This last weekend, the city of Calgary got to indulge in its biggest street food festival of the year. This festival is called, “Taste of Calgary.” Foodies rejoice as the first long weekend in August gives us a four-day feast where several local eateries showcase some of their specialties. Not only is it a good boost to our economy and appetites but it helps us to discover new things. The good news is that there are several options for those who have dietary restrictions as well (i.e., vegan, gluten-free). The only downside is, you will drop quite a few pennies to eat everything but when every bite is so awesome it is worth it!
Local restaurants, food trucks, and distilleries have the chance to show the city what they have to offer. This goes for the local entertainment as well. They have a stage set up for live bands to play their music for us to sit and listen to while we enjoy our meals. As there are so many choices and varieties for different cuisines, I wanted to share my top ten favourite items for you to try while the festival is still running. Here are my personal top ten favourites in no particular order:
Raspberry –Pistachio Tart/The Inn on Officers Garden: A person will want to have a stay-cation if they are ever in the neighborhood of this quaint inn. The most decadent dessert that you will find there is at this sweet little corner. Each bite is filled with tart raspberry, nutty pistachio, and the sweet silkiness of pastry. A perfect confection that goes with a cup of tea and the next selection on this list.
Salted Caramel Chocolate Ice Cream/Foothills Creamery: Hot days like this call for something super cold and Foothills certainly delivers. Nothing says summer festival like a little dish of ice cream. A perfect compliment for a slice of pie or a fruit tart of some kind 😉. Although there are many choices, the taste of this particular ice cream is heavenly. It is mixed with a combination of sweet/salty caramel and velvety chocolate.
Vegetable Empanadas/Good Fillin’: 3 pieces of hot steaming pockets with freshly made salsa and spicy Verde sauce is a good reason to stop at this stand. A lot of love is made into these handmade dishes and you can taste it with each bite. This is the kind of dish that you can picture yourself eating on the beach in a warm paradise. Just eat that first before you go swimming and remember that waiting 30 minutes after you eat doesn’t matter.
Cheesy Mushroom/Peak Pizza: This brand-new business has planted itself in the perfect spot this year to be noticed. And boy do you notice it. The name of the pizza alone is a good hint of what you can expect. Not only is it cheesy but it is also rich and rustic at the same time. The mushrooms themselves give a nice earthiness but it is the truffle oil that steals the show. It’s like having a luxury cabin in the middle of the woods.
KT Palace BBQ Skewers/ Golden Kway Teow Palace: Several different options for different diets are found at this stand. If you get yourself a BBQ Skewer, not only is it a great gluten-free option but you can have three different proteins (including a vegetarian option) to choose from. A little mix of spice and sweet is found on your skewer with a side of kimchi and rice that compliments the bowl enough to highlight the important essences.
Mac & Cheese and Matcha Lemonade/Flower and Wolf: As these are two options that this downtown restaurant shares with us, they both deserve to be mentioned. These items also compliment each other so well with their opposing tastes coming together so flawlessly. The mac & cheese is so much more than its title. With the creamy cheesiness comes pickled jalapenos and crunchy breaded onions giving our tastebuds a jolt. The lemonade is both sweet and sour with a touch of earth from the matcha. Does more need be to said?
Sweet n’ Easy Chick’n Shawarma/Sprout: Three cheers for plant-based goodness! With this tasty sandwich you would never know that it was not real chicken in there. The flavour of it is indescribable. On one hand you get some fresh vegetables with it but the chick’n itself had a tanginess and honeyed flavour that a person will not soon forget. You might have to take a few home.
Jerk Tofu/Simplie Irie: A taste of Caribbean is what will wake up your tastebuds and your whole body. If you have just started your day and were looking for an energetic boost that doesn’t have caffeine in it, this is how you do it. The hot peppery taste of the sauce on this tofu was an absolute star and not for the faint of heart. But if you are a daredevil, it is the perfect choice.
Buffalo Mushroom Caps w/ Roasted Garlic Ranch/The Banquet Bar: When you need something both crunchy and unique then this is the dish you wish to try. Fiery spices with hints of garlic and coolness of ranch makes this a delicious appetizer and finger food for those who have a bit of whimsy in their lives. This is nothing short of finger licking good and surprisingly addicting.
Wild Rosy/Spirit Hills: The best alcoholic drink to get in this festival and it is not just for the wine-lovers. Each wine has its own special flavour but the Wild Rosy is a taste of an Albertan summer. Its floral notes are there but they do not make the wine taste like perfume. If anything, it elevates the wine’s light grape flavour in a whole new way.
Every year, we look forward to all the wonderful things we can eat in this marvelous fete. The food, music, and even the people are a pleasure to experience. We will miss it when it goes but at least we have the memories of deliciousness that makes us smile until we actually go to the restaurants themselves. A toast to these wonderful people that give us foodies something to look forward to every year. Will see you next summer. Cheers!