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JUNE 2012


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Mark Wilson

Welcome to the June Edition of the Hotel Arts Group E-Newsletter.  

Stampede is just around the corner and hotel rooms are booking up quickly throughout the city.  Although it's busy at both our properties, we still have pockets of availability and we invite you to make your group or individual reservations before we're all booked up.  Please contact our Reservations Departments at 403.266.4611 for Hotel Arts or 403.228.4442 at Kensington Riverside Inn.


This month, you'll find stories about our new cocktail menu and the motivation our Raw Bartenders had behind it. We also divulge some of our secrets including how to mix one of the popular cocktails from the new menu and we introduce one of our star Raw Bartenders who you'll see supervising the Poolside Patio this season.  


Chef's Table is offering a special Father's Day menu as well as a Stampede Breakfast in partnership with Yelp and Bella offers her Stampede Style tips coupled with shots from a recent photo shoot.   


We also included some upcoming events you might be interested in, particularly the Pig and Pinot Festival at Hotel Arts on June 20, as well as some notable mentions about our group.


Happy Reading!  



Mark Wilson

VP, Hotel Arts Group

Dear Sunny Weather,

I understand that you're being a little elusive and letting your rainy cousin have all the fun this Spring. Notwithstanding your generosity in sharing the limelight, it would be greatly appreciated if you could take centre stage again.  Your presence is sorely missed in Calgary and your fans earnestly welcome your return.


To that end, I wanted to let you know that the Hotel Arts Group is all geared up for your eventual re-appearance. In fact, to welcome your fabulous self back to Calgary, our team of talented mixologists in the Raw Bar have prepared a delicious array of cocktails that our patrons can enjoy poolside at Hotel Arts. Imagine the buoyant sounds of their laughter and cheer as they sip these magical elixirs poolside as they enjoy your warming rays.  Here's a glimpse of our Halekulani Hai made with equal measures of pineapple, orange & lime juices shaken with Diplomatico Premium Reserve Blanco, Elemenkule bitters and maple syrup. This and other drinks featured on our Summer Cocktail Menu are the perfect tonics to enjoy poolside to help erase the trauma of all this soggy weather.  Just to underscore our appreciation for all that you do, we've even included a shout out to you in our menu encouraging our patrons to "Give a toast to the sun and drink with the stars."


In closing, please come back Sunny Weather. We've missed you dearly and would really love for you to join us for an extended stay this summer.





Fraser Abbott

Director of Business Development

Hotel Arts Group

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New Summer Cocktail Collection

Raw Bar launched a Summer Cocktail Menu in late May. Colin Tait, our master mixologist, tapped into his innovative side and produced ten new cocktails which are prepared with seasonal fruits, spices and flavours. You'll be sure to find something new and unexpected!


The motivation for the summer menus is Tiki inspired - Polynesian style drinks that take inspiration from the originals created at "Don the Beachcombers" in Los Angeles in the 1930s and more recently made popular by the drinks writer "Beach Bum Berry". These drinks are exotic in nature and are generally based with Rum.    


Rum is the primary ingredient in many of the cocktails on the list with no two drinks containing the same Rum. This was important as we wanted to showcase versatility of this delicious spirit. At Raw Bar, we want to convey the message that there is lot more complexity with this "molasses beauty" and that the Mojito isn't the king of all summer based cocktails.  


So come down and experience one of our new artisan cocktails on the patio, it's as close to tropical gets in Calgary!



Yes, it's a Banana Daiquiri, 100% gimmick free, this is truly tasty! Our Banana simple syrup is mixed with Banana liqueur from Brazil that carries hints of vanilla and caramel, Rhum Agricole from Martinique and fresh lime juice.


Banana Daiquiri Ingredients

  • 2oz of Rhum Agricole
  • 1oz of Banana Liqueur
  • 1/2oz of Lime Juice
  • 1oz of Simple Syrup
  • 1oz of Egg White

Add all the ingredients to a Boston glass and dry shake for 15 seconds. Add ice hard, shake and then double strain. Garnish with sliced banana rounds.


Warning: To be consumed on a hot day! 



Kai Green, Bar Bartender, Mixologist & Patio Supervisor 

Kai is only 23 years old and from age 13, he has been fascinated with food challenging his taste buds. He started his culinary path on his 13th birthday, requesting a SAIT chef to come to his home allowing Kai the chance to cook alongside an experienced professional. That hands-on experience opened his eyes to the career path that he would eventually embark upon.  


Through his teen years, he began working in different kitchens learning how to appreciate tastes and understand his palate. As alcohol became "legally" accessible, the world of food opened up into the world of food and drink. The idea that amazing tastes could be experienced through drink, gave Kai the impetus to branch out and experiment within the world of wine, spirits, and food pairing.  


After a two-year stint at the University of Saskatchewan on a football scholarship, Kai returned to his first love and enrolled at the Fine Art Bartending School, where his foundation and  understanding of alcohol and wine were solidified. Upon graduating from Fine Art, he began working in the club industry where he learned what bartending was all about.  


Kai recently graduated from the Hospitality Management program at SAIT Polytechnic. Kai feels he has gained a great knowledge of the industry and has learned invaluable skills during his time at Raw Bar. He currently holds the position of mixologist and patio supervisor. Kai's future plans are to continue to explore the fascinating connection between food and drink.

CHEF'S TABLE & KRI Follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook View our profile on LinkedIn 

Father's Day at the Inn

Treat dad to a full-service brunch on Saturday June 16th or Sunday June 17th to celebrate Father's Day!  Chef's Table is open for brunch service between 9:00am and 2:00pm on both Saturday and Sunday with a $25/person menu. Book on-line on open table or call 403.228.4442.  


Our popular brunch sells out fast so please make your reservations today!




Yelp! Pop-Up Stampede Breakfast

Chef's Table and Yelp! are partnering up to offer a Stampede Pancake Breakfast on Tuesday, July 10th from 7:00am to 10:00am. Come join in on a classic Stampede Breakfast with a culinary twist. More details will be shared soon on twitter (@KRI_Calgary), facebook (facebook.com/KRI_Calgary) and our website www.kensingtonriversideinn.com.


Photo: Chef Craig Boje, Chef's Table 



Executive Chef Duncan Ly paid a visit to McKenzie Lake School in late May to help out with their annual "Celebration of Learning". As part of their health and wellness program, students are learning about healthy foods and have been growing produce in Earth Box Garden Kits. They have experimented with seeds and growing conditions as well as exploring where food originates.  


Chef Ly toured the school beforehand to gain a better idea of the range of items that the students are growing. He then prepared several recipes using the vegetables and herbs cultivated in the classroom gardens so that the students and their parents could learn how to make these items at home.


For the "Celebration of Learning", Chef Ly prepared four different recipes and served up the items for students, faculty and visiting parents. Hotel Arts printed several hundred recipe cards so that the kids can make these dishes at home.  


We are pleased to share two of these recipes with you so that you can try them out too (Tomato Gazpacho and Oven-Baked Veggie Chips). The artwork on the postcard recipes are samples from the works developed by the students at McKenzie Lake School.





Hotel Arts will be hosting City Palate Magazine's 2nd Annual Pig & Pinot Festival on Wednesday, June 20th in the Spectrum Ballroom with proceeds earmarked for Calgary Meals on Wheels.


Calgary Meals on Wheels has provided Calgary 47 years of uninterrupted service (1700 meals per day) in their original space and are currently in need of funds to expand to a much needed new facility.


Some of Calgary's finest chefs are donating their time and talents to showcase this year's producer Spragg's Meat Shop. Bonnie and Greg Spragg raise pork at their farm 90 minutes East of Calgary in Rosemary, Alberta. They raise their pigs in a low stress, humane and environmentally friendly way with a plant protein diet that is free of hormones or antibiotics.


Chefs from some of Calgary's best restaurants will be preparing special pork dishes using port from Spragg's Meat Shop. Pig & Pinot patrons will have the opportunity to sample dishes prepared by the following chefs:

  • Duncan Ly and Craig Boje of Hotel Arts and Chef's Table
  • J.P. Pedhirney and Paul Rogalski of Rouge Restaurant with Michael Dekker of SAIT
  • Andrew Winfield and Jason Barton-Brown of River Café and Boxwood
  • Justin Leboe of Model Milk
  • Cam Dobranski and Xavier Lacaze of Brasserie Kensington, Wine Bar Kensington and Muse 
  • Nicole Kammerer of Nicole Gourmet Catering
  • Michael Allemeier and Dave Thurgar of SAIT and Mugnani Ovens
  • Darnell Japp and Kirk Shaw of Avec Restaurant
  • Matthew Altizer and Alain Chabot of The Cookbook Co Cooks Catering
  • Claire Cameron and Diana Nacita of Vin Room

In addition to these succulent dishes, Pig & Pinot will feature amazing selections from eight independent wine boutiques: Metrovino, J. Webb Wine Merchant, Richmond Hill Wines, Bin 905, Vine Arts, Wine Ink, Cork and Kensington Wine Market. They'll be pouring wines which you'll also be able to find at their retail locations.


Wade Sirois, the owner of Crowbar, a pop up speakeasy, will also welcome guests with "Pigtails" (special cocktails created just for Pig & Pinot).


Tickets are $100 and are available at the Cookbook Co. Cooks at 403.265.6066.


For information about Calgary Meals on Wheels, please contact -Janice Curtis, Executive Director, Calgary Meals on Wheels at 403-243-2834 jcurtis@mealsonwheels.com or visit them online at www.mealsonwheels.com.



In preparation for the Pig & Pinot Festival, Karen Anderson from Calgary Food Tours invited Executive Chef Duncan Ly along for a tour of Spragg Meat Shop and their pig farm in Rosemary, Alberta located just over 90 minutes East of Calgary. It was a great opportunity to learn more about the free range pork that they raise in a humane manner with a plant-fed diet bereft of growth hormones and antibiotics.


Greg and Bonnie Spragg started their farming operations back in 2002 with three little pigs that Bonnie purchased for Greg's birthday. Over the course of that summer, their herd grew to 75 pigs that were ready for sale to the market and, of this stock, they kept 25 females for breeder stock. Since that time, their farming operations have grown where they raise over 700 market hogs per year. They also grow crops of barley, wheat and faba beans on 200 acres of irrigated land that they grind on-site into pig feed.


They opened Spragg's Meat Shop in 2005 enabling them to have a full circle operation where they can raise hogs, process them and then market pork products direct to consumers. At the Meat Shop, they process beef, pork, lamb, or wild game. They will hang custom beef for up to 21 days on customer request. Spragg Meat Shop also offers full sausage processing, curing and smoking products as well as marinating options.


They supply a wide range of products for Calgary restaurants but you can also find Spragg Meat Shop products for sale at the Calgary Farmers' Market, Kingsland Famers' Market and the Millarville Market.

During their visit to the Meat Shop, Duncan and Karen sampled some of their renowned Polish Sausage, Farmer Sausage as well as a unique and delicious Hawaiian Sausage.


To learn more about the Spraggs, visit their site online at http://www.spraggsmeatshop.com/.


To learn more about Calgary Food Tours, visit Karen Anderson's site at http://www.calgaryfoodtours.com/.



With the centennial celebrations looming and a full list of invitations to some great parties, it's time that I start scouting out some Cowgirl Chic outfits for this year's Stampede. I wrangled up a few of my BFF's and we moseyed over to see our style guru, Cong, at True Religion Brand Jeans located in Chinook Centre. Last year, he helped me pick out amazing outfits that drew the right kind of praise during my Stampedin' so we went straight to the source on what's hip and fashionable for this year's parties.


We weren't disappointed as Cong and the True Religion team showcased a great array of new styles and sizes for us to try on.


All the jeans are American-made and give you that vintage jean look. You'll notice a pair of True Religions anywhere by the stitching and famous horse-shoe pockets. They feel incredible on and truly make your curves look fabulous! Any girl with style knows when a pair of jeans is the real deal, and that's especially the case with these jeans.


Take a look at what we were up to on the left.


Model: Jill Mayer

Photographer: Ellen Mayer 


If you're looking for something chic for your Stampede outfits, mosey over to True Religion this month to get outfitted. Visit Cong and his team at Chinook Centre Mall or head over to their outlet location in Cross Iron Mills. It is a great investment as the clothes will definitely be fashionable even after the 10-day celebration. Don't miss out on your chance to do Stampede in Style!


Stay tuned on twitter (@bellazapatos & @hotelartsyyc) for my top 10 outfits July 6-15.



Bike Month

Calgary's Mayor Nenshi has officially proclaimed that June is Bike Month. It's a great time to get out and pedal about. According to Bike Calgary, there are many cycling-related events take place in Calgary this June. They range from community-based family events like Renfrew's Bike Day and the Tour de Nuit Society's Ride the Road tour on June 3, through major benefit rides like the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer on June 23 and 24, to Calgary's own grass-roots do-it-yourself bicycle festival Cyclepalooza June 23-July 2. Wheel to School Week as well as the Calgary Commuter Challenge, aiming to encourage Calgarians to leave their car at home for a week, ran June 3-9. Bike Calgary holds another one of its successful Urban Cycling Skills courses on June 23 and Safer Cycling Calgary will hold Calgary's first CAN-BIKE Kids Festival on June 24. For more information visit http://bikecalgary.org/node/3442.   


Clean Up Calgary - June 6th

Calgary's 20 Minute Makeover took place on Wednesday, June 6th and Calgarians from all walks of life were encouraged to pitch in and spend 20 minutes (or more) cleaning up where you work, live or play. Imagine the difference we make when everyone does their part.  


Global Petroleum Show - June 11-14

Some of you might be wondering why it is so difficult to find a guestroom in mid-June at our properties as well as throughout the city. Calgary welcomes the global energy sector in mid-June every year for the Global Petroleum Show (GPS) and every hotel room is booked up almost as far away as Banff. GPS unites 60,000 international leaders, engineers, industry professionals, field operators, and 2,000 service and supply exhibiting companies.  


We encourage you to extend a warm welcome to these international delegates and thank them for visiting Calgary and exploring business opportunities with us.


To learn more about this city-wide conference and exhibition, please visit their website at http://globalpetroleumshow.com/.


Weed Walk - June 30th

Urban gardeners and dandelion pickers save the date! Patterson Springs Farm near Priddis, AB is hosting a "weed walk" on June 30th to learn about the edible and medical plants that are growing around Calgary.


You will identify, gather and use several different plants and learn their benefits. You will also make and take home a healing balm and the ingredients to make medicinal tinctures.


Workshop Fee: $35 for ages 12 and up. Kids under 12 can come and play too.


Check out the Patterson Springs website for details and directions at www.pattersonspringsfarm.com or email them at pattersonspringsfarm@hotmail.com.    


The White Smithbilt Hats

Calgary is all about hospitality and western style. It all started when Smithbilt designed the "pure white hat" for oilman Bill Heron and his family to wear at the Stampede Parade. Hot off that trail, came the epic Grey Cup game in Toronto in 1948 where 100's of Calgarians wore Smithbilts hats. Then for a forward pass, Mayor Don Mackay wisely established Calgary's lifelong custom and tradition of presenting a white Smithbilt cowboy hat to visiting dignitaries in the 1950's. Who would have thought that a "Smithbilt White Hat" Would put Calgary on the  world map!? 


On July 30 from 2:00pm to 4:00pm, SmithBilt is hosting an event at Hotel Arts to honour the first Smithbilt site that created Calgary's legendary white hat gift of hospitality. 


ReggaeFest 2012 - early bird tickets

Calgary Reggae Festival Society (CRFS) announced the line up for ReggaeFest 2012 which is taking place August 15-18th at Shaw Millennium Park as well as other venues.

Soaring around the stellar line up of performers is the queen of Dancehall Soul CHERINE ANDERSON and Rising Reggae Star BRYAN ART.


ReggaeFest 2012 will deliver over 12 hours of non-stop family friendly Reggae entertainment. Activities throughout the Mainstage Event at Shaw Millenium Park will include a fun and interactive youth area, food and craft vendors and the Village Brewery Beer Garden featuring their delicious Blonde and Blacksmith Ale.


ReggaeFest Mainstage earlybird tickets will be on sale Friday, June 1. Visit www.ReggaeFest.ca  for all the details. Join the Rastagarian movement at www.Facebook.com/CalgaryReggaeFest.


Photo: Karina Dalberg, Events Coordinator and ReggaeFest Fan 



Calgary White Hat Awards

The Hotel Arts Group made a positive, bright and jingling, impression at the 50th annual White Hat Awards.


Twenty-five of our nominees should be proud and they are all winners in our eyes.


Congratulations to the Nominees from Hotel Arts:

  • Katie Mayer from Sales
  • Mauricio Monroy from Reservations
  • Jared Peterson from Guest Services
  • Adeel Ajani and Roberta Side from our Accounting team
  • Holly Mossman, Tracey McQuillin and Jenn Lucak from the Raw Bar
  • Donna Li and Vanessa LeSage from Banquets
  • Cesar Sia and Nowel Gaurin from Housekeeping
  • Derek Layden and Kevin Henry from the Kitchen
  • Connor Eatch, Don Davies and Jeff McMahon from Maintenance
  • Danielle Wenslawe, Hilary Lewis and Michael Ford from Front Office

Jenn Lucak was also a finalist in the category of Best Server - Restaurant Category!


Congratulations to the Nominees from Kensington Riverside Inn:

  • Sarah Robertson from Housekeeping
  • Amy Mykes and Peter Bagnall from Front Office
  • Evan Fryer and Jason Cameron from Chef's Table

Imagine our delight when we heard the announcer say... "and the White Hat Award for the Best Server - Fine Dining goes to... Jason Cameron". Jason won the first award for the night and he set the bar high and made us all very proud!


Congratulations to everyone with a special shout out to Jason for his awesome win!


Cowtown's Culinary Scene is Smoking Hot

Bonny Reichert from the Globe & Mail visited Calgary recently to check out the culinary scene and left favourably impressed. During her visit, she tried out Charcut, Catch, Rouge, the Ranche & Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts, sampled sinfully good treats from Jelly Modern Donuts, she met with Jim Button from Village Brewery to sample their new local brews and also toured Inglewood where she discovered local retail gems like Knifewear and Silk Road Spice Market. Amidst the many stops on her culinary tour, Kai Green from the Raw Bar hosted her for a mixology class and then served up the perfect dirty martini.


She mentions Hotel Arts in her article that was printed in the travel section of this past weekend's Globe & Mail and highlights some of our rates during Stampede where we still have some pockets of availability, particularly the last weekend.


"You get a good feeling when you walk into the lobby of Hotel Arts in downtown Calgary. The décor is contemporary but not cold, with a vertical stone fireplace, wood beams and original art. Lots of it. In fact, the hotel boasts a collection of 60 original pieces of glass, sculpture and painting spread over its 12 floors. Hotel Arts also features a pretty outdoor pool heated year-round, and an award-winning lounge and restaurant called Raw Bar. Signature cocktails include the Morello Kilauea, a shaken potion of espresso, house-made grenadine, morello cherry and Canadian spiced whisky. Rooms are comfortable and well appointed, if a bit dark. (119 - 12th Ave. SW.; 403-266-4611; hotelarts.ca. Rooms from $369.99.)"


Click here to read the article.  


Ultimate to do list

Our sister property, the 19-room Kensington Riverside Inn, was featured in Canadian Affairs' Ultimate To Do List highlighting some of the best urban chic offerings across Canada.


Crystal Kid 1Crystal Kid profiled on VisitCalgary.com

Frank Torrealba, one of our Rockstar Guest Services Agents, and his brother, Charles, are featured on the Insider Guide on VisitCalgary.com. As "Crystal Kid" this performing duo are currently recording and performing down in Los Angeles over the last two months. We're excited to see what great new sounds they've developed while in LA and can't wait to see them perform live again in Calgary. Check out their profile here.  

Taste of Calgary - San Francisco

Colin Tait, Raw Bartender at Hotel Arts, was part of the impressive team of culinary and cultural talent that assembled in San Francisco for Canada's Media Marketplace where Tourism Calgary host "Taste of Calgary". Check out the video posted by Tourism Calgary showcasing the items chefs prepared and some of Colin's fabulous cocktails. Without question, this was one of the best promotional events that Tourism Calgary has hosted for US media and the feedback was fantastic. Congratulations to everyone who was involved and who made such a positive impression. To view the video, click here.  


Chef's Table profiled in Fashion Magazine

Craig Boje and Chef's Table at Kensington Riverside Inn were profiled in "Room to Table" an article by Chris Johns published in the April 2012 edition of Fashion Magazine. Chris posits that while dining in a hotel used to be a stuffy affair..., hotel restaurants are now offering some of the best food around. He profiles several restaurants across Canada leading that trend including Chef's Table at Kensington Riverside Inn, Post Hotel in Lake Louise, the Pointe Restaurant at Tofino's Wickininish Inn and Hawksworth in Vancouver's Rosewood Hotel Georgia, Charcut at Calgary's Hotel Le Germain, Panache at Quebec City's Auberge Sainte-Antoine, among others.


Frette Linens featured in Forbes 

Kensington Riverside Inn is part of the Frette Family offering some of their finest products, linens and bathrobes. Frette is one of the oldest and most prestigious linen brands in the world and is featured in Forbes. Click here to read the article.  

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 June.



Mark Wilson
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: 

One Night Weekend Stay at Hotel Arts


To enter in to win the prize above, please send kmayer@hotelarts.ca an email with the answer to this question: How many employees from the Hotel Arts Group were nominated for a White Hat Award? 


If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions, please email Katie Mayer at kmayer@hotelarts.ca.  


*Please respond by Friday, June 29, 2012