The Big Taste is on this week; the former Downtown Dine Out week. Tonight I decided to try downtownfood.  It’s been on my hit list for a while.  I suspect Mondays are generally slow, as we were the third party in the restaurant. Most of us ordered from the prix fixe menu.

I started off with the beet tartare.  Some of my party thought it was beef tartare and were perhaps a little disappointed. I quite enjoyed it.  I tried topping the cumin crisp with the beet, but the crisp was so delicate that it fell apart.  It was tasty any way it went down.

Beet TartareRoasted yellow, pink and red spiced beets, garlic aioli, mustard greens, and cumin crisps
Beet Tartare
Roasted yellow, pink and red spiced beets, garlic aioli, mustard greens, and cumin crisps

Next up, the trio of pork. The pork shank reminded me of crispy pork belly. Yum.  The pork loin satisfied my hunger for something substantial. The crispy skin was quite a treat, as it sat on top of some sriracha sauce which made that and the loin beneath suddenly spicy. Perhaps a bit too spicy. The BBQ sauce was perfect for my sweet tooth. I should have mixed the hot sauce with the sweet and it might have been the perfect balance.

Broek Acres Pork TrioBraised pork shank, pork loin, crispy pork rinds, kohlrabi puree, shmeji mushrooms, and asian BBQ sauce
Broek Acres Pork Trio
Braised pork shank, pork loin, crispy pork rinds, kohlrabi puree, shmeji mushrooms, and asian BBQ sauce

I enjoyed the grapefruit sorbet.  It was light and refreshing; it paired well with the lemon tart.  The pastry is shaped “dtf” although looking at the one served to my dining companion it looked like something else. It resembled a woman kneeling in a dress holding up a cross. Sort of like the Virgin Mary on French toast.

Heath Lemon TartCrème brulee’d lemon in a shortcrust pastry with grapefruit sorbet
Heath Lemon Tart
Crème brulee’d lemon in a shortcrust pastry with grapefruit sorbet

At the beginning, I thought the portion sizes were a bit small, but I was corrected as the meal went on.  It is perfectly portioned to satisfy and not so much that you leave overly full. It speaks to portion sizes at other restaurants which are probably too large. The service was generally good, except for a few times where our server was slow to refill the drinks. I really liked the atmosphere and there were fewer people so it was not so loud. The pictures of Calgary on the walls were quite nice.

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Richmond Station

A few of my relatives are foodies and they chose this restaurant for dinner. I had high expectations, as the “Top Chef” is Carl Heinrich, the winner of Top Chef Canada season 2. We had a late reservation (8:45) as this is a pretty popular place.

The restaurant is two levels, with a Chef’s table right next to the kitchen on the second level. The lower level is also open to the kitchen. Decor is modern, but not terribly so. White walls and dark wood are a nice combination.

We perused the regular menu as well as the specials on the board. My sister inquired if there were any specials from the chef, the waiter went to ask. The chef had a pork chop as well as a roast for the table. Most of us ordered off the regular menu and the board.

daikon radish, dill, red onion
bomba mayonnaise, marinara
tempura lobster, iceberg, cocktail sauce, lemon aioli, celery

The appetizers were tasty. Polenta fries are an interesting idea. I’m not a huge fan of polenta but it works. I enjoyed the lobster cocktail, the crunchy lobster went well with the refreshing taste of the lettuce and cocktail sauce.

Duo of Beef

I had the Duo of Beef which was on the chalkboard. The steak was done to a medium rare, on a bed of mashed potatoes, and the other side had a shredded beef stew.  The flavors mingled well together. Of course the beef is locally sourced, hormone and antibiotic free. I’m of the opinion that maybe Alberta beef is not always the best.

Pork Chop Four Ways

It turns out that my cousin did order the special from the kitchen.  This dish was hefty on the meat. The pork chop was very tasty. I suspect chefs appreciate it, when they get to exercise their creativity in the kitchen. Carl came to our table and asked my cousin how she liked her meal.  Only my sister and I were aware that it was Carl. He visited several other parties in the room as well. I like it when the Chef takes the time to check in with the diners.

aged cheddar, beet chutney, rosemary fries, radish salad

The Stn Burger was interesting as the inside was cooked to a medium rare. It is usually a risk to eat a burger which is not well done. I suspect they grind their meat in house to ensure quality.

Butternut Squash Cheesecake

I enjoyed the butternut squash cheesecake. The cheesecake was substantial. It went well with the mascarpone  and if I remember correctly, the maple syrup. The roasted, dry squash sliver on top was a nice touch. It’s something that I would like to learn how to make.

Peach Cobbler

This was a nice, rustic interpretation of regional cuisine. It’s definitely a restaurant that seems to cater to foodies. Will be on my list if I make it back to Toronto.

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Ox and Angela

Went to Ox and Angela for dinner. Beautiful night, sat on the patio and watched the traffic go by on 17th Ave.  I really like the idea of tapas.  Order a couple of dishes, sip on your drink, chat, eat. Order a second round, do the same. Then a third. We finished our meal with the salads.

The food was really good. Enjoyed the bruschetta and clam dishes. Loved the scallops. Thought the asparagus was tasty, but a bit on the greasy side.  Surprised with the salad. The vinaigrette had a touch of sweetness which I appreciated. The zucchini could have had more flavor but I did enjoy all the manchego that came with it.  Their food is locally sourced, with organic and naturally raised ingredients. Tomatoes come from Broxburn Farm and the beef is Spring Creek Ranch.

The service was very good.  They tried not to be too intrusive, we were really engaged with our conversation.  The type of service where they give you fresh dinnerware and cutlery between courses.

I would recommend this place for a date. Well, outside anyway. A casual, kind of a date. Or the place to catch up with friends if you haven’t been in a while.

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