The refreshing thing about farmers’ markets in Calgary is that they remind both Jack and myself of London’s Borough Market, with its blend of fresh produce, specialty goods, and hot foods.
Avenida Food Hall, situated in a shopping complex of shining white buildings, packs a surprising variety of cuisines. The produce selection isn’t as large as Calgary Farmers’ Market, but just as enjoyable to visit.
Despite the availability of Thai curries, Mexican street food, and even ramen, I ended up choosing a hipster-y looking sort of place. Looking for a hipster name? Choose any two nouns and join with a plus sign or an ampersand. In all seriousness though, I stopped because of the samples (it happened again!) They had pierogies. My love for potatoes waxes ever strong.
I ended up going with The Plate ($17+tax), which allowed me to try a number of items. In this case, my plate consisted of the summer sausage and potato soup, cheddar pierogies, and smoked trout (served warm at my choosing). The dish was accompanied by a generous portion of house tartar as well.
Where to begin? The soup, served in a teacup of fine china, was sublime. Rosemary, dill, and (I believe) celery seed gave this an earthy, herbal flavour far removed from the typical chowder of other restaurants. The pierogies were soft and packed, yet pillowy. The smoked trout was pure in taste, and the tartar sauce was almost fruity in all its pickled wonder.
On their website, Wild Rhubarb + Buck describes their food as Prairie Comfort Food, and they emphasize the importance of buying local whenever possible. Perhaps that explains the sightly higher price tag and smaller portions, especially in comparison with other vendors at Avenida. That being said, I enjoyed everything on the plate, and I think they quite accomplished their goal of serving up what felt like a “delicious home-cooked meal.”
A final shout out to the reusable tableware and decor. Having your food served on an actual dinner plate really sets a mood, especially in a food court-style location. It took a good deal of self control for me to not buy dessert afterwards as well, although they sell baked goods and even pickles for you to take home. There are definitely more cost-friendly options at Avenida, but if you’re looking for slow food and a treat for your tastebuds, give Wild Rhubarb + Buck a try.