I’ve still got a few travel stories, and more importantly, travel recommendations to share with you – but, I’m going to put a pause on them to give you a few helpful tips to kick off your holiday season.
Primarily, food and gifts. The main worries (and joys) of every holiday.
Beginning of course, with food.
If you’re in need of a holiday dinner party location or just a place for a date with your beau, there is one spot this winter (or any season for that matter) that takes the cake: Hy’s Steakhouse.
Cole and I hopped in for the purpose of trying their new Coravin system – developed by an MIT-trained nuclear engineer, and refined over a decade, it uses a small, microscope stainless steel contraption and a fine needle to pierce the foil and the cork, allowing extraction of the wine while filling the remaining space in the bottle with argon gas. Once the needle is removed, the cork reseals itself with only a tiny pinprick remaining – and more importantly, no change to the taste or evolution of the remaining wine within the bottle. Basically, it allows guests to order any bottle by the glass – without ruining the quality for future drinkers.
Now although I don’t drink alcohol, I realize this is somewhat of the oddity in this city, and, especially at holiday parties. But, with this new technology – Cole was able to enjoy a glass or two of the good stuff, without shelling out the big bucks for a bottle that he would have been left to drink alone. Not that he would have complained.
We booked a reservation, put a little extra effort into our outfits for the day, and met up for lunch (a whole other reason why sticking to one or two glasses was a good plan).
The Hy’s space is large – divided into a bunch of smaller areas to ensure that guests have the opportunity for an intimate setting. Big, comfy leather chairs are seated around the tables, books line the walls, and heavy curtains drape the windows.
We were promptly seated in our cozy chairs by the window and given a few moments to peruse through the menu as light-jazz played in the background.
The servers, clad in white blazers and black ties, floated around ensuring each guest had everything they needed, while we glanced out the window at the men and women rushing around Stephen Avenue, surely late for one lunch meeting or another.
Now down to the good stuff, the food.
Cole ordered himself a glass of the Acre Napa Valley Zinfandel and we got started with the most important appetizer of all: garlic cheese toast.
Wrapped in tin foil and baked, large pieces of thick soft bread are coated in garlic butter, and dripping in melted cheese. Each piece is perfectly warm and the gooey cheese almost melts in your mouth. It’s easy to say this isn’t exactly diet-friendly. A menu staple since 1955, it was no wonder why the description was “famously irresistible”.
Next, upon our server’s recommendation, we ordered the seared black and blue Ahi Tuna, another crowd favourite.
I’m not a big fan of raw or rare fish, but upon Cole’s insistence, I grabbed one of the end pieces and gave it a try. The fish was so soft – but the charred outer edges gave it a bit of texture and flavour. It’s the perfect light appetizer to set the tone of your afternoon (or evening) ahead.
^ That’s a true look of happiness ^
I additionally ordered a Caesar salad – knowing I needed a few more greens in my life. With crispy lettuce and fresh sweet Grana Padano, you can’t really go wrong.
Before our entrées, Cole ordered another glass of wine, making sure we really got the feel of the new technology. This time, he selected the lush Decoy Merlot, or as some might call it, the Duckhorn. This is a prime example where the Coravin system shines – it’s one of Cole’s favourite wines, but not something he would have the opportunity to order if it was just us two. Luckily, now that every bottle is basically accessible by the glass, with the quality remaining as exceptional as ever, he was able order the perfect pairing for lunch.
Our meals arrived, and I almost squealed with joy.
Cole had the steak sandwich paired a mushroom brandy sauce, and a side of grilled scallops.
While I went for the traditional filet and fries. Cooked perfectly to medium as requested, my filet cut like butter and melted in my mouth with eat bite. It was the perfect size for lunch – and left enough room to enjoy each crispy and salty fry. Had it been dinner though, I would have gladly ordered the larger size.
There are definitely good steaks in this city, but the quality of mine, the seasoning, the charred outer edges, and the extreme tenderness within made this one a shining star.
After devouring our meals, and making sure to sip every last drop of that precious Duckhorn, we ordered a café and let everything digest.
I would highly recommend Hy’s as your next spot for a business lunch, date, or special event. With their new wine pouring technology, and dare I say it, the best steaks in the city, Hy’s has you covered for what is sure to be an excellent meal in a luxurious setting. There is no doubt in my mind why it was welcomed back to Calgary with longing, open arms.
My only regret? Not ordering a dessert.
Pleasantly full, we parted ways and headed back to work. Our lunch was the perfect thing to cure those Monday blues!
This post was sponsored by Hy’s Steakhouse but all thoughts and opinions are my own. I will happily dub it the best steakhouse in this city and I encourage you to grab a buddy and head on down! Make your holidays a little more special with a few glasses of fine wine – and don’t forget the cheese toast!
(Apologies for the grainy photos everyone… My lens unfortunately broke the day before, leaving me with only my iPhone. Luckily, Santa has come early this year!)