Local Fare: Village Ice Creamery

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If you know me, you know that I LIVE for an adventure. It can be monotonous activity such as getting groceries, but if we can somehow spin it into an adventure…I’m in. So you can imagine my delight when I park on a random street in the East Village and see a sign that says, “Village Ice Cream, this way”…I followed, and another block see another sign, and on and on. Seriously I followed the street signs for 3 blocks and when I entered the fantastic and charming little store announced, “I followed the signs!!!”

Village Ice Cream is a new little boutique creamery located essentially in a parking lot at the end of the East Village. 10th Ave and 3rd St SE Calgary. It is owned by Billy, and his icecream scooper extraordinare, Bailey, gave me a serious tour that included tasting all 15 flavors of ice cream.

It really is the best ice cream I’ve ever had. That’s a pretty big statement right? Billy taught me all about High Fat/Low Sugar ice cream, which is exactly the opposite of what one may think is a)healthy, or b)yummy. Not true. This ice cream is rich before sweet and the details and subtleties of the flavors are evident. Billy was telling me that dairy is the expensive part of ice cream, so manufacturers in commercial ice cream are continually decreasing the amount of dairy fat and instead are filling it with all sorts of non-food things we shouldn’t be consuming: polysorbate, monodiglycerides…gross stuff. Billy uses recipes that are 100 years old and only the finest ingredients (organic pecans from California, he knows the grower personally), coffee beans from our very own Phil and Sebastian, etc.

Personally, I LOVED the Huckleberry and the Toasted Coconut is ridiculous. The Salted Caramel is their big hit and they have a couple of summer features I need to go back and try: Spiced Banana and Bourbon Maple Pecan.

Check. It. Out. Tell them Fig and Fennel says hi!

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Eat Local: National

Hello Friends!

Welcome to a slightly adjusted theme to this blog, that I love. I still believe in and love and eat healthy whole food. I cook this way in my regular life and I want my kids growing up knowing that carrots taste great with a little dirt on them and raspberries in season are better than any processed anything they will ever eat. However, I’m working a few contracts downtown right now and realistically I’m spending a lot more time booking dinner reservations and mixing drinks. Time to embrace it on the blog. So perhaps some recipes will be happily interspersed, but for now, you get Calgary foodie reviews, where to go, what to eat etc. It’s gonna be fun.

Which brings me to this week’s adventurous night out…For those of you who know Calgary, you may remember about 10 years ago when 17th Ave was the. place. to. be. It kind of disappeared for a while but in the last few years some incredible places have opened up: Una Pizza and Wine, Ox & Angela, Chilitos Taco House, Cibo, 80th & Ivy, just to name a few. We went, this week, to National, which has been open for a few months. I’ve been a couple of times with “the girls”, but Sexy Husband and I thought we would check it out and actually eat something.
National is set up like a German Beer House, with long communal picnic tables, a huge patio, and a stock exchange style screen of the 100+ beers you can try. As people order a beer, it moves up on the screen in popularity. So fun. We met some friends and shared about 100 oysters (by we I do not mean me, because of an inconvenient shellfish allergy). Then we had a green salad, which was served in a mixing bowl large enough to feed the table. It had some great and surprising tastes including toasted walnuts and thinly shaved fennel with a really light buttermilk dressing. Delish. Then we got some deep fried pickles. Why oh why do I have to love deep fried pickles so much. And we topped things off with their classic poutine. It was a) an enormous portion, perfect for sharing, and b) the best chicken gravy I’ve ever tasted. Loved it. Other people ordered burgers and fish tacos, all which looked delicious. We finished the night with deep friend mars bars. They were yummy but pretty tiny and I’ve made better ones at home.

All in all I was really impressed with the food. The environment is great too and the patio is huge. Our server was great and always showed up at the right time. The music was so loud that it made it hard to talk, but I’m adding National to my regular stops!

local fare: Catch Oyster Bar

Sexy Husband and I got out last night. Date night. Like most people we know with little kids, we live waaaaay out in Calgary suburbs. Which is great. Friendly neighbors, parks on every block, preschool just down the street. But in our hearts, we both love the city. We love downtown. And living in the suburbs does not stop us from embracing as much downtown as we can. We go downtown for coffee a few times a week and try to get out for dinner or drinks once a week or so two. While our friends buy patio furniture and flat screen wall size tvs(which don’t get me wrong, thank God they do or where would we all break bread and watch movies together?), we fill our gas tank and pay the babysitter. We just love the energy of downtown, and the mix of people and food and culture.

Anyway, last night we went to Catch Oyster Bar. We’ve been once before, but late at night and only for dessert. One of my most fabulous friends is Catch’s very own pearl, so we went on a night she was serving and she brought out the red carpet. Not only did I sample a number of spectacular and unique wines, she had the chef prepare me an off-the-menu shellfish-free menu to accommodate my annoying allergy. I had a play on fish and chips, with spectacular alaskan cod, that literally melted away. Sexy Husband had moules et frites. Let’s be honest, he had moules, I had frites. I think he was a bit teary when the provencal sauce was gone. For dessert we had Catch’s sampler, a mini version of: okanagan pear crumble, frozen chocolate cherry ganache, dulce de leche cheesecake, vanilla bean creme caramel, and sticky toffee pudding. It honestly was all incredible.

alaskan cod

dessert sampler

Catch was recently rated Calgary’s number 1 restaurant, and I can completely see why. Not only is the food and wine spectacular, the service was exceptional, and the chef AND sommelier came by to chit chat. If you are in Calgary, you must check out Catch!

Thanks JR for such a great date night! xo

me with Catch's finest