Calgary Citizen Newsletter Thursday Jan. 25

And get your ramen noodle fix at these five hot spots

Good morning, there!

You may have heard that the 2024 Oscar nominations were announced (or maybe you heard about all of the Barbie-snub controversy) but you may not know that a total of 15 nominated titles were screened at the 2023 Calgary International Film Festival (CIFF) and at First Look, the festival’s new year-round series. In celebration, CIFF will be screening the Oscar®-Nominated shorts from Feb. 16-18, at Globe Cinema. Check out the slate of amazing films here!

Krista Sylvester, Managing Editor

👀 In today's edition:

  • Calgary chocolatier’s pastry reign

  • Tucker Carlson is in Alberta

  • Ramen hot spots to get your fix

Today’s read time: Approx. 4 minutes

Advertise your business, event, or restaurant in front of 34,000+ engaged locals! Contact our team today.


Do you like Tucker Carlson?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.


⛅ Today: High 4C, Low -6C. See the 7-day forecast.

🚗 Driving today? Check the current traffic situation, and find the city’s traffic report and road closures.

Calgary chocolatier and pastry chef instructor baked up a big showing on the Food Network

Calgary pastry chef Kevin Conniff loves baking because it comes really naturally to him. Conniff was the only Canadian contestant on the Holiday Baking Championship and he finished second. // Submitted

Calgary chocolatier and pastry chef instructor Kevin Conniff’s biggest inspiration to become a baker was his mother—and that inspiration has paid off for the Food Network’s Holiday Baking Championship series second-place finalist after making it to the end of the season 10 competition.

“She loved to be in the kitchen baking up something delicious and always encouraged me to join her,” Conniff tells the Citizen, adding their “special thing” was to bake together when he was a child. “I was lucky enough to land a job at a bakery as a teenager and fell even more in love with the craft during that period of my life. Honestly, the rest is history.”

That history includes Conniff’s passion project, Sweet Bella Chocolates, which has evolved into a beloved local business whose signature is to infuse the chocolate with tea flavours sourced from Kensington’s The Naked Leaf.

But that’s not all; Conniff is also a pastry chef instructor at SAIT who enjoys watching his students grow and evolve.

“They are under my mentorship for a two-year period and over that time, they develop into extremely talented professionals,” he says. “After they graduate, I love watching them launch their own careers.”

He may not have won the Holiday Baking Championship title, but he made it to the finale and won the hearts of many not only in Calgary but beyond, and Conniff is grateful for the entire experience.

“Everyone on the show came from such diverse backgrounds and it was amazing to share our stories through our shared passion of baking,” he adds.

His favourite thing to bake?

“A kiss cookie. It’s a recipe as old as me and always seems to impress a crowd. My mom showed me how to make it when I was in kindergarten and now I make it for my family every year at Christmas.”

- Krista Sylvester 

Related Story

Need to know

🗳️ Premier Danielle Smith sticks to energy and environmental policy in talk with Tucker Carlson. A year ago, Carlson was calling on Americans to invade and “liberate” Canada from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Now, he’s in Alberta.

🏒 Five players from Canada's 2018 world junior hockey team are granted leaves as police reportedly probe sex assault charges. One of those players appears to be a Flames forward.

🌡️ Better weather is on the way for Calgary this week after weeks of blistering cold and snow. In fact, it’s going to be warmer than Austin, Texas.

💸 City council is set to look at a rebate aimed at offsetting the contentious property tax hike.

💰 'You want the best for your kid': Calgary parents are struggling to find daycare spots as costs go down.

🏈 Calgarians are reacting to the death of a popular former Stampeders player who died unexpectedly in his sleep.

🔥 Eight people have been displaced after a basement fire in the city’s northwest.

📦 People moving to Calgary are mostly coming from these 30 metros, according to MSN.

👍 A Calgary non-profit is offering learn now, pay later learning for tech jobs.

💸 Rona to close its Calgary distribution centre, which would cut about 300 jobs across Canada.

🎒 Calgary’s Child Magazine’s free weekly newsletter is packed with family-friendly activities, local events, excursions, and giveaways. Sign up here and never hear “I’m bored” again!


Get your winter ramen fix at these five hot spots

Shiki Menya // Instagram

Is there anything better than a heaping bowl of warm ramen filled with noodles, vegetables, meat, and more? Not that we can think of and Calgary has a lot of great ramen spots to get your noodle fix on. Here are five of our favourites:

Shimizu Kitchen: This little hole in the wall is a local family-owned restaurant that serves decadent ramen with choices from miso ramen, spicy Tantanmen and more. While you are eating, enjoy the quaint and cozy atmosphere with a beautiful cherry blossom tree centred in the middle of the dining room.

Shiki Menya: Make sure to get here early as there is usually a line outside of the door when it opens. This spot is only able to make a limited number of bowls each day, which always sells out because it is just that good. A must try!

Muku Japanese Ramen: Having trained in Tokyo, chef Sakamoto has worked to create some of the best ramen in the city where you are transported right to Japan as you sip the broth. There are multiple different ramen options to serve every taste from pork, miso, and chicken broth in spicy and non-spicy options. 

Jinya Ramen Bar: After simmering for 20 hours in house, Jinya’s broth is ready to be served over a bed of noodles and a variety of other delicious ingredients. There is also a customizable menu for you to make your ramen dreams come true.

Ikemen Ramen Bar: This ramen spot offers traditional ramen as well as many alternative options that are not as common from green curry seafood ramen and roasted tomato veggie ramen to mushroom ramen and karaage yuzu cold ramen.

Where to eat and drink

🍴 Dickey’s Barbecue Pit: Having just tried this American franchise recently on a road trip, we are excited that a location has just opened in Calgary’s Beltline. Enjoy these juicy meats and all the fixin’s, too.

🍴 Pocket Coffee: Serving Fratello Coffee and Alforno pastries, this quaint West Hillhurst spot is both delicious and delectable.

🍴 Belmont Diner: Located in Marda Loop and Aspen Landing, this delectable little diner is one of our favourites for brunch and we can’t wait for the new location opening this March in Willow Park.

Have a food or drink suggestion? Message us and we might share it!

Local specials

💸 Comedy Cave: Enjoy the dinner and a show package and get an even better deal on Tuesday nights when you can get a second package for free.

💸 Side Street Pub & Grill: Enjoy half off appetizers, half-price bottles of wine and drink specials on Fridays.

💸 Greta Bar: If you enjoy arcade games and saving money, you’ll love Greta’s happy hour on Tuesday to Saturday from 3-6pm where you can get three hours of unlimited gaming for $20 plus drink and food specials.

Have a promo suggestion? Message us and we might share it!

Things to do

🎟️ The Paradise Emporium: This tropical cocktail pop-up on until Sunday is available for free if you reserve your tickets ahead and there are plenty of dangerously-delicious Paradise Emporium signature cocktails available for purchase.

🎟️ Revv52's Epic 80s show: From tonight until Saturday night, get ready to be transported back in time with an electrifying and nostalgic musical journey hosted at MRU’s Bella Concert Hall.

🎟️ Arts Commons Presents Circa Humans 2.0: All the way from Australia, this contemporary circus phenomenon is a jaw-dropping display of physical strength, agility and artistry performed to live music in the Jack Singer Concert Hall on Feb. 13.

Have an event suggestion? Message us and we might share it!


One of our readers shared this photo from Sunshine Village. Send us your photos to [email protected]. // Rock Dagenais

That’s it! Thanks for reading. If you have a hot story tip you want to share, feel free to reply back anytime. We’ll see you back here on Tuesday, same time, same place!

What did you think of today's newsletter?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.


Subscribe to Insider to read the rest.

Become a paying subscriber of Insider to get access to this post and other subscriber-only content.

Already a paying subscriber? Sign In

A subscription gets you:
Support local journalism
Local events, restaurants, discounts and perks
Weekend roundup newsletter
Exclusive content and member-only events

Join the conversation

or to participate.