Strawberries on Pizza

Strawberries on Pizza


If you haven’t already heard, our season opener next week (Oct. 17th) is celebrating all the things we love about Calgary. And in the spirit of that theme, we’ve partnered with Tourism Calgary to make the show the unofficial kick-off to the #LoveYYC campaign – an annual celebration of our city, culminating in LoveYYC Day on Saturday, Nov. 3rd.

The LoveYYC conversation is a chance to show off what Calgarians love about Calgary – like our restaurants. People say Calgary has a great restaurant scene, and I agree. But I didn’t always.

Not because Calgary didn’t have a great restaurant scene, but because my idea of deciding on a restaurant was picking between the efficiency of the drive-thru or going all classy-like and sitting inside.

I moved to Calgary in the summer of 1997. My sisters Theresa and Julie were already living here and I stayed in their apartment until I found my own place. They lived in Bridgeland in a walk-up on Drury Avenue. (And, for the record, I never saw the Muffin Man.)

Anyway, a few weeks later I moved into my own place and to commemorate our time together, I took my sisters out to Teatro. Teatro Ristorante was (and still is) an upscale restaurant across from the home of Alberta Theatre Projects (now known as Arts Commons) where I was working. People today will say Teatro was the start of the “new restaurant scene in Calgary.” All I knew was it was “nice” and “nice” was another word for “more money than a Happy Meal.”

Now I don’t want to suggest that my sisters and I were hillbillies who had never been to a nice restaurant, but we put on our cleanest overalls, spit shined our boots and brushed our four teeth and headed out for a fancy meal. Ha Ha! That’s not true. Theresa didn’t wear boots. Her toenails were too long. I’m kidding Theresa!

I remember a few things. First, the wait staff was incredible and very kind to the three of us who weren’t really sure what we were doing. Second, the menu looked amazing.

So we read and debated, and read and debated some more, and finally decided on pizza. Which they may have called something fancier than “pizza”, I don’t remember. Either way, we lived on the edge and ordered a pizza with a fancy name we didn’t recognize.
While we waited, we looked around at the beautiful room and the smart-dressed people on their night out, and took in the smells that were a big step up from a deep fryer. Then our server set down our pizza on our crisp linen covered table. We looked at the pizza, then up at each other. Julie spoke first, “Is that what I think it is?”


They put strawberries on the pizza.

Can you even DO that?

We’d never seen anything so wild, so cutting edge, so new. Wow.

And it was delicious. We couldn’t find the words at first. We just ate quietly, savoring every bite. Eventually words came. “It’s like … a Hawaiian … but better,” we told the server.

“The Chef will be so glad to hear that,” she said.

I remember the three of us talking about life, Calgary and the future. Julie was going to school’ Theresa was working; I was starting a job in television. The future was open and bright. Julie had no way of knowing she’d end up starting a family and moving to Quebec. And Theresa had no way of knowing she’d have a house full of kids right here in Calgary.

And I somehow think the restaurant helped. If they were wild and crazy enough to put strawberries on pizza – well then, we could do anything.

And that’s why I LoveYYC.