Bridgeland’s latest addition to the foodie world of Calgary is still papered up against prying eyes.But last night, if you were on the list, you were invited to a sneak peek at Black Pig Bistro, before the media launch next week and before the public opening. It felt very VIP, but it was actually more grassroots — and savvy marketing strategy. The soft launch was for local social media supporters.And who doesn’t support free food and wine?Circulating chef and co-owner Alison Bieber offered chicken liver pate in appetizer form, which will be served as a smear on the antipasti dish when the restaurant opens. I’m anti-smear, but pro-pate. Delicious.Love the random Tiffany blue wall in the middle of the subtle brown and white decor. Or Blue Besos blue. Take your pick!The other two-thirds of the co-owner triumverate, Denise and Larry Scammell. Larry tells me black pig is the tastiest of all pork.After all those conservative photos, I finally found the restaurant’s namesake, willing to ham it up for the camera. Black Pig Bistro opens to the public next Wednesday.
Hold the anchovies? Who says that? Not Double Zero.
The popular Stephens Avenue pizza joint created a new white anchovy crostini concoction to celebrate the opening of their brand spanking swanking new location, in the north end of Chinook Centre.Executive Chef Robert Jewell, slinging the pie in the sky here, sings the siren song of the white swimmers. “You don’t have to bring the sexy to anchovy, to me they’ve always been sexy. It’s one of my favorite things to snack on. We’re trying to open customers up to it.” He says they’re more subtle than sardines. If that doesn’t get you you, maybe the super-luxe price tag will: $45/kilo. Prepared the Double Zero way, the little fishies pair nicely with Prosecco.But let’s get to the real reason we’re here: the pizza. Plagiarizing directly from the 00 website, “Double Zero is named after the finest grade of flour on the planet.” Since I know flowers better than flours, I’ll just take them on their word.Wondering why this dude with the beard is lurking everywhere? He’s all over 00. The tables, the walls, even the advertising. We’ll get to that in a minute. In the meantime, check out the ‘za. Super affordable and super good……once it’s served it doesn’t stay on the plate for long. The one with the bacon was my personal fave.The media party was wisely contained to the downstairs bar/bistro area, but upstairs the restaurant was rocking! Even though it has only been open since Monday.Packed with beautiful people, can Double Zero sustain the Opening Week clientele standards once mall rats get wise to their fresh new dining option conveniently located right next door to Tori Burch? Although Chinook shoppers are pretty cute.Back downstairs I thought I’d tracked down The Dude. Not Jeff Lebowski, but the bearded bro in all the promo. Turns out it was a different beard, belonging to a different dude: Jon Molyneux of the uber-tasty Concorde Group. But he revealed the wine list cover model is Peter Feenstra of Tank Design, a Friend Of The Restaurant, like everyone featured in the arresting black and white wall murals. Feenstra also designed all the furniture in the restaurant.Thanks for the party, Double Zero! Not only did I learn beards are optional here, it turns out that 2 x 00 = feel good, taste good math.
With an icy nod to a species of the verge of extinction (Bus and Stan Fuller’s former decor mascot) Earl’s Tin Palace re-opened last night in Calgary, with an invitation-only VIP bash. With our weather right now, that sculpture should be good for weeks.
Normally I wouldn’t get overly excited about an Earls opening. The casual food and dining chain opens another restaurant every few months these days, both in Canada and the US. With their reliable, reasonably priced food and tasteful ambience (now that the parrots have flown the coop) it’s always a safe bet. But this particular Earls has a special place in my heart, because it’s in the heart of Mission, one of my favorite areas of Calgary.This is what Earls looked like after the June 2013 flood hit Fourth Street.This is the same corner (24th Ave and 4th St SW) from Fifth Street. I couldn’t get any closer because it was under several feet of water. Summer was ruined for the vibrant neighborhood. As work dragged on through the winter, I can’t tell you how many times people said to me, “Let’s meet at Earls Tin Palace.” But we couldn’t. It was still rebuilding after the flood.So last night, it was wonderful to walk in side and see this. A standing room only crowd having a fantastic time, while admiring the updates. The tired rows of Bombay Sapphire bottles above the bar are gone. Subtle bricks and wood accented by industrial style lighting give the room a fresh take.Calgary’s finest partiers included a Mongolian horseman, aka Jason Gogo.An army of Earls Girls kept up with the crowd hungry for sushi and sliders from their favorite haunt, now a Kitchen + Bar.The Earls re-opening ended up being a celebration of the big picture: Mission, back on its feet. Calgary, taking care of its own during the flood. My dear friend Cynthia Moore rocking blue leopard print after almost losing her life to flesh-eating disease one year ago this week. And me, with my nose intact after cancer surgery one year ago this month. Not to mention a few drinks in honor of the Best New Blog honor. Glad to see you back, Earls Tin Palace!
Hey everyone! Look at Blue Besos — it’s on the list of nominees for Best New Blog on the Canadian Blog Awards website.
Now here’s where I start to beg.
Please, please, please take a second to vote. It only takes a second because they don’t have any pesky requests for your personal email, etc. All you have to do is click the link above, scroll down to the Best New Blog section, click the circle beside Blue Besos (hopefully!) and click the VOTE button. The best part? You can do it from anywhere in the world!
On a freezing cold evening last Thursday in Calgary, where we’ve been subject to an unusually lengthy slog of sub-zero temperatures sans chinooks, the Christine Klassen Gallery celebrated its new location on 50th Avenue SE, just east of Macleod Trail. No one seemed to mind that the gallery has moved from its downtown design district location. The free parking is a siren song. Nor was the lack of coat-check an issue. It was too cold inside to take them off anyhow. But the generously stocked bar kept us all warm enough to relegate our mittens to our pockets.The opening coincided with EXPOSURE 2014. The photography festival celebrates its first 10 years with Decade, an exhibition of photography curated by Vincent Varga. Decade is a showcase of mostly new works from a cross-section of accomplished photographers who have already been involved with Exposure.Keeping the focus on the important stuff here, the ART, I’d like to say that I’m not smiling because of the wine. Nor is it because I’m having a particularly good hair day (a rare occurrence). It’s actually because I found a photo that summed up my previous weekend.This 1955 photo by Fred Herzog encapsulates my carnivorous stay in Banff, where I binged on bison, elk and wild boar pate. Unfortunately, I don’t think the Meatateria is there anymore. Or it would have been high-priority on the itinerary.I loved this striking photo with Edvard Munch-ish clouds roiling above the Rockies.A bold use of blank space in Danny Singer’s photo, Bassano Summer Sky, gave it a painting-like appearance.The bonus of being at the Christine Klassen Gallery was being able to see her other exhibitions, like this photo by Colin Smith, who integrates trippy reflections into his prints. Meanwhile, Exposure continues for the rest of the month, in galleries in Banff, Canmore and Calgary.
With wind chill making it feel like -30, it was a cccold red carpet last night. Nevertheless, it was braved by hundreds of hatless fashion fans…… who crowded inside Belgo Brasserie, where their efforts paid off: everyone’s hair was fabulous. It was all in the name of the second annual Schmancy Style, which supports the Glenbow Museum. The crowd parted for the main event when the first model strutted like Moses through the Red Sea. Below are some of my favorite looks, all available at Holt Renfrew.
The crush of cameras at the end of the runway was as feverish as a New York fashion show. Except the dude kneeling in front of us who kept getting up to give his knees a break, blocking our shots. That would result in bloodshed at NYC’s Fashion Week. But we kept it injury-free in YYC.The finale flaunted fur, which we Calgarians will probably need to keep wearing until June.Silent auction featured many stylish items, including this Jekyll & Hyde Harness by FarLee Mowat.Stylish people included three quarters of the Vinegar Designs Lab. Vincent, where are you? The Schmanciest Man of the Evening Award goes to Jason Gogo, who executed a high kick during our photo op. Now that’s Schmancy Style!
‘Twas the night to begin Christmas shopping, and all through CORE mall,
Many creatures were stirring: hundreds of deal-seekers, big and small.
First a performance by the Calgary Philharmonic and Choir,
Underneath a tree with soon-to-be lit star on tallest spire.
Host Dan Levy, formerly of MTV’s the After Show,
Braved the red carpet, which being inside, had no snow.
Jann Arden played to a massive crowd,
In the name of 5 charities, everyone got loud.
Western riding and jumping may be fun, but how about polo?
When champagne, fine art and blue boxes appear in the same frame, there can only be one culprit: Tiffany & Co… The Xmas Party Edition.Audrey Hepburn’s favorite store spiced up the Christine Klassen Gallery with a bunch of media types. Even a hallway can be festive fabulous when filled with style bloggers.Moody ring (a steal at $22,000) with moody image by Michael Levin (under 10k). Both of which I’d always be in the mood for. But even the background drove my Palovian instinct into overdrive. Black Suede by Behr, fyi, paint and primer in one. Gallery Director Christine Klassen says she took the wall from white to black in 2 coats. You’re welcome, Behr.Christine seen here counseling Janelle Gillespie on her next art investment, the last consumer therapy she’ll offer in this space. She’s off to new digs on 50th Avenue SE, with the opening soiree in February.Ahi Tuna Sliders from Nicole Gourmet Catering. Delicioso.Tiffany & Co Calgary Director Elizabeth Hellebrand wears a sapphire, diamond and platinum pendant and earrings from the Cobblestone Collection. Elizabeth has a knack of placing Tiffany jewels in front of amazing backdrops… as I learned earlier this year when the Gatsby jewels toured North America.And what exactly was yours truly obsessing about here?The Atlas Collection. I tend to go for bracelets, not bangles, but these are magnificent.Tiffany must have read my mind, because look what was in the gift bag’s little blue box? Those sleek, elongated Roman numerals incorporated into the Atlas Bar Bracelet — a bangle and bracelet combined. Muchas gracias, Tiffany. Takes one to know one.
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.