Wine tasting

Juice Import – Harvest Tasting

I had an extra Juice Import’s Harvest Tasting ($25) ticket because Beep Beep had to cancel her trip to Calgary. As Lululemon already bought two spots for herself and her fiancé Books, I invited Foodiegal as my plus one. For this post, let’s listen to “Got ‘Til It’s Gone” by Janet Jackson.

Foodiegal waited for me outside Bricks Wine Co. We signed in and partook in welcome bubbles from Brand Bros, Pet Nat ($38.95) when we walked inside. Foodiegal enjoyed the clean, soft bubbles so much that she put this bottle on her wish list.

The theme of this tasting was a comparative analysis between Brand Bros and Jochen Beurer, two wineries in Germany where Erik helped to harvest the grapes. He started us off with a “serious” rosé, Brands Bros 2020 Wildrosé ($34.95), a wine with incredible intensity. The grapes are from 50-year-old Portugieser vines, and the harvest for this vintage was excruciatingly hot and dry. As this rosé is unfiltered, the owner, Daniel, instructs customers to shake and wait ten minutes for the particles to settle. We admired the colour and how the light reflected off the sediment floating in the wine.

If Wildrosé is considered serious, Jochen Beurer Rosé ($29.95) is carefree with its soft, gentle flavour. Erik described the wine as “bright and juicy, with a ton of freshness.” Foodiegal and I enjoyed this rosé. Erik noted this vintage is the product of all the grape varieties, and “then the juice is bled off and spontaneously fermented to full dryness in stainless steel before élevage and bottling.”

Erik took a sip of Brand Bros Monastery Riesling ($46.95) and sighed at its haunting complexity and proclaimed that this was everything he loved about wine. Cloudy in colour, I appreciated how the Riesling sparkled against my tongue. Erik informed us that the fifty-year-old vines are planted in limestone-dominant soil, which helps preserve acidity, even in scorching weather. Lululemon and I bought a bottle because it was that good. Foodiegal wasn’t a fan, so I drank her glass. Unfortunately, I forgot to ask Erik what to pair with this Riesling.

Erik asked us which we enjoyed more, the Monastery Riesling or Jochen Beurer Jungrs Scwaben Riesling ($59.95). About half the group preferred the Jungrs Scwaben. I favoured the yum factor of the Monastery, but I still appreciated the richer, smoother, sweeter Riesling from Beurer. I asked Erik why does Germany have the best Rieslings? Erik reckoned it was a combination of factors. Perfect climate, soil, and having a thousand years of experience create generational knowledge that gets passed on.

I was pleasantly surprised by Brand Bros Red ($31.95). Quaffable, with a pretty scent and soft carbonation. Erik mentioned this red was easy to pair with lots of food. Lululemon, Foodiegal and I bought a bottle.

The Jochen Beurer Red ($29.95) was heavier and richer in taste than Brand Bros. I was surprised how much I enjoyed the red wines because Germany’s famous for Riesling. I was particularly impressed with the sparkling red. I wondered why these two German wineries offer such high-quality, reasonably priced wines compared to some other wineries. Erik explained the land is cheaper in Germany, and their harvest produces high-yield crops, unlike pinot noir or more difficult grape varieties. As well, the government offers subsidies.

I learned that Erik also hosts private parties. I may enlist Erik’s service when my sister Me Shell visits me this summer. I can’t think of a better way to spend an evening. Supping on steaks and sipping on fine wines while listening to Bard Erik recite his journeys tasting the most natural wines in the most unlikely places.

Burgers · Fast Food

Flipp’n Burger

It was my colleague Mo’s turn to select the restaurant for our corporate lunch. He picked Flipp’n Burger, a retro diner specializing in super-sized halal beef and chicken burgers. For this post, let’s listen “Take On Me” by a-ha.

Most of us ordered the signature burger, The Flipp’n ($15.75). I opted for Onions Rings ($5.95) with garlic aioli. The batter on the onion rings was crisp and puffy. Since we ordered delivery, the onion rings were cold and a tad greasy. I preferred Sharon’s deep-fried pickles. The thin coating was still crispy, while the pickle was still warm and juicy. The garlic sauce was pungent, with more minced garlic than aioli. The flipp’n sauce was creamier with a strong smoky flavour. Next time, I’d order something simpler, like ranch.

We were all wowed by our burgers. The beef was charred and crusty on the outside. The smell and flavour of the ground beef were intense, and the texture was somewhat dry with a nice chew to it, like a coarse sausage. The double patties were hefty pucks glued with melted cheddar and Swiss cheese. Each ingredient was generous and high quality, from the sauteed mushrooms to the thick-cut bacon.

A week ago, I tried V Burger and enjoyed it, and I’m also a fan of Flipp’n Burger, though the two are opposite. V Burger was wet with an abundance of sauces. Flipp’n Burger serves up a flame-broiled burger, so you get this mouth-watering fragrance and the caramelized bark on the patty. I want to take L to Flipp’n Burger on our next date night because I know he will be impressed.

A new hire in our office suggested we order from Alumni Sandwiches for our next corporate lunch. I suggested if he wanted to pick the spot, he should volunteer on our social committee. He was in, even stating that he knows the owner’s brother-in-law and would pick it up himself if Alumni wasn’t on a delivery app. Connections, perseverance, and good taste! A welcome addition to our team. 

Restaurants · Wine tasting

Business & Pleasure

On my way to my hair appointment at Good Salon, I received a text from my stylist asking me to come half an hour later as she was running behind. I was already over half an hour early, so I decided to make the best of it and check out Business & Pleasure, a wine bar in Inglewood. Let’s listen to “The Paris Match” by The Style Council.

It’s a tricky bar to find. First, you head over to the Plant Shop and walk between the building to the back, then turn left. The front of the bar is non-descript, but once you open the door, you get transported to a place that’s really grape. The clientele was all female and the vibe was just loving life. The record player crooned song after song while the warm light from the lanterns provided a soft glow.

Caitlin greeted me warmly asked me if I had visited before. When I responded no, she said she could have sworn she recognized me. I never remember or recognize anyone. My counterpart at work recently theorized I have face blindness, otherwise known as prosopagnosia. I looked it up this condition and there is no cure.

I recognized Maloof Pet Net on the daily wine-by-the-glass menu and asked if she had anything else from Juice Imports. Indeed, she did, a bottle of Elementis. She gave me a sample of the Pet Net and Elementis, and I decided to have both consecutively but not simultaneously.

The sparkling Pet Net ($16) was just what I needed after walking around in the wildfire-induced smoky air. The wine was cold and bubbly, with a clean, juicy aftertaste. I also appreciated that Caitlin was constantly refilling my water glass, as I was parched from my walk.

As I was sitting at the bar, I could smell the citrus from the lime Caitlin was cutting for a cocktail. Her customers took a sip and cooed that her cocktails were exquisite. This place is such a chick magnet.

Caitlin described Elementis ($16) as a unique skin-contact full-bodied wine. I know from Juice Imports’ wine tastings that skin-contact wine means white wine that is orange due to the juice macerating from the grape skins in the wine production process. As Caitlin and I chatted about Erik and Mark from Juice Imports, we realized how we knew each other. Caitlin attends their Sunday sessions!

When I settled up my tab, Caitlin offered me a taste of her new favourite wine, Tomato Wheels. She loved that it wasn’t too sweet and mentioned an earthiness you don’t typically find in a Lambrusco.

When Bar Von Der Fels closed and headed over to greener pastures, they left a hole in the city. So I’m glad to report Business & Pleasure has created a new space for wine lovers in bigger digs and something that speaks to the women who are not old, rather just aged to perfection and full-bodied. Hitting the Sauce gives this wine bar two phat thumbs up and puts it on her list of best restaurants in Calgary.

17th Ave · Burgers · Vegetarian

V Burger – Vegetarian Delight

After our wine tasting at Vine Arts, Lululemon suggested we get something to eat. She recommended V Burger. I was game, since I’m a social vegan, I avoid meet. I’m so glad she recommended this place because I finally found a vegetarian burger I love. Let’s listen to “Somebody That I Used To Know” by Gotye.

At 2:00 p.m., I was surprised to see so many people still eating there. The place appears popular with families and groups. We picked the Big Kahuna Burger ($12) and shared a side of Tater Tots ($5.50). I also ordered burgers and tots for takeaway for her fiance and my husband as we opted to eat inside the store.

Holy veg, the pea protein burger is as good as beef burgers. The hefty patty was meaty and juicy. The only thing missing was that crusty charbroiled exterior, but the texture mimicked beef well.

I liked how the glossy brown brioche bun held up to the wetness of the teriyaki roasted pineapple and juicy tomato. The bac’n tasted similar to bacon, but the texture was more like salami. The green lettuce was wilted, which was a shame because otherwise, this would have been a near-perfect burger. When L ate his burger, he didn’t know it was plant-based until I told him. I bragged to L that eating meat is so yesterday and plant-based food is way more v-edgy.

Don’t pass on the tater tots, which were gloriously hot, crunchy and munchy. Done right, tater tots done well are such a satisfying snack.

My friend Beep Beep is coming to visit me soon. I’m tempted to take her to V Burger because she’ll be impressed with the food and their food philosophy. Hitting the Sauce gives V Burger two phat thumbs up.

Pizza · Steakhouse

Nick’s Steakhouse

On Saturday, my workmates and I cleaned up a river pathway at St. Andrews Park. Afterwards, Uncle W took us out for lunch at Nick’s Steakhouse. For this post, let’s listen to “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus.

The restaurant is roomy and has a nostalgic 70’s vibe. Except for me, SentientQ and Loire, this was the first time anyone else had ever been to Nick’s, a Calgary institution. As it’s located across from MacMahon Stadium and near the University of Calgary, many locals come here before a football game or at lunch.

Office Guardian and I shared the Diavolo Pizza ($37), and she ordered Nick’s Special Wings ($18) to share with the table. Video ordered the Baby Back Ribs ($35) while everyone else opted for a pasta lunch special ($18) or a sandwich ($20).

The wings were tasty, well-seasoned and spicy. The chicken was soft and practically fell off the bones. Tuscany asked if the wings were spicy, and I said no, just a pleasant tingling heat. However, when she tried a chicken wing, she found it too hot. Whoops, we have different spice tolerances.

Video’s dish looked delicious – these were meaty ribs. I could tell by how clean the bones were that the ribs were tender. Video exclaimed the ribs were delicious.

Our pizza was a little oily from the calabrese pepperoni and Spolumbo sausage. The dough was a bit wet, but it was good nonetheless. Office Guardian liked the addition of honey, which sweetened up each bite. Even though we shared our pizza around the table, there were still three pieces leftover. Office Guardian told Video took the pizzas for her kids.

I was full, so I declined dessert. Office Guardian ordered Nick’s Famous Cheesecake ($10), and Video ordered Ice Cream ($7). Loire wanted dessert but decided not to get anything. The cheesecake looked like the old-fashion type the Golden Girls would eat after their late-night shenanigans.

Service was pleasant and attentive. The portions are so large you’ll likely take half your meal home. If you have a big group of people and need a place to accommodate a last-minute reservation, go to Nick’s. There’s always room, especially during weekends at lunch.

Restaurants · Wine tasting

Keys to the Natural Cellar – Vine Arts

I attended Juice Import‘s Keys to the Natural Cellar ($35) event on Sunday at Vine Arts on 17th Ave SW. I was looking forward to this particular event because Erik featured natural wines that showcase an ability to age gracefully, which I need to learn to do. For this post, let’s listen to “Shiny Happy People” by R.E.M.

When we arrived, a staffer gallantly poured us a flute of prosecco to sip as we looked around. The whimsical setup of the shop reminded me of the Leaky Cauldron in Harry Potter. After a few minutes, we were escorted upstairs to the tasting. Lululemon was pumped to attend as she thinks Erik is one of the fascinating wine gurus in town. She asked him if he would host a wine tasting at her office. We discovered he does; the cost is only the wine purchased for the tasting.

Erik began with a question. Can natural wine age? The first wine we tried was 21 years old, almost as old as me.

The 2002 Tarlant l’Etincelante Champagne Brut Nature from Champagne, France tasted softer and cleaner than its initial prominent scent. He noted that people often drink prosecco regularly and champagne on special occasions, which makes it even more pronounced how different they are from each other. One is young and fruity, while the other has yeasty characteristics and not as bubbly. Erik found the champagne satisfying, full of umami. At around $275, it was a treat for everyone at the table to try a champagne from a winery with such stringent standards for fermentation. The owners refuse to release any wine unless it is fully mature.

Next was the 2018 Domaine Marnes Blanches Savagnin Sous Voile from Jura, France ($75). Marnes Blanches is one of my favourite wineries; their wine is always a hit at my parties, as it is so easy to pair with melted Comte cheese. Lululemon could smell maple. While it smelled sweet, Erik described notes of camomile and fresh, dried and bruised apple. We learned this wine comes from 45+-year-old vines grown on marl and limestone. I loved this one so much that I bought a bottle, as did my friend. Erik recommended pairing this cuvee with something fatty and raunchy, like salty almonds or raw clams.

Our third tasting was a 2015 white wine, Domaine Garreliere Chenin Blanc “Coulée Douce” ($45), from Loire Valley, France. This wine smelled bright and floral, and the texture was much lighter than the previous wine. Erik described the notes of stonefruit and pointed out the green tinge of colour. We liked this one so much that we bought a bottle as well. Erik recommended pairing this wine with mushrooms, morels, or gorgonzola. There was a cheese master in the room, and he recommended a gouda, such as a Dutch Grasskass.

Erik described the next wine, the 2014 Pacina Rosso from Tuscany, Italy, as a classic old Italian wine that tastes just as the winemakers intended. Pacina seldom releases their vintages consecutively as they wait for the wine to reach optimal maturity. I found the scent pretty, but my favourite red wine was the next one.

The 2018 Franz Weninger Saybritz Blaufrankisch from Burgenland, Austria, was bright and delicious. We admired the violet and red plum hue. I asked Erik about sentiment and why some wines have it, and others do not. He informed us that sediment comes from many things, such as skins, yeast, and colour. Leaving the sediment in (unfiltered) provides texture and quality as the natural tannins act as filters. In commercial wines, filtering wines provides that sterileness that some people have come to think as standard.

The dessert wine was a 2017 Cantina Marilina Gocce d’Autunno Passito from Sicily, Italy. Erik noted the “rapturous sunlight from Sicily” wine was baked under the sun for 10 to 15 days, and it is a bottle you could keep for a couple of decades.

I’ve been to a few tastings, and this might have been one of my favourite events because of all the neat things I learned. Thanks, Erik, for hosting these informative seminars and teaching us about natural wines.

Restaurants · Special Occasion · Steakhouse

Caesar’s Steakhouse – Lunch

I took Friday off from work to take my father-in-law out for lunch at Caesar’s Steakhouse. I choose this restaurant because he often reminisces about his old oil and gas days and the deals he use to make there. Let’s listen to “Unchained Melody” by the Righteous Brothers for this post.

We started with a Caesar ($11). Bobbino asked me if I enjoyed my cocktail. I told him that he makes a better Caesar. I thought the proportion of Clamato to vodka was off, as it needed more booze to balance the potency of the mix.

The cheese bread ($10) was soft, salty and piled high with powdered cheese. I prefer Hy’s cheese bread, which is laden with hot cheese so rich you can feel it increase your blood cholesterol. I did enjoy my cup of onion soup, which was served steaming hot. Each sip was a soul-warming experience, filled with caramelized onions and croutons saturated with rich broth.

Bobbino and I ordered a Ribeye ($47), a medium-rare for myself and a medium for him. The steaks arrived sizzling with a gorgeous, crusty, charbroiled exterior. Our server came with sour cream, green onions and bacon crumbles for our double-stuffed potato.

My favourite part of the steak was the edges encrusted with crispy fat, which I ate as slowly as possible. For Bobbino’s first few bites, he would close his eyes. I ate all the delicious fat on my steak, nibbled on the stuffed potato, and left the rest for L’s dinner. These past two weeks have been restaurant overkill, especially since I started hanging out with the sales team, so I have to cut down on my portions.

I wasn’t impressed with the two recommended red wines by the glass we tried. Perhaps they should get some advice from the owner of Cassis Bistro on selecting wines that pair well with their steak. Pro-tip, order by the bottle and not by the glass, so you’ll have more options other than drinkable and bad.

When the room filled, Bobbino observed I was the only female customer. I nodded and retorted I was also the only one without an expense account. I asked to be seated in the lounge, as I thought it would be more lively. Halfway through our meal, it got so loud I could barely hear Bobbino. The room is small, and it just takes one loud talker to instigate a room full of yelling. I gave up in the end and just began bellowing as well, and to be honest, it was fun to shout.

The company was excellent, the service was attentive, and we enjoyed our meal at Caesar’s Steakhouse. Next on my list to try is Longview Steakhouse, which I hear is stellar but challenging to snag a reservation.


Bakery · Restaurants · Vietnamese

Van Express

Miss K told me to pick the venue for our monthly corporate lunch. Our office typically orders from Skip the Dishes or DoorDash, but I wanted to support the small businesses near our office. When trolling the +15 for potential options, I spotted Viet Express, a Vietnamese restaurant with a mile-long lineup. For this post, let’s listen to “Anti-Hero” by Taylor Swift.

I offered to pick up a cake to celebrate several staff members’ past birthdays. I chose Sauce Italian Kitchen & Market so I could grab the cake on the way to work. While waiting for my train at Westbrook Station, I clutched the box lest someone try to rob me of my precious cargo.

I could have requested delivery for our lunch, but I was worried the food would take too long or the delivery person couldn’t find our office. So I asked Compass, M, and Office Guardian if they would take a quick walk and help me carry the food back to the office. Thankfully, I have colleagues who are always willing to help. When we arrived, I heard a wok hissing loudly in the kitchen. At 11:30 am, there was already a lineup. The owner remained relaxed and jolly despite the orders rolling in. He even asked us where we worked and if we needed help carrying the food to our office.

I ordered the Combo Vermicelli ($14.28) with spring rolls, chicken, beef and pork patty. Van Express uses good-quality vermicelli. The noodles were springy and weren’t soggy, even hours later. The portion was so huge! My takeout box overflowed with food. The fish sauce could be more potent, as I like my dipping sauce extra lively. However, I realize that most customers in downtown Calgary would prefer a more subtle dipping sauce.

Miss K’s Pork Banh Mi ($8.81) was the size of a Subway foot long sub. She asked for no sate sauce. She stated her banh mi was yummy with some heat to it.

The CEO and CFO stopped by before their lunch appointment. They told me not to order them anything to eat, but Miss K arranged for appetizers in case they changed their minds. Large and fresh, the salad rolls ($6.67) were packed with crunchy bean sprouts, lettuce, noodles and shrimp. I would get the salad rolls again. Everyone said the pork and vegetarian spring rolls ($6.67) were tasty.

Video ordered the Beef Pad Thai ($13.33), but she meant to request Beef Fried Rice ($13.33). She pouted as she ate and only nibbled on her food. When she complained that she wanted a rice dish, Office Guardian sternly told her to eat what was on her plate. I pushed Video to eat more Pork Spring Rolls ($6.67) and dessert, which she enjoyed. In turn, Video encouraged me to eat the rest of her food. I did and enjoyed the tangy flavour of tamarind in the noodles.

The Skor Cake ($70) was a hit! Even Ms. D took an extra piece to freeze at home. Office Guardian liked the cake wasn’t too sweet. Miss K noted the cake was moist, while Compass enjoyed the buttercream. When Compass and M shared that they had never tried Skor chocolate before, Miss K laughed and said they were so young and such babies. I retorted that Miss K looks as youthful as our co-op students, so I was surprised she knew about Skor bars. She smiled mysteriously and noted that she was older than she appeared.

Miss K is unbeatable as a social event organizer. She even brought in decorations and personalized goodie bags. I asked her where she bought the bags, as they looked so artisanal. She told us she made it herself and not to look a the bottom of the bag. So, of course, we looked and could see she crafted the bag herself.

I returned to the fridge in the afternoon and ate the leftover salad rolls. I shared the remains of my lunch with L for dinner. He was impressed with the wok hei in the beef, and I was pleased to see the food still held up, despite being refrigerated and reheated.

Next, I want to try the pho, stir-fries, and subs at Van Express. I’ll have to bring Compass along, as I always need help finding this gem in the +15. Pro-tip, if you are a fan of wok hei, I recommend you try the teriyaki beef. Hitting the Sauce gives Van Express two phat thumbs up.

French · Restaurants · Seafood · Special Occasion

Cassis Bistro

On Friday, L had plans that didn’t involve me, as none of his friends were bringing out their old broads. Boys’ night out is not only gender-unfriendly but is also the bane of my social life. To quell my displeasure, he promised we would go somewhere nice for dinner on Saturday. I wish I could say I am exaggerating that I subsequently spent hours debating between River Cafe and Cassis Bistro, but I’m dead serious. Did I want to go somewhere scenic and romantic? Or should I go somewhere close and charming? Cassis won in the end because the wines are more to my taste, and the latest Google reviews are consistently excellent. For this post, let’s listen to “Poupée de Cire, Poupée de Son” by France Gall.

Unlike Rea’s Italian Cucina, which is packed at 6:00 pm and empties out by 8:30 pm, the guests at Cassis Bistro dine much later in the evening. When we arrived at 6:00 pm, only a quarter of the restaurant was full. However, when we left at 7:30 pm, it was starting to bustle with customers.

L started off with a beer ($8), I picked a glass of Sauvignon Blanc ($12), and we shared the Foie Gras Torchon ($24). The sauvignon blanc was delightfully cold, with bright acidity and green notes. I remarked to L that the temperature was optimal, as I like my wines cool and crisp.

I told L I was surprised he wanted foie gras, as he doesn’t usually eat rich foods. He responded that Cassis’s version is the best in the city, and he still remembers when we last tried it over a year ago. The texture of the foie gras was light and buttery. The thin ginger crisp was sweet and crunchy, accentuating the delicate savouriness of the liver. The portion was so large, so we added a side of French bread to mop up the last smear.
Oh my gawd, the bread was terrific, crusty on the outside with soft, silky innards. Even the butter was sublime, creamy and grassy, unlike the waxy version I eat at home.

We ate slowly to make each morsel last as long as possible. As we tenderly shared the last piece of bread, I felt like I was in the spaghetti scene in Lady and the Tramp. At this point, I was getting excited for our main courses. L picked White Cream Veal ($44) for his main dish, and I ordered the BC Spring Salmon ($42).

The owner of Cassis recommended pairing our dishes with an oaky Novellum Chardonnay ($14). Pro-tip, always get the recommended wine pairing for each course, as this is the second time at Cassis that the wine and food pairing blew me away. Even L raved about the wine pairing. Again, my wine was served delightfully chilly – colder than my fridge can achieve.

The veal was firm but tender, and while the meat tasted clean and mild, the white cream was deliciously boozy. The side of potato gratin was piping hot and fluffy. The lentils were my favourite – lusciously seasoned and slippery smooth.

I typically order the mussels at Cassis, but I’m glad I ordered the salmon. The large flakes effortlessly fell apart when I took my fork to the salmon, which soaked up the rich, satiny smooth lobster sauce. I loved the fatty, fresh flavour of the salmon. This dish was so stellar that L was envious of my choice.

We shared Marquise ($14), a chilled dark chocolate bomb so damn good that I cleaned the plate. I don’t have a sweet tooth, so it has to be excellent for me to eat dessert.

This meal was so good I proclaimed that I would die happy if I died that night. When we woke up alive the next morning, L said that was one of the best meals he’s eaten all year. I concur. If you haven’t been to Cassis, I would highly recommend it.

Bars/Lounges · Beer · Dessert · Happy Hour · Japanese · Pubs · Seafood

Week of Gluttony – Koto Sushi, Two House, Bear & Kilt, Annabelle’s Bar, BBQ Express

This last week has been a food fest. I met up with Zoomhahaa for oysters, L for pizza at Two House, Lululemon and Kournikova for beer, pizza, wine and dessert, and a takeout lunch of Chinese BBQ. Let’s listen to “Flowers” by Miley Cyrus for this post.

Zoomhahaa and I met up at Koto Sushi. Our server was friendly and didn’t make us feel bad for taking advantage of their wicked happy hour oyster special. West Coast oysters were only $1.25 each, and that is the deal of the year.

Zoomhahaa and I prefer West Coast oysters over East Coast because we like our oysters fat and creamy. In comparison, East Coast oysters are flatter and thinner in size, with briner, saltier notes.

We started with a dozen oysters each. Each oyster was shell-fragment-free, a major shucking feat, especially for happy hour. The sea morsels were milky and smelled like the ocean. We alternated between the green onion mignonette and eating the oysters with lemon and its natural juices. Paired with a cold Sapporo ($6) and a big glass of wine ($6), we both exclaimed there was no better way to spend an hour after work. We ordered a second dozen oysters each, and the last round was even better than the first. We left full and happy, and I swear, I was just one oyster away from gout.

The next night, I felt chipper after work, so I told L I was taking him out for pizza at Two House Brewery. We shared the Formaggi ($23) pizza. This pizza is so simple but so good. The cheeses paired well with the sweet drizzle of honey. We washed our supper with Yuzu Shio beer (12 oz, $6), a light, lemony beer.

I met Lululemon and Kournikova on Thursday at the Bear and Kilt on Stephen Avenue. Once you walk in, you feel like you are in ye olde Calgary. The whole setup is adorable, with old furniture and vintage memorabilia. We bumped into Christina, the co-owner of Klein & Harris, who rushed in to check something. Kournikova also knows Christina, and she mentioned she was heading to her restaurant for a late dinner with her husband.

Lululemon and I drank Wild Rose beers ($7.99) and personal pizzas ($14.99). Kournikova ordered Patron and soda ($14). For our second drink, Kournikova felt like wine, so we walked to Annabelle’s Bar across the street for another drink. There, we shared a bottle of sparkling rose. We met the manager, Simon, who knows Eric, the co-owner of Juice Imports. We chatted about the restaurant culture in Montreal and how getting wine from Pinard & Filles in Calgary was easier than in Quebec, where the winery is located.

Kournikova settled our tab and took off to meet her husband across the street for dinner. Lululemon ordered us beverages, as well as Whipped Ricotta ($15), Tiramisu ($12) and Crème Brulée ($12). I was so full from the pizza, but the tiramisu was so light and soft, it was too delightful not to devour. Lululemon took that photo below, in case you are wondering why there’s one good photo on the post. She told me not to fight for the bill, and she said it was such fierceness I backed down and said I would get the next one. When we finished, I called an Uber to take us home. The driver pretended to be outside but wasn’t and cancelled on me. Lululemon hailed us a taxi instead, and the next day on Good Friday, I slept off all the dessert and wine.

On Saturday, I went to Sun’s BBQ to pick up some duck and BBQ pork. After I made my purchases, I walked a block over to BBQ Express and picked up a two-meat-on-rice lunch combo ($11). I ordered soy sauce chicken and crispy pork. Two things stood out. First, the owner was so friendly and polite. Second, he was so generous with the meats he had to put a rubber band over the container so the food wouldn’t spill out.

When I got home, I hastily snapped a photo. Unfortunately, the angle of my image is awful, as it doesn’t show off the crispy skin. The pork was tender and cut well, so each slice of meat with crunchy skin was proportional and fit nicely in my mouth. There’s just something so winning about the combination of the plainness of the steamed rice in contrast to the rich, fatty crunch of the skin. The soy chicken was the show’s star, as the meat was plump and silky. The sauce on the chicken skin was light but flavourful, with a touch of sweetness. The food was so good I posted it on Calgary Food – FoodYYC.

Unfortunately, I received three unpleasant comments. One complainant doesn’t know how to use contractions. Another thinks anyone that has a cash only business is a thief, liar, or criminal. The third person tried to argue that I didn’t eat crispy pork, even though I said I did and you can see the crackling skin poking through. All I wanted to do was spread some good news about a cheap and cheerful eatery, but hey, it’s the Internet, and everyone has an opinion.

When I looked up the names of a couple haters, I recognized their writing style and realized they used to write nasty comments on my previous employer’s Facebook page. What a small world! I think I’ll stick to sharing my experiences on my blog, where it is a safe place to spread the word about delicious eats in Calgary.