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Dishcrawl launches in Calgary Feb. 28
A group of around 30 people will have the chance to visit four Calgary restaurants, meet new people, talk to restaurant owners and experience different cuisines, all in one evening.
Dishcrawl events have been said to resemble the well-known "pub crawl." The difference is that food substitutes the alcohol, you'll be going to restaurants instead of bars and walking between locations as opposed to riding a party bus.
Dishcrawl has become a popular event around the United States over the past couple of years and has spread across five different provinces in Canada.
Jessica James — Calgary ambassador and commission-paid volunteer for Dishcrawl — will host the first event on Feb. 28.
James, also owner of a consulting company, had initially heard about Dishcrawl in the news. She thought she and her husband would enjoy attending an event like it and after doing some research she realized that Calgary had no such thing.
She felt so strongly about the matter that she contacted Dishcrawl through their website.
Once she got in touch with Dishcrawl's CEO, Tracy Lee, and others involved, James said, "I think you guys should put one on here, we have a ton of great restaurants and the community is really great, you'd have great success here."
Calgary takes tips from Edmonton
Teresa Lin, ambassador for Edmonton's Dishcrawl, also got her first glimpse of the phenomenon in the news when it was hitting Toronto.
She remembers looking back and saying, "They're only in Eastern Canada, what's going on? With all the great foods we have on the west coast, whether it be B.C. or Calgary even, it seems silly not to have something like that out here."
The first Dishcrawl in Edmonton took place at the end of January in the Old Strathcona area and was sold out by the event date.
"You go in loving food and [you] try new things and new places, so we had a really great time that first night," says Lin.
Kensington: Yummy destination
James chose the Kensington community because of its high density of restaurants and the short walking distance between each location.
"I pick the restaurants based on personal experience, research, reviewing feedback and reading articles online as well as listening to stuff on the radio, if something peaks my interest, I'll go forward and contact them," says James.
Patrons who have purchased a ticket won't find out about the exact locations until the event. The first location will be disclosed two days prior via email.
James says that the surprise element is what keeps this event exciting.
The group will visit each of four restaurants for around 45 minutes and try two to three dishes. Patrons will also get to have a meet and greet with the owners or chefs to find out more about the restaurant and its cuisine.
According to Lin, the walking in between locations is good because "after the first few places you'll be like 'OK, I'm glad we had this walk.'"
Lin also advises to bring your camera and walking shoes.
Melanie Der attended Edmonton's first Dishcrawl with her boyfriend.
"We had the opportunity to try out restaurants that I might normally miss while on a search for a new place to eat at.
"For newbies, I would tell them that if they're looking to try out potentially new restaurants, taste a variety of foods, meet new people who are also interested in food, or any combination these, Dishcrawl is definitely the way to go."
She found that meeting the restaurant owners and chefs was a unique experience since normally, you wouldn't necessarily have the chance to do so.
James believes Calgary's inaugural Dishcrawl will be just as much of a hit as Edmonton's and hopefully will continue to grow and become more frequent.
"We want to keep it going, keep it exciting and keep it different," says James.
Tickets cost $45, which includes all food and tips; beverages not included in the featured dishes will be an extra cost.
For more information and to purchase tickets visit Dishcrawl Calgary's website. You can also follow them on Twitter @dishcrawlCAL.