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