a non-scientific, what's hot now in calgary, or gail's favourites from this last weekend while galavanting about town

I'll freely admit to anyone, ok most anyone, that eating is great, but eating and shopping? Well that is just too much fun. Like a fish looking for bait, I'm a sucker. I try not to be, but when served samples of some of the best stuff around, well I just can't help it. Well, this past weekend, my taste buds have been put to the test, in the best possible ways. It's my own fault really. A combination of procrastination and an over zealous appetite spear-headed by rubbing my hands together, knowing that I'll be eating salads at work all week. There are already lots of yummy goodies Jeff and I love to treat ourselves to when we are looking to unwind, but now it seems that now we have almost too many treats! I do realize, that in actuality this is not possible, but surely we are smelling rank from how spoiled rotten we are from this past weekend. The treats started many months ago with the beginnings of many absurdly delicious goodies from Bite Groceteria, but then it seems it has blossomed, into much, much more. I knew awhile ago that Dominique Moussu from Teatro, opened l'Epicerie. But somehow Jeff and I kept thinking that we'll go next week. And so it has been for weeks and weeks, and with rave reviews from friends, we were nearly embarrassed to see, since they could not figure out why on earth we weren't yet foaming at the mouth over the display cases Dominique has prepared. Well finally, we made it. And wow. I don't think Dominique took me seriously when I asked if there was an apartment in the basement, or maybe upstairs, where we might be lucky enough to sweep the floor for crumbs. I wish! I mean it is that good. Ok, maybe I'm biased. Dominique kept winking at me, and maybe it threw off my food game. But when all I've wanted to find for years, are beautifully perfect and crunchy cornichons, well, then maybe he just senses my ridiculous enthusiasm. But really, the stuff is that good. Just go and let him feed you. You will think you've entered Europe, but really you've found paradise. Oh, but I absolutely cannot recommend going to Bite for their tomatoes. Because then there might not be any left for me. Yes, these little simple, inocuous gems, look innocent, but they have a secret plot; to make you eat tomatoes like candy. Don't blame me, it's not my fault; if you get addicted, I can't help you. Ummm, maybe, I can help you. But that would require you to give me all your tomatoes, and I bet you can't do it. No offense, it's nothing personal, just the absolute truth. I almost forgot, but Bite is soon going to be carrying meals from the famed Indian restaurant, Vij's in Vancouver! Stay tuned! Bite's tomatoes, and Dominique's buttery, flaky breadsticks. Photobucket So this past Saturday morning, while I was still sleeping off a hefty week of work, Jeff headed out to make various errand runs on his Ducati. Yea, you'd think he had a real tough life, heading to Calgary's little Europe with l'Epicerie, Manuel Latruwe, and Bernard Callebaut. First he went to Manuel and diligently lined-up for a half-hour, to get his sweetie a baguette. A half-hour you ask? Yes well, he loves me! Well sure, but Manuel just re-opened after lengthy renovations, and Jeff picked up some croissant for me too. Jeff says the ham and cheese croissant are better, but how would I know? There was only chocolate left for me, albeit delicate and flaky, but not too flaky. Ok, I guess Jeff is off the hook for at least picking up these chocolate delights. Oh darn! Photobucket The truth is, that Jeff was off the hook for not bringing home the ham and cheese croissant because he volunteered to make a second round of errands to the same shops, with me that afternoon. Of course, it would culminate in espressos at Bite, but that's besides the point, as we didn't get to those. We did make it to Choklat. Since, for a while now, I've been wanting to compare the different types of chocolate from Choklat. When it first opened, I picked up one of the bars, and it was good. Very good in fact. And if you know me at all, I don't often use adjectives much higher than good, unless you are in my grade seven band class and having a bad day. Now that I've tried all of the bars, I can't decide which one is my favourite. If forced to make a life-or-death decision, I'd say the Brazilian 43% milk chocolate. Although, it isn't the best one, it is the best one for my desk drawer for momentary slips into deliciousness. The porcelana is top-notch, and described on the package as super rare, with overtones of red wine and raisins. It is fruity, and very enjoyable with vino, but also with this vin aperitif we picked up at Willow Park Liquor Store in the south. Serve slightly chilled. Photobucket I also like the Brazilian 70% chocolate as well, a lot. Somehow, to me it is a bit smoky, but in my completely non-scientific comparisons, that doesn't mean much. Try them all though. Invite a few friends over, or not, and compare all these bars. When the chocolate is this good, you might send your friends out to pick up some donuts, while kidnapping the chocolate, and I don't blame you. There is not one iota of bitterness, and all of it is silky smooth. I am not a fan of the truffles at Choklat, but go ahead and try those too. Photobucket Then there were also Dominique's macarons. Delicately pretty, and delicious. They look simple, but the strawberry jam in the pink ones, is delightful. Photobucket When Jeff and I headed back to Manuel Latruwe in the afternoon, we picked up this lemon tart for about $22. Not an everyday treat, although, it is more than rich enough to satisfy. Photobucket I liked a lot of different things we tried this weekend, but this plate is not even quantifiable. The word longing comes to mind. Salty, sweet, rich, and creamy, this plate has it all. In the middle are cornichons worth waiting for, pictured above it, is duck rillette from Bite Groceteria - the rest is from l'Epicerie; a hard and savoury Beaufort cheese, the most unexpectedly flavourful cheese terrine (a must!), sweet Bayonne ham, foie gras torchon with figs, and finally a pâté with pistachios. All amazingly tasty, and extra nice with a baguette from Manuel, and a liberal dousing of wine. Photobucket I also love this fig jam I found at Safeway, which is so good with prosciutto, or creamy cheeses such as camembert or goat cheese. Photobucket Jeff and I recently picked up this uber-luxurious truffle butter at Mercato, on a walk down 4th street. Amazing on everything - asparagus, to pasta, to eggs. Beyond addicting. Photobucket The gorgeous figs I found at the Cherry Pit at the Calgary Farmer's Market. Not only were they beautiful inside and out, but not too ripe so I knew I could manage an entire case. Photobucket Hopefully, this will keep us fueled up until next weekend! I can hardly wait! Bite Groceteria 1212 A, 9th Ave SE Calgary, Alberta (403) 263-3966 l'Epicerie 1325 1 Street SE Calgary, AB (403) 514-0555 Manuel Latruwe 1313 1 ST SE Calgary, AB (403) 261-1092 Choklat 1327A 9th Avenue SE Calgary, AB (403) 457-1419 Calgary Farmer's Market Quesnay Wood Dr SW Calgary, AB


Nate-n-Annie said...

Oh, my.

I am LONGING for that plate of delights!

Such a nice haul! Well done!

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

Food Porn!
Those pictures are scrumptious!

jdbauer said...

I am immediately going to find out if I can order this truffle butter and have it delivered to Denmark! I need that truffle butter!!!

I also saw that you've been to Inoteca! I'm going there when I get back to New York in December.

Y said...

Stunning photos! Those figs are certainly the piece de resistance, but everything else looks equally mouthwatering too.

Anonymous said...

figs are THE BEST. i just discovered them this year at the farmers market and one taste of them made me wonder how i ever lived life before figs. mmmmmmm. i must have a fig tree one day. fig tree and pomegranate tree, and that's all i need in life.

beautiful photos!

breathless said...

How much was the truffle butter?

gail said...

I believe approximately $20

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