d

DoubleFine's Profile

Title Last Reply

Calgary court restaurant

Love that place. You may already know this, but the owner has three other similar restaruants in Calgary: Sun Chiu Kee ("Sun's BBQ"), Pebble Street, and Hong Kong Cafe. I consider all of them to be part of the Calgary Court "chain", because the menus are interchangable, i.e. at any location you can order anything that's on any of the menus of the above-mentioned locations.

If you like curry, I highly recommend the Malaysian Curry Fish w/steamed rice. Unbelievably tasty, and if you eat it fresh at the restuarant (as opposed to take-out) the fish has a slightly crispy battered texture under the sauce that is so good it will make you weep.

-----
Calgary Court Restaurant
119 2 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0B2, CA

Pebble Street Restaurant
999 36 St NE #220, Calgary, AB T2A 7X6, CA

Sep 01, 2011
DoubleFine in Prairie Provinces

Double Zero

Rea's will be the next one on my list then. I look forward to it.
I'll still take my chances with Il Centro.

So then by process of elimination, it seems that Rea's the only place in Calgary now that has struck the happy medium of fresh and "authentic Italian" in a take-out format. Good for them, they must be really cleaning up.

BTW I didn't mean to start a new thread -- I was trying to add it to the "best pizza in calgary" thread but apparently goofed. How do I get this moved?

-----
Il Centro
6036 3 St SW #106, Calgary, AB T2H 0H9, CA

Aug 29, 2011
DoubleFine in Prairie Provinces

Double Zero

I tried the much-hyped Double Zero yesterday. Not bad, but didn't quite live up to the hype for me.

DZ fits squarely into that category of trendy overpriced wine bars that serves "authentic" Neopolitan pizza with toppings that are on the slightly pretentious side. If you wanted a dainty pizza topped with arugela, you'd be in luck. On the other hand if you wanted an extra large pie to share with the family topped with your kids' favorite pizza toppings, you'd be SOL. I'd love to find a happy medium in Calgary some day, but if I have to choose between the two extremes then my preference would have to be the dainty upscale faux Neopolitan (sigh).

My only point of reference for that category of pizza at this point is Pulcinella, so invariably there were comparisons. DZ's crust was rather bland IMO and not as fresh in texture as the one I enjoyed at Pulcinella recently. On the other hand, DZ's toppings were more flavorful. The sauces were both very good. I give a slight edge to Pulcinella but again YMMV -- my wife had the exact opposite opinion.

I still look forward to trying Rea's, Il Centro, and Without Papers. Hopefully I'll find a clear winner.

-----
Il Centro
6036 3 St SW #106, Calgary, AB T2H 0H9, CA

Pulcinella
1147 Kensington Crescent NW, Calgary, AB T2N 1X7, CA

Aug 28, 2011
DoubleFine in Prairie Provinces

Any "Montreal-style" Pizza in Calgary?

Sounds good! Of course I'm starting from square one with no materials. I'm assuming a good mixer will be expensive. Any recommendations?

Also, I had a brief look at that Lehmann NYC recipe and it seems to only give the ingredient quantities for mass batches -- not for a single pizza. Is that right? Maybe I just wasn't looking in the right place...

Aug 17, 2011
DoubleFine in Prairie Provinces

Any "Montreal-style" Pizza in Calgary?

Well taken. My point carried more gravitas than warranted, and I wish I hadn't articulated it in that way. All I meant to say is that I'm always taken by surprise -- and maybe more than a little annoyed -- at the number of lousy restaurants that manage to stay in business here. There are good ones, but the ratio is too low for a world-class city such as this one.

Aug 15, 2011
DoubleFine in Prairie Provinces

Any "Montreal-style" Pizza in Calgary?

Agreed, I've had fantastic steak made at home. My wife's prime rib is by far the best I've eaten. By the same token, I'm starting to think I might be able to make a decent pizza -- NYC style is very close, and the recipe is freely available on the internet. I'll share the results if I ever get around to making it.

I've also noticed that the restaurant situation has gotten better... I just wish it would improve a little faster.

Aug 15, 2011
DoubleFine in Prairie Provinces

Any "Montreal-style" Pizza in Calgary?

I've recieved a few recommendations for Nick's steak, but I'll know better next time. I could always use suggestions for good steak, but maybe I'll save that for another thread.

I do see your point -- and if I've over-stated my case, it's because I'm just getting frustrated that in a world class city like this one there's still such a dearth of great food. Again I'm not saying there aren't good restaurants -- it's just that you have to drive past so many bad restaurants to get to them. So I'm really just talking about ratios here. I honestly don't think that Calgarians realize how abnormal and unacceptable this is for such a large city.

So if I complain, it's simply because I'm not content with the status quo. Are you?

Aug 15, 2011
DoubleFine in Prairie Provinces

Any "Montreal-style" Pizza in Calgary?

It wasn't exactly what I was looking for, but I didn't hate it. I gave Nick's points for the made-from-scratch crust and great service, and for being the "lesser-of-evils" when the only other options are... er, 95% of the other restaruants in Calgary.

I'll let you know when I've tried the above-mentioned recommendations.

BTW I also tried Nick's much-touted steak, and it was the typical brand of cardboard that has become synonymous with Calgary food for me. Seriously, next time someone recommends a restaurant to me, I'm going to ask for credentials. :-)

Aug 15, 2011
DoubleFine in Prairie Provinces

Any "Montreal-style" Pizza in Calgary?

Even after all these years, Calgarians are far too content with medeocrity when it comes to food. It's indisputable -- if it weren't the case, then 95% of the restaurants in this town would have dried up and disappeared years ago. Instead, with every new section of urban sprawl we get about 6 new bland American-style chain restaurants and 2-for-1 pizza places which somehow manage to thrive for years.

If people vote with their dollars, then medeocrety has won in this town. Sad but true.

Aug 15, 2011
DoubleFine in Prairie Provinces

Any "Montreal-style" Pizza in Calgary?

Tried Nick's pizza today, and it was not bad at all. They use a high quality cheese, and the crust was great! Apparently they make it from scratch, and you can taste the quaity.

Unfortunately Nick's uses that gloppy acidic tasting red tomato paste though, so my quest for pizza perfection in Calgary is not yet at an end. But putting that nit-picky detail aside, I'd definitely try Nick's again.

Aug 13, 2011
DoubleFine in Prairie Provinces

best pizza in calgary?

Interesting! Your description makes me think of focaccia-bread. Is that close?

An Italian friend of mine has said that there are as many types of pizza's in Italy as there are regions. Every region claims to have the best and most original -- but nothing we have in Calgary comes close to any "version" of pizza he's tried there. He claims that the Neopolitan style we have comes the closest.

Old school NY and Mtl pizzaiole claim that their style and recipes come straight from the motherland. It would be interesting to know if that's true, and if so then what region of Italy it comes from. Perhaps it reflects a specific era of Pizza-making in Italy.

Aug 12, 2011
DoubleFine in Prairie Provinces

best pizza in calgary?

Yeah, I think you're right. Mtl pizza is a tad different than NYC pizza (from what I've tried at least), but for descriptive purposes they're close enough that I might as well just say NYC pizza since Mtl isn't exactly known for its pizza.

Mtl style pizza, as I've come to find out, is actually inherently rooted in Italian tradition. But in Montreal a lot of the old-school pizza places have been appropriated by Greeks, and so the Mtl pizza has become somewhat of a hybrid; it has the traditional Italian crust and sauce, but also has mounds of ingredients under a very thick layer of chewy dense cheese.

The problem is that when you describe that to someone as "authentic italian", they automatically think razor thin crust topped with boccancini and sun-dried tomatoes. Those trendy "faux-Neopolitan" pizza places have really gotten everyone thinking that there's only one type of authentic italian pizza. So for lack of a better description I've been calling it "Greek-style"... which I've come to find out is actually really nothing like what I wanted.

I've learned a lot from this thread. I haven't read every single post (there are 200+ comments) but have skimmed, so sorry if I've missed stuff. BTW, in my post I mentioned Voggio's and also recommended the Mexicana. :-) Just saying.

Aug 11, 2011
DoubleFine in Prairie Provinces

Any "Montreal-style" Pizza in Calgary?

Nick's is on my list.

Re. bland Calgary restaurant food, yeah I guess "inconsistent" is the word. Of course I've had good food here, but in general you have to know where to find it, and chances are it won't be in your neighborhood (where I live in NW, I have to commute quite a distance to get to anything decent).

Granted since the time I moved here 15 years ago the restaurant scene -- particularly with asian restaraunts -- has gotten much better. My first year here, even the highest-rated restaurants at the time were just "OK".

Aug 10, 2011
DoubleFine in Prairie Provinces

best pizza in calgary?

I guess I meant that those are the main types of choices, with a few alternatives outside of the box. Sorry if it was confusing.

Thanks for the suggestions! You've given me new hope :-) I'll try as many of those as possible. I'm a little weary of Calgary pub pizza however -- been burnt on recommendations too many times in the past. I just don't like pan pizza's, and have never tried a "Calgary-style" pizza that didn't taste (to me) like a bunch of goop piled onto greasy toast.

I'll definitely try Rea's and I'll let you know.
An Italian buddy of mine recommended Without Papers. He also recommended Il Centro, with the disclaimer that it "depends on the day" -- sometimes you just get what he's in the mood to cook. :-)

-----
Il Centro
6036 3 St SW #106, Calgary, AB T2H 0H9, CA

Aug 10, 2011
DoubleFine in Prairie Provinces

best pizza in calgary?

It's hard to find good pizza here. You either get the "Calgary-style" pizza which falls into the "2-for-1" category and isn't much different than the bland US chain pan-pizza made with frozen ingredients, or you have to seek out an authentic Italian pizza place which serves high-end trendy and expensive ultra-thin crust with scant and exotic toppings.

In New York, Toronto and Montreal (the only places I've eaten pizza outside of C) just about every neighborhood has at least one authentic old-school Italian/Greek mom-and-pop pizzaria that serves a hybrid of the two; it's got the authentic high-quality made-from-scratch ingredients, and yet it's hearty enough that you can really sink your teeth into it for a reasonable price (and the toppings are simple -- you won't find a "pear and arugela" variation on the menu :-) ).

I am still on a quest to find that in Calgary, and so far I haven't come up with anything. And no, "Tom's House of Pizza" does not come close, nor do any of the local mom-and-pop pizzaria's that I've tried. That said, if you can avoid comparisons to pizza from other world-class cities, Calgary does have a few unique pizza experiences. Coco Brooks serves something that I wouldn't exactly call pizza, but it's quite good. It's like a personal pizza with some unique toppings, and some of them are quite tasty! I highly recommend the Bacon and Egg (I know it sounds strange, but it's really quite good).

Another place I quite like is Vogglio's D'Pizza. They seem to make their ingredients from scratch, and the toppings are again, very unique and interesting. It's definitely not an Italian or Greek style pizza (the owners are actually from Columbia) and has more of a "cracker-like" crust which is not my preference, but the toppings and attention to detail make up for that. I recommend the Mexicana.

BTW, even though I find some of calgary's "upper-crust" Napolitan-style pizza places to be over-priced, last time I went to Pulcinella I thorougly enjoyed the pizza I had there. The dough was almost like warn and fresh Naan topped with the freshest of pizza ingredients. Hopefully that makes sense -- take that "Naan" comparison for what you want, but believe me it was delicious. For the price though, I just wish there was more of it.

-----
Pulcinella
1147 Kensington Crescent NW, Calgary, AB T2N 1X7, CA

Aug 10, 2011
DoubleFine in Prairie Provinces

Any "Montreal-style" Pizza in Calgary?

While I agree that humidity (or lack thereof) can affect smell and taste, I don't buy that as an excuse for the generally bland food out here. My parents sometimes bring food with them when they fly here from Mtl, and it's always as good as I remembered it to be. One time they brought some leftover pizza from Gigi's and it was heavenly.

I agree about Lucerne though. Isn't that the Safeway house brand? They have that same brand name in the US.

Aug 10, 2011
DoubleFine in Prairie Provinces

Any "Montreal-style" Pizza in Calgary?

Hmmm... well, so much for the water argument.
I suppose that leaves Calgary with no excuse at all! Grrrr.

BTW thanks for the recommendation -- I'll have to try that place.

Aug 10, 2011
DoubleFine in Prairie Provinces

Any "Montreal-style" Pizza in Calgary?

You may be right, on both counts.

After acclimatizing to Calgary produce, whenever I travel back east I'm always surprised at how "rich" the milk and butter taste out there. Eggs as well. We Calgarians have no idea how bland and watered down our produce tastes by comparison, and there'd be no real impetus for Calgarians to pay extra for imported produce.

Also, this article... http://www.mtlurb.com/forums/showthre...... includes an anecdote from an old-school restaurenteur blaming the water for his crust never turning out when using the same recipe in the US. I'm a bit skeptical, but on the other hand I suppose if it were possible to make Mtl-style pizza crust out here then someone would have done it by now.

Aug 10, 2011
DoubleFine in Prairie Provinces

Any "Montreal-style" Pizza in Calgary?

Now pressed, I can't think of any restaurant in C that has a crust that's even close. If I have to suggest one, then maybe Pulcinella in Kensington? Although it has more of a thin Italian-style crust, it has some of the same qualities in essence. It's got that hand-tossed look with the blistered crust and a chewy texture. But the photo I attached above should give you a pretty good indication of the crust I'm really talking about.

As for sauce, I guess I'd have to say Pulcinella again. Spiro's on 17th is also pretty close for sauce as well.

Here's a great article snipped from the Gazette, which describes "old school" Mtl-style pizza to a tee: http://www.mtlurb.com/forums/showthre...

Regarding Greek pizza, there are a couple qualifications:

1. A quick Google led me to the discovery that a lot of the Montreal pizza joints were established by Italian immigrants in the early 1900's, and then perhaps appropriated by Greeks later on. This makes sense, because Mtl pizza does seem to be a hybrid of all the best qualities of the two styles.

2. I wouldn't use "bitter" to describe the prevailing sauce in Calgary. Maybe sour or tart? Definitely pungent :-). When I get a mouth full of that citrous goop, it just overpowers all the other flavours. I hadn't noticed that was a Greek thing though -- I see this in most of the pizza in Calgary, and it seems influenced by the lousy American pizza chains that are so abundant here.

-----
Pulcinella
1147 Kensington Crescent NW, Calgary, AB T2N 1X7, CA

Aug 10, 2011
DoubleFine in Prairie Provinces

Any "Montreal-style" Pizza in Calgary?

BTW to be clear, I'm not talking about your el-cheapo 2-for-1 pizza joint, which is in abundance in every province accross Canada, Quebec notwithstanding.

The attached photo is more what I'm after (nabbed from another Mtl-pizza thread somewhere else on the internet).

A typical Mtl-style pizza looks like some variation of this, or often with the cheese on top. I need this!

Aug 09, 2011
DoubleFine in Prairie Provinces

Any "Montreal-style" Pizza in Calgary?

I've been living in Calgary for 10+ years, and have yet to find what's often referred to as the "Montreal-style" pizza. What qualifies as "Mtl style" is really just a well made Greek-style pizza you find at a typical mom-and-pop diner. A Greek style pizza is usually piled high with toppings and has the cheese on top, and while Calgary does have many Greek-style pizza restaurants that ostensibly do this, they invariably end up tasting like cardboard for some reason. I don't know, maybe it's in the ingredients... A basic Mtl-style pizza has the following ...

- Crust: Hand-tossed, medium thickness, chewy. *NOT* a thick pan-style, and *not* dry and stiff-as-a-board.

- Sauce: Moderately salty, not too sweet, definitely not acidic. Texture is on the thin side, and to me looks like it's made with real tomatoes, as opposed to that thick goopy dark red acidic-tasting stuff that people out here seem to like and refer to as "tangy".

- Cheese: High-quality 100% mozerella. The kind you find in Montreal is salty, dense and chewy dammit! :-) There's usually lots of it. When cooked to perfection, it's very white with golden-brown areas.

I've tried a few places that have been recommended to me including Michael's, Tom's, and Spiro's, and none have come close. Even if they get the crust and sauce right, there seems to be something missing in the flavour and texture of the cheese! I don't know what it is... maybe you just can't get that kind of cheese out here (I'm told the Mtl mom-and-pops usually use Saputo)..?

"Good pizza" is relative -- there are authentic Italian-style pizzas in Calgary if you look hard enough, and there are a few interesting pizza's that don't fit into any special category like Coco Brooks and Voglio's. But I just can't find the specific Mtl. variation. Surely there must be other ex-Montrealers here who know what I'm talking about...?

Aug 09, 2011
DoubleFine in Prairie Provinces