Colossal Calgary cuisine: The Big Taste dinners

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The Big Taste is a magnificent, multi-course celebration of the city’s gastronomic trends and favourite dishes. Eighty of the city’s hottest restaurants are serving value-priced, three- and five-course, prix-fixe meals from March 4 to 13, 2016. On top of these specially created daily meals, The Big Taste features 15 one-off, lunch and dinner “signature events.” Here is a tasty selection of eateries serving daily dinners.

Bookers BBQ Grill & Crabshack

1
316 3rd St SE, Calgary AB T2G 2S4

Bursting with good cheer, this redbrick, Southern barbecue warehouse in the East Village is serving an appealing evening meal that centres on its mastery of smoked meat. Start with chicken and gumbo, move on to smoked pork ribs or brisket and end on a sweet-plus-meat note with mini bacon doughnuts. Three courses, $25.

Bar C

2
340 17 Ave SW, Calgary AB T2S 0A8

The sexy sibling of Cilantro, Bar C’s take on Rocky Mountain cuisine is decidedly contemporary. Kick off its Big Taste meal with a charcuterie selection that includes elk salami, brie and house-pickled veggies. Then get wild with a bison steak sandwich on baguette dressed with portobello mushrooms and charred tomatoes. The dessert trio features a Grizzly Paw root beer float, vanilla gelato and chocolate chip cookies. Three courses, $35.

Township Bar & Grill

3
181-250 6 Avenue SW, Calgary AB T2P 3H7

A buzzy drinks-and-dining spot that’s popular with the office crowd, this eatery is located in Bow Valley Square. Township’s menu is the creation of chef Duncan Ly, formerly of Raw Bar and one of the city’s top chefs. Ly’s Big Taste dinner creation opens with onion soup prepared with red wine, herbs and gruyere. Following this rich warm-up course, enjoy Angus sirloin steak with potato gratin and veggies in béarnaise. Finish with chocolate mousse with berries and Chantilly cream. Three courses, $35.

Model Milk

4
308 17 Ave SW, Calgary AB T2S 0A8

Served in Model Milk PDR, the critically acclaimed contemporary Canadian restaurant’s private dining room, this gourmet meal is the invention of executive chef Eric Hendry. An Asian-inspired odyssey based on his time working in Hong Kong, it features hot and sour soup, steamed ginger-and-black-bean fish with mapo tofu and Sichuan-style beans, prawn wonton with stir-fried clams as well as custard dessert with Mandarin orange and red bean. Five courses, $65.

Orchid Room Fusion Cuisine Inc

5
244-315 8 Ave SW, Calgary AB T2P 4K1

A comfortable patio-style restaurant located on the second level of Bankers Hall, Orchid Room serves fusion dishes rooted in Vietnamese cuisine and featuring French and Thai influences. A shrimp salad roll with chicken dumplings sautéed in chili sauce, onions and peppers, makes a savoury start to this meal. Several second-course options include stir-fried beef tenderloin with vegetables and rice as well as caramelized salmon done up in jalapeno, garlic caramel sauce with coconut rice. For dessert, choose between crème brûlée and fresh fruit. Three courses, $35.

Pampa Brazilian Steak House

6
521 10 Ave SW, Calgary AB T2R 0A8

Tableside service is the signature culinary move at this Beltline Brazilian barbecue restaurant. Course No. 1 is a trip to the salad bar, which includes artisanal breads. The main course, happily, is a mobile selection of rodizio-style meats that includes roast garlic lamb, AAA Alberta beef and chicken wrapped in bacon. And try your best to save room for the house-special cake. Three courses, $35.

Saltlik

7
101 8 Ave SW, Calgary AB T2P 1B4

For steak on Stephen Avenue Walk, visit this superbly seasoned Big Taste participant. This Saltlik dinner opens with soup du jour or a salad of mixed greens, golden beets and candied almonds. Main options are Certified Angus Brand prime sirloin with fully loaded baked potato and braised lamb shoulder tagliatelle. For dessert, wrap up with sticky toffee pudding with vanilla bean ice cream drizzled with toffee sauce. Three courses, $35.

The quintessential Mexican meal, tacos are also a relatively scarce commodity in Calgary. However, we’ve done some digging and unearthed the select few restaurants that make truly marvelous versions of these hand-held snacks.
The city’s summer season features a delicious dance card of culinary festivals and events. Many, such as Stampede-time pancake breakfasts, are easy to access the day of, but the various tasting and tippling shindigs listed here can fill up quickly, so purchasing tickets sooner than later for these foodie festivities is recommended. Image credit: iStock.com/kasto80.
The city’s pathway system is one of the longest in North America. Given its lengthy stretches, the occasional rest and snack stop, though few and far between, are a welcome sight when walking, biking and inline skating. Here are a few restaurants, cafés and snack shacks located on or near our scenic cycling system. Image credit: iStock.com/mihailomilovanovic.
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