Culinary Race – One Race to Rule Them All

5/5 Foodie Fun Index

 

Do you like food? Do you like fun? What about discovering new places to have both food and fun? Then do we have the event for you! Take one dash of adventure, a sprinkle of discovery and a pinch of competition and you have yourself the Calgary Culinary Race, proof that Calgary’s food scene is not only beginning to rival, but surpass, those of other cities.

This was our second year participating in the Culinary Race and just like last year, we had an absolute blast and discovered many new restaurants with many new tastes to experience throughout the year. We also met a myriad of local bloggers who made the event as social as it was tasty.

The Culinary Race is a full day event from 8:30 AM – 5 PM where you and some of your foodie friends team up (and dress up if you so choose) to de-code a series of clue’s and figure out your various destinations for the day. Then it is a full on scavenger hunt racing around the city to check in at those locations. Each place you visit requires you to complete some sort of task, but it usually involves food and some places even offer freebies. We did pretty good this year with a total of 81 points. All the teams and their points can be seen on the Culinary Race website here.

Some of our favourite things about the Culinary Race is that we get meet awesome people and we also get to discover neat new places to try out for the rest of the year.

It was also the first year we started using Toutl, it is a new app that allows you to tag conversations and posts directly to a location. All the locations we found from Culinary Race are now in Toutl and we would love to share our Foodie Map with you! If you are interested in downloading the app just search “Toutl” on the iOS App Store (unfortunately not on Android yet). It was great to remember where we went for this post! 😛 It was really neat spotting some other Calgary Food Blogger’s on there already!

Toutl

Below were some of our favourite stops from the race.

Yann Haute Patisserie

This awesome little house has a cool history and also has amazing desserts, including some delectable macaroons. We have already been back to this one since the race and likely will be going again soon.

CR9  CR10  CR11

Hexagon Cafe

Really great little board game café in the heart of Kensington we will definitely have to come back and try! We played/learned some games and had a blast in the 5 minutes we were there! This is a must on our next date night!

Fit Kitchen

Finally! A place for the remarkably lazy couple (like us) to grab some cheap, healthy meals to go! Everything looked so delicious and healthy too! With meals ranging in price we were glad we ran into this place! Well worth the trip south!

The Cured Delicatessen

Not only is this fill of delicious goodies, their social media game is HILARIOUS. Had a lot of fun talking with these guys and participating in their sausage making competition! Next time we are planning a charcuterie this will be first on our list to visit!

Of course there were so many incredibly cool places that we can’t name them all! But these 3 were our top discoveries of the race! For an entire list of participating venues check out Toutl or The Culinary Race Website!

We had an absolute blast and hope to be racing with you next year!

Mike & Jenna

http://www.acoupleofcouples.ca

 

Advertisements

Burger 320 – The Land of Plenty

3.6/5 Foodie Foursome Index

Ambiance: 3.0
Service: 3.0
Food: 5.0
Value: 3.5

Jenna’s Review:

Mike and I had heard about this place for a while and decided to finally go and check it out. I am happy to announce that we found a burger contender in Calgary that almost matches my love for Eddie’s Burger Bar in Banff! Burger 320 was a wonderful place to go not only if you want to get your burger and fries on, but also if you are interested in some gelato milkshake action.

B3202

The inside is quaint and casual. It is an order at the counter and sit yourself type of place so there wasn’t a huge element of service or ambiance as it is was just a couple rows of high tables to sit at while you eat your meal.

B3201

As soon as we saw the menu virtually all of us decided to try the “Wickens” burger which is their signature burger named after the grandfather of the owners. It is all the great things you expect in a burger with a special “BBQ rhubarb onion chutney” to top it all off. If that wasn’t already delicious enough, they actually make their buns in house which means they were fresh, soft, and really complimented the burger.

B3206

We also had to try one of the tasty looking poutines and we decided on the “Truffle” poutine. Now I don’t love mushrooms but even I quite liked the poutine with the fried mushrooms, truffle oil, cheese and perfectly cooked fries. To wash it all down I enjoyed a Blonde Ale from Village Brewery which is always good.

B3204

I was definitely impressed with the food at Burger 320 and would definitely go back and eat more because it is currently one of my tops for burger places in Calgary and I would highly recommend it!

Mike’s Review:

It has been quite the roller coaster of a year so far… trump got elected, the economy is up and down, and worst of all I’ve had a hang nail that’s been driving me crazy for over a week…

B3205   B3207
So it is nice to know, while the world is being thrown into the midst of turmoil, one can still get a “Wicked” burger in Kensington. The burgers at this place really speak for themselves, and for a burger joint that is the most important thing. I thoroughly enjoyed biting into this behemoth of a patty and found the fact that they burnt “320” into the bun absolutely amazing (it’s the little things that get me!).
B3203
As always, any place in Kensington is top notch because A) it has to be to survive and B) regardless of the food you can always walk the cool streets to make the evening a 5/5!
I would suggest Burger 320 to anyone looking to show some visiting friends a little more desirable destination than Peters (I know! I know! Calgary blasphemy!). At least in Kensington you can show them some shops after instead of the TransCanada highway… although it is a nice highway…
To recap…
Always a treat, to go out and eat, in a place with good beef, and walk Kensington by feet!
Kade & Kelsey (K&K):
It is always amazing to go out with these two! K&K agreed that the burgers were a top pick for Calgary and that they just may need to go back for more!
B3208

Pigeon Hole in One

4.0/5 Foodie Foursome Index

Ambiance: 4.0
Service: 4.0
Food: 4.5
Value: 3.5

Jenna’s Review:

It has been said that Pidgeon Hole is one of the greatest restaurants of our time, and after trying it for ourselves, I didn’t disagree. It is located on 17th Ave right beside a CrossFit studio which gently reminded me that my priority of eating mass amounts of food instead of working out was still going strong.

PH1

As 17th Ave often promises, the inside was about as hipster as one can get in the best way possible. Walking in there was a mix of wall paper, brick, white walls, and a record player that played music throughout the restaurant. It was eclectic, fun and the tables and settings were very quaint.

PH3  PH2  PH4

Food wise, I was blown away. Every item we had was joy in my mouth and I would order it all over again. To start we had the Cabbage and Chicken Dumplings and the Confit Duck Leg. Wow, just wow. I feel like I won’t even go into detail because I can’t describe how scrumptious both dishes were, particularly the duck. Just try it and thank me later.

For the main course we had the 23oz. Braised Short Rib which comes with lettuce wraps, some of the tastiest naan type bread and a sauce that was epic. I would come back just for this dish because it just did it for me. The hoisin type sauce on the short rib just screamed flavor and the various pairings for the meat just hit all the right spots.

PH7

If you decide to go try it out we would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below as well as some of the dishes that you tried that we should give a chance because I am more than willing to go back and peck at some more food.

Mike’s Review:

I was late on the review so mine had to come second for this review… but you know what didn’t come in second… Pigeon Hole

PH5

I was not a huge fan of the ambiance, it felt a little like I was walking into my grandmothers house, but Jenna loves this vibe so it worked for the evening.

PH6

The appetizers were far and away absolutely amazing! We shared a the braised short rib and it was delicious, but I was a little taken aback by the bill, however considering the location on 17th Ave it was a little more justifiable.

It was really neat that they were playing from a record directly beside me…

Overall not my most detailed review… but maybe it just wasn’t as memorable a meal as I wanted it to be?! I mean I remember the bread being off the charts?

Guess Who’s Back, Back Bacon

We know and we are sorry. It has been a while since our last post and although we have not been posting, we promise you we have not stopped eating.

You may have found yourself wondering, where have they been? Well, let us fill you in. Jenna decided she was going to try to be an HR legend by obtaining her CPHR (Certified Professional Human Resources) designation . For those who do not know, the first step to getting a CPHR is taking a test that requires about 6 months of studying. She started this endeavor in March 2016 which led to a lot of study sessions at home rather than awesome dinners out.

Mike in turn decided to earn his stripes in Engineering by going up north to a little place called Red Earth to do a 3 month field rotation in July 2016.  That 3 month rotation turned into a 6 month rotation and ended up going until December 2016. Between all that and life as we know it, our poor blog ended up neglected. But fear not our 12 blog followers (hi mom and dad!) We are back and hungrier than ever.

The plan is to start back up and post some of the places we have tried in the last year on our site and our Instagram. We will also be doing some ad-hoc posts as we try new places. We are super excited to be starting up the blog again and looking forward to meeting more couples in the process!

Jenna and Mike
A Couple of Slackers

Notable – Duly Noted

3.7/5 Foodie Foursome Index
3.5/5 on the Hip Eateries Scale

Ambiance: 3.9
Service: 4
Food: 3.8
Value: 3.2

Overall 3.7

Mike’s Review: ❤️🎯🐑➡️🍖

This was our second time at Notable, the first time was on our first date 2 years, 8 months, and 12 days ago where Jenna ordered only a salad to appear “lady like” on the date… Well now, the day has come, 2 years, 8 months and 12 days later that that lady has returned a woman to get a real “non-first date” taste of Notable. I was excited, scared, and a little nervous about how the night would go.

image

The last 3 reviews all had a similar theme of the appies out shining the mains, and Notable continues this trend. The beef carpaccio and potato rolls were divine. We also got muscles and frites, but I am not a big muscles or frites fan so I left those to Jenna.

image

I got the lamb, which has also been the theme of the last couple restaurants. As I sat here, 18 days later, trying to remember how the lamb was, I realized that it wasn’t that memorable. It was delicious, as is everything here is, but I can’t say much more than that as I had to get Jenna to remind me what I even had.

image

All in all Notable is delicious and comfortable as always, however, if I had to choose between the two I would always prefer the Nash (their sister restaurant in Inglewood).

Jenna’s Review: 👌🏼👠🍺🏡💰

The first time I went to Notable was the second time that I had ever eaten in front of Mike. As a result I did what any nervous girl would have done, ordered the salad with tuna sashimi and acted like that was a super filling philly cheese steak sandwhich. Unfortunately the portion at Notable was of the fancy variety so it ended up being five leafs of lettuce with five medallions of tuna. So this time around I was excited to give Notable a real try and see what all the chatter was about.

image

The interior is fairly chic and is what one would expect from a higher end restaurant with modern touches and an open kitchen so you don’t have to question whether or not actual people are cooking your food. We started off by sharing three appetizers, the elk carpaccio, the mussels and frites, and the crispy potato rolls (in order of my favourites). They were all quite tasty and dare I say the best part of the meal, except the frites were not really doing it for us. I also had a Kronenburg (a staple in my social drinking) or should I say most of a Kronenburg as the waitress wasn’t paying attention and filled the glass too full and spilt. She offered to get our lovely new friend a new glass of wine since the beer also spilled into her glass, but did not offer me a new beer, noted.

image

The dinner was alright. I, like Mike and Naomi, got the lamb and it was alright. The lamb was not as tender as it could have been and it had an aromatic orange and spice flavour that reminded me of potpourri. The vegetables and barley risotto were a nice side but I don’t think I would go back and get the dish again. For dessert I enjoyed a chocolate tart with vanilla bean ice cream. It was good but I realized that I was in it for the crust and ice cream more than the chocolate itself.

image

Overall I would say Notable was remarkable. Remarkable in the way that I would make a remark about it, and that remark would be “it was aight”. It was exactly what I had expected, a nice meal in a swanky hip atmosphere. In that way it met my expectations. Also we had some super fun and super funny company (I want to host a chip party!) that made it spectacular.

However, the Nash (the other restaurant by chef Noble) is incredible and I would go there all day, every day. If you haven’t gone, stop what you are doing and go, you won’t be disappointed!!

Katie & Naomi’s Review: 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦🤔💸❌🍚

Naomi: “I know you can overwhelmed and you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever just be whelmed?”

Katie: “I think you can at Notable.”

image

So, we’d heard a lot about Notable, all positive, so we were very excited to try it ourselves. When, we walked in, our initial impression was positive – nice atmosphere, décor, pleasant service. Our server was prompt and got us excited about the specials. I (Naomi) was talking to her while she was pouring Jenna’s beer into her glass, and I am so exciting she forgot to watch what she was doing and spilled some beer into my wine carafe. She apologized and quickly brought more wine. I like to think I give good conversation!

We were all excited to try some tasty sounding appetizers! We chose the Elk Carpaccio and the Crispy Potato Rolls along with Jenna and Mike’s choice, Saltspring Island Mussels & Frites. When the appetizers arrived, it became apparent that the table was just too small. Glasses were moved precariously close to the edge of the table to make room for the three appetizers. Also, we were so close to our neighbour’s table that the server’s butt almost knocked the glasses over when he was attending to the other table. Needless to say, we were rather cramped.

image

The appetizers were very tasty and were probably our favourite part of the meal, despite committing my (Katie’s) biggest restaurant pet peeve of not providing enough carrier (in this case, bread toasts) for the intended topping (Elk). I (Katie) would also like to note that the frites were not salted enough, even Jenna agreed.

For our mains, I (Katie) chose the Sterling Silver Flatiron Steak. The steak was served with roasted fingerling potatoes, carrots, and asparagus. Despite the fact my steak was overcooked L, it was still tender and delicious. Jenna even described it as “eating a cloud.” However, I was deeply upset that my potatoes were not salted. Let’s be honest here, potatoes don’t really taste like anything without seasoning and it is pretty basic restaurant stuff to season potatoes. I was kind of disappointed that such a high end restaurant would miss this. The other vegetables were just whelming and didn’t add much to the plate. Luckily, the service was very prompt and salt was brought out to me in no time.

image

I (Naomi), like Mike and Jenna, chose the special – lamb. It was served with a barley risotto and vegetables. The lamb was prepared well but it didn’t wow me. I was hoping for delicious but Notable did not meet my expectations. I was surprised I really enjoyed the risotto as I am used to my barley mixed with hops and yeast… mmm beer.

For dessert, I (Katie), who doesn’t like cheesecake, chose the Stilton cheesecake with rhubarb compote. As a fan of blue cheese, I was excited to try this. It was actually a very tasty combination and I really enjoyed the rhubarb compote (even though there was not enough of it and I had to ask for more). After a while, the blue cheese did become a bit much and I only ended up eating half of it. My recommendation if you want to try this is to share it.

image

I (Naomi) tried the crème brûlée for dessert. It was lovely but after having some of Katie’s rhubarb compote, I was jealous of the fruit flavour. Too bad I am not a fan of the Stilton cheese because I love cheesecake.

Overall, the meals were good, but just not really worth how much we paid for them. Neither of us felt like it lived up to the hype and neither of us think we’d return, unless somebody invited us to the restaurant and they were paying. Future dates, please take heed – take us somewhere else. We had a great time with Jenna and Mike (everybody should try to get on A Couple of Couples!) and that was really the best part of the evening. We had so many laughs, all very PG – right guys?? 😉

Emojis – We had a fun foursome, questionable why people like it so much, our money flying away, and not enough salt (pretend the bowl of rice is a bowl of salt, okay people).

The Weiner Schnitzel Haus – A Meaty Treat

4.1/5 Foodie Foursome Index

Food: 4.3
Service: 4.5
Ambiance:3.8
Value: 3.8
Overall: 4.1

4.0/5 on the German Scale

Mike’s Review: 😎👴🏻👵🏻🍘🇩🇪

I’m going to start this review different for a change, honestly, and say that it turns out I actually had no idea what wiener schnitzel was!

image

I lived in Northern Switzerland for a year and got my weekly groceries in Germany and still I was under the impression that it was a type of sausage…. So when a large, clearly beaten and battered, steak sized chicken came out in front of me I had to play it cool with the waitress as I said “oh yes… My Wiener schnitzel… has arrived and looks as expected”

I liked this place, I liked the sound of German being spoken around me, and I liked being able to say “danke” to the waitress in my terrible accent, but most of all… As always… I liked the company!

image

The appetizers were fantastically memorable, some mac n cheese and fresh pretzels, they were delicious! As far as the mains go they tasted, from the consensus of the table, as a wiener schnitzel should, and I guess that is all anyone can ask for. I think I may just prefer my food on the little more saucy side, perhaps as a result of my Dutch roots I feel compelled to put mayo on everything. If you are German, or like German food, or want to practice German, or want to try German food, this is a good place to do it!

Overall I think we will end up going back as Jenna really enjoyed this place and there were some additionals on the menu I wanted to try!

Jenna’s Review: 😀😁😄🙃😍

I just want to start off by saying, don’t believe Mike, don’t even read his review. However, if you got to my review you probably already read it but don’t believe him.

I totally loved the Weiner Haus. Ever since my trip to Europe I was intent on trying Weiner Schnitzel and quite honestly, the schnitzel I had here was BETTER than the schnitzel I had in Vienna. But let’s rewind.

image

The Weiner Haus doesn’t look like much, it’s a quaint little place that almost feels like a house instead of a restaurant, but it also makes you feel more at home than a restaurant would. The carpeted floors made it was very warm and inviting, like a favourite grandparents place. I also really liked all the plates and dishes that they had. They were very authentic and fit the theme nicely.

Now the food was insanely good. For drinks we enjoyed a smooth Stiegl Radler, which is light, fruity, and crisp. To start off we had the Mac and Cheese, which is one of their most popular menu items, as well as the pretzel and smear. Both were great but the pretzel stole my heart, I mean the smear was smashing!

image

Now the main course was a whole lotta delicious. I got the Alpen Schnitzel which was filled with air dried bacon, emmental cheese, and fresh mushrooms (wow). The schnitzel was breaded to perfection, not too much breading, not to little. Crispy but subtle and with a squeeze of lemon it was the flavour plethora your mouth has been asking for. To add to that it came with the best darn fries I have had in a long time. The fries were perfectly salted and cooked. I like my fries on the less crispy side and I was a big fan.

image

We couldn’t manage to eat dessert to but I am sure it would have measured up to the rest of the meal, and the great company we had! I am just grateful Jackie and Morgan showed us the place, and if I have to go back without my beloved Mike, I have to do what I have to do.

Jackie & Morgan’s Review:

image

In the interest of full disclosure, we love the Wiener Schnitzel Haus and have been eating here semi-regularly for the past few years. We each get the same thing every time and it’s consistently good. We really appreciate the overall feel of the restaurant, which is unpretentious and comfortable. Like a flight to Palm Springs, where the majority of the passengers are eligible for pre-boarding, the average age of the patrons trends towards the “early bird special” crowd; as old souls ourselves, we feel right at home!

image

This was our first time eating here on a Tuesday night and we were surprised it wasn’t busy. On Friday and Saturday nights, the dozen or so tables are full and a reservation is highly recommended. However, on this Tuesday night, we had the place to ourselves after 7:30. Combined with the wonderful, attentive service, it made for the perfect atmosphere to enjoy a great double date with Jenna and Mike. (Speaking of which, we can’t wait to attend a games night!)

We started with the Austrian Mac and Cheese, which is perhaps the signature non-schnitzel item on the menu. Loaded with spätzle, Emmentaler cheese, bacon, onions and chives, we find it to be a perfectly satisfying comfort food. It can be a little greasy, but that’s not really a surprise when two of the main ingredients are bacon and cheese. The other appetizer we ordered – and a new one to us – was the Pretzel with house made Schmier. This one was met with mixed reviews. Jackie was a big fan, but Morgan was less enthusiastic. Since we usually just get one appetizer, we would likely stick to the mac and cheese. Another starter option (or a worthwhile side to your main) is the fries, which Morgan considers to be among the best in the city.

image

For the main course, Jackie got the classic Wiener Schnitzel. It was exactly what she’s come to expect: a large plate of pounded out meat, breaded and fried to perfection. It comes with a lemon wedge on the side. According to a friend of ours living in Austria, the best way to order schnitzel is with a side of cranberry sauce, but Jackie’s never put that to the test and, for now, the lemon slice does the trick. This dish also comes with mixed Austrian salads – typically a potato salad, a lightly pickled and seasoned cucumber salad and a cabbage salad. Jackie finds the salads really flavorful and is always wishing the portion was a little bigger.

image

As usual, Morgan went with the Zigeuner Schnitzel for his main. Unlike a classic breaded schnitzel, this is one of the non-breaded “grilled” options on the menu. Coated in a rich bell pepper sauce, the Zigeuner Schnitzel delivers just the right amount of spice. The Zigeuner Schnitzel comes with a side of fries or spätzle and you can’t go wrong either way. The restaurant’s previous menu states that the Zigeuner Schnitzel is made “gypsy style”. The first time we tried this dish, we’d been watching a season of Food Network Star where one contestant made everything he was challenged to do “pie style” (did anyone else see this show?) so the “gypsy style” description has always felt funny and familiar.

image

Bottom Line: The Wiener Schntizel Haus is an especially appealing option if you live in the NW (Montgomery being not all that central) and don’t mind a quieter restaurant catering to an older crowd. For us, the vibe is just right. It’s comfortable and homey and the chill, crooner type music doesn’t drown out your conversation. The biggest downside is the price. For a restaurant in the suburbs, $14 for a 240ml Le Creuset dish of mac and cheese is expensive. Even without drinks, you can expect to spend $60+ on a dinner for two. For us though, the food, service, and overall feel of the restaurant make the price worth it and will keep us coming back!

Anju – Review for You!

4.1/5 Foodie Foursome Index

4/5 on the Fusion Scale

We thought it might be nice if we started sharing our breakdown used to come to our overall rating. So please enjoy!

Ambiance: 3.9
Service: 4.7
Food: 4.3
Value: 3.4

Overall 4.1

Mike’s Review:

I arrived at Anju first, and this was the first meal Jenna and I did not arrive together, so I took some time to survey the restaurant, it was a beautiful place. The interior was very cool and very large, that’s why I was a bit surprised when they sat me directly beside the only other couple in the restaurant… and not like near… like 10 inches beside. I found it a little strange but I myself am a huge Tetris fan, and I understand from a servers point of view the advantages. I was surprised yet again when the third party entered the restaurant (not Jenna unfortunately… I had been waiting for a bit already…) and the hostess sat them DIRECTLY beside me on the other side. Now we had a beautiful space, and only 5% of it was being utilized, however, thank god the newest party requested to move, perhaps because they were uncomfortable with me breathing in their face.

image

Although the beginning was a bit rough, the server and food more than made up for the fact that I overheard the couple beside me breaking up. The tuna tacos were phenomenal and quickly followed by delicious sushi wraps. Jenna took me on the magnificient jouney through Korean drinks, as she use to have foreign exchange students stay at her house and received many gifts. The Kim Chi Ramen was good, but I am not a big soup fan, however, if you enjoy soup even the slightest it is a must try at Anju.

image

Overall, it is understandable how Anju is one of Calgary’s favorite Korean infusion restaurants. Whether entertaining relative from out of town, or looking for that hip first date venue, Anju will deliver… although you may be sitting with more people than you came with.

Jenna’s Review:

I was very excited to try Anju as I had heard so much about it and also because it is the first fusion type cuisine that we have tried on the blog! It is located on 17th Avenue so you know you are in for a treat, plus it is Tapas style and you all know that Mike and I love nothing more than to be able to try multiple different things and call it a meal.

The ambiance inside was nice. It definitely has an upscale and modern vibe with dark colors and sleek textures, nothing too out of the ordinary.

image

Now, we decided that we needed to try the Soju to drink because we work hard and that was something you don’t see every day. Apparently Soju was the largest selling Korean liquor in 2014 (according to Wikipedia). The Soju is a distilled beverage containing ethanol and water. You can have it on it’s own or you can have it with aloe or the liquid yogurt. We of course tried it all three ways because how else my fellow readers would we be able to tell you the best combination. I personally liked the aloe best and the yogurt was a close second, but on it’s own…I think it is an acquired taste.

image

For the food we all took a shot at picking some items to share. We ended up with the following dishes; the featured sushi roll, the spicy salmon tacos, the braised pig ears, the lemongrass gochujang brussels sprouts, the crispy prawn dumplings, the oxtail tortellini and kimchi ramen.

I have to say that I they brought everything out at a great pace that allowed us to enjoy the food as it was served. I really liked everything but was not a huge fan of the pig ears. But at least I tried them! The sauce on them was lovely but the ears themselves were fatty and rubbery and not quite my thing. The brussels sprouts were delightful and cooked really well as was the kimchi ramen.. I am on a bit of a ramen rampage so that may have only been me who was obsessed with it but if you like ramen you have to get it. Another winner was the spicy salmon tacos. Wow is all I can say about those. The oxtail ravioli was also delicious but it only came with 4 pieces so you don’t get much bang for your buck there.

image

I would definitely check out Anju again, especially if I am in one of my “I don’t know what I want to eat” moods since they have a nice variety of tapas to fulfill my needs. We had a ton of fun with Manisha and Rajen, it was laughs all night long! This is also really fun if you have people who like sharing as you can try more dishes in one sitting, or you can just go back a whole bunch, you do you.

Manisha & Rajen’s Review:

image

Coming soon… They had some things to do. #latereview

image

image

Flipp’n Burger – Nothing to flip out about

3.2/5 Foodie Foursome Index

2.5/5 on the Burger scale

Mike’s Review: 😦👏🏻🐣🐄🌿

I’m a burger man, but I may not be a Flipp’n burger man… I honestly thought their buns were from Safeway… Which could be possible because Safeway is right next door, can anyone confirm or deny this? I honestly think the burgers were good, but no better/more unique than any of the other 100’s of burger places in Calgary. I think this place survives off the local Kensington traffic where it is actually just most convenient for them.

image

If you are looking for the (12) must try burgers in Calgary then I suggest working your way through this list with me!

http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/calgary/12-of-the-best-burgers-in-calgary-1.1309253

image

It should be noted though that there is a lot more to Flipp’n burgers then just their burgers. They offer fantastic vegan options and, as a business, they do support Calgary in various ways! I think maybe I am just missing the mark on this place but would be open to giving it another shot if someone had any suggestions?!

Jenna’s Review:

Now, I hate to be a “dark cloud” on this one, but I have to say that I really did not care for Flipp’n Burger. To be more direct, I very much disliked it. I feel bad giving a restaurant a bashing but I just honestly can’t think of a thing I really liked about it. The day has finally come for me to write a bad review, so here it is: Flipp’n burger was flipp’n terrible!

Let’s start off with the ambiance. The thing about flipp’n burger is that it really is not meant for a sit down dinner. It has very little seating and the seating that was there was quite cramped. The restaurant itself was supposed to be like a diner, and it was, but more like a dumpy, dingy, diner. There was a bunch of boxed recycling in view and I don’t know the last time the place had a good wipe down. The door was also not closing well so it kept hanging open leaving a cold breeze throughout the place. Overall it was blah.

Now I will admit that the service was pretty good. The gentleman was very patient as I tried to decide how to make my own Hawaiian inspired burger. I ordered the basic hamburger pattie with Swiss cheese and added pineapple, avocado, tomato, lettuce, teriyaki sauce and salsa. Now they throw the word fresh on all their communications, but honestly there was nothing fresh about it. The burger was super dry, the pineapple seemed old and dried out and the tomatoes were too ripe. The teriyaki sauce was not great and the bun was like a basic Safeway bun. I actually took the top half of my bun off because it was just not good.

image

Then Mike and I had the poutine and deep fried pickles to share. These are both things that I adore but that I did not want more of after eating them here. The pickles spears were not very flavourful and to be honest I only had a couple of bites of the poutine and it was basic.

image

I feel bad as I know this is one of the favourite places of our couple friends (sorry guys) but I want to note that their company was fantastic despite the god-awful food. Maybe it was because I didn’t have the black bean veggie patty, the one that I have heard raving reviews about, but I don’t know that I would go back to try it out.

image

The score was mixed as I gave it a lower score while others scored it higher. So I guess you will have to try it for yourself and then come back here and leave a comment because I am really curious if it’s just me or not!

Matt and Whitney’s Review:

We live a few blocks away from Flipp’n Burgers, and have been there a few times for takeout orders. What we like about this place is that it’s a quick, tasty meal with lots of options whenever we are on the go and want to treat ourselves.

image

When we met Mike and Jenna at the restaurant, we realized quickly that it’s actually quite a small space for a sit down meal for four people. We took two of the small circle tables and squeezed them together. As well, we hadn’t realized there is so much foot traffic in this place! It’s obviously meant to be a takeout restaurant as there was constantly a short line of people ordering food, sitting/standing in the small space, grabbing their food and heading out quickly. We also realized that because the space is in older building, the door would not close all of the way! This was such a pain on a cold day when there were people coming and going nonstop. The interior of Flipp’n Burger is an outdated version of a 50’s diner. We aren’t saying this as a negative observation. We like that this is a restaurant that doesn’t try to be a trendy, but has its own individual vibe in a neighborhood that is individual itself.

I (Whitney) had the black bean burger. I have this meal every time I go there and I’ve never been dissatisfied. I prefer this place over other burger spots because of the veggie options (black bean burger, organic vegan burger and falafel dog) and definitely because of the many toppings and sauces! I love that they have avocado and hummus and that I can have a totally different type of burger each time I go (There are slim pickin’s for vegetarians and burgers most of the time)!

image

I (Matt) had a cheeseburger. The cheeseburger comes with cheddar, you can get a regular hamburger and add on swiss or goat cheese if you like. The burger is really good. Juicy, flavorful, and not very greasy. You don’t feel gross after finishing this burger, which is always a nice thing. It is a good size. The burger came on a white kaiser bun. It was nothing special, but complimented the burger nicely. When it comes to all the toppings and sauces, you get to choose. If you end up with a combination you don’t like, it’s kind of on you, not them. If that does happen, I would recommend trying again.

image

We shared fried pickles and a strawberry milkshake. I don’t know what it is about these friend pickles, but they are consistently delicious. Ranch is the only dipping sauce that comes with the pickles. Some other options (maybe chipotle) would be great. The milkshake was delicious. It did not taste artificial, just ice cream and strawberries blended perfectly together.

In summary, the food is great. The interior could use some work.

 

 

Cassis – Pepé Le Pew would be proud

4.8/5 Foodie Foursome Index

4.8/5 on the French scale

Mike’s Review: 💏💏🎩🐮🐷

Where does one begin on Cassis? The fact that the owner is buzzing around taking orders? The pristine placement of products on the table from the French market next door? The heightened ambiance attributed primarily to the foreign films playing on the white wash wall? Or, like we start on most of our reviews, with appetizers.

image

Everything from Cassis hit the spot! It is rare to find a place of such high class and quality food that I am still comfortable wearing my LuLu Lemon hoodie in. The service staff clearly knew their stuff, but rather than scoffing at our tables lack of French cuisine knowledge (not uncommon in the Calgary food scene) they guided us through the menu and explained it to us as if we were “les enfants”, which… Judging by the fact that I was playing the drums with my cutlery, was an accurate assumption.

image

The food… The food… THE FOOD! Everything was amazing, once the owner helped explain how to eat it properly, and their home made bread alone was worth the trip.

image

Since starting our blogging journey we have visited many places, but Cassis has earned its spot among places we will return to.

 

Jenna’s Review: 🗼⚜🇫🇷👀😶

Cassis was the perfect thing after going to Parc. It made me believe in the French again! But honestly, I loved Cassis from the moment I stepped in. It is a smaller place so it feels more intimate and quiet. It also had an old fashion black and white movie playing in the background which I found super neat and unique.

image

Then there was the food. The menu was one page which I enjoy because I don’t like analysis paralysis trying to figure out what to eat. I got a Panache to drink which is Kronenburg beer mixed with lemonade. It was heavenly, it tastes like summer, like the summer of 69′. We chose three amazing appetizers including the beef tartar with egg yolk, capers, and homemade chips to scoop it up, the pork rillettes with mustard, pickles and bread, and the mind blowing ravioli. I think I speak for all the couples when I say the ravioli was phenomenal and one of the best things at Cassis. I don’t know what they put in it but they nailed it. We kept getting bread just to slurp up the sauce, like animals.

image

For my main meal I had the beef stew (Daube Provençale) and it was lovely. At first the waiter said, “Its a large portion, it will really fill you up” and I thought to myself “He doesn’t know me at all”, but the richness with the beef and gnocchi and gravy and roasted vegetables as well as the deep flavour of the dish made it quite filling! I must commend him! Speaking of the service, we had a great waitress who was very attentive and another man (who we think was one of the owners) who made time to come to talk to our table and see how our experience was, which I found memorable and enjoyable.

Now despite the filling meal I still made room for the two amazing desserts we ordered. There was the praline cream puff (Paris-Brest) and the pineapple cake trio (Trio à l’ananas) both which were to die for. But out of the two I would recommend the praline cream puff. As well, we got to try some incredible Ice Wine courtesy of the gentlemen that talked with us which was the perfect match. Me and Cat Lin loved it so much we took a picture so we could buy it from their little market beside them when we came next (it was closed by the time we left, but it looked so fun!).

image

Overall, I loved everything. the food, the company, the atmosphere and the service. So in the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger “I’ll be back”.

Kev and Cathy’s Review:

http://fortwoplz.com

image

Different from other French restaurants in the city, Cassis Bistro has a very homey, welcoming ambiance, serving up some of the most classic French dishes. The owner and servers were extremely friendly and helpful assisting us in selecting our meal of the evening. The dish that completely blew our minds was the ravioli, which was accentuated by the housemade spicy tomato coulis.

image

The pork rillettes was an interesting introductory dish to French cuisine that paired nicely with baguette and grainy mustard, but tasted a little too greasy after a few bites. The beef tartare was wonderfully moist when mixed together with the yolk, but taste-wise, it was outshone by the ravioli. For the entrée, I loved my daube provencale, in which the beef was stewed to absolutely softness in red wine together with the chewy gnocchi. Kev enjoyed his steak frites which came in a hearty portion. The medium-rare beef was sliced in thin pieces and topped with light herby dressing to enhance the flavor of the meat. For dessert, we both preferred the paris-brest over trio a l’ananas. The pastry was so fresh, light and crispy – went perfectly well with heavenly smooth and creamy hazelnut cream.

image

There’s nothing wrong with the pineapple dessert – it makes a refreshingly fruity summer treat, but the paris-brest just left us wanting more!

image

 

 

Parc Bistro – Je ne sais quoi

3.2/5 Foodie Foursome Index

3.3/5 on the French scale

Mike’s Review: 😑😑😑😑😑

When asked what constitutes a 5 outta 5 for Jenna and I we often reminisce about the time in Paris when we stumbled upon a little French restaurant. Unfortunately, “Parc” did not bring result in Déjà vu.

I have never in my life not finished a meal, but I could not finish my white bean and pork cassoulet. Now granted, I didn’t know what a cassoulet is, but I trusted in the fact that I have found everything I ever ordered from a restaurant edible… But this dish was bland and cold, I could not even finish it… Even Jenna was amazed. The beauty of “A Couple of Couples” is my uncultured pallet can be challenged by our dining counterparts, which I believe Alana enjoyed the cassoulet.

image

All other aspects of the meal were great, or so we may have been convince by our “KillGrave-esque” waiter. I must admit this was the best service I have ever received from any restaurant in Calgary and thoroughly enjoyed the times he was at the table. He would pull away just before he became too much… And leave you wanting more, and he would come just before the thought of more water crept from your subconscious to conscious thought.

image

Overall, Parc delivered on many aspects… But I just could not get over the food…

Jenna’s Review: 🗼⚜🇫🇷👀😶

I’m going to be totally honest, and I am doing this for all 12 people reading the blog because I know how much they value the honesty. I didn’t really care for Parc Bistro. It’s not that they did anything wrong, but it just didn’t excite me. Maybe I didn’t pick the right dish or maybe I am becoming a restaurant snob, but I wouldn’t rave about it on the street.

image

The ambiance was nice enough with the wood and the black and white tiled floor, but it was no Casbah. We started with the charcuterie platter and the olives. The charcuterie was standard and the olives were good but I mean how bad can you screw up olives, am I right? For my main I got a duck burger because you don’t hear of those every day, but it wasn’t that remarkable, not terrible but not terrific if you know what I mean. For dessert Mike got eggnog ice cream which I had one bite of then quit. A girl, quitting after one bite. Just think about that.

image

Now it was not all bad, two things that I will give Parc credit for was their great Riesling wine and the superb service. Our server was friendly, fun, fast, and fantastic. 4 F bonus! He did remind me a little bit of Kilgrave (#JessicaJones) but I liked it. I just wanted to do whatever he told me. Quite the influence, I think I would have ordered fish if he told me to, and I am allergic to fish.

At the end of the day, I wouldn’t go back but it was great meeting Alanna and Nathan and spending the evening with them! That I would do again 🙂

Alanna and Nathan’s Review:

image

Nathan & I had previously dined at Parc Bistro last spring for his birthday. We had such a fantastic experience that I couldn’t say yes fast enough when Mike emailed me to suggest it for our dinner. Having lived in France twice, I gravitate to spots that replicate the fantastic cuisine of the country.

Parc is tucked in behind Tomkins Park, just off 17th avenue, in the space formerly occupied by Trattoria Borgo. Ironically, it’s the first non-Italian venture by Creative Restaurants, owners of Cibo, Bonterra, Scopa, & Posto. The decor is simple (& simply quite French). I love the subway tiles, black & white checkered floors, & photos from different regions around France. I also have grand plans to sit outside in the summer & enjoy the quintessential Parisian cafe experience without leaving Calgary.

image

Mike & Jenna had had a few minutes to browse the menu before we arrived (late, sorry guys, we never account for parking!) & had ordered drinks already from our efficient server. I’m not sure if Mike is just really into Jessica Jones right now, but he certainly had us convinced of our servers likeness to Kilgrave. Every one of his suggestions sounded magical & we all had a hard time deciding on an entree. Starters were a little easier, although our server’s descriptions had me yearning for most of the appetizers too. Mike & Jenna suggested the cheese & charcuterie board to start, & we enthusiastically agreed to share. To say we love cheese would be an understatement – our wedding cake was literally three wheels of it. We also ordered olives to accompany it. Before either of those arrived, we were asked if we wanted bread service. Is that even a question? Nathan had joked that the whole reason he was so excited to go back to Parc was for the bread. Their sourdough is as close to perfect as I’ve experienced in Canada. We each topped ours with the butter, salt, & olive oil provided. Is that how it’s supposed to be done? I dunno, but I dig it.

image

The cheese & charcuterie board that arrived next could have been a piece of artwork, it was so beautiful. & they did not skimp on the olives either. I think there were four varieties on a huge platter, definitely not your usual tiny serving here. I enjoyed all of the cheeses & charcuterie, but I think the most interesting was the blue. I’m used to that more crumbly style of blue you get with a Roquefort, but this one was a harder variety. Blue is by far Nathan’s favourite – the more pungent the better usually. This one wasn’t overpowering & paired well with the charcuterie. We both really liked it.

We finally managed to each choose an entree. Nathan went with the lamb burger & I went with cassoulet, a rich & hearty slow-cooked casserole with white beans & pork. Nathan’s burger was topped with arugula & what he described as a vinegary sauce. He said it was good, but the fries that came with it could have been crispier. I enjoyed my cassoulet too. The pork was a good mix of tender & crispy. The beans & sauce were exactly how I remember from visiting Toulouse. That said, I just don’t think I’m that into beans. Next time I’d probably go for mussels, steak frites, or a croque madame.

At this point, you probably could have rolled me out of there, I was so full (& I didn’t even finish my cassoulet!). I’m a sucker for creme brulee though, so I couldn’t resist sharing their white chocolate & vanilla bean version with Nathan. It did not disappoint!

image

I thought the overall value at Parc was pretty great too. While it doesn’t make for an inexpensive night out, it was less than I would expect for the quality of both the food & service. I would definitely recommend Parc for a nice date night & I’m sure we’ll be back to sample more of their menu.

I couldn’t believe how late it was by the time we left – a true testament to how much fun Mike & Jenna both are. We thoroughly enjoyed their company, as I fully expected having met them a few times at Games YYC nights. It was nice to sit down & have more of a chance to chat though. I’m already looking forward to meeting up with them again sometime!