Wherever you live, I bet you could name at least three restaurants that you’re dying to go to, but they’re just a tad too expensive for your average date night. Am I right?
I had three such restaurants in mind in my hometown of Calgary, Alberta. When my husband and I’s third anniversary came along I though, hey… why not visit all three restaurants?
We made our own fancy, Calgary food crawl.
Starters at Teatro
Housed in the former Dominion Bank Building, Teatro has always been on my radar, yet seemed out of my price range. It’s modern Italian cuisine with a stunning interior. As David and I were seated, we encountered our first question about why we were only staying for one course. Couldn’t we be tempted to stay?
As I told the waitress about our anniversary food crawl concept, she grinned, agreeing that it was a cute Calgary date night idea.
I marvelled at the high ceilings, the old school bartender whipping up delectable cocktails (which I couldn’t have, given I had just found out we were pregnant!), and the open-concept kitchen. Years ago when I worked as a waitress, our restaurant was loud and hostile, even though they delivered top notch food. Teatro? They’re a little more relaxed, extremely professional and the food is to die for.
To start, I ordered the Calamari Friiti with lemon aioli, while David tucked into the Foie Gras Terrine. They were the kind of dishes where all conversation stops and you just soak up the deliciousness.
Finishing earlier than anticipated, we took the time to explore downtown Calgary and take some photos. Teatro is a short walk from the Bow building, one of Calgary’s newest and most talked about skyscrapers.
As we wandered, we talked a lot about the early days of our relationship. We met on the Isle of Arran, which has it’s own great foodie culture. Our dates had to work around waitressing/bartender schedules, so we often did lunch or drinks at the weekly folk music night at the Ormidale Pub. The first months of a relationship are bliss. You date. You learn about each other. It’s all new discovery. Everything is exciting. I’ll forever look back on our four months on Arran with a smile. Falling in love on a Scottish island can do that to a girl.
Steaks at Cesar’s
Cesar’s reminds me of The Godfather. It’s dark, moody, communist red and lush. The seats are either rich velvet or weathered leather and the waiters are intense. These aren’t your working-my-way-through-college kind of waiters. No. These guys have seen a thing or two in life and know that a good steak can solve many a problem, especially if you’re anemic.
Little did we realize when we reserved our table that a steak at Cesar’s is not just a steak. In fact, a steak dinner comes complete with Texas toast-style garlic bread, a cup of salty French Onion soup, salad with garlic dressing, a double baked potato … and finally your steak. If we’d known this, we might have chosen another steak house for our mains as it made the food crawl pretty tough, but at least we had leftover steak for sandwiches the rest of the week!
Over dinner we talked a lot about the past three years. We’ve overcome a lot of obstacles together. There was the three years of long-distance, but we survived it. Skype is a lifesaver, but it just goes to show that communication is key. If you want something badly enough, you make it work, even if it can be painful to get through. We talked about David immigrating to Canada, getting his permanent residency and how tough that road was. We even talked about how it’s incredible that we survived three months in Southeast Asia together. We’ve had big challenges, but big accomplishments together as well.
Dessert at The River Cafe
During my first trimester, my appetite was in the toilet. To say that I was full after our starters at Teatro would be an understatement. I barely even finished half of my mains at Cesar’s. Dessert? Could I handle it? Heck, I wasn’t missing out on the best course there is. I’d make it… I had to. Two stops does not a food crawl make.
Arriving around 8 p.m. the sun was setting and we were treated to a golden glow. Chilled, I pulled my sweater closer around me. April isn’t quite summer, but I refused to make it a bulky winter jacket date.
The dessert menu at The River Cafe was enticing. Choosing between each yummy menu item was painful, but we finally landed on Tiramisu for David and the daily special brownie for me. It was probably one of the richest desserts that I’ve ever eaten, but the flavours pulled together in a symphony of foodie-delight.
As I looked out the window into Prince’s Island Park, we talked about the future. This little baby growing in my belly had us imagining what kinds of parents we want to be, what we want to teach our kids and how we want to structure our family life. Much like my brownie, the future is sweet with possibility.
Marriage is not without its challenges, but each stage is an adventure… occasionally even a culinary adventure.
What’s the best hometown date you’ve ever been on? Ever tried a food crawl? Take it from me, they make for great conversations.