Taste of Calgary 2013

15 Aug

I’ve written about the Taste of Calgary before, so I won’t get into how to make the best out of your Taste of Calgary experience, how the event works, or what I experienced in years past.. this time I just want to share with you a little bit about THIS year’s Taste of Calgary.

Check out the Taste of Calgary Tag for some posts about the event and for more information.

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I went early in the afternoon on the first day, so there is still lots of time for you to check out the festival too – it runs from Thursday, August 15th through Sunday.

Deep fried pickles - Taste of Calgary 2013

Deep fried pickles – Taste of Calgary 2013 (Canon EOS Rebel T3i)

The Canadian Brewhouse – Booth # 2
3 Deep Fried Pickles (4 tickets)

I shared these with my companion for the afternoon. While she didn’t love them, I thought they were ok as bar food.  To eat them as a snack – no way, but I can see the appeal of one or two over a beer. We both loved the dill sauce though!

Crepes & Cravings – Booth # 20
Sweet Nutella Crepe (4 tickets)

I didn’t entirely ‘get’ the frothy milk that was inside of the crepe… but this was tasty. Not nearly as good as the other Nutella crepe I’ve had with toasted coconut from a fast-food mall crepe place.

Delice Pastry Shop and Café – Booth # 10
Eau Claire Market 403-210-3006
Butter Chicken with Rice or Naan (5 tickets)

My companion ordered butter chicken with rice while I lined up for a free sample of pizza and grabbed two coupons. She had never tried (or didn’t remember ever trying) butter chicken before, so she was glad to try the small sample. I think this is really where Taste of Calgary shines – having the chance to try a small, non-committal sample of something, with the hope of finding a new great place to go to eat, or a new dish to try again. Unfortunately the cost really does prohibit trying a lot, and even with the small sample sizes, there’s still too much to ‘waste’ if you don’t like something. Unfortunately, my companion wasn’t a fan of the butter chicken, but did say that the chicken was very tender – it was just too spicy for her liking.

Along with the free pizza, Pepsi was there with the Pepsi Taste Challenge (she picked Pepsi, I picked Coke, but in my defense they didn’t offer a diet version, and I never drink regular cola) and we got little packages of Spitz sunflower seeds.

In the beer garden at the Taste of Calgary 2013

In the beer garden at the Taste of Calgary 2013  (Canon EOS Rebel T3i)

Highwood Distillers – Booth # 27
Black Russian Iced Fudgesicle (3 tickets)

This was definitely boozy, but it lacked the creamy, chocolaty flavour I had expected. I was thinking it would be like a Mudslide, with lots of delicious flavour, but it was really just a vodka slushie.

Caribbean Choice – Booth # 3
Jamaican Patty (Beef, Chicken, or Vegetable) (5 tickets)

My companion chose chicken, while I went for the beef. She wanted something a little less spicy, and the chicken is what was recommended, though we tasted each others, and yes, the beef was a little more spicy, but they both had us looking for something to drink!

The Old Spaghetti Factory – Booth # 22
Red Velvet Cake (3 tickets)

Those of you who know me, or have been reading my posts on Happy Sushi Belly for a while know that I love Red Velvet Cake, but this wasn’t even my purchase! My companion ordered up this one, but of course I had a bite. The filling was good (creamy but not overly sweet) but they were keeping it pre-cut in the freezer (or a really cold fridge) so there was a bit of ice-cream feeling to the filling.

Jackie’s Thai – Booth # 14
Coconut Water (500 ml) (3 tickets)

My companion also went for a drink, and since she loves coconut… though the coconut water would be nice. She was actually pretty disgusted by it. I had a sip too, and there was nothing nice to say about it for me I’m afraid. It wasn’t even “well at least it’s cold and wet” enough. I’ve seen a lot of flavoured options in convince store fridges, and I’m guessing that the flavour is an important factor – this was just 100% coconut water, and it was definitely missing something.

Heritage Bakery and Deli – Booth # 21
Hand Pinched Heritage Perogies (4 tickets)

This place is pretty close to home, and I used to go there once in a while for their mixed dinner. The perogies were good, but nothing out of the ordinary… just a tasty familiar way to spend my last four tickets.

Along with the ‘freebie’ booths (Pop and Pizza) Ford was there taking up a huge amount of space.  One marketer asked us if we would like a test ride, but there were obviously a lot of other things going on in the space.

Lots of non-food vendors at the Taste of Calgary 2013

Lots of non-food vendors at the Taste of Calgary 2013 (Canon EOS Rebel T3i)

There were also a LOT more non-food vendors at the Festival this year, and I’d say a lot fewer booths all together (meaning also a lot fewer food vendors). Above I’ve show Car 2 Go and Canadian Blood Services, but there were also many clothing, jewelry, accessories and other impulse-buy items.  I love seeing unique items at these festivals, but festival season is starting to feel pretty generic this year… every festival I’ve been to is starting to feel the same, with the same items over and over again, just from different vendors.

In contrast, check out Lilac Festival, Calgary, 2013 - shoulder-to-shoulder crowds on the weekend! (iPhone photo)

In contrast, check out Lilac Festival, Calgary, 2013 – shoulder-to-shoulder crowds on the weekend! (iPhone photo)

You can also get a sense of attendance on the Thursday of the event (around 4-5:00 p.m.) from the photo above.  Compare that with previous years when I attended on a weekend, and you can see how nice it is to have a little more space, areas to sit, and short or no line ups! Of course, we paid for the lack of crowds (and a pretty easy non-rush-hour drive down to the plaza) with incredibly high downtown parking. $20.00 for 2 hours!


Posted by on August 15, 2013 in Downtown Calgary, Treats


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2 responses to “Taste of Calgary 2013

  1. Brian Browning

    August 19, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    Thanks for the informative review on The Taste of Calgary.

    My name is Brian, and I am the owner of Crepes & Cravings. I have to agree that on the first day, the crepes were not up to par with my usual very high expectations. This being our first Taste experience, I was still sorting through logistical issues, and working with temporary folks, that although great workers,.had never ever had, and in some cases, never seen a crepe before.

    The frothy milk should have been whipped cream. This was another error that was luckily discovered very early into the show…the vital sugar and vanilla were not being added to the frothy milk is a very apt description.

    I would like to invite you to my permanent location on 17th Ave SW, to allow me to serve you a crepe that I think will wow you.

    Thanks again for taking the time for the write-up.

    • Dawn

      August 29, 2013 at 9:36 pm

      Hi Brian,
      Thanks for commenting! I can definitely appreciate the challenge working in an unfamiliar environment with new tools, new staff, and catering to a new audience – hopefully you made a few thousand new fans through the festival and had a good time too though!
      Thanks very much for explaining the “frothy milk” – Whipped Cream makes a lot more sense, and I bet it’s delicious!
      I’d love to come down to Crepes & Cravings the next time I’m down around 17th Avenue – I bet on your ‘home turf’ your crepes are fantastic.. looking forward to it 🙂


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