See the World, Eat the World: Calgary

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I hope you all enjoyed meeting Emilie earlier this week and now to re-introduce you to Biscuit. She’s mentioned quite often in these parts because she’s just so much fun and as further proof, she’s contributing to the “Eat the World, See the World” series that we’ve got going on here and is showing us what to see, do and more importantly eat around Calgary, with the help of her lovely sister.  Enough from me, take it away, Biscuit!

Hello again Hungary Buddha internet besties! You may remember me, Biscuit, from last year when I shared my OMGmostfavouritesaladever (aka: summer panzanella) recipe. As you can imagine with a nickname like Biscuit I try to sneak buttery, lightly toasted bread into perfectly healthy recipes whenever I can. More is more when it comes to carbs.

While Chrissy is travelling the Pacific, with a little help from my sister, I’m going take you on a tour of Calgary. Let’s eat…and walk…because, carbs. And ice cream! Oh my goodness gracious, the ice cream.

Let me clear something up first; I’m not an expert on Calgary eats. I don’t live there, my sister does; I visit and try to drink as many lattes, eat as many almond croissants, and lick as many ice cream cones as possible. If there was a Calgary Indulgence Olympics I’d be a rose-gold medalist. Pretty shiny things!

I live in Southwestern Ontario and usually take the once daily flight from Kitchener to Calgary which arrives around 9pm local time which is just late enough to see the Calgary Tower illuminated and just early enough to still get ice cream at Village!

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Calgary has been a bit cold and dreary this summer but I’ve always had exceptional weather when I’ve visited…except that one October when it snowed every day…but we don’t talk about that. Are you a morning person? I’m a morning person who loves 10 extra minutes in bed. With a two hour time difference I always wake up extra early in YYC and let me tell you, sunny, endless blue sky mornings in Calgary are exceptionally beautiful.

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Let’s get the day started: coffee & breakfast.

If you’re downtown I would suggest you get a morning latte at Analog (yes it’s always busy and yes it’s worth it) or Philosafy (yes the way they spell it bothers me, too). Both are on 17th Ave and have fabulous patios, perfect for people watching. Are you a tea lover? Try the Idle Earl Grey Cream from Analog. Other favourites? Higher Ground and Monogram.

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Have a bit more time? Try Alforno Bakery & Cafe. First, it’s beautiful; it will make your Instagram loving heart explode. Second, their bacon breakfast sandwich is delicious. Third, their coffee is phenomenal. Fourth, they have scrumptious almond croissants and scones and pastries. Get one (some?) to go. Oh, and use the restroom. Whoa! So pretty. I would like to move in; kitchen and office on the first floor and instead of second floor café seating it would be my bedroom and living room. Obviously the doors are keepers as they already have an A on them.

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(photos via Alforno’s Instagram account)

Have a super full belly? Eau Claire Park and the Bow River are steps away and a perfect place for a morning stroll.

You’ll have to travel a bit outside downtown to visit my favourite breakfast restaurant. Blue Star Diner is just north of the Bow River in Bridgeland. Have you tried Chrissy’s birthday breakfast sandwich yet? Blue Star’s version is what inspired it. Well, what prompted me to suggest it to her. This is my most favourite breakfast sandwich in the whole wide world (or of those that I’ve tried). The basil and pesto mayo really make it…and this is coming from someone who hates mayo. But really, everything about this sammie is perfect from the lightly, just toasted enough sourdough to the crispy bacon to the over-medium egg to the fresh, flavourful tomato and the tangy cheese. I dream about this sandwich. Sister adores the pulled pork hash.

While you’re in the northwest go to McHugh’s Bluff for a great view of the city.

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Another breakfast fave is Vendome Cafe. It’s busy, always busy, but their French toast bread pudding is worth the wait.

Mid-day snack/lunch

I could literally go to Calgary and live on lattes, brunch, and almond croissants. This past June I was on a quest to find the best almond croissant in the city. Yan Haute Patisserie is the best, followed by Alforno and Analog.

And ice cream. If you leave Alforno and walk right through Eau Claire Park (so pretty, take your time, stroll, don’t power walk) you’ll arrive in East Village, home of Village Ice Cream. The salted caramel is the best; the coffee is fantastic. And all the other flavours are tied after those two. And if you get it in a cup we can’t be friends anymore. Sorry (not sorry). Waffle cone all the way.

Um. So. This is a little embarrassing but I don’t think I’ve ever had a proper lunch while in Calgary. You see, I work from home and while I visit, sister and I plan a trip to the mountains around a few days of work, so I’m usually either picnicking by a lake or having a meal at home. The good news is: there are grocery stores downtown. If you are looking to save a few dollars I would definitely recommend grabbing a baguette, some cheese, fruit, yougart, and a few drinks and enjoying a picnic by the Bow or the Elbow Rivers.

Oh! Or get Una takeout and make everyone jealous by eating the best pizza in the city in the park. Have done it and it’s awesome. Can you tell I really love picnics?

Want an actual restaurant? Let’s ask sister what she thinks.

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(photos via Earls67 and Trolley 5)

Sis recommends Trolley 5; a BBQ joint that smokes their own meat and brews their own beer. (I definitely typed bear. Did you know I LOVE bears?!). Or you can stroll Stephen Ave, which is a pedestrian only street between 6am and 6pm; stop into the shops and grab a bite at Earls67 or one of my favourites, Local Public Eatery. Get the burger and poutine. Yes both. Just do it. YOLO? (which is a phrase I never use in my real life) Another super favourite? Cactus Club. Get the short rib sandwich and a bellini. The Stephen Ave location doesn’t serve the Szechuan green beans which is a travesty (go out to the location by the airport for those).

Afternoon activities

This is a good time for some shopping. I’ll admit, I’m not a big shopper but there are a few boutiques in Inglewood I always stop in to while visiting. You’ll definitely find something unique and one of a kind at Adorn, Bamboo Ballroom, or The Livery.

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If you are in the city the same time as Market Collective, definitely go. MC is an independent market promoting local art, culture, food, and entertainment. I personally think the zoo is just ok; animals, lots of people, you know the deal. Check out to do Canada, a website regularly updated with free events in Calgary. Visiting in the winter? There are a few outdoor skating rinks downtown or you can channel your inner Olympian and luge or bobsleigh at the Canada Olympic Park.

Are you ready for dinner?

As in any major city there are countless dinner options in Calgary; my favourites are Añejo for guacamole (best ever) and tacos (beef and pork are my fave) and margaritas (love the guava and mango) and cibo for…um…everything! They recently updated their menu to offer smaller shared plates which allows you to have a little bit of everything. Three of us went in June and I’m STILL dreaming about the veal arancini and the slightly salted crust on the pizza. Thin crust, always. Sorry diehard Chicago deep dish lovers.

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Dessert

If you haven’t been yet…this would be a great time for Village. And I know what you’re thinking, do you have any other suggestions? No, no I do not. It’s not at all embarrassing how many times sister and I will go while we’re in the city.

Mountain adventures

Personally, I don’t think a trip to Alberta is complete without a trip to the mountains. There are endless adventure opportunities in Canmore, Kananaskis, Waterton, Banff, and Jasper. I’ve been in all 5 and would love to recommend something perfect for you. I’m a basic hiker who wants to think she’s an intermediate. For beginners, try Grassi Lakes or Johnston Canyon. For a full day of fun head up to Lake Louise; gawk at the lake and then hike. There’s 5 (I think) trails to choose from ranging from up to way, way up a mountain. Big Beehive at Lake Louise was my first mountain summit last October to celebrate sister’s 30th birthday.

Not feeling adventurous? The drives up Hwy 40 in Kananaskis and Icefields Parkway (toward Jasper) are stunning.

Canada celebrates its 150th birthday in 2017 and all the parks are FREE! Start planning your adventure now.

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Thanks for sticking with me this long. You can follow my occasional mountain adventures, peek at my love for abstract art, share my insta-story adoration of Josh Donaldson, and other rambles about trips to Starbucks, walks by the river, how much I hate cooking and think iced coffee and fruit should be a food group, stay current on the books I’m reading, and everything I lovelovelove on the blogtwitterinstagram – and facebook.

Written while avoiding work, listening to Arkells newest album Morning Report and James Bay’s Chaos and the Calm, sipping coffee and munching oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

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