Zellers Family Restaurant – Chinook Centre

For the last 2 years on Boxing Day and random days throughout the year, I’d find myself inside a Zellers and eating at their Family Restaurant. This year is no different, we got to Chinook Centre bright and early on Boxing Day to make sure the lines weren’t insane. Last year, we waited 3 hours for our lunch, and this year we went for breakfast.

I usually enjoy a Hot Chocolate with my breakfasts, and I was quite hesitant to order one for breakfast as I didn’t want my hot chocolate to be all cold if my meal took 3 hours to come. I took a chance and ordered a cup anyway! Luckily, breakfast is much faster and it only took 20 minutes – so I didn’t have to enjoy cold chocolate!

For breakfast, I ordered Western Denver Omelette which was a giant omelette with sweet peppers, onions, sauteed with diced ham.

The other breakfast we ordered was called Meat Lover’s bacon, sausage and ham served with 2 eggs. To top this meal off, it also had sides of country styled potatoes and toast

Overall, I really like coming here and I’ll miss it if and when it goes away when Target takes over. It’s a great alternative to eating at the food court and it’s just a little different!

Zellers Family Restaurant – Chinook Centre

6455 Macleod Trail S.W.
Calgary, Alberta
403-253-3932

The Ranche Restaurant – Calgary, Alberta

I really enjoy going to Fish Creek Provincial Park in Calgary, it’s a beautiful location where the Bow River passes through this park. At the edge of this park lies a wonderful little restaurant that is delicious and known as The Ranche Restaurant. I’ve only been here twice – ever! Both times I’ve been here so far was during the Christmas season and it’s jammed packed! Somehow, they always manage to bang out delicious food, and great service!

This time, we started our dinner with Blue Corn Crusted Red Spring Salmon and Lobster Cakes Lambs Lettuce with flaxseed Vinaigrette, pickled red onions and lime aioli. This appetizer was amazing, and you definitely know it’s salmon cake as salmon does have it’s own distinctive taste. The lobster adds lightness to the cakes and makes it sweeter. It’s a wonderful combination and unfortunately, I don’t have a beautiful picture of the appetizer. I’ve got to say it’s one of the best “seafood” cake appetizers I’ve had in a long time!

For the dinner, I tried Roasted Brome Lake Duck Cider braised red cabbage, pancetta crisp, ricotta parsley gnocchi, maple raisin gastrique – which is caramelized sugar, deglazed with vinegar. The gnocchi was little light pillows of potato goodness. It was really light and fluffy and infused with flavour. The duck was really well made, and delicious – even though it was slightly on the tough side.

The other meal we had was Seared Atlantic Scallops and Braised Porkbelly which was made with Roasted fingerling potatoes, cauliflower puree, aged balsamic reduction. The pork belly of course was a fattier part of the meat, but it makes the pork so tender, juicy and pork tasting it was great! The crispy skin on the pork was very memorable. The pieces of scallops was quite large, and thankfully it wasn’t over cooked at all. It wasn’t rubbery at all and it was fresh and sweet!

Desserts was something I really loved. I ordered a Chocolate Lava Cake with decadent rich, dark chocolate that souffled out of the ramekin and a pool of chocolate oozes out when I started digging into it. I never did figure out what the custard sauce was, but I mixed it into the molten cake. It was really delicious and definitely a highlight of the evening.

The final dessert we ordered is a Milk Chocolate Hazelnut Café Napoleon Caramelized Orange Sherbert, Chocolate Tuille. This wasn’t really what I was expecting, as I was thinking it would be in layers of light crispy phyllo pastry or something like that – where in fact, the dessert was really hard and brittle. It tasted great, but not the dessert I had imagined it to be.

The Ranche Restaurant is a wonderful place to eat for any occasion – whether it’s for a romantic night out, a party or gathering, it’s just a nice place! It’s great for families and entertainment! The best part is, they always seem to serve excellent food!

The Ranche Restaurant at Fish Creek Park

15979 Bow Bottom Trail SE
Calgary, AB
(403) 225-3939

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 Canapés) 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