Cowtown and The Rockies


Greetings from Banff, Alberta!! I’m here with my gal pals Holly (pictured above) and Karen. This shall be short and sweet, but I simply must document and share my first day in Western Canada – and my first trip to Calgary!

I started off at 4am Wednesday morning, and let me tell you, I was hurtin’. I don’t know if it was the lack of sleep, or just plain emotions, but I got a little teared up as we took off and I left the Maritimes and my home of Moncton behind.

SO weird to think that I won’t be going back!

Thankfully, I had tons of fun in store. We’ll forget the part where I had to literally sprint to the gate in the Toronto airport to catch my Calgary flight… mmkay??

We stayed at a really nice hostel in Calgary. Even though the cab driver warned us of drug deals in the area, the people seemed really nice. Two nice boys offered to take us out for dinner (*sarcasm)

Holly and I needed to eat right away once we landed. Out of sheer luck, we wandered into a pub/restaurant that fit the local Western theme. The second we walked in, we were hit in the face with the smell of an old fashioned smokehouse.

It seemed like the perfect watering hole, so we wet the whistle right away with some local draught beer. I can’t remember what the beers were called – but they did the trick!

I’d been up since 1am Calgary time at this point. Let’s just say, that’s the cheapest drunk I ever got :P

The menu was a hilarious read – full of beefy options.

I finally decided on the Sliced Alberta Beef Brisket. I’ve never had brisket before – and Alberta is world famous for its beef!!

There were a lot of fun options for the sides – I kind of wanted to try them all.

Alas, I went for my only vegetable of the day – Bacon Wrapped Corn Cobs.

With some Jack Daniel’s Apples. Whiskey is my favourite booze, and apples are my favourite fruit – perfection!

During dinner, Holly and I decided that we needed to find some cowboy boots, so we went looking for some in Cowtown.

No boots were found, but there were a few shenanigans with cowboy hats ;)

And we walked! The hostel is kind of close to downtown, so we got to explore some of the things Calgary is known for. Like, this tall tower thingy.

And pink gophers.

And Olympic Plaza!! Calgary hosted the Olympics in 1988 and most of their infrastructure is from that period.

And can I just say, that Holly is already a wonderful travel companion? Some people may think it odd to meet up and travel for a week with someone you only ever knew through the internet. But truth be told, us food bloggers are all VERY alike. It’s weird meeting a person for the first time – but feeling like you already know them SO well!!

Even though we were beat, I was still excited to meet up with a friend from high school who now works in Calgary (hi Brynne!). It was tons of fun catching up with her. Despite the fact the we were approached by six different men, all with pick-up lines that were more awful from the last.

Yayyy for good times and creeper bars in Calgary!!!

Another reason why I love traveling with foodies is that first thing when Holly and I woke up this morning, we both agreed that we needed water, food and coffee. In that order. For some reason we thought we needed to go to the grocery store, but we realized we had more than enough food for a meal just in our travel snack stashes.

Water, instant oats, soy protein powder, a banana, almond butter, and maple jelly.

The hostel had a stellar kitchen, so we got to use the stovetop for the oats!

Omg. So good. Bloggers need to open a specialty oatmeal shop, because we know how to get this shit done.

Honourable mentions go to this maple jelly I brought from New Brunswick – made in my hometown of Riverview!!

And to Justin’s Maple Almond Butter thanks to Holly, which I have never tried. Even made with Canadian maple sugar, although I’ve never seen it in Canada :P

After our water and oatmeal, we finally got our coffee. T’was a hazy morning after such a loooooong day on Wednesday!!

Holly has never been to Canada before. I feel like it’s my duty to take her to Tim Horton’s, but first I needed to bring her to a Canadian cafe chain that at least serves decent coffee.

She approved :)

Then it was off to the mountains!!! (!!!!)

My mother told me no to sleep on the bus ride to Banff, so I tried very hard to keep my eyes open. It was worth it. I’ve never been to the Rockies before!

We’re checked into another fabulous hostel right in the heart of Banff (which is a really small town anyways)

Holly and I did an awful job on the snack front today, and were positively famished by the time we arrived. We settled into a pub that my mother recommended – The Rose & Crown.

I got a kick out of seeing that Alexander Keith’s is an import beer here!! That’s my Maritime favourite!

I went back and forth again on this menu. There are just too many good meaty things to choose from here.

One of my flights here was showing the Food Network, and I watched an Episode of French Cooking at Home where she made a beef stew. I’ve been craving stew ever since. So I ended up going with the Rangeland Elk Stew – Alberta elk braised with red wine, herbs, and mushrooms and served under a puff pastry pillow. Accompanied with mashed potatoes and roast vegetables.

I opted out of the puff pastry, much to our server’s chagrin.

Ummm…can I just say this was amazing!!! Best thing I’ve eaten in a while!! I’ve never had elk, but it was wonderfully tender. The red wine flavour was spot on with the nice touch of added cranberries. Loved every mouthful.

I didn’t finish it though. Why??

I had to save room for dessert!!

Holly and I were quite literally kids in a candy store.

There are so many sweet and chocolate shops here. Every now and then we’ll walk past a store front and be attacked by intoxicating smells of chocolate, butter and sugar.

Oddly enough, earlier today I was telling Holly she needed to experience Canadian maple fudge. And they had it here!

You can’t tell – but those pieces are huge. I still have some left waiting for me at the hostel ;)

After dinner Karen showed up and we went out for more brew!

I got my new favourite beer here – the Big Rock Grasshopper.

And then there was a belly dancer and broken plates. Don’t ask.

Okee dokee friends – it is getting late and I have some mountain air to breathe in. Holly as tons more pictures on here blog – so go check them out here! The weather has been crummy thus far, but it’s looking up for the weekend. I’ll have some beautiful sunny pictures the next time you see me! Miss you all!!!! xoxo

Posted on June 11, 2010, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 28 Comments.

  1. Madeline - Greens and Jeans

    AHHHHHHH! So. Much. Fun. I am sad that you guys couldn’t get your hands on some cowboy boots. Every girl needs a pair. Or two in my case.

  2. You girls are SO fun! I wish I was up there with you. Cant wait to hear about the rest of your adventures!

  3. madeline and holly met
    now you and holly meet

    you eat fudge, and drink beer
    and are approched by creepers w/ pickup lines…I used to call that “conducting interviews”. scott would be late, id be sitting at the bar alone, conducting interviews and trying to “fire” the candidates as fast as possible. it still happens to me in places like groc stores and malls. men..relentless, i tell you!


  4. Looks like a fab start to your adventure! x x

  5. Looks so amazing! Glad you guys are having so much fun!!!!! Yeeha! Can’t wait to hear about the rest of your shenanigans :D

  6. “Bloggers need to open a specialty oatmeal shop, because we know how to get this shit done.”

    This is perhaps my favourite sentence in food blogging history.

    And I am so glad you took her to The Second Cup rather than Tim’s! :)

  7. Looks like so much fun. Have a great trip!

  8. Wow, what an amazing time you look like you’re having! I’m not sure if I could stomach eating elk (they’re so beautiful!) but that maple fudge looks AMAZING.

  9. You look like you’re having an awesome time! I’m so happy it is working out so smoothly. When I saw the menu snippet from Rose & Crown, I thought – she probably got the Elk Stew and you did! You’re always so adventurous =)

    Nicole G

  10. This is going to be fun following your adventures!

  11. I’m sorry you’re having such a lowsy time ;)

    I love all the fun pictures!

  12. Hi! Just found your blog through Holly’s blog! Hahaha I love reading about the trip from two points of view! But either way it looks like you guys are having mega tons of fun! Enjoy the rest of your trip :D

  13. Love your pictures!! Sounds like you’re having an awesome time too, can’t wait to meet you in person when we are both in Toronto :)

  14. You two are adorable and awesome and those pie innards (can I make it sound more gross?!) look AMAZING. Wowzers.

    Have a brilliant time!

  15. You definitely visited so many places that I didn’t get a chance to when I was at Calgary. It was freezing cold when I was there. Next time, I’ll make sure to visit when the weather is warm.

  16. Whiskey is my favorite too! Crown and I are gooood friends ;) Ever had a Washington Apple? I bet you’d LOVE it if you like those JD apples!

  17. So nice to hear you had a great time in Calgary. And I’ve been mysteriously drawn into the many sweet shops in Banff a time or two as well – don’t worry – totally normal. :)

  18. “Bloggers need to open a specialty oatmeal shop, because we know how to get this shit done.”
    hahahah this made me laugh so hard. Have an amazing adventure!!

  19. i am sitting across from you at the internet cafe right now, so this comment is probably slightly creepy…but i see you. and i say AMEN to everything in this post. seriously. our oatmeal concoctions rule.

    and even though you are the bag lady, i can’t even express how thankful i am that we get along so well. without knowing each other…so weird, but its really so true – us food bloggers are alike!!!

    loves ya.

  1. Pingback: On Top of Old Sulphur | The Great Balancing Act

  2. Pingback: Mountain WoMan | The Great Balancing Act

  3. Pingback: Lake Louise!! | The Great Balancing Act

  4. Pingback: The Final Frontier | The Great Balancing Act

  5. Pingback: Holly + Susan: The Banff Exit Interviews | The Great Balancing Act

  6. Pingback: All Shook Up | The Great Balancing Act

  7. Pingback: Bombed | The Great Balancing Act

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: