Q Haute Cuisine – Calgary, Alberta

We went out for a fancy dinner to Q Haute in downtown Calgary. We weren’t planning on it, but we did as I purchased a LivingSocial voucher for who knows when… that of course expires at the end of 2011. We made a reservation which was pain free and got ready to go for our evening date. Because it was so close to the Christmas Holidays, the place was decorated elegantly. Once we entered the main doors, there was a nice grand staircase that brings you up to the restaurant.

The service was really good, and the atmosphere was warm, inviting and very romantic. The dining room isn’t large at all, but it’s cozy and comfortable. We chose to pick our dinner from a la carte as we weren’t hungry enough to eat a huge course dinner in “surprise” form. Once we ordered, first came some bread and some great citrus herb butter and an appetite starter (Cold Canap├ęs) of brioche crostini with Prosciutto wrapped goats cheese.

I then got my first course, which I choose to try Seared Digby Scallops which was prepared with sauteed broccoli ramps, roasted abalone mushrooms and wild boar sausages. The scallops were fairly large and cooked to perfection, but it was a little under seasoned. It was really quite a nice starter dish as it was fresh, crisp, simple and elegant! It was my favourite by far!

The other first course we got to enjoy was Venison Carpaccio which essentially is a plate with raw venison with soft boiled quail eggs, carrot griddle cakes, gherkins, Vin Cotto with some pickled winter radish ad frilly mustard greens. The venison was cut into this slices and it was really easy to eat! It was fresh and tender – so I quite enjoyed this unique carpaccio! The quail eggs was very memorable as it was soft boiled to perfection! it held up its shape and when punctured by teeth or fork, the yolk came oozing out – and it was a beautiful bright yellow colour.

My main course – or what they called second course was amazing! I ordered the Roasted Alberta Lamb Chops and it came with 2 lamb chops, sous vide loin from the canon with warm carrots, vanilla bavarois and honey glazed Heirloom carrots. When you first bite into the lamb, you definitely know it’s lamb, and it wasn’t tough at all. I asked for it to be medium, and it came out medium, full of flavour and it was 2 big lamb chops!

The other main course we enjoyed was the Sous Vide and Roasted Beef Fillet which was a plate with delicious tender roasted beef fillets with ploppino mushroom brioche pudding and drizzled with Madeira jus.

This was definitely a delicious dinner, and we still ordered a dessert to share. We ordered a Mango Cheesecake with some tea and espresso to end our evening. The cheesecake was really creamy, light, and fluffy – just the way we liked it. It had a layer of mango jellie where most of the mango flavour came from. On top was a super thin and crispy layer of cracker that balanced itself on some sorbet. It was really a refreshing dessert even though it seems quite heavy.

After dinner and dessert, while we thought we’d be getting ready to pay the bill to leave, another treat came to the table. It’s what the waiter called The Last Bit and this was a chocolate ball with orange flavour, then it was rolled in coconut. It was really nice! There was also a nice light mousse which I thought was a perfect pair for the last bit. It came in a really neat magnetic spoon, and it was on a magnetic carrier.

We really enjoyed our evening out at Q Haute! The location was really nice as it was in front of the river – it was quiet, remote, and romantic. The food and atmosphere was really nice. We sat at a table next to Dave Bronconnier, so if this location is good for the former Mayer, it is good enough for me!

Q Haute Cuisine

100 La Caille Pl SW
Calgary, AB
(403) 262-5554

Balkan – Greek Restaurant in Banff

It’s been years since we’ve gone back to our favourite Greek Restaurant and it just happens to be in Banff, AB! It’s really nice as they have renovated the space to make it quite inviting – yet warm and intimate. It’s pretty neat, when you first get up the stairs, you’re greeted by beautiful piece of what appears to be a Greek imitation of their art on Ivory.

We came to this restaurant after watching the Santa Claus Parade that was held in Banff. It was quite spectacular as it was a night parade – which you normally don’t see. So, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to return here. This particular even, they were really packed as there were large families and parties going on – but we managed to make a reservation – so the food and service was still really good.

For drinks, I ordered a Virgin Pina Colada as it’s my favourite girly drink. It was really good and not too sweet, as some other places make it extra sweet – or there’s just no alcohol to make it bitter. We also had a bottle of Mythos which is Greek beer and it’s quite light and crisp.

For starters, they give you some nice fresh buns with Balsamic Olive Oil Bread Dip which is really nice! They do use a really nice Greek Olive Oil for this and it’s perfect for this application!

I ordered something I don’t normally, but for some reason, it really stuck in my mind that it was what I was going to get… so, I got it. I ordered the Arni Psito which was roasted lamb. The lamb was fork tender and it fell off the bone as I started eating at my dish. It was so good, I pretty much ate the entire plate before realizing we said we’d switch half-way to experience each others dishes.

The other dish we ordered was Greek Ribs and they were tender as well, lots of flavour and soft. It wasn’t fall of the bone ribs that are tender and juicy, but it sure is a different style.

Then, as stuffed as we were, we knew we wanted dessert from the moment we made a reservation to Balkans. We always order the Galactobouriko which is an amazing dessert that is really light, and not really sweet, warm, custardy with crispy phyllo pastry! To top it off, it’s topped with a decadent honey syrup and cinnamon.

Balkan The Greek Restaurant

120 Banff Avenue
Banff, AB
(403) 762-3454

Perogy Boyz Food Truck

I really like perogies, and when I heard about the Perogy Boyz which is a food truck in Calgary – I knew I had to go and try it right away! It was great, the line wasn’t too long, and the cooking time did take awhile, but the guys on the truck made it bearable by talking to the hungry guests waiting for their food!

We weren’t hungry – we were there for the experience and we loved it! We ordered Duck Perogy which sounds awesome on it’s own! What with duck isn’t good? Well, ground duck, Saskatoon berries, and chive ponzu was excellent in the perogies! Ah yummy! Just the thought of it brings back memories!

While we were there, we wanted a drink and was really glad to see The Grizzly Paw drinks. The Grizzly Paw is brewery in Canmore, Alberta that brews their own beers and many other things including making soda. It’s really a great restaurant to go to and it is a family restaurant as well! They have excellent burgers there and I really enjoyed the food and service there. But, because they’re local, I love it! We took a bottle of their Orange Soda and it really is quite different from other brand name soda pops.

Sure, this maybe an expensive food truck – where it kind of defeats the purpose of a food truck (fast, cheap, easy) but it’s something special for sure though – handmade perogies?! I can’t make them that good! Plus, with all the labour costs and fresh ingredients, it’s okay to indulge in them sometimes! I think it’s worth while since it’s a million times better than frozen ones. It just doesn’t compare!