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Archive for January, 2015

Restaurant Review: Farm

Location: 1006 17 Ave SW
Website: http://www.farm-restaurant.com/

After a long and arduous relay of messages between my best friend, Julia and I, we finally decided on Farm. Originally we were planning to have lunch at The Himalayan, but it turned out to be too far from where we intended to walk and a turn in the weather made us reconsider walking that far for food. Farm was a place that Julia had been to once before and a quick look over of the menu in the morning revealed many menu items to be comfort foods perfectly compatible with the weather today. Farm is not only a farm to table restaurant, but it also has a cheese shop at the back of the restaurant, which we didn’t have a chance to check out, though I didn’t really want to be carrying a chunk of cheese with me around all day.

When we first arrived, the overall impression was that I had stepped into a diner in a small Alberta town. There were paintings and photographs of the prairies and of farms that gave it the ambiance of old fashioned hospitality. We were quickly seated and presented with the brunch and charcuterie & cheese menus on wooden clipboards. Due to the size of the table, we kept hitting the menus against the plates and that got me rather irritated. The brunch menu didn’t have too many options, but there was certainly more than I could handle. I spent a good twenty minutes waffling between three menu items, finally deciding on the Brunch Burger. Julia chose the mac and cheese, which was one of the dishes that i hadn’t been able to decide if I wanted.

I felt as though the wait for my food was pretty long and felt slightly annoyed when a table who had come in after us and ordered after us was served first, but reasoned that they ordered something that took less time to cook and got over my annoyance. But when our dishes came, their presentation fit the image of the homey diner. The Brunch Burger had Silver sage beef on a bed of crispy potato slivers, topped with three year cheddar, onion jam, FARM sauce and a fried egg with a pickle spear and a side muse salad. The beef, when eaten on its own was quite dry, which I hope is because it was fairly lean and therefore dried out more than ground beef laced with fat. However, the beef patty is not meant to be eaten on its own, rather it’s meant to be eaten between two slices of bread that have an amazing FARM sauce spread on them and heavenly onion jam flavouring it. The egg yolk helped to provide some moisture as well, but also made a delicious mess everywhere. The pickle was most certainly not store bought and had been brined in a unique blend of spices. Though I couldn’t discern which spices, it was different with the right balance of acidity to complement the richness of the burger. However, the pickle alone would not have been able to combat the richness of the burger on its own, so I was thankful for the acidity of the vinaigrette on the side muse salad.The side muse salad consisted of a simple mix of refreshing greens, drizzled with a cider vinaigrette and topped with Highwood Crossing Canola seeds that added an additional crunch to the salad. Julia’s mac and cheese was fantastic, beating out the amazing mac and cheese from Good Earth that I had praised so highly. It was not exactly macaroni, more like rigatoni, but the creaminess of the sauce was to die for. I’m not sure if I could have eaten the whole thing on my own, but it’s a possibility since this dish also came with a couple FARM pickle spears. Julia added smoked picnic shoulder to it, but I thought it would have been just as good even without it. Her only complaint about the pork was that the chunks were a bit large and inconvenient to eat. But it cooked enough that the meat easily flaked apart into more manageable bite sized pieces.

Like many places with an open kitchen (like Vendome), every time I come out of the place, I leave with my clothes smelling of oil (and other cooked food smells). It’s a little off-putting, but at the same time I want to eat my clothes. I like to be able to see my food being made, so I guess the trade off is delicious smelling clothes that I want to eat, but wouldn’t be good for if I was going to an interview or meeting afterwards.

In regards to service, the lady who greeted us at the door seemed friendly enough, but something just felt off, like a sense of reluctance. It was almost as though she didn’t want to be there doing what she was doing. Our server on the other hand was an absolute delight. She was quaintly dressed and she made me think of a school mistress, but that’s besides the point. The point is that she didn’t look out of place dressed the way she was dressed. It added to the overall character of the restaurant and I love it. I would definitely come back here, but on a weekday just to try out their lunch menu or later in the evening for their dinner menu. My suggestion if you’d like to try this place out is come for an early brunch (like 11 or 11:30) because a line was beginning to form just as we finished at 12. I would rate this place 4/5 because the food and atmosphere were great, but the greeting at the door was a bit lacking and it affected my whole experience.

Farm Exterior

Farm Exterior

Farm Interior Entrance

Farm Interior Entrance

Farm Interior

Farm Interior

Picture above our table

Picture above our table

Brunch Menu

Brunch Menu

Brunch Burger

Brunch Burger

Mac and Cheese with Smoked Picnic Shoulder

Mac and Cheese with Smoked Picnic Shoulder

The Good Girl

I’m not the kind of girl
Who boys would drop everything for
I’m not the kind of girl anyone ever notices

My purity
Measured by the colour of my dress
Meant nothing to you

To you I am not invisible
I am the one who took your breath away
As you have taken mine
Do you remember what it was like
To gaze upon the stars?
Do you remember the way your breath caught in your throat
When you first met me?

I never believed I could be anything more
But you showed me
What it was to spread my wings and soar
But then you left me
But I never forgot my worth

I cannot unsee the sun
Nor mistaken the shadows for reality
The frozen spring
Will not fade
But my once shrouded eyes can never see again

I long to be myself again
To retreat into the comforts of who I was
But like stepping into a river
It’s never the same thing twice

Missing You

I miss you
The smell of your hair
On a Sunday morning
The feel of your body
Pressed up against mine
Each and every night

Even in sleep I have no reprieve
Each night your spectral figure haunts my dreams
Reminding me of everything we’ve had
Everything that I’ve lost

It’s not easy to have let you go
But I love you
And therefore must
I’m just sorry
It had to have
Ended…
like this

Reminiscent

So many nights I lay here
Thinking of you
Dreaming of better days

So many nights I lay here
Crying for you
Missing your body next to mine

So many nights I lay here
Wondering where you’ve gone
And where you are now

So many nights
I wander alone
Along the streets we used to know
Doing the things we used to do
Trying to bring you back
Trying to bring back the memories
But I can’t

You’re gone
Gone somewhere I can’t touch you
Gone somewhere I can’t see

Why does it hurt so much to love you?
Why does it have to be like this?
All I wanted was to be loved
And I was

But I was a child
We both were
Taking from each other
Using each other
And when the time came to say goodbye
I had fallen in love with you
And couldn’t part with you

I admire the way you kept your distance
All the while still loving me
I hope that one day I will learn
Learn to be selfish
To take without hurting
As I am now

Cafe Review: Boxwood Cafe

Location: 340 13 Ave SW Calgary, AB (Central Memorial Park)
Website: http://www.boxwoodcafe.ca/

After putting it off three times, I finally got a chance to try out this amazing cafe. Originally when my cousin suggested that we go I was reluctant after perusing the menu as there really wasn’t much choice in terms of food. However, I decided that I should at least give it a chance and I’m glad I did because it exceeded my expectations.

Today we started with the Sweet Onion and Agria Potato Pakoras served with a tamarind chutney. The presentation was a bit messy: five pakoras laid out on a mess of mixed greens with some sort of spicy creamy sauce drizzled on them. This was the first time I’ve had a pakora, but I looked up the origins of the dish and deduced that they’d be similar to samosas in terms of flavour profile. In terms of the spices and considering the choice of chutney, I turned out to be generally on the right track. The price on the other hand was a little out of hand; it cost the same as the main version and as much as the sandwiches that we order. But all in all, they were delicious and the tartness of the chutney left me wanting more. I couldn’t wait for the mains to arrive.

We got three mains: the Heritage Greens Salad with seared tuna, the Mountain View Rotisserie Chicken Sandwich, and the Spragg Farm Porchetta Sandwich. The Heritage Greens Salad was the smallest of the three. It looked about the size of a side salad at most other restaurants. As I am used to seeing Ahi Tuna garnish salads, the seared tuna looked a little pale, but it was in fact supposed to be like that. The salad was well dressed with a hint of sweetness that wasn’t overbearing. My only complain about this dish was how expensive it was to add the tuna to the salad. The Mountain View Rotisserie Chicken and Spragg Farm Porchetta Sandwiches were a decent size for their respective prices. The presence of the thyme aioli in the Chicken Sandwich helped offset the dryness of the chicken and due to an uneven distribution, one half tasted less dry than the other. I’m not sure what kind of bread they used, but I loved the slightly chewy texture it had. The Porchetta Sandwich tasted a lot like Chinese Crispy Skinned Pork Belly, in other words REALLY FANTASTICALLY DELICIOUS! However, the decision to cut them into cubes and put them into the sandwich was a bad idea. Each bite resulted in an avalanche of meat chunks everywhere. Apples and pork are a classic combination and the apple mostarda was the perfect choice to highlight the savoury heavenly taste of the pork.

In terms of drinks, we ordered a wild berry iced tea, a black French pressed coffee, and flowery Earl Grey. The thing is, is that the options we were offered for the tea and coffee were cream or milk. I’m used to waiters asking if I want cream and sugar so I said both without realizing that one of those options was not sugar. I realized after the fact and felt really stupid about it. The coffee was particularly acidic. Normally coffee is more bitter than sour, but not in this case and for that reason I didn’t like it as much. The Earl Grey was really fragrant, but I couldn’t really find the “flowery” in the tea. And the wild berry iced tea was made with real tea and no added sugar.

The thing I really love about this place is how healthy all the food options are. Drinks do not have added sugar and there aren’t the typical things like fries; it’s mostly salads, which is great since I’m currently trying to watch my weight and caloric consumption. Another thing that is both good and bad are the portion sizes and its correlation to the price. From a health perspective, the small portion sizes are good for keeping my weight in check while allowing me to try many different dishes, but for my wallet, the portion sizes are much too small for the price I’m paying for them.

Unless this restaurant has an ever changing menu, it is unlikely that I will be returning any time soon. As good and healthy as the food is, the limited options don’t give me much choice in terms of things to try out for the next time I go. I must say though that our waiter had to put up with my inability to speak and he was super quick to attend to our needs which I really appreciated. The restaurant interior is really unique and has a kinda indie restaurant feel to it and it’s really cool (sorry I have no idea how else to describe it). It wasn’t too busy, which I like because I hate having to wait for hours to get into a restaurant and to have to yell to be heard by the person next to me. I also like the open concept: we can see the chefs cooking and putting up food in the pass. I just had great timing when I took a picture of the place, everyone ducked.

Taking everything into consideration, I would rate this restaurant 3/5.

Restaurant Interior

Restaurant Interior

Sweet Onion and Agria Potato Pakoras

Sweet Onion and Agria Potato Pakoras

Heritage Greens Salad with Seared Tuna

Heritage Greens Salad with Seared Tuna

Mountain View Rotisserie Chicken Sandwich

Mountain View Rotisserie Chicken Sandwich

Spragg Farm Porchetta Sandwich

Spragg Farm Porchetta Sandwich

Love at its finest

I thought I was over you
Months had come
And months had gone
And not one thought of you strayed into my mind
You were long forgotten
But then you came around again
Made my heart flutter and melt
Made me ineffectual
A puddle for you

Why must you do this to me?
Why must you remind me when I’ve forgotten?
Why do you make me love you when we both know we cannot be?

I wish you’d come back to me
Tell me your heart
And love me as I have loved you
Only then will I be contented
Only then will my heart and mind be allowed to rest
Only then will my soul find peace

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