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Calgary, Banff, the badlands, Lake Louise after mid June - your advice is needed

If you're wanting to stay in and around Lake Louise, let me recommend The Siding Cafe/General Store in Field for an excellent lunch stop and/or Cathedral Mountain Lodge for dinner (both 15 minutes from Lake Louise). Field is a off the beaten path kinda town, and has the advantage of being close to everything in the area but no crowds! Enjoy your trip.

Soma in Calgary

Just a heads up for any chocolate fans in Calgary, the killer chocolate from Soma ( is now available at the Coppeneur Store on Stephen Avenue. Not to downplay Bruce's main business with Coppeneur, but their chocolate is oustanding.

Whenever I'd travel to Toronto, Soma was inevitably one of my first stops. I spoke with Bruce, and he mentioned if it sells well he hopes to bring more your civic duty and be sure to get some.

As an aside, even if you're not jazzed about Soma, be sure to stop in, as they've got an amazing selection from a range of producers.

Best Pub Food - Calgary

Wild Rose definitely deserves a mention - though it'll be interesting to see what happens with their menu now that the market is gone, as they used to source many of their ingredients from next door. I'd also throw in a vote for the District, best combo of food and beer offerings in Calgary.

Delicious Specials/Deals (Calgary)

Sura $10 Lunch Special (11.30am - 2.30pm) Monday - Friday

I've found it to be excellent value. You get your choice of Beef, Chicken, Pork or Kim Bab served with Kim Chi, Bin Dae Dduk and Jap Chae. If you get the chicken just ask for a little less sauce as they tend to smother it all over the rice and chicken, and it's too cloying.

City Palate Cheap Eats - Is it just me?

I've always been a fan of City Palate, good writers, interesting articles, good news section and definitely provides a great service to Calgarians and their food needs (or maybe more fittingly desires). However I have to say I've been disappointed with the last few Cheap Eats features. Now I'm not saying the restaurants they feature are not worthy stops for food, however I'd hardly say they're cheap. While the Districts review definitely seemed to offer some good deals (the Poutine & Beer deal particularly) the remainder do not in my humble opinion. You'd think especially in the economic environment that we're faced with that we'd get more gems like Atlas, Tiffin and a host of other locales. Maybe City Palate has outgrown my pedestrian ways, and I am no longer their demographic. I'd love to hear from the other Chowhounders their reccommendations for Cheap Eats in Calgary.

Donuts (Calgary)

I'm reluctant to say so, out of purely selfish reasons, but I have to say the best donuts hands down in Calgary are at the Spolumbos lunch counter mid week. They put a batch out around lunch time, as far as I can tell they're limited to one batch, and best of all they're free when you purchase your food. Simple plain donuts, crisp on the outside, soft insides, with a light icing sugar dusting. Feakin' awesome. Don't bother thanking me, just make sure to leave some behind when I stop in for lunch.

Truffle Pigs: A Cautionary Tale

Forgot to add a new spot I recently found in Golden that's worth the detour away from the highway strip of grease purveyors into to town for lunch. The bookstore located on the main street houses an excellent little cafe:

Huge portions, tasty, and great baked goods (the millet muffins are great). Not sure how long it's been upstairs, but I hate to think I've been going into that bookstore for awhile I didn't even realize it was there.

Truffle Pigs: A Cautionary Tale

Apologies in advance for the rant:

Truffle Pigs (the owners) moved their concept across the road to the defunct dining room at the Kicking Horse Lodge last spring when they took over the management and ownership of said lodge. Previous employees of Truffle Pigs took over the lease of the old TP location, and started up Cher Chez La Vache, while still running the general store and liquor outlet.

La Vache is reasonable priced basic enjoyable after hike food. Albeit served at times slowly, but with little pretense. At Truffle Pigs you can expect, and have experienced, the same basic food that ChrisA describes, but at higher prices, with the same slow service you get across the road. Yet you can throw in the ridiculous attitude of the owners (the female host/front of house manager who used to be behind the till at the old TP has to easily be the most unfriendly restaurateur I've ever met) and could care less demeanor of the servers. Something about "Birds of feather..." comes to mind regarding the staffing.

Vanderb - having frequented the town of Field for over a decade both climbing & skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer, I'm aware that the owners vacate once a year in the shoulder season. However even if they were away, what kind of excuse is that - oh, so sorry for the craptacular service but we had our "backups" running the show. Bah I say to Truffle Pigs. Generally I've found in my travels, it's best to go where the locals go, and La Vache has become that place.

Let me end on a positive: Props to Eleven22 in Golden, as an alternative to both. Cool location (old house, with side garden/patio), great local art on the walls, attentive service, reasonably priced, and inventive food. My wife I cross fingers each time we go back that the Black Bean Chocolate Cake is on the menu.

Skyr - in Calgary?

Thanks for the rare lead - I tried to no avail to get info from them on skyr. I've dug up a few recipes online and will try my feeble at hand at recreating it at home.

Skyr - in Calgary?

Anyone have any leads on purchasing Skyr in Calgary? Recently back from a trip to Iceland, and I'm craving this for breakfast. Thanks for the beta.

Eat at Tiffin's or DIE!

Absolutely - do yourself a favour and ensure to have the Masala Mogo (sp?).

Sfogliatella and Zeppole in Calgary

Lina's Market on Centre Street will get you sorted out with all your pastry needs - enjoy

Calgary/Banff/Lake L./Jasper Trip

You're right, warmth is not the right word. I just found the service to have a kind of disengaged old world European vibe. Which for many may be very suitable. Hey, they definitely have not been in business for this many years by hook or crook. However my experiences at Cathedral Mountain have had the same level of service with a little more personalization, interaction and less pretension . But I guess as a much smaller lodge (I think 30 rooms) it's easier to do this. Here's the link I ferreted out:

And yes, the 6 plus is definitely a must when in effect. It's been awhile since I've run into a bear in the area (a sow and cubs about 3 years back) but they definitely make use of that whole valley. For a bear, those fat ground squirrels in Larch Valley are gastronomique extraordinaire!!

Calgary/Banff/Lake L./Jasper Trip

Definitely agree with Dan G about the reason for planning the trip. The Post while having consistently refined service lacks warmth and the location is dubious at best with the railway running right behind the hotel. I' d have to say though for the best hiking in the LL area, the hikes up into Larch Valley & Sentinel Pass (starting on the shores of Moraine Lake) are easily the tops, especially in the fall with an early start.

Truffle pigs while having decent food, I always found to have woefully slow and indifferent service. Laid back is one thing, and is expected in many cases in the Mountains - however their service was borderline inhospitable. I'd definitely pass on the Kicking Horse Lodge and give the new joint in the former Truffle Pig location a chance, good service and very reasonable priced food.

Calgary/Banff/Lake L./Jasper Trip

If I had my way I' d pass Banff, and stay in the Lake Louise area (again I cannot say enough about Cathedral Mountain Lodge, which is about 15 minutes down the TCH west of Lake Louise), and then on to Jasper Park.

As for Golden, the eats have definitely improved but not so much for the accommodation. There's a few OK condo like spots on site at the KH resort, but nothing memorable. My recommendation for food in Golden would be 1122 for dinner, or Jita's Cafe for lunch - awesome samosa's and mango lassi's!

Calgary/Banff/Lake L./Jasper Trip

I had forgotten about the Outpost at the Post Hotel - good call. My vote is for the beef dip, which is great. But I'd definitely disagree on ELL - the service is horrendous and I've found the food to be generally inconsistent.

Calgary/Banff/Lake L./Jasper Trip

I'd agree on a purely coffee comparison Communitea gets the nod. However it's a little too pricey for me, and too urbane for my liking in Canmore. Plus Beamers is always easier to get to as I'm usually in such a rush to get first tracks at Sunshine.

Indian Food in Calgary

We are definitely blessed with a great variety of eats in Calgary. For my top Indian, I'd have to say, in order:

1. Tiffin - cheap, good and always pleasant
2. Green Chili - across from the stadium. Great take out, and the Dahl Mansoor rocks!
3. Puspa - you want hot, get it here. No nonsense service. The best Naan in the city.

Calgary/Banff/Lake L./Jasper Trip

Here's my thoughts on the trip:

1. Canmore - worth the stop if only for the fresh muffins and coffee from Beamers. If you're looking for more, hit Crazyweed.

2. Banff - my choice for a place to stay would be Buffalo Mountain Lodge. While I generally don't like the other CRMR hotels/restaurants, I think this is a good choice for an out of the way spot in Banff. For eats I like Wildflower or Coyote's for breakfast and the Bison Mountain bistro for dinner. For passable sushi, Sukiyaki House is always fun.

3. Lake Louise - The Hostel is the best place for reasonably priced food in the Lake. The Post of course always gets the nod, especially for their extensive wine cellar. However for an awesome place to stay and eat, I can't say enough about Cathedral Mountain Lodge. A small intimate lodge that sits on the side of the Kicking Horse River - we've had nothing but great service, a well priced wine list and great food every time.

5. Jasper - not a lot of experience in around town, but I've stayed at JPL a few times and of the Fairmont mountain properties it's by far the best. The dinning options are outrageous, and I'd consider trying your luck in town. I'd avoid the Korean place though - it was severely lacking.

Beef Jerky in Calgary?

There's a butcher on Edmonton Trail North - I think it's called Calgary Meats & Deli, and they've got awesome jerky. Give the chicken a try, it's definitely worth it.

Does anyone know if Anpurna is open?

Anpurna.... new face, how about the taste?

That's a list worth compiling...good call. However I wish I knew of somewhere else to get a Masala Dosa.

Anpurna.... new face, how about the taste?

Although I read John's rave about the kachori (in the Sun I think), my pessimistic outlook regarding what the changes would bring (see my previous post re: the re-opening of Anapurna and my conversation with the new owner) were confirmed in spades. We decided to venture over there for dinner last weekend with another couple, who also ended up leaving with very similar opinions of the re-opening.

Note: Anpurna was easily one of my top eats in Calgary prior to it being closed. This is no longer the case as it stands from my first venture into the new space. Here's why:

1. The interior - it now feels like a cavernous cafeteria. Soulless and cold.
2. The service - while our servers were friendly, they knew zero about the menu and most notably the new items. The youngest of the staff was actually sitting on the fridge behind the new "urbane" bar talking on her cell throughout the course of our meal...useless!
3. Quality of the food - yes I expected it to taste somewhat different. New Chef equals a change in preparation and his own take on the menu...fine. However I felt everything was severely lacking; the dosa was thick and pancake like, the filling on the bland side, the app platter was weak and greasy (samosa's looked and tasted like the cheap ones I get from the Superstore occasionally), the dahl was again bland, and the don't get me started on the mango lassi. To top it all off, my stomach was not the least happy with the meal an hour or so after.
4. Despite being closed for what was it...a year or more? The place is still not done, (unfinished tables & banquettes, lighting not wired etc.) the menu had at least six or seven items unavailable. From a business perspective it does not bode well.
5. Lastly the price increase - the owner has expanded the space, added some Ikea fixtures, and some god awful sinks & faucets in the bathrooms and as a result bumped the prices up. Where's the added value...?

It seems that they are vying for an upmarket clientele, what with the offering of entertainment (live music) and a full bar service. Call me Oscar the Grouch, but I left very disappointed to see what was an awesome alternative in Calgary completely shot. For now Tiffin Roti House is my go to for excellent reasonable Indian in the city.

Calgarys best cookie?

One of my favourite cookies right now in Calgary is from the CB Farmers Market. Shamefully I cannot remember the vendors name (to busy staring at the jar of cookies) but it's the Colombian family that runs the Gelato/Coffee stall (anyone know the name?). Their chocolate cookie is out of this world, and the Guava cookie is excellent as well - but definitely go chocolate.

And add another shout out for Lakeview - their Mountain Man cookies and Mega Flax Squares are awesome (but pricey). Can get both from Co-op....ENJOY!

The Best Local .... in Amsterdam

I can recommend the following brown cafe:

It's between Singel & Spuistraat down a short alley - just make sure to get there early.

Bakery around Younge & Front (not St-Lawrence Market)

May not be what you'd consider walking distance - but it's certainly worth the hoof:

Great breads, tarts and the lamb wrap is awesome. Great service too!

Favorite Beer Bar Ever?

While I haven't been to many in the states (of which the Map Room & Toronado are on my wishlist), my top three hands down are:

1. De Garre - Brugge
2. Volo - Toronto
3. Cafe Gollem - Amsterdam

The beer lists at all three are very respectable, however it's the atmosphere that does it for me overall.

Mar 05, 2008
CriolloLover in Beer

Mt Everest Kitchen - Calgary

I've been eying this place for awhile, and I'll finally make the trip thanks to your recommendations.

dahl bhat: - a staple eaten throughout Nepal, very basic and definitely the food of the masses, an absolute favourite of mine.

Best Beer Stores in Seattle, WA

QFC - University Village is worth a stop:

2746 NE 45th Street, Seattle
(206) 523-5160

Mar 01, 2008
CriolloLover in Beer

Chocolates in Calgary

Big votes for:

Le Chocolatier - chocolate bars worth purchasing
Nectar Desserts - the smoked chocolate tart with sea salt is awesome

An even bigger vote for online ordering:

Soma Chocolatemaker - out of the Distillery District in Toronto. It doesn't get better than this place...