19th Annual Calgary Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival – Ticket Giveaway!


It’s that time of the year again! The Rocky Mountain Wine and Food Festival, sponsored by Sobeys Liquor and Safeway Wine & Spirits, is back again in Calgary next Friday, October 14 and Saturday, October 15! The Grand Tasting Hall will be at the Stampede Park BMO Centre, Halls D & E. The Grand Tasting Hall will feature the latest adult beverage products and local menu items, including a distinguished collection of wines from around the globe, along with premium spirits, single malt and blended scotches, ports, specialty liqueurs, and import and micro-brewed beers. You will have the opportunity to pair these beverages with a delicious selection of nibbles from local restaurants, hotels and food purveyors.

As with previous years, Sobeys Liquor and Safeway Wine & Spirits will be featuring an on-site liquor store, where attendees can purchase their favourite finds from the weekend.

Thanks to Brookline Public Relations, I have two(2) admission tickets to give away for this event. The giveaway tickets are for the Saturday, October 15 afternoon session (12-4 PM). When presented at the door, these tickets will allow for complimentary access into the Grand Tasting Hall. Please note that sampling coupons are not included and all attendees will need to purchase sampling coupons separately at a cost of $0.50 cents each to use for obtaining food, wine and other beverage samples.  These admission tickets are not transferable to any other session. This is an adult only event. All attendees must be 18 years or older. Minors (including infants) are not permitted to attend.

To enter into this draw for the Wine Festival tickets (Prize worth $40), simply leave a comment in the section below telling me “What is your favourite wine, beer or cocktail drink?”. You will need to put a valid email address in the appropriate box when telling me about your favourite beverage (not to worry, your email address will not be published), so that I can contact you if your name is drawn. This giveaway contest will close on Tuesday, October 11, 2016 at 11:59pm. I will hold a random draw and one winner will be chosen. I will contact the winner via e-mail immediately as well as post the name of the winner here.

If you need to purchase additional admission tickets, they are still available. The tickets are $28 each online or $33 at the door for the Friday, October 14 Evening Session (5-10pm); $20 each online or $24 at the door for the Saturday, October 15 Afternoon Session (12-4pm); and $32 each online or $37 at the door for the Saturday, October 15 Evening Session (6-10pm) . As I mentioned previously, the sampling coupons are $0.50 each and can be purchased (by cash only) at the Grand Tasting Hall.  The samples can range from 1 to 20 or more coupons, depending on the item.

For more information, visit http://www.rockymountainwine.com/calgary.html.

Good Luck!

Posted in Alberta, American, Calgary, Canadian, drink, eat | Tagged , , | 13 Comments

Spring Tasting at JOEY Chinook – Calgary, AB

JOEY Restaurants recently launched their new menu items for spring which included some new twists on their classics as well as some fresh flavours for the new season. I was lucky enough to be invited in for a sneak peek at their JOEY Chinook location.

We started off the tasting sampling some light and crispy Calamari Fritti – tempura battered calamari with fennel and vegetables drizzled with a house made spicy aioli.


Next up was the flavourful Tandoori Flatbread with Tandoori spiced chicken and brinjal chutney on a hand pulled flatbread topped with fresh green peppers, red onions, cilantro and a creamy yogurt.


One of my favourites at the tasting was this Korean Fried Cauliflower which consisted of bite sized cauliflower tossed in Gochujang ( a sweet & spicy Korean chili sauce) and miso. I thought this dish was a brilliant twist to the classic Korean fried chicken wings and it is vegan/vegetarian-friendly as well.


To celebrate the coming of spring/summer, JOEY has introduced the Market Salad, with fresh corn, roasted golden beets, avocado, aged white cheddar, juicy hourly roasted rotisserie chicken along with kale and mixed greens tossed in a French vinaigrette. It’s perfect for those hot summer days!


One of my all-time favourite sandwiches is the classic beef dip. JOEY’s new Butcher’s Sandwich is a twist on the classic beef dip with tender slow roasted beef, thinly shaved atop a toasted ciabatta baguette along with hot mustard, rosemary sea salt, crispy onions and a side of smoky jus. This Butcher’s Sandwich was easily one of my favorites at the tasting. That smoky jus really makes the dish!


Another dish that really impressed me at the tasting was the Ramen. With JOEY Executive Chef Chris Mills’ culinary background filled with Japanese influence (he studied there as well as competed in Iron Chef Japan), it was no surprise that the flavours in this ramen noodle bowl were spot on. The miso, chicken and pork broth was rich and flavourful and is served authentic noodles, sweet corn, bamboo shoots, tender grilled chicken breast, a 65 degree egg and a hint of chili oil for spice.


We also got to try the Rotisserie Chicken with Vindaloo Curry Sauce from JOEY’s Rotating Rotisserie Chicken Program. As part of this rotating rotisserie chicken program, JOEY features their succulent signature spit roasted chicken in a different flavor every day. The rotating flavours include ‘The Angry Bird’ with Korean chili sauce, Cider BBQ Sauce (a house made mix containing red wine vinegar, molasses and chipotle peppers), Hoisin Ginger Glaze (with sambal Oelek, hoisin sauce and fermented black beans),  Mushroom Peppercorn Sauce (with mushrooms, white wine, cream and miso), Peri Peri Glaze ( with Habanero sauce, cayenne pepper, paprika, sambal Oelek and a house made preserved lemon puree) and Vindaloo Curry Sauce (with garlic, ginger, turmeric, curry powder and cayenne). I was really impressed at how tender, juicy and flavourful the chicken was.


To go along with the spring/summer menu items, JOEY has brought back many of their popular seasonal cocktails. Made with blueberry vodka, fresh blueberries, lime juice, organic cane syrup and mint, the Blueberry Mojito is a huge seasonal favourite along with their Summer Sangria, which contains a mix of red and white wine, brandy, fresh juices and fruit. I was surprised to learn JOEY’s has a hand pressed juice program where the juices for the cocktails are made fresh daily. I can really taste the difference the fresh juice makes in a cocktail.


My favourite was the Tequila Sour which was made with a combination of tequila, fresh lemon juice, organic cane syrup, lime zest and egg whites. It was smooth, perfectly balanced, and not too sweet.


We ended the tasting with Made to Order Ice Cream. Liquid nitrogen at -321 degrees F is combined with a house made ice cream base to form some of the creamiest and smoothest ice cream I’ve ever tasted. I loved the salted caramel, double chocolate and strawberry flavours. It is also available in maple and Tahitian vanilla.


JOEY Chinook
Chinook Mall
100A – 6455 Macleod Trail SW
Calgary, AB
403 692 6626



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Finca La Primavera Nano Lot Coffee at Cafe Blanca – Calgary, AB

Earlier this month, I was invited by Cafe Blanca to try their first Nano Lot specialty coffee, Finca La Primavera. Finca La Primavera is grown in the Planadas Municipality, Talima Department of Colombia, a region with a long history of award-winning coffees.What makes Finca La Primavera so unique is that this varietal coffee is available is very limited quantities. Only 130 pounds of green (raw) coffee bean are grown each year to be exact and all the beans comes from the same coffee plot, known as a “Nano Lot”.

Cafe Blanca is serving this Finca La Primavera Nano Lot Coffee on 2 brewing methods – as Drip coffee and Siphon coffee. Currently, Cafe Blanca is the only specialty coffee-house in Calgary that serves Siphon coffee.

Since this was my very first Siphon coffee experience, I got a quick lesson from owner, Derek Ho, on this unique brewing process. Hot water is first added to the bottom chamber before the top chamber is inserted into the bottom chamber. The water is then heated over a halogen heater to 185 degrees which pushes the water into the top chamber due to the increased vapour pressure from the heat. The coffee grounds are then slowly and gently introduced into the boiling water.

The coffee is extracted over the course of about one minute as it is being gently stirred. After the coffee is fully brewed, it is ready to be removed from the heat. Once removed from the heat, the vapor pressure in the bottom chamber drops as it begins to cool causing the brewed coffee to be pulled through the filter into the bottom chamber leaving a dome of grounds at the top of the filter. The coffee is then decanted into a carafe and is ready for serving.


I had the opportunity to taste the Finca La Primavera brewed by both methods – the Siphon brewing process vs Drip coffee. Tasting them side by side, you would never guess that they were both brewed from the same lot of beans. The Siphon method produced a lighter, smoother, cleaner & crisper cup of coffee and really brought out the ruby grapefruit notes of the Finca La Primavera. The Drip method produced a more robust cup of coffee with dark chocolate notes.


Though Cafe Blanca managed to purchase the whole lot of the Finca La Primavera this year, it won’t last long given that it was only 130 pounds of raw beans. Hence, the Finca La Primavera will be available at Cafe Blanca only until the end of June. If you’re looking for a really unique coffee experience, I’d definitely recommend trying out this Finca La Primavera as a Siphon coffee.

Cafe Blanca
240 Riverfront Ave SW
Calgary, AB
(403) 460-2002



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[Giveaway] Win a $25 Edo Japan Gift Certificate

Earlier this month, Alberta-based Edo Japan opened its 26th Calgary location in CF Market Mall. Known for its signature Teriyaki sauce and delicious food prepared in a traditional Teppan-style, Edo made its first appearance on the Canadian food scene over 35 years ago and is a favourite with amongst customers looking for healthy, fresh and nutritious meals.

I have been a huge fan of Edo Japan since my university days when I was living away from home on my own, before I became a foodie and learned how to cook. I used to eat at the Edo Japan on campus a couple of times a week because the meals were healthy and affordable. Unlike other fast food, I never feel guilty eating at Edo Japan. There was always a good balance of vegetables and meat with every meal. And most important of all, their food always tasted “real” to me. Truth be known, I have never been a fan of processed foods and I shudder at the thought of what’s in a hot dog or chicken nugget.


Edo Japan, known for its signature dishes, including Teriyaki Chicken and Sukiyaki Beef, prides itself in providing delicious, affordable and ‘Simply Better’ meals to customers. The new CF Market Mall location, which showcases a brand new storefront design, will continue to cater to the appetites of Edo-lovers with a growing list of menu items, from the classic Edo dishes to the limited edition customizable Bento Box combos, to their most recent addition of Edamame beans which are steamed to perfection with sea salt or sesame chili.

To celebrate their opening at CF Market Mall location, Edo Japan generously treated their customers to a choice of Teriyaki Chicken and Sukiyaki Beef meals from open to close that opening day. I stopped in after work with a friend to check out the new Market Mall location and was pretty impressed at how quickly we received our free meals, given how popular this generous promotion was.


Don’t worry if you missed out on the grand opening. Thanks to Brookline Public Relations and Edo Japan, I have one (1) $25 Gift Card from Edo Japan to giveaway. The lucky winner will have an opportunity to go and check out the new Edo Japan location at CF Market Mall.

To enter into this draw for the $25 Edo Japan Gift Card, simply leave a comment in the section below telling me “Which is your favorite menu item at Edo Japan?”You will need to put a valid email address in the appropriate box when telling me about the menu item (not to worry, your email address will not be published), so that I can contact you if your name is drawn. This giveaway contest will close on Wednesday, June 1, 2016 at 11:59PM MST. I will hold a random draw and one winner will be chosen. I will contact the winner via e-mail as well as post the name of the winner here.

Good Luck!

Edo Japan
CF Market Mall, Food Court
3625 Shaganappi Trail NW
Calgary, Alberta


Posted in Alberta, Calgary, Dinner, eat, Japanese, Lunch | Tagged , | 7 Comments

#PZAPARLOURPARTY at PZA Parlour – Calgary, AB

pza_parlour.jpgA couple of weeks ago, I was invited by Michelle MacPherson of Maven and Mention to attend a #PZAPARLOURPARTY at the new PZA Parlour, located just off MacLeod Trail and Southland Drive SE. I was really excited to check out PZA Parlour after learning that this was new restaurant concept is being launched by Tony Nicastro, current owner of Villa Firenze, who is a third-generation restaurateur in Calgary.


We started off the #PZAPARLOURPARTY sampling crispy Calamari, which was served with a smoked lemon aioli and marinara sauce.


Next up, we tried the delicious Salsiccia, which consisted of roasted pork sausage with red pepper-onion marmalade and balsamic reduction and was served with bread sticks. This turned out to be one of my favorite dishes of the evening.


For our third course, we tried the flavourful Caprino Salad  with tomato, goat cheese and black olive salad with fresh arugula and  a balsamic dressing.


I loved their Spinaci Salad, which consisted of baby spinach lightly dressed in oil and balsamic, topped with all my favourites – honey candied bacon, gorgonzola cheese and toasted pine nuts.


Another dish that impressed me was their Pesto Gnocchi, with housemade potato gnocchi in a fresh basil pesto cream.


At the #PZAPARLOURPARTY, I tried this Belgian style farmhouse ale from Goose Island Beer Co. called Sofie for the first time and totally fell in love with it. It paired perfectly with the salads and gnocchi.


We also had an opportunity to sample a few of the pizzas. For the bruschetta lovers out there, you got to try the Nonna Teresa. Topped with delicious homemade bruschetta, green peppers and mozzarella cheese sprinkled with parmesan, I really enjoyed how well-balanced the flavours were.


For our second pizza, we tried the Johnny G. Named after our local celebrity, Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames, this pizza was topped with salami, pepperoni, house made sausage, tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese.


Lastly we tried the Gio, which was topped with pear slices, gorgonzola and mozzarella cheese. I loved the perfect balance of salty and sweet flavours.


We finished off the #PZAPARLOURPARTY with some delectable desserts – a luscious Tiramisu with house made espresso soaked sponge cake with whipped mascarpone and some amazing Ciambelle, which were fluffy and light Italian donuts topped with Nutella.


PZA Parlour is definitely a welcome addition to south Calgary. In addition to their extensive pizza menu, they offer a great selection of appetizers, salads, pastas, entrees as well as desserts. They are family friendly and even have a kids menu.

PZA Parlour
#297 – 9737 Macleod Trail SW,
Calgary, Alberta
(403) 455-2033


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