17th Ave · Cheap Eats · Fast Food · Sandwiches

Nim’s Fried Chicken

I’ve noticed Facebook posts about Nim’s Fried Chicken on Calgary Food – FoodYYC. So on Sunday, after L and I finished a couple of beers at Tailgunner Brewery, I picked up an early supper from Nim’s Fried Chicken. For this post, let’s listen to “Mutha Uckers” by Flight of the Conchords.

Nim’s Fried Chicken only offers takeout, as it shares Universe Restaurant‘s kitchen but not the space in the dining room. Based on the comments on Facebook, L and I shared the Classic Sandwich Combo ($14.90) and a Tender Box ($9.50). For the combo, I requested mac and cheese wedges.

When we got home and unpacked our food, I was shocked by the size of the tenders and the sandwich. Never have I ever seen a tender so big! The tender looks like it is a whole chicken breast. If I bought these two chicken breasts at Safeway, it would cost me more than $9.50! I ordered medium heat, and L said it was just the right amount of spice.

I cut our sandwich in half. The batter was reddish brown, spicy and smelled predominantly like cayenne or paprika. Between bites of chicken, the sweet pickles and coleslaw drippings would intermingle with the bread and crunchy, battered chicken thigh. Both the thigh and breast meat was juicy and tender.


The mac and cheese tasted like KD but covered in a thin crispy batter and still creamy despite being deep-fried. The waffle fries were standard and not overly salty. I would probably skip the sides next time, as sharing one burger and two tenders was enough food for the two of us.

I liked that the meat had that natural texture as most fast food joints’ chicken products have a squishy texture. While we ate, I didn’t find the food salty, but I must have chugged a litre of water later that night. Of course, the afternoon beers would have been a contributing factor. In any case, I recommend trying the chicken burger and tenders. Nim’s doesn’t cluck around!

Japanese · Seafood · Special Occasion

Sukiyaki House – Birthday dinner

I didn’t even have to ask L where he wanted to celebrate his birthday. Instead, I just requested a day that he wasn’t working late. For this post, let’s listen to “Business Time” by Flight of the Conchords. 

Though we have eaten at Sukiyaki House countless times, this Friday was the first time we sat by the front window, which affords a city view of the lit up office buildings and skyline. I like this table, as it feels more secluded and date-like. 

Judith recommended the feature carpaccio made with Hachibiki (Pacific Bonnetmouth), flown in from Japan. Whenever she makes a suggestion, it always blows our mind, so of course, we ordered the Hachibiki Carpaccio ($24). 

Chef Koji Kobayashi slayed the presentation – the multi-coloured roes, ruby-pink fish, yellow petals, and purple and green greens sparkled in the light. What a beauty! Judith suggested a creamy sake to pair with the carpaccio. The mouthfeel of the sake was so sensual, with soft fruit and floral notes. 

Hachibiki is a gentle-tasting fish, delicate and sweet. The roe was hard and crunchy, with a sea-like flavour. L loved the spicy heat in the ponzu sauce. He mentioned Chef Kobayashi’s dishes are very Japanese, but he puts his creative stamp on them. It amazes me how much talent and skill he displays consistently, time and time again.

We were lucky that night and the owner, Anna, made our tempura. The batter was so light, and the shrimp was so sweet and toothsome. The ultra-fragile batter, ginger, matcha salt and tentsuyu (dipping sauce) make Sukiyaki House’s version a standout. 

I’m addicted to the California Roll ($13), which tastes nothing like the cheaper versions you can find in the city. Instead, the crab is sweet and meaty, the nori is freshly roasted, and the sesame seeds are noticeably toasted. 

We ate the usual suspects – big fat scallops, hot and juicy deep-fried shrimp heads and crunchy cuts of octopus. Sweet Bejesus, what a feast!

The birthday boy didn’t want dessert. He only wanted a quiet night with no late partying. I was happy to oblige for this one weekend. Happy birthday, L! 

Happy Hour · Seafood · Special Occasion

Pigeonhole – Happy Hour

After sampling so many delightful wines at Bricks Wine Co, I asked Erik where Turned and I could go to continue our afternoon of merriment. I specifically requested recommendations for restaurants that serve wines from Juice Imports.

He recommended Business and Pleasure, Frenchies, Ten Foot Henry and Pat and Betty. Unfortunately, most of the restaurants he recommended weren’t open that afternoon. Then I remembered Erik posted about Pigeonhole on Instagram. For this post, let’s listen to “Leggy Blonde” by Flight of the Conchords.

I was too lazy to cross-check Pigeonhole’s wine list with Juice Imports’ website, so I wasn’t sure what was what. I was also reluctant to quiz our server about which wines were from Juice Imports because I didn’t want to be “that” customer. So instead, I looked for wines from regions I know Juice Import showcases. I recognized Jura in France, so I picked Arbois ’18 ($72).

Maybe I was just pooped out from the afternoon of tasting wild, natural wines because I didn’t have any feelings toward the bottle I selected. Turned, and I thought the wine was nice, but no imagery or fanciful descriptions poured out of our mouths.

We did have a lot to talk about the food. Turned was starving, so we ordered the Skinny Fries ($8), Wagyu Beef Tartare ($20), Charred Cabbage ($17), Ricotta Dumplings ($25), and Roasted Caramel Apple ($13).

The fries arrived blisteringly hot. The fries were long and skinny, crisp and salty. The garlic aioli was so rich that I only dabbed a bit on each fry and then started eating the fries naked.

Turned enjoyed the Waygu beef tartare and appreciated that it wasn’t covered in the typical creamy, garlicky sauce. I also preferred tasting the full natural flavour of the meat, dill and capers. I also liked the generous side of warm buttery bread instead of the potato chips that most other restaurants serve.

My favourite dish was the ricotta dumplings. Holy smokes – what little morsels of joy! The mixture of the egg yolk, dijon, tomato leaf pesto, shallots and dill pickle was bright and lively. The dumplings were soft and fluffy. I got tingles when I ate this. I would order this again.

Turned favourite dish was the charred cabbage. She raved about the crispy charred bits and the soft underbelly of green cabbage. The jalapeño cream was so decadent I could feel my waist expanding with each bite.

The dessert is worth ordering again. The poached apple was so soft we only needed to press our spoons to cut through the warm flesh. I loved the crunch bits of oatmeal – this was so wholesome but gourmet at the same time.

Our last treat was our bill. We found out that on Saturday and Sunday, from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm, all customers receive a staff discount of 25%. The food and excellent service at Pigeonhole deserve high praise. Hitting the Sauce gives Pigeonhole two phat thumbs up.

Restaurants

Laurent Saillard – Juice Imports

So, it’s official – I’m a groupie. I should start wearing a Juice Import tee shirt to show my support for natural wine importers Erik Mercier and Mark Couillard. On Sunday, I took my sister-in-law Turned to Juice Import’s Laurent Saillard wine tasting ($20) at Bricks Wine Co. For this post, let’s listen to “Foux du Fafa” by Flight of the Conchords.

Bricks Wine Co. has one of the city’s most pleasant tasting rooms. The sunlight emitted through the windows adds warmth, while the roominess makes it comfortable to tuck into a session. Sequestered in a quiet nook in the back of the shop, guests remain mostly hidden from customers shopping in the store.

Erik began our session by delineating Laurent Saillard, a small winery in the tiny town of Pouille in Loire Valley. The owner, Laurent, and his team produce only 2,000 cases yearly. I took the information to mean I had to act quickly to pick up some of Brick’s stock, as these wines won’t hang around for much longer.

The first bottle we tried was Blank (Sauvignon Blanc, $41.95). Made from one hundred percent Sauvignon Blanc grapes, Erik described this as the antithesis of Sauvignon Blancs, so if you typically hate Sauvignon Blanc, you’ll relish this one.

Oh my goodness – what a pretty fragrance! Erik said this was the most sought-after bottle in the line-up. I loved it. Since I was buying a bottle, I asked Erik what food to pair with Blank. Considering the grassy and gooseberry notes and high acidity, he suggested something bitter, like radicchio leaves and/or goat cheese.

The second tasting was White ($37.95), a delicately sweet wine made from fifty percent Ugni Blanc and fifty percent Sauvignon Blanc. This wine is a rarity, as the wine production resulted from Laurent losing most of his crop. The White vintage is a collaboration with his neighbour and a winery in the south of France.

Erik described this wine as “lush, with body, weight and a ripeness to it.” I asked Mark what he would pair with White. He suggested cooked vegetables that are mild tasting in a creamy sauce. I bought a bottle to share with my vegetarian friends.

The third bottle was Un Ete Partage Grolleau ($37.95). The fragrance was floral, and the texture was silky. Erik described the wine as light, fresh and herbaceous, with a nuttiness similar to sunflower seeds.

The fourth wine was La Paire Gamay Noir ($37.95). I found this a lively, wild wine with a bite to it. Erik mentioned the whole cluster of grapes and stems are kept on while being pressed. I asked what the branches add to the wine-making process. I learned that the stems are still alive and metabolizing throughout fermentation, contributing to a softer feeling of the wine.

The fifth tasting was La Pause Gamay Noir ($37.95), which reminded me of the smell of a plastic Barbie doll. Turned said she smelled whiskey. I guess our lived experiences do influence what we taste in new wines.

The sixth bottle we sampled was Ca Se Discute Pineau d’Aunis ($37.95). I smelled raisins. Turned tasted Dr. Pepper. Her neighbour said he could taste Cola. Erik described this wine as peppery with pomegranate, and he could envision eating this with salami on the steps of a cafe in Paris. Turned joked that this wine would pair perfectly with a cigarette.

The seventh tasting was Grenache ($37.95). Erik characterized the wine as supple and aromatic. He recommended slightly chilling this wine and all the other wines we tried before drinking it. He noted the cellars in Loire Valley are cool, so the wine is brought up and served colder than room temperature. The coolness gives the wine more structure and grip and allows the flavours to pop out.

Erik and Mark surprised us with a bonus bottle from their cellar- 2017 La Pause. He described this wine as everything you could want from a Gamay Noir – soy and dried leaves backed up perfectly with cherry Cola.

As with all of Juice Import’s tastings, we received a ten percent discount on the wine we sampled. I left with two bottles, Turned with three, and another guest picked up a case of Laurent Saillard wines. With the wine seminar only costing twenty bucks, the discount on wine, and factoring inflation, this is the deal of the century! Hip, hip, hooray to Juice Imports.

Beer · Fusion · Korean · Restaurants

Best of Kin

L came home early and asked if I wanted to start the long weekend on the right foot. Before he even finished his sentence, I rattled off a list: Best of Kin, The Greek Corner Calgary, or Hanbo. We decided on Best of Kin, as the roads were still icy, and the brewery was closest to us. Let’s listen to “Inner City Pressure” by Flight of the Conchords.

We each ordered a flight of beers ($12 for 4 x 4oz pours). As we sampled each other’s selection, I noticed the crowd reminded me of the professor emeritus at the University of Calgary. L and I were the only ones not wearing North Face jackets. I kept waiting for Dr. B, my master’s supervisor, to jump out and ask me how my stats class was going. The volume of the music was audibly quiet, which suited the clientele.

Barley Pop was our favourite beer, as we found it light with pleasant notes. I thought Dad’s Beer was clean and easy to drink. Summer Crush was sweet and reminded me a little of Kool-Aid. L enjoyed the IPA, which I found bitter with less carbonation than the other beers.

I liked the Sailor’s Delight – it was a tasty coffee stout. Mom Perm was another standout – fun, light and a little sour. I appreciated the beer’s subtle flavours, almost wine-like and quaffable.

L and I were blown away by the food, particularly the Smoked Korean BBQ Chicken Sandwich ($17). The fragrance and taste of the smoke were unreal. The Kewpie mayo added another layer of richness. The chicken thigh meat was satiny smooth. The jalapenos and kimchi slaw mingled with spicy heat and a pickled, tart crunch. This chicken is the best BBQ I have ever tasted. Personally, I think the prices are too low for the quality they are serving up. Cost-wise, this place charges less than your average pub on 17th Avenue.

The Fish and Chips ($19) was wickedly decadent. Our server, when asked, told us the seasonal day boat fish was blue cod. I loved the flaky, buttery filet and the crispy, melt-in-your-mouth batter.

The tartar sauce was thick and herby, similar in freshness to the homemade tzatziki we would eat in Greece. Even the coleslaw rocked – the vegetables were crunchy, and you could taste the freshness of the ingredients.

The fries were fresh-cut, thick cut and mealy on the inside. The golden brown fries were so good we didn’t need any dip. The portion of fries that came with the fish was more than generous. I could feel myself puffing up from all the salt and deep-fried goodness.

I noticed the chefs put great care into prepping the plates. You can taste that same attention to detail in the flavour and quality in the food. Days later, we were still raving about the smoked BBQ chicken. I’m dying to try the beef brisket on my next visit. The BBQ chicken is so mind-blowing that Best of Kin is on Hitting the Sauce’s list of best eats in Calgary.

Happy Hour · Restaurants

Merchants Restaurant & Bar

My friends told me that the scene at Merchants Restaurant & Bar on “Wine Wednesday” is a real hoot. Apparently, the crowd makes for great people-watching. So for our monthly girls’ night, Kournikova, Betty, Québecoise, and I decided to check it out for ourselves.

I called ahead to make reservations. However, a staffer informed me that the restaurant doesn’t take reservations on Wednesdays because it is too busy. After some prodding, I learned we could get a table if I came before 5:00 pm or after 7:00 pm. I landed a booth that afforded a bird’s eye view of the lounge.

I often go with friends on half-price wine night at Earls or Cactus Club, which draws a mostly female crowd. However, this is different for Merchants —these suited-up dudes like their discounted wine! Let’s listen to something from Flight of the Conchords for this post.

I looked up the wine list before and knew I wanted to order a bottle of Simonnet Febvre Chablis ($80, HH $40). However, the restaurant was out of this bottle. So instead, I ordered Louis Latour Macon Lugny ($70, HH $35). I found this wine light and a touch sweet. Québecoise said she enjoyed it and would order it again. However, I wasn’t sold and asked her to pick the next bottle.

Québecoise did select a superior wine – a French Sauvignon Blanc – Alain Gueneau ‘La Guiberte’ ($80, HH $40). Damn – she’s got the best taste. Kournikova said she could taste green apples. Québecoise and Betty thought the wine tasted sour because we had just sampled the last bottle, but it was so loud that I missed the full explanation. I was distracted because I overheard the scandalous conversation at the following table. I felt like I was watching a live episode of the Real Househusbands of Marda Loop.

For food, we shared the Shrimp Gyoza Dumplings ($16.95), Calamari ($15.95), Carpaccio ($22.95), Mixed Salad ($15.50), Filo Baked Brownie ($10), and the Decadent Chocolate Cake ($10).

The carpaccio was delicious! Each bite was pure beef heaven. The tenderloin was silky, tender, and flavourful. I loved the creamy mixture of truffle oil, shaved parmesan, mustard and horseradish aioli. The capers added a tart, salty bite, and the arugula was crisp and peppery. The portion was so generous too. I would get this again.

I also liked the mixed green salad. The maple pepper balsamic vinaigrette was zesty and went well with the cherry tomatoes, toasted pecans, crumbled feta cheese, and slices of cucumber. I would get this salad again too.

The gyoza and calamari were standard and not nearly as good as the carpaccio or salad. If I could do it over again, I would get a pizza or wings instead. A table over to us ordered hot wings, and the fragrance of fried chicken was intoxicating. There’s just something about deep-fried chicken that makes me weak in the knees.

When we received our bill, we were shocked at how inexpensive it was. Ah, wine Wednesday, how economical you are. And the entertainment was free! Sometimes it pays to go out midweek. Hitting the Sauce gives her friends two phat thumbs up.

Beer · Patio · Pubs

Tailgunner Brewing Company

When L came home on Friday night, he felt like doing something different. I suggested checking out a new brewery, either Tailgunner Brewing Company or Best of Kin Brewing in Sunalta. For this post, let’s listen to “The Most Beautiful Girl (In the Room)” by Flight of the Conchords.

Tailgunner is a stunner! I loved the high ceilings and neutral, classic colours. L pointed out the sleek patio space facing the busy 10th Avenue S.W. Along the wood wall panels were oversized leather booths. By 6:30 pm, all the communal tables were occupied by customers.

I ordered a Zesty Zee Wheat Ale (Blind Enthusiasm, Edmonton, AB, $9.50, 500 ml) as I prefer Hefeweizen (German beer). I found the ale herby, spicy, fruity, with a gentle carbonation. However, I enjoyed Tailgunner’s beers a tad more.

The Lint Stephenson, a Czech pilsner ($5.75, 300 ml), was one of my favourite beers of the night. L thought this beer tasted fresh and delicious. We both thought it was a clean, crisp pilsner with pleasant little bubbles.

L was a fan of the S.O.S. Hazy I.P.A. ($5.50, 300 ml). The I.P.A was tropical and hoppy, with no bitterness. We also enjoyed Tailgunner’s dark lager, AJAX ($5.75, 300 ml). I could see myself drinking a whole pint during the upcoming holiday, as it was smooth and sweet with a creamy coffee-like flavour.

For a snack, we ordered the charcuterie plate ($14.75). For two people, this was a hearty portion of cured meats, cheese, olives, and cherry tomatoes. There was the right assortment of different flavours, carbs and dips to satiate our munchy cravings. The olives were juicy and slippery with a zesty marinade. My favourite dip was the roasted red pepper, which tasted superior to the packaged stuff I buy. I would get the charcuterie plate again.

L commented the customer service was excellent – despite how busy it was, the staff were attentive. Someone was always around to answer any questions about the beer menu.

I would bring out-of-town guests here, as it is a beautiful space. Tailgunner would be a great place to rent out for a party. Hitting the Sauce gives this new brewery two phat thumbs up, and it makes it on my list of best breweries in Calgary.

Cheap Eats · Japanese · Sushi

Ki Sushi

L was craving sushi, but his beloved Sukiyaki House is closed on Sundays. I suggested Ki Sushi as an alternative as it is located minutes away from us. Ki Sushi replaced Katsuten, one of the OGs of katsu in Calgary. Since I’m on a Flight of the Conchords bender, let’s listen to “Rejected.”

We ordered a Salmon Maki ($5), Tuna Maki ($5), Salmon Nigiri ($2), Tuna Nigiri ($2), Tako ($2.70), Scallop Nigiri ($3), Chicken Karaage ($9), and Loin Katsu ($15). I enjoyed sipping on the miso soup, which was steaming hot, filled with tiny cubes of tofu and seaweed.


The first appetizer to arrive was our chicken karaage. The light, crumbly batter and the dry, KFC-like seasoning reminded me of Tawainese-style chicken popcorn. The reddish-orange dipping condiment reminded me of plum sauce.

We were fans of the tuna and salmon maki. Both rolls contained more fish than rice, and the nori was still crisp. The tuna filling was creamy and smooth. I could taste a touch of sweetness in the sushi rice. I found the wasabi particularly delicious, as it was creamy and extra spicy. I would get the maki rolls again.

The raw scallop was silky in texture and chubby. The size of the tuna and salmon nigiri was generous, though the temperature of the tuna and tako was a little too cold for us.

Our katsu came with steamed rice and a small side salad. The feathery bread crumbs were buttery and fluffy. The pork itself was thick and soft. I could detect a little cinnamon in the katsu sauce, which tasted homemade. This dish was a winner, but be warned, it is heavy.

If you visit, I would suggest making reservations and being as patient as possible, as Ki Sushi is a popular spot. When we were eating, there was a constant stream of customers dining in and picking up takeout. I’m glad Ki Sushi is located in our neighbourhood. It’s a solid choice for inexpensive and tasty eats.

Restaurants · Wine tasting

Kindeli Wines – Juice Imports

On Sunday, Kournikova joined me for a wine tasting ($29) at Vine Arts. Hosted by the co-owner of Juice Imports, Erik Mercier showcased Kindeli wines from Nelson, New Zealand. Let’s listen to “Hurt Feelings” by Flight of the Conchords for this post.

Our welcome drink was Kindeli Primavera, a rosé with a dark, raspberry-like hue and a light sparkle of carbonation. Erik informed us that this wine is made from several grapes: Riesling, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Viognier, Gewurztraminer, and Pinot Noir. He noted this rosé drinks more like red wine. Kournikova liked this one so much that she bought a bottle.

Our first official tasting was Blanco ($39.37). I was surprised when I took the first sniff, as I’d never smelled a wine like this before. Kournikova thought the wine smelled grassy. Erik described this wine as “rocking” and said it smelled like the Sauvignon grapes in Kindeli’s vineyard. He mentioned the wild fermentation process Kindeli employs results in a wider range of flavours.

Kournikova enjoyed the Luna Nueva ($44.91). This wine consists of a blend of Pinot Gris, Viognier, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc. Erik said this wine had a crazy texture, describing it as round, soft and bright.

When I asked him to define “texture” to me, he compared the difference between skim and whole milk. Erik told me to think about the words “fatty” and “saturation” and what that sensation would feel like in my mouth. For example, he stated Viognier is an oiler and heavier white wine.

My favourite wine was Verano ($44.91). Erik described this dry, fresh wine as savoury, with notes of dried apples and Oolong tea. I knew right away my girlfriends would love this bottle. I bought one bottle for my friend Sunflower, who has a penchant for orange wines.

Erik recommended pairing this wine with something funky and sweet, like a Japanese curry. He stated that Verano represents a complete picture of Kindeli’s farm, as every variety is blended into this bottle: Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, and Syrah.

The Otono ($44.90) is made from Gewurztraminer grapes, fermented on skins for five days in an amphora (Greek vase). After the pressing, Riesling and Pinot Gris juice is added to the “spent skins”. Erik noted this wine is bottled unfined, unfiltered, and without sulphur.

Erik loved the smell of Ivierno ($44.83). He stated one of the many reasons he likes natural wines is the different breadth of flavours it produces. This wine contains about 90% Pinot Noir and 10% Pinot Gris.

Kournikova thought Tinto ($44.83) smelled peppery. Erik described the flavour as dark fruit juicy with a violet floral. Of the red wines, this was my favourite. With each sip, I noticed a new tasting note.

The last wine we tried was Luna Lena ($44.90). Erik described Luna Lena as sweet, with dark fruit characteristics. I asked him why my initial reaction to his wines changed with each sip. At first, I was unsure if I even liked the wine. However, with each quaff, I started to appreciate different flavours I didn’t pick up at first. I told him this experience is the opposite when I drink terrible wine at a pub, as even though I keep drinking it, it never tastes better, no matter how hard I wish it to be.

Erik believes it’s because we initially don’t like unfamiliar flavours that we can’t describe. It is our body’s way of warning us about poison. But after we try something new, such as wild fermented wines, we get used to the unique flavours and begin to taste other things.

I’m looking forward to Erik’s upcoming events in November and December. I already booked up each class he’s teaching. These wine seminars are so cheap that I can afford to splurge on fancier bottles for my forthcoming Christmas parties. Hitting the Sauce gives Erik’s evident passion for natural wines two phat thumbs up.

Bakery · Brunch · Dessert · French

Le Comptoir, by François

My friend Bex.oxo told me about a new French cafe in Marda Loop, Le Comptoir, by François. Her roommate Valentina recently arrived from Ukraine and started working there, so we decided to visit on a sunny afternoon. Let’s listen to “Le Gorille” by George Brassens for this post.

This quaint cafe only fits a couple of people inside, but the patio is outfitted with a fireplace and a heater, complete with piles of folded blankets and stacks of wood. We chose to sit on the couch in front of the fire. Between the crackling flames, the French music filtrating the air, and the general adorableness of the outdoor / indoor room, we were transported to somewhere else. I felt like I was in a scene in one of my favourite books.

I ordered the Mushroom Quiche ($12) and a glass of red wine ($13). Bex.oxo picked the Pistachio Crumble ($8.75), and she bought me the Almond Croissant ($4.85) and Mediterranean Cake ($11) to eat the next day.

Bex.oxo cut her cake in half to share with me. I refused to eat her treat, but I did take a bite for the blog. She appreciated the thin crust, as it’s more delicate than the pies she bakes. For the record, my friend bakes the best pumpkin pie, all from scratch. I thought the nuggets of berries added a nice tartness to counter the sweetness of the pistachio cream.

The quiche is not the soggy, eggy mess I make at home. Instead, the pastry was thin and crispy. The custard was silky, hot and cheesy, studded with savoury, crunchy mushroom slices. Bex.oxo mentioned the owner comes in every morning to bake everything fresh.

Valentine told us the staff from the shop next door, Gardenia Flowers, bought cake to cheer themselves up. Three of the employees are from Iran, so they too, were dealing with shock and sadness from the crisis occurring in their homeland. I stopped by Gardenia to handpick a bouquet to brighten my living room.

Valentine also told us about a two-table “secret” speakeasy inside a beauty salon at the back of the building. We visited at 5:00 pm, but it wasn’t open yet. So instead, we decided to walk home and try visiting again in the future.

I shared the Mediterranean cake with L. Holy cannoli! The sweetness of the almond icing paired beautifully with the citrus in the orange cake. The cake was bright, citrusy and fragrant. I would order this again.

The next day I reheated the almond croissant in my air fryer. I was impressed with the soft, buttery layers of pastry. What I loved was the exterior of the croissant was flaky and not the dry, crackly type that leads to a thousand uneaten crumbs.

Bex.oxo wished more places like this existed in Calgary. I don’t generally hang out in Marda Loop, but Le Comptoir, by François, will be a regular spot for us. This cafe is worth a stop if you have half an hour to an hour to spare. I recommend stopping by for leisurely breakfast, lunch or an afternoon snack. Hitting the Sauce gives Le Comptoir two fat thumbs up.