With the year coming to an end, I’ve begun to reflect on the year that was. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind but I do know that it has included some killer dishes, which I felt like I should share.
To pay homage to 2017, here is a list (in no particular order) of my 10 favorite bites from the past year (and yes, there are some outside of the Beltline)!
1. Merguez Breakfast Sandwich – The Beltliner
When I’m looking for that quick breakfast on the go, I will always go to The Beltliner for their breakfast sandwich. For $5, you get a perfectly toasted English muffin sandwiching a fried egg, melted cheese, lettuce, tomato and your choice of one of avocado, merguez sausage or bacon (none of which are bad choices).
2. The Must Have Cinnamon Bun – The Nash
The name of this one says it all! Now I am a savoury breakfast kind of guy but it’s hard to resist a freshly baked cinnamon bun. The Nash changes the accompanying flavors of this breakfast favorite but they are guaranteed to be ooey and gooey and arrive at the table the size of your head!
3. Cheese Empanadas – Ricardo’s Hideaway
A mixture of mozzarella, Quebec cheese curds and cream cheese is wrapped in a homemade dough and fried until golden delicious on the outside and melty deliciousness on the inside. Do I really need to say anything else? This quintessential drinking snack pairs well with the 105 different types of rum served here.
4. Salt Cod & Potato Cake – Ox Bar de Tapas
This is almost a case where the condiment served steals the show! This cake is creamy on the inside and delightfully crisp on the outside and is served with a dynamite chili oil. These cakes are not fishy, which is a fear for some, and the chili oil is not overly spicy but provides some much needed acid to cut through the rich bite.
5. Beef Carpaccio – Tavernetta
Tavernetta may be best known for their fresh pasta but this appetizer was a crowd favorite. Thin slices of beef topped with pickled mushrooms, horseradish aioli, arugula and cheese; I want to go back just for this dish!
6. Kati Rolls – Calcutta Cricket Club
Take some meats, infused with Indian spices, cooked in a tandoor and wrapped around a buttery and flakey paratha. These flavor bombs pack a punch of flavor and can be filled with chicken, beef, paneer or egg.
7. Garlic Bread – Bridgette Bar
When you think of garlic bread, you picture a big French loaf slathered with garlic butter, right? Well this bite is nothing like what you would expect. A bite sized dough is stuffed with cheese curds, garlic and butter and baked until GDB (golden brown delicious), it’s then topped with more cheese….well because cheese makes everything better!
8. Beef Kabab – Fatima Restaurant
Beef, good! Spices, good! Onions, good! Joey Tribinai’s classic line is apt in describing the beef kabab, however, this place is a hidden gem that you must absolutely go try. But don’t just limit yourself to the kababs, try all of their Pakistani and Indian dishes like biriyani and chicken tikka.
9. Butterscotch Pudding – Ten Foot Henry
This may sound like a dessert that would most likely be passed after a great meal but don’t let the name fool you – this dish comes highly recommended. A mildly sweetened pudding, topped with butterscotch, homemade sponge toffee and flakes of Maldon sea salt makes for the perfect blend of sweet and savory for this non dessert lover.
10. Phil & Sebastian Coffee – Village Ice Cream
It shouldn’t be a surprise that one of the most popular spots in Calgary makes the list. Nothing beats a creamy scoop of hand-crafted ice cream, flavored with Phil & Sebastian coffee, nestled in a freshly made waffle cone. I would happily stand in line for this bite, even during the frigid Calgary winters.
There you have it – my top 10 bites of 2017. However I couldn’t make a list of all my favorite things without including these next two dishes. They are both bites that I crave on a regular basis and I probably post about these two dishes on Instagram the most.
The Gochujang wings from Anju are spicy, saucy and downright addictive while managing to stay perfectly crisp.
How a simply fried potato nugget turned into my favorite snack, I will never know, but the second is the tater tots from National. They come served super crispy and piled high with both ranch and hot sauce for dipping.
If you haven’t checked out some of the places above, I hope you give them a visit in 2018! What were some of your favorite bites in 2017?