Here in Calgary, we are so fortunate to have some wonderful cuisine that is not only authentic, but in many cases, child friendly. My husband and I wanted to try more things, as well as expose our daughter to different cultures, but we had no idea where to start. Thanks to some friends of ours who have tried many of the various foods offered here in the city, we were ready to take the plunge.
Our goal was to start small, one new type of food a month. We kept to our plan and we rang in the New Year with Indian food. I had tried Butter Chicken and Naan before, but overall, I was new to this type of food. Our friends picked up a variety of dishes from Mehtab East Indian Cuisine in Cochrane. We had, Butter Chicken, Beef Korma, Beef Vindaloo, Chilli Lamb, Vegetable Samosas, Naan, and several types of rice. It was delicious! It did take my mouth a few moments to adjust to the spices and the heat, as I am usually a mellow food kind of girl. And Hannah, my sometimes fussy, three-year old? She was a fan of the Naan, rice, and she had a bit of Butter Chicken. She didn’t fuss about the rest, trying a little of everything, but I can say that Indian food is not her favourite. All in all, my husband and I loved it, and I think we’ll find a more local place to add to our date night options.
Mid January we went to a restaurant that we had been to before, but many readers might not be familiar with it, The Desert Pita & Grill on 52nd Street SE. Prior to moving to Calgary, I had only had bites of Lebanese food. Shortly after we moved, a co-worker of my husband’s took him to lunch at, The Desert Pita & Grill, and we have been fans since. We took a break from going while Hannah was in her chicken nugget phase, but now that she is more interested in trying new foods, we decided to go back. The verdict? She LOVED it! Mid meal, she yelled out, “I can’t get enough of this stuff!” in reference to the hummus and pita bread. She also ate a fair amount of my mixed beef/chicken Donair, and we all enjoyed the incredibly sweet deserts. This is not a place you go to for a light snack. The sandwiches are quite large, and there was more than enough for Hannah and I to share a sandwich. It can be a bit messy once you start pulling things apart, so bring your wipes. The staff is very friendly and the sweets case is very tempting! They have recently opened an additional location, also on 52nd, but further south into the Foothills Industrial Park. I have been told that this place is hopping during the weekday lunch hour, so I suggest going on the weekend when it is a bit quieter.
In celebration of Chinese New Year, we decided that February’s new food should be Dim Sum. Thankfully our friends lived just outside of Chinatown for a few years, so they were well versed in this type of food. They opted to take us to Silver Dragon on 3rd Avenue SE. I will warn you, if you have never tried Dim Sum, be prepared for an all afternoon adventure! We arrived at 10:30AM, hoping to get a number for the 11:00 service. We lucked out and there was no line and we were sat right away (apparently this never happens, so luck was on our side!). Before we even got our coats off, we were greeted with cart after cart of delicious dumplings, rice, and other delicacies.
When you have Dim Sum, food is brought to your table on carts. If you want to try something, they put the plate of food on your table and make a mark on your “card.” The card stays on the table and at the end of the meal serves as your bill. Each plate offered serves 4 or so people and they vary in price. One warning, everything looks so good that you can ring up a high tab in no time! I highly suggest going with people who have tried Dim Sum before, so they can edit down what food you order. Some of my favourites included the beef wrapped in puff pastry, the shrimp and snow pea dumplings, and the wonderful jasmine tea. The biggest surprise of the meal was how well Hannah did! She loves seafood, so we kept filling her plate with various preparations of shrimp. She also really liked the deep-fried banana puffs we finished off the meal with.
So far, our culinary trip around the globe has been great! My husband and I have found some new favourites, and Hannah is being exposed to foods that I could never make for her at home. We are looking for more ideas of foods to try, so if your family has a favourite place you’d like to share, please do!
Sharon is a New England girl who never imagined that she’d find herself living in Canada. She has a wonderful husband and together they created a Diva Monster. Follow her on her crazy journeys at Nanas Button Jar!!