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Archive for the ‘Restaurants & Hospitality’ Category

Medicine Hat’s 20th annual Chili Cookoff is coming up this weekend in Downtown Medicine Hat.

The event is on Saturday, July 18th, and kicks off at noon and runs till 4PM. Entry is $3. Team sign-up forms can be found on their website as well as pledge forms.

Everyone loves chili, check it out!

East Side Mario's LogoIt’s been over a week now since East Side Mario’s closed its doors for good here in Medicine Hat. I’m posting because I wanted to ask our visitors if they know why? I haven’t been able to find out personally, but I have made a couple speculations based on our global economy.

East Side Mario’s was busy every time I’ve went there, and even when I visited on obscure times of the day, like between lunch and dinner there was still quite a few people. I wouldn’t recommend anybody to go on a Saturday night because it seemed like a madhouse with all the people there. So with all these people, why did it close? Was it the food? Was there health problems? I found the food good every time I visited and I tried a lot of the menu over the years of going there, although it could be a bit pricey the soup and non-stop french bread (YUM!) more than made up for it. The Alberta Health Services site no longer lists East Side Mario’s so I can’t confirm any health problems.

Like I stated above, the only reason I could think of is with all these chains (like Starbucks) closing and shutting down their locations across the globe due to the recession, it could just very well be that this one was targetted for whatever reason. Anybody know?

Over the weekend I had the immense pleasure of visiting DeVine Grill, one of the fine dining restaurants in Medicine Hat. After a friendly greeting by the hostess, Sean and I were comfortably seated in a secluded area of the beautiful patio, surrounded by flowers, lamps, and a picturesque fountain. Although we arrived too early to order right away (the kitchen doesn’t open until 5 p.m.) our waitress, Jen, met us almost immediately to get us drinks while we waited.

Although the menu is relatively limited, and a little pricey, the choices are diverse, with a variety complete enough to please anyone. The wine list in itself was quite expansive and I believe even the most experienced Wino would be able to easily find something they liked. Our food arrived promptly and didn’t disappoint. With frequent visits from Jen to assure our meal was satisfactory, the dining experience was excellent.

I have only one small critique, however, the proximity of the tables on the patio could be quite uncomfortable if the restaurant was busy. As we were leaving, the table closest to us became occupied and it felt a little crowded, like the previous intimacy would be nearly impossible.

All in all the experience was both exceptional and memorable and I’ll be sure to revisit many times in the future.

Medicine Hat JazzFest 2009 Logo

Medicine Hat JazzFest 2009 Logo

This year’s Medicine Hat’s own Jazz festival, “Medicine Hat JazzFest” will be taking place from June 19th to the 28th with events happening every day in between. I would first love to congratulate the team that brought together the graphics and design direction for the program booklet, the website, posters, and even the t-shirts – it is really well done and beautifully executed. If anybody knows who did it, I would love to find out.

Anyways, moving right a long, This year’s JazzFest has a crazy amount of events, musicians and gatherings throughout the full 9 days. I was at first going to list them verbatim from the program booklet, but alas, they were really organized and even have an online PDF for your viewing and reading pleasure. I will tell you though that it features more than 30 different events with almost as many different bands or performers.

You can also grab yourself a ticket pass which costs $139, but this allows you to get into every show without a cover charge, so it’s well worth it even if you plan on going to half the events. There’s a couple restrictions though, make sure you read the fine print on the ticket page. If you are really into it, make sure you read through the full program because there is some other events happening not listed in the schedule including events happening at places like Twist, The Ottoman Lounge and Devine to name a very few.

If you are broke, looking for free shows or just don’t like supporting local and national music for some reason (for shame!), there is also plenty of no charge events going on as well. More notably in this category, is the Vespa Youth Stage which will be a free BBQ as well as feature music by plenty of local young talents in the city including Jess Dollimont. This one will take place at Riverside Bandshell First St. S.E. (across from City Hall) starting at noon Thursday, June 25th.

Event Schedule PDF
Full Program PDF
Medicine Hat JazzFest Website

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Menggu Grill is back, well not really, but it might as well be. This time around the new owners are calling the restaurant “Asia Garden”.

Is a change of name, but the same style of food a good business venture or not? Probably not, because as most people in Medicine Hat are aware of, Menggu Grill had big issues regarding breaching health regulations some time ago as described on our Menggu Grill Closes post, and after struggling afterward, they were forced to close down. Even the restaurant which existed before the Menggu Grill, named Fortune Gardens had health issues previously. I think most people have given up hope for restaurants in that building, but who knows, maybe these guys can set it right!

Even though Asia Garden is run by different owners, and is a bit different in terms of food and style, I wonder if people will be persuaded by the new name even though the building has been previously plagued with health problems.

Premium Sausage is a meat store that is located in Seven Persons, Alberta, and was started by Ralph and Elaine Erb in 1990, who began selling their homemade sausage at the request of their friends. Ever since, business has boomed and the store now offers a great selection of meat products and operates somewhat as a general store, offering many canned goods, as well as some baking.

The store can be easily identified just off the highway in Seven Persons by the architecture of the building, which is in the likeness of a grain elevator. Upon entering, the aroma of fresh meats fills your lungs – a smell most people relish; however, I am sure I would, as most people would, get sick of the smell if they were surrounded by it for too long. Regardless, their meat selection is huge, fresh, and affordable. What is more, Medicine Hat residents can have their orders delivered free of charge if they exceed $50 in cost.

Despite being about 20 minutes south of Medicine Hat and about the same distance from Bow Island, the store seems to enjoy a great amount of business.

Premium Sausage can be located off Highway #3 in Seven Persons, Alberta.
Store Hours: Monday to Friday: 8:30AM – 6:00PM, Saturday: 8:30AM to 5:30AM, Sunday: Closed.

Pasta-Bilities is a quaint restaurant tucked away behind a small facade in the Starbucks/Joey’s Only parking lot off 13th Ave SE and TransCanada Way. The restaurant offers a large menu consisting of pasta courses and desserts, as well as a pasta-of-the-day which is not only filling, but affordable as well. The courses are always available to have add-ons put in, such as meat balls.

The pasta, sauces, and desserts are all prepared in-house by a nice elderly man who is also the resident Chef and owner and ensures that you will have a freshly prepared meal. The ambiance in the restaurant is wonderful. The front facade of the building is all windows, allowing much sunlight in. The colour scheme of the decor is primarily green, white and red, reminiscent of the Italian flag, and soft Italian music floats through the air to top off your dining experience.

Apart from a delightful dining experience, the restaurant also offers pasta products and sauces, as well as a few other things such as pasta makers.

I have never had a poor meal at Pasta-Bilities, and plan on going back many more times.

Pasta-Bilities is located at 1290 Trans Canada Way SE, across the parking lot from Starbucks.

The name of the restaurant is “Buffet Medicine Hat”. That means, when you say something like, “Oh, I feel like some buffet food!”, everybody automatically assumes you mean Buffet Medicine Hat because you’re in Medicine Hat. It’s kind of like if there was a place called “Fancy Dinner Medicine Hat” and you felt like a fancy night-out, it would be assumed you would want to go there. No? Okay, obviously I’m being a little facetious here, the naming always intrigued me though. It is pretty generic, but I think in a marketing sense it works a lot better than “stereotypical Asian reference restaurant” that a lot of businesses use in the same genre of eating.

It may deserve the naming though. It literally is the biggest buffet joint in the hat – in terms of eating space but also in terms of the amount of food and deserts they serve. The dinner (which starts at 4:00PM each day) buffet is a little bigger than their lunch selection – at dinner they bring out the big things like roast beef and a full turkey/chicken with stuffing. They also have a special brunch on Sundays when they serve every breakfast thing you could ever imagine.

In terms of the quality of the food (since that is the biggest factor of any buffet place), it is decent – which may be interpreted as “meh”. I say that because although I do have a “once every month” craving for buffet food I usually end up at the Jungle Cafe instead of other buffet restaurants in town such as: Buffet Medicine Hat, New Imperial Palace Restaurant, Ming Court Family Restaurant, Hat’s Restaurant (another silly generic named one), or Sizzling Wok. This is because Jungle Cafe literally is the best Buffet place in Medicine Hat (my opinion), but it is a little pricey. Although that would count as getting off the subject of this review. In the list of other buffet places in the city though, Buffet Medicine Hat would definitely be the top in terms of quality, taste and atmosphere. You also have to weight in the amount of diversity of food available at Buffet Medicine Hat as well which definitely raises it above its competitors.

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Looking for the Spectrum 2010 post?

The beginning of Medicine Hat’s summer seasonĀ  has arrived and to kick it all off the annual Spectrum Festival has returned to celebrate the sunshine that makes us “Canada’s Sunniest City”. As with previous years Spectrum will once again take place the first weekend of June, which this year begins on June 5 and proceeds right through to June 7. The festival runs from 4 to 10 p.m on Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, and wraps up on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. All festivities can be found scattered throughout BATUS Park and the rest of Downtown Medicine Hat.

Although a concrete schedule has yet to be released regarding many of the performances and demonstrations, rest assured that there will be plenty of entertainment to be had all weekend long. Some of the highlights include the children’s carnival, the pedal tractor farm, Praxis science activities, dunk tanks, Environment Week activities in the Esplanade, 3 on 3 volleyball, a chess exhibition and much more than can easily be listed. Performers such as HOJA, Trevor Moore, J-Fish, The Lyle Rebbeck Jazz Band, and Mr. Puffin will also be present on the Kinsmen free stage throughout the weekend. Earl’s Restaurant, Moxie’s Classic Grill, KC Jax Ultra Lounge and Grill, Tony Roma’s, Delio’s Trattorio, and Mario’s Ristorante are providing food for hungry festival goers and will be situated in the Mario’s parking lot. Not only are there plenty of activities and performances to enjoy but a variety of local vendors also set up kiosks in BATUS Park to sell their trinkets, toys, and other wares.

I have been a resident of Medicine Hat since I was a small child and I have attended the Spectrum Festival multiple times over the years and it has yet to disappoint me. Since being moved back to its original location in Downtown from Kin Coulee the old fashioned atmosphere has increased exponentially and the benefits of having so many people in a sometimes ignored corner of our city are immeasurable when considering the number of local businesses located in the area. With plenty of fun for both the kiddies, their parents and everyone in between make your way down to the Spectrum Festival this year for fun, sun, great food, and… did I say fun?

Menggu Grill Storefront - Photo via

Menggu Grill Storefront - Photo via

As some of you may know, Menggu Grill has closed its doors (May 20th, 2009). Word is though, that the building has been sold – to who or what is unclear. To those of you not in the know, it was revealed several months ago that the Mongolian grill cuisine-style restaurant had been shut down by a representative at the Alberta Health Services (then called the Palliser Health Region) after a health inspection was carried out on October 30th, 2009. It was detailed in the report that rodent (mice) droppings were found in several locations including the buffet and food preparation area. The mice were apparently going in through a hole in the wall. There was also several other health problems noted in the report (linked to below).

After that, and a couple Medicine Hat News articles later, the owner, Andy Chen re-opened the restaurant as they had cleaned everything up, made all changes as laid out in the reports and got the go ahead by a follow-up inspection. Since then, it has been operating with a “clean bill of health” with no problems reported. The closing can probably be attributed (mostly) to the incident as many previous patrons presumptively did not return even after it was reported to be cleaned. But really, that is just speculation on my part.

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