Friends of ours took us to Villa Firenze for dinner a few weeks back then they headed out to Maui the next day. Lucky dogs! But I’ll be heading to the Big Island very soon too. Parking at the villa is great. They have ample parking in the rear and there is parking after hours in the lot adjacent to the restaurant. Walking into Villa Firenze is like walking into a house. I was told by our friends that it is a typical house in Bridgeland. Converted to a restaurant, it is cozy yet roomy inside. I like how the foyer of the house is the reception and the living spaces converted to dining areas. Stairs leading downstairs from the foyer takes you to the washrooms.
They have coat check but it was cold out so we held on to our coats. Everyone was dressed business casual so I can only guess that a lot of business lunches and dinners are held here. The owner came and greeted us at our table which was situated near the front of the restaurant. Where I sat, I had a commanding look at their wine selection. Instead of a wine cellar, they have all their wine bottles in the restaurant. My guess is that there were ample red wine in the house because these bottles were not chilled.
Our host decided to order the signature appetizer for us to try. The Portabello mushroom, oven baked with lots of garlic, bits of bacon and parmesan cheese(?) was delicious. A meal in itself. Next came our entrees. I chose to go with a simple spaghetti with marinara and it was delicious. My wife chose the Seafood Pescatore pasta. It looked great but I’m sensitive to mussels. I prefer the green mussels from Australia rather than the sea mussels that grow under piers. These were definitely sea mussels as you can still taste the sea in them. The rest of the dishes looked scrumptious. The veal dishes were nicely presented but I’m used to paying a few euros for them in Italy, rather than $20+ here in Calgary.
Overall food quality was excellent. I’ll give them awesome ratings on the Portabello and the pasta sauce. I didn’t pay for dinner but from the way the owner treated us, it must have cost a mint. We’ll be back for good Italian cooking when we’re downtown and feeling a bit rich.
If you’re looking for a good walk on a Saturday morning, head over to Kingsland Farmer’s Market on Macleod Trail before Heritage Drive. There’s plenty of parking and lots to buy and samples to try. Twenty years ago, it used to be a Buick dealer. The reason I know that is because I used to live in the apartment block just north of the market and I almost bought a Buick from there. Now it’s converted to a farmer’s market that is open only on weekends.
The market is organized in open stalls, selling fresh vegetables from local farms, handmade chocolates, pastries, desserts, wines and butcher cuts of meat.
The Community Natural Store has a stall that sells popular books, along with a selection of goods from their Chinook and downtown 10th Avenue stores.
Watch for some future blogs on specific vendors that we encountered and enjoy.
On our first visit to the Kingsland Farmer’s Market on Macleod Trail south, we discovered an Alberta winery that specializes in making fruit wines. Field Stone is the first business who was granted a licence under Alberta’s new cottage winery regulations. When asked about their location, they said they were situated near Strathmore. All their wines are made from 100% Alberta fruit. Almost 90% of the fruit are grown on the orchards near Strathmore.
Head out to the Kingsland Farmers Market from Thursday to Sunday and try out their wines. Try their fruit wines which ranges from dry to sweet. Or if you have sweet palate, try their dessert wines, especially the blackcurrant and raspberry.
Last week, they had a special where if you buy the Raspberry Fruit Wine at the regular price, you can buy the second bottle for 20% off. We asked about the dessert wines and they said the offer will be for the dessert wines. They will alternate throughout the summer with the different fruits, so here’s your chance to stock up on some delicious wines that are made locally.
We’re stocking up for Christmas stocking stuffers. I know it’s a long time from now but I think they will age nicely.