Burgers · Dessert · Fusion · Restaurants · Vegetarian

Donna Mac – COVID-19 edition

Restaurant owners in Calgary and Brooks are dealing with excess food after the Alberta Government delayed Phase 1 of the province’s relaunch strategy. Despite the fact restaurants were already stocked, staffed and ready to go, these businesses can’t open until May 25th. Some owners are requesting reimbursement for the last minute reversal date of the opening date.

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Municipal politicians are encouraging residents to purchase takeout from these restaurants to help use up produce that would otherwise go to waste.  For a list of restaurants that were ready to open, visit Savour Calgary’s list.

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L announced that this long weekend, we were going to eat out at least twice. As I’m always eager to play the role of best supporting wife, I suggested several restaurants I wanted to try. For this post, let’s listen to “I Will Follow Him” by Little Peggy March.

One restaurant that’s been long on my wish list is Donna Mac. I called and requested curbside pickup. Customers can also order delivery available via DoorDash, though keep in mind when a delivery app is used, that company receives a hefty commission from the restaurant.

fries

The Mac Burger ($11) reminded me of L’s go-to spot in the city – Clive Burger. The patties oozed with the juices of the meat. The patty tasted like it was cooked over charcoal.  I enjoyed the thick, sticky layer of American cheese so much I scraped the leftover remnants stuck on the foil wrapper with my fries.

half big mac

I recommend adding the fries to the burger, as it adds a crunchy contrast to the softness of the patties and squishy bun. I preferred the smoked dijon aioli to McDonald’s Big Mac sauce. My favourite part of the burger was the smoky flavour of the beef and heavy handedness of the cheese.

chicken

Despite the ten minute drive home, the batter on the Fried Chicken Sandwich ($11) was still crunchy. I liked the sweet tang and heat of the gochujang mayonnaise sauce. The slightly acidic pickles added a little taste of summer to the sandwich. I could taste and see the quality of the white chicken meat.

half chicken

I thought both burgers were a gourmet take on fast food, but with better ingredients and sauces. I don’t think I can eat at McDonald’s anymore, knowing what I know now.

burger

The fries ($4) were well-seasoned, skinny and crispy. The mouth feel of the potatoes reminded me of McDonald’s fries. Next time I order burgers from Donna Mac, I will request a side of the chicken burger sauce for my fries.

doughnut

For dessert, we ordered the daily made Donut ($5). The doughnut was soft and fluffy, rolled in a thin, crunchy layer of cinnamon and sugar. The lemon curd filling was bright and lemony, smooth and creamy. The next time I go to a party, I’m going to order half a dozen of these babies. I’m not a doughnut person, but Donna Mac’s version is so superb, I predict it’s going to win a future award in Avenue Magazine’s “best of” category.

side doughnut

I’m excited for this weekend. I can knock off a couple more restaurants off my wish list. Have any suggestions? Send me a message.

Donna Mac Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

17th Ave · Brunch · Burgers · Sandwiches

Market – Lunch

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My buddy The Chen from Vancouver came for work and a visit. He wanted to take me out for lunch and thought Market on 17th was an ideal place, as I haven’t checked it out yet. The Chen eats frequently, around the world, at all the hottest spots. I’m pleased to report he was happy with his experiences dining out in Calgary.

The restaurant itself is pretty, with lots of natural light. The Chen liked the open concept room – the bar, main seating space and the front of the room were all distinctive from each other but in the same space. Our server, a young Drew Barrymore lookalike, was sweet and helpful, despite being the only server for the entire room.

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I ordered an Americano and both The Chen and I drank sparkling water. We shared two dishes: a Mixed Green Salad with Duck Confit ($21.00) and the Pork Belly Sandwich ($16.00).

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The Chen really enjoyed the duck confit and the salad. He thought the salad had the perfect amount of red wine vinaigrette. The salad had a heavy dusting of cheese, sliced almonds and a ton of dried cranberries. The greens tasted fresh, like it was just plucked from the garden.

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The Poplar Bluff Farm Kennebec Fries were top notch. Hot, crispy on the outside and mealy inside, these were real potatoes on crack. OMG. The pork belly sandwich was yummy with the soft kale pesto, but I thought the bread was too heavy and the proportion of meat to bread was off. I would have preferred either more pork belly or a less fluffy bread.

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I liked the food and I enjoyed the ambience and service. I would return to try the Fried Chicken Sandwich or the pasta.

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Market Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

17th Ave · Bars/Lounges

Cleaver

curry popcorn

Ever since I read Dale’s Yelp review, I wanted to try Cleaver. Finally, on Saturday night, I told L I was treating him out to dinner. Unfortunately, that night it was raining and we got the end seat on the patio. The servers brought over multiple blankets and made sure we were comfortable. A few drops weren’t going to make me melt. I could see L’s eyes glaze over in prerest (meaning – pretend interest) as I described how I thought it was kinda romantic to eat, cozily wrapped up in blankets, as the rain dripped behind our table.

drinks

L ordered an IPA ($9) while I stuck to a white ($11) and later, a full bodied Malbec ($13). As we sipped on our chosen poison, I noticed that Cleaver is full of decked out women. Have you seen that Real Housewives of Vancouver? Imagine full on make-up, hard to wear but nice to look at shoes, and clothes you would need to not ever eat to wear well. I opened the door to the ladies washroom and walked into a scene involving a brunette and something illegal. You would think she’d have the sense to lock the door.

My favourite dish at Cleaver turns out to be the cheapest. Double dipped duck fat fried fries ($7.00). The fries were so good, I would come just for these crispy suckers. The exterior was crunchy while the interior held pillowy goodness. Dunked in curry aioli, I was in ecstasy. The chips and dip combo reminded me of my favourite late night fry house in Vancouver, Fritz European Fry House.

fries duck fat

Cleaver makes two wicked sliders. We order the trio ($24) The soft shell crab was hot, meaty and full of goodness. I was surprised that I thought the buttermilk chicken was as good or better. The chicken was crunchy, double-down, with cucumber ribbons and sweetness from I think, an apple. The lamb slider was okay, flavourful but puny in size.

slider

The only dish that disappointed was the Kale Salad ($17). I thought the raspberry vinaigrette was too light for the sharpness of kale. The arugula did cut into the bitterness of the kale, but the dry sprinkling of quinoa and curry croutons didn’t add much to it. I did like the blue cheese and thin slices of two different colours of beets.

salad beets

I would come back for the duck fries, two of the sliders and to people watch. There are lots of other dishes that look good. If you’re a dessert person, I saw some pretty decadent desserts at reasonable prices.

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