Calgary’s TELUS Spark’s new restaurant, Social Eatery, is “home cooking with a global twist”. Chris and I were fortunate enough to try it out thanks to a generous friend of his, and we were especially excited once hearing that celebrity chef, Roger Mooking, was the master behind the tantalizing online images. It was a pretty great night of science and food, not to mention the Star Trek exhibit we went through!
Before the switch, the food at TELUS Spark was the standard cafeteria fare including regular burgers and fries. Now, thanks to an emphasis on sustainable and healthy living, science-explorers get to try a variety of fresh, local dishes while filling up enough to explore the rest of the centre.
Chris and I ordered four different dishes. The portions are small, but I believe the intent is to have sharing plates where individuals can try different types of dishes at once instead of ordering a large dish for themselves.
High on my list of priorities was the roast garlic hummus. Definitely fresh, and definitely garlic-y. Grocery store hummus in packaged plastic tubs are no match for this one. The texture was creamy and smooth, counterbalanced well with the crispiness of the pita. The flavours of lemon, olive oil, and a hint of spice were a perfect match with the garlic, as well.
The best dish we had was definitely the roasted brussels sprouts with mustard sauce. I may be a bit biased because brussels sprouts are one of my favourite vegetables, but these were so fresh, crisp yet tender, and had a slight kick from the mustard. For me, brussels sprouts are best when roasted, when they carry a hint of smokiness and a chewy bite. I was tempted to order another one of these, but Chris was smart enough to tell me that we were already eating more than enough.
I have a belief that the stigma around kids and brussels sprouts is false, and that if kids ate roasted brussels sprouts like the ones from Social Eatery, they would be gobbling down their veggies. If you’re heading to TELUS Spark with the kids, order this dish. Even if they don’t like it at least you’ll have more for yourself.
Next up were the braised Spolumbo’s sausage and the hot brown mushroom melt. Spolumbo’s, as usual, is delicious. Their signature spiciness was mild but present, and the fresh pile of onions and peppers was a welcome change to a typical hot dog-style meal.
The hot brown mushroom melt wasn’t my favourite, especially because I don’t like too much cheese on my food. I ended up giving most of the cheese to Chris, and eating nearly all the shiitake mushrooms myself. The herb puree on the bread was quite strong, so if you are thinking about ordering this for someone who prefers milder flavours and isn’t as adventurous with their food, I would definitely suggest the braised sausage or the other menu items instead.
Considering the quality of the ingredients and the food overall, the prices are cheaper than expected – which is always a pleasant surprise! It’s a delicious and affordable option for those on a science adventure, and to be quite honest, I’m very tempted to go again to TELUS Spark just to try out the rest of the food…
Our side dish was the Star Trek exhibition. At that time, I had never in my life watched Star Trek. I knew that the show surrounded space travel, but other than that, I was pretty unacquainted with Starfleet, Captains, Klingons, and the like.
After going through the first couple rooms, I loved the interactive component of the exhibits. Though I knew nothing of Star Trek, the personality quizzes, playing doctor, captain, navigator, etc. – all of these proposed a fun, nearly two hour ride through a world of space exploration I never thought I’d be interested in. At certain stations, we were even able to take pictures and videos that we could send to our emails afterwards (though these will never shared on my blog. Ever.).
What really hit it out of the ballpark was the final activity: an interactive simulation of what a ship captain would need to do when faced with an enemy ship and one that needed rescue. Everything that happens in the simulation depends on your decisions as the “captain”, measuring your risk-taking, diplomacy levels, and more. It’s a fun, exploratory exercise that I’m sure anyone will enjoy doing – regardless of whether or not you are a Star Trek fan.
At the end of the exhibit, the program calculates your results. Maybe this is a little too telling of how mundane our lives are, but I was shown that I had high potential to be in a Communications role, and Chris a Medical role. If we aren’t walking stereotypes of our chosen professions, I don’t know what we are.
By the time we got home, I had already decided what we were doing for the rest of the night – we turned on Netflix and started watching Star Trek: The Next Generation. Needless to say, I’m kind of hooked now thanks to this exhibit.
The Star Trek exhibit at the centre runs until June 4, 2017, which is plenty of time for you to gather whoever you can find. Not only is there a great new exhibit in addition to the centre’s regular activities, but you also get to try out the Social Eatery! You can check out their menu online here, and be sure to bring friends – you’ll want to try everything on the menu once you start reading those ingredients!