CANADIANA REIGNS AT SHOE AND CANOE
Restaurateurs find inspiration from a variety of sources: nature, fashion, music and, in the case of Shoe and Canoe, relatively obscure figures in Canadian history.
The restaurant in the newly renovated downtown Delta Hotel (formerly known as the Delta Bow Valley) could have just been designed as a standard hotel eatery serving serviceable breakfasts, lunches and dinners, but the Delta management decided to take a more creative route.
Inspired by the romanticism of travel ( because it’s a hotel, after all), the restaurant’s concept is an homage to 19th-century explorer David Thompson, a surveyor and map-maker known for getting around by either foot or boat. Hence the name: Shoe and Canoe.
To play upon the theme, the room, which opened to the public in mid- September, is distinguished by a stylized canoe logo and a hip, woodsy pub vibe.
And the journey that Shoe and Canoe takes guests on?
It’s one that’s meant to make them feel comfortable and at home. In accordance with the trend in hotel restaurants to go casual rather than forcing guests to eat in stuffy dining rooms, Shoe and Canoe is an expansive 142-seat pub specializing in craft beers.
With 12 local beers on tap — five rotating and seven regular brews including selections from Common Crown, Banded Peak, Half Hitch and Shoe and Canoe’s signature Stargazer — and 30 or so domestic and international choices offered by the can or bottle, beer is definitely the centrepiece of this place.
The beer leads the food selections, too. Executive chef Phil Andrews, who comes directly from the Delta in Winnipeg and has also worked at Mission Hill Winery in Kelowna, is used to having to pair his food to wine, so pairing food to beer isn’t far out of his wheelhouse.
The menu is full of beerworthy standards freshened up with a Canadiana twist: a classic cheeseburger made with an Alberta beef patty served with kettle chips and Grizzly Gouda ranch ($18), Fogo Island cod with Alberta grain tabbouleh ($26) and an artisanal charcuterie board ($18 for two or $32 for four people).
“We cook from scratch to pair up with the beer,” Andrews says. “Which is essentially working backwards. You already have the drink in front of you as opposed to making something and then trying to find an alcohol to match it.”
You can certainly do a lot worse when it comes to eating in a hotel restaurant (and don’t fear Delta guests, Shoe and Canoe also does breakfast). In fact, you can also do a lot worse eating in a non-hotel restaurant, which is why Shoe and Canoe also aims to attract a solid downtown lunch and happy hour crowd.
Shoe and Canoe is located at 209 Fourth Ave. S.E. For more information, call 403-205-5416.
Fancy some tea over the holidays?
The restaurant space off the lobby in the Fairmont Palliser, previously occupied by the Oak Room Lounge and The Rimrock, is currently walled off as contractors build a new restaurant, but that doesn’t mean the hotel will be depriving Calgarians of the opportunity to celebrate Christmas with afternoon tea.
From Dec. 20 to 23 and 27 to 30, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., a special holiday tea will be offered in the penthouse Gold Floor Lounge.
Yes, that’s still more than a month off, but with such a limited window and a relatively small space, it’s bound to book up.
Palliser chef Eraj Jayawickreme has created a traditional, three-tiered tea menu, complete with dainty finger sandwiches, freshly baked vanilla scones with clotted cream and preserves, and a dessert tier that does indeed include a small slice of fruitcake.
Guests also get to choose from the Palliser’s extensive collection of herbal and caffeinated teas. Holiday afternoon tea service costs $70 per person and can be booked by calling 403-260-1274.
For tea lovers looking for the Palliser’s regular non-holiday afternoon tea, it’s currently being offered in the hotel’s temporary pop-up restaurant, which is located on the downstairs boulevard level near the spa.
The Calgary leg of Canada’s Great Kitchen Party, which serves as the local qualifier for the Canadian Culinary Championships, took place on Nov. 1 at the Telus Convention Centre.
Ten local chefs faced off, each creating a special dish to show their creativity and skill.
The panel of judges awarded the top prize to Dave Bohati, the new executive chef at Murrieta’s Group, who made a mind-blowingly tender plate of smoked Brant Lake Wagyu beef cheeks with kabocha squash, Jerusalem artichokes, marrow and Saskatoon berries.
The silver medal went to Teatro Group’s Matthew Batey, who presented a rolled lobster and vanilla braised heritage pork cheek dish.
Roy Oh from Anju took bronze with his Korean Beef Wellington featuring a sous vide short rib with foie gras and daikon kimchee.
Bohati, who also won the Calgary title in 2014, will head to the Canadian Culinary Championship finals in Kelowna in early February to compete against 10 other regional winners.
The last Calgarian to take the national title was Foreign Concept’s Jinhee Lee, who won in2017.
We cook from scratch to pair up with the beer ... which is essentially backwards.
The new Shoe & Canoe Public House at the downtown Delta Hotel by Marriott pairs menu items with beer because in this eatery, drinks lead the food selection.
Braised lamb shank is on the menu, which is full of beer-worthy standards freshened up with a Canadian twist. Other items include a classic cheeseburger of Alberta beef with kettle chips and Gouda ranch.
In keeping with the current trend in hotel restaurants to go casual with interior decor, Shoe and Canoe features an expansive 142-seat pub that oozes comfort and is far from a stuffy dining room.