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On the heels of a very busy January where we hosted/sponsored some high profile events (High Performance Rodeo, Bill Brooks Prostate Cancer Ball - which raised over $650K, Burton Canadian Snowboard Open), we are now shifting our attention to romance in February as Valentine's Day draws near. Hotel Arts and Kensington Riverside Inn are romantic locales to celebrate year-round but, they are also ideal spots to celebrate with that special someone on Valentine's Day. But don't just take our word for it, check out what others are saying about us:
- Avenue Magazine: Hotel Arts is featured with our Romance Package as a top pick for a Romantic Stay over Valentine's Day.
- Chef's Table: Named one of Calgary's top 5 dining destinations for Valentine's Day by John Gilchrist in his Food Critic's Choice Awards.
- Edmonton Journal: Hotel Arts & Raw Bar are featured in Jodie McKague's feature "Great Love Stories Need Great Settings (remember to breathe)" as she profiles romantic offerings throughout Alberta.
This month's edition includes highlights of our Valentine's offerings at Raw Bar and Chef's Table. Valentine's Day might also trigger some new engagements and we invite you to learn more about our wedding offerings at both properties. We also shine some spotlight on Tim Strain, our breakfast cook at Chef's Table. After reading his profile and his recipe for Breakfast Hash, we hope that you'll make reservations to enjoy Breakfast or Brunch at the Inn (as we invite both in-house guests and the public to enjoy mornings at Chef's Table). And, of course, we like to share news about upcoming events and initiatives that we try to support as they help make Calgary such a great place to live, work and play in.
VP, Hotel Arts Group
VALENTINE'S DAY WITH THE HOTEL ARTS GROUP
Celebrate Valentine's Day with Raw Bar
Raw Bar will be offering a special Chef's Tasting Menu on February 14. The menu consists of four courses created by the Raw Bar culinary team, starting off with a Porcini Mushroom Cappuccino and ending with a Blood Orange Pannacotta.
Tasting Menu: $45
Optional Wine Pairings: $35
Ever the innovator, Raw Bartender Colin Tait has created some amazing cocktail pairings for each dish of the Valentine's Dinner in the Raw Bar. For the starter, Colin has prepared a Champagne sipper with black walnut bitters and toffee-vanilla syrup to pair with the porcini mushroom cappuccino. For the lobster and BC spot prawn sashimi, Colin created a citrusy gin and elderflower liqueur cocktail with grapefruit cordial and hopped bitters. For the heartier main course of roasted Alberta Beef Tenderloin, Colin selected an apple brandy and rum cask beer drink with chocolate bitters. And, to finish things off, he has prepared an Aperol concoction with burlesque bitters and blood orange tincture to pair with an exquisite blood orange pannacotta dessert.
The four-course tasting menu with cocktail pairings costs $84 per person. You're invited to reserve your spot for Valentine's Day by contacting the Raw Bar at 403.206.9565.
Valentine's Dinner at the Inn
Book your romantic evening at the Inn now and enjoy a sumptuous five-course dinner prepared by our award-winning Chef de Cuisine Craig Boje in our Four-Diamond rated Chef's Table dining room.
When: Tuesday, February 14
Price: Five-course Menu $98/person
Optional Wine Pairings starting at $48/person
Seatings: 5:30pm and 8:00pm
For reservations call 403.228.4442 or visit open table at www.opentable.com/chefs-table-at-the-kensington-riverside-inn.
Take the elevator home and book your Valentine's package now with rates including breakfast!
STAFF PROFILE: TIM STRAIN
It is wasn't for Jann Arden, Tim Strain would not be delighting our guests from the kitchen at Chef's Table . While working as part of Jann's management team, Tim was fortunate enough to travel the globe and was able to sample a rich array of cuisine. During his first trip to Italy, Tim was exposed to an abundance of simple yet exquisitely flavourful foods that each region offers. The food and wine he experienced on his second trip was so impactful that it prompted him to apply to the Culinary Arts program at Calgary's SAIT Polytechnic. Graduating with a 3.98/4.0 GPA confirmed that he had the talent to back up his new-found passion.
While studying at SAIT, Tim set himself a goal of eventually working with the Hotel Arts Group. He was impressed with the scope of media attention and culinary accolades that the group had earned since its inception. Executive Chef Duncan Ly at Hotel Arts (Gold medallist 2010 Gold Medal Plates), and Chef Craig Boje at the Kensington Riverside Inn (2012 AAA 4-Diamond Restaurant Award), produce work environments where learning and passion are a part of every activity - another great opportunity for Tim to expand his growing knowledge and expertise.
Tim worked with Chef Ly in the banquet department and at Raw Bar before making the move to Chef's Table at Kensington Riverside Inn this past fall.
Tim prepares the amazing breakfasts that our guests experience each morning at Chef's Table. Tim rises each morning at 430am to prepare the first sumptuous breakfasts at 7am midweek but he still gets up early on the weekends to bake the homemade breads. He's also busy preparing complimentary buttermilk biscuits which are served on weekends when guests arrive at Chef's Table before they order to set the stage for a memorable start to their dining day. On a side note, weekend breakfast service begins at 8am on Saturday and 9am on Sunday.
Although he claims that his favourite "dish" is Janine (his wife), he does have a favourite at Chef's Table, and of course, it has an Italian connection. The "Italian Breakfast Sandwich" is garnering a host of popular reviews (panfried salami, basil, prosciutto, over-easy eggs on housemade foccacia bread). Tim notes that there are two other popular features on the breakfast menu that draw rave reviews: the French Toast stuffed with bacon and brie as well as the Croque Madame which is a really decadent ham and cheese sandwich with Bechamel coating with cheese and mustards and baked crispy with poached eggs and hollandaise on top...heavenly.
As a result of his early morning starts, Tim likes to sleep in when he has time off. He and wife also travel to exotic spots like Venice, Tuscany and Switzerland where they procure amazing recipes from relatives and friends to bring back to appreciative guests whom they entertain at their fabulous home and oasis-like garden.
Tim and Janine still reconnect with Jann Arden on occasion and they're looking forward to seeing her at the Jubilee on February 23rd to launch her new North American Tour. Tickets are available at http://www.ticketmaster.ca/Jann-Arden-tickets/artist/759974. Tickets to experience Tim Strain's breakfasts are not required but reservations to Chef's Table are always highly recommended.
For this month's e-newsletter, Tim shares a recipe for Breakfast Hash.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
˝ teaspoon Red Chili Flakes
4 sprigs of Thyme
1 tablespoon Dark Brown Sugar (Demerara)
1 sweet potato (medium) - medium dice (˝ inch by ˝ inch by ˝ inch)
1 butternut squash (medium) - medium dice (˝ inch by ˝ inch by ˝ inch)
Salt and pepper to taste
250 grams mushrooms - rough chop
Sliced prosciutto (about one slice per portion) cut into long, thin pieces.
Flat Leaf or Italian Parsley - fine chop
Eggs - for poaching
Place butter into a small saucepan and melt over low heat. Once melted, remove pan from heat and add the chili flakes and half of the thyme (for more kick, add more chili flakes). Let rest for 10 minutes.
Strain through a fine sieve. Discard thyme and chili flakes. Stir brown sugar into the butter and set aside.
Peel and dice the sweet potato and butternut squash. Toss with the butter-sugar mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the mixture in a single layer on a parchment lined sheet tray. Place into a 400 degree oven and roast until tender, but still slightly chewy (approx. 20 minutes). Stir halfway through the roasting time.
A couple of options for cooking the mushrooms:
- Lightly oil and season the mushrooms with salt and pepper. Spread on a sheet tray and add to the potato-squash mixture while still in the oven, for about 10 minutes.
- Lightly oil a frying pan and quickly sauté mushrooms over medium to high heat. Season with salt and pepper. This is what we do.
Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium to high heat. Add prosciutto slices and cook until lightly brown and crispy, about 5 minutes. Be sure to turn on your hood fan since the pan may smoke (but its good smoke...).
Bring a pot of water to a gentle simmer (a boil with break up the eggs, too low a simmer and the eggs will stick to the bottom). Add 2-3 Tablespoons of white vinegar to the water. Crack eggs into individual bowls and gently add to the water. Cook for four minutes or until the egg white is set but still wiggles. Remove from pot with a slotted spoon and drain on a kitchen cloth.
In a large bowl, toss together the sweet potato, squash, mushrooms and thyme leaves from the remaining sprigs. Adjust seasoning.
Spoon portions into individual serving bowls. Top with crisp prosciutto, chopped parsley and finally the poached eggs. Garnish with large grain salt (we use Maldon smoked sea salt flakes) and serve. Accompany with fresh melon, like cantaloupe, and bread - which compliment the flavours of the hash and provide interesting textures. Let the server handle complaints and the cook the compliments.
Brunch at the Inn
Brunch hours Saturday 8:00am - 1:00pm, Sunday 9:00am - 1:00pm and of course, daily breakfast Monday - Friday 7:00am - 10:00am for those on their way to work or a business breakfast meeting!
WEDDINGS! WEDDINGS! WEDDINGS!
Hotel Arts Group participated at the Calgary Bridal Fair on Sunday, January 22 and connected with several brides & grooms on their journey to planning their wedding. The show had booths ranging from wedding planners, photographers, decor specialists, florists to specialty cakes and provided many options for couples to think about. The booth for Hotel Arts & Kensington Riverside Inn was awarded the 'Best Booth' in the hotel division at the show. A special thank you to Orange Frog Productions, one of our event design partners, who provided us with fabulous décor for the Bridal Fair as well as for the Bill Brooks Prostate Cancer Benefit earlier that weekend.
Hotel Arts and Kensington Riverside Inn are excited to welcome brides & grooms to our venues and we appreciate the opportunity to partner with you in making your Wedding Day special and memorable. Brian Brownlee, Hotel Arts Wedding Specialist, is looking forward to creative set-ups, elaborate back drops and specialty custom menus in 2012. "The brides choose our venues because of our creativity and ability to step outside the box to give the couple exactly what they are looking for on their special day".
If you are interested in a unique space for your Wedding Day, please contact:
Event Services Manager, Hotel Arts
Hotel Manager, Kensington Riverside Inn
NOTEWORTHY: Hotel Arts mentioned in EnRoute
Isa Tousignant profiled Calgary's exciting music scene in this month's edition of EnRoute Magazine. Amidst her feature of several great venues and the people that are working hard to develop the cultural vibe in our young city, Isa provided a nice mention for Hotel Arts as well as our resident musician, Frank Torrealba, Guest Service Agent extraordinaire and hard-working touring musician with Crystal Kid. We are elated that Isa mentioned that she enjoyed sleeping in during her time at Hotel Arts in her cloud-like bed. And it's true, we've had a few touring musicians doing some recording work in their suites during their visits to Calgary. We hope that our designer hotel help sparks the creative muse in everyone. Thanks Isa for the kind words about our hotel and for profiling our city.
18 Degrees of Jazz: February 25
If like Jazz Music, we highly recommend getting tickets for this amazing event! An 18 piece Big Band Jazz Band will be playing on Saturday, February 25 at Hotel Arts - Calgary Jazz Orchestra led by Johnny Summers. Proceeds from ticket sales and the silent auction component will support Big Brothers Big Sisters of Calgary and Area.
Put your dancing shoes on as all the greatest jazz songs will surely get you moving. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.18degreesofjazz.ca/.
Enter into the Newsletter Contest and you have a chance to win two complimentary tickets! See details below.
Images of Hope Fundraiser
On Saturday March 10th, supporters will gather once again to raise money for the Generations of Hope Fertility Assistance Fund through its primary fundraising event, Images of Hope. Last year, over 250 people attended this event at Hotel Arts and raised nearly $110,000. Funds helped people challenged emotionally and financially to get the assistance they need to pay for In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and other fertility treatments.
The early bird ticket price is $50 each until Wednesday, February 15. Starting February 16, the regular ticket price is $75 each. Please go to www.generationsofhope.ca to purchase tickets.
For more information on this event please go to www.generationsofhope.ca or call 403.284.9103.
Decidedly Jazz Danceworks: March 17
Possessed is one of the hottest signature fundraisers in town for party goers who want to dress up, get down and unleash their spring fever. Be prepared to groove, move and get down all night long to the Funk, R&B, and Motown sounds of two live bands and DJ Cam Sound! New this year, URBANdivide and back by popular demand, Superband. Expect amazing music, a packed dance floor, impromptu performances by the DJD company and guests, a spectacular silent auction, fabulous cocktails and delicious culinary delights.
Come join us on March 17 at Hotel Arts for a fun evening. For tickets or more information, visit
TEDxCalgary: May 25
TEDxCalgary just announced several of their speakers & performers for the TEDxYYC talks scheduled for May 25 at the TELUS Spark (new Science Centre).
Sir Nicholas Kenyon, Director of the Barbican Centre, Dr. Breanne Everett, President and CEO of Orpyx and Raffi Cavoukian, iconic Canadian folk singer are the first three of a slate of speakers who will be talking at the event.
The applications process for tickets to the event (200 in total) will begin March 1, 2012 with further announcements and details to be delivered through the event website TEDxYYC.com and social media channels.
When: Friday, May 25, 2012
Where: TELUS Spark | 220 St. NE, Calgary, AB.
For more information: email@example.com @TEDxYYC facebook.com/TEDxYYC
Calgary Expo 2012: Apr 27-29
The entire cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation will be appearing together as a full-cast reunion at the 2012 Calgary Expo helping mark the 25th anniversary of Star Trek: TNG. Sir Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis, Brent Spiner, Michael Dorn, LeVar Burton, Gates McFadden, Wil Wheaton and Denise Crosby will all be at the Calgary Expo April 27-29, 2012 at the BMO Centre.
It's pretty amazing to watch the growth of this festival. Kudos to Kandrix Foong and the organizers for all their hard work and ability to attract top talent to this event.
Hotel Arts and tourism stakeholders throughout the city are looking forward to welcoming these talented guests and all their fans this April when they attend Calgary Expo.
To get your tickets, please visit their website at: http://www.calgaryexpo.com/
Sled Island Festival (June 20-23)
Calgary's Indie Music Festival kicks off again this June with over 200 bands, 100 artists and 30 venues. Sled Island just announced the curators for this year's festival: Andrew WK and the Dude's Dan Vacon. Building on their successes from prior years, it should be an exciting and eclectic line-up once again. Their festival "discovery pass" is available on-line for purchase at http://shop.sledisland.com/#13285456749241&268.
Hotel Arts Group is actively involved in the neighbourhood around us. Every month, we are dedicated to giving back to the community that supports our businesses and helps to make Calgary such a great place to live, work and play.
Here are a few highlights of some of the groups that we try to assist:
Thank you for taking the time to read about the Hotel Arts Group. We invite you to create your own experiences at our properties that we hope will be source of your own memorable stories.
Thank you for supporting the Hotel Arts Group and best wishes for a great February.
VP, Hotel Arts Group
Contributing Editors: Katie Mayer and Fraser Abbott
Along with the Hotel Arts Group Newsletter comes a chance to win Monthly Prizes and enjoy the many aspects of our properties, whether it be luxurious stays at the Hotel Arts or the Kensington Riverside Inn, or unforgettable dining experiences at Raw Bar and Chef's Table!
This month's prize is:
JAZZ NIGHT IN! - TWO TICKETS TO 18 DEGREES OF JAZZ AND A ONE NIGHT STAY AT HOTEL ARTS ON FEBRUARY 25, 2012
To enter in to win the prize above, please send firstname.lastname@example.org an email with the answer to this question: Who did the Hotel Arts Group partner with on decor for our booth at the Calgary Bridal Fair?
If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions, please email Katie Mayer at email@example.com.
HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY
|*Please respond by Monday, February 20, 2012|