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More of the Taste of Calgary 2017

Tuna and mango poke from Dumpling Lab

Tuna and mango poke from Dumpling Lab

In my last post, I had a little teaser at the end for this one…
In today’s post I’ll wrap up some of the things me and my friend tried at the Taste of Calgary in mid-August.

Dumpling Lab

Pork, Spinach,  & Ricotta Cheese Dumplings from Dumpling Lab

Pork, Spinach,  & Ricotta Cheese Dumplings from Dumpling Lab

The minute I saw the different things that Dumpling Lab had for sale, I definitely wanted to check them out. I was intrigued by the unique-sounding dumplings, and also to try a Calgary version of poke – something I’d tried in Hawaii a few years ago. I later saw that two other booths also had Poke – it must be a pretty trendy item right now (that and Empanadas… it seemed like everyone had empanadas…)

I started with the Pork, Spinach,  & Ricotta Cheese Dumplings – and honestly… was kind of disappointed. They didn’t have a lot of flavour, and were very dry – as if they had been cooked and left too long. They had a sauce, but even the sauce wasn’t sufficient to moisten the dumpling. That being said, I can only imagine how difficult it is to not just have food ready quickly for a demanding festival customer, but then also keep it fresh and hot… so while I wasn’t happy with the dumplings, I still appreciate their flavour variations.

The three dumplings came with a side of soy beans, however these weren’t salted, so I didn’t really enjoy them a lot either. I like them hot and salted and these were neither.

Tuna and mango poke from Dumpling Lab

Tuna and mango poke from Dumpling Lab

Unfortunately, despite really looking forward to it, the poke was also disappointing. There was way too much oil and seasoning – it completely overwhelmed the flavour of the tuna or the mango. The minute my friend took a bite, she was ready to spit it out. I didn’t think quite that badly of it, but it did leave a bad taste in my mouth. I also thought the crackers it was served with were the wrong side – the cracker also really overwhelmed the poke…

One 18 Empire

Next up, we visited One 18 Empire’s booth. My friend wanted the roasted corn salad, and we both really wanted to try the Goat Cheese Cake with Salted Caramel.

Goat Cheese Cake with Salted Caramel and Roasted Corn Salad from One 18 Empire at the 2017 Taste of Calgary

Goat Cheese Cake with Salted Caramel and Roasted Corn Salad from One 18 Empire at the 2017 Taste of Calgary

First up – the salad…. I just had a small nibble and although I didn’t get any onion.. the whole thing tasted like onion to me. We both agreed that the corn didn’t taste “roasted” at all, and had way too much onion to be enjoyable.

Goat Cheese Cake with Salted Caramel from One 18 Empire at the 2017 Taste of Calgary

Goat Cheese Cake with Salted Caramel from One 18 Empire at the 2017 Taste of Calgary

The cheesecake on the other hand… was awesome! It didn’t even need the salted caramel drizzle on top – the flavour of the goat cheese was perfect in the cheesecake. It had the texture of cheesecake, with the flavour of goat cheese. The size was also good for a little bite – though I could totally have gone back for another if I had any tickets left at the end of the day!

China Rose

While I was eating my poke, my friend went and bought sweet and sour chicken balls from the China Rose booth.  These had very little breading and lots of chicken (good!) and the sauce was good, but they suffered from the same dryness as the dumplings above.

Sweet and sour chicken balls from China Rose at the Taste of Calgary 2017

Sweet and sour chicken balls from China Rose at the Taste of Calgary 2017

Sal’s Flatbread

We didn’t get there, but I was pretty happy to see Sal’s Flatbread was there with a food truck as well. I really loved their kiosk at MRU, so I’ll have to keep an eye out for their food truck at events in the future!

Sal's Flatbread food truck at the Taste of Calgary 2017

Sal’s Flatbread food truck at the Taste of Calgary 2017

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To see more posts from the Taste of Calgary over the years, click the Taste of Calgary tag! 

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Posted by on September 5, 2017 in Downtown Calgary, Food Trucks, Treats

 

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Freebies at the Taste of Calgary 2017

I won’t deny that the Taste of Calgary is a pretty expensive event. For about $20 both my friend and I walked away full… but plenty of times I’ve gone and felt like my purse was a little too light. That being said, I love that lots of companies have jumped on board to share their new products as well… who doesn’t love free samples?

This time around there were a few…

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Posted by on August 30, 2017 in Downtown Calgary, Food Trucks, Treats

 

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Taste of Calgary 2017

Root Beer Float mini-melts from the Taste of Calgary 2017

Root Beer Float mini-melts from the Taste of Calgary 2017

I got to Taste of Calgary on Thursday evening after work, and over the next few posts I’ll share some of the goodies… but there’s still time to get down there yourself!

My friend and I each bought $20 worth of tickets – and we left FULL!

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Posted by on August 11, 2017 in Downtown Calgary, Food Trucks, Treats

 

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Canada Day Market & Block Party

Happy Fish food truck

Happy Fish food truck (I don’t know if they’ll be attending)

Back in April I posted about the YYC Food Truck Frenzy, and mentioned how some people were a bit upset that there was a $5.00/ adult entrance fee just to visit the food trucks. Well, if you were one of those who wanted to check out a variety of trucks, but didn’t see the point in paying $5.00/adult to go… maybe check out this Canada Day festival: CANADA DAY MARKET & BLOCK PARTY

It’s open noon to midnight at Eau Claire Market (both indoors and outdoors) so you can pop in, check it out, and then head out to wherever else you have planned to celebrate Canada Day!

Visit their page for more information. https://www.facebook.com/events/799590173421718/

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2015 in Downtown Calgary, Food Trucks

 

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YYC Food Truck Spring Frenzy

Sticky Ricky's Food Truck

Sticky Ricky’s Food Truck (I don’t know that they’ll be at the ‘Frenzy’

The YYC Food Truck Spring Frenzy is coming up soon, April 25 & 25, 2015 down at the RiverWalk plaza down in Calgary’s East Village.

I won’t be going; truth be told, I’m kind of “over” the YYC food trucks. After having them scheduled to come where I work, and having day after day of them not showing up… I’m just kind of over it. Don’t get me wrong, if I’m out at an event and there’s a truck that appeals to me, and I’m hungry… I’ll probably still get something, but I’m not going to go out of my way to visit them anymore.

With that.. I’m not planning on attending the Food Truck Spring Frenzy. BUT… if you ARE still excited to see what the food trucks have to offer – you should consider going!

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Posted by on April 22, 2015 in Downtown Calgary, Food Trucks

 

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Taste of Calgary 2014

Taste of Calgary 2014

Taste of Calgary 2014

Oh boy! Talk about late posts! The Taste of Calgary 2014 was August 14-17, which is right around the time when I got back from holiday, and stepped right into one of the busiest times of the year at work – which means that photos lingered on my iPhone for a while before I finally got the chance to look at them.  I’m taking a break from my posts about Iceland to finally get around to Taste of Calgary!

My friend and I went to Taste of Calgary 2014 in Eau Claire Market on the Sunday afternoon, and there were plenty of others out to enjoy the nice day with us. Hopefully you had your chance to enjoy the weekend event as well – if you did, chime in with some of your favourites in the comments below!

Goro + Gun – Booth # 10

Making Ramen Burgers

Making Ramen Burgers

One of the booths I was most interested in checking out was Goro + Gun, a new Calgary restaurant that I haven’t been to check out yet. (Largely due to it’s location. On Steven Avenue Mall, I rarely get down there anymore it seems!) I tried out the “Japanese Sushi Quiche” (2$) while my friend had the “Ramen Burger” (4$). The line up was huge to order, and then we waited around for the burgers to cook. Only one booth was a longer wait, but I’ll talk about that later….

Japanese Sushi Quiche (2$)

"Quiche"

“Quiche”

I have NO idea why they called this quiche. To me, quiche is a egg-based baked dish with a variety of ingredients in it, with a crust like a pie.

This instead was a TOSTITOS®  “scoop” topped with rice, some mini shrimps in mayonnaise, and topped off with a slice of cucumber.  It was nothing like quiche as far as I know – but it tasted ok. The rice was a bit oily, and I wouldn’t order something like this again if I knew what it was.

 

Ramen Burger (4$)

Ramen Burger

Ramen Burger

My friend thought the idea of the Ramen Burger was unique, but thought it wasn’t very good when it was made up. The Ramen noodles fell apart too easily when eating the burger, and were quite greasy. Because the dish fell apart so easily, it meant eating the flavourless noodles separate from the burger patty. (Apparently the flavour of the burger patty was ok though, but nothing special; it too could have used some flavour.)

Oddly enough, although my friend didn’t really like the burger, it won a silver award at the Calgary Herald’s Consumer Taste Awards.

Goro + Gun
#245, 225 – 7 Ave SW
goroandgun.ca 

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Posted by on September 29, 2014 in Downtown Calgary, Sushi

 

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Win tickets to WineFest from Calgary’s Culinaire magazine

Taste of Calgary 2013

Taste of Calgary 2013

Accompanying their recent article on the do’s and don’ts of wine and food festivals, Culinaire magazine is giving away tickets to the February 22nd Winefest.  Get your entries in by February 19, 2014!

After you enter to win tickets, take a look at the article which recommends you plan your wine consumption to not overwhelm your palate, go early to avoid the crowds, and feel free to ask questions of the people running the booths.

They also recommend that you don’t drink too much, skip the perfume or cologne, and don’t monopolize the booth when there are other people looking to sample.

What’s your favorite Calgary wine or food festival? Tell us about the best ones in the comments below!

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2014 in South-East Calgary

 

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Taste of Calgary 2013

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! Read the rest of this entry »

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

 

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Taste of Calgary 2012

I had intended to go down to Eau Claire Market in downtown Calgary for the Taste of Calgary on Saturday and Sunday this year – but unfortunately other things came up, so I ended up missing Saturday’s ToC along with Rock the Walk – but I did get down on Sunday instead.

I’ve written a bit about the Taste of Calgary (ToC) before, but for those of you who are new to the concept, basically you purchase tickets on the grounds, and then trade those tickets in for different sample-sized food, drinks, or treats from a wide range of local vendors.  The vendors represent pubs, delis, restaurants, and fast-food eateries.  In the adult-only beverage garden there are also liquor stores and breweries represented.

Very crowded!
At the Taste of Calgary 2012

In the past, tickets were 75 cents/each, with a discount if you purchased tickets in large quantities. It made it a better deal if you were planning to go over several days (The festival runs Thursday – Sunday) or if you were there with others or your family.  This year the tickets were $1.00 each (as they were last year I think) but there were no ‘bulk’ discounts.  This would have made it easier to just buy enough tickets for one item, but didn’t encourage repeat visits to the festival in my opinion.

I really like the ToC – I like the chance to try things that I wouldn’t otherwise try – I like the low commitment – and the chance to see what other restaurants might have that I haven’t tried before. However, I heard from several people who weren’t going this year that it was just too expensive – that although the sample sizes were good – they were largely too expensive for what you got – the same size with a lower ticket price would make the festival more accessible.  I definitely agree – for instance my tiny slice of cake was 3 tickets = 3$.  At a bakery I would have received a slice three times this size for $3-4.

Friendly visitor?
At the Taste of Calgary 2012

On Sunday the grounds were very crowded – a little too much for my liking. Perhaps next year I’ll try to go on Thursday night instead and skip the families and as many people wandering. Plus, we were there around 1pm, and it was swelteringly hot – I found that really uncomfortable after a while too. I did notice that a lot of the vendors had vegan/vegetarian and gluten-free options as well.  They might have mentioned this before, but this was the first time I really noticed.

Ok.. so now to the important part – the food!

Mini Boxty – Jameson’s Irish Pub – 4 tickets = 4$

Boxty
At the Taste of Calgary 2012

The first thing I tried was the mini boxty from Jameson’s.  I LOVE the boxty from another Irish pub I frequent, so it was kind of cool to compare.  In my opinion, the boxty from my usual haunt is way better – though this one with chicken and bacon was pretty darn good! Trying to eat it with a spoon though – not so easy. They seemed to have been out of forks when I was there.

Calamari with tzatziki – Pegasus – 4 tickets = 4$

I was trying to decide between the lamb and the calamari – but settled on the calamari. I was actually really disappointed. I found them over-battered, too oily for my preference, and the tzatziki sauce had very little flavour.  I’ll stick with fast-food Greek Opa! instead for the time being. (Until I can get back to my favourite Greek place downtown!)

Spanakopita and calamari
At the Taste of Calgary 2012

Lemoncello Tart – La vita e Bella – 2 tickets = 2$

Lemoncello tort
At the Taste of Calgary 2012

Just a little square – but nice and sour without being too sweet.  Delicious!

Shortbread crusted key lime tart– Downtown food – 2 tickets = 2$

Oddly enough, this one didn’t make the published menu, so I had to go to the menu online to find it! http://www.tasteofcalgary.com/2012_menu.html A tiny lime tart with a shortbread crust topped with meringue.  I don’t care for meringue, and thought the crust was a bit thick – but the lime inside was good!

Key lime tart
At the Taste of Calgary 2012

Red velvet cake – The Old Spaghetti Factory – 3 tickets = 3$

Red velvet cake
At the Taste of Calgary 2012

A thin but delicious little slice of red velvet cake with cream cheese icing and a drizzle of chocolate sauce.

Sushi combo – Sumo Lounge – 5 tickets = 5$

With my remaining 5 tickets I bounced back and forth between what I might want, but finally settled on the combo – a shrimp, and a salmon piece, plus a small crab and cucumber roll.

Sushi combo
At the Taste of Calgary 2012

Peach Virgin Margarita – Ric’s Grill – 2 tickets = 2$

Peach margarita
At the Taste of Calgary 2012

When we were ready to go, my companion found an extra two tickets, which she gave me since there was nothing more she wanted.  I got this drink on the way out which was fine.  Nothing special really.

Some of the things my companion had:

Spring roll
At the Taste of Calgary 2012

 

  • Virgin Bellini – Jameson’s Irish Pub – 3 tickets = 3$
  • Polish garlic sausage – Heritage Bakery – 2 tickets = 2$
  • Thai fresh shrimp spring roll – Delicious Thai – 4 tickets = 4$
  • Spanakopita with tzatziki – Pegasus – 3 tickets = 3$
  • Calamari with tzatziki – Pegasus – 4 tickets = 4$
  • Tuna sushi – Sumo Lounge – 2 tickets = 2$

This time we weren’t really in the mood for booze – the beverage garden is usually far more crowded than the rest of the festival, and it was already crowded enough!

Food challenges & freebies

There was also the Armstrong cheese challenge – tasting Armstrong chedder versus their top competitor (I selected the competitor). After the challenge they gave us a tiny bit of a really good grilled cheese sandwich with tomato and basil (really way too greasy for me though!).  The Pepsi taste challenge was there too – too much work to do their challenge IMO, and I didn’t bother filling out all of their form.  Oddly enough, I picked diet coke over diet pepsi…

One of the frozen pizza places was there too – but we skipped that line up, though we did get little chocolate/granola bars from another vendor (Chocomax) handing out freebies.

Love this top!
At the Taste of Calgary 2012

In closing – the prices really need to go down, but otherwise it was a really nice day out. After ToC we headed to Calgary Opera’s Voices in the Village – a short walk up along the Bow River Pathway to the East Village – a free outdoor hour-long opera performance.

Did you go to the Taste of Calgary this year? What did you think?

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2012 in Downtown Calgary, Sushi, Treats

 

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