Saturday, December 31, 2011

CALGARY: Deliciously Wholesome Food at Boxwood Cafe

When we visit Calgary, we prioritize only two sorts of meals: steak and Vietnamese Pho (the best of all the places we've lived in Canada!). We have abundant fancy meal options in Toronto so we don't make a ton of effort to scope out new restaurants. Lucky for me, my friends know how much I love food and are happy to suggest cool new places that have popped up in the city. While looking for a place to catch up with my friend Andy, I could only suggest my old faves, Living Room, Brava and Big Fish - and since they are all still around, I assume they are still good! Andy had a better idea, and that's how we ended up at Boxwood Cafe, sister restaurant to long standing River Cafe in Princess Island Park.

Boxwood is standalone restaurant in Central Memorial Park in the Beltline area (bonus: ample street parking free after 6pm!). Upon entering, I immediately felt the bright, warm and welcoming atmosphere, like walking into a friend's contemporary cottage. There are small dinner tables for an intimate gathering, a tall share table for a more social experience, and I chose to sit at the end of the bar for a quieter catch-up and overlooking the food prep. Boxwood focuses on wholesome and sustainable food with a big of tree-hugger feel and I was ready to indulge!

To start, we nibbled on spiced almonds and pecans followed by house cured tuna served on creme fraiche. The two were great compliments, one boldly flavourful and the other simple and fresh. We also enjoyed refreshing drinks of ginger beer (not too strong and reminded me or the aromas we experienced in Thailand last year) and an unsweetened wild berry iced tea. Perfect pairing for our meal ahead.

I had the lamb with mint and white anchovy salsa
verde, simply served and very tender. As I expect, I was not asked how I like it cooked because I expect a great restaurant to show me how to enjoy it! The simplicity of the food highlights how fresh the ingredients are! Andy had roasted chicken served with a roasted butternut squash and tomato stew that had a hint of curry. Both dishes featured juicy, tender meat that was
good on its own, with a side of freshly made accompaniment to add colour and character. I really enjoyed the clean, natural flavours. To share with our mains, we had a fantastic brussels spouts gratin done with pumpkin seed butter. I could have eaten this as a meal myself and is definitely a must-have at Boxwood. If you ever need to convince someone to eat brussels sprouts, this would be the way to go!

I was warned in advance that dessert was a must, and we chose to try to daily special
of apple tarte tatin and the server's favourite, saskatoon berry bread pudding - I can rarely turn down bread pudding, something about that homey, warm appeal! Our tarte tatin (an upside down flat tart) was great, served with vanilla bean ice cream, but I really loved the bread pudding, topped thinly with caramel sauce and spotted with chocolate chips, it was none too sweet and uber delicious!

Boxwood was a great experience and was definitely my highlight meal of the trip! I love that more cuisine options are showing up in Calgary, particularly one focused around seasonal and local ingredients. This is a great place to catch-up with friends or visit for a date over deliciously wholesome food. Be sure to save room for dessert!

Boxwood Cafe
340- 13th ave SW

No comments:

Post a Comment