{Dine out week in Calgary}

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First stop.

Friday at Blink Restaurant.

I was drawn to the menu for the range of 3 choices for the 3 courses, a great place to go with a group of friends so that you can try a little of everything. (Most of the restaurants participating only provide one choice per course).

First course was the twice baked cheese soufflé, spinach and 5yr aged quebec cheddar. Creamy, yet delicate and light texture, it was melt in your mouth goodness, just the way a souffle should be. By the time I had finished, I thought I could probably eat another two of those.

Next course, organically raised atlantic salmon, polenta and parsnip purée with spinach, sesame, soy and horseradish. The salmon was cooked to perfection and incredibly flavorful from the asian marinade with a nice crispy skin. The horseradish sauce was toned down as to not overpower the delicate flavour of salmon, a lovely balance of flavors.

My only disappointment I must say was the fact that the waitress had informed me that their okanagan valley apple tart with salted caramel ice cream was OUT!!! (Not good since I had been on this apple pie bender for the past couple months, in search of the perfect apple pastry to fulfill my craving..the search goes on). So instead, I chose the sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce (as did most of my friends), a bit TOO sweet and rich for my taste. Maybe I’m just not a fan of the dessert to begin with, but you could definately taste (and soon feel) all the butter in that dessert. I was MORE than full in the end.

Oh! and a few bites of my dates’ chocolate earl grey tea ice cream.. can’t say no to earl grey anything. Deelish.

Next stop.

Sunday at CHARCUT Roast House (pronounced “char-cut”) in the extremely luxurious and chic boutique hotel, Le Germain on 9th ave.

CHARCUT is an urban-rustic roast house, serving local chef-driven cuisine. The space is done with rich blacks contrasted with hits of white (like the mirror image of the cow shown above) and crimsons in the kitchen. Its a beautiful contemporary look that is sure to become a hot spot in the calgary food scene.

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Their custom-built rotisserie, charbroiler, vintage-style slicer and meat locker (which you could see from our table), shelves and counters lined with multi-colored mason jars of homemade preserves – using ingredients sourced from small, local artisan farmers makes this place stand out from the rest of the steak houses in Calgary.

The dine out menu did NOT disappoint. First course was a Albacore Crudo served with fennel, Sky Hawk lemon olive oil and truffle salt. Delicate sushi grade tuna slices paired exceptionally well with the citrusy fennel and aromatic truffle, a great palate teaser. My date had the shaved lamb served in paper thin slices layered atop of each other with light curls of cave aged gruyere ( a springbank cheese company favorite of mine) on a slice of butcher paper on a wooden cutting block. The meat just melted in your mouth – WOW..

Next was our main course, we both had the Roasted pork shoulder served with a roasted head of garlic and lemon on a bed of lightly dressed arugula. The peppery arugula with hints of citrus balanced well with the smoky flavour of the meat, I made sure to include bits of dark caramelized garlic and brassica mustard with each bite. Mmm.. Alberta meat, served the way it should be.

Finally we ended with housemade peach cheesecake, served in the cutest little mason jar with alternating layers of rich and velvety cheesecake, with graham cracker crumbles and preserved okanagan peaches. HOLY YUM. I have to say I am NOT a fan of cheesecake, but I was in love!!! So far from the un-natural red strawberry mush served atop stale, plastic like textured cheesecakes I’ve had before.

Me and my date were thoroughly impressed and already have plans to come back and try their duck fat poutine with truffle gravy (just when you thought a poutine could not get any more indulgent) and their bone marrow gratin (Anthony Bourdain would be swooning).

With nothing on the menu over $29 and a huge beer list to satisfy any man (or woman), if you haven’t tried CHARCUT, go now!

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