Well it was another reason to hire a babysitter and explore the Calgary food scene, my lovely wife's birthday! When our close friends Oliver and Meg Malana (Oliver is the GM of Canadian Linen here in Calgary) heard the reason for the proposed night out, they quickly called one of Oliver's accounts and made reservations. This was my first visit to Il Sogno, so the anticipation was high to sample the culinary artistry I had heard so much about.
We arrived a few minutes early and were greeted with a warm smile and escorted immediately to our table. Our server James was professional, very polite and extremely engaging, so this set the mood for a great dining experience. As many of you know I am not much of a drinker, so Oliver introduced me to a Whisky Sour, while Dana and Meg enjoyed a couple of specialty Martini's. We chose to try Chef de Cuisine Christopher Picek's nightly creation, a five course menu which was left up to his inspiration.... with a little direction from the ladies at the table of course, it was their evening!
We first started with an Apple and Potato Salad taster made with Brassica Mustard and topped with Mezzuna Greens which was fresh, creamy and crisp, this was followed by a WONDERFUL Chicken Liver Parfait with Toasted Crostini accented beautifully by a Roasted Garlic Cream and Candy Cane Young Beets. The next plating was a House made Gnocchi served in a delicate sauce with Black Trumpet Mushrooms, a nice combination. We then had a small palate refresher of sorbet to ready us for the main course of Fresh Perch with Crushed Rosetta Potato's in a Toasted Pine-nut and Raisin Brown Butter Sauce, a splendidly warm and inviting dish! Last but not least, dessert was Pannacotta with an Orange Sugarhorn and Pistachio Cream. Dana's was topped with a candle in honor of the occasion, and as always, an espresso finished off this great meal.
Il Sogno is a room steeped in history and warmth. Located in the DeWaal Building in the community of Bridgeland. When you walk in you can't help but notice they have taken full advantage of a building that will turn 100 years old this year. The decor is simple and elegant with the original 14 foot pressed tin ceilings which still has the pressed tin and in consideration of our dinner partners, the Egyptian cotton linen really is noticeable when you sit down. If you have not taken the time, I highly recommend a visit, but make sure you give yourself the time to relax and enjoy the culinary delight that is Il Sogno!
Thank you to the team at Il Sogno for a relaxing and delicious dining experience, everything was perfect! Bravo and Grazie tanto!
During coffee we decided to drive downtown to one of my favorite spots which is Murrieta's in the Alberta Hotel on Stephen Ave. I love the high ceiling in the main dining room so we asked if there was a 4 top available. While we were waiting for a table to be readied, someone put thier hand on my shoulder and I turned to see my buddy Jaime Mansour the General Manager of 1600 World Bier Haus, along with my good friend George Haralabakos the man behind 1410, 1600 and Classic Jack's. They had just come from 2011 Calgary Choice Awards, Calgary's version of the Oscars. After handshakes and hugs, because my wife never passes up an opportunity to give George a hug, we settled into another round of drinks (which I found out later my friend George had taken care of for us! Thank you again my friend!) The ladies informed us that another desert was in order so we dove into a round of decadent treats, oh the carnage!
As we sat pondering the next destination, I decided to text George and see if they could squeeze us into 1410 World Bier Haus for some drinks and dancing. Again, abusing the hospitality of friends, we grabbed a table after having an obligatory cocktail with our host's (did I mention that I don't drink much!) and settled in to enjoy the music and the vibe. the DJ was playing some great tunes and the ladies enjoyed a few dances as we closed down a great night out. If you have not been into 1410 lately you have to make a trip down and scope out the renovation, it's all new and much bigger.
Thank you to everyone who took care of us on Saturday and especially to Oliver and his beautiful wife Meg for making a night out on the town something special!