Competing in fitness has it’s challenges; a vigorous workout plan, coupled with a restrictive diet and a regimented “feeding” schedule. It can be taxing even to the most dedicated health nut. Now being a foodie makes it a little harder. No wine with dinner, or slice of aged cheddar. Risotto is out and along with that butter and cream. It’s is definitely a challenge. Ordering in a restaurant is always fun, “I will have the salad with chicken, can you please ask them to grill my chicken breast without oil, no blue cheese or corn and no dressing, just balsamic vinegar on the side” they look at me like I am a crazy person. It has forced me to find tasty more healthy alternatives to my favorite foods and cook more at home and I have found some pretty great new food combinations. But I am looking forward to indulging in some of my favorite foods again and I do have a good list of things I have been craving over this last 3 months of contest prep.
I know that makes me sound like a wino, but wine is what I miss the most. Having a nice bold red wine, my fav is Zin, with my meal is like nothing else. With so many options for wine in Calgary one of my favorite places to go is Winebar. We have on many occasion, headed over to Kensington with friends and ended up at Winebar, sampling whatever great wines they have just added to their menu. They are all happy to offer you suggestions based on your tastes. They also have great food to share, an assortment of oysters and a selection of ever changing cheese and charcuterie.
**Wine Recommendation** – If you are out with friends and wanting to share a bottle, the 2006 Call Me Crazy, Napa, California, Bacio Divino – Pazzo cant be beat. It’s a peppery and dark fruity blend that is just plain sexy and so smooth.
Maybe it’s obvious that the second thing I crave is cheese, after all cheese is such a great accompaniment to a great glass of wine. Divino in addition to an excellent wine menu has an ENTIRE cheese menu. Where some restaurants have a few cheeses that change from day to day, they have 22+ cheeses available on demand. Paired with a great fine dining lunch and dinner menu, Divino is a great place for dinner or dessert… and of course cheese.
***Cheese Recommendation*** Cave Aged Gruyère (Fribourg, Switzerland) – If you like a firm and robust cheese, this one is for you.
To switch gears slightly, I love, love, love pancakes. They are my carb weakness. I can take or leave bread, potatoes and rice, but pancakes I love!!! It used to be all about the sweet pancakes, with either fruit and whip cream or butter and maple syrup. Sometimes on Saturday morning I make them with chocolate chips and bananas .
But then I discovered Pfanntasic Pannenokek House and their savory pancakes and a whole new world open up to me. The pancakes at this restaurant are less fluffy than traditional North American pancakes and much more crepe like. With options for everyone, if you haven’t tried a dutch pancake, check this place out.
***Pancake Recommendation*** Savory Selection – Potato, bacon and Cheese (comes with a side of sour cream) sort of like a crepe perogy. Sweet Selection – Warm Saskatoon Berries and Vanilla Ice Cream
It’s no secret I love Pho. The beginnings of this blog were very focused on that perfect Pho Sate broth. With all the Vietnamese Noodle Houses that I have grown to love in Calgary, there is none I love more than Pho Bihn Min on 17th Avenue SE. It’s the perfect spice, broth and noodle combo and it’s well worth a trip down International Ave to try out. I love that they add the beef last so it cooks slowly in the pipping hot broth. It’s also fast and cheap. Traditional Vietnamese Pho without all the fluff. My first Pho love for sure.
When I was little there was a bakery close to our house that had vanilla slices. Sometimes my mom would take me there after church on Sunday and I would always get a Vanilla Slice. The flaky pastry, cream filling and vanilla icing on top with that little squiggly design was so delicious, it’s one of those memories that allow me to almost taste this little delight every time I think of it.
Another “taste” memory I have is of my best friends mom’s cheese buns. The soft, cheddar cheese filled pillows of goodness were a treat I often enjoyed after school with a glass of milk.
Both of these things and so many more tantalizing baked goods are available at the Glamorgan Bakery Just walking into this place excites the senses. Cookies, cakes, tarts, pies, bread, buns, eclairs, macaroons and so much more, all with that homemade from scratch touch. You will go in for the famous cheese buns and leave with some other goodies you are sure to enjoy.
There is nothing like a good Pad Thai. I can even honestly say that I make a pretty killer one at home when I have an afternoon to make it. It’s the perfect combination of sweet and sour with the chicken and shrimp combo and crunchy veggies. One of my favorite places for Pad Thai and anything Thai is Chili Club Thai House. In addition to great Pad Thai, they have some excellent curries, appetizers and soups. With two locations, if you are craving Thai food this is a great option. They also have a pretty great wine and beer list and their Shingha Thai beer is the perfect pairing to the Pad Thai.
#8 & 9 Sushi & Tempura
I could eat Japanese food every single day for the rest of my life and not get sick of it. There are some great sushi restaurants in Calgary, but my favorite has to be Misai on 32nd Avenue NE. They have arguably the best sushi rolls in the city, and I attribute that to the sushi rice. The rice is noticeably fresh and soft and makes the rolls more enjoyable. They also have a good rice to fish ratio, which is super important. Their tempura is a treat as well, not too much batter and it’s got that crunch that everyone looks for. They also have a great assortment of saki and Japanese beer to enjoy with your meal. If you are just there for lunch, they have daily lunch specials that will give you a little bit of everything. Service is not speedy, but the food is well worth the wait.
#10 Ice Cream
Chocolate and mint is such a perfect combination. So is peanut butter and chocolate, or strawberry and vanilla or chocolate and coconut. With so many possible combinations of ice cream. Marble Slab gives you all these options and more. They have an incredible “Birthday Cake” ice cream, that tastes exactly like birthday cake. On those rare times when we do go out for ice cream, which isn’t often, I am always torn between my favorites combos, Cool Mint Ice Cream, Chocolate Sprinkles, Candies & Fudge, Chocolate Swiss with Nestle Crunch Bar, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups & Fudge or when I am feeling like a kid Birthday Cake Ice cream with Gummy Bears. Whatever I choose it’s always fun picking the fixings and watching them put it all together on that cold marble slab.
Phew, putting it all down in type makes me crave it even more… 7 more days and I can start to slowly indulge in those things that I have missed.
What do you crave??