June 19, 2011

Eat, Drink, Banff

This is one of many gorgeous views in Banff National Park in The Canadian Rockies.  

Not bad, eh?

And this is the view down Banff Ave, the main street in the alpine town of Banff, Alberta.    If you look closely, you will find the t-shirt store and various restaurants where my friends at I worked during our summer breaks from university just a few years ago.  

OK, I'll admit it.  It is actually 19 years ago.  Where did the time fly to?   Barely 18 years old, my girlfriend Dodo and I went to Banff with a one-way ticket and a sense of adventure.  Once there, we met  a Russian cranberry, and the three of us were inseparable.  We got jobs and a place to stay and spent our summer working, playing and having the time of our lives.  

After this many years, we were due for a reunion so the three of us met for a long weekend. We set out to do all the things we never did when we actually lived there, having neither the time nor the money to take advantage of all the area has to offer.  

First stop?  Beautiful Lake Louise. 

We visited the Chateau Lake Louise, where Ms. Cranberry and I actually met and worked very briefly.  This time, we chose to eat in the lobby lounge instead of the staff cafeteria.  

We started with a flight of wine, appropriately named A Taste of Canada.  Think Global, Drink Local.

Feeling the mountain vibe, we ordered the Rocky Mountain Antipasto Platter.  It was a plate overflowing with locally air dried beef & duck, venison salami & chimney sticks along with grilled artichokes, pickled beets, mushrooms, Appenzellar cheese, and hazelnut crusted goat cheese. It just seemed like the right thing to be eating at that moment.  And it was.

We also ordered the Red Quinoa Tabouleh Salad, flavoured with mint and Italian parsley relish.  

And the Local Hot House Tomato Bruschetta with roasted red peppers, vine ripened tomatoes and Alberta feta cheese.

 Next stop was for drinks at Earl's, the restaurant at which we most coveted a waitressing job. Back then, it was a fun, lively, brightly painted hangout with parrots hanging from the ceiling.  It was always busy, especially on Margarita Mondays.

This is how it looked 19 years later.
I guess we weren't the only things to mature. 

It didn't stop us from settling in and ordering some Sangria and appetizers.

We snacked on warm spinach and feta dip, with aged white cheddar and artichokes.  We also sampled the shrimp and ginger goyza, served with Japanese mustard and spicy ponzu sauce.

We threw in a few edamame beans for good measure. 

We then set out to explore the "new" hotel, the Rimrock Resort.  In reality, it has been there almost 20 years but since it opened as we were leaving town it is the new kid on the block as far as we were concerned.  

We made ourselves comfortable in the lobby, complete with floor to ceiling windows, and overstuffed old leather chairs.

We selected from the spring cocktail menu, and enjoyed Mandarin Breeze martinis.  

We have fond memories of eating nachos in Banff (at a restaurant that sadly is no longer there), so we wanted to re-create the experience. 

Even though we were spending most of our time in the upscale gorgeous resorts, we hadn't forgotten how we lived back in the day.  That would be in local bars drinking our favourite Rocky Mountain beer, Kokanee.  We stopped in at The Rose and Crown for a mid afternoon drink on the rooftop patio.  


Have you heard of a Bloody Caesar?  It is similar to a Bloody Mary but made with Clamato juice instead of tomato juice.  I didn't realize until that weekend, but the Caesar is a Canadian specialty, and was actually created nearby in Calgary.  Although I haven't attempted to, it is difficult to find this cocktail in the states.  One more reason to love Canada!

 No visit to Banff would be complete without the late night eats.  In fact, I'm pretty sure that is when the majority of our "dining" occurred.  The only meals we can remember eating together (while not at work), were late snacks after the bars closed.    

We were thrilled to discover that Aardvark's is still open and serving up pizza slices and subs until 4am.  Exactly how we remembered it.

It was a fabulous weekend trip down memory lane, and I'm glad we got to experience our beloved Banff with a more mature set of eyes (and pockets).  I don't think we will wait another 19 years to visit. 

Why would we if we could meet for a drink here...  

Editor's note:  All the "u"s were included in words such as flavour and favourite as an tribute to my Canadian roots.  If only my spell checker would stop fighting me on it.  

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1 comment:

  1. Wow. What a gorgeous place! Would love to visit there one day!