food + drink

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE WEST BELTLINE

Breakfasts with endless hashbrowns, parks with public art sculptures, an entire basement filled with crystals and gems; yup, I’m talking about my neighbourhood — the Beltline. This summer I’m partnering with Battistella Developments to showcase the best parts about living in Calgary’s Beltline neighbourhoods — notably the West Beltline where they are building their newest condo development: Nude. Keep an eye out for more posts here on the blog as well as sharing some of my favourite spots on Instagram.

I love living in the Beltline, where I’m so close to the action and able to get anywhere I want to go quickly, so today, I’m sharing my Ultimate Guide to the West Beltline, I’m talking spots you cannot pass up!

WHERE TO EAT

Donna Mac: If you love delicious yet inventive comfort food combined with a fresh, flavourful cocktails, a gorgeous interior (designed by my friend Sarah Ward!) and a record player stocked with sweet tunes, then I’m pretty certain you’ll love Donna Mac. They have a fantastic neighbour program for their housemade sourdough and they are very accommodating for vegans and people who eat gluten-free. 1002 9th Street SW

Kona Poke: One of my favourite hit-the-spot eateries, Kona specializes in delicious poke bowls topped with delicious ingredients like ahi tuna, spicy poke or even octopus. My go-to bowl consists of brown rice with mixed greens, cucumber, red cabbage, sweet onion, ahi tuna with the gluten-free Maple Miso dressing and topped off with masago, avocado and furikake. The Hawaiian vibe of the fast casual restaurant is anchored by a kitschy but swoon-worthy framed photo of Tom Selleck. Pop in on Mondays for free 5-cent candies; just one of the cute things this tasty little spot dreamt up. 939 10th Avenue SW

Paros Souvla: I am all about riding this wave of great take-out spots popping up in the West Beltline. Paros Souvla is one of my favourite additions with their incredible Greek food. If you’re going to try anything, may I recommend the Greek Fries which are topped with fresh feta and are dippable in the tasty house tzatziki. The Village salad is the perfect compliment to the fries with delicious Kalamata olives, cucumber, tomatoes and a savoury slab of feta on top. Their menu is also very accomodating for special diets; they are able to make almost everything gluten-free or dairy-free. 1436 8th Street SW

Sucre Patisserie & Cafe: I love to explore and try new places all of the time. I recently popped into Sucre which has a plethora of luxurious pastries and treats as well as fantastic coffee. The interior is so beautiful — you’ll feel like you’ve been whisked away to Paris for your coffee and croissant. 1007 8th Street SW

Galaxie Diner: If you love a good greasy spoon, look no further than the perfectly vintage Galaxie Diner. With bottomless hashbrowns, legendary milkshakes and a certain retro charm that cannot be replicated, this is the best place to meet your pals for breakfast. Be warned that it is a small place so there will be lineups on weekends. Luckily, they give you coffee while you wait in line! 1413 11 Street SW

Calgary Midtown Co-op: Every neighbourhood worth its salt has a great grocery store. Calgary Co-op is a fantastic destination to do your weekly shop but their grab-and-go and pre-prepped meal options really take the cake. It is also one of my favourite spots to pick up house plants and fresh flowers for a great price. 1130 11th Ave SW

WHERE TO SHOP

Nine Times Skate Shop: One of the freshest additions to the Beltline, this cool AF skateshop is my new go-to spot to pick up a new pair of Vans and scope out their awesome selection of cozy sweatshirts and perfect dad caps. This skater-owned shop is super involved in the city’s skate scene and often host events and workshops in store. 1409 11th Street SW

gravitypope + Blackbyrd Music: If you love brutalist architecture as much as I do, there is a good chance you’ve ogled the gravitypope building on 17th Avenue. But what is inside is even better — gravitypope has the BEST selection of shoes in all of the uptown/downtown area and carries amazing garment brands like Commes des Garcons PLAY, WANT Les Essentiels among others. In the basement you’ll find Blackbyrd Music, another Edmonton-offshoot which just happens to be my favourite spot to pick up the latest vinyl releases. 1126 17th Ave SW

Heritage Music: If you love crate-digging as much as I do, you’ll be able to spend an entire afternoon at Heritage Music fleshing out your record collection. They’ve got vintage gems to rival your dad’s collection and often do something extra special for Record Store Day. 1316 11th Ave SW

Peaseblossoms Flowers: I’m a big believer in having lots of plants and fresh flowers in our home — it just makes every day more beautiful! Peaseblossoms Flowers is the most darling little shop that carries a gorgeous selection of flora as well as some amazing lifestyle products like notebooks, small objects and decor. 1417 11th Street SW

Earth Gems: My crystal obsession is real and Earth Gems does not disappoint. I could literally spend hours (and hundreds of dollars) in there. Pro-tip: as much as my little guy loves crystals and rocks, I would not recommend bringing your little one there as there is some very expensive pieces all over the place — not worth the risk! #100, 1022 17th Ave SW

Pomp + Circumstance: If you’re looking for beautiful home decor, Pomp & Circumstance is one of the best interior design shops in the West Beltline. With product lines from Norm Architects and Barter, you’ll be sure to find something covetable for your modern, minimalist home. 1204 12th Ave SW

Wild Rose Cleaners: If you need alterations and dry cleaning, Wild Rose is an excellent option. Their attention to detail is impeccable and they actually design and make men’s dress shirts in-house if you are looking for a bespoke option. 1330 15th Ave SW

Hedkandi: My go-to spot for hair is definitely Hedkandi on 8th Street. Not only do they have some of the most talented stylists in the city but they also carry an amazing selection of hair and beauty products from lines such as Bumble & Bumble, Oribe and even their own coffee blend with local coffee company Monogram! #105, 1301 8th Street SW

WHERE TO GO

Beltline Urban Mural Project: One of my favourite local initiatives in the Beltline Urban Mural Project which was started by the Beltline Neighbourhoods Association (Battistella is actually a big sponsor of the  2018 Project) to promote local artists, increase tourism for the neighbourhood (hello, Instagram mecca) and beautify buildings in the area. They are just kicking off year two of the project and I cannot wait to see the finished murals later this year! For more information about the upcoming festival and mural tours check out their website.

Barb Scott Park: Grab a coffee and your frisbee and hit up Barb Scott Park for some sunshine. Artist team Creative Machines created the interactive public art piece Chinook Arch that is best viewed at night. The building located adjacent to the park was the former Central High School and is still a beautiful heritage landmark in the West Beltline. 1219 11th Street SW

Color Me Mine Uptown: Jack and I love getting crafty together and Color Me Mine is the perfect place for us to spend an afternoon creating some ceramic masterpieces for our home. They also host kids birthday parties there! 1504 11th Street SW

Commonwealth Bar & Stage: If you love live music, one of the best venues is located right on the edge of the West Beltline. Commonwealth  Bar & Stage has regular programming featuring local DJs and bands but also brings in some of the best shows (think bands like Whitney, Suuns and Tokyo Police Club) every year. You are guaranteed to have a good time at this music scene staple. 731 10th Avenue SW

Thomson Family Park: We love popping by the Thomson Family Park, most notably for their awesome giant slide. With picnic tables, a fantastic playground and fountains it is a great place to spend an afternoon with friends and family. 1236 16th Ave SW

If you want to find out more about Nude by Battistella and keep up to date on news about the project, go to battistella.ca/nude to register!

**This is a sponsored post written by me in partnership with Nude by Battistella. All writing is my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support The Archives of Cool.

DONNA MAC: THE BELTLINE’S NEWEST EATERIE

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I am always thrilled to hear about new restaurants opening up in the Beltline, my neighbourhood and I was even more excited to find out that Donna Mac was one of the newest spots to open it’s doors before Christmas. This beautiful space was designed by my friend Sarah Ward of Sarah Ward Interiors. The room is stunning – she did a phenomenal job creating a warm, welcoming space with many exquisite details like the lighting, the yellow door with the port-hole and the seamless flow throughout the space.

➔ Donna Mac is the brainchild of industry veterans Jeff Jamieson, Jesse Willis, Amy Turner and Justin Longpre. Located at the base of the Versus building on 10th avenue, the Beltline restaurant is a neighbourhood hub with approachable favourites. Named after Turner’s grandmother, the all-encompassing hospitality concept echoes values of resourcefulness, community, and humility. 

I had the opportunity to try out their gluten-free dishes at a recent media dinner and was absolutely blown away by the incredible flavours, originality and impeccable service. Their cocktail list is pretty fantastic too.

If you love a dining experience that evokes the spirit of home cooked dinners, has a friendly inviting atmosphere and fills you up with comforting and inventive dishes, you’ll definitely want to pop into Donna Mac as soon as possible. ♥♥♥

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Donna Mac will be open every day from 11:00am to 11:00pm, including weekend brunch.

For more information and to make a reservation please visit: https://www.donnamacyyc.ca/ Follow Donna Mac on Twitter twitter.com/donnamacyyc, and Instagram instagram.com/donnamacyyc/

FAVE GLUTEN-FREE EATS IN INGLEWOOD

It is no secret that Inglewood is one of my favourite places to hang out in the city. I love the boutiques, the people, the views of downtown – and I also actually really love the food. I’ve been sharing some of my favourite spots in Inglewood on social media all month long in support of #inInglewood and I thought I’d put together a list of my favourite spots to grab a gluten-free meal. There tons of other great restaurants in the area – this is just a list of the ones I return to time and time again!

Inglewood Pizza: Hands-down the BEST greasy, thick crust extra tasty gluten-free pizza in all of Calgary, Inglewood Pizza is a must-eat when in the neighbourhood. Between their iconic pizza boxes, their cute little eaterie is a great spot to put up your feet an enjoy a personal pizza with a friend. There are only like four seats so you might have to take your pizza to go – but with the river only blocks away eating outdoors has never looked so good. Maybe I am basic but I seriously love the gluten-free pepperoni and cheese. Also, as a forewarning, the first time you have Inglewood Pizza you will probably go back and be like “this can’t possibly gluten-free; its so chewy and fluffy”. But it is and it is the best!

1225 9th Avenue SE

Inglewood Drive-in: This is one of Inglewood’s cutest, most legendary spots that also happens to get overlooked all of the time. Don’t wander past this delicious and inexpensive eaterie! They carry gluten-free buns for their burgers and veggie burgers – both of which are absolutely delicious. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you’ll be blown away by their selection of milkshakes – they even have a mouthwatering lavender milkshake. Unreal. The dairy-free pineapple Dole Whip is a huge hit as well. Also just as an FYI, their fries are not gluten-free as I sadly mistook them for being gluten-free (not fun.). All in all, the service is excellent and its a cute spot to grab a bite.

802 12th Street SE

Without Papers Pizza: If you are more of a thin crust pizza type of person, I would recommend checking out Without Papers Pizza. I love the ambiance of WOP; it has a great bustling vibe with views over 9th Avenue. They also often screen movies projected on their walls which I love. Their classic Margherita pizza is my fave with the Hawaiian coming in at a close second.

1216 9th Avenue SE

Well Juicery: While Well Juicery is not a restaurant it is a great place to pick up drinks and snacks while on the go. One of my fave vegan and gluten-free companies Little Tucker operates out of Well Juicery and I can always count on them to have delicious bite-sized treats to share with Jack. Their “snickers bar” is seriously legendary – I can’t even handle how good it is – I always pick one up to throw in the freezer for when I need to “eat my feelings” but don’t want to feel guilty about it, haha.

1327a 9th Avenue SE

Delightful Donuts & Cafe: Another hole-in-the-wall type of spot, chances are you’ve walked by Delightful Cafe a dozen times without even noticing it. While the name advertises donuts, I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen a donut in the cafe. I go there to get the best Vietnamese food in Inglewood. The owners are very kind and have built such a loyal clientele. I love walking into places like this where everyone seems to be a regular and people are chatting from table to table. I like to get their classic lemongrass chicken rice vermicelli without any spring rolls – delicious.

1201 9th Avenue SE

The Nash: While the Nash is decidedly higher-end than the rest of the spots on this list, I’ve managed to find the best gluten-free take-out deal. Their Happy Chicken wood roasted whole chicken is $25 and seriously the most flavourful roasted chicken ever! Get it with fries and their house-made jus and you’ve got a gourmet dinner to go for less than $40. Any leftovers go towards making homemade chicken soup so it’s actually like two meals in one! Winning.

925 11th Street SE

CALCUTTA CRICKET CLUB

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There is a hot new eaterie in town and it is next level dreamy in terms of the design. The Calcutta Cricket Club looks like something Wes Anderson would have visions of while planning his next film. This is the newest restaurant venture from the team at Thank You Hospitality. Spearheaded by Cody Willis (Native Tongues Taqueria – one of my fave local restaurants and Two Penny – another new spot featuring fine Chinese cuisine), the new Indian restaurant and bar is a partnership with Shovik Sengupta, Amber Anderson, and Maya Gohill, and is inspired by the cosmopolitan nature and cuisine of West Bengal. The name is influenced by the Raj-era Calcutta Cricket & Football club, and is the very first interior design project from local artist Maya Gohill (I wrote about her for SFGirlByBay here). 

Calcutta Cricket Club is open seven nights a week from 5pm until late. I don’t know about you but I just want to sit here and stare at these photos – my mouth is watering. Hell, I’m making plans to eat + drink there this weekend!

Calcutta Cricket Club – 340 17th Ave SW – (403) 719-1555 – No reservations.

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KENSINGTON 1918 TAP + TABLE

If there is anything I say time and time again, is how lucky we are in Calgary to have such a strong culinary community with endless new spots to dine out with friends and family. And some places are totally unexpected which is super exciting to me. The Kensington Legion is one such place that is surprising and unexpected. If you’ve ever been to the Kensington Legion or just driven past it you’re probably thinking of the large drab, concrete, one story building located on Kensington Road. Well, you are certainly in for a change of pace when you check out the NEW Kensington Legion located right next door. This new building represents a partnership between the Legion and Truman Homes – the very firs of its kind in Canada. The stunning result is a modern, four-story structure located at 1918 Kensington Road NW. The gorgeous window-filled new building features the Legion Members’ Lounge, two floors of office space as well as the 1918 Tap & Table restaurant which is open to the public.

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The new restaurant is a fantastic inner city destination and a great addition to the neighbourhood. I can see 1918 Tap & Table quickly becoming a staple for the area with their fresh and delicious farm-to-table menu created by Chef Chris Murphy. I popped into 1918 previous to the opening with my Jack – between the two of us we make quite the pair for dining out. I have Celiac and Jack has an egg allergy. But Chef Chris Murphy easily accommodated our dietary needs and we ate some beautiful dishes like the Grilled Chicken Breast with Artichoke & Caper Pan Jus and Crispy Polenta. Guests can expect fresh, authentic fare from a menu that changes every three months, ensuring in-season ingredients are always prioritized.

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I am also super impressed with their gorgeous bar set up. I tried one of the gorgeous cocktails made by their house mixologist. They are planning on having all sorts of amazing feature cocktails on rotation all of the time – and rumour has it that there will flaming cocktails, allowing their bartenders and mixologists to add a bit of performance to their drink crafting.

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The restaurant is super spacious and beautiful with massive windows, stunning light fixtures and plenty of seating. I can’t wait to see it filled with people enjoying a local craft beer and delicious food.

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They also rent out the space for events – I can totally picture it being a great venue for a Christmas party or wedding reception.

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You should go:

1918 Tap & Table

1918 Kensington Road

Follow along on Instagram @1918tapandtable

This post is in partnership with 1918 Tap & Table and all words are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep this blog full of fresh content.