July is one of my favourite months of the year for a few reasons:
- It’s my birthday month
- It’s when festival city is in full swing
- The weather is always fantastic and
- It’s the kick-off to Sabor Resaurant’s annual Seafood Festival!
Each year in August, Iberian (Spanish, Portuguese) restaurant Sabor (located at 10220 103 Street downtown), offers a special selection of seafood dishes as part of its Seafood Festival.
This year’s Sabor Seafood Festival runs Aug. 5 – Sept. 3 and I got to sample a number of items that will be on the OceanWise menu at a preview event held this week (on my birthday, in fact!)
Calgary’s Hotel Arts Executive Chef Jan Hansen came up to collaborate with Sabor’s Chef Lino Oliveira on the night’s delicious dishes.
We tried a number of tapas (small plates) including:
- Sardina Escalivada (sardines and roasted vegetables)
- Gambas al Ajillo (garlic prawns with the heads on!)
- Scallop and Limpet Ceviche
- Heirloom Tomato and Queijo Fresco Montadito (delicious bruschetta), and
- Ameijoas a bulhao pato (half clams)
Ready for the (sea)food porn?
I loved the giant garlic prawns (had about 4 all for myself, lol) and pretty much everything else except the sardines.
I’m afraid sardines are something of an acquired taste and I haven’t quite acquired that taste yet, lol.
Along with the prawns, one of my favourite dishes of the night was Ling Cod Potato Fritters with spicy Piri Piri Aioli.
What a wonderful kick!
We also had a lovely Sablefish in Saffron-Lobster Broth (like a sablefish/lobster stew) and Chef Lino/Hansen’s take on a Portuguese Surf & Turf: Smoked Paprika Charred Octopus, Chorizo-stuffed Alberta Lamb, and Black Kale with Pine Nuts and White Navy Beans.
Dessert for this wonderful meal was a light flan with berries and nuts – lovely texture combinations!
Sabor’s seafood is sustainable Ocean Wise, so part of the night was also about educating guests on why this program is important.
Did you know overfishing is the greatest threat to our oceans today?
An estimated 90% of all large, predatory fish are already gone from the oceans and all other marine life is quickly being depleted. If we don’t start consuming seafood in a sustainable way, there will be a worldwide fisheries collapse by 2048.
Claire with Ocean Wise, spoke in between our dishes, sharing some of these startling seafood facts with us.
She made a good point that because fish aren’t cute land animals, we tend not to think about them in the same way we think about other endangered species.
She also highlighted how crazy some fishery methods can be – 40% of what is caught in commercial fisheries are classified as bycatch – unintended catches that are discarded. It’s like going into a forest and catching monkeys, deers, and birds, all because you wanted to catch just one specific type of animal. You catch that animal but then you get rid of the monkeys, deers, and birds. That is what’s happening in our oceans. Insane.
If everyone changed their eating habits and chose Ocean Wise seafood, we could really make an impact.
Claire challenged all of us to ask the servers, the chefs, the places we eat out at, where is your seafood caught? How is it caught? Is it sustainable?
It’s not hipster or pretentious.
I know I don’t question where my food comes from enough and it is important to know – it is important to ask.
The Sabor Seafood Festival is one of my favourite events of the year.
I always feel like I’m attending a really lovely wedding reception and Chef Lino said it really well too – they love putting on this event because it brings such warmth into the restaurant.
It helps when you’re also serenaded by Sabor co-owner Christian Mena!
— Linda Hoang (@lindork) July 27, 2016
It was a great way to spend my birthday!
Stop into Sabor this August and try their special Seafood Festival menu!
They also have live music Wednesday through Sunday evenings, so I’d recommend one of those days. ;) (If you’re lucky, you might be serenaded by Christian Mena too!)
Sabor is on the pricier side (but you get damn fine, quality, and sustainable food).
You can check out their regular menu to get an idea of what the festival dishes might cost.
So, have you been to Sabor? Have you been to a Sabor Seafood Festival?
Tweet me or let me know in the comments below!
As a side note: it was lovely having the chef from Hotel Arts come up. Mike and I are big fans of the Hotel Arts brand – they also own the Kensington Riverside Inn, where we stayed during our ‘Best Weekend Ever’ in Calgary in June. Check out that recap here!
And watch for a collaboration dinner at Hotel Arts on August 4!! Tickets online soon.
Disclaimer: I will always provide my 100% honest opinion on this blog. I was invited to the annual Sabor Seafood Festival media/preview event to sample dishes. This has no impact on opinions stated in this post.