My friend Ben is a concierge at the Hotel Le Germain in Calgary. Admittedly, this is not a city that I know particularly well and so for me I lean on Ben's advice on where we should eat.
He suggests a number of places that sound pretty good, but when he mentions that his favourite dish at Pigeonhole is the cabbage and it will blow my mind I'm intrigued. Anyone with half a sense can cook a filet, but to make cabbage mind blowing — this takes skill.
We take the hotel car service, an eco friendly Lexus, to Pigeonhole which is appropriately located in an up and coming part of Calgary. Like many hip places I've eaten at in Canada the restaurant is housed in a repurposed old building and the interior is somewhere between regal old hotel and cooking school. Food on the other hand is far from student cooking.
We start the evening with the now infamous cabbage dish. We probably talked about the cabbage longer than it took to eat it. I mean how can cabbage make the menu on one of Canada's Best New Restaurants? I will say though that it was delicious in a way that is so simple that the chef deserves credit just for thinking to strip down the walls around cabbage. Cheddar cheese and lightly charred and sautéed cabbage has found its way into my own kitchen since.
Beyond the cabbage we had the lamb tartare and a handful of other dishes that left me salivating although I can't remember exactly what they were thanks to the aprés dinner cocktails at Model Milk after.
Pigeonhole is on its way to becoming a Calgary classic and I hope to eat there again for more than just the cabbage although that will surely be on my agenda.
Chris Stenberg is a photographer, filmmaker, occasional wordsmith, and traveller. In his spare time you can find him hanging out with his family and/or biking and boarding in the mountains of British Columbia.