My Favorite Places To Eat In (and around!) Calgary

Happy Friday, everyone! Is it just me or do ‘short’ weeks seem infinitely longer? Ah well, I’m wearing stretchy pants at work and plan on scarfing homemade pizza for dinner so today can just do me a favor and whizz on by (well, at least up until 5pm!)

I decided I wanted to share some of my favorite places to eat in and around Calgary. Many of you aren’t remotely near Calgary (i.e.: ‘Murica) but I’mma do it anyways 🙂

Craft- They have the most selection of beer on tap and their food is local. And good. Sitting at the bar is nice as most barstaff are friendly. However, the atmosphere (say, on a Friday night) mostly consists of middle-aged groups and socializing is near impossible. Socializing meaning: single people trying to pick up other single people. Me- I don’t have that problem (Insert: husband).

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National- (One location is directly next door to Craft–and has a downstairs bowling alley!- and the other is on 17th Ave.) They also have a nice selection of beer, with a pretty unique TV display of what’s currently available (think: airport arrival/departure screens). The food is also pretty good and the layout consists of several long, solid picnic-like tables. This makes for good socializing.

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Brewster’s– Their food is consistantly good. There is never a mishap with an order or with service. Since they brew their own beer on site, we have noticed that the taste can vary from visit to visit, but then we know it’s authentic! We love that they have a location super close to our house, too.

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Kinjo– really good sushi. The place is always buzzing and the servers are quick and cheery. It’s also a great bang-for-your-buck type place. I especially like that you can see the food being prepared. And the nice man always gives me chocolate before we leave.

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Grizzly Paw– FAVORITE place to go in Canmore. Their food is amazing, the patio is an EXCELLENT spot to view the nearby mountains/people/dog watch, and their beer is one of my favorites ever. I only wished I lived in Canmore (Cough, cough, JO I’M JEALOUS OF YOU) so I could frequent the place more often. PS: They took their fried pickles off their menu, but we asked a server and he said you can still order them. BEST FRIED PICKLES EVER. Especially with their beer.

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Wild Flour- A great little bakery/cafe in Banff. Their food is fresh and healthy and the vibe is pretty chill. It’s always crowded in there with all sorts of people. Bathrooms aren’t labeled ‘men’ and ‘women,’ but rather ‘Humans” (or was it Homo Sapiens? Either way, I always get a good chuckle).  I’ve only ever ordered sandwiches and wraps, but I’m determined to get a brownie next time.

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Saltlik- NOTE: There are 2 Saltlik’s- one in Calgary and one in Banff. No offense Calgary location, but you ain’t got NOTHING on the Banff spot. The cocktail menu is pretty delicious (I’ve had everything on it) and their food is PHENOM. I always order the filet mignon with a side of asparagus (or broccoli) and scalloped potatoes. Best place to splurge ever.

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Calgary Farmer’s Market-  I love me some local goodies. And this place isn’t your typical tent/parking lot market. It’s an actual building that runs year round, Thurs-Sun. They have all sorts of products: meats, produce, dairy, GF, exotic, baked goods, florists, etc. etc. etc. I think my favorite part- besides all the free samples- is the ‘food court’. They have so many vendors that offer a variety of yummy things that you can sit and enjoy. Unless you go on Sunday afternoon, you’ll most likely be entertained with shrieking children and frazzled parents.

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The Rock-  Good pizza. It’s a chain restaurant from the states, but they still make a mean pizza that doesn’t feel ‘chain-y.’ From our experience, the staff is so-so and we’ve recently resorted to taking home our order.

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Anejo- some amazeballs margaritas. Cool vibe. Great food. Down side: $14 for guacamole made with only two avocados. Another downside: margaritas are small. Upside: they play movies via projector up on the brick wall, and there’s a cool upstairs space. And lots of tequila. Definitely get the tacos. In all varieties.

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Una- PIZZA NOM NOM NOM. I have heard from several people that this place was amahhhhhhhzing and they were right. The food is fantastic and the service is great. The restaurant is tiny and narrow, so it can make for some awkward seating (we were put up at the counter by the prep stations, just in front of the bathrooms). Nothing a bottle of wine can’t fix! Another bonus: since they don’t take resos, they take your phone number and suggest hitting the bar next door (National!) to wait for a table. Not a bad way to spend your waiting time.

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I know I’m probably missing a few, but these are the front runners (in my opinion).

Well Hello There

Well hello there.

Thanks to those of you who submitted questions for me to answer! I will be putting together that post with answers later on in the week. Keep them coming so I can have more things to divulge!

ANYWAYS. Hi, there! Remember me?! Need a refresher?? Here’s one:
My name is Jen
I live in Antarctica
Just kidding, Canada.
My dogs shed like crazy
I seriously dislike public transit
I workout like crazy
I like wine and beer. I don’t discriminate. Unless it’s a super hoppy IPA, then I have issues.
That about sums it up.

So what the hell have I been up to these past few weeks, you ask?!! (You most likely know if you follow me on Instagram. Conversely, you most likely don’t care.) Here are some highlights:

1. I had my FIRST visitor to Canada! My high school friend, Amy, flew up from NY for a long weekend. Places of possible interest that we hit: 80th & Ivy for dinner, Canmore for shopping/snow games, Lake Louise to see…umm, Lake Louise, Banff {Wild Flour for lunch, Liquor Depot for booze, Saltlik for dinner, Sasquatch for dancing, Caribou Lodge & Spa to sleep, The Keg for brunch. We also made it a point to spend all remaining money on fudge from The Fudgery, as well as visiting The Fairmont, and the Banff Gondola– altitude of 7,667 ft!}, Brewster’s for dinner,  Calgary Farmer’s Market to buy anything/everything to have an at-home charcuterie board.

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2. Went to Pig & Duke for an insane pulled pork lunch/Lost Coast Tangerine Ale.

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3. Started my own personal 30 day hot yoga challenge. I’m not planning on doing yoga for 30 days straight, but I bought a monthly unlimited pass and decided to go 4-5x/week. Pro: It clears my mind and stretches out my hamstrings. Con: They jacked the price to $150. I’m talking to you, Hot Yoga on Crowfoot, don’t make this girl go broke(r)!!!

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4. Tyler and I have been meeting with a kitchen consultant at Home Depot to renovate our kitchen. It’s current status: closet-tiny. What we hope the results will be: open and airy and not obvious that it was originally built in 1981.

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5. Since it was a long weekend and I got bored, I decided to hop on that demolition train and knocked down one of the two walls we plan on removing to accommodate our new kitchen layout. (I’ve since done way more damage than depicted)

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6. I have been obsessed with the Olympics. Ever notice that every Olympic games, the media really focuses on one sport over others? This year, it’s totally Ice Dancing. Cool, but um give me the sports where the guys are wearing unitards. SPANDEX unitards. Also, I have the luxury of watching the American broadcast (Bob Costas, I love you forever) and the Canadian broadcast (where they don’t tell the hockey announcers that they’re still on air and you can hear them humming and clearing their throats. I’m waiting for a fart, though)

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(yeah, that may be a dirty inference. Push it…push it real good)
7. Not to bring up any ill-feelings for Bronco fans, but I went out for Superbowl with a friend and we started the evening by wearing our orange/blue beads and had to switch to green/blue beads by half time. Mostly because Seahawk fans were buying us drinks, so we had to comply.

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8. I still have a $50 gift card for Lululemon from Christmas and I think I FINALLY found what I want to buy. PS: Popped Amy’s Lululemon cherry when she was here. Methinks she might become just as addicted as I!
9. Just when football season ends and I think I get my husband back on Sundays, he goes and sells back all his old video games and pre-orders 4 new ones. To each their own, I suppose. He coincides his game-playing with bread-making. Besides, I’m gone for about 2 hours each night to attend Hot Yoga classes.

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10. I worked out at home and barefoot the other day and the combination of super dry skin + an excessive amount of reverse lunges and plank jacks = tearing the skin off the bottom of my big toe. I’ll spare the picture, just know that it’s gross, it’s painful, and it’s not conducive to all my downward dogging.

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11. I haven’t tried a single new recipe lately. Bad Jen. I need to hop back on the baking wagon. I DID, however, try a new sandwich concoction that proved to be WAY TOO DAMN good. It consisted of some locally baked sourdough, sheep’s cheese (vendor at farmer’s market with very heavy accent sold it to us saying this is ‘cheep’ cheese. Not cheap as in less money, but as in “baa-baaa”), Saskatoon berry jam, bacon, and baby kale. Mmm, mouth is watering.

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12. I finally put blonde back into my hair. And no one has noticed. It took 3 months for someone in my office to notice that I previously chopped off 6 inches, so I’m guessing it’ll be another month or so before I get comments on the color.

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13. Referring back to our adventure at Sasquatch in Banff: drinking age in Alberta: 18. Therefore, most everyone in there was about….18. I told just about everyone that approached us that I could have birthed them. It could ALMOST be true. Also, I saw Sasquatch. He scared me at the coat check.
14. I had Pho for the first time. I called my mom and told her I had Pho and she replied “Mmmm that sounds delicious” and then I asked her if she knew what I was talking about and she said ‘no.’ Sersiouly, does anyone else’s parents act like this? Take another example, holding the phone to their ear while FaceTiming. Ugh.

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15. I have done 2305972309572 different workouts lately and plan on sharing some of them in a post later this week.

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That’s all I have to share for now. Do you feel sufficiently updated? I do.

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In the comments:

Where’s the last place you traveled?

Have any good restaurant experiences lately?

Oreo Truffles!

Another boring recap post. 

Foods:

Chicken Fajitas for dinner on Tuesday. Mine with corn tortillas and Tyler’s with flour. Topped with TONS of sriracha.

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Starbucks (totally a treat for me)

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More coconut flour pancakes. This time I put the fruit IN the batter so everything was nice and warm. Way better that way. And I topped the stack with a combo of Click espresso protein powder and greek yogurt. That breakfast keeps me full for forever.

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I hit the Calgary Farmer’s Market yesterday and got great produce (for cheap) and a treat!

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Buffalo mozzarella, an eggplant, mangoes, green beens and pomegranates ($1 each!)

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A maple bacon donut and a s’mores donut from Jelly Modern Donuts. Tyler and I have been meaning to get to their actual store for quite some time now, but they’re in a completely different part of Calgary that it never made sense to make the trek on a weekend morning. I saw their kiosk at the farmer’s market, and the purchase was totally on impulse. I cut them up and we tested them after our dinner last night. The verdict: turns out maple and bacon is not our preferred salty/sweet combo, but the s’mores was pretty tasty. 

Speaking of Valentine’s dinner, I hit up Safeway yesterday early morning (I thought everyone would be flocking to the butcher counter for steaks, and I wanted to make sure I got two good ones for us). We had steak, asparagus and baked potatoes. One of the best-and most basic- meals ever. Honest to God, Alberta beef is out of this world dynamite. I hardly had to cut it and we only seasoned with a pinch of salt. Melt in your mouth deliciousness. 

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It took almost all my willpower to not inhale that steak.

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I also managed to slap on an apron at some point in the day and make a special valentine’s treat for Tyler.

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Oreo Truffles!

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Super easy to make: Throw 36 Oreos (almost TWO packages…I swear they’re getting smaller and smaller) in the food processor until crumbled. Throw in a package of cream cheese (8 oz) and pulse until incorporated. Empty contents into a bowl and ensure the mixture is thoroughly mixed. On a double boiler, add 2 8 oz. packages of Baker’s white chocolate. Make sure to constantly stir. Roll the Oreo mixture into tablespoon sized balls, drop in the white chocolate, and fully coat. Use a fork to retrieve out of the chocolate and let cool on waxed paper. Refrigerate.

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They’re not the most glamourous looking truffles, but they show the homemadeness which makes them all that much better (and WAY more thoughtful!)

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I topped this batch with some rainbow sprinkles for a little decoration. You could use extra Oreo crumbles or graham crackers or nuts or….whatever!

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Mmmmmmm.

Layla got a few Valentine treats herself! I call them Refrigerator Cookies, because she prefers the yogurt coating to be cold. (Don’t know how that was discovered, but she is a pretty spoiled dog). First, her daily morning RC stick in PINK, then a Valentine’s heart that was bigger than my hand.

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Workouts:

Tuesday: 50 minutes of crazy intense spinning!

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Wednesday: My tummy was a little agitated after dinner, so I opted out of the planned BBB workout and chose to go through 5 superset tabatas for my upper body. Apparently the pumping adrenaline helped, because I was able to round out the workout with 50 burpees!

Thursday: I did 4 miles of intervals on the treadmill. 

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Random Things:

Finally got new sunglasses. They look identical to my old ones. (I would use the saying If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it but in this particular case, I suppose that doesn’t fit)

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I went to pick up some stuff that Tyler found on Kijiji. This woman was giving away TONS of wine and beer making equipment for free! I barely fit it all in my car.

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And that’s all I have. For now.