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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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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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Taste of Calgary – this weekend

Look out for the bus or one of the ticket stands at the Taste of Calgary to get your tickets

Look out for the bus or one of the ticket stands at the Taste of Calgary to get your tickets

Don’t forget, the Taste of Calgary is this weekend!

It runs August 14-17 at Eau Claire Market, and this year you can try tasty nibbles like:

  • Maple Bacon Ice Cream Sandwich – from Black Betty Burgers & Wine Bar
  • Sweet ‘Smores Crepe – from Crepes & Cravings
  • Banana Fritters – from Curry Club
  • Crispy Shrimp Dumplings – from Globefish
  • Japanese Sushi Quiche – from Goro + Gun
  • Green Tea Sandwich – from Lava Dining
In the beer garden at the Taste of Calgary 2013

In the beer garden at the Taste of Calgary 2013

along with vendors like:

  • Africana Bar and Grill
  • The Canadian Brewhouse
  • Caribbean Choice
  • Coco Brooks
  • Delice Pastryshop and Café
  • Delicious Thai
  • Ed’s Restaurant
  • Halo Steak, Seafood & Wine Bar
  • Heritage Bakery and Deli
  • Jackie’s Thai
  • Jamesons Irish Pubs
  • Mini Melts
  • Ogam Chicken and BBQ
  • The Old Spaghetti Factory
  • Oriental Dumplings
  • Pacific Hut
  • Pegasus
  • Wing Tat
  • Zen 8 Grill
  • … along with great tastes from the Beverage Garden

A lot of the vendors are the same as previous years, so you can read more about the Taste of Calgary by clicking the “Taste of Calgary” tag.

Some hints to have a great time:

  • Try going on a weekday evening instead of during the lunch hour if possible – it’s less crowded usually
  • Check out what you’re getting before hand, especially if you’re on a budget. Not all of the samples are good deals, and you can end up spending a lot of money at the festival.
  • There are usually lots of freebies at the festival too – wander around (usually close to the east side of the plaza) and look for special taste test and give-away booths.
  • BYO… – consider bringing your own (reusable) bottle of water. Every vendor sells plastic bottles of water, but you might as well bring your own bottle and save the money – and the plastic! There’s also a water fountain inside near the restrooms for refills.
  • BYO… – consider bringing your own reusable dish and cutlery/chopsticks. The amount of waste that builds up in the garbage containers from this event is massive… and most of the vendors are using Styrofoam plates and plastic cutlery, rather than opting for compostable options.
Deep fried pickles - Taste of Calgary 2013

Deep fried pickles – Taste of Calgary 2013

Are you going to Taste of Calgary 2014? Let us know what you thought in the comments below – which samples were the best bang for the buck, and which were the tastiest?

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2014 in Downtown 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 returns!

Very crowded! At the Taste of Calgary 2012

Very crowded!
At the Taste of Calgary 2012

Just a brief interruption to my (hopefully) inspiring and mouth-watering posts about my recent trip to Finland – to remind you about the upcoming Taste of Calgary festival!

The festival runs August 15-18, 2013 at Eau Claire’s Festival Plaza. The festival runs from 11am-9pm each day.

If you haven’t been to Taste of Calgary before, it’s a pretty simple structure. Just visit one of the ticket-selling booths (there are usually several around the Plaza) and purchase sampling tickets for $1 each. (Grab a menu/map there too!) Then the different booths, trading your tickets for snack-size samples of the food they offer. Don’t forget to take a business card or two as well so you can re-visit the restaurants and delis you like best after the festival! Some items will cost one ticket, but most cost 3-5 tickets.

There is a menu on the festival website, so you can even pre-plan your spending and sampling. (Gluten-free and vegetarian items are well marked, though you’ll have to ask if you’re concerned about dairy, eggs, or other allergens.  It’s best visited with a friend, because at the end of your visit you can combine your leftover tickets to share something… plus it’s just a fun afternoon or evening out.

 Some of the items I might try this year…

The Canadian Brewhouse – Booth # 2
1 Deep Fried Pickle (2 tickets) – can you believe I’ve never tried deep-fried pickles before?

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

Double ELLE Bakery – Booth # 15
World Famous Poppycock (3 tickets) Though I’ll want to look at it first!

What about you? What will you be trying at Taste of Calgary this year? What would you recommend? Let us know in the comments below!

And for the 18+ set

Peach margarita At the Taste of Calgary 2012

Peach margarita
At the Taste of Calgary 2012

There is also an adults-only alcoholic beverage garden, featuring beers, wines, and spirits.  They cost 2-3 tickets each, and all drinks are sample sizes – maximum four ounces, 2 ounces for wine and 1/2 an ounce for spirits.

I think I might try the Saskatoon Mead  (3 tickets) from Fallentimber Meadery – Booth # 30 or the Black Russian Iced Fudgesicle (3 tickets) from Highwood Distillers – Booth # 27. Yum!

Read more!

Of course, 2013 isn’t the first time I’ve visited the Taste of Calgary. Check out the Happy Sushi Belly post from the 2011 festival, or from 2012.

In my previous posts I’ve mentioned some tips to have a great time at the festival…

  • Around noon the festival can be really crowded and uncomfortably hot. Maybe this year I’ll try to go Thursday evening instead of going during the middle of the day again.
  • Not all of the samples are good deals – and you can end up spending a lot of money. Check out what you’re getting before you order, especially if you’re on a budget. I’ve noticed that a lot of the delis have better ‘deals’ than the restaurants in terms of the amount of food you’ll get for your tickets.
  • There are usually lots of freebies at the festival too – wander around (usually close to the east side of the plaza) and look for special booths set up with taste tests and give-aways.  Apparently food trucks will be parked near the festival as well if you’re keen to try one of Calgary’s food trucks and you haven’t been to a lot of festivals yet this summer or don’t work downtown.
  • BYO… Consider bringing your own bottle of water (every vendor sells it, but you might as well bring a reusable bottle and save the money and the plastic!) and refilling it at the water fountain.  Also, in the past few years the vendors have almost all used Styrofoam plates and plastic disposable cutlery. If you want to minimize your impact, consider bringing a reusable dish and cutlery/chopsticks. I keep meaning to, but every year since I thought of it… I’ve forgotten. At least re-use your plastic cutlery! (At least that one I’ve remembered!)
Sushi combo At the Taste of Calgary 2012

Sushi combo
At the Taste of Calgary 2012

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2013 in Downtown Calgary, Sushi, 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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