Urban Foodie, Metro CalgaryToday marks my debut as Metro Calgary’s restaurant reviewer! I’m really excited about this paid assignment and am looking forward to the new challenge.

My food column, Urban Foodie, will run every Thursday in Metro, so pick up your free copy in Calgary, or check out the digital edition via the main page.

What does this mean for the blog? Well, I’m definitely going to keep doing it, don’t worry. But I will be experimenting with how I split up material between Metro and here, and aiming to stay as unbiased as I can. The great thing about the blog is I’m not limited by word count or space.

Case in point: AKA Bistro Wine Bar.

I wrote about my lovely dinner experience in Metro today. But here, I can tell you how amazing AKA’s weekend brunch is too, and save you hours in the lineup across the street at Diner Delux.

AKA Bistro, Calgary

I first heard about the brunch from Christina who was so excited she phoned me from her table on Sunday morning. “You have to come here! Today!” she said. “The Eggs Benedict comes with pork belly! You love pork belly! Aaaand… it’s on brioche!”

With a ringing endorsement like that, how could I resist?

Turns out the Eggs Benedict ($13) comes with your choice of pork belly, house-cured salmon gravlax, farmer sausage or bacon. Jason was over the moon about the bacon which comes from Broek Pork Acres farm in Coaldale, near Lethbridge.

AKA Bistro, Calgary

I ended up getting the FSM Hash ($13) so I wouldn’t have to choose between pork belly and steak. Both came in my dish, along with two poached eggs, potato hash, corn, onions, peppers and grilled toast — some of my favourite things all together on one happy plate!

AKA Bistro, CalgaryThere are lots of other intriguing dishes I want to come back for including the AKA truffled omelet (with pork belly) and Granddad’s grilled cheese sandwich ($12) with farm ham, fresh tomatoes, and brie.

For vegetarians, the organic quinoa waffles ($11) and thick-cut French toast ($12) we saw go by smelled and looked great.

AKA is a partnership between the former owner of Noon that used to occupy this century-old space, as well as the guys behind Muse and winebar in Kensington. They’ve brought the same familiar coziness and top-notch service here to Bridgeland/Renfrew.

AKA is the kind of place I equate with weekend brunch: sunlight streaming in the windows as you read the thick weekend paper at leisure with a strong cup of coffee and a great twist on the old bacon and eggs.

AKA Bistro, 709 Edmonton Trail N.E., Calgary, (403) 984-7534.

Open Tuesday to Thursday & Sunday 4-11 p.m., Friday & Saturday 4 p.m.-1 a.m. Weekend brunch Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

AKA Winebar on Urbanspoon