While raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens are undoubtedly good things, we’re much fonder of crisp apple strudel and schnitzel with noodles. In fact, we’d argue that the best things in life can be sipped, munched, devoured, nibbled and licked off one’s fingers. What better way to celebrate the holidays (and to top Santa with your gift-giving prowess) than to explore Savour Calgary’s inaugural Favourite Things issue.
We put this issue together by pondering our culinary adventures and choosing the things that have really stood out in the last couple of years. Then we asked some of our friends, contributors and food lovers what their favourite Calgary-made “things” are, and boy did we hit the jackpot. What a delicious city Calgary is, and we can’t wait to share it all with you. Pull out your bright copper kettle, pour a cup of tea and enjoy the journey through our favourite things.
The Dining Room at Orchard Restaurant
“The first time I walked into this space I felt like I’d stepped into a dream. With soaring ceilings from which hang dozens of sparkling chandeliers, this dining room is alive with magic…and many, many houseplants. The Mediterranean-inspired menu by Chef Jenny Kang is right at home in this spectacular space and you’ll want to give yourself time to drink it all in. I love a golden hour reservation here to enjoy the sun-bathed beauty of the enormous windows transitioning to the warm and welcoming glow of the vintage chandeliers.”
Croque Madame at OEB
“A signature dish at this Calgary-born chain has a wow factor when it shows up at the table. It’s beautiful, it’s colourful and it requires a healthy appetite to finish. Featuring two sunny-side-up eggs, rosemary ham, sharp cheddar, truffles, brown butter hollandaise, Spanish Manchego and black truffle carpaccio on a potato sourdough rye, the Croque Madame has a je ne sais quoi that’s hard to resist. What a way to start the day!”
Warm Crab in a Jar at Modern Steak
“Featuring king crab bathed in a warm citrus butter with fresh herbs and a chewy house-made baguette, what can I say? This is one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. Ever.”
Camie Leard, Savour Calgary
MT Cheeseburger at Major Tom
“My favourite dish of 2021 is absolutely the burger at Major Tom! It’s not their fanciest dish, but it is so outrageously delicious and a (slightly more) affordable way to enjoy Calgary’s hottest new restaurant. The secret is in the Benchmark aged brisket used to build this burger taking it from delicious to extraordinary.”
Editor’s note: This dining room is also exceptional with sweeping views of the city from it’s 40th-floor, penthouse location downtown.
Elizabeth Chorney-Booth, Contributor
Peanut Butter nudemarkt. and Jam by Preserved YYC
“My bread always needs a smear of the delicious Nude peanut butter, crunchy, of course, then topped with the fabulous Preserved sour cherry jam. ” Editor’s note: We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Cookbook Company Cooks as one of our favourite foodie things in Calgary!”
Hot Chicken Sandwich at Waffles & Chix, Fresh Markets and Kitchens
“After lining up for a hot chicken sandwich at Hattie B’s in Nashville, I realized what all the fuss is about! I’ve been trying to find one in Calgary that measures up and after some unscientific research my vote goes to: Waffles & Chix at the Fresh Markets and Kitchens.”
Debra Smith, Contributor
Pies from Pie Junkie
“With their melt-in-your-mouth all-butter crusts, sweet or savoury pies from Pie Junkie, are a favourite thing to gift family and friends. The team introduces new flavours into the mix regularly, keeping things fresh, interesting, and irresistible.”
Editor’s note: The steak and Gruyère is to die for.
Alberta Cares Packages from Alberta Food Tours
“As a special gift to my self, I especially the love the Foraged Flavours edition, with its dried morels, sage and mint tea, wild mushroom risotto, haskap berry jam, wild rose sugar… you get the idea. Each thoughtfully-curated gift package – including the Breakfast in Bed and Energy Snacks editions – is sourced directly from Alberta food artisans, tucks in a few recipes, and donates a portion of the proceeds to Alberta charities that support Indigenous tourism, food banks and shelters, and reforestation projects. Yeah, they make great gifts for others, but there’s something to be said for a little self-care, too.”
“I love this store not only for its diversity of quality products, but for the welcoming staff who treat you like a regular from the first time you walk in the door. They know every detail of their merchandise and are happy to help you select the best option for your needs.”
“This is the le Jacquard Francais Hiver en Écosse (Winter in Scotland) collection holiday tea towel from Inspirati Fine Linens. These trademark towels will last forever, never fade and bring a gorgeous conversation piece to your holiday kitchen.”
Editor’s note: These towels are so extraordinary, Julie van Rosendaal also chose them as HER favourite thing!
Ellen Kelly, Contributor
Banh Mi from Saigon Deli
“My absolute favourite food thing in Calgary is the Banh Mi from Saigon Deli in Forest Lawn. This is a food gem of the city, and honestly the best Banh Mi I’ve ever had. My go to is the Beef Sate sub, and the cold cut sub. It’s all about the ingredients and prep. This place does not skimp on the portions, and the quality is unreal. It’s like biting into perfection. When I’m in Calgary, this place is a must visit for me. My parents, being the amazing people that they are, always leave a bag of subs on my counter when I’m back in Calgary. My wife and kids visited Calgary over the Summer and I made sure they swung by to grab some to bring back to Toronto.”
Editor’s note: Catch Andrew in his new series, Run the Burbs airing on CBC and CBC Gem in 2022.
“Sweet-tooth lifestyle blogger and fabulous foodie Mr. Fabulous loves his Ritual Doughnut subscription. With a different made-from-scratch flavour every week, Ritual’s signature buttery brioche dough is what makes these sweet treats so special.”
“It’s almost like a chorus of angels calls out whenever they reveal one of those wondrous cheeses.”
Karen Anderson, Alberta Food Tours
“I’m really intrigued by Karen Anderson with Alberta Food Tours and the experiences she creates with her tours. What a wonderful way to explore a destination and the culinary delights and taste of place experiences she likes to showcase.”
Editor’s note: For the record, Karen’s favourite food thing in Calgary is Kensington – particularly Good Trade Coffee Co. whose mission it is to support low-income producers in Columbia, their families and their communities in the areas of education, sustainable agriculture and economic growth through the profits from the café.
“Chef Amanda Lambert and partner Miltos Chiotelis took their catering company to the streets this year with the Meraki on the Go Food Truck. With a delicious dichotomy of a chef-driven menu and street-food service, this food truck brings the flavour…anywhere you want!”
Debbie Lambert, Savour Calgary Publisher
“This is a family-owned restaurant in our ‘hood in Coventry Hills. It has the best, most delicious crust and the cheese they use is so good too. Even my picky son loves it. It’s our regular Friday night dinner.”
Char Siu Pork on a Sesame Doughnut at Pure Vietnamese Kitchen
“One of my favourite things is basically anything from Pure Vietnamese Kitchen. But, if I had to choose, I’d say the char siu pork sesame doughnut! I’m very happy they have opened their Pure Street Food outlet at the First Street Market.”
“With all of the time we’ve spent at home over the course of the pandemic, the Best of Calgary Foods has become the Nolands’ go-to for great local food products delivered right to their door. The group is featuring a holiday entertaining collection that includes mead and brie from Chinook Arch Meadery and Peasant Cheese, lamb lollipops from Lambtastic Farms, cider and beer from Village Brewery, empanadas from Tres Marias, salami from Alpine Sausage, dolmades from Two Greek Gals and spicy chicken meatballs from Soffritto.”
“The staff have a great knowledge of their cheese, and they’re all just so happy to answer questions and talk cheese. I love it. Bonus: easy parking. ” Editor’s note: Yousef and his zesty team of cheesemongers have gone all out with the selection this holiday season and the market is filled to the rafters with cheddars and chavels and mimolettes… oh my!”
Banana Loaf at Euphoria Cafe
“The little things make all the difference and the hint of what we believe to be cardamom (but sources will neither confirm nor deny) that Euphoria Café puts in its banana bread that keeps folks drooling at the counter of this northwest bakery café.”
Editor’s note: While you’re in the neighbourhood, do pop across Crowchild to visit a Catherine van Brunschot favourite: Zest Kitchenware!
Piedmontese Meatballs in the Italian Centre Shop
“These are hands-down the best ready-made meatball in the city, and I’m pretty sure we’ve tried them all. My youngest doesn’t want me to tell anyone about them as he’s afraid they’ll get too popular and we won’t be able to get them.”
Shelley Boettcher, Contributor
Park by Sidewalk Citizen
“I have recently become obsessed with Park by Sidewalk Citizen. My diet is mainly meat free and I lean towards more Mediterranean flavours. Everything I have had from Park has been delicious! My favourites are their halloumi and hummus but their falafel is also some of the best I’ve had in the city.”
Editor’s note: This beautiful cathedral-like dining room is also one of our favourite food spaces in Calgary.
Brit Hart, Contributor
Rugelach from Sunterra Market
“This Eastern European pastry can be made with a wide variety of fillings like dried cranberries, figs, raisins, marzipan, chocolate, and different spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Rugelach has a rich buttery taste yet has a long shelf life so it is a great gift item. The Sunterra version we love is made with cream cheese dough hand-rolled with a fruit preserve and nut filling then dusted with cinnamon sugar and is so delicious that the container doesn’t make it home from the store unopened, let alone into a Christmas stocking.”
Linda Kupecek, Contributor
Candied Fennel Seeds from The Silk Road Spice Merchant
“When you’re finished enjoying some of your Favourite Things from this issue, top it off with some candied fennel from Silk Road Spice Merchant in Inglewood to help with digestion. Made from fennel seeds coated in a sugary glaze, this sweet, licorice-flavoured treat will settle your tummy, freshen your breath and give you a sense of self satisfaction for your excellent life choices.”
Tanya Schaap, Contributor
“New to Calgary and located in Crescent Heights Village, these kefir-like drinks are made with real yogurt, fresh fruit and chewy toppings like sweet purple rice and taro balls. Sounds weird, tastes great!”