Small Batch Ice Cream: Village Ice Cream, Calgary

25 Jul

One of the best things about being a grown-up is being able to eat absolutely anything you want, such as ice cream for dinner. So that’s exactly what I did. I headed to Village Ice Cream, just south of Calgary’s up-and-coming East Village neighbourhood. Its entrance is off a parking lot in an industrial area on 10th Avenue. This is not exactly where you’d expect to find an ice cream shop – across the street from a substation, with high voltage warnings on the fence. But the smell of handmade waffle cones wafting through the parking lot let you know you’ve come to the right place.

Line at Village Ice Cream
With a long line out the door, you know this is the place to get your small batch, artisanal ice cream fix. Flavours like cardamom, Phil & Sebastian coffee (Phil & Sebastian is a local coffee roaster), maple pecan, and salted caramel all sounded so delicious, I couldn’t decide on just one. I opted for a scoop of Earl Grey and a scoop of one of the seasonal flavours, strawberry lemon basil. Both were sooo good, creamy, and intensely flavourful. The strawberry lemon basil elevates the familiar childhood strawberry flavour into something refreshing – you’ll find bits of basil and lemon rind throughout. Yum! This is definitely some of the best ice cream I’ve tasted.

Two Scoops

 

There’s not a lot of seating at Village Ice Cream, so follow the locals to the steps overlooking 4th Street where you can watch traffic go by below, with a view of the Saddledome to the south (it beats sitting at the edge of the parking lot!)

Tip: If you’re buying pints of ice cream, you can skip the line!

Info: Village Ice Cream, 431 10 Avenue SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0W3  Canada (there are two other locations in Calgary)

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Delicious in Des Moines: Alba

18 Jul

Being a big city girl, I was pleasantly surprised by Des Moines, Iowa. It’s a fast growing city, with a small, but beautiful downtown. The streets are wide and it’s easy to get around and park your car. Beautiful walkways and gardens on either side of the Des Moines River, joined by eye-catching bridges are a focal point. And there are lots of great restaurants to choose from. Based on the recommendation of a client, B. and I went to Alba in the East Village, not far from the river.

We stepped into what looked like a long and dark, slightly divey bar. But then our host led us through a doorway on the right, opening up to the complete opposite – a bright square-shaped room with windows along two sides. The ceiling was decorated with mismatched and colourful doors  (that seems to be the trend nowadays).

Alba ceiling

Alba’s menu changes often. That day featured a silky smooth pea soup.

Alba soup

B. dug into her chicken and smeared the sauce before I could snap this photo of it.

Alba 527

My pan-roasted salmon over tortellini with fresh peas and Shitake mushrooms was so delicious!

Alba salmon

With a great wine list and knowledgeable servers, Alba is a great place for modern American cuisine. I can’t wait to come back and see what new goodies are on the menu!

Info: Alba, 524 East 6th Street, Des Moines, IA 50309 USA

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Dining with a View: Twin Falls, Idaho

14 Jun

After a long workday in Twin Falls, Idaho, I decided to take myself on a scenic date. Elevation 486 was full of couples on dates, women dressed up for girls’ night out,  friends celebrating special occasions…. I breathed a sigh of relief when I noticed a man sitting alone, eyes glued to his mobile phone, like me. Phew, I was not the only one on a solo business date. Elevation 486 is in a fairly new building which seems like it could be some sort of visitor’s center…I’m not sure.  On one side of a bright lobby is the entrance to the restaurant, which opens up to a bar on the right, and multiple dining areas on the left.  Every table has a view through the big windows opening up to a big patio outside and the canyon below. This is why you come to Elevation 486. IMG_20150602_205549403 The food is pretty good too. My meal kicked off with complimentary warm rolls with huckleberry butter – I kept eating bread just so that I could have more of that delicious butter! My entree came with a choice of soup or salad for an appetizer, and I chose the tomato bisque. It was flavourful and incredibly creamy, punctuated with diced tomatoes. Elevation 486 - Tomato bisque On the menu you’re sure to find something to please everyone – from chicken to steak or meatloaf to BC salmon and Idaho trout. For my main event I chose the fire-grilled Oregon Quail, a pretty popular choice at Elevation. The two quail were both sweet and spicy, from the honey, bourbon, and jalapeno glaze. I was warned about the effort it could take to get all the meat off the little bones, but it was well worth it. IMG_20150602_201749322_HDR Maybe because I was a loner diner who did not order any alcohol, service was rather inattentive and slow. It took over 10 minutes for a glass of water to arrive at my table after I was first seated. The view however, can’t be beat, and if I ever find myself in Twin Falls again, I’ll be sure to come back, hopefully with a dining companion!IMG_20150602_205612018 Info: Elevation 486, 195 River Vista Pl, Twin Falls, ID 83301 USA Click to add a blog post for Elevation 486 on Zomato

German Food in the German Village, Columbus

31 May

During a recent trip to Columbus, my colleagues and I had to stop by the legendary Schmidt’s Sausage Haus in the German Village – it’s been around since 1886! On tap you’ll find several great German or German-style beers, including a house dark brewed by Elevator Brewing.

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The Old World Sausage Platter is a nice sampler for four different kinds of sausage. The sausages were good, but not outstanding.

Old World Sausage Platter

Old World Sausage Platter

I ordered the Wiener schnizel – a great veal schnitzel with a choice of sides. I got potato pancakes with chunky apple sauce and vegetables, which turned out to be green beans and a medley of carrots. I appreciated the variety of carrots, but they were overcooked for my taste.

Wiener schnitzel

Wiener schnitzel

The pork shank was the highlight of the night. You won’t be hungry after eating this meal!

Braised pork shank

Braised pork shank

The strudel, like the sausage platter, was also good though not outstanding. It was full of large apple pieces but the crust was not crispy.

Apple strudel

Apple strudel

In case you didn’t fill up on pork shank and beer, there are always the giant cream puffs – no, they don’t just look big in my photo, they really are the size of a small child’s head.

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An epic cream puff

IMG_20150423_220252640Overall, we had an enjoyable night out. Even if the food isn’t outstanding, it’s still solid. The atmostphere at Schmidt’s is upbeat (with live music on the Thursday night we went) and inviting. The building is on the National Register as a historic building too!

Info: Schmidt’s Sausage Haus, 240 E. Kossuth Street, Columbus, OH 43206 USA
Schmidt's Sausage Haus on Urbanspoon

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