80th & Ivy Spring Menu

Sometimes a meal is so good that it deserves its own blog post. My dinner at 80th & Ivy last week is one such meal.

I’ve eaten at 80th & Ivy before and always enjoyed the food, but I wouldn’t say it blew my mind. Having been invited in last week to sample the restaurant’s new spring menu, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The dinner that we were treated to was nothing short of phenomenal. My friend (and previous roomie) Jen and I could not get enough. We devoured every bite of food — I think to our server’s surprise — and could not stop saying things like, “MMM! This short rib is so tender,” and “Whoa, this chocolate mousse is AMAZING with the orange and raspberry stuff,” and “I should stop eating now but I just can’t,” and “Damn. I should have worn stretchy pants.”

The dinner came in three parts. First, the tuna tartare with deep-fried wontons. Delicious.

Tuna Tartare at 80th & Ivy

Next, the beef short rib with gnocchi. When it arrived, I said to myself, “Only eat half of the dish. You will feel much better afterwards.” Yeah, that didn’t happen.

Beef short rib

Last, the chocolate-covered mousse with orange something-or-other on the inside and raspberry coulis on the outside. Here’s how it arrived at our table:

Chocolate Mousse -- The Before

And here it is after our attack. Disclosure time: we took a picture with some dessert left on the plate, basically to make ourselves seem less like animals, but then continued to eat it, post-picture.

Chocolate Mousse -- The After

The whole dinner was insanely good, from start to finish. Well done, 80th & Ivy.

Apres dinner and on a full-blown sugar high, we hit opening night of The God That Comes, Hawksley Workman’s new show at Alberta Theatre Projects. I’m a long-time Hawksley fan — Lover/Fighter is one of my top 5 albums of all time* — so I loved his one-man-show performance. Jen found the show a little too, uh, experimental, although she did agree it was entertaining. If you’re into Hawksley and want a fun night out, the show runs until April 7.


*I have not written an official Top 5 list, but I’m pretty sure Lover/Fighter would land a spot.



Yellow Door Bistro at Hotel Arts

Last Tuesday, I was thrilled to attend a media dinner and opening bash at Hotel Arts’ new Yellow Door Bistro. As far as opening celebrations go, this one blew me away. The food prepared by executive chef Duncan Ly was phenomenal. We feasted on lobster bisque, warm heirloom carrot and goat cheese salad and duck cassoulet. I’m not a huge fan of duck but this dish was delicious. So delicious, in fact, that I’d make a trip back to Yellow Door just to have it again. I then massacred the three desserts that were set in front of me: a classic lemon curd tart, an “ile flottante” meringue and a chocolate fondant cake with cocoa nib ice cream. As Gwendolyn Richards, my friend and the fantastic Calgary Herald food writer said, “I’ve never seen you attack a dinner like that.” HA. ‘Tis true. I did not leave Yellow Door hungry.

Below, a few shots from the evening and a recipe for Yellow Door’s Duck Confit Hash.

Sheenah Rogers of Anstice Communications, Chef Duncan Ly and Blogger Mr. Fabulous

Sheenah Rogers of Anstice Communications, Chef Duncan Ly and Blogger Mr. Fabulous

Delicious duck cassoulet

Delicious duck cassoulet

Mr. Fab in action

Mr. Fab in action


1 lbs fingerling potatoes
1 cup caramelized onions
1 generous handful of shredded duck confit chopped rosemary, thyme, Italian parsley lemon zest
pinch of cayenne pepper
15ml clarified butter
15ml softened butter
1⁄2 cup hollandaise sauce
2 soft poached eggs

  • Slice the fingerlings in to 5mm thick medallions
  • Heat clarified butter in a sauté pan
  • Add fingerlings and place in to the oven and bake untilgolden brown, keep \tossing and mixing
  • Add the duck confit, herbs, caramelized onions and lemonzest
  • Soft poach two eggs in simmering acidulated water anddrain on paper towels
  • Fold the potatoes with softened butter and season with saltand cayenne
  • Plate the potatoes and duck, top with the poached eggsand cover with hollandaise sauce
  • Garnish with chives

I will attempt the recipe at some point. However, chances are good that I’ll be back to Yellow Door for more cassoulet and chocolate fondant before that happens.



80th & Ivy Wine Kitchen

There’s a new hotspot on 17th Ave. you have to check out: 80th & Ivy Modern Kitchen. I stopped in a couple of Fridays ago for a post-Stampeding snack and drink and had a great time. The lounge in front is open, bright and welcoming, and the dining room up some stairs and in the back of the establishment is cozy and buzzing with the kitchen’s energy. 80th & Ivy was fairly busy, considering it had just opened its doors earlier that week. But that’s not surprising; the spot is the latest from the guys who’ve brought us 1410 World Bier Haus, 1600 World Bier Haus and Classic Jack’s. All places we’ve frequented often.

Check out 80th & Ivy’s dining room:

We had some wine and a couple of snacks, including this delicious tomato salad:

We love that 80th & Ivy is all about using local suppliers, too. Here’s their list:

I’m looking forward to trying dinner there soon!



Two New Calgary Hotspots: Cibo and National

Last Saturday, I embarked upon an eating and drinking adventure with my good friend, Melissa, who was visiting from Edmonton. We were on a mission to check out two of Calgary’s newest hotspots: Cibo, Bonterra Trattoria’s new restaurant on 17th Ave., and National Beer Hall, where Mercury used to be. We hadn’t seen each other in ages and were all smiles, all night.

Here’s the lowdown. Cibo –pronounced Chee-bo — is fantastic. Everything on the menu is meant for sharing and is very reasonably priced. (Definitely more affordable than Bonterra, which I love but save for special occasions.) We started out with three appetizers: broccolini, asparagus (with a delicious hazelnut vinaigrette. I’m sure that’s not the right word for it but, whatever it was, it was yummy) and ricotta, which we smeared on the accompanying bread crisps. So good!

We shared a delicious bottle of white wine (Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler Reisling, for $35) and a speck, pineapple and arugula pizza. Everything was delicious. Our only mistake was not ordering a couple of more appetizers because, after we’d polished off every bite of pizza, we weren’t stuffed. How that’s possible, I don’t know. But if you’re two girls with healthy appetites, you may want to start with five appys instead of three.

Next, we moved on to National Beer Hall, which was busy! I loved the room — lots of windows, big communal tables and a great crowd. The beer selection is massive; blueberry beer was my ale of choice. National’s only downfall is the layout because, while the big tables are great if you’re sitting with friends, they don’t make for easy moving and mingling. We determined that, should you be single and looking to meet people, the best place to sit is at the end of a table. Makes for much easier access.

Sorry for the lack of photos! At this point, I’d forgotten all about photography duties. So, your very difficult homework is to have a beer at National and check it out yourself. I’ll see you there.



Clive Burger = Party in Your Mouth

I’m writing this post about Calgary’s newest burger joint, Clive Burger, about five minutes after polishing off my delicious burger. I just ran across the street to the Starbucks on 17th Ave. to write this post and to get a quick caffeine hit before meeting an old friend at Brava for wine. Have I mentioned I love tonight’s activities?

The kind people at Clive Burger hosted an event for media folk tonight and I’m so happy I stopped in. Considering I still have burger juice on my wrist — classy! — I know what I’m talking about when I say the meal was pure yum. I ordered a single patty with cheese, mushrooms, fried onions, pickles and other toppings I can’t even remember and it was messy perfection. The fries were incredible, too.

I have a tidbit to share about Clive Burger but you have to promise to keep it secret, okay? Thanks.

I asked where the name Clive came from and was told that it’s a partner’s dad’s name — but they’re keeping it secret until the dad checks the place out. So sweet!

Also something to note: Clive Burger is starting its late-night hours, which means you can stop in before 1 a.m. to get a late-night treat on your stumble home. You know, when you’re messy perfection yourself.