Everyday Life with Erin

Exploring the Beauty of YYC

Who doesn’t love a good platter of nachos? You can make them at home and get them at your neighbourhood pub, but if you’re looking for unique, mouth-watering nachos Madison’s 1212 is a place that you must check out.

Described as a craft nacho restaurant, their menu has something for everyone. You can get your typical Mexican style or go as extreme as mac and cheese topped. They have twelve different combinations, as well as a feature nacho dish that is constantly changing. We have frequented this place numerous times and I’d have to say that the Korean nachos are an all time favourite for me. The Bulgogi beef and gochujang mayo make this a recipe that keeps you coming back for more. Another great combination with a slight twist on your traditional nachos is the Ring of Fire. It’s buffalo chicken and spicy jalapeños live up to it’s name.

A fantastic feature of Madison’s 1212 is their drink menu. The have great options for cocktails, and on the weekend offer mimosas for a low price of $1.50! That in itself should be enough to bring you in. This cozy place will satisfy your cravings and is definitely “nacho” average restaurant.

Korean Nachos

Ring of Fire Nachos

Loaded Perogie Jack Nacho

Nestled within a hundred year old building in the heart of Bridgeland, Waalflower knows what they’re doing when it comes to cocktails. Their menu is beautifully hand-crafted and contains a variety of drinks which are sure to please any guest. Each option provides a complexity of flavours and is presented in a manner where every detail counts.

Sampling a few choice options, I was drawn to the historical nature of the Zombie. This cocktail dates back to 1934, where Don Beach concocted the drink to help a hungover customer survive a business meeting. The customer returned numerous days later, complaining that he had been turned into a zombie for his entire trip, and thus the zombie cocktail came into fruition. At Waalflower, the drink contains Jamaican, Demerara, and over-proof rum, absinthe, falernum, grenadine, angostura bitters, pink grapefruit juice, and is of course garnished with fire. Try it if you dare!

If you’re in search of tried and true Italian pizza, LDV is a must go. Their combination of high quality ingredients and a classic, wood-burning oven has allowed them to perfect both the taste and authenticity of the pizza they create.

This eatery is housed in the old La Dolce Vita restaurant on 1 Ave NE in Bridgeland. When you enter the main floor, you’re immediately greeted by a grand staircase. As you travel up it, the Italian aromas fill the air and warm your heart. The rustic setting offers both a casual and intimate feeling where friends and family can gather. The menu itself has numerous pizza options, as well as classic Italian appetizers, salads, and entrees. We started our meal with their Italian fries which were recommended to us as the best fries in town. Honestly, I couldn’t agree more. They’re thick cut, covered in rosemary and parmesan cheese, and accompanied by a delicious truffle aioli. Visiting for the pizza, we ordered two: the margharita and the crazy calabrese. The margharita was a simple go-to with deliciously tasting fresh tomato sauce and covered with cheese and basil. On the other hand, the crazy calabrese was a spicy meat lovers dream. The thin crust, foldability of it, and great flavors brought back memories of Italy. I wouldn’t hesitate to order both again.

This family-run business is true to their Italian heritage. If it’s genuine Italian pizza you’re looking for, give theirs a try!

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I’ve always loved The Dandy Brewing Company for their beer. Let’s be honest, they make some of the best in Calgary, and are eager to try brewing something different than what everyone else has. But when I think of Dandy, I always think of great beer. Until now…

Stopping by to sample their current sour lineup, we were hungrier than we thought. We contemplated going down to the main strip of Inglewood for food, but instead decided to give this place a try. Their menu was small, but offered some unique sounding dishes, which caught our eyes, like the elk tartare. I was a bit perplexed by these fancy sounding menu items. Was I in a high-end restaurant or a brewery? Regardless, we decided to give them a try.

We ordered four items off of the menu: oysters, elk tartare, braised rabbit tortelli, and Cajun rice stuffed squid. The squid wasn’t a regular menu item, but since they had run out of a dish we originally ordered, this was what replaced it.  Our items came out as soon as they were ready, and far exceeded all of our expectations.  The oysters originated from the East Coast, were large, juicy, and fresh.  The elk tartare was excellent and had these crispy little onions on the top that added a nice texture and taste.  The pasta dish was rabbit stuffed pillows finished in a creamy lemon sauce and sprinkled with pistachios, and finally, the squid pieces were stuffed with a spicy rice and served with greens.

You can tell immediately that Chef Merritt Gordon has experience well beyond that of a brewery chef.  His freedom to create a diverse and rewarding food experience, has also allowed him to experiment with new dishes that take a simple recipe and turn it into a complex dish of flavors.  Now when I think of Dandy, it’s so much more than great beer. It’s great food too!

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Visited Elite Brewing and Cidery on the weekend and have a few recommendations for you to try out: La Libre Belgian Rosé is a unique and well balanced dry cider, while the Legend of Peggy Porter is a brown milk porter and perfect for a snowy, “fall” day.

Big thanks to Grubbed for this gorge compilation.

In a cute, yellow house just off of the main strip in Bridgeland you’ll find Baya Rica, a family run coffee shop. This local business purchased their own coffee farm in 2012, and since then has been bringing the best coffee that Costa Rica has to offer. They run all of the production, processing, and importing of the beans. Roasting them on-site allows them to produce a coffee that is rich and flavourful.

For being a small business and cafe, Baya Rica has a surprisingly large menu. Their coffee menu includes drinks like lattes, cappuccinos, and mochas, while their food menu has items such as paninis, breakfast bowls, and tasty bites. Trying out their almond milk latte was rewarding. I often find that almond milk changes and dilutes the coffee taste, yet here that wasn’t the case. The bold flavour remained strong and it’s a drink I would recommend trying out. I also had the alfajore, which are two shortbread cookies sandwiched together with caramel in the middle and coated in coconut. Let’s just say, I should have ordered some to go!

I love supporting community businesses and I encourage you to check these guys out. Their friendliness, quality ingredients, and pure taste will make you want to go back for more!

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When you think of breakfast spots, a distillery is probably the last thing that would pop into your mind. Let me change that for you.

Burwood Distillery located just off 32 Ave and 6 Street NE, offers a delicious brunch menu Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 2pm. With just a small menu of four items, their chef is committed to using fresh, local ingredients with each dish he creates. You can choose from the classic eggs benny, duck hash, avocado toast, or your eggs, sausage, and toast.

We tried out two of the items: the eggs benny and the duck hash. The benny was everything you would expect from it and the hollandaise sauce had a unique almost tartness to it. The hash was equally delicious, with shredded duck on a bed of well seasoned hash browns. I wouldn’t change anything about either of them.

Next time you’re looking for a place for breakfast, be sure to check out this chic distillery.