Dine out Calgary 2011
Anyone going to any of the restaurants posted for this years Dine out Calgary? I've looked at a few of the menus but havnt decided on any restaurants as of yet. Need to get those reservations in asap. Has anyone decided on where they are going to go?
We went to Muse this weekend for Big Taste. It was a 'gourmet' menu, with wine pairings for $85. When our friends suggested it, I was thinking 'that's too much money', but after being there, I think it was pretty fair for what you got and the quality of it.
This is what we had and what we thought.
Amuse Bouche - truffle popcorn. Very addictive!
First -Sweet Potato and Chipotle Soup, Lime Zest Sour Cream served with little cheese scones. This was sweet and spicy. It was actually quite spicy but the sour cream help cut that. Paired with a bubbly white. Very good - thumbs up from everyone at the table.
Second - Crispy Quebec Triple Cream Brie and Anjou Pear Roll, Shaved Watermelon Radish, Smoked Bacon Vinaigrette. Paired with a Chardonnay from California, which really cut the richness of the cheese. I think this was one of the most delicious things I've ever tasted. The pear was fried crisp and the brie was hot and gooey. The watermelon radish was done like a coleslaw and put on top. Two thumbs up from everyone at our table.
Third - Blue Crab and Sweet Corn Ravioli, Roma Tomato Broth, Zuchini Tempura. This we did not enjoy much. It seemed more like a thick chinese dumpling that a delicate ravioli. Paired with a white blend from Australia. The crab was a very strong fishy flavor, the broth didn't taste like tomato. The tempura was actually fennel, not zuchini but good. The fennel was the best part of the entire dish. No one at our table enjoyed this much.
Fourth - Slow Braised Spring Creek Ranch Beef Cheek, Parsnip Two Ways, Organic Baby Carrots and Pearl Onion. Paired with a Cab Sauv (I forget from where). This was oh so, so good. None of us had ever had beef cheeks before. It was about the size of a small tenderloin steak. It seemed braised in a wine sauce and just fell apart tender. It was sitting on a bed of parsnip puree and had fried parsnip ribbons on top. We all licked our plates clean!
Dessert -Cream Cheese and Lemon Zest Parfait, Balsamic Strawberries, Semolina Cake, Roasted Pistachio. The perfect end to the meal. Not too lemony with the crunch of nuts. We all loved it, paired with a sweet dessert wine.
The wine pairings were all wonderful for the dishes served. Some of those, I probably would not have ordered on my own but did enjoy trying them with the foods. They said they were 2oz pours but they seemed a little more than that.
At $85 it was definately a treat for us. The portions were not puny. The ladies were stuffed and the men were pleasantly full. My only frustration was that it was a little rushed. From start to finish was 1.5 hours. I didn't like that the wines for the next course were coming out before we had finished the previous course wines. They weren't that busy and no one was waiting for our table. But I will definately try Muse again, based on this experience.
I was looking to try some of the $15 Lunch Specials.
Bistro 2210: Monday - Friday
Salad + Macaroni Gratin + Creme Pots
*Blowfish: Monday - Friday
Miso Soup / Salad + Daily Special rolls + Teriyaki Chicken / Wasabi Steak / Sushi or Sashimi assortment
Bonterra Trattori: Monday - Friday
Salad + Linguini Carbonara + dessert
Bookers: Monday - Friday
Chowder + Pulled Pork sandwich + Chocolate Lava Cake
Buzzards: Monday - Friday
Barley sandwich + Curry spare ribs + a cookie
Koi: Monday - Friday
Karma Vegetarian Menu + coffee/tea/cappuccino/latte
Charcut: Monday - Friday
Chowder + Chicken sandwich + cookie
Ed's: Every day
Soup / Salad + Pizza / Jambalaya / Steak + coffee/tea/cappuccino
*Embarcadero Oyster: Monday - Friday
Shrimp Bisque / 2 Oysters on the half-shell / PEI mussels + Satay Chicken Vermicelli / Catch of the Day + coffee/tea/cappuccino
*Exchange @ Marriott:
Brie & Walnut Salad / Bison Shitake Meatloaf / Banana Split Cheesecake
Farm: Every day
Salad + Burger + Cookies
Flames Central: Monday - Friday
Salad + Burger + Cheesecake
Glory of India: Monday - Friday
Lunch Buffet (normally $16.95. Take out is $11.43)
Kickers: Monday - Saturday
Soup / Salad + Smoked Meat Sandwich on Rye / Smoked Salmon Sandwich on Rye + water/soda/coffee/tea
*Laurier Lounge: Tuesday - Friday
Soup / Salad + Chef's Special + Maple Pudding Cake
Lion's Den: Every day
No idea, but the owner conveyed it was a lot of food that ranged from $9 - $20.
Royal India: Monday - Friday
Lunch Buffet (normally $18)
St. James' Corner: Every day
Fish & Chips / Shepherd's Pie + Apple Crumble / Mud Pie
*Wild Rose Taproom: Every day
Beer / Soda + Wurst / Meat or Veggie Chili / Mac & Cheese / Pulled Pork Sliders + Oatmeal Stout Brownie
*These sound like the best and tastiest deals, although personally I have not dined at Marriott Hotel's restaurant. There are other restaurants offering $25 lunch specials, but I did not include them because unless expensed, it is a huge rip-off.
2210 4 St. SW, Calgary, AB T2S 1W9, CA
234 17 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 1H4, CA
Glory of India
515 4 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P 0J7, CA
112 4 Avenue Southwest, Calgary, AB T2P 0H3, CA
I have reservations next week at Jacqueline Suzanne's.. Never been but heard fantastic reviews...
Here is their dine out menu:
Chef’s Soup Creation
Prepared fresh Daily-Mood Inspired
Butternut Squash Ravioli
Ravioli Medallions with Brown Butter Sage Cream Sauce and Candied Yam
Seared Grand Marnier Scallop Salad
Pan seared Scallop atop a bed of Mixed Greens, Mandarins with an Orange Vinaigrette
Alberta Prime Rib of Beef
Alberta Roasted Prime Rib with Yorkshire Pudding
and Burgundy Au Jus, Roasted Garlic Potato and Vegetable Medley
Greek Style Chicken Supreme
Kalamata Olives, Red Pepper, Feta and Cream Cheese with Greek Spices
Garlic Mash and Buttered Asparagus
Cajun Basa with Prawn
Pan seared with Olive Oil and Butter, Cajun Rub Garnished with Spicy Prawn
Accompanied by Herb Rice Pilaf and Vegetable Medley
1/2 Rack of New Zealand Spring Lamb
With Port Reduction, Vegetable Medley and Roasted Garlic Potato
Note: Vegetarian option available upon request
Chef’s Selection of Freshly Prepared Desserts
Including: Rich Crème Brulee, Decadent Cheese Cake, White Chocolate Bread Pudding
I booked a table at Blink mainly because the menu offered a few options for each course which isn't the case with many of the other restaurants. For a similar reason, Bistro 2210 also looks good - visited them last year during Dine Out and had a great experience.
I always looked forward to Dine Out in other cities because the affordable menus were good excuses to try out restaurants and take along friends and family. Not sure if it's just me but I was fairly turned off by this Dine Out Calgary listing because the first 6 places I clicked on were the $85 menu's (Chef's Table, Muse, Rush, Vero Bistro, Teatro, Vintage Chophouse). Don't get me wrong, a couple of these menu's I think are worth the $85 (ex. Teatro's 4 courses with 4 wine pairings) but a few just don't seem all that special (ex. Vintage Chophouse - 3 courses with 1 prosecco). This seems to defeat the purpose of Dine Out. I think Joe Forte's in Vancouver is comparable with Vintage and even Joe Forte's offered a $38 menu this year. With the price tag, I'd much rather: a) go during the regular menu and pay a similar price but avoid the dineout rush, b) not go at all.
2210 4 St. SW, Calgary, AB T2S 1W9, CA
200 8th Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0K7, CA
Just checked again reading your comment and I still see: STARTER (3 options), MAIN (2 options), DESSERT (2 options), WINE PAIRINGS (Prosecco)... even had someone look over and maybe we're both missing something?
Their meat mixed grill looks good I'll give you that but still I don't see the value for a special event like Dine Out. Let us know what we may not be seeing there... besides the fact I'm always a bit doubtful when someone posts a raving review and it's their only post on Chowhound.
As mentioned here, we went to Blink for The Big Taste (hate that name btw)... and had a fairly enjoyable dinner. The food was great, the service was meh, but overall it was a good deal.
I started with the cheese souffle, had the short rib as a main, and ended with the sticky toffee pudding. My SO ordered the salad to start, the short rib as a main, and the pavlova for dessert... he ended up getting the sticky toffee pudding but since he wasn't totally set on the pavlova he stuck with the pudding.
The best part of the dinner was probably the short rib - when I see it on the menu, 90% of the time I order it. Blink did it very well, very tender and flavourful... and accompanied by a creamy scalloped potato and swiss chard. The potato was great, the chard was very cold (as if refrigerated) - not sure if it was purposely that way but it seemed strange.
The restaurant was packed and we felt for the serving staff but also found our interactions with our server to be uneventful unlike previous experiences.
Overall for a $35 dinner menu it was a good experience.
I didn't give out any "information" except that I wasn't impressed. Of course Cafe Koi will have a vegetarian option- I always feel like "The Big Taste" (aka Dine Out) should be about having the opportunity to try new things at new restaurants. I don't think this is just my perception, as the website does say it's an "opportunity to experience new works". I'm going to pick ten restaurants that I've never been to, whose names don't obviously imply they're all about steak or fish, and see what I find for dinner:
- AKA Winebar: No vegetarian option
- West Restaurant: No vegetarian option
- Bistro Piq Niq: No vegetarian option
- The Belvedere: No vegetarian option (I also checked the lunch menu here as the only dinner option was the Gourmet choice)
- FARM (I'm getting bored and will now add comments! This sounds like it should have a vegetarian option!): Ooops, no dinners. But neither lunch has a vegetarian option.
- Rasoi (also should be promising as I can usually find good vegetarian choices when I eat Indian food): Yay! Found my first one!
- Jaqueline Suzanne's Bistro (sounds like a bodice ripper!): Yay! Found my second one! They don't actually list the vegetarian option but they say it exists, so I'm sure I can look forward to a plate of sides that normally accompany the meat entrees.
- Laurier Lounge: Menu not provided.
- Olives Restaurant (with a fruit right in the name!): Gourmet dinner menu was a no-go, lunch menu as well.
- La Vita e Bella (not for a vegetarian...): Could be made vegetarian with modifications to an appetizer
So out of ten, I found two (including one mystery dinner) and a probably.
La Vita e Bella
401 12 Av SE, Calgary, AB T2G 1A5, CA
1011 1 St SW #100, Calgary, AB T2P, CA
Bistro Piq Niq
811 1 St SW, Calgary, AB T2P 7N2, CA
1111 7 St SW, Calgary, AB T2R 0A1, CA
Jetgirly, sadly you are so right, there are not as many vegetarian options as there should be. I think that excludes many people that would otherwise, like to participate. I was at Thomsen's last week and they were pushing the Big Taste dinner Menu. They do have a veg option, however, the soup does have a topping of bacon but they said that could be excluded. Their main is meat, fish or veg. Thomsen's doesn't seem to get noticed much against the other popular downtown restaurants, but it is consistently very good. I would recommend it.
A couple of years ago I found the same problem. However, I called the restaurant that my group of friends had chosen (Q Haute) and they were able to create a 3 course veggie menu for me as long as I called in advance. It was the same price as the regular dine out menu and the food was amazing. It mya be worth calling a couple of places to see whether they can do the same.
For dinner, we are trying Home Tasting Room and Muse because we haven't been to either before and use this opporutnity to try new places. We're contemplating going to AKA as well, but we've been there before. At last years Dine Out we went to Chef's Table and Vero Bistro, both awesome.
I really hate the new name "Big Taste"..Sounds cheesy
Home Tasting Room
110 8th Avenue SW, Calgary, AB T2P 1B3, CA