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Calgary

Winefest in Calgary

Winefest in Calgary

Winefest in Calgary

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, a glass of smooth, dark red wine has never seemed more romantic, nor has a glass of crisp, white wine ever seemed more fresh and flirty. We’ve got some expert tips on drinking wine, whether that’s at a restaurant, a wine boutique, or a wine festival in Calgary.

Read more…

Interview with Burton Cummings, Canadian Music Hall of Fame Recipient 2016

By Breanna Mroczek

Burton Cummings

Burton Cummings is the 2016 Canadian Music Hall of Fame Recipient at the 45th annual Juno Awards.

The Juno Awards are being hosted in Calgary, AB on Sunday, April 3, 2016, and this year the Canadian music awards show will have lots to celebrate.

2016 has officially been declared — by Calgary’s esteemed Mayor Nenshi — as the Year of Music in Calgary. If Year of Music was a music festival, then the headliners would be Juno Week (March 28 – April 3, 2016) and the opening of the National Music Centre in Studio Bell (Summer 2016).

The 2016 Canadian Music Hall of Fame (CMHF) recipient will be the very first CMHF recipient to have their award plaque displayed in the new National Music Centre — and the winning artist is Burton Cummings. Cummings called Where Calgary from Los Angeles, en route to perform a series of shows in Las Vegas, to chat about the upcoming Juno Awards celebrations and his career.

“This [award] is very nice. This is different [to win as a solo artist]. It’s an honour and I’m not accepting it lightly. It’s harder to earn these as a solo artist. When The Guess Who was finished I didn’t know what was next. I left the safe cocoon of a band to be a solo artist. It’s a scary step. It was all new and different to me, but I didn’t stop performing and creating and here I am now. And the fact that this award will be placed in the new building gives it more perspective. This is not just another Junos. This is a really special christening, an evening that’s more special than usual.”

Cummings, who will officially be awarded this accolade during a tribute montage during the live Juno Awards broadcast, is no stranger to the Juno Awards. He’s hosted four times (a record in itself) and won five awards, and he’s already part of the CMHF as part of The Guess Who band, which was awarded the honour in 1987. This time, he’s earned the award for his work as a solo artist.

“The year I co-hosted the Junos with Alan Thicke [in 1983] we held up Toto’s album IV and we basically said: ‘Ladies and gents, this is a compact disc. This is the way the music industry is going.’ We showed the audience a CD for pretty much the first time, and that moment has always stuck with me. When I think about it now — that was pretty historic.”

Accepting his CMHF award on April 3 will be a memorable moment for Cummings, adding another milestone to his Juno Awards show memories. In 1977, Cummings was established as a notable Canadian musician with The Guess Who, but had just started his solo career the previous year with his hit songs “Stand Tall” and “I’m Scared” on his self-titled album. That being the case, he was nominated for Most Promising Male Vocalist of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year — and won both.

“When I got up on stage to accept [the second award] Male Vocalist of the Year, I said to the audience ‘don’t let anybody tell you things don’t move fast in Canada. I went from most promising to best in 50 minutes’.”

Cummings’ career in music has now spanned five decades, an experience he describes as “dream fulfilling” and “fascinating.”

“My mom used to play 78s — my dad left when I was about a year [old] — and my mom worked at Eatons and every morning before work she would play her 78s for me, and I loved that. I loved the freezing of time, that you could play the 78 over when it was over. From a young age I thought it’d be terrific to be one of the guy’s making those records. I did that. I even got to meet the guys who made the records I would listen to. I was listening to guys like Bobby Darin and Bobby Rydell and Frankie Avalon and eventually I grew up and met these guys. I’ve got a poster on my wall of Bobby Rydell that he’s signed “Thanks for being a fan.” I was a kid delivering papers, delivering the Winnipeg Tribune for 45 cents, to save up and buy his records for 90 cents each. It’s nice to have gone into the business and succeeded. When I was in my first band [The Deverons] I never would have dreamed this. I never would have dreamed I’d be one of the lucky ones to have a career that would allow me to go on stage by myself year after year, there’s so few of us that get to do that.”

Even though Cummings’ is skeptical about the way some contemporary artists are performing their music, he says “there’s always room for something fresh.”

During his 50 years in show business, Cummings has seen a lot of changes in the industry regarding how music is produced, performed, and consumed.

“I remember the days when lots of people were selling millions of albums a week. That’s just not the case any more. You can name most of the artists that are selling millions of records in one sentence. These days you pretty much have to have live chops to exist, because you can’t rely on record sales any more. My live shows are completely organic. We use absolutely no sampling, no tracks. Not even any percussion. Anything we do, my band [and I], is live. I’m proud of that. We’ve been called an organic band and I like that. There’s so much machinery used now. We do a lot of live shows and everything is played and sung live.

I love the two hours I spend on stage [during a show]. I just turned 68 so it’s the other 22 hours that are a little tougher now. But the fact that I have this pile of songs that people know, that are in people’s heads and memory banks, I love singing them and watching people’s reaction. As long as we still sound like the records, I’m proud of that. My manager and I talk about it all the time — we say ‘you know, when it gets lame we won’t do it any more.’ But judging from the reaction these days to our live shows, it’s anything but lame.”

The Juno Awards committee — and millions of fans, many of which are ready to applaud him at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary on April 3 — certainly don’t think so. The music industry may be ever-changing, but Cummings’ talent hasn’t.

One thing that hasn’t changed in Cummings’ eyes is the thrill of selling hundreds of thousands of albums — “the Gold records are still as pretty as the day you get them, they always will be beautiful” he says.

 

Valentine’s Day Activities in Calgary 2016

Photo courtesy of Uppercase Magazine.

Photo courtesy of Uppercase Magazine.

It’s the most romantic day of the year — and this year you have all weekend to celebrate Valentine’s Day as it falls on the Sunday before Family Day holiday Monday! We’ve gathered special events happening all weekend that will really impress your date.

In the Heat of the Night | Saturday, February 13 and Sunday, February 14, 6 pm | $100 per person for tables of two | The Calgary Zoo, 1300 Zoo Road NE | 403-232-9300 | www.calgaryzoo.com
“You and me baby ain’t nothing but mammals!” Enjoy a romantic dinner held in the Calgary Zoo’s conservatory, complete with decadent desserts. Once dinner is over, zookeepers will begin their informative presentation on courtship and mating in the animal world. Dress in your flashiest Vegas-style outfit and strike a pose in the Vegas-themed photo booth.

Let’s Get Physical! Adults Only Night | Thursday, February 11, 6 – 10 pm | $26.45 | TELUS Spark, 220 St. George’s Drive NE | 403-232-9300 | www.sparkscience.ca
Brains and beauty are a great combination, so grab your sweetheart for a fun and educational night out. Take a look at the new Body Worlds: Vital exhibit in an adults-only setting (no kids running around!) and enjoy some themed programming that explore love from both a physical and a psychological perspective.

Chocolate and Yin | Saturday, February 13, 4:30 – 6:30 pm | $30 | Yoga Passage, 521 – 11 Ave SW | yogapassage.ca | Treat your taste buds and your body! Snack on organic, handmade chocolates infused with super foods after a relaxing and strengthening yoga class.

Dynamic Directions | February 11, 7:30 pm; February 12, 7:30; February 13, 2 pm & 7:30 pm | $20 – $119 | Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, 1415 – 14 Ave NW | 403-297-8000 | www.albertaballet.com
Three of Canada’s best known choreographers – Aszure Barton, Wen Wei Wang, and Yukichi Hattori – present a thrilling and romantic evening of contemporary and neo-classical ballet.

Dashing Date “Secret Crush” Speed Dating Event | February 14, 6 pm | $39 | Venue is TBD | www.dashingdate.com
Looking for love on Valentine’s Day? Dashing Date is hosting their Secret Crush! speed dating event for women between the ages of 25 to 36 and men between 27 and 38. A special icebreaker game will kick things off.

Pampa Brazilian Steakhouse | February 14, 5 pm – late night | $69.95 per person | 521 – 10 Ave SW | 587-354-3441 | www.pampasteakhouse.com
Take your sweetie for a luxurious dinner at Pampa Brazilian Steakhouse on the big night. Their special Valentine’s Day menu includes limitless carvings of 11 cuts of meat plus caramelized grilled pineapple, coconut lime prawns, grilled salmon, and lobster tail — these extra dishes are being served exclusively for the holiday. Celebrating early? The option to upgrade to the V-Day menu is available on Friday and Saturday as well.

Cinnamon Heartbreak Cabaret | February 14, 7 pm | $25 – $28 | Distortion, 3828 Macleod Trail SW | www.brownpapertickets.com
Theatre Encounter will present its annual cabaret  showfeaturing The Rhinestone Affair Burlesque Entertainment, a sneak peek of Theatre Encounter’s play The Lesson, and rockabilly trio Stickshift Suicide. Bring your date for a saucy night out!

Southern Stardust Big Band Dinner and Dance | February 13, 6:30 pm dinner; 8:15 dance| $65 dinner and dance; $35 dance only | Calgary Austrian Centre, 3112 – 11 St NE | 403-850-4793
Do you and your darling love to dance? The Southern Stardust Big Band is hosting a Bug Band Dinner Dance for Valentine’s Day. Start with an appetizing buffet dinner, then dance to the 18-piece big band playing music for all different kinds of dance including foxtrot, waltz, rumba, cha-cha- tango, and swing.

Checkmate, My Sweet Valentine | February 14, 6 pm| $90 | Fort Calgary Barracks, 750 – 9 Avenue SE | 403-290-1875 | www.fortcalgary.com
Calling all murder mystery fans! It’s been over 10 years since Check Mate Dating Services started to make love matches, and they are throwing a murder mystery party at the Fort Calgary Barracks to celebrate. Get into character over cocktails and dinner and attempt to solve the mystery while mingling with potential love matches.

Stop Light Party | February 13, 8:30 pm| $25 | WXYZ Aloft Bar, 2359 Banff Trail NW | 403-338-4405 | www.aloftcalgaryuniversity.com
Grab your friends for a wild and fun night out! Jam to beats by Felonius Funk with special guest DJ Grimrock for a mix of old school hip-hop, house music, mash-ups and more. A signature Aloft cocktail is included in ticket price, along with a gourmet candy bar, late night snacks, and exciting door prizes. The dress code requires you wear red, green, or yellow, so dress according to your relationship status!

Funny Fest  Comedy Extravaganza | February 14, 6 pm| $49 | Nicastro’s Showroom, 2820 Centre St NE | 403-228-7888 | www.eventbrite.ca
Tickle your funny bone this Valentine’s Day! Laugh along to Funny Fest headliners including Jamie Hutchinson, Stu Hughes, and Dug Bueck as you have dinner and drinks. Roses, chocolates, live music, and great prizes are all part of the fun!

Dance Lessons at Arthur Murray | February 13, 7 pm| $25 | Arthur Murray Dance Centre, 231 B Forge Rd. SE | 403-319-0732 | www.arthurmurraycalgary.ca
Arthur Murray Dance Centre is hosting a Valentine’s date night for couples wanting to learn how to ballroom dance. Food, bar service, music, and romantic dance lessons are all included.

Date Night with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra | February 12, 8 pm; February 13, 8 pm| $20 – $80 | Jack Singer Concert Hall, 205 – 8 Ave SE | 403-571-0849 | www.calgaryphil.com
Join the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, 2012 Honens Prize Laureate Pavel Kolesnikov, and Samson Tsoy in an evening of romance and music complete with a dazzling performance of Prokofiev’s composition Romeo and Juliet.

Family Quest | February 11 – 15, 10 am – 4 pm | $5.50 – $10.75 | Gasoline Alley Museum, Heritage Park, 1900 Heritage Dr SW | heritagepark.ca
Celebrate the love of your family (it is Family Day long weekend, after all!) with some fun activities and the brand new Reflections in Chrome motorcycle exhibit. View a display of more than 30 vintage, restored, and new motorbike, and then enjoy kid-friendly crafts and games that channel life on the road.

Wine + Chocolate | February 11, 6 pm | $40 | Vine Styles Kensington, 1127b Kensington RD NW | vinestyles.ca
Enjoy tastings of some delightful wine and chocolate pairings — maybe you’ll even find a combo worthy to take home for Valentine’s Day celebrations. Vine Styles is a boutique wine store that organizes their wines by tasting notes — crisp, smooth, dry, etc. — rather than by region, so they’re a friendly guide for any tasting even if you don’t know much about wine.

Art on the Rocks: Mystery Art Night for Lovers and Fighters | Saturday, February 13, 7 pm | $30 | Glenbow, | glenbow.org
Are you a lover or a fighter? Single or taken? Regardless, you’ll enjoy creating some hands-on art at this adults-only event. The project you’ll be working on is top secret until the night of the event, but whether you come on your own, with your significant other, or a group of friends, you’ll have a great time. Enjoy a drink while you create, and groove to the tunes of a DJ.

Bend and Brunch | Sunday, February 14, 10 am | $25 | Craft Beer Market, 319 – 10 Ave SW | calgary.craftbeermarket.ca
Forget the Legally Blonde wisdom of “bend and snap,” “bend and brunch” is the way to go. BYOM (bring-your-own-mat) for a one-hour yoga class (suitable for beginners) then refuel with a tasty, freshly made brunch and a “beermosa” made with beer from local Village Brewery.

Market Collective | February 12 – 14 | $5 weekend admission | Chinese Cultural Centre, 197 – 1 St SW | marketcollective.ca
This local artisan market has vendors selling handmade gourmet food, clothes, jewellery, bath and beauty products, cards, decor, and more. Pick up a sweet gift for someone special, or give yourself some self love and buy something just for you. Take some time to pose for a photo in the Valentine’s Day-themed photo booth.

Cocktails & Burlesque | February 11 | $10 | The Bourbon Room, 341 – 10 Ave SW| bourbonroom.ca

The Bourbon Room is teaming up with King Nox for a sultry night of cocktails and burlesque. Two sets of live burlesque, Valentine’s themed cocktails and whiskey specials are all part of the exciting evening!

Oscar-Worthy Movie Events in Calgary

Night with the Stars Oscar Party in Calgary

Night with the Stars Oscar Party in Calgary

The nominations have been announced and the countdown is on to the 2016 Academy Awards, which will be hosted on Sunday, February 28 by Chris Rock. Celebrate the magic of film with these upcoming movie-themed events in Calgary:

Fashion Films: Advanced Style | Thursday, January 28, 7 pm | $10 | Glenbow | glenbow.org/programs
Enjoy a screening of a fashion documentary, based on the popular blog of the same name. Advanced Style profiles the independent, stylish women aged 62 to 95 who are challenging conventional ideas about beauty, aging, and Western’s culture’s increasing obsession with youth. Many red carpet-worthy looks abound in the film!

Great Digital Film Fest | February 5 – 11 | $6.99 | Various Theatres | cineplex.com/Events/DigitalFilmFest
Movie buffs know that the best way to see a film is on the big screen! See some of your favourite movies from across the decades in theatres again. This year’s lineup includes Dirty Harry, Serenity, Inception, Ghostbusters, and David Bowie in The Labyrinth.

Dinner and a Movie Series | February 9 & 23, March 8 & 22, April 5 & 19; Dinner seating times between 5 pm – 6:45 pm | $42.95; $8 for movie only | Heritage Park | heritagepark.ca
Enjoy a movie-themed, three-course dinner in the Selkirk Grille restaurant, and then settle in for a screening of a classic film. Movies include: Star Wars IV: A New Hope, Easy Rider, Dirty Dancing, Ghostbusters, and Pulp Fiction.

Canada’s Top 10 Film Festival
| February 20 – 26 | $6 – $10 | Globe Cinema | calgaryfilm.com
If you’ve already watched all of the Best Picture nominations, it’s time to see something new! In collaboration with Toronto International Film Festival, Calgary International Film Festival presents ten of the best Canadian films from the past year — an exhaustive “Best of” collection compiled by panelists based on audiences at Canadian film festivals and critics’ opinions. There’s something to suit every interest, and movies include Sleeping Giant and documentary Guantanamo’s Child.

Popcorn and Vodka Cranberry Macarons | Available February 23 – 28 | Yann Haute Patisserie | yannboutique.com/seasonal
Watching the Oscars or a movie at home? Snack on some of these locally-made treats in two flavours made just for the awards show.

A Red Carpet Affair | Sunday, February 28, 5pm | $75 | Engineered Air Theatre, Arts Commons | calgaryfilm.com
Watch the Oscars in style — formal or vintage wear is encouraged! — and cheer on your favourite films and actors alongside other enthusiastic film-goers. A live broadcast of the Oscars will be screened in an intimate theatre, and your ticket includes champagne, live entertainment, hors d’oeuvres, a silent auction, and a gift bag. This event is a fundraiser for the Calgary International Film Festival (CIFF) and local programming. (Fun fact: The Academy has named CIFF a qualifying festival for the Best Animated Short Film and Live Action Short Film awards. This means that the recipient of CIFF’s annual Best of Shorts Award is eligible for consideration in the Animated Short Film / Live Action Short Film category of the Academy Awards, without the standard theatrical run that a film typically needs to qualify for an Oscar nomination).

Night with the Stars | Sunday, February 28, 5 pm | $250 | Hyatt Regency | theatrecalgary.com
Theatre Calgary presents this glam, Star Wars-themed fundraiser on Oscar night. Dress your best and enjoyed a themed menu, award prediction contest, drinks, and a live broadcast of the Academy Awards.

Pop Some Bubbly | For the second year in a row, the French Champagne house Piper-Heidsieck will be supplying champagne for the Academy Awards. What’s different this year though is that they’ve created a limited edition ”red carpet ready” bottle for the 88th annual ceremony. The bottle’s design features the number 88 and the letters “O-S-C-A-R-S” in gold styled around the bottle to create a tiara shape. While only 1,000 of these special bottles have been produced for the show, you can find Piper-Heidsieck Brut at liquor stores throughout Canada.
PIPER-HEIDSIECK Cuvee Brut magnum, the official Champagne of the Oscars

PIPER-HEIDSIECK Cuvee Brut magnum, the official Champagne of the Oscars

 

Elvis Lives: Elvis Events in Calgary 2016

Return to Grace is in Calgary March 17 - 21

Return to Grace is in Calgary March 17 – 20, 2016

January 8, 2016 is the 81st anniversary of Elvis’ birthday. Put on your blue suede shoes and celebrate the King of rock and roll at one of these fun Elvis events in Calgary — we bet you “can’t help falling in love” with his music all over again!

Elvis Tribute and Dinner Show
Thursday, January 7 | 5:30 pm dinner; 8 pm show | $49 | Deerfoot Inn and Casino
Enjoy a buffet dinner then sing along with award-winning Elvis impersonator Gino Monopoli.

Elvis Birthday Show
Friday, January 8 | 9 pm | Ironwood Stage and Grill
Toast Elvis’ birthday with some drinks and enjoy performances of his music by Steve Pineo and an ensemble of some of the finest Calgary musicians. Pineo isn’t a costumed impersonator, but a talented musician who interprets Elvis’ music through strong vocals and a variety of instruments.

Elvis Tribute
Saturday, January 9 | 9 pm | $29 – $39 | Deerfoot Inn and Casino
Dance and sing along with award-winning Elvis impersonator Gino Monopoli.

Return to Grace
March 17 – 20 | $35 – $99 | Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium
This immersive concert experience features Steve Michaels as Elvis accompanied by over 30 musicians, dancers, and singers. The show follows Elvis’ career from Memphis to the Aloha from Hawaii Concert, with performances of his memorable songs.

Presley, Perkins, Lewis & Cash 
Saturday, June 18 | 9 pm | $39 – $49 | Deerfoot Inn and Casino
This musical tribute show is a re-creation of the night in 1956 when four musical legends jammed together at Sun Studios, mixing rockabilly, country, gospel, and rock and roll.

Legends of Rock ‘n’ Roll
July 1 – September 4 | $72 – $109 | Stage West Dinner Theatre
Enjoy an all-you-can-eat buffet before watching a musical tribute show to four rock and rock legends: Buddy Holly, Tom Jones, Neil Diamond, and Elvis Presley. Complete with costumes, dancing, and all the hits.

Rock Around the Clock 
September 9 – November 6 | $33.25 – $77.95 | Jubilations Dinner Theatre
Enjoy choreographed performances to some of the best rock and roll music of the 1950s by artists including Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Buddy Holly, and, of course, Elvis Presley. A  four-course dinner is served in between acts.

Top 20 Over 10: Calgary’s Classic Restaurants

Like a fine wine, age is a good thing when it comes to some of Calgary’s most notable and defining restaurants. These twenty Calgary classics have been staples of the local dining scene for over ten years — and are just as good as ever.

The Belvedere
Year Opened: 1998
Location: 107 – 8 Ave SW
The cuisine is prepared from scratch and sourced from small local producers at this upscale fine-dining establishment. Pair an interesting and delicious cocktail such as the “Mr. Belvedere” to compliment your meal.

Bonterra Trattoria
Year Opened: 2000
Location: 1016 – 8 St SW
Enjoy a taste of Italy in an exquisite dining room. The pasta selection is not to be missed, with a focus on simple, fresh ingredients.

Bookers BBQ Grill and Crab Shack
Year Opened: 1999
Location: 316 – 3 St SE
Roll up your sleeves and dive into Bookers’ crab and shrimp boil complete with potatoes and carrots. Ribs and barbecued meats are also a highlight of this southern food hotspot.

Buchanan’s
Year Opened: 1988
Location: 738 – 3 Ave SW
Head to Buchanan’s for a fantastic steak or rack of lamb, and enjoy a dram from their incredible whisky selection — over 200 varieties stocked in their cozy bar room.

Bottlescrew Bill’s / Buzzard’s
Year Opened: 1980
Location: 140 – 10 Ave SW
Buzzard’s and Bottlescrew Bill’s is a classic, no-frills pub with simple pub fare and over 300 different beers from breweries around the world.

Caesar’s Steakhouse
Year Opened: 1972
Locations: Downtown 512 – 4 Ave SW; Willow Park 110, 10816 Macleod Trail SE
The oldest on this list, Caesar’s Steakhouse is a staple of downtown Calgary. They specialize in tableside fine dining service and multi-course menus starting with their signature French onion soup and on to mouth-watering steaks. At the Willow Park location, enjoy their signature dishes a la carte.

Catch Restaurant & Oyster Bar
Year Opened: 2002
Location: 100 – 8 Ave SE
Savour the fresh seafood from Executive Chef Daniel Norcott in Catch’s elegant dining space. Love oysters? You’re in luck, as Catch has one of the best oyster bars in the city.

Divino
Year Opened: 1984
Location: 113 – 8 Ave SW
This intimate wine bar has an impressive selection of wines from all over the world, and is great for anything from a first date to after work wine-down (page xx).

The Embarcadero
Year Opened: 1995
Location: 208 – 17 Ave SE
Named after the waterfront district in San Francisco, The Embarcadero serves at least six varieties of oysters every day from both coasts (page xx).

Escoba Bistro
Year Opened: 1996
Location: 624 – 8 Ave SW
Celebrating their 20th anniversary this year, Escoba continues to serve comforting Mediterranean-inspired dishes — though their steaks are a must-try. Each item has a suggested wine pairing for easy ordering. They offer a separate menu for those with food sensitivities and allergies, including several vegan options (page xx).

La Chaumiere
Year Opened: 1978
Location: 139 – 17 Ave SW
The city’s classic French restaurant is elegant, charming, and upscale — be sure to save room for their decadent desserts (page xx).

Laurier Lounge
Year Opened: 2005
This historic home is a go-to place for fondue, casual French comfort food, and always has great happy hour and daily specials (page xx).

The Living Room
Year Opened: 2000
Location: 514 – 17 Ave SW
As cozy and familiar as, well, a friends’ living room, this intimate restaurant encourages sharing with small plates, fondue, and sampler platters.

Murrieta’s
Year Opened: 2001
Location: 808 – 1 St SW
A welcome upscale retreat along bustling Stephen Avenue serves meat and fish-centric entrees, pizzas, and pastas, and has an extensive wine list.

Osteria de Medici
Year Opened: 1976
Location: 201 – 10 St NW
A neighbourhood fine dining spot for classic Italian fare — everything from spaghetti and meatballs to veal medallions.

River Café
Year Opened: 1991
Location: 25 Prince’s Island Park
Nestled in Prince’s Island Park, the unique location of this restaurant ensures that the view is beautiful any time of year. The truly local food is made with ingredients sourced from local farms, and everything is done in house — the sourdough culture for their bread has been maintained for fifteen years.

Rouge
Year Opened: 2003
Location: 1240 – 8 Ave SE
Rouge offers a fine dining experience without the attitude, with a focus on hyper-local ingredients — in the summer months they pick ingredients from their backyard garden. The beautiful presentation means the food looks as good as it tastes, and its good for special occasions and everything in between.

Teatro
Year Opened: 1993
Location: 200 – 8 Ave SE
The elegant, historic building is the perfect setting for the upscale Italian meals served here. Everything is fresh and made-to-order, and the wine cellar is stocked with an extremely impressive selection.

The Trib Steakhouse
Year Opened: 2005
Location: 118 – 8 Ave SW
Classic Alberta Beef steak and other meat entrees, paired with sides with a twist — try the buttermilk onion rings and truffle chicken wings.

Vintage Chophouse
Year Opened: 2003
Location: 320 – 11 Ave SW
A thorough steak experience — your server will guide you through the different cuts and types of beef so you know exactly what you’re getting. All of their classic side dishes are classics for a reason: after just one bite you’ll see why you’d never want them to change.

Where to Dine Awards: Best Restaurants in Calgary 2015

Judges:

Elizabeth Chorney-Booth is a Calgary-based generalist freelance writer and one of the new authors of the Best of Bridge cookbook series.

Dan Clapson is a Calgary-based food writer and Global News Calgary’s restaurant correspondent.

Jeffrey Cobrana is a concierge at the Hyatt Regency Calgary, a member of Les Clefs d’Or Canada, and the winner of a Calgary White Hat award for Best Concierge.

Linda Garson operates Vine & Dine, is the Canadian National and Calgary Wine Examiner, and Editor-in-Chief/Publisher of Culinaire magazine.

Nicole Gomes is a chef and the owner of Nicole Gourmet catering company.

Diana Ng is the co-founder of Eat North, an online food destination with a focus on Canadian content.

Gwendolyn Richards is the Calgary Herald food writer and author of Pucker: A Cookbook for Citrus Lovers.

Cindy Stewart is the Chef Concierge of the Westin Hotel Calgary and the Regional Director of Les Clefs d’Or Alberta.

Julie Van Rosendaal wears many food-related hats, including one as the food and nutrition columnist on the Calgary Eyeopener on CBC Radio One, and writer of dinnerwithjulie.com.

Best New Restaurants in Calgary 2015

Pigeonhole

With the success of Model Milk — a go-to destination for fine food and cocktails — the anticipation of a second venture by chef and owner Justin Leboe was palpable in Calgary. When Pigeonhole opened in May 2015, it did not disappoint. Pigeonhole is all about the overall experience of dining out: the room, the vinyl, the well-curated wine list,” says Julie Van Rosendaal. I love that the food is designed for sharing, so that you can stop in for a drink and a snack or stay for the evening, sharing small plates that enable you try a lot of new things.” The venue has a small-plates-meets-wine-bar vibe, Pigeonhole is the opposite of its name: it cannot be “pigeonholed” or categorized as any one type of restaurant. With unexpected mixes of ingredients and an always-changing menu. For Calgary, it’s a welcome first.

Charbar
As one of the anchor tenants in the new East Village, Charbar is the second restaurant from chefs John Jackson and Connie DeSousa’s who also own  Charcut (page xx). The food itself is inspired from dishes in Argentina, and much of it is cooked on their parrillas — Argentinian wood-fired grills.

For dinner, try the tableside ceviche paired with one of their thick-crust pizzas, or the melt-in-your-mouth ultra dry-aged porterhouse steak. On a weekend morning stop by Charbar for brunch where the Phil & Sebastian (page xx) coffee is hot and the menu is bursting with non-traditional breakfast items such as the baked eggs, avocado and pistachio bruschetta, and the cult favourite deep fried French toast bites with house made dulce de leche. The bar serves up food and drinks late, so Charbar can be enjoyed no matter the time of day, or season. In the summer, the rooftop patio is a must-visit.

Maison Birks Silver Spoon Award: The Nash & Off Cut Bar

The winner of this award is chosen by the members of Les Clefs d’Or Alberta (“the Golden Keys” Hotel Concierge Society). These individuals represent many of Calgary’s high-end hotels, and pride themselves on being local experts, at the forefront of Calgary’s dining and hospitality scene. Our members evaluate the nominated restaurants based on their ability to provide visitors and residents with an exceptional, luxurious, and authentically local dining experience.

— A. Warren Downs, Fairmont Gold Manager, Chef Concierge, Director Alberta Regions Les Clefs d’Or Canada

The Nash & Off Cut Bar
“The Nash offers guests a delicious, locally sourced menu that is both sophisticated and inventive from presentation to taste,” says A. Warren Sowns, Fairmont Gold Manager. “The design and décor pay homage to Calgary’s original boom days of the roaring 20s, a brilliant combination of old world charm and modern flair. The passion and knowledge of the staff is evident with every interaction; all are extremely well versed in all of their offerings, and are happy to answer detailed questions about any aspect of the menu, from wine pairings to preparation methods. Indeed, every facet of the Nash is exceptional, making for a one of a kind dining experience from start to finish, suitable for any occasion. Chef and restaurateur Michael Noble has once again created a culinary masterpiece, one that you will surely enjoy as a visitor to, or resident of Calgary.”

“The Nash has something for every mood,” says Linda Garson. “It’s a beautiful spot, with a great ambience that attracts all age groups. Every experience has been noteworthy for me — whether a business lunch, a shared group dinner or just sipping cocktails in the Off Cut Bar with some nibbles. The innovative dishes are really well-executed, the starters are as good as the entrees, which are as good as the desserts.”

Best Overall Restaurants Calgary

Anju
This contemporary Korean restaurant from Chef Roy Oh opened in its original location in 2008 and re-located in 2014, and now it’s one of our go-to places to recommend to visitors. “I’ve been eating here for years,” says Dan Clapson,“and have yet to have a lackluster experience. That’s what happens when you do your signature dishes to perfection.” Specializing in small plates, the food has been thoughtfully curated to compliment their selection of cocktails. “It’s a great place to drop in early evening for drinks or snacks, for dinner, or for late night munchies and a glass of wine,” says Linda Garson. “I love the fact that you can enjoy this type of [high quality] food until 1 am,” says Nicole Gomes. Popular menu items include the “KFC” Korean Fried Chicken, edamame beans, and the crispy tofu with kimchi (even if you don’t typically like tofu, you’ll love this). Start your weekend off right with Anju’s brunch — it’s served until 5 pm, so sleep in! Dig in to a pork belly Eggs Benedict, or the decadent French toast with chocolate mousse.

Rouge
Tucked by the banks of the Bow River in a house from the 19th century is one of Calgary’s notable special occasion restaurants. “Entering Rouge is like walking into a friend’s home,” says Cindy Stewart. “Rouge offers a fine dining experience without the attitude.” “To me, Rouge is just a classic,” says Elizabeth Chorney-Booth.“I think guests feel special as soon as they walk through its doors.” The menu at Rouge changes each season, reflecting a commitment to working with local farmers for the best and freshest ingredients. Whether you’re looking for a romantic meal for two or a lunch with friends, Rouge impresses with its artful presentation and taste. “The joy of booking a meal at Rouge is knowing that it will be consistent: delicious, local and ethical food, professional service, and there’ll always be a wine from the extensive list that you want to drink,” says Linda Garson. We’ll toast to that!

Blink 
A cozy downtown retreat, it’s not hard to see why Blink maintains a spot on our “Best Overall” list every year. “I can never decide what to order at Blink because when I read the menu, I want it all,” says Linda Garson. “There’s an excellent selection of wines for food to choose from too, and somehow Blink manages to carry it off humbly without any pomp and circumstance.” It’s just an overall exceptional dining experience without any trendy gimmicks, though the menu does change frequently to incorporate seasonal ingredients. It’s location — “one of the best restaurants to experience on Stephen Avenue,” says Jeffrey Cobrana — makes it easy to get to from the CTrain, downtown hotels, shopping at The Core, between downtown meetings, or a night out at Arts Commons.“Clean and classic, Blink manages to feel comfortable, yet suitable for a business meeting at the same time,” says Elizabeth Booth. “The food is consistently great and owner Leslie Echino’s carefully curated wine list is a perfect complement to what’s coming out of the kitchen.”

Best of the Rest

Best Dessert (To Go)
Yann Haute Patisserie 

Best Dessert (To Stay)
Parc 

Best Patio
Charbar

Best for Families
Cibo 

Best for Hyper-local Ingredients
River Café 

Best Bakery
Sidewalk Citizen Bakery 

Best for Business
Blink 

Best Café/Coffee Shop
Vendome Café 

Best Multi-Location/Chain Restaurant
Earls 

Best Vegetarian Food
The Coup 

Best Seafood
Catch & The Oyster Bar 

Best Vietnamese
Pho Dau-Bo

Best Steak
Vintage Chophouse 

Best Burger
Briggs Kitchen + Bar 

Best Italian
Bonterra 

Best French
Cassis Bistro 

Best Indian
Moti Mahal 

Best Pizza
Posto

Best Breakfast
Over Easy Breakfast 

Best Brunch
Yellow Door Bistro 

Best Mexican
Native Tongues 

Best Sushi
Sushi Bar Zipang 

Best Japanese
Ki Modern Japanese 

Best Thai
Thai Sai-On

Best Takeaway/Quick Service
Tuk Tuk Thai 

Best for Beer
National 

Best for Wine
Divino 

Best for Cocktails
Pr%f 

Best Pub
Oak Tree Tavern

New Year’s Eve 2015 Events in Calgary

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New Year’s Eve at Olympic Plaza. Photo courtesy of City of Calgary.

It’s been a great year, and it’s time to celebrate! We’ve rounded up 10 great New Year’s Eve activities in Calgary. Happy New Year!

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10 Cozy Spots in Calgary

The edible display at The Fairmont Palliser.

The gingerbread display at The Fairmont Palliser in December 2015.

Now that the snow has fallen in Calgary, it’s nice to know that there are several cozy spots to warm up in the city. Below are some of our favourites:

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Calgary Does Gin

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‘The Last Word’ gin cocktail at The Derrick Gin Mill and Restaurant. Photo Courtesy The Derrick.

By: JANET DAVIE

Whether you are already a fanatic or want to dabble in its waters, Calgary has some great places to drink and learn about gin. Below are some of our favourites, including some unique gins available in the city:

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25 Great Stocking Stuffer Ideas under $25

It’s not too early to think about stuffing those stockings come Christmas! We’ve gathered 25 great ideas for everyone on your list, all for under $25:

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Holiday Things to Do in Calgary Under $25

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Zoolights at Calgary Zoo is just one of the many holiday activities in Calgary that costs less than $25.

Get in the holiday spirit with these holiday activities in Calgary for 2015 that each cost less than $25. Enjoy!

By Breanna Mroczek

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