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Brava Bistro Disappoints

Feta is made from sheep, goat and even cow milk. That is why we asked the waiter before ordering. When he confirmed that the feta was goat feta we asked if our meal could be made without it because we don't care for goat feta. I am sorry that you misunderstood - I thought that part was clear.

Our issue with the restaurant wasn't the waiter as much as the kitchen staff. Perhaps the waiter didn't explain the situation to them but to "pick off" the goat cheese and send it back out strikes me as unprofessional and well, a bit cheap.

We were just disappointed and didn't feel like we wanted to stay for dinner so we left. We didn't storm out, we paid our bill, tipped our waiter and chose to eat dinner somewhere else.

Jul 11, 2010
higgika in Prairie Provinces

Farm is so good I actually went twice in one day!

My sister was in town visiting from Boston and we both love cheese. It was her last day and we were on our own so we decided to go to Farm for lunch. Two grilled cheese sandwiches please!

We just sat down and the waitress told us that Janice Beaton Cheese shop – at the back of the restaurant - had just opened up a grilled cheese sandwich bar. We raced back and ordered a ham and cheese and an Oka cheese sandwich – with a glass of white wine. Very nice surprise. Wow! Delicious! I cannot say enough about how yummy these were. Crunchy bread, pickle and cheese. Next time you are having a grilled cheese craving head to JB immediately. You will not be disappointed.

They do need to change their electronic payment systems though – it didn’t allow for tipping. Makes sense in a cheese shop but now that they are serving sandwiches it needs to be added. Luckily I had some toonies in the bottom of my purse and happily dropped them in the tip jar.

After trying dinner at Brava Bistro (see separate review) we wound up back at Farm for dinner and are we ever glad we did.

With a nice cold glass of Blasted Church in hand, we ordered the Duck Pate and Macaroni and Cheese. We had a lovely view of the hard working staff and enjoyed watching them immensely. The food they put out was both impressive and delicious. Our meals were nothing short of spectacular. The duck pate was incredible and we happily enjoyed it with lots of crusty bread and just a touch of cherry reduction. The heat in the Mac and Cheese was a nice touch to a very filling, delicious creamy dish.

The staff and the environment at Farm are both great and the place was packed all night – not surprising given how good the food is but still impressive on a Tuesday.

1006 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2T 0A5, CA

Jul 10, 2010
higgika in Prairie Provinces

Brava Bistro Disappoints

My sister was in town from Boston last week and we decided to go to dinner. I thought Brava Bistro would suit us both – interesting menu, good food, nice wine selections. We loved our waiter, a sommelier in training, and his wine suggestions. With a little bubbly and a lot of red wine in hand we turned our attention to the menu. We were considering appetizers and a salad to share. My sister and I both have a strong aversion to goat cheese and one of the salads sounded tempting but had the dreaded goat cheese. Our waiter assured us that it could be omitted.

We ordered the mussels with pommes frites and the spicy prawn appetizer but kept our menus. The mussels were delicious, the sun was out and the wine was flowing. The spicy prawns arrived and with our first bite our eyes locked and we froze. Goat cheese!!! Quick – wine, water, bread, pommes frites – anything to remove the taste. The waiter apologized and immediately removed the dish.

We consulted the menu and it did say feta but we had just discussed – in detail – our shared hatred of all cheeses goat. He couldn’t have forgotten. He returned with a new plate – or so we thought – of spicy prawns. It looked small – like it was missing two prawns. It was. It also had some small remaining sprinkles of goat cheese. We couldn’t believe it. The kitchen had not made us a new dish – they had picked the goat cheese – or most of it – off of the food. If I had simply wanted the goat cheese picked off I would have done it myself. Absolutely ridiculous!

Why is it that you can go to a restaurant half a dozen times and get good food and good service but the second you extol their virtues to an out of town guest they embarrass and disappoint?

Needless to say, we left. We headed to Farm and had a spectacular meal. Details to come.

Brava Bistro
723 17th Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2S 0B6, CA

Jul 10, 2010
higgika in Prairie Provinces

Siraia at Sirocco Golf Course

I am living on the family farm just south of Calgary now and don’t get out to eat as much as I used to. We decided to invite our neighbours out for dinner to celebrate the Easter holiday weekend. We picked Siraia at Sirocco golf course mainly because it is close. It is just 4 km south of 22x by Spruce Meadows and about 2 minutes from the farm. Am I ever glad we did! Yum!

The service was excellent. Attentive and fun and full of good information and advice about the menu. We ordered a French red wine - Cotes du Rhone ($45) that was recommended by our server. Very nice bottle and we felt very reasonably priced for the wine. The starters were scrumptious: lamb ribs, wonton (coconut) prawns, fennel and cucumber salad and the special of the day – PEI mussels in a Thai coconut broth. We were all thrilled with our selections and quite full as the serving sizes were very generous. The mains arrived and they really were breathtaking. The food presentation was outstanding. Everything looked beautiful fresh and appetizing. I had the Maple Sake marinated spring salmon with Citrus-Soy sauce. The salmon was perfectly cooked and the sauce was a beautiful balance of sweet maple, salty soy and tart citrus. My husband commented that his tenderloin was amazing and he is very hard to please.

We decided to linger over coffee and dessert – especially when we saw the dessert offerings. Enticing little bites of chocolate were not to be ignored. No regrets here.
I can’t wait for spring and summer so that we can return and enjoy the fabulous views that I have heard about but for now I am very happy to have simply enjoyed a delicious meal.

Thanks to Chef Guy Leggatt for bringing fine dining to my new ‘hood.

Apr 04, 2010
higgika in Prairie Provinces

Coffee in Calgary

Wow! So strange! I live in a condo just off 17th Avenue SW and my favourite coffee shop is Kawa. Recently, due to a death in the family, I have been living on a farm just south of the city and my favourite coffee shop is Crema. Not just because it is the closest one to me but because it is really really good. I would not want to have to choose between the two. So I don’t. When I am at the condo I go to Kawa and when I am on the farm I go to Crema.

Mar 25, 2010
higgika in Prairie Provinces

Alloy in Calgary

The Alloy restaurant when I went was immature. The hostess was a bubble headed bimbo and the wait staff were unprofessional. I will say that the space itself is very impressive. Props to the designers and architects who completed the renovation – it is really quite a magnificent space. Well except for the pink light wall in the bar – I just didn’t get the point of that.

Anyway, I was not impressed with anything else and decided not to return until I heard that things had improved. Well that hasn’t happened so I have never been back.

I went with my husband to celebrate and enjoy a romantic dinner for two. I made reservations a couple of weeks in advance so was quite surprised to be seated in the bar, just outside the kitchen, at a table for six! I seem to remember that the food was fine but the ambiance of the dinner was not what we had booked. I could totally understand if that happened when you were a walk in but we had made reservations well in advance. To make matters worse the kitchen staff were arguing a lot with the serving staff and it was very loud and unprofessional and about 10’ from our table.

Anyhow, I guess I hold a grudge against these things because I have never been back.
Best of luck to any of you willing to give them a try.

220 42 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 1Y4, CA

Mar 20, 2010
higgika in Prairie Provinces

HELP!! I need a 42" gas cooktop for existing space...

I have been dealing with trying to replace an old gas cooktop too! It is really a royal pain that the sizes have changed. My cooktop is original to the house - 1961! A Tappan. Now they come in two sizes 30” and 36” and mine of course is 33”. It is important to check the cutout size though and not the cooktop size. The cutout is the actual size of the hole in the countertop. They actually vary quite a bit. The cooktop is not my biggest issue right now though – I also have a gas oven and yes it is a 1961 Tappan too. They sure made good appliances back then. Imagine trying to get 50 years out of most of the junk they make now. Anyhow my gas oven is 23” wide and 39” tall. I have had NO luck finding a replacement for it and may have to look at switching it to electric. I don’t really want to do that but I may have no choice. The funny thing is that my appliances are both stainless steel including the hoodfan. So they are in style – again.

Mar 20, 2010
higgika in Cookware

Calgary farmers market?Is it worth it?

I love the cheese store at Crossroads. Great cheese and great prices.

Mar 11, 2010
higgika in Prairie Provinces

Brasserie L'ecole Victoria BC

So last time I was in Victoria my girlfriend and I tried to get into Brasserie L'ecole with no success so it was definitely on the radar for this visit. She picked me up at the train station and we headed right over. They no longer take reservations but it was a Tuesday night and just after 6:00 so we were optimistic. Well! The place was packed. It is obviously a very popular spot. We took a seat at the bar but the hostess assured us that it wouldn’t be long – about 45 minutes – for a table.

After a bit of a wait we ordered our drinks – Caesars. The bartender was very busy – as I said the place was packed. The Caesar’s were very, very good. Amazingly yummy olives instead of celery which was a new experience but very good. We were seated at our table and ordered the Seared Scallop, grilled bacon, celery root remoulade appetizer ($13) and the Moules & Frites ($21) entrée to share with a Cremini Mushrooms, parsley, garlic. The waiter recommended a very nice wine that we both enjoyed. The scallop – one - arrived on a bed of cabbage. We carefully cut it in half and did notice that it was very simply seared. And I really mean barely seared. Anyhow, it seemed a bit light for sharing. The waitress cleared our plates and forks and then brought us the mussel appetizer with a shell bowl and the mushrooms. We asked about the fries and she went to check. We never did get our plates or forks back. We just used our dessert forks and dug into the mussels.

The waiter, who had taken our order, walked by and said “Where are the fries” We told him that they had forgotten them but the waitress was checking. He went to consult with her and we heard her say “Just order them a half order of fries.” Hello! We were sharing this – why wouldn’t we get a full order? Anyhow, they arrived and they were lovely and flavoured with truffle oil and garlic but they were small. I mean the order was small but the fries were very small as well. It was a bunch of tiny crispy leftover bits of fries. There weren’t hardly any actual fries. The mushrooms were lovely though and very flavourful. The best part of the meal really.

While at the bar the lady next to us had highly recommended the chocolate pot for dessert. We asked our waiter about dessert and he looked worried. Apparently they had run out of a few things. On a Tuesday! Anyhow, they did have two chocolate pots left. My friend decided she wanted the cheesecake but they were out so agreed to the chocolate pot. The waiter returned to the table and informed us that by the time he went to order the chocolate they were out. We decided to have Crème Brulee. It arrived and was so runny that when we cracked the shell the crème splattered up over our heads. I gave mine to the waiter and pointed out that it hadn’t set. He took it away and ran back to the kitchen. When he returned he said the chef agreed it was a bit runny and did we want any more coffee. And that was the end of my Crème Brulee and our dinner.

The Caesars were good, the mussels were fine, and the mushrooms were yummy. Weird service. Weird place. The food was ok but certainly not what we expected and certainly nothing that will make us run back. Maybe we caught them on a bad night because it is obviously a very popular spot. People were still arriving when we left at 8:30. I am not sure if the regular chef was off last night or what but our experience was a bit off.

Jan 27, 2010
higgika in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Coming in August: CRMR at Home (Calgary)

It has been quite a while. I golf in the summer and I am obsessed. Thanks for noticing. It makes me feel appreciated :) Had dinner at the Ranche - part of CRMR group - and have to post as it was so much better than I had expected.

Sep 10, 2009
higgika in Prairie Provinces

Coming in August: CRMR at Home (Calgary)

It is open and up and running and quite well stocked. The day I went I picked up some mushroom soup - a bit too peppery for my taste, and some peanut butter cookies - just because they were fresh baked and the place smelled of cookies. Yummy! They carry a lot of the same pantry products that you can find at Bite and some enticing treats too! They are within walking distance for me so I am pleased - especially as parking is an issue. I picked up a jar of melon/mustard and it is amazing. I had tried it at Buffalo Mountain Lodge and am very pleased that I can now buy it a bit closer to home. I am looking forward to trying some more of their specialty items - Cilantro pizza, stock, bison, cheesecake etc.

Sep 09, 2009
higgika in Prairie Provinces

The Altadore (in Calgary)

Just tried The Altadore for lunch and I think it will be great - soon. They are located in the old Alexis location on 16th Street SW and they are open but just unofficially. They still have a few bugs to work out and apparently they are planning a Grand Opening in the next few weeks.

The menu is marvelous and the flavour combinations are very exciting. I had a grilled chicken sandwich with sage pesto, double cream brie and sliced green apples. Yummmmm! A side Caesar salad and some shared sweet potato chips and it was lovely lunch. My friend had a flat bread pizza with bacon and sweet onions and said it was good - how could it not be?! Two coffees and our lunch was $25 - very reasonable.

The decor is a bit stark and dark but very modern and has a bit of a club feel. I can't wait to come back in the late afternoon for a glass of wine and an appy on the patio - not the weather for it today! Anyhow, they do have a few bugs to work out but when they do I am certain they will become a favourite stop in the neighbourhood. I know I look forward to returning.

Jul 13, 2009
higgika in Prairie Provinces

Stage: Small Plates Wine Bar - Victoria

I am in Victoria for the weekend and then off to the Comox area next week. Not much chance for fine dining but did make it out to Stages last night for a fabulous dinner. I had wanted to go on my last visit but just never made it. We originally thought we had reservations at La Brasserie but found out when we arrived that we did not. Even though I left my cell number because I knew we would be out shopping all afternoon they chose to email me instead. Oh well – I will have to try again next visit. They were very nice about it and redirected us to Zambri’s, which was very busy as well. This was Saturday evening at 6:00! So a word to the wise, dining in Victoria requires reservations.

We called Stage and they kindly held a table for us as we raced over from downtown. Stage is located in a residential area with a very diligent ticket agent so do not park in the signed residential areas. Stage is a warm and cozy wine bar, a bit on the loud and busy side but just enough to be lively. They offer many lovely wine selections including an impressive array of BC wines. Our server, Hayden, seemed very knowledgeable about the wine selections and made some excellent selections. We enjoyed a cheese plate with olives for an appetizer and then had the mussels, curry chicken, ravioli and a gorgeous salad with pears for dinner. The meal was served in a timely manner and each and every dish was spectacular. Truly! Even dessert was impressive. A slice of Boca Negra impressed us and so did the Crème Brulee with a very nice crunchy crust of sugar.

I see that some people have mentioned about the portion sizes at Stage but we had no issue with that. The quality and flavours were super so no complaints from us. We were definitely full when we left. Our bill was $120 (plus tip) and that included two glasses of wine each so it seemed fair to us. My only complaint was the bread, which took a while to arrive and sucked when it did. After waiting for more than 10 minutes for a bread basket to sop up the sauce from the chicken and the mussel dishes we convinced ourselves that it would be fresh baked. It was not! It was stale and unimpressive. The other thing that bothered me, and I have to admit it is a personal pet peeve, was the paper napkins. Yikes! Fine, gourmet, impressive, fancy dining at a wine bar and they use paper napkins?! This is inappropriate. Only fine white linen napkins will suffice.

The food, the restaurant, and the menu were all otherwise very impressive so I would definitely recommend Stage. Look for Hayden, he was very knowledgeable, efficient and cute too!

Dec 07, 2008
higgika in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

FARM (Calgary)

I have heard from a few people that they added soup - I am an Spoon Fed Soup addict but am always willing to try a new soup. I hadn't heard that they added entrees though. I will have to check it out. Thanks for the update - great photos!

Nov 02, 2008
higgika in Prairie Provinces

FARM (Calgary)

My husband and I went for dinner on Friday night. It is really not a husband kinda place. Well certainly not my husband.

I agree with everyone - it is beautiful and the service was very good, especially considering they just opened a couple of days ago. The place was packed and everyone seemed to be really enjoying themselves. The wine list is extensive and a bit on the pricey side but hey so is JB Cheese. Sometimes great quality and great offerings cost a great deal.

Anyhow, here is my beef. The menu has no meals on it. We went for dinner. There is no dinner. Yes you can order plates of cheese and meats and salad but no entrees. My husband had the grill cheese and I had the sausage on a bun. His grill cheese looked like something that you would feed a 10-year old for lunch. When it arrived he looked at it and said "So after this, where are we going for dinner?" Uh oh. Now he did say that it was the best grill cheese sandwich he ever had ($12) but it certainly wasn't dinner. I felt the same. Good quality but not dinner. No soups on offer either.

I would say they are open for lunch and in the evenings because you can't say they are open for dinner as they don't offer entrees. I loved it and I will go back but for a glass of wine, a salad, some meat and cheese appetizers, etc. I can't wait to go back but I won't take my husband and I won't expect dinner - because even for $62 - there was no dinner.

Oct 12, 2008
higgika in Prairie Provinces

FARM (Calgary)

I called today and they are OPEN! Not accepting reservations but I intend to pop in over the long weekend. Apparently they are open for lunch, closed in the afternoons, and then open again for dinner. I hope they are doing something Thanksgivingy as I am not cooking my bird until next weekend.

Oct 10, 2008
higgika in Prairie Provinces

Janice Beaton's new "salt tasting room" concept (Calgary) opening soon- pics

Just got back from summer in Penticton. Such a lovely place!
And while I was away JB opened and Manuel Latruwe and soon Farm. It is good to be back although I did have one very memorable meal in Penticton - will post soon.

Janice Beaton's new "salt tasting room" concept (Calgary) opening soon- pics

Janice Beaton cheese - around back of Farm beside Beano - opened this week. Fabulous! Really Fabulous! Looks amazing - really truly beautiful and mmmmmmm . . . the cheese. And other treats! I could see through to Farm and it looks great as well. Definitely opening soon. Two - three weeks at the most. I can't wait.

Lake O'Hara,BC- Good lodging and food

I believe you may be thinking of the Truffle Pig. Unfortunately it has closed and according to their web site - The all-new Truffle Pigs Bistro and Lounge will be located in the Kicking Horse Lodge across the road in Field come summer 2008. That website just says Restaurant Opening Soon. I hope they do open soon as I will be driving by at the end of June and had planned to stop.

Prairie Regional Barista Championship, Calgary, May 24-25


Kensington Riverside Inn

I was referring the restaurant. From all accounts the accommodations are outstanding. Just haven't heard anything since the resto opened.

May 24, 2008
higgika in Prairie Provinces


So I am hosting the AGM for my condo next week and have been given the task of ordering some treats for us to enjoy after the meeting. I was going to source from Manuel Latruwe but now that they have been delayed until June that isn't an option.

There will be 20 or so of us. Our meeting usually runs 7:30 - 9:00 so people have had dinner and are ready for a glass of wine and a snack. We have done cheese platters in the past and I might just call Janice Beaton for one of those. Any other recommendations / suggestions?

Kensington Riverside Inn

I am so glad that you are going. Can't wait to hear. This has definitely been on my list since they opened but just haven't made it yet.

May 23, 2008
higgika in Prairie Provinces

Prairie Regional Barista Championship, Calgary, May 24-25

Thanks for the reminder. I checked out the schedule and it looks great. I am definitely going to stop by. I have been laid up with a cold all week and haven't even made it out to try Kawa yet. Perhaps I will stop there on the way. I would bring you one but . . . you will probably have your hands full!

Road Trip - Calgary To Kelowna

I hope it isn't too late but I would definitely stop at the Truffle Pig in Field, BC. It is just off the highway and an amazing gourmet delight for a meal or just to pick up some in car snacks.
or not!
I just checked the web site and it says that they are moving in March and will be opening in the Kicking Horse Lodge. I would call 1st.

Fresh Eating and Less Waste

I don't think so! At $30 each and I usually have three or four fresh herbs in my fridge at any one time. Right now I just wash the herbs, trim the stems and put 1/4 inch of water in the bottom of a glass canning jar. Stuff the herbs in, tightly seal the lid and they last a week or two every time. I have used this method for cilantro, rosemary, oregano, parsley, chives, basil, sage for ages with no problem. I think I even got the idea from Chow!

Apr 06, 2008
higgika in Features

Bite Groceteria in Inglewood

What a fabulous find! Thanks to all those that recommended the place. I finally found it this last Saturday and a parking spot right out front.

The space itself is industrial looking but well laid out. I think they need to work out some of the bugs but the place is still pretty new.

The selection of goods is amazing including organic grains and cereals, cookies, crackers, olive oils and vinegars. They have sourced out the best of what Calgary has to offer – beautiful crusty French bread, chevre cheese, vital greens dairy, smoked duck, gourmet soups, chocolate and more!

There is an extensive selection of knives demonstrated by a very enthusiastic Kevin. I had him confused as I am generally a vegetarian but cook huge vats of turkey soup for my inlaws so need knives mostly for veggies but also to occasionally attack a bird or two. He even gave me a terrifying lesson on how to chop veggies with one of his enormous knives. I think I will just stick with my petite chef!

The service is warm and welcoming and friendly. They are very keen on sharing samples and I recommend that you go when you have some time to browse and shop and explore all the goodies they have on offer.

Wine at Brava Bistro

I stopped by with a girlfriend after work on Friday for a glass or two of red. What a lovely spot! We were there for a couple of hours and shared a cheese plate – we wanted to try the mussels but were warned that they weren’t as fresh as they should be. We sat at the bar and the service was friendly and entertaining. The wine selection is as good as ever and their by the glass offerings continue to astound.

Coffee shops in Calgary

I have to agree - I am loving Caffe Artigiano. I stopped in yesterday for a quick lunch and yikes was it good! I had a macchiato as recommended by JM – lovely and very pretty too, and a grilled turkey Panini which was excellent. It was a nice crusty blend of flavours with lots of sliced turkey on a cranberry & walnut bread. It had some big slabs of lettuce which I don’t care for but it was a delicious lunch. When I was there at about 1:00 they were already sold out of the lamb sandwiches and by the time I left they were sold out of the turkey ones so I recommend you go early!

Apr 01, 2008
higgika in Prairie Provinces

Floor mat

You might find it easier to pick yourself up a pair of Crocs. They are light comfortable plastic/rubber type slip on shoes and are great for cooking. When they get dirty - splashed on, dribbled on, or ucky on the bottom because I stepped in something I spilled - I throw them in the dishwasher. Seriously. They clean up great and have saved my feet and back from my ceramic tile floor. Lovely to look at . . . (the floors - not the shoes!).

Mar 11, 2008
higgika in Cookware