Nordstrom doesn’t open until September, but the party’s already started. Good strategy. Any store that hosts a Stampede Social will fit in to the Calgary way of doing things just fine.John Bailey, PR Manager for Nordstrom, came in from Seattle for a little boot-scooting fun in Cowtown. When Chinook opens in Calgary, it will be the first Canadian location for the century-old American department store. Welcome to town, John! And don’t worry, that’s not The Thing on your shoulder, it’s just my hand.Because Nordstrom’s Stampede Social was at Hotel Arts, I had to stop in to Yellow Door Bistro to say hi to the man with the coolest name in the city: Sebastian Bravo. He’s spreading good karma with Mealshare, adding “buy one give one” items to the Yellow Door menu.Meanwhile, back at the party, Mike Morrison of the Bloggity Blog showed off his Stampede style with his new Paul Hardy cowboy shirt. Check out Paul’s CS Mercantile boutique at Stampede here.And –aaah– the pool. Hotel Arts has wisely located a bar just steps away. With this Stampede heatwave, it always seems to be time for a cold one. Nice drinking with you, Nordstrom — looking forward to shopping with you!
If you happen to be at Raw Bar one evening, mulling the idea of dessert over a glass of Moscato, look no further than the woman on the left — the one that’s about to blow up on national television.Hotel Arts’ Pastry Chef Karine Moulin will hit the airwaves this Monday, as the fourth season of Top Chef Canada starts its weekly run on the Food Network. “It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” Karine says of the culinary battle against 13 other chefs on the show. “It was a really tough competition.”Why did she choose the pastry profession? “I really enjoy the sweeter side of things,” says Karine, who was raised in Quebec. “I grew up always having something sweet after every meal, so it’s ingrained in me, I think.”Karine does the desserts for both restaurants at Hotel Arts. The dishes for Yellow Door Bistro are French-influenced, like the I’le Flottante above. Desserts for Raw Bar, like this Valhrona Dark Chocolate Pate, are Asian-inspired. That would be the lychee salad on top and the mandarin sorbet, if you’re wondering. And good to know that Katie Mayer, Hotel Arts Marketing & Media Relations Manager, isn’t above a little photo bomb action.Hand painted truffles, served at both restaurants, will help you wash down that wine. Come down yourself Monday nights. Raw Bar will be hosting weekly viewing parties for Top Chef Canada, which airs at 7pm Calgary time. Bon appetit!
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.