people who “eat to live” are not usually my kind of people. i can’t relate to someone who thinks kale chips are an indulgence. they are the people i happily smile at with my chubby cheeks while i lick barbecue sauce off my fingers…because, have you tried barbecue?
that magic is worth being chubby for.
in one episode of Mind of a Chef (on netflix, watch it) the pit master they are featuring says, “it makes the skinny fat, and the fat good lookin’,” in his delightful southern drawl while rubbing his overall-covered belly. i remember laughing at his matter-of-fact statement; it was so ‘deep south’.
my enchantment began at southern soul barbecue in saint simons island, georgia aka the happiest place on earth. where the small counter barely has standing room for four and the line is stretched so far out onto the patio, it weaves around the benches and past the smoker – the main focal point.
sitting on that patio in the sunshine, sipping on a sweet tea, while waiting for my order is my definition of simple happiness.
the downside is, southern soul’s patio is 4,228km away from me most days. and while the 39 hour drive that spans two provinces and 13 states sounds pretty incredible, it may not be the most economical.
you could imagine i was pretty jazzed to hear of a new barbecue joint, Hayden Block Smoke & Whiskey, a mere 3.7km from my condo. all signs pointed to great: their menus were locally-sourced and celiac-friendly, they learned from the best in Texas, they kept everything simple.
there was only one question left: could it compare to my island in the sun?
after stuffing ourselves on my birthday, Jess and I found out that yes, indeed, it was as delicious as i needed it to be. and that’s no easy task; my barbecue standards are incredibly high.
Hayden Block provides has a welcoming and friendly atmosphere, deliciously smoked dishes, a multitude of classic sides (like their decadent, ooey gooey mac and cheese), and hand-crafted cocktails. it was everything i was missing in terms of barbecue – southern drawl not included. though, i’m sure if i asked nicely, someone would fake an accent for me.
local calgarians will know the location as the old yardhouse in kensington. after an extensive revamp of the space – totally needed – Hayden Block now features a southern-inspired ambiance and a backyard patio called the Whiskey Garden, where you can enjoy a beverage made with your choice of the over 160 internationally sourced whiskeys, or a craft beer or glass of wine.
you’ll leave more than satisfied with a full belly and extensive knowledge from the in-house whiskey-connoisseurs, all of which are happy to take a moment to tell you about their passion. my favourite kind of people.
i have countless standing dates to return again, try everything i haven’t yet, indulge in my favourites, and order everything on the brunch menu. wanna come?
do you have a favourite barbecue place?