Benny’s Breakfast Bar

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We were trying to find somewhere to head for breakfast and being near Deerfoot Meadows you don’t have many options. We decided to try this place out. They are located in the old Rockin’ Red Robins by the Leon’s on 11 Street SE.

The Interior

It still had some of the decor elements from the Rockin’ Red Robins, the retro booths, the retro memorabilia, and the same kind of music. It was cool to step back into the past and eat breakfast like it would have been in the 50’s. My daughter wishes she would have worn a poodle skirt to fit into the times.

The Food

After reading through all the different items on their menu, there is quite a few, we decided to try a couple different things.

My daughter ordered the Avocado Toast for $17. It had crushed avocado, red peppers, goat cheese and it was served on Rye Toast. The portion size was perfect and the eggs they use are gigantic. It was a really nice layered toast, the hollandaise was whipped and created in a whipped cream maker. It was nice and whipped. She also had a fruit cup which was huge and had a good selection of seasonal fruits.

My wife ordered the Marilyn Monroe for $13. It had two extra large eggs (they were definitely huge) with crispy bacon, two huge pieces of sourdough bread and hash browns. There was so much food and everything was absolutely delicious. The hash browns had a delicious flavour.

After we were done eating we wanted to try their pancakes but they had more of cakes. You get six (6) for $8. They come topped with maple whipped cream and fresh strawberries, drizzled with chocolate and caramel sauce. We got ours with just the whip and strawberries on the side. Unfortunately the strawberries didn’t come sliced and we didn’t get any flavour from the whip even though we should have tasted vanilla and maple. The cakes themselves were delicious, it is such a cool way to make pancakes more fun.

The Service

Our server was nice, friendly, and very helpful. The coolest part is there is a service button on your table, so when you are ready to order you just hit the button and they come take your order. They check once to see how the food is and then they leave you until you hit the button. We think more places should do this. When we were ready to leave we just hit the ‘CHECK’ button and she brings everything for you to pay.

The Hours

They are open everyday from 7:00am to 3:00pm.

 

Parking

There is a bunch of parking out front in the lot. They also have drive up spots if you want to eat in your car outside as well.

Last Words

We might head back to try some of their other menu items since they sounded really good.

Nikos Pizza

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We were really excited to finally get the opportunity to check out this little pizza joint just off 17th AVE SW. We have tried a couple times before but they were closed, so when we drove up this time we were really excited.

The Interior

We didn’t get to eat inside, due to COVID, but there is a really nice park across the street with picnic style benches. What we could see for the inside, it was small and we didn’t think that there would be enough room to social distance even if it was open inside. We were pleased it was a nice day and that we could eat outside at the tables.

The Food

We looked at the menu quickly and it was difficult to order because everything on their menu sounded really delicious.

We ordered a Large Pepperoni, Green Pepper, Bacon, and Onion for $26. It was meaty and delicious. The veggies on this pizza were fresh and cubed so you didn’t get a whole mouth full of all the veggies.

We also ordered a medium Hawaiian for $19. We were happy it wasn’t super saucy and that when you bite into it the toppings don’t all slide off.

The crust on the pizza’s were absolutely amazing with the crunchy cheese.

The only thing we were sad about, we didn’t get a cheese pull like in their Instagram feed. Next time we plan on ordering a cheese pizza so we can get that picture of the amazing cheese pulls.

The Service

The staff were friendly and very busy. It was nice to see they also have a discount of 10% if you pick up the pizza from their location.

The Hours

Monday – Thursday : 4:00 PM – 11:00 PM

Friday – Saturday : 4:00 PM – 12:00 AM

Sunday : 4:00 PM – 10:00 PM

Parking

There is parking on the one side of the street and unfortunately you have to pay.

Last Words

We will be heading back to try some of their other menu items and hopefully get ourselves an amazing cheese pull photo that is Instagram worthy.

Talking Crow Coffee Roasters

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I received some coffee back in March from Talking Crow Coffee Roasters. I have now had some time to sit down and finally write my review. They are located in Washington State. Prior to the COVID 19 starting up we were planning a trip to the US to visit some roasters and coffee shops. We have since put that trip on hold. Below is a couple of clips from their website to say a little about them.

 

Where their name came from??

Inspiration came from an injured baby crow that was brought to Eric when he was a young boy and rehabilitated by him and his family. During that time they named him Tony and taught him how to talk. Tony adored Eric and showed his devotion to him by flying alongside the school bus and hanging around the schoolyard waiting for Eric to finish with his day. While he waited, Tony visited the special needs children when they had their recess. To their amusement he could count to ten and sing the ABC’s, but, also had many short phrases that he would say such as, “Hello”…”Play ball”…”Don’t fall”. He could even meow like a cat and bark like a dog! He was incredible and unique – the perfect model for our brand.

 

Their Story

Talking Crow began with us, a husband and wife with a passion for excellent coffee.  We are a predominately decaf coffee company and this is why…for health reasons Carol needs to drink decaf.  Third Wave Specialty coffee offers choices of roasts, regions and seasonal single-origins all with phenomenal tasting notes, but these varied offerings are not available for decaf. We’re here to change that by providing a range of selections. Whether you are an occasional or a consistent decaf coffee drinker, now you don’t have to settle for “meh”. We set out to redefine decaf for you…it will taste exceptional and you will have choices. Coffee is for everyone. Caffeine isn’t.

We are committed to using 100% natural and chemical free Swiss Water Process decaffeinated green beans.  Pursuing quality relationships with the producers (farmers) and suppliers (importers) allows us to source the best quality beans. Small batch roasting enables us to ensure quality and consistency. Running a fluid bed roaster lets us minimize our carbon footprint by reducing carbon emissions. These intentional choices represent our values.  All of them result in coffee worth talking about. And for those of you who drink regular…we do that too!

Taking it to task, I sampled the coffee via pour over, drip and as an espresso based drink.

 

The Beans


Ethiopia Sidama Shantawene

Swiss Water Process Decaf

I made this coffee three ways, I did a latte and then took it to work and tried this as a drip.

The latte delivered a punch right in your face with sweetness and also delivered some strong notes of chocolate and caramel. I was extremely impressed with this coffee.

I took this one to work and brewed this as a drip. The coffee proved similarly fruity and sweet and was so smooth with zero bitterness. Overall our staff at work preferred this coffee.

The pour over also proved excellent with notes of chocolate and just a bit of sweetness, amidst a medium body, also proving delicious in its totality.

Tasting notes: Raspberry, peach candy, dried apricot, red grape, chocolate and caramel


 

Kenya Tamu ab

I made this coffee two ways, I did a pour over and an espresso based drink.

The pour over blasted out some stronger bolder flavors, proving to be a lusciously rich and juicy coffee. The coffee rolled out notes of chocolate with just a touch of citrus.

I also tried this one as an espresso drink, it blended well with the milk and made for a nice sweeter tasting latte.

Tasting Notes:  Maple syrup, citrus, dark chocolate, black currant


 

Costa Rica Tarrazu

Swiss Water Process Decaf

I pulled the shot a little long with a nice brown crema, this espresso blended so nice with the milk. It had some nice chocolatey flavors with some citrus fruity notes in there. The flavors were infused nicely in this coffee.

Later that night I tried this coffee as a pour over. The pour over was like fireworks exploding in your mouth, the citrus flavors were outstanding. I also wanted to say that I found this coffee so refreshing to drink.

Out of all of these coffees, this was my favorite. It was terrific that this light roast coffee delivered so much flavour.

Tasting Notes: Floral, Citrus, Hints of Caramel and Chocolate

 

Last Words

Overall, Talking Crow Coffee Roasters really impressed me with their decaf selections they sent me. I was always a believer that decaf tasted different or lacked in flavor and found I was scared to even try it. Carol and Eric have changed my mind on decaf. For that I thank you.

To everyone else, please go to their website at www.talkingcrowcoffeeroasters.com and check out their line-up. They have something for everyone, but make sure you try some of their decaf coffees, you won’t be disappointed.

 

 

note: coffee was provided free of charge and the above review is objective feedback.

 

 

 

 

 

Supporting Local During this Pandemic

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The COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed our entire world this past month and for the unforeseeable future. The news is using new words like social-distancing, self-isolation, and people are wearing gloves and masks to go grocery shopping, and being what is really getting to individuals is being divided from our family and friends seems like the new normal.

These days more and more local and independent coffee roasters and cafes are closing their doors and being effected by the new normal of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is our duty to continue to help these local and independent coffee roasters and cafes in any way that we can, whether that be to order some coffee online and have it shipped to your home or using their curbside delivery service. Any little bit helps these amazing coffee shops.

Support Local

We have been supporting local independent for the last four years and we know the support that is needed to keep these amazing companies afloat. Many of the amazing roasters we have met these last few years have been located in small towns that we have visited. Even those in the big cities still need the help because they are being effected more than ever with companies closing and the roasters and cafes are losing all of their best business. It is a crucial time and we really need to support those that are near and dear to us.

In this new normal we need to be supporting the small, local and independent businesses in the city and surrounding area. If we don’t they may not survive and we could see our favourite cafes closing down permanently.

Since we support local and independent coffee shops and cafes we wanted to make sure that you had some options that if you wanted to help them, you can find all the information here. Even if you head to their website and purchase some coffee, buy some of their merch, or even support by stopping by and using their curbside delivery. Anything you can do will help and make a difference in their eyes.

Local Independents to support

(this is a small list of those we could think of, there are many more, but these are a few you could support today)

94 Take The Cake – Contactless Pickup, Delivery (Call 587-757-1090) 

Black Sheep – Contactless Delivery, Pickup and Order Online (Wednesday – Monday 8:00am – 6:00pm)

Bridgeland Market – Curbside Pickup (Monday – Friday: 7:00am – 8:00pm, Saturday – Sunday: 8:00am – 7:30pm) and Delivery (over $50)

Burger 320 – Pickup (Wednesday – Friday: 4:00pm – 8:00pm, Saturday – Sunday: 12:00pm – 8:00pm)

Euphoria – Order Inside or Curbside Take Out (7:00am – 5:00pm Daily)

CabCity Cafe – Take out (7 customers at a time) and Delivery (Monday – Saturday: 9:00am – 2:00pm)

Calgary Heritage Roasters – Take out (Tuesday – Saturday: 9:00am – 2:00pm)

Devil’s Head – Take Out (1 customer at a time), Curbside Pickup, Contactless Delivery of Beans (Monday – Friday: 10:00am – 6:00pm)

Good Trade Coffee – Curbside Pickup and Take Out (Kensington: 8:00am – 5:00pm)

Gus’ Pizza – Take Out, Delivery, Skip the Dishes (Monday – Friday: 10:00am – 9:00pm, Saturday: 4:00pm – 8:00pm)

Inglewood Pizza – Pickup (2 customers in store) (Monday – Thursday: 11:00am – 9:00pm, Friday: 11:00am – 10:00pm, Saturday: 12:00pm – 10:00pm, Sunday: 12:00pm – 9:00pm), Contactless Delivery

Kingdom Coffee – Pickup at CabCity, Bite, Order Online for Delivery

Loft Coffee – Free Delivery across Canada over $60, $5 flat in Alberta and Free Delivery to Okotoks, Pickup at 94 Take The Cake

Lukes Drug Mart – Take Out and Regular Hours in Bridgeland

Next Page – Order Online and Free Delivery to Calgary

PB & J YYC – Take Out (Sunday – Thursday: 7:00am – 4:00pm, Friday – Saturday: 7:00am – 6:00pm) and Contactless Pickup, Order Uber Eats, Skip the Dishes and Food Dash

ReGrub – Deerfoot (Deliveries only), Beltline 12:00pm – 8:30pm Daily (Delivery and Pick Up)

Sought and Found – Pickup (Tuesday – Saturday: 830am-3pm) and Curbside Pickup, Free local delivery of beans and equipment over $30, Free shipping across Canada over $50

Without Papers Pizza – Pickup (12:00pm – 9:00pm Daily) and Delivery through Skip the Dishes

———

Just know that any little bit that you can do will really help.

Stay safe.

Stay caffeinated.

Extreme Coffee Freak

Brekkie

We recently had the opportunity to try a new breakfast place called Brekkie. They have been open for a year and a half and when we visited they were busy. Even though it was busy we didn’t have to yell to talk to each other.

The Interior

The interior is wide open and there is a lot of natural light which make the space look a lot bigger than it actually is. There is plenty of seating all over the location and the tables had modern looking chairs. There was really cool paintings all over the walls. There is an open partition in the middle of the location to create the illusion of a wall.

The Drinks

I ordered a Latte for $5 made with Monogram Coffee and it tasted pretty good.

My wife ordered a Masala Chai Latte for $6.50 and she said it was a little weak and not enough flavour.

My daughter ordered a Green Vanilla Tea for $3.50 and she said it was really good and light.

The Food

I ordered the Rancher’s Brekkie for $23 and it was delicious. The meat had really good maple flavour and the short rib was delicious and tender. The cornbread had a really strong jalapeño flavour with was really good. The black bean ragout was a great addition to this dish.

My wife ordered the Classic Brekkie for $14 and she said it was really good. The combination of three different potatoes is a really nice touch. The bacon was thick cut which is always a bonus. There is lots of food, so make sure you are hungry.

My daughter ordered the Roasted Mushroom and Arugula Benny for $17 and it was amazing. The blend of mushroom and arugula is really delicious and amazing. She only wished that the hollandaise had more flavour.

The Service

The staff were friendly and nice. They brought the food quickly and it was hot, which is always a good thing.

The Hours

Monday to Sunday: 7:00 am to 3:00 pm

 

Parking

There is a parking lot that is available to the building and it is free parking which is always a bonus.

 

Last Words

We will definitely be heading back there to try some of their other menu items that really stood out to us when we were looking at the menu.

Currency Coffee Roasters

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Founded in the home of American currency – Dalton, Massachusetts. A small town in the Berkshires, Dalton has been the home to many paper companies. The one remaining has been supplying the world with U.S. currency for over 200 years. It stands alone as the prime example of American ingenuity. We honor this tradition of keeping small town America the driving engine of economic growth. Join us to help keep our town a vibrant part of America. Tap into a truly unique coffee experience. The definition of currency… value for value.

The first thing that really intrigued me when I received this coffee was the detail in their packaging, and how they shipped it. The packaging on the bags is very cool. Even the box they shipped the coffee had their logo in it and inside there was shredded money. This is a company that really stands in front of its brand.

Taking it to task, I sampled the coffee via pour over, drip and as an espresso based drink.

 

The Beans

Oaxaca – Light Roast

Certified Organic Currency™ Oaxaca is a varietal with low acidity. Chocolate notes, walnut and honey flavors lace this beautiful Mexican organic coffee. Light roast.

I normally prefer a medium roasted coffee but after smelling this coffee, I knew I had to try it first. The aroma coming out of this bag when I opened it was so pleasant to me. The smell coming out of this bag was so sweet, you almost wanted to eat it up like candy.

I made this coffee two ways, I did a latte and then took it to work and did this as a drip.

The latte delivered an explosion of smooth sweetness, with lots of honey, with just a little bit of nuttiness. There were some floral notes hanging around there as well. I was extremely impressed with this coffee.

This Mexican drip coffee proved similarly fruity and sweet. So smooth with zero bitterness. Overall our staff at work preferred this coffee.

Out of all of these coffees, this was my favorite. It was terrific that this light roast coffee delivered so much flavour.

 

Civilization Blend – Light Roast

Civilization Blend from Currency™ Coffee Co. Beans from Guatemala and Peru fill this blend with bright acidity and well-rounded flavor. The enticing aroma of this light roast coffee will bring you in and back for more. Chemex or French press are a great way to bring out the characteristics of this blend.

I made this coffee three ways, I did a pour over and then took it to work and did this as a drip and did an espresso based drink.

The drip blasted out some stronger bolder flavors, proving to be a lusciously rich and juicy coffee. Our staff really loved this one as well.

The pour over rolled out notes of chocolate amidst a medium body, also proving delicious in its totality.

I also tried this one up in an espresso drink, it also blended well with the steamed milk and made for a lighter tasting latte.

 

Justice Blend – Dark Roast

Justice Blend from Currency™ Coffee Company. Not all blends are created equal. Justice Blend from Currency™ Coffee is a mix of Central American, Indonesian, and African beans. It has a rich and inviting aroma and a rich finish. Justice Blend is a dark roast coffee. There is a heavy sheen of oil on these coffee beans. Chemex or French press are a great way to bring out the characteristics of this blend and is great for espresso too.

This coffee I did as an espresso based drink and drip.

From what I have read this is Currency Coffee’s most popular blend. This was the last coffee I tried as I am not a huge fan of dark roast coffees. In both drinks I made this coffee proved to be both bold and rich tasting.

I pulled the shot a bit short with a nice brown crema, this espresso blended so nice with the milk. It had some nice chocolatey flavors with some fruity notes in there. The flavors were infused nicely in this blend.

The next day I tried this same blend as a drip. Again what I did was had a few of our coffee connoisseurs at work give it a go. We found this coffee much bolder than the others which I would expect out of dark roast blend. For those who love the dark roast really loved it and the others, not so much.

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Last Words

Overall, Currency Coffee really impressed me with their offerings, with the attention to detail in their shipping and packing methods. Then when you finally sample the beans, the blends they have put together are outstanding. They have something for all coffee lovers in their lineup.

Go to their website at www.currencycoffee.com and check out their products.

note: coffee was provided free of charge and the above review is objective feedback.

 

 

 

 

 

Loophole Coffee Bar

We decided to head to the West End of downtown Calgary to check out his new place that has only been opened since early December. Located on 10th Street SW between 7th and 8th Ave.

 

The Interior

This is a little shop that sells everything vintage, clothes, books, records, artwork and of course they have a coffee bar. There is a few seats at the bar and 3 more comfy chairs in the middle of the place. The whole place is very eclectic.

 

The Drinks

I ordered a Latte for $4.50 and seen that they use The Roasterie Coffee (located in the heart of Kensington) and today they were using a three bean blend which is a 1/3 Dark Colombian, 1/3 Dark Sidamo, and 1/3 Medium Oaxacan/Chiapas depending on availability. It had some very bold flavors. It was quite tasty and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

My wife ordered the London Fog for $4.75 and unfortunately it was made with Lipton Earl Grey which was really depressing, but we found it interesting that they used condensed milk as their sweetener. She wished they used better tea and then with that sweetener it would taste really good.

My daughter ordered the Hot Chocolate for $4.25 and it was made with real chocolate which was really smooth and delicious. It also came in a very cute mug.

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The Service

The barista looked very familiar to us and then we realized that he is the roaster from The Roasterie. They were all very friendly and super chill.

We almost had our cover blown because they started talking about us while we were sitting there, it was quite funny.

 

The Hours

Monday to Friday – 8:00AM – 7:00PM

Saturday and Sunday – 8:00AM – 6:00PM

 

Parking

There is very limited parking on the street around the shop and sorry to say you will have to pay for parking.

 

Last Words

This is a very unique little shop and we wish them much success. If we found ourselves in the West End again we will definitely stop in and get a beverage. Maybe next time we won’t be called unknowns while we are sitting there.

YYC Hot Chocolate Closing Remarks

Wow, what a hot chocolate fest. Well done Calgary! This has been the hardest year to pick our top ones. We generally gravitate towards more creative hot chocolates. You can taste the difference when shops have really gone all in with the flavour profiles.

My wife and daughter didn’t drink the same hot chocolates at some shops, because of preference or just had too many in a day, which also helps our lists be different.

We managed to try 45 different hot chocolates from 44 different locations and spending roughly $250 with the average hot chocolate costing five and a half dollars. We found that the price points this year were really amazing.

We found it very difficult to narrow down to our top five, so we decided to do a top event list instead. We also couldn’t choose an overall winner from our top choices so in no particular order here are my wife’s and my daughter’s lists.

My wife’s top seven:

  1. Black Sheep – Holy Smokes
  2. Totalitea – White Chocolate Raspberry Latte
  3. Bike and Brew – Toffifee Hot Chocolate
  4. Calgary Heritage Roasting Company – Chicken Bones
  5. Lina’s – Sapori di Sicilia
  6. Sawa – Spice It Up
  7. The Nash – Dark Cocoa with Toasted Banana Meringue

My daughter’s top seven:

  1. Sought x Found – Marshmallow Bar + Real Chocolate x Milk
  2. Amato Gelato – White Rum Raspberry (spirited)
  3. Totalitea – White Chocolate Raspberry Latte
  4. Sawa – Spice It Up
  5. Bike and Brew – Toffifee Hot Chocolate
  6. Hexagon – PB + J Hot Chocolate
  7. Deane House – Ruby Chocolate Ganache Hot Chocolate

This year we added a map of all the locations we visited to you can see the wide area of all the hot chocolates we tasted.

We could all agree that this year there was some outstanding hot chocolates and a couple that lacked some flavour. The ones that were outstanding really stood out against the rest, whereas the ones that were disappointing really were not good due to aspects of the hot chocolate that failed. Whether it was their flavour, their whip, their garnishes, or their overall beverage.

We were very pleased to be apart of this years YYC Hot Chocolate Fest and we were so happy that we were able to visit as many locations as we could.

A big thank you to who all participated and who bought to help support Meals On Wheels. Thank you to all for helping this wonderful organization.

Happy Chocolating!!

Cravings – Arts Common

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Cookies and Cream Cheesecake Chocolate – $5.75

The name says it all… your all-time favourites in one creation! Our cookie-based hot chocolate creation has a rich Italian chocolate base, mixed with Raspberry liqueur and Kalua (No-alcohol option available), creamy milk and cookies comes with a delicious chocolate covered cookie, whipped cream, white and dark chocolate shavings and a delicious brownie on top that will have your senses tingling.

Today we tried the non-alcohol one since there were other things that needed to be done. The hot chocolate is very pretty and aesthetically pleasing. The brownie pieces are very good and full of chocolate flavour and the marshmallow fluff around the outside it delicious toasted with all the flavours of the hot chocolate.

The whip of the drink takes up one third of the cup which is slightly disappointing, so that really cooled down the hot chocolate quickly. The flavour of the hot chocolate is sweet because you get that cheesecake flavour. Either way it is a really good hot chocolate.