hittingthesauce

“If more of us valued food and cheer above hoarded gold, it would be a much merrier world.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien

Muse Restaurant and Lounge- Taste of Alberta

Muse was on my wish list for some time. So, when I heard that Muse’s executive chef, JP Pedhirney, was offering a special four-course for Taste Alberta for only $70, I couldn’t resist. Taste Alberta, a dining series created by the Calgary Herald and the Edmonton Journal, showcased eight restaurants in Calgary and Edmonton, focusing on the chef’s local producers and ingredients.

The ambiance in Muse is unique, so much that I felt like I wasn’t dining in Calgary. The upstairs room was decorated in warm, inviting colours. The room was intimate, exuding an old school elegance. Our corner booth by the patio was plush, comfortable and semi-private.

We sipped on prosecco ($11.00), while we mulled over the wine menu. Instead of picking a bottle off the list, we took advantage of the special $40.00 Canadian wine pairing. I made a mental note to come again, the patio or the lounge look like ideal spots to drop by for an after work drink.


Our lovely server Emily brought over the first dish, Edgar Farms Asparagus with House Made Lonzo from Broek Pork Acres and a Poached Hen Egg from Sunworks Farm. Emily briefed us on the wine pairing, Ex Nihilo, Pinot Gris from Lake Country. She noted this wine went well with the asparagus. The asparagus was cooked just so that stalks still firm but tender, and sweet. The hen egg was incredible – the texture was like cream. I forgot to take a picture of the first course, so instead, I posted this clip of Chef JP Pedhirney’s making the first course.
gnocchi

The second course was Poplar Bluff Agria Potato Gnocchi with Leeks, House Made Cotechino and Australian Winter Truffles. Emily explained that the Chateaude Charmes, Cabernet-Merlot was a blend of bold (cabernet) and soft (merlot), which paired well with the pork. This dish was delicious. I couldn’t get enough of the sausage, which was soft in texture, delicate in flavour, and it has the most decadent fat to meat ratio. I savoured the sweet juices that squirted from the pork. The gnocchi was light with a crisp exterior.

pretty pork

The third course was Driview Farm Lamb Loin and Lamb Belly with Hay, Ramps, Spring Carrots from Hotchkiss and Cold Pressed Canola Oil with Highwood Crossing. Emily brought over glasses of Mission Hill, Syrah, Single Lot Collection. Emily informed us that this wine paired well with lighter types of meat, such as lamb. This syrah was my favourite wine of the night – though I can’t figure out what about the wine I enjoyed so much. Best left to the wine experts. I enjoyed the lamb belly even more the in house sausage. The fat on the belly was very crispy on the outside and practically melted in my mouth as I slowly chewed the flavours out of the meat. The loin was leaner, tender and succulent. The lemon-pickled turnips were fresh and lemony, while the red toasted grains had a nice chew to it.

palate cleanser
Before our last course, Emily brought over a citrus pomegranate pop as cleanser. I loved the bottle – it reminded me of Alice in Wonderland when she had to drink the potion to become smaller. Sadly, I doubted this pop, despite its creamicle-like flavours, could shrink me. The citrus pomegranate merely tasted delicious and cleared my palate for dessert.

dessert better
The final course was Edgar Farms Rhubarb Parfait with Goat Milk Yogurt from Fairwinds Farm, Rhubarb Sponge, and Pistachio Ice-Cream. This was by the far the prettiest dessert I’ve ever devoured – resplendent with viola flowers, strawberry chips and rose hued consomme. The pistachio was decadent; rich with pureed nuts and intense with flavour. Emily brought over a glass of Vineland Icewine, a winery I became acquainted with at Mark Bata’s collaboration dinner at downtownfood.

When we left, we received a bag of goodies from Taste Alberta. My favourite of the bunch was a sample of canola oil and a bottle of mixed spices for pork. The Taste of Alberta menu at Muse was a real treat. I’ll have to return with L to try the tasting menu, and again with my girlfriends for a bottle of sparkling wine and some nibbles on their patio. A smart, well priced wine list, posh atmosphere, and killer food makes this restaurant a Kensington gem.

Muse Restaurant and Lounge on Urbanspoon

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