I’ve been meaning to write about our experience at Alloy for almost a year now. In fact, the date stamp on my photos shows that we were there on August 18, 2012; almost exactly a year since our visit. This is how behind I’d gotten on the blogging front.
After almost a year, what do you remember about a dining experience? Well, if it was good, I certainly remember it. Sure, I may not remember what the menu item is called and what the exact components were, but when I see the photos from the experience, I remember vivid snippets of great memories that are still fresh in my mind. I remember the first initial aroma after the plate hits the table. I remember the taste. I remember the good company that we shared in the experience with. I do remember these things.
So, even though I contemplated putting away my Alloy photos and counting it as a lost chance to share my experience, I’m going to write about it. Because it was a good experience and I had so much fun with my friends. I figure that’s reason enough to put this together.
The first thing I noticed about Alloy is its unusual location. It’s kinda off the beaten path. It’s not downtown or on trendy 17th Avenue; it’s actually tucked away in an industrial-looking area in the South, adjacent to a Timber place. The signage isn’t that great either; we passed by it a couple of times before we made it into the parking lot. Depending on which direction you’re traveling, if you pass the Timber place and the train tracks, you’ve gone too far; if you’ve passed the train tracks and then the Timber place… yep, you’ve gone too far. In that small space is the turn off into Alloy’s parking lot.
It’s also an unconventional-looking building. You wouldn’t think there’s a fine dining space inside the nondescript exterior. It reminded me of my childhood recreational centre, except not brown in colour. However, once you’re inside, it’s a complete transformation. The interior is certainly striking; it’s modern, light, and adorned with cherry blossoms. It’s quite breathtaking compared to what it looks like outside.
On this particular night, we were dining with our foodie friends, S and A. The purpose of our evening was to see how well Alloy would work as a wedding venue. My goodness, it feels like ages since that time when we were planning our wedding. Although Alloy didn’t make the cut in the end (more due to logistics and our budget), if anyone is looking for a beautiful space that’s also well experienced with wedding receptions, Alloy is a great choice (even though the location is not the easiest to find, their ample parking spaces more than make up for it).
While we settled in and waited for our dining companions, I ordered this fruity cocktail. I remember it was vodka-based and had tropical juices. Beyond that, I can’t recall. I do remember it was tasty and refreshing. I don’t normally order drinks when I dine out – I stick with water – but I felt a bit celebratory so figured, why not have one drink?
There were actually a number of interesting-looking items on the menu. I wish I had taken a better photo of it so I could pinpoint the exact items we ordered, but I think I can manage with what I got in this shot.
Once we were all settled in, the complimentary appetizers appeared. The hummus was spectacular – creamy, but not overly.. it still had that homemade appeal.. and perfectly seasoned. I can’t comment on the olives, though. I’m a picky eater and olives don’t make the cut for me. Sorry.
For one of our starters, we ordered the Seared Scallops (pistachio-crusted, coconut cream, yam chips). The scallops were cooked and seasoned perfectly. I loved the crispy yam strips that contrasted in texture with the soft scallops. Yum!
We also got the Truffle Gnocchi (field mushroom cream, shaved parmesan). In contrast with the light scallops, this was rich and earthy. I absolutely love mushrooms so this was perfect for me. The gnocchi was surprisingly light and not overly dense like some gnocchis can get.
First up, the Duck Duo (roasted breast, duck confit ravioli, cherry ginger glaze, bitter greens). And here’s the sad part – I don’t like duck so I didn’t taste this dish. Sorry, I really am that picky. Seriously.
Next up, Braised Beef Short Rib (mandarin bbq sauce, chipotle pom puree (?)). Oh, this was delectable. The beef was melt-in-your-mouth tender and the sweetness of the bbq sauce really balanced the whole dish.
Lastly but not least, the special of that night – Halibut. I believe it was poached in olive oil and served over quinoa. The halibut was truly heavenly – perfectly cooked, light, and so flavourful. It was between this and the short rib for my favourite dish of the night.
From that experience, what I remember most is our conversations and our laughs. I don’t quite recall how we got onto the topic, but all of us being Asian, Mark asked A, “so do you wash your rice before you cook it?” What followed was a brief history on rice, various segues into other food-related topics, which at the end had Mark comment, “so…what I’m trying to get at is… do you wash your rice?” That inspired quite a laugh at the table.
So even as a year has passed since that experience, those memories linger on. I had a wonderful time at Alloy. And we made wonderful memories with our friends, which is always an experience worth writing about.
220 42 Ave SE
Calgary, AB T2G1Y3
Phone: (403) 287-9255