered my "usual" order.

                                                                                                                                  -----
                                                                                                                                  Shawarma Station
                                                                                                                                  227 10 St NW #106, Calgary, AB T2N 1V5, CA

                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: cancowboy

                                                                                                                                    "my friend, my friend." I'd miss him too.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: John Manzo

                                                                                                                                      I jumped the gun - Sam is still the owner.
                                                                                                                                      People have been hired to operate the restaurant day-to-day which frees Sam to work on other things in his empire.

                                                                                                                                  2. There's a permit in the window of a former spa on 10th Street NW stating it will be "Crepe Cafe" or something like that. It's the shop next to the bead store and bong store.