Guest post by Sarah Pynoo
Boxwood was a favourite haunt of mine all summer. Its location in the middle of Central Memorial Park made it a perfect spot to sit on the patio for an afternoon tea or coffee. However, I’d never stopped by for an actual meal, so when I heard that they were participating in Downtown Calgary’s The Big Taste festival, I jumped at the opportunity.
The Big Taste is an annual food festival put on by Downtown Calgary that just ended on Monday. It runs for 11 days each March, and some of Calgary’s trendiest and highly praised restaurants participate, offering prix-fixe menus for lunch ($15) or supper ($25 or $35). Some of the higher end restaurants in town offered “gourmet” menus for $65.
Boxwood’s $25 dinner menu opened with a Quinoa and Golden Beet Cake, Radish and Arugula Salad and Vital Green Farm yogurt. We had the appetizer modified slightly to be gluten-free, so the quinoa cake was breaded with chickpea rather than wheat flour. It was a perfectly light way to start the meal, with all the flavours blending really nicely. The plating was beautiful, even making the slightly bland looking quinoa cake look enticing.
The appetizer was basically foreplay for the main course. Beef Short Ribs, Stoneground Cornmeal Polenta, Horseradish Gremolada, and Roasted Poplar Bluff Farm Carrots with Parsnip – delicious. Although I was a bit worried at first about the small portion size, it ended up being totally delicious and filling. The beef was incredibly tender. The carrots were my favourite part, as the chef had somehow managed to drag a really rich flavour and umami out of them. My only complaint is that I would have liked a bit more horseradish, as it went well with everything on the plate and really complemented the polenta.
Lastly, dessert! Backyard Canola Honey and Pollen Panna Cotta, Cranberries and Sesame Seed Brittle.
We all found the cranberries to be a too bitter, but their taste improved when paired with a hearty scoop of the panna cotta. The brittle was amazingly good, and just the right amount for dipping in the dessert.
My companion and I enjoyed it so much, we actually returned for lunch a few days later. We had a Quinoa Salad with Toasted Ginger Vinaigrette and a Warm Lemon Lentil Dahl, respectively.
I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and creativeness of the dishes at Boxwood, although, from River Café’s sister restaurant I should have expected nothing less.
Central Memorial Park, 340 13 Ave SW
Calgary AB T2R 0W9
Open 11 AM-10 PM daily. No reservations.