But the real hole in one (or three) was scored by the refreshments. Grey Goose La Poire, Cherry Noire or L’Orange, mixed with citrus and fresh grown herbs. Very healthy. Communications expert Joshua Smith appreciated the extra nutritional value in the garnishes, since hors d’oeuvres trays were a rare sighting…… so is a horse with a fascinator. And yet.Between drinks I bumped into Lee Pettigrew of Metropolitan Grill fame and Brad McMeekin, CEO & President, Skyline Construction.Hashtagging and helium were encouraged.Apologies for not taking photos of the indoor pool (complete with synchronized swimmers) or the 8-car garage… I was too dazzled by the sunset. And the fresh rosemary in my cocktail. Thanks Grey Goose!
It might have felt like winter last night in Calgary, with a snowstorm reminding us just exactly how far north we live, but inside Earls Tin Palace, it felt like spring. The restaurant is spiffing up their menu for the green season, starting with craft cocktails. The Paloma, which involved tequila, grapefruit and a whole lot of deliciousness, was my favorite. If you happen to be a quiet talker, you won’t be after one of these.The room was crammed with paparazzi, including Reid Fiest, Global National’s Alberta Correspondent and Buzz Bishop, midday host on XL103. In the background I managed to catch Tim Tamashiro with his eyes closed (sorry about that Tim!) but it made me wonder what brilliance is taking place in the blink of an eye. A new riff for his upcoming jazz album to be recorded in Vancouver? Another dazzling story for Tonic, his show on CBC Radio 2? I will tune in to find out.
The Tin Palace on 4th Street SW is the hippest Earls in Calgary, the beautiful outcome of a horrible experience: the Floods of 2013. It makes some of the other locations seem shabby in comparison. Earls, I understand you’re busy with your 7000 employees and 63 restaurants — with two more opening up in the US this fall — but when can you start a similar ambience upgrade in the burbs of Cowtown? I was going to vote for Westhills to be first, but I have now learned that they are a privately owned franchise. So I will just offer this direct missive to them: hint, hint.
Back to the matter at hand — the tasting of the spring menu. Head Chef Keith Kozlowski, who likes to keep his thermometer ready for instant action, had his kitchen crew so fine-tuned that he was available for a photo op. Do you tell a chef to say cheese?
We started with the Fattoush Salad, which tasted like spring on a plate. Chef Keith told me he ate it every day for a week when they first started making it — and he still isn’t tired of it. The Fattoush will now be my salad go-to. The accompanying Famille Perrin La Vielle Firme Rose wasn’t bad either.
We were told these were half portions, but they were plenty satisfying. Pictured with the most amazing Pinot ever (Belle Glos Meiomi) are plates of Moroccan Salmon. Delicious, fresh, with an unexpected tang.
The waiters at Earls normally offer the stir service, but foodie Lisa Nguyen of the Lemon Lime Lisa blog knew how to muscle her mix of Bibimbap, especially under the encouraging eye of journalist David Gray, who always has his eye out for a good story. After all, he’s the host of The Eyeopener on CBC.
Such a wonderful time was had by all that everyone even put their phones away — except for Goodwill Carlos of Kool 101.5. But he’s a proud new baby daddy, so we understand. Great to see you everyone! And thank you Earls for the spring fling, it was delicious!
The dress rehearsal last night for Cirque du Soleil’s 35th production, KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities, was disguised as opening night. Crowds of kids, and the occasional woman wearing her best circus high heels, trekked through the Stampede grounds to get to Parking Lot 6, now home to a 62-foot Big Top that seats 2700 people.Inside, the media had the best seats in the Top. This official media preview was the only opportunity to film the entire performance during its run in Calgary. I don’t have a big boy lens like these photogs, but my little Canon EOS Rebel SL1 managed to make it through.And thank goodness, because I was right there, front and center. Close enough to touch the stage. And get bumped by people using that fold-down stairway to the left. However, since Cirque performers are -ahem- highly skilled professionals, that never happened.From my vantage point, I could almost tell the thread-count in the juggler’s pants. Costume Designer Philippe Guillotel’s genius influenced all the couture, including the shoes. Meanwhile, every performer does their own makeup before the show. Sounds like my old Action News days in Cleveland. Except I didn’t have to paint on these brilliant masks concocted by Makeup Designer Eleni Uranis.The contortionists had another look entirely. The frilly edges along their sinewy limbs, reminded me of the koi I have been obsessing about lately.From the social media files: I hashtagged “Circus” on my Instagram account last night. It lead to a whole new world of “likes” from contortionists, a group of people I haven’t had much interaction with. Turns out that they are far from freakish — just an ultra-sexy breed of humans. Writer/Director Michel Laprise worked with Madonna on her Super Bowl performance and her MDNA tour, so the Cirque concoction of outlandish-sensual-dance-gymnast-artist-feast-for-the-eyes-and-ears all makes sense.
But it was a lady of minimal movement who entranced me the most.Antanina Satsura plays Mini Lili. In classic trippy Cirque style, she represents another character’s unconscious mind and intuitive self. In real life, the 60-year-old Belorussian refers to herself as a proportionate dwarf. One of the 10 smallest people in the world, she may be only 3.2 feet tall and 39 pounds, but she is a powerhouse on stage.Speaking of the stage, this balancing artist flew high above it –and me– just to take his jacket off.I love how Cirque du Soleil characters always have time to appreciate an outstanding performance. If I’d had time for a narcissistic moment, my selfie would have had the same expression…… while watching these aerial acrobatics! The strongman is a human trapeze.The musicians are also up in the rafters — if a Big Top has rafters. That’s Michael Levin, linking daredevil with the word cello. Most cellists I’ve seen tend to play the instrument much closer to the ground, while seated.Cirque du Soleil’s KURIOS runs until May 24 in Calgary, with a special VIP opening tonight. I’m thrilled to say I’ll be there. See you tonight, KURIOS!
Canadian products powerhouse ACI Brands came to Calgary recently to introduce the spring/summer lines of their top makeup brands. While our booming city could use a few more luxury boutique hotels, luckily we have Le Germain, located in Cowtown central.
They’re big in Japan! Is it any wonder that PAUL & JOE Beaute is flying off shelves in Tokyo when kittens abound on the packaging? Designer Sophie Mechaly, who named the company after her sons, doesn’t let her cat allergy get in the way of turning feline viral video popularity into makeup cult collectible status.
Her main motif, however, is a chrysanthemum, embodying the retro-modern style that Mechaly loves. The products, which range from skin primer to moisturizer to lipsticks, eyeshadows and more, are exclusively available at just four Shoppers Drug Marts in Canada: Hillcrest Mall in Richmond Hill, ON, Robson and Burrard in Vancouver, Richmond Centre in Richmond, BC and Chinook Centre here in Calgary. Take that, Toronto! In the corner window, views of the Rocky Mountains and the Palliser clamored for attention, but new products from Stila and Cargo prevailed.
Meanwhile, Cargo is taking cardboard casing to a new level. Sophisticated New York cityscapes tempt the turn to find the lipstick within.
While ACI Beauty and National Spokesperson Lyndsay Craig gives the lowdown on Paul & Joe, the founder of OverCat Communications is not partying with a lampshade on her head. Don’t let the wacky perspective distract you from Audrey Hyams Romoff’s amazing dress, which had to be included in a story about ravishing packaging.
Cleaver is cutting its way into my heart. I’ve been here a few times now. Both times the service has been excellent. So has the food, btw, but if you follow my Savor reviews, you know I’m all about The Entire Package, which means ambience and attitude have equal weight with what’s on the plate.
The evening starts with the bubbly hostess from New Brunswick, who offers bubbly if you have to wait for your table, which is likely with the crowds here. More restos should do this — such a simple, alcohol-infused way to keep patrons positive. Once I was seated, I enjoyed my Yorkshire pud and seared tuna so much that I was inclined to forgive the dark decor going a teeny bit too hard on the cleaver theme. Knives everywhere. Except your heart, which only feels warm and fuzzy after an evening here.
Looking for a libation? Try the Monk and Mexican. Tequila, cucumber, ginger and bitters. Served in a copper cup, it keeps deliciously cool. Although you can’t tell when you’re getting low. Better play it safe and order your second after a few sips.
ENTER NOW FOR A PAIR OF TICKETS!
The Calgary Home + Garden Show is almost upon us. It starts this Thursday at Stampede Park and runs through Sunday. If you’re planning to head down to the BMO Centre to up your home improvement ante, why not put the cost of tickets toward your next project? Enter by answering my super-skill-testing question below. The first response wins!
What is the name of my favorite polo pony?
Hint: he’s my ride for Team Blue Besos.
Send your answer to tiffany [at] bluebesos.com or go social: @ on Twitter.
Bikers looking for beer, burgers and big screens on 17th Avenue may be a little sad this summer. Melrose is gone. In its place, the new Corbeaux offers its own trifecta of bakery, bistro and bar. Read More
When Jason Gogo invited me to “the paintings of an emotional terrorist,” I thought he was talking about an art show. When I arrived, I wasn’t so sure. The place looked like a showroom for that Army Surplus store in Inglewood. Read More
“What is going to be healthy and delicious, and also make me happy?”The host of Literary Death Match is starving. Maybe not quite to death, but definitely in that just-got-off-a-plane and made-it-through-customs kind of way. Yet Adrian Todd Zuniga is not the type to order off a menu without some intense Q&A.
I get it. We’ve met at Joey’s Eau Claire, just around the corner from the Westin, the Wordfest hotel of choice, so I can do some grilling of my own. Once Adrian finishes his blackened basa, I want to know — what will he be wearing tonight as 4 authors face off onstage?A cornflower blue suit. Of course.
Literary Death Match is a traveling word circus. With Adrian as its ringmaster, no staid, snooze-inducing readings are allowed on his world stage. The show, which visits dozens of cities a year, is Def Poetry Jam meets American Idol (minus the meanness) meets Double Dare.
The Los Angeles-residing, Missouri-born author and screenwriter created LDM eight years ago. This is his second visit to Calgary. Being a man of style, he abhors being seen in the same outfit twice.
“I rotate through suits. It’s very important for me not to wear the same thing in the same city. It would be lame.”Last year Adrian wore a red velvet smoking jacket, which bookended nicely with 2013 competitor Todd Babiak, no slouch in the wardrobe department himself. See my style feature on Todd here.
Besides making sure he didn’t lame out with a suit repeat, Adrian didn’t feel comfortable wearing a bow tie back-to-back with his last appearance in Calgary. Also important to note: “I don’t wear bow ties on dates. I think it’s too much of a statement. I think I’m a more subtle gentleman on that front. But I do wear suit jackets to pretty much everything.”Even while our interview cuts into his pre-show quiet time, he has the rumpled flair of someone out of a Robert Doisneau photograph.
Like “The Kiss” sans a girl to kiss. Which is confirmed when Adrian volunteers, apropos of nothing, “I haven’t kissed a girl in Calgary yet.” Later that night, onstage, he mentions he is single.The downside of his fashion daring can have drawbacks. Like when he told his friends his new suit was the ultimate in Don Draper. They said, ‘You mean the Pete Campbell suit?’
Luckily, the Sterling Cooper doppelganger apparel on stage at the GRAND couldn’t derail the momentum of the 2014 Death Match. In fact, the cornflower shine only added to the intrigue of authors Michael Crummey, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Alison Pick and Matthew Thomas being rated on literary merit, performance and intangibles.
LDM is normally judged by a panel of three, but the only way to compensate for a last-minute cancellation by Mayor Nenshi was to bring in two backups. From left to right at the black table: comedian Chris Gordon, author Carrie Shyder, Olympic hero Mark Tewksbury and author Johanna Skibsrud. I will totally name favorites: even though Mark claimed he wasn’t a literature type, the author of three books was hilarious and enthusiastic. Ginger Jesus, aka Chris Gordon, was a close second, and as he made very clear, sponsored by Hudson’s Bay.
The evening ended in a race to ring the bell, to identify classics from one-star Amazon ratings. Lone stars, as Adrian aptly put it.
Don’t worry, Adrian, I’m not taking it personally. And thanks for this candid with the cows, by the way.