Right before Matt and I went on our big Asian adventure last month, we caught brunch with our dear buddy, Tom. Tom and I have known each other for about 20 years (!!!) and he’s pushing hard to finish his PhD this year, so let’s all send him some happy vibes!
Tom can’t eat gluten (thanks, Celiac disease!), so I picked CRAFT Beer Market’s flagship downtown Calgary location as our meeting point. I’ve gone there with Celiac foodies in the past and Craft staff have shown commendable attention to detail on that stuff despite their menu not explicitly stating which items can be made gluten free. I feel like a PSA is highly needed because there was almost no one else there in that cavernous space and guests who visit on Sunday are rewarded with an elevated version of pub brunch! It was difficult to choose from the delightful menu, but we finally settled on a few tempting options as we sipped our hot drip coffees.
Tom went for the avocado and white cheddar eggs benedict with crispy hash browns. He had mentioned his Celiac disease to our server and she did a fantastic job of explaining what he could or could not have, so the benny biscuit was swapped out instead for their gluten free toast. As you may already know, bread/toast is a hot button issue in the gluten free community, as so much GF bread has a weird texture, a mouth-cuttingly harsh edge or just no flavour. Tom liked this toast so much that he enjoyed it as a side with a different menu item the next time he was at Craft! Tom had been avoiding bennies since his diagnosis, so he was very pleasantly surprised with the result of his choice. This is a satisfying, straightforward option that can easily be adapted for the gluten free guest. Thumbs up from Tom, for sure!
Matt ordered the Red Racer IPA Taquito Skillet. Tightly-wrapped chicken taquitos were nestled on a bed of crispy hot potatoes and topped with poached eggs, bacon, melty cheese, guacamole and fresh pico de gallo. A fiery (read: amazing) house-made hot sauce is served on the side. I was obviously extremely jealous, so Matt let me steal a few bites and I. Was. In. Heaven. The combination of all those flavours and textures was unreal. I think about these li’l taquitos quite often. You can’t go wrong with this one!
Despite my intense, burning desire to steal more of Matt’s food, I was also completely crazy for my order. Think cinnamon sugar, fresh banana slices, whipped cream and maple dulce de leche. Now picture all of those flavours at one time on top of a crispy, fluffy, perfectly cooked snickerdoodle waffle. It was like eating a churro on steroids. For breakfast. Try to tell me you can think of a better way to start your Sunday… I’ll wait.
Why stand in line for an hour at a tiny brunch joint when CRAFT Beer Market (345 10 AVE SW) makes delicious food, has tons of tables and takes reservations for large groups? They even have a menu for “small pints”, or kids under 12, which includes precious options like mini burgers and fries or vanilla waffles with fresh berries and whipped cream. I’ve always appreciated Craft for drinks and appies before a big night out or a going-away dinner for a beloved colleague, but my eyes have been opened and I’ve seen the light about their fabulous Sunday brunch menu. I highly recommend checking it out with friends, family or on a date. And if you can, please save me a bite of your taquito skillet!