Calgary’s Coup the food is so good you forget it is vegetarian

Poor Ginger he is a good Albertan boy and essentially refuses to try anything that resembles a purely vegetarian focused restaurant.  Only once, in the last decade, has he acquiesced and tried dinner at The Coup on 17th Avenue in Calgary – he complained the whole time about being too hot and did not like the organic wine…..  Needless to say Nutmeg has decided that he is not worth the effort, so she only goes to this restaurant with her girlfriends.  Yes! The food is good enough to forget (or remember) that is is pure vegetarian and really healthy. Continue reading

The Vin Room in Calgary

Saffron was is Calgary last weekend and as you may have gathered she is always in the “know” when it comes to restaurants, wine and cool gathering spots.  She was free for dinner on Saturday night and suggested a visit to the Vin Room.  Ginger had not tried out this wine bar/restaurant either so Nutmeg was happy to oblige and made reservations. Continue reading

Calgary’s Holy Grill The Holy Grail of Hashbrowns

Most of you who know Nutmeg, already understand that french fries, chicken wings, chips, onion rings, Cheezies and Kraft dinner do not factor into her diet much if at all.  The odd fry, one or two onion rings and that is definitely Nutmeg’s limit.  Ginger on the other hand loves ALL of it!

The Holy Grill, is located right across from Mountain Equipment Coop on 10th Avenue in Calgary.  It has been a restaurant for a while although the name has changed a few times.  It is definitely not fancy and the drill is quite straightforward.  There is no table service so you need to make a decision, place your order at the counter, find a seat and wait for your name to be called and then pick up your meal.  They do breakfast and lunch only.

The breakfast menu includes the traditional (to your specifications – Nutmeg is particular and it was perfect),  the Bennies (variations on eggs benedict) and a variety of breakfast sandwiches (paninis and “Mcmuffins”). The lunch menu is basically a selection of paninis and burgers, with enough choice to satisfy most palates. The food is good, fresh and made to order.  The hash browns however are the “holy grail”  they are the perfect balance of crisp, with a hint of grease and a the right salt balance.  The best part is of course they are gluten free for those of you who have concerns.  The coffee is mediocre and definitely not highly promoted.

Some of the other real positives with the Holy Grill are they have some patio space out back that on a sunny day, would be perfect (Ginger and Nutmeg were there on a rainy day).  There is free parking in adjacent lot so you do not need to pay the Calgary Parking Authority a dime :-).

Bottom line? The Holy Grill is definitely the holy grail of hash browns – Nutmeg did not even share with Ginger!


[tfb username=’GingerandNutmeg’ count=’true’ lang=’en’ theme=’light’]

Kingsland Farmers Market in Calgary

Kingsland Market

This market is very new on the Calgary scene, it opened on July 7th  (note the spelling on the sign…shy a few letters).   Nutmeg is very excited about the potential for this market, it is centrally located, particularly for those in folks who live in the Southwest.  The Kingsland Farmers Market is located at 7711 Macleod Trail South in the old Shaw GMC location.  The Kingsland Market is open 4 days a week: Wednesday through Friday from noon until 6:30pm and on Saturdays from 9-3pm.  There is site is work in progress, as they are converting the old car showroom and auto body shop into a permanent indoor location for the vendor stands.  So when the weather turns back to winter for good, the vendors will be inside, for now they are outside in the parking lot.  There are about 20 vendors currently with a mix of produce, prepared meals and baking.  Merchants include some that can be found at other markets around town and a couple unique ones:

  • Twisted Basil – wholesome baking and some fresh veggies
  • Lund Organic Farm – a variety of produce
  • The Cucumber Man – he sells more than just cucumbers
  • A Touch of India – prepared Indian sauces with gluten free options
  • Dor Bel – packaged, flash frozen fish
  • Coco Brooks – a large variety of frozen pizzas
  • Pearson’s Berry Farm – yummy baking with lots of Saskatoon berries
  • Rocky Mountain Kitchens – awesome granola bars with samples 🙂

The Kingsland Farmers Market is definitely worth a visit and several repeat visits as they build traffic and the number/variety of merchants.  There is lots of free surface parking.  The best part of all according to Nutmeg is the “recycled”, “re-purposed” use of the site from an abandoned car dealership to a local food market.  Get out there and enjoy this one!


[tfb username=’GingerandNutmeg’ count=’true’ lang=’en’ theme=’light’]

Crossroads Market in Calgary

The Crossroads Market in Calgary is a year round facility, open Friday to Sunday 9am to 5pm.  The current location at 1235 – 26th Avenue SE, was once a Canada Packers Building…quite fitting for a market.  The indoor/outdoor space is a significant 100,000 square feet. There are over a hundred merchants of “antiques and crafts”  – Nutmeg’s take on this section… JUNK.  Once you get past the old vinyl records and velvet art there is a solid stable of indoor food stands that offer some variety to the somewhat bland Calgary grocery stores. Continue reading

Alberta Market Season Market Series

In Calgary, our true farmers market season is painfully short.  There are thankfully some reputable “local” producers, who supply some great produce during the spring and summer months.  It is a joyous occasion when Nutmeg sees the start of the local tomatoes from Gull Valley Greenhouse or Paradise Hill Farm. Continue reading

Bonterra Is it patio weather in Calgary yet?

Nutmeg has a beef with Calgary’s weather, in a nutshell it sucks.  For many years now she has heard all the noise about “Chinooks”….” shorts weather in February”… “it never lasts”… “you can golf in all four seasons”!!  Bottom line the weather is unpredictable and only “died in the wool” Calgarians like Ginger really embrace the constantly changing environment.  The great thing about Calgary, is when the weather does cooperate and that rare, yet fantastic Summer night appears – a restaurant patio is a must!  There are patios everywhere to try and take advancement of the rare moments.  One of the Calgary gems is the well protected and well heated (over-head heaters and out-door fireplaces) patio at Bonterra Trattoria.

Earlier this week lucky Nutmeg was treated to dinner by CardaMOM and Montreal Steak Spice at Bonterra Trattoria.  It was way too cold for the patio, at barely 8 degrees Celsius, so we huddled in the very warm and cosy wine room.  The restaurant had valiantly set the tables on the patio and it looked lovely, however it was too cold so there were no takers.

Both Nutmeg and CardaMOM tried the mixed greens with poached pear, it was a nice fresh mix, although heavily laced with garlic.  Then we followed with the daily special of roasted Halibut on green beans with almonds and romesco sauce.  It was delicious and beautifully presented.  Montreal Steak Spice had 6 of the tiniest oysters followed by the Caesar salad with chorizo sausage, the presentation was a bit “rustic”.

Bonterra Trattoria continues to deliver on fresh creative food.  Although the main focus is Italian there are obviously influences from Spain with the romesco sauce and chorizo.  So Nutmeg’s word of advise on that one rare perfect Summer evening, rush over to Bonterra Trattoria, take advantage of the great patio and indulge in the fresh creations.  You can also read about it in Fast Forward this week.

Is it patio weather in Calgary yet?

Nutmeg says NO and has retreated to Palm Desert to try and wait it out :-).  Chances are good thought that she will be on the Bonterra Patio for the one night of Summer.

[tfb username=’GingerandNutmeg’ count=’true’ lang=’en’ theme=’light’]

Calgary’s First Street Village Giuseppes Italian Market

For those of you who are no longer under thirty years old “First Street Village” is 1st street between 17th Avenue and 12th Avenue SW.  This used to be a dance bar scene in the late 1990s with Mescalero’s and the Crazy Horse which enjoyed regular patronage from Nutmeg and Ginger.  In the past several years a dramatic change has occurred in this area the result is the emerging “First Street Village”.  The transformation of an old Holiday Inn into the contemporary Hotel Arts started a construction frenzy with an expansion of the hotel and two nearby condo developments (Union Square, Colors by Battistella).  The area now boasts some reasonable men’s clothing, boutique women’s clothing, coffee shops, a wine bar and Giuseppe’s Italian Market.  Nutmeg has wanted to try this place for awhile.  This location used to be a night club as well (possibly called the lizard or some equally appealing name).  They have rid the place of the dance music and used the tri-level space to house a coffee and wine bar on the street level, deli on the second level and sit down restaurant on the top.  The place was packed on a Friday night at 6:30pm, Nutmeg and Ginger were very lucky to get a table (still have not quite learned the reservation trick!!).  They have done a nice job on the decor, Nutmeg would classify as “low end Tuscan”.  The menu includes some salads, antipasto, pastas and pizza.  Ginger wanted pizza so we split; garlic shrimp (they were not kidding about the garlic), caprese salad (good although not very big and the mozzerella was not buffalo) and a grec pizza with parma ham.  The food was tasty, the atmosphere is casual – there were several families with kids and the wait staff were accommodating.  However, they were understaffed or overcapacity – the service was slow and a bit disorganized.

Nutmeg poked around in the deli and noted they have some appealing prepared pastas and a fraction of the cost of Mercato.  First Street Village has a the makings of a good neighborhood restaurant in Giuseppe’s Italian Market.  Nutmeg’s recommendation ; make a reservation, do not go if you are trying to rush to the hockey game or better yet order your pizza in advance and take it home.


Coffee at Phil and Sebastian Coffee Roasters

Phil and Sebastian Coffee Roasters has recently opened a street front outlet in Marda Loop.  Nutmeg is now mobile, after ditching the crutches, so she thought that she would go and soak in the Saturday experience at the new location.  This group is pretty serious about their coffee as evidenced by the line-ups at the Farmer’s Market and new retail location.  The baristas get the orders out pretty quickly and the coffee is hot, so that deserves a check mark in Nutmeg’s books.  The design of the location is bright, clean and there is ample seating.  Marda Loop continues to evolve as a “go-to” retail strip and great inner city neighborhood, so the addition of Phil and Sebastian Coffee Roasters is welcome.

Continue reading