I scheduled a much-needed lunch date with two of my former co-workers as I had the day off work.  My workplace is closed in lieu of Easter Monday, which is quite different for me since I’m so used to having Easter Monday off, but I can’t complain about having a random long weekend.

We get together about once every quarter to catch up and dine on some good food.  Our usual haunt is Loungeburger (it’s close to where my two cohorts work), but one of them suggested we go to Taste Restaurant instead.  Why not?  I’m all about trying something new.

Taste Restaurant is located in the Hotel Arts retail section and I believe it’s fairly new (Hotel Arts is a contemporary, boutique hotel – very modern and a favourite amongst businesses and couples alike for their beautiful meeting and convention space).  Taste is a quaint, modern space, with a beautiful aroma of smoked meats.  I really love the dark wood in the interior and the set-up – two chefs were busy prepping in the open-concept kitchen that features prominently by the bar area.

The menu is small and no frills – just the way I like it.  Yes, it had a few frou-frou elements (nothing major, really), but for the most part, the choices are perfect for lunch.

Our friendly server came by and informed us of the daily specials.  I was sold the moment he said the daily sandwich was a BLT.  I mean, BACON.  HELLO!  It also came with honey garlic aoili.  As much as I’m not a mayo fan, I’m totally into aoili, especially if it’s something epic like honey garlic.  I got the mixed greens for the side (minus the Gorgonzola cheese because, well, you know).

The verdict?  DEEEE-LISH!  This sandwich was not puny.  This sandwich was hearty.  The honey garlic aoili was perfect with the salty bacon, fresh tomato, and a heaping mound of butter lettuce.  My only complaint – the crust of the bread was way too hard to bite into.  A couple of times I attempted to, I nearly cut the top of my mouth, so I had to take the crust off and eat it separately.  Having said that, the bread was amazing.  It’s all about the bread!  As for the salad, it was dressed in just the right amount of balsamic vinaigrette and topped with fresh shredded carrot and dried cranberries.  Yum – can’t go wrong with a simple mixed green salad.

What I really love about Taste is that they give you a complimentary mini cupcake at the end of the meal.  Who can beat that?  Today’s flavour was pineapple with a cream cheese frosting.  Absolutely decadent.  I would seriously go back there just to get my free cupcake at the end.

The price-point is on the higher side ($13 for the daily sandwich), but for the amount of food, plus the amazing complementary homemade mini cupcake, I think it’s a good value.  I can see the place being quite busy on a usual workday, but today it was just us and a couple of other tables.  It’s probably due to the weather – it was snowing pretty heavily when we were dining and I’m sure people were less enthused to venture outside for lunch.

On a random note, I found it a bit off-putting that the washroom has a full-length mirror right in front of the toilet, so essentially you can watch yourself do your business.  It was a bit strange.

I would definitely go back to Taste.  It’s something different than the usual burger and fries, I love the atmosphere, and best of all, FREE MINI CUPCAKE :)

Taste Restaurant
1210 1st Street SW
Calgary, AB T2R 0V4
Phone: (403) 233-7730
http://www.taste-restaurant.com

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