According to Frank Sinatra, whiskey is a gentleman’s drink. Frank was such a fan, his legacy guardians agreed to lend his namesake to a new offering from Jack Daniels.Tennessee’s best was on the tip of everyone’s tongues Tuesday night in Calgary, the city of choice for the Canadian debut of Sinatra Select. Thus the selected gentlemen swarming Teatro’s Opera Room. Many of them declined to refer to themselves that way, but at least they looked the part.Ryan Atkins, Alex Orlando and Scott Watson.Dan Wright of WAX and Kevin Gordon.Let’s get a side view of those super-cool specs, Dan!Mark Burkart of McKinley Burkart and Jay Cowles of Spriza.Norm Bogner of Spriza and Ryan Jennings of Jennings Wealth.In case you were wondering how to accessorize a black wedding band (sapphire with diamond) Norm prefers a Panerai timepiece. And you can never go wrong with a fistful of sour mash.Frank couldn’t make it in person, but the evening was not without crooning, thanks to V. Williams.I felt a little like ol’ Blue Eyes himself, getting hustled through the Teatro kitchen for an intimate lecture … … on the fine art of single barrel aging. Jack Daniels looked right at home in Teatro’s 10,000 bottle wine cellar.And despite the original 1911 Dominion bank vault looming behind me, I felt right at home. but I suppose 45% alcohol content accelerates that emotion. However, my Jack Daniel’s Country Club badge is 90-proof that I’ve arrived.
Last time I was at the Yellow Door Bistro at Hotel Arts, I took you on a power lunch with Lawrence Roeck, the filmmaker shooting the next Eastwood Western. This time my shadow does more than darken the front door — it darts into the kitchen to take you behind the scenes. But first, let’s get the deets on the interior design.The restaurant is particularly proud of its environmentally conscious decor through architectural salvage. Feel like this lounge needs more of your lizard? Settle into a couch below reclaimed wooden shutters from Belgium, circa 1800.Neigh-sayers are welcome. Equestrian whimsy is a recurring theme, like this giant horse lamp.A bunny waits for you to belly up to the bar and paw through the iPad wine list.Random yellow accents repeat in the furnishings and staff uniforms, but they aren’t overdone.Admittedly aesthetically-driven in my choice of restaurants, the food still has to be good, or what’s the point? In the kitchen I discovered Banff-born Sous Chef Quinn Staple working under the watchful eyes of the kitchen crew’s spirit animals. With the Yellow Door’s close proximity to the Saddle Dome, refurbished post-flood in time for the Flames’ full season, I suppose it makes sense there is also a spirit hockey goalie.The kitchen was built especially for Yellow Door, when the bistro opened in February to rave reviews of their flavorable fare. The hotel’s other restaurant, Raw Bar, has a completely separate kitchen.It must be easier when everyone at table of four orders the same six ounce Sous Vide Tenderloin, but kitchen creation is a delicate dance in close quarters.My Dungeness Crab Salad is up — my cue to return to my table. I forgot to ask for the dressing on the side, and I highly recommend you do the same. Scrumptious! Yellow Door Bistro is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch.
If you’re headed to the Calgary Home+Design Show this weekend, I recommend going to it before you paint your walls the wrong shade of grey. Because if you attend, like I did, while the unexpected blue and lavender tones are still drying on your walls, you’re sure to see the right shade of grey everywhere. Like here, on the main stage furnished by Urban Barn.And at the Western Living Lounge.Even on the super-cool distressed concrete floor.Plus I was a walking example of What Not To Wear to a convention center. But I tried not to worry about that — I was there for a party.Calgary’s best bloggers were invited to attend a pop-up dinner party to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the design show.Decorated by Revolve, my table was accented in blue. Blue Besos blue. With totally appropriate azul cocktails.The Casa Bubble display lurks in the background while YYC top chefs, Kyle Groves from Catch, Paul Rogalski from Rouge and Michael Dekker from SAIT cook under the watchful eye of Neil Stuart from Trail Appliances…… and the eyes of anyone walking by the cooking stage. With a camera overhead displaying their culinary moves on a giant flatscreen, it was a cooking show come to life.Of course, that also meant if you were part of the dinner, you were part of the demonstration.But the food was too good to let eating in a fishbowl sink my appetite. Especially when Chef Kyle Groves’ dish included an unexpected fish chip made from deep fried char skin. Cafe Rosso rounded out the night with a jolt of java. Cole tried to distract me from all the surrounding perfect grey tones by remembering I like my lattes extra-hot. He has a memory like an elephant, or should I say he has grey matter similar to a certain grey pachyderm? Meanwhile, the coffee and cooking were delicious. The Calgary Home+Design Show continues at the BMO Center through Sunday.
If you’re filming in Alberta, this town is big enough for the two of us.When Hollywood comes to Calgary, Hotel Arts is a natural choice for a meeting. But when it’s the team producing the next film in the Eastwood legacy of western epics, the art at this boutique hotel simply makes good horse sense. Seen here, Producer/Director Lawrence Roeck and Executive Producer Shana Wilson had just arrived from Longview……where they met with John Scott, Clint Eastwood’s wrangler from Unforgiven, among many other IMDB-worthy accomplishments too long to list here. But does that little Brad Pitt flick Legends of the Fall ring a bell?Let’s just say when Hell on Wheels needs saddles, John Scott has a loaner or three. Between rustling props from farms in the foothills to moseying through this art-laden lobby in the heart of Calgary…
… pre-production on the feature starring Clint Eastwood’s son Scott is keeping Lawrence busy. Meanwhile, at Hotel Art’s new Yellow Door Bistro, Ennio Morricone isn’t part of the DJ selects, but Lawrence does his best Good, Bad and Ugly anyway — under the watchful eye of yet another equestrian objet d’art.Maintaining LA standards, we paired Dungeness Crab Salad with St. Supery Sauv Blanc. Food not visible because we gobbled it all up. It was a very serious meeting. Which led to a very serious article on creative financing.
Afterwards, I went out front to collect my ride from the valet…… the bike, not the Bentley. And discovered another thirst-quenching service touch.Thanks, Hotel Arts! Diablo starts filming in Alberta early 2014. Dress, Diane von Furstenberg.
If an area ever needed a new brew pub, it’s this lonely corner in Victoria Park. Someone told me there was a recent move to rename the area Victoria Landing to obscure the neighborhood’s ghetto past, but I haven’t seen any evidence of this myself. But no matter what you call it, the people who work and live in this part of town don’t have many dining options.Inside, a soft launch lunch was jammed with customers, mildly frazzled service staff and good food. The former Olive’s has been stripped down from a high-end Italian restaurant to the rough-hewn Vagabond Brewery, offering more casual fare and beer, beer… and beer. Still, I managed to order a sauv blanc.I sampled the Kale Caesar Salad (yummy with ginormous homemade bacon bits) and a hearty Pulled Pork Pizza. Also: the Lobster Dog. Deep fried in beer and corn batter, it’s a classier version of the deep fried everything that will be available just across the street at the Stampede Grounds in July. Vagabond is perfectly positioned for noshing pre- and post-concert at the Saddledome.
Celebrating the birthday of one of my favorite people this weekend, I was delighted to discover what happens when chocolate and Louis Vuitton collide: This cake gives a whole new meaning to a la mode. A match made in my personal heaven, it’s from the talented bakers at Buttercream Bake Shoppe on 17th in Calgary. They do calorie-laden customer orders for wedding cakes, cupcakes – you name it. I’ll let you do the talking because my mouth is full. Tasted just as good as it looked.
If the pink ox on this 17th Avenue awning doesn’t mooove you to mosey into Ox and Angela, this should:“The spanish table” is a prix-fix menu of muy delicioso munchies. Instead of angsting over your choice, go with the chef’s selection of the tastiest tapas. It will add at least fifteen minutes to your sparkling witty conversation window. And if it happens to be a slightly dull date, the new plates of food that keep arriving should get you through. Meant to be shared, the dishes will give you a base line of common ground.Owned by the restaurateurs behind one of my other faves in Calgary, Una Pizza + Wine, I predict Ox and Angela will be my new go-to: I’m yoked! Tempting tempranillo and lovely service make it una noche maravillosa.
When it’s -15 on a Sunday, a snowboarding girl’s thoughts skip the slopes and turn to brunch. At Cassis, my favorite french bistro in Calgary, a Mimosa was merely a citrus starting point for a Croque Madame… accompanied by a Kir Royale – champagne with creme de cassis, bien sur. Earrings from The Artworks in Edmonton. Sweater: Hache from Beckley Boutique in LA.
Meanwhile, fervor for fashion will have to keep us warm. Environmental scientist Andrea Douglas looking appropriately tres francaise et tres chic. Hat, Chapel Hats. Sweater, Club Monaco. Watch, Links of London.