Chorney-Sales space: Chef Elia Herrera’s Milpa restaurant displays deep love of Mexican meals and household

Chorney-Sales space: Chef Elia Herrera’s Milpa restaurant displays deep love of Mexican meals and household

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Calgary has greater than its justifiable share of gifted cooks making their culinary mark on our metropolis, however our collective “the extra the merrier” perspective means welcoming cooks from different components of the nation and the world into the fold. That spirit is a part of what prompted chef Elia Herrera to come back to Calgary to open Milpa, a brand new modern Mexican restaurant within the coronary heart of the Beltline.

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Regardless of her humble manner and real enjoyment of being embraced by the town with open arms, Herrera comes with a fairly spectacular CV. Initially from Cordoba, Mexico, Herrera grew up loving cooking (she’s a third-generation chef) and developed an equal affection for journey and journey. She ended up in Toronto, the place she owns two in style eating places, additionally showing on Prime Chef Canada and Prime Chef Mexico to earn a contact of superstar standing.

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What’s Herrera doing right here in Calgary? She loves the mountains and desires to convey her imaginative and prescient of upscale Mexican meals to a brand new viewers whereas sparking her creativity with new environment. She’s not simply contributing her identify and menu to Milpa, both – Herrera runs the restaurant’s busy open kitchen and is dedicated to being in Calgary full-time for not less than the subsequent 12 months whereas Milpa establishes its roots.

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The staff gather in Milpa, a recently opened Mexican restaurant in Calgary’s Beltline. Gavin Young/Postmedia
The employees collect in Milpa, a not too long ago opened Mexican restaurant in Calgary’s Beltline. Gavin Younger/Postmedia Gavin Younger/Postmedia

Even with some critical native know-how from normal supervisor Franz Swinton and bar supervisor John Fairholm, each veterans of the native trade, Milpa may be very a lot Herrera’s child. It’s a surprisingly glamorous room provided that it sits on the backside of a high-rise amongst a collection of fast-casual eating places, with diners being greeted with a collection of dazzling turquoise arches. As dazzling because the design is, Herrera says the look is supposed to recall the essence of her grandmother’s home in Mexico.

That familial affect additionally informs the meals, which all comes within the type of small plates designed for sharing. The “Tres Marias” dip trio is a should, with its small bowls of guacamole, black bean hummus, and deeply satisfying sikil pak (a Mexican pumpkin seed dip) served with a choice of crunchy corn, taro, and plantain chips ($16). Different standouts embrace vegan coconut ceviche with bits of younger coconut rather than uncooked seafood ($15), Atlantic cod encased in shatteringly crisp empanada shells ($19), luxurious chunks of seared salmon paired with tequila prawns ($29), and parchment-wrapped lamb mixote served with tortillas for a DIY taco expertise ($21). Herrera’s flavours are earthy and sophisticated, with little or no overlap between dishes, permitting the chef to showcase a deeper breadth of Mexican meals.

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The Coconut Ceviche appetizer at Milpa in Calgary’s Beltline. Gavin Young/Postmedia
The Coconut Ceviche appetizer at Milpa in Calgary’s Beltline. Gavin Younger/Postmedia Gavin Younger/Postmedia

“Most individuals know tacos and burritos that are scrumptious, however Mexico is about a lot extra,” Herrera says. “I really like that I can introduce my household traditions and the dishes that I grew up with. Mexico is so expansive – you possibly can have a typical dish, however even from metropolis to metropolis it is going to be fully completely different.”

An analogous philosophy is mirrored in Fairholm’s cocktail menu, which fits far (far) past your typical margaritas. There are margs and palomas on deck, however extra adventurous drinkers ought to dive into choices made with house-made infusions, syrups and garnishes, utilized in drinks just like the tomatillo martini, a horchata-based Shaft, and the cheese-infused Cataluña 75. There’s additionally a protracted record of tequila and mezcal, in addition to some wine, beer, and non-alcoholic drinks.

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Night time owls must also notice: Milpa gives a late-night taco menu on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 p.m. to shut. Between that and the upcoming introduction of Herrera’s personal line of scorching sauces, this gorgeous restaurant is poised to boost the scene on seventeenth Avenue.

Milpa is situated at 1531 fifth St. S.W. The restaurant is open Tuesday by means of Thursday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. and from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. For extra info and reservations, go to

The bright, colourful interior of Milpa in Calgary’s Beltline. It serves creative Mexican dishes. Gavin Young/Postmedia
The brilliant, vibrant inside of Milpa in Calgary’s Beltline. It serves artistic Mexican dishes. Gavin Younger/Postmedia Gavin Younger/Postmedia

Residents of southwest Calgary could have seen that New Camp, the restaurant that took over the previous Shillelagh’s Pub location on Sirocco Drive final spring, has been briefly closed to make repairs after an inside flood. Proprietor Tony Nicastro took the closure as a possibility to refresh the menu, which was created by the restaurant’s unique chef, who has since parted methods with the enterprise.

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New head chef Cody Draper is now working with a wholly new menu, developed by consulting chef Ryan Blackwell, a widely known presence in Calgary due to his work at eating places just like the Elbow Room and Olea. New Camp boasts a surprising, retro-styled room and Nicastro wished a menu to replicate the work that went into the swanky design, whereas nonetheless being approachable for locals trying to are available in for a pint or households seeking an informal weeknight meal. The result’s a pleasant choice of thoughtfully topped flatbreads, elevated bar requirements like nachos and wings, Cubano and pickle fried rooster sandwiches, and mains starting from beer-battered fish and chips to tikka masala salmon.

New Camp is situated at #323, 1851 Sirocco Dr. S.W. and might be reached at 403-879-8198 or by means of

Elizabeth Chorney-Sales space might be reached at [email protected]. Observe her on Instagram at @elizabooth.


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