Like every brilliant idea of mine, it’s not really mine, but copied from a girlfriend. Christmastime is so busy, it’s important to schedule pauses. One friend makes a point to get gussied up and meets her partner at a swish restaurant every December.
It’s been awhile since our last date night, so I nicked my girlfriend’s idea and headed off to Vintage Chophouse with the hubs earlier this week.
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Intimate and classy, Vintage Chophouse sports a speakeasy vibe with exposed brick walls, deep booths and romantic lighting. It’s old school, but updated.
Crisp, white linen napkins are folded into a cute tuxedo shape and the walls of our booth were blanketed with chocolate velvet, a nod to the classic steak house red carpet wall treatment of yesteryear.
For appies, we decided to splurge. First up was a massive crab cake, easily shareable with chunks of crab you can easily spot. It didn’t disappoint in the way many do, likely because it’s oven roasted, not breaded nor deep fried.
For our second app we went with beef tartare. Now I love my beef raw, especially when it’s classically served with a fresh egg yolk. Decadent and carnivore-ish, beef tartare tastes like victory (and obviously brings out the cavewoman in me).
For mains, it’s gotta be steak. I mean, how can you not when the waiter, sporting a butcher’s jacket, trots out with a massive cutting board brimming with huge hunks of beef? So many amazing cuts, so little room in my stomach.
Wagyu Beef Calgary
I was tempted to go with the wagyu beef (raised in nearby Brant by my Grade 10 boyfriend’s family!!). You can find this Brant Lake wagry beef at pretty much any reputable steakhouse in Calgary. It’s super tasty and everything you want in a steak. But for us, on this night, the rib eye was a better sharing option, so that’s what we went with.
Vintage Steakhouse Calgary
I’m glad we went with the ribeye to share. Deliciously charred on the outside and sprinkled with fat flakes of salt, our steak was perfectly bloody on the inside. It proved that no matter what type of beef you order from a proper steakhouse like Vintage in Calgary, they’re going to do a smashing job.
Accompanied by asparagus (which looked good, but had to be ignored since it was too healthy) and savoury scalloped potatoes, it was all I could do not to lick the plate.
Truthfully, I haven’t had steak this good in a long time. We fought over the last piece, but I graciously conceded to The Huz since there was no way I was leaving without dessert.
During our meal I thought we’d sort out important Christmas issues: who’s buying what, if I make trifle will anyone eat it, you’re sending cards to your relatives, right?
But it just didn’t evolve that way and I didn’t want our lovely evening marred by shop talk. So we flitted around topics, such as heli-skiing vs cat-skiing and would we sink the money into sending Buddy to puppy physio? (Most definitely yes!)
Baked Alaska in Calgary
There are some fabulous dessert options, but it’s rare to find Baked Alaska on a menu in Calgary. So when I see it, I go for it, no matter how full I am.
Our Baked Alaska arrived and it was a sight to behold. The outer meringue whipped to marshmallow-like consistency was a beautiful contrast to the cool, almost tart ice cream underneath.
But damn it, I was just too full to do it justice. Two bites and I was done, ready to be rolled out of the resto.
The food and ambiance were spot on, and our waiter was the icing on the cake. No squatting down to be at your eye level, no “how ya doin’ tonight?” like they want to be your best friend.
No, these dudes interestingly donning butcher’s coats mean business. Polite, efficient and knowledgable, that’s all I ask for in a waiter. Fortunately that’s what we got, thank god or I would’ve annoyed the pants off of Dan with my whinging.
Do you pencil in downtime before the holidays hit? Let me know in the comment section below.
I always try to schedule in a massage or even just an evening for a bubble bath and a good book 🙂
Isn’t it amazing how a bubble bath can cure all ills? Thanks for commenting, Candice!
I always make a spa appointment and touch up the Botox before I head home for the holidays.
This is a good idea. If I will I will definitely implement it!
When we can get a babysitter!
It’s so hard getting a sitter, isn’t it? We have, like four on rotation.
Usually we don’t, but this year, we made it a point to schedule in some massages before and after the holidays so that we have some down time.
Massage is a great idea!
Full tilt into the holidays because they are the down time for me.
not nearly enough!
Always plan a nice 3 hour lunch with some old co-workers, have done so for the past 13 years!
And of course the holiday mani/pedi for some scheduled me time 🙂
Oh, I like that one! I hope you do this lunch during work hours! 🙂
Great pic of you and Dan J. The insanity of Dec. Has been a bit much. By next week things should slow down. Looking forward to chilling out with my family. We plan on spending hrs outside hiking and enjoying a bonfire or two. Zero travel until we leave for Mexico Jan 2! T
Mexico the first week of Jan sounds pretty sweet. Brilliant timing!
We do but usually not this fancy. I should do this though!
Yes, you should! So worth it.
I think downtime during the busy holiday season is so important – I’ve booked a date night with my husband next weekend and I can’t wait!
Not this year with a new baby 🙁
We don’t usually but we totally should!
I absolutely schedule downtime! Need that break from baking, shopping, wrapping etc before the parties and meals and family visits
Unfortunately, all time right now is pretty much ‘down time’ due to a broken ankle. The bonus of this is lots of people visiting me at home/ not having to wear makeup to socialize. The downside is not getting to really enjoy any of the holidays as I can’t get out on my own – which leaves me with a huge sense of gratitude for amazing friends and family!
And the bonus of winning the draw would be expressing some of that gratitude by giving it to the couple who are helping me out the most!
That must be so hard being laid up over the holidays. So sorry to hear about your ankle. Glad to hear you have a good network supporting you. Best of luck!
That’s a genius idea and next year I’m doing it. We usually end up run ragged with the only down-time happening when one of us catches a seasonal head cold. Which means the other picks up the slack. Next year I’m also going to say no to anything that doesn’t feed my soul in some way. So no more automatic yeses when the school calls or the irritating friend you only see once a year calls. Someone else can step up at school and that friend can wait until January when things are really boring and even going out with an irritating friend seems entertaining.
Pushing back non-urgent get togethers until January is a great idea. Thanks so much for commenting, Vicki.
We plan a dinner and movie date (hubby and me) the week before Christmas to make sure everything is figured out and also to get in some quality time together ;-). We’ve never been to Vintage Chophouse but my brother and sis-in-law love it there!
Dinner and a movie sounds ideal. We used to do that every Boxing Day after shopping, pre-kids….
I use to think of the company Christmas party as a nice time to focus on us but they cancelled it this year 🙁
Awww, that’s too bad!
Good articles!keep it up!
I love the Christmas Season! Just stay out of the malls and BOOM! No stress! Except for the family dinners…
Ha! I’m telling your mother in law you said that:)
Usually we go away for a weekend right before Christmas. This encourages us to get all the shopping and prep. work done early.
A weekend getaway sounds lovely and hotels usually go all out. Where are you headed to this year?
Bubble bath with some bubbly and a good book. That’s my way to unwind before the crazy begins.
Book rec, please! I need something to sustain me over the holidays while I hide from…. oh never mind.
Oooh we have a date night coming up the weekend of the 19th! I would love to visit the Vintage Chophouse with the hub!
We don’t, but that sounds like a really smart idea!
Never have scheduled anything, but based on how busy and burnt out I feel I think I need to add it to my list!
And I like you on Facebook. ..
Thanks, Shawna! Double the entries!!
We don’t usually but this year we have 2 days off together before company arrives! I might have to ditch him with a kid and head for the spa for a few hours, but we were just talking about a date night. We finally have 2 sitters on speed dial (our original excuse for never going out) and we still never leave!
We will have a quiet Christmas eve – just the teo of us with nice dinner and some fabulous wine.
I definitely try to watch the Christmas classics with my kids & husband – Elf, A Wonderful Life, The Grinch, etc.
Congratulations, Leslie! You’ve won the $100 gift card for Vintage Chophouse. I’ll email you further info. Happy holidays!
Congrats, Leslie. You’ve just one the $100 giveaway from Vintage Chophouse. I’ll email you with further deets. Happy holidays! Jody
Most years John and I go out for a really nice dinner in the week before Christmas. It’s time to make a reservation as nothing is on the books. I’m also super happy to curl up with a glass of wine and a great book.
Fantastic contest and this post had me chuckling.
I only wish I had downtime before the holidays! Too busy shopping, planning and wrapping!
I always make time for myself, because I believe I need to take care of myself before I do others. So I like to schedule in time where I can take a break (walks, shopping, baths, reading, nice cup of tea). Thanks for the chance!
Best of luck to you!
Our downtime includes time together as a family. We have three boys, and we take time to decorate the tree and to go to church. Those times are important… allowing us to be present for one another. Thanks for this great opportunity to tell the time we spend together!
Being present is what it’s all about, isn’t it? Thanks so much for dropping by, Darren!
I try to pencil in downtime by having a lazy night and reading a good book at home! 😉
That sounds like heaven to me, right about now. Thanks so much for commenting, Jess.